Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Memorial Day: Patton


So we’re celebrating Memorial Day and I wrote an essay on Patton, the greatest American war movie. It’s a good day to watch the movie again, and to remember the great man. In my essay, I talk about the importance of great men in times of crisis, the limits of institutions and the specific character of the modern executive, and the way this ties to American character.

If I may also recommend VDH on Patton, perhaps as good a starter for conversation as the movie itself:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Wines to Pick as Your (Affordable) House Wines


Since the start of the Lockdown I have taken some solace with drinking good wine with dinner. In these chaotic economic conditions it’s good to have excellent wine available at good prices.

Below is a list of high quality but affordable wines that I am sharing on Ricochet. Maybe it will be useful for some and maybe come comments will include other favorite wines. I limited it nine wines so people can nominate a wine for the #10 spot.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: An Unjust Law Is No Law at All



Not long after breaking lockdown forced Neil Ferguson, the Imperial College boffin behind the Covid-19 death model, to be bounced from advising Number 10, the PM’s closest advisor, Dominic Cummings, was found straying from London himself.

Now, James and Toby don’t think Cummings should resign for breaking lockdown, but his head should probably roll for backing the lockdown policy in the first place. Plus, are lockdown sceptics like our hosts endangering people’s life? Or is it more dangerous to follow the official advice?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Henry’s Quote of the Day: Minds Resolutely Closed


The following is what I wrote down from the interview of John M. Ellis:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hello COVID, Goodbye Common Sense (Mask Edition)


The mask has become a political statement. President Trump is being criticized for his refusal to wear one. And in response, Democratic candidate Joe Biden made his first public appearance in one today at a Memorial Day ceremony:


Although this graduation season looks much different than years past, 2020 graduates are still faced with the same question that we’ve all had to answer (or for some of us, are still trying to answer): what vocation will add value and meaning to my life? In this episode, Arthur talks with Stanford Business School professor and behavioral scientist Jennifer Aaker about distinguishing between meaning and happiness in life and work. They also discuss the psychology of humor and how AI just might help improve our well-being.

References and further reading:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. This is Why We Can’t Have…


This is why we can’t have nice things jobs, small businesses, a functioning economy, and the freedoms we took for granted twelve weeks ago.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Shooting Our Wounded And Other Small Mercies


Drifting, and then becalmed in between storms seems to be our current lot in life at this moment. Thousands of captains charting different courses. Taking sights on the altitude of a celestial body above the visible horizon without any thought of correcting for instrument, or other errors.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 53 Transcripts: Whose Testimony Was Accurate?


Scene One:

On July 17, 2017, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) during the Obama Administration, testified at a session of the House Intelligence Committee.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Memorial Day: ‘Mort de la Guerre’


Over 40 years ago while bicycling through eastern France, I took a break and walked into a small grove of trees that grew in the middle of a wheat field. There, sitting in a small clearing was a simple stone, inscribed with the phrase “mort de la guerre.”

There was no name, no date, and no means of identification, just a simple stone marking the final resting place of someone who had fallen in defense of Liberty.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mission: Survive and Thrive


When I first went into the Army, the mission statement of any order you received or issued had five elements. The 5Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why. The most important element was the Why.

The format changed, years later, and became Task & Purpose. The most important element was the purpose.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 125: COVID-19 Why are people so fearful?


I confess that I am not much of a consumer of mainstream media news. My infrequent forays into it during the epidemic suggest that they are highlighting the more dire predictions of catastrophe. They do this for two reasons: It’s more exciting news, and it contributes to the erosion of the one thing, the economy, that made President Trump’s re-election a foregone conclusion.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Stay ‘Safe’ vs Close the Business


The little antique store (in Wisconsin) where we have our booth finally opened for business with reduced hours. Because many of the working dealers (there are no paid employees) are elderly, they have chosen to give up their workdays. This reduces the number of dealers available. A couple of dealers who are willing to work and are taking shifts for others, have demanded that everyone, worker and customers, wear masks in the store. My husband and I worked yesterday and it became immediately obvious that we were only there to turn customers away. The first customer wore a mask, so we pulled up our ‘cattle-rustler’ bandanas and made the sale. The next six customers did not have masks and we had to tell them they could not enter. A car pulled up, people started to get out, they read the Masks Required sign on the door, got back in the car, and drove away.

Antiques is a highly word-of-mouth dependent business. Since we felt it would have been more profitable to turn out the lights and go home, I called the owner and explained the situation. She agreed that from her perspective, masks could be optional. But because of the workers who refused to work without the requirement, she would not have enough staff to open the doors. (Not sure what the difference would be if you are turning them away at the door.) So after a little dust-up, citing the viability of the business, and stating that we were fine with no masks, she allowed us to take the signs down. Ninety-five percent of the customers who came in after that did not have masks (I kept track). No one made a point of socially distancing. There were plexiglass guards and we cleaned counters, etc regularly during the day. We did a fair amount of business in the six hours we were open, and many people told us how nice it was to just get out of the house.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Immune Response


The idea of vaccination is to present the immune system with a mild challenge, something that resembles a dangerous pathogen but isn’t one, and thereby stimulate an adaptive response that leaves the immune system better able to handle the real pathogen, if and when it ever arrives. We don’t yet have a COVID-19 vaccine. But for me, there is a metaphorical sense in which COVID-19 is a vaccine.

I am a creature of habit. I cling to my routines and rituals, finding comfort in the familiar. But at the same time, I crave change, I thrive on new and different experiences, and I derive satisfaction from learning things. And so there is a constant tension in my life, as my preference for the comfortable and familiar leaves me feeling bored and stuck in a rut.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Stan the Man and How He Transformed Comics


Comic books started out in the mid-twentieth century. Originally they were “kid stuff.” As the twentieth century ended they had become a major cultural influence. No man was more responsible for that transformation than Stan Lee. Stan Lee: A Life in Comics, by Liel Leibovitz explores Lee’s life in a biography revealing the man and his influence.

Born Stanley Martin Lieber in 1922, Lee grew up in New York City. Good with words, Lee grew up a reader, retreating into books and writing as his father’s career collapsed during the Depression. After high school, deciding to become a writer, he shortened his name to Stan Lee. Comics were not adolescent Lee’s main interest. He read and enjoyed the newspaper comics, but his real love was literature. Shakespeare and movies fascinated him.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Infectious Disease Experts: It’s Time to Lift the COVID-19 Lockdowns


This came in my Facebook feed today. The National Post in Canada is basically the Wall Street Journal here, and having them post an article like this is a big deal. You couldn’t post this on YouTube:

In Canada, the individual rate of death from COVID-19 for people under 65 years of age is six per million people, or 0.0006 per cent. This is roughly equivalent to the risk of dying from a motor vehicle accident during the same time period. In other countries where data are available, 0.6-2.6 per cent of deaths in people below age 65 have occurred in people without known underlying health conditions. Although the risk of death is small in this group, ongoing research to discover the critical risk factors for death from COVID-19 in younger age groups must remain a top priority. This will permit us to better protect those at risk, while loosening restrictions for the majority.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Wall Street Is ‘Essential.’ Main Street? Not So Much.


My wife was in Walmart today. The woman in front of her was buying wind chimes made out of fake shells. New Jersey is still under a lot of restrictions from the governor’s COVID-19 lockdown. Walmart, and its plastic wind chimes, have been deemed essential.

When governors decided to shut down their states for the sake of people’s physical health, they also made decisions about people’s economic health. By calling certain businesses “essential” or “non-essential” they gave themselves the right to pick winners and losers. More often than not, the small guys were the losers.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Revolting Inquisition of K.T. McFarland


In her brief but agonizing stint as Deputy National Security Advisor under General Michael Flynn, K.T. McFarland played a key role in helping the new Trump team get organized following the 2016 election. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the efforts of the FBI to destroy Gen. Michael Flynn and McFarland, who had never participated in these types of interviews, and I was horrified at the methods of the FBI. Besides the fact that they really had no legitimate reason to investigate Gen. Flynn, they had even less reason to entrap McFarland. While many of us have generally discussed the inappropriate and radical methods of the FBI in their investigations, I had no way of knowing specifically just how insidious and unprofessional they were.

In her new book, McFarland takes us back to the interviews that the FBI conducted with her. Their actions were shocking and, as I said in my original post, could have destroyed her life. Since literally any American could be subject to their methodologies, unless key FBI leaders are discredited and punished, anyone could be victimized in the same way at any time, for any reason. I felt her specific story should be more widely told as a cautionary tale regarding the abuse of power in general, and the unethical and immoral actions of a government agency unchecked.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. In Ancient Times, Hundreds of Years Before the Dawn of History…


…lived an ancient race of people, the Druids.
No one knows who they were or what they were doing
But their legacy remains, hewn into the living rock of Stonehenge…

‘Tis May, when our thoughts turn to parody. And what is the greatest parody of all time? Oh there are many that rate a 10 on the Gossamercat-o-meter. Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, The Rutles, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, A Mighty Wind. But only one rates an 11. That’s right: This Is Spinal Tap, the original mockumentary. The hard rock masterpiece featuring David St. Hubbins, Nigel Tufnel and Derek Smalls, the rocking and clueless alter egos of Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, and Harry Shearer. Not even the presence of Rob Reiner can diminish its place as the pinnacle of parody. The movie was released in 1984, back when he was amusing and not insufferable.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Goldberg v. Klavan


I’d like to say that I’ve been dying for a Goldberg/Klavan (of the Andrew variety) long-form podcast for almost three years, all about Trump. I don’t want a “debate,” despite the intentionally incendiary (or at least flammable . . . or at the very least dyspeptic) title. I’d like to hear two sides of a divide discuss their differences because I firmly believe most conservatives aren’t Trump purists or Trump haters.

Perhaps I am an anomaly. Nonetheless, for almost four years now I’ve scratched my head trying to understand one side of the conservative movement that I have always respected (and still respect). I imagine the feeling is mutual.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 53 Transcripts: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose


On July 25, 2017 Jared Kushner testified at the House Intelligence Committee and his testimony is one of the recently released transcripts. Kushner was completely cooperative with the committee and stated several times his willingness to stay until all of the committee’s questions were answered. Finally, Rep Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told him:

“I appreciate your willingness to stay until my friends run out of questions. But I also have to let you know. That’s never going to happen. The longer you stay in here, the narrative will be how important and significant a witness you were, hence the fact that they kept you in here all day long”.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Biden’s “Gaffe”


Journalist, Michael Kinsley once quipped that “A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.”

Years ago, I posted a thought – I don’t remember now about what – on a blog site, and I got a reaction that surprised me. The responder said that he didn’t know how to reply because he didn’t know anything about me or my background. That made no sense to me at the time. Obviously, one replied by citing facts and offering logic that supported or contradicted my statements. What else?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Socialism in a Nutshell: Vaccine Confiscation by the French Government


When I saw this story originally in the Wall Street Journal last week, it just made me gasp, then shake my head in exasperation.

The American Government, in the institution of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, has been providing funds to French pharmaceutical company Sanofi, in their attempts to come up with a vaccine for the Wuhan Coronavirus. Because of that funding, the company said that the U.S. would be in line to receive the first batches of the vaccine whenever it is deemed ready for the public.