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Dogs at the Doctor’s Office and Other Stories


While waiting for my turn to see the doctor, I was surprised to see a large yellow dog stroll up behind the receptionist’s desk. Then he noticed me and stood with his front paws on the counter to get a better look. I was charmed. When he came out into the waiting room, I greeted him and let him sniff my belongings. It was comical, too, to find that on my way to the restroom, he was padding down the hall behind me.

I pumped the assistant who was taking my blood pressure. Whose dog was this? It had been newly adopted by the doctor, she explained. Since he lived on a rural property, he didn’t want to leave the animal all day to have it wander off. So was this a temporary arrangement? I wondered. The assistant replied that yes, it was, probably. She betrayed no emotions on the subject, for or against. The receptionist had also appeared to have zero opinions regarding her assistant greeter.


5 Reasons the Fed Should Not Raise Interest Rates


I will admit a current bias against monetary tightening and the idea that the US economy is at full employment (though maybe such a state is only a long nine iron away). And although I am not a “high pressure economy” person, I would take any rate hikes very, very gradually. And if a voting member of the FOMC, I probably would have stayed the course at this week’s Fed meeting. Much like Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari, who explains his dissent — with plenty of chart goodness — in a Medium blog post.

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Stay on Target


This morning I read, as I always do, the Daily Shot. And as always I enjoy it. Well written, informative and humorous. I have quoted from it many times to friends, always giving credit and encouraging visits to Ricochet.

I did think that in one place this morning that it was not quite a bull’s eye: And, since it reminded me (legitimately or not) of shrieks I have heard from some that are, shall we say, a bit less conservative than yours truly, I came straight here.

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Book Review: What Next


“What Next” by Daniel HannanOn June 23rd, 2016, the people of the United Kingdom, against the advice of most politicians, big business, organised labour, corporate media, academia, and their self-styled “betters”, narrowly voted to re-assert their sovereignty and reclaim the independence of their proud nation, slowly being dissolved in an “ever closer union” with the anti-democratic, protectionist, corrupt, bankrupt, and increasingly authoritarian European Union (EU). The day of the referendum, bookmakers gave odds which implied less than a 20% chance of a Leave vote, and yet the morning after the common sense and perception of right and wrong of the British people, which had caused them to prevail in the face of wars, economic and social crises, and a changing international environment re-asserted itself, and caused them to say, “No more, thank you. We prefer our thousand year tradition of self-rule to being dictated to by unelected foreign oligarchic technocrats.”

The author, Conservative Member of the European Parliament for South East England since 1999, has been one of the most vociferous and eloquent partisans of Britain’s reclaiming its independence and campaigners for a Leave vote in the referendum; the vote was a personal triumph for him. In the introduction, he writes, “After forty-three years, we have pushed the door ajar. A rectangle of light dazzles us and, as our eyes adjust, we see a summer meadow. Swallows swoop against the blue sky. We hear the gurgling of a little brook. Now to stride into the sunlight.” What next, indeed?

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The Medicalist (or, Looking for the Pony) No. 4



Note to fellow Ricochet members: I have had to take my Ricochet account back from Dr. Publius at this time. As it happens this post (Number 4 of Dr. P’s Medicalist papers), was inadvertently leaked, prior to publication, to a physician colleague, who took umbrage. Regrettable words were subsequently exchanged between Dr. P and this unnamed colleague (obviously, on a site with a less restrictive CoC than one finds here), and as a result the two have agreed to settle the matter in the way of gentlemen, on the Field of Honor. 

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Real History Matters: The Prophecy of St Patrick’s Coming to the Irish


St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and today is his day. The traditional date of arrival to my country’s shores of the man who brought Christianity to the Irish and in doing changed the course of Ireland’s destiny and Europes’ too. Within a hundred years a barren pagan wasteland trapped in darkness was to become a place where many great European saints went to endow themselves with knowledge and the Christian heritage.

We know that he definately existed outside of secondary sources as we have two of his own written works which testify to this – one an autobiography called the Confessions, the second a letter to the soldiers of Coroticus. So ignore the naysayers today in online posts or the traditional media who state he never existed. He may not have converted the whole island, or been the first Christian here but he was the most important. That is the honest truth.


Render to Caesar the Things That Are Caesar’s…


The people who sued Little Sisters of the Poor are now angry that Christians aren’t practicing their faith.

The White House released a proposed budget that would cut funding for many agencies and eliminate a few programs entirely. For those who want government only to grow, this is intolerable. So instead of focusing on our $20 trillion debt or the ineffectiveness of our leviathan government, the left yanked the heartstrings.


The Full List of Agencies Trump Wants to Cut



Agency/Program What it does
21st Century Community Learning Centers Provides funding for after-school programs for students in high-poverty areas
Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program Provides loans to automotive manufacturers developing fuel-efficient technologies
African Development Foundation Invests in African businesses
Appalachian Regional Commission Invests in projects for economic growth in the Appalachian region
ARPA-E Funds research into new energy technologies
Capacity Building for Community Development and Affordable Housing Provides housing assistance to low-income families
Chemical Safety Board Investigates industrial chemical accidents
Chesapeake Bay Restoration Provides funding for cleanup and protection of the Chesapeake Bay watershed
Community Development Block Grant Provides housing assistance to low-income families
Community Development Financial Institutions Fund grants Provides support to financial services in underserved communities
Community Services Block Grant Provides funding for projects that alleviate poverty
Corporation for National & Community Service Runs AmeriCorps, City Year and other public service programs
Corporation for Public Broadcasting Provides federal funding to local radio and television stations across the U.S.
Delta Regional Authority Funds infrastructure and economic programs in the Mississippi River delta region
Denali Commission Provides economic assistance in Alaska
Economic Development Administration Provides funding for economic development projects across the U.S.
Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Account Provides emergency funding for humanitarian crises around the world
Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program Tests pesticides and other chemicals for adverse effects on humans and animals
Energy Star Provides assistance for energy efficiency programs
Essential Air Service program Provides funding for air transportation to rural communities
Global Climate Change Initiative Provides financial assistance for climate change initiatives in developing countries
Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Provides funding for cleanup and protection of Great Lakes watersheds
Institute of Museum and Library Services Provides grants and research for libraries, museums, zoos and similar institutions.
Inter-American Foundation Provides development assistance to Latin American countries
Legal Services Corporation Provides legal aid to low-income Americans
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Assists low-income families with heating and cooling costs
McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program Provides school meals and nutrition programs in poor countries
Minority Business Development Agency Provides technical assistance to minority-owned businesses
NASA Office of Education Supports STEM education initiatives
National Endowment for the Arts Provides funding for arts projects
National Endowment for the Humanities Provides funding for cultural institutions like universities and museums, as well as projects by individual scholars
Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation Provides housing assistance to low-income Americans
Northern Border Regional Commission Economic development in northern New England
Overseas Private Investment Corporation Helps U.S. businesses invest overseas
Senior Community Service Employment Program Funds job training for low-income, unemployed seniors
State Energy Program Provides funding and technical assistance for energy efficiency and clean energy
Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program Provides grants to improve education quality
Targeted Air Shed Grants Provides grants for air pollution control
TIGER Discretionary Grant program Provides funding for transportation projects across the U.S.
Title 17 Innovative Technology Loan Guarantee Program Provides loan guarantees for new energy products
United States Institute of Peace Works on international conflict mitigation
United States Interagency Council on Homelessness Coordinates federal response to homelessness
US Trade and Development agency Promotes U.S. exports in developing countries.
Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program Provides funding for water infrastructure in rural areas
Weatherization Assistance Program Provides grants for weatherizing low-income homes
Woodrow Wilson International Center Foreign policy think tank

Source: http://thefederalistpapers.org/us/here-is-a-complete-list-of-things-trump-wants-to-cut


Does Trumponomics Deserve Credit for Rising Optimism?

President Donald Trump’s overview of the budget priorities for Fiscal Year 2018 on its release by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in Washington, March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts.

As I have been writing, fears of a stagnationary New Normal seem to have receded, at least for now. Just ask the booming stock market, right? Also ask the suits. “Leaders of the largest US companies are becoming more optimistic about sales growth, hiring and capital investment, causing a measure of chief-executive sentiment to increase by the most in seven years,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

The simplistic, US-centric explantion is that the Trump fiscal and regulatory agenda deserve a good bit of the credit. But I find that explanation curious given the deep uncertainty about, for instance, the state of tax reform and infrastructure spending. Not to mention Trump trade policy. Also, things are looking bright beyond America’s shores. From the Economist:

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What Is Moonshine?


If it shed any light on the subject at all — and it doesn’t remotely — I might be tempted to elaborate on the actual term “moonshine,” and where it originated (i.e., rural England, circa 1780), when country smugglers hid illicit barrels of French brandy in shallow ponds to avoid the taxman, but were discovered one fated summer night, when the moon shone down so brightly on the surface of the pond that it looked as if a wheel of cheese were floating there. These bootleggers told the taxmen that they were raking the water not for contraband but for a creamy piece of that cheese.

This, however, is all rumor and rodomontade, easily sliced with an investigative blade. It is in any case generally agreed that the term “moonshine” comes from the term “moonraker,” which indeed comes from this legend.




The reason I’m whispering is I’m not supposed to have my iPhone in the high security unit. And, please excuse any typos because messaging in this odd-fitting jacket is difficult.

I wanted to let you know my good friend, fellow Mensa, Nobel Prize-winning, and long-time shrink, Dr. Sarah Bellum, sent two large men to invite me to stay for a while in the Thomas Eagleton wing of this fine facility. She thought my reaction to MSNBC (Mostly Sleazy Nasty But Corrupt) analyst Rachel Maddog’s breathless revelation that Big D paid $38 million in federal taxes in 2005 was over the top.


More Conservative Than Thou


In our ideologically scrambled age, it’s getting very hard to tell who’s who.

Political conservatives have been opposed to “socialized” medicine pretty much forever. Republicans who agreed with this philosophically paid a heavy political price as Democrats rolled out the “Mediscare” tactic every election season.


Judge Rules Against Travel Ban – Will It Survive?


I think the Hawaii district judge’s opinion will likely not survive on appeal, either to the Ninth Circuit or the Supreme Court. It stretches beyond the current law in two areas.

First, it finds the state of Hawaii has the right to sue because its tourism industry will suffer and its university will see fewer visiting students and scholars. If that is true, then any state will be able to challenge any change in federal policy that might affect the number of people, goods, or services that enter or leave the United States. That has little support in Supreme Court case law, which stresses that judges should not recognize such broad theories that would allow anyone to challenge every federal policy in court.


Netherlands Update: Victory for Rutte

2017-03-07 16:03:51 HILVERSUM – Lijsttrekkers Mark Rutte (VVD) en Geert Wilders (PVV) tijdens de politieke spelletjesavond van het NOS Jeugdjournaal. De lijsttrekkers van de zes grotere partijen in de huidige Tweede Kamer beantwoordden, aan de hand van gezelschapsspellen, vragen over politieke onderwerpen. ANP REMKO DE WAAL

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party has won the most seats in the Dutch Parliament, defeating Geert Wilders by a larger margin than the pollsters expected. It was a clear victory for Rutte, though he won with fewer seats than in the last parliament. The Euro rallied on the news. Merkel told Rutte: “I look forward to continuing our good cooperation as friends, Europeans, Europeans.”

The way it’s being reported now is that Erdoğan gave Rutte “a beautiful gift,” in the words of Cas Mudde (not, as they’ve spelled it, Muddle, unless this is someone else entirely). Mudde’s Dutch, at least, so his views about this might be more, shall we say, detail-oriented, than those of the bots on Twitter who’ve overnight developed exceptionally strong views about the Netherlands. It seems to me, though, that no matter how these elections had turned out, we’d be saying the victor benefited from Erdoğan’s wacky hijinks. Had Wilders done better than expected, you’d be hearing everyone (including me) say that Erdoğan gave Wilders a gift, right? 

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True Story: A Neighbor Saw My New “Make America Great Again” Flag–And Cried


This little story definitely falls under the heading of “you can’t make this stuff up!”

I am very proud of my flagpole in my front yard and have proudly flown “Old Glory” for many years. I try hard to keep it replaced when our frequent South Louisiana storms “have their way with” them and I try hard to observe all the rules with regard to the proper care of the American flag.