Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Underprepared for the Capitol Riots, Overprepared for the Inauguration

 

In earlier posts, I put forth my take on the lack of a plan for the January 6th riot that took place in the Capitol building in Washington DC. I’ve been following the news on what happened, I’ll call it the under-reaction on January 6th. Now there seems to be an overreaction for the inauguration of Joe Biden.

The FBI has now been walking-back the story of capture and assassination teams breaching the Capitol. The Norfolk FBI office states that they issued warnings, yet the DC office has been silent on whether they were aware of warnings and warned the Capitol police of those warnings. The agent in charge in Norfolk may be on his way to Billings, Montana in the very near future if Democrats in Congress have their way. One must not disturb the narrative.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Fighting for “Consensual Reality”

 

Now there’s talk of de-platforming conservative cable news programs. Is anyone surprised? Former Facebook executive Alex Stamos spoke on CNN on Sunday, and is “fighting for the people” in protesting the right-wing programs:

And then we have to figure out the OANN and Newsmax problem that these companies have freedom of speech, but I’m not sure we need Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, and such to be bringing them into tens of millions of homes. This is allowing people to seek out information if they really want to, but not pushing it into their faces I think is really where we’re going to have to go here.

I’m sorry to share a quotation that is slightly incoherent, but I think the gist of his comment is that he wants to respect freedom of speech, except he doesn’t. And he appears to want people to find information they are interested in, except that companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast shouldn’t be providing it.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. January Group Writing: Old Injuries, New Procedures

 

Whether you love or hate Donald J. Trump, I think we can all agree that the guy can just wear out some hyperbole. His use of superlatives in his speech used to make me nuts (and I’m a fan), but it grew on me over time and I ended up finding it hilarious.

Still, he had some major accomplishments. One of which, that he talks about but almost no one else does, is his revamping and remodeling of the Veterans Administration. I’ve heard from all kinds of vets that the system has been streamlined and vet-focused to the point where one has a hard time hating it anymore. That’s impressive, ’cause I’m a hater.

James and Toby open with a discussion of Christopher Snowden’s Quillette article on Lockdown Scepticism and the mauling the lockdown sceptic Lord Sumption has received since his appearance on The Big Questions, and Toby’s censure by the press regulator, Ipso.

A special welcome to Conservative MP Neil O’Brien (or his researcher) who is now listening to London Calling and quoting things our men have said to try and discredit the lockdown sceptics’ cause (and blaming Toby for things that James said on past episodes.) Maybe this is a 77th Brigade op?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘You’re a Better Man Than I Am, Gunga Din!’

 

One of my favorite authors, Rudyard Kipling, died 85 years ago today. Eighty-five years. Lord, not all that long ago. I’m within two decades of that lived milestone myself. (I’m 66, for those of you who are keeping track, or who’d like to weigh in on what an irrelevant old hag I am.) On that day (January 18, 1936), almost all the members of my family–Mum, Dad, aunties and uncles, grandparents, etc.–who formed my early life experiences and values had been born and were very much alive. I remember them all.

These days, it’s fashionable to criticize, or even cancel, Kipling for his supposedly “racist” views, and because he expressed them in the decades before I was born, in a different time and in a different world. We now live in a world in which the ability to express “black and brown” voices is somehow contingent on the requirement that other, “white” voices be suppressed and deleted. “Better, or worse?” to phrase it in the language that my optician uses when he’s giving me the option to tell him which version of the eye chart might best indicate the state of my failing vision and the need to move towards a stronger prescription.

Easy answer, that.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Projection and Illusions

 

One year ago this week, I had to bury the cold dead body of someone I loved more than my own life. Ten days earlier and just before noon, I had answered the phone to hear a stranger from the medical examiner’s office in another town tell me she was dead.

For the 15 years prior to that moment, she had been systematically dismantling herself, beginning in small ways but eventually moving on to big, unsustainable ways. She died like the character in The Sun Also Rises went bankrupt: gradually then suddenly.

There’s a simple three-part formula for improving your happiness: understand the science behind it, apply that information to your life, and share that knowledge with others. In this episode, Arthur is joined by Bishop Bill Byrne, bishop of Springfield, MA, and author of 5 Things with Father Bill: Hope, Humor, and Help for the Soul. They discuss lessons from Bishop Bill’s new book, and Arthur shares some advice on how you can practically and simply lead a happier, better life and share those lessons with those around you.

We’d love to hear from you! Write to us at arthur@arthurbrooks.com or ceci@arthurbrooks.com with your happiness questions.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Will the Last Person to Leave Illinois Turn Out the Lights?

 

I lived in Illinois from 1987 to 1992 and again from 1993 to 2016. Chicago was a great city; the views of Lake Michigan were wonderful and I enjoyed taking classes at the University of Chicago’s downtown location, but it now faces double trouble. It has the spectacularly unqualified Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor J.B. Pritzker. Fredo in The Godfather was a genius compared to this Hyatt billionaire. The government pensions are out of control and are ridiculously underfunded. Pritzker has rejected any constraints on pensions, such as replacing them for new employees by 401Ks which are by definition fully funded, because that will not solve the problem. Any solution for this massive problem by definition will necessitate multiple partial solution. His response is to do nothing to constrain costs. He doubtless calculates that he will need the support of public employee unions when he runs for re-election.

Here’s the lastest dire data point for Chicago: a friend just sent us a real estate listing. A condo that last sold in June of 2005 for $410K is now listing for $285K. That’s more than a 30% haircut in the unlikely scenario that they get what they listed it for. Real estate in Illinois is already pricing in the catastrophic financial situation of the state.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Lockdown Privilege 

 

Remember when we used to hear “check your privilege” from progressives about literally anything? Not so strangely, those calls from the Left have gone silent, just at the moment when they’re advocating for policies that glaringly highlight their privilege.

The example that most animates me is school closures, overwhelmingly in urban areas handicapping an entire generation of kids with parents unable to homeschool, hire a tutor, or form a “pod” with other children. These kids are left behind, most of them permanently.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mankind: Astronomically Insignificant

 

It is a common observation that man is profoundly insignificant in the universe – a mere mote of a speck living on a rock far from where the real action must surely be going on. It thus follows that our lives are similarly unimportant. We must be, therefore, ultimately powerless.

This is the view of many atheists, scientists, and others who measure the world using a physical yardstick. Their view is, in some ways, an echo of that of standard nature-worshippers: the deities are manifested in their natural forces: a sea god, and a sun god, and a god who controls the rain or the wind. No man can stand against a tornado or an earthquake. It therefore follows that mankind is nothing as compared to the forces of nature, let alone those of the galaxy.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Social Isolation and the Superfluous Men

 

I regularly read the journal American Affairs, which is a sophisticated populist journal that wisely strays away from sticking to any politician or political movement but is vaguely right-leaning. The journal is available in print or by online subscription. Marco Rubio has been interviewed for it. There was an article in the Winter 2020 issue called “The New Superfluous Men,” which looked at the increasingly sorry and questionable state of young men in western society. It was written by Alex Glender and there were several aspects of it that I wanted to analyze and then comment on:

As the story goes, by eroding traditional norms of monogamy and family life, social and technological developments such as feminism and the birth control pill intensified sexual competition by giving women more freedom to choose their partners without consequences.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Bryan at 51

 

This is part of the Group Writing for January

So, another trip around the sun, and I am 51. There is no “well I was just in my 40’s” arguments. That is now over a year ago. Nope, I am into my sixth decade of life. I lived through a near-crippling lower back problem that left me lame and needing physical therapy to learn to walk again at the end of my 40’s. I can wake up after a poor night’s sleep and feel almost as lousy as if I did not sleep at all. I take off my glasses to read. I have been on a statin for 11 years now. And, one knuckle in my right hand is starting to hurt for no reason about once every three days. We won’t talk about fighting the pounds. But, if I am honest, the sense of time passage has not really been based on physical age.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Heartbreaking: An Elderly Couple Separated in Hospice Due to COVID

 

The way the government, health facilities, and others are making life-altering decisions for others is something that we will have to live with and regret for years to come.

My Aunt Jean and Uncle Bill moved into a Continuing Care Retirement Community about 19-years-ago. Many of you probably know that is a community where people live independently, but which has a Health Center which is used for after-surgery care, serious illnesses and for end-of-life care.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Vaccine Experience: Thank you, Gov. DeSantis

 

I am fortunate to live in Florida. Gov. DeSantis, unlike others (yes, I’m talking about you, Andrew Cuomo) used statistics on the virus and common sense in setting priorities for vaccine distribution. Instead of prioritizing drug addicts and prisoners, the people in Florida to receive the first wave of vaccines are people 65 and over and healthcare workers.

DeSantis also allows Floridians to get their vaccine in any county, a good thing because my county was not prepared for the onslaught. They initially only had phone lines set up for taking appointments. Because they were receiving approximately 100 calls per second, people were waiting on hold for literally hours. Therefore, I had figured I would be getting the vaccine sometime in March or April.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The CDC vs. Mom and … That Illusive Herd Immunity

 

Well, by now you know to cough into your elbow, wash your hands, stay at a distance from infected people, and wear, or don’t wear a mask, … the things our mothers told us when there was flu epidemic going around your elementary school. The whole mask thing is perhaps part charade, part virtue signaling, part courtesy, and part efficacious, all in equal parts. Wear one, don’t wear one, do wear one, wear one all the time, wear one in restaurants except when eating or drinking, but maybe you should, and … when wearing one, don’t contract other diseases like E. coli from wearing a mask and rebreathing your own exhaust. And whatever you do, stand 6 feet apart, or 9.5 feet, or… half a mile away. Experts, according to the British Medical Journal, cannot seem to decide.

For the sake of science and Dear Leader Fauci, I will skip over the whole mask and 6 feet social distancing thing, though I did enjoy reading the CDC study which concluded that even with a mask and standing 6 feet away, one should avoid being around any particular person for more than 17 minutes at a time – or cumulative during a day (though do they define a day as when the sun is up, between midnight on one day and midnight on the next day, or a 24-hour window, … ?). And for the sake of clarity, that is “17” minutes, and not 18. Fortunately, Apple has updated its Apple Watch software in record time to include an automatic 17-minute timer. After several weeks of diddling and another 28 thousand COVID-related deaths (because each death must be prevented), the Apple software was approved by the expeditious FDA and is now being rushed to hospitals so medical staff will receive it first. Oooops. That 17-minute rule was later modified to 15 minutes – cumulative time per day. Apple will have to modify their software and get FDA approval all over again. In the meantime, keep your distance, mark down the time you are with others, and keep a running tally. Tick, tick, tick. Gotta go.

Anyway, let’s get serious: COVID. It’s a killer, it spreads on the ethereal breeze (or wheeze) of others wafted along by the dulcimer wings of zephyrs or HVAC systems. My mother always told me to speak softly and to take a bath, and now I know why. You don’t want your exhales and contrails to be polluting the nasal passages of those around you. Things could be attached to them. Likewise for your breath. So don’t forget to brush your teeth (or only brush the ones you want to keep). Mom seemed to understand that good manners and body sanitation are important – especially for teenage boys.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Getting to Know You

 

After much debate internal, and many brainstorms, I have decided to follow up my introductory post (“Give Me Your Hands, If We Be Friends…”) by pursuing a path of minimal resistance: that of further exposition.

Several months ago, while serving as a fill-in host for The Sub-Beacon podcast, John Podhoretz was asked (by Jonathan Last, if I recall correctly) to provide a ranking of the five superlative Broadway musicals. As I mentioned in my first post, musical theatre is one of my main points of interest; in fact, it is a major element of my background. As such, I would like to offer my own list of musicals which have earned my hearty recommendation.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD: On Boyhood

 

“I have heard all my life long that boys should be encouraged to show their feelings, but they were mostly liars who said so. They never wanted me to show my real feelings. They are happy when boys weep, and when there is cause to weep, no man should look with scorn upon the boy who does so. They are content when boys say they are frightened. But if any boy should show the high-spirited feelings of disdain for what is mean and cowardly, or feelings of boyish anger against those who do wrong, or boyish contempt for mere softness and self-comforting, let alone boyish admiration for the hero, then all at once their care for feelings is nowhere to be found. Boys used to be taught to restrain the unruly and unhelpful passions and reject those that are unjust and foolish, and to nourish and direct those that are high-minded and generous and manly. Now it appears they are taught to repress the manly and nourish mere weakness. Voluble lies have replaced honest silence.”

– Anthony Esolen, Defending Boyhood

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Completion of an Epic Fantasy Trilogy

 

In 2011, “Toward the Gleam” appeared. A fantasy, the book’s premise was that J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth legendarium were based on actual events. Author T. M. Doran bases a central character on Tolkien, John Hill, who find a prehistoric manuscript preserved over thousands of years. Set in the twentieth century, “Towards the Gleam” follows forces of good and evil contending for possession of the manuscript.

A sequel, “The Lucifer Ego” followed in 2018. The manuscript, safely hidden at a monastery gets stolen. Oxford University archaeologist Frodo Lyle Stuart gets recruited by his Uncle Henry to recover the document, the inspiration for “Lord of the Rings.” That book ends with the manuscript returned to safe storage, there to remain.

Or will it?

Jay talks once more with one of his favorite writers and people — Kevin D. Williamson, whose new book is “Big White Ghetto: Dead Broke, Stone-Cold Stupid, and High on Rage in the Dank Woolly Wilds of the ‘Real America.’” Among the topics: poverty, drugs, gambling, porn, and despair. But don’t worry: The conversation is much more pleasurable than it sounds.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Beware the Reptiles Among Us…

 

“You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil?” Matthew 12:34

This morning I came across an opinion piece in the local newspaper titled, “Trump Impeachment, no unity until his defenders repent.” Although I did not have my sackcloth and ashes nearby, I believed that I just had to read the article. It was instructive for a number of reasons.