Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump: ‘I’m a Cheerleader for America’


This is going to be a very painful two weeks.

Our strength will be tested and our endurance will be tried, but America will answer with love, and courage, and iron-clad resolve.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Report: March 2020


This post is a summary of reported COVID-19 cases and deaths in the US and Western Europe, for the month of March. My data source is Johns Hopkins (here), and they have posted their data through March 31. Their cutoff time is before the end of the day in the US, so while there may be additional cases and deaths reported from Tuesday, such reports will be included in the April figures.

My focus in this series of analyses has been on the US and Western Europe. This is not due to any lack of care for other countries. My special interest in the US is obvious, and I have principally focused on comparisons with the countries of Western Europe because: (1) they are the hardest hit thus far, particularly Italy and Spain; (2) they have health care systems relatively comparable to the US; and (3) I have greater confidence in the reliability of reporting from these two regions.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Ways to Save the World


How can you help fight the evil virus and help the people suffering from the economic disaster? Here are some ideas if you need them. But if you don’t need them, please consider adding them in comments–someone else might need your ideas!

First, stuff you’re already doing might be a tremendous help. Do what you can to stay healthy so you’re not the next one who needs help. If you still have an honest job, keep up the good work! That job is a huge priority right now; the unhappy world needs all the economic productivity it can get!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Mrs. T Is No More


My friend Terry Teachout has let us all know that his wife, Hilary Dyson Teachout, has died after her long ordeal. It makes the heart sick to learn the news–it reminds me, the poet said, it is a fearful thing to love what death may touch.

Love is a daring wish for immortality, perfection, completion: I reach out to another being, more precious to me than life, and reach up to the heavens at the same time, as though winged: To love is to learn to die.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Silly News in a Not Very Silly Season


The 1964 Stanley Kubrick movie Dr. Strangelove is the classic dark comedy of the Cold War, a preposterously humorous take on global apocalypse. Set against the backdrop of inescapable Armageddon, the entirely human foibles and obsessions of its various protagonists stand out as absurdly petty, and give the movie its quirky and subversive charm.

In the movie, US strategic bombers race toward Russia under the command of a crazy American general. The President and his men gather in the War Room and do everything they can to prevent the errant bombers from achieving their objective of dropping nuclear weapons on the USSR and, in the process, triggering the Soviets’ doomsday device that will extinguish all life on Earth.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Won!


Yesterday he thought he could sneak into my office without detection. He had no idea what he was up against. Although I lost him temporarily, I knew he’d be back. They just can’t stay away.

Sure enough, there he was this morning! He wasn’t going anywhere on my watch. Frantically I threw everything off the lower shelf of my bookcase. There! I lurched at him with a towel, but to no avail. But I was determined. I decided I’d have to catch him with my bare hands.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. History and the Vector of Shame


Perhaps you have seen the meme that shows WWII soldiers and says something along the lines of “they stormed the beaches for us, we’re just being asked to stay on our couches.” As far as exhortations to stay home go, I suppose it is one of the less annoying and more anodyne ones, but it’s still full of a smug, pompous, and scornful shame directed at us today, extolling the virtues of our honored ancestors over and against the alleged sins of our current generation.

It absolutely reeks of the sort of derision that says “not only are you no better than them, but you’re actually likely a great deal worse since we have to nanny you into staying in your own home.” It is an appeal to heroic nostalgia for a sepia-toned and non-existent past, where somehow the people were “more real,” more manly (or womanly) than today. Putting aside my general annoyance with such nannyism, as a perpetual student of history, I also have to cry foul over the comparison and call it what it is: bilge.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Am Appalled at the Pessimism


Apparently, to be conservative means to ever believe that the best Americans are all dead. It is to believe that America’s best days are behind her, that the left has won, and that this current crisis will be what does in the Republic.

America will rise to this crisis. Our President is doing what presidents do in a crisis like this. Our Republic always stumbles out of the gate, and then we rally. In 1941, Americans did not know that they would win the war, they knew the war was thrust upon them. The shouldered on.


The latest on the unprecedented government reaction to the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic hosted by Larry O’Connor.

Today’s special guests:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Brothers and Sisters


I have a baby brother. Well, he’s not a baby anymore. At 68, he’s two years my junior. My mother used to tell me that he and I were close when we were very young; he would wait on the doorstep for me to return home after school. Neither he nor I remember that, but I was always pleased to take her word for it.

Over the years, my brother and I have not been close. There was never a formal breach, but I had expectations about how a brother and sister should treat each other and he wouldn’t comply. I was glad to initiate our communicating with each other, but not 100% of the time. He was supposed to reciprocate at least occasionally. That wasn’t his way.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Oscar Wilde on the Two Tragedies in Life


“There are only two tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want and the other is getting it.” — Oscar Wilde

According to people who research such things, this oft-repeated aphorism is taken from Wilde’s play Lady Windermere’s Fan: A Play About a Good Woman from this line:


This past Saturday evening marked a seminal moment in the often sordid history of the mighty GLoP podcast: our first virtual Night Owl captured on video, recorded live in front of an audience of thousands, enforced upon us by the covenants of social distancing. This is the audio of the event (the video is here on Ricochet and behind the paywalls at The Dispatch and Commentary). As foretold by the elders, this podcast does contain some adult language, drinking, and juvenile jokes. In other words, it’s a GLoP.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Notes on the Cosmere


Way back when I put up a post reviewing this novella. Get to reuse the image.
Brandon Sanderson has been writing fantasy series that are distantly connected with one another. Each series is set on its own world, with its own system of magic, that works according to its own rules. And yet each world is connected in a totality named the Cosmere. The underlying novels and series stand on their own, but you see the occasional character show up in more than one world. There are hints at a meta plot spanning the different books. In this post, I’m speculating about that meta plot.

I’ll endeavor to avoid spoilers for the individual books in question. Oh, and I’ll be confining my sources to the fiction. I could go scouring the internet for things he’s let slip in his podcast or hints from his creative writing courses. Too much bother.


The COVID-19 pandemic has created a crisis – and potentially a new normal – for small business owners. Whether you are an entrepreneur, work for one or are a customer of a small business, this is a vital podcast with small business expert Barry Moltz. Barry gets small businesses “unstuck”; he has authored 6 books and is the host of The Small Business Radio Show in Chicago and on podcast.

Barry and Carol Roth talk about how the business environment has shifted because of COVID-19 and what small businesses need to do today and for the future. The show is full of tips you can use regardless of how you interact with small business.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Most Unusual Working Life


I graduated from college in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Back in junior high school, a psychiatrist had helped me a great deal, so I decided that I wanted to be a psychologist when I grew up. Since you can’t do much with a bachelor’s degree, I applied to graduate schools to get a master’s in counseling psychology. I got accepted to exactly one school, the University of Minnesota, so that’s where I went.

Getting there was way less than half the fun (driving an old car that broke down on the way, by myself, knowing no one), but eventually I made it. I found a place to live not far from campus and started my studies. Little did I know that I had chosen the school described as a “Bastion of Behaviorism,” but it sure turned out to be. 


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Update: The Best of Times, the Worst of Times


Monday was the worst day thus far of the COVID-19 pandemic, for the US and Western Europe.

In the US, 511 deaths were reported Monday, March 30, the highest death toll on a single day. This follows 372 reported on Friday, 445 on Saturday, and 441 Sunday. Total deaths in the US stands at 2,978.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge: Questioning Conventional Wisdom with Dr. Jay Bhattacharya


Dr. Jay Bhattacharya is a professor of medicine at Stanford University. He is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and a senior fellow at both the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and the Stanford Freeman Spogli Institute. His March 24, 2020, article in the Wall Street Journal questions the premise that “coronavirus would kill millions without shelter-in-place orders and quarantines.” In the article he suggests that “there’s little evidence to confirm that premise—and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high.” In this edition of Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson we asked Dr. Bhattacharya to defend that statement and describe to us how he arrived at this conclusion. We get into the details of his research, which used data collected from hotspots around the world and his background as a doctor, a medical researcher, and an economist. It’s not popular right now to question conventional wisdom on sheltering in place, but Dr. Bhattacharya makes a strong case for challenging it, based in economics and science.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Plague Year


It was about the beginning of September, 1664, that I, among the rest of my neighbours, heard in ordinary discourse that the plague was returned again in Holland; for it had been very violent there, and particularly at Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in the year 1663, whither, they say, it was brought, some said from Italy, others from the Levant, among some goods which were brought home by their Turkey fleet; others said it was brought from Candia; others from Cyprus. It mattered not from whence it came; but all agreed it was come into Holland again.

We had no such thing as printed newspapers in those days to spread rumours and reports of things, and to improve them by the invention of men, as I have lived to see practised since. But such things as these were gathered from the letters of merchants and others who corresponded abroad, and from them was handed about by word of mouth only; so that things did not spread instantly over the whole nation, as they do now. But it seems that the Government had a true account of it, and several councils were held about ways to prevent its coming over; but all was kept very private. — Defoe, Daniel. A Journal of the Plague Year 


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Isolation Skills: How to Make Sourdough Bread – Ask the Expert

Homemade, Sourdough-Risen, Caraway and Onion Rye.

Today, President Trump extended the federally recommended period for isolation against the Wuhan virus until the end of April. In light of that extension, I’d like to share some personal and practical knowledge with as wide an audience as possible.

Ten years ago, I actively sought out a low-tech, hands-on hobby – something that I could do to fully unwind from a stressful day working in I.T. I eventually settled on baking bread. Two years into that hobby, I grew and used my first sourdough culture. I have never looked back.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The General’s Calibrated Filter


“…sifting out the truth from the mass of exaggerations…”

My wife continues to be frustrated, to the various extremes, by the multitude of often conflicting virus information that is available to her that is either stated with cock-sure confidence or end-of-days hysteria. I continue to (mostly) ignore the noise and read my history…and hopefully learn something. With that I offer a little diversionary reading and hopefully a bit of a lesson.


If you need a little poetry in your life—and who doesn’t?—Billy Collins can be a good place to start. Collins writes unblushingly to attract new readers to poetry and to encourage those who have given up to come back. And he is famously funny. So much so that, because he reads his poems so amusingly and his readings have been so successful and well-attended, he has been called—not always as a compliment—a “stand-up poet.”