Small-Town Life


Until we moved to our current home in 1996, my wife and I had always lived in cities or on military bases. Small town life was a revelation for us. We live in a rural area and I worked in a small-town high school for 16 years after leaving my corporate job. Going to town is always an experience, as everyplace we go is staffed by former students and their parents.

Waitresses know your name and usually have an idea what you will order. When we respond to medical or other calls for our fire department, we typically know the family, which is a big relief for people under stress. When I visit the schools in town (I’m on the school board), I see the children of my former students, and other former students work in the schools now.

Hasn’t This Occurred to Anyone Else?


We tell our kids that the world is ending because of global warming and anything they do about it is insufficient. We teach them that their country is something to be ashamed of, not proud. We make sure that they have no heroes by describing anyone admirable in the worst possible way. We preach that if they are white or male they are to blame for most of society’s problems, and that their repentance will never be good enough. We denigrate or remove any masculine influence in their lives. We sneer at religious faith and teach that morality is relative. And we’re surprised when they shoot up a school?

Proud Papa Presents: My Rosie


As some of you know, I’m a proud father of four. I have two boys (24 and 17) and two girls (15 and 10). Thus far, I’ve generally bragged on my oldest — Michael — because, having had more time on the planet, he’s accomplished more thus far. Michael is a sergeant in the Marine Reserves on active deployment in Latin America.

Now, if you’ll indulge me, I’d like to brag on my youngest, Rosie. Rosie and her older sister are in a terrific performing group in Tucson called Kids Unlimited and they just had their fall show. Rosie had her first big-show solo, singing “When Will My Life Begin?” which is the opening song to the Disney movie Tangled. (Based on Rapunzel, for those of you who haven’t seen it.)

Ears to the Ground…


I work with a lot of people over 65 in my business. I’m located in a fairly rural area in deep East Texas. I always keep my politics to myself with my customers as it is not relevant to my work. However, on occasion, a customer will straight out ask me or will offer their own thoughts to me for my comment.

I don’t know what is in the water today but every customer I spoke to had a political comment today and all were along the lines of “I don’t know what has happened to the Democrats, they have gone over the deep end!” Remember, this area has morphed into a Republican area, but this area once was the very definition of yellow-dog Democrat county just ten years ago.

Scott Adams, Creator of “Dilbert” and a New York Times Best Selling Author, joins Dave to discuss his latest book Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America, impeachment, and so much more.

Then Dave chats with Salem Radio’s Dennis Prager and Larry Elder, and Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles and Andrew Klaven at the Hollywood premiere red carpet event for No Safe Spaces.

Friday Food and Drink Post: Brrrr! Chili!


It’s been unseasonably cold here at Chez She for the last week or so, most notably a couple of mornings ago when the thermometer on the North side of the house gleefully reported that it was 9F (-13C) outside when I crawled out of my nice warm bed. So I’ve broken out some of my tried-and-true Winter-Warm-Up recipes (the non-alcoholic ones, for now), and the fridge is full of chicken noodle soup, shepherd’s pie, and chili.

I love chili. And, thanks to my cast-iron stomach, I don’t have to drop the other shoe and follow that with “but chili doesn’t love me,” as so many unfortunates must. I like my chili hot, spicy, beany and with a hunk of warm cornbread on the side. Unfortunately, though, Mr. She doesn’t share my taste, on this matter at least. He dislikes beans. He doesn’t have a cast-iron stomach. And he has fond memories of the “chili” he ate growing up, a watery concoction of my mother-in-law’s, that had ground beef, chopped up onions, chopped up celery, and tomatoes. With elbow macaroni. When he thinks of chili, that’s what he thinks of. Nothing else will do.

Made in Grandma’s way, it’s not something I enjoy all that much. So I’m always on the lookout for a good beanless chili recipe with infinitely adjustable heat levels, and not too long ago, I found the perfect one. The original recipe is here. I’ve adjusted it a bit, and I make it like this:

Jay’s guest is Alexandra DeSanctis, or Xan (pronounced “Zan”), his colleague at National Review. She is in Washington, Jay in New York. They talk about a range of issues: abortion, impeachment, 2020 politics, baseball, cooking, and more. This conversation is like a busy train line: If you don’t like one issue, another one will be along in just a moment.

Greta’s Strange World


The left, it seems, tends to choose its examples poorly. They want to highlight police brutality against innocent black men, and they choose Michael Brown, a known criminal who died while trying to kill a police officer after robbing a convenience store. They want to highlight the corruption of Donald Trump, and they choose Ukraine, where Vice President Biden’s son earned millions of dollars selling influence in the Obama administration. They want to highlight global warming climate change, and they choose an autistic high school sophomore who struggles to demonstrate any emotions beyond contempt and anger. Who comes up with this stuff?

Greta Thunberg must live in a strange world right now. She went from a teenage girl who struggled socially and had no particular gift for math or science, to a worldwide authority on meteorology, oceanography, thermodynamics, solar nuclear physics, botany, geology, agriculture, petroleum engineering, international transportation systems, and lots of other stuff she’d never heard of until the day before yesterday. Her handlers arrange her public appearances and write her speeches. Powerful people from corporations and agencies she’s never heard of beg for her endorsement. She becomes a slave to her own celebrity, which must seem to her to have appeared suddenly, like a genie from a bottle. I would struggle with all the pressures on her, and I’m 50 years old. She’s 16.

Like many teenagers, she is extremely sure of herself. I often say that I wish I could have practiced medicine when I was a teenager, back when I knew everything. But when you combine her youthful certainty with the echo chamber that she lives in, whatever small interest she might occasionally have in opposing views will be completely suffocated.

Hokey Croaky


Ripples spread out across the surface of the lagoon, sparkling in the starlight, as the girl surfaced from under the water. Trailing behind her, there bobbed up a coloured glass lantern, sealed around the edges with a grey, clayey substance. Well, this dress has probably seen its last dance, she thought as she swam for the shore. The lantern came floating along with her. 

In the distance, coloured lights glowed and strange music played out across the night. The dance goes on, as they say. Carefully, she lifted the lantern out of the water and hauled herself up onto the rocks. There was a kind of dull tap on the glass. A frog peered out at her. It was a bit hard to see through the coloured glass, but something about its eyes and the way it looked at her was somehow … human. She scraped away some of the clay with her nails and twisted. ‘Alright, buddy,’ she said, her voice coming out as a hoarse whisper, ‘you want to explain what’s going on?’

Service and Sacrifice: What We Owe in Return


“It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” —Abraham Lincoln

Next week will mark the 156th anniversary of the Gettysburg address. The speech was not about the fallen but about the moral obligation their sacrifice creates for the living. In the unique case of the United States of America, soldiers fight for an ideal and for a nation based on that ideal. Our nation is not a mere emergent property of race, ethnic faction, religion, and/or territorial accident. The existence of our nation is a continuous conscious choice that must be renewed. Lincoln tells us to be the nation that was worth dying for. We must live in justice and freedom with the courage of imagination and innovation that is our national character.

Bombshells and Explosions, Oh My!


I’ve been watching the Schiff tribunal without swearing at the television. I will admit to laughing out loud at times. I also have used my little finger to pull down the corner of my lower eyelid. That’s an Italian gesture that my mom adopted when she and my dad lived in Italy. It’s much more polite than exclaiming “[redacted].” A subtle tug when someone is lying to you. My mom used it when she knew that her three boys were not telling her the full story. She told us the story of signs posted inside passenger trains in Italy admonishing passengers not to spit on the floor of the car. She said Italians that were offended by the signs, who had no intention of spitting on the floor of the car would instead spit on the sign. There’s a lesson in there for those who wish to become nannies in a Nanny State.

My mom and dad have passed away. My brothers and I call October the cruel month. They passed away in the month of October, one year apart from each other. We lived in India for two years when my dad was assigned to the US Embassy in New Delhi as an Assistant Naval Attache. Mom expressed what she thought of diplomatic duty in a photograph, and a comment she made on the back of the photograph. Mom is in the center of the photo, dad is in uniform. Note the man in the background holding his nose.

Bridget Phetasy is a stand-up comedian, writer, and host of the Walk-ins Welcome podcast you can find right here on Ricochet. She’s written for everyone from the New York Post to being the “Playboy Advisor” for that august magazine. Bridget and Jon discuss the state of comedy, the joys of recovery, and her recent appearance on Joe Rogan’s number-one-rated podcast.

Bridget’s song of the week is “Graveyard” by Devil Makes Three. The intro/outro song and Jon’s song of the week is “Grey Cell Green” by Ned’s Atomic Dustbin. To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians, subscribe to our Spotify playlist!

Got the full band back together for this one and we’ve got Scott Adams on base (see what we did there?). You know Scott as the Dilbert dude, but you also know that he’s been a staunch supporter of the President since the ’16 primaries. So we wanted to see where Scott’s head is at in the midst of impeachment and well, he does not disappoint. Also, Mike Bloomberg writes a big check, and Ricochet member @cowgirl wins the coveted Lileks Post of The Week for her post Service…As in: When I’m Dead, Use this Music at My Service. What’s your service song? Tell us in the comments.

Also, we’ve got a new Long Poll question for you, and finally, the new Disney + streaming service wants you to know that “older movies have ‘Outdated Cultural Depictions’”. OK, so do most people. Got a problem with that?

Jay ends with “Rustle of Spring,” the piano piece by Christian Sinding. It used to be universally known. It deserved to be. Jay also plays Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Shostakovich, Amy Beach, Havergal Brian, and Jörg Widmann. He tells some stories, makes some points. A rich and diverse world, music.

Tracks played:
Tchaikovsky, Piano Concerto No. 1
Brian, Double Fugue in E flat
Widmann, “Con brio
Brahms, Violin Concerto
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5 (Bernstein, New York Philharmonic)
Shostakovich, Symphony No. 5 (Maazel, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra)
Beach, “Ah, Love, but a Day
Sinding, “Rustle of Spring

Wolf Blitzer Tells Kellyanne Conway Her Marriage ‘Has Issues’


One of Ricochet’s finest has encouraged us to be more concise. No problemo. My title is my article. Almost. I just can’t conform myself instantly to these new disciplines. I need some time to adjust. I’ll try to keep it short, though:

  1. Mark Steyn said, on Tucker’s show tonight, that Kellyanne Conway shoved Wolf Blitzer’s ploy down his throat.
  2. She said that Blitzer had embarrassed himself (about five seconds earlier…I wish I, and other American liberals, were that quick on our feet) by asserting on national TV that she, Kellyanne and her husband had marital problems, but that he didn’t want to talk about these presumed problems on national TV.
  3. Kellyanne brought the obvious contradiction to Blitzer’s attention, leaving him desperately dodging and trying to change the subject. (Wolf’s script presumably read, “Kellyanne is flustered by your personal attack, and starts weeping like any fragile woman would who is attacked by a famous, powerful Man like you, Wolf…”

Like Mark Steyn, I remarked–to the Boat Wife–on what Kellyanne did in real time to Blitzer, and by association to CNN and the establishment propaganda machine, in anatomical terms.

Regular and Irregular Channels


Some of the witnesses at the ongoing Congressional hearings seem quite disturbed at the use of “irregular channels” for decision-making and implementation, supplementing and bypassing the “regular” channels. (here, for example) Reminds me of a Churchill story…

In February 1940, Churchill was not yet Prime Minister but rather was First Lord of the Admiralty. He received a letter from a father disappointed that his son had been turned down for a commission, despite his qualifications and his record. Churchill suspected class prejudice and wrote to the Second Sea Lord, saying that “Unless some better reasons are given to me, I shall have to ask my Naval Secretary to interview the boy on my behalf.”

With public trust in the media at an all-time low, Carrie Sheffield joins the podcast to talk about media bias. We break down the causes and implications of “fake news,” the blurring of news reporting and opinion journalism, and name a few outlets that still present an unbiased view.

Carrie is a visiting fellow at IWF and serves as National Editor for Accuracy In Media, a citizens’ media watchdog whose mission is to promote accuracy, fairness and balance in news reporting. Carrie covered Congress for The Hill and served as a founding reporter at POLITICO. She won a Robert Novak Journalism Fellowship and has published in The Wall Street Journal, TIME, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, HuffPost, Bustle, American Spectator and Daily Caller.

Framers’ Impeachment Fears Fulfilled, with a Twist


The current attempted coup by the unelected Deep State, now proudly proclaimed by the New York Times and leftist media people, was not anticipated by the framers of the Constitution of the United States.

The behavior now on display in Congress, on the other hand was anticipated and ultimately written off as a necessary risk that could be corrected in short order by the voters either affirming or punishing the legislators. We have this, rather than a parliamentary no-confidence vote because of the eventual balance struck, dividing power across three branches of government and within the legislature between two chambers.

We were on our way to something like a prime minister or very weak executive in the Constitutional Conventionn. Then one man, Gouverneur Morris, came to the floor of the convention and made the case for a truly independent executive.  We know his remarks from Madison’s notes:

Group Writing 2019: VBS


Too often my posts have seemed to meander to my boyhood days here in the Appalachians. Before long, I’ll start to hear Earl Hamner’s voice in my head as I write up these recollections (“Good night, John Boy…”). Still, it’s difficult not to recall formative events or people primarily during the 1970s. Swinging away from the Viet Nam trauma and psychedelic counter-culture; a boy had to navigate the world with little information. Our only source of news was Walter Cronkite every night and a smattering of articles from the Bristol Herald Courier.

Summers were filled with mowing lawns and baling hay. At least the hay came later when I was old enough and big enough to wrangle a bale. I imagine that old farmers whined about boys having it easy with square bales vs. loose hay as they do now about round bales vs. square. Technology has made life easier for boys at a time when they really don’t need it easier.

What Unites Obama-Trump Swing Voters? Heavy Metal.


Trump shooting the horns with West Coast Choppers‘ Jesse James.

Researchers at The Economist wondered if musical preferences factored into political opinions, especially among the millions who voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016. They discovered that if Trump wants to win independents in 2020, he should strap on a flying-V guitar and start wearing studded leather.

Royal Incoherence


Reporter James Rosen of Sinclair Broadcast Group asked Nancy Pelosi a question at her weekly press briefing Thursday. A very reasonable question, I think anyone would agree.

He asked, “I wonder if you could explain to the American people why the legal rights of the whistleblower should prevail in this political setting over those of President Trump, who should ordinarily enjoy a right to confront his accuser?” His question is reasonable because Mr. Trump is an American citizen with constitutional rights that do not disappear when he is elected to political office.

Nancy Pelosi’s response was remarkable: “Well, let me just say this, I will say to you, Mr. Republican Talking Points, what I said to the President of the United States. When you talk about the whistleblower, you’re coming into my wheelhouse. I have more experience in intelligence than anybody in Congress.” Holy Toledo.

The ‘Billionaire Effect’ That Wealth Worriers Never Mention


The “billionaire effect” isn’t how the mere existence of the super-rich seems to cause great alarm in some people. Well, it isn’t just that, obviously. UBS defines the “billionaire effect” as how entrepreneur-led businesses “have tended to outperform others financially” due to “long-term vision, smart risk taking, business focus, and determination.”

UBS analysis of more than 2,000 global billionaires finds that over the past 15 years, billionaire-controlled companies returned almost twice the annualized average performance of the market and generated a 50 percent higher return on equity. Moreover, while the billionaire effect is seen globally, the effect was strongest in the United States.

Well, good for them, right? But also good for the users of the products and services sold by those companies, not to mention their investors and workers. UBS describes the ability of these billionaires “to transform entire industries, to create large numbers of well-paid jobs, and to rally the world to find cures for diseases such as malaria.”