Chick-fil-A Betrayal Worse Than We Thought


In addition to Chick-Fil-A corporate ceasing contributions to Christian organizations such as the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, we’re now learning it has funded many left-wing, anti-Christian (but, I repeat) outfits such as the SPLC, the Pace Center for Girls (pro-abortion), and Chris 180 (a “pro-LGBT behavioral health and child welfare service agency.” Wow, when the Left speaks of “child welfare services,” hide your children.) — for years! Read the gory details here.

It’s one thing for Chick-Fil-A to stop supporting Christians; it’s another for the corporation to go out of its way to poke us in the eye. Time to return the favor?

Quote of the Day: Experience


“Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.” — Vernon Sanders

Boy, isn’t that true. I cannot think of all of the times I flunked a test I did not know I was taking. Fortunately, even though I paid in hide a few times, my misjudgments have never resulted in death, mine or others. Yet.

Boots, Hammers, and Classic Math


From the invaluable comic Flintlocke’s Guide to Azeroth

Being a man subject to his vices, I’ve started up again on World of Warcraft. Not the new stuff, the “Classic” servers. “Is that what’s taking up your time?” I hear you all saying, “I had wondered why it was slightly less nerdy and pedantic around here.” Well, worry no more! For the joy and edification of the Ricochet audience, here I reproduce the work I did with the damage formulas. Because a simple post about Warcraft wouldn’t be nearly nerdy enough.

Gratefulness and Common Grace


“[F]or he makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” — Matthew 5:45b

Somehow we survive on this small blue planet, we fragile bipeds vulnerable to the elements, to disease, to time, and to each other. Logically, our lot is sustained misery, ended only by a merciful death. Yet mankind has done far more than survive. Our life experiences are a rich intermingling of joy and angst, satisfaction and boredom, love and suffering. We look back on our early years and we remember carefree, secure innocence. Centuries’ worth accumulated knowledge was ours to study. Next we loved, and married, and cherished children. We are paid well for skills that we are pleased to perform. And all this while we are nourished with good food, warmed with comfortable clothing, and aided when we are ill.

Friday Food and Drink Post: Winging It, Albeit With No Turkeys In Sight


Well, Thanksgiving Day has come and gone, and as with so much of my life this past year, it didn’t go off exactly as hoped, expected or planned.

I’d already announced, last week, that since Mr. She and I were on our own this year, I’d abandoned the idea of going full-bird, as it were, and would probably be doing my favorite iteration of fresh salmon on a bed of asparagus, with rice and pine nuts, and salsa verde over all. I’d dutifully acquired all the ingredients, driving for what seemed like days into Pittsburgh and back, and it was just after dinner on Wednesday evening. I was happy, ready, settled, watching an old movie on TCM, and nicely relaxed (well, except for the cat), with an adult beverage on the side, knitting a Christmas present for my granddaughter when, Blammo! Out went the lights. I suppose that wasn’t a total surprise, as it had been blowing, what I was taught to judge on the Beaufort Scale, about a Force-8 gale for several hours outside. I daresay a tree took down a line somewhere, and there it went.

Truth be told, it could have been worse.  And it has been.  But over the summer I finally got the backup generator hooked up, and our 8kW Generac kicked itself on flawlessly, about ten seconds after the power dropped.  It doesn’t support the whole house, just the essentials–the water pump, the fridge and freezer, the blower for the heat, and a few strategically placed circuits.  So for the first time in 35 years down here, we had water during a power outage.  The height of sybaritic luxury. (I don’t want to know if that’s a rhetorical faux-pas or not.  It deserves repeating. So I did.)  The generator doesn’t run the kitchen stove, though; so it looked as if FirstEnergy was about to put a crimp in our holiday celebration.  Especially when I woke up on Thursday with no clear indication of when the power would be restored.

It’s Better to Give than Receive but Tough to Ask for More


This is the worst time of year. Not the feasting of Thanksgiving or the celebrations of December, but when I’m asked every November to fill out an Amazon Wish List for my birthday (Nov. 21) and Christmas.

I bug my wife and kids to fill out their wish lists, so I better reciprocate. This year, like usual, I wasted a couple of hours on gift guides for guys, for dads, for writers, for podcasters, for malcontents, you name it. And I came up with bupkis. I can’t think of anything I want. Is this a guy thing? A getting-older thing? It can’t be just me, so I turn to the experience and wisdom of the Ricochetti.

Please note, I’m not some evolved spiritual being who’s transcended material concerns. It’s just that I have pretty much everything I want or need. Got a roof over my head, a decent car, food on the table, and coffee in the mug. I’m a minimalist at heart, so much more than that seems like clutter.

Sin, Ancient and Modern


Cain killing Abel, marble relief on the facade of the Milan Cathedral, Duomo di Santa Maria Nascente. (

When Cain becomes sullen and angry because his offering of the “fruits of the soil” is not as well received by God as his brother Abel’s offering of the “fat portions” of his sheep, God tells Cain that “sin is crouching at your door. It desires to have you, but you must master it.”

Well, we know how that turned out.

Capitalism vs. Socialism: Facts vs. Opinion


Opinion: Capitalism is a corrupt system, where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Fact: Capitalism has created more wealth for more people, than ever in the history of the world.
Fact: The poor in America are still richer than about 70% of the rest of the world.
My opinion: Capitalism in itself is not a corrupt system; people are easily corrupted and the system need not be replaced.

Opinion: Democratic Socialism is a better economic system for the US than capitalism.
Fact: Socialism is defined as “[a system] in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the [government],” and “[a system] in which there is no private property.”
Fact: This is what happened in the USSR, Cuba, and Venezuela, and it resulted in extreme poverty for all, except those in power.
Fact: The Nazis were the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.

Feeling Sorry for Small, Classless People on a Great Day


Sixteen years ago, President Bush made a surprise visit to our troops in Iraq. It was touching. The troops were clearly delighted. Bush was friendly, playful and very human. In other words, it was a complete disaster from the standpoint of MSM anti-Bush partisans. In one of the most pathetic journalistic petty falsehoods ever printed, the Washington Post’s Mike Allen reported that Bush had tried to serve a fake turkey to the troops. The actual video of his visit was available worldwide so this characterization was especially stupid.

In fact, as Mr. Bush moved about and worked the room, he playfully picked up a plastic turkey centerpiece (there was one on each table) made a gesture offering it and, because they did not work for the Washington Post, the soldiers around him got the joke, laughed and watched POTUS put the decoration down and continue to shake the hand of everyone he encountered. [See correction in comments.]

It’s Always the End of the World


Four Horsewomen of the Apocalypse by IrenHorrors

Is anyone else here tired of the constant millennialism of everything? I’m supposed to be dead from GMOs and global warming and Trump’s tweets or this or this or that problem.

There is a delightfully witty and elegantly short piece in City Journal mocking how human beings always think that they live in the worst of all possible times. It starts with mentioning how a writer in, The New York Review of Books described 2019 as ‘dystopian.’ That’s about the best set-up for an enjoyable polemic that you could hope for and David Crane doesn’t disappoint.

Lyndsey Fifield and Kelly Maher lay out the art of finding the elusive PERFECT gift—and give the best hacks for finding great deals on Black Friday… without setting foot in a store!

News from the Formerly-Livable City of Seattle


Once again, the powers that be in Seattle have demonstrated their ability, through their elected governments, to make Seattle a place that people want to leave (well, at least people who are not Social Justice Warriors or socialists).  Today, the Seattle City Council has passed a new ordinance, adding a fee on Uber and Lyft, to “help with Housing and Transit”.  Just like the many new taxes (sales tax, property tax, car-tab tax) we drivers pay to build the Sound Transit Light Rail boondoggle, riders hailing rides from Uber and Lyft will now be paying for modes of transportation that they may not choose!  Uber and Lyft passengers will now be paying an extra $0.51 per ride.  They are calling it “Fare Share!”  Just one more burden on Seattleites.

Next, King County Executive Dow Constantine is doubling down on the Sanctuary County policy, which prevents county officials from coordinating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement when Illegal Aliens who commit crimes are jailed or released in the County.  There have been at least three instances lately where Illegal Aliens formerly in county custody have committed crimes, including murder.  As always, the City and County demonstrate that they support those who are in the country illegally, including murderers, more than they support the Taxpayers who pay their salaries and might just prefer safe streets to harboring criminals.

From all of us at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, we wish you and your family the happiest and heathiest of thanksgiving. In this week’s A Reagan Forum Podcast, we’re going to go back to last year’s “Words to Live By” podcast featuring President Reagan’s thoughts and messages to the American people on thanksgiving.

Let’s listen.

Service-Gathering the Fragments


The Holocaust took place during World War II, and millions of Jews were put to death over the years of the War, in Nazi concentration camps like Auschwitz, and in forests of Eastern Europe, and in their own towns and ghettos. Today, 75 years later, there are still Survivors alive to tell their inspiring stories. But soon, there will be no Survivors left. For many years, Yad Vashem in Israel, the great Holocaust Memorial, has been seeking and collecting memories; videos, audio records, photos, and other ephemera of Survivors. In the latest issue of Martyrdom and Resistance, the newsletter for American supporters of Yad Vashem, there was an article about the program they call Gathering the Fragments, describing their efforts to collect as many memories as they can from living Survivors and families of victims, to better document the lives of all who were affected by the Holocaust.

This Thanksgiving, Choose Gratitude over Grievance


Political commentators spend most of their days following the awful things happening in the world. Bad news, after all, is what dominates the news cycle.

War, death, poverty, and injustice (and the occasional cat video) fill our laptop screens from the moment we wake until we go to bed. By the fourth day of the workweek, it’s easy to cycle between outrage and despair.

People on all sides succumb to this emotional low road, which is why there’s so much anger about failed politicians, terrible policies and broken promises. Our grandparents would yell at the newspaper, our parents at the TV, but now everyone can hear our complaints. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube spread everyone’s misery worldwide.

Here’s How Defense R&D Affects US Productivity Growth


It’s not a natural impulse for politicians or activists to highlight trade-offs. Take cutting defense spending. Some Democratic presidential candidates envision a sizable reduction to the Pentagon’s budget if they’re elected. If that should happen, one possible program on the chopping block might be R&D investment. There is a lot of it, after all. A 2018 Congressional Research Service report found that in 2016 the United States spent $78.1 billion on defense R&D, “more than seven times as much on defense R&D than the rest of the OECD countries combined.”

And what do we get for all those tens of billions? That question is partially answered by a new working paper, “The Intellectual Spoils of War? Defense R&D, Productivity and International Spillovers” from Enrico Moretti, Claudia Steinwender, and John Van Reenen. Here’s what the researchers found (bold by me):

In the US and many other OECD countries, expenditures for defense-related R&D represent a key policy channel through which governments shape innovation, and dwarf all other public subsidies for innovation. We examine the impact of government funding for R&D – and defense-related R&D in particular – on privately conducted R&D, and its ultimate effect on productivity growth. We estimate models that relate privately funded R&D to lagged government-funded R&D using industry-country level data from OECD countries and firm level data from France. To deal with the potentially endogenous allocation of government R&D funds we use changes in predicted defense R&D as an instrumental variable. In both datasets, we uncover evidence of “crowding in” rather than “crowding out,” as increases in government-funded R&D for an industry or a firm result in significant increases in private sector R&D in that industry or firm. A 10% increase in government-financed R&D generates 4.3% additional privately funded R&D. An analysis of wages and employment suggests that the increase in private R&D expenditure reflects actual increases in R&D employment, not just higher labor costs. Our estimates imply that some of the existing cross-country differences in private R&D investment are due to cross-country differences in defense R&D expenditures. We also find evidence of international spillovers, as increases in government-funded R&D in a particular industry and country raise private R&D in the same industry in other countries. Finally, we find that increases in private R&D induced by increases in defense R&D result in significant productivity gains.

The Existential Threat to Our Democracy


From a friend who happens to be a particularly shrewd observer:

I find it telling that is the past couple of weeks two of the so-called “moderate” Democrats (Bloomberg and Buttigieg) have referred to Donald Trump as an “existential threat” to democracy. Well, consider that. Trump has been in office for 3 years. The country held perfectly free and open elections a year ago, which Trump opponents largely won. Ditto, on a much smaller scale, a few weeks ago. If Trump attempted to use the apparatus of the Federal government to interfere in any of those elections, or to prevent any of his opponents from being seated, I must have missed those stories. Print, broadcast, and electronic media in this country have been overwhelmingly critical of Trump every day of the past 3 years. To the best of my knowledge, Rachel Maddow, Jim Acosta, Chuck Todd, and hundreds and hundreds like them are still free as birds, and still writing and speaking whatever they want. Every single week, even the briefest scan of Apple News reveals scores of entertainers, business leaders, elected officials, academics, and other high-status individuals offering everything from sharp criticism to unhinged invective against Trump. If any of those individuals have suffered any measurable personal or professional harm as a result, I am unaware of it. Jack Dorsey still runs Twitter; Robert De Niro is still a mega-celebrity; Ilhan Omar is still in Congress. And on and on.

Quote of the Day: Islands


It is a trope that during the holiday season loneliness, anxiety, and depression grip a certain portion of the populace. Psychologists and sociologists warn us about epidemic levels of loneliness, especially in regard to increasing suicide rates, particularly among adolescents. Blame it on godlessness, the opportunities technology provides for narcissism, or what have you, our increasing isolation (literal and figurative) turns us into islands. So, John Donne:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

An Example Has Been Made: Pour Encourager les Autres


The now-fired Secretary of the Navy apparently sought to provide cover to senior NCIS, legal weasels, and an admiral over the SEAL teams, as they sought to slap the Commander in Chief in the face and cover up their own alleged criminal wrongdoing (now subject of another IG investigation). No military officer, of any rank, would tolerate such gross insubordination from a subordinate: “Sir, you didn’t put in a written order, so I didn’t have to do it.” Oh, but it was just a tweet, and we don’t like his tweets, and besides… Nonsense! In the words of Justice Scalia: “pure applesauce!”

The first two-star general for whom I directly worked gave me a great lesson in followership. He called attention to the way a staff training team reacted to him. The staff training team existed to exercise and develop staff in support of their commanders. The moment the commanding general opened his mouth, team members all had their notebooks out, pens poised and proceeded to write down every single word he said.

The general explained that that showed the doctrinally correct view of general officers’ words. All the words were to be treated as important guidance to their staff. The trainers now had the general’s words and were checking everything the staff did to see if it conformed, to see if the general’s staff was operating competently and correctly in support of the general.

Another Magic Bullet: The Psychology of Persuasion


Police officers live in the world of possibility, not probability. They don’t memorize the stats on the number of violent encounters between officers and the public. When conducting a traffic stop, or sent on a call from a dispatcher they are dealing with people that they don’t know. They don’t have the time to contact someone’s former scoutmaster, rabbi, priest, minister, or former sixth-grade teacher for a character reference. Calls that are dispatched concerning violent crimes in progress gives the responding officers more time to mentally prepare for a dangerous situation.

There are no magic bullets; whether it is a Taser, non-lethal impact munitions, baton, or pepper spray when confronting someone with a knife. Sometimes those options are effective, and sometimes they are not. Every potentially violent situation is different, and every violent situation has its own set of facts. In other words hypothetical second-guessing after an incident to try and come up with one standard that will solve all future encounters without lethal force is nonsensical.

Conservation Beats Environmentalism


American Conservatism is conserving America. Conserving we the people and the land on which we live. Democrats have used environmentalism to give a generation of young voters a feeling of purpose, but it is time for Conservatives to demonstrate how conservation is something superior. People will sometimes use the terms synonymously but there are profound differences between the tradition of conservation and the religion of environmentalism.

Specifics vs. Abstractions

Conservation is a practical tradition of managing specific resources with specific goals in mind. Conservation is measuring the populations of animals, the conditions of habitats, the accessibility and utility of land, and actively managing it with a specific plan. When a species is threatened or endangered we make a plan to bring them back to a stable population so that we can enjoy that species in our ecosystems and our communities. The Bald Eagle, The Grizzle Bear, The Gray Wolf, only a few successes of looking at specific objectives and taking sensible goals to achieve them.