Double, Double Toil and Trouble


Reports today, actually rumors, that a coup may be underway in China; that Xi is under arrest. Meanwhile, Putin is threatening nuclear response to any attack on Russian territory, even as they will be conducting a referendum in the Donbass about annexing it to Russia. Zelensky calls upon NATO to nuke Putin if Putin is even “thinking” about using his own nuclear weapons.

We are spending money hand over fist on a national credit card that will surely inform future economists as to whether an economy is all psychology — if we think, we can suspend the bubble indefinitely. Pray the little child does not show up to declare “the Emporer has no clothes!”

Today we cover breaking news and the hardly recognizable past. Toby Young joins at the top to to tell us about his personal experience with PayPal’s shot at free speech. Later, our old pal Troy Senik returns to give Grover Cleveland the reassessment he deserves. (Get a copy of Troy’s book here!)

Peter, James and Charlie (Rob’s sub for the day) chew over the FBI given whistleblower Kyle Seraphin’s allegations; and they have thoughts on the Biden administration’s dilemma in announcing that the pandemic is over.

Three Cheers for Truss!


Wow. A politician doing what they promised.

In the UK, budgets are enacted overnight – no long parliamentary cycles, etc. So, for example, the tax on petrol (gas at the pump) is announced and enacted in a matter of hours.

The Beginning of the Slavery Supply Chain


Don Lemon of CNN recently pontificated on the need for slavery reparations to be paid by the British Royals. He was immediately countered by Hilary Fordwich, who responded that those who want reparations should look to African slavers, who she characterized as “the beginning of the supply chain.”

Ms Fordwich concluded, “I think you’re totally right. If reparations need to be paid, we need to go right back to the beginning of that supply chain and say, ‘Who was rounding up their own people and having them handcuffed in cages. Absolutely, that’s where they should start.”

Your Town Can Become ‘Flint Town’


As cities across the United States are seeing crime rates rise due to defunding police departments, Soros prosecutors, cashless bail, decriminalizing heroin and meth, as well turning parks and sidewalks into campgrounds, there was a warning that was ignored by city governments across the United States.

Flint Town is an eight-episode documentary about policing in Flint, MI. Flint Town went from a 300-officer police department to a 98-officer police department. 98 officers have to provide 365/24 hours a day service to residents to include investigative service. This means long response wait times and no follow-up criminal investigations.

Political Violence in America


A young man of 18 was killed after a political debate became heated. The accused killer has defended himself by saying the teen was a Republican extremist.

There’s No Going Back – Ever


We can never go back to the “good old days.” That was a thought that occurred to me today, and I realized how that fact—and I believe it is a fact—defines not only how we see the world, but how we see our political reality. It colors how we see those who agree with us, and those who vehemently disagree with us. I also realized that all the Trump/Never Trump arguments are not really about Trump at all. The people who get stuck on either side of that conflict are struggling with something else entirely. And realizing that truth, with honesty and sincerity, might actually bridge the seemingly insurmountable polarization that has plagued this country, particularly the Conservatives, for years.

Think about it. There is no denying that life today is vastly different from the life we experienced, say, 20 years ago. And many people have a predisposition to living lives that are relatively predictable, familiar, and consistent. When they have occurrences that disrupt that predictability, they can feel beleaguered—life has turned upside down and has let them down in a way, so that they become confused, stressed, and even angry at the new and unanticipated outcomes. They feel betrayed and disappointed, and once they wrestle down these reactions, they are ready to go to war. They can decide to fight for what they once anticipated for their lives, demand that life return to some kind of normalcy, and rebel against those who think they should be prepared to go in a new direction. Even if that direction has some merit, they will reject it because it is not the life that they expected or desired.

I propose to you that this mindset evolves from that sense of life’s betrayal, and Donald Trump has become the scapegoat for those who reject Trump and life’s demands.

Neighborhood Constitutional


Every day, my husband and I go for a walk around our neighborhood. We’ve been walking arm and arm since I fell and sprained my ankle a couple of years ago. I imagine the people we pass think of us as a nice old couple taking their daily constitutional.

But maybe they overhear us talking about what he’s watched on Fox or what I’ve read on Ricochet and narrow their eyes and think, ENEMIES OF THE STATE!

The Ricochet Difference


Activity in a thread from a few weeks ago has prompted me to think on a lot of things about Ricochet. It seems to me that Ricochet is something special that I have not encountered anyplace before. It has been building in my mind over the weekend and I thought I would share my thoughts.

Let us get the big two out of the way up front:

Religious Liberty in the Dock


This past weekend, Yeshiva University took a dramatic step that many observers thought would never happen: it decided to suspend the operation of all undergraduate on-campus clubs indefinitely, rather than to accede to a June 2022 order from New York State Judge Lynn R. Kotler “to immediately grant plaintiff Pride Alliance the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges afforded to all other student groups at Yeshiva University.” Judge Kotler issued the order after determining that Yeshiva was not a religious corporation under applicable New York law, and was thus subject to New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL), which makes it unlawful for a business in “all places of public accommodation” to discriminate against any person because of his or her “sexual orientation.”

For its part, Yeshiva had claimed the protected status as “a religious corporation incorporated under the education law,” given that it had always organized its undergraduate institution to that end. It did so even though one of its other divisions, namely Cardozo Law School, had, as its irate faculty had noted in a recent letter to Yeshiva President Rabbi Ari Berman, long given full recognition to LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations. But for Judge Kotler the key point was not what Yeshiva does today, but what it wrote about itself in 1967 when it expanded its charter from the study of Talmud to a wide range of Jewish and secular studies. This expansion, Judge Kotler explained, qualified Yeshiva as an “educational corporation under the Education Law of the State of New York.” In effect, Yeshiva was barred by its own fifty-five-year-old declaration from claiming a protected religious status today.

But why? By any functional account, the reasons New York City (like so many other government entities) created this religious exemption was to ease the nasty conflict between forced association under antidiscrimination laws and the exercise of religious liberty, as protected by the First Amendment. That conflict remains in place no matter what the state charter says. The underlying theory is that it is appropriate to impose a nondiscrimination rule when the various suspect attributes of a given person are irrelevant to any rational decision about the performance of the protected parties under statutes like NYCHRL, but that this logic does not cover activities that fall outside the public realm—such as the practice of religious education. That theory was given voice by Justice William Brennan in Roberts v. United States Jaycees (1984), when he ordered the Jaycees, a large men’s civic organization with many branches, to admit women. But, at the same time, Justice Brennan noted that the antidiscrimination laws were displaced by the principle of free association that covered “certain intimate human relations . . . in pursuit of a wide variety of political, social, economic, educational, religious and cultural ends.”

Movie Review: See How They Run


[I’m new here, so just to let you know, my reviews do not repeat the story of the film, and they are spoiler free with occasional warnings.]

It’s not every day you get a real farce on the big screen. Lots of films have elements of farce and are quite enjoyable as a consequence. In the last year, I would say “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent” and “Free Guy” are two examples of action films that have farcical moments in them. Most Wes Anderson films also feature the concept of a light, humorous play in which the plot depends upon a skillfully exploited situation rather than upon the development of character. “See How They Run” has the advantage of actually being a film about a play, which is eventually revealed to be a sort of play in itself. That is what makes it a true farce as far as I am concerned.

The story concerns a murder that takes place during a negotiation to turn “The Mousetrap” into a movie. Those of you not familiar with the play simply need to know that it is an Agatha Christie murder mystery. It is also the longest-running play in the history of theater, starting in 1952 and still playing on the West End in London to this day. This movie is not a filmed version of the play, but rather a take off on the plot, using “The Mousetrap” as a sort of touchstone or spine for the mayhem. It mocks the machinations of old Hollywood and the manner in which filmmakers try to take material and rework it to their own vision. The real clause in the contract granting rights to a cinematic version states that such a film cannot be made until six months after the play closes in London. See how this is going to work?

10 Years of ‘Addiction Is a Choice!’


I joined Ricochet on September 22, 2012.  I was a “lurker,” dying to comment, so I took the plunge — and my comments were generally well-received. Bonus!  I had found my home. Aside from a years-ago, moderator-interrupted dustup with @bryangstephens  (“About what I have no idea“), I have loved every minute of Ricochet.

I have commented over 1,900 times; authored over 200 posts with nine going to the Main Feed; and for nigh-on three years, I have curated the essential, can’t-miss “Saturday Night Radio.” (Which accounts for most of my 200+ posts.)

I do not live on the computer, but I do live here. Ricochet is my home — and  I ain’t going nowhere!

A Good Sign


Amongst all the frightening signs of how the left has taken over our institutions, a large Texas school district is naming a new school after two fallen Marines who went to school and played football together in the district (Comal ISD).

The new elementary school will be named Farias-Spitzer Elementary after Lance Corporal John Felix Farias and Sergeant Thomas Spitzer.

With statues coming down and schools being renamed to deny our heritage, it’s nice to see that some communities still understand how to honor the best of Americans.

Why has PayPal cancelled Toby Young and the Free Speech Union?


This article is from The Spectator edition published Thursday, September 22 and is reprinted here with permission.

I thought one of the benefits of being cancelled – I lost five positions in quick succession at the beginning of 2018 – is that it immunizes you from being cancelled again. After all, what more dirt could be thrown at me? The offense archaeologists did such a thorough job four years ago, sifting through everything I’d said or written dating back to 1987, that there was nothing left to dig up. But it turns out that was naive. Last week I got cancelled again.

NTSB Recommendation: Unreasonable Search and Seizure


Ostensibly as a result of a horrible fatal head-on car crash in California, the National Traffic Safety Board is recommending a new “feature” to be installed in all new cars.  That would be an “alcohol detector,” so every car would have the kind of ignition interlock system now required by some states for convicted drunk drivers. Every driver, in every vehicle, would essentially have to take some kind of test, either by touch or breath, to make sure he or she has not been drinking.  So, without your consent, the Government would essentially live in your car, collecting data on you every time you turn on the ignition.

I can think, off the top of my head, of dozens of reasons that this would be a violation of your Fourth Amendment rights. Starting with “guilty until proven innocent” by your having to prove that you are not drunk before having use of your own property (violates due process as well as search and seizure).  The government mandating installation of any monitoring equipment in your car could lead to their being able to disable it at will (if your car is an extension of your home, might this be modern-day “quartering of troops” in your home?).  Also, the article mentions that current systems require a monthly subscription fee, so not only would you not have control of your own vehicle, you’d have to pay for the privilege of not having control!

What Does Lindsey Graham’s ‘Abortion Ban’ Accomplish?


You’ve likely seen the headlines, often wildly inaccurate, on Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) legislation to federalize abortion laws. It would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks, which some claim is when a fetus feels pain, except to save the life of the mother.

“Lindsey Graham’s national abortion ban bill makes the midterm stakes very clear,” screamed Vox, a leftist blog site. “Lindsey Graham proposes new national abortion restrictions bill,” proclaimed Axios, a fast-growing leftist news site.

Putin’s Move


Hard to say, of course, but Putin seems to be far on his back foot.  The “referendum,” partial mobilization, and lack of effective counter-counter-attack so far are the things that make me think so.  I do not believe that the referendum or the mobilization were in the works as anything but potential future things before the Ukrainian counterattack.

The laughable referendum sounds like an attempt to create the appearance of a fact on the ground, and will of course be used the same way China waves about its maps with a nine-dashed line encompassing the Vietnam Sea.  The mobilization is tricky because a full mobilization would simply advertise that suddenly Russia must go to war on a national footing just to accomplish knocking over a few counties of Ukraine.  The strategic damage to Russia of merely declaring a full mobilization seems considerable.  So “partial mobilization” it is.

You Know You’re Over the Target When . . .


Am I the only one who’s noticed how Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking even more flak than usual over his transporting migrants to Martha’s Vineyard? Why haven’t Gov. Abbott of Texas or Gov. Ducey been receiving their share of flak?

Now the illegal migrants are being represented by attorneys who claim that offers made to the migrants were fraudulent.

So what’s really going on?

This week on “The Learning Curve,” Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Niall Ferguson, the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. He is the author of 16 books, including Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe. Dr. Ferguson comments publicly for the first time on the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch, and how we should teach about Britain’s wide impact – positive and negative – on the world in her era and over the last several hundred years, from the Magna Carta to Winston Churchill. Dr. Ferguson shares findings from his most recent book, which charts the history of disasters, from the 1346–1353 Black Death to COVID; whether our handling of these catastrophes – from both public health and economic standpoints – has improved; and how we can learn from mistakes to better prepare for the future. He describes the kind of education he imparts to his own children to help ensure they have the wisdom and resilience to live in a turbulent world. The interview concludes with Dr. Ferguson reading from his latest book.

Stories of the Week: Are schools of education helping future teachers develop content expertise, or are they too focused on pedagogy and ideology? In Philadelphia, the Martin Luther King High School is the city’s first school with Black faculty for all core freshmen subjects, a step forward in the effort to ensure students can benefit from diverse role models.

Quote of the Day: Tapping into Our Own Wisdom


Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, “Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?” No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it.
— Moses, Deut. 30, 11-14

When I first read this Bible portion, I was deeply moved and encouraged. Even a novice like me, who was still getting her feet wet in the Jewish tradition, could count on exploring and understanding the Bible. A book that had always seemed unapproachable and difficult to parse was intended to be accessible! I didn’t have to be an observant Jew (although what I do observe helps me), a Hebrew or Biblical scholar. I simply had to be willing to dive deep with my Torah study friends to see what G-d wanted to teach me and desired for me to know. Grasping that truth has been very gratifying.

But in addition to realizing how I could pursue understanding the Torah, I realized that, in truth, it was a guideline for living my life, not just in a general sense, but in every moment of my life. And I don’t mean just applying the laws of Torah to my concerns and decisions, but to believe that life, in the best sense of the word, offers me the opportunity to learn and grow in so many ways.

Photo: Stella O’Malley

In this episode of Take Back Our Schools, Beth and Andrew welcome psychotherapist and author Stella O’Malley to talk about the exploding number of teenage girls with gender dysphoria. Stella shares her own difficult childhood experiences growing up thinking she should be a boy and describes her journey to a career in psychotherapy. She talks about why she thinks girls are susceptible to social contagion and the role that both schools and social media play. Stella also illustrates why so few psychologists are willing to speak out on the alarming trends of gender dysphoria affecting girls and young women but shares her own optimism that the truth will eventually win out.

Joe Biden Supporter Takes Action Against the MAGA Threat


Joe Biden warned that Republicans who want to make America great again are “a clear and present danger” to American democracy. That his political opponents represent “a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.”

His message got through. A North Dakota man has been arrested and charged with vehicular homicide after intentionally killing a teenager with his vehicle just because the teen is a Republican.

Six Days in Oregon, “Let’er Buck”


My wife and I have spent the last six days on the east side of the Cascades. We made the 235-mile trip from our home on the west side of the Cascades to get together with my university mates. We have known each other for about 50 years. We all know each other’s children, their spouses, and all the grandchildren as well.

Driving through the Columbia River Gorge and then across the rolling hills of Oregon wheat country is a great beginning for time together that included two days at the Pendleton Round-Up. The Round-Up has been celebrated for 112 years in Pendleton. A one-week party that features individuals who know how to sit a horse and a look at a different way of life in what some call flyover country.