What a Lovely Day: I’m Being Discharged from the Hospital!


Today has been a great day. To recap, I had COVID starting 17 days ago so I am not contagious anymore. Yesterday, I was in a hurry to get to the Courthouse. I was dehydrated. I was wearing a mask outdoors which limited my oxygen. The sidewalk to the Courthouse is on an incline, and then there are six steps. Flagstaff sits at 7,000 feet. I was winded and a bit unsteady. I was declined admission to the Courthouse based on their guidelines. Grr. I left to hurry back to the office.

Ninety seconds later I returned to consciousness. I had slipped/tripped down the stairs, landing on my back on cement. There was a pool of blood under my head. I had been out for 60 of those 90 seconds and I have no memory of the 30 seconds of walking through two sets of doors, and starting down the stairs. The EMT was called. I could not sit up on my own, let alone stand. I was taken by ambulance to Flagstaff Medical Center. My head CT scan showed no brain bleed. My chest CT scan showed COVID in my lungs. Because I had lost consciousness, the Doctor said that that tipped the scale for an admission, and I agreed.

Welcome to SomethingBurger!


Hey Ricochet friends,

My podcast has officially joined the Ricochet Audio Network. I know what you are thinking: “Mikayla, what is a SomethingBurger?” Great question.

I totally made it up. It’s a play off the phrase “nothing burger” which is journalism lingo for when a story ends up going nowhere. Likely, it is “news” with a lot of hype and no follow-through. Think Russian collusion. A SomethingBurger, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. A SomethingBurger is a story that actually matters.

Fighting Mask Mandates, and Winning


The school board decided to keep things as parent’s choice. So, success!

The nature of the meeting was that we didn’t have much opportunity to interact with one another, but emotions being high, that was likely a good thing.

Colonel Dean Rondeau (Ret.-U.S. Army) joins the show. Rondeau’s Army career spanned 38 years (17 active duty, 21 Reserve/National guard), and included multiple international deployments to Panama, the Balkans and 2 deployments to Iraq (OIF). Rondeau’s unique career saw him enter the Army as it was transitioning from the Vietnam era, and retire well into the Global War on Terror.

Multilingual, Rondeau served as an Intelligence Officer, Civil Affairs, Airborne, Infantry and more. This was a fascinating, wide ranging discussion and Rondeau’s insights on leadership, the lessons of history, granular details of Iraqi society and culture, warfare and much more are thought-provoking and refreshingly direct.

Desert Rains


DesertRainThis evening, God picked up the blue bowl of the desert sky and gently set it upside down, the pale orange inside glowing faintly overhead. Rain drizzled gently, steadily from the pale orange bowl high overhead.

The rain moved quietly across the desert valley floor. No great gusts of wind, bright flashes of lightening, or cracks of thunder heralded the soft rain, that gently settled the dust and soaked slowly into the hard-packed desert floor, gradually forming puddles just deep enough to dampen a walker’s sneaker-clad feet. Mind you, the wise desert dwellers deployed a compact umbrella or donned a rain-resistant poncho, and kept a weather eye out for drivers peering through windshields poorly cleared by seldom used wipers in poor repair. What a perfect evening for soaking in the scent and sound of gentle desert rains.

Fear, Anger, and Blame


I work at a very small office, a total of six employees, of which only three regularly come in.  One of my coworkers just got a breakthrough case of Covid, has a 102°F fever, is quarantining at home. Our former owner, retired twice, still works, and is a Karen about masks. He is aware that I am a huge Trump fan, disdain the wearing of masks, and that I am a skeptic on manmade global warming. He has a granddaughter, now almost three, who was a 22-week premie. She was scheduled for surgery yesterday to correct some leg development issues.

We received an email this AM informing the employees about the coworker who got the ‘vid. The former owner responded with this:

Activist AGs Join Forces to Fight the Feds


For those who fear that no one is fighting to protect our rights, I have great news for you: our Attorneys General are fighting the good fight:

The prominence of coordinated multistate lawsuits to challenge federal policy is a relatively recent phenomenon. While states have a long history of suing the federal government, these were typically single-state efforts claiming specific harm to that state. Now, partisan coalitions of AGs have used multistate lawsuits as a way to both block federal policies and to prompt national action.

The AGs finally figured out there is strength in numbers and there are at least 18 lawsuits pending against the Biden Administration. At least ten of them have multiple states suing the government. Since we are only seven months into Biden’s term, rulings are still pending. But I am hopeful that at least some government bureaucrats are challenging the unlawful, dangerous, and outrageous actions of the feds.

The Great Texas Abortion Law Freak Out


By now, those of you who are paying even a smidgen of attention to the news are aware that legislation titled the Texas Heartbeat Act (S.B. No. 8) went into effect yesterday.  The law prohibits a physician from performing an abortion, absent a medical emergency, “if the physician detected a fetal heartbeat for the unborn child.”  This occurs at about six weeks from conception.   Of most interest is the fact that the law–unlike some other state attempts–does not permit state officers to enforce it.  In a rather unique piece of draftsmanship, it permits a private party to sue in state court against anyone who violates the law or aids and abets in the violation.  If the plaintiff is successful, they are entitled to injunctive relief, attorney’s fees, and at least $10,000 in damages.

There is a somewhat complex procedural history leading up to yesterday’s Supreme Court action which I’m not going to track here.  The bottom line is that, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court denied abortion providers’ request for an emergency injunction preventing the law from going into effect.  This is not a decision “on the merits”–on the ultimate constitutionality of the law, but only a determination that the defendants in the suit–Texas officials (including the Attorney General) and a citizen activist–were not attempting to enforce the law, so there was (among other things) no “case or controversy” to be resolved.  That is, or should have been, a fairly simple resolution.  But not so fast.  It’s abortion.

USMC Commandant Berger: Is This a Crack in the Dam, Or is it Just More Fluff?


I just spent an hour watching the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps in a presentation sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in which General David H. Berger chats with Seth Jones of the SCIS and discusses “the current state of the Marine Corps, future demands, and the implications on force posture and force design.”  Along the way, they find time to talk a little about the recent events in Afghanistan, which is what prompted this post.

Quote of the Day: When Can Christians Disobey the Government?


Awhile back I posted my own intro to “An unjust law is no law at all” from Aquinas and Augustine. In the relevant passage of the Summa Theologiae, Aquinas gives some guidelines on resisting unjust governmental decrees. There’s probably a lot more somewhere else in Aquinas, but do I look like I have that kind of time?

Fortunately, a blog called Protestant Post had the time to put together a solid analysis of the question “When Can Christians Disobey the Government?”  The methodology of reasoning inductively from the Bible looks good to me, and I didn’t notice anything in the conclusions that seemed off.  (Well, maybe one thing, but it seems relatively minor.)

Fighting Mask Mandates


The following is a prepared presentation to my kid’s school board concerning mask mandates. It is scheduled for 8:30 am and is a last-minute meeting where few parents were informed. Pray for our kids and that the board members make a wise decision.

My name is Stina. I have three children in the Florida Public School system. We have been here for a year, having moved from A Big City. I understand the Big City Public Schools has re-instated mandatory masking for all students and this school board may be feeling pressure to act in accord with the larger metro school board to our south, but I encourage you to resist doing things like Big City Public Schools. We moved here, like a great many other parents in our area, because Florida Public Schools has better schools. You don’t want to be like Big City Schools. Their schools aren’t as good. If any parents prefer how Big City Schools is handling their school system, I invite them to move across the county line. The real estate is cheaper.

Binary Choices And Blame


The debacle of the Biden bug-out from Afghanistan has had a profound impact on Americans. There are contortionists across the political spectrum whose fingers must be double-jointed as they point to blame, or to offer praise for the end of the so-called “Forever War”.

Let me start with the phrase “Forever War.” Historically, that is not true of our involvement in Afghanistan. The Apache Wars in the American West lasted for 37 years. Although major hostilities ended in 1886, minor skirmishes continued until 1924.

Not Exactly Dunkirk


I’m sentimental about a lot of things I probably shouldn’t be sentimental about, and World War II is one of them. I appreciate what seems, from this far remove, to be the moral clarity, shared resolve, and simple virtue of that awful global convulsion. I miss the stoicism of that era. Despite their relative impoverishment, Americans of 80 years ago lived a life in some ways richer than most of us live today.

Operation Dynamo, the “Miracle of Dunkirk” as it’s commonly known, was the heroic rescue, by a ragtag fleet of boats of every description, of more than 200,000 soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force that had been trapped by the Germans on the beaches of France. More than 100,000 allied soldiers and civilians were also rescued. They faced almost certain defeat and capture but were saved by British sailors, civilians, and military alike, who mobilized hundreds of vessels, down to small fishing boats, to cross the English Channel and bring the men home.

Nathan Mech, program outreach project manager here at the Acton Institute, sits down with Ali Salman, co-founder of Islam & Liberty Network, to discuss his new book, Islam & Economics.


What Drives the California Recall Election


On September 14, Californians will face a ballot issue in two parts. Part 1 is simplicity itself: “Shall Gavin Newsom be recalled (removed) from the office of governor?” If the answer is yes, what follows is a weird procedure whereby all of the qualified replacement candidates for the office will be listed, from which the candidate “receiving the highest number of votes” will fill out the remainder of the current term, which ends on January 2, 2023.

This recall procedure was put into place in 1911 as part of a progressive reform movement to circumvent the legislature and the ordinary election cycle, in order to improve the odds that an outsider could wrest control over the political processes from corrupt insiders. In a twist of fate, that recall process is now being used against an unabashed progressive for the same reason: to take control from the political branches in order to neutralize one-party rule widely seen as unresponsive to the will of the public at large. And if it fails, it is likely because all the big money is behind Newsom, whose $51 million (and counting) is more than double that of all the forces arrayed against him.

Yet the remarkable structure of the recall procedure may keep the race close. The process first makes Newsom a stand-alone target, after which the huge free-for-all among multiple candidates could permit a fringe contender to take the election with only 14 percent of first place votes. Thus, the current system does not allow ranked-order priorities (whereby second and lower choices matter), which earlier this year created so much uncertainty in New York City’s mayoral election that the (relatively) conservative Eric Adams managed to squeak by a long list of more progressive candidates. Transposed to California, the first-past-the-post system could result in the selection of Larry Elder, a staunch and controversial conservative talk-show host in a strongly blue state.

The Missing of the ‘How’


Brigadier General Julius Easton Slack at the crossing of Moselle River in November 1944.

This isn’t my usual fare, but I need to get this off my chest… I used to work as a consultant to government. To be specific, I was an implementation consultant. Under contract, I was responsible for developing an overarching implementation strategy, defining the phases for the overall effort, developing informed and detailed tactical plans for each phase, and managing the execution of the effort. I was able to do this because, over time, I had developed enough hands-on experience to see ahead and work backward, keeping uppermost in my mind the most important “critical success factors” of the effort as I developed the strategy.

To develop the best plans, I tracked down the most knowledgeable people with the strongest track records in each functional discipline, and then leveraged their expertise in preparing the approach for each phase. They were also usually the ones who led the discipline during the execution; putting experts in charge of each team.

FDA Resignations


There now appear to be a couple of casualties of the politicization of the FDA: Marion Gruber and Phil Krause, respectively the director and deputy director of the Office of Vaccines Research and Review. These gentlemen have resigned from the FDA, apparently over the political pressure for vaccine approval and use.

The particular issues appear to be Biden’s public announcement that he will be pushing boosters for everyone as of the third week in September, despite lack of FDA approval for such use (the FDA has approved the vaccine boosters for immunocompromised individuals only). Another issue appears to be the pressure on the FDA to approve vaccines for children. Also, it appears these officials objected to the CDC driving vaccine policies while infringing on FDA authority. No mention is made regarding the pressure for full FDA approval of the vaccines (superseding the EUA) which was announced about a week ago.

The CCP and the Choice Before Us


Many on this site may be familiar with the work of Bari Weiss. If not, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to give her a read or a listen. She is doing great work, and I find it incredibly encouraging to know that there are people on the Left (at least, people to the left of me and probably most of the people on this site) who can see the world clearly.

But the reason for this post, my first post on Ricochet after lurking for some eight years on this site, is to encourage everyone to listen to Part 1 and Part 2 of her podcast discussion with Josh Rogin about the threat posed to the world by the criminal enterprise that is the Chinese Communist Party. It is incredibly informative, even if you don’t agree with everything Weiss and Rogin think. This is first-class reporting on the most important issue of our time. I am sure there is a lot here that will be familiar to the members of this site, but there is so much here, I am sure everyone will find something new and informative.

This Is My Hill: Saving the War Dogs of Afghanistan Abandoned by Biden


Who does that? Who leaves animals behind to starve to death in locked cages at Bagram Air Field? To what depth of inhuman, subhuman, amoral depravity and cruelty have we finally descended to have done this to helpless (locked! in cages!) animals who were also very special American allies—they were the War Dogs of Afghanistan!

Afghanistan Military Dogs Left Behind As NonProfit ...

I am writing this as a cry from the heart— like so many of us, I have had dogs as pets (Mark, my Boxer; Fritz, my Doberman, and others) and I have been sickened to the very core of my being that those entrusted with the faithful execution of our Laws and defense of our Constitution have abandoned everything there — including their fellow Americans, American friends, and allies and those who helped us unconditionally with total dedication, day in and day out— our War Dogs.

Australia Could Happen Here


If you think that Covid restrictions have been awful in parts of the United States, try living in Australia or New Zealand. These once-free liberal democracies, so-called champions for equal and civil rights, have become home to some of the hashish covid restrictions in the world. 

Did you think a respiratory virus would cause the Australian and New Zealand governments to turn their countries into island prisons? To be honest, I never thought of New Zealand at all before 2020. 

The True 1% – Victorious for 20 Years


To the true 1%: Thank you for 20 years of no 9-11s. These veterans represent the thousands who volunteered to stand between us and those at war with America. They protected our nation and gave us peace. American servicemen – the true 1 % of our population – deserve all the credit for American resolve, tenacity, agility, and success. Our military was victorious every day for 20 years in Afghanistan. Thank you Dan Crenshaw, Jocko Willink, David Goggins, Jonny Kim, and Chris Kyle (RIP).

It’s Still All There


Forgive me. It’s late and I’ve had a whiskey, and I really shouldn’t. But.

Sunday I went up to Fargo for a funeral. It had been a while. Your sister texts you that your last aunt died, and you throw a bag in the car and head up the old road.

The fastest way to get to Fargo from Minneapolis is the interstate, a friction-free road.  You can cruise at 80 – okay, well, 79, if you want to avoid the Smokeys – and slide through the farmland. You don’t see anything but crops and tall signs for gas stations and franchise burger joints. Faster is not better. Take the old road, Highway 10. Until the interstate was built, this was the only way to get from here to there. It winds through towns with names that span high and low – Royalton, then Motley. It skirts the perimeter of some towns, drives through the downtowns of others. A few years ago the highway department decided to do Staples a favor, and run a bypass on the south side, so trucks wouldn’t always be grumbling down the main drag. In compensation, the city got state money for local road improvement, and if you pull off 10 to drive through the downtown, you see nice planters and banners and new sidewalks. But the movie theater is closed, and the paint on the sign for Lefty’s Bar is faded and peeling. You wonder if people miss the trucks and traffic. It was a sign that you were connected to the world. The bypass is only two blocks to the south. But traffic is fast and no one stops.