Contributor Post Created with Sketch. On Gender Identity Ideology, Why Aren’t We Listening to the Victims?


While the latest on impeachment continues to dominate headlines, two news items should have our interest before they go the way of the 24-hour cycle.

First, there’s the new episode of “Marvel’s Hero Project”—available on Disney Plus—that celebrates a 12-year-old boy who identifies as a girl and testified before New Jersey’s legislature in favor of a bill mandating an “LBGTQ history” curriculum to be taught throughout the state’s public schools.


Stephen Miller returns for The Conservatarians’ annual Albums of the Year podcast. Stephen hosts his own podcast on Versus Media. and you can follow him on Twitter here. All 10 songs in our “Best of 2019” list are on Spotify.

The intro/outro song of the week is “Bells” by The Vacant Lots. And to listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians this year, subscribe to our Spotify playlist!


Former US Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Jim Mattis discuss the role freedom and democracy should play in our defense policy. Are American values a strategic asset and if so, how can the United States more effectively utilize our values to compete? How should we approach allies & partners who may not share our principles? To what extent should we seek to promote democratic movements and institutions abroad?


It’s our last podcast for 2019, (but evidently not the last one of the decade) and we do our best to cover the ridiculous and the sublime. For the former, we call upon the Washington Examiner’s Byron York, the leading authority on all things impeachment (you should also be listening to his podcast which this week features a fascinating interview with Devin Nunes). We get the skinny on all of the machinations, strategizing, gamesmanship, and a prediction on the longterm effects (spoiler alert: nothing). Also, do not ask Byron about the robo-calling bill Congress just passed, because he doesn’t know a damn thing about it. OK?

Then, a total gear shift as we are joined by Joseph (or if you are friends with him, Jody) Bottum, the author, poet, and all around oracle on all things Christmas (visit his Amazon page and buy a few of his stories, won’t you?). Needless to say, it’s a much deeper and spiritual conversation than the one in the first half of the show.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The State of Play


Merry Christmas!

Oh, nice. You and Gorsuch.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Of Whores and Dogs


Is this title Clickbait? That would be a neat historical twist:

You shall not bring the wages of a harlot or the price of a dog to the house of the LORD your God for any vowed offering, for both of these are an abomination to the LORD your God. (Deut. 23:18)


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Yeah, I Know. I’m Not That Happy About It Either.


Trump Yard SignI was having breakfast with a friend this morning. He’d never heard of Kevin Clinesmith. “You never heard of Kevin Clinesmith?” … No. “The FBI lawyer in the Horowitz report?” … No. “The guy who doctored the email?” … No. I never heard anything about that.

My friend is not a dumb guy. He’s well educated. He has a professional degree. He listens to the news. He’d never heard of Kevin Clinesmith or anything about the FBI falsifying information for the FISA warrant on Carter Page.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Bring ’em Back to Finish the Job


Pelosi jammed through her Articles of Impeachment on a party-line vote, then promptly cut everyone loose for Christmas break. She also threatened to not send the Articles to the Senate. Trump ought to call them back into session to finish the job. No vacay ’til you finish your work…

Constitution says so, in Article 2, Section 3. Doesn’t Impeachment constitute an “extraordinary occasion”?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Don’t Blame the Men, Ladies; Blame the Feminists


This makes me want to cry!

The Wing was supposed to be the ultimate sanctuary for women: decidedly feminine in design, with walls and furniture in shades of millennial pink and a thermometer set at a women’s-clothing-friendly 72 degrees. Conference rooms and telephone booths are named after feminist icons like Anita Hill and fictional literary heroines such as Hermione Granger of “Harry Potter” fame. It offers perks that other co-working spaces can’t match — showers stocked with high-end beauty products and events featuring big names such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Actors on Actors: Learn to Like ’em


Variety has a series on YouTube where they pair actors and have them interview each other. It’s good viewing and the results are sometimes surprising. It does one other thing, I think: shines a light on their professionalism and how serious they are about what they do.

More often than not we view Hollywood with disdain, and it is certainly true that few of the people in these videos would feel politically at home here. None of this is about politics, it’s entertainment; or to them, it’s about craft and art. I enjoyed seeing their commitment to the work.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The FISA Court Finally Speaks


The FISA Court has issued an order in response to being deceived by the FBI, and they have rebuked the FBI for misleading them. That’s nice. I guess that makes it a tad more difficult for Schiff, Comey, et al., to lie about what the FBI did.

THEREFORE, the Court ORDERS that the government shall, no later than January 10, 2020, inform the Court in a sworn written submission of what it has done, and plans to do, to ensure that the statement of facts in each FBI application accurately and completely reflects information possessed by the FBI that is material to any issue presented by the application.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Wokism Cannot Make a Thing Like Christmas


“Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.” – Hamlet, Act 2, scene ii


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Queen’s Speech


Cat and Canary
Her Majesty opened the post-election Parliament Thursday morning. On the procession from the Commons to the Lords, Mr. Corbyn and the PM had nary a word to say to each other. But the look on the PM’s face was one of the cat who devoured the canary.

The speech, which is written for the Queen by the majority, dealt mostly with Brexit and the problems of the NHS, which throughout the campaign was alternately described as the “best in the world” and an abomination — often by the same people and in the same sentence. A vote on the government’s Brexit bill, which would rule out an extension and set a final divorce date, is expected to come as early as tomorrow.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Deemed Presented’


There is a lot of discussion about Nancy Pelosi holding up presentment of the Articles of Impeachment as a tactic to …..whatever it is that it “stops.” The Constitution is pretty clear that the House gets to propose and the Senate gets to dispose. It was also made clear that the Senate is both judge and jury in its proceeding to “try” the House indictment.

So, how does the Senate keep from being held hostage by the House? Simply pass a rule that having taken “judicial notice” of the adoption by the House of two Articles of Impeachment on December 18, 2019, which matter was publicly witnessed by the nation at large. The Articles shall be “deemed presented” to the Senate whether or not Her Majesty, Queen Nancy, deigns to formally present it. The Senate will then proceed to calendar it and try the matter per its own rules.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Talking With Our Enemies


Some years ago, a friend of my family named Jerry Parr died. No, it was not Secret Service agent Jerry Parr who helped save Ronald Reagan’s life after an assassination attempt. The Jerry I knew was a Houston painter who had lost his sight and became friends with my father, who visited weekly to read books aloud and to chat.

Jerry had worked in sign painting prior to his blindness. Privately, he exercised great creative talent. Shortly before he died, he gifted this print of one of his paintings to my dad.


Mitch Daniels is the president of Purdue University. Before his current job, he had many others. He was governor of Indiana, for instance. And White House budget director. Before those two jobs, he was chief political adviser to President Reagan. In his office at Purdue, Daniels talks with Jay about higher ed, the federal government, and more. At the end, Jay pumps Daniels for a Reagan story or two – and Daniels comes through with flying colors.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Impeachment as Congressional Contempt of the Constitution


The Framers did not intend the impeachment power to give Congress supremacy, in the form of being able to harass and paralyze the Courts or the president over policy differences, let alone raw political will. Nevertheless, Congress has acted, almost from the beginning, with selective contempt for the Constitution, both legislatively and in its employment of the impeachment power. There is really nothing new under the sun, including what the current majority party in the House of Representatives is doing…and it is still contemptuous of the Constitution.

Take a step back from the current tempest in the Congressional teapot and consider the facts laid out in 1992 by Chief Justice William Rehnquist in Grand Inquests: the Historic Impeachments of Justice Samuel Chase and President Andrew Johnson. The Chief Justice published this very approachable book the year that William Jefferson Clinton beat President Bush the First. Taking his book as a guide to the subject and the actors, some focused searching on the internet yields plenty of historical data and documents. Consider just the first major impeachment, along with a prelude, at the dawn of the 19th Century.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump Writes a Pretty Good Letter


Trump’s letter to Pelosi is not without some excessive rhetoric, but at the end of the day, it’s a pretty good summary of the state of affairs. I’d guess someone else actually wrote it, as it is pretty coherent and well organized. But you can pretty much tell where Trump added a few flourishes of his own. I like the closing paragraphs the best:

It is time for you and the highly partisan Democrats in Congress to immediately cease this impeachment fantasy and get back to work for the American People. While I have no expectation that you will do so, I write this letter to you for the purpose of history and to put my thoughts on a permanent and indelible record.


On October 4, 2019, the Gray Center co-hosted “The Administration of Democracy⏤The George Mason Law Review’s Second Annual Symposium on Administrative Law.” For the second annual symposium, scholars wrote papers on such fundamental questions as: Is nonpartisan campaign-finance regulation possible? Who should draw electoral maps—and how? How can we best protect voting rights? How should the census be administered? How do we preserve the regulatory process’s democratic legitimacy? And, are members of Congress entitled to see the President’s tax returns? These papers are forthcoming in the George Mason Law Review. In addition, the event featured a Keynote Conversation with two former public servants with deep expertise in both governance and campaigns: Robert Bauer, former White House Counsel to President Obama, and Donald McGahn, former White House Counsel to President Trump.

The keynote conversation featured Bauer, now at NYU Law School, and McGahn, currently a Partner at Jones Day, discussing the current state of political campaigns and elections, and whether reforms are needed. This session was moderated by the Gray Center’s Executive Director, Adam White. The video is available at


Dave pulls out all the stops on this Christmas edition, which includes a remarkable interview with Peter Robinson wherein he discusses everything from how he met William F. Buckley Jr. and came to work as a Special Assistant to President Reagan, to what Christmas is like in the Robinson household (spoiler alert — it includes Peter singing tenor). Rob Long called in with a very poignant Christmas greeting, followed by Dave settling in for a memorable conversation with a fellow retired military veteran and dear friend, Bob Lee, whom Dave has known for some 32 years now. Oh yes, and Alphonse Fontenot makes an appearance to tell The Cajun Night Before Christmas. You may be laughing one moment and getting a lump in your throat the next, but we guarantee you’ll enjoy every single minute of this show.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Dead Will Be Remembered


He woke up wondering whose dream he had dreamed of. Whose memory was the dream based on? And as he wondered every morning, who was he who dreamed the dreams of others?

In the last dream of the night, he had lived in India in a small town, larger than a village, but not one of the great cities. The details came back to him: his name in the dream, where he had lived, what he had done. He had been an educated man and knew geography, being able to point to his town on a map.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Reflections on the End of the Semester


The college semester is over. The tests and labs are marked, and the grades have been posted. A cat threw up on the Astronomy lab reports, possibly a critique of the work. Now my wife and I, who are both physics professors, can relax…and immediately start work on our research presentations for the astronomy conference coming up right after Christmas.

In the meantime, we’re scrambling to write Christmas cards, order gifts, and put up the tree. The last half of a semester sees the paperwork pile up (literally, in my case; there are several piles of it on the dining room floor, and I have moved my work to the dining table because there’s no more room for it on my desk), so we’re behind on everything.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Illinois Faces a ‘Red Menace’ Made of Ink


The Chicago Tribune has published the story of a family trying to obtain services for their autistic son. He “aged out” of Illinois’ special education system when he turned 22 and was put on the State’s “Prioritization for Urgency of Need for Services” (PUNS) list, a waitlist for disabilities services administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). From the story:

“Nick is among nearly 20,000 people with developmental disabilities in Illinois who are on a waiting list to get into adult programs. Many of them come from families who don’t have a way to pay for home care, job coaches or other services.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. This Is What Happens When You Dumb-Down Your Base


The only time Democrats get any scrutiny from the media is when there is a primary battle. Adversaries of Democrats, Republicans and others like myself, relish these times. Schadenfreude abounds as we watch the in-fighting and displays of hypocrisy.

However, the corporatist media has been consolidating for over the last two decades, and they are careful to avoid damaging real contenders; at least the ones who don’t threaten them directly (Tulsi Gabbard). Contenders in the center lane, the ones who will maintain the statist quo (sick), will be given plenty of leeway.