“Gee, I’m Really Sorry Your Mom Blew Up, Ricky”

 

Better Off Dead was released 35 years ago tomorrow, on August 23rd, 1985.

I love this movie so much! It has everything — John Cusack before he became annoying, Diane Franklin at peak cuteness, a psychotic paper boy, Curtis “Booger” Armstrong, an antagonist named Stalin, Asian drag-racing brothers who talk like Howard Cosell, a claymation hamburger performing Van Halen, an appearance by Barney Rubble, homages to Rocky, Harold & Maude, The Graduate, and several other films that I’ve probably missed.

Quote of the Day: Admiral Hyman G. Rickover

 

“One can delegate authority; one cannot delegate responsibility.” Pithy, succinct; that’s the man who’s long been called “the father of the nuclear Navy.” The Rickover quote is from a taciturn genius with a brutally effective management style and a cold, nasty streak. You could compare him with Steve Jobs; he didn’t invent the technology that he’d forever be associated with, but his incredibly strict standards made a successful final product possible. Creating an atomic submarine wasn’t a simple process.

Using the waste heat of atomic decay to power submarines was a known possibility even 15 years earlier. In fact, it was the only one of the US’s WWII atomic research programs that the Nazis found out about. There was no possibility of putting a seagoing reactor to work during that war, and the immediate political climate in the first couple of years after the war didn’t encourage expensive experiments. But by 1950, the quest for a suitable power reactor was in full swing.

America had every reason to be proud of its engineers. And of Walt Disney, who followed the real Nautilus closely with the fictional Jules Verne version on screen, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

Limits on Listening to “Scientists”

 

Ricochet’s St. Augustine has asked the interesting question as to whether there is a limit to listening to scientists as the Democrats urge us to do. The problem with the question is that Democrats have an entirely different definition of “scientist.” Their science is a special office within the Narrative with the job of (a) protecting the fiction that progressivism is an outgrowth of pure reason and not merely a tired and rather conspicuously deficient ideology and (B) hijacking the prestige that has traditionally attached to academic credentials.

“Scientists” tell us, for example, that there is no male or female or that any and all politically wrong economic activity is killing the planet. One can no longer have a job as a scientist if one does not agree that polar bears are nearing extinction, the Great Barrier Reef is dying, that sex is just a cultural artifact, or that adaptation should be considered in lieu of mitigation of climate change.

Every System Has Its Parasites

 

In his book, Up Front, WWII Stars and Stripes cartoonist Bill Mauldin recounted an incident that describes today’s United States all too well. The army had shipped just enough new combat boots and jackets to Italy for the frontline troops. Unfortunately, soldiers in the rear echelon pilfered many of the clothes before they could reach the men in the foxholes.

“I suppose,” said Mauldin, “these fellows in the rear just looked at the mountainous heap of warm combat jackets piled in a supply dump and didn’t see anything wrong with swiping a couple for themselves. After several hundred thousand men had grabbed at the heap there weren’t many new boots and jackets left.”

A New Addition to the “Black Tide Rising” Canon

 

John Ringo’s “Black Tide Rising” series posits a zombie apocalypse caused by a highly-contagious, genetically-engineered viral plague that destroys the upper brain functions and turns its victims into mindless cannibals. Ringo has since invited other authors to come and play in the highly-popular “Black Tide Rising” sandbox.

“At the End of the World,” by Charles E. Gannon is the latest entry in the “Black Tide Rising” series. It follows nine teens on a summer senior year learning cruise when the plague breaks out. Told through the journal of Alvaro Casillas, one of the teens on the cruise, it follows their course through a nightmare world aboard Crosscurrent Voyager.

Crosscurrent Voyager is on a trip from the Galapagos to South Georgia Island in the Atlantic Ocean near Antarctica. Its captain, Alan Haskins, is a silent, gaunt Englishman. All the others on Crosscurrent Voyager are similarly outcasts. They have discipline problems, or are overlooked, bullied, and ignored by their peers. They are aboard because Crosscurrent Voyager was the sole remaining adventure cruise available.

Sigh. I should have known….

 

From my online course, in the first “Discussion forum” section. Slightly edited to protect the privacy of the teacher. (I deleted her sample answers)

This will be the only discussion in which you will not be graded on how well you back up your opinions with information from our readings. Therefore, there are no right answers here. What you will be graded on is how thoroughly you try to engage, and how respectfully you respond to others. Importantly, this introduction post is optional for 1% extra credit. This will be the only extra credit opportunity offered throughout the semester and I do not bump up grades that are close to the cut off because I offer this opportunity. I would strongly advise taking advantage of this early extra credit opportunity in case you need it later to move from a 79% to a 80%, for example.

How Do You Criticize Joe Biden?

 

When Joe Biden reads the lie in his speech off the teleprompter, is he lying? Or is it his speechwriters? Does Biden know what he is saying with his obviously diminished capacity? Does he remember enough even to know the truth?

Take the “fine people” lie. Did Biden ever listen to those words in context when Trump made it clear that he was not calling the white supremacists “fine people?”

Only Republicans Practice Distancing

 

No, not physical distancing. The kind of weak-kneed, egg-shell trodding “denunciation” of non-entities like QAnon Kevin McCarthy did on Fox News. Will Republicans ever learn not to answer the “when did you stop beating your wife” question? To make a joke of it instead, as President Trump did — paraphrased: “is it a bad thing if we’re saving the world from Satanist pedophiles?”

I’m not following the QAnon controversy, just like I didn’t follow the alt-Right kerfuffle. Who the hell cares!! My God, we’re facing potential economic collapse with COVID lock-downs and the possible election of a Marxist-backed, senile, career (by which I mean corrupt) political figurehead. And, closer to home, my state is on fire and I can’t see the 14,000-foot mountain across the valley for the all the smoke, and we have multiple family hardships we’re undergoing with Elder probably being delayed a year in graduating from Hillsdale due to the limitations of remote learning, and Little Miss Anthrope starting a new chemo drug soon. QAnon? Seriously?? Next thing you know, they’ll be making up a scandal about the US Postal Service! It’s just maddening.

It’s Just Biden Being Biden

 

If you had your money on “A Former Canadian Politician” in the “Who Is Biden Going to Plagiarize In His Acceptance Speech?” office pool, cash in your chit and collect your winnings.

At a speech at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, Biden’s final address included the lines, “For love is more powerful than hate. Hope is more powerful than fear. And light is more powerful than dark.”

Mueller Proves Russian Collusion

 

I never quite understood the basic idea of the Russian collusion investigation. So Robert Mueller believed that Vladimir Putin would prefer to have a tough-guy firebrand like Donald Trump in the Oval Office, rather than an incompetent leftist like Hillary Clinton of “reset button” fame. If Putin preferred Trump over Clinton, then Putin is a fool. And Vladimir Putin is a lot of things, but he is no fool. But regardless, Robert Mueller & Co. spent years searching for absolute proof of the extremely improbable.

I would suggest that Mr. Trump should point out the Robert Mueller did indeed discover proof of Russian collusion between an American presidential campaign and Russian interests. When the Hillary Clinton campaign paid a former British spy for the Steele Dossier, which used a Russian national as its primary source, that smells like Russian interference in an American election. Paid for by one of the candidates. If Hillary Clinton was a Republican, she might already be in prison for that. So yes, Mr. Mueller did uncover proof of Russian collusion, but not the type that he was paid to find. So he ignored it.

It wouldn’t shock me if Mr. Trump pointed out these findings of Mr. Mueller’s investigation, with his usual refined, subtle style. And that style, in this particular circumstance, would be entirely appropriate. Running for president while your opponent buys Russian intelligence against you is an outrage. And Mr. Trump should feel free to express his outrage, as only he can.

The California Homeless Urban Brushfire Fire Season Begins

 
Vacant lot on residential street near Downtown Los Angeles set ablaze after homeless encampment catches fire on the night of August 19, 2020.

As the only member of my family living in California – specifically, Los Angeles – I have to deal with the common misconceptions of the state: No, one does not go up to celebrities and start talking to them, even just to say how much one likes their work. No, locals generally don’t go to Hollywood; it’s an overpriced, touristy hellscape of traffic with no parking. And no, even if one does go to the beach (many don’t – that hellscape of traffic with no parking thing again), people only swim on the hottest days because the ocean here is icy cold.

Republicans Are Stupid

 

Last year, Democrat Senator Mazie Hirono said, “…we Democrats have a really hard time is connecting to people’s hearts.… But we have a really hard time doing that and one of the reasons it was told to me at one of our retreats was that we Democrats know so much, that is true. And we have kind of have to tell everyone how smart we are and so we have a tendency to be very left-brain.… That is not how people make decisions.”

So while Republicans don’t believe in science, the Democrats are the party of pure logic and reason, and they struggle to understand how the common people use emotions to make irrational decisions. Democrats consider themselves to be the party of intellect.

When Democrats hired an elderly Robert Mueller to investigate the President, it became obvious that Mr. Mueller was confused about the entire proceeding, and he didn’t understand what was in the report that bore his name. Then, they use an autistic teenager to explain climate science to us, and a Florida schoolchild with a learning disability to explain the social impact of gun control legislation. Democrat Congressman Hank Johnson expressed concern that Guam might capsize if development made it too top-heavy. And then was re-elected by intellectual Democrats. You might ask the Democrat presidential nominee why they keep using people with limited mental faculties to promote their agenda, but he doesn’t seem to know where he is. He’ll just get confused by your question, and call you a dog-faced pony soldier.

Quin Hillyer is a veteran political writer who has stuck several toes in politics himself. He was a page at the 1980 Republican National Convention. He was around for a very big scoop. He later worked for Louisiana congressman Bob Livingston. He was part of the effort to block the ascension of David Duke. He went to Georgetown University, where one of his teachers was Jeane Kirkpatrick.

Quin and Jay talk of many things – starting with New Orleans, where Quin grew up (and which Jay loves, and knows a little). They talk about political ideas. They talk about Confederate monuments, a sore, delicate, and important subject. Finally, they talk about one of their favorite people in sports, and one of their favorite people on earth: Jack Nicklaus.

Every Election and Every Office Matters: Energy Edition

 

Solar scam corporation commissionEvery election and every office matters. Every American eligible to vote knows this now. We have all been affected by the decisions, the proclamations, of officials from city hall to federal agencies we hardly knew. Pay attention to signs and statements, from local campaign signs to the national party platforms. Consider the case of energy policy, with the examples of California, Arizona, and the Democrats’ national platform. California’s blackouts illuminate the stakes for all of us.

California

California is the largest and most advanced environmental leftist experiment among the fifty “laboratories of democracy.” They have starved their own residents of both water and power, steadfastly blocking new power generation and water storage, while shutting down disfavored power plants like they send millions of gallons of water flowing past parched farmland into the sea. Governor Newsom is entirely unrepentant, along with the Democrat super-majority in the state legislature, avoiding blame for California blackouts.

When They Want What They Can’t Have

 

It’s inevitable that during our lifetimes, we will wish that we had certain things that we don’t have. There are times we can work towards having those things; my husband and I often tease each other that someday the person who really owns our house will come and take it back. (We would never have dreamed of owning a house like ours, and are sometimes still awestruck at living in one.) We’ve worked hard for what we have and often acknowledge how blessed we are.

At other times, any of us can find ourselves wishing for things that we find impossible to attain: to be tall and slim (when we are short and stocky); to hate ice cream (so that we’ll less tempted to eat it); to have a great singing voice or be a great actor (when we have no talent). We can certainly work toward improving all those areas of our lives: we can wear clothes that make us look slim and accept maintaining a reasonable weight instead of having a model’s figure; we can find other ways to satisfy our sweet tooth besides eating ice cream; and we can take singing or acting lessons. Several years ago, I was trying to improve my skills in leading our community in chanting, mainly to manage my breathing, and took voice lessons; I found out that I not only had a nice voice but a large range! But I will never be a singer.

That’s where the real problem emerges for some people. They never identify those areas where they have the potential to grow, and give up before they even start. Or they keep running into brick walls, trying to achieve something that is not in their skill set. (If I want to do acrobatics and be the base support for a human pyramid, I will be sadly disappointed or die in the process.)

Rethinking Extracurricular Activities

 

I think it’s time to reconsider how extracurricular activities are handled by the school systems that support them. My half-baked idea is that we should decouple things like sports and music from the schools and turn them into clubs that would accept anyone from anywhere. And I think it could be done from top to bottom, including the college system.

The COVID pandemic has radically disrupted the education establishment in America. Parents are questioning the old model and are looking for new ways to get their kids educated. Sports and music are important ways to educate kids too, but there’s no reason why they must be associated with a particular school district or university.

Peaceful Protests for Thee, But Not for Me

 

Chicago Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, has banned protesters from demonstrating on the block on which she and her family live. In defending her order, Lightfoot cited unspecified threats that she receives daily, and stated:

I think that residents of this city, understanding the nature of the threats that we are receiving on a daily basis, on a daily basis, understand I have a right to make sure that my home is secure.

This week, Joe Biden accepts the Democratic nomination and we devote all of the opening segment to the just ended Democratic Convention. Then, this may sound a bit inside baseball (inside Ivy League baseball), but stick with it, because it has implications for cancel culture, affirmative action, and a host of other issues that stem from the way higher education is conducted in the U.S. We’re joined by Ambassador Victor Ashe, who is running for a seat on the Yale Corporation, the tightly controlled and opaque governing body that runs Yale University. The policies they institute have wide ranging implications for schools and for our culture at large. Then, WSJ columnist Gerald Baker joins us to discuss some of the topics he’s been writing about including defunding the police, the protests, and the Presidential election. We’ve got Ricochet member @jennastocker as this week’s LPoW winner for her post Minneapolis Isn’t Lost – Yet — we wonder why? Finally, some thoughts on Steve Bannon and the prospect of life returning to normal.

Music from this week’s show: the last great american dynasty by Taylor Swift

What Would John Adams Think of Us Now?

 

At the age of 32, Kathy Hoffman was elected Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. Hoffman oversees Arizona’s public school system and directs the state Department of Education’s 565 employees at offices in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff. The picture of her swearing-in ceremony caught my eye, so I looked it up. She refused to be sworn in on a Bible, and instead selected a children’s book called, “Too Many Moose!” by Lisa Bakos. Ms. Hoffman is a Democrat who grew up in Portland, so her distaste for the Bible is not exactly shocking.

But I wonder what her oath means, in this case? Suppose she acts beyond the powers of her office. Would the judge say, “Ms. Hoffman, I’ll remind you, before we go any further, that you swore on “Too Many Moose!” to uphold the Constitution, so help you Moose.” I guess it’s supposed to be funny, but if Donald Trump had taken his oath of office on a manual for a Remington 870, would that have been funny? Radicals view themselves as above our social and political customs but seek high political office in our society. They obviously will not feel restrained by ethics and laws which they openly disdain. They’ll do whatever they want because no one has ever stopped them from doing so. “Sure! Pick any book you like! Whatever!

The Bible and our Constitution cannot protect us from tyranny if they are simply ignored.

With the Worst Economy Since the ’30s, How About the Biggest Productivity Boom Since the ’30s?

 

On CNBC’s “Squawk Box” program yesterday, White House economist Joe Lavorgna assured viewers that a v-shaped recovery was still on track, then added this interesting tidbit: “And the sad thing is before this pandemic contraction hit, underlying productivity growth had been accelerating upwards of two percent, and that may not seem like a lot, but I believe we were on track for a 3 percent plus economy this year absent the virus.”

Now back in February, the Trump White House released a pretty bullish economic forecast. With this caveat included — “assuming full implementation of the Administration’s economic policy agenda” — it projected real US economic output to grow at an average annual rate of 2.9 percent through 2030. In contrast, both the Congressional Budget Office and Fed are looking for growth below 2 percent — 1.7 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.

Rob Long and John Podhoretz man the good ship GLoP themselves this week (Jonah will return for next week’s show) as Rob confesses he did not actually know the etymology of the word (OK, it’s not actually a word) GLoP. He also tells a story about that time at French wedding, the punchline of which is not to be missed. Then, a discussion of Blazing Saddles, a French author who would have been mercilessly teased in grade school, the trials and tribulations of Steve Bannon, what it’s like to talk to really rich guys, and of course….LIZA. With A Z.

Update: As some of you pointed out in the comments, we had a technical error with the version of this show posted earlier today. OK, it wasn’t technical — it was a stupid mistake made very late last night after a very long day. Regardless, we regret the error and it has now been fixed. To get the new version, delete the one on your device and re-download this episode. It’s worth it — we promise.