Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Child Finds Out About Santa Claus


My ten-year-old son figured it out this week. The Easter Bunny too. At our house, we do family Christmas presents on Christmas Eve, then Santa delivers overnight. And on Easter Sunday, the Easter Bunny hides a basket for each kid. That Bunny is sneaky too – I think last Easter it took about 30 minutes of looking before one of the kids found theirs.

He’s been suspicious for a while, but we’ve held him off by saying, “C’mon, do you really think Dad would spend that much on Christmas presents?” – which is a pretty convincing argument in our house.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Working Up a Playlist for Social Distancing and Self-Quarantine


Just to be helpful, and because there was white space in the monthly theme calendar, I give you my first cut at the Social Distancing and Self Quarantine Playlist.

Let’s start off nice and easy, with a tune from those quintessential boys of summer:


This week on the pioneering social distanced produced podcast (we are all at least several hundred miles apart), we of course talk about the virus that went viral. And fair warning: there is some criticism of the President in this show. We also call on our old friend, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, who in an alternate universe, is probably enjoying his second term as President of the United States. P.S. you should read Andy Ferguson’s terrific profile of him in The Atlantic.We talk to him about the virus (natch), how he’s keeping tuition at Purdue under $10K, and the challenges of running a large community in this day and age. Then, the 4th Ricochet Podcaster (as he’s now known), John Yoo stops by to talk about the legalities of governments taking over hotels and medical facilities to treat coronavirus patients. Finally, more talk about life in the Age of Corona and James gives some tips on buying toilet paper.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Closing of the American Mind


“In looking at [a teen-ager leaving home for the first time] we are forced to reflect on what he should learn if he is to be called educated; we must speculate on what the human potential to be fulfilled is. In the specialties we can avoid such speculation, and the avoidance of them is one of specialization’s charms. But here it is a simple duty. What are we to teach this person? The answer may not be evident, but to attempt to answer the question is already to philosophize and to begin to educate….

“The University has to stand for something. The practical effects of unwillingness to think positively about the contents of a liberal education are, on the one hand, to ensure that all the vulgarities of the world outside the university will flourish within it, and, on the other, to impose a much harsher and more illiberal necessity on the student– the one given by the imperial and imperious demands of the specialized disciplines unfiltered by unifying thought….


Every other faculty lounge in America may be closed, but Professors Epstein and Yoo are still showing up to work. On this episode: what are the legal ramifications of the coronavirus? Can Catholic charities be excluded from providing adoption services because of their refusal to place children with same-sex couples? Is there any hope for President Trump’s libel lawsuits against the New York Times and Washington Post? Is encouraging an illegal immigrant to stay in the country a crime? Is the Supreme Court about to make a game-changing decision on abortion? And is getting hit by a foul ball about to be grounds for a lawsuit? All that plus the professors struggle with virtual classes, dish on tell-all books, and continue their annual tradition of making the nation’s most unreliable World Series predictions.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Governor Cuomo Calls Out the Guard: President Trump Should Alert Federal Forces


On Tuesday, March 10, Governor Cuomo called out the Guard to combat coronavirus. He did so to provide skilled manpower to disinfect public areas and to deliver meals to people who have been quarantined in their homes in the New Rochelle hot spot.

The deployment comes as experts debate how long the virus can live on solid surfaces, Cuomo said.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If You’re a Cop You Have to Tell Me


An inability to reliably sleep has made me very familiar with late-night television. Most of it is junk, but I’ve kinda gotten into the true crime genre. I like reading mysteries but when you’re trying to fall asleep you don’t want to ward off the urge for slumber by noting that the chapter you are reading only has seven more pages. I end up fending off sleeping to find a good bookmark point. I can fall asleep mid-“Forensic Files” and not think twice about it. Insomnia’s best friend is a good book. I’ll take the idiot box.

I’ve recently developed an affinity for a show called “Homicide Hunter.” It streams on Discovery ID and there are a lot of episodes so it’s an easy and, at this point reflexive, effort to tune in in the wee hours. The host or star is a fellow from Colorado Springs named Lt. Joe Kenda. He’s pleasant to listen to, kind of what I would imagine Jay Nordlinger to be like if he was jaundiced by spending his days dealing with crime scenes, dead bodies, and people who make all manner of horrid decisions.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Goldilocks Virus? Potentially Some Good News


A study by researchers at the University of Maryland (which appears to still be under review, for what it’s worth) offers some insights into the coronavirus which, if accurate, are comforting. The theory also explains so much of the seemingly bizarre behavior of the virus — how the once-reassuring down-slope of the bell curve of daily deaths suddenly turned upward, and how C-19 flares up so horribly in certain spots, like north Italy and north Iran now, and Wuhan earlier, while never taking off in areas in the Northern Hemisphere which appear equally vulnerable to a flu-like bug. Please read the study yourself because I don’t want to misrepresent it, especially since it appears not to have been formally released yet, but here’s my own crude synopsis to spark your interest:

The virus truly thrives, it seems, only in locations which remain over a long stretch of time at lower humidity and within a tight temperature range ( 39F-52F), and without ever dropping below zero. Fortunately, it’s relatively rare for single locations to remain consistently within such a “just right” zone for a long enough duration (six weeks or so) for the virus to really burrow in, let alone locations which also happen to contain high-population centers. But Milan has. Qom too. And, of course, C-19’s birthplace, Wuhan, until it warmed a bit and the virus dissipated (No, the dissipation wasn’t due to the draconian interventions of the government, at least not primarily). Accordingly, so the theory goes, the most vulnerable spot in the U.S. for the last month has been Seattle, and sure enough, that’s where all our action has been.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 52: COVID-19 Pandemic


It’s official now according to everyone: we are in a pandemic. The President has added the Schengen Area within the European Union to the existing travel restrictions from China, Italy and Iran. Organizations are canceling conferences, tournaments and group events that were schedule over the next couple of months. Social distancing is starting to be a thing. Tele-video is becoming a thing from healthcare systems, schools, and anyone else with the capability. The person manning the cash register at the pharmacy today was wearing nitrile gloves. I have nitrile gloves in the car truck for wearing when pumping gas.


This week on the mighty GLoP podcast the guys take everything with an abundance of caution and taped our show without a studio audience (which is what we do 97% of the time anyway) and riff on the current state of the COVID-19 situation, the way Trump and his Administration is handling it and what it all means down the road.

All that and a special rendition of one of our favorites, Baby Got Back.


The political force of nature that is Joe Biden hit land again Tuesday, and with six wins in seven states he effectively clinched the Democratic nomination. This week’s Horse Race look at two states that look likely to continue Joe’s winning streak next Tuesday, Ohio and Florida, with the Columbus Dispatch’s Darrel Rowland and POLITICO’s Marc Caputo. We also look ahead to the general election and dissect the coronavirus’ potential impact with Jeremy Peters of the New York Times. All this and the Ad of the Week, too – only on The Horse Race.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hot-Take Media Incapable of Covering Coronavirus


The latest tax cut “would kill 10,000 people annually.” Net Neutrality was going to “end the internet as we know it.” False charges of Russian collusion were promoted with daily cable news “blockbusters” that it was “the beginning of the end” and the “walls were closing in.”

Our hot-take media survives on internet clicks and 15-minute windows of TV viewership. The easiest way to play that game is to present everything as a crisis. A slow news week doesn’t slow down the “breaking news” crawl warning of the latest way the world will end. Climate change, a local election, and that joke the comedian told on Netflix doom our society and you need to keep watching to find out how long we have left.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What? You Want to Live Forever?


If you die within the next six months, it will not be from the Coronavirus. Caveats for septuagenarians with pre-existing respiratory problems and/or compromised immune systems.

I cannot top @cliffordbrown or @rodin at racking and stacking the statistics and infection data about this virus. Instead, I find the all-American freak-out worth remarking on. One can hardly blame the Great American Public for its trepidation. The reporting by our junk-bond, partisan, hysterical press is one more piece of evidence for the contention that we have a garbage media. I understand that “if it bleeds, it leads,” but the hair-on-fire, doomsday plague reportage impedes our citizens’ ability to perform a decent assessment of the situation.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Vow to Never Work!


Don’t misunderstand. I spent a lot of years working hard, starting at age 16: I was a counter girl at a dry-cleaning shop. Later, I worked as a teller in a bank, then in new accounts, then a new accounts supervisor, and finally, a true triumph, assistant bank manager. (It was actually a savings and loan, but does anyone remember those?) Anyway, they were all ok jobs, barely paying the bills.

Then I worked hard at getting my degrees; my B.A. was a little delayed and then an M.A., which I mainly got because I needed the credibility for the work I wanted to do. But I actually very much enjoyed the learning process and became a consultant for 20 years.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Drugs That Work on Corona


Recent information from China (from here) suggested that drugs for rheumatoid arthritis worked a treat on the virus. People on death’s door got up and walked away a few days later. China’s willing to experiment on people. The theory was that the primary danger isn’t the virus, but the response. [Supporting data here, here, and here.]

(I’ll bet you haven’t heard that anywhere.)


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Are We Overreacting to Coronavirus?


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that since 2010, at least 12,000 Americans have died annually from influenza. In 2017-18, the worst year, 45 million were stricken with the disease, 810,000 required hospitalization and 61,000 died.

Yet life in the republic went on. The economy didn’t crater. Major events weren’t canceled, travelers traveled. Media outlets reported the numbers but didn’t wig out over them. Around half of Americans didn’t bother to take the vaccine.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Coronavirus: What Should You Think?


What you should think about the coronavirus depends, of course, on your chief concern.

If, for example, like the prognosticators in the financial press, you have your eye on the stock market, and if you have no near-term need for cash, you should not sell out – not at this stage, with the market down well over 20% – even though the epidemic will almost certainly get worse and take stock prices down further. For one thing is virtually certain. When the crisis begins to pass, the market will anticipate further good news and bounce back dramatically; and, when the economy subsequently picks up, prices will climb further. Instead of selling now and losing your shirt, you should be patient. The likelihood that you can time the market precisely is exceedingly slim.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Price of Panic (A Case Against Hoarding)


I bought toilet paper on Sunday. It wasn’t because I was panicky; we were out. Well, we weren’t exactly out, we were down to six rolls. But in a house of nine, including three 14-year-olds and a potty-training toddler, six rolls is as low as I like to cut it. So we needed toilet paper. The only problem was, toilet paper is too cheap.

My wife and I once had a debate about “price gouging.” I’d always lived under the assumption that to raise the price of a product in a time of panic was a moral sin. But is it? She was reading a book by Thomas Sowell and went on to explain how the free market has a mechanism for correcting the kind of panic buying we are witnessing this week. It’s not price gouging — if that’s what you choose to call it — but rather, the fair market price based upon the supply versus the demand. In other words, capitalism.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mr. President: Emergency Deregulation, Please


With coronavirus shutting down a lot of activity, the US economy could use some help from the government. I’m not talking about the federal government doing more — deficit spending, bailouts, etc. — I’m talking about the federal government doing less. Two things that made the economy so strong during the Trump presidency were tax reform and deregulation.

We don’t need more emergency spending and emergency government action as much–if we need them at all–as we need emergency deregulation to keep the economy growing.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. About Those Other Immunocompromised People?


While much is being made of the course of COVID-19 in Italy, it is worth remembering a couple of things as we focus our efforts in the United States. It appears that the same disease which we are now encountering found a very different population and medical readiness in Italy.

1. Italy has been committing demographic suicide for decades. Italy is down to 1.3 live births per woman. A major author wrote a decade ago that the big Italian family was a myth today, that an Italian child is most likely to grow up with no siblings and only one first cousin. So, it should be no surprise that Italy’s median age is already over 47. That is, Italy was already vulnerable to a disease that especially threatens the elderly because that is where their population has been shifting. The same holds for much of Europe.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Will the Last Person in America Turn Off the Lights?


I don’t want to be the bearer of bad tidings and I don’t think of myself as a doomsayer because I’ve always been a pretty optimistic fellow, but in light of the recent news and reactions by organizations to deal with COVID-19 (aka, coronavirus), I think it’s important to state what some of the ramifications may be in the coming days and months. At present, the spread of the virus, now labeled a pandemic by the World Health Organization is demonstrating its power to drastically affect not only the U.S. economy but economies around the world and it has the potential to bring each of them to their knees.

Out of an abundance of caution, the NBA has suspended indefinitely the remainder of its season. The NHL has announced that it will issue a statement tomorrow whether it will follow suit. As of this writing, other scheduled sporting events are canceling in a falling domino pattern. The pressure to cancel the Tokyo Olympics will likely increase. Various scheduled golf events, The Masters slated for next month for example, may be canceled and a travel ban may prohibit the participation of golfers from Europe and Asia if it remains scheduled as planned.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. President Trump Addressed the Nation, Suspending Travel from Europe


The White House Live page posted the live address announcement, with a link to their YouTube channel. President Trump addressed the nation and also issued a travel suspension on Europe, excluding the U.K. He spoke into the camera from the Oval Office for ten minutes, sticking closely to his prepared remarks. He spoke seriously of both the threat and our nation’s resources to respond to the threat. He did not speak as an authoritarian ruler, instead of revealing that most of the actions he wishes to take require the assent, the action of the legislature. This is as it should be under our Constitution.

I took away the following highlights, and have posted the entire short address text below:*


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Parenting in the Age of COVID


In my admittedly short time parenting, just six years, I’ve learned a few things, but one of them is this: Children are sponges. They absorb everything around them. I’ve been thinking about that in the last few weeks and months, as I’ve closely watched the coronavirus tsunami headed our way. I’ve slowly been stocking up; buying a bit more food than usual over the last weeks; dry goods for my pantry and food for my freezer. Stocking up on over-the-counter medication like Tylenol and Motrin for adults, kids and infants alike. My anxiety levels have been at a slow simmer, and in the last days, have come to a rolling boil.

I’m home with my four kids all day (we homeschool), and I’ve been trying hard to manage my anxiety so that they don’t absorb and internalize it. I’ve been trying to think of ways to discuss the situation with my kids so that they understand why we are drastically altering our day-to-day routine, while at the same time not scaring them about their grandparents and great-grandparents dying. I’m trying to be mindful of what I say when I’m on the phone around them, and how I discuss the situation with people we may encounter.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Regulations Kill


There are now several vaccines ready to be tested. But thanks to protocols in place with regulators around the world, everyone says nothing can be released for many months, perhaps a year or more. We need, “experts,” say, to first be sure of the side effects and efficacy and all the risk factors. I can tell you the risk factor for an experimental vaccine: death. But death with hope. Coronavirus for an 80+-year-old offers no such hope.

This is, writ large, precisely the problem with regulation. People should be allowed to take their own risks; even (and especially) the risk of the unknown. If I was older and facing a decent chance of death from this virus, I would cheerfully roll the dice and take an experimental vaccine. Just as I believe that people should be free to make their own decisions in every walk of life.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The first Pandemic in the Post-Christian West


They say the first casualty of war is truth. With the rise of COVID 19 across the west, I’m beginning to wonder is the corresponding casualty of a plague is not the truth, but basic morality. I say this because over the last few days I have been unnerved by some of the words and actions of human beings both in Ireland and throughout the West.

Some of the actions befit the comedy and corruption of human nature and are not worrying as much as they are to be disappointing. In my own country 40 miles from my home place, a major hospital has had 50 bottles of hand soap mysteriously vanish from its supplies. In the local government revenue office, a government worker was allegedly caught helping themselves to several hand soap bottles and told when confronted via camera, to put them back.