The time for the fall term is quickly bearing down on us and James and Toby are itching to get kids back in the classroom. But others aren’t so sure. Said the Prime Minister this weekend, “Now that we know enough to reopen schools to all pupils safely, we have a moral duty to do so.”

Also on tap (literally and figuratively) this week: Getting back into the pubs, the new dating forum on Lockdown Sceptics gets press, and fat-fingered police stopped MP Dawn Butler (Labour, Brent Central) and, of course, charges of institutional racism followed. (This from a woman who once claimed that 90% of all giraffes are gay and had her staff forge an endorsement letter from Barack Obama.)

The Shame Game


“Shame off you,” he said.

It was the first time I’d heard that term, and I was a little taken aback until I realized that he was exactly right. Shame is something we wear, like a wet, smelly blanket someone dons for no good reason. Some bully at some point threw it over the person’s shoulders, and unless that person chooses to shrug it off, there it stays, and the bully wins.

If shame stays on that person, it will saturate everything in their life and leave an odor that eventually the wearer and those around them just get used to. Shame might become an excuse for failure, or a tool they use to manipulate others. Shame dominates the individual wearing it, or it’s a weapon in the hands of those who wield it. It’s more dangerous than a virus, more destructive than a riot, and more deadly than a bullet.

How to Be an Anti-Racist


Kyle Smith’s take on Robin Diangelo’s anti-racism shtick in NRO:

[Y]ou can’t prove you’re not a witch, just as you can’t prove you’re not a racist. If you don’t confess to being a racist right away, that marks you as a clandestine racist — the most insidious kind. Not being a racist is, of course, not an option, not if you’re white.

Just Call It a ‘Peaceful Protest’


Governor Newsom has banned church services in the state of California. But protests are allowed. Of course, that’s unconstitutional but it will take a while to get through the courts. And getting arrested will ruin anyone’s day.

In the meantime, Pastor John MacArthur has solved the problem by holding Sunday services in church and calling them … “peaceful protests.”

Teachers Beware: Parents Are Watching


“I could never homeschool.” It’s something I used to hear all the time, but haven’t in months. After an entire spring of all of my friends are also home with their children full-time, overseeing their education as they participate in “distance learning” with their school, I don’t hear that much anymore. This summer, school districts across the country announced that they would be doing “virtual” school this fall (at least) and a fair number of friends lost patience with the idea of “distance learning” and decided to formally homeschool their children next year.

Parental approval of homeschool has skyrocketed over the summer according to studies,

Are We Heading for Electoral Disaster in November?


I don’t normally abuse my podcast privileges to post up promotions for the Power Line Show, but I think I have a mini-scoop today. Everyone is freaking out about the recent and highly publicized report of the Transition Integrity Project, whose simulations of potential scenarios for a contested election in November yielded frothy news stories about riots in the streets, either Trump or Biden refusing to recognize the election result, rival slates of electors coming to Washington, western states demanding secession, and, most alarming of all, what might the military do?! It all makes for great copy. Also hysteria.

As it happens, I know one of the leaders of this project, Nils Gilman. He’s a very smart lefty, and he readily agreed to do a long-form podcast interview with me about the TIP report and other things. We try to take a non-hysterical look at the subject, and work through some of the serious problems of holding a national election in the midst of a pandemic. I think the conversation/argument we have here is a model of the kind of civil discourse that is the aim of Ricochet.

What is the Ultimate Goal of Virus Transmission Mitigation Efforts?


Everybody is going to come into contact with the Wuhan virus at some point, unless the person chooses to live the life of a hermit, the virus is not likely to just disappear. Efforts to mitigate the transmission of the virus can at most delay contact with the virus, those efforts cannot prevent for all time contact with the virus.

The probability that a person not already living in a nursing home will have serious medical consequences from contact with the Wuhan virus is extremely small. Very few people who come into contact with the virus will suffer significant negative medical consequences.

Swimming the Bosporus 7: Of Popes and Patriarchs


Six posts in and there’s a question I keep getting: “We get why you left evangelical protestantism for Orthodoxy. But why didn’t you just choose the Catholic Church?” For a Westerner, swimming the Tiber is simpler than swimming the Bosporus based on cultural affinities alone. And, according to Google Maps, the drive from Wittenburg to Rome is 400 miles shorter than Wittenburg to Constantinople. So what gives?

To answer, I first need to give some historical context.

You can find all the Swimming the Bosporus posts here.

The Church was established on the Day of Pentecost, 33 AD, and quickly spread around the Mediterranean. Every church was in agreement with each other as one big, happy family. Well, churlish at times, but what’cha gonna do? False teachers popped up here and there promoting doctrines contrary to Christianity. Councils were convened to discuss foundational beliefs and to condemn heresies.

Quote of the Day: Are You Lazy?


“They say I’m lazy but it takes all my time.” — Joe Walsh, Life’s Been Good to Me So Far

“Progress isn’t made by early risers. It’s made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something.” — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

Democrats Trying to Convince Democrats to Vote Democrat


There have been peaceful protests violent riots every single night in Portland now for nearly three months straight. There appear to be many different groups involved, with many different messages, from “Black Lives Matter” to “Antifa” to people carrying signs with the Soviet hammer and sickle. But there is one thing all the rioters have in common. They all hate Donald Trump. All the riots have signs saying things like “Dump Trump” and other more explicit words saying the same thing. The rioters are urging people to vote against Trump in the next election. Remember, these riots are in Portland, Oregon.

In 2016, Donald Trump won 17% of the vote in Portland. Who are these people trying to convince? There hasn’t been an out-of-the-closet Republican sighted in the wild in Portland since the Reagan administration. And such exotic fauna will most certainly be scarce in Portland in today’s hostile environment. So the Portland riots are essentially Democrats trying to convince Democrats to vote Democrat, while they destroy one another’s property. I don’t get it.

Looking at the adjacent electoral map from 2016 (broken down by county), it would appear that the rioters who’ve been hitting the streets for the past few months all over the country have been rioting in the wrong places. If their goal is to convince people not to vote for Donald Trump, perhaps they should go riot in places where people actually might vote for him to begin with.

The Young Inconsequentials


I haven’t posted in…like…forever. But all the recent Thomas Sowell posts got me thinking (as Sowell tends to do for all of us). His concept of “consequential knowledge” versus “inconsequential knowledge,” introduced in Intellectuals and Society, has always stuck with me because, you see, I have no consequential knowledge. Zero. Zilch.

I am fully aware that in the coming Zombie Apocalypse I will be one of the first to be pushed outside the safety of the compound, provided only a gun with a single bullet, while the useful humans attempt to make their escape. You see, I write music for a living. And there is nothing terribly consequential about that when the world is coming apart at the seams.

We Are Missing the Best Part


In early June, Bravo reality star, Stassi Shoroeder was fired from her role on the series Vanderpump Rules. Known at first for her mean-girl antics, Schroeder had dramatically evolved over the eight seasons into a more compassionate human. The reason for her firing were accusations by a former castmate, none of which were denied by Schroeder. Accusations she had previously spoken about publicly and admitted her wrongdoing. You can read in detail about them here. 

I don’t defend the actions of Schoeder. But by firing or “canceling” people for their imperfections, are we missing the best part? What if Bravo hadn’t fired her and instead, they used the next season to demonstrate how to effectively hold people accountable while leaving space for them to grow? Vanderpump Rules is a reality show after all, and what better way to model the realities of reconciliation, than including Schroeder in the next season. If we truly want to move toward a world with less racism, hatred, and prejudice, we have to be willing to do the work. Shaming people for their mistakes without offering any constructive path of restoration, isn’t going to change hearts. 

If we want to change the world, we need to believe that it is possible for people to be better than their worst mistakes. Transformations aren’t born of shame. If we want to change hearts, we have to be willing to do the hard work, with them. Vanderpump Rules had the opportunity to do the work, to show how you change people’s hearts, and they missed it.

President Trump Pets the Unicorn


President Trump has signed a series of Executive Orders to provide coronavirus relief for people in Democrat-occupied America (and elsewhere). Pelosi-Schumer thought they had him boxed in to force bail-outs for Democrat-occupied America to secure government-employee union pensions and pay, to pay for promises to illegal aliens, to make up for tax shortfalls when they shut down productive activity to kill the economy and secure power. But Trump is invoking the “Obama pen” and signing his way to re-election.

Is this a good government and Constitutional rectitude? No, it is not. But President Trump has decided that the Constitution is not a suicide pact; that the Supreme Court (notwithstanding having appointed two justices) is not going to aggressively protect the civil liberties of the people in the age of the Democratic-occupation. And President Trump is trying to manage the Executive with various weights and traps that even is his supposed “allies” in the GOP seem to accept as the cost of doing business in DC.

A Navigator’s Account of SAC


Between 1946 and 1992 the Strategic Air Command was the United States’s main shield against Soviet aggression. Its bombers flew constantly, fueling aloft to reach any point in the world.

“SAC Time: A Navigator in the Strategic Air Command,” by Thomas E. Alexander, is the memoir of a man who spent three years in the Strategic Air Command and thirteen years in the Air National Guard.

Alexander served the Strategic Air Command as a junior officer. He was a navigator, not a pilot. Rated a bombardier, navigator, and radar bombardier, he did not crew SAC’s jet glamorous bombers. He navigated KC-97 Stratotankers, a piston-engine aircraft that refueled other aircraft. The book may be the more interesting because of this perspective.

Quote of the Day: Former World Chess Champion Tal


Tal was an exuberant person. He was closer to a bohemian than a dissident in the Soviet Union. He became world champion by defeating Botvinnik in 1960. He was known for his wild attacking style. One game had to be moved to a private room because the crowd was so amazed by Tal’s slashing attack that they refused to be quiet.

In the mid 1980s, an Englishman who was working towards the grandmaster title was playing at the same tournament had this encounter. After Rogers drew an endgame minus 2 pawns vs. Viktor Garikov, Ian and his wife Cathy were joined in the lift by Tal, who asked how the adjourned game had gone. On being told, Tal cracked up with laughter…

Do You Donate?


It has been a while since I really thought about this, but since I am home with nothing better to do at the moment, I started thinking. How many of us donate to our political choices? When I get really fired up about a candidate, I have been known to donate. Recently, though, I can’t say that I have felt any compelling reason to donate.

I came across this site: WinRed.

Why Does Rejecting Collectivism Make Me an ‘-ist’ or a ‘-phobe?’


I don’t believe:

  • All women simply because they’re women nor will I vote for a woman merely because she’s a woman. Why does that make me sexist?
  • Skin pigmentation makes all white people oppressors or all people of color oppressed. Why does that make me racist?
  • All Muslims want peaceful coexistence. Why does that make me an Islamophobe?
  • All corporations are evil. Why does that make me a corporatist?
  • All rich people stole or inherited their wealth, nor do I believe that all poor people were exploited. Why does that make me an elitist?

Why does treating people as individuals rather than as if they are nothing more than cookie-cutter representatives of some socio-economic group make me an “-ist” or a “-phobe?”

Kelly and MK discuss Kelly’s jump into the deep end of farm-to-table living off her own farm. Her challenge to live off the fruits of her labor and her land (documented @realbestlife on all social media!) for an entire year began Aug 1, and there has been fun and pain and great recipes and cute animal videos already! Let’s get into her feels during this giant adjustment, and feel good about the fact that all of us can still drink coffee!

Don’t Replace the NRA, Reform It


New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing the National Rifle Association, seeking to dissolve it over multiple incidences of fraud and mismanagement.

And the thing is, her case is pretty strong, in my opinion. Really, really strong. Wayne LaPierre has been the effective head of the NRA for decades now, and his … questionable financial decisions appear to have been made without the knowledge of the Board of Directors, who should (should) have oversight on such matters. This quote in particular jumped out at me:

Attorney General Letitia James claims in a lawsuit filed Thursday that she found financial misconduct in the millions of dollars and that it contributed to a loss of more than $64 million over a three-year period.

Quote of the Day: Costs and Benefits


“Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions – and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.” – Thomas Sowell

As a nod towards Dr. Bastiat (@drbastiat) and his post “A Brief Excursion into Hero Worship,” I thought it fitting to provide some Sowell food with today’s quote of the day. Rummaging through my collection of unused Thomas Sowell quotes, I decided this one best fits the events of 2020, since so many are driven by the government’s pursuit of benefits at whatever cost, however large.

Ricochet Replay: A Night with John Yoo


For those of you who couldn’t make our live broadcast, we present A Night with John Yoo.

John spends an hour+ with Ricochet Editor Emeritus Troy Senik to talk about his new book, “Defender in Chief,” to reminisce about clerking on the Supreme Court and his time in the Bush 43 Administration and legacy as “the torture memo lawyer.”