Choices

We go long on this show (and we’re not just talking about one of our hosts, either). First up, the mayor of New York City wants to be your President. That’s good for the city (keeps him away for long stretches of time), and probably good for the current occupant of the White House too. Then, our good pal and co-podcaster Andrew Klavan joins to discuss his recent adventure at Stanford University and then sticks around for a detailed discussion about the pro-life bill that just passed in Alabama. Then, we remember architect I.M. Pei, and when James heads to airport, Peter and Rob talk more about the pro-life issue and its place in American life.

Music from this week’s show: You Can’t Be Too Strong by Graham Parker

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There are 53 comments.

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  1. GlennAmurgis Coolidge

    Who knew that Drew Klavan was the “Bald Beatle” 

    • #1
    • May 17, 2019, at 1:15 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  2. Caryn Member

    Um, copy editor??? To be pedantic: “were” and “it’s” are both words, but not in their (not they’re!) context here. Don’t even get me started on the comma usage. 

    Okay, got that out. Now I can listen to the podcast.

    • #2
    • May 17, 2019, at 1:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  3. Blue Yeti Admin

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Um, copy editor??? To be pedantic: “were” and “it’s” are both words, but not in their (not they’re!) context here. Don’t even get me started on the comma usage.

    Okay, got that out. Now I can listen to the podcast.

    Fixed. The auto-correct on my desktop is way too bossy. 

    • #3
    • May 17, 2019, at 1:50 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  4. Caryn Member

    Blue Yeti (View Comment):

    Caryn (View Comment):

    Um, copy editor??? To be pedantic: “were” and “it’s” are both words, but not in their (not they’re!) context here. Don’t even get me started on the comma usage.

    Okay, got that out. Now I can listen to the podcast.

    Fixed. The auto-correct on my desktop is way too bossy.

    To be fair, so am I. Thanks, Yeti, old friend. Good podcast!

    • #4
    • May 17, 2019, at 3:18 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. kedavis Member

    Re: the discussion about Roe v. Wade between (mostly) Peter and Andrew: First, which was only touched on a little, overturning Roe (or actually, Casey now) would not automatically make abortion illegal. It would go back to the states. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, believing religious people – perhaps especially Catholics – should not have believed that abortion was OK – especially with God – just because the Supreme Court said 46 years ago that it was LEGAL.

    • #5
    • May 17, 2019, at 4:31 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Dave Sussman Contributor

    ‘Andrew is dead’ conspiracy talk in 3, 2, 1… 

    • #6
    • May 17, 2019, at 5:08 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Front Seat Cat Member

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):

    ‘Andrew is dead’ conspiracy talk in 3, 2, 1…

    I just finished his book The Great Good Thing – one of the best books I’ve ever read – he seems to be a cat whose only used up a few of his nine lives!

    • #7
    • May 17, 2019, at 5:43 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Burwick Chiffswiddle Member

    Is “sculptural purity” really a desirable trait in architecture? I’m not so sure. (Take a look at anything created by Frank Gehry, who doesn’t so much design buildings as fill sculptures with rooms.)

    I’ll quote Roger Scruton’s Aesthetics of Architecture:

    The value of building simply cannot be understood independently of its
    utility. It is of course possible to take a merely ‘sculptural’ view of
    architecture; but that is to treat buildings as forms whose aesthetic nature is
    conjoined only accidentally to a certain function. Texture, surface, form,
    representation and expression now begin to take precedence over those
    aesthetic aims which we would normally consider to be specifically
    architectural . . . and what purports to be architecture can no longer be
    understood as such, but only as a piece of elaborate expressionist sculpture
    seen from within.

    • #8
    • May 17, 2019, at 6:59 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Bishop Wash Member

    Dave Sussman (View Comment):

    ‘Andrew is dead’ conspiracy talk in 3, 2, 1…

    Darn. Too slow. Saw the picture and thought, oh no Klavan’s dead.

    • #9
    • May 17, 2019, at 8:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. SParker Member

    How cool is that. Actual adult humans vindicating my dad’s ancient unorthodox views on tonsils and wisdom teeth. He wouldn’t take tonsils out (or let anyone else touch his kids’) and thus had to endure the worst insult a physician can receive: you don’t even have a boat. Reasoning: don’t hafta. you’ll want ’em. and every so often you drown on your own blood. plus we have ice cream in the fridge. take a look. Same with wisdom teeth (my dentist is finally making peace with it after 50 years): don’t hafta. general anesthesia. every so often they snip the mandibular nerve and you become a slack-jawed yokel for the rest of your life. do it when they honest-to-god bother you.

    • #10
    • May 17, 2019, at 8:22 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. Arahant Member

    Good show. I especially like the play between Drew and Rob.

    • #11
    • May 17, 2019, at 10:10 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. James Lileks Contributor

    SParker (View Comment):
    do it when they honest-to-god bother you.

    They were.

    Burwick Chiffswiddle (View Comment):
    Is “sculptural purity” really a desirable trait in architecture? I’m not so sure. (Take a look at anything created by Frank Gehry, who doesn’t so much design buildings as fill sculptures with rooms.)

    You won’t get a defense of Gehry from me, and I wouldn’t call his work sculptural. It’s a Jiffy Pop bag full of broken glass. 

    Any trait in architecture can be desirable if it the end result stirs something in the soul besides revulsion. Here’s what I mean about the JFK library:

    It’s an abstraction divorced from all cultural reference points, and gives no clues to its purpose. It has that hateful featureless entrance that promises only more featurelessness beyond. It borrows from the whitewashed architecture of Greek island cities or perhaps 30s World’s Fair architecture without making a single improvement on the source. But – and this is crucial – I don’t hate it. It’s not as malevolently indifferent, just remote. 

    Faint-praise damning, I suppose. There’s an element of Pei’s work that seemed, to me, to strive for universal appeal via elegant restraint, but whatever effect they had when first built has dissipated, and now they seem banal. But well-intentioned. 

    • #12
    • May 17, 2019, at 10:23 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  13. RufusRJones Member

    Super interesting on NYC mayors and governance.

    When are we going to hit control alt delete on the whole [redacted] education system? It’s 100% theft and indoctrination. Wipe it out.

    • #13
    • May 18, 2019, at 1:07 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  14. RufusRJones Member

    “The ineffectiveness of the pro-life movement.”

    All of the legal threats and publicity have driven it to Planned Parenthood. Then what happens? Their overhead goes up. They have fat salaries. K Street makes all kinds of money off them. So now you have abortion quarters at that place. 

    It also drives power to the Democrat party.

    Just make the moral case.

    • #14
    • May 18, 2019, at 3:50 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. RufusRJones Member

    For those that are interested, this is a uniquely brutal article on what a scam higher education is.

    If you know anybody that gets it, the last Marc Farber report had some unique stuff in it as well.

    ***EDIT***

    “Farber”

    “Gloom Boom Doom” report.

    • #15
    • May 18, 2019, at 7:59 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. ParisParamus Member

    I’m just happy that I can walk to Crowley’s Vintage from my home. I guess Mr. Robinson didn’t move to Brooklyn, but I’ll bet he will.

    • #16
    • May 18, 2019, at 1:02 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Samuel Block Member

    Fellas, this was terrific.

    It reminds me of why I joined in the first place: the Ricochet Right is a movement that has genuine promise. I wouldn’t say that optimism comes to me naturally, but at the moment I think even pessimism is a sin; especially if you’d like to see the country turn away from the course it’s been on for the last 40 years. My generation – one which is so open-minded that their brains are spilling out onto the floor – provide a great opportunity.

    One point I’d add to the abortion discussion is that the bullying the left has employed in this discussion has been a gift to pro-lifers. My own conversion on this subject was almost entirely the result of watching the baby-boomer women in my family attempting to strong arm my Catholic grandmother on it. She is the mother of nine, including one with Down syndrome, whom the obstetrician told her and my grandfather to get rid of. What started out as just another manifestation of my tendency to take aim at that kind of self-righteous sermonizing has developed into a sincere belief that this issue is at the heart of our national sickness. My point though is that even though I am almost certainly more brazen than the average millennial, the sentiment towards browbeaters strikes me as fairly uniform among us.

    On that note I’d disagree slightly with Rob’s concern that “we” cannot have a conversation on matters like these. I don’t think it is an unfounded worry. But if we can agree that it is only in a perfect world that we can avoid having an “us” and a “them,” maybe it could suffice to have them be the tyrants, and us the Americans.

    See ya next week.

    • #17
    • May 18, 2019, at 2:12 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  18. kedavis Member

    ParisParamus (View Comment):

    I’m just happy that I can walk to Crowley’s Vintage from my home. I guess Mr. Robinson didn’t move to Brooklyn, but I’ll bet he will.

    I think you mean Rob, as in Mr Long.

    • #18
    • May 18, 2019, at 3:20 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Peter Robinson Founder

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Fellas, this was terrific.

    One point I’d add to the abortion discussion is that the bullying the left has employed in this discussion has been a gift to pro-lifers. My own conversion on this subject was almost entirely the result of watching the baby-boomer women in my family attempting to strong arm my Catholic grandmother on it. She is the mother of nine, including one with Down syndrome, whom the obstetrician told her and my grandfather to get rid of. See ya next week.

    Your grandmother sounds like a saint. A woman like that can get her whole family into heaven. St. Peter would never dare cross her.

    • #19
    • May 18, 2019, at 3:42 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. kedavis Member

    Hold on. What was Rob’s other surgery story that he didn’t get to?

    “More Rob Long surgery stories!” screams America!

    • #20
    • May 18, 2019, at 6:11 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  21. kedavis Member

    I wish Andrew had also responded to Peter’s question about people relying on Supreme Court decisions, with something like “Should Brown v Board not have been decided because a lot of people were racist for a long time, a lot longer than abortion has been declared legal?”

    • #21
    • May 18, 2019, at 6:23 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  22. Samuel Block Member

    Peter Robinson (View Comment):

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Fellas, this was terrific.

    One point I’d add to the abortion discussion is that the bullying the left has employed in this discussion has been a gift to pro-lifers. My own conversion on this subject was almost entirely the result of watching the baby-boomer women in my family attempting to strong arm my Catholic grandmother on it. She is the mother of nine, including one with Down syndrome, whom the obstetrician told her and my grandfather to get rid of. See ya next week.

    Your grandmother sounds like a saint.

    Ya know, I’ve suspected as much on a few occasions. And I can with certainty that she is, in every sense of the word, a true lady.

    A woman like that can get her whole family into heaven. St. Peter would never dare cross her.

    Good news! Most of the rest of us are hooligans by comparison. That will come in handy. 

     

    • #22
    • May 18, 2019, at 6:31 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. ParisParamus Member

    kedavis (View Comment):

    ParisParamus (View Comment):

    I’m just happy that I can walk to Crowley’s Vintage from my home. I guess Mr. Robinson didn’t move to Brooklyn, but I’ll bet he will.

    I think you mean Rob, as in Mr Long.

    Yep. I’m tired!

    • #23
    • May 18, 2019, at 9:28 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. HollandVanDieren Coolidge

    Almost every Ricochet-based pod builds my vocabulary. I thank @PeterRobinson for its newest entry, “deformacion profesional.” Never will get to Bill Buckley’s station, but it’s fun traveling.

    • #24
    • May 19, 2019, at 6:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. Chris Campion Coolidge

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    For those that are interested, this is a uniquely brutal article on what a scam higher education is.

    If you know anybody that gets it, the last Marc Farber report had some unique stuff in it as well.

    ***EDIT***

    “Farber”

    “Gloom Boom Doom” report.

    This is screamingly accurate. I was encouraged in undergrad years to keep a “light” coursework thing going, minimum 12 credits (4 classes) but no more than 15. I had a part time job, 20 hours per week, and had other interests, too – and I completely goofed off half the time. 18 credits is completely do-able if you stay disciplined. Harder for STEM coursework, obviously, probably somewhat exponentially harder. But doable.

    Had a buddy of mine who was an engineering major. He always told the story of spending Saturdays in his room,studying, while looking out the window at other students playing football on the green, heading out to parties, etc, while he was getting his work done. If college were pimped out more as work than as an experience, you’d have less chowderheads signing up for marginally useful degrees, graduating, then complaining about the debt they racked up while playing Hacky-Sack for 18% of their awake time, and discovering (gasp!) that no one wants to hire lazy people.

     

    • #25
    • May 19, 2019, at 9:36 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  26. RufusRJones Member

    Chris Campion (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    For those that are interested, this is a uniquely brutal article on what a scam higher education is.

    If you know anybody that gets it, the last Marc Farber report had some unique stuff in it as well.

    ***EDIT***

    “Farber”

    “Gloom Boom Doom” report.

    This is screamingly accurate. I was encouraged in undergrad years to keep a “light” coursework thing going, minimum 12 credits (4 classes) but no more than 15. I had a part time job, 20 hours per week, and had other interests, too – and I completely goofed off half the time. 18 credits is completely do-able if you stay disciplined. Harder for STEM coursework, obviously, probably somewhat exponentially harder. But doable.

    Had a buddy of mine who was an engineering major. He always told the story of spending Saturdays in his room,studying, while looking out the window at other students playing football on the green, heading out to parties, etc, while he was getting his work done. If college were pimped out more as work than as an experience, you’d have less chowderheads signing up for marginally useful degrees, graduating, then complaining about the debt they racked up while playing Hacky-Sack for 18% of their awake time, and discovering (gasp!) that no one wants to hire lazy people.

     

    That article is absolutely crazy. Must read. 

    I’ll never forget when I went to college, how many people there that were way smarter than me, that just saw it all as a scam. They thought hardly any of it had merit and they thought you were stupid if you sought any other way. I was shocked. The reality is, many people would be better off gaming the system like that author did. 

    This country has to completely rethink how we develop human capital.

    • #26
    • May 19, 2019, at 9:47 AM PDT
    • Like
  27. RufusRJones Member

    All education is a centrally planned rip-off.

     

    American conservatives, the conclusions are obvious when it comes to things such as K–12 education, which is one of the few truly socialized enterprises in the United States and, not coincidentally, one of the most defective. The conservative preference for the voucherization of social services is the Right’s intelligent response to the problems of central planning, but it is by no means an intrinsically right-wing position. It is simply an acceptance of the fact that having taxpayers pay for welfare services is a different and more manageable thing than having government act as a direct provider of welfare services.

    Kevin Williamson

    That article is very good at explaining why having a lot of welfare like you might have in Scandinavia isn’t the same thing is socialism. Too bad the term “welfare capitalism” is so toxic.

    • #27
    • May 19, 2019, at 12:22 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  28. Goldwaterwoman Thatcher

    What is ignored today is the reason the abortion movement caught fire in the 1960’s when countless women who had taken the drug thalidomide gave birth to horribly deformed infants. A woman named Sherry Finkbine, who had taken the drug and was advised by her doctor to get a therapeutic abortion, couldn’t find a hospital to perform one in the United States. She was forced to go to Sweden. Her story as well as the story of thousands of deformed babies were front page news for months and prompted a hue and cry in this country and elsewhere for a change in our abortion laws. We didn’t need Roe v Wade; changes in the laws were happening without it.

    I have given birth to three live precious children, but, if I were still of the age to have babies, I wouldn’t hesitate to seek an abortion if a scan showed a terribly deformed child. For anyone who supports having that baby regardless, think what impact that birth will have on the family, their finances to take care of it, the sacrifices any other children in the family will have to make, etc. It’s every parents worst nightmare.

    • #28
    • May 19, 2019, at 6:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  29. Samuel Block Member

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    What is ignored today is the reason the abortion movement caught fire in the 1960’s when countless women who had taken the drug thalidomide gave birth to horribly deformed infants. A woman named Sherry Finkbine, who had taken the drug and was advised by her doctor to get a therapeutic abortion, couldn’t find a hospital to perform one in the United States. She was forced to go to Sweden. Her story as well as the story of thousands of deformed babies were front page news for months and prompted a hue and cry in this country and elsewhere for a change in our abortion laws. We didn’t need Roe v Wade; changes in the laws were happening without it.

    I have given birth to three live precious children, but, if I were still of the age to have babies, I wouldn’t hesitate to seek an abortion if a scan showed a terribly deformed child. For anyone who supports having that baby regardless, think what impact that birth will have on the family, their finances to take care of it, the sacrifices any other children in the family will have to make, etc. It’s every parents worst nightmare.

    That’s an interesting point. I’d never heard of thalidomide or its influence on the early stages of this debate.

    I suppose the tragedy of the modern political battle is that it mostly reflects the extent to which Americans don’t trust each other, more so than our organically formed policy preferences. Like you say, this is about more than the patriarchy versus feminist hysteria. I suppose this gets at the damage done by the Roe decision. It erased the need for making the point you just did – one which is almost completely absent from the argument.

    This also gets at why I’m somewhat reluctant to budge on this though. It isn’t often that the fate of the child seems to be the actual concern of the left. Then again, it appears we’ve got our blind spots too. 

     

    • #29
    • May 19, 2019, at 7:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  30. Taras Coolidge

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Goldwaterwoman (View Comment):

    What is ignored today is the reason the abortion movement caught fire in the 1960’s when countless women who had taken the drug thalidomide gave birth to horribly deformed infants. A woman named Sherry Finkbine, who had taken the drug and was advised by her doctor to get a therapeutic abortion, couldn’t find a hospital to perform one in the United States. She was forced to go to Sweden. Her story as well as the story of thousands of deformed babies were front page news for months and prompted a hue and cry in this country and elsewhere for a change in our abortion laws. We didn’t need Roe v Wade; changes in the laws were happening without it.

    I have given birth to three live precious children, but, if I were still of the age to have babies, I wouldn’t hesitate to seek an abortion if a scan showed a terribly deformed child. For anyone who supports having that baby regardless, think what impact that birth will have on the family, their finances to take care of it, the sacrifices any other children in the family will have to make, etc. It’s every parents worst nightmare.

    That’s an interesting point. I’d never heard of thalidomide or its influence on the early stages of this debate.

    I suppose the tragedy of the modern political battle is that it mostly reflects the extent to which Americans don’t trust each other, more so than our organically formed policy preferences. Like you say, this is about more than the patriarchy versus feminist hysteria. I suppose this gets at the damage done by the Roe decision. It erased the need for making the point you just did – one which is almost completely absent from the argument.

    This also gets at why I’m somewhat reluctant to budge on this though. It isn’t often that the fate of the child seems to be the actual concern of the left. Then again, it appears we’ve got our blind spots too.

    In the period before the Supreme Court tried to shut down the debate on abortion, I don’t recall abortion advocates using thalidomide as an argument. For one thing, there were only a few cases, years before in the US — “at least 17“, says Wikipedia — because the drug was never approved for marketing here. (Sherri Finkbine’s husband had picked it up in Europe.) Abortion advocates may also have felt using that particular argument might remind people of how “defectives“ were treated in Germany in the Thirties and Forties.

    • #30
    • May 19, 2019, at 10:33 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
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