Question Time

We’ve got another Happy Hour show this week! (If you haven’t heard, we like Happy Hour.) And who better to spend it with than our very own members? Rob, Peter and James field questions from the men and women who make Ricochet the best “place” for civil conversation and debate. So grab your favorite cocktail, beer or wine and enjoy another episode from the website whose biggest problem is that we get too many good questions and not enough time to field them all. No Lileks Post of the Week, but hats off to Full Size Tabby for a compliment so fine it made James blush (and rendered him nearly speechless). Cheers!

Music from this week’s show: Never Been To Spain by Three Dog Night

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There are 39 comments.

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  1. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    That was the point of course, Rob.  They just wanted your $200.  By making it as quick and efficient as possible, hopefully you’ll do it repeatedly.

    • #1
  2. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    I appreciate the opportunity for members to ask questions, and the thoughtful answers. From the poetry lessons to a warranted compliment to @jameslileks courtesy of @fullsizetabby and making sense of my meandering, long-winded question, this really showed off the versatility of the hosts, members, and the interesting discussions always on display here at Ricochet. Well done!

    • #2
  3. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Probably would have been a good idea to mention the original questions-to-ask post:

    https://ricochet.com/976615/happy-hour-question-time/

    • #3
  4. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I like poetry a lot better if it’s read out loud by somebody that knows what they are doing. 

    • #4
  5. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Regarding the part about Fauci handing out grants, in libertarian and finance circles, Dwight Eisenhower’s famous speech is being talked about a lot right now.

     

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    In this revolution, research has become central; it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present

    and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.

    https://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/eisenhower001.asp

     

    This podcast is really expensive, but this discussion from a Soviet émigré about this topic is excellent.

     

     

     

    • #5
  6. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Thanks for the answer Rob. It was wonderfully informative.

    • #6
  7. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I think it would be great if all the podcasts had a Q&A episode every once in a while.  I know many of them are not controlled under the Ricochet umbrella, but it would be cool . . .

    • #7
  8. Fresch Fisch Member
    Fresch Fisch
    @FreschFisch

    Back in the mid 80’s at a bar in Uptown area of Minneapolis, Williams Peanut Bar, I know James has frequented this establishment. There were some corduroy sport coat with elbow patch guys that would discuss Doonesbury and made sure everyone heard them. 

    Well, one night we sat next to them wearing sport coats and discussed Mark Trail, and made sure every heard us. 

    They didn’t think it was so funny.

    Hamms and Grain Belt tasted great decades ago. Only Grain Belt tastes good today.

     

     

    • #8
  9. Ausonius Inactive
    Ausonius
    @Ausonius

    I have come to the conclusion that whatever James says about Minnesota either was true thirty years ago or is in reality the exact opposite.  I have lived here over 15 years and have never ever heard anyone refer to the Star Tribune as a “right-wing rag”.  Everyone knows what it’s about.  And that Pulitzer the paper “won”, is it really hard to believe that it would be given to the paper located where St. George was martyred?  Funny how James failed to mention that one of the star reporters on the case is under investigation by a federal judge for leaking grand jury information, but I guess you have to rationalize continuing to work for such a disgrace of an institution.  Oh and I could tell you a story about how great my daughter’s experience was waiting to get her driver’s license, but that would take too long and it would cast more doubt on James’s narrative.

    For anyone interested to know more, you can read about the stellar Star Tribune here:  https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/06/the-pulitzer-prize-for-breaking-news-goes-to.php

    • #9
  10. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Ausonius (View Comment):

    I have come to the conclusion that whatever James says about Minnesota either was true thirty years ago or is in reality the exact opposite. I have lived here over 15 years and have never ever heard anyone refer to the Star Tribune as a “right-wing rag”. Everyone knows what it’s about. And that Pulitzer the paper “won”, is it really hard to believe that it would be given to the paper located where St. George was martyred? Funny how James failed to mention that one of the star reporters on the case is under investigation by a federal judge for leaking grand jury information, but I guess you have to rationalize continuing to work for such a disgrace of an institution. Oh and I could tell you a story about how great my daughter’s experience was waiting to get her driver’s license, but that would take too long and it would cast more doubt on James’s narrative.

    For anyone interested to know more, you can read about the stellar Star Tribune here: https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/06/the-pulitzer-prize-for-breaking-news-goes-to.php

    I know @jameslileks doesn’t need me defending him, but just to push back a little on the Star Trib comment – I think James was referring to Reddit trolls as objecting to the paper and labeling it a “right-wing rag” probably because Taylor has been active in Republican politics here in the past, but I think keeps a mainly hands-off approach to editorial decisions in the paper. (I have my beef with Taylor, but it has to do with his horrible mismanagement of the sports teams here, lol). And the Pulitzer being awarded for George Floyd coverage, despite the reporter being under investigation perhaps says more about the Pulitzer organization than what has long been understood as the Strib being a lefty paper. Maybe James was being a little tongue-in-cheek there. But Minnesota does have two local papers, which is much more than major markets can say nowadays, which is a good thing. And they have James who manages to continue his work as a conservative in a deep blue metropolis, holding up a bit of even-handed sanity in a city overrun with political derangement from top to bottom. That would take more guts than I have. And I agree with you in the DMV – I’d rather walk across broken glass than sit in our stifling, black-hole of waiting office any day.

    • #10
  11. Jennine Member
    Jennine
    @Jennine

    Yours is one of the few podcasts I listen to the very last second. I love that you pay for great music. And the podcast isn’t bad either.

    • #11
  12. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Ausonius (View Comment):
    I have come to the conclusion that whatever James says about Minnesota either was true thirty years ago or is in reality the exact opposite.  I have lived here over 15 years and have never ever heard anyone refer to the Star Tribune as a “right-wing rag”

    As Jenna noted – and I think I said on the show – I was referring to the Mpls / TC subreddits, where you have leftists who think the paper is the TOOL OF CAPITALISM. Like most people who’ve never worked in the business and love to make assumptions about how it operates, they have no idea what they’re talking about. 

    For all its faults,  I love my paper. As for the link you provided:

    Working side by side with several Star Tribune reporters over the past five years, I have come to respect their professional skills. I would like to extend my congratulations to the reporters who helped the paper snag this year’s Pulitzer Prize for breaking news. 

    As for the DMV:

    Oh and I could tell you a story about how great my daughter’s experience was waiting to get her driver’s license, but that would take too long and it would cast more doubt on James’s narrative.

    I apologize for the flavor of your Cheerios this morning. It’s not a narrative, though; it’s just experience over the years in different locations, from downtown to the suburbs. (It was a bit less pleasant at the Midtown location, once.) 

    • #12
  13. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    James:  Was it ever appropriate for the paper as a whole, or for anyone writing in it – except perhaps for opinion columns – to refer to the George Floyd case as a “killing” or even a “murder” especially before any investigation was done, or any evidence presented in court etc?

    It may be unfortunate if “a few bad apples” can ruin the whole bunch, but especially if the bad apples are doing what management wants/expects/requires, it doesn’t really seem unfair.

    • #13
  14. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    I’ve listened three times, and I can’t figure out what Peter was referring to in the “outtake” intro as “there was only one show that was so bad, that we just didn’t use it.”

    Can I get an answer to that one?

    • #14
  15. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    kedavis (View Comment):

    James: Was it ever appropriate for the paper as a whole, or for anyone writing in it – except perhaps for opinion columns – to refer to the George Floyd case as a “killing” or even a “murder” especially before any investigation was done, or any evidence presented in court etc?

    “Murder,” no. “Killing” is different, and imprecise usage can lead to misconceptions, depending on what people read into its usage. One can make the argument that it’s correct, but I wouldn’t – not if more neutral words are available. And I’m speaking of pre-conviction accounts. 

    It may be unfortunate if “a few bad apples” can ruin the whole bunch, but especially if the bad apples are doing what management wants/expects/requires, it doesn’t really seem unfair.

    The suspicion that management (and who would that be? Owner? Publisher? Editor? ME? Section editor? Copy desk?) “wants/expects/requires” a slant that fits the coverage into a particular narrative is wrong. In the larger meta sense I have problems with MSM journalism that instinctively slots events into their intellectual preconceptions, as we all do, but in this specific instance, there was no top-down edict to shape coverage.

    Another example: the Strib was hammered this week on reddit for tweeting that Winston Smith, the man shot by deputies in Uptown, was wanted for murder. This was based on scanner chatter. Turned out not to be true. The paper apologized for propagating an untruth. The left-wing critics of the paper insisted that it was part of a pattern of regurgitating police reports, insisted we were working hand-in-glove with reactionary elements, were doing the bidding of our right-wing paymaster, etc.

    Of course, just because one group erroneously accuses you of shaping the news doesn’t mean another group’s assertion is baseless. But no one wants to get it wrong. You get it wrong, your failing is paraded in a correction, and those are mortifying. Have you ever made a mistake at work? Sure. Now imagine that the mistake is published in public for all to see.

    There are levels to this, though. If you are at the New York Times and screw up in a fantastic way on an obit or restaurant-closing story, you’ll probably get a few more chances; do it a lot, and you’re stuck in place until they can move you out. Screw up conceptually on a HUGE story that’s politically significant, you may suffer no consequences whatsoever. Russiagate may have been nothing, but you were just reporting what “sources say.” 

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    It’s certainly not a simple matter.

    Among other things, if one has the option to pick their “sources,” it’s probably possible to find “sources” who would say anything you want to write/print.

    I’m also reminded of – and I still have it – a Northern Alliance show from 2007, where you came on after Eric Black.

    • #16
  17. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    A few years ago, I went to a home football game at my alma mater, NC State.  The stadium was full, and right before the Wofpack came on the field, everyone read the first lines of a famous Kipling poem, screaming the last one:

    Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky;
    And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
    As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk the Law runneth forward and back—
    For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

    After that, they played “Welcome to the Jungle” over the loudspeakers.  Goosebumps, I’m telling you . . .

     

    • #17
  18. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Roger Kimball’s The long March of the Institutions blames the beatniks.

    • #18
  19. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Roger Kimball’s The long March of the Institutions blames the beatniks.

    He’s not wrong.

    • #19
  20. davenr321 Coolidge
    davenr321
    @davenr321

    22 Nov 1963 as the “inflection point.” Brilliant, Peter. 

    • #20
  21. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    22 Nov 1963 as the “inflection point.” Brilliant, Peter.

    Loved James’ reflexive answer to “Can we blame the Clintons?” “Yes.” Usually can’t go wrong with blaming the Clintons. 

    • #21
  22. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    22 Nov 1963 as the “inflection point.” Brilliant, Peter.

    Loved James’ reflexive answer to “Can we blame the Clintons?” “Yes.” Usually can’t go wrong with blaming the Clintons.

     

     

     

     

    • #22
  23. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    22 Nov 1963 as the “inflection point.” Brilliant, Peter.

    Loved James’ reflexive answer to “Can we blame the Clintons?” “Yes.” Usually can’t go wrong with blaming the Clintons.

     

     

     

     

    I’m wondering about the Arkancide angle. Why now?

    Five years of abuse could have broken him. Didn’t know he’d received death threats.

    • #23
  24. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    I read the Manchester book many years ago and Peter’s comment reminded me that at the time I wondered why Manchester went off on that anti-Dallas tangent, now I understand.

    I’m with James on how much I’ve always hated the nasty attitude of that ‘tricky tacky’ song. Growing up on the streets of Brooklyn, the suburbs looked like paradise to me, I’ve been here several decades and they still do. Stuff it , Pete Seeger, ya commie basket.

    I was amazed at Rob’s tow-away story until I realized he was in NO. In NY he’d still be waiting. A friend tells the tale of his experience of trying to get his car back in Manhattan, at the time they accepted only cash, the clerk sits behind a thick glass, probably bullet proof, the only opening is a tiny slit near the bottom for people to insert the ransom payment, the only way to converse with the clerk is to essentially genuflect before them and speak into the opening. I always thought it would be a great sitcom skit if Rob was still writing them.

    • #24
  25. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    22 Nov 1963 as the “inflection point.” Brilliant, Peter.

    Loved James’ reflexive answer to “Can we blame the Clintons?” “Yes.” Usually can’t go wrong with blaming the Clintons.

     

     

     

     

     

    I’m wondering about the Arkancide angle. Why now?

    Five years of abuse could have broken him. Didn’t know he’d received death threats.

    Most people know a handful of people who’ve committed suicide but dozens??? Plus some  plane and car crashes ? 

    • #25
  26. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    22 Nov 1963 as the “inflection point.” Brilliant, Peter.

    Loved James’ reflexive answer to “Can we blame the Clintons?” “Yes.” Usually can’t go wrong with blaming the Clintons.

     

     

     

     

     

    I’m wondering about the Arkancide angle. Why now?

    Five years of abuse could have broken him. Didn’t know he’d received death threats.

    Most people know a handful of people who’ve committed suicide but dozens??? Plus some plane and car crashes ?

    It sure took them a long time to get around to him.

    • #26
  27. Rightfromthestart Coolidge
    Rightfromthestart
    @Rightfromthestart

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    22 Nov 1963 as the “inflection point.” Brilliant, Peter.

    Loved James’ reflexive answer to “Can we blame the Clintons?” “Yes.” Usually can’t go wrong with blaming the Clintons.

     

     

     

     

     

    I’m wondering about the Arkancide angle. Why now?

    Five years of abuse could have broken him. Didn’t know he’d received death threats.

    Most people know a handful of people who’ve committed suicide but dozens??? Plus some plane and car crashes ?

    It sure took them a long time to get around to him.

    To encourage the others.

    • #27
  28. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Rightfromthestart (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    22 Nov 1963 as the “inflection point.” Brilliant, Peter.

    Loved James’ reflexive answer to “Can we blame the Clintons?” “Yes.” Usually can’t go wrong with blaming the Clintons.

     

     

     

     

     

    I’m wondering about the Arkancide angle. Why now?

    Five years of abuse could have broken him. Didn’t know he’d received death threats.

    Most people know a handful of people who’ve committed suicide but dozens??? Plus some plane and car crashes ?

    It sure took them a long time to get around to him.

    To encourage the others.

    To coin a phrase, encouragement delayed is encouragement denied.

    • #28
  29. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    22 Nov 1963 as the “inflection point.” Brilliant, Peter.

    Loved James’ reflexive answer to “Can we blame the Clintons?” “Yes.” Usually can’t go wrong with blaming the Clintons.

    Jonah Goldberg has argued pretty convincingly that Hillary Clinton is the most consequential American politician of the last 30 years.

    • #29
  30. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    davenr321 (View Comment):

    22 Nov 1963 as the “inflection point.” Brilliant, Peter.

    Loved James’ reflexive answer to “Can we blame the Clintons?” “Yes.” Usually can’t go wrong with blaming the Clintons.

    Jonah Goldberg has argued pretty convincingly that Hillary Clinton is the most consequential American politician of the last 30 years.

    Yes, but it’s not because of anything GOOD that she did.

    • #30