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Remember when the Left was ranting about Koch Brothers cash, Halliburton, etc. buying foreign policy? Most of us dismissed it – especially since the Left seemed to ignore the windfall of cash they received from Soros and Steyer. If people wanted to support more free market government, that’s great. What if we were missing something? […]

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This is shaping up to be another very instructive week, as more people who most Americans used to take somewhat seriously dash their reputations on the rocks of reality. Consider the really important, consequential stuff that happened in London this week, laid out in “‘Interagency Consensus DIME’ Not Worth a Plugged Nickel on NATO” and […]

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Why are Leftist women so angry? Obviously trying to nullify 60 million or so votes is hard work, I get that. I watched the entire hearing today and there were moments that my eye’s started to glaze over several times during this sideshow. Jonathan Turley smiled at times, but the three Leftist activist law professor’s […]

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While watching the 876th remake of the first Hallmark “original” Christmas film, I got to thinking about the two men responsible for the modern sound of the holiday season. The first one is obvious. When Irving Berlin sat down and penned White Christmas (somewhere between 1938 and 1941, nobody is really quite sure) he ushered […]

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While lots of us engage in the guilty pleasure of watching selective clips of our favorite Congressional actors in the latest kabuki theater, we might profit more from considering some of the sights and sounds coming from the NATO 70th anniversary meeting of heads of state. I especially invite your attention to two official videos, […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Spencer: The Weariness of Freedom and Comfort


“[E]veryone has found how even the best easy chair, at first rejoiced in, becomes after many hours intolerable; and change to a hard seat, previously occupied and rejected, seems for a time to be a great relief. It is the same with incorporated humanity. Having by long struggles emancipated itself from the hard discipline of the ancient régime, and having discovered that the new régime into which it has grown, though relatively easy, is not without stresses and pains, its impatience with these prompts the wish to try another system: which other system is, in principle if not in appearance, the same as that which during past generations was escaped from with much rejoicing.” — Herbert Spencer, “The Man versus the State.” Apple Books.

Spencer was speaking of the desire of the populace which, once capitalism had liberated it for a long period of time from slavery and poverty, found itself longing for slavery. It is what’s happening in US politics today.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Groupthink


“If everybody is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” — Gen. George S. Patton

Yesterday YouTube suggested that I would like The Mark Steyn Show Climate Change Forum, so I watched it. Whether it’s creepy that YouTube put this video at the top of my feed the day after I had been writing on Ricochet about climate change in general and the website of a panel member in particular, I’ll leave for others to decide. The panel discussion included a lot about how difficult it is for people to speak up or challenge the uniform thinking of their peers.

I experienced this type of censorship, or rather self-censorship, while working for a government consulting firm at the beginning of the Obama administration. While the company started hosting lunches to encourage dialogue on climate change, it simultaneously crafted a company stance designed to improve its marketability for contracts. Once it was clear what the company was selling, I learned very quickly that speaking up in disagreement would be pointless or worse, detrimental to my career prospects. I ended up quitting rather than be subject to constant propaganda with no welcome outlet for debate or dialogue. It’s not that I “deny the science” or whatever the latest accusation is, but I have long thought that CO2 emissions receive too much focus and land-use changes are not sufficiently considered. I could write a lot more on this topic, but that’s for another post.

This is about how our thinking is social, and yet we cannot simply rely on what everyone else is thinking. Other examples of groupthink must include the mainstream news coverage of the 2016 presidential election, and even the 2012 election coverage on conservative news and commentary sites. In the spring of 2016, I warned a friend that it wasn’t a good idea for the Huffington Post to have relegated all Trump coverage to the entertainment section, since it would leave them vulnerable to underestimating his actual political influence. I doubt she read many sources beyond HuffPo, and she was very shocked (traumatized?) when Trump won.

Patton obviously understood that leaving your ideas unchallenged made you weaker, creating real danger. Today there are many topics that people don’t feel free to discuss, especially if they would face hostility at work or at school. There are also assumptions people make about what everyone else thinks because confirming or disconfirming those assumptions would require wading into unpleasant conversations. Is this a timeless human problem or a problem that has gotten worse in recent years?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories: Days of Wine and Roses


My mom and dad grew up around moonshine whiskey and home-brewed beer in Oklahoma, a dry state at the time. Liquor may have been illegal, but of course there was still plenty of it sloshing around. In fact, in one of my first memories —I can see it clearly even now, seventy-five years later— I was sitting with my sister in the backseat of our 1939 Nash Ambassador while my dad drove down a dirt road looking for a moonshiner he had heard about.

That kind of environment, unhappily, produces more than its share of problem drinkers, among whom I count most members of my family, aunts and uncles included.

And that meant that almost every holiday, all the Okie Forresters who had immigrated to California, my mom and dad, both sets of aunts and uncles, and one set of grandparents, came together, ostensibly to celebrate the holiday, but mainly to drink. My sister and I would lie awake in our bedroom listening to the sounds coming from the living room and kitchen. As the night went on, the sounds grew louder, sometimes erupting in arguments and occasionally punctuated by a crash of a lamp or drinking glass.

That heavy drinking also caused an occasional physical fight. I remember my dad and my grandad, both drunk with fists flailing away, fighting on our small back porch in downtown Los Angeles. They were going at it so hard that they shattered the banister as they fought their way down the stairs. An all-out fight among adults is a scary thing for a kid to watch.

I also remember a fight between my mom and dad on Christmas morning around 1944, the culmination of Christmas Eve binge drinking that lasted until dawn. Most holidays were ruined for me because my family drank too much.

Mom was so sensitive to alcohol that she slurred her words after her first drink of whiskey or after a single can of beer. God, I hated that. I usually sulked when she was like that, and I was embarrassed when it occurred in front of my friends. It was much later, after I had left our house in LA for good, that I realized that mom was an alcoholic.

Despite my family’s drinking problems, my sister and I were well cared for. My mom made sure that we had clean clothes and a hot meal on the table each evening. Mom was more than her alcoholism. She loved to read and do crossword puzzles, and she was a great letter writer with an elegant hand. (I have a handwriting award she won in the 8th grade, framed and on my wall.) My dad was a heavy drinker, but he could also hold his liquor, and he showed up for work in the oil fields every fricken day.

I once worked as bartender in a dive bar in Springfield, Oregon. You ever see a drunk fight a sober guy? It was almost always the sober guy who would land a solid blow, with a bare fist of course, to the face of the windmilling drunk. That solid blow sometimes broke teeth and occasionally even shattered the drunk’s jaw. Because of my family background, I almost always rooted for the sober guy. Besides, the drunken lout usually started the fight. (I had a small bat under the counter that I was supposed to use to break up really violent fights, but I never used it. Darned if I was going to get in the middle of a bar fight between a couple of drunks. Besides, I’ve seen two brawlers turn on a peacemaker.)

After my mom died, my dad — drunk, lonely and maudlin — used to call me late at night. By this time I was a grown man, a professor in Kentucky. I may have sympathized with dad, but I still hated those calls.

I’ve read that liquor has caused more divorces, homelessness, infidelity, fights, and fatal car crashes— more mischief and heartache — than all the weed and hard drugs combined. Cops know that domestic disturbance calls almost always involve liquor.

Drunks think they’re entertaining and witty. They’re not. They’re stupid and crass, and I avoid them when I can.

My sister, four years older than I am, has been a binge drinker since her retirement. I have somehow avoided the Forrester curse.

When I came across the following passage in Isaiah, I knew the prophet was a man of my own heart. Listen to Isaiah rant about the evils of drunkenness:

Woe to those who rise early in the morning to run after their drinks, who stay up late at night till they are inflamed with wine. They have their harps and lyres at their banquets, tambourines and flutes and wine, but they have no regard for the deeds of the Lord . . . . Therefore the grave is hungry and opens its mouth to receive them. Into it will descend . . . all their brawlers and revelers. (Isaiah 5: 11–14)

Isaiah may go a bit too far for me. Even I don’t really wish an early grave on drunken “brawlers and revelers.” At least I don’t think I do.

Postscript: In rereading this, I may have given the impression that my family was drunk most of the time. That’s not true at all. Outside of an occasional bender by my dad and mom’s slow descent into alcoholism, most of the heavy drinking occurred on arranged weekends and holidays.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Interagency Consensus” DIME Not Worth a Plugged Nickel on NATO


NATO at 70Everyone in the vaunted “interagency,” is well aware of the concept of the instruments of national power. The old Army War College acronym is “DIME,” for diplomatic, informational, military, and economic tools. You will notice that each tends to rest primarily in different departments, different agencies in the “interagency.” This would be why you need multiple agencies to coordinate rather than always operating “in their own lane.”

Just as Madison Avenue is best at selling Madison Avenue, so too the permanent bureaucracy and its affiliates, allies, patrons, and petitioners all affirm competent and selfless expertise in the face of all evidence. Indeed, the reverence for the “foreign policy consensus” evokes the British Parliament’s ritual prostration before the NHS. Thank God that we finally have a president who feels no such compulsion, the first such since Ronald Reagan.

H.R. McMasters showed real professionalism in his honchoing of President Trump’s National Security Strategy. He actually ensured the “interagency” worked to produce a coordinated draft that conformed to the Commander in Chief’s clear intent, where “ commander’s intent” is a military term of art for guidance that must be fully supported. This baseline document was actually published within the first year of President Trump’s administration.

What has apparently been a great surprise to the Deep State is that this president actually meant what he published. There has been no turning on the primacy of our economic tools of national power, both in the trade and energy sectors. President Trump helps American workers, and businesses, and the energy consumers of the world, by opening the natural gas and oil “pipelines” wide, flooding the world market.

This week, while the media tells you, if at all, about NATO’s 70th anniversary, the real story is Germany and Russia back to their bad old ways. Once again, a German leader is conniving with a Russian leader to do a deal of mutual benefit, at the expense of the states unlucky to be situated in between them.

The German leader wants uninterrupted natural gas from Russia, not America, and does not want to be vulnerable to Putin’s next pipeline power play in Ukraine. Putin turns off the gas when he wants to punish a non-compliant Ukrainian people. Now, with a bilateral agreement, opposed by others including the United States, Nord Stream 2 will follow the sea bed from Russia to Germany, parallel to Nord Stream 1, doubling capacity.

This is the same Germany, and the same German leader, showing complete contempt for NATO and the United States, as it spends only half the mutually agreed target of two percent GDP on its own national defense. The once powerful, well equipped, and competent German military is a pathetic joke. Oh, they can muster the sort of special forces that have long been needed to deal with terrorists, from back in the 1970s when communist gangs were serious business. But the navy, and the formerly greatest tank force in the world? Jokes, very sad jokes.

The American foreign policy establishment’s answer has been to talk around and paper over reality. President Trump, like President Reagan, is having none of this. As he prepared to fly to London, Secretary of State Pompeo was hammering away on the latest numbers, showing that NATO countries had finally come around to actual increases in their own defense spending. This reality, although markedly uneven, conveys good messages to Putin, to the American people, and to the people of Europe, who have finally heard from their leaders that their nations are worth spending at least a small slice of the economic pie on national security.

The countries to the west of Russia, as a whole, dwarf the Russian economy. Indeed, Texas is bigger than the Russian economy. While it is true that Putin can spend a much higher percentage on military equipment and personnel, without losing political power, the sheer difference in scale of economies creates the potential for the rest of Europe to shut down any Russian dream of renewed empire in the west. And, as long as Donald J. Trump is president of the United States, the price of natural gas and crude oil has an upper limit, throttling Russian ambitions.

The use of economic and informational tools, along with some diplomacy, is far wiser than talk of armed confrontation between the only two countries in the world capable of rendering each other smoldering ruins in mere hours. I laid this out back in July of 2018, in “Loose Cannons and Nuclear Buttons: Dealing with Russia.” I quoted the relevant portions of President Trump’s NSS, with some explanation. Looking back, President Trump’s strategy has not changed and he is succeeding within the limits of European politics and U.S. constitutional powers.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 6): Out of the Frying Pan


Nessa woke with a start. She’d been having the strangest dream …

She glanced around the hut she was in. Outside, night had fallen, or near enough, and there was a cool breeze wafting in through barred bamboo windows. That, and her hands and ankles had been tied together by the islanders who’d taken her prisoner, bound tightly around with some sort of jungle creeper (which had so far withstood all attempts to gnaw, wriggle out of, or cut through it). Her head felt muzzy as she blinked more awake and tried to remember.

They’d been in the medicine woman’s hut. Nemo had just drunk that potion (she smiled slightly. Poor goof had been hit with so much magic he couldn’t remember his own name, and that was before the potion. Well, he didn’t know who he was anymore, so she’d called him Nemo “No One” because everyone should have a name at least.) Then the medicine woman had thrown something on the fire, and the fumes had started making her drowsy, and … the mask had come off — she wasn’t a medicine woman — and they’d walked into a trap.

Nessa kicked out angrily against one of the other pillars of the hut. Dammit!

She sighed, leaning back with her eyes closed. Nothing was ever simple.


In the jungle, the mighty jungle … Feathers the parrot bobbed jauntily up and down on the man called Nemo’s shoulder as he walked. ‘Wait, wait, stop here.’


Feathers turned ’round and looked at him with a gleam in his eye. ‘Because I just spotted something, and I think I got an idea. Trust me, you’ll love it.’


‘Ya ready?’ said Feathers from up in the branches.

‘Yes, I’m ready. What’s all the—’

‘Just be sure you catch it, is all I’m saying: This is genius …’

There was a kind of beak-like snipping sound from up above, he reached out, and a lemon-shaped fruit fell into his hand.

‘A lemon? What happened to the genius plan?’

Feathers fluttered down and landed on his shoulder, shaking his head to one side and shuddering. ‘Don’t you know what that is? That’s an outaya. Answer to all your problems.’

‘It looks a bit like a gourd.’

‘How’d ya think it got its name?’ said Feathers, waggling his eyebrows. Nemo frowned. Could parrots do that? ‘C’mon, it’s a great idea. Let you shake off what the witch lady drugged you with.’

‘Which one?’ Nemo asked, and then despite himself, ‘… What else does it do?’

‘It’ll help you rescue that girl you mentioned …’ said Feathers, with the assurance of one laying down an ace. ‘Rawk!’


They were in the bushes near the edge of the village, on the low side of the volcano, watching a couple of sentries in brightly painted carved masks go by in the moonlight. He could hear the ocean from here. ‘Was that a pirate ship in the bay I saw earlier?’ he whispered.

‘Yeah, yeah, pirates.’ Feathers grinned at him. Strange, it never occurred to him to wonder how he did it. ‘Ya got the fruit? Now bite into it, and keep eating till ya feel it.’

Nemo sighed. He hadn’t got any shoes on, he was cold and tired — he bit into the fruit — and surprisingly hungry … He took another big bite and another …

‘Hey, steady on there!’ whispered Feathers urgently. ‘Not too— much …’ he trailed off as Nemo finished licking the last of the outaya juice off his fingers.

He felt good. Stronger. More in tune with his senses. Like something was building in him, like it was making a new man of him. For a moment a sudden burst of suspicion flashed across his mind and he grabbed hold of Feathers. ‘Wait a minute. Outaya? As in “out’a ya gourd”?’

‘What, don’t look at me like that — it’s great stuff, make you twice as strong, help you shrug off the poison,’ said the parrot, trying to struggle free.

Nemo noticed how Feathers’ eyes were swiveling a little and he was twitching. ‘Did you by any chance ingest some of this too?’

‘When I was snippin’ it off the branch for ya with my beak. Birds aren’t supposed to, but it kinda gets to you and—’

He let go. He felt great. Feathers was right. Good Feathers. He patted him on the head and nimbly dodged the nip of an annoyed beak. Outayas. He should have one for breakfast, every morning. Maybe two or three. Or five. He should take some seeds home with him. Only just now, he had something to do …

‘Wait, wait!’ hissed Feathers. ‘Not out in the open like that! It makes you stronger, not arrow-proof!’ He shook his head. Crazy kid! He was going to get himself killed. He jerked his head to one side. Say, this outaya was good stuff …


Simeo the sentry stood with his mask back, leaning against the privy wall, enjoying a quiet smoke. His spear rested against the wall beside him along with that of Vaxil, his co-sentry for the evening, who had had something disagree with him at dinner and was wrestling out the disagreement behind the door behind him with the crescent shape cut out of it.

‘There, there,’ said the Simeo, exhaling a stream of smoke into the night air as he tried not to listen to the retching sounds behind him. ‘Soon be over, pal. Say, do you think I should ask Matiki to the luau on Friday?’

‘Why ask me that now,’ said a queasy voice from behind the privy door. ‘I—’

‘Yeah, yeah, sorry, bad time … Still …’ He flexed his muscles. They were nice muscles. All the girls in the village thought so. He worked on them, toned them. He wished there was a mirror nearby. Lala and Sarassa, he thought. He could ask them to the luau. Apparently, the witch doctress had one of those new little magic mirrors that everyone was talking about, from the big islands. A man who looked as good as he did should have a magic mirror of his own, he thought … They said you could take reflections of yourself, so everyone could see how good you looked. And, you could talk to people on them and send them your, “self-reflections”, were they called? They even said that on the big islands you could get paid for standing around attractively while people pointed magic mirrors at you and took reflections of you. He’d like that. He’d like that a lot. They also said, on the big islands, they had indoor plumbing. Better not tell Vaxil, he might want to go too. Wait …

What was that rustling?

Did those bushes just move?

He looked down at the cigarette. They said these things were bad for you. Still, it wasn’t as if they were his, Vaxil had left his pouch hanging on the door next to his carved wooden mask, and, well … what did he expect?

He turned. ‘Vaxil, dude, are you nearly done in there? Only, some of us got work to do—’


Vaxil sighed and rested for a moment. Senora de Cthonos! Our Lady of the Lava! What was in that chilli! There was no rush to get back on guard was there? Besides, who was going to actually attack them? The pirates? They were all too busy combing their beards. Plus he happened to know because he’d heard it from one the witch doctress’s assistants that the Amazons were all off the island right now, off on some crazy crusade or something. Their war canoes had last been seen heading off into the distant sunset. And the witch doctress had ways of knowing that—

—Unfortunately, before he could learn more he’d had to go on duty. And then the chili had struck. Cthoney’s Revenge, as they sometimes called it. Only not too loudly, and not near the witch doctress or the big stone temple complex, and never round about now, he thought — as the volcano rumbled ominously in the distance. Uh-oh. Cthoney was vengeful, but merciful, but merciful, he hastened to add goddess, and worthy of respect, he thought fervently. The rumbling seemed to die down. Phew.

There was a little oil lamp hanging from the privy roof, casting a yellowish light. Huh, the new catalog from the big islands. Why hadn’t somebody told him? Something fell out of it. He held it up to the light and read: ‘WANTED, Mostly Dead or Slightly Alive’ …

‘… dude, are you nearly done in there?’ came Simeo’s voice from outside. Lady of the Lava, couldn’t a guy get over Cthoney’s Revenge in peace— Rumble. Uh-oh. He didn’t mean it, he didn’t mean it, honest! ‘Only,’ came Simeo’s voice again, ‘some of us got work to do—’ Thump. There were some heavy meaty sounds from outside, a brief gurgling – and then silence …


No response.

‘Simeo, if this is another one of those practical jokes, it isn’t funny. And those better not be my smokes I smell out there. I told you about that before, dude.’ Tell ya, he thought, unlatching the door, when I get to the big islands, and the young ladies are all swooning over the handsome guy from the volcano island … ‘Simeo …?’


After it was all over, Vaxil was never keen to talk about what happened that night. But when the witch doctress’s assistants got him alone afterward and asked him about it — with the help of a firepit, a turning spit, and a big cauldron of Mama Witch Doctress’s special chili — this is what he said:

There was this … guy, and he sort of … glowed. And he didn’t have any shoes on. I mean, hey, even out here we have the latest sandles from the big islands — aaah, all right, all right! Anyway, he was dressed so strangely. And he just said, ‘Tell me where the mermaid is, or I’ll shove this spear so far up—’

(Apparently, Vaxil passed out at this point and had to be revived. But it was one heck of a black eye he had. ‘One punch. Knockout,’ he had muttered as he faded off.)


Nessa jerked awake guiltily. She must have dozed off. Aah. Her hands and feet had gone to sleep again. These bonds were too tight. Hard to move her legs. Pins and needles … What was that? She froze — and listened. There was a fluttering behind her, and a kind of scratchy sound followed by a rustling. She tried to peer her head round the post. A … creature was shuffling in through the bars on the window. It hopped down on to the floor and fluttered over to her.

‘The bird flies at midnight,’ it said mysteriously.


‘The bird flies at midnight,’ it repeated and swiveled its head. ‘Yowzer, but that outaya’s good stuff!’

She hung her head. She was going mad. She was hallucinating. Maybe it had been that fumy stuff the witch doctress had thrown into the flames …

‘Now hang in there, dolly, we’re bustin’ ya out of here,’ said Feathers. ‘Rawk!

‘Who are you? What are you?’ Then she thought about it a second. ‘Dolly?’ she said, dangerously.

‘Name’s Feathers, but you can call me–‘ he glanced at her, ‘–anything you like, actually. Rawk! Help is on the way! Now, hold still,’ he said angling his beak, ‘and let’s see if we can get ya untied …’

She held still. Best not to argue with a hallucination, especially if it might get her bonds cut. She paused. Had that bird just waggled its eyebrows at her … ?

The vines fell away from her wrists. ‘Up-si-daisy! There ya go, now we’re cookin’ with charcoal,’ said the parrot, hopping down to free her feet. ‘How d’ya like them coconuts, huh?’ he continued, apparently to himself, as Nessa tried to rub a bit of life back into her hands. Then she heard something else. A tapping, as if a-rapping, tapping at her prison door …

It was playing ‘Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits’.

‘Sounds like a signal,’ said Feathers conspiratorially, dragging away cut creepers as she stretched her legs out and then fell sideways. ‘Er, I’d get clear of the door if I was you. I think he’s a had a little much …’

‘A little much what?’ she said, scrabbling painfully to one side.

‘You’ll see,’ said Feathers, just as the door exploded inward and shattered against a pillar, which snapped and brought half the roof in with it. As the dust cleared, standing there with his leg out in a kung-fu pose, was Nemo. In the distance, there were shouts and cries as the noise attracted attention.

Feathers sighed and somehow contrived the birdlike equivalent of putting a hand against his eyes and shaking his head. ‘I only told the kid to kick the ruddy door in! Rawk!’


Nessa shook off whatever the tropical equivalent of half a thatched roof was and spluttered away some stray straw. ‘Nemo? I … hardly recognized you …’ And she didn’t. He was walking taller, he had this … and he … she’d never noticed him quite like that before …

‘Yeah, the kid does have that glowy effect going on,’ said Feathers. ‘Tell ya what, boys and girls, this is nice and all, but I think we’d better am-scray before the annibals-cay catch up with us, eh?’

‘Can you move? Did they hurt you — if they did, why I’ll—’

A hand gripped his wrist, another touched his cheek. ‘Nemo,’ she said firmly, ‘I’m fine — I’m okay. But the talking hallucination is right, we’d better—’ she staggered as her legs gave way – grabbed out to stop herself falling – grabbed on to Nemo … The circulation to her feet was still cut off, no way she could run like this. And then she realized she had her arms ’round Nemo’s neck — looking up into his eyes … Nemo had nice eyes, she found herself thinking—

Rawk! Trouble on the way,’ called Feathers, fluttering up onto Nemo’s other shoulder. ‘Grab the girl and run, Forrest, run!’

‘Hold on tight!’ said Nemo as he lifted her up, and started sprinting away into the night. Not even the fact that he was carrying a well-built young lady (plus talking parrot) seemed to slow him down. What had gotten into him?

‘He must be out of his gourd …’ she said, wonderingly, as arrows and poisoned darts whistled through the air around them.

‘You said it!’ said Feathers happily. Only, a dim and distant part of his brain had started to ask, should they be running towards the volcano … ?


To be continued …

[Previous –> Part 5: The Limey and the Coconut.] [Next –> … ?]

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Book Recs for a Recent Catholic


I have recently decided I want to be Catholic after a lifetime of protesting (being Protestant, not being an anti-theist) and am looking for some great books on the history of the Catholic church, Catholic philosophy, Catholic apologia, etc. I figured Ricochet would be a good place to ask, given the founder and community here. S o what would you guys recommend?

For anyone wondering what prompted the change, Cupid’s arrow found its mark and I’m engaged to a wonderful Catholic girl and I want to raise our future children in the faith.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post


The Conservative Review has an article out about an amicus brief to SCOTUS in connection with the upcoming review of a Louisiana law requiring certain medical/safety standards at abortion clinics which opponents claim are unnecessary and will result in further limiting access to abortion. This amicus brief is reported to include the endorsement of over […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Can I Tell You a (Holiday) Story?


I just got a text from my childhood best friend. She texted three pictures from our other childhood best friend. This time of year, people reconnect, share stories, and think of their lives in context — as in the past, present, and future. Let me tell you a story:

I recognized the older sister, the lovely Mary Beth. She was beautiful, blonde, and so talented. Growing up, I was constantly at my friend Kitty’s house. They lived on the next street over, easily accessible through the alley. I asked Mary Beth to make me a dress. I coveted Mary Beth’s navy and black velvet dresses with lace collars. She could sew anything. I found a pink paisley material and she whipped up a gorgeous mini-dress with bell sleeves. I strutted into grade school and got sent home because it was too short. My best friend Kitty lent me her Maxi-coat; so cool that I’d throw off my plain nothing, kick off my ugly snow boots, and put on that beautiful wool coat that dragged the ground. I slipped and struggled over the ice and snow to school because the coat had to have pretty shoes under it. So vain … Wait – did I tell you Mary Beth was deaf? She taught me sign language. Kitty and her baby sister could hear.

The three texted pictures included Mrs. Kitty and my friend Kitty. I was told Mrs. Kitty passed away last year at 91. Both were named Kathryn. This family burns deep into my past memory. Both parents could hear, but five out of seven kids were deaf. Their doors were never locked. You could pop in for lunch or dinner, shoes off. One child, Barry, used to strut around and put on shows for us and make us laugh. He turned out to be gay – no one cared. Through their church, I met Godsen, a guest from Africa. I saw him in the backyard in a white robe and tall red hat, as black as night. I was curious and introduced myself. He told me about his country.

A pretty Oriental lantern with red fringe hung over their kitchen sink one day. What’s this, I asked? A gift from their mission guest from China. She was so sweet and told me about her country. My best friend’s family had one income. They were Italian and the dad was a Sears appliance repairman. He repaired our appliances for free. Seven kids on one income and two small bathrooms.

There was no lack of discipline. When one of the kids got mouthy (they didn’t care if a neighbor kid was present), they got spanked. One memory is of a heated exchange and chasing around the dining room. Being Italian, they always made tons of Christmas cookies for the neighbors. They had a beagle named Spot that howled at night. We all opened our windows and yelled, “shut up!” They had a fish pond, quail, chickens, a tomato garden. Three boys piled up in one room and four girls in another. I remember the Jergen’s lotion in the bathroom. The smell reminds me of them today. We kids once squirted dish soap on the linoleum floor in the boy’s room (it had a drain) and dumped water to create a slide. We got sent home and were told to tell our mom what we did. I was stupid enough to do it and got grounded.

They never lacked anything because the neighbors donated beds, clothes, casseroles, bassinets, especially when baby number seven arrived – a surprise baby.

Seven kids, one gay, one income, an active church open to all cultures, disabilities, so much love. That’s where I learned about diversity. There was always spaghetti and a clean house. Everyone had their duties and you never entered this house with shoes. Twenty pairs in the entry – you had to find yours. Mary Beth still looked beautiful. My friend Kitty looks so Sicilian! They made a difference in my life and so many others. I could go over anytime, kick off my shoes even if no kids were at home, and pull a book off the shelf. That’s where I first read the holiday classic, The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell, written in 1946. Any kid could pop in for a sandwich. There was always enough food.

I could keep going with more wonderful stories, and the impact this and other families had on my life. I heard years ago that the eldest boy became Principal of St. Vincent De Paul’s School for the Deaf in Pittsburgh. If you don’t think a single family can impact a life, and the world, think again. Family – Faith – Community mattered. Do you remember a family that impacted your life when growing up?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Geography of Reason


The Philosopher Aristotle divided persuasion into three parts: Ethos, Pathos, and Logos. Traditionally, we have thought of them as three separate modes of persuasion, I propose we think of them as three connected parts of shaping one’s geography of reason.

First, some definitions:

Ethos (Nature) is the word from which we get Ethnicity (natural group of people) and is traditionally thought of as persuasion by credibility. For example, doctors are credible so we are persuaded to take their advice on medicine. The criticism of Ethos is that it is an “Appeal to authority” which is a logical fallacy that lends people to say it is inferior.

Pathos (Suffering) is the word from which we get Pathology (study of what causes suffering, disease) and is traditionally viewed as the emotional mode of persuasion. An example of this could be that Bernie Sanders appeals to his voters by telling them Income inequality feels unpleasant since poor people can envy wealth. The Ben Shapiros of the world would criticize pathos with “facts don’t care about your feelings” and argue that logic should trump emotion.

Logos (Word, Reason) is where we get logistics (coordination of resources) and is the traditional mode of persuasion of logic. People tend to view Logos as the highest form of persuasion and Pathos and Ethos as lower forms. My argument is that Logic is actually the least important part of persuasion.

David Hume correctly points out that “Reason is the slave of passion” because logic is only a tool to achieve desired results but cannot be a desire unto itself. Hume would go on to struggle with the Is-Ought problem where he could not find a way to bridge the way the world is (Nature) with how we want the world to be (Desire, the suffering of want). And so we arrive at my proposed paradigm of how to think of Ethos, Pathos, and Logos.

Ethos = Is

Pathos = Ought

Logos = Bridge

This is the geography of reason. Ethos is where we think we are. Pathos is where we think we want to go, Logos is how we think we can get there. Changing the starting point changes the equation just as much as changing the destination. The means of reaching the destination are important but are determined by the two points more than they determine the two points.

In order for persuasion to take place, we must use Ethos and Pathos to move where we think the world is and where we think the world should be. Only once those points in ideological space are shifted can we then propose Logos to connect those two points. This requires us to broaden the way we think of Ethos in persuasion. Instead of just thinking of the nature of the author we need to consider the nature of the reality in arguments.

The Ethos of humans is they are mortal. The Pathos of humans is they do not want to die. Therefore the Logos for humans is to avoid death by doing x, y, z. There is no solution to the is-ought problem, there is only the reality that we want to change reality and use logic to do so. If you are in an argument with someone and you are not changing their passions or changing their understanding of reality, no amount of logic will change their minds. Only once their desires have changed can logic be used to realize those desires.

It’s not enough for conservatives to put forth logical plans to conserve American freedom because only the desire for freedom can give life to the logic of those plans. If freedom isn’t wanted, it would be illogical to pursue it.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dunno Much ‘Bout History


A couple of days ago, I overheard two of my colleagues talking about football. One of the mentioned the red and yellow uniform of the San Francisco Forty-Niners. I spoke up:

“The uniform is red and gold, not yellow.”

“Yellow, gold, what’s the difference?”

“It’s gold, because they’re the Forty-Niners.”

“What do you mean.”

“You do know what a ‘Forty-Niner’ is, right?”

“A football player.”

“Yes, but what is the team named after?”

“I don’t know.”

“The ‘Forty-Niners?’ 1849? The California Gold Rush?”

{Blank stare}

Years ago, I was working in a section with two doctors about my age, another, much younger, nurse and a still-younger tech. The docs and I were talking and the name Eva Braun came up. Neither the nurse or the tech had any idea who she was. At first I thought they were kidding, and said “Hitler’s girlfriend.” Nope. Never heard of her.

Now we know why idiotic ideas like “(Insert Republican president here) is worse than Hitler,” “The US today is a dystopia,” or “Donald Trump is a greater president than Abraham Lincoln” gain traction. Our glorious educational system has apparently stopped teaching history.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This


First, let me say that this morning was not the end of the world. But I could not possibly have packed in more upset, frustration, or mishaps than I experienced this morning. And it all happened in the first half-hour of waking up.

My clock radio went off at 6:40 a.m. Earlier in the day, I had corrected the volume because the volume had been so soft the morning before that I almost didn’t hear it go off.

Well, we heard it this morning—blasting both me and my husband wide awake.

I guess I’d over-corrected. Especially since my husband usually is able to sleep through it. After correcting the volume and turning off the radio, I went to the other end of the room to continue getting dressed for my morning walk.

Suddenly, the radio was blasting again! What? My husband calls out and as I raced to shut it off, I realize that I’d only punched the radio on/off button (not the alarm) and put it into snooze mode.

Okay. Apologies to my hubby. I finished getting dressed.

I quietly closed the bedroom door and on my way to the kitchen, I pick up my heavy winter coat, mittens, scarf, and a knitted hat that I’d placed on the sofa the night before. I dumped them on the kitchen island and began to dress up for the horrible cold (40 degrees!)

Warm jacket—check!

Knitted hat—check!


Mittens? One mitten? What?

I ran over to the closet where the items were all stored before I took them out the night before.

No mitten.

Then I glanced at the sofa. There’s that pathetic little mitten clinging to the arm of the sofa.

I rushed over to get it; now I’m worried about running late because I have breakfast with friends later. So I put on all my warm clothes, my headphones and reach for my MP3.

No MP3.

It was not on the counter where I was sure I’d placed it the night before.

Now I’m getting upset. Okay, I must have left the MP3 on my desk after charging it, which meant I had to open the bedroom door and go to the other end of the house to my computer. I check my desk.

No MP3.

I made this same trip three times because the MP3 did not miraculously appear on the kitchen island or on the desk and I knew it had to be somewhere. As quiet as I tried to be, my husband asked me later why I came through the bedroom three times. Sigh.

I finally decided to walk without my MP3. Sorry, Andrew Klavan.

When I returned from my brisk walk, something made me move a large dish with a lip that rests on the kitchen island.

There was the MP3.

Let’s just say that after a hot shower and having breakfast with my friends, I felt some of my sanity return.

For now.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Need to Get in on This Action…..


So a North Dakota company named Fisher Sand and Gravel has won a $400 million contract to build … wait for it … 31 miles of border wall.

Some thoughts:

That’s around $12.9 million per mile or $2,444 per foot.

If that budget is accurate then we are only looking at around $6.5 billion for the entire border. I know there isn’t going to be a wall on the entire border plus some sections would obviously be harder than others but I was just curious how the numbers looked.

Actually, I would love to see the scope and specs on this to see what was actually priced. That’s a bunch of money (seems like about twice what tilt wall concrete would be) but no one works cheap for the government and their specs can be ridiculous.

It says in the article that the company “claimed” that they can build the wall faster than the Corps of Engineers. I would say this is more a statement of fact than a “claim.” The Corps is part of the government and the government does not do “fast.”

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mothers and Fathers


My number four son is now a police officer, a few months into his first year on the job. He spends his evenings and nights driving his patrol car around a New England city, staying awake, keeping the peace.

He tells me that about once a week he responds to a domestic call involving a minor. With few exceptions, they’re variations on the same theme: a single mother with one child, a son, who is unruly and defiant and whom she can’t control. My son tells me that his department responds to at least one of these every day — this in a relatively small city.

He had one case where the boy was ten years old. The lad refused to put on his seat belt, so his mother called 911.

I think it’s hard for most women to discipline children, particularly sons. I think some women fear that they’ll lose the love of their sons if they say “no.” Beyond that, I think many, perhaps most, women simply don’t want to be the heavy, the no-nonsense voice of authority. It’s a role many men don’t mind playing (and one I always enjoyed), but one mothers would rather delegate to fathers.

Boys and girls need fathers. But we can’t talk about that, about the roles fathers play, if we have to pretend that men and women are the same, or that their differences are trivial and mutable.

And that is perhaps the most important reason why we should reject calls for respectful compliance with the trans nonsense, and encourage a clearer understanding of sexual reality — of men and women and how we differ.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Remember, Ice Age Is Coming


Dr. Sheldon Cooper would be devastated, Leonard Nimoy was wrong:

The problem is presented diametrically differently, but the solution remains the same.

The environmentalist scares arent about the scientific data, but about the politics. They realize that their ‘solutions’ are politically unpopular, in order to make these ‘solutions’ seem palatable, the population has be scared into dramatic actions.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Delayed Innovation


Sometimes the best thing that can happen to an inventor is for him to be ignored.

Take for example German archery enthusiast Jörg Sprave. He pitched his bow designs to manufacturers for years. None purchased his plans. But Sprave did not idly wait for broader success. He continued to iterate until building something he wished he had thought of years ago. 

There are many examples of engineers, artists, and other creators who benefited from a period of obscurity. Rather than share their first ideas, they could share their best ideas. 

Which innovators or inventions spring to your mind?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Museum Exhibits Sexism and Racism


I realize this may be shocking to some of you, but the brain trust at the very woke Baltimore Museum of Art, in the nation’s cleanest, most law-abiding and best-managed city, has become even more woke, (or woker, workier, wokey). BMA Director Christopher Bedford (who could be suffering from guilt for his apparent gender and skin color) and those who report to this privileged white male, including BMA Chief Curator Asma Naeem (who clearly deserves the BMA’s directorship much more) have decided not to purchase any artwork in 2020 if it was created by a…wait for it…a man!

One must assume that this means a cis-gendered man who knows that he was born a man with the generally accepted anatomical features associated with being a male of the human species and prefers to be recognized and behave as a male and not necessarily males who prefer to identify or behave as females (or their flouncy, flamboyant conception of females) or perhaps even other species (I’m obviously very concerned about the under-representation of our Otherkin community).

Per Director Bedford:

“This is how you raise awareness and shift the identity of an institution. You don’t just purchase one painting by a female artist of color and hang it on the wall next to a painting by Mark Rothko. To rectify centuries of imbalance, you have to do something radical.”

Totally radical, man…of white privilege. Totally. No mention of Otherkins, though. Pity.

And Ms. Naeem added (emphasis mine):

“The challenges are systemic and widespread, because many of the works in local donors, local patrons’ collections are traditionally made by male artists. There are these various subtle but consistent, pervasive markers of what is considered creative achievement, and we are trying to reset all of those markers.”

What those “subtle but consistent, pervasive markers of what is considered creative achievement” are exactly Ms. Naeem does not explain. But it would be just like a white Scottish-Irish-German-American man of it must-be-said, questionable privilege, to insist that a woman of color clarify what the heck she is talking about. Shame on me.

It should be clear, from Ms. Naeem and Director Bedford (her boss man) then that local donors and local patrons are responsible in maintaining the oppressive patriarchy by controlling what people see and thus warping the minds of successive generations of oppressed women especially to venerate primarily the artistic works of white men. It is, well, simply outrageous that museums and art galleries like the BMA have been bullied for decades to conform to these male-dominated attitudes. Obviously, white men, and no doubt very powerful, wealthy and arrogant white men, whether museum curators, collectors, donors, patrons (not matrons, of course), robber barons, philanthropists, and other vile and disgusting males, have, over the centuries, oppressed women, particularly women of color (one would assume skin colors like yellow ochre, raw umber, burnt sienna, and various pigments of black) throughout the fine arts, in an effort to keep their artistic visions from being seen and their voices from being heard. Oh, the injustice! I’m verklempt.

Hopefully, these paintings in the BMA of privileged white men will be taken down immediately and permanently stored in a dark corner of the museum’s basement to avoid poisoning the minds of visitors. Why in the world, they were allowed to be shown in the first place boggles the mind.

From NPR:

A 2019 study of 18 major U.S. art museums found that 87% of artists in their collections are men, and 85% of the artists are white. Another study earlier this year found that up to 10% of art galleries don’t have a single woman among the artists they represent.

A long-standing gender imbalance needs to be corrected and corrected it shall be as NPR continues to “report”:

The BMA isn’t alone in working to correct this longstanding gender imbalance. The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington has 5,500 objects in its collections and presents 10 exhibits featuring female artists each year.

BMA chief curator Asma Naeem told The Washington Post that the 2020 program is an effort at “re-correcting the canon.”

Shakespeare, Milton, Blake, Victor Hugo, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, and hundreds of other white males have been successfully purged from several humanities courses on college campuses in the United States and Canada in an effort to re-correct the longstanding gender-imbalanced canon of literature, it was only a matter of time that the art world man-up woman-up and follow suit.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Three Melancholy Poems


I haven’t been around here for quite awhile while I dealt with some things. Mostly, politics was driving me crazy so I stepped out for a bit. I didn’t want to make a big explanatory exit, so I just left … and now I’m back.

It’s been quite a year. While there have been many happy occasions—one son married, another son returned home after two years in Tijuana—I’ve also faced plenty of personal dissappointment and the feeling that little bits of my heart were gradually being stripped away. On the plus side, I’ve done a lot of writing and it looks like I’ll probably publish another volume of poetry by the end of next year. Today I’m sharing three more personal poems that won’t be included in that volume. They kind of ecompass the tectonic shifts in my world this year.

This first one I wrote the day before my oldest son get married.

The second I wrote right before my dad passed away unexpectedly from a freak diagnosis of agressive leukemia. I thought he’d live another 10 years and then suddenly he was gone.

Finally, as my children grow up and move on, I find I’m beginning to lose my sense of direction. We are no longer the center of each other’s attention.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Powerful Women and the Men Who Love Them


“If this movie doesn’t make money, it reinforces a stereotype in Hollywood that men don’t go see women do action movies.” That was what actress/producer Elizabeth Banks said in response to her film Charlie’s Angels tanking at the box office to the tune of 13 million dollars and change.

Huh? Wait a second. I’m a man, and I have a coffee mug named Ripley.

Ripley was the no-nonsense leader from Aliens. She single-handedly took out a colony of Xenomorphs. She went toe to toe with their queen.

I freaking loved that.

And I’m not alone. Ask any guy to list their favorite action movies and I’ll bet you’ll get votes for films from the Star Wars, Alien, and The Terminator franchises. Several of these contain incredibly strong female main characters — Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, Rey, Princess Leia, and Jyn Erso, to name a few.

So Elizabeth Banks is wrong. Men will spend money to see women in action movies, with one caveat: The movies must not suck.

Her logic is based on a misguided perception of misogyny, which is ironic, considering that Banks’ most profitable role to date was in The Hunger Games franchise, a wildly popular series of films with a strong female lead. The later Hunger Games films didn’t do as well as the first two, but that wasn’t because men didn’t want to see strong women; on the contrary, Katniss, the main character, became increasingly unlikable as the story moved on. The Hunger Games franchise went from being a fun action movie to a thoughtful message film filled with pseudo-psychological commentary.

Whatever. I just wanted to see more exploding arrows.

Don’t get me wrong, I love many genres of film. But with an action movie, all I really want to see is, well, some cool action with characters I care about. I want to root for them, and I couldn’t care less whether or not their armor is designed to fit curves.

Here is a shocker: Success at the box office has little to do with the gender of the cast and much more to do with good writing and quality acting. Making a film with all-female leads for the express purpose of making a statement about female empowerment always looks dumb, because it is. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has tons of great female characters, but the girl-power-pander scene in Avengers Endgame was cringe-worthy. So was the record scratch cue up of No Doubt’s I’m Just a Girl playing during Captain Marvel’s main fight scene. Both scenes were overtly in-your-face ways of saying, “See. We’ve got girls. And they’re really tough, too.” The scenes were unnecessary, and they actually served the opposite purpose of marginalizing the characters on multiple levels.

Great action movies don’t beat the protagonist’s gender over our heads. The characters shine because we care about who they are and what they’re going through. Gender may play a significant role in a certain hero’s journey, but that is not why we love them. Case in point: Sarah Connor.

Sarah Connor’s journey began in The Terminator (1984) where she was depicted as the farthest thing from a hero one could draw up. She played the damsel in distress for most of the film; tried to run away, was very much the victim. We watched her evolve as she learned of her importance to future events and went through a little hell before finally stepping up in the movie’s third-act, becoming the unlikely hero. She was feminine, she was frightened by scary things, but she learned how to push past that fear to accomplish the mission.

By the time Terminator 2 came around, Sarah Connor had surpassed Leia Organa as the second most badass woman in film (it’s hard to top Ripley) and we — men who love action movies — adored her. She wasn’t sexy, she wasn’t funny, and she was emotionally unstable. That’s pretty much the archetype of the girl you want to avoid. But Sarah Connor got away with that, because she could pump a 12-gauge pistol-grip shotgun with one arm. She could look a killer cyborg in the eye and tell it to go [expletive] itself. And her motivation wasn’t some modernist notion of social justice girl power. No, she fought for the most basic, the most feminine of all motivations: To protect her offspring.

The most recent film to elicit this kind of reaction to a strong female character was Emily Blunt’s performance in A Quiet Place. That film ended with her character wielding a shotgun as well, but that wasn’t what made her amazing. What impressed guys like me was the way she managed to deliver a baby all by herself, in relative silence, with killer aliens in the next room. That was awesome. Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley would have given her props for that move.

There is a deleted scene on the Director’s Cut of Aliens where we see Ellen Ripley returning to Earth after being marooned in deep-space cryosleep for fifty-seven years. She discovers that while she was away, her daughter died an old woman, and it’s a loss that ignites her motherly instinct later in the film when she chooses to postpone her own escape to take on that massive colony of acid-spewing Xenomorphs a third time — alone, because all but one of her Marines have been killed — to rescue a little girl.

A little while ago I went with some men to see the latest iteration of Sarah Connor on the big screen in Terminator: Dark Fate. Sarah Connor is now in her sixties, with grey hair and wrinkles that Clint Eastwood would appreciate. Once again, she was awesome. She was tough, vulnerable, made mistakes, and had to swallow her pride a few times. But she could still go toe to toe with a Terminator.

That is the kind of female action hero we want. Not the kind that denies her femininity, but the one who gains power from it.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Martyn Lloyd-Jones on the New Paganism


“Their god is something which they created themselves, a being who is always prepared to oblige and excuse them. They do not worship him with awe and respect, indeed they do not worship him at all. They reveal that their so-called god is no god at all in their talk. For they are forever saying that ‘they simply cannot believe that God will punish the unrepentant sinner to all eternity, and this and that.’ They cannot believe that God will do so, therefore, they draw the conclusion that God does not and will not. In other words, God does what they believe he ought to do or not do. What a false and blasphemous conception of God! How utterly untrue and unworthy! Such is the new paganism of today.” — Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Martyn Lloyd-Jones was a young doctor in 1920s London. His boss, Lord Horder, asked him to make a catalog of their patients. LJ soon realized that most of their clientele, the best and brightest of their time, had medical problems due to their lifestyle (ate too much, drank too much, etc.). He soon decided that people had a spiritual problem. In this advent season, it is important to look beyond the headlines of the day.

Here’s a BBC interview he did in 1970.

Two of his sermons.



Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post


(CNN)A man who was slammed by a Chicago police officer during a Thanksgiving day arrest was charged Sunday with aggravated battery of a police officer. The incident, which was captured on a widely circulated video, led to the officer being assigned to desk duty pending a use of force investigation by the Chicago Office of […]

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