Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Next Cultural Innovation: Throuples

 

OK, if you’re a naïve rube like me you might ask yourself what is a “throuple?” It turns out it’s a relatively new word formed by the blending of “three” and “couple” and it means “a long-term sexual relationship between three people” per a new entry into the Macmillan Dictionary. They must be ahead of the cultural curve from Webster’s.

You would think that the culture couldn’t sink any lower. Every day this absurdity of changing one’s gender identity takes deeper root. Today we were informed that a biological male (is there really any other kind?) will be competing against women in the Olympic trials.

A biologically male marathon runner who identifies as a transgender woman is set to compete in the USA Olympic trials later in February.

Megan Youngren “is set to make history on Feb. 29 as the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials,” Sports Illustrated reported. Youngren qualified for the trials after a strong performance on Dec. 8, 2019 in the California International Marathon.

This after two men—supposedly spouses—kissed on stage after one was participating in a presidential debate for the United States Presidency. No matter what is written on paper or declared legal Petey and Chasten do not form a marriage. But the culture has decided they do.

As if all this wasn’t spinning a conservative’s head around faster than a demonic possession in a movie, we now have throuples being endorsed on television.

The HGTV show House Hunters featured its first “Throuple”, or polyamorous couple, on its show Wednesday night.

A “Throuple” is a relationship made up of three people. In this case, two women and a man named Lori, Geli, and Brian. The couple has two children, who are biologically related to Brian and Lori.

In the episode, the trio describes their ideal home as one that has a three-car garage, a master bedroom that fits three people, and room for the two children. While looking at a house’s kitchen, Lori remarked on its size as a “couple’s kitchen, not a throuple’s kitchen.”

The episode describes to viewers how the couple met. Brian and Lori were legally married and met Geli at a bar, where they fell in love with her. Brian and Lori subsequently exchanged vows in a commitment ceremony, which their children attended.

The episode was titled “Three’s Not A Crowd In Colorado Springs,” and received mixed reviews. Some viewers disapproved of the show featuring a polyamorous couple, while others lauded it for being progressive.

Oh, how quaint. Love knows no bounds, especially on St. Valentine’s Day. They even invited their children to the ceremony. A ceremony of what and by whom?

HGTV ought to be ashamed of themselves but I’m sure they feel pride. From the absurdity of gay marriage to the absurdity of transgenderism to the absurdity of throuples, we conservatives can’t keep up. Progressives are moving faster than a lump of crap falling off the Empire State Building. And making the same splat.

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Apparently he hasn’t heard the news? Or maybe Mini Mike intends to retire for health reasons soon after taking office?

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘His Thumb on the Scales of Justice’: Chris Wallace

 

I am sorely disappointed in Chris Wallace. He does not usually say dumb things. But when he commented about Trump “putting his finger on the scale of justice” in the Roger Stone case, what he said was really stupid.

President Trump is the chief elected administrator in this country with authority over the Justice Department. When he sees the Justice Department do something unfair he not only has the right but the duty to address it. Isn’t that what we want in a president?

We might quibble about whether it was appropriate for him to express his concerns about the fairness of Roger Stone sentencing via Twitter. Still, Twitter works for the president. He has the same First Amendment right as everyone else to express his opinion.

I want the president to “put his thumb on the scales of justice” when that is tipping the scale toward the just and away from the unjust.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Zoot Suit Riots and Me

 

Around 1948, Red and I, both around ten-years-old and, true to our Irish DNA, red-headed and as pale as the underside of a trout, wandered into a dicey area of Compton. We were out a bit late and feeling a little adventurous when a couple of tough-looking pachucos (Chicano gang members) spotted us about a half-block away. “Hey, white boys! Watcha doin’ out so late?” (I made up that quote to add some life to this account, but they probably said something like that. That’s the way tough guys talk, isn’t it?)

Red and I had apparently wandered into their ‘hood, which was a violation of some kind of territorial imperative that all urban gangs seem to have.

Then they started running toward us. It looked to me as if these particular pachucos wanted to wail on a couple of little white kids. At any rate, we took off down the street as if we were being chased by the Devil himself.

I can’t remember how we got away. (This occurred about 70 years ago). All I remember is The Chase itself. The image of that running match has loomed large in my consciousness over the years.

Yesterday I had lunch with Red in Las Vegas. I asked him about that episode. He said he had no memory of a chase. Darn, I now think I made up The Chase out of thin air. And I believe I know how that might have happened.

You see, five years before the imaginary Chase took place, the LA newspapers were full of stories about a series of fights and brawls between zoot-suited pachucos and servicemen stationed in LA. (Zoot suits were often worn by pachucos who fancied themselves big shots and criminals. These zoot suits consisted, in their purest form, of a pork pie hat (see photo below), a long coat sometimes reaching to the knees, baggy trousers, and some bling, usually a long watch chain.)

The Zoot Suit Riots, as all the LA newspapers called them, started with a fight between a sailor and a Chicano. The sailor was beaten badly. Upon hearing of the beating, sailors and other servicemen stationed in LA, some carrying clubs and other crude weapons, started roaming the streets of LA looking for any zoot suiter who was unlucky enough to be on the street. After three or four days, the riots had spread to the south LA suburbs of Watts and Compton, my hometown.

The LA City Council finally became so worried that they banned the wearing of zoot suits altogether.

But by that time, we Compton kids had turned pachucos and zoot suiters (often one and the same) into the stuff of childhood nightmares, and I was evidently beginning to shape, in my unconscious mind, the outline of a story in which Red and I were chased down the street.

When Red and I get together in Vegas once a year, we usually compare stories of those long-ago days in Compton. Our memories often don’t jibe. (I’ve already written about our disparate memories of an encounter with a pedophile, who grabbed either Red’s or my crotch. To this day we’re not sure whose crotch got grabbed. I say it was Red’s; he says it was mine.

Each time I come away from meeting with Red (who is a retired professional gambler), I realize that my head is stuffed full of partial memories, edited memories, and false memories; and that I’ve shaped my persona over the years based on those memories. I wonder how I would think of myself if my memories were all based on the unvarnished truth.

Minus these dramatic (and dubious) episodes from my past, the inventions of my fevered imagination, I’m just a boring, ordinary guy. But my memories make me more interesting, in my mind at the least.

The example I’ve chosen, a false memory with a starting point about 70 years ago that grew through the years, may seem extreme, but my wife and I even have differing versions of the recent past.

According to memory theory these days, every time we recall a memory, we change it slightly. I’d like to ask Socrates how we can know ourselves if our memories, which make up the Self, are so volatile and unreliable.

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Perhaps not.

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We have been reeling after hearing the news that the [In]Justice Department has declined to prosecute the proven liar and treacherous snake known as Andrew McCabe, the one person who single-handedly launched the criminal investigation into the Trump Administration the day after his former boss and equally deceitful Saint James Comey was fired by the […]

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I have no idea what has happened here except all my familiar ways of doing things have vanished. Max said there is a side bar, but not on the page I am on. I can’t find my Chick-pit or lots of others. I haven’t been feeling well this past few months so haven’t kept up. […]

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Most people have heard the mocking of Trump supporters by Rick Wilson on the Don Lemon Show. I challenge him to come on R and either in print or on one of the Ricochet podcasts engage with Trump supporters. I’d be happy to do it one on one.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s Not About You, but the Survival of the Republic

 

We are at a critical juncture in the history of this country: survival of the Republic is at stake. We can’t afford to try to be comfortable with politics; all the evidence points to more disruption, anger, and chaos, as the Progressives realize they are, for one of the first times in their movement, in serious trouble. Now is not the time for conservatives and Republicans to quibble about differences. The moral high ground is not what you’ve always thought it was. And we need to deal with the shift through the power of our own unity.

Donald Trump has been the scapegoat of our rebellion against social and political change. But instead of throwing up our hands in resignation, or blaming everyone but ourselves for the mire we find ourselves in, we have to face the truth: the Constitution itself is at risk. We have violated it by allowing our children to be taught to disrespect it; we continually see the misuse of the court system; we’ve allowed politicians to distort the Constitution and the rule of law for their own purposes. It’s time to act.

We must unify for the sake of the Republic, to honor our founders and to preserve the Constitution.

What does unifying “look like?” We watched an excellent example through the entire impeachment process: Congressmen decried the abuse of due process regularly, Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows in the lead. They spoke out repeatedly without personal attacks unless, as in the case of Adam Schiff, blatant lies were spoken. Senators came together, too, voicing their concerns but making a wise decision to acquit the President. We must learn to express outrage with dignity. We have to do it every chance we get, regardless of what the Democrats say and the MSM ignores. We must unify in making our message clear: the public is being betrayed and lied to, and we are losing our country in the process.

We must do even more:

  1. We must transcend to a higher level of values to preserve the Republic. Our personal values (which are usually only personal beliefs and preferences) must be studied carefully, to make sure we are not just making excuses about protecting them because we are afraid of change. We must identify the larger issues, such as freedom and the Constitution, and not demand that our personal agendas are met. We must unify to save the country.
  2. We must weigh the importance of the character of the President against the continuance of liberty. Is it more important to have a President that doesn’t tweet hyperbole, or to have a country that teaches our children about the Constitution, about our American history and heroes, about the freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights? We must unify around priorities.
  3. We must constantly hold the bigger picture in mind, whether we think the President does or not. “Keeping America Great” also extends to maintaining the greatness of the most successful Democratic Republic on earth. We must unify whenever we possibly can about the policies he supports, not whether we like the manner in which he presents them.

We need to recognize and accept that the near future will be ugly. We can contribute to the chaos or we can align ourselves around its survival. We can have a knee-jerk reaction to the President’s actions, or we can weigh them against the consequences of their potential failure.

Please know, however, that I am acutely aware of how difficult this sacrifice will be. We will need to sacrifice trying to always realize our personal beliefs around character and decorum. We may need to let go of our strong commitment to seeing the country operate as we wish it would; we have already lost the high ground in many areas to the Progressives. Continuing to lament those losses without unifying around a greater cause will further damage the country.

Also, I want to emphasize that I am not asking people to walk in lock-step. We can disagree with the President without attacking him. We can point out better alternatives; we’ve seen him change his mind. But we can no longer afford to fight interminably among ourselves. We may win a battle or two, but we will lose the war.

We are fighting for the future of our Republic.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. FBI Gave Secrets to Steele

 

It has been clear to me for some time that the FBI is corrupt. How corrupt is still open for debate, but there has been no doubt in my mind about it, at the highest levels. This is, of course, nothing new. Under Hoover, it was as corrupt as such things can be. Still, we had hoped, in 2016 that was behind us. Not so.

This at Real Clear Investigations piece is scary. Any American should be horrified, but of course, the left will not be, and Never Trumpers won’t be, because let’s face it, there is nothing that will make either one of those groups change their mind. The Never Trumpers who can be won over have been (welcome all).

A month before the 2016 presidential election, the FBI met Christopher Steele in Rome and apparently unlawfully shared with the foreign opposition researcher some of the bureau’s most closely held secrets, according to unpublicized disclosures in the recent Justice Department Inspector General report on abuses of federal surveillance powers.

That is the opening paragraph. While DOJ lawyers want to put people away for seven years for process crimes, the FBI is breaking the law to help a candidate go after another in a presidential election.

The FBI’s decision to share classified information with a partisan operative and private foreign citizen is all the more curious because the team investigating figures associated with the presidential campaign of Donald Trump made extensive efforts to keep the very fact of Crossfire Hurricane a secret from their own colleagues at the bureau.

I have been in the behavioral health business for almost 30 years. I can tell you when people are hiding secrets from their friends, they are doing something wrong. It is clear the people doing this knew it was wrong when they were doing it.

The closing paragraphs are the strongest:

To appreciate the magnitude of the FBI’s breach of the rules governing classified materials, consider how the bureau’s former Director James Comey and former General Counsel James Baker have used classification to limit what Michael Horowitz was able to ask them. Comey and Baker “chose not to request that their security clearances be reinstated for their OIG interviews,” the Inspector General writes. “Therefore, we were unable to provide classified information or documents to them during their interviews to develop their testimony, or to assist their recollections of relevant events.”

The idea that the FBI is gratuitously sharing classified information with a foreign informant is rather extraordinary, says lawyer Bigley. “If one of my clients did this, they would be stripped of their security clearance, out of a job, and probably facing indictment.”

If nothing comes from this, we can be sure America is a banana republic now. The power of the DOJ is only to be used against conservatives and enemies of the deep state. The rules are only to advance their agenda. The laws are only enforced to attack their enemies.

I expect this information will be ignored across the board.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD: A Fool For Love

 

So I chose Valentine’s Day for my quote of the day, thinking it would be easy to write something about love, since I find myself madly in love with a truly wonderful man who is everything I ever wanted and better than I could ever have hoped for. While searching for the perfect love quote, I came across this:

“Love is the wisdom of the fool and the folly of the wise.” Samuel Johnson

It reminded me of the section in 1 Corinthians that we had for Bible study a couple weeks ago:

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him,God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached tho save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block for Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of man, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.” 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

At the end of the Bible study, I played the following song for the group “God’s Own Fool” by Michael Card

So Happy Valentine’s Day to all the fools, and I hope you all find the one that you are madly in love with, if you haven’t already.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. In Their Own Words and Actions

 

A line taken from my favorite uneducated crafter of words goes: “it has taken me so long, but now I know I believe; all that I do or say is all I ever will be.” Words and Actions. I would like briefly to turn attention to four individuals who have not only authored magnificent words but backed them with lifetime action, examples to us all of human strength, reasoned insight and a keen understanding of the American vision. There are American to the core.

I find it more than timely that a man who is known for having few publicly spoken words but who has (in my limited opinion) written the very best, deepest and most poetic Supreme Court opinions of the last several decades has decided to offer up a straight-forward narration of his remarkable life’s journey in the recently released film CREATED EQUAL. Clarence Thomas has gifted us with his story before in his memoir My Grandfather’s Son. But this film not only adds the visual to that compelling story but also the direct and sincere voice of the man who lived it. There are individuals whose stories greatly help us to become not just better citizens and Americans but human beings also. Thomas’s story and character are both examples of this.

Justice Thomas is just one of those four individuals I am taking this pause for. I will fall back almost two centuries to find the next one and then return to Thomas’ generation to round out the field.

One of the very best written pictures of what Americanism should look like in the life of an individual came from a man who went from a defiant slave to one of the leading intellectual leaders of his, or any other, age. It covers less than forty pages. It was actually a lecture that Frederick Douglass first gave in 1859. He would give it again and again over the next half-century with only slight edits over the years. I consider it one of the great works of American literature. Anyone not versed in Douglass’ Self-Made Men has an incomplete education.

Thomas Sowell was born in the rural South in 1930 but grew up in Harlem. His father died before his birth and he already had four siblings ahead of him. So, he was “farmed out” to a great-aunt who had two grown daughters. He was in Harlem by his ninth birthday and although an excellent student he dropped out of school to help support the family. When he was drafted into service in 1951, he was assigned to the Marine Corps. It was after that service in the Korean War that he was able to complete his education and begin his career as one of America’s foremost economic minds.

Walter E. Williams is Sowell’s junior by six years. He was from Philadelphia and raised in the housing projects there. He left Philly to live with his father in California and it was there where he too was drafted. While in the service he was independent enough to have a court-martial filed against him and sharp enough (and brave enough) to argue his own case and win an acquittal. Williams also was able to continue his education after the service and it was at UCLA where he was pressed “to look at the evidence” by a professor with whom he disagreed. He had begun to reshape some ideas when he also first met Thomas Sowell who was a visiting professor. They are still fast friends.

Between the two of them, Sowell and Williams have written just south of sixty books. No, I haven’t read them all. Or half of them, yet. If anyone is asked to suggest the best title to start with, the short answer would be any of them. And then start another as soon as possible.

The four voices of Douglass, Sowell, Williams, and Thomas are among the clearest and authoritative on the human benefits of simple liberty. They all express a profound understanding of the role of the American Constitution in the delivery of that liberty to humankind.

As great as the words and thoughts of these men are, they are still just men. They were not born with these words. They came to them through a life of challenge and struggle. That is the path of man. There was a time in each of these lives when the men felt differently. But their native intelligence and independence of thought helped them to turn the weight of their experience into insight and understanding.

As a young slave Douglass had survived the hardship of having to steal food to barely make it as well being sent to the notorious slave-breaker Edward Covey to have the “boldness” driven from him to finally escaping from Maryland to “free territory”. A dynamic speaker, this self-educated former slave became an important member of William Lloyd Garrison’s abolitionist movement. Garrison was hostile to the United States Constitution and bitterly denounced it. Douglass naturally took this viewpoint early on. He had experienced the whip of slavery first hand. It was during this period when Douglass told someone, “That is not my constitution”.

It is from this period that some lift Douglass quotes without consideration of what he spent the last fifty or more years saying. Over time, and a relatively short time, Douglass’ own intellect begins to tell him that the Constitution was, in fact, the clear path to abolition of slavery. It was actually constructed for just that. For more than a half-century it was very much Frederick Douglass’ Constitution.

Thomas Sowell has observed that he leaned strongly toward Marxism when in his early 20s. It was in the summer of 1960 working as a government intern that he first greatly questioned public policy such as a minimum wage because he was complying the numbers which proved beyond a doubt it actually harmed the poorest and benefitted few except the unions.

Walter Williams will tell you that during that same “early 20s” stage of life he was “more sympathetic to Malcolm X than Martin Luther King”. Through an honest and intelligent “look at the evidence” and a clear mind determined to seek its own understandings, Williams became the gift to us all that he is today.

Justice Thomas also speaks of being that same angry young man himself. Among those bedrock things which he fell back on during this period were the love and examples of the grandfather who gave him a roof and an ordered life to the young Thomas and those Irish nuns who taught him. And there was his faith.

The phrases “clouded by anger” and “redeemed by faith” used by Thomas to describe the direction of his early life should be digested by us all. The young Thomas prayed to have the anger lifted from his heart and promised if it was he would never hate again. His ability to reach that goal should be a guiding light not just in individual lives but to the whole of humankind.

These four lives, and their words, could be discussed almost endlessly. My abilities and my words are far too limited to do them justice. But we can stop to observe that despite a harsh start in life’s travels, they refused to be victims. They threw off the mantle of victimhood or refused it outright to take charge of their own destiny. They chose to shape their own character with their own reasoned mind and the universal, constant truths it revealed to them. They were not shaped by injustice and so they refused to turn injustice back on the world.

In their wisdom, they realized that every human endeavor has had injustice in it to some degree. We are imperfect men. It is our lot to determinedly strive toward perfection, hopefully moving closer and closer to it without reaching it, at least in this world. But with each baby step taken we become more of what we are made to be.

These four came to understand that the founding of this nation had at its core the mission of limiting that injustice and constantly moving ever closer to eliminating it. Our Constitution is the single more important secular instrument for that purpose. Our Declaration of Independence is the clearest statement of that mission written by man’s hand.

These four understood, with Madison, that men were not angels and would never be ruled by angels in this secular world. That means that principles have to be held above opinions if a free civil society is to exist. In fact, opinions should be the result of principles. For those principles to be just they should be mined from the wisdom and experience of the ages, proven to be constant and universal; an extension of “Nature and Nature’s God.” That wisdom of the universe is there for us to continually seek and learn from, not for us to invent to suit the purpose or feelings of the moment. That is how we move toward that elusive perfection.

Those founding documents and those four men remind us that for one to do injustice to another they must have the power to do it. Those who would do injustice (intentionally or not) would much rather ask “victims” for power (with the impossible promise to fix it) than to ask free men for power. Both the documents and men realize what Dr. Williams describes as “the moral superiority of personal liberty”.

It is this type of inner strength that allows men to endure injustice while fighting it with an open heart. It is that strength, that intelligent strength, that allowed Justice Thomas to quietly but firmly face an unjust and harsh confirmation and when asked if he wanted to withdraw to reply, “I would rather die than withdraw from the process”. He took the “bullets” to place himself in a position so that his words and the profound thoughts behind them could defend ordered liberty for all of us in what is now 600 masterfully written opinions of the Court.

Douglass survived Covey’s whip to be the clearest voice of conscience not only during emancipation but for the decades of struggle that would follow it. Sowell and Williams continue to feed a nation’s mind with books, lectures, and columns with a clarity that belies their eight-plus decades of life. They all have given more than great words to guide our own growth and knowledge but they have lived those words in a way that proves the value of an independent mind planted in a free individual blessed with a society focused on human liberty.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. When Trump Almost Started WWIII

 

Soon after Trump had Soleimani killed, a liberal friend of mine phoned.

“Was this not the last straw; even for you?” she queried. I could only say that I thought it was most excellent that this henchman of Al Queda and ISIS (or whatever) was finally meeting his Maker.

But World War III? Didn’t I realize that the Hitlerian Trump had killed this terrorist only in order to rile up the Iranians? Then the demonic Trump could finally justify his bringing us into WWIII, which, apparently had been his entire reason for becoming President. My friend continued: as soon as the Iranian President grimaced or insulted Trump, it would be all over and our planet would be an incinerated ball of ash.

I could only answer that I had no idea what she was talking about. Disappointed in my reaction, she let me turn the conversation to non-political events.

After we hung up, I decided to turn on the TV.

On Fox News, Tucker or Hannity was discussing something unrelated to Soleimani’s murder.

So I turned to the lamestream media. Oh my Lordy. Were they ever having themselves a field day. Nothing even close to the killing of Soleimani had ever happened prior to this. I personally could recall at least several political assassinations I had witnessed through news reports during my life: the killing of the leader in the Congo or Nigeria in the late 1950s, the assassination of the Vietnamese leader, Ngo Dinh Diem, shortly before JFK’s assassination, and others.

Anyway, all the Talking Heads on all the TV stations except Fox were discussing the imminence of WWIII. Plus I was amazed to witness the fact that finally, Trump was fulfilling every dastardly prediction that Rachel, Don Lemon or Joy Reid had ever invoked. Boy, was this all really making them gleeful.

I mean, there were Pentagon analysts, foreign correspondents, and every political commentator and pundit announcing the imminent destruction of our planet. Everyone in lamestream media was pretty much suggesting that within 96 hours the entire planet would be toast. And that although normally this thought would make these folks sad, they couldn’t help themselves as they danced around and were joyous that Trump had finally revealed his real colors.

Now, there were a number of people that Obama had killed, if you can remember that far back. I clearly remember the videos of Khaddafi being assassinated, with Hillary Clinton hearing the news and chortling over his demise. But when such dastardly matters were discussed on the telly, it was always pointed out what bad dudes these people were and how the world was safer.

Only in the case of Trump is it allowable for the TV Talking Heads to ignore how the world is a better place without someone like Soleimani in it. Without acknowledging that possibility, the TV executives’ then allowed the TV Fake New-sters to focus on how the President’s action occurred due to a maniacal propensity for wanting world wide devastation and thermo-nuclear war.

How can two opposing sides be so far apart? This is why it is impossible for either side to come together and discuss matters of political importance.

####

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We are at 581 confirmed cases in 23 days. All but 1 US case involved exposure in China. Most are US citizens who have been returned to this country by the State Department and put into quarantine at military facilities. There is a Chinese national from Hubei province who was visiting relatives in the US. […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Can we talk about Eric Ciaramella?

 

Can we talk about Eric Ciaramella

Serious question: Where are we allowed to talk about alleged Ukraine whistleblower Eric Ciaramella? It seems like so few are doing so even though he is one of the final missing pieces of the puzzle at the conclusion of the impeachment saga, a loose end that won’t seem to go away.

You can’t talk about him on YouTube, as Senator Rand Paul learned.

You can’t talk about him on Facebook, as Ken LaCorte learned.

Mainstream media, including Fox News, has a “Voldemort Rule” in place. Guests are told He Who Shall Not Be Named is anathema and cause for instant excommunication from cable news forever if his name is uttered.

Twitter has remained Ciaramella-agnostic thus far, though some have reported there’s an algorithmic suppression of Tweets that tag him. I’ve written extensively about Eric Ciaramella on my site, but we’re not Fox News. Not yet.

Where does that leave us? Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes has threatened to refer the investigation into Ciaramella to the Justice Department if Inspector General Michael Atkinson doesn’t comply with a request for information surrounding his whistleblower exploits. Considering the tip-toeing the DoJ is doing right now as a result of the Roger Stone situation, it’s hard to imagine them going after the whistleblower until the smoke clears, if ever.

The conversation needs to be had, as Ciaramella’s involvement in questionable activities that extend back to before the 2016 election tells us he knows a lot more that needs to come to light. His fingerprints are all over Burisma, and not just as a whistleblower to the Zelensky phone call. Reports indicate he was engaged in covering for Hunter Biden while President Obama was still in the White House. His leaked conspiracy theory that Vladimir Putin ordered the firing of James Comey has never been fully resolved. Considering how much access he had to sensitive and classified White House information through the NSC, CIA, and working for H.R. McMaster, he must be questioned by the right people at some point in the very near future.

There are precious few places online where Eric Ciaramella’s name is even allowed to be mentioned. His exploits continue to be important even as impeachment is fading into the history books. It’s time for people in power (and everyone else) to know what’s really behind the alleged whistleblower’s actions.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Advice from the World of Laboratory Safety

 

My job is laboratory safety. I work with a wild range of various labs that have a cornucopia of crazy chemicals and a plethora of pathogens. I take part in over 100 laboratory inspections per year, along with responding to questions and acting as an in-house consultant for my institution. There is a surprising amount of you can use from the laboratory safety world in normal life where you make crispy garlic bread rather than CRISPR/Cas9 lentivirus vectors.

Wash Your Hands

There is a reason people mention handwashing as part of nCoV-2019 preparedness, and it is a recurring theme in all of our safety courses. Washing your hands thoroughly is a reliable way to remove pathogens and toxic chemicals. Disinfectant handwashes are not needed — a good scrubbing will physically remove far more contaminants than a disinfectant will kill. I actually prefer a good industrial hand cleaner (STOKO Solopol is a personal favorite) after cleaning or using the bathroom. Scrubbing your hands is actually less harmful to non-harmful bacteria on your skin, as they typically are adapted to stick tightly to your skin’s micro-scale environment. I’ve never heard from someone practically involved in safety you does not recommend handwashing.

As a side note, if you do need to disinfect a surface, use bleach if possible. The stuff is cheap and extremely effective, especially if you clean the surface first to remove obvious dirt. The only things resistant to bleach are mad cow disease and certain microbial toxins — if you are worried about those agents, call the CDC and the FBI, not me..

Understand the Hazards Present

Regardless of where you work, you cannot protect yourself from hazards if you do not recognize that they are there. If you use a chemical, read the label to see what it contains and what safety precautions need to be observed. Modern chemical labels will tell you a lot of info on proper use — for pesticides and disinfectants, this is magnified. Pesticide labels actually state that it is a violation of federal law to use them out of accord with their labeling. If you have a bunch of cleaning chemicals, it’s probably a good idea to write up an inventory list of just what you have, so that you can keep some awareness of what is on site. This goes double if you have kids of the age when they like to sample everything. Lots of chemicals only mildly irritate the skin, but are very nasty internally. (fabric softener and disinfectants are very unpleasant to ingest) You can get a lot of chemical safety information from the manufacturer — all hazardous consumer products are required to have a phone number you can call for info.

Use and Maintain Engineered Controls

The best way to control a hazard is stop it at the source. It is better to quiet a machine down rather than hand out ear plugs to everyone. Mechanical engineering controls work as long as they get occasional maintenance — that’s why you can have a natural gas combustion chamber hooked to a pressure vessel, a contained high output klystron, and a contained diode laser array (a.k.a., a gas water heater, a microwave, and a CD/DVD/BluRay player) in your house. Generally, unless you know what you are doing, it’s a bad idea to crack open the case, especially when the panels and such are not designed to be easily removed.

Now, for your own engineering controls, the main ones are ventilation and shielding. Any area where you plan to paint, stain, or otherwise work with volatile liquids (ones that easily evaporate and you can smell easily) should have an exhaust fan or be outside for easy air movement. This will protect you from the chemical vapors building up to toxic or flammable levels. This goes triple for anything that burns fuel — give it a clear stack or exhaust, or you will get carbon monoxide poisoning. I know someone who died with her entire family from carbon monoxide poisoning. (If you don’t have a carbon monoxide detector, stop reading this article and buy one) Shielding is also vital — I had a chemistry demonstration go horribly wrong (my desk was on fire), but no one was injured because I was using a shield between the demonstration and the class. Anytime you are working with something that could fly apart or go out of control, have a nice plexiglass shield between you and the work.

Use and Understand Your Personal Protective Equipment

If you are working with strong disinfectants, bleach, oven cleaner, drain opener, toilet cleaner, rust remover, paint thinner/stripper, heavy-duty degreaser, etc (they will say “Danger! Corrosive!” on the container, most likely) you should use proper personal protective equipment (PPE) PPE is a layer of protection between you and the chemical. The most common PPE is hand and eye protection, although a good heavy rubber apron doesn’t hurt. For gloves, I recommend only nitrile or neoprene rubber gloves for household use. Latex is not as protective or durable, and butyl rubber is overkill. Nitrile is very resistant to abrasion, with neoprene is more flexible. (I like these thick grippy gloves, and use them at work) Make sure to practice removing gloves safely — if you want a fun challenge, rub shaving cream all over the outside of the glove and try to keep it off your hands! Getting heavier duty, reusable gloves are more complicated — let me know what you work with and I can make recommendations.

For eye protection, you need to think about the hazard. Safety glasses with shields can be inexpensive — I buy tinted safety glasses instead of sunglasses as they are cheaper- and they work great against flying debris like when using power tools. For solid protection against chemical splash, you need splash goggles. Here, you get what you pay for. A $20 pair of goggles will be much more comfortable and easy to use than the cheapest pair, generally. They make goggles that fit over glasses and full-face shields. If possible, see if you can try on the goggles before buying them.

You may note that I did not mention respiratory protection. That is deliberate. It is almost always better to change the environment or workplace rather than have people wear respirators. A good dust mask is easier to breathe through than a respirator, cheaper, and helps deal with more minor hazards. It also reduces the chance of carrying something nasty to your nose or mouth by accident.

Store Chemicals Safely

One of the most common findings in lab inspections is incompatible chemicals stored next to each other. Acids (like many rust removers, descalers, and toilet bowl cleaners) should not be stored next to bases/caustics (like many but not all drain openers, oven cleaners, degreasers, and dishwashing detergents. If you do need to store them close by, have them in separate tubs/bins. Bleach should really be kept by itself — its violent reactions with ammonia and acids are well known. (I once caused a bleach/ammonia reaction while cleaning an old bathroom. Urine breaks down to ammonia after exposure to the air and bacteria.)

The best place to store flammable chemicals is a specialized flammable storage cabinet. Unfortunately, those tend to be expensive. The second best location is a steel cabinet in a well-ventilated area well away from open flames or direct sunlight. Have the flammable liquids/paints/etc. in trays to keep spills under control.

As a side note, I think the gas can regulations are really stupid and dangerous. Pouring gasoline out of an unvented can will cause sloshing as air rushes into the can through the gasoline. This causes static electricity buildup and could cause a spark to jump to the can. A spark plus a well-mixed air-fuel mixture equals a fire. I would recommend a vented can with a self-closing lid, a check valve/flame arrestor screen on the vent, and metal components so that you can safety ground any static electricity in dry conditions. I used to pour and bulk highly flammable solvent waste using similar safety cans. The CARB regulations making filling more dangerous out of some misguided concern over gasoline vapors. Sadly, they cannot keep the unintended consequences from escaping their containers.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Perils of Postmodern Love

 

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, perhaps the one holiday hated by everyone — the one day when all singles long to be coupled and all couples long to be single. With Valentine’s Day come obligations and expectations: Christmas, but without the music, gingerbread cookies, and living-room conifers. (“I bought her a box of chocolates last year — and a bottle of sauvignon the year before that. Hmm. What to get her? I guess a Trumpy Bear will have to do.”)

No doubt, the Internet will soon be awash in articles about the dating scene, which, like the weather, is something everybody complains about … but nobody does something about. It’s frankly a wonder that a problem so universally acknowledged should be in want of a solution. Yet here we are.

Why is it so hard to date in 2020? Why does every single person feel compelled to submit to the ongoing pain and humiliation of online dating? Why does my generation’s romantic pessimism make Greta Thunberg look like a climate optimist? The reasons are simple, really — (a) we’ve failed to develop the requisite social habits, (b) we’ve lost the institutions capable of guiding us toward marriage, and (c) we have standards.


First, habits. By “habit,” I mean roughly what Aristotle meant by “virtue” — a tendency or disposition to act rightly. Seldom do such tendencies arise of their own accord. Instead, they’re formed by practice and repetition (as any technical skill is), and their proper development requires overseeing by those who are themselves rightly formed. Social habits, as all habits, can be good or bad, and they tend to stick around once developed. On a large scale, they acquire a ritual quality.

In matters of romance, we modern people are, quite simply, out of practice. Feminists may dislike the elaborate rituals which once surrounded courtship, but these rituals did serve a purpose: They made “going through the motions” a darned good way of finding someone. They rendered explicit the implicit rules of the social world — rules which still exist today, in equally complex form, but without any coherent articulation. People in times past were well-versed in the art of decoding these rules, and they knew exactly what to expect from each other. My generation lacks such knowledge. Left alone, we settle into the comfortable pattern of staring at a succession of screens, wondering why the world’s bounty doesn’t fall into our laps. And when it does fall into our laps, we haven’t the slightest idea what to say in return.


Next, and related to the first cause, the death of institutions. This subject is so popular a theme among the conservative intelligentsia that it’s hardly worth elaborating here. But elaborate I shall, since the decline of institutions, religious and secular, tracks closely with our growing social pathologies. Western literature is rich in descriptions of these institutions as they related to social life — the soiree, the ball, the dance. All these have gone, except among the most countercultural of sects. Fitzgerald’s world now seems as quaint and alien as Austen’s.

What’s more, the “infinite art” of American associational life described by Tocqueville has given way to one finite and feeble. The Internet has absorbed not only the public square, but also the city around it. Hobbyists of all kinds have migrated to the web — to places like Reddit and Ricochet, where they spread their thoughts and accomplishments far, wide, and thin. What once took scores of men ages to accomplish can now be done in two hours by one pajama-clad basement-dweller with Excel and an ethernet cable. If social institutions have fallen out of fashion, the other kinds of institutions have fallen into obsolescence. But necessity is the mother of institutions — so it’s no wonder that our attempts to connect become all the more futile even as they grow more intentional. The more desperately lonely we become, the less attractive we are — as would-be friends or would-be lovers. The postmodern maze turns out to have no exit.


Lastly, and vastly underrated as a cause, are standards. As anyone who’s performed even cursory genealogical research knows, it used to be commonplace for neighbors to marry neighbors. Little Jeff Johnston wed little Nell Nelson, who happened to live on the farm just across the road. It mattered not that Nell was plain or that Jeff had a paunch, or that the two shared nothing in common beyond age and proximity. Nevertheless, they married, lived, and died. Their tastes and expectations were formed by experience, just as our tastes and expectations are formed by our experience. But our experience is one of endless choice and infinite knowledge. We judge prospective partners not against the background of our township or village or church community, but against the background of Earth itself. Who can compete with that?

And so, in dating, as in so many spheres, modern man finds himself paralyzed in his abundance.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Twin Sisters Give Advice

 

What were the odds that twin sisters, Jews raised in Sioux City, IA, would achieve international fame as givers of advice?

I can’t calculate those odds, but Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer came to be known as Ann Landers, and Pauline Esther Friedman Phillips followed quickly in her footsteps to become Abigail van Buren (Dear Abby). They were born on July 4, 1918 to Russian Jewish immigrants, Abraham and Rebecca Friedman:

They moved to Sioux City, Iowa, in 1910, giving birth to Helen and then Dorothy soon after. Like many Russian Jewish immigrants of that time, the family slowly earned enough money to leave the poorer sections of the city, first by peddling chickens from a pushcart and then, by 1911, by amassing enough earnings to buy into a grocery store. When Pauline was born, her parents owned a small house. Her father became part owner of a movie and vaudeville theater when she was in her early teens. Active in the Jewish community of Sioux City, Abraham Friedman’s civic stature grew as he acquired other theaters and diversified his business interests.

In 1938 the twin sisters had a double wedding in Sioux City.

Given that I have tried to cure myself of giving advice, I envy these two women who were actually paid to give theirs. Does it get any better than that?

Eventually, the sisters were hired within three months of each other as advice columnists. Esther, known as “Eppie,” won a contest to replace the writer of the original “Ask Ann Landers” column for the Chicago Sun-Times in 1955. Her sister Pauline, nicknamed “Popo,” assisted her sister in writing her column. But she found her own path:

When the Phillipses moved to Hillsborough, California, from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in 1955, Pauline contacted an editor with the San Francisco Chronicle to express her displeasure with their newly established Molly Mayfield lovelorn column. She offered the Chronicle a radical departure from the paper’s previous features. Her column was to be humorous, helpful, and filled with one-liners. The paper hired her and she rapidly became a success, adopting the name Abigail Van Buren. Pauline contracted for the rights to the names Abigail Van Buren and Dear Abby, a move that gave her great control over her column and a large share of its profits.

Both sisters experienced their share of controversy. Esther wrote a column where she told readers that they shouldn’t throw rice at weddings, because birds might eat it and explode. Apparently milled rice isn’t harmful to birds. (Who knew?!) Newspapers occasionally threatened not to print her columns which they considered controversial. And even though the sisters tried to avoid acrimony, they found themselves competing for publication in newspapers. Life magazine published an article about their dispute in 1958. They had a public reconciliation on their 25th wedding anniversaries, but it’s unclear whether they laid the dispute to rest.

Still, these women changed the face of the advice column, and were widely popular:

“In 1990 alone, advice columnist “Dear Abby” and her staff received over 55,000 letters from men and women of all ages, classes, nationalities, sexual orientations, and religions. Both spoke openly about anti-Semitism, sexism and racism.”

When Esther died in 2002, she chose not to have anyone continue the Ann Landers column. Pauline (Abby) was assisted by her daughter, Jeanne, in her later years, and Jeanne took over writing the column. Her mother passed away in 2013.

Both Esther and Pauline contributed greatly to the cultural discourse in this country and worldwide. Now if I could just find someone to pay me for my own advice…

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Response Outside of Expected Range

 

How do I analyze :heart: ?
ERROR: Response :heart: is not in expected range. (source)
I am a geek. I have had crushes in the past, but nothing came of them. I fully expected to spend the rest of my life alone as I am not particularly attractive, so I did my best to make do. I have friends and co-workers and keep in touch with family.

Then someone on Ricochet introduced me to a nice gal who is as cute as a crate of plushies, and fun to talk with. I figured the only girls like that were in anime, not real life. I responded accordingly. Soon, I began to receive texts filled with :heart: emojis and generally becoming the recipient of emotions I had never dealt with before. It has taken some getting used to, and I can’t quite keep up some of the time. It almost feels like I must have hacked into someone else’s text message stream. Why would anyone act that excited about me?

So as I approach this Valentine’s Day, I still feel a bit awkward, but I am glad to do so.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I just listened to the latest episode (#15) of Steve Bannon’s special podcast series, War Room Pandemic. You should listen to it too. The guests were Rosemary Gibson (author of China Rx,) Steven Hatfill, the bioweapons expert who was framed by the government and his career destroyed during the anthrax scare; (he ultimately won a multimillion […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Now Here’s an Interesting Poll

 

In most of the major polls conducted, just about any Democrat candidate beats Trump. According to Quinnipiac, Trump even loses to Socialist Bernie Sanders in Texas. Think about that for a second. Texas. Austin, Texas, maybe. But all of Texas? It raises questions on the methodology of the polling that’s being done. And after all, we all know how accurate the polling was in the 2016 election…until the final poll came in on Election Night…where previous polling in some states was definitely called into question. 

Now, this latest poll from New Hampshire is interesting (see graphic above). Because it compares the turnout of previous incumbent President running for their second term. In this poll, people just didn’t pick up the phone to respond to a pollster. For the most part, they had to walk or drive to a voting station in cold winter weather to cast a vote. And unlike some polling that only samples about a thousand or two thousand respondents, this sample size is well, more bigly. What the poll suggests is that perhaps all the other polling may be a smidge off. Because enthusiasm for the current President may not be represented accurately. I realize the massive turnouts for Trump at rallies around the country are not an empirical scientific indicator of how well Trump is likely to do in November as is the paltry turnout of any of the Democrat candidates. And anything can happen between now and November. But if I were a Democrat operative supporting any of the candidates still in the race, I might find this latest New Hampshire poll a bit unsettling. Of course, Chuck Schumer tells us that when the Democrats finally do choose their nominee there will be tremendous enthusiasm for him or her that will amaze everyone…or words to that effect. So, what do I know?

Oh, here’s an updated version with incumbent POTUS pix:

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

My wife is very attuned to politics, and she knows how to consort with the socialist mediums. She read me something on one of them* just now that was so moving she had difficulty getting through it. I may have fogged up a bit, myself. It was a piece by a long-time progressivist Democrat and […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Can’t he act Presidential? Where’s the gracious deference to the Molotov Cocktail Elimination Tournament?

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Image of Trump

 

Pictures can capture a Presidency. There’s the miserable circumstance that was captured as LBJ was sworn in, a happy Reagan on horseback, Nixon with two hands up making vees, and W serving Thanksgiving dinner to troops abroad. The right frozen moment gives you an idea of the man. Remember mom jeans?

I’ve settled into the idea that the Trump Presidency was best captured on August 21, 2017. He looked, unprotected, at an eclipse. You aren’t supposed to do that. Not according to experts.

From Chris Cillizza: “There’s literally only one rule with eclipses: Don’t look at the sun during them. Which brings me to the President of the United States.” Literally one?

Trump was mocked a bit online, but he’s still not blind.

I think this goes to the heart of the recently mocked video of Don Lemon and guests laughing that Trump’s voters are rubes video. It’s not that they are rubes. Not at all.

There are people who heed warnings. There are people who don’t. But most of us heed warnings and temper them with experience.

We have had thousands of years of eclipses before we had optometrists. You’re telling me that nobody looked? In the age before television and writing with no warnings about the possible damage from looking right at a covered up star we are to believe that everybody didn’t watch with rapt attention and still took down mammoths a week or so later?

There are those that are told, and those that test. The lesson from Chesterson’s Fence is not to never tear down a fence. It’s to know why you do so.

If anyone takes this post as license to stare into the sun or an eclipse I’m going to kick you right in the moderator forbidden zone, but a glance?

That’s Trump. He’s the guy that was told not to do something and thought the minders were too careful. He was right. They aren’t the most thoughtful lot. Stay between the lines and all is well, do what you’re told, but deviate and face hysteria. Too many on the Left are just waiting to be told what to think.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Politicization of Prosecutions

 

The latest kerfuffle over the sentence that Roger Stone should receive is a symptom of a much larger problem: the subjective standards of punishment and indictments. The issue speaks to a much larger problem in the entire justice system. For some time now, we have been at the mercy of subjective law enforcement.

As a police officer, I never asked anyone I arrested who they voted for, or the political party they had selected on their voter registration card. Their motivation was not my main concern for a crime that was committed. My only concern was this: did the elements of the law that met the definition of a specific crime had been committed?

Roger Stone is not a rapist or a murderer. The actress Lori Laughlin of the USC scandal is not a danger to society.

While I worked as a police officer there were times that someone offered a rationalization for some action they took that lead to their arrest. Hate crimes fall into this category for me. No matter what the motive for an assault, the injury inflicted carries just as much pain for the victim whether or not it concerns religion, race, or creed.

The politicization of law enforcement allows for a subjective standard that means it’s not the action that matters. What matters is who the perpetrator is, and who the victim is. Other than cheating in the election process, I cannot think of a faster way to tear a nation apart.

As a former police officer, my advice to my fellow citizens would be we need to get off this road now.