QOTD: Is This Quote Still True?


Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. — Hanlon’s razor.

In saner times, Hanlon’s razor would be a reliable guide to understanding current events. But today, I’m not so sure. I’m not a conspiracy theorist — yet — but I’m thinking of taking it up.

Look at the accomplishments of the Biden administration, particularly the Afghanistan exit. Stupidity can’t do all that by itself. The stupidity is there, but it’s a malicious stupidity driven by a visceral animosity toward a large portion of the American people. Bungling stupidity would accidentally get something right once in a while. (See Carter, Jimmy.) Malicious stupidity works with a chilling consistency. Every aspect of the Afghanistan withdrawal was handled badly. And that’s not the only thing they’ve screwed up. If the Biden administration intended to damage the country, what would it do differently?

White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki is another counterexample to Hanlon’s razor. She has a difficult job, which is to defend the indefensible by saying the unbelievable. How do you explain Psaki? She isn’t stupid, and an honest person would have quit long ago. Dishonesty is malice.

Another example of malice over stupidity is the Russia collusion hoax. This was a genuine conspiracy. The people involved weren’t stupid, and they intended to do harm. Yes, they may have deluded themselves into thinking it was for a good cause, but a lot of evil is justified the same way. We still don’t know if the perpetrators will pay a price.

There was nothing stupid about the “fortification” of the 2020 general election. The people involved knew exactly what they were doing. They made unconstitutional rule changes in front of everybody, betting correctly on the dishonesty of the press and the cowardice of the courts. The other things they did are well known. Chalk up another one for malice.

Add to this malignant mix all the soft-on-crime public prosecutors, the defund-the-police movement, and the mayors willing to let their cities burn down. We’re still just scratching the surface.

If you took the character of all of the examples listed above and distilled it down to a concentrated toxic substance, you would have the Loudon County School Board. Now, that’s malice.

Let’s pray for the eventual restoration of Hanlon’s razor.

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Seattle police officers are fighting back against the vaccine mandate. I’m sure there will be retribution from the local, as well as the state government. Smashing windows, setting fires, and looting is acceptable speech in cities like Seattle, or in any city with a Red Brigade Soros city government. Police officers displaying the Gadsden flag […]

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A Happy Warrior?


I want to be a happy warrior.

I’m greatly troubled by the state of our country. I know that I’m not alone in this. I’ve found it easy to lose hope, at least briefly. But I worry that if I give in to the counsel of despair, I won’t be able to find the motivation to make whatever small contribution may be within my power.

I think that there is reason for hope. Sure, we have a pretty bad president. On the bright side, he’s not very competent and may even be slipping into senescence. Sure, the opposition controls both houses of Congress. On the bright side, their majorities are thin, and they haven’t been able to pass much of their agenda. Sure, we may see another bad decision out of SCOTUS at any time. On the bright side, we have the strongest conservative majority in my lifetime. Even if we put the sometimes unreliable chief in the middle, the count is currently 5-1-3.

More importantly, I see reasons for hope all across the country. I haven’t seen them in person, but I’ve read reports from many of you and in the news media. We see employees refusing to comply with an unwise vaccination mandate. We see parents and others taking action against critical race theory in the schools. We see President Biden’s approval rating plummeting — from around +9% just four months ago to around -8% today.

I recently saw one small positive sign in person. I went to a local convenience store about a week ago. We don’t have a mask mandate in the Tucson area, so the customers were unmasked, but the employer apparently was requiring its employees to be masked. There were three ladies working in the store at the time, all wearing masks.

All three of their masks had somehow fallen down below their noses. Oops! Sorry, boss, my bad!

Then there’s the hilarious “Let’s go, Brandon!” That has to be the meme of the year, maybe the meme of the decade.

While it sometimes seems that the last election was just a few weeks ago, we have another one coming up in barely more than a year. I think that the Republicans have good prospects in 2022. I think that there’s a chance of giving the Dems a real pasting.

I think that this outcome is much more likely if we can put aside some of our differences on the political right and resolve ourselves to act optimistically, even if we don’t always feel it. I want to see all of us acting like happy warriors, starting with me.

I don’t know how to get there from here. I’m going to start trying to be more positive and less argumentative. I’m going to try to stop relitigating the past and focus on moving forward productively. I’m going to focus on finding consensus with good folks like you, rather than dickering over minor areas of disagreement.

I don’t think that this will be easy for me. Jon Gabriel may be the King of Stuff, but I may be the King of Dickering. [And yeah, I know that I’m opening myself up to someone using the strikethrough function there … ]

I did appreciate some of the things that Chris Christie said in last week’s podcast. I was initially disinclined to listen to him, but I overcame this and gave him a chance. He said a couple of things that annoyed me, but he also had some good points, in my view. I was particularly impressed by his leadership in a group trying to counter the sort of electoral “dirty pool” that the Dems used so effectively last time around. I don’t think that I can do anything to help that effort, but maybe some of you can.

I think that we still have a shot at turning things around. Even if I’m wrong about this, I don’t see how it can hurt to try. So for my part, I’m going to put despair on the shelf until election day 2022.

Happy warriors unite! Eeyore delenda est! :)

How Should We Talk to Eve?


I used to wonder there wasn’t another character present to argue against the fruit-eating option in the story of the Garden of Eden. Maybe an angel or some talking animal to counter the serpent’s smooth rap about becoming like gods or whatever he was selling. But then I thought more about it and realized that it probably would not have worked. The choice as Eve saw it was a pretty good status quo versus a fantastic upgrade with no downside. Apparently, under the applicable disclosure rules, the no-apple side could not really present the whole pain-suffering-outside-of-the-garden as an outcome. The garden is great, and you could even make it better with what you are learning. Not a sexy alternative to being like gods when you look at it. The other relevant argument: Consider the sources here: the one who said don’t eat it versus some sketchy, verbose reptile. The good guys would likely lose on this point because the snake’s identity/criminal record was apparently also inadmissible.

We tend to unfairly dump on Eve and her idiot husband, but that is hypocritical in that many of us continue to go for the magic apple instead of just making the garden better. We still have not learned that lesson. In the political realm, the snake promises us utopia and gives us the USSR or Venezuela. On only a slightly smaller scale of stupidity, our urban populations continually vote for/legislate/regulate in the name of a grand vision of social justice and instead wind up with horrific public housing, crime, and parks full of homeless addicts and schizophrenics. Urban America has left the garden.

How does one make the pitch that the garden is actually not bad and the way to make it better requires work with no fake magic solutions, and that personal responsibility and freedom are key ingredients? Not very sexy or consonant with the “vision thing” as our 41st president might have framed it. Who wants tradeoffs when they could have solutions?

Consider that the quality of life in the Western world (and increasingly elsewhere on the planet) has never been better at any time or place in human history, and yet many believe the planet (and the USA in particular) is a hate-filled hellhole on the verge of environmental collapse. It is as if the snake is doubling down by trying to convince Eve that the garden sucks — and she’s buying it.

Like the missing advocate in the “forbidden fruit” story, the anti-mirage side (that’d be us, Ricochetti) is virtually precluded from pointing out that statism and its functional equivalents and versions never work because we will be told that the repeated catastrophes were not “real” socialism or some other ideal “ism” hanging off that tree.

And it is still about Eve making the choice because without a default, 55% of the women’s vote is going to apple-peddlers the snake would lose to most or all of the time. So how do we make that pitch?

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A very special Rainbow Snowflake at Oberlin University (Cost of Attendance: $77,000 per year) describes how he/she/they/them/xer/beep/boop was very, very traumatized when some rough, workmen from a lower social strata performed utility work in his/her/their/its/beeps dorm room.  In general, I am very averse to people entering my personal space. This anxiety was compounded by the […]

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We are told not to live in fear. But we implant the suffix phobic to implant fear that is not there. Let me explain. Sometimes a person in our culture is labeled transphobic, homophobic, or Islamophobic. Words such as these label the person not the person’s belief. Saying that I “fear” people whose identity, sexuality, […]

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The wee dark hours are when we confess, I’m told. There’s a gentle lilting voice that tells me that this is the time. My friends.  I don’t haver cancer (diagnosed) but I have nodules.  I have irregularities. I have structures that give me pause.  And while I tell everyone it is nothing and all of […]

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Here is what may be regarded as an unspeakable, unthinkable, uncivil, less-than-courteous-or-even-nice, idea, prompted by the astonishing spectacle of Vice-President Harris (D-Call Girl), airing a video in 300 black churches (did I mention the word black? Just wanted to be sure that got  in there!) across the State of Virginia, during worship services (not after, […]

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  My Uncle was watching the football game and Texas was brought up for something.  Uncle: Man I wish we could give Texas back to Mexico.  Me: But Californians leave California for Texas. Why? Uncle: Well, Texas is not as bad as California.  Me; So do you want to give California back to Mexico?  Uncle: […]

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Echoes of Fascism


For me, this video had echoes of the Kapos who operated in the concentration camps under the Nazis. The young lady’s sweet and gentle manner wasn’t reassuring to me, either.

If you’re not familiar with the roles of Kapos in the camps, they were prisoners who were used to provide oversight over their fellow prisoners:

In the Nazi concentration camps, the term Kapo was first used at Dachau from which it spread to the other camps.

Regardless of the origin, Kapos played a vital role in the Nazi camp system as a large number of prisoners within the system required constant oversight. Most Kapos were put in charge of a prisoner work gang, called Kommando. It was the Kapos job to brutally force prisoners to do forced labor, despite the prisoners being sick and starving.

Facing prisoner against prisoner served two goals for the SS: it allowed them to meet a labor need while simultaneously furthering tensions between various groups of prisoners.

In case you think I’m overreacting, let me tell you about a program that has been established at several college campuses all over the country. It is called the Student Health Ambassadors program, and a “toolkit” for creating these programs is now available from the American College Health Association.

In a recent article of the Federalist, the insidious nature of these programs is described:

How much would you have to be paid to commit social suicide? What if a paycheck wasn’t the only perk, but it also entitled you to a sickening sense of self-righteousness and an air of superiority?

This appears to be the tradeoff many college students have made this semester as universities’ ‘Student Health Ambassadors,’ paid adult hall monitors whose job is to patrol their campuses and enforce mask policies and distancing regulations. Several different institutions have opened this position, each one slightly different but all giving students authority over their peers in the name of public health. 

One of the most egregious examples comes from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), where student Covid commissars have been given the authority to ‘break up social gatherings” and to check students’ ‘clearance certificates.’ Students who violate COVID policies can face suspension and expulsion. The enforcers, who are paid $15 an hour, even don vests and T-shirts emblazoned with the health ambassador logo.

Later in his article, he offers this insight:

It’s all theater, but refusing to believe in this cult of paranoia makes it all the more important that people are pressured into outward displays of obedience. The more absurd the rules get the more they require frequent social reaffirmation through unquestioning obedience.

Although there are students who support vaccine mandates, others are protesting what they experience as “overreach”:

Student complaints include objections to restrictions on their travel on and off campus, increased surveillance and what they consider erosion of civil liberties. Student-led petitions have prompted some schools to drop the use of location-tracking apps and requirements to wear sensors that monitor vital signs.

At the core of their concerns is a fear that universities are constructing a bureaucracy designed to control a generation just coming of age.

There is no doubt, however, that some schools are taking their mandates seriously, and students are pushing back:

Michigan has seen its share of reprisals: Students at Oakland University near Detroit successfully pushed back against a wearable ‘bio button’ designed to monitor heart rate, temperature and respiration, and warn the school if a student was showing signs of Covid-19. At Albion College in Albion, Mich., students petitioned the school to drop an app that monitored their location—on and off campus. Last week, Western Michigan University lost a federal appeal to require student athletes to be vaccinated to play.

Montana State University instituted a policy to place students on probation who have twice been reported by a professor for not wearing a mask. A third complaint results in a semester suspension. A fourth mask offense is grounds for expulsion.

Universities who have adopted the Student Health Ambassadors program tout their success and continue to expand their efforts. UNC Asheville celebrates its success:

‘From the beginning when we first got hired, it was solely focused on COVID, but as we learned more about COVID and our campus and what we needed, we learned that so much more goes into it…. There are so many things that tie into this work. Our themes each week helped students fill in those holes to prevent COVID,’ said senior Skyler Chillson.

UNC Asheville has also created special awards for their Student Health Ambassadors. I’m sure that there are many people motivated to create new ways to permeate the university system with these kinds of efforts.

So many questions are being asked about the virus, and just as many theories are being espoused: when will the pandemic be over? Are we ready to accept Covid-19 as endemic indefinitely? How far will organizations go to enforce their requirements, even in the face of new scientific information? When will students finally decide they’ve had enough of the universities’ demands and intrusions on their life, and what actions will they take in response? When will there be sufficient understanding of Covid-19 to roll back these programs?

I wouldn’t hold my breath.

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Rick Beato (bee-ah-toe) does quite a number on Adele’s new song, “Easy on Me.” If you don’t know Rick or why he is great, with millions of subscribers, the majority fellow musicians, this video may give you a clue why he is beloved. He has and recognizes both taste and style, and displays an incredible […]

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Journalists: Fairness Is Overrated


Not that long ago, journalists would get offended if they were accused of presenting the news with a liberal bias. Now, they are publicly stating that “fairness is overrated.” A Los Angeles Times reporter recently wrote an op-ed in which she stated that the extreme views of Republicans mean that they are not a serious party and should not be taken seriously: “This is a Republican Party that is not serious about governing or addressing the nation’s actual problems, as opposed to faux ones like critical race theory … Democrats can’t be expected to deal with these guys like they’re on the level. Nor should journalists cover them as if they are.”

Journalists and others from all over the country chimed in with their hearty agreement. Bill Buzenberg wrote: “Great Op Ed — important message for every journalist. (NPR and PBS this includes you). Please don’t ‘balance’ the truth with an outright, calculated lie, and call it objective reporting or interviewing.” NBC anchorman Lester Holt said, “I think it’s become clear that fairness is overrated … The idea that we should always give two sides equal weight and merit does not reflect the world we find ourselves in.”

These aren’t whacked-out stoners in a California commune. These are mainstream journalists. And these journalists not only find their coverage to be insufficiently unfair to Republicans, they are openly stating that “fairness is overrated.” Our news media and our educational system are the most powerful force for leftist indoctrination in our country, in my view. It sounds like journalists agree with me. And it sounds like they’re happy about it.

I wonder why they tried to hide their beliefs for so long? And I wonder why they’ve stopped trying to hide them now? I find their newfound boldness to be concerning. They seem to think they are in complete control and no longer need to hide behind a veil of objectivity. I think they’re probably right.

I hope we’re both wrong.

The Mythical Far-Right


Just a brief jumping-off point here. A Politico article begins with the following sentence-graph: “Republicans have been feuding for months in Nevada’s largest county after a pro-Donald Trump insurgency with ties to far-right activists threw the party into chaos.” Well, I haven’t conducted a study of the thing, but informally, I cannot recall the last time I saw the supporters of Black Lives Matter, Antifa, ACORN, Organizing for Action, or any of the rest of that stuff referred to as “far-left activists” in an ostensibly balanced news outlet, especially when casually name-dropped as “tied to” a prominent figure on the left, such as a former president. Perhaps you can educate me, but I figured that likelihood of juice isn’t worth the squeeze, so I certainly did not bestir myself.

I don’t know what is going on in Nevada. Don’t care. Never heard of whomever it was mentioned in the article. I support the Trump guy. Hope he doesn’t suck.

You are allowed to support somebody without having to vouch for every blooming thing about him. As the left used to say of Clinton, “We’re voting for [office], not for [role in community].”

When you think “far-right,” please think of me. That’s what I tell my young relatives who are hypnotized by the left. And by the way, my young relatives are about evenly split between conservative politics and the other. Which is not bad, considering what Churchill (I guess) said about political positions of youth versus age.

October Surprise: Giving the Gift of Color


Back in November 2018, as I wandered the trails of a local nature preserve on Long Island with my dog, I was enjoying the fading colors of fall when a bend in the trail led to a blaze of red peeking through the tall trees.

How beautiful, I thought, and how blessed I am that I am here on this magnificent fall day and able to see this. Not everyone in my family can, as red-green color blindness runs through the males on my mother’s side. I thought of my brother and how I wished he could see this. I mean actually see it if he were here because he often mistakes red and green for brown. That led me to remember a story I had read a few months back about glasses that could correct for red-green color blindness. The special lenses help the retinal cells to separate between these two wavelengths, compensating in part for defective genes that make it difficult to tell these colors apart. Wow, I thought. I have the perfect Christmas gift: I’ll give my brother the gift of color! What could be better than that?

I went online when I got home and did some research. Yes, these glasses exist and are available. I was led to many YouTube videos of people sobbing with joy when seeing the colors of the world for the first time. I did a little more reading, and it turned out that these glasses don’t work for everyone, so that was a worry, as they weren’t cheap. But then there was a moving story of a young boy who put them on and was very disappointed that he didn’t see anything different. Then his mother noticed that he had stopped to look at an orange toy. He said it was glowing. All of sudden, his world burst into color, and he was overwhelmed with joy. I thought it was worth taking a chance.

I bought a pair of sunglasses on Amazon, and I gave them to my brother on Christmas morning. He asked me what they were, and when I told him, he said, “Oh.” Then he put them down and went back to opening presents. After all the presents were opened, I asked him to try them. He didn’t seem very enthused; in fact, he seemed a little mad. He said he was perfectly happy with his vision and didn’t really need them. I asked if he wasn’t at all curious about what the world would look like with them on. He finally agreed to try them and went outside. Of course, it was a gray day in December, and there was no color to be seen anywhere. He tried wearing them when we took the dog for a walk but didn’t seem to think that they made much of a difference. I thought maybe they didn’t work for him or that maybe he needed to wear them for a bit longer. I told him that since they were expensive, I would return them, and he could pick out something else. He said he’d think about it.

That was that. No joyful tears. No gasps of wonder. I was very disappointed, but such is life. I was going for a big surprise, but upon reflection, I supposed it was a gift that impacted his sense of self, and I should have asked him before I bought them. I reflected that a hard-of-hearing person would be very insulted if I gave him a pair of hearing aids for Christmas, although this was really not quite the same.

But a few weeks later, I got a text from him saying that he had put the sunglasses on when he was driving, and for the first time, he could see green lights! And green highway signs! Always before they were a washed-out grayish white, but now they were a beautiful, vibrant green. He thanked me profusely for the gift. Not exactly the glories of nature, but, hey, I’ll take it.

He was actually disappointed a year later when he lost the glasses. The beautiful green lights and signs returned to their washed-out grayish white. I bought him another pair for Christmas. This time, he was a bit more grateful. But the new ones didn’t work the same. The green lights still looked grayish white, but this time the red lights looked psychedelic. I tried them on and saw the same thing. It gave me a glimpse of how he had seen green lights before. But fortunately, he found the originals, and now he has both pairs to emphasize the green or the red as he chooses.

So, if not exactly an October surprise, it was a well-meaning but perhaps ill-advised surprise inspired by the fall colors. I am interested to hear opinions on that. I still hope that one day my brother will bring the glasses with him for a fall hike. But then again, he gets to see beautiful green traffic lights every day.

QOTD: Three Generations of Retcons is Enough


Jacobson v. Massachusetts has become the catchall decision for justifying all kinds of pandemic countermeasures. I had not looked into the matter in detail, as I am not a lawyer (thank God). However, I ran across an article on SSRN from Josh Blackman (one of the writers at The Volokh Conspiracy) that dismantles how a decision to allow a jurisdiction to levy a fine equivalent to a parking ticket for the refusal to receive a vaccination against one of the most deadly diseases known to man (smallpox is a Risk Group 4 select agent, alongside Ebola and its relatives; by comparison, anthrax and the Black Death are merely Risk Group 3) mutated like a virus into allowing all kinds of measures under the rubric of public health.

It is perhaps unsurprising that the most disturbing U.S. Supreme Court decision to remain on the books as good case law plays a role here. Buck v. Bell is the infamous decision that allowed for the state to forcibly perform medical procedures on people without their consent to uphold the good of the gene pool, giving us the infamous line that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” As if forcing a person to be fixed like a stray dog is not bad enough, there is evidence that Carrie Buck was not even mentally handicapped, nor was her honor student child, and she was likely set up by her lawyer, who was either horrendously incompetent or actually in favor of negative eugenics. You could use this decision to justify forced medical procedures on every person who holds a political position unpopular with political elites.

This brings me to the change in interpretation Blackman discusses:

Buck completely retconned Jacobson. The Cambridge Law did not involve forcible vaccination. Remember, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court observed, “[i]f a person should deem it important that vaccination should not be performed in his case, and the authorities should think otherwise, it is not in their power to vaccinate him by force, and the worst that could happen to him under the statute would be the payment of the penalty of $5.” Jacobson could not be involuntarily jabbed in the arm with a syringe. Rather, the criminal penalty was a modest $5 fine. A 1963 article that critiqued Holmes recognized that Jacobson did not actually sustain “compulsory vaccination.” The Massachusetts law “did not, as in Buck v. Bell, require submission to the order, but subjected to fine or imprisonment anyone who refused to comply.” Being forced to pay a nominal fine did not invade any “fundamental”right. Carrie Buck, by contrast, did not have the option of paying a fine to avoid sterilization. Buck v . Bell radically expanded the scope of Justice Harlan’s modest decision. In time, Holmes’s misreading would become the paradigmatic understanding of Jacobson. The first level of Jacobson’s myth was firmly in place.

Basically, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. made the original decision from a fine into involuntary vaccination so that he could justify his decision to allow involuntary medical treatment on inconvenient people.

I personally agree with the general idea of the original Jacobson decision. It is rational that the government can take actions that limit a citizen’s rights to deal with an epidemic. For example, people exposed during the recent Ebola outbreak were quarantined, and they could be arrested if they broke quarantine. There needs to be solid justification and the ability to appeal to courts to determine if the measure is reasonable and not cruel or unusual. The Holmes variant is an entirely different strain, and I agree with Blackman that the Supreme Court needs to eliminate this legal virus from its jurisprudence.

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A NYC judge, Matthew Cooper, has denied a father visitation with his 3 year old daughter because he is not vaxxed.  I need to repeat that.  A Judge denied a Father access to visit his 3 year old daughter, because he is not vaxxed.   The daughter does not have any unusual underlying health issues, and […]

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Victor Davis Hanson is one brave man. He, a civilian, has penned an article that no active duty service member, and possibly even retiree, could dare write under the current administration. He has called out problems and named the guilty. For daring to do so, he has placed a bullseye on himself that the vindictive […]

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Fraudci-lent ‘Science’


justice and COVID-19The Hill story promoting Fraudci’s latest line caught my eye. Consider the following, and the related story on the FDA advisory panel’s entirely unscientific conduct. Scientific study, we don’t need no stinkin’ studies! This is Fraudci-lent “science.”

ABC’s Martha Raddatz asked Fauci on “This Week” if the millions of Americans who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine should be concerned after a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend adults receive a booster shot of the vaccine.

“No, not at all, Martha. I think that they should feel good about it because what the advisers to the FDA felt is that, given the data that they saw, very likely this should have been a two-dose vaccine to begin with,” Fauci said.

[ . . . ]

Last week, an FDA advisory committee met to vote on whether to recommend Americans receive a booster shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA, which had to rely on data provided by the vaccine maker given that trial data had not been provided to the agency in time, decided to vote on recommending it despite the sample size of 17 people.

Wait, what? A “sample” size of 17 people is the basis of a so-called scientific recommendation from the Food and Drug Administration. That is fraud, it is science fantasy, not evidence-based medicine. Here are the details of the FDA’s Johnson & Johnson shot shenanigans:

The agency’s vaccine advisory committee voted unanimously, 19-0, to recommend authorization of a second dose as early as two months after the primary shot for anyone ages 18 and older.

Johnson & Johnson representatives told the panel that a second dose given either two months or six months after the first shot increased antibody levels, but a single dose of the vaccine continued to offer protection.

The recommendation, which is not binding, will now be taken up by the FDA, which could make a decision within days.

Committee members expressed concern with the quality of data presented by the company, because there were ultimately only 17 people included in an analysis, who were followed for six months.

The FDA said it relied heavily on studies conducted by Johnson & Johnson and could not independently confirm many of the findings because data from the trials were not submitted in time.

Archana Chatterjee, an infectious disease expert at Rosalind Franklin University, asked FDA officials why there was even a meeting if the agency hadn’t been able to conduct its own studies.

Peter Marks, the head of the agency’s vaccine division, said it could have taken months to review all the data, and the agency is trying to act as quickly as possible.

Whatever you think of vaccinations in general, and COVID-19 vaccinations more narrowly, and the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in particular, these two stories and the actions of the FDA must be disquieting.

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I am on the verge of getting a bad attitude. As I scroll through the headlines it is obvious that many many (too many) persons are deserving of the “Let’s go Brandon!” treatment beyond pResident Biden. The petit tyrants have been empowered, the karens have found their brass knuckles, and the kleptocracy is in full […]

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So many voices speaking at once. Warnings, declarations, news, findings…so much chatter, static in between. Who’s speaking the truth and how should we respond? The firehose of information might feel like a new phenomenon, but it isn’t. Great men and women across history have wrestled with the competing voices, the chatter. Count yourself among them. […]

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Two Chicks on the Bourbon Trail


This weekend, I enjoyed attending my first Ricochet Meetup in Kentucky, dragged along by my good friend Melissa. Here are the Top 10 things I learned over fantastic bbq and local beer:

10. Kentucky BBQ is fantastic. Red State BBQ & Marks Feed Store — Yum.

9.  Betting on horses isn’t profitable (please don’t tell my husband).

8. Colonel Sanders and Muhammad Ali are buried in the same cemetery.

7. Someone who writes for Ricochet uses the pen name Rowena Tulley and has published several novels. Check them out on Kindle.

6. They offer a fun Ghost Tour of old Victorian mansions in Louisville. Next time.

5. Ricochet members seem to have spouses who don’t care about politics but are good sports. I adore them.

4. Attending meetups is good for your soul. Just do it.

3. Randy, who organizes the meetups, is a gem. He and his wife created an amazing weekend. Well done!

2. If you turn off the television and get out into the world, you will find it is a pretty great place, despite what the pundits tell us.

1. Ricochet is proof that civil discourse is still possible. What a wonderful thing to discover.

Can’t wait for the next one. Looking forward to interacting and hopefully meeting many of you!  Glad to be here.

It’s All Maintenance from Here


I figured I’d be at least 90 years old before I made this discouraging comment about getting old. My older friends have said that they have already set limits on how much time they allow for groups they visit to complain about their aches and pains, their doctors, their hospitals, their nurses, pulled muscles, raging allergies—well, you get the picture. If you’re not careful as you get older, your entire conversation can be dominated with mumblings and grumblings, punctuated with the comment, “Getting old isn’t for sissies.”

Well, I’m trying to nip this personality modification and distortion in the bud. Yes, my elbow hurts, my right quad is aching, my body is stiff when I first wake up, my wrinkles are getting wrinkles (notice how I snuck all that in there!) but I’m taking charge of my internal dialogue and my conversations with friends.

It is all maintenance from here. And frankly, that’s how G-d intended life to be. But by gosh, I’m alive! And I can still think for myself (mostly) and take brisk walks on the days I don’t work out. And when I do work out, I work my upper and lower body, every other day—a three-pound weight in each hand. And people still “like” my funny comments here on Ricochet—whether that’s out of pity or amusement!

The challenge is not giving in to “the lamentations.” First of all, it’s boring. Second, it’s boring. Third, it’s boring. And more than that, it’s like a bad rash that spreads and you can’t get rid of it. Did I say it was boring?

So, my aches and pains will be transformed into reminders of my maturity. My ideas will remind me that I still have some wisdom to share. Even my sad days can remind me to take time for reflection and serve as a reminder of my blessings.

*     *     *     *

Where did all this navel-gazing come from? I think it started after we visited BJ’s and did our usual stock-up on bulk goods. I couldn’t help but notice the price tag after a fairly modest shopping trip. But the shelves were full, except for the pop-up tissue boxes. Then again, BJ’s doesn’t promise always having the same products, all the time.

But I thought about the weeks and months ahead. Eventually, there will be shortages. Prices will continue to rise. And I will periodically grumble about missing some of my favorite products. I may even indulge in an occasional rant.

But I won’t let the shortages consume me.

I grew up in a family where we had leftovers as often as we had fresh meals. A big chuck steak thrown on the barbecue was a big deal. Picking up freshly picked corn on Highway 39 and eating it as a main course was a luxury. We were never hungry.

And I live in the most abundant nation in the world.

I plan to make sure that I recognize that there will be some things I can’t control. I will miss some things. I may not be able to maintain my usual lifestyle, but I can strive to maintain my point of view.

In some ways, for now, it will all be maintenance from here. And it’s all good.

[photo by Maria Lin Kim at unsplash.com]