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KABUL — Two American service members were killed in combat in Afghanistan on Wednesday, U.S. military officials said, as U.S. negotiators returned to Qatar to “resume peace talks” with Taliban insurgents and reach a final agreement on the withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops. I’m a throwback, and this is my biggest disagreement with President […]

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During my recent three-month hiatus from Ricochet, I’ve been browsing around Reddit. I made a Reddit account several years ago but never commented, and I couldn’t remember the password so I made a new one (they kept saying they were sending an email to recover it, but they never did). Anyway, this time around I […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Photographs and Memories


Scrolling through the scanned images from many years of 35mm manual camera photography, I ran across this image. It was one of my better shots from my first military assignment, in Bavaria, West Germany. But who was that young officer doing a standing backflip under the elevated barrel of a King Tiger tank? I had not spoken with him since I left Germany in the spring of 1990, and his name had faded from memory. A bit of poking around the internet answered that question and filled in a vague memory with surprising detail.

When I reported to my officer basic course at Fort Bliss, Texas, I saved my modest pay until I could buy a good basic 35 mm camera kit. I bought a Pentax K1000 camera. Knowing I would be shooting film on the go, my hands often occupied with a map, mike, or machine gun, I went with a compromise lens, an aspherical 28-200mm wide to telephoto lens. That lens stood me in good stead through about seven years of active service, until I busted some pin or ring when I tossed the camera into a back seat.

In an age before cell phone cameras, most consumers either had a real 35mm single-lens reflex (SLR) camera or some form of disposable camera with very limited capability. So, I tended to be the guy behind the lens. During an official goof off officer professional development weekend, a paid field trip with our senior officers effectively chaperoning us young’uns, we happened to stop at this scene.

The King Tiger tank was the heaviest main battle tank in history until the advent of the M1A1. It was really cool looking, just the sort of thing young men, of any age, want to clamber upon.

At seventy-five tons, it was bigger than its predecessor. Its longer-barreled (and thus higher velocity) KwK 43 88-millimeter cannon could penetrate five inches of armor at a range of two kilometers (1.2 miles). With Sherman and T-34 crews having about two inches of frontal armor between them and eternity, no wonder a supersized Tiger must have seemed the devil on treads.

The problem was that by the time the King Tiger made its combat debut in Normandy in July 1944, the necessities that Nazi Germany most lacked was trained, experienced tank crews and fuel and logistics support.
In terms of the triad of metrics for tanks—firepower, armor and mobility—the Tiger II was quite impressive. It was probably better than its American rival, the lighter and less heavily armored forty-six-ton American M-26 Pershing. A more interesting question is the King Tiger versus the Soviet IS-2 Stalin tank. There are all sorts of conflicting data and opinions on this duel, though an encounter between IS-2s and King Tigers in August 1944 destroyed or damaged ten tanks on either side. One flaw of the IS-2, whose powerful 122-millimeter gun could theoretically penetrate a King Tiger’s thickly armored turret at one-mile range—was its low rate of fire and limited onboard ammunition supply.

I was clicking away, when one of the lieutenants, who had come to Germany sometime after me, asked me to take a picture of him doing a standing backflip under the elevated barrel of the King Tiger. We all expected that he could do this, as we had heard a bit about him and his wife.

Who is this young officer, joyously executing a standing backflip under the Third Reich’s most powerful tank? I drew a blank, after all, this was around 1988 and I had not talked to him since leaving West Germany in early 1990. I remembered he was a serious international competitor on the double-mini trampoline. In essence, he did high diving without the water. He was married to a West German woman who he had met in competition when she was a member of the West German team. So, I had some basic start points for research.

I started searching trampoline competitions. Shortly, I found the discipline and the World Games. Then I found this:

1981 World Game Results

I did not recall him talking about being a champion, but there it is. The inaugural World Games were held in Santa Clara, California, in 1981. This provided a venue for sports that are not firmly in the Olympic movement.

A bit more noodling around, and I found that Carl Heger was competitive on trampoline until 1999. His wife was his coach. He was inducted into his discipline’s hall of fame in 2007. But wait, there’s more!

He apparently did much of this international level athletic competing while his day job was either the United States Army or the FBI. Yes, it turns out that, sometime after he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal as a senior first lieutenant during Desert Storm, he left active military service and made a career in the FBI. Federal agencies, military or otherwise, love the prestige of boasting on one of their members being an elite athlete. If you are good enough, chances are you will get some level of support from your organization.

In browsing videos and web pages about Carl, I found that he and his wife had at least two sons. They came up as competitors following in their parents’ footsteps, coached by their mother!

The photograph I took around 1988, on a typically overcast German day, struck my fancy enough to have it enlarged to around 8X11 and framed. It was on a wall in my dwelling places for a couple of decades. The image was striking enough to jump out at me, triggering that vague, happy, youthful memory a day or so ago, prompting a fruitful search for more details. So, what people of extraordinary accomplishment did you know back when?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Winter Is Coming!


Today was the day. Every day in August I look out to the Courthouse lawn to see if any of the large leafy deciduous trees have any yellow leaves. When I see my first yellow leaves, I call out to my assistant, “Natalie, come here!” and I point out the very first yellow leaves of the season. She shakes her head at my excitement every year. Today was that day. A small cluster of yellow-green leaves has appeared in about 1 percent of one of those three huge trees. It is the start of something exciting. We are a bit late this year; usually, the first yellow leaf appears around the Ides of August.

The high today in Flagstaff, AZ, was 84 degrees with a low of 52 degrees. But winter is coming! (People in Arizona look forward to winter like folks in Minnesota look forward to summer.) I am positively giddy when we get snow and post happy pictures on Facebook and text pictures of snowflakes to my friends.

The football training camps are in full swing, and football starts the Thursday after Labor Day. Color week in Southwest Colorado is the last week of September. Color week in Flagstaff, at 7,000 feet, is the first two weeks of October. Color week in Tucson is early December, and in Phoenix is in late December. Soon we will have the blur of holidays from October through Presidents Day. (No emergency court hearings can be scheduled during legal holidays, so I am out of here!)

Winter is coming! And all is well with the world.

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Hi all, With my new family, and new projects, I’ve taken several unofficial breaks from modding. Since July 4 — yep, Independence Day — I’ve been mulling over whether to make the break official, discussing it with the editors and my fellow mods. And so I’ve decided that, as of September first, I will officially […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Wilderness of Untried Things


“We Americans are the peculiar chosen people—the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world. God has predestined, mankind expects, great things from our race, and great things we feel in our souls. The rest of the world must soon be in our rear. We are the pioneers of the world; the advance-guard, sent on through the wilderness of untried things, to break a new path in this New World that is ours.” — Herman Melville, from White Jacket

Melville was clearly optimistic about America and how it would be a light unto the world, as he used biblical metaphors to describe our country. His awe and admiration for our mission was so inspiring. Today, however, I wonder how he would feel about the disdain so many direct toward America. He died in 1891 before the popularizing of Progressivism.

Like the Torah describes G-d in ancient times, Melville likens Americans to be the light of the world, leading the way as a testament to freedom and a new form of government. Whether or not other nations are capable of adopting our Western values and establishing a democratic republic, they can at least observe what a successful one looks like, in spite of the turbulence of our times.

Today, the Progressives see no relevance to those roots and those traditions. They have no appreciation for the joy that comes from living without tyranny, the profundity of our Bill of Rights, and the importance of saving our legacy.

We may be in a struggle for our survival as a free country. Whether we can turn the ship around, only time will tell.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. ‘Hey Johnnie Cope’


Nowadays, in my old age, I’m accustomed to waking up in the ordinary way, with a slightly fuzzy feeling, in a vague discontent, and my old broken shoulder aching, and twinges in my calves and ankles. And sometimes, if my thoughts turn that way, I can think smugly that one of the compensations nowadays is that there are no tables to scrub, or men of ill-will hitting the coal bunker with the poker, or hounding me out into the ablutions through the snow – and then I feel sad, because never again will I hear ‘ Johnnie Cope’ in the morning. – George MacDonald Fraser.

Whether it is Johnny Cope, or Johnnie Cope it all refers to the battle of Prestonpans in 1745. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Highlanders defeated Sir John Cope’s Redcoats. The song’s lyrics has some myth in it, but the truth is that the Highlander’s charge defeated Sir John Cope, and his troops were overrun in about 15 minutes.

To prevent a surprise attack during the night, Cope kept fires burning in front of his position and posted no fewer than 200 dragoons and 300 infantry as pickets. A company of Loudon’s Highlanders under Macpherson of Cluny had deserted a few days before; the remaining three companies were detailed to guard the baggage park in Cockenzie, while some 100 volunteers were dismissed until the next morning and missed the battle. Warned by his pickets of the Jacobite movement, Cope had enough time to wheel his army to face east and reposition his cannon. As the Highlanders began their charge, his artillerymen fled, leaving the guns to be fired by their officers.

As at Killiecrankie in 1689, the government infantry was over-run by the Highland charge.

The two dragoon regiments on the flanks panicked and rode off, leaving Gardiner mortally wounded on the battlefield and exposing the infantry in the centre. Attacked on three sides, they were over-run in less than 15 minutes, with their retreat blocked by the park walls to their rear; some escaped when the Highlanders stopped to loot the baggage train. Government losses were from 300 to 500 killed or wounded and 500 to 600 taken prisoner, many later paroled to save the expense of holding them; the Jacobite’s estimated their own casualties as 35 to 40 dead and 70 to 80 wounded.

To this day ‘Hey Johnnie Cope’ as played on bagpipes of the Highland Regiments is reveille for the soldiers of Highland Regiments, and was also played by pipers of the 51st (Highland) Division as the soldiers of the 51st disembarked from their landing craft onto Juno Beach in Normandy on D-Day.

Cope sent a challenge from Dunbar saying:
“Charlie, meet me if you dare,
And I’ll teach you what the art of war really means
If you’ll come to the coals in the morning.”
Hey, Johnny Cope, are you awake yet?
Or are your drums beating yet?
If you were awake I’d wait
To go to the coals in the morning.
When Charlie looked at the letter
He drew his sword from the scabbard:
Saying, “Follow me, my merry men,
And we’ll meet Johnny Cope in the morning.”
“Come on now Johnny, be as good and your word;
And meet me there with fire and sword;
And don’t fly away like a frightened bird,
That’s scared from its nest in the morning.”
When Jonny Cope heard of this,
He thought it wouldn’t be remiss
To have a horse in readiness,
To flee from the skulls in the morning.
Come on now, Johnny, get up and run;
For the Highland bagpipes make their noise;
It’s best to sleep safe in your own skin,
It will be a bloody morning.
When Johnny Cope came to Dunbar,
They questioned him, “Where’s all your men?”
“The Devil confound me, I don’t know,
I left them all in the morning.”
“Faith,” said Johnny, “I got so scared
With the big claymore and the kilt;
If I face them again, Devil break my legs!
So I wish you all good morning.”
“Truth now, Johnny, you’re not so stupid
As to come with news of your own defeat,
And to leave your men in such a state
So early in the morning.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Now You Tell Me?


A German theme park owner has been forced to shut down his newest thrill ride. Somehow no one seemed to notice that, fully extended, the attraction forms two massive “flying swastikas.” The owner says the ride will be “redesigned.”

Don’t they model these things for weight and balance issues? How could that fall through the cracks?

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Oh dear, David is sounding like a grumpy old man again: Never in my life have I seen such victimhood on the right. Never in my life have I seen conservatives more eager to rationalize passivity and seek the aid of politicians to make their lives easier. They look to politicians — even incompetent, depraved […]

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I still don’t care.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Is Voting a Behavior or an Identity?


Perhaps we got it all wrong.

Since 1964, black voters migrated to the Democrat Party and never looked back. At this point, they support Democratic presidential candidates at rates anywhere between 90-94%. Why?

One approach is to say that black voters are on the Democratic plantation and are unwilling to consider alternatives for a variety of unflattering reasons. I’m with Kevin Williamson in not buying this argument and being a bit repulsed by its condescension. Plus, it’s a bit counter-productive to persuade people to agree with you after you tell them they’ve been duped all along.

However, I’m not with Williamson when he says it’s simply because they prefer the policies of the Democrats to Republicans. Here, we know that blacks are not monolithic in their views, even though they’re monolithic in their voting behavior. I think of the many blacks I know who are religious and very much conservative in their views about economics and welfare, among other issues. Even though they agree with Republicans when it comes to their most deeply held convictions, they still vote for Democrats who disagree with them. But, as a researcher, I know that correlation doesn’t necessarily imply causation.

To bring it back to my opening point, maybe we’ve been going about it the wrong way. As I think about the black voters I know of, it’s apparent to me that voting Democrat is the default option. When everyone you know votes Democrat, it’s only natural that you will also act accordingly, and I’ve heard people tell me as much. So, to me, while black voters may have gone to the Democrats for historical reasons back in the ’60s/’70s, today I think it’s mainly inertia. But it’s so strong that it seems to be more of an attribute than a behavior. That is, Democrat is who we are rather than how we vote. It’s like one’s ethnicity or religion.

What I like about this hypothesis is that it is simple, elegant, and yet explanatory. It explains cognitive dissonance that so many black voters are in when they support candidates who push an agenda they do not believe in at all. I think it also shows that discussions about what the GOP can do to win over black voters are usually exercises in vanity. It’s far too convenient to say the GOP repels black voters when they have no real interest in considering supporting the party.

Now, I should be clear that I’m not arguing the GOP should write-off black voters. I’m a good enough student of politics to know that no trend is ever permanent. It’s possible that black voters will become more polarized than they are now but I don’t know how that will happen, or when. But thinking of black voting as an attribute rather than a behavior can possibly help the GOP figure out ideas to increase their support or, at the very least, eliminate bad ideas that won’t work.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Meetup in The Quay


Last Sunday, neutral observer and I hooked up with Blondie, MartyB, Eeyore, and Amy Schley for a mini-Meetup in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, affectionately known as “The Quay” to the locals:

MartyB, Stad, neutral observer, Amy, Blondie, Eeyore.

We ate at Abbey Road, a theme restaurant based on you-know-what. Amy graciously kept the COC in her moderator lockbox, although it wasn’t required because the conversation was civil and light-hearted in spite of my attempts to drag it into the gutter. It was fun to catch up with what folks were doing, as well as talk about burning issues like what to order. I started to bring up the subject of a Ricochet cruise, but then I remembered the ship Peter Robinson and Rob Long purchased was still undergoing repairs:

If we buy enough sheets, mattresses, and razors, maybe they’ll finally get it renovated (I love that picture).

My wife and I were already headed to Raleigh for my 46th high school reunion. Any time we drive up to Raleigh, we look into the possibility a Quay Meetup either on the way up from or back to our home in SC. I highly recommend folks do the same when you travel, if you’re interested in meeting your fellow Ricochetti. You don’t have to rent a 100-seat ballroom, just find a good place to eat and the rest will take care of itself.

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I have been reading about Howard Zinn’s “A Peoples History of the United States” and its strong anti-American viewpoint for several years. About six months ago, I got it on Kindle and have been slowly reading through it. I say slowly since after about ten pages, I get so mad I need to put it […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Pipelines


We went to a local compressor station for some training with their staff yesterday evening. It supports a 36-inch natural gas line that has been in place for decades; since the fracking boom, it has been running 24/7. Basically, four huge turbines push the gas eastward from here. When you meet with these guys, it’s incredible how professional they are and how safe the operation is. Another company is trying to put a new pipeline through the area and are encountering huge resistance (NIMBY).

A frequent criticism of the anti-fracking advocates is that the hill country is no place for a pipeline, thereby ignoring the miles of pipeline already in place. Of course, as long as pipelines aren’t built the material will just ship by other more dangerous means.

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Judicial Watch has been trying to get unredacted copies of various documents that relate to the Clinton Email investigation and the Russia counter-intelligence probe that involved the 2016 Trump campaign and resulted in the Mueller Special Counsel probe. Many of these documents involve the FBI and there is some thought that there is an effort […]

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


“Take a look at George Gamow, who is now recognized as one of the great cosmologists of the last hundred years. I speculate that he probably didn’t win the Nobel Prize because people could not take him seriously. He wrote children’s books. His colleagues have publicly stated his writing children’s books on science had an adverse effect on his scientific reputation, and people could not take him seriously when he and his colleagues proposed that there should be cosmic background radiation, which we now know to be one of the greatest discoveries of 20th-century physics.” – Michio Kaku

George Gamow (March 4, 1904 – August 19, 1968) was a Russian-born American theoretical physicist and cosmologist. By 1928, Gamow explained radioactive alpha particle decay using quantum tunneling. He and his wife tried twice to defect from the Soviet Union using a kayak in 1932, first on the Black Sea to Turkey, and then from Murmansk to Norway. Both attempts failed, but by 1933 they were allowed to attend a physics conference in Brussels.

The next year, he became a professor at George Washington University in the US. He recruited physicist Edward Teller (later of hydrogen bomb fame) to join him at GWU and they published the “Gamow–Teller selection rule” for beta decay in 1936. But in 1939, he published his first general readership book, Mr. Tompkins in Wonderland, making him a “children’s book author.”

His interests turned towards astrophysics and cosmology. In 1945, he co-authored a paper on the planetary formation in the early Solar System. He published another paper in the British journal Nature in 1948, in which he developed equations for the mass and radius of a primordial galaxy, which typically contains about one hundred billion stars. Finally, he was ready for the ultimate question of the universe.

That same year, he predicted that the universe rotates about some distant center. He also postulated that before the “big bang,” there existed a primordial state of matter (neutrons, protons, electrons) mixed together in a sea of high-energy radiation. As the universe expanded, the light elements (Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium) came out of this “soup.” This work led to the prediction of background radiation corresponding to 7 degrees Kelvin, about twice the measured value. In 1965, the Microwave Cosmic Background radiation was detected by A.A. Penzias and R.W. Wilson, who won the Nobel prize in 1978. Gamow and his coauthors felt that they did not receive credit for their prediction of this radiation and its source.

In 1953, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin, and James D. Watson described the structure of DNA. Gamow tried to show how the four different bases (adenine, cytosine, thymine, and guanine) found in DNA chains could control protein synthesis. In 1954, Gamow and Watson co-founded the RNA Tie Club, a discussion group of leading scientists concerned with the genetic code. Watson described Gamow as a “zany,” card-trick playing, limerick-singing, booze-swilling, practical–joking “giant imp.” Also in the club were physicists Edward Teller and Richard Feynman, the latter as zany as Gamow.

As a science writer, several of Gamow’s books are still in print today. He emphasized fundamental principles that are unlikely to become obsolete. He used mathematics as needed, but avoided using too many equations that obscured the essential points. In 1956, Gamow received the Kalinga Prize for popularizing science with his Mr. Tompkins series of books (1939–1967), his book One, Two, Three … Infinity, and other works. Like C.S. Lewis, Gamow had a rare talent – publishing serious subject matter along with excellent young reader’s books.

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Dear President Trump, Please Cancel Burning Man! I hate it. All those half naked loonies running around like it’s a Democrap Convention or Jeff Epstein’s special island.It’s triggering because I don’t want to see another man’s junk. Or old ladies with pasties covering what appears to be floppy flaps of skin. But also, because … […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump Chastises Jewish Democrats


President Trump continues to amaze me each time he alienates another group of Americans. And this time he’s correct: Jews who are Democrats clearly are misguided and foolish regarding their attitudes toward Judaism, the Democrat party, America and Israel. Here’s Trump’s brief remark:

I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.

In response, several Jewish groups denounced the comment:

‘It’s unclear who @POTUS is claiming Jews would be ‘disloyal’ to, but charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews. As we’ve said before, it’s possible to engage in the democratic process without these claims. It’s long overdue to stop using Jews as a political football,’ Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted later Tuesday.

J Street, which frequently engages in anti-Israel attacks, said this about Trump’s statement:

It is dangerous and shameful for President Trump to attack the large majority of the American Jewish community as unintelligent and ‘disloyal.’

And Halie Sofer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, accused Trump of anti-Semitism:

If this is about Israel, then Trump is repeating a dual loyalty claim, which is a form of anti-Semitism. If this is about Jews being ‘loyal’ to him, then Trump needs a reality check. We live in a democracy, and Jewish support for the Republican Party has been halved in the past four years.

(I have no idea if the last sentence in her comment is accurate.)

Since Trump has not clarified the reasons for his comments, I’m going to offer my own interpretations.

Jews have supported liberal movements for a very long time. As the perpetual underdog community, it has shown empathy for those who suffer. In the 20th and 21st centuries, however, the have shown themselves not worthy of defending; the Palestinians, Hamas, and Hezbollah in particular, have proven to be vicious and destructive. Their goal is to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, a reality that many Progressive Jews prefer to ignore. (I’d suggest that this fact is one reason that Trump states that Jewish Democrats lack knowledge.)

Jewish Democrats also seem to have no problem living with cognitive dissonance. Even though Rashid Tlaib and Ilhan Omar made blatant anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks, the Jewish Democrats refused to condemn them. Yet these same Jews are delighted to berate President Trump, in spite of his daughter and son-in-law being Jewish, his supporting Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu, his encouraging the withdrawal of UN funds that supported the Palestinians, and acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

By the way, I believe when Trump described Democrat Jews as disloyal, he was speaking of their disloyalty to this country due to their support of a party that is constantly condemning America and refuses to pass legislation in the country’s interest. I also think he feels they are disloyal to the Jews in Israel who are fighting for their very existence, and disloyal to other Jews in this country who are Republicans, a party whose values are much closer to Jewish values than the Democrats could ever be. There might have been a time when a Jew could try to justify being a Democrat before the domination of the Progressives, but those times are long past.

I like what the Republican Jewish Coalition tweeted:

President Trump is right; it shows a great deal of disloyalty to oneself to defend a party that protects/emboldens people that hate you for your religion.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Wonderful Logic of Nancy Pelosi


Here is a pretty pickle. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has stated that she will fight against any US-UK Free Trade Agreement because of the Irish border. Yet some in the European Union have indicated that they will compel the Irish government to enforce the EU’s border and harden it up to protect the single market from the dangers of American goods in the event of a trans-Atlantic deal.

The great scare is that chicken washed in chlorine or hormone-treated beef might enter the EU single market via Ireland. Like a zombie apocalypse, this would somehow spread as far as the Ukrainian and Turkish borders, infecting all citizens of EU-occupied Europe with American standards. Quelle horreur! The consequences for Europe could be dire; lasagna might actually be made with beef.

So it would seem Speaker Pelosi is fighting on the side of those who want to protect the EU from the ravages of … American products?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. On Epstein


Not that Epstein. The sicko Epstein.

Writing over at some website I have never heard of, a Christian pastor I’ve never heard of has this piece. The final paragraph says:

Epstein was right. Our semi-Christian sexual standards are a historical aberration. He called our bluff, and forces us to make a choice: Either we embrace Christian standards, or we create a world of Epsteins, a world where Jeffrey Epstein looks a little less monstrous – because we’ll all have become monsters.

That strikes me as pretty much correct. I, being so smart and whatnot, have said it for a long time. I said it when Billy Boy was doing his business with interns in the White House. I said it about Donald Trump and his proclivities. I said it about the gratuitous sex in TV and movies. We are sliding backward toward our historical norms about sexuality. We no longer value the societal gains we made because of Judeo-Christian values. We are in fact slouching toward Gomorrah, as one noted statesman put it.

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So sayeth the great Progressive Leading Light Star Tribune! I look forward to “The Conservative Case for Destroying Mount Rushmore” article in an upcoming issue of National Bulwark Review.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Pair of Jacks


In a fractured media landscape it is odd to think of anyone as a “broadcaster” these days. Most of those with the microphone in their hand narrowly tailor their messages to a specific audience, a base that can provide a rating point, anything to create a “base” and turn a dollar.

It dates back to the 18th century, originally an agricultural term meaning to cast the seeds broadly upon the ground. By the 1920’s it became associated with radio, a man with a microphone tossing information and entertainment to the masses. In the last two days we’ve lost a pair of Jacks, two gentlemen who carried that label well.

On Sunday legendary play-by-play and essayist Jack Whitaker passed at age 95. He went ashore at Normandy on June 9, 1944 as a replacement. Wounded at Saint-Lô, and again shortly afterward, Whitaker always considered himself fortunate. In 2014 he told The Desert Sun, “I had a good friend that went the other way. We went to training together but he went to Asia, with Merrill’s Marauders (a jungle warfare unit) and he had nightmares until the day he died. I didn’t.

“It’s easy to forget. Part of the forgetfulness, I found out when I went back and visited the cemetery in Normandy, that it’s that guilt complex. That survivor guilt. I survived and the others didn’t. That’s the only effect I have and I still have.”

After the war he went from small town radio to CBS in Philadelphia where he would call games for the hometown Eagles and begin his long affiliation with the NFL. He was the last living link to the broadcast booth of Super Bowl I.

In the 1980s he would move to ABC and join that network’s long and storied coverage of the Olympic Games. It was in Los Angeles when he had one of his favorite career moments, calling Mary Lou Retton’s “perfect” performance in the ’84 games.

“I came along at the right time. I’ve just been a lucky guy. I’m the luckiest man you’ll ever talk to. Got out of the war in one piece and got into television on the ground floor. You can’t go bad with that.”

On Tuesday, we lost Jack Perkins. Understated, he learned at the elbow of David Brinkley at NBC, staying for 25 years. But he is probably best remembered as the host of A&E’s Biography series. He was smooth, articulate and a one-take wonder. He retired to the Gulf Coast of Florida where he did work for the local PBS affiliate and wrote two books about his faith, Finding Moosewood, Finding God and Island Prayers: Photographs and Poems of Praise.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If Everything is Racist . . .


The cries of the Left against racism in this country are filled with sadness and frustration. They feel that this country has let them down; the land of the free and the home of the brave is drowning in hatred, division and racism. All of us must rally to answer their call to truth and equality. I’ve identified an ideal way to do just that: let’s identify every racist term that exists in our times and create unbiased alternatives.

The numbers of words and phrases that are racist are mind-boggling, as we begin to realize that racism exists in every part of society: education, law enforcement, corporations—the list is endless. But I think we can start small.

I’ve started a list of terms that look perfectly harmless but are actually insidious examples of racism. I’m providing a partial list here of the words that are supposedly meant to be innocuous, but when we dive deeply, their ugliness and betrayal of the American dream are obvious:

Black Russian: this has been called a cocktail of vodka and a coffee liqueur. When we look more closely, we discover that the word “black” has been defiled by linking it with Russians; even worse, the coffee liqueur emphasizes a drink of color. The White Russian insults blackness even more, due to corrupting the darkness with milk or cream (white).

Black Sunday, the story of a terrorist group attempting to blow up a Goodyear blimp flying over the Super Bowl Stadium with 80,000 people and the president attending. The Sunday was clearly referred to as “black” to associate terrorism with the black population of our country.

Blackjack is a law enforcement tool used to disable a perpetrator. That’s what we assume from the name. But everyone knows that “blackjack” is a way of associating violence and crime with the black community.

Black Friday is always on the Friday after Thanksgiving, a big shoppers day. Obviously this term is meant to demean black Americans as being allied with corporate retail America.


Lest you think that racism is only linked to the use of the word “black,” let me educate you about the use of the word, “white.”

White symbolism is associated with purity, virginity, innocence, goodness and other words. It’s clear that the word “white” is used as a way of excluding black people who may be as much, if not more virtuous, as any white person.

Snow White and her story tell us that to be beautiful, charming and kind, you must be white. In society, a black person could never be Snow White.


* * * *


Going through this exercise has been enlightening and educational for me. When I started to fully explore the racism that permeates our society, I was alarmed and humbled. As I deal with my disappointment in myself, I’d like to turn this pursuit over to you, my readers. I have many more terms you may want to define for yourselves, that can reveal the perniciousness of racism in our society:

Black out, white out, blackmail, white lie, blacklist.

And I’m sure that’s just the beginning.

Consider this process as one way to free yourself of the racism that dominates your life.