Contributor Created with Sketch. Dem Debate Wrap-up: October in Ohio


Twelve candidates. Three hours. And one guy dumb enough to watch it.

CNN and the New York Times teamed up Tuesday night for the latest cattle call. The contestants were Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Gabbard, Harris, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Sanders, Warren, Yang, and in his first debate appearance, businessman Tom Steyer. They met in Ohio at Otterbein University, which apparently is a real school.


Contributor Created with Sketch. It’s a Strange Time for the West to Panic About China’s Supposed Supereconomy


Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun speaks to Governor of People’s Bank of China Yi Gang and National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Ning Jizhe at a conference on China’s economic development ahead of the 70th anniversary.
China’s high rate of (reported) economic growth tempts its depiction as a supereconomy that’s figured out a successful alternative to Western-style capitalism. Its ascent to 21st century global economic and technological leadership may by unstoppable, according to this view. A New Cold War is America’s best option to slow that advance, although it probably won’t work. Delay, maybe. Defeat? Good luck.

Yet to quote economist Herbert Stein, “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.” And maybe that pithy saying offers some insight into China’s future. For instance: A new Bloomberg Businessweek story tells how “mounting discontent among tech workers could hamper the industry’s growth, creating yet another headache for the government.” With the Chinese tech sector slumping, more and more workers are less willing to tolerate “996” shift schedule of 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week, plus overtime.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Defending Margaret Sanger on Eugenics


“Framing access to reproductive health care and bodily autonomy as eugenics exposes a fundamental misunderstanding of the racialized gender oppression on which antiabortionists stand. The truth is, the anti-abortion movement was born out of racist and xenophobic concerns about the falling white birth rate—echoes of which you will hear in today’s white supremacist rhetoric.”
— Alexis McGill Johnson, President & CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

This quotation came from the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago. Someone had written a piece criticizing Planned Parenthood. Not surprisingly, the president of the organization decided to respond by attacking the pro-life community with an outrageous accusation. Not only are her comments about the pro-life movement untrue, but she completely mischaracterizes the common understanding of eugenics.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Made-up Words? Covfefe, I Say!


I have two related thoughts that I think explain why the left and the youngs are the way they are.

An idea that penetrated from the heights of American culture down to elementary schools around the turn of the century was the idea that being judgmental was a vice rather than a virtue. This is contradictory because it is a moral judgment itself. It is the ethos of puritanical nihilism: the only morally correct way to live is not to acknowledge that right and wrong exist.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. No Tricks, Please!


Remember Halloween? The homes that dropped sweets into our open and eager (paper) bags? The elastic string that held the flimsy Mickey Mouse or Goofy or Sleeping Beauty masks to our sweaty faces? For the rural among us, the eighth- or quarter-mile hike between houses, rewarded not with prepackaged bits of candy bars, but with candy apples, chocolate chip cookies, old maid-less popcorn balls, candy corn in baggies (no zip-locks), candy cigarettes, Chiclets, Necco Wafers, Bazooka Bubble Gum, and – glory of glories – whole candy bars, Snickers and Baby Ruth and Three Musketeers? 

Remember the gags? The water balloons? The tipped outhouses? The eggings? Ding dong ditch? (OK, one tipped outhouse, and it no longer “in service.”)


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Attorney General Barr Speaks up for Religious Liberty


AG BarrOn Friday, 12 October 2019, Attorney General Barr spoke at Notre Dame Law School. Notre Dame Law School advertises itself as America’s oldest Roman Catholic law school:

At the nation’s oldest Roman Catholic law school, students of diverse backgrounds are encouraged to broaden their social, spiritual, and personal lives while honing their intellectual and professional skills to serve the good of all.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Immigrant Tales


Consider two tales of African immigrants in America. One tale is of large populations crammed down local communities, possibly with massive fraud and likely with domestic political intent. The second tale is of worthy individuals, invited for their excellence and gratefully contributing to this country.

Pretending the first does not exist is an insult to the injured Americans, whose local economies and electoral power were quite deliberately infringed upon. Pretending the second does not exist is an insult to our founding ethos, to our Declaration of Independence and Constitution.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Yard Art


Township hall and Chevy

This photo was taken at the first of five township hall stops on Saturday’s bike ride in eastern Ohio. The township hall is the white building under the American flag. A lot of township halls in this part of the world are uninteresting pole barns, but they are often in interesting surroundings. In this case, I wanted to get the old Chevy into the photo with it.


Someone asked Jay to name one composer whose music he would take with him to a desert island. He names him (Bach). He also says farewell to Marcello Giordani, the Italian tenor, and Jessye Norman, the American soprano. We also get an opera overture, a Beethoven overture, some Gershwin—and “Take This Job and Shove It.” Quite a menu, quite a program.

Tracks played:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Cow Flatulence No Longer a Laughing Matter


We all giggled, guffawed, or groaned at the Green New Deal’s line about cow flatulence causing the end of the world. We wiped up the coffee we had spewed over our phone or keyboard. Then we went about our lives as if this was not a clear and present danger.

Well, the dairy farmers of Wisconsin, the state built on (dairy cow) cheese and beer, are not laughing now. No farmer across this country should be in anything but full fight mode now. There is no flight option. John Hinderaker of PowerLine Blog has the story [emphasis added]:


Bradley T. Klontz, Psy.D., CFP® is a Founder of the Financial Psychology Institute™, an Associate Professor of Practice in Financial Psychology at Creighton University Heider College of Business and a Managing Principal of Your Mental Wealth Advisors. Dr. Klontz has written five books on the psychology of money and sits with Carol to talk about why so many people hate rich people and how it is affecting envy politics. They also cover the psychology of wealth and what separates the ultra-wealthy from the middle class, stereotypes of the rich and how it holds people back and the psychological barriers to climbing the socioeconomic ladder.

You can connect with Dr. Klontz on Twitter and take a quiz to test your own money psychology on his website here. You can view his YouTube channel with videos about the psychology of wealth and money here.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Elizabeth Warren, Corporate Bully


The fast-shifting winds of American politics have increased the odds that Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts will be the next Democratic nominee for President of the United States. Joe Biden has been lackluster at best, and his potential conflicts of interest arising from his son’s dealings in both Ukraine and China may well derail his candidacy even before the primary season begins. Bernie Sanders’s heart attack will likely scare voters, and the rest of the pack—Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar—have failed to connect with the public.

The bad news is that a Warren presidency would be one of the most terrifying prospects ever to hit the American system. Long on confidence but short on judgment, Warren uses her fake professorial air to support proposals that are so dangerous to the nation’s economic welfare that even potential Democratic Wall Street backers are now shying away from her candidacy.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. It Is A Cult, After All


Can’t believe I couldn’t find a trending post on the climate change craze. I’ll have to do this myself.

We all casually observe the organized CAGW1 scam. C’mon, all of us, right? It starts at elite (and corrupt, if I may repeat myself) levels of the academy. We know the predilection of governments for conclusions that require their involvement, and we understand the funding needs of the intermediate tier of researchers and journals. This much is normal corruption.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Let’s Troll the Chinese


On opening day for the NBA season, a surprisingly large number of people show up with t-shirts with Asian writing on them. Chinese, Korean, Japanese. Maybe even other Asian languages like Thai or Burmese, even though they appear nothing like Chinese; to the average security guard, all Asian languages look the same. When translated, the slogans are innocuous: “Wang Family reunion 2018,” “East Bay High School Dolphins,” “Golden State® Rocks,” “All your base are belong to us.” Some may be complete gibberish, like the random Chinese symbols tattooed on the bicep of your average bodybuilder. Everyone will be let in. After all, who’s going to hassle a cute girl with a t-shirt bearing a Hello Kitty® logo and “Why can’t we be friends” in Japanese?

And nothing happens for the first half of the game. Maybe the cameras will focus on the cute girl with the Hello Kitty® t-shirt during lulls in the game. Everything’s cool.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. ‘1636: The China Venture’ Delivers Another Great Adventure


Eric Flint’s standalone time-transposition novel “1632” proved so popular it metastasized into a series of some 30 novels and 12 collections of short stories.

The premise is a small town in West Virginia gets transposed in time and space with a similar volume from 17th century Thuringia in Germany. At the height of the Thirty Years War.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Ukraine!


Only in song can we put the whole Trump-Ukraine phone call into proper perspective. Sung to the tune of “Cocaine”:

Mueller didn’t come through,
There’s only one thing to do—
Though our ratings may slump,
This time we’re gonna get Trump!
Got him now, got him now, got him now . . .


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Are We a Great Civilization in Decline?


“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within.” — Will Durant

Many civilizations have indeed come and gone, giving in to decadence, tyrannical rule, mismanagement and a lack of purpose or direction.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Surprised by Jerusalem


A few weeks back, Marie and I took a cruise that visited several ports on the Mediterranean. We started in Rome, then went on to Naples, Malta, Crete, Rhodes, and Cypress. None of them was particularly memorable. In fact, I hated Rome. When Marie and I visit cities, our pleasure is to walk all over the place. But in Rome, in particular, our walks were spoiled by the constant and loud noise of scooters and motorcycles.

Pardon my screed. What I really want to talk about here is the main reason for our cruise, the two days we spent in Jerusalem.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Louisiana MAGA-nificant Election


Louisiana is one of the states that has a top-two or “jungle” primary system, in which all candidates of all parties compete head-to-head. If one candidate gets 50% plus 1, they are the outright winner, otherwise the top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation, go on to a mid-November run-off election. President Trump both stopped the Democratic Party from an outright win in the governor’s race but also used the Lake Charles MAGA rally Thursday to preach solidarity to both strong Republican candidates and their supporters. It was Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment restated as he brought Ralph Abraham and “Eddie” Rispone up together to speak to the crowd: “You are not allowed to hit your Republican opponent. You are only allowed to hit John Bel Edwards, because he deserves it.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Beto: the Kang Candidate


I have long suspected that Beto O’Rourke is an alien, and not the kind that merely comes from another country, but one who may not even be from this solar system. His presidential campaign, after all, is a strange and almost parodical pastiche of exactly how conservatives have parodied the extremes of liberalism for years. It’s as though all he knows of being an “Authentic American” came from a battered bootleg copy of Jack Kerouac, and all he knows of campaigning is what he learned some 20 light-years out as the faint broadcast signals of the late 90s reached his starship, and the only one he could pick up cleanly was Rush Limbaugh’s brief TV run. Plus an early Simpson’s Halloween special that he misunderstood as a training video for his species.

How else does one explain Beto’s outbursts and truly bizarre proclamations? They’re not the sort of thing a sane and rational Democrat would actually say out loud and in public even in these crazy times (even if they were thinking them). Most politicians have at least some inner-monologue filter that prevents them from appearing honest or emotional, and they normally only disable that filter if they think nobody is listening (which is a foolish assumption anymore because somebody is always listening, somebody always has a voice recorder and video camera handy in the form of a phone). Romney’s “47 percent,” remark, Hillary’s “Basket of Deplorables,” Obama’s “Bitter Clingers,” and ¡Jeb!’s entire primary bid was all well-remembered political gaffes, not political triumphs, but one suspects Beto does not quite understand the context, and thus misses the lesson.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. How Lame Is Our Awesome God?


“When He rolls up His sleeves / He ain’t just puttin’ on the Ritz” must be one of the least promising ways to begin a worship song ever. Nobody rolling up their sleeves is “puttin’ on the Ritz.” The rolled-up sleeve-position used for manual labor is the opposite of the sleeve-position used for an old-fashioned fancy night out. And yet, that’s how Richard Mullins’s best-known song, Awesome God opens. Mullins himself considered Awesome God something of a failure, remarking, “the thing I like about Awesome God is that it’s one of the worst-written songs that I ever wrote; it’s just poorly crafted.” And yet it’s a song many of us remember fondly. Why?

To be fair, the lyrics get better from there: “There is THUNder in His footsteps / And lightnin’ in His fists.” Although not by much. Awesome God alternates patter in the verses with an expansive chorus, and the patter is hardly scintillating prose, much less verse. (“Eden” rhymes with “be believin’” — really?) The patter does, though, address themes often left out of “Jesus is my boyfriend”-style worship songs. God as Judge. Sin and its wages. God as God not just of happy, shiny, fluffy things, but also of the storm. And, when the song is sung at proper tempo (no slower than Mullins himself performed it), the rapid-fire, syncopated sixteenth-note patter creates an effect that surpasses its individual words. Especially when the worship leader delivers the patter in a half-snarled, half-whispered mutter, as if he’s letting you in on the secret of something dangerous — which he is: Aslan’s not safe, after all, just good. Notice I called the worship leader he. That’s important. Awesome God is made for a masculine musical delivery, and the difference between liking the song and hating it can simply be the difference between having learned it as masculine and driven, or crooning and wimpy.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Democracy Under Attack


I hear that a lot these days, that our democracy and our Constitution are under assault. There’s a grain of truth in it, though neither so much nor of the nature those who use the phrase intend when they say it.

Ours is not really a democracy, of course, but rather a democratic representative constitutional republic: we democratically elect representatives who then create and execute the law on our behalf, themselves bound by a Constitution intended to limit their authority.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Things Could Get Out of Hand


Since the three press conferences addressing Turkey, Kurds in Syria, and U.S. forces, there has been a near-miss of US soldiers. The hostile take is from Newsweek. The Department of Defense statement, on the record, gives us the facts we know from the US side.

The facts of this situation, even taken from the Newsweek post, contradict the “abandoned” narrative. That is, US forces were in an observation post within visual distance of the Turkish border, and close to some Kurdish positions, from which there may have been mortar, light artillery fire, across the border into Turkey. It is a long border, with lots of points of contact, compared to the small, shallow border section the past days’ actions and chatter concerned.