Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Who’s Considered Patriotic and Who Isn’t Is Weird


Lately, I have been thinking of Megan Rapinoe as compared to Rob Smith and how bizarre and fascinating the human soul is. Let me digress … Megan Rapinoe grew up in Redding, CA which, being in Northern California, was probably not a hotbed of homophobia. Then she went to college in Portland and played soccer thereafter. Later, she bounced around playing for different teams. Currently, she plays for the Seattle Reigns.

I have no doubt that someone somewhere was mean to Ms. Rapinoe because she was gay, but I quite doubt that she has ever experienced systemic anti-gay discrimination. In fact, she has spent her life in the least homophobic cities in America at the least homophobic time in American history. There is gay marriage in all 50 states, nearly every company celebrates pride month as a way to recruit talented gay people, and Republicans invited the openly homosexual Peter Thiel to speak at the 2016 National Republican Convention.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Pirate State


Piracy has been a mainstay of Islamic culture since the beginning of the religion. Although they had conquered the southern rim of the Mediterranean Sea, they had no ability to make proper use of it for trade. Instead, they became the greatest pirates of all time. From the 9th century on, piracy was a mainstay of Islamic culture.

In 1801 Thomas Jefferson sent a flotilla to deal with the Barbary Pirates. Once they had been soundly defeated in battle they were quite happy to allow safe commerce for American shipping. No kidding.


On this week’s episode of The Ankler, Richard Rushfield is joined by the Ankler’s Editor at Large Jim Gibson to pick over the week’s news from the entertainment capital. First they look at the mid-summer box office, and talk about why is this Spider-Man different from all other Spider-Men, and what really does make a flop these days. And then they discuss lobby politics. Everyone is buzzing about the New York Times’ account of the lavish Netflix lobby, but what does the piece really say about the company, its culture and its future prospects.

Intro music: Train Wreck by Kasey Chambers
Outtro: The Ankler Theme Song by Jim Gibson


Contributor Created with Sketch. This is What it Means to Be Religious


One of my biggest frustrations with so-called religious individuals is how absent charity can be for many. Especially in the Jewish community (which is the one I am most familiar with), there is a focus on the minutia of observance (cleaning one’s home meticulously for Passover), with the public shows that observant Jewish life brings, without the observance of the commandments (mitzvot) of charity. The best example is Purim: we are obligated to give food gifts to friends, but for many, those food gifts have turned into a massive expenditure, where people make elaborate baskets based on the theme of their costume, which is also another significant expenditure. Another mitzvah of Purim, the obligation to give charity, is relegated to the side, where people who have spent hundreds of dollars on their baskets and costumes put a $5 donation on their credit card at the last moment as an afterthought.

Scrolling through Instagram this morning, however, I was heartened.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Notre Dame, Charity and Socialism


This article from the New York Post on the rebuilding of Notre Dame Cathedral is fascinating. It seems that 90% of the donations to rebuild the burned Church are coming from America and small French donor, with the French government making up the rest of the giving. French billionaires pledged a lot of money, but none of it has been given yet.

This does not surprise me; one of the problems with a large State and a State religion is that people lose their sense of personal responsibility for their fellow man and when the mentality is, “the State does that” and the individual is free to ignore his obligations.


Daniel J. Mahoney on Edmund Burke, Russell Kirk & the conservative ethos, part of a series occasioned by Kirk’s centenary, published in the January 2019 issue of The New Criterion.


Did the confirmation battle of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh help or hurt the #MeToo movement? How did the mainstream media miss so many red flags regarding his multiple accusers? And what was the horrific media storm like for the Kavanaugh family? In this week’s edition of Problematic Women, we interview Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino, authors of the best-selling new book, “Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court,” on what really happened during the hearings, and what that means for the future of the Court and all Americans.

Also in today’s podcast:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Neil Armstrong


I recently saw the excellent new film Armstrong. Here’s a couple of quotes from it:

Post Apollo 11 Press Conference


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


As a police officer, I often encountered people who were in crisis. In the police academy and elsewhere, we were given a wide array of tools and training to protect ourselves. Verbal de-escalation of people in crisis, not so much. Our mandate was “command presence,” to take charge of every situation we encountered. This, of course, resulted in all sorts of wacky hijinks.

Eventually, the PD brass realized that we needed to be a little more versatile in our approach to the people we were serving. The result was a block on police-community relations in our annual training. Officers disparagingly called these blocks “the flavor of the year,” since they seemed to change every time. One year it was something called “Signature Service.” One year it was “Verbal Judo,” which was pretty good but never had any followup or refresher training. One year, the first thing we were assigned to do was write down all of the derogatory names we could think of for people of different races, cultures, genders, etc. I turned in a blank sheet of paper. The lieutenant teaching the course got on me for that and I told her I would never put my name on a document containing such language; besides, I never used those words myself. I never got the point of this particular class.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Dies at 99


Retired Justice John Paul StevensJohn Paul Stevens was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Gerald Ford, a Republican. Justice Stevens became a leader of the left wing of the court, and did not retire until a suitably leftist president could name his successor. In 2010, Stevens retired, allowing President Obama to select his replacement, Elena Kagan. Age 90 at his retirement, Stevens enjoyed nine years of retirement before his passing on Tuesday, July 16, 2019.

The New York Times is praising Stevens in its obituary, written entirely positively by Linda Greenhouse. Writing on the Supreme Court for 40 years, until retiring in 2008, she was credited with shifting Republican appointees left by her writing at the paper, created what has been called “the Greenhouse Effect.” She praises this Republican appointee for going all the way her way. Read her article and you will glimpse what an unaccountable official in black robes can do over a lifetime.


Contributor Created with Sketch. ‘God Emperor of Dune’ Embodies the Greatness (and Strangeness) of the ‘Dune’ Universe


This December, the last Star Wars movie (probably) featuring any of the original series’ cast members will come out. Good riddance. Because in November 2020, the god-emperor of science fiction will reign supreme once more, as a new adaptation of Dune by Frank Herbert will come to theaters.

And I’ll be there, even though I’m a relatively new convert to Dune’s greatness. As a sci-fi- inhaling youngster, I was told that the two sci-fi books I had to read were Dune and Neuromancer by William Gibson. I bought them both at a Half-Price Books more than a decade ago…and did nothing with either of them until July 2016, when I finally made my way through Dune.* I liked what I read, and have been gradually working through the series since.


Contributor Created with Sketch. ACF #25: Hitchcock, I Confess


More summer viewings? Here’s my podcast with Eric Cook on Hitchcock’s Catholic movie, I Confess, about the conflict between justice and faith, public and private, secular law and holy men, police investigation and the seal of secrecy in confession.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Ilhan Omar Hates America. Why Doesn’t She Leave?


The national media, both the liberal and squishy NeverTrump varieties, are all aghast that President Trump tweeted recently that if certain unnamed Progressive Democrat Congresswomen dislike America so much then why don’t they leave. And then he said they should come back and tell us how to fix America, if they’re such experts. But most people are ignoring that part of the tweet because it doesn’t match their prejudices. No, instead, all we hear about is how racist Donald Trump. Racist, racist, racist. Blah, blah, blah.

I’m an immigrant to my small, rural town in New Hampshire. That is, I was born about 90 miles away, in Maine. (This is just how things are in New England. I’ll always be “from away.”) A couple of years ago I attended a hearing held by the town zoning board on whether to allow a self-storage facility to be built on a property previously zoned residential. The particulars aren’t important, but I spoke out against the special exception to the zoning ordinance that the property owner was seeking. During a break, the property owner’s brother-in-law approached me and loudly informed me that I “should wait until [I’d] lived here longer before opening [my] [expletive] mouth.”


Contributor Created with Sketch. Planned Parenthood President Terminated


Yesterday came the news that the President of Planned Parenthood, Dr. Leana Wen, was terminated after secret, closed-door conversations about the future of the organization, and how Wen’s perspective and advocacy factored into that vision:


Due to some scheduling issues, we’re a couple of days early this week but that doesn’t mean we’re scrimping on the content. James is taking this week off, so Rob and Peter drive the bus themselves (as Peter mentions in the show, do check out James’ Twitter feed). We’re not scrimping on the guests either: we’ve got Washington Post chief political correspondent (and former Ricochet podcaster) Bob Costa on The Squad, Nancy, Bernie, 2020, and more. Then, Law Talk co-host John Yoo stops by to discuss the passing of Justice John Paul Stevens, some of the recent SCOTUS rulings, and to call out Rob Long for his many imperfections. Finally, Rob and Peter give some binge TV tips. What are you watching? Tell us in the comments.

Music from this week’s show: The Wayfarer by Bruce Springsteen


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. David French on Native-Born Ingrates


David French has a new article on immigrants.

Immigrant citizens don’t owe a special debt of gratitude of to this nation — a debt over and above the gratitude that native-born citizens should feel for their home country. To be crystal clear, I believe Ilhan Omar and every citizen immigrant should be grateful for their place in this country. What I reject is the notion that native-born citizens like myself can demand a level of gratitude from immigrants beyond what we demand from native-born citizens.


Or rather, three nominees. Plus, Gerard Schwarz, the trumpeter/conductor whom Jay interviewed recently on his “Q&A” (here). This episode provides beauty, wonder, excitement, controversy, solace – it’s music.

Links to the tracks in this week’s show:


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Empowering the Poor


“Creating a separate set of moral standards according to socio-economic status is not an act of mercy. It is a crime against the poor. It is an abdication of our social duty to hold one another accountable. It is shameful that our self-styled elites are so afraid to preach the very secrets to success they so readily practice in their own lives.” — Arthur C. Brooks, Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America

It is a travesty that the Progressives, and some misguided on the Right, have conditioned those who are poor to believe their false doctrine. The poor learn from them that they are hostages of the culture, that they have little to no power to grow and improve themselves, that the white majority (substitute white supremacy) culture is determined to keep them down and impoverish them. I simply can’t reconcile the calls for compassion from the Left, with their arrogance about the ability of others to thrive in this great country. Their beliefs are so devastating to the soul.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. For Sons Losing a Father


Reading Mr. Lileks’s Strib tribute to his father and hearing him on the Flagship pod, I was reminded of my own father’s passing. Grief that comes from the loss of a family member is always hard, but the separation of father and son is unique, at least in my experience.

My father died 29 years ago, and a number of friends offered wise advice that helped me through my grief. Here is the general advice I usually offer others whose fathers have died, not that Mr. Lileks needs any, but prompted by his experience:


This week on America’s Most Beloved Podcast®, the GLoP heads delve into the war between President and The Squad, ruminate on in the coming streaming wars, whether or not Disney is too powerful, and ponder the meaning of the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Also, John reveals that his memory of this epochal historic event is completely made up.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Facebook, Google, and Amazon, Oh My!


I have a confession. I love Amazon, Google, and Facebook. I know they are supposed to annoy, perhaps even alarm, true-blue conservatives like me, with their monster presence on the web, their lefty owners, and their “spying” on us night and day. But I can’t help myself. I love ‘em.

In fact, I’m not overstating the case when I say that they have changed my life for the better. I kid you not. For the better. Oh, they haven’t cured my insomnia or improved my wife’s disposition — but better in most other ways.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Drug Pricing Made Easy


President Trump was both lucky and smart this week in his approach to the thorny issue prescription drug pricing. Lucky, because a district court threw out on First Amendment grounds his executive order that drug companies supply list prices for all the drugs that they produce. Smart, because at the eleventh hour he decided against issuing an executive order that would have required pharmaceutical companies to offer a system of “most-favored-nation” pricing, which would cap the prices that drug companies could charge in the United States to the lowest price charged for that drug in any country outside the United States. Eliminating poor price signals is a modest benefit. But the implementation of the executive order would have slashed revenues, putting pharmaceutical companies at serious financial risk and perhaps ruin.

The basic flaw behind both proposals is that they assume that there is a unique “price” at which pharmaceutical drugs sell. That assumption often works in competitive markets in which the costs of development are low relative to the marginal (i.e. additional) cost of production for each unit. But so-called marginal cost pricing does not work for new pharmaceutical drugs whose development costs are already high and getting ever higher. Companies are constantly researching and trying to develop new drugs with strong therapeutic properties and tolerable side effects. They also face huge costs in shepherding promising drugs through three stages of clinical trials, each one more complicated than the last. Many promising new drugs wash out in these clinical trials, which means that a pharmaceutical company can remain solvent only if its blockbuster drugs yield enough revenue to offset the costs of its duds. And finally, companies incur huge financing costs as they bring drugs to market. Development and clinical trials take years to complete, and drug companies have to find ways to finance expenditures made in year one with revenues that will only start, typically, some eight to 10 years later.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Ice After Fire: The Outpost Tavern


In the 1960s there was no hotter job in Texas than that of astronaut. If you were one of that elite crew, you were conquering space, getting there by riding a column of fire. With a job that hot, you needed to cool down after the workday was over. Fortunately, the astronauts were based in Houston and did most of their work there. They could take advantage of a Texas tradition: the ice house.

For those of you from more benighted regions, a Texas ice house is not just a place where you buy blocks of ice or which manufactures or stores ice. That is what folks mean when they talk about an ice house in some parts of America.


James and Toby do a deep dive into the Trump Tweet on the Socialist Squad in the House during this week’s installment of The United Kingdom’s Most Trusted Podcast®, followed by a rousing discussion of Scarlet Johansson’s “controversial” remarks on acting in a woke world. Plus they delve into James’ “Free Pass List” and Toby writes a RomCom. All of this and more in a special episode of London Calling