Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Novelty of Our Situation


“In other words, do not let us begin by exaggerating the novelty of our situation. Believe me, dear sir or madam, you and all whom you love were already sentenced to death before the atomic bomb was invented: and quite a high percentage of us were going to die in unpleasant ways. We had, indeed, one very great advantage over our ancestors—anesthetics; but we have that still. It is perfectly ridiculous to go about whimpering and drawing long faces because the scientists have added one more chance of painful and premature death to a world which already bristled with such chances and in which death itself was not a chance at all, but a certainty.” — C.S. Lewis

While Lewis wrote this in regard to the then-new threat of atomic warfare, it seems remarkably appropriate to today’s Chinese coronavirus scare. While we may be reacting to the threat in novel ways, the threat itself is as old as mankind. Yet death is inevitable once birth has occurred. Through our panic (as others have noted on Ricochet) some may be hastening their own deaths or the deaths of others.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Pretty Good Cat


My siblings are bonkers about cats. I’m used to that. I’ve borne years of anthropomorphic fantasies about a line of household pets that included a sensitive and gorgeous special breed, country cross-varieties vaguely named after T.S. Eliot characters, and a few city “patio cats.” I’ve witnessed naming deliberations for new kitties that drag on for weeks, with “Pockets” being a near winner and a friend begging them not to saddle it with a noun handle for life. They eventually settled on human names for their animals, which pleased everyone: Eleanor, Titus. Titus, nearly two decades old, is still with us, and shows up occasionally in pictures, like the time he was sporting a small wide tie that my brother said made him think of “a night manager at Denny’s.”

What has just dawned on me, however, is that another family member has been something of a dark horse when it comes to passion for felines. I mean, I knew my dad liked cats, but I finally realized the degree of this affinity today when my mom texted us with a charming innovation my dad used to solve a problem with their old cat.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Interview with Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD


We have had a lot of positive feedback on our interview with Stanford University Professor of Medicine Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD on the Ricochet Podcast. As a public service, we’re offering just the interview portion of our video podcast and encourage you to share it with others.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. American Emergency Medicine Works


This is both a brief story in itself and preface to another tale, “Strategic Logistics Work.” The point of observation: the Valley of the Sun, Maricopa County, the population center of Arizona. The time: summer 2018 and last weekend, March 21-22, 2020.

Foreshadowing: It was a normal summer Saturday afternoon in 2017. Which is to say, it was a dry heat in the Valley of the Sun. I was out for a 2.5-mile brisk walk when I got the urge to sprint. Nevermind that I had not done a wind sprint over a year, I just had the urge. Pulling up at the end of a 200-yard dash, I noticed something was a bit odd. My heart rate was not slowly dropping. I got indoors, sat down, and drank water. No change. In fact, I was getting increasingly light-headed, even with my head down, so I had someone dial 911.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Oklahoma Former Senator Tom Coburn Dies. Rest in Peace.


A giant in American Conservatism, Dr. Tom Coburn, passed away after losing his battle against cancer.

Dr. Coburn was elected in the 1994 Gingrich Revolution where the GOP took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. He served three terms in the House, from 1995 to 2001, honoring his term limits pledge.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Chinese Wet Markets


A cobra is seen in Yang Hangchang’s snake farm in Huzhou, China.

Years ago, my father in law worked as an engineer in Taiwan installing an automated freight handling and storage system for a US airbase. He took lots of video of his time in the far east, especially of the more unusual Chinese customs.


In an effort to provide immediate economic relief during the coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed a $2 trillion stimulus bill, funding all different areas of the American economy, from small businesses to large corporations to individuals out of work because of the virus. My guest today is Lance Gooden, he’s a Republican congressman from the 5th district in Texas. On today’s show, we’re going to examine the $2 trillion stimulus package, the public health response to coronavirus, and what to expect going forward.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I’m a Woman and Don’t Need a Female President to Empower Me


Will that doggone glass ceiling ever break? Will women finally get their champion in The White House?

This was the much-repeated question for many in 2016: Hillary Clinton, the long-awaited heiress to the presidency was ready to make history, giving millions of young girls the role model they deserve, because as she explained at a NYC luncheon in 2017, “You can’t be what you can’t see.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Progressive ‘Relief’ Package


View original artwork here.


Jon Gabriel flies solo to discuss the developing Coronavirus lockdowns, a Twitter spat with a Senator, the perils of modeling, and the need for skeptics during an age of monothink. The intro/outro song of the week is “Locked Down” by Swedish band Turbonegro. To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians this year, subscribe to our Spotify playlist!


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Day 67: COVID-19 Numidiocy


We’re #1! Not a distinction for which the US was looking. And it might not be true anyway if we had a clear picture of what is going on in the world’s most populous country — China. (Or is it India, now?) And we are not #1 on the “misery index” (yet).


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. New Virus Hobby: Marine Traffic!


Seal Beach Pier, L.A. Harbor, Palos Verdes, Catalina off to the left.
I’m assuming others have stumbled upon a new virus hobby while cooped up. Here’s mine: marine traffic! Working from home, I have an ocean view in Seal Beach in Orange County, CA, which is nice, but what is all this traffic out there?

I have a clear view of every ship lining up to dock in the L.A. Harbor to my right, and the Naval munitions dock at Anaheim Bay to my left. But I know almost nothing about them.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson: The Corona Economy with John B. Taylor




Strange times call for improvisation and trying new things. So this week The Ricochet Podcast isn’t just a podcast, it’s also a Zoom webinar (sorry, the video is only for Ricochet members — not a member? Join today!). See James Lileks’ secret TV studio designed by a dyslexic! Rob Long owns and prominently displays Communist propaganda! Peter Robinson is wearing a sweater! Wait, that’s not a surprise. OK, he’s floating above San Francisco bay! But enough about the video, more importantly, we’ve got a great guest this week: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at the Stanford Medical School, Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He explains why the numbers we’re seeing may not tell the entire story of this pandemic. Also, a new Lileks Post of The Week, My Life as a Google End User, some thoughts about life as we now know it, and some cameo appearances from some actual Ricochet members!

Music From This Week’s Show: Sitting In My Room by The Ramones


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Update: Death Rate As of 3-26-2020


The big news today is that the US now has more reported COVID-19 cases than any other country. Remain calm. Remember that our rates of infection remain far below those of the two hardest-hit countries, Italy and Spain. The US has about 5.5 times the population of Italy and about 7 times the population of Spain. So it is no surprise that we have the most cases.

I’ve reviewed all of the data for today (March 26) from Johns Hopkins, and there are no significant departures from prior trends.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Quick and The Dead


“Power undiluted by fatigue is not heroic; it is professional.” — Pavel, The Quick And The Dead

Pavel, a former Spetsnaz master of fitness, has been an exercise guru in this country for years. He’s been, at least for the past decade, my go-to guy for all things Kettlebell.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Majestyk’s Giant ‘Jeopardy!’ FAQ


Everybody already knows that I was going to appear on the biggest, best, longest-running game show in the history of whenever – “Jeopardy!,” of course! – but now I have a conundrum on my hands: How do I handle all of the questions and fan mail?

Never fear, gentle reader: I am here to answer your burning questions about all things J!


When we look back on how we handled this crisis, will we be proud of ourselves? If you’re starting to sink deeper into a spot on the couch, listen up as Mary Katharine Ham and Bethany Mandel lay out how they survive (and, frankly, thrive) in chaos—and you can too.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD: Every Instant of Every Life


The “Lord’s Prayer” is not to be prayed with resignation: “Father, what will happen will happen,” or “Since it’s an order, I’ll obey”–as though we were being called to attention by a spiritual commander-in-chief. Such an attitude would indicate that “the servant does not know what the master is doing” (John 15:15), which is not at all the case. He who has given up his life guides us along his path, making us acquainted with God’s will so that we do it freely. And the will of God is that each of us contributes to the salvation of mankind. Once we know this, a prodigious perspective opens up before us, affecting both our prayers and daily existence.



Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Duration: Rotaria


We’re in lockdown starting Friday at 5 PM, but as far as I was concerned it started today. Wife has an essential-person deferment; so do I. No plans to use it but it’s nice if it’s there. When Wife held up her document stating she could move about freely, it was like a Letter of Transit. I’ll hide it in the piano.

The sun came out and the temps soared. I stood on the porch at the top of the hill and watched all the dog-walkers and moms with strollers. Made a point of waving if they looked up. When I’m walking the dog and I see people coming up the sidewalk, I move to the street, but I wave, and smile. For a few weeks we weren’t looking at each other. Now we need to wave, and smile.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Death Spasms of a Debt-Driven Economy


I intended to post something on this days ago, but every day brings a new outrage that forces me to rewrite it. At this point, I’m simply stunned.

COVID-19 is not the fundamental cause of the stock market crash and the insane response to it of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Government. The fundamental cause is a nation that has not saved for a long time, lives on ever-expanding debt and cheap credit, and expects bailouts anytime something goes wrong. Such a system is extremely fragile, and what otherwise would be an inconvenient but manageable financial problem turns into an existential crisis. We are like the man with half a dozen maxed-out credit cards, living large as long as he can make the minimum payments, but has his life destroyed when he loses his job. Instead of having savings to tide him over until he finds the next job, he’s now homeless.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. And the Corona Report from Bavaria


@misthiocracy thought I should share some thoughts about the situation here in Germany with folks on FB, but I thought, “Why not Ricochet first?” And here I am with some impressions.

Here in Bayern, on the order of our Governor, Markus Söder, we have, since midnight last Thursday, not been allowed to go on walks with anyone who is not a family member. No picnics or barbeques, either (Germans are nuts about the latter, if you did not know- better than southerners even), and you have to maintain 1.5m distance from other people in line at any of the stores that are still open (drugstores, grocers, chemists, specialty food stores, supermarkets in the Walmart mode and that is about it.). Churches, houses of prayer, schools, bars, cinemas, opera houses, basically any kind of business or establishment where more than 3 people could interact are closed- basically it’s like New York (as I hear). And yet, last I checked, public transportation is still in operation. You know, busses and trams. Mobile disease breeding labs and infection damn-near-assurance zones. That aside, most people are observing this curfew…some with grumbling and most with good humor and many of my associates with even more than usual prayer and worship- which we are steeped in already, being part of a 24/7 prayer movement anyway. 


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Lasting Benefits of Repeated Failure


I grew up on a hog farm in an Amish community in southeast Ohio. We did not practice the Amish religion of our neighbors, but we farmed that way, and working with draft horses (we used Belgians) teaches one patience. We were very good at farming hogs, but after Dick Celeste was elected governor (our first Democrat governor after many years of the Republican Jim Rhodes), our income taxes went up 90%. We lasted about a year after that. Ten days before my 16th birthday, we lost our farm, all of our stuff was sold at a Sheriff’s sale, and we had to move. It’s hard to express how angry I was. I was 16 years old and I hated the whole world. I don’t think that most people really understand hate, but I do. On the other hand, my Dad got out of farming and eventually ended up teaching math at our public high school, which, combined with his military time from Vietnam, allowed him to retire, which would have been very difficult as a hog farmer. So things actually worked out eventually.

I was a good athlete, which in Ohio means I played football at a high level. I’m in the Athletic Hall of Fame for my area of Ohio (for football and discus and a few other things, per the picture at the right). The attitude problem inspired by the loss of my home helped make me into an exceptional football player. As it turns out, though, I wasn’t THAT good. As I encountered better and better athletes, I found some that were better than me. So after college sports, I abandoned athletics and moved on to other things. It hurt at the time, but things worked out ok, eventually.