Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What Kind of Resolve You Got?


A New Year approaches! This means that before the night is through, you’re supposed to determine some change of course – preferably one for the better – that you’ll have every intention of sticking with but will likely abandon by February. A handful of you might be of the fortunate mindset that allows for relatively easy implementation of changes, probably due to some hard-fought wrangling with your ego. These will-warriors may be so in control of themselves that any resolution made tonight would be indistinguishable from the one they made on June 27th.

And then there’s the rest of us…. I suppose I can be grateful that I have so many vices that all sorts of colorful combinations of resolutions can be chosen, and I’ll still have more to take on next year!


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Now Is the Play of Our Discontent


When one thinks of great Russian literature, one does not associate it with the time period of Stalin. Venezuela probably has great literature in its history, but I doubt much of it is written today by some crony of Maduro. But such is the oddness of the English language and the English people that the greatest flowering of English literature happened during the time of an illegitimate, usurping dynasty that had its thumb squarely upon the people and the arts created, a dynasty that resorted to execution more than any since.

Some say Shakespeare was a genius for his accomplishments. But how much more of a genius was he that he accomplished all that he did in an oppressive atmosphere that saw many locked up or executed for offending the Tudor monarch? A play like Romeo and Juliet might not have been too dangerous. Classical comedies and tragedies were not too dangerous, especially when set in places like Italy. The Taming of the Shrew? Two Gentlemen of Verona? But Shakespeare delved into another realm altogether: the history play. With histories from far off in time, indeed, apocryphal histories, such as King Lear and Macbeth, danger was not so apparent, yet Shakespeare came closer in time, right up to the time of his monarch. And in the writing of these nearer histories, Shakespeare prostituted himself, becoming the propagandist of the Tudor Dynasty, or did he?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. John Garand: The Forgotten History of the Man Who Invented the Iconic M1 Garand Rifle


“In my opinion, the M1 rifle is the greatest battle implement ever devised.” — General George S. Patton

Today is John Garand’s Birthday! Any gun nut – er, “firearms enthusiast” – worth their salt has heard of the M1 Garand (it rhymes with “errand,” by the way). This .30-06 semi-automatic rifle is one of the most iconic American firearms of all time, and was the standard-issue weapon for American infantry troops during World War II and the Korean War. Drill teams and honor guards continue to use this in the present day, such is its role as a symbol of the American military.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Statists Protect Their Own


I finally got around to opening up my latest issue of “Claremont Review of Books” today. What a fantastic publication. If you don’t subscribe, you really should. Anyway, this issue features a long essay from Michael Anton titled “The Empire Strikes Back.” He provides an outstanding summary of the various impeachment attempts against Donald Trump, starting immediately after his election. He also shares several fascinating insights into the people and events involved, but it was this paragraph that really caught my eye (emphasis mine):

It is no accident or coincidence that the only three presidents who have fundamentally challenged the administrative state … have been dogged by “scandal” and threatened with impeachment: Richard Nixon by Watergate, Ronald Reagan by Iran Contra, and now Trump. (Whatever you think of Bill Clinton’s impeachment it was emphatically not driven or supported by the administrative state, which protected him at every turn.) Trump would likely take this as small consolation, but it’s a measure of how much he’s feared that his enemies are running this play against him now, rather than simply trying to defeat him next year. Which more than suggests they doubt they can.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Goldwater on Equality


“Absolute power does corrupt, and those who seek it must be suspect and must be opposed. … Equality, rightly understood, as our founding fathers understood it, leads to liberty and to the emancipation of creative differences. Wrongly understood, as it has been so tragically in our time, it leads first to conformity and then to despotism.” — Barry Goldwater

Just a little thought for a New Year’s morning.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Christmas Present for Hezbollah? [UPDATE: 1 January 2020]


Secretary of State Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Esper announced on December 29 that F-15E Strike Eagles bombed several Khomenist Iranian regime proxy force sites in Iraq and Syria. This apparently followed repeated provocations, attacks on Iraqi government forces where there were also U.S. forces in the vicinity. Such attacks would be intended to push U.S. forces into more and more protective isolation or withdrawal from the region, ceding regional influence to the Iranian ayatollahs.

The airstrikes back the increasing campaign of economic and diplomatic pressure, which is squeezing the thugocracy as the population increasingly shows unrest and discontent with the regime.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Memories of 2019


I’ve gone through a little exercise, the past several New Year’s Eves, to try to sum up the year that’s passing in twelve words, one for each month. Herewith, my roundup for 2019: Softness, Family, Broken, Celebration, Construction, Sickness, Renovation, Compromise, Stabilization, Justice, Insurance, Acceptance.

In no particular order: Item: Two dear friends with life-threatening illnesses, both diagnosed in the same month. Both my age. Scary. Item–A lovely new sunroom on the Southside of the house (some days, when it’s in the 20s outside, it’s in the 80s in the sunroom. There’s a stand of trees in front of it, and when they’re in full leaf, rather than bare as they are now, it’s shaded in the summer. Item: Some beautiful soft and fluffy snows in January, but other than that, not much of a winter. Item: A bit too much involvement with the criminal justice system, across a couple of months, but ultimately the best outcome we could have hoped for in the trial of my stepson’s murderers. Item: Family celebrations, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and love. Another year older, and signed up for Medicare. At least my monthly health insurance premium went down.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Scarlet Fever? Like What the Pilgrims Always Died From?


Just a few minutes after I posted Laura’s piece about Christmases past from Little House on the Main Feed yesterday, I got my own reminder about being thankful for modern life.

Two days ago I brought my youngest son, 2-year-old “Altima” (his online nickname is where he was born: in my husband’s Nissan) to the pediatrician. He had been running a 102-103 degree fever for several days and wouldn’t eat, despite us hearing his stomach rumbling from hunger. The doctor took a double swab: one for a rapid strep test and one for a throat culture. When the rapid test came back negative, we assumed it was a virus; my guess was coxsackie because he was also covered in a rash.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How Did You Find Ricochet?


We are having a nice discussion on the member page talking about ways to improve Ricochet and advertising is coming up.

It led to my remembering how I found Ricochet a few years ago. I was watching Uncommon Knowledge on YouTube and Peter Robinson was interviewing John Yoo; they talked about something called Ricochet and I wondered what it was. A few more videos and the constant mentioning of the site came up and I decided to come here. I started listening to podcasts and became hooked pretty soon after.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Warrior’s Last Days


Kit Carson arrived in Pueblo, CO, riding in the back of Daniel Oakes’ wagon about the second day of April 1868. A runner was sent to the town’s doctor, Michael Beshoar, telling him that Carson was ill and needed to see him as soon as possible. Beshoar was working at his second job which was editor and publisher of a local newspaper. He hurried to his medical office only moments before Carson.

After the examination, Carson spent the night in Pueblo and met with the doctor the next morning for an opinion. He was told that he had an aneurysm of the carotid artery, a bulge in the weakened wall of the artery, and he should have bed rest for a few days before continuing to travel. The old scout refused the bed rest saying he belonged with his wife for the birth of their eighth child. He was given some wild cherry syrup laced with opium and tincture of veratrum to slow his heart. He paid the doctor three silver dollars and left to rejoin his wife.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Courage in the Empire and Lone Star States


As most of you probably know by now, there were two terrible attacks on peaceful Americans at prayer this weekend.

On Sunday morning, at the West Freeway Church of Christ near Fort Worth, Texas, a gunman shot two church members during worship service. Texas being Texas, the church had volunteer armed security and the head of security killed the attacker in seconds with a single shot.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Happy Old Year


It seems to have become fashionable — even de rigeur — to observe the end of every year with “Good riddance!” It’s a trend I’ve noticed for the last several years, but it has doubtless been going on longer than that. Every December 31, we’re all inundated with online commentary insisting that the year now ending has been a terrible one, and we’re glad to finally see the back of it. Often it’s just a throwaway comment in a story about something else, repeated as if it goes without saying (“It was an awful year, but there were some interesting phones released!”). It’s predictable, and it’s tiresome.

I’m not claiming that every year is a good one. But it’s no less reasonable to say that every year is a bad one, and that’s the impression one would get by surveying the online chatter from each December. My bet is that most of these comments come from people whose lives are actually going fine, but it’s a knee-jerk reflex to sound disgruntled all the time. I suppose the reasoning must be that contentment results only from ignorance, so griping and complaining are a badge of intelligence and awareness. But words have an effect, and I find it depressing to be surrounded by so many people who are so determined to be unhappy (or at least to portray themselves as unhappy).


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. From a Messianic Jewish Friend in the IDF


Here is a video a friend of mine from the IDF posted countering the anti-Israel slanders lamentably current in the US and European media:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Powell’s Books in Portland (short observations)


I went to a bookstore in Portland as part of a short vacation trip with my Dad. It was Powell’s Books which is truly a great bookstore. Three or four stories of anything you could want but Limbaughs’ latest book. The new-age shamanistic ritual section was especially fun and expansive.

By far my favorite was the Northwest section; they really did have lots of hard-to-find books about the local history, architecture, and sheer uniqueness of the Pacific Northwest. It was refreshing to find a selection of books that wouldn’t be readily available in any other part of the world. I hope a visitor to Chengdu Sichuan can visit a bookstore filled with odd books about Sichuanese stuff that she has never heard about before.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QotD: How the years ran away…the best is yet to come


Yesterday when I was young
The taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue
I teased at life as if it were a foolish game
The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame
The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned
I always built, alas, on weak and shifting sand
I lived by night and shunned the naked light of day
And only now I see how the years ran away

Charles Aznavour (1966)


It’s New Year’s Eve and this is our last podcast for 2019. So we think the best way to close out the year and open 2020 is to listen to speeches rarely heard, yet truly fascinating. Let’s Listen.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD: The Epic Story of Human Memory

Most of us know what we should expect to find in a dragon’s lair, but, as I said before, Eustace had read only the wrong books. They had a lot to say about exports and imports and governments and drains, but they were weak on dragons.
― C.S

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s Not a Mask


I’m tired but can’t sleep; an experience everyone has at some point. But not everyone fears to close one’s eyes for what thoughts and dreams will rush into the void of sensation. Not everyone screams and mutters without making a sound in a familiar internal battle to “just shut up and go to sleep.”

Mental illnesses are as varied as personalities. We speak of symptoms and causes generally, as with diseases and purely physical ailments, because there is a utility in generalizations and playing the odds. But depression, crippling anxiety, compulsions, hallucinations, and other psychological oddities are not like a rash that looks the same on anyone.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Prospective Fact Check on Monsey Machete Attack


There has already been plenty of finger pointing over the attempted massacre of a group of Orthodox Jewish men in Monsey, New York. The FBI is now on the case. Whatever explanations are offered up, by whatever source, check them against the map and what we have been told about the location of the attack and the attacker’s life.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Reason and Authority


I have a new book on Reason, Authority, and the Healing of Desire in the Writings of Augustine. What exactly are reason and authority? Let’s talk about that. Ok, not really. Let’s just overview what Augustine thinks.

We might define reason as rational belief and trust in authority as irrational belief—perhaps as having nothing to do with rationality, or maybe as in tension or conflict with it. But this is way off. Augustine explains that it’s rational to trust the testimony of authority. It is necessary for life, and even those who most protest against trust-based systems of belief readily trust their parents’ claim to being their parents, the claims of geographers about distant cities, and the claims of historians about ancient people.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Little House Lessons


Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny.

There had never been such a Christmas.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. RIP, Vaughn Oliver


With @jameslileksremembrance of Syd Mead and Neil Innes, I must note the passing of one of my favorites, Vaughn Oliver. As I worked my way through college, I started a graphic design studio, creating posters for local bands, logos for start-ups, and newsletters for churches and other non-profits. All the while, I was listening to bands on the British record label 4AD and gawking at their genius covers. Nearly all were designed by Oliver.

If Picasso was right when he said, “good artists borrow, great ones steal,” I was one of the greatest, thanks to Mr. Oliver and his studios, Envelope 23 and v23. His combination of photography, typography, and images drawn from the lyrics enhanced 4AD’s moody, ethereal offerings. I got into a few of my favorite bands of the ’80s and ’90s thanks to his incredible covers. More than once I pored through the CD racks, saw his design, and thought, oh, this has to be good.


In his third year in office, President Donald Trump continued to deliver an extraordinary list of both domestic and foreign policy accomplishments. He delivered for the forgotten Americans, got NATO allies to cough up more money, stood with the people of Hong Kong, and ordered the operation that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

With 2019 wrapping up, Dany and Marc teamed up to review and debate the ten best things that the president did this year. But does the good outweigh the bad? On the next episode, they’ll discuss the ten worst things that Trump did in 2019.