Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Very Short History of the World


Let’s posit that a Clockmaker G-d created the entire natural world, wound it up, and let it go. By itself, though, Planet Earth is pretty predictable and cyclical – even repetitive. Since the Clockmaker built the world, nothing comes as a surprise; it ends up being pretty boring.

So G-d creates change agents, independent creatures infused with a divine spirit. These agents (we’ll call ourselves “people”) come from G-d and are potentially very powerful, indeed. Alas, we barely scratch the surface of our potential.


On March 21st, in his Daily Mail column, Peter Hitchens asked the unaskable: Is shutting down Britain – with unprecedented curbs on ancient liberties – REALLY the best answer? 

“This is our future,” he wrote, “and if I did not lift my voice to speak up for it now, even if I do it quite alone, I should consider that I was not worthy to call myself English or British, or a journalist, and that my parents’ generation had wasted their time saving the freedom and prosperity which they handed on to me after a long and cruel struggle whose privations and griefs we can barely imagine.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Conclusion: Atomic Terror Over the African Coast


Pour a beverage, turn down the lights, and pull up a chair! Tonight, we finish the adventure told in imaginary old time radio style that we began two nights ago.

In the first episode, we met physicist and midwestern tycoon Hank Rhody, the mastermind and paymaster of a complex international scheme to secure and remove a long-hidden rogue atomic weapon from South Africa. The rest of Hank’s top-notch team of specialists, wizards, and heroes is known to every attentive Ricochet member. In the second episode, they contrive to buy the bomb and gather the electronic evidence that will incriminate its seller. Then they all make their escape in a rebranded Rhody jetliner, intending to take the fragile, laboratory-created bomb to a CIA nuclear disposal team 1500 miles north along Africa’s east coast.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Widely-Cited US Coronavirus Projection Drops from 2M Deaths to 84,000

Imperial College London’s Neil Ferguson.

Imperial College London made headlines on March 17 for their apocalyptic projection of Coronavirus deaths worldwide. Their lead researcher, Neil Ferguson, claimed that 250,000 citizens of the UK would die from COVID-19. On Thursday, he dramatically reduced it to less than a tenth that number.

Ferguson now claims that UK deaths “could be substantially lower” than 20,000. He adds that two-thirds of these victims would have died in the next six months anyway due to underlying health conditions.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Changes in Lassitude, Changes in Attitude


Isolation hasn’t been too bad down here. Monroe County, FL, is (last time I checked) still in the low single digits for COVID-19 victims. A couple of the cases can be directly attributed to people from up north who decided to escape their domiciles in high-risk areas and fled to the Keys already infected. Awesome. Thanks.

On Friday, 27 March, Monroe County is establishing a no-entry rule. If you don’t live or work down here, you’ll be turned around. If you work down here but don’t live here, you’ll have to undergo a nominal screening and then be allowed to pass. It’s not, I assess, to overly protect from infection, although I’m sure that’s part of it. We have been blessedly light in that regard. Instead, it’s the people from the greater Miami area coming down here to load up on supplies after their Miami environs have been sucked dry. On a daily basis, the toilet paper preppers, the red meat ransackers, and the fresh produce pillagers descend upon us like locusts and strip the grocery stores bare. Long-suffering smiles of welcome are wearing a bit thin.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Papers, Please


When I was a kid, the copy of The Hunt For Red October we recorded off the TV was one of my favorite movies. My dad was a submariner, and while he had served on missile boats instead of fast attack ones like the American sub Dallas, he was able to give the perspective of someone who’d actually been there and done that in his commentary on the movie. (E.g., when Dallas evades a live torpedo by surfacing so quickly it breaches halfway out of the water, his comment was, “If you didn’t have an emergency before you did that, you do now, because if you don’t have enough air to repressurize the ballast tanks you’re going to be sinking as fast as you surfaced.”)

In the middle of the movie, there’s a quiet scene where the defecting Russian captain Marko Ramius (Sean Connery) and his first officer Vasily Borodin (Sam Neil) are discussing what life will be like in America.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Scrubbing Away What’s Not Important


As a property manager, I look after beach properties for part-time owners. I received a text from an alarmed Atlanta client, saying that security encountered a strange individual who claimed he paid $2,400 to someone on Craig’s List to rent his home. Police were called and the dude claimed he drove from Michigan to Florida to move in.

He gave two numbers of the person who “rented” the property to the police, both of which were disconnected; clearly a scam. My client was alarmed that the person claimed that he entered into this agreement with someone who had the same last name as the owner, a very unusual last name. They also had a private gate code. So scammers are well at work during the worst worldwide event since World War II – why take a day off?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Another COVID Casualty


Experts in epidemiology are starting to remind me of Gen. George McClellan—he could promise you a brilliant battle plan but only if he had perfect data about the numbers, location and intentions of the enemy. So in the meantime, you wait, hunkered down, stripped of the initiative.

Like with climate scientists, the virus modelers offer either mild, easily handled transient changes or large-scale disaster depending on the assumptions (offerings) we feed the models.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Words to Remember, Especially for Never-Trumpers


I don’t agree with everything that Kevin Williamson has to say but a recent article of his contained a few sentences that should be required reading for those who “just can’t get past” Trump’s volatile personality. And, it’s a reminder for all of us that, even though the poster child for senility has taken the lead in the Democratic race, it’s still the party of AOC and Bernie.

When James Carville warns about driving away blue-collar and rural voters, Democrats in Brooklyn hear that Southern accent and quietly whisper, “Good riddance.” The Democrats are in the mood for culture war, not for coalition-building and reconciliation. They do not wish to win with moderation and compromise, because they do not wish to govern with moderation and compromise.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Politicians Have Overreacted to Coronavirus


The coronavirus crisis put Americans to the test. Could we function in a sane, scientifically informed, non-partisan manner to rationally protect the public while encountering a newly discovered viral disease?

The answer is no. Goaded on by in unrelenting hysterical media, our leaders have inflicted far more economic and societal pain on Americans than was warranted.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. You won’t BELIEVE these five hidden community college benefits!


Everyone knows community colleges are cheaper than just about any other option. But I’ve found that going to community college gave me some advantages now that I’m finishing my degree at a university.

1. Small Class Sizes/Lecture Hall Avoidance
Yup, this is something of a cliche, since just about every college pamphlet I’ve seen advertises a low student-to-faculty ratio, or something like that. But often, introductory classes at larger universities meet in lecture halls, with as many as a few hundred students in the room. Regardless of how many students there are per faculty member, larger schools often need to be efficient this way, especially in 100 and 200 level courses where the material is less in-depth. Meanwhile, I don’t think I ever had a class at my community college with more than 50 students, and usually that was closer to 30. The teachers almost always knew my name, and if I had a question, I could walk up to them after class and ask, rather than having to make an appointment, send an email, or visit office hours.
By the time you get to the university, you will have finished most classes that would normally take place in lecture halls at community college, and move on to the upper-level courses that usually have small class sizes. Going to community college allowed me to almost completely bypass lecture halls.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Sometimes You Just Need to Curl up in the Fetal Position and Cry


This was some of the best advice I’ve ever heard. After my husband commissioned to the army, we moved to Southern Georgia where he received his leadership training in the jungle and I received mine at soirees.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. COVID-19: Quarantined


The past several weeks has seemed a bit unreal as other parts of the world have been subsumed by Covid-19. Stories of overwhelmed hospitals coupled with social media reports of people who got it and didn’t even realize they had it until the symptoms had passed. After all that time, reality came home.

My wife and I watched the news as the Mayor of Charleston announced he would be proposing to the city council a citywide ordinance for people to stay in their homes for two weeks as the current growth stage of the virus began to run itself up the curve in South Carolina. We knew that the odds of it not passing was slim to none but fortunately had already been well-stocked with food for hurricanes and the like. Earlier that same day we’d gotten bad news. My line of work is small business I.T. The countdown until we were all stuck in our homes was obvious more than week ago so our clients started getting ready to work from home. One such client had an employee that had a personal computer that needed to be fixed before she could use it for work and for her kids to use it for school. After working on it over a weekend and returning it to her we found that she couldn’t get it to work with a monitor she’d bought just for the occasion. I’d told her I’d meet her the next day at her job so I could test it out and figure out what was wrong. After speaking with her Monday evening to schedule that I got a text the next day saying she’d called in sick and that I didn’t have to come. Turns out she had flu-like symptoms without congestion in her nose, a bad sign. Could I now have the virus? How long was I with her when I dropped it off? Did I touch my face? Did I wash my hands? What do I do now?


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Army Rolling in Homeland Defense


This is how we are not Italy. This is part of why we were ranked #1 in the world for pandemic preparedness. As Navy hospital ships prepare to leave their docks, Army field hospital units have been given deployment orders. Ride to the sound of the sirens?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Delightful Apocalypse


Squirrels, for all their zany antics, are too polite to sneeze on you. Roaming around city streets might be an invitation to disaster right now. But there remains plenty of parkland and wilderness to wander free of worry. Just try to avoid sciurologists, which I assume are as erratic and unpredictable as their subjects.


In a special episode recorded from his parents’ basement, Jack invites R Street Fellow, “senator,” and sloth enthusiast Shoshana Weissman to discuss why she loves sloths, why she’s passionate about occupational license reform, and why SpongeBob is so great.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Post of the Week Created with Sketch. My Life as a Google End User


Because of a childhood obsession with illustration and E.C. Comics, I carry with me the memory of the names and the styles of the five artists who illustrated the first issue of Mad Magazine in 1952 (actually a comic book at the time). I asked Google if it knew as much as I do.

Mais oui, bon ami! [Google also speaks French]: The five are Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Will Elder, Harvey Kurtzman, and John Severin. Ask me something difficult, simple denizen of the meat world.”


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Don’t You Just Ask Us?


I’m getting tired of people who think they can speak for me or other senior citizens regarding the coronavirus, as if we were doddering old fools who needed to be represented by the younger set. (Well, some of us might be doddering, but most of us know just what is going on.) The issue of saving the economy or at-risk citizens has been presented as a black and white, either/or decision, and that is an enormously simplistic and stupid viewpoint.

On National Senior Citizens Day, August 21, 2019, the President issued this proclamation :

Coronavirus has affected The Horse Race – this is our first effort produced with everyone calling remotely using custom software. That might affect our audio quality, but it’s not impeding the quality of our commentary!
Victor Davis Hanson, author of The Case for Trump, joins us this week to dissect how the president is handling these vexing times, while my Washington Post colleague Karen Tumulty offers her insights on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the state of the Democratic race. Elections guru Nathan Gonzalez gives us a rundown on the U.S. Senate races, too

Fresh off of a scrubdown, the faculty lounge has reopened for a special all-coronavirus episode. On the agenda: Where do the emergency authorities of the White House — and the states — begin and end? Can authorities close down gun stores as an emergency measure? Should the feds drive production of emergency supplies? Did the Justice Department use the crisis for a power grab? And would digital surveillance to stop the spread of COVID-19 run afoul of the Fourth Amendment? Find out the answers to all that and more on the world’s longest micro-episode.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The First Virtual GLoP Night Owl Is Here!


For years, the men of the mighty GLoP podcast (that’s Jonah Goldberg, Rob LOng, and John Podhoretz) provided entertainment on National Review cruises. For obvious (and some less obvious) reasons, those days are over for the foreseeable future. Or, at least, we thought they were. Now, through the magic of Zoom, we are happy to present the first Virtual GLoP Night Owl! Please join us this Saturday, March 28th at 4:30PM PT/5:30 PM MT/6:30PM CT/7:30PM ET for an hour of levity, juvenile humor, Rank Punditry®, and show biz anecdotes. And fair warning: there will be drinking, so please BYOB (or scotch, bourbon, tequila, etc).


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Day 65: COVID-19 “Shelter-in-Place”


The US has now surpassed Italy in active COVID-19 cases. That’s the bad news. The good news is that has added “Total Deaths per Million Population” Column and the US is at 3 as compared to Italy (124), Spain (73), Netherlands (21), France (20), Switzerland (18), and Belgium (15).