Here at the beginning of the year – with the college football championship and the NFL playoffs gearing up – Jay does a sportscast. He does it with three of his favorite gurus and people: Sally Jenkins, of the Washington Post; David French, of The Dispatch; and Vivek Dave, “the corporate high-flyer from Chicago,” as Jay calls him. They impart great wisdom with much warmth: on college and pro football, yes, but also on basketball (college and pro), figure skating, the factor of China, and more. These gurus are really wonderful company.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: East German Joke


Early in the morning, Eric Honecker (head of East Germany) arrives at his office and opens his window. He greets the Sun, saying: “Good morning, dear Sun!” — “Good morning, dear Erich!”

Honecker works, and then at noon he heads to the window and says: “Good day, dear Sun!” — “Good day, dear Erich!”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Lessons from a Burglary in Downtown Denver


Allow me to share with all of you a very big lesson tonight.

My son, Garrett Johnston, and his friends’ home in downtown Denver (the Witter Cofield District) was broken into tonight. North of $2,000 of cash and merchandise was stolen tonight.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Bernie Sanders Raises $34.5MM. Shouldn’t He ‘Spread the Wealth’ With the Other Democrat Candidates?

Bernie Sanders / credit: Trevor Collens,

We hear in the news that Senator Bernie Sanders has collected $34.5 million in presidential campaign contributions over the last quarter, far more than expected. That’s very impressive. We also hear that Julian Castro has suspended his campaign, and Marianne Williamson has had to lay off her campaign staff, both for financial reasons. That’s got to be rough.

Y’know, I’m seeing a lot of inequality among the Democrat candidate campaigns.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. General Qasem Soleimani Killed In Drone Strike


From the BBC:

General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, has been killed in Iraq, reports say.
Iraqi State television said Soleimani was among a number of people killed in a strike near Baghdad’s airport.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. US Strike on Iraq Kills Quds Force Leader Qassim Soleimani


Qasem Soleiman
By Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0,
A US strike on Baghdad International Airport has killed Iranian Gen. Qassim Soleimani, the head of the elite Quds Force. From Fox News:

Soleimani was the long-running leader of the elite intelligence wing called Quds Force – which itself has been a designated terror group since 2007, and is estimated to be 20,000 strong. Considered one of the most powerful men in Iran, he was routinely referred to as the “shadow commander” or “spymaster.”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Hope You Had a Startastic Holiday Season


This weekend, I’ll be cleaning up and storing away all of our Christmas decorations. Well, except for artificial tree; that’ll stay up all year.

I know some of you will be shocked, shocked when I admit that every long now and again, I’ll have a wee dram of whisky. That’s not a problem. The problem is that I’ll drink and click. All “as seen on TV” stuff. You know that Gator Grip socket wrench? I got it. Super-duper non-stick frying pans? Check. Scalpel-sharp ceramic kitchen knives? Yup.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Lost in Space Dilemma


I have never watched the original TV show, though I recognize the robot. I saw the movie from 1998 with William Hurt, and am currently on season two of the Netflix series. In both the movie and the recent series, there is a character: Doctor Smith. Smith is a bad guy (or gal, in the series). In both, Smith hitched a ride with the Robinson’s, and alternatively helps or hinders the merry band, depending on his (or her) needs. Both characters are clearly one episode short of a full season, if you know what I mean. Well, I mean they both seem pretty nutso.

So here is the dilemma: what do you do with Smith?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Spirit of 2020

Donald Trump tells Kevin where the lobby is.

“He does not live in men’s hearts one day of the year, but in all days of the year. You have chosen not to seek Him in your heart. Therefore, you will come with me and seek Him in the hearts of men of goodwill.” 
A Christmas Carol, 1951, with Alistair Sim.

The holiday decorations are put away, except for the greenery, the sprigs of fresh spruce, pine cones, and red berries. I have to leave a few things to overcome the shock of no more sparkling gold lights, glittery ornaments, decorated lamp post, even “a candle in the window”. My favorite holiday is tucked away for another year. So I am counting down, only 359 days til Christmas!


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Unexpected Trouble


As a child, did you ever do something you thought was innocuous, or at least only semi-problematic, and then find out your parents were surprisingly steamed about it? I ran up against this unexpected trouble more than once.

One incident was when I was nine years old at boarding school in northern Thailand. My friend C. dared me to eat a worm. Well, she wasn’t really my friend at the time. She was my rival. We were around the same age, and she was a newcomer from the States, with a collection of novel American toys. Plus she had olive skin, dark hair, and large, expressive green eyes. She liked the boy I’d had a crush on for years and despite her unusual looks, I had dibs on him. My jealousy weighed on me unpleasantly. She and I were always vying for first place in stupid scenarios: Who would win in arm wrestling? Who could climb a mountain? We both sensed when the other was showing off and were mutually annoyed. I affected a slight babyish accent that rubbed her the wrong way; she wanted everyone to know her affinity for animals and talked to lizards with a high-pitched lilt I couldn’t stand.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QOTD 1/2/2020: Johan Norberg on Optimism


This quote is taken from an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on December 17. Johan Norberg is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.

“…we’ve lived through a period of populist revolts and geopolitical tensions, and wherever societies have been open and markets free, scientists, innovators and businesses persisted and made greater progress than ever.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. An Honorable Charge


In one of my favorite films, “The Two Towers”, we’re introduced to a brave maiden warrior from the kingdom of Rohan, Eowyn. Her striking beauty and fierce determination is compared to the cold of “a morning in pale spring that is not yet come to womanhood”. Eowyn wants much more than her provincial life and is convinced that saddling a horse and drawing a sword will provide that.


In both Israel and the United States, most politicians, foreign-policy experts, and citizens desire a strong and ever-closer relationship between the two nations. Israel and America share values, interests, and a deeply rooted biblical heritage that ties them inextricably together. But lately, U.S.-Israel relations have hit an impasse of sorts. As the Jewish state pursues greater economic ties with the People’s Republic of China, it has created new friction with America, which views China—rightly—as a geopolitical and economic rival.

In his December 2019 Mosaic essay, Hudson Institute scholar Arthur Herman delves into the sources of the U.S.-Israel tension caused by China and suggests a path forward. This new piece follows up on his 2018 essay, “Israel and China Take a Leap Forward-but to Where?” In this podcast, Herman joins host Jonathan Silver to discuss the evolving nature of Israel’s relationship with China, how that relationship has strained relations with Israel’s most reliable ally, and how Israel and the United States can best preserve their special relationship as they both seek to meet the challenge of China’s rise.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Multi-Front Attack on Free Speech


Free speech…free expression generally…is under attack in America and throughout the Western world to a degree not seen in a long time. I think there are specific phenomena and (partially-overlapping) categories of people which are largely driving this attack, to wit:

The Thugs. As I pointed out in my post The United States of Weimar?, illegal actions against political opponents, ranging from theft of newspapers to direct assault and battery, have in recent decades become increasingly common on university campuses, and now are well on track to being normalized as aspects of American politics. Incidents of political thuggery are reported almost daily: just the other day, pro-Trump women at an upscale DC hotel were verbally attacked and apparently physically assaulted by members of a wedding party that was heavy on Democrat attendees; including, reportedly, some top officials from the DNC. A pro-free-speech film was reportedly interrupted by two men wearing masks. Interruption of movies they didn’t like was a tactic used by the Nazis prior to their obtaining official censorship powers. The film “All Quiet on the Western Front” was plagued by Nazi disruptions when released in Germany in 1930. And attempts to shut down dissident speakers on college campuses, such as this, have become so common as to now be almost the default expectation.


In this podcast, Ryan Williams, our President at Claremont and Publisher of The Claremont Review of Books, is joined by Michael Anton. We thank Mr. Anton for joining us and for his unique insights.



Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Working with Wood


Snowmen wooden wall hanging with lights.Shamed by recent posts inquiring as to why I, Lurker, have not brought my superior intellect to bear on the questions of to Trump or not to Trump, whether we should go back to the gold standard, and why we should all like Chinese food but don’t have to like the Chinese Communist Party, I decided to do none of that.

My question is this: should I deepen my experience with wood working after a recent foray due to wifely nagging?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. New Year–Same Old Celebration


We like to wallow in the fact that we don’t live in a freezing, snow-covered environment, like where we grew up. Since our marriage in 1974, we’ve spent a few years in a snowy climate, but mostly, we’ve lived in coastal Southern California, or here in the Mojave Desert. We spent a decade in Southern Maryland, by the Chesapeake Bay, but it hardly ever snowed there, either. Riding the motorcycle year round has never gotten old. We no longer go out on New Year’s Eve, but we always go for a ride on New Year’s Day, just to take this photo!

Happy 2020 everyone! It’s going to be another great year–as long as you keep your point of view in a happy place!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Republicans: Let’s Get This Show on the Road!


We have entered a new year. I, for one, want to start with a fresh outlook, regardless of my tendency to assume the worst when it comes to politics. I think that breaking through the stand-off regarding the impeachment of Donald Trump could start a tidal shift in the power of the Republicans. I’m calling out Mitch McConnell to disregard any demands by the Democrats, rally the Republicans, and get this show on the road!

In a previous post, I explained some of the requirements, or lack of them, for impeachment. The articles of impeachment have essentially been delivered (by public announcement); the trial can proceed whether Pelosi appoints Managers or not; and there do not have to be witnesses. These points make up the crux of the stalemate:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. New Year’s Day 1864


For years I have been doing research for a regimental history of the 21st Mississippi Infantry. I have read their letters and diaries, viewed their photographs, and read many of their names on casualty reports from just about every major battle where the Army of Northern Virginia was engaged. I have been privy to their hopes and dreams, and read of the secrets they told to only their closest friends and family. In short, I have gotten to know them as well as anyone can who is separated from them by over a century and a half. One of the letters that will be used in this book is the following, which was written by a member of the 21st Mississippi on New Year’s Day, 1864, in a camp near Russellville, Tennessee:

But a happy New Year to you my dear sister & may it each revolving day bring a new joy to your heart & a fresh hope to its fruition. The old year went out last night bathed in tears and weeping piteously at the termination of its reign. The steady patter of the rain upon the window pane & the low, half stifled murmur of the wind made a fit requiem for the expiring monarch – but the new sovereign quick to seize the ‘staff of office’ & desirous of obliterating all signs of the late incumbent rushed down from his northern realms with boreas as his advance guard & hoary handed winter close behind as reserve & by morning scarce a sign of the previous reign remained. Everything was frozen stiff & the wind howled & screamed & rushed along as though hunting with desperate energy & malice. The last poor unfortunate that might have lurked behind or overstayed his time.


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.