Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Voting in Louisiana

 

The Louisiana Primary is scheduled for July 11 and that means that from Jun 20 – July 4 is early voting. Yes, we will vote on July 4th. Sorry poll workers, hope they give you comp time or something.

In 2016, I was having a running conversation with my dad (diagnosed with lung cancer Mid-May 2016) about the suitability/ electability / preference for or against Donald Trump. Dad was wholeheartedly For.

I was Against. Bigly.

Why, I even wrote a song whose lyrics I posted here on Ricochet, The Trumpa Loompa Song.

Dad’s diagnosis was a shock, so @JoALT and I scheduled a family road trip to go see dad – talked about here. Of course, the conversation continued while we were there – Pro vs Anti (there is a song with those three words, but it escapes me.)

Ice cream after dinner, Father’s Day 2016

Dad with @joALT and kids June 2016

Dad with my Stepmom

Me and Dad at my retirement in 2008.

My habit with my dad was that every day I drove to work, I would call him after I dropped the kids off at school. During the summer, I called him almost as soon as I was out of the driveway on my way to work. We spoke almost every weekday. Generally about politics and it was always a genial conversation; because he and I were very much alike (this is an argument for Nature over Nurture as I never lived with him while I was growing and only met him in person when I was 16).

So when the time to vote in Louisiana’s 2016 primary came around I voted for Ted Cruz. I was even happy (at the time) to support all the rules mongering feverishly dreamed of for the Republican Primary – anything to keep Trump from the nomination.

But, until October or so, I was anti-Trump and he was Pro. Steadfastly Pro. In October, dad made me promise to vote for Trump and not discard my vote in some futile gesture. Louisiana was a safe state for Trump, but I do accept the nature of our binary choice system and so I promised I would. Dad promised he would be an awesome President.

When push came to shove in early November it was not my promise that compelled me, it was the simple binary choice – I pulled the lever for Trump.

@JoALT sat up all night – I went to bed early – and when she woke me up at 0200 to let me know Trump won it was amazing. I called dad on my way to work and the first words out of my mouth were “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” – he laughed until he couldn’t anymore. I even taught the kids the song and we happily sang it through inauguration day.

Dad passed away on Nov 20, 2016.

After his passing, big changes came to my family. I was a Trump supporter.

I had my midlife crisis. As a result, I got to see first hand the results of President Trump’s Foreign policy.

I almost died as a result of an infection I picked up during my midlife crisis.

Throughout it all, I observed very carefully the coup attempts launched almost immediately upon his election and persist to this day.

Despite this, President Trump has governed as the most Constitutional Conservative President of the 21st century. I’m not the only one who thinks this. John Yoo of Ricochet fame says this.

“His many personal and professional flaws, including his bankruptcies, sexual scandals, crude and cruel language, repelled me. I saw him as a populist, even a demagogue, who had not prepared for the heavy responsibilities of the presidency,” said the celebrated conservative legal expert with the University of California.

“My study of the separation of powers, and my time in the three branches of government, led me to worry that Trump would test, evade, or even violate the Constitution,” he added in his upcoming book, Defender in Chief.

This is what I thought in 2016. Yoo then adds,

“Boy was I wrong. Trump campaigns like a populist but governs like a constitutional conservative,”

In my prayers, I have been sure to tell Dad, “I was wrong and you were right about President Trump.”

John’s book is here if you are interested in a journey from skeptic to supporter.

Which brings us back to early voting. This time I happily pulled the lever for President Trump in the Louisiana Primary.

I voted yesterday, June 24, 2020.

There you go, Dad. I learn my lessons well.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. What is Wrong with Our Fertility?

 

My blood silently boiled back towards the end of 2019, when I consulted on a 43-year-old woman with a BMI of 48 who smoked, did drugs, had uncontrolled diabetes… and was 32 weeks gestation. How did she get pregnant and I can’t?!

“I just don’t understand why so many of you young women are having trouble getting pregnant! My friends and I, none of us had difficulty having kids. I just don’t understand it,” is what my mother said as I was talking to her after my third embryo transfer. The first one didn’t take at all, despite the 80% chance of success I was quoted by our previous fertility doctor, a guy who had helped several people I know get pregnant. “It has to work, I thought. I went in for more testing, and my medication regimen was adjusted accordingly. With the second transfer, I got a faint second line on the home pregnancy test, which was encouraging at first, any second line, no matter how faint means that something is trying to grow. The line faded over the next couple days, and by the time I went to have my beta hCG blood work drawn, it came back as zero; I had had a chemical pregnancy. The embryo implants but fails to progress and spontaneously aborts. That one hit me real hard. Seeing those two lines disappear caused a sadness I was not expecting. Mustangman and I cried over that loss. I took a break from all the stress and hormone injections for a couple of months, and in the meantime joined an IVF support group on Facebook for women in Ohio. Boy, did I learn a lot! Besides being introduced to the clinic I just switched to, I found hundreds of women struggling to get pregnant. Like buying a new car, suddenly you start noticing all the other people that drive the same car. I began hearing about fertility struggles from the nurses that take care of my patients. It seemed that the list of couples I knew having difficulty with getting pregnant was growing exponentially. I thought about my own friends, many requiring assistance with medication or procedures in order to conceive. And while infertility is as old as the Bible, my mother’s query rang in my ears: why are so many young women having trouble?

Those of you who know my age might be tempted to place the blame at my advanced age of 36. Pishposh. My mother had me just before she turned 36. Lots of women have children in their mid 30’s- early 40’s. But it’s not just age-related; I see many women in their 20’s having trouble as well. A nurse I work within the OR followed me out from the break room yesterday saying “so I heard you might be pregnant?” This led to a discussion about IVF and fertility in general. I found out she and her husband have been trying for a year with no success. When I asked her age, I found out she’s 28. That is prime baby-making age right there! So what is going on? In addition to PCOS, the most common diagnosis the women on the IVF board give is “unexplained infertility.” And it’s not just the women that are suffering. Men are also taking a hit in their fertility. Scientific America posted an article saying that men’s sperm counts have dropped by 50% over the past 40 years. Another article I read said that men today have 1/3 the sperm count their grandfathers did. Male factor is also a common cause of fertility problems. But that doesn’t explain the whole picture.

So what is it? What has changed since my mother and grandmothers were popping out kids at will it seems? Are our lives so much more stressful that the cortisol is messing with our hormones? Is it because women are working outside the home more? Is it the drugs and alcohol? More sexual partners? Or is it more basic- our food and water? I tend to think it’s the latter. Another article in Scientific America reports studies have shown the amount of estrogen in the water- a result of urine from women on birth control pills- can wreak havoc on the reproductive functions of aquatic and human life. In her book, It Starts With The Egg, Rebecca Fett discusses the various environmental exposures that contribute to poor fertility; the soaps, lotions, cosmetics, and cleaning products we use have been shown to hinder pregnancy. Our soy and carb-heavy diet doesn’t help either. This is why my fertility doctor heavily advocates for keto, and ideally carnivore keto. Carnivore keto is a bridge too far for me, but I have noticed how much better I feel when I don’t eat carbs or sugar.

I’m don’t know what the answer is. But something is happening. While all of my IV drug users with endocarditis cry to me about how much they need to quit drugs so they can be a mom to their X number of children, I cannot stay pregnant for the life of me (PS: they never get sober, and eventually die from their drug use). And I recognize that getting what you want isn’t the result of having a good job or being a good person- God isn’t a rewards vending machine. But it does seem that the people who struggle the most to get pregnant are those that really want children and are willing to sacrifice mightily for it. If one were conspiratorially minded, one might come to the conclusion that that is the point…

With my third embryo transfer, things felt different. I wasn’t blindly hopeful like I was with the first, or as rage-y and negative as I was with the second. I was apathetic, really. But that glimmer of hope that came with that second line on the home pregnancy test and the message from my clinic that yes, my hCG was low but positive, faded when my repeat blood work this morning showed my hCG levels had dropped. I stop all medications and wait. An exploratory laparotomy is the next step. In the meantime, I’ll just keep operating on my patients during the day and playing fetch with my cat in the evening. Come one, how can a fetch playing cat not cheer you up?

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Governor Ducey, Stop the Petty Tyrants

 

Republican governors have been successfully panicked into letting the same local thugs, who reveled in the powers granted to them during the Great Lockdown, now order American citizens to cover their faces, some with as much legal force as the Saudi religious police. Governor Abbott of Texas at least had the wisdom to forbid any criminal penalties under this exercise in bodily control over every free person. Governor Doug Ducey has not been so bright, and so will rightly accrue state-wide blame against the Republican Party. He must immediately amend his latest executive order, number 2020-40, to prohibit anything more than a parking ticket sort of civil penalty for mask non-compliance.

Mesa, Arizona, is muddling through a middle route, requiring masks in most public indoor settings but not while eating or drinking. They will levy civil fines for persistent non-compliance, limited to $50, following Maricopa County.

Mesa issued its mask order Monday, June 22. It was published as a non-text enabled PDF image file. The city council notably exempted schools, a sane decision. Their order really amounts to requiring mask use in interacting with people indoors. Exceptions include working out in a gym or swimming, as well as sitting at a bar or a restaurant table when served food or drink. There are medical and religious exemptions that may be invoked without challenge.

Maricopa County, which contains the largest Arizona cities, has set a maximum fine of $50 for the second and subsequent violations. Queen Creek had intended to treat its citizens as its masters and as fully enfranchised adults but noted Maricopa County’s order. And then there is Scottsdale.

Scottsdale’s government let their fascist flag fly free, including patronizing language about this all being what is best for you subjects:

Continued failure to comply with an emergency proclamation is a misdemeanor.

Think about that. They had a choice of civil penalties, but they want to put their shiny leather boot firmly on your neck. In the intervening days, they have dug in on their un-Arizona tyranny, reflecting California Democrat ideological contamination.

Governor Ducey has had days to survey local government responses. He should now modify his order, limiting from local government and setting the statewide maximum penalty to mirror the Maricopa County order.

Ducey could use verbiage about the uncertainty of the science, changing official opinions, and the enormous burden placed on Arizona families by government responses to the pandemic. He should rehearse the public policy movement against criminalizing behavior, noting this falls unevenly on those with fewer resources to contest police and prosecutors’ actions.

Each local order cites to and relies upon the governor’s executive order to get at emergency powers. It appears that state law likely limits local orders to the bounds of the governor’s order. Indeed, Governor Ducey gave local governments the green light expressly in his order, while covering with weak verbiage about the focus on educating people into compliance. The relevant statutory language is:

26-307Power of counties, cities, towns and state agencies designated by the governor to make orders, rules and regulations; procedure

A. State agencies when designated by the governor, and counties, cities and towns may make, amend and rescind orders, rules and regulations necessary for emergency functions but such shall not be inconsistent with orders, rules and regulations promulgated by the governor.

It is an outrage that any government would dare to impose criminal penalties for such an invasive imposition on individual bodily liberty. I had thought we were in a moment of criminal law reform. Since when should any local government be allowed to threaten criminal records for dissent from edicts so poorly supported by “science” or “public health,” with flip-flops at every level of supposed expertise and medical authority?

Ducey, do right! The eyes of Arizona are upon you.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The 1619 Project – Grasping for Straws

 

In her opening essay for “1619 Project,” Nikole Hannah-Jones claimed that the Revolutionary War was fought to protect slavery. When historians pushed back, she modified her claim to: “Protecting slavery was a primary motivation for some of the colonists.” Her claim is based on two arguments:

  1. The 1772 Somerset v Stuart decision, which freed a slave who had been brought to England, led slave owners to believe that Great Britain would free all slaves under British rule
  2. Southerners were largely uninterested in the war until the proclamation by Lord Dunmore, Virginia’s Colonial governor, offering freedom to any slave that would escape and join him in Virginia

Neither claim, however, accords with the war’s timeline. The Somerset the decision was handed down three years before the war started, and some significant events occurred between the decision and the war. And Dunmore’s proclamation wasn’t signed until almost seven months after the war’s outbreak. Here’s a brief timeline:

Date Event
1772 / 6 / 22 Somerset v Stuart decided
1773 / 5 / 10 Parliament passes the Tea Act
1773 / 12 / 16 Boston Tea Party
1774 (Mar – Jun) Parliament passes the “Intolerable Acts”
1774 (Sep – Oct) First Continental Congress meets
1775 / 4 / 19 Battles of Lexington and Concord
1775 / 11 / 7 Lord Dunmore signs his proclamation

Despite Hannah-Jones’s assertion that the Somerset case figured heavily in the decision to go to war, the war started in the North where there were few slaves.

Further, she claims that the case set off a firestorm in the South, yet she later claims that the slave owners weren’t much interested in the war until Lord Dunmore issued his proclamation. The two claims would seem to be in conflict.

Moreover, prominent Southerners such as Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Edward Rutledge were deeply involved in revolutionary activities well before Dunmore issued his proclamation:

  • Jefferson was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress, which convened at the war’s outbreak on May 10, 1775; six months before the proclamation.
  • Madison was commissioned as the colonel of the Orange County militia in October 1775 – a month before Dunmore signed his proclamation.
  • Edward Rutledge was one of South Carolina’s delegates to the First Continental Congress, which met in 1774.

In short, Hannah-Jones seems to have started with a conclusion and then searched for evidence, regardless of how thin, to support that conclusion. This “history” is going to be taught to thousands of students across the country.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Epidemic of Hopelessness

 

We have been trapped for years by a minority in our society that thinks that we live in a despicable country. Recently they are also making clear that the only solution to this “fact” is the destruction of our country. I believe that the deluded people who profess this worldview experience nothing but hopelessness in their lives. Unfortunately, those of us who don’t agree with them are slowly becoming infused with this sick approach to life. If we don’t wake up, we risk succumbing to this life-threatening disease.

The Federalist, in an article by Nathanael Blake, helped me diagnose the sickness of hopelessness of the Left. Many people have tried to understand the viciousness and destructiveness of Progressives by pointing to the draw of Marxist theory, the corruption of education, and the immaturity of many young people, to name a few. But these reasons only answer the “what” questions—what they are doing; they don’t answer the “why.”

I believe that living in an increasingly secular and prosperous country, people are desperate to find meaning and purpose. When you have no belief in G-d or in man, and you can’t identify what you can contribute to the world, there is only one mindset to embrace: hopelessness.

Hopelessness does provide a path out of confusion and frustration. You give yourself permission to relinquish any semblance of self-worth; if you have nothing to offer to society, you have no obligations to your community or to your fellow man. And if there is no loving G-d to serve, you are completely alone.

You are hopeless.

But as people have given up hope, they have been lured with a “cure”: Progressive thought. The Progressives tell them that they can be “saved” by the ideals of Progressive thought; that the world is a wretched place, but they can start all over again. They can envision wearing the mantle of “Creator” in this revolutionary approach. They will return the earth to the void and darkness and re-create a new world. Paradoxically, the path of hopelessness creates the New Hope.

 

* * * * *

 

For many of us on the Right, this life view is anathema to everything we hold dear: life, liberty, faith, responsibility, creativity, values, morals, family—our list is inspiring and life-affirming. Yes, meeting our goals and obligations can be difficult, but our belief that many people are good, generous, and responsible inspires us to strive to become our best selves.

Living in a bombastic, persistent, and continual time of hopelessness is becoming very challenging. We aren’t lured by the Leftist agenda itself. We are, however, feeling discouraged, frustrated, bewildered and desperate at one time or another, as we watch our values and institutions being torn apart. In other words, in a different manner, we are doomed to watch the country destroyed, if we don’t find ways to fight these life-ending movements. We are subject to the disease of hopelessness. If we give in to hopelessness, they have won, and we are lost. If we aren’t creative enough to stymie them in their efforts, we lose more than our own wellbeing. We stand to lose much that gives life meaning.

We must fight to replace hopelessness with faith: faith in a divine presence, faith in this country and faith in each other.

We must. Or we are lost.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Coronavirus Update: All Quiet on the Western Front

 

I haven’t done a COVID-19 update for over a month. The news is good, for a change.

The data indicate that the crisis has passed, in the US and Western Europe. As with my prior reports, I rely on the Johns Hopkins data (here). I make this report on June 23, using data through June 22.

The 7-day average of daily reported COVID-19 deaths peaked in Western Europe on April 10, at 4,007/day. This figure has declined by 89%, to 436/day. The 7-day average in the US peaked on April 18, at 2,202/day. This figure has declined by 72%, to 611/day.

Here are the graphs, starting with total reported COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 population. The first graph is for the US and the larger countries of Western Europe, plus Belgium (hardest hit) and Sweden:

I’ve highlighted the US line and the overall line for Western Europe. You can see that the curves have flattened everywhere, though a bit less so in the US and the UK.

There is a data anomaly in Spain, which lowered its death count considerably on May 25 and had a notable upward adjustment on June 19. I haven’t tracked down the explanation for this, which doesn’t change the general picture.

Here is the same graph for the smaller countries of Western Europe:

Sweden continues to have a modest increase. Compared to the prior graph, it remains lower than the UK, Spain, and Italy.

The next graph is daily reported deaths for the US, and for Western Europe as a whole, including a 7-day moving average for each. Note that the data anomaly from Spain causes unusual spikes on the graph, but does not materially affect the overall trend:

As you can see, the US had a much lower peak but is experiencing a somewhat thicker tail. The downward trends are good on both sides of the Atlantic.

The final graph is the average daily growth in total reported COVID-19 deaths, showing a 3-day moving average. Remember that daily growth was running 20-30%, or more, during the height of the epidemic a couple of months ago. It is now down below 0.5% everywhere; frankly, the daily growth rate is so low that the lines for the different countries are difficult to differentiate.

ChiCom delenda est. BLM delenda est.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Signal Victory for Gen. Flynn and Richly Deserved Defeat for “Judge” Sullivan

 

In what I am sure many of us fervently pray is the end of the detestable, disgraceful persecution of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, USA, Ret’d, the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has granted the Motion for a Writ of Mandamus filed on his behalf — from what I can determine an almost unheard of action by a Federal Court of Appeal — and ordered the bizarrely out of control District Judge to dismiss the case. 

Here is a good short summary of the action from Powerline’s Scott Johnson:

In a 2-1 opinion, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has granted Michael Flynn’s petition for a writ of mandamus ordering Judge Emmet Sullivan to dismiss the case against General Flynn. I commented on the oral argument before the court here on June 12. I have embedded the panel opinion below along with the dissent.

Judge Rao’s opinion for the panel responds in detail to Judge Wilkins’s dissent. I think Judge Rao seeks to dissuade the D.C. Circuit from finding a way to rehear the case en banc under Rule 35 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

The Flynn case constitutes a sidebar to the biggest political scandal in American history by far. One can only hope that this is, as it should be, the end of the road for this utterly disgraceful case.

As pleased as I am for the General and his family and his astonishingly talented lawyer, Sidney Powell and her team, I fear that since this “Judge” (sorry, he relinquished the right to that honorific the day he called Gen. Flynn a traitor to his country) has the right to appeal for a rehearing to the Full Court, En Banc, and then to apply for Writ of Certiori to the Supreme Court. There is little reason to expect him to start acting like a reasonable member of the Federal Judiciary at this late date. 

Whatever happens on that front, this is a great day for Gen. Flynn and his family, and I salute him once again for his remarkable service to his Nation. 

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. BLM and the “Village”

 

[Hat tip to Ricochet member @housebroken for alerting us to this content.]

Fifty-five years ago Daniel Patrick Moynihan published The Negro Family: The Case For National Action in which he posited that the decline in the number of black two-parent households was a barrier to economic advancement, that welfare policies created disincentives to family formation and that restoration of the family should be a policy goal.

The negative reaction was fierce. The phrase “blaming the victim” was invented to attack the Moynihan Report. To focus on choices and behaviors, especially when choices were constrained by external factors was to miss the Real Problem. (We did not have “systemic” racism in those days, only actual, overt racism.) Feminists were appalled at the patriarchal overtones. Moreover, single mothers should not be stigmatized in the name of preserving an oppressive, outmoded social institution. Virtually all homosexual rights advocates were also highly critical of marriage as an institution in those days as well. (Who knew that gays would be the first to desert the anti-marriage side?)

In particular, the reaction tried to popularize the notion that it is preferable to replace the nuclear family with a collective of some kind. The now-tiresome nostrum “It takes a village” is meant to conjure an image of a loving neighborhood of connected households with shared values and a mission to care for the young when in practice it really means atomized people lining up at the county office once a month to renew their benefits eligibility or to vote to re-elect the charlatans who imposed this outcome on them.

I question whether the idealized “village” approach has ever worked. It does not appear to be the key to success in America. The nicest neighborhoods everywhere seem to be composed entirely of buildings designed and arranged to be conducive to nuclear family-centered life rather than village living. And after careful sociological and economic research, I have painstakingly assembled the following data comparing outcomes for certain classes of persons raised in nuclear families in communities based on the nuclear family model versus persons raised by a village:

It is certainly true that African American poverty is not solely attributable to family dysfunction or that the absence of marriage and family is not also a result of other significant adverse factors. But to celebrate dysfunction or to massage fantasies of a “village” is far more likely to worsen rather than help matters.

The entire blacklivesmatter.com website reads as if it were drafted on campus by white undergraduates of a “Studies” department. It would be an understatement to say that it seems a bit detached from what would expect to hear from African Americans of one’s own acquaintance. And it turns out one cannot contribute directly to Black Lives Matter. Instead, all funds go the immensely well-funded white liberal mothership ActBlue.com, a financial structure that perfectly fits the leftist face model. Black people must not live, act or organize to help each other independently of beneficent white oversight but must instead await the outcome of the angelic battle overhead between the good white people and the bad white people.

The ongoing attempt to make African Americans mere extras in the fantasy life of white narcissists is more brazen than ever. When not Changing America from a position of power in super-savior mode, white people must beg forgiveness on bended knee while in Clark Kent mode. Clark Kent mode does not involve parting with tenure, job, home, second home, or personal cash–just oodles of expressions of guilt while knowing that the real power and safety is always still there, much like Daddy’s investment portfolio.

Even if we don’t have clear easy solutions to big issues can we still not make things worse with utter and complete BS derived from the rich fantasy lives of woke white people? I think there needs to be a movement named “Black Lives Matter So Act Like It” that does not require inputs of fake white guilt to effect needed change.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

How do we even begin to counter this sort of thinking? Too many are seeing people as categories, as representatives of groups defined by skin color, rather than as individuals.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QotD: On the Execution of Anacharsis Cloots

 

Excluded at the insistence of Maximilien Robespierre from the Jacobin Club, he remained a foreigner in many eyes. When the Committee of Public Safety levelled accusations of treason against the Hébertists, they also implicated Cloots to give substance to their charge of a foreign plot. Although his innocence was manifest, he was condemned and subsequently guillotined on 24 March 1794. He incongruously followed Vincent, Ronsin, Momoro and the rest of the Hébertist leadership to the scaffold, in front of the largest crowd ever assembled for a public execution.—Wikipedia entry on Anacharsis Cloots (Emphasis mine.)

Cloots, by the way, was born as Jean-Baptiste du Val-de-Grâce, baron de Cloots. That’s right: Baron. An aristocrat cheering on the end of the aristocracy got himself shortened by a head. Ah, the French Revolution! Such a time to be alive. Puts a frisson in one’s blood, never knowing when that blood may be spilled. Sort of like the CHAZ or CHOP Zone today. Being one of the cheerleaders didn’t save Cloots, and it isn’t saving anyone today. It is easy to read about then and be appalled or even to have a bit of schadenfreude for those who went into the Revolution with full-throated cheers and came out through Madame Guillotine. It is not so funny as we watch the mobs in action in America today.

Happy birthday, Jean-Baptiste!

Seen any other parallels lately, Ricochet?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Music that Makes Me Want to Bang on Things

 

Q. Do you know what they call someone who hangs around with musicians?

A. A percussionist (or drummer).

That said, sometimes we all just feel like beating on things, and the right music can certainly set the mood for it.

Or maybe:

Or maybe it’s this little singsong rhythm?

What music gets you drumming your fingers, tapping your toes, and just beating on things?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: Music To Bury My Mother By

 

June 24, 2020 would have been my mother’s 92nd birthday. She died in September 2014, at the age of 86 after a long struggle with the effects of fronto-temporal dementia. Her death was, in the eyes of her children and others who loved her, a release and a blessing. And for her, peace at last.

She’d fallen away from the faith of her childhood decades before, and her children wished only a celebration of her life, and to say farewell to Mum with words and music that she’d have enjoyed. (I’ve often thought that, in an earlier time, Mum might have lived as a wise woman, or a white witch, in a pretty little cottage in the middle of the forest primeval. She’d have liked that, I think.)

Her interment was my first experience with a “green” funeral. She was buried in a biodegradable coffin painted with the wild birds of England that she so loved, in a lovely and peaceful place (an experience which felt so “right” that it inspired my stepson’s green burial a few years later.)

I couldn’t be there. But I Skyped myself in for the audio, so I could hear it. Because my Internet connection is suboptimal, and I wasn’t sure how it would work, I asked my cousin Sarah to read the piece I’d written for Mum.

Front and center of the service was music my mother loved (click to embiggen):

Here’s Mum’s playlist:

Oh. She loved this so much. If this doesn’t make you smile, I’m not sure I want to know you.

Kenny Ball was a perennial favorite. A toss-up between this and “Midnight in Moscow.” If I am not mistaken, MIM was, for a time, the theme song for the USSR shortwave radio, as Lillibulero was for the BBC World Service (perhaps even the Russians had, at one time, more of a sense of humor than they exhibit today).

Nat King Cole. The day he died from lung cancer, my mother announced she was giving up smoking forever. And she did.

And. for the 15 years you spent living in Pittsburgh, Mum, with your suitcase packed ready to go “home” to the UK at any minute, Guy Mitchell:

Tsai Chin and “School In Cheltenham,” one of the more respectable songs by one of Mum’s favorites, Paddy Roberts. Mum attended The Abbey School in Malvern Wells (as did I, many years later), which was viewed as rather inferior to Cheltenham Ladies College, which was just down the road. I think this song pleased Mum and made her laugh because she saw it as a bit of payback.

Dickie Feller? Perhaps an acquired taste. But you loved him. Music to make Mr. She’s teeth itch.

Annie Murray and “Snowbird.” Memories of happy times, and summers in Prince Edward Island. So special for me, too.

And, Mr. Acker Bilk.

I share these selections with you in the spirit of affection and fun that we had as we gathered together to celebrate Mum’s life and to say goodbye. A grand time was had by all. I’m sure Mum enjoyed it too.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

This is a piece of capital equipment that will be stationed at the two entrances to our building that we must enter through every day (they closed four other entrances in February). This kiosk has a thermal-imaging camera. It will check your temperature, determine that you are wearing the required face mask, and then let […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Isiah Thomas Calls for End of ‘Race’ Category

 

An NBA program, carried on ESPN and intended to promote the left’s line on race, went a bit sideways. June 23 on NBA Game Time, Isiah Thomas, a basketball great with a master’s degree in education, called for an end to the use of race as an official classification, arguing that it has been misused for bad purposes from its origin. The young woman interviewing him had to smile through the interview, however much this was heresy in the present political moment. His comments accord more with the long time position of Alexander Hamilton III, a lawyer and American Family Radio daily talk show host. Contra Dennis Prager, the answer is not to be “colorblind.” Rather, we should learn from Deuteronomy 16:19, and not the “1619 Project.”

Isiah Thomas earned an education master’s degree at UC Berkeley in 2013. His study focused on the education and life outcomes for black male college athletes.* Instead of promoting the Democrat Party line, Thomas called for an end to the use of “race” as a classification label. He did so on the basis of theories and histories of “racialization,” the invention and development of this relatively new way of labeling and dividing people. Isiah Thomas noted that our government, starting at the national level, has four boxes: national origin, citizenship, ethnicity, and race. It is his position that race has been defined and used for ill purpose and should be eliminated from official programs. You get plenty of descriptive categorization from national origin, citizenship, and ethnicity.

In the Hamilton Corner, Alexander Hamilton III has long argued for rejecting secular invented categories of “sin.” So, “racism” simply is not in the Bible. What is in the Bible is a prohibition against partiality among believers. On June 23, Hamilton expounded on Colossians 3:1-17. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the church at Colossus, admonished:

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body.

— Colossians 3: 9-15 ESV

The categories that people understood from the most ancient of times were nationality or ethnicity: “Greek and Jew, . . . barbarian, Scythian . . . .” Here we see a positive command to treat all within the new faith community with that overriding new identity. The Apostle James addressed the sin of partiality in a negative admonition, in the context of rich and poor members:

If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

—James 2: 9-12 ESV

The problem of partiality based on peoples’ ancestry was manifested in the very beginning of the new religion, as recorded in The Acts of the Apostles:

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

—Acts 6: 1-3 KJV

This is no new commandment. See Deuteronomy 16:19:

You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous.

Living by Deuteronomy 16:19 is quite different from the commands of the “1619 Project.” So, is this a call for color-blindness? Not necessarily. If we acknowledge that all human beings bear the image of their Creator, and if we accept that the riotous variety in this physical universe came from a creative mind, then we should be very cautious about discounting the incredible variety, including of surface covering texture and color tones.

I believe Dennis Prager’s call for colorblindness is in error. He wants to get to the endpoint that there are no “races,” only the human race, all descended from Adam. However, “colorblind,” like “racism,” carries current ideas and agendas into the interpretation of ancient wisdom. It is better to take the ancient wisdom on its own terms and seek to apply it to current circumstances. I believe it is more profitable to think of “partiality,” not the much newer categories: “colorblind,” and “racism.”


* Excerpt from Huffington Post article:

Why is it so common for athletes, especially black male athletes, to graduate at lower rates than their non-black counterparts? Certainly, it is not the case that black male athletes do not aspire to a college degree. I know from personal experiences as a player at Indiana University and then later as a coach at Florida International University, that the young men I coached and played with and against all desired to graduate from the institutions they attended.

However, there are structural forces and institutional structures at play that, when taken together, unintentionally constrain the ability of black male athletes to graduate. The first of these structural forces is that many black student athletes come to campus with poor academic preparation. This is often due to the poor quality of urban public schooling in our nation, and reflects recruiting practices and priorities that privilege athletics and not academics, thus putting young people in situations where it is extremely challenging for them to excel academically. Many (though not all) of these black male student athletes come from high-poverty neighborhoods, and thus face additional challenges in their transition to college. These include needing to support family members at home, struggling to meet their own expenses, and not having the same level of support as other students.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Providence

 

During my stay in another state, I was offered my host’s only housekey to use while he was at work. The arrangement was not usually a bother because we gathered at another place in the evenings before returning together to his home.

One day, the weather cooled unexpectedly — enough that I decided to return for an extra shirt. The drive to his house took about 20 minutes. There in the driveway was my host, only just arriving himself. He was as surprised to see me as I was to see him. He was in a hurry to retrieve a forgotten item and had expected he would need to climb through a low window to get inside without his house key. (He could have phoned, but apparently thought it a minor inconvenience — not worth bothering me about.) I unlocked the door with his key, saving him the trouble.

Providence is often manifested in such minor events.

It was the only time during my week-long stay that he or I needed to enter the house midday. If either of us had arrived only five minutes earlier or later, so brief were our separate needs to retrieve something, that we would have missed each other entirely. Even had we planned the meeting, different traffic conditions, etc., driving from different locations would probably not have resulted in such a simultaneous arrival. For that very unlikely encounter, my host’s life was just a little easier that day.

In this unimportant event, one can see the interplay of free will and the good Lord’s designs.

There was no direct or noticeable pressure on either my host or me to make the choices we did. I could have driven back to the house an hour sooner or later. (Indeed, I had initially determined to endure the chill without another shirt.) I could have borrowed an extra layer of clothing from my companions or asked to adjust the air conditioning if the outside air was too chilly. I could have stopped for lunch on the way. My host could have phoned to request I come with his key, at least.

But we made the choices we did, when and how we did. And eternal God, Who exists beyond the physical limits of time, Whose brilliance enables Him to create an entire universe of things we scarcely understand, incorporated our free choices into His grand design.

The difference between fate and providence is precisely such inclusion of free will.

Perhaps a simpler example would help. Imagine a mother who knows her children well. They have been taught to share their presents. But when little Kelly is given a bicycle and Joey is given a skateboard, they eagerly rush toward their own gifts. She knew they would. They could wait to play with their gifts later, but choose to play immediately. She knew they would.

The mother did not force them into action, though the opportunities presented reflect her knowledge and her will. She determined the timing and manner of their opportunities. Is that tyranny? Of course not. To give a gift in one way and not another is no more oppressive than give one particular gift and not another.

The Lord’s presence in this world can be witnessed. But His activity is commonly known as the wind is known.

One cannot see the wind. Rather, one sees the things it moves — leaves, clouds, papers, etc. One can feel the wind moving across one’s skin, especially when apart from barriers. Yet it is so common an experience that it is rarely noticed.

Deliberate attention is rewarded, though more in some circumstances than in others. Sometimes the wind is a barely perceptible breeze. At other times it is a hurricane.

An overwhelming storm feels like fate. Our choices and influences can be diminished. But Providence does not erase the humbled spirit. A loving Father does not trample His loving children amid arrangements and directions beyond their understanding.

When all the world comes crashing in chaotic fury, the Creator continues to guide and to listen. The more raucously events swirl around us, the easier it can be to neglect those opportunities and subtle graces. But freedom and grace will never leave us entirely. God is with us and His rule does not oppress. Truth will set us free.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Stay in Your Lane, Bubba

 

I have to admit I know little to nothing about NASCAR. But I do know that when people who make a living in athletics or entertainment (or some combination thereof) stray into politics, they lose their luster for me.

Bubba Wallace, apparently the most famous black race car driver, discovered a “noose” in his garage at the raceway for his next competition. Only it wasn’t a “noose”, it was a garage door pull (a rope with a knotted loop) and apparently was fashioned such in all the garages — although the rope in the garage next to it had been untied so maybe it wasn’t immediately obvious that all the garages had rope pulls.

Bubba got a lot of sympathy. Bubba was on TV talking about it. Bubba had the support of NASCAR and race legend Richard Petty. Bubba was escorted by all the other drivers in solidarity. Bubba got an immediate investigation of the perps by the FBI.

In the end, there was not a hate crime. It was just a rope pull.

But Bubba is loath to give up his newfound fame as a social justice warrior. Does Nike hire race care drivers as shoe spokesmen?

Bubba is no Jessie Smollet. (As Horace Cooper said on Tucker last night, Jessie hired foreign workers to do the hate crime that American workers wouldn’t do.) Bubba didn’t actively create the situation. But he certainly seems to want to milk it.

It will be interesting to see the trajectory of Bubba’s career from this point forward. I also hope Kaepernick gets back in the NFL so that both men can show us what they’ve got, not just claim headlines as victims and/or social justice warriors.

I used to be a sports fan but frankly, I could care less about almost all sports now. It is all corporatized with virtue signaling all over the place. A little of it you could ignore, but the treacle has gotten too thick and its getting to be a question of whether the attitudes of certain fans are correct enough to be an accepted fan of the sport. Give me a frickin break.

So, please, Bubba let this go. Accept that hate crimes are sufficiently rare that a lot of it is being outsourced (like Jessie’s) or self-administered (like Jessie’s). Just make “race” an event, not a status. Stay in your lane.

[Update: Since making the post I have found out that it was the NASCAR President who told Bubba about the “noose”, not his own discovery. But Bubba needs to tell everyone just to drop it. He got support. That was good. It wasn’t needed. That was bad. America is not a racist country even if some have fondness for the Confederate Flag and monuments. The South continues to fill the ranks of our military and is a source of great patriots.]

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If You Are Against Trump, This Is What You Support

 

You support defunding the police, because that is what the Democrats want.

You support destroying statues and images from the past, because that is what Democrats want.

You support girls being forced to compete with men in sports, because that is what Democrats want.

You support abortion on demand, because that is what Democrats want.

You support the idea that America is racist and irredeemable, because that is what Democrats say.

You support affirmative action, because that is what the Democrats want.

You support the suppression of Free Speech, because that is what the Democrats want.

Wanting Biden to win means you support all of the above coming to pass. Wanting the Democrats to keep the House and take the Senate means you support what they want.

Anyone who has been a fellow traveler on the right who now supports Democrats is worse than they are, because they are betraying everything they claim they stood for, or stand for. I don’t care that they hate Trump. I don’t care they find him repellent. Voting for Biden, who is no better than Trump on character, is to vote for an agenda that is anti-American. It is stabbing other people on the right in the eye.

I try to be a man of grace. Betrayal is the hardest thing to forgive. I am going to try, but if Trump loses, don’t expect it to be fast.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

In the Midwest we ate watermelons in the summer, particularly for extended family occasions. I had no idea it had racist connotations.  Hangmen have used nooses since before recorded history. The last guy hanged in the US was Billy Bailey who was executed in Delaware in 1996. He was white. Nooses really don’t much care […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

https://twitter.com/dailycaller/status/1275902838682587142?s=21 I suspect he was tied into many if not all of the illegal actions against the Trump campaign. What do the NTers say about this?

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The 7 Billion People Rule: Generalizations

 

I have this rule that I call the “7 Billion People Rule” which states that there will always be somebody a statement applies to or doesn’t apply to. One thing this does is add strength to the proposition that “All generalizations are false.”

I’ve always found generalizations to be useful, and especially for that reason. You can’t cover everybody, but something can be true enough of the time to convey good enough information to be worth repeating.

Recently, I have noticed that people are uncomfortable with any generalizations. They preface and follow any generalizing statements with a mountain of disclaimers. I said today in an online chat that I wish people would stop doing this. After all, when somebody makes a generalization to me, I understand what they mean. I trust that both of us realize the statement does not literally apply to the entire specified group. They shouldn’t have to make any apologies! I can then go on to judge their generalization on the merit of its usefulness (which usually relates to how widely applicable it is).

Nobody else felt the same. Instead, they gave me some Education. Generalizations are bad! Because…they exclude people. And that leads to harm. Or something.

I say: What’s wrong with a little exclusion? For some reason, inclusivity makes progressives feel warm and fuzzy. I don’t understand that at all. Do you know what should make you feel warm and fuzzy? Boundaries, and the understanding that not everything is about you. So, one statement didn’t apply to you? Maybe the next one will.

In my opinion, people who respond to generalizations with “That’s not true; I know somebody it doesn’t apply to” are kind of missing the point. But this turns out to be yet another opinion that we are not supposed to have. It’s inclusivity or nothing.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Music That Makes Me Laugh

 

Growing up without a television in the house, we got our entertainment from LPs (long playing records), and from books. Along with mostly classical, children’s, and some fold or pop with good harmony, we got my parents’ taste in comedy.

My parents met in Philadelphia as the 1950s became the 1960s. Perhaps the hottest comedy act of that time was Nicols and May, Mike Nicols and Elaine May. These two took improv comedy to a whole new level, starting with Improvisations to Music. Stan Freberg was already an established talent, and generated a send up of Lawrence Welk in 1957.

Nicols and May take us “Back to Bach:”

From there they went less musical but riotously funny:

Stan Freberg “Wun’erful Wun’erful:”

Of course, the intersection of classical music and comedy was, in those days, covered by Victor Borge:

Then came Peter Schickele and his tireless work to elevate that lesser known member of the Bach family, P.D.Q. Bach:

What music makes you laugh?

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I received some sad news last night, one of my university buddies passed away in his sleep last night. The first of a tight-knit group of guys that lived in Holy Cross Hall. Mac had retired from his job as a wildlife biologist for the State of Alaska. He was a bear specialist. He had […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-biden-republicans-exclusive-idUSKBN23U2LY Exclusive: Dozens of Republican former U.S. national security officials to back Biden The group will publicly endorse Biden in the coming weeks and its members plan to campaign for the former vice president who is challenging Trump in the Nov. 3 election, the sources said. It includes at least two dozen officials who served […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Social Justice Kills Justice

 

Someone clicks “like” on a tweet and loses his job at a university. Someone says he loves his country’s flag and ends up apologizing. All this in the name of “social justice.” That supposedly educated people would imagine they know what justice is seems odd to anyone who has even glimpsed a Socratic dialogue. I’m tempted to think our current horrors arise from our replacement of the humanities curriculum of old with the new “multicultural” alternative.

But in The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis made two trenchant remarks that suggest the problems we face are not new. The idea of “corporate guilt” was somewhat new and he did not reject the idea that there can be a lot wrong with “the system.” But what we call “virtue signalling” must have been known to him for he warned:

Beware lest you are making use of the idea of corporate guilt to distract your attention from those hum-drum, old fashioned guilts of your own which have nothing to do with “the system” and which can be dealt with without waiting for the millennium. For corporate guilt perhaps cannot be, and certainly is not, felt with the same force as personal guilt.

As for the horrors of “cancel culture” (and worse), his remark should be pondered by every young person who never read the Oresteia:

Even a good emotion, pity, if not controlled by charity and justice, leads through anger to cruelty. Most atrocities are stimulated by accounts of the enemy’s atrocities; and pity for the oppressed classes, when separated from the moral law as a whole, leads by a very natural process to the unremitting brutalities of a reign of terror.

Certainly, the image of a handcuffed man with a knee on his neck calls forth pity and anger. But without a sense that justice can only be afforded to an individual and that it can only arise when the laws and regulations are applied evenly to all and after careful examination of individual circumstances, Lewis’ warning will be eternally apt.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. QotD: Gone With The Wind

 

SCARLETT:

You did, it’s true, you did! I’ll hate you till I

die! I can’t think of anything bad enough to call

you…

(Ashley leaves. Scarlett throws a vase to the wall

in anger. The crashing of the vase startles Rhett

Butler. He rises up from the couch in a dark corner

of the room.)

RHETT:

Has the war started?

SCARLETT:

Sir, you…you should have made your presence known.

RHETT:

In the middle of that beautiful love scene? That

wouldn’t have been very tactful, would it? But don’t

worry. Your secret is safe with me.

SCARLETT:

Sir, you are no gentleman.

RHETT:

And you, miss, are no lady. Don’t think that I hold

that against you. Ladies have never held any charm

for me.

SCARLETT:

First you take a low, common advantage of me, then

you insult me!

RHETT:

meant it as a compliment. And I hope to see more of

you when you’re free of the spell of the elegant Mr.

Wilkes. He doesn’t strike me as half good enough for

a girl of your…what was it…your passion for

living?

SCARLETT:

How dare you! You aren’t fit to wipe his boot!

RHETT:

And you were going to hate him for the rest of your

life.

Since we soon may lose all non DVD versions of GWTT, my QotD is from the beginning of this magnificent movie.