Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Photographs and Memories


Scrolling through the scanned images from many years of 35mm manual camera photography, I ran across this image. It was one of my better shots from my first military assignment, in Bavaria, West Germany. But who was that young officer doing a standing backflip under the elevated barrel of a King Tiger tank? I had not spoken with him since I left Germany in the spring of 1990, and his name had faded from memory. A bit of poking around the internet answered that question and filled in a vague memory with surprising detail.

When I reported to my officer basic course at Fort Bliss, Texas, I saved my modest pay until I could buy a good basic 35 mm camera kit. I bought a Pentax K1000 camera. Knowing I would be shooting film on the go, my hands often occupied with a map, mike, or machine gun, I went with a compromise lens, an aspherical 28-200mm wide to telephoto lens. That lens stood me in good stead through about seven years of active service, until I busted some pin or ring when I tossed the camera into a back seat.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Winter Is Coming!


Today was the day. Every day in August I look out to the Courthouse lawn to see if any of the large leafy deciduous trees have any yellow leaves. When I see my first yellow leaves, I call out to my assistant, “Natalie, come here!” and I point out the very first yellow leaves of the season. She shakes her head at my excitement every year. Today was that day. A small cluster of yellow-green leaves has appeared in about 1 percent of one of those three huge trees. It is the start of something exciting. We are a bit late this year; usually, the first yellow leaf appears around the Ides of August.

The high today in Flagstaff, AZ, was 84 degrees with a low of 52 degrees. But winter is coming! (People in Arizona look forward to winter like folks in Minnesota look forward to summer.) I am positively giddy when we get snow and post happy pictures on Facebook and text pictures of snowflakes to my friends.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Wilderness of Untried Things


“We Americans are the peculiar chosen people—the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world. God has predestined, mankind expects, great things from our race, and great things we feel in our souls. The rest of the world must soon be in our rear. We are the pioneers of the world; the advance-guard, sent on through the wilderness of untried things, to break a new path in this New World that is ours.” — Herman Melville, from White Jacket

Melville was clearly optimistic about America and how it would be a light unto the world, as he used biblical metaphors to describe our country. His awe and admiration for our mission was so inspiring. Today, however, I wonder how he would feel about the disdain so many direct toward America. He died in 1891 before the popularizing of Progressivism.


The President of the United States tweets The Conservatarians’ Photoshop, finally ensconcing this fine podcast in the National Archives. And why do Democrats call the late David Koch “polarizing” — was it his support for same-sex marriage, criminal justice reform, or legalized weed?

The intro/outro song and Jon’s song of the week is “Change With the Sun” by Soviet Soviet. Stephen’s song of the week is “Stained Glass Slipper” by WHY? To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians, subscribe to our Spotify playlist!


Contributor Created with Sketch. Justice Ginsburg Completes Radiation Therapy for Malignant Tumor


The Supreme Court announced today that Associate Justice Ruth Ginsburg, 86, has completed a three week course of radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for a malignant tumor on her pancreas. The tumor was detected during a blood test in early July and confirmed through a biopsy on July 31. In addition to the radiation therapy, Ginsburg also had a bile duct stent installed. According to the Office of Public Information at the Supreme Court, the tumor was “definitively treated” and there is no sign of disease elsewhere in her body.

Ginsburg has had cancer numerous times. Most recently, just last December she had a lobectomy on the left side of her lungs to remove cancerous nodules, also performed at Memorial Sloan Kettering. That procedure caused her to miss oral arguments at the Supreme Court, the first time she’d been absent since joining the court.


Another busy week (is there any other kind?) and our intrepid podcasters cover it all: is The New York Times‘ 1619 Project the definitive (new) history of the United States? Spoiler alert: no. Hoover Institution and self-titled Grumpy Economist John Cochrane joins to discuss the possibility of a recession, and later, our own (well, by marriage) Seth Mandel (OK, he also edits The Washington Examiner Magazine) stops by to discuss the President’s uh, unusual language when discussing members of the Hebrew faith, and why Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar really do employ anti-Semitic tropes on a regular basis. Finally, should we all start eating plant-based “beef”? Our podcasters debate and their opinions may surprise you.

Music from this week’s show: All That Meat And No Potatoes by Louis Armstrong


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. ‘Hey Johnnie Cope’


Nowadays, in my old age, I’m accustomed to waking up in the ordinary way, with a slightly fuzzy feeling, in a vague discontent, and my old broken shoulder aching, and twinges in my calves and ankles. And sometimes, if my thoughts turn that way, I can think smugly that one of the compensations nowadays is that there are no tables to scrub, or men of ill-will hitting the coal bunker with the poker, or hounding me out into the ablutions through the snow – and then I feel sad, because never again will I hear ‘ Johnnie Cope’ in the morning. – George MacDonald Fraser.

Whether it is Johnny Cope, or Johnnie Cope it all refers to the battle of Prestonpans in 1745. Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Highlanders defeated Sir John Cope’s Redcoats. The song’s lyrics has some myth in it, but the truth is that the Highlander’s charge defeated Sir John Cope, and his troops were overrun in about 15 minutes.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Now You Tell Me?


A German theme park owner has been forced to shut down his newest thrill ride. Somehow no one seemed to notice that, fully extended, the attraction forms two massive “flying swastikas.” The owner says the ride will be “redesigned.”

Don’t they model these things for weight and balance issues? How could that fall through the cracks?


Contributor Created with Sketch. Here’s Why You Should Care About the Gay Pride Shirt Case at the Kentucky Supreme Court


The Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments on behalf of Hands On Originals owner Blaine Adamson on Aug. 23.For Blaine Adamson, there’s no separating his beliefs from his work. His Christian faith is what guides and drives him. It’s what makes Blaine who he is at home, in his community, and in his business.

Blaines’ faith is why his promotional print shop, Hands On Originals, provides otherwise unemployed women in Uganda with a steady income by hiring them to create hand-woven baskets, which they then give away to customers to raise awareness for the struggles these women face on a daily basis.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Is Voting a Behavior or an Identity?


Perhaps we got it all wrong.

Since 1964, black voters migrated to the Democrat Party and never looked back. At this point, they support Democratic presidential candidates at rates anywhere between 90-94%. Why?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Meetup in The Quay


Last Sunday, neutral observer and I hooked up with Blondie, MartyB, Eeyore, and Amy Schley for a mini-Meetup in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina, affectionately known as “The Quay” to the locals:

MartyB, Stad, neutral observer, Amy, Blondie, Eeyore.

We ate at Abbey Road, a theme restaurant based on you-know-what. Amy graciously kept the COC in her moderator lockbox, although it wasn’t required because the conversation was civil and light-hearted in spite of my attempts to drag it into the gutter. It was fun to catch up with what folks were doing, as well as talk about burning issues like what to order. I started to bring up the subject of a Ricochet cruise, but then I remembered the ship Peter Robinson and Rob Long purchased was still undergoing repairs:


René Pape is one of the greatest singers of our time, a living legend. He is a bass from Germany – East Germany. He and Jay talk a little bit about that. They also talk about a range of other issues, as they sit outside in Salzburg, with bells occasionally ringing out. Pape does a little singing, just quietly: “Follow Me,” by John Denver. A very interesting person, René Pape, and great company, as you will find.


Emily Zanotti is back 6 weeks after having twins—and she’s got a little feedback on all the advice she was given before giving birth. Kelly Maher and Bethany Mandel join to share the hacks they couldn’t Mom without… and the advice they never actually took.


Contributor Created with Sketch. The “Why” of the Mishkan (Tabernacle)


For the Lord will again delight in your well-being, as He did in that of your fathers, since you will be heeding the Lord your God and keeping his commandments and laws that are recorded in this book of the Teaching—once you return to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

Surely, this Instruction which I enjoin upon you this day is not too baffling for you, nor is it beyond reach. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, ‘Who among us can go up to the heavens and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who among us can cross to the other side of the sea and get it for us and impart it to us, that we may observe it?’ No, the thing is very close to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to observe it. (Deuteronomy, 9-14)


Ryan Williams sits down with Ronald “R.J.” Pestritto, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of Politics at Hillsdale College, to discuss Progressivism: how it came to be, its theoretical and political impact, and what it means for us today.

Since its arrival on the scene at the turn of the 20th Century, Progressivism has transformed American politics. But one cannot fully appreciate this shift without an understanding of the Founders’ view of human nature, government, and justice—and how the Progressive vision for America seeks to unravel it.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Pipelines


We went to a local compressor station for some training with their staff yesterday evening. It supports a 36-inch natural gas line that has been in place for decades; since the fracking boom, it has been running 24/7. Basically, four huge turbines push the gas eastward from here. When you meet with these guys, it’s incredible how professional they are and how safe the operation is. Another company is trying to put a new pipeline through the area and are encountering huge resistance (NIMBY).

A frequent criticism of the anti-fracking advocates is that the hill country is no place for a pipeline, thereby ignoring the miles of pipeline already in place. Of course, as long as pipelines aren’t built the material will just ship by other more dangerous means.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Joe Walsh is an Inexplicable Choice for NeverTrumpers


With a New York Times op-ed and appearances on the Bulwark podcast, in addition to media reports tying former Congressman and radio host Joe Walsh to Bill Kristol, it seems the NeverTrump Establishment is attempting to, yet again, offer a viable challenger to President Trump (the last one, Evan McMullin, didn’t turn out so well).


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: George Gamow


“Take a look at George Gamow, who is now recognized as one of the great cosmologists of the last hundred years. I speculate that he probably didn’t win the Nobel Prize because people could not take him seriously. He wrote children’s books. His colleagues have publicly stated his writing children’s books on science had an adverse effect on his scientific reputation, and people could not take him seriously when he and his colleagues proposed that there should be cosmic background radiation, which we now know to be one of the greatest discoveries of 20th-century physics.” – Michio Kaku

George Gamow (March 4, 1904 – August 19, 1968) was a Russian-born American theoretical physicist and cosmologist. By 1928, Gamow explained radioactive alpha particle decay using quantum tunneling. He and his wife tried twice to defect from the Soviet Union using a kayak in 1932, first on the Black Sea to Turkey, and then from Murmansk to Norway. Both attempts failed, but by 1933 they were allowed to attend a physics conference in Brussels.


For much of the 20th century, the major denominations—Conservative, Reform, Orthodox—loomed large over institutional Jewish life in America. But in 2019, the Jewish scene looks different; the movements hold less purchase on Jewish life than they once did, especially for the young. And the denominations look different internally as well. Reform Judaism has embraced ritual practices once deemed outmoded. Orthodoxy, which many thought on its way to extinction, is strong, growing, and confident. And Conservative Judaism, once thought to be the future of American Jewry, is caught betwixt and between, too religiously observant to facilitate intermarriage, too religiously lenient to command the encompassing solidarity and halakhic observance of Orthodoxy.

In this second installment in our series on The New American Judaism: How Jews Practice Their Religion Today, Jack Wertheimer helps us make sense of the many changes in Jewish denominational life. He looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the major Jewish movements, and gives us insight into the variance between the denominational doctrines and the “folk religion” that Jews actually practice. Wertheimer also ponders what the Jewish movements can continue to contribute to Jewish life in our age of declining allegiance to institutions.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Trump Chastises Jewish Democrats


President Trump continues to amaze me each time he alienates another group of Americans. And this time he’s correct: Jews who are Democrats clearly are misguided and foolish regarding their attitudes toward Judaism, the Democrat party, America and Israel. Here’s Trump’s brief remark:

I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Wonderful Logic of Nancy Pelosi


Here is a pretty pickle. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has stated that she will fight against any US-UK Free Trade Agreement because of the Irish border. Yet some in the European Union have indicated that they will compel the Irish government to enforce the EU’s border and harden it up to protect the single market from the dangers of American goods in the event of a trans-Atlantic deal.

The great scare is that chicken washed in chlorine or hormone-treated beef might enter the EU single market via Ireland. Like a zombie apocalypse, this would somehow spread as far as the Ukrainian and Turkish borders, infecting all citizens of EU-occupied Europe with American standards. Quelle horreur! The consequences for Europe could be dire; lasagna might actually be made with beef.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. A Pair of Jacks


In a fractured media landscape it is odd to think of anyone as a “broadcaster” these days. Most of those with the microphone in their hand narrowly tailor their messages to a specific audience, a base that can provide a rating point, anything to create a “base” and turn a dollar.

It dates back to the 18th century, originally an agricultural term meaning to cast the seeds broadly upon the ground. By the 1920’s it became associated with radio, a man with a microphone tossing information and entertainment to the masses. In the last two days we’ve lost a pair of Jacks, two gentlemen who carried that label well.