Contributor Created with Sketch. The Redemption of Mark Zuckerberg?


In the shadow of American companies bending to the will of Chinese communists and NBA players, owners and managers practically serving as their mouthpieces, a defense of the American commitment to free speech came from an unlikely place: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The Verge reported,

In a speech at Georgetown University on Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg laid out Facebook’s approach to moderation in terms of an ongoing commitment to free expression — and in one particular section, drew a sharp contrast with Chinese companies that may not share those values.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Anecdote Illustrating What Amazon’s Competitors Are Up Against


I know there are negative views of Amazon out there (my wife calls them “the evil empire” because of how they treated some publishers and authors). But there’s a reason for Amazon’s dominance: they are often damn good at what they do.

Consider this story as one data point:


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


“There is a strong tendency in modern American society to treat patriotism as a dangerous sentiment, a passion to be guarded against. But this is a serious misconception. To begin with, we should acknowledge that there is something natural about patriotism, as an expression of love for what is one’s own, gratitude for what one has been given, and reverence for the sources of one’s being. These responses are instinctive; they’re grounded in our natures and the basic facts of our birth. Yet their power is no less for that, and they are denied only at great cost. When the philosopher Aristotle declared that we are by nature ‘political animals,’ he meant that we are in some sense made to live in community with one another. It is in our nature to be belonging creatures. One of the deepest needs of the human soul is a sense of membership, of joy in what we have and hold in common with others.”
— Wilfred M. McClay, Land of Hope

I celebrate Professor McClay’s description of patriotism. Too often we hear of people comparing patriotism to fascism, to a Nazi mentality, to a kind of primitive unifying theme for countrymen to come together. Instead, McClay explains that our patriotism brings us together to honor those values we hold in common, to share our joy of living in a country that was founded in freedom and gives us the opportunity to become our greatest selves.


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


If you would enjoy some October entertainment that isn’t geared toward cheap horror or sugar highs, have I got a treat for you. It’s a little book of poetry called Pumpkin Chucking, by Stephen Scaer (Able Muse Press, 2013. You can get it here.)

I don’t remember how I ran across this wonderful volume, but according to my Amazon account I bought it in March of 2014. I read it in one sitting, which is not usual for me when it comes to poetry.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Texas Jury Abets Sex Transition for 7-Year-Old?


If any Texas Ricochet member can provide more/better background on this story it would be much appreciated.

Gateway Pundit posted a story about a case in Texas where a jury has severed the custodial interests of a father who is trying to keep his seven-year-old son from being transitioned to a girl at the insistence of the mother. What particularly caught my eye in this story initially was the involvement of a jury in what is generally a family court matter more typically adjudicated by a judge alone. And, then, a jury in Texas siding with the parent pushing for a sex change as opposed to the parent pushing to keep the child in the sex consistent with his genitalia. So I tried finding other online accounts to better understand just what the heck is going on?


Contributor Created with Sketch. Two Pyrrhic Union Victories


The Chicago Teachers Union strike and the nationwide strike at General Motors are two troublesome signs of our nation’s increasing political instability. The losses suffered by all parties to these disputes will not be recouped going forward, no matter what the outcome. The difficulty here does not stem from the strategies adopted on either side of the bargaining table; it is that the current structure of management-labor relations requires the bargaining table at all. That “table” is symbolic of the monopoly power, protected by statute, that unions can exert on management in both the private and public sectors. Sadly, the resulting losses are borne not only by the immediate participants of these struggles, but also by students, parents, suppliers, coworkers, taxpayers, citizens, and so on. Their dislocations, though, are blithely dismissed by the unions as “incidental” damage.

The precise issues in most labor strikes vary in their particulars, but they all share several features in common. In the CPS strike, the teachers insist that they are out on strike not just for themselves, but for their students and coworkers. As Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, has stated, “It’s about making the sacrifice to help create welcoming and safe environments for our kids and not taking ‘no’ for an answer.” But her protestations aside, the demands always look the same: salaries must be higher, class sizes must be reduced, and more nurses, social workers, and other staff must be hired. Questions of excessive job security and low public-school performance are never mentioned.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. It’s A Great Day to Be Alive


This amazing song is apparently turning 25 this year, the story of which is told here. I wish I could share this song and its sentiment to the hysterical masses that freak out daily about the environment, what Trump is tweeting, what AOC is saying, how hopeless and terrible things are to those who can’t live a good life if there is someone out there that dares to disagree with them.

Listen, I get that 2019 often seems to be peak crazy but life is also beautiful, it’s good, and being alive in 2019 is still much better than the alternative! Get off Twitter and Facebook. Go drive a fast car on a winding road, watch the surf come in on a beach, enjoy the colors of the leaves in the fall, attend a college football game, go out and listen to live music … whatever makes you realize that it is a great day, and time, to be alive.


Matt Palumbo is the author of numerous political books, the most recent being the fact checking book “Debunk This!,” which debunks popular far-left myths that permeate the media narrative. Matt talks to Carol about the research behind why the American Dream is, in fact, not dead, why Denmark is not a socialist utopia, how corporations do pay taxes and more. It’s a great discussion on how to look at statements and articles that pop up on social media and in the mainstream media and evaluate their veracity, whether they are intentionally or accidentally misleading.

You can connect with Matt on Twitter and get “Debunk This!” here.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Freedom Isn’t Free: 3 Soldiers Die in Exercise

M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (photo by Shane A. Cuomo, U.S. Air Force, public domain)

The Bradley Fighting Vehicle is a tall, boxy, tracked, lightly armored vehicle designed to carry a small squad of soldiers while a driver, vehicle commander (squad leader) and gunner maneuver and fight the vehicle. It looks a bit like a tank because it has a turret with a 25mm rapid fire cannon, which can kill peer vehicles but not tanks, due to heavier armor. A unit was out training at night, when a Bradley slipped or got one of its tracks too far over the edge of a bridge in the Fort Stewart, Georgia, maneuver areas. Three of the crew died in the accident and several others were injured.

When the Bradley went off the bridge, it fell upside down into a creek, with running water. Vehicle rollover is a known danger, even for all armored vehicles. There is a standard reaction every crew member practices repeatedly, drilling a response designed to keep you inside and not crushed. If this crew reacted perfectly, and the accident investigators will look into every possible cause, they still found themselves upside down in the middle of the night in water.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. This Week’s Book Review – Vanguard: The True Stories of the Reconnaissance and Intelligence Missions Behind D-Day


I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) After my review appears on Sunday, I post the previous week’s review here on Sunday.

Book Review

‘Vanguard’ examines the preparation into executing D-Day



Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Pennsylvania Political Geography, I: Introduction

Via Wikipedia, a map of Pennsylvania with counties labeled.

Greetings from the center of Presidential politics, rural Pennsylvania.

Most political observers know that Donald Trump was the first Republican since 1988 to carry the Keystone State, but fewer realize that Trump’s victory broke an even longer-standing pattern. Pennsylvania was once one of the most Republican states in the Union, voting for the GOP in every election between the Civil War and New Deal (except 1912, when it went for Theodore Roosevelt’s third-party bid), even sticking with Herbert Hoover in 1932.


Contributor Created with Sketch. San Francisco Unleashes Destructive Creation on Silicon Valley


Hans Vestberg, CEO of Verizon Communications, speaks about the deployment of 5G wireless technology during the TechCrunch Disrupt forum in San Francisco.
Politicians kvetch a lot about Big Tech, but government officials everywhere would love their country, state, or city to have its own Silicon Valley. Alas, there’s no magic formula, no blueprint for top-down constructing a fertile ecosystem of technological innovation and entrepreneurship. As economist Enrico Moretti has noted, “If you look at the history of America’s great innovation hubs, we haven’t found one that was directly, explicitly engineered by an explicit policy on the part of the government.”

That’s just not how it seems to work in America. It’s more of an organic, idiosyncratic, indirect thing. As University of Washington historian Margaret O’Mara, author of “The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America,” told me in a recent podcast, the story of Silicon Valley isn’t “a story of big government coming in with giant research labs and command-and-control” although Washington certainly played a critical role.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. ‘I Should Like to Be a Drummer Boy…’


When one spends as much time as I do looking through historical documents, from time to time, unexpected and really quite amazing things turn up. A good example is a letter I found several weeks ago written by a ten-year-old boy to the governor of Mississippi in 1898. Before I can tell you about the letter, however, you need a little background on the events that led the boy to write his heartfelt missive.

On April 25, 1898, the US Congress approved President William McKinley’s request for an armed intervention in Cuba, and declared war on the nation of Spain. In my home state of Mississippi, most citizens were in favor of the war, and Senator Edward C. Walthall introduced a joint resolution to Congress, asking for an American intervention to “save the people of Cuba from the cruel fate of annihilation by…the Spanish Government.” (Mississippi and the Splendid Little War of 1898, Journal of Mississippi History, May 1964)


James and Toby are hitting the new week in full stride after an extraordinary Saturday session in the House. Let us introduce you to the powers behind the Remainers: Lord Pannick QC (more on those two letters later…) and the man who has been described as “the cleverest stupid person in Westminster,” Sir Oliver Letwin.

Is nothing going to get accomplished until there’s a General Election?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Recall Effort on CA Gov. Newsom Underway; Who Should Replace Him?


The recall effort to bring down Gov. Newsom here in California is less than two weeks old and already has over a quarter of a million signatures. Citizens need to sign the petitions for the recall and succeed in having 1 million-plus signatures. This means we must go for 2.5 million, as many signatures will be discredited. Our deadline is February 2020.

Of course, should the movement be successful, then we need to figure out who would be a decent replacement?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. E-Mails from Kamala


As I’ve shared with y’all before here, the Democrats seem to think that I’m one of them, I still reside in New Mexico, and my name is Shawn. Not Kamala Harris, though! This highly astute presidential candidate knows my name and knows I live in Texas.

It started on December 11 of last year. Kamala emailed me the shocking news (“This is shocking news. . .”) about possible voting irregularities in a North Carolina US House race. She then asked me to donate to the Democrat candidate. I was about to reply that there had been similar irregularities in several House races in a state where a certain US Senator used to be Attorney General, but I held off. I saved the message to a folder called “KH.” Over the next month, I got about an email a week from Kamala telling me all about the exciting things she was doing in the Senate.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Write It Down


I mentioned I’m planning music for a funeral. Appurtenant to that, I have a lot of technical and historical musical questions. None will be answered. I will come back to that in a minute.

Example: Kate just played a recording of “Summertime” that is really beautiful. It also sounds to me quite a lot like the vocal quality and style of the deceased. I thought it was of Renee Fleming but the Boatwife said, “no, it is so and so.” Some black singer. Mom was a beautiful fair-skinned, Scotch-English-German blue-eyed blond but she sang just like a black woman, now that I think of it. She loved Ella, we love Ella.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Mitt Romney’s Gary Hart Moment


In 1987, with rumors circulating of affairs, Gary Hart challenged the media to follow him around. They did and soon found out that he was having an affair with Donna Rice. In an article published Sunday, Mitt Romney revealed that he had an anonymous Twitter account. The reporters looked for Romney relatives who had few followers and soon found out that the account was named “Pierre Delecto.” It’s now been made private, but people took screenshots. I assume that these have not been doctored.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Progressive Jews, Secularism and the Future of Judaism


In the last few years, I’ve written about American Jews and their future, especially regarding their allegiance to the Democrat or Republican parties; recently, the numbers haven’t changed much. Most non-traditional Jews (about 70 percent) identify as Democrats and the remainder of Jews, mostly Orthodox, support Republicans.

Rather than look at party affiliation, however, I’ve become increasingly concerned with the growing emergence of the radical Left and the Jewish affiliation with them. In addition, the efforts to make Judaism more “palatable” to Jews who are not Orthodox is slowly tearing at the fabric of the Jewish faith. Ultimately, my concern is that the existence of the faith could be in jeopardy on two fronts: the growth of anti-Semitism, and the disinterest in continuing the Jewish faith in a form that resembles its roots.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Pack Light, Leave Your Progressive Politics Behind


Will the last person to leave San Francisco please turn out the lights? The exodus of the middle class from San Francisco is underway. USA Today tells the story of one couple that left more than their hearts in San Francisco.

Social media influencer Sarah Tripp and her husband, Robbie Tripp, moved to San Francisco in 2016 brimming with optimism.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Cuban Missile Crisis, as Viewed From a Soviet Launch Facility


This month marks the 57th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, which brought the world dangerously close to thermonuclear war. Several years ago, I read Rockets and People, the totally fascinating memoir of Soviet rocket developer Boris Chertok, which I reviewed here. Chertok’s career encompassed both military and space-exploration projects, and in late October 1962 he was focused on preparations for launching a Mars probe. On the morning of Oct 27, he was awakened by “a strange uneasiness.” After a quick breakfast, he headed for the missile assembly building, known as the MIK.

At the gatehouse, there was usually a lone soldier on duty who would give my pass a cursory glance. Now suddenly I saw a group of soldiers wielding sub-machine guns, and they thoroughly scrutinized my pass. Finally they admitted me to the facility grounds and there, to my surprise, I again saw sub-machine-gun-wielding soldiers who had climbed up the fire escape to the roof of the MIK. Other groups of soldiers in full combat gear, even wearing gas masks, were running about the periphery of the secure area. When I stopped in at the MIK, I immediately saw that the “duty” R-7A combat missile, which had always been covered and standing up against the wall, which we had always ignored, was uncovered.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. When the Mask Slips


I’ve mentioned how San Antonio elected its most “progressive” city council a few years ago. It astonished me how these collectivists are so blithely unaware of the nature of their beliefs. This quote from an article about rising rents in the city is illustrative:

Homeowners also wouldn’t be allowed to sell their houses for much more than what they paid —a mechanism to prevent investors from driving up a neighborhood’s home values.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Pope, Pachamama, Politics, and the Periphery: Everything Is Connected


In a previous post, I characterized the currently ongoing Amazonian Synod as “one of the more bizarre (and potentially very destructive) events of the Francis pontificate.” Little did I know of the horrors that were about to occur when I wrote that.

On Friday, October 4, to get the festivities rolling, a “tree-planting” ceremony took place in the Vatican Gardens to consecrate the synod to St. Francis of Assisi. But what we got was a pagan ritual centered around the now infamous Pachamama.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Benefit of the Law


Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?