Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Wandering Essay


Everybody talks about how they’d love to go on a cross-country motorcycle trip, with nothing but a motorcycle and a tent, to see North America for months at a time. I did that. Not once, but twice, in the early 1990s. I had a great time, and I learned a lot. As J.R.R. Tolkien pointed out, all who wander are not lost. I knew what I was doing (or, at least, I thought I did at the time) and I had wonderful experiences that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I also wasted a lot of time and effort, but I’ve forgotten about most of that. I remember the wonderful experiences. Life is funny like that.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Are You Clamoring for an Electric Car?


(With my apologies to Gary McVey, prepare for one of my incendiary posts.)

Is a Tesla or a Chevy Bolt, or a Nissan Leaf on your Christmas list this year? Can you hardly wait to ditch that gas-guzzler in the driveway and replace it with a vehicle that you can “fill up” from an installation in your garage, at a lot less than a tank of Regular?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Mini-Me and How I Became Rich


Each age in my life has had a few surprises. When I reached middle age, for instance, a mini-me suddenly appeared in my brain. The little guy was a stalker who watched me closely, especially when I was doing adult things.

I would be attending a cocktail party for members of the University’s English Department, for instance, the women in evening dresses, the men in coats and ties — all very grown-up, you know. I’d be standing there, a cocktail in my hand listening to an intellectual blowhard go on about postmodern something-or-other, when I would sense the presence of 13-year-old Kent in my head. “Damn,” I would think, “What are you doing here? I thought I had left you behind a long time ago.”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 401(k)s Not Working for People?


I work as a “retirement plan administrator” and am credentialed as an “expert” in the non-investment-side of 401(k)s and older-style pension plans. As such, my antennae always twitch any time I see a story regarding my industry. This story got me shaking my head at the framing of the issue.

I see companies’ payroll, deferral, and contribution figures every day, so I know that folks are not utilizing their 401(k) plans enough. Such a huge percentage of employees don’t defer anything, while others are deferring only, say, 2 percent; not even enough to earn all of their company’s matching contribution available to them.


Alon Ben-Meir is an extraordinary figure, born in Baghdad in 1937. He is a professor of international relations at New York University. He has long been involved in international negotiations. He knows the Middle East intimately. In this conversation, he and Jay cover a good part of the waterfront (not that there’s much water in the Middle East): Turkey, Syria, the Yazidis, the Arab-Israeli conflict, etc. The conversation is also personal, about Ben-Meir’s life. He has lived in many places and speaks several languages. Does he feel at home everywhere – or nowhere? No one will agree with every word he says, but all can learn from this immensely learned, thoughtful, and experienced man.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Memorable Interview


In the days following Christmas in 2000, I traveled from Montana to California to visit my older sister, who was dying from cancer.

Carol was no longer eating solid food; she had a bag that fed mocha-colored goo into her stomach. Oh, every once in awhile her longing to taste something would overcome her, and she’d eat something, all the while knowing that the consequences would be unpleasant. But her life was circumscribed to a recliner; her life closed in; her passing, imminent. Yet she was still her cheerful, almost ebullient self. We ran through some chitchat, catching up on our families and their activities. That took about an hour.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. It’s Our Anniversary!


No, it’s not the anniversary of when neutral observer and I got married. It’s the anniversary of when we flew from Atlanta to Moscow (via JFK) to adopt our three daughters. I wrote a post a few years back with the details.

Wow. Twenty-three years ago today. Sorry, my eyes are getting a little misty…


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Will the Increasing Insanity of Progressives Cost the Democratic Party Loyal Voters?


Imagine being a loyal Democrat voter today. Say, over 40 years old, fan of JFK, with kids, a job, and some financial responsibilities. The world must look awfully strange right now.

Just imagine. Global warming is proven by warm weather, cold weather, droughts, and flooding. Men are women, and women are men. Except when they’re not. You have a right to other people’s money, but not to your own. We can increase spending without increasing taxes. It’s ok for Elizabeth Warren to call herself a Native American, but it’s not ok for Candace Owens to call herself black. The Pope’s a Unitarian. The president is a lifelong Democrat who lives like a Vegas celebrity and governs like a conservative. Jeffery Epstein killed himself. The two leading nominees for the presidential nomination of “the party of youth, women, and minorities” are Biden and Sanders, two white guys who are 77, look like they’re 87, and sound like they’re 97.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Enviro-Fascism for Toddlers


My kindergartner (ok, not a toddler, per se) is watching some Nickelodeon show called “Rainbow Rangers.” I only paid attention to the background noise until I heard something infuriating. Their happy little home was experiencing earthquakes; very odd, since they’re not on a fault line. What could possibly be causing this destruction to their home?

Why, fracking, of course. “Scientists say that it’s bad for the environment.” The fracking manager lays booby traps and is, of course, as evil as possible. Undeterred, the Rainbow Rangers show him a better way to generate energy: windmills! Never mentioned, of course, is that wind energy is incredibly inefficient and saves no money long term, to say nothing of the impact (pardon the pun) on fowl-life.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Millennials, Gen Z, and Our Times


If the 20th century was a slum, the 21st may turn out to be a slough of despond.

Many members of my young generation are basketcases — ever teetering on the edge of breakdown, strangely aware and unaware of their own condition. Some seek redemption in politics; some immerse themselves in subcultures and fandom; some wallow in their self-loathing. Most simply drift through life, shrugging and LOLing and YOLOing in that familiar digital way.


Around these parts, we strive to provide Class A Punditry® no matter where in the world the news happens. So this week, we jump across the pond to cover last night’s stunning Tory victory in the Mother Country. To do that, we call on our mate Toby Young (he of the London Calling podcast, aka Great Britain’s fastest growing chat show) who takes us through all of the machinations and expectations of this historic election. Then, it’s back home where we get a visit from our newly minted Ricochet Podcast Chief Impeachment Pundit, Professor John Yoo, esq. (if you’re not listening to his Law Talk with Epstein & Yoo and Pacific Century podcasts, you are missing out). The Professor takes us through the week’s events with lots of legal insight and analysis with no spin. We wish our good pal Pat Sajak a speedy recovery by awarding the highly coveted Lileks Post of The Week badge to @PHCheese for his post Get Well Fast Pat Sajak and we’ve got a new Long Poll question for you. Finally, Rob attends a Christmas party with a bunch of frogs, Peter is rocking out on Handel, and Lileks will blow your snow if you ask him. Leave your requests in the comments.

Music from this week’s show: Rose of England by Nick Lowe


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. This Headline from Politico Is … Something


Trump shocks black voters — by trying to get their votes

Trump’s reelection team actually has a strategy to increase their percentages among African Americans … and it is freaking people out. You want to know why the left is so mad at Kanye supporting Trump? This is why.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Thank God for Bill Barr


Bill Barr Interview with NBC's Pete WilliamsThis is one of the interviews Bill Barr did that got so much criticism from the Dems and the liberal press. As for me, it has restored my faith in the justice system. No. That’s still a bit too strong. Let me just say it makes me cautiously optimistic that Justice will ultimately be done.

Horowitz did a great job uncovering much of the corruption at the FBI. No. Let me rephrase that as well. Horowitz did a great job confirming and thoroughly documenting what a myriad of both professional and independent citizen journalists had previously uncovered by crowdsourcing and sharing their research in the Twitter community. But Horowitz left many of us terribly frustrated when he refused to connect the dots and identify bias as the source of the FBI malfeasance. Horowitz counted every tree but missed the fact that there was a forest there.


How can we keep the meaning of Christmas alive? Elisha Krauss and Kelly Maher are BACK for a sweet and hilarious episode you won’t want to miss!


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Schadenfreude: UK Celebs React to Boris Blowout


If you followed the UK election on social media for the past month, you’d have thought Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party would crush Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. The lefties dominated Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and all things online. But the vote isn’t conducted on the internet, rather in polling stations.

Leading up to election day, musicians, actors, and other British celebrities enthusiastically endorse the anti-semitic, pro-terrorist Marxist, and mocked all who opposed him.


Topics: Supply-side economics, the downfall of the New York Times, story/discourse, Hillsdale in D.C.

Scot Bertram talks with Hillsdale’s Gary Wolfram about supply-side economics. Michael Goodwin, chief political columnist of the New York Post, speaks about journalism and the downfall of the New York Times. Dwight Lindley, from Hillsdale’s English department, continues his series of basic literary concepts with story/discourse. And Matt Mehan, with Hillsdale in D.C., tells us more about the new Graduate School of Government.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If I Was Doin’ Any Better, There’d Have to Be Two of Me!

I woke up this morning about 4 a.m. Couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t anxiety or too much coffee, or needing to pee for the third time of the night as it often is at my age. Nope. This time my restlessness was a good thing. This time it was kind of a “can’t wait for Christmas morning” sort of agita

A real-deal movie critic joins us on “A Christmas Ham” this week to talk about the history and hypnotic effect of cheesy TV Christmas movies. Also, we somehow touch on the opioid crisis. I didn’t even know there was a dark side to my movie obsession until I talked to John!


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. 100 Years, 3 Wars, 409 Combat Missions: Living Memory


On Friday, 6 December, Col. Charles McGee went flying for his 100th birthday. He actually flew the aircraft, with a copilot, and walked on and off the aircraft firm of voice and stride. Colonel McGee started flying in World War II, then stayed in the cockpit for the next thirty years, seeing combat in both Korea and Vietnam. He holds the US Air Force record, to this day, of 409 combat missions. As we commemorate the 75th anniversaries of D-Day at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge this year, we note the number of World War II veterans rapidly falling to the far end of the actuarial tables. Accordingly, each one who remains with us, still of firm mind and voice, becomes more of a treasure.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: So, How Old Is That in Dog Years, Again?


This is an update of a post I wrote exactly three years ago, when the answer to the question posed in the title was a mere “42.” I hope my long-time friends will forgive my shortcut here, and that my new friends will find it interesting. I celebrate the memories of all kinds that have formed our Ricochet lives, from the ageless @midge (even older than I am) and infants like @joecombs23 (joined Thursday), to absent friends and loved ones, those who, for one reason or another, are no longer part of the site. Here’s to us all.

Today, December 12, 2019, I’m celebrating my ninth Ricoversary. In dog years, I’m 63, which isn’t exactly my age in human terms, but it’s close enough for government work. Nine years ago today, I squared my shoulders, girded my loins and, for the first, but far from the last, time in my life went to war with the Ricochet subscription and billing apparatus, and its very determined ideas about auto-renewal and subscription status, and I signed up for my first month as a member. There were no levels. No Coolidge, Thatcher, or Reagan. Just a monthly fee, which the site told you far more often than you cared to know, was tied to the cost of a Starbucks latte.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. When Did the Obama Administration Begin Spying on Americans?


I doubt that the spying began with the Trump campaign. Opponents of the Iran deal suspected that they were spied on based on how quickly their ideas and arguments were countered by the Obama Administration. Was the Romney campaign under surveillance in 2012? It wouldn’t surprise me.

Obama grew up as a C(r)ook County Democrat. His campaign twice tried to shut down “The Milt Rosenberg Show” in 2008. Milt said that nothing like this had happened previously and he had hosted the program for more than 30 years. I think the rot was deep and it started at the top with Obama.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Tired of Winning Yet?


President Trump’s White House team has been doing an excellent job with the official Whitehouse website and YouTube channel, posting relevant information, attractively presented. Here are snapshots of the homepage captured Wednesday, December 11:


Must. Not. Gloat.

Oh, the heck with that. It’s an Election Special and James and Toby discuss Boris Johnson’s glorious victory.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Messianic Era Is Upon Us


Yesterday, in his remarks at a White House Hanukkah party, after complimenting Ivanka and Jared on their efforts, President Trump said the following:

“I’m very proud that the Jewish faith is a cherished part of our family, very proud of it.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Conservatives Crush Labour in UK Landslide (w/ Updates)


Polls in the UK closed at 10 p.m. local time (5 p.m. ET). As results come in from the crucial vote, we’ll keep you posted here. If the exit polls are correct, this will be the worst Labour Party result since 1924.