Let’s Talk About Sex Again

The efforts to redefine rape on campuses would be amusing if they weren’t so dangerous. But I think we need to ask ourselves why the sex-with-no-consequences-ever crowd is suddenly a champion of sex-with-hyperbolic-consequences unless it is accompanied by lots and lots of yeses. I’m wondering, do both participants have to constantly say “yes” or only the females involved? Life is so confusing these days.

It doesn’t, however, need to be confusing. The truth is that “casual sex” has always been a myth, because men and women do not approach sex in the same way, which makes it a minefield. Two “consenting adults” probably have, in other words, wildly different ideas about what is going on and what it means. It turns out that sex is not just a powerful drive and a pleasurable physical sensation, it has social, emotional, mental and spiritual consequences that complicate what the kids have been told. All that extra baggage makes it possible — even likely — that without some mores, restrictions and good old-fashioned truth-telling, men and women will use and abuse one another through sex. Who woulda thunk it?

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Democrats Continue to Step on Rakes

I take you to Georgia — the Peach State and ancestral homeland of Nipsey Russell — for a video of Republican Senate candidate David Perdue that will shock you to your very core:

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Cashing In…

Here is a tidbit from Ferguson, Missouri:

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – In a recent statement, Michael Brown’s mother asked that her son not be part of self-serving business or political actions as she pleaded that he be remembered for the good.  A reported assault and theft this past weekend may dramatically underscore that sentiment.

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Need To Know with Mona Charen and Jay Nordlinger
Name Rec

NTK FeatureJay reports from his annual trip to the Oslo Freedom Forum this week, where he met, among other extraordinarily brave and inspiring figures, 21- year-old Yeonmi Park, an escapee from North Korea. Her story – of starvation, and rape, and terror — is the kind that makes you feel guilty for the ample meal you just consumed and the comfortable life you enjoy.

But we do live in the comfortable west, and as Jay and Mona next discuss, it may be about to become a little more palatable – at least politically. The absurd “war on women” trope that succeeded in 2012 and 2013 is falling flat this year – along with the gender gap among women. They analyze and relish the demise of this most insulting of appeals.

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Even Blue States Get the Blahs

KeepCalmForget about cats being the epitome of indifference (it’s not my line — I stole it from The Big Bang Theory). In 2014, it’s the American voter who, given the choice between red and blue, seems to be trending blasé.

Consider this rundown by Gallup’s Frank Newport, who notes that, compared to the 2010 midterm election, we should be adding Prozac to the list of Obamacare’s giveaways — a 13-point drop in voter thought given to the election, an 18-point falloff in motivation, a 9-point drop in enthusiasm.

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Could New England Turn Red?

Maybe. Purple is more likely. Let’s start at the top.

Paul LePage, Maine’s eccentric GOP governor, is in a tight fight for reelection in a three-way race with Democratic congressman Mike Michaud and independent conservative Eliot Cutler. If Cutler drops out, LePage coasts to victory.

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Carol Costello, CNN’s Vicious Misogynist

Carol Costello is some kind of talking head at CNN. The open glee she exhibits upon playing tape of a women being beaten up has to be seen to be believed.

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A National Pastime No More?

shutterstock_97905992It’s a testimony to the traditionalist bent that runs through Ricochet — and our shameless attempts to lure George Will over — that some of the most prolonged discussions in the site’s history have involved baseball (I recall at least one discussion of the designated hitter that resulted in casualties). Increasingly, however, we seem to be the outliers. We may still call the game “the national pastime,” but the title is largely vestigial. These days, baseball is more of a regional interest than a national obsession. From Jonathan Mahler in the New York Times:

On Tuesday night, the first game of the 2014 World Series drew just 12.2 million viewers to Fox, making it the lowest-rated Game 1 on record. Game 2 on Wednesday night fared somewhat better, with 12.9 million people tuning in.

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Sweeping Ebola Under the Carpet?

In 11 days, the midterm elections will take place. They are not apt to go well for the Democrats, but the results would be much, much worse if we were to learn that in a variety of places within the country, thanks to the fecklessness of Barack Obama’s minions, people have come down with Ebola. We already know of such a case in New York. What if there were a slew of others?

It is with this in mind that one should perhaps read the report that a hospital in Kansas City, Missouri is busying suppressing information of this very sort. Kit Daniels of Info-Wars cites family physician James Lawrenzi who claims that “hospital workers are being told not to use the word ‘Ebola’ if they treat patients who may have the disease.”

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Theseus’s Corvette

IMG_0722The great Greek hero Theseus sailed to Crete to slay the Minotaur. Upon his safe return, his ship was preserved as a memorial. By ancient accounts, it was preserved for centuries, though the wear of wind and water began to rot the ship at its moorings. The citizens of Athens replaced the planks of the deck, the mast, the rigging, even the pieces of the hull as time ravaged the old vessel. This led philosophers to ponder a question: was the ship still the one Theseus sailed, even though nothing remained of the original vessel but its shape and memory?

I recently purchased a 1973 Corvette in Blue-Green, and the legend came sharply to mind as I probed its workings. I’m not sure how original this car is, much less how original it will be. I knew its previous owner had replaced the engine and the exhaust system, re-plumbed the radiator, rebuilt the steering mechanism, and replaced all of the shocks and springs in the rear end. He also replaced the differential cover, which – on this car — also holds up the rear leaf spring. But that was only the beginning.

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We need to talk about Ebola-shaming.

It is past time someone speaks up about our insidious and malignant cultural tendency to police, judge, and condemn people who projectile-vomit a virus that might melt your internal organs; a perfectly natural virus that occurs naturally in nature and is thus natural.

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From A Cop: Thank You, Jay Nordlinger

There is never enough time to read everything one wants. Pages are dog-eared as magazines are thumbed through, all with the intent for them to be read as soon as time allows. The magazine is set aside, soon to be covered by others, similarly dog-eared and thumbed-through. Eventually the pile grows large and is thrown into the bin with a wistful sigh.

But once in great while, you reach into that pile and extract a treasure, which is exactly what happened to me when I came across a piece by Jay Nordlinger in an about-to-be-discarded issue of National Review. The Ricochetti of course know Jay as the co-host, with Mona Charen, of the weekly Need to Know podcast. But if you don’t subscribe to National Review magazine — the one printed on good old-fashioned paper, or its digital equivalent — and have it delivered every other week, you are denying yourself some of the best writing available anywhere.

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The CDC Strikes Again

Here is a story, dated 23 October 2014, from The New York Daily News:

The Harlem doctor who was rushed to a hospital Thursday with suspected Ebola symptoms had gone bowling in Brooklyn the night before.

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All You Really Need to Know about Franklin Delano Roosevelt

There’s been a lot of talk about FDR lately: on the flagship podcast, on PBS, and on the short list of presidential corpses more attractive to have at your midterm election rally than the one currently in office.

But all you really need to know about this man is indeed contained here in this once popular television special of yesteryear. (Note: One not-CoC compliant term about a minute in.)

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From the Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia.

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Of Sergeants-at-Arms and Honour Guards

You know, until yesterday, I though the position of Sergeant-At-Arms in Canada’s House of Commons was largely ceremonial – a retirement perk to the politically connected; that the man who wears antiquated costumes and carries a golden mace into Parliament is little more than an actor. One of the gratifying thinks I learned yesterday, in that otherwise horrible day, is that I was wrong: that it is a serious job, held by a serious man, with long experience as a peace officer, who is also properly armed to face real trouble. He is far more than just a play-actor.

On the other hand, pictures taken at the War Memorial immediately prior to the shooting showed two Canadian soldiers, both real soldiers – not actors, and both armed with serious weapons – the C-7 assault rifle. When the Islamofascist murdered Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, his fellow guardsman could not retaliate. He was helpless in the face of the enemy. The magazines of their C-7’s were empty, no doubt for reasons of safety.

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Perception vs. Reality

Here’s a headline you probably weren’t expecting: “Most Expect GOP Victory In November”. It goes with this week’s poll by Associated Press-GfK, which included the following stats:

  • 55% of likely voters are now assuming Republicans will take over the Senate, an 8-point gain from September.
  • 25% of Democrats think it’s going to happen, a 7-point gain in the past month.
  • 47% of likely voters favor a Republican-controlled Congress versus 39% who want Democrats in charge. A month ago, it was an even divide.
  • 44% of women prefer Republicans, versus 42% for Democrats. A month ago, women favored Democrats by a 47%-40% edge.

It’s a reverse from the 2012 campaign, when most voters expected President Obama to win a second term and Mitt Romney’s supporters were more pessimistic than those on the Democratic side.

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“Assumptions” and the Canadian Shooter

Do you know what happens when you assume? Well, you’re generally correct. Despite nursery rhymes to the contrary, assumptions are a wonderful and necessary tool in life. Without them, one can do hardly anything but stand in place.

When you drive through an intersection with a green light, you make an assumption that the cross street has a red light.  You make this assumption despite the fact that traffic lights can and do fail, causing hundreds of traffic accidents every year.

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Obama’s Iran End Run May Finally Stir Congressional Action

Word inside the Beltway is that President Obama intends to reach any deal involving Iranian nuclear weapons without involving Congress. Defenders of the Constitution may just sigh and throw up their hands (again). Obama’s plan only adds to the long list of unconstitutional executive actions taken by this administration: refusal to enforce federal laws on health care, immigration, welfare, and crime; refusal to defend federal laws in the courts; appointment of rump officers to federal bodies without Senate advice and consent; targeting of groups by ideology for tax or criminal investigation, and so on.

For the most part, President Obama has gotten away with it. He has been aided and abetted by his supporters in the Congress, the media, and the academy (who went ballistic over far more plausible claims of executive power by George W. Bush in the context of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq). This, however, might be the final straw that breaks Congress’s back.

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Lileks, Long, and Goldberg: Live in D.C. (October 28)

Seven_Deadly_Virtues_Mechanical.inddRicochet readers in the Washington D.C. area are cordially invited to join us at the American Enterprise Institute on the evening of Tuesday, October 28 for a book forum on the new essay collection The Seven Deadly Virtues: 18 Conservative Writers on Why the Virtuous Life is Funny as Hell. The panelists for the evening will include Rob Long, James Lileks, and Jonah Goldberg, as well as P.J. O’Rourke and Christine Rosen. The event will be moderated by the collection’s editor, The Weekly Standard’s Jonathan V. Last. You can find all the logistical information about the event here.

Ricochet members should also plain on joining Rob and James for an informal meetup the night before (Monday, October 27), which will take place at the bar in the Mayflower Hotel at 7:30 PM. We hope to see you there!

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Did Janet Yellen Make a Huge Mistake by Talking About Inequality?

That’s the question raised in a new Washington Post column by AEI economist Mike Strain. Or as the click-friendly headline puts it: “Janet Yellen is in danger of becoming a partisan hack: The Federal Reserve chair shouldn’t be picking a side in political debates.” Keep in mind Strain is no reflexive Yellen critic. As he writes, “I forecast Yellen will be an outstanding Fed chair.” But he doesn’t much like how Yellen, first, presented an incomplete analysis of how middle-class incomes have been doing the past three decades, and, second, came close to advocating expanded preschool funding, a contentious issue both politically and economically. Strain:

But even by focusing on income inequality she has waded into politically choppy waters.  … Like many conservatives, income inequality isn’t on my list of the top problems facing the country. But it is a live issue for progressives, many of whom still share the president’s earlier sentiment. By expressing her “great concern” over the issue, Yellen is putting herself squarely in the progressive camp. … If Yellen continues to sound like a left-leaning politician, the political pressure on the Fed will mount, and the ability of the Fed to operate independent of politics will be threatened. If those threats are realized, everyone loses.

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The Libertarian Podcast: Airbnb, Property Rights, and Land Use

If you read Professor Epstein’s post earlier this week on New York’s efforts to crack down on Airbnb, you’ve got the starting point for the this week’s podcast. From that story, however, we move on to broader considerations: how much of the affordability crisis in urban housing is being driven by land use policy? What’s the principled position for a classical liberal to take on the government’s role in housing markets? And will the sharing economy ultimately be able to triumph over the efforts of would-be regulators across the country? All is answered in this week’s installment of The Libertarian podcast:

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The Decline of the Islamist Murderer

Thirteen years ago, we rightly thought of Jihad as typified by the 9-11 attacks. Years in the making, the plot involved scores of people across multiple continents, training camps, and a small fortune. Similarly, the attacks on Bali nightclubs, the London Tube, the Madrid commuter rail, Mumbai hotels, and the Nairobi mall — though all far less spectacular and deadly than their predecessor — were also complicated, planned, and coordinated, often by people with professional training in war and sabotage. Casualties tended to be in the hundreds.

A second kind of Jihadi emerged shortly thereafter: the lone wolf with Western citizenship who plans his attacks without the coordination, resources, and numbers available to the semi-professionals. The Tsarnaev brothers’ bombing of the Boston Marathon was premeditated and long-coming, but they lacked the resources and smarts to have thought much beyond their once-off attack. The DC snipers, Major Hasan, Faisal Shahzad, and a few others also fit into this category of planned terrorism inspired by al Qaeda, but not directed by it or its cells. Casualties tended to be in the dozens.

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Driving with the Entitled

Few things irk me more than people who drive in a manner that suggests that they believe themselves to be The Chosen One. Though I confess to not being the world’s most faithful speed limit adherent, I try to be courteous in my driving. But like many, I am subject to the impulses that underlie road rage. My hackles get up when encountering cell-phone abusing drivers, cutters-off, and generally oblivious drivers dangerously weaving about as if they were the only people on the road. But while my temperature rises and my language becomes more colorful — unless there are kids in my car — I can generally avoid seeing red.

Except in school zones.

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