Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 137: COVID-19 Is There Really an Epidemic Anymore? (Part 2)


Increasingly as I think and write about COVID-19 I am having trouble staying focused on the medical rather than the political. Are there medical questions that remain? Of course. There continues to be professional debate about effective therapies for the suffering. But even there it is problematic to divide the medical from the political.

The President is taking HCQ, plus presumably zinc, prophylactically. (I am assuming his physician will not be prescribing azythromycin or doxycycline absent symptoms.) And thus there was a rush to debunk HCQ and the Lancet obliged. But now that study has been withdrawn.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Liquidating the ‘Hood


Stranded assets are the beached whales of capitalism. Capital invested in what looked like a good long term bet, that has now turned into an illiquid headache due to a change of circumstances. This term is often used in the context of regulation and environmentalism, but assets can become stranded in other ways:

If you keep even half an eye on the investing scene, you know that commercial real estate in general, and retail in particular, has been in trouble for some time. The advance of online shopping and networked business in general has been relentless and deadly. ‘Category killer’ store fronts and department stores alike have fallen to bankruptcy and reorganization, shopping malls have lost their anchor tenants, gone under and been rebuilt into everything from housing to entertainment centers. And that was before COVID, and before looters and arsonists showed up at the door.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. New York, New York


Friday, New York’s paper of record addressed the leadership of both New Yorks, the city and the state.

First, many have complained that they want a leader who is a “uniter, not a divider.” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio seems to have stepped up and filled that role. The right has long had disdain for the borderline communist. Now even far-Left protestors are booing, jeering, and turning their back on the mayor. So when the topic turns to DeBlasio, the staunchest conservative and the masked Antifa terrorist can turn to each other and say “I agree with you completely!”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Republicans of All Stripes Need to Vote for Trump


So, I’ve tried to be supportive of the wish to post, and I usually read through them, anti-Trump messages by our brethren here on Ricochet. I even commended one of them in a private message (gave permission for him to share if he wanted to) on one of his posts saying that I thought he was completely wrong — but doubted that I would have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for my beliefs in face of continued opposition here and respected anyone who really thought they were right who did continue to make their case and try to convince the rest of us.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think they aren’t completely barmy on how they came to their decision. But, they are convinced and willing to go against the grain, and the underdog-loving American in me respects that.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Flynn Matter: Distraction or Constitutional Crisis?


I refer here to the Andrew Klavan podcast featuring Jonah Goldberg as his guest. If you haven’t listened, I recommend it. It’s revealing of just how the priorities of Principled Conservatism Inc. are distorted and what a low opinion PCI has of people on its own side of policy issues and basic values.

I will try to emulate Andrew Klavan here and give a fair assessment of Goldberg’s views without using the type of loaded language he uses in the interview to accuse his own side of malfeasance. And that’s what he does — accuse. He doesn’t really make arguments for his anti-Trump positions other than his strong opinion that Trump is doing it wrong! Neither does he explain his minimization of the Flynn matter in comparison to the three major crises we face (his list): Pandemic, economic, and social chaos in the streets. 


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Protests Have Made Me Woke


Even if it disturbs my fellow Ricochetti, this must be said. I am Woke. To start with, I still cannot get over the exhilaration of discovering the courage to express my disapproval of police killing unarmed suspects in custody. I never believed I had it in me to put myself out there like that. I really feel good about myself.

When the protests too quickly turned to looting and arson, I was able to understand that replaceable stuff is nothing compared to a guy’s life. When the destruction became extensive, when I learned that lots of people were injured and some killed, when there were dozens of reports and videos of people being dragged out of vehicles and beaten or stomped into a coma on the sidewalk, I was consoled to learn that there were also people injured by tear gas and rubber bullets so I could again refocus on the police.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump Triumphant


President Trump and America have withstood so much organized opposition, just this year to date. And yet, he and we still stand. Her is the list so far for 2020: the Chinese Communist Party plague, Russia and our good friends the Saudis crashing the global oil market, and clearly organized destruction by arson, smashing, and large scale theft. Today, President Trump stood smiling in the Rose Garden telling the good news for America, and the very bad news for the Democrat-Media complex, that jobs are coming back much faster than the “experts” expected. Small business owners had cause to smile, as well, because the president signed a one-page law improving the Paycheck Protection Program; see the bottom of this post for the full text.

A series of unfortunate events:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Law-Enforcement Officers Exhibit Less Malice and Fewer Major Errors than Other Professions


How many bad cops are there? What is the percentage? According to this: “In 2018, there were 686,665 full-time law enforcement officers employed in the United States.” What is the percentage of truly bad cops? How does that compare with the percentage of bad sports figures? How does that compare with the percentage of media figures who do not do their jobs or harass coworkers? How does that compare with the number and percentage of soi disant journalists who make up facts or interviews or get their data from kids’ science projects where the kids made up the numbers?

Let’s face it, if a law-enforcement officer does something bad, reporters will report on it, even if it does not involve the death of a black man. How many of these do we hear about in a year? A handful? Is it even that high? Or is that the number over several years where the stories have stuck with us and the stories told over and over and blown out of proportion? The Ferguson Unrest (as it is referred to in Wikipedia) was in 2014. How about the original “I can’t breathe!” Eric Garner who died while being arrested for selling loosies on the streets of New York City? That was 2011. We seem to be getting one of these major incidents about every three years. Whatever your profession is, can you say that you have one major incident every three years per 650,000 employees? Is your profession’s record that low? Does your profession have so few scandals? Medical doctors don’t. Priests don’t. Teachers don’t. Politicians sure as shootin’ don’t.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Single Mother Owned, Please Show Mercy, This Is All I Have”


After struggling for days with (mostly very distressing, and, as much as I hate to admit it, downright at times depressing) ideas of how to write about the monstrosity which has descended upon us in the form of “mostly peaceful” riots in numerous cities with untold loss of life and property, deliberate murders like those of retired Police Capt. David Dorn in St. Louis, injuries all across the Nation we love and revere, my search ended when I saw this heart-rending sign in a shop– begging for mercy. Begging! Figuratively on her knees pleading to the animals of lawlessness to please, please, please let her continue to make a living and provide for her children. Please!

I had originally started to write something based on Paul Harvey’s famous broadcast in 1965, entitled “If I Were The Devil”, bringing it up to date to show how what we are seeing in the last week is as pure an example of the work of Lucifer as any of us will ever see but decided, after seeing this image (which I believe, based on what research I was able to find, was of a shop in Santa Monica) nothing could more graphically illustrate the work of the Prince of Hatred than this pathetic sign.


Are you being detained? You’re free to skip this podcast but we don’t recommend it. Most of y’all know ladybrain Emily Zanotti is a lawyer—and her husband is too! He joins the podcast for a much needed overview of the rights Americans have (and how to exercise them).

James’s podcast: Law Stories with James Skyles.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. New Small Aircraft Takes Flight


Cessna has designed a new aircraft. The Cessna 408 SkyCourier, I believe, is the largest aircraft that Cessna has made. It’ll carry up to 19 passengers or three tons of cargo for 460 miles at 230 mph. Powered by twin turbo prop engines, it’s almost the exact opposite of any plane that Boeing makes. A high wing design, it’s far smaller, short-range and cheap — around $5.5 million each. For a commercial plane, that’s a bargain. Its first flight was just a few weeks ago, on May 17, it has yet to receive FAA certification, but is expected to enter service next year.

FedEx has signed on to take the first 50 — with options on 50 more.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Music that Makes Me…Wanna Dance


Okay, Ricochet, this is your chance to shine. I only have a few offerings in this category, so it will be heavily dependent on you. Here’s what I’ve got. Start with something obvious:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Minneapolis Lunacy: A Recipe for Disaster


This morning my blood ran cold when I heard the latest recommendation from the Minneapolis City Council: disband the police department. Sundance at the Conservative Tree House explains the background for this action:

The term ‘community policing’ has been used for several years by groups advocating for radical changes to law enforcement; however, behind the innocuous phrase is really a much more serious agenda.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Got COVID?


Some of you have met my better half, JY. While I credit him with my conversion to conservatism, he didn’t work hard at it (even though he has an economic’s degree). When it comes to politics, he keeps a low profile; I’m the one who follows the day-to-day, the press conferences, the polls, and the commentators.

He has suffered a grueling commute for 30-plus years. We’ve joked that he’s the only person in LA who has fond memories of the LA riots as his time on the road was so reduced.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: The Analytical Engine


“The Analytical Engine has no pretensions whatever to originate anything. It can do whatever we know how to order it to perform.”–Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace

One-hundred eighty-seven years ago, on June 5, 1833, Augusta Ada Byron (she was the poet’s only legitimate child and a brilliant 15-year-old student) met Charles Babbage, the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University. Ada and Charles subsequently went their separate ways, she married and had children, but she never lost her love for, or stopped studying, mathematics. Although she thought about her one-time mentor every now and then, and about the huge mechanical “Difference Engine” he’d built to perform and tabulate mathematical functions, she did not come into his life again in a substantive way until 1842. She was asked by a mutual friend, Charles Wheatstone, to translate an article written in Italian and describing a talk that Babbage had given in Turin the previous year.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Protesting Against White Supremacy Is White Supremacy


The hot new definition of racism has nothing to do with hatred of people based on their skin color. Racism is being redefined as “support for policies that increase racial inequality.” Not being racist isn’t good enough, now we have to be “anti-racist.”



Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. James Lileks: National Treasure


I know that just about everybody here knows who James is, probably largely from the podcasts where he stands athwart Rob Long, enticing him into breaking into his segue, but I’ve only sporadically checked out his Bleat blog, which he has been doing since Moses took two tablets of Advil down from Mt. Doom and rebuilt his lightsaber to defeat the Sith on a volcano planet somewhere, out there, in the galaxy.

Today, he’s documenting what’s happened in his town, pictures of the buildings, many of them with boards on the windows, but he’s also got these fantastic tidbits on the architecture and the background on the buildings.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Weekly Standings: Warm Bucket of Spit Edition


Hank Howdy: Hello and welcome to the Weekly Standings. I’m chief analyst Hank Howdy.

Bob Spwortz: And I’m your host, Bob Spwortz. Along with Kurt Kurtsson at the tracking board, we’ll be following the most exciting Vice President competition in US history to the very end. Last week’s leader Amy Klobuchar has taken some hits after suggesting that all Minneapolis police officers should be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail.


“Conservatives should be leading the civil rights movement,” says Kay C. James, President of The Heritage Foundation. Conservatives have the solutions to solve much of the racial inequalities and injustices present in America today.

James joins the podcast to explain that the answers to many of the issues plaguing the African American community, such as poverty, lack of access to good healthcare, and poor education systems, are issues conservatives have the viable solutions for.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Mattis Is Dangerously Wrong


Mattis: “When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

This is an idiotic and baseless claim from an educated man who ought to know better. The president will call in the military not to shut down peaceful protests but to stop the rampant looting of businesses – retail outlets, pharmacies that provide critical medications for people; as well as stop the burning down of buildings and stop the attacks on innocent people (many of whom are attempting to protect their businesses from destruction). Given the theft, arson, destruction, and violence that has occurred, these aren’t minor incidents by just a few people. If POTUS calls in the military to shut down the looting, the arson, and the attacks on innocent civilians, there is absolutely nothing “illegal” about that order. No one has a Constitutional right to steal, burn down businesses or government buildings, or to attack innocent people!


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Chaos on Chaos


Retired general and former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, call sign Chaos, denounced President Trump’s riot response in a statement published in The Atlantic, upon which of course ensued reciprocal disparaging comments. Was he right? Does his statement have merit? Here are takes from the Washington Times and The Hill, two news sources not considered full-blown Leftists. Following is Mattis’ full statement (bold emphases mine), and my take:

I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.


Now, that was a week. We try to put it all in some perspective — the protests, the riots, the looting, and the politics and we do so with the help of our guests, Andrew C. McCarthy and Victor Davis Hanson. And yes, the Lileks Post of The Week is back to blow the lid off knitting clubs. And, Rob outs himself as a super hero, Peter deals with civil unrest induced anxiety by reading biographies, and James, well, we’re not sure what James does.

Music from this week’s show: The Dream Police by David Byrne


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Pandemic of Vitriol

James Sant: Courage, Anxiety and Despair – Watching the Battle (c. 1850)

Over the past weeks, my essays have focused on our new songbook (Hurrah and Hallelujah), the sessions we did for streaming performances from the Metropolitan Opera, and opera boot camp. I was happy to write those, and equally happy at the enthusiastic comments and emails you sent in response.

At the same time, I’ve written essays on quite different subjects. But I scrapped them all—not because they were poor topics or badly done, but because it is excruciatingly difficult to say anything right now without whipping up people’s passions in a manner far beyond a rational response to the expression of an observation or concern.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Few Words About Archbishop Wilton Gregory


(Well, maybe more than a few.)

My wife and I are Roman Catholics. She is a “cradle Catholic”; I converted to Catholicism nearly forty years ago. During that time, we’ve seen the Church’s problems (the pedophilia scandals, doctrinal squabbles, etc.) however, we would never entertain the idea of leaving the faith. Most of our Catholic friends feel the same way.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Sound of Melancholy and Nostalgia


Released in 1962, “Champa Battambang” was a big hit for the composer/lyricist/vocalist Sinn Sisamouth. But the song would be immortalized in the Khmer psyche in the years following the fall of the Khmer Rouge. We’ll get to that part in a moment, but first the song and its title: champa is the name of a flower (magnolia champaca) and Battambang is the name of a province in northeast Cambodia.