Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Hurting the Most Vulnerable: ‘Rehoming’ an Adopted Child


James and Myka Stauffer.
The hardest thing I’ve ever done is forgive the people that put my son up for adoption.

YouTube and Instagram mom Myka Stauffer was famous for her sunny, positive online presence. Her perpetually coiffed and photogenic family could have easily been mistaken for models in a Williams Sonoma catalog, and it earned her lucrative partnership deals with major companies. But on May 26, Stauffer uploaded an unusual YouTube video: a tearful explanation of why she had “rehomed” her special needs child, which she has adopted from China two-and-a-half years earlier. Within 36 hours, the announcement triggered negative articles in People, Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, and dozens of other publications.


Most advice on how to prepare for a disaster is just plain wrong. On this episode, Jim Carafano explains five attributes an individual should have in order to survive a major disaster.



Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Is There an Unreasonable Fear of Black Men?


When viral videos of conflicts between blacks and law enforcement officers, blacks being harassed by white women comedically known as “Karens,” or blacks being criminally profiled by overzealous white males are released, I make it a point to say as little as possible – especially on social media.

Generally, it’s very difficult to know what ensued and render judgment on what happened – and what should happen to achieve “justice” with minimal information provided in a 15-, 20-, or 25-second video clip. The Rodney King debacle should’ve taught us as much (but didn’t). Additional evidence is needed to help contextualize the incident for a better understanding of what exactly occurred and then, what should or shouldn’t happen to the relevant actors going forward. Ideally, prudence would dictate patience until supplementary evidence is made available before people dispense their verdicts and punishments.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 129: COVID-19 Having Trouble Keeping Up Yet?


You may recall just last week sometime (it’s hard to identify specific days now that we have been free wheeling our schedules for over two months) that the CDC issued guidance suggesting that the virus was not that easy to catch from surfaces. Well, now they have apparently issued a “clarification.” So it is pretty much what they were saying before, except that there are lots of variabilities in the likelihood a particular surface is actively contaminated by the time you touch it. Pretty much what we always knew.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. About That George Floyd Death


I am watching some online streams from the “protests” in Minneapolis. The situation involves mounted police, buildings burning, teargas, and strike teams. You can call it a riot and this is the second night.

The people are upset about George Floyd being killed by police. The cops responded to alleged forging and George ended up face down on the ground with a cops knee on his neck. There is video that shows him begging for his life as succumbs. The cops have been fired and Trump has vowed a swift investigation. Protests are starting in other cities. Some rednecks are in a video “armed” up and looking to stop looting. This seems like a big deal as the country is on edge from the 60 days of house arrest. Add in record unemployment and who knows what is going to happen.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Brain on Overload


If you’re looking for wisdom and wit, you won’t find much of it here. For the past few days, I’ve been organizing and clearing out my mind, and these random ideas were left over.

1. My dad used to regularly use an expression I rarely hear anymore: “not worth a hill of beans.“ Google tells me that the phrase, “not worth a bean,” goes all the way back to the year 1297. The American variant, “not worth a hill of beans,” appeared around 1863.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Unwind from China? Can It Be Done?


This is a subject that has come up first in the comments with the @jameslileks post “Watching the CCP Press,” and which @iWe explored further by asking “whether one would trade with Nazi Germany.” We need additional information, indeed hard data, to even begin to look at the practicalities. Some here have mandated that we somehow absolutely cease trade with China. Others (and indeed most, I should think) would argue that an absolute embargo is both undesirable, and indeed impossible in any situation short of open warfare, but that we should certainly reevaluate what we are trading with China, and how we are doing so.

But to even have that discussion we need to know something of the extent of what we buy from China (and really, from everywhere else too), and how that really affects us, otherwise, should the absolutists be granted their immediate wish and all trade cease, the results may be distinctly unpleasant. I own and run a company that manufactures electronics, and so, at least as far as electronics go, I do have rather a lot of insight into what exactly comes out of China, and whether alternatives exist. I have done a Country of Origin query on the bills of materials (BOMs) for a couple of my products, and will detail those below, and what the implications are.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. When the Fight Is Over, It’s Over


Since I’ve been in the arena, for what it’s worth I’ll comment on the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis. This is the second major incident that indicates there is something wrong with the training model and the hiring model of the Minneapolis Police Department. Every police department and sheriff’s office in the United States should be looking at this incident and assessing their training and hiring model. They should be asking themselves; “Could this happen to us?”

Training is expensive and it should not stop after an officer graduates from the academy. In-service training should continue on a regular basis for officers and supervisors. In-service training is expensive, but the lack of in-service training could cost lives, not just dollars. In-service training also allows trainers to assess a department’s officers on a regular basis.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The 2020 Election Interference Plan


Today the President has been rightfully very vocal about Twitter’s decision to fact-check him, after years of tolerating vicious non-factual assaults on the President, as well as upon anyone else who does not bow to Progressive Orthodoxy. And the head of Twitter’s “integrity” unit is so confident he openly expresses his contempt and hatred for everything Trump.

This is part of a larger pattern in the social media universe. Right after the 2016 elections, senior executives at Google (also owners of YouTube) and Facebook (also owners of Instagram) pledged they would do everything they could to not have that result again. And it is not just the executives; the activist employees of these companies are pushing hard for censorship of opposing views. I think you will see over the next few months a more active attempt by these platforms to alter algorithms, to use “fact checks” to create false narratives, and to resort to outright censorship, in order to assure victory in 2020.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. If You Hate People, Wear a Face Mask


I sat down at a restaurant the other day; it was slow, as most dining rooms have been the last two weeks. I live by myself and like to talk, so I like having conversations with the wait staff fairly often. I can’t remember the comment I had (something about a COVID impact on the restaurant I think), the lovely lady said, “You can’t see it but I am smiling behind this mask.”

It was such an unintentional comment that hit on why face masks are such a socially dangerous virus. That phrase stuck in my mind and I kept keep thinking about it. I did not get why it impacted me and what it really was saying until a day or two later.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. What’s the Right Strategy to Deal with Fake News?


In 2019, Fox & Friends host Pete Hegseth was involved in the fakest controversy I can remember seeing in a long while. While on air, he very plainly joked that he hasn’t washed his hands in a decade and didn’t believe in germs. His cohosts immediately laughed and the segment moved on. But those who spend their days determined to destroy Fox News and anyone associated with it pretended as though Hegseth was serious. The controversy has reemerged in the era of COVID, as enemies of Fox News have pointed to Hegseth’s anti-science views on germs and public health to attack the network.

My girlfriend (and Ladybrains co-host) Elisha Krauss recently interviewed Hegseth and asked if I had any questions for him. I was dying to know one thing: Why didn’t he push back hard against all the headlines?


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why Masks? Because Powerless Citizens Rarely Emerge.


Why masks? I think the answer to that is fairly simple, and fairly obvious as well.

I have just finished — much to my dismay — reading the 20th and final (not including the unfinished 21st) book in Patrick O’Brian’s amazing Aubrey/Maturin “Master and Commander” series. In a recent book, Steven Maturin discusses an old sailor who he is treating. He knows exactly what the problem is, and he treats it as best he can. But he notes that the sailor is absolutely convinced that the problem stems from the consumption of meat and alcohol. Therefore, the sailor self-prescribes total abstinence from these two things. Maturin comments that sailors are stubborn, especially with respect to their own health, and that the abstinence does no great harm, so he goes on treating the sailor as he would, and he doesn’t argue with him about the diagnosis. Later in the book, the sailor dies, as Steven knew he would.


Sarah and the guys discuss the president’s threats to crack down on Twitter, Joe Biden’s ‘Breakfast Club’ controversy, the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and the president pushing a conspiracy theory that falsely accuses Joe Scarborough of murder.


It was one thing when people argued over ventilators and lockdowns. But naturally, a culture war had to arise out of the coronavirus, and wearing masks is it. Who should wear them and when? Should the government mandate it and for how long? Also, is it right to shame people who choose not to wear one?

Links to the stories Park mentions:


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Are Cities Over? It’s Time for Some Skepticism About That Idea


I recently did an AEI online event on the future of the American city in the age of pandemics. As a recent Financial Times piece put it: “Almost overnight, cities have gone from being places of dreams and ambition to fearful symbols of mortality. The rich have retreated to the countryside, just as they did in Europe during the Black Death. Until now, cities have always bounced back.”

But will cities rebound this time? That was the first question I asked my esteemed panel. And here is some of what they told me:


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Of Planes, Trains, and Automobiles


Steve Martin and John Candy in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”
Growing up in a working-class family in Minnesota is perhaps my greatest blessing. My dad started his own business later in life – after having a wife, three kids, and a mortgage, and not exactly during the robust economic times one might wait to roll the dice on one’s livelihood. But he and my mom made it work, with some sacrifices. We didn’t have trendy clothes or new cars or the latest gadgets. But we had a yearly road trip across the country in the family vehicle: a pink striped, GMC conversion van.

To my brothers and me, it was a Cadillac. It had velvet, mauve upholstery from top to bottom punctuated by track lighting along the middle that lit up the van at night like a mini airstrip on the ceiling. With my Dad driving and Mom navigating, us kids occupied the captain chairs and bench seat in the back. It wasn’t the typical, comfortable family roadster station wagon, but it took us where we needed to go, and it took me to see America.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Its Not Safe to Go Back in the Water


The Spectator on why the merchants of fear porn aren’t ready to give up the shark infested water quite yet:

On May 17, the New York Times crushed its competition with the most audacious effort yet to turn good news into bad. ‘NEW CASES IN US SLOW, POSING RISK OF COMPLACENCY,’ read the lead headline in the print edition. Sub headlines further limned the gloomy picture: ‘TRAJECTORY UNCERTAIN,’ ‘Spikes Feared As the Very Steps That Curbed the Virus Are Lifted.’ Do not stop being fearful, in other words. While the virus risk may go down, complacency risk replaces it, leaving us as threatened as before. The only proper posture is to shelter in place permanently.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. NASA/SpaceX Rocket Launch Scrubbed


The highly anticipated launch of the NASA/SpaceX manned rocket has been scrubbed due to weather concerns. It was scheduled for 4:33 p.m. ET. Astronauts Douglas Hurley and Robert Behnken were in the capsule, awaiting their mission to the International Space Station.

“We are not going to launch today,” NASA announced about 15 minutes before the launch. “Our next opportunity will be Saturday, May 30 at 3:22 p.m. ET.” If successful, this will be the first manned mission from the U.S. since 2011.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Secondhand Tomatoes: Spending a COVID Spring


I am sure we all have a collection of adjustments from the last few weeks of the Great COVID Panic of 2020. It will be recalled as a time like few others when the story-telling is done for another generation, each individual saga with its own twist.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Wear a Mask


Obviously not while inside by myself, but I wear a mask whenever I expect to walk by people or I am getting a delivery. It’s partly because it is required by our crazy governor (statewide lockdowns are stupid), and partly because I want to protect other people. There’s also the fact that we will enforce masking at work, and I’ll be damned if I enforce a rule I won’t practice myself. (I became a stringent recycler in my private life when I was asked to implement a recycling program at my last job) It also is not really harming me, and I try to wear only quality American-made masks and bandanas.

I even stopped a pair of police officers and asked if the CPD didn’t give them masks. I said I’d give them bandanas suitable for masks if the department had left them out. Turns out they had just taken them off to talk outside their car. We chatted a bit before I finished heading home with dinner. It’s not like you could actually social distance from your partner in a squad car…


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Watching the CCP Press


A Chinese factory in Zambia was set on fire. The following quotes are from the Global Times, the CCP news outlet.

The three Chinese nationals from East China’s Jiangsu Province were murdered by three local Zambians who then set fire to the warehouse of a Chinese clothing company on Sunday, outraging the Chinese community in the African country, local sources revealed to the Global Times.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Report from the Heartland: Holiday Weekend Edition


We have friends who own a place on a lake near Hot Springs, Arkansas who invited us up for the weekend, so we went! Hot Springs is a tourist town with a horse racing track, a casino, several lakes, and historical bathhouses. Of course, the bathhouses were closed. Restaurants were recently allowed to re-open and operate at 33% capacity. Retail finally opened back up around the first of May. My friends reported that the casino closed in March, but the horses kept racing, to an empty grandstand, until the season culminated with the Arkansas Derby on the first Saturday in May. Apparently, with online betting, the family-owned racetrack did just fine, despite the lack of free-spending spectators on site.

The action appeared to be out on the lakes: Boats everywhere! Families loaded up on pontoon boats, dragging the kids on a tube across the water. Jet skis aplenty and show-boaters skiing or wake-boarding behind powerful in-board engines. Nearly every boat was flying an American flag and I spied a couple of boats flaunting a white flag with “TRUMP” in big red letters. Our friends’ neighbor popped over to say hello while we were grilling. They are a retired couple that live in Lake Tahoe, CA, but inherited the lakehouse next door. The CA folks said that CA will not allow any boats on the water on Lake Tahoe so they loaded up and drove the three days to Arkansas to escape from CA and enjoy time on the lake. They had no immediate plans to return to CA.


Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The End of Dentists?


Over the last two months, I haven’t honestly missed much since Before Times. We were already homebodies, we already homeschooled. It’s been nice having my husband home all the time to help out with childcare, and a dream to sit down to a family lunch and dinner together every single day. The thing I’ve missed most is the dentist. A few weeks into the lockdowns, sitting down to eat lunch with my kids my crown popped off one of my teeth. It happened a few days before we moved, and trying to reattach it myself with cement I got at CVS… didn’t go well. But my dentist’s office was closed, and I was pretty much out of luck.

Over the course of the last six weeks since that happened, due to various attempts to fix the situation, I’ve been in contact with my dentist. I have also been in contact with another dentist friend for second opinions. And unfortunately, our youngest had an injury that required calling the pediatric dentist for his opinion. There’s been a lot of dental phone calls over the last few weeks, and as a result I’ve started to get a sense of what is happening on the business side for these folks. And it isn’t looking good.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. There’s a Fine Line Between Prudence and Panic…


…and we crossed that line a long time ago.

Over the weekend on Facebook, I repeated a line that I heard at the beginning of the COVID-19 freakout, “There is a fine line between prudence and panic” and commented that we are so far beyond the line that it is no longer funny and is now just sad. Someone responded that we obviously weren’t panicking because 100,000 people are dead and that I (and apparently I alone) am the reason that we can’t open up the economy. Sorry, but that guy was wrong — as a nation, we are in full-blown panic mode, and I think the latest fight over masks proves that beyond any reasonable doubt.