Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Music and How You Found It


I’m fairly new here and not sure what the rules are about content. I get that center-right, as this site is advertised, implies politics, but my mind ran contrary to the fate of the Republic. I’m thinking right now about music and how I came upon the stuff I like.

For too long all I heard on the radio was gaga, or googoo. My formative musical years were dull, like most people in high school during the eighties or any other time when a palate was presented to you by someone else. DJs had an iron grip on what we heard. There were good songs, but formulaically so. I had my predictable rebellion where I listened to Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and The Grateful Dead and considered myself cultured in the small sphere in which I inhabited. But I was buffered.


Jon opened up Facebook and Twitter for “Ask Me Anything” questions and, wow, did he get a lot. From politics to the Navy to music to God to coffee, he covers it all in his first solo effort. Keep the conversation going by asking more questions in the comments for Jon to answer.

The intro/outro song of the week is “Ask” by The Smiths, of course. To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians this year, subscribe to our Spotify playlist!


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Sublime and the Ridiculous from Dr. Berlinski the Elder


Dr. David Berlinski has a new book out “Human Nature.” It is a series of interesting essays on what might be called the intellectual geography of our time. He leads off with an essay that I consider sublime. It is a discussion of the causes of WWI. More importantly, it is a criticism of the standard banal take on WWI that satisfies so many but not Dr. Berlinski (nor I). It would be wrong to place the entire text of the piece here on my post (however tempting that is). I have left the Amazon link and there is an inexpensive Kindle version you can read on your phone if necessary (I did). Instead, I will take a few quotes that I find very interesting.

The First World War was a catastrophe for European civilization because it destroyed its moral structure. The war demonstrated to European statesmen and their military leaders that they had misjudged, and misjudged profoundly, the ground over which they were walking. They had imagined that their system was so conceived as to be continuous in its fundamental aspect and that a general European war among all of the great powers would be like a local European war among some of them. They were mistaken.


Gotta make this brief as we are very, very busy around here: Peter Robinson? Not here this week. Jon Gabriel sits in for him. It’s really cold in NYC today. We break down the dumpster fire Democratic debate. Then, author and New York Times science writer (no that’s not a typo) John Tierny on his book The Power of Bad: How the Negativity Effect Rules Us and How We Can Rule It  We’re positive you are going to like it. Then, our pal Christina Hoffs Sommers from the Femsplainers podcast stops by to talk about Harvey Weinstein, Democratic primary candidate wackiness (and woke-i-ness) and why she thinks Bernie Sanders will be the nominee. Finally, pardon us, but we have to discuss the pardons, and Jon Gabriel humblebrags about reading some really old books. Yawn.

Music from this week’s show: Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Tales from the Past Ep. 22: How I Got My Name


In the deep, dark corridors of the PIT where I usually hide out, I commented on page 1881 about it being the year that my “Riconym” was born. I decided, with encouragement, to venture out into polite society and share this cool story (if I do say so myself).

In honor of page 1881, I’m going to talk a little bit about my namesake here on Ricochet was born in 1881. LtPercy Watkiss Fisher DCM was born Dec 15, 1881, in Stratford-upon-Avon to an upper-middle-class shopkeeper. The family was wealthy enough that his older sister (my great-grandmother) never had to cook a meal until she had married and emigrated to Canada in the early 1900s to homestead when she was in her late 20’s. He attended King Edward VI School (founded in 1295) which is the same school Shakespeare attended. He and his younger brother Raymond (b. 1883) were near inseparable and had many adventures together, up to their volunteering on the same day, hours apart from each other, for service in World War I. Percy and Raymond had previously volunteered for the Boer War, were captured and escaped from POW camp. Percy trained as an electrical engineer and as a shipping engineer and also spent time as a war correspondent for the London Times in the Russo-Japanese War, where he devised a way to transmit battle maps. As stated below, he prepared 34 different maps to accompany the news reports. He also apparently fought in the Persian Civil War in 1908 and for 6 months in 1912 had an Engineering commission in Canada before returning to England. He won his Distinguished Conduct Medal (at the time it was the next step down from a Victoria Cross for an enlisted soldier) when he helped defend and repel an attack on a captured trench against superior numbers of Germans. He also later earned a battlefield commission; his promotion came with a month of leave in England and shortly after his return and, being given command of a platoon; he was killed on September 11, 1916, at Hill 60 in France. He is buried in the Hebuterne Communal Cemetery with a handful of other soldiers, likely killed at the same time/place. He died a day before his brother Raymond, who was posted to Salonika Army HQ in Greece as Raymond was fluent in Bulgarian (having fought in the Balkan War in 1912/13), and on the same day, a 3rd brother (Reggie) was seriously wounded fighting down in the Middle East. Receiving word of her two brothers’ deaths was immensely hard on my Great-Grandmother, made even worse when her eldest son (my grandfather) was killed 28 years and 4/5 days later.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Conservative Swamp Creatures


Listening to a podcast by Jonah Goldberg it suddenly dawned on me why the guy is skeptical of Trump. As he said on the podcast, he has lived in Washington D.C. most of his life. He worked in think tanks there for years and all of his friends are government or political wonk types. He goes to all the big insider parties and functions. Most of the guests he has on the podcast are DC insiders, often second or third generation Swamp Creatures. He’s a Swamp Creature.

I have no doubt that he’s conservative and smart, but apparently he’s a Swamp Creature first and foremost. In fact, after a little research, I found that many of the other prominent conservative Trump skeptics are similar. They’ve been in and out of government in DC and/or work in this or that conservative think tank or publication. I expect that their first loyalty is to the place from which they draw their sustenance. Any threat to that is going to evoke a visceral reaction. And we all know what Trump promised to do and is doing with the Swamp.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Pre-Bosch, A Ricochet Rerun


I’m a bit tired of the Swamp, and I’ve been waiting for a new series of “Bosch” episodes on Amazon Prime. I’ll have to settle for a rerun of an essay that I wrote on Jim Roberts. Jim Roberts was not as famous as Wyatt Earp, but he may well have been the deadliest gunfighter and lawman in Arizona.

Jim Roberts was one of the last of the legendary gunfighters in Arizona. He survived the Pleasant Valley War, a range war between two families that began in 1882 and ended with one last killing in 1892.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. An Epiphany: Cars and Purses


I am well on record here (and elsewhere) as saying that the electric car is dead — or at least, certain to die. And I am (and was) right, on the merits as an engineer sees things: electric cars cannot compete with normal cars using normal metrics relating to price, performance, etc.

But, as anyone who sees how people actually spend their money can tell you, people often do not make purchase decisions based on value for money. When I predicted the death of electric cars, I had not yet fully understood how incredibly wealthy we are as a society, that millions of people will happily and knowingly buy a car like a woman might buy a purse or a pair of shoes: because it tells the new owner (and their friends) something about that person. The utility value is not what drives the purchase. Instead, the car is a symbol first and foremost: the utility of the vehicle is much less important.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Swamp Creatures and Their Enablers


I’ve been very troubled by the Roger Stone case, but I’m only mildly concerned about the specific details of the case. The truly troubling aspect is the idea, widely bandied about in the media, that the President does not have the “legal right” to “interfere” in a criminal prosecution.

Here is what the President actually tweeted:


Coronavirus has been dominating the news cycle for several weeks, but there are a lot of things still unknown. One of the best ways to solve a problem, is to have accurate and up-to-date information. Are we getting that from China? Do we have all the resources we need to properly handle coronavirus? This week, Heritage Foundation expert Peter Brookes talks about the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak, stopping the spread of disease, and The Trump Administration’s response.



Contributor Post Created with Sketch. There Goes Another One


I had a strange college experience; while I watched all of my classmates become more liberal thanks to the indoctrination on campus, I found myself veering much further to the Right. While classes were canceled so students could protest, I found myself hanging out with James O’Keefe & company (of Project Veritas fame), hanging out around the Centurion office listening to their latest antics. Perhaps my move to the Right was due to my rebellious nature; I don’t want to go along with the crowd. I’m not sure how you can watch one of his earliest videos and not feel as though something profoundly stupid has infected our college campuses,


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. In Defense of Ritual


Stephen Fry – another national treasure, albeit on his own merit – puts it well:

“Rationally, a monarchy is an absurdity; of course it is,” he wrote for The New York Times. “But ritual and pageant, costume and custom are to public life what metaphors are to language; they bring it to life and move it from the abstract to the real.”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Elizabeth Warren’s #MeToo Nonsense


I’m getting really sick of this #MeToo nonsense. The latest frustration: much of the reporting of the Democratic debate last night focuses on how Warren supposedly “skewered” Bloomberg.

This feminist technique of character assassination is quite simple. First, pick a man and find anything that he has ever said that is insulting to a woman. Any woman, the context doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter if it was a joke. It doesn’t even matter if it was 30 or 40 years ago.


Since its founding, the Chinese Communist Party have detained millions of its own citizens and sent them to facilities to be re-educated in the ways of advancing the communist agenda. In recent years, approximately 1 million Chinese Uighurs in the Xinjiang province have been detained in modern day concentration camps for the crime of practicing their Islamic faith. My guest today is Olivia Enos, senior policy analyst at the Asian Studies Center at the Heritage Foundation. On today’s show, we’re going to discuss what the Chinese Communist Party is doing with the Uighurs, how badly they’re being treated, and what outside powers can do to put an end to it.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Freedom and Child Locks for Mentally-Challenged Adults


As many of you know, I am the single father of a mentally-challenged, severely autistic, speech-limited adult man. It should be noted that my son has an extensive history of elopement (running away – see also here, here, and here), self-injurious behavior, and occasional aggression. My son has escaped without detection from every school he has attended, including preschool at the age of three, and with the exception of high school when he was retrieved as he was attempting to leave the campus, which was situated on a hill one block from a toll-road where cars travel sometimes in excess of 65 mph.

At age 10, he escaped from our house and made his way up to the same toll-road when some motorists pulled over and managed to detain him until the authorities arrived. About three months later, he escaped from his caregiver’s home and ran across several streets until he was hit by a two-ton truck that nearly killed him. He spent a week in the hospital and a few days in pediatric ICU. He sustained a broken jaw, contusions, and over the next six months fully recovered. He continued to elope as he got older and has been returned to our home several times in the back of county sheriff’s cars. He is not traffic-safe.


On October 25, 2019, the Gray Center hosted “The Administration of Immigration.” For this conference, the Gray Center invited scholars to write papers exploring ways to improve our nation’s immigration system, and discuss them alongside other experts in panel sessions addressing such topics as whether immigration law is special, the costs and benefits of immigration, judicial review of the immigration system, and the moral underpinnings of immigration law. The event also featured keynote remarks from James McHenry, Director of the Executive Office of Immigration Review at the United States Department of Justice.

The second panel looked at national security, special courts, and whether immigration law is special. The discussion revolved around a new working paper on “The Forgotten FISA Court: Exploring the Inactivity of the Alien Terrorist Removal Court” by panelist Aram Gavoor (co-authored by Timothy Belsan). The panel was moderated by Jesse Panuccio, who is affiliated with the Gray Center as a Public Service Fellow. The papers and video are available at


Our most requested episode ever: Veteran matchmakers Emily Zanotti and Bethany Mandel lay out the hard truths about dating—and their best advice. Listen up—but be prepared for some tough love!


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Advice on Love and Marriage for a Young Man


“How to handle a woman?
There’s a way”, said the wise old man
“A way known by every woman
Since the whole rigmarole began”

Do I flatter her? I begged, him answer
Do I threaten or cajole or plead?
Do I brood or play the gay romancer?
Said he, smiling, “No indeed”


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Tom Tobin: ‘He Could Track a Grasshopper Through Sagebrush’


In October of 1863, southwestern Colorado Territory was months into a murder spree that would put any modern serial killer to shame. But Lieutenant Colonel Samuel F. Tappan thought he might well be looking at a chance to end it for good.

Leander Philbrook had stumbled into Fort Garland with word that he had escaped the murderers after they had shot the mules he was driving. He had been traveling by wagon between Trinidad and Costilla with Maria Dolores Sanches when attacked. The man and woman had fled on foot but soon Maria had hidden in some rocks so as not to slow down Philbrook while he searched for help.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Go West, Young Man, and be a Migrant Worker


Those weren’t his exact words, but that was Dad’s advice. He was often a source of wisdom, but not that time in the summer of 1967. It was actually more than advice. He pretty much insisted on it. So as dutiful sons my brother and I went west (actually a lot more north than west) to Grafton, North Dakota, to join the student work crews in the sugar beet fields. I stayed only a few days, then got on a bus and went back home to reclaim the much better summer job I had left to go there.

My career in the beet fields consisted of about one day of actual work, and maybe not even that. That was part of the problem. We didn’t work when the weather wasn’t right. But I calculated that even though the weather would improve and I would get better and faster (it was piecework) there was no way I’d make the kind of money we had been told that students were making. I’d be better off going home to Mom’s and Dad’s place to try to get back in my job as a construction laborer.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Day 29: CoViD-19 Outside of China


We have breached 1,000 cases outside of China. And sadly there are some indications that just like China’s numbers may be suspect, there are some other countries that may not be entirely scrupulous in their counting. North Korea is reporting no cases (unlikely) and a Thai official in Phuket has admitted to underreporting. The news from Phuket is disturbing because it is a major tourist area in Thailand.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Jeff Bezos Is a Fool


Mr. Bezos has decided to throw away 10 Billion Dollars. Yes, the world’s wealthiest man has “Committed 10 Billion Dollars to Fight Climate Change.” So, he is spending his own fortune, giving money to “scientists, activists, and non-profits” who are intent on saving the planet from climate change. Activists? Non-Profits?

Well, he’s welcome to spend his money any way he wishes. It’s too bad that not one of those ten billion dollars will have one iota of effect on the climate.


Craig Shirley speaks at the Reagan Library about his latest book, “Mary Ball Washington: The Untold Story of George Washington’s Mother.” Shirley is the author of four bestsellers on President Ronald Reagan, including “Rendezvous with Destiny” and “Reagan’s Revolution.” During his visit to the Reagan Library, Shirley sat down in conversation with Reagan Foundation and Institute Executive Director John Heubusch to discuss “Mary Ball Washington,” which is an intimate portrait of America’s original first family in a groundbreaking major biography, filled with rich anecdotes and stories that reveal the father of our country in a fresh and original way. Let’s listen.


Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Puppy Love


I didn’t get this posted for Valentine’s Day because I was out of town, but it’s too fun not to share. Every year I send out Valentine’s postcards to friends and family with an illustration done by one of my children. This year, my new daughter-in-law did the honors. I was hesitant to ask at first, but she seemed excited to be included in this family tradition. After years of asking my sons to remember to marry someone who would like me, I feel very blessed that (so far) they have listened! The dog in the illustration is my six-year-old puppy Inigo.