Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: George Gamow


“Take a look at George Gamow, who is now recognized as one of the great cosmologists of the last hundred years. I speculate that he probably didn’t win the Nobel Prize because people could not take him seriously. He wrote children’s books. His colleagues have publicly stated his writing children’s books on science had an adverse effect on his scientific reputation, and people could not take him seriously when he and his colleagues proposed that there should be cosmic background radiation, which we now know to be one of the greatest discoveries of 20th-century physics.” – Michio Kaku

George Gamow (March 4, 1904 – August 19, 1968) was a Russian-born American theoretical physicist and cosmologist. By 1928, Gamow explained radioactive alpha particle decay using quantum tunneling. He and his wife tried twice to defect from the Soviet Union using a kayak in 1932, first on the Black Sea to Turkey, and then from Murmansk to Norway. Both attempts failed, but by 1933 they were allowed to attend a physics conference in Brussels.


For much of the 20th century, the major denominations—Conservative, Reform, Orthodox—loomed large over institutional Jewish life in America. But in 2019, the Jewish scene looks different; the movements hold less purchase on Jewish life than they once did, especially for the young. And the denominations look different internally as well. Reform Judaism has embraced ritual practices once deemed outmoded. Orthodoxy, which many thought on its way to extinction, is strong, growing, and confident. And Conservative Judaism, once thought to be the future of American Jewry, is caught betwixt and between, too religiously observant to facilitate intermarriage, too religiously lenient to command the encompassing solidarity and halakhic observance of Orthodoxy.

In this second installment in our series on The New American Judaism: How Jews Practice Their Religion Today, Jack Wertheimer helps us make sense of the many changes in Jewish denominational life. He looks at the strengths and weaknesses of the major Jewish movements, and gives us insight into the variance between the denominational doctrines and the “folk religion” that Jews actually practice. Wertheimer also ponders what the Jewish movements can continue to contribute to Jewish life in our age of declining allegiance to institutions.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Trump Chastises Jewish Democrats


President Trump continues to amaze me each time he alienates another group of Americans. And this time he’s correct: Jews who are Democrats clearly are misguided and foolish regarding their attitudes toward Judaism, the Democrat party, America and Israel. Here’s Trump’s brief remark:

I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat — it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Wonderful Logic of Nancy Pelosi


Here is a pretty pickle. The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has stated that she will fight against any US-UK Free Trade Agreement because of the Irish border. Yet some in the European Union have indicated that they will compel the Irish government to enforce the EU’s border and harden it up to protect the single market from the dangers of American goods in the event of a trans-Atlantic deal.

The great scare is that chicken washed in chlorine or hormone-treated beef might enter the EU single market via Ireland. Like a zombie apocalypse, this would somehow spread as far as the Ukrainian and Turkish borders, infecting all citizens of EU-occupied Europe with American standards. Quelle horreur! The consequences for Europe could be dire; lasagna might actually be made with beef.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. A Pair of Jacks


In a fractured media landscape it is odd to think of anyone as a “broadcaster” these days. Most of those with the microphone in their hand narrowly tailor their messages to a specific audience, a base that can provide a rating point, anything to create a “base” and turn a dollar.

It dates back to the 18th century, originally an agricultural term meaning to cast the seeds broadly upon the ground. By the 1920’s it became associated with radio, a man with a microphone tossing information and entertainment to the masses. In the last two days we’ve lost a pair of Jacks, two gentlemen who carried that label well.


Cronyism is everywhere, affecting industries, entrepreneurs and customers and distorting the market through political advantage. So what is cronyism and how does it compromise genuine capitalism? Anne Rathbone Bradley, the current academic director at The Fund for American Studies, as well as the vice president of Economic Initiatives at the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics, comes onto the show to explain how cronyism affects the market and how to combat it. Afterwards, Acton’s director of research, Samuel Gregg joins the show to talk about his new book, “Reason, Faith, and the Struggle for Western Civilization.” Gregg lays out what he believes defines the West, how the disintegration of reason and faith has caused the West to decline and what can be done to reclaim it.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. If Everything is Racist . . .


The cries of the Left against racism in this country are filled with sadness and frustration. They feel that this country has let them down; the land of the free and the home of the brave is drowning in hatred, division and racism. All of us must rally to answer their call to truth and equality. I’ve identified an ideal way to do just that: let’s identify every racist term that exists in our times and create unbiased alternatives.

The numbers of words and phrases that are racist are mind-boggling, as we begin to realize that racism exists in every part of society: education, law enforcement, corporations—the list is endless. But I think we can start small.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. The Crisis of Low Unemployment and High Wages


The Washington Post has a story about the aging population in Maine, and I was struck by the following paragraph (emphasis mine):

“Across Maine, families like the Flahertys are being hammered by two slow-moving demographic forces — the growth of the retirement population and a simultaneous decline in young workers — that have been exacerbated by a national worker shortage pushing up the cost of labor. The unemployment rate in Maine is 3.2 percent, below the national average of 3.7 percent.”


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Dean Baquet vs. MLK and My Grandkids


My 10 (so far) grandchildren will grow up in an age when it will be harder and harder to decide what race and ethnicity boxes to check on census forms and other applications because the rate of intermarriage in the US is so high. The astonishingly bright and good-looking kids in this picture are all partly Irish and Scottish (me and my wife) but include African, Filipino, Central American, English, German and certainly some miscellaneous other ethnicities.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Group Writing: In Praise of Hydrophilic Felines


The group writing theme this month is “Raining cats and dogs.” It took me a while to sign up because absolutely nothing came to me regarding this theme, other than looking up the origin of the saying. According to this site, no one is quite sure where it came from, but there are several theories.

But then I started thinking about rain and cats, as dogs are overrepresented in this theme, which led me to think about water in general and cats, which led me to remember a question that was asked once on “My Cat from Hell“: Which of the following is not a natural food for cats?


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Carrie Lam Speaks (in Cantonese); President Trump Ties to Trade Deal


Carrie LamBloomberg cable television carried Hong Kong Chief Administrator Carrie Lam in a live press statement, 10 pm ET. Bloomberg repeatedly notes she is speaking in Cantonese, the native regional dialect. This is both normal and notable. The Chinese Communists have made a concerted global effort to promote their dialect to the world as the true tongue, the original lingua franca, if you will. Lam’s words follow some careful, helpful remarks by President Trump.

It seems that both sides in Hong Kong are climbing down a bit, de-escalating. Lam announced her intent to hire international policing experts to beef up the current monitoring group for the Hong Kong police. She talked about building a platform for dialogue. A bit of oil on the troubled waters.


Contributor Created with Sketch. ACF #29: Scarface part 2


Today, @johnpresnall and I are wrapping up a discussion on tragedy — that is Scarface — with some political notes and also a view of the cycle of regimes presented by Socrates near the end of Plato’s Republic. Yeah, we’re working overtime to make the most despised or at least underrated of the masters, Brian De Palma, reveal his inner greatness. In the mean time, we’ll go to the shocking lengths of praising Oliver Stone and making a bit of fun of Sidney Lumet…


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. QOTD: Doing Something Is Doing Nothing


Perhaps before Congress ‘does something,’ we ought to let states and localities experiment with giving community leaders the ability to act—while also protecting due process and other constitutional rights. At the least those who insist the solutions are primarily federal ought to answer the most obvious question: Can you show us exactly how your measure would have prevented earlier shootings if it had been in place?

Some will take this as a counsel of despair. That, too, is an unfortunate consequence of today’s narrative. Because acknowledging the limits of the federal government’s ability to stop mass shootings isn’t the end of the debate. It’s the start of an honest one.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Accept and Advocate or Else.


Drag Queen Storytime is scheduled this month at three of the local libraries where I live. I’m told in the comments on Facebook that if I disagree with it that I’m bigoted, narrow-minded, and hateful.

In 2010 I was invited to a forum to discuss the impending repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. A panel came to visit the Marine Corps base where my husband was stationed and military wives were invited to take part in the discussion. Many were vocally opposed to the repeal. We knew that it would open the door to much more than simply securing the rights of a specific group of individuals to serve openly in the military. I vividly remember one woman relaying that she was both apprehensive and concerned about the repeal of DADT because of the impact it would potentially have on DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). She decidedly explained to the panel and to her fellow military wives that if DADT were to be repealed that DOMA would soon suffer the same fate, and so a snowball effect would sweep the nation.


Contributor Created with Sketch. You Can’t Throw Money at the “Problem”


Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle are in hot water with the British press this week because of a series of jaunts the pair took on a private plane to celebrate Markle’s 38th birthday. Despite being vociferous climate change activists, the pair flew on their own private transportation four times in just eleven days. Entertainer Elton John is coming to their defense,


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 3): The Mermaid’s Tears


Someone had been dancing the cancan on my chest, or that’s what it felt like when I woke up. I could smell the sea somewhere nearby. That, and I was pretty sure there was sand in my shoes — always a giveaway. I opened my eyes — and found out two things: one, no one was immediately trying to kill me (always a plus), and two, mermaids have really pretty smiles.

Admittedly, my sample size was limited, but just at that moment, I was prepared to take the risk of being wrong. Incidentally, that thing about the clam-shell bikini is hogwash. My mermaid (I was making wedding plans already, apparently, although I wasn’t quite sure why exactly) was sensibly dressed in a shirt, sea-breeches, and honking great sea-boots, and had the most glorious head of golden-green hair I have ever seen. How did I know she was a mermaid then, absent the long finny tail? Ah, you learn to notice these things, after you’ve been around for a while. You develop a fine-tuned sense of judgement and expertise. Plus, about seven of her sisters were sitting round in the shallows with tridents and fish tails, and stormy expressions on their faces — as if to say, look what the tide washed in. Gulp. Out of the frying pan, into the deep fat fryer …


Naomi Schaefer Riley is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute as well as a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum. She is also a writer on topics ranging from parenting, higher education, religion, philanthropy and culture.

Naomi joins Carol first to discuss how government policies have devastated the American Indian community in this country and then they transition, covering why and how to reduce screen time for kids.


Contributor Created with Sketch. Memoirs from the Meme War


When news broke that Donald Trump was discussing the purchase of Greenland, I did a quick Photoshop.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. “Hate” Is a Crutch


I am confident that people who know me in real life will tell you that, while I exhibit at least the usual complement of flaws, odd quirks, and irritating peccadilloes, being hateful is not numbered among them. That’s probably because I’ve been fortunate, and can’t think of anyone who has seriously wronged me or wronged someone I love. Hate simply isn’t an emotion I experience, and the word is not one I use.

I would like to believe that this is true of most people — that they don’t really feel hate much, if at all — and that the word is too casually used.


When it comes to episodes of the United Kingdom’s Most Trusted Podcast® you simply can’t touch this.

James and Toby rap about the latest predictions of the Brexit doomsayers: Operation Yellowhammer.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Dogged


Hot Dogs
Armour Hot Dogs
What kind of kids eat Armour Hot Dogs?
Fat kids, skinny kids, kids who climb on rocks,
Tough kids, sissy kids, even kids with chicken pox love hot dogs,
Armour Hot Dogs
The dogs kids love to bite!

Here it is, in 1967:


As Jay says, Anne-Sophie Mutter is not just one of the great violinists of our time, she is one of the great musicians of our time. She is also a fascinating – fascinating – interviewee. Smart as a whip, for one thing. From the Salzburg Festival, she and Jay talk about a number of things, including a number of personalities: André Previn (to whom she was married), Herbert von Karajan (who launched her career), John Williams (the famed movie composer, with whom she has made a new album), and more. She ends with a sweet, moving tribute to her man – and the universe’s man – Bach.


Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by members Created with Sketch. Silence Is Consent


We know that President Trump relies heavily on the feedback he gets from MAGA rally crowds. If Second Amendment voters are keeping silent on gun control and just cheering at Trump’s rallies, he reasonably believes he has them on his side. So it is a great shame on every gun owner who showed up at the New Hampshire Trump reelection rally unprepared, with several friends, to start chanting “Keep Your Word!” That sound of silence was reasonably taken by President Trump as confirmation that he could talk his 2016 voters into any position he takes in 2019.