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Many years ago, my drill sergeant theorized that draftees made better soldiers because they just wanted to get it done and go home and did not care about career advancement and Army politics. This hypothesis was offered just a couple of years before the draft ended.
I saw some confirmation of his theory while stationed at Ft. Huachuca. Enlisted drafted PhD physicists and engineers reworked the communications technologies they were assigned to study and made them perform way beyond the limitations of the manufacturer’s specs. At Walter Reed at the AFIP I knew several enlisted medical lab technicians who had far stronger academic credentials than the officers directing their work.More
For this year’s Memorial Day I would like to honor a specific US Army soldier: Fay Buckingham Rayburn, my grandfather. Fay and his twin brother Frank were ambulance drivers in the US Expeditionary Force in World War I. I mentioned Fay’s service in a post a few months back and I’ve since learned more about what his Citation was awarded for.
Fay and Frank enlisted in the US Army in 1917 and served together in an ambulance company in the 91st Division of the US AEF. During the Battle of Ypres-Lys in October-November 1918, Fay volunteered to take his ambulance into the town of Oudenarde, Belgium under heavy German shelling to bring out wounded officers and men. For this effort, he received a citation awarded by General John “Black Jack” Pershing, the Commander of the American Expeditionary Force. The citation, along with US and State of Oregon service medals, can be seen in the attached photo. In 1932 the US reinstituted the Purple Heart medal. At that point, it was awarded for Meritorious Service as well as to those who were wounded or killed. Fay was awarded the Purple Heart that can be seen in the other photo (my wife had these medals and citations framed for my mother this past Christmas) for the same episode.More
I spend a lot of my spare time reading and watching YouTube videos about history.* This week, I came across the strange and sad story of Charles II of Spain, the “Mad” or “Bewitched” King. I went to work that evening and saw a copy of this painting above one of the Doctor’s stations:
Me: “Why is there a picture of Charles the Mad of Spain here?”
India’s 2019 federal election was called on May 23, with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies winning an increased majority of 350 out of 543 seats in Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament. The BJP won 300 seats itself, which means that they will not need to govern in coalition, but have enough seats to form Government in their own right.
This is what the results look like on a map (BJP+ is of course saffron):More
An American citizen, a single mother, worked her way through undergraduate and professional schools. She did all the right things. She networked successfully. At long last, she got a job with a six figure salary at a highly secured facility, in an industry under intense federal regulation.
Employment at such facilities is subject to constant federal scrutiny. The FBI takes the security clearances very seriously, and apparently routinely monitors indicators of risk, of possible compromise. We should all want this, because very bad things could happen if an employee in the right position was corrupted or coerced, perhaps by blackmail.More
One of the challenges the left faces is the natural human desire to improve our situation. People are typically competitive and want to do better than others. There is a reason cultures around the world are so obsessed with sports. Leftists must suppress this natural instinct and replace it with communal behavior, emphasizing the good of the collective over one’s own narrow interests, more fitting of a socialist utopia. This is not so easy, because in my opinion hate is a stronger emotion than love. So leftists win elections by leveraging the petty jealousies of identity politics – it’s easier to encourage you to hate those people over there than it is to get you to sacrifice for those people over there. Hate wins elections. Not love. Many people admire sacrifice and understand its importance, but there are few volunteers. One could argue that The New Testament (and thus, much of western literature) is based largely on this conflict.
Two of my kids are scholarship athletes at major Division I schools. One of them was up late in a hotel room on a road trip with her teammates one night, and they were talking about stuff, the way college kids do. Most of these kids were from lower class families. They started talking about what kind of car each of them wanted. The consensus was that they all wanted Bugattis. Why, I wonder? Is it particularly comfortable? Or economical? Or spacious? Or known for its cargo room and towing capacity? No. It’s just very expensive, and not many people have one. So they want one. They’re human. I think this is a challenge for Obama, Bernie, AOC, and the rest of the Democrat party. These kids want to make a lot of money, and rather than happily spending it in taxes, they would prefer to spend it on ridiculously impractical cars. These young college kids are ostensibly the Democrat base, but even they don’t seem terribly interested in self-sacrifice for the good of the collective. So how do the Democrats get their votes so consistently?More
“There are two central tenets of the woke philosophy. The first is feigned fragility. The second is angry intolerance. The union of fragility and intolerance has given us that curious and malevolent hybrid, the crybully, a delicate yet venomous species that thrives chiefly in lush, pampered environments.”
— Roger Kimball, as quoted in Roger Kimball: Restoring the Lost Consensus (Scott Johnson, Powerline, 25 May 2019)
Capitalism is a winner-take-all game
Right. Which is why Jeff Bezos has all the money in America and the rest of us live naked on the sidewalk for the few weeks that it takes us to die of starvation. </sarcasm off>
Free market countries tend to have the largest middle and upper classes, which means that most people who “play the game” do quite well. In fact, capitalism’s “losers” are mostly people who don’t play the game.More
“Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher. Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil.” – Thomas Paine
The only quibble I have with this quote is that some time since the beginning of this millennia, the government has ceased to restrain our vices, but now seems to encourage them. Government still creates distinctions, and still serves as a punisher. However, more and more it punishes those who still seek to restrain their own vices. And government is no longer in its best state.More
I believe it was Representative Steve Daines who nominated my daughter’s school band to play in Washington, DC this coming Monday. The band, which ends its yearly spring concert with a hearty rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever,” was honored to accept. Glacier High School will be wearing green uniforms, and we can follow along with the event live here.
Of course I’m happy and proud, but I’m also looking forward to having my kid back safe from DC next week, done with plane rides, and ready to graduate on the first of June.More
Some WWII submarine poetry on this Memorial Day week-end in honor of my dad, a WWII submarine combat veteran.
by Leslie Nelson Jennings
“All I wanted to do is paint sunlight on the side of a house.” — Edward Hopper
You have been bombarded with messages about sales, specials, and entertainment opportunities for this weekend. Please add the following items at the top of your list for the weekend, slipping the big sale a little ways down the page.
If you have not seen the HBO movie Taking Chance (included in Amazon Prime, available elsewhere), watch it. Have a box of tissues or a couple hankies handy. If you had other entertainment plans, watch this trailer, and reassess your priorities for the weekend:More
Paul Cantor joins me for the second part of our conversation on his new book: Pop Culture And The Dark Side Of The American Dream: Con Men, Gangsters, Drug Lords, And Zombies. It’s time for the zombies–for the postmodern Western, The Walking Dead, from Shane to Wagon Train to our times of crisis, when we ask ourselves, could we be what we think we are without the institutions and technology that prop us up? Is American character able to withstand the test of the state of nature?More
Through a number of citywide policies, the fast-growing city of Seattle has decided that, because more people “of color” than whites skip out on library fines, ride the Metro buses without paying, live in tents on the streets, commit property crimes, and use and deal drugs out in the open, that those crimes and misbehaviors will no longer be punished.
This article on the Fox News Web site details how Seattle no longer enforces its laws, and everyone suffers. This is pathetic.More
Jon and Stephen welcome back Michael Malice, author of The New Right: A Journey to the Fringe of American Politics. Michael also wrote 2014’s Dear Reader: The Unauthorized Autobiography of Kim Jong Il, and is the subject of Harvey Pekar’s graphic novel Ego & Hubris. He currently hosts both “Night Shade” at Compound Media and “YOUR WELCOME” at the GaS Digital Network. The Conservatarians also discuss Naomi Wolf’s interview faceplant and the media panic over a slowed-down video of Nancy Pelosi.
The intro/outro song is “Bells” by The Vacant Lots, Jon’s song of the week is “In My Room” by Fennesz, and Stephen’s song is “Lovers” by Alexander Carson. To listen to all the music featured on The Conservatarians, subscribe to our Spotify playlist!More
Friday’s online Wall Street Journal carried the usual Saturday column by Peggy Noonan. Aside from having been one of President Reagan’s speechwriters, Noonan is not ordinarily one of my favorites, but today’s column, “Which Way to Pointe du Hoc?” really hit home for me for some very personal reasons.
One of the main reasons I signed up for a D-Day to the Rhine tour was that I wanted to stand on the spot where President Reagan stood when he delivered one of the most powerful speeches ever delivered by any President, “The Boys of Pointe du Hoc,” with a number of the survivors of that truly miraculous assault straight up a 150-foot cliff sitting on the front row. There is a video of that speech and every time I watch it I realize anew that it represents the very essence of what Memorial Day is all about. I have been trying to read everything I can get my hands on about this particular part of D-Day, and every time I find something else, I learn about one or more miracles which took place that day; courage and bravery beyond mere words. They were The Boys of Pointe du Hoc. Thank God for them. And all their Brothers in Arms.More
A number of posts have been written about Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib and their anti-Semitic remarks, including my own. Many of us have speculated on the reasons for Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer’s silence regarding those comments, or their apologies on behalf of these two representatives. I’ve looked into the reasons for their not condemning their behavior, and the results were even more disturbing than I anticipated. (For the record, I don’t separate attitudes about Israel and the Jewish community.)
Brent Bozell and Bill Whittle (20:36) join Dave Sussman at American Freedom Alliance. Brent (Media Research Center) discusses the ongoing efforts to silence conservative voices online and Bill discusses the attack on culture, media, and entertainment. Find Brent’s and Bills speeches at http://AmericanFreedomAlliance.org and please support the AFA.More
This Monday, May 27, is the nation’s officially designated Memorial Day. My mother-in-law never called it anything but Decoration Day, and never celebrated it on any day other than May 30 in any given year.
The day has an interesting history, and yet its essence today is simple and can be distilled as follows: Let us remember, in all the ways we can, those members of the United States Armed Forces who’ve given their all, so that we may live in peace and freedom. One of the ways we do that, in context and with love and appreciation in our hearts, is to enjoy the day with our family and friends. We may attend community and church events. Often, we picnic and have fun. Sometimes we mourn a personal and private loss. But always, we remember and are thankful.More
“Houston, we have a problem.” Fateful words that for persons, like me — part of the generation whose youth was spent in the race to the Moon — are the embodiment of grievous danger. And that danger is within our system of laws.
America runs on trust. Ours is a “high trust” society. We contract. We self-report our income for tax purposes. Although admonished to “drive defensively” we rely on our fellow citizens to act in predictable ways that follow the rules or a pretty close approximation thereto.More
We Ricochet people are not a monolithic bloc. No, no, gentle reader. Outsiders might think we’re just a bunch of old white guys, but we’re actually a mix of disparate individuals, with views that are strewn all over the socio-political landscape.
Unfortunately, we’re diverse in ideas, and that means little to nothing to the race and gender-obsessed scribblers who work for The NY Times and the rest of the MSM. For them, diversity is based almost entirely on the skin color, which comes three simple hues these days: white, brown, and black. But those three colors, according to the Times, now come in twenty or so genders, including alexigender, a gender that is fluid among the various genders, although the individual can’t tell what those genders are. (Yes, that’s real. I Googled it.) You cis-gendered people may need to stop here for a moment while you think on that.More
Is it treason to criticize the president? If so, Mona and Jay are in big trouble. They also take swipes at Beto, Mayor Pete, farm subsidies, and more, while pausing to appreciate a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington moment. They end on a bittersweet note — this is the last regularly scheduled Need to Know.More