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6/29/2010
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: POLITICAL POTPOURI

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Charlie Martin of PJ Media, Clarice Feldman of the American Thinker, and Vodkapundit Stephen Green for a look at the hot political topics of the day.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 4:45 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

IN WHICH I HAVE A FASCINATING INTERVIEW WITH MYSELF
CATEGORY: Blogging

ME: So, where the hell have you been for a week? Cobwebs are forming all over the blog not to mention the fact you’ve probably lost readers by the bushel.

RM: Au contraire. My sitemeter says I have actually increased my readership by about 10%. It seems some of my older posts have been linked by blogs like Hit and Run as well as several smaller sites.

ME: OK - so why the time off? You wussing out on everybody? Scared to offend conservatives? You fricking RINOS are all alike; can’t take a little well aimed criticism.

RM: Yeah, something like that. I’ve been “decompressing.”

ME: Wah?

RM: You know, relighting the fires of creativity. Reigniting the passion. Retooling the mind and heart.

ME: More like retreating into a shell, if you ask me. What are you, lazy or something?

RM: Heh. You try working 80 hours a week, 7 days. I didn’t even know it was summer until Sue told me I probably didn’t need my parka to go up to the store and get our Powerball tickets.

ME: Yeah, well I still say you’re a wuss.

RM: You know, you’re right. It got to the point last week, after reading the usual nonsense from many conservatives about how Obama is deliberately trying to “destroy” the country, or is a Marxist, or wants to be a dictator, or is favoring Muslims in the Middle East because he actually is one, or is plotting to cancel the elections in November, or wasn’t born here/not a naturalized citizen/Hawaiian official says he was born in Kenya/yadayadayadayada…that I nearly screamed

STOP THE MADNESS!

Jesus lord God I get nauseated reading this crap. And in my two jobs, I have to read it all the time. Comments, articles, emails - it never stops. Conspiracies, falsehoods, batshit crazy observations, wildly off base dot connecting, Cloward-Piven, Rules for Radicals — a never ending flood of idiocy, illogic, unreasoning hatred, and just plain ignorance from people who tell me I am insufficiently passionate in my opposition to Obama and the liberals and am therefore on their side.

It’s like the previous 8 years of putting up with the exact same crap from liberals about George Bush never happened.

The. Exact. Same. Crap.

Bush the dictator. Bush trying to destroy the country. Bush policies formulated only to help cronies. Don’t these people remember how we laughed at that kind of stupidity? And now, it looks like I have to put up with the same damn ignorant tripe for another 8 years.

ME: Gee…if I had known you were a candidate for a padded room, I wouldn’t have asked.

RM: I would like to point out that having a conversation with oneself may be one definition of losing touch with reality.

ME: True. But where else are you going to find anyone as intelligent, sober minded, reasonable, pragmatic, witty, and devastatingly rational?

RM: Dunno…Do you think it’s too late in life to become a Jesuit priest?

By: Rick Moran at 7:58 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)

6/22/2010
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: BREAKING THE (Mc)CHRYSTAL

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Monica Showalter, Jazz Shaw, and Fausta Wertz for a look at the imbroglio over remarks by General McChrystal made in Rolling Stone Magazine.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 4:53 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

6/18/2010
ABC NAILS OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO THE WALL

Watch this ABC News report and weep:

ABC calls this segment, “Who’s in Charge?” They may as well have named it “Bureaucrats behaving badly.” To summarize, the Coast Guard ordered 16 barges vacuuming up more than 1.5 million gallons of crude every day (each barge can suck up around 94,000 gallons a day) to shore because of monumental bureaucratic shortsightedness and incompetence.

But the Coast Guard ordered the stoppage because of reasons that Jindal found frustrating. The Coast Guard needed to confirm that there were fire extinguishers and life vests on board, and then it had trouble contacting the people who built the barges.

The governor said he didn’t have the authority to overrule the Coast Guard’s decision, though he said he tried to reach the White House to raise his concerns.

“They promised us they were going to get it done as quickly as possible,” he said. But “every time you talk to someone different at the Coast Guard, you get a different answer.”

No doubt administration apologists will point out that this is indeed, a part of the Coast Guard’s job under normal circumstances. And they would be right - except these are far from normal circumstances and there is absolutely no reason those barges shouldn’t have been able to continue their vital work while the Coast Guard sorted things out. There was no imminent danger of the barges capsizing. There was little hazard of fire. Instead, the Coast Guard ordered the barges to shore and more than 24 vital hours were lost with another day’s damage to the delicate salt marshes and other ecosystems that make up the Louisiana coastal environment.

The telling comment by Jindal - “every time you talk to someone different at the Coast Guard, you get a different answer…” - is multiplied by reports that the EPA, the Coast Guard, and other federal agencies have veto power over anything state governments want to do to protect their coastlines from the spill.

There is a flow chart in the ABC segment of who’s supposed to be in charge of the spill cleanup. Anyone who has seen the organizational chart for health care reform would recognize how such idiotic, nonsensical, unnecessary layer upon layer of bureaucracy can impede efficiency and lead to chaos - something the New York Times remarked upon a few days ago and now ABC confirms.

Tell me this isn’t a government operation:

[Gov] Riley, R-Ala., asked the Coast Guard to find ocean boom tall enough to handle strong waves and protect his shoreline.

The Coast Guard went all the way to Bahrain to find it, but when it came time to deploy it?

“It was picked up and moved to Louisiana,” Riley said today.

The governor said the problem is there’s still no single person giving a “yes” or “no.” While the Gulf Coast governors have developed plans with the Coast Guard’s command center in the Gulf, things begin to shift when other agencies start weighing in, like the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“It’s like this huge committee down there,” Riley said, “and every decision that we try to implement, any one person on that committee has absolute veto power.”

Who’s in charge? Obama says he is, so I suppose we can judge him by how this operation is progressing. Any fair minded, non partisan observer would look at everything that has transpired to date and have to conclude that not only has there been chaos, but given the enormity of what is happening, a narrow minded, incompetent, turf protecting, kingdom building, typical bureaucratic mess is spreading across the Gulf as fast as the oil is gushing out of the hole in the ocean floor. What is needed is outside the box thinking. What we’re getting is jealousy, small minded pettifogging, and the kind of lethargy in decision making that is making this disaster worse than it should be.

President Obama is fond of saying that government should do what people cannot do for themselves. In this case, that axiom can fairly be called into question.

By: Rick Moran at 7:38 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

6/16/2010
A CURIOUSLY DEPRESSING SPEECH FROM THE PRESIDENT

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice.

I was doing my radio show during the president’s speech last night so I had to play catch-up this morning and read it online.

I’m not sure that’s such a bad idea anyway with these set-piece speeches. Speaking from the Oval Office is dramatic, but much less so than if given in front of a joint session of Congress, or some other milieu like Point du Hoc, or Oklahoma City where Reagan and Clinton delivered blockbuster addresses. When speaking to the American people in such an intimate way, as Obama did from the Executive Mansion, the words matter more than the delivery. And scanning the president’s remarks, I found them wanting in many places; specifically, his failure to impart the extreme gravity of the situation we are facing, as well as what John Hinderaker refers to a as a “petulant” blame game he is playing with BP.

It still appears to me that the president is trying desperately to get out from under the political damage that is threatening his effectiveness. He’s not going to do it by attempting to convince us that we have other, more pressing problems than the oil spill:

Good evening. As we speak, our nation faces a multitude of challenges. At home, our top priority is to recover and rebuild from a recession that has touched the lives of nearly every American. Abroad, our brave men and women in uniform are taking the fight to al Qaeda wherever it exists. And tonight, I’ve returned from a trip to the Gulf Coast to speak with you about the battle we’re waging against an oil spill that is assaulting our shores and our citizens.

The catastrophic potential of this spill to destroy the economies of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and perhaps even Florida would seem to me to be the “top priority” domestically of this or any other administration. Why it is apparently not as far as the Obama White House is concerned speaks volumes about the president’s leadership in this crisis. I am not referring to plugging the hole itself, which is largely a technical problem beyond the ken of non-technical government employees and leaders. But the steps that should have been taken weeks ago to mitigate the worst effects of this spill that are just now being implemented smacks of, what the New York Times referred to as “chaotic” management:

From the beginning, the effort has been bedeviled by a lack of preparation, organization, urgency and clear lines of authority among federal, state and local officials, as well as BP. As a result, officials and experts say, the damage to the coastline and wildlife has been worse than it might have been if the response had been faster and orchestrated more effectively.

“The present system is not working,” Senator Bill Nelson of Florida said Thursday at a hearing in Washington devoted to assessing the spill and the response. Oil had just entered Florida waters, Senator Nelson said, adding that no one was notified at either the state or local level, a failure of communication that echoed Mr. Bonano’s story and countless others along the Gulf Coast.

“The information is not flowing,” Senator Nelson said. “The decisions are not timely. The resources are not produced. And as a result, you have a big mess, with no command and control.”

What did the president have to say about this analysis last night?

Because of our efforts, millions of gallons of oil have already been removed from the water through burning, skimming and other collection methods. Over five and a half million feet of boom has been laid across the water to block and absorb the approaching oil. We’ve approved the construction of new barrier islands in Louisiana to try to stop the oil before it reaches the shore, and we’re working with Alabama, Mississippi and Florida to implement creative approaches to their unique coastlines.

As the cleanup continues, we will offer whatever additional resources and assistance our coastal states may need. Now, a mobilization of this speed and magnitude will never be perfect, and new challenges will always arise. I saw and heard evidence of that during this trip. So if something isn’t working, we want to hear about it. If there are problems in the operation, we will fix them.

But we have to recognize that despite our best efforts, oil has already caused damage to our coastline and its wildlife. And sadly, no matter how effective our response is, there will be more oil and more damage before this siege is done. That’s why the second thing we’re focused on is the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast.

Nobody expects the response to be perfect. But when the governor of Louisiana requested the construction of these barrier islands weeks ago, and when a million feet of boom lie unused in a warehouse in Maine (even after the boom was brought up to spec by changing the connectors), and when assistance was offered by the Dutch and the British within hours of the spill, only being accepted recently, one can note that the mistakes and confusion fall far short of an enterprise that is perfect, and begins to resemble incompetence.

Beyond the response to the disaster, the demonization of BP raises questions of blame shifting: Give the people a target and maybe they’ll be distracted from the mistakes and ineptitude. It’s easy to make BP a villain in all of this, but one wonders why the over-heated rhetoric about placing a “boot on the neck” of the oil giant while finding someone’s “ass to kick.” That, and the theatrics of sending Eric Holder down to the gulf to “investigate” whether criminal charges should be brought against BP (the idea he couldn’t have done this from DC is silly). Threats to deny shareholders a dividend (how are they responsible?) as well as the administration’s constant tearing down of the British company (that has damaged relations with Great Britain) are not helping anything, and only serve to highlight the White House’s desperation as the disaster drags down the president’s approval numbers.

Does the president think those numbers will improve if he compares the disaster to 9/11, as he did in an interview last weekend?

The first thing that needs to be said is this: The only thing the oil spill and 9/11 have in common is nothing.

Yes, 9/11 was very important and so is the spill. But many terrible things happen, are important — and are unalike. The Haiti earthquake of 2009 and Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 were both important, but they had nothing whatever to do with each other. Nor did the tsunami of 2004 and the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

[...]

What the deployment of the 9/11 analogy suggests is that Obama would like to treat BP as though it were al Qaeda, at least rhetorically — a villain for him to confront on behalf of the wounded American people.

That may seem politically shrewd to Obama and his team, but it will have parlous consequences. The analogy muddies and obfuscates.

By comparing an unwanted disaster to a conscious act of war, Obama is adding an improper moral dimension to the effort to clean up the Gulf — a moral reckoning that will make it harder rather than easier to focus on the task of actually plugging the damn hole.

By likening the murder of 3,000 people and the efforts to take out the US government to a series of mistakes that added up to a catastrophe, Obama has defined evil down in a fashion that does immense violence to good sense, good taste and good leadership.

The fact that the president then went out and played golf for 4 hours pretty much gave the lie to his comparison to 9/11. This has been the pattern of the administration’s response since day one; solemnly declare how bad the crisis is and then have their actions fall short of the rhetoric.

What about the president using the disaster to push his ruinously expensive energy plan:

The tragedy unfolding on our coast is the most painful and powerful reminder yet that the time to embrace a clean energy future is now. Now is the moment for this generation to embark on a national mission to unleash America’s innovation and seize control of our own destiny.

This is not some distant vision for America. The transition away from fossil fuels is going to take some time, but over the last year and a half, we’ve already taken unprecedented action to jumpstart the clean energy industry. As we speak, old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines, people are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows, and small businesses are making solar panels. Consumers are buying more efficient cars and trucks, and families are making their homes more energy-efficient. Scientists and researchers are discovering clean energy technologies that someday will lead to entire new industries.

According to leaked reports from the Spanish government, who have implemented a similar plan that Obama wants to try here, there will be two jobs lost for every job gained in the “green” sector of the economy. It may be worse here, given the size of our coal and gas industries. In the meantime, there is no renewable or “green” technology that will offer a breakthrough in industrial production of energy for decades. It isn’t even a question of cost, as much as it is practicality. Solar, wind, and other green power generating industries cannot possibly compete with oil and coal for efficiency in generating power. The sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow and no amount of government subsidies will change that fact of our existence.

Weaning ourselves from foreign sources of oil is fine. But we are the only nation on planet earth that deliberately refuses to drill for oil in places where it is not only easy to get, but where it is plentiful enough that it could have a sizable impact on our domestic reserves. Such stupidity leads to consequences, and until “green” technologies are developed that can compete with oil, coal, and gas in the free market, Obama can wish all he wants but it won’t generate one single erg of “green” energy.

Even those friendly to the president were disappointed in his speech last night. Anytime analysts write glowingly of how much “in charge” Obama seemed, you know they’re reaching. What else should a president be but in charge?

The president attempted to change the narrative of the story last night. He failed. The narrative now has a life of its own and will be determined in the future by the mounting environmental and economic damage done by the spill.

In this respect, it can only get worse for the president and his administration.

By: Rick Moran at 9:15 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

6/15/2010
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: CURSES! OILED AGAIN!

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Larrey Anderson of American Thinker and Dan Riehl of Riehl World View for a discussion of Obama’s efforts dealing with the oil spill as well as other hot topics of the day.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 5:14 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

6/14/2010
DEATH TO THE VUVUZELA!

1-10
Will no one rid us of these meddlesome horns?

My latest is up at PJ Media and its about those maddeningly obnoxious horns being blown in South African stadiums at the World Cup.

A sample:

There is nothing remotely close to a “musical tradition” in the blowing of these horns from hell. For that to occur, music, it would be assumed, would have to emanate from some kind of musical instrument. There is no difference between a vuvuzela and a New Year’s Eve party horn. And unless you are very, very drunk, no one will ever mistake the soused blasting of a noisemaker with Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture.”

The vuvuzela is not a musical instrument — unless you want to change the definition to include the rack, the iron maiden, and Chinese water torture as the equivalent of a Stradivarius or a Steinway.

[...]

What makes the vuvuzelas so incredibly annoying is the monotone note that is a constant from the time the TV coverage of a match begins to the last second of the live feed from the stadium. It is unvarying in pitch and decibel level — about the same as standing a few feet from a jet plane taking off or an amplifier for a rock concert. At 127 decibels, the vuvuzela is louder than a jackhammer, a chain saw, a pneumatic drill, and a subway.

FIFA’s Sepp Blatter might find the dulcet tones made by a jackhammer the symphonic equivalent of a Mozart concerto, but the rest of us have a slightly different notion of what constitutes music.

By: Rick Moran at 3:16 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

6/11/2010
WHY WE HATE SOCCER SO MUCH
CATEGORY: Politics, Sports

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USA forwards Jozy Altidore and Charlie Davies celebrate Altidore’s goal against Spain on Wednesday. The shocking victory over the world’s #1 team propelled the US side into the finals of the Confederation Cup - a warm-up for next summer’s World Cup - in South Africa.

This article was first published on 6/28/09

I know I am going against the grain by being a soccer fan in America. But I really can’t help myself. Perhaps it’s because I’m a baseball fan that I appreciate the patience demonstrated by good teams, or the delicious feeling of watching the build up on offense, the teamwork on defense, and the great individual skills on display.

Alas, the American game rarely rises to the level found in much of Europe, South America, and other soccer crazy meccas where people live, eat, drink, and die with their national teams success or failure. But for 93 glorious minutes on Wednesday, it did.

The USA national team played the mighty Spaniards with their 35 match unbeaten streak in a Confederation Cup semi-final match this past Wednesday, and with a combination of making the most of their chances, good defense, and a large dollop of simple, dumb, luck, our boys pulled off the biggest upset in world soccer since we beat the Columbians at the World Cup in 1994. The 2-0 victory pushed the Americans into the finals against otherworldly Brazil - a team we lost to early in the tournament by the lopsided, embarrassing score of 3-0.

Expect a similar result today. The skill level, teamwork, and experience of the Brazilians is just awesome and anyone with even a passing familiarity with the game knows the US doesn’t have a prayer.

Of course, they said the same thing before America’s game with Spain. But playing the green and yellow and defeating them would take another miracle courtesy of the Soccer Gods. And everyone knows the Gods are all ex-Brazil greats, deified by their fanatical supporters while still on earth.

I’ve heard the arguments why the “World’s Game” has never caught on here and I’m sure you can recite them along with me. But here’s a clueless fellow who ascribes our lack of enthusiasm for soccer as a result of our basic political beliefs:

Watching the game, one could not have been happier for a team that has not really performed all that well in recent years or, for that matter, in the first few games of this tournament. Indeed, in the first two games, the U.S. was hammered by Italy and Brazil and only got into the semifinal match by beating Egypt and the fluke of a very arcane scoring system that soccer uses to break ties among teams. And even in this game, a neutral observer would have said that Spanish players clearly outplayed the Americans, outshooting the U.S. squad by a margin of 20 shots on goal. As the U.S. goalkeeper and star of the game Tim Howard noted afterwards, “Sometimes football is a funny thing.”

Well, yes, it is. As someone who didn’t play soccer growing up, but had a dad who did and whose own kids played as well, I can say unquestionably that it is the sport in which the team that dominates loses more often than any other major sport I know of. Or, to put it more bluntly, the team that deserves to win doesn’t. For some soccer-loving friends, this is perfectly okay. Indeed, they will argue that it’s a healthy, conservative reminder of how justice does not always prevail in life.

Well, hooey on that. And, thankfully, Americans are not buying it. In spite of the fact that one can drive by an open field on Saturdays and usually see it filled with young boys and girls playing soccer, the game’s popularity has not moved anywhere toward being a major sport here in the United States. It’s grown for sure but not close to where folks once expected it to be given the number of youth that have played the game over the past two decades.

For sure, there may be a number of reasons that is the case but my suspicion is that the so-called “beautiful game” is not so beautiful to American sensibilities. We like, as good small “d” democrats, our underdogs for sure but we also still expect folks in the end to get their just desert. And, in sports, that means excellence should prevail. Of course, the fact that is often not the case when it comes to soccer may be precisely the reason the sport is so popular in the countries of Latin America and Europe.

Gary Schmitt of AEI is a clueless git. First of all, that “arcane” scoring system which allowed the US to advance is a series of tie breakers (just like the NFL), although the criteria in this case was total number of goals (USA had 4 to Italy’s 3). How much less bizarre is it for an NFL team who goes 9-7 and wins their division to make the playoffs while a couple of 10-6 teams miss the postseason because their division winner had a better record? “Excellence” being rewarded? Phooey!

The only thing “arcane” about Schmitt is his reasoning.

Then there’s the utter malarkey that many teams that dominate the game stats wise or just have the better of the play usually lose. Again, let’s look at the NFL and notice that on any given Sunday, there are several teams who are out gained on offense, outplayed on defense, but catch a few lucky breaks and win the game. It is obvious Schmitt is not a sports fan if he thinks that such happenstances are uncommon.

As in football, the team with a lead in soccer will play it safe, usually dropping a couple of players back from midfield in order to prevent the other team from organizing an effective offense. This will invariably lead to the team that is behind having much the better of the play. Also, the leading team will push forward fewer players on the counterattack. The result is exactly as Schmitt describes but the reason is not because of any particular flaw in the game as much as it is a deliberate choice by the team that is ahead. Of course Spain took 20 more shots on goal. They were behind for almost the entire game. How many NFL teams have we seen build up a big lead in the first half and basically coast the rest of the way? His criticism is nonsense to anyone who knows anything about sports.

But that’s the problem in America. I think in order to love the game, you must be familiar with at least some of its nuances and strategies. There is a method to much of the madness the casual fan might see on the field and what looks like a lot of running around is actually a purposeful offense — probing for weakness, switching the play from one side of the field to the other to exploit an advantage, the give and go, and the teamwork involved in knowing where your teammates are on the field all the time are all practiced repeatedly by good teams in order to break down a defense and create a chance to score.

Defense is the loveliest of dances - a synchronized ballet where defenders react to where the ball is on the field and move almost in unison to block the assault. If you’ve only watched the game on TV, you can be forgiven for not being able to see much of this. And if you’ve only watched American soccer - the MSL variety - you don’t see much of it anyway. The American club league is an inferior product which helps explains to the Schmitt’s of the world why soccer hasn’t caught on here.

Legendary English football writer Steven Wells (who just died last week) saw the ugliness of what he terms “soccerphobes” in this Guardian piece from January of this year:

Meet radio show host Jim Rome. Jim - a short man with a Village People biker moustache - is the pope of soccerphobia. “My son is not playing soccer, ” promises Jim. “I will hand him ice skates and a shimmering sequinned blouse before I hand him a soccer ball.” Jim’s soccerphobia is part of a grand tradition of crassly xenophobic, casually homophobic, tediously sexist and smugly pig-ignorant soccer-bashing in mainstream American sports journalism. As Sport Illustrated’s soccer-friendly Alexander Wolff put it: “There isn’t a US daily without a ’soccer stinks’ beat guy”.

“Their mania is in direct proportion to their insecurity,” laughs Miguel Almeida, a New York-based soccer writer. “Hence its intensity. And the phenomenon pops up every time the World Cup rolls around, its reappearance as certain as swarming locusts.”

Not all soccer-haters are cliché-recycling hacks. Meet (right-wing) intellectual think-tanker Stephen Moore. “I am convinced,” writes Stephen, “that the ordeal of soccer teaches our kids all the wrong lessons in life. Soccer is the Marxist concept of the labour theory of value applied to sports - which may explain why socialist nations dominate the World Cup.”

Now before you dismiss Mr Moore as an isolated and irrelevant know-nothing right-wing bollock-talker, have a listen to his fellow Washington conservative, Mr John Derbyshire: “The very inconclusiveness of soccer is, I suspect, what has made it the pet sport of the repulsive [left-wing] bobos.”

OK, but two soccer-hating American gobshites do not a sinister right-wing conspiracy make. So here’s Jay Nordlingerm who claims soccer is “a project of the left, the athletic equivalent of vegetarianism”. This bile is echoed in the letters pages of America’s newspapers: “Soccer’s slow strangulation of real sports like football needed to be stopped,” rages a reader of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “High school football programs around the country have nearly succumbed to the foreign-sports terrorism known as soccer … Young minds and bodies are being wasted by continuing the slide into the soccer abyss.”

Schmitt isn’t that bad but it begs the question; is there a political element to people’s hate of soccer?

If there is, I don’t feel it. I enjoy the game as a sports fan. Hell, I even enjoyed watching the Afghan national game Buzkashi. And that’s because there are certain universal elements to sports and competition that make watching soccer or baseball, or any other game where athletes perform and teams compete to win such a joy. “The human drama of athletic competition” was part of the opening of the old ABC Wide World of Sports that featured every kind of game under the sun including Irish hurling, Australian rules football, and something as tame as curling.

I don’t see politics or underlying political truths in games and those who do are trying too hard. The loons who wail about football or hockey being too violent or teaching our kids the wrong life lessons are no different. Concentrate on the stellar athletes - the human body in motion is enormously pleasing to watch when it is done by those born with the grace and strength to play the game - any game - at the highest level. The desire to win, the sacrifices for the team; it is the same in any game and says more about our basic humanity than it does about any silly political generality made up by partisans who wish to score points against their enemies.

Not everyone likes football. More do not like soccer. But if you are ambivalent about the game, tune in to this afternoon’s USA-Brazil match. The Americans might get creamed. But if you want an idea of what soccer is really all about, watch the play of the Brazilians.

You just might discover what many Americans and most of the rest of the world, like about the game.

By: Rick Moran at 1:06 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

WHY CAN’T THE WHITE HOUSE THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX ON THE OIL SPILL?

I am open to alternative explanations, but this story from Jake Tapper about Admiral Allen and the White House not knowing about the manufacturer in Maine who could manufacture 3 million feet of absorbent boom a month is a consequence of an almost total lack of private sector experience in Obama’s cabinet.

TAPPER: I talked to a guy who runs a company in Maine that offers boom, and he has – he says – the ability to make 90,000 feet of boom a day. High quality. BP came there 2 weeks ago, looked at it, they are doing another audit today. He is very frustrated, he says he has a lot of high quality boom to go and it is taking a long time for BP to get its act together. Don’t you need this boom right now?

ALLEN: Oh we need all the boom wherever we can get it. If you give me the information off camera I’ll be glad to follow up.

TAPPER: Florida emergency officials were upset a couple nights ago because oil was hitting Florida and parts of the ocean there were shut off and nobody had told emergency officials in Florida — what happened?

ALLEN: Well, I think we need to understand that we’ve got oil potentially spreading from South Central Louisiana to the Panhandle of Florida. And what used to be very large quantities of oil that came to the surface have now been disaggregated sometimes in very small quantities. And not all of them are going to be surveilled, and there will be oil coming ashore. Our attempt is to skim as much of that offshore as possible, but I’m not going to tell anybody in this country there’s not going to be some oil come ashore from time to time.

Morrissey asks the right question; aren’t these guys supposed to know stuff like this? It was all over the internet a week ago but beyond that, if they’re short of boom - and they say that’s one of the problems - isn’t someone responsible for compiling a list of businesses that make the stuff? Shouldn’t they be calling every single one of them asking them for every foot of boom they can get?

Either this is the greatest environmental disaster in history or its not. If it is, it appears to me that the White House is missing the boat. I don’t believe it’s because they are necessarily “incompetent” whatever that means. With only 3 cabinet heads who have any private sector experience - the fewest in modern history - I believe it likely that the idea that the private sector could help them if only they could bring themselvesto think out side the box just never crossed their minds.

And I wouldn’t be the first to point out that Allen seems a bit deferential to BP. The point being, while I’m sure there is major disagreement among experts about the extent of the problem and what to do about it, do others get the same impression that I do - that what is really lacking in this operation is a decisiveness, a firm hand? I’m not talking about technical means to close the hole but the ways and means of mitigating the effect of the spill. This thing with the booms is exhibit A of what I’m talking about. If you were responsible for protecting the coast and was short of boom, wouldn’t the first thing you would do is hit the internet and google up companies that make the stuff?

Sure, I’m probably oversimplifying, and we can never know all that is going on behind the scenes. But this story is worrying on several different levels, including the lack of communication with state officials in Florida. I’ve been watching government for a long time and I can tell you that it just seems to me that too many things are falling through the cracks, or not getting done, or the team is behind the curve. This bespeaks a lack of decisiveness. When it happens in war, as it did during the Bush years, young men die. When it happens in a disaster of this proportion, the Gulf coast may never be the same in my lifetime.

By: Rick Moran at 12:46 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

What Does the Rest of the World Know about Soccer that Americans Don’t?
CATEGORY: PJ Media

My latest article is up at PJ Media and in it, I address a question that I’ve looked at before; why aren’t Americans interested in soccer?

A sample:

But leaving politics aside, the reason that soccer has not arrived (and may never rise) to the first tier of professional sports in America is tradition and timing. There is no American soccer “tradition” as there is in baseball and football. Even basketball enjoys a tradition far beyond any national memories we have of American soccer.

Couple that with the fact that the sports calendar is crowded enough as it is, and the addition of another sport is just not practical. The MLS has adapted to the marketplace, largely abandoning the huge football stadiums and settling in smaller, more intimate venues like the Chicago Fire’s Toyota Park in Bridgeport, Illinois, that seats 20,000, or the 27,000-seat Home Depot Center in Carson, California, that hosts Los Angeles Galaxy games. While not exactly thriving, the league is mostly keeping its head above water and now serves as a legitimate feeder league for national team talent.

Salaries are not extravagant. Most importantly, several teams have deals with some of the club teams in Europe where they can “loan” their players out. This has led to some key national team members like Landon Donovan getting invaluable experience playing against the top players in the world.

That experience may be the key to the hopes of this year’s national squad. Where in 1994, only two or three national team members had experience in Europe, the 2010 edition of Team USA features several bona fide international standouts. Most of the others perform as serviceable pros in some of the top leagues in Europe.

Reading the comments, I am struck by the political tack most commenters take in opposition to the game. I find most political arguments against the game horsecrap - ignorant people trying to sound intelligent. It’s a monumental stretch to ascribe most American’s difficulty with the game to some ridiculous notion that soccer is a “collectivist” game played by namby-pamby Europeans.

This is posited by idiots who’ve never seen the English Premier League. Those guys don’t wear 20 pounds of pads but the collisions in the air and on the field are pretty violent. Also, try getting kicked in the shin by a soccer boot. Even with shin guards it hurts like a sonofabitch.

They are tough as nails, talented athletes with tremendous skills. And as far as the game being “collectivist,” that’s nonsense. American football is a truly collectivist game, modeled after one of the most collectivist activities man undertakes; war.

My own belief is that it takes a familiarity with the game, an understanding of its nuances, its ebb and flow, in order to appreciate it. There is a method to what appears to be the meanderings of players on the field and once you understand the complexities of the offensive buildup, the counterattack, the D-backs overlapping, the midfield attack, and the beautiful dance that defenses must employ to blunt the other team’s offense, the game can be enjoyed as any team sport.

Since there is no soccer tradition in America, there is no passing down this kind of knowledge as there is in baseball or football. Watch one of those games with a 5 or 6 year old kid and the questions never stop. Some are cutesy queries, but most are geared toward understanding the nuances of the game. Imparting that knowledge from generation to generation is how those sports maintain their huge fan base. If you want to be a soccer fan. you pretty much have to figure it out on your own.

It helps that I’ve been watching the game for almost 50 years. And it helps that I began to really appreciate the game in the 1980’s when I lived in Washington and the local pro team, the Washington Diplomats, purchased the services of an aging, but still hugely talented player named Johan Cruyff.

Cruyff is considered one of the true legends of the game and while he was clearly past his prime, what he could do with a ball on his foot was absolutely magical. An attacking forward with an uncanny ability to put the ball in the net, Cruyff introduced me to some of the subtleties of game and for much of the last 30 years, I have built on that knowledge to where I can now watch the game and revel in its ins and outs - even if the result is a scoreless tie.

Because of this lack of tradition, soccer will not be a major sport in America for the foreseeable future. Will the kids who played the game in their youth pass their love of the game on to their own children? If they do, it may take a few generations but eventually, soccer may indeed take its place as a favored sport of Americans.

By: Rick Moran at 9:15 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)