Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: General, History, The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 10:59 am

This article originally appears on The Moderate Voice

The recent brouhaha over the New Black Panther party getting away with what appeared to be a clear violation of the voting rights act when they stood outside of a Philadelphia polling place with the expressed and admitted purpose of intimidating voters has brought the race card into play from both sides.

There are some on the right who point to the fact that the DoJ dropped the civil case against the NBPP as evidence that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are bigoted against whites; that when it comes to applying the law fairly and equally, the administration has been derelict in its responsibilities. On the left, the predictable response - as it is with virtually any opposition to the president and the Democrats - is to simply smear millions of ordinary people as racists for even raising the question.

Rush Limbaugh on July 2:

“Who is Obama? Why is he doing this? Why? Why is he doing it? Is he stupid? Is it an accident? Is he doing it on purpose or what have you? … I think we face something we’ve never faced before in the country — and that is, we’re now governed by people who do not like the country, who do not have the same reverence for it that we do. Our greatest threat (and this is saying something) is internal.”


That word ‘payback’ is not mine, [but] it is exactly how I think Obama looks at the country: It’s payback time… There’s no question that payback is what this administration is all about, presiding over the decline of the United States of America, and doing so happily.”

Eric Boehlert believes that this is evidence of racism on the part of Limbaugh:

But today when Fox News (aka the Opposition Party) openly and proudly engages in jaw-dropping episodes of demagogic race-bating, as they depict the president of the United States as a hater of white people who’s quietly assembling his progressive army for a “race war,” the same press corps that dissected every Clinton camp utterance now sits quietly, watching from a distance, and decides uniformly that there’s no story there.

You can practically hear the audible justifications: “Well, it’s just Fox being Fox.” Or, “It’s just Rush being Rush.”

I’m sorry, but when the most-watched cable news channel relentlessly depicts the president and his administration as being the home to get-whitey racists, it’s news. And having the most listened-to radio talk show host in American claim that our first African-American president purposefully keeps the unemployment rate high in order to exact revenge against white America — that’s news too.


That quote about a “race war” is from Glenn Beck. Not surprising, but it is significant to Boehlert’s hysterical, over the top, morbidly exaggerated charges that Fox “relentlessly” depicts the president as a racist. Really, now? Covering a story that the Department of Justice has made bigger than it ever should have been because of their absolute refusal to give their reasons for why they dropped the civil suit against the NBPP to either Congress or, as they are obliged to do, to the Commission on Civil Rights doesn’t sound like race baiting to me. It is news when the Attorney General of the United States refuses to honor a subpoena from the US Commission on Civil Rights. And if it is such a nothing issue, why are Holder and DoJ fighting tooth and nail to keep from disclosing their reasons for not pursuing the civil suit? This is an especially telling question if, as seems likely, the result would be a simple slap on the wrist to the Panthers and their wild and wacky leader Mr. Shabbaz.

Of course, Boehlert couldn’t bring himself to mention several other cases where DoJ is giving the appearance of race favoritism. How about this doozy of a case in a small Mississippi county where the Democratic chairman, Ike Brown, has been doing his best Bull Connor imitation - in black face, of course:

Brown canceled ballots cast by white voters. He stuffed the ballot box with illegal ballots supporting his preferred black candidates. He deployed teams of notaries to roam the countryside and mark absentee ballots instead of voters. He allowed forced assistance in the voting booth, to the detriment of white voters. He threatened 174 white voters by declaring that if they tried to participate in an election, he might challenge them and not let them vote. He publicized the 174 names.

Lest you think this is from the overly-fertile imagination of whistleblower Christian Adams, these incidents were documented in sworn testimony in the court case against Brown brought by career attorneys in the civil rights division. The Holder Justice Department recently failed to object to the continuation of some of these practices when all that would have been required was a letter saying they objected.

Now, I don’t expect Boehlert or other critics of Mr. Adams to respond to each and every allegation he has made regarding DoJ race favoritism in applying the voting rights act. Simply acknowledging that they exist would be a start. The point being, to accuse conservatives of racism because they object to Holder’s actions in the NBPP case is dishonest - especially when there are numerous other examples of Holder’s justice department appearing to show favoritism.

I don’t for a minute believe Holder and Obama are racists. I believe they are politically correct jackasses who sought to bestow a political gift on a favored constituency. For those - including Boehlert - who believe that this issue was small potatoes, perhaps they might explain the furious activity surrounding it from both the White House and the Department of Justice. This timeline of White House involvement and NAACP lobbying on behalf of the Panthers pretty much destroys the idea that there was a legitimate reason to drop the civil suit. It was politics, pure and simple. And having spent the 2008 campaign rightly railing against the politicization of the Bush justice department, Obama and Holder could hardly be expected to admit to doing the same.

This doesn’t excuse Limbaugh or Beck from making their jaw dropping claims about Obama sticking it to white people or that the president is trying to foment a race war. But are those comments ignorant, stupid, irrational, and paranoid? Or are they racist?

You simply can’t automatically identify political speech you disagree with as racist like Boehlert does in his ridiculously exaggerated screed. Of course it’s bonkers to believe that Obama wants a race war, or that he’s out for payback against whites for slavery. But why is that necessarily a racist comment? What makes it racist, specifically? If it were racist based on the fact that it’s nutty and dead wrong, that encompasses a lot of territory. And ascribing racist attitudes based solely on the fact that the president is black just doesn’t cut it unless you want to drastically demean and lower the bar for what constitutes racism in political speech. Using that formula, all opposition speech against the president should be dismissed as racist - an outcome no doubt devoutly wished for by Obama partisans but nonsense on its face.

Call Beck and Limbaugh unbalanced jesters. Suggest they take a long vacation at a mental hospital. But holding a half assed opinion for why a president acts a certain way is not inherently racist even if that president happens to be black. To believe otherwise is to reject the basis of free speech as we have understood it for more than 200 years. The bywords are wrong - not evil. And both sides, as Joe Gandleman points out, have rejected the idea that an opponent is simply mistaken and applied for admission in the Darth Vader School of Political Discourse.

Until scientists come up with a device that can look into the hearts and minds of men and assure us that someone holds a certain opinion because he hates people of another race, political speech should remain free of this kind of incendiary language. It won’t, of course, to our detriment and possible extinction as a nation. The biggest threat to America is not found our serious and inumerable problems, but in the fact that the two sides of every debate are congenitally unable to trust the other side enough so that we can deal with our most daunting challenges as one nation.


Filed under: Blogging — Rick Moran @ 8:38 am

For many of you who use the Firefox browser to access this site, you may have found reading The House an impossibility over the last 10 days or so.

I ask your pardon. I was unaware of the problem until a reader emailed me and mentioned it. I was having problems accessing the site myself but I thought it was specific to my computer and not a general problem with viewing the website in Firefox (IE and Google Chrome were unaffected.). It seems that an insidious, unwelcome, unasked for, should-be-criminal script was surreptitiously installed in the sidebar of my blog and was wreaking havoc with visitor’s computers.

When clicking on the web address to The House, the site would appear briefly and then be redirected to something called B.scorecardresearch.com - except the script caused the site to hang forever leaving a blank page to look at. I tried to scrub it using every anti-spyware, anti-malware, anti-virus program I had - and some like Spybot I downloaded. Since I was unaware that the problem was a rogue, 3rd party script, the small piece of code laughed at my efforts to eradicate it. It sneered as I flailed about aimlessly, nearly weeping with frustration and anger, and vowing to take my revenge - if I ever managed to see my website again in Firefox.

A search revealed that b.scorecardresearch.com was a webtracking company, carefully monitoring my keystrokes and website visits. I discovered upon visiting its website that I might opt out of participating in this gangster company’s information gathering. After clicking the “opt out” link, I was told the cookie would be inoperative.

In this, they were correct - except the problem wasn’t with a cookie. The problem was that a script had been placed inside the blog infrastructure itself without my knowledge or permission. When I discovered that there were still problems with the site after opting out, I went to the Mozilla support forum and screamed for help.

The good geeks at Mozilla came through in spectacular fashion. First, Gerv identified the problem:

The sites which are having the problem include code from Technorati, which itself includes code from extreme-dm.com, which includes a reference to a script on the site b.scorecardresearch.com. For some reason, that script is not loading correctly, and it is not marked as inessential to the page, and so the page load is blocked.

This is an example of why including scripts from a 3rd party site in your website is a dangerous thing to do. Do you trust everyone that the owner of that script trusts?

So this is (probably) not a problem with Firefox.

Then a good bit of luck; an expert in Wordpress who had dealt with a similar problem on another website:

WP Specialist:

Had the same problem earlier with a client’s site. Do you have technorati called anywhere within your theme? Removing that from our site fixed the issue.

From some reading I did, it’s apparently the latest update of FireFox causing the issue. (Which explains why it’s okay in IE and Chrome) Some “tracking scripts” are running wrong and causing the redirect.

So, if you don’t have technorati going, trying disabling any of your java (i.e. twitter follow widgets)

Please let me know if this helped (because I’m curious). Good luck!

Sure enough, I accessed the blog innards and there it was - a script with “technorati” in the middle of it (I wish I had copied the script but was so excited to get rid of it I wasn’t thinking), sitting all by itself in my right hand sidebar, minding my business, not serving any purpose for the blog whatsoever. I removed it and all is well in blogland again.

I have no idea how that script got there. I certainly wasn’t asked to participate in any kind of program that would monitor my surfing habits. Did Technorati place it there? My meager knowledge of how such scripts are installed makes that an open question. I know that it wasn’t there previously since I had occasion to work on the sidebar code from time to time over the last 5 years. It could have been there for months or, given the recent problems with accessing the site, just a matter of days.

In the future, I will take no chances. I will no longer visit Technorati. And let this be a warning to everyone; no 3rd party scripts for your blog or browser. Unless you are absolutely sure what you are getting, it is best to steer clear of scripts from unknown sources.

I learned that lesson the hard way. I hope you don’t have to.



Filed under: The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 4:29 pm

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 Dan Riehl of Riehl World View and Stephen Green for a discussion of some hot topics making news today.

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.”

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Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio


Filed under: PJ Media, Sports — Rick Moran @ 8:07 am

My latest is up at PJ Media and in it, I take the good Reverend Jackson to task for his bombastic comments about the Lebron James circus. Jackson referred to Cav’s owner Gilbert’s “slave master” mentality” and called James a “runaway slave.”

A sample:

Considering the fact that Mr. Gilbert was prepared to offer Mr. James about $117 million over six years to stay in Cleveland, you can hardly make the argument that those are slave wages or reminiscent of anything whatsoever having to do with slavery, unless you happen to be a professional agitator skilled at pressing the emotional hot buttons of your racialist fans.

The fact that James had the Cleveland franchise over a barrel with up to $150 million riding on his decision might make you wonder who was the “master” and who was the “slave” in this arrangement. The Cavaliers just took a huge hit as far as the value of that franchise is concerned. But it was a decision made by James that went far beyond dollars and cents and went to the heart of the purpose of professional sports franchises in large cities.

Even today, cities define themselves, at least in part, by the pride citizens take in their sports franchises. There are baseball towns (St. Louis, Cincinnati, New York), football towns (Chicago, Denver), even hockey towns (Buffalo, Detroit). But beyond that identity, professional sports franchises act as a uniting expedient that gives residents a common touchstone to gather around and share experiences. They are like the old bonfires that medieval towns would light on holidays in order to bring residents together and create a bond between the place where they live and the people they live with.

The terrible angst felt by Cleveland fans and given voice, however clumsily and inadequately, by Mr. Gilbert was real, despite the shallow and overhyped nature of the event that caused their emotional outburst. Gilbert, trying desperately to keep the team’s fan base from melting away in despair (thus costing him millions of dollars), used James as a punching bag to allow Cavalier fans and the community at large the opportunity to share feelings of betrayal over the loss of their superstar (and the presumed loss of any chance at an NBA championship anytime soon). Gilbert’s screed served a purpose that Jackson, with his effort to piggyback vile, racially charged language onto the LeBron James circus to garner headlines and solidify his place in the race-baiting hierarchy, refused to acknowledge.

But the good reverend outdoes himself with his imagery of the “runaway slave.” Only in the twisted, racially tinged consciousness of someone who insists on creating his own reality when it comes to defining and explaining race in America would James ever be considered a “slave,” or Gilbert a “slave master.” James will enjoy a contract worth tens of millions of dollars, and additional endorsement deals that will be worth hundreds of millions. It is an insult to the memory of the millions who suffered the overseer’s lash to try and connect James to the powerful imagery of those who risked all for a chance to run away to freedom. He is using a rhetorical atom bomb to kill a gnat.



Filed under: Sports, WHITE SOX — Rick Moran @ 8:43 am

Carlos Quentin unloads a solo shot against Kansas City yesterday. The Sox won 15-5.

My Chicago White Sox must have been channeling Harry Houdini this past month, given the escape the team has made from destruction at the hands of GM Kenny Williams who was probably days away from breaking up the team and starting over.

That was June 8 when the hapless Pale Hose was 9.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins and 9 games under the .500 mark.

What has transpired since then is one of the most astonishing turn arounds in baseball history. In the last 30 games, the White Sox have won 30, lost 5, and find themselves at the All-Star game break in first place, 11 games over the .500 mark.. They have come all the way back from the dead and are dominating professional baseball as few teams have in the modern age.

How? They are playing the game the way it was drawn up to be played; outstanding starting pitching, good defense, and clutch hitting. Sox starters have an Earned Run Average of 2.23 over the last 30 games, while their team batting average has been a robust .288. They are getting hits with two outs and runners in scoring position and have started to crack home runs with regularity. Their bullpen has come around and now features an All-Star set up man (Matt Thornton), another set up hurler with 23 straight scoreless appearances (J.J. Putz), and a closer who hasn’t blown a save since May (Bobby Jenks).

Put that all together and you come up with an unbeatable team. Following an 11 game win streak in June, the Sox went on another tear at the beginning of July and go into the break with an 8 game winning streak.

All is not roses, however. Former NL Cy Young award winner and current Sox ace Jake Peavy went down with a torn muscle in his shoulder and will have season ending surgery this week. The kid they brought up from the minors to replace Peavy’s spot in the rotation - Daniel Hudson - didn’t fare too well yesterday. Handed an 8-1 lead by the offense, Hudson proceeded to stink up the joint by giving up 5 runs in less than 5 innings. He will apparently get another chance to show what he can do, but GM Williams will almost certainly be burning up the wires looking for an established starter before the trade deadline on July 31.

A word about Carlos Quentin. At age 27, the oft-injured right fielder has yet to play a full season in the majors. As recently as 3 weeks ago, he was hitting an anemic .190 with just 7 home runs. But after a “mystery adjustment” at the plate that he refuses to divulge, the young man has put up Ruthian numbers. He has raised his batting average to a more respectable .244 while hitting 12 homers and knocking in 30 runs in 22 games.

This past week, Quentin played just three games, limited by a knee bruise he got making a spectacular catch in the outfield. But in those three games, Quentin hit 6 home runs. One of the strongest players in baseball, Quentin looks like the MVP candidate of 2008 when he was leading the league in home runs and 2nd in runs batted in until breaking his wrist in early September. It appears that, barring injury, Carlos will soon be close to the American League offensive leaders if he continues hot.

Eventually, the White Sox will cool off. There are too many vagaries in baseball for such hot streaks to continue for an entire season. But there is little doubt that they will remain in contention for the Central Division title as long as their pitching holds out, and their timely hitting continues.

Oh…and did I mention the sweetest thing about this streak? The Cubbies are going in the opposite direction and have lost 50 games at the break. For a Sox fan, there is no more glorious affirmation that life is good than watching the Cubs flail about like minor leaguers on the diamond, finding new and inventive ways to lose games for their long suffering skipper Lou Pinella. It will be another “Wait Until Next Year” for clueless Cubs fans - making it 103 consecutive years without a World Series ring.

Such futility is awe inspiring.



Filed under: Politics, Tea Parties, conservative reform — Rick Moran @ 10:16 am

This post originally appears on The Moderate Voice

I don’t often write in apocalyptic terms about the current administration, largely because America is too big and government too unwieldy to countenance sudden, dramatic change.

However, President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have made it quite obvious that they’re willing to give radicalism the old college try because America pre-Obama was not to their liking. Indeed, a look at America on January 20, 2009 would have revealed a country in need of reform in many areas. Few would argue that the previous administration didn’t leave much to be done in health care, the economy, energy, and the twin wars we are fighting against radical Islam.

The question about Obama’s radicalism has never been that the problems he has sought to address aren’t in need of attention; the question has always been does he have to destroy the America that we have always been to accomplish reform?

If Obama and the Democrats had sought incremental, prudent change while keeping an eye on the federal budget deficit, I doubt very much if the tea party movement would have arisen. Every initiative that the president has undertaken had elements within them that would have enjoyed much broader, bi-partisan support if he had reined in the real radicals in Congress who made no bones about what they were trying to accomplish. From taking over one-sixth of the American economy by federalizing the health care system, to the impossibly wrong headed cap and trade idea, to financial reform that will hog tie the financial industry desperately in need of regulation but not the kind of anti-market rules currently stuck in Congress, President Obama has proven the upside down adage more is less, and much more is unmitigated disaster.

There is nothing “moderate” in any of this. The insistence of many commentators who apparently believe that simple repetition of this “moderate Obama” mantra suffices as far as describing reality would be laughable in another context - pitiful it is in our current dilemma. Using language as a beard to hide the true nature of Obama’s reforms - not to mention out and out lies about the consequences of them - is part of the motivation of the tea party movement. They, like the rest of America, are blessed with two eyes, two ears, and a decent passel of common sense. It’s hard to fool citizens who have taken the measure of this administration’s extremism, and have found much to fear.

Is the fear driven by exaggeration and lies by the opposition? To some extent, yes. But that’s politics that goes all the way back to Thomas Jefferson who ran for president in 1800 accusing the Federalists of trying to set up a monarchy and ratcheting up fear and loathing against the opposition by trying to convince voters that John Adams was going to hand America back to the British. It is not an exaggeration to say that the “Democratic Republicans” of Jefferson tried to portray the election as the choice between liberty and tyranny. Needless to say, it worked. And ever since then, both parties have pushed the boundaries of fair play while stretching the truth to the breaking point in order to win in every single election, and when arguing every issue of import in our nation’s history.

More to the point today, the tea party movement is animated by more than “death panels,” and “Obama is a closet Muslim” prevarications. Millions of ordinary Americans have detected a disconnect between what Obama and the Democrats are trying to accomplish to mold America into what their particular vision of our country they wish to realize, and the words, the spirit, and the tradition of the Constitution. In order to change the subject, obfuscating what the tea party movement is really about, we have witnessed desperate attempts to describe their opposition as a by-product of racism, or far right, paranoid delusions. The people aren’t buying it, as evidenced by a strong plurality of citizens who support at least some of what the tea partiers stand for.

Bill Kristol believes that a sense that America is in crisis coupled with “alarm” is what is driving the tea party toward embracing radical change:

This sense of crisis is what animates the Tea Parties. I had the pleasure of attending the “Proud to be an American July 4th Tea Party” outside Independence Hall in Philadelphia. It featured patriotic songs and speeches, and expressions of support for our troops and praise for our country. Yet the mood of patriotic gratitude was mixed with expressions of alarm from my fellow Tea Partiers about the administration now in charge of our government. The combination of patriotic gratitude and urgent alarm produces a determination to act and a willingness to deal boldly with the crises in the economy, in foreign policy, and in self-government that the country faces.

In this respect, the Tea Parties are ahead of the two major parties. As established political parties are wont to do, both remain constricted in their views, attached to business as usual, and invested in established modes and orders—too much so to easily come to grips with a moment like the present.

Kristol is advocating radicalism to address what ails us:

But the GOP can be the party of the future as well as the present. It can be the party of fundamental reflection and radical choice as well as the party of day-to-day criticism and opposition. This isn’t easy. It can lead to mistakes and missteps, tensions and confusions. But it’s what the moment requires.

So fear not the Tea Parties. Be open to fundamental reforms. Belt-tightening and program-trimming, more transparency and greater efficiency, are not enough. The danger for Republicans isn’t that they will address the current crisis too boldly. It’s that they won’t be bold enough.

Fight radicalism with radicalism? Kristol, as impatient with the notion of evolutionary change as Obama, would substitute Republican “mistakes and missteps, tensions and confusions” for the Democratic blunders and idiocies that we are living through today. At the final bell, we end up in the same place; ideologically driven politicians and agendas that alienate half the country while failing to address the real, intractable, long term problems that threaten our financial future and our traditions of liberty.

The Tea Party movement has its uses as both the sharp end of Republican politics and as a prod to get politicians of both parties to pay attention to what ordinary people are thinking. Kristol is right in describing the reaction of Democrats and Republicans to the tea partiers as still being “attached to business as usual, and invested in established modes and orders…” In this, the tea partiers are enemies of the status quo, and thus, very dangerous to politics as usual. But is what they are advocating - if it can ever be determined exactly what it is they are seeking - as bad in its own way for America as anything the far left Democrats in the White House and Congress have been pushing on us?

Indeed, many in the tea party movement advocate a radical shrinking of government, which would be as damaging in its own way as the gargantuan expansion of government we are experiencing under the current administration. The abandonment of prudence by conservatives - a virtue by which every conservative should try to live their lives - would mean that the right agrees with Obama in principle; that change should not be governed by incrementalism and contemplation of consequences, but rather by whim and emotionalism. Tearing up the social compact between government and citizen and picking up the pieces later on isn’t going to work for Obama and the Democrats and it surely won’t work for Republicans who wish to do the same, albeit hoping for the opposite outcome.

Those, like Kristol, who are dazzled by the Tea Party Movement’s grass roots appeal should resist the idea of revolution and settle on adapting the spirit and patriotism of the tea partiers as the basis for pragamatic change in Washington. Change can be bold without being radical. If that’s the only lesson we learn from the Obama disaster, it will hold us in good stead as conservatives attempt to reclaim power from the radical leftists who are running this country into the ground.



Filed under: Sports — Rick Moran @ 10:13 am

No, he is not Michael Jordan. Nor is he Magic, Larry, Wilt, Kareem, or almost any other NBA super-great from the past.

He is an excellent player with excellent basketball skills. But in the end, he lacks the extra spark - the unquenchable thirst to win that was the hallmark of Michael, Magic, and the rest which spelled the difference between being a great player, and a great player who wins championships.

On top of that, he is a show pony whose shameful manipulation of the emotions of NBA fans in the cities where he was rumored to be going - especially his hometown Cleveland boosters - demonstrated a cruel streak that makes him perhaps the most unattractive superstar in America today.

My interest in the NBA goes back to the titanic battles between Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. Those two classy superstars made those Boston-Phladelphia finals games for the ages. James may outshine either of those gentlemen in pure athleticism and pizazz but comes up woefully short in the desire department. Anyone who saw that Boston-Cleveland game 6 in this year’s playoffs knows that this is true.

So does James’ former boss, the owner of the Cavaliers Dan Gilbert. In a missive likely to be voted “Best Rant by an Owner in Sports History,” Gilbert, who didn’t find out about James’ decision until minutes before LeBron went on the air to announce his decision, let the frustration he felt and is probably being felt by Cleveland fans pour out in vitriolic fashion:

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his “decision” unlike anything ever “witnessed” in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment.

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more.

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight:


You can take it to the bank.

Gilbert later said in an interview:

“He has gotten a free pass,” Gilbert said in a phone interview with The AP. “People have covered up for [James] for way too long. Tonight we saw who he really is.”

Gilbert said James quit on the Cavs during their second-round series against the Boston Celtics, who rallied from a 2-1 deficit to eliminate Cleveland.

“He quit,” Gilbert said. “Not just in Game 5, but in Games 2, 4 and 6. Watch the tape. The Boston series was unlike anything in the history of sports for a superstar.”

The Cavaliers were beaten by 32 points in Game 5. During the game, James appeared distracted and uninterested, often glaring at Cleveland’s coaches as the Cavs tried to foul to get back into the game in the second half. James also made some puzzling postgame comments, saying he had “spoiled” people with his play over seven seasons.

Could you ever imagine Magic, or Bird, or Michael ever appearing “distracted and uninterested” no matter what the score was or who they were playing? And this was a playoff game.

The hour-long special on ESPN last night announcing his decision was called “cheesy” by Hollywood director and Knicks fanatic Spike Lee. That’s an excellent descriptive. It was also the most self-indulgent, narcissistic, overly hyped non-event in the history of sports television. For contrast, when Michael Jordan made his decision to return to basketball after his failed baseball experiment, he sent a fax to Chicago media outlets with two words: “I’m back!.”

But it is the less than optimal competitiveness that will mark the career of James even as he takes his huge entourage of Mad Ad Men, PR flaks, personal assistants, and sycophantic hangers-on to the equally shallow, but glamorous surroundings of South Beach. There he will team with two other excellent players in Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh - a supposed “Dream Team” put together by another towering narcissist Pat Riley. The President of the Miami Heat, known for his expensive suits and slick backed hair (as well as his constant preening before the cameras when he coached the Knicks and the Lakers) wants everyone to believe he’s pulled off the coup of the ages. What he’s done, is set his team up to fail.

First, in order to acquire the services of the trio of all-stars, he had to sell off the rest of the team. As it stands now, Riley has LeBron, Dwayne, and Chris and 4 guys named Joe on the Heat roster. It is likely to stay that way since he can only offer the bare NBA minimum salary to most of the rest of the 12 players who will make up the team next year. Someone has to have the talent - and the desire - to distribute the ball to those three superstars and so far, no one with anything approaching NBA adequacy is being mentioned.

And that brings up the most important issue; with three titanic egos to satisfy, who will be the first to go running to the press complaining about a lack of opportunity on the court? This thing has the potential to be a real train wreck, and coupled with the most pressure ever placed on a team to win it all perhaps in the history of televised sports, the probability of some kind of a blow up is increased exponentially. Doing well won’t cut it. In fact, there is danger that no matter how well the Heat does next year, it won’t be enough. They will be expected not just to win but to dominate. And in an 80 game schedule, that simply isn’t going to happen.

Of course, the rest of the league will be gunning for the Heat next year. Every game will have the intensity of a seventh game in the finals. We’ve seen NFL teams face this situation before and still do very well. But that’s because they’re only playing once a week, 16 games a year. An 80 game schedule is a true grind, with many back to back dates. It is impossible to “get up” for every single game. Matching the other team’s intensity will take a lot out of the Heat and this may be reflected in a short playoff run next year.

It is possible that James has damaged his brand in the United States with this spectacle. But don’t feel sorry for him. His position overseas as a monster pitchman is assured. A billion Chinese are especially enamored of James and the endorsement deals he will sign will reflect that reality.

Of course, everything could work out magnificently for James. The Heat could win 74 games (breaking Michael Jordan’s Bulls record), he could win the scoring title, and the Heat could breeze through the playoffs and win a championship.

But that would upset the natural balance of the universe. Good things are only supposed to happen to good people. In the case of LeBron James, it is more likely that failure will dog his steps, shadowing him during his tour in Miami as he reaps the whirlwind of his shameless, overweaning self promotion.



Filed under: Media, Politics, War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 10:04 am

Recently, we’ve witnessed a rash of controversies about various media figures being fired, or “blackballed,” or disrespected, ostensibly due to their political beliefs or because they thought their 140 character musings on Twitter were either privileged communications or shouldn’t count against them if they tweeted something idiotic.

Andrew Sullivan sees the dark hand of oppression at work:

Froomkin was fired for opposing torture a little too passionately; Weigel was forced out because his private emails revealed he was not acceptable to the partisan right; Frum is cut off from conservative blogads funding; Moulitsas is barred from MSNBC for criticizing Joe Scarborough; and Octavia Nasr is fired for offending the pro-Israel lobby over a tweet expressing sadness at the death of a Hezbollah leader.


Notice a pattern here? We’re all on notice, I guess. I’m extremely fortunate to work at a place where open exchange of views and ideas is valued, not penalized.

Froomkin was not fired “for opposing torture a little too passionately.” The idea that Sullivan presents this reason as fact is due entirely to his own pet theory for why Froomkin was let go by the Washington Post:

“Dan’s work on torture may be one reason he is now gone. The way in which the WaPo has been coopted by the neocon right, especially in its editorial pages, is getting more and more disturbing. This purge will prompt a real revolt in the blogosphere. And it should.”

Note that Mr. Sullivan appears to be a lot less certain in the immediate aftermath of Froomkin’s dismissal. Instead of the declarative statement made today about Froomkin’s opposition to torture being the sole reason for his being let go, at the time, Sullivan thought it “may one one reason” he was dismissed.

And was Weigel forced to resign because he pissed off the right? Or was it perhaps because the emails revealed the fact that his animus toward many conservative personalities brought into question his ability to write about the right in a professionally detached manner? I’m not even talking about not being biased. Weigel’s bombast - once publicized - would make it impossible for him to be taken seriously as a journalist.

Frum was cut off from Hawkins conservative ad network because John didn’t think that David was a conservative. His ad network - his opinion. I disagree with it but equating the public functions of the Washington Post with the private nature of Hawkins ad network is nonsense. Would Tom Friedman be able to join the Liberal Ad Network? It would be interesting to see. And if Friedman would have been rejected, would that be evidence that our thoughts were being “policed?”

The tweets of Kos and Ms. Nsar are the kickers. Moulitas evidently tweeted about the death of a Joe Scarborough intern as a “scandal” for the former congressman and was surprised that after viciously biting the hand that feeds him, he would be banished from MSNBC.

Are you kidding me?

Even more clueless was Nasr who innocently said nice things about Hezballah’s spiritual leader Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah. She called his death “sad” which might raise an eyebrow but is hardly a firing offense. But it was her characterization of Fadlallah being a “giant” that she “respected” that got her into hot water. Respecting someone who had devoted his life to wiping Israel off the face of the earth? Someone who approved of suicide bombings against women and children? Her subsequent “explanation” only made things worse. She tried to explain that her respect for the dead, terrorist supporting giant was based on his attempts to wipe out honor killings, writing that the Ayatollah thought the practice “primitive and nonproductive.” I guess beheading infidels and blowing up innocents was “modern and productive.”

Sullivan must have been joking when he called her response “nuanced,” right? Nasr’s views are not out of the ordinary if one happens to think that Hezballah is more than just a terrorist group/political party out to seize power from the Lebanese government. (Nasr tried to separate Fadlallah from Hezballah in her apologia by saying that he was respected by other religious leaders and even beyond the borders of Lebanon. This was true. He was also a religious and political fanatic - a fact that escaped Nasr’s “nuanced” journalism.)

Her tweet made it clear that she was incapable of seeing the role played by Hezballah in her Middle East beat with sufficient skepticism and objectivity. What’s sort of scary is that CNN was unaware of her views for 20 years. I’m not sure that calls into question all of CNN’s Middle East coverage, but it should wake up the network to how their coverage is shaped.

The lesson of all these cases of media malpractice? Don’t make a public idiot of yourself. If you feel the need to prove yourself to be a clueless, partisan git, try old fashioned diary writing. At least that way, you’re guaranteed to stay off the internet.



Filed under: The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 4:36 pm

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 Dan Riehl of Riehl World View, Monica Showalter of IDB, and Rich Baehr of the American Thinker for a discussion of some hot topics making news today.

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


Filed under: Government, Politics — Rick Moran @ 10:29 am

It is an article of faith among most conservatives that the growth of government under the presidency of Barack Obama has resulted in a loss of individual liberty. This is an extremely serious criticism of any president and the manner in which the charge is so casually tossed about by my friends on the right makes me uneasy. A deeper examination of the subject is necessary in order to ascertain the truth of the criticism as well as catalog any specific freedoms, or rights, we have lost - if any.

Let’s start with the obvious; the Bill of Rights. As far as freedom of expression, I can report that I still publish exactly what I want, when I want, without so much as a by your leave from government. It’s true that the DISCLOSE Act will curtail free speech for corporations. But let’s stick to individual liberties because that seems to be the nub of the matter for tea partiers and conservatives. Being an atheist, I am free to practice no religion at all, or if a sudden conversion were to occur, I could go back to being a Druid. The tea partiers mass in the thousands so it would seem that freedom of assembly is still intact. And have you counted how many lobbyists are in Washington? The right of redress is alive and well, thank you.

Gun rights (2nd amendment) have expanded substantially (no thanks to Obama). I haven’t been ordered to put up any troops (3rd amendment). I have not personally been subject to unreasonable search and seizure (4th amendment), although that particular right has been eroding long before Obama came to office. Since I haven’t committed any crimes, I haven’t had my 5th amendment rights tested. Ditto the 6th and 7th amendments. And aside from Zsu-Zsu making me watch Dancing with the Stars, I have not been subjected to any cruel or unusual punishment (8th amendment).

The 9th and 10th amendments deal with federalism. It is here that Obama has transgressed against the Constitution most egregiously, although as far as personal liberty is concerned, it is difficult to connect the president’s federal overreach with individual rights being violated. Our collective rights as citizens might be at risk but what president in the last 50 years hasn’t claimed powers “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people?” True, Obama may be the presidential Gold Medalist when it comes to trashing the 10th amendment. But how does that translate into a loss of personal liberty?

It seems clear to me, that as far as our personal, constitutionally guaranteed liberty is concerned, Obama has done very little to attack our rights head on. But there is more to American freedom than those liberties codified in the Bill of Rights. And it is here that the president and the Democrats have done the most damage. I am talking about the limiting of choices in the economic sphere and our personal lives that threatens to undermine the foundations of freedom in America expressed in the clear intent of the framers 222 years ago.

These freedoms are not necessarily written down in the Constitution, but rather form the intent of the framers as far as their effort to define a free society. Ask yourself if losing the freedom of choice to carry health insurance is a loss of personal freedom? It may be stupid, but it is clearly a personal matter where government - at least no government that purports to represent a free people - has any business dictating to the people what or how they should spend their money.

It may be that you can’t afford insurance, or that a pre-existing medical condition makes you too big of a risk for an insurance company to carry you. Some on the right argue otherwise, but subsidizing people who want to buy insurance and covering others who are refused is a legitimate function of the national government in this, the early 21st century. (Fixing the reasons for why insurance is so expensive would mean eliminating most government intervention in the health insurance field - a politically impossible goal at this point.)

In this case, it is government dictating a choice that is an attack on personal liberty. It is possible that the Supreme Court will see it that way, in which case Obamacare will die because there would be no way to pay for it. Indeed, the administration is now arguing that the mandate is a “tax,” which reveals the true reason for it in the first place; they need everyone signed up on the dotted line in order for the plan to work. They can claim it’s in my best interest to have insurance, or that it is in the best interest of America (a dubious and unprovable argument) until they are blue in the face but they can’t get around the fact that a personal insurance mandate represents a loss of personal freedom. They may even make the argument that this loss of freedom is a necessary trade-off in order to relieve suffering or give other Americans peace of mind. Is that a legitimate argument?

We have made trade offs of this nature before. When states refused to grant equal rights to its citizens, the federal government took it upon itself to intrude on previously sacrosanct ground - local elections - in order to insure equality before the law. In this respect, the ability of government to reach down and interfere in matters that had never been contemplated previously resulted in a growth in federal power with unintended consequences we are still trying to deal with today. Few would argue that this growth in the size and scope of government was unnecessary. But did expanding freedom for some limit freedom for others?

The answer is yes. But when that freedom was abused to oppress others, the government had a moral duty to intervene. In this, the vast majority of Americans now agree, and in this case, the massive increase in the size of government engendered by the necessity to enforce civil rights laws appears to have been a positive good.

(What has happened to civil rights law subsequent to the 1960’s is another article altogether, and a good argument can be made that even here, the good inherent in enforcing equality has been used as an excuse to expand the size and scope of government unnecessarily with a consequent loss of individual liberty.)

But beyond national health care, just where have Obama and the Democrats limited choices? Their proposed financial regulation overhaul will limit choices for those of us who hold stock, mutual funds, mortgages, credit cards, and other financial instruments. But that bill has not been passed yet and it is not clear what will be in the final package. The assault on businesses that Democrats don’t care for might be construed, in a roundabout way, of limiting consumer choices, but that may be something of a stretch. The takeovers of banks, auto companies, and others limits economic freedom but how relevant is it to you and I? Are you planning to start a Fortune 500 oil company or bank anytime soon?

The courts are doing their part to limit our freedom but the current make up of the Supreme Court is a 5-4 conservative majority. So why the anger? Why the fear that the Democrats are “taking away” our freedoms?

More than what Obama and the Democrats have done specifically, there is a feeling, grounded in reality, that the federal government is closing in - that all of these takeovers, power grabs, thumbing of the nose at the 10th amendment, and crony capitalism has resulted in the palpable feeling of a boa constrictor tightening its coils around the throat of individual Americans. It is the rapidity of growth that the behemoth is enjoying under this administration and Congress that has most Americans worried and some conservatives consumed with fear about the future.

Growth of government does not necessarily translate directly into a loss of freedom. There is a difference between scale and scope and this distinction is made by Robert Higgs in his masterful Crisis and Leviathan.

The real damage to freedom comes not necessarily from government growing bigger but rather from Big Government. The former is about scale, the latter about scope. So much of the Tea Party talk seems to be about scale: how much government spends, taxes, and borrows. Little of it has been about scope: the powers that government has to interfere with the rights of individuals.

Even most on the left would have to agree that while big government is not, in and of itself, a threat to personal liberty, it becomes one when it gathers unto itself powers and responsibilities best left to individuals or the several states. The left is big on “trade off” scenarios where we lose a little personal freedom so that “social justice” is served, or some nebulous social progress yardstick is achieved. That’s no way to run a free society - as any of the Founders could have told them.

In summary, I don’t think there’s any doubt that, fueled by hysterical jack asses on talk radio, many on the right have turned into 13-year old drama queens when it comes to their portentous declamations about Obama stealing our liberties, or the Democrats deliberately destroying America. The reality is bad enough without exaggerating. What the Democrats have tried to do to this point has been to put themselves in charge of parts of the economy - a loss of collective liberty to be sure with the potential, as in Obamacare, to detrimentally impact our personal freedoms.

Toying with our freedoms as the Democrats are doing is irresponsible governance. But then, what else do you expect from people who have eschewed prudence and enacted legislation that no one knows yet how it will impact our personal liberties?

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