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4/12/2011
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: TRUMP: MAKING IT RESPECTABLE TO BE A RIGHT WING NUT

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

Tonight, I welcome the “Rick Moran Show All-Stars:” Vodkapundit Stephen Green, Rich Baehr of the American Thinker, and Jazz Shaw of Hot Air. We’ll discuss “The Donald” phenomenon as well as the political issues surrounding the debt ceiling/budget deficit debate.

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 2:40 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

THE REAL BATTLE BEGINS

My latest is up at FrontPage.com where I take a look at the looming battle over deficit reduction being tied to the vote to raise the debt ceiling.

A sample:

After mostly absenting himself from public negotiations over the federal budget last week, President Barack Obama has made the political calculation that he must show the voters that he is serious about long term deficit reduction by getting out in front of the issue, and proposing his own broad plan to address the nation’s fiscal woes.

To that end, President Obama will make an Oval Office address on Wednesday night aimed at convincing the American people that despite his record of compiling more debt in two years than all other presidents in American history combined, he can now be trusted to address the massive deficit. And he will be making the speech against the ticking clock of a congressional vote to raise the debt ceiling — a separate but related issue that Republicans plan to hold hostage in exchange for massive cuts in entitlement spending.

It is significant that Obama sent out his number one political advisor, David Plouffe, rather than an administration expert like the budget director, to make the rounds on the Sunday morning talk shows to offer a taste of the deficit reduction plan. The White House seems to view the fight over fiscal sanity as a political brawl that it plans to ride all the way to re-election in 2012. The hinge of their strategy is to use the bold deficit reduction plan introduced by Representative Paul Ryan, which will cut $6.2 trillion from federal spending by 2020, to portray the GOP as fundamentally uncaring and intent on “destroying” Medicare and cutting taxes for the rich.

In short, Obama plans to demagogue deficit reduction by offering limited cuts in his own plan while increasing taxes on “the rich” and closing other “loopholes” that he believes benefit the wealthy. Plouffe hinted that Obama will offer his own reform proposals for Medicare and Medicaid, but they will likely be superficial, with token cuts and little in the way of concrete ideas to reduce the cost of entitlements in the long-term.

This will not satisfy Republicans — at least, they are saying as much for now. The GOP has not eagerly embraced the Ryan plan due to its controversial proposal to basically privatize Medicare and end federal responsibility for administering Medicaid. But there is much more in the plan on which most Republicans can agree, including tax cuts, large cuts in discretionary spending, the elimination of several federal departments and agencies, and other common sense proposals many fiscal hawks believe are long overdue.

I’m not sure that John Boehner will be able to stand up to the firestorm that is about to be unleashed by every budget interest group in the country. When you’re talking about trillions in cuts, the effect will be huge on groups that have depended on the federal government for decades. Obama will portray himself being on their side, Democrats will demagogue the issue till the cows come home, and more moderate Republicans will bolt fairly early.

Expect a big win for Obama and the Democrats in deficit reduction that may not even be tied to the debt ceiling vote.

By: Rick Moran at 8:42 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

4/11/2011
A CHICAGO SPORTS DAY TO REMEMBER

1-4

It was maddening. It was frustrating. It was sublime, glorious, and exciting.

I can’t ever recall spending a day glued to the TV watching 4 sporting events that were as riveting, satisfying, and just plain fun as Sunday’s incredible line up of Chicago sports teams - and the most mesmerizing Masters in years.

Beginning at 11:30 AM, the Blackhawks took to the ice at a raucous United Center, playing for their playoff lives in a do or die game. At noon, the Bulls began their quest for a 60th victory and their effort to keep hope alive for best record in the NBA. At 1:00 PM, Masters coverage began while at the same time, the White Sox took the field against the Devil Rays.

Forget the DVR. Even the White Sox, who are off to a decent start to the young season, deserved to be watched live. Besides, since the Masters was going to last until 6:00 pm, there wouldn’t be time to watch the other games (unless I wanted to pull an all-nighter).

So I set right down in my TV chair and my face assumed a TV stare. Goodbye world. Goodbye Zsu-Zsu. It was time to OD on sports.

I don’t watch cable news anymore. I don’t watch any of the silly, stupid sit coms, over wrought dramas, or reality shows on over the air TV. When I watch television these days, I will watch sports and the occasional movie (preferably a classic on TCM, FMC, or AMC). Television - the great, empty maw of a cultural wasteland and unnecessary information - is best seen as a portal to observe the “human drama of athletic competition” as ABC’s old Wide World of Sports used to put it.

It don’t hurt to watch those competitions on a Vizio 55 inch HD TV with Bose Cinemate Series II sound system neither.

At first, I tried to approach my problem scientifically. I thought I could allot 5 minutes of viewing time to each event, thus keeping track of what was happening.

1-11

The first hour and a half wasn’t very complicated with only the Bulls and Hawks to follow. The Hawks game was more important but I really like the Bulls so I would catch myself being entranced by D-Rose drives to the hoop rather than Patrick Kane’s wizardry with the puck. I was hoping for a Bulls blowout so I could devote most of my time to watching the Hawks.

Alas, it was not to be. The Bulls-Magic contest tightened considerably in the second quarter, just as the Hawks fell behind. Torn as I was at that point, I had no idea the enormous problems that were about to overwhelm me.

At 1:00 PM all hell broke loose. Tiger Woods began a charge at the Masters. The Magic were giving the Bulls all they could handle - despite being Dwight Howardless. The Blackhawks were falling further behind Detroit and watching as their playoff chances slipped away. And the conditions at US Cellular Park promised a home run derby with the wind blowing out and the Tampa pitcher hanging sliders as if they were Christmas ornaments. He gave up dingers to Gordon Beckam and Paul Konerko in the White Sox half of the first inning.

1-2

I don’t remember much from the next two hours. The Tiger narrative was most compelling to me but thankfully, there are several minutes between golf shots so I could track the Bulls, Sox, and Hawks, keeping mostly up to date with what was going on. But as the Hawks went into their death spiral with just a couple of minutes to go and down by a goal, I lingered on NBC watching as their season appeared to disappear. I was almost grateful that one event was over and I could concentrate on the other three.

I missed some of the 4th quarter of the Bulls game, but managed to catch Tiger’s birdies on 2 and 3. This was at the expense of the White Sox who were up 2-0 and Gavin Floyd already showing he was “on” by dropping the hammer on Tampa Bay hitters with regularity. It was then I made a painful choice; I would only watch the White Sox when they were at bat.

This move paid immediate dividends as I was able to catch the last few minutes of an exciting Bulls game. D-Rose slashed to the bucket time and time again, forcing the Magic to foul him or throwing up one of his impossible lay ups for scores carried the Bulls for the rest of the way. To their credit, the Magic almost pulled off a tie as time expired when Greer threw up a 3-pointer that swished through the basket, only to see time run out a heartbeat before the ball left his hand. The Bulls had their 60th victory - an improbable feat considering that most experts figured they’d have a tough time winning 50.

1-3

At 2:48 pm, Tiger dropped in that eagle on 8 that gave him a share of the lead. At 3:05 pm, Paulie hit his second homer of the game, giving the Sox a 6-0 lead. With only two events to follow, I was able to relax a little - the frenzy of the previous two hours a memory.

In the end, Floyd pitched a brilliant game and the Sox won 6-1. At 3:28: pm, I turned my full attention to the Masters - just in time to watch a dizzying array of players climb up and down the leaderboard with such rapidity that you had to feel sorry for the CBS director in the truck. Whose shots do we cover? Do we keep our focus on young Rory’s embarrassing collapse? Which of the 5 guys at -10 do we slight?

The last hour of the tournament was like that, with incredible drama playing on in the last 5 holes as group after group ground their way home. At the finish, it was refreshing to see someone actually step forward and take a major golf tournament rather than having it handed to them by someone else’s collapse. South African Charl Schwartzel birdied the last 4 holes and seized the day and the green jacket.

Later that night, the Stars lost to the Wild and the Hawks backed into the 8th and final playoff spot. A good end to a great day.

Thinking about it, I would prefer not going through another day like this one. But upon further review, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

By: Rick Moran at 12:03 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

4/8/2011
A FEW WORDS ON RYAN’S ‘RADICAL’ PLAN
CATEGORY: Government, Politics

CBS:” Paul Ryan’s radical plans for Medicare, Medicaid.”

Forbes: “Paul Ryan’s Radical Budget.”

The Guardian: “Paul Ryan’s ‘beyond Reagan’ radical budget plan.”

There are dozens of articles that use the term “radical” in association with Rep. Paul Ryan’s recent budget proposal.

Begging your pardon, liberals, but what’s more radical? Trillion dollar deficits for the next decade or a plan that will cut about 50% of the total deficit by 2020?

We seem to have a disconnect between what is truly radical - obscene budget deficits - and what is a modest effort to address this gargantuan problem. It may be “radical” in the sense that we’ve never had a plan that proposes such huge amounts of cuts. But then we’ve never faced $20 trillion in national debt by 2020 before either.

Ryan is the only person in this debate to use the “T” word when talking about budget cuts. It is interesting to see the denial on both sides of the aisle as Democrats and Republicans are killing themselves over budget cuts that only use the “B” word.

Radical or not, Ryan’s plan should be seen as a starting point for additional cuts in government spending. I just wish there were a lot more “radicals” like Ryan in both parties.

By: Rick Moran at 7:14 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

4/7/2011
THE UNREALITY OF THE LIBYAN CAMPAIGN
CATEGORY: FrontPage.Com

My latest is up at FrontPage.com and it’s another update about what is going on with NATO’s mission in Libya.

A sample:

Pro-government forces have changed their tactics, says French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. Gaddafi’s army is now using human shields, hiding their tanks and artillery in what appears to be heavily populated areas. “”We’ve formally requested that there be no collateral damage for the civilian population … That obviously makes operations more difficult.”

This hasn’t convinced the rebels whose NATO-recognized commander, General Abdel Fattah Younes, is accusing the alliance of dragging its feet. “No, it’s not convincing at all. NATO has other means. I requested there be combat helicopters like Apaches and Tigers. These damage tanks and armoured vehicles with exact precision without harming civilians.”

NATO has been reluctant so far to use combat helicopters because Gaddafi’s forces are known to possess shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons that proved to be very effective against Russian helicopters in Afghanistan. Such caution has been the hallmark of the air campaign as NATO governments not only want to avoid civilian casualties, but also coalition casualties as well. The war is not overly popular in Europe and national leaders are afraid that the people will turn against the conflict if their sons start to come home in coffins.

While it may be admirable to do everything possible to avoid killing innocent civilians, the rebels have other complaints about NATO’s air campaign as well. There has been a slowdown in support for rebel attacks outside of the key city of Brega, with no explanation coming from NATO. The opposition was routed from that key western oil city and driven back more than 40 miles as NATO planes did not make an appearance. NATO spokeswoman Carmen Romero said that “the pace of our operations continues unabated. The ambition and the position of our strikes has not changed.” But the problem appears not to be the number of sorties, but rather where NATO chooses to assist the rebels.

The confusion about the conflicting goals of the UN mandate to “protect civilians,” while being prevented from affecting “regime change” has given NATO military chiefs pause when it comes to offering benefits to the rebels such as close air support. Whether by design or simply as a consequence of NATO’s attempt to maintain an arm’s length relationship with the rebels, there is little or no coordination with the rebel troops on the ground when they attack, or while they are retreating. If NATO patrols circling Misrata catch site of Gaddafi’s forces in the open, they pulverize them. But they are refusing to attack targets inside the city, despite rebel claims that most of the population has left.

The rebels also complain that it sometimes takes hours - 8 hours in at least one instance - for NATO to respond to requests for air support. Could it be that the infamous “political committee” made up of all NATO countries, the Arab League, and a few other nations are gumming up the works? I haven’t heard anything about that committee since its formation, but 8 hours to decide to support a rebel operation? It really does sound as if NATO is fighting a war by committee.

By: Rick Moran at 11:45 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

4/5/2011
THE RICK MORAN SHOW: RAPID FIRE REDUX

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

Tonight, I welcome Aaron Gee of the American Thinker, Jazz Shaw of Hot Air, and Doug Mataconis of Below the Beltway for a Rapid Fire question and answer roundtable on news, issues, and current events.

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 4:24 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

9/11 PLOTTERS TO FACE MILITARY TRIBUNAL

My latest is up at FrontPage.com where I examine the decision yesterday by the Justice Department to try Khalid Sheik Mohammed via a military tribunal rather than a civilian trial.

A sample:

This latest flip-flop by the Obama administration highlights the chasm between what presidential candidate Obama said about the detainee policies of George W. Bush in 2008, and the actions Obama has been forced to take when confronted with the same realities his predecessor faced. On every significant issue dealing with detainees and where they will be housed, the President has been forced by massive political opposition - at times, from his own party - to reverse himself and follow the same policies and procedures laid down by President Bush.

Former Vice President Cheney predicted as much when he said in 2009, “I think the president will find, upon reflection, that to bring the worst of the worst terrorists inside the United States would be cause for great danger and regret in the years to come.”

In this case, it was Congress that put its foot down and prevented Eric Holder from going forward with his disastrous plan to bring Kahlid Sheikh Mohammed and the other conspirators to New York City and try them in the criminal justice system. At Monday’s press conference announcing his decision, Holder alluded to a rider attached to last year’s Defense Authorization Act that prevented any monies from being spent for a federal trial on US soil as the cause for his “reluctant” decision.

“Those unwise and unwarranted restrictions undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could undermine our national security,” said Holder. The Attorney General failed to elaborate on how keeping dangerous terrorists off American soil could “undermine” our national security. He also did not specifically address how a trial for Mohammed by military tribunal could adversely affect our counterterrorism efforts.

Holder was careful not to mention past administration reversals, including the president’s efforts to close Guantanamo, expand detainee rights, do away with “indefinite detention,” and stop military trials altogether. In each and every case, Congress - both Democrats and Republicans - have stymied this massively flawed ideology regarding the treatment and disposition of detainees.

The White House had little to say about Holder’s announcement. Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters, “I think that the president’s primary concern is that the perpetrators - the accused perpetrators - of that terrible attack on the American people be brought to justice as swiftly as possible and as fairly as possible.” He added that “congressional opposition has created obstacles that’s (sic) been very hard to overcome.”

It’s amazing to listen to Holder’s bitter tirade against Congress when it is his own blindness to circumstances that is at fault. KSM is not “just another terrorist.” When Holder defends the DoJ by saying they were perfectly capable of trying terrorists in a civilian court, I have little doubt that he is correct - in many cases. Whether most terrorists should be tried in civilian courts is another issue, but no one is deriding the competence of the Justice Department to carry out trials for small fry.

But is Holder stupid or is it that he just doesn’t recognize the fact that a KSM trial would be radically different than trying some al-Qaeda foot soldier? This is a guy whose picture is hanging on the walls of mud huts and hovels from the Red Sea to the Hindu-Kush. He is a hero to millions of Muslims around the world who sympathize with the terrorists. To imagine the security nightmare of a trial likely to take up to two years is only part of it. No doubt KSM would be represented by the most histrionic of lawyers who, like O.J. Simpson’s “dream team,” could very well turn such an extraordinarily complex trial into a muddled circus.

If that would be the case - a distinct possibility - all bets would be off and despite Holder’s confident assertions of conviction, we may very well be confronted with the nightmare of KSM or one or more of his confederates being acquitted. What then, Mr. General?

I understand the worry that the tribunals won’t pass muster on appeal. Fine. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. First things first - try KSM and his cronies in a secret military tribunal, convict the bastard, and execute him. He has received far more consideration by opponents of tribunals and others than he deserves.

By: Rick Moran at 9:38 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)

4/1/2011
HOMETOWN KID LEADS THE CHICAGO BULLS BACK TO GLORY
CATEGORY: Chicago Bulls

1-1

He is a quiet, unassuming young man away from the basketball court — polite, respectful, humble, a genuinely nice guy. He’s the kind of young man you hope your daughter brings home some day to announce her engagement. He carries himself with a dignity and grace that you wish more professional athletes would emulate.

But when this nice kid gets on a basketball court, he becomes a gargoyle, a demon, a whirling blur of power, motion, and speed that makes opposing players appear that they are standing in quick drying cement as he streaks by them on his way to another jaw-dropping finish at the rim.

Derrick Rose is not the best NBA player. There are better shooters, better rebounders, better passers. There are better 3-point shooters, players better at dealing out assists or stealing the ball, and better shot blockers.

But only 2 or three players besides Rose feature the entire package. And none, in my estimation can match the burning intensity of his will to win by doing what ever it takes, including sacrificing his body, to carry his team to victory.

Lebron James is, at this point, the best all-around player in the NBA followed closely by his Miami teammate Dwyane Wade. Both of those superstars feature the same kind of speed, power, and leaping ability of Rose. And both may be slightly better defenders than Rose at this point in his career.

That’s because at the ripe old age of 22, Rose has only been in the Big Show for 2 years. But his willingness to accept the coaching of first year skipper Tom Thibideau — a defensive wiz who has turned the Bulls into legitimate contenders virtually overnight — presages future years where the native Chicagoan will no doubt be a perennial first team all-NBA defensive team selection.

A former “Mr. Basketball” in Illinois, Rose’s path to the NBA was a difficult one. Growing up on the mean streets of the South Side of Chicago in the drug and gang ingested Englewood neighborhood, Rose’s father walked out on the family when Derrrick was very young. His mother, a strong willed woman with a determined sense of family, raised the youngster with the help of his three brothers who kept Rose off the streets and away from gangs.

As Rose became a teenager, the brothers shielded the young man from the worst that the basketball culture has to offer. There are so many charlatans, shoe salesmen, scouts, and hangers on for a talented young kid like Rose to avoid on the way up and his brothers performed that function magnificently. Most of us are unaware of the pressures that many of these African American kids from the inner cities of America are under if they have even modest basketball talent. Rose not only avoided scandal and controversy, he thrived in the structured environment offered by both his brothers, and his high school coach.

Winning two state championships with Simeon Academy, Rose went on to win a national championship with Memphis where after only one year, he entered the NBA draft.

Becoming the improbable 1st pick of the Bulls in the 2008 draft (the Bulls, the last lottery team in, had only a 1.7% chance of getting the first pick), he was named Rookie of the Year and followed that season up with a solid second.

Determined to improve his jump shooting, Rose spent the summer of 2010 in the gym practicing. Results of his hard work became immediately apparent as teams that had once dropped off the young star and clogged the middle to prevent his drives to the basket now discovered that Rose would simply rise up and drain 15, 18, foot jumpers. He has even improved his shooting beyond the arc although he has had long dry spells when trying to shoot the three.

With a 40″ vertical leap and a solid 195 lbs on his 6′3″ frame, the strength of this kid is incredible. His body control while in the air is amazing and more than once he has dunked the ball over much taller competitors.

But it is when the game is on the line that Derrick Rose shows his worth. Every great team needs a closer — a guy who can take the ball and put the team on his back, willing it to win. Since most NBA games are close affairs, the last 3 minutes of a game usually determines the outcome. This season, Rose has made sure that if the Bulls are ahead, they stay ahead, and if they are down, they more often than not catch up and surpass the opposing team in those final, vital minutes. He’s not the best closer in the game - yet. But in a year or two, the Bulls will lose few close games with Derrick Rose on the court.

What Rose has meant to the Chicago Bulls this year is incalculable. With the team missing players like Carlos Boozer (21 games) and Joachim Noah (31 games), the Bulls nevertheless have the best record in the Eastern Conference and a shot at the number one seed for the playoffs and home court advantage throughout. It has been Rose who has kept the team together, urging it on to greater effort, and supplying that killer instinct that all great teams need in order to prevail.

The Bulls will probably not win an NBA championship this year. They may not even get to the Eastern Conference finals. But there is no doubt that the league must once again reckon with the Chicago Bulls. For the first time since the Michael Jordan era, Bulls fans are delirious with excitement over their team.

And most of all, they are delirious over the hometown kid with the shy smile and the heart of a lion.

By: Rick Moran at 10:10 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)