Right Wing Nut House


RINO Hour of Power: It’s the Narrative, Stupid

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 4:39 pm


The RINO Hour of Power is back! Two of the most famous RINO’s on the web — Jazz Shaw and Rick Moran — are ready to rock your political world with their unique blend of humor, wit, and sharp analysis.

Joining Jazz and Rick will be Roger Simon, an award winning screenwriter and CEO of PJ Media. The gang will discuss issues surrounding the Trayvon Martin tragedy.

Listen live at 8:00 PM eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

You can join us live by clicking the icon below or by clicking here.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio


Just Another Saturday Night in Chicago

Filed under: Decision 2012, Ethics, Politics — Rick Moran @ 7:11 am

The shooting toll: 2 dead, 8 more wounded. Most of them random. Most of them involving men under the age of 25.

Are they all African American? The Chicago Tribune does not give the race of the victims or the shooters. But you’d be hard pressed to find a white face on the South Side and West Side neighborhoods where these shootings occurred:

A 22-year-old man was fatally shot at a Far South Side liquor store Saturday evening, police said, and a 46-year-old man was killed about 45 minutes later.

At least six others were shot on the South and West sides overnight.

The younger man was shot to death at the store near 133rd Street and Indiana Avenue about 8:45 p.m., said Chicago Police Department News Affairs Officer Darryl Baety. Someone outside fired, hitting the man in the chest, police said.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office identified him as Timothy Scott, of the 13300 block of South Calumet Avenue. He was pronounced dead at the scene about 9 p.m., officials said.


About 9:30 p.m., the 46-year-old man was shot in the chest and right bicep and found in an alley by responding officers, according to police. Officers found Randy Streeter, 46, on the 1800 block of West 63rd Street in the West Englewood neighborhood, authorities said.

We live in a country where the race of the victim and the shooter actually matter - that the tragedy of an early death can be quantified by the color of the skin of the dead person’s assailant. If both victims are black, or the victim is white and the shooter is black, this is somehow less meaningful, less important, less a tragedy than if a “white Hispanic” kills an unarmed young black man.

What’s wrong with that picture? How did we reach a point where this kind of race madness afflicts both white and black?

Hundreds of people marched in support of “justice” for Trayvon Martin in Chicago on Sunday. Everyone wishes for this, whether it lead to Mr. Zimmerman’s punishment for violating the law or his exoneration. Who will march for justice for Timothy Scott? Or the ten victims of gun violence last weekend in Chicago? Or the dozens of other dead people killed around the country in random and not so random shootings? Each death every bit the monumental loss for that family as for the family of young Mr. Martin. Each killing wracking the neighborhood and community where the dead lay as the pain caused by Mr. Martin’s death in Sanford, FL.

Selective outrage is morally reprehensible. Those who seek to make political hay out of this tragedy - including the president of the United States - need to step back and examine the objective reality of the situation. You must reject the notion that Mr. Martin’s death was any more tragic, any less a tragedy than any other death of a young man whose life was cut short by gun violence.

Because when you strip away everything else, all you are left with is politics. And if that is truly what all of this ink being spilled, pixels being created, and tears being shed - real or crocodile - is all about, the injustice, dear friends, is being perpetrated by you and not the Sanford police, Mr. Zimmerman, or the white race.

This blog originally appears on The American Thinker


John Carter Headed For $200 Million Loss

Filed under: PJ Media, Space — Rick Moran @ 2:14 pm

For those of us who are fans — and always will be fans — of the marvelous Edgar Rice Burroughs series John Carter of Mars, the news that the film version will lose somewhere in the neighborhood of $200 million is depressing. The BBC critic Mark Kermode summed up the movie’s major problem:

The storytelling is incomprehensible, the characterization is ludicrous, the story is two and a quarter hours long and it’s a boring, boring, boring two and a quarter hours long.

The film cost a staggering $250 million to make and another $100 million to promote. A Disney spokesman confirmed to the Daily Mail the bad news, saying, “In light of the theatrical performance of John Carter, we expect the film to generate an operating loss of approximately $200 million.”

What went wrong? One of the most beloved sci-fi series of all time is set to become the biggest financial flop in Hollywood history.

Some critics point to the director and producers as being in over their heads. That’s one of those criticisms that is impossible to prove, but sounds like the critic knows something about making movies. In fact, the director, Andrew Stanton, was no stranger to blockbuster projects, and treated the source material with respect — even reverence.

But I agree with this notion from Rick Liebling, the Creative Culturalist at Y&R New York:

Indiana Jones on Mars? Sequels and theme park attractions? That’s why movies like this (or just about any other ‘blockbuster’) suck. They are viewed as franchise vehicles or cross-promotional, money-spinning opportunities. I’m not opposed to those things by the way, but when they are the raison d’etre, well all you’re going to get is a steaming turd.

Beyond the Hollywoodisms and other inside-industry explanations, there is the cultural chasm between the world in which John Carter was originally created by Burroughs and the less literate, less imaginative, more realistic world into which the film was released.

Chris Queen did an excellent job of fleshing out the history and background of the John Carter novels for PJ Media prior to the film’s release. In 1911 when the first story appeared in in the pulp magazine The All Story, the Civil War had been over less than 50 years. Almost everyone knew a veteran from that war, or saw them during parades and other patriotic events. The war was still alive for kids and young adults at that time, making the character John Carter live in ways that we can’t even imagine.

While Burroughs’ time was more literate, it was the imagination that forged a connection to the stories and characters and created such a powerful hold on our affections. In an age before film, before TV, before radio, there was only the reader, the written word, and however we imagined the world being created by the author. Burroughs prose could be turgid at times — to our ears anyway — but the compelling way in which he described his world of Barsoom far surpassed any attempts we might make today to translate the author’s imagined adventures to the screen. There are simply no cultural touchstones that connect the world of Burroughs with our world today. A young boy living in pre-World War I America imagined Barsoom far differently that I did in the 1960’s. And it is likely that most kids today hadn’t even read the books, waiting instead for the video game.

When the first trailer came out, my curiosity was intense. What was the filmaker’s vision of what the 4-armed, betusked Green Men looked like? Did they come close to the picture in my mind’s eye of a thoat? What would Dejah Thoris be wearing? Ultimately, it was a disappointment — had to be a disappointment. That’s the sticking point; even for fans of the series, everyone had their own private and intensely personal vision of what the characters should look like. For that, we can’t blame the film makers. They actually did an amazing job in bringing Tars Tarkas and the thoat to life:

Besides, everyone today knows that there is no life on Mars, could never be life on Mars, thus destroying the premise of the movie from the outset. And since most of the potential movie-going audience had no preconceived notions of the source material, and had no treasured memories of being swept up by the narrative, most of the audience ended up at sea — caught between wanting to suspend belief and their own realistic assumptions about Mars. In the end, how could you ignore what your own eyes have shown you about the Red Planet? We’ve had rovers exploring the surface of Mars for more than a decade. Those spectacular images of utter desolation were, in their own way, far more interesting than the world that Stanton tried to create on a Hollywood sound stage.

It’s a shame that John Carter was a flop. There will be no sequels. Nor will there be any lunch boxes, action figures, kids’ pajamas, battery operated thoats, and almost certainly no talking Tars Tarkas dolls.

But we’ll always have John Carter as Edgar Rice Burroughs imagined him in his wonderful series of books. For that, they can keep their $200 million and leave me dreaming about dating Dejah Thoris’ sister while saving Barsoom from the evil designs of evil men.

This article originally appeared at PJ Media Lifestyle.


The RINO Hour of Power: Romney’s Illinois Express

Filed under: Politics, RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 4:25 pm


The RINO Hour of Power is back! Two of the most famous RINO’s on the web — Jazz Shaw and Rick Moran — are ready to rock your political world with their unique blend of humor, wit, and sharp analysis.

Joining Jazz and Rick will be Bridget Johnson, Washington, D.C. editor for PJ Media. The gang will discuss the Illinois primary and other hot topics making news today.

Listen live at 8:00 PM eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

You can join us live by clicking the icon below or by clicking here.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

Illinois Tailor Made for Romney’s Moderate Conservatism

Filed under: Decision 2012, PJ Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:38 am

My preview of the Illinois primary is up at PJ Media. And with recent polls showing Romney pulling away to a double digit lead, it may turn out to be a blowout for the Mittster:

Silver’s model for Mississippi gave Santorum only a 2% chance of winning that race. But it may be asking a lot for the candidate to overcome Romney in a state that is tailor-made for his brand of Republicanism. Illinois’ history is replete with GOP moderates winning statewide races, including recent governors Jim Thompson, Jim Edgar, and George Ryan, as well as a tradition of Senate moderates like Everett Dirksen and Charles Percy.

But the party has changed over the last 20 years and moderates have a far more difficult time in state-wide primaries. Moderate State Senator Kirk Dillard lost to social conservative Bill Brady in the GOP contest for governor in 2010. Brady narrowly lost to the politically damaged Democrat Pat Quinn, who served as impeached Governor Rod Blagojevich’s lieutenant governor. But current GOP Senator Mark Kirk (rehabbing from a serious stroke) seems to have bridged the gap between the social right and more secular-oriented conservatives with a successful 2010 campaign that stressed economic issues and his leadership qualities.

So while there is a history and tradition of moderate conservatism in Illinois, recent candidates are decidedly farther to the right, reflecting the rise of social conservatives in the party hierarchy. Romney hopes to tap the latent strain of secular conservatism that is most prevalent in the sprawling suburbs of Chicago, while tea party folk and evangelicals, who will make up around 40% of the GOP vote on Tuesday, will break hard for Santorum.

There isn’t exactly zero enthusiasm for Romney in the metro area of Chicago. His rallies have been well-attended — as one would expect from the good advance work being done by his team. But they lack the fire of the true believers who are showing up in droves at Santorum appearances. Romney spoke at the University of Chicago on Monday where the crowd was large, respectful, and, if not enthusiastic, genuinely pleased with the candidate’s message:

Since the debacle of 2006 senate race where Jack Ryan — who had a decent shot of beating Obama — was forced out of the race because of revelations about his divorce to actress Jeri Ryan, (replacing him with the nincompoop Alan Keyes), the IL GOP has barely recovered its equilibrium. They nominated a hard line social conservative for governor in 2010, Bill Brady, who failed to beat an extremely vulnerable Democrat in Pat Quinn. The more moderate alternative — Ken Dillard — would almost certainly have won going away. But he lost to Brady by a scant 119 votes in the primary and Quinn won the general despite serving as Lt. Governor to the disgraced Rod Blagojevich.

Dillard was moderate — by today’s GOP standards. But recent GOP state-wide winners like Senator Mark Kirk and Judy Baar Topinka are more conservative than just about any state office holders in the 80’s and 90’s. The IL GOP has lurched to the right in the last decade as social conservatives are now dominating the party’s leadership. The result has been a shrinking of the number of self-identified Republicans in Illinois as many moderates have either switched parties or gone indie. The Chicago suburbs — once a bastion of Republicanism — are now far less reliable as GOP voters. This has made Illinois - once a classic swing state — as deep blue as any Democratic state in the union save Massachusetts when it comes to federal elections.

Mitt Romney will not recapture most of these moderates for the Republican party. His pandering to the social right might get him the nomination, but it is doubtful that he will beat Favorite Son Obama in November. Perhaps that was never possible. But until the IL GOP rights itself and gets back to its roots, they will continue to lose state-wide races to Democrats and keep Illinois in the Democratic column for presidential elections.


The RINO Hour of Power: Southern Comfort for Newt?

Filed under: Politics, RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 5:24 pm


The RINO Hour of Power is back! Two of the most famous RINO’s on the web — Jazz Shaw and Rick Moran — are ready to rock your political world with their unique blend of humor, wit, and sharp analysis.

Joining Jazz and Rick will be a special guest from the political blogging world. The gang will discuss the AL and MS primaries tonight as well as what’s in store for the race down the road.

Listen live at 8:00 PM eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

You can join us live by clicking the icon below or by clicking here.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

Brotherhood Makes its Move in Egypt

Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Middle East — Rick Moran @ 12:42 pm

My latest is up at FPM where I examine the challenge by the Islamists in the Egyptian parliament to the military.

A sample:

The Islamists are making a move to challenge the military because of two recent incidents that have angered the Egyptian people and made the government even more unpopular than it was previously.

The first incident occurred on February 1 when a huge riot broke out following a soccer game in Port Said. Authorities said that 79 people died and hundreds were injured when fans of the home team swarmed the field after a rare win, attacking opposing fans and players, and overwhelming the small number of riot police who were deployed for the game. The next day, riots broke out in Cairo and elsewhere that killed two and injured more than 900. The people blame the military for the pitifully inadequate security at the stadium. Most of the dead died of asphyxiation when people trying to exit the melee were blocked by a locked gate. There were also questions about how fans had been able to bring knives and other weapons into the stadium.

The second incident that has angered parliament and the Egyptian people was the lifting of the travel ban on the 16 Americans who are on trial for illegal funding of the NGOs they worked for. Parliament believes that the government caved in to American pressure and threats from Congress to deny Egypt the $1.3 billion in aid the US gives to Egypt every year. It was this incident that precipitated the confrontation in parliament with the military government and presages political turmoil.

The Brotherhood seems to be in tune with the people on these issues, and has apparently decided to press its advantage. The lifting of the travel ban especially seems to have outraged the citizens of Egypt due to interference in the judicial process by the military, as the original judge in the case has alleged. This initiated an intense questioning of ministers in parliament, as lawmaker after lawmaker called for a vote of no confidence. “I wish members of the U.S. Congress could listen to you now to realize that this is the parliament of the revolution, which does not allow a breach of the nation’s sovereignty or interference in its affairs,” said the parliament’s speaker, FJP member Saad el-Katatni.

The military says only it has the authority to dismiss the government. To make that point, ministers who were scheduled to answer questions from lawmakers on the NGO issue failed to show up for the afternoon session of parliament. “It seems that the government is pushing for a crisis with parliament,” el-Katatni said.

The no confidence vote is a process that should take about two weeks, as each minister in turn needs to be questioned by lawmakers. But it is unclear that, even if the parliament is successful, there will be any changes to the government. The military has sole authority to name the prime minister and his cabinet, which means that even if they are voted out, the military could appoint the same people.

One observer of Egyptian politics, Mazen Hassan, a political science professor at Cairo University, said, “It has the perfect bits and pieces by which [parliament] can gain popularity.” Indeed, the parliament voted two other measures that promised to be very popular among the nationalist-minded Egyptian populace.

Both measures are largely symbolic, but represent an ominous sign of things to come. First, the parliament, by a show of hands, accepted a report by the Arab Committee that called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, the recall of the Egyptian ambassador from Israel, and a halt to the sales of natural gas to the Jewish state. The Islamists also introduced a measure that would cut the $1.3 billion in aid from the US to Egypt. Both issues are a challenge to the military government, which has reserved the power to make such decisions. But the popular sentiment expressed in both resolutions will strengthen the hand of the Brotherhood going into the presidential elections. It may also get the military to compromise on the make-up of the government, putting some Islamist ministers in power if the no confidence vote is successful.


Game Changer: Israel’s Iron Dome Missile Defense System

Filed under: FrontPage.Com, Middle East — Rick Moran @ 9:01 am

They only have the system deployed around three southern cities, but once they complete the construction of all planned batteries, they should be able to cover the entire southern border region with Gaza.

I wrote about Iron Dome at FPM:

Iron Dome has an unconventional history. It took only three years from design to deployment - a rarity among complex weapons systems. The tracking system was developed by Elta, an Israeli defense company while the computer software was created by the Israeli firm mPrest Systems. The interceptor rocket was built by Rafael.

It is a marvel of technology and can actually determine if a rocket is a threat to a population center, or whether it will land harmlessly in an open field. CNN describes the system:

First deployed in April 2011, the Iron Dome system targets incoming rockets it identifies as possible threats to city centers and fires an interceptor missile to destroy them in mid-air. Each battery is equipped with an interception management center to calculate the expected location of impact, and to prioritize targets according to pre-defined targets. The battery also has firing-control radar used to identify targets, and a portable missile launcher.

This was the first serious battlefield test of Iron Dome and it passed with flying colors. The Jerusalem Post reports that Iron Dome intercepted a total of 27 rockets for a 90% success rate. It is currently deployed around three of the larger cities in the south: Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beersheba. The system is entirely mobile and it is expected that once all batteries are deployed, Israel will potentially be able to intercept any missile fired from Gaza.

“The most important question is how would the Iron Dome affect the decisions of Hamas leaders and their Iranian supporters,” said Dore Gold, Israeli Ambassador to the United States. “While Hamas rockets are aimed primarily to target civilians and terrorize the Israeli home front, a secondary and just important aim is to hit strategic sites in the future,” he added. Gold also pointed out that by eliminating the terrorists’ ability to hit strategic targets, it will force them to re-think what kinds of rockets they will have to purchase in the future.

The most common rocket in the terrorists’ arsenal is the Qassam - a small, inaccurate projectile whose major benefit appears to be its easy portability. There are several variants of the weapon and its range is limited to between 5 and 15 miles. Hamas also has a Russian-designed Grad rocket system that is truck mounted, which it purchased from Iran. Iron Dome can intercept all of these rockets.

A fourth Iron Dome battery is expected to be added later this year with 5 additional batteries to be manufactured by 2013. An Israeli defense official told CNN that it would take 13 batteries to cover the border with Gaza. The system was partially funded by the US government, which gave Israel $205 million to develop and test the system. Another $200 million has been authorized by Congress for additional batteries.

Israel needed Iron Dome to perform above expectations the past few days because the PRC and its Islamic Jihad allies felt it necessary to respond to the pinpoint strike that took out al-Qassi. That strike reveals a slight change in Israeli defense doctrine, according to YNet News. While Israel has always reserved the right to take preemptive action against the terrorists, this sort of targeted assassination is the result of the terrorist attack last August that killed eight Israelis. the Israelis apparently had an opportunity to kill al-Qassi at that time, but decided against it because they knew there would be a retaliatory rocket strike by the terrorists on civilians. Once Israel’s intelligence services got wind of the plot, it was decided to take out al-Qassi despite the almost certain retaliation with rockets on Israeli civilian centers.

This is a tremendous technical achievement for the Israeli arms industry. Whether it will truly alter the strategic equation along the border with Gaza is another question and won’t be known for several years.


Poor Mitt Can’t Get No Respect

Filed under: PJ Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 1:33 pm

As I was going through articles on Super Tuesday yesterday, I couldn’t believe me eyes. Much of the punditry was spinning Mitt’s smashing victory — winning twice as many contests as Santorum and slaughtering his rival in the total delegates won — as, if not a loss, then something less than what it was.

I wrote about this for PJ Media:

Let us put this nonsense to bed once and for all: Mitt Romney was a huge winner on Super Tuesday. By any objective measurement — total votes, delegates won, margin of victory, and the fact that in the four contests he didn’t win he finished second (even beating Santorum in Georgia) — Romney should be credited with almost putting the nomination out of reach. Only a miracle — “an act of God” says the Romney camp — could deny him the Republican nomination at this point. That’s only a slight overstatement.

As Josh Putnam pointed out before the Super Tuesday delegate count was even known, there is no practical or realistic path to 1144 — the number of delegates needed for the nomination — for either Santorum or Gingrich. Santorum would have to start beating the pants off Romney to gain the lion’s share of delegates in states that award them proportionally, and would also have to cross thresholds of more than 50% of the vote in some states that have the winner-take-all rules. And all Romney has to do is finish a fairly close second in states he doesn’t win to keep piling up the delegates.

RealClearPolitics gives Romney 404 delegates to Santorum’s 161. The problem with playing catch-up is best illustrated by what happened in Oklahoma. Santorum won the state by 5 points over Romney, but only picked up one delegate on him — 14-13. With Romney currently enjoying a 250-delegate lead, the delegate math starts to weigh heavily on Santorum’s campaign.

No, it is not impossible for Santorum to win. But it is now extremely unlikely — largely as a result of what transpired on Super Tuesday. In order for Santorum to win, he would have to garner 65% of the remaining delegates at stake. Gingrich would need 70%. Romney needs just 48%. So far, Santorum has won 22% of the delegates while Romney has grabbed 52%. Even if Gingrich were to drop out, the prospect of Santorum running up those totals is a very long shot at best.

It is false to assume that every single Gingrich supporter would transfer their allegiance to Santorum if the former speaker were to drop out. That makes the argument that splitting the conservative vote is the only thing keeping Santorum from winning an inaccurate one. In fact, Santorum is already dominating the conservative vote with Gingrich finishing a distant second. Only in Georgia did Newt beat Rick among conservatives. Elsewhere, it was Santorum: 36-12 in Vermont; 50-18 in Ohio; 53-22 in Tennessee; and 32-9 in Oklahoma.

No doubt a race without Gingrich would give Santorum a nice little bump in some northern states. And he would continue to dominate Romney in many Deep South states. But the rules, and the math, still favor Romney — even with a Gingrich withdrawal.

Reading my mind, Nate Silver helpfully did some figuring and came up with some numbers to show the effect of Gingrich dropping out of the race:

So suppose that you took those estimates from the Public Policy Polling surveys — Mr. Santorum gets 57 percent of Mr. Gingrich’s voters, Mr. Romney 27 percent, and Mr. Paul 16 percent — and redistributed Mr. Gingrich’s votes accordingly in the states that have already voted. Then you recalculated the delegate distribution based on the revised vote totals.


Calculating the delegate totals is more challenging. One issue is states like Iowa, in which the results reported by the news media are from a presidential-preference straw poll that is not directly tied to delegate selection. In these cases, I assumed that delegates were proportional to the straw poll results, even though they are picked though a separate process. Another is states that allocate some of their delegates by Congressional district. I was able to find district-by-district results for Georgia, Michigan, South Carolina and Ohio and make exact calculations for those states, but had to make some best guesses in Oklahoma and Tennessee.

With those qualifications in mind, this general result should hold: Mr. Romney would still be significantly ahead in the delegate count. I have him with 404 delegates versus 264 for Mr. Santorum and 71 for Mr. Paul.

Mr. Romney’s delegate total, in fact, is very slightly higher than it would have been before the redistribution of the vote. There are cases when the shift in votes costs him delegates, such as in winner-take-all districts, or when one of his opponents gains more votes and crosses a threshold that enables him to receive proportional delegates. But Mr. Romney is being given some votes under these assumptions — if not as many as Mr. Santorum — and that helps him in cases where the delegate allocation is more proportional. These factors came close to balancing out, but Mr. Romney gained about 10 delegates on net.


It would undoubtedly still help Mr. Santorum if Mr. Gingrich dropped out — especially if Mr. Gingrich endorsed Mr. Santorum and asked his delegates to vote for him. In fact, the combined total of Santorum and Gingrich delegates right now is quite similar to the number that we calculate Mr. Santorum would have won without Mr. Gingrich in the race.

But that would be just the first step for Mr. Santorum — at best, a necessary but not sufficient condition for a comeback. He’ll need to find some further means by which he can eat into Mr. Romney’s coalition, and he’ll need to do so in a hurry since 21 states have already voted.

The question isn’t what the race would have been without Gingrich in it. The question is what might the race look like going forward without him. In that, Santorum gets closer, but still needs 65% of the remaining delegates to get to 1144. And, barring a total collapse, Romney will win too many states for that to happen.

It would seem that Romney won’t get any respect from the media until he actually wins the nomination. Until then, we’ll continue to get nonsense like this from the pundits.


The RINO HOUR OF POWER: The GOP’s Sex Problem

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 5:23 pm


The RINO Hour of Power is back! Two of the most famous RINO’s on the web — Jazz Shaw and Rick Moran — are ready to rock your political world with their unique blend of humor, wit, and sharp analysis.

Joining Jazz and Rick will be Mary Katherine Ham, political writer and analyst. The gang will discuss the recent flap over contraception and how it is hurting the GOP’s chances to beat Obama in the fall.

Listen live at 8:00 PM eastern time. A podcast will be available shortly after the end of the show.

You can join us live by clicking the icon below or by clicking here.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

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