Right Wing Nut House


JULY 1, 1863

Filed under: History — Rick Moran @ 5:10 am

This is the fifth in my series of week-long blog posts called Countdown to Gettysburg“. They are written from the perspective of someone who lived at that time and as if the internet existed in 1863.

The introduction to the series is here.

Previous Posts:

June 27, 1863

June 28, 1863

June 29, 1863

June 30, 1863

(Check back often for updates)

And so, it’s begun.

Here’s a dispatch from General Buford at Gettysburg:

The enemy’s force (A.P. Hill’s) are advancing on me at this point, and driving my pickets and skirmishers very rapidly. There is also a large force at Heidlersburg that is driving my pickets at that point from that direction. General Reynolds is advancing, and is within 3 miles of this point with his leading division. I am positive that the whole of A.P. Hill’s force is advancing.

That’s uh…12,000 men people! And Johnny Buford has 2700 effectives (with every 4th man detailed to “hold horses”).

It began around 8:00 AM this morning when, as Buford reports, the rebs came “booming…skirmishers three deep” just as Major Rathbone predicted. Two brigades from Henry Heth’s division moved down the Chambersburg Pike encountering Bufords videttes and alerting the rest of his command. The rebs must have thought they were facing only local militia because they didn’t even bother to deploy into a line of battle. Meanwhile, Buford sent an urgent message to General Reynolds telling him to hurry because even though his troopers were armed with the brand new Sharps 7 shot repeaters, he couldn’t hold against those odds for long.

Thank God Johnny Reyonolds pushed his boys so hard the day before because they were bivuaced a scant three miles from Bufords position. Meantime, General Buford had devised a brilliant plan. Called “defense in depth,” in essence, he was trading space for time. As the rebs began to pile up in front of him, he slowly withdrew to prepared positions in the rear. This caused more delay as the rebs would then have to sort themselves out all over again to make ready to attack. All the while, Bufords troopers are giving the Johnny Rebs what for with their repeaters.

Finally, around 10:00 AM, John Reynolds Black Hats arrived and started to form up. I’ve made a rough map of what I think the battlefield looks like at this point:


Buford positioned his three batteries of artillery nicely. He had one battery each covering the approach down Chambersburg Pike and Mummasburg Road with one battery in reserve “firing for effect.” The effect was to tear great big holes in the reb line causing Heth to committ another brigade, and then another, until his entire division of 7,000 men were engaged.

Bully for John Buford and the Union Cavalry!

Meanwhile, I sure would have liked to have seen the look on the faces of those johnny rebs when they saw the Black Hats of the Iron Brigade marching in perfect formation headed straight for them. I bet they were wetting their britches! My source at I Corp headquarters tells me that the Black Hatters went in on the left of Gamble’s brigade pushing through a wooded area down near Willoughby Run. Perfect! They may be able to turn the flank of Heth’s division and send them running for their lives.

If we’re lucky, we’ll bag the lot of them!

I’ll be updating this post all day as reports come in.


Here’s the situation as of 11:30 AM.

Our boys really have a twist on the rebs. Archer’s reb brigade apparently just walked into it when, thinking that Buford’s troopers had withdrawn from McPherson’s ridge, they were surprised to find the Black Hats of General Meredith ready and loaded for action. Before the rebs knew it, our boys had pretty much surrounded Archers entire Brigade and, as I predicted earlier, we bagged about 800 prisoners including one very mad and embarassed General Archer!

Things aren’t going so well elsewhere, however.

General Cutler’s boys were deployed along a railroad cut (a long, shallow depression running southwest to northeast just below Seminary Ridge) when General Davis’ rebs came screaming down on top of them, jumping them from 3 sides. It must have got pretty bloody and I hear that most of our boys had to surrender. But just when Davis’ rebs were ready to break through to the town itself, a couple of regiments of Wisconsin badgers showed up and pushed them back. Now it was the rebs turn to be caught like a fish in a barrel in the railroad cut. That too, got pretty bloody.

So at this moment, the rebs are widening an arc from Willoughby Run around to a point just below Seminary ridge with most of A.P. Hills Corp yet to arrive on the scene. We’ve got General Howard’s Dutchmen of the XI Corp on the way. They better get here soon. We’re outnumbered as it is.


John Reynolds is dead.

I don’t know what else to say. Oh, cruel blow! Our best field commander killed before the battle is 3 hours old. I hear General Doubleday took command. I hope he’s up to the task.

Rest in peace General Johnny.

More later…


One word can describe the situation as it stands now.


After the death of General Reynolds, the battle turned decisively against us. It really was nobody’s fault. Although people will say it was those damn Dutchmen of XI Corp that broke once again like they did at Chancellorsville, the fact is the rebs apparently had a lot more men reach the field of the battle sooner than our boys got there. Like that crazy reb cavalryman in Bragg’s outfit Bedford Forrest might say, they got their “fustest with the mostest.”

It happened like this. General Howard placed his XI Corps in an arc from the railroad cut around to a little stream called Rock Creek. He was spread pretty thin but it was good ground with plenty of cover and the rebs had to attack uphill, pretty steep in some places. By the time Howard was deployed reb General Rodes Corps of 8,000 had added his weight to A.P. Hill’s 12,000 men and 20,000 rebs attacked our boys along the entire front, screaming like wild indians. It must’ve been a sight to see. Any way, we were badly outnumbered but more than holding our own. In fact, two brigades of General Baxter’s division hammered most of Rode’s boys to pieces. But then the rebs got some artillery on Oak Hill and started to pound away and Baxter had to withdraw. Meanwhile, more and more rebs were showing up to the north. Here’s a map of the battlefield from around 3:00 pm this afternoon:


As you can see, our boys were in a real pickle. Ewell’s entire Corps was bearing down on General Howard’s boys and reb General Early was showing up on the battlefield after a forced march from York down the Heidlersburg Road damn near behind General Barlow!

So it wasn’t really the Dutchmen of XI Corps fault that they broke. The problem was, once XI Corp abandoned their positions, the entire line started to retreat. Some of the boys left the field in good order but most of them just ran. This left I Corps exposed to the entire fury of the reb advance. I don’t have any casualty figures at the moment but it looks pretty grim. I daresay the Iron Brigade is finished as a fighting force what with most of them dead or captured.

The information I have now is that General Howard has set up a defensive position on some hills south and west of town. With our boys still streaming through Gettysburg proper and totally unorganized, it remains to be seen whether or not the Army of the Potomac has ceased to be an effective fighting force. If the rebs decide to keep pushing, they may shove our boys all the way out of Pennsylvania. That would leave a wide open road to Washington.

Too, too terrible to contemplate.

I should have one more update later today. I’m almost afraid to talk to my source at the War Department telegraph office for fear that the news will be too wrenching. I will, however, keep posting.

God help us all.


Bloody, bloody, day.

How we survived it, I don’t know. I can tell you that it was no thanks to our “generalship.” I put that in quotation marks because I don’t think there’s ever been a more wretched group of incompetent officers in the history of warfare. Oh there are exceptions like General Reynolds (God Rest his soul), General Hancock and a few others. But by and large, the only reason our army still lives is because of the individual bravery of the union soldier.

My beloved Iron Brigade is a perfect example. Cut off from the rest of I Corps on the extreme left of the fight, most of our boys running for their lives, those boys in the slouched black hats stood firm! They had rebs on three sides of them but they stopped the advance of Lee’s men long enough to give ther rest of their comrades from I Corps the chance to get away and fight tomorrow.

It cost my Black Hatters dear; they lost 1100 out of 1800 engaged.

I’m getting similar figures from other commands. Some regiments in XI Corps have simply ceased to exist with 90% or more in killed, wounded, missing. It looks like we lost about 30% from both Corps but the stragglers are still coming in.

The retreat through town was a mess and with no real leadership our boys had to pretty much figure out for themselves where the army was making a stand. As I mentioned in an earlier update, General Howard had established a defensive line south of town on a low ridgeline fronting a cemetary. There are two bigger hills further east and south and a smaller hill to the north. Here are the positions at about sundown:

Gettysburg 6:00 PM July 1

Hancock has arrived thank God!. He’s brought Slocum and Sickles Corps with him. That should shore up the line until the rest of our boys get there tomorrow morning.

One mystery that I can’t fathom. Ewell had his entire Corps ready to attack the hill where the Cemetary sits and never made a move. I guarantee you if he had tried it, our boys would’ve been in big trouble. But he didn’t and for the life of me, I can’t figure out why. I get a feeling that if Stonewall was still in charge of that Corps we wouldn’t have been so lucky.

Just heard from Meade. “Good ground” he says. I sure hope so. We’re going to need all the luck we can get to win after the shellacking we took today.

Also heard that they call that little hill where Howard placed the remainder of his Corps “Cemetary Ridge.” Gives me the creeps. My friend Mr. Wilkeson who’s a correspondent for the New York Times just wired me:

“There’s a sign at the entrance to the cemetary that reads ‘The Discharge of Firearms within this cemetary is prohibited. Violators are subject to a $5 fine.”


JULY 2, 1863

Filed under: General — Rick Moran @ 4:04 am

This is the sixth in my series of week-long blog posts called Countdown to Gettysburg“. They are written from the perspective of someone who lived at that time and as if the internet existed in 1863.

The introduction to the series is here.

Previous Posts:

June 27, 1863

June 28, 1863

June 29, 1863

June 30, 1863

July 1, 1863


As I write this, there is a hint of red in the sky foreshadowing the dawn of another day in this war. That red means it will be another scorching day with temperatures in the 90’s. And for our boys camped out on the hills and ridges overlooking the town of Gettysburg, it means another day of desperate fighting.

Or maybe not.

I half hoped that Bobby Lee would try his old trick of giving us the slip and swing around our flank to make a dash for Baltimore or even Washington. That way, he could face us on ground of his own choosing by assuming a defensive posture, daring Meade to attack well fortified positions. I feel certain that he got that advice, probably from Longstreet. One look at the map below will tell you why:


As you can see, our boys are in excellent position, better than we could possibly have dreamed. We occupy the high ground from Culps Hill in the north to the base of the hill called Little Round Top in the south. It kind of reminds me of a fish hook.

In short, a very strong defensive position on, as General Meade says, “good ground.”

During the night, General Sickle’s III Corps, along with General Hancock’s II Corps and General Slocum’s XII Corps arrived and were deployed expertly by Hancock. Reb strength is unknown but we should assume that most of their boys have arrived too. Right now, all we’re missing is VI Corps and they’re not expected to arrive until afternoon.

One note from yesterday’s battle; casualty figures are much worse than originally thought. In addition to losing General Reynolds, I Corps suffered an unbelievable 70% in casualties. They took upward of 10,000 men into battle and now have less than 2,500 effectives. That finishes I Corps as a fighting force, at least until it can be reorganized.

As for XI Corps, most of their losses are in the “missing, presumed captured” category. The fact that they broke and ran yesterday contributed in no small way to I Corps astronomical losses. They better fight well today. We’re going to need them.

It’s getting lighter in the east. Washington city is quiet, expectant, waiting anxiously for news. We hear that Grant sent a note to Pemberton asking him to surrender at Vicksburg. No reply yet but if true, the fall of that rebel stronghold on the Mississippi would be a devastating blow to the South.

But it won’t mean a thing unless our boys can whip Bobby Lee in Pennsylvania. And that’s something we’ve never done.

Check back for updates through the afternoon.


There’s an expectant quiet on the field. It’s almost noon, brutally hot and so far, the rebs have been satisfied with some exchanges of long range artillery fire and a few instances of pickets firing. Mr. Wilkerson of the New York Times has wired me with the information that General Sykes and his V Corps has arrived with General Sedgewick and the VI Corps expected shortly.

Lots of reb movement has been observed but so far, no attacks, not even cavalry skirmishes. I wonder what Bobby Lee is waiting for? Major Rathbone says to keep on eye on the left. He says army intelligence has put Pete Longstreet’s Corps opposite General Sickles who’s holding the extreme left next to a little stand of trees called Zieglers Grove. Rathbone thinks Lee will have his best Corps commander - Longstreet - lead the attack. It makes sense except for one thing; Bobby Lee never does the expected.

When I get any more reports, I’ll post again.


It’s mid afternoon now and the news from Gettysburg is grim.

Mr. Wilkerson of the New York Times:

General Meade is beside himself because of the action taken by General Sickles. Posted on the extreme left of the Federal line, Sickles was dissatisfied with his deployment believing he could be flanked rather easily. About a half mile further left was a hill with a peach orchard on top. Sickles formed his line there thus leaving a gap in the Federal lines of about 1/2 mile and isolating him from the rest of the army. Here as a map of our positions at that time:


Meade was fit to be tied when he saw this saying in response to Sickles promise to support Howard’s XI Corps that it would do no good, that the rest of the Army of the Potomac would have to instead support him.”

No sooner were the words out of Meade’s mouth than a tremendous cannonade was begun by the Rebels. Artillery Commander General Hunt, of whom I am a great admirer, ordered counter battery fire. His tactics are simple. Train 20 or 30 guns on one Rebel gun, dismount it, and move onto another. As you know, I believe that he and Colonel Haupt are the two most valuable officers in our army.

While this counterbattery fire was effective, the Rebels took a fearful toll of our boys, especially on Culps Hill on the right and the Peach Orchard where Sickles had ill advisedly placed his men. The rest of Sickles Corps was spread out in a line along the Emmittsburg Road. And that’s right where he was hit by Several divisions belonging to Reb General Mclaws.

Sickles men were being mowed down further to the left as well because General Hood’s Texans had attacked south of the little hill with the peach orchard and flanked that part of the line. There’s a spot directly below the hill known as Little Round Top that’s very rocky known as Devil’s Den. That place earned its name today as many a good man was lost on both sides during some desperate fighting. In the end, Sickle’s entire position was flanked and he was forced to retreat despite being supported by General Sykes V Corps.

As I’m writing this, Hood is making his way slowly up the Little Round Top. I sure hope we have some of our boys up there because if the Rebs take that hill, they can put a few guns up there and rake our entire line from left to right with shot and shell. We’d have to abandon the position entirely.

I’ll wire you later with details.

Wilkerson confirms much of what I’ve heard from the War Department today. I’ve also heard that the rebs are ready to move against Culps Hill on the right. Here’s what my source in the War Department thinks things look like at the moment on the extreme left of our position:


I will have more as soon as I get it.


As long as I live, I shall never forget what has just been relayed to me by an eyewitness in Colonel Vincent’s Brigade of General Barnes Division V Corps. It is, simply put, the most outstanding example of courage and intestinal fortitude I’ve ever heard.

It happened at Little Round Top. Following the rout of Sickles Corps by Hood’s men, several regiments of Alabama and Texas boys started to make their way up the undefended Little Round Top. Just in time, General Warren, who was operating a signals station on top of the hill, recognized the danger and sent out a call for the nearest available troops to come “at the double quick.”

Those troops belonged to General Barnes Division, a Pennsylvanian by the name of Colonel Strong Vincent. Vincent sized up the situation immediately. It was as dire as the Army of the Potomac ever faced.

If the rebs had been able to sweep Little Round Top, it would have been a relatively simple thing to drag a few batteries up there where, protected by a few regiments of infantry, they could have shelled the entire Union line all the way past Cemetery Ridge to Culp’s Hill. The army would have to leave. And with Lee putting pressure along the entire front, it’s likely such a movement would have turned into a rout.

High stakes indeed. Vincent placed his men along a spur of Little Round Top just below the summit. Here are the dispositions of our boys:

Little Round Top 6:00 PM July 2

At the extreme left of the line was Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain’s 20th Maine. They were the anchor of the line. If they gave way, the entire army was flanked. Clearly, Chamberlain’s men would have to stand firm.

And stand firm they did, I’m proud to say. The rebs made charge after charge, each time lengthening Chamberlain’s lines out to the left a little more. Those Alabama and Texas boys were relentless. My eyewitness lost count of the number of times the rebs charged up that hill. Finally, it was apparent that Chamberlain would have to do something because his boys were almost out of ammunition. More than half his men were killed or wounded. He couldn’t retreat and if he stayed where he was, he’d be overrun.

So he ordered his boys to fix bayonets and charge!

That’s right. One lone regiment charging two divisions of rebs.

Well don’t ask me how or why, but his boys made a spirited charge down that hill, broke the backs of the reb effort to take the hill, and saved the Union army.

Like I said, I’ll never forget it as long as I live.

It’s getting near dark, but fighting is still raging all along the line. I’m told there’s a fierce fight around Culp’s Hill where General Wadsworth’s boys were temporarily dislodged by 3 divisions of Ewell’s Corps. I say temporarily because Wadsworth ordered a counterattack and after some of the worst hand to hand fighting of the war, our boys regained the hill. But Ewell’s boys aren’t going away. They may try a night attack to throw our boys off that hill.

And the rebs also made an effort to take Cemetery Hill right in the middle of our line. They actually broke through for a few minutes. Then the 1st Minnesota pulled something similar to Chamberlain’s feat and charged the attacking rebs. I hear their losses were 90%.

Other casualty figures are unavailable right now but the general consensus at headquarters is pretty grim. Sickles Corps was badly mauled and some other units on our left were also decimated. I should have a better idea by morning of where we stand.

About today, I guess you can say we’re holding our own. That’s the best you can say. It was a very near thing in some cases, with the rebs extremely close to breaking through and splitting the army or flanking our boys and levering them off the ridge. And we paid dearly for it.

One sad note. Do you remember Mr. Wilkerson, the New York Times reporter whose son was a Colonel in the 127th New York? Well, the last my source saw of him was near the Devils Den where he was sitting, weeping uncontrollably next to the body of his dead son.

When this cruel war is over…


RINO Hour of Power: Welcome to the Flat Earth Society

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 3:21 pm

Join us for another environmentally safe episode of the RINO Hour of Power hosted by Rick Moran with special co-host Fausta Wertz of Fausta’s blog.

President Obama is going to unleash the power of the executive branch to save the world from…something. We guess it’s excessive emissions of carbon dioxide, but it may be that Mr. Obama wants to save us all from people who disagree with the notion of catastrophic climate change.

The president released his plan to combat climate change today and to take a close look at it, we’ll ask Tom Harris, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition to discuss Obama’s blueprint and also get updates on the latest climate change news.

We stream live from 8:00 - 9:00 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


RINO Hour of Power: Hispanics and Immigration Reform

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 4:23 pm

Immigration reform has hit the Senate floor and the battle has been joined between those who are seeking to bring the 11 million illegal immigrants out of the shadows into light of legalization, and those who don’t think breaking the law should be rewarded.

Fully 90% of illegal aliens are Hispanic. What do Hispanics who are already here think of immigration reform? Will GOP backing really help mend fences with Hispanic voters?

Join us for another rollicking episode of the RINO Hour of Power with your host Rick Moran and co-host Rich Baehr of the American Thinker. We’ll discuss immigration reform with author, blogger, and radio host Silvo Canto.

The show streams live from 8:00 - 9:00 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


Dear Conservatives: Ozzie and Harriet are Dead

Filed under: General — Rick Moran @ 5:44 pm

The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, the longest running live action situation comedy in television history, debuted on radio in 1944 and ended it’s TV run in 1966. Such longevity in the entertainment business is remarkable and a testament to the creative genius of Ozzie Nelson, a former band leader who married singer Harriet Snyder in 1935. The couple decided to appear as a team so that their separate careers wouldn’t keep them apart. This led eventually to the radio incarnation of their show and finally, their successful TV run.

As with all the 1950’s and early 1960’s family-themed sitcoms, the shows featured a strong, loving father, a doting, submissive mother, and usually one or more precocious children whose every day problems became the plots for most of the episodes. They all lived in neat, trim, suburban houses, with comfortable but not ostentatious furnishings. The children were well-fed, always wore clean clothes, and were respectful of their elders, authority figures, and rarely misbehaved.

The key to Ozzie and Harriet’s popularity, as well as series’ like Father Knows Best, Leave it to Beaver, and Make Room for Daddy was simple: TV was portraying the ideal family, in an ideal setting, with ideal characters, living mostly idyllic lives. Those shows are skewered by modern day critics who scoff at the portrayal of the family in such a positive, unrealistic light. But the fact is, many millions of Americans saw themselves being portrayed by those TV families and they embraced the values that were illuminated by the characters every week.

But we all know it wasn’t really like that. Daddy may have had an affair with his secretary and sometimes beat his kids. Mom may have been a closet alcoholic and a psychologically abusive witch. The teenage girl occasionally had sex and got pregnant. And the teenage boy might have struggled to suppress his attraction to the same sex while failing algebra and getting in trouble with the law for going joy-riding in a neighbor’s car.

The problems of the “traditional families” in the 1950’s aren’t really much different than problems faced by families today. Except that the families today don’t look much like the Nelson family. It’s just a pity many conservatives apparently don’t see that, or refuse to accept it.

The essence of America is change. It is the source of our greatest strength as a society — our ability to right wrongs, adapt to new situations, and reinvent ourselves. We can alter the course of history if we work hard enough and believe strongly enough.

What we can’t do is turn back the clock. But for some on the right, this simple, physical law is ignored and the political and social ramifications of this inability to deal with the massive structural changes in our society is threatening to make conservatism irrelevant and the Republican party a memory.

Pew Research recently released a rather startling survey which showed that 4 in 10 American households with children now feature women as the primary breadwinners. The internals of the poll are fascinating; 37% of those women are married and make more money than their husbands. But 63% are single mothers. Perhaps it’s not surprising that most of the married women are white and most of the single women are black and Hispanic — a sad commentary on the effects of poverty on the family.

Pew offers a logical explanation:

The growth of both groups of mothers is tied to women’s increasing presence in the workplace. Women make up almost of half (47%) of the U.S. labor force today, and the employment rate of married mothers with children has increased from 37% in 1968 to 65% in 2011.

Erickson, appearing on Fox News along with Juan Williams and Lou Dobbs, showed why Josh Barro was right when he wrote, “Erick Erickson Shows Everything That’s Wrong With The GOP”:

I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology, when you look at the natural world, the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complimentary role.

Erickson’s saved himself from complete ignominy by using the word “typically” to describe sex roles in the animal kingdom. That may be true. But there are enough examples of females being dominant — especially among primates — to question his scientific acumen.

And, of course, humans are a little different than the rest of the animal kingdom. As rational, self-aware thinking apes, we have the ability to rise above purely instinctive behavior and make choices based on the notion that, while there are many differences between men and women, we are possessed with equal levels of intelligence, ambition, and innate ability.

But Erickson’s beef is not with nature (one can never be sure, but one hopes he accepts the above premise), it is with the choices that women make and how those choices are affecting the family. They are not the choices that Harriet Nelson would have made, nor many women from the 1950’s.

For single mothers, there is no choice. More than 8.5 million women are forced to work outside the home to support their children. Almost 30% of single mothers live in poverty. With absent fathers, who are likely to contribute little in the way of child support or alimony, support structures for single mothers are nearly non-existent. What choice does Erickson want these women to make? Find a man and marry him? If only it were that simple.

The 37% of women with children who have chosen to pursue a career that allows them to be the primary source of income for the family are what’s really eating at Erickson and other conservatives. “Having mom as primary bread winner is bad for kids and bad for marriage,” said Erickson. Oh really? And on what scientific basis is that statement made? The “traditional family,” where the dad works, and the mom stays at home all day to take care of the kids, is nearly non-existent. Only 14% of families fit that template today. The overwhelming majority of women work outside of the home — not exactly what Harriet Nelson had in mind, but that’s America. Women make up 47% of the workforce and nearly a quarter of them have more education and training than their husbands. A growing number of fathers — 3.5% — are “stay at home dads” and make themselves responsible for child rearing while their better educated, more successful wives go off to work.

There’s much more. When Erickson claims that female bread winners are bad for children and their marriage, what kind of family is he imagining where the kids are better off and the marriage has a better chance of success? One can have little doubt that Erickson would reply the “traditional family” is what he has in mind.

But what is a “traditional” family? A few facts on what the family unit looks like in America today:

* Single parents account for 27 percent of family households with children under 18.
* More than two million fathers are the primary caregivers of children under 18, a 62 percent increase since 1990.
* One in two children will live in a single-parent family at some point in childhood.
* One in three children is born to unmarried parents.
* Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce.
* More than one million children have parents who separate or divorce each year.
*More than half of Americans today have been, are or will be in one or more stepfamily situations.

If there is such a thing as a “traditional family” today, it is a blended family — parents and children the result of more than one union. But there are other kinds of family units that would certainly fall under the rubric “non-traditional”:

* Estimates show that approximately 2 million American children under the age of 18 are being raised by their lesbian and gay parents
* The number of unmarried partner households has increased by 72 percent in the last decade from three million in 1990 to more than five million in 2000. These figures include both same-sex and different-sex couples.
* One-third of lesbian households and one-fifth of gay male households have children.

Studies still show that the optimum situation for children is to have a married, different sex couple as parents. A child’s chances of success in education, in employment, and in building their own stable, monogamous relationship as an adult increases dramatically if they live in such an environment.

But truly, how many children can live under “optimum” conditions”? Do we tell everyone else they can’t have kids? There are a million reasons why families break up and it is a certainty that women being primary breadwinners isn’t one of them. Blame the ease of divorce compared to 50 years ago. Blame a culture that devalues monagomy. Blame fathers who beat their wives, mothers who constantly bitch about money, or couples who simply drift apart. But there is no basis to blame female breadwinners except an outdated notion of women and the family.

That conservatives consider themselves guardians of the traditional family, and family values is a good and noble thing. But the guardians of tradition, to be effective, must recognize the times in which they live and adjust to the changing realities of the culture and society. It’s no use trying to recapture the Ozzie and Harriet version of the family, or any notion that women will eschew the opportunities that the 21st century is presenting to them because they may end up making more money than their husbands. That kind of thinking has gone the way of the Studebaker and Davey Crockett coonskin caps. Conservatives should concentrate on channeling the changes we are seeing in the family unit into productive outlets that helps parents nurture children and empowers families to achieve security. Building non-governmental support systems in the community is a good start. This means affordable day care, after school activities, and perhaps educational opportunities for the parents.Voting for politicians who even vaguely understand the value of a well-ordered free market couldn’t hurt either.

In other words, conservatives must work to strengthen the voluntary community. Not by lecturing women about how much money they make and hectoring them about how seeking their idea of a fulfilling life is selfish and even unseemly, but by welcoming everyone, of every race and yes, sexual orientation, into the circle.

Otherwise, conservatives and their political party will find themselves on the outside looking in.


RINO Hour of Power: Who’s Watching the Watchers?

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 4:57 pm

Join us for another top secret episode of the RINO Hour of Power with your host Rick Moran and special co-host Jeff Kropt.

The recent revelations about NSA snooping have shocked both right and left. Are the programs necessary to prevent terrorism? Is the leaker, Edward Snowden, a hero or a traitor? Can a decent balance be found between liberty and security?

We’ll discuss those questions and much more with former Justice Department official J. Christian Adams.

We stream live from 8:00 - 9:00 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.

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RINO Hour of Power: Scandals in Washington; Hope in Latin America

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 4:16 pm

Join us for another blockbuster episode of the RINO Hour of Power with your host Rick Moran and special co-host Fausta Wertz of Fausta’s Blog.

Tonight, we’ll spend equal time talking about developments in the scandals in Washington and some truly remarkable news out of Latin America. One of the most exciting things in international relations today is the Pacific Alliance, a new grouping of free market, free trade economies in Latin America and elsewhere that is rewriting the book on how to build a successful economy.

To discuss the developments in Washington and news out of Latin America will be Monica Showalter of Investors Business Daily.

We stream live from 8:00 - 9:00 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.

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RINO Hour of Power: Political Potpourri

Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 4:16 pm

Join us for another boredom killing hour for the RINO Hour of Power, with your host Rick Moran and original and forever beloved co-host Jazz Shaw.

Lots to talk about on the show tonight - scandals, Obama high on coke during Benghazi, and a teapot that looks just like Adolf Hitler.

Did I mention the scandals?

Joining the hosts to talk about these subjects vital to the survival of the American republic will be American Thinker editor JR Dunn.

The show streams live from 8:00 - 9:00 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.

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The Case Against Congressional ‘Comprehensive Reform’ of Anything

Filed under: Government, IMMIGRATION REFORM, Politics — Rick Moran @ 10:59 am

“Yes we can!” chanted visitors to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing room when the final vote on comprehensive immigration reform of 13-5 was announced last Monday night.

Actually, we’d rather not.

Forget the particulars of the bill, which are, indeed, bad enough. It is the notion that a large dollop of American society can successfully be “reformed” by the stroke of a pen, with little consequence to this and future generations, that makes “comprehensive” legislation a symbol of bad and imprudent governance.

How bad and imprudent? The law of unintended consequences figures mightily into any comprehensive reform that seeks to predict what a particular situation will be like 5 or 10 years down the road. Anyone who doubts that need only look at Obamacare to realize that almost everything on which the administration sold comprehensive health care reform is falling apart. Also, most of the benefits promised not only will never be realized, but the bill will have created exactly the opposite of the effects intended. Costs of insurance will skyrocket, far fewer people will sign up for insurance via the exchanges than was imagined, and the legislation will have almost doubled in anticipated costs by 2020.

And yet, here we go again. “Comprehensive” immigration reform will hit the Senate floor, and the immigration system, groaning under the 800 pages already written with some promised amendments to come, could be entirely undone by the time the House and Senate are through with their “historic” reformation.

What is the impulse that drives politicians to eschew the common-sense idea of incrementalism — taking on problems piecemeal with carefully considered legislation dealing with one aspect of the question at a time?

Back in December, Jonathan Chait, writing in New York magazine, gave the classic liberal response to the idea of incrementalism as he skewered Senator Marco Rubio ’s preferred approach to immigration reform:

On immigration, meanwhile, Rubio is carefully positioning himself to oppose any potential deal. He is not coming out and immediately throwing his body in front of the legislative train. Rather, he pleads that we must not try to do everything at once and should instead try to reform immigration “step by step.” Of course, “step by step” is exactly the catchphrase Republicans used to oppose health-care reform. It’s a way of associating yourself with the broadly popular goal of reform while giving yourself cover to oppose any particular bill that has a chance to pass. You’re not against reform, you’re against this reform. It’s too much, too fast.

What Chait failed to add was that incrementalism isn’t dramatic enough or historic enough. There’s no such thing as “too much, too fast.” At heart, liberals like Chait and Obama are drama queens because, let’s face it, it’s so boring to have to get in the trenches and do the scut work of democracy by carefully considering legislation and its consequences before moving on and facing the next challenge. You don’t make history that way, by George, and what’s the point of winning elections if you can’t go down in the history books?

An exaggeration, to be sure, because what the president and many Democrats will say is that it is good, simple, practical politics to wrap everything up in one gigantic package and try to ram it through Congress. It’s just easier to fix big problems this way and the incremental approach would never work because some of what they want would never pass unless there were sweeteners added to buy the votes of politicians not inclined to go along.

But should it be “easier” to try and reform one-sixth of the U.S. economy? Shouldn’t that be extraordinarily hard to accomplish? As hard as Democrats think it was to pass Obamacare — and it didn’t have to be that hard with their huge majority in the House and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate — it evidently wasn’t hard enough. We will be living with the unintended consequences of the Affordable Care Act for many years to come unless it is repealed.

The fact that we don’t know what those exact consequences will be is reason enough to drop the idea of comprehensive reform of anything. The New America Foundation’s Michael Lind, writing in the Washington Post in 2010:

The second reason comprehensive reform is problematic is that it assumes an ability to foresee problems and fix them in advance — a skill not necessarily found among mere mortals. The longer the time horizon, the greater the hubris of those who claim to be solving problems not just for today but for generations to come.

This overconfidence spans the political spectrum. For example, both liberal environmentalists and conservative deficit hawks rely on sophisticated models to predict dire threats decades away, whether a catastrophic rise in the Earth’s temperature or unsustainable entitlement spending. In each case, even slight changes in the variables can make the remote future look either scary or benign. But when scholarship gives way to advocacy, possible problems generations out are often presented as all-but-certain disasters — avoidable only by immediate action.

The way to avoid this trap is by embracing the lost civic virtue of prudence. Jefferson wisely said, “The same prudence which in private life would forbid our paying our own money for unexplained projects, forbids it in the dispensation of the public moneys.” Jefferson was well aware that imprudence in the use of public monies led to unintended consequences — the bane of good governance. When an exasperated Nancy Pelosi told a reporter in a response to a question of what exactly was in the ACA that “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it,” the speaker of the House was not making idle chatter. She was dead serious, and to this day we still haven’t grasped the enormity of what Congress has wrought in “reforming” health insurance and the health care industry.

As a nation of tinkerers and problem solvers, some can’t resist comprehensive reform because its allure is in the illusion that any problem can be cured if we are bold enough, or have enough courage (or throw enough money at it). What we fail to realize is that solving some problems creates others. The last immigration reform that was passed in 1986 amnestied 3 million illegal aliens and slapped penalties on businesses that knowingly hired illegals. What was never foreseen was that in the intervening 27 years, the number of illegals would triple, crossing the border without documentation would be virtually decriminalized in many places, and businesses would continue to hire illegals because enforcement was lax.

And now, once again, we are ready to pass a slew of provisions to “solve” the problem of immigration that address so many different questions that the overall effect of the legislation on the future of America has become a crap shoot. The idea of incrementally addressing what needs to be fixed by proposing legislation separately to deal with border security, guest workers, streamlining the visa process, and even a “path to citizenship” for those already here illegally will not be attempted largely because adherence to the concept of prudence — once the hallmark of the American constitutional system — has been abandoned in favor of showy, headline-grabbing, history-making law.

When will we ever learn?

Article first appeared in PJ Media.


RINO Hour of Power: Scandalpalooza

Filed under: RINO Hour of Power — Rick Moran @ 3:20 pm

Join us for another slanderous episode of the RINIO Hour of Power with your host Rick Moran and special co-host Jeff Kropf.

The IRS scandal continues to blow up in Washington, but the president’s approval numbers haven’t been affected. Will the president continue to ride out the storm despite continuing revelations of wrong doing?

We’ll discuss that and other questions regarding the scandals with PJ Media’s Bryan Preston.

The show streams live from 8:00 - 9:00 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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