Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Whether you're a Vikings fan or not.....

......this is as good as it gets.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Our perpetually petulant governor - Part MCMLXVIII

Death. Taxes. Little Lord Fauntleroy Gov. Mark Dayton coming off as a petulant child.

You'll contrast the governor's tone with that of House Speaker Kurt Daudt. While disappointed in the lack of a bonding bill, Daudt could at least laud the successes of this latest legislative session while remaining hopeful transportation funding can still happen.

My home state should be embarrassed that someone like Dayton is Minnesota's chief executive. What's most disturbing is that it seems to be the exact opposite given his high approval ratings. A bizzaro world indeed.


Monday, May 23, 2016

While you were sleeping Sunday evening....

....the latest Minnesota legislative session was wrapping up. Since the MN Constitution prohibited legislative business beyond Midnight, May 22, the obligatory last second push was taking place for the most salient issues. In this case, it was transportation.

The MN House Republican majority had two non-negotiable items when it came to transportation funding: They insisted on no gas tax increase as well as no funding for Southwest Light Rail Transit. Pioneer Press writer David Montgomery detailed the frenzied final minutes of this session.

In the final hour, the House approved a $1 billion borrowing bill that included $236 million in bonding, $266 million in cash and $181 million in trunk highway spending for roads and bridges, according to the House. That bill was dashed over, literally run by a fast staffer, to the Minnesota Senate Building for its approval as midnight approached. But the time to act was too slim and the will to agree was too little. Senate Democrats added an amendment allowing local funding for the Southwest Light Rail project. But the House adjourned for the year before a runner could sprint across University Avenue to the Capitol, where the House meets, with the amended bonding bill.

Then the clock in the Senate chamber hit 12: the midnight deadline under the Minnesota Constitution after which no further action could be taken.

According to an email from Susan Closmore, Director of Public Affairs with the House GOP caucus, it seems pretty clear the DFL prioritized a metro area choo choo train ahead of the infrastructure needs of greater Minnesota.

The Minnesota House also passed a bonding bill with $696.5 million in funding for roads and bridges on a bipartisan vote of 91 to 39. In a political maneuver, the Senate DFL majority failed to pass the bonding bill and prevented funding from going to the following projects across the state of Minnesota:

• $60 million for Highway 23 New London to Paynesville
• $45 million for U.S. Highway 14 Owatonna to Dodge Center
• $30 million for U.S. Highway 10 Hanson Blvd. to Round Lake Blvd.
• $40 million for Land acquisition U.S. Highway 14 Nicollet to New Ulm
• $34.5 million for City of Moorhead railroad crossing separation
• $20 million for Cliff Road and I-35W Improvements
• $25 million for Interstate 35W/CSAH 3 Transit Access Project
• $20.5 million for Interstate 694/Rice Street Interchange
• $14.7 million for rail grade crossing separation in City of Red Wing
• $11.9 million for rail grade crossing separation in Anoka County
• $12.5 million for Small Cities Road Assistance, a new program established by House Republicans in 2015

"Unfortunately, in the final weeks Senate Democrats made a choice to hold funding for our roads and bridges hostage for an expensive train in Minneapolis, and in the final moments of session, sunk a bonding bill that included projects to fix some of Minnesota's most regionally important projects including Highway 14, Highway 10, and Highway 23," concluded Speaker (Kurt) Daudt.

Even DFL senator Ron Latz unwittingly indicted his own party for scuttling the bonding bill.

Given that both the House and Senate are up for reelection this year, this will absolutely be a central theme of many campaigns, especially among GOP senate candidates in outstate Minnesota looking to unseat incumbent DFLers. Of course there's always a chance that Gov. Mark Dayton will call a special session to resolve this issue, but only if Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk agrees to drop the idea of SWLRT funding. Otherwise what's the point?

I have a feeling Bakk and other representatives of rural areas may well hear from constituents who feel strongly that some of these infrastructure repairs are long past due and need to be addressed immediately. One hopes that cooler heads can prevail and thus realize that safe roads and bridges (as my friend Andy Aplikowski says) should not be a luxury.


Box Score of the Week

St Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers --- August 10, 1995.


Dodger fans received souvenir baseballs when entering the stadium and in the bottom of the ninth, following the ejection of Raul Mondesi and Tommy Lasorda began hurling them onto the field. The umpires awarded a forfeit win to the Cardinals over the Dodgers.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Standing here waiting as I'm breaking in two...

It's weekends like this that I begin to really lament not being able to broadcast outdoors. Alas, I'll be back in the Patriot bunker for this week's edition of the Northern Alliance Radio Network program The Closer. The 1-hour festivities begin at 2:00 PM Central Time.

Right at 2:00 my friend and valued NARN colleague Mitch Berg will check in. Mitch attended the MN State GOP convention in Duluth over the weekend so he'll provide a recap.

Other topics I plan on addressing include GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump naming prospective Supreme Court justices to replace the late Antonin Scalia, the gay pastor-Whole Foods kerfuffle in Austin, TX, a surprising new poll on the popularity of the Washington Redskins nickname, etc.

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics I plan on addressing. You can also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out via iheart radio. If you're unable to tune in live, please check out my podcast page for the latest show post.

Even though I have a face for radio, there is a UStream channel where you can watch the broadcast, if you so desire. Check it out here.  

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....


Friday, May 20, 2016

It happened 10 years ago today.

I believe Chicago Cubs catcher Michael Barrett embodied the sentiments of pretty much any MLB fan who was partial to a team which didn't have A.J. Pierzynski on it's roster. Heck, you could also include in the anti-A.J. emotion any MLB hitter who stepped into a batter's box while Pierzynski was catching.

Ozzie Guillen, Pierzynski's manager while with the Chicago White Sox, summed it up best: "If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less."

Upon receiving a 10-game suspension, Barrett should have declared "That was for you, MLB and fans!"


Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's a start

Two weeks ago I penned a blog post clarifying my position on Donald Trump as the presumptive GOP nominee for President. As someone who has voted Republican in every election since 1992, I recently found myself seriously considering abstaining from a vote for President if Mr. Trump continued to woefully lack substance.

Here's an excerpt of the post I wrote on May 5:

If Trump can actually give me something to work with, I will latch on to it and charge forward. For instance, the Supreme Court seat left vacant due to the death of Antonin Scalia. If Trump were to furnish a list of potential nominees in the motif of Scalia, I'd be sold! Yes, the Supreme Court is that important. And it would also go a long way to emphasizing on how the GOP needs to maintain its majority in the Senate. As of now, Trump being at the top of the ticket has put said majority in jeopardy.

On Wednesday, Trump seemed to take a step towards mobilizing conservatives like myself.

Today Donald J. Trump released the much-anticipated list of people he would consider as potential replacements for Justice Scalia at the United States Supreme Court. This list was compiled, first and foremost, based on constitutional principles, with input from highly respected conservatives and Republican Party leadership.

Mr. Trump stated, “Justice Scalia was a remarkable person and a brilliant Supreme Court Justice. His career was defined by his reverence for the Constitution and his legacy of protecting Americans’ most cherished freedoms. He was a Justice who did not believe in legislating from the bench and he is a person whom I held in the highest regard and will always greatly respect his intelligence and conviction to uphold the Constitution of our country. The following list of potential Supreme Court justices is representative of the kind of constitutional principles I value and, as President, I plan to use this list as a guide to nominate our next United States Supreme Court Justices.”

Click the link here to see list of justices Trump is considering.

For me personally, this is the most open minded I've been about Trump's candidacy since he entered the presidential race nearly a year ago. As an added bonus it took the spotlight away from Senate Democrats' dog-and-pony show on behalf of  Merrick Garland, who is President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Scalia. Thankfully the GOP majority has stood firm in its commitment to having the next President fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy.

Next up for Trump is he is scheduled to release a detailed economic plan, one which will includ a vow to repeal the overbearing Dodd-Frank bill.

Could we finally be delving into actual substantive issues this presidential campaign? Let's just say I'm cautiously optimistic this will continue.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Quick Hits: Volume CXXVIII

- The story of the gay pastor in Austin, TX claiming to have received a cake with the inscription "Love Wins, F-g" never quite passed the proverbial smell test. Whole Foods, the store which sold the cake in question, vehemently denied one of their employees defaced it and even presented video surveillance as evidence the pastor's claim was a hoax. In addition, the pastor in question was said to have been enduring financial troubles, thus the lawsuit he filed against Whole Foods was conveniently timed.

Sure enough, the pastor's lawsuit has been dropped

The Austin pastor, who claimed he bought a cake with a homophobic slur written on it, is now dropping his lawsuit against Whole Foods.

It’s been almost a month since an emotional Jordan Brown called a news conference at the Kaplan Law Firm to announce a lawsuit against the food chain. Brown said he ordered a cake with the words, “Love Wins” on it, but when he opened it, Brown claimed a homophobic word was added on top.

In a statement issued Monday Brown admitted: "The company did nothing wrong. I was wrong to pursue this matter and use the media to perpetuate this story."

Upon Brown choosing to sue Whole Foods initially, the company chose to counter sue almost immediately. However, in light of the latest developments, Whole Foods is also abandoning its suit.

In a statement issued Monday, Whole Foods spokesperson Rachel Malish said: "We're very pleased that the truth has come to light. Given Mr. Brown's apology and public admission that his story was a complete fabrication, we see no reason to move forward with our counter suit to defend the integrity of our brand and team members."

Business must really be bad for the "Gay-stappo" these days if they feel the need to fabricate evidence to show how the LGBT community is still allegedly being oppressed.

- With Republican Congressman John Kline not seeking reelection in Minnesota's 2nd Congressional District, the MNGOP is looking for a candidate to oppose Democrat Angie Craig.

Recently the CD2 Republicans voted to endorse former talk show host Jason Lewis, who defeated perpetual candidate David Gerson after several ballots. Two other GOP candidates, businesswoman Darlene Miller and former state Senator John Howe, received little to no votes for endorsement on the first ballot before choosing to withdraw from the process. Miller has said from the outset she would not abide by the party endorsement anyway and thus go straight to the GOP primary this summer. Howe was noncommittal....until Monday.

On Monday, John Howe announced he is running in the primary.

KSTP's Tom Hauser was the first to break the news last week.

Howe was mayor of Red Wing and a former state senator.

"I believe I am the most electable conservative candidate," Howe said. "I guarantee you no one is going to work harder. My experience as mayor helped me be a better senator, and being senator is going to help me be a better congressman."

Howe had dropped out early on during the recent district endorsement convention.

So in retrospect, the only purpose served by enduring several hours (and going through multiple ballots) at the endorsing convention was to eliminate just one of the four candidates (Gerson, who said he would abide by the party endorsement).

Come to think of it, ousting the preferred candidate of the Ron Paul cabal may well have been worth the arduous process.

- A relatively new phrase has been introduced recently into the American lexicon - "Cultural appropriation."

I took to Wikipedia to gain a little more insight into this phenomenon.

(T)he adoption or use of elements of one culture by members of a different culture. Cultural appropriation is seen by some as controversial, notably when elements of a minority culture are used by members of the cultural majority; this is seen as wrongfully oppressing the minority culture or stripping it of its group identity and intellectual property rights.

One of the more newsworthy instances of "cultural appropriation" was a Caucasian male student being assaulted by a black student because he was donning dreadlocks.

To me the concept of "cultural appropriation" is yet another ginned up, phony controversy in an effort to validate the existence of thumb-sucking "Social Justice Warriors."

Recently in an interview with Salon, Daryl Hall, one half of perhaps the most successful pop duo ever in Hall and Oates, swiftly dismissed this idiotic concept.

In an interview with Salon, Hall was asked for his thoughts on “cultural appropriation” — the notion that “white people should not appropriate the culture of ethnic and racial minorities” — and he pulled no punches:

“Are you trying to say that I don’t own the style of music that I grew up with and sing? I grew up with this music. It is not about being black or white. That is the most na├»ve attitude I’ve ever heard in my life. That is so far in the past, I hope, for everyone’s sake. It isn’t even an issue to discuss. The music that you listened to when you grew up is your music. It has nothing to do with ‘cultural appropriation.’”

When the interviewer agreed, Hall dropped another bomb: ”I’m glad that you do, because anyone who says that should shut the f*** up.”

Hall went on to ask about the source of such critiques, and the interviewer replied that much of it comes from academia.

“Well, then they should go back to school,” Hall shot back. “Academia? Now, there’s a hotbed of idiocy.”

As for culture in general, Hall declared: “We live in America. That’s our entire culture. Our culture is a blend. It isn’t split up into groups. Anyone who says otherwise is a fool – worse than a fool – a dangerous fool.”