Friday, January 30, 2015

He's no Harold Stassen

Mitt Romney will not make a third bid for the White House in 2016.

After putting considerable thought into making another run for president, I’ve decided it is best to give other leaders in the Party the opportunity to become our next nominee.


When he says "other leaders," it's clear to me that he's not referring to someone like a Jeb Bush or Mike Huckabee.

I believe that one of our next generation of Republican leaders, one who may not be as well known as I am today, one who has not yet taken their message across the country, one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee. In fact, I expect and hope that to be the case.

I feel that it is critical that America elect a conservative leader to become our next president. You know that I have wanted to be that president. But I do not want to make it more difficult for someone else to emerge who may have a better chance of becoming that president. You can’t imagine how hard it is for Ann and me to step aside, especially knowing of your support and the support of so many people across the country. But we believe it is for the best of the Party and the nation.


Earlier this month, it was rumored that Romney was strongly considering another run. However, I was not very excited about the prospects of a third Mitt campaign. Even if he somehow won the nomination in 2016, Romney's biggest selling point of 2012 (i.e. he wasn't Obama) would be obsolete come '16.

In my mind, today was a mere confirmation in what was pretty well assumed. Within the past couple of days, The New York Times reported that Romney's Iowa strategist in both 2008 and 2012, David Kochel, joined Bush's political action committee as a senior strategist. It was also noted that Kochel may well become Bush's national campaign manager. That doesn't exactly instill a lot of confidence in Romney.

So now the prospective GOP establishment field has dwindled to Bush, Huckabee, Chris Christie and Lindsey Graham. Despite Romney insisting he could have been an effective fundraiser had he chosen to run, I find it hard to fathom how he could have peeled enough support away from the other aforementioned candidates to just win the Republican nomination. This was definitely the correct decision.

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hawkish

There's no team in the NBA hotter than the Atlanta Hawks right now.

Their 113-102 win over the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday evening was their 17th consecutive victory and 31st win in their past 33 games.

Given the bad public relations the NBA endured last year over Donald Sterling's blatant racism, how awkward will it be if they have to present Hawks' GM Danny Ferry with the NBA Executive of the Year award?

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

30 years ago today.......

There are certain songs that, no matter how heavy a rotation they're played, give me goosebumps each and every time I hear them.

This would be one.

The all-star recording session for We Are the World, the biggest charity single of all time, took place 30 years ago Wednesday.

On Jan. 28, 1985, at A&M Recording Studios in Hollywood, following the American Music Awards, more than 40 artists gathered to record a song Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson had written to raise awareness of widespread, life-threatening poverty in Africa. Most of that show's winners — including Cyndi Lauper, Hall & Oates, Bruce Springsteen, Huey Lewis, Willie Nelson, Tina Turner, the Pointer Sisters, Kenny Rogers and the Jacksons — participated.

Inspired by the U.K. all-star charity single Do They Know it's Christmas?, released a few months earlier, We Are the World was released March 7, 1985, and went on to sell more than 20 million copies. The more than $75 million raised by non-profit organization USA for Africa helped to fight poverty on the continent. The song also won three Grammy Awards in 1986, including song and record of the year.





If you're fascinated by fascinating facts (like I am) then the entire USA Today story entitled 'We Are the World' at 30: 12 tales you might not know is a must read.

One anecdote missing was one which Kenny Loggins shared regarding a conversation he had with Paul Simon. Loggins claimed that Simon was looking around the room at the who's who of music superstars. Upon soaking in the cavalcade of talent, Simon allegedly turned to Loggins and said "If a bomb were to hit this place, John Denver would be #1 again."

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Coming at Kline from all sides

A certain Republican in Minnesota's Second Congressional District is starting to get the vibe of being a perpetual candidate.

Republican activist David Gerson announced Monday during a press conference he will run against U.S. Rep. John Kline next year.

Kline represents the second congressional district, which covers the south Twin Cities metro area and contains all of Scott, Dakota, Goodhue, and Wabasha counties. It also covers northern and eastern Rice County including the city of Northfield, and southern Washington County including the city of Cottage Grove.

Gerson unsuccessfully ran against Kline last year.

In April last year, the CD2 Republican delegates endorsed Kline for reelection on the first ballot. In announcing his candidacy on Monday and during a radio interview Tuesday morning on the lesser Twin Cities conservative talk staiton, Gerson made the claim that Kline won endorsement "by less than 3% of the votes." For someone who emphasizes he is adamantly opposed to "politics as usual," Gerson sure has down the politician speak. You see one has to receive at least 60% of delegates' votes in order to be endorsed. So when Gerson says he lost by less than 3%, what he's actually saying is if John Kline would have received 3% fewer votes than the 62.4% he garnered on the first ballot. he would not have won endorsement after round one. Regardless, Gerson chose to abide by said endorsement and not run in a primary. Gerson did, however, make a late primary challenge to Kline in 2012 (he did not run for endorsement in CD2 that year but rather in CD5). Kline cruised to victory by a 70% margin.

One other statement that stood out to me from Gerson's Tuesday appearance on the lesser talk station was that people in CD2 "are ready for a change." That too seems a rather odd sentiment when you consider Kline was overwhelmingly endorsed by GOP delegates in April 2014 and then won the general election by 17 points in what is merely an R+1 district. The fact that Gerson is running to the right of Kline once again makes his candidacy a daunting task.

If there's one silver lining from Gerson's kickoff announcement, it's the fact he was spared the awkward photo op that accompanied the presser declaring his 2014 bid.



You'll notice the two campaign volunteers holding up the Gerson for Congress banner. Apparently someone forgot to bring along something to affix the banner to the wall.

No such blunder on Monday.



Seriously though, as long as Kline desires to seek reelection (he turned 67 years of age last September), he will be the Republican nominee regardless if he's endorsed. Kline is well funded enough to take any GOP challenger to a primary, prevail easily and still have plenty of funds remaining in the war chest for a general election campaign.

Speaking of a general election challenge, someone to the left of Kline has declared her intention to be the Democrat nominee.

......Democratic-Farmer-Laborite Angie Craig, an executive for the last 10 years with St. Jude Medical who, if she were successful, would be the state's first openly gay member of Congress.




Craig, 42, will step down as vice president for global human resources at St. Jude but will remain with the Little Canada-based medical-device company, focusing on diversity and inclusion, veteran hiring and workforce development, according to the company.

Craig married Cheryl Greene in 2008 in California, and they have four sons.

Now an Eagan resident, Craig said she's been fortunate in her business career and wants the chance to serve her district in public office.

"I think my business background and my life experiences make me uniquely qualified to advocate for policies that really help ensure every family has access to jobs, good public schools and quality and affordable health care," she said.


Wait, don't we already have affordable health care thanks to the ACA???? Could this mean Ms. Greene is looking to repeal Obamacare??? Maybe I could support a Democrat candidacy after all!

One of three children, Craig was raised by her mom and grandmother in an Arkansas trailer park, she said, and she learned the value of higher education.

"For me, a huge priority will be to make sure that all families have economic security and access to high-quality, affordable college education," she said.

At whose expense?!?!?! Blah, I shoulda known she was too good to be true.

Barring a surprise retirement announcement, Kline appears headed back to Washington, D.C. after the 2016 election cycle.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Quick Hits: Volume CVI

- C'mon, you never really doubted Gov. Mark Dayton's intention to raise the gas tax, did you?

"The condition of Minnesota's highways, roads and bridges are getting worse," Dayton said. "There's one real solution to our predicament, and that's to invest more money in repairs, improvements and modernizations."

More money is what Dayton laid out: close to $900 million per year in ongoing funding, plus $2 billion in additional money borrowed over 10 years. The plan would be about an 18 percent increase on existing road and bridge funding, and would also include about $280 million per year for metro-area transit.

The core of the plan is applying a 6.5 percent tax to gasoline. This complicated proposal would bring in about $440 million per year and cost motorists at least 16 cents per gallon at the pump. Minnesota now charges a 28.5 cents-per-gallon gas tax, in addition to the federal 18.4 cents-per-gallon tax.


For a couple of years prior, Dayton has insisted that because there is no public support for such an increase that he would not seek one. Then one month before the election, he betrayed his true feelings by floating the idea of a gas tax hike only to walk back those comments.

But now that Dayton has been reelected and has already been on record that he'll not seek a third term, polls be darned. This seems to be a golden opportunity for the GOP majority in the MN House to stand strong on a winning issue. Don't fumble it away, gang.


- Judging by the dialogue on Twitter. apparently cable news outlets like CNN have declared themselves The Weather Channel with their non-stop breathless reporting on major winter storms about to hit the northeastern United States.

I guess I'm not all that offended by it given the fact it diverts from their borderline insufferable droning over "DeflateGate" and missing Malaysian airliners.


- Speaking of DeflateGate, upon revelations that the New England Patriots were using under inflated footballs (a violation of NFL rules) during their AFC Championship Game rout of the Indianapolis Colts, I tweeted the following:



Upon quarterback Tom Brady being grilled in a press conference last Thursday, I reiterated my stance:



Then news surfaced Monday on where the NFL's investigation is currently focusing.

The NFL has zeroed in on a New England Patriots locker room attendant who allegedly took the AFC Championship Game balls from the officials' locker room to another area on the way to the field, Fox Sports reported, citing sources.

According to Fox Sports, the league has interviewed him and has video.

The league is still gauging if any wrongdoing occurred, but he is a strong person of interest, Fox Sports reported.

The location in question was a bathroom in which the attendant can be seen in the video entering and exiting in 90 seconds with the 24 footballs provided by both teams, according to Pro Football Talk, which cited an anonymous league source.

The bathroom is a small, one-toilet room with one sink and has a door that locks from the inside, the Pro Football Talk report said.

Between coach Bill Belichick making a reference to a Marisa Tomei character in the movie My Cousin Vinny to Bill Nye the Science Guy refuting Belichick's scientific experiments on footballs, this whole debacle is beyond bizarre at this point.


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Sunday, January 25, 2015

I remember when we were gambling to win.....

For the first time in about 4-1/2 months there will be no NFL games starting at Noon today. With that in mind, I have removed all excuses for you to not tune in to The Closer this afternoon. Per usual, I will be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

In the first hour, I will discuss some of the more prominent news events from this past week, including bumbling Republicans in the U.S. House, "Deflate Gate", media elites living by a different set of laws, etc.

Then at 2:00, I will be joined by Devin Foley, who is President of Better Ed, a non-profit organization "dedicated to leading an educational renaissance in America."


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss 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

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.....

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Thursday, January 22, 2015

Can't get out of their own way

It has been assumed that much of the substantive legislation (i.e. Keystone XL pipeline, tougher sanctions on Iran, etc.) passed by the GOP-controlled Congress this session will likely be vetoed by President Barack Obama. Nevertheless, it behooves Congressional Republicans to pass such legislation that resonates with the electorate and then call out the President for his resistance to sign off. After all, Obama often expressed frustration with "gridlock" during the previously divided Congress and thus pledged to use his pen and phone to make or ignore laws as he sees fit. Now he's the one who can be painted as an obstructionist.

On Wednesday, a mere one day before the annual March for Life to commemorate the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, the Republican majority in Congress had an opportunity to pass legislation which would make abortions illegal past 20 weeks of a pregnancy. This seems to be a winner all around from both a practical and political standpoint, especially since a recent Quinnipiac poll indicated 60% support for legislation "that would ban virtually all abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape and incest that are reported to authorities." Seems like a proverbial no-brainer.

Ah, but this is Congressional Republicans we're talking about.

House Republican leaders abruptly dropped plans late Wednesday to vote on an anti-abortion bill amid a revolt by female GOP lawmakers concerned that the legislation's restrictive language would once again spoil the party's chances of broadening its appeal to women and younger voters.

In recent days, as many as two dozen Republicans had raised concerns with the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" that would ban abortions after the 20th week of a pregnancy. Sponsors said that exceptions would be allowed for a woman who is raped, but she could only get the abortion after reporting the rape to law enforcement.

A vote had been scheduled for Thursday to coincide with the annual March for Life, a gathering that brings hundreds of thousands of anti-abortion activists to Washington to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

But Republican leaders dropped those plans after failing to win over a bloc of lawmakers, led by Reps. Rene Ellmers (R-N.C.) and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), who had raised concerns.

The House will vote instead Thursday on a bill prohibiting federal funding for abortions -- a more innocuous anti-abortion measure that the Republican-controlled chamber has passed before.

A senior GOP aide said that concerns had been raised "by men and women Members that still need to be worked out." The aide, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly about the plans, said in an e-mail that Thursday's vote will help "advance the pro-life cause" and that GOP leaders "remain committed to continue working through the process [on the Pain Capable bill] to make sure it too is successful."

Other aides said that leaders were eager to avoid political fallout from a large number of female Republicans voting against an abortion bill in the early stages of the new GOP-controlled Congress.

This makes no sense, especially given the poll results I cited earlier. In fact, 59% of women surveyed supported a measure similar to what was passed by the House in 2013 and was brought up this week. Heck, even those who identify themselves as Democrats are split almost right down the  middle on the issue (46% for, 47% against).

This is a complete embarrassment when you consider that "right to life" issues are supposedly a tenet of the Republican party, the same party which currently has its largest House majority since the days of President Herbert Hoover.

“I’m honestly stunned — what a complete and utter debacle,” says one Republican lawmaker who supports the legislation. The sticking point: “reporting requirements,” as they’re known on the Hill. In short, the bill bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy — when the in utero infant can feel pain — except in cases of rape, incest, or for the life of the mother. But to benefit from the rape and incest exception, the victim has to report the crime to law enforcement.

President Obama criticized that provision as “demonstrating a complete disregard for the women who experience sexual assault and the barriers they may face in reporting,” such as fear of retaliation from their attackers. “Research indicates that the majority of survivors have not reported their sexual assaults to law enforcement,” his statement of administration policy says.

That line of attack worries some Republicans. “There seems to be a fear of Dem attack ads, which is odd for an issue that is 2:1 in our favor,” the GOP lawmaker says.

It’s especially odd given that some of the Republican women who oppose these reporting requirements voted for them when the bill passed the House last Congress.

Smart Girl Politics, a 501(c)4 whose mission is "to engage, educate, and empower conservative women to get involved in the political process," posted the following on their Twitter feed:





Looks like the talk of primaries has started already.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Deflate-gate (UPDATE: League investigation finds 11 of 12 balls underinflated)

Let's be honest here. The only reason so much hay is being made over allegations of an NFL team deflating footballs is because it's the New England Patriots. For that, the Pats organization (specifically head coach Bill Belichick) has no one to blame but themselves due to the Spygate controversy from 2007.

With all that said, it's much ado about nothing. Besides, even if there was the slightest bit of impropriety, do you honestly believe the Roger Goodell regime would be able to adequately uncover it? Color me skeptical.

The reaction of some Patriots players is about what you'd expect. A mere 12 hours after the Pats clinched a berth in their sixth Super Bowl in the Belichick era, future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady laughed off the charges when questioned about it on Boston radio station WEEI.

But perhaps the most epic response was given by Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski via Twitter.



Totally plausible.



UPDATE: The NFL investigation determined that 11 of 12 footballs used by the Patriots were underinflated. The critical question remaining is how that happened. Expect a lowly ball attendant to be thrown under the proverbial bus.

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