Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Since my health insurance premiums are skyrocketing,....

....it would behoove me to stay in good physical condition. Thankfully I began running regularly the summer of 2013.

When spring hit about six months ago, I decided to run outdoors at least twice per week. I found a nice two mile route near my home, which seemed to suit me just fine. Once summer time came around, I felt if I could just stretch another 1.1 miles, that would put me in running shape for a 5K race.

Every year on the Saturday before Halloween, our neighboring town of Anoka (aka The Halloween Capitol of the World) hosts the Gray Ghost 5K run. I figured the only way to stay motivated to run that race would be to sign up in September ----- which I did. No turning back.

So on a beautiful fall afternoon this past Saturday, I (along with 1,599 other runners) took my place at the starting line.



My goal was to finish. And finish I did!



Of the 1,600 runners, my time of 31 minutes, 23 seconds was good for 567th overall. Of the 658 males, I finished 348th. And of the 127 men within my age group of 40-49, I finished 66th.

While I'm no Roger Bannister, I came away from this race thoroughly satisfied with what I had accomplished.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

My health insurance story

When Minnesota-based insurance company PreferredOne announced they would no longer offer plans via the state health insurance exchange MNsure, we knew it would adversely affect the majority of Minnesotans who had any kind of health coverage.

Since PreferredOne offered the lowest premiums of any insurance companies on the exchange, it's no surprise that they serviced 60% of those who enrolled on MNsure. And while PreferredOne customers had the option of keeping their plans for the next plan year, they would face a double whammy of a) the obligatory annual premium increase and b) no longer being eligible for subsidies/tax credits since their plan would be outside the exchange. That's why the ridiculous spin of premiums only increasing 4.5% on health plans through MNsure was only to be believed by anyone who didn't use a scintilla of nuance.

To make up for the financial hit they took offering plans on MNsure, PreferredOne is going to have to levy substantial increases on their plans for 2015. Since I had a high premium, low deductible plan via PreferredOne outside the public exchange, I was prepared for a significant increase myself. How significant? If I am to keep the exact same individual plan (the fetching Mrs. Carlson has coverage through her employer), my monthly rate will increase a whopping 54%!

For those not numerically savvy, that's slightly higher than 4.5%.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Box Score of the Week (Final one of 2014)

Since we're in the midst of World Series play, I'll feature a game from the 1960 Fall Classic.


It's Game 2 of the Pirates-Yankees WS.

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In Game 3 of this year's World Series, Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie got the win despite not striking out a single Giants hitter. The last time a starter earned a win in a World Series game despite failing to strike out a batter was Yankees pitcher Bob Turley in Game 2 of the 1960 World Series.

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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hate me all you want; I'll be okay.....

It's down to single digits in terms of number of days until Election Day (9 days to be exact). With that in mind, the political talk will once again reach a fever pitch on today's edition of The Closer. I will be on from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time. 

Right at 1:00, Andrea Todd-Harlin, who is the GOP candidate running in House District 51A (Northern part of Burnsville. west portion of Eagan), will stop by the Patriot bunker. HD 51A is one of the districts represented by a DFLer that has a good chance to flip to a Republican (GOP needs a net gain of 7 seats for a majority in the MN House), so we'll get an update on Andrea's campaign. 

Then at 2:15, Andrew Richter and Jason Bradley of Community Solutions MN join the program. Andrew and Jason have done yeoman's work in shining a light on the boondoggle that can be county and municipal government. They'll stop by inform us of the latest shenanigans as well as update us on how their home city of Crystal (right in the heart of Keith Ellison's congressional district) has a decent chance to have more conservative representation after Election Day. 


So please give me 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, October 23, 2014

Football Trivia: Come Sail Away

A dive bar in South Minneapolis by the name of Schooner Tavern was the locale this week for 1500 ESPN's Thursday Football Trivia. It was one of those neighborhood bars where the patrons stop what they're doing and stare in a suspicious manner at any unfamiliar face that enters the joint.

Anyhow, there were 11 different teams/participants in the opening round written quiz. I, as usual, did very well with that portion, earning a #3 seed and a first round bye for the bracketed tournament.

In the quarterfinals, I took on a duo that called themselves "Bubbas." As usual, this is a "Family Feud" style tourney where one has to buzz in for an opportunity to answer first. This is a best 2 of 3.

Question one: Who was the first Super Bowl winning NFL team whose home stadium was a dome?

Brad (buzzing in first): New Orleans Saints. Incorrect. 
Bubbas: Seattle Seahawks. Incorrect.
Brad: St Louis Rams. Correct.

1-0, Brad.

Question two: Which Vikings QB holds the franchise record for single season passing yardage?

Brad (buzzing in first): Daunte Culpepper. Correct. 

Brad wins, 2-0.

On to the semifinals, where I would take on the #2 seed (and 18-time champion) Brendan Byrne. Mr. Byrne can be considered my nemesis, given I've defeated him only once in 8 or 9 tries (Oh, but how sweet was the one win!). 

The final four is also a best 2 of 3, but the questions are in category format, meaning there are multiple answers. This year has an interesting twist. The rule now is if each player gets one correct answer, it moves to sudden death. That means the first person to give a wrong answer loses the point. 


Question one: Hall of Fame QB Warren Moon played for.....

Brendan (quick with the trigger finger): Houston Oilers.

.......five different professional football teams in his career. Houston Oilers is one.  

Brad: Minnesota Vikings. Correct.
Brendan: Seattle Seahawks. Correct. 
Brad: Kansas City Chiefs. Correct
Brendan (thinking, thinking): Montreal? Incorrect (It was actually the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL). 

1-0, Brad.

Question two: After Murray Warmath left as Gophers' football coach after 1971, the U of M has employed eight different permanent head coaches. Name them.


Brad (buzzing in first): Joe Salem. Correct.
Brendan: Glen Mason. Correct. 
Brad: Lou Holtz. Correct.
Brendan: Jerry Kill. Correct. 
Brad: John Gutekunst. Correct.
Brendan: Tim Brewster. Correct. 
Brad: Jim Wacker. Correct.
Brendan: Cal Stoll. Correct. 

Since we ran the table with each getting four correct, no point is awarded. Still 1-0, Brad.

Question three: There are 12 teams in college football's Mountain West division. Name them. 


Brendan (buzzing in first): Boise St. Correct.
Brad: Utah. Incorrect (Utah State is part of the conference though). 

1-1 tie. 

Question four: Of the top 25 NFL players in all-time receptions,.....

Brad (quick with the trigger finger): Jerry Rice.

.......seven of those players are active (D'oh!). Name them. 

Jerry Rice is incorrect.  

Brendan: Steve Smith. Correct.

Brendan wins, 2-1. 

Brendan would defeat another Football Trivia regular, The Jermichaels, to win his 19th trivia championship in 2-1/2 seasons. 

Since I'll be getting out the vote next Thursday, I'll resume my quest for a multiple championship season on November 6. 

Until then.......

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It happened 25 years ago today

I was in my third year of college in October 1989 when the kidnapping of 11-year old Jacob Wetterling occurred.

From Wikipedia:

Jacob, his brother (Trevor), and (friend Aaron Larson) were cycling home from a convenience store on October 22, 1989, when a masked gunman came out of a driveway and ordered the boys to throw their bikes into a ditch and lie down on the ground. He then asked each boy his age. Jacob's brother was told to run toward a nearby wooded area and not look back or else he would be shot. Subsequently, the gunman asked to view the faces of both boys. He picked Jacob, and told his friend to run away and not look back otherwise he would shoot. The whereabouts of Jacob and the identity of the gunman remain unknown.

The pain and anguish of one's son/daughter passing away is a parent's worst nightmare. However, the emotional pain of Jerry & Patty Wetterling (Jacob's mom and dad) is likely compounded by the fact they have no earthly idea what has become of their son. Since I've pretty much followed this story from the beginning, I don't recall one instance where a substantive lead has cropped up. I pray that the Wetterlings are able to have some semblance of closure one day.

In the mean time, Jacob's best friend Aaron continues to struggle with survivor's guilt. See his heart wrenching account of that fateful evening (as well as what life's been like the past 25 years) in raw interview footage shared by Fox 9 news.




You can also see the actual news footage of the interview here.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume CIII

-The gay mafia continues the shakedown.

The Idaho case involves Donald and Evelyn Knapp, both ordained ministers, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel. Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.

The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation.

On Friday, a same-sex couple asked to be married by the Knapps, and the Knapps politely declined. The Knapps now face a 180-day jail term and $1,000 fine for each day they decline to celebrate the same-sex wedding.

A week of honoring their faith and declining to perform the ceremony could cost the couple three and a half years in jail and $7,000 in fines.

The thing that is most perplexing is why an aspiring married couple would insist on receiving services from people who don't support their union. Over the past decade, more and more Americans began to accept the "live and let live" mantra and thus no longer protested the idea of gays marrying. So why is it that when the gays seemingly get what they want (i.e. the "freedom to marry"), why must they turn it into a cudgel against those who politely reject such an exercise?

This isn't the first story of its kind either. It further validates Erick Erickson's assertion from 19 months ago that, despite opposing gay marriage but not caring if it's legal, you will be made to care.


- How desperate are the Democrats to hang on to their U.S. Senate majority? They're citing blunders made by GOP Senate candidates......in 2012!!

Of course, it doesn't help the Dems when they're desperately trying to distance themselves from President Obama yet he continually inserts himself in the fray.


- So Monica Lewinsky joined Twitter on Monday.





Ms. Lewinsky posted her first tweet just ahead of a speech she was to given at Forbes' inaugural "Under 30 Summit" in Philadelphia.

In her speech, Lewinsky spoke of her advocacy to stop "cyberbullying." of which she claimed she was the first victim upon the 1998 revelation of her affair with then President Bill Clinton. While I felt awful for Ms. Lewinsky and how the affair basically ruined her life due to the public shaming, I don't believe she should be 100% absolved of responsibility. Given Lewinsky was a young woman in her early 20s when the affair began, I find it difficult to believe she didn't realize the moral repugnance of having relations with another woman's husband. Now do I believe she deserves to have her life in complete shambles as a result? No. In fact I'm rooting for her to use her awful circumstances to make a positive impact in the lives of others.

While it's a noble cause Lewinsky is undertaking, it would be even more so had she not portrayed herself a helpless victim.

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