Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Plowing ahead

I commented in a post Monday that my state House rep (and current US Senate candidate) Jim Abeler was likely to announce in a Tuesday presser his withdrawal from the senate race and seek reelection for his MN House seat.

I was wrong.

State Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said today that he’s retiring from the Minnesota House to campaign for U.S. Senate.

Abeler made the announcement to show supporters that he’s focused solely on his bid for the Senate. Up until now he has left open the possibility of running again for his House seat, even though he was competing to win the GOP nomination to run against DFL Sen. Al Franken. He said he made the decision to show Republican voters that he’s committed to his Senate campaign.

“If I don’t go ‘all-in’ then I may not get there,” Abeler said. “I think that Minnesota and Washington need me to be there to get after the problems that plague us and get after the divisions that are so rife.”

Since Abeler declared himself a candidate for US Senate about ten months ago, he has logged some pretty serious miles around the state. If you follow his Senate Facebook page, you would see how he is in a different part of the state six (sometimes seven) days per week, and oftentimes he'll hit 2-3 different towns/cities on any particular day. It was kind of hard to dispute that he wasn't "all-in" before Tuesday's announcement. On the flip side he's never gotten any traction in this race, evidenced by his paltry fundraising numbers as well as poor showings in various GOP straw polls. At last October's meeting of Republican State Central delegates, Abeler finished fifth and then on caucus night in February he came in fourth, just one slot behind "undecided."

Despite strong evidence that Abeler will not be the Republican nominee, he believes in his heart of hearts that he is the only viable candidate. At the end of the day that is all that matters.

In what I thought was a kind and gracious gesture, Abeler also used his announcement to throw support behind the endorsed Republican candidate for his House seat.

Republicans have already endorsed Abigail Whelan to run for his district 35A House seat, and Abeler says it was best he announce a decision.

“If people think that she’s a placeholder then that affects fundraising, it affects my focus, it affects people’s confidence that I’m really in this for real,” he said
Over the past several elections cycles, Abeler rarely received a serious challenge from a DFLer, often winning in the general by double digits. In fact, he is the only Republican to consistently win precincts in the city of Anoka, which has definitely gone "purple" (maybe even lite blue) over the years. Given that Anoka makes up approximately 43% of 35A, Whelan can still win if she squeezes enough votes out of the city of Ramsey, which makes up the remaining 57% of the district. It'll simply boil down to turnout which, in a non-presidential year in the Obama era, favors Republicans.

Regardless of how you want to crunch the numbers, 35A may well be considered a "toss up" this election cycle. One hasn't been able to say that about this district literally this whole millennium.

Time to go to work.


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Monday, April 21, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume XCII

- There's a glut of Republican US Senate candidates looking to secure the GOP nomination to take on incumbent senator Al Franken. Since Franken is a very well funded incumbent, it would behoove some of the GOP candidates to do some serious soul searching regarding their viability.

About three months ago, I predicted Jim Abeler (my current rep in the MN House) would drop out of the US Senate race and thus seek reelection for his current MN House seat. Briana Bierschbach of Minn Post sent out the following tweet Monday morning.

Despite the fact I know Abeler personally, I have no insight as to what this announcement will entail. However, I wouldn't be shocked if said announcement fulfills my January prediction, especially in light of Abeler's feeble fundraising numbers:

Granted I thought Abeler would wait until after the May 30-31 MN GOP state convention (but just prior to the June 3 deadline to file for a MN House race) to officially step aside. However, given his dire financial situation, it's becoming increasingly difficult to justify staying in the fray.

- The latest news from the headquarters of the local NBA franchise should come as no surprise.

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has decided to retire after 23 seasons in the NBA. He will continue working for the franchise in a consulting role, the team announced.

The decision brings to an end to a celebrated coaching career that includes 1,042 victories, eighth on the NBA's career list. Adelman coached Western Conference powers in Portland and Sacramento and also had stops in Golden State and Houston. He just completed the third season of a four-year deal with Minnesota that he signed in 2011. There was a mutual option for the final year of the deal.

"I think it's time for me to step aside," Adelman said. "When I came here, we really tried to see if we could turn some things around and we made some strides. Not as much as we would have liked, but I think it's time for me to step aside and let someone else come in with this group. We're not that far away.

"I really enjoyed my time here. I thank [owner] Glen [Taylor] so much. He's the best owner I've ever been around. Not only as an owner, but as a person and everything. It's been an enjoyable experience, but I'm ready and my wife's ready to move on to another phase. We're looking forward to that."

While Adelman inherited a roster that included dynamic point guard Ricky Rubio and All Star forward Kevin Love, they were not on the court together nearly enough over Adelman's first two seasons. Rubio tore a knee ligament in Adelman's first year as Wolves coach, resulting in the club floundering down the stretch. The following season, while Rubio was still attempting to shake off some rust, Love played in only 18 of the team's 82 games due to various injuries.

Going into this season, the Wolves were thought to have one of the more formidable starting lineups with a healthy Love and Rubio, hard nosed center Nikola Pekovic, free agent shooting guard Kevin Martin (who had averaged nearly 20 points per game throughout his career) and the return of an improved Corey Brewer. While the Wolves offense was indeed dynamic (3rd in the NBA in scoring), their defense (26th out of 30) was virtually nonexistent. Combine that with the fact that there was a severe drop off in performance when bench players hit the court, the Wolves finished a disappointing 40-42, missing the postseason for the tenth consecutive season.

Team president Flip Saunders said there would be an "exhaustive" search for a new head coach. In the minds of many Wolves fans, the new coach needs to possess merely one quality: the ability to convince the team's best player, Kevin Love, to stay beyond the 2014-15 season, after which he becomes a free agent.

No pressure.

- My friend Julia Schliesing (who also happens to be Miss Minneapolis 2014 and a Northern Alliance Radio Network contributor) was recently the subject of a short online documentary. The organization Call Me Mental, a collaboration between artists and clinicians looking to change attitudes towards mental illness, focused on Julia's advocacy to reduce the suicide rate.

Through her own struggle with depression and anxiety, Julia uses her title of Miss Minneapolis (and hopefully Miss Minnesota and beyond) as a platform to encourage others plagued with mental illness to seek help before suicidal thoughts overwhelm them.

Please take about seven minutes to watch:

If you would like to be a part of helping Julia spread this powerful and important message, please consider donating financially to her cause. You can donate online here.


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Box Score of the week

It was a sweltering evening in Arlington, TX in July 2003 at the Rangers hosted the Boston Red Sox.


A historic game for Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller, as he hit three home runs and drove in nine. Highlighting this performance was the fact that Mueller, a switch hitter, clubbed a grand same from both sides of plate, becoming the first player in Major League Baseball history to do so.



Sunday, April 20, 2014

I'll lose my sanity tryin' to measure your intentions....

Happy Easter everyone! I know it's a special day to spend with family, especially when commemorating the resurrection of Jesus. While a live broadcast of my radio show can hardly compete with such endeavors, you are welcome nonetheless to tune in this afternoon at 1:00 Central Time for the latest edition of The Closer. 

Surprisingly, nearly the entire broadcast will feature guests, and for that I am grateful.

Right at 1:00, friend of the Northern Alliance Radio Network/Author/Blogger/Cool Chick Katie Kieffer will check in.

Katie is excited to share the details of her first book, which has been in the works for several months now.

At 1:30, Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing will make her weekly appearance. Julia will likely discus her episode of the documentary series Call Me Mental, which is slated to broadcast online this evening at 5:00 CT (here's a teaser). With less than two months until the Miss Minnesota pageant, Julia is still accepting donations to allow her to spread her message of suicide prevention (Donate here).

Then at 1:45, friend of the NARN Kelly Gunderson will call in to the show. Kelly will promote an upcoming candidate forum featuring all of the Republican candidates for Minnesota's US Senate seat currently held by Al Franken.

Finally at 2:00, yet another friend of the show, local political activist Jeff Kolb, will call in. Jeff attended the speech given by Condoleezza Rice this past Thursday at the University of Minnesota, so we'll get his perspective on that. In addition, Jeff has pored over many of the first quarter campaign finance reports of US Senate and MN gubernatorial candidates. He'll provide analysis on that as well.

I will then wrap up the show talking about this very special commemorative holiday that is Easter.

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.....



Saturday, April 19, 2014

Do better

Upon being declared the winner of Minnesota's 2008 US Senate race in June 2009 (after ballot recounts, legal challenges, etc.), Al Franken was, for a time, the 60th Democrat Senator. What that meant is it rendered the GOP powerless to filibuster if indeed the Dems were unified in a cloture vote. As such, a strong argument can be made that Franken's election was the catalyst for jamming down our throats passing the monstrosity that is Obamacare.

As he is due to come up for reelection this year, Franken's first term has been unimpressive as he has been aligned with President Obama on pretty much every key vote, especially the Affordable Care Act. The fact that the President's approval rating continues to nosedive certainly doesn't bode well for Sen. Franken either.

Because there are plenty of substantive issues on which to hit Franken, I'm surprised (and more than a little disappointed) that one of the GOP Senate campaigns seeking the Republican nomination to oppose Franken would focus on the tedious.

Julianne Ortman, one of only two candidates (businessman Mike McFadden being the other) with a legitimate shot to win the GOP endorsement at the end of May, unearthed a video which was posted at a Breitbart.com site. The video was of Franken taking two orange cones and strategically placing them on his chest as if they were a woman's breasts.

In a fundraising email sent this past week, the Ortman campaign said the following:

Brad, this kind of behavior is unacceptable for any public person, much less a sitting United States Senator.

Or, as Stuart Smalley might put it, "it's not good enough."

And it's just one more reason why Al Franken has to go.

Do you agree?

Yes, I agree that Sen. Franken needs to be voted out. But it's more due to the far left, progressive agenda for which he has cast votes as opposed to acting like a teenage boy. I recall vividly that Franken was hit hard during the 2008 campaigns in regards to his character, specifically jokes about rape or his vile characterizations of Republican politicians. If those couldn't sway some Minnesotans from voting for this man, certainly the juvenile antics depicted in the video won't be much of a deterrent.

Now if a Republican politician were shown acting this way, the vapid "war on women" meme would likely ensue from leftists and their cohorts in the media. I get that. But that doesn't mean our side should waste any energy focusing on it since the mainstream media couldn't care less.

With Franken's approval rating in Minnesota currently under 50%, he's plenty vulnerable on his record alone. Seems to me we ought to stick with that target rich environment.


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Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

With today being Good Friday, I’m even more reflective on what my Lord and Savior did for me.

Each day I pray, I give thanks to my Heavenly Father for laying down the life of His only son, Jesus Christ, so that I have an opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven. I realize that had the Lord not done one single solitary thing for me my entire life on Earth, He had already put upon me I debt I can never repay. But even more good news is I’ve blessed “exceedingly, abundantly above what I could ever think or ask.” He asks for nothing in return, other than putting no other god before Him. In my opinion, that’s an infinitesimal price to pay.

As a human being, I possess a finite mind that renders me unable to comprehend the depths of the Lord’s love for me. I just know that accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior has transformed me in a way I never thought possible. It’s helped me to have compassion for those who smite me. It’s given me peace in the wake of tragic circumstances. It’s enhanced my joy know that this chaotic and tumultuous world is not my home. It’s allowed me to love others unconditionally as He loved us the same way.

I wish you all a blessed and joyful Easter weekend.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The importance of introspection

If you live in the state of Minnesota, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the horrible incident involving University of Minnesota-Duluth sophomore Alyssa Jo Lommel. It was last December when Lommel was found unconscious on the front porch of a home next door to where she lived with roommates. After an evening of doing tequila shots, a disoriented Lommel passed out, thus enduring temperatures in the double digits below zero for approximately nine hours before she was discovered.

After suffering severe hypothermia and significant tissue damage, Lommel, if she survived, face a long recovery process that in all likelihood would result in amputation of limbs.

Thankfully, Ms. Lommel did survive and, as reported last week, is recovering at her parents’ home in St. Cloud. The unfortunate aspect of this story is she did indeed have to succumb to amputation.

Despite amputations up to the knuckles of fingers on both hands and parts of both her feet, the college sophomore plans to return to the Duluth campus in the fall to continue her studies in psychology and sociology.

"Obviously, there is going to be a lot of work that needs to be done, but my goal is to be up in Duluth in the fall," Lommel said.

While I admire Ms. Lommel’s positive outlook in what has likely been the most tumultuous period in her young life, I was rather disappointed in what appeared to be a flippant dismissal of the incident that led to her dire situation.

"People can say that I was underage drinking in college and that's what caused it, but in reality had it been a sunny day, I would've woken up and been like, 'Oh my gosh, what am I doing here,' " Lommel said. "I just want people to be aware that this happens to people all the time, unfortunately. Beware of the cold."

Lommel said that before this experience, she thought she wanted to be an addictions counselor. Now she wants to be a social worker.

"I've always wanted to help other people," Lommel said. "Now I am in a position where I have been through a lot and I can help other people realize that they can come through, too."

I may be reading this totally incorrectly, but I get the impression that she is absolving herself of any responsibility for this incident. After all, she enthusiastically mentioned on her Twitter feed the afternoon of Friday, December 6 that she was planning on doing tequila shots that evening. As such, one could argue the intention was to be quite inebriated by evening’s end. With that in mind, did Alyssa give her friends/roommates a “heads up” that she may need some assistance that evening? Did she arrange for a ride home knowing full well she would be in no condition to drive? In reading accounts of this incident, she was given a ride home by a truck full of guys who dropped her off at her house and then drove away without ensuring she was safely inside. Given the frigid weather, I can’t comprehend that kind of thoughtlessness (unless the driver and fellow passengers were also drunk, thus impairing their common sense). Obviously that wasn’t Alyssa’s fault, but it does beg the question if she even knew the guys who drove her home.

I hope I’m not coming off as heartless, as that is not my intent here. I simply believe Alyssa’s traumatic incident can serve as an effective deterrent to young people being put in potentially vulnerable positions. No, I’m not naïve enough to believe that Ms. Lommel’s testimony would in any significant way curb underage drinking on college campuses. However, I am confident that her story can absolutely be a cautionary tale on what happens when there’s a lack of accountability. I understand this may be lofty expectations to heap upon a 19-year old young lady. That said, it appears she has a indomitable spirit as well as a strong support system in terms of dealing with her physical and emotional scars. With that in mind, I believe she will ultimately achieve her goal of helping others cope in the aftermath of their own horrific experiences.


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Monday, April 14, 2014

Move over Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and Phyllis Schlafly.....

When l last saw my friend Katie Kieffer, it was on a Thursday evening this past August.

On that particular night, there was a farewell soiree for Katie, as she would be relocating to a super secret bunker somewhere in the Midwest to begin writing her very first book.

This past week Katie was pleased to announce that said book, entitled Let Me Be Clear: Barack Obama's War on Millennials, and One Woman's Case for Hopeis scheduled to be released this summer!

As a Public Service Announcement, I, on behalf of Katie, would like to let you all know that LMBC is now available for pre-order via Barnes & Noble as well as Amazon. And if indeed you do pre-order, you'll receive 25% off the hardcover edition and 50% off E-book! If you're at all familiar with Katie's work on her personal site or at Townhall.com, you know full well that her first book will be a must read.

One final thing: be sure and catch Katie's appearance this Sunday at 1:00 PM Central Time on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, AM 1280 The Patriot.


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Box Score of the Week

The Texas Rangers traveled to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees - August 27, 1977.


An inside-the-park home run is rare enough. For a team to hit two in one game is obviously even more uncommon. But what Toby Harrah and Bump Wills of the Texas Rangers did in the seventh inning of this game was only the second time in MLB history that such an event occurred. Harrah and Wills hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs on consecutive pitches, something that hadn't happened since 1946.