Thursday, February 11, 2016

Living caricature

Is this not the perfect metaphor for the ideology of a certain septuagenarian socialist running for President?

Hillary Clinton is expected to leave New Hampshire with just as many delegates as Bernie Sanders, even after he crushed her in Tuesday’s presidential primary.

Sanders won 15 delegates with his 20-point victory Tuesday while Clinton won nine.

But Clinton came into the contest with the support of six superdelegates, who are state party insiders given the freedom to support any candidate they choose.

Superdelegate support is fluid, though, so some of those delegates now backing Clinton could switch to Sanders before the Democratic National Convention in late July.

But as it stands, the superdelegate support gives Clinton a total of 15 New Hampshire delegates.

National Review's Jim Geraghty summed it up perfectly: "No Party With ‘Superdelegates’ Gets to Lecture Me About Disenfranchisement."


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Election/Primary night.

While much of the country was focused on the presidential primaries in New Hampshire on Tuesday evening, my attention was divided between there and my home state of Minnesota.

In the state senate district where I reside, the GOP candidate in the special election, Jim Abeler, won handily with 74% of the vote. Democrat Roger Johnson finished with 22% while the Legal Marijuana Now (yes, that really is the name of a political party here) candidate got 4%.  None of that was a surprise in what is a solid red SD.

On the other end of the Metro area, a special MN House election took place in House District 50B (Southeast Bloomington), a district where Gov. Mark Dayton won by double digits in 2014 and President Barack Obama emerged victorious by a similar margin in 2012. But in this race, GOP candidate Chad Anderson edged DFLer Andrew Carlson by 2.5%! Granted this is only a special election and the seat will be up again in November, but this proves that all bets are off in circumstances like this (looking at you, 46A!). From what I've been told, this gives the GOP their largest House majority in about 10 years. Again, it's only for this one legislative session (which begins next month), but it feels good for Republicans to pick up a seat in Hennepin County once in a while. 

Nationally, the winners in the presidential primaries (Donald Trump for the GOP, Bernie Sanders for the Dems) were as expected. However, the significant margins of victory were certainly eye opening. On the Republican side, Trump finished nearly 19 points ahead of John Kasich. But the most interesting story lines were found in slots 3-4-5. Despite spending oodles of time and money in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush looks to have finished fourth. That's bad enough, but it's even worse when you consider he outspent 3rd place finisher Ted Cruz by about $44 to $1 in NH. And as expected, Marco Rubio's poor debate performance Saturday came back to haunt him as he finished 5th. But the guy largely responsible for wounding Rubio, Chris Christie, finished 6th and thus is not even eligible to participate in the next debate. After such a disappointing finish, Christie stated he's heading back to New Jersey to assess his campaign. This seems to be a precursor to his dropping out this week. Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson (who finished with 4% and 2%, respectively) need to follow suit. 

On the Dem side, Sanders scored a 20 point over Hillary Clinton. Seems rather ironic that an avowed socialist can post that kind of result in a state whose motto is "Live Free or Die." While it's fun to see the Shrill Hill campaign in chaos, she'll likely rebound with a resounding victory in South Carolina on February 27. 

Getcha popcorn!


Monday, February 08, 2016

SB 50 aftermath

Huh. I guess defense really does win championships.

The Denver Broncos, who entered the postseason as the top ranked defense in terms of yards allowed, won Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers 24-10. The performance of the Broncos' D was that much more impressive when you consider they held in check a Panthers squad which had scored 80 points in two postseason games and was the NFL's top scoring team in the regular season.

Just a few other observations/thoughts:

- If Vikings' coach Mike Zimmer was watching, he had to feel pretty encouraged. After all, the Broncos won that game with stellar defensive play while putting forth (to be generous) pedestrian offensive production. That was much of the Vikes' 2015 season in a nutshell.

- Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning likely played his last game. If so, his Hall of Fame career ends the same way his boss John Elway wrapped up his playing days: a Super Bowl champion. There's debate whether Manning should be considered the greatest QB of all time now that he has multiple Super Bowl wins. While I greatly admire and respect the myriad pass records Manning holds, I am not of the opinion that he is the top QB of all time (I maintain that's a battle between Joe Montana and Tom Brady). Let's face it: with that Broncos' defense, Cooper Manning could have been quarterback of that team and still won it all.

- After three blowout losses in the Super Bowl as Broncos QB, Elway finally broke through with a win in SB 32 against the Green Bay Packers. Upon finally getting that elusive Super Bowl victory, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen exclaimed "This one's for John!" and handed the trophy to Elway. So when Elway (now the Broncos' VP of Football Operations and GM) received the SB 50 trophy Sunday evening, he returned the favor by saying "This one's for Pat!" It was an especially poignant moment since Bowlen was not present. The Broncos owner stepped away from his day-to-day duties 18 months ago due to being diagnosed with Alzheimer's. 

- Hey Eli, how do you feel about no longer owning the most Super Bowl rings in the Manning family? 

-Panthers QB Cam Newton has been receiving a lot of heat for his rather curt post game presser where he eventually stormed off in frustration. Sorry, but I can't get too worked up about it. Obviously the expectations were high for the league MVP and his team to win. But the Panthers didn't get it done, so obviously Newton was still pretty downtrodden less than an hour after the game. Could he have handled it better? Of course. But I don't think it's worth the invective that was directed towards him on social media.

- Overall, the renown Super Bowl commercials were pretty lackluster. However, there was one ad in particular which prompted the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) to put out one of the more bizarre tweets of the evening.

The commercial in question:

The loony reaction:


Sunday, February 07, 2016

To sleep would be best, but I just can't afford to rest.....

For the first time in four years, I will be in the Patriot bunker on Super Bowl Sunday. Yes, the one-hour edition of The Closer will kick off at 2:00 PM Central Time.

At 2:15 I'll be chatting with Ed Gillespie, who served as chair of the Republican National Committee from 2003 until 2005 and was a candidate for U.S. Senate out of Virginia in 2014. Mr. Gillespie will be on talk about his insistence that any GOP candidate for President will be doomed if they support a carbon tax.

Then at 2:30 I'll be joined by Kathryn Karg and Tiffany Buszta from the Miss Minnesota organization. These ladies will be on to promote the annual "Tracie's Night" gala, which is a fundraiser for the Tracie Joy McBride Scholarship Fund. These scholarships are given to young ladies displaying exemplary service in their respective communities.

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

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, February 06, 2016

Super Bowl 50: The Q&A

In our 11th installment of Super Bowl prognostications, the Super Bowl Inquisitor supplies the inquisition while I (hopefully) supply some original repartee.

It's the same old deal, except we've eschewed using Roman numerals to number the Super Bowls.

With that, let's get it on.

Super Bowl Inquisitor: As always, let’s start with the tedious questions. Lady Gaga is slated to sing the national anthem. Does that do anything for ya?
Brad: It’ll be interesting to see if she can perform a song without any of those kooky techno beats. 

SBI: I can’t speak for you, but I’m excited about Coldplay being the headliner for the halftime entertainment. 

SBI: Man. I teed that one up for ya. 

OK, now to the on field play. Do you believe this will be Peyton Manning’s final NFL game?
BC: I hope so. I haven’t seen such a significant 2-year drop off in a professional’s latter stages of a career since Clint Eastwood went from Gran Torino to Trouble with the Curve.

SBI: The Broncos’ defense was fantastic against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the AFC Championship Game. Can they replicate that success against Panthers QB Cam Newton? 
BC: I picture the Broncos’ D attempting to sack Newton as being similar to the efforts of the Lilliputians trying to bring down Gulliver.

SBI: Are you offended by Newton’s “dabbing” whenever he makes a big play?
BC: Nah. But I would be offended if he did the “Whip/Nae Nae.”

SBI: There’s typically a scandalous off field story during Super Bowl week, with this one being no exception. Broncos’ safety Ryan Murphy was sent home after being arrested in a prostitution sting. Your thoughts? 
BC: I’d prefer you ask Panthers’ radio guy Eugene Robinson for *his* thoughts.

SBI: What’s on the menu at your Super Bowl get-together?
BC: Hors d’oeuvres, shmor derves. Keep it simple. We’re going with Devil Dogs, a veggie tray and a vast array of diet sodas.

SBI: The Panthers are a 5-1/2 point favorite over the Broncos. How ya callin’ this one? 
BC: It’s hard to believe that a Peyton Manning led team merely needs him to be a “game manager” but that’s where we are. I think the Broncos’ defense will hold their own against Cam & Co., but Denver’s offense will be rendered ineffective. I’m going 21-17, Carolina.

In the immortal words of the ‘60s pop music group The Happenings: “See you in September!”

2015 Postseason record:
Straight up: 7-3
Against the spread: 4-6


You and me going fishing in the NARN.....

Today I will be joining my friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg on his Saturday broadcast, live from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time. As has been the tradition the past five years or so, the NARN ventures out for a broadcast on Medicine Lake in Plymouth, site of the annual Holes for Heroes ice fishing tournament.

This fantastic event honors those serving in our Armed Forces as well as the family members who are also making a tremendous sacrifice.

As far as the show is concerned, Mitch and I will likely chat with some of the key figures who help make this ice fishing tourney such a success. If time permits, we will also delve into some of the news from the presidential campaign trail.

So please give us a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics we plan on addressing.

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

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

Until then.....


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Bullet dodged

And to think I was enthusiastically supporting the idea of my favorite NFL squad drafting this guy in 2014.

Johnny Manziel's time with the Cleveland Browns will come to an end in March, according to a league source.

The Browns released a statement from new director of football operations Sashi Brown on Tuesday that expressed disappointment in Manziel but stopped short of saying the quarterback's run in Cleveland is over.

"We've been clear about expectations for our players on and off the field. Johnny's continual involvement in incidents that run counter to those expectations undermines the hard work of his teammates and the reputation of our organization," Brown said. "His status with our team will be addressed when permitted by league rules. We will have no further comment at this time."

The reference to league rules points to the fact that the Browns do not have the salary cap space to release Manziel on Feb. 8, the day after the Super Bowl and the first day they can do so. The move will take place when the new NFL year starts March 9, according to the source. Releasing Manziel in February would count $4.6 million against the cap, and due to the cap's machinations, the Browns do not have that space -- and will not have it in February. The cap will increase in March, which will allow them to release Manziel then.

With the Vikes having the #8 overall pick in 2014, I figured it would come down to either Manziel or LB Anthony Barr. But then the Vikings swapped picks with the Browns, giving Cleveland the #8 spot in exchange for #9 overall as well as the Browns' 5th round pick. So when Cleveland took a cornerback with that selection, I still wasn't sold Manziel would be the guy even though he was there for the taking. The reason I felt that way was because it had been reported that new Vikings coach Mike Zimmer expressed serious concerns about the quarterback's off field issues. In the end it was apparent Zimmer wasn't bluffing as the Vikings took Barr at #9. I think we can safely say that was the absolute perfect move.

A career that started with immeasurable excitement at the Browns trading up to draft Manziel ended with fans and the team ready to move on. Manziel is likely to rank as one of the Browns' biggest draft disappointments.

Manziel had a rocky rookie season that ended with him missing the final walkthrough after he was out late the night before the team flew to Baltimore. Manziel checked into rehab and treatment for undisclosed reasons shortly after the season and spent 10 weeks at Caron Treatment Center outside Reading, Pennsylvania.

He returned promising to tamp down the hype and keep himself off social media and out of the news. He did so until mid-October, when police in Avon, Ohio, questioned him after his then-girlfriend said he had hit her while driving in a car.

That led to a spiral of appearances on social media that troubled the team -- and briefly cost him a starting job.

Manziel returned for three of the final four games when Josh McCown broke his collarbone, but the week before the finale showed up late to a Wednesday team meeting looking disheveled. The team got him out of the meeting room, then announced he was in the concussion protocol.

USA Today then reported Manziel was in Las Vegas the weekend of the Browns' finale. He missed a scheduled treatment for his concussion the morning of the finale.

More social media appearances in clubs followed, and last weekend police were called for an alleged assault in Fort Worth, Texas. Dallas and Fort Worth police are investigating, as is the league.

The only question remaining is if this is Manziel's "rock bottom." People with addictions often have to reach that low point before they bounce back. If Manziel has yet to bottom out, perhaps a season or two with the Ottawa Redblacks would do it.


Tuesday, February 02, 2016


The Iowa Caucuses makes for good theater if you're a political junkie like me. But in the end, it's analogous to the third NFL preseason game where teams play their starters the majority of the game to effectively gauge how they measure up, and that a loss is not necessarily a death knell.

On the Republican side, Ted Cruz emerged victorious, securing 28% of the vote. Perhaps the most surprising development of the evening was Marco Rubio almost overtaking Donald Trump for second place. Trump eked out the second spot 24%-23%.

Meanwhile, the Democrat side featured pretty much a dead heat between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. And despite a solid one point victory over "Uncommitted," former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley chose to suspend his campaign. As a result, the average age of the lily white Democrat candidates for President of the United States is now 71-years old.

A few other thoughts:

- It's become pretty clear over the past month that the GOP side is a three candidate race among Cruz, Trump and Rubio. However, it appears only Mike Huckabee has the foresight to suspend his campaign. With a disappointing 5 % showing in Iowa, can Rand Paul be far behind? And even though Jeb Bush and John Kasich continue to be non-factors, both seem somewhat emboldened by either a surprising rise in the New Hampshire polls (Jeb!) or endorsements from prominent northeastern and east coast newspapers (Kasich). Hopefully both will be humbled by resounding defeats in New Hampshire next Tuesday.

- Clinton epitomizes the Democrat establishment and has limitless resources at her disposal for this campaign. So what does it say about her "unfavorables" when she is receiving a legit challenge for the Dem nominee from a kooky, 70-something avowed socialist? Leftists love to engage in concern trolling over the GOP being "too extreme" and how Ronald Reagan couldn't even win the presidential nomination in today's Republican party. Classic projection on the Dems' part since they probably know deep down that a John F. Kennedy type wouldn't be a contender in today's Democrat party.

- While I've made no secret of my opposition to Trump, I have no delusion that he's finished despite his disappointing second place finish. With that said, I believe Trump should have put his electoral viability to the ultimate test by enacting the Howard Dean scream at night's end. Alas.