Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tables turned.

So I guess Comedy Central found someone to replace Jon Stewart as host of the "comedy" news program The Daily Show. To be honest, I hadn't ever heard the name of Stewart's successor, Trevor Noah, until this week.

Anyhow, Mr. Noah hasn't even assumed hosting duties and yet has found himself in a proverbial sticky wicket.

As potential audience members scoured his past work and social media presence for more clues to Mr. Noah, a South African comedian, they uncovered many posts on his Twitter account that they deemed offensive to women or Jews.

Comedy Central announced on Monday that Mr. Noah, 31, would succeed Jon Stewart as anchor of “The Daily Show,” its satirical late-night news program, when Mr. Stewart steps down this year. Though Mr. Noah has performed stand-up comedy around the world, he is not widely known in the United States, and he had appeared as an on-air contributor to “The Daily Show” only three times before being named as host.

On Twitter, where he has had an account since 2009 and accumulated more than two million followers, Mr. Noah often posts irreverent statements that reflect his interests in popular culture, global politics and issues of race. As with many comedians, Mr. Noah’s jokes can test the boundaries of what is socially permissible and what is in bad taste.

In several posts, Mr. Noah came across as mocking or derisive of women. In one from 2011, he writes: “Oh yeah the weekend. People are gonna get drunk & think that I’m sexy!” a quote that he attributes to “fat chicks everywhere.”

In a post from last year, he quotes another Twitter user who writes, “When a woman is loved correctly, she becomes 10 times the woman she was before,” to which Mr. Noah adds: “So she gets fat?”

After a firestorm of criticism ensued, Noah responded via Twitter.

Lemme get this straight. The new host of The Daily Show is complaining that he's being taken out of context and that his true intentions are being skewered?!?! Huh. That's....uhhh......ironic.


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Monday, March 30, 2015

Utter heartbreak

When I first heard of the disappearance of University of Minnesota student Jennifer Houle, who had not been seen since leaving a Dinkytown bar at 1:00 a.m. Friday morning, I had little hope she would be found safe once it got past 36 hours without contact. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to pray for her return without knowing for sure what had happened. I actually recognized her last name, as I went to high school with kids named "Houle." Sure enough, I was in the same grade as her uncle. Despite the fact I hadn't seen said classmate in nearly 20 years, it became a little personal. When I was growing up on the east side of St. Paul, we were a tight-knit community, one which was there for each other in a time of crisis, regardless if neighbors were close friends or mere acquaintances.

Unfortunately, we learned Monday there's a certain mom and dad in the Twin Cities who are now living a parent's worst nightmare.

Minneapolis police on Monday confirmed video evidence shows missing University of Minnesota student and Pi Beta Phi sorority member Jennifer Houle went into the Mississippi River from the 10th Avenue Bridge early Friday morning. The Hennepin County sheriff's office has been called in for a water recovery effort.

Houle, 22, had last been seen by friends at the Blarney Pub in Dinkytown sometime between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. on Friday, March 27. Police said no suspects are being sought.

"We extend our deepest condolences to the Houle family and all of Jennifer's many friends," Minneapolis police said in a statement. "The Minneapolis Police Department and the family of Jennifer Houle wish to thank the many people who provided support, assistance, and information since Jennifer's disappearance. The Houle family has requested privacy at this difficult time."

While I'm certain the family is, in a very small way, relieved to have some clarity regarding Jennifer's whereabouts, more questions are likely to arise. Was this an accident or did she willingly take her own life? If it's the latter, this will lead to additional questions as well as more anguish to the family.

Continued prayers, thoughts and any other karmic interventions to be extended their way.



Sunday, March 29, 2015

It's not in the way you look or the things that you say that you do.....

Another Sunday, yet another edition of The Closer on the Northern Alliance Radio Network. I'll be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time. 

Right at 1:00, political wonk Matt Mackowiak will check in for a quick segment to discuss the recently announced presidential candidacy of his friend Ted Cruz. 

Then for a couple of segments in the 1:00 hour, I will pay homage to outgoing Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), who announced this past week he will not seek reelection in 2016. Alas, I will not come to praise Reid, but to bury him.

For the 2:00 hour, AM 1280 The Patriot promotions guy and fellow Minnesota Twins rube Ross Brendel will stop by the Patriot bunker to preview the 2015 season for our favorite baseball club. 

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.....



Friday, March 27, 2015

Will Rogers never met Harry Reid

To this day whenever I hear the name Harry Reid, I firmly recall Dennis Miller's verbal savaging of the U.S. Senator from Nevada in the summer of 2007.

Outside of President Barack Obama, there's no other leftist politician whom I have blogged about more frequently than Reid.

Given Friday's announcement from the Senate Minority Leader, I won't have the U.S. Senate's most hack-tastic member to kick around for much longer as Reid will not seek reelection in 2016.

While not totally unexpected, his decision to forgo what would have been a difficult race still shook the Capitol on Friday and represented the first major transition in the Democratic leadership of the Senate or House in years. He endorsed Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York to succeed him in 2017.

Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.

If there's one lasting impression I have of Reid it would be his borderline dictatorial behavior. He would often take to the Senate floor and call out individual U.S. citizens who had the audacity to use their First Amendment rights to say things diametrically opposed to Reid's beliefs. Whether it was conservative radio titan Rush Limbaugh or the Koch brothers, it wasn't beyond Reid to demand they be reprimanded for their conduct or flat out call them "Un-American" during a speech.

Heck, even regular everyday Americans didn't escape Reid's ire. How about when folks were sharing their health insurance difficulties which occurred upon the implementation of Obamacare. Reid essentially called them liars.

Reid was also one of the more manipulative politicians as well (hardly a novel concept, I realize). Remember in the spring of 2009 when Pennsylvania senator Arlen Specter switched to the Democrat party, thus giving the Dems a super majority of 60 senators? In exchange for such a move, Reid promised Specter advanced seniority when it came to committee positions. Reid reneged.

Honestly, there's myriad more examples of Reid's insufferable hackery I could go through. And while Reid moving on from politics is a good thing for discourse, the prospect of Sen. Schumer becoming the new Dem leader doesn't exactly elicit a rosy picture.

The fight never ends.


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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Upon further review.......



Bowe Bergdahl charged with desertion



U.S. Begins Striking ISIS in Iraq, Trying to Reclaim Tikrit


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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Back on the bandwagon

I was a rabid fan of the NHL's Minnesota North Stars from the time I was in the 5th grade (1979-80) until the franchise relocated to Dallas after the 1992-93 season. It was at that point that I had become utterly apathetic towards pro hockey.

Within the next 5 years or so, it was announced that Minnesota would be awarded an expansion franchise beginning in the 2000-01 season, and they would be called the Minnesota Wild. While there was much rejoicing among many Minnesotans over the return of the NHL, I just wasn't all that interested.....until the club's third season that is. That was when the Wild first made the playoffs, many surmising that the franchise's progression was ahead of schedule. Nevertheless, they upset the mighty Colorado Avalanche in round one, culminating with a dramatic overtime goal by Andrew Brunette in Game 7. Then in the second round, the Wild rallied from a 3 games to 1 deficit to the Vancouver Canucks, winning another dramatic seven game series. So in merely their third year in existence, the Wild were playing in a conference finals! Alas, two seven game series proved to be too much as the Wild scored merely one goal in four games as they were swept by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks and sizzling hot goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

After three opening round series losses over the next nine seasons (where I was again firmly indifferent), the Wild broke through last year in the first round with yet another dramatic Game 7 overtime win over Colorado. And while they gave the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks a battle in round two, the Wild were dispatched in six games.

So coming into this season, I was once again on the Wild bandwagon. After a nice start to the season where they won 7 of the first 10 games, the team's goaltending started to go south. The season's low point came on January 13 when the Wild lost 7-2 in Pittsburgh. That was the Wild's sixth straight loss, putting their record at 18-19-5, well out of contention for a playoff spot. Out of sheer desperation, the Wild swung a trade for Arizona Coyotes backup goalie Devan Dubnyk the next day in an effort to shore up their biggest weakness. At the time, the deal was met with a yawn as the journeyman Dubnyk had a career record of 70-82-24 and a 2.88 Goal Against average with three different teams in 5-1/2 years.

But after Tuesday's 2-1 Shootout road win over the New York Islanders, Dubnyk, who has started literally every single game since the trade (32 consecutive games, a Wild franchise record for a goalie) now has a record of 24-6-1 with a GAA of around 1.70 while with the club. The victory over the Isles was the Wild's 10th consecutive road win (also a franchise record).

I'm old enough to remember both Stanley Cup Finals appearances (1981 and 1991) by the North Stars when they were in Minnesota. The ecstasy and exhilaration displayed at the Metropolitan Sports Center (the Stars' home arena) is still firmly entrenched in my mind.

After what looked like a woefully underachieving season in mid January, the Wild look to be in prime position to make a deep playoff run. If indeed that happens, I will gladly divert my attention away from my favorite professional sport (Major League Baseball) for two months while I occupy my front seat on the Wild's bandwagon.


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Monday, March 23, 2015

Quick Hits: Volume CIX

- Regardless of whom the GOP presidential nominee is in 2016, I will cast my vote for that candidate. As of this moment, my personal front runner is Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (In fact, my friend and radio colleague Mitch Berg and I feel quite strongly about a Walker/Susana Martinez ticket).

I have to say that, for me personally, a certain U.S. Senator from Texas is a ways down the list.

Facing a rapt audience as he launched his long-expected bid for the presidency at Liberty University Monday, U.S. Sen Ted Cruz delivered a rousing 30-minute speech in which he pledged to "reignite the promise of America."

I personally heard Cruz speak in person last August at an Eeeeeeevil Koch Bros. sponsored meeting the annual Americans for Prosperity Defending the American Dream summit in Dallas. He was charismatic, funny and highly energetic. His campaign kickoff speech Monday appeared to possess those traits as well.

..{F}rom the stage, where Cruz paced the four corners without notes, he could look out on a sea of welcoming faces. He highlighted his story as the son of a Baptist preacher running as a small government social conservative committed to a traditional definition of marriage, school "choice," and opposition to abortion rights.

He talked about the "transformative love of Jesus Christ," and asked students to "imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life and to uphold the sacrament of marriage."

Sure, all that appeals to me as staunch conservative. But c'mon, let's have a little reality check here. Do we honestly believe this country can be swayed to elect as President a first term U.S. Senator who gives passionate speeches which lack specifics on a substantive agenda and, on top of that, has to endure questions about his U.S. citizenship?

- I'm sensing a high profile game of "chicken" between the Minnesota Vikings and the camp of their star running back Adrian Peterson.

At the NFL owners meeting in Arizona on Monday, Peterson's agent Ben Dogra was basically asked if his client would rejoin the Vikings in 2015.

"I don't think it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota. Why would it be?"

Why? Well, for starters, Peterson just turned 30, an age where running backs quickly begin to regress. As such, the Vikings are likely the only team in the NFL who will pay him north of $10 million in 2015 (his current contract calls for him to make $12.75 million). The Vikings have already gone on record saying they will not release Peterson, thus he wouldn't be available to any team (via free agency) who would be willing to take a flier on him at a significantly reduced salary (assuming Peterson would even consider taking such a cut). So if Peterson does go elsewhere, he would have to be traded. However, I can't think of any team out there willing to take on that exorbitant contract, never mind the potential public relations headache.

Regardless, all that seems moot if you believe Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf.

"The bottom line is Adrian is an important part of the Minnesota Vikings. He's represented us on and off the field. We're getting ready for the 2015 season and we fully expect him to join his teammates and be a part of what we feel is going to be a great season ahead."

So is the next move of Peterson's camp to issue a holdout threat? If so, my spiteful side hopes the Wilfs call them on that bluff and let Peterson sit for another year. Since he has brought all this on himself, it would serve him right.

- When it was announced last month that the state of Minnesota had a $1.9 Billion projected budget surplus, there was much debate over what do with such spoils. Naturally, the DFL wanted to spend it all in addition to (surprise!) raising other taxes. GOP legislators, however, didn't specifically convey what they wanted done, except to say this should remove talk of an increase in the gasoline tax.

With that in mind, it would appear that the Republican Party of Minnesota had gone rogue with it's "Give It Back!" initiative announced a couple of weeks ago. Despite airing a TV commercial featuring Chairman Keith Downey lobbying for the surplus to be returned to Minnesota families, very few GOP legislators expressed support for the campaign.

It was assumed Minnesotans would have a better idea what GOP legislators had in mind for the surplus once their transportation funding bill would be announced by leaders on Monday.

Republican lawmakers on Monday proposed a $7 billion plan that they called an investment in transportation over the next decade.

And how to fund it?

Republicans want to avoid any tax increases. Instead, they would redirect money from several existing taxes to be spent on transportation.

Their plan would also use about $230 million of the surplus for a one-time transportation infusion and would borrow $2.3 billion. About $1 billion of the borrowing would be general obligation bonds, which require a three-fifths majority to pass.

Their plan includes less ongoing spending, banks on more than $1 billion in efficiencies and savings at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and has little money for metro-area transit.

Emphasis was mine.

The aforementioned transportation funding proposal would seem to indicate that "giving it back" is a nonstarter.

Meanwhile, the state party website continues to tout it's "Give It Back!" campaign by asking folks to sign a petition in support for that program. Just below that is a link to the Republican legislators' plan of putting roads and bridges first.....and asking people to sign a petition in agreement. Awkward!


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