Wednesday, May 04, 2016

New York corrupt-o-crat matchup is set

Donald Trump easily won the Indiana Republican presidential primary Tuesday evening. It was his seventh consecutive primary win, six of which he earned more than 50% of the vote (he garnered 48% in Pennsylvania).

As of late Tuesday, Trump had earned 51 of the 57 delegates in Indiana, putting him at 1,047 overall. With 445 delegates at stake in the remaining nine primaries, Trump now only needs 43% of said remaining delegates to bring his total count to the nomination clinching 1,237. With that in mind, I guess we shouldn't have been shocked by a certain announcement occurring soon after Trump clinched Indiana.

Ted Cruz dropped out of the presidential race on Tuesday night, ending one of the best-organized campaigns of 2016 after a series of stinging defeats left Donald Trump as the only candidate capable of clinching the nomination outright.

Cruz had appeared eager to go all the way to Cleveland to contest the Republican convention, but a string of massive losses in the Northeast and his subsequent defeat in Indiana convinced his team there was no way forward.

“From the beginning I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” Cruz said, with his wife Heidi by his side. “Tonight I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed.”

“With a heavy heart but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”

From the start, Cruz has premised his candidacy on the idea that 2016 would be an election driven by resentment toward the established GOP order. It was a strategy that looked prescient as Cruz steadily rose in the polls throughout 2015 and broke into the top tier in Iowa in early 2016.

But what Cruz did not expect is that he would be outmatched in outsider anger by Trump. Cruz had maintained a fragile truce with Trump all of last year, but by the time he turned on the front-runner, the Manhattan businessman had already captured the voters Cruz was hoping would fuel his candidacy.

As he bowed out, Cruz did not even mention the presumptive nominee.

"The challenges we face today remain as great as ever," Cruz told his supporters as he suspended the campaign. "Americans are deeply frustrated and desperately want to change the path that we're on."

Now is the time for the pro-Trump crowd to make a declaration. Can he or can he not win the general election without support of the #NeverTrump coalition? His barking, clapping seals most staunch supporters seem split.

By the way, if you're still saying you support Trump because he's "anti-establishment," you're lying to yourself. It's pretty clear from the developments over the past few weeks that the very establishment you allegedly decry helped Trump take out their biggest thorn --- Cruz. Also, there are already reports circulating that many seasoned GOP operatives (the very essence of "GOPe") are ready to hop aboard the "Trump Train."

So Trump's vow to eradicate the "establishment" has been over-hyped, not to mention he will be routed in the general election by Hillary Clinton this November. And instead of getting the huuuuuuuge wall on the southern border, you Trumpkins will witness Madam President signing sweeping immigration reform which will likely include legalization for those illegal aliens living in the shadows.

I will never forget how so many Trumpkins accused me of being "played" by the "GOPe" because apparently the Republican controlled Congress for which I staunchly advocated should have been able to coerce Obama into dramatically cutting spending as well as repeal his crown jewel legislation of health insurance reform. Turns out that Trumpkins accusing someone of being "played" is nothing more than classic projection.


Monday, May 02, 2016

Box Score of the Week

The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry was renewed this past weekend. With that, let's take a look at a Yanks-Sawx matchup from July 2004.



Sunday, May 01, 2016

Take a roller coaster that comes in sideways......

Tune in to the May Day edition of the Northern Alliance Radio Network this afternoon. My 1-hour program The Closer kicks off at 2:00 Central Time.

Right at 2:00, I welcome to the broadcast Minnesota Republican state legislative candidate (and fellow Harding High School alum) Tracy Nelson of Little Canada. Tracy is looking to represent House District 42B, which covers Little Canada, Vadnais Heights, Gem Lake and parts of Roseville & Shoreview. 

Then at 2:30, longtime friend of the broadcast Julia Erynn will check in. As Miss Minneapolis 2014, Julia's platform was titled Out of the Darkness and into the Light: Stopping Suicide with Prevention. Although she's no longer a titleholder, Julia is still a staunch advocate for suicide prevention. As such, she will come on to promote two May fundraisers related to her cause. 

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.....


Friday, April 29, 2016

Donald Trump: Establishment choice

One of the more popular explanations people have given for supporting Donald Trump for President is he is willing to stick it to the "GOP establishment" (or "GOPe").

Trump supporters have this belief that he's willing to enact policies which D.C. Republicans are afraid to even broach (e.g. a yuuuuuge border fence, bombing the s**t out of ISIS, etc.). Never mind that many (if not all) of Trump's policy initiatives lack any substantive game plan. Remember, he's the ultimate deal maker. The idea in negotiations is to start with an absurd proposal and then work towards a more palatable conclusion. A President Trump may get a border fence, but he'd have to acquiesce to some  Democrat demands such as tax increases, expansion of certain social programs, etc. And he'd be OK with that because, contrary to the popular belief among the barking, clapping seals Trump supporters, he doesn't have nearly as much interest in "making America great again" as he does solidifying his legacy as the ultimate negotiator and deal maker.

While Trump supporters refuse to believe they're being played, they're now having to face the realization that their "anti-establishment" candidate actually may not be all that unpopular among establishment types.

Over the last 24 hours, Donald Trump and his allies have giddily quoted and cheered on two unlikely figures: Former House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Trump cited McConnell on the stump, attacking Cruz for antagonizing many of his colleagues in the US Senate. And Trumpworld is reveling in on-the-record comments from Boehner, who called Cruz "Lucifer in the flesh," and a "miserable" SOB. The Trump train is ostensibly fueled by anger at Washington's various betrayals, and a rigged system that benefits insiders and elites at the expense of average Americans. But the billionaire's bandwagon is more than happy to embrace card-carrying, central-casting members of The Establishment, so long as they're saying or doing things that are deemed helpful to the 'Trumpstablishment.' Trump supporters angrily rail against Beltway fat cats who "go along to get along" in political fights, then prance from one lavish cocktail party to the next, toasting their own superiority. Then they'll turn around and applaud bona fide establishment fixtures -- from Rudy Giuliani, to Newt Gingrich, to Boehner and McConnell -- while applying that now-meaningless term to conservatives who oppose Trump on policy and ideological grounds. Suddenly "go along to get along" is a necessary and laudable dealmaking virtue, and policy arguments are for uppity, weak-kneed nerds.

In 2014, I and many others worked on behalf of (and donated money to) Republican candidates in an effort to regain the majority in the U.S. Senate and tighten the stranglehold on the U.S. House. While both occurred, the "non-establishment" crowd chided us for such efforts, essentially saying they were in vain because the "establishment" would sell out the people. Even if that were true (it's not, by the way), many Trumpkins are now embracing the very figureheads of the very GOPe they have decried from the outset. What's even more rich is that someone like Ted Cruz is now being labeled as an "establishment" type.

You just can't make this stuff up.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Too little, too late

In an election cycle where conventional wisdom has yet to be conventional, naming a Vice Presidential candidate while being in second place for your party's nomination for President seems to fit right in.

Ted Cruz formally named Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate Wednesday -- a last-ditch move to regain momentum after being mathematically eliminated from winning the GOP presidential nomination outright.

"After a great deal of consideration and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be president of the United States that I will run on a ticket with my vice presidential nominee Carly Fiorina," Cruz said during a rally in Indianapolis.

Fiorina joined the Texas senator on stage, and Cruz's staff changed the podium in between Cruz and Fiorina's remarks to display a new logo featuring both their names.

"Ted could not be more right in what he said: There is a lot at stake, and in fact, this is a fight, this is a fight for the soul of our party and the future of our nation," Fiorina said. "I've had tough fights all my life. Tough fights don't worry me a bit."

While I've always been impressed with Fiorina's business background and compelling personal story, she never really resonated with the GOP electorate despite solid debate performances. I don't know if the Cruz campaign believes this puts Fiorina's home state of California in play for the June 7 GOP primary or what. If that's their belief, that seems rather far fetched given Donald Trump has enjoyed nearly a 20-point lead in most polling. Personally I would have preferred Cruz gone with South Carolina governor Nikki Haley or New Mexico governor Susana Martinez, but what do I know?

Sure this is an act of desperation by the Cruz campaign. But then again there's no more cards left to play. After being defeated handily in the Wisconsin primary three weeks ago, Trump has scored six consecutive resounding primary wins while compiling at least 50% of the vote in 5 of those 6 states (he got 48% in Pennsylvania).

With Trump's delegate total now sitting at 987, he needs 250 more to reach the 1,237 threshold that would make him the presumptive nominee. But even if he doesn't reach that mark, it's pretty much a cinch he'll get to at least 1,100 while having earned more than 40% of the aggregate vote. Let's face it. If any candidate other than Trump put up those kind of numbers, many of us in the #NeverTrump crowd would be declaring that candidate the presumptive nominee. That said, I still remain firmly in the camp of those who believe there should be an effort to select a different candidate for the GOP nomination if indeed Trump does not have it sown up after the first ballot at the RNC in July. Whenever a similar belief is conveyed, the patented response seems to be "ZOMG, SUCH A MOVE WILL DOOM THE GOP!!!!!!" The way I see it, a Trump candidacy against Hillary Clinton pretty much accomplishes that anyways. Polling shows he's consistently behind Clinton by double digits, he puts the Senate majority in jeopardy and even provides concern that the U.S. House may come in to play.

Alas, no matter whom the GOP nominee for President happens to be, it's difficult to see 2016 as anything but a proverbial train wreck for the Republicans.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Brady sacked

As much as I've loathed the insufferable saga that is "Deflategate" I'm grateful it has at least given us a brief reprieve from the equally tedious NFL draft coverage.

A federal appeals court has ruled that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady must serve a four-game Deflategate suspension imposed by the NFL, overturning a lower judge and siding with the league in a battle with the NFL Players Association.

"We hold that the Commissioner properly exercised his broad discretion under the collective bargaining agreement and that his procedural rulings were properly grounded in that agreement and did not deprive Brady of fundamental fairness," the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday in a 2-1 decision in New York.

Brady, however, is not prepared to accept Monday's appeals court ruling and is exploring all his legal options with his attorneys, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

The decision by a three-judge panel may end the legal debate over the scandal that led to months of football fans arguing over air pressure and the reputation of one of the league's top teams. It is also likely to fuel a fresh round of debate over what role, if any, the quarterback and top NFL star played in using underinflated footballs in the AFC Championship Game in January 2015. The Patriots won the contest over the Indianapolis Colts and then won the Super Bowl.

This has been a joke from the start. The idea that under-inflated footballs would result in a $1 million fine, loss of a 1st round draft choice and a four-game suspension of the team's QB is way over the top. In a way, the Patriots have only themselves to blame given the Spygate scandal from 2007. Granted previous offenses shouldn't be a factor in any new wrongdoings, but then the NFL doesn't operate under the same guidelines as the legal system.

"Our role is not to determine for ourselves whether Brady participated in a scheme to deflate footballs or whether the suspension imposed by the Commissioner should have been for three games or five games or none at all. Nor is it our role to second-guess the arbitrator's procedural rulings," Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote in the majority opinion. "Our obligation is limited to determining whether the arbitration proceedings and award met the minimum legal standards established by the Labor Management Relations Act."

The 2nd Circuit said the contract between players and the NFL gave he commissioner authority that was "especially broad."

I've been saying all along that the NFL Players Association has no one but themselves to blame for the Commissioner's ability to be heavy handed when meting out punishments for player misconduct. During negotiations to end the NFL owners' lockout of players in 2011, the NFLPA focused most of their energy on how the revenue was distributed. That's not to say it wasn't an important issue, but it seems very apparent they didn't give much consideration to player discipline issues. Betcha that that'll be rectified next time the Collective Bargaining Agreement is to be renewed.

So what kind of recourse does Brady and the NFLPA have available?

The NFLPA and Brady can petition for a re-hearing in front of the same panel and then the entire 2nd Circuit Court or take their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, though either move is unlikely and would be a steep, costly and time-consuming climb. They would have to request a stay of Brady's suspension during an appeal.

The NFL has the option of implementing the full suspension or attempting to reach a settlement and avoid further appeals.

To avoid potential further embarrassment, it's possible Goodell may offer to reduce the suspension to, say, two games. However, there were rumors that Goodell offered to reduce the suspension last year but Brady declined given that such an acquiescence would have implied some culpability on the QB's part.

I honestly have no prediction as to how this will be resolved. The whole situation is beyond parody at this point.


Monday, April 25, 2016

Box Score of the Week

Houston Astros at Texas Rangers - July 1, 2006.


Perhaps one of the single greatest catches ever by a center fielder.