Sunday, November 23, 2014

Everybody here's a number, not a name; But I guess that's all right with me.....

The last broadcast before Thanksgiving, so let's just say I'm thankful to be broadcasting on another Sunday afternoon. Today's edition of The Closer will be on from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time. 

At 1:30, political wonk Matt Mackowiak will be on to discuss President Obama's unilateral action on immigration reform as well as the latest on the legal saga of Texas governor Rick Perry. 

Then at 2:15, great basketball mind Mike McCollow will join me to chat about yet another seemingly lost season for our Minnesota Timberwolves as well as the beginning of the college basketball season. 

In the non-guest segments, I will talk about the Adrian Peterson suspension handed down by the NFL as well as happenings on the local political scene. 

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.....



Friday, November 21, 2014

Football Trivia: A donnybrook

When 1500 ESPN's Thursday Night football trivia got started at about 6:30, I was thriving in what was then a representative republic. But as the evening progressed, I found myself living under a monarchy. Nevertheless, I was determined to not let that infringe upon my fun at this week's venue, which was Blainbrook Entertainment Center in Blaine.

I aced the opening round written quiz, which earned me a #1 seed and a first round bye in the bracketed tournament.

First up for me in the head-to-head competition was a guy who boldly called himself "Maximum Steel."

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; Which NFL team has scored 50+ points in each of the past two weeks?

Brad (buzzing in first): Green Bay Packers. Correct. 

1-0, Brad.

Question two: We're going to name three active/retired NFL players and you tell us which one does not have an accredited movie role, per the IMDb

Dan Marino, Philip Rivers and Jim Brown. 

MS (barely buzzing in ahead of me): Philip Rivers. Correct. 

1-1 tie.

To decide the winner this round, MCs Phil and Judd chose to employ the "closest to the pin" game. The guys ask a question which has a numerical answer and the contestant who answers closest to the actual number wins the point. We had 30 seconds to jot down our respective answers on a piece of paper. 

Question three: In the 1967 NFC Championship game (most famously referred to as the "Ice Bowl") pitting the Dallas Cowboys at the Green Bay Packers, the game was one of the coldest on record. What was the average wind chill temperature throughout that game?

Brad: -35
MS: -21

The correct answer is.......


Brad wins, 2-1!

I was on to the semifinal round taking on a trio who called themselves "Dumb A**es." However, these guys were good, as they dispatched their first two opponents with relative ease. Well, let me clarify. Two of the three teammates were sharp. The third guy was a 60-something biker dude who appeared to have been drinking since Noon. 

Anyhow, 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: In Minnesota Gophers football history, 6 running backs rushed for at least 3,000 yards in their collegiate careers. Name them. 

Brad (buzzing in first): Laurence Maroney. Correct. 
D.A.s: Darrell Thompson. Correct. 
Brad: Marion Barber III. Correct. 
D.A.s: Bronko Nagurski. Incorrect. 

1-0. Brad

The next game was relatively new, entitled "Give us their nickname." Phil and Judd had a list of 7 Division I college football teams. Upon giving us the name, the first person to buzz in gets a chance to answer. The two opponents then alternate back and forth until someone is wrong or we run the table. 

The University of Arkansas. 

Brad (buzzing in first): Razorbacks. Correct. 

Virginia Tech. 

D.A.s: Hokies. Correct. 

Boise St. 

Brad: Broncos. Correct. 


D.A.s: Owls. Correct. 

Washington St. 

Brad: Cougars. Correct. 


D.A.s: Minutemen. Correct. 

Bowling Green (to decide the point). 

Brad (thinking, thinking, thinking; using all 30 seconds): Eagles? Incorrect. I was in the neighborhood, as it was the Falcons. No credit for merely being in the ornithological kingdom. 

1-1 tie. 

The deciding point would be determined by how well we knew our college football bowl games. Phil and Judd would name a corporate sponsor and we had to answer true or false if they sponsored a bowl game last year. Once again, the guys had a list of 7 in order to be certain a point is awarded if we run the table.


Brad (buzzing in first): True. Correct. 

American Express. 

D.A.s: False. Correct. 


Brad (I know they did in the past. But last year? Seems to me they got out of the CFB bowl biz). False. Incorrect. It used to be the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl but last year it was just the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. 

D.A.s win 2-1. 

The D.A.s would go on to the final round to take on 21-time champion Brendan Byrne. And as has been trend this trivia season, the team/individual that can defeat me goes on to win it all. Yes, the Dumb A**es were football trivia champions this night. 

The venue in two weeks will be at Beer Belly's in my neighboring suburb of Anoka. Perhaps I can take advantage of having "home field?" We'll see. 


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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Welcome to our monarchy

Without ever having to have his name appear on a ballot again, President Barack Obama really is risking nothing politically with his Executive Order to halt deportations of some 4.7 million illegal aliens.

The question now is what kind of tone will Congressional Republicans use in responding? It's quite clear Obama cares little about the Constitution, Separation of Powers, etc., so it'll be interesting to see how the GOP approaches this. It's possible that Obama is taking this action in the hope that House Republicans, who last year did not bring up for a vote a Senate passed immigration bill, will scramble to the the table and cobble together some immigration reform legislation. It has also been suggested that this decree is a smokescreen to distract from what is sure to be the Obama administration's appeasement of Iran regarding its nuclear program.

Various members of Congress and public officials have weighed in on Obama's mandate, but one quote which caught my eye came from Hillary Clinton (emphasis mine).

"Our disagreements on this important issue may grow heated at times, but I am confident that people of good will and good faith can yet find common ground. We should never forget that we're not discussing abstract statistics ­ we're talking about real families with real experiences. We're talking about parents lying awake at night afraid of a knock on the door that could tear their families apart, people who love this country, work hard, and want nothing more than a chance to contribute to the community and build better lives for themselves and their children."

Say, wasn't Hillary married to a certain someone who was leader of the free world when this happened:

I digress.

The one serendipity for the President is he can now take a break from having to refute statements made by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber. So he's got that going for him.



Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hung out to dry

Ahead of next month's runoff election, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) was making one last ditch effort to save her political career. 

To prove she has some significant clout in the the U.S. Senate, Landrieu needed to persuade 14 other Democrat senators to approve a measure to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline. As of Monday, Sen. Landrieu had commitments from all 45 GOP Senators as well as 14 Democrats (herself included). That means she was one vote shy, but expressed confidence that number 60 would emerge Tuesday evening when the legislation came up for a vote. 

Alas, it didn't happen

The U.S. Senate defeated a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, delivering a blow to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., by members of her own party.

"I came here 18 years ago fighting to get here, fighting to stay here,'' Landrieu told reporters after the vote, "And I'm going to fight for the people of my state until the day that I leave. I hope that will not be soon.''

Unless Sen. Landrieu doesn't consider January 2015 as "soon" then she's good.

The bill failed to overcome a 60-vote threshold for passage by a narrow 59-41 decision. All 45 Republican senators voted for it, but Landrieu could not clinch the necessary last Democratic vote.

Not surprisingly, our Minnesota senators couldn't be counted on to perhaps throw Landrieu a life line. Heck, even Gov. Mark Dayton conceded that a project similar to Keystone XL would be helpful in alleviating heavy railroad traffic. I wonder if he made any attempts to reach out to Sens. Klobuchar and Franken.  Not that it would have mattered.

Anyhow, this pretty much seems to have sealed Landrieu's fate in next month's runoff election. As if that wasn't enough salt in the wound, the bill she was attempting to get passed was sponsored in the U.S. House by Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is her opponent in said runoff.

After the legislation failed, WV Sen. Joe Manchin, perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, posed a question.

Over/Under on the number of days until Manchin makes a party switch? 


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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

AP gone.

After bungling the Ray Rice domestic abuse case, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was under a lot of scrunity regarding the Adrian Peterson child endangerment saga.

This morning, Goodell lowered the boom.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was notified Tuesday morning that he has been suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season by the NFL.

He has three days to appeal, per the most recent collective bargaining agreement. Peterson won't wait that long, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Peterson will remain on the 'Commisioner's/exempt' list during his appeal process and will be paid, per the NFL.

It's hard to imagine that Peterson will get anywhere in the appeals process, given that the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association affords the Commissioner the latitude to mete out punishment as he sees fit.

There's been myriad reactions to Goodell's decision, including the rationale that Peterson would not have received as harsh a penalty had the Rice incident never occurred. I don't know if I buy that, but it's impossible to say it wasn't a factor. Regardless, Goodell laid out some very specific reasons as to how he arrived at his decision.

"First, the injury was inflicted on a child who was only four years old. The difference in size and strength between you and this child is significant, and your actions clearly caused physical injury...Second, the repetitive use of a switch in this instance is the functional equivalent of a weapon, particularly in the hands of someone with the strength of an accomplished professional athlete...Third, you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct..."

If the suspension stands, Peterson will be eligible to apply for reinstatement April 15. Goodell laid out conditions for that as well.

"The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision. Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement. You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy."

If indeed Peterson is reinstated upon his being eligible to apply in five months, his punishment will have amounted to six games without pay and league mandated counseling. That is similar to what Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger received at the beginning of the 2010 season upon being accused of sexual assault (he was never officially charged). So if people want to say that Peterson's punishment is too harsh and a mere overreaction in light of the NFL's ineptitude in the Rice saga, I would argue that it's not unprecedented either. That, and Peterson actually admitted to whipping his son and subsequently plead guilty to a crime (albeit a lesser charge than what was initially brought against him).

The question now is what is Peterson's future with my favorite NFL team? He is still under contract for the next three seasons but at an exorbitant amount of money (in the neighborhood of $17 million per season). It was pretty much a forgone conclusion that Vikings were going to ask Peterson to restructure his contract prior to the 2015 season to allow for some salary cap relief. Now the Vikings have all the leverage if indeed they are open to keeping Peterson, assuming he's reinstated next spring. What is most likely to happen is the Vikings brass will choose to release Peterson (provided there are no trade offers) and absorb a relatively paltry $2.4 million cap hit in 2015. If I had to predict, I say Peterson then ends up with the Seattle Seahawks next year since it's rumored they are looking to part ways with current RB Marshawn Lynch.

I guess it has yet to hit me that perhaps the NFL's best running back is no longer going to be part of my favorite NFL team. But that's secondary to the sentiment that I feel now which is hopefulness that Peterson can one day be the upstanding citizen his children need.


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Monday, November 17, 2014

We can't have nice things

Yes, winter in Minnesota has apparently arrived in full force with the significant snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures......and it's not even Thanksgiving. 

Another depressing Minnesota trend (specifically in the Twin Cities region) is the dreadful sports performances. Beginning this past Friday evening, there would be nine weekend games featuring NCAA Division I (Gophers' men's basketball, men's hockey and football) and professional (Wild, Timberwolves and Vikings) sports.

As the weekend was wrapping up Sunday evening, the local sports guys mustered a paltry 2-7 record. Only the Wild emerged victorious, thanks to eking a pair of one-goal wins. 

For a Minnesota sports fan, April can't come fast enough given that it'll be springtime and NHL playoff season. 


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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Oh somewhere up in your loft, MTV with the sound off......

It's cold Minnesota days like this when I'm grateful that I'm in the Patriot bunker near the Earth's core. Be sure to tune in to this week's edition of The Closer from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time.

In the first hour, I'll look back on some big political news stories from this past week, including multiple videos of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber accidentally telling the truth about the ACA. I also want to throw in my two cents about how some Ph.D. believed black Congresswoman-elect Mia Love (R-Utah) benefited from "white privilege."

In the second hour, I will be joined by my friend/political commentator/Crystal City Councilor-elect Jeff Kolb. We'll discuss the continued post mortem of the MNGOP being unable to capitalize on national Republican waves as well as Jeff's blue city of Crystal now being under right-of-center governance.

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.....