Tuesday, July 22, 2014

No benefit of the doubt

I'd be hard pressed to think of a classier, more humble human being than former NFL coach Tony Dungy. If you go back and find what others had to say about him during his 13-year head coaching tenure (six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, seven with the Indianapolis Colts) and immediately upon his retirement after the 2008 season, the voluminous praise was often effusive. Whether it was his unabashed faith in Jesus Christ, his indomitable strength upon the suicide of his 19-year old son or his being able to walk away from a lucrative coaching career six years ago and not look back, Dungy has as few detractors as one can have while functioning in the public eye.

With all that said, not even Dungy himself can be given the benefit of the doubt when speaking of someone in the new "protected class."

Esteemed NFL coach turned NBC analyst Tony Dungy is taking fire for saying he would not have drafted Michael Sam, the league’s first openly gay player.

In an interview with the Tampa Tribune published Sunday, the former coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts said he would have passed on Sam. "Not because I don't believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn't want to deal with all of it,” Dungy said.

Dungy went on to say, “It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.’’

Naturally there were those who immediately cited Dungy as being a "coward" or for being in favor of "Jim Crow-type" laws. Still others are quick to point out Dungy's Christian faith, which means he must be an intolerant bigot.

In a separate interview, Dungy attempted to clarify his comments.

"What I was asked about was my philosophy of drafting, a philosophy that was developed over the years, which was to minimize distractions for my teams.

"I do not believe Michael's sexual orientation will be a distraction to his teammates or his organization. I do, however, believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction. Unfortunately we are all seeing this play out now, and I feel badly that my remarks played a role in the distraction.

"I wish Michael Sam nothing but the best in his quest to become a star in the NFL and I am confident he will get the opportunity to show what he can do on the field. My sincere hope is that we will be able to focus on his play and not on his sexual orientation."

I'm certain Sam himself would prefer to focus solely on making the Rams' roster as opposed to answering questions about his lifestyle. After all, how many seventh round picks are even approached by media members in an NFL training camp? Unless such players vastly outperform their draft status, it's likely their names are hardly known. I know I sure don't recall a time where such a late round draft pick was approached with an opportunity to star in a reality TV show.

Another issue that cropped up was the fact Dungy advocated for Michael Vick's return to the NFL after he served jail time for organizing illegal dog fighting. Obviously Vick being signed by by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009 caused a significant distraction, not only due to throngs of media but also with the vast presence of animal rights protesters. The difference being that Vick had already proved himself as an all-pro caliber player prior to his 2007 conviction. The Eagles' philosophy was they were willing to endure distractions if Vick could show just a semblance of what he had the first six seasons of his career (he made the Pro Bowl three times). With Sam being rated as only the 14th best defensive end leading up to this past May's NFL draft, I wouldn't be surprised if many other NFL organizations echoed Dungy's sentiments. Above all else, team executives and coaches are focused solely on the business at hand: winning.

In the end, this whole flap further emphasizes what I've been saying for months now. That is, even the perception of a moral objection to homosexuality results in knee jerk hysteria.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Box Score of the Week

Cleveland Indians at Texas Rangers - September 2, 2006.

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Only once in MLB history has a player hit a grand slam home run on the first pitch he ever saw as a big leaguer. That player would be Kevin Kouzmanoff, who was making his major league debut this game. 

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

In my eyes, indisposed, in disguise.....

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

Right at 1:00, I'll be joined by MN GOP endorsed candidate Heidi Gunderson, who is running in House District 42B (Little Canada, Vadnais Heights area). This is one of those House seats currently occupied by the Democrats, so it would go a long way to putting Republicans back in the majority of the House should this seat be flipped.

At 1:30, Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing is tentatively scheduled to return from a two-week hiatus. If so, she'll of course talk about whatever she darn well pleases.

Finally at 2:00 pm, Jim Nash, one the MN GOP candidates running in HD 47A (Carver County), will be in studio to tout his candidacy as he looks to replace retiring Rep. Ernie Leidiger.

In one or two of the non-guest segments, I will definitely opine on the Chris Kluwe lawsuit against the Minnesota Vikings, one that has become especially newsy over the past few days.


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.....

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Low bars

For nearly two years straight now, the political left has been dinging the Republican party for declaring a "war on women." While there's no question that GOP talking points on appealing to female voters needs some work, we should easily be able to swat away the insane rhetoric on how the political right is trying to outlaw birth control.

Like Nancy Pelosi's flat out fabrications regarding the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling.

“We should be afraid of this court. That five guys should start determining what contraceptions are legal or not. … It is so stunning,” Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol.Pelosi said last week’s Supreme Court ruling that the birth control mandate under President Obama’s healthcare reform law is a violation of religious freedom was particularly egregious.

“That court decision was a frightening one,” she said. “That five men should get down to the specifics of whether a woman should use a diaphragm and she should pay for it herself or her boss. It’s not her boss’s business. His business is whatever his business is. But it’s not what contraception she uses.”

Not to be outdone, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (whom, rumor has it, the Obamas prefer to be the Democrat nominee for President in 2016) piled on with a statement totally ignorant of a timeline.

“Remember last year's government shutdown that nearly tanked our economy?” Warren asked. “That fight started with a GOP effort to hold the whole operation of the federal government hostage in order to try to force Democrats and the president to let employers deny workers access to birth control.”

Um, no, sorry.

The government shutdown occurred over a continuing resolution to fund the government since no budget could be agreed upon. Republicans used the opportunity to try and defund Obamacare.

Republicans were upset over the Obama administration's selective enforcement of certain provisions in Obamacare. The main problem the GOP had at the time was the announcement of a delay in the employer mandate.

Warren appears to be getting her claim from a 2011 Huffington Post article, which said House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House would not vote for any spending bill containing funding for Planned Parenthood.

But that was 2011, and the government shutdown was in 2013.
The left also lobs shots at Republicans for not having more women in leadership positions, whether it be in state legislatures or the United States Congress. Well if Pelosi (former House Speaker, current House Minority Leader) and Warren (possible Presidential candidate) are the supposed standard bearers, the right should be able to leap that low bar without even trying.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Box Score of the Week

Since it's All-Star week, it only makes sense that I feature an All-Star Game.

Let's go with the 2001 Mid Summer Classic.

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This was the final All-Star Game appearance in the Hall of Fame career of Baltimore Orioles shortstop/third baseman Cal Ripken, Jr. Always seeming to have a flair for the dramatics, Ripken homered in this game.


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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Nowhere is there warmth to be found among those afraid of losing their ground...

Another Sunday, which means another edition of The Closer. As usual, I'll be on from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time.

I'll touch on a few news items from this past week, specifically the controversy sparked by a  Minneapolis bar's dress code. I'll also opine on the ongoing defamation lawsuit filed by former MN governor Jesse Ventura as well as the latest in the MN GOP race for US Senate.

At 1:30, I will hopefully welcome back from assignment Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing. If she's able to join me this week, she'll be on to talk about whatever she darn well pleases.

Then at 2:00, I will take a quick segment to chat with basketball wonk Mike McCollow regarding the news of NBA superstar LeBron James returning to the franchise that drafted him (Cleveland Cavaliers) four years after jilting them to play for the Miami Heat.

Finally at 2:15, Miss Saint Paul 2014 Rachel Latuff will join the program. After finishing fourth runner up in last month's Miss Minnesota pageant, Rachel will represent our great state next month in the 2014 National Miss Sweetheart Pageant. We'll also chat with Rachel regarding her experience in the Miss Minnesota pageant as well as her platform, entitled Engage, Educate, Empower: Building Cultural Competency Through the Arts. 



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.....

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume XCIX

- Jesse Ventura's slander lawsuit against late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle began Wednesday. Despite Kyle being fatally shot last year in a gun range incident, Ventura pressed forward with the lawsuit against Kyle's widow, thus destroying any shred of human decency he may have possessed.

The widow of a former Navy SEAL engaged in some testy exchanges with an attorney for Jesse Ventura during the opening day of a trial of a defamation lawsuit filed by the former governor.

Taya Kyle suggested several times that attorney David B. Olsen was misstating the testimony she gave during sworn depositions before the trial.

Ventura’s lawsuit claims that he was defamed in “American Sniper” by Kyle’s late husband, Chris, a former Navy SEAL, and that he slandered Ventura by repeating the false account of a bar fight in Coronado, Calif., in radio and TV interviews, undermining Ventura’s reputation.

Wait a second. You mean to tell me it's possible to undermine the reputation of a guy who came off as a thin-skinned bully while governor, donned futuristic glasses and a feathered boa while staring at a lady wrestler's bosom in his capacity as gov, braided his beard with beads and starred in a TV show touting implausible, nutty conspiracy theories? Yeah, good luck selling that one, Jess.


- Apparently the Cleveland Cavaliers are courting their former superstar to make a return to their fair city.

After more than two years of planning, the Cleveland Cavaliers believe they have LeBron James listening to their pitch to leave the Miami Heat and return to his home state in free agency, according to sources close to the process.

There has yet to be a firm indication that James is ready to leave Miami after four years and two championships with the Heat, but sources told ESPN.com that the four-time MVP is increasingly considering the Cavaliers as an option as he moves into the final stages of deciding which team to sign his next contract with.

A critical face-to-face meeting with Heat president Pat Riley looms on a day to be determined this week, sources confirmed Sunday night, so that James can hear the Hall of Famer's plans for the Heat's roster. But James' agent, Rich Paul, has already sat down with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert in what is regarded as the first formal step toward trying to shrink the gulf between James and Gilbert after the ocean of hard feelings stemming from James' departure from Cleveland in 2010 to sign with the Heat.

Ah yes. I recall when James was being wooed by several teams (the Cavaliers included) upon his becoming a free agent after the 2010 season. Yet when James moved on to Miami, Gilbert penned an open letter to Cavs fans, a letter which questioned LeBron's character and accused him of "quitting" on the team in the postseason a month earlier.

Oh, and in an unrelated matter....

......Gilbert's letter was removed from the team's website Monday, though the Cavs denied the team's pursuit of James led to the web page's removal. It had been posted and available on the site for four years previously.

Huh. Impeccable timing I guess.


- Minneapolis restaurant Bar Louie instituted a dress code recently, one which sparked some controversy.

Seven articles of clothing are now banned from the Minnesota bar, from Thursday through Saturday after 9PM:

No Flat-Billed Hats
No Sleeveless Under Shirts
No Excessively Baggy Clothing
No Large Chains Worn Outside Of Shirt
No Long Plain White T-Shirts
No Athletic Apparel
No Sports Jerseys Unless Collared


"It's the new Jim Crow being enforced in a colorblind way," Michelle Horovitz told Fox 9 News. "You might as well say, 'No black folks allowed.’ It's ridiculous… Minnesota might be the nicest, healthiest, cleanest state in America, but we have huge issues as far as segregation, racism, systematic oppression -- and people want to look the other way."

Serious question: What it more racist - A private business putting forth a specific dress code or an individual leaping to the conclusion that only black people wear such apparel?

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