Friday, June 24, 2016

Brexit

It happened!

The United Kingdom now has two years to negotiate the terms of its exit from the European Union. This is definitely uncharted territory, so the process in and of itself will be worth watching, to say nothing of what happens when the U.K. is finally on its own.

On a lighter note, this historic event has resulted in delusions of grandeur here in the U.S.





Oh yeah, and Thursday was definitely not a good day for the White House's current occupant. First the lower court ruling which overturned his executive amnesty plan was upheld due to a 4-4 deadlock at the U.S. Supreme Court. Then his preferred outcome in the U.K. didn't come to fruition.



Yes, it's safe to say that the "Leave" contingency "headed out on the tiles*" after the referendum was officially called!!





*American translation: To go out for the night to have a good time. To party.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

When I saw this headline.....

......on a Washington Examiner post.....


Ryan: No vote on gun bills that ignore due process



....I thought "What a shame this even has to be clarified."

House Speaker Paul Ryan on Wednesday night dismissed the Democratic takeover of the House floor as a "publicity stunt," and said Republicans wouldn't be goaded into allowing a vote on bills that violate the Constitution.

"We're not going to take away a citizen's constitutional rights without due process," he said on CNN.

Democrats want the GOP to allow a vote on bills to expand background checks, and to prevent people from buying a gun if they are on an federal terrorism watch list. But Republicans say those lists are created without giving the people on those lists any chance to defend themselves.

In this instance, the Republicans have the ACLU as an ally, in particular against an amendment proposed by Sen. Susan Collins (R(ino)-ME).

“The ACLU strongly urges you to vote against the Collins Amendment because it uses the error-prone and unfair watchlist system, along with vague and overbroad terms, as a predicate for a proceeding to deny a firearms permit,” the ACLU officials wrote in the letter. “The Collins Amendment relies on both the No Fly List, by codifying its criteria, and the Selectee List, by direct reference.”

Naturally this serves as an opportunity for Democrats to engage in hyperbole........





.....and cheap theatrics.

Rep. John Lewis and a group of his fellow Democrats took to the House floor late Wednesday morning to stage a sit-in and are vowing to stay for the foreseeable future. Their goal? Pressure Republican leadership to hold votes on gun control legislation, something they have not done in the wake of this month’s mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.




Finally, this pictorial illustration pretty much sums up the whole debate:




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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Miss Minnesota 2016

For the second consecutive year I had the distinct honor of emceeing the Miss Minnesota Scholarship Pageant. And for the second consecutive year I am thrilled with whom the judges selected to represent my state at Miss America.




I specifically recall Madeline Van Ert competing last year in the 2015 state pageant. As a mere 19-year old, Madeline showed incredible poise, heart and confidence while competing.

During the talent portion of the competition, I am typically standing off stage. What stood out to me about Madeline's 2015 performance (she played piano to the John Lennon tune Imagine while also singing the song) is when she departed the stage upon finishing her talent piece. While backstage, she burst into tears, not out of sorrow but rather pure emotion. She put her whole heart into that phase of competition, leaving nothing on the table. As a result, Madeline ended up finishing 3rd overall last year. When I called her name as "second runner-up," she looked up with this huge smile on her face as if to say "YESSS!!!" It was that display of heart and a grateful attitude which galvanized my belief that she'd be a legit contender if indeed she chose to compete again.

Sure enough, Madeline competed again in 2016. And once again she gave it all she had. But this time it resulted in her being crowned Miss Minnesota, a well earned honor among an incredibly talented class.

Congrats, Madeline!

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Box Score of the Week

Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays in August, 2012.

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There have been 23 perfect games thrown in the history of Major League Baseball. This one happens to be the only one which occurred in the month of August. 

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Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's over

Of the U.S. cities with at least 3 teams representing one of the 4 major sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL), only one city in the past half-century had failed to win a single championship before Sunday evening. That city was (keyword was) Cleveland.

It happened on the road at Oracle Arena. It's not a dream. Most considered it an impossible feat. No team in 32 tries had ever come all the way back from being down 3-1 to win the NBA Finals.

Now, it's 1-32.

The Cleveland Cavaliers completed the unimaginable on Sunday night, a 93-89 Game 7 victory over the Golden State Warriors to win the franchise's first NBA championship.

Celebrate, Cleveland. Celebrate.

LeBron James has delivered Cleveland's first professional championship in 52 years. He led all players in this series in points, assists, steals and blocks. He registered 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists Sunday to earn the Finals MVP award.

When James moved on to the Miami Heat after seven seasons with the Cavs, he won a championship in his second season with the Heat. Upon winning that series, James jumped up and down with glee, finally winning that elusive title after his teams lost in his two previous NBA Finals appearances (2007 with Cleveland; 2011 with Miami). But this 2016 championship was undoubtedly more special given he came back to Cleveland (his home area) for the sole purpose of ending the region's dearth of championships. James was overcome with emotion upon the conclusion of Sunday's game as he and Cavs celebrated this incredible accomplishment.

Now that Cleveland has ended its 52-year drought, there are two cities with at least three major sports teams who are tied for most years (25) without a title. They would be Washington, D.C.......

.......and Minneapolis.

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Rare and well deserved break....

Given the blog post title, I'm tossing a quarter into the Brian "St. Paul" Ward royalty fund.

My friend and valued colleague Mitch Berg will be filling in for me on the Northern Alliance Radio Network today from 2:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

Given that Mitch is likely the most knowledgeable, articulate and insightful Twin Cities media guy on the gun issue, expect a fair amount of response to the latest gun-grabbing efforts in America.


So please give Mitch a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics he plans 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

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

Until then.....

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Friday, June 17, 2016

June 17, 1994

It happened 22 years ago today.....

Arnold Palmer playing his final round at the U.S. Open.

The commencement of the FIFA World Cup.

The New York Rangers celebrating their win at the Stanley Cup Finals with a ticker-tape parade on Broadway.

Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Houston Rockets and the New York Knicks.

Ken Griffey, Jr. tying Babe Ruth's record of the most home runs (30) before June 30th.

And of course.....





Six years ago, ESPN debuted the documentary June 17, 1994 as part of its 30 For 30 video series. It is fascinating viewing, as it intertwined multiple video clips of each of the aforementioned events. This film was also unique in that there was no narration. One of the more interesting clips was the behind-the-scenes conversation between NBA on NBC host Bob Costas and a producer. Costas was contemplating the logistics of his network balancing coverage of NBA Finals Game 5 while also keeping folks updated on the developments in the O.J. saga.

As I've said before, this day in history was arguably the beginning of two major trends in American culture. First was our country's obsession with reality based TV. Second (and perhaps most unforgivable) was the name "Kardashian" becoming a household word.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The true scourge of Orlando

I've always respected CNN's Anderson Cooper as a journalist. Sure he's a leftist, but I've never had a sense that it clouded his ability to conduct a tough (but fair) interview.

In the aftermath of the recent Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, FL, Cooper recently chatted with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who apparently spoke out against gay marriage some time ago. Because Ms. Bondi was upholding the one of the tenets of her job (i.e. advocating for the voters' position on a 2008 gay marriage ban), Cooper asserted that any sympathy she expressed towards the LGBT community after the horrific tragedy at Pulse can be construed as hypocritical. 

Check it out for yourself: 





Guy Benson, himself a gay man, was appalled by Cooper's line of questioning.

Many Lefties and press types are giddy over Cooper's performance, for which he should actually be embarrassed. There is precisely zero hypocrisy -- none -- in an elected official both (a) opposing same-sex marriage as a public policy matter, and (b) unequivocally blasting the mass murder of gay people, and vowing to do everything in her power to prevent or severely punish similar outrages in the future. This should be patently obvious to anyone who doesn't reflexively assume that all opposition to gay rights legislative efforts are rooted in "hate." I'm by no means blind to the fact that genuine homophobia exists, and that some anti-LGBT sentiment is pure bigotry. I also disagree with Bondi's legal position (effectively endorsed by a lopsided majority of Florida voters in 2008) that the implementation of legalized gay marriage would inflict "harm" on the state. Bondi, who didn't acquit herself especially well in this exchange in my view, at least makes clear that she doesn't believe gay people are harmful, which is how Cooper unfairly framed the question.

Think about it: Here we have the state's top law enforcement officer being raked over the coals for her act of standing in solidarity with a community that had just found itself in the crosshairs of lethal terrorism. Her public stance on any number of policy disputes pertaining gay rights issues is irrelevant here -- unless she'd previously advocated in favor of anti-gay violence, which of course she had not. Times like these require ardent gay rights supporters and entrenched gay rights opponents alike to stand tall, shoulder to shoulder, against a surpassing evil that threatens our shared values. Cooper chose to use his formidable platform and gravitas to blur important distinctions and imply equivalencies that do not exist. In doing so, he actively participated in the division of America. He made it harder for his fellow countrymen to coalesce in needed unity, shared anger and joint resolve. He debased himself with his morally-bereft premise.

In fairness to Cooper, he became visibly emotional when, during a recent broadcast, he read the names of the 49 victims of last Saturday's shooting. I can only surmise that emotions were still pretty raw and thus his line of questioning seemed more coarse than normal.

Alas, one could argue Cooper's premise is another in a vast collection of red herrings over the past few days. Yes, the primary focus should be on government bureaucracies continually failing the citizenry as well as a worldview looking to destroy western culture. However, that may (or may not) occur only after the perpetual boogeymen comprised of "gun nuts" and Christians endure their rhetorical flogging.

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