Sunday, September 30, 2007

LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Forgive me for the disgusting analogy to follow but it’s the best way I can describe my feelings toward the last full-time job I had.

Trying to completely extricate myself from my former employer has been the equivalent of stepping in dog crap then trying to clean off my shoes only to still have residual feces stuck to the soles.

After being fired placed on “Transition Employment” in mid-July, I was to get two weeks severance once my service was completed. I received my severance payment on August 3. Then much to my surprise I received another paycheck on Friday, August 17. I knew I did not have that money coming so I called both my former boss and the payroll person to inform them of the error. I finally got a call back from the Human Resources guy the following Tuesday telling me he would look into it and get back to me with a resolution. Another whole week went by with still no call back. I decided to call HR again to find out once and for all what they would like me to do with the money. Finally on Thursday, September 6, I get a call from the payroll person telling me they could not reverse the direct deposit transaction and that I would have to write them a check for the amount of the erroneous payment. No problem. I sent it the following day to the attention of the payroll gal. All’s well that end’s well, right?

Not quite.

I have been checking my bank account regularly to find out if that check cleared. After three weeks, they still had not cashed the check I sent. I called the payroll gal again to find out what the delay was. As it turned out, they’re claiming they never received the payment. The payroll gal then asked me to place a stop payment on the check I sent them on September 7 and then reissue a new one.

To summarize:

My former employer sent me money I did not have coming. Being of the utmost integrity, I called to ask them what I can do to rectify their error. They drag their feet for two weeks before coming up with the solution. I comply with their resolution immediately. Now I find out it’s going to cost me $30 (stop payment fee) after going above and beyond the call of duty in my attempts to put this matter to rest.

Let’s see how they react when I deduct that stop payment fee out of what I owe them.

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Saturday, September 29, 2007

God shall not be mocked.


The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems to be in prayer mode these days. She said recently she is praying for President Bush after he vowed to veto a Congressional health insurance bill. While you are in the midst of saying your prayers, Ms. Pelosi, you might want to seriously pray for some of your constituents out there in San Francisco.


A controversial advertisement for a San Francisco festival that depicts the Last Supper as a sadomasochism party falls within the First Amendment and is not harmful to Christianity, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Friday.

The ad for the Folsom Street Fair - to be held in Pelosi's district on Sunday and which is partly funded by San Francisco's Grants for the Arts program, which is funded by the city's hotel tax - sparked outrage from Christian groups because it mirrors Leonardo Da Vinci's famous painting of "The Last Supper" but replaces Jesus and his apostles with scantily leather-clad men and women sitting at a table adorned with sex toys.


What an absolute vile, disgusting mockery of the Son of God. Allow me to convey what God’s word says about anything mocking God.


Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

-Galatians 6:7-8


Ms. Pelosi, you seem so concerned about God working on the President’s heart in vetoing a spending bill. Given what is spoken in God’s word, I can only hope you’re equally concerned for your constituents and their abhorrent behavior.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another warrior for God's kingdom.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Never underestimate the power of prayer.

Our dear, dear friends Greg and Ruth Bittner were blessed with their first child (Jack) in January 2001. They had wanted a second child for some time but, despite diligent prayer, it just hadn’t worked out.

Naturally, our human tendencies kick in when we pray so diligently for something but it just doesn’t happen. That is, we don’t necessarily question God’s judgment as much as we yearn to know His reasoning. I know Greg & Ruth had it on their hearts to have a second child. But when it didn’t happen as they expected they were just overwhelmed with that one simple question: Why?

In spite of that nagging question, they never wavered in their prayers.

As a result, I’m happy to report this evening that their prayers have finally been answered!!!

At approximately 9:30 am on Thursday, September 27, Andrew William Reagan Bittner was welcomed into this world!

Our sincere congrats, Greg & Ruth!!

You are a true testimony to the power of prayer!


Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.
James 5:13


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Community Service -- the voluntary kind.

This past Sunday, our church kicked of a wonderful campaign entitled “40 Days of Community.” The goal of these next 5 ½ weeks is not only to attend all of the Sunday services but to participate in “Life Groups.” My wife and I attended our first Life Group meeting on Wednesday evening with five other couples in their 30s and 40s.

In a church of thousands, it’s real easy to do the Sunday thing by sitting in the same pew, soaking in the sermon and then making a b-line for the parking lot without ever talking to other attendees, much less cultivate relationships with them. These Wednesday night endeavors will help in that we will develop a sense of “community” with church members we may not have met otherwise. It also helps us realize there are other Christian couples enduring similar struggles in a world so harsh to condemn or mock Christianity.

The ultimate goal of all Life Groups is to come up with a service project. This is not about helping someone already in our Life Group or church ---we must be in the community.

I am looking forward to discussing ideas with our Life Group about service within our community. It’s one thing to talk about the love of God. But it’s more powerful to allow His love to shine through us. And one way to demonstrate His love is giving of our time and effort.


God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
Hebrews 6:10


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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but….

…..you have to wonder about the Minnesota Vikings hiring of Brad Childress.

In January 2006, both the Vikes and Green Bay Packers fired their head coaches (Mike Tice and Mike Sherman, respectively). Philadelphia Eagles assistant Brad Childress was a guy who appeared to pique the interest of both the Vikings and Packers. After speaking with the Vikings, Childress was due to fly to Wisconsin to interview for the Packers coaching job.

The conspiracy? The Packers feigned their interest in a yahoo like Childress in order to make their NFC division rival think he was this hot commodity. They even offered to fly Chilly in for an interview, which is a small price to pay when attempting to sandbag the other club. Sure enough, it worked!! The Vikings are on the hook for the next 3 ½ years remaining on Chilly’s contract and we fans have about the same amount of time to endure an utterly inept offense.

The worst part? The Packers are 3-0 this season and QB Brett Favre is looking much like the mid-90s Favre who won three MVP awards.

(Sigh) Pass the vicodin, Brett.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Go Cubs Go!!

My favorite baseball team has been dead and buried in the postseason race since about early August. As I mentioned recently, I am now on board with the Chicago Cubs and their quest to break the near 100-year drought of World Series titles.

Despite leading the NL Central for about the first fourth months of the season the Milwaukee Brewers are clearly not ready for prime time. Sorry Brewers fans, but your club has had a distinct disadvantage over the past two games. As it turns out, the Brew Crew was playing with their hands wrapped around their collective throats.

The Cubs’ magic number is now down to FOUR!

Go Cubs Go!!!




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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Boston strangled.

It's like déjà vu all over again.
-Yogi Berra, New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher



July 8, 1978. The Boston Red Sox lead the American League East division by 10 games. On the final day of the regular season, the Sox and New York Yankees are tied atop the division, forcing a one game playoff. New York beats Boston, wins the division and eventually the World Series.

July 5, 2007. The Boston Red Sox lead the American League East division by 11 ½ games. As of Thursday night’s play, the lead has shrunk to a mere 1 ½ games over the New York Yankees.

Is The Curse of Buckner lurking already???

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Monday, September 17, 2007

And the award goes to....

I would have watched the Emmys Sunday evening but I just had way too many other options which were more enticing. Said options included color coding my sock drawer, cleaning the cat boxes and getting that pesky lint out of my belly button.

What a pity, as I missed actress Sally Field in all her blithering glory.


Accepting her Emmy on Sunday night for lead actress in a drama series ("Brothers and Sisters"), Field stumbled halfway through, lost her train of thought, screeched at the audience to stop applauding so she could finish talking -- and then was bleeped by Fox censors as she stammered through an anti-war rant.

"And, let's face it, if the mothers ruled the world, there would be no (expletive) wars in the first place," Field said, but Fox cut away for much of her comment.


Our pal Katie, herself a mother of three, had her own unique analysis on Sal’s vision of mothers running things.


I'm so sick of people saying things like "If mothers ran the world there would be no wars". Seriously, ZZzzzzzzzzzzzz. Because mothers are what, all a bunch of passive, docile negotiators?

Good God, what if every world leader were a pregnant woman? There would be wars for the worst reasons you've ever heard.

"This dress makes me look like a buffalo! I bomb you!"

"Why is my hair so greasy? Why does your mother hate me? Talks are over! Send in the tanks!"


I bet watching Katie watch the Emmys is far more entertaining than viewing the awards show itself.

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Ramstad to retire; What lies ahead for the MN Thrid?

With the announcement Monday that Congressman Jim Ramstad is retiring after serving nine terms in the House, it’s “game on” for Minnesota’s third congressional district.


Ramstad, 61, had barely finished announcing his decision when at least five potential candidates declared an interest in going after his seat while other potential hopefuls were mentioned.


Ramstad is the type of Republican I consider a “radical moderate.” You never knew which way he would vote when it came to such core issues as national security, taxes, life, education, etc. Mitch nailed it when he said Ramstad is “a Republican that, when the chips are down, is as likely to vote with the Dems as with the GOP.”

In fact, I left Rep. Ramstad an angry voice mail last February when he was one of 17 GOP House members who voted for the nonbinding resolution against President Bush’s proposal for the troop surge in Iraq. In no uncertain terms, I told the congressman that I would be seriously considering another GOP nominee in 2008. Now, by default, I must throw my weight behind someone else.

For more than three decades, the 3rd district has been under the stranglehold of moderate Republicans (Bill Frenzel, Ramstad’s predecessor, served the third district from 1971-1991).

Mitch lays down a challenge.


You - the conservative in the Third - can change that. We’re going to spend the next few weeks talking about exactly how.


I’m all ears, my friend.

To put in military terminology: The northern flank is secure!

If you live in any of the following towns, are you ready to accept Mitch's challenge?

Bloomington
Brooklyn Center
Brooklyn Park
Champlin
Coon Rapids
Corcoran
Dayton
Deephaven
Eden Prairie
Edina
Excelsior
Greenfield
Greenwood
Hassan
Independence
Long Lake
Loretto
Maple Grove
Maple Plain
Medina
Medicine Lake
Minnetonka
Minnetonka Beach
Minnetrista
Mound
Orono
Osseo
Plymouth
Rogers
Shorewood
Spring Park
St Bonifacius
Tonka Bay
Wayzata
Woodland



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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Protesting the kooks.

About 25-30 members of the conservative movement gathered together this afternoon in Saint Paul to counter protest the anti-war activists. Mitch Berg was kind enough to secure a permit for our demonstration at Triangle Park, located just across the street from the St Paul Cathedral where the anti-war crowd was to gather.

As is the M.O. with the anti-war kooks, they will chant the same empty slogans for about a half hour before their marching begins. Their repertoire includes such yawners as “Hey, Hey. Ho, Ho. Bush and Cheney have got to go.” Also, “Money for schools, not for war. HANDS OFF IRAQ!” Of course, they were able to add one to their collection as of August 1st with the catchy “Support bridges, not war!”

All in all, I’d say we got our message across to the hundreds of protesters as they walked by our brigade of signs.

That said, I’ve taken the liberty to post eight short video clips to document what was in our midst on this beautiful Fall afternoon.

Enjoy!


Part 1:
I take a trip down “Counter Protest row” to check out the slogans.



Part 2:
Counter protester Jim concocts a knock-off of the Lennon song “Give Peace a Chance”



Part 3:
A gentleman celebrating his God son’s confirmation at the St Paul Cathedral saw our brigade of counter protesters. He decided to join the fray.



Part 4:
The anti-war crowd assembles at the St Paul Cathedral.



Part 5:
Angry protester guy goes off on Leo after he was confronted with facts.



Part 6:
Here they come!! The anti-war crowd begins to march down John Ireland Blvd in St Paul. Our guy Leo was awesome on the megaphone!!



Part 7:
The anti-war kooks take a right turn on to Kellogg Blvd towards the Xcel Center. While marching down Kellogg, a protester stepped in a pothole and sprained her ankle. I imagine it provided inspiration for a new slogan: “Support roads, not war.”



Part 8:
Swiftee encounters vacuous protesters as well as (SURPRISE!!) a congenial one.


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Friday, September 14, 2007

Disgraceful Dems.

This past week, General David Petraeus gave his assessment of the troop surge in Iraq. Much to the chagrin of many defeatist Democrats, Petraeus indicated in his report that the “military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met.” Naturally, this was met with much skepticism and downright cynicism from the left as well as many in the mainstream media.

On MSNBC’s Hardball Thursday evening, show host Chris Matthews has this exchange with NBC news’ Tim Russert regarding President Bush’s claim that the war will continue when he leaves office in 2009:


MATTHEWS: Did Bush give you any indication how many troops he would use to support the commitment as he described to you today?

RUSSERT: No. But Chris, to give you a sense of his mindset, when he is asked to talk about common ground -- "I want to find common ground with the Democrats in Congress" -- and asked what that means, the response is: accepting the Petraeus report.

MATTHEWS: So that's the common ground?

RUSSERT: That's how he views this.

MATTHEWS (incredulous): Wow.


What I don’t understand is why this seems to be such an outlandish compromise. It was primarily the Democrats who demanded a status report on the surge. Furthermore, Petraeus was unanimously confirmed by the US Senate to be General of the military operations in Iraq. If the Democrats were willing to entrust Petraeus with such a prominent leadership position, why are they so quick to reject his report? That is obviously a rhetorical question when dealing with a party so heavily invested in defeat.

As we learned from the 2004 nominee for President, when it comes to Iraq the Democrats are unable (or unwilling) to stick with the courage of their convictions.



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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Twins GM Terry Ryan steps down.

Minnesota Twins general manager Terry Ryan is stepping down from that position after 12 years at the helm.


It was reported that vice president/assistant general manager Bill Smith will take over Ryan's position.

Ryan, who is expected to stay within the organization as a senior adviser, has engineered the Twins to winning the American League Central Division title in four of the last six seasons and won The Sporting News Executive of the Year in 2006.


Ryan’s baseball legacy will be that of a guy who made a lot out of a little. Without the resources of a New York or a Boston, the Twins have had six straight winning seasons, reaching the playoffs four times. The Twins got as far as the American League Championship once, losing to the Anaheim Angels 4 games to 1 in 2002.

Ryan has also been known for making lopsided trades that have catapulted the Twins in the standings.

After the 2003 All-Star break, Ryan traded young outfielder Bobby Kielty to the Toronto Blue Jays for veteran OF Shannon Stewart. That move helped the Twins go 46-23 in the second half of that season as well as gaining a second straight division title.

Who could forget the biggest highway robbery of them all? After the ’03 season, Ryan traded catcher A.J. Pierzynski to the San Francisco Giants for pitchers Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser. Nathan has been one of the elite closers in baseball over the past four years, averaging nearly forty saves per season. Liriano dazzled all of baseball last season with 13 wins in only 3 ½ months as a starter before being shelved with an elbow ailment. And Bonser won four big games in September of last year to help the Twins win the division.

Aside from his baseball prowess, I believe Ryan should be remembered for the class, humility and loyalty he showed the Twins organization during his tenure.

In November 2001, the Twins were faced with contraction. Baseball Owners’ puppet Commissioner Bud Selig determined that baseball should shrink from 30 teams to 28. The determination was that the Twins and Montreal Expos would be eliminated after the 2002 season. Twins owner Carl Pohlad even agreed to a multi-million dollar payout to allow Major League Baseball to effectively kill his franchise. With the franchise status in limbo, Ryan had opportunities to take his services elsewhere. Certainly no one would have held him culpable for moving on. Nonetheless, Ryan chose to decline all suitors and stay with the Twins, despite the real possibility of the franchise not existing within a year.

Another example of Ryan’s class and commitment was on display in September 2003. The Twins were in Chicago to take on the White Sox in a four-game series. With the two teams tied atop the AL Central division, the Sox took the first two games to gain a 2-game advantage in the division. Shortly before game three, third base coach Al Newman suffered an aneurysm and had to be rushed to a local hospital. It was Ryan himself who stayed at the Chicago hospital by Newman’s bedside. With the Twins in the midst of their most important series of the year, Ryan could have easily sent another front office employee to tend to Newman. But with a tremendous amount of humility (and very little fanfare), Ryan stayed behind even after the Twins left Chicago.

With that kind of service rendered over the past twelve years, the Twins and their fans should feel fortunate to have Ryan remain in any capacity.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Imus suit tossed.

As I wrote about last month, the libel and slander lawsuit brought against former radio shock jock Don Imus shouldn’t see the light of day.

As it turns out, the Rutgers basketball player bringing said lawsuit has herself….ahem….”seen the light”.


Kia Vaughn had contended in the lawsuit filed in August in New York state Supreme Court that the comments made by Imus had damaged her reputation.

The lawsuit also named various media outlets that broadcast Imus' show.

Marti McKenzie, a spokeswoman for Vaughn's attorney, Richard Ancowitz, said in a statement that Vaughn had chosen to focus on her education at New Jersey's Rutgers University as a journalism major and as an athlete with the basketball team.

"Her strong commitments to both have influenced her decision to withdraw the lawsuit at this time," the statement said.


When reacting to Imus’ comments in a news conference last April, players felt Imus had "stolen a moment of pure grace” from their magical run in the NCAA women’s tournament. The Rutgers players also wanted everyone to know that they expressed “great hurt” and there was “sadness” brought to them.

About a week after that news conference was held, the Virginia Tech massacre took place. You think there might have been “great hurt” and “sadness” felt by the loved ones of the victims of the VT shooting? I would have to say that a horrific incident like that certainly put things in perspective.

I certainly hope that perspective occurred to Ms. Vaughn and thus was the prevalent reason for not going forth with such a frivolous lawsuit.

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I Don't Want to Work......

…..I want to bang on the drum all day.





Since last Friday brought to conclusion my five-week contract position, I am once again unemployed. Not to worry though, as I have several good prospects on the line (including an interview with a Fortune 500 company this Thursday!!). I predict that I’ll have a permanent gig before the end of September.

In the interim, there won’t be any leisurely drumming in the mode of the Todd Rundgren ditty. Quite the opposite, as I have found myself playing the role of domestic god. For example, on Tuesday I did two loads of laundry, ironed both mine and my wife’s shirts, vacuumed, did the dishes, cleaned out my closet, brought a box load of old clothes to the Goodwill, drove my 13-year old nephew to cross country practice and my 15-year old nephew to “behind the wheel” class.

Yep, as far as domestic duties are concerned, I do more before 4:00 p.m. then most guys do all day!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A picture's worth a thousand words.

Perusing the local bookstore this evening, I noticed CNN loon Jack Cafferty has authored a book recently.

Typically when a book is released, the publishing company will place a picture on the cover which is relevant to the book’s title.

The photo used for Cafferty’s book It’s Getting Ugly Out There?






That'll work!

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Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sports Einstein of the week: Ron Artest.

Atlanta Falcons QB Michael Vick has been given a lot of moral support from fellow NFL players after his pleading guilty to accusations of running a dog fighting ring. But one of the more curious showings of support came from Ron Artest, the 8-year NBA veteran.

Artest’s twisted logic for wanting to “be there” for Vick?


"[He] lied and then came back and apologized to everybody, I felt that was classy.”


Uhhhh….Okay.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Shark work.

We learned all too well last month how much the Somali community does not trust the police. Given the corrupt law enforcement in their own country, the predominately-Somali residents at a Saint Paul apartment building were reluctant to inform police of a sexual assault. The incident, which occurred in a second floor hallway, was witnessed by five to ten people.

Obviously there is a significant lack of trust which needs to be built up between police and the Somali community.

Now, with some lawyers attempting to profit (monetary and public relations-wise) from the 35W bridge collapse, the Somalis may have begun to view that aspect of law in much the same vain as Americans.


Just days after the collapse, while recovery crews were still battling treacherous waters, Schwebel, Goetz & Sieben -- one of the state's highest profile personal injury firms -- petitioned for access to the site for three attorneys and two expert witnesses.


Thankfully, U.S. District judge Patrick Schiltz shot down the request.


"The I-35W bridge collapse is, to put it mildly, of intense interest to the local bar," the judge observed.

Omar Jamal of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in Minneapolis can testify to that. His organization's phone began ringing off the wall after news got out that a pregnant Somali woman and her daughter were among the victims. Some lawyers who called asked for telephone numbers and other personal information, he said.

"This is the worst form of ambulance chasing," Jamal complained to the news media. "The divers are still in the river looking, and the attorneys keep calling us."


Perhaps that was due to visions of dollar signs dancing in their heads, right?


Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi -- the firm that won a record settlement against Big Tobacco about a decade ago -- has offered to represent victims or their families without compensation, as have several other firms. Some folks speculate that Robins' offer is self-interested. Mike Ciresi, one of its partners, is running for the Senate. But if politics can contribute to people doing the right thing -- well, that's what politics is for, right?


Sure, we’ll go with it.

The minute the bridge collapse occurred there was an air of inevitability that this tragedy would be politicized. While that was going on, I couldn’t think of any worse behavior than that…..until now.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Another day at the Fair: Part 2.

In Volume II of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, a political juggernaut was unveiled!!

Of the nearly one hundred conservative blogs featured in the Minnesota Organization of Bloggers, many threw out teasers regarding True North on the date 09-01-07. I was one of a handful of MOB-sters on hand for the official announcement of what True North entails. As many have surmised, it is a conservative blog (http://www.looktruenorth.com/). But not just any conservative blog, as Mitch Berg so eloquently points out.


Perhaps you’ve heard; there are 70 million blogs out there. You might be forgiven for asking: “Why another?”

The answer: because it’s needed.

Minnesota is a tough place to be a Republican; it’s tougher still to be a first-principles based, center-right conservative. We face a media and DFL machine that is huge, well-funded, and has insinuated over the past three or four generations into every corner of Minnesota life.

And yet for all of that, we - underfunded, working mostly as volunteers - have twice brought this state to the tipping point, from “purple” to the ragged brink of “red”. In five straight elections, from ‘98 to ‘06, Minnesota’s volunteers took on the paid, plutocrat-propped minions of the DFL on the streets, in the community centers, and finally at the polling places. And except for the national debacle of ‘06, we gave MUCH better than we got. We turned “liberal” Minnesota into a swing state.




NARN co-host Mitch Berg (holding microphone) and other members of the MOB announcing the debut of True North at the State Fair.




There are so many excellent blogs out there in the MOB that it is literally impossible to indulge in just half of them, never mind every single one. What True North looks to accomplish is to bring to one site the “A” game of the best and brightest of Minnesota’s center-right blogs as well as conservative pundits from other media venues.

One year from now, the GOP convention will commence in downtown St. Paul. We’re confident that True North will have made its presence known by the time there’s a nominee in place!!

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Another day at the Fair: Part 1.

Another Saturday at the Minnesota State Fair featured a glorious day to enjoy the festivities.

I was honored and privileged to have met professional tennis player David Wheaton. Back in his heyday in the early 90s, Wheaton competed against such legendary players as Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Jim Courier. Admittedly, I haven’t watched a great deal of pro tennis since.


Tennis pro David Wheaton and myself at the Fair.



Much to my surprise, Wheaton hosts his own radio show every Saturday morning at 8:00 on AM 980 KKMS.
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