Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Mold Standard

After referring to President Barack Obama as a d-ck (short for "richard") on MSNBC's Morning Joe Thursday, political analyst Mark Halperin (hardly a conservative, by the way) was suspended indefinitely by the network brass.

Personally, I have no problem with the network's move, given that such a harsh term assigned to a sitting President is wildly inappropriate. Halperin could have used any number of adjectives (i.e. arrogant, aloof, clueless) to describe the President's press conference/campaign speech Wednesday. But when one veers off into using nouns (even slang terms), it seems to be little more than petulant name-calling.

In the aftermath of this incident, I couldn't help but wonder what other line one has to cross before being suspended by MSNBC. Apparently, the following rhetoric isn't totally out of line when spewed by one the network's show hosts:

-Describing conservative commentator/blogger Michelle Malkin as a "...big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it."

-Continually using a vulgar sexual slur to describe a political movement with which the host disagrees.

-While working another job as a talk radio host, referring to a conservative woman radio personality as a "talk slut." To his credit, said MSNBC personality voluntarily took himself off the airwaves.

I know what some of you are thinking. All the people who were victim to those verbal barbs delivered by the likes of Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz do not hold an office as prestigious as President of the United States. Yes, apparently there is a line regarding who is subject to such insulting verbiage and it is indeed drawn at our Commander in Chief.

If that's the case, then suspensions would definitely be handed down if a President was referred to as Fascist, murderous or a War Criminal, right? Apparently not so if the POTUS in question is not a liberal Democrat.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who Said It?

Occasionally I like to play a little game called "Who Said It?", where I throw out a quote and you guess.....well.....who said it.

(Michele Bachmann) has my ire at how media is treating her. They'd never treat a man like this (the) week of (announcing a run for President).

Answers in the comment section, if you're so inclined.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXX

-As Michele Bachmann's star continues to rise amongst the GOP hopefuls for President, it would appear the scrutiny of her would be ratcheted up as well. And if anyone is prepared for such a process, it would be Bachmann. Between her time as a Minnesota State Senator and U.S. Congresswoman, her unapologetic social conservatism has so inflamed the political left that any article written about Bachmann results in reader comments containing such adjectives as "crazy b--ch", "bat sh-t crazy", "psycho", etc. In fact, the word "flaky" (slang for "wacky" or "eccentric") seems tame in comparison.

But when a fair and upstanding veteran journalist like Chris Wallace asks her point blank in an interview "Are you a flake?", that's pretty low budget.

Suppose Wallace had perpetuated certain narratives assigned to other candidates. Can you see him asking Tim Pawlenty "Are you dull?" Or Ron Paul "Do you wear a tin foil hat?" How about Mitt Romney "Hey, are you a giant phony?"

I'm not about to imply here that Wallace is a misogynist or that Bachmann should be shielded from tough questions. But it seems to me there was a more dignified way to broach that subject, such as "Some of your more harsh critics describe you as a 'flake.' What is it about you that would conjure up such a description?"

Then again, what do I know? I haven't been a journalist for 30+ years.

-One of the more storied franchises in Major League Baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday. What started out as a nasty divorce between club owner Frank McCourt and wife (former team CEO) Jamie has so financially hampered the Dodgers organization that there were doubts as to the team covering payroll this week.

As such, Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson, producer of Hugh Hewitt's radio show, came up with a great analogy to aptly convey these tough economic times in America and how President Barack Obama attempts to address such issues.

If the Dodgers were the economy & (Frank) McCourt was Obama, he'd be proposing massive ticket price hikes right now.

And if Jamie McCourt were the First Lady, peanuts and cracker jacks would be replaced by tofu and rice cakes.

-Less than one week ago, the Minnesota Twins scored eight 1st inning runs against the San Francisco Giants en route to a 9-2 win. It was their 15th victory in 17 games. The Twins have played 62 innings since that eight-run outburst in the opening frame last Tuesday ---- and have scored a grand total of NINE runs, going 0-6 overall. And in the proverbial blink of an eye, that glimmer of hope has turned into a nuclear meltdown, and the club once again owns the worst record in the American League.

Yes, it's that all too familiar tune of one step up and two steps back.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Send it off in a letter to yourself......

I'll be back in the AM 1280 bunker today as the Northern Alliance Radio Network show The Closer will be on the air from 3:00 pm until 4:00 Central time.

Sure, there's been a fair share of political news this past week, a lot of which will be covered brilliantly by Mitch & Ed in the two hours preceding my show. As for me, I'm feeling rather apolitical, as my guests on today's program would indicate.

My pal Danielle Teal has graciously agreed to appear as a guest in the first half hour to talk about her latest charitable endeavors in the Rochester area. DT is a bona fide celebrity in the Roch area and has engaged in some of the more courageous (and at times bizarre) stunts, all in the name of worthwhile causes. In addition to her philanthropy (she received the 2010 United Way Presidents Award for Olmsted County in recognition of her volunteering and fundraising efforts amidst flooding last Summer), Danielle is an IT geek by day, stand-up comedienne by night, a great Mom 24/7 and I daresay very photogenic. But I hate to burst your bubbles, fellas. She's got a boyfriend.

In the final two segments, I'll be chatting with Timberwolves analyst (and great NBA mind) Mike McCollow regarding this past Thursday's draft. With the highest first round pick (second overall) in franchise history, the Wolves selected Arizona star Derrick Williams, so we'll discuss his prospects as an NBA star as well as Ricky Rubio (2009 first round pick) now being in the fold. We'll also opine on the club's coaching candidates for the upcoming season, provided there even is a season given the NBA's own labor strife.

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.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn.

So tune in to the Northern Alliance Radio Network beginning at 1:00 CT, as Ed Morrissey and Mitch Berg kick it off with The Headliners.

Until then........


Friday, June 24, 2011

Box score of the week

A pair of "Sox." On August 7, 1982, the Boston Red Sox hosted the Chicago White Sox on NBC's Saturday "Game of the Week."


Boston's Jim Rice finally became a Hall of Famer in 2009. But 27 years earlier, he was deemed a Hall of Fame human being.

At Fenway Park on August 7, 1982, a four-year old New Hampshire boy was sitting with his family near the first base dugout when he was struck by a foul ball. Without hesitation, Rice emerged from the top step of the Red Sox bench area, picked up the young boy and brought him into the dugout where the Boston team trainer administered preliminary care. With a fractured skull, Jonathan Keane was immediately taken by ambulance to Children's Hospital, a mile away from Fenway. He would undergo successful surgery and be released five days later.

When Rice was being inducted into the Hall of Fame two years ago, the Keane family, including a healthy adult Jonathan, recounted the horrific events of that day.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Reading between the lines

I've had 24 hours to digest the remarks made by President Barack Obama regarding the U.S. military mission in Afghanistan. To be honest, it was pretty much what I expected from a man who wants all the credit for when things go swimmingly but deflects any responsibility for precarious situations.

To wit:

In the days that followed, our nation was united as we struck at Al Qaeda and routed the Taliban in Afghanistan. Then, our focus shifted. A second war was launched in Iraq, and we spent enormous blood and treasure to support a new government there.

Shorter Obama: I wasn't here then. Don't blame me.

By the time I took office, the war in Afghanistan had entered its seventh year. But Al Qaeda’s leaders had escaped into Pakistan and were plotting new attacks, while the Taliban had regrouped and gone on the offensive. Without a new strategy and decisive action, our military commanders warned that we could face a resurgent Al Qaeda, and a Taliban taking over large parts of Afghanistan.

Shorter Obama: I inherited this mess thanks to Bush taking his eye off the ball.

For this reason, in one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve made as President, I ordered an additional 30,000 American troops into Afghanistan. When I announced this surge at West Point, we set clear objectives: to refocus on Al Qaeda; reverse the Taliban’s momentum; and train Afghan Security Forces to defend their own country.

Shorter Obama: Wasn't that Presidential of me, announcing a big military operation at a prestigious military academy? I even placated some neocons by sending in more troops!

Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. Now, we must invest in America’s greatest resource – our people.

Shorter Obama: C'mon, you think spreading the wealth around is cheap? People expect me to pay their mortgages and utility bills.

We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industry, while living within our means.

Shorter Obama: Government need not apply.

We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. For our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong no hill is too steep and no horizon is beyond our reach.

America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.

Shorter Obama: I'm Barack H. Obama and I'm seeking re-election as President of the United States.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All that glitters is gold.....

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman became the latest Republican to declare he would seek the party's nomination for President.

However, he can't be deemed a serious candidate until one of those militant gay activist kooks showers him with glitter.

Many VIPs have gotten a pie in the face from protesters: Bill Gates, for one, and years earlier, Anita Bryant. President George W. Bush dodged a shoe hurled at him. This year, for some liberal activists, the guerrilla tactic of choice is a shower of glitter tossed from close range.

So far, three Republican presidential candidates — Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann — have been targeted by the so-called glitterati, primarily because of their opposition to various gay-rights causes
(Again. Marriage - NOT a "right" - ed.).

Among the public, there’s been lively online debate about whether the tactic is refreshing and effective, childish and rude, or even worse. Some critics wanted the perpetrators manhandled, Tasered and jailed.

To me, the bigger issue is escalation. If some real angry whack-job sees how accessible the GOP candidates have become, what's to deter said wacko from tossing something more dangerous like, say, acid? And then you get into the issue of these militant gay activists being held responsible for such an incident.

Seems a little far-fetched you say?

Well, let us not forget that five months ago the Tucson, AZ shooting which resulted in six deaths and several others critically wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Before the suspect was even apprehended, speculation amongst the political left in this country was that the gunman was a crazed right-winger who was influenced by the "hateful rhetoric" of the Tea Party movement. As such, the lefties made instant pleas (albeit disingenuous) to take on a "more civil tone" when discussing political activities (Translation: We have no intellectual defense for the Tea Party's concerns so we'll attempt to shame them into shutting up).

I have no doubt that the culprits of the "glitterati" are passionate believers in their cause and thus have come up with a unique way to bring attention to it. But if indeed a GOP Presidential candidate suffers an injury as a result of such ambushing techniques, will the gay activists' lefty colleagues hold them to the same standard they expected of Sarah Palin and the Tea Party (i.e. ceasing their freedom of expression)? I am, to put it mildly, VERY skeptical of that prospect.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXIX

-Full disclosure: I've made some pretty bad predictions in my day. Whether it's predicting Walter Mondale would carry a second state in the 1984 Presidential race or how the Vikings would throttle the New York Giants in the 2000 NFC Championship Game or The Village People making a heralded musical comeback, I've put out my share of duds.

But my dismissing Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) as a serious Presidential candidate is one error I would gladly endure.

It started with the analysis of last week's GOP Presidential debate, where one pundit described her as "poised, informed and serious." I know, I know. I also thought someone like a Sean Hannity made those remarks. But would you believe it was none other than MSNBC's own Chris Matthews who lavished such effusive praise upon Bachmann?!?! Yes, the very same Chris Matthews who in the past called the Congresswoman a "zombie" and a "nutcase." Of course, I am a little suspicious. Part of me believes Matthews secretly hopes Bachmann wins the Republican nomination for President with the belief that she is the most vulnerable. Hence his quasi-enthusiasm for Bachmann's candidacy.

I had the privilege of hearing Rep. Bachmann speak this past weekend at the RightOnline conference in downtown Minneapolis. She gave an electric, impassioned speech that sent a very clear message: She will not rest until Obamacare is repealed. While Barack Obama's tagline in 2008 was "Yes We Can", Bachmann is charging forward in 2012 with "Yes We WILL."

That's not to say she has the nomination sewn up after one good week. But I daresay that anyone who chooses to underestimate Michele Bachmann's viability as a Presidential candidate does so at their own peril.

-Last night in Washington, D.C., the staffers at the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee squared off in their annual softball game. In last year's contest, the RNC whooped the DNC by a score of 15-3. However, if you talk to the Democrats, they'll insist that they were entitled to six of the runs earned by the Republicans in that game.

-For the past few months, I've found myself regularly stating that when I grow up I want to have the ability to write like the Iowahawk guy. If you're on Twitter, following him is an absolute must, even if you're merely a casual politico.

His "tweets" range from clever....

You know who else inherited an economy from George Bush? Rick Perry. bitingly snarky.

Breaking: (Congressman) Weiner to teach French literature; plans to introduce coeds to a little Balzac


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Threw away all those crazy dreams, I put them all behind...

Today on The Closer, I will be broadcasting live from the Downtown Minneapolis Hilton, sight of the 2011 RightOnline conference! As an added bonus (or punishment, depending upon your perspective), I have been given an extra hour of broadcast time, so I'll be on from 3:00 pm until 5:00 Central. And as if the venue and extra air time aren't serendipitous enough, my main co-host from last year's substitute NARN gigs, Kevin Ecker, will join me in the 3:00 hour!

In addition to discussing the festivities surrounding RightOnline, we will at some point be joined by prominent local bloggers Erin Haust and Sheila Kihne to talk about not only the conference itself but also the latest in local and national politics (i.e. State budgets, GOP Presidential candidates, etc.).

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.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn.

So tune in to the Northern Alliance Radio Network beginning at 1:00 CT, as Ed Morrissey returns from assignment to rejoin fellow grandpa Mitch Berg on The Headliners edition. Given Ed's connections to the national political scene, don't be surprised if they book some high profile guests on their program!

Until then........


Friday, June 17, 2011

RightOnline 2011

It is an absolute thrill to be in attendance at the fourth annual RightOnline conference in downtown Minneapolis.

-Just completed my first breakout session, entitled "Controlling the Narrative: Election Integrity & the 2012 Elections." Who better to head up this discussion than Anita MonCrief, who blew the whistle on ACORN's rampant voter fraud.

Check out rVotes to find out the best tools to utilize in maintaining election integrity.

-Next breakout session was "Building Online Coalitions." I was incredibly impressed with Jimmy LaSalvia of the organization GOProud. Jimmy cited that 30% of the gay community votes Republican and explained how there's not as near a big divide between the Republican party and the gay community as many left-wing talking heads like to convey. Fiscal issues are near the top of their concerns, which is an area where the GOP should excel in increasing that 30% number.

-Power packed speakers at the General Session this afternoon included Rep. John Kline (R-MN), Melissa Clouthier, Ann McElhinney, Erik Telford, John Hinderaker and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). All were phenomenal, but Rep. Blackburn was, for me, the most impacting. She provided a very sobering insight into what would happen if this Net Neutrality is imposed. All 47 US Senators have vowed to shoot it down, so we need 4 Democrats Senators to effectively kill this unconscionable power grab of regulating the entire internet. If you live in a state which has a Democrat Senator (HELLOOOOOOO Minnesota), give 'em a call NOW!!

-Final breakout session of the day, and the room is bursting at the seams. Citizen journalist James O'Keefe was the main presenter for Left Exposed: Where Investigative Reporting Meets Online Activism.

Project Veritas has broken some of the more major corruption stories in this country which the Mainstream Media refused to cover, if not suppressed them all together. Go to PV's website to see more. Some are humorous, but the majority are infuriating.


Box score of the week

Hey, I'm a Twins rube. I feel like posting another one of their box scores, so what can you tell me about this game?


Tom Kelly managed 15 seasons for the Minnesota Twins, including 1987 and 1991 when they won the World Series.

After Ray Miller was fired late in 1986, T.K. took over the reigns on an interim basis on September 12, 1986 (the date of the game I have referenced). Kelly would be hired on a permanent basis prior to the '87 season.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

MLB All-Star Fish team

San Diego Padres starting pitcher Anthony Bass made his major league debut Monday, pitching five innings in a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rockies. Bass's reward for winning his MLB debut? A demotion to AAA.

Yes, young Anthony still needs to improve his credentials before being named to the coveted All-Fish Name team.

So who can be deemed worthy of such an honor?

SP - Catfish Hunter
SP - Dizzy Trout
SP - Steve Trout
SP - Ray Fisher
SP - Brian Fisher
RP - Harry Eells
RP - Art Herring
RP - Marlin Stuart
RP - Bill Fischer
RP - Eddie Fisher
C - Steve Lake
1B - Chico Salmon
2B - Marlon Anderson
SS - Starlin Castro
3B - Bobby Scales
OF - Kevin Bass
OF - Marlon Byrd
OF - Tim Salmon
DH - Randy Bass


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Deep Sixed?

With Congresswoman Michele Bachmann declaring that she will run for President, suddenly a relatively safe Congressional seat for the Minnesota GOP may be up in the air (By the way, I have been unable to confirm the rumor that Bachmann's DFL opponent in 2010 made a sudden U-Turn while traveling on I-35 Northbound).

My initial thoughts regarding Bachmann's future was that by Super Tuesday she may well be so far behind that she, along with the majority of the remaining candidates, would abandon her bid for the Republican nomination. With that in mind, she would still have nine months to campaign for her Congressional seat if indeed she decides to return to the U.S. House.

Yesterday afternoon I was reminded by my pal Brian "St Paul" Ward that the main attack on Bachmann in 2010 was how little time she spent in her home Congressional District. However, that vapid screed gained little traction as Bachmann easily won a third term in the House by garnering the highest percentage of votes (53%) in any of three House races she's participated. Of course, Bachmann's win was due in large part to 2010 being a highly favorable year for Republicans as well as facing a political empty suit in "Taxing" Tarryl Clark.

But in 2012, the "lack of time in the home district" could rear its ugly head once more. And this time, that phrase may have some teeth. With about seven months until the Iowa Caucuses, it's more than likely that Bachmann will spend minimal time in her home district due to her campaigning for a good portion of what's left in 2011. It's also a pretty safe bet that if Bachmann does re-enter the race for CD6 after a failed Presidential bid, her DFL opponent will enact the old "see, we told you so" rebuttal regarding the Congresswoman making herself scarce.

While I have nothing but the utmost respect for Rep. Michele Bachmann, I find that she rarely handles these situations smoothly. When she commits the occasional gaffe, it seems that her opponents as well as the mainstream media controls the narrative regarding the context of her statements. Instead of fighting back or even clarifying her remarks, she all too often puts out urgent statements of how she's being attacked and thus needs financial support immediately to combat said negative attacks. But while she may not be the most skilled politician, there are few others I'd rather have speaking on my behalf when it comes to critical legislative issues.

Ultimate prediction: After falling short of the GOP nomination for President, Bachmann will take two years off and then make a run for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Al Franken.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXVIII (All Sports edition)

-With the Stanley Cup Finals all tied at three games a piece, the Vancouver Canucks will host the Boston Bruins in Game 7 tomorrow evening.

If the Bruins win, it will add to the embarrassment of riches enjoyed by New Englanders who are fans of professional athletics. Of the four major sports in Massachusetts, (NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL) the longest championship drought would be six seasons, held by arguably the model franchise in that region --- the New England Patriots.

-Despite being in last place in their division (nine games out of first) and thirteen games under .500, the Minnesota Twins are generating the most excitement they have all season, which tells you how rotten this year has been. But the club is definitely playing with a little extra bounce in its step having won nine of their past 11 games, thanks in large part to the starting pitchers who have been averaging nearly seven innings per outing. As such, one of the league's worst bullpens is getting a much needed breather while the club anticipates the return of key relievers Glen Perkins and Joe Nathan.

It will be interesting to see what happens if the Twins can somehow crawl above the .500 mark within the seven weeks leading up to the July 31 trade deadline. With Jason Kubel and Denard Span soon returning to the club from the disabled list to go along with the energetic play of rookie Ben Revere, the Twins have a glut of outfielders when you throw in Michael Cuddyer, Jason Repko and Delmon Young. With Cuddyer becoming a free agent after this season, I would not be surprised if other clubs inquire about his availability. It would certainly be a golden opportunity for the Twins to bolster what has been a woeful bullpen.

Stay tuned.

-I've never much cared for the Dallas Mavericks (thanks in large part to insufferable owner Mark Cuban) but I have to give credit where credit is due. Facing a loaded Miami Heat squad that actually seemed to be living up to the preseason hype, the Mavericks bested them in six games to win their first NBA title in franchise history. To me, the turning point was Game 2 of the series. The Heat were up 15 with about five minutes to go, and looked poised to take a 2-0 series lead. Suddenly the Mavs came alive, as star forward Dirk Nowitzki almost single-handedly led Dallas on a 22-5 run to secure a 95-93 victory, tying the series. And while the Heat squeaked out a win in Game 3, Dallas closed out the series with three straight hard-fought victories.

Prior to Game 2 of the finals, the Heat were tough as nails in the fourth quarter of previous playoff contests whenever they had a lead late. But their collapse after the Game 2 debacle reminded me of what happened to Tiger Woods during (and then after) the 2009 PGA Championship. Tiger had never lost a major championship when carrying a lead into the final round. With a two shot lead over little known Y.E. Yang, it was pretty much a forgone conclusion that Tiger was well on his way to a 15th major championship. But Yang ended up going 2-under in the final round, which gave him the title after Tiger shot a shockingly bad +5 on that final day. Almost two years (and scores of infidelity revelations) later, Woods still seeks that elusive 15th major. It's almost as if that air of invincibility is gone.

That's not to say that the Miami Heat will never win a title with the star triumvirate of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. But their shocking inability to finish off a game in a situation where they had been virtually unbeatable definitely planted seeds of doubt for the rest of the series. As for the Dallas Mavericks' playoff run? 4-0 in "close out" games.

Not hard to figure out which team was more poised.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

She ain't a Cadillac and she ain't a Rolls.....

Yes, I'm back on AM 1280 The Patriot this afternoon for the second week of The Closer.

Beginning at 3:00 pm Central, we'll review the week that was on the political scene. Of course, I will delve into how a certain New York Congressman finally came clean regarding his online dalliances and whether or not he can survive the fallout, especially with Congress reconvening on Monday.

It was also a busy week for the plethora of GOP Presidential candidates. Some burning questions need to be addressed, such as:

-Is the en masse resignation of Newt Gingrich's campaign staff the end of his Presidential run?

-Is Mitt "it?"

-Is the "You Lie!" Congressman's endorsement of Tim Pawlenty a good thing for T-Paw?

-And will saucers of milk be served the next time Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin get together?

Feel free to give us a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to be on the program.

You can also 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.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn.

So tune in to the Northern Alliance Radio Network beginning at 1:00 CT, as Ed Morrissey returns from assignment to rejoin fellow grandpa Mitch Berg on ...(Whoops. Ed out again this week - ed.)... Mitch Berg is flying solo again on The Headliners.

Until then........


Friday, June 10, 2011

Box score of the week

Montreal Expos pitcher Dennis Martinez threw a perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 28, 1991. But another participant in this game achieved a noteworthy milestone.

What was it?


Shortstop Alfredo Griffin had a modest 15-year MLB career, including being named AL co-rookie of the year with the Twins' John Castino in 1979.

But Griffin holds the dubious distinction of playing for three teams which had perfect games thrown against them. May 15, 1981 while with the the Toronto Blue Jays (Len Barker - Cleveland Indians threw that one), September 16, 1988 as a member of the Dodgers (Tom Browning - Cincinnati Reds) and of course the Martinez perfect game cited in this week's featured box score.


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Retract those claws!

Within the next week or two, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) is expected to make official her bid to seek the GOP nomination for the 2012 Presidential race. Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has yet to even form an exploratory committee, so whether or not she'll make her own White House bid is still very much up in the air.

Since many consider Bachmann and Palin interchangeable in terms of their ideology, there has been much speculation as to whether the two could remain civil if both were vying for the same prize. Personally, I didn't feel that would be an issue since both seem to be unified in their passion to restore fiscal sanity to this country (not to mention the fact that they're pals). I guess that's why I found it rather curious when Tammy Bruce "tweeted" the following a couple of weeks ago:

Bachmann says she considers Palin a friend. Which explains her stalwart support of her during Tucson accusations. Oh, wait...

To be honest, I'm not 100% certain what Bruce was implying there. I got a sense she was insinuating that Bachmann was positioning herself for a legitimate Presidential bid and thus didn't want to give any positive vibes towards Palin, who would be a formidable opponent for the GOP nomination. So is that why Bachmann didn't defend Palin from those scurrilous attacks in aftermath of the Tucson shootings? That seems a bit far fetched. But I guess one could conjure up scores of reasons why people choose to remain silent in a scenario where their input may or may not be relevant.

Fast forward to this week where many are legitimately wondering about Bachmann's deafening silence on the heels of a campaign staffer's criticism of Palin.

Per Politico's Ben Smith, Ed Rollins, Bachmann's newly hired political adviser, let loose on the former Alaska governor in a radio interview (Tuesday) with Fox News's Brian Kilmeade, implying she's a joke of a candidate.

"Sarah has not been serious over the last couple of years," Rollins said. "She got the vice presidential thing handed to her. She didn't go to work in the sense of trying to gain more substance. She gave up her governorship."

Bachmann, he said, is the more established GOP candidate; he called her the 2012 field's "best communicator" since Mike Huckabee decided to skip the race.

"Michele Bachmann and others [have] worked hard, she has been a leader of the tea party, which is a very important element here," he said. "She has been an attorney. She has done important things with family values."

There is no question that Bachmann will be asked about Rollins' comments. I'm curious to hear how she'll respond, specifically whether or not she endorses his viewpoint.

My feeling all along has been that Palin will not run for the simple reason that she makes so much money doing what she's doing (i.e. speaking circuit, writing books, etc.). But make no mistake that she is still very influential amongst the Tea Party movement and thus would prove to be a valuable fund raiser to any candidate who receives Palin's endorsement. Bachmann would be wise not to burn bridges so early on.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Glad he's on my side

Andrew Breitbart and myself at Brit's Pub in Downtown Minneapolis


If we were playing that good ol' fashioned word association game, that is the one word I would regurgitate in response to "Andrew Breitbart."

Prior to his Herculean efforts in breaking the Congressman Anthony Weiner "wiener" story, Breitbart gained a lot of notoriety by challenging the slanderers of the Tea Party movement. In March of last year, Breitbart offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who could produce conclusive audio and/or visual evidence of Tea Party members hurling racial slurs towards members of the Congressional Black Caucus, as had been claimed. Fifteen months later, that $100K still burns a hole in Breibart's pocket.

Because he is a conservative and because he breaks some of the more gargantuan news stories with a fraction of the Mainstream Media's resources, Breitbart is universally reviled by leftist politicians and their supporters. And because they can't criticize Breitbart on merit, the ad hominem attacks are at a fever pitch. In fact, Breitbart himself will publish some of the more vile "tweets" he receives via his Twitter feed.

When Breitbart broke the Weiner story Memorial Day weekend, the New York Congressman (when he finally addressed the issue publicly) claimed he was the victim of a prank and that his Twitter account was "hacked." With that, some folks in the MSM speculated that Breitbart may have been the "hacker" and essentially accused him of framing Weiner. Once again, Breitbart met the challenge head on. Since hacking into someone's private online accounts (i.e. e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is a crime, Breitbart called for a criminal investigation to catch the "hacker", which would also serve the purpose of clearing his name.

It all culminated this past Monday afternoon as Weiner publicly admitted to several online affairs (aka "sexting") with women, including the picture which started it all. That photo to which I'm referring of course is the one of a....ahem...."turned on" male in a pair of briefs.

Coincidentally, Breitbart happened to be in New York Monday when it was announced Congressman Weiner was going to hold a press conference. In true Breitbart fashion, he upstaged his main detractor (in this case, Weiner) by holding his own impromptu address.

A downtrodden Weiner later came on to apologize to everyone (including Andrew Breitbart) for his handling of this whole situation as well as for the lewd conduct itself. As such, I'm sure Congressman Weiner's supporters will forgive him for his conduct. As far as forgiving him for apologizing to Breitbart? Maybe not so much.


Sunday, June 05, 2011

Empty Suit still fulfilling electorate

When Amy Klobuchar was Hennepin County Attorney, she specialized in getting out in front of the camera to bring attention to the county's higher profile cases. In essence, she was an elected ambulance chaser, often looking to use as props the family members of victims who had suffered critical or fatal injuries as a result of a perpetrator's negligence (i.e. alcohol-related vehicular homicide, a driver without proper insurance killing someone with their car, etc.).

After being elected to the US Senate in 2006, Klobuchar continued this trait of exploiting tragedies in an effort to push forth softball legislation. One of her first high-profile pieces was banning lead in toys in an effort to prevent lead poisoning in children. She also seized the moment when, in the Summer of 2007, six-year old Abigail Taylor of St. Louis Park suffered an ultimately fatal injury in a public swimming pool. As a result, new pool safety laws were enacted.

Sen. Klobuchar made sure her voice was heard in August 2007 during the tragic I-35 bridge collapse, essentially blaming the funding of the unpopular Iraq war as reason there were no money for bridge repairs (never mind that the cause of the collapse had not even been determined at that time). And if airline pilots ever are distracted from properly doing their jobs, leave it to Klobee to provide the stern finger-wagging.

So I guess it came as no surprise to me that Senator Klobuchar would look to exploit the rash of fatalities occurring as a result of using hand-held devices while driving.

The statistics are startling.

Teenagers are three times more likely than their parents to die in traffic accidents. In Minnesota, 118 teens died in traffic accidents between 2006 and 2008.

Statistics are only part of the story. Kelly Phillips, a Minnetonka High School senior, died in an auto rollover in 2007. She was a passenger in a car that went out of control when the driver was using an iPod, according to the State Patrol. With another passenger, they were headed for a bonfire that was to be strictly supervised by adults, and where no alcohol would be allowed. The driver was also killed in the accident and the other passenger seriously injured.

"Kelly was just like you," her mother, Jane Phillips, told several dozen students at Eden Prairie High School on Thursday. "She was really smart. She was a three-sport athlete. She had a big future. ... But her college applications never got sent in because she died before she could send them."

Phillips and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., were key speakers at the Thursday safe-driving event, designed to target high school kids before summer break, when most teen crashes occur. The event was hosted by the Minnesota Teen Safe Driving Coalition, one of 10 coalitions formed nationwide by the National Safety Council to cut down on teen auto crashes.

To make the moment even more poignant, Klobuchar sat in front of a large photograph of the beautiful young woman who was tragically killed.

Klobuchar cited federal legislation she is sponsoring that would require states to ban texting while driving (of course she did - ed.) and adopt graduated driver's licenses, which would involve some restrictions on driving until teenagers reach 18 (lucky for Klobee, young people can't vote until they're 18 - ed.).

Now don't get me wrong here. I'm absolutely 100% behind any measures to ensure the safety of children. As such, I have zero problem with the child safety advocacy of Senator Klobuchar. But as my pal Mr. D so eloquently pointed out a few months ago, all this qualifies her as a solid consumer reporter for local news. However, we should expect more from our representative government.

The issue I have is all of these legislative softballs are used as a facade, given some of the more left-wing positions she espouses. Included amongst those are support for any kind of corporate bailouts, TARP, Cap & Trade and Obamacare. She also consistently votes against any kind of legislation which would prevent Federal funds designated for abortion.

Because 2006 was such a disastrous election year nationally for the GOP, Klobuchar coasted to an easy 20-point victory over Republican Mark Kennedy. And because it had been a forgone conclusion that '06 would be such a bloodbath for any politician with the same party affiliation as President George W. Bush, Klobee ran a very soft campaign where she did little more than put out TV ads with her mingling amongst the elderly.

Unfortunately, given some of the latest poll numbers, any Republican looking to take on Senator Klobuchar in 2012 will be little more than the proverbial sacrificial lamb.


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Let's roll the windows down, turn the radio up....

I will be making my debut as a solo radio host today on the Northern Alliance Radio Network at AM 1280 The Patriot. I will be on the air beginning at 3:00 PM CT to discuss, among other things, how it was a rough week for leftist demagogues like Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and disgraced former Presidential candidate John Edwards. What may have been lost in that shuffle is our esteemed Senator Amy Klobuchar exploiting yet another tragedy.

We'll also be joined via telephone by Fox Sports North analyst (and all-around great NBA mind) Mike McCollow. We'll discuss the Minnesota Timberwolves finally signing 2009 first round draft pick Ricky Rubio and the subsequent buzz surrounding it.

But of course the NARN kicks of at 1:00, with new Grandpa Mitch Berg flying solo for two hours as Ed Morrissey will be out on assignment.

So give us a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to be on the program.

You can also listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial, or click this link to listen via the internet.

And if you're so inclined, follow along on Twitter at #narn.


Friday, June 03, 2011

Box score of the week

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have such a long-standing rivalry that there are literally scores of intriguing games from which to choose. With that in mind, I'm going with a game from May 1976.


Given the genuine loathing these franchises have for each other, there have been several brouhahas over the years. In this game, one of all the all-time great brawls occurred.

Yankees outfielder Lou Piniella would crash into Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk feet first in an attempt to score in the sixth inning. The two benches clear while Piniella and Fisk brawl at home plate. After the fight apparently dies down and order appears to be restored, Sox pitcher Bill Lee and Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles began to exchange words, resulting in another fight. Lee suffered a separated left shoulder from the tilt and misses a significant portion of the 1976 season.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXVII

-When Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton was a US Senator from 2001-2007, his record was (to be kind) feeble. On more than one occasion I've pointed to the Time magazine article which named then Senator Dayton as one of the worst on Capitol Hill. In fact, one criticism which stood out was how he lacked understanding of the basic facts of the job.

Sadly, with Dayton now being chief executive of my state, that description is still applicable.

As DFLers and Republicans dig in on their budget divide, Gov. Mark Dayton on Thursday proposed a novel approach: Bring in a professional mediator who could help the two sides find common ground.

“We’ve got 28 days now and the clock is ticking and I’m willing to do everything and anything that I can think of, or anyone else can think of, that will be constructive to get this resolved,” Dayton said. He said he would even welcome two mediators — one picked by each side.

Republican lawmakers quickly dismissed the idea.

“It is our time to step up and to lead and to do the job that we were elected to do,” said House Speaker Kurt Zellers.

It’s been just 10 days since legislators ended their regular session without a signed budget agreement.

Are you kidding? A freaking mediator? Dayton was so up in arms over having little power as a US Senator for those six years, but now he shirks that responsibility. Does this guy ever have a grasp on any of the basic tenets of a job?

Oh, and the person Gov. Dayton wanted as mediator for his side? Retired Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Jonathan Lebedoff, who has a private mediation practice in Minneapolis. As Channel 5's Tom Hauser reported via Twitter, Lebedoff made political contributions to the following: $500 - Ciresi for Senate; $230 - Obama for America; $500 - Klobuchar for Senate.

-Look, I am really not all that interested in discussing the controversy regarding New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and his allegedly sending a lewd photograph via Twitter to a 21-year old woman. The fact is if I start opining, it opens up the door for too many double entendres. So all I will say is that if the Weiner handlers.....D'oh! Sorry! I meant if Weiner's staff had advised him....GAHHH. See what I mean?

What I'm trying to say is that if any member of Congress ever......AHHH, that's it! I give up.

Bottom line, if I were the Congressman from New York, I would use humor to disarm the feeding frenzy that is the national media. Basically, Weiner should have used his initial press conference to perform a reenactment of a certain scene in the TV show Seinfeld.

-Add Jason Kubel and Jim Thome to the long list of Minnesota Twins to visit the disabled list this season. Actually this is Thome's second stint on the DL, but that's neither here nor there. The fact is you know it's getting bad when the players being called up from the minor leagues are having to don jersey numbers in the 50s and 60s.