Monday, October 31, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XLIII

-Has any newspaper or blog yet come up with the headline "Herman caned?"

I digress.

GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain was revealed to have been accused of sexually harassing two women while in charge of the National Restaurant Association in the early '90s. What seemed to put Cain in a rather precarious position is that his company agreed to financial settlements with his accusers. But as Ed Morrissey pointed out, that does not necessarily prove guilt either.

If the settlements exist (Cain later admitted they did - ed.), and if they pertain to sexual harassment, then it’s certainly fair game for the media. This would differ from the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill allegations, as Hill never reported Thomas contemporaneous to the supposed harassment (and continued working for him after they supposedly occurred). The two settlements would indicate that the women involved undertook action contemporaneous to the claims, which is more substantial than Hill’s behavior. However, it’s not clear from the story whether the settlements themselves are settled legal complaints, or merely small golden parachutes that don’t make any reference to the reason for the departure of the two women.


Will this ultimately derail Cain's campaign? Hard to say at this point. From what I've been able to tell, Cain and his staff have handled this situation about as well as could be expected when conducting their expeditious responses.


-Perhaps the country's most famous socialite, Kim Kardashian, has filed for divorce from NBA player (and Minnesota native) Kris Humphries. Said filing took place on only day 72 of the marriage.

What really drives me nuts about these high-profile (and dysfunctional) marriages falling apart is the lamenting of the pro-gay marriage crowd. They squawk about how couples like Kardashian-Humphries or Tiger Woods-Elin Nordegren are allowed to marry but same-sex couples continue to be denied that same opportunity. Meaning what? If gays are allowed to marry that suddenly society will have unlocked the long lost secret to a solid union? Or perhaps if Kim Kardashian had just married her pal Paris Hilton, then all would have worked out OK? I know fans of....ahem....."amateur adult films" would be all aboard for that particular hookup.


-This NFL season, the Detroit Lions have been one of the surprise success stories in the first half of the 2011 campaign. After enduring a decade of absolutely wretched football, the Lions have started out 6-2, mainly due to young quarterback Matthew Stafford staying healthy combined with one of the more aggressive defensive lines, which is anchored by possibly the NFL's most feared defensive tackle in Ndamukong Suh.

But perhaps the most spectacular achievement by the Lions this season is they may actually have swayed me to root for the Green Bay Packers in two games this season. While the Lions' talent is undeniable, they have also become one the more arrogant (bordering on thuggish) teams in the NFL. From starting a brawl prior to their week seven game against Atlanta to their mocking Denver QB Tim Tebow's faith this past weekend, the Lions strike me as a very unlikable bunch.

So come Thanksgiving Day as well as the NFL regular season finale, I may actually root for the Green Bay Packers both those weeks when they oppose the Lions. Yes, Christmas miracles have come early this year.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Now I don’t claim to be an A-student, but I’m trying to be....

I'll be on the air LIVE tonight as I wrap up the weekend of NARN broadcasts on AM 1280 The Patriot. From 6:00 pm until 7:00 Central time, I'll delve into such topics as World Series play, demagogic nonagenarian sports writers, and the U.S. possibly being ruled under a dictatorship. You know, your standard fare for a radio talk show!


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics I plan on addressing.

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 or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XLII

-In a speech this past Wednesday in Denver, CO, President Obama spoke to college students regarding jobs and student loans. In the speech, the President lamented how he and wife Michelle accumulated $120,000 in student loans and how the monthly payments on said loans were ridiculously high.

Well enough is enough.

Hey kids!

Had it with those annoying student loans? Sick of those ridiculous monthly payments? Find yourself up against the wall? Or maybe just too busy, protesting "outside" broad and wall?

Well, good news!

How would you like to hear about a plan to take all that college debt and just...Swoooossshhhhh!

Blow it away! It's true. Because President Obama could be on the verge ...of making it law!!

You heard me right, the President is unveiling a student loan plan, where if you're in too deep ...not only is the government going to help you out...but stick the bill with all those capitalist swines you've been protesting while he's at it.

But wait, Neil, you're saying...he can't do that. He has to get Congress' approval.

Here's the good part. Three words.

No. He. Doesn't.

The big guy's planning a brilliant end-run around those pesky Republicans by way of executive order.

They don't like it, deal with it, and they can take it up with a judge like all their other endless legal challenges while they're at it.

So ... You in?


Closed circuit to those who shrieked "DICTATOR" during the George W. Bush administration: You have a problem with a sitting U.S. President making law via executive fiat???


-My Dad once riddled me this - "What's the difference between a catfish and a lawyer? One is a bottom-feeding scum sucker and the other is a fish."

OK, I'm over-generalizing there, as not all lawyers are subhuman. But I can't say with certitude that a certain Los Angeles attorney doesn't validate my Dad's assertion.

An attorney representing the Dodgers and owner Frank McCourt filed a civil complaint against the two men charged in the Opening Day beating of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, arguing that they should be held liable for the attack, not McCourt, the team or other parties named in the suit filed by Stow's family in May.

"One of the things the jury will be asked to do is to determine what percentage of fault various individuals have for this event," McCourt's attorney Jerome Jackson told ESPNLosAngeles.com.

"You're saying to the jury, 'They (the Stow family) are saying we're 100 percent liable. But does that mean (Marvin) Norwood and (Louis) Sanchez, who beat this guy up, have no liability? And, does it mean Mr. Stow himself has no liability?' "

Jackson said that if the case goes to a jury trial, he will ask jurors to assign percentages of liability to the Dodgers, McCourt, Norwood, Sanchez, Stow and the other entities named in the original suit. If financial damages are awarded, they would be paid out at those percentages.

"I've been doing these cases for 23 years and I have never seen one yet in which it didn't take at least two people to tango," he said, referring to the notion that jurors could decide Stow bears some liability in the attack. "So stay tuned and stand by."

Jackson compared the Stow case to a suit filed by a woman named Maria Para Helenius, who lost sight in one of her eyes after being involved in a fight in the Dodger Stadium parking lot in 2005. A jury found her assailant, Denise Ordaz, 85 percent liable for the attack, Helenius 15 percent liable and the Dodgers zero percent liable. She was awarded $500,420, according to court documents obtained by ESPNLosAngeles.com, 85 percent of which was to be paid by Ordaz.

Stow, who was in a coma for several months following the attack, remains in a Bay Area rehabilitation facility. His family has said that he is speaking again and has made great progress since the March 31 attack, but that he still needs around-the-clock care indefinitely.


What really galls me about this is how in the world can a man who was beaten until he was comatose even be considered to have some sort of liability? Did Stow's attackers suffer wrist injuries while beating him repeatedly? Did Stow not adequately clean up the blood he spilled in Dodger Stadium?

To me, this would appear to be case of Frank McCourt trying to cover his backside. With he and wife Jamie involved in a very contentious (and potentially expensive) divorce, the Dodgers franchise faced some perilous financial issues, including questions regarding the team making payroll at certain points of the season. As such, without a renewed TV deal and its accompanying revenue, the Dodgers looked to slash expenses. So what was rumored to be one of the cost-cutting measures? Ballpark security. Perhaps if Dodger Stadium had more security personnel, the attack on Stow might have been thwarted.

Regardless, the whole soap opera surrounding a once proud franchise is making some nasty headlines these days.


-Tomorrow afternoon will be a matchup of rookie quarterbacks in Charlotte, NC as the Carolina Panthers (and #1 overall selection, QB Cam Newton) will play host to my Minnesota Vikings, led by QB Christian Ponder.

In addition to the two young signal callers being first round draft picks and (barring serious injuries) the foundation for their respective franchises, they have something else in common. You see, both Cecil Newton and David Ponder (the fathers of the aforementioned rookie QBs) were training camp participants for the 1984 Dallas Cowboys.

Very cool!

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 27, 1991: Bundle of nerves

For the second time in five seasons, the Minnesota Twins would be involved in a game seven of a World Series. The scenario in this particular decisive game was similar to that of four years earlier. The Twins would be in the raucous atmosphere of their home stadium, the Metrodome, for the final game and would have their undisputed staff ace to start the game (it was Frank Viola in 1987; Jack Morris in 1991).

The first six games of this series versus the Atlanta Braves was enough to drain fans emotionally, as four of the games had been decided by one run, three on the final pitch and two went into extra innings.

Because I had midterm exams starting the next day, I figured I would hole up in my University's library and just study until I was sure the game would be over. I was so incredibly nervous at the prospect of my Twins coming sooooo close to another World Series title that I wasn't sure I could handle the tension of yet another close game (Wow, how prophetic was that?!?!).

Ultimately I decided to attend the Sunday evening service at my church, where there was a guest speaker from Jamaica. At one point during the service, I looked over at one of my best friends (and fellow Twins fan). As he caught my eye, the looks on our respective faces was obvious - "This is it!!! I wonder how our team will fare tonight?"

The church service was so amazing and uplifting that for 2-3 hours, I had successfully diverted my mind from the nerve wracking ball game. As I headed out to my car, I flipped on the radio, assuming the game was close to being over. As the broadcast came back from commercial, I heard the voice of the Twins, Herb Carneal, explaining how the Twins allowed runners to reach second and third base with nobody out in the eighth inning, yet got out unscathed. But I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that the game was still scoreless!

I then listened to how the Twins got runners to first and third with one out and the previous night's hero, Kirby Puckett, coming to the plate. At that point Braves manager Bobby Cox lifted John Smoltz (who had matched zeros with his boyhood idol Morris for 7+ innings) in favor of lefty reliever Mike Stanton. Cox ordered Stanton to intentionally walk Puckett to load the bases with one out to pitch to Kent Hrbek, who struck out in all three previous at-bats in the series versus Stanton. I got home about the time this pitching change was taking place, so I ran downstairs to find my brother with his head in the palms of his hands. Turns out Hrbek had just lined a ball up the middle, which was snared by Braves second baseman Mark Lemke who in turn stepped on second base (base runner Chuck Knoblauch thought the ball was up the middle for a base hit and was already halfway to third) for an inning ending double play. This was the first live action I had seen all night yet I was instantly a bundle of nerves.

After escaping that huge jam in the top of the eighth inning, Morris was locked in. He retired the Braves 1-2-3 in both the ninth and tenth innings. In between, the Twins blew a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, as they had runners at first and second with no outs but failed to score.

On to the bottom of the tenth, where Dan Gladden stepped in against Braves reliever Alejandro Pena. Gladden hit the first pitch for a blooper into left center field. The ball bounced by left fielder Brian Hunter but center fielder Ron Gant was right there to back him up. Seeing this, Gladden was hauling some serious butt out of the batter's box and never slowed down as he rounded first base. Gladden slid into second just ahead of Gant's throw, meaning the winning run was in scoring position with no outs. A sacrifice bunt and two intentional walks later, pinch hitter Gene Larkin stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. Once again, I was sweating bullets while fending off the knots in my stomach. While the Twins were in prime position to win the game, and thus the series, I couldn't help but think how they had already hit in to three double plays this game. I no sooner exorcised that negative thought from my mind when Larkin looped a fly ball over the Braves' drawn in outfield. The ball fell harmlessly to the ground for a base hit. Gladden trotted home from third with the only run of the game. As he stepped on home plate, Gladden was engulfed by several teammates, including Morris. I couldn't help but notice that Jack still had on his warmup jacket with his glove in hand. Yes, the guy manager Tom Kelly called "The Horse" would have indeed gone out to pitch the 11th inning had his team failed to score in the 10th.

For the second time in five seasons, my Minnesota Twins were World Series champions! I was so wired by what I had witnessed that there was no way I was going to get to sleep that night. Turns out my temporary insomnia that evening was a good thing as I was woefully behind on studying for midterms.

In looking back at the '91 World Series, it's amazing to think how tight knit it was. Of the seven games, five were decided by one run, four were decided on the game's final pitch and three went in to extra innings.

In the end, I felt the most poignant sentiment was conveyed by a member of the losing team. After his Braves lost game seven, second baseman Mark Lemke (who hit .417 in the series and would have likely been MVP had Atlanta won) said "The only thing better would have been if we stopped after nine innings and cut the trophy in half." I would've been inclined to agree.......if only I weren't a Twins fan that is.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

October 26, 1991: Do or Die

It was a Saturday evening at about 4:00 and I had just arrived home from my part time job in downtown St. Paul. I was a senior at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and midterm exams loomed, beginning on Monday. I had planned to sequester myself in my bedroom for a couple of hours in an effort to get some studying done. Alas, this proved to be an impossible task, as my mind continued to wander to a certain monumental event to take place in Minneapolis that evening - Game Six of the 1991 World Series, featuring my Minnesota Twins taking on the Atlanta Braves.

After winning the first two World Series games at home, the Twins proceeded to lose all three games in Atlanta and now were on the brink of elimination. My stomach was in knots, as the Twins were going trot out Scott Erickson to start game six. Despite being nearly unhittable the first half of the regular season and finishing the '91 campaign with 20 victories, Erickson struggled down the stretch. In his game three start against Atlanta, Erickson was knocked out of the game without getting through five innings. But I knew that if somehow, some way, the Twins could pull out the game six victory, it would be winner-take-all in game seven with their staff ace rarin' to go.

I was going to watch the game in Brooklyn Park with some friends at somebody's home. As I drove from St. Paul to Brooklyn Park, I passed by the Metrodome. To think, in about an hour, a World Series game would be played there.

The Twins got off to a 2-0 first inning lead against Braves lefty Steve Avery. Kirby Puckett drove in Chuck Knoblauch with a triple and then Puckett scored on a broken bat single by Shane Mack. Since Avery had given up only two runs through three postseason starts, the Twins getting to him early was a big deal.

In the third inning, with a runner on first, Braves slugger Ron Gant hit a towering fly ball to deep left center field, which looked as though it was going to be a run-scoring extra base hit if it didn't get over the wall for a game tying homer. Somehow, Puckett got back to the wall, leaped three feet in the air and snared the ball against the plexiglass atop the fence. Given the circumstances, it was perhaps the greatest catch in postseason history and it kept the Twins in the lead for the moment.

It was still 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning when Braves shortstop Rafael Belliard led off with a single. The next hitter, Lonnie Smith, then hit a one-hopper to third baseman Scott Leius. What should have been a routine 5-4-3 double play resulted in only a force out at second base as Knoblauch could not get the ball out of his glove for the throw to first. I had this awful feeling that play would haunt the Twins, and sure enough it did. NL batting champ Terry Pendleton swatted Erickson's next offering over the center field fence for a game-tying two-run home run. But Puckett knocked in his second run of the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning, putting the Twins back on top, 3-2.

Amazingly, the Twins were still leading by that same 3-2 score into the seventh inning, and Erickson was still on the mound. But after giving up a leadoff single to Mark Lemke, Erickson's evening was done. He had given the Twins all he had, so now it was up to the bullpen. The Braves loaded the bases in the seventh with one out and Gant at the plate. The Twins had the right pitcher on the mound in sinker baller Carl Willis, as they needed a ground ball double play to get out of the inning. Sure enough, Gant hit a slow roller to shortstop Greg Gagne. Gagne threw to second for one and Knoblauch turned and fired to first as quickly as he could, but the speedy Gant barely beat the throw. Lemke scored from third to tie the game.

Both bullpens put up zeros into extra innings. Then in the bottom of the eleventh, Braves manager Bobby Cox inexplicably summoned lefty Charlie Leibrandt to pitch to the first batter of the inning, Kirby Puckett. It didn't seem to make sense on the surface, as Puckett was nearly a .400 hitter versus lefties. On the other hand, Puck had struggled throughout his career against Leibrandt, so Cox used that as his guide. Despite being a free swinger, Puckett watched the first three pitches go by (strike, ball, ball). Then with a 2-1 count, Leibrandt left a changeup up over the outer half of the plate. Puck reached across the plate and hit the ball deep to left field. My friends and I all stood breathless as we watched the ball sail towards deep left field. As soon as announcer Jack Buck uttered the words "and we'll see you TOMORROW NIGHT," we all erupted in the basement. In fact, I took advantage of everyone's elation by giving a big hug to a certain girl I liked, and then proceeded to hoist her in the air. She was quite taken aback by that display, but there was definitely no hard feelings. Our Twins had forced a seventh game of the World Series!!!!

As I drove home to St. Paul, I listened to the postgame show on the radio. In hearing the myriad of player reactions, one stood out. Kirby Puckett, the game's hero and perhaps the most beloved player in Twins franchise history, talked of how he entered a somber clubhouse prior to the start of game six. He essentially told his teammates to loosen up a little. After all, it was the World Series. When that didn't seem to work, Puck simply told his fellow Twins to hop on his back because he was going to carry the club to victory. Puck's night - Three hits (including the game-winning homer), three RBIs and a remarkable catch to save at least one run (if not two). I'd say he made good on his pledge.

Meanwhile, the Twins' game seven starting pitcher (and aforementioned staff ace) Jack Morris, who was born for these kind of situations, was asked about perhaps the biggest start of his MLB career, which would take place in less than 24 hours. Jack's reply? "In the words of the great, late Marvin Gaye - 'Let's Get It On.'"

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Spin it to win it

President Barack Obama has been utterly shameless in his willingness to assign blame for the country's woes. Whenever he drones on about America's economic woes, inevitably he'll mention the tax cuts, two wars and prescription drug benefit that were enacted before he took office. Never mind the fact that it took him 2-1/2 years to accomplish what President Bush did in eight, which is increase our national debt by $4 trillion. Facts are for mere peasants apparently.

But what's really galling is the President having the temerity to spin the drawdown of US forces in Iraq by the end of 2011 as his keeping one of his "central promises." That's all fine and good, except for one minor flaw. You see, it was President George W. Bush who, in 2008, negotiated withdrawal of our troops by the end of 2011. Also conveniently omitted from President Obama's announcement was the fact he had attempted to negotiate an extended stay beyond 2011. So instead of being humbled by his failure to secure an action deemed necessary by many American military officials, the Obama campaign sent out the following spin letter this past Saturday.

Friend –

I’m James Kvaal, the new policy director for President Obama’s 2012 campaign. You’ll be hearing from me occasionally about the President’s policies and those of our opponents, and how we can all help bring about change for our country.

Yesterday, we accomplished one major change when President Obama announced that all American troops in Iraq will be home before the holidays
(but only after you failed to keep them there longer. - ed.).

With that action, the Iraq war will end. And one of the President’s central promises will have been kept
(But who knows how y'all would have spun this had you successfully negotiated to keep U.S. forces in Iraq into 2012. I'm sure you would've figured something out, because you think the electorate has short memories. Ah heck, let's be honest. You would've just blamed Bush - ed.).

Both as Americans and as supporters of President Obama, this is something for us to reflect on, and be proud of.

The war in Iraq was a divisive, defining issue in our country for nearly nine years, and was the catalyst for many Americans to get involved in politics for the first time.

Now, thanks to the actions of this President
(Uhhhhh, I'm sorry. WHICH President?!?! Let me remind you - ed.), we can say that conflict is coming to a close.

The end of this war reflects a larger transition in our foreign policy as, in the President’s words, “the tide of war is receding.” The drawdown in Iraq has allowed us to refocus on the fight against al Qaeda, even as we begin to bring troops home from Afghanistan. And of course, this week also marked the definitive end of the Qaddafi regime in Libya
(Ahhh. So regime change is now OK, huh? Good to know - ed.).

These outcomes are an example of what happens when a leader sets a plan and sees it through
(Yes, thank you, President Bush! - ed.). In the last campaign, the President committed to getting American troops home while leaving behind a stable and secure Iraq. You rallied around that vision, and now that promise has been fulfilled (However, if sectarian violence is ratcheted up once again, as some military officials fear will be the case, I think you know where the blame will be placed - ed.).

On behalf of this campaign and supporters of the President across the country, I want to thank the more than 1 million Americans who have served in Iraq
(Finally something in this letter that isn't complete bilge - ed.), and all those who worked to make this possible

Thanks,

James

James Kvaal
Policy Director
Obama for America


I don't know about you, but I find it so incredibly arrogant that this administration so blatantly tries to spin its failures as something that is good for this country. God help us all.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

....to bring you a show with no intoxication....

I fully expect the Vikings to have wrapped up their defeat at the hands of the Green Bay Packers by the time The Closer gets started this evening. From 6:00 pm until 7:00 Central time, I will be LIVE on the air on AM 1280 The Patriot.

The first half of the show, we'll discuss political news on a National level. President Barack Obama announced U.S. troops would indeed be out of Iraq by the end of this year. We'll also touch on the death of Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi Khadaffy Gaddafi. I also want to opine on the perpetual idiocy of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as well as Vice President Joe Biden.

On a local level, I will get into the ongoing saga regarding the Vikings' new stadium. My friend and blogging colleague Mark Heuring, who has done extraordinary coverage of this issue on his blog Mr. Dilettante's Neighborhood, will join the program for the final two segments to discuss the latest news on this matter.


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics I plan on addressing.

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 or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Box score of the week (FINAL ONE OF 2011)

It's World Series time, so let's check out Game 1 of the 1966 Fall Classic featuring the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers.

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In this game, Orioles relief pitcher Moe Drabowsky tied a World Series single game record by striking out six consecutive batters. He tied the record set in 1919 by Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Hod Eller. However, Eller's record was set against the infamous Chicago White Sox team (aka Black Sox) who conspired with gamblers to deliberately lose the series. So we could make the argument that Drabowsky's record is more legit.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Throwing Christian to the Lions Packers

So a rookie quarterback makes his regular season debut in garbage time of a blowout loss, then is rewarded with his first career start the following game against the Green Bay Packers. Somehow the rookie makes just enough plays to lead his struggling club to a victory over the hated Pack.

You think that's far-fetched? Well it really isn't. That's because the scenario I just laid out actually happened. That's right, it was two seasons ago when Tampa Bay Buccaneers' rookie QB Josh Freeman led the 0-7 Bucs to an upset win over the Packers. I couldn't help but be struck by the similarities as Minnesota Vikings rookie Christian Ponder (fresh off his NFL debut in a 39-10 loss at Chicago) will make his first NFL start on Sunday when the Vikes host Green Bay.

Of course, there is one stark difference between the Packers club which lost to a winless Tampa team two years ago and the one the Vikings will face Sunday. The Pack happen to be 6-0 and defending Super Bowl champions. That said, Ponder may have a chance to make some plays as the one chink in the armor of the Packers this season is their porous pass defense, which has allowed nearly 300 yards per game. However, that stat is somewhat misleading. Green Bay has built such sizable leads in all of their games that they're willing to let opponents complete passes in the field of play so as to run down the game clock.

I think the Vikings are currently in a situation where anything less than a 20 point loss on Sunday should be considered a moral victory.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XLI

-Yet another GOP Presidential debate took place Tuesday night, this time from Las Vegas. To be perfectly honest, I'm suffering from debate fatigue, so the only saving grace for me on these nights is the banter on Twitter (my night was made when Rush Limbaugh's brother David replied to one of my tweets).

One of the common complaints amongst debate observers is the fact the candidates spent too much time attacking each other and not enough taking on the White House's current occupant. Personally, I have no problem with that, as there will be ample time for the eventual GOP nominee to savage President Obama on the campaign trail as well as head-to-head debates. With the nomination process still very fluid (one recent poll indicated 70% of Republican voters have yet to decide on a candidate), it's important that the candidates continue to distinguish themselves.

In the end, there was no consensus as to who was the clear cut winner. However, Herman Cain had to fend off more attacks than he was used to now that he has been near the top of the polls, and I thought he acquitted himself OK. Unfortunately for him, he was backed into a corner about his comments where he indicated he'd consider swapping out Gitmo detainees for Americans held captive. Cain eventually disavowed those remarks.

Other than that, there didn't seem to be any stark differences from some of the more recent debates.

  • Mitt Romney wasn't dinged enough to harm his standing as frontrunner.
  • Rick Perry was solid early only to peter out near the end.
  • Ron Paul sounded strong domestically but shot himself in the foot when talking foreign policy (in this case, decrying aid to Israel).
  • Newt Gingrich continues to be the regrettable candidate in that he's a brilliant political mind but his personal baggage will preclude any chance to be the GOP nominee.

So for now, the Romney drumbeat will likely continue.


-When it comes to demagoguery, timing is everything. So as baseball's Fall Classic quickly approaches, it's not surprising the latest issue Washington leftists decided to undertake.

U.S. senators and health officials are taking on a baseball tradition older than the World Series itself: chewing tobacco on the diamond.

With the Series set to begin Wednesday between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers — a team that started life as the Washington Senators 50 years ago — the senators, along with health officials from the teams' cities, want the players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at games and on camera. They made the pleas in separate letters, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.

"When players use smokeless tobacco, they endanger not only their own health, but also the health of millions of children who follow their example," the senators wrote to union head Michael Weiner. The letter was signed by Dick Durbin of Illinois, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, and fellow Democrats Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Senate Health Committee Chairman Tom Harkin of Iowa.


Now was there an actual study done which provided evidence that children indulge in chewing tobacco because their favorite baseball players do so? I'm guessing not. As a former smokeless tobacco user, I can tell you that young people in this country pick up that nasty habit the same way they do many other vices ---- peer pressure. Nothing more.


-Speaking of the World Series, I'm having a hard time getting a handle on the matchup between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams seemed to win their respective pennants in similar fashion: Solid bullpen bailing out the sub par starting pitching combined with an explosive offense.

For me, I give a slight edge to the Cardinals, simply because they've essentially been in playoff mode for the past eight weeks. After an August 24th loss, the Cards were 10-1/2 games behind the Atlanta Braves for the National League wildcard spot. However, St. Louis won 23 of their final 32 games just to get in the postseason. They then dispatched the team with MLB's best record, the Philadelphia Phillies, in the divisional round and then eliminated the Milwaukee Brewers in the NLCS, having to win two games in Miller Park where the Brewers were a ridiculous 57-24 in the regular season.

For what it's worth, I say Cards in seven.

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Just because.....





Q: What do you call a Brewer with a World Series ring?
A: A thief.

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A simple prop to occupy my time....

It's essentially all occupation all the time on this evening's edition of The Closer, as I'll be live on AM 1280 The Patriot TONIGHT from 6:00 pm until 7:00 Central time.

First off, we'll look at the media's analysis of the Tea Party vs. Occupy Wall Street, and how there are conspicuous differences. I also want to take a look at two separate attacks against GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain that would have never gone uncovered by the MSM had candidate Barack Obama been attacked the same way 3-4 years ago.


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics I plan on addressing.

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 or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Box score of the week

Game 7 of the 1962 World Series - Yankees-Giants.

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This classic World Series game went right down to the wire, as the Giants had the tying run on third base and the winning run on second with two outs and Willie McCovey at the plate. McCovey would line out to Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson to end the game as well as the '62 World Series.

But what's extra special about this particular game is it was the first ever 1-0 contest in a decisive postseason series game.


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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XL

-So shrill lefty Joy Behar invited singer Harry Belafonte to appear on her CNN Headline News talk show, and Banana Boat Hare is asked about a black Republican.

I think you know as well as I do where this is going.

Like Condoleezza Rice, Herman Cain doesn’t need Harry Belafonte to tell him what it means to be black — but it looks like the legendary singer is just as willing to reject Cain’s life experiences as a legitimate example of what it means to grow up black in America as he was to reject the life experiences of Rice and Colin Powell in 2002. Remember when he compared the two of them to “house slaves” who would retain their privileged positions only for as long as they did what “the master” wanted? (I sure do - ed.)

He doesn’t have anything nice to say about Herman Cain, either. In an interview with HLN’s Joy Behar, Belafonte said Herman Cain was “denied intelligence” and called him “a bad apple.”

“I just want to make this observation about Herman Cain,” Belafonte said. “The Republican Party, the Tea Party and all those forces to the extreme right have consistently tried to come up with a representation for what they call black … and tried to push these images … They’ve got Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell. They’re heroes for some people, but for a lot of us they’re not. And Herman Cain is just the latest incarnation of what is totally false to the needs of our community and the needs of our nation!”


When looking at back at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, the one aspect that stands out is how he dreams of his four children not being "judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." I perused the entire speech and I found nary an excerpt which even so much as implied that one's "content of character" is dependent upon political party affiliation.

I daresay Dr. King would have been thrilled at the prospects of a black man obtaining the level of success Cain achieved as a businessman.


-When ESPN decided to no longer use Hank Williams, Jr.'s music as the opening theme to its Monday Night Football broadcasts, they cited their policy of prohibiting political advocacy by anyone associated with their network. It was just this past August that golf analyst Paul Azinger got his finger slapped for a snarky remark he made about President Obama, via Twitter. Keep in mind that ESPN's response to both incidents was rather expeditious.

So I'm wondering why I haven't heard so much as a peep from the sports titan regarding an ESPN contributor's remarks on NPR nearly a week ago.

NPR's apparently a great place to go to denounce Herman Cain. On Friday's edition of Tell Me More, host Michelle Martin cued up Cain's remarks suggesting the Occupy Wall Street protests are "planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration." Quite obviously, you can disagree with that theory without comparing Cain to segregationists.

But that's precisely what sports columnist and ESPN regular Kevin Blackistone said to Martin: "It sounds like to me what people who used to run the White Citizens Councils used to say in the South during the civil rights movement, that it was outside agitators who were coming in and stirring up black folks down there."

He added: "How disingenuous it is of a CEO of a company or anybody to make a suggestion that it is the unemployed's fault that they are unemployed at a time when corporate America is breaking the record profits in 2011, is flushed with cash in terms of its coffers, and unemployed people are over 14 million. Absolutely disingenuous."

This is the same left-wing columnist who suggested Israel should be banned from international sports competitions (except, er, the Olympics after that unfortunate Munich mass murder): "could it not be time for sport to illuminate Israel's deadly occupation of Palestinians?"


As of this evening, I've been unable to locate anything which would indicate ESPN reprimanded Blackistone for his comments. In fact, he was in his regular spot this afternoon as panelist on ESPN's afternoon show Around The Horn.


-There's been no shortage of reactions in the media, blogosphere and social network sites regarding the "Occupy Wall Street" protests. Because this is mainly a "progressive" movement, the protestors are characterized as a "diverse group" who are merely "frustrated" with those who aren't paying their "fair share" in taxes. On the other hand, for two years running, the Tea Party has been tagged with such labels as "angry" and "monochromatic."

Let me boil it down for you in the simplest terms. The OWS crowd acts like a bunch of petulant children because they resent those who were willing to do things (i.e. work hard and take calculated risks) which they aren't. With the Tea Party, you have a bunch of people in essentially the same economic class who want to be free to take risks and are concerned that all for which they have worked will dissipate due to out of control and unsustainable Federal spending.

I think David Burge of the blog Iowahawk summed it up best when addressing the OWS crowd.

Lemme get this straight. A bank lent you $100k that you handed to a college for a worthless degree, and now you're mad at... the bank?


Alas, personal responsibility appears to be in short supply these days.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The way I see it.....

....is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's endorsement of Mitt Romney for President makes sense while at the same time is befuddling.

I understand that Romney was once a blue state Republican governor like Christie is now. East coast Republicans, fair or unfair, have broader appeal amongst the GOP establishment than do more conservative candidates. As much as my fellow righties kvetch about the electability argument, the fact remains that President Obama isn't so vulnerable that we can put forth Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul at the top of the GOP ticket. Bottom line is no one wins a Presidential election with only the support of their respective party's base. Independent voters are key and who ultimately swung the 2008 Presidential election to Obama.

On the other hand there's the issue of entitlement reform. That's the one place where Christie is conservative and Romney isn't. While Christie took on New Jersey's public employee unions and their benefits packages in an attempt to overhaul the state's fiscal mess, Romney has used Rick Perry's desire to reform Social Security and Medicare as a way to demagogue the issue, implying that Perry is looking to cut off such valuable benefits from today's senior citizens. Also, as much as Romney attempts to differentiate Obamacare from Massachusetts' health care reform (aka Romneycare) he signed into law in when he was the state's Governor in 2006, it's been for naught. Romneycare's chief architect, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, was a paid consultant for the Obama administration and thus a booster of the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." In fact, Gruber said earlier this year that Romney's plan essentially "gave birth" to Obamacare.

Bottom line is this is a huge "get" for Romney. After all, many GOP supporters for weeks pined for Christie to get into the Presidential race despite his saying "no" at every turn. Like it or not, the New Jersey Governor's endorsement of Romney will definitely (pardon the pun) carry some weight.

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Tell us General, is it party time? If it is, can we all come?

In what has been the most prolific radio broadcast schedule in my brief career, I will be on the air from 6:00 pm until 7:00 Central time TONIGHT on AM 1280 The Patriot. This will be my third broadcast in the past 48 hours, but there is still a lot to cover.

I'll discuss this past weekend's happenings at the 2011 Midwest Leadership Conference in Minneapolis and how GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain continues to rack up straw poll wins. But can he carry that momentum into primary and caucus season?

I also want to discuss Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invoking the so-called "nuclear option" to block a vote on President Obama's jobs bill. I'll discuss how such a tactic could serve to come back and haunt the Democrats within the next year-and-a-half.

Finally, there's always something developing in regards to Obama administration blunders/scandals like Solyndra as well as Operation Fast and Furious.



So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics I plan on addressing.

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 or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....

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Saturday, October 08, 2011

Saturday Night Afternoon Live!

With Ed Morrissey out on assignment, I will be accompanying Mitch Berg for the Saturday edition of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, beginning at 1:00 Central and going until 3:00 pm. We will be broadcasting LIVE from the 2011 Midwest Leadership Conference taking place at the Double Tree in Bloomington.

It'll be a guest-a-palooza with the likes of Jen DeJournett of VOICES of Conservative Women, Linda Lee Tarver, who is Ethnic Vice Chair with the Michigan Republican Party, and Chris Fields, who could very well provide a very formidable challenge to Rep. Keith Ellison in MN CD5.


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 or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....

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Friday, October 07, 2011

Box score of the week

It's the baseball postseason, so let's focus on that, shall we.

Let's check out Game 5 from the 1999 NLCS where the New York Mets, down 3 games to 1, hosted the Atlanta Braves.

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With the score tied at three in the bottom of the 15th inning, the Mets' Robin Ventura came to the plate with the bases loaded and blasted a pitch over the center field wall for a game-winning........single? Yes, after Ventura's blast, he was mobbed by teammates as he rounded first base, thus never completing his journey around the bases. It mattered not, as the Mets stayed alive in the series.

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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Palin passes

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is not running for President --- just as I have been predicting since January.

While I'm rather ambivalent about this decision, many of Palin's ardent supporters appeared to be utterly devastated. That's rather concerning to think my fellow righties would create such a cult of personality in a politician that Palin saying "no" would elicit such a response. Lest we forget how we rolled our collective eyes at the crazy leftists who obtained such an emotional attachment to Barack Obama. That's not to say that Palin wouldn't have made a better President than Obama. I definitely believe she would have, which of course is damnation with faint praise.

One major drawback of Palin's candidacy would have been her spending so much time fighting off scurrilous attacks from every angle, including from certain members of the right wing punditry. Combine that with her tenure as Alaska governor being marred by her up and quitting before her term was complete, Palin's attempts to make a substantive case to be elected President would have been almost secondary.

But the main reason I felt that Palin would not run for President is, quite simply, she makes so much money not being in politics. Between book sales, reality TV and speaking engagements, she could live like royalty even without riding on Air Force One. I also believe she will thrive in a role as kingmaker, as any of the candidates currently in the GOP field would welcome Palin's endorsement. Of course, it's possible that Palin will wait until the dust settles and actively campaign for whomever emerges as the nominee. That would seem to be the wiser choice, as the recipient of a Palin endorsement may end up not being the nominee when it's all said and done.

One thing is for certain: Sarah Palin's voice will be heard throughout this Presidential campaign process. As a serendipity of not seeking the highest office in the land, it's a voice which will not have to utilize the most politically correct tone.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXXIX

-Ever since Rick Perry announced his candidacy for President, Michele Bachmann has seen her poll numbers steadily decline. Amongst the GOP hopefuls, Bachmann is, at best, a distant third behind Perry and Mitt Romney, which casts severe doubts on her even being in the race in February.

If indeed Bachmann does drop out of the Presidential race within a few months, what options does she have then?

The Minnesota Republican never ruled out a return to Congress.

A loyal GOP base back home, uncertainty over district boundaries and tepidness by possible successors are helping keep Bachmann's political options open. But among party operatives and past allies, there are increasing doubts that Bachmann will try to reclaim her seat — or would even want to go back to the House.


I would be very surprised if Bachmann decides to jump into the CD6 race. During the 2010 campaign, DFL opponent Tarryl Clark attempted to make hay of how little time Bachmann spent in her home district. However, because there was no substantive proof of that, it never gained a whole lot of traction. But Bachmann has been involved in a high profile run for President since about May, so such a charge would carry more weight leading up to election day. Couple that with her constantly touting her Iowa roots leading up to the Ames, IA straw poll, and it's almost as if Bachmann has bastardized the state where she holds a seat in Congress.

Like Sarah Palin, Bachmann has a certain charisma which could lend itself well on the speaking circuit. And given the interesting life she has led, Bachmann's story could definitely pass for a New York Times bestseller. I see a book deal in her near future.


-ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!?!?!

Well, a certain rowdy crooner won't be asking that question any time soon.

The Hank Williams Jr. song that has opened Monday Night Football for 20 years was not part of the opening of this week's Indianapolis-Tampa Bay game after Williams made controversial comments about President Barack Obama.

Williams compared Obama to Adolf Hitler on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" show Monday morning.

ESPN, in a statement, said: "While Hank Williams, Jr. is not an ESPN employee, we recognize that he is closely linked to our company through the open to Monday Night Football. We are extremely disappointed with his comments, and as a result we have decided to pull the open from tonight's telecast."

Williams, whose song "All My Rowdy Friends" has been the Monday Night Football theme on both ABC and ESPN since 1991, told "Fox and Friends" that he thought Speaker of the House John Boehner playing golf with President Obama "would be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu ... In the shape this country is in?"


While I don't believe Williams is implying that Obama is like Hitler, it goes without saying that any Hitler analogy should be avoided at all costs.

This isn't the first time ESPN has embroiled in a Hitler-esque controversy. Back in June 2008, ESPN columnist Jemele Hill was suspended by the network when she said rooting for the Boston Celtics "is like saying Hitler was a victim. It's like hoping Gorbachev would get to the blinking red button before Reagan."

Sure, ESPN may have double standards in other areas, but they at least stay consistent when it comes to those invoking a mad man who looked to wipe out an entire race.


-Back in January 1992, the Twin Cities hosted Super Bowl XXVI. Part of the weekend's festivities was a venue called The NFL Experience, which took place at the Minneapolis Convention Center. As a bona fide NFL rube, I had to go check it out.

While there, I was waiting in line to get somebody's autograph (don't recall who) when I spotted a very attractive young lady who was an employee at the event. Now I wasn't exactly the smoothest talker back in the day, but I vowed to make a favorable impression this time around. As I was making small talk, I mentioned to this very nice young lady that I had already met Daryle LaMonica and got his autograph (she had ZERO clue who that was). Then in an uncharacteristically whimsical move, I asked her for an autograph. With a cute smile, she signed the the poster I had. I actually was able to read the name ("Wow, she has nice penmanship," I thought to myself).

As we continued the pleasant conversation, I decided to ask where she lived. "Andover," she replied. Then all my hard work was destroyed when I attempted to be funny (once again, not my strong suit in the early '90s). "I'm sorry, did you say 'Bend Over?'" She then gave me a courtesy laugh and moved on to another part of the event. Yeah, I definitely put the "nova" (Spanish for "no go") in Casanova.

So what is the point of that story? Shortly after I met that young lady, I learned that her father was (and still is) a prominent local minister. And would you believe that just last week I met the aforementioned minister in person for the first time?! Yes, while I was chatting with this very kind and compassionate man of God, I couldn't help but think how much of an arse I made of myself when meeting his lovely daughter 19-1/2 years earlier.

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Sunday, October 02, 2011

I'll be glad to explain it if it's too hard to comprehend.....

The Closer has returned!! Yes, as much as I tried to reinvent the program, the calls for The Closer have been loud and clear, so that remains the name of my weekly radio show. I guess it still works in that I'm closing out the weekend's Northern Alliance Radio Network broadcasts.

Anyhow, I'll be on the air this evening from 6:00 pm until 7:00 Central time on Twin Cities station AM 1280 The Patriot.

Amongst the topics we'll discuss is the continued obsession with New Jersey governor Chris Christie on whether or not he'll enter the GOP Presidential fray despite his saying "NO" at every turn. We'll also review Sarah Palin's announcement yesterday on her decision.....wait, WHAT?!?! Palin didn't make known her 2012 plans?!?! I thought October 1 was the "drop dead" date. Huh.

In the second segment, Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries will join us via phone to promote the "Understanding the Times Conference", which will take place October 7-8. Jan has been a staple with the Salem broadcasting family, as her long running Saturday show "Understanding the Times" (heard 9-11 a.m. on WWTC and KKMS) has been running for nearly ten years.

Finally, our guest intensive show will wrap up with an appearance (via phone) by Ali A. Akbar. Ali is a conservative activist who gained much notoriety for his open letter to Oscar winning actor Morgan Freeman shortly after Freeman declared the Tea Party as "racist."


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics I plan on addressing.

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 or "Like" our Facebook page.

Until then.....

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