Monday, February 27, 2012

Riches redistributed (UPDATE: Debate cancelled)

While attending a debate amongst the MN GOP Senate candidates this past Thursday, I remarked how we Republicans had an "embarrassment of riches" when it came to the three main candidates. Add to the fact that Pete Hegseth will formally announce his candidacy this week, it merely enhances the wealth.

But then I learned this morning that two of the now four main candidates are abandoning their respective bids to oppose Sen. Amy Klobuchar this November.

First, a statement from candidate Anthony Hernandez's Facebook page:

Hello, I tried to talk to as many of you as possible this weekend over the phone. After careful consideration, I have concluded I will best serve the movement by challenging long-term incumbent Rep. Betty McCollum in Minnesota's 4th Congressional District. Consequently, I am announcing today my departure from the race for U.S. Senate. I wish my fellow Republicans Doc Severson and Capt. Pete Hegseth the very best as they move forward in the endorsement process. We are hosting an event tomorrow (Tues) from 6-8 pm at Fabulous Ferns, Hope you can make it!

With Dan Flood already having declared he will seek the GOP endorsement in CD4, it's definitely an advantage for the eventual Republican candidate to have been battle tested when trying to overcome a six-term incumbent Democrat. And since redistricting has brought in areas like Stillwater and Woodbury into play, McCollum can no longer bank on the fact that 70% of the vote in the city of St. Paul will be more than enough to put her over the top. Another layer to this is the pairing of GOP State Senators Ted Lillie (Lake Elmo) and Ray Vandeveer (Forest Lake) in the new SD39. Lillie has indicated he's keeping his options open, including the possibility of throwing his hat into ring that is CD4.

My how times have changed. It used to border on harassment to coax someone to run as the Republican candidate in Minnesota's Fourth Congressional District. But the prospect of having possibly three viable candidates seek the GOP endorsement? Again, not a bad thing!

In my view, St. Bonifacius resident Joe Arwood was one of the more under appreciated candidates for Minnesota's GOP nomination for Senate. Armed with astute knowledge of the US Constitution as well as a common sense businessman's approach, Arwood seemed to be garnering solid grassroots support. But after talking to him this afternoon, I learned that he just didn't have enough "boots on the ground" to muster a serious challenge in a statewide race. However, I also ascertained that we likely haven't seen the last of Arwood in Minnesota politics. His state representative, Connie Doepke, has already indicated she will seek the Senate seat in the new SD33 (it is being vacated by the retiring Gen Olson). As such, Arwood did not rule out vying for state rep in the new HD33A. But in whatever capacity he serves, the Minnesota political scene will be the better for it.

So now that the dust has settled, I feel we still have two solid US Senate candidates remaining in Hegseth and Dan "Doc" Severson. As such, I highly encourage my fellow MN Republicans to attend the US Senate Republican Candidate Debate on Thursday, April 5 at the Blue Fox Bar and Grill in Arden Hills. UPDATE: The debate has been cancelled.

And now, since there are two military vets vying for the GOP's US Senate endorsement, I feel it's only appropriate to say "FULL SPEED AHEAD!"


Sunday, February 26, 2012

All this fussin' and fightin' man, you know I sure can't stay...

It'll be a guest intensive show on today's edition of The Closer, which will air from 1:00 pm until 3:00 CT on AM 1280 The Patriot.

At 1:15, I will be joined by David FitzSimmons, former Tom Emmer for Governor campaign manager and now chair of Congressional District Six. We'll discuss the new redistricting maps (Congressional and Legislative) for Minnesota as well as FitzSimmons himself recently announcing that he will seek political office.

Then at 2:00, I'll be joined by David Whitford, who authored the 1989 book entitled A Payroll to Meet: A Story of Greed, Corruption, and Football at SMU. Mr. Whitford will join me to discuss the SMU football program receiving the proverbial "death penalty" 25 years ago yesterday. He was also one of the interviewees last year in the ESPN "30 for 30" documentary Pony Exce$$.

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.....


Friday, February 24, 2012

Braun's brawn - real or juiced?

Milwaukee Brewers outfielder, and 2011 National League MVP, Ryan Braun will not have to serve a 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs.

"I am very pleased and relieved by today's decision," Braun said in a statement. "It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.

"We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances. I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year."

Unfortunately for Braun, it's not that simple. It appears he won his appeal not because it was proven Braun did not use PEDs but that there was a chain of custody issue in handling his urine sample.

According to one of the sources, the collector, after getting Braun's sample, was supposed to take the sample to a FedEx office for shipping. But sources said the collector thought the FedEx office was closed because it was late on a Saturday and felt the sample wouldn't get shipped until Monday.

As has occurred in some other instances, the collector took the sample home and kept it in a cool place, in his basement at his residence in Wisconsin, according to multiple sources. Policy states the sample is supposed to get to FedEx as soon as possible.

So there remains a possibility that Braun did indeed "juice" but that he won on a technicality. Don't think that won't be touted if the Brewers have another successful season thanks to another solid year by Braun.

The flip side is what if Braun's 2012 offensive production actually takes a dip? Without the specter of a positive drug test, one could easily write that off to the fact that slugger Prince Fielder no longer hits behind Braun in the batting order. But due to a December report of a positive test, many fans outside Milwaukee, fair or unfair, will likely view it differently, especially if their team was usurped by the Brewers in the 2011 standings.

With Major League Baseball contemplating a lawsuit in response to the arbitrators' decision, it's likely we haven't heard the last of this.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The obligatory MN redistricting post.

I thought MPR's Tom Scheck summed it up well, via Twitter:

Here's the cliff note #mnmap rundown. 3rd and 6th are more red. 1st, 2nd and 5th are more blue. 4th solid D. 7th and 8th didn't change much

Of course, many of my fellow residents in the Sixth Congressional district had a coronary when it was learned that the southern half of Washington County was drawn from CD6 into the Fourth Congressional District. That means Rep. Michele Bachmann's current residence in West Lakeland Twp is now a part of CD4. However, the law states that a candidate is not required to reside in the congressional district he/she represents, and Bachmann quickly went on record to say that she indeed will seek another term in the US House representing the Sixth. While I am certainly grateful for that, part of me would have thoroughly enjoyed the prospects of a Bachmann-Betty McCollum matchup in CD4. Betty has rarely had to emerge from her bunker and actively campaign. In addition, I would have loved to have seen Bachmann turn McCollum into a weeping pile of mush in a one-on-one debate. Alas.

On the local level, my House District went from 48B to 35A. While I am still represented by Jim Abeler, my State Senator Mike Jungbauer has been redrawn into SD 31, as has Sen. Michelle Benson (formerly of SD49), thus creating an open Senate seat in SD35. Late last evening, it was announced that Rep. Branden Petersen (formerly representative of 49B; now 35B) will seek the GOP endorsement for SD35. In another interesting development, both Jungbauer and Benson have declared they will seek the GOP endorsement in SD31. However, Jungbauer told Jack and Ben on The Late Debate last evening that he would not abide by an endorsement of Benson (should she receive it) and thus would seek the SD31 nomination in a primary race. Hmmmm.

In the end, as a Republican, I feel pretty good about Minnesota's US House delegation maintaining its four GOP members. But while Bachmann, Erik Paulsen (CD3) and John Kline (CD2) will likely coast to double-digit victories, eighth district representative Chip Cravaack would appear to be the most vulnerable of the Republicans. Any help one could spare outside of one's own district I believe could best be utilized in CD8.

And now.......GAME ON!


Monday, February 20, 2012

I like Mike but I'm willing give Josh a chance

I concur with my pal Mark Heuring when he declared that there are no finer four words of the English language than "Pitchers and Catchers report!"

Yes, over the weekend my favorite MLB club, the Minnesota Twins, reported to Spring Training in Fort Myers, FL in hopes of erasing the memories of one of the most wretched regular seasons in franchise history. I could say that the Twins will be better than last season but, of course, that's damnation with faint praise when you consider the only way they're worse is if they lose 100 games or more. Nevertheless, I see a third place finish for our club in the AL Central with 80-85 wins.

Gone are long-time staples Joe Nathan, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer. Despite that, I feel reinstalled GM Terry Ryan made some shrewd (if not underrated) moves by adding veterans Josh Willingham (OF), Ryan Doumit (C/OF), Jamey Carroll (SS/2B/3B) and Jason Marquis (SP).

Because Cuddyer was such a class guy and staple of the Twins franchise for ten seasons, it's hard for me to wish him any ill will with his new team, the Colorado Rockies. But that said, part of me hopes he doesn't put up some big offensive numbers like he's capable of doing in the thin air that is Colorado's Coors Field. I say that because I grew incredibly weary of the incessant bitching amongst many Twins fans when J.J. Hardy was putting up impressive numbers with the Baltimore Orioles last season. Yes, in hindsight, it was a dreadful move to give up a player of Hardy's caliber for two (to be kind) pedestrian relief pitchers. But when the trade was made, the idea was Japanese import Tsuyoshi Nishioka would make a more than an adequate replacement for Hardy. Again, to be charitable, that didn't quite work out.

The point is, a good number of Twins fans pitched a fit when Cuddyer was allowed to leave after last season via free agency. And if he puts up the kind numbers which he's capable, 2012 will be a veritable replay of the Hardy bitterness. But with that said, I believe choosing Willingham over Cuddyer was absolutely the right move.

The Twins saved $10 million over three years by signing free agent Willingham instead of Cuddyer (they're only six weeks apart in age), and they will also receive two compensatory draft picks from the Rockies. Add to that fact that in 2011 Willingham had career highs in home runs (29) and RBIs (98) while playing half his games in The Oakland Coliseum (an even more dreadful hitter's park than Target Field), I think this will turn out to be Ryan's signature move. And if you look at career stats, Willingham has a slightly better slugging percentage and OPS than Cuddy.

I think Cuddyer will definitely thrive in the National League because of his ability to play multiple positions. A player like that is invaluable in the NL given there are many more positional rotations because of pitchers hitting. But my sincere belief is Willingham will more than make up for Cuddyer's departure in both caliber of play as well as character.


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Been crossin' that bridge with lessons I've learned...

Tune in to the Northern Alliance Radio Network today from 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central time for yet another edition of my show The Closer.

As is usually the case, there's much to get into from news of the past week, including a resurgence of "Obama is unbeatable in November" meme despite releasing an utter joke of an annual budget. I'll also explore how the GOP Presidential candidates are seemingly unable to take advantage of such obvious blunders.

In the 2:00 hour, I am honored to welcome to studio Walter Hudson, who is chair of the North Star Tea Party Patriots. Walter is one of the more bright and articulate libertarians I know, so I look forward to hearing his perspective on the "Tea Party is dead" chanting point as well as his view of the heating up of the culture war.

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.....


Friday, February 17, 2012

Well done, good and faithful servant

Frank Sanders: 1949-2012

After a 13-month long battle with pancreatic cancer, my friend Frank Sanders now has his great reward. He was 62-years old.

Late last year, Frank released a book entitled From Silver to Gold: One Man’s Pursuit of the Ultimate Prize, which told the story of how he left a lucrative career in professional hockey after only one season to fulfill a promise he made as a child, which was to fully devote his life to Jesus Christ.

Having spent more than thirty years sharing the gospel of Jesus (including the past ten as Pastor of Spirit of Life Bible Church in Woodbury, MN), Frank's leap of faith has paid tremendous dividends, evidenced by those who testify how they're much better off because Frank made that critical decision nearly forty years ago.

As I write this post, Frank has been gone for less than three hours. Since I have so many emotions tumbling through me at this point, I figure I'll just point you to what I wrote thirteen months ago upon learning of Frank's diagnosis.

Frank leaves behind loving wife Kathy, children Tim (wife, Trish), Jennifer (husband, Jim) and Jeremy (wife, Lana) and ten grandchildren.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You say you'll change the constitution, well, you know.....

You know, I'm old enough to remember when leftists screeched like stuck pigs when they believed a sitting President ran roughshod over the US Constitution. Actually it was pretty much from 9/12/2001 thru 1/19/2009 when liberals consistently proclaimed that President George W. Bush was using the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01 as an excuse to trample all over our Constitutional rights.

But when President Barack Obama wants to pretend that the whole establishment clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution is passé? His lefty apologists spin it as the GOP and conservatives trying to "distract from an improving economy" or ginning up another social issue to use as a "wedge" in the upcoming election season.

But even if that were true (which, at best, is woefully disingenuous), the whole "improving economy" bit is absurd on it's face.

For the past week-and-a-half, the Obama administration and leftist punditry has been touting an 8.3% unemployment rate, the lowest it has been in three years. However, that is a misleading statistic. If we were to factor in those Americans who have given up looking for work as well as the shrinking size of the labor force, the rate would be closer to 11%! Oh, and do we also recall when the President was going to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term (it was around $1.4 trillion in 2009)? With Obama submitting a $3.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday, that would put this year's deficit at ----$1.3 trillion. If that holds up, that would mean Obama himself will have added more to the National Debt in four years than his predecessor did in eight.

The fact that the White House's current occupant is even in serious contention for another term doesn't reflect too kindly on the GOP's current crop of candidates.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston: 1963-2012

Having been in my formative years in the 1980s right through my graduation of college in 1992, I obviously was very familiar with the work of singer Whitney Houston. I'm not going to tell you that I owned every album of hers, but I definitely did not change the station when a Whitney tune came on over WLOL or KDWB! And I certainly didn't change the channel away from MTV or VH1 when a music video featuring the attractive and radiant Ms. Houston appeared on the TV screen.

With ten #1 singles (including seven consecutive number ones from 1985-87) before the age of the 30, Whitney was an icon amongst my peers who enjoyed pop music. In fact, I had been told by people my parents' ages that the way my generation revered Whitney in the late '80s into the early '90s was much the same why they embraced Aretha Franklin in the '60s.

But it was Whitney's appearance on the grandest stage of them all, the Super Bowl, which cemented an already larger-than-life persona. With the United States embroiled in war in the Persian Gulf, Whitney, a mere ten days after the beginning of Operation Desert Storm, was to sing the National Anthem prior to Super Bowl XXV on January 27, 1991. With pride and patriotism at a fever pitch, Whitney's exhilarating (and seemingly effortless) rendition of the Star Spangled Banner appeared to give an emotional lift to the millions of Americans tuned in to professional sports' largest spectacle.

I actually played this on my radio show this afternoon. I'm not going to lie to you, I definitely got a little misty. I remember exactly how I felt at that point of my life in early 1991 when our American military faced an uncertain task ahead in the Gulf conflict. I personally had never experienced our country having been in a war such as this, so I was rather uneasy surrounding the whole thing. I'm not being melodramatic when I say that Whitney's stellar performance of our National Anthem provided a sense of peace, if only for the next several hours.

Over the next 20+ years, it seemed Houston was known more for her erratic and bizarre behavior away from the music scene. Whether it was rampant drug use, the perpetual volatility in her marriage to singer Bobby Brown, flaking out on scheduled high-profile performances, a bizarre 2003 trip to Israel or an ill-conceived reality TV show, Whitney's music career (and accomplishments) almost became an afterthought.

I recall an interview conducted with Sam Nelson, the youngest of pop star (and 1950s teen idol) Ricky Nelson's four children. Sam was around ten-years old when his Dad was killed in a 1985 plane crash. During the memorial service for his Dad, Sam was so taken aback by all the adulation and admiration people had for his father that he wondered to himself why he never knew that particular Ricky Nelson. Having been born in 1993, Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, Whitney's only child, may likely be in the same boat. That is, she may be aware of the talented musician that was her mother but likely doesn't grasp the iconic status which her mom had a stranglehold on for nearly a decade. But that fact is trivial when one considers that today there is an 18-year old girl who now must face the rest of her life without her mother.


Reachin' out to meet the changes, touchin' every shining star...

Tune in to AM 1280 The Patriot this afternoon from 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central time for the latest edition of The Closer.

We'll get started off in grand style as Rep. Michele Bachmann will join me for the very first segment of the show at 1:00 pm. We'll reflect upon Bachmann's presidential run as well as look forward to her efforts to seek a fourth term in Congress and what that fight entails.

For the final two segments, I will be joined by Mandy "Liberty Chick" Nagy. Mandy has done some terrific reporting on the Occupy movement on her blog as well as Andrew Breitbart's "Big" sites, so we'll get an update on the latest shenanigans of OWS.

In between the guest spots, I'll discuss this past week's Santorum surge, the Ninth Circuit court overturning California's Prop 8 and the Obama administration infringing upon religious liberty.

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.....


Monday, February 06, 2012

Quick Hits: Volume L

-Did you see the NBC interview Matt Lauer conducted with President Barack Obama on Super Bowl Sunday?

For the most part it was veritable softballs delivered by Lauer, though I did appreciate the allusion to Obama's statement on Super Bowl Sunday three years prior, a mere two weeks into his Presidency.

The key quote being "If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s gonna be a one-term proposition."

But Scott Ott of Scrappleface fame said it perfectly, pointing out that even though Obama is wearing the same shirt as he did three years ago, he's since been able to buy a sports coat. That's a sure sign that the economy is picking up!

-Despite the 30th anniversary of the classic film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial not occurring until this Summer, Hollywood is already touting this milestone celebration. Over the weekend, cable channel AMC kicked off the celebration by broadcasting the Spielberg classic

No matter how old you are, if you've seen this film, it no doubt has left a lasting impression. As I think about it, this was likely the movie that began the formation of my political leanings. That is, I learned to hate the government because of the fact they can just break into one's house and steal their alien pet.

-Having won his second Super Bowl MVP award in five seasons, NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning has put himself in some pretty elite company. Now the debate about which Manning is the better QB, Eli or older brother Peyton, has really been turned up another notch.

First off, it depends upon the criteria one utilizes. From a pure passing standpoint, Peyton was, is and always will be the superior quarterback. But when it comes to postseason prowess, let's look at each Manning's first eight seasons in the NFL. From 1998-2005, Peyton had a 3-6 postseason record with zero Super Bowl appearances. From 2004-2011, Eli has fashioned an impressive 8-3 playoff record, including 2-0 in Super Bowls. Even though Peyton got his championship in 2006, his overall 9-10 postseason record hardly matches up with legends like Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, much less his little brother.

Bottom line: The fact that which Manning is the better QB is even a legitimate debate would have been unfathomable just five years ago.


Sunday, February 05, 2012

I said, "friend do you think I'll ever get there?"

It's Super Bowl Sunday, but there's work to be done before the big game. From 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central time, I will be on the air with this week's edition of The Closer.

This week brings an extra special program, as I am honored to welcome friends and fellow right-wing radio hosts Jack Tomczak and Ben Kruse to the Patriot bunker. Jack and Ben host The Late Debate, which can be heard every Sunday thru Thursday evening, 10-Midnight CT on Twin Cities station 95.9 FM WLKX.

Amongst the veritable buffet of topics will be Presidential Politics, the Komen kerfuffle, MN Marriage amendment and, of course, the Super Bowl!!

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


Friday, February 03, 2012

Super Bowl XLVI: The Q & A

In an effort not to overshadow Groundhog Day (Heh. See what I did there?), I decided to wait an extra day to release the transcript of another highly anticipated yearly event. That would be my annual Q&A with the Super Bowl Inquisitor of course.

As is our M.O., SBI has the questions, I have the answers!

SBI: ESPN and other sports outlets constantly hype MLB’s Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. Now, for the second time in five years, it’s the Giants-Patriots in the Super Bowl. Have you grown weary of the bombardment that is the New York-Boston domination of sports?
BC: Just so we don’t get to the point of glamorizing soccer’s New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution, I’ll be OK.

SBI: NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning is playing this game in the stadium his older brother (and more heralded QB) Peyton calls “home.” Does that story line do anything for ya?
BC: Not really. To be honest, I was much more impressed with the fact Jim Hanks was the running stunt double for his brother Tom in Forrest Gump.

SBI: New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady will be in their fifth Super Bowl together, an all-time record for a coach/QB. Can you think of a more accomplished duo in anything?
BC: Within the context of football, I can’t. But overall? The nod has to go to country music duo Brooks & Dunn, unless one can prove to me that Brady could hit the high note on Boot Scootin’ Boogie.

SBI: Four years ago, the Giants denied the Patriots an unprecedented 19-0 season with a 17-14 win in SB XLII. Could this be the most anticipated rematch ever?
BC: Again, within the context of football? Maybe. But for my money, I would rather see Vince Neil and Axl Rose square off again.

SBI: Speaking of washed up quinquagenarian musicians, halftime entertainment is being headlined by Madonna. What say you?
BC: I say this goes about as well as when she was the “headliner” in Shanghai Surprise.

SBI: Now I know you’re a casual fan of Kelly Clarkson. Are you excited about her singing The Star Spangled Banner?
BC: Sure. But I’m even more intrigued to see the reaction of the Indianapolis crowd when they realize the song doesn’t end with the words “Gentlemen, start your engines!”

SBI: What’s on the menu?
BC: In paying homage to the two regions represented in the big game, it has to be Pizza Pie and New England Clam Chowdah!

SBI: It is my understanding that you are eschewing such unhealthy foods.
BC: Correct! In fact, I will be doing plenty of chewing on that pizza come game time.

SBI: {SIGH} Have you always been this obtuse?
BC: Uhh, NO! In fact, I was never over 200 pounds until 1999.

SBI: Thank you. That answers my question perfectly. Who you got winning this game?
BC: Bottom line is one cannot spell “I bELIeve” without E-L-I! With that, I say the Giants not only cover the 2-1/2 point spread but win outright, 28-24

Postseason Record:
Straight up: 6-4-0
Against The Spread: 3-7-0