Saturday, March 31, 2012

Putting on the media hat

Last week I attended my BPOU convention as a delegate in my State Senate District, which is now SD35.

Today I will be present as a media member in what is one of the more high profile endorsement battles in Minnesota. After the new legislative redistricting maps were released last month, it was determined that incumbent GOP Senators Mike Jungbauer (SD48) and Michelle Benson (SD49) were both drawn into new Senate District 31. As such, only one will leave today's convention with the GOP endorsement. Truth be told, I have a preference of whom I would like to see emerge victorious, but since I don't have a vote it really doesn't matter what I think. All I know is the GOP caucus will lose one eminently capable legislator.

I plan on live tweeting the proceedings from MN SD31 throughout the day, so check out my Twitter feed if you're so inclined:


Friday, March 30, 2012

Ron Paul selling Bills of good

In my mind, Minnesota Republicans have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to GOP candidates for this year's U.S. Senate race. However, a certain presidential candidate makes his pitch regarding which Senate hopeful he feels is best suited for the job.

2012 Republican Presidential candidate Ron Paul endorsed today Minnesota State Rep. Kurt Bills, candidate for U.S. Senate. Rep. Bills, an advanced economics professor who eschews the label of career politician, is a family man, wrestling coach, involved community member, and man of integrity.

“Rep. Kurt Bills is the precisely the kind of Republican who can defeat incumbent Senator Amy Klobuchar. He appeals to both conservatives and independents with his support for balanced budgets, free markets, civil liberties, and a commonsense foreign policy,” said Ron Paul.

“I am proud to wholeheartedly endorse Kurt Bills for United States Senate and hope all of my friends and supporters will help him go all the way to Washington,” added Dr. Paul.

Kurt Bills is a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives. While serving in the Minnesota Legislature, he continues to teach economics at Rosemount High School each morning before heading to the capitol building. His teaching duties over the last 15 years include advanced courses in micro and macroeconomics, and American government and politics.

Kurt and his wife, Cindy, have been married for 17 years and are parents of four children ranging in age from five to 14. Kurt and Cindy also own and operate a home daycare. The Bills family is active in their church community as members of Christ Church in Apple Valley, Minnesota.

I too was impressed with Bills, especially after my hour long conversation with him last Sunday on my radio program.

Kurt Bills and daughter Kyla visit the AM 1280 studio

But I have to say that this endorsement caught me by surprise. And no, it has nothing to do with Bills' worthiness of such effusive praise as much as I was stunned that Paul actually endorsed a Republican.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Irony is fun

Rahm Emmanuel, former Chief of Staff to the Obama White House, famously subscribed to the philosophy of never letting a good crisis go to waste. Rarely has that mantra rang more true than the politicization of the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer has demanded that Attorney General Eric Holder examine Florida Statutes Section 776.012, which is the state's "Stand Your Ground" law. Schumer is making the claim that such laws are "contributing to excessive and unnecessary use of deadly force." Not to be outdone, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is also using this isolated incident to plea for a repeal of the law altogether.

Then you have almost a repeat of the hysteria surrounding the Gabrielle Giffords shooting when Democrat consultant Karen Finney took to the MSNBC airwaves last week. Ms. Finney essentially laid blame at the feet of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum because their words allegedly reinforced old racial stereotypes. Never mind how she mangled the context of the quotes she cited. As long as it fits the leftist narrative, it's merely a means to an end.

So when Republicans hit back at such demagoguery and scurrilous attacks against their collective character, what happens? Why it's suddenly the GOP who's cited as politicizing the Martin tragedy.

"His Republican opponents have jumped all over him because they do want to play politics with this issue. The President spoke from his heart on this, it was trying to emphasize with some parents who had just lost a child. By any measure, this was a tragedy and we need to let the investigation take its course," Stephanie Cutter, Obama's Deputy Campaign Manager, said on MSNBC today.

"People have to stop politicizing it," she added. "It's no surprise that some of our Republican opponents are trying to make an issue with this. But the President spoke from the heart and we need to let the investigation take its course."

I have to say that this whole incident further reinforces Mitch Berg's Seventh Law of Liberal Projection: "When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds."


Monday, March 26, 2012

When you arrive at the fork in the road, take it.

In the quest to reach a resolution on whether to subsidize a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings, it appears there's movement on a bill which, as of this past weekend, seemed all but stalled.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton announced Monday morning that the majority of the Minneapolis City Council now supports building a new stadium for the Vikings.

The support comes after some resistance from certain members of the council.

Now, there are seven council members that have signed letters to support the construction of a new football stadium, though the council members all signed different letters that do not necessarily agree to the same terms.

With the left-leaning Mpls. City Council (as well as some Democrats in the state legislature) now seemingly going against their mantra of not funding pet projects for billionaires, it would appear the onus is now on some state Republicans to spend some political capital. As of today, I have no clue if the current stadium bill even has enough votes in the Legislature. However, I get a sense that the majority of House and Senate GOP members are rather skeptical that proceeds from electronic pull tabs will sufficiently generate the State's share of the nearly $1 billion project.

There's no doubt that Republicans are in a precarious position. If they capitulate to pledging approximately $400 million of taxpayer money to a Vikings stadium, they alienate their supporters who sent them to St. Paul to enact significant fiscal restraint. But if the GOP holds firm and don't provide the necessary number of members to put this bill over the top, it could well be a P.R. disaster which Governor Dayton and Democrat legislators are sure to exploit this election season.

What say you, Speaker Zellers?


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Shine a light through the eyes of the ones left behind...

Tune in to this week's edition of The Closer where I'll attempt to condense about eight hours worth of show content into a mere two hours. We're on from 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central on AM 1280 The Patriot.

In the 1:00 hour I'll be joined my MN House member Kurt Bills, who recently threw his hat into the ring for the GOP endorsement to oppose Senator Amy Klobuchar. In the second hour I plan on winging it, given the veritable buffet of political/sports/human interest stories which cropped up this past week.

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics I actually address. You can also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link.

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

Until then.....


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Way more questions than answers

Admittedly, I haven't been following the entire fallout from the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. What I find inexplicable is that the confirmed shooter, George Zimmerman, appeared to have not even been brought in to police custody or even investigated thoroughly. Zimmerman claimed he acted in self-defense and the wounds he suffered on his face and head at least indicated an altercation with Martin. From there, it didn't appear the Sanford, FL police did a lot of follow-up, rather they were satisfied with Zimmerman's explanation. Case closed, I guess.

Naturally, there are those who look to assign racial prejudice as the reason a) Zimmerman shot Martin and b) why the police aren't being more aggressive in the investigation. I'm not willing to jump to that conclusion for the simple reason being that I'm not clairvoyant. But does this have the appearance of shoddy police work, bordering on ineptitude? That's how I'm seeing it.

My only concern at this point is that Martin's heartbroken parents are given the explanation they want (and frankly deserve) for why they're enduring a parent's worst nightmare, which is burying one of their offspring.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

No Saints

Since Roger Goodell became NFL Commissioner, he has been steadfast in his efforts to curb excess violence. Yes it's true that football is a brutal sport in the first place. Nevertheless, Goodell has worked to institute rules to protect the players from "preventable" injuries. As such, a defender going at a quarterback's knees or leading with his helmet to make a hit are merely two examples of actions which result in hefty fines and/or suspensions.

With that in mind, there didn't seem to be a shred of doubt that a team who encouraged the intentional injuring of their opponents would be hit with severe sanctions.

Meting out unprecedented punishment for a crush-for-cash bounty system that targeted key opposing players, the NFL suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton without pay for next season and indefinitely banned the team's former defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams.

Payton is the first head coach suspended by the league for any reason, accused of trying to cover up a system of extra cash payouts that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday called "particularly unusual and egregious" and "totally unacceptable."

Sending a message by taking a harsh stand, Goodell also banned Saints general manager Mickey Loomis for the first eight regular-season games next season -- believed to be the first time a GM was suspended by the NFL -- and assistant coach Joe Vitt for the first six games.

In addition, Goodell fined the Saints $500,000 and took away their second-round draft pick this year and in 2013.

As is usually the case in any scandal, the coverup is worse than the event itself.

According to the league, Payton ignored instructions from the NFL and Saints ownership to make sure bounties weren't being paid. The league also chastised him for choosing to "falsely deny that the program existed," and for trying to "encourage the false denials by instructing assistants to 'make sure our ducks are in a row.' "

The league said that in addition to contributing money to the bounty fund, Williams oversaw record keeping, determined payout amounts and recipients, and handed out envelopes with money to players. The NFL said Williams acknowledged he intentionally misled NFL investigators when first questioned in 2010, and didn't try to stop the bounties.

Vitt was aware of the bounties and, according to the league, later admitted he had "fabricated the truth" when interviewed in 2010.

Given all that background, it would appear that the punishments levied on Payton, Williams and Vitt were warranted. However, Saints All-Pro QB Drew Brees seems rather befuddled by it.

Brees reacted quickly to the news on Twitter, writing: "I am speechless. Sean Payton is a great man, coach, and mentor. ... I need to hear an explanation for this punishment."

Ummm.....your head coach condoned an illegal bounty program and then lied about having rectified the situation. Seems pretty clear to me.

Also, as pointed by 1500 ESPN's Judd Zulgad, apparently there were "outside interests" who contributed to the bounty pool. That alone is worth the hammer coming down.


Quick Hits: Volume LIV

-In the motif of a certain Mitch Berg query, I ask this: If a Christian affirms his/her faith while in the woods and no one is there to hear it, is it still "hate speech?"

Actor Kirk Cameron, a devout Christian, appeared on Tuesday's Today show, probably to promote his latest film Monumental. But what should have been a surprise to no one (least of all, Cameron himself), host Ann Curry shot rapid fire questions at the actor regarding his comments about homosexual being "unnatural."

"Many people are suggesting that this is hate speech. Are you encouraging people to feel hate towards gay people?"

"Do you feel – do you feel any responsibility saying words like that, that might encourage people to feel that it's okay to treat – mistreat gay people?"

"Why do you say things like this that you know are going to cause people to push back? Why do you even talk about it, then? Because this is not the first time you've been asked about it. It's not the first time you've made comments that have caused people a lot of alarm."

You get the idea. By the way, if Christians are mistreated because of the way journalists like Curry portray them, does Curry herself feel any responsibility?

-I have to say that I am pretty disappointed in the folks who decided to politicize the class trip of Malia Obama, the elder daughter of President and Mrs. Obama. Naturally the more prolific talking point has been how so many everyday American's are struggling to make ends meet while the President's daughter takes an exotic Mexican vacation surrounded by 25 Secret Service agents, all on the taxpayers' dime.

First, it's protocol for a President's spouse and children to receive Secret Service protection wherever they go. So it seems rather foolish to kvetch about such a thing.

Secondly, this violates one of the unwritten rules of reporting on a First Family by shining the light on a President's kid. As such, the White House confirmed Tuesday that they worked to scrub any stories related to Malia's trip. I have zero problem with that, especially when you consider this little tidbit pointed out by David "Iowahawk" Burge: "I don't blame the President for keeping his daughter's trip to Mexico quiet. For God's sake, there are drug lords there with American guns!"

-A mere two weeks after being released by the Indianapolis Colts, quarterback Peyton Manning signed a 5-year, $96 million contract with the Denver Broncos.

There's no doubt Manning will be a first ballot Hall of Famer, and I don't see him as a guy who's just trying to "hang on" a la Johnny Unitas with the Chargers or Joe Namath with the Rams. In fact, if Manning fulfills the entire five years of his Broncos contract, he needs to average 3,402 yards passing and 22 touchdowns per season to usurp Brett Favre as the all-time leader in both categories. If indeed Manning is as healthy as everyone seems to believe, those records are very attainable.

But for some reason I was bothered by the notion that Manning will wear jersey number 18 (the number he's worn his entire NFL career), despite the fact it had been retired by the Denver Broncos organization. But as Manning was close to signing with Denver it was revealed that Frank Tripucka, who wore number 18 for the Broncos in the early '60s, would have no issue with the number being "un-retired." When I heard that, I assumed Manning would respectfully decline. After all, I know of no other players who have a more genuine respect for NFL tradition and its history. However, to my surprise, Manning indulged the 84-year old Tripucka by agreeing to wear 18.

Look, I'm not going to make a big deal about this by implying it will somehow tarnish Manning's legacy (it won't). But I firmly believe that if Len Dawson had offered to "un-retire" his number 16 when Joe Montana went to play for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1993, Montana would have graciously turned down said offer. Just sayin'....


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Clouds are shrouding us in moments unforgettable

With the unbelievably warm weather we've been having lately, it's a shame I couldn't procure an outdoor broadcast today. Alas, I will be in the Patriot bunker for another edition of The Closer this afternoon from 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central time.

In the first hour I will be joined in studio by Martha Weaver, who is vying for the GOP endorsement in MN Senate District 35. And since I live in said district, I have a vested interest in this candidacy.

I will also explore some of the big news emerging from the Capitol this week, whether it concerns actual legislation or, ahem, extracurricular activities away from the legislative body.

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 also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link.

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

Until then.....


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Another reason to loathe the Chicago Bears (Sorry, Gino)

I've often said it's never a great idea for celebrities or athletes to endorse political candidates or make political statements in general. NBA star, Nike endorsement king and Democrat Michael Jordan had it right back in late '80s/early '90s when asked why he wouldn't publicly assist prominent Democrat candidates. "Republicans buy Nikes, too," he said.

Don't get me wrong here. I am fully aware that from a first amendment standpoint, any and every American absolutely has the right to endorse (or condemn) a member of our nation's Government without fear of retribution from said body. However, what I'm saying is a celebrity's business is left vulnerable to the consuming public since it's likely that nearly half of their fans aren't aligned with him/her politically (see The Dixie Chicks).

But since Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is employed in the home city of the White House's current occupant, I'm sure he's safe in the knowledge that Chicagoans won't abandon their allegiance to the team.



Let's dissect that little monologue, shall we?

I’m pleased with where we are now.

I can only assume Smith is speaking of his Bears club, since they just completed a trade for WR Brandon Marshall. And with a healthy QB Jay Cutler, the Bears are a legit playoff contender.

The President has done so much. Healthcare, ending the Iraq war, new jobs.

Yes, the President has done so much in the same way a tornado "did so much" to a trailer park.

Let us start with healthcare. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has recently shot a hole in the President's $900 billion healthcare estimate, indicating it will now cost nearly double that, to the tune of $1.76 trillion over 10 years. And it also appears less people will be covered than initially estimated.

Ending the Iraq war? Listen, I for one am growing quite dismayed with this chanting point. The agreement to end the Iraq war at the end of 2011 was agreed to in late 2008 when Obama was not even President.

And finally, jobs. The Obama administration has been touting the fact that the most recent 8.3% unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in nearly three years. But if this number accounted for the shrinking Labor Force Participation in addition to individuals who stop collecting unemployment but are not actively seeking work, this number would be close to or above 10%! So if indeed there are "new jobs", they are in far less supply than those which have dissipated.

But it’s not about where we are now, it’s about our future, and that’s what I’m excited about.

Coach Smith likes the prospects of being another Greece, eh? Looking back at Obama's nomination speech in August 2008, the Greek Columns in the backdrop are very symbolic now.

You have to be patient and kind of look into the future and our future is looking bright because I trust the man that will be leading us in the future. And that man is Barack Obama. I have the President‘s back and it’s left up to us, as African Americans, to show that we have his back also. Join African Americans for President Obama today.

And what about those African Americans who don't support President Obama? Do they, in your eyes, not believe in a "bright future" Coach Smith?


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Capitol: A Love Story

Well, things at the State Capitol are getting uglier by the day. Stadium? Right to Work? Voter ID? Meh. Mere child's play compared to what is sure to be a bitter legal battle involving a disgruntled former employee.

Former Minnesota Senate staffer Michael Brodkorb claims he was fired because of an affair with former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch and intends to prove other employees who had trysts with legislators were allowed to continue working.

“Mr. Brodkorb has evidence that similarly situated female legislative employees, from both political parties, were not terminated from their employment positions despite intimate relationships with male legislators. It is clear that Mr. Brodkorb was terminated based on his gender,” the legal document said.

In preparation for the lawsuit, Brodkorb's legal team is prepared to dig deep into the romantic lives of legislators and staffers.

Yowzers!!!! Could this be aptly characterized as a "scorched earth" strategy? Also, Brodkorb has been one of the most partisan Minnesota political figures for the past decade, especially when you consider his most infamous endeavor at the blog which he founded, Minnesota Democrats Exposed (He quit writing there in June 2009 when he was elected MNGOP vice chair). That said, this current battle may well be the most bipartisan Michael Brodkorb we'll ever see.

“He intends to depose all of the female legislative staff employees who participated in intimate relationships, as well as the legislators who were party to those intimate relationships, in support of his claims of gender discrimination,” his attorney said in the document setting up Brodkorb’s reason for a possible wrongful dismissal lawsuit.

His attorney, Phil Villaume, said that those depositions would be done in private to protect the identity of those involved. Vallaume said the depositions were not a threat but a legal necessity.

First off, how would Brodkorb have any knowledge of who was diddling whom? I would think confirmation of "inappropriate relationships" would not be something which would fall under the purview of a "communications director." Sounds to me that any names he would give to his legal team would be little more than conjecture.

Second, these depositions damn well better be done in private, otherwise Brodkorb might be guilty of slander in a situation where an allegation of an "intimate relationship" is utterly false. Again, unless he has access to incontrovertible documentation of "intimate relationships" I don't see how this particular set of depositions will yield the desired result which Brodkorb seeks.

Secretary of the Senate Cal Ludeman said Wednesday that Brodkorb was attempting to “blackmail” the Senate, disrupt its work, and “extort” payment.

“The Senate handled Mr. Brodkorb’s termination properly,” Ludeman said.

Brodkorb’s legal document says that Ludeman told Brodkorb he was fired because Koch resigned as majority leader and because Brodkorb had an affair with her.

On Thursday, Ludeman repeated that Brodkorb had been an "at will" employee and was dismissed because Koch was no longer in leadership and it had nothing to do with the affair he had with Koch.

Brodkorb's legal document said that Ludeman said precisely that when he fired Brodkorb on December 16.

Ludeman said "I did not," mention that connection.

"There was no conversation or no word uttered by me about that at that event," Ludeman said.

Ludeman said that he does not know of any other Senators who have had affairs with other staffers.

"I don't know of any," said Ludeman.

Ah, so it appears this would be a high stakes game of "chicken." Unfortunately for the parties involved, I don't see a desirable scenario where even one side could come out looking like a winner.

I know many people who've dealt with Brodkorb in the past, and a fair majority of them characterize him as a "bully." As such, I would hard pressed to see any acquiescence of Brodkorb's behalf.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Quick Hits: Volume LIII

-Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter knew full well he wouldn't survive a 2010 primary battle for his reelection bid to the Senate. And since Specter didn't want to continue aligning himself with a party he insinuated was culpable in the death of Jack Kemp, he decided in April 2009 that he would merely switch to the Democrat party, thus giving them a Super Majority in the Senate.

One of the supposed perks Specter was to receive for such a defection was becoming Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. But since Majority Leader Harry Reid was (and still is) a weak character, that never happened. And if all that weren't bad enough, a recent revelation from Specter's new book recalls his entanglement with the "Chicago Way."

Former Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) writes in a new book that President Obama ditched him in the 2010 election after he helped Obama win the biggest legislative victory of his term by passing healthcare reform.

I wonder if Specter indulged in a cigarette after that whole episode?

To be fair though, what could have Obama done for Specter in the 2010 election season? To paraphrase my pal Mitch Berg, the President had coattails shorter than Daisy Duke.

-Can you imagine John "The Elephant Man" Merrick chiding someone for having a slight acne problem?

The modern equivalent to such a thing could well be summed up here:

-It's March Madness season, as the NCAA Men's Division I basketball tournament starts tomorrow!!

Here's a question for you to ponder: Can you name a collection of the population who hopes upon hope that the University of Kentucky Wildcats live up to the #1 overall seed (I mean besides those in Bluegrass country) by winning it all?

That would be the New York Yankees and their fans.

Why? Because the last six times UK has won the national championship (1949, 1951, 1958, 1978, 1996 and 1998), the Yankees won the World Series in October of those same years.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Walking in someone else's shoes, I think they'd stumble and they fall ....

Well I'll be operating on one hour less sleep than normal, but the show goes on. It is the "Spring Forward" edition of The Closer, which will air from 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central time on AM 1280 The Patriot.

In the 1:00 hour, I welcome to the studio MN Rep. Branden Petersen, currently of HD 49B. We'll talk with Branden about his vying for the GOP endorsement in the new Senate District 35 as well as the veritable buffet of issues he currently faces in the MN House.

Then in the final segment of the show, my cousin (and the biggest Indianapolis Colts rube I know) Nick Clason will join me to discuss the release of his hero Peyton Manning (provided Nick successfully avoided sharp objects this past week).

In between, we'll look at the latest in the GOP Presidential race as well as vapid leftist chanting points regarding the "War on Women."

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 also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link.

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

Until then.....


Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Announcement

Like a lot of folks, I'm able to recall where I was when I learned of earth-shattering events grabbing the headlines in a news cycle. What often makes certain events so shocking is the fact they're totally unexpected to the point where one describes the personal reaction as a veritable punch to the stomach.

As a young man who was rather immune (OK, willfully ignorant) to the areas of life which transcended the headlines seen on a Sports page, I couldn't even process the shock I felt hearing the plight of an idol of mine.

On Thursday, Nov. 7, 1991, Earvin "Magic" Johnson made people stop and watch at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif. But this time it wasn't his basketball brilliance as a perennial NBA All-Star and three-time MVP that was captivating audiences worldwide. Instead, the 32-year-old groundbreaking point guard was holding a press conference to make the stunning announcement that he was HIV-positive and would be retiring from basketball immediately. But the shock of this declaration went deeper.

Having the AIDS virus in 1991 was widely seen as a death sentence, and the commonly held belief was that we would be watching a beloved sports hero die excruciatingly and swiftly in front of our eyes. Yet Magic had a different narrative in mind. He defied the odds, not just surviving, but truly living and prospering. From his MVP performance in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, his participation on the original Olympic "Dream Team" later that year and an NBA comeback in 1996, to his astounding success as a businessman, philanthropist and ambassador in the fight against AIDS, Magic has lived up to the promise of his nickname.

I can honestly say that it was Magic Johnson who fostered my interest in pro basketball. Because the Twin Cities was without an NBA franchise in the early 1980s, I grew up watching the likes of Magic, "Dr. J" Julius Erving, Larry Bird and Moses Malone every Sunday on the "NBA on CBS." But I was especially drawn to Magic, given the way he would seem to pass the basketball around the court as if he had eyes in the back of his head. And it didn't matter that Minnesota's own Kevin McHale would become a staple of the Boston Celtics in the 80s. Whenever it was Lakers-Celtics in the NBA Finals, I was for L.A. all the way!! In fact, I grew a severe disdain for the likes of Bird, Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan when their respective teams stood in the way of Magic and the Lakers winning an NBA title. Yes, I know the Lakers won five championships in the '80s, but I never wanted them to lose ever.

I was a senior in college when this stunning development took place. As I was driving to my afternoon job, I happened to be listening to local sports station KFAN when they reported that Magic would be retiring from basketball due to his contracting the AIDS virus. I'll never forget how Tony Campbell (at that time a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves), Magic's former teammate with the Lakers, could barely muster a complete sentence due to his being so broken up over the whole saga. I then phoned home to ask my brother to record the Magic press conference, which would air on ESPN.

Tomorrow night, ESPN Films presents their latest documentary The Announcement, which will air at 8:00 pm Central Time.

The film will explore the events leading up to Magic's shocking revelation as well commentary from family, friends and teammates on how they endured the news.

I know I'll be tuning in.


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Quick Hits: Volume LII

-Democrat politicians and supporters alike condemned Rush Limbaugh after he called some gal named Sandra Fluke a "slut." A few days later, Rush indeed apologized, as was demanded by leftists.

Apparently that's not good enough, as some sponsors of Limbaugh's radio program are now dropping their advertisement during his show while some detractors are insisting Rush be removed from the airwaves altogether. Sure, the leftists look like complete imbeciles in this whole thing. But their idiocy was further compounded by the fact that Limbaugh has an unlikely ally in the left's persistent (albeit futile) efforts to silence him.

Bill Maher defended Rush Limbaugh today from fellow liberals who won't let go of Limbaugh's Sandra Fluke insult, saying they and Limbaugh's sponsors should accept the conservative talk show host's apology.

"Hate to defend #RushLimbaugh but he apologized, liberals looking bad not accepting," Maher tweeted this evening. "Also [I] hate intimidation by sponsor pullout," he added. Maher was referring to Limbaugh's apology for calling Fluke a "slut" on air after she testified in favor of a mandate requiring insurance companies to provide women with contraception at no charge.

Maher is dead on. All that was demanded of Rush was an apology. He gave it. So what's the issue? Well, apparently the Apologizer-in chief hasn't signed off as yet.

President Obama hesitated to accept Limbaugh's apology as sincere, saying today that he didn't know what was in Limbaugh's heart.

No word on whether the President's SuperPAC will return the $1 million donation from Maher who never apologized for the vile words he used in referring to Sarah Palin.

-Word is that former Vikings WR Randy Moss, who did not play for any NFL team in 2011, had an impressive workout for the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday. Seems like the Saints would be a logical fit for Moss, given their penchant for handing out cash for extracurricular activities.

After all, I'm sure Moss is still all about receiving straight cash.

-After 14 years as a member of the Indianapolis Colts, future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning was officially released Wednesday afternoon. However, the 36-year old is not ready to retire, so let the bidding begin!

Speculation abounds as to which NFL club will eventually land the four-time MVP, but I will offer up my prediction:

After a 1-6 start last season, the Arizona Cardinals finished strong by winning seven of their final nine games. While the Cards offense struggled to score points, their young defense really came on strong the second half of the year. So imagine dropping Peyton Manning into an offense that features highly productive players like All-Pro WR Larry Fitzgerald (fourth in the NFL in receiving yardage) and RB Beanie Wells, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards.

One drawback would be the fact that the Cardinals allowed the second most sacks in the NFL last season. With Manning having endured three neck surgeries in an 18-month span, the last things he needs is to be hit an inordinate amount of times. But one of Manning's strengths has always been his quick release of the football and avoiding contact. But it might behoove the Cardinals organization to strengthen the O-line this offseason.


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Time marches on

A little more than a week ago, I attended the visitation and funeral for my friend/father figure Frank Sanders, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at age 62.

About 13 months ago, just after learning of Frank's diagnosis, I went to visit the Woodbury church where he served as Pastor. I wanted to pray over him and let him know that I would think of him and pray for him daily until he was healed or until he received his great reward of eternity in Heaven.

As that service was wrapping up, Frank mentioned that he had recently ran into an elementary school classmate at a local Walgreen's. In a sad irony, Frank's former classmate, whom he had not seen in nearly fifty years, had also been diagnosed with cancer. As such, he asked that the congregation also pray for his long lost friend Donna Klingsporn, whom he invited to church that day.

Wait, who?!?!?!

Yes, I knew Donna. I was best friends with her son Chris from the time I was about 8 years old until age 15. So after the service I approached Donna, who indeed remembered me from the days of the Afton View Apartments. Many of the families which resided in that apartment complex were of the same plight. That is, school aged kids being raised by their single moms. I can think of maybe two guys in our circle of friends who even had consistent contact with their respective fathers.

Because our Moms served as the veritable rock in the family unit, we all held them up in high esteem in spite of displaying that typical teenaged impudence when Mom attempted to interact with us. Of course as we got older and a little more independent, we'd often lament how we didn't take to heart the sage advice that our Moms were willing to dispense. But why should we have listened? After all, as early teens we had it all figured out, right?

Inevitably, Chris and I began running in different circles once we got to high school until it got the point where we each became just another face in the crowd to each other. But one never forgets his first best friend. With that in mind, I extend my heartfelt prayers and condolences to my old pal Chris as he endures the loss of the rock in his life, his mom Donna M. Klingsporn. When I think of Chris, I think of my bud with whom I'd play catch or engage in heated contests on Atari 2600. Now I offer up the prayer that he finds peace and comfort which transcends all understanding.


Sunday, March 04, 2012

In a blink of an eye, I never got to say goodbye.....

It is the eighth anniversary of the Northern Alliance Radio Network this weekend but the atmosphere doesn't seem all that festive.

With the death of the ultimate conservative citizen journalist, Andrew Breitbart, this week's edition of The Closer (1:00-3:00 pm Central) will be dedicated to him.

In the 1:00 hour, I will be joined by local bloggers/activists Derek Brigham, Sheila Kihne, Diana "Eye on Politics" and possibly Erin Haust (ed. - Blahhh! Erin can't make it), all of whom considered Breitbart an inspiration and, to a certain extent, a mentor.

Then in the second hour, I will be joined via phone by Breitbart colleagues and friends Brandon Darby, Meredith Dake and Mandy "Liberty Chick" Nagy, who will appear for one segment each to discuss Andrew's impact on their respective lives as well as the future of the empire he built.

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 also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link.

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

Until then.....


Friday, March 02, 2012

Quick Hits: Volume LI

-There are still reminders everyday that we must continue the late Andrew Breitbart's work of battling totalitarianism tactics.

Sadly, the current reelection campaign for President Obama is employing some of these despicable tactics.

Americans for Prosperity, the special-interest front group run by the oil billionaire Koch brothers, is claiming that its donors are "tens of thousands" of folks "from all walks of life."

We're asking them to prove it by disclosing their donors to the public.

Demand the truth by adding your name.

This is what happens when a non-profit group like AFP publicly opposes an administration attempting to enact significant power grabs within this nation's economy (i.e. Healthcare, Energy, Automobile Industry, etc.). Instead of intellectually responding to a group's concerns, the Obama administration prefers to discredit their organization altogether by attempting to find some shady group or individual which donates money to the cause.

This looks to be a classic example of one of Saul Alinsky's rules for tactical warfare: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize, and polarize it."

-Look, I don't advocate name-calling or ad hominem attacks against people with whom I disagree politically. And while I don't know the context of which Rush Limbaugh used the word "slut" when talking about the saga of Georgetown University student Sandra Fluke, the woman who testified before Congress that she spends $3,000 per year on birth control, I say one should avoid such a term whenever possible.

Unfortunately, such an incident propels the leftists into a supposed position of moral authority, thus distracting from the real issue: taxpayers having to pay for one's personal activities via a government imposed health care system.

-A good number of Minnesota Vikings fans still have not completely gotten over the devastating loss to the New Orleans Saints in the 2009 NFC Championship game (yes, I include myself amongst those tortured souls). One of the many plays that stands out was the first of two Brett Favre interceptions in that game. Upon releasing the ball on that first pick, Favre took a brutal hit on his left ankle, yet no personal foul penalty was levied against the Saints defender (the NFL league office later concluded the non-call was a definite oversight).

But today we learned that the Saints defensive players had incentive for such shenanigans.

Between 22 and 27 defensive players on the New Orleans Saints, as well as defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, maintained a "bounty" program funded primarily by players in violation of NFL rules during the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, the NFL announced Friday.

The investigation by the league's security department determined that an improper "pay for performance" program included "bounty" payments to players for inflicting injuries on opposing players that would result in them being removed from a game.

In some cases, the amounts pledged were both significant and directed against a specific opposing player, according to the league's investigation.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis failed to stop the bounty program when directed to do so by team owner Tom Benson, while coach Sean Payton was aware of the allegations but did not pursue them or take steps to stop the "bounty" program, according to the investigation's findings.

Any chance the investigation could retroactively heal Favre's ankle and allow him to finish that championship game at full strength?


Thursday, March 01, 2012

Andrew Breitbart: 1969-2012

Andrew Breibart and I at Brit's Pub - June 2011

I read the first two paragraphs of a Politico article this morning and it still doesn't compute.

Conservative journalist and activist Andrew Breitbart died early Thursday morning in Los Angeles at the age of 43, says a report from Big Journalism, one of Breitbart’s websites.

“Andrew passed away unexpectedly from natural causes shortly after midnight this morning in Los Angeles,” writes Big Journalism writer Larry Solov. “We have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a dear friend, a patriot and a happy warrior.”

Never have I seen a conservative talking head (including radio titan Rush Limbaugh) who was more universally reviled by the left than Breitbart. Because his "citizen journalism" often painted left wingers into a corner, he was constantly the target of some of the most hateful, profanity-laced tirades conjured up by the leftists (that'll happen when one lacks factual retorts). And what I loved most about Breitbart was he seemed to revel in those situations, often using Twitter to "re-tweet" the disgusting (and at times, threatening) commentary. The man was truly fearless in everything he did.

Despite his reputation as taking on left-wing establishments (i.e. news media and Hollywood) all by himself, Breitbart was a mentor to many aspiring journalists who now write for his various "Big" sites (i.e. Big Government, Big Hollywood, Big Journalism, etc.). While Breitbart's death leaves a big void, I have no doubt that the scores of contributors to his "Big" sites will carry on the tradition of being a proverbial thorn in the side of leftists, some of whom still labor under the delusion that they're completely insulated by the MSM.

Breitbart is survived by wife Susie and four children.