Monday, July 30, 2012

An unlikely alliance

There have been very few polls (and by "very few" I mean zilch, zero, zip, nada) which have shown US Senator Amy Klobuchar leading her GOP challenger Kurt Bills by less than twenty points. To say Bills has an uphill battle is equivalent to saying Michael Moore could mix in a salad once in a while.

Less than 48 hours after receiving the endorsement for US Senate candidate at the MN state GOP convention in mid May, Bills appeared as a guest on my radio program. One thing I mentioned to him was how I was struck by similarities of his campaign compared to that of another grassroots effort which, 22 years earlier, also took a populist message around the state via a school bus. In both cases, the unheralded challenger (each of whom was an educator) was attempting to knock off the well-funded incumbent.






No word on what my royalties will be for this nifty idea (I kid, I kid).

Bills is correct in his assertion that Senator Paul Wellstone would indeed have opposed bailing out Wall Street via taxpayer funds. Problem is, Wellstone was a big time advocate of taking from the producers and giving to the non-producers long before the White House's current occupant made it in vogue. With that in mind, I'm not certain this ad was the best methodology to woo some of the disaffected non-Ron Paul Republicans. It sure as heck won't sway enough (if any) Minnesota liberals, many of whom, to this day, go by the mantra of "What Would Wellstone Do?".

Bills also said on my program on May 20th that "I think we will have our Wellstone moment." I sure as heck hope it entails more than putting forth clever campaign ads and riding around the state in a school bus.

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Jet black Benz, plenty of friends.......

A good day to be inside for today's edition of The Closer, which will air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

Will the state of Minnesota really be in play for the GOP come November's Presidential election? A recent KSTP/Survey USA poll indicated President Obama's double digit lead in the state has now shrunk to six points. I'll also weigh in on the Chick Fil-A kerfuffle and how their dissenters are attempting to use fascist tactics to keep them from expanding.

At 1:15, political strategist Matt Mackowiak will join the program to discuss Presidential politics, national Congressional races and how soon Mitt Romney will announce his running mate.

Then at 2:30, baseball wonk Corey Ettinger will check in to discuss the Major League Baseball trade deadline, which is this Tuesday, July 31.


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss 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.

For mobile phone users, there are cool apps available for iphone, Blackberry and Android!

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

Until then.....

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Box Score of the Week

The Texas Rangers vs. the Baltimore Orioles - August 19, 1985.

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The starting pitchers in this game were Mike Mason and Ken Dixon. Yes, this is believed to be the first MLB box score featuring a Mason-Dixon line.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dissent for we, not for ye

The attempt to thwart restaurant chain Chick-fil-A from expanding in the Chicago and Boston areas because of the company president's stance against gay marriage is extremely petty, not to mention a violation of the first amendment to the Constitution.

Look if the president Dan Cathy is willing to risk alienating his customers to convey a personal opinion, more power to him. At least he spells out exactly why he's against same sex marriage as opposed to, say, certain Minnesota business leaders who have spoken out against the state's proposed marriage amendment while using a substantiated faulty premise.

But the most hilarious quote to come from this ordeal arrives courtesy of Chi-Town mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who said "Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values." Insert your own repartee on that one.

On a side note, all this talk of Chick-fil-A reminds me of this:



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Monday, July 23, 2012

Mike Lynn: 1936-2012

Having been a Minnesota Vikings fan since the late 1970s, I remember well the name Mike Lynn. It was announced by his son Robert that he passed away on Saturday at the age of 76.

Possessing more of a business acumen than football prowess, Lynn, the Vikings' General Manager from 1975-1990, was well known for his cold-hearted precision in dealing with players during contract negotiations. Since free agency was non-existent in that era, the players' only leverage was to demand a trade or threaten to hold out from training camp. Lynn was usually the last to blink in some of those memorable battles, as players often acquiesced to the offers put forth since the Vikings organization rarely traded away their top talent, no matter how disgruntled players became.

But let's be honest: what is the first event cited whenever Lynn's name is spoken?

Lynn is perhaps best known for sending five players and seven draft choices -- including three first-round picks -- to the Cowboys for running back Herschel Walker on Oct. 12, 1989. The Cowboys went on to win three Super Bowls, while Walker recorded 2,264 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns for the Vikings in 42 games.

I can tell you that when that trade was made, Vikings country was absolutely ecstatic! We too had swilled the kool-aid early in the '89 season that the final ingredient in a Super Bowl run was a solid running game, to go with a pretty good passing game and the NFL's top defense. Who better to shore up the backfield than the player who finished second in the NFL in rushing yards the previous season? And who could forget Walker's debut with the Vikings, a 26-14 win over the Green Bay Packers?! On his very first carry in purple and gold he literally ran out of his shoe en route to a 47-yard gain. Walker would finish with 148 yards rushing in the victory.


Alas, there were two flaws (aside from the king's ransom surrendered to acquire Walker) in that "only a running game away from greatness" logic. First, the Vikings still needed a reliable quarterback. An aging (and ailing) Tommy Kramer and a solidly average Wade Wilson didn't have the goods to win a duel with the likes of Joe Montana come January. Secondly, Lynn never bothered to confirm with coach Jerry Burns if Walker even fit the Vikings' style of offense (Newsflash: he didn't). I'm inclined to agree that you build your offense around a superstar.....provided he's part of your team in training camp. But when you drop a guy in the middle of your offense week six of the regular season, it's not that easy just to switch things up.

Defining Lynn's career solely by the Walker trade is "ridiculous," Robert Lynn said.

"Anyone connected to the league, when he was with the league, will tell you he was one of the best general managers the league ever had," Robert said. "He did a lot for the league aside from being general manager of the Vikings. He was involved in league affairs. There are a lot of things he did -- a lot of good for a lot of people -- that may never be known, and he probably wanted it that way. In some ways, he was misunderstood."

Robert cites Lynn's trade for Ahmad Rashad in 1976 and "getting Cris Carter for $200 from the Eagles" off waivers in 1990 as shrewd moves overshadowed by the Walker trade.

"He believed in that trade, and he thought Herschel was the missing piece. Some trades work, some don't," Robert said. "He loved the Vikings, he loved the team, he loved the sport."

The Vikings won seven NFC Central Division titles and played in two Super Bowls while Lynn was the general manager.

For me, one of Lynn's more memorable moves came off the field. Tired of the public relations nightmare endured by the organization due to constant off-field indiscretions (some things never change) and clashes of massive egos (glory hog Chris Doleman, perpetual whiner Anthony Carter and the maniacal Keith "my arms are stronger than your guns" Millard, to name a few) in the locker room, Lynn arranged a "unity" outing in the Spring of 1990. A trip to Pecos River Learning Center in Santa Fe, NM was in order for a Vikings team that had the most Pro Bowl appearances in the NFL over the previous two seasons but nothing to show for it in the way of championships. The objective was to build trust amongst Lynn, the coaches and players as they maneuvered obstacle courses and scaled 50-ft high walls while tied together. I recall giving the proverbial eye roll at that whole thing since one of the biggest dissenters on the team (Safety Joey Browner, who once called Lynn a "racist" but later recanted that accusation) didn't even make the trip.

Once again, the perennial underachieving Vikings club would go on to a woeful 6-10 season in 1990, thanks in large part to a preseason knee injury to All Pro defensive tackle Millard and QB Wilson missing the majority of the year with a thumb injury.

It would turn out to be Lynn's final season as GM.

Lynn is survived by wife Jorja, two daughters (Louisa and Lucia) and two sons (Robert and Mike).

"He was the best father in the world as far as I'm concerned," Robert said. "He was a dynamic individual."

Condolences to the Lynn family.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

It's only time that heals the pain and makes the sun come out again....

After a rare and well deserved break last week, I will be back in the Patriot bunker for another installment of The Closer, which will air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central time.

I literally had my show prepared and organized by Thursday evening but the horrific tragedy which took place in Aurora, CO obviously changed some things. While I don't know how much more I can add to what has already been said about the mass shooting, I will at least offer my perspective in the opening segment.

After that, I will delve into such topics as Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton stepping in it as well as a certain rogue Secretary of State. I definitely want to address the fallout of President Obama's proclamation to entrepreneurs that they didn't "build that."


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss 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.

For mobile phone users, there are cool apps available for iphone, Blackberry and Android!

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

Until then.....

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Aurora, CO: My two cents

As I write this, it's been less than 36 hours since a gunman opened fire on patrons in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, CO. When I first learned of the tragedy early Friday morning, my first instinct was to pray that peace and comfort be attained by the family members of the (at this point in time) 12 people who were fatally shot. Then I prayed for physical and emotional healing for the 50+ who were injured.

My second instinct, I'm sorry to say, was to peruse Twitter to see how radical leftists were spinning this tragedy, a la the Tucson, AZ shootings 18 months ago. It didn't take long before I came across a tweet by CNN's Piers Morgan, who said the following:

Horrendous details from this Colorado cinema shooting. America has got to do something about its gun laws. Now is the time.

Yes, because strict gun laws have done wonders in a place like Chicago, where there have been a few hundred homicides in 2012 alone.

Granted, the kind of demagoguery offered up by Morgan and his ilk, while maddening, should be expected. But certainly the knee-jerk reactions can't quite live up to Tucson, right? I mean, no Democrat politicians were victimized in Aurora, so speculation that the shooter had any connection to, say, the Tea Party movement is sooooo far-fetched that not even the most radical of lefties can make that leap.

Turns out we didn't have to look quite that far left to hear speculation of a Tea Party connection.

An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted.

In the motif of Jay Carney, how many people named Jim Holmes does Brian Ross know?

Look, to a certain extent, it's almost inevitable that one of these news people is going to blurt out something idiotic. After all, it is a ratings driven business, so networks will work tirelessly to look for a scoop but occasionally be overcome with a Rather-esque myopic zeal. But I can't help but believe that when Mr. Ross learned there was a Jim Holmes in a Colorado Tea Party organization, he practically wet himself. While Ross didn't initially say with certitude it was that Jim Holmes who perpetrated this horrible act, he at least wanted to be the first on record to convey that someone with the same name as the shooter is indeed a Tea Party member. Never mind the fact it was a different person altogether and that Jim Holmes the Tea Partier endured a veritable hell upon Ross's "report." ABC needs a ratings spike, dammit. It's not personal, it's business.

Since mainstream media outlets and other leftist havens are in the speculation game, why don't we go concoct our own theory. The theater which Holmes shot up was playing The Dark Knight Rises, the third installment in the wildly popular Batman series. There's no doubt that this film is going to make a gargantuan amount of money. As such, the film's lead actor, Christian Bale, will cement his status as a rich guy, i.e. the "one percent" loathed by the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Who's to say that Holmes is not an OWS sympathizer and this was his way of protesting the "one percent?" Is there any doubt that Ross would not have been employed by ABC past Friday evening had he cooked up such a scenario? And for the record, yes, I would have been just as indignant over that asinine speculation as I am about any theory cooked up prior to law enforcement performing its due diligence.

Thankfully, there were some high profile figures who acted with a measure of decorum. President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney gave very kind, heartfelt statements in response to the shootings. In fact, both candidates also pulled political advertisements slated to run in Colorado on Friday. Sure, the temptation is to allow the cynic in me to believe that such gestures were put forth in the interest of political expediency. However, I'm choosing to believe that even politicians can occasionally put aside a gritty campaign battle to convey poignant sentiments in the wake of a tragedy.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Box Score of the Week

Seems as though we were just featuring a game from Wrigley Field. Anyhow,  the Cubs hosted the Houston Astros back in September 1995.

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From the New York Times in 1995:

A 27-year-old bond trader ran on the field and attacked Randy Myers of the Chicago Cubs, moments after the reliever gave up a home run today that could have cost his team a chance at the National League wild-card spot.

The incident happened after pinch-hitter James Mouton hit a two-run homer that put the Houston Astros ahead by 9-7 in the eighth inning. Then a man jumped from the Wrigley Field stands, crossed the first-base line and ran toward the 6-foot-1-inch, 230-pound pitcher.

Myers saw the fan coming, dropped his glove and knocked him down with his forearm. The two were rolling on the ground near the pitcher's mound, and Myers had the man pinned when several Cubs players broke up the fight.

"His hands started reaching for what I thought was a weapon," said Myers, skilled in martial arts. "I made sure his hands didn't go into his waistband and pull out a knife or a gun."

The fan, John Murray of suburban Riverside, Ill., was removed by Wrigley Field security officers and taken to Town Hall police lockup, about five blocks from the ball park. The police said Murray, 6-1 and 185 pounds, was not armed.


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Speculatin' Dayton

Some may have questioned why Governor Mark Dayton, of all people, was asked about the recent legal troubles of Vikings star RB Adrian Peterson.

Let's see here: Peterson is a high-profile rich guy in the midst of having a lot of downtime and will occasionally hang out in bars. Huh. Dunno how Dayton could relate to someone like that.

But I digress.

In an interview with Minnesota Public Radio on Tuesday, July 17, Dayton said some players are "falling considerably short" of being role models when host Kerri Miller asked the governor about the Pioneer Press' Sunday report chronicling the team's legal troubles. The Vikings' 10 arrests since 2011 are almost twice as many as any other NFL team, and their 39 arrests since 2000 also lead the league.

Dayton championed legislation that authorized the state to finance $348 million toward a new Vikings stadium to replace the Metrodome.

That too may be part of the issue. The majority of Minnesotans, while wanting the Vikings to stay, did not want to have to foot the bill for the new stadium. In essence, Dayton would prefer the citizens view his advocating for a stadium as a good investment in the state's economy as opposed to subsidizing a playground for a franchise that's endured myriad legal issues over the past 20+ years.

But it was the following line of thinking that raised a few eyebrows.

Dayton linked the wayward behavior of players to post-traumatic stress disorder soldiers suffer after returning home from combat, describing professional football as "civilized war."

"Shake one of their hands and you know that this (football player) is someone who is not your ordinary citizen. They're heavily armored, heavily psyched to do what they have to do and go out there. It's, basically, slightly civilized war," Dayton said.

"Then they take that into society. Much as soldiers come back, they've been in combat or the edge of it and suddenly that adjustment back to civilian life is a real challenge. And that's part of the reality. That's not to say it's good and it shouldn't be improved. It should."

I think the "post-traumatic stress disorder" is a far fetched analogy. First (and most obvious), some of the grave dangers our soldiers face (e.g. roadside bombs, sniper fire) are not prevalent in the NFL. Certainly pro football players take a physical pounding that can very well have long term ramifications. But they aren't underpaid and they can actually walk away from their endeavor if it's too mentally and physically taxing. Soldiers in the midst of war don't have that luxury.

Secondly, the NFL has done a much better job at preparing players for the pro football lifestyle. Rookie symposiums often address how to handle instant fame & fortune, dealing with the general public and interacting with teammates. All those "pitfalls" seem rather innocuous when you compare it to what a member of the military might endure in combat. I can't imagine there are any seminars which could adequately prepare a soldier for the potentially gory incidents he/she might see in wartime.

I agree that NFL players have to tap into a baser instinct in an effort to do their jobs well and that it's, to a certain extent, difficult to just switch it off. But I have hard time believing it's even in the same ballpark as erasing the memories of war.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Saving you from yourself

I haven't seen any concrete research being done but I would be willing to bet you would find that Minnesotans aren't smoking nearly as much in the state's bars and restaurants as, say, eight years ago.

Uhhh....that's because there's been a statewide smoking ban is such establishments for *at least* the past 6-7 years. No study required to make that assertion.

Oh.


Well then why the heck did there need to be a study in New York City to validate that consumers are cutting back on items which are banned?

A five-year-old ban on the use of trans fats in New York City restaurants has sharply reduced the consumption of these unhealthy fats among fast-food customers, a study by city health officials has found.

In 2007, the New York City Board of Health, spurred on by the administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, adopted a regulation that forced restaurants to all but eliminate the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and spreads, the main sources of trans fats in the U.S. diet.

The ban appears to have had the intended effect. A new analysis of thousands of lunch receipts, collected at fast-food chains before and after the ban went into effect, estimates that the average trans fat content of customers' meals has dropped by 2.5 grams, from about 3 grams to 0.5 grams.

Additionally, the proportion of meals containing less than 0.5 grams — an amount generally considered negligible — increased from 32% to 59% between 2007 and 2009.

In similar news, Minnesotans who have no alcohol in their refrigerator on Sundays are less likely to consume adult beverages on that day as opposed to any other day of the week when alcohol is available for purchase.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Not necessarily bad for business

In the little more than a year since the Minnesota legislature decided voters would have an opportunity in November to vote on permanently banning same sex marriage, executives of some high profile companies have voiced their opposition publicly.

Just last week, some prominent Thomson Reuters executives spoke out against the MN marriage amendment.

“We believe the Minnesota marriage amendment, if passed, would limit our ability to recruit and retain top talent,” Mike Suchsland, president of legal, and Rick King, chief operations officer of technology, wrote to employees Friday morning. “For this reason, we do not believe that the amendment would be good for Thomson Reuters or the business community in the state.”

This has been pretty much the same dialogue put forth by executives of General Mills, Target and Carlson Companies. And if the passage of the marriage amendment did indeed result in an impediment to hiring and recruiting top talent, I could sympathize with their point of view.

The only flaw in their logic is other states which have passed similar marriage laws haven't suffered to the degree Mr. Suchsland asserts.

A new CNBC study of America’s Top States for Doing Business also shows that nine of the top ten business friendly states have marriage protection amendments in their constitution. CNBC “scored all 50 states on 51 measures of competitiveness developed with input from business groups including the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness.” The top ten states from 1-10 included Texas, Utah, Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming and Georgia. Although Wyoming was the only state without a Marriage Protection Amendment, gay marriage is prohibited in all ten states. Minnesota was ranked eleventh.

The study dramatically refutes recent claims by Marriage Protection Amendment opponents that the proposed amendment would damage Minnesota’s economy because those in the so-called “creative class” would shun Minnesota if passed.

It's pretty obvious that executives in high profile companies didn't get to that high level position without a little savvy. While Americans don't vehemently oppose same sex marriage to the degree they did in 2004 (when it was soundly rejected at the polls in 11 of 11 states which had it on their respective ballots), approval of such a union is not even close to a substantial majority. With that in mind, Minnesota business leaders know it would be an economic detriment if they took an ideological stance against a marriage amendment that nearly half of MN voters support.Yeah, it's never a good idea to imply that your patrons who support the amendment are "bigoted" and "freedom-limiting." But if said executives address concerns from a business standpoint, it's a lot less confrontational.

Now if these same business leaders would just take a principled stance against high taxation and overbearing regulations.........


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Sunday, July 15, 2012

I got to find a break in this action, else I'm gonna lose my mind...

When Brian "St. Paul" Ward used to host a Northern Alliance Radio Network program, his taking off an average of one week per month was, in his mind, a "rare and well deserved break."

With that in mind, I will be ceding my fourth program in the past thirteen months, as Andy Cilek of the Minnesota Voters Alliance will be broadcasting in my stead from 1-3 pm Central Time on AM 1280 The Patriot.

Fear not, as I will be back on the air next week!

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Box Score of the Week

In paying homage to the All Star break taking place earlier this week, let's check out the Mid Summer Classic from 1983.

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In this the 54th All Star game, Fred Lynn of the California Angels hit the first grand slam home run in All-Star Game history.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gimmicky rhetoric for we, not for ye

With the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate recently being ruled a tax by the Supreme Court, it put President Obama in the proverbial sticky wicket. Since he has been hellbent on raising taxes only on those he deems "wealthy" (the goal posts often move on that criteria), the SCOTUS decision results in a violation of one of the President's supposed core values - no tax increases on the middle class.

With that in mind, President Obama is insistent that the "Bush tax cuts" be allowed to continue for one year for those families earning less than $250,000 per year. As such, several media outlets have reported that as being the President's entire proposal. But as has all too often been the case with the (alleged) most transparent administration ever, we're not getting the whole story.

Obama is not proposing that families making up to $250,000 a year keep their tax cuts while families making more than that don't. He's proposing that every family keep their tax cuts on their first $250,000 of taxable income (which is not the same as "income" or "earnings," by the way).

That includes families with taxable income of $260,000, $1 million, $5 billion, $3 trillion, or whatever Jay-Z and Beyonce make in a year. Everyone would continue to pay a lower tax rate on their first $250,000 of taxable income under Obama's plan. To report that Obama only wants to maintain tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 is simply false.

If you're wondering how literally the entire media could get this story wrong, look no further than Obama himself, who is framing his own tax proposal inaccurately. "I’m calling on Congress to extend the tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 for another year," he said in an East Room speech (Monday).

Normally, a president would want to publicize that he's trying to cut taxes for everyone in the country. But Obama actually has an incentive this time to downplay the number of Americans who would benefit from his tax plan. His proposal is, at its heart, a political maneuver meant to force Mitt Romney to defend tax cuts for the wealthy
(Remember, there is a certain point where one's made "enough money" - ed.). It's more effective, then, for it to be seen as a cut solely for the middle class. The reality is that Obama's proposal would also keep Warren Buffett's taxes lower, if only a little bit.

As was pointed out to me by Kevin Watterson yesterday, such a "gimmick" was frowned upon sixteen months ago by perhaps one of Obama's most faithful Minnesota supporters, Governor Mark Dayton. Back then, MN GOP legislators looked to lower certain tax rates for all the state's taxpayers.

“It bothers me the Republicans would present this as a tax cut targeted for lower and middle-income families when the facts are the opposite that the greatest benefit goes to upper-income Minnesota families,” Dayton said. “Once again they just have shown their values, their priorities are to benefit the richest Minnesotans at the expense of the rest of Minnesota.”

One this is clear: Whether it's a Democrat chief executive of the whole country or one state, rarely can they be open or honest about taxes.

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Monday, July 09, 2012

Quick Hits: Volume LVII (Minnesota pro sports edition)

-Say, did you happen to see the Twins - Rangers in their own version of "Thunderstruck" Sunday evening? Check out the incident which prompted Twins outfielder Denard Span to say "I thought Jesus was comin'!"

-When Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was arrested Saturday for allegedly shoving a police officer at a Houston nightclub, it was the 10th arrest in last 18 months and 39th since 2000 for ‪the Vikings‬ -- more than any NFL team during either span (h/t Brian Murphy of the St Paul Pioneer Press). And here newly signed WR Jerome Simpson thought he was getting away from a criminal element that plagued the Cincinnati Bengals over the past seven years.

-Apparently the Timberwolves trading for Chase Budinger and signing creaky-kneed Brandon Roy via free agency hasn't overly impressed superstar Kevin Love.

Love, who agreed to a four-year, $62 million extension with the Timberwolves in January, averaged 26.0 points and 13.3 rebounds for Minnesota last season. But the 23-year-old Love is the only member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team who doesn't have an NBA playoff appearance on his résumé.

"My patience is not high," Love told Yahoo! Sports. "Would yours be, especially when I'm a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these (Team USA) guys seem to have great players around them.

"It's tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don't make the playoffs next year, I don't know what will happen."

Love said he's happy with his contract, "but like anybody else, I want to win."

Sounds like a similar predicament in which Drew Carey found himself after about six years of his self-titled sitcom. Sure he was pullin' down $750K per episode, but the ratings stunk and the likes of Ryan Stiles and Diedrich Bader didn't exactly make the show "appointment TV."

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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Kill the headlights and put it in neutral....

This week's edition of The Closer will indeed air LIVE today from 1:00 until 3 PM Central time.

At 1:30, I will be joined via phone by Chuck Darrell of Minnesota for Marriage, the organization which advocates passing the Minnesota Marriage Amendment this November.

The rest of the program will focus on another busy week in the news, including allegations of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts flipping his vote on Obamacare, Mitt Romney's VP search and a North Carolina legislator "fracking up" her vote.


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss 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.

For mobile phone users, there are cool apps available for iphone, Blackberry and Android!

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

Until then.....

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Friday, July 06, 2012

Box Score of the Week

The LA Dodgers traveled to the friendly confines known as Wrigley Field to take on the Chicago Cubs. It was May 16, 2000.

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From the CBS Chicago website earlier this year:

Wrigley Field visitor’s bullpen offers a unique opportunity for opposing players.

Since the bullpen is located in foul territory down the first-base line, players sit with their backs up against the famous bricks at Wrigley Field — just a few feet away from the fans.

Well, on May 16, 2000, one of those fans took advantage of his close proximity to the players. Cubs fan Josh Pulliam approached Chad Kreuter of the Dodgers, who was sitting in the bullpen. Reports indicate Pulliam then took Kreuter’s hat and punched him in the back of the head before darting off into the crowd. Kreuter and a few other pitchers went after the fan. The rest of the bullpen gathered along the first-base wall, and the Dodgers’ dugout emptied.

When the fight was over, several fans had been ejected, and the game had been delayed for about 10 minutes.

Kreuter received an eight-game suspension for his role in the fight. After the game, he threatened to sue the fan.

“The guy that hit me, I want to serve notice that I’m coming after him,” Kreuter said. “I’ll make him accountable, and I will definitely seek him out to see that he is accountable for his actions.”

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Thursday, July 05, 2012

Oh baby, baby it's Wild World!

Of the four professional sports franchises in the Twin Cities, the Vikings and Twins are the two clubs about which I am most passionate. While I have enjoyed the Timberwolves since day one, the majority of their 23 seasons has seen me invoke the “Train Wreck corollary” in that it’s ugly to watch but difficult to look away.

Since the NHL returned to Minnesota, I admit I’ve been a fair weather fan. I was totally into the Wild’s spectacular (and very unexpected) playoff run in the Spring of 2003, which saw them make it all the way to the Western Conference finals. Outside of that season, they’ve held my interest right up until the point in time where they were ousted in the opening round of the playoffs or eliminated from postseason contention during the regular season.

With that in mind, I couldn’t help but be impressed with their willingness this offseason to land the NHL’s two marquee free agents……and then seal the deal yesterday!

Call it a Wild day for Minnesota: On Wednesday, the team landed not one but both of the NHL's top players available in free agency: forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter.

Sources told ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun that both deals are worth $98 million over 13 years.

"WE GOT 'EM!" the Wild announced on their Twitter account early Wednesday afternoon.

Both players were regarded as the cream of what was a thin free-agent crop, and each had spent the past four days poring over numerous offers from several teams before making a decision.


Since it’s debut in the 2000-01 season, the Wild has consistently had a very strong fan base. There were very few season ticket holders who did not renew their seats from one season to the next. But over the past couple of years, even the most ardent Wild supporters became weary. With the team only making the playoffs twice (both first round ousters) in the past eight seasons, fans began to feel that the organization was taking them for granted. The thought was that people were so excited to have pro hockey back in the Twin Cities after a seven-year absence that the organization was able to coast on that enthusiasm. But with the long-term financial commitments to Parise and Suter, Owner Craig Leipold and GM Chuck Fletcher sent a very clear message that they are indeed committed to winning as opposed to merely maintaining an NHL presence in this market.

Now let’s just hope the season starts on time.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The curse of Oprah

The news of the split between Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes was met with the same general reaction as when Pete Rose admitted betting on baseball and Clay Aiken announcing he was gay.

Of course many remember Cruise's demonstrable (and borderline bizarre) declaration of his love for Holmes when he jumped up and down on a couch on The Oprah Winfrey Show. So when Cruise and Holmes married 18 months later, Oprah's name was conspicuously absent from the guest list (I guess the cast of Dawson's Creek took precedence). That said, it was inevitable that such an obvious snub was bound to come back and haunt TomKat (dear Lord, did I really just use one of those moronic celebrity amalgams?).


The moral of the story is one that "author" James Frey learned the hard way: You don't double cross Oprah. It just doesn't end well.

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I remember where I was....

.......when I learned TV journalist Anderson Cooper was gay.

I was watching him on his new CNN show in 2003.

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Monday, July 02, 2012

Roberts reversal?

Within hours of the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling Thursday that the individual mandate in Obamacare be allowed to stand, there were rumblings that Chief Justice John Roberts, who cast the deciding vote, had initially sided with his fellow conservative justices who voted to strike down the law. I viewed that mindset as little more than an unsubstantiated theory amongst Obamacare opponents. It's amazing how conspiratorial people become when they're unable to convey a rational explanation for what they felt was a sure thing (in this case, it seemed a forgone conclusion Roberts would vote to strike down the law).

But according to CBS News, within the last month, Roberts did indeed change his vote, thus siding with the liberal bloc of the court in upholding the Affordable Care Act.

If indeed the sources for this story are correct, the natural question is what caused him to flip? There has been one popular meme being bandied about, one which I desperately hope is not true.

....Roberts pays attention to media coverage. As chief justice, he is keenly aware of his leadership role on the court, and he also is sensitive to how the court is perceived by the public.

There were countless news articles in May warning of damage to the court - and to Roberts' reputation - if the court were to strike down the mandate. Leading politicians, including the president himself, had expressed confidence the mandate would be upheld.

Some even suggested that if Roberts struck down the mandate, it would prove he had been deceitful during his confirmation hearings, when he explained a philosophy of judicial restraint.

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said essentially the same thing within hours of the decision being announced.

Whatever one thinks of the substance of Bush v. Gore, it did affect the reputation of the court. Roberts seems determined that there be no recurrence with Obamacare. Hence his straining in his Obamacare ruling to avoid a similar result — a 5 to 4 decision split along ideological lines that might be perceived as partisan and political.

National health care has been a liberal dream for a hundred years. It is clearly the most significant piece of social legislation in decades. Roberts’s concern was that the court do everything it could to avoid being seen, rightly or wrongly, as high-handedly overturning sweeping legislation passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.

I have a theory as to why Roberts may have changed his vote. I don't doubt that he had concerns about the court's legacy under his tenure as Chief Justice. But he needed an "out" in order to uphold ACA's core, which is the individual mandate. I wouldn't be at all shocked if Roberts conveyed he would vote to uphold the I.M. only if the liberal justices would acquiesce to a restriction of the commerce clause as it pertained to the individual mandate. Hence it was ruled the I.M. would be a "tax." It wouldn't be a stretch to say that the left wing of the court only reluctantly agreed to this, evidenced by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg giving a dissenting opinion on the ruling from the majority side.

Again, this is a theory I cooked up on my own. If you want to say that this is merely a rationalization in light of the possibility Roberts caved to outside pressures, I would be hard pressed to give a coherent retort.

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Sunday, July 01, 2012

Staked his heart and lost. Now he has to pay the cost....

Slow news week, eh?

This week's edition of The Closer will, as usual, air from 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central time on AM 1280 The Patriot.

There probably isn't a whole lot more to say about the Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare, but I'll at least address it the first couple of segments, specifically the aftermath of said decision. The high court was quite busy this past week in that they also rendered a decision on Arizona SB 1070.

The only way a Contempt of Congress charge levied against a US Attorney General can be lost in the news cycle is if it occurs on the same day a monumental SCOTUS decision is handed down.....which is exactly what happened Thursday. Nonetheless, I will throw in my two cents on that as well.


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss 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.

For mobile phone users, there are cool apps available for iphone, Blackberry and Android!

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

Until then.....

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