Sunday, March 31, 2013

Box score of the week

Since today is officially Opening Day of the 2013 Major League Baseball season, I will debut this year's "Box score of the week" feature. This has been a staple on this blog every baseball season the past few years, so here's to another season.

Let's stick with the Opening Day theme and feature the 1969 opener between the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers Baltimore Orioles (Sorry. My mind was obviously elsewhere).


On August 18, 1967, Red Sox slugger Tony Conigliaro was hit by a pitch in the left cheekbone, resulting in a broken jaw and damage to the retina in his left eye. Conigliaro would not play in the big leagues again until the 1969 opener. He went 2 for 4, including a two-run homer in the top of the tenth inning. He would go on to score the game-winning run in the top of the 12th in a 5-4 Red Sox win over the Orioles.


You know there ain't no street like home to make you feel so all alone....

It's Easter Sunday, but The Closer will be live on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time. As a Christian, this Holiday is very special to me and my family, so I'll take the opportunity right off the bat to discuss it's true meaning.

At 2:15, the Northern Alliance Radio Network's official basketball wonk, Mike McCollow, will call in to the program. We'll discuss the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers' coaching vacancy, the NCAA basketball tournament as well as the NBA.

In the other segments, I'll take a look at the local political scene. Amongst the issues I'll discuss includes the continued push for unionization of in-home day care as well as the revelation of  botched revenue projections for the state of Minnesota's share of the Vikings stadium.

On the national level, the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing two cases on same-sex marriage, so I'll undoubtedly get in to the latest on that.

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

Even though I have a face for radio, there is a UStream channel where you can watch the broadcast, if you so desire. Check it out here

For mobile phone users, there are 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.....


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Miscalculatin' Dayton: Part Deux

Back in November, Governor Mark Dayton pretty much admitted his ignorance regarding a certain aspect of a bill to finance the nearly $1 billion Vikings stadium. Dayton took umbrage with the idea that the Vikings organization was going to use revenue from personal seat licenses (a one-time fee for the more prime season tickets) to fund a portion of their $477 million obligation towards the stadium. Naturally, the Vikings brushed aside that concern since Dayton signed the bill into law. The fact the Governor didn't make a concerted effort to fully understand the so-called complexities of the legislation was his own fault.

Fast forward to this week where Dayton once again implied he was duped on the reliability of the revenue projections from electronic pulltabs. Said revenue was expected cover the state's share of the stadium cost, which is approximately $350 million.

“There should have been more transparency in this part of the process,” said Katharine Tinucci, a Dayton spokeswoman. The governor, she said, “was not aware of the particulars of where the information was coming from.”

That statement comes a day after a Star Tribune article disclosed that state gambling regulators relied on projections from the pulltab companies that potentially stand to gain the most from the state’s expansion into electronic gambling.

Legislators relied on those numbers in the final weeks of a rancorous and high-stakes stadium battle, in which Dayton staked enormous political capital on closing the deal and keeping the Vikings in Minnesota. Gambling regulators stressed to legislators and state officials that electronic gambling revenue would provide ample funding for the new stadium and boost the take for local charities that run the games.

But after nearly a year, only about 200 of the 2,500 projected electronic gambling sites have come online, causing revenue to be dramatically short of expectations. Some have said the state may need to look at another source of money to cover the state’s $350 million share of the nearly $1 billion stadium.

Administration officials initially projected that the games would yield $35 million in fresh tax revenue by the end of 2013. That estimate has since plummeted to just $1.7 million for the year.

On Wednesday evening, WCCO-TV performed a "reality check" on the Governor's claim that no one knew how wildly inflated the revenue projections were concerning the e-pull tab proceeds.

“If (the legislature) misunderstood the situation, they have no one to blame but themselves,” Dayton said. “And I have no one to blame but myself.”

But many lawmakers did have access to different information.

An in-depth report, circulated by supporters of casino gambling, described electronic pull tab devices as “unproven technology in terms of its market potential.”

The report, titled “Minnesota Charitable Gaming: Proposal for Funding Vikings Stadium“, said: “There is no precedent in charitable gaming for such a dramatic increase [in revenue], and all trends have for the past 20 years been in the opposite direction.”

The report concludes: “Electronic pull tabs have not been implemented anywhere in the United States, so there is no basis to the revenue forecast."

The bottom line is the Republicans in the legislature could have killed this thing instantly since they had a majority in both the House and Senate last year. So to say they all have their hands clean in this thing would be disingenuous. That said, the mere fact the Republicans had the ability to thwart the stadium legislation left them vilified by certain members of the sports media as well as shouted down at the Capitol by a couple hundred loud, obnoxious, bloated Vikings rubes donning purple face paint and Helga braids. So if the GOP did indeed cave because of those external factors, then those who got voted out in November deserved their fate.

However, when the stadium bill finally passed, it was Governor Dayton who was lauded by the local media as showing grand leadership in this whole process. So if Dayton was considered the hero for convincing a large contingent of DFL legislators to sign on to this bill, then he is justifiably receiving criticism for yet another admission of woeful ignorance.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Marriage landmarks

This week, the Supreme Court of the United States will (or has begun to) hear oral arguments in two cases involving same-sex marriage.

One case involves Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law which was passed in 1996. This particular statute defines marriage solely between one man and one woman for federal and inter-state recognition purposes in the United States. Essentially, a same-sex couple married in Massachusetts (where such a union is legal) would not have their marriage license recognized in, say, North Carolina, where gay marriage is illegal. It also denies same-sex couples, who are legally married under state law, a significant amount of federal benefits afforded to a heterosexual married couple. It's likely DOMA gets overturned (and in my opinion, it should), as this deals solely with the contract side of marriage as opposed to the religious aspect.

On Tuesday, the oral arguments began over Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative which voters approved in November 2008, defining marriage as solely between one man and one woman. Last year, the Ninth Circus Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a 2010 U.S. District Court ruling by thwarting the will of the electorate and thus overturning Prop 8. The way I see it, the bigger issue here isn't so much ruling on the legitimacy of same-sex marriage as much as determining a federal court's purview on interfering in a democratic vote.

California is an interesting situation in that civil unions are legal there. With that being the case, it would appear the "Equal Protection" isn't as applicable here since every adult "union" already has the same financial benefits, an issue which seems to be the crux of almost every argument concerning gay marriage.

As I've said recently on this blog, I believe gay marriage will one day be the universal law of the land. The current generation of adults under 30 seem to strongly support such an arrangement, so this will be an issue that will eventually be resolved electorally. But legalizing gay marriage via judicial fiat is not the wisest proposition, because that would seem to fly in the face of the "separation of powers" clause. To that point, I'm often perplexed at the myriad protests which take place outside the Supreme Court building whenever a landmark case is being adjudicated. Showing staunch support or opposition to same-sex marriage will have zero impact on the judicial branch (At least we better hope that's the case).

As far as predictions of how the decisions will be rendered, my guess is DOMA will be overturned but Prop 8 will be allowed to stand. The rationale behind this may be similar to the spirit in which Obamacare was upheld. That is, it should be left to our democratic processes to best determine our laws of the land.....provided said laws meet the Constitutional check of course.


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Shaka on?

Tubby Smith was fired Monday as head basketball coach of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. What started out as a promising season (ranked as high as #8 in the country) finished with a thud (ninth place finish in the Big Ten conference; one and done in the Big Ten tournament). A 20-point victory over UCLA in the opening round of the NCAA tourney Friday evening seemed to give Smith a temporary reprieve. However, the Gophs were soundly defeated by Florida in their second round game Sunday, and Smith was relieved of his duties less than 24 hours later.

So who's next?

I don't think there's any question that Athletic Director Norwood Teague will at least inquire about Virginia Commonwealth University basketball coach Shaka Smart. Before Teague became the U of M's AD last year, he served in the same capacity at VCU when Smart, who will be 36 on April 8, was hired there in 2009. Smart has assembled an impressive resume in his four seasons as coach of the Rams. In just his second season, he guided VCU to the Final Four after toppling #1 seed Kansas in the Southwest regional final of the 2011 NCAA tourney. A week later, Smart was rewarded with an eight-year contract extension. Another resume enhancer is the fact Smart won his 100th career game this past January, making him the second youngest coach to accomplish such a feat. Despite all that, it's not a certainty that Smart ends up at the U, as he turned down an offer last year to coach another Big Ten team, the University of Illinois Fighting Illini.

If indeed Smart nixes the Gophers, who else would be in the mix?

One name I've heard bandied about (both when Dan Monson was fired in 2007 and when Smith has been on the proverbial hot seat the past few seasons) is former Gopher basketball player and Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders. I would be somewhat surprised if he's the guy, simply because college hoops is a whole different animal. Saunders has no practical experience in the recruiting game, something that needs to be an emphasis given how the Big Ten is loaded with serious blue chippers. On the flip side (no pun intended), Saunders would have an edge over a fair number of his NCAA counterparts in that he actually knows how to coach the game. It seems far too many of today's college coaches are great recruiters but often lack the basic acumen of coaching (e.g. clock management, matchups, etc.).

Other possibilities may include:

  • Brad Stevens, 36, who led Butler to consecutive title game appearances in 2010 and 2011. 
  • Fred Hoiberg, 40, who just completed his third season at Iowa State. The Cyclones have gone to the NCAA tournament each of the past two seasons, winning 23 games both years.
  • Jay Wright, 51, has been at Villanova the past 12 seasons, guiding the Wildcats to eight NCAA tournament appearances in the past nine years.

In the press conference conducted by the U Monday, AD Teague mentioned that there will be no "search committee" retained for this process. That to me indicates he has a definite plan in place to find the next Gophers coach. Teague has a great opportunity here to make an indelible mark on the U of M athletics program, especially in light of the moribund tenure of former AD Joel Maturi. Personally, I'm hoping Teague makes the smart move (yes, pun intended).


Sunday, March 24, 2013

They'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, oh fanatical, criminal....

Hey, the U.S. Senate passed a budget!! Even though my opening bit of reciting the number of days since the Democrat-controlled Senate last passed a budget (1,424 days since the last one) can now be put aside, today is shaping up to a busy show nonetheless. As per usual, The Closer will be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central.

At 1:15, my own MN state rep Jim Abeler will call in to talk about the continual DFL overreach this legislative session, including the passage of the monstrosity known as the MN health insurance exchange (now known as "MNSure").

At 2:00, my longtime friend Nancy LaRoche will call in on the heels of her victory as chair of the CD5 Republicans! She'll likely address the road ahead in a Congressional District that has been the victim of a DFL stranglehold for far too long.

Then at 2:15, it's a Northern Alliance  Radio Network Super Show, as my friend and NARN colleague Mitch Berg will talk about his week at the Capitol. Mitch attended the myriad DFL "gun grab" hearings and, as always, has much to share about the issue. We'll also chat about the CD4 GOP convention, which he attended Saturday.

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

Even though I have a face for radio, there is a UStream channel where you can watch the broadcast, if you so desire. Check it out here

For mobile phone users, there are 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.....


Thursday, March 21, 2013

March Madness is upon us!

For what it's worth, here is my official bracket for this year's Men's NCAA basketball tournament.

My predictions are based on absolutely zero insight or logic. That said, please do not utilize the above bracket as a basis for a cash wager. 

Happy March Madness, all!


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXVII

-I don't know about you, but I've never really concerned myself with the goings on in a certain little island country in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.....until now.

Some of Cyprus's banks, like many banks in Europe, are bankrupt.

Cyprus went to the eurozone to get a bailout, the same way Ireland, Greece, and other European countries have.

The eurozone powers-that-be (mainly Germany) gave Cyprus a bailout and insisted that the depositors in Cyprus's banks pay part of the tab — a startling condition that has never before been imposed on any major banking system since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008.

The deal did not touch the bondholders. Why the depositors? These are folks who had their money in the banks for safe-keeping.

When Cyprus's banks reopen on Tuesday morning, every depositor will have some of his or her money seized. The current plan is that accounts under 100,000 euros will have 6.75% of the funds seized. Accounts over 100,000 euros will have 9.9% seized. And then the eurozone's emergency lending facility and the International Monetary Fund will inject 10 billion euros into the banks to allow them to keep operating.
Naturally, as an American citizen, my first inclination is how something like that could never happen here in the United States.



Well, it's not as though some variation of asset seizure here in the U.S. hasn't been addressed.

Remember in the Fall of 2010 when Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) et al threw out the idea of seizing private 401(k)s? I do. And I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

-It's less than two weeks until the Minnesota Twins host their regular season opener against the Detroit Tigers. In checking the weather forecast this week, overnight low temperatures are expected to reach single digits. In fact, on Monday evening at 10:30 we had a windchill factor (yes, windchill factor) of 8 degrees BELOW ZERO.

This kind of weather makes it just that much more fun imagining our potentially frigid hitters stepping into the batters' box on April 1 and having Tigers ace pitcher Justin Verlander bust a 100 MPH fastball in on the fists. Good times.

-My friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg has compiled a set of "laws" which apply to certain behaviors of liberals, media types, etc.

The one I've found to be downright irrefutable is Berg's Seventh Law - "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."

Because cable "news" station MSNBC has such miniscule prime time ratings, they often jump around like poo-flinging monkeys chide Fox News as being the mouthpiece of the GOP. Their biggest criticism of  Fox is they don't offer any real journalism, instead putting up the likes of Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, who editorialize all the news events. Apparently these dimwits fail to grasp the concept of hard news versus what O'Reilly and Hannity specialize in, which is news analysis. 

According to a recent Pew study, it turns out MSNBC is pretty much everything to the political left as to what they claim Fox News is to political right.

True to its motto, MSNBC has been leaning forward. To the point that its opinionated programming far outweighs its “factual reporting,” according to a new Pew study. While Fox News, too, had more opinionated programming, the network had a much smaller discrepancy between opinion and straight reporting.

The study — which came as part of Pew Research Center’s annual “State of the Media” report — states that opinionated programming comprised 85 percent of MSNBC’s airtime (versus 15 percent of “factual reporting”). Meanwhile, Fox News had opinion 55 percent of the time, with 45 percent straight news.

Paging Alanis Morrissette.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Separated at Birth: Andrew Siciliano and Paul Ryan

Andrew Siciliano (left) is an in-studio TV host on NFL Network.

Paul Ryan is....well.....Paul Ryan!


Planned a show, trees and balloons.....

It's a St. Patty's Day edition of The Closer, airing in its usual 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central time slot.

If I had a theme for this show, it would be "Executive Branches gone wild." I'll discuss NYC Mayor Bloomberg getting stonewalled in his attempts to implement a nanny state, MN Gov. Mark Dayton's petulance at a business luncheon and President Barack Obama's flippancy towards the National Debt.

And since we are football fans on this show, board op Jon and myself will likely discuss the Vikings' busy week as NFL free agency began last Tuesday.

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

Even though I have a face for radio, there is a UStream channel where you can watch the broadcast, if you so desire. Check it out here

For mobile phone users, there are 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.....


Friday, March 15, 2013

A tale of two luncheons news reports

As I was perusing Twitter Thursday morning, I came across a Minneapolis Star Tribune story about a luncheon where Governor Mark Dayton spoke to a business group.

The headline of said story?

Gov. Dayton gets standing ovation from business group

About nine hours earlier (Wednesday evening), I happened to catch some blurbs on Twitter about how the Governor came off as rather churlish while speaking at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon. After a quick Google search, I came across a WCCO-TV news story with the following headline: 

Gov. Dayton Lashes Out At Chamber Of Commerce

My initial reaction was "Wow! The Governor attended *two* luncheons Wednesday? Why was he so well received at one and so hostile at the other?"

Upon further review, both stories were citing the very same afternoon event. 

If you read only the Star Tribune story, you would've thought that the Chamber of Commerce and the Governor had merely a respectful disagreement. That is at least expected (though hardly scandalous) given Dayton's relentless pursuit to to raise taxes on Minnesotans who earn more than $250,000 per year. On the other hand, business leaders firmly believe that such a policy would serve to kill jobs. 

However, the WCCO-TV news report showed a whole different side of Governor Messinger Dayton at that luncheon.

Gov. Dayton told a stunned luncheon audience that Minnesota is among the best places for business in the country, contrary to the Chamber’s message.

He said government spending is right in the middle, and that the state’s tax rank is dropping.

Dayton said he never heard the same criticism when Republican Tim Pawlenty was governor for eight years, and he asked his staff to investigate.

“And we could not find a single instance of the chamber calling for spending reforms during those eight years,” Dayton said. “Evidently, in your view, spending reform is needed only when a Democrat is governor.”

Aside from what sounded like an incredibly childish statement, it is stupefyingly false. While the Governor's staff may have been unable to come up with the Chamber itself objecting to higher spending during the Pawlenty administration, individual businesses sure as heck took exception.

My friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg conveyed it better than I could.

Business never complained about spending on Pawlenty’s watch? Huh?

During the first term, business complained about things like “health impact fees” – stealth taxes framed as compromises with the DFL in a legislature he didn’t completely control. Just ask Sue Jeffers. On the other hand, he generally held the line on taxes, pursuant to his pledge to the Taxpayers League.

During the second? Pawlenty was faced with a wastrel DFL legislature; business rightly figured he was the last line of defense against the sort of pillaging the Messinger Dayton Administration and the Legislature have in mind.

And they were right then, and they’re right now.
No doubt Pawlenty had a few warts. The cigarette tax "health impact fee" definitely flew in the face of his pledged fiscal conservatism. Also, he signed the bill that increased Hennepin County sales tax in order to pay for a portion of Target Field. But it's utter nonsense to say that businesses didn't call for spending reforms as those particular proposals were bandied about.

Anyhow, back to the original point of this post. How come the Star Tribune story didn't mention Gov. Dayton's insinuation the the Chamber of Commerce was a biased organization for not calling out a GOP governor on spending cuts with the same fervor as they've conveyed to him? Could it possibly be that Dayton's rather petulant statement didn't exactly cast him in a favorable light and thus the Strib is covering for him?

Whatever the case, I give props to WCCO-TV political reporter Pat Kessler for specifically targeting that portion of the speech in his news report. For highlighting something which doesn't exactly make Dayton look like a stable leader is something that's rarely done amongst the Twin Cities media elite.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Well done, good and faithful servant

It was February 2002 when my wife and I attended Emmanuel Christian Center in Fridley for the first time. Having moved to nearby Coon Rapids less than a year earlier, Jennifer and I felt a tug from the Lord to begin seeking out a new church home (we had been attending my longtime home church in St Paul since we got engaged in 1999). As we got to know people in our community, we began to hear the name "Emmanuel Christian Center" more and more. In fact, the Wednesday night youth service (J.C.'s Place) was attended by a fair number of Jen's 8th grade students. All those factors combined compelled us to attend a Sunday service.

Our very first Sunday was entitled "Missions Sunday" as one of the Missionaries who was supported by ECC financially (in this case, Michael McNamee of Ireland) was in town to speak. What an awesome testimony this gentleman had. It was one of the more uplifting and inspirational sermons we had heard in some time. Upon conclusion of the service, we were told to be sure and come back next week, as the church's Pastor would be speaking. Since we had pretty much decided that particular Sunday that ECC was our new home church, we looked forward to the next service.

It was the following Sunday when we first heard Pastor G. Mark Denyes preach. I couldn't tell you exactly what the grey-haired septuagenarian with the Canadian accent spoke about that day. However, I do recall that I ascertained almost immediately how he was so very dynamic, humorous, insightful and humble with his preaching style. I was even more impressed with his personal story, as he, his wife Shirley and then four kids moved from Chillicothe, Missouri to Fridley, MN in the Spring of 1963 to start a church. In that nearly forty-year span, God's anointing allowed Pastor Denyes to lead a basement church service of 50-plus people in the beginning to over 3,000 (spanning two services) in a large auditorium on an 8-1/2 acre plot of land. Within all that, Pastor Denyes wore his humility on his sleeve. If one ever had the occasion to greet him while he strolled the vestibule between services, he would always answer a "How are you, Pastor?" with a resounding "Blessed!"

In 2006, after 43 years as the one and only Pastor of Emmanuel, G. Mark Denyes resigned his post, but he certainly didn't "retire." There was one point where he served as interim Pastor of a church in Hibbing, driving to from his Spring Lake Park home to the Iron Range every Sunday for several months. He would also grace Emmanuel with his presence by speaking during Sunday evening services.

Sadly, within the past year, it was announced that Pastor Denyes had developed leukemia. He had been seen less and less due to the deterioration of his immune system, which made him highly susceptible to severe illness. This past Sunday his eldest son Dwight, who succeeded his father as Pastor in 2006 and completed his tenure last week, announced that his Dad had entered hospice care.

On Tuesday morning, Dwight posted the following message on his Facebook page:

Last night my father passed away. He's arrived safely there now. He's joined that great cloud of witnesses. He showed us how to live and now he's shown us how to die. We've appreciated your many words of kindness and your many prayers.

Late last year, Dwight announced he would not seek another term as ECC Senior Pastor when his current term expired March 2013. The church board of deacons then submitted one name to replace Dwight, which was that of Nate Ruch, who was ECC's youth pastor in the late 1990s thru 2003. Nate was subsequently voted in overwhelmingly by the congregation.

(l-r) Dwight Denyes, G. Mark Denyes and Nate Ruch

This past Sunday, Nate Ruch was officially installed as Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Christian Center. About 36 hours later, ECC's founding pastor stepped in to eternity. It was almost as if Pastor Denyes ensured that one of his many disciples was successfully installed as the church's leader before answering the call to go home. For years, Pastor Denyes had said we on Earth are in the land of the dying and that Heaven is the actual land of the living. He also said on many occasions that he didn't want to stay here on Earth one day longer than the Lord desired. As such, Pastor G. Mark Denyes now has his great reward.

Well done, good and faithful servant.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Heard it on the NARN - The Closer edition (3/10/2013)

Hollee Saville, a local daycare provider, called in to my radio program this past Sunday to discuss how DFLers in the MN Legislature are attempting to make a law mandating all child care providers join a public employee union. Since these providers are technically business owners, the idea they be subject to unionization as if they were employees of the state is utterly absurd.

With that in mind, Hollee was kind enough to pass along some important web sites where we can obtain the latest updates on this fight. In addition, there's information on how you could possibly help in thwarting the DFL majority's attempt to "pay back" AFSCME and SEIU for generous contributions to several DFL campaigns.

For some of the lastest news and information on this issue check out sites for Childcare Freedom as well as Child Care Union Information.

For daily updates on committee hearings down at the Capitol, you can check out Wright County Family Child Care Association's Facebook page.

Finally, here is a list of DFL legislators and their contact information. While all Republicans will likely vote against any of these bills, we'll need to flip a few DFLers to ensure these don't pass or perhaps even kill the proposals in Committee.

Thank you for your efforts!


Quick Hits: Volume LXVI

-An executive branch of government (in this case, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg) takes it upon itself to ban private businesses from selling legal products, only to have the judicial branch slap down said ban. Gee, what a shock.

A state judge today put a cork in City Hall's plans to ban Big Apple restaurants and other venues from selling large sugary drinks -- a bubble-bursting defeat for Mayor Bloomberg, who has made public health a cornerstone of his tenure.

Before the stunning ruling by New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling, restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues, convenience stores and other places regulated by the city's health department would have been prohibited -- starting tomorrow -- from selling sugary drinks of more than 16 ounces.

Tingling permanently stopped the city from enforcing the ban.

“[The city] is enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations," Judge Tingling ruled.

Bloomberg vowed to appeal. The mayor grew testy when asked if he had wisely spent so much political capital on the soda ban.

“I got to defend my children and you and everybody else and do what’s right to save lives,” he angrily said. “Obesity kills. There’s just no question about it.”

Uh, yeah, and so does heart disease and lung cancer, which can be obtained through years of smoking cigarettes. Are you suddenly going to mandate that convenience stores no longer sell smokes?

Judge Tingling said Bloomberg and the Board of Health overstepped their bounds, to enforce rules that should be established by the legislative bodies.

“The rule would not only violate the separation of powers doctrine, it would eviscerate it,” Tingling wrote. “Such an evisceration has the potential to be more troubling than sugar sweetened drinks.”

Tingling sided with a coalition of store keepers, unions, theater owners and beverage sellers who have been fighting Bloomberg’s ban that was set to go into effect tomorrow.

“It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds, and the loopholes inherent in the rule, including but not limited to no limitations on refills, defeat and/or serve to gut the purpose of the rule,” Tingling wrote.

Bloomberg said he was completely confident the city will win on appeal.

“We’re going to appeal, we believe the judge’s decision was clearly in error. We will clearly prevail on appeal,” he said. “We think the judge is totally in error and we are very confident we’ll win on appeal.”

This is gearing up to be quite a battle. As they say, "Getcha popcorn!" But if you're in NYC, you may have a limit to the amount of salt and butter you can put on it.

-As I was perusing Twitter during my morning train ride to the office, a certain story caught my eye. It was reported by Prudent Investor via (a portal that presents content from the Boston Globe) that NY Times lefty columnist (and renown Keynesian economist) Paul Krugman had filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The numbers were staggering, something along the lines of close to $8 million of debt while possessing merely $33,000 in assets.

While many of my fellow conservatives reveled in what appeared to be the pompous Krugman being bitten by schaudenfreude (Larry O'Connor wrote about it at, it almost seemed to be too rich that a self-proclaimed economic guru could be that reckless with his personal finances. There was even a report that Krugman had run up $84,000.00 in one month on an American Express card. I think that should have been the ultimate clue that this story was fabricated.

The Krugman-bankrupt thing, of course, is a joke that comes courtesy of the Daily Currant, a satire site. Not long ago, the Daily Currant made headlines for similar reasons with a different story, as the Washington Post passed along a satirical post that Sarah Palin had signed on as a commentator with Al Jazeera.

Is hoodwinking some sap at a media organization the reigning objective at Daily Currant? Nah, says founder Daniel Barkeley. “The goal is to write satire that’s close to the truth,” says Barkeley, noting that he models his stuff after mockumentaries such as “The Office.” “They hew very close to reality yet they’re supposed to be funny.”

Whatever their intent, Daily Currant definitely seems to be a bipartisan operation when it comes to duping news commentators.

-After four thrilling (and at the same time mercurial) seasons, the Minnesota Vikings traded WR/KR/PR/PITA Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks. Pending a physical (as well as agreement on a contract extension with Harvin), the Seahawks are reported to be sending their 2013 first round pick (25th overall), 2013 seventh rounder and a 2014 third round selection to the Vikings in this deal.

Since a dynamic talent like Harvin just doesn't come around all that often, I was hopeful that whatever unspecified issue he had with the Vikings organization could be resolved. However, the last time he was seen in a Vikings uniform was, ironically enough, week nine at Seattle. He was seen on the sidelines screaming at head coach Leslie Frazier, apparently frustrated with how dismal the Vikings passing game was performing on that particular day. It was also during that game that Harvin suffered a severe ankle injury, one that would sideline him for the rest of the season.

The minute the 2012 regular season ended, speculation abounded that Harvin would hold out the 2013 campaign (the final year of his contract) if he didn't receive a long-term extension. Then in a matter of weeks, said speculation turned into rumors of Harvin demanding a trade. While Vikings GM Rick Spielman repeatedly said he had "no intent" on trading Harvin, it became pretty obvious that this situation was becoming untenable. With the Vikings a relatively young team that made a surprise run to the postseason in 2012, they likely realized they couldn't risk disrupting the team chemistry for a player you had to worry about 165 out of 168 hours every week.

Since the Vikings are now approximately $17 million under the salary cap and have four draft picks amongst the first 83 slots, they are in a good position to make significant enhancements to their roster. One suggested plan of attack is signing free agent WR Greg Jennings and then using their two first round picks for some defensive help. If indeed that happens, I believe the Vikings will have put themselves in a great position to once again make the playoffs in 2013.

While I believe Harvin has made Seattle's offense markedly better as a result of this trade (Vegas oddsmakers now lists the Seahaawks, and the San Francisco 49ers as Super Bowl co-favorites), he has a track record of high profile clashes with every NFL coach for whom he's played. Perhaps a "rah rah" coach like Pete Carroll will serve Harvin better than stoic, no-nonsense guys like Brad Childress and Frazier. Time will tell.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Who's looking good today? Who's looking good in every way?

With this being the weekend of Daylight Savings Time, I'll be operating on one less hour of sleep for today's edition of The Closer. Nevertheless, I'll be on the air during the usual 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time slot.

At 1:00, I'll be joined by Hollee Saville, who owns an in-home childcare business. Needless to say, Hollee has some very strong objections to the DFL majority attempting to pass legislation mandating MN childcare providers becoming unionized.

Then at 2:00, Joe Jude will stop by the Patriot bunker. Joe, a Monticello native, is a sophomore at the United States Military Academy at West Point. He will share his experience about what it entailed just getting in to West Point as well as the experience he's had thus far as a West Point cadet.

In between, I'll opine on the Sen. Rand Paul filibuster this past week, as well as the possibility of him having a Hollywood actress as a fellow Kentucky Senator.

On the local political scene, Governor Messinger Dayton bowed to pressure from the business community regarding his proposal of a business-to-business tax increase. Does that mean he'll back off other bad policies if the mere public outcry is loud enough? Also, Norm Coleman announced this past week he is not running for either Governor of Minnesota or US Senator in 2014. Is that for the best?

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.

Even though I have a face for radio, there is a UStream channel where you can watch the broadcast, if you so desire. Check it out here

For mobile phone users, there are 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.....


Thursday, March 07, 2013

A tale of two Senators

At about 11:47 a.m. ET Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) took the floor of the US Senate to filibuster the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director. Paul took issue with the fact the Attorney General Eric Holder stated that President Obama has the authority to use drone strikes on American citizens on U.S. soil. Naturally Paul (and eventually a handful of other GOP Senators along with Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon) took umbrage, citing that such an exercise would be unconstitutional, specifically violating a citizen's right to due process.

The most impressive aspect of Senator Paul's objection was that he didn't come forth with the standard "I object" and then a brief monologue before a cloture vote would be taken and then passed, leading to a vote on the nomination. No, Paul's strenuous objection lasted nearly thirteen hours before ending his talk at 12:39 a.m. ET. Many were hoping he could surpass Sen. Strom Thurmond's record of 24 hours, 18 minutes. He got more than halfway there!

As this was taking place, many of my fellow Minnesota conservatives were wondering aloud via Twitter why our senior Senator was nowhere to be found. As such, many of us took to Sen. Amy Klobuchar's Twitter feed to determine if maybe she had a reaction to the proceedings.

Klobee's most recent tweet occurred at 6:19 pm CT Wednesday, when Paul was approximately 7-1/2 hours into his filibuster. It was as follows:

I'll take "Vapid Senators who specialize in soft-pedal issues" for $400, Alex.


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Hugo Chavez dead at 58

I feel you can glean more about a person's legacy with who celebrates his/her death as well as who mourns it.

With that in mind, let's take a look at some of the reactions upon the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who passed away Tuesday at the age of 58.

From South Florida:

In the South Florida enclaves crowded with Venezuelans who fled President Hugo Chávez’s regime, his death Tuesday afternoon prompted spontaneous gatherings in familiar places.

News crews broadcast live from Doral, the South Florida city home to the largest number of Venezuelans. A celebratory mood spread at El Arepazo 2, a popular Venezuelan family restaurant, where more than 300 people gathered.

They waved Venezuelan flags and cheered “ Venezuela presente” — Venezuela is present.

“We are not celebrating someone’s death,” Mary LaBarca, whose grandmother was dancing outside the restaurant, said in Spanish. “We are celebrating freedom.”

“We hope this is the path to return our democracy and that hopefully we can have the same country we once had,” said Daniela Calzadilla, who moved from Caracas five years ago. She left because crime in the Venezuelan capital skyrocketed under Chávez’s leadership, she said, and career opportunities dwindled.

So it would appear that some of those who took the opportunity to flee Chavez's Venezuela strongly believe that the country has an opportunity to be much better off with him gone.

On the flip side, you have a tweet from Democrat U.S. House member Jose Serrano (who, by the way, supports repealing the 22nd amendment): 

While one cannot sum up one's entire sentiment in 140 characters, you can read Rep. Serrano's full statement here (Spoiler alert: His tweet provided more than adequate context to his overall sentiment).

Not to be outdone, leftist filmmaker Michael Moore decided to provide "balance" to those who didn't exactly shed tears over the death of Chavez.

That last Moore tweet is the most stupefying. For an American citizen to stand in solidarity with a sworn socialist in the "hatred" of a U.S. President? I imagine some Venezuelan citizens envied Moore, for they would never be allowed to return to their home country had they expressed the same disdain for Chavez on foreign soil. I'm sure such irony is lost on a vile dimwit like Moore.

You know the effusive praise of leftists is a little heavy-handed when the far left website Think Progess (which uses an endorsement from Rep. Keith Ellison to boost its online readership) believes Dems should rein in their eulogizing of Chavez.

This picture unwittingly illustrates the essence of TP's article:

In closing, does anyone know what took place exactly 60 years prior to the passing of Chavez? Another high-profile political figure by the name of Joseph Stalin died on March 5, 1953.

Take that for what you will.


Monday, March 04, 2013


Last year, while appearing on Sean Hannity's TV show, leftist commentator Tamara Holder was asked by Hannity if it was appropriate for someone like Bill Maher to refer to conservative women Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann as "M.I.L.F.s."

Holder replied that she believed it was a "compliment of sorts."

Fast forward to last week when Connecticut State Rep. Ernest Hewett (D) responded to a 17-year old girl who had testified how she had overcome her shyness as well as her fear of snakes.

Rep. Hewett's retort? "If you're bashful I got a snake sitting under my desk here."

After a severe backlash (including Hewett losing his title of Deputy House Speaker), fellow CT Democrat Rep. Edward Moukawsher leaped to Hewett's defense (emphasis mine).

The treatment of Rep. Ernest Hewett for his remark to a 17-year-old woman who testified before the Appropriations Committee is completely unfair to him and defies common sense. In her testimony she said she was a shy person who overcame her shyness and fear of snakes. The chair of the committee complimented her on her testimony that belied her expressed shyness. Rep. Hewett followed the chair's remarks, and said "If you're bashful, I got a snake sitting under my desk here." It is absurd to think he was saying anything other than that she had overcome her shyness so well that her bashfulness was as nonexistent as a live snake under his desk.

Rep. Hewett turned on his microphone to speak on the record in a public meeting. This was not an offhand, surreptitious comment but a compliment to a witness following a compliment by the committee chair. His snake reference was prompted by the witness' testimony about snakes. The shame in this situation lies with those who have taken his well-intentioned, innocent remark and through the political prism have distorted it to reflect their own lack of humanity.

Do you sense a theme here? Whenever a conservative woman is referred to in a vile manner or greeted with a lewd remark by a leftist, it's a "compliment."

But remember, it's the Republicans who are waging the "war on women."


Sunday, March 03, 2013

The endless beat, she`s walking my way.....

Happy Sequestration season all! While Armageddon is apparently in full swing, today's edition of The Closer will roll on in its usual 1:00 until 3 PM Central time slot.

At 1:00 pm, GOP State Senator Branden Petersen will join me to discuss his very bold political move to co-sponsor a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

For the entire 2:00 hour, reigning Ms. Minnesota Siri Freeh will join me in studio. Siri will talk about the whirlwind that has been her life since being crowned Ms. Minnesota nine months ago as well as her plans for the future once her reign is complete.

In the rare segments where there are no guests, I might check in to see how cutting 2.4% of annual Federal spending has resulted in airplanes falling from the sky as well as (according to Rep. Maxine Waters) 100+% unemployment.

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.

Even though I have a face for radio, there is a UStream channel where you can watch the broadcast, if you so desire. Check it out here

For mobile phone users, there are 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.....


Friday, March 01, 2013

Math is hard

In February 2009, then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said something about how "500 million Americans lose their jobs."

Then on Thursday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) indicated that the impending sequestration is also going to result in dire unemployment, to the tune of "over 170 million jobs that could be lost."

If one is to put a positive spin on this, the unemployment rate went from 167% of American citizens (not adults, not workforce members, but citizens) to 57% in four years.