Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Little Lord Fauntleroy's collar not the only thing ruffled

If you've ever heard Little Lord Fauntleroy Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton speak, it's understandable why he rarely leaves the friendly confines of St. Paul. Heck, even when he stays in St. Paul, he can come off as irritable and erratic. One of the more infamous attempts to speak outside of the capitol city was about two years ago after he allowed the state government to shut down. Ready to the throw the Republican controlled legislature under the proverbial bus for the budget impasse, Dayton was met with feeble crowds on his demagoguery tour. Of those who actually showed up to the meet-and-greets, the general attitude amongst the folks was "Oh. Government is shut down???" The Governor then scurried back to St. Paul and agreed to the budget passed in the Legislature, thus ending the shutdown.

At a Monday gathering in Shakopee, Dayton once again came across as rather irritable. When defending a proposed 35% increase in legislator pay, Dayton emphasized that the average Minnesota family makes $54,000 per year. Therefore, an increase to $42,000 (up from $31,000) for legislators who work so very hard is not all that outlandish. Naturally, the audience wanted to point out to the Governor that legislators are not year round employees like the aforementioned families earning $54,000. Instead of granting that factual point, the thin-skinned Dayton shot back "I've been all over the state and I've never had people behave this rudely. You know, if you want to say something, just raise your hand and get a mic."

In the mind of a "progressive" like Dayton, government is the lifeblood of the community. Without overly involved government, a society can't survive. So when the citizenry challenges his assertions that government is the be all and end all of human existence, he becomes incredibly indignant. Why, how dare these peasants impede the master plan of implementing a dependent society.

The fact a man with that ideology with such an acerbic personality can somehow rise to the level of an executive branch of government is still utterly stupefying.


For the DFL, math is hard. (UPDATE: Sen. Rest *did* vote the first time around)

In the Minnesota State Senate, the DFL currently has a 39-28 majority. Since there are 67 total members in the upper chamber, there must be a minimum 34 members willing to vote "Yes" on any piece of legislation to give 100% assurance that any bill would pass.

Simple mathematics.

As the tax bill has been debated over the some time now, there was finally a version available to vote upon Monday evening. Now, since the Democrats control every facet of state government, it stands to reason that any bill authored will likely be something most amenable to the DFL since they obviously control all committees. With that in mind, it would seem to me that Senate Majority Leader Tom "Baby Got" Bakk would take a count of his caucus to ensure they have at least 34 votes for passage since they can't rely on the GOP being complicit in increasing taxes to the tune of nearly $3 billion. Heck, all Bakk had to do is take a quick survey of those DFLers who were considering voting "No" or perhaps abstaining. If that number is greater than five, then some maneuvering needs to be done. To my knowledge, Bakk never did such a thing.

So what happened when the vote was taken Monday evening? The bill failed 34-32, as seven DFLers joined 27 of 28 Republican members (Rochester GOP Senator David Senjem voted "Yes") in voting "No."

Ah, but remember, the DFL is in the majority. Therefore they went ahead and took a vote to "reconsider." That passed, which meant the Senate would take a re-vote on the bill. The second vote on the tax bill passed 35-31, with Freshman DFL Senators Greg Clausen (Apple Valley) and John Hoffman (Champlin) switching their initial "no" votes. Ann Rest (D-New Hope) initially abstained but then voted "yes" when given a second opportunity.

So after the DFL looked like a bunch of buffoons after such a display, who is to blame? Why the Republicans, of course (emphasis mine).

DFL Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk says several DFL members were confused when a few Republicans signaled they would support the bill but eventually switched to a no vote.

"There were people that voted no because they thought there were plenty of votes up to pass it," Bakk said. "I think people didn't realize that people were going to play a little trick when the roll was closed and switch their vote back. I think there would have easily been the same number of votes had the Republicans had been honest and put up their red vote when the roll was called."

Say, Senator Bakk? Do you even bother to ask yourself the question why some DFLers voted "no?" Could it be because those Senators thought the tax bill was a monstrosity which, if passed, would have an adverse impact on their middle-income constituents, thus affecting reelection prospects in 2016? Don't complain about the GOP playing political games. It cuts both ways here.

Oh, but the fun is just beginning. You see the House has a substantially different tax bill to vote on. If that passes, the two bills will then go to conference committee where those significant differences will need to be reconciled. No way Governor Mark Dayton will allow another shutdown on his watch, especially now that the DFL is in control of the Legislature. Therefore, Little Lord Fauntleroy Dayton will act as the veritable "adult in the room" to ensure a tax bill is completed.

Getcha popcorn.

UPDATE: The reason that DFLers asked for a re-vote was due to the fact Senator Rest allegedly did not have the opportunity to vote the first time around.

Watch the video below. You'll notice that Sen. Rest did indeed vote "Yes" initially. However, she took her vote off the board once it became apparent that the tax bill would be voted down.

When the Nay total reached 32, Sen. Rest undid her vote. Since conservative Republicans Dan Hall and Dave Thompson had yet to cast votes at that point, it was assumed both would vote "No." That would bring the Nay total to 34, resulting in the bill failing to pass. The guess here is that Sen. Rest didn't want to be aboard a sinking ship, so she bailed.

A profile in courage, eh?


Monday, April 29, 2013

I want the world to know, got to let it show.....

NBA player Jason Collins coming out as gay is only newsworthy in one sense. That is, he is the first active professional athlete in one of the four major team sports (NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball) to make such an announcement. Outside of that, being a homosexual in today's American society is no longer all that shocking. That fact alone should bring forth a tremendous sense of accomplishment to those who have advocated for "gay rights" for decades.

My immediate reaction to Collins' declaration was twofold. First, good for him! I was always bothered by that fact that former pro athletes Esera Tuaolo (NFL), Billy Bean (MLB) and John Amaechi (NBA) felt the environment in their respective sports was much too hostile for them to freely admit to being gay while active in professional athletics. It was only after retirement that they "came out." Hopefully Collins' announcement will pave the way for others to come forth if for no other reason than sheer catharsis. Secondly, there was a clear double standard with this issue in terms of gender. I've heard/read interviews where a handful of WNBA players openly talked about being in same-sex relationships without ever having made a formal announcement of their orientation. It was pretty much accepted without conditions, apparently unlike male athletes. Of course the comeback would be that the WNBA, albeit a professional team league, is not nearly on par with the aforementioned four male pro sports leagues in terms of popularity, notoriety, etc. Fair enough.

Despite being a 12-year NBA veteran, Collins wasn't exactly a household name, even amongst the most ardent hoops fans. As a 7-footer who has averaged a meager 3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds over his career, he somehow hung on in the league. However, he's been traded four times over his career and not re-signed on two other occasions. With his last stop being with Washington Wizards at the end of this past season, Collins is once again a free agent. If indeed he's not signed by any NBA team, will people make the assertion it's due to the fact that Collins is gay? Of course. But sports is, after all, a numbers game. There has been a total six times in his NBA career that the franchise for whom Collins played jettisoned him for basketball reasons. In 38 total games this past season, Collins tallied just 1.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.

One should not even have to be a hoops fan to ascertain that the possibility of Collins' NBA career coming to an end will have more to do with lack of productivity on the court than anything having to do with his personal life.


Box score of the week

My Minnesota Twins hosted their A.L. Central rivals the Chicago White Sox back in May 2006.


White Sox starting pitcher Mark Buehrle became the first American League pitcher (and second in history) to win a game after allowing seven runs in the first inning. 


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Maybe it's just an ego problem. Problem is I've been fooled before....

With any justice, today's edition of The Closer would be broadcast outdoors, given the sunshine and 70-degree temperatures. Alas, I'll be in my normal spot in the Patriot bunker from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time.

At 2:15, Breitbart.com contributor Mandy "Liberty Chick" Nagy will call in to the program. Mandy will discuss her perspective on the lengthy piece put out this past week by the NY Times on the Pigford scandal, which has cost the taxpayers billions of dollars. This was a story the late Andrew Breitbart had been focused on literally until his dying day, a story which earned him some of the most vitriol he'd received from his top detractors, especially the leftist group Media Matters For America. Ironically, it was the NY Times who ended up vindicating Breitbart.

I'll also discuss the week that was in the MN Legislature, specifically the DFL's outlandish tax plan. Also, the MN GOP had a candidate step forward with intentions to run for governor in the 2014 election cycle. Lefty political action groups and hacks alike have already declared him (surprise) WRONG for Minnesota. Finally, if time permits, I'll also look back at the Minnesota Vikings draft place that took place this past week.

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.....


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXVIII

- As I mentioned earlier this week, the Minnesota GOP finally has a candidate for governor in businessman Scott Honour. No doubt there will be additional candidates to declare over the next several weeks. However, since Honour is the only one to officially step forward at this time, he's an easy target for the DFL and its supporters.

In fact, Honour wasn't even an official candidate for more than 24 hours when leftist group Alliance For a Better Minnesota came forth with the following snark on its Facebook page:

Surprise, surprise the first GOP candidate for MN Governor is a corporate CEO with mega-millions. He lives in a mansion on Lake Minnetonka. Not surprising: He's wrong for Minnesota.
So someone who grows up in Minnesota as part of a middle class family, develops a strong work ethic as a young man, goes off to college to earn a BA/BS degree in Economics/Business Administration and an MBA in Finance/Marketing, starts a business in Minnesota which employs Minnesotans is somehow wrong for...uhhh....Minnesota?

Meanwhile, ABM is largely funded by Governor Dayton's ex-wife, who inherited untold wealth from the Rockefeller estate, while Dayton himself is heir to the Dayton-Hudson fortune, yet their "mega-millions" are somehow more virtuous?

I need to get myself one of those ABM handbooks to learn the specific criteria which makes someone right for Minnesota. Apparently it's someone who uses state government to impose their progressive worldview upon the citizenry.

- The Minnesota Vikings were slated to pick 23rd & 25th overall in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft Thursday. As a result, they used those picks to fill important needs on the defensive line (DT Sharrif Floyd from Florida) and cornerback (Xavier Rhodes, Florida St.) positions. The Vikings then surprised many when they traded four later round picks (a second, third, fourth and seventh rounder) to move back in to the first round to take Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson at 29. This was the opposite approach to last season when the Vikings acquired extra draft choices from Cleveland by moving down from the third pick to the fourth yet still got their top player in OL Matt Kalil. However, they used the extra later round picks on players like WR Jarius Wright (who played fairly well in place of injured superstar Percy Harvin in 2012), kicker Blair Walsh (who made the NFC Pro Bowl squad as a rookie) and safety Robert Blanton.

While the Vikings still have a need at middle linebacker, they definitely added much needed depth in other key positions in this year's draft (Draft analysts Adam Caplan and Herm Edwards felt the Vikings "won" round one). And since the new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2011 gives teams full control over their draft picks for their first five seasons, that too bodes well (The Vikes have had five first round picks over the past two drafts). While last year's first rounders (Kalil and safety Harrison Smith) made significant contributions to the 2012 squad, Floyd, Rhodes and Patterson will have much to prove in 2013. However, all that will be irrelevant unless QB Christian Ponder makes that leap forward to at least a reliable starter. But that's another post for another day.

- I'm a very fair weather NHL fan. So if the Minnesota Wild make the postseason, I will definitely tune in to the action. On Friday evening, if the Wild beat the lowly Edmonton Oilers at home, they would clinch a playoff berth. Edmonton entered Friday's contest with only two games left to play, the seventh worst record in the league (out of 30 NHL teams) and had lost 8 of its last 10 games. If a team like the Wild has serious postseason aspirations (signing marquee free agents Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to 13-year contracts prior to this season would seem to confirm that notion), they should have easily dispatched the Oilers.

The result?

The Wild fell behind 3-0 after the first period, 6-0 after two and ended up losing 6-1. If the Wild win in Colorado against the Avalanche (the team with the second worst record in the NHL), they still make the postseason. If they lose, they'll need Columbus to lose at home to Nashville.

I have to believe that the Wild will be more than ready for tonight's tilt in Denver. Given the way they played Friday, I have to believe their minds were in Colorado already.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Into the fray

In just over a year-and-a-half from now, me and my fellow Minnesotans will decide whether or not Governor Mark Dayton or Senator Al Franken are worthy of reelection. I can already tell you that my answer will be a resounding "NO" to both. Of course, I would prefer to know some of my options for Republican candidates by this Summer.

While speculation continues to abound regarding GOP candidates for both the gubernatorial and Senate races, no one has officially declared.......until Wednesday afternoon that is.

Personally, I find it refreshing that a businessman has chosen to enter the fray. I mean, who better to give a perspective on government's impact on business than someone who's actually had a payroll to meet? Yes, Scott Honour is definitely a polar opposite of Little Lord Fauntleroy Mark Dayton. That is, Honour grew up in a modest middle-class setting and was taught a solid work ethic as a young boy, whereas Dayton has never wanted for anything in literally his entire life. Other than a very bried stint as a school teacher, Dayton hasn't even had a job outside of government.

Honour would be a governor who would work to make the state much less of an inhibitor in starting a business. In his two-plus years as governor of Minnesota, Dayton has given the impression that he believes people are better off with more government intervention.

Honour's candidacy is a good start for the Minnesota GOP gubernatorial field. But it's hardly a finish.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Right on Target

On Monday, for the third time in three weeks, the Minnesota Twins had a scheduled game at Target Field postponed due to inclement weather. And like Pavlov's dog salivating upon hearing a dinner bell, a fair number of Twins fans commenced with the incessant complaints about how the organization screwed up by not having a stadium with at least a retractable roof, if not a permanent covering. Not only are expressions of pro-roof sentiments a futile exercise (there will never, ever be a roof placed on Target Field), the arguments against an open-air ballpark are ignorant and incredibly short-sighted.

Yes, the month of April in Minnesota has a chance to be quite cold and snowy. Nevertheless, when a baseball season is just getting started, pretty much every team's fans come out in strong numbers the first home stand. Thus far this season, the Twins have averaged about 26,500 tickets sold over the first seven home games. In the final nine seasons playing in the Metrodome (2001 thru 2009) when Twins had a winning record in eight of those years and made the postseason five times, ticket sales weren't even that good in the early going. But where the biggest difference lies is in the Summer months. Again, even with the Twins' track record those final seasons in the Dome, people did not exactly turn out in large numbers in June, July and August. Why? Quite simply, Minnesotans were not all that eager to sit inside an unsightly monstrosity like the Metrodome on a beautiful Summer evening. But in a beautiful outdoor ballpark like Target Field during those precious few Summer days/evenings? For the first two seasons, the Twins were close to capacity (just over 39,000) for tickets sold, and quite often sold out of Standing Room Only tickets. Yes, even when the team struggled in the Summers of 2011 and 2012, game day walk up sales in the those months were much more brisk than for a winning team playing in an indoor park. Bottom line is when attendance lags in April and May, the pace will definitely pick up come Summer.

The overall comparison isn't even close. For the first three seasons at Target Field, there were just over 9 million tickets sold. The Metrodome has never had a three year stretch even get within a million of that figure.

Probably the most popular chanting point is how the stadium should have come with a retractable roof, resulting in fans getting the best of both worlds. The most popular example of that is our neighbors to the east. The Milwaukee Brewers' stadium, Miller Park (one of the more aesthetically unpleasing ballparks, IMO), was built with a retractable roof. But even with the roof open (on the seemingly rare occasion that takes place), one still has the impression of being in an indoor facility.

Regardless, the Twins opting not to have a roof of any kind was due in large part to keeping costs down. While the taxpayers of Hennepin County were dinged via an extra 0.15% sales tax (which was slated to cover $392 million of the estimated $522 million project), the Twins organization was to cover the rest ($125-$130 million). Bottom line is there was no way the MN State Legislature was going to assess an extra $100 million burden onto the taxpayers, which was the estimated cost for a roof. And since the Twins were unwilling to pony up, the stadium would thus be open-air.

What amazed me most about reactions on Monday was the Twitter activity directed at Twins President Dave St. Peter. With Monday's game being called at about Noon (approximately seven hours before first pitch), many fans inquired with St. Peter if the Metrodome could possibly be made baseball ready. Alas, that is no longer an option. However, the mere suggestion of such a thing by so many fans elicited the following response from St. Peter:

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the entire point. Enough people are likely to endure cold weather in April for the opportunity to indulge in a beautiful Summer evening game in May, June or July. The Metrodome offered no variety in climate or atmosphere, thus making it, at times, a tedious experience. As a result, fans really didn't take an interest in the Dome years until August, and that's only if the Twins were in postseason contention. But in the Target Field era, fans are more likely to make a snap decision to attend a game on the day of, even if the team is not playing all that well.

I guess I shouldn't be too hard on the "roofers" who lament games having to be rescheduled or have to endure early season games in the cold. But I guarantee that the "we need a roof" chanting point will be dissipated by the first 70 degree day of the season.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Box score of the week

The 1994 Montreal Expos were a legitimate World Series contender. Sadly, the MLB players strike resulted in no postseason that year.

Anyhow, let's check out a game with those Expos hosting the Cincinnati Reds.


Expos pitcher Pedro Martinez had a perfect game going with one out in the eighth inning and Cincinnati's Reggie Sanders at the plate. With an 0-2 count on Sanders, Martinez drilled him with the next pitch. Inexplicably, Sanders felt as though Martinez threw at him intentionally, thus he charged the mound as soon as he was hit. Sanders was ejected, but Martinez stayed in the game. Martinez still had a no-hitter into the ninth inning but lost that to a leadoff single.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

I sure do miss the smell of black coffee in the morning.....

Definitely not a slow news week, so there's a lot to get to on today's edition of The Closer. As usual, we'll get started at 1:00 pm Central Time and go right until 3:00.

Right at the start of the show, I'll be joined in studio by Lisa Belak, who is the President of the Board of Governors of the MN Excellence in Public Service (MEPS) series. This training series is geared towards conservative women in an effort for them to have more involvement in public service, whether it's running campaigns, becoming a candidate for political office, etc.

At 2:15, political wonk Matt Mackowiak will call in to the program to share his insights on easily the biggest news story of this past week, the Boston Marathon bombings. Matt will also discuss the US Senate vote of gun control and the President's reaction to the bill not passing.

In addition, I'll also discuss the latest on MN Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, whose Presidential campaign is in the midst of an F.E.C. investigation.

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, April 19, 2013

Beginning of the end?

From the time she was a Minnesota state Senator, Michele Bachmann has stirred up the looniest of the loons on the political left. In fact, for nearly a decade, there has been a handful of committed stalkers (I'll call them the "Unhinged Ensemble") who track Bachmann at every speaking appearance, maintain a blog dedicated to her electoral defeat and have written a book on their #1 political enemy. Regardless, that collection of sad sacks has been unable to effectively influence the most conservative Congressional District in the state, as Bachmann is now in her fourth term in Congress. So deranged are the Unhinged Ensemble (whose blog and book titles will get no mentions here) that if Bachmann were elected President and served the maximum two terms, that sleazy collection would undoubtedly take credit for ending her political career as she departed the White House.

Upon being elected to the U.S. House in 2006, Bachmann began to garner a higher national profile, which only added to the contingent of lefty detractors. Bachmann herself touts that fact in a seemingly non-stop series of panicked fundraising emails, which often states that top House Democrat Nancy Pelosi is stopping at nothing to have Bachmann defeated. Yes, it was true that millions of dollars were committed to defeating Bachmann in 2008 and 2010. However, after redistricting took place in 2012, Minnesota's sixth Congressional District became even more "red." As a result, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (and other outside groups who have normally ponied up in an attempt to defeat Bachmann) offered little help to her 2012 opponent Jim Graves. Yet of her four winning elections, the 2012 race was won by the narrowest margin of Bachmann's congressional career -- a mere 1.2%. Compare that to GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who won CD6 by a nearly fifteen point margin. Clearly Bachmann running for President from the Summer of 2011 until just after the Iowa caucuses in January 2012 left her constituents disaffected. As someone who did phone banking in Bachmann's district, I definitely got that impression.

According to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, CD6 rates an R+10. So how is it that each election cycle a House Republican candidate like Bachmann with a staunchly conservative voting record has to spend nearly eight figures (thus diverting financial resources from other potentially competitive races) just to eek out victory (her double digit win in 2010 notwithstanding)? The problem, quite simply, is Bachmann herself. Despite a nearly impeccable conservative voting record, she often makes statements that are factually inaccurate. While I don't believe she blatantly lies, I do think that she has so many stats and numbers flying through her head that her mouth moves much faster than her brain.

Then there's the issue of staff turnover. Regardless if it's campaign staff (President and U.S. House) or the day-to-day operations of her Congressional office, Bachmann has a reputation of being an incredibly difficult boss. There have been more than a few disgruntled employees who have made very damning public statements regarding their tenure as Bachmann staffers. One could argue that such disdain can be chalked up to "sour grapes." However, no one can deny that, empirically, there's been significant turnover in the Bachmann office.

Yes, it appears Bachmann herself is the biggest threat to her political career, more so than any challenger to her House seat. With that in mind, the latest news regarding alleged FEC violations during her Presidential run may be the proverbial final nail.

GOP operative Andy Parrish, a former chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, is expected to tell an Iowa Senate ethics panel that her 2012 presidential campaign made improper payments to its state chairman.

Having maintained a public silence so far, Parrish referred questions Wednesday to his attorney, John Gilmore, who said his client will corroborate allegations from another former Bachmann aide, Peter Waldron.

Waldron, a Florida pastor, claims that the campaign hid payments to Iowa Sen. Kent Sorenson, in violation of Iowa Senate ethics rules that bar members from receiving pay from presidential campaigns.

Sorenson has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, calling the ethics charges “totally baseless, without evidence, and a waste of Iowans’ time and money.” Lawyers for the Bachmann campaign also have denied the allegations.

Waldron’s accusations are also the subject of inquiries by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the independent Office of Congressional Ethics. The investigations are part of a growing web of legal problems facing Bachmann, including a lawsuit by former staffer Barbara Heki alleging that Sorenson stole a proprietary e-mail list of Iowa home-school families from her personal computer. Those allegations also are the subject of an ongoing police investigation in Urbandale, Iowa.

Gilmore said Parrish can provide the ethics panel documentary evidence that Sorenson was paid $7,500 a month to work on Bachmann’s campaign, money that was funneled to him indirectly through C&M Strategies, a Colorado-based company controlled by Bachmann fundraiser Guy Short.

Among the sources of the funding, Waldron contends, was Bachmann’s independent political organization, MichelePAC, also headed by Short. Attorneys for Short have denied the allegations, which also are part of the FEC inquiry.

If indeed these allegations turn out to be true, Bachmann could easily chalk it up to the fact that she was running for President. Such activity, which likely would have occurred during the day-to-day operations of the campaign, is something that a Presidential candidate isn't micromanaging, and logistically couldn't do so. Nevertheless, the name of the campaign was Bachmann for President. At the end of the day, it's her name that will predominantly be out there as this investigation moves forward. Combine that with the fact Bachmann's House seat is now considered one of the top five targets for Democrats to flip, her reelection prospects become that much more daunting. While she has committed to spend significantly more time in her Congressional District than previous election years (These days, Bachmann often spends weekends meeting with constituents in coffee shop-like venues), it may be for naught if she is cited for what seem to be some serious FEC violations.

Not even the Unhinged Ensemble could have inflicted this much damage to Bachmann's political career.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bitterness transferred

Remember during the 2008 Presidential campaign when Barack Obama talked of certain folks bitterly clinging to guns?

As President, clearly he's the bitter party now in light of a bill to expand universal background checks for gun purchases failed to pass the US Senate Wednesday.

The disappointment was all over the faces of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, their mouths turned into deep frowns as they appeared in the Rose Garden shortly after the vote.

"The fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn't want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illness to buy a gun," Obama said. "There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn't do this."

This push to restrict firearms hit a fever pitch after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT this past December. In essence, the Obama administration claimed they would put forth proposals which would prevent another awful tragedy such as what occurred in Newtown. But since the recent gun bill going through the Senate would not have prevented the Newtown massacre (or the January 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, AZ for that matter) had it been law, that seems to me the most coherent argument to make. The President recently chided Republicans for resorting to "political stunts" when a handful of GOP Senators threatened to filibuster this gun-control legislation. Rather ironic he would levy such an accusation in, of all places, Connecticut where he was putting on display the parents of the slain Sandy Hook children and flying them around on Air Force One.

The bottom line is passing legislation that would not have prevented some of the more high profile shooting sprees seems to be the ultimate in political stunts.

The President's bitterness can also be bubbling over for a different reason. He doesn't have the luxury of a rubber stamp Congress like he had the first two years of his Presidency. As such, abominations like Obamacare, the $800 billion stimulus and Dodd-Frank were rammed through. You can bet he's pining for the good old days, which is why Obama For America is already on the ground looking to get the House back in 2014. The President did emphasize that Wednesday's defeat was only round one. In his mind, future rounds will occur (and be won) if indeed OFA achieves its ultimate goal.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Patriotism on Patriots' Day

Since about 2:00 pm Central Time Monday, the entire country's focus was on the horrific incident in Beantown.

Two huge explosions rocked the Boston Marathon finish line at Copley Square just before 3 p.m. today, killing three and injuring 134 at last count, including several traumatic amputations on streets crowded with runners, spectators and post-race partiers.

Many of those injured are children — including an 8-year-old killed in the blast, the Herald has learned. Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said tonight there is "no suspect" and the death toll is now at three.

“We will get to the bottom of this. We will find out who did this and we will find out why,” said President Obama this evening. “They will feel the full weight of justice.

“Boston is a tough and resilient town. Residents will pull together, take care of each other and move forward,” he added. “The American people are with them every step of the way.”

In this day and age of social media allowing for instantaneous reaction to such newsworthy events, people have a tendency to make a comment without fully weighing the implications of their words. As a result, I pretty much stayed completely away from Twitter in the aftermath of this incident so as to avoid the inevitable rhetorical finger-pointing and empty speculations.

In times like this, I learn to appreciate the American spirit, which has remarkable durability in the face of a crisis. One needs no further evidence of this when seeing the reaction of emergency responders and law enforcement upon detonation of the first device.

Despite a real possibility of another explosive device being nearby, police officers and medical personnel rushed to the aide of those who were severely injured, all the while risking their own personal well being. I understand that it's the job they signed up for, but it's an attribute of which I am always in awe.

How about those who were participating in the actual marathon? All that they put into preparing for the event (e.g. rigorous physical training, exorbitant financial commitment, etc.) seemed so insignificant in light of their fellow Americans being in despair. In fact, a friend of mine Andrew Wagner summed it up best:

America: Reports of Marathon Runners that crossed finish line and continued to run to Mass General Hospital to give blood to victims.
Yes, there will be plenty of time to assess why this bombing happened and how the guilty party should be punished. But on Monday, the President was absolutely correct when he said this was one day where we're not Republicans and Democrats....we're all Americans.

How fitting that the utmost form of patriotism was on full display on Patriots' Day.


Box score of the week

We're going really old school this week. It's a 1956 game featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Brooklyn Dodgers.


Monday, April 15 marked the 66th anniversary of Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier. 

The game I've linked to in this post marks the final game in Robinson's storied MLB career. 


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom....

It's one of those "Guest-a-Palooza" shows today on The Closer, which will be in its usual 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time slot.

Right off the bat at 1:00, we'll be joined by MN State Rep. Peggy Scott (R-Andover). Rep. Scott will discuss her fight against HF695, a proposal which would allow the Minnesota Dept. of Health to create a DNA biobank without individual consent.

At 1:15, Katie Kieffer will check in to talk about her latest piece at Townhall.com, which is titled 4 Reasons Jason Lewis Can Beat Al Franken. With Senator Franken vying for reelection in 2014, there has yet to be a serious GOP candidate to step forward and challenge him. Katie will discuss why Lewis can (and should) be that candidate.

Rounding out the guest roster will be "new media" guru Tabitha Hale, who will join me via phone at 2:15. Tabitha was recently named the Managing Editor of Rare, which has been dubbed the "New Conservative Social Content Hub." The site will launch tomorrow at 5:30 pm Central Time.

As time permits, I hope to discuss the woeful lack of media coverage regarding the Dr. Kermit Gosnell trial. Also, Democrat Jim Graves recently announced that he will once again challenge Rep. Michele Bachmann for US House in 2014.

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.....


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Plug your ears, scream LA-LA-LA-LA....

The story of abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell can be summed up in one photo:

That is the seating area for members of the media covering the trial of Gosnell, the Philadelphia area who physician who has been charged with eight counts of murder (seven newborns and one adult female).

It would appear the leftist mainstream media is loathe to cover such a story, and one could conceivably boil it down to three reasons. Mr. Gosnell is 1) an abortionist (aka staunchly "pro choice"), 2) a Democrat and 3) a minority. In addition, if there is adequate reporting on the horrors of "aborting" fetuses born alive after a failed in-womb abortion, this could potentially put President Barack Obama in an unfavorable light. Remember, as an Illinois State Senator, Obama voted against proposed legislation that would have mandated medical care to fetuses surviving in abortion. For a politician so prolific in voting "present" on so many issues, this "no" vote leave little to interpret on Obama's radical pro choice beliefs.

Only because of alternative sources such as right wing blogs, social media, online conservative talk shows, etc., has this story been able to reach the masses. Only as a result of shaming several media empires have the members of the MSM vowed to commit more resources to it.

If you think about it, the MSM's behavior during this Gosnell saga is not all that different from their woeful coverage (and dare I say complicity) in the misstatements of the Benghazi incident. When it was pretty much obvious to anyone with a half a brain that the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was not in response to an anti-Islam video, but rather an Al-Qaeda terrorist attack, many in the media seemingly dropped the coverage or did little to no followup. Again, one could deduce the reasoning for such a lack of media curiosity being that a terrorist attack flies in the fact of an Obama narrative. More specifically, their one major foreign policy achievement, the capture and killing of AQ leader Osama bin Laden, essentially crippled that terrorist organization. Once again, if most of the media performed their due diligence and discovered so close to the Presidential election that Al-Qaeda being severely weakened was indeed not the case, how eager would they have been to report such a thing?

As we've seen over the past 20-30 years, far too many journalists seem to have a warped perspective of their role in society.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bringing a moose rifle to a knife fight

Let's face it: former Republican VP candidate and ex-Alaska governor Sarah Palin will never be a contender for elected office again. I don't consider that a bad thing from the standpoint that she's able to be unleashed against lefty lunacy.

Remember two years ago when Palin was essentially blamed for the mass shooting in Tucson, AZ? Apparently her putting a crosshair symbol on a map of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Congressional District (a way of saying that Giffords' district was being targeted for a Republican electoral takeover) was the catalyst for gunman Jared Loughner to pop off several rounds into a crowd gathered to meet with Rep. Giffords. So indignant was the political left over Palin's "violence-provoking rhetoric" that there was an outcry for a "new tone." That is we should no longer be using metaphors like "targeting", "taking out that candidate", "in the crosshairs", etc. Of course, given how the political left is a perpetually angry lot, there's no way they would ever have the self-discipline to maintain that standard. Despite CNN's John King apologizing for a guest using "crosshair" as a metaphor within two weeks of the Tucson incident, the left and the media (PTR) have pretty much abandoned that effort while attempting to hold conservatives to that mantra.

Speaking of CNN, they recently announced that they're considering the resurrection of their old debate show Crossfire. In light of that news, Palin reminded the network of their finger-wagging over "violent rhetoric."

“I find it interesting that CNN recently disclosed that their old ‘Crossfire’ show might hit their airwaves again. Wasn’t CNN among those who issued blistering criticism about the use of a ‘crossfire’ icon in 2010 to represent political districts we wished to see represented by common-sense conservatives?”

Well, technically it was a crosshair icon, but the overall point is valid. After all, the term "crossfire" fits within the leftist interpretation of forbidden rhetoric.

How about the latest MSNBC ad, featuring one of the network's show hosts, Melissa Harris-Perry? Apparently she believes your kids don't belong totally to you, and thus we should embrace this collectivist notion that your kids are also our kids.

Once again, Palin responded as only she could:

The left found out the hard way what happens when they attempt to infringe upon the second amendment rights of U.S. citizens. I can't imagine what kind of lunacy runs through their collective noggins when they insinuate they should have a hand in raising others' kids.

At the risk of using a violent metaphor, I see the proverbial slaying of Palin by the leftists and media (again, PTR) equivalent to Darth Vader taking out Obi Wan Kenobi. As the two were battling it out, Kenobi said "You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine." The point being is Palin likely wouldn't have the luxury of such candor if she held some sort of political office. Truth be told, I prefer her in her current role. 


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Margaret Thatcher: 1925-2013

As more political icons pass away and we reminisce through a retrospective of their lives and careers, we come to realize today how we are in such short supply of bold leadership.

Former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher died in a suite at the Ritz (Monday) after suffering a severe stroke.

Britain's first and only female political leader passed away peacefully aged 87, after battling poor health for more than a decade.

After a minor operation over Christmas, Baroness Thatcher had spent the past few months recuperating at the five-star hotel in central London.

The Iron Lady was given 24-hour care by nursing staff in her suite, after becoming too frail to stay in her Belgravia home.

The grocer's daughter, who became the longest serving British prime minister of the 20th century, will be honoured with a full ceremonial funeral - one step below a state funeral - at St Paul's Cathedral next week.

Not since Winston Churchill's death has a politician been granted such a tribute. His funeral was also held there in 1965.

While Lady Thatcher earned the nickname "The Iron Lady" for a reason, some people didn't convey that title in a complimentary tone. A conservative woman being vilified didn't originate with Sarah Palin in 2008. No, Lady Thatcher dealt with it on a much larger scale since she actually obtained substantive power. As such, it shouldn't be a surprise that in her death Thatcher's contributions as a female in power were called into question.

Amanda Foreman, who writes for the UK Daily Mail, had some rather pointed words for Thatcher's detractors in a piece she wrote just over a year ago.

When Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, her constituency office in Finchley was picketed by a group of self-styled ‘wimmin’ who complained: ‘We want women’s right’s — not a Right-wing woman.’

Here, boldly stated in black-and-white, was Thatcher’s crime. Her brand of women’s rights — the right to compete, fight, and succeed on equal terms with men — did not fit the fashionable orthodoxies of Left-wing feminism. She wasn’t interested in banning, separating, promoting, or defining: she was interested in winning.

Definitely read the whole thing.

I highlighted the above paragraphs because that's where Ms. Foreman really got to the heart of the matter. The political left is all for breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling, provided it's one of their own who breaks through. But when a conservative woman does so, it's somehow illegitimate. Apparently it's the political left's birthright to enact social progress.

My friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg also shared his thoughts over at his place. Included in his post are some terrific video clips highlighting some of Lady Thatcher's bold leadership during her time as Prime Minister.

One of my favorite Lady Thatcher moments was her tribute to President Ronald Reagan upon his death in 2004. Despite her own failing health, she was determined to fulfill the wishes of President Reagan by participating in his funeral services. Even though she was advised by medical staff to not partake in such global travel, she attended the services nonetheless, but pre-recorded her eulogy.

Integrity, grace and determination to the end.


Monday, April 08, 2013

Box score of the week

The Detroit Tigers hosted the Chicago White Sox on a July evening back in 1990.



Sunday, April 07, 2013

And times that are broken can often be one again....

A lot to get to this week on The Closer, which will be in its usual 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time slot.

At 1:15, State Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Red Wing) will join the program via phone. This past week, Rep. Kelly will discuss his part in introducing a same-sex civil unions bill, which could take the place of legislation legalizing same-sex "marriage."

Then at 2:15, I'll talk to one the stalwarts of the future of national conservatism, 17-year old Madeleine McAulay. Madeleine has received national notoriety for her activism, including a guest appearance on the Fox News program Fox and Friends. She also attended CPAC last month and had some strong opinions on how conservatism is (or is not) appealing to today's youth.

In other segments, I'll likely address the continuing debacle with the Vikings stadium. Sen. Sean Nienow and Rep. Mary Franson recently introduced a bill to delay construction until the state's portion of the funding for this project is adequately addressed. Also, we'll chat about yesterday's State Central Committee meeting where MN GOP delegates held an election for leadership positions.

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, April 04, 2013

The balcony is now closed

On Tuesday, I read a piece in the Chicago Sun Times how renown film critic Roger Ebert was taking a "Leave of Presence" from his work due to his cancer returning. The meaning behind the phrase "leave of presence" was the idea that he would not review nearly as many movies but, at the same time, was not going away altogether. Ebert's piece also referenced how he was collaborating with Martin Scorsese, Steve James (he of Hoop Dreams) and Steve Zaillian on a bio-documentary about his life.

However, in less than 48 hours after that blog post, many were shocked to learn that Ebert succumbed to his struggle so quickly.

Ebert, 70, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, and who was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago.

“We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away,” said his wife, Chaz Ebert. “No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.”

He had been in poor health over the past decade, battling cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland.

He lost part of his lower jaw in 2006, and with it the ability to speak or eat, a calamity that would have driven other men from the public eye. But Ebert refused to hide, instead forging what became a new chapter in his career, an extraordinary chronicle of his devastating illness that won him a new generation of admirers. “No point in denying it,” he wrote, analyzing his medical struggles with characteristic courage, candor and wit, a view that was never tinged with bitterness or self-pity.

While I was more familiar with Ebert on TV, where he displayed occasional pomposity as a know-it-all film critic, the internet (specifically his Twitter page) showed more of an insufferable side when it concerned anything of a political nature. A Chicago liberal through and through, Ebert seemed almost giddy in his review of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Charlie Wilson's War, two films which didn't exactly cast Republicans in a favorable light. Despite that, I never got a sense Ebert used the almost universal respect he earned as a film critic to further any political agenda while conveying a movie review. As time went on, I actually gained a measure of respect for Ebert in that he was willing to disclose his ideological leanings if indeed a film dealt with political subject matter. He then left it up to the reader to ascertain whether his beliefs resulted in a biased review. Despite the fact he disagreed with the premise contained in the title of the 2004 film Michael Moore Hates America (written and directed by my friend Michael Wilson), Ebert focused on the content of the film itself and actually gave it a positive review.

In what has become such a politically-charged culture, it's a rare thing when a public figure outside of politics (who has very passionate beliefs in that area) can perform his/her work without using it as a platform to convey their beliefs. So many high profile figures today would do well to emulate the professionalism Ebert displayed for nearly a half century.


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Wrong focus

With a majority of mainstream media outlets no longer even attempting to shield their biases, the Associated Press decided to add to the malaise with a change to Stylebook.

Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll explains:

The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term “illegal immigrant” or the use of “illegal” to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that “illegal” should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.

Why did we make the change?

The discussions on this topic have been wide-ranging and include many people from many walks of life. (Earlier, they led us to reject descriptions such as “undocumented,” despite ardent support from some quarters, because it is not precise. A person may have plenty of documents, just not the ones required for legal residence.)

Those discussions continued even after AP affirmed “illegal immigrant” as the best use, for two reasons.

A number of people felt that “illegal immigrant” was the best choice at the time. They also believed the always-evolving English language might soon yield a different choice and we should stay in the conversation.

Also, we had in other areas been ridding the Stylebook of labels. The new section on mental health issues argues for using credibly sourced diagnoses instead of labels. Saying someone was “diagnosed with schizophrenia” instead of schizophrenic, for example.

And that discussion about labeling people, instead of behavior, led us back to “illegal immigrant” again.

We concluded that to be consistent, we needed to change our guidance.

So we have.

I'm just spit-balling here, but perhaps there's a simpler solution. How about using the correct freaking terminology in the first place??? You see, the phrase "illegal immigrant" is a misnomer. The term "immigrant" has been used to describe someone who has gone through the proper channels to obtain legal status and thus permanently reside in the country. Until that happens, that person is not an "immigrant." With that in mind, those who are not citizens of this country are "aliens." So for those non-residents of the U.S. who are, say, visiting the country on work visas, they are "legal aliens." But those who are in the U.S. establishing residency without going through the proper channels are "illegal aliens."

Seems like the AP is emphasizing the wrong issue here.