Sunday, June 30, 2013

Are you always in confusion? Surrounded by illusion?

Forget invoking a third hour of The Closer. With all the news this past week, we could literally go for four hours. Alas, the normal 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central time slot will have to suffice.

Right off the bat at 1:00, MN State Senator Dave Thompson will call in to the program. Senator Thompson announced just this past week that he is indeed seeking the GOP nomination for Governor of Minnesota.

At 2:15, the program's official political wonk Matt Mackowiak will be checking in. Matt will discuss immigration reform (which passed the U.S. Senate this past week), the Supreme Court decisions on Voters Rights Act & same-sex marriage as well as the battle over SB 5 in his home state of Texas.

If time permits, I will weigh in on the Ryan Winkler kerfuffle as well as the vacuous bobbleheads with Alliance for a Better Minnesota and their pathetic attempts to smear Republican candidates for statewide offices.

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, or check us out via iheart radio.

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, June 28, 2013

Nobody wins

For better or worse, many online venues (especially Twitter) seem to be the most prolific places where one can adequately glean public sentiments of a major news story. One story in particular which many have been weighing in on is the George Zimmerman murder trial.

If you recall, it was February 2012 when Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, FL. Martin, who was black, was said by some to be a victim of racial profiling by the non-black Zimmerman. But Zimmerman's account was that he shot Martin in self defense. After approaching an unarmed Martin while performing his duties as head of his neighborhood's watch program, Zimmerman sustained a broken nose and lacerations to the back of his head. Upon being questioned by Sanford police, Zimmerman was treated and released after police found no evidence to contradict his account. However, approximately two months later, Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder.

What has disturbed me most about the general reactions of this case is the truth has become a casualty. If Zimmerman is acquitted (and if early testimony is any indication, the murder charge may have been a bit of an overreach), there's been predictions of race riots that would dwarf what happened in the aftermath of the Martin Luther King shooting and LAPD acquittals of the Rodney King beating. There have also been several tweets threatening Zimmerman's life or that of another "cracker." The whole purpose of this trial is to sift through eyewitness accounts of the incident, as well as the forensic evidence obtained, in an effort to properly reach a verdict. The fact that many are taking sides in this case as if it were a football game should shake every American to his/her core.

Unfortunately, race is one factor in why people are hoping for a certain outcome. Another issue is the obligatory attack on Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. Whenever a high profile shooting occurs in this country, the first thing to happen is the "gun control" advocates exploit the incident in an effort to alleviate the existence of firearms. On the other side, ardent Second Amendment supporters push back, concerned that the unintended consequences of politicians implementing knee-jerk gun legislation will suppress their rights. As a result, you have many Americans paying rapt attention to this case not so much in the interest of seeing justice prevail but to ascertain how this will impact their own self interests.

This all seems to fly directly in the face of objectivity.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Marriage decisions

When the oral arguments were being heard three months ago on Defense of Marriage Act and California's Prop 8 (a ballot initiative which defined marriage in California as solely between a man and a woman), I made the following predictions:

(M)y 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.

DOMA was indeed struck down, which in and of itself was no surprise. However, I didn't expect it to be one of those razor thin 5-4 majorities.

The vote in the case striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act was 5 to 4, and Justice Kennedy was joined by the four members of the court’s liberal wing. The ruling will immediately extend many benefits to couples married in the states that allow such unions, and it will allow the Obama administration to broaden other benefits through executive actions.
I am rather perplexed that the so-called "conservative" wing of the court would vote to supersede states rights by upholding DOMA. For what it's worth, you can read excerpts of Justice Antonin Scalia's scathing dissent here

Since the DOMA decision was announced first, I glanced over some of the majority opinion. Given the rationale handed down, I hopped on Twitter with the optimistic prediction that California's Prop 8, which was voted into law by the state's citizens in November 2008, would be allowed to stand.

Oh, how wrong I was.....sort of.

The case concerning California’s ban on same-sex marriage, enacted in a ballot initiative known as Proposition 8, was decided on technical grounds, with the majority saying that it was not properly before the court. Because officials in California had declined to appeal a trial court’s decision against them, and because the proponents of the ban were not entitled to step into the state’s shoes to appeal the decision, the court said, it was powerless to issue a decision. That left in place a trial court victory for two same-sex couples who had sought to marry.

The vote in the California case was also 5 to 4, but with a different and very unusual alignment of justices. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the majority opinion, and he was joined by Justice Scalia and Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Elena Kagan. The four dissenters — Justice Kennedy and Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Sonia Sotomayor — said they would have decided whether Proposition 8 was constitutional. But they did not say how they would have voted.

A couple of thoughts regarding this ruling.
  • Like with the Obamacare decision last year, CJ Roberts seemingly was the deciding vote. With Obamacare, he pulled what someone dubbed a "constitutional finesse" by allowing the individual mandate to stand. See, the government could not legally compel commerce (i.e. require someone to purchase health insurance). However, if the I.M. were a "tax", which government has the ability to levy in certain circumstances, the Obamacare law could stand. Many interpreted Roberts' mindset as a subtle message to the people, saying that it's your job to elect a new President and new Congress if you want the law overturned. I couldn't help but think that perhaps Roberts was also delivering some sort of subtle message with the Prop 8 ruling. That message would be to have an actual government official stand up for your referendum in question and we'll not only hear the case but render a decision accordingly.  

  • The ruling on Prop 8 essentially renders meaningless the will of the people, who voted said proposition into law. While two different Federal courts declared the law unconstitutional, both also decided on a stay (i.e. no same-sex marriages would be granted in accordance with Prop 8) until the Supreme Court handed down its ruling. In the 4-1/2 years since the ballot measure passed, polling has shown that Californians have evolved on the same-sex marriage issue to the point where the majority of the state's citizens support such a union. With that in mind, the wiser course would have been for said citizens to have Prop 8 repealed via the legislative process as opposed to judicial fiat. You may believe that Prop 8 is wrong, but it should also bother you that there seemed to be a compromise in the separation of powers. 

At the end of the day, there are no additional states (other than California, once the SCOTUS opinion is finalized) that have to recognize gay marriage. And for the immediate future, the issue will indeed be left for the states to decide. Even with the overturning of DOMA, states still don't have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

As for the long-term future? Both sides are gearing up for the next phase of this battle.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It doesn't take a Harvard degree..... know that calling a black person "Uncle Tom" is racist.

That said, someone who actually has a Harvard degree essentially did that very thing today.

In reacting to the 5-4 Supreme Court decision to rework the Voters Right Act of 1965 (a statute where voting laws of southern states were basically under Federal purview), Minnesota state representative Ryan Winkler (D-Golden Valley) put out the following tweet:

Great job by my pal John Rouleau, Executive Director at Minnesota Majority, for capturing a snapshot of the tweet before Winkler deleted it. 

Of course, many inquired as to what Winkler could have possibly been thinking by tweeting out such rhetoric. When the inevitable backlash ensued, Winkler eventually came back with the following:

Yeah, the only debate that exists is whether or not people actually view Justice Thomas as the equivalent to Uncle Tom. There's never been a heckuva lot of debate over what the connotation implies.

With that said, Kevin Williamson of National Review Online had a question for Minnesota Democrats.

If Ryan Winkler did not think that “Uncle Tom” was a racist slur, what, exactly, did he think it meant?

As I write this, Minnesota DFL chair Ken Martin has yet to comment publicly. He was asked via Twitter if he agreed with Winkler's statement to which he replied with a pithy "Nope."

I've never met Winkler personally but the kind of reckless bombast he displayed today should come as no shock to anyone who has followed him on Twitter (or constituents for that matter). He'll regularly engage in verbal battles via Twitter with political colleagues and constituents alike. My friend and local radio host Jack Tomczak often threw out invitations to Winkler to appear on his show. Jack had once told me that the reasoning behind the invites is Winkler is such an undisciplined individual (he once called a private citizen an "a-hole" on Twitter) that he could create a buffet of embarrassing soundbites.

Some called this Winkler blunder the rhetorical equivalent of accidentally texting his "junk." The question now is will Winkler be asked by DFL party leaders to resign? Winkler himself has now ruled out his potential run for MN Secretary of State. 

The only other question remaining is how much (if at all) the local media will cover this story? It's one of the rare evenings where I'll actually tune in to some local news.


The immigration fight

The battle to implement immigration reform cleared a major hurdle in the U.S. Senate Monday evening. In a 67-27 vote (4 Republicans and 2 Democrats did not vote due to being caught in travel delays), cloture was passed on the Leahy amendment to S. 744. All 53 Democrats present voted "yes", while Republicans voted "no" in a near 2-1 margin (27-14 to be exact).

For top Senate Dems like Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, the goal for final passage of immigration reform is 70 "yea" votes. The reason for that threshold is simple: It would in essence send a message to the U.S. House that this bill has strong bipartisan support. Failure to pass this bill, House Republicans, and you'll once again be in the minority. You'll recall the gun control fight a few months ago where there needed to be sixty yea votes in the Senate in order to pass the legislation being debated. The idea was that the GOP-controlled House would then not pass such a measure, a fact that could be used against them in the 2014 election cycle. As such, the Dems hoped to regain the majority in the House and thus allow President Obama to have carte blanche the final two years of his Presidency (just like he had the first two years). But that strategy was foiled when the Senate did not attain the necessary sixty votes. However, that doesn't appear to be the case for S.744.

What's most infuriating to me about this whole saga in the continued ineptitude in Washington regarding immigration law already on the books. The fact is any non-citizens who are in the U.S. illegally are, by law, supposed to be deported back to their home country. But since the Federal government and its layers of bureaucracy are so inefficient (they can't even efficiently operate the US Postal Service for crying out loud), laws aren't enforced and suddenly it's a free-for-all for illegal aliens. And when laws are suddenly treated as mere suggestions, you have a president who hands down an executive order allowing illegal aliens under age 30 to stay in the country indefinitely, provided they haven't committed a crime (the fact they're in the U.S. illegally apparently doesn't weigh in). I guess that was President Obama's way of strong-arming Congress into passing a law that, once again, will be so monstrous and complex that it too will likely not be enforced properly.

Many of my fellow conservatives fear that if indeed this current legislation is passed, it will create a whole new voter group for Democrats which may result in a Republican never again being elected President of the United States. While I understand that concern, that just is not nearly a sufficient enough reason to maintain the status quo.

There's no question the immigration system needs to be fixed. Unfortunately, as is all too often the case, the issue at hand is not being engaged because it's the right thing to do. No, it appears that this is yet another issue where the temptation of political opportunity will trump practicality.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Box Score of the week

The New York Yankees traveled to the old Comiskey Park to take on the Chicago White Sox.


In the modern era of Major League Baseball, there have been ten teams which have scored at least one run in a game while being no-hit.

In this week's featured game, the White Sox scored the most runs in a single contest (four) without having collected a hit the entire game.....and they won the game to boot.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Shoulder to shoulder, push and shove; I'm hangin' up my boxin' gloves.....

After a rare and well-deserved week off last Sunday, I will be back in the Patriot bunker this afternoon. As usual, The Closer will air from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time.

Right at 1:00, Jim Abeler will call into the program. Abeler, who is a 15-year MN House member representing Anoka and a part of Ramsey, announced this past week he is looking to challenge Senator Al Franken next year.

Then for the entire 2:00 hour, I will be joined in studio by basketball wonk Mike McCollow. For the first half of the hour, we will discuss the Miami Heat's repeat as NBA champions as well as the upcoming NBA draft. Then for the final two segments, we will reflect on the life of Mike's personal friend Vince Flynn. Just this past Wednesday, Vince lost his nearly three-year battle with prostate cancer.

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, or check us out via iheart radio.

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, June 20, 2013

Vince Flynn: 1966-2013

May 2010 - A photo op with authors Vince Flynn (left) and Steve Rushin

I'll admit that the Wednesday morning headline stating "MN Author Vince Flynn dies at 47" made me gasp. While I was aware of Flynn's diagnosis of prostate cancer (he went public with in early 2011), his October 2012 interview on The Tom Barnard podcast seemed to indicate he was getting better. But as I listened Wednesday to the many interviews given by many who knew Flynn well, this outcome, while devastating, was not completely out of the blue.

While Flynn's prostate cancer seemed to be in remission, it had metastasized before receiving his official diagnosis nearly three years ago. In subsequent interviews, Flynn was brutally honest about his ignoring the hip pain he had endured prior to said diagnosis. Many now surmise that the pain was the cancer spreading to his bones. However, in the months after the public announcement of his ailment, Flynn never let on how dire his prognosis actually was, as he continued to be in good spirits whenever he made public appearances. In fact, he used his situation as a platform to advocate for middle aged men to receive prostate cancer screenings regularly.

Flynn, a Twin Cities native, also had a great personal story. With his desire to serve in the US Marine Corps being derailed due to a medical issue, Flynn went on to a successful career in corporate America. However, he never let go of his aspirations to be a successful author despite being stricken with dyslexia. Flynn left his high-paying corporate job to focus on writing his first novel. While working as a bartender at O'Gara's Bar & Grill in St. Paul, Flynn self-published his first book called Term Limits after receiving upwards of 60 rejection letters.

A few years after Term Limits, Flynn dove into a series of fictional political thrillers centered around a counter-terrorism agent named Mitch Rapp. The Rapp series spawned a total of thirteen novels, many of which were New York Times bestsellers. Yet despite that enormous success, Flynn still lived full time in the Twin Cities with wife Lysa and three children. Many who knew Flynn intimately (and thus chose to speak about him upon his death) said he was the exact same hard-working and humble human being they knew from his high school days at St Thomas Academy, his collegiate years at St Paul's University of St. Thomas or the struggling author who sought venues to publicize his works. His closest friends in Twin Cities talk radio, Tom Barnard, Joe Soucheray and Dan Barreiro, would still receive regular Flynn visits to their respective shows even though he hardly needed their promotional assistance. It was that type of loyalty which embodied the man who knew scores of world leaders on a first name basis.

I actually had the honor of meeting Flynn once, in May of 2010. Our mutual friend Mike McCollow invited him to the book signing of Mike's best friend (and Sports Illustrated columnist) Steve Rushin, who himself was first delving in to the world of fictional novels. While chatting with Flynn, I found him to be one of the kindest, most affable in the category of wildly successful people. I have always enjoyed a wonderful human interest story, and Flynn's background was one of genuine grit and perseverance. Ironically, Rushin's book signing that evening was at O'Gara's, the very establishment where Flynn worked while pursuing his dream.

Part of Flynn's indelible spirit was his generosity, whether it be with his time or finances. He held myriad fundraisers publicly to support military families and was said to have done even more privately. Having sold millions of books worldwide, it's safe to say that Flynn was a terrific author. Somehow it seems pretty clear that he was an even better man.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXXI (MNGOP edition)

- After very little noise on the GOP front to provide opposition to Minnesota's junior U.S. Senator Al Franken, there was actually some rumblings Tuesday.

After giving serious consideration to running for Senate in 2014, conservative radio talk show host Jason Lewis cited the "Establishment Party" as the reason he is not entering the fray (translation: I won't be able to raise the money needed to run a competitive campaign).

Also on Tuesday morning, MN House member Jim Abeler (who happens to be my representative) announced he is forming a start-up committee to oppose Franken.

In my opinion, Abeler would be a tough sale amongst Republicans. Despite endorsing Ron Paul for President in 2012, Abeler is notorious for supporting bigger government in the form of mass transit subsidies, the new Vikings stadium and the MN Health Exchange. However, Abeler may appeal to some social conservatives since he voted "yes" on the MN Marriage Amendment two years ago and then, in one of the more passionate defenses of traditional marriage, voted "no" to legalize same-sex marriage last month. Again, given that history as a state rep, it seems an odd juxtaposition that he endorsed the libertarian Paul.

Abler now joins businessman Mike McFadden as the only Republicans in the race. Never heard of McFadden? Well, there's a legit reason for that. You see McFadden happened to declare his candidacy on Wednesday, May 29. That was also the day Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann garnered not only local but national headlines when she announced early that morning she would not seek a fifth term in the U.S. House.

- Speaking of being lost in the shuffle, a Republican challenger to Minnesota CD1 Congressman Tim Walz has emerged.

MN State Rep. Mike Benson announced Monday that he would seek to unseat Walz. Benson made the announcement outside a Ramada hotel in Rochester. Andy Parrish, who will apparently be working on the Benson campaign, tweeted a photo of the announcement locale, a tweet which elicited a classic zinger from Michael Brodkorb.

- I live in MN Congressional District Six, the same CD represented by the outgoing Bachmann. I am a delegate in said district and consider myself "in the know" when it comes to potential candidates lining up to replace Bachmann. 

With that in mind, the following announcement was made recently:

(MN State) Sen. John Pederson (R-St. Cloud) will run for Congress in Minnesota’s 6th District. It is the seat currently held by Michelle Bachmann who has recently said she will not be seeking re-election.

Pederson said, “I have practically lived the sixth Congressional District my whole life and I have good understanding what working families and their employers are experiencing in this current economic environment.”

Pederson, a Wright County native, was born in Glencoe and raised in Buffalo on a farm in Maple Lake Township where his parents still live today.

Seems like a standard, run-of-the-mill declaration of candidacy. One problem: the time stamp on the article was this past Friday just before 2:00 pm. Even in a normal summer season, many folks in these parts are out of town and off the grid for the weekend by early Friday afternoon at the latest. As such, Pederson's intentions weren't even widely known until Monday.

Again, a couple of well-known Minnesota political observers had this exchange on Twitter:

Look, it's been very well documented over the past couple of years the difficult financial issues within the MN Republican party. It's unlikely they'll be able to lend a lot of support to GOP candidates who are in difficult races. So with that said, it's probably a good idea that the aforementioned candidates cease with the self-inflicted wounds since they're likely to have to be more self reliant over the next 16-1/2 months of campaigning.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Box Score of the week.

Like last week, I am featuring a game from the year 1966. In this one, the Atlanta Braves were in Shea Stadium to take on the New York Mets in September of that season.


My friend Mr. D correctly surmised this game was the Major League debut of Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. 

In this game, Ryan recorded the first of his 5,714 career strikeouts, which makes him the all-time strikeout leader, and it's a record that will assuredly never be topped. 


Sunday, June 16, 2013

BC out; EJ in

Today I will be taking a rare and well deserved break from a grueling one broadcast per week schedule on my radio program. In my stead, the lovely and talented EJ Haust will be taking the reigns from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central.

Amongst the myriad topics she'll address, EJ will also be joined by author Brad Thor. Not only will they be talking about Brad's latest book, they'll also discuss much of what's happening with the NSA and the PRISM system.

So please give EJ a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss any of the topics she plans 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, or check us out via iheart radio.

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, June 14, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXX

- Given the developments in Syria, the U.S. is supposedly going to intervene on behalf of the rebels looking to overthrow the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad. Mark Steyn, in his regular Thursday appearance on The Hugh Hewitt Show, vehemently opposes any U.S. intervention in that mess. As such, Steyn feels we should employ Henry Kissinger-type cynicism in the motif of the Iran-Iraq war in that it's a shame they both can't lose.

Anyhow, the rationale behind supplying the rebels with ammo is due to the fact al-Assad used chemical weapons against said rebels.

Whoa, chemical weapons?!?! As in weapons of mass destruction?!?! Wherever would Syria obtain such an arsenal?

- In the midst of revelations last week that the NSA was collecting massive amounts of Americans' personal data via multiple online venues, reactions have included outrage, resignation and, believe it or not, apathy

Yes, apparently the mindset of some in the citizenry was to acquiesce to the NSA's operation with the mindset of "I have nothing to hide."

Let that sink in for a minute.

If our civil liberties are indeed under attack when people actually put up a fight to maintain them, how the heck does one expect to ever get them back if one allows them to be taken without so much as a whimper?

Oh, and one more thing. Just because you believe that your personal information shows nothing incriminating does not necessarily mean that "Big Brother" is of the same opinion.

- I will be taking a rare and well deserved break from my radio program this Sunday, but am leaving it in very capable hands. The delightful EJ Haust will be hosting The Closer in its regular 1:00-3:00 PM Central time slot.

You'll definitely want to check out the program if you're able, as EJ has already given me the inside scoop as to some of the things she has planned.

That's all I'll say for now.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Expanding the field

With former gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer being the first Republican to join the US House race for MN Congressional District Six, it was hard to imagine anyone could top his grand entrance. Having lost by a scant 0.5% in a state wide race in 2010 (but securing an 18-point margin of victory in CD6), Emmer was by far the favorite given his name recognition (co-hosting a morning drive-time radio show has only enhanced that) and fundraising prowess. This hardly went unnoticed by other potential candidates, as the likes of former Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, state senators Michelle Benson & Branden Peterson and state representatives David Fitzsimmons & Peggy Scott declined to jump in to the race. In fact, Koch even went so far as to endorse Emmer before he officially made his announcement last week.

But as of yesterday morning, Emmer now has one opponent for the GOP nomination.

The chair of Anoka County's Board of Commissioners is the second Republican to announce a run for Congress in the state's most GOP-leaning district, where Michele Bachmann has decided not to seek re-election.

"It's time to change things in Washington, and my record in Anoka County shows that I am uniquely qualified to get the job done," said Rhonda Sivarajah, 47, of Lino Lakes, who has been on the board since 2003 and chair since 2011.

I've said from the outset that it's a very good thing for frontrunner Emmer to be pushed a bit. And given that CD6 is an R +10 district, both candidates will try to outflank each other on the political right.

Sivarajah, who made her announcement Wednesday morning in the auto repair shop of a supporter in Ham Lake, said the key difference between her and Emmer is he's been talking about conservative principles but "I've actually been able to implement them and get things done and deliver real results."

She also pledged to be similar ideologically but less high-profile than Bachmann, a national lightning rod for criticism from the left and accolades from the right.

"I can tell you that you probably would have a pretty dull life, as media. I think that that really is the difference. I think we have a lot of the same core beliefs, I think the difference is maybe in the approach," Sivarajah said.

Also, the Emmer-Sivarajah matchup is somewhat of a deja vu pairing as Sivarajah was the Lt. Gov. running mate to Marty Seifert in 2010. It was Seifert who was Emmer's top challenger for the GOP endorsement that year. I don't know how much (if at all) that will be a factor. Since Seifert is a resident of CD7, a possible endorsement of Sivarajah may not mean a whole lot amongst CD6 constituents.

As a conservative living in CD6, I personally welcome more quality candidates to this race. Again, since this district is solidly red, there's no reason to have to "settle" for a particular ideology or personality type. Admittedly, that is a welcome change of pace.

I guess this means I can add another name to the roster of potential guests for my radio show. That too is a serendipity!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Box Score of the week

We're going back a ways, all the way to 1966 in this case. The Cincinnati Reds hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates in a high scoring affair which went into extra innings.


The Reds' Art Shamsky hit three home runs in this game despite not being in the starting lineup. He is the only player in MLB history to accomplish such a feat. 


Sunday, June 09, 2013

I call the shots, don't need a Fleet Street team...

If these news intensive weeks continue, the Northern Alliance Radio Network may have to invoke a third hour. Until then, this week's edition of the The Closer will be on the air in the usual 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central time slot.

I'll be sure and address the latest with the candidates in MN Congressional District Six, as former GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer declared his candidacy Wednesday.

On the national level, we'll undoubtedly discuss the NSA data mining program and how President Obama has lost even his staunchest apologists.

At 2:15, friend of the show Karin Housley will be in studio.

Karin, who is in the midst of her first term as a MN State Senator representing SD 39, will discuss the disastrous legislative session wrapped up a few weeks ago. And since Karin is a radio personality in her own right, we'll probably discuss assorted other topics, including real estate, family, summer activities, etc. And I also heard Karin will have a prominent position in the Emmer for Congress campaign, so we'll discuss that as well. 

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, or check us out via iheart radio.

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, June 07, 2013

Anything you can do, I can do better.

It's pretty obvious that whatever story reported on the goings-on in our government, people are going to view it through their own political prism (no pun intended). When it was revealed during President George W. Bush's administration that the National Security Agency was collecting phone records in an effort to extract information regarding possible terrorist activities, many on the left suddenly became constitutional purists and demanded yet again that Bush be impeached. On the flip side, many on the right lauded the program, insisting that it had assisted in thwarting potential terror attacks. Apparently we were just supposed to take the Bush administration's word for it because the methodology of how the attacks were stopped was top secret stuff, dontcha know.

While I am not necessarily defending Bush's program, the fact of the matter is the data extracted in that particular NSA program dealt only with calls originating overseas into the United States and vice versa. We were also told that the government only made additional inquiries into said calls only when reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing existed. Again, because of it being top secret stuff, "shut up" they explained.

When on the campaign trail in 2008, then presidential candidate Barack Obama chided President Bush for adding $5 trillion to the national debt in an eight-year span. I believe the term Obama used back in the summer of '08 was "unpatriotic." Obama then proceed to add $6 trillion of debt in a mere four years. I bring that up because back in October 2005, then Senator Obama made a speech regarding the Patriot Act, essentially calling out the Bush Administration.

“…And if someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document – through library books they’ve read and phone calls they’ve made – this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law. No judge will hear their plea, no jury will hear their case. This is just plain wrong.Giving law enforcement the tools they need to investigate suspicious activity is one thing – and it’s the right thing – but doing it without any real oversight seriously jeopardizes the rights of all Americans and the ideals America stands for.”

Now that Obama is President, apparently he's "evolved" on the issue of "fishing expeditions."

President Obama on Friday defended the government’s collection of data on the phone records of millions of Americans, saying that it was a modest encroachment on privacy and one he thinks is both lawful and justified in order to identify terrorists plotting to attack the United States.

Obama emphasized that the government does not collect information on individual callers or eavesdrop on Americans’ conversations without a warrant. He said he would welcome a debate on the classified surveillance effort as well as the previously secret workings of a second program that gathers the e-mails and other digital content of targeted foreigners outside the United States from major American Internet companies.

The programs “make a difference in our capacity to anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity,” Obama said.

Since Obama was able to top Bush in the national debt contest, why not also best him in the area personal record collection?

The bottom line is some U.S. citizens may acquiesce to these "modest encroachments" if indeed there were some comfort level that actual terrorist threats were impeded. Unfortunately, given how multiple warning signs regarding the Boston Marathon bombers were either bungled or ignored, you'll have to forgive the American people if they're cynical about their personal information not being compromised.


Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Another look at Chris Christie?

When Texas governor Rick Perry entered the GOP Presidential race in August 2011, he became the instant favorite amongst many conservatives barely before he uttered a word ---- which may have been the problem. About as fast as one could say the word "Gardasil", as well as enduring sub par debate performances, Perry had fallen out of favor. Once that happened, does anyone recall who many considered a viable conservative alternative to Perry? It was none other than New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

The intrigue behind a Christie candidacy stemmed from the fact he could make tough, sensible fiscal decisions all the while exhibiting a tenacious leadership style that was sorely lacking amongst the crop of GOP presidential hopefuls. At the time, it seemed as though the only declared candidate who was willing to talk tough without fear of consequences was Newt Gingrich. Unfortunately, Gingrich had more baggage than a Delta Airlines carousel, thus severely hindering his prospects.

While I appreciated the pining for a Christie candidacy in 2012, I never understood the rationale that he was to the right of Perry politically. Sure, Christie was able to tackle a $2.2 billion budget deficit without raising taxes (though he vowed to eventually cut taxes once the fiscal house was in order). But lost in a respectable fiscal policy was the fact the Christie was an advocate for New Jersey's tight gun control laws, which includes an assault weapons ban and magazine capacity restrictions. He also supported alternative energy such as wind and solar power, both of which have been an abject failures when there have been attempts to implement them. Christie has also been sucked in to the humans-cause-global-warming bit.

But what really sent some conservatives over the edge was Christie's friendly photo ops with President Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Since many of those appearances took place less than a month before the 2012 general election, many felt it undermined Mitt Romney's campaign and thus tilted the election towards Obama. However, I felt it was a stretch that the President of the United States appearing with the NJ governor somehow impacted results in key swing states like Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Florida.

With all that in mind, I must admit I was still somewhat surprised when I saw a poll of Christie's latest favorable ratings (via Gallup) amongst Republicans, Democrats and Independents.

I'm not saying Christie is a shoe-in to be the GOP nominee for President in 2016 (though he's all but assured reelection as NJ governor this November). But the idea that today's Republicans are pining for an ideologue doesn't necessarily translate in this latest polling data.

Personally? Let's just say I'm keeping my options wide open.


Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXIX

- Now that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is officially not running for reelection in 2014, the major focus is now on who will run. As of Tuesday evening, there has yet to be any Republicans to officially declare they're running to represent MN Congressional District Six. It has been a little less than a week since Bachmann made her announcement, and in that time there has been several prominent politicians who have declined to run. That list includes State senators Michelle Benson & Branden Petersen and State representative Peggy Scott.

As of Tuesday, former Senate Majority Amy Koch can be added to the list of "thanks, but no thanks." For that, I am grateful.

It has been less than two years since Koch stepped down from her leadership position as top Republican in the state Senate in light of revelations she was having an affair with staffer Michael Brodkorb. In fact, many same-sex marriage proponents pointed out that the GOP majority in the legislature passed an amendment which sought to define marriage solely as between one man and one woman yet the party's majority leader was not even adhering to her own wedding vows. Like it or not, that was a public relations nightmare leading up to the 2012 elections where ultimately the marriage amendment was shot down by voters and the GOP lost its majority in both chambers. I'm not going to say that was the sole reason for the shellacking but it certainly was more than a small factor.

Bottom line is it's too soon for Koch to step back into the electoral fray, something of which I'm certain she's fully aware.

- Going into the 2013 baseball season, many prognosticators felt that if the Houston Astros lost less than 100 games this year, the season could be considered a success. The Astros have pretty much gutted their franchise and thus have chosen to rebuild from the bottom up.

On the other end of the spectrum, Houston's AL West division counterparts, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, have gone "all in", evidenced by signing the top two marquee free agents (Albert Pujols prior to 2012; Josh Hamilton prior to 2013) in consecutive offseasons.

Here is a snapshot of the state of these two franchises:

Houston's 2013 payroll - approximately $25 million
The 2013 salaries of Pujols and Hamilton combined - $33 million.
So in a four-game set between the two clubs this past weekend, Houston naturally went in to Anaheim and swept the series. Of course they did.

- Former NFL great David "Deacon" Jones, who was part of the renown L.A Rams defensive line known as the "Fearsome Foursome" in the 1960s, passed away Monday evening at the age of 74.

It was Jones who was said to have introduced the word "sack" into the football vernacular. This was of course in reference to his many tackles of opposing quarterbacks behind the line of scrimmage. Since the NFL did not declare a "sack" an official statistic until 1982, Jones is not cited when it comes to most prolific sackers. However, when breaking down game film, it was ascertained that Jones would have been credited with (unofficially of course) 26 sacks in in 1967 and 24 in 1968. Keep in mind those were 14-game regular seasons. Compare that to the official record of 22.5, which was set by Michael Strahan (with the help of Packers QB Brett Favre) in a sixteen-game season in 2001.

I never knew much off Jones' off-field activities, but apparently he and his teammates had a passion for singing. It's a good thing too, since it was Jones who encouraged Peter Brady not to quit the glee club.

But I digress.

Jones also had several small acting roles both during and after his playing career. He was a guest star on a handful of television shows -- including episodes of "Bewitched," "The Brady Bunch" and "The Odd Couple" -- and appeared in the 1978 Warren Beatty film "Heaven Can Wait."

Most recently, Jones was the CEO of his own foundation, which he began in 1997. He also made several trips to visit troops on active duty in the Middle East.

All in all, not a bad life for a 14th round draft pick out of a small college in Mississippi.


Monday, June 03, 2013

Box Score of the week

A little late with this week's BOTW, but here it is.

It was 46 years ago today when the Twins hosted the California Angels.


In this game, Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew hit the longest home run in Metropolitan Stadium history, as the ball traveled an estimated 520 feet. 


Sunday, June 02, 2013

Change of scenery

I learned via my friend Mark Heuring that fellow blogger Speed Gibson is movin' on from the his long-time blog.

In my opinion, Speed covered local issues as well as anyone. While national politics typically garner the"sexier" headlines, delving into topics involving shenanigans with local school districts and municipalities typically doesn't interest even the most ardent political observers. Nevertheless, Speed was willing to deliver comprehensive posts in those areas.

I first learned of Speed's blog in 2005 when I learned he was delivering weekly recaps of AM 1500 KSTP's Sunday show The Next Big Thing, which one could call the American Idol of the Twin Cities radio market. When my pal Greg Bittner and I had our two hours on the air on Father's Day of that year, the first place I went the next morning was to Speed's place to read his review. I'll always appreciate the effusive praise he gave us. The fact that radio was something I've wanted to do since the 1980s and finally was given an opportunity to fulfill made it that much more special when an independent observer (or in this case, listener) took the time to critique it. Five years later, when I was a mere fill-in at AM 1280, Speed once again was kind enough to take the time to compliment my on-air performance.

Over the past 7-8 years, I've attended almost every Minnesota Organization of Bloggers biannual soiree. For all the gatherings I saw Speed, he seemed to be getting slimmer every time. His dedication to living a healthier lifestyle was something which he took a tremendous amount of pride. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that was perhaps the preeminent reason he's moving on from his prior blogging content.

I have accumulated a lot of knowledge in nutrition, health, fitness, and some of the related politics. So, I will soon be starting a new blog, maybe even a podcast, to recount my efforts and share what I've learned. The biggest lesson seems to be that there is too much unproven and counterproductive information out there and that will be my focus. To cut the fat, you first need to cut the crap. I'll keep you posted via Twitter, continuing there as SpeedGibson.

So as I pull up just short of nine years across three hosting sites, my thanks to my readers of course. But with new-found respect, my thanks also those continuing on, especially at TrueNorth.

 Continued success to you in all your endeavors, Speed.


He's a loser but he still keeps on tryin'.....

It's another Sunday which means another edition of The Closer, which will be in its usual 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central time slot.

I'll likely spend most of the first hour talking about the big announcement earlier this week that Congresswoman Michele Bachmann would not seek reelection for her US House seat in 2014. I'll reflect on Bachmann's career as well as what's next for MN Congressional District Six. I'll also discuss Jim Graves, the Democrat candidate who almost unseated Bachmann in 2012 and was poised for a rematch in 2014 but dropped out of the race two days after Bachmann's announcement.

At 2:15, the NARN's official basketball wonk Mike McCollow will join us via phone. I will discuss with Mike the NBA playoffs as well as the latest on the hometown Timberwolves now that Flip Saunders is entrenched in his role as President of basketball operations.

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, or check us out via iheart radio.

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

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

Until then.....