Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXXIII

-I've said in this space before that MN Governor Mark Dayton occasionally appears irritable when speaking in public (except the final 2-3 weeks of this past legislative session when he was incognito). This is especially true when his narratives are rebutted with facts or he is asked to explain his behavior when acting in his capacity as a public servant. The latter doesn't seem too outlandish a request when you consider the people for whom Dayton works "have a right to know" what he's doing with his time. After all, that was a pledge Dayton made as a candidate for governor three years ago.

This has become a salient issue recently because of Dayton's travel out of state to supposedly convince a company (or companies) to move its operations to Minnesota. However, the destination of this trip and with whom Dayton was meeting was done in secret.

When conducting a press conference Tuesday, Dayton seemed to become quite defensive about the secrecy of this travel. Per Jennifer Brooks of the Star Tribune, Dayton snapped "Do you want me to go out and find more potential jobs or not?"

Y'know, all this hassle could be avoided if (and I'm just spit-balling here) our politicians would simply make this a more business-friendly environment for the businesses which currently reside here. As a result, there wouldn't be such a sense of urgency to go on secret trips and attempt to woo other companies to replace those that have left Minnesota.

Just a thought.

-Vikings superstar running back Adrian Peterson has, to say the least, set some lofty goals. After falling just short of Eric Dickerson's all-time single season rushing record in 2012, Peterson vowed to shatter it in 2013 with a stupefying 2,500 yard season. However, this seems to be an extreme long shot if one is able to glean anything from NFL history.

Of the six RBs prior to Peterson to gain 2,000 yards in a season, the highest total ever gained the following year was 1,491 by Barry Sanders in 1998 (as it turned out, that would be his final NFL season). In fact, no player has ever had more than one 2,000 yard season in a career. To say AP's 2013 aspirations are a long shot would be an understatement. 

But this week, Peterson set a more long-term goal: breaking Emmitt Smith's career mark.

(Peterson) has targeted Smith's record of 18,355 yards, and told the Star-Tribune that he expects to break the record in Week 16 of the 2017 season, even though his current pace would have him approaching the mark in Week 4 of the 2019 season.

Peterson currently has 8,849 yards. His estimate would mean it would take him 79 games to rush for the 9,507 yards needed to set the all-time rushing mark, which would require him to average 120.3 yards per game in that span.

"Whoo. That's pushing it, huh? But hey, pushing it is the only way to do it. You know it," he told the newspaper.

Once again, history suggests this to be a long shot. Again, of all the RBs to achieve a 2,000-yard season, Dickerson has the highest career total after his historic year, having amassed 9,346 yards the duration of his playing days. Keep in mind also that Dickerson was only 24-years old in 1984. Peterson is 28 entering this year, which is a significant factor.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Smith holds the record for most rushing yards after a player's 28th birthday with 8,195, meaning Peterson would shatter that mark if he vaults atop the all-time rushing list.

Peterson achieving those marks seem about as likely as a running back returning to action nine months after major knee reconstruction surgery and having a career season. Those kind of things just aren't.........Oh, wait.

-So there seemed to be much rejoicing by the gay lobby and their advocates over an interview given by Pope Francis, specifically when he uttered the following:

"There's a lot of talk about the gay lobby, but I've never seen it on the Vatican ID card."

"When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn't be marginalized. The tendency [to homosexuality] is not the problem ... they're our brothers."

In that context, some may ascertain that the pope is of a "live and let live" mentality regarding homosexuality (or as the Huffington Post conveyed the story: "Breakthrough: Pope OK with Gays.").

Fr. Jonathan Morris offered clarification and proper context.

Let’s begin with the fact that the pope has always been “OK” with homosexuals. In fact, by the demands of his own religion he is required to be much more than just “OK.” The Christian faith teaches that every person is endowed by God with an inviolable dignity and therefore deserves our unconditional respect and love.

A section of an Associated Press report also got the story very wrong. Summarizing the pope’s comments on homosexuals in the priesthood, the AP reported: “Francis was much more conciliatory [than Pope Benedict], saying gay clergymen should be forgiven and their sins forgotten.”

Pope Francis didn’t say that, and the report is wrong on so many levels.

First of all, it suggests that being gay itself, is a sin. What Pope Francis really said, in response to a reporter’s question about homosexual priests who are living a celibate life was this: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Pope Francis simply and compassionately reiterated Biblical teaching. The Bible and the Catholic Church have never taught that it is a “sin” to be homosexual. They teach it is a sin to have homosexual sex because it goes against the laws of God’s nature, specifically his plan for human sexuality.

By all means, read Fr. Morris's entire piece.

Despite what they perceived as big victories in recent Supreme Court marriage decisions, the gay lobby knows there is still a fight ahead regarding same-sex marriage being legal throughout all 50 states (not to mention universal societal acceptance). As such, they'll look to any source to galvanize their narrative, even if it means mangling the context of an interview given by the Catholic church's highest ranking official.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Box Score of the week

This week's featured box score is from an August 2010 game where the San Diego Padres took on the Milwaukee Brewers (HINT: It has nothing to do with what Ryan Braun did).


San Diego's Matt Stairs hit his 21st career pinch-hit home run in this game, setting the all-time MLB record. Stairs retired after the 2011 season with 23 PH homers, a record which still stands today. 


Sunday, July 28, 2013

He tells me I'd better get in line; Can't hear what he's saying.....

It's been a scandal-ridden week in the sports world as well as local and national politics. As such, I'll be offering my two cents on this week's edition of The Closer. We'll be in our normal 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time slot.

In addition to discussing the week that was, I am tentatively scheduled to have guest in the second hour, but it has yet to be confirmed. I guess you're going to have to tune in to find out for sure.

So please give me 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, July 26, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXXII

-When given an opportunity to revoke or increase a tax, government (whether it be federal, state, municipal or county) most often chooses to go with the hike.

Thankfully, my home county decided not to rubber stamp an increase mandated by the state of Minnesota.

Residents of Anoka County won't have to pay a wheelage tax beginning in 2014, after the county board voted 5-2 to revoke it.

The $5 tax is tacked onto vehicle registration costs and goes toward road-maintenance projects within counties. It will rise to $10 in January for counties imposing it, including Ramsey and Hennepin.

The Anoka County commissioners who voted to end the tax said that they were upset the state decided to raise the tax without consulting the county and that the rate had to double because state computers couldn't handle multiple fee levels.

Uh oh. Sounds to me like a preemptive strike where the state will appeal for increased taxes in order to upgrade their computer systems.

But I digress.

There was also another preemptive strike launched (but in a good way) ahead of the kvetching about how infrastructure may suffer without the revenue derived from a wheelage tax.

Board Chair Rhonda Sivarajah said she had little faith in state claims that the computer system would allow for county-set wheelage tax amounts by 2016.

"Our roads and bridges will not suffer as a result of taking this action," said Sivarajah, who is running for Rep. Michele Bachmann's congressional seat in Minnesota's 6th District.

Emphasis mine.

That too is a key point. Don't think for one second that Sivarajah won't use this in the CD6 campaign to tout her "walking the walk" of fiscal restraint, which will still be a salient issue in 2014.

-Speaking of MN Congressional races, GOP Congressman Erik Paulsen (MN CD3) could possibly have a big name challenging him in his quest for a fourth term.

Former WCCO news anchor Don Shelby is reportedly mulling a run against three-term Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen next year, potentially putting in play a suburban Minneapolis congressional district that has been in Republican hands for decades.

Shelby’s interest burst into the open amid remarks by U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., who mentioned it at a Washington fundraiser Wednesday attended by about 30 or 40 campaign contributors, lobbyists and Democratic activists.

Peterson’s account of Shelby’s interest was confirmed by two prominent Minnesota lobbyists who were at the luncheon. Both said Peterson described Shelby’s long career in Minnesota broadcast journalism.

Democrats have been tight-lipped about Shelby’s possible entry into the race, but they made clear Thursday that they would welcome a respected Twin Cities figure with almost universal name recognition across the state.

Given that this state elected Jesse Ventura as Governor and Al Franken as Senator, we know full well how many Minnesotans are enamored with "universal name recognition." But as we've seen with the two names I've just mentioned, that doesn't necessarily translated to good government. Nevertheless, Shelby's name recognition is definitely a positive for him.

The bad news for "DFL Don" (radio host Jason Lewis's long-time nickname for Shelby during his news anchor days) is he's not running in a statewide race. This is a congressional district represented by a strong incumbent. Despite President Obama winning CD3 by just under 1% this past November, Paulsen was easily reelected by a whopping 16%. So if you combine the fact that a middterm election means no coattails for Shelby to ride with the fact he's facing a popular, well-funded incumbent, I have a tough time seeing Shelby ultimately prevailing.

But hey, the political reporters have to try and gin up some suspense in a district that has been a Republican stronghold for decades.

- To say politics is nasty business is an understatement. In an effort to thwart a political career of an individual whose political leanings one dislikes, one will resort to becoming an amateur sleuth in an effort to dig up scandalous background information on that person.

While I've seen some pretty despicable stuff in my time as a political observer, the recent character attack on former GOP state rep (and current member of the U of M Board of Regents) Laura Brod reaches a new low. Apparently somebody got a hold of a racy photo of a scantily clad Brod while she posed very provocatively while in bed.

The photo appears on a single-serve Tumblr site called "ThisIsAPictureOfLauraBrod." It first came to City Pages' attention on Monday when an anonymous email provided a link to the site. Several days later, a link to the site was tweeted out by Shawn Towle, a former DFL activist and publisher of the political site Checks And Balances.

"She's on TV speaking for the party on occasion, she sits on the Board of Regents, so she has a particular public reach," Towle told City Pages in explaining why he tweeted out the link. "And if you're going to be a moralist, and state your opinion on what you think should be happening, then when you have indiscretions I think you're fair game."

Gotta love that leftist logic. Never mind if the photo was obtained illegally and then redistributed without permission. As long as someone with whom you disagree politically is exposed as some sort of hypocrite then the ends justify the means or something.

In a joint statement released by Brod and her soon-to-be ex-husband Wade, they specifically addressed the issue with the photo.

The Brod Family loves each other, and we stand united against anyone who would seek to do us harm. Specifically, someone has posted a photo - which was illegally disseminated - on the Internet for the sole purpose of embarrassing our family and damaging our reputations. We cannot begin to explain why someone would be so mean, and so hateful. Nor can we overstate the humiliation they have caused.

As embarrassing as this entire incident is, we know the larger nightmare of harassment, cyber-stalking and privacy invasion is not unique to us, and we plan to fight back with everything we have. This matter has been referred to the FBI and we are pursuing all legal means possible to prosecute whoever is responsible for the illegal dissemination of this material.

I'm not someone who typically gets any enjoyment out of someone else's pain, regardless of how insufferable or unlikeable the person in pain appears to be. With that said, I will not shed one tear on behalf of whomever has to endure the consequences (jail or otherwise) for getting this photo out into the public domain.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Oops, he did it again

When disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner announced this past May he would run for Mayor of New York City, he emphasized that news of past online dalliances may crop up. The insinuation was some of the "sexting" relationships Weiner had prior to resigning from Congress were not brought to light two years ago but would likely be dredged up once he decided to seek elected office.

On Tuesday, Weiner was forced to admit that this lewd behavior had continued even after his June 2011 resignation from the U.S. House.

Mr. Weiner, appearing solemn and a bit worn as he faced more than 100 journalists amid the cubicles in a vacant Chelsea office, acknowledged that his habit of sending sexual images and texts to female fans had continued for more than a year after he left Congress vowing to seek treatment and change his behavior.

“It’s in our rearview mirror, but it’s not far,” he said.

The revelation collides with the narrative Mr. Weiner has offered throughout the campaign, in which he has repeatedly suggested that he has spent his time since leaving Congress rehabilitating himself and repairing his family relationships. After a late entry into the race, he had rapidly risen in the polls, and performed strongly in fund-raising, as his relentless focus on ideas and his omnipresence helped ease the concerns of many voters.

On Tuesday, he pleaded with the public to trust his assertions that he is now a changed man, despite the news that his online adventures had continued through last summer.
The depths of Weiner's arrogance knows no bounds. After his tearful apology two years ago to his wife, family, friends and constituents, Weiner continued this disgusting activity for another year. Only after revelations of those habits resurfacing was he willing to show contrition, all in hopes of saving a possibly resurrected political career.

Some of the immediate reaction included sympathy for Weiner's wife, Huma Abedin. While I understand that to a degree, that fact is she made the choice to stay with her husband after the initial incidents two years ago. And after what she emphasized as "a lot of work, and a whole lot of therapy" to get to a place to forgive her husband, she apparently supported his reentry into the political arena. Given that Weiner is no-holds-barred type of politician, any kind of high profile faux pas would result in overwhelming scrutiny of his private life (the couple now has an 18-month old son to take in to account).

Another angle to this saga is Abedin being a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton. Many folks speculated that she turned to Clinton for crisis management in dealing with a sleazy husband. Who knows if that's the case, since Clinton seemed to stick with her husband more out of political opportunism. I highly doubt Abedin has any such aspirations.

Given Weiner's last name makes for unintentionally hilarious double entendres, the sad fact is he seemed to have some sort of sexual addiction. Despite losing his job as a highly respected (at least by the left wing) Congressman and having to fight to save his marriage, Weiner still swayed into that seedy life of online "sexting." While I sincerely hope the citizens of New York City reject his extreme left wing agenda (primary elections are in seven weeks), it's perfectly understandable why Abedin continues to back her husband's candidacy. The guy just needs to get out of the house and get a job that will keep him consumed the majority of every day. Once Weiner resigned from Congress and was just sitting around the house with too much time on his hands, his old nasty habits beckoned.

I never like to see any family torn apart for any reason. Let's just hope Weiner's issue truly are, as he says, in the proverbial rearview mirror. I remain skeptical.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Yer out!

The other shoe has dropped in Major League Baseball's latest attempts to crack down on players' usage of performance enhancing drugs. As a result, arguably the best all around hitter in the game today will now have to take a seat (emphasis mine).

Major League Baseball has suspended Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun without pay for the remainder of the 2013 season (totaling 65 games - ed.).

Braun will not contest the suspension, which was meted out for "violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program," according to a statement released by MLB.

"As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect," Braun said in the statement. "I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it ... has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization.

"I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed -- all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love."

The portion of Braun's statement I have highlighted is quite a flip from 17 months ago. Upon winning his appeal of a 50-game suspension for a positive test, Braun said the following (again, emphasis mine).

"I am very pleased and relieved by today's decision," Braun said in a statement. "It is the first step in restoring my good name and reputation. We were able to get through this because I am innocent and the truth is on our side.

"We provided complete cooperation throughout, despite the highly unusual circumstances. I have been an open book, willing to share details from every aspect of my life as part of this investigation, because I have nothing to hide. I have passed over 25 drug tests in my career, including at least three in the past year."

Braun won his appeal last year for the simple reason that the chain of custody had been broken upon the collection of a urine sample he provided. The MLB drug policy states that a sample collected must be sent immediately, via Federal Express, to a laboratory designated by the league. In this case, the collector brought the sample to his home on a Saturday, stored it in a cool place and then shipped it out on Monday, which the Players Union argued violated the policy. As such, Braun prevailed not because the sample was clean from the outset, rather due to a technicality. But, again, if you read Braun's statement, it seemed to indicate that not only was the procedure flawed but that he flat out did not use any banned substances.

So if Braun never used PEDs or has never been associated with any outfit which has provided them (i.e. Biogenesis), then why did he accept a suspension?

After MLB's original meeting with Braun on June 29, at which he refused to answer questions about Biogenesis, he requested a second meeting, a source familiar with the discussions told T.J. Quinn of ESPN's "Outside The Lines." Braun, after realizing the significance of the evidence against him from questions in the first meeting, decided to meet again to strike a deal that would limit his suspension to this season, according to the source.

It is because of that deal that Braun's suspension was announced Monday, the source told Quinn. The plan remains for the rest of the suspensions stemming from the investigation to be announced all at once.
With the specter of "cheater" now hanging over Braun's head, the question now is will the Brewers' faithful receive him back in with open arms next season? I imagine many (including Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers) now feel duped after they so passionately defended Braun when he first proclaimed his innocence and then was steadfast in said proclamation after winning his appeal. As such, Dino Laurenzi, Jr., the collector who kept the aforementioned urine sample stored in his home for two days before shipping it out, had his integrity unfairly questioned.

I believe that a long-term suspension of a superstar such as Braun serves as an incredibly powerful  message that any player associated with PEDs will be endure swift retribution by the league. I have a hard time believing that Braun will ever be able to rebuild his reputation after this latest saga. However, he may become an unwitting accomplice to eradicating the use of PEDs once and for all.


Box Score of the week

Let's go back to Opening Day of 2012 where the Milwaukee Brewers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals.


Brewers slugger Ryan Braun, the 2011 NL Most Valuable Player, went 0 for 5 in this game. That made him the first reigning MVP in Major League Baseball history from either the NL or the AL to go 0-for-5 or worse on Opening Day.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Can you feel it, see it, hear it today?

Tune in to today's edition of The Closer, which will air in its regular 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time slot.

Right at 1:00, we will be joined via phone by childcare provider (and independent business owner) Hollee Saville. This past Thursday, arguments were heard in federal court in a lawsuit brought by MN childcare providers seeking an injunction to block unionization of their businesses. Hollee was there that day and will update us on the case proceedings.

Then at 2:15, Salem broadcasting's own promotions guy (and fellow Twins fanatic) Ross Brendel will join me in studio. Ross and I have had some spirited discussions on the direction the Twins are taking, so we'll look ahead to what's in store post-All Star break as well as the immediate future.

In other segments, I'll look back at the news of the week, including the Rolling Stone magazine cover kerfuffle as well multiple demonstrations nation wide in response to last weekend's "not guilty" verdict in the George Zimmerman case.

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, July 19, 2013

Spot on

President Obama on Friday went on the record about the shooting death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin for the first time since the shooter, George Zimmerman, was found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter.

The one comment that stood out was the following:

"Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago," Obama told White House reporters in a surprise appearance at the daily briefing.

While I usually strenuously object to the narcissistic Obama inserting himself into tragedies like this, I have to give credit where credit is due. He pretty much was like Trayvon Martin 35 years ago.



Governor Mark Dayton is one of the more tactless and unpolished politicians I've ever heard. For example, when MN Republicans controlled both chambers of the Legislature in 2011-2012, they looked to decrease growth in spending. Remember, the GOP was perfectly willing to passed a budget that saw a 5-10% increase over the prior biennium budget. But the fact they didn't want to acquiesce to a package that saw almost a 20% hike resulted in the governor calling such action "drastic" and "draconian." Seems a bit hyperbolic considering legislative Republicans actually alienated many in their base by allowing state government to grow. Nevertheless, 5-10% growth of government is apparently not enough "progress" in the eyes of the liberal Dayton

Fast forward to Thursday morning. A group of daycare providers filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging a law passed in May which forces their private, independent businesses to become part of a public employees union.

Apparently, Little Lord Fauntleroy Gov. Dayton isn't taking it well (emphasis mine).

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton is blaming "right-wing extremists" for the lawsuits being heard in federal court Thursday aimed at stopping the unionization of state-subsidized child care providers.

By the way, here's a photo of these "extremists" that has got Dayton all in a tizzy:

Photo courtesy of John Rouleau

The lawsuits, filed by several child care providers, claim the unionization measure Dayton signed into law in May is unconstitutional and violates federal labor law.
Since the entire DFL House caucus as well as Dayton himself are up for reelection in 2014, it's fortuitous for MN Republicans in the sense they've been given a buffet of campaign slogans. Since the daycare unionization measure passed the House by a razor thin 68-66 vote (with zero GOP members voting "yea"), literally ever DFLer who voted for it was in essence the deciding vote. Had just one "yea" vote flipped to a "no", the bill would've failed.

Then there's Dayton himself. Signing the bill that forces these daycare providers to unionize means many of them will pass off the increased costs (thanks to union dues) on to the families who utilize their services. Worse yet, some providers may cease to stay in business. And if some providers choose to stay in business but refuse to join the union, they will be ineligible to take in children whose care is subsidized by Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). If that happens, suddenly many low-income families are saddled with fewer choices in terms of child care. Exactly how does that benefit the hard working families whom you considered such a high priority, Gov. Dayton?

In the end, this is all about payback. Public Employee unions and the PACs they funded ended up funneling upwards of $12 million to DFL candidates in the 2012 election cycle. A bunch of independent-minded childcare workers (aka "right-wing extremists") seem intent on interfering with that transaction. And that has Gov. Dayton a little surly.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?

There hasn't been a whole lot in today's American politics which has unified the right and left wings.....until this week.

Rolling Stone, hit by a storm of criticism and boycotts over its cover treatment and glam photo of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, defended itself Wednesday, saying it was within its tradition of "serious and thoughtful coverage" of important cultural and political issues.

Readers, particularly from the Boston area, slammed the magazine on its Facebook page, charging that the cover treatment turns the accused killer into a "rock star."

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino wrote to Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner accusing the magazine of offering Tsarnaev "celebrity treatment" and calling the cover "ill-conceived, at best," in that it supports the "terrible message that destruction gains fame for killers and their 'causes.'"

As is the case with most periodicals, the major story within a given issue is "teased" with a clever, punny headline or provocative photo. I doubt few people had as much trouble with Rolling Stone penning a story on Tsarnaev as much as they did with a pictorial pose that portrayed him in the motif of a rock star/celeb like Bob Dylan.

To be honest, I roll my eyes at a left-wing propaganda rag like RS when they give off an aura of doing a thoughtful piece on a misguided youth in an effort to save other youngsters from similar pitfalls. Yeah, Rolling Stone appears to be taking itself way too seriously, especially when you consider the countless vacuous pieces/cover photos which have appeared over these past 45+ years. Despite that, I don't get a sense that the story on Tsarnaev is going to be some sort of puff piece that portrays him as a martyr. At least I hope my assumption is correct.

While I am ambivalent about the cover due to my already rock-bottom expectations of quality from RS, I choose to defer to the Boston Marathon bombing victims and their families. If they indeed see the cover photo as an unwelcome and painful reminder of that horrific incident on April 15, then that's really all I need to hear. Whether Rolling Stone chooses to follow suit now is irrelevant given that they as a company marketing a product has achieved the ultimate goal: a fever pitch of conversation about said product.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Equal application?

In response to George Zimmerman being found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, there have been some raucous protests which have taken place over the past few days. While there hasn't been nearly the violence and looting that some predicted would dwarf the L.A. riots in response to LAPD officers being acquitted of beating Rodney King, there nevertheless have been reports of innocent civilians being injured.

Here's something to ponder. Since NBC went out of its way to portray Zimmerman as a racist, thus stoking the fire of unarmed African American teen Martin being gunned down by an alleged racist, does NBC bare any responsibility for any of the injuries suffered in mass protests of this "racial crime?" Lest we forget, in the eyes of many leftists, a group of citizens who dared object to their children being saddled with $50,000+ debt and having their healthcare infringed upon somehow inflamed a madman to go on a shooting spree that critically wounded an Arizona congresswoman.

So, leftists. Are you willing to assign the same standards of rhetorical discipline to a media outlet that has been the top mouthpiece for the current President you worked so hard to elect twice? Yeah, didn't think so.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Box Score of the week

The Twins just wrapped up a series versus the New York Yankees. Let's take a look back at another Twins-Yankees matchup. This one is from May 2001.


This past weekend, the Twins took 2 out of 3 games in the Bronx. The franchise hadn't won a series on the road against the Yankees since May 2001. The game I referenced this week was the rubber game of that three-game set, where the Twins emerged victorious. 


Sunday, July 14, 2013

What'll you do when you get lonely and nobody's waiting by your side?

Wow, the news scene sure exploded over the past couple of days. As is usually the case, I'll get to as much as I can on this week's edition of The Closer, which will be in its usual 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time slot.

I'll discuss the local political scene, including further vindication of the MN GOP budget compiled in 2011-12. I'll also discuss Gov. Dayton bristling at the Republicans' request to call a special session of the Legislature.

On the national scene, the George Zimmerman verdict was handed down last evening in Florida, so I'll discuss the fallout from that. Also, Texas governor Ricky Perry announced he would not seek another term in that capacity. What does that mean for his (and Texas's) future?

At 2:15, I will be joined by Anna Maria Hoffman of Counter Cultured. As a 20-year old, Anna Maria is not ready to cede the culture war to those who staunchly support same-sex marriage or abortion. She will share with us the latest endeavors involving CC.

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.....


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Unfortunate puns

If you read headlines of any newspaper or internet story, you realize that the objective of these pithy phrases is to persuade you to indulge in the accompanying story. With so much content to consume, headline writers are often creative to the point where the actual headline may be the most worthwhile part of an article or post.

The more popular tactic involves a play on words, whether it be a double entendre or some sort of pun (e.g. Red Sox sink Mariners; White Sox tame Tigers, etc.). Sometimes headlines can be unintentionally hilarious (there really are small towns in Minnesota named "Fertile" and "Climax." As such, it once lead to this).

There are also innocently written headlines that turn into unfortunate puns based on the person involved. Vietnam War vet (and former U.S. Senator out of Georgia) Max Cleland supported fellow Democrat John Kerry for President in 2004. Now when a politician goes to speak to a crowd of folks at, say, a campaign rally, he/she is "on the stump." Cleland, who lost his right forearm and both legs above the knee due to war injuries, was going to actively campaign on Kerry's behalf in New Mexico, leading to a June 2004 headline of "Vet Cleland to stump for Kerry." The vast majority of the time it's an innocuous statement. But when it refers to a person who is missing a forearm and two legs, it gives the unintentional vibe of being insensitive to Cleland.

The latest example of ill-phrased headlines involved a Chicago Sun-Times story which referenced the horrific plane crash at San Francisco International Airport last Saturday. Asiana Airlines Flight 214, arriving from South Korea, crash-landed and caught fire, resulting in two deaths and over 100 passengers injured.

Because it was indeed a "frightening" scene, the Sun-Times went with the following:

Notice the play on words. It wouldn't have been as salient an issue, save for one minor detail: the majority of passengers, obviously, were of Asian descent.

The headline, "Fright 214," can be seen as an unfortunate attempt at a punny headline. The Asian American Journalists Association, however, called out the Bright One on their attempt at being clever and added the headline also served as another example of "Engrish" in the media. AAJA was offended both by the headline and what they considered to be racist undertones, considering two-thirds of the passengers were Asian.

Kirk responded to AAJA's criticism. “There was nothing intentional on our part to play off any stereotypes. … If anybody was offended by that, we are sorry," Kirk said. "We were trying to convey the obviously frightening situation of that landing.”

AAJA commended Kirk for his prompt response and added it was possible the Sun-Times newsroom "lacked the diversity of voices on staff that might have questioned the appropriateness of the headline."
I would be hard pressed to believe the headline writer in this situation was perpetuating a racist stereotype. But at the very least, the utmost discretion should have been used in a case where there are deaths and/or critical injuries. Had said discretion been applied, the whole flap is avoided.

With that in mind I recall another controversial headline involving an athlete of Asian descent. In February 2012, New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin was the focal point of the Knicks' seven game win streak. When the streak was snapped later that month, an headline read "Chink in the Armor: Jeremy Lin's 9 Turnovers Cost Knicks in Streak-stopping Loss to Hornets." 

Now the phrase "chink in the armor" refers to a flaw in an otherwise fine body of work. It's analogous to a weak spot in a figurative suit of armor. Again, the phrase alone isn't racist. However, when the subject of the headline is a person of Chinese descent and "chink" is a derogatory word for a Chinese person, it then becomes a woefully unfortunate double entendre. Again, was the writer racially insensitive? No way to know for sure. But aren't there publishers and copy editors who keep an eye out for this sort of thing?

It's all a lesson in context.


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Meanwhile, back at the ranch......

When politicians are making announcements these days, it typically fuels speculation on how it will impact the 2014 elections. But a certain press conference Monday afternoon could also have ramifications for 2016.

Gov. Rick Perry will not seek reelection, he announced to about 200 supporters and the media in a humid warehouse at the country's largest Caterpillar dealership Monday afternoon.

“I will spend the next 18 months working to create more jobs,” he said. “I make this announcement with a deep sense of humility and deep appreciation, and knowing I will truly miss serving in this capacity, because it is the greatest job in modern politics.”

Perry has literally been the only Texas governor this millennia. When his predecessor George W. Bush was elected President in 2000, Perry, who was elected Lt. Governor in 1998, was then promoted to Texas's top executive. He then was reelected in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

Perry said he'll enjoy serving the remainder of his term through 2014, adding, “Until I leave this office, I will continue working hard to do what's best for Texas.” He did not say whether he'd make another presidential bid after his 2012 attempt failed.

Upon announcing he was entering the presidential race in August 2011, Perry became an instant frontrunner in the eyes of GOP supporters due to his fiscal and social conservatism. Unfortunately, his campaign fizzled within a couple of months due to his attempted Gardasil mandate as governor as well as lackluster debate performances (some have attributed said performances to fatigue in his recovery from back surgery a few months earlier). The latter proved to be a death knell with his infamous memory lapse regarding the third agency of government he vowed to shut down if elected President. In 2012, Perry needed to distinguish himself from another former governor of Texas -- George W. Bush. However, his "oops" moment in that November 2011 debate only galvanized that comparison. In '16, he'll once again have to make a distinction from a former chief executive of the Lone Star state -- himself.

Some have speculated that Perry not seeking reelection is a strategic move in the sense it opens up another channel of fundraising, i.e. Wall Street. In a Roll Call piece (h/t Benjy Sarlin) written a month after Perry entered the '12 Presidential race, they raised the issue of finance-sector employees being able to donate to Perry's campaign. 

The federal rules penalize certain investment advisers and municipal securities dealers who make campaign contributions to state officials running for federal office.

That was applicable to Perry two years ago because he was still a sitting governor. But when the next presidential race starts to get serious in mid-2015, Perry will no longer be a state official. Something to consider.

If I am to make a prediction, I say Perry, who will be age 66 the next time we elect a President, does not make a run for the White House in 2016. The GOP has a deep bench of young, talented potential candidates like Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and Florida Senator Marco Rubio. I hope the party faithful has gotten past the "next in line" philosophy that resulted in the candidacies of Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney. I say focus on the young talent, especially if the Democrats go "old school" in the motif of Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden. That indeed would be a welcome role reversal.


Monday, July 08, 2013

How do you like your crow cooked?

With the Democrats having complete control of Minnesota state government this past legislative session, they pretty much implemented whatever policies they felt they could get away with. The most galling aspect of this past budget cycle was eliminating a $600 million budget deficit by increasing taxes more than $2 billion. One of the more egregious tax increases was the "warehouse tax."

In response to that potential fiscal calamity, House minority leader Kurt Daudt and Senate minority leader David Hann addressed the issue in a letter to Governor Mark Dayton earlier today.

Since Dayton is so hypersensitive to criticism (he relented on a proposed business-to-business tax earlier this year after enormous public outcry), there was the hope he would seriously consider calling a special session (he's the only one with the purview to do so) to address the matter. But in his normal acerbic manner, Dayton dismissed the idea.

“It’s a grandstanding stunt on their part,” Dayton said. “They don’t have any solution. …If they were to make a specific proposal of what the costs would be and how they would pay for that, then we would have something for the legislative leaders and myself to look at. This is just a publicity play.”

If you recall the budget fight in 2011, the Republican majority in the House were seated at their desks in the House chamber the night of June 30. Since there was still significant disagreement between the governor and GOP legislators, government would shut down at 12:01 a.m. on July 1 if they did not overcome their impasse. With that in mind, the Republicans at least wanted to pass a "lights-on" bill to fund government for another 10 days or so and then continue negotiations. Dayton used similar rhetoric back then, calling the Republicans' plea a "publicity stunt." Alas, no agreement was reached and government was shut down. But after two weeks of said shutdown without the public outrage hoped for predicted by the DFL, Dayton ended up having to eat crow by calling a special session. The session was used to put together the framework of a budget that was essentially the same proposal put forth by the GOP initially.

Unfortunately, the only way Dayton realizes the error of his ways this time is if Minnesota businesses take their warehousing needs elsewhere. Of course it will be too little too late by that point.

Does Gov. Dayton honestly believe that the majority of these businesses will even be utilizing warehousing services in this state when the legislature reconvenes in February? Best case scenario is that they will merely decide not to expand. That doesn't make for a rosy outlook, neither from a revenue collection perspective nor in terms of job growth.

I'm quite certain the GOP leaders will take no joy in being correct on this one.


Box Score of the week

The old Montreal Expos hosted the L.A. Dodgers on the 4th of July back in 1993.


Just last week (on the 4th of July to be exact), the Oakland A's defeated the Chicago Cubs 1-0 with the only run scoring on a passed ball. The last time such a feat occurred? Exactly 20 years earlier in the game I referenced above. 


Sunday, July 07, 2013

In the hallway, in anticipation, he didn't know the night would end up in frustration....

It's the weekend after Independence Day, but the show goes on. I'll be back in the Patriot bunker from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time today for this week's installment of The Closer. 

Admittedly I haven't been paying rapt attention to the news this past week, but have been engaged enough to offer some perspective and hopefully elicit input from the listeners.

At 2:15 pm, I will be joined via phone by Mandy "Liberty Chick" Nagy. In light of the Obamacare implementation delay, Mandy feels this is a golden opportunity to come up with a viable alternative. Also, we'll get Mandy's perspective on the politics in her home state of New Jersey specifically relating to Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor (as well as U.S. Senate candidate) Cory Booker.

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.....


Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Yes we can....wait

About 18 months after the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was passed, Donald Berwick, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, extolled the virtues of this alleged landmark legislation. Contained in the title of his post was the phrase "We Can't Wait." Just a month earlier, the Obama administration launched a policy initiative using said phrase. The mindset was Obama didn't have the patience to wait on that scurrilous Congress to pass legislation, so he figured he'd hand down some executive orders, thus bypassing the legislative process. Sounds more like a Ruler as opposed to a President, eh?

But I digress.

Anyhow, the full effect of the Obamacare law was to kick in on January 1, 2014. But guess what? Turns out we can wait.

The Obama administration announced Tuesday it is delaying until 2015 the requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees provide health insurance to their workers or pay a penalty.

The announcement by the Internal Revenue Service comes after numerous complaints from businesses that the requirements were too complicated and difficult to implement in time.

Business groups, such as the National Retail Federation, praised the delay, while congressional Republicans jumped on the move to reiterate their opposition to the 2010 health care law.
If you recall, the GOP made tremendous inroads in the 2010 midterm elections, regaining control of the House and attaining a 6-seat gain in the US Senate (However, they were still the minority party in the Senate, 53-47). The idea for the 2014 midterms was that the ACA law would have been proven to be the utter disaster that has been projected, thus allowing the Republicans to use that fact to maintain the House majority and possibly regain the US Senate (Dems currently have the majority, 55-45). So could this implementation delay help the Democrats' election prospects next year? Given that a hot button issue like immigration reform is making its way through Congress, I have a feeling that may be a bigger focus. However, I believe the GOP could still exploit the O-care implementation delay. The fact that small businesses, arguably the lifeblood of our economy, are up in arms over the complexities of such a monstrous law should serve as a cautionary tale. And it wouldn't be as though Republicans would be "bandwagoning" given none of them have ever conveyed even tepid support for Obamacare.

At the very least, if Republicans can't exploit the declining popularity of Obama himself, then all that other stuff matters little.


Tuesday, July 02, 2013


The 1962 New York Mets still hold the dubious distinction of having the most regular season losses. The Mets lost an astounding 120 games that year while racking up a paltry 40 wins. So with a 40-120 record, that calculates to dismal .250 winning percentage.

With tonight's loss to the New York Yankees, the Minnesota Twins under manager Ron Gardenhire now have a record (including postseason) of 23-69 versus the Yanks. That too calculates to a .250 winning percentage.

So I guess we can say that under Gardy the Twins are a perpetual '62 Mets whenever they play the Yankees.


Monday, July 01, 2013

Box Score of the week.

The New York Mets take on the Pittsburgh Pirates at the old Three Rivers Stadium in September 1972.


In the comment section of this post, Mr. D was mostly correct. This was indeed the game which Pirates Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente collected his 3,000th career base hit. However, it was not his final game, as he was a defensive replacement in a game played on October 3rd that season.

On December 31, 1972, while on a flight to Managua, Nicaragua to deliver supplies to that earthquake ravaged city, a plane carrying Clemente crashed into the ocean off the coast of Puerto Rico. He was only 38 years old.