Saturday, November 30, 2013

Repackaging

Given the way Barack Obama ran his presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012, he relied heavily upon securing the support of low information voters. As we know all too well, no chanting point was more prolific than "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it." Unfortunately, far too many Americans have learned that is not the case, despite Obama supporters being forewarned.

Upon the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, many began to dub the law "Obamacare." Since a vast majority of right-of-center politicos and voters alike saw this law as an unmitigated disaster, it would only makes sense to remind all Americans who was responsible for such a quagmire. Hence all the Republican candidates in the 2012 race for President never called the law any name but Obamacare.

Ever indignant, President Obama owned up to the label at a campaign stop just last year.

“We passed Obamacare — yes, I like the term — we passed it because I do care, and I want to put these choices in your hands where they belong,” Obama said at a typical stop in Iowa last October.

So in light of certain developments last week, can we assume President Obama no longer cares?

President Barack Obama and loyal Democrats once embraced the term Obamacare to sell the American people on health care reform.

Not anymore.

With the president’s approval ratings at record lows, a broken website and Obama under fire for his pledge that people could keep their plans, the “Affordable Care Act” has returned.

The president didn’t say “Obamacare” once during his nearly hourlong news conference last week, while he referred to the “Affordable Care Act” a dozen times. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi went so far as to correct David Gregory on “Meet the Press” Sunday on the proper terminology. And White House talking points distributed to Democrats and obtained by POLITICO repeatedly refer to the Affordable Care Act in suggested sound bites, not Obamacare.

Now, the phrase is vanishing from official use. White House website posts in July (“Obamacare in Three Words: Saving People Money”) and late September (“What Obamacare Means for You”) called the health care law the O-word. But now HealthCare.gov is almost entirely scrubbed of “Obamacare” and the law is called the Affordable Care Act in nearly every instance. Health insurance exchanges run by states don’t use the term Obamacare at all. 

In a meeting with White House officials earlier this month, Congressional Democrats openly expressed their frustrations with not being given political cover for the Obamacare disaster. So is this tactic of emphasizing the official title of "Affordable Care Act" going to give the Democrats the political cover they'll need in 2014? I have my doubts, especially since the way the law is crafted makes health coverage even less affordable.

As of right now, there is absolutely zero reason why the Republicans should emphasize any issue other than Obamacare the "Affordable Care Act" in the upcoming election cycle. As of right now anyways, they know that all too well.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Role reversal

Do you remember this creepy dialogue from singer Michael Jackson about a decade ago?





When Jackson unabashedly admitted that he shared his bed with kids who visited his home, many people were aghast. There were also open questions about Jackson's mental state.

By the way, does anyone recognize the person conducting the interview with Jackson? It's none other than Martin Bashir. Yes, that Martin Bashir.

Who would've guessed a decade ago that Michael Jackson's interviewer would someday be perceived as more depraved than Jackson himself?

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXXX

-Yeah, so this happened over the weekend.

A historic deal was struck early Sunday between Iran and six world powers over Tehran's nuclear program that slows the country's nuclear development program in exchange for lifting some sanctions while a more formal agreement is worked out.

The agreement -- described as an "initial, six-month" deal -- includes "substantial limitations that will help prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a nationally televised address.

Prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon? Maybe. But the key distinction is it doesn't hinder nuclear capability. As Daniel Silva said on Monday's Hugh Hewitt Show, Iran essentially got everything it wanted out of this deal: reduced sanctions and maintaining its nuclear capability.

Leave it to Dennis Miller to brilliantly summarize this whole situation in a pithy tweet.



"BiBi" is, of course, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This deal would appear to be leaving Israel pretty much on its own if faced with an attack from Iran. Of course if you believe in biblical prophecy, specifically Zechariah 12:1-5, this is how it's supposed to play out. An excerpt: On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.

Yes, anyone who attempts to take on Israel will do so at their own peril.


- One of the grand traditions of Thanksgiving day (other than the gluttony) is the NFL's Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys hosting games.

For a little more than a decade, many football fans have lamented the fact the Lions continue to host a game despite their ineptitude this Millennium (save for the 2011 season when they made the playoffs). In fact, the Lions have not even been favored in a Thanksgiving game since 2000, when they took on the New England Patriots. That contest seems like it took place eons ago given that was the Pats' first season under coach Bill Belichick and a rookie QB by the name of Tom Brady made his NFL debut once the game got out of reach.

All that said, it appears the underdog streak is over!

Given the Lions' opponent this Thanksgiving will be a Green Bay Packers club likely to start their fourth different quarterback in five weeks (and also possessing a porous defense), the early line has Detroit as a 5-1/2 to 6-1/2 point favorite.

The Lions are currently in the midst of a 9-game losing streak on Thanksgiving with their last victory occurring in 2003 against (who else?) the Packers.


- I had the opportunity to chat with Marty Seifert, Minnesota GOP gubernatorial candidate, on my radio show this past Sunday.

There has been much speculation over whether or not Seifert would take another run in the MN governor's race after he finished second to Tom Emmer in the 2010 GOP endorsement battle and chose not to force a primary. When it was apparent he would not get the nod from GOP delegates, Seifert endorsed Emmer at the state convention (Emmer never reach the 60% threshold but got into the upper 50s on the second or third ballot) and then promptly announced his retirement as a MN House member after serving 14 years.

About six months later, Emmer lost by a mere 0.5% to Mark Dayton in the general election. In light of that result there were many Emmer supporters who lamented Seifert's alleged lack of campaigning on Emmer's behalf. And then last month, Seifert finished third in a non-binding straw poll at the MN GOP State Central Committee meeting despite not officially declaring himself a candidate. As such, Seifert was accused by some as working behind the scenes to gin up support in an effort to give appearances of an unsolicited grassroots movement. Seifert had never responded to any of the aforementioned allegations......until this past Sunday. How did he answer those charges? Just click this link to find out.

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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Been forty days since I don't know when; I just saw her with my best friend....

It's Sunday, which means another edition of The Closer is set to broadcast. As usual, I will be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

Right at 1:00, I will be joined, via phone, by Marty Seifert. As we're less than one year from Election Day 2014, various statewide races are beginning to heat up. As such, Seifert is the latest in a handful of candidates vying for the GOP nomination to challenge MN Governor Mark Dayton next year.

For the entire 2:00 hour, basketball wonk and financial adviser Mike McCollow will be in studio. For the first half of the hour we'll talk some hoops, which will include reveling in a nice start by our local NBA club. In the second half, Mike will put on his financial hat and discuss an all too common plight of professional athletes going bankrupt shortly after retiring from their lucrative careers.

In the guest free segments, I'll likely have a thing or two to say about the Democrats in the U.S. Senate, who this past week went "nuclear."


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss any of the topics I plan on addressing. You can also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out viaiheart 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.....

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Friday, November 22, 2013

JFK assassination: The NFL played on (UPDATE: Fran Tarkenton in his own words, via YouTube)

As a sports fan, I've indulged in many documentaries concerning how the world of sports intertwined with President John F. Kennedy being assassinated.

Since Kennedy was killed on a Friday, there was a decision to be made regarding National Football League and American Football League games scheduled two days later. While the AFL decided to postpone its contests scheduled for November 24, 1963, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle determined that his league's games should go on. But years later, when Rozelle retired as NFL commissioner in 1989, he admitted that the biggest mistake of his tenure was allowing those Sunday games to go on as scheduled.

Players who were active at that time recall how they were still enduring raw emotions, even to the point of shedding tears prior to kickoff. But how did some of the fans react in those circumstances? I decided to ask for the perspective of former QB Fran Tarkenton, whose Minnesota Vikings were hosting the Detroit Lions that fateful Sunday in front of a relatively paltry crowd of 29,000.




Tarkenton's perspective seems to be in line with what many of his peers have said. In the early 60s, there was still an attitude of conformity. If one was told to do something by a superior, it was done. No questions asked.

If there is a silver lining that has emerged out of Rozelle's error in judgment, it would be that subsequent commissioners in pro sports leagues can use it as a cautionary tale. That is they can point out the fact the many NFL players really weren't in a proper emotional state to play the Sunday after the Kennedy assassination. As such, they needed to join their fellow Americans in taking time to mourn and reflect. That's why when the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 took place, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue wasted little time in announcing that games scheduled five days later would be postponed. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig decided to delay games in his sport for an entire week. But once the NFL & MLB resumed play, fans seemed eager for a sense of normalcy since they had ample time to mourn as well as reflect upon the horrific attacks on American soil. In fact, some of the more high profile heart-warming moments occurred when pro athletes, along with the fans attending the games, took the time to honor some of the heroes (i.e first responders to the scene of the attacks in NYC and Washington, DC) of 9/11.

If sports does anything for the American people, it can provide a necessary diversion from some of the angst of real life, but only in due time. As we've learned over the years, sports can never be a substitute for an ample mourning period.

UPDATE: Tarkenton remembers.



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Filibuster flimflam

Back in 2005, the Republicans had complete control in Washington, with a majority in both chambers of Congress as well as occupying the White House.

Continually frustrated by Senate Democrats filibustering President Bush's judicial nominees, the Republicans threatened to invoke the "nuclear option", which entailed changing the rules to allow a simple majority of the 100 Senators (51, as opposed to a 60-vote threshold) to end filibustering of a nominee. The idea was to emphasize the spirit in which the filibuster was created, which was to allow debate on legislative issues and not to interfere with the constitutional grant of power to the president to name judges with the advice and consent of the Senate.

In light of then Majority Leader Bill Frist threatening to invoke the so-called "nuclear option", some high profile Democrat senators strenuously objected.


“My Republican colleagues claim that nominees are entitled to an up-down vote. That claim ignores history, including recent history.” (Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid - April 26, 2005).


"THIS NUCLEAR OPTION IS ULTIMATELY AN EXAMPLE OF THE ARROGANCE OF POWER. IT IS A FUNDAMENTAL POWER GRAB BY THE MAJORITY PARTY PROPELLED BY ITS EXTREME RIGHT AND DESIGNED TO CHANGE THE READING OF THE CONSTITUTION, PARTICULARLY AS IT RELATES TO INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS AND PROPERTY RIGHTS. IT'S NOTHING MORE OR NOTHING LESS." (Sen. Joseph R. Biden - May 23, 2005)


"I KNOW IT WON'T SURPRISE MANY OF YOU TO LEARN THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T THINK MUCH GETS DONE AROUND HERE ABOUT THE ISSUES THEY CARE ABOUT MOST. THEY THINK THE ATMOSPHERE HAS BECOME TOO PARTISAN, THE ARGUMENTS HAVE BECOME TOO NASTY AND THE POLITICAL AGENDAS HAVE BECOME TOO PETTY. WHILE I HAVEN'T BEEN HERE TOO LONG, I'VE NOTICED THAT PARTISAN DEBATE IS SHARP AND DISSENT IS NOT WELL-RECEIVED. HONEST DIFFERENCES OF OPINION AND PRINCIPLED COMPROMISE OFTEN SEEM THE VICTIM OF THE DETERMINATION TO SCORE POINTS AGAINST ONE'S OPPONENTS." (Sen. Barack H. Obama - April 13, 2005)


In the end, the GOP did not invoke the "nuclear option", instead opting for the compromise reached by the "Gang of 14", which was made up of seven "centrist" Democrats and seven "centrist" Republicans. Ed Morrissey, via his previous blog Captain's Quarters, broke down the terms of the agreement here.

I recall many GOP supporters being incensed over this "compromise", indicating that the Republicans had a golden opportunity to use their majority to appoint high quality people to the federal judiciary. In fact, my Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg wrote one of the all time great rant-filled blog posts in response to the "compromise." Check it out here.

Fast forward 8-1/2 years to yesterday. Apparently Senate Majority Leader Reid, Vice President Biden and President Obama have overcome their strenuous objections to power grabs, partisan atmospheres and ignoring history.

The Senate approved the most fundamental alteration of its rules in more than a generation on Thursday, ending the minority party’s ability to filibuster most presidential nominees in response to the partisan gridlock that has plagued Congress for much of the Obama administration.

Furious Republicans accused Democrats of a power grab, warning them that they would deeply regret their action if they lost control of the Senate next year and the White House in years to come. Invoking the Founding Fathers and the meaning of the Constitution, Republicans said Democrats were trampling the minority rights the framers intended to protect. But when the vote was called, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader who was initially reluctant to force the issue, prevailed 52 to 48.

Under the change, the Senate will be able to cut off debate on executive and judicial branch nominees with a simple majority rather than rounding up a supermajority of 60 votes. The new precedent established by the Senate on Thursday does not apply to Supreme Court nominations or legislation itself.
I reiterate my earlier contention that the filibuster was in place to allow the minority party an opportunity to debate legislation. As Republicans, we pointed this out incessantly when the Dems obstructed President George W. Bush's executive and judicial branch nominees.

What the Democrats did Thursday was merely use the power they obtained via the electorate. Had the GOP done the same 8+ years ago, the desired nominees of the Bush administration would have been appointed in spite of the seemingly bad P.R. it would have wrought. As such, I surmise that the Republicans back then were so scared to death of losing the power they had obtained just six months earlier that they were afraid to use it. As it turned out, the Democrats gained control of both the House and Senate the next election cycle anyways, effectively neutering President Bush. In retrospect the GOP Senate might as well have gone ahead and invoked the "nuclear option" if they were going to lose their Congressional majority regardless.

What's most frustrating to me is this is a perpetual lesson that the Republicans never seem to learn. That is, making deals with Democrats and expecting them to always abide by the terms of the compromises. That always comes back to bite the GOP. In 2005, Reid lauded the compromise as a "significant victory for our country" while probably laughing hysterically on the inside, given that he pulled off one of the great heists in Senate history. And because he is a Democrat, Reid can rely on a complicit media to not take him to task for his monumental pivot from his 2005 mindset to now.

In the end, this appears to be nothing more than a desperation move for the Dems. Since they are getting no cover from the White House for the Obamacare debacle, there's a fair chance they could lose their majority in the Senate come next election. Why not seize the opportunity now to ram through any judicial nominees who are deemed controversial? Unlike their Republican colleagues, the Dems aren't afraid to shamelessly utilize whatever power they possess.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

The latest entrant in the race

It's been assumed for some time that there will be at least one or two more candidates to vie for the GOP nomination for Minnesota governor in 2014. One stepped forward Thursday.

In the kickoff to a second campaign for Minnesota governor, Republican Marty Seifert presented himself Thursday as a candidate who is detached from government yet knows his way around it.

That inside-outside message was on display as Seifert declared his candidacy in a three-stop tour. It's his effort to carve a path through a Republican field that has two defined camps: sitting lawmakers looking to move up and pure outsiders promising to inject a fresh voice and ideas.

"I have a mixture of public-sector and private-sector experience, not all one and not all the other," Seifert said at a Capitol news conference. "I understand the budget, but more importantly I understand the budget of the average working-class Minnesotan."

The former House minority leader has been out of elective office since falling short of his party's nod for governor in 2010. He joins a handful of GOP candidates vying to take on Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton next year. Republicans will meet at their state convention in May to consider endorsing a candidate. But an August primary challenge is almost certain. Seifert didn't commit to ending his campaign if someone else is endorsed.

I have a feeling Seifert later regretted not going to a primary in 2010 with GOP endorsed candidate Tom Emmer. There are certain factions of the MN Republican party (not surprisingly, most were Seifert supporters) that felt Seifert would have been a more viable candidate in a general election than Emmer, who ended up losing the gubernatorial race to Mark Dayton by less than 1%. But that is empty speculation at best.

Despite not being officially in the race last month, Seifert finished third in a gubernatorial straw poll among State Central Committee delegates. Some suggested that Seifert had already been rallying support for another run for governor up to that point but, again, I took that as pure conjecture. However, if indeed he was not fully committed to a 2014 gubernatorial run, the straw poll results no doubt played a significant role in swaying Seifert's decision.

The disadvantage Seifert will have is that he is such a late entrant into the race. The other four main candidates consisting of Scott Honour, Jeff Johnson, Kurt Zellers and Dave Thompson (Rob Farnsworth is a non-factor, IMO) all declared within two months of each other (late April to late June time frame). As such, all have secured staff as well as volunteers, which means highly qualified campaign workers are at a premium by now.

The hope of many within the MN GOP was that Seifert would look to challenge long-time Congressman Collin Peterson in Congressional District 7. But despite the district being rated R+6 per the Cook Partisan Voting Index, Peterson, a moderate-to-conservative Democrat, has been in office since 1991 and only once in the past six elections cycles has he failed to garner less than 65% of the vote. I have a feeling that once Peterson retires (there was heavy speculation earlier this year that he wouldn't run in 2014) there will be a bumper crop of Republicans to vie for that Congressional seat. Short of Seifert actually being elected governor in 2014, I believe he would be an instant front runner if he chose to run in CD7 once Peterson hangs it up.

For now, Seifert is focused on being the GOP nominee for MN governor next year. And as luck would have it, I will be discussing that very thing with him on my radio program this Sunday right at 1:00 PM Central Time. Definitely tune in if you can!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The perpetual Walmart bashing

Is there any corporation within the continental United States that causes certain people to react with more unhinged lunacy than Walmart? From never-ending protests to "pay a living wage" for menial work to the resentment of the CEO's sizable salary to the outrage over Sam Walton's children all being billionaires, the strenuous objections are little more than vapid chanting points.

Which bring me to this latest saga involving a particular Walmart store in Ohio.

A Cleveland Wal-Mart store is holding a food drive — for its own employees. "Please donate food items so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner," reads a sign accompanied by several plastic bins.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported on the food drive, which has sparked outrage in the area.

"That Wal-Mart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers — to me, it is a moral outrage," Norma Mills, a customer at the store, told the Plain Dealer.

The insinuation being that all low-wage workers are relying upon their Walmart earnings in an attempt to make a living, and thus have nothing to spare. But that just isn't the case. Of the more than one million Walmart employees across the country, a certain percentage is made up of senior citizens who look to supplement their Social Security and/or other retirement income. Another demographic is high school and college kids looking to obtain more spending money as many are dependent upon their parents for basic needs (e.g. food, shelter, etc.). There's another group comprised of "working spouses" who are the secondary breadwinners in their respective dual income households. Heck, there's even a group made up of adults who just look to get the heck out of the house 2-3 days per week.

My point here is that the food drive is likely targeting the generosity of those associates who have financial resources outside their Walmart earnings. Also, there are likely department managers and the store general manager who would certainly look to assist their subordinates in need.

Alas, this opportunity for some Walmart associates to be a blessing to others once again gets hijacked by the "ZOMG, WALMART PAYS SUCH PALTRY WAGES" crowd. Another part of the equation that people fail to consider is the low overhead costs allow the multi-million Walmart customers to pay lower prices for their products. Seems to me those in the lower income bracket greatly appreciate that aspect.

But I am genuinely curious about something. Do those who work as cashiers as well as those who stock shelves at Walmart make considerably less than their counterparts at other retail outlets (e.g. Target)? Seriously, I don't know.

Regardless, I'm just disappointed (though not surprised) that an opportunity for Walmart employees to joyfully help their co-workers turns into another anti-Walmart screed.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Zimmerman redux

Over the past several weeks, the mainstream media has been reporting on the rollout debacle that has been the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). This undoubtedly pained many media outlets to have to accentuate the negativity coming out of an administration for which they’ve been in the proverbial bag for nearly five years. If there was just another story (any story) the MSM could pivot to which would merely distract from amateur hour at the White House, they’d be on it posthaste.

It was apparent from rumblings on Twitter earlier today that MSNBC and CNN found said distraction.

George Zimmerman was arrested Monday after he cocked and pointed a shotgun at his girlfriend, shattered a glass-top table, then pushed her out of the house and barricaded himself inside after she ordered him to move out, according to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

He surrendered peacefully a few minutes later and was hauled off to jail, where he was being held without bail on domestic-violence and aggravated-assault charges. .

It was the second time in three months that the former Neighborhood Watch volunteer, who was acquitted of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was handcuffed after being accused of domestic violence and threatening a woman with a gun. .

In a September blowup with his estranged wife, police filed no charges. This time, authorities did not buy his story, one that he quickly got into public circulation.

Even prior to killing Martin, Zimmerman had a checkered past, including allegations of domestic violence. But he never actually took someone's life until that fateful night in February 2012. So to say these latest allegations of domestic violence are somehow vindication of the sentiment that Martin was killed in cold blood is terribly misguided.

In the four months since Zimmerman was acquitted of Martin's killing, he has hardly been able to breathe without every single move of his being under public scrutiny. Heck, he can't even get pulled over for a simple moving violation without that becoming national news. Add it all up: Since the shooting of Martin a little less than two years ago, Zimmerman was charged with murder only after political pressure was applied, waited nearly a year for his day in court, had to fear for his life after the acquittal (not to mention his verdict resulting in violent protests) and is now having to endure serious financial problems due to the myriad legal expenses.

Now am I implying here that we should feel remorse for Zimmerman? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! He did indeed bring this chain of events upon himself by ignoring the police dispatcher's orders to not pursue Martin that fateful evening. But he chose to pursue anyways, which ultimately led to the death of a teenager.

My whole point in highlighting what Zimmerman has endured over the past 21 months is you have a man who is already prone to violent behavior, so it almost seemed inevitable he would resort to violence once again given the enormous strain he's undoubtedly felt. But I reiterate, it was his poor decisions that set these proverbial wheels in motion. Zimmerman is still better off than a dead teenager and the family and friends who continue to mourn him.

So if indeed the allegations of choking his girlfriend (as well as pointing a gun at her) are proven in court, Zimmerman deserves to be prosecuted to fullest extent of the law. But, again, the outcome of this trial will have nothing to do with the "not guilty" verdict handed down this past July.

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Monday, November 18, 2013

Separated at Birth: Chris Christie and Brady Hoke




Chris Christie (top) was recently reelected Governor of New Jersey.

Brady Hoke is the head coach of the University of Michigan football team.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

The morning after blues, from my head down to my shoes....

It was another news intensive week, so a lot to get to on today's edition of The Closer. I'll be in my normal 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time slot.

The only guest scheduled today is Salem promotions guy (and fellow Minnesota Twins rube) Ross Brendel. I'll chat with Ross regarding the Twins' decision to move All Star catcher Joe Mauer to first base beginning in the 2014 season.

In the guest-free segments, I'll be discussing the continuing disaster that is the Obamacare implementation, specifically the President's proposed "fix." I'll also cover the stories of Gov. Mark Dayton's paltry charitable giving, Alec Baldwin's continued lunacy and maybe even a crack-smoking mayor.


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss any of the topics I plan on addressing. You can also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out viaiheart 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.....

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Au revoir, Alec or Bye Bye, Baldwin

Actor Alec Baldwin has had several high profile meltdowns over the years.

  • About seven years ago, an angry voice mail he left for his then 11-year old daughter Ireland was leaked to the public.
  • Nearly two years ago, he was asked to leave an American Airline flight after he angrily refused to comply with federal regulations to turn off cellular phones. 
  • Five months ago, he berated a reporter who alleged that Baldwin's wife Hilaria was updating her Twitter feed while attending actor James Gandolfini's funeral. Baldwin tweeted several angry responses to those allegations, including using a gay slur when speaking of the offending journalist. 
  • Then in late August, Baldwin physically accosted a freelance photographer by pinning him to the hood of a car. I don't deny that the paparazzi can be incredibly annoying but the response didn't appear to be in proportion with the cameraman's behavior. 

Yet in light of all that, Baldwin was inexplicably hired by MSNBC to host a weekly TV talk show. The official announcement occurred less than two weeks after the late August incident where Baldwin was involved in the fracas with a photographer.

One of the quotes from the official announcement of Baldwin's show was....interesting (emphasis mine).

"I've been talking with Alec for a while and can't wait to bring his personality and eclectic interests to MSNBC," network president Phil Griffin said in a statement on Thursday. "He's got such passion for ideas and what's going on in the world - he's going to be a great addition to our line-up."

Exactly what kind of "personality" was Griffin expecting? The pompous, insufferable, thin-skinned persona which causes Baldwin to morph into an unhinged lunatic, both verbally and physically? If so, Griffin's expectations were met as Baldwin was involved in yet another highly publicized scrape this past Thursday, where he yet again used a gay slur. This time it was too much to ignore, as MSNBC announced it is suspending Baldwin's weekly talk show for two weeks (only five episodes have aired thus far).

Baldwin himself released a statement Friday upon MSNBC's decision.

I would like to address the comments I made this past week.

I did not intend to hurt or offend anyone with my choice of words, but clearly I have – and for that I am deeply sorry. Words are important. I understand that, and will choose mine with great care going forward. What I said and did this week, as I was trying to protect my family, was offensive and unacceptable. Behavior like this undermines hard-fought rights that I vigorously support. I understand “Up Late” will be taken off the schedule for tonight and next week.

I want to apologize to my loyal fans and to my colleagues at msnbc – both for my actions and for distracting from their good work. Again, please accept my apology.

One has to wonder what the MSNBC brass was thinking when they broached the idea of Baldwin hosting a show on their network. If one says the name "Alec Baldwin" does one think of a talented actor with a high-profile, idealistic and progressive voice or a short-tempered individual who seems to have little tolerance for his fellow humans? I would argue it's the latter, especially when you consider the broad appeal for news about celebrities' private lives. After all, a lot of the news about Baldwin's maniacal behavior was first reported by entertainment venues like TMZ or E! online. Those mediums aren't exactly dedicated to providing insights about the Affordable Care Act and immigration reform.

I wouldn't be shocked if Baldwin's TV show never returns. Neither will Alec for that matter.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Do as I do.....with others' money.

Approximately 14 months ago, Twin Cities blogger John Gilmore put forth a post which began as follows:

Why is it some children of enormous inherited wealth react to their condition by inflicting themselves upon the greater public under the misnomer of public service?

I would guess it's because the impact one can make with his/her wealth is minimal compared to that of doling out a largess from the public treasury. And if someone worth multiple millions obtains such a position of authority in the public sector, the citizens are then forced to play a part in fulfilling that individual's progressive utopia, usually via higher taxes.

Which brings me to the revelation of the personal finances of Minnesota's chief executive.

Gov. Mark Dayton acknowledged Wednesday that he was embarrassed by the tax return he released Tuesday that showed he had given only $1,000 to charity despite total earnings of $343,234 last year, according to his tax returns released this week.

"I pride myself on my charitable giving and I'm disappointed in myself.” Dayton said at the end of a briefing with reporters on another issue. “I totaled it up and noticed I had fallen off, so I will remedy that."

The drop was significant from 2009, when Dayton, then a gubernatorial candidate, earned $172,475 mostly from family trusts, and donated nearly $27,000 of that to charity.

In addition to his $116,125 state salary in 2012, Dayton received $92,381 from a family trust and $130,291 from capital gains. Dayton gave $1,750 to charity in 2011, when his earnings totaled $342,322.
The dates listed are what's most telling. In his first two years as governor of Minnesota (2011-2012), Dayton gave a combined $2,750 to charity. Yet while he was merely a gubernatorial candidate in 2009, he gave nearly 10 times that amount (in all likelihood, progressive causes made up most of the beneficiaries).

That seems to lend some credence to the theory that for what little Dayton donated out of his personal nest egg, he more than made up for in 2011 when he signed a biennium state budget which was 11% higher than the previous budget (and shut down government for three weeks because he wanted more). Again, increasing funding of government makes more of a positive impact (in Dayton's mind anyhow) than anything he can achieve with his personal wealth.

So when Dayton indicates he's "disappointed" in himself, any chance he'll give out an "F" grade like he did when he was a U.S. Senator? Of course, after such a harsh self-assessment in 2006, Dayton chose not to seek reelection for his Senate seat. Hmmmm.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

got vapidity?

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) has been such a quagmire that even President Barack Obama's most staunch apologists (i.e. the mainstream media and some leftist politicians) are running for cover.

Ah, but don't think for one second that lefty PACs and other Independent Expenditures are going down without a fight. In an effort to revive the sullied reputation of Obamacare, a campaign entitled got insurance? has been launched. Oh, and if you college-aged voters and other Millennials wonder how such a movement will attempt to appeal to y'all? Well.....let's just say the got insurance? folks look at you as a bunch of sex-crazed, booze hounds with a wretched grasp of the English language ("Do you got insurance?" Really?!?!).








At first glance, one would think this was a hoax perpetrated by some scurrilous deep-pocketed wingnuts in an effort to accentuate the absurdity that is the Obamacare law. You would be incorrect. I assure you the marketeers consider this a serious outreach effort.

Alan Franklin, the Political Director of "ProgressNow" Colorado:




To be fair, there are other segments of the population (e.g. kids, pregnant women, etc.) which are targeted in this campaign, so click on the link here to see more depictions.

One final thought: You know how progressives like to shame citizens who espouse right-of-center principles as being, for the most part, lily white? If you scour the pictorial ads at the link, you'll notice most of the participants used are (you guessed it) Caucasian.

Progress!

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXXIX

Chris Kluwe, outspoken advocate for many things (most noteworthy is "marriage equality"), has nearly 180,000 followers on Twitter. Given the responses to many of Kluwe's tweets, I surmise that hundreds follow him for the sole purpose of imitating a barking, clapping seal who was just thrown a sardine. And there have been more than a few vomit-inducing retorts to Kluwe, something along the lines of "I'm so grateful I can share the world with you!!!" Seriously!

Recently, the local rag City Pages got in on the act, expressing thankfulness for this Kluwe "witticism":





I interpret Kluwe's take here as the NFL appearing committed to putting an end to "bullying" in locker rooms yet won't demand the Washington pro football team change its name.

Is the name "Redskins" really a pejorative as some suggest? Well, there does appear to be some debate about that. But if there is legitimate outrage over the nickname "Redskins" then by all means people should protest accordingly. In fact, if there somehow is a boycott large enough to hit the Redskins franchise where it hurts (i.e. its bottom line) then they would have to seriously consider changing its name.

But if detractors demand that, say, Congress pass a law outlawing such sports teams' nicknames (therefore leaving it to the state to determine what is and what isn't offensive) or use bigoted slurs (even if in a so-called humorous context) to demonize the offending teams' owner? Wouldn't that too fit the dictionary definition of "bullying?"


-When Josh Freeman started at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings a few weeks ago, it was the third starting QB the Vikings utilized through six games of the 2013 NFL season. Later that week, a Packers fan posted a little factoid on Facebook which pointed out that Green Bay had also put forth three starting QBs.....but in a TWENTY ONE year span.

My how the tides have turned in just three short weeks.

It is expected that Scott Tolzien (who came on in relief of starter Seneca Wallace this past Sunday) will start at quarterback for the Packers this Sunday. So not only do the Packers now have the distinction of starting three QBs in a season, but also in consecutive weeks (Aaron Rodgers in Week 9, Wallace in Week 10 and then Tolzien coming up in Week 11). The last time the Packers franchise achieved such a feat? You have to go all the way back to the first three weeks of the 1987 season when they started (in order) Randy Wright, Don Majkowski and Alan Risher. And the only reason that occurred was due to Week 3 being the first week of replacement players taking the field due to the NFL players strike.

It was reported Monday that Green Bay signed former backup QB Matt Flynn to be the second stringer on Sunday. If, God forbid, Tolzien suffered an injury next game, Flynn may be needed to come in and start the following week. Has any team in NFL history started a different QB (in a non-strike season) in four consecutive weeks? Might be worth a little research.


-With Minnesota Twins C/1B/DH Joe Mauer (who will turn 31 in 2014) about to enter year four of his 8-year/ $184 million contract,  there has been plenty of offseason speculation about his abandoning his catching duties altogether. The idea being that catchers typically wear down physically as they get in to their 30s. With Mauer being a lifetime .323 hitter (with a .405 OBP), it would behoove the Twins franchise to make the necessary move to preserve those fantastic stats.

On Monday, it was made official: Joe Mauer will be a full time first baseman beginning in 2014. Some initial fan reaction suggests that $23 million per season for a "singles hitting" first baseman is way overpriced and that such a position should belong to a power hitter. But 1500 ESPN's Phil Mackey, as usual, brilliantly rebuts such hollow claims.

First off, home runs are overrated when standing next to on-base percentage and starting pitching. The San Francisco Giants won the World Series two years ago after hitting the fewest amount of home runs in baseball. And since 2001, the top run-scoring team in the major leagues each year has ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in on-base percentage in all 13 seasons. How many times did those teams rank No. 1 or 2 in home runs? Three times.

On-base percentage is king, and Mauer would have ranked second among first basemen in on-base percentage last year. Mauer also would have ranked sixth in OPS and 10th in slugging among first basemen, and it's likely those numbers will improve without every-day catching duties.

Secondly, according to Fangraphs' dollar valuation system, each Win Above Replacement is worth between $5-6 million. Mauer, despite the concussion, was a 5.2-WAR player worth $26 million in 2013. He is projected to be a perennial 4- to 4.5-WAR player at first base over the next few seasons, which makes him worth more than $20 million per year. Plus, his contract isn't preventing the Twins from signing anyone.

As for the asinine "singles" notion, Mauer was on pace for at least 45 doubles last year before the concussion, which would have ranked third behind only Matt Carpenter and Manny Machado.

The bottom line is Mauer's bat (which makes him most valuable) will now be in the lineup (barring injury) 145-150 games per season. As the Twins await some of their blue chip prospects to develop over the next year or two, having a foundation with Mauer continuing his high productivity at the plate had to be top priority.

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

The red is for the blood
The blue is for the bruise
The white is for the eyes,
that fought for me and you.
So we lift our hearts today,
filled with gratitude and praise,
For the veterans of the USA.





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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Always time for a good conversation, there's an ear for what you say.....

After a week off on assignment, I am back in the Patriot bunker for today's edition of The Closer. The show will air in its regular 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time slot.

Right at 1:00, I will play a prerecorded interview with GOP political strategist Matt Mackowiak, The Closer's official political wonk. We discussed Tuesday election results, specifically the Virginia and New Jersey and gubernatorial races.

Then at 2:00, I'll be joined by James "JB" Ball and Alex Plechash of the organization Tee it up for the Troops. With Veteran's Day being tomorrow, we wanted to recognize this wonderful organization whose mission is to “Honor, Respect, Remember and Support” military veterans and their families through charitable support powered by their leadership, coordination and execution of local golf tournaments.

In the guest-free segments, I hope to discuss the continuing Obamacare debacle, the Miami Dolphins "bullying" scandal, etc.


So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss any of the topics I plan on addressing. You can also text comments/questions to (651) 243-0390.

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out viaiheart 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.....

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Friday, November 08, 2013

Can't let it go

My friend Jeff Kolb wrote a brilliant piece this week on the media still trying to use gay marriage to feed a certain narrative (i.e. bigoted conservative voters). When same-sex marriage was passed in the Legislature this past spring, five Republicans (four House members and one Senator) voted to pass the measure.

Recently one of those House members, Rep. Andrea Kieffer of Woodbury, announced she would not seek reelection. As Jeff wrote in his blog post, many journalists reporting on the story alluded to Kieffer's support for legalizing gay marriage, thus inferring that may be why she is choosing not to run again. You see, the idea here is to plant a seed that Kieffer is reluctant to face the backlash from voters after her voting "yes" on gay marriage. The impression left is that there are still some narrow minded Republicans who look to seek retribution anyway possible (in this case, at the ballot box). 

One minor flaw in this latest narrative: Kieffer won her 2012 race by about 9 points while the Marriage Amendment (looking to definite marriage solely between one man and one woman) in her legislative district failed by a healthy 57%-43% margin. Based on that, one could make a valid argument that Kieffer was representing the interest of her constituents by voting "yes" to legalize gay marriage. What a concept!

But when she finally went on the record to reveal why she's not seeking reelection, Kieffer emphasized her "yes" vote was not a factor. 

"I would say that would have been the most compelling reason for me to run again," said Kieffer, a two-term representative from Woodbury. She was one of five legislative Republicans to support legalization earlier this year.

Kieffer said that no Republican had filed against her because of the vote and the reaction to her vote in May has been positive. Last year, her suburban district voted against the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, making her one of 33 Republicans who won last year in a district that rejected the amendment.

Instead, Kieffer said her decision not to run again was driven by personal reasons and her frustration with partisanship at the Capitol.
Hear that? That's the sound of a media narrative going through the proverbial shredder.

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Thursday, November 07, 2013

MN Office of the Legislative Auditor to MNSure: You were less than adequate

Before Minnesota's online health exchange (MNSure) went live last month, there was tremendous concern over its viability, specifically having to do with the protection of personal information. Those concerns were not exactly assuaged in mid September when a security breach occurred. A MNSure employee inadvertently sent an unsecured email to an insurance broker's office, which contained an Excel spreadsheet that listed Social Security numbers of 2,400 insurance agents. Thankfully the recipient of the email immediately notified MNSure officials who in turn assisted the broker's office in deleting the file from their hard drive.

One thing that stood out to me is the fact insurance agents had to provide their own Social Security numbers as part of the process to apply for credit navigator training. Certainly another unique (and much less sensitive) identifier could have been utilized.

Yesterday, the MN Office of the Legislative Auditor released its findings on the matter. You can read the summary at the link as well as the full report here.

Bottom line of the findings: it would appear that we've been supplied with a substandard product that was hastily brought to the public, with inadequate training of MNSure employees to boot. Of course, given this is a government project, there certainly won't be any refunds or price breaks for the inconvenience or substandard service. But you already knew that.

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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Quick Hits: Volume LXXVIII

-I can't help but be disgusted and shocked at the cruel treatment Miami Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito heaped upon teammate and fellow lineman Jonathan Martin via a voice mail message.

"Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of s---. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s--- in your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your f---ing mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."

Sources tell ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that officials from both the NFL and the Dolphins have heard the tape and have copies of the message.

Sources familiar with the tapes say these are terms Incognito used over time and were not isolated incidents, including the use of the racial epithet multiple times.

Sources also say Martin received a series of texts that included derogatory terms referring to the female anatomy and sexual orientation.

Incognito was suspended indefinitely by the Dolphins on Sunday night for conduct detrimental to the team. Meanwhile, the Miami Herald reported Monday that the team plans to cut ties with him.

"He's done," a team source told the newspaper. "There are procedures in place, and everyone wants to be fair. The NFL is involved. But from a club perspective he'll never play another game here."

Before this interaction with Incgonito was reported, Martin left the Dolphins after an incident in the team lunchroom. Martin had also missed some time in OTAs this past spring due to general unhappiness. I think we can now surmise the source of that unhappiness.

If indeed Dolphins teammates, coaches and team officials were unaware of the harassment, Martin was in a rather precarious position regarding how to handle this. If he chose to fight Incognito (who is 6'3", 319 pounds and can bench press close to 600 lbs.), it could wind up with someone getting seriously hurt (Martin himself is 6'5", 312). If Martin opted to report Incognito to head coach Joe Philbin, he'd be looked at as a snitch and retribution from teammates would certainly follow. So Martin chose the least "sucky" option: he walked away.

The NFL is conducting an investigation into this incident. I have a bad feeling that there's much more to this (i.e. others being aware of Incognito's behavior but doing nothing) than is being reported right now.


-Toronto mayor Rob Ford finally came clean (in a manner of speaking) to allegations of crack use. But he insisted that it only happened once and that it occurred while in a "drunken stupor." 

I have a feeling that "I smoked crack while in a drunken stupor" is the new "I smoked marijuana once but I didn't inhale." 


-Chris Christie has been reelected governor of New Jersey. That comes as no surprise. But the fact he won garnering close to 60% of the vote is astounding. No Republican since George H. W. Bush in the 1988 Presidential race has won a state wide race in New Jersey with at least 50% of the vote.

With this resounding victory, speculation abounds about Christie's 2016 Presidential prospects. And while the media and their leftist cohorts lauded Christie and his accolades for President Obama on the handling of last year's Superstorm Sandy, it's a whole different ballgame if Christie has a chance to defeat the Democrat presidential nominee in '16.

While Christie has governed New Jersey as a fiscal conservative, he was an advocate for New Jersey's tight gun control laws, which included 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. With that background, one can hardly peg Christie as a solid conservative. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing when it pertains to a GOP Presidential candidate. I'm not sure it's the best idea to strive for an ideologue as our nominee. But, that's another post for another day. 

Look for the drumbeat of "Chris Christie is no moderate" to continue on over the next couple of years, specifically from leftist publications. The mindset among leftists is that Americans might be able to stomach a Republican if he's a "moderate" but a conservative boogeyman may well bring an end to our republic. 

As always, my friend and AM 1280 The Patriot colleague Mitch Berg nails it via one of "Berg's Laws." 

The McCain Corollary To Berg’s Eleventh Law: If (a) respected conservative ever develops a chance of getting elected, that “respect” will turn to blind unreasoning hatred overnight.

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Monday, November 04, 2013

Shut it down!

In his nearly five years in office, President Barack Obama has given the vibe of being very hypersensitive to criticism. It's not beyond him to throw proverbial pebbles at the one network (Fox News) that has dared to question some of his decisions, policy stances, etc. Even individual detractors may find themselves under scrutiny for openly criticizing anything about Obama's presidency.

These days, the Obama administration is on the defensive more than ever due to the disastrous rollout of the President's signature piece of legislation: The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Put aside for a moment the massive quagmire that is the functionality of the website. More and more Americans who prefer to keep the health coverage they had previous to the law's inception are finding that it's not that simple. Many are finding that their premiums and deductibles are increasing while their coverage is narrowing. Such awful stories are featured at a website entitled MyCancellation.com. In addition to the website, there is an official Twitter account which highlights news stories geared towards revealing the ACA's long-predicted difficulties.

Not surprisingly, there are staunch Obama apologists who don't take too kindly to the bad publicity. As a result, it appears there are leftists who have banded together to report the MyCancellation's Twitter account as violating Twitter's terms of service.

The Twitter account had over 1,000 followers when Twitter suspended it for the first time, on Friday. The account was reinstated but suspended again, Saturday night, reappearing later that night.

Briefly Monday morning, @MyCancellation (which has swelled to 5,214 followers as of this writing) was suspended yet again. It appears that leftists on Twitter have organized to shut down speech that is critical of ObamaCare.




What was it Andrew Breitbart used to call folks who do this type of thing? Oh yeah. "Totalitarian freaks."

It's been said that perhaps the disdain shown towards ACA critics by Obama and his supporters stems from jealousy. Reason being is that MyCancellation.com is a website which is actually functional.

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Sunday, November 03, 2013

Subtle innuendos follow; Must be something inside

Given that my Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg had such a guest intensive show yesterday, he wasn't able to cover a lot of news of the week. How fortuitous for him that I am taking a rare and well deserved break from The Closer, so Mitch will be filling in for me. As usual, the show will be on in its normal 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time slot.

At 2:00, Mitch will welcome to the show Jeff Johnson, who is one of (as of now) five candidates vying to the be the GOP nominee for MN governor. Johnson will no doubt talk about his victory last weekend in the straw poll taken among Republican State Central delegates. I'm sure he'll also address the brilliant blog post I put together which addressed the scurrilous attack on him, an attack courtesy of Alliance for a Bitter Better Minnesota. The official "Johnson for Governor" Twitter feed linked to said blog post.





OK, he probably won't talk so much about the post as he will the buffoonery in ABM's character attack.

For whatever else Mitch might cover, be sure to check out his blog for possible updates.


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

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Saturday, November 02, 2013

I heard it on the NARN - Saturday, November 2

I made a special trip to the AM 1280 The Patriot studio this afternoon. My Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg welcomed to the second hour of his show Tommy Mischke, the mercurial 20-plus year veteran of Twin Cities talk radio. I had never met the legendary Mischke in person, so I wanted to take this opportunity to do so.

As someone who has been fascinated with many of the personalities (and history) of Twin Cities talk radio, I always enjoy listening to a good yarn about those who have been involved on some level. You'd be hard pressed to find two guys better qualified to spin such yarns than Mitch and Tommy, who go all the way back to the mid-80s on Don Vogel's AM 1500 KSTP talk show (see a summarized history here).

If you didn't catch the show live, be sure to look for the second hour podcast of Mitch's show today. If you have even a mild interest in the local radio personalities, you'll definitely want to indulge.

And if you weren't in the AM 1280 studio after today's broadcast to hear Mitch and Tommy continue their conversation off air while they had the luxury of being completely unfiltered? Well......I'm one up on ya.

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Gopher it

On October 22, 1977, the unranked University of Minnesota Gophers football team hosted the #1 ranked Michigan Wolverines. For the first time in ten seasons, the Gophs took back the Little Brown Jug (the rivals' traveling trophy) thanks to a 16-0 upset.

After that epic victory, the Gophs (now ranked #19) traveled to Bloomington, IN the following week and laid an egg against the lowly Indiana Hoosiers, 34-22.

On October 7, 2000, the unranked Gophers upset the #6 Ohio St. Buckeyes 29-17 in Columbus, OH. How big was that victory? The Gophs had lost 16 straight meetings with the Bucks and 28 of the previous 29. Furthermore, no Gophers squad had won in Columbus since 1949.

After that epic victory, the Gophs (now ranked #22) traveled to Bloomington, IN the following week and laid an egg against the lowly Indiana Hoosiers, 51-43.

Then last week, the Maroon & Gold upset the #25 ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers 34-23 at TCF Bank Stadium. How rare was that feat? The Gophers had lost 16 consecutive meetings to the Huskers and hadn't even held a lead in the past eleven matchups.

With all that in mind, where do you suppose the Gophers were scheduled to play this week? Yep, in Bloomington, IN where they would face the Indiana Hoosiers. Only this season, the Hoosiers aren't exactly dreadful. However, if this run the Gophers were on was legitimate, they should have been able to dispatch a 3-4 team.

For 2-1/2 quarters, it appeared as though the Gophs were going to easily avoid the obligatory Bloomington letdown, as they led 35-13. Unfortunately, late in the 3rd quarter, another historical trend was beginning to rear its ugly head: The late-game big-lead meltdown, something which became a staple of the Glen Mason era (see: 2000 vs Northwestern, 2003 vs Michigan, 2005 vs Wisconsin, etc.). Indiana went on to score 26 unanswered points and take 39-35 lead with 5:33 remaining in the game. Where Gophers teams in the past may have curled up into the proverbial fetal position, this squad needed only 2-1/2 minutes to answer the Hoosiers' latest touchdown with one of their own. Quarterback Philip Nelson hit Maxx Williams with a 50-yard TD pass to put Minnesota up 42-39. With 14 seconds minute remaining, the Gophers recovered an Indiana fumble deep in their own territory to preserve the win, which was their third consecutive Big Ten victory!

Next week, the Gophers host Penn St., a very winnable game. Meanwhile, their rivals across the border, the Wisconsin Badgers, host BYU and then Indiana over the next couple of weeks, two contests which Bucky should win handily. If all goes according to plan, the matchup at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, November 23 will feature the 8-2 Gophers hosting the 8-2 Badgers. Not since the 2005 season have both teams been relevant in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe.

Getcha popcorn.

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