Monday, March 31, 2014

Box Score of the Week

It's baseball season once again, so time for my weekly citation of a significant baseball box score.

I'm starting off the season with an interleague contest, where the New York Yankees hosted the San Francisco Giants


On June 8, 2002 in the "House that Ruth built" (i.e. Yankee Stadium), all-time home run leader* Barry Bonds (who put up some Ruth-ian numbers in the early 2000s) hit his first home run  in that infamous ballpark. 


Sunday, March 30, 2014

The mist is lifting slowly, I can see the way ahead....

Could it be that today is the day we break 60 degrees for the first time in 2014? If so, I'm kind of hoping it holds of until 3:00 PM given that I'll be on the air until that time. As usual, my weekly radio program The Closer will be on from 1:00 until 3:00 Central Time.

At 1:30, Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing will be making her weekly appearance. She usually comes on to discuss whatever she darn well pleases, but I at least want to ask her about some publicity she's received lately for her pro-firearms stance.

Then at 2:00, AM 1280 promotions guy (and fellow Minnesota Twins rube) Ross Brendel will be on for the entire hour. With the Twins' season officially kicking off tomorrow, Ross and I will preview the 2014 campaign, including a prediction of victory total.

In the non-guest segments, I plan on talking about more Gov. Mark Dayton ineptitude as well as some national political news from this past week.

So please give me 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 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.  

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

Until then.....


Friday, March 28, 2014

Time to move on to the next battle?

I've said many times before (whether on this blog or on my radio show) that I am utterly stupefied at how the culture has shifted over the past decade in regards to gay marriage.

In the 2004 election cycle, President George W. Bush was re-elected in no small part due to the issue of same-sex marriage. In 11 different states that year, there were ballot questions regarding definition of marriage remaining a union between one man and one woman. All 11 states (including not-so-conservative Michigan and Oregon) essentially voted to make gay marriage illegal. At that point, general polling showed a 2 to 1 ratio of the populace opposing same-sex marriage.

Fast forward ten years, and you have almost a 50-50 split on the issue. Currently there are 17 states that recognize same-sex marriage as legal. There are also a handful of other states where courts have stepped in to say that certain states' gay marriage bans are unconstitutional. Those rulings are currently under appeal.

There's no question that this particular battle in the culture war has seemingly been lost by social conservatives. Personally, I reached a point about 7-8 years ago where I felt civil unions were a fine compromise on the same-sex marriage issue. The main objection to the statewide gay marriage bans was that gay couples in healthy, committed relationships were not afforded the same financial benefits as a heterosexual married couple. But as many social cons dug in their heels on even ceding that aspect, such a compromise, when offered today, is rejected by gay marriage proponents. While I have opposed same-sex marriage all along, I echo the sentiment of National Review's Jonah Goldberg when he said that this country "has far bigger problems than gays settling down, filing joint tax returns, and arguing about whose turn it is to do the dishes."

So how do Republicans (specifically future presidential candidates) approach the culture war in the immediate future when the majority of their supporters (for now) still oppose gay marriage? Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, lays it out.

"I would want a presidential candidate who understands the public good of marriage," Moore answered, "and one who is not hostile to evangelical concerns, and who is going to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience." To illustrate such protections of liberty, Moore mentioned ensuring that Catholic adoption agencies are allowed to place children only in traditional-marriage homes.

Missing from Moore's answer was a firm requirement that a presidential candidate be a vocal opponent of gay marriage. Indeed, at another point in his remarks, Moore noted that evangelicals are "beginning to realize that American culture is moving toward same-sex marriage."

"We have been saying, 'Look, same-sex marriage is inevitable in American culture," Moore continued. "It doesn't mean we should stop talking about it … It means we need to start preparing our churches for a new generation."

Moore's fallback position — there's no other way to describe it — is to insist that once the marriage fight is lost, the beliefs of Americans who oppose homosexual marriage on religious grounds be respected. While Moore rejected those who "suggest, 'Let's simply abandon the question of marriage altogether and simply deal with religious liberty issues,'" there's little doubt he's putting new emphasis on liberty and less on manning the barricades against gay marriage.

The current Supreme Court case  involving Hobby Lobby underscores the next battle in the culture war: religious liberty. Since HL is an organization run by people of the Christian faith, they objected to the Obamacare mandate requiring them to offer products (specifically contraception and the "morning after" pill) in their health plans that violated their religious sensibilities. Refusal to offer such products would result in nearly $1.3 million in daily penalties towards the company, which would assuredly force Hobby Lobby out of business. At the core of the government's argument is that once a private citizen (or group of citizens) decides to incorporate, such 1st amendment protections (no laws impeding free exercise of religion) are no longer applicable. I get that corporations are non-human entities. However, they are run by people nonetheless, and these people still have inalienable rights. Unfortunately, a Colorado baker learned the hard way that it's not that cut and dried. Same with Dr. Ben Carson, who dared to sharply criticize the Affordable Care Act in the presence of President Obama. Some conservative groups also ascertained that speaking out against any progressive causes can result in undue consequences.

I'm still more than willing to state my case as to why marriage is a religious exercise that should be exclusive to one man and one woman. But when the U.S. government is seemingly trampling on the aspects of the first amendment that state they shall not make any law(s) "impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances," I say it's time for us to shift our focus. Free exercise of religion is one battle in the culture that is (or at least should be) absolutely winnable for conservatives.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume XC

-From the category "Imagine the veritable s**t storm had a Republican politician said this" comes a gem from MN Governor Mark Dayton.

To be fair, Kessler is conveying this information from a second hand source. Nevertheless, would that have even mattered had, say, Tim Pawlenty been alleged to have told privates citizens during his gubernatorial tenure to go ahead an commit a crime for the good of one's family? There would be immediate calls for his resignation by DFL politicians, leftist citizens, the Star Tribune editorial board, etc.

I'll say this much: Gov. Dayton is providing no shortage of fodder for the six MN GOP gubernatorial candidates.

- I have never heard of "comedienne" Laura Levites, but apparently she's quite angry over the fact a certain private business prefers not to violate its religious principles.

With oral arguments being heard in the Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby case at the Supreme Court this week, it's bringing to light the essence of the suit, which is Hobby Lobby objecting to an Obamacare mandate where they have to provide contraception coverage (including the "morning after" pill) in health plans. Hobby Lobby CEO David Green claims these "abortion-causing drugs go against our faith. We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate." If their argument fails, Hobby Lobby would have to pay an estimated $1.3 million in penalties daily for failure to comply.

Which brings me back to Levites. Apparently she put out some vile tweets in response to this case. I would prefer not to post them but feel free to check the link here. Essentially she's saying for people to stay out of her v****a. She also imagined committing a horrifically violent act against Mr. Green.

As per usual with leftist objections, they put forth little more than straw man arguments. In Ms. Levites' mind, the fact someone doesn't want to pay for her recreational sex is equivalent to trying to prevent the activity altogether.

- For those who have been adversely affected by the Obamacare nightmare (e.g. losing access to your preferred doctor, vital medical treatment no longer being covered or affordable), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn't believe your story. Such horror stories are untrue and are merely figments of the collective imagination of the Koch Bros.

As has also been widely reported, signups for Obamacare via have been woefully short of projections. Ah, but fear not, as Sen. Reid has a perfectly legit explanation for that also.

“We have hundreds of thousands of people who tried to sign up who didn’t get through,” he said. “There are some people who are not like my grandchildren who can handle everything so easily on the Internet, and these people need a little extra time. It’s not — the example they gave us is a 63-year-old woman came into the store and said, ‘I almost got it. Every time I just about got there, it would cut me off.’ We have a lot of people just like this through no fault of the Internet, but because people are not educated on how to use the Internet.”

Emphasis was mine.

That's the leader of the upper chamber in the U.S. Congress for ya. If your experience with the Affordable Care Act had been less the satisfactory, you're either a liar or ignorant.

Sleep tight, America.


Monday, March 24, 2014

New strategy

I've been doing quite a bit of thinking regarding my political affiliation. While I know where I stand on the major issues, political candidates often may not be 100% aligned with my beliefs. And given there are multiple factions within the Republican party (not a bad thing, per se), there's often a challenge coalescing behind one candidate.

Here in Minnesota, we have a GOP state convention each election year where delegates elected by fellow activists at the local level go to endorse a candidate for statewide office (US Senator, governor, etc.). The candidate who receives 60% of the delegates' support is the one who is deemed "endorsed." While the other candidates who failed to be endorsed have the option of going to a primary election to decide the nominee, most MN GOP candidates abide by the party nod.

Sadly, there's rarely unification when it comes to election time, which is a deadly thing in a left-of-center state like Minnesota. The GOP has a tough enough time winning statewide elections here even when the party activists are unified. But when there are certain factions who stay home on election day because their preferred candidate didn't get the nod, it's pretty much "GAME OVER" for Republicans statewide.

Which brings me to the reassessment of my foray in politics.

Oh, I'm going to stay involved. But I have an idea of how I should approach my activism. I'll support a candidate who is utterly unelectable, even though the most electable conservative in a given race is someone with whom I'm aligned on 95-98% of the issues. But that's still short of perfect, so screw it. Anyhow, one of two things will happen. First, the unelectable conservative will win the nomination but go on and get trounced in the general election by the Democrat. No problem though, as I will assuage my guilt by saying I'd rather lose on "principle" than win with someone who doesn't represent me 100%. The other scenario is the electable conservative will be the nominee. However, me and my new faction will constantly undermine that candidacy and then not turn out on election day because said candidate is not our guy/gal. As a result, the Democrat will prevail in the general. But, again, that's OK since there's no difference between a Democrat (someone with whom I agree maybe 20-25%) and the 98% conservative candidate. Once again, I am guilt free about this country continuing down the "progressive" path.

Isn't this a genius strategy? The best part of it is me and my fellow members of the "all or nothing" faction can be absolved of responsibility for any and all elections results.

Wait. What?!?! You mean to tell me some other group has the market cornered on that strategy? {*sigh*} Yet another multi-million dollar idea snapped up.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

But you don't get where you're going in this life by leaps and bounds....

With my Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg away on assignment today, I will be assuming the reins of The Headliner edition of the NARN this afternoon. I will be on from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

At 2:00 Kim Crockett, Chief Operating Office at the Center of the American Experiment, will join the program. Ms. Crockett will be on to discuss a study performed by the Center on how more and more Minnesota small business owners are opting to leave the state due to high taxes and insufferable regulations.

In the non-guest segments there will be plenty to cover, including the frivolity and chicanery taking place at the Minnesota State Capitol this past week.

So please give me 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 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.  

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

Until then.....


Friday, March 21, 2014

Impressive, but.....

By now you've heard the story of a Wheel of Fortune game show contestant (an Emil de Leon from Daly City, CA) who solved a puzzle despite having only two letters turned.

In case you missed it, here's the clip:

No doubt that was pretty impressive.

But for my money, it doesn't hold a candle to another participant who solved a puzzle with literally zero letters turned.

Don't get me wrong: Mr. de Leon is worthy of all the props he's received. However, he's no Peter Griffin from Quahog, RI.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Equal application?

A lot happening at the MN State Capitol building of late, eh?

On Tuesday, the sitting DFL governor was critical of his own party for not making him look good.

Then on Wednesday, a group of citizens gathered in the Capitol rotunda to demand a GOP legislator be publicly reprimanded.

Representatives of the Minneapolis and St. Paul NAACP, clergy and other leaders in the African-American community are calling on the DFL-controlled House to censure a Republican lawmaker for tweeting a comment that they consider racist.

The group says Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, didn’t apologize directly for a statement he wrote on Twitter that linked NBA basketball players with street crime.

Except he did.

Mel Reeves, an associate minister at Zion Baptist Church, said he wants Garofalo to make a sincere apology. He also said DFL leaders in the House should file an ethics complaint or face a backlash.

“It’s going to get a little bit ugly because we’re not going to let it go,” Reeves said. “We’re going to have community meetings about it. It’s going to behoove them to come and say something because it’s also a teachable moment.”

Mr. Reeves is going to have to explain to us what constitutes a "sincere apology." And who is the moral arbiter that will ultimately determine whether or not an apology is deemed "sincere?"

Say, does anyone recall last June when DFL House member Ryan Winkler referred to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as an "Uncle Thomas?" Were there any vehement calls for Winkler to be censured? Good question. As such, I decided to ask Mr. Reeves if he recalled his immediate reaction to Winkler's racially charged comment.

I'll update this post if I happen to receive a response.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

One party rule is hard

I'll give MN Gov. Mark Dayton this much: he can be equally acerbic with members of his own party.

The DFL governor, making his first Capitol appearance since his early February hip surgery, said it is "unacceptable" that the Legislature has not yet allowed him to put the tax cuts in law.

He said the delay was all the fault of his fellow Democrats, "which is unfortunate."

The root of the problem, as Dayton described it, is a dispute over a $90 million Senate office building and parking ramps.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, has made clear he wants the House to finish its sign off on the building plans. The House has not yet been willing to do so.

Dayton said that difference has caused the Senate to delay passage of the tax cut bill.

Last week, Bakk flatly denied that he was blocking progress on other issues for sake of the building, claiming such a thought never even occurred to him. Dayton made clear Tuesday he did not believe that.

On Tuesday, asked if he was responsible for the current conundrum given that he accepted a tax bill that included the business taxes he now wants to dump, the Senate office building and did not include the tax cuts for middle income Minnesotans he now demands, Dayton's answer was simple.

"Sure," he said. He added: "And I'm doing everything to correct it now."

There are a couple of ways to look at this. First, lay the responsibility at the feet of the Senate and the haggling over their Taj Mahal new office building (which Dayton appears to have done). The Senate is not up for reelection this year, so make it appear the DFL governor and the Dem controlled House are the ones trying to save the day but are being obstructed by Bakk & Co. Their hope is it'll strengthen their reelection chops. Secondly, the GOP candidates for governor have a ready made sound bite. Did you see the bit where Dayton was essentially asked if he bears any responsibility for this conundrum of trying to cut taxes that he signed into law last session? The first word out of his mouth was "Sure." That's pretty much all you need.

Oh, but the Republicans weren't let off the hook. When asked about the continuing criticism of the state health exchange MNSure, Dayton responded by saying opposition was partisan and "dastardly."

The man is never short on hyperbole, is he?


Monday, March 17, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume LXXXIX

- A veteran Minnesota Congressman decides to go another round.

Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) plans to run for reelection this year, he said Monday.

Peterson is expected to face a tough race in Minnesota’s 7th District, but his decision to avoid retirement means that Democrats most likely have a better chance of defending the seat.

“I still have a lot of work to do,” the lawmaker said in a statement, which was reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune earlier on Monday. The ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, Peterson said he wanted to stay to oversee implementation of the latest farm bill.

“While it can be frustrating to watch the dysfunction and partisan gridlock in Congress, I think there is still a place for moderate members like myself to try to build consensus and cooperation,” said Peterson, who was first elected to the House in 1990.

Since it's a virtual lock that the Republicans will keep their majority in the House, this announcement may be one of the few bright spots for the Democrats. Despite representing a district with a Partisan Voting Index of R +6, Peterson has failed to achieve at least 65% of the vote in only one of the past six election cycles. While even long time incumbent Democrats are vulnerable this election year, due in large part to their support of the Affordable Care Act, Peterson is a rare exception given the fact he voted "No" on Obamacare four years ago. As such, his Republican opponent, Torrey Westrom, is unable to hang that around Peterson's neck.

Once Peterson does decide to retire, it's almost a certainty that a Republican will take over this seat. Until then, the following tweet effectively sums up the 2014 race in MN CD7:

-It's March Madness time, as the 64 68 teams vying in the men's NCAA college basketball tournament have been selected.

As such, there will be millions of people (college basketball fans or no) who will indulge in filling out a bracket in various office pools. Some will even have multiple submissions. But no matter how many brackets one attempts, chances of predicting every game and matchup correctly are virtually nil. In fact, per ESPN Stats & Info, there 9.2 quintillion possible combinations. If somehow it took you only one second to fill out an entire bracket, it would take you almost 292 billion years to complete all the plausible scenarios.

Good luck!

- Disturbing news out of an Indianapolis suburb regarding the Colts' owner.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay faces four felony counts after being arrested Sunday night by Carmel, Ind., police on preliminary charges of driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance, police said.

He was released from Hamilton County Jail at 1:30 p.m. ET Monday. He made no public comments as he exited the building and entered a BMW there to pick him up.

The 54-year-old Irsay was arrested Sunday after driving at a slow rate of speed, stopping in the roadway and failing to signal a turn before police stopped him, Lt. Joe Bickel of the Carmel Police Department said in a release.

"During the course of the investigation, Irsay subsequently failed several roadside field sobriety tests," Bickel said.

In an inventory of Irsay's vehicle, "multiple prescription drugs were discovered in pill bottles," police said. "These Schedule IV prescription drugs were not associated with any prescription bottles found in the vehicle."

In 2002, Irsay admitted he had an addiction to pain killers.

"After several years of orthopedic operations and procedures, accompanied by long bouts of chronic pain, I became dependent on prescription pain medications," Irsay said in a 2002 statement. "This summer I sought professional help at a nationally recognized facility located outside Indiana. I have successfully dealt with my dependence and my chronic pain issues."

Sadly, it appears Irsay has succumbed to his demons once again.

Obviously NFL officials are still gathering information on this incident, so it's unlikely we'll hear any comment from Commissioner Roger Goodell anytime soon. However, it will be interesting to see what kind of punishment is meted out towards Irsay in accordance with the league's personal conduct policy. Despite some of the more high profile sanctions being levied against players, the policy very much extends to all league personnel, owners included. But given that he's facing possibly four felony charges, the punishment handed down by the NFL would seem to be the least of Irsay's concerns.

One has to wonder if Irsay's addictions are hereditary. His father (and previous Colts owner) Robert Irsay was said to have hit the booze pretty regularly. Jim himself has said that his dad's alcoholism stemmed from the tragedy of losing a daughter in a 1971 car accident and having another son being mentally disabled.

Bob's indulgence in the booze was on full display just over 30 years ago when he held a press conference at the BWI airport to respond to persistent rumors that the then Baltimore Colts were going to be relocated. In said presser, Irsay used some pretty salty language in his vehement denials.

Two months later, in perhaps one of the more infamous scenes in sports history, the Colts left Baltimore in the dead of night, headed for Indianapolis.

Despite the success the Colts franchise has had in the city of Indianapolis in thirty seasons (2 Super Bowl appearances, including one championship), it has failed to subside the demons endured by father and son Irsay.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

But that world can turn cold and you better face it....

It's St. Patrick's Day eve, which means.....well....absolutely nothing to me given I'm of Scandinavian descent. Nevertheless, The Closer rolls on. The show will air in its usual 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time slot.

Right at 1:00, GOP candidate for MN House District 53B (and former deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican Party) Kelly Fenton will be in studio. She'll be on to tout her candidacy as well as give an update on how her campaign is progressing thus far.

At 1:30, The NARN Babe (aka Miss Minneapolis 2014) Julia Schliesing will be on for her weekly segment to talk about whatever she darn well pleases.....because she's BOSSY!

In the non-guest segments, I'll continue to focus on the MN GOP's efforts to win back the state House. I will also throw in my two cents regarding the special Congressional election in Florida's Pinellas County (FL-13).

So please give me 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 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.  

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

Until then.....


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Old news

Ms. Attkisson is removing the "C" which, in this case, stands for credibility.

Politico weighed in this past Monday.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Everything in moderation

I was honored Thursday to have had the opportunity to moderate a GOP candidate forum for a local legislative race.


Minnesota House District 34B (which covers 60% of Maple Grove and all of Osseo) has an open seat thanks to current representative Kurt Zellers running for governor. The two Republican candidates participating were Dean Henke, currently an Osseo School Board member, and Dennis Smith, an attorney out of Maple Grove.

There were questions submitted in advance by a committee within Senate District 34, which was made up of folks not tied to either campaign. As the forum was in progress, members of the audience submitted additional questions in hopes they would be addressed within the one hour. While each candidate was given two minutes to answer a question asked (with an option of a 1-minute rebuttal), rarely did either gentleman come close to going over time. Since that was the case, several questions were able to be asked before the candidates gave their respective closing statements.

As the forum wrapped up, I emphasized to the audience that they had a difficult choice to make at their endorsing convention on Saturday, March 22 (both candidates have committed to abide by the GOP endorsement). That's actually a good thing. I also pointed out that the Republicans need to flip a total of seven House seats to regain a majority in that legislative body. However, that's only if the current crop of 61 seats held by Republicans remain in GOP hands. And that includes 34B.

Overall I was pleased with the turnout. Republican activists know full well that all of state government can not remain in DFL hands, so many are doing their due diligence in vetting the candidates.

My sincere thanks to Kelly Eull of SD34 for asking me to participate in this event.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The 2014 revolution begins

Barring Congressional Republicans making some unforced errors (always a distinct possibility), they should increase their majority in the House and close the 10-seat deficit (and possibly attain a majority) in the Senate this election cycle

Now that the results are confirmed in a special congressional election which took place Tuesday in Florida, the GOP is off to a good start.

Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink on Tuesday in a Tampa-area House district where President Barack Obama's health care overhaul got its first test ahead of November's midterm elections and Democrats and Republicans spent millions of dollars auditioning national strategies for the rest of the year.

With almost 100 percent of the vote counted, Jolly had 48.5 percent of the vote to Sink's 46.7 percent. Libertarian Lucas Overby had 4.8 percent. The election was to replace 42-year Republican Rep. CW Bill Young, who died in October of cancer.

The implications of the dueling messages for the midterm elections inspired both parties to call in star advocates like President Bill Clinton and former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, in addition to blanketing the district with ads, calls and mailings. More than $11 million has been spent on the race, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group that tracks government information.

On the surface, it would appear recent history is validated in that if a Democrat not named Obama is running in a toss up congressional district (FL-13 is an R+1 district), the Republican candidate emerges victorious. However, the left was all in for this election given that Sink raised nearly $1 million more than Jolly, who was considered by many as a flawed candidate. And while the spin from leftists is that a Republican should win this district given the fact a GOP Congressman represented the area for 42 years, multiple factors showed that this House seat was ripe for a Dem pickup.

Jolly prevailed despite major demographic changes over Young's four-decade tenure that opened a door for a Democratic victory. This is the second special election in 2014 where Democrats have been unable to assert a demographic advantage among actual voters in a nonpresidential election year. President Obama carried the 13th District in 2008 and 2012, and Sink also won the district during her run for governor in 2010. But translating demography into votes is tricky business, as California Democrats noticed during San Diego's mayoral race earlier this year, which the Republican candidate won.

Jolly, who was a lobbyist and before that an aide to Young, overcame a significant financial disadvantage to defeat Sink, who was well-known from her previous statewide runs. Sink outspent Jolly about 4-to-1 on the airwaves, according to NBC News, but Republican outside groups including the National Republican Congressional Committee, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Action Network, and American Crossroads helped close the financial gap.

Lest you think I'm over hyping this result, I point you to a piece Stuart Rothenberg of Roll Call wrote two months ago entitled "The Race Democrats Can’t Afford to Lose."

It’s rare in politics that anything other than a presidential contest is viewed as a “must win” — but the special election in Florida’s 13th District falls into that category for Democrats.

A loss in the competitive March 11 contest would almost certainly be regarded by dispassionate observers as a sign that President Barack Obama could constitute an albatross around the neck of his party’s nominees in November. And that could make it more difficult for Democratic candidates, campaign committees and interest groups to raise money and energize the grass roots.

Sink embracing the Affordable Care Act (like she did in a TV ad last month) likely validates the assertion that Obama and his signature healthcare law are hindrances.

But perhaps the most encouraging sign is the Jolly campaign used RNC data and analytics infrastructure to close the gap and eventually overtake Sink. Remember, it was in 2012 when Obama and his Dem cohorts used such methodology to ascertain that "The Life of Julia" and the GOP "War on Women" resonated with the electorate despite conservatives ridiculing such mantras. I think we all remember how the 2012 election cycle wasn't exactly the Republicans' finest moment.

It seems to me that if there are other toss up congressional races this year, it appears Republicans would be well served to use FL-13 as a case study in how to win. Winning is still the objective, right?


Monday, March 10, 2014

Unforced errors: Part II (UPDATE: Garofalo issues an apology)

So a Minnesota Republican state representative stepped in it Sunday evening.

Rep. Garofalo has a reputation for possessing a witty repartee combined with a brutally honest speaking style. As evidenced here, that can sometimes cause unnecessary angst.

Given that Twitter is a venue where one is limited by 140 characters, context can easily get lost, thus leaving people to reach their own conclusions. Quite obviously, many people viewed Garofalo’s pithy statement as racially tinged. Nevertheless, Star Tribune reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger sought clarification from Garofalo himself.

Asked about his tweet, Garofalo said he was “talking about NBA’s high arrest rate and that they are the only major pro league that testing positive for marijuana is not a substance abuse violation.”

“No intent beyond that,” he said.

Well if indeed Garofalo is being forthright about his intent, there is evidence to substantiate the NBA’s high arrest rate. In a study conducted back in 2010, the arrest rate of NBA players was 5.1%, which was nearly a full percentage point higher than the national average of 4.2%. Despite that, people are still going to question why Garofalo was even drawing attention to such a thing. Since 80% of NBA players are African-American, many folks will not let go of the racial component, a fact that should not have been lost on Garofalo. Now am I saying he’s a racist? Absolutely not. But I feel as though Garofalo used incredibly poor judgment, especially since the PC police are constantly looking to pounce on any rhetoric they perceive to be inappropriate or offensive.

One final thought. I can’t help but chuckle at the myriad leftists who are pig piling on Garofalo yet were seemingly incognito last year when a DFLer referred to a sitting African-American Supreme Court justice as an “Uncle Thomas.”

UPDATE: Rep. Garofalo issues apology.

St. Paul- Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) gave the following statement in response to his comments Sunday evening.

“In the last 24 hours, I’ve had the opportunity to re-learn one of life’s lessons: whenever any of us are offering opinions, it is best to refer to people as individuals as opposed to groups. Last night, I publicly commented on the NBA and I sincerely apologize to those who I unfairly categorized. The NBA has many examples of players and owners who are role models for our communities and for our country. Those individuals did not deserve that criticism and I apologize. In addition, it’s been brought to my attention that I was mistaken and the NBA policy on drug enforcement is stronger than I previously believed. Again, I offer my sincere apologies for my comments,” stated Rep. Garofalo.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Unforced errors

As I was perusing Twitter Saturday, I was surprised to learn of the developments at the convention for MN State House District 48B, located in Eden Prairie.

Representative Jenifer Loon (R-Eden Prairie), who serves as the Deputy Minority Leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives, was denied the endorsement of the Republican Party of Minnesota in House District 48B.

In 2013, Loon was one of four Republicans in the Minnesota House of Representatives who voted for legislation which legalized same-sex marriage. Sheila Kihne, a Republican activist & author from Eden Prairie challenged Loon for the endorsement. Kihne has been an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

After numerous ballots, the convention decided not to endorse a candidate. Neither Loon, nor Kihne have announced if the plan on running in the Republican primary election in HD 48B. Three of the four Republicans in the Minnesota House of Representatives that voted for same-sex marriage in ’13 decided to run for re-election in 2014. Representative Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) was the only incumbent endorsed for re-election by the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Three weeks ago Representative David FitzSimmons, who also voted with Loon for same-sex-marriage, was challenged by three candidates for endorsement by the Republican Party of Minnesota. FitzSimmons faced strong backlash at his convention for voting for same-sex marriage and announced that he would not seek re-election to the Minnesota House of Representatives.

When FitzSimmons was denied endorsement two weeks ago, the DFL almost immediately pounced on that result. In essence, their chanting point was how the MNGOP professes to be a "big tent" yet punctures that claim by continually showing intolerance for a specific segment of the population (i.e. homosexuals). It's complete crap of course, but nevertheless it's the narrative that's being pushed to voters who neither have the time nor the inclination for nuance. While I disagreed with what happened to FitzSimmons, the delegates at his convention felt betrayed in light of FitzSimmons not conveying his intentions to vote "yes" on legalizing same-sex marriage. Even though FitzSimmons said in the 2012 campaign that he would not take such a vote, circumstances changed when the DFL gained a majority in the legislature. And while I understood FitzSimmons' attempts to make the inevitable (i.e. legalization of gay marriage) more palatable to his constituents (53% of HD30B voters in November 2012 voted "yes" to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman), his lack of communication with his supporters was his downfall.

In the case of Loon's district, I'm less familiar with the dynamics. Did Loon ever make a claim on the 2012 campaign trail that she would not vote to legalize same-sex marriage if the issue were broached? I haven't heard that.

Here was her statement on her Facebook page in light of her May 2013 vote to legalize same-sex marriage.

Today the Eden Prairie News ran (a) news article on the same-sex marriage vote in the MN Legislature. I want to thank all who have contacted me regarding this important issue. It is a deeply personal issue that I do not take lightly and sought input from as many channels as possible leading up to the vote. As someone who believes strongly in limited government, I came to the conclusion that allowing my own or others’ religious beliefs to prevent the extension of civil marriage to same sex couples was not justified. To ensure protections for all under the law, I also supported efforts to strengthen religious liberty protections in the final bill. For those who disagree with my vote, I want to express my deep respect for your conviction. After a long and thoughtful process, I came to the conclusion my duty as a legislator was to honor my belief in limited government, equal protections under the law and the views of the people residing in 48B.

The prior November, only 40% of voters in Loon's House District voted to define marriage as solely between one man and one woman. That means the 60% who voted against the MN Marriage Amendment either supported same-sex marriage or preferred government not have any role in defining it. Given Loon's rationale for voting "yes" on the same-sex marriage bill combined with how her district voted on the issue would indicate to me that she accurately represented her constituents' views.

So why is it that Loon received an endorsement challenge? It appears that Kihne's challenge is based on her objection to one vote taken by Loon. And the fact Loon didn't receive endorsement further underscores the borderline laughable endorsement process we have in Minnesota. The idea that merely 60 Republican delegates (out of 100 total that attended the 48B convention) can decide the fate of an incumbent politician over an issue which, again, was in line with the majority of voters in her entire House District is somewhat alarming.

But I digress.

As someone who opposes same-sex marriage, I was relieved when the issue was settled last year. I maintained for some time that the gay marriage issue is more valuable to DFLers when they can use it as a cudgel to highlight Republicans' "intolerance." So when same-sex marriage was legalized last year, I was ready to move forward and focus on issues where the DFL was most vulnerable (e.g. MNSure, daycare unionization, massive tax increases on families & small businesses, etc.). Instead, some of my fellow Republicans continue to breathe life into the Dems' demagoguery machine. Maddening.


When your world is full of strange arrangements.....

Given that it was "spring forward" early this morning, I'm running on one less hour of sleep. Nevertheless, I'll be ready to commence The Closer with the help of a gallon or two of Diet Coke. As always, I'll be on from 1:00 pm until 3:00 Central Time. 

In the 1:00 hour, Andrew Schmitt of MN Beer Activists will join the program. Andrew's organization has been very active in their quest to legalize Sunday liquor sales in the state of Minnesota. We'll find out the latest on legislation that's being considered to legalized Sunday sales as well as promote a SLS rally coming up on St. Patrick's Day. 

Since the 1:00 hour will have a certain theme, the NARN Babe, Julia Schliesing, will be weighing in on the Sunday liquor sales issue as well as give us a recap of her weekend at CPAC. She'll be on in her usual 1:30 time slot.

Then for the 2:00 hour, my friend, political activist, blogger and Crystal City Council candidate Jeff Kolb will be in studio. Jeff will weigh in on the political news of this past week, including the verified rumors of MN Secretary of State Dennis Nguyen having a penchant for strip clubs and what problems may arise from that. We'll also discuss the beginning of the MN legislative session, BPOU convention frivolity, etc. 

So please give me 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 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.  

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

Until then.....


Thursday, March 06, 2014

SOSOS: Save Our Secretary Of State (UPDATE: Nguyen *doesn't* oppose photo ID?)

My friend Jeff Kolb opined the other day on the verification of GOP Minnesota Secretary of State candidate Dennis Nguyen's penchant for strip clubs. My immediate reaction was how can one be so short sighted as to continue such activities while running for a statewide political office? This only accentuates the narrative that Republicans are waging a "war on women." That, and several big name MN GOP state legislators endorsed Nguyen's candidacy. Does anyone honestly believe that said legislators would have endorsed Nguyen had they known he frequents such establishments? Certainly not all of them would have been willing to publicly endorse.

So does this mean a death knell of Nguyen's candidacy? The more appropriate questions is should it be a death knell? While Secretary of State is a statewide office, it's not nearly as high profile as, say, the office of governor or state legislator. Secretary of State is more of a behind the scenes role (though one may not know that given some of the shenanigans of current SOS Mark Ritchie). As such, there is no hand in crafting policy as much as there is ensuring the logistics and administration of government business.

All that said, it is up to the individual voter to decide how he/she gauges a political candidate. In the minds of some, Nguyen engaging in such extracurricular activities (while legal) is morally reprehensible and thus isn't appropriate for someone who would hold such an important office (two statewide recounts over the past three election cycles underscores the job's vitality). Please note that it's not necessarily the position I hold. I'm more concerned about the fact that someone who seeks a position in charge of ensuring voter integrity would be opposed to photo ID, as Nguyen is reported to be. That should be most concerning if you're a conservative.

If indeed Nguyen goes on to be the Republican nominee for MN Secretary of State, you better believe that Minnesota Democrats will use the strip club issue against him. However, that should be easily swatted down by throwing at the Dems their own motto of "It's just sex. Move on."



Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Another O-care delay

Death. Taxes. President Obama delaying aspects of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).

The Obama administration will allow some health plans that fall short of Obamacare coverage requirements to be offered for two more years, extending the coverage past the November elections and through President Barack Obama’s second term.

The decision, announced Wednesday by federal health officials, extends an earlier decision by the White House to let people keep their existing health plans through 2014, even if those plans fell short of the Affordable Care Act requirements. Under the new policy, some people could renew plans in 2016, meaning they would be covered into 2017.

Huh. I'm sure the year 2016 was chosen totally at random.

In any case, let me offer another reminder of what the White House's official Twitter feed tweeted out last year when there were continual drum beatings about doing away with the Obamacare monstrosity.

I guess it's time to update the signature page of the ACA law.

Unless our country is being led by a ruler instead of a democratically elected leader, Obama can't just change signed legislation at his whimsy. But when there's even the slightest objection from Congressional Republicans regarding an encroachment on that whole "Separation of Powers" thingy, the President is dismissive, even condescending.

Let's also go back to last July, when the first major delay (i.e. the employer mandate) was declared. The President had this to say (emphasis mine):

[W]here Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people.

And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case.

Hey, the President actually said something with which I agree!

The ACA disaster is the proverbial shooting-fish-in-a-barrel issue for Congressional Republicans. As such, they're likely to ride the issue to significant gains in the midterm elections. The GOP is pretty much a lock to maintain (and likely increase) their majority in the U.S. House and they have a fair chance to seize the Senate. With that in mind, part of me believes that they're hesitant to take substantive action against the President for what appears to be a blatant violation of the Separation of Powers. Quite simply, the Republicans are concerned about another public relations hit similar to what happened to them in last October's government shutdown. But unless GOP members of Congress do more than grandstand on the Obamacare issue, the President will continue to do whatever he feels is necessary to help his party at least maintain control of the Senate.

Alas, I don't have the impression there are nearly enough steel spines among the Republican caucus to "make that case." But for any of you who are on a GOP mailing list, let this be a fair warning. You're likely to receive letters/emails/phone calls on a daily basis emphasizing that with your campaign contribution(s), you can help the GOP take over the Senate. Once that happens, then you can count on them to go after the President over his mockery of the Constitution. No, really, they mean it this time. Scout's honor.


Monday, March 03, 2014

Just in case you were wondering....

....if the Obama administration would cease being petulant thumb suckers amid the tense situation developing between Russia and Ukraine, you now have your answer.


Sunday, March 02, 2014

See me ride out of the sunset on your color TV screen.....

It may not get above zero outside, but The Closer will be in the Patriot bunker near the Earth's core. I'll be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time. 

At 1:30, the ever popular weekly staple that is the NARN Babe segment will be on. Yes, Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing will give us an update on this past week where she is always prepping for the Miss Minnesota pageant. Julia will also opine on whatever else she darn well pleases. 

Then at 2:15, Northern Alliance Radio Network alum Brian "St. Paul" Ward will check in via phone. Since this weekend is the 10th anniversary of the NARN, Brian (who was a staple of the broadcast team for its first seven years) will wax nostalgic on how the show got started and how it evolved into the juggernaut it is today.

In the non-guest segments, I'll look back on the news of the week, including the frenzy surrounding Arizona SB 1062. I will also focus on local political news, including several GOP endorsing conventions taking place yesterday. 

So please give me 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 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.....


Saturday, March 01, 2014

Didn't see this coming

As I mentioned this morning, there was a GOP endorsement battle for the MN House seat being vacated by my current Republican representative Jim Abeler.

After only one ballot, 26-year old Abigail Whelan defeated Don Huizenga by securing 64% of the voting delegates. Even though I supported Whelan, I admit that I was shocked by that result. Truth be told, I predicted this race would go "no endorsement", thus heading to a primary contest this summer.

While Huizenga was gracious in defeat, some of his supporters (many of whom are libertarians) who took to social media to analyze the result were less so. Whelan has been unabashed about her faith in Jesus Christ and how her worldview has shaped her life. As such, my House District is being painted as a bastion of "bible thumpers" looking to replace the Constitution with the Holy Bible. There were even references to last week's endorsement fight in HD 30B where social conservatives also won. However, that is an asinine comparison since the majority of delegates in 30B were looking to out incumbent House member David FitzSimmons over his "yes" vote on legalizing same-sex marriage (and I disagreed with the mindset of those majority of 30B delegates). In 35A, it was an open race.

I don't know that either side (libertarians or social conservatives) were any more motivated than the other on caucus night when delegates to today's convention were selected. Perhaps many didn't even decide on a candidate until this past week when Huizenga revealed he had been arrested for disorderly conduct last June. While I believe he did the right thing by revealing the incident, it might have made 35A delegates uneasy about his prospects for a general election win. I'm not convinced that Whelan's win had as much to do with her deep-rooted faith as much as the fact she doesn't have much (if any) baggage. Again, who knows what the mindset was? But to make a broad-brush assumption that this was some sort of revolt by Christians seems far too simplistic.

The bottom line is the same endorsement process lauded by the "WIBERTY!" crowd in 2012 was being poo-pooed by some of the same people once the result didn't end in their favor. Many of us non "WIBERTY!" Republicans were lectured in 2012 to coalesce behind the chosen Republican candidate regardless if he/she was our first choice. It'll be interesting to see if the "wibertarians" follow their own advice. After all, isn't it the objective of all Republican factions to, y'know, defeat Democrats? I believe I read that somewhere.


Off to the convention

The Minnesota state senate district where I reside (SD35, which covers the cities of Ramsey, Anoka, Andover and a sliver of Coon Rapids) holds its election year convention all day today. There will be the standard SD business such as haggling over convention rules, election of delegates to the State and Congressional District conventions, etc.

In my particular state House District (HD35A) there will be an endorsement battle for the Rep. Jim Abeler's House seat (Abeler is currently vying for the GOP nomination to oppose U.S. Senator Al Franken). While this particular endorsement contest won't be as high profile as the donnybrook that took place last weekend with the Wright County GOP, it's not without its intrigue. The two candidates in this race offer stark contrasts. 

Don Huizenga, age 48 and a longtime resident of Anoka, is the favorite of libertarians having been endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota. The other candidate is Abigail Whelan, age 26 and also an Anoka resident. She is a favorite of the social conservative wing of the party. 

In the event your interested in following the festivities, I will be live tweeting at the convention. You can find me on Twitter at @Brad_Carlson (or click this link). 
Happy convention-ing.