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.


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