Monday, June 30, 2014

Box Score of the Week

The Red Sox and Yankees renewed their long standing rivalry this past weekend. Let's go back to an August 2006 game at Boston's Fenway Park.


Whenever the Yanks and Sawx get together, a nine-inning game (which typically averages close to 3 hours) can easily turn into a 3-1/2 to 4 hour affair. So is it any surprise that the longest nine-inning game in MLB history (4 hours, 45 minutes) was the one I cited above?


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ghosts appear and fade away; Come back another day.....

I can hardly believe it but we're almost through the month of June. With that, today will feature another edition of The Closer, which can be heard from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time. Today is one of those shows where we have a guest literally every segment.

Right at 1:00, Rich Lieberman, who is the GOP endorsed candidate in MN House District 45A, will be in studio. Rich will be on to tout his candidacy to unseat long-time incumbent Lyndon Carlson, who was first elected to the MN House the same year Richard Nixon was re-elected President.

At 1:30, Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing will make her weekly appearance via phone. Now that she is no longer seeking a pageant title, Julia will likely discuss pressing political issues. However, she is still passionate about her platform, which is suicide prevention. As such, she will now feature a weekly segment entitled "Sunday suicide prevention tactic of the week." 

Then at 1:45, Author/Blogger/Cool Chick Katie Kieffer will check in to discuss her first book Let Me Be Clear: Barack Obama's War on Millennials, and One Woman's Case for Hope

The book was released to the public this past week, so Katie will also talk about her whirlwind TV/Radio tour. 

Finally, for the entire 2:00 hour, I welcome to the show Miss Minnesota 2014 Savannah Cole

Savannah will be on to discuss her victory two weeks ago as well as look forward to her preparation for the Miss America pageant, which is a mere few months away. Oh, and maybe, juuuuuuuuuust maybe, we'll have a surprise special guest drop by while Savannah is on. Whoever could it be? Guess you'll have to tune in and find out. 

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, June 28, 2014

Let Me Be Clear.....

My friend Katie Kieffer has penned an essential read for not only Millennials but also their parents. Her first book entitled "Let Me Be Clear...." not only highlights the issues facing the Millennial generation but also conveys from-the-heart advice from Katie, who herself is at the tail end of that age demographic.

This week is the opening week of the book being released to the general public.

As such, Katie has been all over TV and radio promoting this endeavor.

Check out her appearance on Fox & Friends from this past Thursday.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Perpetual vindication?

Perhaps Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign slogan for President should have been "Romney: Right about everything." OK, I concede that would have come off as insufferably arrogant. But in hindsight, it may have been prescient.

A mere eight months into President Obama's second term, BuzzFeed writer McKay Coppins penned a column querying "Was Mitt Romney Right About Everything? - From Russia to Mali to Detroit, Romney’s biggest fans say they’ve been vindicated." 

Add on top of that the tumultuous situation in Iraq today. The Obama campaign dinged Romney during the 2012 campaign over his suggesting that there should still be a U.S. presence in Iraq (a complete troop withdrawal took place at the end of 2011). It's fair to say that ISIS would not be wreaking havoc in that country today if there were some sort of American military presence.

But what has topped it all off took place in the arena of basic manners and civility. Yes, even there Romney appears to have bested the White House's current occupant.

By now you've probably seen the infamous photo of Obama breaching the sneeze guard at a Chipotle.

And in contrast?



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume XCVIII

- MN state representatives Joe Hoppe and Tara Mack (both Republicans) co-wrote a damning op-ed regarding the status of MNSure, the state's health insurance exchange. There is no doubt that the DFL is facing a difficult election season trying to defend this boondoggle, given that not one single Republican supported this law. And that's just one issue.

So when a political party woefully lacks any substantive issues on which to campaign, you can probably guess the card to be played by their lapdogs (in this case, veteran scribe Doug Grow) in the media.

Minnesota’s Republican Party roars into the election season with endorsed candidates that, with a only a couple of exceptions, have a striking similarity: They’re white guys.

The exception is in the 4th District, where Republicans endorsed attorney Sharna Wahlgren to go up against DFL incumbent Betty McCollum, who is seeking her eighth term in Congress. Additionally, in the 6th District, Rhonda Sivarajah is set to run in a primary against Tom Emmer, who was endorsed by that district’s Republicans.

At the state level, white guys ruled.

Essentially, Mr. Grow is merely parroting chanting points put forth by the DFL chair a few weeks ago. As such, I won't rehash what I wrote about the issue then. But think about it. Do you honestly believe GOP candidates' gender/race would be the constant focus of Dems and the media (pardon the redundancy) if their party had a winning (or even coherent) campaign message? That's one of those rhetorical questions.

- This year, veteran Minneapolis sports writer Sid Hartman will celebrate 70 years (seventy!) as a newspaper columnist and 60 years talking sports on WCCO radio.

For 18 years now, Sid has been part of a weekly TV sports round table called The Sports Show, seen every Sunday evening at 9:30 on the local CW channel. For the first 16 years it was he, fellow Star Tribune scribe Patrick Reusse and radio guy Dark Star on the round table with the festivities being moderated by Mike Max. When Star died two years ago, many felt that Sid's demeanor would become milder given his long time agitator (Star once called Sid "Sparky the Barking Fossil" on the air) had passed on.

Well.....not so much. If you have a half hour to kill, check out this past Sunday's episode with Star Tribune baseball beat writer LaVelle E. Neal III sitting in the middle chair. Let's just say that Sid's treatment of Neal had Reusse concerned (jokingly....I think) that there could potentially be a racial discrimination suit filed.

- When 30+ year incumbent Democrat Congressman Jim Oberstar was defeated in 2010 by upstart Chip Cravaack, it was perhaps one of the bigger upsets in an election dominated by Republicans. Unfortunately, Cravaack was defeated in 2012 by Rick Nolan, one of those old white guys the Dems seem to loathe yet have no problem electing to political office.

But I digress.

Nolan (like many Congressional Dems) will have quite a formidable foe this election cycle in businessman Stewart Mills.

Check out the Politico piece that dubs Mills "The Brad Pitt of the Republican Party.


Monday, June 23, 2014

Box Score of the Week

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves - April 30, 1990.



Sunday, June 22, 2014

How can I help it if I think you're funny when you're mad?

After last week's broadcast with limited voice capacity, I am back to full strength for today's installment of The Closer. I will be on the air this afternoon from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time.

At 1:30 we'll be graced by our weekly visit from Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing. Now that she isn't in the midst of training for an upcoming pageant, Julia will likely have less of a filter starting this week. As such, she'll talk about whatever she darn well pleases.

Then at 2:15, basketball wonk Mike McCollow will check to discuss another ring for the San Antonio Spurs dynasty, the persistent rumors of the Timberwolves trading superstar Kevin Love and prospects for the upcoming NBA draft.

In the non-guest segments, I'll weigh in on the continued buffoonery that has marred the first (and hopefully last) term of Gov. Mark Dayton.

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, June 20, 2014

The award for most intense investigative journalism goes to....

.....the Star Tribune of course.

Can you imagine the exhaustive research that went into uncovering the facts that lead to the following headline?

Star Tribune buyer Glen Taylor has GOP tilt to giving

Stunning, right? I mean, who would have ever imagined that someone who served in the Minnesota State Senate as a Republican in the 1980s (including Minority Leader from 1985 until 1988) would have a tendency donate the majority of his political contributions to...uh....Republicans.

I guess the only question now is where will the Pulitzer be kept.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Trademark tyranny

Regardless of your political affiliation, this should frighten you to your core.

In a major blow to the Washington Redskins, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Wednesday canceled six federal trademarks of the team name because it was found to be “disparaging” to Native Americans.

“We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” the Patent Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board wrote in a 2-1 decision.

I just re-read the Bill of Rights and failed to ascertain any inference or implication that someone possesses the right to not be offended. So basically what you have here is an agency of the U.S. government unilaterally deeming something offensive, thus punishing the Redskins' organization despite not a single solitary law being broken. That certainly doesn't smack of a free, democratic society to me.

Of course this flap wouldn't be complete without Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (who takes to disparaging the acts of lawful private citizens because he doesn't like their politics) doing his proverbial end zone happy dance. (emphasis mine)

“Daniel Snyder may be the last person in the world to realize this, but it’s just a matter of time until he is forced to do the right thing and change the name,” he said.

Sounds like a thinly veiled threat to me. If you don't acquiesce to what we, the government, decide is the "right thing," life will become difficult.

Say, here's a little exercise for ya if you have a minute. Go look up the dictionary definition of the word "tyranny," then ask yourself if it's applicable here. The answer may (or may not) surprise you.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume XCVII

- GOP endorsed US Senate candidate Mike McFadden knows full well the monumental task he has ahead in attempting to oust Minnesota senator Al Franken. However, the latest polls indicate that McFadden is indeed within striking distance with approximately 4-1/2 months until election day. And some prominent news stories this past weekend offered up some substantive talking points for the McFadden camp to really glom on to.

One being that Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis graduated 100% of its senior class, with all those students having been accepted into college. McFadden has served on the board at Cristo Rey for the past few years. Think he has some insight on educational issues and what works?

The other noteworthy item was the stunning news of medical device giant Medtronic purchasing Covidien for $42.9 billion and then planning to move its corporate headquarters out of the Twin Cities to Ireland. Not only does this have to do with the significant corporate tax rate corporations face in the U.S., but also the excise tax on actual medical devices has to factor in. The excise tax was part of Obamacare, for which Franken became the 60th filibuster-proof vote. Franken had a chance to make this right last fall when an amendment to repeal said tax was brought forth as part of a Continuing Resolution. Minnesota's junior senator voted "no."

No sense for the McFadden camp to leave anything on the table at this point.

- It was 20 years ago today when alleged murderer O.J. Simpson was hiding in the back of pal Al Cowlings' white Ford Bronco, leading police on a miles long chase along a southern California freeway.

Earlier that day, Simpson lawyers Robert Shapiro and Robert Kardashian held a press conference responding to their client being charged with murders of his ex wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Kardashian then read a letter penned by Simpson, a letter which sounded more like a suicide note.

As I look back, two awful things were introduced into our culture that fateful Friday evening: One, the ultimate reality television experience. And two, the name "Kardashian" was first heard by the masses. It's been a steady cultural decline ever since.

- I admittedly let out an audible gasp yesterday upon learning of the death of a baseball legend.

Tony Gwynn, who banged out 3,141 hits during a Hall of Fame career spanning 20 seasons with the San Diego Padres, has died of cancer at age 54, it was announced Monday.

The lefty-swinging Gwynn, nicknamed Mr. Padre, had a career .338 batting average, won eight National League batting titles and played in the franchise's only two World Series.

He died early Monday morning at Pomerado Hospital in Poway, California, while surrounded by his family, the Baseball Hall of Fame announced.

"Major League Baseball today mourns the tragic loss of Tony Gwynn," commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement Monday. "The greatest Padre ever and one of the most accomplished hitters that our game has ever known, whose all-around excellence on the field was surpassed by his exuberant personality and genial disposition in life.

"... For more than 30 years, Tony Gwynn was a source of universal goodwill in the National Pastime, and he will be deeply missed by the many people he touched."

Perhaps one of the more masterful handlers of a bat since Ted Williams, Gwynn hit at least .300 for 18 consecutive seasons (1983-2000), usurped only by the 23 straight years achieved by some guy named Ty Cobb. So prolific a hitter was Gwynn that he and Pete Rose were the only players in MLB history to lead the league in hits 14 seasons apart.

One of the bigger buzzkills of the 1994 players' strike (obviously outside of the postseason being cancelled) was the fact Gwynn had a legitimate shot to hit .400, something that had not been done since Williams in 1941 (Gwynn finished that shortened season hitting .394).

Despite those other-worldly stats, Gwynn never desired to get his big pay day as he always opted to stay in San Diego. As salaries really began to escalate in the late 1980s into the early '90s, Gwynn typically wasn't making half of what the highest paid player in MLB was earning at the time. He desperately wanted to bring a World Series title to San Diego, but his club fell short in both the 1984 and 1998 Fall Classics.

For those who are stats geeks like myself, check out the column of ESPN's Jayson Stark as he dissects Gwynn's incredible run. And for an insightful look at the class exuded by Gwynn, Buster Olney offers up a wonderful retrospective.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Box Score of the Week

It was 20 years ago tomorrow when the Kansas Royals hosted the Seattle Mariners.


Mr. D is correct in that Ken Griffey hit his 30th home run this game, which tied him with Babe Ruth for most home runs in a season before June 30. 

However, I picked this game for a different reason. As the game progressed, news began to leak out about accused murderer OJ Simpson hiding in the back seat of friend Al Cowlings' white Ford Bronco as they led police on a slow-speed chase. Before the game came back on the air, one of the Royals' announcers quipped “Did you hear that O.J. Simpson’s at the U.S. Open? He already has two under.”


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lay your weary head to rest; Don't you cry no more....

Happy Father's Day all! In between the festivities of celebrating the family patriarch, be sure to tune in to The Closer this afternoon from 1:00 until 3:00 Central Time.

At 1:15, political wonk Matt Mackowiak will join me via phone. We'll discuss the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary this past week as well as what (if any) ripple affect it will have. We'll also discuss the prospects of a GOP takeover of the US Senate as well as a Hillary(!) run for President in 2016.

The at 2:00 I will play a recorded interview I conducted with Capt. Sean Parnell, a senior adviser for Concerned Veterans for America. Capt. Parnell discussed the current issues facing Iraq, specifically the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) taking over major cities in that country. I also asked him about the scandal with the V.A. and what Congress is doing to alleviate long wait times for military vets seeking medical treatment.

Finally at 2:30, Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing will check in after a one week hiatus from the show. We'll look back at this past week when Julia was participating in the Miss Minnesota pageant. Unfortunately she was not crowned Miss Minnesota, but that certainly doesn't mean there's not an exciting journey ahead for her. As such, we'll also discuss her plans for the immediate future.

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, June 13, 2014

The first step in evacuatin' Dayton

There has been a GOP gubernatorial primary election every four years in Minnesota for as long as I can remember. However, they've rarely been noteworthy since most Republican candidates abide by the endorsement of their elected delegates, thus thinning the field of most viable candidates come primary day.

Not since 1990 when Jon Grunseth defeated Arne Carlson (Grunseth withdrew a week before the general after revelations of his skinny dipping with teen girls a decade earlier) have we in Minnesota had multiple big-name candidates in a Republican gubernatorial primary. But that's exactly what we now have this election cycle. In addition to GOP endorsed candidate Jeff Johnson, other entrants include former House Speaker Kurt Zellers as well as former House Minority Leader Marty Seifert (In my opinion, businessman Scott Honour is not electable, but I'm ripe for a surprise given his solid addition of state senator Karin Housley as his Lt. Gov. candidate).

With all that in mind, it's difficult for me to interpret the KSTP/SurveyUSA polling released earlier this week.

Naturally it would appear that the Johnson and Zellers camps are most pleased. The spin from the Johnson camp is that not a lot of primary voters have yet been informed that he is the GOP endorsed candidate, thus that will give him the upper hand among the overall GOP electorate. But then you have the Zellers faithful touting the fact their candidate didn't even attempt to secure the party nod yet he's already at the top of the heap. That, and that his record as House Speaker will ultimately help carry the day. Heck, even some of the Seifert and Honour folks expressed slight optimism in their respective messages bringing in the majority of the 22% of undecided voters.

One factor to consider is DFL voters looking to potentially cause chaos. Since the Dems control all statewide offices in Minnesota, the incumbents have little to no opposition in a primary with the exception of State Auditor Rebecca Otto being challenged by former House member Matt Entenza. As such, there's little incentive for Dem voters to turn out to the polls for their party's primary (ballots can only contain votes cast for one party). Since there's no party registration in this state, DFLers are well within their rights to cast an all GOP ballot. So could we see a scenario in Minnesota where Dems attempt to cast votes for whom they deem as having the slimmest chance to oust Gov. Mark Dayton? Certainly. But it's impossible to decipher if it would be enough to actually have a significant impact.

Regardless, we as Minnesota Republicans are finding ourselves in uncharted waters with this kind of high profile primary election. Given we have a little more than eight weeks before we cast our votes, the fun is just beginning.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Nothing escapes politicization

A tragic New Jersey traffic accident that claimed the life of one and injured several others made national headlines because of one of the passengers in the vehicle that was struck

A Georgia truck driver has been charged in connection with the wreck on the New Jersey Turnpike that left comedian-actor Tracy Morgan in critical condition and another man dead, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement released Saturday.

Kevin Roper, 35, of Jonesboro, was charged with one count of death by auto and four counts of assault by auto after the tractor-trailer he was driving crashed into the limo bus carrying the comedian and others, the statement said.

Initial reports indicated there were seven people injured in the crash, but the prosecutor's statement put the number at four.

Morgan's condition was not expected to change Saturday, publicist Lewis Kay said. "His family is now with him and he is receiving excellent care."

An accident like this, while awful and tragic, typically would not have made national headlines were it not for the presence of Morgan. To be clear, I don't say that with an objectionable tone that this story would garner that kind of publicity. I understand completely. But it also drew attention to another aspect that you just knew would result in leftist lunacy (emphasis mine).

Brooke Buchanan, a Walmart spokesperson, said the truck driver is a Walmart employee.

"This is a tragedy and we are profoundly sorry that one of our trucks was involved," said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., in a statement. "The facts are continuing to unfold. If it's determined that our truck caused the accident, Walmart will take full responsibility."

Yes, one of the left's favorite whipping boys had its name invoked. And some reactions were as predictable as Pavlov's dog salivating upon hearing a ringing bell.

You get the idea.

I have to wonder what the reaction might have been had this been a semi  truck carrying solar panels as opposed to a Walmart semi. Would these same kooks laud the truck driver for showing a sense of urgency given the planet is suffering irreparable damage from fossil fuel usage, thus the panels needed to be delivered ASAP? Would they not show nearly as much sympathy for the passenger who was killed because he dared get in the way of someone trying to save Mother Earth? What's sad is I wish I could believe these seemingly absurd scenarios would be far fetched.

Must be hell when certain people have to endure boogeymen on a perpetual basis.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

House Majority Leader ousted

Last month's Congressional primary races among Republicans went to incumbents/establishment candidates pretty much across the board.

But as I write this, June's primary contests have started off with a bang.

In a stunning upset, Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House majority leader, has lost the Republican primary to Dave Brat, a Richmond-area college professor who ran to Mr. Cantor’s right.

Mr. Cantor was expected to cruise to victory, although he had been pushed to portray himself as a hard-liner, especially on immigration.

The results were foreshadowed at a district convention last month in Henrico County, Mr. Cantor’s home base, when conservatives ousted one of his loyalists as chairman while he looked on.

So is this an isolated incident where an "establishment" candidate is defeated by an opponent who moved to the incumbent's right or has the TEA Party's demise truly been exaggerated? I guess we'll find out as other results trickle in.

Obviously there's always concern when an incumbent who has consistently won general elections (like Cantor, who is in his 7th term) is pushed aside for a more conservative upstart. That doesn't appear to be an issue here given the 7th Congressional District of Virginia is an R+10 district with Mitt Romney having won there last presidential election by a whopping 15 points. So as much as Democrats may be tempted to cackle with glee over this one, this doesn't look like it will be a rare 2014 flip for them. Per Derek Willis of the New York Times, one potential Democrat candidate (Jack Trammell) hasn't even registered with the FEC due to minuscule funding. One other Dem said to be in the mix (Mike Dickinson) barely has over $1,000 cash on hand.

A couple of months ago, House Speaker John Boehner mocked GOP colleagues in the House for their hesitance to address to the immigration issue (i.e. support amnesty). Given what happened to Cantor tonight, it appears the citizens of VA-07 aren't all that desirous for amnesty either.


Monday, June 09, 2014

Box Score of the Week

Arizona Diamondbacks second baseman Aaron Hill hit for the cycle in a June 2012 game against the Milwaukee Brewers. Though not unprecedented, this particular cycle was noteworthy for another reason.



Aaron Hill logged his second cycle of the 2012 season. As such, Hill became only the fourth player in MLB history to hit for the cycle twice in a season, and the first in more than 80 years. 


Sunday, June 08, 2014

He's for the money, he's for the show.....

Back in the Patriot bunker today for another edition of my radio show The Closer. As usual, the festivities will take place from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time. 

Right at 1:00, friend of the show Karin Housley will check in. Karin was named just last weekend as the Lt. governor candidate on Scott Honour's gubernatorial campaign, so we'll discuss how that came to fruition. We'll also discuss the campaign's strategy over the next two months as they approach the August 12 Republican primary. 

Then at 2:00, Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River) will stop by the studio. Myriad topics will likely be addressed, like Nick's successful battle against congenital heart disease, an ailment which was supposed to take his life before age 10. We'll also get Nick's take on MN politics, including his perspective on the US Senate and gubernatorial candidates, this past legislative session, the state of the MN GOP, 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.....


Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume XCVI

- Over the past few election cycles, factions of the Minnesota Republican party (whether it be libertarians, TEA party members, social conservatives, etc.) have not been shy about engaging in a little infighting. Because we live in a state that leans Democrat, such intra-party squabbling largely contributes to resounding electoral losses, evidenced by a Republican not winning a statewide election since Gov. Tim Pawlenty was barely reelected in 2006.

But could the tide finally be turning? There seemed to be a more unifying feeling among GOP activists after this past weekend's convention, whether it was coalescing behind a US Senate candidate (Mike McFadden) who was not abiding by the party endorsement or the universal disgust towards gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert. On the flip side, perhaps there's some tension emerging in the DFL camp given the reaction to incumbent State Auditor Rebecca Otto receiving a primary challenge.

DFL Party Chairman Ken Martin made it clear that the party will protect Otto, who was endorsed for re-election at the party’s convention over the weekend.

“Although he was a one-time House DFL leader, Matt Entenza has a history of running in DFL primaries. His last-minute filing is an insult to the hard-working DFLers he has to win over,” Martin said. “The DFL takes the endorsements of its candidates seriously and will put the full weight of its party resources behind Auditor Otto’s candidacy. I am confident that she will prevail in the primary and general election.”

Entenza hit on two progressive issues in particular — his staunch opposition to voter identification legislation and proposals to ban gay marriage in the state. He pointed out that Otto, a former legislator running for her third term as auditor, voted in favor of those proposals in the Legislature.

“She voted with Republicans to place a ban on marriage equality on the ballot and voted in support of Voter ID legislation restricting Minnesotans’ access to voting,” he said.

I know State Auditor is not one of the more glamorous races, but the DFL primary is at least shaping up to be a donnybrook. Getcha popcorn.

- Tom Emmer is the GOP-endorsed candidate in the Sixth Congressional District looking to replace current Rep. Michele Bachmann, who is not seeking reelection. Despite overwhelmingly receiving the Republican party nod in CD6, Emmer still faced the prospects of two primary opponents in Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah and former state rep and prior Taxpayers League of MN president Phil Krinkie.

But as of yesterday, the list of Emmer's primary challengers has dwindled to one.

Krinkie, who is a former president of the Taxpayer's League of Minnesota and once served in the state House, said in a statement:

“It has been a spirited contest and I greatly appreciate all of the support and encouragement I have received from family, friends and conservatives across the country.

"But given the momentum of the Republican endorsement process, matched with the realities of a three-way primary, it has become clear that the responsible decision is to exit the contest and return my focus to advancing the conservative agenda in Minnesota."

I guess it's back to his capacity as board member of the Taxpayers Le....Oh, wait.

- It was three years ago today when I made my debut as a weekly radio host on the Northern Alliance Radio Network on AM 1280 The Patriot. While I had for many years dreamed of an opportunity to have my own show, I had no idea how personally fulfilling it would be. 

In the more than 150 broadcasts I have conducted, I've chatted with politicians, political candidates, political wonks, sports wonks, active professional athletes, retired professional athletes, bloggers, authors, beauty pageant winners and just regular folks with wonderful stories of faith in Jesus. Yes, one can easily ascertain that I have a very eclectic show, which is a testimony to our Operations Manager Lee Michaels. Never once has Lee offered suggestions on how I should alter my programming (though he'd be perfectly within his right to do so). The complete artistic freedom I am afforded is something that just isn't common in major market talk radio. As such, I never take it for granted.

There's plenty of fringe benefits as well. Broadcasting from the Minnesota State Fair every year ensures I have free admission into "the great Minnesota get-together" on at least 3-4 occasions.And because I receive media credentials, I am up close and personal in covering myriad political events.

This gig has also led indirectly to my having the opportunity to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a Saint Paul Saints baseball game as well as be a judge in a beauty pageant. But most rewarding of all is this humble little radio program has allowed me to meet many wonderful people whom I now call friends. Can't put a price on that.

I believe it's safe to say that I've gotten way more out this radio show than I have put in. What a wonderful (and unexpected) blessing.


Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Predictable rhetoric

My friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg has compiled a set of "laws" over the years while studying human and institutional trends. One law I often cite is "Berg's 7th Law of Liberal Projection."

When a Liberal issues a group defamation or assault on conservatives’ ethics, character, humanity or respect for liberty or the truth, they are at best projecting, and at worst drawing attention away from their own misdeeds. 

As if on cue, Minnesota's DFL party chair Ken Martin put out this tweet in reaction to the statewide candidates endorsed by the MN GOP.

Of course the irony here is this is said by a white guy whose party put out the following tweet after their own endorsing convention.

Hmmmm. An awful lotta white in that picture.

Now, to be fair, the DFL has fared much better with female statewide candidates, evidenced by US Senator Amy Klobuchar, Attorney General Lori Swanson and Auditor Rebecca Otto. However, there's no question that there are plenty of qualified Republican women who would be viable candidates for statewide office. But the question you have to ask yourself is why do these potential candidates decline to run? Could it possibly be due to how the left verbally savages female office holders like, say, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and state rep Mary Franson? If you've ever read even a scintilla of the criticism levied towards just those two, is it any wonder that some conservative women candidates may be hesitant to run? Obviously I have no definitive proof of that being a barricade, but it sure isn't implausible.

The bottom line here is Martin seems so focused on the gender and race of the GOP candidates rather then drawing distinction on the issues. It's certainly understandable given the DFL's tax and spend orgy over the past two legislative sessions, in addition to the disastrous government takeover of health insurance reform both at the state and federal levels. I guess if my political party was so utterly inept despite complete control of state government, I too might be tempted to divert attention away from policy stances.

I daresay that issues of fiscal restraint, overbearing taxes and regulations on small business, forced unionization of private business (i.e. in home day care) and taking away parental control of their kids by placing in the hands of the public schools (i.e. the "bullying bill") are issues that resonate with far more groups of people than merely "old white men."


Monday, June 02, 2014

48 hours after it ended...

....I'm getting around to my MN GOP convention post mortem.

I was present not only as a credentialed member of the media (thanks AM 1280 The Patriot!!!) but also as a delegate. Because of that dual role, I never publicly revealed whom I was supporting in the US Senate and gubernatorial races because a) no cares what I think and b) I want all the candidates (regardless if they're my top choice) to appear as guests on my radio show. But for purposes of full disclosure, I supported Mike McFadden for Senate and Dave Thompson for governor.

Since my friends Mitch Berg, Walter Hudson and Jeff Kolb all did a bang up job with their own analyses, I don't have too much more to add. However, I will offer up just a few thoughts.

- I don't like the state party endorsement process. There, I said it. What happens is (at least in the Minnesota GOP) you're leaving it up to approximately 2,200 people to determine a candidate to run in a general election (assuming the other candidates abide by the delegates' wishes, which isn't always the case). This kind of system can be easily manipulated, as we have seen from the Ron Paul crowd in 2008 and 2012. The fact is more people go vote in primary elections in an election year than attend caucuses on the first Tuesday in February, local Senate District conventions in March/April and statewide conventions in May combined. The comeback I often here is "Well, these delegates are the most committed, therefore they should have the most say." But I guarantee there are thousands more engaged political activists who are willing to work on behalf of candidates and perform their due diligence before voting. Are you trying to tell me their voice is somehow less important because, in some cases, they have neither the time nor financial resources to burn at a weekend convention?

- With all that said, I was heartened that we delegates chose to endorse McFadden for US Senate despite his declining to abide by the GOP endorsement. To me, that smacks of a little pragmatism, something libertarians/TEA partiers/conservatives within the Republican party are not always willing to enact. But McFadden has raised more than $3 million, which is vital going up against perhaps the most prolific Democrat fundraiser in Senator Al Franken. Sure, McFadden seems pretty rough when he's on the stump and really hasn't thrown out a lot of red meat in terms of addressing specific issues. But I have to say that I never heard McFadden more personable and likable then when he spoke after the fifth ballot. He essentially conveyed that while he appreciates the sacrifice delegates made to be in Rochester, McFadden would fight to the bitter end for the endorsement (he was pretty hoarse at this moment due to his working the delegates between balloting). He also shared how he put his family at risk by leaving his job to go out and raise the necessary financial resources to compete. We learned the hard way how vitally important money is after Kurt Bills was our nominee for US Senate in 2012. While Bills was a quality candidate, his paltry fundraising numbers left him no chance against a popular, well funded incumbent in Amy Klobuchar. Since McFadden's most viable competitors, Julianne Ortman and Chris Dahlberg, vowed to abide by the party endorsement, he'll have little trouble overcoming Jim Abeler and David Carlson in the August primary.

- Speaking of Ortman, did you hear about the kerfuffle involving her campaign manager Andy Parrish and blogger (as well as a friend of mine) Jeff Kolb? I was literally getting in the middle of the two when this happened.

- Gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour was only at the convention briefly on Saturday to announce his running mate: MN State Senator Karin Housley. Even though Karin is a friend of mine, I had no clue this was coming. In fact, she texted me late Friday evening as she followed the convention on Twitter. As we conversed about the Senate endorsement battle going on at that time, she happened to ask who I was supporting for governor. I told her I was in the Thompson camp. Her final text was something along the lines of "tomorrow will be interesting." I had no idea that less than 12 hours later she would be named a lieutenant governor candidate. Huh.

- A lot of invective has been thrown at gubernatorial candidate Marty Seifert for his conduct during Saturday's endorsement battle. Seifert never fully committed to abiding by the party endorsement until meeting with the nominations committee over the weekend. He ultimately said he would not abide. Then when it was apparent his support was waning after the 2nd and 3rd ballots, his supporters started to trickle out since Seifert was going to a primary anyways. After the aforementioned third ballot, Thompson, whose support also began to fade (he started with nearly 30% on the first ballot then slightly dropping in the two subsequent ballots), gave perhaps the most gracious concession speech I have ever heard. He then went on to say that opponents Seifert and Jeff Johnson would make great candidates but that he urged everyone to get behind whomever supported the endorsement process, which was Johnson. Shortly thereafter, Seifert gave perhaps the most passive aggressive, take-all-sides-of-an-issue speech that I have ever heard. While he said he respected the process (reminding everyone of his own gracious concession in 2010 when opposing Tom Emmer for the GOP gubernatorial endorsement), he felt compelled to go to a primary since one was already triggered by Honour and Kurt Zellers. Even though he conceded that he would likely not win endorsement, Seifert did not withdraw from the race. Had he done that, Johnson would have been the only remaining candidate and thus could have been endorsed by voice acclamation. Not only did Seifert not withdraw, he then told his remaining delegates to go home, since many live in outstate Minnesota and thus had a long drive ahead of them (it was about 9:00 pm at this point). It was then that some in the crowd became unruly, thinking this was a tactic to perhaps cause the convention to fall below quorum. It didn't work, and Johnson was endorsed by over 90% of the remaining delegates.

- Many feel that Seifert's actions on Saturday (which caused him to express his regret over how he handled himself) may well end his political career because he has no chance of winning the primary election in August. Again, how many were really off put by Seifert's tactics? About 1,500 maybe? With literally tens of thousands going to vote in a primary (many of whom not wanting anything to do with politics until then), how many even have a concept of what happened at the state convention? I mean, their delegate friends can express their outrage over the whole thing, but how well will it resonate. If indeed Seifert loses in a primary, his political career will likely be done. But would a potential loss have anything to do with his attempts to undermine the endorsement process (actions which caused GOP chair Keith Downey to say that was "uncalled for")? I just have a hard time believing that's the case.

-Because I am completely soured on the process, I do not plan to be elected a delegate to any future state conventions. However, because I am a delegate this year, I will work within the confines of the system and fully support all the candidates who received endorsement at this year's convention. Thankfully, all are terrific candidates with legit shots to win in November.

The real work is just beginning.


Box Score of the Week

The Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners - June 3, 1977


On May 25, 1977, Indians starting pitcher Dennis Eckersley pitched a 12 inning complete game in a win vs. Seattle. He did not allow a hit over the final 7-2/3 innings. 

In his next outing on May 30, Eckersley pitched a no-hitter against the California Angels.

Finally on June 3 (the game I referenced above), Eckersley did not allow a hit until there were 2 outs in the sixth inning. 

Add it all up: Eckersley had a streak of 22-1/3 consecutive hitless innings. That streak is second best all-time, trailing the 25-1/3 consecutive hitless innings once logged by some guy named Cy Young.


Sunday, June 01, 2014

I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed......

It was an exhausting weekend at the 2014 MN GOP convention, so I am running on adrenaline today. Nevertheless, I will broadcast my weekly radio show The Closer from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

Right at 1:00, my politico friend Jeff Kolb will check in to provide a recap of the aforementioned political convention. We'll also discuss an incident I witnessed where Jeff was verbally and physically accosted by a certain US Senate candidate's campaign manager.

Then at 1:30, Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing will check in for her weekly appearance. This will be Julia's final show until after the Miss Minnesota pageant in two weeks. We'll hear about her latest exploits, including her taking another big step toward political punditry.

Finally at 2:00, reigning Miss Minnesota Rebecca Yeh will stop by the Patriot bunker.

Rebecca is in the final two weeks of her reign, so we'll recount her incredible experience as Miss Minnesota while also looking forward to what her future has in store.

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.....