Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ramping up

With the calendar having flipped to 2014 four weeks ago, it was a given that political campaigns would begin to ramp up.

As such, one of the Republican candidates for Minnesota governor has announced his running mate.

Republican Dave Thompson's selection of a running mate starts a parade of political pairings in Minnesota's race for governor.

Thompson on Thursday announced that Michelle Benson, a fellow state senator, joined his ticket. He says she's a skilled legislator of impeccable character who has a philosophy similar to him. .

Thompson is one of seven Republicans in the field. Democratic Gov.Mark Dayton is also choosing a new No. 2 because Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon has ruled out a second term. .

Thompson's campaign hinges on securing the GOP's convention endorsement, a process that starts with Tuesday's caucuses. The early pick of Benson gives him another campaigner. Thompson is a state senator from Lakeville. .

Benson was first elected in 2010 and lives in Ham Lake with her husband and three children.

I know Benson personally and consider her a friend, so I am quite biased when I say this is an excellent selection (Full disclosure: The fetching Mrs. Carlson currently volunteers for Benson as “project manager” of her Senate campaign). Benson has received much notoriety lately for her stringent efforts in pursuing an amicable solution to the state’s health insurance exchange, MNSure. In fact, Thompson has already stated that Benson would be a key figure in developing health care policy in his administration.

Benson was elected as a state Senator in 2010 after first receiving her Senate District’s GOP endorsement over then incumbent senator Debbie Johnson in February that year. She then prevailed in the general election that November. Two months after being sworn in for her first term, Benson gave birth to daughter Claire in March 2011. However, since the legislative session was already underway, she was back to work within a week which accentuated her pledge to tirelessly represent her constituents. I’ll never forget her attending a GOP Senate caucus presser and making a statement while cradling her weeks old little girl.

After redistricting took place in early 2012, Benson was drawn into SD31 which paired her with another GOP incumbent senator, Mike Jungbauer. However, Benson would prevail in that district’s endorsement battle as well, meaning she has the distinction of ousting two different sitting senators at separate endorsing conventions (Despite that, she frowned upon the nickname "Black Widow”). Benson easily won reelection to the MN Senate in November 2012.

Many political observers such as myself often conveyed that Benson had a bright future in the political spectrum if indeed those were her aspirations. In fact, when Congresswoman Michele Bachmann announced last summer that she would not seek reelection for her U.S. House seat in 2014, Michelle Benson was one name offered up as a possible candidate for that office. After some consideration, Benson declined the opportunity.

Many have wondered about the timing of this announcement given that the MN GOP convention is still four months away. Since Thompson is one of only two candidates (Jeff Johnson being the other) who have made a public pledge to abide by the Republican Party endorsement, a strong running mate like Benson galvanizes his vision for this race. As such, he’s hoping to send that message to GOP delegates who will decide whom to endorse come the last weekend in May. If Thompson is not endorsed, he’s out of the race. Therefore it doesn't make sense in holding anything back, given his fundraising numbers haven’t been at the level his campaign had anticipated.

While I’m not planning on making any public endorsements of any candidates for MN statewide offices (specifically Governor and U.S. Senate), it’s hard for me to remain neutral now that there’s a personal connection to the Thompson campaign. However, I will be curious what the next move will be among the other GOP gubernatorial candidates in light of this announcement.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

If I had my way.....

.....the Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address would be extremely concise yet still hammer the point home.

Legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi conveyed his concerns about the peace-love-dope generation that encompassed the '60s. Amazingly, an excerpt of one of his more dynamic speeches was incredibly prescient for this point in American history.

"Our society, at the present time, seems to have sympathy only for the misfit, the ne'er-do-well, the maladjusted, the criminal, the loser. (Have sympathy for them? Yes. Assist them? Absolutely.) But I think it is time to stand up for the doer, the achiever, the one who sets out to do something and does it. The one who recognizes the problems and opportunities at hand, and deals with them, and is successful, and is not worrying about the failings of others. The one who is constantly looking for more to do. The one who carries the work of the world on his shoulders. The leader. We will never create a good society, much less a great one, until individual excellence is respected and encouraged." 

Yes, the above excerpt would be perhaps the most effective retort to all the shrieks of "income inequality."

However, if one chooses to be less eloquent (but still bluntly accurate), the following would suffice:

Yes my lack of desire to drone on and on is yet one more reason why I'm not cut out for elected office.


Monday, January 27, 2014

Super Bowl week kicks off!

With all due respect to the late crooner Andy Williams, this too is the most wonderful time of the year, given it's less than a week until Super Bowl Sunday.

As members of the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos arrived in New Jersey on Sunday, press conferences commenced. One which caught my eye was an interview granted by Seattle QB Russell Wilson. I guess I hadn't seen him without his helmet recently, but his hairdo appears somewhat different from what I recall. 

Is it just me, or does anyone else believe that if Wilson grew a fu manchu mustache and some mutton chop sideburns, he'd look like this?


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Somebody tell me why I work so hard for you......

There are no NFL games scheduled today for the first time since last summer, so why not indulge in today's edition of "The Closer?" As usual, we will be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

At 1:15, Andrew Hasek, who is chairman of the Minnesota College Republicans, will be in studio. We'll chat about what the organization is up to these days as well as its role in Minnesota politics. We'll also likely discuss the future for his generation especially in light of an ever evolving job market.

Then at 2:00, MN GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Honour will call in to the program. Scott will discuss his campaign thus far as well as the what he's learning in his first foray into politics.

In the non-guest segments, I'll discuss some of the latest local and national political (and non-political) news.

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

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out 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, January 25, 2014

Political prediction

My state House representative, Jim Abeler, is currently one of a handful of Republicans vying for the nomination to oppose Al Franken this November in the U.S. Senate race. The last weekend in May is when GOP delegates will endorse a candidate. Since Abeler has (to be charitable) little chance to attain said endorsement, he will force a primary, something he's on the record as saying there's a 95% chance he'll do. But if he's committed to going to a primary (which will take place in August, I believe), that means he would officially not see re-election for his state house seat, a position he's held since 1999.

So here's my prediction:

Abeler has until June 3 to file for candidacy for his current position in House District 35A. Because of some of the latest developments regarding HD35A (specifically a candidate entering the GOP nomination battle with whom Abeler has clashed in recent history), Abeler will indeed drop out of the Senate race and file to re-run in HD35A by June 3, which will be a mere three days after getting trounced in the endorsement battle at state convention.

Again, this is merely a prediction based on nothing but my pure speculation. Take it for what you will.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume LXXXV

-A bit of news regarding my state senate district.

Local Republican leaders last week rescinded the formal admonishment of Sen. Brendan Petersen they had approved last year in the wake of his vote to legalize same-sex marriage.

"Sen. Petersen had a lot of other positive things going for him," said Don Huizenga, a deputy chair of the Senate District 35 Republicans. "We wanted him to go into session with a clear conscious."

Leaders said and the time and Huizenga reiterated this week, that the vote of 'no confidence' his district leaders took last June had less to do with Petersen's vote on marriage itself and more to do with him not be upfront about his plans.

In the spring of 2011, while a member of the MN House, Petersen voted "yes" to place the marriage amendment on the ballot for Minnesota voters to decide the issue. He was on my radio program shortly thereafter and I asked his reasoning behind that vote. From what I recall, he felt that marriage was a religious institution, thus there being no theological basis for same-sex marriage. However, he was adamant in his belief that two adults should be able to have a contract with the state, so he was very open to supporting civil union legislation if it ever came forward that session.

But just after last year's legislative session began, Sen. Petersen was proactive in engaging the gay marriage issue (the amendment to define marriage as one man-one woman failed a few months earlier) to ensure religious protection was included in any bill. Since the DFL had complete control of state government, Petersen knew where was a strong possibility that legislation would be brought forth that would make only necessary tweaks to the state statute that made gay marriage illegal. Said tweaks likely would not have included a provision safeguarding churches from violating their core beliefs and thus having to capitulate to allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies. While I opposed gay marriage (and still do), I supported Sen. Petersen's actions. To me, he had his constituents in mind when crafting this legislation. He knew the majority of his SD opposed gay marriage, so he found the most workable solution.

In the end, the folks in our district were not 100% satisfied. But I guarantee that had our state senator not stepped into the fray, our satisfaction level would have been significantly less.

- It was announced that Fox News guy Bill O'Reilly will interview President Barack Obama on Super Bowl Sunday. Said interview will air during the pregame show.

This isn't something I'm particularly interested in watching on what is one of my favorite days of the year. In one chair will be an insufferably arrogant, narcissistic, thin-skinned individual. And in the other chair will be the President of the United States.

- Texas Democrat Wendy Davis, a state senator most famous for a long filibuster while donning pink tennis shoes, is looking to be the next governor of the Lonestar state. Since she's a Dem, she had little chance of prevailing in a general election in the first place. However, the seemingly minuscule chance seemed to dissipate with the revelation that her personal bio may have been exaggerated.

While her state Senate filibuster last year captured national attention, it is her biography — a divorced teenage mother living in a trailer who earned her way to Harvard and political achievement — that her team is using to attract voters and boost fundraising.

The basic elements of the narrative are true, but the full story of Davis’ life is more complicated, as often happens when public figures aim to define themselves. In the shorthand version that has developed, some facts have been blurred.

Davis was 21, not 19, when she was divorced. She lived only a few months in the family mobile home while separated from her husband before moving into an apartment with her daughter.

A single mother working two jobs, she met Jeff Davis, a lawyer 13 years older than her, married him and had a second daughter. He paid for her last two years at Texas Christian University and her time at Harvard Law School, and kept their two daughters while she was in Boston. When they divorced in 2005, he was granted parental custody, and the girls stayed with him. Wendy Davis was directed to pay child support.

In an extensive interview last week, Davis acknowledged some chronological errors and incomplete details in what she and her aides have said about her life.

“My language should be tighter,” she said. “I’m learning about using broader, looser language. I need to be more focused on the detail.”

Naturally, many of Davis's detractors pounced on this, asking why she felt the need to omit some of the key facts. Davis then responded with an epic stream of tweets.

This one has to be my favorite (if not most ironic):

"Abbott" is Greg Abbott, her prospective GOP opponent in the gubernatorial race. Yes, that Greg Abbott, the gentleman who was paralyzed nearly thirty years ago upon an oak tree falling on him, thus confining him to a wheelchair. Yeah, what possible insight could he have into any kind of struggle?


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Is the pope Catholic?

Despite some not understanding the nuanced statements Pope Francis made regarding homosexuality and atheism, there was very little wiggle room in his recent quote regarding life.

So yes, the pope indeed still clings to that sacred virtue called life. How very Catholic.


Monday, January 20, 2014

Sherman-esque statement

Much has been made of the Sunday postgame ranting of Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman. After his club earned the right to face the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl with a 23-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers in NFC title game, Sherman, who was instrumental in the game-clinching interception, was still a tad juiced up after the game. While conducting an interview with FOX TV sideline reporter Erin Andrews, Sherman screamed the following:

“I’m the best corner in the game. When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get. Don’t you ever talk about me. [...] Don’t you open your mouth about the best or I’m gonna shut it for you real quick.”

Pretty much every postgame TV and radio venue (as well as online social media) opined on Sherman's seemingly belligerent outburst. As such, a lot of folks outside of Denver and Seattle who would normally be neutral to the Super Bowl's outcome switched their loyalties to the Broncos.

Those who are more than casual NFL fans first became intimately familiar with Sherman during the 2012 regular season. After a 24-23 home victory over the New England Patriots on October 14, 2012, Sherman, then in only his second NFL season, confronted Pats QB (and future hall of famer) Tom Brady after the game.

Many NFL purists were taken aback by Sherman's seemingly brash behavior. In their minds, it's one of those unwritten rules that until you or team have accomplished something substantive, it's pretty bush league to go off on someone as decorated as Brady (3 Super Bowl rings and 2 MVP awards).

Personally I too have found Sherman's antics to be insufferable, but guess what? He backs it up on the field. Can you name any other cornerback in the NFL (outside of Darrelle Revis) whom offensive coordinators go out of their way to avoid? And for those of you whose favorite NFL team is a club not named the Seattle Seahawks, would you want Sherman playing for your preferred squad? If you answer "no," you're kidding yourself.

If you get a sense that Sherman has a chip on his shoulder, you're probably correct. After all, he's had a lot to prove in his career given that he was only a fifth round draft pick in the 2011 draft. It stands to reason that Sherman had to work extra hard just to make the Seahawks roster in 2011 (fifth round picks normally aren't given the same benefit of the doubt as first rounders). Upon earning a spot, he's had to maintain a certain edge to remain a part of the team. It would appear that he uses these perceived slights (e.g. not being drafted until the fifth round, opposing WRs not giving him props) to get himself revved up. So in the few moments after making a game-saving play which allowed his team to move on to only its second Super Bowl berth in franchise history, I wasn't the least bit surprised with Sherman's postgame demeanor. However, when hours have passed after a win or when Sherman is conducting interviews away from the football field, he appears to be a very thoughtful, well-spoken gentleman (No surprise there, given he graduated from Stanford with a degree in Communications).

Sherman seems to be the prototypical "hate him if he's an opponent but love him if he's a teammate." Given the way he plays the game, I'm sure that suits him just fine.


Happy Martin Luther King Day

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Personally, I think it's pretty cool that there's a federal holiday honoring a preacher!

When you think about it, Dr. King's advocacy for civil rights was rooted in his faith. The quote I cited above is pretty much aligned with the biblical verse of Acts 10:34 where Peter declared that "God is no respecter of persons." That is, He holds no human in any higher regard than another. You can also look at Mark 12:31, which states that you shall "‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Again, there's no qualifier on if someone looks different from us.

I can say that I am honored to live in a country which dedicates a single day to a man who steadfastly and unabashedly proclaimed his faith in an effort to advance his cause. While there may be some who claim vast racial inequality still exists, there can be little debate in how Dr. King's bringing the issue to the forefront in the '60s definitely bridged the divide.


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ten years ago today....

....on January 19, 2004, this happened:


And I hate beach and mountains, too.....

Tune in from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time as The Closer will be on the air.

At 2:15, Minnesota Wild (and all-around great hockey historian) Roger Godin will call in to talk about Gov. Dayton violating campaign finance, not really. He'll be on to talk all things hockey, of course.

I'll also provide a recap of yesterday's Minnesota GOP gubernatorial candidate forum hosted by my Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg and myself. In addition to that, there will be a heavy sports emphasis, as I'll opine on new Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer as well as news that a judge rejected the NFL's $765 million settlement with former players who claimed to be permanently damaged by concussions.

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

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out 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, January 18, 2014

2013 NFL Playoffs: Conference championship games

New England Patriots (+4-1/2) at Denver Broncos: Believe it or not, there are other players playing in this game besides the two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Nevertheless, we'll acknowledge the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning angle. This will be the third conference championship pitting these two QBs (fourth overall postseason meeting). Brady's Pats won in Foxboro, MA in the 2003 AFC title game while Manning's Colts prevailed in Indy three seasons later. So I guess you could say this is the rubber match.

How the Patriots continue to get this far is truly amazing. Some of Brady's most potent weapons from previous seasons are now gone. Said departures included WR Wes Welker (gone to Denver via free agency), TE Rob Gronkowski (gone to IR with torn ACL) and TE Aaron Hernandez (gone to jail after being charged with a homicide). Combine that with a defense ranked 26 out of 32 in terms of yards allowed, you have to figure the magic may run out soon. However, the Pats were given a tremendous boost last week in the play of RB LeGarrette Blount, who rushed for 166 yards and four touchdowns. With 234 yards rushing as a team last week, the Pats were able to control the clock, resulting in a 10 minute time of possession advantage over the Indianapolis Colts. That's the exact formula New England will have to employ in an effort to limit Manning's presence on the field.

On the flip side, Manning doesn't necessarily need to be the magic for Denver. The Pats' defense ranked 30th in rushing yards allowed, a weakness that was exposed in the regular season matchup. Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno rushed for 224 yards versus New England in a week 12 loss. Nevertheless, Manning has his full complement of receivers (Welker, Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas) to go along with that potent running game. All that just appears to be too much for the Patriots defense to handle.
Denver 34 New England 24

San Francisco 49ers (+3-1/2) at Seattle Seahawks: While 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has appeared Superman-esque at time, the Seahawks have been his personal kryptonite. In two starts versus Seattle in the regular season, Kaepernick turned the ball over five times (4 INTs, 1 fumble). If the 49ers are to return to the Super Bowl for a second consecutive season, they must win in a stadium (CenturyLink Field in Seattle) where they've been outscored 71-16 over the past two matchups.

Including the 19-17 loss in San Francisco in week 14, the Seahawks are 3-2 with QB Russell Wilson throwing 4 TDs, 3 INTs and averaging a lackluster 158 yards per game. He won't be helped by the fact that WR Percy Harvin will miss this game due to a concussion suffered last week. As such, the Seahawks may lean heavily on RB Marshawn Lynch, but running yards may also be at a premium against the fourth ranked 49ers run defense.

While Seattle often overwhelms opponents at home (16-1 over the past two seasons) due in large part to a raucous crowd and typically dreary weather, the current forecast shows a 0% chance of rain with temps in the 40s. Sure, the crowd will be as noisy as ever, but the Niners have played in tough venues all postseason. I think they got this.
San Francisco 17 Seattle 14

2013 Postseason record: 
Straight up: 4-4
Against the spread: 4-4


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Vikings get their guy

Of the seven head coaching vacancies going into the NFL offseason, my Minnesota Vikings became the sixth team to fill their opening.

The Minnesota Vikings will hire Mike Zimmer as coach, a league source told ESPN.

The Vikings and Zimmer, who spent the past five seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals' defensive coordinator, had been in negotiations in an effort to complete a deal Wednesday, according to league sources.

Zimmer remained overnight after his second interview Tuesday was finished, with Vikings owner Zygi Wilf more centrally involved in the session, sources told ESPN.

Wilf made calls to selective references on Zimmer and came away satisfied to give a green light on hiring him to succeed Leslie Frazier as Minnesota's coach.

Zimmer was a solid coach with the Bengals, as his defenses finished no worse than seventh in the NFL in four of the past five seasons.

Having never been a head coach, there's no way to gauge how effective Zimmer will be. There have been brilliant defensive coordinators who have moved on to be head coaches (e.g. Buddy Ryan, Dick LeBeau and Steve Spagnuolo come to mind) but did not have the same success. On the flip side, some guys named Tom Landry and Bill Belichick flourished when making that same leap.

But if the reactions of some of Zimmer's former players are any indication, the coach has a chance to be something special.

Zimmer is not known for the soft-spoken, easy going approach utilized by the Vikings' previous coach Leslie Frazier. He has a reputation of being the proverbial "rip a player's head off and spit down his neck" type of coach. Nevertheless, some of the tweets I referenced above show how Zimmer's former players had nothing but admiration and respect for the coach. You'll notice how CB Terence Newman (who played under Zimmer in both Dallas and Cincinnati) compared him to the legendary Bill Parcells. Zimmer was promoted to Cowboys' D-coordinator in 2000 by then newly hired Cowboys coach Dave Campo. When Campo was fired after the 2002 season, Parcells was hired in 2003 and thought enough of Zimmer to retain him for that same role. In fact, Parcells weighed in on the Vikings' hire of their new head coach.

"I have a lot of first hand experience with him," Parcells told KFAN's Dan Barreiro in an interview Wednesday night. "I think you get a very good sense of a guy when you're working with him everyday."

Parcells has not been shy about endorsing Zimmer for head coaching positions in recent weeks and he continued his support this evening.

"I know he's capable," Parcells explained. "I can tell all the fans of the Vikings, you couldn't possibly get a more diligent, energetic determined guy. He's a terrific worker. These jobs we know that entails a lot of hard work but he's especially that way. He won't leave a stone unturned."

Another takeaway from this hire is that the Vikings did their due diligence. There was never any point in rushing to a decision, a lesson I'm sure Wilf et al learned all too well in hiring Brad Childress, who was brought on less than a week after the 2005 season ended. Chilly had the team convinced that if he left Minnesota without a contract, he would not be returning as he would certainly get the Green Bay Packers coaching gig after talking to GM Ted Thompson (looking back now, it's quite obvious Chilly hoodwinked the Wilfs).

One drawback of all this is Zimmer's age. I'm not saying that 57-years old is over the hill in terms of being an NFL head coach. Not at all. But since Zimmer has been a proven commodity as an assistant for more than a decade, why did it take so long for him to land his first head coaching position? Another aspect to this is how will he interact with Vikings GM Rick Spielman? Zimmer is clearly not a "yes" man, so the notion that a cool-headed Spielman can effectively deal with the new coach remains to be seen.

Given the ringing endorsements handed down by those who played for and worked with Zimmer, I as a Vikings fan am thrilled with the hire. It gives the Vikings franchise an opportunity to have a solid foundation when the new stadium (supposedly) opens in 2016.

Welcome to Minnesota, coach Zimmer.


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

And you are.....????

Since I am a part-time media guy, perhaps I could have persuaded my employer, Salem Communications, to allow me to engage in a "man on the street" bit. What I was thinking is I could walk around both downtown St Paul (but only on the evenings of a Minnesota Wild home game when there are actually folks in the area) and downtown Minneapolis and ask one simple question: Who is the lieutenant governor of the state of Minnesota? I would venture a guess that less than half of the respondents would not even know such a position exists, much less who holds the office.

Alas, that bit can be declared over before it started now that the Minnesota Lt. Gov. has made some actual news.

Yvonne Prettner Solon made her biggest splash as Minnesota's lieutenant governor when she parachuted onto the Capitol lawn to show support for military families. But little else she did drew much attention, and Prettner Solon — who worried openly about being relevant when Mark Dayton asked her to run with him in 2010 — said Tuesday that one term was enough.

"I'm ready to move into the third phase of my life and take on new opportunities," Prettner Solon, a psychologist
(Wait! Now *that* could be relevant in the Dayton adminstration - ed.) , said as she recounted her journey from Duluth city politics to the lieutenant governor job.

Prettner Solon said she will finish the final year of this term. She said Dayton didn't ask her to stay, nor did he ask her to step aside. The governor was in Washington for a conference during Prettner Solon's announcement, but she said she wanted to deliver the news by herself anyway.

Her departure sets Dayton up for an interesting choice of a No. 2 as he seeks a second term, but it's probably not as critical a decision as four years ago. Back then, Prettner Solon brought northern Minnesota appeal to Dayton's campaign. This time around, Dayton doesn't have to worry about a primary challenge, where geographic diversity of his ticket would matter more.
If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say this seems set up to have the silky smooth former mayor of Minneapolis, R.T. Rybak, appear on the ticket with Dayton this year. Given that Dayton has seemed so overwhelmed and/or distracted by the basics of the job (e.g. giving coherent speeches, reading legislation, being attentive in meetings), would he even be able to endure a second term should he be re-elected? Maybe not. So who would then step in to be governor if Dayton were to flame out? Why, the second in command of course, someone who could assume an executive role. But the more I think about, the more this theory seems far fetched. I have a hard time fathoming Rybak's massive ego allowing him to be second fiddle to someone like Dayton, even if the prospects appeared temporary.

The way I see it, the role of a Lt. Gov. candidate in a campaign isn't relevant unless there's a misstep (see: Dutcher, Judi). But another theory that has been bandied about is the recent history of male gubernatorial candidates selecting females as running mates for the purpose of mere window dressing. A female running mate shows a gov candidate's campaign is diverse while at the same time insisting that his running mate would be critical to his administration should he win (In fact, a woman has held the office of lieutenant governor since 1983). However, there is rarely (if ever) any substantive involvement when the office of lieutenant governor is assumed. Does that mean these male candidates are exhibiting some sort of misogynistic behavior, as some would imply? That seems to be a stretch. But do these males candidates view it as politically advantageous by having a female on the ticket? Hard not to.

I guess this could be a legitimate question posed to all the MN gubernatorial candidates in 2014: What do you foresee as the roles and responsibilities a lieutenant governor would assume in your administration? Given that the position is financed by the taxpayers of the state of Minnesota, I don't believe that inquiry is out of bounds.


Monday, January 13, 2014

In case you missed it....

.....MN State Senator (and friend of the Northern Alliance Radio Network) Karin Housley made a guest appearance on my radio program a week ago this past Sunday (listen here if you're so inclined).

One my favorite moments of the Senator's appearance was when I was reading through a little bio I had prepared for her.

Part of it went as follows:

Brad: ......Karin is also wife to husband Phil for close to...almost 29 years, right? Going on 29 years. 

Housley: Are you a stalker?

Ahem. I prefer to call it "guest research."


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Calm the storms that drench my eyes, dry the streams still flowing.....

Despite the fact it's 40-50 degrees warmer in the Twin Cities compared to last week, it's still best to be indoors taking in another installment of The Closer. As usual, we'll get the festivities started at 1:00 PM Central Time and go until 3:00.

Right at 1:00, Michelle Manke of the HD 42A Republicans will call into the program. Michelle will tell us about a MN GOP gubernatorial candidate forum slated to take place this Saturday, January 18 in Roseville. Said forum will be hosted by Northern Alliance Radio Network personalities Mitch Berg and Brad Carlson (hey, that's me!!!).

At 1:15, MN State Senators Michelle Benson and David Osmek will join me in studio for a preview of the upcoming MN legislative session. Sen. Benson has been front and center calling out the lack of accountability with the state's healthcare exchange MNSure and Sen. Osmek has been great in exposing the boondoggle that is subsidizing public transportation. We'll cover those two issues as well as other likely agenda items including another DFL attempt at a gun grab, a minimum wage increase and the thought police legislation anti-bullying bill.

In the 2:00 hour, I'll opine on the scandal involving lane closures in New Jersey and how it may impact Gov. Chris Christie going forward. I'll also discuss the media's borderline obsession with the story and how it pales in comparison to other government scandals.

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

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out 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, January 11, 2014

2013 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round

New Orleans Saints (+9-1/2) at Seattle Seahawks: In week 13 of the regular season, the Saints were absolutely pummeled in Seattle 34-7. Against the top flight Seahawks defense, QB Drew Brees and company could muster only 188 yards total offense.

Last week, the Saints won their first ever road playoff game by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 26-24. What impressed me most was the Saints actually played a little defense, holding NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy to 77 yards (the New Orleans' D yielded only 256 yards total offense). However, the Saints' D will face another formidable RB in Marshawn Lynch, who, just three years ago versus the Saints, had one of the more memorable touchdown jaunts in recent playoff history.

The Seahawks offense, led by 2nd year QB Russell Wilson, was nothing spectacular during the regular season (no receiver had even a 1,000 yards for the year). With that in mind, the news that offseason acquisition Percy Harvin will return may well provide a much needed jolt. Combine that with the best defense in the NFL, you would think that would be enough for the Seahawks, who have perhaps the most lopsided home field advantage in the NFL.

I have nothing to base this on, other than a gut feeling.
New Orleans 24 Seattle 20

Indianapolis Colts (+7-1/2) at New England Patriots: Last week, the Colts pulled off the second biggest comeback in NFL postseason history. Trailing the Kansas City Chiefs 38-10 in the second half, the Colts rallied to win 45-44. What impressed me most about the performance of Indy QB Andrew Luck was his ability to overcome three costly interceptions to lead his team all the way back. While Luck has incredible physical ability, his poise is what sets him apart.

The Colts' reward for that incredible win last week is traveling to Foxboro, MA, where the Patriots are 11-3 in the postseason under coach Bill Belichick. However, the Pats have lost those three games over the past four seasons. And injuries continue to plague an already porous Patriots' defense (ranked 26th in yards allowed) as LB Brandon Spikes was  recently lost to a knee injury. This means the Pats will have to outshoot their opponent. Their own elite QB, Tom Brady, has proven many a time that he is up to that task.
New England 38 Indianapolis 35

San Francisco 49ers (-1) at Carolina Panthers: For those who like gritty, hard-nosed defensive play, the week 10 regular season matchup of these two teams was for you. The Panthers went in to San Francisco and beat the Niners 10-9, with their second-ranked defense holding San Francisco to a paltry 151 yards total offense. However, it should be noted that 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was without WR Michael Crabtree the entire game and TE Vernon Davis for most of the contest. Crabtree's performance last week (8 receptions for 125 yards) in frigid Green Bay shows just how much he elevates the play of Kaepernick et al.

This will be the first playoff game for 3rd year Panthers QB Cam Newton. While Newton was solid this season, he has benefited greatly from a staunch defense that allowed the second fewest points in the NFL. Therefore, the team's identity wasn't solely tied into Newton, who shouldered that burden nicely his first two seasons. Nevertheless, Newton has his detractors, and he is eager to perform on a national stage against the reigning NFC champs. He would certainly be aided by the return of WR Steve Smith, who his questionable with a bad knee and hamstring.

In the end, I think the Niners will have just enough to prevail on the road.
San Francisco 20 Panthers 14

San Diego Chargers (+9) at Denver Broncos: The Chargers appear to be the chic pick here, given they've been in "win or go home" mode for a couple of weeks now. They barely beat the Kansas City Chiefs at home in week 17 just to get in the postseason, and then followed that up with a thorough beatdown of the Cincinnati Bengals. What also fuels this Chargers mania is the fact they beat the Broncos in Denver week 13. In addition, QB Philip Rivers is 2-0 lifetime vs. Peyton Manning in the postseason.

Speaking of Manning, he will always have his doubters when it comes to his postseason prowess. Despite having a record breaking 2013 season in terms of single season touchdown passes and yardage, Manning still endures questions about coming up short in the postseason. While Manning did lead the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl championship in 2006, he is 5-11 in all other years where he guided his clubs to the playoffs. Being an ultra competitor, Manning is likely more fueled to make a deep postseason run. The fact one of his favorite WR targets, Wes Welker, probably returns for this game doesn't hurt either. On the defensive side of the ball, All Pro CB Champ Bailey will also make a return, which is good news given he's had an injury plagued regular season.

While I'm impressed with the Chargers' seemingly inspired run, I just can't quite buy into the hype.
Denver 31 San Diego 21

2013 Postseason record: 
Straight up: 1-3
Against the spread: 2-2


Thursday, January 09, 2014

A bridge too congested

If we're looking to assign a title to this particular scandal, "Jackassery in Jersey" may well suffice.

The mystery of who closed two lanes onto the George Washington Bridge — turning the borough of Fort Lee, N.J., into a parking lot for four days in September — exploded into a full-bore political scandal for Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday. Emails and texts revealed that a top aide had ordered the closings to punish the town’s mayor after he did not endorse the governor for re-election.

“Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelly, a deputy chief of staff to Mr. Christie, emailed David Wildstein, a high school friend of the governor who worked at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the bridge.

Later text messages mocked concerns that school buses filled with students were stuck in gridlock: “They are the children of Buono voters,” Mr. Wildstein wrote, referring to Mr. Christie’s opponent Barbara Buono.

Mr. Christie denied knowledge of the emails and said his staff was to blame. The growing scandal threatens to tarnish him at the moment he assumes an even larger position on the national stage, as chairman of the Republican Governors Association and an all-but-certain candidate for his party’s presidential nomination in 2016.
In a nearly two-hour press conference Thursday, Gov. Christie apologized for the debacle while claiming no knowledge of this plot. Given that Christie is considered by some as the top GOP contender for President in 2016, this was a golden opportunity to show how he can perform in crisis mode. If indeed Christie was not aware of the shenanigans which led to the lane closures, he acquitted himself quite nicely.

A good number of Christie apologists were quick to point out that, while under President Obama's watch, such scandals as the IRS denying tax exempt status to right-of-center political groups or the Dept. of Justice issuing subpoenas for phone records of the Associated Press didn't receive nearly the scrutiny as the GWB lane closures. And while that may be true, that misses the a greater point. The fact is all three scandals have a very common thread: government officials/bureaucrats abusing their power. That is (and should be) the main focus of this Fort Lee story. But unlike the aforementioned scandals that plagued the Obama administration, heads actually rolled in New Jersey as Gov. Christie fired Kelly in light of these revelations.

So will this particular scandal hurt Christie's presidential prospects? If indeed he is cleared in an investigation conducted by the U.S. attorney, then I highly doubt it. However, if Gov. Christie was somehow complicit in this, his political career would be over the millisecond that information is made public. And for what? Because he didn't get an endorsement from a Democrat mayor? It was pretty clear as early as this past summer that Christie going to win reelection in a walk (and he did, becoming the first Republican in 25 years to win a statewide election with at least 50% of the vote). To think that not receiving a public nod from Mayor Mark Sokolich would be the motivation for this would lead me to believe that Christie is not very politically savvy. Even his most ardent detractors would have a tough time swallowing that one. So if the motive were not political, what else would be Christie's motivation? The only other traits that would possess someone in the executive branch of government to act in this manner would be spite and/or petulance. And if that is somehow the case (I personally don't believe it is) then Christie quite obviously isn't fit to serve as a city councilor, much less leader of the free world.


Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume LXXXIV

- So President Obama chided Congressional Republicans for going home over the Holidays without extending unemployment benefits, eh? I'm certain it wasn't lost on anyone with a pulse that this statement was made while Obama himself was on a(nother) luxurious vacation. Of course one would have to possess an ounce of shame to be concerned with the bad optics. But I believe that in the President's mind this isn't such an outlandish scene. After all, Congress can very easily pass an extension of unemployment benefits and Obama's "autopen" can sign off on said appropriations bill without his ever having to leave Hawaii.

Once the President decided to grace the mainland with his presence this week, he responded to critics who claimed that extending unemployment benefits only exacerbates one's lack of urgency in searching for work. 

"I've heard the argument that says extending unemployment insurance will somehow hurt the unemployed because it saps their motivation to get a new job ... That really sells the American people short. I meet a lot of people as president of the United States ... and I can't name a time where I met an American who would rather have an unemployment check than the pride of having a job."

Having been unemployed for weeks at a time a couple of years ago, I agree with the President's take there. And I imagine even his most ardent detractors would echo that sentiment. But what President Obama fails to see is the fact that during his time in the White House, hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent in the name of economic "stimulus." Unfortunately, all that spending has done is create conditions which have lengthened the tenure of unemployment for many Americans. Yet somehow he's convinced himself that voting for unemployment insurance "creates jobs." Have fun selling that one.

- Hey, Florida State is the champion of college football. Apparently they defeated the Auburn Tigers Monday evening by a score of 34-31 to capture the school's third ever National Championship.

Initially, the university's online store seemed a bit confused about the outcome.

Fear not, as no one actually purchased a t-shirt with the incorrect score.

A spokesman for Fanatics, Inc. -- the site's Jacksonville-based parent company -- later blamed the product's quick turnaround for the problem with the T-shirt image.

"As a company that prides itself on providing the best shopping experience for sports fans, we go to great lengths to display hundreds of championship items as efficiently as possible immediately following each championship game," Meier Raivich stated in an email to FOX 13 just after 3 p.m. "Unfortunately, during the process of uploading images quickly so Seminole fans can celebrate the big victory, one FSU t-shirt image inadvertently reflected the incorrect final score. Once the error was detected, it was immediately corrected. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused."
I'm sure Noles fans will get over it.

- There are many aspects of Al Franken being a U.S. Senator which grate on my nerves, not the least of which is he represents my state. Not only that, it also deludes other vapid celebrity types into thinking they have a shot to go play politician in D.C.

Former “American Idol” finalist Clay Aiken, who lost the singing competition's second season to Ruben Studdard in 2003, is “actively considering” a run for North Carolina’s 2nd congressional district in the U.S. House, according to the Washington Blade.

Sources told the Blade the openly gay singer has been making phone calls to gauge potential support as he works with Betsy Conti, a local political strategist who has worked with Al Gore and former North Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue.

A source added that Aiken was in Washington DC last month to meet with pollsters, and the “Idol” star has already been “sounding and acting like a candidate.”

It’s unclear when Aiken may announce his decision to run for the House seat, currently filled by Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C.

Ellmers currently represents CD 2 in North Carolina which, according to the latest Cook PVI report, is an R+10 district. In addition to that, President Obama lost in that very district by 13 points in 2008 and 16 points in 2012. So given that NC-02 is a such a heavily leaning Republican district, the right-of-center constituents are sure to be reminded of what Aiken thinks of them. While on Twitter during the Republican National Convention in August 2012, Aiken tweeted out the following:

Playing drinking game with my brother now. We drink every time we see a black person on screen at the RNC convention. #soberasamormon


Clay Aiken (@clayaiken) August 29, 2012

Exhibiting such courage in his conviction that the GOP is an all white party, Aiken later deleted that tweet (good thing "Twitchy" is forever).

Oh well, Aiken is used to finishing second in high-profile contests.


Sunday, January 05, 2014

Hello, speak up, is there somebody there?

While we may be experiencing bitter cold weather in the Twin Cities, today's edition of The Closer might heat things up quite nicely. I'll be on in my usual 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time slot.

Right at 1:00, Breitbart investigative reporter Lee Stranahan will call in to the program. Lee has been doing exhaustive research into the cover-up of details concerning the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on 9/11/2012. If you think you've heard all the angles of this story, you might wanna give Lee a listen. Let's just say he has found that neither the spin from the left nor the right has been entirely accurate.

Then at 2:00, MN State Senator/real estate guru/radio star Karin Housley is scheduled to join me in studio. We'll discuss the upcoming Minnesota legislative session due to get started in February as well as chat about other news of the week.

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

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

Even though I have a face for radio, there is a UStream channel where you can watch the broadcast, if you so desire. Check it out here.  

For mobile phone users, there are apps available for iphone, Blackberry and Android!

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

Until then.....


Friday, January 03, 2014

2013 NFL playoffs: Wildcard

Kansas City Chiefs (+2-1/2) at Indianapolis Colts: The Chiefs' 2013 season was quite remarkable given they went from 2-14 last season to 11-5 (including a 9-0 start) this year. The two major changes were hiring Andy Reid as head coach and trading for quarterback Alex Smith. With a reliable QB, the Chiefs were better able to utilize their top offensive stars in RB Jamaal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe. And since the offense was productive, it allowed their formidable defensive unit to not have to be on the field constantly.

Meanwhile, the Colts are an enigma to me. The AFC South champs have some impressive wins under their belt (e.g. at Kansas City, at San Francisco, and at home vs. Seattle and Denver). On the other hand, Indy has suffered some truly ugly losses (38-8 at home vs St Louis, 19-9 at San Diego and 40-11 at Arizona). But in only his second season, QB Andrew Luck was solid despite a lack of continuity on offense. WR Reggie Wayne and RB Ahmad Bradshaw have been on IR and the trade for RB Trent Richardson has turned out to be a bust. Nevertheless, Luck threw for more than 3,800 yards, 23 TDs and only 9 INTs. His leading receiver in terms of yardage? T.Y. Hilton.

It's hard to get a read on this game since both teams have had stretches where they've looked brilliant and then in a matter of 2-3 weeks later looked utterly inept.

Call it a hunch.
Kansas City 27 Indianapolis 24

New Orleans Saints (+2-1/2) at Philadelphia Eagles: Given the Eagles are ranked dead last in terms of defending the pass, Saints all-world QB Drew Brees may well be salivating over this matchup. However, the Saints this season have given off the aura of the typical dome team where they're unstoppable at home but mediocre on the road. The stats would bear that out as the Saints averaged 16 points fewer on the road as opposed to the Superdome. But one can also make the argument that this New Orleans team is different in that they bring the NFL's fourth ranked defense into this game. While they're stingy versus the pass, the Saints are 19th against the run. That could spell trouble against Eagles RB LeSean McCoy, who happens to be the 2013 NFL rushing champion with 1,607 yards.

Eagles QB Nick Foles has quickly adapted to the razzle dazzle offense installed by rookie head coach Chip Kelly. In ten starts since spelling Michael Vick, Foles has compiled 27 touchdown passes and a scant 2 INTs. Even though he's only in his second season, Foles has already has proven he can emerge victorious in a "win or go home" scenario thanks to the defeat of the Dallas Cowboys last week for the NFC East title.

As of now, the Philly area is expecting temperatures in the 20s with little chance of snow. Brees should be able to function as a result, but only if he has the ball enough. Expect the Eagles to ram McCoy down the Saints' collective throats with Foles mixing in a big play or two.
Philadelphia 28 Saints 24

San Diego Chargers (+7) at Cincinnati Bengals: These two teams met in week 13 of the regular season, with the Bengals prevailing 17-10 in San Diego. However, this matchup will take place in Cincinnati where the Bengals were a perfect 8-0 in 2013 and have scored an average of nearly 42 points per game in their past five home contests.

Does anyone remember the last time the Chargers and Bengals met in Cincinnati in the postseason? It was the 1981 AFC Championship game, won by the Bengals 27-7. However, that game may be best remembered for the weather conditions where the game time temperature was minus nine with a windchill factor of minus fifty nine!!!!

I seriously doubt the two teams will face that kind of weather on Sunday. Nevertheless, I expect the game's result to be similar.
Bengals 31 Chargers 10

San Francisco 49ers (-2-1/2) at Green Bay Packers: Having fallen just short in last year's Super Bowl, the 49ers are poised for another run. Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree is now healthy, giving QB Colin Kaepernick another weapon in the passing game to go along with WR Anquan Boldin and TE Vernon Davis. And RB Frank Gore had another 1,000 yard season, making that his seventh in a 9-year career. Speaking of Kaepernick, he seems to have put some early season unevenness behind him. In his first ten starts, Kaepernick had a QB rating of 100+ (maximum is 158.3) in only three games. But in the final six regular season contests, Kaepernick amassed a rating of 100+ in five games.

Sure, the Packers won the NFC North almost by default. But the fact of the matter is their franchise is back and healthy for the postseason. Despite missing seven games with a broken collarbone, QB Aaron Rodgers was huge in the regular season finale in Chicago. But what really benefits Rodgers this season is a terrific rookie running back in Eddie Lacy. While Lacy was a little dinged up in last week's win over Chicago, James Starks (the top RB in the Pack's 2010 Super Bowl season) filled in nicely with 88 yards rushing. Of course the caveat here is the 473 yards of offense generated last week was done against a pitiful Bears defense. The Niners still possess a top five unit, making this week a more daunting task.

In the previous three matchups vs. Green Bay over the past two seasons, the 49ers (who were victorious in all three games) averaged 36 points scored and 483 yards of total offense per contest. What's scary is those kind of numbers were put up against a Packers defense featuring All Pro LB Clay Matthews. Unfortunately for the Pack, Matthews is out for this game (no word on who Green Bay will use instead to levy a cheap shot on Kaepernick).

A potential equalizer for Green Bay could be the weather, with temperatures dropping into the single digits. The Niners have not endured such conditions all season long. Nevertheless.....
49ers 31 Packers 24


Thursday, January 02, 2014


A lot of thoughts ran through my head as I read the latest Deadspin screed from former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe.

Before I convey said thoughts, here is a summary of the latest Kluwe flap:

Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe alleged in a Deadspin story that he was released before the season as a result of being outspoken in support of same-sex marriage and was a victim of homophobic remarks by Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer.

Reached by, Kluwe said he didn't approach the team, the NFL or the NFL Players Association about Priefer's comments at the time because doing so is "something that ends careers."

According to Kluwe's piece, which was posted Thursday and titled "I was an NFL player until I was fired by two cowards and a bigot," Priefer criticized the punter throughout the 2012 season for his support of same-sex marriage, allegedly saying in a November team meeting that "we should round up all the gays, send them to an island and nuke it until it glows."

Priefer released a statement Thursday night, denying Kluwe's allegations.

"I want to be clear that I do not tolerate discrimination of any type and am respectful of all individuals," Priefer said. "I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member. ... The comments today have not only attacked my character and insulted my professionalism, but they have also impacted my family. While my career focus is to be a great professional football coach, my number one priority has always been to be a protective husband and father to my wife and children. ..."

Kluwe told ESPN on Thursday that he did not feel he could report the comments to coach Leslie Frazier, whom Kluwe said had already told him to stop speaking out on same-sex marriage, and added he feared no other team would sign him because of his views. He also felt his views put him at odds with Priefer, Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman.

Kluwe declined to name the other players who witnessed Priefer's alleged comments, and said he wouldn't unless "this goes legal. I'm not dragging anyone in unless I have to."

Obviously the alleged "round up all the gays" comment by Priefer is the most shocking. If indeed he said such a thing, Priefer may never work as a football coach again, which would severely hamper his income earning potential. As such, if Kluwe is fabricating this story, it's a textbook case of slander. While Kluwe's writings are often explosive and controversial, I don't get the impression he is a flat out liar. Another aspect of this is the fact there are homosexual players on NFL rosters today. I have no doubt that Kluwe is making this incident public so that those players never have to be exposed to that sort of abuse. This is especially relevant in light of the difficult situation involving Miami Dolphins' O-lineman Richie Incognito and his shocking verbal abuse of teammate Jonathan Martin.

Where there's room for nuance in this situation is the idea that Kluwe was gassed solely on the basis of his beliefs. I absolutely believe it's possible for an organization to reprimand a player's actions while still being aligned with said player's worldview. In fact, Kluwe conveyed in his latest Deadspin piece that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf told him personally that he appreciated (and agreed with) Kluwe's stance on same-sex marriage. However, there was a reasonable expectation by the Vikings organization that the matter be addressed with some decorum. Given that the gay marriage issue is so polarizing (it's right around a 50-50 split these days), it's best not to be too bombastic since the Vikings fan base is a reflection of society as a whole. As such, one risks alienating half the Vikings faithful if this issue (or any polarizing issue) is opined upon in a foul-mouthed, condescending manner. So when coach Frazier and GM Spielman requested that Kluwe basically dial back the rhetoric, it's possible it could have had more to do with limiting unwanted distractions and less with the content of Kluwe's advocacy.

Alas, there are many observers of this story who will never believe anything other than a scenario of Kluwe being released by the Vikings solely because of his advocacy. And for those who hold that belief, I ask this: How would you feel if a multi-millionaire who desired to be part of an NFL ownership group was denied that opportunity because of comments some people deemed "controversial?" In the name of consistency, I would hope you would react with the same disgust and outrage you have shown in the Kluwe situation. Yes, I am absolutely curious how the Kluwe apologists reacted in 2009 when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell essentially said Rush Limbaugh would not be welcome to be part of on NFL ownership group due to some "controversial comments" he made back in 2003. I admit that it's easier to be outraged over the alleged unfair treatment of someone who shares your worldview. But if a person with whom you disagree vehemently is subject to the same persecution? Oftentimes a different tune is sung.

I honestly don't know if Kluwe will ever play in another NFL game. He himself admits the prospects are dim. And whether or not you agree with his approach, Kluwe believes in his heart of hearts that he's offering up a cautionary tale about life in today's NFL, even if it's a the death knell of his playing days. While I don't agree with the methodology, I can certainly admire his conviction.