Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Into prayer mode

I am utterly devastated on behalf of longtime friends James & Jen Mains, who suffered a tremendous loss Monday.

From Jen’s Facebook page:

On behalf of our Mains crew, I wanted to Thank everyone for their prayers, support, kind words and generosity. For those who may not have heard, our home caught fire this evening and is all but completely lost. We believe an electric fire started in the basement and spread rapidly through the entire house. It took just minutes for the whole basement and main level to be engulfed in flames.

We will know more tomorrow at the extent of the structural damage and determine what we will do going forward.

Many will say it was just temporal, material things - and true as it is... for those who have grown up in the 'home on Tanners', we all know that house was so much more than just a house - generations of memories were made there. Being passed down through the family, we have had innumerable cherished times at the lake.

With the fire spreading so quickly, I am deeply thankful Jimmy, the kids and dogs all made it out safely.... And to Kevin, the fireman who went back into the house to retrieve Dad's Bible with his reading glasses and the letter that Grandma Cele wrote to him while he was preaching - which was on my nightstand and returned it to me safely... to him, I am eternally grateful.

Leave it to Jen to give everyone perspective in light of some pretty dire circumstances. Unfortunately, she’s had plenty of practice on how to endure emotional pain and sorrow.

A little more than three years ago, Jen’s father Frank Sanders (someone whom I loved, respected and admired) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Over the next thirteen months, Jen faithfully updated a CaringBridge page as a service to keep family and friends in the loop regarding her dad’s struggle. In addition to the emotional toll of witnessing her dad’s deteriorating illness, she would still take the time to recount a given day’s events, which likely exacerbated her sadness. Nevertheless, she selflessly kept her commitment to those who depended upon her updates, right up until Frank’s passing in February 2012.

As Jen alluded to in her update, their home was one where “generations of memories” were made. Her paternal grandparents lived there for some time before selling it to their daughter and son-in law. After that, Jen’s parents Frank and Kathy purchased that house where they lived for many years, raising three kids. Within the past decade, the Mains family bought it. Personally, I have many fond memories of my teenage years at that homestead. I spent a handful of winter days ice-skating on Tanners’ Lake as well summer evenings swimming and/or fishing in that very same area. From what I’ve been able to gather, that tradition continued over the next few decades. It heartens me to know that a generation beyond mine was able to experience the blessed hospitality in that home on the lake.

Given the response to this calamitous incident, it’s quite clear James and Jen (along with their four teenaged children) are not lacking in loved ones rallying around them to assist in their recovery. Despite the fact I’ve only seen the family a handful of times over the past 20 years, they’ll never be far from my heart. I will continue to pray the Mains family feels peace and comfort that will transcend all understanding.

---------------------------------

Monday, April 28, 2014

Box Score of the Week

The Los Angeles Dodgers vs. the San Diego Padres - April 10, 1992.

-----------------------------------

Having played in the American League the first four seasons of his career, Padres pitcher Dave Eiland never had an opportunity to bat in a game. So in his first ever Major League Baseball plate appearance, which took place in this game, Eiland homered. Four seasons earlier, in August 1988, Eiland surrendered a home run to the first batter he ever faced. Those feats paired together makes Eiland the only player in MLB history to accomplish such a thing. 

-----------------------------------

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sterling/Silver

There's not a whole lot more I can add to the saga surrounding Donald Sterling, owner of the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers.

In case you missed it:

In (an audio) recording (leaked by TMZ), the man believed to be Sterling questions his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, about her association with minorities. TMZ reports that Stiviano, who is black and Mexican, posted a picture of her with Magic Johnson on Instagram, a photo that has since been removed.

"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?" the man believed to be Sterling says. He continues, "You can sleep with [black people]. You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it on that ... and not to bring them to my games."

A lot of people (myself included) were shocked and sickened upon the revelation of these alleged comments (However, one Clippers official broached the possibility the audio was altered). Many were quick to point out that the NBA is comprised of 75-80% black players, including 86% of the Clippers roster. But if indeed racism is so abhorrent (as I believe it is), the comments Sterling was purported to have made should be judged on its face, regardless of the environment in which he made them.

From here, what sanctions does new commissioner Adam Silver levy in response to this incident? It would appear the most prudent action in the short term would be to not allow Sterling to attend any postseason games as long as an investigation is ongoing. If indeed it is verified that Sterling made such comments, what recourse does the league have? Can they somehow force Sterling to relinquish his ownership stake? If so, another question I have is should the NBA pursue such an option? On one hand there has been no evidence that Sterling ever made demands to not sign black players nor hire black coaches (e.g. current Clippers head coach Doc Rivers is black). So if the league is attempting to force him out based on his beliefs (as despicable as they may be), it gives an air of the league being some sort of "thought police." On the other hand, any pro sports league is heavily reliant upon good public relations. As such, they have an expectation that owners, management, coaches and players alike all act with a level of decorum both inside and outside their given sport.

This isn't the first time Sterling has been alleged to have engaged in racism. In 2009, he was sued by former general manager Elgin Baylor for racial and age discrimination upon his firing in 2008. The suit was ultimately rejected by a jury two years later. Away from basketball, Sterling was sued by the U.S. Dept. of Justice in 2006 for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to Koreans, Blacks and Hispanics within some of his real estate properties. A few years later, he agreed to pay nearly $3 million in fines, attorneys fees, court costs, etc.

Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who was in power from 1984 until this past February, was viewed as a no nonsense type of leader. If indeed there was any substantive evidence to Sterling being a racist, one would think Stern would have handed down some pretty hefty sanctions. That never happened. With that in mind, new commish Silver will have to make a decision based solely on the most recent allegations.

One thing is for certain: Silver is getting a monumental test in only his third month as NBA commissioner. Talk about "baptism by fire."

------------------------------

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Better late than never

Minnesota's most prominent taxpayer watchdog organization announced Friday some changes within its board, one in particular being long overdue (emphasis mine).

The Taxpayers League of Minnesota is proud to announce important changes to its board structure and governance.

The Board of Directors is being expanded to include :

Al DeKruif (Madison Lake), Chris Delaforest (Andover) and Lee Stoerzinger (Bayport). Brian Marum (Bayport) was also named to the board as Treasurer.

They join current board Chair Harold Hamilton and longtime board members Pat Alexander, John Esmay, Bruce Grachek and John Mathisrud.

The League is also announcing the departure from its Board of Directors members Philip Krinkie and Torin Kelly.

We thank them for their many years of service and their many contributions over the years.

The moving on of Krinkie was about two months overdue. After unauthorized use of TPL MN resources in February to enact what appeared to be a personal vendetta, Krinkie should have been reprimanded and/or removed from the board immediately. However, such a public upheaval likely would have been the death knell of his campaign for US House in MN CD6 (In my opinion, Krinkie was a non-factor even before the incident in question). That said, it appears there's been an ongoing process to allow Krinkie to save face by making it appear the split was amicable. I'm sorry but I have a difficult time believing that Krinkie's departure (along with that of his CD6 campaign manager Kelly) was of his own accord.

As luck would have it, TPL president Ted Lillie was already scheduled to be a guest on the Northern Alliance Radio network today at 2:33 pm. I will definitely broach the subject with him during his appearance.

----------------------------------------------

We won't hesitate to break down the garden gate.....

With Mitch Berg out on assignment today, I will be filling in on The Headliner edition of the Northern Alliance Radio Network this afternoon from 1:00 until 3:00 Central Time. Fear not Berg-ians, as Mitch will be on the air in my normal time slot tomorrow from 1 until 3.

At 1:15, Dario Anselmo will join me in studio. Within the past month or so, Mr. Anselmo attained the Republican party endorsement in MN House District 49A. He will oppose octogenarian representative Ron Erhardt in this November's election.

Then at 2:00, basketball wonk Mike McCollow will check in to discuss the Minnesota Timberwolves' coaching search. We may also broach what kind of plans the Wolves have for this offseason.

Finally at 2:30, president of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, Ted Lillie, will check in. Mr. Lille will promote the upcoming Tax Cut Rally, which will take place at the State Capitol next Saturday.                      

If there's time, I may opine on some news of the week.

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

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

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

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

Until then.....

--------------------------------------

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rich in irony and hyperbole

Amanda Marcotte, the uber leftist most famous for making crude sexual references in regards to the Catholic Church's stance on birth control, said something dumb this week. OK, that's not exactly newsworthy. However, her indignation over a high school kid making an innocent (if not awkward) overture to Miss America was rich with irony. I'll come back to that

But first, Ms. Marcotte's reaction to the incident in question:



This is in response to 18-year old Pennsylvania high school student Patrick Farves asking reigning Miss America Nina Davuluri to prom.

Because there have been noteworthy instances of celebs accepting invites to prom (e.g. Chely Wright, Mila Kunis, Michelle Beadle, etc.), it may have served to embolden other high school students like young Patrick. But that hardly makes it "sexual harassment." After all, most incidents of that nature occur when the person doing the harassing is in a position of authority or power over someone subject to the harassment. Definitely not the case here.

When several people on Twitter pointed out that Ms. Marcotte was being a bit hyperbolic, she doubled downed on her idiocy.



Does Marcotte honestly believe that Mr. Farves was requesting to have sex with Ms. Davuluri?!?! Seriously?!?! Well, Ms. Davuluri certainly didn't feel that way, going so far as to say she was "flattered" by Farves's gesture as well as asking school administrators to "reconsider" their decision to suspend the young man.

Now the ironic part of Ms. Marcotte shrieking "ZOMG! SEXUAL HARASSMENT?" Her swooning over the sexual harasser-in chief.



Q.E.D.

-----------------------------------------

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Plowing ahead

I commented in a post Monday that my state House rep (and current US Senate candidate) Jim Abeler was likely to announce in a Tuesday presser his withdrawal from the senate race and seek reelection for his MN House seat.

I was wrong.

State Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, said today that he’s retiring from the Minnesota House to campaign for U.S. Senate.

Abeler made the announcement to show supporters that he’s focused solely on his bid for the Senate. Up until now he has left open the possibility of running again for his House seat, even though he was competing to win the GOP nomination to run against DFL Sen. Al Franken. He said he made the decision to show Republican voters that he’s committed to his Senate campaign.

“If I don’t go ‘all-in’ then I may not get there,” Abeler said. “I think that Minnesota and Washington need me to be there to get after the problems that plague us and get after the divisions that are so rife.”

Since Abeler declared himself a candidate for US Senate about ten months ago, he has logged some pretty serious miles around the state. If you follow his Senate Facebook page, you would see how he is in a different part of the state six (sometimes seven) days per week, and oftentimes he'll hit 2-3 different towns/cities on any particular day. It was kind of hard to dispute that he wasn't "all-in" before Tuesday's announcement. On the flip side he's never gotten any traction in this race, evidenced by his paltry fundraising numbers as well as poor showings in various GOP straw polls. At last October's meeting of Republican State Central delegates, Abeler finished fifth and then on caucus night in February he came in fourth, just one slot behind "undecided."

Despite strong evidence that Abeler will not be the Republican nominee, he believes in his heart of hearts that he is the only viable candidate. At the end of the day that is all that matters.

In what I thought was a kind and gracious gesture, Abeler also used his announcement to throw support behind the endorsed Republican candidate for his House seat.

Republicans have already endorsed Abigail Whelan to run for his district 35A House seat, and Abeler says it was best he announce a decision.

“If people think that she’s a placeholder then that affects fundraising, it affects my focus, it affects people’s confidence that I’m really in this for real,” he said
Over the past several elections cycles, Abeler rarely received a serious challenge from a DFLer, often winning in the general by double digits. In fact, he is the only Republican to consistently win precincts in the city of Anoka, which has definitely gone "purple" (maybe even lite blue) over the years. Given that Anoka makes up approximately 43% of 35A, Whelan can still win if she squeezes enough votes out of the city of Ramsey, which makes up the remaining 57% of the district. It'll simply boil down to turnout which, in a non-presidential year in the Obama era, favors Republicans.

Regardless of how you want to crunch the numbers, 35A may well be considered a "toss up" this election cycle. One hasn't been able to say that about this district literally this whole millennium.

Time to go to work.

-------------------------------------------

Monday, April 21, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume XCII

- There's a glut of Republican US Senate candidates looking to secure the GOP nomination to take on incumbent senator Al Franken. Since Franken is a very well funded incumbent, it would behoove some of the GOP candidates to do some serious soul searching regarding their viability.

About three months ago, I predicted Jim Abeler (my current rep in the MN House) would drop out of the US Senate race and thus seek reelection for his current MN House seat. Briana Bierschbach of Minn Post sent out the following tweet Monday morning.



Despite the fact I know Abeler personally, I have no insight as to what this announcement will entail. However, I wouldn't be shocked if said announcement fulfills my January prediction, especially in light of Abeler's feeble fundraising numbers:



Granted I thought Abeler would wait until after the May 30-31 MN GOP state convention (but just prior to the June 3 deadline to file for a MN House race) to officially step aside. However, given his dire financial situation, it's becoming increasingly difficult to justify staying in the fray.


- The latest news from the headquarters of the local NBA franchise should come as no surprise.

Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman has decided to retire after 23 seasons in the NBA. He will continue working for the franchise in a consulting role, the team announced.

The decision brings to an end to a celebrated coaching career that includes 1,042 victories, eighth on the NBA's career list. Adelman coached Western Conference powers in Portland and Sacramento and also had stops in Golden State and Houston. He just completed the third season of a four-year deal with Minnesota that he signed in 2011. There was a mutual option for the final year of the deal.

"I think it's time for me to step aside," Adelman said. "When I came here, we really tried to see if we could turn some things around and we made some strides. Not as much as we would have liked, but I think it's time for me to step aside and let someone else come in with this group. We're not that far away.

"I really enjoyed my time here. I thank [owner] Glen [Taylor] so much. He's the best owner I've ever been around. Not only as an owner, but as a person and everything. It's been an enjoyable experience, but I'm ready and my wife's ready to move on to another phase. We're looking forward to that."

While Adelman inherited a roster that included dynamic point guard Ricky Rubio and All Star forward Kevin Love, they were not on the court together nearly enough over Adelman's first two seasons. Rubio tore a knee ligament in Adelman's first year as Wolves coach, resulting in the club floundering down the stretch. The following season, while Rubio was still attempting to shake off some rust, Love played in only 18 of the team's 82 games due to various injuries.

Going into this season, the Wolves were thought to have one of the more formidable starting lineups with a healthy Love and Rubio, hard nosed center Nikola Pekovic, free agent shooting guard Kevin Martin (who had averaged nearly 20 points per game throughout his career) and the return of an improved Corey Brewer. While the Wolves offense was indeed dynamic (3rd in the NBA in scoring), their defense (26th out of 30) was virtually nonexistent. Combine that with the fact that there was a severe drop off in performance when bench players hit the court, the Wolves finished a disappointing 40-42, missing the postseason for the tenth consecutive season.

Team president Flip Saunders said there would be an "exhaustive" search for a new head coach. In the minds of many Wolves fans, the new coach needs to possess merely one quality: the ability to convince the team's best player, Kevin Love, to stay beyond the 2014-15 season, after which he becomes a free agent.

No pressure.


- My friend Julia Schliesing (who also happens to be Miss Minneapolis 2014 and a Northern Alliance Radio Network contributor) was recently the subject of a short online documentary. The organization Call Me Mental, a collaboration between artists and clinicians looking to change attitudes towards mental illness, focused on Julia's advocacy to reduce the suicide rate.

Through her own struggle with depression and anxiety, Julia uses her title of Miss Minneapolis (and hopefully Miss Minnesota and beyond) as a platform to encourage others plagued with mental illness to seek help before suicidal thoughts overwhelm them.

Please take about seven minutes to watch:




If you would like to be a part of helping Julia spread this powerful and important message, please consider donating financially to her cause. You can donate online here.

--------------------------------------------------

Box Score of the week

It was a sweltering evening in Arlington, TX in July 2003 at the Rangers hosted the Boston Red Sox.

------------------------

A historic game for Red Sox third baseman Bill Mueller, as he hit three home runs and drove in nine. Highlighting this performance was the fact that Mueller, a switch hitter, clubbed a grand same from both sides of plate, becoming the first player in Major League Baseball history to do so.

-------------------------

Sunday, April 20, 2014

I'll lose my sanity tryin' to measure your intentions....

Happy Easter everyone! I know it's a special day to spend with family, especially when commemorating the resurrection of Jesus. While a live broadcast of my radio show can hardly compete with such endeavors, you are welcome nonetheless to tune in this afternoon at 1:00 Central Time for the latest edition of The Closer. 

Surprisingly, nearly the entire broadcast will feature guests, and for that I am grateful.

Right at 1:00, friend of the Northern Alliance Radio Network/Author/Blogger/Cool Chick Katie Kieffer will check in.



Katie is excited to share the details of her first book, which has been in the works for several months now.

At 1:30, Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing will make her weekly appearance. Julia will likely discus her episode of the documentary series Call Me Mental, which is slated to broadcast online this evening at 5:00 CT (here's a teaser). With less than two months until the Miss Minnesota pageant, Julia is still accepting donations to allow her to spread her message of suicide prevention (Donate here).

Then at 1:45, friend of the NARN Kelly Gunderson will call in to the show. Kelly will promote an upcoming candidate forum featuring all of the Republican candidates for Minnesota's US Senate seat currently held by Al Franken.

Finally at 2:00, yet another friend of the show, local political activist Jeff Kolb, will call in. Jeff attended the speech given by Condoleezza Rice this past Thursday at the University of Minnesota, so we'll get his perspective on that. In addition, Jeff has pored over many of the first quarter campaign finance reports of US Senate and MN gubernatorial candidates. He'll provide analysis on that as well.

I will then wrap up the show talking about this very special commemorative holiday that is Easter.


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, April 19, 2014

Do better

Upon being declared the winner of Minnesota's 2008 US Senate race in June 2009 (after ballot recounts, legal challenges, etc.), Al Franken was, for a time, the 60th Democrat Senator. What that meant is it rendered the GOP powerless to filibuster if indeed the Dems were unified in a cloture vote. As such, a strong argument can be made that Franken's election was the catalyst for jamming down our throats passing the monstrosity that is Obamacare.

As he is due to come up for reelection this year, Franken's first term has been unimpressive as he has been aligned with President Obama on pretty much every key vote, especially the Affordable Care Act. The fact that the President's approval rating continues to nosedive certainly doesn't bode well for Sen. Franken either.

Because there are plenty of substantive issues on which to hit Franken, I'm surprised (and more than a little disappointed) that one of the GOP Senate campaigns seeking the Republican nomination to oppose Franken would focus on the tedious.

Julianne Ortman, one of only two candidates (businessman Mike McFadden being the other) with a legitimate shot to win the GOP endorsement at the end of May, unearthed a video which was posted at a Breitbart.com site. The video was of Franken taking two orange cones and strategically placing them on his chest as if they were a woman's breasts.





In a fundraising email sent this past week, the Ortman campaign said the following:


Brad, this kind of behavior is unacceptable for any public person, much less a sitting United States Senator.

Or, as Stuart Smalley might put it, "it's not good enough."

And it's just one more reason why Al Franken has to go.

Do you agree?

Yes, I agree that Sen. Franken needs to be voted out. But it's more due to the far left, progressive agenda for which he has cast votes as opposed to acting like a teenage boy. I recall vividly that Franken was hit hard during the 2008 campaigns in regards to his character, specifically jokes about rape or his vile characterizations of Republican politicians. If those couldn't sway some Minnesotans from voting for this man, certainly the juvenile antics depicted in the video won't be much of a deterrent.

Now if a Republican politician were shown acting this way, the vapid "war on women" meme would likely ensue from leftists and their cohorts in the media. I get that. But that doesn't mean our side should waste any energy focusing on it since the mainstream media couldn't care less.

With Franken's approval rating in Minnesota currently under 50%, he's plenty vulnerable on his record alone. Seems to me we ought to stick with that target rich environment.

-----------------------------------

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday


 
With today being Good Friday, I’m even more reflective on what my Lord and Savior did for me.

Each day I pray, I give thanks to my Heavenly Father for laying down the life of His only son, Jesus Christ, so that I have an opportunity to spend eternity in Heaven. I realize that had the Lord not done one single solitary thing for me my entire life on Earth, He had already put upon me I debt I can never repay. But even more good news is I’ve blessed “exceedingly, abundantly above what I could ever think or ask.” He asks for nothing in return, other than putting no other god before Him. In my opinion, that’s an infinitesimal price to pay.

As a human being, I possess a finite mind that renders me unable to comprehend the depths of the Lord’s love for me. I just know that accepting Jesus as my Lord and Savior has transformed me in a way I never thought possible. It’s helped me to have compassion for those who smite me. It’s given me peace in the wake of tragic circumstances. It’s enhanced my joy know that this chaotic and tumultuous world is not my home. It’s allowed me to love others unconditionally as He loved us the same way.

I wish you all a blessed and joyful Easter weekend.

--------------------------

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The importance of introspection

If you live in the state of Minnesota, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the horrible incident involving University of Minnesota-Duluth sophomore Alyssa Jo Lommel. It was last December when Lommel was found unconscious on the front porch of a home next door to where she lived with roommates. After an evening of doing tequila shots, a disoriented Lommel passed out, thus enduring temperatures in the double digits below zero for approximately nine hours before she was discovered.

After suffering severe hypothermia and significant tissue damage, Lommel, if she survived, face a long recovery process that in all likelihood would result in amputation of limbs.

Thankfully, Ms. Lommel did survive and, as reported last week, is recovering at her parents’ home in St. Cloud. The unfortunate aspect of this story is she did indeed have to succumb to amputation.

Despite amputations up to the knuckles of fingers on both hands and parts of both her feet, the college sophomore plans to return to the Duluth campus in the fall to continue her studies in psychology and sociology.

"Obviously, there is going to be a lot of work that needs to be done, but my goal is to be up in Duluth in the fall," Lommel said.

While I admire Ms. Lommel’s positive outlook in what has likely been the most tumultuous period in her young life, I was rather disappointed in what appeared to be a flippant dismissal of the incident that led to her dire situation.

"People can say that I was underage drinking in college and that's what caused it, but in reality had it been a sunny day, I would've woken up and been like, 'Oh my gosh, what am I doing here,' " Lommel said. "I just want people to be aware that this happens to people all the time, unfortunately. Beware of the cold."

Lommel said that before this experience, she thought she wanted to be an addictions counselor. Now she wants to be a social worker.

"I've always wanted to help other people," Lommel said. "Now I am in a position where I have been through a lot and I can help other people realize that they can come through, too."

I may be reading this totally incorrectly, but I get the impression that she is absolving herself of any responsibility for this incident. After all, she enthusiastically mentioned on her Twitter feed the afternoon of Friday, December 6 that she was planning on doing tequila shots that evening. As such, one could argue the intention was to be quite inebriated by evening’s end. With that in mind, did Alyssa give her friends/roommates a “heads up” that she may need some assistance that evening? Did she arrange for a ride home knowing full well she would be in no condition to drive? In reading accounts of this incident, she was given a ride home by a truck full of guys who dropped her off at her house and then drove away without ensuring she was safely inside. Given the frigid weather, I can’t comprehend that kind of thoughtlessness (unless the driver and fellow passengers were also drunk, thus impairing their common sense). Obviously that wasn’t Alyssa’s fault, but it does beg the question if she even knew the guys who drove her home.

I hope I’m not coming off as heartless, as that is not my intent here. I simply believe Alyssa’s traumatic incident can serve as an effective deterrent to young people being put in potentially vulnerable positions. No, I’m not na├»ve enough to believe that Ms. Lommel’s testimony would in any significant way curb underage drinking on college campuses. However, I am confident that her story can absolutely be a cautionary tale on what happens when there’s a lack of accountability. I understand this may be lofty expectations to heap upon a 19-year old young lady. That said, it appears she has a indomitable spirit as well as a strong support system in terms of dealing with her physical and emotional scars. With that in mind, I believe she will ultimately achieve her goal of helping others cope in the aftermath of their own horrific experiences.

----------------------------

Monday, April 14, 2014

Move over Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter and Phyllis Schlafly.....

When l last saw my friend Katie Kieffer, it was on a Thursday evening this past August.




On that particular night, there was a farewell soiree for Katie, as she would be relocating to a super secret bunker somewhere in the Midwest to begin writing her very first book.

This past week Katie was pleased to announce that said book, entitled Let Me Be Clear: Barack Obama's War on Millennials, and One Woman's Case for Hopeis scheduled to be released this summer!




As a Public Service Announcement, I, on behalf of Katie, would like to let you all know that LMBC is now available for pre-order via Barnes & Noble as well as Amazon. And if indeed you do pre-order, you'll receive 25% off the hardcover edition and 50% off E-book! If you're at all familiar with Katie's work on her personal site or at Townhall.com, you know full well that her first book will be a must read.

One final thing: be sure and catch Katie's appearance this Sunday at 1:00 PM Central Time on the Northern Alliance Radio Network, AM 1280 The Patriot.

----------------------------------------------

Box Score of the Week

The Texas Rangers traveled to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees - August 27, 1977.

------------------------------------

An inside-the-park home run is rare enough. For a team to hit two in one game is obviously even more uncommon. But what Toby Harrah and Bump Wills of the Texas Rangers did in the seventh inning of this game was only the second time in MLB history that such an event occurred. Harrah and Wills hit back-to-back inside-the-park home runs on consecutive pitches, something that hadn't happened since 1946. 

--------------------------------------

Sunday, April 13, 2014

It seemed like the real thing but I was so blind......

Many of you procrastinators may be finishing up your income tax returns since the IRS deadline is in two days. That being the case, be sure you build in a break from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time to tune in to The Closer. 

I'll look back at the week in local politics, including more DFL government expansion. I'll also give my own recap of the MN CD6 GOP convention where current representative Michele Bachmann passed the baton on to newly endorsed Tom Emmer.

At 1:30, Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing will check in for her weekly appearance to talk about whatever is on her mind and heart (Don't forget to check out her Go Fund Me page).

Then at 1:45, Salem Communications guy Ross Brendel will call in to promote a pastors appreciation luncheon sponsored by our sister station AM 980 KKMS.

Finally at 2:15, my friend and the NARN's official basketball wonk Mike McCollow will be on to review another lost Timberwolves season. We may also look back at March Madness.


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, April 12, 2014

Live from Monticello....

....it's Minnesota's Sixth Congressional District GOP convention!

And we're starting....right about....NOW!

I plan on live tweeting the festivities, so feel free to follow me on Twitter at @Brad_Carlson or check out the convention's official hash tag, which is #MN06.

Even though the highlight of the meeting will be endorsing a candidate to replace Michele Bachmann in the US House, Twitter users have an uncanny knack for making anything seem interesting.

So please follow along. Or don't. Whatever. I'm not your mother.


------------------------------------

Friday, April 11, 2014

Hammerin' Hank hammers Republicans

As someone who appreciates the history of a great game like baseball, I most definitely admire the career of one Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron. Not only did he surpass the all time home run record of perhaps baseball's ultimate legend in Babe Ruth, he did so in a tumultuous era of America's history.

Aaron made his debut in Major League Baseball at the age of 20 in 1954, a mere seven years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier. As such, Aaron's stellar play on the field was not well received by white America, many of whom were bitter that a black man was in a position to usurp the revered Ruth. But it was 40 years ago this past week (April 8, 1974 to be exact) that Aaron hit his 715th career home run, thus becoming the all time home run king (and in the minds of many, he still maintains that title in light of the Barry Bonds-PEDs allegations). Even though the Civil Rights Act had been passed a decade earlier, Aaron still received a lot of hateful correspondence and even death threats for daring to approach what was considered a sacred milestone.

Sadly, Aaron still has trouble embracing his accomplishment even today. In fact, he hung on to those awful letters that were sent to him back in his playing days.

"To remind myself," Aaron tells USA TODAY Sports, "that we are not that far removed from when I was chasing the record. If you think that, you are fooling yourself. A lot of things have happened in this country, but we have so far to go. There's not a whole lot that has changed.

The implication here is that blacks are still oppressed similar to what he endured in his baseball career. Aaron went on to speak in generalities about baseball today and our society in general. He also went on to cherry pick certain incidents without providing any nuance (i.e. the Trayvon Martin shooting). Eventually Aaron broached the subject of the first black President this country has ever had (emphasis mine).

"We can talk about baseball. Talk about politics. Sure, this country has a black president, but when you look at a black president, President Obama is left with his foot stuck in the mud from all of the Republicans with the way he's treated.

"We have moved in the right direction, and there have been improvements, but we still have a long ways to go in the country.

"The bigger difference is that back then they had hoods. Now they have neckties and starched shirts."


Of course Aaron is referring to the "hoods" of the Ku Klux Klan and goes on to imply that Republicans are using KKK type tactics to marginalize the President. It's an utterly asinine assertion to be sure but I believe I can ascertain where Aaron is coming from.

Having grown up in the segregated south, Aaron was all too familiar with the KKK. As he ascended in his successful baseball career, he was roundly criticized and reviled for achieving something that only whites had been able to accomplish. In regards to President Obama, Aaron sees sharp criticism levied towards him after accomplishing something that only whites had achieved in all of American history: being elected President of the United States. On that level, Aaron most definitely empathizes with Obama. But where Aaron's logic is flawed regarding the political realm is that if, say, John Edwards (a white man) were President, he would have likely put forth just as radically left (if not more so) of an agenda as Obama. As such, there's absolutely zero doubt in my mind that Republicans would have been just as critical of an Edwards (or Biden, or Gore) administration as they are the White House's current occupant.

Scott Ott, founder of the parody news outlet Scrappleface, summed up Aaron's viewpoint better than I ever could.

My white, ultra-conservative, Republican grandfather sat with me and my white little brothers in rapt attention awaiting the moment when Hank Aaron would break the home-run record — and rejoicing at that majestic swat.

On a November evening in 2008, I sat transfixed before the screen, tears on my pale cheeks as I watched Barack Obama receive the accolades of the cheering throng upon word that he had won the presidency. (Though I voted for his opponent, and vigorously disagree with virtually everything he has done since, I still think that was a great and important moment for our country.)

Now both men diminish themselves and their legacies by using the bigotry of a few to paint their political opponents--dismissing half of the country with a word, rather than engaging in a legitimate contest of ideas.

I will still treasure those peak moments, and attribute the rest to the fallen nature of man.

Perhaps one of the more outstanding excerpts of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is his hope that his own children may one day be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. President Obama is most criticized for his usurping the separation of powers by ignoring laws he doesn't like or flippantly issuing executive orders. Obama is also slammed for a law that's made the health insurance industry more of a quagmire than ever as well as America no longer being viewed a superpower by the likes of Russia, Syria, Iran, etc. Seems to me issues such as those are reflective of a man's character (or lack thereof) as opposed to his skin color.

----------------------------------------------------

Thursday, April 10, 2014

This weekend in local politics...

....will feature the MN Congressional District Six GOP convention. As delegates to CD6, the fetching Mrs. Carlson and myself will be attending the festivities at Monticello High School on Saturday. Perhaps the most high profile order of business is endorsing a Republican candidate to replace current US House member Michele Bachmann, who is not seeking reelection this year.

If fundraising and caucus night straw poll results are any indication, former MN House member and 2010 GOP candidate for governor Tom Emmer will be endorsed handily. As such, the two remaining opponents for the Republican nod are looking to the primary election this fall.

Anoka County Board Chairwoman Rhonda Sivarajah will take her congressional campaign to a primary election, she announced Wednesday in an interview with the Times.

The other GOP candidate in the 6th District, former state Rep. Phil Krinkie, said Wednesday that he won't attend Saturday's convention or seek the endorsement. Krinkie also said for the first time that he's mulling a third-party run but said a Republican primary remains his most likely path.

Both Sivarajah and Krinkie long have left open the possibility of running in a primary. Only Emmer has said he'll abide by the GOP endorsement.

Sivarajah still intends to seek the endorsement Saturday, but said she expects Republican delegates to endorse Emmer on the first ballot.
In comparison to Emmer, fundraising numbers have appeared pretty feeble for both Sivarajah and Krinkie. I fail to see how opting for a primary election will change that (Krinkie may have the resources to self fund, so that may be an option). But even if Emmer's two opponents somehow conjure up even respectable financial resources to make a viable run in the primary campaign, they still have to contend with an incredibly popular candidate (one who also has significant name recognition) who won CD6 by 18 points in the 2010 gubernatorial race. Combine that with the fact that redistricting in 2012 resulted in the Sixth becoming even more red, Emmer appears to be the inevitable nominee.

Many activists are concerned that forcing an endorsed candidate to run in a primary will waste valuable time and money that the candidate could otherwise spend gearing up for the November general election. But in CD6, that's not as salient an issue since anyone with an "R" next to their name should win going away (provided the candidate doesn't have a last name of "Bachmann"). As such, the 12 weeks of campaigning between the August primary election and the November general is ample time for a Republican in the Sixth.

Outside of all that, this weekend's convention should be rather routine.

---------------------------

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Not a smidgen, but a crap ton!

So the whole IRS kerfuffle that, in the mind of President Barack Obama, was a "phony scandal" containing not even "a smidgen of corruption?" You recall the allegations, right? The IRS denied/delayed tax exempt status to groups sympathetic to right-of-center politicos? "Nothing to see here," we were told. Just another tale ginned up by Fox News, Darrell Issa, et al.

Yeah, about that.

New IRS emails released by the House Oversight Committee show staff working for Democratic Ranking Member Elijah Cummings communicated with the IRS multiple times between 2012 and 2013 about voter fraud prevention group True the Vote. True the Vote was targeted by the IRS after applying for tax exempt status more than two years ago. Further, information shows the IRS and Cummings' staff asked for nearly identical information from True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht about her organization, indicating coordination and improper sharing of confidential taxpayer information.

Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa, along with five Subcommittee Chairmen are demanding Cummings provide an explanation for the staff inquiries to the IRS about True the Vote and for his denial that his staff ever contacted the IRS about the group.

“Although you have previously denied that your staff made inquiries to the IRS about conservative organization True the Vote that may have led to additional agency scrutiny, communication records between your staff and IRS officials – which you did not disclose to Majority Members or staff – indicates otherwise,” the letter to Cummings states. “As the Committee is scheduled to consider a resolution holding Ms. Lerner, a participant in responding to your communications that you failed to disclose, in contempt of Congress, you have an obligation to fully explain your staff’s undisclosed contacts with the IRS.”

The first contact between the IRS and Cummings' staffers about True the Vote happened in August 2012. In January 2013, staff asked for more information from the IRS about the group. Former head of tax exempt groups at the IRS Lois Lerner went out of her way to try and get information to Cummings' office.The information Cummings received was not shared with Majority Members on the Committee.

An excerpt from the committee's findings:



On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee will take a vote to cite Lerner for contempt of Congress for her refusal to testify. But....

Democrats say Thursday’s contempt vote is unlikely to produce a successful prosecution, even if the House oversight committee passes the resolution.

They point to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service that shows federal courts have rarely upheld contempt convictions against individuals who refuse to testify before Congress.

According to the CRS analysis, the courts have overturned every contempt conviction against individuals who refused to testify before Congress dating back to at least 1951. The agency acknowledged that its research was not necessarily exhaustive and that “it is possible that some relevant cases were missed.”

Democrats on the oversight panel plan to release a report on Wednesday arguing that the Republican contempt effort lacks “historical precedent” and that the committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), has not taken the steps legally required for pursuing charges against Lerner.

“We oppose Chairman Issa’s efforts to re-create the oversight committee in Joe McCarthy’s image, and we reject his attempts to drag us back to that shameful era in which Congress tried to strip away the Constitutional rights of American citizens,” the Democratic report says.

Republicans on the oversight committee contend that Lerner’s testimony is critical to their investigation of the IRS’s controversial actions. “Without her testimony, the full extent of the IRS’s targeting of Tea Party applications cannot be known, and the committee will be unable to fully complete its work,” the group said in a report released Tuesday.
Anyone got any popcorn?

-----------------------------------

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Take a hike

Remember how this Minnesota Legislative session was supposed to be an "unsession?"

It's been quite a flurry of activity in St. Paul over the past few days, whether it's hiking the minimum wage or approving plans for an extravagant new office building for Minnesota state senators. 

Just a few weeks ago, Gov. Mark Dayton implied that the Senate was upholding critical tax legislation out of spite for the House not approving plans for the upper chamber's new digs. Fast forward to this past weekend. In less than 72 hours after House Democrats approved the new Senate building, it was made known that there would be a Monday morning presser announcing an agreement on a minimum wage increase. 

The fact those two events so closely coincided was not lost in the Star Tribune story detailing the agreement. 

The minimum wage deal came just after resolution of another contentious issue at the Capitol: a new senate office building. Bakk had insisted the new building was needed.

Naturally, there were vehement denials that one had anything to do with another. But I find it rather curious that Bakk himself said last month that while he personally backed the House minimum wage plan, there weren't enough DFLers in his caucus who would acquiesce to such legislation.

But then......

Last month, a group of nine DFL senators pleaded with Bakk in a letter to end the delay.

"Recently, some in our caucus have been re-thinking the indexing issue. As a result, they have decided to lend their support. We are reaching out to you now to enlist your support, as well," said a letter sent to Bakk in mid-March. "Please help us pass this bill. It’s the right thing to do."
Again, at that point in the legislative session, the House was still balking at moving forward with the Senate Legislative Office Building (SLOB). So what caused the aforementioned nine DFL senators to suddenly endorse the House minimum wage plan? Was it the rallies held by unions and other Democrat allies, urging the two chambers to come together posthaste? Or maybe, just maybe, the House was willing to OK the SLOB in exchange for the Senate's support of their minimum wage proposal.

Am I being conspiratorial? Perhaps. But you have to admit that the timing just seems way too convenient.

----------------------------------------

Monday, April 07, 2014

Box Score of the Week

Let's look back at an interleague matchup from last season when the Tampa Bay Rays hosted the San Diego Padres.

----------------------------------

Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb made MLB history in the third inning of this game by striking out every batter he faced yet still allowed a run. 



Cobb struck out Will Venable to start the third, but he uncorked a wild pitch that rolled to the backstop for strike three. That allowed Venable to reach first. Venable then stole second on the same pitch that saw Chase Headley become Cobb's second victim.

Venable stole third shortly before Carlos Quentin became Cobb's third strikeout of the inning.

Despite Cobb's bad luck, he appeared close to escaping the inning unscathed. And he would have had he not balked, which allowed Venable to score the Padres' third run.

Yonder Alonso then struck out swinging to give Cobb four strikeouts for the inning.

---------------------------------------------------

Sunday, April 06, 2014

I'm a spy but on your side, you see....

Many folk mark points of time within a year by weather seasons. Me? I use sports seasons as landmarks, so consider this my first Sunday radio show in the 2014 Minnesota Twins' regular season. Yes, The Closer will be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

It's a guest intensive show today, beginning with the first two segments of the program. At that time, Bruce Richardson, VP of Corporate Communications and External Affairs at PolyMet Mining, will join me in studio. PolyMet is organization focused on environmentally responsible mining of cooper/nickel and precious metals, an issue which has been broached by many of the Minnesota political candidates this election year. 

At 1:30, Miss Minneapolis 2014 Julia Schliesing will check in for her weekly appearance. Given the shooting incident at Fort Hood military base, Julia will likely weigh in on the issue of firearms being banned on the base as well as the mental health issues endured by the shooter. As many of you may know, Julia has focused her platform on helping those like herself overcome the stigma of depression and/or anxiety, which can sometimes lead to suicide. 

In the 2:00 hour, I'll be joined by Jason Bradley and Andrew Richter of the organization Community Solutions MN. CSM is a group of private citizens focusing on issues at the local (specifically municipal and county) levels of government. 

Finally at 2:45, the absolutely delightful Angie Hasek will be on via phone. Fresh off being elected Chair of the MN College Republicans, Angie will reflect on her win as well as share with us what we can expect in her tenure. 


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, April 04, 2014

Objecting to objections

I’ve said for some time now that if any individual wants to profess his/her homosexuality, today’s environment yields them the perfect time and place. Quite simply, if anyone conveys any moral objections to the gay lifestyle, the person making such objections is often thoroughly repudiated, condemned and, in some cases, bullied (wow, that’s rather ironic).

The issue of homosexuality has become more prevalent due to many states (and in some cases a court of law) legalizing same-sex marriage. Despite the dramatic cultural shift over the past decade where now such a union is more widely accepted, the fact is that there's still close to a 50-50 split on the issue nationwide. However, the 50% who oppose gay marriage are rarely (if ever) given the benefit of the doubt in terms of a nuanced worldview. As such, same-sex marriage opponents are often labeled as bigots, homophobes and hate-filled. Never mind that many religious objections to gay marriage are based more on a biblical principle of unconditionally loving an individual without embracing their sin. Heck, some folks even make non-religious arguments against gay marriage based on statistical analysis and psychological studies without ever condemning the gay lifestyle itself.

On Thursday, a high profile individual became the latest victim in what some have dubbed a “Gaystapo.”

Brendan Eich, the well-known techie who has gotten swept up in a controversy about his support of California’s anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8, is resigning as CEO of for-profit Mozilla Corporation and also from the board of the nonprofit foundation which wholly owns it.

Mozilla confirmed the change in a blog post.

“Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves,” read the post, in part. “We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”

In several interviews this week, Eich had insisted that he would not step down from the job he was only recently appointed to, due to the intense backlash over a $1,000 donation he made in 2008 in support of the ballot measure to ban gay marriage.

“So I don’t want to talk about my personal beliefs because I kept them out of Mozilla all these 15 years we’ve been going,” he said to the Guardian, for example, yesterday. “I don’t believe they’re relevant.”

Eich is correct that his beliefs aren’t relevant unless they adversely influenced his duties as CEO in a manner that violated the company’s standard business policies/practices. Upon being named CEO, Eich attempted to assuage the concerns of Mozilla employees as well as the general public.

“I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status or religion,” Mr. Eich wrote in the post. “You will see exemplary behavior from me toward everyone in our community, no matter who they are; and the same toward all those whom we hope will join, and for those who use our products.”

In light of Eich’s decision to step down, it is obvious he felt his statement did not do nearly enough to repel the negative attention.

I believe other corporate officers within Mozilla could have quelled this controversy somewhat by simply emphasizing that good old American trait of healthy dissent and discourse. By insisting they vehemently disagreed with Eich’s personal stance on gay marriage while stressing his valued contributions to the company could have gone a long way. Instead, it appeared Eich was asked to recant his sentiments towards gay marriage or be left hung out to dry, something that even Andrew Sullivan (who himself is gay and in a relationship) found outrageous.

(Eich) did not understand that in order to be a CEO of a company, you have to renounce your heresy! There is only one permissible opinion at Mozilla, and all dissidents must be purged! Yep, that’s left-liberal tolerance in a nut-shell. No, he wasn’t a victim of government censorship or intimidation. He was a victim of the free market in which people can choose to express their opinions by boycotts, free speech and the like. He still has his full First Amendment rights. But what we’re talking about is the obvious and ugly intolerance of parts of the gay movement, who have reacted to years of being subjected to social obloquy by returning the favor.

That’s spot on! For the homosexual movement and its allies, who have worked so tirelessly for “equality,” to engage in the very tactics they found so abhorrent is something that may very well harm their cause. Seems rather counterproductive, no?

----------------------------

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Quick Hits: Volume XCI

-When I first heard this story, all I could think was "not again!"

Four people are confirmed dead and at least 14 people are injured following a shooting at the Fort Hood army post Wednesday evening, according to the House Homeland Security Chair and U.S. Representative from Texas Michael McCaul. CBS News confirms the shooter is among the dead and was killed by a self-inflicted wound. The shooter has been identified as a soldier. He has been identified at 34-year-old Ivan Lopez. The shooting reportedly started as the result of a dispute between soldiers.

Sadly the locale of this shooting, Fort Hood, is all too familiar to many Americans. Back in November 2009, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan went on a shooting spree which resulted in 13 people being killed and 30 others suffering injuries.

Because Hasan's actions were surmised to be a jihad, immediate speculation surrounding Wednesday's shooting also broached that possibility. That may have been in no small part to Fox News reporting earlier this week that an FBI investigation took place into an Army recruit who told friends he was planning a "Ft. Hood-inspired jihad." It was eventually determined there was no immediate threat.

Now that the shooter has been identified, an investigation can proceed and hopefully some answers can be found. In the mean time, I choose to pray for those who have been deeply affected by this tragedy (i.e. family & friends of the slain, those who were injured) as opposed to going down the obligatory debate path regarding the lack of armed guards, the stresses of post war life, etc. Believe me, all of those "discussions" are going to take place ad nauseam for weeks to come.


-I never knew (nor cared) much about Russian president Vladimir Putin's personal life, other than the fact he likes to walk around bare chested in his spare time (knowledge I've gained largely through my involvement in social media).

I honestly didn't even know that Mr. Putin was married. Well......

The Kremlin confirmed Wednesday that the Russian president has finalized his divorce from Lyudmila Putina, his wife of nearly 30 years.

The change in marital status was noted after Mr. Putin’s official biography on the presidential website was altered in recent days to remove the reference to his wife. It now states only his two daughters as being his family.

The usually secretive couple surprised the nation last June when they suddenly announced their split in a televised interview after taking part in a performance of the ballet “La Esmeralda” at the Kremlin theater, bringing an end to years of speculation about the state of their marriage.

Mr. Putin, who for years had bristled at personal questions, said they had been living apart for some time and blamed his hectic work schedule as the main cause for the marriage’s demise.

Yeah, I would imagine that trying to return Russia to the glory days of mighty U.S.S.R. can be quite time consuming. It's inevitable that it would cause some strain in a relationship.


-It's more than a little disturbing (not to mention downright creepy) that the majority leader of the U.S. Senate is so obsessed with the activism of certain private citizens, specifically businessmen brothers Charles and Edward Koch. In fact, Sen. Harry Reid has an entire section on his official Senate web site dedicated solely to "Koch Facts" (including a blatantly false accusation of the Kochs not paying corporate taxes). That all seems way over the top given that the Kochs are only the 59th most generous political donors.

Given the fact that the Koch brothers are living rent free inside of Reid's calcified skull, I have to wonder what the Senate Majority Leader's reaction was to a Wall Street Journal op ed penned by Charles Koch.

A key excerpt:

A truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.

More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen. "The natural progress of things," Jefferson wrote, "is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." He knew that no government could possibly run citizens' lives for the better. The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle. Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.

Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.

When any member of an executive or legislative branch of government partakes in ad hominem attacks on private citizens who are engaged in our democratic processes, it should at best make your blood boil and at worst frighten you to your core.

I wonder how long it will be until the Kochs receive the random obligatory IRS audit.

----------------------------------