Sunday, November 30, 2014

Industry don't pay a price that's fair; All the common people breathing filthy air ....

I'll be wrapping up a blessed Thanksgiving weekend today with another edition of The Closer. I will be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time. 

It'll be a guest-free program today, but that's OK since the news out Ferguson, MO and the decision on Ray Rice's NFL future has dominated the news this past week. I will definitely weigh in on those issues as well as keep a watchful eye on today's Vikings game. 


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.....

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Friday, November 28, 2014

Ready to run again

Well, this bit of news would seem to confirm the ineptitude of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has won his appeal of an indefinite suspension and has been reinstated to the NFL.

Rice is now eligible to sign with any NFL team.

"I would like to thank Judge Barbara Jones, the NFL Players Association, my attorneys, agents, advisors, family, friends and fans -- but most importantly, my wife Janay," Rice said in a statement released by the NFLPA on Friday. "I made an inexcusable mistake and accept full responsibility for my actions.

"I am thankful that there was a proper appeals process in place to address this issue. I will continue working hard to improve myself and be the best husband, father and friend, while giving back to my community and helping others to learn from my mistakes."

Former U.S. District Judge Barbara S. Jones, who heard Rice's appeal earlier this month, concluded in her decision, which was obtained by ESPN, that Rice did not lie to or mislead NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

"In this arbitration, the NFL argues that Commissioner Goodell was misled when he disciplined Rice the first time. Because, after careful consideration of all of the evidence, I am not persuaded that Rice lied to, or misled, the NFL at his June interview, I find that the indefinite suspension was an abuse of discretion and must be vacated," Jones' decision stated.

The NFL has said they will honor the decision handed down by Judge Jones.

Regardless of how the Rice situation would have been resolved, there would have been no other conclusion to reach than Goodell having completely bungled this whole thing. Let's say, for sake of argument, that Rice's June interview with the Commissioner was "ambiguous" and indeed Goodell hadn't seen the in-elevator video of Rice delivering a vicious left hook to the face of his then fiancee. It had at least been confirmed that the league office did see video footage of Rice dragging his unconscious fiancee out of the elevator. It was also an established fact that both parties (Ray and Janay) admitted to an altercation inside the elevator. Armed with all that evidence and knowledge, what was "ambiguous" about what actually happened inside that elevator? Ultimately, I believe Goodell made the initial ruling of a mere two-game suspension due in large part to Mrs. Rice pleading for leniency for her husband, regardless of what he ascertained to that point.

Upon TMZ releasing in-elevator video footage this past September, Goodell felt immense pressure to hand down a more severe punishment to Rice given the shocking nature of the punch. Because of said backlash, the Ravens also acted swiftly in that they terminated Rice's contract that very day. Given Judge Jones' decision, Goodell would have been better off weathering the short-term P.R. storm and thus standing by his original ruling. Chances would have been virtually nil that another NFL team would have signed Rice to a free agent contract so soon after what the public had witnessed. By the end of the 2014 season, the whole Rice saga would have likely been forgotten by most NFL fans with some even assuming his suspension was still in effect.

From a football standpoint, I find it difficult to believe that not one of the 32 NFL teams will take chance on Rice. While Rice in 2013 had statistically his worst season of his 6-year career, he'll only be 28-years old in 2015. That, and there were scouts who felt Rice regained his old form while playing in the 2014 preseason. The team which signs Rice will, at least at the outset, endure backlash from some fans, which is to be expected. There will also be the obligatory "cause for concern" statement from corporate sponsors which will emphasize their "close observation" of the situation. But once Rice shows he's regained his old form as well as avoiding additional off-field indiscretions, the outrage will die down significantly.

Bottom line is I believe Rice will recover from this saga. The question now is will Commissioner Goodell?

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!




Yes, there is much more to be thankful for than just food.

I'm thankful I have Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.

I'm thankful to live in a country where we are free to worship God.

I'm thankful for my loving family, most of whom are happy and healthy.

I'm thankful for the scores of people I can call "friends".


We wish you all a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson: The Aftermath

Rioting and looting continues 24 hours after a grand jury chose not to indict officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of 18-year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. It's at the point now where most of the "protesters" are causing chaos because they can, not because they're truly outraged over a perceived miscarriage of justice.

As has been affirmed the past 24+ hours, it's basic common sense to always take a few minutes for one to gather one's emotions when stricken with a sense of anger and outrage. As such, when the grand jury decision was announced Monday evening, it would have been best to not immediately take to social media and vent frustrations. 

Valeria Silva, superintendent of the St Paul Public Schools, learned this lesson the hard way. 




Such an irrational and emotional statement resulted in retorts such as this:





Not surprisingly, Ms. Silva deleted her tweet shortly thereafter. Apparently she doesn't realize Twitter is forever. The St. Paul Police Federation learned of  Ms. Silva's statement and issued a stern response.


Ms. Silva would go on to issue an apology on Tuesday.

"I apologize for the misunderstanding around my first tweet Monday night in which I reacted emotionally to the Ferguson grand jury's decision. My purpose was not to challenge the judgment of the police or the grand jury, but to express my sadness about this tragic situation. I recognize that the Ferguson decision impacts many students and community members. But it deeply and profoundly affects the lives -- quite literally -- of many of our black students. That is why I tweeted what I did. The amount of time that people spent questioning my tweet and the time I spent responding underscores that race still matters in this country."

So when Ms. Silva asked the question "How do I explain this to my black students?," perhaps she could take a few minutes to explain how the mainstream media's editorializing the news isn't the same as conveying actual facts about the case. She could also talk about forensic evidence in the context of how eyewitnesses can fabricate but physical evidence is unbiased. Of course, per John Gilmore's suggestion in his tweet above, Ms. Silva could emphasize how it's not a great idea to make an attempt at grabbing a law enforcement official's firearm.

But none of that seems to fit within the narrative now, does it?

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Ferguson

When Monday's announcement occurred regarding the grand jury's decision in the case of Officer Darren Wilson shooting and killing 18-year old Michael Brown this past August, many media outlets framed the story in the same tone they breathlessly opined on it the past few months.

A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation.

Not to be outdone, the New York Daily News chose this as its front page:





All of this begs the question of why couldn't the announcement of the grand jury's decision take place during the day? When it was revealed the grand jury came to its conclusion, the national media went beyond the proverbial beating of a dead horse with speculation of the decision as well as incessant chatter about inevitable rioting and looting that would possibly ensue. Now that is not to say that the media is solely responsible for a bunch of buffoons wreaking havoc in their respective cities. But perhaps they could have hidden their agenda a tad bit better and thus follow the example of Brown's family, who graciously asked for peaceful demonstrations.

A few other thoughts:

- I was rather disturbed at how many people shrieked that there was "no justice" in this case. The fact of the matter is the grand jury pored over a substantial amount of evidence to reach the conclusion they did. Even though there appeared to be significant political pressure to levy some sort of charge against Officer Wilson (US Attorney General Eric Holder even went to Ferguson, MO shortly after the incident), the grand jury remained focused on the physical evidence, which is unequivocally consistent (unlike certain eyewitness accounts).

- Yes, I referred to the rioters and looters as "buffoons." Let's face it: the vast majority of those people don't give two squats about Michael Brown or his grieving family. And what's worse is the city of Ferguson is already enduring a high unemployment rate, one which is certain to rise after some prominent businesses were set ablaze. What's sad is some of those businesses were just back to being fully operational after having to recover from vandalism/looting which took place in August.

- No one is better off after the grand jury decision. No one (well, except for the media in terms of its TV ratings).

Not only is Officer Wilson having to live with taking another person's life, I don't see how he can continue his law enforcement career now that his face has been splashed across every news media outlet.

There is likely an even deeper distrust of the police in the Ferguson area than ever before.

As I alluded to earlier, the senseless rioting and vandalism will further depress the area's economy.

But the coup de grace is Michael Brown's family. Not only are they enduring unfathomable grief over a life taken way too soon, they now have the added burden of certain people using their loved one's death as a pawn for their respective political agendas.

Just an awful night all the way around.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

When you've lost SNL.......

If you grew up in the 1970s like myself, you undoubtedly recall television's attempts to educate kids while they were entranced by their Saturday morning cartoons. In particular, ABC TV's Schoolhouse Rock! was not only informative but also somewhat fun. In fact, it was where I received my first insight into how a law is made, thanks to the mid-70s TV tutorial "I'm Just a Bill."





Ah, but as we learned this past Thursday night with President Barack Obama unilaterally usurping current immigration law, the Separation of Powers is sooooo passé.

I don't know about you, but I found it a pleasant surprise to learn that long running sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live actually dinged the President on his actions (I may have been just as gobsmacked that SNL is even still on the air, but I digress).






Interestingly enough, New York Post Entertainment writer Kyle Smith queried a few months ago as to why variety shows and comedians alike seemingly steer clear of skewering the White House's current occupant. After all, SNL in particular had compiled some of the more legendary political satire in its first 33-34 seasons on the air. So why have the Obama years been virtually immune from such mockery?

It turns out the man is completely unmockable.

We learn this from Jim Downey, the longtime “Saturday Night Live” specialist in political japery. “If I had to describe Obama as a comedy project, I would say, ‘Degree of difficulty, 10 point 10,’” the writer says in the expanded new edition of the “SNL” oral history book, “Live from New York.”

“It’s like being a rock climber looking up at a thousand-foot-high face of solid obsidian, polished and oiled,” Downey says. “There’s not a single thing to grab onto — certainly not a flaw or hook that you can caricature. [Al] Gore had these ‘handles,’ so did Bush, and Sarah Palin, and even Hillary had them. But with Obama, it was the phenomenon — less about him and more about the effect he had on other people and the way he changed their behavior. So that’s the way I wrote him.”

Huh. I betcha I could name nearly a dozen conservative writers (and perhaps even a few left-of-center) who have zinged Obama with some of the more hilarious and, at the same time, biting commentary. Certainly they may have been willing to serve as consultants.

Anyhow, Smith continued.

Got that? The charter Choom Ganger, confessed eater of dog and snorter of coke. The doofus who thinks the language spoken by Austrians is “Austrian,” that you pronounce the p in “corpsman” and that ATMs are the reason why job growth is sluggish. The egomaniac who gave the queen of England an iPod loaded with his own speeches and said he was better at everything than the people who work for him. The empty suit with so little real-world knowledge that he referred to his brief stint working for an ordinary profit-seeking company as time “behind enemy lines.” The phony who tells everyone he’s from Chicago, though he didn’t live there until his 20s, and lets you know that he’s talking to people he believes to be stupid by droppin’ his g’s. The world-saving Kal-El from a distant solar system who told us he’d heal the planet and cause the oceans to stop rising. The guy who shared a middle name with one of the most hated dictators on earth.

Nope, nothing there to mock. No way to get a grip on this polished, oiled obsidian.

I guess all it took for SNL to be inspired was Obama usurping the framework of our country (i.e. The U.S. Constitution) after declaring twice under oath to uphold said tenets.

When you've lost Saturday Night Live........

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Everybody here's a number, not a name; But I guess that's all right with me.....

The last broadcast before Thanksgiving, so let's just say I'm thankful to be broadcasting on another Sunday afternoon. Today's edition of The Closer will be on from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time. 

At 1:30, political wonk Matt Mackowiak will be on to discuss President Obama's unilateral action on immigration reform as well as the latest on the legal saga of Texas governor Rick Perry. 

Then at 2:15, great basketball mind Mike McCollow will join me to chat about yet another seemingly lost season for our Minnesota Timberwolves as well as the beginning of the college basketball season. 

In the non-guest segments, I will talk about the Adrian Peterson suspension handed down by the NFL as well as happenings on the local political scene. 


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.....

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Football Trivia: A donnybrook

When 1500 ESPN's Thursday Night football trivia got started at about 6:30, I was thriving in what was then a representative republic. But as the evening progressed, I found myself living under a monarchy. Nevertheless, I was determined to not let that infringe upon my fun at this week's venue, which was Blainbrook Entertainment Center in Blaine.

I aced the opening round written quiz, which earned me a #1 seed and a first round bye in the bracketed tournament.

First up for me in the head-to-head competition was a guy who boldly called himself "Maximum Steel."

As usual, this is a "Family Feud" style tourney where one has to buzz in for an opportunity to answer first. This is a best 2 of 3.

Question one; Which NFL team has scored 50+ points in each of the past two weeks?

Brad (buzzing in first): Green Bay Packers. Correct. 

1-0, Brad.

Question two: We're going to name three active/retired NFL players and you tell us which one does not have an accredited movie role, per the IMDb

Dan Marino, Philip Rivers and Jim Brown. 

MS (barely buzzing in ahead of me): Philip Rivers. Correct. 

1-1 tie.

To decide the winner this round, MCs Phil and Judd chose to employ the "closest to the pin" game. The guys ask a question which has a numerical answer and the contestant who answers closest to the actual number wins the point. We had 30 seconds to jot down our respective answers on a piece of paper. 

Question three: In the 1967 NFC Championship game (most famously referred to as the "Ice Bowl") pitting the Dallas Cowboys at the Green Bay Packers, the game was one of the coldest on record. What was the average wind chill temperature throughout that game?

Brad: -35
MS: -21

The correct answer is.......

.......-48. 

Brad wins, 2-1!

I was on to the semifinal round taking on a trio who called themselves "Dumb A**es." However, these guys were good, as they dispatched their first two opponents with relative ease. Well, let me clarify. Two of the three teammates were sharp. The third guy was a 60-something biker dude who appeared to have been drinking since Noon. 

Anyhow, the final four is also a best 2 of 3, but the questions are in category format, meaning there are multiple answers. This year has an interesting twist. The rule now is if each player gets one correct answer, it moves to sudden death. That means the first person to give a wrong answer loses the point. 

Question one: In Minnesota Gophers football history, 6 running backs rushed for at least 3,000 yards in their collegiate careers. Name them. 

Brad (buzzing in first): Laurence Maroney. Correct. 
D.A.s: Darrell Thompson. Correct. 
Brad: Marion Barber III. Correct. 
D.A.s: Bronko Nagurski. Incorrect. 

1-0. Brad

The next game was relatively new, entitled "Give us their nickname." Phil and Judd had a list of 7 Division I college football teams. Upon giving us the name, the first person to buzz in gets a chance to answer. The two opponents then alternate back and forth until someone is wrong or we run the table. 

The University of Arkansas. 

Brad (buzzing in first): Razorbacks. Correct. 


Virginia Tech. 

D.A.s: Hokies. Correct. 


Boise St. 

Brad: Broncos. Correct. 


Temple. 

D.A.s: Owls. Correct. 


Washington St. 

Brad: Cougars. Correct. 


UMass. 

D.A.s: Minutemen. Correct. 


Bowling Green (to decide the point). 

Brad (thinking, thinking, thinking; using all 30 seconds): Eagles? Incorrect. I was in the neighborhood, as it was the Falcons. No credit for merely being in the ornithological kingdom. 

1-1 tie. 

The deciding point would be determined by how well we knew our college football bowl games. Phil and Judd would name a corporate sponsor and we had to answer true or false if they sponsored a bowl game last year. Once again, the guys had a list of 7 in order to be certain a point is awarded if we run the table.

Vizio.

Brad (buzzing in first): True. Correct. 


American Express. 

D.A.s: False. Correct. 


Chick-Fil-A. 

Brad (I know they did in the past. But last year? Seems to me they got out of the CFB bowl biz). False. Incorrect. It used to be the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl but last year it was just the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. 

D.A.s win 2-1. 

The D.A.s would go on to the final round to take on 21-time champion Brendan Byrne. And as has been trend this trivia season, the team/individual that can defeat me goes on to win it all. Yes, the Dumb A**es were football trivia champions this night. 

The venue in two weeks will be at Beer Belly's in my neighboring suburb of Anoka. Perhaps I can take advantage of having "home field?" We'll see. 

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Welcome to our monarchy

Without ever having to have his name appear on a ballot again, President Barack Obama really is risking nothing politically with his Executive Order to halt deportations of some 4.7 million illegal aliens.

The question now is what kind of tone will Congressional Republicans use in responding? It's quite clear Obama cares little about the Constitution, Separation of Powers, etc., so it'll be interesting to see how the GOP approaches this. It's possible that Obama is taking this action in the hope that House Republicans, who last year did not bring up for a vote a Senate passed immigration bill, will scramble to the the table and cobble together some immigration reform legislation. It has also been suggested that this decree is a smokescreen to distract from what is sure to be the Obama administration's appeasement of Iran regarding its nuclear program.

Various members of Congress and public officials have weighed in on Obama's mandate, but one quote which caught my eye came from Hillary Clinton (emphasis mine).

"Our disagreements on this important issue may grow heated at times, but I am confident that people of good will and good faith can yet find common ground. We should never forget that we're not discussing abstract statistics ­ we're talking about real families with real experiences. We're talking about parents lying awake at night afraid of a knock on the door that could tear their families apart, people who love this country, work hard, and want nothing more than a chance to contribute to the community and build better lives for themselves and their children."

Say, wasn't Hillary married to a certain someone who was leader of the free world when this happened:



I digress.

The one serendipity for the President is he can now take a break from having to refute statements made by Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber. So he's got that going for him.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hung out to dry

Ahead of next month's runoff election, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) was making one last ditch effort to save her political career. 

To prove she has some significant clout in the the U.S. Senate, Landrieu needed to persuade 14 other Democrat senators to approve a measure to construct the Keystone XL oil pipeline. As of Monday, Sen. Landrieu had commitments from all 45 GOP Senators as well as 14 Democrats (herself included). That means she was one vote shy, but expressed confidence that number 60 would emerge Tuesday evening when the legislation came up for a vote. 

Alas, it didn't happen

The U.S. Senate defeated a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, delivering a blow to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., by members of her own party.

"I came here 18 years ago fighting to get here, fighting to stay here,'' Landrieu told reporters after the vote, "And I'm going to fight for the people of my state until the day that I leave. I hope that will not be soon.''

Unless Sen. Landrieu doesn't consider January 2015 as "soon" then she's good.

The bill failed to overcome a 60-vote threshold for passage by a narrow 59-41 decision. All 45 Republican senators voted for it, but Landrieu could not clinch the necessary last Democratic vote.

Not surprisingly, our Minnesota senators couldn't be counted on to perhaps throw Landrieu a life line. Heck, even Gov. Mark Dayton conceded that a project similar to Keystone XL would be helpful in alleviating heavy railroad traffic. I wonder if he made any attempts to reach out to Sens. Klobuchar and Franken.  Not that it would have mattered.

Anyhow, this pretty much seems to have sealed Landrieu's fate in next month's runoff election. As if that wasn't enough salt in the wound, the bill she was attempting to get passed was sponsored in the U.S. House by Rep. Bill Cassidy, who is her opponent in said runoff.

After the legislation failed, WV Sen. Joe Manchin, perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, posed a question.





Over/Under on the number of days until Manchin makes a party switch? 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

AP gone.

After bungling the Ray Rice domestic abuse case, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was under a lot of scrunity regarding the Adrian Peterson child endangerment saga.

This morning, Goodell lowered the boom.

Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was notified Tuesday morning that he has been suspended without pay for at least the remainder of the 2014 season by the NFL.

He has three days to appeal, per the most recent collective bargaining agreement. Peterson won't wait that long, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Peterson will remain on the 'Commisioner's/exempt' list during his appeal process and will be paid, per the NFL.

It's hard to imagine that Peterson will get anywhere in the appeals process, given that the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association affords the Commissioner the latitude to mete out punishment as he sees fit.

There's been myriad reactions to Goodell's decision, including the rationale that Peterson would not have received as harsh a penalty had the Rice incident never occurred. I don't know if I buy that, but it's impossible to say it wasn't a factor. Regardless, Goodell laid out some very specific reasons as to how he arrived at his decision.

"First, the injury was inflicted on a child who was only four years old. The difference in size and strength between you and this child is significant, and your actions clearly caused physical injury...Second, the repetitive use of a switch in this instance is the functional equivalent of a weapon, particularly in the hands of someone with the strength of an accomplished professional athlete...Third, you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct..."

If the suspension stands, Peterson will be eligible to apply for reinstatement April 15. Goodell laid out conditions for that as well.

"The timing of your potential reinstatement will be based on the results of the counseling and treatment program set forth in this decision. Under this two-step approach, the precise length of the suspension will depend on your actions. We are prepared to put in place a program that can help you to succeed, but no program can succeed without your genuine and continuing engagement. You must commit yourself to your counseling and rehabilitative effort, properly care for your children, and have no further violations of law or league policy."

If indeed Peterson is reinstated upon his being eligible to apply in five months, his punishment will have amounted to six games without pay and league mandated counseling. That is similar to what Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger received at the beginning of the 2010 season upon being accused of sexual assault (he was never officially charged). So if people want to say that Peterson's punishment is too harsh and a mere overreaction in light of the NFL's ineptitude in the Rice saga, I would argue that it's not unprecedented either. That, and Peterson actually admitted to whipping his son and subsequently plead guilty to a crime (albeit a lesser charge than what was initially brought against him).

The question now is what is Peterson's future with my favorite NFL team? He is still under contract for the next three seasons but at an exorbitant amount of money (in the neighborhood of $17 million per season). It was pretty much a forgone conclusion that Vikings were going to ask Peterson to restructure his contract prior to the 2015 season to allow for some salary cap relief. Now the Vikings have all the leverage if indeed they are open to keeping Peterson, assuming he's reinstated next spring. What is most likely to happen is the Vikings brass will choose to release Peterson (provided there are no trade offers) and absorb a relatively paltry $2.4 million cap hit in 2015. If I had to predict, I say Peterson then ends up with the Seattle Seahawks next year since it's rumored they are looking to part ways with current RB Marshawn Lynch.

I guess it has yet to hit me that perhaps the NFL's best running back is no longer going to be part of my favorite NFL team. But that's secondary to the sentiment that I feel now which is hopefulness that Peterson can one day be the upstanding citizen his children need.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

We can't have nice things

Yes, winter in Minnesota has apparently arrived in full force with the significant snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures......and it's not even Thanksgiving. 

Another depressing Minnesota trend (specifically in the Twin Cities region) is the dreadful sports performances. Beginning this past Friday evening, there would be nine weekend games featuring NCAA Division I (Gophers' men's basketball, men's hockey and football) and professional (Wild, Timberwolves and Vikings) sports.

As the weekend was wrapping up Sunday evening, the local sports guys mustered a paltry 2-7 record. Only the Wild emerged victorious, thanks to eking a pair of one-goal wins. 

For a Minnesota sports fan, April can't come fast enough given that it'll be springtime and NHL playoff season. 

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Oh somewhere up in your loft, MTV with the sound off......

It's cold Minnesota days like this when I'm grateful that I'm in the Patriot bunker near the Earth's core. Be sure to tune in to this week's edition of The Closer from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time.

In the first hour, I'll look back on some big political news stories from this past week, including multiple videos of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber accidentally telling the truth about the ACA. I also want to throw in my two cents about how some Ph.D. believed black Congresswoman-elect Mia Love (R-Utah) benefited from "white privilege."

In the second hour, I will be joined by my friend/political commentator/Crystal City Councilor-elect Jeff Kolb. We'll discuss the continued post mortem of the MNGOP being unable to capitalize on national Republican waves as well as Jeff's blue city of Crystal now being under right-of-center governance.


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, November 14, 2014

Football Trivia: Say "Uncle."

I was back last evening for another swing at 1500 ESPN Thursday football trivia, with the locale being Uncle Buck's in downtown Minneapolis. Since this place is merely 1 block from Target Center, there were throngs of Garth Brooks fans killing a little time before his 7:30 concert. By about the time the trivia contest got rolling at 8:30, there may have been 20-25 people remaining in the entire bar.

Anyhow, seven teams chose to participate. I once again excelled in the opening written "quiz," which earned me a #2 seed.

In the quarterfinals I took on a team that called themselves the "Destroyers."

As usual, this is a "Family Feud" style tourney where one has to buzz in for an opportunity to answer first. This is a best 2 of 3.

The opening question took an interesting turn, as MCs Phil and Judd attempted to mix things up. In this instance, they would name three NFL running backs and we had to answer which of the three does not hold a significant college football record. If one buzzes in first but gets it wrong, the opponent gets the point. 

Question one: Barry Sanders, Arian Foster and Danny Woodhead. 

Destroyers (about 5 seconds elapsed before he took a chance on buzzing in): Arian Foster. Correct. 

FYI, Woodhead is the NCAA Division II all time rushing leader while Sanders hold the Division I single season rushing record. 

1-0, Destroyers. 

Question two: Name the NFL team who drafted QB Eli Manning with the 2004 #1 overall pick. 

Brad (buzzing in first): San Diego Chargers. Correct. 

1-1 tie.  

Next was the "closest to the pin" contest, where the contestant who comes closest to the correct numerical answer gets the point. Each jots an answer down on a piece of paper. 

Question three for the win: In his two seasons at Marshall, WR Randy Moss had how many TD receptions?

Destroyers: 95
Brad: 44

The correct answer is 54. Brad wins, 2-1!!

Waiting for me in the semifinals was 20-time champion Brendan Byrne. After winning only once in this season's first 5 weeks, Brendan had won 3 of the previous 5 Thursdays and was poised to go on another run. 

The final four is also a best 2 of 3, but the questions are in category format, meaning there are multiple answers. This year has an interesting twist. The rule now is if each player gets one correct answer, it moves to sudden death. That means the first person to give a wrong answer loses the point. 

Question one: In Minnesota Gophers football history, 7 QBs have passed for at least 15 touchdowns in a season. Name them. 

Brad (buzzing in first): Adam Weber. Correct. 
Brendan: Bryan Cupito. Correct. 
Brad: Cory Sauter. Correct. 
Brendan: Asad Abdul-Khaliq. Correct. 
Brad: Mike Hohensee. Correct. 
Brendan: Rickey Foggie. Incorrect. 

Brad leads 1-0. 

Next question would be a new contest they like to call "Fact or Crap." The MCs had seven statements which we had to determine were either factual or "full of crap." The person who buzzes in first has the advantage because if we run the table, the one quicker with the trigger finger would obviously prevail since the contestants alternate after the first statement. 

First statement: After his senior season of high school, Randy Moss initially signed to play college football at Notre Dame. 

Brendan (seemingly pressed his buzzer at the same time as me but was literally a split second faster): Fact. Correct. 

Statement #2: Before beginning his career at ESPN, Chris Berman was a play-by-play announcer in the English Premier League.  

Brad: Crap. Correct. 

Statement #3: Former NFL running back Ricky Williams is a certified yoga instructor. 

Brendan: Fact. Correct. 

Statement #4: Despite being the NFL's all time leader in TD receptions, Jerry Rice never led the NFL in touchdown catches in a single season. 

Brad: Crap. Correct. 

Statement #5: Talk show host Maury Povich was drafted in 1978 by the Oakland Raiders but a knee injury prevented him from ever playing a game in the NFL. 

Brendan: Crap. Correct. 

Statement #6: Dennis Green has coached in more NFL playoff games than has Mike Tomlin. 

Brad: Fact. Correct. 

Statement #7 (If Brendan gets it right, he gets the point. If he's wrong, I win): Actor Ashton Kutcher is a minority owner with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Brendan: Crap. Correct. 

1-1 tie. 

Question three to determine who moves on to the finals: After the 1969 season, the American Football League merged with the National Football League. As a result, there were 10 new teams in the NFL. Name them. 

Brad (buzzing in first): Oakland Raiders. Correct.
Brendan: Buffalo Bills. Correct. 
Brad: Kansas City Chiefs. Correct.
Brendan: San Diego Chargers. Correct
Brad: Denver Broncos. Correct. 
Brendan: New York Jets. Correct
Brad (thinking, thinking, thinking): Baltimore Colts (D'OH!!!! For the second straight week, I realized I gave an incorrect answer the millisecond I verbalized it. I tried in vain to grab my words as they floated into the air). Incorrect. 

Brendan wins, 2-1. 

And has been the pattern this season, whomever has defeated me ends up winning the championship. On this evening, Brendan won his 21st all time championship by defeating the Jermichael$, another football trivia stalwart, in a hard fought 3-2 decision.

I guess we're up in Blaine next week. Finally, we're getting closer to my neck of the woods!!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Groupthink or don't think.

rac·ism
ˈrāˌsizəm/
noun
  1. the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
    • prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.




With that in mind, I point you to a Huffington Post piece authored by Darron T. Smith, Ph.D, who happens to be black.

The post is entitled She Looks Black, but Her Politics Are Red: What Mia Love's Victory Means for the Face of the GOP.

Love also happens to be the first black female Republican elected to Congress.

Anyhow, An excerpt from Smith's post:

(F)or most African Americans, it appears counterintuitive that someone black, female and Mormon could possibly endorse the GOP given its history of anti-Black, anti-feminist and anti-Mormon sentiment. Whether this is due to her (Latter Day Saints) faith and the apparent Stockholm syndrome of black Mormons (in the past, the LDS church perpetuated racist folklore to justify the marginalization of black people) or due to her racial consciousness, this may not be so preposterous when we recognize that American politics is a deeply partisan and fractured system, in the business of servicing big corporations, wherein Americans are duped into voting their values even when they contradict their success as a social group. Black Americans are the only racial group that votes in a bloc and, arguably, the only group to vote their political interests. But Mia Love, viewing herself and others through the prism of individualism, strays from the political stances that would benefit the black community as a whole, which is why a political figure like her is so compelling.

If you're not averse to banging your head on your desk, then by all means read the whole thing.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

RIP, O.T.

I was saddened to hear of the death of former Minnesota Vikings safety Orlando Thomas, who passed away Sunday evening due to complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (aka Lou Gehrig's disease). He was only 42-years old.

Thomas played his entire seven year NFL career with my favorite NFL squad. When then Vikings' coach Dennis Green was fired with one game remaining in the 2001 season, I recall Thomas taking the news harder than any of his teammates. As fate would have it, Thomas would not play another game after the '01 season. By that point he had been so beset with injuries that his play on the field had severely diminished.

I recall the Vikes' second-to-last game of the 2001 season. It took place in Lambeau Field, and there was a play in particular where the Green Bay Packers ran an end around. On the play, QB Brett Favre ran ahead of the ball carrier in an effort to put a block on the defender. Thomas happened to be the defender in his way. As Favre went low to make the block, Thomas literally collapsed to the ground before being hit. It was almost as if the hard-nosed safety wanted no part of any contact. Later in that game, I made the comment that Thomas appeared to be trying to make tackles without actually making contact. Such had become the state of the Vikings' defense (the unit was virtually ignored in the late '90s, early 2000s in favor of stockpiling an explosive offense) in that they were trotting out a player with a surgically repaired knee and two bum shoulders. I can't imagine a more depressing scenario for a pro football player when the mind and heart are willing but the body is woefully incapable. Sadly, that description can also be applied to ALS.

Green and Thomas remained close after both left Minnesota. In fact. Green offered Thomas a job as an assistant coach when he was hired as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2004. Sadly, it was shortly thereafter that Thomas started exhibiting symptoms of ALS and was officially diagnosed with the disease in 2007. Thomas's condition became so dire that in 2009 there was a report erroneously announcing his death.

From everything I've heard from those close to O.T., he never lost that indomitable spirit and kept fighting until the end.

But still, 42-years old? Too dang young.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Stupid is as stupid does

One of the more infamous quotes that emerged during the crafting of Obamacare came from then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in early 2010.

"We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it."

San Fran Nan's gaffe may now be overshadowed by revelations of brutal honesty conveyed by Jonathan Gruber, the Affordable Care Act's architect, a little more than a year ago.

“Mark [Pauly] made a couple of comments that I do want to take issue with, one about transparency in financing and the other is about moving from community rating to risk-rated subsidies. You can’t do it politically. You just literally cannot do it, okay, transparent financing…and also transparent spending.” Gruber said. “In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in—you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed, okay. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass…Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

The ol' "end justifies the means" rationale.

Notice the overarching theme, which is these intellectuals know what's better for you than you do, thus you can't be trusted to make the right decision. But lest we forget, voters were burning up the phone lines to Capitol Hill 4-1/2 years ago in an effort to persuade their senators and representatives from supporting this legislation. Heck, the state of Massachusetts even voted in a Republican in January 2010 to fill the Senate seat of the late Ted Kennedy (a top visionary for healthcare reform) an effort to throw up a proverbial roadblock.

Mr. Gruber can cite the voters as being "stupid" all he wants, but those who were most duped appear to have been the leftist water carriers in the Mainstream Media as well as the Congressional Budget Office.

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Sunday, November 09, 2014

Someone told me long ago there's a calm before the storm......

It's the first weekend after the midterm elections, so it'll be fun to take a quick look back on this afternoon's edition of The Closer. I will be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 pm Central Time. 

Since the Northern Alliance Radio Network conducted a full 4-hour broadcast during the election returns Tuesday and Mitch had a great analysis yesterday, there's little more for me to say. Like I said, I'll take a quick look back with my own perspective and then move on to other topics. 

At 1:15, I am honored to welcome to the program Joy Eggerichs, who is the founder of Love and Respect (Now), a ministry which addresses relationships in this generation. My wife and I attended a Love and Respect conference put on by Joy's parents 8-1/2 years ago. Since it was such a blessing to our marriage, I was thrilled to learn a similar venue is available for today's generation. 

Then at 2:00, I welcome back to the program reigning Miss Minnesota Savannah Cole. 




We'll chat with Savannah about her incredible experience at the Miss America pageant two months ago as well as discuss her reign as Miss Minnesota thus far. 


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.....

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Thursday, November 06, 2014

Football Trivia: Louie, Louie. Oh no....

After a one week hiatus, I was back for 1500 ESPN's Thursday Football Trivia. The venue this week was at Big Louie's in Crystal.

There were 13 participants this week, of which I earned a #3 seed and a first round bye after the opening written quiz.

In the quarterfinals I took on a gentleman named Rex.

As usual, this is a "Family Feud" style tourney where one has to buzz in for an opportunity to answer first. This is a best 2 of 3.

Question one: Which former Vikings' center is currently being considered for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Rex (barely buzzing in ahead of me): Mick Tingelhoff. Correct. 

1-0, Rex

Question two: The Vikings had two first round choices in the 1999 NFL draft. Which of the two players they drafted in that round was selected first?

Brad (buzzing in first): Daunte Culpepper. Correct. 

Question three: When the Vikings traded Randy Moss after the 2004 season, they received some draft picks and a linebacker from the Oakland Raiders. Name that linebacker. 

Brad (buzzing in first): Napoleon Harris. Correct. 

Brad wins, 2-1!

On to the semifinals where I took on a guy who called himself "Birdtown." 

The final four is also a best 2 of 3, but the questions are in category format, meaning there are multiple answers. This year has an interesting twist. The rule now is if each player gets one correct answer, it moves to sudden death. That means the first person to give a wrong answer loses the point. 

Question one: In 2001, WWE owner Vince McMahon started a professional football league.....

Birdtown (quick with the trigger finger): XFL. 

........called the XFL. Name one of 8 cities which had a franchise. XFL is obviously incorrect. 

Brad: Las Vegas. Correct.

Brad leads, 1-0. 

Question two: In Vikings franchise history, they have beaten 13 different teams at least 10 times in the regular season. Name them. 

Brad (buzzing in first): Detroit Lions. Correct.
Birdtown: Chicago Bears. Correct. 
Brad: Green Bay Packers. Correct.
Birdtown: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Correct. 
Brad: LA/St Louis Rams. Correct.
Birdtown: Dallas Cowboys. Correct. 
Brad: Washington Redskins. Incorrect.
1-1 tie. 

Question three: We will name seven different NFL mascots. Whomever buzzes in first will have a chance to answer and then we'll alternate until someone gets one wrong or all 7 are named. 

Boltman
Brad (buzzes in first): San Diego Chargers. Correct. 

Gumbo
Birdtown (someone shouts the answer from the audience): New Orleans Saints. Correct. 

Rampage
Brad: St Louis Rams. Correct. 

Who Dey
Birdtown (no guess).

And I am on to the finals with a 2-1 win!!!!

In the championship round, I faced a duo that called themselves "Haymakers."

The finals are the same categorical, sudden-death format for each question, though it's now a best 3 out of 5. 

Question one: The Minnesota Gophers football team has had seven different QBs throw for at least 4,000 career yards. Name them.

Brad (buzzing in first): Adam Weber. Correct.
Haymakers: Bryan Cupito. Correct. 
Brad: Cory Sauter. Correct.
Haymakers: Rickey Foggie. Correct
Brad: Mike Hohensee. Correct. 
Haymakers: Asad Abdul-Khaliq. Correct
Brad: Tony Dungy. Incorrect (Dungy threw for 3,515; Correct answer was Marquel Fleetwood). 

1-0. Haymakers. 

Question two: This game is called "Fact or Crap." We'll read off a piece of trivia and you tell us whether it's "fact" or "crap."

Former NFL WR Terrell Owens once wrote a children's book.

Brad (buzzing in first): Crap. Incorrect (Amazingly, that is a fact). 

Hall of Fame QB Steve Young attended college at Brigham Young University. Brigham Young, obviously the gentleman for whom the school is named, is the great-great-great grandfather of Steve Young. 

Haymakers: Fact. Correct. 

2-0, Haymakers. 

Question three: This will require a paper and pen, and you have 30 seconds to answer. The number closest to the correct answer wins.

NFL head coach Bill Belichick has won  how many career postseason games?

Brad: 20.
Haymakers: 29.

The correct answer is.....

......19. Brad is closest and thus gets the point!

2-1, Haymakers. 

Question four: There are 14 teams in college football's Atlantic Coast Conference. Name them. 

Brad (buzzing in first): Wake Forest. Correct.
Haymakers: Florida State. Correct. 
Brad: North Carolina. Correct.
Haymakers: Georgia Tech. Correct
Brad: North Carolina St. Correct. 
Haymakers: Clemson. Correct
Brad: Boston College. Correct
Haymakers: Duke. Correct.
Brad: Virginia. Correct.
Haymakers: Virginia Tech. Correct. 
Brad (thinking, thinking, thinking): Maryland (D'OH!!!! The millisecond that left my lips, it occurred to me that they are now in my favorite football conference, which is the Big Ten). Incorrect. 

Haymakers win the championship this week, 3-1. 

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Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Media alert

I will be on On The Way with Paul Ridgeway starting at 4:00 this afternoon on Twin Cities station AM 980 KKMS. Paul and I will spend the first hour recapping Election Day in Minnesota as well as across the country.

You can listen live on AM 980 on your radio dial or online via the KKMS web site (click here). You can also listen via iheart radio (click here).

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Election Night bullet points

First off, let me say how much fun it was doing an election night broadcast! It was a genuine honor and pleasure broadcasting four full hours alongside Mitch Berg and Ed Morrissey. It's a political geek's dream to be able to pore over election results that come in and then analyze the trends emerging. I even put together Excel spreadsheets to compile results for the US Senate and MN House contests as the races were called.

Anyhow, a few thoughts:

- My predictions of the MN races, US Senate contests and WI gubernatorial race came pretty close. I was wrong in the race for MN Secretary of State and Congressional District 8. I predicted narrow wins for Republicans Dan Severson and Stewart Mills, respectively, but both were defeated by those same narrow margins.

I also said the GOP would have a net gain of 8 seats in the US Senate. However, when it's all said and done, the final margin will be +9 once Bill Cassidy defeats incumbent Mary Landrieu in Lousiana's December runoff election. The only race where I erred was Kansas, where I thought incumbent Republican Pat Roberts would lose to Indy candidate Greg Orman (Roberts won handily). Needless to say, I'm quite ecstatic to have been wrong on that one.

- Despite two huge country-wide Republican waves in the past three election cycles, Minnesota continues to buck the trend by electing a Democrat to the US Senate as well as the governor's office. Heck, even Illinois and Maryland (Maryland!) elected GOP governors. So why does my state continue to be firmly entrenched in the cesspool of liberalism? Too much to get into here, but it's worth a lengthy blog post some day.

-With Gov. Mark Dayton having been declared the winner literally within five minutes of the polls closing last evening, the focus of MN Republicans was squarely on the MN state House. The GOP needed to flip 7 Democrat seats in order to regain a majority in that chamber.

With a plethora of fantastic metro area GOP candidates like Barb Sutter (W. Bloomington, Edina), Jen Wilson (Eagan), Andrea Todd-Harlin (Eagan, Burnsville), Dario Anselmo (Edina), Peter Crema (Brooklyn Park, Coon Rapids), Ryan Rutzick (Plymouth), Heidi Gunderson (Vadnais Heights, Shoreview) and Stacey Stout (Maplewood, Mahtomedi), it seemed a lock the House would flip. Shockingly, not a single of the aforementioned candidates won (none lost by more than 5 points though). As results of their races came in, I felt my heart sink, believing we would not get the House after all. But then as the night rolled on, my radio colleague Mitch Berg and I started to see a trend in the rural, outstate districts. To our delight, Republicans began to flip seats in those areas, resulting in an 11-seat pickup (I believe Mitch was the first media member to call the MN House for the Republicans)!!

With the next legislative session being a budgeting period, expect a lot of finger wagging by the DFL and their media accomplices about the GOP needing to be reasonable in the face of (surprise!) budget deficits that are already being projected.


- I recall a Newsweek magazine cover in the aftermath of the shellacking endured by Republicans in 2012. At the top was the headline of a David Frum piece entitled "GOP: You're Old, You're White, You're History."

Two years later, the GOP became the first party to elect a southern state black man (Tim Scott, SC) to the US Senate.

The Republicans were also responsible for the first woman from West Virginia (Shelley Moore Capito)  to be elected to the Senate.

Oh, and the youngest women ever to be elected to political office? Yeah, Republicans.

And for the first time ever, the Republican elected a black female to Congress.


All in all, not a bad evening for a racist, misogynistic political party.

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