Friday, February 27, 2015

The perpetual struggle

When a person overcomes addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, the specter of a relapse is always a concern. But when one attempts to maintain that sobriety while in a very public forum, the task is that much more daunting.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton suffered a drug relapse involving the use of cocaine and alcohol in the offseason, according to a New York Daily News report.

Hamilton has a well-documented history of substance abuse problems dating to his days in the minor leagues, when he was suspended from baseball from February 2004 to June 2006, for issues related to cocaine and alcohol addiction.

The Angels confirmed that he met with MLB officials in New York on Wednesday about a disciplinary issue but offered no specifics as to the nature of any offense.

"We're all waiting for some information to come out of New York," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Thursday. "He obviously went up there for a meeting, and we'll see how everything unfolds. But right now, we're just in a holding pattern like everyone else."

I first learned of Josh Hamilton's story in late 2003/early 2004 while reading an article in ESPN The Magazine. Said article contrasted the careers of Hamilton and pitcher Josh Beckett, who were selected first and second overall, respectively, in the 1999 MLB draft.

Beckett had just completed an incredible '03 postseason with the Florida Marlins that culminated in his pitching a five-hit shutout in Yankee Stadium in the World Series clinching victory. On the other end of the spectrum, Hamilton, who had been beset with injuries and drug addiction, had basically disappeared from organized baseball in 2003. He would be suspended from the game shortly thereafter.

When Hamilton made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007, I immediately recalled the story I read regarding his downward spiral. As such, I was heartened that an unquestionably gifted baseball player was able to resume his love of the game. He seemed to find a home in Arlington, TX when he was traded from the Reds to the Rangers prior to the '08 season. In five seasons with Texas, Hamilton went to the All Star Game all five years while averaging 28 home runs and 101 RBIs per season. In 2010, he won the American League MVP award while leading the Rangers to their first World Series appearance in the franchise's nearly forty year history. The Rangers would repeat as AL champs in 2011.

But things seemingly went downhill for Hamilton late in the 2012 season, which would be his final one with Texas. Hamilton slumped mightily down the stretch, a slump which loomed large in the Rangers blowing a six game division lead over the Oakland A's with nine to play. In the final regular season game against the A's, Hamilton dropped what appeared to be a routine fly ball in a tie game. Oakland would go on to win that game and the AL West division, relegating Texas to the wild card game against the Baltimore Orioles. Texas' season would end after that game in which Hamilton was a miserable 0 for 4 (he even heard some boos from the Rangers' faithful).

Two months after signing a 5-year free agent contract with the Angels, Hamilton further alienated himself from Rangers' fans by saying the Dallas-Fort Worth area was "not a true baseball town." On top of that, he was downright pedestrian in his debut season with the Angels as he hit only .250 with 21 HRs and 79 RBIs in 151 games. Then in an injury plagued 2014 campaign, Hamilton played only 89 regular season games and went 0 for 13 in the ALDS where his club was swept by the Kansas City Royals. Upon conclusion of that series, Hamilton dismissed the fans' booing as "comical" and further indicated that the Angels "don’t necessarily play for the people in the stands. We play for each other." I understand all that was said out of frustration, but it's horrible optics from a player making $25 million per season.

Upon joining the Angels in 2013, I'm certain Hamilton felt tremendous pressure to redeem himself after a tumultuous end to his Rangers' career. In addition, he likely wanted to ingratiate himself to Angels' fans upon signing that $125 million deal. The weight of all that would likely wear down a relatively functional human being to say nothing of a person who has the perpetual struggle of keeping drug addiction at bay. Hamilton made a storybook comeback from his initial plummet into drugs and alcohol. Does he have enough in him to find redemption a second time? If his faith in Jesus Christ is still solid, Hamilton of all people should know that all things are possible.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Regarding "Net Neutrality,"....

......Verizon summed it up quite perfectly.

This was spot on as well:

I guess it's a good thing the NetFlix original series House of Cards will be released tomorrow. Once this government power grab is fully implemented, NetFlix will likely not have available to them the significant band width they utilize for their product.

Don't say Mark Cuban didn't warn ya.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

KXL X'ed out.

President Barack Obama vetoed the Keystone XL Pipeline bill Tuesday. No shock there given he's sold out to the environmental lobby.

"The presidential power to veto legislation is one I take seriously," Obama said in his veto message to the Senate. "But I also take seriously my responsibility to the American people. And because this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures and cuts short thorough consideration of issues that could bear on our national interest — including our security, safety, and environment — it has earned my veto."

A couple of reactions:

- It was reported that this was only the third veto of Obama's six-plus years in the White House. While he chides the GOP as "obstructionists," Obama comes off as this grand leader ready and willing to sign passed legislation if those damned Republicans would just get on the stick. But the reality is that Obama was a rubber stamp for a Democrat majority in Congress his first two years in office. Then over the next four years, when the GOP had control of the U.S. House, the Dem majority in the Senate rarely even allowed debate on legislation passed by House Republicans. The point being is that the hyper-partisan President hardly ever saw any Republican drafted legislation thanks to his leftist colleagues in the U.S. Senate.

- I love that whole bit of "this act of Congress conflicts with established executive branch procedures." This from the guy who totally usurped the separation of powers by unilaterally changing established immigration law because Congress wouldn't kowtow to his demands. But now that it's at his whimsy, Obama tries to come off as this constitutional purist in not breaching said separation. Pretty ballsy

While this bill had pretty significant bipartisan support, I find it highly unlikely that Congressional Republicans can conjure up 45 House Democrats (assuming all 245 Republicans vote "yes") and 13 Senate Dems to override the president's veto. Alas.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Quick Hits: Volume CVIII

- Apparently the 87th Annual Academy Awards took place Sunday evening. I did not tune in as I had yet to see any of the movies up for consideration. Truth be told, I don't believe I've watched an entire Oscars broadcast since Jodie Foster won the Best Actress award for The Accused. 

Another reason I refuse to tune in to such self-congratulatory fests is there is inevitably some sort of left wing political demagoguery which ensues from stage. This time it was actress Patricia Arquette (Wait, she was up for an Oscar?!?! Huh. Who knew?) who used her platform for social commentary.

“To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” Arquette said in her speech. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”

This caused the likes of Meryl Streep and JLo to put down their $125,000 gift bags and applaud like barking clapping seals who had just been tossed a morsel of food.

FYI, Patty, there is already a federal law in place mandating that men and women receive equal pay for equal work. Does that mean all employers follow said law? Well, no. I can think of that two high profile instances where that hasn't been the case.

- So this happened 30 years ago Monday:

I recall watching this game live on one on those newer UHF TV stations that came in pretty grainy even after wrapping significant amounts of tinfoil around the rabbit-ear antennas.

Ah, the memories.

- Several Minnesota Vikings officials (whether it be president Mark Wilf, GM Rick Spielman or head coach Mike Zimmer) have gone on record saying that they'd welcome the return of star running back Adrian Peterson for the 2015 NFL season. However, rumors are persisting that Peterson may be looking to have a fresh start elsewhere. That speculation was further fueled after his agent Ben Dogra and Vikings vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski allegedly had a shouting match while in Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine this past week.

With Peterson turning 30 years of age next month combined with the bruising running style he exhibited his first seven seasons in the league, the Vikings may be better off jettisoning him. However, Vikes fans are going to be sorely disappointed to learn that there's no way their favorite team will obtain Percy Harvin-like spoils in an AP trade. Despite the fact Peterson has been the best back in the game since he entered the league in 2007, NFL teams just don't assign a huge priority to a back who gains 1,500+ yards per season. If clubs can find an RB who can run for 1,000-1,200 yards as well as be an adequate pass catcher, that suffices in today's pass happy league. With Peterson scheduled to make $12.75 million (with a salary cap figure of a whopping $15.4 million) next season, I find it difficult to believe the Vikings will receive a lot of suitors.

Expect to hear the Wilfs, Spielman et al to continue to insist they want Peterson back in the fold. With what we've gathered this week, such rhetoric will be little more than a proverbial smoke screen in an effort to draw in other teams to make some sort of trade offer.

As a Vikings fan, I personally am ready to move on from the Peterson era.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

You can say anything you like, but you can't touch the merchandise....

The temperature may not break single digits today so grab a hot beverage and tune in The Closer from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time today.

At 2:00 I'll joined via phone by Miss Minneapolis 2015 Kaitie Borneke. A little more than a month ago, Kaitie succeeded former Northern Alliance Radio Network contributor Julia Schliesing for the title of Miss Minneapolis. We'll discuss Kaitie's pageant history as well as her platform of Communication Disorders Awareness.

Then at 2:30 the program's basketball wonk Mike McCollow will check in. I'll get Mike's thoughts on the Timberwolves recently trading for Kevin Garnett, who was the franchise's face for the first 12 years of his career. We'll also chat some college hoops since March Madness is a mere couple of weeks away.

In the non-guest segments there's a lot of news to discuss, including the results of the MNsure audit, the left's perpetual obsession with Scott Walker and yet another in a litany of VP Joe Biden being a creeper.

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

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

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

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

Until then.....


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

But he's *our* creepy uncle.

Whenever Vice President Joe Biden "misspeaks" or mangles history and the English language, leftist apologists just laugh it off. The reaction is often something along the lines of "Awww, that's just Joe. He's like the goofy ol' uncle we know and love." Guaranteed if a right-of-center political figure erred literally (I'm using that word properly here, unlike the Veep) one-tenth of the occasions as Biden, the mainstream media flogs those verbal blunders mercilessly.

Yes, when it comes to media coverage, it's good to be a Dem.

Another high profile idiosyncrasy of Biden's is his downright creepy behavior toward females, regardless their age (they could be 9 or 90). I still squirm when I see videos of Biden in action during the U.S. Senate swearing-in ceremonies of January 2013......

......and January 2015.

Again, behavior that wouldn't be tolerated from other creepy septuagenarians is met with a proverbial chuckle when it's a Democrat Vice President of the United States.

On Tuesday the Veep was at it again, as reported by the Associated Press.

.....Biden was swearing in new Defense Secretary Ash Carter when he got up close and personal with the wife of the man who now runs the most powerful military in the world.

As Carter began speaking in the Roosevelt Room, Biden beckoned Stephanie Carter from across the room, then put both hands on her shoulders as her husband thanked Biden for presiding over the ceremony. Biden's hands lingered for roughly 20 seconds until he leaned in and whispered in her ear.

What, pray tell, was the vice president confiding in Carter's wife? It's anybody's guess, but within seconds Carter reached back and put his own hand on his wife's shoulder as he thanked his "perfect wife Stephanie" for her support along his professional path.

Both incidents sparked prompt and voluminous reactions on social media, as viewers who caught the events on TV or heard about them later pondered: Just what was Biden thinking?

No stranger to improvisation, Biden over decades has built a brand on his tendency to speak his mind, endearing him to those who crave authenticity from political leaders. Biden's supporters brush off his more jarring moments as "just Biden being Biden."

Biden, who has run for president twice before, has said he's considering running again in 2016.

The fact that Biden is considered even a semi serious POTUS candidate in 2016 is an indictment of today's media. Again, I shouldn't have to point out the obvious in that a veritable s--t storm would have ensued (and rightly so) had Republican VPs like Dick Cheney or George H.W. Bush engaged in such behavior.

For all this talk about the GOP waging a "War on Women," I'm going to be curious how Biden supporters will reconcile his behavior if indeed he makes a run for the White House next year.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Perpetual lunacy

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker may well be a formidable candidate for President in 2016. Having endured thuggish backlash from leftist goons over the past 4+ years (including winning three statewide elections in that time) likely has only emboldened Walker as he seriously considers a run.

Meanwhile, his most outspoken detractors are going to do a lot to ensure that Walker never gains any traction. Hey, that's politics. Bring your views into the arena of ideas and see how they stand up. But a word to the wise. If you think gathering outside Walker's parents' home and regurgitating your vacuous slogans is going to be a resonating message, you're doing it wrong.

That is all.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Don't say a word, I know just what I heard.....

Happy Valentine's weekend! We here at the Northern Alliance Radio Network rarely take off actual holidays, much less fake ones. As such, I will be on the air today for another edition of The Closer from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

Right at 1:00, MN state senator Michelle Benson will be checking in. Sen. Benson, who has been one of the leading GOP voices looking to overhaul the state health exchange MNSure, will discuss the latest ideas for reform. I'll also get Sen. Benson's perspective on the legislation to delay Gov.  Dayton's plans to give his Cabinet members exorbitant salary increases.

In the non guest segments, I'll weigh in on the suspension of NBC News anchor Brian Williams as well as the announcement that "funnyman" Jon Stewart will be leaving his post at The Daily Show. Aside from that, I'll have to wing it.

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

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

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

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

Until then.....


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Circular firing squads: DFL style

When I heard what was going on in St. Paul Thursday, I was all like......

Gov. Mark Dayton erupted in anger Thursday in a dispute with the DFL Senate leader over a weeks-long controversy surrounding pay raises the governor gave to his cabinet.

"To have a majority leader of the Senate come in and stab me in the back and blindside me is absolutely unacceptable," Dayton said.

Dayton's ire came after Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk led the Senate in voting to suspend the salary increases for state commissioners. All but two members of the DFL-controlled Senate voted with Bakk in favor of the proposal.

The friction between the Capitol's two most powerful DFLers threatens to cast a cloud over the rest of the 2015 legislative session. The two have tussled before, but Dayton indicated Thursday that their relations now were beyond repair.

It's easy for Dayton to be indignant given the fact he will not have to face voters again. But the DFL majority in the Senate is up for reelection next year, so they likely knew how conceding government employees exorbitant salary increases could be a potential wedge issue for the Republicans in their attempts to win back the Senate majority.

Gov. Dayton's petulance continued.

Dayton said Bakk, a former ally, has proved himself untrustworthy because he brought forth the salary smackdown without any warning.

"I'm confronted with two hostile bodies of the Legislature, one with a leader I believe I can trust (Republican House Speaker Kurt Daudt) and one I know I can't trust," Dayton said.

"I certainly learned a brutal lesson today that I can't trust (Bakk.) I can't believe what he says to me and connives behind my back."

That's rich. Dayton essentially called Bakk a liar last year when the Senate Majority Leader insisted he wasn't holding up a tax relief bill in response to the House's delay in finalizing plans for the new Senate Office Building. I'm not saying that incident was a factor in Bakk bringing forth a measure to block the cabinet's pay raises, but it certainly removed any partisan consideration where Dayton was concerned.

For a guy who once vetoed a bill that would have made recreational fireworks legal in Minnesota, Gov. Dayton seems to have an innate ability to create enough of his own.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

February 11, 1990: Dominance destroyed

"Let's go ahead and call it. The biggest upset in the history of heavyweight championship fights!"
-Jim Lampley, announcer of the James "Buster" Douglas - Mike Tyson match on 2/11/1990

Exactly 25 years later, that sentiment still rings true.

Despite all the chaos that surrounded boxer Mike Tyson in the late 1980s (destructive marriage to actress Robin Givens, the passing of mentors Cus D'Amato and Jimmy Jacobs, business management upheaval, etc.), he was nearly invincible when he stepped into the ring. Going into the February 1990 fight against James "Buster" Douglas, Tyson sported a 37-0 record with 33 KOs! Given he was only 23-years old, it seemed inevitable that he would shatter the undefeated record of legendary heavyweight Rocky Marciano, who finished his career at 49-0. 

Having fired long time trainer Kevin Rooney just prior to the match with Douglas, Tyson started to become lax in the one area in his life he could control: his boxing career. Tyson was not in great shape for this match against Douglas. And when Tyson suffered an eye injury in the fight, his new training staff (comprised of his wayward buddies) was so inept that the ice melted in the ice bag used to decrease swelling. Seriously, it looked as though these dudes were holding a giant prophylactic against Tyson's forehead (see the clip here).

Once Tyson was defeated by Douglas, the air of invincibility was gone. Even though he would go on to win his next four fights, Tyson would up spending a few years in an Indiana penitentiary for sexual assault. Upon his release from prison in 1995, Tyson resumed his boxing career by prevailing in his next four matches, with the last two earning him the WBC and WBA Heavyweight Titles, respectively. He then ran into Evander Holyfield in November 1996, losing the WBA title via TKO. Seven months later, he was disqualified in round three of the rematch after the infamous biting of Holyfield's ear. From that point on, Tyson's full evolution to carnival act was complete. But there's no question that the downward spiral of his boxing career began in Tokyo, Japan 25 years ago tonight.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Quick Hits: Volume CVII

- The scrutiny over NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams' 10+ years of fabricating a story about his experience covering the Iraq invasion hasn't gone away. It has only been one full week since Williams admitted he indeed was not on a helicopter that was hit by a grenade yet social media is still blowing up in conversation over this topic.

As such, NBCUniversal was left with little recourse.

From: "Deborah Turness (NBCUniversal)"
Date: Tue, Feb 10, 2015 at 4:48 PM -0800
Subject: Brian Williams
To: "@NBC Uni NBC News All"


We have decided today to suspend Brian Williams as Managing Editor and Anchor of NBC Nightly News for six months. The suspension will be without pay and is effective immediately. We let Brian know of our decision earlier today. Lester Holt will continue to substitute Anchor the NBC Nightly News.

Our review, which is being led by Richard Esposito working closely with NBCUniversal General Counsel Kim Harris, is ongoing, but I think it is important to take you through our thought process in coming to this decision.

While on Nightly News on Friday, January 30, 2015, Brian misrepresented events which occurred while he was covering the Iraq War in 2003. It then became clear that on other occasions Brian had done the same while telling that story in other venues. This was wrong and completely inappropriate for someone in Brian’s position.

In addition, we have concerns about comments that occurred outside NBC News while Brian was talking about his experiences in the field.

As Managing Editor and Anchor of Nightly News, Brian has a responsibility to be truthful and to uphold the high standards of the news division at all times.

Steve Burke, Pat Fili and I came to this decision together. We felt it would have been wrong to disregard the good work Brian has done and the special relationship he has forged with our viewers over 22 years. Millions of Americans have turned to him every day, and he has been an important and well-respected part of our organization.

As I’m sure you understand, this was a very hard decision. Certainly there will be those who disagree. But we believe this suspension is the appropriate and proportionate action.

This has been a difficult time. But NBC News is bigger than this moment. You work so hard and dedicate yourselves each and every day to the important work of bringing trusted, credible news to our audience. Because of you, your loyalty, your dedication, NBC News is an organization we can – and should - all be proud of. We will get through this together.

Steve Burke asked me to share the following message.

“This has been a painful period for all concerned and we appreciate your patience while we gathered the available facts. By his actions, Brian has jeopardized the trust millions of Americans place in NBC News. His actions are inexcusable and this suspension is severe and appropriate. Brian’s life’s work is delivering the news. I know Brian loves his country, NBC News and his colleagues. He deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him. Brian has shared his deep remorse with me and he is committed to winning back everyone’s trust.”


Does anybody find it odd that Williams wasn't just fired? Personally, I'm not surprised he wasn't canned. Why? Speculation abounded that NBC execs had known for quite some time that Williams had a tendency to exaggerate his biography. So firing Williams for something they allegedly enabled (which likely aided NBC Nightly News's solid ratings) probably felt somewhat unethical to them (assuming the suits are capable of feeling any shame). I still find it hard to believe that Williams ever appears on NBC News again. Time will tell.

- Speaking of fake news......

Jon Stewart, whose wit defined "The Daily Show" for more than 15 years, will sign off the iconic Comedy Central program later this year, the cable channel said on Tuesday.

Stewart is expected to speak about his decision to step down on Tuesday night's program, which he is taping on Tuesday evening.

"Tonight! For once, you wanna stay through the interview," the official Twitter feed of the program said shortly after the channel confirmed the news.

In a farewell statement, Michelle Ganeless, the president of the channel, called Stewart "a comic genius, generous with his time and talent," and said the host "will always be a part of the Comedy Central family."

I never really got in to The Daily Show, mostly because Stewart's act became so tedious and predictable. He was revered by his lefty fans for his willingness to speak "truth to power" but would recoil when his assertions were challenged, thus taking cover under the guise of his just being an entertainer. The sad fact is a lot of 20-somethings relied on Stewart for hard news and then ate up his snarky follow-up commentary, subsequently regurgitating it as their own insights.

Yes, the fawning over Stewart was quite nauseating, evidenced by some of the reaction to his departure. However, nothing quite reached the utter absurdity on display in this tweet:

 Huh. Personally, I saw Stewart as little more than a male Joy Behar.

- In the nearly four years I've been hosting my weekly talk radio show, I have to say that Rich Weinstein is easily among the top five most fascinating guests I've had the privilege of interviewing. Rich is the guy who discovered the YouTube videos of MIT professor (and Obamacare architect) Jonathan Gruber being brutally honest about using deceptive tactics to make Obamacare appear palatable to the public.

Anyhow, Rich was on the program this past Sunday, so the podcast of our discussion is now available for your listening pleasure.

Aside from the final segment where we commiserated over our respective NBA clubs (Rich is a Philadelphia 76ers fan; myself a Timberwolves enthusiast), the entire hour is a must listen (and not because of anything I had to offer).


Monday, February 09, 2015

If you liked Breaking Bad......

.....I believe you should indulge in the spinoff/prequel Better Call Saul

The series premiere took place this past Sunday with the second episode airing the following night. Without giving anything away, the show is off to a great start!

Heck, even if you haven't seen Breaking Bad (and if not, why not?) I would still recommend Better Call Saul. Bob Odenkirk, the actor who plays the title character, has been primarily a behind the scenes guy in the entertainment world (fun fact: he was the brainchild behind motivational speaker Matt Foley, the Saturday Night Live character played by Chris Farley). But he's perfectly cast as the slick-talking attorney looking to gain an edge for his clients while also tirelessly pursuing the limelight.

Check out last month's glowing review courtesy of Esquire magazine.


Sunday, February 08, 2015

When it's time for closing, I play while Rachel cleans......

It's the first non-NFL Sunday in five months, so welcome back to all the listeners who merely podcast the show! Yes, I am still on from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time for the latest installment of The Closer. 

If you know me even a little bit, you're certainly aware of my fondness for great human interest stories. Today's show reflects that.

At 1:15, Ben Utecht will be calling in.

Ben played football at the University of Minnesota in the early 2000s and then had a 4-year NFL career (including being a member of the 2006 Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts) before a severe concussion at Cincinnati Bengals' training camp in 2009 effectively ended his playing days. Since then, Ben has been a tireless advocate in making others aware of the need for more strenuous research in treating brain injuries. He has also fulfilled his lifelong dream of a music career, which he also uses to share his personal story.

Then at 2:00, Philadelphia investment adviser Rich Weinstein will check in. Who is Rich Weinstein? Well, do you recall the myriad videos of MIT professor (and Obamacare architect) Jonathan Gruber emerging last year where he professed that the Affordable Care Act law was written so as not to be understood by American voters? Well it was Rich who unearthed said videos, resulting in liberal Democrats to downplay Gruber's involvement despite these same people showering him with praise during the ACA's initial planning phase. Anyhow, Rich will join the program to discuss the continued fallout from these sound bites as well as give insight to how we haven't yet seen the worst of Obamacare (gulp).

In the non-guest segments, I may discuss the Brian Williams kerfuffle, which seems to get more embarrassing for NBC News with each passing day.

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

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

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

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

Until then.....


Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Fake but inaccurate

If you're a leftist and you tell a whopper about a life-threatening encounter, it's likely it will go down the ol' memory hole (see: Clinton, Hillary). As such, I don't expect a certain NBC Nightly News anchor to be put out to pasture after revelations of his own fable.

According to Stars and Stripes, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams has admitted to telling a false story about his coverage of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The anchor had claimed that he was aboard a helicopter that sustained fire from an rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) and was forced to the ground, according to the publication. In fact, Williams wasn’t in that Chinook or two others that also took on incoming fire; he arrived in another helicopter an hour later.

“I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” Williams told Stars & Stripes. “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”

Look, I've never been in an aircraft that had sustained damage due to a hostile party firing upon it. However, I'm quite confident that I could make the distinction between that and an aircraft that rolled in about 30-60 minutes after one that had actually been under siege.

Though more than a decade old, this incident flashed onto the media screen last Friday. In a broadcast of “NBC Nightly News,” Williams told viewers of a heartwarming scene from the night before, at a Rangers-Canadiens game at Madison Square Garden. Williams had invited Command Sgt. Maj. Tim Terpak to the game as a way of thanking him for protecting Williams and his crew as they embedded with the troops for the Iraq invasion. And the crowd in the Garden heard all about it: “Ladies and gentlemen, during the Iraq invasion U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Tim Terpak was responsible for the safety of Brian Williams and his NBC News team after their Chinook helicopter was hit and crippled by enemy fire. Command Sergeant Major Terpak was awarded three Bronze Stars for combat valor in Iraq, and recently retired after twenty-three years in the U.S. Army. Both men, both Rangers fans have been reunited for the first time in 12 years for tonight`s game. Please welcome Command Sergeant Major Tim Terpak and Brian Williams.”

In his broadcast, Williams repeated those claims: “The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG, Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armored mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”

“NBC Nightly News” posted the clip of the Williams-Terpak hockey moment on its Facebook page, and the debunkers emerged. Lance Reynolds had this to say: “Sorry dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft. I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened. Then I remember you guys taking back off in a different flight of Chinooks from another unit and heading to Kuwait to report your ‘war story’ to the Nightly News. The whole time we were still stuck in Iraq trying to repair the aircraft and pulling our own Security.”

It was at that moment that a 12-year old anecdote started to crumble. Williams was left with no choice but to come clean.

“To Joseph, Lance, Jonathan, Pate, Michael and all those who have posted: You are absolutely right and I was wrong. In fact, I spent much of the weekend thinking I’d gone crazy. I feel terrible about making this mistake, especially since I found my OWN WRITING about the incident from back in ’08, and I was indeed on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp. Because I have no desire to fictionalize my experience (we all saw it happened the first time) and no need to dramatize events as they actually happened, I think the constant viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area — and the fog of memory over 12 years — made me conflate the two, and I apologize. I certainly remember the armored mech platoon, meeting Capt. Eric Nye and of course Tim Terpak. Shortly after they arrived, so did the Orange Crush sandstorm, making virtually all outdoor functions impossible. I honestly don’t remember which of the three choppers Gen. Downing and I slept in, but we spent two nights on the stowable web bench seats in one of the three birds. Later in the invasion when Gen. Downing and I reached Baghdad, I remember searching the parade grounds for Tim’s Bradley to no avail. My attempt to pay tribute to CSM Terpak was to honor his 23+ years in service to our nation, and it had been 12 years since I saw him. The ultimate irony is: In writing up the synopsis of the 2 nights and 3 days I spent with him in the desert, I managed to switch aircraft. Nobody’s trying to steal anyone’s valor. Quite the contrary: I was and remain a civilian journalist covering the stories of those who volunteered for duty. This was simply an attempt to thank Tim, our military and Veterans everywhere — those who have served while I did not.”

One has to be over-the-top arrogant to perpetually push a false narrative while at the same time clinging to the notion that those who were actually part of the incident wouldn't call him on it. Is Williams that pathological? I honestly have no clue. But what gives me pause in accusing Williams of knowingly fabricating his being in an aircraft that took fire was his initial March 2003 news report after said incident. He mentioned in the on-air story that he and his NBC cohorts "learned the Chinook ahead of us was almost blown out of the sky." That's a clear difference from what was conveyed on Friday's news broadcast when Williams referred to "the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG.

In an appearance on David Letterman's program in March 2013 (the 10th anniversary of the incident in question), Williams very clearly states that his helicopter was indeed one of the two which was hit by an RPG and AK-47 (about 2:50 in).

From everything I've gathered, Williams offered up pretty flimsy theories (i.e. the excerpt in his apology statement, saying "the constant viewing of the video showing us inspecting the impact area — and the fog of memory over 12 years — made me conflate the two...") as to what possibly caused his recounting of this incident to evolve over the past decade. Perhaps he can consult with Mrs. Clinton on how to weather such a storm. After all, she's likely to make a bid for President in 2016 without a whiff of her lie about enduring sniper fire in Bosnia ever being held over her head.


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Deja Vu all over again

Is anyone else getting the sneaking suspicion that vaccinations will be to the Republicans in 2016 what contraception/War on Women was to the GOP in 2012?

Don't take the bait, guys.


Monday, February 02, 2015

Gov. Knuckles

"Nice parks ya got there in Minneapolis. Would be a shame if something happened to 'em."
-Gov. Mark Dayton, basically. 

Gov. Dayton warned us that his being reelected for a second (and, in his words, final) term would result in his being less willing to allow scurrilous Republicans to obstruct his grand "progressive" vision for the state (funny, but I don't recall bipartisanship being a crimp in Dayton's prior actions). That conservative haven that is the Minneapolis Parks & Rec. Board is finding this out the hard way. 

Re-election-immunized Boss Mark and his Metropolitan Council enforcers want to cut the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s budget by $3.8 million over two years over its “efforts to obstruct progress on the Southwest Light Rail Transit project.” That quote isn’t from some about-to-be-fired underling — it’s directly from Dayton’s budget, and at his news conference Dayton confirmed his intention.

To paraphrase: Time for some budget jams, Park Board.

Legendary scribe Joe Soucheray also weighed in.

This is progress? To put a train through one of the most lovely urban areas in all of America? Not only is it apparently progress, the governor, knowing that he is on the back nine of his political career and pining for a legacy, has cut the park board's budget by $1.85 million a year because the board wants to commission that study.

The governor is saying, in essence, "I want a bridge. The Metropolitan Council wants a bridge. Quit stalling and get on board. So long as you park board people want to keep objecting, you are going to lose about $2 million a year. Got it?"

No one is quite sure how to handle a Mark Dayton who has suddenly become a tough guy.

Eh. I think it's more a situation where the puppet strings are being yanked with extra rigor.

My friend and NARN colleague may have been on to something when he referred to the Twin Cities as "Chicago west of the Mississippi."


Sunday, February 01, 2015

When you're on a holiday, you can't find the words to say....

To me, Super Bowl Sunday is a holiday. As such, I will be taking a rare and well deserved break from my Northern Alliance Radio Network program The Closer this afternoon. My friend and valued NARN colleague Mitch Berg will assume the reins from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time, so you'll definitely wanna tune in.

You can give Mitch a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to discuss any of the topics he plans 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

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

Until then.....