Sunday, July 31, 2016

I can still recall the wheat fields of St. Paul.....

Yes, I will be back for a second consecutive day on the Northern Alliance Radio Network. After filling in for Mitch yesterday, I will be in my regular 2-3 PM time slot today for this week's edition of The Closer. 

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has made waves (and not the good kind) in his response to criticism from a Muslim man who lost his son in Operation: Iraqi Freedom. In true Trump fashion, he has doubled down on his response.

I will also discuss NBA legend Michael Jordan's statement regarding the recent police officer involved shootings.

So please call (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on 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. If you're unable to tune in live, please check out my podcast page for the latest show post.

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

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

Until then.....


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Don't need to psychoanalyze or have a stiff drink.....

With my friend and valued Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg on assignment, I will assume the reins of The Headliner edition of the NARN. The 2-hour gabfest will begin at 1:00 PM Central Time.

At 1:15 I welcome to the show political wonk Matt Mackowiak. We'll discuss the recent national political conventions and where the presidential race projects to go from here.

For the entire 2:00 hour, I will be joined by local political activists/observers Kelly Gunderson and Jeff Kolb. We'll discuss the competitive U.S. House races in CD2 and CD8 as well as key races in the MN House and MN Senate. 

So please call (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on 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. If you're unable to tune in live, please check out my podcast page for the latest show post.

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, July 29, 2016

Shrill Hil (UPDATE: My friend Rachel says it better than I ever could)

It's official. Hillary Rodham Clinton (she's dropped the "Rodham," right?) accepted the Democrat nomination for President on Thursday evening. And once again we're hearing about how historic this is given that Mrs. Clinton is the first female presidential candidate of a major political party in American history. As such, we're basically being asked not to ruin this momentous occasion by reminding people how she enabled her adulterous husband or the fact a sitting FBI Director acknowledged that she violated the law while serving as Secretary of State. Never mind that, if elected President, Mrs. Clinton likely won't do anything substantially different than her male predecessor. Being the first female president is a huge deal because it tells young women they can accomplish anything, or something.

To me that's the saddest commentary. The idea that no matter the corrupt path Mrs. Clinton traveled to get where she is, it's being lauded as exemplary.

UPDATE: My friend Rachel Aplikowski agrees that Hillary definitely should not be the standard bearer for "breaking through that glass ceiling."

I'm sure I will tell my children about this day. It's the day where legitimate glass-ceiling-breaking women everywhere were completely undermined by a woman who, by dishonesty and coercion, faked her way into the history books.

This is a day where the women who discovered penicillin, were elected to federal office before the 19th amendment, or saved lives with Kevlar, fire escapes, genetic coding, and can legitimately take credit for hundreds of other inventions we still use today, are relegated as smaller footnotes in history to a woman who couldn't succeed unless the system was rigged in her favor.

How do you look your daughter in the eye and be proud that the first woman nominated for president by a major party in the US is under investigation by the FBI? Lied to the public and to Congress? Left good men to die overseas? Doesn't believe unborn baby girls have a right to life? The shadow of suspicion around Hillary is far darker the lights of success.

It breaks my heart to think this is what we, as women, have to celebrate when there are so many other women on both sides of the aisle, in and out of politics, who have worked much harder and much more honestly than Hillary to get where they are, and whom we will never remember in four years.

When I tell my children about this day, I will remind them that no matter their title, salary, or recognition, no matter how many votes they receive, awards they are given, or offices they hold, none of that can replace the integrity of one's character. And that's something Hillary has nothing to speak of.



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Jordan airs feelings

While in the midst of his Hall of Fame NBA career, Michael Jordan pretty much avoided any political or social commentary. As perhaps the most high profile pitchman for Nike shoes during his playing days, Jordan wouldn't speak on behalf of Democrat politicians since, in his mind, Republicans buy Nikes, too. He was also pressured during his playing days to condemn the brutal conditions endured by workers employed in the Indonesian sweat shops which manufactured those very shoes. The idea being that a mere threat by Jordan to withhold his endorsement services would result in Nike taking corrective action.

Even though he's been away from the game for more than a decade, Jordan can still command an audience even if he rarely sways into controversial topics. However, he recently decided to convey his feelings regarding the recent incidents of police officer shootings.

"As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.

“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.

“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.

“To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.

“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”

Many felt that Jordan put forth a kind and gracious gesture, one that called for unity in a time of discord. Inevitably, there will be some who question these donations, particularly if they don't go to their favorite pet causes.

Enter lefty sportswriter Kevin Blackistone.

But you don't have to be anti-police to understand what the situation is. I'm hard-pressed to find out how you can be emotionally moved by the extra judicial killings of black men in this country and then cut a check for $1 million to the police. The police aren't in need of funding when it comes to this situation. I mean, you're talking about a city like the city of Baltimore, which is paid out over $12 million in settlements for police brutality lawsuits between 2010 and 2014. If they had policed their communities a lot better and treated black people a lot more humanely, then they would have a lot more money to spend for their police department. And as far as giving money to the defense fund of the NAACP, which basically was borne out of Thurgood Marshall back in the 1940's, why not give the black lives matter a legal arm and fund and seed some funding to start that as a new civil rights movement for a new era and a new century?

Well first off, Jordan is not cutting a check to police. The IACP Institute for Community-Police Relations is a private organization who's mission is "to advance a universal culture of cohesion and trust between police and the communities they serve. To achieve this mission, the Institute will provide law enforcement agencies with the tools, resources, and guidance to help build community trust and engagement, foster transparency and accountability, and safeguard officer well-being, while reducing crime and increasing public safety."

And did Blackistone honestly suggest giving money to Black Lives Matter? Seriously?!?! BLM's main goal seems to be creating chaos and inconveniencing others' lives (e.g. by blocking freeways, shutting down events, etc.) as opposed to ginning up sympathy for what is a legitimate issue. Can you imagine the kind of "civil disobedience" BLM would engage in were they to be given significant funding? The whole idea behind any civil rights movement is the willingness to go to jail on behalf of a cause they believe to be just. Uh, injuring cops or suggesting that "pigs" be fried "like bacon" is a bit beyond the pale, no?

In the end, I applaud Jordan for taking the stance he did. He's certainly aware that he still holds A-list celebrity appeal, and thus may inspire others to make similar gestures.


Monday, July 25, 2016

Box Score of the Week

San Francisco Giants at Houston Astros - April 6, 2004.


Giants pitcher David Aardsma made his Major League debut in this game, a game in which he earned the victory in relief. He would go on to have a pedestrian 9-year career in the majors. 

So why would I choose Aardsma's big league debut for this week's featured box score? Well, when he broke into the majors he usurped Henry Aaron (yes that Henry Aaron) as being the first player listed alphabetically when a list of every single MLB player is compiled. 


Sunday, July 24, 2016

The faint of heart need not apply.....

Plenty of news from this past week to get to, so I'll have to move quickly on today's edition of The Closer. The 1-hour program begins at 2:00 PM Central Time.

I will devote much of the time to looking back at this past week's Republican National Convention, particularly presidential nominee Donald Trump's acceptance speech. I'll also discuss the polarizing reactions to Ted Cruz's speech from Wednesday evening. 

As a Vikings fan, I will look back at the legacy of former coach Dennis Green, who died this past Thursday. 

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on 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. If you're unable to tune in live, please check out my podcast page for the latest show post.

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, July 22, 2016

Quick Hits: Volume CXXXI

- I listened to a fair amount of GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's nomination acceptance speech on Thursday evening. While I have a pretty low bar for expectations when it comes to Trump speaking, I thought he was pretty solid, even showing remarkable discipline.

Some of my main takeaways:

*Trump was solid on emphasizing the plight of minorities in Democrat controlled major cities (President Obama's adopted hometown of Chicago in particular), whether it's victims of violent crime or substandard educational opportunities.

*Trump also stressed more openness in the GOP for members of the LGBTQ community, likely a first such declaration for a Republican presidential candidate.

*Perhaps the most salient issue was his emphasis on nominating strict legal constructionists for the U.S. Supreme Court. Given that the current GOP majority in the U.S. Senate is deferring to the next President to fill the SCOTUS vacancy left by the passing of Antonin Scalia, this issue should be hit on every campaign speech from now until November 8.

I don't expect to see this kind of message discipline from Trump in every speech over the next 3-1/2 months. However, he definitely will not cower when the media's inevitable "GOP candidate shaming" takes place. This will be the most fascinating aspect of the cycle, which is how the mainstream media will react when they're unable to rhetorically shame a Republican presidential candidate.

- The NBA made a major announcement regarding its next All-Star Game.

The NBA is moving the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte, North Carolina, because of the league's objection to the state's House Bill 2, which limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the state.

In a statement, the league said it hopes to reschedule the game for Charlotte in 2019.

"Since March, when North Carolina enacted HB2 and the issue of legal protections for the LGBT community in Charlotte became prominent, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets have been working diligently to foster constructive dialogue and try to effect positive change," the league said. "We have been guided in these discussions by the long-standing core values of our league. These include not only diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others but also the willingness to listen and consider opposing points of view.

"Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community -- current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2."

Now wait a second. You mean to tell me that an enterprise like the NBA is allowed to exercise its freedom of conscience and thus decline to associate with whomever they choose not to associate? What a novel concept!

- Dennis Green, the second most successful head coach in Minnesota Vikings history, died Thursday evening at age 67.

"Dennis passed away last night from complications of cardiac arrest," Green's family said in a statement. "His family was by his side and he fought hard."

Green's Vikings made eight playoff appearances in 10 seasons from 1992 to 2001, reaching the NFC Championship Game in 1998 and 2000. He led the Vikings to a 15-1 regular season in 1998 and ranks second in franchise history in games coached, wins and winning percentage, trailing Hall of Fame coach Bud Grant in each category.

"Denny made his mark in ways far beyond being an outstanding football coach," the Vikings said in a statement. "He mentored countless players and served as a father figure for the men he coached. Denny founded the Vikings Community Tuesday Program, a critical initiative that is now implemented across the entire NFL. He took great pride in helping assistant coaches advance their careers. His tenure as one of the first African-American head coaches in both college and the NFL was also transformative."

As Vikings head coach, Green was terrific motivator, rarely going into a game where his players weren't ready to play. And he had a terrific eye for talent on the offensive side of the ball. However, his in-game coaching strategies (particularly clock management) left something to be desired, particularly in the postseason. While his regular season record was very good (a .610 career winning percentage as Vikings coach), Green was only 4-8 in the playoffs, including losses in his first four postseason contests. Many long-suffering Vikings fans (myself included) still recall his decision to "take a knee" on their own 20-yard line and opt for overtime in the 1998 NFC Championship game against the Atlanta Falcons. This occurred despite the Vikes having two timeouts and 57 seconds remaining to get in field goal range. The Vikings lost 30-27 in OT, which is perhaps most heartbreaking loss in franchise history.

From 2004-06, Green had three losing seasons in Arizona (finishing 16-32 overall) and was fired after the '06 campaign. He never held an NFL head coaching job again.

Perhaps his most memorable moment as Cards coach was a postgame meltdown in 2006 after blowing a 20-0 lead to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football.

While we had a tendency to caricature Green after his coaching career was over, there was no denying that he had the respect of many who played for him. He will definitely be missed by the NFL community.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Perpetual validation

My friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg has compiled a set of "laws" over the years. One of "Berg's laws" which I have cited quite often in this space is "Berg's Seventh Law of Liberal Projection."

A refresher:

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

Once again, said law was validated by lefty network MSNBC. On something called "The MaddowBlog," there was outrage (OUTRAGE I tell ya) over the Republican National Convention allowing Pat Smith to speak (Lefty site Crooks and Liars also flipped out over it). Ms. Smith is the mother of the late Sean Smith, who was one of the casualties in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. The claims of many leftists was that Smith was factually inaccurate in her speech. Ah, but by leftist standards, grieving mothers get cart blanche to say pretty much anything.

On a side note, here's a partial list of speakers scheduled to appear at the Democrat National Convention next week:

.....Mothers of the Movement members Gwen Carr, Mother of Eric Garner; Sybrina Fulton, Mother of Trayvon Martin; Maria Hamilton, Mother of Dontré Hamilton; Lucia McBath, Mother of Jordan Davis; Lezley McSpadden, Mother of Michael Brown; Cleopatra Pendleton-Cowley, Mother of Hadiya Pendleton; Geneva Reed-Veal, Mother of Sandra Bland.

So will these leftist "fact check" sites be just as vigilant in "checking facts" when gun violence statistics are inevitably skewed at next week's DNC? That's one of those rhetorical questions by the way.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Quick Hits: Volume CXXX

- I did not partake in night one of the 2016 Republican National Convention. Dunno if I'll watch either of the next two nights. However, I plan on watching nominee Donald Trump's speech on Thursday while attending a MN GOP event in St. Louis Park.

I guess I'm still both disgusted and incredulous how my preferred political party could nominate as presidential candidate someone who appears to be in this only to stroke his own ego. Call it sour grapes, call it bitterness, call it whatever you prefer, but it'll be difficult for me to indulge in a convention that will do nothing more than remind me of the talented GOP candidates we left behind on what was a very deep bench nationally.

Speaking of "up and comers," I understand first term Arkansas senator Tom Cotton was terrific last evening. It sounds as though he's someone who'll be considered for president come 2020. But hey, let's get 2016 over with first.

-  Given my wife and I are political junkies, we recently indulged in the documentary Weiner, which focused on the behind-the-scenes happenings of Anthony Weiner's 2013 candidacy for mayor of New York City.

Weiner gained national notoriety in 2011 when, as a Congressman out of New York's Ninth Congressional District, it was revealed he had a habit of sending explicit photos of himself (aka "sexting") to women not his wife. He resigned from Congress shortly thereafter, only to emerge a couple of years later when announcing his run for NYC mayor. While actually leading in the polls early on, there were more allegations of online dalliances which appeared to take place after his resigning from Congress. This flew in the face of his declaration that he had put those "activities" behind him after his resignation.

The film focused much on Weiner attempting to do damage control both on the campaign trail and on the home front, particularly dealing with the humiliation of his wife Huma Abedin (Hillary Clinton's top aide). Whether you're into politics or not, it's always fascinating to see real life footage of how an individual attempts to overcome adversity, albeit the proverbial self-inflicted gunshot wound. I highly recommend checking out the film.

- With my favorite MLB club, the Minnesota Twins, enduring one of the worst seasons in franchise history, this had to happen.

Terry Ryan, who retook the reins as general manager while the team floundered nearly five years ago, was fired Monday, the most visible victim of the franchise’s historically bad start.

“He gets it,” Twins President Dave St. Peter said of Ryan, a two-time MLB Executive of the Year. “We just didn’t win enough games.”

Ryan, 62, will be replaced by assistant GM Rob Antony on an interim basis. The Twins will undertake a search for a permanent replacement in the near future, owner Jim Pohlad said, a process they hope results in a hiring before the season ends in October. Antony will be considered for the job, but the team intends to solicit outside candidates as well.

“The challenge to make the organization better is exciting,” Pohlad said. “We do believe, and I know [manager] Paul Molitor believes, we can win in 2017.”

That remains to be seen, but Molitor definitely will be a part of it. Pohlad wants the Hall of Famer to remain in the dugout next year, saying he will make that clear to the team’s next GM.

While I will always have a special place in my heart for Ryan for his role in bringing the Twins back to respectability in the 21st century (via savvy trades and solid drafts), the game seemed to have passed him by. Ryan often bristled at the new way of scouting players, particularly via stringent statistical analysis (aka sabermetrics). While that methodology resulted in recent success in smaller markets like Oakland, Cleveland, Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay, the Twins refused to utilize a similar approach even on a limited basis. As such, the farm system as a whole is not as loaded as once hoped, thus leaving a significant rebuilding project to the new GM.

For far too long, the Twins have been hesitant to go outside the organization for any role. Heck, even when guys are fired (e.g. former GM Bill Smith, former manager Ron Gardenhire), they're always brought back in some other capacity. It's high time this franchise get a fresh perspective by bringing in someone from the outside.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Box Score of the Week

Going real old school as the St. Louis Browns (who eventually became the Baltimore Orioles) took on the Detroit Tigers at the end of the 1934 season.


The Browns' Charley O'Leary was two weeks shy of his 59th birthday when he collected a hit and scored a run in this game. At age 58 years, 50 weeks, he became the oldest player to accomplish such feats in the same game. That record obviously still stands today.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Raymond's in his Sunday best......

A lot of political news to get to on this week's edition of The Closer. The 1-hour extravaganza gets kicked off at 2:00 PM Central Time.

Obviously I'll weigh in on another horrific terrorist attack, this time in Nice, France. I'll also discuss GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump's selection of a running mate.

Then at 2:30 I'll be joined by Brad Sanford, who is the Republican candidate in MN Senate District 37, which covers most of Blaine and Spring Lake Park as well as northeastern Coon Rapids.

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on 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. If you're unable to tune in live, please check out my podcast page for the latest show post.

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

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

Until then.....


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Trumps plays it safe, hence Pence

It had been leaked earlier this week that Indiana governor Mike Pence would be chosen as Donald Trump's running mate on the GOP presidential ticket. On Saturday, it was made official.

But as with anything involving Trump and his "winging it" style of campaigning, even the VP choice had some side drama.

There was also a rumor circulating that Newt Gingrich, who was also on Trump's shortlist of VP choices, did not even learn he wasn't getting the running mate nod until he heard a news report announcing the selection of Pence.

My radio show's political wonk, Matt Mackowiak, felt Pence was the "safest" choice.

As governor, Pence cut taxes, balanced the budget and his state has seen record employment.

Pence is fond of saying: “I’m a Christian, an American, a conservative and a Republican — in that order.”

He is a known commodity and trusted friend to conservative leaders in Washington and around the country.

Pence was up for reelection as Indiana governor this year. However, the state's law does not allow someone to run in both a state and federal election simultaneously, so Pence will now have to abandon his gubernatorial bid. Some may view that as a risky move for Pence, tying himself to a presidential campaign that, as of today, looks to get soundly defeated this November. However, there seemed to be a strong indication that Pence would not be reelected as governor anyway. With that in mind, perhaps Pence is just cutting his losses and thus looking to inject life into Trump's lackluster general election campaign.

And now.......on to the Republican National Convention, beginning Monday.


Thursday, July 14, 2016

The new normal is still terrifying

It seems that news of terror attacks (whether in America or abroad) have become more commonplace over the past few years. Despite that, I'm not the least bit desensitized to it. The exact opposite in fact, as my heart breaks when I learn of innocent, unsuspecting people being wiped out in a blink of an eye.

The incident in France Thursday evening is yet another reminder of a vigilant enemy of the West.

A truck rammed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice on Thursday night, killing at least 70 people in an apparent terrorist attack as the driver also opened fire on revelers, French officials said.

The truck struck the crowd on the Promenade des Anglais, a seaside walk in the city in southern France, authorities said. More than 50 people were reported injured. The driver fired on the crowd before being shot to death by police, officials said.

Christian Estrosi, a former mayor of Nice and currently president of the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur, put the death toll at 77. He said in one of a series of Twitter messages that the truck was carrying arms and explosives when it struck the crowd about 10:30 p.m. local time.

Estrosi told BFM TV that “the driver fired on the crowd, according to the police who killed him.”

He added that the driver’s behavior appeared to be “completely premeditated.”

There was no immediate information on the identity of the driver or what motivated his action.

Local authorities were treating the incident as a terrorist attack and urging people to stay home, the French television channel BFM TV reported. It occurred as a large crowd was watching a fireworks display celebrating the French national holiday.

An attack such as this seemed to further galvanize the belief of some Donald Trump for President supporters that a ban of Muslim immigration into the U.S. should remain firmly on the table. Alas, that may be far too simplistic. What we're seeing now with these attacks from radical jihadist elements is they're going after soft targets. Also, said attacks are being carried out by individuals who are already in the Western world but were not necessarily radicalized upon arriving here.

My friend Bryan Strawser, who specializes in security and crisis communications, painted a very sobering reality.

Many of you have been asking tonight what the world is coming to, with what appears to be yet another terrorist attack in Nice, France that has claimed the life of nearly 80 people.

Yet, I'm here to tell you that this is what most of the world has experienced over the last twenty years: an increasingly volatile and uncertain security environment with an ever-increasing risk of attacks against "soft targets" like celebrations in France, a nightclub in Orlando, a staff meeting in California, a football stadium in Paris, or a hotel in Jakarta, and multiple locations in Mumbai in a multi-day coordinated attack.

I've lived in this world, evacuating teammates from my previous employer, and now employees of my clients, from places like Haiti, Cairo, Mumbai, Jakarta, Bali, and others when the world falls apart and the only way out is through resources you'd probably rather not know about.

I expect that we will see more of this sort of attack here in the United States in the coming weeks and months.

As we saw in Orlando and San Bernardino, an individual here in the United States, who becomes radicalized not by traveling to a jihadi training camp somewhere, but through online teachings and lectures - and follows the guidance in Inspire Magazine, is nearly impossible to detect and even harder to stop.

As my friend Caleb said recently, "the war is here, and it really doesn’t care if you want to be a part of it...."

We would be wise to view the threat and our future with a clear eye.

Our country sure picked a bad time to turn the presidential race into a glorified reality TV show.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Are we finally having that long overdue conversation?

In this day and age of political polarization, it's virtually impossible to mourn a tragic event in America without demagoguery being the first order of business. When that approach is taken, all too often most facts are completely ignored when one views a tragic event solely through one's own political prism/worldview.

But as NRO's Jonah Goldberg noticed, a good number of people were actually willing to have a conversation as opposed to espousing the robotic chanting points which accompany a given ideology.

At least for a moment, antagonists on either side of polarizing issues could see beyond the epistemic horizon of their most comfortable talking points. Black Lives Matter activists thanked the police for their protection and sacrifice. Conservative Republicans, most notably House Speaker Paul Ryan and former speaker Newt Gingrich, spoke movingly about race in America. Gun-rights activists were dismayed that Philando Castile, the man shot by a police officer in Minnesota, had followed all of the rules — he had a gun permit, cooperated with the officer, etc. — and was still killed. Liberals who insist that rhetoric from their political opponents inspires violence were forced to consider whether rhetoric from their allies might have helped inspire the shooter in Dallas.

It was a welcome change. “National conversations” are usually efforts to bully everyone into accepting a single narrative when the reality is that, in this country of more than 300 million, many narratives can be in conflict and still be legitimate.

On the other hand, I was a little concerned that some of my fellow conservatives engaged in borderline fanboy behavior when it came to cops. While I personally have a healthy respect for police and particularly admired the ability of the Dallas cops last week to remain focused on "protect and serve" despite their brothers having been shot, law enforcement in general should not be beyond reproach.

Conservatives, of all people, should understand that misdeeds committed by agents of the state are categorically different from the same acts committed by normal citizens. A father who slaps his son for no good reason, however wrong that may be, is very different from a cop who slaps a citizen for no good reason.

This country was created, in part, because the founders were outraged by arguably slight infractions — taxes on tea! — against their liberties and dignity. Is it really so unfathomable that African-American citizens should be outraged or distrustful of government when they have good reason to believe the state is murdering young black men?

And what about leftists? Apparently they've discovered a form of overreaching government they don't like.

Although (liberals) have seemingly boundless faith in the power and nobility of government, many draw a line around cops, creating one of the strangest ironies of modern liberalism: Many of those most eager to support new laws and new regulations suddenly lose faith when it comes to the government employees charged with enforcing them. It’s particularly amazing given that law-enforcement personnel typically receive far more training than your typical bureaucrat or legislator.

Another blind spot: Most of the problems with black homicide — by police or otherwise — take place in cities run by Democrats for generations, yet Republican racism is always to blame.

I'm certainly all for this "national conversation" continuing, particularly if we Americans can be secure enough to acknowledge facts which undermine our respective worldviews while still being unapologetic about deeply held beliefs.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Box Score of the Week

The 1962 regular season finale featuring the Kansas City Athletics and the Detroit Tigers.


In 1962, Athletics pitcher Bill Fischer set a record (one which still stands today) by pitching 84-1/3 consecutive innings without issuing a walk. That streak came to an end in this game when he walked a batter with one out in the 5th inning. 


Sunday, July 10, 2016

And where we'll end up, I don't know......

It's a rare Sunday where I'm not all that excited about broadcasting my radio program. Nevertheless, I will take to the airwaves for The Closer right at 2:00 PM Central Time.

As difficult as it will be, I'll discuss this utterly tragic past week, including the death of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights as well as the killing of five Dallas police officers.

At 2:30, I will welcome to the broadcast political wonk Matt Mackowiak. We'll discuss the fallout from Hillary Clinton not being charged in her email scandal. Also, the GOP convention begins a week from tomorrow, so we'll get Matt's perspective on the Donald Trump "Veepstakes" as well as the perpetuals blunders Trump continues to commit.

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on 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. If you're unable to tune in live, please check out my podcast page for the latest show post.

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, July 08, 2016


It feels as though we're descending into lawlessness in America, where suddenly revenge is the only acceptable form of justice.

I awoke this morning to news of more senseless killings.

Five Dallas police officers were fatally shot and seven others wounded during a protest over the deaths of black men killed by police this week in Louisiana and Minnesota — the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Police Chief David Brown blamed "snipers," but it was unclear how many shooters were involved in Thursday's attack. Authorities initially said three suspects were in custody and a fourth dead, killed by a robot-delivered bomb in a parking garage where he had exchanged fire with officers.

Before dying, the police chief said, the suspect told officers he was upset about recent shootings and wanted to kill whites, "especially white officers." The man also stated that he acted alone and was not affiliated with any groups, Brown said.

To be perfectly honest, I'm emotionally spent. I'm so utterly saddened by these developments that I'm not even going to attempt to make sense of them. It's one of those days where I've completely cast my cares upon the Lord.

With all that said, I can't even fathom what the families of the slain officers are feeling. In addition to enduring likely inconsolable grief, the officers' families have the additional burden of everyday life (i.e. household expenses, etc.) continuing to roll on. Thankfully we can help with that. Nationally syndicated radio host (and my Salem Media Group colleague) Mike Gallagher has, for some time, been on the proverbial front lines with this cause. Check out his web site

The Gallagher’s Army: Fallen Officer Fund, based in Dallas, was founded by Mike Gallagher and inspired by the giving spirit of his late wife, Denise Gallagher, to meet the immediate needs of U.S. police officer families when an officer has been killed in the line of duty. The fund provides financial assistance to officer families when they need it most – as soon as a tragedy happens – without having to wait for weeks or months for other more formal assistance to become available, and without the hassle of bureaucracy and red tape that often exists.

We also shouldn't forget the victims of the aforementioned shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Alton Sterling, the gentleman who was killed by police in Baton Rouge, LA, left behind five children. As such, a GoFundMe page has been set up to provide for Mr. Sterling's family. 

There is also a GoFundMe page set up in memory of Philando Castile, the young man who was shot by a police officer in the Twin Cities this past Wednesday evening.

I pray this country can be unified as we attempt to sort through the horrific events of this past week.


Thursday, July 07, 2016


I've come to accept in this day and age that any high profile police incident will result in grandstand lawyers conveying their unsubstantiated version of events before all the information is gathered. I accept it but I sure as heck don't like it.

The latest officer involved shooting took place right here in the Twin Cities.

A black St. Paul man was fatally shot Wednesday night by police in Falcon Heights, apparently after he and his girlfriend were pulled over for a broken taillight.

The girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, captured the immediate aftermath on a video taken with her phone that was widely shared on Facebook.

Reynolds started the live-stream video with the man, Philando Castile, in the driver’s seat slumped next to her, his white T-shirt soaked with blood on the left side. In the video, taken with her phone, she says they were pulled over at Larpenteur Avenue and Fry Street for a broken taillight.

The “police shot him for no apparent reason, no reason at all,” she says in the video.

Rarely is it as simple as a cop shooting a citizen for "no reason at all." It's been reported that Castile was armed when he was pulled over. Upon the gun being discovered by the officer, it was alleged that Castile indicated he had a permit allowing him to legally carry that firearm. The officer implied that his reason for shooting Castile was he felt the man was reaching for his gun. As is often the case in these types of incidents, there are at least two dramatically different versions of what happened.

Call me naive, but my sole hope is that a sufficient answer is reached and that justice is properly meted out. Until then, I refuse to join in on the myriad (and often baseless) speculation that ensues after a tragedy such as this. All I know is that a young man is dead shortly after he was pulled over for a broken taillight. That in and of itself is a travesty.

I have already prayed for the loved ones whom Castile has left behind. I just hope that somehow, someway they can attain a semblance of peace and comfort in what is no doubt a devastating and confusing time.


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

No surprise

"There should be no bank too big to fail and no individual too big to jail."

Who said that?!?!? We'll get back to it.

But first.....

The FBI lifted a major legal threat to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign Tuesday, recommending no criminal charges for her handling of highly classified material in a private email account.

However, Hillary was certainly not immune from criticism.

But Director James Comey's scathing criticism of her "extremely careless" behavior revitalized Republican attacks and guaranteed the issue will continue to dog her.

Be that as it may, laws are indeed for little people.

Comey's announcement effectively removed any possibility of criminal prosecution arising from Clinton's email practices as President Barack Obama's secretary of state. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said last week that she intended to accept the recommendations of the FBI and of career prosecutors.

 As is usually the case, my friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg summed it up better than I ever could.

I'll make no bones about the fact that I think Hillary Clinton is utterly qualified to be a terrible president, that she was the second-worst Secretary of State in the past 100 years (Albright was worse), and that along with her husband she set back "feminism" a generation (for better or worse).

And yeah, I think the fact that the FBI, which answers to Loretta Lynch's DOJ, magically decided to recommend "no charges" in this probe despite multiple serious violations of the law (as laid out by former Federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy) is a flame-belching hemi-powered travesty.

But the worst thing about it?

"Democracy" requires trust to function. When the people start to believe there's one system for those in power, and one for everyone else, people are justified in not trusting their government. And given that the Administration *has* used not only its bully pulpit, but its bureaucracy to sandbag and attack American dissenters in ways big and small (putting dissenter groups on watch lists, subjecting conservative groups to extra-special IRS scrutiny, sending guns across the border to try to discredit American gun owners and dealers, lying about Obamacare and the Iran non-treaty treaty), and now this?

Perfect illustration of the hypocrisy; a Navy sailor is looking at six years in Federal prison for taking pictures inside a submarine. NOT putting them out on a server where any Chinese hacker can get 'em; nothing of the sort.

Why should we, the people, think that our government HASN'T become the unresponsive, unaccountable tyranny our forefathers feared?

So who was the woefully naive bobblehead who uttered the quote I cited at the beginning of this post?

If only the GOP had a presidential candidate who didn't look for a pile of feces to dive bomb in after the Dem candidate stepped in one.


Monday, July 04, 2016

Box Score of the Week

How about a July 4th game involving the team from Philadelphia? And on the bicentennial no less. It was the first game of a doubleheader where the Pittsburgh Pirates hosted the Philadelphia Phillies on July 4, 1976.


From CSN Philly:

Facing Pirates starter Larry Demery in the top of the second of the first game with the bases loaded, (Phillies catcher Tim) McCarver went yard for what is usually considered a grand slam.

Unfortunately, McCarver was a little overanxious in his excitement--hey, America doesn't turn 200 every day--and ended up passing Phillies center fielder Gary Maddox (unsure of the ball not getting caught) between first and second base, during what should have been his home-run trot. Turns out, umpires don't like it when baserunners do that, and by rule, McCarver was out, leaving him with that rare and dubious achievement, the grand-slam single. 


Sunday, July 03, 2016

She ain't a Cadillac and she ain't a Rolls.....

It's a holiday weekend but the Northern Alliance Radio Network rolls on. My weekly broadcast of The Closer will get started at 2:00 PM Central Time.

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down some noteworthy rulings this past week, including one on abortion restrictions in Texas. We'll definitely get into that one.

Then at 2:15, right wing activist and speaker Ali A. Akbar will join the broadcast. We'll discuss a study Ali and his colleagues conducted, which involved GOP voter contact methods with black voters. It is his opinion that if Republicans don't start making a dent in the black vote (about 93% of which goes to Democrats), we will very soon reach a point of no return.

So please give me a call at (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on 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. If you're unable to tune in live, please check out my podcast page for the latest show post.

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.....