Monday, January 22, 2018

Denied again

Since their last Super Bowl appearance 41 years ago, the Minnesota Vikings have appeared in six NFC Championship Games. After last evening's 38-7 throttling at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, the Vikes are now (obviously) 0-6 in those games.




After an unexpectedly blessed season which saw the Vikes go 13-3 despite losing their starting quarterback (Sam Bradford made only two starts) and stud rookie running back (Dalvin Cook blew out his knee Week 4), they picked a horrible time to play their absolute worst game of the season.

But hey, I absolutely need to give the Eagles some credit. After losing their MVP-caliber starting QB Carson Wentz for the season in Week 14, Philly still stumbled into the playoffs as the top NFC seed. However, they were quite agitated at the fact that Vegas declared them underdogs in both playoff games this postseason, and the Vikings definitely felt their wrath. Nick Foles now looks like the guy who, in 2013, compiled an 8-2 record as the Eagles starter (with a ridiculous 119.2 QB rating) while throwing 27 TDs and only 2 interceptions. And as we saw against the Vikings, that Philly defense is legit.

So where does my favorite squad go from here? Well, it appears the first orders of business will be to find a new offensive coordinator (Current OC Pat Shurmur is rumored to be taking the head coaching job with the NY Giants) and decide what to do at quarterback. The three QBs who saw action in 2017 are all unsigned past this season. If I had to guess, Case Keenum, who had a terrific year when Bradford went down after Week 1, will be franchise tagged and Bridgewater might receive a one year deal with an option year. I don't see any scenario where Bradford hangs around.

I still believe the Vikes have a top tier defense despite what it looked like Sunday. As long as Mike Zimmer gets what he needs on that side of the ball, it'll be a solid unit. And with running back Cook supposedly returning in 2018, the Vikes can definitely become even more dynamic on the offensive side of the ball. But as we've seen in the past, a great season like 2017 requires a lot of things to go right. The defense stayed remarkably healthy throughout the season but just one injury to any of their stars totally changes the calculus. So while we can rejoice that all the key players will return next season, there definitely needs to be reinforcements on the offensive line as well as more depth on defense.

I guess the only silver lining was this season didn't end with one of those gut wrenching losses where Vikes' fans felt the game was in hand until a deadly miscue led to a soul-crushing overtime defeat (a la 1998 and 2009 title games). At least that's how I'm trying to console myself.

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

Sunday, January 21, 2018

I'm gonna get myself across the river, that's the price I'm willing to pay...

It's a potentially historic day in Minnesota today with the Vikings on the verge of their first Super Bowl appearance in 41 years! But since this evening's NFC Championship game doesn't kick off until 5:40 Central Time, why not indulge in a live broadcast of The Closer? The one-hour broadcast gets started at 2:00 PM Central.

A lot of news items to get to, including the disgusting politicization of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Also, Dems get caught up in another instance where they can't live up to standards they set for others.

And of course I'll take one segment to talk Vikings.


So please call (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics we 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, January 20, 2018

2017 NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship games

Jacksonville Jaguars (+8-1/2) at New England Patriots: I saw a stat that the Pats are 14-0 in playoff games when they didn't play their opponent in the regular season, but 12-9 in "rematch games" (the Patriots and Jaguars did not meet in 2017). In addition, New England quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick are 7-0 lifetime vs. the Jags (including two postseason wins).

Jacksonville is a nice story and looks like a force to be reckoned with in the immediate future given their strong defense and some solid play makers on offense. But this season? Blake Bortles is still their QB. While he looked good in last week's divisional round upset over the Pittsburgh Steelers, going into Foxborough, MA to take on a Pats club that's in their 7th consecutive AFC title game (and 12th in 17 seasons) is not a recipe for success. If the Jaguars can somehow keep it close late, they have a shot given terrific rookie RB Leonard Fournette will be taking on a Pats run defense which allowed 4.7 yards per rush (only the L.A. Chargers, at 4.9, were worse in 2017).

As always, I just can't bet against Brady-Belichick in an AFC title game in Foxborough.
New England 27 Jacksonville 17



Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles: This a matchup of two of the top four defenses (in terms of total yards allowed) in the NFL during the regular season.

Despite dominating the New Orleans Saints for the first 2-1/2 quarters in last week's divisional round win, the Vikings' D showed some cracks over the final quarter-and-a-half. However, was that more an indictment of Minnesota's defense or the cool customer that is Saints' Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees? I'm more inclined to think the latter, which is why I believe Eagles quarterback Nick Foles will be in for a long day.

From the Eagles' perspective, they held a highly talented Atlanta Falcons offense to 10 points (zero in the second half) and less than 300 total yards in last week's win. Plus, Philly and their fans are a bit salty over having been a underdog last week and this week despite both postseason games being at home.

I suppose I could break down some more numbers and really get into the weeds, but why? I'm a hardcore (and long-suffering) Vikings fan, so I am unapologetic in saying that this pick is more with my heart than my head.

My beloved Vikes will end a 40-year drought by earning a berth in the Super Bowl!!
Minnesota 17 Philadelphia 13



2017 Postseason Record:
Against the Spread: 4-3-1
Straight Up: 5-3

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

Friday, January 19, 2018

Gubernatorial forum

Last evening I had the opportunity to attend a gubernatorial forum comprised of the five Republican candidates vying for the GOP nomination here in Minnesota. Our local party apparatus (State Senate District 35) was able to secure Ramsey City Hall as a meeting place, which was especially convenient given that Ramsey is where I reside.

As is my usual stance, I will not be endorsing any candidate publicly but I nevertheless need to familiarize myself with each potential nominee since I will need to make a personal decision if there ends up being a Republican primary.

Of the five GOP candidates (Matt Dean, Jeff Johnson, Keith Downey, Phillip Parrish and Mary Giuliani Stephens) remaining, it is my belief that Parrish would be the least formidable in the general election. I believed that going into last evening and nothing I heard throughout the forum changed that sentiment. And while I like Downey personally and appreciated his willingness to step up and lead the quagmire that was the Republican Party of Minnesota (he was party chair 2013-2017), attempts to paint him as the "outsider" candidate (a la Donald Trump) are downright laughable.

Among party activists, there seems to be some apprehension with Johnson given he ran as a statewide candidate twice (MN Attorney General in 2006; Governor in 2014) yet was defeated both times. The early front runner seems to be Dean who, from the day after Labor Day through December 1, visited all 87 counties in the state of Minnesota. It's going to be a challenge for the others to match that work ethic. Also, Dean secured a big name endorsement from former U.S. senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum, though I'm not sure that's necessarily a net positive in a general election.

But the one candidate from whom I'd like to hear more is Giuliani Stephens. While I normally eschew identity politics given I attempt to focus solely on policy and general election viability, I believe it would be quite a coup for the Republicans to be the party to produce Minnesota's first female governor. In addition to that, the mayor of Woodbury undeniably has a very intriguing background.

In launching her bid in November, and at our conference table, Stephens described herself as a “bridge builder” who can successfully navigate the partisan divide. In an environment in which strong groups and strong opinions reign, she’s “not tied to any one of them.”

Stephens also emphasizes her ability to get things done and having “the record to prove it” — citing her community’s 2016 ranking among the nation’s best places to live by Money magazine. Fast-growing Woodbury is Minnesota’s ninth-largest community.

The mayor is rare among the candidates with whom we’ve met — in this race and many others — in making a point to list “an understanding of government’s role” among the qualities she brings.

The state Constitution — with its call for a uniform system of public schools and oversight of our public highway system — is a starting point, explains Stephens, a law firm partner who practiced primarily in the area of construction litigation and also has served on the Woodbury City Council.

“Government can’t be everything to everyone,” she told us.

At the end of the day I will be able to enthusiastically support whomever is the GOP candidate for MN governor this year. But in the mean time, I plan on conducting my own personal vetting process via my weekly radio show.

Stay tuned!

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

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Misogyny for we, not for ye

Leftists love to declare themselves moral arbiters, particularly within the confines of setting standards of interpersonal behavior. However, they eventually come to find out they themselves are rarely able to adhere to the standards they set.

The whole "every woman has a right to believed and heard when she declares she was sexually harassed/assaulted" was the proverbial exploding cigar in the leftists' collective face when one of their own high profile elected officials (Al Franken) was drummed out of the U.S. Senate.

Another leftist lament was their concern that strong "progressive" female senators Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) were the victims of what they felt was GOP misogyny due to separate incidents of them being interrupted and/or "mansplained."

But what Sens. Harris and Warren supposedly endured was nothing in comparison to what Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen had thrown her way by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ).


'

'
Anyone with a scintilla of rational thought could ascertain that the treatment of Nielsen was far more outrageous than anything a female "progressive" ever suffered. So given the standard set by proggies, Booker not only "mansplained" but was a flat out misogynist bully.

Ah, but when questioned on the subject by CNN's Jake Tapper, Sen. Booker was downright indignant.




You might wanna have a discussion with your fellow progs there, Sen. Booker. They are the ones who proclaim that women in Washington should be treated with verbal kid gloves by male colleagues. Until then, enjoy being called on y'all's naked hypocrisy.

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Race to the bottom

It's been apparent for some time that political discourse in America has become less about persuasion and more about who can scream their point of view loudest. Even when people are persuaded and thus evolve in their worldview, they're chided as "flip floppers" or constantly reminded of their previous stances in an attempt to marginalize subsequent good works.

With this past Monday being the observation of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, people with their own political agendas (particularly within the context of race relations) look to shame their political opponents. 

Perhaps the most disgusting display was some deranged loser sending a tweet to Meghan McCain, daughter of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). 




Ms. McCain, with far more class and dignity than most could muster after having a loved one smeared, didn't shy away from the criticism despite it being borderline cruel.








I can't imagine going through life where you feel your purpose is to impugn others' character and/or verbally throw in their face a past they regret. I'm certain someone like a Dr. King applied forgiveness in his life. Those who proclaim to admire the man ought to follow his example more diligently.

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

Monday, January 15, 2018

Stunned

Yeah, so this happened.





That was the final play of an inexplicable 29-24 Vikings win over the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional Playoff game on Sunday. Just as I was ready to once again lament how we Vikings fans can't have nice things, this 61-yard bomb from QB Case Keenum to WR Stefon Diggs seemed to assuage the feelings of ever present misery over the Vikings' past playoff failures.

All that said, while this game was great theater, I feel it will end up meaning little if the Vikes don't even make the Super Bowl. That may sound harsh, but opportunities like this are so rare outside of New England. Nevertheless, we as fans can re-live this at least until the Vikings' NFC title game matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday evening.

Some may surmise that I am probably engaging in schadenfreude given what the Saints did to my favorite squad back in the 2009 NFC Championship Game. And while I was disgusted to learn later on that some Saints players deliberately injured the ankle of Vikes QB Brett Favre, I honestly didn't even consider taking pleasure in the emotional pain likely felt by New Orleans players and their fans today. However, when Saints head coach Sean Payton (whose been in the position since 2006) said post game that a loss such as this will take a while to get over, all I could say is "Trust us, coach. We know."

In the end, my favorite tweet of the evening came from Steve Gleason, the former Saints special teams player who has been living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) since about 2011.





I guess when one has endured all that Gleason has, one's favorite NFL team losing a game in heartbreaking fashion can easily be met with a little levity.

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

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Words we spoke, forgotten at the time, now replay in my mind....

A power-packed Sunday with The Northern Alliance Radio Network 2-3 PM and then kickoff for the Vikings' playoff game at 3:40! Definitely a lot to get to in the one-hour edition of The Closer this afternoon.

We'll get started by talking about the smugness on display this past weekend at the Golden Globe Awards and how it was possibly a kickoff for.....Oprah for President?!?!

I will also discuss the attempts in Washington to overhaul immigration as well as President Trump's alleged comments denigrating certain other countries.


So please call (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics we 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, January 13, 2018

2017 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round

Atlanta Falcons (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles: Of the past 23 Super Bowl runners-up, only 13 even made the playoffs the following season. And of those 13 clubs, 11 were gone after the divisional round, so history is not on the side of the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons this week. Nevertheless, the Falcons showed some strong play on the defensive side of the ball in last week's wildcard win over the L.A. Rams, who featured the top scoring offense in the NFL.

Despite being the top seed in the NFC, the Eagles are hardly prohibitive favorites to win it all due to starting QB Carson Wentz, who was in the midst of an MVP caliber season before his Week 14 knee injury, being lost for the season. While backup Nick Foles made some plays in the remainder of that week 14 contest vs. the Rams as well as had a solid start the following week against the NY Giants, he was (to be charitable) very underwhelming the final two games of the regular season. As such, expect heavy doses of running backs LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi against an Atlanta defense which is vulnerable against the run (4.1 Yards Per Carry allowed).

In the end, the Falcons will likely key on the Eagles' running attack, thus forcing Foles to beat them. Hard to see Foles being capable of such a thing.
Atlanta 20 Philadelphia 14


Tennessee Titans (+13-1/2) at New England Patriots: An average Titans squad rallied from down 18 points at halftime on the road last week to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 22-21. Their reward? The defending Super Bowl champions.

No doubt the Pats have received endless questions this week regarding the story of cracks developing in their dynasty wall. Whether Seth Wickersham's piece is true or not is irrelevant. There aren't many pro sports teams I know of who can completely eradicate distractions and laser focus on the next game.
New England 31 Tennessee 14


Jacksonville Jaguars (+7) at Pittsburgh Steelers: This is a rematch of a Week 5 contest where the Jags went into Pittsburgh and crushed the Steelers 30-9. Jacksonville intercepted Ben Roethlisberger five times (two went for touchdowns) while their offense generated 231 yards rushing. With Jaguars QB Blake Bortles still struggling, Jacksonville will need a similar effort running the ball to have a chance this game.

It appears Steelers All Pro WR Antonio Brown will return this week after suffering a torn calf muscle last month. Brown had 10 receptions for 157 yards against Jacksonville in their October matchup. If the Steelers don't turn the ball over and feature stud RB Le'Veon Bell against a defense in the bottom five of the NFL in terms of yards per rush allowed, they should roll.
Pittsburgh 30 Jacksonville 20



New Orleans Saints (+5) at Minnesota Vikings: These two teams faced off on the opening Monday night of the 2017 season, a game which the Vikings won handily. However, the Saints are markedly better since that game as is the Vikes' top ranked defense.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Vikings have lost their starting quarterback (Sam Bradford), tailback (Dalvin Cook) and left guard (Nick Easton) since week one. Nevertheless, backup QB Case Keenum has put up very good numbers in 14 starts with over 3,500 yards passing, 22 TDs, only 7 INTs and a career high 98.3 QB rating. And the Vikes have found a nice balance in the backfield with RBs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon.

Speaking of running backs, the Saints feature the first RB duo in NFL history to rack up 1,500 yards total offense each in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. That said, the two had only 68 yards of offense combined in last week's victory over the Carolina Panthers. For most teams that would be a problem, but then most teams don't have a Hall of Fame quarterback who is still playing at a high level. In his 11th season with New Orleans, QB Drew Brees, who turns 39 on Monday, threw for at least 4,000 yards for the eleventh consecutive year. He also sliced up Carolina's defense last week with 376 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns.

As a Vikings fan, I felt that the Saints would be the toughest draw for my favorite club among the NFC field. Now the Vikes get a crack at 'em. The difference in this game will be the Vikings' defense. They're healthy, well rested and ready to prove that their #1 ranking is not a fluke.
Minnesota 24 New Orleans 21




Postseason Record:
Against the Spread: 3-1
Straight Up: 3-1

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

Friday, January 12, 2018

S**tholes happen

While the President denies saying it, does anyone doubt that this sounds like something he would convey?

President Trump grew frustrated with lawmakers Thursday in the Oval Office when they discussed protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as part of a bipartisan immigration deal, according to several people briefed on the meeting.

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” Trump said, according to these people, referring to countries mentioned by the lawmakers.

First, let's tune out all the noise. Trump apologists dismiss this as his just being "himself" and thus he has no stomach for political correctness. Meanwhile, leftists who likely said much worse about rural counties in Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania as well as the southern United States are engaging in the obligatory pearl clutching because RESIST!!

Now that we set that aside, let's address Trump's alleged comment. It's true there are countries whose conditions can be aptly characterized as a proverbial s**thole. But why are they in that condition? Myriad reasons really. Crooked governments who put funding of their corruption above the needs of the citizens. Islands which possess neither the infrastructure nor adequate resources to recover from natural disasters. War torn countries where evil elements (i.e. terrorists) take advantage of a power vacuum. And of course, good ol' fashioned tyrannical leaders who tamp down their citizens' desire for liberty.

So with all that said, why are we holding that against the citizens of those countries? Many of the factors contributing to a country's third world status are beyond the control of the people. So if we're ever going to have a fair and sensible immigration system, shouldn't it be based on an individual's merit as opposed to the sole criteria being country of origin? I have the utmost faith that there are plenty of quality people in most countries which some people consider undesirable.

This latest incident is yet another example where it feels as though we're coming ever closer to the notion of "Trump being Trump" no longer being sustainable. As such, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air broached other issues which cropped up in light of Trump's alleged denigration of certain countries.

People want to dismiss this with the idea that Trump’s just talking like regular Americans, but a president in our system is not just one politician among many. He’s also the head of state, and when a head of state starts calling other countries “shitholes,” including some friendly to us, it has international consequences that go beyond our own internal debates over immigration policy. It’s foolish, and it’s needlessly provocative. A responsible president has to govern his tongue much more closely than the rest of us do, a lesson Trump still has not learned.

Trump and his apologists need to learn one valuable lesson posthaste. Speaking with dignity and decorum does not mean that one is compromising one's basic principles. I sure wish more Trump-kins would hold him to his campaign promise of acting more presidential.

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

Thursday, January 11, 2018

"Resistance" in the courts

In June 2012, President Barack Obama implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) via executive fiat, a program designed to protect from deportation children born in the United States to non-citizens. Two years later, he expanded the program to include adult illegal immigrants who hadn't violated any laws (other than being in the U.S. illegally of course). As was his wont, Obama often asserted his perceived executive authority to create/revise laws when Congress didn't bend to his will.

In September 2017, President Donald Trump allowed DACA to expire. Leave aside for the moment that Obama likely abused his power by usurping the U.S. Congress (Y'know....the folks who actually make laws). Executive orders implemented by a President of the United States are not required to be upheld by the next administration. Whatever one thinks of the merits of the DACA law, any legislation relating to immigration should be devised by Congress (aka lawmakers).

All that said, it makes the latest court ruling on the issue all the more stupefying.

A federal judge in San Francisco (natch - ed.) on Tuesday barred the Trump administration from turning back the Obama-era DACA program, which shielded more than 700,000 people from deportation, Reuters reported.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, ruled that the program must stay intact while litigation is played out.

Alsup ordered that until a final judgment is reached, the program must continue and those already approved for DACA protections and work permits must be allowed to renew them before they expire.

So lemme get this straight: A judge rules that a questionable executive order handed down by one President is required to stand during the administration of the following POTUS?

Sadly, as Jonah Goldberg writes at National Review, this is a symptom of a greater problem that has been brewing in America for some time.

The system the Founders set up depends to a huge degree on the assumption that our branches of government will be jealous guardians of their institutional prerogatives and powers. Indeed, the Founders expected that each branch of government would, from time to time, try to steal more power than afforded them by the Constitution. They assumed that the greatest bulwark against such encroachments would be the refusal of the other branches to relinquish their rights and power. It never occurred to them that the branches would willingly relinquish their responsibilities to the other branches.

Lord knows I had my problems with Steve Bannon – but, as I wrote at the time, he was absolutely right about the administrative state. Congress, the courts, and the executive branch have each in their own way acquiesced to a separate, parallel government walled off from democratic accountability. Congress has bequeathed the power to make laws and even, in some cases, to raise taxes to independent agencies. The courts, meanwhile, have been happy to let the bureaucracy combine what should be separated powers in the hands of bureaucrats. As Clarence Thomas put it, the courts have “overseen and sanctioned the growth of an administrative system that concentrates the power to make laws and the power to enforce them in the hands of a vast and unaccountable administrative apparatus that finds no comfortable home in our constitutional structure.”

But it’s not just the administrative state. No one wants to take political responsibility for policies they want. Just last week, Senator Cory Gardner was livid with Jeff Sessions for not maintaining the Obama policy of stealing power and authority from Congress. Chief Justice John Roberts upheld Obamacare because he didn’t want the Supreme Court to take the heat that would come with doing its job. When George W. Bush signed McCain-Feingold, he said he thought parts of it were unconstitutional but he was happy to pass the buck to the Supreme Court anyway. I could go on.

While many conservatives laud Trump's overhauling the federal judiciary with legal constructionists, this should not preclude the other two branches of  government from recognizing (and being bullish over) what's its purpose is in a representative republic.

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

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Do the math

I'm a trivia buff. I have been for as long as I can remember. I can't explain it, I just love fascinating facts.

Here's one I learned of a couple of years ago, yet it still astounds me.




Being a numbers guy, I did the math. So if Tyler were 228 years old today and his grandchildren are, say, 100, that means he would have had kids in at least his 60s as would his own kids.

Sure enough:




Utterly fascinating.



Ha! Love it.

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

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

When you just don't feel like blogging about headline news,....

....animal videos are always a suitable alternative.




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

Monday, January 08, 2018

Golden virtue signalers

I normally make it a priority to avoid smug, self-congratulatory Hollywood award shows. But at this year's Golden Globes, in light of serial harasser Harvey Weinstein being ostracized, it promised to be even more of an insufferable display of virtue signaling.

In the days leading up the show, there was a general announcement that many of the women in attendance would don black gowns to show solidarity in their vow that Weinstein-esque tactics would no longer be tolerated. All that sounds great, but one can't help to wonder though how many of these gals were privy to Weinstein's behavior yet chose to look the other way for the sake of their careers.

NY Post columnist Maureen Callahan felt these celebs didn't exactly cover themselves in glory last evening.

And the award for ultimate hypocrisy goes to . . . the Hollywood class of 2018.

This year’s Golden Globes were meant to be a defiant, vibrant celebration of a post-Weinstein industry, an awards ceremony about so much more than meaningless awards. We were promised a reckoning, the leveling of a male-dominated industry that institutionalized the rape, abuse and harassment of women for decades.

Like so much Hollywood product, advance buzz was greatly exaggerated. Not one actor or actress, on the red carpet or on stage, made direct reference to their industry’s greatest monster — the one they boast of slaying yet still want to appease.

Host Seth Meyers, in his opening monologue, was the only person in the room to mention him by name.

“Harvey Weinstein can’t be here tonight because, well, I’ve heard rumors that he’s crazy and difficult to work with,” Meyers said. “But don’t worry — he’ll be back in 20 years when he becomes the first person ever booed during the ‘In Memoriam’ segment.”

And how did these brave, crusading, black-garbed, pin-wearing celebrities respond? They booed.

Same when Meyers made a crack about the disgraced Kevin Spacey fumbling a Southern accent. “Oh, is that too mean?” Meyers asked incredulously. “To Kevin Spacey?”

Even a tame Woody Allen joke fell flat. It seems there’s no sexual predator who still doesn’t get Hollywood’s sympathy.

While these woefully out-of-touch celebs offer up plenty of fodder (i.e. decrying poverty via a $380 sweater) for those who enjoy mocking them, National Review's Jim Geraghty suggests we look at the bigger picture.

Look, I enjoy bashing hypocrisy as much as the next guy. But is bashing hypocrisy a sufficient response to a scandal?

Last night, Hollywood held the Golden Globe Awards, and with almost everyone dressed in black, the hosts and winners and audience tried to grapple with the scandal in its own sometimes narcissistic, sometimes self-congratulatory, sometimes-off-key way. Yes, it’s likely that a significant portion of the people in the room knew about the “open secret” of Harvey Weinstein – and/or heard the rumors about Kevin Spacey, and Louis CK, and numerous other figures in the industry. Maybe there was some guilt behind that fancy black attire and the “Time’s Up” pins.

But does being insufferably smug mean that anything they said about the need to end sexual harassment wasn’t… you know, right and true? If “hypocrisy is a tribute vice pays to virtue”… doesn’t it still mean something that virtue deserves that tribute? If you want to scoff, “oh, Hollywood was always notorious for the ‘casting couch’”… Yes, it was, but what if the women (and some men) of Hollywood want that unsavory tradition to end? If there’s an effort to reform a corrupt institution, should we on the outside applaud or snicker that it will never change?

If you want to say their words are insufficient, fine. It would be nice to see Asia Argento, Mira Sorvino, and other women who had their careers derailed by Weinstein to start getting some jobs again.

I will cede Geraghty's point that, in this case, the ends would indeed justify the means if such lecherous behavior is eventually eradicated. But, as Ms. Callahan pointed out in the NY Post piece I referenced, Hollywood types still seem hesitant to be 100% vigilant. Color me skeptical that merely wearing black and perpetuating the #TimesUp hashtag will be the magic antidote.

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

OK, who thought this was a good idea?




 ------------------------------------

Sunday, January 07, 2018

It's your life, and isn't it a mystery....

My first broadcast of 2018! As usual, the one-hour edition of The Closer will get started at 2:00 PM Central Time.

Since Al Franken has moved on from the U.S. Senate, there's been multiple story lines which have ensued. Specifically, did elevating Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to Franken's former slot trigger a "constitutional crisis" in Minnesota? Also, some big names are starting to emerge on the GOP side regarding the 2018 election for this seat.

Oh, and for those who are looking for a discussion on the Michael Wolff book about the alleged chaos and ineptitude in the Trump White House? Sorry, ya ain't gonna get it here.


So please call (651) 289-4488 if you'd like to weigh in on any of the topics we 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, January 06, 2018

2017 NFL Playoffs: Wildcard

Tennessee Titans (+8-1/2) at Kansas City Chiefs: The Titans have a feeble offense (23rd in the NFL in total yardage). The Chiefs have a sieve-like defense (28th in the NFL). Something's gotta give, I guess.

The Chiefs are perhaps the streakiest team in the league having started 5-0, went 1-6 over the next seven games but won their final four contests. Meanwhile, after an 8-4 start, the Titans lost three straight but managed to limp to a 15-10 win over Jacksonville in the season finale in order to get in the postseason.

Yeesh. What a dog of a matchup this is.
Kansas City 24 Tennessee 17


Atlanta Falcons (+6) at Los Angeles Rams: If it's possible for a reigning NFC champion to enter the postseason quietly, the 10-6 Falcons have done so. Yet the odds are not in their favor to return to the big game as the past 23 Super Bowl runners-up have failed to return the following season.

The Rams have made an incredible resurgence from 2016 to 2017, going from dead last in points scored to the top spot. The emergence of 2nd year QB Jared Goff combined with RB Todd Gurley's 2,000+ total yards of offense resulted in 11 wins this season. And if the Rams win this game, head coach Sean McVay would be the first coach in NFL history to win a playoff game before his 32nd birthday.

All that said, I just have a hunch that the defending NFC champs will live to fight another week.
Atlanta 20 Los Angeles Rams 17


Buffalo Bills (+8-1/2) at Jacksonville Jaguars: The Bills have statistically one of the worst offenses in the NFL (29th in total yardage). Literally the only thing they have going for them on offense is stud RB LeSean McCoy, who compiled nearly 1,600 all purpose yards in 2017. Unfortunately for Buffalo, McCoy suffered a bad ankle sprain in the regular season finale. Even if he plays this week his effectiveness will be limited, especially against a Jags defense ranked #2 overall.

Since Jacksonville likely doesn't trust QB Blake Bortles (5 INTs in the final two regular season games; both losses), expect a heavy dose of rush offense with RB Leonard Fournette et al, who guided the Jags to the top rushing attack (2,262 rush yards as a team in 2017) in the NFL.
Jacksonville 28 Buffalo 10


Carolina Panthers (+7) at New Orleans Saints: The Saints defeated the Panthers in both 2017 regular season meetings. Naturally we've been subjected to the nonsensical chanting point on how difficult it is to defeat a team 3 times in one year.

To me, the difference will be how Carolina handles the Saints RB duo of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, both of whom amassed more than 1,500 yards of total offense in the regular season. The duo combined for 248 yards and 3 TDs in the Saints' week 13 win over the Panthers.

On the Carolina side, RB Jonathan Stewart will need to run effectively to take some heat off QB Cam Newton. But Stewart is battling a back ailment, so it's up in the air how productive he can be. Another X-factor for Carolina is the play of Newton. He has the ability to be the most dominant player on the field but occasionally flings the ball recklessly.
New Orleans 24 Carolina 23

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

Friday, January 05, 2018

Check your privilege, Keith

How is it that a sitting Congressman and Deputy Chair of the Democratic National Committee can tout an activist group whose main purpose is to use violence to squelch speech it personally doesn't like, yet there's nary a peep from the mainstream media?




Life's good when one's firmly entrenched in Urban Progressive Privilege (h/t Mitch Berg).

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


Thursday, January 04, 2018

Meanwhile, back in St. Paul,....

....the "constitutional crisis" continues.

Minnesota state Senate President Michelle Fischbach became the state’s lieutenant governor Wednesday.

Or did she?

Fischbach hedged her new title, calling herself “acting lieutenant governor” — a phrase that does not appear anywhere in the Minnesota Constitution.

She hasn’t taken the oath of office — an act the constitution says she “shall take.”

And she’s refusing to accept compensation for lieutenant governor.

Welcome to Minnesota’s latest political intrigue, made possible by the resignation of (former) U.S. Sen. Al Franken, who was formally replaced Wednesday by (now) U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, who resigned from her (former) position as lieutenant governor when (still) Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Smith to succeed Franken.

All this drama around the traditionally not-that-big-a-deal position of lieutenant governor is because Fischbach, a Republican, doesn’t want to be forced out of her Senate seat, which she has held since 1996 — and which she refused to vacate Wednesday.

If she is forced to resign from the Senate — as the Senate’s top Democrat is demanding, even calling her a “former colleague” — it’s possible Republicans could lose their slim majority in the Senate.

So, yeah, this is about politics.

Of course it's about politics. The DFL has proven time and again that they're willing to do whatever to undermine the GOP majority in the Legislature. And since Little Lord Fauntleroy Gov. Dayton has already gone to the well once with the veto-the-legislative-operating-budget trick, it's time to get a little more creative.

As with the fight over the question of Dayton having authority to veto the operating budget of a co-equal branch of government, this saga also looks to face some legal challenges. And if it's ruled that Fischbach cannot legally assume both roles, she has said she would resign as Lt. Gov. and run in a special election for her vacated Senate seat.

One thing which would (for the most part) make this drama moot? There is a special election taking place in Senate District 54 to replace outgoing DFL senator Dan Schoen. If the GOP were to prevail in that race on February 12 (certainly possible given both House seats in SD54 are held by Republicans), the 33-33 deadlock (assuming Fischbach's seat were vacant) would then become a 34-32 GOP majority entering the start of the Legislative session eight days later. That would certainly be some poetic justice, eh?

Welcome to the 2018 new cycle! We're not even a week into the new year, yet it's already been a wild ride.


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

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Quick Hits: Volume CLIX

- Now that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has officially stepped aside, more speculation continues as to whom the GOP will field for the 2018 special election to fill out the remaining two years of Franken's term.

MN state senator Karin Housley has already declared

Now a big named former MN politician is considering jumping in

Michele Bachmann, the deeply conservative former congresswoman and one-time presidential contender, said she is considering running for Al Franken’s former Senate seat in Minnesota.

Bachmann recently told televangelist Jim Bakker that she has been praying about the decision since Franken announced plans last month to leave the Senate amid sexual misconduct allegations. Franken, a Democrat, officially resigned on Tuesday.

“I’ve had people contact me and urge me to run for that Senate seat,” Bachmann said during Bakker’s TV show on Dec. 27. “Am I being called to this now? I don’t know.”

Let's get rid of the wiggle room: Aside from literal divine intervention, Bachmann has zero chance to win a statewide race in Minnesota. After serving three terms in the most conservative Congressional District in the state (MN CD6) Bachmann had to spend way more than was necessary for a political righty to win a fourth term by less than a point.

As much as I admire Bachmann's passion (when she isn't employing the ready-FIRE-aim speaking strategy) and am aligned with her on most political issues, I'm hoping she doesn't feel the pull to jump in this race. It would be a colossal waste of time and money.


- Speaking of U.S. Senate seats up in 2018......

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch announced Tuesday that he won't seek re-election this year, clearing the way for Mitt Romney to return to the national stage by running for his seat.



It's happening!!!


- As emcee of the annual Miss Minnesota Scholarship pageant (an official preliminary to the Miss America pageant), I am thrilled by the news of a new member of the Miss America board.

Gretchen Carlson (no relation - ed.) was elected to lead the Miss America pageant after its CEO and previous chairman resigned amid a sexist email scandal, the organization said Monday.

In a statement, the Miss America Organization said that Carlson, who won the pageant in 1989, would take over the role immediately.

“Everyone has been stunned by the events of the last several days, and this has not been easy for anyone who loves this program,” Carlson said, according to the statement. “In the end, we all want a strong, relevant Miss America and we appreciate the existing board taking the steps necessary to quickly begin stabilizing the organization for the future.”

Carlson, a former Fox news anchor, sued the network’s parent company in July 2016, alleging that then-CEO Roger Ailes “sabotaged” her career after she refused his sexual advances. Ailes resigned days after she filed the suit, which was settled two months later for a reported $20 million.

Former Miss America CEO Sam Haskell, COO Josh Randle and Chairman Lynn Weidner resigned last month after HuffPost reported that Haskell and other leaders at the organization spoke derisively about previous Miss America contestants.

The Miss America organization is the top provider of scholarship funds to young women. The fact that Carlson is available to head it up pro bono immediately boosts morale (thanks to her tireless advocating for harassment victims) as well as reduces the costs associated with running it under Haskell (who reportedly took a $500,000 annual salary).

Now let's hope the Miss America pageant itself remains on network TV (it's been on ABC since 2011) and not banished to an obscure cable channel.

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

Monday, January 01, 2018

Looking ahead to 2018

For this blog, 2017 was the most productive time period to date as I hit 300 posts for the first time in a calendar year. Naturally it was due in large part to the never ending compelling news cycle in the era of President Trump, but there was also plenty of discussion of faith, sports, culture, etc.

While I'm certain the Trump craziness will continue in 2018, we also have the midterm elections which will definitely provide plenty of story lines. Here in MN, the governor's office as well as the state's Constitutional offices will be up for election. Oh, and don't forget all 134 MN state House seats. On the Federal level, you'll have (as usual) all eight MN U.S. House seats up for grabs as well as both U.S. Senate seats thanks to the departure of Al Franken. And given I've been renewed for another year on The Northern Alliance Radio Network (translation: Salem-TC hasn't deactivated my key card access as yet), it's going to be a jam-packed year on the Twin Cities' best, longest running (14 years in March) weekend conservative talk shows.

As always, I look forward to engaging the readers in this forum. While blogging, in the eyes of some, has become passe in the era of social media, I personally have no desire to slow down. And I hope y'all will be along for the journey. 

Until then......

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