Saturday, July 30, 2011

We're gonna vent our frustration. If we don't, we're gonna blow a 50-amp fuse.....

I'll be closing out today's edition of today's edition of the Northern Alliance Radio Network with The Closer, beginning at 3:00 pm Central until 4:00.

Naturally I'll be discussing the ongoing saga in D.C. regarding the debt debate, specifically some rebellious GOP House members who would not go along with Speaker John Boehner's proposal which passed last evening. While these rogue Republicans are being applauded by Tea Party members, was it the wisest move considering the 2012 elections are looming? Give me a call at 651-289-4488 to weigh in.

At 3:30 I will welcome back to the program great baseball mind Corey Ettinger to discuss all things pertaining to the AL Central division, especially our Minnesota Twins. With the non-waiver trade deadline occurring at 3:00 pm CT on Sunday, what kind of moves (if any) can we expect?

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.

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

So tune in to the Northern Alliance Radio Network beginning at 1:00 CT, as Ed Morrissey and Mitch Berg kick it off with The Headliners.

Until then........


Friday, July 29, 2011

Cut this (UPDATE: Boehner updates bill to include BBA)

When it comes to fiscal matters, I am very conservative. As such, I’ve long been outraged by the out of control Federal government spending. Going back to the George H. W. Bush administration (early 1990s), there’s been ample warning by fiscally conservative politicians and talking heads alike regarding this country’s inability to sustain a prosperous nation. Specifically, trying to keep pace with in the midst of increased spending and taxation.

Today, with the National Debt currently standing at more than 14 trillion dollars, the time has long since passed to rein in this debacle. While President Barack Obama looks to raise the “debt ceiling” (aka the maximum amount of money the country can borrow) and raise taxes on “the rich”, House Republicans prefer to cut spending while not raising taxes at all. But since Washington, D.C. requires the cooperation of all three legs (President, Senate and House) of the proverbial stool to get meaningful legislation through, the Republican majority in the House is unable to accomplish all the financial goals it desires. Facing a Democrat majority in the upper legislative chamber as well as a Dem President is a hindrance to said objectives.

As a result, House Speaker John Boehner was forced to put forth his latest plan which raised the debt ceiling by approximately $900 billion while cutting spending over ten years by about that same total (but ZERO tax increases, which his huge). The kicker is the debt ceiling hike would occur immediately, which is a given since the deadline to avoid default (so they say) is late Tuesday evening, August 2. However, the spending cuts are spread out over the next 10 years, with only about $22 billion taking place in fiscal year 2012. Given that spending is projected at around $3.5 trillion for this fiscal year, that’s a paltry 0.63% reduction in spending.

Many fiscal conservatives amongst the electorate (myself included) deem such minuscule cuts as an embarrassment. After all, many busted their tails last election season to send to D.C. those candidates who made a vow to slash trillions from the debt. However, this is a reminder that the only way to get substantive work done on our fiscal house is for fiscally conservative Republicans to regain control of the Senate (need to flip only four seats to do so) and, of course, the White House.

Now I’ve always been a big advocate of voting on legislation with conviction as opposed to concerning one’s self with getting re-elected. Many GOP House members are adamantly opposed to raising the debt ceiling, citing the greater need to cut spending. That is definitely a position with which I agree. However, with no help from the House Democrats, there needs to be 216 GOP members willing to pass this latest Boehner bill so as to put the matter squarely on the shoulders of the Democrats in the Senate. But since Senate majority leader Harry Reid and the other 52 members of his caucus have vowed to table this latest bill, one has to wonder why Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor are going through the insistence that their members get their “a**es in line” and vote for this latest proposal. Obviously, it’s purely a political ploy. The House Republicans can then claim that they have sent two pieces of legislation (including Cut, Cap and Balance) to the Senate, both of which propose to raise the debt ceiling (a compromise on the GOP's part), which is the President’s ultimate goal of this whole debate. But Senate Democrats will have rejected both, which could very well harm them politically, as more than 20 are up for re-election in 2012. Again, since only four Dem seats need to flip (assuming the handful GOP Senators up for re-election hold serve) to give the majority to the GOP, the mindset is to pass a bill now so as to avoid default (the prospects of which may be overblown, but whatever) and focus once again on making a case to voters in 2012.

All this should be a lesson to members of the Tea Party movement, many of whom were seriously engaged in the political process for the first time in their lives. That is, the fight never ends. Then again, Americans standing up for what they believe is the right path to continued freedom and prosperity shouldn't be an easy undertaking. How else would citizens appreciate the greatness of our Nation?

UPDATE: Boehner updates bill to include Balanced-Budget Amendment; Likely to pass House now, but not Senate. Reid will put together his own proposal for which he's calling for "bi-partisan support."


Box score of the week

The Minnesota Twins hosted the then California Angels on July 31, 1990. What can you tell me about this game?


This past Monday, Michael Cuddyer was the first Twins position player to pitch in a game since July 31, 1990 when OF John Moses toiled an inning against the Angels.


Monday, July 25, 2011

My initial reaction.... President Obama's speech Monday evening was that it was a mere regurgitation of everything he's said in the 2-1/2 years he's been President, specifically citing the tremendous cost of "tax cuts for the rich, two wars and a prescription drug program." (Read: I inherited Bush's mess).

However, President Obama's $787 billion stimulus, extension of unemployment benefits and "cash for clunkers" were "emergency" spending provisions that, darn the luck, plunged us deeper into recession. However, it was merely temporary, as those spending bills were to be catalysts to get us out of the recession he inherited (aka "Recovery Summer"). The problem is "Recovery Summer" was slated for 2010!!!!! It is now July 2011 and there's no "recovery" in sight!!!

So are you now going to tell us, Mr. President, that you underestimated the damage done by the Bush administration, and that's why the recovery has slowed? And how about that war in Libya you started without even consulting Congress? Is that Bush's fault, too? Heck, you might as well go with it. Given the condescending tone you've been using, you already think we're stupid enough to swallow that tripe.

Another chanting point President Obama has implemented is to demonize those who own corporate jets. After all, anyone who can afford such a luxury ought to be paying more in taxes. Oh, and one of my favorites from this speech? Demonizing the hedge fund manager who is paying a lower rate in taxes than his secretary. To that I say SO FREAKING WHAT?!?!?!?! If a hedge fund manager makes $250,000 per year and pays, say, 40% in taxes and his secretary makes $40,000 and pays 45%, who pays more in taxes in actual FRIGGIN' DOLLARS?!?!

Honest to God, people, he thinks we're incapable of using simple math, common sense and logic, all the while counting on us to forget recent history.

Thankfully, House Speaker John Boehner was given the opportunity to convey his rebuttal, and did so in a mere 27 seconds (video below).


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Since my Mom and Dad divorced when I was three-years old, I don’t have any tangible memories what it was like to grow up in a stable, two-parent household. Heck, had my parents stayed together, it’s possible the home would not have been all that stable anyhow. But that’s an aside.

Grandma at my Mom and Dad's wedding (Oct. 1964)

Grandma and me (July 1970)

With my Mom being a single parent (as well as the sole breadwinner in the family, supplemented by scant child support payments sent sporadically), times were pretty tight when my brother and I were kids. Week-long vacations were a non-entity in our family as a result. However, we always looked forward to that one weekend per month when we would travel thirty miles east to see my maternal Grandmother, who was living in River Falls, WI. To this day, I can still smell the homemade meal Grandma had cooking the minute we walked into the front door of her home. I can also imagine the Archway molasses cookies she had waiting in that same drawer in the kitchen as well as Tab cola in the fridge.

Given my Mom worked long hours during the week, she looked at this one weekend per month as an opportunity to not only visit her mother but also meet up with old high school friends for an evening out while someone she trusts watched her children. Meanwhile, my brother and I would keep ourselves occupied by racing matchbox cars in the basement, going with neighborhood families to a movie at the Falls Theater or playing catch in the back alley.

As a pre-teen, all I wanted was someone with whom I could carry on a conversation and they would listen to every word. To this day, I can recall a significant number of times where I would just start talking to Grandma about random events in my life, whether it had to do with friends, extracurricular activities, matchbox cars, comic books, etc. Inevitably, I would start spouting the random monologues while Grandma was in the middle of a book (she was an avid reader). To this day, I’ll always remember how she immediately placed her finger at the point of the book she was on when I began babbling. She would then look me directly in the eye, hanging on every word I was saying (despite the topics being things in which she had little to no interest). Although I was much too young to appreciate the gesture, I have since realized she was telling me that anything her grandchildren had to say was far more important than the book she was reading.

When it was time to leave Grandma’s house on Sunday afternoon, we would extend the goodbye as long as possible. My brother and I would literally be waving to Grandma for however long it took to back out of the driveway, put the car in drive and then drive up the street. And the whole time she’d be waving from the front porch until we were out of sight.

When it came time to choose a college, I selected the university right in Grandma’s neighborhood: UW-River Falls. From the Fall of 1987 thru the Spring of 1992, I got to see Grandma on a regular basis, like when I had a 1 or 2 hour break between courses, or if I needed a place to crash after a long day of classes and a late night of studying in the library. But as always, Grandma’s most important role was giving me that unconditional love and support. While I was overwhelmed at times with the workload that came with being a full-time college student, I could always count on a word of encouragement from Grandma.

Celebrating my college graduation with Grandma and my bro Eric (May 1992)

In the mid-1950s, after having worked in the corporate world for a number of years, Grandma and Grandpa decided to open their own supper club near Prescott, WI. “The Virginian” became a well-known establishment in that region for many years to come. Despite my Grandpa passing away in 1960, Grandma continued her tireless efforts to run the restaurant until selling it in the early 1970s. Nevertheless, The Virginian remained a big part of our lives as Grandma, Mom, my brother and I would visit there three times per year (typically Easter, Mother’s Day and Grandma’s birthday). Inevitably, there would be someone either dining or working there who would recognize Grandma. Within minutes, several people would stop by our table to say hello to the woman for whom the supper club was named. And the people stopping by either knew Grandma personally from her days owning the restaurant or had a relative who worked for her. Others just wanted to acknowledge what The Virginian meant to them. I was proud of the fact the Grandma was a bona fide celeb in that region!

In late 1998, at the age of 87, Grandma had deteriorated physically to the point where she needed constant care. Thankfully there was a nursing home right in River Falls (The Lutheran Home) where she would reside. It was also serendipitous that some of her friends were already living there. With myself, my brother and Mom all living within an hour of RF, we were able to visit Grandma on a regular basis. The visits were always very pleasant in that even though she had a hard time getting around physically, she was still sharp as a tack mentally.

Grandma with Jen & I on our wedding day (July 2000)

Wedding reception

But I believe Grandma really began to wind down her life on July 24, 2001, the day she turned 90-years old. We had a party for her and it was announced all throughout the region that there would be a big celebration in her honor at The Lutheran Home. Sadly, many of her close friends (as well as her husband and one of her three daughters) had passed on before her. The fact there was such a minuscule turnout on this day really resonated with Grandma that life had, for the most part, passed her by.

Within two-and-a-half years of her 90th birthday, Grandma one day called my Aunt Susan in Colorado expressing how incredibly bored she had become with her life. In so many words, she was ready to move on to the final chapter.

Sure enough, on February 16, 2004 (about a month after that call to my Aunt), my dear Grandmother Virginia G. Johnson passed away at the age of 92.

So in honor of Grandma’s 100th birthday today, several of us family members will be traveling to the location where The Virginian used to be (a sports bar has been there for the past 5 years or so). Even though it’s been 7 ½ years since Grandma passed away, rarely does a day go by where I don’t think of her or recount a heart-warming anecdote about my life with her.

I wonder if there’s any chance this sports bar serves Tab or molasses cookies.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Yes, I'm let loose from the noose that's kept me hanging about....

After a week off on assignment, I will be back in the AM 1280 studio from 3:00 pm CT until 4:00 for today's edition of The Closer.

I'll be taking the first segment to talk about an interesting e-mail I received this week regarding a blog post I wrote four years ago.

I'll also delve into the latest double standards applied by the media when reporting on Michele Bachmann's candidacy for President.

From there, who knows? There's been a plethora of news this past week regarding the President and Congressional Republicans squabbling over the country's national debt as well as fallout from Minnesota settling its sate budget issues. Any of those items could be discussed as well, so I guess you'll have to tune in!

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.

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

So tune in to the Northern Alliance Radio Network beginning at 1:00 CT, as Ed Morrissey and Mitch Berg kick it off with The Headliners.

Until then........


Friday, July 22, 2011

Box score of the week

Let's check out a game from the Arizona Diamondbacks' debut season back in 1998.


Even before his steroid use in the late '90s, early 2000s, Barry Bonds was perhaps baseball's most feared hitter. In this game, with his San Francisco Giants hosting the Diamondbacks, Bonds came to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning with the bases loaded, two outs and his team trailing 8-6. Amazingly, Arizona manager Buck Showalter elected to intentionally walk Bonds, thus forcing in a run and making it a one-run game. The strategy worked as the Giants' next hitter, Brent Mayne, flied out to end the ballgame, giving the Diamondbacks an 8-7 victory.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ever heard of the fifth amendment?

While perusing various news sources on a daily basis, I'll occasionally read of lawsuits which make me scratch my head and think "What lawyer in his right mind would take on that kind of case?"

To wit:

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall is suing the parent company of the Champion sports apparel maker, calling the decision to drop his endorsement deal over his tweets about the death of Osama bin Laden and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks a breach of contract.

Mendenhall's lawyers filed suit Monday in U.S. District Court in North Carolina, seeking roughly $1 million in damages from Hanesbrands, Inc., the Winston-Salem-based corporate parent of Champion.

The complaint says Champion's decision to end its endorsement deal with Mendenhall in May, days after he questioned the public celebration of bin Laden's death, violates a contract extension the two parties signed in 2010, worth more than $1 million. Mendenhall first signed a deal to endorse Champion products when he entered the league in 2008.

"For Rashard, this really is not about the money. This is about whether he can express his opinion," said Steven Thompson, a Chicago-based attorney representing Mendenhall.

Ah, news flash, Mr. Thompson. Mendenhall already expressed an opinion. Several, in fact. So is the implication here that he should be able to speak without consequences? As an attorney, Thompson should know that the only guarantees of being able to "speak freely" (within a 1st amendment context) is that one will not be incarcerated if one speaks out against his/her government.

The fact of the matter is whenever an athlete is signed to an endorsement deal, their responsibility is more than just hyping a company's product. Said athlete is also representing the company itself, which means Champion had the right to expect Mendenhall to be a good ambassador for its entire enterprise. In fact, all businesses would take steps to rectify any detriment to its profit-making ability, whether it be replacing shoddy equipment manufacturing its product, leaving a state which levies excessive taxes, etc. Why should taking action to ensure good public relations be any different?

As such, it seems Champion outlined in its agreement with Mendenhall that he not do anything to jeopardize his "ambassadorship."

The running back's contract included provisions barring Mendenhall from actions that would bring him "into public disrepute, contempt, scandal or ridicule, or tending to shock, insult, or offend the majority of the consuming public," along with other terms, Lynette Fuller-Andrews, a lawyer for Hanesbrands, wrote in a May 11 letter to Mendenhall's representatives.

"Morals clauses" are commonly invoked when an athlete's behavior makes the wrong kind of headlines. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick lost endorsement deals after revelations about his participation in a dogfighting ring, and Tiger Woods was dropped by some of his sponsors following the disintegration of his marriage over accusations of serial infidelity.

Perhaps Mendenhall can find other source to supplement his NFL salary. Given his penchant for political and social commentary, maybe MSNBC can give him a shot. They'll give just about anyone a show these days.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXXIII

-With the Minnesota Legislature beginning its special session on Tuesday, one question still remains for me. What exactly are we going to do with the funds in the proposed $700 million bonding bill?

Gov. Mark Dayton was hellbent on raising an extra $1.4 billion in revenue, despite the GOP-controlled legislature proposing a budget spending the entire $34 billion in revenue which has been projected over the next two years. The funny thing is, we never received definitive answer as to how that extra $1.4B would be appropriated. Of course, that pesky little detail was irrelevant. The bottom line, per the Governor, was to levy higher taxes on "the rich", thus giving Minnesota the second highest state income tax rate behind only Hawaii.

But since Gov. Dayton has abandoned his obsession bid to raise taxes, why do we still need the extra $1.4B? Better question is why does there seem to be so little curiosity over this?

-Speaking of leaders not being up front with their specific fiscal policies, President Barack Obama continues to hammer the budget/debt ceiling proposals put forth by House Republicans, yet never comes clean on any plan of his own. I guess it's possible that he could still be smarting from the last time he submitted a budget, having it unanimously rejected.

The biggest squabble between the President and Congressional Republicans is debate over raising the maximum amount of money the U.S. can legally borrow (a/k/a the "debt ceiling"). Many fiscal conservatives strenuously object to such a move, especially without substantive spending cuts. With a $14 trillion debt already levied upon us, cutting spending doesn't seem like a radical request.

With a proposal called "Cut, Cap & Balance", House Republicans essentially acquiesced to the President's obsession desire to raise the debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion but also proposed a $6 trillion cut in Federal spending. On Tuesday evening, the House did indeed vote on the measure, passing it by a 234-190 margin. This move now puts the pressure squarely on the Democrat-controlled Senate (which hasn't passed a budget in 812 days) and the President himself who, in the words of Press Secretary Jay Carney, "will not get into specifics."

It's on now!

-ESPN and the Make-A-Wish Foundation recently teamed up to make high school graduate's dream come true. Texas resident (and cancer survivor) Michael Acosta, who is the nephew of a high school classmate of mine, recently had a wish fulfilled by "managing" his favorite baseball team, the Minnesota Twins, for a game.

Check out this heart-warming story:


Monday, July 18, 2011

Separated at Birth: Joe Maddon & Spencer Tracy

Joe Maddon (left) is the manager of MLB's Tampa Bay Rays.

Spencer Tracy is a legendary screen actor from the 1930s thru the '60s.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

'cause I'm only human, I'm no machine.....

While the state of Minnesota will be open for business again soon, it'll be The Closer being shutdown on this day.

Ah, but never fear, as Mitch and Ed will be broadcasting from 1-3 Central time live from the Ramsey County Fair. I have a sneaking suspicion there will be a lot of talk about the state government shutdown being almost resolved, with a special legislative session slated for next week. Whatever the case, you can never go wrong when the full cast of The Headliners is on the air.

Then from 3-5 pm, the Minnesota Voters Alliance will occupy the AM 1280 airwaves.

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.

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

With that, I will be back on the air next Saturday, so I hope to hear from y'all then!


Friday, July 15, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXXII

-It's all but official that Democrat Governor Mark Dayton and the GOP controlled legislature have reached agreement on a budget that will end the Minnesota state shutdown.

While neither political party (nor their supporters for that matter) are particularly happy with the end result, there are a couple of takeaway items which indicate Gov. Dayton came out on the short end.

First, Dayton's plan to gin up support for his side of the debate by going on a statewide tour failed miserably as his invite-only town hall meetings drew scant attendance. Combine that with the fact that the citizens of Minnesota were actually starting to get a firsthand taste of government overreach and inefficiencies (i.e. entities paying for services yet not having them processed in time, the MillerCoors debacle, etc.), and you had a Governor returning to St. Paul with his proverbial tail tucked between his legs.

Also, do you recall how former Gov. Tim Pawlenty was roundly criticized when he temporarily shifted K-12 funds to balance the budget? Well Gov. Dayton has offered that facet as a compromise in an effort to close the $1.4 billion gap between his proposal and that of the GOP.

The special legislative session is tentatively set to begin Monday in an effort to finalize this deal.

-Do you ever get the feeling that President Barack Obama is just making it up as he goes along? It's been even more apparent during the negotiations with Congressional Republicans regarding the best way to resolve the perilous financial situation facing America.

Earlier this week, the House Speaker spoke out about the President's erratic behavior.

In a meeting with a small group of reporters in his Capitol Hill office this morning, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized President Obama and White House officials for their lack of resolve in negotiations.

“Dealing with them the last couple months has been like dealing with Jell-o,” Boehner said. “Some days it’s firmer than others. Sometimes it’s like they’ve left it out over night.”

Boehner explained that talks broke down over the weekend because, he said, the president backed off entitlement reforms so much from Friday to Saturday, “It was Jell-o; it was damn near liquid.”

“By Saturday, they’d spent the previous day and a half just going backwards” on reforming entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

“The only thing they’ve been firm on is these damn tax increases,” the Speaker said.

Townhall columnist Guy Benson penned an excellent piece on Monday laying out how the President lives in a world "in which his entire slate of previous statements, policy preferences, and actions is apparently wiped clean every time he delivers a new speech or press statement."

But the ultimate absurd statement occurred in this afternoon's press conference where the President was hammering the one item where he's been consistent (tax increases).

"The American people are sold," President Obama said.

"The American people are sold, I just want to repeat that."

"You have 80% of the American people who support a balanced approach. 80% of the American people support an approach that includes revenues and includes cuts. So the notion that somehow the American people aren't sold is not the problem. The problem is members of Congress are dug in ideologically."

So let me get this straight. This past November, Congressional Republicans made a whopping 63-seat gain in the House and a 6-seat gain in the Senate while predominantly running on a message of lower taxes, less government and entitlement reform. So we're supposed to believe that a large portion of the electorate now pines for tax increases?!?!

Perhaps GOP leaders should cite some generic poll showing how 80% actually support the Paul Ryan budget. I mean, if we're just going to make things up as we go along here....

-When Barack Obama was campaigning for President in 2008, the mainstream media showed very little interest in questioning why he would attend a church where the pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was spewing blatant anti-American sentiments.

Knowing she will likely not receive the same courtesy, 2012 GOP candidate Michele Bachmann and her husband withdrew from their longtime home church.

Bachmann, a Minnesota congresswoman, and her husband, Marcus, withdrew their membership from Salem Lutheran Church in Stillwater, Minnesota, last month, according to church officials.

The Bachmanns had been members of the church for more than 10 years, according to Joel Hochmuth, director of communications for the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the broader denominational body of which Bachmann’s former church is a member.

The church council granted the Bachmanns’ request to be released from their membership on June 21, Hochmuth said.

After declaring at the CNN/WMUR/New Hampshire Union Leader presidential debate that she would seek the nomination, Bachmann formally announced her presidential bid June 27 in Waterloo, Iowa.

While running for Congress in 2006, Bachmann was heavily scrutinized for attending a church under the WELS denomination due to the fact they declare "...the Antichrist as the Papacy. This is an historical judgment based on Scripture." Forget that Bachmann herself never made any such statement and actually lived a exemplary life by raising five healthy children and opening her home to 23 foster children. Per Bachmann's detractors, the fact she would even associate with such a congregation as Salem Lutheran Church made her an accessory to anti-Catholicism.

But Obama was a 20-year member of Trinity United Church of Christ, had his wedding officiated by Rev. Wright and named a book after the title of one of Wright's sermons, yet there was no curiosity by the mainstream media on how much Obama knew of his Pastor's radical views.

Whatever the case, Bachmann is more than savvy enough to overcome such double standards since she's had to battle them for the better part of the past decade.


Box score of the week

The 1978 season for the Boston Red Sox didn't finish so well, as they blew a double-digit lead in the division, eventually losing to Bucky Dent and the New York Yankees in a one-game playoff.

This week, I'm highlighting a game from April of that season when the "Sawx" hosted the Texas Rangers.


Texas Rangers pitcher Len Barker was a promising young pitcher with a live arm. But in the seventh inning of this game, Barker uncorked a wild pitch with the bases loaded, extending the Red Sox lead to 8-5. It was any old run-of-the-mill wild pitch mind you. As Barker released the ball, the pitch sailed upward onto the screen above and behind the backstop.

I was unable to locate any video footage of said pitch, but I daresay it was the wildest pitch I've ever seen.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Riddle me this

If you listen to certain media outlets regarding the medical clinic run by Marcus Bachmann (husband to Presidential candidate Michele), you may surmise that Dr. Bachmann himself drives a semi-truck around the country looking for homosexuals to round up and bring to his clinic to be cured.

Suppose the rumor is true that Bachmann's clinic does offer services for individuals who look to overcome their homosexual tendencies. It's a controversial program to be sure, but who are we to judge if someone voluntarily wants to overcome such a sexual inclination? How would it be any different than a married person who is a serial adulterer and thus wants to overcome that sin in his/her life?

Of course, some self-anointed sex "experts" would have us believe that monogamy itself is now vastly overrated.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Playmaker" goes deep

NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin (nicknamed The Playmaker during his 12-year NFL career, all with the Dallas Cowboys) has grabbed the attention of many this week with his appearing on the cover of the gay men's magazine Out. No, Irvin himself is not a homosexual. Rather he is the subject of an article where he discussed his passion regarding equality issues for gays. The catalyst for said passion was Irvin's gay brother Vaughn, who died of cancer approximately five years ago.

In the article, Irvin describes how his brother's sexual orientation contributed to his own issues.

He says that he found out his brother was gay in the late 1970s, when he found Vaughn wearing women's clothing. Michael Irvin was rattled by the experience and has figured out since that it contributed to his own womanizing behavior. Working with a Dallas area bishop, T.D. Jakes, Irvin looked at the past.

"And through it all we realized maybe some of the issues I've had with so many women, just bringing women around so everybody can see, maybe that's the residual of the fear I had that if my brother is wearing ladies' clothes, am I going to be doing that? Is it genetic?" Irvin said to Out. "I'm certainly not making excuses for my bad decisions. But I had to dive inside of me to find out why am I making these decisions, and that came up."

Certainly womanizing amongst professional athletes is hardly a novel concept. But given what Irvin is saying in the article, it does make me wonder how many philandering athletes are actually self-loathing in that same manner.

But what really struck me about this story was the next paragraph (emphasis mine).

Irvin says that his father, Walter, helped him learn a tolerant form of Christianity because the elder Irvin accepted his gay son and encouraged him to love his brother unconditionally.

The very essence of Christianity is unconditional love and acceptance, which goes far beyond tolerance. However, when gay advocates and supporters preach (or demand) "tolerance", they essentially say that people (especially Christians) should deny that homosexual activity is a sin. For me, it's no different than any other sin which people choose to commit yet do not seek forgiveness. At one point in my life I knew for a fact that a relative of mine was committing adultery. Did I still love that family member unconditionally? Absolutely. But I would not (and did not) approve of that behavior regardless of the circumstances which supposedly led this person to stray from his/her wedding vows. As such, I prayed this dear family member could overcome the consummation of that extra-marital affair.

Now I'm not insinuating that gays try to "cleanse their minds" of their homosexual tendencies. In fact, I'll even grant you that some people may be predisposed to be attracted to only those of the same gender (not that there's ever been irrefutable evidence to suggest such a thing). But the decision to act on that predisposition sexually is of their own accord. Again it's no different then me, as a heterosexual male, walking by attractive women on a daily basis. Since I made a covenant with the Lord that I would forsake all others and be true to Jennifer, I choose not to act on any impulse I may have to "hook up" with another gal.

Irvin now believes the African-American community should support marriage equality.

"I don't see how any African-American, with any inkling of history, can say that you don't have the right to live your life how you want to live your life," he said, according to the magazine. "No one should be telling you who you should love, no one should be telling you who you should be spending the rest of your life with. When we start talking about equality, and everybody being treated equally, I don't want to know an African-American who will say everybody doesn't deserve equality."

I will definitely be curious to see what kind of response (if any) comes from some of the prominent black leaders. The gay lobby has received significant push-back from the black community whenever they attempt to morally equate their struggle with what blacks endured in the civil rights era. Again, while there is debate over whether homosexuality is genetic or a choice, there is zero dispute over the color of one's skin upon birth. It's definitely an interesting dynamic here with the African-American Irvin implying that the homosexuals' struggle for "equality" is on the level with what his own ancestors endured for over a century. And as far as Irvin wanting the African-American community to support marriage equally? The recent legalization of "gay marriage" in New York shows that a fair number of citizens are beginning to accept the idea of such a union. I'd venture to say that interracial marriage in the early to mid 20th century was not met with nearly that level of approval.

Whether or not you agree with Irvin's mindset on the gay issue, one definitely has to admire the courage and compassion with which he approaches this new found purpose for his life.


Monday, July 11, 2011

It's a distinct possibility......

.....that this.....

....inspired this:


Saturday, July 09, 2011

In memory of Shannon Stone

By now you've probably heard of the tragic incident which occurred Thursday night at the Athletics-Rangers baseball game in Arlington, TX. A 39-year old man named Shannon Stone died shortly after falling twenty feet from his left field seats when attempting to catch a ball thrown into the stands by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton. The most heart-wrenching aspect was Stone's 6-year old son Cooper accompanied him to the game and thus witnessed this awful tragedy.

The Texas Rangers have set up a memorial fund in honor of Shannon Stone, which will benefit his family. You can follow this link to make your donation.



Well I spent some time in the Mudville nine, watchin’ it from the bench.....

As we enter Day 9 of the Minnesota government shutdown, the Northern Alliance Radio Network keeps on rolling along.

I'll be on the air today from 3:00 pm CT until 4:00 with the latest installment of The Closer.

I'll of course opine on the latest shutdown stories and if said shutdown really is all that perilous. We'll also discuss what (if any) impact the tandem of Walter Mondale and Arne Carlson will have on the budget impasse.

Also, is Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) ever going to enter the Presidential race? If so, you can bet the leftists (and quite possibly his fellow GOP candidates) will attempt to tie him to a certain other Texas governor who happened to be President. But I'll explain how that may be an exercise in futility.

For the final two segments I will be joined by Corey Ettinger, Senior Writer for Baseball Digest as well as the proprietor of the blog AL Central in Focus. Corey will be on to talk about the Minnesota Twins' inexplicable resurgence as well as their immediate future given the handful of key free agents on the roster. Of course, we'll also discuss all things regarding the American League Central division.

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.

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

So tune in to the Northern Alliance Radio Network beginning at 1:00 CT, as Ed Morrissey will be flying solo today on The Headliners while Mitch Berg is off on assignment.

Until then........


Friday, July 08, 2011

Box score of the week

Hey, did you notice the Pittsburgh Pirates have a winning record? This is the latest they've been above the .500 mark since 1992, which was the last time they qualified for the postseason.

Anyhow, let's check out a Pirates game from ten years ago as they hosted the Milwaukee Brewers on June 26, 2001.


In this game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon saw two questionable calls made against his Pirates by the first base umpire, Rick Reed. After Jason Kendall was called out at first base, McClendon went onto the field to argue the call. After being ejected from the game, McClendon tore up first base and walked off the field with it, later throwing it into the dugout. Rather than risk McClendon's wrath by retrieving the base, the field crew replaced the base with a new one.


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Memo to Twins rubes

Yes, I saw tonight's 6-2 win over the Chicago White Sox.

Yes, Joe Mauer did a very nice job playing first base.

And yes, I did see Mauer had three hits and drove in two runs.

But please, please, PUHHHLEEEEEZE don't embarrass yourselves by suggesting the Twins try to trade Justin Morneau (once he becomes healthy) and keep Mauer at first permanently. It's ONE game!!

That is all.


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXXI

-Typically the 4th of July is one day where citizens could put aside their political talking points and just enjoy celebrating America's birthday. However, here in Minnesota, it may have been a little more difficult to cease the rhetoric due to state government being shut down. After all, a fair number of families were likely shut out from some of their favorite state-run parks and/or campgrounds due to the shutdown.

But one state employee managed to find a suitable way to enjoy himself on the 4th by hanging out on Lake Minnetonka. While there, said state worker guy saw a lot of people whom he believes are keeping him temporarily unemployed.

On Lake Minnetonka today. I see a lot of folks who could afford to pay a little more in taxes in order to get Minnesota back to work.

Or just one Governor to not break his campaign promise regarding NOT shutting down government over a tax increase.

-Speaking of the shutdown, former Democrat VP candidate Walter Mondale and two-term governor Arne Carlson have formed a committee in an effort to find a solution to Minnesota's budget impasse. Granted, there has been no acquiescence from either Gov. Mark Dayton or the GOP-controlled legislature that they would adhere to any suggestions from an independent committee. Nevertheless, Mondale and Carlson are two of the more well known names in Minnesota political lore, so naturally some people are fawning for their "wisdom."

Personally, I see this as little more than symbolism, given the ideology of the two individuals heading up this so-called committee. You have Mondale, who made a vow he would he would raise taxes if elected President in 1984. I believe his off-the-cuff quote was something along the lines of how his administration was going to "tax their ass off."

Then you have Carlson, the two-term "Republican" governor, who served in that position from 1991 thru 1999. Some may refer to Carlson as a RINO but I think of him as more in the motif of a DIABLO (Democrat In All But Label Only), an acronym coined by Mark Steyn. In fact, local scribe James Lileks was famous for describing the 1990 gubernatorial race between Carlson and incumbent Democrat Rudy Perpich as the "pro-abortion, pro-gun-control candidate vs. the Democrat!” Carlson was also famous for spending state surpluses on entitlement programs which have since become permanent, thus contributing to bloated state budgets over the years.

In other words, do you have any reasonable expectation that Mondale and Carlson would not endorse Governor Dayton's desire to increase taxes on "the rich?" I sure as heck don't.

-Admittedly, I paid very little (if any) attention to the saga of Casey Anthony, who was acquitted of the 2008 killing of 2-year old daughter Caylee. Naturally, the knee-jerk reactions in the midst of the "not guilty" verdict ranged from anger to devastation. I've even seen others blame the prosecution, essentially saying that they bungled the entire case. But when seeking a murder/manslaughter conviction, prosecutors have the unenviable task of proving guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt."

In fact, an attorney friend of mine shared this perspective on her Facebook page:

While I am surprised about the not guilty verdict today, from the bits and pieces of the trial I saw, there was not any resounding evidence against (Casey Anthony). This does not mean our justice system has failed, rather just the opposite - if a group of her "peers" could not say without a doubt that she was guilty, then our system is in fact working.

While there will be continued debate on the verdict, this much is incontrovertible: An innocent toddler has yet to receive justice for her senseless death.


Monday, July 04, 2011

Inevitable Demagoguery

You can pretty much predict the Minnesota leftist's response to a fire at a certain home in Minneapolis.

A fire at the former home of Gov. Mark Dayton near Lake Harriet in Minneapolis was deliberately set, police said Saturday.

Firefighters were called about 2 a.m. Saturday to a small blaze at the back of the house in the 4200 block of E. Lake Harriet Parkway, said police spokesman Sgt. Steve McCarty. Gasoline and lighter fluid were found at the scene, he said.

The fire did little damage because the current owners were able to put it out before firefighters arrived, McCarty said.

He said that because Dayton once lived in the house, it is possible someone thought he still owned it and set the fire for political reasons.

So what does it mean if the ensuing investigation determines that a Republican apologist is responsible for this? It's more than a fair possibility we are going to hear leftist chanting points similar to what was heard in the aftermath of the Tucson, AZ shootings last January. Remember how Republicans and conservatives were lectured on how their "hateful rhetoric" was directly responsible for the actions of a madman? Never mind the gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, was determined to be apolitical.

Unfortunately, I fully expect some Minnesota libs will demagogue this despicable incident at Gov. Dayton's former home in an attempt to gain the moral high ground in the shutdown debate. In essence, we'll be told how this sort of civil unrest could have been avoided had those ghastly Republicans been more reasonable in the state budget talks. But that scenario in and of itself seems rather foolish. After all, the current screed by many DFLers is that the GOP is responsible for Government being shut down simply due to their unwillingness to make "the rich" pay their "fair share" of taxes. So are you going to tell me there's some crazy, right-wing arsonist out there who is setting fires on behalf of millionaires?

Of course, I may be overestimating the mindset of these lefties. As we learned with the Tucson incident, motive doesn't even need to be established in order for such leftist chanting points to ensue.


Saturday, July 02, 2011

You don't have to go home but you can't stay here....

It's 4th of July weekend, yet the Northern Alliance Radio Network will be LIVE on the air today. My show The Closer will begin at 3:00 pm Central time and go until 4:00.

First and foremost on the agenda is, of course, the shutdown of Minnesota state government. With Little Lord Fauntleroy Governor Mark Dayton not getting his way on raising taxes, he declined to call the legislature into a special session, thus forcing a shutdown. We'll discuss how this could have all been avoided as well as what will happen from here.

Speaking of chief executives wanting to redistribute income, President Barack Obama garnered some interesting reactions to his press conference/campaign speech this past Wednesday. As a result, we finally determined where the line is drawn as far as the rhetoric used by MSNBC personalities.

There was also some news with the GOP Presidential candidates this past week, which I hope to address.

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.

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

So tune in to the Northern Alliance Radio Network beginning at 1:00 CT, as Ed Morrissey and Mitch Berg kick it off with The Headliners.

Until then........


Friday, July 01, 2011

Box score of the week

On August 3, 1979, the eventual American League champions Baltimore Orioles visited Yankee Stadium to take on the Bronx Bombers.


The Yankees had an off day on August 2. All-Star catcher (and aspiring pilot) Thurman Munson took advantage of that time to go home to Canton, OH. While there, Munson practiced takeoffs and landings at the Akron-Canton Regional Airport with two others in the plane. On the third touch-and-go landing, Munson allowed the aircraft to sink too low before increasing engine power, causing the jet to clip a tree and fall short of the runway. The plane then hit a tree stump and burst into flames. While Munson's passengers managed to escape, Munson himself died due to smoke inhalation.

The next night, a devastated Yankees team lost to the Baltimore Orioles 1-0.