Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Handle with care

I think it goes without saying that I will never be accused of being an apologist for President Barack Obama. But I found it rather difficult to be overly critical of some of his high profile blunders during the first 2-1/2 years of his Presidency. Whether it was his unnecessary bowing to foreign leaders or mispronouncing Corpsman as "Corpse man" or continuing to blather on during God Save the Queen at Buckingham Palace, the President has had more than his fair share of embarrassing moments.

But I have to ask: Who is advising the President on such matters? The Commander in Chief has tremendous responsibilities in being leader of the free world that he hasn't the time to be micro-managing his administration. As such, people in such elite positions require a staff which can advise him on matters of decorum amongst foreign leaders as well as maintaining a tight schedule.

Which brings us to the latest mishap of the Obama administration.

In a bold masterstroke of bipartisanship, Barack Obama today decided the perfect occasion for his so-called "long-awaited" jobs speech would be at the exact same time next Wednesday the GOP has a long-scheduled presidential debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA.

Does a man languishing in the polls at 38% really believe the nation is calling for more of this childishness from him?

President Barack Obama will make his long-awaited speech about jobs Wednesday night to a joint session of Congress at the same time that the Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in California.

Perhaps by "long-awaited" they're thinking of the promise made by Obama on August 29, 2010 when he said he'd have a jobs plan when he returned from Martha's Vineyard.

The media immediately seized upon this announcement today by implying the speech was set in stone, but Obama needs approval from House Speaker John Boehner, who should tell him where to go.

Naturally, the churlish Obama notified Boener just minutes before making the announcement public.

Boehner's office only got the Obama request asking for a Joint Session of Congress, 15 minutes before the notice went out to the press.

Of course, why afford Boehner the time to react when you can simply ambush him for cheap political gain?

Is it possible that the President was readily aware of the GOP debate scheduled next Wednesday? Sure. But with all that he has on his mind on a daily basis, it's also not a stretch to believe that he had no clue of the significance of September 7th. The bottom line is there are administration staffers who are paid to be politically astute so as to ensure the President of the United States is in a position to convey the utmost dignity. But as we've seen with the White House's current occupant, it's apparent that the staffers oftentimes have a rather unenviable task.

But I digress.

Within hours of announcing a September 7th date to speak in front of a joint session of Congress, the White House later relented and moved the speech to the following evening.

Uhhh, Perhaps Obama's handlers need a little more schooling on how to be culturally astute. You see, for the past several years, the second Thursday in September features the opening game of the NFL regular season. This year, said game happens to feature the two most recent Super Bowl champions in the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers.

As I write this, I have yet to hear if Governors Bobby Jindal (R-LA) and Scott Walker (R-WI) have strenuously objected to this newly scheduled speech and the possibility of it preempting the NFL opener featuring their hometown clubs.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Nothin' but blues and Elvis, and somebody else's favorite song....

This evening will mark the final broadcast for me personally from the 2011 Minnesota State Fair. From 5:00 pm until 7:00 central time, I will be on LIVE in what will be a solo endeavor. However, I'm told there is an off chance I'll have the privilege of being joined by nationally syndicated radio guy Michael Medved for a segment or two, as he will also be live today and tomorrow from 2-5!

As far as topics, who knows? Such things are always fluid.

If you happen to be out at the fair this evening, we have a new location! We're located on Machinery Hill, which is at the north end of the fairgrounds, specifically near the corner of Underwood Street & Murphy Avenue (see map here).

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.

Until then.....


Monday, August 29, 2011

And all the beads we made by hand are nowadays made in Japan.....

It looks like another glorious evening is in store in the Twin Cities as Ed Morrissey and I get set for another edition of the Northern Alliance Radio Network LIVE from the Minnesota State Fair. We'll be on from 5:00 pm until 7:00 Central Time, discussing a myriad of topics. This past weekend saw the escalation of Hurricane Irene on the east coast which, SURPRISE, is being politicized. We'll also discuss the flap regarding ESPN reprimanding golf commentator Paul Azinger over his skewering of President Obama.

And if all goes well, we may have a surprise special guest or two.

If you happen to be out at the fair this evening, we have a new location! We're located on Machinery Hill, which is at the north end of the fairgrounds, specifically near the corner of Underwood Street & Murphy Avenue (see map here).

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. As a special added bonus, you can view the program via Ed's USTREAM channel!

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

Until then.....


Friday, August 26, 2011

Rise up, gather round, rock this place to the ground....

On a special edition of the Northern Alliance Radio Network, Mitch Berg and I will be broadcasting LIVE from the Minnesota State Fair. We will be on the air from 5:00 pm until 7:00 Central Time, featuring some prominent guests.

Right out of the chute at 5:06, Congressman John Kline (who represents Minnesota CD 2) will join the program for two segments. In the midst of his fifth term in the US House, the former Marine Corps colonel will discuss many of the pressing economic issues facing our nation and what lies ahead in the 2012 election season.

In the 6:00 hour, we will be joined by 18-year old Mary Zahurones, who was recently named the 58th Princess Kay of the Milky Way. No word on whether or not the butter sculpture will be accompanying her.

If you happen to be out at the fair this evening, we have a new location! We're located on Machinery Hill, which is at the north end of the fairgrounds, specifically near the corner of Underwood Street & Murphy Avenue (see map here).

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.

Until then.....


Box score of the week

The Chicago White Sox hosted the Detroit Tigers on July 12, 1979.


This game was scheduled to be the first of a twi-night doubleheader. After game one, the White Sox organization, along with Chicago radio station WLUP, put together a promotional event where fans would bring in a disco album in exchange for a 98 cents admission fee. The plan was to take all the disco albums, place them in a large crate in center field and have disc jockey Steve Dahl blow them up. This was in response to what Dahl sensed was an anti-disco backlash from listeners of his station. Hence, "Disco Demolition Night" was the name of the event.

However, several thousand fans (many were likely inebriated) proceeded to storm the field, wreaking all sorts of havoc. Because the crowd go so out of control, the second game of the doubleheader was unable to go on as scheduled, forcing the White Sox to forfeit, thus giving the win to the Tigers.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Job's going fine and the bills are all paid, and everyone thinks that I'm doing OK.....

Opening Day of the Minnesota State Fair always brings about a tremendous amount of hoopla, and this year is no different. Some combination of The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be LIVE at the fair every weeknight (except Labor Day) from 5:00 pm until 7:00 Central.

This evening, I am honored to share the airwaves with the indomitable Ed Morrissey. Ed is one of the nation's most respected bloggers as his numerous daily posts on Hot Air are quite often used as show prep for talk radio titan Rush Limbaugh. With that in mind, I'm not sure what I'll contribute to the broadcast, other than ensuring Ed has an ample supply of cheese curds.

If you happen to be out at the fair this evening, we have a new location! We're located on Machinery Hill, which is at the north end of the fairgrounds, specifically near the corner of Underwood Street & Murphy Avenue (see map here).

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. As a special added bonus, you can view the program via Ed's USTREAM channel!

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

Until then.....


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where credit is due.

Look, I'm not such a blind partisan hack that I can't give props to a Democrat administration when said props are earned. The opposite is also true, in that I am not afraid to be critical of Republicans if indeed criticism is warranted.

With that in mind, I refer you back to a speech Barack Obama gave on the campaign trail back in the Summer of 2008.

The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.

Irresponsible? I'd be willing to go along with that. I've often expressed my dismay over President Bush's mantra of "Compassionate Conservatism" being nothing more than a euphemism for growing government. But unpatriotic?!?! A pretty strong charge, especially when leftists squealed like stuck pigs when they alleged that they themselves were called unpatriotic. Never mind that there was never any substantive proof of such charges, but that's neither here nor there.

My main point here is that President Obama has done in 2-1/2 years what his predecessor needed eight years to accomplish --- add $4 trillion to National Debt "by his lonesome." And as Ed Morrissey pointed out, deficit spending has increased 152% per month under President Obama. So by candidate Obama's standards, President Obama is 152% more unpatriotic than President George W. Bush.

So does that mean leftist kooks like Janeane Garofalo will retroactively refer to candidate Obama as a racist for insinuating that the first black President is even more "unpatriotic" than George Bush? Just a thought.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXXV

-With Libyan rebel forces having overrun the city of Tripoli, it would appear that the 42-year reign of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi may be coming to an end. But even if Gadaffi's days are indeed numbered, this latest struggle serves to emphasize this is merely the end of the beginning.

On Monday, President Obama made a statement regarding the happenings in Libya. There were some aspects of the speech which sounded rather familiar (emphasis mine).

For over four decades, the Libyan people had lived under the rule of a tyrant who denied them their most basic human rights. Now the celebrations that we've seen in the streets of Libya show that the pursuit of human dignity is far stronger than any dictator.

I want to emphasize that this is not over yet. As the regime collapses, there's still fierce fighting in some areas, and we have reports of regime elements threatening to continue fighting. Although it's clear that Gadafy's rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce further bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces that continue to fight to lay down their arms for the sake of Libya.

As we move forward from this pivotal phase, the opposition should continue to take important steps to bring about a transition that is peaceful, inclusive and just. As the leadership of the TNC has made clear, the rights of all Libyans must be respected. True justice will not come from reprisals and violence. It will come from reconciliation and a Libya that allows its citizens to determine their own destiny.

And to think, just three years ago we were given the impression by Obama and his supporters that "regime change" was soooooo 2003. Apparently it's all the rage once more.

-Vice President Joe Biden was in China recently giving a speech at Sichuan University on U.S.-China relations. Now it's one thing to be diplomatic when visiting a country where human rights policies aren't exactly aligned with the United States. But there was one sentence in Biden's speech which left many Americans stupefied.

Your policy has been one which I fully understand -- I’m not second-guessing -- of one child per family.

Uh, say, Mr. Vice President? You do realize how the Chinese government upholds said policy, don't you? Via forced abortion. And as someone who professes to be a Catholic, you're saying you understand that policy?!?! Do I have that right?

Having expressed even more incredulity, Townhall political editor Guy Benson went so far as to seek the official position of the Obama Administration on the issue.

The Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization. The Vice President believes such practices are repugnant. He also pointed out, in China, that the policy is, as a practical matter, unsustainable. He was arguing against the One Child Policy to a Chinese audience.

Fair enough. But I fail to see how the VP's expressing his "understanding" of the policy would indicate he finds the enforcement of it "repugnant."


Friday, August 19, 2011

Box score of the week

April 27, 1971 - The Atlanta Braves hosted the San Francisco Giants.


In this game, the Braves' Hank Aaron hit his 600th career home run. With slugger Willie Mays playing for the Giants, it marked the first time in MLB history where two players with at least 600 career home runs played in the same game.

If Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is activated from the DL and plays this weekend, he and the Twins' Jim Thome would be only the second pair of players with at least 600 homers each to participate in the same contest.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Closing out "The Closer"

As some of you may know, my Saturday radio show has been moved to Sundays, 2-3 pm Central on AM 1280 The Patriot.

I was informed earlier this week that Salem Broadcasting sold the 3:00 hour on Saturdays, something that did not come as a surprise at all. Back in mid-May, when I was initially offered the show, I was told by the Operations Manager that the goal was to have original programming on Sundays. However, I was allowed to hitch my wagon to the Northern Alliance Radio Network every Saturday until someone offered to pony up for the 3-4 pm time slot. As a result, the final installment of The Closer took place last weekend.

Since I will now be the only live NARN program on Sundays, it doesn't make a lot of sense to continue under the same show name. Since I'm probably one of the more uncreative people I know, I was simply going to call my new gig The Brad Carlson broadcast, in the motif of my equally unoriginal blog title. But thanks to my Facebook friends, specifically Nancy LaRoche of Freedom Dogs, a new title of the show has been selected. So on Sunday, September 11 (wonder what I'll talk about that day), "The Brad-cast" will make its debut!

In the interim, I will be making four weeknight appearances at the Minnesota State Fair starting next week. I will be on 5-7 pm on Thursday, August 25 thru Tuesday, August 30, with the weekends off. Be sure to stop by and say "hi!"


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Perry-palooza (UPDATE: Schultz issues mea culpa)

It was only a matter of time before the MSNBC kooks would get the vapors over another Texas governor running for President (Dang, I wish Olbermann was still on the network).

On Ed Schultz's MSNBC program Monday, selectively edited video footage of Rick Perry giving a stump speech was used to give the impression he was conveying a racist statement.

Not to be outdone, Chris Matthews on Tuesday referred to Perry as "Bull Connor with a smile."

I never thought I'd see the day where a prospective GOP Presidential candidate could induce more lunacy than what Sarah Palin has endured since 2008. And this is only Day THREE of Perry's campaign.

UPDATE: “We did not present the full context of those statements and we should have,” Schultz said, then replaying the full Perry quote that made it clear the “big black cloud” Perry was referring to is the U.S. debt, and not President Obama, as Schultz maintained Monday. “No doubt about it, it was a mistake and we regret the error … we should not have included it in our coverage.”

Ya think?!?!?!


Did Ron Paul seal up an endorsement?

One can understand why (Iran) might want to become nuclear capable, if only to defend themselves and to be treated more respectful.
-Ron Paul


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rick Perry in

In what comes as no surprise to many, Texas governor Rick Perry declared his candidacy for President Saturday in Charleston, SC.

"I came to South Carolina because I will not sit back and accept the path America is on because a great country requires a better direction because a renewed nation needs a new president," Perry said. "It is time to get America working again and that's why with the support of my family and the unwavering belief of the goodness of America I declare for you today that I'm a candidate for President of the United States."

Perry, the longest-serving governor in the country who has accounted for 42 percent of all jobs created since the recession, maintained his anti-Washington rhetoric throughout his announcement speech, declaring that he will "work everyday to try and make Washington D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can."

"It's time to believe again in the potential of American enterprise set free from the shackles," Perry said. "The change we seek will never emanate out of Washington D.C., it will come from the windswept prairies of middle America, the farms and the factories across this great land."

With the economy and unemployment being the signature issues in the 2012 campaign, Perry's record as Texas governor in both areas would appear beyond reproach. And given that none of the current crop of Republican candidates really stood out in Thursday's debate, Perry enters the race with some momentum.

As with any other candidates, Perry will have to answer some questions about his past, specifically his being convinced by none other than Karl Rove to switch from being a Democrat to a Republican in 1989. And I can already hear the chanting points from leftists about what happened the last time this country elected a Texas governor to be President. The latter shouldn't be too difficult to swat away, as both the L.A. Times and New York Times ran stories within the past month detailing Bush and Perry's "falling out." Bush during his Presidency spent like a....well.....Democrat while Perry has a record of fiscal conservatism which will no doubt resonate with the electorate.

I get a sense that conservatives are feeling such a sense of urgency to oust Obama from the White House that many might be willing to overlook ideological purity for a candidate that has a legitimate shot to defeat the President in 2012. However, with Perry's record as a strong social and fiscal conservative with a record of strong job creation as Texas governor, we in the GOP may well have found the ideal candidate.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Now my party pad is out in the woods, It’s a long, long way from here to Hollywood....

The entire NARN crew is back in the AM 1280 bunker today as my show The Closer will be broadcasting live from 3:00 pm Central until 4:00.

I am very honored that Mark Heuring, of the power-packed blog Mr. Dilettante's Neighborhood, will be joining me in studio today. Mark and I will take the first segment to discuss the Wisconsin recall elections which took place this past week. As a native of Appleton, WI, Mark has been following the events closely in the Badger state and has some rather keen insights on all that has developed there over the past year or so.

The last three segments will be spent talking NFL Football!!! With Mark being a long-time Packers fan and myself a fan of the Vikings for 30+ years, we will preview the NFC North division and how each of the four teams will fare this upcoming season. We'll go in alphabetical order in terms of the clubs we discuss: Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Minnesota.

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 Mitch Berg will be going solo today on The Headliners. Regular co-host Ed Morrissey is on assignment in Iowa covering the GOP Presidential straw poll. However, we anticipate Ed will call in with a report live from Ames, IA, so you won't want to miss that!!

Until then........


Friday, August 12, 2011

Box score of the week

Kansas City Royals at California Angels - September 30, 1992.

Hall of Famer George Brett collected his 3,000th career hit in this game against the Angels. While standing on first base and being congratulated by California first baseman Gary Gaetti, Brett was distracted for a split second and was promptly picked off.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Separated at Birth: President Obama and Nero

Despite America's credit rating downgrade, President Barack Obama insists we're still a "Triple A country."

Seems to me the President isn't receiving near the ridicule that former GOP Presidential candidate John McCain was dealt back in September 2008 when he observed that "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

Just sayin'....


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

With stars in my eyes......

It's been almost eighteen years since I obtained my first job relevant to my Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. And in that entire time, I considered myself extremely blessed to have remained gainfully employed in my field. Sure, I've suffered a layoff every now and then, but nothing that ever put me in serious jeopardy of financial ruin.

All that being said, I've never had a job where I woke up at 5:30 a.m., sprung out of bed and gleefully anticipated a day at work. Truth be told, I am quite envious of those who have such a vocation where they just can't wait to arrive at their workplace.

But for a span of about 48 hours, I thought I might become a valued member of that demographic.

On Friday afternoon, as I was wrapping up by far the most hectic week I've had at my current work assignment, the fetching Mrs. Carlson sent me a link to a job opening within Hubbard Broadcasting. The subject line of the e-mail she sent read "LOOK AT THIS!!" Sure enough, I clicked on the link for the job title "Show Host - 1500 ESPN." The opening was for the 9:00 am until Noon slot, Monday thru Friday.

And when I read the qualifications, it may as well have been my personal resumé.

  • Previous radio or other media experience preferred
  • Extensive knowledge and or passion about sports
  • Ability to connect with people
  • Ability to articulate, present opinions and be persuasive
  • Sense of humor and appealing voice
  • Ability to work other hours as needed including weekends and evenings

My first inclination was to send my resumé over immediately, so as to have my name in the hopper as soon as possible. But since this wasn't just any job (rather, my DREAM gig), I wanted to stand out as much as possible. In addition to my resumé, I drafted a brilliant cover letter which highlighted each of the aforementioned bullet points by indicating specifically how each fit perfectly with my skill set. I then proceeded to attain three references from acquaintances who are highly respected in the broadcast field.

As I got set to submit my credentials to Hubbard Broadcasting Monday morning, I couldn't help but think of how I was so close to fulfilling something I've thought about for literally 20+ years. Ever since Twin Cities sports station KFAN came on the air in the early 1990s, I've longed to be involved with such an environment as sports talk. And I'm not ashamed to say that way back when, I recorded mock radio shows (on cassette, no less) in an effort to hone my skills. And I can take heart in saying that such a regimen wasn't without its blessings. I don't believe it's an accident that I've landed a regular weekly show at AM 1280 The Patriot, for which I am incredibly grateful. But even the powers that be at Salem Communications wouldn't begrudge me the opportunity to land a full-time, paying gig like the one with Hubbard Broadcasting.

I no sooner completed the final masterpiece that was my application, when I saw a short press release via the 1500 ESPN website.

Another one of the Twin Cities' influential media members is joining the 1500 ESPN team.

After 22 years at the Star Tribune, Judd Zulgad is leaving to become host of 1500 ESPN's new show from 9 to noon weekdays and a columnist for

"The chance to host a three-hour show each weekday, talking about a variety of sports in the market in which I've spent most of my life, is an extremely exciting opportunity and something I'm really looking forward to," Zulgad said.

My heart sank. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was at least going to receive an interview for that position, only to see it vanish before my eyes. It was as if I had painted the Mona Lisa only to have someone draw a handlebar mustache above her lip.

Some of you may think I was naive for allowing myself to be so consumed by that job prospect that this conclusion was almost inevitable. But I can guarantee one thing. If a similar opportunity presents itself in the future, you better believe I will approach it with the same confidence and enthusiasm I displayed for the ESPN gig. And if I don't take that approach, I might as well not even bother inquiring.


Saturday, August 06, 2011

Every year when summer comes around, they stretch a banner 'cross the main street in town....

Today the Northern Alliance Radio Network will be LIVE at the Washington County Fair in Lake Elmo! Since I wasn't invited to play along at the last remote broadcast from the Ramsey County Fair, I'm looking forward to this edition of The Closer, which kicks off at 3:00 pm Central and goes until 4:00.

This past week featured a litany of anniversaries, including the 30-year anniversary of the debut of MTV, twenty years of the World Wide Web and four years since the I-35W bridge collapse. We'll delve into some of those commemorations as well America losing it's AAA credit rating despite reaching a new debt deal almost a week ago.

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. Then after my one-hour extravaganza, stay tuned to a special 60-minute program (4-5 CT) with Andy Cilek of the Minnesota Voters Alliance.

Until then........


Friday, August 05, 2011

Box score of the week

The 2001 season was quite memorable for the Arizona Diamondbacks with them winning the World Series that year. With that, let's check out a game from Arizona's '01 championship season.


This past Sunday, the LA Angels of Anaheim's Erick Aybar attempted to break up a no-hit bid by the Detroit's Justin Verlander in the 8th inning by laying down a bunt. Aybar reached base but was not given a hit when Verlander was charged with an error on the attempt to throw out Aybar at first. Many viewed Aybar's attempt as "bush league" despite the fact the Angels were only down 3-0. Verlander lost the no-hitter when Macier Izturis hit a clean single to left. The Tigers hung on for a 3-2 win.

Upon witnessing that, I couldn't help but recall a game back in May 2001 when the San Diego Padres were hosting the Arizona Diamondbacks. Having retired the first 22 batters he faced, D-Backs pitcher Curt Schilling was only five outs away from a perfect game when Padres catcher Ben Davis laid down a bunt for a base hit. With San Diego trailing only 2-0, the logic seemed rather sound, given the fact the tying run was coming to the plate after Davis reached. But Arizona manager Bob Brenly didn't see it that way, later referring to the bunt attempt as "chicken sh*t." Huh. I guess math wasn't Brenly's strong suit.


Thursday, August 04, 2011

Quick Hits: Volume XXXIV

-Anyone placing odds on how long before Senator Amy Klobuchar exploits this tragedy?

The recipe for a toddler's tragic and fatal fall from a St. Paul high-rise window Tuesday was all too common: Several kids playing on a bed pushed up near a window.

The scenario created a dangerous "launching pad," one safety expert said, for 11-month-old Ilhaan Hassan, who fell nine stories from the Skyline Tower apartments about 7:20 p.m. She was taken to Regions Hospital, where she later died.

The window in Unit 901 had a screen, but it's unclear if the screen was ripped from its frame before or after the girl fell through it, police said. Skyline Tower spokeswoman Deb Lande said the screen was intact when maintenance staff were in the unit July 14 for an unrelated matter.

A secure screen may not be enough to protect kids, said Julie Philbrook, a trauma prevention specialist at Hennepin County Medical Center.

"The screens are meant to keep the bugs out, not the kids in," Philbrook said. "If the kids are pushing on it, the screen's not going to be strong enough to keep the kids in."

Many children are catapulted out of screen windows while playing on nearby beds or couches, she said. They bounce off furniture or other children.

So what do ya say? Sen. Klobuchar will introduce legislation to demand manufacturers build more durable screens? Make inspections of said screens more stringent? Make furniture less "springy?" Pass a law requiring beds to be a minimum ten feet away from a window?

I imagine many of you might think I'm being too jocular in light of this tragic incident. What's scary is I couldn't be more serious when attempting to gauge the reaction of Senator Ambulance Chaser.

-While listening to Hugh Hewitt's program this evening, I happened to catch a segment where Hugh was playing audio footage from the 1984 GOP convention. Specifically, Hugh focused on the talk given by former US Ambassador to the U.N. Jeanne Kirkpatrick, and how our country, which seemed on the brink of irrelevancy in the late 70s into 1980, was revitalized thanks to the resurrection of the American Spirit in We the People. As such, the electorate saw fit to elect the embodiment of said spirit in the person of Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Ever the optimist, Hugh feels we will have a similar moment at the 2016 GOP convention.

I am confident that five years from now, in the summer of 2016, the next Jeanne Kirkpatrick will be reminding the GOP convention of that day about how grave the times seemed under Barack Obama in the summer of 2011, and how the San Francisco Democrats had returned to power as they had under Jimmy Carter, doubted American exceptionalism as they had under Jimmy Carter, and predicted inevitable American decline as they had under Jimmy Carter.

Every bit of economic foolishness embraced by Jimmy Carter has been replayed by Barack Obama with the same results, but the turnaround will be all the greater for it, just as 1981 through 1989 proved to be the American renaissance of power and influence. Of course we cannot today be sure if it will be President Pawlenty, President Perry or President Romney who will lead the way anymore than in 1979 we were sure that it would be President Reagan who reinvigorated the American experiment, but the ability of the nation to spring back re-energized when recommitted to economic and political freedom should never be underestimated, even on days of market plunges.

Hugh also mentioned that Breitbart's website will post audio of Kirkpatrick's speech in the coming days. It was audio that took Hewitt show producer Duane Patterson two solid days to track down, as the likes of You Tube, C-Span and PBS did not have it in its entirety, if at all. Finally an old friend of Duane's at the RNC was able to track it down in the basement archives. I for one am certainly glad that persistence paid off.

-In a somewhat surprising move (that is, until we learned of the reason for said move), the Minnesota Vikings released nine-year veteran offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie Tuesday after he showed up to training camp woefully out of shape. Listed at 335 lbs. for most of his career, McKinnie arrived in Mankato tipping the scales at close to 400!

In the 2-1/2 years I've been on Twitter, I followed McKinnie's "tweets" and I often remarked how he talked little about football and a lot about life in South Beach. While he had out-of-this-world talent when drafted number seven overall in 2002 (he never allowed a quarterback sack in four years at the University of Miami), his work ethic always seemed to be in question. Never was that more apparent than his "tweets" discussing late night parties from wherever he was living his life. I guess his dalliances with the likes of Venus Williams, Lil' Kim and Pepa didn't lend itself to leading a healthy lifestyle.

I'd be surprised if McKinnie ever plays another down in the NFL again.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Mea Culpa on Paul? (UPDATE: Could Paul run as a third party candidate?)

I've never really understood what causes some people to wet themselves when talking about perpetual Presidential candidate Ron Paul. More specifically, I've been told by many of my libertarian friends that my view of Paul being a crackpot is a bit harsh. Unfortunately, his palling around with true kook Jesse Ventura did little to dissuade me that my assessment was wrong.

But with that in mind, I've been seeing a lot lately a quote attributed to Paul that seemed to be the quite prescient in regards to the agreement to raise the debt ceiling (and thus add trillions to our debt).

"Deficits mean future tax increases, pure and simple. Deficit spending should be viewed as a tax on future generations, and politicians who create deficits should be exposed as tax hikers."

It'll be interesting if any of the current crop of GOP Presidential candidates echo this same viewpoint. Michele Bachmann also voted "No" to raising the debt ceiling, though many would argue it was little more than an attempt to score cheap political points. Regardless what one thinks of Paul, he doesn't strike me as the type to dabble in such symbolism.

I'll put it this way: If by some minor miracle Paul becomes the GOP nominee for President, I can easily support him over the White House's current occupant.

UPDATE: The Paul Threat Republicans Mustn't Ignore.


Monday, August 01, 2011

All those years ago (30, to be exact)

It was 30 years ago today when a certain cable channel made its heralded debut.

MTV was launched as an initialism of "Music Television" when the clip “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles aired on August 1, 1981. (The second video to air was Pat Benatar's "You Better Run.")

The channel had a profound effect on pop culture and signaled a new era in how the country consumed music and perceive musicians. The channel's original format was initially like a radio station where on-air hosts known as VJs would introduce video segments.

Eventually MTV would introduce such shows as "Headbangers Ball" and "YO! MTV Raps", which appealed to specific musical tastes. For a geeky, lily-white urban kid, it was just what I needed. That is, I could sing along to these tunes in the solitude of my basement TV room (I still know the lyrics to Enter Sandman AND It Was A Good Day). Yes, both genres of music were my own private guilty pleasures!

Today, many of the original VJ's can be heard via satellite radio. Sirius XM 80s on 8 is all 80s tunes all the time, with the likes of Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood and Martha Quinn bringing us back to that great decade!! And while Martha still sounds as cute as she ever did, Nina's voice resembles that of Phyllis Diller.

Unfortunately, the channel which was dubbed "all music, all the time" is barely recognizable these days, given such vacuous programming as Jersey Shore, The Real World, 16 and Pregnant, My Sweet 16 and Teen Wolf (No, not the Michael J. Fox '80s movie).

Nevertheless, such vapidity can't take away the fond memories I have seeing my favorite musicians rock out in front of a camera.


Debtpocalypse avoided

Let's face it. There was never any real danger of default had the powers that be in Washington, DC not agreed on a deal to raise the debt ceiling by the self-imposed Tuesday evening deadline. It was merely a chanting point used by President Obama and his fellow Democrats in an attempt to stem the tide of a potential GOP onslaught in 2012.

In the end, the President got his debt ceiling hike but thankfully was thwarted in his attempts to raise taxes. From the GOP perspective, this deal can't be all bad when you consider that the New York Times holy trinity of Krugman, Dowd and Friedman are pitching a fit over it. A serendipity, if nothing else.

The next phase of this drama concerns whether or not the United States will be able to maintain standing as a top-notch borrower.

Many economists believe that America could soon lose its triple-A credit rating, despite a deal being agreed. Standard & Poor's, the rating agency, recently said that a credible fiscal plan would need to include $4tn of deficit-reduction measures.

"Avoiding the worst case scenario of a default on US Treasury obligations will not prevent a downgrade of the triple-A sovereign rating," said Kevin Daly, emerging market debt portfolio manager at Aberdeen Asset Management. "So it's time for us all to figure out just what it means when the US gets downgraded."

Stuart Gulliver, chief executive of HSBC, said the progress made over the US debt ceiling was "very welcome", but also warned that America could have its credit rating cut.

Exit question: Shouldn't S&P themselves be under a tremendous amount of scrutiny, given that they gave such good ratings to many mortgage-backed securities that went bust?