Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Quick Hits: Volume CXLV

- A lot of leftists in my Twitter timeline were tweeting out excerpts of former president George W. Bush's Monday morning appearance on the Today show.

A couple of items they seemed fixated upon:

“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Bush said in a “Today” show interview Monday morning. “We need an independent media to hold people like me to account. Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.”

When asked about his thoughts on Trump’s executive order banning entry to the United States from seven majority Muslim countries, Bush said, “I am for an immigration policy that’s welcoming and upholds the law.”

I paid rapt attention to the President George W. Bush years and I can tell you that the beliefs he expressed Monday are consistent with what he conveyed during his presidency. In fact, I recall a lady asking Bush at a 2005 town hall meeting how he endures the media's seemingly unfair characterization of him in the aftermath of the Iraq war. Bush, dignified as always, pretty much said word for word what he conveyed Monday regarding a free press. And his immigration policy has always been one which was openly questioned by the "Build a wall" crowd.

I would love to see one of those Venn diagrams showing leftists using Bush's words to validate their disdain towards President Trump and leftists who pretty much savaged the President Bush at every turn, including the occasions he expressed his views on media and immigration.

- By now you've heard about the epic screw-up where actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway incorrectly cited La La Land as Best Picture at Sunday's Academy Awards ceremony. After much chaos, it was revealed that Moonlight was the rightful winner.

My two favorite reactions to that blunder had to be these:

Given I'm a pageant emcee and the fact Goodfellas is in my personal top 5 of greatest all-time films, these two tweets summed it up perfectly for me.

- Booze on, Minnesota!

The Minnesota Senate voted 38-28 Monday to end the prohibition on Sunday liquor store sales, following in the footsteps of the House, which passed a similar repeal last week with an 85-45 vote. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he would sign a repeal if it made it to his desk.

The easy victory in both chambers is a dramatic change from past years when Sunday sales bills couldn’t make it to the floor for a vote and efforts to tack the repeal onto other legislation as amendments was met with resounding rejections. But this year, repealing the Sunday sales ban seems to have an unstoppable momentum.

“I was confident we had the votes to pass the bill,” said Sen. Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, chief sponsor of the Senate measure. “This was a strong effort for the people by the people.”

In the Senate, eleven freshmen senators voted "yes" on the measure and nine veterans voted "yes" for the first time in their respective legislative careers. It's clear the will of the people won out as this was a key issue during the 2016 campaign.

Perhaps one of the best parts of this issue finally being resolved? That chanting point of "Aren't there more important issues to address?" can be retired. That always grated on my nerves, especially when it was uttered by conservatives. Government should never be a barrier to legitimate businesses conducting commerce whenever they choose. As such, removing such antiquated prohibition laws to strengthen free markets and give consumers more options seems quite important in a capitalistic society, no?


Monday, February 27, 2017

Not as noble as you think you are

Seriously, does anyone outside of Washington, D.C. give two squats about this?

The president of the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) said Saturday that the organization looks forward to hosting its annual dinner despite President Trump's decision not to attend.

“The WHCA takes note of President Donald Trump's announcement on Twitter that he does not plan to attend the dinner, which has been and will continue to be a celebration of the First Amendment and the important role played by an independent news media in a healthy republic," WHCA president Jeff Mason said in a statement.

"Independent?" Sorry, but that ship has sailed. A good number of aspiring journalists over the past two decades have indicated their main reasons for entering the profession are to "speak truth to power" or "change the world." Since when did the criteria for a journalist shift from fact-based reporting to activism?

"We look forward to shining a spotlight at the dinner on some of the best political journalism of the past year and recognizing the promising students who represent the next generation of our profession," (Mason) added of the April 29 dinner.

In other words, it's no different than these Hollywood award shows where smug, self-important individuals gather together to stroke each others' egos.

What's most pathetic is that these media types are so needy that they showed up to the 2014 event despite revelations of their colleagues at the Associated Press being spied on by the Obama White House the previous year. Yet some of these same people threatened to pull out of this year's dinner due to President Trump being a big meanie.

I've said many times that I'm not a fan of how Trump is interacting with the news media. However, the fact he's been the most effective President in revealing what frauds they are is definitely a serendipity.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Another rare and well-deserved break

On a quick weekend getaway with the fetching Mrs. Carlson, so I will be taking the day off from my weekly Northern Alliance Radio Network gig today. Nevertheless. be sure to tune to hear my friend and NARN colleague Mitch Berg as he will assume the reins at the normal 2-3 PM time slot. 

Check out Mitch's blog for a preview of what's on tap for today's broadcast. 

Until then......


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Twinnin' in Madison

As some of you may know, the fetching Mrs. Carlson plays the harp in her spare time.

It's a hobby she began while in Middle School but gave it up after about 15 years. After a decade long break, she was bit by the harp bug in 2009 and has been playing regularly ever since. In the past 7-8 years since she's resumed playing, the FMC has been asked to play at church services, weddings, funerals, cocktail parties and various other social events

In the past 5 years or so, my wife gleefully discovered the musical phenomenon that is the Harp Twins.

From the website of harp-playing twin sisters Camille & Kennerly Kitt:

As the world’s only identical twin professional harpists, Camille and Kennerly were trained classically, but have a passion and flair for arranging and performing rock, metal, and soundtrack music for Harp Duet. The Harp Twins perform on statuesque acoustic Concert Grand Harps as well as Electric Harps. Camille and Kennerly have teamed-up with Harpsicle/Rees Harps to show what can be done with smaller, affordable harps, using their Harpsicles in videos and for work with children who have special needs. Camille and Kennerly have created a unique niche for themselves: they play rock and metal music using only their two harps. With no backtracks, no studio, no production crew, and no record label, the Harp Twins are the archetype of true independent artists.

It's a good bet that they've covered one of your favorite songs. Definitely check out the fine selection via their YouTube channel.

I bring this all up to say that my wife and I are very much looking forward to seeing the gals in concert this evening at the Stoughton Opera House near Madison, WI. As an added bonus, we'll have an opportunity to meet the gals at their post show meet-n-greet!

Should be fun!!


Friday, February 24, 2017

Standard Fare

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) recently hosted a town hall meeting for his leftist constituents to air their grievances over GOP policies. Given that leftists typically do more talking than listening, some Republican members of Congress have been hesitant to do town halls simply because they become counterproductive due to the lack of order. Nevertheless, Sen. Cassidy was willing to make a go of it.

Unfortunately, this particular town hall was overshadowed by the despicable behavior of many of the attendees. 

First was the shouting down of the invocation: 

Then there was the disruption of the Pledge of Allegiance:

Did I become angry watching these videos? Absolutely. But should I be the least bit surprised? Nah, not really. After all, people of this ilk booed God and Jerusalem at the 2012 Democrat National Convention.

I guess proggies will never cease being the scorpion to basic civility's frog.


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Quick Hits: Volume CXLIV

- My friend Rep. Nick Zerwas (R-Elk River) has been very vocal about increasing penalties for protestors who would block freeways, entry ways to the airport, access to public transportation, etc. Keep in mind that these activities are already illegal. Also, ignore the chanting points that this is an effort to undermine first amendment rights, as such nonsense is merely a smoke screen from the larger issue of some (not all, but some) protests endangering public safety.

With that in mind, proposed legislation put forth by Zerwas and Rep. Kathy Lohmer (R-Stillwater) have passed a critical first step.

Lohmer’s bill to increase penalties for highway protests and Zerwas’ bill to increase penalties for obstructing traffic to a highway or airport passed the public safety House committee Wednesday morning on 10-6 votes. The committee room was packed to overflow with attendees, who occasionally shouted during the hearing, and lawmakers heard from nearly a dozen citizens and experts who testified against the measures.

One of the more outspoken critics of this legislation has been John Thompson who was a friend of Philando Castille, the young man shot and killed by a St. Anthony police office last July.

“Stop giving us a reason to protest,” Thompson implored lawmakers.

With all due respect Mr. Thompson, MN House members are not responsible for the senseless death of your friend. The proper channels of local government (i.e. the county attorney's office) are currently working to ensure justice will be meted out. Problem is, it's rarely the "right kind of justice" to satisfy some protestors.

- Leftist filmmaker Michael Moore said this about staunch anti-Trumpers (a/k/a "The Resistance") showing up at town hall meetings hosted by GOP members of Congress.

"This makes the tea party look like preschool."

If you think about it, this is an unwitting indictment of "The Resistance" movement, given that progs like Moore often cited the Tea Party movement as racist, violent and xenophobic.

- I consider myself pro life. I have donated time and money to pro life causes. I have given a voice to the pro life movement via my radio show.

Nevertheless, whatever resources I've put into such a vital cause now seem to pale in comparison to the dedication of Royce Young and his pregnant wife Keri.

The child, a baby girl they are naming Eva, is being born without a brain and because of this, she isn't expected to live past a few days. When her parents found out about their daughter's condition, the 31-year-old mother asked if her organs could be donated if she carried her to full term.

Royce Young posted the black-and-white photo of his wife sleeping on Facebook with a moving caption about his wife's bravery and selflessness through the entire pregnancy.

"I thought back to the moment where we found out Eva wasn't perfect, and how literally 30 seconds after our doctor told us our baby doesn't have a brain, somehow through full body ugly crying, Keri looked up and asked, 'If I carry her full term, can we donate her organs?" Young writes about his wife Keri. He goes on to say how the doctor told her she didn't have to think about something like that, but his wife was serious.

And now, with her belly full and the baby close to being born, the couple looks forward to the day they meet their baby girl, even if it's only for a few days.

"Eva is alive and our daughter deserves to meet her mama and daddy, gave us a purpose to continue on," Young writes. "Donating was on Keri's mind from darn near the second we found out and while the experience of holding and kissing our daughter will be something we cherish forever, the gift(s) she's got inside that little body of hers is what really matters."

I really don't know what more I can add except to say that the Youngs embody selflessness. Wow.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Tolerance a one-way street

Of all the professional sports leagues, I would venture a guess that the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) is most blatant in conveying its "progressive" tendencies. I guess I don't have a major issue with that, except when it bleeds onto the court.

With that said, I'm still a taken aback by an account of what a former WNBA player endured from teammates when she didn't quite fit a certain mold.

Candice Wiggins called her experience playing in the WNBA "toxic," a major reason the former No. 3 draft pick says she abruptly retired at age 29 last year.

In an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune published Monday, Wiggins called the culture in the league "very, very harmful" and said she was targeted throughout her eight-year career for being both heterosexual and popular nationally.

"I wanted to play two more seasons of WNBA, but the experience didn't lend itself to my mental state," Wiggins told the newspaper. "It was a depressing state in the WNBA. It's not watched. Our value is diminished. It can be quite hard. I didn't like the culture inside the WNBA, and without revealing too much, it was toxic for me. ... My spirit was being broken."

Wiggins said she was treated poorly by a majority of players in the league from the day she was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx in 2008 after a notable career at Stanford.

"Me being heterosexual and straight and being vocal in my identity as a straight woman was huge," Wiggins told the Union-Tribune. "I would say 98 percent of the women in the WNBA are gay women. It was a conformist type of place. There was a whole different set of rules they [the other players] could apply."

In a follow-up interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday, Wiggins said she meant to use the 98 percent figure as an illustration rather than fact.

There is no published data on the number of gay players in the league.

I would highly doubt that 98% of WNBA players are gay. However, I would imagine that percentage is indicative of those players who believe the slightest moral objection to homosexuality is borderline criminal.

"People were deliberately trying to hurt me all of the time," Wiggins said. "I had never been called the B-word so many times in my life than I was in my rookie season. I'd never been thrown to the ground so much. The message was: 'We want you to know we don't like you.'"

Sadly we live in a day and age where a response to even a perceived slight is met with physical assault. What's even more disturbing is that some will justify that type of response.

Thankfully, Wiggins appears to be through the worst of it.

"I want you to understand this: There are no enemies in my life," Wiggins told the newspaper on Tuesday. "Everyone is forgiven. At the end of the day, it made me stronger. If I had not had this experience, I wouldn't be as tough as I am.

"I try to be really sensitive. I'm not trying to crush anyone's dreams or aspirations, or the dreams of the WNBA. I want things to be great, but at the same time it's important for me to be honest in my reflections."

I guess I wouldn't be shocked if other WNBA players had similar experiences to Wiggins' ordeal. But given the backlash Wiggins has received on social media, etc., don't be shocked if no one chooses to come forward with their own personal story.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Life's transitions

It was the summer of 1986 (two months before the beginning of my senior year of high school) when my mom purchased her first home. It was a 1,600 square foot town house about 5 miles east of downtown St. Paul. It doesn't sound like much but it may as well have been a sprawling estate on multiple acreage. That was the perspective my brother and I had, given we had lived in small apartments where we had to share a bedroom our entire lives.

The nice thing about that house was that mom always kept our respective bedrooms clean in the event either of us needed to move back home after our initial move outs. I know I definitely took her up on that offer a few times, whether it was due to a broken engagement in 1992, a financial struggle in 1996 or a stopgap until the completion of my wife and I's home in 2008.

Over the weekend, mom accepted an offer to sell that house. Given that the real estate market is currently favorable to sellers, there ended up being a bidding war, thus there was an increase in the original listing price. After the initial increase, there were two prospective buyers willing to pay the new amount, so it was the opinion of mom's realtor that she could counter with an even slightly higher price to determine who was most serious. However, mom declined. Of the two offers, one was put forth by a single mother who has two young daughters. Remembering how mom was in a similar situation (but raising two boys) in 1986, she chose to return the generosity that was shown her 30+ years earlier and accept an offer that was lower than what she ultimately could have garnered.

While I only resided in that home a grand total of 10 out the nearly 31 years mom has owned it, I still feel a special attachment to it because it's the only actual house I ever lived in growing up. Regardless, that house represents the faith mom had that, despite enduring some significant trials, everything would turn out OK. And it did. Now that mom will be living in a one-level apartment, there's no longer the physical burden of managing three levels. In addition, she's now enhanced what has been an enjoyable retirement for the past 15 years. Believe me, she's earned it.



I have no idea what former first daughter Chelsea Clinton has in mind for her future. However, if she is at all interested in setting goals, perhaps one challenging objective would be to publish a tweet without stepping on the proverbial rake.

Here's one:



Oh well. We miss 100% of the shots we don't take, or something. Don't stop reaching for the stars, Chels.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

In a sky full of people, only some want to fly.......

I know it's unseasonably warm, so it may be too much to hope for to have a lot of you tune in live to the Northern Alliance Radio Network this afternoon. Nevertheless, my program The Closer will air from 2:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time (but podcast it later if the outdoors beckon).

I'll look back at Tuesday's special election in House District 32B where my friend Anne Neu (R-North Branch) emerged victorious. Despite that, leftists were still attempting to spin this as a referendum on President Donald Trump. 

There's also a veritable buffet of national news to get to. 

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

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out via iheart radio. If you're unable to tune in live, please check out my podcast page for the latest show post.

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

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

Until then.....


Thursday, February 16, 2017

They told us....

....that if we support construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the nearby water ways will be polluted and certain lands will be uninhabitable.

And they were right.


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Neu's day

How is it that a special MN legislative election in a House District comprised of mostly rural areas northeast of the Twin Cities garners national attention? After all, CNN sent a reporter to town to do a story on HD 32B. Teachers unions were out in full force in hopes that a Democrat could pull the upset in this reliably red district.

Given that the GOP had a healthy 76-57 majority in the Minnesota House going into Tuesday's election, a DFL win would do little to put a dent in the balance of power, so what's the point?

The first paragraph of David Montgomery's write up in the St Paul Pioneer Press gives an indication why the left went full bore in this race (emphasis mine)

Republican Anne Neu won a special election for a Chisago County legislative seat Tuesday, dashing Democratic hopes that voter reactions to President Donald Trump would help them win a right-leaning House district.

Neu beat DFL candidate Laurie Warner by 6 percentage points in the Valentine’s Day election, carrying 53 percent of the vote to Warner’s 47 percent. It was the first Republican-held seat in the nation up for election since Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

Ordinarily, Neu would have been heavily favored to win — Trump took about 60 percent of the district’s vote in November. But with special elections often unpredictable, Republicans didn’t take anything for granted.

Anne is a friend of my wife and I, so it's more difficult than normal for me to be impartial here. That said, there's little doubt in my mind that Anne Neu was the perfect candidate if one of the criteria of this race was to not take anything for granted. Anne knows what it takes to run a winning campaign in difficult circumstances. In 2010 she was campaign manager for U.S. House candidate Chip Cravaack, who would go on to unseat 18-term incumbent Jim Oberstar in Minnesota's Eighth Congressional District. It was the first time a Republican had prevailed in the 8th in more than 60 years.

To say it's been an unusual road to victory for Anne would be an understatement. Last September, her husband Jon passed away after a three year battle with A.L.S., leaving her to raise five children (ages 8 to 17) on her own. Nevertheless, she persisted (Heh. See what I did there?). A mere three weeks after Jon's passing, Anne announced she would seek the GOP nomination for HD 32B after it was ruled incumbent Bob Barrett was ineligible to seek reelection due to not residing in the district. The following month, the local GOP chose Anne as their candidate via an endorsing convention. The four month grind culminated with Anne's victory Tuesday night.

Prior to 2016, the largest number of Republicans House members just after a presidential election was 69. With this win, the GOP now has a 77-57 majority in the MN House, denying the left a much sought after chanting point. How sweet it is!


Monday, February 13, 2017

Just another in a series of reminders.....

....to the LGBT community.

Secular "progressives" in this country will celebrate your ability to live open and freely, provided you're in lockstep with their radically leftist ideology.

Townhall political editor Guy Benson learned this.

So did Bruce Caitlyn Jenner.

But perhaps one of the more egregious examples is what journalist Chadwick Moore had to endure. Sadly Mr. Moore learned it wasn't good enough to lean left. Nope. See, he was also expected to do the proggies' bidding by savaging controversial gay conservative Milo Yiannopoulos. So when Moore wrote a (GASP!) neutral piece on Yiannopoulos, he was pretty much ostracized by the radically left crowd. Hence began Moore's conversion to conservatism.

Because nothing says "freedom" and "openness" like blatant identity politics.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

I don't know where she's living; All I got is a card....

It's the first Sunday in a while without NFL action, but we'll soldier on. In case you've been occupied with football the past 5-6  months, I'm here to let you know that the Northern Alliance Radio Network is still chugging along. Today's edition of The Closer is in its usual time slot of 2:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time.

A lot of news to get to from this past week including the Ninth Circus Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a lower court ruling of a stay on President Trump's temporary immigration ban, the "progressive" left still blocking entrances to schools fifty years after George Wallace did so, etc.

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

You can listen live in the Twin Cities at AM 1280 on your radio dial. In and out of the Minneapolis-St Paul area, you can listen to the program on the Internet by clicking this link, or check us out via iheart radio. If you're unable to tune in live, please check out my podcast page for the latest show post.

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

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

Until then.....


Saturday, February 11, 2017

This is what not conforming to a sole ideology looks like!!!!!!!!!!!!

During the 2016 presidential race, the left was in its usual freak-out mode over the prospects of Donald Trump becoming President. Granted, Trump gave them plenty of ammo, but leftists pretty much use the same chanting points against any Republican candidate. It was also said about Mitt Romney, John McCain and George W. Bush that if they were elected President, women's rights would be undermined and black people would once again endure segregation not seen since the days of Jim Crow.

The insinuation from self-labeled progressives has been clear for some time: Vote Democrat and minorities & women will never have to fear their rights being undermined....so long as they don't stray from the ideological plantation. 

Sen, Tim Scott (R-SC) learned that the hard way when he supported Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General. 

Then on Friday, the left continued its war on women by physically preventing new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from entering a Washington, D.C. public school.

As much as the left likes to tout themselves as "progressive," it appears very little has changed about them over the past half century.

Call me crazy, but if you're going to make a vow to be the ardent protector of rights for women and minorities, it's counterproductive to pitch a fit when those groups choose not to subscribe solely to your left-wing ideology. Kinda runs afoul of that whole "freedom of association" thingy, no?


Friday, February 10, 2017

Quick Hits: Volume CXLIII

- Kellyanne Conway, the top aide to President Donald Trump, raised some ethical issues when pitching certain products Thursday morning.

In a Fox News appearance, Conway responded to President Donald Trump's Twitter attack on Nordstrom on Wednesday for saying it plans to stop selling Ivanka Trump's products. The chain faced backlash from some consumers for selling Ivanka Trump-branded products amid concerns about her father's policies. It said its decision was based only on business considerations.

Trump alleged that Nordstrom treated his daughter "unfairly," renewing concerns that he is using his platform to affect his family's business interests. Conway raised even more ethical issues after criticizing Nordstrom's decision and saying that people can "see through" the company's intentions.

"Go buy Ivanka's stuff, is what I would tell you. I'm going to. I hate shopping and I'm going to go get some myself today," Conway told "Fox and Friends."

"I'm going to give it a free commercial here."

As a result, ranking members on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are looking into the matter.

While there may be some ethics violations here, can we all agree that Conway's statement itself is not becoming of the decorum we should expect from the White House? The only comment which would have been appropriate would be along the lines of "He wasn't a president looking to undermine a business as much as a father looking out for his daughter." 

How long before we can reasonably expect amateur hour to finally be up?

- The Seattle Seahawks signed former Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh on Thursday. Ironically, it was a game against Seattle 13 months ago which was the beginning of the end for Walsh in Minnesota.

In the wild-card round of the 2015 playoffs, Walsh missed a potential game-winning field goal from 27 yards out against the Seahawks, allowing Seattle to advance. The miss came after kickers had hit 189 of 191 field goals from 27 yards or shorter during the 2015 season.

I am envisioning a scenario where Walsh kicks the game-winning field goal for Seattle in next year's Super Bowl, which just happens to take place at the Vikings home field in U.S. Bank Stadium. Wouldn't such an occurrence just be the most Vikings thing ever?

- In perhaps the least surprising legal ruling in a while, President Trump's temporary immigration ban is still on hold.

The ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco means the temporary travel ban — which caused chaos and massive protests at airports across the US — cannot go into effect without further litigation.

“The Government has pointed to no evidence that an alien of the countries named in the Order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States,” the three-member panel wrote.

“Rather than present evidence to explain the need for the Executive Order, the Government has taken the position that we must not review its decision at all. We disagree.”

Trump responded in an all-caps post on Twitter:


As David French, an attorney himself, pointed out in National Review, the Trump administration bears much responsibility for this Executive Order being on shaky legal ground.

Critically, the Trump administration issued a significant executive order (and then defended it in court) without laying any real factual foundation for its finding. Next, the administration enforced the order in a haphazard and unnecessarily cruel manner, initially including even green-card holders in its scope. By slamming the door (at least temporarily) in their faces, it created a crisis atmosphere that not only ramped up the political stakes, it told the court that the administration didn’t exactly know how to interpret its own order. This invites judicial meddling.

Definitely read the entire piece.

While Trump himself threw down the gauntlet with his "SEE YOU IN COURT" declaration, White House legal officials have indicated they are weighing all options. It's quite possible that the administration's legal team will advise drafting a new Executive Order. With Trump seemingly eager to implement this ban as soon as possible, this will be a major test in determining how much (if at all) Trump can be reigned in and convinced to act in a more prudent manner.


Wednesday, February 08, 2017

More leftist frothing

Leftists are enraged yet again. Must be a day that ends in "y."

Betsy DeVos, a wealthy Republican donor with almost no experience in public education, was confirmed by the Senate as the nation’s education secretary on Tuesday, but only with the help of a historic tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence after weeks of protests and two defections within her own party.

The 51-to-50 vote capped an all-night vigil on the Senate floor, where, one by one, Democrats denounced Ms. DeVos to a mostly empty chamber. But they did not get a third Republican defection that would have stopped Ms. DeVos — a billionaire who has devoted much of her life to promoting charter schools and vouchers — from becoming the steward of the nation’s nearly 100,000 public schools.

It was the first time a vice president has been summoned to the Capitol to break a tie on a cabinet nomination.

Senator Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, demanded before the vote that Republicans explain how they could support Ms. DeVos. “If we cannot set aside party loyalty long enough to perform the essential duty of vetting the president’s nominees, what are we even doing here?” Mr. Franken asked.

Uhhh...she was vetted plenty, Al. You just didn't like the answers you heard.

The two Republicans who voted against the nominee, Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, said Ms. DeVos was unqualified because of a lack of familiarity with public schools and with laws meant to protect students.

Yeah, their opposition probably had nothing to do with the fact both are recipients of campaign contributions from teachers unions. Nope. NoSireeeBob. No factor at all.

For many educators, Ms. DeVos’s support for charter schools and vouchers — which allow students to use taxpayer dollars to pay tuition at private, religious and for-profit schools — reflected a deep disconnect from public schools. Neither Ms. DeVos nor any of her children attended a public school.

Say, has anybody taken a survey of those senators who voted against Mrs. DeVos to determine how many of their kids have attended a public school? I'm sure the NY Times will get around to it (HA! I slay me).

What makes this whole outrage even more asinine is the idea that a Secretary of Education has the ability to draft laws impacting public schools. I guess those who hold that belief were absent from their public school the day the virtues of co-equal branches of government were taught in civics class.

Look, I'm not here to make a case for Mrs. DeVos's credibility for the job. I don't have to. What I do know is there have been untold billions spent by the Federal government on public education over the past several years with no discernible improvement in student achievement. If the DeVos appointment is merely to make the case why a Federal Dept. of Education should cease to exist (and thus cede control to local governments), then it will have been more than worth it.

By the way, don't ya just love how Sen. Franken, who was the proverbial church mouse during the Obama years, is suddenly the darling of the left? There's even been speculation that his grandstanding during the DeVos confirmation hearings was a precursor to a Presidential run in 2020. I will be paying rapt attention to those proggies who were so outraged over Donald Trump's misogynistic tendencies but then suddenly start fawning over Franken, who freely joked about rape. Believe me, I can think of at least dozen people in my social media feeds alone who lamented Trump daily but are now heaping praise upon Franken. Should be fun.


Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Ray of sunshine

As someone who has been an avid Minnesota sports fan for approximately 40 years, I've become familiar with the wonderful personalities around the local teams, specifically broadcasters.

Minnesota Twins legendary radio announcer Herb Carneal was definitely a favorite, so much so that I felt the need to commemorate what he meant to me upon learning of his passing in 2007.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention yet another legendary voice who I often heard during fall Saturdays.

For five decades, Ray Christensen’s impeccable voice painted pictures from Big Ten stadiums for generations of Gophers fans, while they raked leaves or cleaned their garage.

His radio calls from distant basketball arenas added a soundtrack for Minnesota families, as they ran errands, made hot dish and toted children to their own sporting events.

But when word came Monday that Christensen had died at age 92, former co-workers were just as quick to praise the quality of the man behind the microphone.

“I was always overwhelmed by how humble he was,” said Dave Lee, who worked with Christensen at WCCO (830-AM) and replaced him as the Gophers play-by-play announcer in 2001. “The broadcast was never about Ray. I don’t think he had any ego.”

While Christensen definitely wanted the Gophers to win every game he called, he was not the proverbial "homer." Sure, he would call out an official if he made incorrect calls to the detriment of the Gophers. However, Christensen was also not afraid to point out his team's lousy play. While in the midst of a miserable 1988 season, the Gophers football team traveled to Madison, WI to take on a pitiful 0-9 Badgers squad. On a dreary November day at Camp Randall, the Gophs lost 14-7. When it came time to announce the Gopher "player of the game," Christensen flat out said there wasn't anyone worthy on that particular day, so he declined to name someone.

Of the literally scores of Gophers basketball games I've heard Christensen cover, there are a couple of moments which stand out. One was a March 1991 regular season game at the University of Michigan. With the Gophers within striking distance late, it was the opinion of Christensen that due to game officials having a "lack of intestinal fortitude," the Wolverines got away with a foul. Another memorable moment was in Round One of the 1997 NCAA tournament where the top seeded Gophs crushed #16 seed Southwest Texas State. It was the type of game where Christensen could hang loose as the Gophers dominated from start to finish. He was having so much fun that when 7-foot center Trevor Winter made a steal late and scored on a fast break dunk, Christensen was giddily laughing over the air (check it out here).

He retired from broadcasting in 2001.

In retirement, Christensen hosted tours abroad and recorded more than 100 Talking Books for the Blind. Younger listeners might recognize his voice in radio commercials for Washburn-McReavy Funeral Homes.

Jim Christensen said his father died Sunday following an upper respiratory infection. Ray Christensen had been living in Rosemount at the time of his death.

He is survived by his wife, Ramona; sons Tom and Jim; and a daughter, Sue.

Hearing anecdotes shared by family and former colleagues, I get a sense that Ray Christensen was a better man than a broadcaster. If true, he was a blessing to all who encountered him. Thanks for the great memories, Ray.


Monday, February 06, 2017

The drive for five is complete

"Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if we kick them all out, you'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts."

With all due respect, Ms. Streep, that football game played Sunday evening was definitely art.

The New England Patriots won the first ever overtime game in Super Bowl history, defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28.

To sum it up:

- The Patriots overcame a 28-3 deficit, easily making their win the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.

- Pats quarterback Tom Brady has won five Super Bowls, which ties Charles Haley for most by a single player. But Brady's five is the most for a QB, surpassing his boyhood idol Joe Montana as well as Terry Bradshaw.

- Coach Bill Belichick won his fifth championship, which is the most in the Super Bowl era and ties him all-time with a couple of guys by the name of Halas and Lombardi.

- Brady won his fourth Super Bowl MVP award, which is also a record.

- That awkward moment finally happened as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell congratulated the quarterback whom he seemed hellbent on punishing severely for little more than an equipment violation.

- And finally, my heart goes out to the Falcons fans. Seriously, I as a Vikings fan have felt several gut-punch losses, specifically the 3 NFC title games in 1987, 1998 and 2009, and I still can't bring myself to even watch highlights of any of those contests. I can't imagine what it must feel like to endure such a devastating loss in the biggest game of all. But if the Falcons can put the mental anguish of this loss behind them, they will once again be very formidable in 2017 with the core they have in place.


Sunday, February 05, 2017

On assignment

It's Super Bowl Sunday, so I'm treating as a national holiday by eschewing any work today. As such, my friend and Northern Alliance Radio Network colleague Mitch Berg will be taking over today's edition of The Closer at the regular 2 to 3 PM CT slot.

Be sure to stop by Mitch's blog to find out what he has planned for today.

Until then...............


Saturday, February 04, 2017

Super Bowl LI: The Q&A

It's the first weekend in February, which means my pal the Super Bowl Inquisitor stops by my humble little site. Hard to believe this is the 12th edition of SBI's annual contribution to my site. With the Super Bowl a little more than 24 hours away, let's get started.

Super Bowl Inquisitor: Let's begin with the National Anthem. Country singer Luke Bryan will be performing the Star Spangled Banner. You OK with that?
Brad Carlson: Seems only fitting that a singer with two first names performs in a game where the 2 quarterbacks are named Tom Brady & Matt Ryan.

SBI: The last time the Super Bowl was in Houston, singer Janet Jackson had a "wardrobe malfunction" and Brady led the New England Patriots to victory. Do you expect the same this game?
BC: I am definitely hoping for the latter. But since Janet is about 50, dunno if I care to contemplate the former.

SBI: Well, Lady Gaga is the headlining act for the halftime show. Any chance a faux pas can occur with her costume?
BC: Given Miss Gaga's reputation, being fully clothed is probably a malfunction in and of itself.

SBI: Are you rooting for the Patriots due to being bitter towards the Atlanta Falcons for denying your Vikings a Super Bowl appearance 18 years ago?
BC: That's like having two German Shepherds named "Rex" in your lifetime and being angry at Rex II for the late Rex I taking a dump on your nice carpet. So, no.

SBI: Are you impressed that, at age 92, former president George H.W. Bush will perform the opening coin toss so soon after being hospitalized?
BC: Hmmm. The man served in World War II, was Ronald Reagan's Vice President, served as President of the United States himself, went skydiving at age 90 and has been married to Barbara for more than 70 years. I'd say this may be his least impressive feat.

SBI: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not shown his face in Foxborough, MA since hammering the Patriots with revoked draft picks, fines and suspensions over Deflategate. How awkward will it be if he has to hand the Vince Lombardi trophy to the Pats' brass?
BC: Did you happen to see the initial Oval Office meeting of then President-elect Donald Trump and then President Barack Obama?

SBI: And if the Falcons win, they'll have more Super Bowl victories than your Vikings.

SBI: Sorry, couldn't resist. 

OK, time for a quick quiz. Tom Brady will be making his 7th career Super Bowl appearance, surpassing which NFL player with 6?

SBI: If Brady's Patriots emerge victorious, he'll have 5 Super Bowl rings. Who is the only other player with 5?

SBI: Who's the only starting QB in Super Bowl history to have a losing playoff record going into the big game. 
BC: Why that would be Atlanta QB Matt Ryan

SBI: How did Falcons owner Arthur Blank make his fortune prior to purchasing the NFL franchise?
BC: Co-founder of Home Depot.

SBI: What is the name of the Lone Ranger's nephew's horse?
BC: Uh, Victor. His name is Victor. 

SBI: How the hell did you know that?
BC: Everybody knows that.*

SBI: Yeah, yeah.

OK, let's wrap it up. The Patriots are a 3-point favorite over the Falcons. Who ya got?
BC: The Patriots are downplaying it, but don't think for a second they don't wanna make Goodell feel sheepish by handing them the trophy. The Pats also look to solidify themselves as the NFL's 21st century dynasty as well as shut down their detractors. As such, their motto ought to be "One For The Middle Finger." 

Patriots win, 31-27. 

And despite the gratuitous shots at my Vikings club, I thank SBI for his annual jaunt to my blog. 

Postseason Record:
Against the Spread: 8-2
Straight Up: 9-1

*Yes, we know that bit is from the movie A Christmas Story. That's the joke.


But right now I'm on this lake shore, and I'm sittin' in the sun...

It's become an annual tradition for the Northern Alliance Radio Network to broadcast the first Saturday in February on Medicine Lake in Plymouth. Yes, it's that time of year again as Mitch Berg and I will be live on location for the 7th annual Holes 4 Heroes ice fishing tournament. This event is organized by the folks with Fishing For Life and is put together for the purpose of honoring our U.S. Armed Forces as well as their families.

We will be on the air from 1:00 until 3:00 PM Central Time. Mitch and I will be joined by myriad guests over the two hour broadcast, so definitely tune in to find out who will stop by.

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 Mitch's podcast page for the latest show post.

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

Until then.....


Thursday, February 02, 2017

The anti-Social Network

If I didn't host a weekly talk radio show on a political AM station, I likely wouldn't consume political news to the degree I do currently. I use the social media site Twitter primarily to post political content I feel might be useful in an upcoming broadcast. I will then use this blog to opine on some of that content, which also serves as more than adequate radio show prep.

Facebook is one social media venue where I rarely post politically charged opinions. Since I have so many outlets which to do so, I long ago made a personal decision to utilize my Facebook account as an area to post personal anecdotes, photos and opinions on non-political items. These days it's awfully hard to scroll through my Facebook news feed without encountering someone with a strong opinion on something political. I'm now at the point where I find myself "un-following" a Facebook friend (they remain FB friends but I just don't see any of their content in my feed) if such posts become too insufferable and/or voluminous.

Bethany Mandel at The Federalist has pretty much had her fill of this annoying trend.

Since the end of the 2016 election, and especially since it resulted in the victory of Donald J. Trump as president, Facebook has become utterly intolerable. I took the application off my phone when I realized, a few days after the election, that I felt angry every time I scrolled through my newsfeed, and that this sour mood was affecting how I spoke with my co-workers, who happen to be my children (I’m a stay-at-home mother by profession). Deleting the application made me feel more disconnected from these online friends from all walks of my life, but also happier and more calm.

Because I checked FB on almost an hourly basis during the 2016 campaign cycle, I too felt as though I was becoming burnt out. I found myself becoming short and curt with people because I allowed external factors to adversely impact me. It got to the point where I politely asked my wife to eschew political conversation at the dinner table because I had become emotionally drained at the end of every day.

When I first signed up on Facebook in late 2008, many of the people I first "friended" were (obviously) friends from all walks of life, co-workers, friends/acquaintances/classmates I hadn't seen in years but had often thought about, etc. I never went into it with the idea of using it as a political soap box, nor apparently did Bethany.

The problem with Facebook political rants is this: It is not Twitter. I do not “follow” my high school best friends because of their insightful political commentary; I want to see updates on their lives and pictures of their adorable children. Unlike Twitter, I don’t want to unfollow or unfriend them because of their rants, because if I do so, I’ll miss out on the all-important baby announcements and updates.

If all you’re using Facebook for is to yell into the digital void about politics, you will find your audience for such rants is getting smaller by the minute. Sorry, random friends from all walks of life: I just don’t care what you think about Donald Trump today.

While I can't bring myself to delete the Facebook app on my phone, I am becoming proficient at filtering my news feed. That is when I'm scanning my feed, I can ascertain quickly whether a post is worth my time or if it will annoy me. Unfortunately it's more the latter these days. It's kind of a shame really. Facebook perusing, back in the early days, was an enjoyable experience the majority of the occasions I logged on. Now? Not so much.


Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The next SCOTUS justice

On Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump was scheduled to announce his judicial nominee to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court. Not only did Trump arrive on time for his scheduled 8:00 PM ET announcement, his remarks were brief. That means Trump easily outshone his predecessor in those two areas.

As such, the much anticipated announcement arrived promptly.

President Trump nominated federal Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, choosing a jurist widely seen by conservatives as a fitting successor to the late Antonin Scalia – and touching off what is sure to be a fierce confirmation battle with Senate Democrats already vowing resistance.

Touting his nominee's credentials and legal mind, the president said he was living up to his own vow during the campaign to nominate someone who respects the law and "loves" the Constitution.

"Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support," Trump said, noting he was confirmed unanimously to his current judicial post.

He quipped: "Does that happen anymore?"

Gorsuch, 49, has served on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver for more than a decade.

The Editors at National Review, a publication which universally opposed Trump during the presidential campaign, lauded this selection.

Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, is a fine choice to replace the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia. He combines a sterling intellect and a fidelity to law.

That fidelity is what undergirds the “originalism” that Justice Scalia espoused and that Judge Gorsuch continues to practice. That term refers to the view that a legal provision — whether a statute or an amendment to the Constitution — should be read to have the meaning its words could be understood to bear at the time it became law. An official may apply an old law in new ways as circumstances change. But if he acts on an understanding of the law that differs from that original meaning, then he has illegitimately amended it. And the law is binding on judges no less than it is on other officials.

Originalism has faced resistance in modern times mostly because liberals would rather not go through the formal process of amending the Constitution in order to edit it to their liking, removing its structural limits on governmental power and putting their preferred policies beyond democratic review. Gorsuch’s record gives us cause to believe that he would use his vote and his voice to side with the actual Constitution.

If there was a singular issue which Trump supporters used as a cudgel on Republican voters who were hesitant to support Trump, it would be the issue of who would select Scalia's replacement. I don't believe it's a stretch to say that this was a significant factor in Trump's victory.

Trump has been in office less than two weeks, but this has to be the first move he's made which has been universally praised by Republicans of all stripes. It also puts Senate Democrats in a precarious position since they've hinted strongly that they will filibuster any nominee, even before said nominee was announced. As Trump alluded to in his introduction of Gorsuch, he was confirmed unanimously to the Tenth Circuit back in 2006. Some of the prominent Dems who supported Gorsuch back then?

 And then there's this:

I said last week that, if necessary, the GOP majority in the Senate should invoke the nuclear option in the event that there are not 60 votes for cloture. It's early, but given how well Gorsuch has been received, there just might be the necessary number of Dems (needs to be at least 8) to join the 52 Senate Republicans in cutting off debate and proceeding to a vote.

Regardless, Neil Gorsuch will be the confirmed as the next United State Supreme Court justice.