Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Messsage to Fans of The Daily Report

Hi, it's Matt.  Some of you may have no idea who I am, but most do.  I'm either A) the person you used to listen to in the mornings (thanks!), B) the person you knew who did mornings but couldn't listen because you were either busy or listening to something else, or C) you're a person who disliked my show, but liked The Daily Report.  I understand.  Some people like a straight up cup of coffee, some people like a Dairy Queen sundae served in a coffee cup.  Apples/Oranges.

Starting tomorrow, fans of the Daily Report will definitely know who I am.  My show, The Matt McNeil Show, will broadcast in the 3 PM hour, the former first hour of The Daily Report.  Ian will broadcast TDR in the 4 PM hour only.

For the record, this wasn't my decision, but rather a decision made by the management of AM 950.  The station is making these changes in an effort to give themselves better positioning for the 2016 election, and beyond.  If you'd like to comment on the schedule change, station management wants to hear from you - (952) 946-8885.

I listen to Ian's show regularly, and he does a GREAT job!  I'm incredibly impressed with how intelligent he is, and how he lays out topics and interviews.  It's easy to see why people like him. 

My goal has always been to do good radio.  I know my style, delivery, tone, topics, and direction will not appeal to everyone.  That's okay.  At the end of the day, we agree on most things.  Call, tell me what you like or dislike and I promise I'll listen.  Cool?

Talk tomorrow.

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Friday Link for 1/29/16

I'm not exactly sure why this is letterbox, like an old movie, but it is.  A little dated, but presented without further comment...Enjoy!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The End is Also the Beginning...

I remember April 9th, 2012.  That was the day of my first Morning Grind show.  I had what all morning show hosts have the night before their first show; absolutely zero sleep.  As I got ready for the show, I was super excited, pretty much the same feeling I have every morning.  I remember not exactly knowing how the show was going to go, but I knew we were going to have fun doing it.

Almost four years later, with a heavy heart, tomorrow, January 29th, 2016, will be the last Morning Grind.

Starting on February 1st, I'll be hosting the 3 PM hour, in the aptly named The Matt McNeil show. As always, Bryan will be by my side.

Change is constant, and it happens.  The station management made the decision to change the schedule in an effort to deliver a better product for the listeners, and for the station clients who keep us on-air.  It sounds like a cliche to say what we are doing is important, but over the last four years, I've witnessed the near destruction of the liberal talk format nationally by conservative elements, a system which gives national conservative hosts million dollar bonuses even when they're losing money, while at the same time telling Progressive hosts they need to work for "FREE" for a year to see if it's 'worth their time.'  We're one of the last bastions of full time Progressive talk left in this country. Yeah, what we do IS important, and keeping this station on the air matters.

I'm pleasantly surprised at how many listeners the Morning Grind has had over the years.  They tune in every day; reliable regular callers, thousands of locals chiming in on the various topics, and the numerous national calls we constantly received.  From the bottom of my heart, I'm truly grateful for every person who woke up and started their day with me.  Thank you so very much.  The Morning Grind was also financially successful thanks to the wonderful sponsors who have stayed with the show from the beginning, mainly because the listeners constantly visit their businesses and tell them how much they appreciate them advertising.  Please keep it up.

At the end of the day, the Morning Grind was a tremendous success; a really nice win.  Thanks once again.

I look forward to the 3 PM hour on Monday, I look forward to not waking up at 4 AM and not going  bed at 8:30 PM, but most of all I look forward to talking with you, as always.  See you on the flip side!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Quick Hits for 1/27/16

I'm actually hoping Donald Trump wins the 2016 GOP nomination, but for a weird reason; if he wins, the GOP is going to be in big trouble again in 2020.  Trump is an outsider, resonating with the far right, extremists, tea party elements of the GOP, a substantial part of the party.  If he wins the GOP nomination in 2016, he'll get destroyed in the general election.  This will cause the dim bulbs on the right to insist the problem wasn't the fact they are putting forward a bloviated extremist as their candidate, but that they put forward the wrong bloviated extremist, who was too outside the mainstream.  Since the far right can't help themselves, they'll polish up the Texas turd that is Ted Cruz for 2020, thinking he'll have a better chance because he's a sitting Senator.  (pardon me a sec. - HAHAHAHA!)  If Cruz wins this year, he'll also get destroyed in 2016, Trump will likely not run again in 2020, and there's a decent chance the moderate and traditional GOP will tell the tea partiers and pseudo-libertarians, "you had your chance and it ruined us.  Next time we are going with someone who has SOME moderate appeal"  Trump winning this year gets the Democrats two Presidential elections.

Bernie Sanders had an very impressive swing through Minnesota yesterday, with 6000 showing up in Duluth, and 20,000 showing up in St. Paul.  I think it's great he's resonating with the left, but two things.  First, two people who were at the rally contacted me this morning insisting the actual turn out was closer to 40,000.  Why RiverCenter would so grossly under report the truth, I have no idea, but the Bernie camp themselves said the turnout was 20K.  That's great!  You don't need to pad 20,000.  I understand the media hasn't given you a fair shake, but don't get outlandish in your push back.  The other issue is something Sander's folks have to address.  As passionate and excited as the crowd was for Bernie, there are going to be a lot of those in attendance yesterday not showing up to caucus in Minnesota on March 1st.  You're only as good as your turnout, something all Democrats need to remember.  If yesterday was important for you, then make sure you show up on March 1!

Finally, some of the Oregon militia idiots were arrested yesterday for trying to overthrow the government.  These traitors are not true patriots.  They're self serving, greedy thieves, trying to gobble up valuable government land for their own personal gain.  I stand by my assertion; if these 'occupiers' would have been African American, they would've all been killed within four hours of the occupation, and the GOP would be criticizing the President for it taking so long.  As it was, these armed dolts, who've threatened to kill law enforcement, military, judges and politicians in their selfish land grab, were mostly taken alive nearly a month after they began their 'occupation,' with 'tarp guy' the only one killed.  He tied to flee the police, twice, and when cornered, stormed the officers.  Not heroic, just stupid.  The rest of them were taken into custody.  With all of the violence they've threatened, as armed to the teeth as these morons were, most of them were taken alive.  Now can someone please explain to me Tamir Rice, Jamar Clark, Laquan McDonald, and ALL of the other instantaneous death sentences unarmed African American's have received at the hands of law enforcement?  Clearly two different standards are on display.

Bike guy, I like you and I'm for a vibrant biking community.  Minneapolis/St. Paul is great for bicyclists, and the city spends an insane amount of money on expanding and maintaining the bike friendly atmosphere.  Do me one favor; tone it down a little bit.  I love passion, but when you jump from 'share the road' to 'make life tough for automobile owners,' you lose people.  Most people in the Twin Cities are going to drive a car  That's a fact.  This means we need to maintain parking, roads and highways to meet those needs.  Not every street can be be made into a bike friendly street.  There are space limitations which prohibit it, so instead of insisting the parking spots need to go away, or the road needs to become pedestrian/bike only, acknowledge that car owners have very justifiable needs too.  When you go out of your way to be obnoxious, all you're doing is making people mad.

This last summer, I was driving to a weekend baseball tournament for my son.  As we are going down a rural highway with a dedicated bike path running the side of the road (not a sidewalk, an actual bike trail), I pulled up behind a bicyclist who was going down the middle of the lane.  As I waited to get past him, I wanted to ask him why?  Why wasn't the dedicated, completely empty bike path on the side of the road not good enough for him?  Why was he risking his life, the life of the people in the cars around him, and wasting the tax dollars which had been spent for him specifically, in a misguided attempt to insist 'I have the same rights to be on the road as you do?'  All you did was piss me off, and everyone else who was asking the same exact questions of you.  That's going out of your way to be obnoxious, and it does more damage to your cause than good.

Also, do me one more favor.  If I approach a crossing where the bikes and pedestrians have the right of way, and I see a bicyclist on the edge of the street looking like they're wanting to cross, I stop.  Don't wave me through.  YOU have the right of way.  Either don't take your rest at an intersection, or cross when everyone stops for you.  I know people who have said they don't stop at them anymore because the bicyclists always wave them through.  Please keep that in mind.  I don't like it when I stop for a person in the crosswalk and, as the people are trying to cross, jackass driver guy barrels through the crossing because he doesn't think he needs to stop.  I feel the same exact way about over courteous car drivers who clearly get to an intersection well before I do and then wave me ahead.  No, you have the right of way.  GO!

Earlier this week I ripped on Edina.  For those reading this who don't live in Minneapolis, Edina is the obscenely wealthy community on the southwest side of the metro, where the minimum price for a house is somewhere around 300K (and good luck finding one of those.  Most are over seven figures).  On Tuesday, I made fun of Edina for something they're hilariously guilty of, being unfriendly.  A story in the Star Tribune talked about an Edina kid who wrote the mayor a note about how unfriendly the city was, as neighbors don't talk to their neighbors anymore, a byproduct of the tear down/rebuild epidemic which has turned Edina into a 6000 square foot mansion mecca (something I discussed in the blog post Supersize Me from July 9th, 2015).  Ironically, and somewhat hilariously, the mayor acknowledged he had gotten the letter, but had not responded.  The reason I, and so many people in the Twin Cities, like to make fun of Edina, is because Edina likes to think of themselves as having no negatives, only positives.  Of course Edina has negatives, so does every other community.  Only delusional, myopic fanatics think their waste doesn't stink.  Edina is very reluctant to admit they have problems, let alone try to solve them.  That's why we always love a story which rubs Edina's nose in it. The funny thing is how this public shaming makes them even more unwilling to acknowledge their faults.  The vicious circle continues.

I want to encourage everyone to find out how they can volunteer for their local community.  I'm part of my city's Planning and Zoning committee.  It has been unbelievably rewarding to be part of my communities decision making process and future.  Please, take some time and find out if your community has ways for you to be part of the solution.  Most do not require too much effort and, trust me, you'll get rewarded for your effort.

Remember, the end is also the beginning.

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Friday Link for 1/22/16

I have gone back and forth on whether to post this, but it is too brilliant for me not too!


I've posted Cinemas Sins here before.  They are the guys behind the wildly popular "Everything Wrong With..." YouTube series, where they watch a movie and point out all the things wrong with the movie, handing each mistake a sin, sometimes more than one sin.  They have some really good videos, but I have to give it to them for their take down of the Fast and Furious franchise. 

The Fast and Furious movies are exactly as these guys describe, garbage.  They are the WWE of movies, where the action and stunts are so unbelievable you have to be blindly rooting for the good guy to make any of it remotely enjoyable.  The acting is atrocious, the scripts are abominable and the overall experience gives you a headache.  These are movies made for 13 year old boys, with everything a 13 year old boy thinks is great: cars, fights, explosions, stunts, scantily clad women and stupid references to some sort of street code that has some sort of mythical honor involved.  They are just DUMB!

That being said, they sell a lot of tickets to them, mainly because the movie studio releases them on weekends with no completion, outside of the summer and holiday seasons, and the other movie studios don't schedule movies against them, giving them two to three weeks of uncontested box offices.  They are popular by default.

Thank you Cinema Sins!  Thank you.  Your sharp, technical, and incredibly funny dissection of each of these duds is the only way to watch them.  And your running jokes which carry over from each video are hilarious.  

I'll start with the fourth move, and post 5, 6, and the recently released 7.  Make sure you have an hour or so.  For some reason, YouTube will not allow me to post the video itself so please click on the link:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Cheap Philosophy

Sorry the blog has been light this week. Too many things running through my head.  Last week I had four posts, so no complaining.  Looking forward to the Blue State Ball, the radio station's annual get together at the end of next month.

January is always a tough month for me.  Cold and dark.  I was having lunch with a friend today and she said the way to look at it is to realize we are at the end of the worst of it, and soon the days will be warmer and longer.  She said, "every end is also a beginning!"

Indeed, every end is also a beginning...

Monday, January 18, 2016

-12 and Loving It!

The last three days, it's been cold.  Not the cold most people in this country usually think of; something in the mid-20's with a few snow showers.  Nope, we're in Minnesota's winter tableau, our annual jaunt into sub-zero air temperatures, a sensation so cold we look forward to high single digits above zero (a warming trend!).  Only this year, like most years lately, there's a problem.

It's mid January.  We should be beginning our two to three week stay in the arctic cold, sucked down from the north by the Great Lakes and the jet stream.  We get three days, for now.  Next weekend, we're supposed to be above freezing.  I know people think anyone complaining about a warm up is silly, but it really isn't normal, and we shouldn't blindly act as if it's a blessing.

Climate change is real, and it's currently happening at a disgusting rate.  We had monsoon like rains in Minneapolis on December 24th.  We didn't have snow on the ground until the 26th, and now we have inconsistent weather patterns, where instead of having a 10 day cold spell to make us dream of Spring, we're having early March like days with a few reminders of normal cold sprinkled in; a hollow shell of winter's normal self, a brief reminder of where we should be.  Oh, and we also had a hurricane form in the Atlantic in January.    That's really weird.

The world's weather has, and will continue to, change dramatically in the time from my father to the time of my son.  My dad, born in 1929, remembers winter being so cold, Snowy Owls were nesting on the University of Minnesota Campus every year, and only fools would venture outside between Christmas and Valentine's Day.  In recent years, since I moved back home in 2000, there have only been two Snowy Owl sightings in the Twin Cities, and we've seen January's with little or no snow and above freezing temperatures.  My son, born in 2001, will likely see the first winter without snow in Minneapolis/St. Paul, metro area lakes with open water though winter, and true cold temperatures of 10 degrees or below restricted to north of the Canadian border.

I know people will say, "but Matt, it still gets cold."  Yes it does, but not nearly as cold, for not nearly as long.  That's a dramatic change.  "But Matt, it still snows."  Yes it does, and with these weird weather patterns, we've seen winters with snow piled as high as stop signs, followed by years with very little snow at all.  That's also a dramatic change.   "But Matt, you must love really cold weather!"  No, I don't.  I hurts me as much as it hurts anyone else, but I acknowledge I moved to a city which gives me all four seasons, including a cold winter.  It's not 'pro-cold' to say we should have normal weather.  "But Matt, what are you complaining about?  Why are you against a little nicer weather?"  I'm not, but this isn't a little nicer weather.  It's the new normal, it's showing no signs of slowing down, and it's not Minnesota.  If you really like warmer weather, please move someplace warmer.  Stop acting like changing the weather patterns of the planet is some sort of 'WIN!'

I could mention the other weird things going on in the state (torrential rain patterns for six weeks, follow by severe drought for three months, migrating animals which are either showing up in the state for the first time ever, or are moving out of the state permanently, birch trees, which used to grow in Iowa, not surviving the metro area's summer heat, plants blooming three to four weeks too early, die offs in certain species) but I know this undeniable evidence will be gleefully ignored.  Too many people maintain the foolishness: 'why worry about the world crumbling around us when we might be able to get a tan?'

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Friday Link for 1/15/16

Damn, it's been a tough week.  First Bowie, then Rickman.  I know we can remember both for such wonderful music and dramas, respectively, but let's put a smile on for a Friday.

First up is David Bowie.  With all of the tributes to him this week, it's his comedy and wit which was really underrated.  I watched a lot of interviews he did with late night hosts.  He had an incredible personality and comedic timing.  This scripted bit is my favorite from him.  From Ricky Gervais' comedy Extras, here is the David Bowie appearance which not only shows Bowie making a little fun of himself and his music, he makes A LOT of fun of Ricky Gervais.  It's unbelievably funny.

I talked a lot about my Alan Rickman guilty pleasure, Quigley Down Under, but another great movie he was in (yes I know Dogma is sensational, but I can't post much of THAT here) is Galaxy Quest!  Here are his best scenes from that one, with the very touching moment at the end:

Also Dan Haggerty from Grizzly Adams fame passed away.  Not nearly the legacy of the first too, but I do have fond memories of watching him as a kid...sad week indeed.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Quick Hits for 1/14/16

How is the poisoning of the Flint, Michigan water supply not more of a national news story?  The Republicans of Michigan, in an effort to take control of Democratic districts they've not been able to win in elections, put forward an anti-American program to overrule the voice of the voter, installing an Emergency Financial Manager in cities with budgetary issues, who's sole responsibility was to cut expenses.  In the case of Flint, a decision was made: even though the water supply of Flint (the Flint River) was polluted, the residents of Flint didn't deserve the cleaner, slightly more expensive Lake Huron water they'd been drinking.  They flipped the switch back to the Flint River. The Flint River is highly corrosive (MMM, yum!), the it was determined by the Republicans the $100 a day chemical agent which would make the water 90% safer (only 90%???) was too expensive for the non-Republican voters of Flint.  That's when things got worse.  The corrosive characteristics of the Flint River water started to immediately erode the antiquated lead water pipes of Flint, dumping highly toxic lead into the water, where it was easily absorbed into humans, including children.  When medical professionals and scientists started to scream the water was poisoning the residents, the initial response of the MIGOP was to call them all liars.  Only after dragging a local pediatrician, who dared to speak the truth, through the mud did the Republicans finally fess up.  They'd poisoned the entire city's water supply in a pathetic attempt to save a few bucks.  It's now starting to come to light they knew months before hand the water was too dangerous to consume, and ignored the warnings.  Some people, including Governor Rick Snyder, need to go to jail.

This is another perfect example of why we should never trust the modern Republicans and their insatiable, money worshipping policies.  Much like Wisconsin, and their dramatic loss of worker's revenue, loss of jobs, plummeting education system, and rotting deer carcasses on the side of the road, Republicans are solely responsible for this failure.  Never trust modern Republican policy.

Three things I want to bring up about April Gehl.  She's the high school senior who, after the Wisconsin High School Athletic Association (WIAA) made the foolish decision to outlaw taunting and aggressive cheers at high school sporting events, decided to show the world her wit and intelligence by tweeting, 'EAT S--T WIAA."  Oops, it appears Jane Austen forgot the comma.  She was suspended for five games, but not from school. My first point is how she's getting treated in the media.  The idea she's some sort of victim because she was "only bringing truth to the masses" is a laughing joke.  She's no hero; she's an idiot who thinks grunting the loudest is how to effectively protest rulings she doesn't agree with.  She didn't start a petition, or send a "I disagree" tweet.  Nope, she swore like an ignorant moron, not like a misunderstood protagonist.

The reason the media is trying to turn her into martyr is because she is a pretty white girl with red hair from rural Wisconsin.  I GUARANTEE, if she was African American, the media would be painting her in a whole different light.  "How disrespectful!  Her parents clearly have failed!  Someone needs to teach her her place!"  This is just the latest example of the racial double standard in America; when white kids do stuff like this, it's the reaction of the authorities which is out of line.  If it was a black kid, the narrative validates any punishment up to, and including, her being gunned down by a police officer.  At the very least, without a doubt, if she were African American, she'd been suspended from school.

The last issue is something we've talked about over and over again.  Parents, if you don't teach your children proper social media etiquette, you're dooming them for failure.  April Gehl is a victim of bad parenting; for teaching your kid to swear like a sailor in public (yes online social media is public), for teaching her to show so little respect for the people who've been placed in charge of the sports leagues SHE has chosen to participate in, and, as some media outlets have reported, for the parents to act like she's the frail innocent in this situation.  God awful parenting...Teach your children the rights and wrong of social media or expect them to learn the hard way.

The Minnesota right is getting ready to gear up a major anti-transgender initiative, one which will primarily focus on bathroom usage.  I could point out how off the Republicans are for being so obsessed with individual bathroom usage, but I prefer to try to defend my religion.  I'm Catholic.  The people who are trying to turn transgender bathroom rights into a political issue are doing so while draping themselves in Christianity.  I don't think Jesus died on the cross so in 2016, his name would be used to vilify a child who is questioning their sexual identity.

Jesus does not want you to use his name to discriminate, or to limit someone's rights, or to be invoked when someone complains about 'being persecuted' because a different group achieved the same rights they've always had.  Imagine if all the people who will try to use Christianity, God and Jesus too validate their hatred, and their persecution agenda, instead focused on all the positive, loving and welcoming aspects of Christianity.  Instead of funding an ad campaign of hatred, they instead used that money to feed the hungry.  Imagine if the focus of Christianity was about doing good deeds in the community, caring for our fellow man and woman.  Imagine.

Mad Max: Fury Road deserves an Oscar nod.  Watch it, without the kiddos.

I'm going to really miss Alan Rickman.  Hans Gruber from Die Hard is one of the all time great villains in movies.  Professor Snape is one of the most heroic, complex and endearing characters, and Elliott Marston was the lynchpin in a very underrated Western, Quigley Down Under.

David Bowie...I'm still very sad.  Ch-ch-ch-changes...

speaking of which...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Big Money

Tonight, someone's life will be changed forever, and mainly for the worse.  Tonight, someone will win the 1.5 billion dollar Powerball drawing.

I have my tickets.  Most people have theirs too, even though the odds are astronomical you'd actually win.  The lump sum cash payout would be 930 million, but if you took the monthly payout for 30 years, it'd register at somewhere around 4.16 million a month before taxes.  I think you will be able to pay your monthly bills, and your credit will be good too.  Go with the monthly payments.

Back in the mid-90's when I was trying to find a radio job and working comedy improv in the Twin Cities, I got to know a odd guy named Mark.  Mark and I, both being older than the rest of the improv children (he in his late 30's and me in my late 20's), found ourselves gravitating towards each other in conversations.  He was always real quiet about what he did and where he was from.

After a few months, we went out for coffee one night and he shared his backstory.  He'd won the lottery ten years earlier, a big one too.  He would't tell me how much, but eluded to it being substantial.  He talked with a bitterness which flowed heavy under his tone.  He said never having to worry about money is great, but within months of winning, he'd lost his marriage, most of his friends and ended up walking away from his life.

When he'd won, to celebrate, he took a big group of his friends out to Vegas for a high rollers vacation.  The total cost for the trip, for 15 people, was 700K, for only six days!  It made him realize how fragile his wealth really was.  Sure he had a lot of it, but it would be gone pretty damn quick if he did that too often.  Problem was, everyone now expected that sort of extravagance to be the norm.

His wife got twisted by the money, starting an affair with one of his friends almost immediately, and demanding half of the winnings in the divorce.  They both walked away with eight figures.  After he signed the divorce papers, he went home, put all of his family items into storage, packed two bags, went to the nearest airport, and disappeared.

Five years after the divorce settlement, his wife sued him again.  After burning through most of her half, she wanted more.  After the courts laughed her away, she then begged him for more money.  As he described it, she was groveling in the courthouse, pleading with him to help her, as her second husband had taken off and left her with the two kids.  He said he'd talk to his lawyer and be in touch.  He never was.  He changed his name and moved again.  He said he didn't trust anyone.

That was the last time I ever saw him.  He never showed up for any more improv shows.  After a few weeks, I looked him up.  The bell for the apartment listed for him had no name next to the buzzer, and no one ever answered.

I think his story is pretty common.  If you do win one of these massive payouts, your life is over as you know it.  You're not going to able to lead the life you had the moment before you stuck it rich.  You have to walk away from your job, friends, community and even your family.  Your kids have to be all gathered up and taken out of school, cutting ties with their friends.  Pack your bags, get out of your house, lock the doors and put up no trespassing signs.  Too many people want your money and will do anything to get it, even murder.  You have to disappear.  Think of it as a witness relocation program, but with the one benefit of being able to afford anything you want while you're hiding out.

There are two sides to every coin.  Good luck tonight...and be careful for what you wish for.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ted Cruz Can't Become President

Back in 2008, there was a question about citizenship qualifications in regards to becoming President of the United States, but it wasn't Barack Obama's citizenship that was in question.  It was John McCain's.

First, let me get this out of the way; President Obama was born in Hawaii.  He was born in the United States.  Anyone who thinks differently is either dumb as a sack of rocks, or so twisted by partisanship, they can't even see reality anymore.

Where our current President's citizenship is unquestionable, there was a slight problem with the citizenship of Senator John McCain.  He was born in the Panama Canal territory, a region that was under US jurisdiction and control at the time of his birth.  He was born in a US Military hospital, on US controlled territory, but he wasn't born in the United States.  Constitutional scholars went over the requirements to be eligible for the presidency and they all concluded one undeniable fact; if you were born in the Untied States itself, you're qualified.  If you were not born in the United States, even if your parents were American citizens, you're not eligible for the presidency.  It's actually pretty cut and dry, Constitutionally.

Where McCain fell, as the first presidential candidate born outside of the 50 United States, was a mystery, because the founding fathers didn't have the foresight of the United States becoming a country controlling territories across the globe.  It was determined, after a bipartisan legal review, that he was eligible, and a Senate resolution was passed to make it look official, but a resolution which was non-binding and raised a lot of Constitutional scholar's eyebrows.  The feeling was there were serious questions about the legality of McCain's citizenship eligibility, but since he lost, no blood, no foul.

By the way, these valid questions about McCain were the start of the unfounded and ludicrous questions about Obama's legal standing.  The "no, your guy's worse" pettiness of the modern Republicans got it's fertile beginnings with that issue.

This brings us to 2016, and to something I've been waiting to be addressed.  Ted Cruz, the Senator from Texas, was not born in the United States.  He was born in Canada.  This is not up for a debate.  He's not eligible for the Presidency.  He's just not, but for some reason, the same people who've insisted President Obama is a secret Muslim Kenyan felt as if they could just skip past this campaign ending, 'minor' problem.  Mary Brigid McManamon of the Washington Post has a clear cut breakdown on why Ted Cruz can't be President (

The most condemning part of her article is how smart legal people, who are conservatives, have purposely played dumb in an effort to make something that doesn't exist in the Constitution (an exception for Presidential eligibility for people born in foreign countries to an American parent/parents), appear like it IS part of the Constitution.  For Ted Cruz to be eligible for the Presidency, we'd need a Constitutional Amendment passed allowing it.  No, a Senate resolution will not cut it (on a side note - Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate majority leader and turtle, has insisted he will not pass one for Cruz.  Christmas spirit gone!).

And if you are expecting everyone to accept this minor loophole, reminder, it only takes one US citizen to legally question the citizenship of the President.  As opposed to dolts who keep being told the current President's birth certificate really exists in Hawaii, this challenge would have teeth.  Multiple people could bring it up in multiple circuit courts around the country, and I guarantee it would be fast-tracked to the Supreme Court.  Of course Alito and Thomas would go for Cruz, but Scalia?  As much of a blowhard as he is, he's a strict Constitutionalist.  If he abides by his standards, he'd rule against Cruz.  Can you image the mess we'd have on our hands if the President elect was deemed unqualified AFTER the election.

Ted Cruz and Republicans, you need to figure this out, NOW!  I think you'll come to the realization that it's time to send Ted Cruz back home to Winnipeg...I mean Texas.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Friday Link for 1/8/16

The Daily Show is going to survive the loss of Jon Stewart.  It won't be as good as Stewart's version for a long while, but that was because Stewart wrote the Master's course on hosting a fake news program  With time, say four or five years, Trevor Noah will get past his nervousness and start to develop the comedic chops of his predecessor.

What makes the current version still watchable is the same thing which has made the show great year in and year out, the correspondents.  The three carry overs from the Stewart era, Jessica Williams, Jordan Klepper, and Hasan Minhaj, plus the new addition Roy Wood Jr., are what make the episodes most nights.  Jessica was always a massive talent, and I'm so glad she stuck around.  Kleeper and Minhaj have developed nicely, coming into own their roles.  I do think part of their problem was they started in the shadows of other great correspondents, so it takes some time to get rolling.

Kleeper joined the pantheon of great correspondent field pieces from the show with this epic take down of the good guy with a gun falsehood, and the idea that a regular person can stop a lunatic with a gun.  Enjoy, and pass this around.  This goes to the level of comedy which actually becomes newsworthy.

It won't post, so click the link and enjoy!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Democrats, Don't Screw This Up

Over the holidays, I was asked if there was anyway I felt the GOP could win the Presidency in 2016.  The first scenario I came up with, although very real, is also very tragic.  I mention that because of the jarring nature of the scenario:

With the GOP saddled with either Trump or Cruz, after their failed attempt to usurp their voting base's choice at the GOP convention, they find themselves in mid-October trailing the Democratic candidate by 25 points.  Considering the delusional, detached, and dangerous mindset of some of the GOP voters today, and with the abundance of guns readily available, one of their more fervent supporters decides to assassinate the Democratic nominee.  The individual, unfortunately, succeeds, and turns the Democratic ticket on it's head.  It becomes a fight between whomever loses in the primary (Clinton or Sanders), Joe Biden, or another senior Democratic statesman, for whom would be the replacement Presidential nominee.  Even if the party was able to coalesce around one individual quickly, Republican states would refuse to change the ballots before the election, meaning an intense campaign to encourage a 'Write-In' choice.  After the election, when none of the candidates have the Electoral College majority needed to claim victory, and after the GOP uses their conservative majority on the Supreme Court to uphold any state's overtly bias vote counting mandates, the decision on who becomes President moves to the U.S. House of Representatives, where roughly, through gerrymandering, 3/5th's are Republicans and 2/5th's are Democrats.  The question then becomes 'are there enough Republicans who would go against their party's orders and elect the clear choice of the American People, the Democrat, or would they take it upon themselves to install the candidate who finished a distant third behind the deceased Democratic candidate and the replacement Democratic candidate, the Republican?'  Blind allegiance wins in the end, and the Trump/Cruz term begins.

Something similar to this has actually happened before, although without an assassination to spur it.  In the 1824 election for this country's 6th President, no one won the electoral college majority to claim victory, but Andrew Jackson had won the majority of electoral college votes, and the popular vote too.  In early 1825, after the appointing of the President went to the House of Representatives, Jackson was stunned when Speaker of the House Henry Clay, a weasel of a politician, and a power hungry fiend, who had himself finished a distant 4th in the Presidential election, and who hated Andrew Jackson like Bakk hates Dayton, went against the voters wishes, and appointed John Quincy Adams as president.  Clay then accepted the role of Secretary of State, letting the country know the fix was in.  Jackson and his supporters were outraged.

The reason my current world scenario included the hypothetical 'would they' question is because the Republicans would know this would doom them for years, much like it did politicians who supported the Quincy Adams decision.  Today's Republican's who represent moderate districts would be ending their political careers with that vote.  The swing to the Democrats in the elections to come, gerrymandered House or not, would be unprecedented. Much like Quincy Adams, Trump or Cruz's bar for failure would be set pretty low, and the Democrats would likely run the conservatives out of DC, and the vast majority of state legislative bodies, in 2018, 2020, and for another decade afterwards.  Anytime a Republican ran for office, they would have to wear the yoke of the 2016 appointment like an anchor dragging them underwater.  And if the Democrats hold a filibuster minority in the Senate, Trump/Cruz would be able to do some damage, but not nearly as much as if they had two years of unfettered power.  Enough Republicans might vote for the public's choice, acknowledging the impending Republican nightmare from them installing a President.

That scenario is somewhat outrageous, and let's hope it never comes to light, but truthfully, I don't think the Democrats have won anything yet.  There are still a thousand ways the GOP could win in 2016 that don't include an assassination.  On the good side, most of those ways are avoidable as they involve the Democrats handing the Republican victories.

The biggest problem I see for the left is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the head of the DNC, who clearly has a bias for Hillary Clinton.  Why she's still in charge after the debacle that was 2014 I have no idea, but her attempts to impress Clinton, by clearly making decisions she feels will give Hillary the edge, has soured a lot of Democrats.  For the record, I don't think Hillary Clinton has been privy to any of Wasserman-Schultz's boneheaded decisions, like the scheduling of debates, the amount of debates, the attempted silencing of her critics and the molehill of a witch hunt Debbie started against the Sanders campaign.  I think Wasserman-Shultz is acting on her own, and she's doing more harm to the party than good.

The fighting between the Sanders and Clinton folks has been, for the most part, passionate but respectful.  There's only about 10% of it which has gone too far.  Everyone, please, let the process play out.

To fervent Sanders supporters who inundate me with 'Hillary's really a Republican' correspondence,  you do realize Bernie has a very real chance at being the nominee, right?  Follow me:  Sanders loses Iowa but keeps it within 10 points.  He then wins New Hampshire handily (something Ken Martin, the head of the DFL, predicted this morning on my show).  I think for Sander's it would be wise to skip South Carolina, and head to Nevada.  If he can pull off the win there, he has taken half of the first four, and heads into Super Tuesday with new momentum.  Let me repeat, Sanders could win, and it's not science fiction for him to do so!  If he does become the nominee, the incendiary statements and allegations Sanders' supporters are making against Clinton supporters will come back to bite you in the butt.  You might want to think about that, and tone down the outrage a smidge.

Another problem for the Democrats?  Apathy.  We think it's in the bag because it's only Trump or Cruz and no one does their due diligence and campaigns.  The GOP machine of money, media and morons pushes forward and, along with either negative numbers for Clinton, or anti-leftists feelings for Sanders, they pull out the win.  Think 2010.  Most Democrats going into that night thought it was going to be a 50/50 night, but it ended up being a massive smackdown for the left.

Democrats, let's not screw this up.  Be involved, be active, but don't be a jerk.  There's a lot riding on 2016.  Let's make sure we keep moving forward as a county, not backwards.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Friday Link for 1/1/16

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope you are having a nice holiday.

Sweet and simple today, as I don't want to spend too much of my downtime on this.  Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is back and it's first episode this season is a doozy!  President Obama joins Jerry to talk about being the president, cars and life in the White House.  It's a great, relaxed look at the President.

I think the President's comments about other world leaders is really eye-opening.  It makes a lot of sense, but to be so straight up front with it was a little jaw dropping.

I already know President Obama hater will be screaming "How dare he belittle the office of the...blah, blah, blah!"  This President completely understands how you relate to the modern American.  I'd rather have a President who does stuff like this, than a micro-manager, who never cracks a smile or let's down his guard.  If you hate the guy so much, then only watch it for Jerry's car, one of America's sweetest rides ever!

And for anyone who insists the President is NOT a comedian, he's shown off his comedy chops many times.  The one joke Seinfeld plays from one of the Correspondent's Dinners to justify his guest gives the President all of the credentials he needs to be on the show.

Love the President's car too.  Enjoy!