Oprah for president?

There is little doubt that Oprah Winfrey is one of the biggest celebrities that this country has ever known. Her television shows were widely popular and she is generally looked upon very favorably by a vast number of people. The big question is whether that vast popularity can translate into a presidential run in 2020 against President Trump. Speculation is running wild these days that Winfrey may just enter the race. Should she enter the race and compete against Trump? Is a good idea that someone with absolutely no political experience suddenly become a leading candidate to run this country?

This latest speculation over whether Winfrey will run is just another example of a rather disturbing trend that is taking place in our country. Winfrey gives a rather emotional speech last week and people automatically qualify her as being capable of leading us. It is the same way with other popular celebrities. Someone can say something that really resonates with a number of people, and suddenly they are deemed as being a very worthy presidential candidate. Never mind the individual has no background in politics or running for office. We automatically assume based on a small sample size that someone is fit to run for office and I find that extremely disturbing. Politics is suddenly becoming some sort of popularity test rather than a test of good or bad policy decisions. If we think for a minute that a well-liked famous person should automatically be qualified to run for office, then we are only fooling ourselves.

Beneath all of that fame and fortune, what really qualifies Oprah to become our next president? I want to ask this question to all of you who thinks that she should run. First of all, would Oprah run as another hard-core liberal with huge unsustainable plans for the country? How would she deal with our ever-increasing good economy? Would she reverse what Trump is doing and greatly raise taxes on big corporations? How would she handle immigration and foreign policy? Health care? These tough questions should be grilled into any first-timer who thinks they are the people’s choice to run this country. Who knows, maybe Oprah has some great ideas and she should be considered. But I and many people have our doubts.

A few weeks ago, I had made a prediction that in 2018, the Democratic party would try to get Michelle Obama to run for the presidency in 2020. They need a popular new face to run against Trump. Perhaps I picked the wrong person. A popular black woman is the perfect candidate to run against Trump. If you disagree with her positions, then you are either a racist, against women or both. Surely this would only add more fuel to the belief that Trump is a racist.

In all likelihood, I think it is an extreme long-shot that Winfrey runs. The Democratic party will probably seek out a high-end far left-wing liberal such as an Elizabeth Warren to run against Trump. I just cannot believe that anyone such as Winfrey would want to subject themselves to that kind of torture. I often wonder the same with Donald Trump. Why would anyone with that kind of money want to run for office? Why not just retire and enjoy the rest of your life? Oprah should do the same. It is cute to speculate whether she would run or not and what type of race it would be. It would be a made for television race. But would that be good for this country? It is sad to see politics becoming such a reality show.

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A real ageless wonder in the NFL

It is widely believed by many that a career for your typical NFL player usually runs about 5 years. By the time most players reach 30, they are already contemplating retirement. The game is just to violent for your typical player to have a long career in the NFL. The human body is just not built to withstand that type of punishment for any long-term amount of time. A particular player during this year’s playoffs has really gone against that belief and is one of those freaks who has actually had a long and very storied career. His name is none other than Tom Brady, the quarterback of the New England Patriots. The fact that he is still performing at a very high level is one of the most amazing sports stories ever. And the guy is 40 years old! Sometimes I wonder if Brady is really human. The man is a total freak of nature!

I don’t know if Brady is still the best quarterback in the league, Aaron Rodgers might have surpassed him, but it is hard to argue that anyone else is better than Brady. If not the best, Brady is certainly the second best quarterback in the league and you could also consider him as being one of the better players in the league. In how many other leagues is a 40-year-old considered one of the top players? Most players reached their peak during the late 20’s and decline after that. By the time many players are 32, it is time to think about being a role player on the team. Here you have Brady at 40 still dominating the league; how amazing is that? In all my years of watching sports, I have never seen an athlete perform like that so late in his career.

Perhaps more athletes can learn from what Brady is doing and his habits off the field. He reportedly is very disciplined about taking care of his body and has a very strict diet. Maybe he has found something in the fountain of youth that other players can use. Sure, Brady has for the most part avoided any chronic injuries that shorten many players career, but his willingness to take his craft serious with that much discipline should be applauded whether you are a fan of his or not.

Brady says that he wants to play until  he is 45, then retire. Heck, why not play until you are 50? He could probably still be somewhat effective even at 50. We are witnessing a very special athlete in our midst. Professional sports are supposed to be leagues dominated by young 20 some year olds. Brady is blowing that myth that players cannot play at 40. Maybe more players will realize that they too can play well at that age. Maybe 40 is the new 30 in the world of professional sports.

The most jinxed team in the NFL

The NFL playoffs started yesterday and the odds makers in Las Vegas have listed the New England Patriots and the Minnesota Vikings as favorites to reach this year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis. These playoffs mean a little more to me personally because I have been a diehard Viking’s fan for all of my life and there would be absolutely nothing better than to have my favorite NFL team win the Super Bowl in my home state. But will it happen? I have my doubts. You see the Vikings might be the most jinxed team in the NFL. They are like the Chicago Cubs of the NFL, a curse seems to be over this franchise. Will this be the year that curse or jinx is removed? I am not holding my breath!

Anyone who follows the NFL should know about the Vikings record in the Super Bowl, yes it is 0-4. In all fairness, the Vikings were only favored in one of those games, but that 0-4 tag is a huge thorn in the sides of many people here in this state who follow the purple. The lack of a Super Bowl win really stings but there have been some devastating  playoff loses that I vividly remember. The 2009-2010 team had  all the components on winning the Super Bowl and lost a gut wrenching overtime game to the New Orleans Saints in the NFC title game after having a first and 10 in field goal range late in regulation. The 1998 team might have been one of the best Vikings teams ever and also lost the NFC title game in overtime when the Vikings very accurate field goal kicker missed a short field goal in regulation that would have iced the game. There have been other blown playoff games due to dropped end zone passes, penalties and missed opportunities.

Yes, being a Minnesota Vikings fan is an exercise in emotional torture. Just when you think this team will do something special, the bottom drops out and they break our hearts. This year’s team has pretty much come out of nowhere to be in this position. There is no way I expected them to reach the Super Bowl after they lost their starting quarterback earlier this year. Perhaps a playoff disappointment would not sting as much, but the table is set for them. They are the favorites and I believe they can beat any AFC team right now should they make it to the big game. A golden opportunity to redeem 50 plus years of disappointments is staring them right in the face.

The Boston Red Sox eliminated a long curse when they won the World Series some 14 years ago. The Chicago Cubs ended their long jinx last year of never winning the World Series. Maybe the sports gods will be kind to the Vikings this year and they will win their first Super Bowl in their own building. How sweet would that be?!! As Vikings fans, we can only dream. We all know that something has to go wrong. How can we expect anything different?

 

Is Trump really fit for office?

In the latest attempt to delegitimize the fact that Donald Trump is our president, a new book has come out called “Fire and Fury” which is very damning to the President and raises questions whether he is actually mentally and emotionally fit to hold the highest office in the land. The book is largely based on information given to the author, Michael Wolff, by former Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Now if you are a big-time Trump hater, this book only adds to your belief that this man has absolutely no business running our country and should be removed immediately. But is this book really legitimate or is it just written and aided by another person who has an axe to grind with the President? Are the stories about Trump and his administration in the book really true?

I have not personally read the book, however, I have heard enough about it to really question some of its content. One of the statements from the book really caught my attention when it was stated that nearly everyone in the Trump administration feels that he is both mentally and emotionally unfit to do the job. Others have claimed that he is not smart enough to handle the very difficult responsibilities of being President. Interestingly enough, many members of team Trump have come out since this book came out backing the President and at the same time, questioning the validity of the book.

My take on claims that Trump is not smart enough to be our President is this, if you really believe that is true, then you might want to look in the mirror and question whether you yourself are smart enough to vote. Those claims are complete nonsense and absolutely ridiculous! Trump is a very brilliant man and more than smart enough to be our president. A stupid man does not run a successful business for many years, beats several more well established members of his own party on the first try and pull off one of the biggest political upsets of all time. A dumb man does not succeed in doing all of these things. Furthermore, Trump has something that many recent previous presidents have not had, common sense when it comes to policy decisions. Trump seems to have a great understanding on ways to boost our economy, make us safer as a country and deal with our enemies and allies overseas. I know his decisions have not been popular for some people, but I like a man who is strong in his convictions. As a voter and a citizen of this country, I am more than pleased that he seems to get it on these issues, unlike other more recent presidents.

The thing that worries me more than anything about Trump is his thin-skinned nature. I cannot recall a more thin-skinned politician ever in my life. Most politicians and presidents take criticism as a badge of honor and part of the job. President Trump seems to take criticism about him to a very high and disturbing level. If you dare to criticize him or his policies, you might be on the receiving end of an insulting tweet! And you might also find yourself with a new nickname! Presidents need to put aside those huge egos and realize you are a huge lightning rod for criticism. I do believe that Trump has to do a better job of handling both fair and unfair criticism about him and his job. Many of those Twitter insults might come back to haunt him in the future.

I do not know how true this book really is but I suspect it is just another attempt to show people that we made a huge mistake in electing Trump. The Russian collusion thing is rapidly fizzing out so people have to find other ways to go after the President. Are there not more important things to worry about in this country right now? Why are people not talking about ways to get more people off of food stamps, improving education, growing the economy and improving our national security? Instead the main focus right now is whether the President is fit to run the country? How sad! He has proven that he is more than fit to run the country. Lets move on to the real issues of the day.

 

A few bold predictions for 2018

As we approach the waning days of 2017, it is always fun to look ahead at the new year and what it will bring. So what will 2018 bring? Will the massive boatload of improper sexual allegations against many high-profile celebrities continue? Will there be impeachment hearings against President Trump? How will this new tax reform affect the economy in 2018? Who will be the big winners of the mid-terms and the sports championships in the new year? All of these questions remain to be unanswered and quite frankly, they are almost impossible to predict. The Minnesota blogger recently received a new crystal ball as a Christmas present and here a few things that I saw for the new year coming up.

1) A first in NFL Super Bowl history. In the 50 some years of Super Bowl history, no host team has ever made it to the Super Bowl. That will change this year when the Minnesota Vikings make it to the Super Bowl

2) Mid-terms. For you political junkies out there, this is a big year as we have the mid-terms coming up in November. There has been a lot of speculation over whether the Republicans will maintain their majorities in both the House and Senate. Typical the party of the President usually struggles in the mid-terms after securing the White House. Will this happen again? I doubt it. The Republicans continue to lead the Democrats in fundraising by a wide margin and I do not see the Democrats taking over either the House or Senate.

3) A huge upset in the NCAA men’s basketball tourney. Never in the history of the tournament has a number 16 seed knocked off a number 1 seed. Another first in the world of sports will happen this year. There has never been more parity in college basketball than today. I believe this is the year that some number 16 seed will come out of nowhere to shock the world.

4) Michelle Obama. After the disappointing results of the mid-terms, there will be a huge and I mean huge push to have Mrs. Obama run against President Trump in 2020. The Democrats have absolutely no one who can beat Trump right now and Obama, with her huge popularity, might be a surprisingly popular pick for the Democrats.

5) Tiger Woods. People in the golf world are very happy to have Tiger back. He looks really healthy at this point and I believe he will shock many people this year when he captures major number 15. I know a few years ago, I made the same prediction, but he is much healthier this time around. 2018 should be a real banner year for the PGA tour.

So there you have it, I know these predictions are rather bold and some out there may wonder what I am smoking, but hey, predictions should be bold!

 

My 2017 People of the Year

Many publications such as Time Magazine like to name their “People of the Year” at the end of each year in recognition of those who really have shaped the world for better or worse. I really take issue for those publications who name people like Adolf Hitler or Colin Kaepernick as their people of the year. My nominees are based on people who actually make sacrifices so others can live a better life. In Kaepernick’s case, he is nothing more than some ungrateful whiner who doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned for this honor. And we all know what Hitler was about; perhaps the most evil man in the history of the world. There are a few individuals this year who really caught my eye in how they either made huge sacrifices sometimes risking their own lives, or how they overcame great adversity that few people could handle. So without further ado, let me list a few people who caught my attention this year.

1) Crystal Griner. Many of you remember the awful shooting that took place in Virginia during an early softball practice for several Republican lawmakers. Griner who is a homosexual capital police officer went out in the face of danger with bullets flying all around to rescue Steve Scalise and shoot the gunman. Not only did Griner prevent what was certainly a potential for a huge tragedy, she also put her life in danger helping those who are against many rights that she might want in her life. In other words, she helped save the lives of her enemies. Griner put aside her own personal beliefs to do a very courageous job.

2) J.J. Watts. NFL players received a heap of criticism this year for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. Many fans turned off the games, however, I pointed out in one of my earlier posts that there are many players who would give the shirt off their backs to help their communities and Watts is just one of many. During the awful hurricane which ravaged the city of Houston, Watts stepped up and raised millions of dollars to help rebuild that great community.

3) Teddy Bridgewater. There are always numerous stories during the year about athletes who overcome great adversity to come back from injury and Bridgewater is just another example. A little more than a year ago, Bridgewater, an NFL quarterback, suffered a very serious knee injury during a preseason practice which almost cost him, not only his career, but his leg. For the past year, TB worked tirelessly to come back and it finally happened a few weeks ago when he entered a game for the first time since that horrific injury. I really admire people in any walk of life who can come back from, not only from a terrible injury, but a devastating medical diagnosis.

4) Me too group. 2017 will be known as the year of improper sexual allegations against many high ranking celebrities. Lost in all this hype over these allegations were the women behind these allegations. It takes a lot of courage to take a stand against some abuser and risk losing your career and reputation. These women are starting a trend to stop a very sickening behavior in our society. There is no doubt in my mind that these sexual abuse stories are not some isolated incidents. They have been going on for a long time and it is great that some women are paving the way for future harassed women to come forward.

5) The heroes of the Las Vegas massacre. There were many heroes on that awful night in Las Vegas on October 1st. Many first responders put themselves in harms way to help out injured concert goers. However, I would really like to tip my cap to everyday citizens who acted in the same way. There were many stories coming out of that tragedy that showed the true American spirit. Normal citizens helping out fellow normal citizens despite bullets flying towards them. These brave citizens stayed behind and helped people instead of running. Many of these people were not named and some may have lost their lives because of their acts of bravery. These everyday people are true heroes in my eyes.

The media loves to ignore these stories and people but I find people, like these I mentioned, make the world a much better place. We need more of them in our society.

The worst thing about sports

If you ask several sports fans and athletes what is the worst thing about playing and watching  sports, losing would no doubt top the list. Athletes at nearly all level hate to lose; some have even famously stated that losing is worse than death because you have to live with a loss. A sports fan hates to see their favorite team lose. Like many athletes, a good many fans tend to take losing a little bit too hard and it expands to their personal lives. I cannot disagree that losing is indeed one of the worst things that sports brings, but I must add another thing that is equally or more devastating, that would be injuries.

We saw evidence of this last week in the NFL. Think of how a couple of people must be feeling right now, Carson Wentz and your typical Philadelphia Eagles fan. Wentz was having a great season, one might argue worthy of MVP consideration, then in a sudden moment, it is all over. Wentz injures his knee and his season is all over. Instead of planning on the playoffs and a trip to the Super Bowl, Wentz is now planning on surgery and several months of rehab. A great season is flushed down the toilet in one play. Imagine what it would be like to be an Eagles fan? Your team is rolling great after several down years. A Super Bowl berth is very likely. Then this happens! You wonder what else could go wrong? Losing your star QB late in a very successful season is any NFL fan’s worst nightmare. Who knows, maybe Philly can overcome this injury, but this injury was a major blow to their Super Bowl hopes.

A friend of mine has a son who plays high school basketball. He is a senior this year and eyeing on playing college basketball next year. This was supposed to be a special season for him and his team. They were ranked highly in the state and he was a very integral part of the team. He spent numerous months preparing for what was supposed to be a magical season. Suddenly, the magical season turned into a nightmare. In his first game, he suffered a very serious knee injury and will be lost for the season. Not only will he be lost for the season, but his college career might be lost too. Those hoops dreams were vanished in a blink of an eye.

As a former athlete, there is nothing I feared more than getting hurt and suffering a serious injury. Many of these injuries are just freak injuries too. There is very little you can do to prevent them. You can be the best conditioned, strongest athlete on the planet, but that will not prevent you from twisting a knee or ankle and suffering a serious injury. Watching Wentz and this young athlete suffer those types of injuries really should serve as a wake up call for all athletes at any level. Never take playing  your sport for granted. It could all end in just one bad fall or movement. Nothing is guaranteed in sports and injuries in my mind are even more depressing than losing.