7 Minute Miles

A canine hunger for petting

Posted Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020 12:52 pm GMT -5 in Links,News,Politics at 12:52 PM


Originally published by DK on June 2, 2020 at 12:52 pm

Shifting Landscapes

Posted Wednesday, May 20th, 2020 10:19 am GMT -5 in Politics at 10:19 AM

Just like in real life, I try to avoid discussing politics and religion on this site. As an avid student of history, however, I’m really fascinated by the changing face of the Republican party in the United States. In particular, the formation and actions of The Lincoln Project, support from some of the Minnesota Republicans of my youth and the reaction on the “new right” by people like Jason Lewis to these efforts.

As I’ve (reluctantly) shared in the past, I do not consider myself a Republican or a Democrat (or a conservative or a liberal). I like to evaluate all issues independent of the pre-conceived platforms of those labels and form my own opinions on a case-by-case basis. What I find interesting about the Lincoln Project is how some people I thought would always be set in their ways have changed their position over time. Take Steve Schmidt for example. Here’s the guy who pushed John McCain to select Sarah Palin and worked with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Arnold Schwarzenegger on Trump:

The 43rd President of the United States listened to Trump’s inaugural and turned to the former Secretary of State and said, “well, that was some weird shit.” Indeed it was. Trump, raged about “American carnage” and described a dystopic America that existed only in the fever dreams of a noxious mix of conspiracy theorists, demagogic commentators and dishonest propaganda platforms getting rich by spreading the disinformation planted by foreign intelligence services. Three years on it turns out Trump’s speech was prophecy. He has brought devastation to America. His legacy will be mass death and economic collapse caused by his staggering incompetence and ineptitude. The United States is the epicenter of Covid-19 disease and death and the reason is because of Trump. Trump has failed at an epic level. He has divided the county and stoked a cold civil war. He has lied more than 17000 times and desecrated the American Presidency. He has assaulted American patriots, our most important institutions and attacked the rule of law. He is corrupt, indecent and utterly lacking character. He processes none of the qualities of greatness and goodness that have steered our country through its’ darkest nights. He is a fool without compare. He is intellectually unfit and mentally fragile. He is unworthy of his office and unfit for its duties. We are living in a moment of American weakness unlike any of us have ever seen. Trump is the architect of that weakness. He is the instrument of our precipitous national decline. Recovery from this disaster will take many years. Trump is not capable at any level of leading it. The election ahead is the most important this country has faced since 1864. Let it end this rancid era of the reality show Presidency. Let it send this tiresome and ignorant bully back to Trump Tower and cleanse the stench of his corruption, idiocy, racebaiting and failure from our national life. The name Trump will long linger. It will stand for suffering and unnecessary death. It will stand for economic collapse and financial ruin. It will stand for failure and weakness. It will stand for decline and dishonesty. It will stand for stupidity and indecency. But mostly it will mark a tragic time in America where the worst leader in our long history, a man so outmatched by history’s test was the President. He will be remembered rightfully as the worst one we have ever had.

Originally published by DK on May 20, 2020 at 10:19 am

Looks like Bucky got duped

Posted Friday, December 13th, 2019 02:50 pm GMT -5 in Business,Links,Politics,Technology at 2:50 PM


Originally published by DK on December 13, 2019 at 2:50 pm

The Elders

Posted Saturday, July 20th, 2019 10:00 pm GMT -5 in History,Politics,Quotes at 10:00 PM

The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.

Originally published by DK on July 20, 2019 at 10:00 pm

Looking good, Met Council

Posted Tuesday, July 9th, 2019 04:35 pm GMT -5 in Business,Politics at 4:35 PM

Practically neighbors

Originally published by DK on July 9, 2019 at 4:35 pm

The Important Stuff

Posted Wednesday, April 24th, 2019 01:00 am GMT -5 in Family,Mini Posts,Personal,Politics at 1:00 AM

Growing up, there were two things we never talked about: politics and religion. I’ll leave the latter for another day, but the former is something that I’ve really come to dislike as I’ve grown older. I mean, politics are everywhere, of course, whether it be at work, in the news or at a family gathering. But as far as traditional Republicans versus Democrats, right versus left and conservative versus liberal, I’ve had just about all I can take. I’ve never been a fan of political parties – why can’t all elections be like those for mayor, school board or judge? I don’t need to see an “R” or “D” behind your name – tell me your qualifications, what your positions are and how you came to those conclusions. Party platforms are an intellectual cop-out, in my opinion.

We all form our key values as we mature and I find it interesting how these can change over time (and how they are shaped by our individual experiences and environments). I’ve always held the Golden Rule in high esteem and try to follow the “Thumper Rule” online (“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”). Some of my other favorites?

  • Love and kindness
  • Knowledge, expertise and dedication
  • Fairness and equality
  • Civility and respect

Closely related to these values are other things important to me: family and friends, culture, education, science, history, nature, fitness, sportsmanship, fine food, live music, good writing, silence. I used to think that I hated rules (especially those seemingly arbitrary ones created by “the man”), but really I just hate dumb rules (i.e. – this).

Originally published by DK on April 24, 2019 at 1:00 am

Definitely worth your time

Posted Sunday, April 21st, 2019 07:00 pm GMT -5 in Links,Politics at 7:00 PM

Click to access report.pdf

Originally published by DK on April 21, 2019 at 7:00 pm

Puttin’ People on the Moon

Posted Thursday, March 28th, 2019 12:41 pm GMT -5 in Music,Politics,Quotes at 12:41 PM

And all them politicians, they all lyin’ sacks of shit. They say better days upon us, but I’m sucking left hind tit…

Originally published by DK on March 28, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Not enough $$$ in the world

Posted Wednesday, February 27th, 2019 12:02 pm GMT -5 in Links,Politics,Technology at 12:02 PM


Originally published by DK on February 27, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Nate White

Posted Sunday, February 17th, 2019 02:34 pm GMT -5 in Politics,Quotes at 2:34 PM

…no class, no charm, no coolness, no credibility, no compassion, no wit, no warmth, no wisdom, no subtlety, no sensitivity, no self-awareness, no humility, no honour and no grace…

Originally published by DK on February 17, 2019 at 2:34 pm

Winston Churchill

Posted Tuesday, December 18th, 2018 07:28 pm GMT -5 in History,Politics,Quotes at 7:28 PM

The Admiralty had demanded six ships; the economists offered four; and we finally compromised on eight…

Originally published by DK on December 18, 2018 at 7:28 pm

Secret Service nightmare

Posted Wednesday, December 5th, 2018 10:24 am GMT -5 in History,Politics at 10:24 AM

Can’t imagine the logistical planning required for this

Originally published by DK on December 5, 2018 at 10:24 am

Election 2018

Posted Wednesday, November 7th, 2018 10:42 am GMT -5 in Mini Posts,Politics at 10:42 AM

Still don’t like to talk politics or religion, but thank you to everyone who took the time to vote in the 2018 election. According to the Minnesota Secretary of State website, there are currently 4,064,389 eligible voters in the state. That site is not at 100% reporting across the board yet, but the governor’s race had 2,586,298 total votes recorded, while the two U.S. Senate races had 2,596,877 (Klobuchar/Newberger) and 2,587,320 (Smith/Housley) total votes cast. The would indicate a 63.6% turnout for a midterm election – more than 13% higher than the last midterm in 2014 (which is great, but still kinda sad overall).

Not going to provide detailed opinions on any of the races locally or nationally, but I will say this is the first time I’ve ever had a perfect ballot – every person and issue I voted for won… ??

Originally published by DK on November 7, 2018 at 10:42 am

NotATweet: Don’t let the turkeys get you down

Posted Friday, September 28th, 2018 11:44 am GMT -5 in News,Personal,Politics,Weather at 11:44 AM

Tough week with stress, health, cold weather, tech gremlins and politics/news, but still trying to fight the good fight

Originally published by DK on September 28, 2018 at 11:44 am

Icky Thump

Posted Tuesday, August 21st, 2018 04:30 pm GMT -5 in Music,Politics,Quotes at 4:30 PM

Why don’t you kick yourself out – you’re an immigrant too…

Originally published by DK on August 21, 2018 at 4:30 pm

Noise, Noise, Noise!

Posted Friday, August 10th, 2018 10:12 pm GMT -5 in Links,Politics at 10:12 PM

Noise, Noise, Noise!

Originally published by DK on August 10, 2018 at 10:12 pm

I’m an outlaw, quick on the draw

Posted Thursday, July 12th, 2018 09:02 am GMT -5 in Business,Politics at 9:02 AM

Respect our authoritay

Originally published by DK on July 12, 2018 at 9:02 am

John A. Boehner

Posted Saturday, June 30th, 2018 12:05 pm GMT -5 in Politics,Quotes at 12:05 PM

…you can only ignore the will of the people for so long and get away with it…

Originally published by DK on June 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Charles Krauthammer

Posted Thursday, June 21st, 2018 11:21 pm GMT -5 in Politics,Quotes at 11:21 PM

While science, medicine, art, poetry, architecture, chess, space, sports, number theory and all things hard and beautiful promise purity, elegance and sometimes even transcendence, they are fundamentally subordinate. In the end, they must bow to the sovereignty of politics…

Originally published by DK on June 21, 2018 at 11:21 pm

Missed this campaign

Posted Monday, May 7th, 2018 01:57 pm GMT -5 in Design,Football,Politics at 1:57 PM

Hiawatha bike trail

Originally published by DK on May 7, 2018 at 1:57 pm

David Brooks

Posted Friday, December 8th, 2017 12:34 pm GMT -5 in Politics,Quotes at 12:34 PM

Today’s tax cuts have no bipartisan support. They have no intellectual grounding, no body of supporting evidence. They do not respond to the central crisis of our time. They have no vision of the common good…

Originally published by DK on December 8, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Bruce on Elections

Posted Wednesday, May 10th, 2017 03:23 pm GMT -5 in Links,Politics,Technology at 3:23 PM


Originally published by DK on May 10, 2017 at 3:23 pm

My Top 7 Online Publications

Posted Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 12:52 pm GMT -5 in Business,News,Politics,Reading,Technology at 12:52 PM

* paid subscriber

(Also just resubscribed to the print edition of The Economist)

Originally published by DK on March 28, 2017 at 12:52 pm

POTUS45 (or Digital Underground)

Posted Saturday, February 25th, 2017 04:22 pm GMT -5 in Music,Politics,Quotes at 4:22 PM

Just grab ’em in the biscuits…

Originally published by DK on February 25, 2017 at 4:22 pm

City Pages

Posted Thursday, February 9th, 2017 10:57 am GMT -5 in News,Politics,Quotes at 10:57 AM

We’ve really gotta lay low for awhile. This is not the time to bust out a new racket…

Originally published by DK on February 9, 2017 at 10:57 am

Never heard of this before

Posted Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 09:46 pm GMT -5 in History,Links,Politics at 9:46 PM


Originally published by DK on February 1, 2017 at 9:46 pm

Winston Churchill

Posted Friday, January 20th, 2017 09:29 am GMT -5 in History,Politics,Quotes at 9:29 AM

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter…

Originally published by DK on January 20, 2017 at 9:29 am

The moose outside should’ve told ya

Posted Thursday, December 15th, 2016 09:02 pm GMT -5 in Politics,Pop Culture,Travel at 9:02 PM

So much nationalism up here (just like 🇺🇸)

Originally published by DK on December 15, 2016 at 9:02 pm

Don’t listen to Minneapolis

Posted Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 06:40 pm GMT -5 in Politics at 6:40 PM

St. Paul will never get rid of the skyways

Originally published by DK on November 23, 2016 at 6:40 pm

It’s that time of the year

Posted Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 06:24 am GMT -5 in Food,Politics at 6:24 AM

Make cereal great again

Originally published by DK on November 8, 2016 at 6:24 am

The Loophole Economy

Posted Thursday, August 4th, 2016 01:15 pm GMT -5 in Links,Politics at 1:15 PM


Originally published by DK on August 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm

This might be part of it

Posted Monday, June 13th, 2016 03:05 pm GMT -5 in Politics,Reading at 3:05 PM

The magazine rack at the Winona Shopko

Originally published by DK on June 13, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Proud to Be

Posted Sunday, February 7th, 2016 10:52 pm GMT -5 in Links,Personal,Politics at 10:52 PM

Originally published by DK on February 7, 2016 at 10:52 pm

Tiny ballot this year

Posted Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 06:41 pm GMT -5 in Personal,Politics at 6:41 PM

Two items, five bubbles to fill in

Originally published by DK on November 3, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Mr. Helvetica

Posted Friday, October 23rd, 2015 10:57 am GMT -5 in Politics,Pop Culture,Quotes at 10:57 AM

Space is Waste

Originally published by DK on October 23, 2015 at 10:57 am

Is this the Onion?

Posted Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 03:33 pm GMT -5 in Links,Politics at 3:33 PM


Originally published by DK on April 14, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Florida Chamber of Commerce

Posted Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 03:16 pm GMT -5 in Business,Casinos,Politics,Quotes at 3:16 PM

Florida doesn’t need the casino industry. The casino industry…needs Florida.

Originally published by DK on February 25, 2015 at 3:16 pm

tl1 – Minneapolis Rules

Posted Tuesday, February 17th, 2015 01:49 pm GMT -5 in Links,Politics at 1:49 PM


Originally published by DK on February 17, 2015 at 1:49 pm

Great lobby example from DE

Posted Monday, February 16th, 2015 04:45 pm GMT -5 in Casinos,Links,Politics at 4:45 PM


Originally published by DK on February 16, 2015 at 4:45 pm


Posted Thursday, October 30th, 2014 09:02 pm GMT -5 in Politics at 9:02 PM

My absentee ballot has arrived

Originally published by DK on October 30, 2014 at 9:02 pm

The Boondoggle

Posted Sunday, July 20th, 2014 08:35 am GMT -5 in Politics at 8:35 AM

Eagan Community Center

Originally published by DK on July 20, 2014 at 8:35 am

Minnesota Lottery Gone Wild

Posted Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 05:06 pm GMT -5 in Casinos,Links,Politics at 5:06 PM


Originally published by DK on April 9, 2014 at 5:06 pm

Good Morning Governor

Posted Friday, March 21st, 2014 10:07 am GMT -5 in Casinos,Politics,Travel at 10:07 AM

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval

Originally published by DK on March 21, 2014 at 10:07 am

Nelson Mandela

Posted Thursday, December 5th, 2013 07:14 pm GMT -5 in History,Politics,Quotes at 7:14 PM

Hating clouds the mind. It gets in the way of strategy. Leaders cannot afford to hate.

Originally published by DK on December 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Did you?

Posted Tuesday, November 5th, 2013 01:46 pm GMT -5 in Politics at 1:46 PM

Election Day 2013

Originally published by DK on November 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Secret this, secret that

Posted Wednesday, August 7th, 2013 10:28 am GMT -5 in Links,Politics at 10:28 AM


Originally published by DK on August 7, 2013 at 10:28 am

George H.W. Bush

Posted Monday, April 29th, 2013 05:59 pm GMT -5 in Music,Politics,Quotes at 5:59 PM

Nitty Ditty Nitty Gritty Great Bird

Originally published by DK on April 29, 2013 at 5:59 pm


Posted Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 11:14 pm GMT -5 in Politics,Quotes at 11:14 PM

Nine out of ten tax-filers pay for help to complete their returns.

Originally published by DK on April 23, 2013 at 11:14 pm

How did I miss this?

Posted Monday, April 1st, 2013 04:30 pm GMT -5 in Casinos,Links,Politics at 4:30 PM


Originally published by DK on April 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Every other ad in Arizona

Posted Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 07:33 pm GMT -5 in Links,Politics,Television at 7:33 PM


Originally published by DK on March 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm


Posted Monday, November 5th, 2012 09:38 pm GMT -5 in Music,Politics,Quotes at 9:38 PM

Remember when your politics, religion, and income were nobody else’s goddam business? That was nice.

Originally published by DK on November 5, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Thurston Howell Romney

Posted Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 09:39 am GMT -5 in Links,Politics at 9:39 AM


Originally published by DK on September 18, 2012 at 9:39 am

Romney or Bucket?

Posted Wednesday, April 18th, 2012 12:27 pm GMT -5 in Links,Politics at 12:27 PM


Originally published by DK on April 18, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Beastie Boys and Tenancious D at Roy Wilkins

Posted Monday, November 10th, 2008 08:42 pm GMT -5 in Concerts,Music,Politics at 8:42 PM

Still way behind on posts, so here’s the most recent…

A week ago Saturday, Colleen and I went down to Roy Wilkins Auditorium (site of our high school graduation) to see Tenacious D, Ben Harper and the Beastie Boys for a Rock the Vote concert. We’ve never seen any of them before and tickets were only $35, so we decided to use the valuable tickets instead of selling them to a broker (the 6,000 ticket show sold out instantly).

I was just as excited to see the D as I was the Beastie Boys, seeing as how my work servers are named JB, KG, Lee and Sasquatch. They only played for about 45 minutes, but it was awesome:

  • Kielbasa
  • History
  • Dude (I Totally Miss You)
  • Kyle Quit
  • Friendship
  • Saxaboom
  • The Government Totally Sucks
  • Wonderboy
  • City Hall
  • F*ck Her Gently
  • Tribute

The Ben Harper set was extremely loud. I didn’t really know much about him going in, but he played well and was enjoyable. JB and KG came out for some vocal contributions during a cover of Queen’s Under Pressure, which was one of the highlights of the night for me.

The Beastie Boys set was a total flashback to our high school days. 44-year-old MCA is still our favorite – such a cool, unique voice. He definitely has lost a step on Mike D and King Ad-Rock, though. Mix Master Mike shined during Three MC’s and One DJ and I loved the opening to No Sleep Til’ Brooklyn, which sent chills down my spine.

The sound in the auditorium wasn’t the greatest for their vocals, but it was plenty loud on everything else. The boys all played instruments during the encore, which was a trip to watch. I especially enjoyed seeing MCA play the distinctive riff from Gratitude. I was also happy to have Ad-Rock repeatedly correct Mike D about which city he was in. Maybe it was that Andy Samberg hair messin’ with his mind…

Here is the set list, as quoted by the Star Tribune:

  • Super Disco Breakin’
  • Flute Loop
  • Alright Hear This
  • Sure Shot
  • Pass the Mic
  • Check It Out
  • Root Down
  • Body Movin’
  • No Sleep Til’ Brooklyn
  • Right Now
  • Three MC’s and One DJ
  • So What ‘Cha Want
  • Intergalactic
  • — Encore —
  • Biz Vs. Nuge
  • Time For Livin’
  • Gratitude
  • Sabotage

Vote for Yo Mama!

Originally published by DK on November 10, 2008 at 8:42 pm

You Choose – Election 2008

Posted Friday, October 17th, 2008 12:09 am GMT -5 in Politics at 12:09 AM

As I do for every election, here are the people and issues on my ballot this year (as far as I can tell), along with links to various web sites. I don’t make public endorsements on this site – I just encourage everyone to get informed before election day, then get out there on November 4th and fill out your ballot as an intelligent, knowledgeable voter.


U.S. Senator

U.S. Representative – District 2

State Representative – District 38A

County Commissioner – District 3

Soil and Water Supervisor Supervisor District 2

  • Marian Brown – Incumbent
  • Victoria Dvorak
  • Scott Norstad

Soil and Water Supervisor Supervisor District 4

  • Chris Nielsen – Incumbent
  • Peter Thomas Schaffer

Soil and Water Supervisor Supervisor District 5

  • Michael Carr
  • Joe Meyers – Incumbent

Minnesota Supreme Court – Seat 3

Minnesota Supreme Court – Seat 4

Judge – Minnesota Court of Appeals – Seat 16

Judge – District Court – Seat 32

Eagan City Council – 2 seats

Eagan City Council – 1 seat (to fill vacancy)

State Constitutional Amendment

  • Shall the Minnesota constitution be amended to dedicate funding to protect our drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore our wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve our arts and cultural heritage; to support our parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore our lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater by increasing the sales and use tax rate beginning July 1, 2009, by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales until the year 2034?
  • Vote Yes Supporters – Vote Yes Minnesota
  • Vote No Supporters – No Sales Tax Increase

City of Eagan Carriage Hills Referendum

  • Shall the City of Eagan be authorized to issue and sell its general obligation bonds in a principal amount not to exceed $10,250,000 for the purpose of acquiring approximately 120 acres of land formerly known as the Carriage Hills Golf Course for public facilities, recreation, and open space uses?
  • Questions and Answers (City of Eagan)

NOTE: Uncontested races not listed.

Originally published by DK on October 17, 2008 at 12:09 am

Circus Reform in Minneapolis

Posted Wednesday, September 12th, 2007 01:00 am GMT -5 in Politics at 1:00 AM

A while back I received an email from 7 Minute Miles reader Rick Kelley of Minneapolis. He wanted to raise awareness about a local advocacy group called Circus Reform Yes!

From the group’s website:

Minnesota-based nonprofit advocacy group for wild animals used in entertainment. It is our philosophy that the use of wild animals in circuses is inherently inhumane. Circus Reform Yes believes in the power of compassionate, humane education to make profound changes in society’s attitude, and to alleviate the unnecessary suffering caused by the archaic institution of wild animal circuses.

I will never forgot the truly awful circus that came to the Eagan Civic Arena several years ago that I vowed never to attend again. And as you can tell from my fetishes page, I much prefer Cirque du Soleil to circuses with animals.

If you live in Minneapolis and would like to show your support of this group, there is a city council hearing today at 1pm in the council chambers at City Hall (350 S 5th St, 3rd Floor, Minneapolis).

Originally published by DK on September 12, 2007 at 1:00 am

Transportation Laws in Minnesota

Posted Monday, May 7th, 2007 10:33 pm GMT -5 in Politics at 10:33 PM

Today I wrote my state representatives after a particularly stressful commuting week:

Representative Masin and Senator Carlson,

I am writing today about some thoughts I had on my commute home last week. I work in St. Paul (where I grew up) and drive I-35E to and from work. Traffic levels have been getting worse and worse all the time and I support increased funding through whatever means are fair and equitable to those who use the roads.

Other factors seem to contribute to traffic levels aside from money and construction, though. Driver skill and etiquette seem to be on the decline, leading to slower traffic and more accidents. Here are some suggestions for future legislation:

* Require more frequent re-testing to retain your drivers license. I took a drivers test once a million years ago, but aside from very infrequent vision tests, I never have to prove I know the rules ever again. Build an online test website that must be passed every time a license is renewed and add a testing fee to pay for it. Make sure the definition of a yield sign and the meaning of “slower traffic keep right” is on the test.

* Driving with cell phone restrictions. I’m not a big supporter of more restrictions on individual behavior, but the worst drivers are inevitably talking on their phones. If you really need to talk, pull over and park it.

* Increase penalties on smokers who use the roads as their personal ashtray. I realize the car is one of the last bastions of freedom for smokers in the state, but aside from the safety issues with being distracted by your cigarette (see above), it annoys me to no end to see smokers ignore the ashtray in their car and fling their butts everywhere else. Increase the fine and include mandatory community service picking up trash from the roadside.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

On the way home today, I thought maybe the law should just be “pay attention to driving and keep two hands on the wheel,” but I guess that’s implied (but rarely followed).

I’ll post any responses I get here as an update…

UPDATE (5/20): Heard from my state senator today:

Mr. Kingsbury,

Thank you for your note. I can’t agree with you more.

I am on the Transportation Conference Committee which has the duty to work out the compromise bill that contains the initiatives heard in both the House and Senate and passed from both houses. We worked to arrive at a convincing bill which the Governor will sign. The Governor said he would veto any and all tax increases, even those which have wide support from cities, counties and state transportation working groups. We finished the bill, passed it overwhelmingly in the Senate and sent it to the House where it passed 90 to 43. A few days later, the Governor vetoed it. We are still one or two votes short of a veto override in the House so it may not come back to the Senate for override.

The lack of adequate transportation funding has become a critical issue in Minnesota. We are losing billions in Federal funding for major projects because we can’t put up matching funding. By the DOT’s own information, about 30% of the state highways roadways are in “poor” driving condition. If the Governor’s veto cannot be overridden our property taxes will rise to pick up critical costs to cities and counties.

I also agree on the need for better driving skills and rule compliance. Cell phone usage and resulting “inattentive driving” is the cause of more and more accidents and logged accident information is showing that some policies need changing. I co-sponsored a bill to enhance penalties for inattentive driving as a result of the young woman killed on Pilot Knob Road last summer. She was cleaning up the ditches when she was hit by a woman who said she fell asleep.

Thank you for your letter and stay tuned for the final outcome.

Best regards,
Senator Jim Carlson

Originally published by DK on May 7, 2007 at 10:33 pm

Minnesota Election Review Volunteering

Posted Tuesday, November 14th, 2006 12:16 am GMT -5 in Politics at 12:16 AM

Minnesota passed a new law this year that requires all counties to conduct a post-election audit of 2-4 randomly picked precincts. The paper ballot totals for Minnesota Governor, U.S. Senate and U.S. Congress will be manually counted and compared to the results of the optical scan machines. If there is more than a 0.5 percent difference, an automatic recount of the entire county will be called.

The non-partisan groups Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota and the League of Women Voters Minnesota have requested volunteers to observe these audits. I will be observing Dakota County on Wednesday morning and Goodhue County on Thursday morning. Should be interesting…DK

UPDATE: The Dakota County review went smoothly and all four precincts matched the machine count exactly. I picked the largest one to observe, Burnsville Precinct 2, which had about 1200 ballots and took a little more than two hours to complete. Goodhue County up next…DK

UPDATE 2: My experience in Goodhue County had the same end result, but the process was a little different. Goodhue has a new election official, Carolynn Holsten (sp?), who said she started in October. Chairs had been set out for observers about ten feet away from the two counting tables and there were two other observers from Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota when I arrived.

The review started and at one point I got up and walked to a table to get the count totals and observe the ballots. The election official asked me to stay in my seat, as they has been provided for us. I told her I need to be able to see the ballots and that I could be within three feet, as long as I didn’t touch the ballots or interfere with the people counting. I didn’t have anything with me that had that spelled out, so I just remained in my chair for most of the review. I did raise my hand and ask to review one ballot that was recorded as defective (it was an over count), but overall I really wasn’t close enough to see what was marked on any of the other ballots.

This situation made my uncomfortable, especially after Dakota County officials the previous day had made it a point several times during the review to make sure I could see each ballot clearly. The people doing the review in Goodhue County also had the machine totals in front them and seemed to be looking at those to see how many they needed in each stack versus totaling, then comparing.

I called Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota after the review and discussed my concerns with Director Mark Halvorson. He said Goodhue was one of the counties they had not been able to contact before the review, likely due to the recent turnover of county personnel. He also said I could have called him during the review and he would have spoke directly with the official right away. While the end result of this audit had the desired outcome, we both agreed that the new election review law could use some better guidelines for county election officials and observers in the future…DK

Originally published by DK on November 14, 2006 at 12:16 am

My New Government Officials

Posted Wednesday, November 8th, 2006 11:31 am GMT -5 in Politics at 11:31 AM

Here is the tentative list of the people who will be representing me in the major offices:

  • U.S. Senators: Norm Coleman (R) and Amy Klobuchar (D)
  • U.S. Representative, District 2: John Kline (R)
  • Governor: Tim Pawlenty (R)
  • MN Attorney General: Lori Swanson (D)
  • MN Secretary of State: Mark Ritchie (D)
  • MN State Auditor: Rebecca Otta (D)
  • MN Senate, District 38: Jim Carlson (D)
  • MN House, District 38A: Sandra Masin (D)
  • Eagan Mayor: Mike Maguire
  • Eagan City Council: Peggy Carlson, Paul Bakken, Meg Tilley, Cyndee Fields

Overall, I think it was an interesting mix of results in this election. I’m neither excited or angry, so I guess that’s a positive. I do plan to communicate more with the people listed above and make them work for their money, something I haven’t done nearly enough in the past…DK

Originally published by DK on November 8, 2006 at 11:31 am

Election Day 2006

Posted Tuesday, November 7th, 2006 11:22 am GMT -5 in Politics at 11:22 AM

Today’s the day we’ve all been waiting for–the day when election ads stop on TV! Seriously, though, I encourage all of you to get informed and exercise your right to vote. You can’t bitch about things later if you don’t vote today. The League of Women Voters site has a good ballot site and will tell you where to vote.

I voted this morning at 8:15am and did not have to wait in line at all. My wife got there when the polls opened at seven and she had to wait about a half hour. The counter said I was ballot 243–let’s get those participation numbers up…DK

Originally published by DK on November 7, 2006 at 11:22 am

Election 2006 Follow-Up

Posted Monday, October 16th, 2006 09:52 pm GMT -5 in Politics at 9:52 PM

While working on my election research, there were a few question marks. In the Eagan city council race, candidate Buzz Anderson did not have any website or email information listed in his filing. I did a Google search and found his business email at the Minnesota Retailers Association. He replied with the following contact info:

In the second district congressional race, the Independence Party candidate is listed as Douglas Williams, but he is not listed on the Minnesota Independence Party website. I thought that was really odd and contacted Marian Brown, the IP chair for CD2. She said Mr. Williams does not have the endorsement of the Independence Party and they don’t really know much about him. He appears to be a fringe candidate based on the limited information available online, but I’m still not sure how he got on the ballot as an IP candidate.

Lastly, I was having a hard time deciding who to pick for Eagan mayor. The recent retail developments near my house gave me an opportunity to write both candidates to get their opinions on zoning and development. I emailed Mike Maguire late at night, but he replied within 10 minutes and we ended up exchanging several emails around 1am. His answers were very thorough and I generally agreed with his positions. Cyndee Fields took a little longer to reply and was more succinct, but I also liked her answers. That one is still a toss-up for me…DK

Originally published by DK on October 16, 2006 at 9:52 pm

Minnesota Election 2006

Posted Saturday, October 7th, 2006 04:35 pm GMT -5 in Politics at 4:35 PM

When I was growing up, there were two taboo topics: politics and religion. Both were considered private, personal decisions and talking about them in public was just not done. In some ways, I wish more people still felt this way, but then again, some issues are too important to keep quiet about.

With the elections rapidly approaching, it’s time to become informed about the choices we have on November 7th. Personally, I consider myself an independent voter (small “i”) that likes to look at each race or issue, do my research and be ready to make informed choices on election day. I’m not a fan of the party system and would really like to see all of the local and state offices be non-partisan, but that will never happen with the major parties in charge of making the rules.

Minnesota has always had high voter participation rates, but I was surprised to find how difficult it was to find information about the 2006 election. After a great deal of searching, I finally found the Secretary of State’s registered candidate search page. The big metro newspaper sites (Star Tribune and Pioneer Press) still have primary results featured and links to the candidates are hard to find. The League of Women Voters and MyBallot.net have decent information, but they are not comprehensive and don’t have all of the local items that will appear on the ballot.

Here is a summary of what I’ve been able to find so far, along with links to more information:

U.S. Senate

U.S. House of Representatives – 2nd District

  • Douglas Williams – Independence Party (Phone: 952-448-2028)
  • John Kline – Republican Party (Incumbent)
  • Coleen Rowley – Democratic-Farmer-Labor Pary

Governor and Lieutenant Governor

Minnesota Secretary of State

Minnesota State Auditor

Minnesota Attorney General

Proposed Minnesota Constitutional Amendment

  • Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to dedicate revenue from a tax on the sale of new and used motor vehicles over a five-year period, so that after June 30, 2011, all of the revenue is dedicated at least 40 percent for public transit assistance and not more than 60 percent for highway purposes?
  • Vote Yes Supporters – Minnesotans for Better Roads and Transit
  • Vote No Supporters – Education Minnesota

Minnesota Judicial Races

Minnesota Judicial Unopposed Seats

  • Associate Justice, Supreme Court 1: Barry Anderson (incumbent)
  • Court of Appeals 6: Renee L. Worke (incumbent)
  • Court of Appeals 7: Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks (incumbent)
  • Court of Appeals 12: Gordon W. Shumaker (incumbent)
  • 1st District Court, Seat 2: Robert F. Carolan (incumbent)
  • 1st District Court, Seat 4: Jean Ann Davies (incumbent)
  • 1st District Court, Seat 6: David L. Knutson (incumbent)
  • 1st District Court, Seat 10: Diane M. Hanson (incumbent)
  • 1st District Court, Seat 14: Michael J. Mayer (incumbent)
  • 1st District Court, Seat 18: William E. Macklin (incumbent)
  • 1st District Court, Seat 19: Leslie M. Metzen (incumbent)
  • 1st District Court, Seat 20: Kathryn D. Messerich (incumbent)
  • 1st District Court, Seat 29: Terry E. Conkel (incumbent)

Minnesota Senate – District 38

Minnesota House – District 38A

Eagan Mayor

Eagan City Council

Dakota County Attorney

  • James C. Backstrom (Incumbent) – unopposed

Dakota County Sheriff

Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor

  • District 1: Michael Pliml (Incumbent) vs. Scott A. Holm
  • District 3: Kevin Chamberlain (Incumbent) – unopposed
  • Candidate Statements (Fall 2006 DCSWCD Newsletter)

Get informed. Do your research. Vote November 7th…DK

Originally published by DK on October 7, 2006 at 4:35 pm

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