7 Minute Miles

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,Longform,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 Mini Posts,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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