Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Judiciary Election Thrills!

Against my better judgment I spent time researching the candidates in today's primary election. I blame my friend Justin Bell, esquire, for telling me that if people really understood politics they'd be as excited about the judicial branch elections as they are about the executive (President/Governor) and legislative (Senate/House) branch elections.

So I read the websites for all of today's candidates. By the end of it I was indeed wound up about the judicial elections, as well as the primaries. Why?

Democratic primaries:

For U.S. Senator I support Amy Klobuchar. As I understand it she will be the Democratic nominee. This is not why I decided to go.

For U.S. Representative District 5 I support Keith Ellison. He did a direct mail piece and some facebook ads that ultimately made me check out the candidates and wonder why he was bothering with campaigning in the primary. Well!

Ellison, who is a Muslim, is facing a Tea Party DINO (Democrat In Name Only) who is accusing him of all kinds of things. As soon as I saw "Sharia Law" on the front page of the guy's website I decided I'd continue researching and maybe even vote. I like to vote against any candidate who uses hate and fear. And I like what I see of Ellison. His interview with Stephen Colbert and the fact that he embedded it in his website doesn't hurt either.

For State Senator District 46 I support Ron Latz. He is running unopposed in the primary.

Judiciary elections:

For Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court I decided to support Jill Clark. The incumbent has scads of supporters, some of whom I like (Walter F. Mondale, etc.) but she was appointed by Pawlenty. Jill Clark has a very good website where she clearly outlines her candidacy.

In these judiciary elections the winner will not be decided until November. However, the candidate field will be whittled to two. As I understand it the incumbent usually wins the primary, gaining one of those two spots. This basically means I'm voting for either Jill Clark or Dan Griffith. Griffith had a lot of smart, meaningful things to say about judges and how they are chosen but I just heard and saw too many buzzwords suggesting he resents the poor and is basically a Republican.

For Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court I decided to support Alan Nelson. A clear, well written website splash page (and more importantly its content) made this an easy choice for me. That's actually where I learned the electoral procedural information in the previous paragraph.

For Judge, 4th District Court 22 I narrowed it down to either Deborah Russell or Elizabeth V. Cutter. I asked J. Bell if he had any information and he did not. Deborah Russell would be a fine candidate and I will vote for her if she makes it to November. However, she used two spaces after a period on her website. Thus today I voted for Cutter.

Cutter had a lot of evidence to back up this bold statement on her about page: "Liz is dedicated to issues of fairness, justice, and integrity across a wide spectrum." Plus she is a musician.

So that's what I did today for the first time ever. I actually researched and cared about judicial elections. Then I ran across the street and voted my conscience and my beliefs. When I got home I told bride who I had voted for and encouraged her to do the same since we have similar visions for America and Minnesota.

For someone who once wrote in the Twins lineup on the judicial part of the ballot, today was progress.

Update: 8:44 p.m. The Dems we voted for and Elizabeth Cutter are winning in landslides. Nelson and Clark are losing pretty decisively and will not make it to November. It doesn't look like my vote, even combined with bride's, if she even voted my line, is going to make any difference. Was it all worth it?

Check your own races here if you are so inclined.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Beatles Fan? There's Something You Should Know

There is an album available now called Silver Beatles At Home 1960. It strongly suggests (with my scientific psychology major I have insurmountable internal prohibitions against using the word "proves") that before The Beatles were The Beatles The Beatles were The Velvet Underground.

The tape is of four teenage kids (Paul, John, George, and Stu Sutcliffe) goofing around with a tape recorder. The sound quality is terrible. The music is fascinating. It's almost all based on simple blues changes and a lot of it is instrumental. It's impossible to imagine these Beatles creating a song like If I Fell, to say nothing of Eleanor Rigby or Martha My Dear. Ironically, it's easy to imagine them going immediately to Tomorrow Never Knows, a monolithic slab of a song if there ever was one.

They are much closer to The Velvet Underground song What Goes On than The Beatles song What Goes On.

If Andy Warhol had heard this band in 1960 instead of Brian Epstein in 1962 they seriously would have become The Velvet Underground. Wild. Obviously two years of going to Germany and the Cavern Club and having to learn actual songs and having to entertain people for hours at a time made The Beatles what they became.

I highly recommend listening to a few tracks at amazon.com.

My fellow residents of Hennepin County can get it free at a rate of three songs per week using Freegal. (That link may only work if you log in first.)

Hurry, because this album will disappear as soon as The Beatles legal team gets their way, just like The Complete Decca Sessions did last year. It is part of that "Grey Market" of semi-legal bootlegs that bands don't actually want released but that were recorded before they had their legal team in place.