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I can’t wait to May 13, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Music.
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A while back I wrote a post about Minneapolis rapper Phonetic One. Now, unfortunately he made the terrible mistake of attending the University of Wisconsin, and like all Badgers do (and practically everyone else in the Midwest) he participated in the Mifflin block party festivities. And not only did he participate, he performed.

But this post is not just more publicity for a local music act, it’s actually about the song. The song’s chorus repeats, “I can’t wait to, go back to, Minneapolis and just chill.” And really, that’s all I want to do right now. The feeling runs so deep that I knew I had to share this video. I hope you enjoy it.

Police brutality May 10, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Lifestyle.
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The following two videos only recently came to my attention and needless to say I am outraged by the Minneapolis Police Department’s unnecessary use of force in both these cases. Please watch the videos and then read my comments that follow.

Both of these videos show outrageous examples of police brutality and I for one can not stand idly by and let these incidents go unnoticed or unchecked. If the police are going to brutalize and attack citizens, either innocent of their suspected crimes or not, they MUST be held accountable. The police are supposed to protect and serve the community, not beat and brutalize its citizens. The city MUST launch an internal investigation into both these cases and justice MUST be served.

But too often the officers in these cases go unpunished in the manner they truly deserve. I am reminded of the police officer who in 2006 shot and killed 19-year-old Fong Lee. Lee was shot eight times in the back and the officer planted a gun on the victim. Officer Jason Andersen was cleared in court of any wrongdoing and given the department’s Medal of Valor.

Police brutality is nothing short of civic terrorism and it must by stopped.

Please, if you see these videos, send them to friends and help speak out against police brutality.

Happy Mother’s Day! May 9, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Lifestyle.
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I love my mom.

I’m not afraid to say it, and neither should anyone else. Mothers give us the love and encouragement we need to reach our goals and achieve our dreams. Mothers are the cornerstones of families and renew our strength when times are tough. They are there to give us advice, or just listen to our problems. Mothers are our most valuable resource.

But there are many people out there who have never known their mothers or have very little contact with them. Some people will never meet their own mother. These situations remind those of us who are lucky enough to have mothers in our lives of how fortunate we truly are. If you know someone whose mother is no longer in their life, offer them your support, a friendly and accepting face, and the care that they are missing from their lives by not having a mother around. There is no replacement for a mother’s love, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be there for someone and love them like they deserve.

And to all those mothers out there, thank you for being the strong and beautiful individuals that you are. Thank you for giving us those things we need to succeed. And an especially big thanks to all the single mothers out there who often struggle to make their child’s lives better. You are all heroes.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Heckuva Achievement May 9, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Sports.
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Something happened today that has only happened 19 times in over 100 years.

Today Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics threw a perfect game.

It is truly a stunning feat. To retire 27 consecutive batters is mind-boggling and such an accomplishment deserves recognition. My hat is off to you, Dallas Braden.

If you’re wondering why that name sounds familiar it may be because earlier this year the young pitcher called out Alex Rodriguez after he broke one of baseball’s unwritten rules and walked across the pitcher’s mound. A-Rod claimed he had never heard of such a rule, but believe me, Braden is 100% correct. It’s something you simply don’t do. You don’t step on the mound, and if you’re a Rays player today, you don’t even get to stand on first base while Braden is around.

This 26-year-old pitcher definitely has himself squared away.

In other baseball news the Twins beat the Orioles 6-0 today to split the series. It was a very solid win for the Twins and it was nice to have Mauer back in the lineup. Nick Blackburn had a nice game on the mound going seven strong innings, but as far as pitchers are concerned the day still definitely belongs to Braden.

To read more about Dallas Braden’s perfect game check out this well-researched AP article. (His grandmother was there!)

Some Benefits May 8, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Lifestyle.
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I am in Iowa.

But I will be returning to Minnesota in just over three weeks, and needless to say, I can’t wait. I miss Minnesota and my hometown of Minneapolis so much.

But after my final exams are finished on Friday, I will be making a short two-week trip to Malaysia. I can’t wait to get out of the country and experience a new culture and warm tropical climate. Then after that, I return home.

I say all this because I have been musing about these different places and wondering what makes them each unique.

And over the past few days I saw something on the Star Tribune and other sites that caught my eye.

Minnesota has snow.

Yes it might be mid-May, but that has never stopped Mother Minnesota from showing the country why she is the coldest and perhaps most unpredictable state in the union. Snow in May is certainly not unheard of, but after living in Iowa for the past two years I was actually surprised to hear it. Perhaps this mild Iowa weather has affected my expectations of what Spring should feel like.

And somewhere in that jumbled rambling mess of text lies my point. There are benefits to living anywhere. Iowa is mild, Malaysia is hot, and Minnesota can be anything depending on which way the wind is blowing.

It all comes down to what you want in life. And although I am a Minnesotan for life, I think I’ll take the warmer temperatures of Iowa and Malaysia over mid-May snowstorms. Sure it’s still Iowa, but at least there are some benefits.

Not Emmer May 3, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Politics.
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Remember that guy Tim Tebow? And remember how I said I would like to see anyone else picked in the draft? Well, I have a new name to add to the Do-Not-Pick list:

Rep. Tom Emmer.

And while the state gubernatorial election is not the same as the NFL draft, I have the same animosity for Emmer that I did for Tebow. Basically it comes down to this: Minnesota, don’t pick Emmer.

I’m still not sure who would be the best candidate to take over Tim Pawlenty’s spot, but after reading this story it became quite clear who I don’t want.

Emmer is a far right-wing Republican who apparently hopes to crush health care reform and almost secede from the union by nullifying all federal law unless approved by a two-thirds majority in the Minnesota state legislature. This same man called the new Arizona immigration bill a “wonderful first step.”

Oh yeah, and Sarah Palin supports him whole-heartedly.

What more reason do we need not to elect him?

Emmer represents the kind of crazy far-right politics that have made the GOP cannon fodder for comedians like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. We don’t need another late-night joke running our state.

Minnesotans it’s up to you to decide who will be our next governor, but please, let’s make sure it’s Not Emmer.

Regressive, racist law April 28, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Politics.
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By now I am sure you have all heard of the controversial new immigration bill in Arizona that Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law last Friday.

There have been many outspoken critics and supporters of the law, and I am here to add my name to the former.

This is a regressive and racist law that effectively legalizes racial profiling and will lead to nothing more than harassment and increased anti-Hispanic sentiment. Gov. Brewer and other supporters of this bill should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such a law to exist in a country that has forever prided itself on justice and equality for all individuals.

Despite what Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin say (and yes Sean, I did read it), this bill, though perhaps indirectly, does indeed permit racial profiling.

A law enforcement officer is required to make a “reasonable attempt…to determine the immigration status of a person” during “lawful contact” with any individual “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.”

Now the “lawful contact” portion of that section, Sean would argue, dispels the rumor that racial profiling is part of the law because a law enforcement officer would already need a reason to stop the person before inquiring about their immigration status. However, regardless of how it may be defined under state law, in actuality, “lawful contact” takes many forms. Any law enforcement officer can make “lawful contact” with any individual they determine to be loitering (perhaps just waiting for a bus), driving erratically (swerving to miss a pothole), or generally acting suspicious (wearing a hood).

“Lawful contact” is a joke. Police officers can stop whomever they want, and can come up with any reason for doing so. They don’t always do so with insidious intent, but they do. And that’s the honest truth.

So our focus then should be on the truly demeaning and racist part of this legislation that says a law enforcement officer can ask for proof of immigration status “where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien who is unlawfully present in the United States.”

Tell me what “reasonable suspicion” that a person is illegal could possibly exist without being racist or at the very least, prejudiced.

Would the fact that a person speaks Spanish be a “reasonable suspicion”? Because you know, I happen to speak Spanish, and I’m a white man born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

Would the fact that they are Hispanic be a “reasonable suspicion”? Because you know, I think it would then be reasonable to suspect law enforcement personnel of being racist. Remember that whole “judging people by the color of their skin” thing? Yeah, we call that racism here.

Or would the fact that a person seems hesitant to talk to police be a “reasonable suspicion”? Because you know, I think if law enforcement officers were allowed to harass me based on racist and prejudiced perceptions, I would be hesitant too.

The very fact that this law was even passed at the state level is astounding. Immigration is the responsibility of the federal government, not the state. According to New York Times article which surveyed legal scholars who know much more than I, many of them think the law is actually unconstitutional. So congrats Arizona legislature, you have just broken federal law (kind of like illegal immigrants do).

As with any political issue I am open to hearing the opposing arguments, but I refuse to believe that the outcome of this law will be anything but the persecution of Hispanics and other minority groups based directly on race, language, and culture.

I also have no doubt that this law will achieve its goal of reducing Arizona’s illegal immigration population. But doing so at the cost of civil liberties is just plain wrong. This law is a regressive step in terms of civil rights and an outrageous affront on equality in this country.

I support all my fellow opponents of this law (including St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman) and call on each and every one of you to do something to speak out against this terrible injustice.

Not Tebow (Round 2) April 27, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Sports.
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Although this post is admittedly late, I thought I would be doing my readers an injustice if I did not follow up on the NFL draft.

In Round 2 the Vikings selected, you guessed it, Not Tebow!

They actually drafted some guy named Chris Cook that nobody’s ever heard of (I would supply a highlight reel but there aren’t any), and that’s fine with me, because he’s Not Tebow!

Now, maybe five years from now when Tebow leads the Broncos to Super Bowl victory I will be eating my words, but for now I could care less. Let the Broncos have the Kleenex sponsorship (Tebow would be a great spokesman) and let us keep our sanity and faiths to ourselves.

I like the Cook pick, and I even like the Toby Gerhart pick. I think we will have another strong team this year capable of going far in the playoffs and best of all, Tim Tebow will not be on our team.

Not Tebow April 22, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Sports.
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So the NFL Draft is tonight. And guess what? Tim Tebow is still available to be drafted.

Despite all my wishing that he will bow out and decide to become a full time crybaby, he is still available. And there is really only one thing I want to see from tonight’s draft: that Tebow will still be available after the Vikings make their pick.

I guess someone can sabotage their own team and pick him up before the Vikings pick, that would be fine too. But I just really don’t want Tebow on my team. I don’t doubt his competitive nature, he has shed enough losing tears to prove that I guess. I doubt his skill.

I don’t care if Favre is coming back or not, I just don’t want him on this team. Too big of a personality for a team that is on track toward Championships. We need to put faith in a proven QB (Big Ben anyone?) and not set our sights on Tebow’s potential.

As I already said, I think we should trade up for stud CB Eric Berry, but if not, anyone is fine, as long as that anyone is not Tebow.

On Earth April 22, 2010

Posted by jdoetkott in Lifestyle.
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Today is Earth Day. That one day out of the year where we all plant trees and maybe somebody busts out a Maypole or two. And as much as I love our planet, I find the concept of global environmental rejuvenation to be somewhat far-fetched.

I do not deny global warming. I do not deny that we as humans are contributing to global warming. And I do no deny that continued global warming will lead to our downfall.

But I do deny that we have control over the environment, which most “Go Green!” and other such campaigns seem to assert. Think about it. We are being told that by using a tote bag at the grocery store and not buying plastic water bottles that we can save the planet from its own destruction. And while this would certainly slow human impact on the environment, the simple fact is this: nature doesn’t really care what we do.

The Earth has been transforming for billions of years. It once had a toxic atmosphere, and it was once covered in ice. For the time being it is a temperate place that is indeed growing warmer. But why do we think we can stop that? Why, as a human race, do we think we have conquered the Earth and now have the power to simply stop its natural processes?

Once again, I do not deny global warming, and I agree with the Go-Greeners in saying that we need to live in a more responsible way. But the fact is the Earth is going to change no matter what we do.

And here’s the scary part: yes, that might ultimately mean the end of our species. If we cannot adapt to our changing environment then we will not survive. Or on the optimistic side, maybe there will just be very few of us left. This has happened to countless species throughout Earth’s history. Why do we think we are any different?

So while I don’t want to ruin the progressive and productive spirit of Earth Day, I think it is important that we see ourselves as part of this planet, and not in control of this planet.

But here is the positive part. While we can’t control the planet, we can adapt to it. And I think that is what Earth Day should be about. Forget about your carbon footprint for a second or trying to understand what that truly means, and just try to imagine a way in which we can all live on a planet that looks different than it does now. Imagine a global society that has responded to new environmental challenges and has succeeded in continuing life. Think big-picture, or the biggest of pictures. Simply put, think about how we can live on a planet as volatile and dynamic as Earth.

Although I believe that we can slow the planet’s change, we cannot stop it. So the goal now is to adapt, just like everything else on Earth.