November 2, 2012
I just sent the following messages to as many members of my family as I could. I would hope that the rest of you take some time to read it. For many of you, it’s preaching to the choir. For some of you, I hope it can at least cause you to think about your position.
Subject: The Constitutional Amendments
I’m writing you all because, with Election Day just a few days away, I think it is really important that the constitutional amendments proposed in Minnesota this fall deserved discussion. I don’t intend to force my views on any of you; I just want you all to hear why I will be voting no on both.
I know some of you are Republicans and some of you are Democrats. I don’t see these amendments as related to any sort of political party. There are conservative and liberal arguments against each. Please read this with an open mind.
The right to marry is not a constitutional issue. Marriage, gay or straight, has no place in the constitution. In the Federal constitution, there is not a single mention of marriage. The straight marriage many of you enjoy is not constitutionally protected because it is a marriage; it is protected because, as straight people, you are constitutionally guaranteed the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Marriage is a state matter. From the government’s point of view it is not about love and a commitment under God, it is a private agreement that comes with certain benefits. From your religious establishment, it is a commitment to God. I do not dispute that, nor does anyone who opposes this amendment If your religious establishment does not wish to marry gay couples, I have no problem with that. What I have a problem with is a religious establishment’s idea of what marriage should be enshrined in our constitution. The United States was founded, in large part, to escape religious persecution. The First Amendment still protects us to this day from the establishment of a state religion, and from religion and government mixing.
From a conservative point of view, is it really the government’s business what private citizens do in their day to day lives? I don’t think so. And, I’m guessing if we were not talking about gay marriage, many of you would agree. But that same logic should be applied to the marriage discussion. Gay people entering a marriage in no way affects your life. Your marriage will not mean less to you, and it certainly won’t mean any less to me.
Next, as most of you receiving this are family, there are not any gay or lesbian members of our family. It is hard for us to think about the exact impact this would have on a family with a gay or lesbian family member. I have gay friends. Many of them are in love with someone of the same sex. I cannot envision a world where the denial of the love they have for each other is not allowed under the constitution. Imagine, for a second, that I were gay and in a committed relationship. I would hope that all of you would want the absolute best for me in life. And I would hope that that would include the ability to marry the person I love.
Finally, if you remain unconvinced that gay marriage should be legal, (I don’t expect this to change your minds on the overall issue…) this amendment is still a terrible idea. Minnesota has a law in place that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. While I personally find this law to be outrageous, it is just that, the law. Voting no on the marriage amendment will not change that.
On the marriage amendment, I’ll leave you with one last thought. This amendment was debated in the final days of the 2011 legislative session. The same legislative session that ended in a government shutdown because there was no agreement on a budget. The debate was heated and emotional. I want you all to watch the following video:
That’s Republican State Representative John Kriesel, a double amputee injured in combat from an IED in Iraq.
And this video:
That is Democratic Rep. Steve Simon. I’ve met him personally on multiple occasions, and he is a great legislator.
Please listen to these statements from both sides of the aisle.
On the Voter ID amendment…
I’ll be the first to admit that the idea that we should be required to present an ID to vote does not sound like a bad thing. However, as the saying goes, the devil is in the details.
The argument that voter fraud is rampant in Minnesota, and in the nation in general, is inaccurate. In 2010, there were 2.7 million votes cast in the Minnesota primary and general election. .006% of those were fraudulent, and most of those cases of fraud involved felons who had not yet had their right to vote reinstated. Felon voting is a problem that needs to be addressed, but this amendment is not the solution to the problem.
Second, this amendment will cost millions of dollars to implement if passed. For a problem that is virtually non-existent, that is an unnecessary cost at a time when our state is already strapped for cash. Current estimates have the cost of implementation at anywhere from $30 to $50 million. This is unacceptable.
Finally, requiring an ID to vote is equal to a poll tax. It should not, ever, cost money to vote. I can look to my own family for an example of how someone will have to pay to vote. My grandmother no longer drives. I don’t know for sure if her driver’s license is expired or not, but it will be soon. She will then have to pay to renew it, simply to preserve the ability to vote. People supporting the argument will tell you that the state will provide an ID at no cost to citizens. This may be true. However, besides the fact that providing the roughly 250,000 eligible voters in Minnesota who do not have ID’s will cost the state more money, the process by which one obtains the free ID still costs money. You have to have a birth certificate. This can cost as much as $75 depending on the state where you were born. Additionally, prior to the civil rights movement, African Americans were not allowed to be born in hospitals. Many of them, rightful eligible voters, do not have birth certificates because of that.
Again, I don’t expect this to change any of your minds. I just wanted you all to know where I stand and make sure you have to opportunity to see things from a different angle. The way these amendments are passed is by a majority of voters. 51% of the people have the ability to decide the rights of 49%. Let’s not ignore the rights of the few. Every person is just as important as the next. We’re faced with some incredibly difficult decisions at the polls. I don’t care who you vote into office, I just ask that you consider voting against these amendments.
PLEASE call, e-mail, text, or message me if you would like to talk about this. I would love to hear what you have to say. I’m not out to call anybody names. I just want to make sure you’ve heard every argument. I firmly believe these amendments are wrong. I believe that they set a dangerous precedent for how laws are passed in the state of Minnesota. I don’t know that I have ever felt this strongly about something. Please, give this at least a couple minutes of thought.
August 26, 2012
I came out of Shamrocks in St. Paul earlier today to find this written on a sticker on my car:
I’m willing to forgive the spelling error, but the ignorance won’t be dismissed as easily.
Until that moment, I hadn’t realized what it actually felt like to be discriminated against because of the position I’ve taken on the issue. Of course, my disappointment and sadness regarding this must pale in comparison to what a homosexual feels when a slur is hurled at them.
The important part about an incident like this is to not let it deter from supporting the cause. It’s just sad that this is the response. I’ll have a conversation with just about anyone explaining why I support same-sex marriage, I’m trouble that this individual would reduce my position to “fagot lover.”
I’m hoping that my next sticker will survive through November, but if not, I’ll just keep donating and buying more…
March 6, 2012
Cozumel, Mexico was the destination for spring break this year. My two roommates and I decided to spend a week somewhere warm. We did the all-inclusive resort thing, and it was definitely worth it.
Between the delicious food and unlimited adult beverages, the week flew by. The sun started to become a little much by the end of the week.
I managed to read the entirety of Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero by Chris Matthews while we were down there. It’s a great read for anyone who is interested in the Kennedy legacy and cold war politics.
We also did some snorkeling and volleyball and basketball playing. It was nice to wear shorts for a few days, and we managed to miss the biggest snowfall of the year back home in Minnesota.
Here are some photos:
February 19, 2012
Tonight marked the end of my 4 concerts in a week and a half at First Avenue in Minneapolis. MuteMath, a band I hadn’t had a chance to see in a few years, played in the main room for over 2 hours.
There isn’t much else to say about the show other than that it was incredible. Despite a loss of power and collapse of a piano, the showed closed seamlessly and went straight from new songs to old songs without skipping a beat.
February 15, 2012
Polica, a new band from Minneapolis, celebrated the release of their debut album, Give You The Ghost. The show can be summed up in one word: amazing. This was the third time I have seen the band, and they really have gotten better every time. Channy has figured out how to make the auto tune work with her voice rather than allowing the auto tune to control her. The rhythm section was so tight if I closed my eyes I could easily forget that there are two drummers instead of one.
This band is going to sky rocket. When you’re good friend Justin Vernon of Bon Iver drops your name in his post-Grammy interview with Rolling Stone, you know damn well you’re going to get some more attention. They’re leaving for a national tour today. I’m sure seeing them locally won’t be the same next time. Who knows where they will have to play when they return.
The album is great, but the live show is what makes them the remarkable band that they are.
February 14, 2012
Just a quick post today. My dog, Per, turns 3 today. By the standard dog-to-human year conversion, that makes it his 21st. Hopefully he doesn’t get too crazy tonight.
At any rate, I got him in the “custody battle” after my engagement ended a little over a year ago. I’ve got to admit, the little guy made that and law school a lot more bearable.
As the Norwegians say, “Gratuler med dagen!”
February 10, 2012
Last night marked my first concert of 2012. I took in the Asteroids Galaxy Tour at the 7th St. Entry.
My roommate and I grabbed a few beers and some bar food at The Depot, the bar attached to First Avenue and the Entry. They have a great corn dog there. Additionally, the band was there eating dinner. It’s their first U.S. tour, so I’m sure they are thoroughly enjoying all the best deep fried delicacies America has to offer…
The show began around 9:15 with a band called Vacationer. I didn’t have any strong feelings one way or the other about their performance. It really wasn’t that great, but it also wasn’t terrible. And then, toward the end of their set, they revealed that they were from Hawaii. This made all the sense in the world. The music had a hint of island sound to it, and they clearly were pretty care-free about what they were doing.
Finally, after about a 45 minute break, Asteroids Galaxy Tour finally came on. They are from Copenhagen, Denmark. I’m guessing a lot of you have heard their music and don’t even know it. They were featured in this iPod commercial:
And this Heineken commercial:
They were awesome. There were six of them, so they were a little cramped on stage, but they made it work. The Entry only holds 250 people, and it was definitely sold out. I’m guessing the next time they come through Minneapolis they’ll be playing a bigger room.
At any rate, it was a great way to kick off the musical year. Next week, it’s Polica on Tuesday, Yacht (and a friend’s band, Wiping out Thousands) on Thursday, and MuteMath on Saturday. I promise I find bits of time to do law school…
December 22, 2011
How should I describe 2011? The year in which I saw seven different countries? The year in which I became half a lawyer? The year in which I became single for the first time in five years? The year in which I started combing my hair? Well, it was all of those things and more…
2011 started off, well, to be honest, pretty awful. A few days before Valentine’s Day, my fiance and girlfriend of five years and I decided to end things. Not exactly the best way to start a year, right? I’m sure other break-ups have been worse, but I am equally sure that most break-ups go a hell of a lot better, i.e. not many people probably have to live with their ex for three months afterward… But, I came out of that situation with a fairly positive outlook on things. It was a good thing. That relationship had run its course, and it was time to move on. And, as my friend Kelly likes to state, “Single Mitch” is a lot more fun anyway…
I had a great opportunity to study law in London this summer. In addition, I traveled through Western Europe and spent time in seven different countries. In total, I visited Iceland, England, Scotland, France, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands. Even as I type it, I still can’t believe I saw all of those places this summer.
I got to see Mumord and Sons and Arcade Fire play a massive show in Hyde Park, London. We had a great time!
We had British law students in our class. This is my new English friend Rob (who I know religiously reads my blog…)
I finally got to visit Norway after taking 3 semesters of Norwegian in college. Jeg elsker Norge!
And, to cap off the whole trip, me and a few friends spent a week traveling through France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Half A Lawyer
And, as of yesterday, I am half way done with law school. It seems crazy, but I have to remember I have just as much left as I have completed. As much as I love law school, I feel like I’m ready to get back to work. I start at Thomson Reuters on January 3 as a Legal Associate Intern. I’ve visited the company a couple of times, and it feels like a really great work environment. I’m really looking forward to it!
So, in a year that had some pretty low lows, and some incredibly high highs, I’m looking forward to starting 2012!
December 5, 2011
So it’s not law school related (but what do I actually post that is?)…but I saw Foster the People at First Avenue last night. Great show. They played just about the entire Torches album, which is their only one. I was concerned about how they were going to make it into an entire hour long set, but they did it by jamming quite a bit in the middle and at the end of songs. Also, they closed the show with Pumped Up Kicks. At the start of the song, having heard it a million times on the radio, it seemed pretty bland, almost like they were just going through motions. Then, out of nowhere, they go into one of the remixes of the song, and the last five minutes of the set resemble a rave (minus the ecstasy…at least on my part). It was a great way to end the show. The crowd was into it the whole time, and, as it was there last show of 2011, they left everything out on the stage.
Polica, a brand new local band, opened for them. This band is going to be huge. The Current is propping them up and plays their single what seems like 100 times a day. They put on a great show, and, dare I say, it may have been a better set than the mega-stars that they were opening for. I look forward to seeing them play many times in the future…
Here are some nice blurred images from my iPhone…
Foster the People
And here’s the Setlist:
Life On The Nickel
I Would Do Anything For You
Call It What You Want
Pumped Up Kicks (remix outro)
November 29, 2011
Sorry it has been awhile. It’s almost like law school can keep you busy….
Recently at William Mitchell, an anonymous student took it upon themselves to write an open letter to the administration venting their frustrations about the cost and impaired ability to get a job upon graduation. Here is the letter:
I have no idea who wrote this. I suspect, based on the trip to London and the talk of the Kardashians, that it may have come from a certain group of people, but I really can’t say for sure.
I don’t deny that the job market is bad. I don’t deny that law school is really damn expensive. However, did we honestly not know this before we started. At most, the person who wrote this letter started school in 2008. Price wise, well, if you couldn’t do the math, that’s your own fault. Furthermore, if you were relying solely on William Mitchell’s employment statistics to tell you what the job market would be liked three years in the future, you were also asking to be blindsided. If you didn’t take the time to talk to actual attorneys, who are more than happy to tell you there aren’t very many good jobs out there, than you weren’t, as we say in the profession, doing you due diligence. The things Mr./Ms. Dett is complaining about should have come as no surprise.
Yes, it’s true that law schools inflate their employment statistics. And yes, law school is more expensive than it should be. We all know that. And that’s just it, WE ALL KNOW THAT. Or at least anyone smart enough to handle law school should know to not take them at their word. That being said, schools do need to be held accountable and report honest statistics. Someone employed as a server, albeit still employed, is not working in a way promised by law schools. If more accountability were expected, perhaps the Dett’s of the world would not be duped into the 3-year (maybe 4), $150,000 journey they should have known they were embarking on.
Perhaps, instead of spending a couple of hours filling a page with half-assed puns and not-so-shocking accusations, this person could have been out networking and applying for internships like the rest of us. Complaining about the hand we’ve partially dealt ourselves, at these in this way, is not going to solve anything.
I’m pissed that Community is probably cancelled. Can I pin that on William Mitchell as well?
Above the Law wrote a similar take-down of Mr./Ms. Dett….