Archive for the ‘Driving’ Category

Hennepin County hearts spying on you

With the massive healthcare debate going on Hennepin County has decided to fly under the radar and approve a twice denied request for KingFish cell phone tracking equipment.

According to the Strib This time, Stanek lands KingFish phone tracker

After twice coming away with nothing, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek received approval Tuesday to funding for a controversial tracking device that can pinpoint cell phone locations even when they’re not being used.

The equipment would be used by the sheriff’s investigations bureau, according to County Board documents. “The system acts as a mobile wireless phone tower and has the capability to find, track and/or deny mobile phone service,” the documents state.

The tracking device can receive information from all cell phones that are on, even if they are not being used.

I’m certain this will not be used in an intrusive and possibly illegal manner. Though, I wonder what Ol’ Smash-and-Grab Stanek has in mind?

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Fall, Winter, Potholes, Spring

It’s pothole season, and if you haven’t heard, MPR News has a great site where you can map and track the area’s major road holes. Although not an official method of reporting them, the site has city and county links below the interactive map to let the correct channels know about the swiss cheese of roadways. The suspension on our cars will soon thank us.

Nobody Walks, the unintentionally hilarious double entendre

After repeated warnings from the court Judge Robert Kressel lays down the full extent of the law on Denny Hecker.

And a picture says a thousand words.

The PioneerPress reports

Denny Hecker is on the hook for $83 million of his debt to Chrysler Financial because he lied to the court and intentionally failed to comply with requests for documents, a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled Wednesday.

The ruling — the harshest sanction Judge Robert Kressel could impose for violating court rules — ended the lawsuit between the former auto mogul and his largest creditor before it could be tried.

The Michigan-based lender asked for the judgment because of what it described as Hecker’s “willful, egregious and continuing failure to comply with his discovery obligations” since the inception of the lawsuit in July.

Kressel said he had given Hecker “the benefit of the doubt” when Hecker’s lawyer repeatedly said they could not produce the requested documents because federal investigators had seized everything, including computers. But the judge said events in the weeks leading up to Wednesday’s court hearing proved Hecker has always had access to his business computers containing millions of e-mails and electronic documents.

“(Hecker) lied to Chrysler Financial; he lied to me,” Kressel said. “It seems the severe sanction for a severe violation of the rules is the only way I can go.”

Just over a year ago there was local outrage about a Denny Hecker ad campaign that was running on public transportation that had the caption “Nobody Walks”

It looks like Denny may have been right in some unintended ways.

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How tough is tough enough?

Depending on who you ask Minnesota either has a drinking and driving problem or the laws have gotten too strict. I’ve heard numbers cited that 1 in 8 Minnesotans (524,000 drivers) have a DWI and there are about 20,000 new first time offenders every year.

Wow.

Recently Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s has been proposing a series of stiffer laws and amongst those laws affected would be DWI/DUI.

The editors at the Strib have put together this little gem Editorial: Toughen DWI laws and save lives.

What I wonder is where is the point of diminishing returns, I think it’s clear that making tougher laws does not always result in less crime.

There are actually a few decent comments on the Strib story, but this one stands out

Let’s stop kidding ourselves
When I started in law enforcement 25 years ago it took me about 20 minutes to read the implied consent, obtain a test and write a ticket for DUI. When I ended my career I needed a flow chart to figure out what degree of DUI that was to be charged and 3 hours to fill out the required paperwork. We engage in this on going debate because enough citizens in our state refuse to acknowledge that it is not OK to drive when you have a snootful and a whole industry that has grown up to enable or punish this small group. Interlock’s will not stop the chronic offender. The chronic drunks desire to drive drunk will be readily served by a new industry who’s sole efforts will be to defeat the purpose of the interlock.
posted by montaguezx

Are the current laws sufficient? Too strict? I don’t know, but I get the feeling making tougher laws won’t do much to make the streets safer.

Thoughts?

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Winter Biking

PhalenBiking2

Forgive me while I wax nastolgic. I don’t usually get this way at the end of the year, but @patiomensch got me talking about winter biking and it dawned on me; I’m 37 and I’ve been winter biking since I was 19. That’s almost 20 years of year around peddle power.
PhalenBiking3

Back in the day, in downtown Minneapolis, there were only two winter bikers. At least as far as I could tell. There may have been more, but for the hardcore out-in-any-weather at all times of the day there was just me and a bike courier with a giant beard that I figured must have been in his 30’s.

Now it’s me in my late 30’s and though I’m baby faced and clean shaven I love putting on my gear and biking in the cold Minnesotan winter. These days there are many more people that use bikes year around and seeing them out and about is a gentle reminder that not all progress is bad.

The way things are in the world these days, I think that’s an important reminder.

PhalenBiking

Here’s a video I shot that originall had this song, but youtube decided to disable my audio, so I spiced it up.

Enjoy.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8xtdCvCdK8[/youtube]

Any winter bikers in the house?

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Talking Minnesotan – 12/18/2009

It was eerily quite in Minnesota this week. No major media brawls, no yelling at kids to get off the snowbank, no polite discussion about the weather, it was strange. All told there were maybe three words uttered in the entire 7 days, but my team of fact checkers were unable to verify they actually happened.

I suppose this is part of an inevitible shift towards texting and twittering all communications.

Though, Minnesotan Al Franken has had a few things to say in D.C. and my homies at In The Loop made this video in his honor.
Night Before Christmas (Joe Lieberman -style)
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaNOkWE17Qk[/youtube]

Finally, someone is speaking again. Now maybe now we can get back to the accustomed “Cold enough for ya?” and “LEARN TO DRIVE YOU MOTHERF*&$#NG SON OF A WH@RE” that usually permeates the air this time of year.

Speaking of air, The Uptake has real time Climate Conference video and check out their tweet bar for some sweet data. mmmmmm data.

Need some food-N-Booze? SOTC has Holiday Cocktails and Beyond

Have you heard that They think they found Dark Matter at the bottome of a Minnesota mine? I’m sure it’s either that or a hockey puck.

Marrina ponders beauty MeiselPic: What Your Facebook Friends Might Look Like If They Were Super-Hot Models

Want to hear something cool? Cathy Wurzer of Minnesota Public Radio brings us the Minnesota Beatle Project

a new CD that features 16 Minnesota-based artists interpreting Beatles songs. One of the more intriguing tracks in the collection is a version of “Norwegian Wood” by Jeremy Messersmith and Zach Coulter.

Sadly, I wasn’t invited to sing; even though it’s widely known no one in Minnesota can cover McCartney like I. JET! Whooooo ooooooo JET!
Though I’m not bitter,but there will be blood. Fake blood made of pistachio pudding and and boiled okra.
Using fake blood clots to train real nurses
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-KxEFVJ33o[/youtube]

Blood not your thing? Fair enough, not really mine either so let’s calm down Minnesota style with some Owl City.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMr52bCXNdU[/youtube]

Now that just makes no sense.

I’m sure you’ve heard about K.K.’s little rant:The perilous, slippery slope of gay marriage, which seems to have stalled at 445 comments against her insane logic.

So instead I”ll point you to this little nugget over joy over at Roadguy: What’s up with 35E? Don’t ask your GPS

Learn to Drive the Speed Limit as Posted
I-35 E, it gave nagivite feed Trap, 40 m.p.h.. been he pale wills weat pating natience office, that was turn no trave, it of somethis quietus makes, 40 m.p.h. good perhaps insolence of discove, I-35 E had those bodkin? Who worst and point. It comments. oppressor’s could fard that unworst as it was West 7th Stop Light himself might himself might, and sweath, the nagiving afteritive, it giving nating cowards of action is a weary life, that than fly to bear thing commenterit of regardelay.
posted by qajariaq

It starts out wonderfully with a meaningful title, but by the end I couldn’t help wonder if it was a joke.

Now comment away you nating cowards.

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Even More New Authors!

lake harriet bandshell

Lake Harriet Bandshell uploaded by cichlee {novella}

Just the other day I was contemplating, much like the above image, about bringing on even more authors.

Unlike the beautiful image above I wasn’t enjoying the serene beauty of our lakes, I was being tossed out of a car at 50mph for not paying a debt in a timely fashion. ( Grandmas, what are you going to do right? )

That’s when it hit me, the road. Just kidding, it was the car behind us. No really, I think it was Bob Dylan on a motorscooter.

I digress.

What I really mean to say is more awesome writers!

Jon will be covering local outdoors, biking, and whatever else catches his interest.

Meghan likes to write about music and set things on fire. She can actually burn down a rock pile with just an ice cube and flynt.

And last to the party will be, Kara who will be starting mid-November and is going to take up the helm of fashion and intrigue . You may know Kara from MnDaily where she’s been rocking the fashion scene.

Please treat the new authors right, they are friendly, but armed and extremely dangerous.

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First Avenue Gets The Shaft.

The strib reports it’s now First Ave (the club) vs. 1st Avenue (the street)

In their efforts to make more downtown commuters stop, shop and roll out their dollar bills, city leaders have created a major speed bump for Minneapolis’ best known and most bustling nightlife landmark.

The new and inarguably confusing street layout — with bike lanes nearest the curb, and parking spaces nearer the middle of the street — wipes out First Ave’s load-in area. Bands will have to park their buses and trailers a block away and around the corner on 8th Street. So will all the beer trucks and other suppliers. In the new configuration, they would be blocking a bike lane, metered spaces and probably some of that one new lane of traffic going north.

A block might not sound like that far of a jaunt. But can you imagine lugging 10 cases of Summit beer, a $10,000 soundboard, a $15,000 case of guitars or the entire Wu-Tang Clan herbal supply that far through the snow and ice in February?

A couple of things,
1) Bike lanes along the curb between the curb and car parking sounds pretty dangerous.
2) “Wu-Tang Clan herbal supply ” – Is this a weed reference? Does the Clan have so much weed it can’t be carried a block?
3) Is there anything Lisa Goodman can’t mess up?
4) This is an attempt to “be more European”, but how European can we really be? The set up of this country is really different than Europe.

Thoughts?

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Giant Vines Take Over The IDS

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3cYjgR8ZMw [/youtube]

I have no idea what to think of this video sent to me by PR flak Jay Lemke.

He also says

In addition, there is a cool billboard going up near the Mall of America that is linked…
Over the next few weeks Minneapolis will be inundated with vines and growing great stuff in a teaser campaign
•a 3-D billboard with giant vines that just went up near the MOA that will keep “growing”.
•There are 140 feet of vines
•The leaves on the vine are 8 feet tall by 4 feet wide

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