A Political Snapshot in Time

Sometimes a blog like this works best as a time capsule. What did I think at the time? Our perspective tends to distort over time, so capturing an honest assessment in the moment is important for the sake of accuracy. With politics and history, doubly so. Everything seems inevitable in hindsight. But at the time it often didn’t feel that way.

And politics in the last month? Oof. From President Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance, to the attempted assassination of former President Donald Trump, to Biden withdrawing from the election and Vice President Kamala Harris taking the mantle—it’s been wild.

I could write about this for days, but nobody wants to read that. So I’m going to try to capture my thoughts in short, quick bursts. Here goes nothing…

Continue reading A Political Snapshot in Time

Renegade for Independence Day

The Fourth of July seemed like a fitting day to read Adam Kinzinger’s political memoir, Renegade: Defending Democracy and Liberty in our Divided Country.

If you don’t remember Kinzinger, he’s one of two Republicans in Congress who served on the January 6 Committee and one of 10 Republicans who voted to impeach President Donald Trump. I profiled him in my 2020 book Better Politics Please.

It’s an interesting book, perhaps not as polished and slick as some political memoirs (and he gives us the mercy of not rehashing his entire life in excruciating detail like most political memoirs), but a solid snapshot of politics from the Tea Party to the Insurrection.

Continue reading Renegade for Independence Day

Reflecting on 20 Years

It’s been an incredibly busy spring season. I’m just now catching my breath at the end of June. I’ve had a few milestones—including 20 years of business, five years of local news, and a kid graduating high school—that make me a little introspective.

The past two months have included a member drive, a five-year anniversary, a bike safety event, a bike ride, a parade, a mural unveiling, a massive four-day community event, launching a summer contest, a high school graduation, a grad party, the 20th anniversary of my business, and my brain has now shut down so I can’t remember anything else.

Whew. That’s an understatement.

So when I get a moment, I’m reflective. A few thoughts…

Continue reading Reflecting on 20 Years

West St. Paul Reader: Five Year Anniversary

Five years ago today I launched West St. Paul Reader with the first-ever post, a recap of a City Council meeting.

That first post really epitomizes the work we do: It’s narrowly focused on what happens in our first-ring suburb. It celebrates what’s happening in the community. It serves as an archive to mark what happened, when, and why. I just spent some time reflecting on that first post five years later.

Reflecting on Five Years

We’re doing a whole five-year anniversary member drive with an audacious goal of 50 members to mark five years by 5/25. But more than flogging a member drive and trying to bring in new members, today I’m trying to reflect on five years of this work.

Continue reading West St. Paul Reader: Five Year Anniversary

Bentonville/Eclipse Vacation

Abby and I went on a kid-free vacation to Bentonville, Arkansas to see the 2024 total solar eclipse and do some biking.

No kids?: If leaving the kids behind seems mean, I did invite them and they shrugged. They’ve seen a solar eclipse before—meh.

Why Arkansas?: There were closer locations to see totality, but Indiana isn’t a very exciting place to visit. I wouldn’t think Arkansas is either, but Bentonville is billed as the mountain biking capital of the world. I’ve been thinking about taking a trip there anyway. The eclipse being two and a half hours away made it a perfect location.

Continue reading Bentonville/Eclipse Vacation

The Audacity of Hope

In the summer of 2020 I published a book, Better Politics Please, yearning for a better way. Six months later January 6 happened and it felt like we were further than ever from coming together as Americans.

That book was written in hope, and I’ve felt awfully hopeless since.

Today I finished reading Barack Obama’s 2006 memoir, The Audacity of Hope. You have to read any political memoir, especially one released in the build up to a presidential run, with a grain of salt. There’s a lot of humble optimism and positive framing of life experience.

Continue reading The Audacity of Hope

Uncontested Elections Are Bad for Democracy: Worthington School Board

Interesting story from small town Minnesota about a school board forcing one of their only Latino teachers to remove his Puerto Rico and Pride flags. That’s a whole thing, and while I have feelings about it, I want to talk about elections instead.

Why it matters: Because Worthington School Board, like many of our local boards and councils, has a problem with uncontested elections.

Continue reading Uncontested Elections Are Bad for Democracy: Worthington School Board

A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.