Recent Posts


Sports betting & jet set preachers

by JeffStrate on July 10, 2018 · 0 comments

This segment from the upcoming August 2018 edition of Democratic Visions stands on its own with no explanatory copy needed about Mike “Stretch” Gelfand or his ruminations about sports betting and of the private jet preachers sucking big bucks from Christian evangelical faith communities to spread their version of The Gospel.  Mike splashes tart vinegar on two of these popular pulpit scammers.
We do these programs with lefty volunteers and no budget through Southwest Community Television at Bloomington Community Access Television, BCAT. Democratic Visions is carried by community access channels in Eden Prairie, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield, Bloomington, Champlin, Anoka, Andover, Ramsey, St. Paul, Minneapolis and, soon, St. Louis Park.



The Uptake’s Mike McIntee and political and media consultant Jack Rice weigh in on international politics, Iran, Korea, the current president, the Republican Party, Democrats and Minnesota politicians Tina Smith, Richard Painter and Tim Pawlenty.  Their discussion provides smart advisories for former Governor Pawlenty, Senator Smith and Painter, DFLers and GOPers. McIntee (AM950 Radio- weekdays at 4 pm) is arguably the most alert, informed and best interviewer working electronic media; Rice is at the top of his game as an informed, perceptive and articulate analyst. The May edition of Democratic Visions is the first of our high def offerings.


Democratic Visions on cableTV

Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Edina, Hopkins, Richfield, Comcast Channel 15 — Sundays at 9 p.m., Mondays at 10:00 p.m., Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 2 p.m.


Bloomington – BCAT Channel 16 — Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.


Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 — Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. Programs are streamed during airings.


Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Community Channel 15 Fridays at 1 p.m., Saturdays 10:30 a.m. Sundays at 11:30 p.m., Mondays at 10:30 a.m., Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., Thursdays at 1 p.m.

About Democratic Visions

Democratic Visions is hand made by Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and Bloomington lefties. Our program is not financially supported or endorsed by any political party, political action committee or special interest group.  We operate through Southwest Community Television and produce the studio portions of our series at the Bloomington Community Access Television facility.


Two remarkable DFL women

by JeffStrate on April 4, 2018 · 0 comments

The April Edition of Democratic Visions begins with MN State Representative Laurie Pryor (DFL, HD 48A) and The Uptake’s Mike McIntee.  The two discuss the current legislative session, sexual harassment, gun violence and some Hopkins School District girls who are making a difference.   And then, North Branch Mayor Kirsten Hagen Kennedy and BelAhdan’s Ahmed Tharwat talk about her bid for the DFL endorsement to run for Congress in Minnesota District 8.  Yes, Kirsten is that rare DFL candidate with an easy to take sense of humor!   Democratic Visions is handcrafted by southwest suburban Democrats and lefties  through Southwest Suburban TV and Bloomington Community Access Television.  We also have a YouTube Channel and are seen on public access channels in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Richfield, Hopkins, Edina, Minnetonka, Champlin, Anoka, Rogers and Andover.



30 minutes with Paul Thissen

by JeffStrate on January 18, 2018 · 0 comments

Minnesota legislator Paul Thissen hopes to win the DFL Party endorsement for his 2018 bid for Governor.  Rep. Thissen, a progressive Minneapolis Democrat, and host Tim O’Brien discussed the up-coming legislative session and campaign season on December 29, 2017 at our studio in Bloomington.  The former House Speaker and DFL elder provide an engaging and informed take on what’s ahead.


Democratic Visions is handcrafted by southwest suburban, lefty volunteers.  We specialize in one-on-one conversations and occasionally conjure up satire and commentary.


Democratic Visions is looking for female commentators and interviewers to become part of Minnesota’s most appealing political issues program.   For more information, contact me, Jeff Strate, via Facebook.


graphic with Adam Jennings and Jon Spayde
Democrat Adam Jennings is one of three candidates hoping to
earn the DFL Congressional District 3 Party endorsement to challenge
Republican incumbent Eric Paulsen in the November general election.
Jennings, a member of the Tonka Bay City Council and a Minnesota Army
National Guard veteran who served in Kosovo, lays out his plans to
represent the suburban congressional district which includes Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, most of Edina, Champlin, Plymouth, Brooklyn Park and other cities.
Jennings on YouTube here.
The new edition also features improv humorist/actor Jon Spayde as Prescott Beauregard, a Southern gentleman with thoughts on the removal of Confederate flags and statues, as well a number of southern politicians.
Jon Spayde’s Prescott Beauregard on YouTube here.
Democratic Visions is produced by volunteers through Southwest Community Television at the BCAT studio in the Bloomington Civic Plaza.


The Democratic Visions Channel on YouTube archives more than 300 videos here.

Democratic Visions is produced by volunteers through Southwest Community Television.

Eden Prairie, M’tonka, Hopkins, Richfield and Edina, Comcast CH 15 and Centurylink CH 8111 – Saturdays @ 2pm, Sundays @ 9pm, Mondays @ 10pm, Wednesdays @ 5:30 pm.

Champlin, Anoka, Andover & Ramsey Mondays on QCTV –  Mondays @ 10:30 am, Wednesdays @ 10:30 am, Thursdays @ 1pm, Fridays @ 1pm, Saturdays @ 10:30 am.

Bloomington, BCAT CH 16 and CenturyLink 8216 – Tuesdays @ 2:00pm  & 10pm, Fridays @ 9:30 pm, Saturdays @ 7:30 am & 2:30 pm.

MInneapolis, MTN CH 16 – Sundays @ 8:30 pm, Mondays @ 3:30 am, 9:30 am & 2:30 pm

St. Paul, SPNN CH 15 – Thursdays @ 9pm, Fridays @ 4:00am & 2pm.



Actors in "Church & State."

From the left, Kim Kivens, Miriam Schwartz and Matthew Rein star in the Minnesota Jewish Theater Company production of Church & State through November 12, 2017. Photo credit: Minnesota Jewish Theater Company.


With the non-stop bloviators on the political pundit channels and with wet snow having been predicted for the Twin Cities this weekend, I sought and found respite in Saint Paul Thursday evening courtesy of the Minnesota Jewish Theater Company’s production of Jason Odell Williams’ Church & State. The resonant comedy has garnered kudos for stagings in New York, D.C. and California.


The dramatic trajectory of Church & State begins with a blogger’s Tweet prompted by a popular Southern Republican Senator’s oblique comment about prayer shortly after a mass shooting at the school his children attend and a few days before the election.


Played out backstage during two political rallies, the one act, two scene play effectively zigs and zags on a tightrope of comedy and gravitas through – but not above – our national dilemmas of gun control, the Second Amendment, religious assumptions, safety, political shibboleths and the wildfire of social media.


Director Michael Kissen propels his fine cast with their engaging characters through the nuances of personal relationships to Church & State’s unexpected and powerful final moments. Matthew Rein inhabits and projects the doubting and noble spirit of Republican Senator Charlie Whitmore whose campaign ads proclaim Jesus as his running mate. As Whitmore’s wife Sara, Kim Kivens sparkles with southern savvy and sauce and hilariously, for a while, with bourbon whiskey. Miriam Schwartz shapes the role of Whitmore’s sharp, ambitious campaign manager Alex beyond caricature into a finely turned, real political operative with texture and individuality.  Josh Zwack is this staging’s adept utility player with four small, broadly directed roles.


Last night after prolonged applause and a short break the cast returned to the intimate thrust stage with producing artistic director Barbara Brooks for an audience Q&A discussion. In the tragic glare of the Las Vegas mass shooting, Miss Brooks, Mr. Zwack, Miss Schwartz , Miss Kivens, Mr. Rein and the audience generated an impromptu, informed and questioning conversation about America, the Second Amendment and bridging the pro/con chasm. Church & State runs at select times through November 12 at the Highland Park Community Center’s welcoming theater space on Ford Parkway in Saint Paul. Here’s a link leading to more information.


Note:  I am not a critic, but I occasionally review for publication select plays, films, cabaret revues and music groups.


Growing up as “riff raff.”

by JeffStrate on October 6, 2017 · 0 comments


Maria Nhambu was raised in a remote, strict, Catholic orphanage in colonial Tanganyika run by German Nuns but became a noted aerobics video innovator and educator in America. Miss Nhambu, a mixed-blood African who attended St. Catherine College in Saint Paul, shares perspectives on racism in East Africa and Minnesota, on Catholic education and on the merits of multi-cultural music and dance.
Nhambu officially launched America’s Daughter, the second book of a trilogy about her life, on Thursday October 5th at The Marsh, a fitness and conference center in Minnetonka.   Nhambu’s first book, Africa’s Child, was selected earlier this year for on-going discussion by The Peace and Social Justice Writers Group at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.  As a member of the writers group I met the 74 year old Nhambu in late July.
During these times when the White House and Republicans marginalize and threaten immigrants and when the sole challenger to incumbent Hopkins Mayor Molly Cummings opposes SWLRT because, he claims, light rail will bring “trash” and “riff raff” to Hopkins,*  Maria Nhambu is a day brightener.   As a child and young woman in East Africa she was relegated to “riff raff” status.  In Minnesota, she was immediately categorized as a “black” even though she was Tanzanian with only a risky command of English as spoken by educators in Surrey and London.  We talk about this on what has quickly become the most popular edition of Democratic Visions in years.    Here also is the link to its home on our YouTube Channel.

*Where was this gent when transit junkies got street car tracks out to what was then West Minneapolis and the #12 Metro Transit bus route out to Hopkins as we know and love it today?   The City Pages report on this is here.

In Bloomington, Democratic Visions airs on BCAT Channel 16 Saturdays at 5:30 a.m. Mondays at 6 a.m. and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.
In Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, Richfield and Edina:   Saturdays at 2 p.m.; Sundays at 9 p.m.; Mondays at 10 p.m. and Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. on Comast Channel 15 and Centurylink Prism Channel 8111.
Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 — Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. Program is lived streamed during airings –
Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Community Channel 15 Fridays at 1 p.m., Saturdays 10:30 a.m. Sundays at 11:30 p.m., Mondays at 10:30 a.m., Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., Thursdays at 1 p.m.
Democratics Visions is a community access, cable TV series handcrafted by un-paid volunteers at the Bloominton Community Access Television studio by arrangement with Southwest Community Television.


Garrison Keillor Scolds Texan Conservatives

by JeffStrate on September 6, 2017 · 0 comments

Texas Senator Ted Cruz and voter.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz and voter.

One of Minnesota’s more notable scolds got nasty with conservative Texan politicians yesterday in the Washington Post. Garrison Keillor’s piece is infused with nasty irony and clarifying focus.  

“I’m all in favor of pouring money into Texas, but I am a bleeding-heart liberal who favors single-payer health care. How is being struck by a hurricane so different from being hit by cancer? I’m only asking.
Houstonians chose to settle on a swampy flood plain barely 50 feet above sea level. The risks of doing so are fairly clear. If you chose to live in a tree and the branch your hammock was attached to fell down, you wouldn’t ask for a government subsidy to hang your hammock in a different tree.”

Keillor also comments about how Minnesota responds to Mother Nature’s tantrums.


Community Support for a Minnesota Mosque

by JeffStrate on August 29, 2017 · 0 comments

Television host/commentator Ahmed Tharwat (BelAhdan/StarTribune) and I recorded reactions from faith communities, politicians and regular folks to the August 5, 2017 terrorist explosion inside an office of Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, MN.   Perspectives from an August 8 gathering of support at the Mosque, make up the major portion of the August/September edition of Democratic Visions.   I’ve also included the full, articulate pronouncements of Bloomington Mayor Gene Winstead and City Manager Jamie Verbrugge, who if noticed by major media at all, end up only as 5 second sound bites.
Our intent with this installment is to provide more stage time for voices that mainstream and social media seldom provide time before reacting to the next Tweet eruption.
Democratic Visions is a cable access, political issues series handcrafted by unpaid Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, Bloomington and Edina volunteers through Southwest Community Television (SWTV) and Bloomington Community Access Television (BCAT).

Democratic Visions CableTV Schedule
Eden Prairie, Richfield, Minnetonka, Edina and Hopkins Comcast Channel 15 and and Centurylink Prism Channel 8111  Saturdays 2:00 p.m.. Sundays 9 p.m., Mondays 10 p.m., Wednesdays 5:30 p.m.,
Bloomington – BCAT Channel 16 — Tuesdays at 2:00 p.m. & 10:00 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 7:30 a.m. & 2:30 p.m.  Program is streamed during cable casts.
Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 — Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m.  Program is streamed at the MTN website during cablecasts.
Champlin, Anoka,Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Community Channel – Wed 10:30 a.m, Thurs 1:10 p.m., Fri 1:10 p.m., Sat 10:30 a.m.



The final scrum in St. Paul

by JeffStrate on May 16, 2017 · 0 comments

DFL strategist/consultant Darin Broton and DFL statesman Tim O’Brien take measure of the coming proceedings at the Minnesota Capitol.  The legislators need to finish their work come Monday May 22.  But it’s never over until its over when the special session remains an option.  This Broton/O’Brien discussion is an exclusive, on-line, Democratic Visions Channel presentation.


Democratic Visions is hand made by unpaid lefty volunteers from Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and Bloomington. Our program is not financially supported or endorsed by any political party, political action committee or special interest group.