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Update: The controversy over the “Under the Gun” documentary centers on an inserted pause during a question about terrorists being easily able to access firearms.
In the face of the incident early Sunday morning in Orlando, Florida, that question could not be more timely.

Conservatives are not factual, and conservatives whine, claiming they are victims when they are not, in fact, victims at all.  And conservatives are massive hypocrites, holding others to a more rigorous standard than they hold themselves (or other conservatives).


I would argue that the hypocrisy alone would be sufficient to disqualify conservatives from criticizing others, but that the additional factual deficiency renders them the ones who merit harsh criticism.


The latest controversy over a gun violence documentary in which Katie Couric conducted an interview is simply the latest iteration.


Katie Couric was a news personality on ABC in 2008, when she exposed the lack of qualifications of Republican candidate Sarah Palin for the position of VP.  That still gripes the behinds of conservatives, who will look for pretty much any pretext to jump all over her, fair or foul.  That Couric continues to enjoy some measure of success, while Palin is at best a marginal figure, only adds to conservative irritation, especially by those less successful conservatives in the media (including the blogosphere).


What is she doing now?  From the Wrap:


Couric is the current Yahoo global news anchor and a legend in her field. The former “Today” show staple is an anti-cancer advocate, documentary film producer and New York Times best-selling author of “The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons From Extraordinary Lives.”

Let’s start with the facts; Katie Couric did not insert the controversial ‘dramatic pause’ in the documentary in question, Under the Gun. and did not agree with the insertion, but was over-ruled.  Continuing from the Wrap:



Katie Couric said she “didn’t feel comfortable” with the controversial edit in her recent documentary on guns, but hopes it starts a broader conversation about the gun control in America. “I can understand the objection of people who did have an issue about it,” Couric said at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in New York on Thursday morning.

…Couric did not edit the interview herself, and said last week that she questioned director Stephanie Soechtig and an editor about the pause when she screened the film, “and was told that a ‘beat’ was added for, as she [Soechtig] described it, ‘dramatic effect.’”

I would posit that the dramatic pause was not particularly significant, that the controversy is a tempest in the proverbial tea pot. But I would add to that criticism that the pause should not have been inserted in a documentary; dramatic license belongs in dramatic productions, not in non-fiction features.


But to return to the massive hypocrisy of the right, who are kvetching about a lack of factual content by Couric, and/or ‘fake footage’, let’s recall here for a moment the appalling actions of convicted criminal James O’Keefe when HE inserted footage of himself as a pimp in undercover interviews with ACORN, while actually appearing in the real interviews as a normally dressed boy friend of a woman appearing to be an abuse victim.


Not a peep out of conservatives, about deceptive editing, or fake footage when it is ‘one of theirs’, not then, not in the past year, not ever.


Rather they defended O’Keefe, trying to justify false claims as ‘B roll’ and other flimsy excuses. Again, as another example out of many, the insertion of fake footage from other sources, representing it as from Planned Parenthood, was deliberately misleading and unethical. Like James O’Keefe,who was convicted of illegal activity in his filming, those faux documentarians are also now facing criminal indictment for fraud. Did anyone here much criticism of these far more egregious examples of bad faith documentary making? Heck NO! Far from it, the right tried to find pretexts and excuses to condone THAT conduct.


Unless they drop the double standard BS and their whining, I would argue that conservative critics should sit down and shut up.  If and when they are willing to do the right thing, not just the right wing thing, then and only then do they have a legitimate complaint about others; in the successful PROFESSIONAL and more ethical media.


It’s still tough for many new graduates

by Dan Burns on June 10, 2016 · 0 comments

graduatesThe purpose of this is mostly to pass along a recent EPI report, for anyone who is interested.

Young high school and college graduates were hit hard in the Great Recession. While young graduates’ economic prospects have brightened in recent years, they still face elevated unemployment rates and stagnant wages. Many groups—including young graduates of color, as well as young high school graduates entering the workforce—face particularly difficult economic realities…
The vast majority (65.8 percent) of people age 24–29 do not have a college degree. Access to good jobs for these individuals is especially critical, as stable employment allows them to build a career or pay for further schooling.
(Economic Policy Institute)

The fundamental problem is that in the last 35 years, give or take, real access to opportunity and resources has become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Namely, those of the parasitical plutocrat/warmongering class. Changing that is going to take a while.
Young people understanding what the real problem is, is part of that. Fortunately, it seems as though many do. They need to show up and vote, every time.


nemnRep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) doesn’t often make headlines. I suspect that that is precisely as she wants. But she does work on some really good ideas, and in those instances deserves public notice and approbation.

Fifty years ago (May 31), two federal mineral leases were signed for rights to copper, nickel and precious metals, just south of what would become the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.
Those leases for the area south of Ely, Minn., are now in the hands of a mining company called Twin Metals — but they expired two and a half years ago. Renewal of the leases has languished in Washington, becoming the latest point of contention in a debate over whether mining should be considered so close to the BWCA.
The leases were first obtained by the International Nickel Company, which proposed 1,000-foot-deep open pit copper mine on the edge of the BWCA. But after a state moratorium to study the issue, copper prices tanked, and the project fizzled.
The federal Bureau of Land Management renewed the leases twice since then, with little fanfare.
But not this time. U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, a St. Paul Democrat, introduced a bill to prevent copper-nickel mining near the BWCA. McCollum says those leases were granted before modern environmental laws were passed.

Governor Dayton has also come out against the Twin Metals plan. The political lines have long since been drawn on this, and despite what some DFL doom-and-gloomers have to say there is no common sense reason to believe that this will somehow turn MN-08 red, now.

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New report on charter school fraud

by Dan Burns on June 8, 2016 · 0 comments

school2Unfortunately, few elected officials from either major party seem interested in prioritizing the need to do something about this issue in particular, much less about the overall efforts to undermine and corporatize public education in general. That needs to change. I have to admit that I for one do not have a magic wand to wave to that effect.

Two years ago, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) issued a report demonstrating that charter schools in 15 states—about one-third of the states with charter schools—had experienced over $100 million in reported fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement since 1994. Last year, we released a new report that found millions of dollars of new alleged and confirmed financial fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in charter schools had come to light, bringing the new total to $203 million. This report offers further evidence that the money we know has been misused is just the tip of the iceberg. With the new alleged and confirmed financial fraud reported here, the total fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in charter schools has reached over $216 million…
The number of instances of serious fraud uncovered by whistleblowers, reporters, and investigations suggests that the fraud problem extends well beyond the cases we know about. Based on the widely accepted estimate of the percentage of revenue the typical organization loses to fraud, the deficiencies in charter oversight throughout the country suggest that federal, state, and local governments stand to lose more than $1.8 billion in 2016, up from $1.4 billion in 2015. The vast majority of the fraud perpetrated by charter officials will go undetected because the federal government, the states, and local charter authorizers lack the oversight necessary to detect the fraud.
(Center for Popular Democracy)


MN lege: GOP FUBARed Resources Commission

by Dan Burns on June 6, 2016 · 1 comment


Normally the Legislature embraces all but a thin margin of projects sanctioned by the commission. But this year, House Republicans authored a combination of cuts and replacement projects that were met by a resounding batch of line-item vetoes from Gov. Mark Dayton.
In the end, the LCCMR’s $46.3 million natural resources bill was reduced to $37.9 million, and key participants are still feuding.
“I think it’s irresponsible behavior,’’ LCCMR co-chair Nancy Gibson said Friday in her assessment of major changes penned by Republican Rep. Tom Hackbarth of Cedar in a committee chaired by Rep. Denny McNamara, R-Hastings. The two legislators also are voting members of LCCMR.
Gibson commended Dayton for nixing the replacement projects favored by Hackbarth and McNamara, saying some were unconstitutional and none were reviewed by the commission. “He [Dayton] closed the door on abuse, which I think is great,’’ said Gibson, who originally was appointed to LCCMR by Gov. Tim Pawlenty.
(Star Tribune)

Effective and enlightening coverage from Bluestem Prairie:
After line-item vetoes of special-interest raids on LCCMR funds, McNamara slithers off ballot

The big pout: Hackbarth quit attending LCCMR meetings after losing co-chair vote to Persell

I don’t know that this would work, in and of itself, as a major campaign issue. More as part of the pattern of legislative Republicans having repeatedly failed all Minnesotans. Especially rural residents, to whom GOPers promised much before the 2014 election, and as of two years later have delivered next to nothing.
Comment below fold.

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DFL state convention live blog

by Eric Ferguson on June 4, 2016 · 1 comment

Like I mentioned in a non-sequitor at the end of this post, I plan to live blog the DFL convention Saturday. That depends on The Uptake having a livestream as in recent conventions, since I can’t be there in person, due to medical issues I assume readers don’t care about the details of. Since anyone can watch the stream, I’ll try to focus on explanations and commentary. Open this post and refresh it once in a while. I’ll check the comments occasionally for questions. I’m still typing more slowly than usual so it could be tricky, but I’ll give a game effort. If you want to see the agenda, that’s on the state DFL web site. It doesn’t give a specific convening time, but from the ending time of training sessions, looks like it will start around 9 AM. I’ll add a Read More link when the convention starts, so click that, or else be content with reading this introduction over and over.
Yes, The Uptake has a live stream. This is what I’m watching.

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SWLRT Stations - N Mpls


The late spring edition of Democratic Visions features a discussion with transit equity advocate Kenya McKnight Ahad and myself on Southwest Light Rail, public transit and North Minneapolis.  There had been hopes that the Minnesota State Legislature would, before end-of-session, appropriate $135 million dollars for the project through bonding or at least pass a bill that would enable other agencies such as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority to raise that amount.  That $135 million, the State’s comparatively small share of the $1.79 billion dollar project, is needed to complete a match to qualify Southwest Light Rail for $895 million dollars from the Federal Transit Administration.


Three Chambers of Commerce, the city councils of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie and most of the neighborhoods along the planned alignment are now hoping that a special legislative session will provide the $135 million along with, of course, other transportation needs.  During transportation, transit and infrastructure bill manuverings in the Legislature and opposition by some folks along the Kenilworth Corridor in Minneapolis and the Claremont residential complex in Minnetonka, media discussion of the impact of light rail and improved bus transit on North Minneapolis has been non-existent. I argue that North Minneapolitans will have the most to lose should lawmakers fail to act positively.  During our discussion, Kenya McKnight Ahad advises that good transit studies and plans incorporating light rail and improved bus connections for North Minneapolis within its corner of the metro area and beyond already exist.  What doesn’t exist, Ahad says, is a dependable manner and commitment to fund the plans.  This segment runs about 22 minutes.


On YouTube

North Minneapolis, transit equity and Southwest Light Rail –


Democratic Visions On cableTV


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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.


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Democratic  Visions is hand made by unpaid 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.


MN-02: All My GOP Candidates

by Dan Burns on June 2, 2016 · 2 comments

uscapitolThis thing is taking on a soap-operatic quality.

He wants to build a wall. He refers to himself in the third person. He’s not Donald Trump, but he appeared on TV as Trump’s campaign spokesman in Minnesota. Now he’s running for Congress.
Matt Erickson becomes the fourth candidate to join the primary race for the second congressional district Republican nomination to replace retiring Congressman John Kline…
Erickson was Donald Trump’s Minnesota volunteer coordinator and appeared on TPT as Trump’s campaign spokesman. He claims to be the, “True Conservative,” in the field. “Real trailblazers like Donald Trump are the leaders that we’re looking for,” said Erickson.
(The Uptake)

Jason Lewis won the endorsement over another radical right candidate, David Gerson. The “mainstream” candidates, Darlene Miller and John Howe, didn’t try very hard for that, and are primarying Lewis. The district’s (and state’s, and national) establishment Republicans would undoubtedly have preferred that Howe drop out and give Miller – who is endorsed by the current officeholder, Rep. John Kline (R-MN) – a real chance to beat Lewis.
So Miller and Howe would split the “sane” vote, and Lewis would win in a walk. But along comes this new guy, with his direct connection to the Great and Powerful Trump, to split the far-right lunatic vote as well. Lewis, who maybe remains the favorite, is obnoxiously self-important and self-satisfied, but at the same time extremely touchy. Not a likable combination, but very common among far-right politicos. Probably Erickson is that way, too. Fun times!
The Democratic candidate is the most excellent Angie Craig.
Comment below fold.


MN-06: David Snyder is DFL-endorsed

by Dan Burns on June 2, 2016 · 1 comment

dsnyderSome sampling from his website:

We need real and long term investment in everything from our crumbling highway system to modernizing our electrical grid, airports, sea ports and pipelines. Doing this is a basic function of government and it will create thousands of good jobs that can’t be shipped overseas…
Women deserve equal pay for equal work.
The idea that de-funding Planned Parenthood will protect women is a lie. Let’s stop the war against women, and keep funding an organization that does more preventative care and education than anything else.

In other words, we have a pro-worker, pro-woman, pro-veteran, very good candidate in MN-06. It’s the toughest district in the state for anyone to run on a platform like that, but it’s by no means impossible. Especially this time around.
Comment below fold.

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TPP hitting obstacles in Japan

by Dan Burns on June 1, 2016 · 0 comments

ellisontppTime for another update on the potentially atrocious giveaway to many of the world’s worst corporations known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership “trade agreement.”

The United States isn’t the only country where domestic politics have slowed down any momentum for getting the Trans-Pacific Partnership ratified. Japan’s government has also slowed its process for approving the deal despite a formal debate already started in the country’s national Diet. The legislative session is scheduled to end June 1 and lawmakers, for a number of reasons, are unlikely to take a vote until after they reconvene in mid-September, according to Diet sources and outside observers.

President Obama, inexplicably, continues to do his best for the dumb thing.

The two other countries whose righteous legislative opposition, should it manifest, could tank the whole wretched deal are Canada and Australia. As far as I could determine, neither country’s legislature has started on it yet.
Panama Papers Expose Another Way Our Trade Agreements Fail Us