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30 Minutes with Ken Martin

by JeffStrate on January 13, 2017 · 0 comments

State DFL Chair Ken Martin and Tim O’Brien take measure of the 2016 election and the future of Democrats in Minnesota and the nation on this half hour Democratic Visions special. Martin and DFL Vice Chair Marge Hoffa took office in 2011 and are seeking a third term as DFL Party leads. Martin and Hoffa have a campaign website.

 

As of the publication of this post, only former State DFL Associate Chair Donna Cassutt (2005-2011) is challenging Martin. Cassutt served with state party Chair Brian Melendez who announced his retirement two days after the guberantorial vote recount that confirmed in December 2010 Mark Dayton’s win.   Cassutt has a campaign venue on Facebook.

 

Democratic Visions is an independent community access CableTV and internet program handcrafted by southwest suburban, lefty volunteers. I’m in my ninth year of producing the thing.

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Democratic Visions One-on-One

by JeffStrate on December 29, 2016 · 0 comments

What happend? What's next?

The Uptake, the citizen driven, online, news service, was “baptized” during the tumultuous, September 2008 Republican Party Convention at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.  That’s the G.O.P. convention associated with un-announced search warrants, the torching of squad cars, the arrest of more than 300 protestors including journalists, roughed-up demonstrators and conventioneers; that’s the one that nominated John McCain and placed a tiara on Sarah Palin as its VP candidate to an amused and bemused electorate.

 

Two months later, voters, Obama and Biden solved that problem.

 

This past election season, neither Sanders or Clinton and Kaine were provided a position to help solve the Trump problem.  With DT’s carnival about to enter the big top’s center ring, America’s political culture continues to morph into the kitsch world of a John Waters film.  The cynical fun, however, is now a real nightmare.

 

The Uptake executive producer Mike McIntee  joined Tim O’Brien for a 22 minute, one-on-one, Democratic Visions meet-up on December 19th.  Much has since happened.  The following day, McIntee was carting office and streaming gear into the renovated press bunker at the Minnesota Capitol.   Six days later, the StarTribune reported that Amy Klobuchar had told it that she would run in 2018 for re-election to the U.S. Senate and not for Governor.   A few days after that, the President-Elect was defending Israel’s settlement policies and damning Kerry and Obama via tweets. Only the tandem deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds have dimmed these recent Twitter flare-ups.

 

That said, the new edition of Democratic Visions features Mr. McIntee and Mr. O’Brien sharing still timely perspectives on  the life political as the informed and engaged adults that they are.    Mike and Tim have a lot to say about where we’ve been and where we’re headed, about the DFL, future DFL leadership, the national Democrats and DT.

 

The second and third courses of the viewing include a visual essay set inside the winter time, tropical redoubt of the Como Conservatory and some ruminating by truck driver, critic-at-large Bruce Baird.

 

View the half hour program on YouTube here.

 

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 Schedule varies consult website – http://qctv.org/program-guide/

 

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.

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My Problem with Huggy Democrats

by JeffStrate on February 15, 2016 · 1 comment

Image of MSNBC debate stage

Rachel Maddow hugging Bernie after a recent Hillary/Bernie ‘debate’ on MSNBC.

 

Over the past seven years I have recorded on my video cam a variety of DFL functions, conventions, rallies, town meetings and Senate District central committee meetings.  I have edited the raw video for segments on Democratic Visions, the public access TV program that I produce with the help of other, unpaid volunteers.

A few elected and rank and file partisans have mistakenly thought that I was a “tracker.”  I and my production colleagues are not trackers.  Trackers are those pale, silent and creepy gents who quietly place a tripod with a tiny, mounted camera at the back of a town meeting.  They are  hoping to record gaffes and clumsy sound bites that can be used against the progressives and liberals of this world.  Lefty organizations also employ trackers, but I am not one of them nor do I know anyone who is but I know a cockroach from a real video journalist.  One of Democratic Visions’ missions has been to capture and to share on cable access TV and its  YouTube channel  the joy, humor, thoughtfulness, diversity and humanity of being a lefty.   One cannot do that from a stationary tripod or from the voyeuristic employ of a cell phone with a peephole lens.

 

When I am at, say, a DFL convention, I am waltzing about with a serviceable Sony Handicam for different angles of the speakers, panelists, audience members, coffee sippers, applauders and getting shots at the sign-in, candidate and refreshment tables.  I look for moments that can be used to show our essences in our various degrees of genius, wit, gravity and serendipity.  The tracker, on the other hand, with the tiny camera on the tripod or, for that matter, the hired professional/institutional ‘media’ crew with their own tripods and tiny cameras at the back of the room, cannot make anyone look good.  In that respect, they have something in common with the non-partisan, gray ladies who run the League of Women Voters candidate forums.

 

I grimace when, say, some city council or legislature candidate begins her/his introductory remarks with an unctuously oily ‘I want to thank the League of Women Voters for inviting me to share with you tonight why I am seeking election and how I plan to give back to a community that my family and I love so very, very dearly.’   Well,  ‘Thanks’ for what?   The televised and streaming versions of the stilted and pinched LWV forums are of interest only to a candidate’s campaign manager and spouse, the weekly community newspaper editor and the occasional tracker (if permitted by the gray ladies to set up a tiny camera on a tripod). These, well intended League attempts to spark voter interest are as reliably dull as a Ford Focus coated in February road salt.   It is my view that the LWV is sucking the juice out of Minnesota’s brand of democracy.

 

That’s why I risk losing what little dignity I still retain as a veteran television producer and journalist by prancing about meetings, kneeling, standing on benches, laying flat on the floor, sneaking up behind the head table or poking my camera into a trio of gabbers.  I am attempting to gather video and sound that local politics, in spite of the muzzle of Minnesota Nice, the leash of the politically correct, and the flare of the Black Lives Matter movements of our times, do indeed have a pulse and an ethic richer than the stump speech or the calculated chit chat on Almanac or the bombastic teasers on FOX and CNN.
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State DFL Party Chair on Democratic Visions

by JeffStrate on October 22, 2015 · 0 comments

Ken Martin and Tim O'Brien

DFL Party Chair Ken Martin and host Tim O’Brien discuss lefty stuff on the current  edition of Democratic Visions.

Ken Martin, Chair of the State Democratic Farmer Labor Party, and Tim O’Brien discuss challenges that Minnesota Democrats are facing during the build-up to the 2016 campaign season on the autumn edition of Democratic Visions.

The 25 minute long discussion is posted on YouTube.   I’ve listed its cable TV schedules below.

Martin, who became politically active as an Eden Prairie High School student when he volunteered for Paul Wellstone’s first U.S. Senate campaign, is optimistic about DFL prospects in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District. Republican Congressman John Kline is not seeking re-election to represent the 2nd District, which Martin points out, is a swing district trending left. Regardless of who wins the Republican nomination, Martin feels either DFLer Angie Craig or DFLer Mary Lawrence can win in what he feels could be the most expensive congressional race in 2016.

 

Regarding the presidential race, Martin advises, “We can’t rely on their (the Republicans’) incompetence to deliver the Presidency.” Martin supports Hillary Clinton, but as Chair of the State DFL Party, says that “We’re Democrats. We don’t do a coronation.” In Minnesota, all Democratic Primary presidential candidates and their campaigns will have equal access and be welcomed to debates.

 

Both Martin and O’Brien also weigh in on next year’s local Minnesota Legislature races and the use of social media in making political connections.  In a related segment, I present my disdainful take politicians who grin for selfies and a humorous advisory from YourTango.com on Facebook etiquette. “Facebook Manners” is a clever, internet video parody of the kind of instructional films that were shown to teenagers during the Eisenhower era.

ON CABLE

EP, Mtka, 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. Program is streamed at the MTN website during cablecasts.

Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Channel 15 — Fridays 8 a.m.,Saturdays 6:00 a.m., 10,30 a.m.,10:30 p.m.
Dem Vis is hand made by unpaid volunteers from Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and Bloomington.  Our program is not supported or endorsed by any political party, political action committee or special interest group.

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Another famous New Yorker, Yogi Berra, once said, “We may be lost but we’re making good time.” That pretty much sums up the current state of Rudy Giuliani’s political reality and doesn’t bode well for his future.

 

When it comes to Rudy Giuliani, I want to be upfront from the start. I’ve lived in New York City most of my adult life and I have greatly benefited from having lived here. I voted for Rudy Giuliani every time he ran for mayor. He used to live around the corner and down the block from where I’ve lived for the past 30 years. I had the misfortune, one weekend evening, of sitting two tables away from the Giuliani family in an Upper Eastside restaurant. I was more than taken aback when the man who had rid the streets of “squeegee pests” along with high and low priced hookers couldn’t control his own children as they ran riot about the dining floor. Giuliani was as oblivious to his children’s behavior as he was to the displeasure they caused the patrons trying to enjoy dinner that evening.

 

If you’re not a New Yorker of long standing or one who has resided in the greater metropolitan area for a number of years your opinion of Rudy Giuliani is more likely than not a function of your memories of the September 11 terror attack and his response thereto, which was undoubtedly heroic. His performance in the aftermath of 9/11 led many media pundits to portray Giuliani as an “American Churchill”, something my British friends, both liberal and conservative, roundly derided. However’ if you’ve been here awhile you know full well that the day before 9/11/2001 Rudy Giuliani was pretty much a political has been, having sunk to the level of a political afterthought. He was perceived, socially, as a bit of a buffoon. Prior to 9/11, Mayor Giuliani had made a spectacle of himself, in an unflattering way, by openly discussing his failed marriage in public even before he had completely done so privately with his wife. This was an affront to polite society in particular and viewed with disdain by the public generally. Thus in many ways his latest attack on the persona of Barack Obama is best viewed as Giuliani running true to form. In other words, Rudy Giuliani has regressed to his personal political mean.

 
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The December edition of Democratic Visions had its cableTV premier in the southwest suburbs this past Sunday.  My wife commented that host Tim O’Brien and guest State Senator John Hoffman (DFL, Champlin) were far more interesting than what she had been watching on ABC – Barbara Walters’ annual, celebrity pondering special spotlighting her choices of the year’s most fascinating people.   Indeed, the former Anoka-Hennepin School District Board member, first term Minnesota State Senator and suburban dad was more interesting than Baba Wawa’s picks that included Taylor Swift, Chelsea Handler, Oprah Winfrey, Scarlett Johansson, George R.R. Martin and David Koch.  Yes THE David Koch.

 

The new edition of Democratic Visions also concerns itself with California’s upcoming ban on plastic bags and my reluctance to hang around DFL politicians and worker bees who seem in constant need of giving and receiving hugs and back pats.   I’m Scandinavian-Lutheran and have gone through life fully satisfied with a handshake.   Humorist Jon Spade, as my clinically depressed, motivational coach (and a public speaker) attempts to help me.   Click here for the sketch adjusting to huggy Democrats.

 

After looking at our lefty volunteer-driven, 29-minute long, indulgence, do yourself a favor and read  The Unforgiven Sins of Bill Maher,  by Invenium Viam.  The essay is posted here on MPP.   I place Mr. Maher in league with the late, great Christopher Hitchens.  Invenium Viam (who ever she/he is) is also a damn fine, if more polite, scribe.

 

Democratic Visions Cable TV Schedule

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 cable casts.

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

Bloomington – BCAT Cable 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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State DFL’s GOTV tour visits Hopkins

by JeffStrate on October 31, 2014 · 2 comments

Democratic Visions taped some of the action when the DFL’s Get Out the Vote Tour bus visited its Coordinated Campaign office in Hopkins.  State Party Chief Ken Martin, Lt. Gov. candidate Tina Smith, 3 CD congressional candidate Sharon Sund, State Auditor Rebecca Otto and St. Paul Mayor Chris Colemen pumped up the hard working gathered.  Other notables can be spotted behind the speakers.  From Hopkins, the DFL bus headed to Carleton College, Northfield, then to Eagan, Oakdale, Hmong Village on Saint Paul’s eastside and the DFL Office in Frogtown (St. Paul).   Rather than follow the bus of politicos, electeds and worker bees, Dem Vis retreated to its edit bay to assemble this video.  It runs about 9:30.

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Bill Maher in Northfield

by JeffStrate on October 18, 2014 · 1 comment

Bill Maher with new best friends at the Grand Event Center, Northfield on October 7, 2014.

Bill Maher at the Grand Event Center in Northfield on October 7, 2014 to tape his Flip-a-District scheme for his HBO series.

Our colleague Bill Sorem at the Uptake informs me that Bill Maher’s “Flip-a-District” show that was taped in Northfield and premiered on HBO Friday October 17 is available free here for non HBO subscribers.

Click on the link, close the window over the page. Then click on the “Minnesota Town Hall” icon below the SPREAD THE WORD banner. A promo trailer is listed as, “Bill Maher in Northfield.”

 

This episode of Real Time with Bill Maher was produced at the Grand Event Center in Northfield which elder Carls, Olys and townies knew as the Grand Theater. When I lived in Northfield, The Grand offered respite from the academy with flicks like “Help,” “The Train,” “Ship of Fools,” and “The Sand Pebbles.”

 

Lefty activists in Minnesota’s Second Congressional District had won Maher’s well-publicized national contest to enlist Maher (television’s smartest liberal comedian working without a platoon of writers) to defeat a deserving-of-defeat Republican congressional troglodyte.  CD 2 lefties won Maher’s challenge because of John Kline’s lock-stepping Republican record and a shrewd and creative pitch using social media and stunts like hiring a plane to tow a “Flip-a-District” banner over exurbia.

 

Lordy Lordy, would that CD 3 lefties trash their pale picnics, coffees and lets hug one another validation banquets to consider the kinds of events that the farm, suburban and college town libs south of Twin Town are up to.  They deal with Kline, we deal with Paulsen.  DFL endorsed Mike Obermueller may not upset Kline in the Second – he was totally ignored during Maher’s Northfield chat fest – but in a rambling manner the event lightened our heavy brows with wit, nudge-nudge winks, vinegar and sparring. For an hour we were not unlike the British during one of their election seasons. This in a state whose political spirit these days is largely muffled by political correctness snipers, patronizing candidate effluent, unimaginative political party managers, pollsters, strategists and blizzards of pornographic hate mailers.

 

Maher’s guests were not from the limp, local mainstream media “A” list of, political pundits – no Sarah Janacek, Larry Jacobs or the curiosity that is Ember Reichgott Junge.  Adolescents John Rouleau, executive director of the Minnesota Jobs Coalition and Katie Kieffer who has authored a book about Obama waging war against millennials on Maher’s red panel were anchored by grown-up Steve Sviggum, ex-Speaker of the House and famous Kenyon Norwegian-American and mumbler.  The blue panel counted the Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi; Minneapolis-based Daily Beast writer, Ana Marie Cox; and the mayor of her city, Betsy Hodges.

 

The blues prompted most of the cheers. Taibbi couldn’t contribute much but the fox that is Miss Cox, has a bite and is most cool.  Hodges has clearly recovered from the shell shock of being mayor and dealing, now as a mayor, with Kenwood NIMBYs, North Side transit equity troops and Met Council suits prior to the pro Municipal Consent vote on SW Light Rail.   I was impressed with her levelheaded, fact-based interjections into Maher’s gab cloud.

 

The exchanges meandered a bit in front of an overbearing, cheap, vinyl banner screaming: REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER but were good-natured entertainment and understood as such by Mr. Swiggum and the others.  The gambit did raise awareness of the deeds (and lack of them) of cipher John Kline.  Mr. Obermueller, in the HBO presentation, is not mentioned once and can now commiserate with CD3 DFL endorsed congressional candidate Sharon Sund who is not seen or mentioned once on the home page of the DFL CD 3 website.   None-the-less, Flip-a-District will very likely produce more interest in and votes for Mr. Obermueller.   Courage Sir.  And Sharon, you’ve got my vote!

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A Mike “Stretch” Gelfand sighting

by JeffStrate on September 10, 2014 · 0 comments

 Sorem Strate & Gelfand

Mike Gelfand (right) with producer Jeff Strate (center) and video journalist Bill Sorem on July 31 at the Bloomington Community Access Television studio to tape Democratic Visions.  Photo by Ron Levitus.

 

Joan Rivers, Lewis Black, Jackie Vernon and Phyllis Diller were among the comedians Mike “Stretch” Gelfand and I talked about yesterday (September 4th) during a retreat to a Linden Hills caffeine pump, a kind of comfort zone for chronically under employed Wi-Fi junkies. We were unaware that Joan had passed away in Manhattan earlier in the afternoon but understood that she was on her way out.

 

I recalled a scene in the riveting 2010 documentary “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work” in which a stoked-up heckler in a rural Wisconsin casino fails to shame Rivers for pitching one-liners about Hellen Keller. With cinema verite footage, the film (co-directed by Edina native Annie Sundberg) essays a survivor recapturing her perch as one of America’s most funny and edgy comics.

 

We inconclusively pondered why Joan had allowed herself to be booked into a dead end comedy club in Wisconsin. Late of the KQRS Morning Show and with a textured life as a newspaper man, Canterbury Park horse racing tout, public relations flak, sports cableTV co-host, and cab driver, Mike Gelfand has also earned pocket change by booking Twin Cities comics into upper-midwest clubs. He is no stranger to the pallor of playing to the liquored in Wisconsin for pay that amounts to little more than a beer, a brat, and a cot or gas money for the drive home. If a warm up comic failed to show up to soften-up the audience for one of Mike’s A listers, he himself would step up to the mic stand as the setup guy. Stretch says he somewhat enjoyed the spotlight leading me to suspect that he carries a strain of the virus that drove Joan, Phyllis and Robin Williams. But Gelfand, by his accounting, plays a respectable game of tennis and, I know from observation, can arrange words into savory stuff on a page larger than the kind of note card used to archive jokes.

 

Mike Gelfand’s September appearance on Democratic Visions marks his first electronic media appearance since leaving Tom Barnard’s drive time radio aerie in 2012. As the Morning Show’s contrarian, Viking odds setter and “token liberal,” and by most accounts, its funniest sharp shooter, Mike had long struggled with sleep disorder. Mike says he needed a change and quietly dimmed his own “On Air” sign to begin rebooting his life.

 

On Democratic Visions, he talks about his father, the late Lou Gelfand, the Star Tribune’s long serving ombudsman. Caring for his aging, publicly admired dad through advancing stages of dementia, has prompted Gelfand to write about the ordeal, about being old and about being a Gelfand. Extended Stay (Mike’s working title) is a project-in-progress. It’s opening passages are wonderfully crafted. Truman Capote may be a Gelfand muse. On the show, Mike says a Capote appearance at the U of MN’s Northrup Auditorium helped secure him a job at The Minnesota Daily even though he was still a teenager.

 

With a quiver of humorous arrows, Gelfand also shares his takes on the ever-flagging Minnesota Twins, Jesse Ventura, Democrats, Republicans and his times at the Minneapolis Tribune and KQRS. Back in 1979, I was Gelfand’s first broadcast mentor when we and other wags collaborated on a series of humorous commentaries for KTCA-TV. This is a link to the YouTube version of Mike’s Dem Vis debut.

 

This story has also been published at Twin Cities Daily Planet.

 

Democratic Visions is produced by southwest suburban volunteers at the Bloomington Community Access Television studio by arrangement with the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission and Southwest Community Television.

 

Democratic Visions can be seen on the following cable systems:

Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 – Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m.   MTN simultaneously streams Dem Vis from its website during these times.

 

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

 

Bloomington – BCAT Cable 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.

 

Full programs and more than 200 segments can be seen on YouTube’s Democratic Visions Channel.

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A week ago, Sharon Sund was endorsed by acclimation during the early part of the DFL 3rd Congressional District  Party’s convention in Maple Grove.  Party activist and former CD3 Chair, George Greene nominated Sund.  The seconding and the voice vote took a few additional seconds putting Sund in the ring with G.O.P.  incumbent Eric Paulsen.

Sund photo

 

Two years ago, Brian Barnes won the DFL  CD3 Party endorsement over Sund.  Barnes went on to lose to the conservative Eden Prairie Republican.

Sund’s early endorsements include Congressman Keith Ellison, MN 2020 founder and former State Rep Matt Entenza, Carver County Commissioner Randy Maluchnik, former State Rep. Betty Folliard, State Rep. Mike Nelson (40A), and Democracy for America.   I have assembled video that I had lensed of Sharon’s endorsement and post-endorsement speech into a segment for the next edition of Democratic Visions.  The segment contains only a portion of Sharon Sund’s speech.

Sharon Sund’s campaign website is here.

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