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Sandy_Hook_Gun_Tragedy_Tim_Walz_NRA_CandidateWhat is the difference between a dozen dead second graders and a dozen dead high school students?
The high school students’ best friends will be able to vote next year.
And no, I will not apologize for the strong words and horrifying imagery. It is time for strong words and horrifying imagery.
I am facing a number of different poltical choices this year. Some of them come in two weeks at the Minnesota DFL (Democratic Party) Convention in Rochester. I’m a delegate, and I will be casting my vote to endorse two US Senate candidates, the State Auditor, the State Attorney General, the Secretary of State, and the Governor. Recently, I was engaged in the endorsement decision for my US House District, and my local state House Representative is up for election.
Filtering out races that are fait accompli, there are three people running that I am firmly committed to NOT vote for, and to work against in any way possible, because of their contribution to America’s gun-hungry, gun-happy, gun-crazy culture.
They are, in order of geographical zone covered by their potential purview as an elected official:
Tim Walz, currently in the US House representing Minnesota’s first district, now running for the endorsement for Governor of Minnesota; Erik Paulsen, running for re-election to the US House, and Sarah Anderson, running for re-election to the Minnesota House.
I can not vote in early June for Tim Walz’s endorsement because for the last 12 years he maintained an A rating form the NRA, took their money, voted mostly as they told him to vote, and made numerous public statements in support of this gun culture.


Steve Simon on Democratic Visions

by JeffStrate on January 24, 2016 · 0 comments

Steve Simon at Democratic Visions

MN Secretary of State Steve Simon with Democratic Visions host Tim O’Brien

As the second year begins of Steve Simon’s tenure as Minnesota’s Secretary of State, he shares his perspectives about voting in Minnesota, elections and several non-political services provided by his office on the January edition of Democratic Visions. Safe at Home, for example, is a program that provides safe and anonymous email, postal and residential addresses for victims of domestic violence and victims of stalking who continue to fear for their safety.
Democratic Visions host Tim O’Brien and Simon also weigh in on a U.S. Supreme Court Case (Evenwel vs. Abbott) which could soon reject the “one person one vote” principle that has long been applied in the drawing-up of congressional and state legislative districts.  If the principle is rejected, millions of urban voters will be under represented.
But O’Brien and Simon mostly consider voting reforms and challenges in Minnesota; a state which year in and year out boasts one of the highest voter turnouts in the nation.A segment of President Barack Obama’s emotional, January 5th announcement of executive orders intended to make it difficult for risky people to acquire guns rounds out the program.
Democratic Visions is a community access program produced by volunteers at the Bloomington Community Access TV studio by arrangement with Southwest Community Television.  Democratic Visions is not funded, endorsed or supported by any political party, campaign, political action committee or guest.
This program is on YouTube here.
Democratic Visions Cable TV Schedule –

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.

Segments and full half hours of Democratic Visions are archived on YouTube –



What YOU can do about gun violence

by gregladen on October 9, 2015 · 0 comments

Why you have to do something about guns


This message is primarily for those living in the United States. In the US, we have an outdated Constitutional amendment that has been interpreted by many, including the courts, in a way that hampers effective legislation to address what is clearly a major problem with the proliferation and use of firearms in inappropriate ways. We are frequently reminded of this by the regular occurrence of mass killings such as the recent event in Oregon. But really, that is a small part of the problem, numerically. I lay out some of the numbers below, and address some of the arguments that regulation of guns should be absent or minimal. We have another problem as well, one that is paralleled in many other areas of policy. Special interest groups such as the National Rifle Association, through pressure and campaign financing, control much of the Congress.


Other countries have addressed their gun violence problem effectively. We can too. But in order for that to happen, this has to happen:


1) The specious arguments against gun regulation have to be called out for what they are, and ultimately, ignored.


2) Citizen pressure on our elected representatives has to be increased significantly.


3) Organized efforts against the gun industry and the gun lobby have to be supported.


Your role as a citizen is critical. There are three steps you can take. Here, I’m asking you to take one of them, the one that requires the least effort and would likely have the largest impact. First, the other two. You can learn more about the gun problem, by reading this post to the end, and reading other material. After that, don’t let the gun supporters off easy when they pull out their arguments. Tell them they are wrong, and why. I understand and respect the fact that most of you are not going to do this, but some of you may be inclined to do so, and I thank you for that. Another idea is to check your investments (like your 401k) to see if you are supporting the gun industry. If so, see if you can fix that. You can find information about that here.


The easy step you can take, and likely the most effective, is to send a note right now to your representative in Congress. I’m told (see this) that a written letter delivered by the US Post Office has a significantly larger impact when it arrives on the desk of your Congressperson than an email (or tweet or a signature on a petition), so do please spend the stamp and do that if you can. But an email is good too, and if that is all you have time for, please do it.


Write your own note, but here are a few suggestions.



Gun Loaded and Aimed at ????

by Grace Kelly on July 7, 2014 · 1 comment

Normally, I expect guys to be unusually careful of male members and the jewels. Unlike people who come from farms, military or policing, the current gun-carry crowd believes that chambered bullets are safe. They say things like “Without one in the chamber, I consider it empty. You really think the BG[bad guy] will give you time to jack one into the chamber when you need it?”. Well, actually, yes. Most people need to rev themselves up before getting into violence. A cold blooded killer is going to shoot from a distance, and a hand gun won’t matter at all.


Apparently what we need is social lessons in how guys rev themselves up to actually do violence instead of lessons on how to shoot a gun. Because there is plenty of warning. Knowing the right moment to actually reveal a gun, chamber a bullet and click the safety off can be a dramatic stopper to an argument. Of course, this requires social awareness.


In the meanwhile, apparently we still get gun owners shooting their own male members. Unfortunately, the guns can go off in many directions hitting many innocent people not just male members.


Guns in the home increase risk: Rather than being used for self-defense, guns in the home are 22 times more likely to be involved in accidental shootings, homicides, or suicide attempts. For every one time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were 4 unintentional shootings, 7 criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides


Maybe we could just have all the people who believe in chambered bullets also look down the barrel of the gun to check if the gun is safe. Maybe we could talk all of them into thunderwear (see picture) or those nifty pocket holsters are aimed at the male member. Perfectly safe, just ignore the rule of never aim at something that you don’t want to shoot.


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Caught in a Shooting Situation

by Grace Kelly on October 2, 2013 · 0 comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGiven that 18,000 federal workers in Minnesota are either working with their pay delayed or at home with no expected pay, the whole economy is traumatized. Many people quietly commit suicide, but some go for the movie exit. Unfortunately, movies and gun rights folks have popularized the “let someone else shoot me” exit.


I thought I would write about planning for the shooting scenario. I know this sounds strange but planning ahead really helps for emergency situation. Here are the crisis plans that I recommend, feel free to offer your own:


1) Active shooting Within Arms Reach – At that point, adrenaline is flowing and you can do anything. Little old grandmothers have lifted cars off of children. Go for gouging out the eyes.


2) Active shooting Outside of Arms Reach – Run out or dive for cover. Shooting accuracy really decreases with any distance. With no other options, dive and roll into a dead body, landing face down covered in blood. The face automatically reveals too much, so face down is important. The rolling into a dead body is important because bodies covered in blood are less likely to be examined. Then play dead.


3) Bullets coming through the house – Immediately fall to the floor.


More of the less threatening scenarios after the fold.



Taking Back Government by Bullets not Votes

by Grace Kelly on September 15, 2013 · 0 comments

When does the advocacy of violence become terrorism and a crime? That is a good question to apply to the latest Republican candidate for US Senator, Monti Moreno. Moreno is a bison farmer and former hair salon owner, who just declared his intent to run for US Senator.


In a Democracy, one accepts the vote of the people. But Moreno is saying, “You see if you can’t do it by ballot, you’ve got to do it by bullets.” So who is Moreno going to kill? It sounds a lot like the logic behind the Boston Marathon bombing.  Persuasion by bullets is not a democracy.


Maybe somebody should ask Moreno when and how he plans to take back the country by bullets.


The quote in context from MPR:


At tonight’s news conference Moreno was much less animated than he was at the 1996 Republican state convention.  He was seeking the party endorsement to run against then U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone.  Moreno took to the podium wielding a musket to emphasize his opposition to gun control.
“You see if you can’t do it by ballot, you’ve got to do it by bullets,” shouted Moreno. “Do you think these guys who wrote this Constitution and the Bill of Rights wrote it so they could go deer hunting? Do you think they did it so they could go duck hunting, man? They did it so we can take out country back.”


Republican Andy Parrish Solves Rape by Adding Guns

by Grace Kelly on August 29, 2013 · 1 comment

gun thigh holsterCitypages catches Andy Parrish (previous Republican manager for Michele Bachmann) in a banner newspaper editorial of “Women should carry guns.”


Parrish accuses “the left’s extreme arrogance” of indirectly causing “hundreds of thousands of women to be raped every year.”


See In the Parrish Republican view of the universe, rape isn’t the guy’s fault. It is the women’s fault for not forcing guys at gunpoint to behave. It is like the Republican view of pro-life, where fetus-babies and ovum-babies count as living, but sperm-babies don’t count because that would make guys responsible. Republicans hold women responsible not men. Men are “forgiven” because they are men.


Hmmm, that principle of women forcing men to behave could be expanded to have women be the police, the military, the government and the CEOs. I am beginning to like Parrish’s idea.


Parrish has a case for women being given guns and power. The unspoken truth behind rape and male violence is CRIME IS A MALE SPORT. 90 percent of homicides and 91 percent of gun-related homicides are committed by males. 90 percent of those in prison for crimes are men.


Parrish is saying that women can prevent rape and by carrying and using guns. Since 57 percent of the rapes occurred on a date, that means adding guns to the whole dating relationship. Leave it to Republicans to advocate for bringing guns to dates and to bedrooms.


First, there are logistics problems. Where does a women put the gun when dressed for a date? “No honey, that lump between my legs does not mean I am transgender. It means I think there are rapists out there.”

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Is it bad that my first reaction to George Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict was “Thank God we have Mark Dayton so we didn’t get one of those BS ALEC-inspired ‘Stand your ground’ laws in Minnesota”?


This verdict is a tragedy for the Martin family, who lost their son and brother and now have no justice to show for it. I don’t blame the black community for a second for anger and fear and immense racial animus over this. But let’s be honest with ourselves: if Trayvon Martin were instead Tomas Martino, a scary-looking dark-skinned kid from Oaxaca, would George Zimmerman have done anything differently?


George Zimmerman is a racist scumbag. But this is a tragedy for a family, a community, and for our entire society — that we allow entire states to pass laws which allow armed bigots to kill someone whose look they don’t like, make ex post facto claims of “fear for one’s life”, and get away with murder. All in the name of freedom and liberty from people we don’t like, words we don’t want to hear, sights we don’t want to see. “Stand Your Ground” is nothing less than the legalization of the NRA’s “armed society = polite society” trope, one of the most unamerican pieces of stinking filth in existence today.


We cannot bring back Trayvon Martin, nor will we be able to bring back the next person who is gunned down because they wore a hoodie in the wrong neighborhood by an overzealous bigot with legal cover. Or the one after that. Let’s be perfectly clear-headed about this, it’s going to happen again and again and again while these idiotic fear-driven laws exist. The only thing we can do is get the morons and bigots who passed these laws out of office, whatever it takes, and repeal them in the name of freedom: freedom from idiocy, armed bigotry, and fear itself.


NRA gun creeps’ agenda enables cop-killers

by Dan Burns on April 8, 2013 · 2 comments

gunnutNo, that headline is not an exaggeration. We have every reason to be blunt and forceful, considering what’s at stake.

A new study released last week by the Center for American Progress analyzed 10 key measures of gun violence and found that Louisiana is worst among the 50 states. Included in the report is a 50-state ranking of law enforcement feloniously killed by guns: Louisiana ranks second worst in the nation behind South Dakota…

The NRA often says that “the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” But in states like Louisiana, no single group has done more than the NRA to put guns in the hands of bad guys. That puts the good guys with guns—like our law enforcement officers—and good guys without guns at a higher risk.
(Think Progress)


Of course the firearms freaks can explain why it isn’t their fault. (For conservatives, and in fact cognitively rigid, dogmatic types in general, it never is.) The ignorant, contemptible “rationalization” that many use, deep down inside, is that since many of those states have higher percentages of racial minorities, they therefore have a larger element that is just naturally disposed to violent criminal behavior. But few dare to come right out, outside of their inner circles of the like-minded that is, and say that. Instead, one hears the same old crap about existing laws not being enforced, societal factors that have nothing to do with gun ownership…
Tell that to the families of the slain officers.


Gun nut politicizes cultural event

by Eric Ferguson on April 8, 2013 · 1 comment

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“So Mom, what were you and that one guy talking about?” “He was telling me that he was carrying a concealed gun and a woman gets raped every two minutes.” Those aren’t exact quotes, but that’s the gist of a conversation I had with my mom following the annual Tartan Day commemoration at the state capitol on Saturday, of which I was a participant and she was a spectator. Tartan Day is a non-political event — that part will be quite important in subsequent paragraphs — where Scots celebrate Scottish culture on the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320. It’s equivalent to the American Declaration of Independence, but still, in America anyway, not a political event. It’s a day to say that kilts are manly, bagpipes sound great, and our favorite color is plaid. Nothing to do with bragging about your concealed gun to my mom, OK?


So over the course of the event, other Tartan Day events and gatherings get announced, and some strange person, who I won’t identify because I’m only 95% sure I know who he is and I don’t want to disparage the innocent, somehow talked his way into getting a bit of microphone time. He started out saying he was very disappointed with the results of the last election. This is a bad way to start a speech at a non-political event. Participants hold lots of differing opinions, which are normally kept out of conversation, being utterly irrelevant. Let’s just say I’m not the only one who thinks the NRA is vile, while others might well have Wayne LaPierre posters in their bedrooms.



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