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Mike Gelfand

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.



Mike Gelfand makes a pitch for LaVotra

by JeffStrate on January 21, 2017 · 0 comments

Now that DT has been inaugurated, Mike “Stretch” Gelfand is making a pitch on the new edition of Democratic Visions for capsules promising to excite and harden tired, defeated and deflated male aspirants to the presidency through the 2020 election.   There’s a herd of them and the new drug should have appeal to Christie, Walker, Jeb and Bernie.  Mike’s ad spot is sandwiched between segments conducted by Tim O’Brien with State DFL Chair Ken Martin and recently retired House District 48A law maker Yvonne Selcer (DFL).


The half hour, including Mike’s short spot, is pundit free.


The program premiers on Comcast Channel 15 in Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and Richfield on Saturday January 21 at 2 p.m. with repeats Sundays at 9 pm, Mondays at 10 pm and Wednesdays at 5:30 pm.  The program will begin appearing on Minneapolis, Bloomington and northern suburban cable systems over the next week.


West suburban DFL candidates looking good

by JeffStrate on September 23, 2016 · 1 comment

Pundits and political operatives are looking closely at several west suburban state legislative races that could be extremely close.   The current edtions of Democratic Visions are featuring DFL endorsed candidates running in Senate Districts 36, 44 and 49 and House District 48A.

Four suburban DFL Candidates

Deb Calvert, Laurie Pryor, Melissa Franzen and John Hoffman

Laurie Pryor may be a freshman candidate in her bid to replace retiring State Represenattive Yvonne Selcer, but she knows most every school, business center and residential cul-de-sac in District 48A (northern Eden Prairie and Southern Minnetonka) from a decade of organizing for local and congressional DFL candidates.   Deb Calvert, another issues informed and politically savy candidate, is running to replace Senator Terri Bonoff in Senate District 44 (northern Minnetonka, southern Plymouth and Woodland). Bonoff, as we know, is running a competitive race with right wing enigma Eric Paulsen in the Third Congressional District.     Senator Melisa Franzen is seeking a second term in Senate District 49 (Edina, west Bloomington and a few eastern precincts of Minnetonka and Eden Prairie.   These DFLers do not have strong Republican opponents but huge amounts of money are being spent on legislative races that can be won or lost by fewer than 40 votes.   Calvert, Pryor and Franzen are interviewed by Ted O’Brien in Democratic Visions September Program One here.


Senator John Hoffman is being challenged by Republican Brooklyn Park Mayor John Lunde in Senate District 36. But the personable and effective Hoffman has helped deliver funding for schools, highways and parks in the north suburban district and is strong on environment and jobs.   His district includes all of Champlin, and parts of Coon Rapids and Brooklyn Park.
Hoffman appears in the first segment of Democratic Visons’s second September program which also includes humorist Jon Spayde’s Professor of Negativity, author-comedian Lorna Landvick and a pro-Hillary, Junk Yard Democrats music video that splashes DFLers with home grown whimsy. Oh yes, Mike Gelfand splashes vinegar on distracted drivers and his romantic relationships.   Click here for program two.
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Now on Democratic Visions

by JeffStrate on September 23, 2015 · 0 comments


Guests on Democratic Visions.

Now playing on Democratic Visions.

Since the current edition of Democratic Visions was launched a few weeks back, Scott Walker and Rick Perry have left the Republican Party version of trash TV and Donald Trump, its emerging Hitler, continues to bloviate about being a deal maker.
Our segments and full shows may not trend on Twitter like Jindal and Carson sound bites, but we’re offering stuff that is worth more than a “like” and a Tweet.
Like Minnesota Progressive Project, Democratic Visions is a venue for long form, lefty perspective and snark. MPP is literary, we are not. We’re just lowly TV; make that lowly TV without teams of pundits and Emmy-winning writers that propel, say, The Daily Show. But we operate outside the restrictive cultures of public and commercial television and remain more watchable than Almanac, Esme, or Fox 9.
So right here and now (and on your home flat screen) you get retired, KQ Morning Show reality check scold Mike Gelfand, improv humorist Jon Spayde, card board cutouts of Obama, Michelle and Reagan at the State Fair and Eden Prairie School Board candidate Asad Aliweyd.  Our menu of the month —

The full, 28-minute program —

The segments –

1) Mike “Stretch” Gelfand takes aim from his kitchen at the reaction to
the Eden Prairie dentist who killed Cecil the lion, GOP Republican
candidates and his pet cat Peanut.

2) Asad Aliweyd candidate for the Eden Prairie School Board.

3) Improv humorist Jon Spade’s pal Vic from Rhode Island on the Minnesota
State Fair

4) Jeff Strate at the DFL, GOP and ECO pavilions at the MN State Fair.


EP, R’field, Mtonka, Edina and Hpkns on Channel 16
Sundays at 9 pm, Mondays at 10 pm. Wednesdays at 5:30 pm, Saturdays at 2:00 pm

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.

QUAD CITY COMMUNITY TV — Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Channel 15 — Mondays 6:30 am, Fridays 8 a.m., Saturdays 6:00 a.m., 10,30 a.m.

Democratic Visions is an independent, pundit-free, political issues, cable access show. The thing is hand made by unpaid volunteers from Edina, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins and Bloomington


Oil pipelines, oil satire, T2P2 and Mike Gelfand

by JeffStrate on January 13, 2015 · 0 comments


The first of nine public and evidentiary hearings this month on the proposed Minnesota reach of the Sandpiper Pipeline convened on January 5th at St. Paul’s River Center.


Ballrooms A and B, combined, are as large as Iowa and more than 200 citizens showed up to listen and/or speak.  I was there for about an hour with my video camera; the session went on into the night.  The hearings are being conducted by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and provide ample time for pro and con opinion and, under oath, experts, scientists, State DNR and MPCA regulators and Enbridge Oil, Inc. officials to clarify information.


The approximately 600-mile long pipeline would carry Bakken crude oil from North Dakota to Superior, Wisconsin.  About 300 miles or more of it would pass through Minnesota.   75% of Enbridge’s proposed Sandpiper alignment in Minnesota would be constructed within existing pipeline corridors.  There are alternate pipeline alignments in the discussion at least one of which would run entirely within existing pipeline corridors.   Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy (MCEA) attorney Kathryn Hoffman and others say that 25% of the Enbridge favored alignment goes through sensitive peat and bog lands, forests and lake and stream watersheds.  MCEA and citizen groups including Honor the Earth and Friends of the Headwaters oppose the Enbridge plan.

Kathryn new1_2

It gets complicated being that the review and approval/denial process involves studies, reports and claims being generated by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the MN DNR, MPCA, Enbridge, organized labor and others.  MCEA and Friends of the Headwaters have jointly filed a suit in Ramsey County requesting a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the thing.  Add in just a few of the operating acronyms – EIS, PUC, EPA, FOH – and It gets very complicated for the un-baptized.   But on the current edition of Democratic Visions, Kathryn Hoffman, Tim O’Brien and the Dem Vis graphics/editor guy admirably service we non-wonks.


The O’Brien and Hoffman discussion is followed by a satirical, animated short crafted by Vancouver-based editorial cartoonist Dan Murphy.  Murphy’s targets are Canada’s oil executives, pipeline politicians and its image, now dripping with tar sand oil.


As grandson and grandmother characters, Brandon Boat and Maggie Sotos from The Theater of Public Policy (T2P2) weigh in on the generation gap among Minnesota Democrats in an improvised sketch and humorist/provocateur Mike Gelfand speaks of the distracted drivers in his neighborhood.


Democratic Visions is an independently produced public access television monthly that can be viewed on flat screens in the following cities –


SW ‘burbs — Channel 15 in Eden Prairie, Richfield, Minnetonka, Edina and Hopkins – Sundays 9 p.m., Mondays 10 p.m., Wednesdays 5:30 p.m., Saturdays 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.


A pundit free, post mid-term Democratic Visions

by JeffStrate on November 13, 2014 · 0 comments


Democratic Visions Producer Jeff Strate learns from The Theater for Public Policy Director Tane Danger that policy wanks can be funny.

Democratic Visions Producer Jeff Strate learns from The Theater for Public Policy Director Tane Danger that policy wonks can be funny on stage.  Photo by Ron Levitus.

The post mid-term election edition of Democratic Visions features no pundits, partisan strategists, Wednesday morning quarterbacks or smiley candidates. Instead, November’s Dem Vis sports humorously gifted wags, authors and theater types.


Tane Danger, director of The Theater of Public Policy, a sharp, improv comedy troupe; vinegary, retired drive time radio man Mike “Stretch” Gelfand, author Mary Stanik and humorist Jon Spayde help Minnesotans  figure out where we’re headed in our Mitch McConnell, Kurt Daudt, Paul Molitor and Sunday booze-buying futures.



Mr. Danger (that’s his real name – he’s a pastor’s kid with a Bush Foundation Fellowship at the U of MN’s Humphrey Institute not a punk rocker) wants you to know that The Theater of Public Policy has only two, election season shows remaining at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater on Lake Street at Bryant Avenue.


Minneapolis Council Member Jacob Frey (Ward 3) joins T2P2 at 7 p.m., November 17 and MPR economics editor Chris Farell joins the company November 24, also at 7 p.m.


Should progressives go?   Well possums, Tommy Johnson and I saw retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson with T2P2 in October. The jurist, the jury improv comics and the menu at Bryant Lake Bowl got two, enthusiastic thumbs up from the Two Putter and myself.


Please find below links to current Democratic Visions segments and the programs cable schedule.


The Theater of Public Policy Exposed


Mike Gelfand: The 2014 Elections, Christmas and Baseball



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.