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Minnesota

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.

 

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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.

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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.
 

ON SELECT CABLE SYSTEMS
 
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 – http://www.mtn.org/
 
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.
 

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Climate Change Challenge

by JeffStrate on March 8, 2017 · 0 comments

 

The March edition of Democratic Visions is concerned with climate change.  Dr. Eric Grimsrud, atmospheric chemist and Montana State University Professor Emeritus, shares his perspectives on the consequences of mankind’s slow response to the challenge of global warming and highlights two tools that might help, if it is not already too late,  1) the divestment of funds from the fossil fuel industry and 2) a carbon tax.   Grimsrud  exhibits the vinegary rake that comes with working at a small town newspaper, in this instance, The Zumbrota News Record.   During his high school years, Grimsrud, an atmospheric scientist to be, set type for his publisher editor Father.

Jon Spayde

Humorist Jon Spayde’s Professor of Negativity character and I spend the last moments of this half hour with our own considerations of global warming.   I am Bob to his Ray.

 

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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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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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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The early summer edition of Democratic Visions features mostly segments that we had recorded in April and May but just couldn’t fit into our spring line-ups.  Each program must come in a bit south of 30 minutes for airing on various cable systems.

 

30 minutes is an eternity in the tweet and text world and the issues considered on this particular edition have been ruminated about hundreds of times by others in our increasingly fractured universe of new and old media. But proposed copper pit mining in Northern Minnesota, high student loan debts, Trump, Ventura, Reagan and the under informed are here being considered by our ruminators:   DFL elders Tim O’Brien and blogger Steve Timmer and The Theater of Public Policy’s chief  interrogator Tane Danger and political analyst Bob Meek.   These are local guys here provided with a Charlie Rose type TV venue, albeit just a public access studio nested alongside an art gallery within the Bloomington Civic Center  – that is tended to by non-paid volunteers.

 

Tucked in at the 8’/30″ mark of the program is an initiative of our ongoing mission to restore political humor to Minnesota television.  Our good friend Doug Lind has re-purposed some dusty political jokes.  We recorded him testing his musty slap shots out on a group of Eden Prairie High School millenials at the the “DFL Comedy Club.” We think the joint is located somewhere in Hopkins (a safe zone for progressives) but it could also be out in Carver County which is not a safe zone for the informed or liberal. Enjoy.

Seven years of Democtratic Visions programs and segments are archived on its YouTube Channel.

 

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. Program is streamed at the MTN website during cablecasts.
Program is lived streamed during airings

http://www.mtn.org/on_air/channel-16-webstream

 

Champlin, Anoka, Ramsey, Andover – QCTV Community Channel 15 — Thursdays 2 p.m. For other times see schedule 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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Boy with collected litter.

A public service message from Democratic Visions.

The Star Tribune this morning reports:
 

A proposal to ban Minneapolis stores from handing out plastic bags — and require them to charge customers for paper bags — has cleared an important hurdle at City Hall.
 
Monday, following a lengthy public hearing, the City Council’s Health, Environment and Community Engagement committee voted 4-0 to forward the plan to the full council. It appears the plan may have enough support to pass the 13-member council; in addition to the four committee members who voted in favor of the plan, two other council members attended the meeting to voice their support. A fifth committee member, Council Member Andrew Johnson, expressed support for the plan but abstained from voting because he intends to work on an amendment that would make the policy more “consumer and business friendly.”’  Click here for the full story.

This is mighty fine news that I hope the full city council passes … and then the whole State of Minnesota needs similar legislation.  California’s currently stalled plastic bag law was prompted by several earlier municipal plastic bag laws.   State wide regulation made sense to businesses, regulators, environmentalists and legislators. But the California plastic bag law that was passed by the legislature, signed by Governor Brown and had been planned to be effected for large grocery chains and pharmacies on July 1, 2015 and for convenience and liquor stores on July 1, 2016 has been suspended pending a referendum vote this coming November 2016.
 
California stores would have been required to offer customers recycled paper bags or bags made of compostable material at a cost of at least 10 cents.  Folks on the state’s food-assistance program would not have to pay for the earth friendly bags.  The state of California was slated to provide $2 million in state-backed loans to help businesses transition to re-useables. But last year, plastic bag manufacturing industry opponents to the new law gathered enough valid voter signatures to force a November ballot referendum question on the law.  (More on this here.)
 
For the past three years Democratic Visions has been running this sly parody of a PBS nature documentary.  It was produced by Heal the Bay (Santa Monica) and is about the life cycle of a plastic bag and is voiced by Jeremy Irons.  We’ve tagged it with a Minnesota-based epilogue.
 

 

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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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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 –   www.youtube.com/user/DemocraticVisions/

 

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