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Minnesota Progressive Project contributor Tommy Johnson, whose political radar pings sharply when southwest suburban, right wing shinanigans unfold, here delivers a commentary on a bill that has had the support of MN Legislative DFLers.  MN House File 2557 would alter the rankings of those who apply to live in a Minnesota State Veterans Home – spouses of veterans would rank lower.   Although the bill may be in DFL limbo right now, theoretically it could resurface.  Johnson and a number of vet organizations will remain alert.


Democratic Visions is handcrafted by southwest suburban volunteers, mostly lefties, without a budget and is carried by community access channels in Minneapolis and six famous suburbs.

Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield and Eden Prairie – 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.
Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 – Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m.

You can also click to the Democratic Visions Channel.



How could a progressive have supported building the stadium? This question is asked by Professor David Schultz and others. What Schultz does not know is that the issue was not enthusiastically supported, it was accepted with great pain. Schultz, being an outside commentator, could not know this. I was in the middle of the discussion.


For Progressives that question was whether one can ever compromise or whether one embraces absolute values.


Here is what made the case for an acceptable compromise:


Minnesota was badly in need of stimulus. At the time of this decision, power was split between a Democratic Governor and Republican-controlled Legislature. A stadium was possibly the only building project that both Republicans and Democrats could support. Remember the possible alternatives are like Polymet that poisons our water for 360 low-paying jobs. I would gladly pay more in taxes to build a stadium in Northern Minnesota to keep out all copper sulfide mining.


A wise state senator told me his reasoning for supporting the stadium. In addition to the stimulus reason, there is the reason that no state has ever successfully resisted building a new stadium. In all cases, the stadium supporters eventually won. Building a stadium in the economic recession meant the lowest cost that we would ever get. Buying on sale makes great economic sense.


Another person pointed out that having a great stadium makes a Minneapolis, a “destination” city – a place one goes to. Being a destination city means more cash inflow. Proof that the stadium attracts more cash-flow than its’ costs is hard to find. Yet Minnesota is doing better than other states.


In this state, Progressives govern, going for every incremental step. It made sense to support building the stadium. But when the stadium support passed, there was no wild cheering. Instead the passage was marked by a funeral-like silence. We, Progressives did what we had to and we don’t like it. For better choices, we need to always turn out the Democratic vote.



Protect Our Water, Stop Polymet

by Grace Kelly on March 12, 2014 · 6 comments

Minnesota is being sold a false choice between picking between jobs and environment. We can do both. The Solutions Project maps out an transition project of going to wind, water and solar that would create 63,500 construction jobs and 39,300 operation jobs. Contrast that with the 360 jobs that Polymet is promising.


Polymet is proposing a different type of mining than we have had before. It is a mining that is heavily polluted with heavy metals and sulfates. Storage is simply done in open pits, open to the weather, open to seepage. Even the company’s own models show pollution with expensive treatment for 500 years or more. Let’s be real. Once pollution gets into the underground aquifer, there is no undoing it. Our rivers will carry the pollution all over. At that point, we will have to treat all our drinking water or suffer the health effects. We have an incredible growing brewing industry that will be put at risk because good water is essential to brewing.


Let’s face it, we are being held hostage for 360 jobs. Polymet can go elsewhere and will go elsewhere if it has to pay for safe mining. There are still third world countries who will allow any type of toxic mining. Minnesota wants to lose those 360 jobs, because the cost of losing safe drinking water is way too high. Do any green energy project from the Solutions Project. Please consider raising my income taxes now for green projects instead of having me pay more for clean water forever. It will cost me much less.


That is the letter that I am sending to the DNR by 4:30pm this Thursday, March 13th. Feel feel to use this letter or other options or simply post “bad idea” at . We really need every voice. We need your voice. Make it easy and just do it now.



minnesota climate changeMinnesota is the most livable state during climate change. Now of course, all of this depends on what you value. Here are my criteria:


1) Food -The ability to grow food is important. While Minnesota will be impacted by storms, hail, drought and higher temperatures, it starts with so much more growing capacity that I think Minnesota will always be able to feed its own state. Food is so important that I gave it double weight in the ranking.

2) Water -Having enough water is essential for drinking, growing food and business. Minnesota is ranked 38th among the states. If Minnesota is careful with its water, it should have enough.


3) Avoid Permanent Flooding – The middle expectation for sea level rise is 3.3 feet. I ruled out any coastal state impacted by sea level rise. Even if only a portion of the state is affected, I expected the economic costs and social turmoil will impact the whole state. Hurricanes are also a risk for these same states.


4) Avoid Toxicity -Toxic Environmental conditions are difficult to evaluate. I did my ranking based on total environmental releases. However, Montana is affected by shale activities just north in Canada so this ranking may have put Montana too high in the scoring.


5) Avoid Tornadoes – Tornadoes have gotten so harsh in Tornado Alley, that I think it would be too dangerous to live in these areas.


6) Community – Some communities work together, plan ahead, and protect civil rights. I would never want to be a black person in Florida for example. I used the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index with a double weight.


Based on the above criteria, here are the top states, with Minnesota ranked number one.

top ten states climate change

After the fold, the discussion gets more interesting.


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Republicans Engage in Self Hate

by Grace Kelly on February 23, 2014 · 5 comments

david fitzsimmons purityYesterday, I hugged a dear friend that I found in a retail store. We had landed on opposite sides of a progressive issue. He had walked out. Progressives fight hard for values. Any type of compromise is hard. At the end of the day, Progressives care deeply about each other. So even in progressive opposition, I still cheer and admire my opposition. It is a theme of caring. It is a theme of love.
In contrast, the Republicans seem bound by hate. What they hate and fear is the glue of Republican policy. Right now, they hate gays. They hate gays even when it is losing them political support. They hate gays so much that they would strike down Republicans from office who have a 100 percent score on the 2013 scorecard from the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. They have targeted hate on their own. Wright County GOP just denied Representative David FitzSimmons the Republican endorsement.
Michael Brodkorb, the deposed Republican leader, writes about this at Politics MN.

David said “the Republican Party has to decide if it wants to sacrifice everything else Republicans believe in, every other personal liberty issue, every issue on taxes and spending, every issue on life (abortion), to continue fighting gay marriage.” David was clear that he believed “the goal” of denying him the endorsement by his local Republican Party was to begin the process of repealing the law that was passed in 2013, which legalized same-sex marriage in Minnesota.
David also said earlier this week that if he’s not endorsed, the message will be “Minnesota Republicans are wanting to fight the gay marriage issue and that in order to be successful and be involved in the Republican Party of Minnesota you need to pass this litmus test that you are in complete opposition to gay marriage.” This flyer shows David was absolutely right. David predicted today’s sad outcome, saying days ago, “it is a very likely outcome that I will not be the endorsed Republican candidate on Saturday.”

Purity in Social Values is one of the Republican values. What amazes me is that any gay person is willing to still work in the Republican party. Republicans at CPAC and Log Cabin Republicans are still a mystery to me. Maybe Gay Republicans hate themselves, not just the world. That inspires me to a list (just beyond the fold).


The Big E on Democratic Visions

by JeffStrate on February 17, 2014 · 1 comment


The Big E, confessing to MPP readers and contributers recently that his heart no longer pines to hose down right wing sparkle ponies like Michele Bachmann or even review books by the likes of a Keith Ellison – Eric Pusey, the founding scold of this lefty sentry post, none-the-less, appears on the current edition of Democratic Visions.   After a moment of posing as a weary blogosphere elder  (as if blogging was old enough to earn elders),  your smart confederate, prompted by an actual DFL elder,  Tim O’Brien, again shines with bemused and bewildered takes on the current state of the Minnesota Republican Party and its clownish, hopeful candidates.   Yes, the lad who has splashed gleefully in the rushing stream of blogs, Tweets, Facebook twerking and probably Skype does quite well in the “legacy” medium of television.  Fox Nine News producers knew that, but ain’t got cajones and stopped asking Eric back to their Eden Prairie redoubt.


EP is also where I hang out and I can gaurantee that there will be more from the Eric Pusey/Tim O’Brien session next week.  For now, this ten minutes is yours to consider.  Its tagged with an insider’s homage to the late, great, populist troubadour Pete Seeger and Twin Cities activism thanks to the Junk Yard Democrats (Tommy Johnson, Norb Gernes and Doug Lind),  a fightin’ anthem, and creative editing.  Enjoy!  Enjoy!




Ex-blogger Eric Pusey and Tim O’Brien on senate and gubernatorial hopefuls.

Jon Spayde as a clinically depressed motivational speaker with advice for Republican hopefuls.

I report on the DFL 48 Precinct Caucuses and present an award winning short film making change.

Democratic Visions is handcrafted by Eden Prairie, Edina and Minnetonka volunteer Democrats at the Bloomington Community Access Television studio by arrangement with the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission.



Hopkins, Minnetonka, Edina, Richfield and Eden Prairie – 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.


Minneapolis – MTN Channel 16 – Sundays at 8:30 p.m., Mondays 3:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m.


The entire Feburary program and 183 arhived Dem Vis segments can be seen on the Democratic Visions Channel on YouTube -


We’ve become the  liveliest political issues show in Minnesota.   I know.  I produce the darned thing.



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My 37,000 Classmates in One Energy Course

by Grace Kelly on February 11, 2014 · 1 comment

cliff falling2I signed up for a free online class, “Energy, the Environment, and Our Future” by Dr. Richard B. Alley at Penn State. The class consists of readings and video, available on demand. Each week there is an activity and a blog-like online discussion. Quizzes can be taken again and again, until one gets to 100%. 37,000 people are taking the same class. Online discussions show that the people are from many different countries.


I like big classes because they have to be better organized. Dr. Alley’s specialty is studying ice and it shows in his ability to talk about what the ice tell us. The class is great in big-picture information about climate change. Right now we have a one degree increase in average global temperature. Based on continuing current trends, we can expect a three degree increase or higher. The curve of risk has a fat tail of higher risk on a greater temperature increase.


Only faith-based believers can believe there is no climate change. All evidence-based believers are now into climate adaptation and climate mitigation. We can make better decisions. For example, I would not invest in sea walls, I would move. No government insurance should prop up people living in climate dangerous areas. Maybe all the climate deniers can move to Florida, which is doomed if we have serious flooding.


A three degree difference in our daily temperature does not sound that bad. This winter, Minnesotans would have welcomed being three degrees warmer. What the three degrees really means is that there will be wilder weather of record breaking proportions. Just the destructive impact of tornadoes, hurricanes, flooding, droughts and storms is already impacting our insurance rates. Every additional degree of temperature has increasingly bad effects.

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Meteorologist Paul Douglas brings his live presentation on climate change to Eden Prairie High School on Tuesday February 18th. The public is invited to attend “Weird Weather: Minnesota’s New Normal? Our Changing Climate and What We Can Do About It”

Paul DouglasMr. Douglas will speak on the increasing frequency of severe weather episodes – the record levels of property damage caused by hail storms that hit the southwest suburbs on August 6th; this winter’s prolonged sub-zero temperatures and the evil sounding “polar vortex”; and the probability of more mega storms on the order of Hurricane Sandy and the Duluth wash outs two summers ago.

Drought and flood are likely to cost just Minnesota’s economy billions of dollars. Douglas will review the scientific data that links the use of fossil fuels to climate change and will consider possible courses of action to manage it.

Shawn Otto speaks knowingly about science and climate change deniers and we share his pain in learning that the number of Americans who bully science and its messengers continues to grow.  He does so on Democratic Visions videos.  See video number one here and video number two here.

Well possums, Paul Douglas is Minnesota’s first CBM broadcast meteorologist one of the most engaging pro-science advocates we have. Douglas has more than 33 years of experience in broadcast radio, television, web production, printing, and reporting. He currently heads Weather Nation cable channel, writes or the Star Tribune and is a recurring guest on TPT’s Almanac.

Join me and others for this event planned for February 18, 7-8:30 pm in the South Commons at Eden Prairie High School, 17185 Valley View Rd, Eden Prairie. The doors open at 6 p.m. to provide attendees time to visit the exhibits that will be set up by sponsoring and supporting environmental organizations including Environment Minnesota, Cool Planet and Citizens Climate Lobby.

For more information, see or call 612-965-8284.

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I love telling a story in one graph. This energy use graph is from Lawrence Livermore Laboratories and the Department of energy. The lines and boxes are proportionate to amount. From the chart it is easy to see that our biggest problem is using energy well. The rejected energy is inefficient use of energy. Our next largest problem is transportation – we use way too much petroleum for transportation and we are probably traveling way too much. We use way too much coal, the dirtiest of fossil fuels. Click on the picture for a bigger view.


Minnesota Energy Use by Livermore

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Quiet Sheriff Bostrom Running for Re-election

by Grace Kelly on January 31, 2014 · 4 comments

matt bostrom jan 2014 fundraiserSheriff Matt Bostrom Is running for re-election. No opponent has currently come forward. Sheriff Bostrom won the last election with a 14% margin, defeating the previous 4-term sheriff. If anything, Sheriff Bostrom appears to be more popular in this election.


Bostrom’s theme is collaboration for the best regional safety. Multiple sheriffs now provide the safe disposal of prescription drugs. Multiple sheriffs work together on joint transport between jails. Sheriff Bostrom has held multiple practice scenarios that involve multiple first responders, even including two counties when appropriate. With this theme of regional safety, Sheriff Bostrom’s kickoff of his reelection campaign was co-hosted by the sheriffs and county attorneys of five counties.


• Ramsey County: Attorney John Choi
• Anoka County: Sheriff Jim Stuart and Attorney Tony Palumbo
• Dakota County: Sheriff Dave Bellows and Attorney Jim Backstrom
• Hennepin County: Sheriff Rich Stanek and Attorney Mike Freeman
• Washington County: Sheriff Bill Hutton and Attorney Pete Orput


On a very snowy commuting night, the kick off campaign looked like the who’s who of law enforcement and local officials. A strong showing of community also showed up.


Sheriff Bostrom’s theme is quiet good work, out of media headlines. Sheriff Bostrom’s commitment has stayed consistent in both elections:


• Providing safety through community policing
• Preserving trust through fiscal responsibility
• Collaborating with public safety, community, and justice partners
• Encouraging diversity to reflect the community
• Improving service through technology
• Connecting with youth to build for the future


Sheriff Bostrom reports in detail how these goals have been met in a drill down style here. This is most consistency I have ever seen between campaign promises and service delivery.


The Sheriff Bostrom style of doing better does not make the mainstream news. There is better and more complete training of deputies for a variety of conditions. There is the quiet consistent CERT training with the community to better prepare everyone for disastera. There are multiple events throughout the year to reach to children like Scouting Day and Fright Farm. There is the purchase of a warehouse to better protect equipment that eventually has a positive impact on budget. Let’s face it, good government or in the this case, good policing is boring.