Video: Gelfand on New Viking Stadium

 Former KQ Morning Show reality check and sports guru Mike Gelfand takes a cynic’s aim at the new Viking Stadium on the current edition of Democratic Visions. The Crystal Cathedral like monument to men who play football and their corporate patrons and politicians (who play games with public wisdom, dollars and common sense) is a major irritant to Audubon Society types who view it as a wall of death for birds. Our feathered friends, they correctly claim, will crash into the stadium’s glass sheeting and die. During the course of his comment, Gelfand reminds us that during the construction of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in 1981 (recently deflated and leveled to make way for the new stadium), KSTP-TV’s news magazine Sunday Extra featured “The Dome Report” updates. These were parodies of, highly hyped, local TV investigative units such as WCCO-TV’s The I-Team, KSTP’s own On Your Behalf with Neil Murray and ABC’s Nightline with Ted Koppel. “The Dome Reports” were fronted by KUOM Radio personality John Barnier. Steve Sanger and I produced them. Continue Reading

Renuking Minnesota?

Above: The Monticello reactor.  Note the tall stack used to vent cancer-causing radioactive gases. (Please forgive the personal notes in this post.  So often we debate the technical merits of nuke power, without sufficiently considering the human side, the human impacts, of the decisions getting made.  This was originally posted on my blog

I’ve had more of a relationship with the nuclear industry than seems ideal.  In Delaware, I can look out a window and see the domes of three reactors.  In 2000, I wrote in an alert:
“Parts of New Castle County (DE) are in the “ingestion zones” (= within fifty miles) of 7 nuclear reactors (Limerick 1 and 2, Peach Bottom 2 and 3, Salem 1 and 2, and Hope Creek). While the nuclear industry has always claimed that it’s radiation output is too small to cause health problems, more and more reports are linking proximity to nuclear facilities to breast cancer, leukemia, childhood cancer and birth defects, and other health problems.” For a while, for some reason, I was on a Nuclear Regulatory Commission “call list” usually reserved for public officials.  Whenever something official was up with my favorite three reactors, a pleasant and well-informed NRC official would call in advance.  It was a good lesson in how artfully the nuclear industry is able to manipulate official perceptions and mainstream media coverage. I remember the rainy night of March 28, 2004, spent in Londonderry Township (Middletown) Pennsylvania, at the site of the Three Mile Island nuke plant.  We listened to people, on the 25th anniversary of the meltdown there, talk about the impacts on their lives of the meltdown. Continue Reading

An Orthy Adversary: The Battle of Orth House, as told by a local internet junkie

I spend too much time on the internet. The internet has lots to offer for every noble desire and depravity imaginable. A lot of what it has to offer is a respite from boredom. Waiting in lines, waiting through commercials, waiting for something to happen at work. All that waiting has a tendency to make me crave drama and conflict.I’d say one of my favorite pastimes is watching people lose their shit and turn into nasty, ugly jerks over disagreements. Continue Reading

Appointed Officials Set to Okay Illegal Project

Two sets of appointed officials are lined up to okay a project that explicitly violates the law. The Metropolitan Council is promoting sewer replacement construction that contravenes the Coldwater protection law by threatening the flow to this 10,000 year old spring.The Minnehaha Creek Watershed District is set to permit the project with assurances about “contingency plans” for unforeseen circumstances, “restoring” Coldwater Springs after “temporary” dewatering, and orders to monitor the spring daily during the 2-year construction project.   Take action. Ask that sewer construction be redesigned to the location of the current pipe without tearing up the north end of Minnehaha Park and threatening the flow to Coldwater Springs: Adam Duininck, Chair, Metropolitan Council, 651-602-1390 or Lars Erdahl, Administrator, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, 952-641-4505 or  National Park Service, 651-290-4160 or (follow prompts) THE LAW  Section 1.  [PROTECTION OF NATURAL FLOW.] Neither the state, nor a unit of metropolitan government, nor a political subdivision of the state may take any action that may diminish the flow of water to or from Camp Coldwater Springs.  All projects must be reviewed under the Minnesota Historic Sites Act and the Minnesota Field Archaeology Act with regard to the flow of water to or from Camp Coldwater Springs. (passed in 2001) The language of the law is specific, forbidding “any action that may diminish the flow.” Not “temporary” dewatering, not permanent dewatering—no “action that may diminish.” The language of the contingency planning (below) is slippery. Coldwater is the last major natural spring in Hennepin County, is where the soldiers who built Fort Snelling lived (1820-23) and where a civilian pioneer community gathered to service the fort. Continue Reading

Young Men Commit to Change: EMERGE Celebrates the North 4 Banquet

On Friday, February 6th, EMERGE celebrated the achievements of the most recent group to complete the North 4 program.  North 4 is a work readiness program for African American young men in four high crime neighborhoods in North Minneapolis. Young men ages 16 – 21 participate in a 16 week program that includes a week of orientation, weekly group sessions, regular one-on-one meetings with program staff, and a 240 hour paid internship. To complete the program and to be recognized at the February 6th banquet, participants needed to meet an 80% rate of participation, throughout. The 65 people who attended the banquet created a standing-room-only crowd that included family members, partners, internship supervisors, and EMERGE staff.Several of the young men addressed the group themselves, sharing their experiences. According to one participant, Soldon, North 4 is the perfect program, “for someone who has been through a lot.” He recalled that he was forced to be a father figure at a young age for three young brothers. Continue Reading

Mall of America, where civil liberties go to buy

[See original post here:]Bluestem’s editor has been to the Mall of America three times in her life: once to shop in the mid-1990s, once to stop by a bookstore where a friend of a friend worked, and a final time to meet a former student for lunch as he was on his way to Hazelton.Thus, we can’t honestly say we’re boycotting a place we don’t patronize to begin with. Had we enough money for reckless consumer spending, we’d indulge our tastes locally, with purchases of pasture-raised pork or beef raised by family farmers and prints by prairie photographers.Two stories underscore the liberty-loving nature of our shopping preferences, both centered on MOA. First, the complaints brought up against people involved in the pre-Christmas Black Lives Matter protests. Just three days ago, Minnesota Public Radio’s Emily Kaiser looked at that issue in Black Lives Matter: The legal issues behind MOA protest:Black Lives Matter and local civil rights groups have denounced the charges, suggesting their participants are being unfairly singled out. The city attorney is also seeking restitution for the cost of policing the event.”I think the charges and the nature and number of charges being brought are disturbing,” said Bruce Nestor, attorney and member of the Black Lives Matter legal team on MPR News. Continue Reading

Jewish Voice for Peace Minnesota on Israel

 Five local members of Jewish Voice for Peace, a national campaign for Palestinian justice in Israel, are featured on the new edition of Democratic Visions, the political issues program I produce out of the southwest suburbs. The JVP members were panelists at a December 13th forum at the Southdale Library in Edina.  Video clips of the forum combined with additional perspective shared later by lead panelist Andy Berman arc into highly personal stories about being Jewish and coming to reject Israel’s political, economic and military actions towards Gaza, the West Bank and Palestinians. Berman began the forum with this statement:  “I suspect that a common theme we’ll be hearing today is that our solidarity with the Palestinian people and all our work for peace and justice, is deeply rooted in our Jewish identity.” Panelist Marc Trius was born in Russia but grew up and was educated in Haifa, Israel.  He speaks poignantly of situations that turned him into a critic of the Israel government and its defense force with personal anecdotes; one of them is about a picnic held in a park where once stood Palestinian homes.  Marisa Katz grew up in Georgia “with a proud Zionist family history and background.”  Katz attended Jewish summer camps and as a high school student took a study trip to Israel.  She says that she found Israel fascinating but came to feel that the visit was less about education and more about recruiting future citizens.  And then, during college in Ohio, Katz recounts that she began to read and discuss other perspectives. Ilana Rossoff grew up in New Jersey.  Her father is a Reformed Rabbi.  She says that she began asking why reported wartime body counts for Israel were significantly lower than those for its enemies in each conflict.  Andy Berman and Allan Malkis have long lived in Minnesota but grew up in New York City.  Each tells how he has measured the devotion of their respective families to the Jewish traditions of working for social justice and peace against the record of Israel in the mid east. House Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress was made after the Jewish Voice for Peace MN forum in Edina.   As Washington’s pro/con posturing sparked by the March 3 Netanyahu-Boehner tag team show becomes amplified by mainstream media, Democratic Visions is providing these 5 small but resonant voices a broader reach.  Click here to link to the 23-minute long Democratic Visions presentation which is an edited representation of the 90 minute forum.  The complete, on-line video presentation is available here on Vimeo at Bill Sorem Videos.  VIEWING DEMOCRATIC VISIONSDemocratic Visions can be seen on several Twin Cities cable systems and on the Democratic Visions  YouTube channel.Eden Prairie, Richfield, Minnetonka, Edina and Hopkins Comcast Channel 15 – 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.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 – Visions is independently produced by Eden Prairie, Minnetonka and Edina volunteers at the Bloomington Community Access TV.  The community cable access program is not funded, endorsed or supported by any political party or political action committee. Continue Reading