Monthly Archives: February 2010

Who Should Get Health Care?

A recent discussion on our Quick On The UpTake radio show. One caller, Tom argued that veterans who are on General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) in Minnesota should be on federal veterans programs unless they were dishonorably discharged, in which case they didn’t deserve government assistance. This set off a flurry of phone calls on the topic of who should get health care. Dane Smith from Growth & Justice also weighs in on the issues Continue Reading →

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Health Care Reform Needs An Olympic Effort

President Obama takes a moment to congratulate our Olympic athletes. Discussing the unity and pride Americans feel in cheering them on, the President relates that sentiment to his own desire for bipartisanship in Washington. He praises the bipartisan meeting days before and talks about moving forward on health reform. Continue Reading →

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Human Face Of Governor Pawlenty’s Budget Cuts

You’ve heard the statistics. Now here’s the human being. Jolene Johnson is one of thousands of Minnesotans who are losing health care coverage thanks to Governor Tim Pawlenty’s budget cuts. This is her testimony today in front of the Senate Health and Human Services Budget Division Committee.  
Here is a transcript of her remarks:
 
I am here today to speak to all of you about my personal story. Continue Reading →

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Ex-offenders ask for Second Chance

Organizers, activists, ex-offenders, and MN residents visited the Capitol and legislators today for “Second Chance Day on the Hill.”  
Senator John Marty and local organizers, as well as an officer from St. Paul police, spoke with The UpTake about how important second chances are for ex-offenders.  Continue Reading →

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GAMC Veto Protest, in front of Governor Pawlenty’s Mansion

By Craig Stellmacher
 
The Governor Vetoed the restored GAMC, or General Assistance Medical Care cuts that had recently been passed with broad support. This crowd, formed outside the Governor’s Mansion on Sat February 20, 2010, while he was in Washington at the Governor’s Conference on Health Care Reform. This recorded, was streamed live as it was made using Procaster onto TheUptake. Continue Reading →

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Gov. Pawlenty’s Sex Offender Prison Not In Bonding Bill

A rare Sunday night session of a Minnesota House/Senate Conference committee stretches past midnight as it considers this year’s bonding bill. The conferees have approved a spreadsheet just shy of one billion dollars. It does not include funding for Governor Pawlenty’s proposal to expand a sex offender prison at Moose Lake, although there will apparently be some language in the bill that addresses the policy the Governor wants to implement with longer sentences for sex offenders.  
The Governor has threatened a veto if the $89.7 Million expansion of the Moose Lake sex offender facility is not included in the bonding bill.  
The Committee is scheduled to continue its work at 9am Monday. Continue Reading →

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“NO QUESTIONS!”

By Craig Stellmacher
 
Maybe they made it the 1st Amendment for a Reason?I have to tell you two things in this writing, the “no questions” restrictions and physical intimidation at the Rep John Kline Forum Friday 2/19/10, and what I think journalism means to me.  I was at John Kline’s Forum in Faribault MN, to video it for TheUptake.org.  We at TheUptake do all kinds of politics in Minnesota, it’s our principle interest.  This is a peak year, elected officials, and budgets are changing.  It seemed to us, Rep. John Kline’s Forum was worth covering.  In fact, we’d streamed LIVE his last forum back on 9/18/09.  I was asked Thursday, to cover it the next day and called Kline’s office, and was directed to his Media Director Troy Young.  Troy, in no uncertain terms said :  “We will never permit LIVE streaming.”  “But wait Troy–you did back in September.””You can’t, and I will repeatedly come and check on you to make sure that you don’t.”So I left the streaming kit at home–I didn’t want him to take it away from me–I didn’t even want to possess it.Surprise then, when I walk in and he says…”You can stream live.”What had happened in the mean time?  I’d called my Editor Mike Mcintee and told him the situation, and Mike called him and put him on the air and asked him to explain this restriction.  I didn’t find this change of heart out before I arrived though.We at TheUptake, have come to expect this from Troy Young and John Kline.  An earlier encounter for Mike Mcintee went like this with Troy :”No tripods”.”What?!  We’re so far away, we can’t video with the hand-held shake, the TV stations use them?”  Troy never relented.  He insisted it was a rule for all of the media.  So Mike just went and stood with the rest of the TV crews who were using tripods, set up his tripod and waited for him to tell all of them they couldn’t use them.  He never came over.  The other media said they had not been told tripods were forbidden.Last time I encountered Troy in September at his Health Care Forum, I approached the stage to get a still photograph, and at 150 ft., Troy forbade that.  “Troy, you are not serving your client by doing this”–I told him in September.Now what happens then on Friday?It’s not like September’s huge crowd about Heath Care Reform, I would guess there’s just over 50 people.  And with this, Kline shifts : “I’ll take off my mic, and let’s all just condense a bit and we’ll talk”.  I think great, this will be intimate, and it really works for Kline and the people who showed up too.  I’ve seen him a couple times now in person.  He not only represents the conservative viewpoint, but I would add he’s commanding, popular, articulate, polite, and smart, so really I think these public forums work for him.  At the Health Care Reform Forum in September, I saw him fill the place and get repeated standing ovations.I shift also, to this new intimate group, and I video just behind them by one row.  Troy shifts too, to be right beside me.  In fact, more than once, Troy will look in to see what I’m seeing on my liquid crystal display viewfinder.  “Nice Camera”  “Yes, and I’ll send you a link to this.”  We are always happy for anyone to use our videos at TheUptake.  I know news websites, politicians, and get this many “Republicans!”, have embeded my videos in their sites.  The forum starts up with him going straight to questions.  Unlike the earlier September forum that was largely behind him, we’re all a bit surprised to see a number of peace and health care activists have come to this meeting, and at times they dominate.  Now, this may make Troy Young and John Kline a bit uncomfortable.  Peace activist, retired FBI Whistleblower Coleen Rowley is in the audience, and she has even run against him for his congressional seat.As the meeting comes off, I don’t see where exactly John Kline was ever really loosing.  He answered the questions mostly, he called on them more than once, he was patient and polite.  He even addressed and was polite to Coleen Rowley by name, and and so I think he took on the ultimate challenge and came out pretty well.  If you were a partisan liberal watching this, maybe you would take something from it.  However, if you were a partisan conservative, you’d would have been more than happy that he fielded the questions from them politely, and stood his ground at the same time.  I think the net here, is that he wins.  He actually looks, well pretty charismatic, intelligent, articulate and I’d advise him more exposure not less.My approach to this meeting was to video it, but I fully intended to ask questions too.  I mic’ed myself up, but kept it switched off till a number of his constituents spoke first, I wanted very much to hear what they had to say.  Since all the audience is asking questions this way, I raise my hand…Troy shifts to me and says : “NO QUESTIONS!”Wow.”Troy, I’m not going to ask partisan questions.””I don’t care, this is for his constituents, NO QUESTIONS.”  Later, Troy in a heated discussion will say :  “You were going to make a liberal point weren’t you?!”No, I wasn’t.  I don’t want to appear partisan.  In house–at TheUptake–I argue that we will gain credibility if we cover the news from the center.  I have interviewed 100′s of people in the last few months, the vast majority had no idea what political side I was on.  I interviewed many conservatives, even politicians.  I think most assumed I was on their side in fact.  I think they assume it because, they often tell me this  : “no one is really covering this story, thanks for coming out and talking to us.”  That’s what Pro-Life folks, Tea Partiers, Libertarians, and homeless people have all said to me.I’ve also interviewed at least 3 dozen different politicians, and many of their media people are in contact with me.  Many, contact me and tell me “blank” will be somewhere and would I like to come?   ONLY Rep John Kline’s Media person Troy Young has treated me this way.With the “NO QUESTIONS” instructions…I let it go, and stayed quiet and kept videoing the meeting.But I did surprise Troy Young right at the end, I immediately leaned over turned the camera on him, and asked : “Why no questions?”.  It starts off camera and you can hear it, but then I turn the camera directly on him and he addresses it.   The video, runs about a minute.  I wish I had video of the next 5.  Troy says : “TURN OFF THE CAMERA AND COME HERE AND FOLLOW ME!”  And we leave the auditorium and walk to edge of the foyer in front of it.  While we’ve come here, I think hardly a person attending will not hear what happens next.  Troy lays in to me.  He stands approximately 12 inches from my face with my back to the wall with his voice raised.  “YOU’RE NOT REAL MEDIA!”“I don’t think this really works for your client.”–I say, and we exchange many words in a short period of time.“NO MEDIA QUESTIONS FROM ANYONE.”“So, you wouldn’t have let WCCO ask questions either?””NO MEDIA–NOT EVEN WCCO!”“We, represent his constituents–all of them.”“YOU WERE JUST GOING TO MAKE LIBERAL POINTS.”I recite several of my possible questions to him.I defend the 1st Amendment.Whatever Troy Young said to me doesn’t matter, as much as how he said it 12 inches from my face while yelling at me with my back to the wall.  He never touched me or threatened to hit me, but to me it was clearly physical intimidation.  This never really works for me…“If you’re fair and non-partisan–you won’t use that video!”I tried to break off from him, I tried to get to my equipment and leave, and he tried to get in front of me a couple more times.  Once broken away from him, I quickly gathered my equipment up, camera, tripod and computer and was outside the building in 60 seconds.  I had planned on interviewing audience members, instead of running out the door.Outside, there was Coleen Rawley.  “We heard you.  We recently met with Kline in Washington, we saw Troy do the exact same thing to the Star Tribune reporter with us–Eric Roper.”This last year, I’ve talked to so many people : Democrats, Conservatives, Tea People, Libertarians, and activists.  Many think they are the last defenders of the constitution.I hear all the time why the 2nd Amendment, or the 4th is the greatest of them all!I’ve decided for me it’s the 1st, and I think I know the reason they thought of it first.  This country needs a free press that can ask questions freely of its leaders.  There does seem to be a Troy Young bubble around Rep John Kline, and I don’t know why it’s there.For me, I went in very open minded and curious, but for me the question became, why “NO QUESTIONS”???The night I was there, my clients were EVERYONE.  Everyone that couldn’t be there, everyone that wanted to be, everyone that wanted to see it live on the web but couldn’t.  My clients, include John Kline, because I wanted him to express himself however he wanted.One other thing Troy said to me outside the auditorium :“If you want to interview John Kline–submit your questions in advance!”Now I’ve thought about that last line from Troy for a day, and decided this :  I will never submit questions in advance to get an interview.  That looks like–you have to submit the right questions–to get the interview.  Maybe I’ll say a topic, but submitting questions to get the interview does not look like a free press, and I just think I’ll say I wasn’t able to get an interview for this reason.  Submitting questions to Troy Young–seems absurd.One other thing, you might be wondering, am I just a paid operative for the democrats or something?And the answer is, I’m not paid, I’ve been doing this for FREE.  Or I should say, it’s not free–IT’S COSTING ME.  I do shoot freelance still and video photography, but in all my news videos to date, I was the only one at all that paid for them.  I’m not rich either, I hope to get paid some day, either by TheUptake or some news organization.I didn’t want this to happen.  I was not there to embarrass John Kline or capture a macaca moment.I just wanted to ask two questions…But for me now the question is, why “NO QUESTIONS”?I think Rep John Kline has an inside linebacker for a media liaison, and he knows it.  I think, he can even overhear it.  I think John Kline should reconsider his treatment of the press.  He and his constituents, would benefit from a more open relationship.And I think all the amendments matter, and there’s a reason they put the 1st Amendment first.  It’s the one that preserves all the other ones.Craig Martin Stellmacher Continue Reading →

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Will GOP Show Up To Discuss Health Care With Obama?

President Barack Obama used his weekly address to call on Democratic and Republican leaders to attend next week’s health care meeting in good faith to find reforms that work for American families and small businesses. With several health insurance companies announcing steep hikes in their rates – from 10 to over 30 percent – it is clear that the status quo, while good for the insurance industry, is bad for the American people. After a year of exhaustive debate, it is time to move forward on reform. Continue Reading →

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Let Corporations Directly Contribute To Candidates?

he Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is asking a Federal judge to overturn Minnesota Campaign Finance Election laws in the wake of a US Supreme Court decision. Attorney David Lillehaug helps us analyze the Chamber’s case.  
Lillihaug notes that part of what the Chamber is asking is in line with the US Supreme Court ruling, but says the Chamber’s assertion that corporations should be able to contribute money directly to candidates goes beyond what the Supreme Court ruled is allowable.  
Lillihaug was one of Senator Al Franken’s lawyers for the election contest suit against former Senator Norm Coleman. This is from “Quick On The UpTake” on February 17, 2009. Continue Reading →

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House Speaker Plans For GAMC Override Vote

House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher talks about a likely override vote of Governor Pawlenty’s second veto of General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC). She says the override vote will first be in the Senate where the bill originated and is virtually guaranteed.  
The House DFL caucus does not have enough members to guarantee a veto override. It must retain at least 3 of the 38 Republicans who supported GAMC when it passed last week.  
Anderson Kelliher says she hopes those 38 Republicans realize they voted right the first time and do not have change their vote. Continue Reading →

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Dakota Activists Protest Fort Snelling Preservation

By Craig Stellmacher
 
It was a big news day at the Capital on Monday–Gov Pawlenty released his new budget. It was also “Rally for History” Day in the Capital Rotunda, a day set aside to celebrate Minnesota’s history.  
Many were surprised then, that for some it wasn’t a day to celebrate.  
The Rally for History crowd, applauds at the start when the protesters are led away.  
For some, it’s a day to mark a genocide in Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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Dave Titus Speaks about St Paul Police Federation Politics

By Grace Kelly
 
Dave Titus is the president of the St Paul Police Federation, a police union. On Tuesday, the board of St Paul Police Federation screened candidates for police chief and sheriff. The board’s recommendation will then have to be approved by the membership. The Federation is critical in police politics because of endorsements. It is influential in setting internal police policy and influencing police culture. Continue Reading →

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Governor Pawlenty’s Budget Proposal

Video by Craig Stellmacher
 
Eying a run for President, Governor Tim Pawlenty proposed a budget today that will allow him to say he didn’t raise state taxes during his term in office. That is if you don’t count fees as taxes and can completely absolve the Governor of any responsibility for soaring property taxes to pay for many of the things the state used to fund such as roads, fire and police protection at the local level.  
The Governor called his proposal a “jobs creation bill” and it includes reducing taxes on corporations and small businesses.   To pay for that tax cut, the Governor is proposing budget cuts in local government aid, state health and human services, and higher education.  His budget is counting on $387 million from the federal government for Medicaid. Continue Reading →

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Could Your House Burn While The Fire Truck Turns?

By Craig Stellmacher
 
Minneapolis Declares Even Side Parking Ban Because of Snow Buildup
 
I know parking is tough in Minneapolis in the winter, I live near Stevens Square. In a few minutes, Dir. of Public Works Steve Kotke will declare an Even Side Parking Restriction till April 1st or a big thaw, at a press conference at 19th and Stevens Avenue South. They’ve summoned a firetruck, and on its first attempt to reach the call at 19th and Stevens, it can’t turn down 19th Street from 1st ave. south. Continue Reading →

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DFL On Pawlenty State Of State-Full Video

Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and House Majority Leader Tony Sertich comment on Governor Tim Pawlenty’s final State of the State address.  
Don’t have time to watch the full video?  Here are some selected highlights:
“The Axe Is Back”- DFL On Pawlenty BudgetMinnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty offered few specifics about his budget proposal in his State of the State address. Pawlenty’s Legacy- “Not a good marriage”Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller says it’s a good thing that Governor Tim Pawlenty is not running for re-election. DFL Picks Apart Pawlenty’s JobZ Success Claims
House Majority leader Tony Sertich takes issue with Governor Tim Pawlenty’s claims that JobZ is mostly responsible for creating jobs in Chisholm, Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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Pawlenty’s Final State Of State- Full Video

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty delivers his final State of the State address to the Minnesota legislature touting his JobZ program which critics say doesn’t work, more business tax cuts that would add more to the looming state deficit and no solutions to the problem he has caused the poorest of the poor in Minnesota by vetoing the General Assistance Medical Care Program.  
Don’t have time for the full video?  Here are some selected highlights:
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has some tongue in cheek advice for the next Governor of Minnesota, including learning how to correctly pronounce the word “puck”. Governor Tim Pawlenty offers his “jobs creation” proposal to the MN legislature during his State of the State address
During his State of the State address, Governor Pawlenty again proposes allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines. Continue Reading →

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Vets To Feel Governor Pawlenty’s GAMC Cuts

The real human cost of Governor Tim Pawlenty’s cuts to General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC) includes two military veterans. Freddy Toran and Gary Gunkel will lose their benefits in just a few days because the Governor vetoed the GAMC program funding.  
The two explained to lawmakers how they rely on GAMC as a bridge to get them to their federal veterans benefits. Toran explained that he has glaucoma and without GAMC, he could go blind. Gunkel notes that not only did he serve in the Army during the Vietnam war, but his son is now serving in Afghanistan. Continue Reading →

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Tea Party Video Reports – GOP Being Taken Over By Progressives

What kind of people are attending Tea Party Nation in Nashville this weekend? The UpTake’s Craig Stellmacher has been camped out at the Grand Ole Opry where the event is underway. We have several videos below, but this first one kind of sums up the general sentiment of the crowd. The Republican party is “too progressive” and needs to be jerked back to the right.  
Attendees try to define what the Tea Party is:
 
For some reason, the Tea Party organizers think it is a bad idea for attendees to talk to the press. Continue Reading →

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