Today’s UpTake: FBI Protests, Minnesota Flood Relief

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Protest Sign outside FBI Offices In Minneapolis

We’ve now posted video of yesterday’s peace activist protests in front of the FBI headquarters in downtown Minneapolis — following the FBI’s dramatic raids of six homes on Friday. Concurrent demonstrations were also held in Chicago, Buffalo, Michigan, Utah, North Carolina and Florida, and today New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles and Atlanta will show their solidarity. Yesterday’s Minneapolis protest — attended by several hundred — was peaceful, but impassioned speeches by Native American civil rights leaders and National Lawyers Guild attorneys suggest dark times for American civil liberties.

Yesterday, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty addressed the need for flood relief in southern Minnesota. A one-day legislative session sometime between Oct. 7 and 12 will focus on that need. We also posted this video of the National Guard responding to last week’s dramatic floods in southern Minnesota — courtesy of the Department of Defense.

Meanwhile, at the state capitol, Senator Al Franken held a press conference announcing that he’d go after abusive debt collectors like the one who told a Minnesota debtor, “I’ll hunt you down like a dog.” Franken gave a rousing, fired-up speech to the Minnesota AFL-CIO convention the day before, and we’ll soon post videos of Sen. Amy Klobuchar and DFL gubernatorial candidate Mark Dayton’s appearances yesterday at the convention.

Do you prefer street-level politics? On Sunday The UpTake talked to Jimmy John’s employees in Minneapolis’ Uptown neighborhood who were rallying in solidarity with their colleague Margaret Brickely. Earlier this month Brickely was pressured by her supervisor to serve contaminated meat to customers. These Jimmy John’s workers are also organized to unionize, citing low wages, employee harassment and allegations of racial and sexual discrimination at other Jimmy John’s locations in Minneapolis.

Have you seen our feature video story examining the growing rift within the Republican party, between radical Tea Partiers and the GOP’s moderate wing?

This morning at 9 a.m. we’ll also air an informational hearing from the state capitol on health care and family services. Rep. Paul Thissen, Rep. Thomas Huntley will chair these hearings. And in other Minnesota political news, the state will likely hang onto all eight of its congressional seats; General Mills will say no to political donations, likely to avoid the hot water that burned Target, and Tea Party-backed incumbent John Kline still refuses to debate Democrat Shelley Madore, who seeks his congressional seat. One can’t fault Madore for trying.

Jacob Wheeler

In addition to shooting videos for The UpTake, Jacob Wheeler is a contributing editor at the progressive political magazine In These Times, publishes the Glen Arbor Sun in his native Michigan, and authored "Between Light and Shadow," a recent book about the Guatemalan adoption industry. Wheeler's stories have appeared in such magazines as the Utne Reader, Earth Island Journal, Rotarian and Teaching Tolerance magazine, and newspapers including the San Francisco Chronicle and Christian Science Monitor. He speaks fluent Spanish, German and Danish.

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