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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

MinnRoast 2016 Was Great - But Had A Serious Element As Well

Category: Media
Posted: 04/16/16 19:03

by Dave Mindeman

I attended MinnRoast 2016 last night. As usual, it was a great time with lots of political humor. But there were a couple of unscripted parts that are worthy of some attention.

During the Mayor Betsy Hodges segment (she read a True/False Pop Quiz which was very funny), she had a part which mentioned a protest that occurred by her home while she was at the office....and her husband let the protesters in and had a conversation with them. Now, Mayor Hodges did a little bit of a humorous take about that and her concern that her husband would just go ahead with doing that...but she was interrupted by a loud horn sound from the balcony. I was sitting in the balconey and saw a young black man stand up and start shouting at the Mayor about the Jamar Clark incident.

"A man is dead. It is not a joke."

A couple of other people joined in and held up a banner referring to Jamar Clark. They were angry and they yelled about the Mayor's response to the killing of Clark by Minneapolis police.

Now, to her credit, the Mayor calmly stood on stage and let them have their say. Some ushers came to the protesters location, trying to move them along. Since it was MinnRoast, the ushers didn't exactly have a game plan about how to diffuse the situation - but the protesters left on their own accord, shouting some additional words as they did.

Mayor Hodges said a few sentences in reference to what the protesters had said and tried to show that she cared about how they felt.

However, using a protest at her home as a background for part of a humorous monologue probably was not the wisest use of her time. The rest of her time was very funny and self-deprecating....and I am sure that the joke in question was meant in a self-deprecating way as well. But obviously, the protesters saw it differently.

Now the protesters were not just spontaneously reacting either. They had an air horn and a banner that they unfurled. Obviously, this was a planned protest (although I am not sure how they got it through the security check that MinnRoast had at the entrance) but they were going to protest regardless.

And they came back again as well.

When Rep. Keith Ellison did a parody song a little later, he, too, was the brunt of their displeasure. More air horn sounds and shouting - however, Keith chose to keep playing his guitar and made no reference to the disturbance.

Sen. Al Franken also received some of their condemnation...although Al tried to ease the tension by acknowledging how terrible this incident and similar incidents across the country have been and that they needed to be addressed.

The comedy skits and monologues continued. The tension was eased by continuing the show - but it is clear evidence that the anger and frustration with police and city hall is not over.

The evening had its great moments. A film by Dayton's sons was absolutely hilarious....and we learned quite quickly that Mayor Chris Coleman is not going to have any kind of singing career.

But it was also a night for sober reflection that this community has a lot more work to do.
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Is Twin Cities Media Losing Competitive Voices?

Category: Media
Posted: 05/06/15 11:58

by Dave Mindeman

An interesting media note. The Star Tribune has bought City Pages. At first blush, this is a headscratcher. Strib isn't exactly buying a direct competitor but City Pages is not a media giant either. But there are some interesting notes to make on this.

First of all, Glen Taylor (who owns the T-Wolves and Lynx) is the owner of the Star Tribune. Taylor is a former conservative Republican representative and a heavy Republican donor. It is hard to know his overall direction in regards to the Star Tribune...it has made some editorial right turns, but not in a hard core way. Jury is still out on that.

The announcement from City Pages seems to be indicating that they will have complete autonomy from the Strib. That the Star Tribune will have ownership in name only and not mess with what they have for content. How far they can take that is now in question because the Star Tribune is often a target of City Pages and they do tend to lean heavily left politically.

So, let's assume all of that is true. What this gives City Pages is deeper pockets and more resources. Maybe they will be able to expand their coverage and delve deeper into their edgier stories. Or maybe if they get too cute on a particular issue, Taylor will step in and stomp on it. Only time will tell.

I will be curious as to whether or not they will rein in Cory Zurowski, who has done exceptional work in putting Cong. John Kline's dirty work on full display. Taylor and Kline are friends and donor buddies, so it will be interesting to watch how far they let Zurowski go in his critique of Kline.

On the one hand, you wonder if they will rein him in....on the other hand, will the stronger financial structure of City Pages allow him more resources to go even deeper.

It is somewhat troubling that there is getting to be less and less competition in the print media in the Twin Cities. The Star Tribune has moved to the right and the Pioneer Press is, again, on the selling block.

Where does this all lead? I have no idea.
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Hey, Kate & Willie, Get Married Already Will Ya?

Category: Media
Posted: 04/23/11 12:09

by Dave Mindeman

At the risk of offending all of you Royal watchers out there, I have to say that if I hear one more piece of Royal hype about the "wedding", I'll barf in the nearest facility.

In the midst of wars and economic collapses, maybe a distraction of some sort is good for the masses. But really, does a Royal wedding have to be the thing?

All of these biographies about Kate border on the absurd. She didn't cure cancer or find a substitute for petroleum energy. No, she just happens to be a bride to be.

I like that term "commoner". It has a way of being both condescending and uplifting at the same time. But this Kate person hasn't done much to earn a title of any kind. She is betrothed to a Prince. And this Prince is not exactly an earth mover either.

We fought a Revolutionary War to cut the umbilical cord that tied us to Royal lineages. And yet, in England, the lineage still has some unique fascination. And for reasons unknown to me, it seems to have a hold on Americans as well.

This Royalty has no say in governmental authority. It really is nothing more than a huge drain on the public purse. Take that you American conservatives. You could be dealing with that!

William and Kate....Charles and Camilla....Queen Elizabeth. These are people that you would not know a thing about, except they have been granted titles....for being born? or for marrying someone who was born?

It is a mysterious and nonsensical media circus.

And we are captivated....except for me.
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