CivicMedia/Minnesota Archive

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Monday, August 3, 2015

On July 22, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges joined 60 mayors from around the world for a meeting with Pope Francis on climate change.  The meeting was more than ceremonial.  The Pope believes cities have the power to make a significant contribution to the fight against climate change as well as the often-related issues of extreme poverty, forced migration, and human trafficking.

Hodges was the only mayor of a Midwest city to be invited to the Pope’s meeting.   It turns out Minneapolis is already taking aggressive action on climate change. The Minneapolis Climate Action Plan adopted by the City Council in June of 2013 sets ambitious targets for greenhouse gas reductions.  Using 2006 as the baseline, the city pledges to reduce emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Recently, the Minnesota Department of Health and Pollution Control Agency released Life and Breath: How Air Pollution Affects Public Health in the Twin Cities. Meanwhile, environmental justice advocates are organizing state-level support for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan—President Obama’s ambitious plan to reduce carbon and other emissions from the nation’s power plants.  A key component of this effort is the True Cost of Coal Campaign organized by the North Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Joining Truth to Tell to discuss the link between air pollution, public health and environmental justice are:

  • David Bael, economic policy analyst, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency
  • Jean Johnson, environmental epidemiologist, Minnesota Department of Health
  • Karen Monahan, organizer, North Star Branch of the Sierra Club

For more information, check out the links below:

Monday, July 13, 2015

The written word can be a powerful thing.  A poem can create in a few sentences a new and magical way to experience the world.  A novel can take readers places they have never been and introduce them to people they will never meet.  Through memoir, we can discover a bond with people whose lives may be very different from our own.  And the power of non-fiction to help us understand—and even change—the world is essential to democracy.

Today TTT explores the Power of Words with:

Peter Rachleff, retired history professor at Macalester College and co-founder of the East Side Freedom Library and Monte Bute, a faculty member at Metropolitan State University who has inspired hundreds of students to wrestle with important, and often challenging, thinkers who have helped shape our times.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Over the next several months, TruthtoTell will be taking a look at developments in rural Minnesota. For many urbanites, rural Minnesota is a riddle. Who lives there? How do they make a living? Can you get Starbucks coffee there? Do rural people eat more pie than city folk? Are they more religious? How come rural people seem so conservative?  Do black people live in rural Minnesota? Gay people? Do rural people hate unions? Do farmers have to own 1,000 acres these days to make a profit?  And, most basically of all: What do rural people want, anyway?

On Monday’s edition of TTT, we begin our series by focusing on the political map. During the last election cycle, DFL incumbents lost 11 legislative seats to Republicans, who won control of the state House of Representatives. As a result, many of the issues that we have been covering on TTT died or were watered down: Driving privileges for undocumented immigrants, the Felon Voting Restoration Act, needed expansion of transportation infrastructure, funding for pre-K, and environmental protections are just a few of the issues that might have been different, had the DFL managed to win those elections.

So where did the DFL lose seats?  And more importantly, why? Did Republicans have better candidates, more money, a superior campaign strategy? Was—and is—the philosophy of today’s Republican Party more in tune with a majority of rural voters? Or can the DFL reclaim those seats in the 2016 presidential year.

Joining TTT to help us answer these and other questions is Jim Niland, a longtime labor and political activist who served most recently as political and legislative director of AFSCME Council 5, one of the largest public employee unions in the state.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The much anticipated release of Pope Francis’s Encyclical on Climate Change was greeted with jubilation by environmentalists and social justice advocates around the world. In his 192-page message, Laudatu Si (“Praise Be”), the Pope links climate change to the over-arching theme of his papacy — fighting global inequality and poverty.

In the short time that he has been Pope, Francis has inspired millions — and not only Catholics.  Certainly his insistence that climate change is real, man-made and requires a massive response by individuals, corporations, and governments comes at a critical time. But can the Pope’s teaching and example really make a difference?  Will climate skeptics inside the Church and in the general public re-examine their views and perhaps even their conscience?

To help us understand the Pope’s message on climate change, as well as his larger impact, TTT is joined by:

Dr. Paul Wojda, associate professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas.

Matt Gladhue, organizer for ISAIAIH, a congregation-based social justice organization

Dr. David Pellow, sociologist and environmental justice scholar, recently with the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of Minnesota

Monday, June 15, 2015

In 1968, Minnesota’s young and powerful Democratic-Farmer Labor Party faced its biggest internal crises since the Democratic wing led by Humbert Humphrey out-organized the remnants of Minnesota’s once-dominant Farmer-Labor Party.  The issue in the late ‘40s was the rise of U.S. militarism at the dawn of the Cold War.  The issue in 1968 was a legacy of that earlier era: the Vietnam War.  The most visible face of that conflict was the contest between two DFLers to replace Lyndon Johnson as president:  Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Senator Eugene McCarthy.

The conflict didn’t start, however, in 1968.   Several years earlier, people like Vance Opperman were leading anti-war teach-ins at universities, church basements, and living rooms across Minnesota.  In an age before Facebook and Twitter, millions of Americans found ways to connect with each other in a powerful movement that had a major impact not only on the course of what was fast becoming an Indo-Chinese war, but on U.S. politics as well.

Special guest-host Bob Meek will be joining Tom O’Connell to interview one of the key participants in this history, Vance Opperman.  Vance will take us through the grassroots efforts that led up to the 1968 contest, the action within the DFL from precinct caucus to state convention, and also offer some  reflections on the public careers of these two giants of Minnesota politics: Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy

Monday, June 8, 2015

We may be the Twin Cities, but Minneapolis and St. Paul are defined by our differences as well as similarities. Minneapolis is the poster child of urban cool — hell-bent to best Portland and Seattle as the hippest and most progressive city west of Madison.  St. Paul has Garrison Keilor,  and the St. Paul Saints.  And with its Winter Carnival it has all the cool it needs.

Both cities are near the top in rankings of most livable cities and are nationally recognized for strong cultures of civic participation. Yet — and here is the bad news — both Minneapolis and St. Paul also have among the nation’s highest rates of racial disparities.  What is city government doing to ensure that the good life in our Twin Towns can be shared by all? 

Joining TruthToTell to discuss these and other issues are first -erm city council members Alondra Cano, who represents the 9th Ward  in Minneapolis and St. Paul’s 1st Ward alderman, Dai Thao.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Neighborhood home-boy, 60s-era provocateur, crusading community journalist, and one-time Minneapolis City Council member, Ed Felien has been an outspoken, sometimes outrageous and often prophetic part of the Minneapolis political scene for almost 50 years.  And he’s still at it!

Join Truth to Tell co-hosts Tom O’Connell and Siobahn Kierans as we talk with Ed Felien about past campaigns, the present and future of community journalism and current political leaders and issues. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day is a time to honor the men and women who have served in the United States military—especially during times of war. But what about those who fought to prevent those wars or end them once they had started?  Shouldn’t we remember them and the movements they created, as well?

Minnesota’s rich history of anti-war protest goes back to late 19th-century imperialist adventures in Cuba, Central America, and the Philippines. In 1916, the citizens of Minneapolis elected its first and only socialist mayor, Thomas Van Lear, a union leader who shared with many Minnesotans a deep skepticism about U.S. participation in World War I, the “the war to end all wars.” Over time, the tactics, demographics, and  hair styles of protestors may have changed, but the willingness to raise the essential question remains constant: Why war? Why this war?

Tune in to Truth toTell on Memorial Day for Britt Aamodt’s powerful radio documentary, Riot Spring:  The University of Minnesota and the Anti-War Protests of May 1972, followed by a discussion of the  movement against the Reagan-era military interventions in Nicaragua and El Salvador with our special guest,  Anne-Winkler Morey,  a professor of Latin American history and participant in the Central American Solidarity Movement of the 1980s.

Monday, May 4, 2015

In the current debate about where to invest our public higher education dollars, the study of philosophy doesn’t make it very high on the priorities list.  This is especially true when it comes to institutions that serve low-income and working-class students—institutions like Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC).   It’s all well and good for upper-middle-class students at private liberal arts colleges to spend time searching for the meaning of life in a philosophy class, or exploring their inner poet in a literature seminar.  But first-generation college students don’t have time for all that.  They need an education that leads to a career.  And what does studying philosophy have to do with that?

It turns out that the habits of mind and heart nurtured by philosophy are critical to both the world of work and a healthy democracy.  Joining Truth to Tell to tell us why are: MCTC philosophy professors RuthAnn Crapo and Maram Wolstan and three of their students: Priscilla Mobosi, Alberto Martell and Kelly Watson.