CivicMedia/Minnesota Archive

Here you can find a listing of all shows ...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Any citizen who takes even a minimal interest in public issues has heard of the achievement gap between whites and students of color.  For the civic-minded among us, it is alarming that racial disparities in educational outcomes are especially deep in Minneapolis. And those brave citizens who ask, “What can be done about it?” are greeted with so many answers (often delivered with great passion) that it’s no wonder some are tempted to tune out altogether.

This program is dedicated to the proposition that ideas do matter and when connected with the power to implement can make a positive difference.  Investment in early childhood education, smaller class sizes, community schools, genuine partnerships with parents, granting greater autonomy (and accountability) to teachers and individual schools are just a few examples. 

Some policy ideas are controversial. That’s why policy, power, and politics are linked. And what better time to discuss public policy for public education than during a school board election campaign.  Joining TruthtoTell co-hosts Siobahn Kierens and Tom O’Connell are Don Samuels, at-large candidate for the school board and Michael Diedrich, an education policy fellow with MN 2020. 

TruthtoTell has invited the other three at-large candidates, Iris Altamirano, Rebecca Gagnon and Ira Jordain to join the conversation in the weeks remaining before the election.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Join Siobhan Kierans Monday at 9 a.m., when she speaks with Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie about his past seven years in office, his career in politics, and the election and voting process. 

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Andy Dawkins is running for attorney general as the endorsed candidate of the Minnesota Green Party.  A 15-year veteran of the State Legislature, former DFL endorsed candidate for mayor in St. Paul, and  an experienced lawyer and public administrator, Dawkins has a real opportunity to meet the 5 percent threshold required to restore major party status to the Greens, many political observers suggest.

That, in itself, would be a significant achievement if you believe that democracy in Minnesota is served by breaking the monopoly of the two-party system.  But even more significant are the policies an Attorney General Dawkins would pursue. They include:

  • Divestment of the $3 billion currently invested in fossil fuel companies by the State Investment Board
  • Opposition to the Polymet and Twin Metals copper nickel mining projects as currently proposed
  • Promotion of rank-choice voting statewide
  • Keeping a vigilant eye on corporate welfare schemes
  • Proposing specific policies to reduce gun violence
  • Supporting labor organizing—including in the attorney general’s office itself
  • Repealing Minnesota’s laws prohibiting cannabis use and replacing them with a system of government regulated use

Co-hosts Siobahn Kierens and Tom O’Connell will discuss candidate Dawkin’s positions on these and other issues, as well as the actual role of the attorney general’s office. What exactly is the job of the attorney general?  What are the opportunities as well as limits (legal and otherwise) of actually implementing a Green/Progressive agenda?

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Monday, September 29, 2014

What would make 400,000 activists converge on New York City? The People’s Climate March!  Joined by United Nations Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon, last week’s march was a visible sign that the climate change movement is stronger than ever.

Developments from sectors of society not always associated with the climate change debate are also showing signs that change is imminent. A report, appropriately titled Risky Business, commissioned by Hank Paulson, CEO of Goldman and Sachs and treasury secretary under George W. Bush, offered a cold-eyed accountant’s tally of the enormity of an impending climate disaster.

Even the U.S. military is getting into the act. In March, the Pentagon’s Quadrennial Defense Review drew a direct link between the effects of “global warming (rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns) and terrorism.”  Could it be that a broader climate change understanding may finally be emerging? After years of denial and gridlock could we be on the cusp of a genuine climate-change consensus breakthrough?

Join Siobhán Kierans and Professor Tom O’Connell this Monday on TruthToTell when they feature guests from local organizations who are doing their part to see that we are doing our part in the climate-change effort.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

In support of KFAI’s pledge drive, we present a very special humor edition of TruthToTell. Log on to to make a pledge in support of TruthToTell and KFAI. 

Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are some of the most well-known political humorists/satirists of our time. But they're hardly the first writers or performers who made fun of political leaders. Political satire dates back to late 16th-century England, when William Shakespeare wrote a political satire called Richard III.  He fashioned his character after the original Richard III, a tyrant who died on the battlefield, 100 years earlier.

Flash forward another hundred years after Shakespeare and another British lad, William Hogarth, came along with a slightly different brand of political comedy — caricatures and cartoons.  His first cartoon, “The Emblematical Print on the South Sea Scheme,” was completed after the stock market crash in England in 1721. It was brazened satire at its finest, mimicking the financial and political corruption of the day that caused the crash.

Modern-day America enjoys political humor in lots of forms, from the long-running Saturday Night Live to The Onion, the newspaper filled with outlandish stories based on current events. After the 2004 presidential election, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 21 percent of 18-29 year olds cited The Daily Show and SNL as their primary source of political campaign news.

Political satire seems to have no rules, and why should it? The antics of some of the political characters these days are so beyond the realm of reality that they open themselves up to judgment and public mockery, with subjects and shenanigans too outlandish for a TV drama during sweeps!

Join co-hosts Siobhan Kierans and Professor Tom O'Connell on TruthToTell Monday at 9 a.m. when they talk to Tane Danger and Brandon Boat from the Theater of Public Policy about the new standard of political humor and satire.

Monday, September 15, 2014

We all know that Minnesota is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family. The state has many strengths to share with the world. Minnesotans are hard-working and ambitious people, and they believe in each other. Dozens of Fortune 500 companies have chosen to do business here, and our economy regularly outperforms that of other states. But the fruits of our economic success are not well distributed. In fact, Minnesota is home to perhaps the largest race-based economic inequity in the nation.  

That sobering reality begs a number of questions: What is being done to ensure that people of color have the same opportunities to succeed as white Minnesotans? And how will we get there? During today’s show, we will dive deep into the current status of people of color in various industries. We will discuss what our Governor Dayton and his administration is doing currently to provide support for, to invest in, and to retain people of color.


Monday, September 8, 2014

This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon Johnson’s declaration of the War on Poverty.  Like the War on Drugs and other open-ended declarations of good intentions, this battle seems never ending.  Conservatives claim that the social programs that followed Johnson’s declaration were proof positive that government is not the answer.  After all, we still have poverty, don’t we?

Progressives beg to differ. Thanks to Medicare and improvements in social security, poverty among senior citizens, once commonplace, dramatically declined.  Federal investments in low-income urban and rural communities provided jobs and services that have made a difference in literally millions of lives.  The real issue, progressives argue, is not that government was the problem, but that cutbacks in government programs undermined the great progress that was being made.

In this edition of TruthtoTell, co-hosts Siobahn Kierens and Tom O’Connell will be joined by state senators John Marty and Sandy Pappas and former St. Paul mayor Jim Scheibel. Senators Marty and Pappas were members of the Legislative Commission to End Poverty in Minnesota by 2020 and Scheibel teaches a course on poverty and policy at Hamline University. All three will discuss the work of the legislative commission: What has been done and what remains to be done if we are to make significant progress toward the 2020 goal.

Since any significant reduction in poverty requires action by those who are directly experiencing it, TTT will also hear representatives of two campaigns representing low-wage workers: home care and fast food employees.  Workers making poverty wages represent a growing percentage of low-income Americans.  Here in the Twin Cities and across the nation, workers are pushing back.


Monday, August 25, 2014

 Join us Monday morning for a special two-hour edition of TruthToTell from 9 –  11 a.m. on KFAI celebrating the life and lessons of the late Andy Driscoll.  Be part of the show and share your thoughts about Andy with us.  Call us at (612) 341-0980 or message us on Facebook during the show.


Sunday, August 17, 2014


A lawsuit has been filed by the Lakes and Parks Alliance of Minneapolis, alleging that the SWLRT does not comply with state law. The lawsuit is addressed to the mayor and the City Council, and also to the Federal Transit Administration (Chicago) and to the Compliance Office of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) at the office of the US Environmental Protection Agency (Chicago), stating that there was a failure to perform an environmental review by SWLRT.  Some groups believe that the environmental concerns have been satisfied and that the risks to the environment are minor by comparison to the benefits it will bring to the Twin Cities.  While many residents of Minneapolis don’t have a problem with the new system, many have a problem with the process by which the decisions have been made.

Join TTT co-hosts Siobhan Kierans and Tom O’Connell as they discuss this contentious issue with Pastor Paul Slack (ISAIAH and a member of the People’s Transit Coalition), Judy Meath & Mary Pattock (LRT Done Right), Stuart Chazin (Lakes Park Alliance), Susu Jeffrey (Friends of Coldwater) and Anthony Newby (Neighborhoods Organizing for Change).


Call and join the conversation at 612/341-0980 or post on Truth To Tell's Facebook page.


Monday, August 11, 2014

This Wednesday, August 13th, the Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County will hold a joint hearing on amendments to the Minneapolis portion of the Southwest Light Rail Transit plan (SWLRT).  The hearing marks an important stage in what has been a lengthy, complicated, and contentious planning process.  On June 14, the equally controversial Green Line opened, connecting the downtowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul, with many stops in between.  And, looking to the future, planning is underway for the Bottineau Transit Corridor.

Clearly the light rail train has left the station, but it’s not too late to ask some basic questions. 

  • What is the purpose of light rail in the first place? 
  • Who does it really serve?
  • How can light rail contribute to racial and economic equity?

How are urban neighborhoods and communities of color organizing to make that happen?

Call and join the conversation at 612/341-0980 or post onTruth To Tell's Facebook page.