Community Columnists

Norskes! Celebrate! The ‘Old Country’ is happy

Rise up and celebrate, Norskes. The ‘Old Country’ may not have discovered the fountain of youth but it just won first prize as the happiest nation in the world. So plan an extra day at the North American Mecca for Scandinavians, the Hostfest in Minot September 27-30. Heck! This is a big ...

Nepotism and an insidious assault on political dissent

The late, great Robin Williams once said: “Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some get it as a graduation gift.” Others get it, or at least the appearance of it, because their sister just happens to be a U.S. Senator. “Gathered behind closed doors in a Denver hotel, ...

The Grand Forks/East Grand Forks flood settles into history

Suezette and I spent March of 1997 in Israel. It was a spontaneous trip; a friend of mine had been named Jerusalem correspondent for a German news magazine, Der Spiegel. “You’ve got to come,” he said. It had been a tough winter, and the forecasts suggested a flood. Israel would be a ...

Trying to save democracy in the ‘fake news’ age

Rep. Mike Schatz, R-New England, a former social studies teacher, lost House Bill 1337 that would require high schools to teach “the Federalist Papers, the structure and relationship of the federal government and state and local governments, and the role of separation of powers and the powers ...

Dear lawmakers, atheists aren’t boogeymen hiding in your closet

According to some in the North Dakota Legislature, a bill to repeal blue laws was a plot by atheists to undermine religion and destroy the family. “Atheism is a belief system. Atheists believe there is no God. So if it’s a belief system, what is their religion? It’s called Humanism. ...

Another ND gambling bill flies under the radar

North Dakota’s Legislature is doing its best to expand gambling and, possibly, punch the state’s charitable gaming in the gut. We hope the latter is an unintended consequence, but with this group of lawmakers you can never be sure. You know about Rep. Al Carlson’s last-second proposal ...

Depressingly necessarily legislation and failing the forecasters

It’s time for March Madness, and this annual tradition of sports fanaticism is the perfect context for something which happened in the North Dakota Legislature recently. It’s depressing this legislation was necessary. This week the state House passed SB2249 which would prohibit students ...

Suspicion complicates North Dakota’s feelings about higher ed

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the support North Dakotans have displayed for their colleges and universities. It’s been strong and consistent, and I believe it persists, despite the silence that has greeted this year’s sharp budget cuts. But there is another strain in the state’s ...

All is well at MSU

In it’s March 12 editorial, the Minot Daily News commented positively about 17 outstanding students at Minot State University who will be awarded next month with the “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges” distinction. These students truly represent the best ...

Keeping up the fight for new B-52 engines in Minot

The Air Force has been talking for decades about replacing the engines on our country’s B-52 bombers, and in recent months we’ve heard that the Air Force might be getting closer than in the past. Nothing’s certain yet, but it’s a priority I’ve long pushed for to support the B-52 ...

Vindictive casino proposal born of vengeance

The proposal of House Majority Leader Al Carlson, R-Fargo, to launch six state-operated casinos is the most vindictive piece of legislation I have seen in 60 years of legislative tracking. While some folks may be deceived into thinking that this proposal is genuine, it is obviously a ...

What did the university system do with the money?

"We got a truckload of money for the past several biennia with the same number of students so we should have made huge gains with the ones we had,” a campus insider told me this week. “We have nothing to show for it but some new buildings.” The topic of conversation was the political ...

Higher Education: path to brighter future

In an article published in the spring of 1985, I identified the most valuable thing I gained as a first-generation college graduate was a heightened curiosity, “questioning the unquestioned truth.” The conventional wisdom today is that North Dakota is in hard times and we must hunker down, ...

State casinos not a sure bet in North Dakota

Al Carlson says he’s not a gambling man. Nevertheless, he placed a pretty big bet last week. He suggested building six state-owned casinos in North Dakota. This would require a constitutional amendment approved by voters. Still, Carlson’s idea has to be taken seriously. He’s the ...

Cry me a river, liberals

After President Donald Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress this past week, Rep. Kevin Cramer insulted a group of Democratic women who wore white. Their intent was to suggest that the President might try and deny women the right to vote, or something like that. “(B)y the way, ...

Houdini couldn’t get out of these handcuffs

North Dakota’s legislature is in a punitive mood, it seems, toward higher education. There will likely be budget cuts in the neighborhood of 20 percent coming for the state’s colleges and universities — and some in higher ed, including North Dakota State University President Dean ...

Washington offers nothing new under the sun

"This is the first time this has ever ….” is the beginning of many statements around Washington these days as old-timers are struck by departure of the new administration from tradition. But everything jaw-dropping is not new. We were forewarned by King Solomon who offered his observations ...

Casino proposal is crafty and vengeful, or vice versa

As long as we’re talking about gambling, anybody want to make a bet? If the North Dakota Legislature and, eventually, voters decide to allow state-owned casinos to be scattered here and there as a means to raise revenue for a floundering state budget, how much do you want to wager ...

Healthcare reform must encourage innovation

Within the next few weeks, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which I am a member, will begin drafting the first legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare. Voters in November sent a clear message that this must be a top priority this session of Congress. In the seven years since ...