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Community Columnists

2020 budget process ending, and another soon begins

f you’ve followed the 2020 budget process, you know we’re nearing the end. The Minot City Council approved the preliminary 2020 budget on first reading at its meeting this past week, a vote that was the culmination of months of work by members of the council, countless City of Minot ...

Legislature’s hostility to ethics proves the polls

By choking the effectiveness of the new Ethics Commission, the Legislature proved that the negative polls were right. EMC Research of Washington, D.C., conducted polls to assess the voters’ perceptions of the state Legislature and political system. The results should have jerked legislators ...

Defending the indefensible

While you were watching Kirk Cousins misfire in Green Bay, the real heroes were in Bismarck on Sunday. That’s where a politically-ambitious, preening Rep. Rick Becker headlined a Rally For Tone Deafness. Becker never met a mirror he didn’t like, and if the universe were just, he’d own ...

If Democrats want to reelect Trump, they should impeach Kavanaugh

I’m not a very demonstrative person. Still, I laughed right out loud when I read the excuse House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) had for not pursuing the impeachment against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. I scared my dog, Molly, even. “We have our hands full ...

North Dakota’s new ethics regulations may make politics less transparent

Recently, a couple of dozen North Dakota lawmakers took a trip to Nashville which cost taxpayers nearly $90,000. The occasion was a summit put on by the National Conference of State Legislatures, an organization our state legislature belongs to (annual dues were $129,770 this year). The ...

The Invitation: Jesus calls us to focus on him

The alarm rang and Josie groaned as she rolled over, trying to retreat back into the peaceful nothingness of sleep. As the alarm increased in volume and intensity her mind became more aware of the reality of this new day and all that was ahead of her. Her desire to go back to sleep remained ...

Ban on fracking is a road to disaster

The Democratic presidential candidates seem to be racing to see who can make the most outrageous statements relating to energy with no regard to the facts or truth. This all seems like just crazy political talk, but unfortunately many people across the country hear it and believe it’s ...

Prices keep rising but lives are still cheap

There is little doubt that we are seeing a universal rise in prices. Nevertheless, lives are getting cheaper as society continues to tolerate deadly public policy, usually in exchange for money and power. For several years, we have failed to attack gun deaths with any degree of commitment. ...

Men know what’s best for women

Okay, I’ll bite. I was just going to discuss the weather and write this column with a Sharpie, but while grading Raheem Williams’ Sept. 8 thesis in The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, “Abortion and bodily autonomy: A refutation,” I had an epiphany. I used to think that abortion was the place ...

We overestimate the government’s ability to solve problems

Going by the promises currently being made by candidates for U.S. president, you’d think our federal government was an omnipotent machine, and politics merely the apparatus through which we aim it at problems. There seems to be no upper limit on what national candidates will promise they ...

A fake market for ethanol is not the help farmers need

I ran across an interesting anecdote while reading “Star Spangled Scandal” by Chris DeRose last week. The book is about the 1859 murder of U.S. Attorney Phillip Barton Key II — son of Francis Scott Key — by a sitting congressman. Rep. Daniel Sickles, a Democrat from New York, shot ...

Greenland lust revives manifest destiny

Manifest Destiny was born in 1845 when U.S. politicians sought to justify the seizing of other countries’ territory as God’s plan for America, starting with the annexation of half of Mexico. Actually, we didn’t have a name for this land lust in 1803 when President Thomas Jefferson ...

Yes, sometimes progress can be aggravating

While many in our community may see much of this summer’s extremely busy road construction season as aggravating, annoying, or inconvenient, I see the flurry of work in a different light. I see it as progress. I see it as growth. And I see it as being one year closer to protecting our ...

Life is worth living

By the time I graduated from high school, my class had seen multiple suicides, including one of my friends. This summer we celebrated our 20-year reunion. The happiness of the occasion was tempered by a sad accounting of the half dozen or so suicides — some only suspected — among our ...

It’s hard out here for a pimp

For progressive columnists, it’s the Dog Days of August. I know technically it’s September, but I’ve never hit a deadline in my life. The problem is I’m exhausted. Back when No Drama Obama was president, conservative columnists had it made. He spaced his scandals out. Sure, there was ...

Sports increasing cost of higher education

One time, years ago, fans at North Dakota State University football games took to taping pictures of me in the portable toilets outside the Fargodome. They were “Port”-a-potties. Get it? I laughed. The sometimes juvenile opprobrium of sports fans is what my criticism of collegiate ...

The critical cynic creates new proverbs

"Give attention to my wisdom. “Incline your ear to my understanding.” (Proverbs 5:1) (It really starts with “Sons, give attention…” but that is intolerably sexist today.) With that bit of good advice, we are going to contemporize the Book of Proverbs with a few updates of ...

The things I think about

"What do you think,” she said, “about the state of things, about shoes and ships and sealing-wax, of cabbages and kings, about the price of tea in China?” “Well,” I said, inhaling deep, “I think a lot of things, but not always before I speak. I think it’s a lovely day, but that a ...

The ‘1619 Project’ is a dangerous attempt to rewrite history

Purchase an ebook by George Orwell and you may not be getting the original work. Per a recent New York Times report, you may be getting some other version created by publishers exploiting loopholes in copyright law. It’s an ironic thing to happen to happen to Orwell, of all ...

Nuisance complaints are growing in Minot

The number of nuisances reported to the City of Minot has been on the rise in recent years, with code enforcement officials receiving 614 weed or grass complaints in 2017 and 782 complaints in 2018. This year, that number is tracking even higher, with 1,001complaints as of Aug. 20. We ...