Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Time To Get Involved

A LOT of people read Monday’s post about the North Dakota Public Service Commission and the Davis Refinery on The Prairie Blog and Unheralded.Fish, and I had a number of requests asking how they could get involved. Here’s how: Write a letter. Elected officials react to public contact. Letters, e-mails, phone calls and attendance at meetings all influence their actions. …


Unheralded

RON SCHALOW: Lord Of The Lies — Fargo 2.0

Donald Trump was in Fargo. Again. It was his second visit since June 27, but this time it was to raise money for Kevin Cramer, who is getting shellacked by Heidi Heitkamp in the dollar department. This time, though, he only spoke for about for about 30 minutes. Much of it was pure bullshit, but the small crowd, including a …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Halcyon Days Are Gone

In the halcyon days of the 1970s in North Dakota, when the state was a quieter, kinder, friendlier, more thoughtful place, the Legislature passed a bill, and the governor signed it, designating the Little Missouri River as our state’s only official State Scenic River and creating a commission to look out for it. The Little Missouri Scenic River Commission did …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — GOP Needs To Change Mascots

Gov. Doug Burgum joined 30 other governors last week in support of Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice, which is — if you’re a Republican — about as shocking as going to a midsummer tent revival and proclaiming your love for Jesus. Even if you’re only there to pick up sweaty Baptist chicks. Burgum, Sen. John Hoeven and Senate …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Who Wants To Invest In A Refinery? Here’s How You Can Do It

I wrote here a couple of weeks go about the beginning of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, created by Congress in 1947, and about the proposed oil refinery that threatens it, a refinery that has now been issued a permit by the state of North Dakota to build the dang thing. It’s been 70 years since Congress declared that this place …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Republicans Raising Taxes In North Dakota? Yep, They Did That

Wait a minute. Wait A Minute! WAIT A MINUTE! What the heck is going on here? The North Dakota Legislature raised your taxes, and everybody’s cheering! The cheerleaders? Republicans: Gov. Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Tax Commissioner Ryan Rauschenberger. Democrats: Sen.. Heidi Heitkamp, Tax Commissioner candidate Kylie Overson. The chant: “A victory for North Dakota’s retailers!” Screw that. OK, …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — In Search Of The Phantom Workforce

The governor and the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce are spending $4,000 this month to ask 1,000 businesses what they need to grow and prosper. I wish they’d talked to me first. I know they’re awfully keen to pinch those budgetary pennies. I’d have been happy to tell them for the price of a cup of coffee: People. North …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘I So Declare It!’

My day started out OK this morning. My pillbox told me it was Thursday — it’s always nice to know what day of the week it is right away in the morning. I had a pretty good bowel movement — for you young readers, that‘s pretty important for someone my age. I got my belt through every belt loop but …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Should A Governor Take Free Super Bowl Tickets?

I just read on The Forum’s website that Gov. Doug Burgum is taking free tickets to the Super Bowl. “Burgum and first lady, Kathryn Helgaas Burgum, will be attending the game at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as guests of Xcel Energy, which leases a suite at the venue, Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said.” “’So they are not paying for …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Charlie Creek To Belfield — A History Lesson

The last major threat to the visual integrity of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, at least that I can recall — though there have been many skirmishes with the oil industry — was in 1989, when the Western Area Power Administration came really close to putting a huge transmission line along the east boundary of the South Unit of the Park. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of Refineries And The Public Trust Doctrine

The official comment period has passed on that sleazy company Meridian Energy’s request for an Air Pollution Permit for an oil refinery beside Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I’m guessing the State Health Department got an earful. Friday, on the last day of comments, my friend,Sarah Vogel, our former state agriculture commissioner and one of the state’s best attorneys, sent me …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Refinery Needs A Site Review

A pair of former Democratic-NPL state senators challenged the North Dakota Health Department to demand a site review by the State’s Public Service Commission before issuing an air pollution permit allowing Meridian Energy Group to build a refinery three miles from Theodore Roosevelt National Park at a marathon public hearing by the Department Wednesday night. Former Sen. Connie Triplett of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Gov. Burgum Needs To Take Responsibility For His Actions

I don’t think North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has a disingenuous bone in his body. But sometimes political naivete can make someone appear disingenuous (actually, my definition of disingenuous is “fake naivete”). There’s still a bit of naivete in Burgum. The transition from the business world to government is not an easy one. He’s still learning, although he’s a pretty …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Simple Request To The Governor: Let’s Get Technical

Dear Gov. Burgum, I am writing to you today about transparency. Transparency in government. Transparency in North Dakota government. Transparency in North Dakota government as it relates to our environment and environmental protection. You’ve said often you believe in transparency. Here’s a chance to prove it. You’re a new governor this year, and you come from the world of high …

RON SCHALOW: Port Whine, Part 1

I’m not sure how many days since Rob Port, famed columnist, political pundit and radio personality was featured on the Forum’s front page, but I’m still blind in my left eye. Seriously, I was a little startled to see Port’s mug on the front page of the Fargo Forum, for more reasons than one. Port’s visage always makes me jump, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Little Missouri State Scenic River Is In Trouble Again

North Dakota’s Little Missouri State Scenic River lost most of its scenic protection this week when Gov. Doug Burgum reversed course and joined the members of his State Water Commission in opening the entire river to industrial water development. Last month, Burgum declared upstream areas of the state’s only official State Scenic River — the areas surrounding the three units …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Our Rich Heritage; Our National Park

Here’s a short follow-up to a story I did a couple of weeks ago about the proposed Davis Refinery, the big industrial plant the California company Meridian Energy wants to build next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park. You’ll recall the North Dakota Department of Health sent Meridian a letter a month ago questioning some of the emissions projections Meridian used …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Act Today To Protect The Little Missouri State Scenic River

There are two or three days left in the legislative session. A lot of bad things are going to happen to North Dakota in that short period of time. I’ve been watching every legislative session since 1975, and this one is by far the most irresponsible I’ve seen. One of the worst things that could happen this week is the industrialization …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Down In Front!

You bought your ticket, and you’re enjoying the show … when the big guy in front of you stands up. You can’t see around him. He’s taller than you. Larger. Louder. He’s got a lot of muscle, and his brawny friends are cheering him on. When you tell him — politely — that he’s in your way, all he does …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Mr. Bender Goes to Bismarck

It’s almost halftime at the North Dakota Legislature, so last week I went to the state Capitol to monitor progress. I represented The Ashley Tribune and The Wishek Star as Newspapers of the Day, a program sponsored by the North Dakota Newspaper Association to foster better relations between the press and legislators. I guess I was an ambassador of good …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — An Alternative Political Universe

It has become obvious to me that Donald J. Trump is not the actual president of these United States. The resident Nazi, Steve Bannon, is. As Trump’s so-called “chief strategist,” Bannon has authored all of the executive orders relating to barring immigrants from coming into this country. Even Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels didn’t have the powers Bannon has …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — My Wish List For Gov. Burgum

I know, I know, a bunch of my readers have been waiting for me to do a little North Dakota post-election analysis. I’ve been waiting to see how the new governor starts out. He’s started. Here’s what I think. So far. Doug Burgum is a lot smarter than me. So I’m not going to use this space to tell him …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Citizens + United = Oxymoron

When the U.S. Supreme Court, on a 5-4 decision, ruled to basically eliminate caps on political spending through its decision on Citizens United — We the People lost. My comments apply to our political system and what has been happening in recent years, regardless of your political persuasion. Money has come to dominate our elections. Here are just a few examples …

JOHN STRAND: Taking Liberty — North Dakota Nasty

We have a huge public relations problem here in the Peace Garden State. While the world was watching the DAPL pipeline controversy, North Dakota failed abysmally in influencing the narrative telling people about us. What they see casts us in anything but a positive light. We need to acknowledge this. The movie Fargo gave us an example of how far good …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — If You Didn’t Vote, YOU Are The Problem

We gave up our finest in the many wars we’ve been involved in. Men and women gave their lives so that we can live in a free and open society — a safe society, one where each individual should be able to live and work and raise their families in a loving environment. Our military has done the job. When …

JOHN STRAND: Taking Liberty — We Have Made Our Bed, And Now We Must Lie In It

No morning-after pill Despite what many feared, the sun rose again Wednesday. And it will again, daily. The shockwaves of a Trump presidential victory reverberated around the world. Many people fell into a state of despondency, a pall cast over their world. Others were jubilant, a victory in hand for Americans who had simply had it with big government’s dysfunction. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Election Tidbits

This year, as in most election years, I found a stack of notes to myself on my desk about things I thought I might write a blog about, but never got around to it because pheasant season opened, or the fish started biting, or the ducks were migrating, or Lillian’s “Things to Do In The Fall” list got a bit …

Tony J Bender: That’s Life — Unlawful Praying

In America, where protest is in our DNA, suddenly it’s a limited option. Presumably, you can still dress up as a Native American, commandeer a British freighter and throw tea overboard, you just can’t be a real Native American in the process. Oh my, a whole bunch of Native Americans are camped at Cannonball, N.D., praying for God to smite …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Lack Of Legislative Ethics Code Leaves Integrity In Question

Once upon a time, there was a legislator who had to report campaign donations by amount and by donor … one who had to disclose how his funds were spent … one who would explain why a donor was not creating a conflict of interest. Once upon a time, this same legislator was bound by a code of ethics. It …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — What The Hell Just Happened?

WTF? Nobody — not me, not you, not Doug Burgum — could have predicted that outcome. Some predicted a Burgum win. Not me, although I had this nagging feeling every time I saw Ed Schafer on TV that maybe, just maybe, it could happen. But too many times I have predicted an election outcome because I wanted that outcome, not because I …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — High Praise

Well, high praise from Pat Finken on Monday, in the form of an email from the Brighter Future Fund. Finken’s superpac, Brighter Future Fund (yeah, right) is a big supporter of Wayne Stenehjem. Finked created his superpac in 2012 with money from the North Dakota Republican Party and a bunch of big GOP donors like Jim Roers, Steve Scheel and Jim Arthaud …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Voting For Burgum: A Primer For Democrats

It was late afternoon on an dreary late October day in 1990. I was stopped at the Fifth Street railroad crossing in downtown Bismarck, waiting for a train to go by on the tracks in front of me. I looked to my left and there, in the car beside me, was Ed Schafer. He spotted me about the same time. He …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Republican Candidates Dump Credibility For Trump

Criminal charges have been filed against three Michigan State and local officials after an investigation disclosed there were dangerous lead levels in Flint’s drinking water, which fueled public outrage. It also resulted in a visit by the president of the United States, who promised federal assistance, in no small part due to the inaction and cover-up by local politicians. The …

Tony J Bender: That’s Life — Dear Doug Burgum …

Dear Doug Burgum, You’re killing me. How can you be an outsider who is going to break up the good old boy network when you keep acting like an insider good old boy? So all it takes to get your support is an “R” behind the name? (See Donald Trump.) You’ll endorse a cartoon character for president just because you …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Elections Can Make You Toss Your Cookies

As I write this article on April 4, my 77th birthday, I am reminded of what happened on this day in 1972. The election for municipal judge was held on that day. This being my first and only run for elective office, I went with my wife, my best friend and his wife to see John Wayne in “The Cowboys” …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of Conventions And Things

Political parties exist for one primary purpose: to nominate candidates, generally of a like mind, for political office. Everything else political parties do is secondary to that. To be sure, there are other important secondary functions: to provide a platform on which those candidates base their campaigns, to provide a supporting organization and to provide money, or a means to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Of Lieutenant Governors And Knit Dresses

WAIT A MINUTE OK, the story below about state Sen. Nicole Poolman is funny, but according to her husband, it is not quite true. Almost, but not quite. The real story is even funnier. Way at the very end of this blog, I repeated a story that’s been making the rounds in political circles these days. A story about state …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Doug Burgum: We Are Facing New Economic Reality In North Dakota: Fed Data Shows N.D. As One Of Worst-Performing States

Note: In Monday’s article, I discussed the North Dakota governor’s race, in light of the economic downturn the state is suffering. Today, one of the candidates for governor, Doug Burgum, discusses the state’s economic plight in an op-ed he e-mailed to the North Dakota media late Monday.  — Jim Fuglie By Doug Burgum The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia for …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Oh, Woe Is Me, I’m A Democrat

What’s a Democrat to do? Just when the North Dakota Republican Party appears more vulnerable than it has been in almost 25 years, the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party has retrenched into a hole so deep that it’s unlikely Democrats here will be able to climb out of it in time to compete in an election about 280 days hence. The …