Unheralded

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Let’s Not Let Bad Politics Ruin Our Chance To Honor Theodore Roosevelt

Senate Bill 2001, passed by the 2019 North Dakota Legislature, is the appropriations bill for the North Dakota governor’s office. It’s eight sections long and contains an appropriation of about $4.5 million to pay the governor and lieutenant governor and their staff, their travel expenses and their office supplies. It has a line item with the governor’s salary and a …


Unheralded

RON SCHALOW: The NDGOP Cares About Kids And Other Laughs

The party of cutting funds for Special Olympics was so worried that a kid might ingest an edible form of medical marijuana, it ixnayed some of the most useful ways to help people in distress. Opponents expressed sincere concern that a chocolate chip cookie, baked with love and marijuana, would attract children, and the next thing you know, you’ve got …


RON SCHALOW: Is Rob Port Really A Cambodian Water Buffalo?

We can’t discount the possibility. I know you’re saying, “I wouldn’t read his shoe size.” Or, “Who cares about Rob Snort,” but somebody has to keep an eye the scamp, so he doesn’t totally get away with personal shots of venom. Like his sucker punch of Jim Shaw. Shaw’s Saturday column in the Fargo Forum was an unambiguous middle finger …

RON SCHALOW: Bismarck Grabs More Local Control

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to choose. So far, because the Legislature said so, no city can conduct a gun buyback, set a minimum wage, take a pistol from a depressed man, ban plastic bags or hold a gay pride parade. The last one is still on their wish list. Kevin Cramer’s office calls every day to complain …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — What Does A State Treasurer Do, Anyway?

There’s an old joke North Dakota Republican legislators tell about their worst nightmare: They’re walking down the Great Hall in the Capitol heading for the cafeteria on their short lunch break and they see Secretary of State Al Jaeger coming toward them. Knowing they’re going to get stuck in a boring 15-minute conversation, they pretend they forgot something back at …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — DAKOTA

I’ve got a problem. I need to write a column that is going to be kind of critical of three people I like, and I’m trying to figure out how to do it without making them all angry at me. Their names are Sara, Doug and Marvin. They’re all kind of half-ass friends of mine. And I’m not sure I …

RON SCHALOW: There’re No Guns In Baseball

The gun activists in North Dakota are feeling the cattle prod after losing out on carrying a sidearm to “99 percent of everywhere” due to the unpatriotic nay votes in the Commie Republican Legislature. The guy who publishes the MinuteMan Blog is really steamed. How dare a legislator vote closer than usual to their conscience or as their constituents want? …

RON SCHALOW: Who Is The Loneliest Patriot?

This one has been in crisper for weeks and it still feels fresh to me. So the great patriot whips the bag of snacks to the ground, stomps the delicious Doritos into dust, then pours a can of motor oil on the mess. Because a kooky bill didn’t pass. “Is there any patriots in the North Dakota House? This pro-gun …

RON SCHALOW: Known Suicidal Citizens Allowed To Keep Guns

I’ll repeat that for the hard of listening. Known Suicidal Citizens Allowed To Keep Guns. Our Legislature voted down the “Public Safety Protection Order Bill.” “The ‘Public Safety Protection Order Bill’ (aka a Red Flag law) allows law enforcement or family members to petition a court to temporarily ban someone considered a danger to themselves or others from possessing guns.” — …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Strange Goings-On At The Legislature — I Think I’ll Go West

Before I depart for a month, leaving the North Dakota Legislature to its own devices, I’m going to comment on some of the strange goings-on over at the Capitol. I just can’t help myself. The best adjective to describe this session of the Legislature is weird. Maybe even awful. Much of the weirdness comes in the form of concurrent resolutions. …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — North Dakota Politics

Every legislative session, there should be kiosks in the malls to sell Lisinopril because Lord knows my blood pressure sure goes up. In North Dakota, any maniac can propose a bill. Well, not just any maniac off the street — elected maniacs. Take, for instance, Senate Bill 2136, sponsored by Sen. Oley Larsen, R-Minot, that would force schools to offer …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — No Man’s Life, Liberty Or Property Are Safe While The Legislature Is In Session

It was newspaper editor Gideon J. Tucker who wrote those words in 1866. A bit of an exaggeration, perhaps, but we’re all well-advised to keep an eye on what goes on over at the North Dakota Capitol this winter. I’ve got my eye on a couple of pieces of legislation, one bad and one good, and I expect there will …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Gov. Burgum And The Five Mousketeers

Remember when Gov. Doug Burgum reimbursed Xcel Energy $37,000 for expenses it had paid for his and his wife’s trip to the Super Bowl? He made the repayment after questions of ethics in government were raised. That helped spur passage of Measure No. 1 last November — an initiated measure to counter the rampant gifts, meals, liquor and perks bestowed by corporate …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — If You’re Going To Talk Like Teddy Roosevelt, You Better Act Like Teddy Roosevelt

I’ve listened to a few State of the State speeches by North Dakota governors — probably somewhere between 15 and 20 — and even had a hand in writing a few of them, so I think I’m qualified to offer a few comments on the one Doug Burgum gave Thursday to the North Dakota Legislature. As they go, his was …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Wake Up, North Dakotans

I’m going to type very slowly so you can keep up. Don’t get me wrong, I used to think North Dakotans were even more above average than residents of Lake Wobegone, blessed with sound cognitive abilities. According to some legislators, I was wrong, so I’ll try to keep this as monosyllabic as possible. Republicans in the North Dakota Legislature have …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Analyzing The Measures

The problem with democracy is when citizens start sticking their noses into the government’s business. No state is more under siege than ours. There are four measures on the November ballot placed there by malcontents. As if we can’t trust the Legislature to do what’s best for oil billionaires. That sort of thinking threatens to undermine our way of life. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Comment Now On The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here about the proposed new bridge over the Little Missouri State Scenic River north of Medora, N.D., that is being shoved down our throats by a megalomaniac county commissioner who wants to spend up to $20 million of our gas tax dollars on a “Bridge to Nowhere.” At the insistence of the Federal …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Deterring Crime Means Serving Serious Time

I was all set to hang Rick Santorum out to dry this week when, as usual, someone derailed my chain of thought and sent me in a new direction. This morning, it was Fargo Police Chief David Todd speaking on KFGO Radio. He expressed a concern that took courage to say out loud. And he is spot on. The state …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Whither The Measure 6 Coalition?

Word comes this week that the organizing committee for a group of North Dakotans who want to raise North Dakota’s Oil Extraction Tax back to the level it was at before the Legislature cut it in 2015 has decided to postpone its initiated measure campaign. Postpone but not abandon. A wise choice, I’d say. Although the group already has its …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Bully For Billy

If you didn’t like Billy Kretschmar, the fault was not his. Billy was a fixture in the North Dakota House of Representatives from 1974 to 2016, with one lost election in between, and during that time, most politicians would have developed fierce enemies. If Billy had them, I don’t know who they are. When I deconstructed his career in a …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Make America Great Again Quiz

Just four short months after trading in Kenyan Socialism for Russian Communism with a dollop of South American Style Authoritarianism thrown in for good measure — more bananas, please — it’s time to assess just how super- duper great America has become again. And you slackers thought you were going to make it to Memorial Day without a test? Dream …

MARTIN C. FREDRICKS IV: Four The Record — Fusion For Caring

Invaluable. That’s the Real Answer, Mr. Commissioner; A Fusion of Smiles, Languages And Colors No matter how you slice it, surgery is no fun. More to the point, it’s no fun no matter how they need to slice you. Painful stuff. Recovery is no walk in the park, either. After nearly eight days in recovery at Sanford, I can say this with …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — State Agency Breaks The Law 600 Times; How Much Jail Time Do You Get For That?

The North Dakota State Water Commission has violated state law more than 600 times in recent years, by issuing permits for industrial use of water (read: fracking oil wells) from the Little Missouri State Scenic River. Employees there claim they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to do that. I believe them. But that’s no excuse. More on that in a …

RON SCHALOW: Oley’s Naked Gun Pander

Just in case the few hombres who feel the need — some have legitimate reasons — to carry a concealed pistol underneath their cardigan while walking the street of Pisek were thinking that the Republicans in the Legislature hadn’t gone the full mile, to fulfill their every whim, they need not worry. Minot Sen. Oley Larsen stepped up his game. …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — No One Wants Parking Meters But Out-Of-Touch Politicians

Moorhead, prepare for a possible influx of new business. It seems that North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and his gang are pushing for a law authorizing the use of parking meters — for downtown Fargo. Never mind that he has substantial holdings in Central City, and never mind that the cost of each unit, including installation, could be in the …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — The Sanctity Of Life And Tax Cuts

I’m exhausted from winning so much. America is so great again. Stop it already. My trophy case is full. Sure, a lot of people think the House of Representatives didn’t have the votes to pass health care reform last week, but when you factor in the Electoral Collage, it was a huge win. Yuuuge. You should have seen everyone coming …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Bring Back Good Old Days Of Intercity Sports Rivalry

Congratulations to the Moorhead Spuds boys hockey team and to the Shanley High Deacons girls basketball team. Each team and their coaches represented their communities and schools extremely well. My nephew, Steve Jacobson, coach of the Deacons, overcame some serious heart and health issues, claiming that basketball provided the outlet he needed to heal. Only in the Jacobson family could sports …

RON SCHALOW: All Vegetables Matter

I’ve lost several minutes of sleep over the past few weeks, and I’m sure that others were also on edge. The freedom of something was on line. Our food, it turns out, to my surprise. I looked in the fridge. Everything was fine there, but then I learned that criminality was taking place in all corners of state, but nobody …

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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Beware The Ides Of March

An apology to my readers. I was born with a weak spine. Literally but not figuratively — I hope. So, I’ve had these recurring back problems since I reached middle age. They’re usually fixable, but it takes some time, and I’m in one of those time periods right now. The doctors started working on it in early February, and they …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — So You Want Our Country To Be Secure?

The president of these United States, in violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, wined and dined Japanese Prime Minister Abe at his own “Winter White House” in Florida. It’s bad enough he personally profits from his wholly owned country club with these state visits, but now he has also compromised the security of the country. While having dinner, …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — Getting Even … It’s the North Dakota Way

It’s the sheer pettiness that bothers me most about the state Senate’s rejection of displaying the flags of North Dakota’s Indian nations in the Capitol. SB 2287 would have mandated the display of the five tribal flags. Sponsor Dick Marcellais of Belcourt said his utterly modest, bipartisan bill — with three Democratic and three Republican co-sponsors — “is all about …

RON SCHALOW: Exploding Trains Aren’t Funny

For some reason, many people, including North Dakota legislators, think that trying to get the Bakken oil producers to “stabilize” the crude and THEN put it in the railroad tanker car is a big joke. I didn’t coin the phrase “bomb trains.” That label came from the within the industry because they knew. It’s just good ribbing, though. I’ve been …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Thank The Creator For Lady Justice

My youngest sister posted a comment that is not only funny but sad because it is full of truth: “When I was little and made prank phone calls, my mother took the phone away. When my sons made prank phone calls, I took the phone away. Apparently, Donald Trump doesn’t have a mother.” She was, of course, referring to our …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — The Tweet Sound Of Diplomacy

I keep thinking that if Rip Van Winkle woke up this week, he’d crush up a bottle of Ambien and snort it all. It’s getting weird out there, and we’re only in the third week of America being great again. We’ve banned, unbanned and then banned Muslims again, according to tweets from the White House. The president and his press …

RON SCHALOW: Kill Bill 1427

Considering that the whole of North Dakota Republican officeholders backed the callus free lunatic with the “narcissistic personality disorder,” who likes signing large menus — with covers made out of baby dolphin skin and then waving them around like he’s bringing in a airliner, it stands to reason that the North Dakota GOP and white nationalists would be on the …

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 …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Kretschmar On The Sidelines After 40 Years In Legislature

After serving four decades in the North Dakota Legislature, William “Billy” Kretschmar no longer has a seat in the House chambers. What the Venturia resident does have is perspective and more than a few thoughts on the state of politics today. Kretschmar (on left in above photo), who was first elected to the House of Representatives as a Republican in …

RON SCHALOW: Liberty Loving Legislators

It’s hard to keep up with the North Dakota Legislature, since the idiotic bills shoot out faster than Donald Trump running from a Syrian toddler. The kid was “yuge.” Believe me. Then, you add in the daily hijinks and lies of our new administration in D.C., and you have a bottomless stockpot of rancid confusing soup and a small slotted …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Taking The State Back

You are being rescued. Republican state legislators are taking North Dakota back. From themselves. In the immortal words of Stevie Wonder, who used to be a legislator from District 28, “Don’t you worry ’bout a thing, Pretty Mama.” And let me tell you, Al Carlson, another blind legislator, hates being called Pretty Mama. The mama part, anyway. There’s a lot …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — ‘Shut Up’? Stand Up and Voice Your Opinion

One who writes for the Fargo newspaper (not to be confused with Moorhead’s No. 1 publication, The Extra) had some sharp advice to citizens who have issues with laws being proposed in North Dakota. Apparently, he believes those who oppose some legislation coming before the North Dakota Legislature as a “waste of time” are typical groaners and usually “lightly informed.” His advice: …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — ‘Friendly’ North Dakota, You’ve Got Some ’Splaining To Do

Back in simpler times, when I worked with Tourism Director Joe Satrom in Bismarck, one of our main objectives for bringing tourist dollars into North Dakota was to persuade the media to write about North Dakota, that “large, rectangular blank spot in the nation’s mind,” as native Eric Sevareid memorably put it. To write about North Dakota, that is, without …

Ron Schalow: These Melons Aren’t Ripe

“Orv, are you still fuming about not being invited to perform at the inauguration?” asks Stan. “You can still do that thing, right? Very entertaining, as I don’t recall. Was it a card trick? Was it an egg yoke? Hee hee.”” “I told you to shut up,” grouses Orville. “I’m busy drinking and thinking.” “That was three minutes ago, if …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — North Dakota Legislators Start Small

Twelve and a half minutes and two screws. That’s what two of the first bills submitted to North Dakota’s 65th Legislative Assembly address. This is the kind of stuff guys love. No wonder, then, that the whole state is talking about two proposals submitted by Grand Forks legislators. One would raise the speed limit on North Dakota’s interstates and divided …