Unheralded

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — ‘Paul Manafort Is A Good Man’

All during Paul Manafort’s criminal trial, including while the jury was deliberating, the president of the United States did everything but call the jury members, espousing what an honest, good and decent man Manafort is. Even after the jury convicted him on numerous counts, the president continued his rant. That old cliché that “water seeks its own level” surely applies …


Unheralded

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — The Heidi-Kevin Show

OK, people, I’m warning you, I took Ambien, so anything could happen. Then again, I might simply nod off. It would be much worse if you nodded off. Now would be a perfect time for that energy drink, or if you want something less stimulating, crack cocaine. I now keep my energy drinks in a gun safe because of what …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Who’s Got Money, Who Doesn’t? And Who Didn’t File A Report?

AND THE WINNER IS … Ryan Rauschenberger! North Dakota’s election laws require all candidates for statewide and legislative offices to file campaign finance disclosure statements three times a year — before the primary election, before the general election and at the end of the year. All contributions greater than $200 from an individual or a political action committee must be …

RON SCHALOW: Cramer Mimics Trump — Lies Like a Pro

It’s been quite an effing darn protracted loopy eon since “quick-draw” Kevin Cramer pushed all of  his chips onto the fuzzy orange rectangle. Except for the one he ate. It was an odd casino. He’ll tell you that they were communion wafers. KC is religious, he’ll casually mention it, 3,000 times. But they were Cool Ranch Doritos, the most narcotic …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — ‘If If There’s Anything You Ever Did In Your Life You Don’t Want To See On The Front Page Of The Paper …’

From time to time over the years, I’ve received phone calls from aspiring politicians seeking advice on whether to run for some public office. Generally, it’s something like, “Hey, Jim, I’m thinking about running for dogcatcher. I’m wondering what you think about that. You got any advice for me?” My first response is always the same. “Well, that’s great. It …

RON SCHALOW: Kevin Cramer’s Criminal Choice 

There are many public servants and oil executives to blame for their silence but only Kevin Cramer, Mr. North Dakota way, thinks he deserves a seat in the United States Senate. So, he has to answer for his failures. “It took “more than 1,000 firefighters from 80 different municipalities in Quebec and from six counties in the state of Maine” …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Another Kerfuffle

I’d like to begin this week by saying, “That darn Heidi Heitkamp.” I’m referring, of course, to last week’s column in The Forum in which Mike McFeely ever-so-gently, in his curmudgeonly way, suggested that fellow columnist Rob Port might try writing about someone other than Heidi Heitkamp. Like maybe Joel Heitkamp. I mean, I ain’t exactly Sherlock Holmes, but if …

RON SCHALOW: Poor Paranoid Lying Port

My buddy, Rob Port, used the coveted space for his Sunday column to set up a hypothetical Festivus pole, air his grievances and sob over his keyboard. My sources say he paced in the hall for a solid 45 seconds before getting winded and falling into a heap of self-pity. The feats of strength portion of Festivus was canceled, due …

RON SCHALOW: Port And Cramer — Making Collusion Fun Again

I bought a gizmo that is supposed to drive away vermin by emitting a super high-pitched sound. I wanted a herd of hard-partying ants on a sugar high to take a hike. Or take a long walk off a short pier, like my uncles used to tell me on a regular basis. It’s undignified to live with insects that strut …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Current Events Quiz

AIR FORCE ONE ANNOUNCEMENT — “Ladies and gentlemen, we are experiencing some … uh … turbulence. As we continue our steep descent into anarchy, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position and that your seat belt is securely fastened. Before we crash, we’d like you all to fill out this brief questionnaire, …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Race For An Open Seat In Congress

North Dakota’s Democrats will hold their state convention in Grand Forks later this week, and the highlight, if there’s to be one, will be choosing a candidate to run for North Dakota’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. So I’ve been thinking a bit about politics and conventions, especially past ones, similar to what we might see this …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Memories Of A Great Governor

Calm was the day in late July And bright was the sun across the sky But inside his chest the calm had broken Governor Sinner had started croakin’. I laughed the first time I read that, and I’m still laughing every time I think about it. It’s a poem written by a sixth-grader from Turtle Lake, N.D., about Gov. George …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Seems To Be A Lot Of POS’s Around These Days

North Dakota’s district political conventions are about over, and state conventions are coming up, so I thought I might write a few political columns for the next few weeks. I’ve been hanging out around politics for a few years, and still have a pretty good memory (something my wife would dispute), and I still know a lot of the players …

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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Donald Trump, Harold Hamm And Kevin Cramer

Most of my Democratic friends have a hard time understanding why I like Kevin Cramer. I think it’s because they’ve never been a part of a brotherhood. Let me explain. I’m was thinking about this Wednesday because of Gary Emineth’s announcement Tuesday that Kevin Cramer would run for the U.S. Senate against Heidi Heitkamp. Thanks for that, Gary. I’m sure …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie —A Short Message About Our National Park

This might be the shortest blog post I’ve ever written. Or will ever write. But it’s an important one, so if you are concerned about the possibility of an oil refinery being built next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park as I am, please take just one minute to read it. I had a chance encounter with Gov. Doug Burgum this …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — State Of The Union

Well, the groundhog saw his shadow, so six more months of Mueller. The president might have basked for a while in the glow of his triumphant State of the Union address, of which a whopping 43 percent of Democrats and 109 percent of Republicans approved. Instead, he released The Memo, which instantly changed the tune from Kumbaya at a campfire …

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 — What Will Happen To The Newest Bridge Across The Little Missouri State Scenic River?

Last summer, I wrote an article about a North Dakota Bad Lands rancher who built himself a big bridge across the Little Missouri State Scenic River on federal land without getting permission. I wrote then, last July, “The folks at the BLM office don’t seem to know anything about the bridge or the road or the water pits, but they …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — The Politics Of Self-Preservation

It will be interesting to see if the president can hold together The Party of Capitulation after Roy Moore’s defeat. Divide and conquer. That’s how you keep your job with a 32 percent approval rating. That and fear. Republicans saw what happened to Jeff Flake. It’s more than party over people. It’s about self-preservation. There are three subfactors in play …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Hurricane Donald

A big wind made landfall last Wednesday in North Dakota, and when I woke up the next morning, North Dakota was great again. A KX News morning show anchor giddily recounted her excitement about President Trump’s visit and how she and her family had gone out to “show our love for the president.” I was a little surprised her objective …

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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Ben Hanson For Congress: A Good Idea

So it begins. North Dakota has its first official candidate in the 2018 election. Given all the weird shit (read: Trump) that’s been going on over the past eight months or so, I’m eager for a fresh start, and my young friend, Ben Hanson, has provided that. Thank you, Ben. Ben sent me an e-mail shortly after midnight last night …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — A Case For Conservatism

“Have a happy Fourth of July,” he said. “Have a good Independence Day,” I responded for the third time that day. Because we forget forget too easily what Independence Day is about, how the United States of America was born, who we set out to be, and more importantly, who we have become. We are urged each December to “remember …

CLAY JENKINSON: Sad Lessons From the Nixon White House

Given where things are headed, I’m preparing the way a humanities scholar prepares. I’m reading accounts of the life and presidency of Richard M. Nixon. I’ll place a short bibliography of books worth reading at the bottom of this essay. The constitutional crisis we are now descending into is either much less grave than Watergate or much, much more serious. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Herb Meschke: A Brilliant Mind In A Broken Body

They’ll bury Herb Meschke later this week. I don’t know if it will be in the North Dakota Bad Lands, where he was born and raised, or in Minot, where he spent most of his life. Wherever it is, his presence will enhance the stature of the cemetery. Herb was a cowboy, a lawyer, a legislator, a judge and a …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Ask What You Can Do for Your Country

In his inaugural address, President John Kennedy challenged the youth of our country to “ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” If ever there was another time to rally to that call, it is now. We have an administration led by a president with no soul, no moral compass …

RON SCHALOW: Kevin Cramer Must Go

It’s not even a close call, so save the coin toss. Cramer takes North Dakotans for granted and assumes he’s in a safe district. Why, because he’s such a charmer? Guess again, smirk-boy. Smug-boy. Whatever. I’m older than the kid, so I can say that. Plus, I don’t care. I don’t feel any pleasantness oozing from my aura. After decades …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — An Open Letter To Governor Doug Burgum, On The Occasion Of The Greatest Threat Ever To The Little Missouri State Scenic River

Dear Gov. Burgum, Let me quote from the conservation easement you signed for some ranchland you and your friends own in southwest North Dakota’s Bad Lands six years ago: “The Protected Property possesses agricultural, scenic, and historic, and cultural values. The Protected Property is located in the heart of the only Ponderosa pine forest in North Dakota, south of Teddy …

MARTIN C. FREDRICKS IV: Four The Record — N.D. Dem-NPL, It’s Time to Stand Up

And, Please, No More “Republican Lite” Byron Dorgan once got my ass kicked. That’s not literally true, of course. I can’t remember the name of the kid who actually trounced me in a back alley half a block from Jamestown (N.D.) Junior High when I was in the seventh grade, but it did start with our future senator. It was …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — My Appliances Are Against Me

I just realized my microwave popcorn is actually popping out Morse code — in Russian. If I’m translating correctly and, admittedly, my decoding skills are rusty, Pootie wants me to drop some d-CON into someone’s latte. Or maybe the word is DEFCON. I may have missed a dot or a dash. Probably no big deal. Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe. I’ve become suspicious …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Budget Cuts? Middle-Class Taxpayers Take It on the Chin

Not that this will surprise any nonbelievers, but the absolute and total lie by POTUS 45 — that President Obama ordered some sort of wiretapping or surveillance on him or his administration — has now been revealed by all the government agencies involved in security to be false. (Or as that idiot Sean Spicer, 45’s official press spokesman, would say: …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — How Long Will Trump Last? Make A Guess!

OK, at first it was just a sly hint, a trickle of wishfulness, but it’s become a pretty serious subject of open discussion now, both on social media and on the street: How long do you think Trump will last as president? Some say he’s going to commit an apparently impeachable offense, and Congress will go after him. If that’s …

RON SCHALOW: Just Say Nyet To Cro-Magnon Cramer

It did not go unreported that Kevin Cramer might run for Senate in 2018, but the news was largely lost in the fog of the scandalous AMC miniseries, “The Case of the White Pantsuits and Other White Outfits,” based on the true story of a primitive male, with a bad combover, and his faithful miniature poodle, Port, named for the …

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — No, The Checks Aren’t In The Mail

Sorry to disappoint you, but no checks are in the mail. A standing-room-only crowd showed up for Rep. Kevin Cramer’s Fargo “Coffee with Cramer” town hall last week. Let’s call them “lively.” Trouble was clearly brewing. They packed a local coffeehouse to pepper him with comments and questions about health care, the bungled travel ban, the Great Wall of POTUS …

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 …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Rerun

I think I’m just going to rerun this column from the Unheralded.Fish website from two years ago about this time of the year in every odd-numbered year from now on. Nothing seems to change. Why should I spend a bunch of time writing something new? Nobody seems to be paying any attention anyway. JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — …

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 …

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 …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Dogs, Politics And Refugees

My dog disappeared for a few days this week. Marti is beagle terrier cross, with the energy of a terrier and the intelligence and roaming instincts of a beagle.  She’s a sweet little dog who is terribly anxious, because she was abused before I got her from the Humane Society in Willmar, Minn. (my hometown — where my first dog, …

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: …

TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — POTUS, Give Or Take A Couple Of Letters

Many people don’t know that POTUS is short for President of the United States. Well, it is … and for the current president-elect, we can shorten it even better: POS. (Since this is a family newspaper, use your imagination about what that’s short for.) After the election was over, I waited for Diaper Donnie to enter the world of adults. …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot the Rapids — Bridging The Gap

I have a conundrum. Everyone who knows me is aware that I am a dyed-in-the-wool progressive. I wrote my first political letter in 1969. I was 5. It was to Richard Nixon, suggesting that the Vietnam War was not a good idea and perhaps we should get out of it. A self-starting child, I addressed it on my own, to …