Unheralded

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 …


Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — We Can Fix This Broken System

The American people regard the U.S. Constitution as a sacred document — even though Jefferson specifically asked us not to — and historically we have been very reluctant to tamper with it. Too bad because it is badly in need of fundamental revision. Our Constitutional order has broken down. After years of thinking about this, I offer the following amendments. …


RON SCHALOW: The Braveheart Of Bismarck

So, in the early half of Sunday the 10th, doctor and Rep. Rick Becker posted a meme on Facebook. Memes are evidently photos that convey what you’re thinking but could never find the words, or ever thought of one. Like a greeting card that punches you in the balls. Or provides a message of affirmation, whether you want one or …

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 …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Dance Shaming

I’m no psychologist, but Republicans seem unnaturally obsessed with New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. They’ve spent an inordinate amount of time telling everyone what an inconsequential airhead she is. She was dismissed as “a little girl” by GOP strategist Ed Rollins. I dunno, a 29-year-old knocking off a 10-term incumbent sounds consequential to me, but then I find Tomi Lahren …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Jefferson Watch — Madison’s Gift

Sometimes I wonder what it must have been like to be James Madison. He was a diminutive genius who did not call attention to himself. He was a balding hypochondriac who was always sure he did not have enough vitality for the hurly burly of our early national politics. He was a profound reader, a digester of the history of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Why The Republicans Control North Dakota Government

Pretty much every political pundit (including me) has declared the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party dead after this year’s election, and the debate continues to rage (well, maybe not rage, but to be discussed) among Democrats about what caused the demise of the party after so many years as a major political force in our state. Most of my friends have …

RON SCHALOW: Does North Dakota Really Need Rob Port?

“Does North Dakota Really Need Democrats?” read Rob Port’s headline on the Fargo Forum’s Sayanythingblog. At first, I hoped he didn’t waste a lot of time coming up with that stupid question. Then I realized the Port is probably one of those stable geniuses who ask stupid questions. A game-changer. Let’s discuss this. First of all, is it Democrats like …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Money Can’t Buy Me Love

As the Beatles sang in their 1964 hit, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s millions of dollars collected in the wake of her vote against Trump Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh weren’t enough to sway North Dakota’s Republican bias, and she took areal thumping in her race against Congressman Kevin Cramer for the U.S. Senate. Midterm elections are notorious …

CLAY JENKINSON: The Midterm Election Of 2018

So what did the midterm election of 2018 tell us? I’m going to try to make sense of it from a purely analytical view. If, as President Trump said repeatedly, he was on the ballot in 2018, the results are mixed. The election was certainly not a ringing endorsement of his character, behavior, policies and the first two years of …

RON SCHALOW: Cramer Approves All Trump Messages Or What A Fool Believes 

“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.” — Alexander Hamilton Years ago, when walking down Main Street in Minot — it’s really on an incline — I regularly saw an unfortunate man with baggy gray pants and suspenders who angrily yelled at parked cars. Had I promised to support anything the short old man said or did, …

TONY BENDER: “Badass Grandmas’ Take Measure 1 Fight On The Road

The “Badass Grandmas” toured south-central North Dakota on Oct. 23, with stops in Napoleon, Wishek, Ashley, Hague, Strasburg and Linton. Dina Butcher, a former Republican candidate for North Dakota ag commissioner, and Ellen Chaffee, a Democrat and former president of Valley City State College and Mayville State College, are the grandmas who represent North Dakotans for Public Integrity, a coalition …

RON SCHALOW: Super Crump Bred To Scare Gullible White People Out Of Their Bejeebers

And some of their money. Bejeebers can be had for a small bag of low-quality spring garage sand. No dust will be accepted until further notice. GEORGE SOROS BUYS MONTANA!!! Kevin Cramer has sold himself as the thrift-sized Donald Trump. He has also taken the Cult45 oath and gently handed the rose to a forever blushing Donnie T. So there …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Sen. Heitkamp? Congressman Schneider? Maybe …

OK, against my better judgment, again, I’m going to weigh in on the 2018 election, just more than a week hence. Here goes. I told Democratic-NPL Congressional candidate Mac Schneider on Thursday that if Heidi Heitkamp wins re-election to the U.S. Senate on Nov. 6, he can expect to head to Washington, D.C., with her, as our next U.S. congressman. …

RON SCHALOW: Cramer Calculates 10 Percent Slogan Edge Using Magic Trump Math

One of the features of Trump University alternate mathematics is the ability to optionally count invisible people, a revolutionary new system of viewing numerals and other math adjacent quotients. Kevin Cramer evidently clicked on “other.” Anyway, on a  nationally broadcast political show, Showtime’s “The Circus,” Cramer told John Heilemann “… if it happens that Donald Trump is right for North …

RON SCHALOW: Forum Endorses Cramer, Apparently Under Duress

So, the Forum editorial board has decided that the 2019 Sears catalog cover boy, Kevin Cramer, is the best choice for the U.S. Senate, rather than the suspiciously superior Heidi Heitkamp. The decision is not a surprise. The board always find a way to placate ownership and endorse the Republican candidate. It’s their prerogative. Some poor sap had to type …

RON SCHALOW: Kevin The Debate Smirker

The congressman stood behind the podium talking in circles, grinning like a meerkat pup that just got the better of his first scorpion, and the crunchy bugger would make a fine breakfast burrito. Then, the smug miniature mongoose of the desert smirked, smarmed and sniggered for 60 minutes after the meal, as is the custom of his holy family. That …

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 …

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 …