Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — The Story Of Black Motherhood And How It Shaped America

On Friday, federal government employees had the day off to commemorate Juneteenth, a new federal holiday formally created the day before — some 156 years after it was first celebrated by newly emancipated Black people in Galveston, Texas. Millions of White Americans became aware of Juneteenth for the first time this past year only after the racial-justice protests that followed the death of George …


Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Voting In America: The Urgency Of Legitimacy

“The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. They’ve all spoken.” That from then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Jan. 6, 2021, in remarks intended to push back against those who were attempting to stop the certification of the 2020 election results. “If we overrule them, it would damage our republic forever.” Here we are, six months …


LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Silent Scorched Spring

Dead perennials, spring 2021 Hosta: Autumn Glow Teenie Weenie Cracker Crumbs Hacksaw Judy Blue Eyes, most (healthy and spreading for ten years prior) Prairie Angel (one of two) Tokudama Sitting Pretty Peanut Praying Hands (most) Cherry Berry True Blue (a huge and beautiful plant) The miniatures, however established, took the biggest hit. Here’s Green Mouse Ears hosta this year: And …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — FUTURE IN CONTEXT America’s New Gilded Age: The Cycles Of Constitutional Time

In “The Cycles of Constitutional Time,” Jack Balkin takes an overarching look at the dynamics of constitutional government over the history of the United States. To understand what is happening today, he argues, “we have to think in terms of political cycles that interact with each other and create remarkable — and dark — times.” Single-term presidents, Balkin notes, often …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — DEQ To Meridian: You’ve Got 90 Days

At midnight Saturday, Meridian Energy Group’s Air Pollution Control Permit To Construct an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, issued by the North Dakota Department of Health, will expire. Now don’t get too excited. This nightmare isn’t over. This has happened before. This is the second time the permit has expired. The Health Department (now the Department of …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — America’s Constitution: Its Surprising Evolution From 1788 To The 21st Century

In an earlier article, Editor-at-Large Clay Jenkinson described America’s three constitutions: The capital-c Constitution drafted in 1787; and the small-c constitution of norms and traditions not specified in the written Constitution and the ways the American people actually constitute themselves. In this third in a series, Jenkinson suggests that even — or especially — in our norm-busting times, a president’s bully …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Breaking Ice: What Happens When A Branch Of The Armed Forces Opens To Women

Long before Admiral Sandy Stosz retired from the U.S. Coast Guard in 2018, she knew that she wanted to write a book on leadership. With nearly 40 years of experience to draw on, from her early days as an ensign on polar icebreakers to her final assignment as the first female to serve as deputy commandant for Mission Support, Stosz had gained …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — It’s Going To Be A Long, Hot Summer In The Badlands

(Reprinted from Dakota Country magazine, June 2021) Most years, the North Dakota Badlands, as I write this in early May, are changing color. As the ground warms, the winter’s snowmelt brings hints of green into the brown landscape of buffalo and crested wheat grass and little bluestem, and by the end of the month, as you’re reading this, the transition …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Memorializing The Living And The Dead

My eyes fluttered awake to the early-morning coos of mourning doves and a halo of light from the window. “Oh, it’s Memorial Day,” I remembered from somewhere in my cavernous REM slumber. I creaked to the cold kitchen in a season in which it’s too warm to run the furnace and too cold for my bones. I was desperate for …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — America’s Constitution In 2021: What Would Thomas Jefferson Do?

In an earlier article, Editor-at-Large Clay Jenkinson described America’s Three Constitutions: The Capital C Constitution drafted in 1787, the small c constitution of norms and traditions not specified in the written Constitution and the ways the American people actually constitute themselves. In this second in a series, Jenkinson looks at the Constitution circa 2021. “Some men look at constitutions with …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — The Truth Will Keep Us Free

The intransigence of the GOP leaders to move forward with a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol is the height of party over politics. It is a glaring example of what is broken in our government.The Republicans were given everything they asked for in negotiations, including equal representation and power, and when …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — The Revolutionary Lives Of Malcolm X And MLK In The Time of George Floyd

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X rose from markedly different backgrounds to assume leading roles in the civil rights movement, and though each died violently while playing his respective part, neither man fully exited the stage. Both remain to this day celebrated figures in the fight for racial and economic justice. Their much-publicized differences, most notably violence versus nonviolence, have …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Like Rats On A Sinking Ship …

Meridian Energy Group, the troubled startup company that has announced plans to build an oil refinery next to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, has closed all of its offices and three of its top executives have left the company, leading energy industry watchdogs to question the future of the company. The company lists three offices on its website, one each in …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 65

I know, I know. It has been many months since I’ve written Red Oak House Garden Notes. How many times can one write about an exceptional drought? How many times can one whine about the long dry winter? I’ve also been busy with rewrites of a manuscript Jim and I have devoted much of the past years crafting. That, and …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Rhubarb Dream Bars

Anyone who thinks rhubarb is a garden nuisance has never attended a rhubarb festival, where you can sample many different kinds of desserts, most of them quite tasty, that feature the “pie plant.” I’ve had the chance over the years to take in the annual rhubarb festival sponsored by University Lutheran Church in Grand Forks. In fact, I was asked …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Grab A Dictionary, Save The Republic

Distressed at the dearth of civic understanding in the United States, Ed Hagenstein worked for over two decades to create “The Language of Liberty: A Citizen’s Vocabulary.” Its purpose is simple: The constitution demands consensus and our form of government requires discourse, which depends in turn on a precise and nuanced vocabulary of its own. Hagenstein has set out to …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Donald Trump And I Got Censored By Facebook

Looks like it’s going to be a rainy, windy day. A day to stay inside and write, something I haven’t done for a while. I need to share with you something that happened a little more than a week ago at this same keyboard I am writing at today. I got censored by Facebook. Now I know how Donald Trump …

ED MAIXNER: Let’s Have A 21st Century U.S. Supreme Court

Amidst Congress’ partisan hostility, Americans who favor U.S. Supreme Court reforms can’t expect expansion or other structural changes soon. In fact, months before President Joe Biden named his commission in April to broadly evaluate possible judicial system revisions, he declared he wouldn’t “turn the Supreme Court into just a political football” with abrupt changes, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — How America’s Three Constitutions Define The Nation

The past few years have raised constitutional questions at an unusually fast clip. After years, even decades, of slumber, the emoluments clause (Article 1, Section 9) suddenly flared up, as well as the pardon clause (Article 2, Section 2), and, of course, the impeachment clause (Article 1, Section 3), among others. From the narrow perspective of civics (not politics), the …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — What If Polio Had Become Politicized?

Those of us of a certain vintage grew up without fear of polio because Jonas Salk’s vaccine against that awful virus went into distribution in 1955, quickly eradicating the disease in America. But many of us grew up seeing and knowing polio victims, many of them irreparably crippled, some unable to walk, others with atrophied limbs. There was no great …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Curious Case Of The Drunk-Driving Legislator

I know, I haven’t written much about the North Dakota Legislature this year. Too many other things on my mind. But I followed it, read about it daily and shook my head in amazement over the stupid things the Republican majority did. I won’t tick them off here — you know what I am talking about. But something caught my …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Supreme Court Packing: A Bad Way To Get Even (Or Ahead)

Recent talk among some Democrats about expanding the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices has caused enormous consternation among Republicans but also among many mainstream Democrats and conservative political commentators. The impulse to increase the number of justices is a partisan Democrat response to the refusal by Mitch McConnell and Republican senators to confirm (or even vet) President Obama’s Supreme …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — I’m Doing Great, Thank You

Hey friends, well, it’s been two months since I announced my cancer diagnosis on the eve of major surgery at Mayo Clinic. Since then, I’ve received a steady stream of cards, well-wishes, and prayers, and they’re working because I’m doing great. Thank you! I don’t plan to spend a lot of time in the future doing play-by-play on my recovery, …

TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — Steve Allen’s Legacy

Like a lot of others, I’m looking forward to CNN’s new six-part documentary series “The Story of Late Night,” a look at the history of late night television talk shows. The first episode at 8 Sunday night will likely focus on Steve Allen, the co-creator and first host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.” It was network television’s first late-night talk show. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — An Update On The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’

Somebody asked in a comment on my blog last week for an update on the proposed Little Missouri Crossing north of Medora, N.D. Here’s some information stolen from an article I wrote for Dakota Country magazine’s May issue, which should be on the newsstands later this week, or in your mailbox if you subscribe, which you should do. Out in …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Afghanistan 20 Years Later: Another Costly Quagmire

What can you buy with a trillion dollars, let alone four or five trillion? It’s not that government expenditure is a zero-sum game (guns or butter), and we all understand that national security and national defense are among the most essential expenditures of any sovereign nation. Still, had the United States not invaded Afghanistan and Iraq or prolonged our incursions …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Snaps® Are Back!

A little more than eight years ago, in December 2012, I wrote one of the hardest obituaries I’ve ever had to write, and believe me, I’ve written a lot of them, as a former newspaper reporter and editor. The obituary was for Snaps®. Anyone who knows me well or remembers that blog post on December 8, 2012, knows that I …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — What Really Matters

I received a letter from my 22-year-old self this week. Well, sort of. It was a letter that I sent to the woman who was my camp counselor when I was 14, thanking her for the influence she had on my life. I sent it the week before I left for seminary, Aug. 31, 1986. She found it this week, …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Ken Burns, Lynn Novick Create Perfect Hemingway Documentary

Ernest Hemingway is one of our greatest writers, and Ken Burns is our greatest documentary filmmaker, so it is fitting that the latest film by Burns and his creative partner, Lynn Novick, is about the most influential American writer of the 20th century, who committed suicide on July 2, 1961. Hemingway wrote seven novels during his lifetime, six collections of short …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Wanted, Critical Thinkers

I never received the smallpox vaccine. But I thank God for everyone who did. My parents were not anti-vax. But back when everyone my age lined up to get the vaccine that would leave a unique scar on their upper arm, I couldn’t join them. I had severe eczema as a child and due to a reaction that the vaccine …

TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — Da Bears

With the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 now well behind us, so to speak, I have another concern. It also involves toilet paper. For months now, I’ve been semi-obsessed with something I’ve been seeing a lot of on television. That is the animated Charmin bears. The colorful toilet paper-pushers come on TV, often late at night for some reason, …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Can The Left Reclaim Populism With Biden As The Modern FDR?

Author Thomas Frank is an unapologetic liberal and populist. Those characteristics shape his writing and worldview. He finds promise in the country’s original populists, who adopted the term in 1891 and who were protesting “unbearable debt, monopoly and corruption … forcing the country to acknowledge that ordinary Americans who were just as worthy as bankers or railroad barons were being …

JIM THIELMAN: My Big Brother Was A Rental

Uncle Bert left Washington, D.C., each July, along with everyone else who worked for the federal government. The nation’s capital is built “on a tangle of woods and swamps.” It’s sweltering in the summer. Bert’s family of four drove to his childhood farm in Iowa, then up to my hometown, a small Minnesota river burg where his wife was born. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Solastalgia: The Drought Of 2021 In North Dakota

Here in North Dakota in the spring of 2021, the headlines about the pandemic are being pushed aside by the daily news of the extreme drought and prairie fires. All of us search the forecast in hopes of rain, knowing the damage this is causing to the people, the critters and the landscape we love. All of us search for …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — North Dakota’s Gold Rush: A Memoir About The Fracking Boom

Michael Patrick F. Smith would not seem to fit the profile of an oil field worker. He’s an actor, a musician and a playwright who sublet his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment to head out west to Williston, N.D., during the height of the Bakken Oil Boom in 2013. As he admits, “It’s a weird resume for a man applying to work …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — The Promises And Pitfalls Of A Modern-Day Boomtown

When the price of a barrel of oil peaked at $145 amid the 2008 economic meltdown, thousands of unsettled men from all over the country descended on the fracking boomtown of Williston, N.D. Centered atop the estimated 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil contained within the Bakken Formation, Williston witnessed over the next six years what writer Michael Patrick F. …

LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — Harriet Bristol: An Inspiring Life

Harriet Bristol didn’t have any immediate family. She didn’t have a host of friends left. She was a very private person. Come to find out, she had led quite an inspiring life. Somehow, I felt a connection, which is why I was one of four people who stood under a shelter that cold, rainy day to attend her funeral recently …

JIM THIELMAN: Hottest Twins Home Opener Offered Plenty, Except Beer

It was a record 90 degrees at Metropolitan Stadium when the Minnesota Twins opened their home baseball season April 22, 1980. The math should have been simple: 36,000 fans + 90 degrees = extra beer vendors. Also in the equation: Every college kid in the Twin Cities would skip class. The drinking age was 19. The Met was a frowzy …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — University Of North Dakota Vs. University Of Minnesota-Duluth

The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team quest for a ninth national championship was cut short Saturday night in Fargo’s Scheels Arena as the Fighting Hawks were defeated 3-2 by the University of Minnesota-Duluth in a five-overtime game. North Dakota (22-6-1) trailed 2-0 late in the third period before pulling goalie Adam Scheel and tying it up on goals …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — From Wounded Knee To Pipeline Access, The Lakota’s Enduring Power

Most histories of the “Indian Wars” in the American West end with the Wounded Knee Massacre on Dec. 29, 1890, when U.S. troops of the Seventh Cavalry killed between 200 and 300 Lakota (Sioux) people, the majority of them women and children, most of whom had been disarmed, at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, just one year into its …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — University Of North Dakota Vs. American International University

The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team used a four-goal first period outburst in the span of just over seven minutes en route to a 5-1 win over American International University on Friday night in Fargo’s Scheels Arena to advance to the NCAA Midwest Region championship tonight against National Collegiate Hockey Conference rival the University of Minnesota-Duluth. UMD gained the …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Vegetable Soup

Most recipes usually serve four people at the minimum and often are meant for eight. So that means if you are cooking for two, be prepared for a lot of leftovers. That’s the case with preparing an entire chicken. Whether the bird is cut up for frying or left whole for roasting, if you’re only serving two, there is going …

LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — Nordic Walking Unmasked

Who knew I’d enjoy exercising so much? That was certainly a new experience. Sure, I enjoy water aerobics, especially since recovering from two knee surgeries in 2018. But walking has never been at the top of my list of exercising practices. Until this past January, when I discovered the joys of Nordic Walking. It was time to take off the …