MINOT, N.D. — Going by the promises currently being made by candidates for U.S. president, you’d think our federal government was an omnipotent machine, and politics merely the apparatus through which we aim it at problems. There seems to be no upper limit on what national candidates will promise they can accomplish.
As I write this I am attending the 2019 Policy Summit put on by the Greater North Dakota Chamber of Commerce. The first panel this morning was about trade and tariffs, and while the discussion was illuminating, I can’t help but feel that an important part of the debate was missing from it.
MINOT, N.D.. — I ran across an interesting anecdote while reading " Star Spangled Scandal " by Chris DeRose last week. The book is about the 1859 murder of U.S. Attorney Phillip Barton Key II — son of Francis Scott Key — by a sitting Congressman. Rep. Daniel Sickles, a Democrat from New York, shot Key in broad daylight across the street from the White House after learning the man had been sleeping with his wife.
Ethanol policy is an absolute disaster waiting to happen. It’s a ticking time bomb, waiting to blow up in our collective faces. The government’s promotion of ethanol has created a very large market for American farmers – corn farmers, specifically – to sell their crops into. Corn is, by a country mile , America’s #1 crop.
This morning a reader calls my attention to a story out of San Francisco detailing a decision by the city’s Board of Supervisors to brand the National Rifle Association a “domestic terrorist organization.” The board also wants the city to stop dealing with any business or organization which has a relationship with the NRA.
MINOT, N.D. — By the time I graduated from high school, my class had seen multiple suicides, including one of my friends. This summer we celebrated our 20-year reunion. The happiness of the occasion was tempered by a sad accounting of the half dozen or so suicides - some only suspected - among our classmates since graduation. To put these numbers into context, the national suicide rate in 2017 was about 14 per 100,000 people. North Dakota’s rate was about 20 per 100,000.
MINOT, N.D. — “Today in reading the news I realized you could replace the words ‘climate change’ with ‘God’s wrath,’” a friend said in an email this week. “It’s kind of a fun exercise.” It is fun, though the merriment is tempered by just how obnoxious the politics around the “climate change” debate have become. While there are plenty of people doing serious and sober work in the climate sciences — stuff worth paying attention to — the way climate change has come to be depicted in political and entertainment circles (a redundancy, I know) has migrated into the territory of eschatology.
MINOT, N.D. -- America’s national pastime isn’t baseball any more. It’s not football or basketball or even competitive e-sports. It’s the game of Trump’s-a-racist-no-he’s-not. Seemingly, it’s all we ever talk about on cable news and social media and your local paper’s opinion page. It is a stupid, pointless food fight which ignores our nation’s more pressing needs like divorcing parents too concerned with who took out the garbage to notice the checking account is overdrawn and the refrigerator doesn’t have any groceries.
MINOT, N.D. — We haven’t had a governing majority in the federal government committed to fiscal prudence in a long, long time. We have had lots of politicians who like to posture themselves as fiscal hawks. Former North Dakota U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad did that, though he started his career in the U.S. Senate by bailing on a vow not to run for re-election absent a balanced budget.