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The candidates looked good, the Democrats looked good and Grand Forks looked good, too, on Friday evening. What fun it was to be there in the Alerus Center and watch history unfold. "The biggest political crowd in North Dakota in my adult lifetime," Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., called it, surveying an Alerus Center filled to the rafters with a cheering throng. At the time, Conrad was warming up the crowd for Sen. Barack Obama's appearance. He used the occasion to get off one of the evening's better lines: "Sen.
What a coup! The announcement that Hillary Clinton will follow Barack Obama on the Alerus Center stage makes Friday one of the most important days in North Dakota's modern political history. Decades after the event, people still remember and talk about presidential visits to the state. Years from now, they'll be recalling Friday's events in the same way.
Think of Minnesota medical powerhouses such as the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota Medical School, and "humility" probably isn't the first word that comes to mind. But humility is at the center of Minnesota's latest medical advance. This advance is in social science rather than hard science; it encourages hospitals and doctors to stop pretending to be infallible. So it's fitting in a way that the advance's origins are humble, too: It has its roots not in a Twin Cities health-care complex, but in a small hospital and clinic in the Minnesota North Woods.
It's great for America to talk about race. But this morning's headlines bring a reminder of a much more serious crisis, one that threatens Americans of all races, colors and creeds: the looming shortfall of Medicare and Social Security funds. That's the real domestic challenge our next president will face. And that's the issue that ought to be dominating the national campaigns. "While the U.S. Federal Reserve is rushing to bandage up the housing crisis, the trustees of Medicare and Social Security ponder a much bigger and perennially ignored problem," Forbes magazine reported.
The word is mores, and if the UND students who dressed up in American Indian costumes for a sorority party pay attention in sociology class, they'll learn exactly what all the fuss is about. A "more" (pronounced more-ay, the "ay" rhyming with "say") is a standard of decency or manners in a culture. A classic example used at Wikipedia and elsewhere is toplessness: While a man who walks shirtless through downtown Grand Forks will draw glances, a woman doing the same thing will be arrested. She will have violated an American more -- and such actions, like it or not, have consequences.
When the Workforce Safety and Insurance Board chose Bruce Furness as interim head of WSI, they made a fine choice. Hiring the right director for the agency is the board's most important job; and while Furness is an interim, not a permanent, chief executive, he's still a leader who is respected across the state. The troubled agency should be in good hands. As North Dakotans know, WSI has been in the news for months, with most of its problems related to the agency's weak accountability structure. In the late 1990s, the Legislature took WSI out from under the governor's direct control.
The local trends run in the wrong direction. The national trends run in the wrong direction.
EAST GRAND FORKS -- What do East Grand Forks and other communities really want? Most public administrators are recognized with salary increases and promotions when they are credited with expanding staff or building something. Thus, a new library, school, water plant, road, park or bridge becomes the pride of the individual responsible for its creation. Plaques proudly are displayed in the entryways, and ribbon-cutting ceremonies are widely publicized.