FARGO — I overheard a conversation at a Fargo coffee shop. Two oldies (like me) watched a vintage 1957 Chevrolet pull into a snowy parking slot outside the window. Beautiful machine. They gazed in awe as the car glowed in the winter sunlight. I silently joined their admiration for the marvelously restored classic. "Don't make 'em like that, anymore," said one. "They don't," said the other. "Great car. Takes me back." "Yup, don't make 'em like that, anymore," the first historian repeated. And that's a good thing.
GRAND FORKS — Observations in the wake of the North Dakota Republican Party endorsement convention in Grand Forks: Secretary of State Al Jaeger's defeat for the endorsement by Mandan businessman Will Gardner was a blot on the party. At the convention, Gardner ramped up his campaign of misrepresentations and untruths about Jaeger's office. For example, he quoted one of Jaeger's "employees" as saying technology needed upgrading. But she's not worked for Jaeger for three years, during which time tech upgrades were funded and implemented — to be operational this summer.
Interested in good government, North Dakota style? Curious about how political bent distorts definitions of good government? Concerned that governance has been corrupted by hyper-partisanship and big money? Think "good government" is an oxymoron?
FARGO — North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger always expects a re-election challenge. The Democratic-NPL party endorses a hapless candidate. Jaeger wins, usually in a landslide.
Attacks on media are old news. They go back to Thomas Jefferson, who was arguably the most passionate freedom of the press champion among the Founders. Yet, even Jefferson criticized newspapers when they were used against him by his enemies. History is replete with examples. Abraham Lincoln was savaged by both Southern and Northern newspapers before and during the Civil War. He had little good to say about journalists. When CBS's Walter Cronkite turned against the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson famously said he'd lost middle America. He had.
Republicans who believe they have souls need to do some serious soul-searching after the political earthquake that jolted ruby-red Alabama last Tuesday. For the first time in 25 years, a Democrat, Doug Jones, won a U.S. Senate seat over a Republican candidate, disgraced judge and accused pedophile, Roy Moore. The repercussions for the Republican Party and the party's leader, Donald Trump, cannot be minimized. It was a slap in the chops heard across the nation. Jones is not just any southern Democrat. He's pro-choice in a pro-life Republican state.
WEST FAIRLEE, Vt. - I was charged with picking up the Thanksgiving turkey from a farm not far from my daughter's rural home in the hills east of Chelsea, Vt. She had made arrangements for a 20-pound, free-range, organic bird as part of her commitment to support local farmers. Fair enough, I thought, even if, as she warned, the turkey might cost "a little more" than the frozen versions on sale in area supermarkets. A little more, she said.
If Donald Trump yanks the U.S. out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, North Dakota, where Trump is irrationally popular, will be among the losers. Every responsible economist and trade analyst has come to the same conclusion. That includes statements from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, major farm organizations, and the National Association of Manufacturers. How is it that the president, who has no use for losers, would force North Dakota into the loser column? North Dakota! Where he is loved. Don't ask.
The experts who study aging say change is more difficult for older people, that change seems to accelerate as one ages, that resistance to change is a normal condition of growing old.
CHELSEA, Vt. — Vermont is Bernie Sanders country, but not all Vermonters are Bernie Sanders fans. The state is preposterously tilted Democrat (as preposterous as North Dakota lists Republican), but there still remains in the political culture an active remnant of Vermont’s conservative past. After all, this is the state of Republican icon, the late Sen. George Aiken. Only a few generations separate today’s bluest-of-blue Vermont from a long history of deepest red conservatism.