It was seeing the swans—the beautiful, beautiful trumpeter swans—hanging out in open water not far from our lake place that struck me. Looking at their numbers today, it's hard to believe they neared extinction in the 20th century. Thinking back, however, I don't remember ever seeing a wild swan when I was a child. I'm not sure I remember seeing any when our children were little, either, although we all loved E.B. White's charming book, The Trumpet of the Swan. How dramatically things have changed. And quickly.
Forget draconian cuts to things like higher education. Judging by overwhelming "yes" votes in the North Dakota House on HB 1169, HB 1310, and HB 1273, the big problem for the great state of North Dakota and our citizens is a lack of gun rights. Here an enormously sad sigh is appropriate. Oh, well, it's good to have a "go-to" issue when a significant share of today's inept legislators are the very same folks who put the state in its current pickle with over-the-top largesse for oil companies a few years back. Voters might remember that previous revenue-killing largesse come election time.
Now that the Republican Congress is dismantling the ACA (Affordable Care Act also commonly called Obamacare), we're finding out just how wonderful it was. But this isn't about the usual statistics concerning the 20 million people who previously were uninsured but got insurance under the ACA. Instead let's concentrate on declines in divorce rates. (Divorce rates?) Yes, indeed. In one of the more peculiar outcomes in the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, divorce rates for the demographic of 50-64 year-olds decreased more than five percent.
Consider three important points before voting on Tuesday's mill levy for Fargo schools: • The levy of 127 mills which is in place does not change. • State funding is both dependable and not dependable. • Local control is at stake.
Quoted by Amy Dalrymple for a Forum article on human trafficking Feb. 19, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said, "We don't want to give up on what we've already done and what we've already got in place." That describes North Dakota's problem in a nutshell. The state's great initial strides against human trafficking—primarily sex trafficking—may be lost to budgetary cuts.
Back in the day—and we're talking last century, late seventies and early eighties—the mantra of most politicians on abortion went something like this: Although I personally oppose abortion, people of good faith differ on the issue, and it should not be made political. Of course, back then such a remark was branded as politicians trying to have it both ways. Today such a remark sounds wise and wonderfully civil.
On October 4, 1957, the launch of a 23-inch Soviet satellite called "Sputnik 1" into low elliptical orbit shocked the USA. The Soviets had beaten us, and we didn't like it. Suddenly the fear from sea to shining sea was that America might be second-rate. The communists, who were a threat to the world, were leaving us in the dust.
It's hard to overstate the importance of the Tuesday, March 7, mill levy vote, which will affect ongoing funding for Fargo schools; that said, it's also hard to explain the role mill levies play in funding schools. In fact, when talking about mill levies, we best skip confusing stuff and cut to the chase: For Fargo property owners the outcome of a yes vote is that the mill levy providing school funding stays the same: It's 127 mills today and it will be 127 mills if the vote passes. If you are like me, you now are asking, "So, why do we need the vote?"
As my husband and I were heading downtown to participate in the Fargo version of the "Women's March on Washington" a week ago Saturday, he suddenly stopped and said, "I think this is the first protest march I've ever taken part in." I started to laugh. But then I realized it likely was the first time I'd ever joined a protest march. "Newbies," I said to him. "We're a couple of really old newbies."
Note to Gov. Doug Burgum: Taxing self-paying nursing home patients is—to borrow words popular with our new president—sad...really sad. North Dakotans may have their eyes glaze over when the subject is oil extraction taxes or corporate tax rates, but they are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when the subject is placing surtaxes on nursing home care. Everybody has relatives and friends in nursing homes. No question, that surtax is entirely understood. No question it will be resented.