Since we are incapable of having a political debate in this country in 2017 without resorting to partisanship and tribalism, the violent events in Charlottesville have turned into a national game of finger pointing. The various flavors of bigot who showed up, ostensibly to protest the dismantling of Confederate-themed memorials, are beholden of an ugly and fundamentally wrong world view. They’re extremists. The fringe of the fringe. The self-styled anti-fascists who showed up with clubs and body armor to silence the bigots are also extremists. They’re also wrong.
Apparently because they didn’t have anything better to do, a couple of Republican lawmakers from West Fargo got their skirts up over their heads because of a display at the local public library promoting LGBT-themed books. From the Fargo Forum :
Congressman Kevin Cramer was on my radio show today for his weekly open phones segment, and I asked him about former state lawmaker Ben Hanson announcing a run for the U.S. House for Democrats. “He’s not my challenger yet because I haven’t announced that I’m running,” Cramer said, correcting the way I referred to Hanson.
For those of us who enjoy horse race politics, today was an indication that the 2018 election cycle in North Dakota may be a dull one.
How free is your speech when the price of saying or doing something controversial may be your livelihood and personal well being? That's an important question for America in 2017, where expressing unpopular views might earn you a public shaming on Twitter and a "doxing" (online slang for the exposure of details about your personal life) from internet vigilantes.
In a print column earlier this month I noted that the State of North Dakota had applied, in June, for $13.8 million in funding from the Justice Department’s Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Program.
All Americans of good faith were horrified by the events in Charlottesville over the weekend. To see that sort of political violence on U.S. soil is nothing short of horrifying. Ostensibly the Unite the Right rally was aimed at protesting the removal of local Confederate monuments, but let’s not kid ourselves. The protest and counter-protest from the left-wing antifa movement and its fellow travelers were using the fight over the monuments as a proxy for a much fight over identity.
With a severe drought having put its boot on the throat of North Dakota's agriculture industry, simmering resentment over the state's weather modification efforts have come to the surface. Seven North Dakota counties — Bowman, Burke, McKenzie, Mountrail, Ward, Williams, and a part of Slope — operate cloud seeding programs. The intent is to increase rainfall while heading damaging weather like hail storms. Does it work? There is no clear evidence that it does, though anecdotally we have indications of a dubious sort of efficacy.
North Dakota has had a long-running debate over shared parenting. Multiple ballot measures, and multiple legislative efforts, over the years have resulted in some reforms though shared parenting proponents still want more reform.
North Dakota Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven have made themselves co-sponsors of what's being called the "Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act." This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to "clarify that section 230 of that Act does not prohibit the enforcement of "laws related to sex trafficking" against web service providers. Currently people who operate websites — everyone from a blogger with a comment section to