Politics in North Dakota operate on a simple equation: North Dakotans want as much as we can get from Washington while giving as little as we can get away with to state and local governments. Today, the corollary of this equation is in force: If you can’t work one side of the equation, work the other.
One of the unfortunate truisms of our business is that there’s always bad news to report. One of the jobs of the columnist is to put that news in perspective. So I’ll start by acknowledging that problems remain on UND’s campus and in the state’s higher education system.
The newspaper business is complicated, and the complications all come together at this time of year. The Thanksgiving Day paper is the largest of the year, chock full of advertising — but often a little short on news.
Let’s be clear about one thing: In the war between man and weeds, I do not cheer for the weeds. For the most part, I think modern agriculture is a marvel. It feeds us well and cheaply. Consolidation of some agricultural operations, such as feedlots and slaughterhouses, has made the world cleaner and better fed.
It’s pretty hard to leave a meeting with Kirsten Baesler without being excited. It might be impossible. A group of fourth graders couldn’t do it last week. Neither could adults listening to Baesler lecture. And neither could the Herald editorial board.
Were you looking for an argument in favor of a parliamentary rather than a congressional system of government? Well, the situation in Washington over the past half dozen years may be as good as you can get.
It’s easy to forget that the newspaper is essentially a manufactured item — until something in the manufacturing process breaks down. Fortunately, this is rare enough that it has never interfered with (eventually) publishing the Herald.
Every newspaper has a split personality. There is the business personality. Without business success, there would be no newspaper. There is also the community personality. Newspapers are a vital part of their communities, and the newspaper’s community connection helps it be successful as a business.
More than 300 of you called about my decision to drop television listings, and not one of you had any words of praise or encouragement. Mostly, it was disappointment. The Herald, so many of you said, had let you down. That’s not what a publisher wants to hear.
On Monday I’ll be giving another Memorial Day speech. Actually, I’ll be giving the same speech three times, in cemeteries at Gilby, N.D., Honeyford, N.D., and Ness Lutheran Church near Mekinock, N.D. Veterans from these communities are members of the Gilby American Legion post.
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