The mushrooming cost of keeping North Dakota wrongdoers in confinement has led to the creation of a 16-person study committee to consider methods of reducing the prison population. A number of states have claimed substantial savings by releasing prisoners into a probation and parole system that emphasizes rehabilitation. With the loss of $1 billion in oil-related revenue, the state is ready to look at anything to save money.
Recently, a number of women legislators agreed to share their insights about serving in the North Dakota Legislative Assembly. None of them suggested that 30 percent of the men give their seats to women to equalize representativeness, even though 51 percent of the population now holds only 19 percent of the assembly. However, representativeness was a major theme. Sen. Judy Lee, R-West Fargo, put it quite directly: “I must tell you that I am not a fan of gender-specific categories.”
When pundits talk about electing more women to the state legislature, I am reminded of the story about the lady who was so far in debt that she thought winning the lottery was her only hope. So she prayed and prayed. After a couple of weeks of praying, the prize eluded her so she prayed even harder. Then in the middle of the night, she heard a deep voice declare: “In order to win, you must buy a ticket.” It is not possible to elect more women unless more women are willing to run.
In the heated rhetoric of the debate, some gay marriage advocates have alleged that opposition to gay marriage is the same as bigotry and prejudice. Such terms are inappropriate. Actually, such words are being abused by gay righters to capitalize on the nationwide concern focused on racism. Opposition to gay marriage is not rooted in the personal animosities that are characteristic of bigotry, but in reliance on the Bible as the authority for a Christian lifestyle.
If Bruce Jenner can be a woman, why can’t Rachel Dolezal be an African-American? And why isn’t it okay for Jeb not to be a Bush? I’m looking to the American Civil Liberties Union for an explanation. Donald Trump announced for president the same week that a rhino ran loose in the streets of Bangkok -- probably thought Trump needed a running mate, on a third party Jurassic ticket. Loose lips sink ships. Trump already failed the test. Money is no substitute for brains.
“Holy cow! Here it’s almost July and the tourists are staying in bed and breakfast places all over North Dakota except here,” Orville Jordan grumbled as the town’s 14 electors trickled into the cavernous community hall for a meeting of the Homeland Security Committee. “I’m in favor of this town becoming the bed and breakfast capital of Ryba Township,” declared Dorsey Silovich.
While serving as a professor of political science at UND, I was privileged to see many students who later joined the ranks of the successful. I have had a U.S. senator, a U.S. congressman, a couple of elected state officials, the Republican Speaker of the Minnesota House, a number of district judges, attorneys, educators, entrepreneurs and scores of others who met society’s common definition of success.
That headache we are feeling as we see the mailperson dropping off bulging letters from credit card companies is called “doorbuster hangover.” The retailer’s Black Friday now becomes red January because we overdid it. All of the big lending folks are after us - Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. In addition, we hear from Macy’s, Penny’s, Sears, Starbucks, Target, Walmart, Lowes, Kohl’s, K-Mart, Joe’s Barber Shop and Amazon. It’s called spreading the wealth.
Higher education in North Dakota never seems to be out of the frying pan or the fire. Over the next few months, major decisions will be made that will affect the institutions of higher learning for years to come. In November, the voters turned down Measure 3, a proposal that would have provided tighter management and accountability of the institutions using a three-member, full-time management commission. With that behind it, the Board of Higher Education is now about to name a new chancellor.
Despite the convincing Republican victories in the 2014 off-presidential year election, they will do little to change the Washington gridlock detested by the electorate. At least, that’s what the U.S. Constitution says. Haunted by the abuses of King George III, the Constitution’s drafters feared any concentration of power, so they designed a system of government that would prevent hasty action.