Warning the future about ourselves

As a species, humans expend relatively little thought on a future beyond ourselves. We’re just not wired for it. The survival instinct keeps us focused on our next meal, how we feel now, and our social relationships. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve come a long way. We now spend up to two decades of our… Read More →

Sabotaging the mail harms democracy and rural life

When you grow up in the country you form a special relationship with the mail. Back at our family’s junkyard in Zim my sisters and I would fight over who got to run up the driveway to get the mail each day. One time I almost got hit by a truck because I lurched for… Read More →

Don’t call it a mall

I once hung out in Iron Range shopping malls for fun. I didn’t even need to “get my steps.” No, I went to the mall to meet friends, buy Vanilla Ice cassettes, and sip something called “cappuccino” while surfing this new thing called “the internet” at a locally-owned mall coffee shop. It was very exciting… Read More →

The politics of unemployment

My latest for the Minnesota Reformer is up. Here’s a taste: The extension of mining unemployment benefits is an ever-present Iron Range campaign issue and legislative priority. Now it could prove to be the biggest national campaign issue in the entire 2020 race.  Welcome to Thunderdome! I’m afraid to report the real winners are in… Read More →

Destroyer of worlds

Seventy-five years ago the world’s first atomic bomb detonated across the arid expanse of the Jornada del Muerto Desert in New Mexico. Upon witnessing the otherworldly power he had unleashed physicist Robert Oppenheimer considered a line from Hindu scripture. “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds,” said the god Krishna. A reflective Oppenheimer quoted… Read More →

Lessons from travel ball

My parents hover near the periphery of memories of organized childhood activities. Oh, they were there. I just didn’t notice them much. Looking out the bus window of my recollections I see my dad patrolling the school parking lot in his work clothes. He smokes a Winston cigarette while sometimes emitting just a hint of… Read More →

Driving it home

When you bring your first child home from the hospital it’s like juggling a grenade with the pin pulled out. Fate entrusts this tiny, fragile creature to two dopes who will learn everything they know about parenting from experimentation on this baby. Maybe that’s why there’s such emphasis on getting the car seat installed properly…. Read More →

Latest Power podcast episode connects desert car chase with Minnesota mines

The second episode of our podcast “Power in the Wilderness” dropped over the weekend. You can listen online now if you missed it. The episode is entitled “El Pulpo,” Spanish for “The Octopus.” Our show is a special production of KAXE-Northern Community Radio. It’s funded in part by the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund…. Read More →

Media mergers in northern Minnesota and beyond

By now you may have seen the last column I wrote for the Hibbing Daily Tribune and the first that I penned for the newly merged Mesabi Tribune. Then last Friday I did a couple interviews about the merger of the Hibbing Daily Tribune and Mesabi Daily News. First I went on the KAXE Morning… Read More →

A new age on the Iron Range

There’s really not much to Iron Range history, at least in terms of quantity. Each of our small towns tolls not more than 120 years. The Ojibwe reservations are only a little older than that. And before that a complex array of Native American communities and dense forests that few today know anything about. Our… Read More →