Legislative ‘bluff and bunk’ no different after 100 years

Just when did politics get so … weird? When did politicians become sociopathic performance artists, huffing their own vapors long past the point of inebriation? Of course, we begin by blaming the other party, whoever they may be. But then, upon sober analysis, we might conclude that it’s the internet’s fault. The answer, however, is… Read More →

It truly is robot-fighting time

There’s a lot of dumb TV out there. Thus, I hesitate to explain that one of my favorite shows is about fighting robots. But I also think there’s a lesson in this program that would reinvigorate northern Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range.  “Battlebots” wrapped up its tenth season on the Discovery channel recently. The New Zealand… Read More →

The passion of curiosity

There is a crisis in local education that can be plainly seen by experts and laymen alike. It is a crisis of engagement, enrollment, and learning. Fueled (though not caused) by the COVID-19 pandemic, educators wrestle with questions of critical thinking and knowledge. Meantime, the drone of standardized testing grinds away at deeply distracted students… Read More →

Power in the Wilderness project nearing completion

Longtime readers know that I’ve eased up production here at MinnesotaBrown while I toil on several big projects. Here’s how it’s going. I’ve been working on a book for the University of Minnesota Press about Victor Power, called “Power in the Wilderness,” with a first draft due early this summer. I’m past 2/3 done now,… Read More →

Seeking normalcy one year into pandemic

So, let’s not sugar coat this. I’ve been working from home for almost a year. And while I like my home and have everything I need to do my job here, I am starting to notice signs that this year has affected me in many poorly understood ways. We’ve been trying to help prevent the… Read More →

Party labels fail to capture political change

In 2021 politics projects an animated mix of theatrical despair. People seem hopelessly angry all the time, though typically without understanding exactly what’s going on or how anything works. We pick our favorite avatars and cheer them as they battle perceived enemies, hoping for a victory that, even if realized, never seems to change anything…. Read More →

At the end of a winter transformation

It’s been cold in northern Minnesota these last couple weeks. Not really record-breaking, so much as record-nearing. Kind of like running fast enough to read the number on Usain Bolt. Not the fastest, but still fast.  You might ask how it is that anyone or anything survives when the temperature hits 40 below, a cold… Read More →

Now is our only time

The other day my son Doug asked me a question. If I could live in any time in history other than our current time, when would I want to live? Doug loves starting conversations with training seminar ice breakers, even though he’s never been to a training seminar. (We suspect he’s on a management track)…. Read More →

Future of Hibbing mine tied to rapidly changing steel industry

Today, the Minnesota Reformer published my new column, “The clash of two big steel companies will help shape the future of the Iron Range.” The piece explores the issues behind Hibbing Taconite’s need for a new iron ore supply. I’ve written before about Cleveland-Cliffs’ new position in North American iron and steel. Now we’ll see… Read More →

The Super Bowl is stupid and that’s what makes it great

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, the most uniquely American holiday of them all. Today we celebrate millionaires committing violence upon one another for the enrichment of billionaires. And it’s not even on CNBC! What a day. Don’t get me wrong. I love Super Bowl Sunday. Always have. Most people watch it, and I love things that… Read More →