Power in the Wilderness podcast available on major platforms

Readers here have probably gotten used to the fact that I’m only posting my newspaper columns these days. I’ve been working on my book, “Power in the Wilderness.” This process grew complicated when I returned to campus for my full time teaching assignment. Months ago Karl Jacob and I promoted our podcast, also called “Power… Read More →

When giants walked upon the earth: Latest Reformer column gets personal

In 2008, I turned out 800 blog posts a year, an insane output devoted almost entirely to my hyperactive political opinions. If you’ve been reading my site these last few years you know that I’ve slowed way down. Part of that is just the normal sort of time commitments that turn many “bloggers” into “ex-bloggers.”… Read More →

Labor navigates northern Minnesota political crosswinds

My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer is out today. Let’s call it a Labor Day think piece. Northern Minnesota has been a wellspring of the American labor movement for more than a century. However, in more recent years, organized labor has shifted into the role of mature old power, increasingly wedded to politics and… Read More →

When the ‘Field of Dreams’ was in Hibbing

With the successful completion of Major League Baseball’s “Field of Dreams” game in Dyersville, Iowa, I am reminded of a Northern Minnesota connection to the story. But not the one you think.  Of course you may know that the 1989 movie “Field of Dreams” was based on the W.P. Kinsella novella “Shoeless Joe.” Fans of… Read More →

‘Generational amnesia’ helps us forget a past we would do well to remember

My latest for the Minnesota Reformer is out today: The piece, entitled “These Old Timers Have Nostalgia All Wrong,” takes you on another of my journeys between past, present and future. This one explores what we forget. Our boundless ability to shed the past causes us to fear the future far more than we should…. Read More →

‘Power in the Wilderness’ podcast Q&A July 20 in Hibbing

I’m writing a new book, “Power in the Wilderness.” At almost five years, this represents the biggest individual project I’ve ever attempted. During the process, filmmaker Karl Jacob and I decided to co-produce and host a podcast of the same name. We sought to drum up interest in my book and his film project about… Read More →

Truth about past nothing to fear

My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer is out. In “The history of what is not true” I add an entry to the recent debate over how Americans understand our past. Avoiding the well-worn tropes of the political controversy, I instead focus on my own research experience. About 100 years ago, powerful men created a… Read More →

Iron Range 4th of July returns with gusto in 2021

Today I present one of my favorite annual features at MinnesotaBrown: the annual Fourth of July weekend lineup of Iron Range regional parades, street dances and fireworks displays. I’ve only been posting my newspaper columns this year as I finish my book. But I just had to come out of my book-writing cave to put… Read More →

Latest Reformer column explores collapse of local news

The Minnesota Reformer published my latest column today, this one about the collapse of local newspapers. Last week the International Falls Daily Journal announced it would cease publication later this month. This comes after other small weeklies have closed while other papers have either merged or reduced publication. It’s not just happening here, but across… Read More →

Drawing lines won’t solve problems

This week we learned that Minnesota would keep all eight of its Congressional seats after the federal government released the results of the 2020 Census. Good news for our state. We almost lost a seat. Nevertheless, this political analysis will now fixate on maps and lines as demographic change shapes new maps. Political districts are… Read More →