Range’s icy disposition toward Twin Cities pushes rightward swing

I know some readers might miss my election night liveblogs, but I was quite relieved to be free of that job this year. For one thing, St. Louis and Itasca county results didn’t really start coming in until midnight. Most races weren’t really known until 3. I slept through all of that, woke up Wednesday… Read More →

Tensions over potential mine closure boil over days before election

I wrote several different versions of a post yesterday after news broke and then unbroke regarding the potential closure of Hibbing Taconite. Fortunately, I was too busy to post any of them before newer information came in. So today I wrote a piece for the Minnesota Reformer analyzing the complex economic and political storm brewing… Read More →

New disc golf course in Balsam Township

Please indulge a proud dad moment. Our oldest son Henry Brown was featured on WDIO News last night for his Eagle Scout project. Raising almost $7,000 in cash and in-kind donations, with the help of 24 volunteers, Henry built a nine-hole disc golf course at Balsam Community Park near our home in the woods. He… Read More →

The spirit of Paul Wellstone, 20 years later

I think a person’s politics should be a journey, not a destination. While my politics have mostly stayed on one side of the mountain, they’ve made quite a few switchbacks along the incline. Am I a radical big time liberal or is it just that I like school? But I do recall the speech by… Read More →

Red October, no surprise

I’m still editing the big book, so most of my northern Minnesota political analysis has been confined to my columns in the Mesabi Tribune and Minnesota Reformer these days. Even there, I’ve avoided horse race politics this cycle, mostly out of disinterest. But sometimes the horses stick their heads through your front window. This week… Read More →

Core Conversations on the future of mining in northern Minnesota

Last Friday I made my television hosting debut with a special episode of Almanac North on WDSE. It’s part of a quarterly series called “Core Conversations.” This one focused on the future of the mining industry in northern Minnesota. You can view the episode in the embedded video above or by following the link. Guests… Read More →

Brown on the Air: TV hosting debut on Almanac North

Though I wish this would have happened 15 years and six stones ago, I’ll be making my television news hosting debut this Friday, Oct. 7, in Duluth. As a print and radio-trained journalist, I view this as a mildly terrifying exercise in experimental broadcasting. At 8 p.m., you can watch a special episode of Almanac North… Read More →

100 years of fascism, here and abroad

My latest essay for the Minnesota Reformer is out today: “Fascism from Italy to Hibbing and back again.” In recent years I’ve avoided the hyperbole and repetition of our national political debate. My thinking has been that you don’t really need another Trump/Biden screed that only reinforces what you already believe. I seek instead to… Read More →

The labor movement strikes back

Last week, my oldest son and I were camping in the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota. It was an important trip for us; a rite of passage. It’s his last year in Scouting and he’s starting college today. More on that trip later. While I was gone, my latest essay for the Minnesota… Read More →

Good vibes only? To be determined

What, pray tell, are “vibes?” People talk about them. They fill the zeitgeist. Vibes dictate how we feel about everything. And yet we have precious little understanding of the highly emotional sentiments that influence our purchases, name our next government, and shape our state of mind today and tomorrow.  My latest piece for the Minnesota… Read More →