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 →

The persistent appeal of boondoggles

boon·dog·gle/ˈbo͞onˌdäɡəl/(1) work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value.(2) a public project of questionable merit that typically involves political patronage or graft.~ From the Oxford Languages dictionary When a debate boils down to “doing something useful” vs. “doing nothing,” politicians often reach compromise in “doing something useless.” This represents… Read More →

When profits pile costs on people

My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer is out today, this one tackling the rising cost of housing and health care that most affects working class people. The piece is called “Cost of living is our harshest tax.” Here’s a taste: We’ve all experienced economic inflation this past year. Consumer costs rise along with commodity… Read More →

We are in the automated future

It started long ago. Big trucks and steam shovels replaced small hoppers filled by men with spades. Machines took over for pinsetters at the bowling alley. Before long we were pumping our own gas. Now we scan our own groceries, making sure to check the codes on the bananas before ringing up our purchase, paying,… Read More →

Bakk decision makes big news

Thursday’s announcement that State Sen. Tom Bakk would retire from the legislature made big news around Minnesota. My blog post yesterday was reprinted in the Minnesota Reformer, so check that out if you missed it. I also appeared on CBS 3 in Duluth and KBJR with analysis about the race. You can check out that… Read More →

As Bakk retires, unpredictable new era begins on the Iron Range

Though I have been on an extended hiatus from daily political blogging, I find it hard to leave certain events without comment. Thus, today, we observe the end of an era in Iron Range politics and the beginning of a shapeless and developing new order. This morning, State Sen. Tom Bakk (I-Cook) announced that he… Read More →

Clothing the next generation with independence

My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer is out today. The piece is entitled “A homespun stitch in time could save us.”  I like to blend personal stories with my commentary and often write about my family. I’ve written quite a lot about my dad and grandfathers, but today I get to highlight some of… Read More →

Northeastern Minnesota seat shuffle shows how it is when nobody knows your name

My latest column for the Minnesota Reformer is up today. Entitled “Shifting lines and changing times on the big lake they call Gitchi Gummi,” this piece explores redistricting outcomes here in northern Minnesota. Specifically I take a look at the expanding geography and unique political culture of the Eighth Congressional District. For instance, this observation:… Read More →