Mike McFeely is a WDAY (970 AM) radio host and a columnist for The Forum. You can respond to Mike's columns by listening to AM-970 from 8:30-11 a.m. weekdays.
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FARGO—When is one violation bad enough to put a business out of business? It seems we have our answer right here in Fargo. Whether you have sympathy for the owner, like her personally or believe she took the proper corrective action after the fact doesn't much matter. Sometimes, one mistake is just too costly. One strike and you're out, if you will.
Maybe marijuana is the one thing that can bring this divided country together again, uniting the coasts with the heartland, the urban with the rural, the Democrats with the Republicans. If the good folks of North Dakota need to find something in common with the crazy liberals of California or the big-city swamp creatures of Washington, D.C.—people and regions residents of the Flickertail State seem to view with contempt and distrust—it might just turn out to be weed.
This is complicated, because Ed Schultz was complicated. How does one eulogize such a man honestly, knowing that for every ounce of talent, there was an ounce of darkness to match? How does one tell the story with at least a semblance of balance, recognizing that for all the successes of the small-market sportscaster gone big time, there are innumerable tales of woe from many of those who dealt with him? Schultz died Thursday, July 5, leaving a legacy of broadcasting greatness. But there was more.
FARGO—The peak of local media narcissism occurred about 15 years, when it was reported that the Democratic-NPL Party was recruiting a talk-radio host of some note (red hair, went national, now works for the Russians) to run for North Dakota governor against the immensely popular John Hoeven. Whether the host was seriously being recruited and whether he was interested—as opposed to using the attention to promote his radio show to increase ratings—remains publicly unknown.
FARGO—Yes, Rep. Kevin Cramer got some needed love at President Donald Trump's rally at Scheels Arena. But he wasn't the star. That would be the president himself, of course. And U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp? She tooks hits from Trump, but the president didn't get personal and didn't brand her with a nickname, as he's done to other Democrats he opposes. But Trump's message was clear: North Dakota needs to send Cramer to the Senate because he will vote with the president all the time.
FARGO—From defending a peeping Tom as "a very good man" to saying that all chain-link fences are created equal, whether they are holding children like caged dogs or simply enclosing a playground, it's been a rough past few weeks for Kevin Cramer.
WHITE EARTH, Minn.—Less than a month ago, Star Lake casino opponent Ty Dayton characterized the status of the controversial project thusly: "The casino proposal is not dead. It's just in a very deep state of hibernation." After the White Earth Nation tribal election on June 12, it might be time to ask a question. Like, what is the next step between hibernation and death? Suspended animation cryosleep? Or, in an ode to "The Princess Bride," mostly dead? Or something else?
It seems obvious the moral thing to do would be to reunite the migrant children with their parents at this country's southern border. Stop the cruelty as the first step and go from there. Using children as young as 18 months old as political leverage isn't the American way. The Trump administration, as a way to scare migrants coming mostly from Central American countries, implemented a policy to separate parents from their children when they attempt to enter the United States illegally. It is called "zero tolerance" by supporters. It is called "inhumane" by detractors.
FARGO—It was only the June primary, and turnout was abysmal, but North Dakota House Majority Leader Al Carlson might be a little less sure of re-election after Tuesday, June 12. This will make Democrats happy. There are more than a few Republicans—Carlson's party—snickering, too. Disliking Al is often a bipartisan exercise.
Lisa Drafall answered a cell phone call from an unknown 701 area code number after the second ring, for which she deserves a measure of credit. But the general manager of the Redwood Falls (Minn.) Gazette sounded weary in a brief conversation, perhaps owing to the attention her twice-weekly newspaper was receiving from every corner of the world. "On what topic?" she asked when the caller from Fargo wanted to ask a few questions. The Obit, of course, the caller said. "No, I'm not going to make any comments. I'm not going to say anything about that," she said.