At this festive time of year, I propose Christmas gifts for politicians, organizations and a pathetic peddler of piffle. Here goes.
FARGO -- It didn’t take long for the entrenched political establishment to begin a crusade to undermine the wishes of North Dakota voters who in November approved Measure 1, the ethics commission question, by a strong margin. When I made that point in a Sunday column a few weeks ago, two establishment regulars got their knickers in a knot, and said I was misrepresenting the motivations of the opposition.
POST MILLS, Vt. — There are legions of clam chowder devotees out there. Some are transplanted Dakotans who live on the seafood-rich coasts; others are inland flatlanders who believe that good chowder can be had a thousand miles from the ocean. Responses to last week's column came from chowder aficionados who appreciated my quest for the best bowl, even if they did not agree with my ultimate selection of the marvelous clams-in-the-shell chowder served at Latham House Tavern in Lyme, N.H. Here's a sample.
LYME, N.H. — My quest for the best New England clam chowder started when I was young. Trips to the Connecticut coast or to dining rooms in Hartford, Conn., with my parents and sister always included seafood restaurants. I began what was to evolve into lifelong obsession: finding the best chowder. I think I've found it.
POST MILLS, VT. — My triplet granddaughters started seventh grade a few days ago at Thetford Academy in Thetford, Vt., about 10 minutes from their home near the village of Post Mills. It's a beautiful school on a low hill — several very New England buildings around a grassed quadrangle, open to a spectacular view of the mountains of the Connecticut River Valley. Small enrollment: 339 students in grades seven through 12, and enough teachers to keep class sizes to about 10 students.
POST MILLS, VT. — When I insisted the old scythe go in the moving truck to Vermont, my family scoffed. "Gonna cut hay?" one mockingly asked. I ignored her. The weathered, rusted implement made the trip east with more modern things. We'd sold our Sheyenne River house with the big yard, and downsized to a Fargo townhome. Yard and garden tools went to my daughter's rural place in New England where they would be put to good use. Packing the scythe was my indulgence. Never thought I'd use it. Liked the look of it. Loved its history.
POST MILLS, Vt. — I am among the many who will not shed a tear when Trump-loving farmers and business people take it in the shorts because of the president's absurd trade policies. In what is a classic I-told-you-so moment, Trump cultists in red-state farm country and business people who drooled like dogs at the prospect of "the largest tax cut in history" (a lie; it's not even close) are getting their financial butts broiled because of Trump's tariffs and his irresponsible flap-jawing about even more tariffs.
POST MILLS, Vt. — We are advised to avoid getting attached to things. It's good advice, but some things become more than objects. Think about collectors of vintage cars. Or book lovers. I get that one. I have shelves of books; dozens have attained the status, "keep no matter what." Then there was the lawn tractor. Was.
About the political ad blitz on television. Some good, some not. Airtime is being sucked up by the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. Independent assessments say it's a close race. It will get closer. The TV ads? Best spot so far: Heitkamp. It's a low-key coup by former Cass County deputy sheriff and West Fargo police chief Arland Rasmussen.The retired officer all but calls Cramer a liar.
FARGO — What are we to make of "The Hug," or more apt, the non-hug? By now, anyone who pays attention to Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., knows about the awkward moment he shared with Donald Trump when the president was in Fargo. Trump came to town to campaign for Cramer, who is lusting after Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp's job. Photojournalist Dave Sampson's image of "The Hug" quickly became fodder for late-night TV shows and online giggles. It's one of those perfect news photos that indeed is worth a thousand words. It showcases the talent of a gifted photographer.