The Forum of Fargo/Moorhead
The legal fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline river crossing near Cannon Ball, N.D., is not over, but the safe bet is that the last phase of the controversial project is a go. Two tribes are seeking a temporary injunction to stop construction near the site of months of tribal protests, but the work ramped up when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, under the prompting of the Trump administration, issued the final permits.
Despite what the long-forgotten 1960s pop song said, not everybody loves a clown (Gary Lewis & the Playboys, "Everybody Loves a Clown"). The peculiar clown craze sweeping the nation — even in the usually clown-resistant Midwest — has gone from harmless fun to the potential for criminality. While there is nothing illegal in dressing up as a clown, doing so for purposes of harassment, intimidation or committing crimes crosses the funny line. Law enforcement reports that some criminals are using the clown costume craze to mask criminal intentions.
St. Paul seems to be holding its customary winter celebration in August. The state Capitol remains frozen in dysfunction as Gov. Mark Dayton and the legislative leaders of both parties continue their slow-motion—glacial—feud over the tax and bonding bills. The ice palace now has crumbled with the collapse of talks on taxes and a bonding bill. Dayton announced that he will not call a special session.
Minnesota's medical marijuana program just took a big step forward in allowing intractable pain as one of the authorized illnesses or conditions that can be treated. That will greatly expand eligibility for the program, and extend relief to a large number of suffering people around the state.
Democrats who are assembled in Philadelphia for their national convention seem to be taking a page from last week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland: They are putting on smiley faces about unity, but there is none.
The upper Midwest is in for hot and humid conditions for at least the next couple of days. A record or two might be broken. Happens every year. So does the hype. Media, including The Forum, tend to greet "extreme" weather as if it were the first time it's ever happened. Yet, the records confirm that heat waves of varied length and intensity cook the region almost every summer. Humidity is a given for a few days, as are thunderstorms, some severe.
It appears Minnesota’s small businesses will not get tax relief this session of the Legislature. Despite a projected $1.2 billion surplus and nearly $2 billion in reserves, Gov. Mark Dayton seems disinclined to push for reasonable changes in business taxes. The Democrat-controlled state Senate is not moving in that direction, and the Republican-controlled House might make all the right noises, but seems to have other fish to fry. The tax most objectionable to business owners is the statewide business property tax.
Suppose you want to wear a black armband as a form of protest against an unpopular war. But you are told by your high school principal that you will be suspended if you do so. That happened at a high school in Des Moines, Iowa, to a group of students who wanted to express their opposition to the Vietnam War. Despite the warning, the students went ahead with their protest and were suspended, as promised. They sued, and the dispute went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled in the students’ favor.
Good teaching should be recognized and rewarded.