Say Anything

Port exiting HPR

by Chris Hennen | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 14th, 2016

By Chris Hennen

Over the holiday break, it was announced political blogger Rob Port of Say Anything blog will join Forum Communications and write a column for the Forum newspaper effectively ending his relationship with the High Plains Reader. As he exits our pages, we decided to ask Rob about his decision to write for a paper he often criticizes on his blog and find out how it all came about.

HPR: How did becoming a columnist for the Forum come about?

Rob Port: My good friend Jay Thomas,…

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Ask me to give, not give back

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 25th, 2015

I hate being asked to give something back this time of year.

Before I explain why, let me tell you that what I like best about the holiday season is the focus on charity. There is something wonderful about a time of year when we focus on being thankful for what we have and helping those around us.

Yet there is something irksome in the way we talk about charity. We are inundated with messages telling us to “give back.” Pitch after pitch for charity tells us to “give something back…

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Get Tough

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 18th, 2015

Photo by Bafometro

Drunk driving law may get overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court

Imagine you stand accused of stealing items from your neighbor and the police want to search your home for evidence of that theft without a warrant. Would we not be outraged if there were a law on the books making you immediately guilty of a crime equivalent to theft for declining a warrantless search?

What good is the 4th amendment if it is illegal to turn down a search for which the police do not have a warrant?

Yet that’s…

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It’s time to get Breathe ND out of our state budget

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 10th, 2015

North Dakota may find itself short on revenues in coming bienniums, but the state could ease that pain by getting out of the anti-tobacco advocacy business.

First, let’s make the budget picture clear.

“I think there's a realization setting in that the revenues are going to be short of what we expected,” state Senator Gary Lee told me last week during an interview about the state’s finances (we didn’t get into tobacco policy). Lee is a Republican from Casselton who chairs the…

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The First Amendment is in trouble

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | December 3rd, 2015

To understand the workings of American politics, you have to understand this fundamental law,” columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote in 2002. “Conservatives think liberals are stupid. Liberals think conservatives are evil.”


This is as true in 2015 as it was in 2002, if not more so, and it’s not a great situation for our country. It has resulted in a lot of people talking about one another, but not very often to one another.

This is not the stuff sound and peaceful governance is…

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Your dignity is worth more than a black Friday discount

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 24th, 2015

“It’s become a Thanksgiving holiday tradition,” a colleague told me recently. “We eat the turkey, and then we watch videos of people being trampled at Black Friday sales on YouTube.”

That’s about the gist of it. The holiday shopping phenomena which has good people, otherwise upstanding and model citizens, throwing aside their dignity to stampede and fistfight over discounted merchandise and should serve as a mark of national shame.

Indeed, retailers who once upon a time…

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No state may be hurt more by the Clean Power Plan than North Dakota

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 19th, 2015

The Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan is expected to have a dramatic impact on how Americans get their power across the U.S. Or, perhaps it’s better to describe the impact as extreme, given that dozens of states, including North Dakota, filed suit to block those regulations the moment they hit the federal register.

But North Dakota may be where the hammer blow falls the hardest. When the plan was put out for public comment it called for an 11 percent reduction in emissions from…

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Leave it in the ground isn’t a sane option

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 11th, 2015


On Sept. 19, 2008, TransCanada submitted a permit request to the U.S. State Department to build a pipeline across the United States/Canada border. The name of this project was the Keystone XL pipeline.

It took 2,605 days — seven years, one month, and 19 days of obnoxious political dithering — for the permit to be rejected

In shooting down the project, President Obama said it has had “an overinflated role in our political discourse.”

True, maybe. The Keystone XL project was actually…

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Interest groups lobbying on the taxpayer dime

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 5th, 2015

Like every other state in the union North Dakota has a host of state boards and commissions that were created to administer licensing and discipline for various occupations.

Yet increasingly the mission of these groups has crept into the arena of political advocacy.

During the 2015 legislative session at least seven regulatory boards had lobbyists registered to be able to lawfully work to influence legislators, according to a database maintained by the secretary of state’s office. The…

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Mad dads making the lawyers move

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | October 28th, 2015


The proponents of family law reform in North Dakota are having an impact. After ballot measure efforts in 2006 and 2014 aimed at changing divorce and custody laws managed to get around 40 percent of the vote, the state’s lawyers are taking action to get ahead of the curve.

A task force created by the State Bar Association of North Dakota will convene in November to address ways in which laws governing divorce and child custody can be reformed. The letter sent out to task force members…

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