Say Anything

Don’t be angry, be thoughtful

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | October 21st, 2015

HBO comedian John Oliver aimed his considerable polemical skills at North Dakota recently, much to the delight of the state’s critics.

“Be angry,” was Oliver’s advice, even going so far as to put up a billboard with that message on the eastern edge of the Bakken oil fields.

It’s an interesting message. Oliver isn’t asking North Dakotans to be thoughtful about how oil activity in the state is regulated. His was not an appeal to logic or reason.

Oliver, as befits a polemicist,…

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The folly of opposing due process revealed at UND

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | October 15th, 2015


At the University of North Dakota last week a policy passed by state lawmakers, but opposed by North Dakota University System lobbyists, was vindicated.

During the legislative session earlier this year lawmakers passed due process protections for students accused of crimes on campus.

Since 2011 the Obama administration has stretched Title IX into a requirement that campuses adjudicate serious accusations of sexual assault and harassment on campus. What this has resulted in are kangaroo…

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We need to stop talking about gun control

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | October 7th, 2015

We got horrible news out of Oregon last week where another group of people were shot down by a murderer who ignored the prohibitions of a “gun free zone.”

Within hours, and before anyone knew the facts of the shooter’s identity, motives and methods, President Barack Obama positioned himself in front of television cameras for what has now become a rote political response calling for gun control.

He even, after calling these shootings “routine,” launched a pre-emptive strike…

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Close down the campus police departments

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | October 1st, 2015

Earlier this year the North Dakota Supreme Court found that it is illegal for campus police departments to be patrolling off campus. The jurisdiction for campus cops is the campus, the court ruled.

This has created some consternation in certain quarters. In Fargo, for instance, where the aforementioned court case originated, campus cops at North Dakota State University have been spending a significant amount of time patrolling off campus. These patrols were producing revenue from…

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It’s time for North Dakota to register voters

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

One laugh-out-loud moment from the 2014 election cycle saw Democrats releasing polling showing state Senator George Sinner with a lead in the U.S. House race over incumbent Kevin Cramer.

This is a common tactic. The political parties like to deploy their pollsters to “leak” polling information to journalists in order to manufacture favorable horse race headlines for their candidates. In this instance it was the Democrat-aligned Mellman Group claiming that Sinner was leading Cramer…

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The biggest problem with Heitkamp’s Iran vote was the hypocrisy

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 16th, 2015

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s position in the Iran deal may end up being a big deal for her political career.

A big deal on a number of fronts. In fact, this could be akin to the toxic vote on Obamacare North Dakota’s former congressional delegation -- former Rep. Earl Pomeroy along with former Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan -- cast back in early 2010.

It’s notable that none of those men won another election in North Dakota after casting that vote.

Could the Iran vote prove as…

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A disturbing free speech in North Dakota

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

“I don’t agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

That famous and wonderful quote is often attributed, erroneously, to the French Enlightenment writer Voltaire. It was actually written in 1904 by one of his biographers, Evelyn Beatrice Hall, as a summary statement for his thinking about free speech.

Something Voltaire actually wrote, in an essay titled “Toleration,” was just as good. “Think for yourselves, and allow others the privilege to…

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Proud to be a Neanderthal with cleaner air than Minnesota

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


Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, had some sharp words for the approach to climate policy taken by his state’s Republican-led western neighbor.

"These other states like North Dakota ... just have their heads in the sand and want to profit and then pollute our air accordingly," Dayton said during an interview with Minnesota Public Radio while praising his own state for meeting climate goals.

He also reportedly used the term “Neanderthal” to describe North Dakota’s…

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​Improving North Dakota’s open records policy

by Rob Port | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 26th, 2015

North Dakota is generally a very transparent state, due in no small part to open records laws that are very simple and very broad.

But there is room for improvement.

Case in point, three years ago North Dakota State University women’s athletics director Lynn Dorn was suspended without pay for some sort of inappropriate behavior involving a student. Dorn has since moved on, but the public has never been made privy to what happened.

According to NDSU’s lawyers, the specifics of Dorn’s…

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​Congratulations, it’s a boy!

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

Last week my wife and I welcomed a new baby to our family.

This is unfamiliar territory for me. My son is my third child, but my first boy.

As most parents do when they’re holding their new baby in their arms, my thoughts last week turned to what the future might be like for my little one. I’ve thought about this a lot where my girls are concerned, but this is the first time I’ve thought about raising a son.

I’m a little worried. There are a lot of issues facing males today that…

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​Yo ho ho!

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