Campaign season officially here

You can see it in the way advertising is starting to saturate the airwaves, the fresh scent of ink and toner at the newly-rented campaign offices…  the season of voter outreach is here once again.

Many other countries limit campaigns to 30, 45, or 60 days before the polls open, but America is the land of 24/7 everything, and even a 100 day marathon before the election can be seen as getting out of the gate a bit late.

Ryan Taylor’s run for North Dakota’s Agriculture Commission seems to be attracting genuine attention in the wider world, while Minnesota’s Senate race has become a bit of a sideshow.

NDSCS expanding into the wrong place

NDSCS is a good school with good programs, and the courses they train students are practical and vital to the regional economy.  But now that they’re planning a major expansion, an old but still-relevant question has to be asked: why bother having it so close to a nearly-identical institution, MNSCTC?  Spending tens of millions on community college development might make sense for North Dakota as a whole, but in the spirit of cooperation and efficiency, why should it be any closer to Minnesota than Jamestown?

Fargo taking tepid steps toward bike share

Coming soon to Fargo: 10 docking stations for transitized bicycles, courtesy of a public-private partnership group.  It seems the system is heavily modelled on bixi-based systems like Twin Cities Nice Ride; among other things, Fargo’s tiny network also feels it needs to charge $6 a day, $30 a month, or $75 a year.  Perhaps in the future the cities of West/Fargo/Moorhead could chip in a bit to make it more affordable.

As the program has been launched mainly with NDSU student government dollars, students will bike free; no word yet on whether MSUM or Concordia students are out in the cold, but visiting UND students will clearly have to pony up like regular schlubs.

In other pedestrian policy news, Grand Forks is finally paving a sidewalk alongside 2 km of South 42nd Street that have needed it for a long time, and Minneapolis is expanding parking availability for independent bike owners.

Net neutrality is the only option

Will the FCC embrace the “not on my lawn” philosophy and stand behind Internet Service Providers that choose to monetize any statistic they develop, and allow ISPs to dictate the terms on which they will allow other speech on their private networks?

Will the FCC embrace the “net neutrality” philosophy, designating Internet service as a common carrier, and require Internet Service Providers to move its customers’ data without favour or prejudice?

“Not on my lawn” surrenders control of everyone’s speech to private interests, and would deeply violate the public spirit of the United States of America. The answer that the average American citizen, small business, and non-profit would give is resoundingly in favour of net neutrality.

An All-Star lineup for PSC

Tyler Axness and Todd Reisenauer in Grand Forks this afternoon

Tyler Axness and Todd Reisenauer in Grand Forks this afternoon

Tyler Axness and Todd Reisenauer stumped in Grand Forks today, with a crowd of dozens of Dem-NPLers at hand to hear the urgent need for change and new ideas in Bismarck. Also along were the entire District 43 legislative slate, plus Kiara Kraus-Parr for Attorney General. Ryan Taylor, candidate for Agriculture Commissioner, sauntered into the saloon fashionably late, hot off the trail from a long day of campaigning.

All of these wonderful people have great ideas, like, for example, actually governing the state instead of allowing anarchy to reign in the west. They’ve got my vote!

Industrial Commission to go unpunished

North Dakota’s Attorney General says that the North Dakota Industrial Commission did violate the law by dawdling in responding to an open records request, but the prospect of a penalty for failure to fulfill their civic duty, even a small fine, is nowhere to be found.  Better late than never and all that, but doesn’t anyone ever get penalized when public records are improperly secluded?

You can, at very least, hold the Industrial Commission politically accountable – vote for Ryan Taylor.

Even the smallest of oil regulations get broken

Belfield’s city auditor has quit, after being forced to endure weeks on end dealing with ‘citizens’ that refuse to pay their water bills, plan for flooding, or generally follow any ordinance whatsoever. During the month of June, the city of Belfield has unsuccessfully attempted to ban new trailer homes and man camps — instead only raising the decibel level in Cindy Ewoniuk’s office.

Arbitrary corporate policies now entrenched as ‘religious belief’

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby is a major coup against the the rule of law — superficially handing down a ‘win’ for the cultural right, while opening a door to untold market manipulation in the name of whatever Ferengi gods our businessmen now choose to believe in.

I mean, before Hobby Lobby, there was no way in the world you could break the law and say that the devil made you do it, and still get away with it.  Now?  I guess anything goes.  Is it going to be medieval Europe or just the Wild West?