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Thursday, December 29, 2016


THINK DIFFERENTLY That was the message from incoming Gov. Doug Burgum, he said, “Meetings in which requests for more funding will be short; those who come forward to discuss innovative ideas will be fit into his schedule no matter how late the hour.” Burgum wants to reinvent state government. The Bismarck Tribune said it remains to be seen how ND's Republican Legislature will react.

BURGUM called for the Obama administration to reverse course and approve the Dakota Access Pipeline and provide federal law enforcement resources. He said, "Failure to finish it would send a chilling signal to those in any industry who wish to invest in our state and play by the rules."

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST Trump’s potential conflicts capture the news, but Burgum’s numerous investments also present conflict issues. Last week, his direction began to become clear. He is keeping investments such as Kilbourne (Fargo commercial real estate) and Arthur Ventures (venture capital), but stepping down from active management. He will also keep his residence in Fargo, farm and ranch, and interest in a family agribusiness company. He has resigned public company board positions, but is presumably staying invested in those companies. Like Trump, most of Burgum’s investments are privately held businesses which are not easily sold or transferred.

GOV. DALRYMPLE wants to clear the record about the pipeline protests now that he has left office. In a commentary headed “Mob rule, intimidation overshadow tribe’s concerns in DALP protest,” he emphasized three essential facts. First, for over two years the Standing Rock tribe attended no public meetings about the pipeline; second, the pipeline never crosses tribal land; and, finally, the intake to the tribe’s water supply is 70 miles away in South Dakota.

LITTLE DAVE “So far, at least, Little Dave and his legion of followers have beaten Big Oil.” -- From a Forum article by Patrick Springer about Standing Rock Chairman David Archambault II (“Little Dave”). The article is laudatory and leans heavily on a Standing Rock version of the recent protests. Last week, Archambault participated in a West Hollywood panel with Jane Fonda and Robert Kennedy, Jr. about the pipeline. Archambault told the panel “The way I look at it we’ve already won.”

ARCHAMBAULT may deserve some praise for battling “Big Oil.” But the threat to the water supply at Standing Rock is largely a fiction -- as noted by Gov. Dalrymple, a new water intake for the reservation is being completed in South Dakota about 70 miles downriver from the pipeline. The larger problem with the Forum profile of Archambault is, that as he gains celebrity with appearances in Hollywood and before a United Nations Council in Switzerland, he may further impoverish his reservation. Standing Rock is plagued by a litany of problems: unemployment, poverty, crime, health and education -- to name a few. Fighting “Big Oil” may be an exciting diversion, but did Little Dave and the Standing Rock Council pick the right fight?

THE KEYSTONE XL OIL PIPELINE was a victim of the Obama administration. The pipeline was to carry oil sands crude from Alberta to the U.S. Midwest and was also available to take ND crude oil. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supports the project and says Trump is also very supportive. Trump is also expected to clear the way for the Dakota Access Pipeline.

GOFUNDME said funds related to the Standing Rock protests totaled nearly $8 million and were the second largest campaign handled by GoFundMe. The largest was related to the Orlando, Florida, nightclub killings.

THE NATIONAL BUFFALO MUSEUM in Jamestown needs $50,000 to properly stuff and mount White Cloud, a dead albino bison that spent most of its life at the museum. The good folks at Vining Oil in Jamestown donated $30,000 -- the remainder should be easy.

THE FARGO-MOORHEAD DIVERSION CHANNEL crosses four rivers, two interstate highways and four railroads. Four construction partnerships have been asked to submit proposals for financing and building the multi-billion dollar project.

HOW ABOUT US? When Fargo leaders heard the Minneapolis City Council wanted to stop doing business with Wells Fargo, hands raised in Fargo. The bank has 11,000 employees in Minneapolis -- Fargo said they would be happy to get a piece of the action.

THE UND DIVERSITY COUNCIL presented recommendations to President Mark Kennedy for making the school more inclusive. Historically, the school has taken a balanced, common sense approach to diversity issues. The new recommendations teeter on the edge of political correctness. One recommends a “critical mass” of faculty from minority populations; another urges “cluster hires” of academics focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. The report also recommends revision of the diversity requirement of UND’s Essential Studies.

DAKTOIDS: Even by ND standards it was cold this week: Fargo had a wind chill value of minus 40 degrees; Gwinner minus 49. South Dakota was worse: Aberdeen was minus 37 degrees with a wind chill value of minus 58 . . . ND gained population in 2016, but only by 1,100 people, making a population of about 758,000. More people left the state in 2016 than arrived.

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