What Are You Waiting For Governor? Commissioners? Mayors?

The science and mathematics of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic are clear. Continued hesitation right now, in this moment, will cost more lives. 

People in all but five states are living under partial or statewide shelter-in-place orders. Why not North Dakota?

Right now is the time to keep people in their homes with shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of coronavirus and COVID-19. U.S. citizens have heard this message over and over and over again from scientific and medical experts in communicable diseases.

People in 38 states are now living under statewide or partial shelter-in-place orders by governors, county commissioners and mayors. The exceptions as of today (April 3, 2020) are Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and, of course, my state of North Dakota.

Why? What are mayors, county commissioners and governors waiting for?

Dakota Do-Nothings

Last week, I wrote a letter to N.D. Gov. Doug Burgum, asking him to issue a statewide, mandatory shelter-in-place order. I provided a version of that letter for download, customization and use by anyone and everyone.

Nothing from him so far. He and his counterpart seem to be taking the same do-nothing approach.

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem is telling her constituents that it’s “everyone’s personal responsibility to take the right actions.”

There are many problems with that view and approach, but here’s the biggie:

Sadly – and I’d say stupidly – too many people will not voluntarily do what we need them to do. People are out spreading the virus to each other. One person gives it to two, each of those give it to two more, each of those four give it to two more…

See where that’s headed?

Every time one person with coronavirus interacts with others, s/he is the cause of dozens, perhaps hundreds and maybe even thousands of infections.

The whole “personal responsibility” thing isn’t working, and it won’t moving forward. That’s just the way it is.

COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place. Now.

I sent a similar letter to the mayor of my city, Fargo, N.D., yesterday. Mayor Tim Mahoney got back to me within minutes saying, “We are moving in this direction.”

I urge Mayor Mahoney and other city officials to move quickly. “Immediately” would be good.

In a press conference a couple of days ago, Mahoney asked people, especially young people, to take shelter-in-place recommendations more seriously. Burgum, during his own news conference yesterday, also referring to social-distancing guidelines, bemoaned the fact that “some people are not taking this seriously.”

Well, folks, there is a serious solution readily at hand  –

Issue mandatory shelter-in-place orders. Do it now.

Coming Soon to a Home Near You

This hits close to home. In my letter to Burgum, I included this –

My wife is a registered nurse on the front lines. She is working directly with coronavirus and COVID-19 patients in a Special Care Unit in Fargo. She puts her life on the line every day she steps onto the unit, as do her fellow nurses, doctors and support staff. People who do not social distance put the lives of these healthcare heroes on the line, as well.

However, it’s not just about me and my spouse of 25 years. It’s about everyone in Fargo, North Dakota and throughout the United States. With the latest information from scientists, infection and death in all our homes are literally just a breath away.

I do not believe I was overdramatic in my letters to both men when I said that right now, in this very moment, they have an opportunity to save lives, to slow the spread of coronavirus and limit the number of deaths from COVID-19.

But they must act. The science and mathematics of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic are clear.

Hesitation right now, in this moment, will cost lives.


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Featured graphic – underlying map by the New York Times, question mark guy by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay. 




Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place Request: Customizable Letter to Mayors & Governors

Our leaders need to do everything in their power to to slow the spread of coronavirus. Now.

Use this letter to ask your mayor and governor to issue mandatory shelter-in-place orders to slow the coronavirus & COVID-19 pandemic

I recently sent letters to my city’s mayor and my state’s governor asking them to issue mandatory shelter-in-place orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. I hope you will, too.

I’ve included a link for a downloadable and customizable version of the following letter at the bottom of this post. Please download it, edit it in whatever way you see fit and send it to your mayor and the governor of your state as soon as possible. Remember to include your contact information.

Fargo, N.D. residents, send your letter to Mayor Tim Mahoney using this form, or call him at 701-241-1310. If you’re in another U.S. city, search your city’s website for contact information.

North Dakota citizens can contact Gov. Doug Burgum directly through the online contact form, or email his constituent service representative, Shelley Haugen, at skhaugen@nd.gov. If you’re from another state, find your governor’s contact information here.

Here’s the letter:

Continue reading “Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place Request: Customizable Letter to Mayors & Governors”

Spring Coming, Temps Rising… But Coronavirus is Out There

Upper Great Plains: Time to recommit to social distancing.

Dont Do It!

Social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 has been relatively easy so far in North Dakota and Minnesota. March has been the tease it usually is, with above-freezing temps but windchills still down in the single digits or teens.

But now the temps are rising – 40s and 50s in Fargo (N.D.)-Moorhead (Minn.) for the next 10 days or so, warmer the farther south you go.

We’re all looking out the window, thinking about how luxurious the spring sunshine would feel on our backs and how great it would be to share a cold one on the neighbors’ patio, even if we still have to wear a light jacket.

The pull is especially strong after a couple of weeks mostly in isolation. People… we need to be around people!

Resist the urge.

Getting together, standing in lines, stopping for chats…. You’ll not only be putting yourself in danger of contracting coronavirus and developing COVID-19, you’ll be putting others in danger. One person with coronavirus infects two, two become four, four become 16, 16 become….

To give you a little more context for my point of view – my wife is a registered nurse at Sanford Health caring for patients with coronavirus and COVID-19 patients directly. People who go out and interact with other people literally put her life at greater risk.

Just don’t do it. Please.

Go walk your dogs, keep six feet between you and anyone on the same side of the street, hang out with the kids in the backyard, sure. Take care of your family’s mental health. Absolutely. But keep using technology like FaceTime if you have it to “hang” with anyone who doesn’t live in your household.

COVID-19 is out there, like a wolf waiting to make a break for anyone who stumbles from a herd.

Just… #StayTheFuckHome


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Featured graphic by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay.

Mental Health Guidance for Kids, Teens and Guardians

Coronavirus is kicking everyone in the ass, but it’s especially tough for kids and teens. Here’s some guidance and a few resources to help us all through.

Talk. Listen. Validate.
While You’re At It, Blast a Little Metal.

Last week I wrote a post about what a drag this coronavirus crap is for my oldest daughter, a representative of classes of 2020 all over the country. For this year’s seniors, fun is not being had, friendships are not being deepened and memories are not being made.

Like all of us, they’re captives of circumstances that are beyond their control.

That sucks.

Everyone is sharply focused on physical health, for good reason, but we can’t forget about mental health.

The stress of self- or parent/guardian-imposed stay-at-home social distancing is a challenge for everyone, but I believe it has to be tougher on kids, especially teens.

Think back for a minute. Remember how important your friends were when you were 12-18 years old? Your crew – or whatever you called it – wasn’t just important, it was necessary. You felt things so much more deeply then. Everything took on such huge significance that you needed your friends to get through it all.

Nothing’s changed. These kids need their friends, and not just over FaceTime or some similar technology. They need to be with each other, face to face. They need to hug and bump fists. But they can’t. And that can be tough on their mental health.

Search “mental health kids teens coronavirus” and dozens of articles and posts will come up from reputable groups, such as:

Many offer similar advice, like:

  • Talk to your kids about coronavirus and COVID-19.
  • Ask them about the specific worries they have. Really listen.
  • Validate their concerns, but also reassure them.
  • Be a good role model. Get enough sleep, exercise and eat well.
  • Be realistic and honest, but try not to express rising levels of anxiety.

As for my favorite advice, it comes from a non-mental health professional, metal rocker Lzzy Hale. It’s good for people of all ages –

Now is the time we truly get to see the healing powers of music. Listen to it, play it, share your playlists with friends. Listen to music together online, etc.”

Whatever you do, remember that our kids need us during these strange and unpredictable days.

Coronavirus and COVID-19 be damned! But for now, we just gotta deal.

As my 16-year old son would say, #Facts.”


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Senator Cramer Issues ‘Non-Apology Apology’ for Pelosi Tweet

The junior senator from North Dakota needs to make this as right as possible with a real apology.

That’s just not good enough, Kev.

Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., has once again embarrassed the citizens of the state he is supposed to represent.

Yesterday Cramer tweeted about Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. “She’s retarded,” he wrote in reply to a post by Daily Caller about Pelosi’s comments regarding COVID-19 relief bills.

Screenshot of offensive tweet by Sen. Kevin Cramer about Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Today – in the spirit of the Nixon White House responding to a Washington Post story about the Watergate scandal, a response that Editor Ben Bradlee famously called a “non-denial denial” – Cramer issued a “non-apology apology.”

The Ol’ DC Two-Step

Cramer behaved no better than Nixon and his communications staff in blaming the tweet on fumbling fingers and autocorrect, saying he was attempting to tweet, “She’s ridiculous.”

He must think people are either terribly stupid or incredibly gullible.

We’re not.

Try misspelling “ridiculous” in as many ways as possible. Your autocorrect will not substitute in “retarded.” It’s simply not possible. I just tried it myself. Instead of seeing autocorrect default to “retarded,” it gave me an opportunity to learn a new word. In case you were wondering, “reticulated” means “netted,” or “covered with a network.” Who knew?

Back to Cramer….

What was it Forrest Gump’s mama always used to say? Ah, yes, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Unfortunately, the news media is calling his “non-apology apology” an actual apology, which it most certainly is not. The headline from U.S. News is typical:

“US Sen. Cramer Apologizes for Offensive Term About Pelosi”

That is not accurate.

Image of Sen Kevin Cramer AP Photo Jose Luis Magana
Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. Associated Press photo by Jose Luis Magan

Non-Apology Apology

What he said was, “I’m really sorry it happened.”

Well, heck, I’m sure he is really sorry it happened. News outlets all of the nation have been carrying the story and he comes off as an insensitive, distasteful person to say the least. I’d go so far as to say he’s made himself look like an imbecile. Apply your own judgement.

Regardless, I’m willing to bet there are a lot of people around the country who are wondering how this man ever became a U.S. senator. Let me tell you what I believe, non-North Dakotans:  if this state wasn’t so doggone deep red, he wouldn’t have had even an inkling of a chance.

Regardless, what he said was a non-apology apology, and it’s not adequate. What he needs to say is, “I apologize TO SPEAKER PELOSI for using such an offensive word to describe her.”


So easy, in fact, that the vast majority of us learned how to make a proper apology before we started kindergarten.

Obligatory, as well.

Cramer also needs to apologize to everyone else on the planet for using the pejorative term at all. He needs to say, “I’m also sorry for using the term itself to describe anyone, due to its infamous history as a pejorative term used to describe people with mental and physical disabilities.”

What he’s said is simply not good enough. What he’s said is an embarrassment to North Dakotans who voted for him (I am not one). What he’s said insults the intelligence of every thinking person, regardless of whether they agree they’ve been insulted.

Finally, he needs to stop insulting our intelligence. Drop the “ridiculous” charade and own up to what he Tweeted rather than trying to blame it on technology.

Inasmuch as anything like this can be made right, Cramer needs to make this right with a real apology. He owes it to Speaker Pelosi, to the office she holds, the citizens of the nation and, last but not least, the people of North Dakota.

But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Cramer, like most kindergarteners and former Watergate operatives, probably believes he can keep quiet by holding his longer, anyway.


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Featured image:  Associated Press photo by Jose Luis Magana

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Dress Never Worn

Some Things You’ll Just Never Get Back

Our 18-year-old daughter opened our bedroom door late. We’d been sleeping for nearly an hour already. I sat up quickly, saw her silhouette in the light spilling in from the hallway. My wife, an RN at one of the local hospitals, had a 5 a.m. shift the next day; she slept on. My daughter motioned for me to come.

She was crying.

We went down the hall to her room, sat on the edge of the bed and I put my arm around her. She let me, which is unusual; my daughter has never been physically demonstrative, even when she was a baby. It’s just part of who she is.

“What’s wrong, Honey?” I asked, one word echoing through my mind before she spoke:




It was supposed to be the perfect year.

Continue reading “Dress Never Worn”