Trump Delivers Shortest #SOTU in History

New York Times copy editor suffers exclamation-point-induced heart attack.

Speech Dubbed “First #SOTU of the Tweetstorm Age”

President Donald J. Trump gave the shortest State of the Union address in the history of the United States last night to a joint session of Congress and nearly a dozen Americans watching on live television.

Pundits have dubbed it “The First #SOTU of the Tweetstorm Age.”

Prior to the address, Trump’s staff released the text to the media:

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Another Take on EV “Road-Use Fee” Bill, SB 2061

Brad Magnuson, chair of the N.D. Dem-NPL Renewable Energy Caucus, says so-called “road-use fees” aimed at EVs and hybrids are punitive & unfair. A bill that would impose one is currently in the N.D. Legislature.

IV Words Guest Post – Brad Magnuson

Today the North Dakota Senate voted on a second reading of SB 2061, “A BILL for an Act to create and enact a new section to chapter 39-04 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to a road use fee for electric and hybrid vehicles; and to provide for a legislative management study.”

The bill passed the Senate with a seven-vote margin and now goes to the House.

If it becomes law, SB 2061 will impose a $110 annual “road-use fee” on electric vehicles (EVs) and $50 for hybrids. That’s an improvement from the version of the bill IV Words featured a couple of weeks ago, “Backwards Bill Would Deter People from Purchasing Electric Vehicles.” That bill would have imposed a $248 fee for EVs and $71 for hybrids.”

Brad Magnuson, chair of the N.D. Dem-NPL Renewable Energy Caucus, offers his take on “a bad bill,” even in its current form.

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Social Media – Tell Your Elected Officials What You Really Think

You gotta love social media. It makes communication with your congresspeople so “right now.”

Here’s an example:

I probably shouldn’t have done it. The Tweeted response did absolutely nothing to elevate the national debate.

But – Damn! – it felt good.

And for just a few moments it took the edge off of my jagged frustration with Republicans in the U.S. Congress.

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North Dakota Moves to Weaken Bakken Crude Conditioning Rules

Five years after Casselton’s near miss with exploding oil cars, the North Dakota Industrial Commission is loosening rules for testing Bakken crude set to ship by rail. What do YOU think?

Industrial Commission Actions Come on 5th Anniversary of Casselton Explosions

Five years after railroad cars carrying Bakken crude oil derailed and exploded near Casselton, N.D., the N.D. Industrial Commission is weakening rules for conditioning oil destined for railroad transport.

The irony is so thick it cuts like Jack the Ripper’s blade through London fog.

But this ain’t London, folks.

It’s our own backyards.

Too Close to “An Ink Spot”

Rory Peterson, who runs the Hardware Hank in Casselton, was spot on when he commented recently to The Forum News Service about the explosions five years ago.

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Trump Assertions on Climate Change are a Global Joke

The Trump administration tried to pitch “clean fossil fuels” during a global climate change convention this week. The world is laughing at the USA. Again.

Other Nations Laughing – Literally – But Not in Good Humor

The world is laughing at us. Maybe not all of us, the people, but definitely at Donald Trump’s USA, especially when it comes to climate change.

If you doubt it, listen to the laughter at his surrogate during this final week of COP24, where he told people the Trump administration believes “clean” fossil fuels will play a significant role in the world’s energy future.

Image for link to National Public Radio story on COP24 climate change conference
Listen from 1:31 to about 2:11 to hear the lead-up and literal laughter.

COP24 is more formally known as the 24th Session of the of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The convention of nations, convened in Katowice, Poland, comes on the heels of two science-based global warming and climate change reports on the already devastating impacts and dire projections for the future.

Despite that, the Trump administration chose to use the occasion to talk about coal and oil.

Not. Even. Joking.

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Citizens’ Climate Lobby Offers Reasonable Approach to Addressing Climate Change

New climate change legislation championed by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and introduced by three Democrats and two Republicans is a reasonable approach. We need to support it, call our representatives about it and talk about it with our neighbors.

New Legislation Backed by Members of Both Major Parties

You have to admire the audacity of the four volunteers from Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) who recently completed a “Climate Conversation Tour” of North Dakota.

This is a deep red state; 63 percent of voters here cast their ballots for Donald Trump in 2016. And Trump is the world’s most devout fossil fuel apostle, its greatest denier of human-caused global warming.

“I don’t believe it,” he infamously said a couple of weeks ago when the Fourth National Climate Assessment produced by 13 U.S. federal agencies provided a dire assessment for the United States.

“The report found that climate change will cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars annually and damage health,” the BBC reported.

Even so, the CCL volunteers – Paul Thompson and Mindy Ahler from the CCL’s North Wind Region and Brad and Linda Kingery from the Bemidji, Minn. chapter – came to North Dakota for six events in four communities to spur discussion about climate change and let people know about Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s efforts.

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Citizens’ Climate Lobby Brings “Climate Conversation Tour” to North Dakota

Volunteers from the North Wind Region of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby recently traveled to North Dakota for a “Climate Conversation Tour.” During six events, they discussed climate change and new legislation in the U.S. House to address it.

Volunteers Discuss Potential of New Carbon Dividend Legislation

Bi-partisan deliberation, collaboration and respect for opposing views are the keys to addressing climate change in meaningful ways, volunteers from Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) told a group in Fargo on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

Four volunteers from CCL’s North Wind Region visited North Dakota to kick-start the discussion here. Their Fargo presentation was the final stop in a week-long, six-event “climate conversation tour” of the state, which included a presentation of a new bill in Congress that could have a major impact on the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

“Wherever we go, interested people show up and are always curious about how Citizens’ Climate Lobby operates,” CCL North Wind Regional Coordinator Paul Thompson said. “The culture of North Dakota is unique due to its heavy dependence on fossil fuels. That’s why more bi-partisan discussion and training needs to happen here.”

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#IAmNotaDistraction – New Letter to Editor

Letter to the Editor of The Forum, Fargo, N.D., about dress code enforcement in Fargo Public Schools, in response to a letter by Keith Berg from 11/27/18

The problem is not the dress code itself, it’s how it’s written

by Sheri McMahon
Letter to the Editor, The Forum, Fargo, N.D.
Nov. 28, 2018 (online 11/27/18)

Regarding Nov. 27th letter by Keith Berg about a parent’s challenge to the Fargo Public School dress code:

Mr. Fredricks’ objection to the dress code is not that there is one, but how the dress code is written. There are some sections which provide mostly objective, gender-neutral prohibitions such as banning ads for substances illegal for minors to use, coats in class, and so on. But the section he wants to address lists items most likely to be worn by girls and carries an implicit shaming message regarding girls’ bodies. It also includes reference to “any item deemed inappropriate by administration” which also creates a subjective standard.

The code contains no references to clothing that might be inappropriate but more likely to be worn by boys rather than girls. The catch-all section regarding any clothing considered “distracting” also leaves enforcement wide open to subjective interpretation.

Model dress codes have been developed, ranging in degree of what clothing is permitted (e.g. some school districts are OK with exposing the midriff, others are not), which are much more objective and avoid the gender-implicit language and application of dress codes such as the one Fredricks opposes. They also objectively define what is too short, too tight, too loose. Such codes have been established in many schools and are worth considering by the district.

Positive Feedback on #IAmNotaDistractionFargo

Here are comments on Facebook regarding The Forum’s story about #IAmNotaDistractionFargo, published on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018.

Another Side to the Dress Code Story Reaction

Ashley – Oh my gosh, (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo), this is sooooo amazing. This is why it’s so important to speak up. Thank you for putting a spotlight on this issue!!! (We) are both grateful to you. (flexing bicep, clapping hands, double hearts)

Becky – Awesome

Brittlee – This is amazing! (three hearts)

Elizabeth – (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo), thanks for this. The “exposing of under garments” bit seems to target boys who sage their pants… Black kids.

Heidi – Hello! Let me know if I can help in any way. My daughter (now 10) was made to cover up her spaghetti strap dress 2 years ago. Very frustrating! She was only 8 at the time.

Jill – This is so awesome!!! I’ve always told our boys that if they are “distracted” it’s their problem and to fix it. I also hate that it’s ok for their cheerleaders to wear what they wear and that’s ok

Jodi – Go, (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo)!

John – Rock on, (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo). Rock. On. (horns up)

Kris – Oh heck yes! Keep it up dad! (smiley face, flexed bicep)

Lisa – Cool! So we can expect high schools to change their girls volleyball uniforms to something more modest, right? I find the double standard disturbing. In class, a girl with a skirt that is too short is determined to “be distracting to the learning process” and told to interrupt HER learning to go home to change. After school, this same girl is told to put on a volleyball uniform that is not much longer than her underwear and go out to entertain the students and parents of the same school. I think body and clothing shaming are disgusting. I think the only time a woman’s clothing choice should be discussed is to ask whether or not she is warm enough.

Lisa – My daughter was called down to the principal’s office during class and made to put on a large t-shirt over what she was wearing and then go back to class. I bought her clothing and nothing was ever offensive and not MOM approved. She took after me and had God-given gifts (if you know me, you know what I mean) but for them to pull her out of class and embarrass her was just too much. Needless to say, there was a discussion with West Fargo High School.

Mia – Love this!! (flexing bicep)

Mike – Way to go

Paul – Good initiative (#IAmNotaDistractionFargo).

Shana – I could go on and on about this. THANK YOU so much for your hubs taking the lead and addressing it. Dress code policies really do affect females way more.

Shereen – Great conversation. Thank you!

Thank you all for the support.

Martin C. Fredricks IV Logo

Fargo Newspaper Features Effort to End Body Shaming in Local Public Schools

#IAmNotaDistractionFargo invites anyone and everyone to share their own stories about themselves, their kids, their siblings or their friends being “coded” in a Fargo Public School.

Traction for #IAmNotaDistraction

The front page of today’s edition of The Forum, Fargo, N.D., features a story about the local effort to get rid of gender-biased dress code policies and enforcement, a.k.a., body shaming, in local schools. The story is also online.

IV Words first wrote about this in “The Alleged Distractees – Not Our Daughters and Sisters – Must Change,” and has provided several updates since.

Two parents have already shared stories of their daughters being coded following publication of the story.

#IAmNotaDistractionFargo invites anyone and everyone to share their own stories about themselves, their kids, their siblings or their friends being “coded” in a Fargo Public School.

You can do so on the Facebook page, through a direct message on the Facebook page or by emailing iamnotadistractionfargo@gmail.com.

Depending on the outcome of the FPS process to evaluate and change the dress code and dress code enforcement, the stories might be needed to continue the effort to end body shaming in schools.

Thank you for your support.

Martin C. Fredricks IV Logo