from items published in the
(See the category index for more.)

This page (one of several):

Meghan Daum

Dale Dauten
(Corporate Curmudgeon)

Jack Davies

Wade Davis

Paul Douglas


Newspaper items

index pages:

Meghan Daum
“What’s adulthood? The ads will tell us.”

from the Los Angeles Times;
published in the Star Tribune August 31, 2009

If the “thirtysomething” gang could watch a show like “Mad Men,” they probably would feel about Don Draper as I now do about them. And even with their careers, kids, mortgages and responsibilities, they would wonder if they had been absent the day the grown-up badges were handed out.

And then, guess what? A commercial would come on, providing a subtle but strong hint at the answers to the question of where and how childhood ends and real life begins. Adulthood isn’t an objective truth. It isn’t even — as many might argue — a state of mind. It’s an idea sold on TV season to season. And once you get it home, it never looks quite like it did in the ad.




text checked (see note) Aug 2009

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Dale Dauten
Corporate Curmudgeon
“If you want success, learn to trust feelings,”

published in the Star Tribune March 26, 2003

It took me a long time to understand this Important Business Principle (IBP): We are emotional beings pretending to be rational.

Some other IBPs:

  • Facts are mainly useful to distract the conscious mind while the emotions decide what’s true.
  • Logic is how our minds catch up with our feelings.



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Jack Davies
“Let’s keep it a clean constitution”

Star Tribune Commentary page, October 3, 2012

A good constitution, like Minnesota’s, does three things. First, it sets up the structure of government. That is, it creates the legislative, executive and judicial branches and establishes a few basic rules relating to those branches and to local government units. Second, it protects our most fundamental rights. Third, it guards against having the Legislature and governor succumb to the worst temptations of financial irresponsibility, power-grabbing and favor-granting that history — experience — has exposed.

A good constitution, like Minnesota’s, does nothing more.

A good constitution, like Minnesota’s, leaves most policymaking in the hands of each new Legislature. The truth is that constitution makers, when they write or amend the basic charter, are not at that moment better informed on most issues than a future legislature will be.

text checked (see note) Oct 2012

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Wade Davis

quoted by Kristin Tillotson

“Not fade away,” by Kristin Tillotson

Star Tribune, April 26, 2004

“A language is more than vocabulary and grammar. It’s the vehicle through which the soul of a culture comes into the world, the old-growth forest of the mind. Only language can record the unique lineages of human thought and spirituality.”
“We have this conceit in the West that while we’ve been developing technologically, these other people have been idle, that their cultures are failed attempts at being us.”
“In nomadic societies, where you have to be able to carry everything you own on your back, the strength of social relationships is a far greater measure of wealth than material goods. And sharing is a reflex, because you never know who’s going to bring in the next meal.”



“We have this idea that native peoples are always somehow closer to nature, which is so simplistic, it’s racist. What actually happens with cultures seen as more primitive is a different relationship with nature. In the Andes, young kids descended from the Incas are taught that a mountain peak is the abode of a spirit that will direct their destiny. It is not whether the mountain really is a spirit that matters; their belief alters their relationship with it.”

“Culture is not decorative. It’s not about feathers and beads and strange beliefs. It is the blanket of comfort we place around ourselves to find order and meaning in a universe that may ultimately have neither integrity nor morality, to keep at bay the barbarism that history suggests lies just beneath the skin of everyone.

“All cultures face the same basic challenges. We are born, we grow up to raise children, to feed and protect them, then deal with aging and death. But humans have found so many different and interesting ways to do it. And as we drift toward this bland, amorphous type of world, the range of thought and possibility and variety narrows.”



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Paul Douglas

Star Tribune weather page, October 20, 2007

Optimist. Noun. One who usually expects a favorable outcome. Alternate definition: A Minnesotan with a pool or a convertible.



Star Tribune weather page, November 12, 2008

“Hold on, mom, they’re plowing the lake.” That may be the oddest sentence that’s ever come out of my mouth. I remember a long pause on the other end of the phone. “Say what?”



Star Tribune weather page, June 8, 2021

It’s so hot they installed a fan in the debt ceiling.



text checked (see note) Oct 2007; Nov 2008; Jun 2021

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Rod Dreher
“My fellow conservatives: Can we think?”

from the Dallas Morning News;
published in the Star Tribune September 17, 2009

It would be a pleasant surprise if conservatives who took the president of the United States addressing youths as an opportunity to stumble toward the fainting couch realized that they had made fools of themselves. Fat chance. Obama Derangement Syndrome is pandemic on the right — and it’s leaving conservatives like me politically homeless.

Unlike this or the last president, I believe in fiscal responsibility, limits, localism and foreign-policy realism.

I also distrust the mob — which is why the degraded state of conservative politics today is so demoralizing.

Conservatism is not dead, it’s undead — a zombie dedicated to little more than frenetic gestures execrating Obama, and to regaining power.

Where can those who wish to think and debate clearly about a serious politics of the right go? The degenerate form of populism now dominant on the right loves to praise “freedom” — but it has no use for freedom of thought, or for thinking much at all.

In turn, increasing numbers of thoughtful conservatives have no use for it.



text checked (see note) Sep 2009

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Gwynne Dyer
“Seeing the human side of mass murderers”

Star Tribune Commentary page, November 30, 2004

Mass murder in the name of a principle is as human as apple pie, borsht and steamed rice. Treating the perpetrators as space aliens simply disguises the nature of the problem. The potential mass killers live among us, as they always have. They often have perfectly good manners, and some even have high ideals. And the only way the rest of us have to keep them from power is to remember always that the end does not justify the means.

“A town accustomed to bombs”

Star Tribune Commentary page, July 8, 2005
(the day after terrorist bombings of the London transit system)

During the whole of World War II, about 30,000 Londoners were killed by German bombs and three-quarters of a million lost therir homes. Then, between 1971 and 2001, London was the target of 116 bombs set by various factions of the Irish Republican Army, although they only killed 50 people and injured around 1,000. And not once during all those bombs did people in London think that they were being attacked because of their values and their way of life.

It was clear to them that they were being attacked because of British policies abroad, or the policies of Britain’s friends and allies. [...] Nasty things, bombs, but those who send them your way are usually rational people with rational goals, and they almost never care about your values or your way of life.

Londoners understand that, and it has a calming effect, because once you have grasped that basic fact you are no longer dealing with some faceless, formless, terrifying unknown, but just a bunch of people who are willing to kill at random in order to get your government to change its policies.

text checked (see note) Apr 2005, Jul 2005

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John Patrick Egelhof
“I’ve felt the pain. I get the arguments.”

in the Star Tribune
December 30, 2012

[...] the NRA did not commit the Sandy Hook massacre and is not a terrorist organization equal to Al-Qaida. The NRA does much good in regards to firearms in this country, sponsoring responsible shooting events, safety training and education for thousands every year, including children. The NRA is not composed of cowardly white rural males who drive pickup trucks and use poor English. People from all walks of life have benefited from being taught the principles of safe and responsible firearm use by the NRA.

The Second Amendment is not about hunting. It is about the history-changing idea that common people should be able to possess arms to preserve their safety and freedom.

To the arguments that guns in the home are more likely to kill a family member than an intruder; that many so-called defensive uses of guns are actually criminal escalations; that guns seldom solve a problem – I agree. But not all of us in this country live in a city where there are hundreds or thousands of police officers and you can expect to hear sirens within 30 seconds of dialing 911.

All that said, the NRA and we gun owners have tolerated an intolerable situation: the profusion of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines; the ridiculous loophole of gun shows and private sales evading the instant background check; the inability of the background check to be integrated with the National Crime Information Center; the lack of due diligence in transferring firearms to those who should not have them; the lack of cooperation with law enforcement to report problematic behavior; the selfishness of our desires to have more and more lethal weapons and technology without concern for our terrified fellow citizens who do not share the belief that such weapons better secure us.

If we cherish our right to bear arms, we must be vigilant in assuring others that it is being exercised responsibly.



I say ban the assault weapons and high-capacity magazines – or put them under the National Firearms Act as Class III ATF regulated destructive devices requiring yearly, retrictive federal licensing provisions.

We must recall that we live in a complicated, diverse society. If we persist in lashing out in our emotion, demonizing and accusing each other, we will feed the false perceptions on either side.

We must ignore the agenda-driven extremists on either side, whether it’s the NRA’s vice president or the ban-and-confiscate-all-guns advocates. It is pointless to look for blame. Too many guns, too few restrictions, inadequate laws to deal with the mentally ill, violent video games and an amoral film industry. All true. But again, here we are. We must act.

text checked (see note) Apr 2013

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Khalid Elmasry
“What the Qur’an really says about tolerance”

in the Star Tribune
July 24, 2007

The Qur’an is clear that “there is no compulsion in religion.” There are countless more verses instructing Muslims to respect others’ beliefs. One such verse states, “Oh Prophet! Exhort them, your task is only to exhort; you cannot compel them to believe.”

Critics of Islam often mistakenly refer to a Qur’anic verse out of context, which would suggest harshness by Muslims to non-Muslims.

[...] The truth is that any verse in the Qur’an that speaks “harshly” of non-Muslims by encouraging Muslims to fight them is always in the context of self-defense. Furthermore, this is always a means of last resort, when it becomes a matter of survival.

the Qur’an

Compare to:

Sam Harris



text checked (see note) Jul 2007

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Background graphic copyright © 2003 by Hal Keen