Norman Lear, 1922-2023
Norman Lear, the legendary screenwriter and producer, died yesterday aged 101. Lear made his name with shows which were either remakes of British originals or spin-offs from those remakes.
News of note in Minnesota: Center events, initiatives, and policy work.
American Experiment’s Fall Briefing took place in Waconia on Saturday, October 15. The event at the Winery at Sovereign Estate featured former congresswoman and presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard as keynote speaker. She gave an impassioned speech to a sold-out crowd about her decision to leave the Democratic
Party, the changing nature of U.S. foreign policy, and the dangers of Big Tech and the censorship of speech. This issue of Thinking Minnesota features her Q&A with Center president John Hinderaker.
Following his American Experiment lunch forum presentation in Bloomington on September 23, eminent historian, author, and professor Dr. Wilfred McClay detailed his findings of Minnesota’s proposed K-12 social studies standards in the new Center report, “Minnesota’s Academic Standards Among the Nation’s Worst.” In the report, Prof. McClay breaks down the revised standards, detailing both the pervasive influence of Critical Race Theory and the appalling lack of basic factual knowledge that students need to be informed citizens. McClay’s expert and independent review of the standards arrived in Minnesota at an important time in the rulemaking process.
Senior policy fellow Katherine Kersten and policy fellow Catrin Wigfall have been prolific in exposing the politicization of Minnesota’s public schools and the influence of radical progressive activism in academic courses. Wigfall’s October 7 report, “The Cost of Lockdowns and Shutdowns: Part II. How school closures became a policy decision that held Minnesota students hostage” is featured in this issue and highlights the damage done to Minnesota’s students as a result of the COVID-19 school closures. All American Experiment reports can be downloaded from the Center’s website (AmericanExperiment.org).
On October 27 at the Community Center Cafetorium in New Ulm, Kersten presented, “Weaponizing History.” She explained how organizations like the Minnesota Historical Society and the Minnesota Department of Education are using history as a vehicle to advance a self-interested political agenda, specifically the simplistic, one-dimensional tale of “good Indians” and “evil settlers” — converting our state’s history into a sordid, shameful tale of oppression and genocide.
Adjunct policy fellow Bill Glahn continues to expose the details in the Feeding Our Future COVID free-food distribution scandal. He hosted a webinar about the fraud on September 28. A video of Glahn’s presentation, and recordings and clips from various events are available for viewing at the Center’s website (AmericanExperiment.org/multimedia).
A time to celebrate
On October 20 at Bear Cave Brewing in Hopkins, American Experiment’s Young Leaders Council hosted the annual Halloween party. The tradition provides an opportunity for young conservatives to gather in an informal, relaxed atmosphere to share experiences and network with each other. YLC also held the annual holiday party on December 8 at Edina’s The Lynhall No. 3945. The sold-out event included food, drinks, a picture booth, and game tickets.
American Experiment’s Owatonna chapter hosted “An evening of thankfulness and courage.” The event on November 29 at Torey’s Restaurant and Bar featured an inspiring presentation from Waseca police officer Arik Matson and his wife Megan. They shared with attendees their story of recovery after Arik Matson was shot in the line of duty in January 2020 leaving him with a traumatic brain injury.
On December 5, American Experiment’s Mankato chapter hosted their annual Christmas party. The event at Swiss & Madison featured Kendall Qualls, president of TakeCharge Minnesota. American Experiment continues its outreach initiatives by hosting events in Greater Minnesota and through its chapters in Rochester, Duluth, Owatonna, and Mankato. To join a chapter or start one in your town, contact Greater Minnesota Outreach Director Micah Olson at Micah. [email protected].
Readers of Thinking Minnesota can find daily updates on American Experiment’s activities and initiatives at AmericanExperiment.org. Also, sign up for exclusive bonus content, request a speaker, and shop for merchandise.
News in North Dakota: Energy campaign, taxes, and school choice top the agenda.
Following policy fellow Isaac Orr and economist John Phelan’s report, “Energy Leadership: How American energy production can make the world safer,” American Experiment North Dakota produced a state-of-the-art production in support of the state’s oil and gas industry. The full-length video runs approximately 50 seconds and features drone footage of energy production facilities as well as testimony from North Dakotans. It can be viewed on the website at AmericanExperimentND.org/multimedia as well as the Center’s YouTube and Facebook pages.
The initiative also includes statewide radio spots, and billboards are up in Fargo, Grand Forks, Bismark, and Williston. A petition is available for signing at SupportNDOilandGas.com urging leaders to continue to support North Dakota oil and gas with sound public policy.
Jennifer Benson, American Experiment North Dakota’s executive director says, “North Dakota’s oil and gas industry supports more than 60,000 jobs in the state. The industry is vital to our economy, adding nearly $4 billion in state and local tax revenues. I’m proud of the work we are doing here at American Experiment North Dakota to educate the public on the importance of supporting our state’s oil and gas industry.”
American Experiment North Dakota hosted an energy press conference in Fargo with State Sen. Curt Kreun in October. The same energy policy was discussed in Bismark, where the speakers included Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford, Public Service Commissioner Julie Fedorchak, and President of the North Dakota Petroleum Council Ron Ness.
Economist John Phelan has two new policy briefings related to taxes in North Dakota. Both reports, “A Plan for Corporate Tax Reform in North Dakota,” and “Eliminate the North Dakota Marriage Penalty Tax,” were released December 15. Tax reform is a top priority for 2023, as is school choice.
Following successful stops in several North Dakota cities educating residents about Critical Race Theory in schools last summer, policy fellow Catrin Wigfall is spearheading a school choice initiative with Benson. “My biggest passion is in advocacy work,” Benson says. “I’ve never backed down from defending our constitutional rights and the freedom of North Dakotans, and I’m thrilled to lead American Experiment North Dakota in that fight.”
Details of the campaign will be announced in the coming weeks. Readers of Thinking Minnesota can find more information about this and other American Experiment North Dakota events, reports, and initiatives at the Center’s website: AmericanExperimentND.org.