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D.J. Tice

Commentary editor and columnist | Newsroom
phone: 612-673-4456
D.J. is the commentary editor, a weekly columnist and a regular contributor to the Playing Politics podcast. He has been a writer, editor and publisher in Twin Cities journalism for nearly four decades. Tice was an editor at Corporate Report Minnesota and Twin Cities magazines, editor and publisher at the Twin Cities Reader, and an editorial writer and columnist for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. From 2003-2009, he was the Star Tribune's state political editor, directing coverage of the Legislature, state government, the Minnesota congressional delegation, and elections. He is the author of two books of popular history. His collection of ordinary Minnesotans' memories, Minnesota's Twentieth Century, published by the University of Minnesota Press, was awarded the Minnesota Book Award for history in 2000.
Recent content from D.J. Tice

Unions and sound policing: New evidence of an old obstacle

Police chiefs, sheriffs get overruled on disciplinary actions.
The Electoral College still gets my vote

The Electoral College still gets my vote

Another conflict with the popular vote gives me pause, but what's better?

Donald Trump: Leader of the American empire's lost tribe

Don't know if he read Charles Murray's book "Coming Apart," but he got it.
The right way to nominate a Supreme Court justice …

The right way to nominate a Supreme Court justice …

… is not Clinton's way. (Or Trump's, if that matters.) It's the historical way.
Rising health care costs: A race we're running willingly?

Rising health care costs: A race we're running willingly?

Many blame the government or insurers, but when you remove them from the equation, as in pet care, spending still rises.

First, let's protect the rule of law

Among the signs of the American collapse, this is one flashing in neon.
What is deserved for a sex offender?

What is deserved for a sex offender?

The Heinrich confession and a case with an offender less vile raise the question anew.
A foolish system and your money …

A foolish system and your money …

… are parted more readily than if you had a direct stake in each decision. Lessons for health care and higher ed.

Gains, losses cancel out from Seattle's minimum-wage hike

Does mandated higher pay shrink hours, kill jobs? An early study says it seems to.
Antiglobalism: America's bipartisan affliction

Antiglobalism: America's bipartisan affliction

Free trade is a lost cause when one candidate won't buy it and the other won't sell it.
Those looked to for leadership should cool the rhetoric on race

Those looked to for leadership should cool the rhetoric on race

President Obama is starting to get it. Still wondering about Gov. Mark Dayton.

If the election is about the Supreme Court, here's a judge of interest

Minnesota Justice David Stras seems to grasp the "proper, limited role of the judiciary."

A tribe or an empire? Pick the right balance, if you can

This question has been set on "rotate" across the years and across contexts.
Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein': A creation for the ages

Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein': A creation for the ages

There's a reason the story has such staying power.

Restroom wars: A tolerant nation ties itself into knots

These tricky times call for compassion all around.
A political party crack-up? Change is a constant in politics, too

A political party crack-up? Change is a constant in politics, too

The rugs on which political parties stand have been pulled repeatedly throughout American history.

A deep dive into data on work, family, race in Minnesota

A Minnesota demography report has helpful detail.
Minnesota's drunken-driving law could escape on a technicality

Minnesota's drunken-driving law could escape on a technicality

In Scalia's absence, court may deadlock on suspects' rights.
That slope on marriage rights just got slipperier

That slope on marriage rights just got slipperier

If same-sex is OK, why not polygamy? A recent ruling basically punted.

While West grows secular, the world gets religion

The trends set us apart from regions that will profoundly affect our futures.
Tough-look takeaways in the Jamar Clark case

Tough-look takeaways in the Jamar Clark case

On the popular narrative, politicians and police unions.

The inequality cause you weren't expecting

Efforts to rein in executive pay in the past may have backfired. A onetime mishap?
The Dump Trump movement: Fascinating!

The Dump Trump movement: Fascinating!

It's ends-justify-the-means. Bad for America? Not really. But for the party?
How Scott Walker won, and what resulted

How Scott Walker won, and what resulted

Turns out both sides were right about what they thought would happen: More savings, less union participation, revised politics.
Today's Trumpology: Is this one of history's rhymes?

Today's Trumpology: Is this one of history's rhymes?

"It can't happen here," as the phrase goes, without a groundswell of discontent. Better heed that.
Politicians, like Clinton, who warned of 'superpredators' now decry systemic racism

Politicians, like Clinton, who warned of 'superpredators' now decry systemic racism

Superpredators, not mass incarceration, was crowd-pleasing crisis 20 years ago.
Scalia's death casts a bright light on candidates' litmus tests

Scalia's death casts a bright light on candidates' litmus tests

Rigid expectations for nominees are a terrible idea — but too often in this campaign cycle, we've heard quite the opposite.
As radicals arise, gridlock never looked so good

As radicals arise, gridlock never looked so good

Thank the founding fathers that our system could handle a President Trump or Sanders.
The long twilight struggle of the Iron Range

The long twilight struggle of the Iron Range

If we don't want new mining, the region's economic prognosis isn't good.

Liberty has a way of leaving us conflicted

Two recent rulings give us a chance to assess our priorities.

Weeding out unfit cops early could help prevent shootings

If reforms are needed to deal with racial injustice, barriers to police discipline are a place to begin.
Once upon a time, Christmas was out of this world

Once upon a time, Christmas was out of this world

There's a perpetual longing for what used to be — but one particular season of the past is worth remembering.
A president with a plan — that he can't sell

A president with a plan — that he can't sell

Obama's answer to Mideast chaos is containment, which is chronically uncertain and certainly not inspiring.
What all of us 'English' can learn from the Amish in Fillmore County

What all of us 'English' can learn from the Amish in Fillmore County

It's not modernity that's the issue, necessarily; it's how you approach it.

On MSOP, judge targets repeat offenders — against the rule of law

At least one person is doing his duty when it comes to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.
The Seven Stages of Trump

The Seven Stages of Trump

Yes, he's still around. We're now past disbelief, but nowhere near acceptance.
Vladimir Putin: A messy Mideast's man of action

Vladimir Putin: A messy Mideast's man of action

Well, someone had to step up, and that it's him may not be the worst thing that could happen.
Thought experiment: Could gun prohibition work?

Thought experiment: Could gun prohibition work?

If we can't 'control the border' or 'just say no' to the drug trade, what makes us think gun control is only a political problem?
Messy immigration issue, rowdy debate aren't new

Messy immigration issue, rowdy debate aren't new

Every new wave of immigrants throughout history has sparked passionate responses in U.S.

Pinpointing (to the degree possible) our disparities

New census data confirm that family structure matters more than race. Except not as much in Minnesota. Although, that doesn't mean the news here is good.
'Authenticity' and U.S. politics don't necessarily mix

'Authenticity' and U.S. politics don't necessarily mix

Of course the idea appeals, but even it is not always what it seems, nor always effective in our system.
Public-policy moves: And what when the worst case doesn't transpire?

Public-policy moves: And what when the worst case doesn't transpire?

Public policy on guns, minimum wage is food for thought.
The ungrounding of the institution of higher ed

The ungrounding of the institution of higher ed

Whatever permanence it may have enjoyed is threatened by soaring costs and the government policies that promote this condition.

The abortion debate becomes … well, vivid

The Planned Parenthood videos won't solve the issue, but they do compel tangible thinking.
Trump, like Ventura? Dudes, your day has come again

Trump, like Ventura? Dudes, your day has come again

A look at Donald Trump's constituency, and what it might have in common with Jesse Ventura's in 1998.
Of life and death and love and dogs

Of life and death and love and dogs

I've lost my best buddy. But even now, perhaps he's showing me the way.
Long-shot presidential candidates with potential: John Kasich

Long-shot presidential candidates with potential: John Kasich

The practical Ohio governor deserves a chance. Take it from a Minnesota centrist who knows — Tim Penny.
Confederate flag controversy: History is not just the world at its worst

Confederate flag controversy: History is not just the world at its worst

What's more, we are not necessarily history's better.
Archdiocese, MSOP: The clock runs out on denial and foot-dragging

Archdiocese, MSOP: The clock runs out on denial and foot-dragging

The troubles of church and state that were in the news last week are basically mirror images.
Same-sex marriage, ACA: Two occasions for Supreme Court restraint

Same-sex marriage, ACA: Two occasions for Supreme Court restraint

Both same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act should be left to legislation.
A dynamic duo sets its burdensome sights on vaping

A dynamic duo sets its burdensome sights on vaping

(Those who'd regulate behavior and those who'd profit from doing so.)
About I-35W as an aging-bridge example

About I-35W as an aging-bridge example

The 2007 catastrophe on Interstate 35W is often cited — incorrectly — as a result of aging infrastructure.
In praise of the political machine

In praise of the political machine

Could it be that reforms meant to clean up our system have enfeebled the very wheeling and dealing that made it work?
D.J. Tice: Crunch time at the State Capitol. Advantage: Dayton

D.J. Tice: Crunch time at the State Capitol. Advantage: Dayton

His track record against legislative majorities is impressive (and he has no election to lose).

D.J. Tice: Corporate roles, rights, wrongs: What's a 'person' to do?

"Inversions" expose confusions and contradictions in the debate.
Alienated immigrants: An American tradition

Alienated immigrants: An American tradition

From the Scandinavians of last century to the Somalis of today, there's a pull toward "home."
Being a cop is a discipline, but what if the system is soft?

Being a cop is a discipline, but what if the system is soft?

Police unions, arbitration — might these dilute the truly exceptional character the job requires?
Rolling Stone case: Too seldom is there a price for stretching the truth

Rolling Stone case: Too seldom is there a price for stretching the truth

Rolling Stone is just the latest prominent institution to gather the moss of mendacity.

Tice: Of Indiana, irreconcilable differences and democracy

If neither side can relent, as with same-sex marriage and religion, it's better when courts don't make the call.
In race debate, 'hard truths' and deflections

In race debate, 'hard truths' and deflections

It's easy to talk about the role of the police. It's also a good way to avoid a real discussion.
Dayton wiggles the needle on 'tax fairness'

Dayton wiggles the needle on 'tax fairness'

The Tax Incidence Study allows us to see how well he's delivered on his promises.
Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address: Finer words were rarely spoken

Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address: Finer words were rarely spoken

His re-election stands the test of time as the most important in U.S. history. And his Second Inaugural Address was one for the ages.
Darren Wilson, the false face of racism in America

Darren Wilson, the false face of racism in America

His actions were the spark that lit and still fuels the fire — even though he was exonerated.

Minnesota has its problems, too — and they linger

Consider three examples ripped from recent headlines – none of them underexposed but all long-neglected.

Are liberals ready to sound the alarm on 'p.c.' extremism?

The conversation shifts in a promising direction.

Sunday sales: A regulation that business, ahem, likes

You've heard the economics phrase "rent-seeking?" This is that.

Still don't believe we're on the eve of destruction? Well …

Whatever the 1960s wrought, it wasn't exactly ruin. (Though it can feel that way at times.)
Tax the rich? Good politics, but incomplete policy

Tax the rich? Good politics, but incomplete policy

If we're serious about the nation's finances, taxing everybody is a more worthy debate.
Some sure have egg … er, oil on their faces

Some sure have egg … er, oil on their faces

But, then, that's the risk of trying to direct public policy — or just good old public opprobrium, over forces we can't predict.
Great pope, that Francis, but not a great economist

Great pope, that Francis, but not a great economist

His condemnations of "profit" feel a bit facile to those of us who sense the benefits of markets.

A bigness to government that both sides can surely see

The recent events in Ferguson, Mo., and in New York add an angle to the discussion.

Good news? Sure, if you look for it

Amid all the gloom and doom, take heart in these three uplifting trends.

Immigration is foreign policy, too, just closer

That seems lost on America as it makes its pivots on the far side of the globe.
Rules about sex, written and otherwise

Rules about sex, written and otherwise

Call it the Jimmy Stewart rule: When men behaved.
In real life, pols are more vacuous than vile

In real life, pols are more vacuous than vile

The candidates who pass through our editorial offices were painfully, prudently on message.
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