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D.J. Tice

Commentary editor | Newsroom
phone: 612-673-4456
D.J. Tice is the Star Tribune's Commentary Editor and a member of the newspaper's Editorial Board. 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
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.
What's the bigger threat? Low turnout or high tune-out?

What's the bigger threat? Low turnout or high tune-out?

If Americans are underinformed (and they are), one wonders.
The state of the state is … not really Dayton's doing

The state of the state is … not really Dayton's doing

At least not in the short term. But it does provide a juicy talking point for the campaigns.
To witness child protection at work is …

To witness child protection at work is …

Well, there may not be words to sufficiently convey it. But know that it's hard, and yet that the current scrutiny can only help.

Minnesota: A religious-freedom enclave (for now)

The state has strong protections, but those are likely to be tested.
Patience is no virtue on MSOP injustice

Patience is no virtue on MSOP injustice

A federal judge seems willing to give the state more time. There's scant evidence it will be used well.
Franken's 'rubber stamp' ways are pretty normal

Franken's 'rubber stamp' ways are pretty normal

Your incumbent senator has fallen in line — and his challenger seems likely to march as well.
The Supreme Court: A house of gymnasts

The Supreme Court: A house of gymnasts

From two cases this term, it looks like Supreme Court justices are undergoing contortions to deliver rulings that favor their biases on religion.
'Gentleman': A concept put asunder

'Gentleman': A concept put asunder

Society could use more than a few good men who are neither wimps nor barbarians.
Battle lines of judicial activism, from our own Minnesota Supreme Court

Battle lines of judicial activism, from our own Minnesota Supreme Court

The crucible: A case over whether drunken driving is ever acceptable, even to escape danger.
The journeys of a lock of hair, through war and life

The journeys of a lock of hair, through war and life

Intended reunion didn't occur, but maybe that wasn't this keepsake's calling.
America: Tough enough

America: Tough enough

The world, we're told, has "nagging doubts." Nagging is the word for it, all right.

This year's key election battle in Minnesota: The state House

A look at some districts in play shows that majority control is up for grabs.
For those who have faith in the free market, an asterisk

For those who have faith in the free market, an asterisk

Inequality seems to be a real-life outcome, and loyalists shouldn't ignore it.
What you pay? Hard to say when it's health care

What you pay? Hard to say when it's health care

It's not like the other shopping you do — and no one who could change that is really trying to do so.
When Father did his best: On-screen single parenthood vs. real life

When Father did his best: On-screen single parenthood vs. real life

A quaint era of single parenthood on screen gave way to real life.
The trouble with transit? Automobiles

The trouble with transit? Automobiles

They're just too darn convenient. And at least some urban advocates know it.
Yes, indeed, religious latitude can be messy

Yes, indeed, religious latitude can be messy

Americans have preferred it that way, but the question is before the court again.
Ryan, taking on poverty, travels the razor's edge

Ryan, taking on poverty, travels the razor's edge

He surely understands that a conservative literally can't be careful enough on this topic.
Fellow baby boomers, we have a job to do: Entitlement reform

Fellow baby boomers, we have a job to do: Entitlement reform

It wouldn't be our first contribution, but it could be the biggest.

The state should borrow to build. No, really, it's best.

If a project is truly meant to happen, government should recall that it gets good terms on loans, and that any cash on hand is better directed elsewhere.
Property taxes: You deserve a break today? Perhaps not

Property taxes: You deserve a break today? Perhaps not

The DFL state spigot hasn't brought much relief, but you may not have a beef anyway.
America's great divide: Parties more than people

America's great divide: Parties more than people

Inflexibility is seen mostly with a 'D' or 'R' attached, and less with other categories.
Dayton's re-election isn't a lock, but he's formidable. Here's why.

Dayton's re-election isn't a lock, but he's formidable. Here's why.

Mark Dayton has been a fortunate and clever governor, and he won't be easy to beat.

There's no pot of gold for the working poor

The solutions have trade-offs — but tax credits probably beat the minimum wage.
Tough thing, isn't it, this 'due process'?

Tough thing, isn't it, this 'due process'?

Particularly when it comes to sex offenders who've served their time.
The parties and their perils: The fight to define the right

The parties and their perils: The fight to define the right

As Friedrich Hayek identified, it's caution vs. caution-to-the-wind.
Vikings fans have no right to complain about seat licenses

Vikings fans have no right to complain about seat licenses

After all, it's a choice — unlike paying taxes to support a stadium.

The Civil War: Our nation's blood line

Enormous in scope, yet established as a shared calamity, a boundary on differences.
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