Staff Directory 6370546

David Banks

Assistant commentary editor | Opinion
Phone: 612-673-7191

David Banks is the Star Tribune's assistant commentary editor. He has been involved with various aspects of the opinion pages and their online counterparts since 2005. Before that, he was primarily involved with the editing and production of local coverage. He joined the Star Tribune in 1994.

Recent content from David Banks
"Generations pass, but nature is permanent, to paraphrase Ecclesiastes," David Banks writes. Above, a lone tulip bloomed as walkers and runners made t

David Banks: What Ecclesiastes said, approximately

Nothing new under the sun except to realize it.
Jason Aldean performs during CMA Fest 2022 in Nashville, Tenn., on June 9, 2022. Country Music Television removed Aldean’s music video for the newly

David Banks: Say what about small towns?

I was raised in one during what I guess were less fearsome times.
Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley waves as she begins speaking at a campaign rally on May 4 in Greer, S.C.

Nikki Haley's prejudice against aged politicians

She wants to depreciate those older than 75 by subjecting them to a cognitive test, whether they need it or not.
One of the first flowers to emerge in spring are the Pasque Flowers, above, pictured in Bloomington in 2020.

Sometimes it melts in April

And sometimes Minnesota's shifty seasons (made you look twice) offer moments of perfection.
According to Pew, 56% of people who own a gun say hunting is one of their reasons. Seventy percent cite target shooting. Both numbers have been relati

No stranger to guns — just not good with them

That goes for me, a dilettante, and it goes in a different sense for our nation of devotees. So how to go from here?
Electric Time Co. employee Walter Rodriguez cleans the face of an 84-inch clock in Medfield, Mass., in 2008.

Let's just keep changing the clocks

Arguments for one time, year-round, fail to consider how the sun shines on Minnesota.
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks about economic recovery during a campaign event at Colonial Early Educati

With Biden, economic wreckage or salvage?

A look at competing views on the impact of his plans.
Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, wearing a face mask, arrives in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, to campaign. (Mark Makel

Slivers of information about Biden from the debate

If he's vulnerable, these may be the spots.
Protesters started marching toward the Minneapolis Police 3rd Precinct after gathering Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Four Minneapolis officers involved in th

The death of George Floyd, and the frustration that nothing ever changes

We seek to end racism and injustice. How might we measure progress?

Gallery: The best of Steve Sack's editorial cartoons from 2019

Documented here: We're still wrecking the planet. We're still awash in guns and violence. As always, someone somewhere is avoiding accountability. And a certain cartoonogenic leader is still in office. (No, it's not a word. But said leader wings it. Why can't we?)
FILE - In this July 15, 2019, file photo, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn, right, speaks, as U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. listens, during a news conf

In case you missed it: Ilhan Omar on Israel and her motivating values on foreign affairs

Israel's decision to block her visit to the West Bank is neither constructive nor friendly to the people of the district she represents.
Tom Hanks in the 1994 movie "Forrest Gump."

Forwarded with comment: Altered video from 'Forrest Gump' to today

It all started innocently enough.
Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. questions Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch, foreground, on Capitol Hill in Was

Forwarded with comment: Who does what and how in federal government?

Starring Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar.
FILE - In this early June 4, 1989, file photo, civilians hold rocks as they stand on a government armored vehicle near Changan Boulevard in Beijing. O

Forwarded with comment: The 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and their violent end

Recollections of that time and hopes and fears for the future.
St. Thomas place kicker Paul Graupner missed a field goal attempt in the first half. ] JIM GEHRZ • / St. Pau

In case you missed them: Opinions on the St. Thomas/MIAC dispute

The school is indeed getting the boot from the conference. Here's what people were writing as the issue unfolded.

Forwarded with comment: 'Econ 101' in political arguments (updated with additional response)

A D.J. Tice column on the perceived burdens of taxes and tariffs is up for further discussion following a rebuttal in MinnPost.
A woman interacts with a robot at the Barbican exhibition centre in London, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Robots interact with humans at the exhibition 'AI

Artificial intelligence: Now taking the words right out of our mouths

And putting them in there, too.
July 12, 1994 Lollapalooza 94, the fourth annual alternative rock festival held at Harriet Island in St. Paul. Fans are passed around in the Mosh Pit

Forwarded with comment: Generation X marks a spot

Now roughly halfway through adulthood, the demographic cohort is having a moment.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., meets with reporters the day after the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorn

Forwarded with comment: Constitutional crisis, yes or no?

An article at Slate helps frame the question.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., speaks to Fox News co-anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum during a Fox News Channel

Forwarded with comment: Amy Klobuchar's Fox News town hall

A few responses from around the internet.

Green New Deal: Reject neither bold ideas nor scrutiny. Rejoice in the deliberations.

Good policy takes both. Popular support matters, too.

A view of Howard Schultz from a tiny political subset

Nobody wants what he's selling? I don't buy that, but we may like independent ideas more than we do independent candidates.
FILE -- Russell Baker in New York in December 1971. Baker, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose whimsical, irreverent “Observer&#x2

Random ruminations, 2019: On cascading controversy and clear comprehension

Welcome back to the Star Tribune Opinion feature you hardly knew you were missing.
Photo provided by David Banks
Kathleen Banks

Messages for men and boys, then and now

As the high court fight and #MeToo era unfold, my mind goes to times when I needed girls and women to, point-blank, show me the way.
FILE ó Poet Donald Hall at his home in Wilmot, N.H., June 13, 2006. Hall, a former poet laureate of the United States who found a universe of mea

Town mouse, country mouse — always, the tension for an urbanite facing density

"I am large; I contain multitudes," wrote Walt Whitman. But it's another poet's death that has me contemplating love and loss, bucolic seclusion, and lively growth.
The adoption equation

The adoption equation

A birth mother's story confirms adoption as an act of love, while an older adoptee finds obstacles to knowing his own origins.

Speak up, slap down: A fight for expression

Including some "hows" and "whys" behind letters to the editor.
The author, David Banks, circa 1988.

Journalism: A midcareer retrospective

It takes all types to produce a newspaper, but reporting is the skill every publication needs.
Star Tribune photo illustration; ORG XMIT: MIN1803061521065411

Who's up for some delayed year-end rumination?

It's a year-end list. It's just been delayed.

The best of Sack, 2017

One might say this has been a once-in-a-career kind of year for a cartoonist. But Steve Sack has been drawing lessons from the news for decades. For a full retrospective, see "The First and Only Book of Sack," published in August (available at

A lot of men are reflecting on their pasts

About mistakes vs. characteristic behavior.
The author's grandfather, Martin Dallmann, circa 1976. Some of the homes in this Mankato neighborhood were ones he built.

Immigration policy: Every arrival begins a legacy

We talk a lot about contributions. They don't have to be spectacular to be constructive and meaningful.
President Donald Trump walks into the Rose Garden to speak to boys and girls with the American Legion�s youth programs, at the White House in Washin

In a complicated, difficult world, unity is uneasy

Justice and tolerance really do involve many sides.
A police office stands watch behind police tape near strewn baseballs on a field in Alexandria, Va., Wednesday, June 14, 2017, after a multiple shooti

A reasonable reaction to an unreasonable action

In the arc of understanding that follows a tragedy like this, don't be distracted by easy explanations.

As a principal, this man was a remarkable teacher

With wisdom and fortitude, Garry Purvis turned a generation of kids into better people.
FILE - In this May 16, 2107 file photo, President Donald Trump watches Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan depart the White House in Washington. (A

The Trump presidency: Remember — in this country, the wand still chooses the wizard

There should be no hesitation in checking President Trump's autocratic tendencies.

United Airlines incident: Law and order inside a jam-packed metal tube

Just because rules can apply, should they, always? And is this, by chance, like eminent domain?

My jump-the-gun top 10 list of incongruous thoughts for 2017

OK, it's still 2016, but here are 10 scattershot thoughts for the next year, on everything from immigrants to Lake Wobegon.

How to survive (even thrive) in the Age of Trump

Get out of your seat and off the sidelines. Politics is a rowdy participation sport.
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2008 file photo, former Secretary of State Colin Powell is seen in Washington. Powell says he sent Hillary Clinton a memo tout

Colin Powell hacking: This cat's out of the bag, and he's got claws

A former diplomat's private e-mail goes public — with revelations and implications for all of us.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gestures as she speaks during a rally in Raleigh, N.C., Wednesday, June 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Chuck Bu

Hillary Clinton: The comparisons

The Trump convention may have collected people it needed. For those still on the fence, consider Clinton alongside some flawed but productive pols, or as a happy medium, or even as the devil you know.
From left, Gene Simmons of KISS, former President Bill Clinton and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman may find themselves illustrating this phenome

What does it take to become a public enemy? Time.

Sometimes that's enough. And sometimes people self-destruct. A third method: Do something debatable from a position of authority.
Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, left, D-IN, and Sen. Dan Quayle, R-TX, shake hands after their vice presidential debate in Omaha, Neb., Oct. 5, 1988. (AP Photo/Ro

For a nuanced debate, change the setting

The one I attended in 1988 was memorable, but not the raucous kind of affair we see today. Which inspires an idea.

The best of Sack 2014

A collection of Star Tribune editorial cartoonist Steve Sack's best work of the year.
John banks at the White House in 1954.

New White House security structures may be inevitable, but must they be ugly?

Maybe it could be made to look like it was meant to be.
If there's to be a new course to my life, I want some control over its trajectory. I'm also mindful of the feelings of the mother and father who broug

Adoption: Choosing to search is a complex decision — some prefer to take it slow

The law and culture don't favor adoptees who may be curious but reticent to go all in.
Sharon Potter (left) of Minneapolis shovels her walkway as construction has started on a teardown next to her home on the 5100 block of York. ] JOELKO

Teardown and tribulation: Living next door

While Minneapolis' moratorium may be a step too far, the discussion is needed.

Dashboard navigation: At the next intersection, turn … off

We're very fond of the assistance, but just remember: You can go your own way.

The year in cartoons

The best of 2013 from Pulitzer Prize winner Steve Sack.
Helping others through online donation sites.

Food for thought: Give money online

Getting food and other assistance where it needs to go is a matter of both logistics and cash.
Rick Nease/Detroit Free Press/MCT

From Boston to bitcoin: How change catches us off-guard

We know it's coming, but it has a way of always sneaking up on us.
The Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building in downtown Rochester.

Mayo proposal: Hard to oppose, but for the laws of nature

Often, development is what happens when you're busy making other plans.
In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 21, 2012, Alexander Zachary stands by one of his Vote No signs at his Minneapolis home. Zachary is a gay man who tak

Hands off your neighbors' yard signs

Hey -- it's counterproductive (or worse).
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Benghazi and the presidential debate

Murkiness is inevitable; candor is the cure.

Never too soon to plan for long-term care

Such care will be a significant driver of the nation's health care cost burden.
A marker at Dorchester and 53rd streets in Chicago notes that the Obama's first kiss was flavored by the influence of Baskin-Robbins.

Our most memorable places

How we mark the meaningful places in our lives.
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney -- a performance review

Romney has presented his Bain experience as evidence that he is a skilled manager. Can we find out if he was?
At last, a clash of credible candidates

At last, a clash of credible candidates

One voter has waited decades for a race with no top clunker candidates.
Brooklyn Park police officer Todd Kanieski attataches a ribbon to a speed limit sign to remind drivers to drive safely this 4th of July weekend. -- Br

Why we speed

In addition to the reality that not all drivers are alike, there can be, paradoxically, a pursuit of safety.
300 dpi Fred Matamoros color illustration of moldy home with sad, red-eye windows. The News Tribune (Tacoma, Wash.) 2007<p> mold house illustration mo

NIMBY hits close to home

In my part of southwest Minneapolis, it's not unusual for older, smaller houses to vanish one day and be replaced within weeks by the framework of a much larger dwelling
Swill for the masses

Swill for the masses

Longing for the good life -- one cup at a time.
A platform for the partyless

A platform for the partyless

On Tuesday, a number of Minnesota voters will dive into the proceedings at their precinct caucus. But it will be a relative few. Here's something for the rest of us to ponder.
Business illustration. Weathering the storm

Logical extremes

Rhetoric, when convenient, carries ideas to their logical extreme, wherever that may lead.

David Banks: Of bongs and bad vetting: Oh, the humiliation

Is it really as bad as all that? Or do we just like to see other people fail?

Bear with me: Confessions of a short seller

David Banks: Bear with me

A small-time trader explains why profiting from decline is not necessarily evil -- nor greedy.

Girlie-men need not apply