It's probably quite easy to discern from reading this blog that I'm quite enamored of North Dakota's capitol building. I photograph it often, my little boys love to visit its halls and peer down from the observation deck windows, and of course there are the holiday adornments in its windows at various times of the year. Pretty cool, I must say...even if I'm a little bit biased.
Minnesota Republican representative Matt Dean, however, thinks otherwise. According to this article, he had plenty to say about our state's headquarters:
“Has anyone seen North Dakota’s Capitol? It’s like State Farm calling: ‘We want our building back.’ ...It's embarassing.”
Ahem. Not only is our capitol distinctive but it's also quite reserved and pragmatic in its design. It's no opulent palace or apotheosis of government overspending...and we like it fine. Besides, according to that Forum article, Minnesotans need to "repair [their capitol's] crumbling outside walls, its outdated electrical system and interior that is falling apart" ...it sounds like they are the ones who need to be embarrassed about their capitol!
Unlike Minnesota's, our capitol building is in fine shape...with current electrical (and ample backup generation) as well as free wireless internet tip-to-toe and a cafeteria with an AWESOME taco bar on Wednesdays, it seems far more habitable than its neighbor to the east.
Perhaps if Minnesota wasn't known for being the nation's biggest welfare state - with nearly forty percent of its state budget going to entitlement programs in 2009, for example - and put more money into infrastructure than they do into printing entitlement checks, they could afford to keep their state capitol building from crumbling. Until then, go ahead and take your petty pot-shots...we can take it.
By the way, which do you think Minnesota tax-n-spend legislators (including "Republican" Matt Dean") will accomplish first: repairs to their already neglected, dilapidated capitol building, or a brand new taxpayer-funded stadium for the lackluster Minnesota Vikings?
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This farmstead sits just southeast of Center, with a pretty close view of the power plant to the east. Hat tip goes to my friend Cathy who spotted it and described its location for me to find. I haven't had much time to go exploring the old section line roads these days, but hopefully I'll get more time over the summer now that we're not in a flood fight.
On one hand, a person could look at this photo with disdain and lament the loss of a family farm. Understandable, but in this case I like to consider the progress of North Dakota's energy industry, one I've loved to champion for many years now. We have abundant resources and the ingenuity to brainstorm new ways to use them more wisely and cleanly. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward (or so they say).
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BOMBSHELL: United Airlines announces termination of Bismarck air service (Hint: this was posted on April 1st)
In a shocking move that will send central North Dakota air travelers scrambling for replacement travel plans, United Airlines announced today that they will be terminating their airline service to/from Bismarck Airport. While air travel to and from the Bismarck-Mandan area has picked up sharply, the reason for this rapid departure is simple: Bismarck's decision to subsidize United's competition. Delta Airlines has not yet returned inquiries for comment.
In February of this year, the Bismarck City Commission offered $200,000 in what amount to "break-even guarantees" to Frontier Airlines, a low-cost air carrier, in order to lure them to Bismarck as an additional provider. The Bismarck Tribune reports that in addition to the $200,000 guarantee the airline has also been offered "$50,000 in free marketing of its services for one year and certain fees will be waived at the airport." It reports that the incentives have been given to "other new air carriers." (emphasis added)
Al Flaweigh, spokesman for United Airlines, put it plainly: "United Airlines has been faithfully providing air service without interruption to the Bismarck Airport for years. Now the city is going to foot the bill for our competitors to come in and inevitably take business away from United.
We struggle to make a profit in this area, and now the City of Bismarck has conspired to pay our competition to make it harder to do business here? We don't need this. Rather than struggle to swim upstream against the flow of money from the City of Bismarck and the Bismarck-Mandan Chamber, we will simply devote our resources to a market that's more friendly to open competition and won't pay other airlines to lure away potential United customers."
The issue is actually a constitutional one. According to constitutional scholar Reed DeLaw, Article X Section 18 of the state constitution is clear: "...neither the state nor any political subdivision thereof shall otherwise loan or give its credit or make donations to or in aid of any individual, association or corporation". This apparently hasn't presented an obstacle to the City of Bismarck, however.
A noteworthy analogy is the case of a "mom & pop" store in the Kirkwood Mall. Suppose that suddenly store owners Mom & Pop McGillicuddy open the Bismarck Tribune one day and find out that the City of Bismarck is going to promise Corporation X $200,000 in guarantees to move into the mall right next door to McGillicuddy's, give them free advertising, and discount their rent and utilities. Suddenly, Mom and Pop not only have a new competitor in town, but their own tax dollars (and those of their family, friends, neighbors...) are being given to that very same competition.
DeLaw simplified it even further: "Should Ruby Tuesday's invite Chili's to build next door, help them do it, write them a check every month, and call it 'economic development'? They could bypass the tax 'middleman' and do what the City Commission would already be requiring them to do indirectly."
Ironically, Frontier Airlines pulled out of Fargo in 2010 after only two years of being "touted as a low-cost carrier that would bring down fares at Fargo's Hector International Airport" (Associated Press, 2/5/10). Flaweigh surmised, "Once that happens in Bismarck, maybe the City of Bismarck will consider offering United a 'break-even guarantee' and some other concessions as they are currently offering our competitors. They can call it a 'no-harm, no foul' I suppose, or even an 'April Fools' if you will."
Read that last line again.
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I forgot to mention this a while back, but I found it noteworthy that the Associated Press chose a new logo about a month ago, after thirty years with the previous version. Personally I prefer the 1981 model, but I'm not a credentialed graphic designer. Regardless, it looks like someone got paid a lot of money to create the new logo...one which shows no relationship between the A and P and tells nothing about the Associated Press. That got me thinking, and after about thirty seconds I had brainstormed a version of my own:
I stayed with the same A and P that their new logo uses, since they probably paid a lot of money for it. In an effort to generate a logo which actually says something about the Associated Press as an institution, I decided to add some text and a tag line which serves as a mission identifier as well as a design element. It may look familiar to you, which is intentional:
Since the AP as an institution pretty much acts as a stenographer and cheerleader for the Democrat Party, I figured it would be fine to graphically allude to the affiliation. After all, stories which are inconvenient to Democrats are spun or buried entirely, while industry-standard techniques are used to mock and vilify conservatives wherever they may be found. I know of a few notable standouts that don't fall into this depiction, a few bright stars who actually practice journalism, but we're talking about the AP as a whole here.
Sadly, I don't think my version of the AP logo has a chance. It would be a great example of truth in advertising, but for now I guess we'll just have to let the AP's words depict their agenda instead of a simple graphic representation.
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I originally brainstormed the root idea for this post a month and a half ago - I actually made this graphic on February 3rd - but in light of a bunch of other posts I'm reading around the web coming to the same conclusion, I figured I'd finally get around to a little stream-of-consciousness here.
My friend Rob and I are not the only ones noticing that there are two Heidi Heitkamps running for office this year: there's the relatively conservative, "North Dakota Values" type of Heidi Heitkamp running here in North Dakota, while there's a "leftest of the leftists" Heidi Heitkamp running on the national stage.
She's been going on a magical mystery tour with a bunch of leftist Democrat women "standing up for women's rights" out of state, while claiming support for a religious exemption here at home. Notice in the Fargo Forum article I linked here, that even the stenographers and apologists at the Forum are forced to point out that she's one candidate here and a totally different candidate nationally...although from a sympathetic point of view (natch).
Lest you forget, here's Heidi addressing a bunch of her "progressive" buddies and union front groups after Obamacare was stuffed down our throats against the wishes of a vast majority of North Dakotans:
And here's a recent ad in which she appears along with some of the more radical elements of the Democrat party in support of forcing the American people to pay for other people's contraception and abortion-inducing drugs despite their religious objections:
By the way - has anyone actually tried to ban contraception? Nope. We just don't want to pay for it. Apparently in the eyes of Heidi Heitkamp, that's a sin. Notice how they will NOT mention the abortifacients: no, they know they'd lose that battle in a landslide. Instead, they re-frame and misrepresent the argument, claiming that Republicans want to BAN contraception entirely.
By the way, North Dakota has a LOT of people who profess one manner of religious faith or another...does Heitkamp really think that they'll enjoy being forced to finance the sexual habits of everyone else including abortion-inducing drugs? Apparently she does, at least outside of North Dakota's borders where she espouses that view.
Then you've got good old Gaylord "Kent" Conrad. For years he harped on President Bush about deficits that look like a monthly allowance next to the spending habits of the Democrat-controlled Congress since 2006. At President Obama's behest it's only gotten worse, with deficits so huge they have to be expressed in numbers typically only used in astronomy!
Don't expect any accountability on these folks, either: Kent Conrad has been under ethics investigation forever, but the Democrats have buried it the best they could...even to the point of changing the locks on the committee room doors so that Republicans couldn't join the investigation hearings! The Democrats have so far managed to whitewash the whole thing and claim nothing happened. How did this appear in the North Dakota media? It didn't, until:
As far as I recall, he wasn't "cleared" - the investigation was merely dropped. If you want to see the tip of the iceberg on his misdeeds that even a blogger from Bismarck can uncover, click here.
Which brings me back to my original point: you cannot afford to elect a Democrat, not even for dog catcher or meter maid. Why? You don't want to be responsible for advancing their political career even one tick, because before you know it you'll have a Byron "Abramoff Skybox" Dorgan, Kent "Countrywide Mortgage" Conrad, Earl "Union Owned & Operated" Pomeroy, or Heidi "Two-Face" Heitkamp.
Regardless of how Heidi Heitkamp campaigns in North Dakota, or what she really believes, look at how she already behaves outside the state! At this very moment she's walking in lockstep with radical leftist Democrats who have next to nothing in common with the values of the average North Dakotan. They're the ones whose money and support she needs to try to get elected, and they are the ones to whom she will be indebted if (God forbid) she ever gets elected. Who do you think she'll listen to before voting on legislation: you, or the Democrat Party machine which she needs to keep her in office?
If you think that a Senator Heitkamp would be any less duplicitous as Candidate Heitkamp, then you're fooling yourself. If you doubt me, simply look at how Dorgan, Conrad, and Pomeroy played that same two-faced game for decades. They'd throw on a flannel shirt when they come to ND, talk about "our North Dakota way", then jet-set back to Washington and vote 90% of the time with Kennedy, Pelosi, et al...while getting most of their campaign funding from out of state.
If you still aren't convinced, let me put it another way:
- People who support abortion, including "partial birth" abortion where a child is delivered up to the neck and then killed with a spear to the brain, even to the point of killing a child who survived an abortion because "that was the mother's original intent" anyway - vote Democrat.
- People who hate oil, coal and gas, want us to pay European gasoline prices ($8-10/gallon), want to shut down American power plants and kill American oil exploration while handing out billions to their "green energy cronies" - vote Democrat.
- People who want to promote homosexuality in schools, including "fisting" and other techniques (such as the group Obama's "Safe Schools" czar founded) - vote Democrat.
- People who want freedom from religion instead of freedom of religion... people who think "separation of church and state" (which appears in NO official document) applies to banning prayer from schools or the Ten Commandments from public property, but does not apply to the goverrnment forcing churches to pay for abortions against their doctrines - vote Democrat.
- People who want to "reinterpret" or abolish the 2nd Amendment and disarm the American people - vote Democrat.
- People who want to tell a landowner what they can and can't do on their property if they discover an endangered bug, vermin, or other critter on it - vote Democrat.
- People who scream "keep your laws off my body" but want to force their government healthcare system on yours - vote Democrat.
- People who scream "keep the government out of my bedroom" but want you to pay for what they do in there - vote Democrat.
- People who claim that America is the source of evil in the world, want to dismantle our national defenses, and treat dictators and Islamic theocracies as moral equivalents to the United States - vote Democrat (or Ron Paul).
I could go on and on, but you get the picture...and it ain't pretty. It doesn't matter if some local Democrat candidate sounds somewhat decent in their campaign for local or state office: at the end of the day, they're beholden to the activists and perverted ideologies I listed above.
North Dakota Democrats have to follow their party leadership and ideologies, which is the same bunch of twisted activist radicals who have put us in this current predicament. You elect a Democrat, you're giving all the above a foot in the door...a foot which will someday occupy the boot on your neck.
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