Obama’s North Dakota visit…where did he go?

obama_standingrockIt’s interesting.  A few Fridays ago, “the Preezy” came to North Dakota.  In case you missed it, North Dakota at that time had had the lowest unemployment rate in the nation for 65 consecutive months at 2.6%.  We have prospering energy, agriculture, manufacturing, and even tourism sectors…examples of things going right.  The President didn’t visit the Energy Corridor, any of our so-called Centers of Excellence, or an agricultural landmark such as a farm or co-op.  So where did he go?

The Community Organizer in Chief instead did what community organizers do best: he went to a part of the state that admits 60 percent unemployment and 40 percent poverty, speaking in broad platitudes and offering no solutions, then hopping back on his jet to head for a $32,000 per plate fundraiser in another state.

By the way, life on “the rez” is a perfect example of what happens if you let the federal government intrude upon all aspectsof your life.  This is the liberal Democrat utopia in full effect.  Think I’m wrong?  Look at other bastions of Democrat Party liberalism such as Detroit, which has deteriorated from a bustling metropolis and center of ingenuity & industry into a scene from Sarajevo or Tikrit.

The example doesn’t end there.  In fact, the native peoples have had “single payer health care” provided by the federal government for a long, long time.  You know what the credo is for people in the Indian Health Service system?  “Don’t get sick after June.”  The money simply runs out, and treatment is unable to continue.  Welcome to another Democrat utopia.  Never has there been a more perfect microcosm to demonstrate where the United States will be if Hope™ and Change™ are allowed to reach fruition.  Native people deserve more, the way they’ve been treated over the years is an embarrassment to our nation, and it’s sickening to use them as props.  The scary thing is, instead of helping them, this president and his party want to expand their plight to the rest of the nation…”equally”.


bistrib_obama_standingrockBy the way, Chase Iron Eyes dared to make a comment about he would have actually liked to have seen some “concrete plan” from the president…but he got nothing but platitudes and other community organizer rhetoric. You won’t see that comment on the Bismarck Tribune website anymore, because the article has been scrubbed from the Tribune website.  Here’s a PDF of the article before it disappeared.

So, instead of visiting North Dakota’s “energy corridor” to see how land is mined then reclaimed, or how oil is recovered while flaring is reduced, or how North Dakota farmers are feeding the world, he instead went to a place where poverty and misery run rampant because of government policies and dependency upon myriad social programs…and did the one thing he does best: sowing discord while offering no solution.  That is not leadership.

No wonder more people were excited about seeing the plane than the president occupying it.  Can you blame them?

Here’s how you get my vote for City Commission

campaign_signs_29463Disclaimer: This is not a photo of my yard.

I was lucky to stumble upon a yard with these two signs side by side, because these are the two people I recommend you vote for in the upcoming City Commission race.  I’d be happy to explain why.

First off, Mike Motsenbacher has a consistent record as a fiscal conservative, unlike anyone on our current city commission.  He’s been involved with conservative activist groups in town as long as I’ve known him, he’s got business experience as well, and I just plain like him.  You and I can trust him to be prudent in his decision making and not share the same fetishes as the current commissioners.

But here’s the newcomer (to me, anyway): Duane Pool.  A friend of mine received this letter from him, and I’ve received permission to reprint it.  Upon reading this letter I became instantly convinced that I’m voting Pool for Commissioner in the June election:

 I want to thank all of you for your varying levels of support, influence, council and inspiration leading up to this last week of the Bismarck City Commission Election. I know not all of you a Bismarck residents but thank you anyway. If you are a resident, I encourage you to vote or stop by the City-County building and turn in an absentee ballot if you are not able to vote on Tuesday, June 10th.

This election is about choosing a city commission that reflects your values and values your input. I hope I have shown myself capable of doing so and deserving of your support. I strongly encourage you to watch the League of Women Voters forum on Dakota Community Access or online at freetv.org.

My Core Values:

  • I believe Government should be transparent: The public should be informed and a genuine part of the process both within the Tom Baker meeting room and before the issues gets there. People should have access to information and they should know their input into the process has meaning and influence.
  • I believe in the Democratic Process and I believe in my community: Democracy is a responsibility and participatory process. We are obligated to participate:
  • As Candidates
  • As Voters
  • As Citizens in public meeting and forums.
  • People engaged in the process should be treated with dignity, sincerity and respect.
  • Once elected you still need to honor the will of your constituents, both those who supported you and those who did not since you represent them all.
  • Planning is a key to efficient and sustainable growth: I have been involved in planning for much of the last 15 years. I think as a community we need to really focus on a vision of what we want to be 10 and 20 years from now and plan our community efficiently around that goal. (healthy, growing, safe, educated, happy, economically stable with a good standard of living)
  • Economic growth and efficiency are highly desirable community characteristics: I have taught economics at both the under graduate and graduate levels for over 25 years. Including the principles of economics into public decision making will make for efficient and logical decisions for both the short and long term viability of our community infrastructure as well as business environment.

My personal focus:

  •  Infrastructure to support growth. How and where we plan it, scalability, cost and liability.
  • Public Finance. Government provides services necessary to our safety, security, business and social networks, education, and health.
  • How much service is provided must be balanced with the cost and how we pay for it. Public spending is not synonymous with public investment and we need to assure the public that when we do responsibly spend their tax dollars the services and benefits are necessary and desirable.
  • Existing and future investments must be sustainable from a fiscal perspective.
  • Focus on the future rather than reactionary spending. EX: The Civic Center expansion was denied at the polls, yet the existing Commission voted to spend ~10-15% less on a revised plan. Paraphrasing the City Commissioners rationalized this as “…they voted against the higher cost expansion, not the new proposal…”. Subsequently when the public reacted the Commissioners voted to do a study regarding future Civic-events Center locations, expansion and needs. This was either the cart before the horse (study first then spend based on an informed decision) or a disingenuous attempt to quell the public outcry with no intent to change course. In either case the public will was discounted. If the process were inclusive of a long-term community vision the study would have preceded the decision and the urgency to begin construction would not have overridden an open public process nor blatantly disregarded public opinion.
  • A focus on planning and vision for the future will aid in efficient long-term spending to build and maintain an adequate community infrastructure.
  • Public safety and health: As our community grows, demands on police, fire and public health resources will increase. These services are vital to an attractive and vibrant social and business culture. The culture and economic opportunities in Bismarck are what makes our city attractive and provides the backdrop for growth.

I hope I have your support at the polls on Tuesday!

Duane B. Pool, PhD.

civic_center_money_6747bThe Civic Center thing struck a chord with me.  I’m a Civic Center employee, but I was firmly against pouring more taxpayer money into the expansion.  I outlined my reasons in a post here.  So were most of the rest of you.  That was not enough to prevent our commissioners and mayor from diverting taxpayer moneys from elsewhere and proceeding anyway.  For that reason, they need to go.  Their cavalier attitude and fetish for downtown, “green space”, and the Civic Center expansion need to be their ticket out of office.  Duane Pool gets it.

I may have some other research to pass along regarding the vote this week (if you early vote) and next.  Stay tuned, and vote Pool and Motsenbacher for City Commish!

Extremist left-wing enviro hate group’s propaganda accuses ND power plants of killing people

Someone gave me this flyer that they were handed outside the federal building on 3rd and Rosser last week:sierra_club_propaganda It comes from that well-known enemy of personal property rights, the Sierra Club, and it accuses MDU’s Heskett Station power plant of killing eight people per year as well as causing a litany of horrible medical problems.  It exhorts the recipient to contact Sierra Club shill Wayde Schafer to “join us in our campaign to encourage Montana-Dakota Utilities to be a good neighbor by transitioning our community beyond coal and investing in clean energy”.


catf_propaganda_mapThey go on to cite a map from “non-partisan” Clean Air Task Force (ahem) which performs the service of putting these scary black circles on a map wherever there’s a facility generating energy for North Dakotans.  Their website indicates that they pretty much hate any power generation that doesn’t come from a “renewable” source, although even they seem to agree that turning corn into ethanol-based gasoline is a disaster.  They don’t like coal, they don’t like oil, they don’t like gas, and they’re motivated by Global Cooling Global Warming Climate Change™, a phenomenon whose only purported solution is global socialism.

ala_sota_2013Oddly enough, if you go to the American Lung Association’s website you can find a report that’s three years newer (CATF’s is from “estimated 2010 impacts”) in their 2013 State of the Air report (PDF).  In it, North Dakota gets phenomenal reviews for its air quality.  If you want to pick a group that’s “non-partisan” I suggest looking at the ALA before believing anything from a site that won’t be happy until we’re one step removed from the stone age.  North Dakota’s data from the report is available at this link if you don’t want to download the PDF.

ala_bismarck_honored_2013It didn’t take more than a few seconds to find this release, also from the American Lung Association, congratulating Bismarck (which is downwind from Heskett and most of those other nasty black dots on the CATF map most of the time) on receiving an “A” grade.  From the report:

“The State of the Air Report covers eight counties in North Dakota that have permanent air quality monitors: Billings, Burke, Burleigh, Cass, Dunn, McKenzie, Mercer and Oliver. This year’s report looks at data collected from 2009-2011 time period and verified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”

That doesn’t sound like the cesspool of black death alleged by the CATF and amplified by the radical hatemongers at the Sierra Club in their propaganda, does it?  If you’re handed stuff like this from extremist liberal groups, take my advice and take whatever they tell you with a grain of salt.  Do your own research.  It won’t be hard to find easy refutations to their propaganda.

I intentionally used terms like “radical”, “extremist”, “hate group”, et cetera because that’s what these leftist use to label anyone who disagrees with them.  It works both ways, commie.

Time for a little Photoshop

heidi-howThe Democrats have not passed a budget, something they’re required to do by the Constitution of the United States, in YEARS.  Rather than have their spending actually show up on a piece of paper, they’ve relied on “continuing resolutions” to break the law and borrow more money from China.  This is not only unsustainable, but it’s illegal – and it’s the REAL reason for the government shutdown right now.

Heidi Heitkamp, self-proclaimed “Independent Voice™ for North Dakota”, is in lockstep with her political party.  Given the fact that she has aligned herself with them, and not the majority of her constituents, I decided to play in Photoshop a little bit.

Click on the image for a full size version.  Please feel free to download and share.  Have a good weekend!

Capitol quandary

This sign could work well as a picture metaphor of the state legislature and property tax “reform”. They’re throwing hundreds of millions of dollars in “relief” at a problem which isn’t inherently theirs.

– The state legislature doesn’t assess property values;

– The state legislature doesn’t levy property taxes;

– The state legislature doesn’t collect property taxes…

And yet they’ve managed to not only tie the noose of public anger at property taxes, but they’ve also stuck their head in the loop and tightened the knot. Meanwhile, the culprits behind high property taxes at the county level get a free pass without any accountability.

I’d expect another Measure Two type initiated measure to appear on the radar soon. In fact, while I opposed Measure Two on the last ballot I would certainly vote for the abolition of property taxes in North Dakota. I just saw the bad mechanics of the last attempt and didn’t want to put the state in a bind. If it had simply said “No governing entity may levy property taxes” I’d have voted yes. I imagine that a lot more people will be voting yes for whatever property tax measure hits the ballot, regardless.

I met one of my representatives for coffee back when Governor Hoeven got this ill-fated “reform” shell game started and pretty much predicted the debacle we’re facing now. I warned that the legislature will assume responsibility for the tax & spend behavior of the counties, and will be the bad guys in the eyes of voters no matter what they can and can’t do to relieve property tax burdens. Here we are.

Some days the legislature makes just about as much sense as the signs pictured above – and those signs would work even better as a descriptor of the failed transparency bills in this session, but I’m not going there…yet.

Conrad and Dorgan: No longer masquerading as North Dakota residents

Now that he’s no longer carpetbagging for a North Dakota senate seat, Byron Dorgan can finally be honest about where he’s really lived for the last twenty years: Virginia. The former senator’s home has been featured in Home & Design magazine.

It may be news to you, but the meager apartment buildings above are where Senators Conrad and Dorgan claimed to live “on paper” so they’d be eligible to run for office as representatives of North Dakota. I lived in one of these buildings, and (if the Senators’ appliances were the same olive green as mine) they were hardly what one would expect of a United States Senator. No worries, though…I never ran into either of them while living there, and I doubt these apartments were more than a technicality to facilitate their re-election. They are the addresses they used to claim residency.

This ornate hand-written address label no longer exists, so I suppose the Senator and Kim have moved on. After all, there’s no reason to have a North Dakota address anymore. Certainly these lavish accommodations in no way compare to their Virginia mansion.

In case you’re a new reader, you probably don’t know that former senator Kent Conrad actually owns these two buildings via an LLC that he formed. If you only frequent North Dakota media, you probably don’t know that Senator Conrad was under ethics investigation for a sweetheart mortage deal from Countrywide Financial on this property, which consists of sixteen units in two buildings, even though the company’s policy for the rest of us is to finance nothing larger than a four-plex. Democrats even went to the point of changing the locks on committee room doors to prevent Senator Conrad’s conduct from being discovered!

Isn’t a corruption investigation involving a United States Senator from our state newsworthy? Apparently not. Oddly enough, KFYR/KXMB/WDAY seemed uninterested in this circus; same with the Tribune, Forum, or other state newspaper groups. In fact, this scandal didn’t seem newsworthy to them until after a Democrat committee chaired by a co-conspirator let Kent Conrad off the hook. THEN it was front-page news. If I was an assignment editor or news director at one of these organizations, I’d be asking myself some tough questions after either missing this or willfully ignoring it. If some blogger with a few minutes of spare time and a Google search can come up with piles of relevant information but their newscasts and printed pages contained nothing, isn’t that cause for a little self-examination?

Oh, and about Senator Gaylord “Kent” Conrad: don’t think that he was left out of the “expensive east coast mansion” situation. He has a million dollar house on a Delaware beach that didn’t show up on his financial disclosure reports.

I wonder if newly-elected “independent voice™” Heidi Heitkamp is paging through the real estate pages out there on the east coast?

Bismarck Tribune omits two important words from my letter to the editor: Heidi Heitkamp

About a week ago a letter I wrote to the editor of the Bismarck Tribune was printed. In it I called upon Senator John Hoeven to back North Dakotans’ view of gun control, reminding him to do more than just be “not Byron Dorgan.” I just posted the video of that original exhortation a few days ago, so scroll down if you haven’t seen it.

My writing style tends to be verbose at times, albeit not nearly to Clay Jenkinson levels, so I chose my words carefully. The original letter is posted below:

Dear Senator Hoeven,

Thank you for voting for the “fiscal cliff” deal to raise taxes on 77% of Americans, including my little family. Our tax increase is equivalent to picking out a monthly bill and doubling it, although you Washington types claim it was only punishing “the rich.”

At a Take Back Washington Summit a few years ago, I mentioned that we wanted you to win that Senate seat and be more than just “not Byron Dorgan.” Those high hopes are beginning to fade, especially after watching you waffle on 2nd Amendment rights on C-SPAN. Please reconsider who you represent: North Dakotans want no part of the gun control Senator Heitkamp’s ilk are proposing.

I wish I could keep the faith, Senator…but you need to earn it. You said, “We’ll have to see…” when asked about gun control. I felt the same way about your term in the Senate, and what I’ve seen so far is not what North Dakotans need from their Senator. I expect you’ll ask us to send you back for another term in a couple of years; please give us some reasons to do so by standing up for our constitutional rights.

I’ve seen longer letters to the editor, so I figured that I was within limits and likely to see my entire letter printed. So it was, minus one line inconvenient to North Dakota Democrats:

“North Dakotans want no part of the gun control Senator Heitkamp’s ilk are proposing.”

To whom am I referring? It could be the North Dakota Democrats who introduced their own weapons and magazine ban legislation in the state legislature this session: House Bill 1415 and House Bill 1416 (click on them to read the text in PDF format on the legislature’s website). These bills have since been yanked without discussion to avoid embarrassing Democrats.

On the national stage, who is it that’s talking about “gun control” (actually “people control” if they’re honest)? Democrats.

Who’s been quoted as saying that the American people need to be “brainwashed” when it comes to guns? Attorney General Eric Holder, a Democrat.

Who has said, “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States, for an outright ban, picking up everyone of them (every gun) Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in. I would have done it”? Senator Feinstein, a Democrat.

Who is taking to the stages across America and lecturing us once more on what we “need” – this time for hunting? Democrats.

Senator Heitkamp herself has had to perform an intricate dance in order to placate the fringe groups who helped her win her Senate seat as well as her party masters in Washington, DC who want to charge full-tilt toward gun control…all while trying to cling to the “independent voice for North Dakotans” mantra on which her campaign was based within our state’s borders. If she wants help from the Democrat National Committee in another five years, she’d better deliver on the liberalism. Doing so will remind North Dakotans what happens when you send another partisan leftist to DC our behalf.

Given the fact that Heitkamp’s support came largely from out-of-state organizations seeking to enforce a Democrat majority in the Senate, I expect her loyalties to continue to lie with those whose values oppose those of North Dakotans, as do the loyalties of Democrats even within our own legislature. For some reason, making even a passing remark about this association is too much for the Bismarck Tribune to let slide.

Pro-Gun Rally does pretty well for subzero temps and 44mph winds

Saturday was cold, and Saturday was windy…but that didn’t stop patriots from arriving and speaking up for their freedoms guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Many huddled as close to the capitol as possible to escape the biting wind, which the National Weather Service reported as sustaining 26 mph with gusts to 44 mph for the hour. Brrrr. The wind actually blew my lens cap all the way across the steps.

One thing that nobody talks about in regard to these rallies held by conservatives groups such as as the TEA Party, Guns Across America, or others: we’ve co-opted one of the left’s biggest tools and turned it back on them.

Remember when any ragtag bunch of hippies would get together for some sort of cause, and the media would be there to inflate their numbers and use it to try to sway public opinion? Well, now your average everyday Mom and Pop are there, they strike a clear contrast to the filthy and disrespectful “Occupy” movement, and they’re showing up in even greater numbers.

The same media used to try to minimize these rallies and their numbers or ignore them altogether, but both local TV news teams and the newspaper were there on Saturday. It’s getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that people who were content to just live their lives as everyday Americans are sick and tired of having liberal progressives intrude further and further into their lives every day.

The brisk North Dakota winter air wasn’t the only wind blowing this weekend. The winds of renewed patriotism and an awakened electorate are sweeping the country as well, and I believe we’ve got what it takes to sweep away the bogus, counterfeit Hope™ and Change™ that are threatening our nation.

Flashback: Take Back Washington Rally

CSPAN has put together remarks by Senator “Not Byron Dorgan” on the upcoming assault on the Second Amendment:


Pretty wishy-washy and non-specific. What I’m looking for is, “My constituents are firm in asserting their rights under the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, and as their duly elected representative in the Senate I plan to stand by and fight for their convictions on the chamber floor.”

Instead we’ve got a big question mark hanging over us. What will we get in return for sending Governor Hoeven to the United States Senate?


Only one thing left to do now, and – Hey! TRUCK!

Image shamelessly recycled from previous election

My sweetie and I voted yesterday, and I didn’t get a sticker. That’s okay; we did our civic duty and can now relax and let election day unfold. I’ve heard the phrase, “It’s a turnout election now,” and it looks like turnout will be heavy. When I put my ballot into the M100 Ballot Scanner yesterday (a machine for which I made the training video), I noticed that the three machines had plenty of use: 1,000 on the first, just shy of 2,000 on the second, and around 2,800 on the third.

All that’s left now is to pray for our elections and the people who are elected. As I’ve said on Facebook: regardless of who wins today: all public officials, regardless of party, are only as accountable as we hold ’em. The days of electing them and sending them off to govern while we go about our business are OVER. We’ve got the government we deserve right now, so let’s take it back and conform it to the will of the people and the frame of the Constitution of the United State of America. So we need to pray that the right people would be elected, for wisdom in the electorate, and for a restoration of the greatness of our country.

Last night felt great, because instead of getting wrapped up in political stuff I simply opened up Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to start playing around with some as-yet undeveloped photos. This truck, for example, is my first real venture into the world of HDR processing. I don’t have any of the industry-standard tools for such a thing, a fact I may have to rectify soon, but I am relatively pleased with this fledgling result. I was able to keep detail in the shadows of the truck and texture of the wood while keeping the colors and brilliant light of the grass, trees, and sky.

I like HDR photos when they’re super-realistic
, but not when they begin to look painted. This one is borderline. As I play around with it more and get some more sophisticated tools to wield, I hope to get a better handle on achieving the look I want. It’ll be a nice change from a very polarized and relentless election season.