ND’s “new arrivals” are bringing their crime with them…a suggestion for the media

crimeThe above screen capture is a representation of how our local news has changed with regard to crime in the area.  Sad, isn’t it?  I used to comment on the possibility of this as North Dakota, and Bismarck-Mandan specifically, began to experience growth at an increasing pace. I predicted, “We’re going to be bringing in all kinds of population to staff these fancy new businesses we’ve tried so hard to attract. Not all of them will be nice people; that’s a fact of life.”  That has turned out to be the case.

So, what do we do about this?  We’re not used to seeing stranglings, attempted murders, human trafficking, and high-dollar larceny in our daily headlines, but they’re regular features now.  To put a fine but politically incorrect point on it: many of these folks aren’t your typical upper-Midwest German, Norwegian, or Native American if you know what I mean.  I’m not talking about their race, I’m talking about their background.  So why not make that part of the story?

I propose that when John Doe gets busted for keeping his 8 year old girl in a dog kennel or chasing soccer players around the park with a machete, that the news report indicate how long they have lived in North Dakota and where they came from if possible.  This could be useful information for law enforcement to gather for use in tracking crime statistics, and those findings could be made available to the media along with the crime reports.  Help us keep some perspective here.

Chances are pretty good that these people are not North Dakotans per se; they have either recently arrived or have been transplanted to North Dakota from some other place where their behavior is normal.  Here it is not.  If it’s a North Dakota native who has made the headlines, then they’ll stand out from the rest of us by joining such ranks.

So, instead of saying that “Bismarck man accused of assault with 2×4 lumber”, how about this: “Former Reno resident accused of assault with 2×4”.  One could point out that the man currently lives in Bismarck and has been here for six months.  I think it would be healthy for North Dakotans and law-abiding “new arrivals” to perceive that North Dakotans are people who live up to their reputation of being good neighbors, that the malcontents are typically not from around here and are bringing their violence and lack of character with them from elsewhere.

I know, this probably reads as completely xenophobic. I’m not looking to brand everyone who comes here from out of state as a violent miscreant.  What I’m seeking is some much-needed clarity in our apparent surge in crime and misdeeds in North Dakota.  Doing so won’t necessarily vilify non-native North Dakotans, but it will help those of us who obey the law (including those who have recently arrived here) a sense of perspective about our home state and our culture.

I’m not suggesting that the focus of the story should become where a suspect comes from or how long they’ve lived in North Dakota.  I’m not advocating for any finger-pointing or sensationalism.  Just a mention of where the person came from would be prudent and provide some perspective to the crime report(s).

Wouldn’t it be comforting to families recently relocated to North Dakota to know that they haven’t moved to the Wild West, that most North Dakotans are basically good people?  I think they’d find that reassuring.  I think it would also encourage them to embrace North Dakota culture rather than assume this sort of thing is normal, as it may be where they came from.

I don’t want North Dakota to slip into a mode of acceptance of all this garbage.  Crime needs to be stigmatized.  Criminals need to be called to account.  North Dakotans need statistics to show that we’re not devolving, and new arrivals need to know that they’re arriving in a state and culture where crime is not accepted and taken for granted.  This would help us preserve that North Dakota way of life we treasure so dearly.

One failing grade Bismarck can be proud to receive

hrc_bismarck_2014According to this report, Bismarck has received a failing grade from a deceptively named activist group called the Human Rights Campaign.  They’re not actually for human rights; they just promote sexual deviancy in the guise of “equality”.  The last thing they want is equality; they only seek special privilege for the sexually disoriented.

According to the Tribune article, the homofascists are upset with Bismarck “due to a lack of LGBT-specific benefits” (where is the equality in that?) and other concessions that grant special status to people based on their choice of sexual behavior.  Sounds legit.

Kudos to Mayor Mike Seminary for pointing out that Bismarck isn’t on a witch-hunt against homosexuals simply because they don’t want to grant them special status. He’s quoted as saying “We are a very open employer, we don’t discriminate in any way shape or form…We put no barriers in front of anyone that wants to be engaged with the city.”  Exactly.  These people want their lifestyle choice codified and granted status above that of the average citizen.  They must not be accommodated (to use their word).

The most chilling sentence in the piece betrays the true intent of this ranking system by the homofascists:  A Human Rights Campaign statement called the annual report “a terrific tool” to spur cities into taking civil rights action.

This extortion attempt must not be allowed to succeed.  The list of travesties everywhere these people are allowed to establish themselves grows longer every day: photographers and bakers sued out of existence, religious liberties trampled upon, and the rights of private citizens obliterated in “defense” of sexual deviancy and gender-related disorders.  Bismarck must not become the latest casualty of these bullies.

Holy cow – I just got my mind changed to vote NO on Measure 7

Measure 7 is something that has come up on the ballot before in North Dakota: removing the requirement that all pharmacies must be owned by a licensed pharmacist.  This time it seems like it may really have some momentum.  I just got my mind blown in such a way that I have switched from a lifelong YES vote on this to a sound NO.  Why?  The answer will blow you away.

First, let me say that I believe that anyone who wants to operate a business in North Dakota should be able to do so.  I’ve always believed that, and it’s been the core principle behind my opposition to North Dakota’s pharmacy laws.  I’ve voted in favor of changing this every time it’s come up on the ballot.  This time around, however, I was wavering a bit, and I don’t know why. Something just didn’t seem quite right.  More on that later.

I’d classify most pro-Measure 7 folks in three broad categories:

  • Those who believe in freedom to open and operate a business, no matter who you are (this was me);
  • Those who believe that all medications are going to become cheaper because of more competition;
  • Those who stand to profit from the measure.

Like I said, in principle I would have voted yes simply because of the first item.  I’m not so sure that prices will come down as the second group of people believe.  But the third one is the one that didn’t make sense until today.

CVS operates pharmacies in the state.  White Drug does, too.  I bought most of my Atari cartridges and lots of my Star Wars action figures in an Osco.  So what gives?  Why do the “big box” stores claim they can’t operate here?  The answer is so simple and so complicated at the same time that it would never have occurred to me until Matt Evans wrote about it on my friend Rob’s blog.

In that article, Matt pulls back the curtain and reveals that there is no free market in this matter.  The big box stores negotiate with insurance companies for the ability to get certain medications covered, with state regulations giving them the muscle.  This artificially distorts the market, obviously.

So what happens if Measure 7 passes?  The “big box” stores go straight to the insurance companies, negotiate the same thing with them as they do in other states, and the next time you want to get your prescription covered you find out that it won’t be – unless you go to Big Box Pharmacy.

Naturally this stinks for a number of folks:

  • My favorite pharmacist, who gives GREAT prices and personal service;
  • Senior citizens who are on Medicare Part D and have to abide by it;
  • People who don’t live within 25 miles of Big Box Pharmacy and who’ll have to drive to one to get covered medications.

No wonder the bigs have been pouring millions into this issue: rather than it being a matter of free markets, it’s a matter of rigging the game in their favor!  In the guise of making more free, open competition available to drive prices down for the consumer, it’s actually a way to subvert the free market using the state-regulated insurance industry as a crowbar to leverage things in their favor.

I went from a 100% principled YES in this matter to a 100% NO in a matter of seconds after I read this.  If a YES vote would result in true freedom of competition and no protectionism, I’d cast it…but it would do exactly the opposite.

Make sure you read Matt Evans’ post on Say Anything.  It’s a real eye opener.  Cast your NO vote to stop government-enforced cronyism from coming between you, your pharmacist, and your prescriptions.  Otherwise the next time you want to support your local pharmacist, you may be doing it with your own money instead of the insurance coverage you already paid for.

Why North Dakota can’t afford to vote Democrat – even at the local level

north_dakota_wayIt’s that time again, when Democrats don folksy apparel and adopt phrases like “The North Dakota Way” and “working with both parties”. Don’t fall for it. Don’t vote Democrat, not even for dog catcher.

Even Senators Conrad and Dorgan started small. Decades later they were North Dakotans on paper only, maintaining shoebox apartments in Bismarck to stay eligible for reelection. Their final legacy: casting deciding votes for Obamacare, legislation wildly unpopular with North Dakota voters, then retiring to multimillion dollar East Coast homes near their lobbyist cronies. Was that the “North Dakota Way”?

Then we elected the “Independent Voice™” for North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp, who has since voted with her Democrat Party puppet masters 97% of the time according to Congressional Quarterly. We should have seen that one coming.

Now Erin Oban, wife of the Democrat Party’s executive director, uses similar rhetoric. She doesn’t mention this affiliation; in fact, her website’s devoid of issues entirely. Her opponent’s site has a very clear list of where she stands on important issues and she votes as she promises on these issues.

Democrats never actually campaign on what they stand for. Where are the campaign ads saying they support Obamacare, amnesty for illegals, the right to abortion, or gun control legislation? The ads promising to punish big corporations and advance the homosexual agenda? Conspicuously absent, but Democrats are beholden to people who want these things because their votes are guaranteed. Deception and feel-good rhetoric are required to get yours. Guess who they’ll serve.

Find an issue that’s popular in North Dakota, and Democrats are on the wrong side of it. Compare their campaign marketing to their behavior once elected. A Democrat elected to local office this year could cast the deciding vote for disastrous federal regulation in twenty years. We can’t afford to advance their dangerous ideology based on platitudes and deception.

BOHICA* – more “Local Control” coming Thursday night at 6pm

burleigh_co_anncThis terse notice to Burleigh County suckers taxpayers was posted on the Burleigh County website but flew mostly under the radar.  If you read it, you’re about to get socked by another expensive sucker-punch by commissioners Jim Peluso, Doug Schonert, Brian Bitner, and Jerry Woodcox.  I left Mark Armstrong off that list because he’s the one through whom I actually learned of this nonsense.

 

burleigh_co_noticeHere’s the obscure listing of the notice, which doesn’t even appear as plain text (just a PDF file).  What in the world does that even mean?  Well, apparently that’s all the explanation we’re going to get about this tax hike.

 

By the way, what do other Public Notices look like on their website?

burleigh_co_noticesThey’re posted nearly in their entirety.  Remember that Sesame Street jingle, “One of these things is not like the other”?  Start singing it now.  And then grab your ankles, because it’s clear that the Burleigh County Commission does NOT want you to know about this until it’s too late.  Well, you’ve been warned.  Show up at 6pm tomorrow and make your voice heard.
*BOHICA = Bend Over, Here It Comes Again

I hate to say “I told you so”, but…

frontier_logo

Two years ago I posted an April Fool’s post in which I claimed that United Airlines would be discontinuing service to Bismarck-Mandan because a new competitor, Frontier Airlines, was going to be receiving subsidies to come and compete with them.  Apparently it was an entirely plausible idea, because a lot of people bought it.  Gotcha.  Well, it turns out that my satirical post was prescient in at least one way.

In the last paragraph of the post, I pointed out that the same thing happened in Fargo, where Frontier operated for the same two years, then left despite the incentives that city had provided:

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.

Here we are, two years later, and Frontier is doing the two-year two-step. I guess any consternation at throwing $250,000 and other incentives at them doesn’t seem so unreasonable after all. But if a simple photo blogger like me could have seen this coming, why couldn’t any of the local geniuses have done the same?

Bismarck, bend over for some more “local control”

bps_dollarsRemember those who said North Dakota property taxes are too high and there’s little accountability for the entities who levy and raise them? We were told that eliminating the property tax would cede “local control” to state government. Well, get ready for “local control” here in Bismarck, where a mostly unnoticed meeting of a small group of people aims to increase your tax burden yet again. 

I didn’t like the wording of Measure 2 a few years back, but I sure like the principle. Unfortunately, the state legislature stepped in to “buy down” local property taxes, thereby hanging the property tax issue around their necks like a lead weight. In the aftermath, local boards and commissions continue to raise tax rates and assess properties higher and higher to fill their coffers. Great plan.

Several years ago I lived near Richholt School. The school district decided to “close it” due to declining enrollment, we were told. Meanwhile, they managed to get a new eighty million dollar school project rammed through during a special election in which almost nobody but their activists participated.  They were serving cookies at the polling places, for crying out loud!  And the Richholt facility?  It’s still there.  You my notice that the Hughes building, which was in such “bad shape” that we needed to build Horizon Middle School, is still in operation as well.

Now we not only have multiple pet projects in the works for the school district, but we also get to play catchup on funding the maintenance and staffing of those facilities…something that never seems to appear in the initial price tag when they propose these expenditures.

Once again, I’ll state my positions on property taxes in ND:

  • Measure 2 was flawed, but I believe the property tax should be eliminated in the future.
  • It was an enormous and tragic mistake for the state legislature to implement an ill-conceived “shell game” to try to ease the burden of taxes they neither levy, assess, or collect… but for which they have now assumed a good share of the blame.
  • Local entities continue to use their authority to fund pet projects and advance their own agendas, and this “local control” they screech about has translated only to local abuse.
  • Quite frankly, if more people showed up to board and commission meetings and expressed their opposition to these constant tax increases, and held elected officials accountable, we wouldn’t even need to have this discussion.

North Dakota needs to stop punishing individual citizens for owning property.  We have a sales tax (the only “fair” tax) and plenty of revenue from energy production in our state. My hope is that someone will find a proper way to eliminate it…with the right mechanism I think we could have a relatively smooth transition and quell the abuse of taxing authority.

Looking back on the longest year

footsteps_ip_3747I’d like to start out this week by pointing out that of all the blessings my family and I have received through the past year’s trials, we have deserved NONE of them.  They are the grace of God.  All the answered prayers, the people who stepped in to help, the healing and provision…they are a gift from above. We could earn NONE of them by any goodness on our part or by any bad things we’ve endured. All serve instead as a testament of the grace, mercy, and love shown to us by our Lord and Savior. We’re so thankful and look forward to a “light at the end of the tunnel” as it appears that we may be on the tail end of many of our health issues and other setbacks. 🙂

Heidi Heitkamp for Abortion…so much for the Independent Voice for North Dakota™

heidi4abortionQuick rundown: Democrats want to force Christian employers to pay for abortion and “birth control” drugs that abort a pregnancy.  Many resisted.  The Supreme Court sided with the employers in the “Hobby Lobby” case.  Vowing to proceed with infanticide, Heidi Heitkamp’s party decided to push through a new law to specifically counter that decision.

Guess who voted “Yea” for cloture on this bill?

heidi_adBut wait a minute!  Didn’t the self-proclaimed “Independent Voice™ for North Dakotans” say in her campaign ads, “I’ll only answer to you.”?  Yes, that’s exactly how she ended the ad portrayed above.  That’s how she portrayed herself throughout her campaign: go check out her TV ads for yourself…they’re all online.

North Dakotans oppose abortion.  That’s never been arguable.  We send people to our state legislature who oppose it as well (aside from pockets of Democrat party dominance).  On our behalf they have passed multiple laws and resolutions defending life in the womb, and we continue to re-elect them.  I think it’s pretty clear what the citizens of North Dakota, whom Heidi Heitkamp claims to represent regardless of “partisan politics”, believe on this issue.  Yet she sides with her Democrat cronies consistently.  In fact, she sticks with President Obama 97% of the time, and it’s been documented.

Heidi Heitkamp is a liar.  This prompted me to make  the following graphic a while ago:

heidi-howClick on the image for a full size version.  Download and share!

Back when the “What I really do” meme was big in the net, I was able to come up with this in a matter of minutes; Heidi makes it easy.  It illustrates perfectly how the Independent Voice™ really pulls a fast one on North Dakota.

Fortunately, the Republicans were able to stop the Democrats this time; the pro-abort Dems were unable to get enough votes for cloture on S2578..  They won’t give up, though, and how they’ll be shrieking about “partisan politics” and how they tried in their valiant effort for “reproductive rights™” to raise more liberal campaign donations.  Business as usual.

There are a lot of things Senator Hoeven does that I don’t like, but in this case I think it’s worth a trip to his Facebook page or email inbox to let him know that this was the right stand for North Dakota.

Unfortunately, having a Heitkamp in the Senate means that the Democrats can effectively cancel out Senator Hoeven’s vote any time they want to.  By splitting our vote, they take North Dakota out of play on any given issue.  Think about that if you ever consider casting a vote for a Democrat Senator in a future election, no matter how many starry-eyed promises of independence they make.

Hot rods and memories at the BK

hotrod_iphone_2996I drove past the Burger King in Mandan with my family tonight, and my youngest little guy (a big car fan, even at his age) spotted the classic cars and wanted to take a look.

Since my surgeries and my wife’s surgery, along with all the other stuff we’ve gone through, the little boys have been great.  They’ve been cooped up a lot when Mommy and Daddy can’t take ’em places, although we have friends that have stepped in.  But to have actual family time on a summer night like tonight…well, that’s long overdue.  It’s also taught me a sense of perspective.  We were on our way to a specific destination, but I’ve learned to make time for whatever little thing is important to my children.  So we stopped.

The best part about my evening was one of the first: my little guy grabbed my hand, led me around the parking lot, and talked up a storm about all the shiny hot rods on display.  He had a blast, I was on cloud nine, and before long we were all back in the truck and continuing on with our evening.

I often quote one of my favorite songs by Grasshopper Takeover: You can never get it back; you can only let it go.  Well, tonight I didn’t have to let anything go.