Ray of light

airport_rays_4599Clouds can make or break a photo.  Sometimes they obscure the sun just as the skids are about to get interesting.  Other times they provide just the right circumstances for a dramatic photo.  This is obviously the latter.

Taking a sunrise or sunset photo without any clouds just doesn’t work.  They perform an essential service in making the skies more interesting.  Whoa..did I just stumble upon a metaphor for life just now?

An article the Bismarck Tribune probably doesn’t want you to see…but then again…

tribune_against_guns_2015-0415A couple of days ago the Bismarck Tribune ran an editorial against a bill restoring expanded rights for those of us who are licensed to carry concealed handguns – apparently without even reading the bill in question, by the way.  They make the dubious claim, “Don’t get us wrong, we are strong defenders of the Second Amendment.” while advocating against the rights of legal gun owners.

I’m not the least bit surprised that the birdcage liner newspaper of record here in Bismarck-Mandan would take such a position.  In fact, twenty-two years ago they pulled a stunt on par with the Fargo Forum’s recent attempt to use its front page to “shame” legislators who crossed the homofascists (oops, I did it again) by following the will of their constituents and voting against SB2279.

In this article from December 19th, 1993, the Tribune decided to “out” legally licensed concealed weapons permit holders just like the Forum decided to “out” those legislators.  The article actually listed the name of every concealed weapon permit holder in Burleigh and Morton Counties!

The article has not appeared online as far as I know, until now as I post it.  This is from the Tribune’s own computerized archive.  Sorry for the lack of formatting – apparently that’s a luxury the old computer system couldn’t afford.  I’ve stripped out the list of names.

Nearly 2,000 North Dakotans can legally carry a loaded, hidden handgun. But they're not law officers. These are the state's farmers, legislators, lawyers, service station attendants, salespeople and who, for protection and convenience, accessed the state's admittedly easy concealed weapon permit process. People like David O'Connell, a Democratic state senator from Lansford. ""I was threatened as a House member, a representative. I introduced a bill and I was told to withdraw it,'' he said. ""I had threats against me and my family.'' Since then, at the urging of law officers, a short-barreled .357 Magnum revolver travels with him on the 50,000 miles he logs yearly in District 6. Or Sen. Bob Stenehjem, R-Bismarck, who applied for convenience: His permit lets him take his Smith & Wesson .44 revolver to the field and range without attracting attention from law officers. ""I don't use it so I can walk around Kirkwood (Mall) with a pistol,'' he said. Or Todd Porter, who directs Metro-Area Ambulance Service and also carries a handgun in his vehicle for protection. Or 89-year-old Fred (last name redacted by Bismarck-Mandan Blog) of McClusky, who worked for years with the Sheridan County Sheriff's Department. Now, his permit is insurance. ""When I retired, the sheriff says, "Why don't you get a concealed weapon permit, in case sometime we might need you.' '' Or Paul (last name redacted by Bismarck-Mandan Blog), who said his license allows him to target shoot and keep a handgun in his work van without worrying about the sheriff. His wife and son also have a permit. Or 1,978 others: Men, women and families from Rhame to Pembina, Wahpeton to Williston. ""These people who have concealed weapons permits are law-abiding citizens,'' said Burleigh County Sheriff Bob Harvey. Generally, law officers don't worry about those who legally carry concealed weapons. ""I'm more concerned about the criminals who are carrying guns,'' said Morton County Chief Deputy Ken Helmer. ""It's the unknown out there that we worry about.'' Still, those responsible for issuing permits say requirements should be tightened. Now, 10 open-book test questions and seven shots from seven yards separate the legal from those who'd face a class A misdemeanor if caught hiding a handgun. ""It's not that hard. If you took your hunter safety test, I'm sure you took a tougher test,'' said Bismarck Police Chief Robert Matzke. ""The actual shooting should be more difficult.'' And Bill Broer, director of the state Bureau of Crimimal Investigation, would only say the test ""isn't that difficult.'' Only people convicted of felonies, some violent misdemeanors and those with confirmed mental problems are ineligible. In Bismarck, the sheriff and the police chief must clear the application - by conducting background checks - before it's forwarded to BCI. Local law officers, lacking discretionary powers, admit they've had to uncomfortably approve shady-looking applicants. ""I've had a few of them,'' Morton County Sheriff Leo Snider said. ""There's a lot of people I don't trust with a weapon.'' If they meet legal requirements, Matzke said, all he can do is ask hard questions. ""I question some reasons,'' he said. ""I ask if they really need it. But if they demand it, I really don't have the authority to deny it.'' The shooting test requires the applicant to fire 10 rounds in five minutes at a large target seven yards away, and hit a human silhouette at least seven times.But the test's aim, said a Bismarck firearms instructor, isn't to ensure marksmanship, just competence. ""If the state was looking for accuracy, it would be too easy,'' said Mike Stensrud. ''If the state was looking for proficiency - know how to load the gun, know how to shoot the gun - I think it's adequate.'' So far this year, 42 Bismarck residents have received concealed weapon permits. And recent changes in Washington affecting handguns have at least raised local interest in the permit process. ""There's been more questions,'' Matzke said. ""But nothing to show an increase.'' Applicants list their reason for applying on the application. ""Most people list self-protection, or they want to carry it out for target practice,'' Harvey said. ""And some people just feel better with it.'' But packing a gun for protection isn't always the safest course if a struggle erupts, Harvey said, because sometimes it's pointed in the wrong direction. ""Any person carrying a gun could cause their own harm, could cause their own death. A lot of people have been shot with their own gun.'' Gun owners and target shooters often apply for concealed weapons permits, Matzke said, even when they don't need it. In North Dakota, a handgun is usually legal as long as the handgun isn't tucked under a seat, shoved in a glove box or hidden from view under a coat.


The following fields overflowed:
PUBDATE = Sunday, December 19, 1993


Morton County residents permitted to carry concealed weapons:
(List of names redacted by Bismarck-Mandan Blog)


(Source: Bureau of Criminal Investigation.)


The following fields overflowed:
PUBDATE = Sunday, December 19, 1993


Burleigh County residents permitted to carry concealed weapons: 
(List of names redacted by Bismarck-Mandan Blog)


(Source: Bureau of Criminal Investigation)
The following fields overflowed:
PUBDATE = Sunday, December 19, 1993

I used to think that the Tribune would probably prefer that North Dakotans forget that they ever pulled this childish little stunt, basically publishing a shopping list for gun thieves and possibly putting people’s safety at risk (including mine)…but given another recent display of animosity toward North Dakotans lawfully carrying concealed weapons, after passing the required background checks, I’m inclined to believe that they aren’t ashamed of it at all.

So tell me again how the Tribune staff are “strong defenders” of the Second Amendment?

Fargo Forum group attempts to whitewash sexual activist ban

forum_whitewash1Boy, the sexual activists were angry once sanity prevailed and SB2279 was defeated in the House.  Their social media was replete with f-bombs and the like, and the Fargo Forum group was ready to hop into the action with its inflammatory front page attempting to “shame” legislators who did the right thing.  Well, it didn’t end there.

Apparently a coffee shop in Fargo decided to have its own tantrum and ban legislators who voted against SB2279.  The ironic part is that the same legislators who were banned totally agree with the shop’s right to deny service to whoever they want!  That kinda took the wind out of the sails of the movement and proved the point the opponents of SB2279 are trying to make, so the activists had to do a “we were just kidding” backpedal job.  The Forum was more than happy to oblige.  Too bad for them there’s that Internet.

forum_whitewash2Here’s the original article from April 3rd at 6:48pm.  The link is here.  If they remove it or rewrite it, the PDF is here.  Note that while the idea is referred to as absurd, only to make opposition to SB2279 seem similarly so, there is no mention that the ban is a joke or “mockingly declared”.  The article claims:

Effective immediately, if you’re among those who voted against Senate Bill 2279 you’ll be shut out completely from the Red Raven.

Apparently someone realized that this probably wasn’t going to go well, predictably so.  After the news story about the ban aired on the Forum’s TV stations, someone probably figured out that this wouldn’t bode well for the cause, and an article published online shortly thereafter by the Forum group paints the stunt in an entirely different light:

forum_whitewash3Here’s the article from later that evening at 7:31pm.  The link is here.  If they remove it or rewrite it, the PDF is here.  In it, the ban has now become a ‘ban’, and it is being portrayed as something totally different:

  • “mockingly declared”;
  • “satirical”;
  • “a joke”;
  • a “fake embargo”;
  • a “satirical, political statement”

Right.  Kinda of reminds me of that Seinfeld clip where George quits his job in a spectacular fashion, then realizes that he’s made a mistake. Mr. Costanza acts like nothing ever happened, he was “kidding”, and that he can’t believe that anyone would have thought he was being serious:

So, which was it – coordinated media effort to keep the agenda plodding forward, or simply sloppy reporting from a historically biased media source?  Either the Forum group got it wrong in the first report or they had to help whitewash the ban after that report hit the air.  The timeline leads me to believe that this was intentional.  The person interviewed at the coffee shop made no mention of it being anything other than a serious ban in the original article despite being quoted four times.  The attempt to walk it back came later.

The fact of the matter is that the tiny minority of sexually disoriented persons in North Dakota and their vocal activists do not reflect “North Dakota values” as they proclaim, and in fact want a one-way street of discrimination and intimidation of people who don’t think the way they do or condone their choice of behavior or lifestyle.  Too bad.  They can try to have these little temper tantrums and even get left-wing media to amplify their ranting, but that doesn’t change the fact that individual liberty prevailed this time.

So…what’s the brown goop Bismarck is spraying on city streets?

yuck_truck_33619I’m nothing if not curious. A friend once pointed that out as my defining quality. Naturally, I was intrigued when I came upon these trucks spraying what looks like motor oil (but clearly isn’t) all over the roads. I’ve seen it multiple times, and I have emailed Public Works to find out what it is. I’ll post their reply here.

 

yuck_truck_33623This is some ugly stuff, but certainly it must have a legitimate purpose. We don’t have some sinister Bond villain running the Public Works department. Friends and I have surmised that it may be to neutralize the salt applied to the roads over winter (don’t get me started on that).  They aren’t being followed by street sweepers, so it’s not like they’re doing a presoak or anything.

That reminds me.  Since I followed this truck in on Highway 10 and all the way up 26th, I’ve got some brown gunk to wash off my truck. Time to get some quarters…

Resurrection Day 2015

not_my_will_33573I caught this photo just after sunrise Saturday morning, and I think it’s rather appropriate for Resurrection Sunday.  This is the day Jesus made good on His mission to atone for the sins of the world.  No other person in history could have made that sacrifice on our behalf, providing a way for us to get to Heaven to join a sinless God who so loved a world full of sinners.

As I decompress from having to defend the faith upon which our nation was founded, a la SB2279, I feel it’s very important to point out one thing: these deviant sexual behaviors, while certainly sin, are no worse than any other sin.  Yes, that’s right.  In 21st century terms, sin is digital.  It’s a 1 or a 0, and NO sin can enter heaven.

The Bible points out that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  That’s why we need a savior, and today’s the day we celebrate that selfless act He performed on our behalf.

Amen.

Fargo Forum proves that SB2279 was about intimidation

260748399-The-Forum-Friday-April-3-cover-originalThis is the “objective journalism” we get from the birdcage liner known as the Fargo Forum.  It proves what I’ve been saying all along: SB2279 is about intimidation.  Here they attempt to “shame” legislators who voted against this abomination for their vote to uphold religious liberty.

Rep. Boschee also made a veiled threat during the floor debate in the House chamber today, when he pointed toward the homofascist attacks on Indiana and Arkansas in the wake of religious liberty legislation being passed in those states.  He implied that the same sort of thing would befall North Dakota if they didn’t fall into lockstep with the other states currently being bullied and extorted into catering to 2.3% of the US population.

This is the “love” and “equality” you find from the sexually disoriented.  They talk a good game when they emote their way through committee hearings and even floor discussion, but what it comes down to is unparalleled vindictiveness.  That’s what SB2279 was all about.

So, I hopped into Photoshop to correct the cover of the Forum:

260748399-The-Forum-Friday-April-3-cover-accurateSB2279 had so many problems simply in its mechanics or lack thereof, but the “big picture” really is that this legislation has a well-documented track record as a blunt instrument used to persecute persons of faith.  The proponents tried to make it about “housing and employment”, but this legislation is most prominently used to go after Grandma when the convictions of her faith lead her to decline providing flowers for a homosexual “wedding”.

Stay classy, Fargo Forum.  No wonder you’re a dying breed.

Late for the party

weak_auroras_33458I had my phone on vibrate Monday night, so I didn’t get the aurora alert when they began blazing.  Then I watched in agony all day as the K-index shot up to (and hovered at) a scorching 8!  Then the clouds began to roll in.

My friend Zach sent me photos later Tuesday evening with some really nice auroras, but he had to head considerably north and east of Bismarck to escape the thick clouds.  I took a gamble that I could have simliar luck and agreed to meet him at the abandoned church at Arena.

I got the last fleeting bit of aurora borealis as it faded from view.  Dang.  Better luck next time, I hope!

Back for some color

berries_32257This is kind of a bleak time of year for photo enthusiasts.  What little foliage exists from last year is brown.  The nice, white blanket of snow is gone, and the ground beneath it: brown.  Even the water of the Heart River, where I’ve been poking around lately: brown.  Sigh.  So I went back a couple of months to find these photos from the capitol area.

 

berries_32261It’s nice to see such brilliant color disrupt the drab colors of a gloomy North Dakota winter day.  It’s going to be a while before we’re treated to lush green again, although I did see plenty of green blades of grass when walking along the dike in Mandan last week.

 

berries_32264Spring she comes, spring she teases…but oh, how winter freezes.  We’re in for a cold snap again after being treated to sunny 70s.  Bummer.  Hopefully we can have a glorious Spring soon…this past winter seemed far too long!

Car Bodies

ice_piers_33333I’ve always been amused with the way places get certain names, ones which last for decades or longer.  Around the World is one such name.  The hills below BSC have an interesting name I won’t post here.  Then there’s Car Bodies in Mandan.  Even an official Morton County web page acknowledges the name, since it clearly isn’t going away.  It probably goes back to the fifties or so, who knows?

I’ve been told that ice would be cut and hauled out of the river in this place.  There was clearly a dock of some sort here, as you can see above.  There are some segments of steel cable protruding from the dirt of the river bank, as well.

I haven’t gone underwater here, so I don’t know if there are even any car bodies below the surface at Car Bodies.  It would make sense, though.  I’ll try to recall any other sites with cool names and post them here if I come up with anything.