Go to North Dakota, they said, It’ll be fun they said

No secret North Dakota has been making the news lately:  we’re either full of oil or have the lowest unemployment rate, have the best economy or budget surplus.  What North Dakota has is a shitpile of jobs and not a lot of people to fill them.  Why?  Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the terrible weather.  Maybe it’s that hey….it’s North Dakota.  Nobody wants to live here, nobody!  Those that are stuck go ahead and give you their story about North Dakota nice and how it’s just so freakin’ wonderful here.  And then they complain and bitch that their families are here and they’ve nowhere else to go.  But I digress.  Want to know why nobody wants to live here?  The reason is two-fold:

A.  North Dakota is terribly unwelcome to strangers.  If we didn’t go to high school with you, grow up with you, if you might say shit that makes us uncomfortable, we don’t want you.  Yeah, it’s cold in the winter–keeps the riff-raff out.  Yeah, we’re nice to each other as long a we abide by a long list of unwritten rules.  Those rules include women are minorities, no rights for gays and gay marriage?  Bah!  That’s not what my Catholic church said. Yeah, I’ve lived here my whole life.  My ancestors came from Norway.  Shit was bad when they left Norway.  I hear it’s nice there now, but again, I digress.

2.  When you live in North Dakota, you never seem to hear about how dangerous it is to live and work in North Dakota.  The reason there’s so many unfilled jobs?  The reason is nobody wants to move here no matter how “legendary” or what a “great place to raise a family” it is. People die here.

So, come to North Dakota.  We have tons of jobs.  Oh, that report that lists the deadliest states to work in the country?  Ignore that.  We’ll pay you well until you die on the job.  That’s what’s important.  Really.  North Dakota is wonderful.  Move here.  Work here.

http://www.aflcio.org/Issues/Job-Safety/Death-on-the-Job-Report

If you don’t feel like clicking the link, here ya go:

“North Dakota continues to stand out as an exceptionally dangerous and deadly place to work. For the third year in a row, North Dakota had the highest job fatality rate in the nation. The state’s job fatality rate of 14.9 per 100,000 was more than four times the national average and its fatality rate and number of deaths have more than doubled since 2007.”

No big whoop.  We take care of those rich folks that came from out of state to give you deadly jobs.  We’re saving money to one day help people by charging the oil companies not nearly enough to kill our state. We won’t help you until you bitch about it, but hey, that’s how we got the budget surplus. But come here anyway.  We dare you.

SODOMY! Think of the Children!

Ya’ll know I was born and raised in North Dakota, right?  Well, my foolish impression of sweet, little North Dakota has always been that we’re basically a live-and-let-live state.  You know, what you do is none of my business because damn it, I don’t want anyone in my business, so either I was completely ignorant as to what North Dakota was really like, or shit has changed in the last five years.  And this little post here is not really politicky, but more what-the-fricky.  There’s this sweet little town up north called Minot.  It’s close enough to oil country to make people nervous but not right in the thick of it, you know?  Minot’s biggest claim to fame so far is that actor, Josh Duhamel (Transformer’s, Las Vegas) that guy, is from Minot.  Minot has one newspaper, the Minot Daily News.  The biggest newspaper day is Sunday.  It’s not really any big deal, but Sunday, April 19, the Minot Daily News decided to just go ahead and take the money and run this little ad.  Now if ya can’t read it, here’s what it says:

“PARENTS, ARE YOUTH IN AMERICA BEING INDOCTRINATED?

Youth are taught that drugs and smoking harm the body. However, it appears that even young children are being indoctrinated into a belief system that a lifestyle that includes sodomy us a healthy lifestyle to choose. It appears that it might not be politically correct for schools to teach that sodomy used to be a felony in all jurisdictions in America because of the serious health consequences. Therefore, it could be beneficial for teenagers to view shocking 2010 CDC Update About Homosexuality on YouTube. Teenagers should be given a right to learn that there are valid health reasons to avoid sodomy.

ARE TEENAGERS IN AMERICA AWARE THAT SODOMY IS DANGEROUS?

1. Sodomy is a destructive act against nature. Consent does not change the fact that acts of sodomy are unwise. The grave consequences that occur make it obvious that no person has a body designed for sodomy.

2. Sodomy is a want, not a need. Participating in sodomy is a choice.

3. Since persons are not born with bodies designed for sodomy, it is vital for teenagers to be aware that the part of the body often used for sodomy is designed with a thin, fragile membrane that tears easily.  A tiny tear can become infected and since this cavity does not heal quickly, a colostomy bag is often required. Sodomy can cause severe damage to the body which can result in death.

4. Sodom spreads disease rapidly because the membrane that often suffers abuse leads directly to the bloodstream. Protection designed for normalcy is often ineffective when used for sodomy.

concernforchildren@westriv.com

Sponsored and paid for by concernforchildren, box 115, 200 Maragaret Street, Almont, ND 58520

Now, take a couple seconds and just let that sink in….

Um, why do I care at all about sodomy?  Why is this in my damn paper?  Why does it look suspiciously like an actual news article?  Um, so…..yeah….ok.

The paper has since been flooded with calls and emails and asked to ‘splain itself, Lucy! Of course, the paper has taken the road that all “journalism” outlets take these days as to why they accepted the money to run this full-freakin-page news/ad.

Here’s the deal folks….if this is free speech, why did they have to pay for it?

If the paper prints any ad based upon our constitutional right to free speech, where do we draw the line?

Like, if I wanna advertise my “barely legal porn site”  is that ok?  Free Speech!  If I wanna advertise the next KKK rally, is that ok?  FREE SPEECH!

And thus you have the problem with today’s media.  They work for money. If there’s no money, they go out of business. The first amendment has gone from a way to protect the truth to a way to invent the truth.  Yes, you can say whatever you want. Yes, you can print whatever bass-ackwards moronic thing you want to print if it’s paid for.  But no, you aren’t free from repercussions of your stupid speech. So, I’m sorry, but I’m not a moron (and most North Dakotans aren’t). So, I read your ridiculous ad and all I could think of was this line from the Simpsons–which had an equally ridiculous plot.

Don’t Get Raped in North Dakota

After denying basic protections to LGBT and expanding gun rights, you’d think North Dakota legislature couldn’t possibly get any worse, right? Or maybe you know all about how screwy North Dakota lawmakers are and know we haven’t even scratched the surface. Well, hold on to your bloomers, folks because it just got worse.

First, a little context for those of you who are not from North Dakota. Thanks to oil, North Dakota has amassed a sizable surplus over the years. Even after oil prices have dropped, the money is still there and there’s a projected 4 billion in oil revenue expected over the next two years. But wait! Only 5% of the state’s general budget comes from oil revenues. The rest comes from the humble, hard-working taxpayers like myself and the other working stiffs here.

So, what am I getting at? It would seem that with all this money and the surplus and the taxes we’ve paid, getting a half million in funding to help rape victims would be a no-brainer, right?

Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

The Bipartisan Senate Bill 2284 was introduced to provide $500,000.00 in funding to train more sexual assault nurse examiners so hospitals that don’t currently have one could get one on staff so rape victims wouldn’t need to wait a ridiculous amount of time waiting to get a sexual assault exam or treatment.

Now, remember with all that oil, the population has boomed in Western North Dakota and with it, the incidents of rape. Turns out there’s a pretty significant down side to all that oil money and it’s embarrassing that North Dakota seems to want the money but not do anything about the huge problems. You’d think maybe, just maybe, the North Dakota House would think a lousy half mill would be a reasonable sum to assist with the growing number of sexual assault victims due to that fantabulous oil. But nope. The senate cut the appropriation from $500,000 to $200,000 and before the house would pass it, they stripped the funding altogether.  So, I’m not sure what the point of passing it was with no funding….maybe to give the illusion that they gave a damn about rape victims?

There are currently 55-60 sexual assault nurses in North Dakota and another 40-50 are needed to meet the demand. So, this was a big SCREW YOU to rape victims that have the tremendous misfortune of being assaulted in North Dakota and a big SCREW YOU from the North Dakota House to everyone that’s a survivor of sexual assault (including yours truly). And once again, the only thing I can say is seriously, North Dakota?

Concealed Weapons are A-OK in ND

Today in North Dakota news is weapons!  Concealed weapons to be exact.  In 2013, North Dakota lawmakers decided it should be OK to bring a concealed weapon to church (or any other place of worship) because, you know….there’s a lot of gun fights that break out at church.  Or maybe it’s a  hunting thing.  How many times have you been sitting at church when a 10-point buck came waltzing through the door and you thought, “damn.  If only I had my gun.” ?  Right.  That’s what I thought.  But, in 2015, our lawmakers were still paranoid about what?  Maybe a killer mountain lion attacking or a gun fight breaking out at a concert; or maybe a public park, oh and heavens, we all know how violent political rallies can be.   So, they’ve decided anyone with a concealed weapons permit should be able to bring it to those places too, by golly!  Of course, they didn’t say that, but Rep. Todd Porter (R) did say that “we want the God-fearing honest people of our state to have the right to protect themselves wherever they’re at.”  Really?  Churches, parks, concerts….yep, all dangerous places.

I can’t help wondering if this is a part of that whole “the only thing that can stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun” thing.  Of course, bad guys are never able to get a concealed weapons permit.  Nope, only good guys are able to get guns.  Good guys never turn into bad guys when they oh, let’s say, have a disagreement with someone, or maybe their marriage is on the rocks.  Nope, a good guy with a gun is always a good guy with a gun.  And hey!  If everyone has a gun, goodness, don’t we feel so much safer?  I know I’ll feel so much better next time I’m at the park with my son knowing that all around us are only good guys with concealed weapons.

Now, like most North Dakotans, I’m not against guns.  We grew up with hunting, trap shooting, and gun cabinets in every house.  Sure, everyone has a right to bear arms.   But I can’t help wondering why the heck people would think they need to bring guns everywhere.  It just seems…well…paranoid.

The good news is that even though the ND Legislature voted not to protect gay rights last week, I’m sure it’s comforting to North Dakota’s LGBT community to know they can all apply for concealed weapons permits now and carry a concealed weapon to help them feel safe.

This whole thing has me thinking that perhaps the legislators watched this clip of Archie Bunker on gun control before casting their final votes.

https://youtu.be/-lDb0Dn8OXE

Seriously, North Dakota?

North Dakota’s largest newspaper calls out reps on vote

The day after the anti-discrimination bill SB2279 was defeated, many were shocked and delighted to see the cover of the area’s largest and very conservative newspaper, the Forum, publish the pictures and names of every single representative and how they voted.  

  

To give you an idea of how conservative this newspaper is, it ran editorial endorsements of every single Republican candidate for the North Dakota 2014 midterms.  Up until very recently, there was an entire print section of the paper called “She Says” which was seemingly for the little ladies of the house to learn how to cook, take care of the kids, and find work-life balance.  It seemed a small victory for area activists when the print section of “She Says” was discontinued, but was still available online.  Prior to Thursday’s vote, the Forum had published its editorial on the discrimination bill which you can read here: http://www.inforum.com/opinion/editorials/3707014-forum-editorial-pass-nd-housing-jobs-bill.

In the days leading up to the house vote, there was tremendous excitement that the bill had passed the senate and moved to the house.  The Republican-dominated house committee recommended a “do not pass” for the bill, leading to many North Dakota citizens to contact their reps (including yours truly) to demand a yes vote.  Many did not hear back from their reps (including me).  It was very disappointing and yet not surprising to see the photos of my representatives, Kim Koppelman and Chris Olson on the front page of the newspaper next to the headline “ND denies protection for gays”.   I wonder how many others saw their reps faces and thought the same as I did, who are they representing?  Clearly, it’s not the people of North Dakota.

Interesting to note, there were a few prominent conservatives who blasted the paper for what it called “bullying” and “berating” legislators.  I can’t help but think, huh….you mean the same way they just voted it was ok to bully and berate anyone based on sexual orientation?  Gentlemen that is irony.  They also laughingly called this North Dakota newspaper, left-leaning.  It seems strange that anyone who believes in equal protections under the law is just a “damn liberal” and not—oh you know—a rational, compassionate, and logical human being.  Even the governor of North Dakota, Jack Dalrymple came out publicly with his disappointment over the house failure to protect LGBT citizens from discrimination.  http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2015/04/north-dakota-gop-governor-wants-ban-on-anti-gay-discrimination/

So, here’s a big THANK YOU to the editors of the Forum for taking a stand for the people of North Dakota.  If our legislators no longer represent us, it seems we must appeal to the media.  

 Edit

Right to Discriminate Alive and Well in North Dakota

Hey hey hey!  Here’s a shout out to bigots everywhere!  You’ll be happy to know that the blood red state of North Dakota (which previously had 0 protections for LGBT folks) voted today to keep it that way, damn it!  Despite overwhelming support from several influential people that live and pay taxes in North Dakota, the republican North Dakota house voted to keep discrimination against our gay and lesbian friends in place in North Dakota.  

The pro testimony included such great insight such as:

“Make North Dakota a place everyone can call home.” From Rep. Kylie Oversen

“Discrimination is not a North Dakota value.” From Rep. Joshua Boschee

And

“What side of history do you want to be on?” From Rep. Thomas Beadle.

North Dakota GOP Reps voted down legislation that would do nothing more than provide the same protections for our LGBT neighbors as the rest of us have.

Using things like “religious liberty” and the assumption that this would create a “special class”, they proved themselves to be against forward progress yet again.

A.  Expecting to have the same rights as everyone else is not a case of wanting “special rights”

B.  The Jesus I grew up with (Yep, right here in North Dakota) said to love everyone.  

So, am I surprised?  No.  

Am I disappointed?  Yes.

Let every human being–gay, straight, white, black, male, female, have the same civil rights.  Or continue legislating a right to discriminate.  Really….which side of history do you want to be on?

Seriously, North Dakota?