The North Dakota Senate, today, killed the ridiculous bill promoted by the likes of fringe right-wing magazine publisher, Steve Cates. It was the so-called "personhood" bill, House Bill 1572. It would have made it a crime for a doctor to treat an ectopic or molar pregnancy, and would have made it a crime to freeze a fertilized embryo for later use. The bill is gone. Good riddance. (Click here for the BisTrib story .)
I still can't believe anybody voted for this bill on the House side, let alone a majority.
For some reason the word "cavemen" just popped into my mind.
And speaking of cavemen, fifty-two members of the North Dakota House of Representatives voted to put the words "except the gays" at the end of the sentence, "God loves all of his children." The bill was SB 2278, and the cavemen caucus won on a vote of 34 to 54. It looks like it was fairly close to a party line vote. Here's a breakdown of the vote. (Click here)
Opponents said adding sexual orientation to the classes protected in the state Human Rights Act would protect a behavior not a characteristic.
There's a list being circulated around the North Dakota internets that I really had a problem with as I read it. I first saw it in a Facebook note, I've seen it in some e-mails and then later I saw it in someone else's comment here on NorthDecoder.com (click here). Here's the list:
What we dont see with the flooding Just a personal observation...as I watched the news coverage of the massive flooding in the Midwest with the levee's about to break in Fargo, ND, what amazed me is not what we saw, but what we didn't see... 1. We don't see looting. 2. We don't see street violence. 3. We don't see people sitting on their rooftops waiting for thegovernment to come and save them. 4. We don't see people waiting on the government to do anything. 5. We don't see Hollywood organizing benefits to raise money forpeople to rebuild. 6. We don't see people blaming President Obama. (Except for Don Marchant, post #30) 7. We don't see people ignoring evacuation orders. 8. We don't see people blaming a government conspiracy to blow upthe levees as the reason some have not held. 9. We don't see the US Senators or the Governor of North Dakota crying on TV. 10. We don't see the Mayors of any of these cities complaining about the lack of state or federal response. 11. We don't see or hear reports of the police going aroundconfiscating personal firearms so only the criminal will be armed. 12. We don't see gangs of people going around and randomly shooting at the rescue workers. 13. You don't see some leaders in this country blaming the badbehavior of the North Dakota flood victims on "society" (of course there is no wide spread reports! of lawlessness to require excuses).
I read that list and it really made me uncomfortable. It's taken me a day or two to pinpoint what made me uncomfortable about it, but -- with the help from some friends -- I think I've got it figured out.
I sent the list to Athenae, a friend I met at the DNC convention in Denver last summer. Athenae writes for First-Draft.com. I sent it to her because I knew she'd had some involvement in Hurricane Katrina relief. I wanted to know what she thought about it. She forwarded the list on to her co-blogger, Scout Prime, who was a little closer to the issue. Scout has written a blog post about the list. It's on First-Draft.com. I've asked for her permission to cross-post her comments, and I''ve gotten the "go ahead." Here's Scout's thoughts:
With each disaster there inevitably comes an email or blog commentlike this(scroll down) comparing the new terrible event to Katrina and the flood of New Orleans and I doubt it will ever end.
[Editor: I've edited out the list because I've got it, above.]
This was emailed to me for comment by Athenae and a blogger at North Decoder who was disturbed by it. At the end of this post I have posted my email response outlining the falsehoods contained above and if nothing else please read the last paragraph of it.
(St. Rita's/USA Today)
But for now I'm going to focus on another comment (scroll down further at above link) which is completely false:
Points well taken But if there is a flood, and the levees don't hold, and the city gets flooded, I will bet that the staff of the nursing homes all leave the residents to die on their own either. Do you remember that? Everyone that works at the nursing home took off and left all the people there to die! You can make up excuses all day long for that type of behavior, but I am not buying it.
This is a falsehood. The staff stayed and helped. People don't realize when those levees broke the flood waters came in fast and furious. That nursing home was in St. Bernard Parish. A couple I interviewed were from St. B and they said their home was flooded in minutes. They barely escaped with their lives...I mean literally. At one point the guy was almost swept away. He only lived because he grabbed the protruding antenna of an already submerged truck. So imagine those waters sweeping into a nursing home and overwhelming elderly folks and the staff. If you can't imagine it, well here is an account of the horror:
"We were like in a sinking ship," says Gene Alonzo, a retired fisherman who stayed at St. Rita's to be with his disabled brother, Carlos, a resident. "I never did see water come up like that."
Within 20 minutes, the water inside rose almost to the ceiling and nearly three dozen residents were drowning, some in their beds, in one of the signature scenes of horror wrought by Katrina.
Alonzo's account of the ordeal, together with new details from government officials, survivors and the Manganos' attorney, James Cobb, paint the most complete picture so far of what happened at St. Rita's before and after Katrina struck — and shed light on why the Manganos did not evacuate.
Their descriptions also debunk some of the myths that grew out of the chaotic aftermath of the hurricane, including reports that the Manganos abandoned their nursing home during rescue efforts there.
Alonzo, 55, says he put his 52-year-old brother onto a mattress, then grabbed Carlos' roommate, Harold Kurz. Alonzo recounts the frantic effort by nurses and others to save as many as possible:
"You can't get out a door, so they're kicking out windows to float the residents out on mattresses to put them on the roof. In every room, people were hollering. They were screaming like somebody was murdering them (and) ... for God to help them. It was a horror scene."
Alonzo returned to St. Rita's a month after Katrina to get belongings from his ruined car. He calls the place haunted, and says he will never go back.
"Can you imagine being in your wheelchair ... and that water came up over your head? I guess that's why people are so mad."
He tears up, and then says quietly he wasn't strong enough to hold onto both his brother and Kurz. "You can't swim with two people. I had to let Harold go. I still think about that when I fall asleep."
I wish the people who wrote the above comments seen at North Decoder would have to spend one night falling asleep to the horrific screams filling their head and the sight of their hand letting a human life slip away, for I think just one night of that would put an end to their writing comments which perpetuate the falsehoods....at least I hope
This is from an email response I sent regarding the 13 points. Feel free to add to it as it is certainly not a definitive rebuke, just thoughts off the top of my head based on the past 3+ years of research and writing about Katrina and the Federal Flood:
As for the 13 points....
Is 80% of Fargo under water at present? Is it flooded to the rooftops? That was the case for much of NOLA and well you can't do much BUT go to the rooftop and hope help comes.
Did 90% of Fargo evacuate? Because 90% of So LA did so. It was the largest and most successful evacuation in US history. Over 1 million people evacuated...most in just 24-48 hours. My God the whole population of the state of North Dakota (640,000) would have to evacuate TWICE to make that argument meaningful.
Very few people believed the levees were purposely blown up...and once the Army Corps of Engineers admitted it was their design failure that caused the levees to break it was even less. That admission occurred 6 months after Katrina struck....not one media outlet or newspaper reported it at that time other than those in New Orleans. NOT. ONE. But for understanding those very few who still thought they were blown...there is a history of the levees having been blown in the 1927 flooding. Did the business folks of Fargo ever blow the levees in poor areas in order to save downtown businesses and wealthy neighborhoods anytime in the past century? I assume no but if they had I suspect Fargo too would have a few folks questioning if it hadn't happened again.
As for politicians crying.....Are their hundreds of dead bodies floating in the flood waters of Fargo? Have over 1500 residents died? The majority of whom were elderly or disabled? Because shit like that makes people cry and that is what was seen in NOLA. I remember a CNN reporter on Day 1 of Katrina describing the horrors in the streets and she cried ...that was Jeane Meserve, a seasoned veteran. She spoke of much including the screams of dogs caught in the power lines being fried to death. People don't realize how horrible it was. I interviewed a couple who had stayed and they talked of hearing God awful screams...they didn't know if it was human or animal or both. I spoke with another man who had been in NO who was haunted by those same kind of screams. And well that is sad and horrible and evokes tears...to people who have empathy at least
It is an ABSOLUTE falsehood that anyone ever shot at rescue workers or helicopters...It did not happen. Repeat---that is false. Media reported it and it was wrong and the National Guard has said so.
As for the federal governments involvement ....Are these folks familiar with the Stafford Act that calls for fed intervention when states are overwhelmed by a disaster. Orleans, Plaquemines and St Bernard Parish as well as a few others on the South LA coast were devastated or under water. I think this would be the equivalent of about 4 or 5 counties in North Dakota. Do you have that many counties under water? In St Bernard parish there were only 6 houses inhabitable after Katrina...just 6. The fishing communities of that parish had been literally wiped off the map. All of which is to say that disaster was massive in its scope and devastation...and no state could have handled it on their own...federal help was needed and accorded by law.
The local Fish and Wildlife folks were out rescuing people immediately. The Coast Guard as well and they were local folks who were flying over their own flooded homes. In St. Bernard Parish anyone with a boat got out there and plucked people off rooftops.There is a quote from Gov Blanco ...."When all the stories are told, the story is going to be that Louisianans were saved by Louisianans."
A final point...and believe me on this...the people of NOLA are right now incredibly sympathetic to your plight...they Know and they'd never judge given what they know
It's important to address this "list of 13" nonsense. As noted above, it's everywhere. E-mails. Facebook. A comment here. If you google some of the sentences, you'll find the list all over the internet. It's #37 in the 900-some comments posted under some great photos on the Boston Globe's website (click here), with many good and some bad comments afterwards.
I could go through and challenge the accuracy of the points in the list, too. I could point out that there has been some looting in Fargo/Moorhead. I heard a news report a couple days ago about some guy stealing sandbags. (Classy.) If you go to YouTube and do a search for "coast guard fargo rescue" you'll find dozens of videos of people being rescued from their homes in the F/M area. I could go on, but that's not a productive use of time.
Natural disasters suck. It's inspirational when communities pull together, neighbors helping neighbors. Kudos to my friends, family and neighbors all over North Dakota; people who've busted their butts for the good of all. North Dakotans and Louisianans are tough Americans who've been through a lot, like New Yorkers, Iowans, Californians and lots and lots of other hearty Americans. 'Nuff said.
The list of 13 is offensive, it's mean, it's inaccurate and it's not the kind of thing I'd expect to see from North Dakotans. It's been around too long. It deserves a swift death and a quiet funeral.
If you took a "big picture" view of the handling of the flooding disasters in Fargo and Bismarck, most people would have to agree there have been some problems, but a fair amount of the work has been addressed competently by the city and county governments involved, by the National Guard soldiers and by the volunteers. Most rational people would have to agree the areas not handled competently were handled VERY incompetently. I could talk about what a great job the volunteers did. I could talk about what a great bunch of neighbors we all have. I could talk about the work of the National Guard, the Coast Guard and the Army Corps of Engineers. I could talk about the amazing job KFGO in Fargo has done over the past week or so. But I choose not to talk about those things. At some point, someone is going to need to ask the question: "What wasn't handled well? (so far)" I pick me. I pick now. Consider this a "first installment."
First, these flooding events should be viewed as an opportunity for our state and local officials to take a look at what a dismal failure our wetlands and water management have been. We would not be having major neighborhoods in towns like Linton, Beulah, Bismarck, Fargo and Devils Lake being overrun with water if we weren't eliminating all the pooling areas for water around our state and converting our landscape into a system of downhill express lanes for water. I predict we'll soon have a "blue ribbon task force" appointed to whitewash the real problems our state has in water management. Stay tuned.
Second, I feel bad for the smaller towns dealing with the flooding problems. With all of our state's resources being focused on Fargo and Bismarck, the folks in Beulah, Linton and a lot of smaller towns all over the state must feel like second-class citizens.
Third, how 'bout a round of applause for North Dakota's Department of Emergency Services. Twice in less than a week DES broadcast disaster announcements over at least some of North Dakota's radio and TV stations, telling us the sky was falling. The first incident was when DEC cut in to tell the citizens of Bismarck the northern ice jam on the Missouri River had broken and a wall of water was headed towards the south ice jam; all of south Bismarck should be evacuated. This was simply untrue. There were eye witnesses on the scene at Double Ditch, North of Bismarck, where the ice jam was located, and they were reporting to the radio news folks -- live, on air (I was listening) -- that the ice jam was not moving at all. This false announcement created fear and panic, and was completely uncalled for. Nobody has explained how and why this happened.
The second was the announcement last week Wednesday that the eastbound lanes of traffic on Interstate 94 between Jamestown and Fargo had been closed because they were preparing for the "voluntary evacuation of Fargo." I'm told the eastbound lanes were closed, but they were closed because of/after the DES announcement was made. There was, in fact, no "voluntary evacuation" of Fargo.
I was listening to KFGO radio when DES cut in to announce the voluntary evacuation of Fargo. It was quite dramatic. It happened in the middle of a press conference where city officials were talking about what the City's plan was. They made no mention of a "voluntary evacuation" at the meeting, and -- it seems -- knew nothing about a "voluntary evacuation." When the disaster announcement finished, I listened to KFGO's news guy -- former state Senator Joel Heitkamp -- express his frustration with the conflicting messages.
It's becoming more and more clear this second screw-up by the executive branch was caused by incompetence by someone under Governor John Hoeven's control. It's also fairly clear Hoeven was pressuring Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker to evacuate the city.
The closed-door meeting to talk about whether to do a large-scale evacuation took place at the height of Fargo’s flood battle late last week. The discussion became heated at times, with Fargo leaders striving to convince state and federal authorities the city’s defenses were sound, said Vice Mayor Tim Mahoney.
Mahoney said the governor and FEMA wanted the city to strongly consider a large evacuation.
Don Canton, a spokesman for Hoeven, said state and federal officials met with Fargo leaders to evaluate the “advisability” of a citywide evacuation.
“I’m sure there was a discussion of mandatory evacuation, but that’s not what was agreed on and executed,” Canton said.
He said the agreement reached, that vulnerable adults would leave and voluntary evacuations would be done in some areas, “obviously worked.”
Mahoney said Fargo already was in the process of evacuating vulnerable individuals before the meeting with state and federal officials.
He said that move apparently prompted someone to “pull the trigger” on a larger-scale evacuation, because parts of interstates 29 and 94 were closed Friday, the day before the Red River crested in Fargo at 40.82 feet.
Mahoney said he called the governor’s office about the highway closings and was told the matter would be fixed.
And it was, said Lance Gaebe, the governor’s deputy chief of staff.
Gaebe said the interstate shutdown was the result of a glitch in communication between emergency management officials and the department of transportation.
“They basically said to prepare to put out an announcement in case we need to do this, and it got released as if it were happening,” Gaebe said.
So now not only is it clear the Governor's people were incompetent in handling the disaster emergency announcement, but it's also clear they lied about what was going on behind closed doors in Fargo. They claimed an agreement was reached, during the meeting, to evacuate vulnerable folks, even though the City's plan to do that was already in motion BEFORE the meeting.
We're in the middle of dealing with a disaster. This is not the time to lie to the media. This is not the time to lie to the public.
And why was this meeting taking place "behind closed doors?" Don't we have an "open meetings" law here in North Dakota? Maybe the "closed meeting" status can be excused because we were in the middle of an emergency, but I'd like to think a record of the meeting was made so future administrators can learn from these clear mistakes made by Governor Hoeven and his staff.
Bismarck Tribune editor John Irby took after Congressman Earl Pomeroy in an editorial last week. He was critical of Pomeroy because Pomeroy was expressing his passionate disgust with the bonuses being paid to AIG employees. Pomeroy was expressing the disgust most of us felt and feel about the AIG bonuses, but Irby perhaps thought Pomeroy should sit on his hands. I'm kind of glad Pomeroy spoke his mind.
It's interesting that the Fargo Forum has an editorial that talks about the pressure put on Fargo's mayor by FEMA suggesting the possible evacuation of the city, but the editorial doesn't mention -- at all -- the pressure from the Forum's publisher's best friend, Hoeven, or the lies Hoeven's office told to the media and to the people. Gosh, I wonder why. Maybe they're next door neighbors.
I'm waiting to see whether the Tribune's Irby has the stones to write a piece critical of the Governor's attempts to force the evacuation of Fargo and the DES screw-ups for which Hoeven is ultimately responsible. I'm anxious to see Irby criticize the Governor and his staff for lying to the public and to the media during these crises. If Irby does, it will be the first thing he's ever written that's been critical of Governor John Hoeven (R).
I'm sure he'll find a way to blame it all on Pomeroy, Conrad and/or Dorgan.
This is part VII of the North Dakota flood news aggregator. Click on these links forPart I(Tuesday),Part II(Wednesday),Part III(Thursday),Part IV(Friday),Part V (Saturday),Part VI(Sunday),Part VII(Monday) andPart VIII(Tuesday). There are lots of photos and video on Parts I, II, III, IV, V, VI and VII. I'm putting the NEWEST ENTRIES AT THE TOP.
44. ABC news -- Squirrel saved from swollen Red River (with video)
This is part VII of the North Dakota flood news aggregator. Click on these links for Part I(Tuesday),Part II(Wednesday), Part III(Thursday), Part IV (Friday), Part V (Saturday), Part VI (Sunday), Part VII (Monday) and Part VIII (Tuesday). There are lots of photos and video on Parts I, II, III, IV, V and VI. I'm putting the NEWEST ENTRIES AT THE TOP.
95. ND National Guard (YouTube) -- South Dakota Army National Guard Soldiers activated to assist the North Dakota National Guard with flood-fighting efforts in Fargo use plastic sheeting to cover dikes in the area. A blizzard is moving in, and strong winds from the northeast work damaging the dikes. The plastic is an additional protective measure. (By videographer Master Sgt. Eric Johnson, 119th Wing, North Dakota Air National Guard)
94. Maxi with Concordia football team (YouTube) -- The team went up to Fargo to help fill sandbags and Mike Max talks to them about their experience.
93. Fargo Flood 2009 (YouTube) -- A little slide show dedicated to everyone involved in the efforts pertaining to the flood of 2009
92. WCCO (YouTube) -- From a plane over Fargo-Moorhead, you get a good view of the extent of the Red River Floods.
91. flood (YouTube) -- sindeevee
90. WCCO (YouTube) -- John Wanamaker reporting from Fargo
89. NY Times -- Snow could complicate flood recovery
87. Coast Guard Flood Rescues (YouTube) -- Coast Guard crews responding to the massive flooding in North Dakota have been busy rescuing stranded residents. To date, the Coast Guard has rescued 93 people. See more DoD videos athttp://dodvclips.mil
86. 2009 Fargo/Moorhead Flood (YouTube) -- Flight over Fargo/Moorhead on 3/28/09
85. EV helps with Sandbagging 1 (YouTube) -- Eagle Valley (Minnesota) students and staff help with sandbagging efforts in Fargo. (Part 1
84. Fargo Flood Report 3/30/09 10 am (YouTube) --
83. Fargo Flood 2009 (YouTube) --
82. Fargo Forum -- Oak Grove continues clean-up, meets with FEMA
42. YouTube (DODvClips)--Flood levels in North Dakota begin to drop but forecasters say the waters remain at record high levels and days of work remain ahead. See more DoD videos at http://dodvclips.mil
41. YouTube (Associated Press) -- U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota talks about preparations as residents of Fargo brace for a record flood. (March 27)
11. WKBT TV (YouTube) (WI) -- Three members of the Scenic Bluffs Chapter of the Red Cross head out Saturday to help
10. Coast Guard (YouTube) -- FARGO AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.D. Petty Officer 3rd Class Brandon Nowiki, from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, speaks about being deployed to the Red River Valley flood March 28, 2009. Two HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Traverse City, Mich., and one from New Orleans deployed to North Dakota in response to the floods. Working with state and local agencies, helicopter crews have conducted numerous rescues throughout the city of Fargo and the surrounding communities. (U.S. Coast Guard video/Petty Officer 3rd Class Erik Swanson)
9. Associated Press (YouTube) -- The Red River breached a dike Sunday and sent water flowing into buildings at a school campus in Fargo in an episode the mayor called a "wakeup call" for a city that needs to be vigilant for weaknesses in levees. (March 29)
8. Associated Press (YouTube) -- Fargo's fears of a catastrophic flood eased Saturday with word that the Red River apparently crested at lower-than-expected levels, but residents still have much to worry about.(March 28)
7. Associated Press (YouTube)-- Not even a record flood can stop love. Nathan and Brittany Aakre said their vows Saturday in Fargo, North Dakota, surrounded by friends, family and a whole lot of water. (March 28)
UPDATED MARCH 12, 2010, AT THE END OF THIS BLOG POST
Representative Dave Weiler (R-Bismarck) was arrested over the weekend. The only media carrying the story so far today is KFYR television. Here's the story.
A North Dakota lawmaker is out on bond after being arrested this weekend. State Representative Dave Weiler was arrested early Saturday morning after police say he pushed down his wife in their driveway. Weiler was arrested for simple assault domestic violence, a misdemeanor. His wife had minor injuries. Weiler is a Republican who represents District 30 in Bismarck.
This is part VI of the North Dakota flood news aggregator. Click on these links forPart I(Tuesday),Part II(Wednesday),Part III(Thursday),Part IV(Friday),Part V (Saturday),Part VI(Sunday),Part VII(Monday) andPart VIII(Tuesday). There are lots of photos and video on Parts I, II, III & IV. I'm putting theNEWEST ENTRIES AT THE TOP.
74. The Standard -- Snowstorm set to batter North Dakota flood defenses
73. KSPR.com -- Missouri Guard heads to North Dakota
72. YouTube (jennalee02) --
71. DaveArntson.com -- Photojournalist's pictures from Fargo. These are worth looking at.
70. YouTube (cman024) -- Wahpeton Flood 2009 (Richland County, ND)