Written by Chet
Politico is reporting this was part of the negotiation process in the White House recently:
“Go f— yourself,” Boehner sniped as he pointed his finger at [Senate Majority Leader Harry] Reid, according to multiple sources present.
Reid, a bit startled, replied: “What are you talking about?”
Boehner repeated: “Go f— yourself.”
The harsh exchange just a few steps from the Oval Office — which Boehner later bragged about to fellow Republicans — was only one episode in nearly two months of high-stakes negotiations laced with distrust, miscommunication, false starts and yelling matches as Washington struggled to ward off $500 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts.
I'm guessing most rational people recognize the problem in Washington is not a problem with Democrats; it's clearly a Republican problem. But that's not even what I want to say about this.
I have an 11-year-old 7th grader. How am I supposed to teach my child that it is inappropriate to treat his friends, teachers, employers and complete strangers civily when we have Republicans in Washington acting like this? Republican leaders apparently believe it is reasonable to talk like this while dealing with others. John Boehner is second in line to be President of the United States of America, and this is how he treats the people we expect him to work with every day. This is Kevin Cramer's leader. It's embarrassing.
And then he went and bragged about it?
I do not understand how any reasonable, America-loving, rational human can continue to affiliate with the Republican Party any longer. To those of you who do... You all should be ashamed of yourselves.
You built this.
Written by Chad
I'm going to the Presidential Inauguration in a few weeks. I'll be in D.C. several days and plan to attend the "big event" and any fancy parties I can get into. I'm planning to mix a little bit of business in with pleasure, too. I'm trying to decide whether to bring my fancy, expensive camera gear and shoot pictures at the inauguration and around D.C. while I'm there. I've got a handy little pocket camera that works fine for lots of things, but it doesn't have the best zoom and doesn't shoot great high-res photos. I'm also trying to decide how much of a travelogue and/or blogging to do. This break I've taken has been kind of nice. I wrote a bit while I was in Charlotte and posted a bunch of photos. I tried to keep you folks up to speed on some of my "brushes with greatness" in Charlotte, too. It's kinda fun to do that, but it's definitely work. Lugging my camera gear around isn't easy. And there's some obvious risk.
So anyway, this is my way of asking you folks whether you think I should shoot photos and blog from D.C. during my short stay out there later in January. It's also my way of asking for donations to help defray costs for this trip. I'll have all kinds of expenses (e.g. plane ticket, cab fare, beer, metro tickets, food, coffee, event admission, beer, etc.) and I'm missing a few days at my real job. Anyway, if you'd be so kind as to click the little "donate" button over on the right, and help a bruthah out, it'd make the trip hurt a little less financially, and would make it all the more likely I'll shoot pictures, blog and give "brush with greatness" updates, if I have any.
For the record, I tried to get press credentials for the Inauguration, but have been denied. My thought was that if I got them, I'd have a little more mobility and could get some better pictures. Turns out... that's apparently not gonna happen. Apologies. If anybody has any strings they can pull, please help me out there, too.
I'll also be attending the Democratic National Committee meeting on Tuesday, after the Inauguration. I'm not sure whether that'll be interesting enough to blog about. We'll see.
Years ago I lived in D.C. but I haven't been back in a while. I'm hoping to see some of the sites I never visited while I lived there, and hope to see some that I really like. I'll also try to find some of my old co-workers from 100 years ago, if they're around. I hope to get to Arlington Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and to walk around the mall and downtown, if it's not too cold.
I gotta throw a quick "thank you" out to Senator Hoeven's Chief of Staff, Ryan Bernstein. Requests for tickets (I've been told) generally go through the senators' offices, and he's been very accomodating.
Again, please consider making a donation to NorthDecoder.com by clicking on the "Donate" button over on the right. It'll really help make the decision whether to drag around my fancy camera gear a lot easier. You can use any major credit card or PayPal to make your donation. It is not tax deductible, unfortunatly, but I promise that if I get a reasonable amount of donation money, I'll drag that camera gear around and will do what I can to make it worth everyone's while.
Oh... and Happy New Year!
Stay safe tonight.
Written by Chet
Did you know?
- Roll Call reporter Shira Toeplitz tweeted, in November, that North Dakota Congressman Rick Berg's pollster's internal polling numbers showed Berg leading by six percentage points the weekend before the election?
- Rick Berg spent something like $180,000 (see p. 207) on his slightly-less-than-worth-it pollster in the last reporting period?
- According to his last FEC filing, Rick Berg left over $315,000.00 in the bank at the end of the election cycle? (You'll have to do your own search.)
Is it almost enough to make you wonder where Rick Berg was getting his political advice?
No wonder Heidi Heitkamp's victory over Rick Berg has been chosen as the #1 news story in North Dakota in 2012:
The grueling political showdown between Democrat Heidi Heitkamp and Republican Rick Berg in the hotly contested race for U.S. Senate ranked as North Dakota's top news story of 2012, according to a vote by Associated Press newspaper and broadcast members.
The race drew national attention as the GOP and Democratic parties wrestled for control of Congress. Berg had been an early favorite, but Heitkamp's perceived political independence and personal charm helped her eke out the win by a 3,000-vote margin.
Written by Chet
I hope it's been a little obvious that I'm taking a bit of a break from blogging this month. I have been posting a few things now and then on the NorthDecoder Facebook page (because it's easy), but not much there either. I needed a break.
But some things just can't be ignored. Not even things a guy like Kevin Cramer tries to hide from the public by releasing in a press release during the week between Christmas and New Years. Cramer announced a number of staff hires late yesterday. They're worthy of a review. So here goes. First, the list of hires, with some general comments:
Washington D.C. staff:
Kim Badenhop - Chief of Staff -- worked on staff for the master of self-filibustering, Mitch McConnell, and George W. Bush; also makes pillows
Mark Gruman - Legislative Director and Counsel -- former PSC attorney
Chris Marohl - Legislative Assistant -- PSC partisan hack; Paul Ryan fan
Nicole Bredahl - Scheduler -- law student turned legislative scheduler
Tommy McKone - Communications Director -- Former staffer for Arizona Tea Party Congressman Ben Quayle
Matt Becker - Legislative Correspondent -- former NDGOP Communications Director
Alex McIntyre - Staff Assistant -- former staffer for Tea Party Congressman Rick Berg.
North Dakota staff:
Lisa Gibbens - State Director (Fargo) -- former Rollette County States Attorney, Rolla, ND
Randy Richards - District Representative (Grand Forks) -- ND Tea Party organizer
Kate Bommarito - Constituent Service Representative (Bismarck) -- former "reporter" for a North Dakota right-wing news rag
Larry Jahnke - Deputy State Director (Bismarck) -- The pastor at Kevin Cramer's church
Daryl Lies - District Representative (minot) -- "Daryl's Racing Pigs." Former Republican legislator.
I could make snarky comments about some of these painfully partisan hires and the lack of apparent qualifications for the jobs of some of these folks, but I really just want to focus on one of these hires. I want to talk about Cramer's hire of Larry Jahnke as his "Deputy State Director."
I'm wondering how that played out. Did Jahnke -- Cramer's pastor at the "New Song" church -- apply for the job? Or did Cramer approach him and ask if he was interested? I'm serious about this, too. Because both of those seem kind of sketchy to me. Think about this.
Say you're the pastor at a newly-elected congressman's church. You go to him and apply for a job as Deputy State Director (or any position, really). How is your parishioner going to respond?!? "No, sorry, Pastor Larry, but you aren't qualified for the job you're seeking. See you in church next Sunday!" If it happened this way, is it completely unfair to question Pastor Larry's ethics?
Or let's look at it the other way; what if Cramer approached his pastor and asked him to leave the church to come to work for the federal government: What skills do you think parishioner Cramer saw in his pastor that led him to believe Jahnke would be the right person to hire as his Deputy State Director in his Bismarck office? Was it something Cramer saw in marriage counselling by Pastor Jahnke? Was it his well structured sermons? Did he feel pressured to offer the job?
And what about the separation between Church and State? After all of the Cramers of the world get done hiring their pastors away from their churches to serve in government positions, won't the establishment clause be just a relic we all ignore? More.
Maybe Jahnke had a long and distinguished career helping constituents weave their way through bureaucratic red tape before entering the seminary. But maybe he didn't. Maybe he just got the job because he goes to movies with Cramer, and laughs. I'm kind a curious.
Written by Chet
The local press and many state officials have been all atwitter with the recent news that North Dakota had the largest "percent change" in population in the country. (Here's the AP story that made the front-page rounds.) I read the press release from the Census Bureau with a great big "meh."
Because I like math.
Let's look at this population "boom" in a mathametical context. First, a snippet from the Cencus Bureau's press release:
North Dakota's total population climbed by 2.17 percent between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012. This is the fastest growth of any state, and nearly three times faster than the nation as a whole, according to Census Bureau state population estimates released today.
The Census Bureau produces population estimates each year, allowing our nation, states and communities to gauge our growth and demographic composition. The population estimates use administrative data to estimate population change between census years, using the decennial census count as a starting point. Estimates are used by local governments to locate services and by the private sector to locate businesses.
Following North Dakota in terms of percent increase over the same period were the District of Columbia (2.15 percent), Texas (1.67 percent), Wyoming (1.60 percent), Utah (1.45 percent) and Nevada (1.43 percent). North Dakota ranked only 37th in growth between the 2000 and 2010 censuses and climbed to sixth between 2010 and 2011. Each of the 10 fastest-growing states were in the South or West with the exception of North Dakota and South Dakota.
Okay, yeah, sure. North Dakota's population increased. Fair enough.
But let's walk through this. According to the Census Bureau's data (click here), North Dakota's population increased from 672,591 to 699,628 between April of '10 and July of '12. That's a total increase in population of 27,037. Let's talk about the population change in Texas (the third-place state) during the same time period. Texas went from 25,145,561 to 26,059,203, for a total increase in population of 913,642. The population of Texas increased by about 1.5 times North Dakota's total population during the same period of time. The population of Texas increased by North Dakota's population 16-month increase about once a month.
Here's another way of looking at it: If you have a big island and only one person lives on it, and one more person shows up on the island, you might call that a "population explosion" because the population increased by 100%. (WOW!!!) But is it really a population explosion? No. The percentage seems really big and impressive, but there's just one more person there. There are only two people there.
That's essentially what the "big news" is, apparently. The state with almost the smallest population in the country got a few more people. Are we still in fourth-to-last place ahead of only Wyoming, Vermont and D.C.? Yep.
Sorry, folks, but this really wasn't a front-page, huge-bold-font news story. Well, unless you're North Dakota's media and don't "get" math, of course.
Written by Chet
Did you read the story about the Minneapolis teacher who was suspended for bringing a loaded gun to school? Well that probably could not happen in North Dakota because teachers may have a right to bring their loaded weapons to school.
We wrote about this proposed legislation as the bill was working its way through the North Dakota legislature. (Click here to read about the state legislature's land grab.)
Here's what the law -- yes, it is a law now -- says:
A public or private employer may not... terminate the employment of or otherwise discriminate against an employee, or expel a customer or invitee for exercising the constitutional right to keep and bear arms or for exercising the right of self-defense as long as a firearm is never exhibited on company property for any reason other than lawful defensive purposes.
NDCC § 62.1-02-13(1)(e)
If you take this North Dakota law to its illogical conclusion, students -- assuming they are "invitees" -- might be able to bring weapons to school, too, if they plan to use them for "lawful defensive purposes."
Makes perfect sense, right?
Well, there may be some confusion in the law. First, this statute is horribly written. I'd like someone to explain to me how a firearm can be "exhibited on company property" when there is no "company." For example, let's say it's a sole proprietor that owns the business property; what then? There's no "company." What if it's public property? Is that "company property"?
But also, we have a law that says you can't possess a gun at a "public gathering" and "schools or school functions" are considered to be "public gatherings." (NDCC § 62.1-02-05) I don't pretend to know for sure how these two conflicting laws would interact. A general rule of statutory interpretation says that a more particular provisions govern more general provisions. I have an opinion as to which of these two provisions is "particular" and which is "general," but I don't wear a black robe so I can't tell you for sure which is which.
So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not sure if you can sit back and relax during the next volleyball game. The crazy, angry guy sitting next to you at the game probably doesn't know how to interpret these conflicting statutes either.
I wouldn't worry about him though. He probably has horrible aim.
Written by Chet
[Updated in red.]
I just have several random thoughts about the Newtown, Connecticut, Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, mental health care and gun violence, and I'll share a few links I've found to be enlightening.
(1) I don't have a big problem with guns. I'm not "against" guns. My concern with guns has more to do with the fact that it seems like too many people (though certainly not all) who get their hands on guns seem to think it transforms them into a lot of things they are not, including, but not limited to one or more of the following:
- A non-idiot
- A hero
- A "tough guy"
- A wizard who can tell the difference between the Avon Lady and a burglar who's knocking on your front door just to make sure you're not home.
Bottom line: I worry that guns take some people and cause them to believe they have been turned into something they are not.
(2) There seems to be a mathametical/statistical/irrefutable correlation between the rate of gun ownership, and the rate of horrific, unjustifiable gun violence. Assuming you don't hate math and statistics and therefor agree with my #1, above, this probably seems obvious. People who don't like math or statistics or irrefutable things probably don't like this, and that's okay. I'm friends with a lot of people who don't like math or statistics. It's hard to avoid math.
(3) Guns do not kill people; people kill people. Agreed. But the gun helps. Don't you figure that if this kid had walked into the school in Newtown, CT, and started trying to kill teachers and students with his bare hands or a knife or a baseball bat, that fewer than 25 people would have been killed? The problem isn't so much that people won't kill if they don't have guns; it's that the bloodletting will be slowed if those people didn't have guns. With some people's logic you could also argue that "Atomic bombs, scud missiles, methamphetamines, and Agent Orange don't kill people; the people who use them kill people." So let's make all that stuff legal, too. So maybe a better way to think about is this: Guns don't kill people, but guns are a multiplier.
(4) I'm amazed how many socialism-hating right-wingers are coming around to the realization, after the Connecticut tragedy, that maybe "we" need to provide better mental health services for people who can't afford it or the insurance they would otherwise have if they could afford that. They almost sound pro-Obamacare. Because mental health care is health care.
(5) If you haven't read "I am Adam Lanza's Mother" yet, you should. Here's an excerpt followed by a link to the whole thing.
Friday’s horrific national tragedy -- the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut -- has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
While every family's story of mental illness is different, and we may never know the whole of the Lanza's story, tales like this one need to be heard -- and families who live them deserve our help.
Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.
“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.
“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”
“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”
“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
The Blue Review
That's just the beginning of it. Go read the rest.
I'd suggest this personal story isn't just a story about the Connecticut tragedy or gun violence or mental health care, but a much broader, equally important story about our nation's penal-industrial compex, and our country's health care system, generally.
[UPDATE: There may be more to this story than first met the eye, too.]
(6) I was reluctant to say anything about this at all. And I've been busy.
It's hard to imagine the pain the families, friends, neighbors, teachers, co-workers, school administrators, first responders in Newtown are feeling. It's hard, partly, because it feels like there's nothing we can do for them. But we can.
Send them your thoughts, prayers and other positive vibes.
That is all I have for now...
Written by Jim Fuglie
[Cross-posted, with permission, from "The Prairie Blog."]
I didn’t read about this in the Bismarck Tribune. I didn’t see it on KXMB or KFYR’s 6 o’clock news, and I didn’t hear it on Joel Heitkamp’s News and Views radio show. Apparently it wasn’t very big news here. But I just knew that there was a story out there, and I couldn’t get to the bottom of it. No one was reporting it. It was a mystery. Something was missing in my life and no one knew where it went.
Then, Saturday, I went to the mall. I’m not a regular mall-goer. I go once a year, and Saturday was the day. Christmas shopping. And my route took me right past Northwoods Candy Emporium. Aha, I thought, here I might find the answer. I went in and looked down each aisle, No luck. But I was the only one in the store at the moment, and so I mustered up all my courage and walked up to the fellow minding the store, and said “You probably know more about candy than anyone in Bismarck. I have a question.” He shrugged his shoulders modestly and said “What can I do for you?”
“What happened to Snaps®?”
“Well, they’ve been recalled,” was the reply. “They found lead in them or something like that.”
Huh. Bam. Just like that. Snaps® recalled. How can it be? Is nothing sacred? Lead? How do you get lead in Snaps®?
And then, a cold sweat. Lead? How much lead? My God, I must have eaten a hundred thousand Snaps® in my lifetime. Lead? Could that explain why my weight keeps creeping up? Do I have big lump of lead in my belly somewhere. Kind of looks like it, when I stand sideways to a mirror. Lead is bad. I don’t use lead shotgun shells any more. Paint with lead in it can’t be sold any more. But lead in Snaps? How could that be? And why didn’t I know about it?
I’m serious about a hundred thousand Snaps®. It’s one of my dirty little secrets. Lillian knows I like them, but she has no idea how many of them I eat. Or used to. I’ve been buying them for more than 50 years, ever since they sold for two cents in a little red cardboard box at Dale’s Variety Store in Hettinger. There were probably 20 of them in a box. And man, I bought a lot of boxes. My taste for Snaps® never went away, especially the white ones. Some of my friends said the pink ones were best, but I always like the white ones. What, you say, they all taste the same? Hardly! I guarantee you I can close my eyes and pop a Snap® in my mouth and tell you if it is a white one or not. Anyone know what the other colors are? First correct answer in the comments section below get a free bag from me when, or if, they come back (the manufacturer, the American Licorice Company, has promised their return by the end of the year).
The two-cent box went the way of all penny candy sometime in my youth, replaced by a nickel bag, then a quarter bag (the same size, I think) and lately, until August of this year, a bag weighing four or five ounces, I suppose, for a couple bucks. Oh, yeah, and a theater box that costs about seventeen dollars.
So what happened in August? Well, apparently a scientist at the California Department of Public Health, during a routine test, found an unacceptably high level of lead in black licorice candy manufactured by American Licorice. Unacceptable meaning more than .1 part per million. Lead is very bad stuff if it is consumed by humans and other living things. The CDPH notified American Licorice and the company issued a voluntary recall. Here’s what they had to say:
On 8/22, we were notified by the California Dept. of Public Health (CDPH) that they had detected trace amounts of lead in one batch of our black licorice (16 oz. Bags of Black Licorice Twists with “Best Before Date 020413” printed on the label) that exceeded the amount of lead that they deem safe for candy products.
At that time we issued a voluntary product recall of this batch of licorice and immediately launched an extensive internal investigation to get to the root of the issue, including additional testing of our raw ingredients, products, equipment and water lines, in an attempt to identify what caused the elevated levels of lead. Our testing suggests that slightly elevated levels of lead above the recommended maximum levels of lead for young children may also be found in some recent batches of Red Vines Black Licorice Twists, Family Mix, Mixed Bites and Snaps. No detectable lead was found in recent testing of Sugar Free Black Licorice.
I noticed that they were gone right away, although I didn’t know why Snaps® had disappeared. You see, to this day, I still bought Snaps® pretty regularly. I always had a hard time finding them. But the CENEX station on West Divide Avenue had them hanging on their candy rack, and I usually ducked in a bought a bag when I filled up with gas. About once a week. I liked to munch on them when I was making my rounds as the ranger at the Bismarck public golf courses. And I often took them on my canoe and camping trips, when I was going to be out on the river or trail more than a day or two. Because not only do I like Snaps®, but they have some medicinal qualities, for me at least, as well. The black licorice helps keep me regular, if you know what I mean, on those forays into the outdoors.
Well, one day last summer, the rack at CENEX contained no Snaps®. And then the next time I went to get gas, and the next time, and I kept checking in there every time I got gas, but no Snaps®. And I never knew why, until the candy store clerk in the mall told me Saturday.
Now, it looks like there is good news ahead. Here’s what’s on American Licorice’s website right now, dated October 25:
We are happy to share that Red Vines® Family Mix and Red Vines® Black Licorice Twist items began shipping to retailers on October 22nd and will be available on the shelves of your favorite stores in mid- to-late November. We are planning for Snaps® to be back on shelves later this year.
Since initiating the recall in August we’ve worked closely with the FDA, significantly increasing the depth and frequency of our internal quality testing, tightening our standards with ingredient suppliers and launching an extensive internal investigation of ingredients, equipment, and finished products.
As a result of the investigation, the FDA has classified the recall as a Class II, meaning that the probability of serious adverse health consequences is remote, and initial health hazard evaluations for Red Vines® Black Licorice and Snaps® found that health risks from consuming black licorice with slightly elevated levels of lead are negligible.
You can learn about the FDA’s recall classification system at the link below:
We greatly appreciate your support for our company and products over the years and deeply value your loyalty. We will continue our dedication to making delicious candy with a goal of always being better tomorrow than we are today.
Best, American Licorice Company
The candy store guy at the mall says he hasn’t been notified when he’ll get his new supply. When he does, he’ll sell them in bulk from his jars, like he does a hundred or so other kinds of candy. He’s going to be my new friend. Because I’m not sure, but my guess is that they’ll be cheaper there than they are in pre-packaged bags at Cenex. Looks like I’ll be going to the mall more than once a year now.
Written by Chet
[UPDATED X 1]
This week someone pointed out an op-ed piece in the latest issue of the "Bakken Breakout" monthly Bismarck Tribune insert. (I'd tell who pointed it out to me, but I'm not sure whether he'd want me to implicate him.) It's a piece by Tribune publisher Brian Kroshus, and it borders on hilarious. Kroshus starts out by outlining flaws he perceives in the electoral college system. He writes this:
Arguments against the college include the belief that it gives outsized representation to residents of less populated states like North Dakota, despite its significant present day contribution as an energy rich state, something not in the minds of our nations' [sic] forefathers. There also exists the chance that even if a candidate wins the majority of the popular vote, they may still not be made president as was the case in 2000 when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore, despite losing the popular vote.
Other potential flaws of the system are that the presidency can be decided by only a handful of states toward the end, and as a result, campaign strategies are adjusted accordingly..
Bakken Breakdown, p. 5 (November 2012)
So what do you suppose is Kroshus' proposal for solving the problem? Here's what he wrote (and I'm not kidding):
During a time when our country is in serious need of economic development, it's critical that government paves the way for innovation and expansion rather than suppressing it, particularly when it comes to oil production. That approach will not only create jobs, but ensure that America can reduce and eventually eliminate its dependence on foreign oil supplies. Based on the previous four years, that in itself could prove to be a tall order, but the case is sure to be made to those in power as it has in the past.
While the Electoral College will almost assuredly be around for years to come, one has to wonder what the outcome of the Presidential Election would be like if it were based on states' present day contribution to the national economy. Even our Founding Fathers would have had a difficult time getting their arms around that.
Bakken Breakdown, p. 7 (November 2012)
You know why our Founding Fathers would have had a hard time wrapping their arms around your idea, Kroshus? Because it's freakin' insane.
Land doesn't vote. Buildings don't vote. "Contribution to the national economy" doesn't vote. And oil doesn't vote. No matter how much the Tribune whores itself out to the oil industry, oil will never be able to vote.
I'm convinced Brian Kroshus was drunk when he wrote this; not with beer, wine or other alcoholic beverage. Brian Kroshus was oil money drunk. Just take a look through the November edition of the "Bakken Breakout" newspaper magazine. It's 96 pages long. These pages are 100% advertising: 2, 3, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 31, 32, 33, 37, 39, 41, 43, 45, 48, 49, 52, 56, 60, 64, 67, 68, 71, 74, 77, 80, 81, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 91, 94, 95, 96. These pages are 50% advertising: 46, 47, 51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61, 63, 69, 73, 76, 79, 83, So fifty-one (51) full pages of this ninety-six (96) page newspaper insert are made up of advertising. That's 53% advertising. I'd like to know how much a full-page ad in that insert costs. It can't possibly be cheap.
The reason Bismarckians are so horribly uninformed about all the crime, the school overcrowding, the horrible condition of roads and bridges, the pollution, the oppressive rent hikes, human trafficking, waste, fraud, abuse and all the other problems in the Bakken is that the Bismarck Tribune's publisher is oil money drunk. He's so drunk he apparently thinks oil should vote.
Remember, too, that the Bismarck Tribune has been operating without an Editor in Chief for over a year. So Kroshus really is calling all the shots. (Not that he wouldn't be if there were an editor.)
If you've been wondering why the Tribune is such a oil company, chamber of communism cesspool -- printing oil company press releases as if they were news -- now you know at least one of the reasons why; it's being run by an oil drunkard.
[UPDATE: Brenden makes a great point in a comment. If you assume Wikipedia's info is correct (click here), North Dakota produced 0.23% of the US gross domestic product in 2010. That's 50th place, out of 51. So North Dakota would lose two of its electoral votes if states voted based upon their percentage of GDP. See what happens when the publisher of your capitol city's only newspaper gets drunk on oil? He starts giving away your electoral votes.]