Weekenders (Year Enders?)


Someone at the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) learned animation and put up this interesting map of the progress of drilling in the Bakken Formation over the last 25 years or so. Fascinating to watch. I’m not very good at technology, but I did manage, I think, to put it in this blog post and I hope it works if you click on it. If you want to visit their website to learn more, click here. There’s a wealth of information about energy in the U.S. at the site. It’s one of the three agencies Rick What’s-His-Name, who’s running for president, wants to eliminate. I can’t remember the other two. I don’t think the energy industry would be too excited about eliminating this one–a lot of the information on the site seems to be targeted to them, to provide them information.


Speaking of the Bakken, I have an awfully good friend living in Williston who’s not too excited about the changes in his lifestyle, and that of all other Willistonites. He’s a successful businessman who’s benefiting from the oil boom, but is pretty sure the price is too high. He sent me an e-mail a while back and I saved it. Here’s what he said.

Here is the problem—-far too many things do not get reported.  We hear of all these sexual assaults but never read a word about it.  People know it is happening.  Talk to any person that works at social services about what they now see happening in the community.  Never a word is printed.  All of the assaults and fights with injuries—old news that is not worth printing anymore.  Fights every weekend at bars that require medical services.  A huge number of “hit and runs” HUGE number, Huge.  Never a word.  Out of state license plates are everywhere.  Drive thru any apartment parking lot and it is all out of state.  My neighbors still have WA plates after 15 months—and those are expired.  A huge percentage of workers that can’t pass a drug test with one company, but are hired by another. There are a lot of people that believe the city wants a lot of things kept quiet as to not alarm people, but also not to let too many negative things out there.  We all know many of our “city fathers” and local politicians are making a ton of money as long as this continues.

Well, that’s depressing to read. But there seems to be more and more of that kind of feeling being expressed, especially this week with the story of the fellow from Aspen who was sent to North Dakota to get rid of a problem for Aspen. I’m hearing it and reading about it: “Hey, got a problem with someone in your community? Easy solution–just give him a one-way bus ticket to North Dakota. Heck, they’ll take anybody.”


Oh, and speaking of politicians not being able to count, the Forum ran a two-part series on the candidates for the U.S. House and Senate in North Dakota earlier this week. You can read them by clicking here and here, but probably only for a couple more days, because the Forum disappears their stories and tries to sell them to you for a few bucks when they are a week old or so. But the funnest question they asked the candidates was this one: “What three words best describe your campaign and what you stand for as a candidate?”

I’ll share at least the first part of the answers with you. All offered words of explanation after their brief direct answer to the question. First, those who can count:

Kevin Cramer: “Experience. Passion. Electability.”

Betty Grande: “Family. Conservative. Principled.”

Kim Koppelman: “Restoring America’s greatness.”

Heidi Heitkamp: “Independence. Effective. Heart.”

Duane Sand: “Staunch independently minded.”

Tom Potter: “Equality, integrity and cooperation.”

Hey, not bad, candidates, not bad. That gives us a start on deciding who we feel best about in the races next year. We’ll be watching for your campaign flyers to see if the Forum succeeded in helping you create a campaign slogan.

Then there were those who can count pretty well–four, after all, is pretty close to three:

Pam Gulleson: “Integrity. Hard work. Cooperation.”

Brian Kalk: “Energetic, listening and forward-thinking.” (maybe hyphenated counts as one, but I’m not sure.

Eric Olson (running for congress as a Libertarian–yes, this is the first time I’ve heard of him too): “To define the type of government I would want in three words, I would say peaceful, libertarian – allowing for personal liberties – and fiscally responsible.” (Eric’s use of four words is a little less forgivable, since clearly stated he was going to do it in three.

Serious math deficiency:

Rick Berg: “Jobs, balanced budget, common-sense regulation.”

And the guy who obviously flunked math in college:

Shane Goettle: “I’m emphasizing three things: my experience in both agriculture and energy … my broad experience in both the private sector and the public sector … (and) my ability to generate results and get things done.”

Three words, Shane. Three words.


I’ve been thinking about Dorothea Booke lately. Actually, every time I hear or read some right winger ranting against “Obamacare,” our country’s enhanced health care program for all Americans.

Dorothea was an assistant librarian in Dickinson for many years, and as she neared retirement age she took jobs as a proofreader at newspapers, first at the Dickinson Press and later at the Mandan News. I worked at both places while she did, and we became casual acquaintances, but not close friends. As best I know, she was unmarried. And what  I learned the last time I ever saw her was that she was, politically, very, very conservative.

Some time in the 1970’s I think it might have been the 1977 Legislative session, the North Dakota Legislature passed a law making it mandatory for drivers in North Dakota to carry liability insurance. It’s still the law here. Shortly after the law took effect, Dorothea came to me and announced I would have to find another proofreader, because she was quitting her job and moving to Wisconsin. I asked why, and she replied that she could not live in a state that REQUIRED her to have insurance, that she viewed that as an assault on her personal freedom, and she was moving away to a state that did not require it. She said she did not have the power to get the law changed, that her personal beliefs would not allow her to cave in and buy liability insurance, and so she had no choice but to move away. And she did. Packed everything she owned into her green Volkswagon and moved to Wisconsin. The law there, since changed (but only recently), did not require drivers to get liability insurance. Instead, as I recall, they had to show some proof of financial responsibility. I lost track of Dorothea then, now more than 30 years ago, but I know she eventually died there. She seemed old when I knew her, but she was probably only in her 60’s or early 70’s. She was a woman of principle. Unlike these whiners today who write vitriolic anti-Obama letters to the editor decrying our national health insurance program, Dorothea did something about it. She left her lifelong home and moved to a place where she had her personal freedom not to participate in a program she didn’t believe in. Never once wrote a letter to the editor about it, either. I’m sorry I did not get to know Dorothea better. I would have liked her, I think.


I ran into another of the managers at a Dan’s Supermarket in Bismarck this week and inquired further about why they do not stock Crystal Sugar, which I wrote about last week. After a quick consult with another manager, they agreed that it was about price. Crystal was charging them too much for its name brand product. They could buy the same sugar under their Flavorite label, which was bagged by Crystal, much cheaper, thus passing the savings on to their customers. So if, as pointed out by several readers last week, you’re buying anything other than C&H sugar, which is made from cane and not beets, you’re probably still buying Crystal Sugar, just in a different package. So, at least until Crystal ends its lockout of union workers at their plants in the Red Rive Valley, I’m buying C&H. If they reach an agreement, and the union comes back to work, I’ll probably go back to buying a local product.






One thought on “Weekenders (Year Enders?)

  1. It is in your best interest to carry automobile liability insurance. (BTW, I do not sell insurance).

    If you have an automobile accident, the liability coverage helps to protect your assets, from legal liability. It is a small price to pay for liability insurance to protect your assets, like your home, farm, business, etc. than have it sold to satisfy a legal judgement.

    While no one expects to have an automobile accident, they happen. You can slide on the ice and hit another vehicle. Medical care is expensive. What if you caused an accident with a school bus loaded with students. Would you have enough cash to pay for all those medical bills, if you were determined to be fully or partially at fault???

    The no-fault automobile liability insurance in North Dakota is far from perfect, but it helps to pay for damages. Better to pay the premium and have coverage than not.


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