The news that Frontier Airlines is returning to Bismarck is good news, although maybe a little disconcerting for those of us whose ages begin with a 6, or 7, or 8. See, Frontier used to serve Bismarck when I was in the Navy, in the 1960’s, and I used to get home on the plane from Denver when I was on leave. The flight took off in Denver, stopped in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, then Alliance, Nebraska, then Chadron, Nebraska, then Rapid City, South Dakota and finally Bismarck. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. It was the only airline serving Bismarck from Denver, so there were no other options. I didn’t even mind. I was going home! Those were the days when you could still smoke on airplanes, and I was a smoker. We’d get in the air, the pilot would come on and say it is okay to smoke now, so we’d light up, and before we could finish the cigarette, the pilot would come on and tell us to extinguish our cigarettes because we’re about to land. Only on the last leg, from Rapid City to Bismarck, could you finish an entire cigarette. With all those stops, the trip took something like four or five hours. I expect it’ll be a bit shorter now.


The best concluding line in a Bismarck Tribune letter to the editor this week came from a Bismarck woman whose house was flooded last summer. She and her husband had pulled the furnace before the flood to save it. When she returned to the house, someone had stolen the furnace. Stolen it!  She reported it to the police, and then wrote to the editor of the Bismarck Tribune. Excerpt:

Someone stole my furnace . . . I was saving the furnace for my son and his wife (whose house also flooded) . . . I hope you stay warm this winter, or if you sold it, I hope you are enjoying the money. Talk about kicking someone when they are down . . . Besides where you are headed, you won’t need my furnace.


The funniest sort-of-mean e-mail I got from a friend last week, who knows I’m an alum of Dickinson State University said: “Any truth to the rumor DSU is awarding an honorary degree to Jeremy Lin?”


From KFYR-TV News, Feb. 16:

Three high level employees have stepped down at the (Dickinson State) University. (Chancellor Bill) Goetz has said publicly that those resignations were related to the audit. (DSU President D.C.) Coston contradicts that. “None of the three people who resigned, none had any inkling of the audit when they came forward and said they would resign,” Coston said in an interview yesterday.

He says Marshall Melbye, former registrar at the university, resigned at the end of December, not long after the audit started. Steve Glasser was the director of the Strom Center, which was not implicated in the report. He resigned about two weeks ago, Coston says. And Jon Brudvig, former Vice President of Academic Affairs, stepped down shortly before the audit was released, but had no knowledge of what it contained.

Who to believe? Maybe one day we will find out who’s really to blame out there. Maybe.


The most telling story I’ve seen of what is going on in the oil patch—Here’s the entire AP story about an oil well explosion last week:

An oil well exploded Sunday morning about eight miles west of Fairview, Mont., the Sidney Herald has reported. No one was injured. The well is on Commissioner Loren Young’s property. Fairview Volunteer Fire Department responded.

One nearby resident told the Williston Herald she felt her camper shake when the explosion occurred. Black smoke could be seen for miles following the explosion.

Her camper! Not her apartment, or her house, or her office building. Her camper! In February on the Great Plains! And equally important to note, the entire story was just those two paragraphs. Not long ago, an oil well explosion was a big deal. A big story. No more. Just routine, like checking the police blotter these days. Sad.


Scariest short story of the week, from KX News:

29 North Dakota oil-field related deaths have been reported to the North Dakota OSHA office from January 1, 2011 through today (Feb. 16). Bismarck OSHA Office Director Tom Deutscher says his office receives 15-20 a year on average–for North Dakota AND South Dakota.


News release: “The North Dakota Tea Party Caucus has decided to publicly call for RaeAnn Kelsch to not run for re-election as state Representative for District 34.”


Bill Maher, on Rick Santorum: “He believes life begins at erection.”


A Republican Legislator friend of mine had a funny line the other day. He said a Legislator’s worst nightmare is to be walking down the Great Hall in the Capitol and see Al Jaeger approaching, quickly turning around to get the hell out of there, and finding out that Kelly Schmidt is coming from the other way.


Most mean-spirited line in a political news story I’ve seen in a long time:

“I think everyone is absolutely fired up . . . because everyone’s sick of this president we have. Nothing is a greater motivator than President Obama.”

That was from Matt Becker, Communications director for the North Dakota Republican Party, printed in the Bismarck Tribune February 21.

Everyone, Matt? Everyone?

I’ll give you the second line though. I agree that millions of young Americans were motivated by Barack Obama, to get involved in the political process in 2008, and to vote for him, and to celebrate his election, and I’m betting that will be the case again this year. And the meanness of the current crop of potential opponents, and Republican Party operatives like Matt Becker, will keep them motivated to vote for Obama again this year. Just watch.


Finally, this. My readers know I am a Liberal. Capital L. And so, I was heartened to read the words below, written by television commentator Lawrence O’Donnell, Jr. I want to share them with you.

What did Liberals do that was so offensive to the Republican Party?

I’ll tell you what they did.

Liberals got women the right to vote.

Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote.

Liberals created Social Security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty.

Liberals ended segregation.

Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act.

Liberals created Medicare.

Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act.

 What did Conservatives do?

They opposed them on every one of those things, every one.

So when you try to hurl that label at my feet, “Liberal,” as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honor.

2 thoughts on “Weekenders

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