TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Taking The State Back

You are being rescued. Republican state legislators are taking North Dakota back.

From themselves.

In the immortal words of Stevie Wonder, who used to be a legislator from District 28, “Don’t you worry ’bout a thing, Pretty Mama.” And let me tell you, Al Carlson, another blind legislator, hates being called Pretty Mama. The mama part, anyway.

There’s a lot of stuff to straighten out. Like getting those lazy, no-good, slothful elderly in their palatial nursing homes to pick up the tab for the tax break Republicans gave struggling oil billionaires the last go-around.

Because, really, even though those old coots helped build North Dakota, what have they done for you lately? Play Bingo and take sponge baths, that’s what. And watch soap operas on television. Like oil sands through a pipeline, so are the Days of Our Legislature.

Rep. Roscoe Streyle is doing his best to protect you from knowledge, which everyone knows has been the ruination of this country. Streyle’s bill would save oppressed oil companies from having to report contained spills less than 420 gallons. Do you know how much paper that would save? Enough to put Dunder Mifflin out of business.

Don’t you care about the environment? Save a tree, relieve some stress and pretend we don’t have any oil spills in North Dakota. And, frankly, to heck with Dunder Mifflin.

What about those lost jobs? Fear not. Pharmaceutical companies, who make a killing with blood pressure meds in North Dakota every two years, will pick up the slack.

One bill proposed by Pretty Mama would make it illegal for adults to wear masks in North Dakota. The idea is that anonymity should only be granted to law enforcement policing pipeline protests. Snowmobilers are so screwed.

What about Batman and other good guys? I would like to point out, Tonto is not the one in the mask. Somebody needs to stand up for our superheroes.

Sidebar: Has anyone ever seen the Green Hornet and Gov. Doug Burgum in the same room? I rest my case.

Make no mistake, I’d like to blame the Democrats for this mess, but they haven’t actually made it to any sessions yet because parking assignments dictated by the majority have forced them to park in Wilton and walk from there.

I know Marvin Nelson, who is getting in incredible shape — I mean, Boston Marathon condition — tried to FaceTime a vote in, only to discover Rep. Lawrence Klemin wanted him to pay $20 under proposed legislation that would require every internet device to be considered a pornographic vending machine.

That’s right, $20 per internet device if you want the racy stuff. Like news reports about the president-elect from Russia. Apparently, Klemin isn’t really against smut, he just thinks you should pay a cover charge. I think when people visit the Legislature this session, they should tuck dollar bills in Klemin’s belt for his re-election.

Although Klemin’s bill was withdrawn, until mental health cuts in North Dakota allow complete insanity to prevail, I would like clarification regarding my new web-based thermostat. While 70 degrees is OK, and 68 degrees is OK, would any number in between subject me to arrest?

As far as cutting mental health goes, feeling good is overrated. And, as any good Victorian knows, novel reading is the leading cause of mental health issues. We should burn books. Especially now, in January, when it makes the most sense.

I think medical marijuana, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters, will help the afflicted, despite the fact marijuana is a well-know gateway drug to liberalism. The next thing you know, you’re wearing jeans to work.

Thank God, Al Carlson is doing his level best to study the heck out of the medical marijuana issue for the 64 percent of people who didn’t know what they were voting for. He and some other legislators have set up a lab in the fourth stall in the unisex bathroom with a damp towel under the door. It’s a bipartisan effort because none of the Republicans knew how to work a bong. Send more Oreos and Pink Floyd albums. They want to get this right. Don’t look for that to happen anytime soon.

On the bright side, I think we’ll gain an hour after they tackle the pressing issue of Daylight Saving Time, which Sen. Dave Oehlke wants to dispense with in North Dakota. Great. And, when they’re done with that, maybe they can move the calendar out of the 1950s.

Until then, we’re keeping “the gays” in their place. The Senate last week voted down legislation to update state law with gender-neutral language to reflect same-sex couples’ constitutional rights. Sen. Janne Myrdal said the whole silly notion would serve to diminish the honor and sacredness of marriage. Everyone knows that for every same sex union, four out of five straight couples divorce. No, hold it. That’s the number of dentists who approve of Crest.

There is no reason to complicate things with humanity. Status quo is perfect for North Dakota. As I’m sure Sen. Myrdal would agree, the Dark Ages weren’t all that bad.

© Tony Bender, 2017

2 thoughts on “TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Taking The State Back”

  • Larry Gauper January 22, 2017 at 10:32 am

    EXCELLENT column, Tony! The bills you mention – along with Al Carlson – are all reasons why North Dakotans who use their brains think our legislature is a bunch of time-wasting, idiotic clowns. They spend time working on things that don’t need fixing and they invest very little time on things that deserve attention: budget, education, health care. The “daylight time” baloney ranks with that needless and redundant “porn blocker” bill, that, thankfully, was withdrawn before it did any damage to the computer industry, consumers, and then, if passed, would generate tons of litigation expense. Imagine scheduling lunch in a border city with daylight time wiped out in ND but MN would have it. “Let’s see, we’re meeting at 11:30, but is that Fargo time or Moorhead time?” Good grief that is a federal issue. We don’t need to do this state by state. The list goes on. Thanks for your work on this, Tony.

  • Pastor Tim Johnson January 22, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    Tony…great writing! Long ago I was a pastor at Zion in Ashley…1975-1979. Still keep some contact. I now live in bismarck. Semi/retired. Fill in some on sundays. Thanks for the column.


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