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5/16/2007 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson


Headlines in the daily papers last week proclaimed "Devils Lake may have peaked for the year." The operative word is "may." One heavy rain could change that overnight. Nobody knows what the lake will do.

It all depends on rainfall.

On May 9, 2006 Devils Lake hit its modern day high of 1449.2 feet above mean sea level. A year later on May 9, 2007 the lake’s level was 1447.42, almost two feet lower.

Does this mean the wet cycle is over and we can expect the lake to continue falling? Not necessarily. This could possibly be the case, but it’s more likely the current situation is a pause in the the lake’s rise. After all, the lake has been rising since 1940, with several periods of backsliding in its relentless rise. We won’t know that the wet cycle is over until we get five to 10 years of dropping lake elevation.

If we get normal rainfall, the lake will drop because of evaporation.

If we get less than normal rainfall the lake will drop even more. If we get more than normal rainfall, the lake will likely rise. That’s the long and the short of it.

The state’s outlet to Devils Lake is useless. It cannot take any meaningful amount of water off the lake because of water quantity and quality problems. If there’s little water in the Sheyenne River (as is the case now), there isn’t enough water to blend with the more salty Devils Lake water and as a result no water can be let out of Devils Lake. If the Sheyenne River is full of water, there isn’t room to add much Devils Lake water to it.

In short the outlet can only let out a small amount of water, certainly not enough to affect the level of the lake. It’s a $28 million boondoggle that every elected official in North Dakota was suckered into supporting. I told you so back in 2002 before a spade of dirt was turned for the outlet. But nobody listens to a silly little newspaper editor in Minnewaukan, North Dakota.


Just when I think the Bush Administration can’t get any worse, it does. While huge fires are burning in Georgia and Florida and levees along the Mississippi burst, flooding vast sections of the surrounding countryside, President Bush has officially stated his intent to veto disaster legislation for farmers. The farmers who were foolish enough to elect him president are getting their payback.

I’m going to stop now. There’s no point in beating a dead horse. Most people already realize that George W. Bush is the worst president this nation has ever had to endure.


Democrats better get their act in order. They’d better provide funding for the war in Iraq because the people won’t stand for political bickering which places US military personnel in jeopardy.

I’ve read several articles which maintain the troops aren’t suffering from lack of support and that they can continue operating as they are through July. Maybe they aren’t hurting from lack of support and supplies (at least no more than what the Bush Administration has been providing), but it’s the perception that they may be. In politics, perception is reality.

The president is adamant. The war will continue as long as he remains in the Oval Office. Democrats might as well face that fact and fund Bush’s War.

Democrats can’t do anything about it as long as Republicans in Congress continue to allow themselves to be rubber stamps for George W. Bush.

There will be payback in the elections of 2008 for those Republicans.

Unfortunately, many Americans and many more Iraqis will die in the meantime because of the president’s extreme stubbornness and incredibly poor judgment.


And now for something completely different from the e-mails:

A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for a client who lost his house in Hurricane Katrina and wanted to rebuild. He was told the loan would be granted if he could prove satisfactory title to the parcel of property being offered as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer three months to track down. After sending the information to the FHA, he received the following reply:

"Upon review of your letter adjoining your client’s loan application, we note that the request is supported by an Abstract of Title. While we compliment the able manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point out that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803.

Before final approval can be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back to its origin."

Annoyed, the lawyer responded as follows:

"Your letter regarding title in Case No. 189156 has been received. I note that you wish to have title extended further than the 194 years covered by the present application. I was unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly those working in the property area, would not know that Louisiana was purchased by the US from France in 1803, the year of origin identified in our application.

"For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the land prior to US ownership was obtained from France, which had acquired it by right of conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by right of discovery made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had been granted the privilege of seeking a new route to India by the Spanish monarch, Isabella.

"The good queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost as careful about titles as the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold her jewels to finance Columbus’s expedition. Now the Pope, as I’m sure you may know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and God, it is commonly accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the owner of origin and His origins date back to before the beginning of time, the world as we know it AND the FHA.

"I hope you find God’s original claim to be satisfactory.

"Now, may we have our damn loan?"

He got the loan.


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