By Richard Peterson
The collapse of the bridge in Minneapolis, Minn. dominated the news last week. There’s no doubt that the nation’s infrastructure is crumbling and not enough money is being allocated to fix the problems.
News articles last week revealed the chairman of the ND House Transportation Committee pleaded with his colleagues to add $39 million to the ND Department of Transportation’s (DOT) budget, but Republican leaders nixed that. "We’ll pay for this later," warned Rep. Robin Weisz (R-Hursdfield).
The final budget passed by the ND State Legislature for the DOT was$4 million less than the governor proposed and $50 million less than the 2005-07 budget.
It’s not a bad thing to be careful with taxpayer money, but to be so tight-fisted as to allow infrastructure to crumble is not very wise.
We should be investing a lot more on our roads and highways and maybe this horrible accident is a wake-up call that will change some minds.
The counties and townships are strapped for funds to keep roads in condition. Some revenue-starved townships in Benson County don’t even have enough money for sufficient gravel on township roads. That should change through a program of state revenue sharing.
The state had a big surplus and a huge pile of it was salted away.
That’s not all bad, but more of that money should have been spent on roads and highways now.
Then we have the silly conservatives who are pressing for an initiated measure to give a big income tax cut to North Dakotans.
They’re goofy! North Dakota’s relatively low income taxes aren’t a major problem, even for people with substantial incomes.
High property taxes, on the other hand, are a significant problem.
This initiative, if it succeeds, will guarantee continued high property taxes.
The goofy conservatives don’t care if our infrastructure crumbles as long as they can keep a dollar in their pockets. Their petition promotes a short-sighted goal. Don’t sign it!
A doctor was addressing a large audience in Chicago. "The material we put into our stomachs is enough to kill most of us sitting here. Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realizes the long term harm caused by germs in our drinking water.
But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and most of us will eat it or have already eaten it. Can anyone here tell me what food causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?"
After several seconds of quiet, a 75-year-old gentleman sitting in the front row raised his hand and softly said "wedding cake."
One afternoon at Cheers, Cliff Clavin explained the Buffalo Theory to his buddy, Norm. Here’s how it went: "Well ya see, Norm, it’s like this . . . A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members.
"In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers."
A guy is driving around the backwoods of Tennessee and he sees a sign in front of a broken down shanty: "Talking Dog for Sale."
The guy goes into the backyard and sees a nice looking Labrador retriever sitting there. "You talk?" he asks.
"Yup," the Lab replies.
After the guy recovers from the shock of hearing a dog talk, he says, "So, what’s your story?"
The Lab looks up and says, "Well, I discovered that I could talk when I was pretty young. I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA and they had me sworn into the toughest branch of the armed services . . . the US Marines . . . you know, one of their nicknames is ‘The Devil Dogs.’ "
"In no time at all they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders; because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping. I was one of their most valuable spies for eight years running, but the jetting around really tired me out and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger. So, I decided to settle down. I retired from the Corps (eight dog years is 56 Corps years) and signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security, wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings and was awarded a batch of medals.
I got married, had a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired."
The guy is amazed. He goes back in and asks the owner what he wants for the dog. "Ten dollars," the guy says.
"Ten dollars? This dog is amazing! Why on earth are you selling him so cheap?" said the prospective buyer.
"Because he’s a liar. He never did any of that Marine crap. He was in the Air Force."