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What? You thought we'd use a picture of some C-47 cargo planes?
What? You thought we’d use a picture of some C-47 cargo planes?

In our scurry to cover all 34 of this year’s races for the U.S. Senate, this week, we’re going for another twofer: North Dakota and South Dakota, a couple of red states on the prairie with Republican incumbents who are expected to stay right where they are, no matter what kind of crazy talk comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth. Having said that, we must once again invoke the wisdom of expert political pundit Our Girlfriend, who reminds us that this year you shouldn’t bet on anything as a guaranteed outcome. So let’s get to what’s bakin’ in the Bakken, without being crude about it (fine, fine, South Dakota isn’t actually an oil state, if you’re going to nitpick).

The main thing to remember about the two Dakotas is that the North one has the oil, Fargo, and the failed attempt by an old Nazi to take over a tiny town and turn it into Aryan Disneyland. Also in 2001 there was that famous Dave Barry column about the North Dakotans who fantasized that simply changing the state’s name to “Dakota” would be great for tourism because then people’s first thought won’t be “BRRRR.” South Dakota has Mount Rushmore and as far as we know, nothing else. Badlands, we guess. Oh, and HBO’s Deadwood was set there, so they have cowboys who say “fuck” a lot. We hope you have enjoyed the travelogue portion of today’s column.

Thune, very thuneThe other thing South Dakota has is the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, John Thune, who was elected to the state’s single House seat in 1996, then elected to the Senate in 2004 after people decided “Thenator Thune” was fun to say. He beat Democratic icon Tom Daschle, for which we’re still pretty sore. Thune is your average Republican dickbag who kinda-sorta admits human activity plays some role in climate change, but falls back on the weaselly “climate is always changing” chestnut. As chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee he appointed Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio to run two key subcommittees with authority over setting global warming policy. Or rather, policy to ignore and deny global warming. Thune ultimately voted against two amendments to a Keystone XL Pipeline authorization stating that climate change is real and caused by humans.

Thune was once suspected of having presidential aspirations; back in 2009, David “I know how to pick ’em, huh?” Brooks actually typed these not at all Brokeback-sounding words:

The first thing everybody knows about him is that he is tall (6 feet 4 inches), tanned (in a prairie, sun-chapped sort of way) and handsome (John McCain jokes that if he had Thune’s face he’d be president right now). If you wanted a Republican with the same general body type and athletic grace as Barack Obama, you’d pick Thune.

Or as Yr Editrix put it, he’s “sexy in a weird ugly way, like Willem Dafoe.” Such journalistic plaudits clearly got the attention of the lanky South Dakotan (goddamn you, Brooks, you’ve got us doing it!), and in 2011 he briefly flirted with the idea of doing the whole possibly-maybe-might explore it game, only to rule out a run with a load of arglebargle and prayer.

A bit more recently, Thune co-sponsored a 2012 bill to “preserve family farms,” or at least preserve child labor thereupon, narrowly saving the Midwest from Marxism. Last year, when the Supreme Court was considering whether vague language in the Affordable Care Act might disallow people on federal exchanges from getting subsidies for health insurance, Thune tweeted what might be the lamest possible attack on Obamacare ever:

thune ocare tweet

Darn that Barack Obama for letting Republicans block the one-sentence fix that would have resolved the issue! Thune briefly turned up again in May of this year when he sent Facebook a very sternly worded letter to warn Mark Zuckerberg that he’d better not be skewing the news toward liberal sources, which is as close to a “congressional probe” that dumb non-scandal got before it vanished.

jay williams sd

The sacrificial Democrat with the thankless task of running against Thune is Jay Williams, who seems really nice and supports net neutrality, a higher minimum wage, the right to choose, strong action against climate change, accepting more Syrian refugees, and much more federal attention to issues affecting Native Americans. He’s even for marijuana decriminalization — about feckin’ time — and drives a Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid. But the unfortunate reality is that Williams is mostly getting some token Democratic support because the South Dakota Dems don’t want a replay of 2010, when Thune ran unopposed. At least this time around, there’s a name with a “D” next to it on the ballot. At the end of June, Williams’s campaign had a bit under $24,000 cash on hand. John Thune had slightly less than $12.5 million. Even so, Williams seems to be having a heck of a fun time campaigning; this profile in the Argus Leader depicts him as a passionate underdog who has no illusions about November’s results, but wants to make noise and build a progressive base in South Dakota, while getting great gas mileage.

John HoevenIn North Dakota, incumbent Republican John Hoeven is actually a person who exists, although darned if we’d heard of him before starting on this week’s column. If you’ve heard of John Hoeven and you’re not from North Dakota, please congratulate yourself on being either very well informed or berate yourself for wasting brainspace on the guy. A former banker, he was governor of North Dakota from 2000 to 2010, a period that might be remembered locally as the Hoeven Decade, or not. Our WonkAarchives have practically nothing on him, except for a 2006 piece making fun of his gubernatorial Christmas card, which may have been very funny except for how the image vanished in one of the Great Wonkette Server Migrations of yesteryear. We guess his daughter looked like Valerie Bertinelli. In its place, here is a Christmas card by John Waters, which is at least also from 2006:

john waters xmas

Hoeven also got a mention here in 2015, when he and West Virginia “Democrat” Joe Manchin co-sponsored the very first bill of the brand-new Republican Senate, which demanded the immediate construction of the Keystone XL pipeline so plenty of Canadian tar sands oil could gush across the prairie on its way to Gulf coast refineries. The bill was notable both for Barack Obama’s announcement that he’d veto it if it passed, and for those global warming amendments we mentioned earlier: The first, by Hawaiian Senator Brian Schatz, stated both that “climate change is real” and that “human activity significantly contributes” to it. When that failed, Sen. Hoeven offered a watered down “alternative” which said human activities contribute to climate change, but left out that nonsense about the contribution being “significant.” That one also failed, but was at least an option for a few other Republicans to vote for so they could proudly say in an election year they cared about the planet while voting to transport some of the dirtiest oil in North America. The Keystone bill passed, then got vetoed good and hard.

On other issues, Hoeven is pretty conservative, doing the whole Second Amendment Good, Abortion Bad dance, although somehow he only managed a 42% score on the Heritage Foundation’s Conservative Scorecard, the same as that flaming socialist Mitch McConnell. He was one of the Senate Republicans who signed Tom Cotton’s love note to the Iranian ayatollahs reminding them that Barack Obama wasn’t really president, but reassured NewsMax that he and his fellow rightwingers weren’t traitors. And needless to say, he’s dead set against the Senate voting on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, since as you know, Barack Obama won’t be president very much longer. Hoeven’s also for prayer in schools and against marriage equality, so there. Perhaps one of our North Dakota readers can offer further insight into Hoeven in the comments. Or perhaps the other one can.

eliot glassheimRunning against Hoeven is state Rep. Eliot Glassheim, only he’s not merely a Democrat — in North Dakota, they have the Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party just to be different. Like Williams’s race against Thune, you could call Glassheim’s race a David vs Goliath scenario, although really, Williams/Thune is more David vs. Godzilla. And Glassheim is a David without any rocks in his sling: Hoeven currently has over $2.7 million cash on hand, while Glassheim’s campaign says he hasn’t yet raised or spent the minimal $5,000 necessary to require filing a financial disclosure with the Federal Election Commission. Like Williams, Glassheim seems like a hell of a nice guy who was tapped to run solely so the Republican wouldn’t be unopposed on the ballot. We have to say that for someone with a snowball’s chance in hell, we like him a hell of a lot. He’s a former college English teacher and bookstore owner who used to write grants for an art museum and for the North Dakota Migrant Council, for godssake. Everybody in Grand Forks, where he formerly served on the City Council, seems to love him, and we do too.

How extemporaneous is Glassheim’s candidacy? He was literally asked to run the day before the state convention, and being a decent fellow who had already announced he wouldn’t seek reelection to the state House after what may have been a mild stroke in 2015, Glassheim stepped up for a last hurrah. He knows he doesn’t really have a shot, but he’s ready to act like he does, which is what Democrats do in an overwhelmingly red state. In addition to the 2015 hospitalization, Glassheim has been treated in the past for lung cancer, but says at his latest check-up, his oncologist found “no real visible signs of cancer. I’m feeling good.” When a reporter from the Bismarck Tribune asked him if he was thought he’d be able to serve a full six years if he beat Hoeven, Glassheim, 78, replied that he was fairly confident: “You never know when you’re going to be hit by a bus.”

Glassheim plans to challenge Hoeven on a number of issues, especially reasonable gun safety measures, Senate Republicans’ refusal to hold a vote on Merrick Garland’s nomination, Hoeven’s friendliness to the fossil fuels industry, and Hoeven’s very careful position on Donald Trump, who Hoeven says he “supports” but won’t “endorse”:

“Exactly what part of Donald Trump’s agenda does Sen. Hoeven support?” Glassheim said in a prepared statement in May. “Does Sen. Hoeven support lowering wages for working families? Does he support kicking 11 million people out of the country and tearing families apart—families who pay taxes and pay into the Social Security system? Does he support withdrawing American participation in NATO and allowing nuclear weapons to proliferate?”

Hoeven’s campaign fired back by pointing out Glassheim would support either Bernie Sanders of Hillary Clinton for president — neither of whom were a presumptive nominee at the time — both of whom oppose fracking and would “weaken our Second Amendment rights.”

And there’s your political debate in 2016. “What are we going to do to help working families?” versus “They’re terkin’ are guns and fracking!” Another ten weeks, kids. We’ll get through it together.

Feeling like doing something noble but quixotic with your money? Jay Williams’s donation site is right here, and Eliot Glassheim’s ActBlue donation site is here. Or if you want to do something noble but far less quixotic, you can toss some money in Dok’s Final Stretch Senate Sunday Countdown Fund right here, because we’re down to just nine more states, whoopee!

[Business Insider / Bloomberg / Argus Leader / Heritage Action / NewsMax / Think Progress / VoteSmart / SayAnythingBlog / Bismarck Tribune / Dickinson Press]

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  • TheGrandWaz00

    10 weeks left. Still a better love story than 9 1/2 Weeks.

  • ManchuCandidate

    “sexy in a weird ugly way, like Willem Dafoe.”

    http://media.giphy.com/media/i6IqXuLaTdqRW/giphy.gif

    But is Thune crazy in a weird ugly way, like Willem Dafoe?

    • msanthropesmr

      • Doug Langley

        I bet his dentist loves him.

    • The Wanderer

      Defoe do crazy so goods!

      • BadKitty904

        It’s like he’s not even acting…

    • BadKitty904

      Yeah, about that…

    • shastakoala

      But does he have Dafoe’s lisp? Oh yes he does!

  • tehbaddr

    Lester? You sure you want this?

  • msanthropesmr

    Wealease Wodewick!

  • geoffalnutt

    What has 220 legs, 19 teeth and an ear-splitting cry? The front row at an alt-right rally.

  • Señor Skwerl

    Ahh the Dacotahs! Fargo is a great town to party in. And I-90 is the world’s largest freak show.

    http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/9654917.jpg

    • Señor Skwerl

      Can’t forget to post a photo of scenic North Dakotah!

      http://www.clusterballoon.org/north_dakota/nd_50.jpg

      • weejee

        Where’s the chipper?

      • Aquaria

        it’s not all bad. You just need to know where to go:

        http://www.selectinnofminot.com/images/background_original.jpg

      • wurman

        Your realize the state tree in NDakota is the telephone pole . . . but now they’re starting to use fiberglass or metal. The state tree in SDakota is the fence post–kinda’ short, but lots more of them.

        • Zyxomma

          Cottonwood or GTFO.

          • wurman

            Actually ND is an elm of some kind and SD is a native spruce named after the state or somesuch.

          • Zyxomma

            My friends in SD have some really beautiful trees on their property, including box elder and cedar. I’m particularly attached to cottonwood because of a childhood thingy.

          • wurman

            In my region we have cottonwoods along almost all of the myriad creeks, streams, and rivers. For a week to 10 days in the Spring our skies are “fluffy.” I just looked it up and there are 7 subspecies. Ours is the “black cottonwood.”

  • Iron Monkey

    Thanks, Doc. Now I can go back to ignoring the Dakotas for the next six years.

  • Vecchiojohn

    Federalism is killing us. We are close to government by rotten borough. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotten_and_pocket_boroughs

  • BadKitty904

    Do we really need one?

    • Señor Skwerl

      Yes. Otherwise Wyoming might become the second least populous state.

  • North Dakota’s fine performance in 50 Shades of Grey was the only commendable aspect of that film, though it didn’t quite posses the feral innocence of South Dakota’s superior portrayal of Cherie Currie in The Runaways.

  • The Wanderer

    Like the supposed “Mountain Time Zone,” I’m not certain that these “Dakotas” actually exist.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      Hey Montana alone can’t explain how driving from Spokane to Minneapolis can be so boring. There must be something there.

  • Ducksworthy

    A couple of North Dakota fun facts for your amusement. North Dakota had the first moooslim mosque in the United States of Christ established by Syrians in 1929. Oh and, by the way, John Hoeven was once the President of the State Bank of North Dakota which, unlike most state banks is actually a State Bank owned by the actual state of North Dakota on account of its socialist traditions. So Hoeven is, clearly a Socialist (if not a communist) and if you live in North Dakota and are a Loyal American, you must vote for Eliot Glassheim who is indeed a heck of a nice guy and not a Socialist. And by the way, nobody in NoDak talks like people do in the movie Fargo, not even Sarah Palin fans.

    • Señor Skwerl

      That’s reserved for us Minnesotans. And our Alaskan colonies… we’d like to forget about.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      Of course no one in NoDak talks the Fargo way; all the characters were Minnesotans :-)

    • Aquaria

      They certainly talked that way when I was up there. And I spent a lot of time there, since I’d go up to visit the (then) husband on long weekends when he had TDY assignments in Grand Forks or Minot.

      That accent definitely existed wherever there were heavy concentrations of Scandinavian descendants. The closer I got to Minnesota, the more likely it was that I’d hear it.

  • weejee

    Well in South Dakota there is the Corn Palace and Mt. Rushmore.

    • SterWonk

      Who’s that between Thatcher and Limbaugh?

      • Villago Delenda Est

        Think it’s supposed to be Milton Friedman.

        • Aquaria

          Whew. I thought for a second it was Ghandi, and I was about to say, don’t you dare try to claim him for yourself.

          • Zyxomma

            I thought it was Ben Kingsley, who played Gandhi.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      Talk about heads that would look better on pikes than in granite…

  • Gayer Than Thou

    Uh, Thune is not sexy in “a weird ugly way like Willem Dafoe.” He is sexy in the “ordinary white guy ex-frat boy you would probably do on a business trip while ignoring his wedding ring” way. Not that I’ve been to whichever Dakota it is trying to pick him up.

    • BadKitty904

      And even that’s a stretch.

    • bupkus23

      He looks like a Scott Brown clone. Sure he didn’t pose for “Playgirl”?

  • Callyson

    “You never know when you’re going to be hit by a bus.”

    I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be optimistic or pessimistic, but as a campaign slogan, I guess it works for a Democrat running in a red state.

  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    I have almost nothing to say about this except that Willem Dafoe is absolutely, positively NOT attractive, and Thune – I’d do him if he’d promise not to talk before, during, or after.

  • baconzgood

    In PA senate running news Baconz just saw a new ad what informed me that a vote for Katie McGinty is a vote for illigal immigrants raping kids in sanctuary cities.

    (No fucking poopie)

    • Callyson

      RCP’s got her up by 2.5%. Come on, Katie, you can win this thing!

      • baconzgood

        She should. Pat is hated.

    • Sister Artemis

      Well, that’s a hell of a platform!

    • dshwa

      Glad to know they’re keeping the tone civil.

    • Good_Gawd_Yall

      Still a better love story than Twilight.

    • bupkus23

      Ripped from the headlines! ( Except that McGinty is urging Philly mayor Kenney to revise/revoke it’s sanctuary policy – while Toomey – that smal-government conservative – is backing a federal bill to revoke federal funds for all sanctuar cities…. )

      I suspect that ad mut be from the “Rebuilding America Now” superPAC ( run by Trump/Manafort cronies ) – they;vehave got at least two lying ads running in Florida right now. Real “Ministry of Truth” shit…

  • Bernarda Alba

    I wish they would stop trying to destroy Obamacare because it’s screwing with my retirement plans. If Obamacare stays in place I can take an early retirement and some nice younger person can step into my job. If they get rid of it I’ll have to hang onto my job till I’m an old codger just to keep the health benefits.

  • memzilla

    I’ve been through the Dakotas, and this seems plausible:
    .

    • Good_Gawd_Yall

      This seems reasonable, assuming Fox is a tRump supporter.

      • Mezzaluna

        He is a anthropomophorphic fox.

    • Mezzaluna

      Seems about right but I would have expected New Hampshire to have done it first.

      • Latverian Diplomat

        I’d have put good money on Buffalo, NY.

        • jmk

          That is where my money would have been also too.

    • DainBramage

      Is “Fargo Man” one of those archaeological scam fossils?

    • weejee
  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    Seems to me there’s a lot of states we could combine – the Dakotas, the itty-bitty ones in the Northeast, the two Carolinas – and then there’s just a metric fucktonne of states we should let secede, like Texass, Florida, Idaho, Alabama, Mississippi, etc. Let’s make 2017 the year we go back to having 30 stars on the flag!

    • Jamoche

      Combine Vermont and New Hampshire so everyone stops mixing them up on map tests.

      • BadKitty904

        To tell them apart, just remember Vermont has cheese and New Hampshire has hamsters.

        • Villago Delenda Est

          Kelly Ayote, for example.

        • Sister Artemis

          I always wondered where hamsters came from…

          • BadKitty904

            The hamster mines of Grafton are world-famous…

          • Sister Artemis

            Of course, like to many, I once thought New Hampshire was the Laundry Hamper state, but was disabused of that notion by a hamster miner.

        • Aquaria

          They both look like tiny dick states to me. So how I remember them is that New Hampshire fucks up, and Vermont fucks missionary.

      • berkeleyfarm

        I get them mixed up all the time (and I am generally Good at Geography). My memory aide is that New Hampshire, like Old Hampshire, has a seacoast.

        • Arolpin

          Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont in alphaberical order, east to west. It worked for me in high school geography. I have no idea how I remembered all of the Soviet Socialist Republics, but I did and spelled them correctly.

          • berkeleyfarm

            That’s pretty good. I definitely get the -stans mixed up. (In my defense they were all the USSR when I was in skool.)

    • Aquaria

      I think we need it to be a perfect square. 36 states or bust!

  • dshwa

    I would propose merging The Dakotas into one state to cut government bureaucracy.

    • sw19womble

      And it’d still be smaller than Saskatchewan.

      • Pickwicknext

        The only Province i can draw freehand!

        • sw19womble

          The Yukon’s easy too: just do a bad drawing of Idaho!
          (and vice versa)

          • Blank Ron

            I’ve yet to meet anyone who could draw either the NWT or Nunavut without just making a lot of ellipses in the Arctic Ocean area.

          • sw19womble

            Quebec is easy, you just spill something onto the kitchen floor.

          • Pickwicknext

            Not “something”, maple syrup and gravy

          • sw19womble

            Someone should do a Canadian version of that Food Pun States thing.

          • Blank Ron

            You have to remember to clean up a small patch on one side to represent Labrador West.

          • Latverian Diplomat

            Which one is the evil twin?

          • Pickwicknext

            Idaho

          • Latverian Diplomat

            That was easy, wasn’t it?

          • sw19womble

            Because you can apparently kill someone in the Idaho part of Yellowstone and get away with it.
            http://www.inquisitr.com/3417459/yellowstones-zone-of-death-you-can-get-away-with-murder-in-idaho-because-congress-refuses-to-close-loophole/
            There you go, specious reasoning!

        • Aquaria

          I thought that was what Wyoming and Colorado were for.

    • DainBramage

      And to eliminate two Senate seats.

      • bupkus23

        Give ’em to DC!

  • sw19womble

    I have a soft spot for Nebraska, on account of it having the most interesting shape out of all the “square” flyover states.

    • TJ Barke

      When will we finally get the real world border project so we can see the borders from space?

  • folderol

    South Dakote’s got tyrannosauri!
    Twas once the go-to place to die
    Prehistoric undertaker’s advertised
    A death-time guarantee to fossilize
    So now them bones are piled high
    ‘Cause nothing there will putrefy

  • Gorillionaire

    If Thune never runs for Prez it obviously means that he has a basement full of meth and underage sex slaves. Probably.

  • Jamoche

    FNG stepdad has family in South Dakota where they have one of those Creationist tourist-traps that – right in the middle of all that geology – try to say that geology didn’t happen. Why, if it did, all those layers would always be the same, and here they’re ABCEF and elsewhere they’re FEDBA! Obviously different!

    • sw19womble

      “Volcanism is only a theory! Where you there?”

      • Blank Ron

        Some day I would like to have some creationist twit ask me ‘Were you there?’ so I can go all Sainte-Germaine on him and say, ‘Yes, I was. Were you?’

        • TJ Barke

          IKR?

        • DainBramage

          Or, “I have a brain and I’m not afraid to use it.”

        • Aquaria

          I always ask them the were you there question, too. They’re all so stupid that it never occurs to them that the same question can be applied to their nitwit claims.

          • Blank Ron

            The designated answer is ‘No, but I know Someone who was and I trust Him completely.’ They need to keep up with the talking points.

  • BadKitty904

    My, they’re…white.

  • coozledad

    I should have known this existed, but it still comes as a surprise.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loAAvx0dd-8

  • DainBramage

    These guys are sooooo exciting. yawn

  • shastakoala

    The Dakotas are considered just really big state lines. Oh, and a border to imaginary Canada.

  • BadKitty904

    Since we seem to be having some difficulty telling our Dakotas, etc., apart, perhaps this will help:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNUDDaEOvuY

    • Pickwicknext

      Yay!!!

      • BadKitty904

  • Latverian Diplomat

    There’s no definitive proof that one of the Dakotas is a really a Canadian Province that hopped the 49th Parallel and stole the other one’s identity, but it certainly seems plausible.

    • Pickwicknext

      No…they are way too conservative to come from Ontario/Manitoba.

      • Latverian Diplomat

        Has anyone checked whether Alberta is missing a piece?

        • Pickwicknext

          None of us want to look too closely

        • Blank Ron

          They might be. They just went socialist, so maybe all the Conservatives left for, umm, redder pastures.

          • sw19womble

            Does Calgary still have that cool mayor?

        • sw19womble

          BC already gave them Jasper and Banff, because we felt sorry for them. What more do they want?

      • MrCanoehead

        Alberta, maybe.

    • darnyoudarnyoutoheck

      Up until now the only things I knew about N Dakota was Fargo and that my grampa was born there. (so I was confused as to how he ended up as a body-carrier at Vimy Ridge. Turns out his parents moved to Saskatchewan in 1901, so that explains that)

  • SterWonk

    A former banker, he was governor of North Dakota from 2000 to 2010, a period that might be remembered locally as the Hoeven Decade, or not. Our WonkAarchives have practically nothing on him, …

    Perhaps operation Hoeven-Maven had a memory-controlling aspect?

  • Sister Artemis

    Discussions of unseatable Republican candidates and their loyal message-campaign opposition are best discussed over potato salad and delicious food fresh from the grill, doncha think? In fact, most political discussion go better with sizzling hot meat and/or garden burgers, and perhaps a nice cold beverage to wash them, and all the GOP drivel, down your commie-librul gullet, amirite?

    Yes, you knew this was coming: another pitch to get your wonkette-lovin’ ass down to …

    A Pacific Northwest Drinkey Thing!
    Do you live near Portland, Oregon? Can you walk, bike, bus, skateboard, drive, jetpack, teleport or cash in your SkyMiles to get to Portland?

    Meet up for a traditional Wonkette Drinkey Thing on Wednesday Sept. 7th at Peninsula Park, starting 2pmish and going till whenever we run out of things to talk about (NEVER!). Bring your own eats and drinks, and if you want, something to share. We have reserved a picnic spot with a grill, and beer and wine are permitted (no smoking though). Come meet your fellow Wonketeers in one of Portland’s wonderful parks (google it!).

    • Pickwicknext

      Would love to attend, alas geography!

      • TJ Barke

        Wednesday also, too.

        • Sister Artemis

          Yes, I know…. but if I was going to be part of organizing the drinkey thing, it couldn’t be on a weekend because I never get weekends off.

          I know this won’t help you TJ, because you are quite far away, but we will be going for a stretch, hopefully Pdx peeps will be able to drop by after work.

          • sw19womble

            I will be there in spirit! Wrong side of the Atlantic until end of September, but otherwise any excuse to take a train ride/Bolt Bus ;)

    • Zyxomma

      Wish I could join you. Alas, NYC is far, far away and I’m so broke I can’t even pay attention.

  • Rufus T. Firefly

    I once worked with a guy from South Dakota who told NoDak jokes. Like, “How many NoDaks does it take to change a lightbulb?” He was offended when I pointed out that there didn’t seem to be much difference between the two Dakotas.

    • Latverian Diplomat

      I bet he takes the Bison/Jackrabbits rivalry very seriously.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dakota_Marker

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      Well, jeez, don’t leave us hanging! How many?

      • Rufus T. Firefly

        I forget. It wasn’t that funny anyway…

      • wurman

        In most joints it takes 3. One to climb up on the bar stool with a new bulb and get a sold grip on the old, burned out one. The second one turns the bar stool to unscrew the bulb. The third one watches and hollers which direction for the second one to turn the stool. At a biker bar it may take as many as 5 or 6. I think 2 or 3 of them take up a collection to get enough money for a couple of others to fuel their choppers and ride to Wall Drug so they can buy a new bulb, bring it back, and give it to one of the biker bimbos who can straddle the tallest guy’s neck so he can stand up for her to reach and change the bulb. On the farms out in the sticks, though, they have nothing to do with light bulbs because they go to bed at sunset.

        • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot

          I like the narcissist answer. Just one. He stands there with the bulb and the world revolves around him.

          • wurman

            Perfect.

    • hillarysleftone

      In Montana they tell North Dakota jokes. Example: Q. What did Custer say to the North Dakotans before he left for the Little Big Horn? A. “Just play dumb ’til I get back.”

  • the Vagenda Manologues

    So, the state where the genius voters thought Karl Rove’s craft project got to keep Tom Daschle’s seniority? Yeah, sounds like a square state.

  • Latverian Diplomat

    I suspect the 10th placed finisher in the Senate race in California will get more votes than the Winner in North Dakota. Ah, Democracy.

    • Villago Delenda Est

      I blame Rhode Island for all this.

  • South Dakota has Mount Rushmore and as far as we know, nothing else.

    Hey, now. I grew up in South Dakota, and it has lots of places to go and see. Like Sturgis. And…uh, my mom’s house. And a lot of roads that lead directly into Minnesota.

    • Sister Artemis

      South Dakota has Sturgis, people!!!
      And, Crazy Horse, and the beautiful Black Hills, and actually is quite lovely in a mountain-state kind of way.
      http://www.sturgis.com/content/images/homeIntro.jpg

      • Notably, all of that stuff is in the western half of the state. The eastern half is basically Iowa.

        • Sister Artemis

          What is it with the west-east thing? Western Oregon and Washington? Western Montana? Beautifully lush and mountainous, with gorgeous valleys and waterway. Eastern half of those states? Beautiful in a different way, but so much more severe…. In Idaho, it’s more of a North-South thing, but sort of the same idea.

        • TheBoatDude

          At least Iowa has RAGBRAI…indeed, let’s ride our bikes across motherfucking Iowa in motherfucking July…

        • Hemp Dogbane

          165 years ago the eastern half of SD was part of Minnesota Territory. The slaveholding states were concerned about too many new states.

      • sw19womble

        Mmmmm bikes……

    • WomanInAMood

      Don’t forget the Corn Palace! And Wall Drug. I have long thought affectionately of South Dakota as the “Anything for a Buck” State.

      • Sister Artemis

        I really like the Corn Palace – much more than I thought I would, and not just because I was able to get out of a hot sticky van for the visit.

        Wall Drug is…. wow. Maybe my favorite tourist trap, just because it’s so weird.

        • WomanInAMood

          I still have a jackalope postcard.

          • The Librarian

            My ex had a jackalope head hanging in our computer room. Weirded me out……

      • Jon Sussex

        That would explain the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      • House0fTheBlueLights

        Yes! Came here to say that.

    • ancientmai

      I don’t know, I read that sentence and thought, “sounds about right.” Of course, I regularly roll my eyes at anyone who wants to see Mt. Rushmore. If they’re really excited, I like to tell them that Borglum was a Klan member.

      • Unforgotten

        Don’t forget his decades long friendship with DC Stephenson.

    • TheBoatDude

      Sturgis…don’t they have an annual gathering of motorcycle trailers, every year?

      • Hemp Dogbane

        Excellent!

    • wurman

      And thay one road to Sundance WY, etc.

  • We don’t need any Dakotas.

  • chascates

    I suggest we try ‘Opposite Representation’ for a while. Example: Dianne Feinstein would be a senator from one of the Dakotas. Their choice. John McCain would be a senator for California or Massachusetts. They would still campaign as they normally do but there would be a lottery after the election to determine what state they actually serve, if you can use ‘serve’ in connection with a Congressional seat.
    Orin Hatch might be lucky and get Alabama or he might end up with New York. Anyone unlucky enough to draw their own actual state would be forced to represent one of the colonies, i.e., Guam or Washington, D.C.

  • JVisconti

    The SD GOP’s vision of a public option healthcare plan is a visit to Wall Drugs in Rapid City.
    Can’t miss the signs and the ice water is free.

    • Yr. Gma

      Hahahahahaha!

  • bupkus23

    “…Another ten weeks, kids. We’ll get through it together….”

    Sorry, Dok – I’m having serious doubts tha even the Wonkette communiy can keep our collective sanity in the face of the ever-increasing bullshit flowing from the right…

    • sw19womble

      Mandatory Golgothan Shit Demon:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_WGPgIOXXQ

      • Sister Artemis

        ((… has word “pooh” in title… to click or not to click… is this poop “pooh” or Winnie-the “pooh”…. decisions, decisions…))

        • Jenvenda Manocide

          Only part in Dogma that I regularly FF, if that helps you make up your mind.

          • Sister Artemis

            I braved it. Must go wash brain now, more from the funny-stoopid than the poop monster.

          • Jenvenda Manocide

            that is why I FF it XD I can handle gross, but that was just gug, poopy humor in an otherwise flawlessly snarktackular film.

          • Zyxomma

            No wonder I can’t remember that part of the film. As a certified colon hydrotherapist, I take shit very seriously.

        • John Smith

          2 girls, one cup did not have pooh in the title. Worst mistake I ever made. Ergo, you should be good with this one.

    • TheBoatDude

      That implies we have a collective sanity from the get go…

    • cat cafe

      It really is horrifying. I’ve never seen anything like it.

  • Bill Slider

    Perhaps we could combine the two Dakotas into one when Washington, DC becomes a state. That way there wouldn’t be a need to add two more desks in the Senate chamber. We could market it as Democrats for smaller government, then watch the GOP implode.

  • Royal Ugly Dude, Esq.

    he is tall (6 feet 4 inches)

    1 foot 3 inches of that is forehead.

  • brucej

    I personally blame Al Swearingen for the whole ‘Dakotas’ mishegas.

  • Aquaria

    The best thing in South Dakota would be the Black Hills. And Indian Tacos.

    Other than that, they don’t have anything I care to see.

    I should know. I had to live there way too long, and I’ve been through most of the state. Not that it’s all that big (compared to Texas, f’r instance), but it ain’t all that little, either.

    BTW: Fuck you, USAF, for sending me to that hellhole. I wanted to go overseas, they were always screaming that they were desperate for people to go overseas, and where do they send me?

    Fucking South Dakota, with its fucking psychotic winter weather. Cold wasn’t the problem. Well, most of the time it wasn’t. No, it’s that those beautiful Black Hills west of Rapid City broke up a lot of weather fronts, but not all, and thus the weather could never make up its fucking mind about what it wanted to do. One day, it’s 29 below and a blizzard. The next, it’s 54 and sunny. After that, it’s still sunny, but 10. Then it’s 68 and raining. Then it’s 40. Then it’s 28 and overcast. Then it’s sunny and 68 at nine a.m., and 11 below and snowing at 1 p.m.

    You ended up screaming after a while, “MAKE UP YOUR FUCKING MIND!”

    • Aquaria

      Oh–and don’t forget the wind from hell.

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      Here, peel this orange.

      • Aquaria

        Fingers too frostbitten. Do it yourself.

    • Vegan and Tiara

      Sounds delightful!

    • phoenix00

      sounds overseas to me!

    • wurman

      Grand Forks about 1961 or 1962: [ yeah, the other Dakota ]
      Brrrrrring, buzz, buzz. “Good morning, meteorology desk, control tower. Yes. Yes sir General Smith.

      “Listen to me you idiot. I just finished shoveling 6 inches of partly cloudy off my driveway, so you morons better figure out another way to guess about weather.”

    • Zyxomma

      Yeah, I was visiting one Halloween and it snowed. Lots.

  • Treg Brown

    So Senator Thune plays a key role in our country’s decisions having been put into that role with only 228,000 votes.

    Out of 322,760,000 people?

    That makes sense.

    • Beaumarchais?

      The tyranny of the empty states.

  • doktorzoom

    Oh, I totally forgot that somewhere in the Black Mountain Hills of South Dakota there lived a young boy named Rocky Raccoonnn-ah. So there’s one more thing.

    • Sister Artemis

      ear worm….

    • Charles Wolf
      • ETphonehome

        I love that song. thanks for posting it!

    • msanthropesmr

      Well, Gideon had checked out.

    • Zyxomma

      It’s also great for its concentration of National and State Parks. Apart from Badlands and Mt. Rushmore (Paha Sapa before the desecration), I very much enjoyed Wind Cave and Jewel Cave. Custer State Park has an amazing herd of bison, and Bear Butte (very near Sturgis, where the motorcyclists gather) is sacred to all (or close to all) of the Plains tribes. The Crazy Horse Memorial is … controversial. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crazy_Horse_Memorial

      Why do I know so much about a state so distant from my NYC home? I have friends on/near the Rosebud Reservation, and 13 years ago attended their annual Sun Dance, which I very much appreciated (Tree Day was my 50th birthday, and it ended on what would have been my brother’s birthday, had he lived beyond childhood).

      What I didn’t like about SD was all the fetus fetishism on billboards, and the ridiculous bronze presidential statues scattered about Rapid City. John Adams, OK, but Bush? Reagan? Yecchhhh.

    • Amy!

      I heard that one day, his woman ran off with another guy (and hit young Rocky in the eye! Rocky didn’t like that).

  • PubOption

    A little bit of Hoeven in the Soeven Sisters Road?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SNTBWeEwGc

  • Pierre_de_Fermat

    Do we know where any of these candidates stand on the Vagenda of Manocide issue?

    • msanthropesmr

      I forgot. Are we for or against as an unruly vile snark mob?

      • Michael Loraine

        For!

      • Sister Artemis

        Always err on the side of Unruly, imho

      • jmk

        It was my understanding that we are pro-vagenda.

        • Sister Artemis

          no no, we are pro-MANocide – it’s on our vagenda. By the way, who’s bringing beverages to the next Vagenda Meeting?

          • cat cafe

            I’ll bring the vinegar and water!

        • Pierre_de_Fermat

          I think we need to demand to know how the Republican leadership views the Vagenda.

      • phoenix00

        uhh, BOTH~!

    • Vegan and Tiara

      Most politicians just vagendacillate on the Manocide issue.

      • Pierre_de_Fermat

        Well, I don’t want to seem a single-issue voter, but the Vagenda of Manocide may be the real sleeper issue of the campaign. Did Chuck Todd or Steffanopolis bring it up today?

        • Stefanapolis was not there today and I can’t stand Tweety.

        • Vegan and Tiara

          It should be brought up EVERY day. Manocide is a serious crime.

  • Michael Loraine

    We could just lump both Dakotas together and call it “Baja Alberta”…

    Or better yet, call it “The Lakota Nation” and give it back to the people we stole it from.

  • dslindc

    I’ve barely heard of North Dakota, let alone John Hoeven (seriously, who?)! He may as well be that mythical “Mountain Time Zone”!

  • Zyxomma

    Dok, Tom Daschle, although gone from the Senate, remains very active. He chairs the Center for American Progress, as you well know!

  • jmk

    “In North Dakota, incumbent Republican John Hoeven is actually a person who exists…”

    I don’t believe this… I think it’s a hoex, like Mountain Time.

    • Pierre_de_Fermat

      But a carefully-crafted hoax.

  • …and what’s with West Virginia? Its North of VA, for one, and why did the cosmo coast cities isolate their cousins in the attic?
    My grandpa was from WV and never said one good word about either Virgs

  • Mirful

    As a N. Dakotan by marriage (whose current wife if still pissed off that they divided it into two parts – especially since they did it left to right rather than up to down – and who comes from the Scandinavian tradition of socialist co-operation and the Farmers Union), I’ve come to understand how disturbing it is that the state has been filled up with RWNJs who may actually vote for Drumpf.

    Let’s hear it for Mary Kathryn “Heidi” Heitkamp, the junior Senator from N.D. and a member of that North Dakota Democratic-Nonpartisan League Party.

    Just so you know it ain’t all bad up there.

  • Shoto

    Get ready to be infused with some terrifying, yet oddly satisfying and nostalgic song stylings.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lj7HXgE61s

    • Amy!

      Why is a band called “The Dakotas” singing about the sea? This is like “The Beach Boys will perform ‘Dark Holler,’ ‘Foggy Mountain Breakdown,’ and ‘Rocky Top’.”

      • Paperless Tiger

        The cruel sea is too damn far from me.

  • Shoto

    “♫ We ain’t fakin’, a whole lotta Bakken goin’ on….♫”

    • Mirful

      Sorry, but to get it to rhyme it would be, “♫We ain’t rockin’, a whole lotta Bakken goin’ on…♫”

      • Shoto

        Appreciate the clarification. I applied Moran Licence…which is like Artistic Licence for Morans.

  • ryp

    North and South Dakota along with Nebraska, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming should all just be one state. It would still be as red as a baboon’s ass, but at least it would have more proportional Senate representation, with a population roughly the same as that of Indiana or Tennessee.

    • cat cafe

      I actually really agree with you. I can’t imagine the Founding Fathers had this level of imbalance in mind–that a state with 500K people (Wyoming) would have the same number of Senators as a state with almost 40 million people (California YAYYYYY) or New York state (20 million). This is why we have tiny amounts of ill-educated, uninformed rural rubes with very specific world views and very specific needs dragging the whole country down to their level. I think there should be some attempt to rebalance, say, when a state hits 10 million, it gets an additional Senator for every 10 million. Of course, this would give Texas more senators too…and Florida….ahhh, forget it.

    • Dee Andee

      I’m for it, and I live here. *shudder* South Dakota has Mount Rushmore, extreme weather, and no medicaid for the working poor who can’t even afford ACA insurance, because fuck Republicans. Stick them all together into a big sticky mess…then…please…get me the HELL OUTTA HERE!

      Thank you.

      • *shudder* South Dakota Georgia has Mount Rushmore, Stone Mountain, extreme hot weather, and no medicaid for the working poor who can’t even afford ACA insurance, because fuck Republicans.

  • Paperless Tiger

    I still think the Information Age was a good idea, though evidently, in some places, it just didn’t take.

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  • SullivanSt

    The only other thing I happen to know about South Dakota is its super-shitty record of using the adoption system to anglicize (or maybe just monetize) Native American kids. Even today. That would probably have been more of an issue for last year’s Gubernatorial race, seeing as how Gov. Daugaard used to be Executive Director of the foster home system the tribes cite as a major offender.

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