Fri, 04 Aug 2023
North Dakota is not a place I think about much, but it crossed paths with me twice in July.
Last month I suddenly developed a burning need to know: if we were to rank the U.S. states by height of highest waterfall, which state would rank last? Thanks to the Wonders of the Internet I was able to satisfy this craving in short order. Delaware is the ⸢winner⸣, being both very small and very flat.
In looking into this, I also encountered the highest waterfall in North Dakota, Mineral Springs Waterfall. (North Dakota is also noted for being rather flat. It is in the Great Plains region of North America.)
The thing I want you to know, though, is that they include this ridiculous picture on the web site:
Wow, pathetic. As Lorrie said, “it looks like a pipe burst.”
I am not sure I trust the WWD. It seems to have been abandoned. I wrote to all their advertised contact addresses to try to get them to add Wadhams Falls, but received no response.
Doug Burgum is some rich asshole, also the current governor of North Dakota, who wants to be the Republican candidate for president in the upcoming election.
To qualify for the TV debate next month, one of the bars he had to clear was to have received donations from 40,000 individuals, including at least 200 from each of 20 states. But how to get people to donate? Who outside of North Dakota has heard of Doug Burgum? Certainly I had not.
If you're a rich asshole, the solution is obvious: just buy them. For a while (and possibly still) Burgum was promising new donors to his campaign a $20 debit card in return for a donation of any size.
Upside: Get lots of free media coverage, some from channels like NPR that would normally ignore you. Fifty thousand new people on your mailing list. Get onstage in the debate. And it costs only a million dollars. Money well spent!
Downside: Reimbursing people for campaign donations is illegal, normally because it would allow a single donor to evade the limits on individual political contributions. Which is what this is, although not for that reason; here it is the campaign itself reimbursing the contributions.
Anyway, I was happy to take Doug Burgum's money. (A middle-class lesson I tried to instill into the kids: when someone offers you free money, say yes.) I donated $1, received the promised gift card timely, and immediately transferred the money to my transit card.
I was not able to think of a convincing argument against this:
Taking Doug Burgum's $19 was time well-spent, I would do it again.
Addendum: North Dakota tourism
Out of curiosity about the attractions of North Dakota tourism, I spent a little while browsing the North Dakota tourism web site, wondering if the rest of it was as pitiful and apologetic as the waterfall page.
No! They did a great job of selling me on North Dakota tourism. The top three items on the “Things to Do” page are plausible and attractive:
Good stuff. I had hoped to visit anyway, and the web site has gotten me excited to do it.