Welcome to North Dakota. Now go home. Or go homeless. That’s the reality confronting a lot of jobseekers in the state. And it’s a rather cold reality, especially at this time of year. “Put your hand in a freezer for 5 minutes,” cautions Mac McLeod, director of the Minot Area Homeless Coalition. “Welcome to North Dakota.” McLeod has been busy lately, because it seems people around the U.S. are so hard up for work they’re humping up to N.D. to look for a gig. Why? It ain’t the balmy climate. It’s the North Dakota economy, which has been almost unscathed by recession, with the nation’s lowest unemployment rate and a thriving oil industry. Facts like that have fueled rumors in other states of fat paychecks in North Dakota. But they’re not true, which means a lot of new arrivals end up knocking on McLeod’s door. (We have sympathy for these folks but geez. If they’re not bright enough to know better than to show up in the snow with no prospects and no place to stay, they’re probably not at the top of the applicant heap anyway.)
North Dakota’s socialist little secret. Frankly, we were surprised to read the Roughrider State even has homeless shelters. Here’s something else surprising. It’s also got the only “socialist” bank in the U.S. It’s the Bank of North Dakota, the nation’s one state-owned bank. A lot of other states are wondering if the BofND is partly responsible for North Dakota’s healthy economy and are ringing up to ask how they can start their own state-owned banks. (Wait till the teabaggers hear about this. A socialist conspiracy in their own backyard!)
Are U.S. banks anorexic? Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton, why not Brian Moynihan and Jamie Dimon? We just ask because it seems big American banks have developed a disorder often found among Hollywood starlets: they’re starving themselves. It’s not apparent yet (since they were so obese to begin with) but in a few years the financial heavyweights could be facing lean times, because they continue to refuse loans to small businesses. Result: small businesses aren’t spending or hiring. And when small businesses don’t spend or hire, the U.S. economy does not climb out of recession. “Will you have a sustainable recovery a few years down the road without getting some small business spending? No,” warns Cary Leahey, senior managing director at Decision Economics.
Funny business of the week! Yes, you’re prayers have been answered. The FBW is back. And speaking of prayers…if you’re one of the 20 million to 40 million Americans who think the Rapture will take place in their lifetimes and you’re worried about ascending to eternal paradise and leaving Fido behind, fear not. There’s a New Hampshire outfit called Eternal Earth-Bound Pets that, for a fee, will promise to have a nonbeliever look after your dog, cat, bird, rabbit or other small caged mammal (no snakes, please). Can you trust these godless heathens? Well, there’s this among the FAQs at the EE-BP website. “Q: How do you ensure your representatives won’t be Raptured?” “A: Each of our representatives has stated to us in writing that they are atheists, do not believe in God/Jesus and that they have blasphemed in accordance with Mark 3:29, negating any chance of salvation.” (Hmm…let’s see. Go to heaven with a bunch of wingnuts or stay here on earth with our furry friends and helpful atheists. Maybe writing this blaspheming blog once a week isn’t such a bad deal after all.)