Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Minor Musing: Democrats, Shanghaiing, And Bush-League Edition

When I was young, people who were pressured into doing something they would have preferred not to do claimed that they had been shanghaied. Used informally, the verb means to "coerce or trick (someone) into a place or position or into doing something:" Another word one doesn't often hear is the term "bush-league." Maybe only old  baseball fans keep its usage alive when they want to refer to an action or event that is "of an inferior class or group of its kind :  marked by a lack of sophistication or professionalism."

If true, this "skuttlebutt" from Northern Plains News provides a classic example of both words being put into action.
  • Heard through the grapevine that several Sioux Falls area Democrats who were on the ballot for legislative races as placeholders asked for but received no help from the state party to get off the ballot. My source indicated this was the idea all along.
Having been a teacher for a long time, I have learned through hard experience that some folks need to see the definition along with an example, and they also need to see the words used in a sentence that explains the example. I offer the following:
When South Dakota Democrats ask someone to help out and serve as a placeholder but then fail to assist the placeholder who seeks to remove his or her name from the ballot, they are, in effect, shanghaiing the person into serving as a candidate. These actions epitomize bush-league behavior and weaken efforts to be taken seriously as a party. 
 I'm not a Democrat, but if I were and discovered the rumor to be accurate, I would be calling for someone's head over this rude bungling.

My Father Should Have Been A Campaign Consultant, Part 1

I want political competition in South Dakota. The natural laws that govern the gaining and use of power remain the same as they were when Madison warned about power's coercive effects in The Federalist Papers. The Republican monopoly on the governor's office and most constitutional offices will, if left unchallenged, develop into a political cancer.

I was in high school 40 years ago when Nixon resigned. If I recall correctly, I was helping my father install a hoist on a truck when President Ford was sworn in. We listened to the ceremony on an old transistor radio.

I don't remember if may father said anything about the events, but I'm sure he expressed something in the form of an aphorism or biblical allusion. It was his way. When I was a young man, I found my father's aphorisms rather tiresome. I was a kid. Now, I find they contained wisdom that serve me well and would serve South Dakota candidates well.

For example, he would say, "when you're in the basement, stop digging holes." Angelia Schultz could listen to that advice. She already has a reputation for not returning press phone calls. She is continuing that behavior to the degree that Pat Powers believes he can crow about it.

More importantly, my father repeatedly told me, "it's far better to have people think you're a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." I'll listen to anyone willing to discuss NSA abuses. People talking about the government using robotic bees on the other hand should heed my father's advice.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


FoDoM is the acronym that I came up with for "Friends of Dennis (Daugaard) and Mike (Rounds)." I'm not a friend of either man, but I was getting ready to teach a unit about Aristotle's concept of friendship and Daugaard's disdain for philosophy came to mind. That led to musings summarized below.

Aristotle breaks friendship down into three categories:
In Book VIII of his Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle categorizes three different types of friendship: friendships of utility, friendships of pleasure, and friendships of the good. Friendships of utility are those where people are on cordial terms primarily because each person benefits from the other in some way. Business partnerships, relationships among co-workers, and classmate connections are examples. Friendships of pleasure are those where individuals seek out each other’s company because of the joy it brings. Passionate love affairs, people associating with each other due to belonging to the same hobby organization, and fishing buddies fall into this category. Most important of all are friendships of the good. These are friendships based upon mutual respect, admiration for each other’s virtues, and a strong desire to aid and assist the other person because one recognizes their essential goodness.
When it comes to education, the past and current governors' collective efforts have produced little utility, pleasure, or good. Rounds created and Daugaard exploited a situation in education funding that, at best, brings to mind another acronym FUBAR. If one goes beyond funding, HB 1234, which was thankfully repealed, epitomizes the concept of FUBAR in the legislative and executive branch.

I have to do more reading to be certain, but it strikes me that Aristotle would consider those who vote for a candidate friends of utility. The candidate gets the votes he or she desires and voters get the policies they desire. I'm sure some contributing FoDoM gained utility from their friendship with Daugaard and Rounds. The FoDoM who are hunting or drinking or golfing or whatever friends of pleasure one might be doing also likely gained something from their friendship. As for the rest of us, I'm hard pressed to think of any utility or pleasure arising from the Rounds or Daugaard tenures.

More importantly, government should be about protecting the good. The idea that these two men as governors actually protected the good or created enough utility to justify their re-elections or elevation to the United States Senate is, to continue using an apt acronym, FUBAR.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

About That ALS Challenge Thing

Warning: The following video contains images of me and one will actually hear my voice if one hits play

I was challenged by a young man named Nathan. We're tight, so I did the ALS ice bucket challenge. I will still donate some cash. Careful listeners who are not frightened by the image of me or by hearing my voice may note that I say that I will keep talking after the ice. I did, but Tom cut the camera for a second or two and I sounded angry when I really wasn't, so I haven't decided whether to upload that part.

What I said was that I wasn't going to challenge any South Dakota bloggers or fellow teachers. I hoped no classes or homerooms would challenge each other. The people with ALS need the money more than they need to see average folks pouring ice water on themselves.

I was also challenged by a former student named Lacey H. A couple of people told me about it. If one of you would be so kind as to contact her on the malware that is Facebook and send her this link, I'd appreciate it.

Scripture And Song For The Week: I Samuel 7 Edition

I Samuel 7
4 Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only.
5 And Samuel said, Gather all Israel to Mizpeh, and I will pray for you unto the Lord.
6 And they gathered together to Mizpeh, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day, and said there, We have sinned against the Lord. And Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpeh.
7 And when the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together to Mizpeh, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
8 And the children of Israel said to Samuel, Cease not to cry unto the Lord our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.
9 And Samuel took a sucking lamb, and offered it for a burnt offering wholly unto the Lord: and Samuel cried unto the Lord for Israel; and the Lord heard him.
10 And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

From Macabre To Ridiculous

I like guerilla theater more than most, but macabre performances of prose hould be left to junior high oral interpretation participants not candidates for governor and lieutenant-governor. Mike Myers and Lora Hubbel should have enough social awareness to know that publically re-enacting a death that has been ruled a suicide is beneath the offices they are seeking.

News of their performance provoked a nervous chuckle that often accompanies dark humor.  Marty Jackley produced the equivalent of a dark humor spit-take when he responded to Bob Mercer's suit to gain access to records surround Richard Benda's death with this sentence: "I chose the route of openness and have been nothing but criticized for that."

I don't know what Jackley's standard of openness is, but unless he's comparing himself to the Warren Commission, I doubt anyone would recognize what he's doing as open government.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wadhams Response to Democrats' Press Conference Prompts A Few Questions

Yesterday South Dakota Democratic party leaders held a press conference to demand further investigation of EB-5 cash for visas and failed meat plants affair.
At a Sioux Falls news conference Tuesday, five Democratic legislators said GOAC{Government Operations and Audit Committee] should question [Joop}Bollen, [Dennis] Daugaard, [Mike]Rounds and other top officials as part of its investigation.
Republicans quickly responded and Dakota War College dutifully posted the press release. Republican spokesperson Dick Wadhams screamed scandal-mongering.
“Today’s farce that masqueraded as a news conference tells South Dakotans everything they need to know about the South Dakota Democrat Party and their failed candidates for governor and senator. Rick Weiland and Susan Wismer have nothing to run their campaigns on but to smear two of South Dakota’s most respected leaders.”
Usually, these faux outrage announcements contain assertions that the persons involved have fully cooperated with investigations and have nothing to add. There is also a protestation of innocence of any wrongdoing whatsoever.

Interestingly, Wadhams did not say that Rounds and Daugaard had done nothing improper in their management of EB5. More importantly, he did not assert that Rounds, Daugaard, and Bollen  can provide no new information that would clear up the matter.

Sometimes what's unsaid is more interesting that what is said. In this case, where are those standard denials?