Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Lessons From 2015 Legislature: South Dakota Republicans Are Afraid

One would believe that a party that recently defeated a sitting Senate Majority Leader, swept the 2014 races for constitutional offices, and possessed a supermajority in the 2015 legislature would be emboldened to do something other than cravenly conserve power.

Relatively early in the session, there was the "Let's Let John Do What We Wouldn't Let Tom Do" bill. It's unclear why a party that boasts of its deep bench, mocks the opposition for being unable to field candidates, and believes that no one will challenge its senior senator in 2016 would feel the need to enhance their ability to hold that seat unless they don't believe their own boasts and jeers.

Later in the session the Republican majority passed Senate Bill 69 which makes it harder for independent candidates to get on the ballot. Off the top of my head, I can't think of the last time independents of either conservative or liberal leaning successfully challenged an entrenched South Dakota Republican.

I am old enough to remember Republican leaders at a national level proclaiming their trust in the American voters. Apparently South Dakota Republicans don't have the same trust in the South Dakota electorate. They certainly don't seem to want to allow them any choices but those with an "R" behind their name on the ballot. I suppose if a party has no ideas and harbors a distrust of voters, it ought to be fearful.

Monday, March 9, 2015

I'm Pretty Sure I Told You So

This blog's January 2, 2015 post contained the following:
There will be talk but little action on anything relating to education funding.
Technically my predication might be wrong. The "blue ribbon" commission will likely talk about talking about education rather than actually doing anything about it. As a side note, I'll predict that the final report of the "blue ribbon" (I'm working really hard not to call it a Pabst) commission's findings will mirror Governor Daugaard's voter rejected HB 1234.

That same post contained the following prediction about the budget process:
At some point near the end of the session Republican leaders will bemoan a tight budget and without any sense of chagrin or irony congratulate themseleves on increasing all "rainy day trust funds" to record levels. 
Today's Yankton Press and Dakotan reports the following comment from Republican Representative Jean Hunhoff:
According to Jean Hunhoff, the projection is not going to be as great as everyone has thought.
“You remember when the governor put forth his budget in December?” Rep Hunhoff asked. “We were looking at fiscal year ‘15, which is this current year that we had about $26 million extra. We are seeing ... with some early returns that we will have a soft economy. And right now, we are down to having about $ 12 million (or surplus) instead of that $26 million. So, there are going to have to be some reductions there. As we look in the future for Fiscal Year ‘16, with the outlook right now, things aren’t looking so rosy.”
Of course one doesn't need to be Nostradamus, Cassandra, Tiresias, or Edgar Cayce to predict something that will happen during nearly every legislative session.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Daugaard's Education Agenda Follows A Democrat's Proposal

That Democrat was, unfortunately, Woodrow Wilson:
Addressing a meeting of the New York City High School Teachers Association in 1909, Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University, set forth the requirements of America’s newborn industrial civilization. “We want one class of persons to have a liberal education,” he said, “and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class of necessity in every society, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific manual tasks.
Lewis Lapham who reminds readers of Wilson's snobbish assertion points to the logical outcome of a Wilsonian/Daugaardian educational policy. It will accustom students "to the design specs of a society geared to the blind and insatiable consumption of mediocrity in all its political declensions and commercial conjugations."

Lapham even points out why Daugaard's malignant neglect as illustrated by another education commission makes sense, if one is a politician in thrall to corporate interests:
Why would any politician in his or her right mind wish to confront an informed citizenry capable of breaking down the campaign speeches into their subsets of supporting lies? Burden the economy with too many customers able to decipher the hospital bills, or see around the corners of the four-color advertising, and the consequences would be terrible to behold.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Will It Be Ever Thus?

I have been struggling to blog since September or October. In part, it seems as if everything that I do now takes longer to complete. Getting old, an age that I will describe as being far closer to 60 than to 50, does indeed slow one down.

There is, however, another reason; blogging has seemingly become an exercise in futility. I going to cherry pick two quotations from a recent Madville Times thread and put words in the mouths of the majority of South Dakota voters to illustrate my frustration.

First, Bob Mercer writes, "Bottom line: Our economy isn't strong enough to do more for education and our voters don't seem to want to do more for education."

Cory responds to Mercer's analysis with the proper observation: ". . . if Mercer's bottom line is true, if South Dakota's economy cannot support greater investment in education, then 35 years of GOP rule has failed."

The majority of South Dakota voters will obliviously continue vote for anyone with an "R" behind his or her name on the ballot. They seem to be responding to the situation with a simple mantra: "Give me that old time politicin'; it's been good enough for 35 years; it's still good enough for me." The fact that "good enough" rarely is good or enough is deftly ignored.

Pointing out the obvious to those who refuse to acknowledge it is fun for a while, but it is becoming rather tiring when there is so little hope that the political situation in South Dakota will ever change.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Few Bosworth Questions

Gordon Howie contends that the felony charges against Annette Bosworth should be dismissed because everybody does it. Cory Heidelberger, who led the effort to show that Bosworth was not in the country when she claims she witnessed petitions being signed, takes issue with the Howie's claim.

I  grew tired long ago of the Bosworth circus. This political soap opera should have gone away before election day. In most normal situations, there would have been a plea deal. The lack of plea bargain prompts a few questions.

First, why hasn't a deal happened?

Second, has the prosecution offered a deal that Bosworth refused because the refusal helps her cause as a political martyr?

Third, did Bosworth offer to plea but prosecution rejected the deal for personal or political reasons?

Fourth, is it too much to hope for that a plea deal can be reached so that this political circus can finally end?

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Scripture And Song For The Week: Luke 12 Edition

Luke 12
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”
16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’
21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Quotation Of The Day: Courage In The Political Lions' Den Edition

From Representive Reverend Steve Hickey in the comments section at Dakota War College:
We blew through our 125th anniversary year with no acknowledgement that 10% of our population resents we are even here. It’s not okay native families are struggling in third world conditions within a couple hundred miles of our hundred million dollar sportsplexes and entertainment centers. It’s not okay native kids are killing themselves. If a similar suicide rate was for white kids it’d be front page news. A 15 year old native girl in our state hung her self in her own home and no one even noticed for two weeks. Spare me the decades old excuses why these are their problems not ours. Time for a South African style truth and reconciliation to commission lead the way out of the past into the future. We brag about our low unemployment rate but ignore it nearly triples when natives are factored in. It’s not okay we have states attorneys who brag openly how many natives they’ve put on the hill. We create criminals and then wonder why there are more of them.