Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quotation And Chart Of The Day: The Rising Tide Isn't Lifting Everyone Edition

The quotation is from this New York Times article:
The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.
While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.
After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 —now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.
The chart can be found here.

Unlike middle class income, chart will get larger. Just click.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

About That Larry Rhoden Ad

I get it; Rhoden is a West River guy. I don't mind the hat, boots, trailer, and bulls. I've got nothing against the West River ethos. My farm boy work shoes came in contact with plenty of manure. (On a side note, I hope the bolo tie comes back back into vogue. For a while even Bruce Springsteen wore one.)

That said, this ad is terrible.

1. I learned nothing about him, and he's not a household name. If Mike Rounds feels the need to introduce himself to voters, Larry Rhoden certainly needs to.

2. It does nothing to distinguish him from any other Republican candidate. Do any of them support Obamacare? Do any of them claim to lack common sense? Do any of them claim that Washington represents South Dakota's interests? I'm pretty sure that every Republican candidate claims to be conservative, married, and a parent.

3. It plays to a stereotype that may turn some voters off.

4. It does nothing to broaden his appeal. (See 2 and 3 above.)

5. The ads production values will make it a joke to every young voter. Please don't claim that authenticity will win them over. Young people think Mumford and Son plays authentic folk music. I like the band, but they're not authentic.

6. Actors claim they never want to be upstaged by children or animals. In this ad the bull upstages Rhoden. If one is upstaged by a bull, I'm not sure how one can claim to be effective dealing with BS 

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Post Wherein I Offer A Plainsman's Corollary To Godwin's Law

First, let's go to the definitions. Godwin's Law "is an Internet adage asserting that 'As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1'—​ that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will compare someone or something to Hitler or Nazism."

The most famous and canonical corollary is often confused with Godwin's actual law:
. . .there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever debate was in progress. This principle is itself frequently referred to as Godwin's law.
Before I enunciate my corollary, let me explain how I discovered it. In a recent post, Cory Heidelberger, a debate coach par excellence, makes the case that a Gordon Howie candidacy has the potential to help Rick Weiland win the U.S. Senate race in November.
Tom Lawrence gives Rick Weiland more cause for hope, identifying national historical precedent for a crowded ballot leading to a win for a presumed underdog in a one-to-one race. While Democrat Weiland enjoys easy sailing through spring with no primary challenger, GOP frontrunner Marion Michael Rounds has to face the punches of Stace Nelson, Larry Rhoden, and Jason Ravnsborg (and Stace, Larry, Jason, you all realize that job #1 for each of you at the big SDNA debate in Pierre this morning is to take Rounds down a peg, right?). If Rounds withstands the primary challenge (and his ads show that if he wins, it will be on inertia and money, not on skillful messaging), he still won't be able to focus fire on Weiland. Larry Pressler will harass him from the nostalgic middle, and Gordon Howie will harass him from the right. Weiland could focus on getting Dems to show up and stick together (dangit, Dems! do it!), draw a third of the Indy vote (oh, think big: half!), and beat Rounds with something in the forties
No one in the Madville Times comment section alleged that the scenario provided hollow hope. In the high school debate world, hollow hope disadvantages generally involve the United States Supreme Court's inability to produce a desired result, it has been run on in conjunction with political movements. Most objective observers would accept that a Howie candidacy would produce fewer efficacious results than any court decision.

I thought the matter dead until yesterday, but Representative Steve Hickey ran an old Republican staple, the abortion disadvantage. For the debate coach audience, Hickey's uniqueness is Rounds will defeat both Weiland and Pressler in the status quo. The link is Howie's entering the race as an independent will drain off the disaffected "hell no" voters and allow Weiland will win an election he would have lost. The impact is a pro choice person will be put on the United States Supreme Court; therefore, abortions will continue unabated because Roe v Wade will not be overturned. It's not a nuclear war or extinction scenario, but it's pretty good.

If this were a regular debate round, I'd expect a threat con kritik. For the non-debate folk, threat con is an argument that says enunciating a threat, in this case causing more abortions, is a means of making the threat a reality. Hickey, however, ran his argument on a conservative blog, so no oneengaged Hickey's argument; they merely called each other RINOs, Republicans In Name Only.

Then the Plainsman Corollary struck me: on any conservative blog, as the discussion grows longer, the probability of someone being called a RINO approaches 1'—​ that is, if an online discussion (regardless of topic or scope) on a conservative blog goes on long enough, sooner or later someone will call a person on the other side of the issue a RINO.

I even have two sub-corollaries. First, the person making the charge believes that calling someone a RINO means he or she has won the debate. Second, the person making the charge cannot define the term RINO.

Quotation Of The Day: Common Core And Brute Force Edition

But some of us have been warning of the political naivete of the Common Core effort for some time now.  Rick Hess and Mike McShane at AEI have also done an admirable job of describing the political weakness of Common Core, regardless of what one thinks of the merits of the standards themselves.
Supporters of Common Core may draw the wrong lesson from this post and increase efforts to convince the public and train educators to love the Common Core.  Not only will these re-education efforts be too little, too late, but they fail to grasp the inherent flaw in reforms like Common Core.  Trying to change the content and practice of the entire nation’s school system requires a top-down, direct, and definitive victory to get adopted.  If input and deliberation are sought, or decisions are truly decentralized, then it is too easy to block standards reforms, like Common Core.  Supporters of CC learned this much from the numerous failed efforts to adopt national standards in the past.
But the brute force and directness required for adopting national standards makes its effective implementation in a diverse, decentralized, and democratic country impossible. This can’t be solved by more professional development and a belated marketing campaign.  Even the Chinese re-education camps couldn’t make the Cultural Revolution reailty — and they invested a whole lot more energy and resources in trying to do so than the Common Core folks ever could.
HT: Andrew Sullivan

A Few Questions For South Dakota Conservative Republicans

Over at Dakota War College, Pat Powers got his comment waters churned into a froth when he tossed out this bit of chum from a Representative Reverend Steve Hickey comment:
I don’t get how Stace and those here can work so easily with Dems but not with moderate Republicans.
A host of anonymously and pseudonymously authored posts failed to get to the crux of the matter because they failed to ask the right questions, so I'll ask those questions here.

First, what exactly makes one a conservative in South Dakota? Modern American conservatism, as I understand it, began when William F. Buckley founded National Review to stand "athwart history, yelling Stop, at a time when no one [was] inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it." Nationally and locally, self-described conservatives seem to demand history not only stop but also retreat. It's unclear whether they wish a return to 1988, the last year of the Reagan administration; 1688, a time when planning to hunt witches was considered good form; or 888, the midst of the European Dark Ages.

Second, what's wrong with moderates? If one wishes to push history back, one could do worse than landing in Aristotle's Athens where the Golden Mean seemed best. In contemporary America, avoiding extremes is a difficult principle to uphold.

Third, where are all of these moderates that seem to worry conservatives? I suppose it's possible that they and the last 7 liberals in South Dakota have all moved to an undisclosed location in the Badlands and are building a fortified castle ala Doomsday Preppers, but I haven't seen three moderates together in the same room for at least 20 years.

Fourth, what exactly do South Dakota conservatives support? Opposing Obamacare and Medicaid expansion is not the same as supporting something. One Dakota War College commentor, South Dakota Jammer, has urged repealing the Seventeenth Amendment which allows the direct election of United States Senators. Once again, being against elections doesn't mean that one supports something.

Fifth, why isn't South Dakota a conservative paradise already? Republicans, most describing themselves as rock-ribbed conservatives have occupied the governor's mansion and the legislature since statehood. If conservatives haven't put in place all the conservative measures they want by now, it would seem they have no one to blame but themselves.

Sixth, I'm speculating that some conservatives will answer question five by claiming that they have been betrayed. That claim prompts two questions: how many Judases have populated the conservative Republican ranks and why don't you have better quality control in your party? (I will avoid asking any questions about paranoia in this post.)

Seventh, and this one seems to be the most important question, why can't you graciously declare victory and practice Lincoln's dictum of working with malice toward none and charity toward all? Your antics have been entertaining but lately they seem to be becoming a bit too malicious and uncharitable for comfort.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Scripture And Song For The Week: Easter 2014 Edition

I Corinthians 15
12 But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 27 For he “has put everything under his feet.”[c] Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. 28 When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.

Friday, April 18, 2014

It's Not Only The Rich . . .

The beautiful people are different from you and me. (Maybe they differ from only me; some of you might be pretty people.)

For a quick review, let's look at the famous F. Scott Fitzgerald description in context:
"Let me tell you about the very rich.  They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves.  Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different."
A new study finds that pretty folk seem to have similar ideas to the rich Fitzgerald describes:
Participants who perceive themselves as attractive also tend to not only believe they are of higher social status but also to believe in group dominance — that some groups are just inferior. They also were more likely to believe in ideas that legitimized their status, like the idea that all Americans have equal shots at making it to the top.
It's worth noting that the report uses the term "perceive themselves as attractive." That phrasing leaves open the possibility that it's not the pretty people who think they deserve to rule society but people who are willing to lie to themselves about their attractiveness. (Choosing the whether vanity or dishonesty is a lesser evil requires a different post.)

The actual pretty people or the people who believe themselves beautiful are quite comfortable with inequality.
. . . .In other words, thinking you've got it going on — as opposed to feeling influential, all-around pretty great, or respected — can really shift how you look at inequality.
People who thought they were more attractive also tended to think that America's steadily growing inequality came about because of individual characteristics, like talent and hard work. People who thought they were uglier, meanwhile, thought outside factors — discrimination, political power — had more to do with inequality. . . .
. . . .People who perceived themselves as more attractive were more likely to agree with statements like, "It is not a problem if some people have more of a chance in life than others."
The rich, the beautiful, and those who believe themselves beautiful view themselves to be  of higher social status and, therefore,  deserve to lord it over the rest of us. After all, many of them believe they got what they have through hard work while the rest of us deserve to be lower on the scale. For them, it must always be summertime.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Few Observations About Jason Ravnsborg

Observation 1: I don't get out much, but I know a few people. Some of the people I know actually do know rather important folk. I have yet to meet any local who claims to know Ravnsborg. Heck,I even asked the nice woman who cuts my hair about him. She was able to tell me about the blood moon theory long before I read about it on Howie's blog, but she had heard nothing about Ravnsborg. It seems curious that a person would run for statewide office if he's relatively unknown locally.

Observation 2: With "borg" as part of his name, he's probably not going to get the totally unimportant Star Trek: The Next Generation fan boy vote. (I never said that all of these observations would be serious.)

Observation 3: He probably never planned to win this race. He likely views this race as an opportunity to introduce voters to his boyish good looks, his military service, and his ability to mimic Paul Ryan's pseudo seriousness.

Observation 4: This Pat Powers paraphrase indicates that he has watched and learned from Bull Durham:
As he was sending it over, I had a nice chat with the candidate, and Jason noted that he didn’t get into the race to chase big money, but to bring forth ideas.As he was sending it over, I had a nice chat with the candidate, and Jason noted that he didn’t get into the race to chase big money, but to bring forth ideas.

Mouthing phrases about the power of ideas has to be one the earliest and biggest political cliches. Has a candidate ever admitted he or she was in it for the money?

Observation 5: Ravnsborg is a cautious and disciplined sort. In a race that features Stace Nelson's bombast, the Annette Bosworth debacle, and Mike Rounds exhibiting an Teflon sports coat that gives him an air of inevitability, Ravnsborg had the chance to take few political risks and, if they failed, have them be forgiven as rookie mistakes. He seems content, however, to play it safe.

A Minor Musing About Annette Bosworth, Tragedy, and Pathos

This morning started out well. I slept a bit later than usual, made a pot of coffee, fried some eggs, wrote a blog post, called my mother, and corrected a few quizzes, but then it all went to hell. I watched the Annette Bosworth video posted on the Madville Times.

In the video, which I won't post because it is the internet equivalent of a Sunday outing at Bedlam, Bosworth casts herself as an underdog hero embarking on an epic quest to fight the forces of darkness on the downtrodden's behalf. One hopes that most find the fact that she uses the suffering she and her husband have caused her son as a reason to vote for her pathetic, in the contemporary definition of the word.

The video, however, reaches the deeper level of pathos that Arthur Miller discusses in his classic essay "Tragedy and the Common Man." (Were he writing today, I have every confidence that Miller would have titled the essay "Tragedy and the Common Person.") Miller writes,
For, if it is true to say that in essence the tragic hero is intent upon claiming his whole due as a personality, and if this struggle must be total and without reservation, then it automatically demonstrates the indestructible will of man to achieve his humanity. The possibility of victory must be there in tragedy. Where pathos rules, where pathos is finally derived, a character has fought a battle he could not possibly have won. The pathetic is achieved when the protagonist is, by virtue of his witlessness, his insensitivity or the very air he gives off, incapable of grappling with a much superior force. Pathos truly is the mode for the pessimist. But tragedy requires a nicer balance between what is possible and what is impossible. And it is curious, although edifying, that the plays we revere, century after century, are the tragedies. In them, and in them alone, lies the belief--optimistic, if you will, in the perfectibility of man. It is time, I think, that we who are without kings, took up this bright thread of our history and followed it to the only place it can possible lead in our time--the heart and spirit of the average man [emphasis mine].
The video does not reveals a woman engaging in total effort to achieve her due as a human being. The fact that she uses suffering she caused her child as a reason to consider her fit for office reveals a rather inhumane sadism. More importantly, video illustrates that Bosworth is insensitive to the fact that she has engaged in a foolhardy effort that she has no chance of winning. Further, she is insensitive to her flaws and her inability to overcome those flaws.

I have used Miller's essay as a discussion starter when I teach his play Death of a Salesman, and I have always been skeptical that tragedy can be optimistic. Tragedy illustrates a character brought down by a situation that he or she should have prevented. Preventable suffering has never struck me as optimistic. Watching Bosworth implode, however, illustrates the wisdom in Miller's observation. Bosworth lacks to wit to know that she is flawed and that she lacks the ability to deal with the chaos she has caused. Watching a destructive situation unfold, one that the protagonist has no chance of preventing, is depressingly pathetic.

If We Can't Have Barabbas, Give Us Cliven Bundy . . .

. . . or a few Occupy Wall Street folk.
6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead. (Mark 15:5-11 NIV)
It may be a more a sign of my cynicism than it is an accurate theological observation, but I doubt the chief priests had a difficult time persuading the crowd to demand Barabbas' release. The assembled throng likely found it easier to side with a man who said something like "Let's kill a few of these Roman S.O.Bs before pushing them back into the ocean" instead of a person who enjoined carrying the Roman soldier's pack an extra mile.

My cynicism colors my view of the Cliven Bundy affair. The gist of his non-Fox News supporters seem to be he's a crackpot without a legal leg to stand on. The Fox clips I've seen seem to cast him in the role of martyr standing up to the federal government otherwise known as the evil of evils.

I have little sympathy for Bundy. He's a millionaire rancher who grazes cattle on land he doesn't own or pay rent on. It would take a large number of the apocryphal food stamp recipients buying champagne and lobster to match Bundy's free ride.

On the other hand, if a group of Occupy folks squatted in every Koch brothers' office across the country, I'd take more than a little joy in any discomfort the billionaires were caused. Even though they would not have a legal leg to stand on, I might even complain about how the force the police would use to remove the occupiers.

The disconcerting thing about the Bundy affair is both sides will take the wrong lesson. The fringe right will likely grow in their certainty that one must face the federal government with force never thinking about the fact that federal government has more people under arms and far better weapons. The left will likely push for new regulations and policy solutions forgetting that difficult situations make bad law. Perhaps both sides should see Cliven Budy as a mirror that reveals their indefensible political biases.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The South Dakota Senate Candidates As Characters From Greek Mythology

Recently, David Montgomery mused about which Game of Thrones family each of the South Dakota Senate candidates would belong to. It's an exercise worthy of a minor meme, so I'll play along. Instead of Game of Thrones, I'll match them to characters from Greek mythology. So, in alphabetical order, here are the candidates and the mythological characters I believe they or their campaigns resemble.

Annette Bosworth: Medusa

Until last week, I would have matched Bosworth with Aphrodite, attractive but vapid. Bosworth's over-the-top response to the challenge to her nominating petitions revealed a core that has tusks for teeth, snakes for hair, and the desire to turn opposition to stone, so she seems to have more in common with the only mortal Gorgon than with the goddess of love, lust, and beauty.

Stace Nelson: Ares

Ares and Nelson both bluster a lot. The fact that Nelson served as a Marine seems to be a key component of his campaign, so the god of war fits.

Larry Pressler: Cronus

Cronus ruled the Titans and the universe until Zeus and Olympians took over. Pressler used to be a force, but time seems to have passed him by.

Jason Ravnsborg: Heracles

Heracles was a mortal performed a dozen great labors and then became a god upon his death. This campaign seems to be a labor Ravnsborg is undertaking with the hope of turning himself into an Olympian politician in the future.

Larry Rhoden: Pan

As a West River rancher, Rhoden seems a natural fit with the god of herds and flocks. Pan was noted for his scream which caused stampedes. Rhoden's supporters seem to waiting for him to find his voice and hope that he might cause a little panic.

Mike Rounds: Hades

Hades was the powerful god of the underworld and wealth. Rounds is the odds on favorite to win. Most of the his campaign seems focused on how much money he has raised or will raise. Hades was associated with death so some of the other Olympians avoided him because they thought he carried the smell of death with him. Rounds has some baggage from his term as governor that some contend has the taint of corruption.

Rick Weiland: Cassandra

Cassandra spoke the truth but was cursed so no one would believe her. Weildand speaks the truth as Democrats see it, but no one seems to believe him

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Web Comic Of The Day: Othello In Three Panels Edition

Via this post, I discover Mya Gosling who, among other things, boils Shakespeare's plays down to their most basic essence. PNR might be interested to not she has a Miscellany section on her blog. I have spent weeks teaching a single play whether it be Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Hamlet, and Julius Caesar. I wanted the young'uns to appreciate symbolism, irony, and beautiful language. Imagine my chagrin.

Don Knopp, Preppers, And Madonna: Another Belated Minor Musing

I often skim posts at; some of their tech stuff like rooting phones goes a bit beyond what I feel comfortable doing, but their posts help me understand what the young'uns are talking about. One of my favorite features is their weekly "what's in your go bag" show and tell. Lifehacker uses the term "go bag" in its broadest sense to indicate items necessary to get you through the day not necessarily items that you would need to survive an evacuation. They have also had an Every Day Carry (EDC) thread filled with shiny objects for the nerd in all of us.

A couple of weeks ago Lifehacker featured Scott Kelley's traditional go bag/bug out bag. I followed Kelley's  EDC link and a few links on his site and found discussions about carrying pocket knives tip up or tip down, AA flashlights with 300 lumen bulbs, and nuanced debate about urban prepping vs wilderness prepping. (Please don't tell Mrs. Plainsman that I've maxed out a credit card buying folding knives, flashlights, and tactical pens.)

Most of the preppers use military style acronyms BOB for bug out bag, INCH for I'm not coming home, and SHTF for fecal matter coming in contact with blades that spin to circulate the air. Those acronyms were running through my head when I read State Representative Don Knopp's treatise on blood moons and his belief that this phenomenon signals Christ's imminent return.

I'm not unsympathetic to preppers; I carry a "mom pouch" with assorted necessities to help me and young'uns deal with unexpected occurrences during debate trips. More importantly,  I'm fairly certain the economy is going to go south in major way in the next few years. I am concerned that young people in the United States carry $1 trillion in student debt. Combining financially stressed young folks with a depressed economy seems a recipe for major trouble, but I don't believe that I need to cache supplies in an undisclosed location to survive. In fact if I packed a bug out bag with all of the prepper recommended equipment, I'd probably die of a heart attack before I hiked three miles into the wilderness.

Likewise, I am not totally unsympathetic to Knopp's eschatology. As young'uns, my peers and I spent countless hours arguing--there wasn't enough warranting of our claims to consider the activity debating--whether there would be a pre-Tribulation, mid-Tribulation, and post-Tribulation rapture. We were astute enough to know the word rapture is not found in the Bible. We didn't know and didn't have the internet to do a quick search to discover the doctrine that is less than 200 years old.

I do have significant concerns when Knopp's theology is based in part on Kaduri, a Jewish mystic who practiced Kabbalah, the faith cultural icon Madonna may or may not still practice. I also have problems with Knopp's confusing correlation with causation when he lists the SHTF events allegedly associated with blood moons. If Knopp's goal was to make me think about the need to deepen my faith, he failed. All he made me want to do is search Amazon to price highly recommended EDC knives and watch Madonna's "Like a Prayer" video.

Madonna - Like a Prayer (Music Video) from Mary Lambert, Director on Vimeo.

Scripture And Song Of The Week: 1 Samuel 24 Edition

I Samuel 24
16 When David finished saying this, Saul asked, “Is that your voice, David my son?” And he wept aloud. 17 “You are more righteous than I,” he said. “You have treated me well, but I have treated you badly. 18 You have just now told me about the good you did to me; the Lord delivered me into your hands, but you did not kill me. 19 When a man finds his enemy, does he let him get away unharmed? May the Lord reward you well for the way you treated me today. 20 I know that you will surely be king and that the kingdom of Israel will be established in your hands. 21 Now swear to me by the Lord that you will not kill off my descendants or wipe out my name from my father’s family.”

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Minor Musing On Dr. Bosworth's Response To Surviving The Challenge To Her Nominating Petitions

Via Dakota War College, Dr. Annette Bosworth has credited God for the favorable ruling regarding the challenge to her nominating petitions.
Unofficially, Bosworth noted to me:
We are on the ballot!! With hundreds of the signatures to spare!! Awesome – GOD IS SO GOOD!!
I believe that God can and does intervene in human affairs; I believe the Almighty deserves thanks for bestowed favors and for undesired challenges. When I was a young farm boy, my father taught me to say thanks for the rain and the hail storms that didn't come and not to be angry when crops got hailed out. (The avoid anger lessons didn't always take.) He also strongly reminded me that our efforts had little to do with results.

After viewing Bosworth's rambling soliloquy that owes more to Lewis Carroll than it does to Shakespeare or the King James Bible,  one is tempted to believe that Bosworth believes her efforts have been vindicated. I would offer her the Matthew 5:45 reminder that my father gave me:
. . . for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Despite this favorable ruling, her acquaintance with just dealing remains an open question, and this result should not be considered vindication from God.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Belated Minor Musing On The Challenge To Annette Bosworth's Nominating Petitions

Anyone who has spent more than a minute skimming the political portions of the South Dakota blogosphere will have noticed that Cory Heidelberger and Pat Powers engage in some pointed exchanges. Given that Cory is a liberal and Powers an establishment conservative, there's plenty of room for disagreement. In many ways, the two writers remind me of As Troy Jones observed in one of his Madville comments, they "'need' each other as foils."

Cory's challenge of Annette Bosworth's nominating petitions, reveals that two men also view the purpose of the blogosphere far differently. Powers uses Dakota War College to project power or, at the very least, the perception of power. He posts press releases from incumbent Republicans United States Senator John Thune, United States Representataive Krisit Noem, and Governor Dennis Daugaard without comment. While he has not officially endorsed anyone in the Republican primary for the South Dakota United States Senate or South Dakota Governor races, he has saved his most pointed barbs for political gadflies like State Representative Stace Nelson and gubernatorial candidate Lora Hubbel.

Cory, however, seems to see the web as a way to diffuse rather than project power. His blog is a tool to tweak and prod the establishment. He admits that the Bosworth challenge was an exercise is crowd sourcing.
Heidelberger also identified a number of other alleged faults in Bosworth's petitions, some broad and others technical.
He filed the challenge after posting Bosworth's petitions on his blog and encouraging readers to comb through them in search of mistakes.
" 'Crowdsourcing' is an interesting part of this," Heidelberger said. "I got good information from people who read the blog. It certainly helped to make that challenge public."
It is this difference that illustrates a core flaw in South Dakota politics: one party can demand and enforce orthodoxy and only the political Don Quixotes will challenge. There are four other Republicans in the race who, given Bosworth's history of questionable financial activities, should have been double checking the petitions and issuing the challenge. But that challenge risks exposing a little dirty laundry, an act that patrician Mike Rounds and the rugged individualists, State Nelson, Larry Rhoden, and Jason Ravnsborg seem to want to avoid or believe is beneath them.

Meanwhile, South Dakota Democrats, who should do everything they can to tarnish the Republican brand, seem to lack the inclination, organization, or political savvy to go after Bosworth's petitions. If I may be permitted the redundancy, the duty of the loyal opposition is to oppose. If that opposing can't be done with a full on assault, it should be done with the political version of guerrilla warfare. Sniping at Bosworth seems a task tailor made for a guerrilla opposition, but it's an opportunity missed.

Even if the establishment wins this one, as Powers opines they will, Cory's challenge exposes some deeper problems that will continue to plague South Dakota politics.