Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Quotation Of The Day: Of Morality And Markets And Hobby Lobby Edition

I seem to agreeing with a lot of conservatives lately. From this Patrick J Deneen piece at The American Conservative:
. . . Largely ignored is the fact Hobby Lobby is a significant player in a global economy that has separated markets from morality. Even as it is a Christian-themed brand, it operates in a decisively “secular” economic world. It is almost wholly disembedded from any particular community; its model, like that of all major box stores, is to benefit from economies of scale through standardization and aggressive price-cutting, relying on cheap overseas producers and retail settings that are devoid of any particular cultural or local distinction. The Hobby Lobby near us—on Grape Road in nearby Mishawaka—is about as profane imaginable a place on earth, accessible by six lanes of concrete roads where there is a heavy concentration of large chain retailers, where it anchors a sensory-deadening row of retail store fronts that border acres of cracked and barren pavement, awash in discarded plastic bags and crumpled fast food wrappers. On the rare occasion that I enter the store, even amid the Chinese mass-produced crosses and the piped in Christian music, under the endless florescent lighting and displays carefully-managed to optimize impulse buying, I am hardly moved to a state of piety, prayer, and thanksgiving. I am, like everyone else, looking for the least chintzy item at the cheapest price.
Hobby Lobby—like every chain store of its kind—participates in an economy that is no longer “religious” or even “moral.” That is, it participates in an economy that arose based on the rejection of the subordination of markets embedded within, and subject to, social and moral structures. This “Great Transformation” was detailed and described with great acuity by Karl Polanyi in his masterful 1944 book of that title. He described a sea change of economic practice that took place especially beginning in the 19th-century, but whose theoretical groundwork had been laid already in the 17th- and 18th-centuries by thinkers like Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Adam Smith. As he succinctly described this “transformation,” previous economic arrangements in which markets were “embedded” within moral and social structures, practices, and customs were replaced by ones in which markets were liberated from those contexts, and shorn of controlling moral and religious norms and ends. “Ultimately that is why the control of the economic system by the market is of overwhelming consequence to the whole organization of society: it means no less than the running of society as an adjunct to the market. Instead of economy being embedded in social relations, social relations are embedded in the economic system.” 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

What Happens If Nate Silver Is Correct?

Over the weekend Nate Silver, a statistician who has taken on Delphic significance in the political world, launched the political page on his 538 blog with the announcement that the Republicans are slight favorites to take the United States Senate. On ABC's This Week, Silver gave the Republicans a chance to pick up 11 seats.

Locally, the statistically minded Messrs Montgomery and Heidelberger have given their takes. Nationally Republicans have a new found respect for Silver whereas Democrats are suddenly challenging his statistical acumen.

I have seen little speculation about what happens if Silver is correct and Republicans get 52 or 54 Senate seats and keep the House. I'll go out on a limb with a single word: impeachment.

I have two likely scenarios. In one, the fire-breathers in the House will scream Benghazi and cover-up, IRS harassment and cover-up, executive orders were issued that we didn't like and cover-up, "we didn't get Clinton" and cover-up.

The other scenario involves a long game. Republicans will have repeated successful votes to repeal Obamacare followed by repeated vetoes. (There will be a few filibusters in the Senate, those efforts will not be serious because the Obama holds the veto pen.) Republicans will then attach repeal to a debt ceiling vote; Obama will invoke the full faith and credit clause, and Republicans will impeach.

I know Rush Limbaugh says impeachment will never happen, but that proclamation is issues in the form of a challenge; Republicans according to Limbaugh lack "political will." even as everything gets "screwed-up." There are too many safe blood-red districts. There is also an understanding, even among those who would rather breathe fire than think, that demographics and the electoral map favors Democrats or at least a Republican far too moderate for their tastes. Besides, impeachment will be much easier that trying to think up policy solutions.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Democrats Have A Full House Slate In District 18

Thursday, March 20, 2014

When Science And Politics Intersect . . .

. . strange coincidences occur.

Discovery News reports on a dinosaur that looks like a "chicken from hell." The fossil was found in the Hell Creek Rock Formation that runs through the Dakotas. The dinosaur "was a giant raptor, but with a chicken-like head and presumably feathers." Scientists claim is was "a mixed-up collage of chicken, cassowary and non-avian dinosaur — all rolled into one species." 

Sixty-six million years later South Dakota politics remains "a mixed up collage" of birds that can't fly and dinosaurs. Some things never change.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Quotation Of The Day: Christians And Politics Edition

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobrey succinctly points out something I have believed for a long time.
Because if you believe that the person of Jesus Christ is "the Truth," then the corollary that logically follows is that everything that is not Jesus Christ is not "the Truth."
To put it more practically: To be a Christian is to believe that all political ideologies are suspect. And wrong. It doesn't mean that Christians should retreat from all political ideologies — as that would also be a political ideology, and also wrong. By all means, be a Christian liberal. Be a Christian conservative. But if you are a Christian liberal, if you are a Christian conservative, then by definition there will be tensions between your Christianity and your political ideology. It's axiomatic. And if you are a Christian first and an ideologue second, you should confront those tensions instead of papering over them.
Let's take my own tent of Christian conservatism, since this is about us.
Yes, it is absolutely possible to be a Christian and believe that limited government and free markets are the best ways to advance the prospects of the poor. But when conservatives portray the poor as moochers and divide the world into "Makers" and "Takers," and hold up those "Takers" quite clearly as objects of contempt, the Christian has to recoil. And not just recoil, but cry injustice.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Senator* Phil Jensen, Race, And "Revelation"

This morning's Rapid City Journal reports that Phil Jensen, a South Dakota state senator, believes "businesses should have the right to deny service based on a customer's race or religion." According to Jensen, this behavior that the "majority" will find "detestable" can be "fairly addressed by the free market." Jensen also supports drug testing welfare recipients but laughingly admits he hasn't thought about drug testing those who receive other government subsidies

If this situation follows the pattern established when others have made similar gaffes, revealing "a truth the politician did not intend to admit," Jensen and his allies will soon complain that the Liberal Media and RINOs are misconstruing his comments. That effort is beginning. By tomorrow afternoon or Tuesday, he will claim to be a victim of political correctness run amok.

I'm going to help Jensen play the victim card. He's a victim of an insular political system that allows him to get elected without serious opposition. As a politically conservative evangelical Christian, he's a victim of a cognitive-dissonance-filled philosophy that combines Ayn Rand and Christianity in a way that tortures logic to death. And, were I a betting man, I'd bet that he's a victim of an education that did not have him read Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation."

Ruby Turpin, the story's protagonist, spends most of her nights trying to rank African-Americans, poor whites, middle class folks, and the rich. While race is key element in her hierarchy, the most important criterion is understanding "that you had to have certain things before you could know certain things." After being physically assaulted my a young woman who tells Ruby, "'Go back to hell where you came from, you old wart hog,'" Ruby has a vision while washing down some hogs.
Until the sun slipped finally behind the tree line, Mrs. Turpin remained there with her gaze bent to them as if she were absorbing some abysmal life-giving knowledge. At last she lifted her head. There was only a purple streak in the sky, cutting through a field of crimson and leading, like an extension of the highway, into the descending dusk. She raised her hands from the side of the pen in a gesture hieratic and profound. A visionary light settled in her eyes. She saw the streak as a vast swinging bridge extending upward from the earth through a field of living fire. Upon it a vast horde of souls were tumbling toward heaven. There were whole companies of white trash, clean for the first time in their lives, and bands of black[s]. . . in white robes, and battalions of freaks and lunatics shouting and clapping and leaping like frogs. And bringing up the end of the procession was a tribe of people whom she recognized at once as those who, like herself and Claud, had always had a little of everything and the given wit to use it right. She leaned forward to observe them closer.They were marching behind the others with great dignity, accountable as they had always been for good order and common sense and respectable behavior. They, alone were on key. Yet she could see by their shocked and altered faces even their virtues were being burned away. She lowered hands and gripped the rail of the hog pen, her eyes small but fixed unblinkingly on what lay ahead. In a moment the vision faded but she remained where she was.
Jensen's view that the market will correct bigotry and hate ignores Biblical injunction that the human heart is deceitful. It ignores James Madison's reminder that men are not angels. It is based on the view that those who have things must know things and have the "given wit" to use them right. Flannery O'Connor knew that attitude leads to self-satisfied virtues that have no basis. Jensen has yet to learn that lesson.

Update: Bob Ellis has the victim card piece up 12 hours ahead of schedule.
*Post was originally and erroneously headlined Representative. 

Another Obituary That Make Me Feel Old: David Brenner R.I.P

From The New York Times:
David Brenner, who delivered his observational style of stand-up comedy on
television and on stage for over four decades, died at his home in Manhattan on
Saturday. He was 78.
His longtime publicist, Jeff Abraham, said the cause was cancer.
Mr. Brenner was perhaps best known for his regular appearances on “The
Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” He was one of its most frequent guests,
performing more than 150 times.
He gained fame by telling anecdotes about daily life, or as he said, “the
dumb things that we say and do.” Over the years, as he continued to perform
stand-up and began appearing on Fox News TV shows, his comedy focused more
on current events.
I never saw him on Fox so I don't know if he went the way of Dennis Miller who ceased being funny. I just remember laughing a lot while watching him during his Tonight Show appearances. It's just another reminder that my youth has long since slipped away,

Scripture And Song For The Week: Romans 5 Edition

Romans 5
12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Big Time Education Testing Sucks

I should have a better headline with more specific vocabulary, but sometimes short guttural verbs are necessary.

Big time education testing is not quite ready for prime time. Yesterday, South Dakota school administrators received an email with the following information:
This email is to let you know that the testing window for the Smarter Balanced field test has shifted one week. Testing will now begin on Tuesday, March 25. We learned of this development late yesterday and wanted to share with you as soon as possible.
Needless to say, we are very disappointed to have to make this adjustment. As you know, the field test requires unprecedented collaboration among the participating states, districts and testing contractors. However, this puts all of us in a difficult position, particularly those of you who were planning to start testing on March 18. In the final analysis, the consortium decided the change is needed to ensure that we have taken all steps necessary to ensure that teachers, students and administrators have a productive experience with the field test. [emphasis mine]
I've read enough bureaucratic language to know that Smarter Balanced has discovered a problem and is engaged in posterior covering activities. The bolded lines do need special translation, however.For those not familiar with educational jargon, taking "all steps necessary to ensure that teachers, students and administrators have a productive experience" actually means "removing your eyeballs without anesthesia will be less painful and produce fewer emotional scars than this activity."

More importantly, the tests, even if they are not ready for prime time, may not be the most painful "productive" experiences. Some folks with advanced degrees in education have doubled down and engaged in stupid and repugnant behaviors that have no business in education. Valerie Strauss reports on "sit and stare" policies:
“Sit and stare” policies are enforced on those students whose parents have opted them out of taking a high-stakes standardized test but who are still required to be in the school building when the exams are actually proctored. Under this practice, kids are forced to sit at their desks and stare while their classmates take the test. They can’t read. They can’t write. They can’t put in earplugs and listen to music. They can only sit and stare. Really.
“Sit and stare” policies are being considered or adopted in schools from New York to California as a reaction to the growing “opt out” movement in which parents have decided that they do not want their children to have to take high-stakes standardized tests. Each state has its own policy about opting out, but they don’t generally provide districts with guidance about how to enforce it, so administrators come up with their own policies.
So, if students or parents don't want to engage in "a productive experience," steps must be taken to ensure students are as unproductive as possible. I wonder who field tested that idea.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Quotations Of The Day: Why The Middle Class Is Totally Screwed Edition

There are two problems with the Democratic approach. First, it's too abstract to appeal to anyone. Second, it's not true anyway. Democrats simply don't consistently support concrete policies that help the broad working and middle classes. Half of them voted for the bankruptcy bill of 2005. They've done virtually nothing to stem the growth of monopolies and next to nothing to improve consumer protection in visible ways. They don't do anything for labor. They're soft on protecting Social Security. They bailed out the banks but refused to bail out underwater homeowners. Hell, they can't even agree to kill the carried interest loophole, a populist favorite if ever there was one.
Sure, Democrats do plenty for the poor. They support increases in the EITC and the minimum wage. They support Medicaid expansion. They passed Obamacare. They support pre-K for vulnerable populations. They expanded CHIP. But virtually none of this really benefits the working or middle classes except at the margins
From Ross Douthat in his New York Times blog:
In those election cycles, instead of countering the rhetoric of redistribution with the promise of higher take-home pay, conservatives basically alternated between proposing fanciful tax reforms (in the flat tax/fair tax/9-9-9 mode) that would probably raise taxes on the working class, and proposing somewhat more serious tax reforms that plowed most of the savings from cleaning out the tax code into creating the lowest possible top rate. The Romney campaign took the latter tack, and ended up wasting precious time in the waning days of the presidential race trying to prove that its tax reform wasn’t actually a middle-class tax increase – an absurd position for the anti-tax party’s candidate to end up in, but there you are.

If that's not enough, this Noah Millman piece ties everything together.
Here’s how I would describe things:
- Economic elites really care about preserving their privileges.
- Elected officials really care about reducing the risk of losing office.
- The culture war – for both nominal Left and Right, is an extremely effective way of serving the interests of both economic elites and elected officials.
Why? Because the culture war turns politics into a question of identity, of tribalism, and hence narrows the effective choice in elections. We no longer vote for the person who better represents our interests, but for the person who talks our talk, sees the world the way we do, is one of us. That contest is a cheap and easy one for politicians of any stripe to enter – and, usually, an easy one to win. It sorts the overwhelming majority of the population into easy-to-count-on camps who will not demand that politicians do anything for them, because they’re too afraid the hated “other team” might get into power.
And it’s a good basis for politics from the perspective of economic elites. If the battle between Left and Right is fundamentally over social questions like abortion and gay marriage, then it is not fundamentally over questions like who is making a killing off of government policies and who is getting screwed. Economic elites may lean to one or the other side on any cultural question (they can be found on both sides), but they can maintain their privileges no matter which side wins any particular battle. So whoever they want to win, that’s the ground on which they want the battle to be fought.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Holy Manchurian Lesbians, Batman!

Reasons may exist to oppose civil same-sex marriages. Ross Douthat has argued forcefully, intelligently, and coherently against it but concedes the battle is lost. Douthat also contends that Christians and social conservatives need to distinguish between being disadvantaged and being discriminated against. Discussing an exchange between Andrew Sullivan, the man Douthat deems "gay marriage’s intellectual progenitor" and American Conservative blogger Rod Dreher, Douthat writes,
Since Sullivan wrote the post quoted above, he and Rod Dreher have been having an increasingly hostile exchange about how justified religious conservatives are in worrying/complaining about legal disfavor and cultural pressure, with Sullivan complaining about “the hysteria and self-pity among those who, for centuries, enjoyed widespread endorsement for the horrible mistreatment of gay people.”
It’s a good line, with real bite. I can’t promise Sullivan that religious conservatives will conduct themselves with salt-of-the-earth optimism rather than self-pity, and I certainly can’t wish away institutional Christianity’s past and present sins.
I don't know how all religious conservatives will react, but I can say for certain that Bob Ellis will not "conduct himself with salt-of-the-earth optimism."

Responding to a Rapid City Journal report that "Nancy Robrahn and Jennie Rosenkranz, who have been together for more than 30 years" will endeavor to overturn South Dakota's ban on same-sex marriage, Ellis asserts that Robrahn and Rosenkranz have been "waiting in the wings to assault marriage and family in South Dakota." This assault is part of "radical homosexual agenda" filled with "clear malevolent intent" and enabled by an "apostate 'church." The apostates are assisted by  RINOs in the state legislature who  allow this "strategic plan" to "attack marriage, family, freedom and normality" to proceed with "only a tweak in strategy."

Ellis apparently gets his talking points from the back-cover blurbs of Dan Brown novels. Let's be clear,the idea that these two women decided to live together for the past thirty years for the express purpose of instituting same-sex marriage in South Dakota is laughable unless one has spent the past few months sitting next to the ghost of Joesph McCarthy and watching The Manchurian Candidate on a continuous loop.

 If these women were engaging in a similar strategy to overturn the Affordable Care Act, Ellis would likely view these women as "maiden aunts" who deserve the love and respect of all. More importantly, the "traditional" view of marriage was being challenged before the Pharisees asked Jesus if it is proper for a man to"put away his wife."

Finally, I have always had trouble with the Moral Majority's, the Religious Right's, or self-proclaimed Conservative Christians' rhetoric. They seem to ignore an important Biblical injunction:
3 Do not put your trust in princes,
    in human beings, who cannot save.
4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground;
    on that very day their plans come to nothing.
No amount of hysteria from Ellis or anyone else will change that fact. Instead, Ellis should follow Douthat's advice:
Christians had plenty of opportunities — thousands of years’ worth — to treat gay people with real charity, and far too often chose intolerance. (And still do, in many instances and places.) So being marginalized, being sued, losing tax-exempt status — this will be uncomfortable, but we should keep perspective and remember our sins, and nobody should call it persecution.
It might also be good for all of us to frequently read the rest of Psalm 146:
7 He upholds the cause of the oppressed
    and gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets prisoners free,
8     the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down,
    the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the foreigner
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow,
    but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
Taking up those causes as our own should keep all of us from hyperventilating.

Political Office Should Not Be A Family Heirloom

The television program Dynasty was campy fun. Political dynasties may retain the element of camp, but it's not fun.

At the national level, I have no desire to see another Bush, Clinton, or Kennedy seek the presidency. The Herseths came a bit too close to a South Dakota dynasty for comfort, so I'm glad Brendan Johnson decided not to seek the Senate seat held by his father.

This comment from the pseudonymous Conservative at Dakota War College lists several legislative seats that seem to be family heirlooms passed around between the generations.:
It’s obviously time for the legislature/governor/people to come together and discuss what to do about finding a way to get a broader group of people to run for political office because it’s become easier to recruit two Hagger’s [sic], two Greenfields and two Novstrups in those districts than a single Democrat to run for office.
One could add that District 18 has a bipartisan Hunhoff dynasty.

Democrats may have trouble fielding candidates, but having one family dominate a legislative district is equally problematic.

I'm not sure a discussion led from the top by the governor or legislature will produce positive results. I'm also unsure if these mini-dynasties are an unintended result of term limits or if other states face a similar situation. I am rather certain that family dynasties create an echo chamber that will produce bad policy.

**Side note, the younger Hagger gets a favorable Bob Mercer blog headline this morning

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why I'm Rather Confident South Dakota Teacher Pay Won't Be Raised Significantly

Over at Madville, Cory has banged the drum to increase teach pay.To mix metaphors and academic disciplines, I suppose I should play Sancho Panza to his Don Quixote, but the fog has cleared and the imaginary giant is a fortified windmill on a hostile political landscape.

When it comes to public schools and teachers, not a few Libertarians hope the schools fail because public schools are a government project. If low teacher pay breaks the public schools, that's a win in these Libertarians' book. Likewise, a vocal coterie of social conservatives believe that teachers hand out hall passes with the phone number for and directions to Planned Parenthood stamped on the back. In their eyes, teachers have become enablers of baby killing who deserve no comfort. Many wealthy liberals--granted only seventeen liberals exist in South Dakota--and many wealthy conservatives send their young'uns to denominational schools that often pay teachers less than public schools pay their teachers. They have no reason to want to pay public school teachers more when those who teach their children frequently earn less. Finally, country club Republicans can use low teacher pay as a prime example that illustrates that the pesky unions won't bother any business choosing to come to South Dakota to pay lower taxes.

The above paragraph may paint with too broad a brush, but in the main, I think it's an accurate reflection of many South Dakotan's attitudes. Even if I'm wrong about all of the above, Governor Daugaard holds teachers responsible for defeating last session's HB 1234 at the ballot box. No one hold grudges better than a scorned politician. The Governor is not going to accept a pay all teachers a little more plan so soon after his pay some teachers considerably more plan was rejected.

Finally, South Dakota is not immune for the income disparities that afflict the nation. The sad truth is that far too many South Dakotans earn less than teachers. It's a tough sell to ask them to pay more so someone else can take home more.

Most of these political conditions have existed for over thirty years and have become more entrenched. I think I'll listen for a drumbeat that sends one marching toward a defeatable chimera. (I know I mixed metaphors and literary genres again, but I really wanted a myth allusion. If I'm not going to get paid, I should have a little fun.)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Tweet Of The Day: Corporate Education Complex Strikes Again Edition

Why Is This Candidate For U.S. Senate Smiling?

Former Governor "Smilin'" Mike Rounds Campaign Website Portrait
A. His Republican primary opponent who is most adept at fundraising has problems with honesty and spending money wisely, and she also has a persecution complex.

B. His Republican opponent most capable of galvanizing the conservative wing of the Republican party against him is so fond of bombastic rhetoric and shiny unnecessary resolutions so as to be unelectable.

C. His Republican primary opponent who would be the person most capable of being a legislator if elected to the U.S. Senate is running a campaign that gives new meaning to the word stealth.

D. He is running as a Republican in a state with an ineffectual Democratic Party.

E. All of the above.

Scripture And Song For The Week: Amos 5 Edition

Amos 5
7 There are those who turn justice into bitterness
    and cast righteousness to the ground.
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
    who turns midnight into dawn
    and darkens day into night,
    who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out over the face of the land—
    the Lord is his name.
9 With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold
    and brings the fortified city to ruin.
10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
     and detest the one who tells the truth.
11 You levy a straw tax on the poor
    and impose a tax on their grain.
    Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
    you will not live in them;
    though you have planted lush vineyards,
    you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your offenses
     and how great your sins.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Plains Pops: Must Reads

First, this Paul Campos piece which contains the following paragraph:
The irony is that, on the issues that large portions of the Republican and Democratic voting bases have traditionally cared most about, each side is losing. Defeated in the culture war, conservatives are supposed to take solace in lower marginal tax rates for the rich. Meanwhile progressives have won a string of battles over identity politics, while continually losing the fundamental fight for economic justice that, historically speaking, has been at the core of liberal and left-wing political movements in America. (None of this is meant to deny, of course, that cultural conservatives care about economic justice as they envision it, or that many liberals and leftists care passionately about culture war issues.)
Locally, PNR takes a similar tone:
There are differences - real differences - between the parties, but the fact that both are venal and short-sighted blurs that difference.  Whether it's protecting favored businesses from competition (which is what killing this bill does), subsidizing pet projects run by buddies, or directing public funds to private industries, the only real difference is which buddies, which businesses, and which industries get the bennies.
Then there is this John Chait piece with some trenchant commentary about Paul Ryan's defense of his budget:
Meanwhile, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a longer list of the errors, distortions, and omissions in Ryan’s report. Even libertarian economist Tyler Cowen concludes that Ryan’s report presents “only a marginal command of the scholarly literature, and it is a good example of how the conservative movement is still allowing the poverty issue to defeat it and tie it up in knots.”
Ryan is very good at marshaling faux scholarship churned out by ideologues in the service of talking points, and at convincing reporters that he is an actual policy wonk. Unfortunately, he seems to have convinced himself and undertaken the ambitious goal of reconciling his policies with the work of real researchers. That was a bad, bad move.
Finally, in response to Ryan's claims that the Keystone Pipeline is key to solving the crisis in Ukraine, there's this retort:
There’s no question that the one thing that will cower Putin is if Obama decides to pipe some Canadian fossil fuels through Nebraska to Gulf Coast posts. It’s hard to see how his Crimean policy can stand up to that bravery. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Twitter Urination Contest Jumps Shark

Granted, this post's headline could fit nearly every Twitter conversation. But when @RinoMikeSD wants Genn Beck to moderate a debate between Mike Rounds and Stace Nelson, I can hear the motor starting. And when Pat Powers asserts that @RinoMikeSD is a Democrat plant, even though he spends most of his posts asserting Democrats are too disorganized to exist in South Dakota, I can see Fonzie skiing with his leather jacket.