Saturday, August 3, 2013

It's Been Real, It's Been Fun, But It Hasn't Been Real Fun

In just over 2 weeks I will put South Dakota in my rear view mirror for the very last time. For some people, leaving this state would be a sad event. For me it will be like being set free from a prison sentence that lasted 16 years. I moved here with no preconceived notions of what I was in for, looking forward instead to a new challenge in a new place. What I found though was a state that seemingly took pride in being the Webster's definition of an oxymoron.

 - Where else can one find a group of individuals that tout the family and family values on one hand but in another seem to take pride in underfunding their educational system?
 - Where else can one find a state that takes pride in their "business friendly" environment but yet ignores that fact that almost no businesses are willing to relocate here? We even advertise how little we pay our workers as if it is a badge of honor.
 - Where else (other than the South) can one find a group of people that tout their moral values in one breath while legislating away the happiness of a whole class of their citizens in another breath especially when it comes to marriage equality and basic human rights?
 - Where else can someone who believed that they were a moderate Reagan Republican, someone who voted Republican their whole adult life, leave a state just 16 short years later as a disillusioned Independent with a total disdain for the party that they once loved?
 - Where else can one find a state were the term RINO used often and is even more despised than the term Liberal and usually just as undefined?
 - Where else can one find a group of people so against government interference and taxation all while being one of the biggest welfare states in the country, gladly taking in many more government dollars than they contribute?

Despite the above, I can thank South Dakota and her outspoken religious right for one thing. I moved here as an indifferent Christian and will be leaving it more sure than ever that there is no higher power. I do now hold one strong belief when it comes to religion, I believe that it is the root cause of much of the world's problems and that fundamentalism is not just a Muslim thing.

So where do I go now?

 I could say that I am heading to some wonderful place where all the problems I experienced in South Dakota would not exist and how it is some wonderful political paradise. That wouldn't be true. Ohio, the place of my birth and the place where most of my beliefs were born, is just as messed up in many ways as is South Dakota. Ohioans for the most part have many of the same problems and concerns as folks do here but with one major exception. The 2 party system, while nothing to brag about anywhere, is actually alive and well in Columbus so all citizens at least have a voice. Heck, sitting Presidents and Presidential candidates actually visit the state from time to time and truly feel the need to pander to our needs in search of our mighty electoral votes!

Unfortunately in Pierre where Democrats are all but non-existent, it seems the biggest issue is not necessarily doing what is best for the residents but in determining who can come up with the most ridiculous legislation to determine who is more Conservative or who isn't Conservative enough. While in the national political arena, South Dakota isn't even an afterthought except to mock every once in awhile.

Going forward I am not sure whether I will continue here or not. I do want to thank the few people that have chosen to read what I have written since my first blog, "The South Dakota Moderate" starting back in 2005. It's been a hobby that more than anything let me vent my frustrations and if you found anything worthwhile in what I wrote than I am happy. If you haven't you probably aren't reading this anyway but either way it's been fun.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pandora Buys South Dakota Radio Station

In a move that shows just how out of whack the record industry is, Internet Radio powerhouse Pandora is purchasing Rapid City radio station KXMZ-FM in a move made strictly to give them lower royalty rates.
The company agreed to purchase KXMZ-FM, a Rapid City, S.D., terrestrial radio station. Its first foray into traditional radio broadcasting, the move has little to do with strategic shift and everything to do with royalty costs. 
Pandora pays two royalty streams, one for actual sound recordings and another to composers for publishing rights. The sound recording fees make up the lion's share of its content costs. But by buying a terrestrial station, Pandora piggybacks onto a settlement that gives better rates on that smaller fee stream.
Maybe a new revenue stream for Governor Daugaard to pursue? Credit cards and radio stations...

Monday, June 10, 2013

House To Vote Again To Defund Acorn

As if holding 37 useless votes to repeal Obamacare wasn't bad enough, the House is set once again to vote to defund the Association of Community Organizations for Reform aka ACORN. The only problem? ACORN hasn't existed for over 3 years.
House Republicans are scheduled to vote on two separate budget bills this week, each of which would reject funding for the poverty activism group ACORN, despite the fact that ACORN disbanded three years ago.

ACORN, also known as the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, came under heavy fire in the fall of 2009 after conservative videographer James O'Keefe released a set of selectively edited videos that appeared to show its employees offering advice on tax avoidance related to prostitution and child smuggling. Independent investigations by the California attorney general, the Massachusetts attorney general and the Brooklyn, N.Y., district attorney would later clear ACORN of criminal wrongdoing, and an investigation by the Government Accountability Office would clear ACORN of charges that it mishandled federal funds.
How about voting 37 times to repeal the Patriot Act instead...or even once?

It's Not A Proper Meme Until...

Photoshopped images start appearing on your Facebook and G+ wall


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Obama To America: Trust Me

Expanding on a thought I posted before on the other site I noticed that one of President Obama's responses to questions about the NSA's spying policies when Americans could be involved was effectively "Trust Us". Obama said this after a week where several of our intelligence agencies secret surveillance programs came to light involving Verizon Business (and later learned basically all wireless companies) and as many as nine big internet companies under PRISM. 

When initially reported on by the Guardian and the Washington Post, these stories caused a huge uproar among privacy advocates. Since then the accuracy of these reports has been questioned, especially on the PRISM program where a majority of the tech companies involved have come out and denied involvement and the WaPo has been forced to backtrack a bit on the actual scope of the program.

But if we were to put aside for the sake of discussion the accuracy of these latest reports, has our government in general and President Obama in particular earned the trust that Obama is asking us to give?
  • They've instituted illegal warrantless wiretapping programs (under Bush) that were later authorized after it they had come to light that are still ongoing. 
  • We have a super secret FISA court issuing secret warrants to secret government agencies with little or no oversight. 
  • Government lawyers are fighting the release of an 86 page court opinion that reportedly found that the government, via the FISA Court, had violated the spirit of federal surveillance laws and engaged in unconstitutional spying.
  • And even more suspiciously we have the government issuing National Security Letters to individuals and corporations forcing them to turn over non-content information, such as transactional records, phone numbers dialed or email addresses with a gag order attached so they are unable to even disclose that they received the letter.
Certainly our national security is of the utmost importance but how many freedoms can we give up (many unknowingly) before it becomes worse than the threat we are trying to prevent? And more importantly, given our government's track record, can we really trust them when they say that they are following the law?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Site Crash

Unfortunately I have been experiencing serious site issues that have forced me to set up shop back on Blogger. These issues have also resulted in me losing a number of posts mostly from this year as my backups were a bit out of date. This move shouldn't cause any problems for the few that have subscribed to my RSS feed nor should anyone that had listed this site in their Links list need to charge the URL as I have set of the DNS to forward here.

I am going to treat this as an opportunity to change focus slightly and hope to get back to posting more regularly once I get things setup here.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fact Checking The Debate

Feel free to check out the Dakota War College or the Madville Times if you want hyper partisan views on who won or lost last night's debate and why. To be honest, I have gotten to the point where the minute either candidate opens their mouths I tend to tune them out because I know what is coming next will require that I roll up my pant legs.

Factcheck.org does the dirty work and looks at what was said by both Obama and Romney last night and their conclusions do nothing to change my opinion.
We found exaggerations and false claims flying thick and fast during the first debate between President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.

- Obama accused Romney of proposing a $5 trillion tax cut. Not true. Romney proposes to offset his rate cuts and promises he won’t add to the deficit.
- Romney again promised to “not reduce the taxes paid by high-income Americans” and also to “lower taxes on middle-income families,” but didn’t say how he could possibly accomplish that without also increasing the deficit.
- Obama oversold his health care law, claiming that health care premiums have “gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years.” That’s true of health care spending, but not premiums. And the health care law had little to do with the slowdown in overall spending.
- Romney claimed a new board established by the Affordable Care Act is “going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have.” Not true. The board only recommends cost-saving measures for Medicare, and is legally forbidden to ration care or reduce benefits.
- Obama said 5 million private-sector jobs had been created in the past 30 months. Perhaps so, but that counts jobs that the Bureau of Labor Statistics won’t add to the official monthly tallies until next year. For now, the official tally is a bit over 4.6 million.
- Romney accused Obama of doubling the federal deficit. Not true. The annual deficit was already running at $1.2 trillion when Obama took office.
- Obama again said he’d raise taxes on upper-income persons only to the “rates that we had when Bill Clinton was president.” Actually, many high-income persons would pay more than they did then, because of new taxes in Obama’s health care law.
- Romney claimed that middle-income Americans have “seen their income come down by $4,300.” That’s too high. Census figures show the decline in median household income during Obama’s first three years was $2,492, even after adjusting for inflation.
- Obama again touted his “$4 trillion” deficit reduction plan, which includes $1 trillion from winding down wars that are coming to an end in any event.
Yep, the only conclusion that can be honestly be made about the Denver debate is that they are both full of shit...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Hypocrisy, Thy Name Is The American Family Association

Sometimes you have to wonder how the American Family Association can say much of what it does with a straight face. The latest screed from the homophobic hate group involves them calling out the Southern Poverty Law Center for the "immoral" tactic of calling for the boycott of right wing favorite Chick-fil-A, going so far as saying "it shows that the left uses boycotts and pressure campaigns to wage “economic warfare against their political enemies".
It is economic warfare against their political enemies, that’s the only way to describe it, it is literally economic warfare against their political enemies; it is nothing more than that, nothing less than that. The left is almost universally unscrupulous, they are amoral—that’s part of their philosophy—so they feel free to attack anybody and anything that they don’t like and they have legions of lawyers willing to go into court and sue and sue and sue again. They’re organized base is willing to uniformly engage in economic boycotts of companies so it’s a highly organized, almost a military type of organization, very monolithic that gets behind the leaders on any issue and they attack people, and they attack people and terrify people. We don’t have anything like that we are not inclined to do that because we are not that immoral, we just don’t do those kinds of things unless we are attacked first.
What is so funny is that while the AFA is condemning Liberals for using boycotts, the AFA is doing the exact same thing against numerous companies that they feel are just a bit too friendly to the LGBT cause including their highly publicized boycotts of JC Penny and Home Depot.

93% Of Climate Change News On Fox Is Misleading

Obviously I would never think of getting any news, let alone climate change news, from Fox News so this from The Union of Concerned Scientists is no surprise. They recently released a study on the accuracy of science reporting from some of the more popular right wing "news" organizations and found that during the 5 month period from February to July of this year, 37 out of 40 items reported on by Fox were misleading.
The analysis finds that the misleading citations include broad dismissals of human-caused climate change, rejections of climate science as a body of knowledge, and disparaging comments about individual scientists. Furthermore, much of this coverage denigrated climate science by either promoting distrust in scientists and scientific institutions or placing acceptance of climate change in an ideological, rather than fact-based, context.
The Union of Concerned Scientists wasn't just picking on Fox News, they also analyzed columns, op-eds, and letters published by the Wall Street Journal during a 12 month period ending in August and found that 81% of their reporting was misleading.
Eighty-one percent of letters, op-eds, columns, and editorials in the Wall Street Journal's opinion page were misleading on climate science from August 2011 to July 2012 (39 of 48 references).

Most of the misleading editorials, op-eds, columns, and letters attempted to broadly undermine the major conclusions of climate science. Instances of attacks on individual scientists, mocking the science, and cherry picking data were all equally common.

Denigration of climate science was routine. Instances included accusations that scientists were fudging data and claims that they are motivated by financial self-interest.