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.