The Ron Paul Effect

Even some of the more popular conservative blogs have had enough of the Ron Paul wingnut supporters trolling through their comments sections and stuffing their online polls.

Effective immediately, new users may *not* shill for Ron Paul in any way shape, form or fashion. Not in comments, not in diaries, nada. If your account is less than 6 months old, you can talk about something else, you can participate in the other threads and be your zany libertarian self all you want, but you cannot pimp Ron Paul. Those with accounts more than six months old may proceed as normal.

Now, I could offer a long-winded explanation for *why* this new policy is being instituted, but I’m guessing that most of you can probably guess. Unless you lack the self-awareness to understand just how annoying, time-consuming, and bandwidth-wasting responding to the same idiotic arguments from a bunch of liberals pretending to be Republicans can be. Which, judging by your comment history, you really don’t understand, so allow me to offer an alternate explanation: we are a bunch of fascists and we’re upset that you’ve discovered where we keep the black helicopters, so we’re silencing you in an attempt to keep you from warning the rest of your brethren so we can round you all up and send you to re-education camps all at once.

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Another No Kidding Headline

The recently re-designed Rapid City Journal has another in a growing number of no kidding headlines from an AP story yesterday:

Rounds: Pheasant hunt not hurt by controversy

Now one should probably be asking themselves how exactly would this super secret South Dakota “good ole boys get together” hosted by our governor be hurt? Yes the Argus Leader fought to have the names released but once the State Supreme Court said that the names of those attending didn’t have to be released you would think that it would have actually helped the hunt. Attendee’s worried about staying anonymous now have a court order saying they can, which if anything would likely bring more business leaders that never planned on moving here but saying they are just to get a nice pheasant hunting vacation. Now they can come without fear of being exposed.

Even though attendee names are considered “Top Secret”, it sure would be interesting to find out a few statistics from past hunts. I know some of this has been mentioned at different times when a new business moves to the area but has the total number of businesses that actually moved to South Dakota as a result of our governor sponsored networking “hunt” ever been released? How about how many people have attended these hunts? If we don’t have the “clearance” to know the attendee’s, we should at least know how successful they are, it is an official work product of a state agency after all which by some accounts, other than that of our State Supreme Court, would fall under a requirement for open government…

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Light Posting And Some Name Dropping

Work has been keeping me on the run with not much rest in sight but I thought I drive by with a few name drops on my way out. I have been working almost constantly at Sioux Falls Regional Airport the past few days which in between digging into a sick machine has allowed a few minutes of people watching during our states second biggest tourist week.

Pheasant hunting season always seems to attract some well known people to our state, Dick Cheney normally comes to Pierre each November to get his lawyer, oops I mean pheasant hunting in and today I saw someone that hasn’t been in the news in awhile hopping on a flight out of town. Oliver North of Iran Contra fame was quietly finishing up his hunt, no word on how many birds the former Lieutenant Colonel bagged, and soon after, our junior Senator, John Thune, was getting out of town after his publicized hunt this past weekend.

And speaking of Pheasant season opener, where else in the days of heightened airline security can you see almost every passenger walking around carrying a gun case along with tables and booths selling ammunition in the lobby of your local airport. Only in South Dakota…

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One Born Every Minute

The old adage that states there is a sucker born every minute is again proven true as Betty Casey, a noted philanthropist and supporter of the arts, paid $2.1 million for the so called “historic” Limbaugh smear letter (hopefully tax deductible). The letter was sent from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and 41 of his Democratic colleagues to Limbaugh’s employers over at Clear Channel Communications asking that they force Limbaugh to apologize for his “phony soldiers” comments.

Limbaugh of course had to get his publicity out of the charitable auction and in this case he called on Reid and his cohorts to match the winning bid which was earmarked for the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation though I doubt many of them could afford the $2.1 million each that would have been required. Not to be outdone on the publicity stunt front, Reid staged one of his own when he went in front of the Senate and urged his colleagues to bid on Limbaugh’s “historical document“.

So again the war dodging blowhard gets his followers all riled up and in the process Rush and Harry Reid get more publicity and Betty Casey gets a couple of pieces of paper worth barely more than the the Charmin I used this morning. Sounds like another successful Limbaugh stunt, at least this time the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation gets to come along for the ride.

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Johnson Finally Announces What We Already Knew

From Tim Johnson’s campaign site.

OCT 19, 2007

Sioux Falls – In a statement released today Senator Tim Johnson verifies what he has said publicly since his return to work over a month ago, Senator Johnson will seek re-election in 2008. A formal announcement will follow in 2008, as has been Johnson’s practice in the past.

“I was looking forward to asking South Dakotans to allow me to serve them for another term prior to my illness last December. Since then, I have never once lost my desire to continue serving South Dakota, but I needed time to recover and regain my health in order to determine whether I could do the job and best serve our state. After months of rehabilitation and recovery, more than a month on the job in Washington and after my recent trips back to South Dakota it is clear, to my family, my doctors, and me that I am able to do the hard work required of a United States Senator. I have said before that, I wanted to take this second chance at life and focus even harder on being the best advocate I can for the people of South Dakota. Today I am asking South Dakotans to give me the chance to give back to them by announcing that I will run for re-election in 2008.”

The worse kept secret in South Dakota politics that Johnson all but admitted during his Nightline interview and then had his staff deny is no longer secret.

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Plan B For The GOP Presidential Candidates?

Has the threat by Religious Right leader James Dobson to have his flock vote “none of the above” if the likes of pro-choice Rudy Giuliani wins the nomination opened some eyes among the GOP Presidential candidates? Just last month the likes of Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, and John McCain had no problem skipping the Value Voters debate in Florida but now all of a sudden they are jumping all over themselves to impress the same crowd at the Value Voters summit in Washington DC.

One might ask what has changed all of a sudden to make attending this summit a high priority. Could it be that some polls are now showing that as many as 27% of likely GOP voters could follow Dobson to a 3rd party almost assuring a Democratic president has made pandering to the religious right good again? The brown nosing has already started.

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain’s argument to woo restive religious and social conservatives comes down to this: “I have a record that can be trusted.” GOP rival Mitt Romney’s goes like this: “I am pro-family on every level, from personal to political.”

Margaret Cho chimes in with her comedic view on the religious right and those that pander to them. (humor warning, not for those without a sense of humor or that are easily offended)

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Is The RCJ Shooting Themselves In The Foot?

The Rapid City Journal has made some major changes to their online presence to the joy of some and the scorn of others. Unlike when the other major rag in South Dakota, the Argus Leader, underwent a similar transformation, I actually like the new look and format though other than a few new graphics and a color change, the underpinnings are not that different. Finding items is much easier with the new menu setup though what you can’t find is what is causing most of the problems, at least with some.

As a commenter pointed out, I read the typos and tribulations blog and found out what was up. Why couldn’t find the local columnists and the Letters to the Editor? Because they removed them, and they aren’t coming back anytime soon.

What the heck is the idiot editor thinking?

I thought a lot about this including reading the Rapid City Journal’s response to the “Opinion Page” criticism over on their Typos and tribulations blog

a) Letters to the editor are products (and byproducts) of the print edition. Have an issue with the something you’ve read in the Journal? Write a letter and we’ll print it in the Journal. If you have an issue with something on the Web site, you can post a Rapid Reply or discuss your concerns on our blogs. Two different venues for readers’ opinions.

b) At this time, we cannot ‘turn off’ the Rapid Reply function on certain stories on our Web site. And we don’t believe it’s appropriate that Web site readers can post anonymous comments blasting our letterwriters by name, letterwriters who at least had the courage to put their real names to their opinion.

Lord knows traditional print media is going through major changes with the advent of online news sources and as the New York Times has discovered, charging for some of their online content hasn’t been too successful. So what are some traditional dead tree outlets doing? As is the case with the RCJ, they are only teasing readers with their online content by leaving out some of the more popular features from the web.

I find their public excuse about the anonymous comments to be a bit over the top as there are many ways to combat that issue without having to resort to leaving the opinion pages off the web, sort of like cutting off the nose to spite the face, so why don’t they just come out and say their real reason? The opinion pages are what many online readers enjoy, the regular news that is posted online for the most part can be found just about anywhere as it is a mixture of AP wire reports and news covered by other sources so they believe that leaving out the opinion section will boost the readership of their “dead tree” edition.

While that may help in a somewhat small way (how many local readers can you gain from an area with under 75,000 people?), you will end up losing some readership from those living out of the area that like to keep up with the happenings around Rapid City from all around the country and in turn you could end up loosing online advertising revenue. Will that make a big difference? I have no idea and I am sure the powers that be over at the RCJ will be watching closely and will tweak their content accordingly.

It will surely affect my readership of their paper, I had them on my daily morning read through my RSS reader and while I will still have some of their feeds in my reader, the lack of opinion columns will affect how much attention I pay to it as most of the news is covered elsewhere and considering I live East River, the off line version isn’t an option. That is too bad as the editorial board from the RCJ had just started making a name for themselves with some of their recent columns especially in regards to the Hildebrand-Tewes embezzlement scandal involving Chad Schuldt and they were the only local media outlet that had the cajones to question the silence that was coming from the Tim Johnson camp during his recovery.

So now we have examples of 3 different online models. KELO TV puts even more content online including video from their newscasts than you would normally find broadcast over the air, the Argus Leader that is pretty much a carbon copy of the dead tree edition, and now the Rapid City Journal which aims to tease you with their online presence in an attempt to get you to buy the hard copy version. Is one of these models better than the other? I guess we can watch these 3 and find out because as found out, being a media company in the internet age isn’t the easiest and if you don’t give your readership what they want, there are thousands of other choices out there that will.

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Some More Irony…Or Is It Hypocrisy?

What do you get when you combine the National Right To Life Committee (NRLC) and S-CHIP? Irony or hypocisy depending on how you want to look at it.

Ten House Democrats who oppose abortion rights have turned the tables on the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), taking the group to task for not backing a bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

The anti-abortion rights group had taken aim at lawmakers who voted for an earlier House SCHIP bill, which included Medicare provisions that the NRLC maintains would lead to rationed care and government-sponsored euthanasia.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) in an interview with The Hill. “It absolutely didn’t make sense to my constituents, either.”

Those provisions were stripped, but the NRLC has not swung in favor of the SCHIP bill that Congress passed and President Bush vetoed. This has irked some of the group’s typical allies, who viewed its campaign as unfair.

Posing a rhetorical question to the NRLC, Ryan asked: “Why aren’t you supporting it now? Are you really concerned with protecting life or are you concerned with protecting the Bush administration?”

Apparently we are witnessing some more of the same hypocrisy from pro-life groups that often seem to lose interest in the lives they were so set on saving before they were born.

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My Career Was A Prank

Ann Coulter Wingnuth/t – (screenshot of hacked page available there)

That was the headline from a recent article on Ann Coulter’s web site after it was apparently hacked by an enterprising hacker that could possibly have been someone of the Jewish persuasion that Coulter thinks should be perfected by converting to Christianity. Or maybe they were just a Democrat who was sick of hearing from the woman suffering from a chronic case of diarrhea of the mouth.

The letter closed with “And with that, my precious viewers, I bid you adieu. My career as a media figurehead is over“. Too bad it wasn’t real…

Note to my readers: Sorry for the light posting the past few days, I’m on the road west river in the land of the Rapid City Journal which seems to be causing some controversy of their own in the South Dakota blogosphere over their recent redesign. I’m still on the fence on that by the way, more on that subject to come in a future post.

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