The Next Program To Get Cut

School funding will be a big topic for discussion as the lawsuit against the state goes forward and during the upcoming legislative session. So when I saw this headline and accompanying story, I felt that it fit perfectly within that discussion.

Underfunded Schools Forced To Cut Past Tense From Language Programs

Faced with ongoing budget crises, underfunded schools nationwide are increasingly left with no option but to cut the past tense—a grammatical construction traditionally used to relate all actions, and states that have transpired at an earlier point in time—from their standard English and language arts programs.

A part of American school curricula for more than 200 years, the past tense was deemed by school administrators to be too expensive to keep in primary and secondary education.

Then the response from fictional educators in The Onion story sounded just like our school administrators as they are announcing the latest funding related cut.

“This was by no means an easy decision, but teaching our students how to conjugate verbs in a way that would allow them to describe events that have already occurred is a luxury that we can no longer afford,” Phoenix-area high-school principal Sam Pennock said. “With our current budget, the past tense must unfortunately become a thing of the past.”

And yes I know it is satire but not far from the truth here in South Dakota, especially for those of us with children in rural school districts.

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The Planters Are In Full Bloom

The controversy over the FEMA press conference that used agency staffers as questioners has added a new term to our political landscape, the plant. Last night’s CNN YouTube Republican debate went so badly that many went looking for reasons why. Of course it couldn’t be the fact that the crop of candidates wouldn’t strike fear in anyone so it had to be something else and sure enough if you look hard enough you can find something.

Digging out more CNN/YouTube plants: Abortion questioner is declared Edwards supporter (and a slobbering Anderson Cooper fan); Log Cabin Republican questioner is declared Obama supporter; lead toy questioner is a prominent union activist for the Edwards-endorsing United Steelworkers

So how about that, the GOP candidates flopped because some of the questions came from Democratic supporters. So I suppose if one of these candidates somehow won the election they would only be governing those that support them? Talk about a weak excuse, blame someone for lobbing softballs (diamonds or pearls?) if you must but blaming the poor performance of GOP candidates on the affiliation of the questioners especially when the questions could hardly be called partisan is just plain ridiculous.

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Go Pack Go!

That is unless you live in one of the approximately 60 percent of US households that do not get the NFL network as part of their cable package or live in the respective TV markets of the Packers and Cowboys. Tonight’s game which pits two teams with some of the biggest national fan bases in the league and whom are both 10-1 becomes just the latest pawn in the big boy pissing contest between the NFL and cable providers that believe that a handful of games a year doesn’t justify the addition to their basic cable package and in my case it isn’t available at all no matter what package you get (thanks Golden West, may I have another?).

Do you believe that after this week the furor over this will end just as it did last year? What will be the reaction if the final week of the season finds the New England Patriots at 15-0 and facing a very good New York Giants team in what could be a history making game as they go for the first undefeated regular season since 1972? I will give you one guess as to which network has that game and if you guess CBS, FOX, NBC, or ESPN you would be wrong (thanks Golden West, may I have another?). If that happens, today’s fan backlash will be just a drop in the bucket.

Some might think based on my less than nice comments regarding my cable provider, Golden West, that I am blaming the cable operators exclusively for this issue. Of course the fact that their rates are ridiculously high, their HD offerings total 9 channels not even including our local FOX affiliate, and their basic and digital offerings aren’t much better might be clouding my judgment somewhat but I think the NFL is just as culpable. Like Golden West (thanks Golden West, may I have another?), current estimates have approximately 75 million households without easy access to the network but still the NFL decides to place 8 regular season games on the channel each year despite their claim that the NFL is the game for the masses. Which masses would those be Commissioner Goodell, the ones that can afford to subscribe to your partner in the financial rape of the masses, Direct TV and their NFL Sunday Ticket?

The cable TV industry is a mess and needs an overhaul. Many in Congress are starting to agree and the FCC is now looking into adding more regulations to the industry. Would I like to have the NFL network available without having to cut down 100 year old trees so I could have access the satellite networks? Of course but is the extra cost that would surely follow for 8 games a year of which only a few would be interesting to me and 7 months of useless content that is shown during the off season be worth it? Probably not and because of the NFL and Cable TV operator’s greed and stubbornness, the only losers will end up being their customers but because both pretty much have monopolies on their respective markets, they can get away with it and you can bet we will be having this same argument for years to come. But heck at least I still get the RFD and PTL networks…

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Dream Ticket?

Dennis Kucinich has announced his first choice for a running mate if hell freezes over and he wins the Democratic presidential nomination.

“I’m thinking about Ron Paul” as a running mate, Kucinich told a crowd of about 70 supporters at a house party here, one of numerous stops throughout New Hampshire over the Thanksgiving weekend. A Kucinich-Paul administration could bring people together “to balance the energies in this country,” Kucinich said.

Kind of makes our current team of Bush/Cheney look a lot better doesn’t it?

Be afraid, very afraid…

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Scott Lawsuit Against Argus Goes To Court

Does this sound like sarcasm at first glance? Can you tell that it is parody?

Divisively arrogant: Dan Scott’s apology
By Randell Beck
email address redacted
Published: July 15, 2007

News item: Dan Scott of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, under fire for comments directed toward out-of-state lawmakers, has said his remarks were taken out of context.

Speaking at a June 15 breakfast, sponsored by the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce for lawmakers from across the state, Scott stressed the importance of helping Sioux Falls develop. If they don’t, Scott said, “Stay out of the way, will you? We’ve got a city to build!”

Some public officials across the state characterized the remark as divisive and arrogant. Seeking to mend fences, members of the foundation’s board asked Scott to write a letter of apology to lawmakers.

Scott’s letter, dated July 5, is available at Or you can read a reasonable facsimile right here.

To: South Dakota Legislators

From: Dan Scott, Sioux Falls Development Foundation

You may have read an article in the Argus Leader blatantly misquoting my remarks at a recent Chamber of Commerce breakfast for out-of-state lawmakers.

You know how that newspaper is, so you won’t be surprised to learn that when I said, “Stay out of the way, will you? We’ve got a city to build,” I was, uh, let’s see, I was really talking about legislators in NORTH Dakota. Yeah, that’s it! North Dakota. That was obvious to everybody, and even though I am not admitting I said anything like that, leave it to the Argus Leader to put a negative spin on it.

Well, after the Argus Leader misquoted me saying what I’m not admitting I actually said, the whole thing blew up. Now my job is on the line. A few hicks from small towns with zero hope of ever having a strip mall or a river walk complained about what I said – even though I didn’t say it – and now the money boys in town are squeezing me hard. They told me I had to apologize to you, which I’m not officially doing in this letter, because I did nothing to apologize for, even though I’m hoping people are dumb enough to think I’m apologizing, which I’m not.

Here in the golden city of Sioux Falls, we’re pretty darn proud of our success. Let’s be honest: We have more money, better jobs and nicer houses than other towns. Even the governor, who lives in one of those towns, has called us the “economic engine” of the state. As I like to say, an engine doesn’t get very far without other important stuff – like, oh, the glove box or cup holders. If we didn’t think the small towns of South Dakota were important, we wouldn’t have launched our campaign to persuade young people to leave them and move to Sioux Falls so they can get better jobs, more money and nicer houses.

Here in the shining city of Sioux Falls, we’ve been bellyaching privately for a long time that the state Legislature is dominated by people like you from small towns who don’t care a whit about our little slice of paradise.

We finally got some of our guys into leadership positions in the Legislature, and so we think we’ve got a decent chance to take over. Our motto is: “What’s good for Sioux Falls is good for South Dakota.” If political muscle doesn’t work and you still vote against bills that give us a blank check to do anything we want, we may secede and move to Iowa.

Oh, I’m just kidding on that one.

In conclusion, I feel certain we are all on the same page when it comes to making this state a better place for our children and grandchildren – as long as you speak reverently of Sioux Falls and enthusiastically support everything we want. Because all of us are public servants selflessly devoted to the common good, we are bound to encounter an occasional disappointment along the way, such as being misquoted and taken entirely out of context when I was clearly talking trash about North Dakota lawmakers, not you. If I manage to keep my job, I intend to work even harder in the future to brag about our good fortune to live, work and play in a city like Sioux Falls.

Too bad you don’t.

Many readers of the article when it first appeared in the Argus Leader didn’t think so and now a judge is reviewing the libel case brought forward by Sioux Falls Development Foundation president Dan Scott against the Argus and Executive Editor Randall Beck. Lawyers from both sides including ironically Scott attorney and no fan of the Argus Bill Janklow, made their cases today to Judge Kathleen Caldwell who must now determine whether the case should go forward.

Dan Scott is asking for $1 million in damages for the article written by Sioux Falls Argus Leader Executive Editor Randall Beck.

The lawyer for the newspaper asked the judge to dismiss Scott’s lawsuit, claiming a reasonable reader would recognize the article as a parody, which is protected under the 1st amendment.

Parody is protected speech but is it really parody if no one gets the joke? We should know in 2 weeks whether the judge thinks the case has merits.

(Note: The above article is no longer available online nor it it still cached in Google but is taken from an earlier post that contains the article taken directly from Google’s cached page before it was purged)

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Stones And Glass Houses

Barack Obama is apparently turning up the heat on Hillary Clinton as the first sets of caucuses and primaries draw near. His latest dig aimed at his chief rival concerns her experience.

“I think the fact of the matter is that Sen. Clinton is claiming basically the entire eight years of the Clinton presidency as her own, except for the stuff that didn’t work out, in which case she says she has nothing to do with it,” Obama said, and added, referring to his relationship with his wife, Michelle, “There is no doubt that Bill Clinton had faith in her and consulted with her on issues, in the same way that I would consult with Michelle, if there were issues,” Obama said. “On the other hand, I don’t think Michelle would claim that she is the best qualified person to be a United States Senator by virtue of me talking to her on occasion about the work I’ve done.”

While I agree totally with Obama’s assertion that sitting at the big boy table with her husband during his 8 years in charge hardly qualifies Hillary to do anything other than pick colors for the White House residence or choosing the official White House china pattern, should someone whose only national political experience entails the almost 3 years he has served to date of his Senate seat be questioning someone’s experience?

And speaking of those 3 years, that is about half of what Hillary has so maybe he should move on to his next talking point.

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Hair Metal Icon Dead In Vegas

Kevin Dubrow, the lead singer of one of hair metal’s pioneering groups Quiet Riot, was found dead in Vegas. Even though the group could be technically considered a one hit wonder with 1983’s “Cum on Feel the Noize”, they are often credited along with Van Halen with making hair metal cool after their Metal Health album hit #1 on Billboard. That success opened the door for the scores of Aqua Net doused bands that followed throughout the 80’s.

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Support Ron Paul, Patronize The Bunny Ranch

The old saying goes, “You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your relatives” should be amended for politics to include you also can’t pick your supporters because if you could, some in the Ron Paul Army would surely be suspect. The latest to come out of the woodwork in support of the red-headed step child of GOP presidential candidates is Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite BunnyRanch.

“I’ll get all the (working girls) together, and we can raise him some money,” Hof told the Reno Gazette-Journal. “I’ll put up a collection box outside the door. They can drop in $1, $5 contributions.”

Hof and two of his prostitutes, Brooke Taylor and a woman who goes by Air Force Amy, attended a Paul news conference.

The women said they liked Paul’s message, but wanted to learn more about other candidates before making a decision.

One thing that you have to give Paul supporters credit for, they sure come up with new and novel ways get contributions.

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Code Of Conduct

While I do agree with Lowell over at Badlands Blue who questions Governor Rounds’ refusal to comment on the new code of conduct being worked on for our lawmakers…

C’mon, now, is this really that difficult to comment on? I mean, if the leader of the state can’t even bring himself to say, “YES, we need a code of ethical conduct for our legislators,” what does that tell you about him?

The fact that anyone actually believes a piece of paper that states that lawmakers should not molest children along with other common sense “rules” is going to accomplish anything or improve their image should be the real question. All it shows me is that common sense is apparently not so common anymore to the point where our legislators think they should re-enforce these rules and that a sicko will be a sicko with or without a code of conduct.

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Doing Your Part For The Environment

Anyone of my generation probably remembers the old console TV’s, you know the big 25 inch sets encased in wood (or some reasonable facsimile) that sat on your floor. Nowadays, everything is made of plastic that if not recycled, ends up filling our landfills. If you have a wish to go back to those good old days or want something a bit more environmentally friendly, A Swedish manufacturer called Swedx might have the answer. They have numerous products that have eliminated a majority of the plastic used in consumer electronics products and replaced it with wood.

The technological development is rushing forward, sometimes at the expense of environment. Nowadays caring about the environment is a central priority. SWEDX aims towards a better environment and makes its products 100 % recyclable cabinets in factories with environmentally friendly certificates.

Not only do they make TV’s from 17-46 inches, they also sell PC monitors, mice, and keyboards all made with wood with more products on the way. Unfortunately though it appears that they only have outlets in Europe and the Middle East so those of us in the West might have to wait to get our solid oak wall mounted flat screen.

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