Thursday, October 31, 2013

SD GOP and the Belief Bananas Are More Dangerous Than a Tank

Over at the South Dakota War College, while Pat is not using his "spies" and resources to find out what  is going on with the current investigation in Pierre with the EB-5 Visa program, he does relate a discussion between a NSU college Republican and SD Senate Candidate Rick Weiland.  One of the issues that was brought up by the college Republican is how Weiland feels about the UN Arms Trade Treaty.  Recently Secretary Kerry signed the UN Arms Trade Treaty.  This treaty is a major concern to the gun industry, and since they own the NRA, the NRA is screaming 2nd amendment rights.

What exactly does the treaty do?  It attempts to make it harder for groups that perform human rights abuses, child soldiers, and terrorists to get weapons.  This treaty would have no impact on legal and law abiding US citizens on how they get their guns and ammo.  It will make it harder for arms dealers to make blood money selling weapons to third world dictators and other groups.

Retired Major General Roger R. Blunt points out the Arm Trade Treaty (ATT) is no threat to the US.

We have international agreements regulating the cross-border sale of iPods and bananas, but we have no global treaties governing the international sale of weapons. The ATT would fix that by becoming the first-ever treaty governing the international trade of conventional weapons.  
The United States has some of the strictest regulations when it comes to the import and export of tanks, attack helicopters, guns, grenades and ammunition, but many countries — especially in the developing world — have little to no regulation. This patchwork system of national laws rewards bad actors by making it easy for them to exploit loopholes. These loopholes are used to arm the terrorists and insurgents killing our troops and warlords who are responsible for untold suffering throughout the developing world. 
Since the United States is already widely acknowledged as the gold standard in arms trade regulations, this treaty would have little to no impact on international weapons transfers by the United States and no impact on Second Amendment freedoms. It would also in no way establish a supranational regulatory agency that could in any way violate U.S. sovereignty.  What it would do is maintain our role as a world leader by requiring other countries to meet the example we have already set. 

The Christian Science Monitor's op-ed clearly explains that this will not actually hurt the United States since we already have strict laws of whom US companies can trade and will do nothing about domestic sales.  
Allegations made by some here in the United States that the treaty infringes on the domestic rights of US citizens to legally possess firearms amount to irresponsible demagoguery. The treaty only governs international arms transfers and fully respects the sovereign rights of nations to regulate gun ownership as they see fit. No one, except maybe illicit arms dealers and human rights abusers, should oppose common-sense international law regulating the arms trade.
So if Mr. Weiland is concerned about his answer, I would say, I support fighting terrorism and protecting Americans.  I would support the treaty since it doesn't hurt our rights and makes the world safer.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting Ready for the GOP Education Funding Two-step

Rep. Kathy Tyler reported on the education funding panel that was supposed to meet this summer and provide recommendations.  The good news is that some GOP members recognize that they need to get funding back to the correct level if they want to be able to increase teacher retention and maybe, just maybe show the young people out there that the state cares about teachers and education to encourage them to go into the field.
The major bill that came out of the committee was one to increase the per student allocation to $4805 for the 2014-2015 school year. That is the amount that it would have been in 2012 if the legislature had followed the law. It’s nowhere close to what it should be, but it’s a 3.8% increase, much more than schools would be getting at the current rate. It was a close 8 to 7 vote.
While Rep. Tyler stays neutral with her response, she points out the standard GOP response to education funding.
It’s so frustrating.  Most opponents say they know education needs to be funded. They’ve heard the stories, but there’s always an excuse: state insurance rates are going up, look at the disaster out west, we don’t know what the economy is going to do, the money’s not there (yes it is). A good education system is the foundation for everything else this state wants to do. As one superintendent stated, “We are in crisis mode.”
It appears that she was dead-on.  Take Representative Larry Tidemann's position:
“You don’t just take care of one child and forget the other five,” said Sen. Larry Tidemann, R-Brookings, who voted against the committee’s proposal. “I fully support education, but $23 million is a sizable chunk. I have to see what else there is to be taken care of.” 
Tidemann said he also felt uncomfortable with giving schools more money with no accountability that tied it to graduation and success rates. 
SDSU students, take notice of these comments and remember when it is time to vote.  Because of all of the cuts to funding, higher education was forced to take a bigger hit.
The annual $1.5 million grant was halted, effective the Oct. 1 start of the federal fiscal year, because the governor and Legislature cut state funding for public universities two years ago.
or our esteemed Governor Dennis Daugaard:
Aside from the health care law, Daugaard also addressed school funding, saying it is unlikely South Dakota will have enough money next fiscal year to give districts much extra aid....The governor said revenues through the first three months of this budget year are up just slightly from projections. If that trend continues, there won't be much for schools beyond the 1.6 percent increase required in state law, he said.
Is it any wonder why honest Representative's like Mrs. Tyler get so frustrated.  If you are frustrated to with the promises on one hand and the slap in the face when it comes to trying to do the work. 

ead more here:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Real Problem With the Common Core

Schools all over the state are trying to get ready for the Common Core testing that will be taking place in the spring.  I know there has been a lot of noise occurring about the Common Core and most of it has been illogical and not based in evidence and, in some cases, reality.  Today I came across a good article on Edutopia that examines the state of the common core testing across the nation.  In my opinion, this is potentially the biggest issue with the common core: the test.

The testing will be done online, but don't think that it will be instantly graded.  Many of the questions require a person to read and analyze the students answer.  This will take time and human power and should not be done with some computer program that would focus on length of answer instead of depth of answer.  

The article on Edutopia shared some findings related to the technology that will be used:
Recent field-testing of PARCC and Smarter Balanced digital assessment reports indicate that schools which are relatively well equipped -- with wireless computers, broadband Internet and IT staff -- needed additional time and expertise for extensive troubleshooting. Glitches ranged from software and wireless device compatibility issues to the actual testing software. Tech-savvy schools that participated in field testing also report that digital assessments assume a level of digital fluency (such as familiarity with keyboard layout and using a mouse to select text), which will affect students who do not have regular access to digital tools.3
My school is a one to one school at the high school level, but we only have a couple of computer labs at the elementary level.  I have taught in schools were there was only two computer labs for the entire district.  

The issue of the tests is one that I keep asking my superintendent who has not heard an explanation.  I know other teachers have heard the question asked of our past Secretary of Education and current Secretary of Education without a clear answer.  I would really like some clarity from the department of education before I will have students students taking a test that will "judge" the worth of my teaching and the schools teaching.  I know I don't want to go through what happened in New York and Kentucky.
New York has been a model in providing supports for transitioning to Common Core, yet principals and teachers there have described the implementation as "rushed" and lacking in resources.4

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Noem and GOP Getting a Little Nervous?

I had taken the last few days off from blogging because I had some full days with the family and school.  Unfortunately I did get the opportunity to follow SDWC and noticed the obvious attacks on recent candidate Corinna Robinson who is running against Kristi Noem.  I was not shocked that they turned almost immediately to the fact that she has not been sort of living on a farm in South Dakota.  That and a comment about a poorly made statement trying to connect terrorism and the minimum wage (I understand that she is trying to highlight her experience, but I don't think that was the best way to do it.), and that was about it.  

Leo Kallis reminded us that we can expect this will probably be the classical move by Noem and the GOP: avoid talking about anything of substance.  Noem has reasons to worry.  If voters care about substance, Noem will have little to hang her hat on.  

1. Corinna Robinson has significant military experience that required her to perform many important tasks.
She assists in advising the senior Agency leadership on a broad range of strategic and policy-related matters affecting the planning, development, and execution as to meet Agency, DoD and National objectives. As a member of the Civilian Expeditionary Workforce (CEW), Ms. Robinson served as the Director of Legislative Affairs, for United States Forces-Iraq (USF-I), Baghdad, Iraq, in 2010. This position required sensitive coordination and travel with Congressional Delegations, Interagency, and the Department of State (DoS) personnel to establish unprecedented foreign policy in our Nation’s history.
Noem has failed to get the many time promised farm bill passed.  

2. Robinson is also well aware of the disfunction in Washington and understands that to get things done, a person must be able to work with other groups.
Robinson, a Democrat, said she was prompted in part because of a dysfunctional Congress that has resulted in furloughs, a partially closed government and threats to veterans. 
"It’s very discouraging," she said. "It just seems like the parties can’t work together."
Noem has become the face of the government shut down.  You don't have to take my word for it, you can take the words of the Aberdeen News

On Wednesday, Noem was the only member of South Dakota's congressional delegation to vote "no" on the agreement to reopen the government and raise the country's borrowing limit. That measure passed 285-144 in the U.S. House. 
 When Noem could choose — voting for the best interests of South Dakota and the nation, or staying in the good graces of the fringe conservative movement — she voted with the latter.
In fact Noem has been a classic example of just working toward getting elected and not trying to protect her constituency.

While South Dakota’s ranchers are facing a terrible disaster, they aren’t the only ones to suffer from weather-related damage. Natural disasters hit the U.S. all the time, whether it’s hurricanes in the Gulf states, widespread droughts in the Midwest, tornadoes in the panhandle states or “super” storms like Sandy that ravaged the East coast a year ago. 
That’s why the federal government provides emergency assistance through the FEMA and ongoing assistance through programs like those in the farm bill. 
Noem voted against federal assistance for victims of super storm Sandy in New York and New Jersey. Nevertheless, she’s at the front of the line asking the federal government for money to help victims of the early-October blizzard. 
It appears that Noem is against federal spending until she’s for it.
3. Corinna Robinson is also a woman that I would probably guess would not let Native American women down when it comes to voting on legislation like the Violence Against Women Act.

Kristi Noem has already proven that she is ready and willing to turn her back on a important portion of South Dakota's population when it comes to fighting domestic violence.
The revised bill, which passed by a Republican-infused vote of 222-205, was introduced by Rep. Sandy Adams, (R-Fla.). It eliminates Senate language that would have provided major tribal court jurisdiction and protection order provisions for tribes in the lower 48 states meant to curb the epidemic of violence that exists on many reservations. 
Section 904 of the approved Senate bill recognized tribal court jurisdiction over non-Indian domestic violence offenders. Section 905 allows for tribal protection orders involving “any person,” including non-Indian offenders. The bill also strengthened federal authority to address violent felonies on reservations. 
It seems that Noem might have a few reasons to worry about a strong candidate running against her next year.  With a record like Kristi's, Pat Powers and the GOP had better start up the smoke machines to try and distract potential voters. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Kristi Noem Makes Less Sense Than A Dan Rather Analogy

I have always enjoyed Dan Rather's interesting and home spun sayings, but at times he leaves me scratching my head.  A good example is "We used to say if a frog had side pockets, he'd carry a handgun."  While Dan Rather's interesting spin on a situation can leave you smiling, Kristi Noem's spin on logic leaves me a little ill.

After voting against ending the government shutdown and not having the government default on its debt despite pointing out that ranchers desperately need government support and funds, she tries to spin away from the vote.

Noem says she never supported shutting down the government and recently has voted to open government offices. Noem says her vote didn't represent her objection to ending the shutdown but it expressed her displeasure with putting the country further into debt. 
"The problem I had with the bill that we voted on last night was that it tied the debt ceiling to that bill and increased spending at a time when we should be looking at ways we can deal with our federal deficit," Noem said.
I guess that Noem is all about spending money but not pay the bills.  Did you notice that?  Maybe Kristi was channeling Dan Rather when he said, "What I say here won't manage much, nor should it."  Kristi is hoping that we will all forget that she has no real center and votes with the winds.  Kristi is against spending for long term recovery after a disaster like Hurricane Sandy, but she thinks that a government agency should reopen despite her parties willingness to maintain a shutdown.  It turns out that people will remember what you do and say.  Like that despite that you claim you wanted the government open you voted several times to follow Ted Cruz and place a vote that you knew would keep government closed.

In the end Kristi should have listened Dan Rather when he offered this piece of advice, "Courage is being afraid, but going ahead anyhow."  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This Is One of the Reasons People Are Worried About the Keystone Pipeline

The GOP have remained focused on pushing the Keystone pipeline that would use eminent domain to put a pipeline through people's lands that don't want the pipe running through it.
The Keystone XL pipeline has reignited the emotional issue of eminent domain — the taking of private property for public use — all along its proposed route. The vast majority of landowners have signed agreements with TransCanada, the pipeline owner. But where necessary, the Calgary, Alberta-based company is busy going to state courts to exercise eminent domain and lining up rights to cross properties throughout the Great Plains — even though the State Department and Obama administration still are weighing whether to give TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline a permit to cross the U.S.-Canadian border.
People like Cory Heidelberger have been warning people of the environmental dangers of Keystone to South Dakota from noise pollution to South Dakota's drinking water.  The environmental concerns usually get thrown away from those that want the pipeline as over blown concerns.  "The oil companies claim that they are safe.  We can trust them.  The is no real risk of danger from a leak, and if it does leak, it won't be a big deal," they say.  

Oh yeah?  Have you looked to the north recently?  It turns out that a pipeline from the Bakken oil fields sprung a leak that ended up spewing oil covering over 7 football fields in distance.  An oil spill that took a long time to be made public.
"Farmer Steve Jensen says he smelled the crude for days before the tires on his combines were coated in it. At the apparent break in the Tesoro Corp.'s underground pipeline, the oil was 'spewing and bubbling 6 inches high,' he said in a telephone interview Thursday." 
One day after Jensen spotted the large leak, Tesoro told state officials; 11 days later, the spill became public knowledge.
The oil spill leaked more than 20,000 barrels of oil and it appears that Tesoro may have known of potential problems well before the break.
North Dakota officials are trying to determine if Tesoro Corp. knew about potential problems — including one deemed "serious" in documents obtained by The Associated Press — with a pipeline that leaked more than 20,000 barrels of crude oil in a wheat field in the northwestern part of the state. 
It also turns out that the company keeps changing its tune on how much oil actually got out.  Their first estimate was that it was only 750 barrels of oil.  Then they have changed it to over 20,000 barrels of oil.  It turns out that amount may be a gross underestimation.

Purdue University engineering professor Steve Wereley said Tesoro's calculation of how much oil it released likely is "at best, a guess." 
Wereley, who along with other scientists helped estimate the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf in 2010, said he was unaware of any scientific studies that could back Tesoro's estimates. Wereley and Ian MacDonald, a Florida State University oceanographer who also worked on spill estimates in the Gulf, said detailed oil flow data from the pipeline would provide regulators with a better estimate of the amount of crude spilled. 
MacDonald said properly estimating the size of an oil spill "is not trivial." 
"Both the environmental impact and the liability of the company are directly related to the precise amount of the release," MacDonald said. "That is why it is critical to know."

 It is issues like these that create a sense of distrust and unease when it comes to the Keystone Pipeline.  If a leak of similar nature occurred near drinking water, near a tourist location, or near a town like Clark, it would be devastating.  I really, really, want to make sure every possible caution is taken to prevent any problems, and I want it to be verified and tested by several sources other than Trans Canada before Keystone Pipeline could go through our state and risk another accident similar to North Dakota.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Noem, Thune, and GOP Wrong About ACA and Government Shutdown

Today the South Dakota Democratic Party released a letter in the Rapid City Journal correcting the ideas that somehow the Democrats were the ones that pushed for a government shutdown and should be forced to capitulate to the demands of the GOP as if that was what compromise means.  Zach Crago reminds the paper that 72% of Americans believed that Congress should not shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act.  

Kristi Noem, John Thune, and many of the other GOP live in an alternative reality.  Kristi Noem reminded us how disconnected she is when she proudly declared
"House Republicans will continue to do what the American people elected us to do – keep the government open and get rid of Obamacare," U.S. Rep Kristi Noem wrote in a statement, shortly before voting for another bill that would delay aspects of Obama's health care overhaul in exchange for preventing a shutdown.
This was on the same day that the Farm Bill expired.  So much for doing the business of the people.

John Thune on the same day stated
"When you have got a divided government, you have got to have a little give and take," he said.
However Thune does not tell you that the Senate had passed a clean CR bill that was originally accepted the GOP demands for the budget level and maintaining the sequester.  He also doesn't tell you that Boehner originally said that he could accept this kind of CR bill.

Now they continue to claim that Obamacare is a failure due to the (avoidable) technical glitches that occurred with sign-up on October 1.  However, just because someone promises to have something nearly perfect at a certain date and there are problems doesn't mean we get rid of that person or plan, right Kristi (think Farm Bill)?

Bob Mercer jumps on the delay ACA bandwagon, but it turns out that tens of thousands of people across the nation have already signed up.  A great example is in Paul Rand and Mitch McConnell's state of Kentucky.

The state’s healthcare exchange, Kynect, has “enrolled [Kentuckians] in new insurance plans at a rate of about 1,000 Kentuckians a day,” Beshear continued. “The rush of our families and small businesses to enroll in Kynect demonstrates how enthusiastic Kentuckians are about obtaining affordable health coverage.” 
Kentucky’s not alone—28,000 signed up in California and 40,000 enrolled in New York.
Oops, it appears that people are signing up.  This also includes young people.
Access Health CT, Connecticut's marketplace, said earlier this week that approximately one-third of the people who have so far applied for coverage there are under 35. This would hover around the administration's goal of having 2.7 million of the 7 million estimated new enrollees be between 18 and 35. 
So it seems that people are enrolling despite theories that the number was zero.  Young people are signing up despite the Tea Party's false and misleading commercials.  The GOP is seeing their ratings shrink, but somehow it is all the Democrats fault.  I think rational and thinking citizens in America know who was really wrong.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Why I Am Optimistic About Our Nation's Future

Seems like an odd title when you listen to the news today.  That is the feeling that many of my students felt when they were faced with the task of creating a speech over the assigned Voice of Democracy speech connected with the VFW.  I heard the complaint that there was nothing to be optimistic about in our country when you are hearing news of government shutdown, debt default, and being told by media and parents that Obama is coming to take away your guns.  I understand my students frustration.  We have become a society that seems hyper-focused on pitting one group against another and turning everything into doom and gloom.

However several other students reminded them and me that there is something of which to be optimistic.  This is a country that allows you to disagree with your leaders.  This is a country that allows us to change our leaders.  This is still the country that leads the world in technology.  This is still a country that encourages education for the masses and not the select few.  This is still a country that has millions of people willing to join the armed forces to defend the nation.  This is the country that has emerged from a civil war, a great depression, and 9/11 to come out stronger in the end.

It seems that the nation is also feeling like many of my earlier students who had a difficult time being optimistic.
Six in 10 people said they would defeat and replace every member of Congress if they could, including their own, a warning to members of both parties just a year before the midterm elections. 
Fewer people seem willing to sign up for military duty as a 2011 survey concludes:
At any given time in the past decade, less than 1 percent of the American population has been on active military duty, compared with 9 percent of Americans who were in uniform in World War II. 
Despite all of the signs of frustration, I am optimistic because I get a chance to work with some fine students.  Students that remind me every day about the ability of grace toward others, students that remind me that despite facing a challenge you can face it head on, and students that may have failings at time, but hopefully will grow out of it in the years left with school.  On good days I can remember that, and I bad days I may focus on the negative, but in the end there are more good days than bad days.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

GOP like Steve King Wouldn't Listen to a Hostage Negotiator

Last night the Daily Show had a great clip which they brought in a real hostage negotiator to try to talk to a Tea Party representative about holding the government shutdown.  The realization becomes that the GOP and the Tea Party actually want the hostage dead and therefore makes negotiations impossible.  

The biggest problem is that the far right has been calling for the death of the government for years.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has also been calling for a government shutdown for years. In 2010, Rep. King asked for a "blood oath" that Obamacare would be repealed regardless of what it took, even if a shutdown was necessary. "I'd like to challenge them to make that pledge," King said, according to Roll Call. "I'd like [Boehner] to make that commitment that if the president shuts down the government, there wouldn't be a repeat of 1995 where the House caved."
We have seen time and time again that reasonable Republicans are being shutdown because of fear to being called a RINO and risk a primary challenge.  
Iowa’s U.S. Rep. Steve King was among the 80 Republicans who asked U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to resist any spending bills that would accommodate the new health care law, which is nearing a critical stage of signing up millions of Americans for health coverage. 
Because it’s virtually certain that President Barack Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate would reject such demands, leaders of both parties say the standoff likely would result in a partial shutdown of the federal government, similar to those that occurred in 1995 and 1996.   
Except now that this has occurred, just ask the farmers in Western South Dakota or farmers in Iowa if the lack of the government is a big deal.  Remember if you vote for King and the GOP you get an ugly, ugly mess.  While King sits in Washington, he may have no understanding of the impact that this is having on real people in his district or in most of the United States, but just ask Craig Hill, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation
While Hill said most of the attention of farm organizations has been focused on the farm bill, the government shutdown is an additional concern. First, it diverts attention of Congress from the farm bill. Second, it means the closing of some USDA offices and a sudden lack of funding for a number of government programs. 
Money for trade and research programs has been put on temporary hold, Hill said. And, there is still a question if farmers will get a final direct payment check this fall. 
Organizations such as the U.S. Grains Council and the U.S. Meat Export Federation could see funding issues if the shutdown lasts long, Hill said, because they have contracts with the government. USDA statistical analysis could also be affected. 
And, conservation programs could see issues as well. 
Add those issues to the already difficult farm-bill situation and farmers are frustrated, Hill said. 

Trying to understand the hostage taking mentality on the Daily Show.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Because It Matters To Someone

Today I heard someone talking about that he/she has not been impacted by the government shutdown then it shows that it probably isn't that big of a deal.  I thought, "This is the reason that we have problems like the government shutdown.  When we look at the world only through our eyes, then we ignore those that may be suffering."  Then I read Kallis entry about those with plenty often disregard those with less and it made unfortunate sense.

The idea that this government shutdown is no big deal is not limited to the one person in my earshot.  People like Stuart Varney from Fox News
Look, most people won't notice. If the government shuts down at midnight tonight, most people will not notice. National parks are closed. Eight hundred thousand federal workers furloughed, OK. Most people won't notice that. What Wall Street is worried about is a totally separate issue.
And people like Ted Cruz and the Tea Party,
When the US government runs out of money for the following fiscal year…losing its ability to pay its bills…it’s forced in theory to shutdown. And thanks to the Obama administration’s out of control spending…ignored was Economics 101 which teaches you cannot spend more than you take in…the US will hit the current debt ceiling of $16.7 trillion and go into default in mid-October, which likely will have already translated into a ‘supposed’ government shutdown. 
The government function is never a big deal until it actually affects you.  And then you have all sorts of people that complain why the government isn't there to provide what I want.  That is when you have people that voted to close the government because it is not really important, but then pretend to fit the big evil government shutdown

Thune and Noem fall into that last category.  The both have voted against a clean CR and end the shutdown, but now that a real disaster has hit South Dakota, they are reminding people the importance of government when it comes to helping ranchers and farmers and families hit by the snow storm.  Instead of giving credit to Thune and Noem for their hollow concern, Johnson reminds us that a government shutdown may not impact you at this second, but it does matter to people all over:

“While total losses are still being determined, this major blizzard has killed huge numbers of livestock across western South Dakota. Exacerbating these losses is the fact that the government shutdown has shuttered USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) offices across the state. As a result, producers don’t even have anyone to contact at USDA for assistance in documenting losses.

The closure of FSA offices is another demonstration of the real impact the government shutdown is having on South Dakotans. Like the snow storm, the government shutdown is causing major disruptions in people’s lives and every day business.

While snowstorms happen, government shutdowns are unnatural events. The House needs to pass a clean Continuing Resolution not just for the sake of South Dakota’s ranchers, but for the good of the country.”

Is Noem As Frightened As Boehner?

This shutdown is clearly the Republicans making.  They are the ones that have been talking about shutting down the government since 2011.  If you don't believe me that the GOP is the one behind the government shutdown, ask Republican Peter King.
"We are the ones who did shut the government down," he later added. "Charles Krauthammer called it the suicide caucus. The Wall Street Journal said they were kamikazes. You don't take the dramatic step of shutting down the government unless you have a real strategy and it has a chance of working. It's never had a chance of working."
Today the President and others called Speaker Boehner out.  He told the Speaker that instead of making a claim that 25 Republicans would not vote for a clean Continuing Budget Resolution that passed the Senate by an overwhelming majority, he should just bring it up to a vote and allow the Representatives to record a vote.
“Today, Speaker Boehner should stop the games and let the House vote on the Senate’s clean CR so that the entire federal government can re-open within twenty-four hours,” Jentleson said in a statement, referring to a continuing resolution to authorize government spending.
The question to Mr. Boehner is what is he afraid of?  Why not vote on the bill?  There is no threat of a filibuster.  There is no need of a supermajority.  All you have to do is vote and then you can say, "See, I told you that I was not just a tool of the Tea Party.  The Republican Party will only function if we get everything we want.  You just can't compromise with us.  We care more about preventing people from getting healthcare then we do about maintaining the basic functions of our government."  

Where is Kristi Noem in all of this mess?  She claims that she doesn't want a government shutdown

“No one wants to see the government shut down,” she said. “I think the only person who keeps talking about it is the president and a lot of the media.” 
A shutdown, Noem said, “would be devastating” to the country. 
“I am hopeful that we won’t be in that situation,” she said.
Unfortunately that rhetoric is about as shallow and empty as Kristi's rhetoric on the Farm Bill and so many other things she claims to want to do for the people of our state.  So, Mrs. Noem, if you realize that this shutdown is devastating for our country, then tell the Speaker to allow a vote on a clean CR or you won't let him fundraise for you again.  That would be getting really ugly to get something done.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Rick Weiland's Pledge We Can Live With

The GOP love their pledges.  "I pledge to bankrupt the government and do what ever Grover Norquist tells me to do on the budget."  "I pledge to make sure that people can't get health care if they have ever been sick or are not fortunate enough to be a hedge fund manager."  These type of pledges are bad for America because they prevent common sense thinking and are filled with empty rhetoric.  However, Rick Weiland offers a pledge that is good for all Americans:
"I hereby pledge that, if elected to represent the people of South Dakota, I will never vote to shut down their government, or to place their government in default, in order to force it to act, or to prevent it from acting, on unrelated issues." - Rick Weiland 
Our government has been shut down, and our nation literally threatened with default, by a handful of extremist Members of Congress willing to turn the lights out on democracy to destroy the Affordable Care Act. 
Every Federal candidate in America has an obligation to pledge to their voters that they will not join this extremist wrecking crew. 
I have done so and I am asking others to join me. 
Unless we put a stop to this "my way or the highway" mentality that excuses anything, even the willful harming of millions of American citizens, and of their country, our future as a great nation is in jeopardy. 
I hope you will join me by insisting that any person seeking your support take this pledge, and thereby promise to you that they will never vote to shut down our Democracy just because they did not get their way on some unrelated issue. 
It is shocking to me that every other candidate to replace Senator Tim Johnson, even former Governor Mike Rounds, has publicly stated that they support shutting down the government unless the Affordable Care Act is effectively repealed. 
That is not responsible governance. It is blackmail and it must be stopped.
If you need a clear difference between Rick and the GOP establishment, you now have one.  He is the only candidate that would have voted to prevent the shutdown.  We all know that Kristi voted for it while not getting around to vote for a Farm Bill for our nations farmers.  We also know that all the candidates vow to be Ted Cruz Lemmings and support a government shutdown.  So, if you want to a candidate that has enough sense not to support shutdown our government and damaging our economy, then your vote is easy: Rick Weiland is your candidate!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kristi Noem Fails at Another Promise

Kristi has been busy posting about how the House's failure to take up the Senate funding bill and pass a continuing resolution is hurting America.  One more thing that she can also proudly point out is that she has failed to deliver on a Farm Bill on time.  Not only has the GOP created a mess by playing hostage with economy, (not my words but the words of our state's papers) they have failed on delivering a Farm Bill on time, again!  You remember that Farm Bill that Kristi promised she would get ugly with the leadership until the Farm Bill was passed.

One of the programs that is going to be damaged is the Rural Energy for America Program.
Last year’s farm bill expiration was unprecedented in U.S. farm policy history, but this year’s had been long expected as the House has proposed cuts to the bill’s food stamps program. The farm bill’s expiration, though, has been downplayed by senior agriculture leaders in Congress because funding and authorities for major commodity subsidies and food stamps will not begin to expire until the beginning of next year (E&E Daily, Sept. 20). 
But several of the bill’s smaller programs — such as those in the energy, conservation, organic and trade-promotion sections — are facing uncertainty at best and shutdowns at worst as of Monday’s expiration. For energy programs, it’s a question of funding. 
USDA operates seven energy programs, including one that provides loans to biorefinery producers to commercialize the next generations of fuels made from agricultural residues, perennial grasses, municipal solid waste and algae.
This is a program that has been used in South Dakota to some success.  I hope Kristi remembers that these are the people that she works for, like the people in Elkton
- The town of Elkton, South Dakota had been without a grocery store for several years until the owners of “Big Daddy’s Meats” decided to expand their small business to a full service store. With a REAP grant, they were able to realize their goal with the installation of a geothermal heat pump system that would save them enough money to make it possible.
Or Lake Andes
Pioneer Energy, LLC in Hesperus, Colorado, was selected to receive a $25,000 grant to help fund a feasibility study on building a 99 megawatt wind farm near Lake Andes, South Dakota. 
There will be a lot of other issues that will hurt our farmers thanks to Kristi's failure.  
Trade and export. Promotional export programs will also run out of funding, including dairy and specialty crop export programs. Export deals may be delayed or entirely sabotaged if the programs are defunct for too long. Vilsackwarned that Brazil trade relations, already delicate, will be impacted immediately.... 
Farmers and businesses, meanwhile, remain paralyzed by the uncertainty, unable to plan for the next season of planting until Congress passes a 5 year bill. As the National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition notes, many programs have been suspended since the 2008 Farm Bill expired in 2011, including aid for “beginning farmers, minority farmers, specialty crop farmers, organic farmers, value-added farm enterprises, rural small business, and renewable energy and energy conservation.”
Thanks Kristi for nothing, nothing at all.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hostages and South Dakota Stockholm Syndrome

This morning on the way into school I heard a lot of hostage talk.  The GOP are trying to claim that the Democrats are hostage takers by not giving into demands and Pelosi are claiming that the GOP are hostage takers by threatening to do harm if they don't get their way.

GOP view:
"What you need to do is quit holding the national parks, the Smithsonian, the Holocaust Museum and others hostage to your desire to shut down the government — that's what's going on here," he said. "You think we're holding the Affordable Health Care Act hostage? You're holding our national parks hostage."
Dem view:
But House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the effort "pathetic" and "not responsible," and encouraged all Democrats to vote no. 
In a letter, House Democrats cited Cruz's possible involvement as a reason. 
"They took hostages by shutting down the government, and now they're releasing one hostage at a time," Pelosi said. 
The question is how can the Democratic party and Obama be the hostage takers.  They simply said, lets pay our bills and follow through with what was legally passed and deal with the budget in the proper way.  Then the GOP talking about this strategy for years said, we get what we want or you get a government shutdown.  Which one sounds like the hostage taker?

Now we have Kristi Noem and John Thune repeating the illogic that the Democrats did this.  
"House Republicans will continue to do what the American people elected us to do – keep the government open and get rid of Obamacare," U.S. Rep Kristi Noem wrote in a statement, shortly before voting for another bill that would delay aspects of Obama's health care overhaul in exchange for preventing a shutdown. 
In a conference call with reporters, U.S. Sen John Thune also accused Obama of failing to "compromise." 
That attitude by our GOP leaders will end up hurting us all.
Evert Van der Sluis, an economics professor at South Dakota State University, said that however government cuts are implemented, they're bad news for the state economy. 
If the shutdown continues through to the end of the year, Van der Sluis said, it is projected to reduce national GDP growth from 1.4 percent to 0.2 percent in the final three months of the year. 
"This is going to effect all of us," he said. "There's no doubt about it." 
Maybe that is their grand plan.  Hold America hostage until they develop the Stockholm Syndrome and will look at the GOP that abuses them as saviors.  At Discovery Health, they explain the causes of the Stockholm Syndrome
People suffering from Stockholm syndrome come to identify with and even care for their captors in a desperate, usually unconscious act of self-preservation. It occurs in the most psychologically traumatic situations, often hostage situations or kidnappings, and its effects usually do not end when the crisis ends. In the most classic cases, victims continue to defend and care about their captors even after they escape captivity. Symptoms of Stockholm syndrome have also been identified in the slave/master relationship, in battered-spouse cases and in members of destructive cults.
The question, I guess, is what does that make Kristi Noem, John Thune, and the GOP?  My money is on a destructive cult.  Now the cult of Ted Cruz. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mt. Rushmore and Compromise

Thanks to the government shut down Mt. Rushmore and other national monuments and parks are now shut down.  Why?  Because the GOP refuse to let Obamacare go.  They refuse to budge on the issue.  They refused to compromise.  The impact: Governor Daugaard is begging the feds to allow him to use state funds and personal to reopen it despite knowing that it won't happen.  The GOP argue "NO COMPROMISE!  NO OBAMACARE!"

I thought that this would be a good opportunity to see what some of the Presidents on that landmark had to say about compromise.

Teddy Roosevelt had some powerful words about the issuse published in 1900
The man who is taken in by, or demands, impossible promises is not much less culpable than the politician who deliberately makes such promises and then breaks faith. Thus when any public man says that he "will never compromise under any conditions," he is certain to receive the applause of a few emotional people who do not think correctly, and the one fact about him that can be instantly asserted as true beyond peradventure is that, if he is a serious personage at all, he is deliberately lying, while it is only less certain that he will be guilty of base and dishonorable compromise when the opportunity arises. "Compromise" is so often used in a bad sense that it is difficult to remember that properly it merely describes the process of reaching an agreement.
Thomas Jefferson is quoted to say
"A government held together by the bands of reason only, requires
much compromise of opinion." --Thomas Jefferson to Edward
Livingston, 1824. 
Abraham Lincoln said
"To state the question more directly, are all the laws, but one, to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces, lest that one be violated? Even in such a case, would not the official oath be broken, if the government should be overthrown, when it was believed that disregarding the single law, would tend to preserve it? But it was not believed that this question was presented. It was not believed that any law was violated. The provision of the Constitution that 'The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, shall not be suspended unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it,' is equivalent to a provision---is a provision---that such privilege may be suspended when, in cases of rebellion, or invasion, the public safety does require it. It was decided that we have a case of rebellion, and that the public safety does require the qualified suspension of the privilege of the writ which was authorized to be made." Lincoln's Message to Congress in Special Session, July 4, 186 
George Washington:
The common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection.