Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Why Veterans Are Important to Our Nation's History and Future

Each year I have my speech students participate in the VFW's Voice of Democracy competition.  When I am trying to wrangle up the top speakers in the classes to record their speeches on a CD and get it to the area VFW chapter, I sometimes wonder why I bother.  However, it is the journey that the students take when it comes to writing these speeches that makes it worthwhile.

This years topic, "Why Veterans Are Important to Our Nation's History and Future," proved to be less of a challenge for the students than last year's.  The students dug into the issue with expected ideas.  They explored some of our earliest veterans from the Revolution and talked about the history of wars and the young men and women that fought in them.  One thing that is interesting was that this year's topic only focuses on the past and the future: It seems to ignore the present.

Student's were shocked and a few were very frustrated by the treatment that many veterans receive today.  They explored the problem of homelessness among the veterans.  They discovered statistics like
Although flawless counts are impossible to come by – the transient nature of homeless populations presents a major difficulty – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimatesthat 49,933 veterans are homeless on any given night.
They also examined the health of our veterans and found that it is believed that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.  They looked into the rates of PTSD and found out
Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF): About 11-20 out of every 100 Veterans (or between 11-20%) who served in OIF or OEF have PTSD in a given year.
One of the more common conclusions that student drew was simply that we should be very proud of those that served our country.  The work and sacrifice of those veterans of the past are an vital component of what makes this nation wonderful.  They also concluded that if we don't start taking care of the veterans of the present, there may be no veterans of the future.

Today, politicians will go around making speeches about how much the veteran means to them, how they are the veterans friend,  and how they will always be there to honor the veterans sacrifice.  Don't believe their words.  Make them show it not through press releases, but action that says: I respect you and your sacrifice and instead of benefiting the corporation or Wall Street or special interest/lobby group, I will fully fund veteran's health, education, and other benefits first.  

Thank you to our veterans of the past, future and present.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Predictions on the Elections

Cory at Madville Times asks people to go ahead and make their predictions.  I thought I would give it a shot, but for a disclaimer, if you could see my fantasy football team's record, you would know that I am not the best at predicting success and outcomes.

In the Senate race:

Mike Rounds with 42%

Rick Weiland with 38%

Larry Pressler with 19%

Gordan Howie with less than 1%

In the House Race

Kristi Noem with 58%

Corrina Robinson with 42%

In the Governor Race

Daugaard with 65%

Wismer with 28%

Meyers with 7%

Initiated Measure 17

Yes with 52%

No with 48%

Initiated Measure 18

Yes 57%

No 43%

Amendment Q

No 56%

Yes 44%

District 16 House

Herman Otten 70%

Issac Latteral 50%

Rich Schriever 35%

The National Senate Race

Republicans 53 seats

Democrats 44 seats

Independents 3 seats

Change in Washington's climate and culture?


Chance OBAMA will get blamed for the Republican's inability to lead for the next 2 years-

100 Percent

Monday, November 3, 2014

Using SD Common Sense in Casting Your Vote Tomorrow

Mike Rounds like to tell people that Washington needs some South Dakota common sense.  I think he is absolutely right; a vote for Rick Weiland means using common sense in protecting the people.

The biggest question that Rounds never explored when regurgitating his catch phrase is what is "common sense."  The Cambridge Dictionary online defines common sense as:
 the ability to use good judgment in making decisions and to livein a reasonable and safe way
Unless the South Dakota version of common sense is the opposite of that definition, there is no way Mike Rounds represents South Dakota common sense. 

First is the idea of using "good judgement" in making decisions.  Mike has failed on this in so many ways- 
Trusting Joop Bollen and Richard Benda to run the EB-5 program

Using state goods for personal use

Misusing federal money to hide mistakes:
–Rounds also took $26 million in federal dollars sent to help South Dakota’s children in light of our woefully underfunded educational system in South Dakota. Remember he did this while he was cutting education in the state by 25 percent in his eight years in office. So, what did Rounds do with this federal money that was supposed to be spent on education? He squirreled it away into the state’s general fund to mask his massive debts.

Being Honest about Medicare, Ellsworth, or simply read the editorial from the Mobridge Tribune to cover his many lapses of honesty.

Remember that to have common sense is to live in a reasonable and safe way.  It was under Mike that we experienced a huge budget problem that Dennis Daugaard explained was why he had to gut education and hurt every student and every person connected to the education field in this state.  It was Mike Rounds that used eminent domain to take land from farmers for his Transcanda pipeline.  Let's not forget EB-5.  

If you want a candidate that displays South Dakota common sense, then you need to vote for small business owner, family man, and hard-working Rick Weiland.  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mike Rounds Is the Candidate of NO!

Tuesday is nearly here and things will clear up.  The Republicans are starting to do their touchdown dance of taking over the Senate.  There are still a few hurdles to overcome.  One of those hurdles is simply that the GOP seems to offer nothing than other than "NOT OBAMA!"  They live in this mind-set as the party of no.

Mike Rounds clearly epitomizes that mind set.  If you caught his performance on the KELO debate, he was running against Obama and not Weiland or Pressler.  His empty suit and empty promises will seem to fit in well with the GOP in Washington, but is that what we want?  This attitude was a party that brought you government shut down, a costly and extended delay in the Farm bill, and as led to the most ineffective Congress in, well, pretty much the founding of the nation.  No on immigration reform, no on  budget reform, no on EB-5 reform, no, no, no.  

If the Republicans falter to take over the Senate, it will be this lack of vision that could very well take them down.  As Bill Whalen states on the Daily Beast
Because someone has to be a contrarian in what otherwise looks like a bad November for President Obama and his party: what if Republicans manage not to gain control of the Senate in this election?  
You couldn’t blame it on the usual suspects—a lack of money, or an over-abundance of bad candidates, or uphill climbs in hostile Obama-friendly states. 
A more likely culprit: a strategic miscalculation on the part of GOP Senate candidates nationwide and the party elders back on Capitol Hill. While making this year’s races a referendum on Obama and his policies, Republicans ignored a fundamental rule of congressional challenges: to get to Washington, one has to run against Washington’s ways—specifically, the accumulation of job seniority and personal wealth that makes Senate incumbents seem long in the tooth and short on integrity. 
Mike Rounds has failed to earn your vote if you want to stand for anything real when it comes to changing Washington.  If you want to maintain the gridlock that brought you the government shut down, if you want the maintain the gridlock that brought you a delayed farm bill, if you want empty promises of repeal and replace of Obamacare, then vote for Mike Rounds.  If you want to hear no to immigration reform, no to making sure more people have access to health insurance, and no to helping students find ways to finance education, then cast a ballot for Mike Rounds.  

If you would like to see action immigration reform, if you would like to see college students getting a break to avoid crushing debt, if you would like to see someone that will try to advance legislation to avoid a government shutdown, if you would like to see someone that will not just trust foreign companies and instead will make sure to protect you first, then cast your ballot for Rick Weiland.  We simply cannot afford six more years of a party of NO!  We need to start accomplishing something, and you can do your part by voting for Weiland.