“I honestly am not worried about somebody rubbing my muscles so hard that they’ll injure me or that they’ll need a license to protect me from them,” Daugaard continued [Dana Ferguson, “Daugaard: Massage Therapists Shouldn’t Need Licenses,” that Sioux Falls paper, 2017.08.03].
Dennis Daugaard, super-tough!
If I didn’t know better, I’d think the Governor trying to subtly signal San Francisco that he’d really like them to cancel their South Dakota travel ban.
Dusty Johnson is out leading Teenage Republicans Camp at Rimrock Camp in the Black Hills. This video from his Congressional campaign Twitter account shows him whacking a rattlesnake and then displaying the truncated creature to campers who sound alternately terrified, delighted, and, in one case, hungry.
“When I ask voters what they’re looking for in somebody running for Congress, they always say they want somebody who’s going to fight for them,” Johnson said. “And I don’t know that there are literal rattlesnakes in Washington, D.C., but metaphorically there are hundreds” [Seth Tupper, “Second Rattlesnake Killed in South Dakota’s US House Race,” Rapid City Journal, 2017.07.27].
Because the Republican Party has turned our politics into tawdry reality TV, let’s see who wins the snake-killing primary:
Video: Johnson’s video is clearly superior, showing the actual moment of conflict, man versus beast, and his triumphant hoisting of the still-warm and oozing corpse. Krebs offers a cold, derattled critter and rather subdued post-game commentary.
Setting: Krebs was the lone woman on the prairie, defending herself in the absence of her husband. Johnson was the manly man rushing headlong the defend frightened children. Advantage Johnson.
Verifiability: In an info-nihilist era when anyone can shout “Fake News!” to avoid actually evaluating evidence or (heavens forfend!) surrendering one’s prejudices, verifiability may not matter. But consider: Johnson’s video doesn’t appear to show the snake moving, so some camp prankster could have planted a dead snake to create an uproar. However, Johnson has witnesses with cameras and blood on the axe in his hands. Krebs has a body but no witnesses, no ballistics, nothing that proves beyond her word that she killed her snake. Johnson and Krebs both could be faking news, but Johnson’s presentation has more affirming evidence.
Weapon: With a crowd of children who could have been hit by a ricochet, Johnson put others’ safety above his own and reached for the axe, a weapon that put him within literal striking distance of his deadly foe. It’s harder to recover one’s posture and retreat from a swing and a miss than from a shoot and a miss. However, in a Republican world where there ain’t nothin’ hotter than a woman handling a phallic symbol, Johnson’s ax-ploit undermines the GOP-NRA narrative that guns will solve all of our problems.
On those criteria, Johnson beats Krebs in the snakepit 3 to 1.
Which South Dakota public university has the most deadbeats? Proportionally to campus student revenues, DSU! So says this fun chart on student accounts receivable in Board of Regents Agenda Item 10-C:
Now this isn’t student loan debt: this is tuition, fees, fines, what have you that students have not paid for on each campus. Over four years, the systemwide rate of unpaid bills is 0.54%, compared to a national bad debt collections rate of 3.5%. So even that 1.29% rate at DSU is still pretty good compared to university students nationwide.
Oh, and don’t be alarmed by the apparent increase in accounts receivable at most campuses. For the past two years, the Regents had to put on hold their usual practice of writing off some of these debts. The Regents had to wait while the state prepped and launched its new debt collection program, the Obligation Recovery Center.
Digital Humanities is an interdisciplinary academic field that brings digital technology to bear on the study of anthropology, classics, history, geography, language and literature, law and politics, the performing arts, philosophy, religion, and the visual arts. Dakota State University’s Certificate in DH aims to support the university mission, within the larger BOR system, to stay at the forefront of digital and technological humanities teaching and research, and to increase connections with the community, business, and government agencies. The digital humanities certificate will challenge students to learn new skills and engage in professionalizing activities, concentrate digital expertise in the English for New Media degree program and connect humanities studies and teaching across Arts and Sciences programs in the South Dakota BOR system [Dakota State University, request for new graduate certificate program, Board of Regents Agenda Item 7-A(1), June 2017].
Digital Humanities—I’m trying to figure out of that’s an oxymoron, a lost Isaac Asimov novel, or maybe just a fancy term for blogging.
Every six weeks, Republicans are finding a way to keep another million Americans insured. Keep working, Republicans! At this rate, by January 2020, you should be able to come up with a plan that breaks even with ObamaCare!
Rep. Kristi Noem today met with Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the upcoming congressional agenda, including Obamacare’s repeal and replacement as well as tax reform.
“There’s no shortage of work to do when it comes to getting our country back on track, so it was good to talk more about how we can continue to collaborate and move this country forward,” said Noem. “Whether it’s repealing Obamacare or tackling tax reform for the first time in three decades, it was made clear that both the Vice President and I are committed to getting things done” [Rep. Kristi Noem, press release, 2017.06.13].
That’s the whole press release. No specifics about agriculture or other issues of keen interest to South Dakota, no explanation of why Pence’s boss has changed his mind about Noem’s vote to repeal Obamacare and now says the plan she voted for is “mean”, just vague hand-waving about moving forward, which this Congress hasn’t done yet.
Tables more empty than full get the foreground, while the milling crowd that might fill those seats is tucked away in the background. I love those white shoes, but come one—reverse that angle! Shoot where the people are!
As I hit the last gravel stretch of Highway 1806 on the way to the Sutton Ranch Wednesday, eating the dust of a fellow nick-of-timer from Lincoln County who was a bit less eager than I to punch along those gravelly curves, I questioned, as an eager reader did, the wisdom of announcing a statewide campaign out in what one may accurately deem several miles south of the boonies.
Then I saw the view from the Sutton Ranch gate:
The Sutton Ranch sits on the west bank of the Missouri River, straight across from the mouth of the Platte Creek, 30 miles upstream from the Fort Randall Dam, 75 miles downstream from the Big Bend Dam, 150 miles downstream from Pierre. First bill I want from Billie Sutton’s Governor’s office: appropriations to build locks around the four Missouri River dams in our state. Imagine the Governor boating from the ranch to the Capitol, or down to Yankton and Dakota Dunes. Steamboat Billie….
Visitors pass the working part of the ranch first, past the big barn and cattle lots, then drive another 500 feet to the big house in the clearing.
That big covered porch looks out at the valley of what my map calls the North Fork of the Whetstone Creek. Forget the Governor’s mansion: picture Governor Billie Sutton bringing legislators, fellow governors, CEOs, and other dignitaries to that porch, looking out at the grass and trees and uninterrupted sky and saying, “All right, let’s talk about what matters.”
A view like that helps one think… and think big.
It also makes one feel very small, as all of us mere mortals ought before the vastness of the prairie and a great green globe curving slowly away to the horizon.
I took no food selfies, but I can tell you the beef* sandwiches, baked beans with Sutton beef, potato salad (you were expecting greens? where do you think are, Minerva’s?), and pie served by the ranch ladies in the chow line at the big garage and eaten by the 130 guests in the sunshine beat whatever Il Duce’s servants dish at Mar-a-Lago.
A man launches his first campaign for Governor only once in his lifetime. He’s entitled to do it his way, how he wants, when he wants, where he wants. Billie Sutton announced his first bid for Governor in a place he rightly loves, the place that says who he is, what he’s about, what he sees when he looks around at South Dakota and wonders what’s on our big, big horizon. He spoke to us in a place that most of us have to drive a long way to get to, which reminds us how far Sutton and anyone else who wants to serve this state has to drive to meet and listen to people and learn what’s happening around our sprawling state.
A man is entitled to begin a momentous journey at home, with his family. So is a woman, like Billie’s wife Kelsea, who will be at Billie’s side throughout this campaign.
The Suttons staged a better campaign launch than they could have at any rented conference room (“ballroom” really exaggerates the grandeurless rectangularity of nearly every event facility in this state). Wednesday’s campaign launch at the Sutton Ranch showed just who Billie Sutton is and what kind of Governor he could be. It was most certainly worth the drive.
* * *
Of course, several miles south of the boonies, one would expect to see some open carry…
And when we town folk come out to the country in our Volkswagen Beetles, some of the locals still look at us a bit suspiciously:
Maybe we don’t need to build locks on the River; maybe the Suttons will ditch the Governor’s Hunt and organize a week-long trail ride from the ranch to the Capitol.
*Correction 2017.06.04 09:04 CDT: I have been contacted by two sources who point out that the sandwiches served were beef, not pork as I erroneously reported. I evidently was focusing on my ears rather than my mouth at those picnic tables. I regret the error.
Feven Goitom didn’t speak much English when she started at Whittier Middle School six years ago.
Goitom, who was born in Eritrea, spent six years in a refugee camp in Ethiopia before coming to the United States at age 13.
…The 19-year-old will graduate Sunday with some early college credits, which she’ll take with her to Regis University in Denver where she has a full-ride scholarship for the fall.
She hopes to study biology and go on to medical school, a passion stemming from her time in Ethiopia.
…As she prepares to leave high school, Goitom has nothing but good things to say about Washington and how welcomed she’s been by students in the Sioux Falls community, a community she hopes to return to someday as a physician.