Press "Enter" to skip to content

Rapid City Board Sees More Covid Coming, Steers Right Toward It

In further proof of its dogged determination to put magical ideology ahead of safety for students, staff, and the public, the Rapid City school board last night voted to reject the coronavirus safety policy its superintendent had put together.

As Rapid City Journal reporter Abby Wargo reported last night, Superintendent Lori Simon told the board that last year, out of 1,246 cases of coronavirus reported at Rapid City High School, “not one case was contracted at school while masks were worn.” Simon said that, as of last night, before kids were even in school, there were 36 active covid cases among students and staff, more than last year at this time.

In response to this local evidence that masks work and that covid could be spreading worse this year than last, the board voted to change the covid policy drafted by Superintendent Simon by removing the covid quarantine procedures and other mitigation strategies and replacing the statement that masks are “recommended” to say they are “voluntary“.

The board also stripped the superintendent of the authority to close school due to health concerns. If coronavirus is spreading fast and the superintendent feels the district could keep students and staff safe by closing school, the superintendent will have to seek a vote of the school board for such an emergency closure.

Radical right-wing legislators Tina Mulally and Phil Jensen spoke up during the crowded public comment period to tell the school board they’re doing a great job. Wargo reports that Jensen “thanks the board for steering in a ‘more positive direction’ and focusing on education rather than indoctrination.”

As regular observers of the Legislature know, if Phil Jensen says someone is doing a good thing, they are probably doing the opposite. Jensen himself is praising the real indoctrinators. In switching from “recommended” to “voluntary” in the mask guidance, the board lays bare its commitment to indoctrinating students in their extremist and simplistic ideology that holds a thoughtless sense of personal freedom higher than the health of the community.

The Rapid City school board is steering its students and staff straight toward more positive cases of covid-19.


  1. O 2021-08-24

    Of course they did; that is what they were elected to do — demagoguery. The question I keep mulling is, What consequence will they face for this? Should these decisions harm the children and employees fo RC and the larger community, what are the ramifications for those who voted to promote this danger?

    In the past it has more been issues of economics/budget/spending that archconservative/Tea Party/MAGAs have thrust upon their represented districts. When Kansas dove head-first into the budgeting that cut taxes to increase revenues (it of course in fact lowered revenues, bankrupted the state and caused draconian cuts in education and the social safety net), there was no holding these foolish, counterintuitive, counterfactual actions to account. We didn’t hold this foolishness up as a warning not to heed the siren’s call of self-centered greed-based economics. The biggest potential downside is that some fanatic looses the next election — but probably not even that; tribes don’t want governance, they want the bully pulpit.

    Those conservatives, in their vigor to “own the libbies,” have the pulpit; they will continue their destruction until their power is taken away from them. They have never left a place better than they found it; somebody else has to clean up their mess as their rhetoric carpetbags to the next victim.

  2. cathy 2021-08-24

    One can sue a school board and school district.

  3. John 2021-08-24

    Caring parents should pull their kids from the Rapid City Schools.
    Teachers should refuse to work. Support staff should refuse to work. Burn it down (figuratively).

    How in the world did public health become “political” or “freedom”?! The anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers are not a protected class. There is no right to spread an infectious virus in school, among co-workers, or the public. One has to wonder where is the voluntary smoking section in Rapid City School Board meetings, where is the voluntary peeing section in Rapid City School Board meetings – the analogy to “voluntary” behaviors. Taking this further, is stopping for crossing guards now voluntary to not impinge on “freedom”? Is stopping for a school bus loading and unloading now voluntary to not impinge on “freedom” and to avoid “indoctrination”? Is paying the school segment of property taxes now “voluntary” to preclude “indoctrination”? What morons has Rapid City wrought?! Good luck recruiting new businesses in Rapid City.

    Apparently Taliban anti-mask, anti-vax sympathizers are in charge of the Rapid City School Board and in a few state legislative seats (Phil Jensen, Tina Mulally).

    The mayor could circumvent the School Board by making masking mandatory in Rapid City Schools. (Yet as good as is the mayor, do not hold your breathe for that.) The Pennington County Public Health Officer also has the power and authority to issue an order requiring masking in all or select county schools. (While I’m not familiar with the officer, human nature and past human experience (and inaction to this point) suggests that the public safety and need will not trump the vulgarities of loud, local whiners.)

    While there remain good people in Rapid City – they are guilty of the crime of doing nothing. ‘All it takes for evil to prevail is for a few good folks to do nothing.’

  4. Porter Lansing 2021-08-24

    Koch Brothers began their political career, after inheriting their Papa’s pile, by financially encouraging GOP backwater areas to infiltrate school boards and then go up from there.

    Then came the MAGA’s.

    Needless, it’s crazy up there in South of Dakota.

  5. grudznick 2021-08-24

    Nothing wrong with leftovers from one’s pa’s pile.

  6. O 2021-08-24

    Nothing wrong, grudznick, unless you are born on third and claim you hit a triple.

  7. Curt 2021-08-24

    Beg to differ, Cathy. I am quite sure that one of the first acts of this year’s Legislature was to exempt state and local units of government from liability for any COVID-19 repercussions resulting from their simple malfeasance. I think they deemed appropriate all “necessary” or “prudent” or (insert your modifier here) act short of premeditated murder as long as it could be justified to someone. Eventually, the law will expire (or as they say in the Capitol, “sunset”). The legislature itself is not subject to such “sunset” law.

  8. jerry 2021-08-24

    We are winning the covid game. We are first in the top ten of states saturated with the covid. DYING FOR FREEDOM should be our new state motto printed on a blood red flag with a dripping ventilator.

    “10 states with highest COVID-19 case increases in last 2 weeks
    Gabrielle Masson – Updated 13 hours ago Print | Email

    New daily COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have risen 29 percent over the last two weeks, with 47 states and the District of Columbia seeing cases trend upward, according to data tracked by The New York Times.

    Case averages were decreasing only in Louisiana, Missouri and Arkansas.

    Below are 10 states with the highest 14-day case increase. Data is taken from state and local health agencies and was last updated Aug 24.

    South Dakota

    14-day change: 352 percent increase

    Cases per 100,000 people: 27

    West Virginia

    14-day change: 160 percent increase

    Cases per 100,000 people: 52

    North Dakota

    14-day change: 128 percent increase

    Cases per 100,000 people: 28


    14-day change: 105 percent increase

    Cases per 100,000 people: 25

    Rhode Island

    14-day change: 98 percent increase

    Cases per 100,000 people: 28


    14-day change: 86 percent increase

    Cases per 100,000 people: 87


    14-day change: 82 percent increase

    Cases per 100,000 people: 47


    14-day change: 78 percent increase

    Cases per 100,000 people: 50


    14-day change: 77 percent increase

    Cases per 100,000 people: 33


    14-day change: 77 percent increase

    Cases per 100,000 people: 27

  9. jerry 2021-08-24

    Old NOem on the range.
    Where she tweets threats that are quite insane

    Where seldom is heard
    an encouraging word
    and her arse just gets bigger each day.

    “If Joe Biden illegally mandates vaccines, I will take every action available under the law to protect South Dakotans from the federal government,” Noem tweeted on Monday evening.”

    Looks like we’uns are fix’in to secede from the US of A. Apparently, our little dummy things that the “South” in South Dakota means something something confederacy.

  10. Guy 2021-08-24

    So, is Heinert, Herseth, or Sutton going to officially declare their candidacy against Noem come Labor Day?

  11. Neal 2021-08-24

    Do any of you disagree with the proposition that natural immunity is better than vaccine-based immunity?

  12. jerry 2021-08-24

    Do any of you agree that Neal is an asshat?

  13. DaveFN 2021-08-24

    These school board disputes over COVID permeate the nation, not just Rapid City, of course.

    We are living in the age of the new Luddites, a symptom of the breadth of US scientific illiteracy now culminating in a focus on COVID, an illiteracy apparently arrested at the level of Darwinian natural selection notions that never made it beyond the indoctrination found in canned explanations of the 3rd grade textbooks of antivax advocates, however long ago these textbooks have since been overwritten by more recent knowledge unknown to ruralists stuck on primitive ideas appealing in their simplistic, 3rd grade terms.

    It is nothing but ignorance in the form of arrested development of educational attainment which I propose we are seeing via a vis these appeals to “natural immunity” as though the latter was somehow superior to induced immunity while induced immunity functions according to identical, and just as natural, laws of biochemistry as does natural immunity. Those who propound some difference between natural and induced immunity don’t know what the ghenna they are talking about.

    These pockets of ignorance have become the tail wagging the dog. Nothing but a return to the slap in the face of formal education against these Luddite tendencies will prevail against the trash of those lacking a rigorous formal education.

    But is the U.S. able to rise to the challenge of elevating formal education to the fore?

    Outsourcing truth to popular culture and its media venues is the most dangerous proposition there us when a return to collective, formal education is what is required. Fighting for scientific truth on social media platforms tends toward nothing but argumentation. Popular culture will not win the war even though it may have allies on the side of what is generally recognized as empirical truth. Popular culture and its media venues are both inadequate and insufficient. Much more is required.

  14. John 2021-08-25

    Oh, yea of little faith. Masking and social distancing is more than 3,400 years old, as ascribed in the Bible, by Moses.

    “45 “Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt,[a] cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.” Leviticus 13: 45-46 NIV

    There was and is no right of freedom to infect the tribe.

  15. Guy 2021-08-25

    Read about Bill Phillips, the former Denver Broncos fitness coach and best-selling author of the fitness book, “Body for Life”. Reports coming in that Phillips was just released from the hospital in Colorado after he was hospitalized for over 2 months with COVID. He came out of a medically-induced coma and was on a ventilator. The fitness guru – who first refused to get vaccinated – originally got COVID in January 2020 and then…AGAIN this past summer. Phillips, once a very fit and healthy man has lost over 70 pounds through the experience. He is urging everyone to get the vaccine.

  16. Neal 2021-08-25

    “By contrast, Israelis who were vaccinated were 6.72 times more likely to get infected after the shot than after natural infection, with over 3,000 of the 5,193,499, or 0.0578%, of Israelis who were vaccinated getting infected in the latest wave.”

    Anyone care to refute this?

  17. Neal 2021-08-25

    Porter said: “Vaccines absolutely provide much more protection than natural immunity.”

    Porter’s head is so far up his ass he can chew his food twice on the way down.

  18. John Dale 2021-08-25

    Haven’t you heard? The Democratic Association of Secretaries of State has already moved-on from the pandemic to gun confiscation.

    They literally said that the pandemic is winding to a close.

    I think they meant the “pandemic operation” is nearly over since it’s not as effective.

    Now, another means to turn us against one another and spark a civil war.

    The last one we had allowed all manner of foreign actors to hook their prongs into the ol’ republic.

    But the twine grew weak.

    2020 is an attempt at renewal.

  19. kurtz 2021-08-25

    Indigenous Americans and reservations have some of the highest vaccination rates in the country yet rural white, conservative christians would rather get sick and die.

    Make no mistake.

    In 2020 Donald Trump and Republicans like Kristi Noem targeted Indian Country for annihilation. Since 1993 Donald Trump used the federal courts to punish tribal nations who built casinos he said were competition so his administration slow-walked resources to reservations effectively deploying COVID-19 as a biological weapon in Native America. It’s called ethnic cleansing even genocide elsewhere but in Noem’s South Dakota it’s called MAGA.

    The great unwashed and unvaccinated are clogging ICUs throughout my home state of South Dakota so the faster Earth hating Republicans are culled the better off America is.

  20. Donald Pay 2021-08-25

    Neal, See the data you are quoting are incomplete, so that 6.72 times number is not a real statistic. It is an artifact of incomplete data. This is a common problem that non-professionals have: they do not understand basic health statistics.

    You need to disclose how many were vaccinated versus how many were naturally infected, and then how many of both groups were infected or re-infected. If the numbers of vaccinated are, say, 6.72 times that of naturally infected, then it would be a wash. My guess is the numbers of vaccinated are vastly more than the number of those who were originally infected. If that is the case your would expect more cases of infection among the vaccinated.

  21. sx123 2021-08-25

    Neal, I would guess that in areas of high vaccination rate with delta, there will be more vaccinated get infected than nonvaccinated simply because the majority of people in the region are vaccinated and delta can infect vaccinated. Just guessing. Israel has a very high vaccination rate, so most getting infected will be the vaccinated.

    Like the group in the NE where most in the group were vaccinated, and most of the delta infections happened to the vaccinated (not as many unvaccinated to infect).

    However, in the US, most of the people in the hospital and have died from delta are _unvaccinated_.

  22. Dicta 2021-08-25

    How about we just sqaure Neal’s question with this: nobody is saying that immunity provided by actually having the illness is bad, or weak. The problem, dear Neal, is threefold:

    1) Getting covid has pesky side effects. You know, like death.
    2) Deaths or severe illness due to Covid are far, FAR more common than reactions to the vaccine.
    3) People who are vaccinated and subsequently contract covid experience far less severe symptoms.

    Ok, Mr “Just asking questions”, your turn.

    Also, this is your daily reminder that Cory might want to reassess his moderation policies, which are dumb.

  23. cibvet 2021-08-25

    It is a sad day when most people on this blog have to spend their time refuting the silly information that is put out by those who CHOOSE to be ignorant. I know it must be done to possibly save a life that could be influenced by these fools.

  24. bearcreekbat 2021-08-25

    The Israel study linked by Neal is interesting but Neal’s limited quote leaves out even more important and revealing information than the statistical analysis weaknesses identified by Donald and sx123.

    First, Israel was a leader in getting the majority of its population vaccinated. The immunity provided by the vaccination, like the immunity from prior infections, can wain over time and that is reportedly what happened in Israel. NPR reports that the increase in Covid Delta variation infections in Israel came about 6 months after the majority of that population had completed their initial vaccination regime.

    This information underscores the importance of following the recent recommendation in the US to get a 3rd booster vaccine. A booster shot is an excellent means of reducing the liklihood of a post-vaccine Covid infection.

    Second, and certainly even more important is the difference the vaccination made in the seriousness of the new Covid infections. Unvaccinated folks that became infected were reportedly more likely to suffer serious cases than vaccinated folks that became infected:

    . . . according to Health Ministry data, the rate of serious cases among unvaccinated people over age 60 (178.7 per 100,000) was nine times more than the rate among fully vaccinated people of the same age category, and the rate of serious cases among unvaccinated people in the under-60 crowd (3.2 per 100,000) was a little more than double the rate among vaccinated people in that age bracket.


    A third factor is the effect of Covid infections on young unvaccinated people. The idea that young people are better off being infected than vaccinated fails to account for the reported dangers to young unvaccinated people of Covid infections:

    The seriously ill patients who are unvaccinated are mostly young, healthy people whose condition deteriorated quickly.


    So, while some would certainly like to find confirming statistics to support a “natural immunity” theory, the best advice is to to consider “the rest of the story” (thanks Paul Harvey).

  25. WillyNilly 2021-08-25

    The trolls are similar to any infection. Action must be taken for the host to survive. In this case the less risky cure is to ignore them. If you feel you must reply, use a word or two… ‘misinformation’, ‘false’, ‘incomplete information’, ‘unverifiable’, ‘unreliable source’, ‘no named source’, and if you have a supporting link, you could add it to support your very brief comment. The greater the engagement, the greater the opportunity for them to spew their lies. They’re making it more and more difficult to enjoy some of the great writing here.

  26. Dicta 2021-08-25

    Or maybe Cory could sack up and run his website better. I’ll say it again:

    1) Posts with too many cites are moderated, often times never to be posted.
    2) Low effort troll posts are allowed without a second glance

    You want to blame someone? Blame the Harvard grad who can’t even figure out how to run a blog in a reasonable manner. If you sense anger, you’re right. I am sick of this pants on head stupid method of moderating debate, where effort is punished and one-offs are rewarded.

  27. Donald Pay 2021-08-25

    cibvet, During my time in South Dakota our group, Technical Information Project, would constantly fact-check information put out by industry, government officials and misinformed citizens. It may be a sad day when we have to do that, but, in that case, I had years and years of sad days during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Unfortunately, the ability to spread misinformation fast and before it can be corrected has been vastly increased by the internet. I’m not sure that Cory having a strict moderation policy would improve the situation. There are people (Neal John Dale) whose comments here are mostly demonstrably false, but they would just find other places to spew lies. I’d rather they spew lies here, where we can rebut them in real time.

  28. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-08-25

    (Dicta, I put two kinds of posts in moderation: those from first-time commenters, and those with 3 or more hyperlinks. As I review my moderation queue, I find no such multiple-link comments from known commenters still waiting for moderation. Sometimes regular commenters end up in moderation because they mistype their name or email, and those typos end up saved in their browser autocomplete, delaying their comments until I approve them or until they clear their cache and cookies and correctly retype their name/email.)

  29. Dicta 2021-08-25

    Than grant users who have proven themselves contributors in the community permissions to post more than 3 hyperlinks. Mind shattering, I know. You require them to disclose an email to post, use that as the means of granting said permission.

    Naw, nevermind. Better to keep it this way and let Dale continue vomiting all over the comments section with nary a second glance.

  30. bearcreekbat 2021-08-25

    Dicta, I too used to post comments with 3 or more hyperlinks. And like you I was frustrated when they went automatically into the moderation queue instead of quickly appearing. To relieve my frustration I started posting comments with only 1 or 2 hyperlinks, but if I wanted to add additional links I would just put them in seperate follow-up comments, 1 or 2 at a time. Problem solved for me.

    The change I miss in Cory’s blog is the removal of the automatic email notification when there was a new comment. I used to scour my email and click on each email notifying me of a new comment to see what other commentors were writing. Plus, I wouldn’t miss new comments even if I happened to be off the internet grid for a few days. Now I probably have missed many interesting comments because I am often off line for a few days at a time and Cory’s new method of identifying recent comments on his blog page is relatively short.

    But I do appreciate Cory’s incredibly hard work in daily updating the blog with interesting and provocative new posts, so I can resign myself to whatever changes Cory thinks works best for continuing the blog. As for comments from folks like Dale and Neal, some of the nonsense they post actually leads to interesting discussions. This can stimulate my own thinking and research, as well as often obtaining new useful information from the folks, like you, that respond with thoughtful analysis supported by actual links to credible sources.

  31. ds 2021-08-25

    RCAS received $58M in federal Covid-19 relief funds to mitigate the burdensome cost to the school district. Since they now are doing NOTHING to protect the health of students they should refund a big chunk of that money. Lawsuit, anyone?

  32. John 2021-08-25

    ds, it’s likely a federal mandamus lawsuit brought by one or a group in the jurisdiction of the Rapid City School District could carry the day. Mandamus is a court order compelling a government official or body to act – to do the civic duty they are obligated to do. Here that duty would be to adroitly, timely, reasonable spend those funds to protect children and staff, or return the funds.
    The emergency of the pandemic and elevated cases could accelerate a hearing.

  33. Donald Pay 2021-08-25

    I submitted the following to the US Department of Education to report potential fraud being perpetrated by the Rapid City Area School Board:

    “Yesterday, the Rapid City Area Schools Board of Education adopted policy against mask wearing, contract tracing and other measures to prevent Covid-19 infection of students and staff. The policy was adopted against the recommendations of area health care officials and area physicians. Rapid City Area Schools collected $58M in federal Covid-19 relief funds to mitigate the burdensome costs to the school district. It is unclear to me if that funding is to be used for this school year, or was to be used for last school year. As a former member of the Rapid City school board, I find it very troubling that federal dollars are going to a district that has such little regard for the health of students and staff.

    If school districts are doing their utmost to infect students and staff, as I believe the school board is doing, I feel they should NOT be allowed to profit from this irresponsibility. Is it fraud to purposely infect students and staff through misguided policy, while collecting federal funds that supposedly are provided to mitigate the financial burdens caused by Covid-19?

    I request that you investigate immediately the Rapid City School Board’s actions, the conditions under which those federal funds were distributed and take action to claw back any funds provided to the Rapid City Area Schools.

    Thank you for your prompt consideration. Student and staff lives are at risk.”

    You can submit a request for USDOE to investigate the Rapid City Area Schools through the following porthole:

    It doesn’t no good to bitch. You can take action. I want those school board members put in prison.

  34. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-25

    Donald…thank you for your initiative…now we need a Rapid School District resident with “standing” to file a mandamus law suit as suggested by John…the rule of law must prevail against the insurrectionists

  35. Joe 2021-08-25

    For those of you complaining about SD’s population growing too fast – looks like your prayers are being answered.

    I may still move back to the Hills/RC for retirement. Fully vaxxed since spring 2021.

  36. leslie 2021-08-25

    Neal’s comment to Porter should never see the light of day.

    Cory edited me out of existence here.

  37. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-25

    Leslie….I’ve been missing you and I’m sure several other correspondents have as well…don’t know what your problem was with Cory but I wish you would resolve the issues with our editor…he does a good job of balancing and refereeing the blog… you were a dedicated researcher with good information and solid opinions. but you just went over the top with the cites and got a bit unfocused at times…but… we are all in error from time to time…you are a solid liberal..hope you can return soon.

  38. Porter Lansing 2021-08-25

    Neal Tapio CaCa Not Only Lies Like A Trump BUT he tries to float an unconvincing story from the” National Enquirer” of Israel.
    –My source, America’s CDC is the believable story
    In short, vaccines protect far more than a previous infection.
    – Give up sonny.
    -Your credibility was shredded, by your own party, during your last campaign.
    – Overall, we rate Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) Right-Center biased based on editorial positions that align with the right. We also rate them Mixed for factual reporting due to two failed fact checks and deceptive practices through a fake photo. – Media Bias Fact Check
    i.e. – These media sources are slightly to moderately conservative in bias. They often publish factual information that utilizes loaded words (wording that attempts to influence an audience by appealing to emotion or stereotypes) to favor conservative causes. These sources are generally trustworthy for information but may require further investigation.

  39. Porter Lansing 2021-08-25

    Welcome back, Leslie.
    Missed you, mucho.
    Anyone who can get Arlo to start a post with other than “well” is super, in my book. #grins
    No offense, Arlo.
    Your stuff is top notch, also. #kudos

  40. Neal 2021-08-25

    Leslie said: “Neal’s comment to Porter should never see the light of day.”

    But I see you don’t have a problem with what Jerry said to me…

    “Do any of you agree that Neal is an asshat?”


  41. kurtz 2021-08-25

    In 2018 the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has passed resolutions condemning what they say are abuses of the General Mining Law of 1872 passed to pay Civil War debt leading to the Custer Expedition’s discovery of gold in the Black Hills and South Dakota State Senator Neal Tapio is saying he believes the people living in Oyate communities are victims of incest and molestation that lead to federal dependence, despair and high suicide rates.

    The United States Constitution is the finest instrument ever created by the human hand. The Preamble is the body, the Bill of Rights is the neck, the Amendments are the strings. It is a fluid universal execution of human and civil rights.

    It’s time for all Americans to enjoy the protection of law by being part of one nation: erase the artificial borders and grant Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness to all the people of North America…Mexico, Central America, Canada, even the Caribbean if they’ll have us.

  42. Neal 2021-08-25

    Dicta said: “1) Getting covid has pesky side effects. You know, like death.”

    Not for people 17 and under, not in any meaningful quantities at least. Something like 300 Americans under 17 have died from covid — total. Not that those 300 don’t matter, but more kids have died from playing sports or choking on legos, and I don’t see you trying to shut down the world to stop that.

    This post was about schools you know, where almost everyone is 17 or younger. Natural immunity is absolutely better for this demographic.

  43. kurtz 2021-08-25

    Every hospital in Montana is at capacity. Campbell County Hospital in Gillette, Wyoming is turning away patients where the unvaccinated and young have swamped the ICU. Monument Health in Rapid City and its other facilities are losing staff to exhaustion.

    The christianic governor of Montana is in Kristi Noem’s extreme white wing of the Republican Party and has pressed the panic button on immunizations. Why? The pandemic’s strain on that state’s medical industry is costing the State of Montana $millions in copays.

    Why somebody would rather pay $30,000 for a hospital bed when the inoculation is free remains a mystery.

  44. grudznick 2021-08-25

    My good friend Lar is righter than right. Mr. Tapio had a rare moment of sanity. Erase the borders, re-wild the west. Welcome back, Ms. leslie.

  45. Neal 2021-08-25

    Kurtz said: “It’s time for all Americans to enjoy the protection of law by being part of one nation…”

    Sorry brother but we’re going in the opposite direction. The only solution is formal political separation — between those who value freedom and those who prefer authoritarianism (or however you want to characterize yourselves). I want no political relationship whatsoever with the latter group, and I’m sure that feeling is mutual.

    Let’s work together to find a way to effectuate that civilly! We can still be trade partners, and who knows, maybe I’ll come visit sometime. I admit, you’ll have most of the good beaches.

    I’m confident that, with a shared goal like this, we can find a way to separate amicably.

    This trend has already begun. Look at how differently Montana and New Jersey (for example) are handling this. That type of individuality is exactly how the states were designed to operate! You can conduct yourselves however you wish! You can mandate wearing masks outside, just like in Oregon! You can forcibly “vaccinate” everyone!

    You can do whatever the heck you want, as long as I can do the same. And we will have no authority over one another. Fair enough, Lar?

    Seems to me like this is something we can all agree upon.

  46. Porter Lansing 2021-08-25

    Neal said, “Porter’s head is so far up his ass he can chew his food twice on the way down.”

    Porter says, “Kneel is his real name, given to him by his fundamentalist preacher papa.”

    Don’t get in an insult contest with me, Tapio.
    I’ll send you home crying, like last time.

  47. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-25

    Well…I think we’ve all witnessed enough insults…We can have a spirited political discussion without acting like eighth grade boys …after all…its just politics.

  48. Neal 2021-08-25

    One would think, Arlo. But just last week one of the regulars here wished literal death upon me, with a chorus of others joining in with support. So I think an insult here and there is perfectly appropriate under the circumstances, no?

  49. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-25

    Neal–if you are going to come on this site and verbally moon people, be aggressively provoking by promoting Q Anon and Trumpish insurrectionism then you can expect to receive various and sundry personal insults…its the manner in which you present your argument that merits these rebukes…Its a marketplace of ideas…present your ideas with civility…you could try humor…and a little humility.

  50. jerry 2021-08-26

    Neal feel sorry for himself since he was beaten like a piñata by Lee, and now you have to break bread with him….ouch.

  51. Donald Pay 2021-08-26

    If Neal is intent on killing people through his ignorance and his ideology, then I’d rather have him die than he kill others. His brand of stupidity isn’t “politics.” It’s public health malpractice that deserves the death penalty. I don’t mind saying it, and he shouldn’t mind, because that is just the Republican health care plan for America. Their plan is summed up this way: “Die quickly.” I’ve signed Neal up for the Republican plan. He should be happy.

  52. O 2021-08-26

    Neal, I don’t see your side as favoring freedom, I see your side theocratic; your ilk think one all-powerful guy should be in charge — he is just invisible and needs to have his will interpreted by those you think ought to be instituting the laws.

    The formal political separation you speak of sounds like you are advocating making the Civil War best two out of three. That kind of sedition draws a straight line to domestic terrorism. The irony that conservatives are so good at messaging and branding but oblivious to the effects those words have is the detriment of this nation.

  53. mike from iowa 2021-08-26

    So I think an insult here and there is perfectly appropriate under the circumstances, no?

    No! Last time I checked, neither Neal or Arlo owned the blog and got to make the rules.

    Neal reminds me of a murder/suicide maniac who has revealed his intentions and should be closely monitored by the lads and lasses in white coats.

  54. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-08-26

    Neal, we’re not really free when you impose your will on the rest of us by spreading harmful misinformation and disease. True liberty is achieved within a robust social contract in which we all agree to surrender some measure of the “freedom” of anarchy and agree to follow certain rules that serve the common good and maximize the range of activities in which we all can engage.

    It might be nice to think that mere freedom would solve this problem: those who are concerned about the pandemic could take precautions and survive, while those who prefer death over wearing a mask on their trips to school and the store could run that risk themselves without posing any risk to others. But the two camps are not hermetically sealed off from one another. Neal’s choices affect those of us making opposite choices. Neal is swinging his arm, and he’s hitting other people’s noses. That’s not allowed in a social contract.

    The Rapid City school board is ding the same thing. The individual members can believe whatever they want about coronavirus and freedom. But as a board, as the caretakers of students and staff and public education, they have an obligation to the community. They are imposing their ideology and wishful thinking on everyone and putting people at risk. They are negating the choices that community members make to keep themselves and their children safe by creating conditions in which parents and teachers may not even be able to get the information they need to make choices to keep themselves and their children safe. The Rapid City School Board is infringing on the freedom of people with whom they disagree just like Neal is, just like any good authoritarians would.

    When we fought the Nazis, everyone fought the Nazis. Everyone lived under rationing. Every young man was subject to the draft, with health exemptions. Conscientious objectors faced other restrictions. Draft dodgers went to prison. You could stand on a street corner and shout, “Nazis aren’t a threat! Don’t be afraid of Hitler! Live your life!” but you still had to participate in the war effort (get your ration cards, pay your taxes, send your sons to war, go without nylon) for the good of the country.

  55. Porter Lansing 2021-08-26

    Tales From the Radical Right …

    Troy Jones says, “I’ve come to discount most of what I read from “experts” as they are all trying to manipulate. That Faucci liar and his cohorts have to go, too. Liars beget liars. Crazies beget Crazies.”

    Anonymous says, “Ya gotta stop conflating the choice to get vaccinated with spreading lies about the vaccine, Troy. They aren’t the same, and it’s a bit weird that you tried to frame the argument this way.”

  56. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-26

    well.a”few” teenagers dying of Covid is not acceptable, no matter how Neal and the Rapid City School Board want to rationalize it (and hundreds of students do not die each year as a result of school sports participation, nor do hundreds of young children die from choking on legos…not only a rationalization but a Big Lie)..the reasoning behind the anti-vaccine crowd’s arguments is nonsensical and tragic. Children and teenagers do not need to join senior citizens as martyrs for their alleged “freedom”.

  57. kurtz 2021-08-26

    The extreme white wing of the Republican Party believes the CDC is run by radical leftists who worship science, no?

  58. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-26

    Neal…again…the big lie…the CDC report is children 1 to 19 over a five year period who died from “injury” including burns, falls, drowning, poisonings and auto accidents. Does not list sports injuries or specifically school sport injuries but appears to be accidental deaths….appears that the two pages you cited are unrelated and have been compiled together to intentionally mislead. Your position on “natural immunity” for Covid and Covid mutations is absurd.

  59. Neal 2021-08-26

    It’s a link from the CDC itself, Arlo. And the top clearly identifies it being about sports injuries. And if that isn’t enough, here’s an actual quote from the link:

    “Each year, nearly 9.2 million children aged 0 to 19 years are seen in emergency departments for injuries, and 12,175 children die as a result of being injured.”

    So you’re wrong three times over in one paragraph. That’s impressive.

  60. O 2021-08-26

    Neal, I get the point you are making – nothing is 100% safe. I have two problems with your argument:
    1). this level of “whataboutism” doesn’t really make the point that we ought to be reckless with the health and safety of children. The fact that children get hurt doesn’t warrant putting children in other dangerous situations.
    2) the CDC site you use for your evidence is NOT about sports/school activity injuries alone. The specific areas of injury they list are burns, falls, drownings, poisonings, and road traffic injuries. Clearly, this is not a list of injuries that happen exclusively in a school activity setting.

    But that you opened the door on the larger issue of school safety, I would push in the other direction. Keeping our children safe ought to be a MUCH higher priority for all of us; as such, school shootings is still an epidemic that conservatives refuse to address in any meaningful way (outside of “hopes and prayers” for the murdered children’s families). Why isn’t the discussion how to make our children safer? I find it abhorrent that conservatives disguise their reckless disregard for the health and safety of our most vulnerable in the cloak of “freedom” and become deathly silent on any existing “right to life” once a child has been delivered.

    Instead of dragging everyone down to the lowest level, better policy would raise everyone up to the highest level. “Not being the worst” is never an argument that we should not try to make a problem better.

  61. jerry 2021-08-26

    Powerful stuff O, well put.

  62. Arlo Blundt 2021-08-26

    O, thank you

  63. jerry 2021-08-26

    South Dakota has hospitalized children with covid.

    “The number of children hospitalized for COVID-19 reached an all-time high in the United States this weekend, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    A record-high 1,902 pediatric coronavirus hospitalizations were reported on Saturday, Reuters reports. Kids now make up 2.4% of those hospitalized with COVID-19 in the nation.

    As of Sunday, Texas leads the country with 311 pediatric hospitalizations for confirmed or suspected COVID-19, per HHS data. Florida (204), California (140), Ohio (114), and Georgia (87) round out the top five.

    There are currently no children in the states of Vermont, Rhode Island, Wyoming, or Alaska hospitalized with the coronavirus. Just one child is hospitalized in New Hampshire and Hawaii, respectively; two are hospitalized in both Maine and South Dakota; three are hospitalized in Kansas.”

  64. DaveFN 2021-08-27


    The issue is not whether the immune response is lesser or greater to a vaccine via a vis the actual virus, but whether the immune response is adequate and sufficient to a vaccine for protection against the virus and its consequences. The answer to the latter question is an unequivocal “yes.” .

    Care to dispute that?

  65. Donald Pay 2021-08-27

    Neal, If you read the article, it hedges a bit on your statement. First, there is the matter of risk of vaccination vs. risk of contracting the disease. You can get immunity from either, but the risk from the disease are much worse. Second, if you get the disease, you are a vector. You are likely to spread the disease before your body develops immunity. It is therefore a selfish and reckless way to develop immunity. Since you are most likely going to be spreading the disease to loved ones, friends, and co-workers, that make you a risk to them. Think about getting your immunity by killing someone else, someone you love. Think about giving Covid to a co-worker who has a child with Down Syndrome and is 10 times more likely to die of the infection. Immunity in an individual is one thing, Ask Native Americans, who developed immunity to all sorts of diseases brought over from Europe, but whose families and cultures were swept away in various pandemics. Vaccines don’t have that risk.

  66. DaveFN 2021-08-27


    In the event you are more a visual learner than one who follows written logic such as Donald Pay details, please watch this video, “Is Natural Immunity Better than Vaccination,” by Dr. Paul Offit.

  67. mike from iowa 2021-08-27

    From Neal’s link…… As for the Israel medical records study, Topol and others point out several limitations, such as the inherent weakness of a retrospective analysis compared with a prospective study that regularly tests all participants as it tracks new infections, symptomatic infections, hospitalizations, and deaths going forward in time. “It will be important to see these findings replicated or refuted,” says Natalie Dean, a biostatistician at Emory University.

    Natural immunity might turn out to be great, but i wouldn’t bet my life or any of my family’s lives on a small study.

  68. John 2021-09-04

    The Circus, that previously was the Rapid City School Board has its xenophobes and racists practicing in the open. Apparently enrollment is declining in their schools. The attitude of the majority of the board will hasten that decline. City leaders need to step in and step up if they want to make the city attractive for business. (Decades ago Aberdeen crapped on its high school. That resulted in scores of lost business opportunities.) Rapid City is a town with a small immigrant population. If the racists do not like that they should close Ellsworth AFB (some airman and some spouses), School of Mines and Technology (some professors, spouses, and graduate students), perhaps the hospital, clinics, and other employers.

    It’s remarkable that the 5 loser board members apparently forgot where their great grandparents came from and that a hand up is not a hand out. It’s awe striking that the board member who pretends being police officer apparently has no idea the plurality, if not most of the police department resources and budget, comes from federal grants, gifts, resourced training, etc.

    It’s beyond pathetic, perhaps criminal neglect, that the Pennington County public health officer fails to step up. There should be an emergency order of a mask and social distancing mandate in the schools for kids older that 10.

Comments are closed.