Tag Archives: legislator

Just when I think I like South Dakota(ns)…

May is a a wonderful month for birding.  After a long winter, not only do the summer breeding birds make their way back to South Dakota, but many, many species of migrants move through the state on their way north.  Friday after work, I headed out with my camera, looking for migrants. The birds certainly didn’t disappoint, with scads of shorebirds, ducks, and wading birds loafing around the wetlands I visited.

While heading towards some of my favorite spots, I stopped in a small town to get gas. Despite my cynicism and general anti-social behavior (shocking that I call myself anti-social, I know), every once in a while, you get the warm fuzzies when coming across some truly nice people.  While pumping my gas, an old couple pulled up in a pickup.  A gentleman in overalls got out and started to fill the tank while his wife went inside.  As soon as he had the gas running, he walked around the pump, just to chat with me, with a total stranger.  And a very nice chat it was!!  When I went inside to pay (old gas station, no credit card at the pump!), the wife was waiting at the counter, with two freshly made ice cream cones. “Darn that Earl, he found another person to talk to!!”, she “complained” to the clerk. Sure enough, I look out and “Earl” was chatting up another customer.  The wife wasn’t genuinely upset…she was having her own long conversation with the clerk.  As I’m paying, another person walks in, and the clerk and the wife both call out and ask how “Jodie” was doing.  Evidently “Jodie” had broken an ankle.

I walk back out to my pickup, and pass Earl, who’s finally coming in to pay.  He gives me a tip of the hat and a “have a good evenin’!” as we pass each other.  I literally could feel my cynicism melting away, being pushed down by a wonderful dose of good ol’ small-town friendliness.  It made me realize how nice it is to have a place like this, where the clerk knows the customers’ names, where people have no problem striking up a friendly conversation with a total stranger.

My gushy warm feelings lasted approximately 15 minutes and 38 seconds.  That’s about how long it took to get to one of my favorite birding spots, a big marshy spot that often has a lot of birds.  As I turned onto the gravel road to head towards the wetland, I saw a pickup about half a mile ahead, pulled over on the side of the road.  As soon as I got on the road, the pickup took off.  I didn’t think anything of it, UNTIL I got near the spot where he was parked.  Laying in the marsh grass…three VERY freshly dead Great Egrets.  One had a spot with blood, but although otherwise I couldn’t see what killed them, I assumed it was the tiny penis gun nuts in that pickup. A pretty safe assumption, given my past experiences in South Dakota.

Warm fuzzy feelings long gone, I continued on, turned a corner, and came across a pile of about a dozen dead snow geese, a mere half a mile from the dead egrets.  These were obviously long dead, with scavengers having already taken their toll.  However it’s obvious the birds were killed and then dumped in a pile on the side of the road.  It wasn’t for food, as they weren’t cleaned…just shot, and dumped.  The spot I was birding is a bit difficult to get to.  Officially, the road is closed.  With high water levels, water trickles over the gravel in a few places, and the road really isn’t passable except if you have a good 4-wheel drive.  Given the proximity of the dead egrets and the dead snow geese, my guess is that the local rednecks (of which South Dakota has plenty) use this quiet little spot for “target practice”…with my birds being the target.

I went birding later this past weekend, on Sunday, and again while out in a relatively remote spot, I came over a hill, and there were 3 young men with rifles, standing on the side of the road next to their truck.  Rifles…out in the middle of nowhwere…on a nice spring day.  Not exactly any hunting season I know about.  As I approached the three placed their rifles on the far side of their bodies, away from me.  Doesn’t take much imagination to know that people who try to hide something are generally up to no good.

Events such as these certainly are enough to fuel my cynicism for, oh…several months at least.  And given where I live, and how damned often I’ve come across dead birds and other animals that have been used as target practice, there aren’t very many occasions where my cynicism has a chance to melt away.

Alas, it’s not just the “hunting” (HAH!!! more like KILLING) culture of South Dakota. Underlying that good ol’ fashioned small town charm I encountered while filling my pickup, there’s also a lot of good ol’ fashioned bigotry and intolerance in the state.  Hell, it’s so ingrained in the culture of South Dakota that bigotry and intolerance has become a campaign strategy for some state politicians.  Check out the recent comments from Steve Hickey, a Republican (of course) state legislator. Last week he called gay men and gay sex “a one way alley for the garbage truck“.  Uh…OK…not even sure what that means, but I’m sure he meant it as a “clever”insult to gay people.  As if he wanted to make his point even clearer, this week he stated that gay sex is like “eight of your friends that you’re in love with take a dump in your bed and then you can sleep in it all year long.


Small town charm in South Dakota?  Occasionally.  Every once in awhile, you may get a chance to enjoy that small town charm.  All you have to do to experience it is to put up with the gun wackos who think everything that moves is a target, as well as the bigoted people of the state and the politicians that they vote for.

And the hits keep on a comin’ – SD Legislature

R-Stan Adelstein

Stan Adelstein, another grumpy white male SD legislator with a personal agenda he wants to impose on the entire state.

Man, when the South Dakota legislature gets on a roll, there is NO stopping the endless string of bad legislation. We already know our South Dakota legislators are gun-totin’, bible-thumpin’ white boys who want the rest of the world to be, well…gun-totin’, bible-thumpin’ white boys. I also swear to god South Dakota legislators are the most easily influenced group of people this side of middle-school girls at a Justin Bieber concert.

Unions are evil!! The REST of the right-wing GOP establishment SAYS so!! So by god, our brilliant and innovative South Dakota legislators are going to fall RIGHT in line with the rest of the GOP, and do away with all the harm unions have done in the South Dakota. Repubs have filed a bill that would eliminate the right of public employees in the state to collectively bargain. After all, the idea has gone over SO well elsewhere, like in Wisconsin or Ohio, where voters rebelled against laws that restricted the rights of public workers to unionize and collectively bargain.

But hey, this is South Dakota. Our boys here are a little slow on the uptake. They’re JUST startin’ to pick up on this anti-union thing, and decided that they too needed to restrict public unions that have caused SO much harm in the state. Right? I mean, there has to be SOME reason they’re introducing this bill, other than the fact that our legislators here are a bunch of slack-jawed nincompoops who aren’t capable of doing anything but following the rest of the right-wing wackos in this country.

We already have wages that are the lowest in the country. Unions aren’t exactly causing businesses to fret over wages and benefits.   State and local governments aren’t being driven to the poorhouse by union-negotiated contracts.  So what possible reason IS there for Republicans to bring this bill up in South Dakota?

How about one MORE redneck, ass-backward South Dakota legislator with a burr up his butt?  R-Stan Adelstein is the major sponsor of the bill in the South Dakota Senate.  As Adelstein makes sure to point out, “I carry a concealed weapons permit“…something I guess Adelstein wants all those rabble-rousing union folk to know, in case they had any plans of messin’ around with him.  As the Argus Leader story above notes, Adelstein has had “run-ins” with unions before, in association with his engineering business.   What the hell, might as well take his own personal issues and make South Dakota teachers, fire fighters, policemen, and other public employees pay the price.

It’s ass-backwards.  It’s the South Dakota way.

South Dakota House – Again Asserting their Brilliance

Mount Rushmore Faces

Washington. Jefferson. Lincoln. Roosevelt. And now, "Hickey" (aptly named) and "Bolin". I move we immediately honor South Dakota Reps. Steve "Redneck" Hickey, and Jim "Bible Boy" Bolin, for their sponsorship of the South Dakota bill that "recommends" bible study in public classrooms.

There are a number of terms you’d never likely use in the same sentence as “South Dakota House”.  “Progressive”, for example.  “Fair and Balanced”.  “Intelligent”.  My current state of South Dakota has the unfortunate honor of having the most idiotic, ass-backwards set of politicians this side of Newt Gingrich.  The pinnacle of achievement for the South Dakota House was during the 2010 session, when they passed a bill calling for “balanced teaching of global warming” in South Dakota classrooms.  Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, or the Onion couldn’t craft a more hilarious piece of legislation than what is contained in this bill.  But seriously, why SHOULD educators teach our children about climate change, when “there are a variety of climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological dynamics” that really drive climate change.  That, and the fact that carbon dioxide is “the gas of life”. 

Once again, the South Dakota House is feeling the need to assert their brilliance.  They recently passed a bill that recommends South Dakota educators add a study of the bible to the standard curriculum.  After all, according to them, the bible “permeates all culture, law, and philosophy“, and really, that’s all that matters to folks, right?  At least to white male Christian folks like those making up 99.99768% of the South Dakota House.  As R-Jim Bolin states, of COURSE we should have bible study in public schools, since such common catchy phrases such as “Old as Methuseluh” come from the bible and are SO prevalent in every day conversation today.  Just check your friends on Facebook, or listen to your teenage kids…they’re ALL saying it. 

Look, I have absolutely no problem with what people personally believe.  Live and let live.  Heck, despite my own beliefs, I even don’t have a problem if schools want to talk about the bible and it’s influence on Western culture….IF it’s done honestly and fairly.  But what are the odds of THAT happening in Hickville, South Dakota (99.2% of towns in South Dakota may qualify for the title)?  If a teacher cracks open a bible and starts spouting off bible verses in class…what are the odds that teacher will ALSO crack open a Koran and do the same?  What are the odds in South Dakota that the teacher will ALSO teach the philosophy of Buddhism?  Hinduism? 

You’ll notice the white Christian males of the South Dakota House ONLY said that teachers should talk about the Bible in classrooms.  What a shock.  Gotta love good ol’ state-sponsored bigotry, which is what this bill amounts to. 

Do us a favor, South Dakota legislators.  Stick to what you know best…things like your attempts to make sure every South Dakotan is armed to the teeth with the latest concealed or automatic weaponry.  Leave educational issues to those who are, well….educated.