I see South Dakotans Against Prohibition plan to disrupt the South Dakota State Fair with a protest parade in favor of medical marijuana and industrial hemp. Organizer Cody Gardner of Huron says he has 150 protesters ready to march and thinks he can get a full 1,000 to take over Third Street, the main city street that bisects the fairgrounds.

Protesters plan to cheer for Independent Mike Myers at the State Fair gubernatorial debate on Friday, then march east on Third Street to Dakota Avenue with most if not all of the Libertarian statewide candidates. They say it will take them 30 minutes to march those eight blocks... which makes me think part of the failure of the pro-hempers and Libertarians is an inability to get their rears in gear. (I hear pot does that to people.)

Another potential failure of the Libertarian-hemp movement: the inability to recognize good marketing synergy. They stage their march when everyone's at work on Friday morning, a slower day at the Fair with all those plain old candidates. They miss the chance to march on Saturday, when they could synergize with grandstand entertainer Stoney LaRue. Marketing, fellas... marketing.

p.s.: I support keeping government out of medical decisions. I also support growing hemp to boost South Dakota's economy and improve our soil and water quality. I have yet to see any South Dakota Libertarians capable of organizing an effective movement toward those policies.

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At Dakotafest today, Gordon Howie doubled my projection of his vote total in South Dakota's Senate race to double digits.

The Howie boost doesn't come from his good hits on Rounds on EB-5 in today's debate (though I wholeheartedly approve, Gordon—carry on!). It wasn't his amazing ability to draw Rounds into attacking him (really! Rounds did it, saying Howie isn't fiscally conservative! That's worth a couple brownie points!). It wasn't his discourse on the Tenth Amendment and state sovereignty (I take those brownie points right back).

No, the Howie boost comes from the man in this photo:

Gordon Howie, Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, and Nick Reid, campaign manager.

Gordon Howie, Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, and Nick Reid, campaign manager, at Dakotafest, outside Mitchell, South Dakota, 2014.08.20.

Meet Gordon Howie's campaign manager, Nick Reid. Douglas High School debate coach Nick Reid. Debate coach.

We all debate coaches are destined to rule the world. If Gordon can listen to Nick, he just might beat Pressler!

And if he can play that last name right, he might even win the still up-for-grabs endorsement of the Senate Majority Leader.

1 comment

RickstockCrowd Hey, what are all those people doing in Dr. Kevin Weiland's yard?

Take It Back Band Why, listening to Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Rick Weiland and the Take It Back Band...

Rickstock2014 ...on a beautiful evening in the Black Hills.

Clean Water AllianceFolks at this show don't want any uranium mining...

Seamans Clanton...and these ranch men will have no truck with pipelines...

KurtzPipe ...but pipes are fine, especially with Kurtz classing up the smoking section.

BlogReadersatRickstockRick voters and blog readers are also cool with flower power and adult beverages in moderation.

WeilandatRickstockCandidate Weiland had a moment between sets to chat about the campaign. Before playing the big show Saturday at his brother Kevin's Piedmont place, Rick walked the Central States Fair parade through downtown Rapid City. Parade in the morning, working the stage and working the crowd all afternoon and evening (and before the sun dropped below the ponderosas, it was hot on that stage!)... you tell me who the hardest working man in the Senate campaign is!

Rick noted that the last time he marched in the Central States Fair parade (another campaign, another decade), he recalls folks actually booing at him. Saturday morning, he said parade-goers were cheering and stepping out to shake his hand. That's long-term momentum!

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President Harry Truman endorses Rickstock:

Photo from Kevin Weiland, Rickstock Facebook page, 2014.08.06

Photo from Kevin Weiland, Rickstock Facebook page, 2014.08.06

While I tie-dye my press hat for the big August 16 Rick Weiland musical fundraiser in Piedmont, the Democratic candidate continues his crusade to win a seat in the Senate by shaking hands in every town in the state. Journalist Kevin Woster is impressed with the effort Weiland is making in a campaign he's "almost" certain to lose:

It’s the “almost,” of course, along with a young, palm-studying staff of smart-phone addicts, that gets Weiland out of bed early each day to pound the pavement, press the flesh and pass mile after mile of lonesome South Dakota roads in a low-budget, wrist-wrenching retail campaign he wouldn’t trade for just about anything. OK, maybe he’d trade it for a lot of campaign cash and a 15-point lead over Rounds, but let’s get serious. This is South Dakota, where Republican candidates begin any statewide campaign with a 50,000 vote edge over Democrats in registered voters.

Still, Weiland is serious about the campaign and actually seems inspired by it. Asked to compare this campaign to his previous two, Weiland said: “This one has been much more hands on. It’s a real campaign, and these are real visits. Our goal has been to meet at least one person in every town. And we’ve done that" [Kevin Woster, "Haven't Been to Hillsview? You Haven't Really Campaigned," KELOLand.com, 2014.08.05].

Rick Weiland campaign van next to SDGOP campaign bus

Rick vs. Mike—David vs. Goliath

Compare Rick's hard-charging minivan tour of South Dakota with Mike Rounds's comfortable cruise around the state in a giant wrapped bus, and you can understand why the press, not to mention hard-working voters, might talk more about Weiland's travels than about what a Weiland fundraising pitch deems the GRA$$ROOT$ EXPRE$$. Weiland's Everywhere-Everyman-van versus Rounds's luxury travel could also explain why, even though he has more name recognition, his favorable–unfavorable ratio is notably worse than Weiland's.

8 comments
Arc of Dreams™, concept by Dale Lamphere

Arc of Dreams™, concept by Dale Lamphere

Fundraising is underway to create the capstone to the Sioux Falls Sculpture Walk: the "Arc of Dreams™," a 70-foot-high almost-arch spanning the Big Sioux River between 6th and 8th Streets. The design looks pretty cool. But in the spirit of leaping forth with our dreams, and at peril of incurring the wrath of Arc™ designer Dale Lamphere, I propose the following ten improvements to this mighty work of art:

  1. For a memorable welcome to Sioux Falls, make the Arc™ taller so planes approaching Joe Foss Field can fly under it.
  2. Draw Trekkie dollars: reshape the Arc™ into a bat'leth (or two dueling bat'leths! Qapla'!).
  3. Make it wide enough for joggers and bicyclists to get to the top. Leave the gap: let folks jump across to bring to life the dreamers' leap of faith the gap symbolizes.
  4. Close the gap and build one at every intersection as a non-motorized overpass so SUV drivers can rush into traffic without watching for annoying cyclists.
  5. Paint it rainbow colors, in celebration of the inevitable victory of Jennie and Nancy Rosenbrahn.
  6. Install sprinklers to create a soothing, shimmering curtain of mist making rainbows all day long.
  7. Make it a giant Tesla coil, with spark shows after sunset every evening.
  8. Hang a rope from each end into the water to promote fishing (pranksters are already designing 30-foot carp to hang from the ends in the middle of the night). Ropes can also catch boaters and tubers paddling underneath to cool off in the mist curtain on hot summer days.
  9. Add a natural-gas nozzle to the sprinklers, combine with the Tesla coil—Arc of Flame! Install a barge below, and host an outdoor KISS concert!
  10. Widen the gap and install a slingshot for kayakers (yes, I mean load the kayaker in the pocket and wheeeee!). Also use to celebrate outgoing mayors.

The sculpture fundraisers would prefer your dollars, not your wise-guy ideas. A thousand bucks gets you your own quartzite plaque in the surrounding Walk of Dreams; $50K gets you a quartzite-and-steel pillar. So how much will get me the Tesla coil?

Related: Speaking of Sioux Falls iconography, blogospheric neighbor Scott Ehrisman urges us to vote for his design for a flag for Sioux Falls. The Committee to Establish a Suitable Flying Banner for the City of Sioux Falls is conducting an online survey to pick a flag for our eastern Queen City. There appear to be 90 flags to rate. Uff da! (Yes, that's it! A nice sky blue field with UFF DA! in bold white letters... and the Arc of Dreams™ in the background.)

41 comments

Fellow Lake Herman expatriate Elisa Sand wrote this week of two 19-year-olds passing through Aberdeen on a walk from Seattle to New York City. Evidently crossing South Dakota on Highway 12 hasn't given Cameron Coupe and Zan Roman a great impression of South Dakota:

Neither of the two had been to South Dakota, which they found to be flat with "not a lot going on." As a first for the trip, he pair were mistaken for homeless people while eating at a buffet in Aberdeen. An employee who saw them packing up the carts outside told them they had to pay first before sitting down and eating [Elisa Sand, "Teens Stop in Aberdeen on Cross-Country Walk," Aberdeen American News, 2014.07.16].

Not a lot going on? Evidently Coupe and Roman aren't paying attention. There's lots going on; they just seem to be too tired to notice and write it down.

Moose near Tolstoy, South Dakota, June 27, 2014. Photo by Gwen Hettich.

Moose near Tolstoy, South Dakota, June 27, 2014. Photo by Gwen Hettich.

For instance, they could have written about their fellow wanderers in northeastern South Dakota, the moose!

A pair of moose spotted in Potter and Faulk counties could be passing through or looking for a place to call home.

Brown County conservation officer NickCochran said a young bull and young cow have been spotted several times, but it’s not unusual for South Dakotans to see the occasional moose roaming through from northern Minnesota or North Dakota [Elisa Sand, "Moose Pair Continuing Travels in Aberdeen Area," Aberdeen American News, 2014.07.11].

Moose marching through South Dakota! Moose attack people more often than bears attack people! What do we do?

Typically, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department takes an observatory role.

“We just monitor them and let them do their thing,” he said.

As for the general public, Cochran said, people should be advised to give the moose their space. While they are curious and don’t spook as easily as a deer, a moose will charge if it feels threatened [Sand, 2014.07.11].

The moose have not reported any unpleasant assumptions or discriminatory treatment from buffet staff in Tolstoy or Cresbard. Coupe laments this weekend that he and Roman have walked more miles than raised dollars (1,500 miles, 1,400 dollars for the Seattle Children's Hospital, the ostensible motivation for their transambulation).

But you know, strangers breezing through the state telling stories about helping children and expecting people to hand them money don't have the most sustainable business model.

16 comments

Zut alors! The South Dakota Legislature's Rules Review Committee has found a way to make English the official and exclusive language in a few dusky corners of our state: the Deadwood card tables. In its continuing response to allegations of high-stakes collusion among poker players, the state Gaming Commission got the Rules Review Committee to say that speaking anything other than English at Deadwood's poker tables is verboten.

I can't wait until some femme fatale enjoying a taco and champagne sneezes and the unlucky yutz next to her instinctively says, "Gesundheit!"

The mischief-maker in me wants to believe there's a court challenge coming: discrimination against Native Americans speaking Lakota, an Americans with Disabilities Act violation excluding folks who speak sign language, something. But the Gaming Commission's lawyer says the linguistic exclusion is kosher:

“The reason we can is because gaming is a suspect activity,” said Mike Shaw, the commission’s attorney. “It is not subject to the same protection that other activities are.”

Sen. Jim Bradford, D-Pine Ridge, said it would be unfair, for example, if two players spoke Lakota at the table and the other players didn’t.

“Same with any language; you could manipulate the game,” Bradford said.

After the meeting Eliason said the “English only” rule is not an attempt to create an official language.

“Its purpose is to prevent collusion among poker players,” he said. “It is the same reason that we prohibited texting and other forms of communication that other players can’t understand or hear or see” [Bob Mercer, "New Deadwood Card Game Rules: No Phones, and English Only," Rapid City Journal, 2014.07.09].

Mercer reports that Nevada and New Jersey have English-only rules like this. Most (but not all) online poker outfits have similar rules. Rules requiring that card players interact in a single common language and medium thus appear to be normal and court-challenge-proof. So all you linguists hoping to impress the ladies will have to save your French for the bar. Quel dommage! Un autre chocolat, mon petit chou?

(Oh yeah, and the new gaming rules ban using cell phones during the game, meaning Pat Powers will squeak again about texting freedom.)

Tangentially Related: Kevin Woster swings the baguette and dishes some French in his essay on Chad Haber.

9 comments

I don't usually find much value in anonymous comments. However, one unknown reader responds to Pat Powers's lazy press-release blogging by saving the South Dakota Republican Party Platform Committee a whole lot of work. Here's a nicely distilled version of the SDGOP platform:

PLANK ONE: Keep education funding lowest in the country so our kids will be uneducated Republicans who keep voting for us because they don’t know any better.

PLANK TWO: Make sure babies are born, but then tell them they better pull themselves up by their bootstraps the second they get out of the womb. Personal responsibility, baby. Quit crying already.

PLANK THREE: Keep no-bid contracts. Especially for advertising agencies. They’re the best!

PLANK FOUR: Find more pretty candidates like Kristi. That’s seemed to work well.

PLANK FIVE: Keep lying to people about Obama stealing from Medicare, and while we’re at it keep Mike Rounds’ dad from breaking a hip because us tax payers are funding his health care. Moocher.

PLANK SIX: Obamacare. Keep telling people it sucks but encouraging retirees to check it out if they don’t like the state’s plan.

PLANK SEVEN: Cut education some more. Because why the hell do we need teachers anyway? I don’t have kids in school anymore.

PLANK EIGHT: Keep bringing in that federal dough while saying how bad the federal government is. It’s worked pretty well so far. If we start supporting the federal government they might take that 40 percent of our state budget away.

That should just about do it [anonymous comment, Dakota War College, 2013.06.13].

Republican readers, if that gets you grouchy, well, (1) you have it coming, and (2) I invite you to submit your own satirical renditions of the South Dakota Democratic Party platform.

11 comments

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