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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Displaced Plainsman keeps on his English teacher/debate coach hat (such headwear never comes off) and offers five summer study essay questions for us students of AP South Dakota Politics. While the instructor surely expects lengthier, better evidenced final drafts, I offer these initial brainstorm responses:

Question 1: South Dakotans will elect a pro-choice Republican to statewide office before they elect a pro-life Democrat. A pro-choice Republican can make a more ideologically coherent case for personal autonomy and keeping government out from between doctors and patients.

Question 2—Bonus first: Few politicians discuss the split between European and Native South Dakotans because they can't boil the problems or the solutions into 30-second campaign ads or quick and easy pieces of legislation. Furthermore, they avoid the topic because our Lakota neighbors generally aren't at the tables where we have those conversations, and we do a poor job of inviting them to those tables. Finally, Indians in South Dakota don't exert enough pull as swing voters or campaign donors to motivate more discussion from candidates.

As for the main question, the best way to bridge the Euro-Native gap is either (1) sending every South Dakota high school junior to a reservation for a semester of public service as a requirement for graduation or (2) using a time machine to stage a few strategic interventions in South Dakota history.

Question 3: Democrats can solicit Independent votes with their current minimum-wage initiative, followed by advocacy for repeal of the gay-marriage ban, expansion of Medicare under the Affordable Care Act, a concrete initiative to raise teacher pay to 40th in the nation, a total ban on eminent domain for projects owned and operated by private corporations (Keystone XL!), and a constitutional amendment declaring corporations are not people.

Question 4: Yes, a South Dakota politician who openly declares his or her dislike for hunting and fishing can succeed in a statewide race, as long as he or she does something else really awesome, like bull-riding, riding the Mickelson Trail, or beating his or her opponent in a beer-chugging contest.

Question 5: Second Amendment advocates focus on firearms over knives, collapsible batons, and other arms because the knife and baton industries have not yet bankrolled an organization comparable to the National Rifle Association to agitate for their products. There's probably also some psychosexual reason (all of the weapons mentioned in the question are phallic, but only firearms actually shoot something)... but the teacher probably won't accept such a graphic essay.

Mr. Kallis welcomes your submissions! Grammar and spelling count, and no cheating with extra-large font sizes.

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I promise: per Bosworth's request in her only face-to-face conversation with me (not to mention my own morals), I have not f---ed with her son. But an eager reader sends a clip from Sunday's Sioux Falls paper that suggests someone has: Argus Profile 20130526 They got the wild eyes right, but two children... wait a minute! When this campaign started, Chad and Annette had three children (none of them named for presidents... though maybe Annette pronounces Chancellor with a long a in honor of her political beacon). But the clip above says she has two children. We're short a kid! Yikes! The simple explanation is that someone at that Sioux Falls paper didn't proofread (because, really, it's just the Bosworth profile, and she's not a real candidate, so why bother?). But maybe Tuesday's press conference won't be a Bosworth striptease; maybe she'll announce that Chad sold their first-born to the Devil to ensure a primary victory. Either that, or one of the boys just got sick of wearing the same red campaign t-shirt every day, and Mom has disowned him until he puts it back on.

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Annette Bosworth is hard to satirize. It's hard to make fun of the already ridiculous.

But hey, I'm an atheist South Dakota blogger. I'm an expert at trying the impossible.

15 days until the primary: what more fun could lie ahead?

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Kevin Woster's debunking of the Larry Pressler-closet story provokes Joel Rosenthal to recount a locker-room meeting with the veteran Senator and newly minted Independent candidate.

Rosenthal says he was "barely clothed in a towel after showering" when Pressler "literally bumped into me." (Good grief, what kind of dime novel is Joel writing?) If you can get past that introduction, Rosenthal describes Pressler's health care reform proposal:

He then in about 60 seconds told me that health care affordability was a big problem and that as he campaigned people were telling him that. He said that Obamacare was not going to be repealed and needed fixing (a very pragmatic view in my opinion). He then offered what seemed to be the developing Pressler solution. Why couldn’t we (he suggested), have health care delivered through cooperatives, like the Farmer’s Coops? Profits would not be retained by for profit health providers or non-profit health providers but instead by the cooperative’s members?

Hey, Pressler's health coops sound familiar. Cue Indy gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers on health care:

Myers also supports establishing a statewide health insurance cooperative, which he says will lower medical care prices. The term CO-OP here is actually an acronym for Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, a program created by the Affordable Care Act and supported with federal loans. 400,000 Americans have enrolled in health CO-OPs so far, and states with CO-OPs appear to have lower health insurance premiums. South Dakota has not created a health CO-OP.

Are Pressler and Myers in bed together on policy? If so, Rosenthal doesn't mind. He doesn't think Pressler stands a chance (he says Pressler is "past prime time," and Rosenthal refuses to forgive Pressler's endorsements of Barack Obama). But Rosenthal says Pressler beats the five Republican candidates on policy talk:

The 2014 campaign in the GOP primary so far has been five candidates not talking about making anything better. No new ideas, no policy proposals, no nothing. They are to varying degrees angry birds. Just Shouting! Angry, more angry, and pissed off! ? “I love guns more than you.” “I hate Obamacare more than you.” “I am more conservative (says me) than you.”

Senator Pressler is out of the closet (if he was ever in one) talking about effecting change. It is time for the other candidates to come out of their closets and tell us how they are going to make America better [Joel Rosenthal, "The Closet," South Dakota Straight Talk, 2014.05.11].

I know we won't get former GOP chairman Rosenthal to vote for someone other than his party's nominee. But I'm pleased to see he's open to acknowledging that the apostate Pressler is promising a more intelligent policy conversation than the members of Rosenthal's own party.

Now, back to Rosenthal's sultry novel:

...And then, through the steam of the shower, in walked Larry Rhoden, wearing his chaps and a smile. "Health cooperatives?" he bellowed, throwing down his saddle. "I don't know if it's healthy, but let's do some cooperatin'...." [Joel Rosenthal, Pumping the Primary, Gayville, SD: Blue Ranch Publishing, 2014].

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