Rep. Isaac Latterell (R-6/Tea) takes his anti-abortion crusade over the top by saying that Planned Parenthood is worse than ISIS:

There are certain revolting methods of execution, such as beheading, that no state would ever permit, even against murderers who use this method on their victims. It is this revulsion that leads us to rightly condemn the beheadings committed by unconscionably violent soldiers in the Middle East....

Planned Parenthood abortionists in Sioux Falls are similarly beheading unborn children during dismemberment abortions...

No state, no religion, and no organization should ever be allowed to use this unspeakably horrifying method. While we rightly take the speck out of our neighbor’s eye by holding ISIS accountable, let us be sure to take the plank out of our own eye by holding Planned Parenthood accountable [Rep. Isaac Latterell, "Planned Parenthood Worse Than ISIS and Lying about It," blog, 2015.02.17].

Rep. Latterell gets his specks and planks mixed up. Planned Parenthood is not kidnapping and killing innocent citizens. Planned Parenthood and other providers of counseling and health services do not make gory, sensationalist videos to radicalize and recruit disaffected youth (actually, that's what the anti-abortion crusaders have done to Isaac, and that's what he does now).

Planned Parenthood isn't even performing the kind of abortions Latterell discusses in South Dakota:

Planned Parenthood said it does not perform this abortion procedure and only performs first trimester abortions in South Dakota. Planned Parenthood spokesperson Jennifer Aulwes told TPM that the type of abortion described by Latterell is only performed after the first trimester, and any such abortions would have been performed by a doctor outside of a Planned Parenthood clinic [Caitlin MacNeal, "South Dakota Lawmaker: 'Planned Parenthood Worse Than ISIS'," TPM Livewire, 2015.02.18].

Rep. Latterell simply dismisses Planned Parenthood as liars, saying they must be performing the procedure and not telling the Department of Health. Latterell decorates his irresponsible diatribe with a lie of his own, a photo of a healthy, born baby, who unlike a fetus has constitutional rights and cannot be aborted.

Planned Parenthood promotes women's rights, public health, and science-based education. ISIS uses gore and lies to promote a brutal political regime that would endanger women's health and deny women their rights. If Rep. Latterell really wants to open the door to debating South Dakota legislation by comparing opponents to global terrorists, then he invites the critique that Isaac is a lot like ISIS.

p.s.: The Legislature appears not to recognize the irresponsibility of Rep. Latterell's rhetoric. They have so far failed to behead House Bill 1230, the legislation that commits the same ISIS confabulation about abortion that Rep. Latterell is peddling online. Say it again, people: abortion is a constitutional medical procedure, not terrorism.

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Michelle Rhee, who shoved ill-advised reforms down the throat of the Washington D.C. school system, is now purveying her ideology with a policy wish list masquerading as an education "report card." Her "Students First" organization has issued its first assessment of K-12 systems in each state. This assessment measures not actual student performance, but each state's adherence to her preferred policies, like charter schools, vouchers, test-based teacher evaluations, and handing mayors control of school districts.

Quick check, fellow South Dakotans: how many of you want your mayor running your school?

Apparently none of us do. We rightly rejected test-based teacher evaluations last November. And charter schools and vouchers are ineffective and irrelevant in a sparse state that already underfunds education. Michelle Rhee thus gives South Dakota a big fat F.

Rhee puts us at the bottom of the class with our neighbors: while we get the eighth lowest grade, Rhee gives even lower Fs to every neighboring state except for Minnesota, which ranks in the middle of Rhee's grades with a D.

Now we could just take Michelle Rhee's approach, erase our score, and write in our own grade. Accusations are coming out that Rhee's supposed triumph in raising test scores in Washington D.C. arose less from her "reforms" and more from widespread test-tampering.

Rhee's scorecard further demonstrates its unreliability when it says the best schools in the country are those in Louisiana (Rhee gives Jindal-land a B-minus). Expect Governor Daugaard to cite this study and exhort us to compete with Governor Jindal. We turned that thinking back at the polls last year; be ready to turn it back again.

Next up: South Dakota's disturbing rock-bottom score on the Quality Counts 2013 scorecard.

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