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Pawn of America: Payday Lender Brennan to Open Funplex by Sanford Center in 2015

The new pawn shop payday lending magnate Chuck Brennan talked up in his Christmas card is now in the news. Brennan gets that Sioux Falls paper to promote his new Badlands Pawn, scheduled to open next Thanksgiving.

Brennan tells Jodi Schwan that he plans to spend $15 million to open not just a pawn shop but a 40,000-square-foot entertainment complex across from the new Sanford Premier Center as a response to what seems to be Brennan's gut feeling that plain old capitalism is a drag:

Somewhere [the pawn business] got to the point where it started to become a financial transaction and the showroom started losing its fun and people were just pawning stuff because they needed money, and they weren’t going for the pawnshop experience [Chuck Brennan, quoted in Jodi Schwan, "Entertainment Complex Coming near Events Center," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.12.25].

Brennan's right: capitalism has no soul!

To make business more fun, the "Largest Pawn shop in the Midwest" will include a gold foundry, a gun shop, a shooting range (free for cops!), its own FM radio station with live DJs simulcasting on 30+ stations, a house band led by Metal Cowboy Ron Keel and auditioning professional players and back-up singers now, a tattoo shop offering free Badlands Pawn ink, and a ticket broker providing all your scalping needs in one convenient location within easy walking distance of Sioux Falls' new concert venue. Brennan promises to fly the largest American flag on the largest flagpole (yes, that's phallic) in South Dakota. Brennan also plans to hire nearly 100 workers.

I don't know if Pawn of America will "restructure the tourism routes in the Midwest," but Brennan's pawn shop does sound like fun. And since Brennan is diversifying his portfolio into entertainment, he'll feel even less pain when we cap interest rates in 2016 and drive him out of the usury business. Everybody wins!


  1. larry kurtz 2014.12.26

    South Dakota: Land of Infinite Voracity.

  2. grudznick 2014.12.26

    I hope your bills in the legislature do drive this fellow out of business, Mr. H. That's just insaner than most. What pawn shop needs to have 30 radio stations?

  3. Lynn 2014.12.26

    Will Badlands Pawn have a booth for us to donate Plasma? Video lottery machines to play? That would be awesome!

  4. BIll DIthmer 2014.12.26


  5. Steve Hickey 2014.12.26

    Just left this comment on the Argus page...

    I should be delighted that an entrepreneur is bringing something that puts 100 jobs in the middle of the legislative district I represent. However, I'm not. What we have here is an expansion of the poverty industry. We don't need Deadwood and Sturgis coming Russell Avenue when half our kids on our free and reduced lunches at school. We are left to imagine a couple casinos on each side, a new Dollar Loan shop and another adult bookstore. Heck, with hospital-sponsored cage fighting now across the street, Sioux Falls will soon be a destination city for those who make trouble. Wonder if the police department wants a new hood to patrol? I can't commend a poverty profiteer who melts the gold jewelry heirlooms he bought from the poor for pennies on the dollar and sells photo ops with his million dollar gold bars. And really, after bilking millions from the poor and elderly in South Dakota we are supposed to get excited that a usury boss is giving back by offering free tattoos of his company logo? Who'd want that? Sounds like the mark of the beast all those eld-time religionists have been warning us about. Sorry, just having a little fun with this too. I'll be impressed when the Chuckster stops living the rock and roll lifestyle in Vegas and quits with the Chuck's Kegger bash's and truly joins some of us who are trying to help the poor in our city.

  6. larry kurtz 2014.12.26

    With Steve Hickey leading the way for Democrats in Pierre why should Bernie, et al. even show up for the session?

  7. JeniW 2014.12.26

    A good laugh for the day.

    Just think: People will be hired, so that if the payday loan system goes down, the people working at the payday loan offices might be able to transfer instead of becoming unemployed.

    More revenue for the city and state.

    Delaying of adding more "stuff" to the landfill.

    A place to buy stuff at lower cost (but there is no guarantee of quality.) it is also a place to sell stuff that are no longer of interest, and a way to get money for those Christmas gifts that you really do not like or want.

    I will not do any shopping there. I have enough stuff, but it might be interesting to see what novelties there are.

    Hopefully, he plans to keep it clean, organized, and have enough security inside and outside.

  8. jerry 2014.12.26

    Mr. Hickey, you sound more progressive every day. I disagree with you on some issues, but I find myself agreeing on others like this one. If we could find common ground on the Medicaid Expansion...

  9. Dave 2014.12.26

    Sounds like fun? Hardly. What will one gain from visiting this place? Will getting a free tattoo expand my world view, or make me a better critical thinker? What, exactly, is the pawnshop experience? Is it watching down-on-their luck people needing emergency cash part with Grandma's heirloom gold locket, passed down for generations, and receiving a pittance in return? Count me out.

  10. Bob Klein 2014.12.26

    You say "drive him out of the usury business." Looks like Steve has it right, pawning IS usury.

  11. mikequinlivan 2014.12.26

    a) capitalism is not bad; an oligopoly of large corporations running a town as their own is bad. b) The current prime interest rate is 3.25 percent. I have fairly poor credit, yet I have been able to pay my obligations (although I have sought medicaid for my kids, and relief payments from our "non-profit" hospitals). By the time one reaches adulthood, even the most uninformed of all people know that a 150% interest rate is bad. How many people have been affected by these dollar loan centers? Honestly, how far do we have to go to protect people from doing dumb things? Is this what the Democratic Party and Dudly-Do-rights of our state wish to stake their good name on? Access to food, water, shelter, healthcare, the freedon from want, to worship, to assemble, these are principles on which the SD Democrats should stand. But I'm sorry, not the freedom to protect people from ever making dumb decisions. Actions have consequences, and as an adult, our general public should learn that. If I sound flippant, i will state that I have sold plenty of CD's (my whole collection), DVD's, and other such things to have extra cash in times of need. And that was my CHOICE. No one forced my hand or tricked me. In conclusion, leave the moralizing to Pastor Steve SD Dems. At least it fits his job description.

  12. Lynn 2014.12.26

    Can a burglar or thieve just sell the gold to Badlands Pawn and have some of the evidence be melted in the gold smelter?

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.26

    Steve, you party pooper! Where else can I see gold and silver get melted? Where else can I go shop for second-hand junk and hear a live rock band playing? Where else can I get scalped tickets in a nice, heated shop instead of running around on the street corner trying to find a dealer?

    I do agree that allowing a business to tattoo an ad on your body for free is nuts.

    Lynn, you're asking questions that impinge on the business model. ;-)

  14. Lynn 2014.12.26

    Rep Hickey I have asked this question before in another post but did not get a response from you.

    If you are successful with this ballot initiative to cap interest rates charged by these Payday loan joints what is next? Will you go after other areas in the poverty profiteer business? If so where specifically? That is a pretty big business. Pawn shops? Car dealers that cater to the credit challenged? Credit card or even mortgage loan operations that focus on the credit challenged? Video lottery?

  15. Steve Hickey 2014.12.26

    I'm not thinking in terms of anything to go after now or next. These have been ongoing efforts, including weaning our state off video lottery which is another interest I share with Steve Hildebrand. I'd like to contribute to bettering relations and the daily life of natives in SD.

  16. Lynn 2014.12.26

    so the lowest hanging fruit right now?

  17. 96Tears 2014.12.26

    No doubt it will be a tourist attraction for bikers, drug dealers and hookers on their way to the Sturgis rally. What's next for the T. Denny Sanford Events Center? A couple of casinos? Legalized prostitution? A new prison?

    Sioux Falls made a big mistake allowing Mayor Mike Heuther to locate the events center at its Russell Street location. Heuther's favorite restaurant, a former steakhouse and now the driver's license office, couldn't survive in that pit of economic despair. The convention hotels can't generate enough business out there. It's a business desert out there. It will always be a business desert.

    All of this would have had a very different outcome and a more dynamic spirit of economic growth had the center been located downtown.

  18. JeniW 2014.12.26

    Steve Hickey, the State of SD condones and encourages gambling as evident by the airing of commercials of buying lottery tickets as Christmas gifts. I saw that commercial a number of times on Christmas Eve.

    To me, gambling, is gambling, is gambling regardless of the the form.

    In your effort to wean the state off of video lottery, would you also be trying to end the the lottery tickets?

    I think gambling, is like flushing money down the toilet, so I do not spend my money that way. I do think that there needs to be consistency in the message that the state sends. Either it is okay to gamble in its various forms, or it is not.

  19. larry kurtz 2014.12.26

    Encouraging that Steve Hickey has caught up with ip on so many issues now that he senses his mortality.

  20. grudznick 2014.12.26

    If this fellow really wanted a destination for people who use pawn shops and pay day loans he would put a really big bar with lots of gambling in there. A one stop shop, they call it in the business. What about some long term motel rooms too?

  21. 2014.12.26

    Photo ops go to Thune only OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA,Steve Hickey what are you doing caring about the homeless and the poor are your values changed or what.

  22. Winston 2014.12.26

    Great! That is all we need, one more establishment in that part of town to help challenge the parking problem around the Events Center….

    We use to be known for Mt. Rushmore and George McGovern, but now it will be Sturgis and Badlands Pawn from here on out….. I am so proud (Not really) ;-)

  23. Lynn 2014.12.26

    When people pass thru or travel to South Dakota knowing this is a low wage state being 51st in teacher pay and see video lottery casino's, payday loan and pawn shops lined up on our main business thoroughfares in towns what does it say about our state?

    I remember when video lottery was being voted on and we were discussing it in my business law class in college. My attitude at the time was indifferent feeling that if people were dumb enough to pay a voluntary tax than so be it but my attitude towards video lottery has drastically changed since then. It has been like a sickness draining the life and treasure out of people. I've personally seen the damage on all levels of the socio-economic strata from low income to former business leaders who succumbed and have paid dearly.

    One medium sized city council here in SD didn't set a limit to the number casino's in town being desperate for tax revenue for the city and it seemed like there was practically a casino on every business block for a while.

    Pawn shops, payday loan joints and all kinds of businesses that have kept these poor souls economically trapped have popped up all over. When your car breaks down or needs a repair living paycheck to paycheck it is a major crises.

    Think about how those revenue dollars recirculate within a community compared to conventional/traditional businesses that sell goods, services and add real value to a community.

    Breakdown of the traditional two income family has not help but I feel with a strong emphasis on education with community outreach this is something that really needs to be stressed until the day comes these blood sucking entities of society disappear.

  24. JeniW 2014.12.26

    Thank you Steve H.

  25. Wade Brandis 2014.12.26

    I'm actually curious on how this pawn shop's FM/AM station will materialize. Their website claims they have purchased a local FM/AM station in Sioux Falls, but FCC records don't indicate any sort of purchase yet. I have a feeling Chuck may be after "Sunny Radio" as they have an FM/AM signal and a great 80s format.

    The website also claims "Badlands Radio Network" will be heard across 30 stations in the midwest. That seems to be a pie-in-the-sky claim as I doubt many radio station owners in the upper midwest would be willing to sell their stations, especially if they have an existing live and local format like KWYR here in Winner. I guess they could syndicate programming if station owners would be willing to sacrifice local content for endless rock music.

    One more fun fact... Chuck Brennan used to star in a local comedy TV show over 10 years ago called "Captain Caribou". Anyone remember that?

  26. grudznick 2014.12.26

    20 radio stations are enough for any pawn shop. A couple of good bars and some BBQ joints intermixed in this Pawn-Wall-Drug experience would go a long way to bringing in some of the local riff-raff or even pulling some of the tourists off of I-90 on their way to Rapid City.

  27. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.26

    Will this big plan actually materialize, or will it be like his kegger idea?

    I'm glad Hickey is taking these financial exploitation issues on. I think you who are jumping on him about other things ought to give him a little space. He can't do everything at once.

    I'm torn about the usefulness of pawnshops. I have clients who've used them to meet basic human needs. But rates are, indeed usurious.

    One client hocked his DVD player every month. He got $10 for it, and paid $14 to get it back a week later. He lived in subsidized public housing and had a low IQ. I tried to help him understand that he was getting farther behind each time he did that, but he couldn't really grasp it. Since he didn't have a legal or financial guardian, he was free to manage, or mismanage his finances himself.

  28. Winston 2014.12.26

    Wade, I loved the "Caribou Show!" They should bring it back. They could have a lot of fun with religious snowplows, flashing red lights after 10, the Events Center, and the railroad switchyard relocation plan; not to mention a high speed train depot near Brandon and the failed collapse of the Zip Feed Mill building.

    The only sad note was that just about every commercial during that show was for the Dollar Loan Center…..

  29. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.26

    mikequinlivan, I couldnt agree more. It doesnt matter how many laws you pass, you cant protect people from themselves.

    Just like pay to hunt, the time to regulate is long past when it comes to loans and pawn. Pawn shops have been in most towns forever and just now you see a problem? Why not the credit card companies? Oh thats right they have built in protection from the legislature.

    As far as I can tell, the only alternative to payday loans that anyone here has come up with is low interest and high risk, high risk for the lender. Remember this is need money "fast." Not in a month, a week, or even that day, but right now. If they could get the money any other way they would, but they cant.

    You people seem to think that anyone getting a payday loan needs your help making the decision because for some reason they arent smart enough to handle it on their own. Sure the paydayers make lots of money, they minamise their own risk with the interest rates they charge. However I dont see any good sams out there willing to do the job that you want. NONE.

    Now Rev. Hickey, lets have a look under that 501c your and every other church has been hiding under. If low interest loans is something your church would be interested in I bet you would be one broke church after the first week.

    " Somewhere [the pawn business] got to the point where it started to become a financial transaction and the showroom started losing its fun and people were just pawning stuff because they needed money, and they weren’t going for the pawnshop experience [Chuck Brennan, quoted in Jodi Schwan, "

    What deminsion have you been living in Chuck? The pawn business has always been about financial transactions. If that statement is an indication of your intellegence, everyone that listens to you has a problem.

    While I'm here, loans should never be forgiven or written down. Not for a farmer, not for a dentist, not for a corporation, and not for a student. Loans are made in good faith on both sides, one giving money, and one taking. The terms are clear and the money changes hands, it was and is a deal. If you cant pay it off you are in default. If you have to start your working life owing cash, welcome to the club. Every farm or ranch kid I know started out the same way.

    Everybody would like as close to free money as they can get. Passing bills wont make that money any cheaper, it will just push it underground where it has always been. Things can get rough when a person gets a loan like that.

    Badlands, really? Shouldnt you be closer then 200 miles from the nearest badlands? That tells me this man is jerking your chains. Look at all the things he says he wants to do. Anyone that has read the Argus knows that in Sioux Falls you always ask for more to make people think somehow they have won something, even when that was the plan in the first place.

    I want all of you to think about something. I know this for a fact, if you are in pain long enough, you will do anything for just the possibility of feeling better, and that includes breaking the law. If you dont have money, and you need money fast, you will do anything to get that money. If you cant get it from payday guess whats next? You cant protect people from themselves.

    For the record, I hate these son's da bitches more then just about anything, but its to late to fix this problem without causing a bunch more. Is his original payday loan business grandfathered in? Or will the state have to go to court to make the new laws work? If he has money he has goooooood lawyers to. I cant imagine him giving up a big piece of his lively hood just so the rest of us can sleep at night.

    The Blindman

  30. Joan Brown 2014.12.26

    Before I read the article I was really hoping it would be major competition for the Event Center, in the line of concerts, etc.

  31. JeniW 2014.12.26

    Sounds like a done deal unless someone can come up with money than what he has offered.

  32. grudznick 2014.12.26

    Ms. Jeni. This is America. If this fellow owns the property and is following all laws, how/why/what would people want to stop him for?

    You cannot enforce your views down the maw of others. Just like Mr. Sibby can't make me eat his god.

  33. grudznick 2014.12.26

    Mr. Dithmer sure is right about the name of this new destination complex. They should call it "Iron Bull" or "Pallisade" or "Big Flat Libby Town", not "Badlands."

    That's a crock, unless they open the next one in Wall by the BBQ joint. Then I'm OK with it.

  34. grudznick 2014.12.26

    Mr. bearcreekbat, if KELO did that to people I am surprised that people that used to hang around at the Pomp Room put up with it and didn't revolt. Our libbie SE corner of the state is bizzare indeed.

  35. Sam 2 2014.12.26

    Is Chuck a republican? If so just another republican building a empire at the expense of those down on their luck.

  36. bearcreekbat 2014.12.26

    grudz, I suppose in a political system like ours where there are differing opinions about the meaning of the Constitution anyone could argue revolt whenever the SCOTUS makes a decision that seems disagreeable. It might make more sense, however, to try to amend our Constitution to change the results we disagree with rather than start killing everyone on the other side of our own viewpoints. People who prefer change by the latter method have ample opportunities in the Mideast.

  37. grudznick 2014.12.26

    Mr. bearcreekbat, you point has much validity. You are wiser than most.

  38. Roger Cornelius 2014.12.26

    South Dakota pawn shops are a joke, they are little more than second hand stores that have over priced goods.

    If you want to visit a real class pawn shop, go to Vegas.

  39. grudznick 2014.12.26

    Not any more, Mr. C. There will be a big one in Sioux Falls soon, with breakfast diners, beer and nudie movies!

  40. JeniW 2014.12.26

    Grudz, that is my point.

  41. Wade Brandis 2014.12.26

    Here is an older episode of the Caribou Show, sort of a fictionalized retrospective of the show which was only two years old when aired in 2002. The first 10 minutes have skits featuring Chuck.

    Sometime in 2004, Chuck returned to the show appearing in occasional skits, as well as being the fictional producer of a Squiggles parody called "The Squiggles" which was part of the Caribou Show.

  42. grudznick 2014.12.26

    Your point is well good then, Ms. Jeni. Especially after that fellow adds the beer joints, the gambling, and then the strippers. Nobody has talked about the strippers he will have because they go hand in hand with the loans and the beer and the gambling and the loud music and other sins this fellow plans to have. Strippers. What will stop him from having strippers, Mr. Hickey?

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.26

    He was arrested, but Steve, Wade, was he convicted?

  44. Wade Brandis 2014.12.26

    I'm not sure. KELO and several other news sites reported on his arrest, but I can't recall if they ever followed up on the story. I tried searching Google for more news regarding whether or not he was convicted, but I'm just getting articles about his initial arrest. I searched for "Chuck Brennan" and the word arrest to be specific.

  45. grudznick 2014.12.26

    His arrests are private business.
    Not KELOs or KEVNs. Private business.

  46. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.26

    Blindman, I'm not saying pawn shops should not exist. I am supporting a reduction in interest rates. Pawn shops do not have a thin profit margin. They don't have to go bankrupt, just less exploitative.

    In addition, I'm not trying to save people who should know better. I'm concerned with the people who are Unable to know better. I often talk about my clients because I know they are a tiny example of the hundreds of thousands of people who are vulnerable to such money schemes.

    What about them Blindman? Do we have any obligation to the people who are mentally disabled? I'm talking about folks we used to describe as retarded, and the ones who've suffered traumatic brain injuries, including military veterans.

    What about those women and men?

  47. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.26

    No Grudz. Arrests are a matter of public record.

  48. Les 2014.12.26

    For sure not all arrests are a matter of public record, Deb.

  49. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.26

    I think they are Les, unless a juvenile or child is involved. But . . . I could be wrong. It happened once before.

  50. grudznick 2014.12.26

    No, there are arrests that are not public record. As it should be, and I don't mean the black helicopters that buzz Mitchell plucking the insane from their beds.

  51. JeniW 2014.12.26

    Deb, I appreciate your perspective, but it gets down to rights.

    I used to work at the state institution that serves individuals with cognitive disabilities. Individuals were on diets for health and weight concerns while they were there.

    I have been stunned to see how obese some of those individuals have become once they were placed in a community setting, including group homes.

    When asked about that I was told that the individuals have the same rights as everyone else, unless the behavior is illegal, so they have the right to choose to consume whatever they want to. Individuals with cognitive disabilities have as much right to make poor choices as anyone else, and the consequences that comes with it.

    You are being a great advocate. Even if no one else notices that, or appreciates your efforts, I do.

  52. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.26

    Thanks JeniW, and I know that any adults who do not have a legal guardian do indeed have the right to make their own choices. No argument there.

    My focus is on the immorality of taking advantage of them. I think part of the responsibility of a civil, democratic nation, which some like to describe as Christian, is to take care of those less able for whatever reason. Apparently, a major hunk of America agrees.

    That's where the ADA comes from. The ADA doesn't only serve legally disabled people. It also serves anyone who benefits, including casual passers-by who are klutzy. In the same way, a law limiting interest rates would be aimed at people who are cognitively impaired, and would help others as a side benefit.

  53. JeniW 2014.12.27

    Deb, I appreciate your point, the question is what can we do?

    I was thinking about the example that you gave about one of your clients pawning his DVD player every month. Just to give a slightly different viewpoint with knowing that I really do not know for sure.

    let's say your client's name is Ben. Ben goes into the pawn shop where they have oodles of DVD players, the first time they bought it from him at $10.00. He goes back to get it for $14.00. He does this every month, the staff recognize him, so instead of giving him $8.00, they keep giving him $10.00 even though they really do not need more DVD players. They sell it back to him for $14.00 instead of raising the price every time. If they really wanted to take advantage of him, they could have kept increasing the price. Nor have they sold the player for $5.00 to someone who might have been interested. Ben is/was using the pawn store like some people use ATM machines.

    It is unfortunate that there are some unethical people, but there is just not a whole lot that can be done about them.

  54. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.27

    Joni Cutler tried this back in 2008 it looks like here

    At the time interest rates for military were capped at 36%, and thats what the representitive was shooting for. Read what happened when she was looking for support for her actions.

    If someone posted this before I just didnt see it.

    Deb the safety net you are describing would be nice but would also open a whole new can of worms. How do you help just the ones that need your help without stepping on the privacy rights of those that dont? How would you mark these people? Who would follow them around for the rest of their lives making sure they are being treated fair?

    Without institutions the world is a pretty big place to keep track of people like that. I'm afraid the cost would be higher then it is now.

    I would be all for putting that risk on the lender but that would open him up to future litigation from one of these same people or their families.

    The only way to protect those people is to have complete control over them, and that always means less freedom never more.

    The Blindman

  55. Roger Elgersma 2014.12.27

    Steve Hickey does not only want to change the way people do business but realizes that the people also can change. At legislative coffees he stated that he did marijuana when he was young and now he is a pastor. He changed himself so will assume others can improve as well, already Christian or not.
    All of Brennan's businesses seem to be based on disfunctionality. He also may have gained some votes in the legislature, not Hickey's, on not putting a interest rate limit in. If he sees the possibility of loan sharking becoming illegal, he might think that pawning may become a very big business to replace it. So take note, if you really want to get rid of loan sharking, you will have to include the fees that the pawn shops and payday loan companies can charge as part of the interest.
    All the glitz and fun in this new venture may be more to impress the public and divert attention from the pawn loan sharking that the business will be about than it is to impress the customers.

  56. Bill Fleming 2014.12.27

    Proposition: Lending institutions have to be regulated. Bill D. Are you saying you disagree with that premise?

  57. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.27

    No B F I'm not saying that, but the regulations, to stand up in court, have to be worded in such a way as to not single out a particular payday operator. Thats where the problem lies.

    I see a common thread to these businesses, they all operate in a similar fastion. They loan money for high interest rates, but that is where the similarities end. Each payday lends money in a different way. Each one has different requirements to get that money. That would make them similar but enough different that an all inclusive bill could be either tied up in court, for who knows how long with an injunction to go with it, or never make it that far in the first place. If you notice in the link I posted, Brennan had some carefully thought out words that said the same thing. Since you cant make laws that only effect one person or company, it would make those efforts costly to the tax payers paying court cost.

    It looks like the only option for these people is if the churches do what they brag about doing, helping people. If each church contributed to a fund they could offer their own payday loan center. They just have to remember that for every hundred dollars they lend, they'll get back only a part of that. Then there wood be government regulations, audits, and possibly revocation of their 501s. So where do we go from there?

    The Blindman

  58. JeniW 2014.12.27

    In this discussion I think about the woman who was found frozen to death in one of the Sioux Falls downtown parking lot.

    Based on the articles I read, she was not a stranger, it it appears that it was common knowledge that either she was an alcoholic, or at least self medicated herself with alcohol. Even though knowing that, a business sold her the alcohol, or someone furnished it for her.

    All the businesses that sell alcohol have to legally do is to make sure that the buyer is at least 21 years old. When they sell alcohol to an alcoholic, are they taking advantage of that person? Are they morally or ethically responsible?

  59. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.27

    Roger E: businesses based on dysfunction—fascinating observation!

  60. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.27

    Blindman and JeniW:

    I don't have the definitive answer and I doubt there is one. The human being has to be accepted as is. That means there will always be sneaky, lowdown creeps, and Chucky B appears to be one.

    I think we have to govern for the ones most in need. To me, that's the vulnerable folks, the ones who lack the personal abilities to protect themselves.

    In this particular instance, that means to me that we write and pass laws limiting interest rates. Yes, people who should know better will benefit too. So?

    I feel the same about public welfare laws. I prefer that they are written to benefit the sick, disabled, young, etc. Yup, cheaters will take advantage, but rather 50 who need benefits per 1 who cheats.

    That ratio is overstated. It's closer to 100/1, but talking about all the people who truly need the benefits that ensure their survival does not sell papers, airtime, or hits.

  61. bearcreekbat 2014.12.27

    Deb, after working directly with indigents, and the programs designed to help them, for about 35 years, I appreciate your comment that most are not cheaters. In my own experience the ratio of people in need and qualified for benefits to those who lied or cheated to get benefits was closer to 1,000 to 1.

    Funny thing is, however, that those we call cheaters are often actually in need of help, but don't qualify due only to very restrictive eligibility rules. For example, a grandma in North Dakota was convicted of illegally receiving LIEAP heating assistance benefits solely because her daughter made false statements on her application for benefits. Meanwhile, the convicted grandma had supported an extended family of indigent children and grandchildren each winter, and presented substantial evidence that had the application fully disclosed her family's size and income, they would have received the exact same benefits. Yet we call her a cheat and spend federal dollars to prosecute to obtain a felony conviction followed by probation, so that she will never be able to get another decent paying job. The Eighth Circuit court opinion affirmed her conviction, but acknowledged:

    "Three of Robertson’s children testified for the defense that, during these winter heating seasons, Robertson lived with and supported an extended household that included several of her grandchildren, children, and children’s significant others.

    These witnesses admitted that the households varied at times as young adults moved in and out, and acknowledged imperfect memories of the exact comings and goings.

    . . . this testimony, generously construed, suggested that the size of the households for which Michelle and Priscilla
    applied ranged from eight to fifteen individuals, in which case the combined income of Robertson and the applying daughters was within the program’s 150% eligibility

    Many people we label as "cheaters" are condemned despite the simple truth that they are truly in need. I would contend that this sad fact substantially increases the ratio of those in need to those not in need who cheat to obtain food or heat for their families.

  62. Tim 2014.12.27

    Larry, scary thing is, those commenters really do believe what they are typing, a classic example of what we are up against here.

  63. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.27

    I hear you BCB. That is similar to my experiences too.

    Leaving hundreds to suffer just to catch a cheater or two is cruel.

  64. Tim 2014.12.27

    It's no different than the right's constant drumbeat on voter fraud, they will stop hundreds of thousands from voting to stop a couple of people from voting twice, but only in red states. Leaving 48,000 out of healthcare is also cruel.

  65. jerry 2014.12.27

    The real cheaters on income tax are the rich and the banksters who rule the country. By starving the IRS with inadequate funding, they are able to run amok while disregarding their obligations. Take the new Bush dude Jeb for instance, he made millions and then moved it offshore so he does not have to pay taxes. He is Mitt 2. Republicans see nothing wrong with this because they have the accountants who know the loopholes. If they do not have the right loophole, they lobby the rest of the crooks and liars in the Congress to pass the code that will allow it. What a crock of stinky stuff. Folks that are on the low end of the spectrum get audited because they do not have the resources of fighting back. You can bet ole chubby Chucky has one hell of an accounting firm to help him dodge tax issues.

  66. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.27

    Agreed Tim. None are acceptable.

    Jerry, agreed about the banksters too.

  67. Mick 44 2014.12.27

    Well, well, it looks like we get another rob-from-the-poor and give to the rich loan shark wanting to set up next to the city's monument to the original. As far as the "let the dummies get what they deserve" attitude for the victims of the sharks, remember that a starving mouse will take a try at the cheese in the trap, even though his instinct tells him "trap", because starvation is sure death, but the cheese offers a slim chance for survival. Of course, just wait, as Mr. Brennan makes nice donations to certain charities, and perhaps some local CEO will insist that they make a life-size statue of Mr. B, and Mr. B. will say, "Oh please don't but please do".

  68. John Hess 2014.12.28

    Some things speak for themselves. From that 08 article with Cutler and Brennan:
    Cutler says, "This past session when I did a random sampling I could not find an interest rate lower than 500 percent."
    Brennan says, "The legislators, some of 'em, and there's just a couple, that are trying to make a name for themselves and save the world from the evil payday predatory lenders and it's just a bunch of crap."
    "That's where the politicians really don't get it, and they're trying to help the consumer, the consumer is a smart person, the consumer signs the contract, the consumer knows what they're doing."

  69. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.28

    John, should we ask Brennan if he knew what he was doing as a consumer when he tried to buy that hooker's services?

    I still haven't seen proof that he was convicted, but if it's out there, I suspect Brennan's opponents will bring it up.

    Grudz, I'm with Deb: arrests are public unless sealed for juveniles. But arrests don't tell us someone is guilty.

  70. JeniW 2014.12.28

    There are other pawn shops in Sioux Falls, including the one on 41st Street. I have not been there, but have passed it several times during my commutes, I have not seen anyone just loitering around while boozing, not seen groups of people hanging out in front of the store.

    So far, I have not read any complaints about that particular business ripping people off by charging high fees and etc. I am not familiar with the pawn business beyond watching "Pawn Stars" on TV, but are they not all conducted in about the same way?

    Is it really the pawn business that some are objecting to, or is it more about Chuck?

    But, as I mentioned before, it is a done deal unless someone comes along with more money to buy out Chuck, or enough citizens start protesting. How likely is that to happen?

  71. John Hess 2014.12.28

    My libertarian streak says his personal behavior is mainly up to him but usury laws are open territory. The guy gives me the he be gee bees and is no role model regardless of how much he gives. It's dirty money but our state was built on lax usury laws. Greed and exploitation. We all know that so it's time to set some reasonable limits. If you haven't done so, the KELO article from 08 is telling:

  72. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.28

    Reading Bob Ellis this morning must have infected my logic circuits. In that spirit, I offer the observation that the gun that used to kill two New York City Police officers last weekend was purchased at a pawn shop in 1996; therefore, Brennan must support cop-killing. Have at it.

  73. jerry 2014.12.28

    Chuck will get his way and why not, he has the Congressional House Republicans on his side to do his bidding.

    "WASHINGTON -- House Republicans are agitating to dramatically curb federal bank regulators' ability to combat money laundering, calling for changes in decades-old financial fraud standards in an effort to aid payday lenders.

    Moving illegal cash through the financial system has long been barred by money laundering laws. But under a bill introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), federal regulators would be forbidden from doing anything to "restrict or discourage" a bank from doing business with any company that has both a license to do business and a "reasoned legal opinion" from a lawyer claiming that the business doesn't break the law."

    There, see everything a payday lender does is a okay. I say good luck with the 36 percent thingy. It won't pass in the state that gave us Bollen and the EB-5 as the benchmarks to criminality.

  74. grudznick 2014.12.28

    Mr. Jerry, I think that Mr. Hickey wants to use that initiated law petition to bypass the legislatures. That way he can do whatever he can goad churchers into. I bet you he could even get all the ignorant masses who take out payday loans to sign his petitions because, well, they take out payday loans and are ignorant masses.

  75. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.28

    Oh Grudz, that's awfully harsh, don't you think? "Ignorant masses."

  76. jerry 2014.12.28

    I wish him well Mr. grudznick on his Don Quixote adventure. But the windmills are more formidable that he or Panza think and alas, they will find it is only a dream. The kingdom of South Dakota will not allow this kind of action, ever. Even if passed, the congressional republican overlords will put it back in the saddle. Crown prince Chuck will continue to hold court until gout takes its toll.

  77. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.28

    I suppose "ignorant masses" is even harsher because there is some truth to it. But Republicans don't usually like to publicly describe their constituents thus.

    Hahahahahahahaha! Gotcha Grudz!

  78. grudznick 2014.12.28

    Perhaps they are not complete masses, Ms. Geelsdottir, but they are generally as a group the sort that buy lottery tickets, smoke cigs and not those fancy newfangled e ones, frequent pawn shops, eat lots of candy bars instead of celery and yes, take out pay day loans. All of these are behaviors they choose. If not a mass, it is still a fairly large crowd that Mr. Hickey wishes to convince to stop hitting themselves in the head with a hammer.

  79. grudznick 2014.12.28

    This Chuck fellow is targeting exactly that audience. And I bet he draws them like flies. Did I mention, Mr. Chuck needs to add wrestling and beer games to his Wall Drug of Sin?

  80. jerry 2014.12.28

    Maybe with the wage increase coming in the next few days, his joint will not be as popular as it was in the past.

  81. Deb Geelsdottir 2014.12.28

    Yeah Grudz, I know people like that. Do you ever wonder why they don't take better care of themselves? I mean the ones who don't have mental disabilities like my clients.

  82. jerry 2014.12.28

    For the state, it is a double edged sword though. They make a killing from the lottery and especially from video lottery from these folks. You are right about the cigs Mr. grudznick, the working poor smoke those with a passion. The state makes moolah from all of those vices. I like the one with the 24/7 program though. Talk about a cash cow, that one takes the cake.

  83. grudznick 2014.12.28

    Mr. jerry, that extra $1.50 will come from your pocket for the cheeseburger you buy and go straight to Mr. Chuck. Indeed.

  84. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.28

    Jerry, "Don Quixote adventure," of course your talking about Moonflower, a subject I know a little about.

    The Blindman

  85. jerry 2014.12.28

    Do tell Blindman, do tell of your Moonflower adventures.

  86. larry kurtz 2014.12.29

    Pastors Hickey and PNR are bashing each other at the Dakota Water Closet: priceless.

  87. Jenny 2014.12.29

    Chuck Brennan looks like a crooked New York mobster's son. The smug look of arrogance on his face says it all to me.
    That there is even a need for pawn shops in the richest county in the history of the world is saddening to me. Flauting Sioux Falls with his cheap thrill entertainment idea is disgusting. This is a ploy to stop Hickey's bill, that's all it is.

  88. JeniW 2014.12.29

    Actually, Chuck looks like he has an eating disorder.

  89. Jenny 2014.12.29

    Obviously Jeni, I would say close to the diagnosis of morbid obesity.

  90. JeniW 2014.12.29

    Obesity is an eating disorder.

  91. larry kurtz 2014.12.29

    Now Troy bashing Hickey because moral superiority only okay for catholics.

  92. larry kurtz 2014.12.29

    Chuck Brennan = Dan Lederman.

  93. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.29

    Jerry, my adverture was short, less then twenty four hours. It was nearly 25 years ago now. It takes more then a few hours for it to take effect, but you had better be in a safe place before it does. I would suggest a guide for the occasion.

    Now for what it does.

    It will expand your mind while at the same time it will keep you from remembering the experience.

    The three people that I did it with, and myself all acted the same way at full effect. We all started doing things we did in everyday life. One sold imaginary cars, one cooked, one wrenched on cars, and i went coon hunting. The only problem with that was there were no cars to sell, there wasnt any food to cook or anything to cook it on, there wasnt any cars to wrench on, and well coonhunting didnt go so good either.

    We had gone night fishing and made moonflower coco. Then we fished for a couple of hours with nothing happening, no fish, and the damn moonflower wasnt doing anything so we all went home. Thats when the fun started, I guess. I drove my 40 miles home went into the house, made coffee and have no memory until I woke up in the emergency room. I might add that I was the only one that didnt have someone else at home to tell me how strange I was acting.

    I had gone hunting and ended up setting in the creek when my mental capabilities left this world. There was a bridge crew working by our place and when they came to work my black mouth cur Jet, was trying to get their attention. He would run back an forth between the house and the creek and bark. They thought he had gone nuts until he crawled through the window of my car and got my coat out of the back seat. When they tried to catch him to get the coat he took them to me.

    It wasnt that cold out but by the time I got to the emergency room my core temp was in the low 90s. I had blankets hot water bottles and nurses laying all over my body, a deputy sherrif in my face, an old german doctor threatening the cop with loss of testicles if he didnt shut the hell up. Before my teeth stopped chattering they loaded my ass in the truck with the flashing lights, along with two of my co-coco drinkers, and off we wentt to Rapid City Regional. It was during the ride that I noticed the other two didnt have a clue what was going on.

    When we got checked in they put me in one room and the two still selling and wrenching on cars in another one.

    A couple hours later I got a visit from one of the most knowledgeable people on plants and what they can do in this country. Her name is Dr. Girti Janns. I was last on her three person visiting list and found out that while I was back to normal the other two were still as we would say "fucked up." She thought that my low body temp might have kept me from being mentally stupid like the rest still were.

    I found out some interesting things from Dr. Janns. First she asked if I knew what happened. Then she put her hand on my shoulder leaned over and whispered in my ear. "That was stupid." Then after she thought I was sufecently impressed, she also said this.

    "Within a mile of this hospital, there are over fifty plants that can do what the moonflower did, or worse. Just like the moonflower, every one of those plants are legal to ingest." Then after we had talked for an hour about my lifes choices she pronounced me almost sane, and told me I could go home. Then when she was leaving my room without turning around she stopped at the door and said, "stick with pot from now on."

    There is no moral to this story. I can however offer my expert advice about the plant.

    It is still legal.
    It is growing in flowerbeds just about everywhere. We got ours from the flowerbed in front of the courthouse in Kadoka, but your Grandma probibly has it in her yard to.
    It is only one of many plants that grow everywhere that will do those things.
    If you really want to do it, GET A GUIDE, otherwise you wont know how much fun you had.
    And this. If you want to use a plant it should be pot or shrooms. Its pretty hard to die if your eating or laughing. I was told that moonflower was like peyote, it isnt. At least after you puke from peyote you can enjoy whats going on, thats just part of the ritual of doing peyote, eat puke, and then fun. No thanks.

    Would I do it again? No, it wasnt any fun the first time.

    Should plants like this be illegal? No plant should be illegal to grow or use. If it grows wild it would be a loosing battle when all you have to do is stop the car and pick it.

    Can you protect people from themselves? No never. They are either to dumb to care, or they are smart enough that they dont want to.

    I've gone on long enough here, and all I can add is this. Don Quixote, doesnt have a damned thing on me.

    The Blindman

  94. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.29

    I love it when preachers get into a wall pissing contest. There are rules for that kind of compitition. I know because THE CHURCH OF BILL is the sanctioning body.

    The Blindman

  95. larry kurtz 2014.12.29

    Exactly, Bill. Amanita muscaria and salvia grow all over the Hills outlawed by possession because non-whites have ingested them since we left Africa.

  96. Lynn 2014.12.29

    Where is Saul Goodman? I'd love to hear his opinion.

  97. jerry 2014.12.29

    A very descriptive story Blindman. I have made an observance in your story that follows Cervantes facts. Sancho Panza was your hound, in all of his glory, a loyal and lifesaving servant. Both you, Don Quixote and Sancho were actually in a different time and place. I think the plains of Kadoka are similar to the plains of La Mancha so the windmills may have been grain bins. I am sounding all moonflowery now so I had better not regress, after all, it was your journey. Thanks for the stanza.

  98. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.29

    Jerry, regression therapy is always good even in its most rudimentary form which would be daydreaming. While I find your comparison between Don and myself interesting, i have to point something out.

    While the moonflower tested my ability to override my double degit IQ, with common sense, it never tested my sanity. On the other hand, Don didnt seem to have a problem questioning his sanity, his problem was not questioning his insanity.

    And so it goes at Carson House.

    The Blindman

  99. jerry 2014.12.29

    No, he did not question at all his sanity. As you note about yourself, we are all Don's at one or more points in our lives. At those particular intersections, I think we all have problems questioning our insanity. So it is a good thing that we are offered the opportunity to reflect on those times to see for ourselves how we drifted to the edge or even past that edge. Do not wander far from the home fires these days though, the cold is very unforgiving.

  100. leslie 2014.12.30

    fascinating businesses based on dysfunction? see pot barons of colorado youtube, or afghanistan's unprecedented opium/heroin poppy crop

  101. JeniW 2014.12.30

    What is interesting is the silence from the other legislators who live in Sioux Falls, and silence from the City Council members, about the payday loan and/or about the Super-Pawn shop.

    Is Steve Hickey the only elected official who opposes either or both?

  102. Jenny 2014.12.30

    Mr. Dithmer, you really have a gift of writing vivid and colorful stories. You need to write some books about life on the plains as a blind man. I'm serious, you are very gifted and intelligent and I enjoy reading your stories here.

  103. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.30

    Bless your heart Jenny, and thankyou. We are so busy building Carson House right now that I dont have time to write. I do however have two books ready to publish when we get the time to spend on the process.

    The first book is all about the life story of my rat terrier Pete, told by Pete. It is not a childrens book because dogs never think in g or pg, only in r, and there are words that reflect that. It is mostly humorous with some serious stories thrown in.

    The other book is what you might like. It is about my 60 years on Pass Creek. Real life experiences hunting, fishing, ranching, and life. More humor I'm afraid, along with a dose of reality. That book is called The Church Of Bill. If you want to read some more go to Dithmer Ranch for sale on fb, there are a couple stories there.

    The Blindman

  104. Jenny 2014.12.30

    The Church of Bill. I can imagine how amusing that would be. Reminds me of the Movie Religulous with Bill Maher.

  105. Rosemarie 2015.01.05

    Today i spent 300 bucks for platinium roulette system , i hope that i will earn my first cash online

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