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Top 30 Stories of 2014: What You Read, What You Discussed!

I make plenty of editorial decisions about which stories deserve blog attention. But to determine the most interesting stories of 2014, I like to look at what you readers spend your time reading and discussing.

Below is a table of the 30 most-clicked stories on the Madville Times in 2014. Note that this table isn't a perfect measure of which stories got read. Lots of people come to the blog and just read the front page every day; compare the nearly 14,000 hits for the top story below with the over 935,000 hits the home page got throughout the year. But this table does represent the relative popularity of specific stories accessed by people hitting the story link on Facebook or Twitter or clicking on the comment link to join the discussion.

Title Views
Watertown Students Dress up as Indians for Homecoming 13853
Bosworth Petition Challenged: 40% Invalid Signatures, 281 Shy of Required 1,955 10343
SB 67 Allows Religious Folks to Refuse Service to Objectionable Marriages 5430
Arrest Warrant Issued for Annette Bosworth 3904
SB 128: South Dakota Secedes: “No Fags! No Feds! No Judicial Autonomy!” 3633
Bosworth Nominating Petition: Look Legit to You? 2933
Dist. 8 Dem Skoglund Busted in Sex Sting; Party Chair Demands Withdrawal from Race 2696
Bosworth Admits Breaking Law on Petitions, But Jackley and I Hate Women 2661
Original Pancake House Rejects Accusation of Religious Discrimination 2377
South Dakota Medical Board, 2012: Annette Bosworth Histrionic, Narcissistic 2369
Powers Follows Leaders, Finds Bogus Bosworth Signatures… 2353
Hildebrand: Bosworth Pro-Choice, Pro-ACA, Pro-Gay Marriage Pre-GOP Run 2242
Court Orders DCI Agent: Stop Harassing Wife, Turn in Gun 2182
Chad Haber Announces Impossible Candidacy for Attorney General 1997
God Under Attack! Use Church for Political Ads! Jump Around! Vote for Gordon! 1973
Bosworth: Did Not Seek Legal Counsel Before Submitting Invalid Petition 1924
Phil Jensen Opposes Civil Rights Laws, Laughs About Drug-Test Hypocrisy 1886
Chad Haber Takes $200K Loan, Argues He Never Has to Pay It Back 1884
Worst Campaign Video of 2014: Annette Bosworth 1833
Bosworth Announces Press Conference… or Strip Club? 1827
SB 75: Lederman Ignores Science, Army, Local Control on Dog Breed Laws 1789
Daugaard to Future Philosophers, Historians, Teachers: Drop Dead 1740
Jensen Offers SB 128 to Protect Religious Zealots from “Anti-Straight” Bullying 1669
Bosworth Lawyer: Bosworth Campaign a Waste of Time 1618
Facing Trial November 13-14, Bosworth Axes Spokesman; Haber Calls Libs About AG Bid 1600
Bosworth Breaks Law Again, Solicits Campaign Donations from Foreigner 1595
Gay Christian Athlete Keeps Job at Catholic School 1587
When Does Life Begin? Before Conception, Says Howie 1557
National and Local Media Call South Dakota Races Before All Polls Close 1540
Huether Botches First Amendment Response to Snowplows for Jesus 1538

The most viewed story was my relatively brief note on Watertown High School's Ki-Yi Homecoming royalty, plus related reading on co-opting American Indian culture. The comment section here and on Facebook went ape the top irony of year: Arrow partisans shouting that people who don't belong to their culture have no business discussing their culture.

Perhaps to our collective blogospheric shame, sixteen of these thirty stories dealt with fake U.S. Senate candidate Annette Bosworth and her husband, fake Libertarian candidate for Attorney General Chad Haber. Perhaps to our credit, the most popular story in that subset, and the second-most clicked post of the year, was the April 1 posting of one of the most fact-based and rigorously researched posts to appear in the South Dakota blogosphere, the challenge to Bosworth's nominating petition. That challenge did not succeed, but it led to Bosworth's arrest and indictment for perjury (trial coming February!) and may lead to petition reform proposals from incoming Secretary of State Krebs.

That petition challenge post also has an unusual staying power. Most good blog posts grab eyeballs for a day or two, maybe a week if other blogs link and respond, and then fade from view. The petition challenge announcement drew 3,091 views in April, dropped to 359 in May, then climbed back over a thousand hits in August, September, October, and December (1,209 hits!). That post has apparently proven a useful reference for folks researching Bosworth and nominating petitions.

Religion remains a big draw for this liberal, atheist blogger's audience, with six of the top thirty stories touching notably on religious issues. I had to beat up on Tea Party Senator Ernie Otten (R/6-Tea) for his sloppily drafted and doomed religious discrimination bill (i.e., if you've got religion, you get to discriminate!). Senator Phil Jensen (R-32/Rapid City) also came under fire for his fundamentalist fear and loathing of homosexuals and other folks he wants to keep outside of his America. But I came to the defense of the very religious management of the Sioux Falls Original Pancake House, which was falsely accused of firing a worker for praying (with Annette Bosworth!). Both stories drew vigorous discussion.

Moving from a count of views to voices, we see more strongly the interest in stories relating to God and gays, as well as a more diverse array of topics that you deemed discussion-worthy:

Title Comments
Watertown Students Dress up as Indians for Homecoming 401
God Under Attack! Use Church for Political Ads! Jump Around! Vote for Gordon! 341
SB 75: Lederman Ignores Science, Army, Local Control on Dog Breed Laws 295
When Does Life Begin? Before Conception, Says Howie 294
Original Pancake House Rejects Accusation of Religious Discrimination 273
ACLU Writes Letter, Miller School Board Boots Gideon Bibles 249
Gay Christian Athlete Keeps Job at Catholic School 247
Minnesota Survives One Year of Legal Gay Marriage 237
Nathan Alfson: Baseball Coach, Augie Grad, Gay Neighbor 234
SB 128: South Dakota Secedes: “No Fags! No Feds! No Judicial Autonomy!” 212
Huether Botches First Amendment Response to Snowplows for Jesus 201
South Dakota Hog Farmer “Almost Going to Have to” Hire Illegal Immigrants 194
Ebola Kills One Person in America, Thune Goes Big Government 193
State Democratic Party Reviewing Midterm Failure, Building 2016 Plan 192
Hubbel-Myers Press Conference: Nothing New But Nullification 191
Rounds Touts Rationing Panels While Making His Living Rationing Health Care 187
Debbie Martines Gone 20 Years; Killer Seeks Parole Today 186
Can SD Dems Find a Leader Like Warren? 173
Phil Jensen Opposes Civil Rights Laws, Laughs About Drug-Test Hypocrisy 166
Powers Follows Leaders, Finds Bogus Bosworth Signatures… 164
Noem Votes to Sue President, Desires Coup by Judiciary 160
Kurt Evans Running for Senate in 2016 as Independent 159
SDDP Ad in Brookings Paper: What’s Tidemann Hiding? 153
Let’s Do Lunch! Moderate McClure Seeks District 14 House Seat 152
Letter to the Editor: Rep. Betty Olson Should Resign over Muslim Insults 148
Libertarian Convention Speaker, Libertarian Blogger Oppose Haber AG Nomination 147
Weiland Airs “Auction” Ad, Showing Rounds Selling Citizenship and Senate Seat 147
National and Local Media Call South Dakota Races Before All Polls Close 144
Regents Exec Warner, EB-5 Czar Bollen to Answer GOAC Questions Next Week 144
Barth Campaigning for State Democratic Chair Job 142

Ten out of these top thirty most-commented articles related directly to matters of religion and/or LGBT rights. Four of these most popular conversation topics dealt with Democratic politics, candidates, and the route to electoral victory (which we are still avidly seeking!). Only one dealt directly with the Bosworth-Haber circus. Overall, the most-commented list shows a bit more interest in policy matters that will persist beyond the the 2014 cycle, a tendency I find encouraging.

One notable feature of both of these most-viewed and most-commented lists is the relative absence of stories on the South Dakota political scandal of 2013 and 2014, the EB-5 affair. Out of 1570 blog posts published on this blog this year (and I have a couple more coming!), I tagged 172 "EB-5" (good grief! That's 11% of my output! Compare that to my 2014 Bosworth tag count of 107). None of them made the top 30 on views; three made the top 30 on comments. These numbers may suggest that the Republican narrative prevails: EB-5 was just a Democratic smokescreen that no one was interested in. It may also suggest that EB-5 was simply a much more complicated topic, daunting to read about, even more daunting to attempt to discuss... and that I didn't do a good enough job of making it simple. More on that later today....

I have my disagreements with you, dear readers, about which stories in 2014 deserved the most attention and discussion (pit bulls? really? get a grip!). But that disagreement only seasons the great pleasure I take in offering you these hundreds of stories a year and learning what you think. Whichever stories you dig, I am honored that you take the time to read, share, and discuss these posts. Thank you for another great year of mostly civil discourse on the Madville Times!


  1. leslie 2014.12.31

    religion-big deal what i, you, they believe, takes little effort to prove. wars are fought to uphold beliefs.

    EB5-facts, complex, very difficult to prove when one side has vested interest at subterfuge, not amenable to coffee-shop clatter. seems like 1% is pretty safe until violence occurs from the down-trodden.

  2. leslie 2014.12.31

    people will use the most efficient/attractive news source for their individual circumstances, and those sources offering less will fall away. thus the notion that TV will continue to win out as the primary information provider.

    the daily, time-consuming process of following madville has difficulties that may skew the above stats either generally, or topic-specifically (sibson).

    i frankly do not know how else i could have followed EB5 details so deeply, however, as here. (inadequate as it was, it turns out)

    nevertheless, kudos to cory.

  3. Troy 2014.12.31


    When you look at the two lists, I think the viewed had more relevance/significance both in "rating" top to bottom and just the issues themselves.

    My idea on rationale: The comment list had subjects where it was easy to get off track and or old issues/arguments were just re-hashed. (I admit I sometimes caused it). Plus, I heard it once that a political issue that captures the passion of the already committed (partisan hard cores) means little. Touch an issue that raised the passion of those in the middle, you have something.

    Regarding EB-5, at minimum, I think the broad population thought you over-reached and thus tuned it out. The most I ever got by those in the middle I talked to was basically- "Think there is anything to it?" When I said, "no" they all said, "me either."

  4. Steve Sibson 2014.12.31

    "I think the broad population thought you over-reached and thus tuned it out."

    Troy, the broad population has been propagandized with deceptions. When they finally do hear the truth, it is so foreign to them that of course their first and only reaction is to say, that can't be true.

  5. larry kurtz 2014.12.31

    Tweedle dee and tweedle dumb.

  6. larry kurtz 2014.12.31

    If Bendagate had happened under a Governor Heidepriem Troy and Sibby would be having twin cows.

  7. larry kurtz 2014.12.31

    Wadhams knew Bendagate could have sunk his boyfriend so buying Bosworth, Pressler, et al. was the only way to send a corrupt earth hater like Mike Rounds to DC.

  8. leslie 2014.12.31

    calling a republican smoke-screen of obfuscation, hiding errors, omissions, enrichment, fraud, and self-dealing of the SDGOP, legislature, elected officials and sending our new senator ("in it up to his hips") to washington-a "democratic smoke-screen", is the one compelling virtue of the ruling class in SD.

    spin. unethical, but what the hell. nobody else can afford to do anything about the corruption.

    smaller government is NOT the mantra that can save us.

    god is not the solution.

    democratic organization is our only hope.

  9. Steve Sibson 2014.12.31

    "democratic organization is our only hope."

    That is what we have now.

  10. larry kurtz 2014.12.31

    communism: right, sib?

  11. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.31

    Troy, do those in the middle, by definition, have any passion?

    I agree that the comment section is subject to all sorts of skewage. I wonder... is there any way for me to avoid the topics that Troy says are subject to rehashings and sidetrackings? Can I address new bills in the Legislature without making reference to statutes we've already discussed and related bills from past sessions?

    And as we've seen, can't Sibby hijack any post? ;-)

  12. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.31

    All that said, Troy, I have not yet begun to overreach. Maybe my next post on EB-5 will do that. I look forward to your critique....

  13. Jane 2014.12.31

    Regarding the lackadaisical view on the corruption of the Joop Bollen and SD EB-5 team may be attributed to one of two things, tremendous embarrassment or ignorance. The tremendous embarrassment is based on the reality that this man who came to this country as an obscure exchange student with nothing, managed to get a great American education, bought his green card, ended up working for the Governor, and made millions of dollars off the state and hopeful immigrants. Ignorance is when we do not recognize when a person has broken 3 of the Ten Commandments:7,8 and 10 - adultery, stealing and coveting.
    if Joop Bollen and James Park were innocent, they would have filled a law suit for defamation by now, but have you noticed that they do not? Why, because while everyone contemplates whether this is true or not true, they are enjoying a lovely luxurious holiday somewhere.

  14. Jane 2014.12.31

    Joop Bollen and James Park know they got away with it, big time! Ho Ho ing to the bank.

  15. Les 2014.12.31

    Hoing around in the Philippines where it's a different game, Jane.

  16. larry kurtz 2014.12.31

    So, if any in Governor Daugaard's entourage smoked cannabis during their junket to Colorado, drove under the influence, or had THC in their bloodstreams when they reentered South Dakota they should have voluntarily submitted for UAs and have been prosecuted. Taking or offering bribes and 'ho-ing' around while in the Philippines as representative doing state business should be illegal for state officials if it isn't already.

    Does Dan Lederman take his wife when he goes?

  17. Roger Cornelius 2014.12.31

    The reality is that we don't know if Cory overreached on the EB-5 scandal, he told the story and the Republicans did everything possible to squash it and minimalize it.

    With the FBI still investigating and the possibility that there is a sitting federal grand jury, we just don't know.

    At some point, hopefully before Cory's wish list date of Sept. 30, 2015 when Rounds will be indicted and resign the senate, the feds will have additional information.

  18. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.31

    Jane, dare I ask about the adultery side of your comment? If you've got something, be ready to document it....

  19. Troy 2014.12.31


    I guess you will stop watering the tree that bears no fruit when you finally run out of water.

  20. Steve Sibson 2014.12.31

    Troy, sad to see you economic development types failed to learn anything from the EB-5 scandals. Blinded by the money huh.

  21. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.31

    Troy, it's a darn shame that, when it comes to writing, I have such a big bucket....

  22. Bill Dithmer 2014.12.31

    Jane, if you check the recent past in politics, you'll find a certain bluring of the ten commandments. In those you mentioned, the new word fo adultery is "share." The new word for steal is "barrow." And the new word for coviting is "admiring."

    As long as you dont use the exact words, the exact meaning can be questioned. From "Dragnet Christmas," "Most people call em green onions, but their really scallions," to what the definition of "is" is.

    Mr Clinton, "I did not have sex with that woman." We did something and DNA was exchanged, but I wouldn't call it sex.

    Politicians have been pushing the envelope ever since trying to control the situations they got themselves in without admitting they broke their own moral code. Why would you expect Joop or Jimmy to act any different then the politicians that are protecting them?

    But then, maybe I'm just a cinical old man.

    The Blindman

  23. Jane 2014.12.31

    Cory did not overreach in reporting the news around the demise of SD EB-5. Best journalistic reporting ever. Aberdeen News published the 3 parts of the deposition of Joop Bollen, in JAMS Mediation document, Doc 1, page 7, line 9, Joop Bollen states he started his own business in Georgia. Not sure how accurate this maybe, whether this happened after he worked for Pyush Patel, at his liquor store at which time his immigration status may be questioned.

  24. Jane 2014.12.31

    Cory, I agree, adultry is a strong word. Let me correct myself.
    A married man mid 45ish meets a young lady say 16ish, in the Phillipines. They have a "friendship" for 5 years. One day He decides to end his marriage of 20 years, turns around to marry his young friend.
    What would be the safe and politically correct word or phrase?

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2014.12.31

    Without further documentable information, I have no safe word beyond what you have just said. The implication is certainly clear, but I would not make that implication without first-hand evidence.

  26. Troy 2015.01.02


    My comment on "rehashing" wasn't a broad criticism but only an observation to say the view list seemed to be more meaningful.

Comments are closed.