News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is the vulture the South Dakota state bird?

After being sidelined for the first six months of the year for medical reasons, I have much catching up to do. And I have a backlog of personal and professional projects that limit the time for posting on the web log. Most of what posting I do is about the stupidity and malevolence that dominates the corporate media and the blogosphere, the latter of which has become the province of the semi-literate and malicious twithood--
and desperate political partisans whose only hope of making a showing in the coming election is to plant personal misinformation and disinformation about their opponents.

Such tactics are the only thing the Republicans in South Dakota have going against Sen. Tim Johnson. Although the Senator himself has not equivocated on the fact that the brain hemorrhage from which he is recovering limits his ability to walk and has left his speaking ability not as robust and quick as it was, he still is able to get around the state, show up on the Senate floor, and engage in the legislative business of the Senate.
Above, Sen Johnson is participating in a radio interview. If you click this link, you can play a number of videos that show Sen. Johnson doing his job. Since his return to the Senate last August. Sen. Johnson has not missed a Senate vote on the floor and he has fully discharged his duties on the important committees he serves:

  • Appropriations
  • Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
  • Energy and Natural Resources
  • Indian Affairs

Still, the partisan media and the blogging dipwings try to keep Sen. Johnson's health the main issue. For example, Pat Powers at South Dakota War College suggests "that he’s possibly unable to effectively performs some of the functions of the position, which could include debating those opposed to measures benefiting South Dakota in the US Senate." This question is raised despite the Senator's performance of the last year and the appraisals of his doctors and colleagues. The sententiously expressed concerns about the Senator's abilities are too thin a veil to obscure the mean and petty partisanship from which the question arises.

But the blogs are not as offensive as the commenters. Under the cloak of cowardly anonymity, they join the cry with a malevolent fervor, like the cowardly sheet-wearers in a lynch mob. They are more redolent of the Palestinian terrorists who hijacked the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. In their "political fervor," they singled out 69-year-old American Leon Klinghoffer who was wheelchair bound, shot him in the head, and dumped him overboard.

These commenters pose the real issue in the campaign: Do we want a Senator who has the support of people of this ilk?

We've already got one such Senator in John Thune whose campaign against Tom Daschle was largely lying slanders and character assassination. In a state where the town cafe and its malevolent gossips is a major cultural institution and malicious tavern talk is considered a form of discourse, this kind of campaigning has its appeal for some.

Do we really want this kind of thinking and behavior to influence our national policy and the quality of our democracy?

Once again, the decent people have the opportunity to exercise their voices and their votes--or lose them.


PP said...

David -

Good to see your health is improving, but as usual, you're missing my point.

My point is that it's Jarding who is bringing it up.

And I suspect he's doing so to prepare us for the Senator purposely ducking debates.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Pat, your are the one suggesting he is ducking the debate for health reasons not Jarding.

No where in the article you quoted did Jarding say that Johnson's health would determine whether he would debate.

Jarding's mention of Johnson's health was only as a re-enforcement of how well he was doing and that he is performing his duties without any problems.

Johnson has a 10-1 advantage in cash and a huge lead in the polls so all Dykstra can hope for is mis-information from posts like yours giving him a bump.

And believe it or not that pains me to say as I think Johnson isn't much better than Thune when looking from a lefty perspective.

David Newquist said...


Bob S reads the article precisely as I did. Have the Sisters of Perpetual Indignation at South Dakota Politics been offering a tutorial on quotation and paraphrase? They like to flout the journalistic and academic writing manuals.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States