I'm going to try to apply an experience from my freshman year of college to Sunshine Week, the annual time set aside in the news world to remind citizens of the importance of open government and a free press. This is the final day of this year's Sunshine Week, although open government must be nurtured, encouraged and applauded every day of the year. Citizens in a democracy need to know what their government is doing if they are to make reasoned judgments on issues, programs and policies. Citizens deserve to know. They have a right to know. And so, Sunshine Week is a reminder.
Back in 1973, when the South Dakota Legislature changed rules and procedures to make it easier for citizens to follow along, a Democrat leader in the Senate said they were "throwing open the windows of the Capitol and letting the sun shine in.'' Harvey Wollman, of Hitchcock, said that or something very close. He was talking about opening the legislative process, anyway, and it was a significant step forward in open government. It made bills and votes and committee hearings much easier to track. It was a user-friendly change that benefited citizens.
When I was growing up, a few teachers thought peer pressure could bring discipline to a group of grade-school or junior-high boys. Actually, I guess it was mostly coaches and gym teachers who thought the old "punish everyone until they pressure the culprit into confessing'' technique would bring positive results. In my experience, it often failed, although the one time it was used on me, it worked quickly.
It's the last week of the South Dakota Legislature's annual session, and I can't be the only person wondering how many bills will be vetoed.
Back in the fall of 1974, early November it was, I stood shoulder to shoulder with the Godfather, actor Marlon Brando, on the south steps of the South Dakota Capitol building.
I listened recently to the audio of a legislative committee hearing on a bill to let people with enhanced permits bring concealed weapons into the state Capitol, and I thought of George Temple and Vinnie Harold.
I saw a thing on Facebook awhile back that asked people to name a development, discovery or invention from their early life that younger folks take for granted. It was something like that, anyway. It made me think, and I came up — no surprise to those who know me — with the Rural Electrification Administration and more specifically, the arrival of electricity on our farm when I was no more than 6 or 7.
A guy grows up and forgets what a great month February used to be for school kids.
Long before the Standbys, even before the Bearcats, I played in a musical group called the Untouchable Trio. I thought about that last weekend as I watched a "CBS Sunday Morning'' segment about a phenomenon called "Lip Sync Battle." If you aren't familiar with the phenomenon, don't feel alone, although CBS said 2 million people watch the show on cable.
If Arthur Fonzarelli, the Fonz from the TV sitcom "Happy Days," had been a cowboy, he might have been Clint Roberts.