- Member for
- 1 year 8 months
Every time I watch former South Dakota Gov. Frank Farrar complete a triathlon, I'm tempted to sign up for one myself. Is that crazy or what? These so-called sprint triathlons (to distinguish them from the long, long Ironman Triathlon) involve swimming something like a quarter of a mile, hopping on a bicycle and pedaling 12 miles or so and then running a bit more than three miles on foot.
Back in college, probably during Law of the Press or one of the other journalism courses in which we discussed free speech and the First Amendment, I ran across a great phrase that I often quoted as a young reporter. I can't recall where I read it, but it talked about how democracy worked best when there existed a "free exchange of ideas in the marketplace of truth." The idea was that if people in the United States were given all possible information, they'd eventually arrive at the best decisions.
The first year I covered the South Dakota Legislature -- the 1970 session -- one of the bills that drew a lot of attention involved welfare reform. The state had a welfare agency or department at that time, and the bill proposed a number of changes in the way the agency operated and delivered services.
The state Republican Party raised quite a ruckus when it called Democrat Sen. Scott Heidepriem the phoniest man to run for governor on the same day the Sioux Falls lawyer announced his campaign. As a political tactic, it was effective in one sense, I suppose. It set Heidepriem to talking about not canceling a country club membership and not selling a big house or whatever, and into pointing out that he sold a BMW some time ago, not just recently.
Secretary of State Chris Nelson and I have talked about many things during his years in that office, but smoking hasn't been one of them. I don't know if he smokes, or if he ever did. I don't know if he thinks smoking is one of life's great pleasures or if he thinks tobacco should be wiped from the face of the earth. And, for the purposes of a petition drive to force a public vote on smoking in public places, it doesn't matter what he thinks. He said he rejected the petitions because too many of the signatures contain problems that make them invalid.
It looks like the challengers might have the winning argument in their fight with the city of Sioux Falls over whether a home-rule community should be able to regulate the placement of video lottery businesses. It looks that way to me. I don't necessarily like it. The fight is over the city's ability to use zoning powers to restrict the location of video lottery businesses. The city, according to a piece in the Argus Leader by reporter Josh Verges, has an ordinance that limits placement of casinos within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and other video lottery businesses.
So Stephanie is running for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives. That's the smart political move. She had a shot at the governor's race, but it would have been long odds. And running against Republican Sen. John Thune, as some Democrats apparently thought she should, would have been way long odds. It's not easy to beat the guy who beat the guy. She did the safe thing. I have no doubt that family and South Dakota and all those things figured into her decision. I also have no doubt that the odds in the other two races weighed pretty heavily.
I've been reading John Sandford novels for years, but I only thought I liked him before last weekend. That's when Parade magazine, inserted into the weekend edition of The Daily Republic, included the Minnesota author's thoughts on what's great about America.
Sarah Palin's decision to resign as governor of Alaska surprised me as much as anybody else in the country, I imagine, and I still haven't been able to figure out from all the news reports and columns and analyses just exactly why she decided to quit in midterm. I know voters aren't supposed to swap horses in the middle of the stream, or at least that's what Abe Lincoln told them back in 1864 (if the Google stuff I picked up is accurate.
Funny thing about highway needs in South Dakota. The numbers don't change much if the governor and the Legislature don't do much about the problem. One of the Legislature's summer study committees this year is looking at longrange highway needs and revenue sources.