Archive for January 2011

Independent Blogging Lives On, but not at KELO

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm
By: RadioActive Chief
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KELO, in their infinite wisdom has decided that they have different fish to fry, than to continue with their issues blog platform.

Whether this strikes you, the reader as being good, bad, or indifferent, the site is theirs to do with what they will, and such is life, and if not being able to “compete” with a “newly formatted video player” indicates where KELO’s priorities lie, then so be it.   Hmmmm.  KELO is a television outlet after all…so on the face of there is some logic from their point of view.

I thought about commenting on the somewhat sour note from  Dr. Newquist, but decided to pass on the opportunity to inflict further heartburn on him.  I trust he, and the rest of us will still be out there in the blogosphere, and you can follow us there and give us your kudos or brickbats via comments, as you see fit.

My continuing blog hangout is at  RadioActive Chief.  By the way…the site name has nothing to do with glowing in the dark from some nuclear process.  It’s derived from being a retired Navy Chief Radioman, as well as as active radio amateur (KCØAM), and participant in the Navy-Marine Corps Military Auxiliary Radio System….hence a Chief who is radio active.

See you elsewhere on the blogosphere!

One less pulpit for bullies

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 11:03 am
By: David Newquist
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Blogs, like mayflies, are ephemeral.  They swarm into existence for a brief time and then die, leaving little behind but an unpleasant stench.  The blogosphere in South Dakota illustrates what seems to be a life history of blogs.   Many of what once were prominent blogs have passed away.  Now the Keloland issues blogs follow the pattern.  They will succumb on Wednesday.

This is not a surprise.  What is surprising is that the demise of the KELO issues blogs has been such a long time coming.  When ostensible news organizations  host blogs,  they face consequences that individual bloggers and those who comment on blogs do not. There is the matter of legal issues when bloggers or commenters venture into libel.  Newspapers and radio and television stations can be held liable for libel if they demonstrate attempts at editing content.  However, other providers of access to the Internet are immune, under the Communcations Decency Act of 1996, if they are serving as distributors, not as publishers of comments in response to blogs.  Anyone who makes a defamatory statement may be sued, but one is hard pressed to find a lawyer who would recommend suing for damages.  Most people who comment on blogs do not have the financial resources to make such a suit probable.  The cost of a suit is generally more than the damages that could be recovered.  So, many defamers are not challenged because it would be too expensive.

But the publishers and access providers have  other issues to consider, such as the reputation of the media they sponsor.  Many colleges and universities do not allow students to cite materials from Internet sources unless the students provide evaluative analysis that the sources are reputable and reliable purveyors of information.  When a news organization such as KELO allows blogs and comments that are considered of questionable merit and display a mean disrespect and disregard for other people, the organization pays a heavy price in loss of credibility.

While the interactive aspect of Internet media is highly touted, and may seem to attract readership, the actual content and value of what is exchanged in comment sections does not contribute much to the information and exchange of valid perspectives.  In fact, most of the comments following news stories and opinion pieces are mean,often scurrilous, and unabashedly stupid.  They tend to drive away the intelligent readers who are looking for information and well-constructed viewpoints.  Much of the media has either dropped the comment sections or instituted formats that do not give comments prominent display.

The Keloland issues blogs attracted a cohort of commentators who seemed to sit at their computers waiting for a reason to burst forth with scurrility.  Their comments invariably had the same characteristics:

  • They never addressed the main point of a blog.
  • They nearly always fixed on a word or a phrase and made that the focus of verbal temper tantrums.  In terms of reading comprehension, sentences with subordinating clauses and qualifying modifiers was beyond their ken; whole paragraphs seemed insurmountable; and therefore entire blog pieces were not even a possible consideration.
  • Their comments always turned to personal attacks with insult and abuse.

The country has been much upset by bullying in our schools, and the use of Internet media, social networks, and telephone texting have become the media of bullying.  While educators and concerned officials mull over the problem of bullying among students, they do not examine the context in which the bullying occurs.  They do not consider that bullying is a tradition throughout the new media, and little that provokes actual thought  or elevates discussion takes place.  The Internet, talk radio, and cable news is devoted largely to propagating and reacting to the human mentality at its meanest.

The  Internet is too valuable an asset to be allowed to be so undermined by verbal vandals.  What valuable discourse occurred on the Keloland issues blogs became compromised by the perverse.  People of good intent and constructive purpose simply found what passed for discussion to be something they avoided, and over time the readership declined.  I had many people tell me that they stopped reading the Keloland blogs because of the level of comment.

When some personnel changes were made a Keloland, the blogs became an afterthought, and access to them was made more complicated.  Now they will be gone.  And for the sake of language and constructive communication, it is probably a good thing. Perhaps the Internet can be rescued from juvenile bullying and ad hominem exchanges.

Keloland Pulls the Plug

Posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 11:57 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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As my colleagues here have noted, Keloland has decided to fire us, with lots of appreciation and five days notice.  Here is what passes for an explanation:

We have spent the past few months reviewing the traffic and format of our pages at I am sure that you have noticed several changes over the past year, including the removal of our Forums section in favor of Facebook Comments at the end of selected stories; as well as the addition of a newly-formatted video player. These are just a few of the adjustments that have been made to ensure that continues to be South Dakota’s #1 website.

Among the changes we have discussed is the removal of the Issues Blog section under KELOLAND Blogs. We have decided to eliminate this section due to the low number of regular contributions and our desire to take the site in a different direction. This is certainly not a reflection of the quality of your work and we appreciate all you have done to provide content to our website. I anticipate that this change will take place on Wednesday, January 12.

Well, I suppose we can hardly compete with a newly-formatted video player, let alone Facebook, but I confess I am a bit confused about the “low number of regular contributions”.  Scrolling back a little way, I notice multiple posts almost every day.  Only Christmas day, I think, had no posts.

Hosting a forum for dedicated if amateur journalists alongside the professionals struck me as a good use of a new medium.  It brought together some of the state’s best bloggers at one location, and gave readers a chance to view some interesting opinions and occasionally some lively debate.  I flatter myself that we provided some content that was at least as interesting as a video about the Last Stop CD Shop expansion.  Apparently that cool new video player is of greater value.  To judge the value of this forum (you have until Wednesday), you might go back to September and October of last year, when Cory and I were fencing over the Rasmussen poll.  I would dare to say that you could have learned more about the election, and certainly about local elections, from Cory Heidelberger’s posts alone than from the rest of South Dakota’s #1 Website.

I thank my readers, especially those who chose to leave comments.  Pretty much everything I have posted here can also be seen at my primary blog:  If you have been reading me here, you can continue to read me there.

I can also enthusiastically recommend Cory Heidelberger’s Madville Times, David Newquist’s Northern Valley Beacon, Doug Wiken’s Dakota Today, Joel Rosenthal’s South Dakota Straight Talk, and the Radioactive Chief (great title!).  If I left any blogger active on this site, I apologize.

So goodbye and good night, Keloland.

Thanks KELOLAND and Goodbye to readers

Posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 9:47 pm
By: Doug Wiken
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First, Thanks to KELOLAND for allowing a few alternate ideas to be presented on a corporate website. Other Bloggers preceded me here and they made many more contributions than I was able to. Mostly the information from South Dakota bloggers made at least some sense and often presented ideas and information not seen in the more mainstream media. I know that some of the posts by Blanchard and Newquist made me think for a minute or two and I hope they caught the actual attention of others reading this.

But, the news from KELOLAND’s Jaine Andrews, managing editor of Keloland News:

Among the changes we have discussed is the removal of the Issues Blog section under KELOLAND Blogs. We have decided to eliminate this section due to the low number of regular contributions and our desire to take the site in a different direction. This is certainly not a reflection of the quality of your work and we appreciate all you have done to provide content to our website. I anticipate that this change will take place on Wednesday, January 12.

I hope some of the readers here at KELOLAND will take time to visit my Dakota Today Blog and the other South Dakota Blogs.

Again, Happy New Year to all and Thanks again to KELOLAND for space and time.

KELO Blogs Dead! Long Live the Blogs!

Posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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The South Dakota Blogosphere lives on!

Keep reading the best original writing online by your South Dakota friends and neighbors:
KELO Blog Alumni:

More South Dakota Political Blogs:

Greater SD Blogosphere:
…and even some homegrown wingnuts:

For over three years, a hardy corps of South Dakota bloggers have contributed commentary to the KELO website, under the current heading “Issues Blogs.” I’ve done my part to contribute some Madville Times content, usually one a day, for no more compensation than the pleasure of some URL referrals to my home blog and folks threatening to try me for treason and run me out of the country and telling me I’m generally full of s#!%. Ah, show biz….

But the curtain falls next week Wednesday. KELO Managing Editor Jaine Andrews e-mails us volunteer KELO bloggers (and some who haven’t posted for months) to inform us that KELO is removing the Issues Blogs from its website. Andrews cites “low number of regular contributions and our desire to take the site in a different direction.”

The experience has been generally enjoyable. While the capacity for anonymous and pseudonymous comments predictably led to ruder dialogue on the KELO site than on my own blog, I still enjoyed the challenge of defending my point and sometimes covering stories and viewpoints that slipped below the radar of KELO and the rest of the professional media. And to their credit, in my three-plus years of association with KELO, the professional newsroom tried to exercise editorial authority over my content just once. KELO was wrong… but one error in over three years isn’t too bad, especially when I rode their backsides on TransCanada bias and other issues.

So Badger, taxpayer, Jason, Dave B, Dean, jackie, and everyone else who’s come to the KELO blogs to throw kudos or kumquats at me, thank you for the conversation. I can’t save your comments (well, I could, but it would take me forever!), but everything I’ve posted on KELO is available here on the and on the 2005–2010 archive site on

And your further spitballs, speculations, and sparkling conversation continue to be welcome here on the Madville Times.

What Does Bicycling Mean in Rural Towns? Madness.

Posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 9:17 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Reimagine Rural highlights the upcoming South Dakota Bicycle Summit in Pierre January 21–22. RR’s Mike Knutson asks what bicycling means for rural communities.

I can tell you that in my community, bicycling means, “That guy’s nuts!”

I haven’t ridden my bike as much this winter as I’d like. But on one of the milder days before Christmas, I threw on a couple layers and looped around Lake Herman to town on my trusty GT mountain bike. No major snow tech required: just my usual knobby tires, my hiking boots instead of my light biking shoes, my backpack warmly hugging my shoulders and tummy, and my blaze orange hat and reflecto-ankle straps to say, “Hey! See me! Don’t run me over!”

It was a perfect winter day to ride. The south breeze was well short of lean-into magnitude. With the temp in the teens, my limbs and face didn’t freeze and the snow on the road didn’t melt. A nice coat of clean, crumpy snow (you know, crump, crump, the sound your feet make) gives better traction than warmer slick snow, and it’s much nicer to ride over than the gritty road slush of 30 degrees.

Yet when I stopped at the library, neighbor and trusty librarian Bruce looked at my gear and couldn’t believe I’d come on two wheels. His disbelief fit the default assumption of nearly everyone in Madison that bicycles get put away in November and don’t reappear until April. What few bike racks we have around town will remain buried under snowpiles until nature takes its course. Even during those blessed six mild months, bicycles are still an exceptional form of transportation. A good friend once deemed it unthinkable that he would impregnate his work clothes with a mile’s worth of sweat to ride his bike across town to the office.

To their credit, I’ve had generally good experience with my neighbors giving bicycles wide berth on the roads. I don’t see much automotive hostility toward bicycles. But maybe motorists are just swerving wide left to avoid catching that two-wheeler’s madness.

I have heard an undercurrent of macho denigration of bicycling. Occasionally when I mention my love of bicycling and encourage others to adopt two-wheeled transportation, some opposing comments go beyond the perfectly reasonable “How do I haul my tools and timber to work?” to anti-cyclist sentiment couched in language that says, “Bikes are for sissies.” And I know one or two manly-man types locally who mutter imprecations about my skinny bike clothes.

The rejection of bicycling by much of rural culture seems at odds with what we think rural culture is about. Supposedly our prairie pioneer spirit embraces simple living, physical labor, self-sufficiency, and even hardy withstanding of the elements. Bicycling does all four: fewer moving parts, travel under your own power, a mechanical system you can maintain and fix yourself, and the occasional thrilling race with an afternoon thunderstorm.

Yet rural culture views bicycling as madness… or at best, occasional recreation, perhaps a commercial media event, but not a normal part of daily existence.

That’s just one more part of rural culture for us to change.

Republicans Damage the Constitution In Order To Save It

Posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 12:54 am
By: Ken Blanchard
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Three fifths madisonMy father once told me that the difference between the two parties is simple: the Democrats are stupid whereas the Republicans are just plain dumb.  That bit of wisdom has held up well, though not always in the same proportion at the same time.

Today the Republicans did something smart and promptly turned it into something really dumb.  Reading the Constitution was the smart thing.  The founding document possesses enormous authority and reverence toward it is altogether proper.

The dumb thing was to read an “amended version”.  The text they read, I gather, removed all the language that has been superseded by amendments.  There is a lot of language in the Constitution that isn’t in the Constitution anymore, in a legal sense.  For example, the original text states that senators are chosen by the state legislatures, but that was changed by the Seventeenth Amendment to election by the people of each state.  I gather that the original language of the text was changed to reflect later amendments.  I can’t seem to find a complete audio version to check.

This was politically dumb because you surely undermines your case for fidelity to the original document by producing a new, edited document that no ratifying body ever saw.  It was dumb also because it invited folks like Dahlia Lithwick at Slate to accuse the Republicans of “whitewashing the Constitution” by leaving out the passages about slavery.  It was dumb because it looks dumb.

It was also dumb because the very passages that we are now justly ashamed of reveal both the corruption of the American idea by slavery and also the genuine greatness of what that peculiar institution corrupted.  Here is one of the passages, I gather, that was not read in full.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, whichThree fifths madison shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

In reading the document aloud, they skipped over that last clause.  One can understand why.  Those “other persons” were slaves.  The presence of slavery in a Republic based on the principles of the Declaration of Independence exposes the founders as hypocrites.

But you can’t be a hypocrite without acknowledging, if only by pretense, that you know what is right and what is wrong.  The language above is laboriously constructed for the precise purpose of omitting the words slavery and slaves.  The founders recognized that those words would stain the document, and so they are absent from the several provisions that recognize the institution.

Moreover, the Three Fifths Compromise expresses a logical division already present in the Republic.  If those “other persons” aren’t really people, with rights and dignity, then it makes no sense to count them for purposes of representation in the House.  If they are really people, then they ought not only to be counted; they ought to be freed and given the vote.

If we hadn’t really believed what we wrote in the Declaration, the Civil War would not have been possible.  If we hadn’t practiced slavery, in blatant contradiction to what we wrote, the war would never have been necessary.  Skipping over the Three Fifths Clause throws the baby out with the very foul bathwater.

It’s a bad sign that the Republicans had no one around to point this out.  I’m available, if they are reading.  This was not an auspicious start.

Old hatreds, new faces

Posted: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm
By: David Newquist
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Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander: The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo

The New Yorker delves into the question of the immense popularity and success of the Millenium trilogy novels and films of Swedish writer Stieg Larsson.**  (He died at 50 before the novels were published or films  were made.)  The New Yorker critic suggests that if you have  not  read the novels, you “have been in a coma, say, for the past two years.”  I seem surrounded by the comatose, but I also have friends who find the novels too brutally violent to read.

For people like me who read  crime and mystery fiction late into the night as a  way to wind down from more serious and cerebral works, I sympathize with those who do not find the violence entertaining or diverting.  There are numerous best-sellers  being written by teams of formula hacks who work on the premise that gratuitous and perverse violence must punctuate “a good read.”  I, also, find that many of the characters in contemporary popular writing are so contrived with smarmy appeal that they might deserve to suffer all the violence inflicted on them.  There are not many writers, such as the late Tony Hillerman with his Navajo police stories, who craft popular fiction that has genuine literary merit. And by literary merit, I mean largely characters who are not drawn from the formulas of archetype and stereotype and who provide an informing perspective on some of the realities that actually exist on the planet.  Literature, as opposed to hack fiction, works at uncovering the truth in all its nuances and complexities.  Hillerman made this the center of his writing enterprise; Larsson in his way does, too.

For American readers, Larsson provides some important aesthetic distance.  His setting of Sweden is far enough removed from America that the aberrations portrayed do not demand self-identification, but it is similar enough to America to make them plausible.  The Sweden portrayed is not the land of Raoul Wallenberg and Dag Hammarskjold, but a land that contains its share of human predators–Nazis, biker gangs,  various species of haters.

All four of my  grandparents were emigrants from Sweden.  My mother’s mother, with whom I was best acquainted, and her two sisters came to America as single women.  Their brothers stayed in Sweden.  The reason single women left their families and came to America on their own is not often explored in the stories and history of immigration.  Those motives are totally lacking from any current discussion of illegal immigration into America.  They are essentially the same:  the quest for freedom, equality, opportunity, and justice–the escape from political and social systems that rank humans according to some system of human worth and consign them to lives of desperation,   As children, we used to beg for stories of my grandmother’s girlhood in Sweden.  She would oblige us to a point, then finally say in her heavy Swedish accent that these things were what she left Sweden to get away from.  We children did not understand that what seemed to us like exotic tales were set in the context of a culture that predestined the lives of its people to oppression and drudgery.  I used to introduce my American literature surveys with the Swedish film “The Emigrants” so that students would have a background  in what motivated the invention and founding of America.

Literature which speaks cogently and powerfully to the situations people find themselves in provides a means to define, analyze, and understand those situations so that they might be changed or surmounted.  The appeal of Larsson’s trilogy is that it reflects the contemporary emergence of a mentality that is hard to ignore, but just as hard to define with the besotting vocabulary with which the media obscures some otherwise naked truths.  After the name calling frenzy inspired by Barack Obama’s ascension to the presidency, it is hard to tell when the terms Nazi,  fascist, communist, racist, etc., actually name some discernible trait or whether they are just the mindless sound and fury coming from the Limbaugh and Beck echo chambers.  Larsson’s books provide narratives and imagery that give sharp definition to some of the things those terms apply to.

My family history and my education are steeped in the lore of Sweden.  I grew up in a town settled by people of Swedish descent.  I attended  a Swedish Lutheran college and later taught there.  During my teaching years there, I learned some facts about Sweden that have surfaced in Larsson’s novels.  As a young professor, I was given a special duty assignment to review and help with the indexing of some personal papers that had been bequeathed to the college.  The papers dealt with local history, particularly as it involved native Americans.  Native American literature and culture was one of my specialties, so I was assigned to work in the archives in organizing those papers.  The college provided office space for retired professor in the archives, and some of  the emeritus professors gathered there to continue their own work and asked me questions about the project I was working on.   This prompted much discussion about political repression and discrimination that occurred in the world.  One of the retired professors was one of my philosophy professors.  He had been a professor at the University of Latvia, which is directly across the Baltic Sea from Sweden, until 1944 when he fled to Germany to escape the Soviet invasion of  Latvia.  In 1949, he was hired by the college out of a displaced persons camp in Germany.  Latvia had been invaded by the Soviet Union early in World War II,  then taken over by the Nazi Regime, and then repossessed by the Soviets in 1944.  Many Latvians fled to Germany and Sweden to escape the Soviets.  My former professor  who became a colleague was vehement in his denouncements of the Soviets.  Other of retired professors were informed about the role of Sweden at this time, and the matter of  the Nazis was talked about gingerly.  I was made aware that although Sweden was a center of resistance against the Nazis, it had its sympathizers, and there was much talk about the repression of minorities and the people who struggled against such oppression.  This history reemerges in Larsson’s trilogy and sets the backdrop for the action.  Immigrants and displaced people are the catalysts that revive old hatreds into action.

Sweden, like much of Europe and the U.S., has experienced an influx of immigrants, both invited and  uninvited, with the globalization of the world economies.  In response against the immigrants, a number of people have reacted by adopting conservative attitudes.  Larsson brings into play the racial and ethnic hatreds as they are revived from the past and he explores how they penetrate the culture and the government.  Sweden, which has joined other European nations in expelling Gypsies and other ethnic immigrants, is no longer a safe haven from the insidious hatreds of the Nazis and the brutal repression and violence of the Soviets.  His novels portray the revival  of hateful mindsets and those who resist and fight against them.

His novels contain many literary faults, which are covered by The New Yorker article, but they contain a power that attracts and engages a huge audience of readers and film-goers.  They manage to cut through the cacophony of media-driven politics to take a stark look at the moral ills that infect the human race.

During the past week a hate manifesto has been circulating the Internet and was reposted on South Dakota blogs. It is a list of old hatreds that has plagued the civilized world until it started working with the ideas of democracy, equality, liberty, and justice. It is a rather detailed map of the mentality of what is emerging as conservatism in the contemporary world.  It seethes with racial animosity, anti-intellectualism, misogyny, defamation of anyone and anything that does not conform to the mentality it maps out.

It is the expression of the hatreds and the mindsets that compose the villains in Larsson’s novels, and it speaks strongly to our time.  And it is in that definition of the threats to democracy and its most vital tenets that define what the real divide is between what we think is liberalism and conservatism.  We can look at some distance at the destructive forces at work in Larsson’s Sweden, and maybe we can recognize them when we find them in our own back yards.

**[Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy books—“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2008, American edition), “The Girl Who Played with Fire” (2009), and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2010)]

GOP to Push Homeschool Tax Credit?

Posted: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 8:13 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Let’s see if Kristi Noem will vote to put money in my pocket….

The new GOP majority in the U.S. House includes some members who would like to give homeschooling families a tax break. The New York Times is hosting a discussion on the topic, wherein the Home School Legal Defense Association says a $500 homeschool tax credit would encourage parents to get involved in their kids’ education. Education reform guru Chester Finn says fine, but you don’t get federal money without jumping through federal hoops, like requiring homeschool kids to take more tests. And that prospect sets off the Cato Institute’s Constitutional alarms.

Professional teachers receive a similar tax credit. When I taught at Montrose, the Educator Expense Deduction shaved another $250 off my taxable income, as compensation for books and other educational materials I used on the job. If we offer this compensation to teachers working with the support of a school district, can we justify offering the same compensation to parents doing the same job mostly on their own?

Even though we plan on homeschooling our daughter for at least a few more years, my wife and I still believe in supporting the public school system. We oppose vouchers, in part because they don’t make sense in rural South Dakota (and Rep. Kristi Noem agrees), but in larger part because they drain money directly from school districts and threaten the solvency of the public school system. Some folks have no problem with dismantling public schools,but we recognize that a free society requires free schools for the majority of citizens who either cannot afford to have parents stay home to teach full-time or who simply aren’t intellectually equipped to do so (seriously: how many of you parents could quit work, go home, and teach high school literature, algebra, history, and foreign language?).

A federal tax credit for homeschool does not directly subtract money from local school district budgets; it just leaves a little more money in the pockets of parents who’ve already chosen to pull out of the public system. But it still reduces the support that homeschool parents provide for public goods that they and their children still rely on for their education. Homeschoolers use public libraries and museums; they attend concerts and cultural events supported by public money; they drive on roads to get there.

A homeschool tax credit should set off conservative and liberal alarm bells. The credit opens the doors for federal regulation of homeschool via the IRS. I would think that prospect would kill the idea among my conservative friends. And given the religious motivation of many homeschool parents (my wife and I are in a distinct minority here in Madison, choosing homeschool for purely secular rather than spiritual reasons), my liberal friends can go ape over the potential of federal tax credits subsidizing religious instruction. Mix those two, and politically, the homeschool tax credit looks like it goes nowhere.

If we really think homeschool is a good idea, we might support it better by leaving Uncle Sam out of it and focusing on changing state law. Give local school districts their full per-student allocation for homeschoolers, and in return give homeschoolers full access to all resources of their chosen district.

I won’t complain much if Rep. Noem votes to send more money to help us educate our daughter. But a homeschool tax credit doesn’t doesn’t sound like the best way to do that.

GOP Plans Health Care Repeal Grandstanding

Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 7:59 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Representative-Elect Kristi Noem will get her first chance to grandstand on her campaign promise to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act next week. Noem’s GOP bosses will bring the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” to a vote next Wednesday, January 12. The repeal bill is two pages long, compared to the couple-thousand-page health reform is seeks to undo… proof that any idiot can shout No! but that coming up with a real solution for a complicated problem takes some work.

Of course, the Republicans are making their symbolic repeal bill even simpler by ignoring their own rules: the Republicans are exempting health reform repeal from the requirement that the House pay for every bit of legislation it passes. Remember: if Speaker Boehner could slip 13 Democratic Senators and President Obama a mickey and get them to approve the repeal, they’d have to pay back $130 billion in savings over the next decade. Repealing PPACA will also put the states several billion dollars further in the hole. Thanks for the kind thoughts, Kristi!

Also not on Noem’s agenda: any vote to reject her own government health insurance. Come on, Kristi: if government shouldn’t be involved in my health coverage, it shouldn’t be involved in yours. Your fellow freshman Congressman Joe Walsh from Illinois is heeding the call to consistency; your Tea Party friends think you should too!