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Collected editorials

Overly popular pages


Our Lady of the Large Black Dog commented on Bridger’s brightness thuswise: “He was the kind you could rub his nose in it and he still wouldn’t get it. Totally clueless.”
President George W. Bush Jr. is sending more troops to Iraq.


They say that 50% of all marriages end in divorce. That’s not as bad as it sounds, considering that the other 50% end in death.

Bloggers to the left of me, bloggers to the right of me

The romance between Hyde County and the blogosphere continues apace. Since my last editorial there have been two more local residents starting blogs. Currently we have:

Jerry Hinkle    The Holabird Advocate
John Zilverberg    My Opinion by John Zilverberg
Ana Nemec    Tales Of A College Girl
Rita Mosquita    Rita’s Ramblings
Properly speaking, neither Ana nor Rita are Hyde county residents. Ana is a college student attending South Dakota State University where she is studying something. Rita is (or was as the case may be) a teacher in Denver, Colorado. Rita has a nice blog article entitled I Am No Longer an Unknown! about being discovered by the Hyde county contingent.

It should be pointed out that John Zilverberg is, was, or will have been 92; I have had to concede seniority to him. Both John and Jerry are residents of Holabird (population 38) which makes it a veritable hotbed of internet activity. These days I rely upon The Holabird Advocate for all of the Hyde County news that the Highmore Herald does not see fit to print.

Trafficking in web pages

As my readers know (or ought to because I mention the fact every now and then) my website is a vast sprawling thing. From time to time somebody discovers some page of mine that is amusing or, more rarely, informative and tells the world about it. When they do I can get a burst of traffic. For tawdry financial reasons I like to keep the traffic on my main website below an average of 31 megabytes a day so I keep an eye out for sudden bursts. On January 29 my traffic jumped to 50 megabytes and on January 30 it went up to 70 megabytes. Sure enough, there is a culprit. This time it is the creationist FAQ formerly at https://richardhartersworld.com/~cri/1996/crefaq.html. This bit of fluff purports to be an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions and their answers) about creationism. In two days 2500 people thought it was worth reading. How sad.

Like other overly popular pages it is being moved to Annex D where it joins the recipes for roast camel and kitter litter cake. I do seem to have this problem with overly popular pages.

The Sutton Affair

Some people feel that the South Dakota legislature is much like the appendix – a useless vestigial organ that sometimes get inflamed and poisons the body politic. Not I. If nothing else, it is a source of entertainment. I grant that the legislature does some really inane things. Last year they passed an abortion ban. Since abortion is (according to the universally infallible but not necessarily consistent Supreme Court) a fundamental protected constitutional right (it says so right there in clause er, ah, never mind) the law was unconstitutional on the face of it. The backers admitted this; however their hope was that Roe vs Wade would be reversed in the inevitable court battle. It was gravely explained the legal battles wouldn’t cost anything since money had already been set aside to fight them. The quality of this thinking is representative of the representatives.

The good citizens of South Dakota, being slightly brighter than their legislators, voted this bit of foolishness out. Not content with having their hand slapped once, the anti-abortion legislators are trying again. This time they figure they can sneak it past the voters if they allow abortions in cases of rape and incest. I’m counting on the legislature having an attack of good sense and quietly burying the whole thing. Do you think I could possibly be wrong?

However the abortion nonsense has lost center stage to the Sutton affair. South Dakota, like our equally estimable US Congress, has a system of legislative pages wherein young persons can do donkey work for legislators in exchange for experience and a modest salary. Enter Dan Sutton. Dan is a Democratic senator from Flandreau, SD. (Flandreau has a population of 2300 people, which makes it one of the larger SD small towns.)

Dan is a local businessman. (As a side note, the SD legislature only meets for forty days a year, which limits the amount of legislation it can pass. This is known as damage control. In consequence the legislators have to have a real source of income; they can’t live off of their legislative salaries.) Dan and his wife were (were until quite recently) family friends with Dennis Wiese, another local business man, and his wife. Dan, in his own words, thought of Wiese’s son Austin as being a son to him. I don’t know who sponsored Austin as a page but I imagine it was Dan. All went well until …

… one day in March of 2006. For reasons I have never heard the two of them ended up having to stay in town in Pierre overnight for a couple of nights. Dan had arranged for the two of them to stay at a local motel. Austin was considerably startled when he learned that they were to share a king sized bed. but Dan reassured him that it was all right. ???? discovered that it was less than all right when he awoke in the night to discover that Dan was reaching for his genitals. (Allegedly, of course.) Austin quite reasonably decided that it would be wise to find somewhere else to spend the rest of the night.

Although the incident happened in March it did not become public until August. When the fit hit the shan Senator Sutton resigned. This is not quite what it seems. He was still running for re-election in November; he just resigned for the remainder of his term. I gather that the point of this maneuver was to avoid having any unseemly inquiries before the election; the Senate wasn’t in session but the governor called the Senate into special session to look into the matter. Resigning made the special session moot.

In November Dan Sutton was re-elected (or elected – can you be re-elected to an office you don’t currently hold?) and in January a Senate subcommittee held hearings on the matter. Austin et al testified as to what happened. As another side note one of the benefits of these political sexual scandals is that the word ‘penis’ has become respectable. There was a time when you couldn’t use that word in public. Nowadays all is changed – we are treated with the details of presidential members on prime time. Senator Sutton explained that he didn’t touch Austin and if he did it was an inadvertent accident and besides Austin is making all of this up so as to protect his father who his having his own problems with a failed business deal. (Don’t ask me to explain this.)

The subcommittee has recommended that Senator Sutton be censured but not that he be expelled. Their reasoning is that the allegations weren’t proved but Sutton did show bad judgment. The latter is certainly true although one might reasonably ask whether the judgment error lay in going to bed with a teen-age boy or with going to bed with a teen-age boy who wasn’t receptive to his advances. In any event censure is the right choice. After all, if the good folk of Flandreau wish to be represented by a prevert, that is their right. They voted for him, knowing what he was.

It seems that I am not the only one with problems with overly popular pages.

This page was last updated February 1, 2007.

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Collected editorials