Wilmot Wake-up


Is that some news down there?Not in their backyard. Some Pierre residents don’t like the idea of a sober living home near their houses. Apparently community-driven, peaceful efforts to help folks struggling with substance abuse is distasteful. From the story: “‘Our neighborhood is really spread out, but we have really come together on this issue,’ [Shauna] Thompson said.” These people, nearly 80 of them, are banding together to voice opposition to a sober living home—one with strict self-regulations, mind you. Awesome. They’re collecting signatures for a petition, which they plan to present to a Pierre City Commission on Tuesday. Double awesome. | Capital Journal [warning: HEAVY, horrible, ad-filled website]

Some positive, helpful news concerning teens and texting: The HelpLine Center, which connects people in crisis situations to various social resources, is launching a texting program for teens at three schools in S.D. | Argus Leader

Are you a smoker that enjoys buying cartons at a substantially reduced price at manufacture-your-own shops? Perhaps you’re a non-smoker who thinks arbitrary government taxes are a bad thing. Unless you’re a supporter of an increasing nanny state, a new House bill, 1138, will probably make you a little upset. After a 25-minute debate (whoa!), the S.D. House voted to increase taxes (by about $13 per carton) on smokes sold in shops that allow customers to use machines to produce their own cigarettes from bulk tobacco. Next up: a Senate vote. Feel free to contact your “representatives.” | Mitchell Daily Republic


The Minnesota D.O.T. is planning new toll lanes for the northeast metro similar to those already in place in the western Twin Cities area. Pay a little more, drive in a fast lane. Now only if the entire transportation system was subject to market prices and opened to entrepreneurship. | MinnPost

According to a new poll commissioned by the Minnesota Campaign for Achievement Now, people in the state (75 percent in the poll) overwhelmingly think that student learning should be the primary factor in judging teacher performance, compared to 6 percent who said teachers’ years of experience should be most important (among other responses). Good point posted by Craig Westover (and seen in a Twit-feed on the linked blog and paraphrased here): A problem with rating teachers on performance is who does the rating—other educators or parents and students who receive the service? | Pioneer Press

A high-school goalie came one rejection shy from tying the state record for stops in a game. Erikur Arnason (awesome hockey name) blocked 73 shots Saturday night as Greenway beat Virginia-Mountain Iron-Buhl 4-2. | Duluth News Tribune


A Hmong entrepreneur has started to selling traditional rice wine out of Wisconsin. Following his mother’s recipes, Po Lo produces 120- and 130-proof varieties. | Pioneer Press

Tens of thousands across Europe protested the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on Saturday. See video and pictures. | Al Jazeera

The Electronic Frontier Foundation launches a new project, Bloggers Under Fire, to help shine digital light on governmental crack-downs on online publishers. They will be working with Global Voices Online’s Threatened Voices project in the effort. | EFF

NATO acknowledges the murder of eight teenage boys in an air-strike that occurred last Wednesday. | Reuters

[This has been another Wilmot Wake-up, a daily survey covering some news and views of the Upper Midwest. For link tips, broken links or to discover a physical address to which you can send samples of Hmong-style rice wine, email us at thepeglegupdate {at} gmail {dot} com. For more wake-ups, see here.]
[photo screenshot of The Capital Journal, Pierre, S.D.]

13. February 2012 by Mitch LeClair
Categories: Local, News | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wilmot Wake-up


This guy knows what's best for you.The managing editor for Argus Leader Media wants a light rail for Sioux Falls. Driving is cool, he says, but cars just aren’t sustainable. Some snippets: “Transportation planners locked away in the dingy corners of City Hall spend hours studying these very issues. They look at growth trends and roads and traffic counts in an effort to figure out where we need new roads. They focus on roads, however, because that’s what people want. Any urban planner these days is fully familiar with the benefits and hurdles of mass transit. It’s the actual citizens who hold them back.” Yes, and those citizens’ pocketbooks—and wishes. Why can’t “public intellectuals,” as much as a newspaper columnist in 2012 fits that bill, call for a massive donation-driven effort to build a new transportation project, one that is not designed by city planners, but the population? One that would emerge as a response to citizen/resident demand, not sideline suggestion? Another: “We need to let city planners start the process of thinking about light rail rather than widen our existing roadways to get more cars through.” Wider roads or a light rail—those are not the only two options. If transportation services were not so dependent upon and interconnected with the State (federal, state and local levels), perhaps solutions to traffic problems would arise. Instead, we have proposals to get city planners to begin thinking about one particular solution that has proven to be a boondoggle in other metropolitan areas. Even if it would be a seemingly successful project, how would residents know? Other possibilities would be extinguished by decisions made in “dingy corners of City Hall” before entrepreneurs could provide a light. One last quote: “As much as we love to drive, it’s not the only way.” A reply: As much as some people love to propose grandiose, planned solutions to society’s problems, beaucratic planning is not the only way. In fact, it’s the worst way. | Argus Leader

Senator Tim Johnson helped fund a Pentagon project employing his wife. She made more than $400,000 in six years working to teach math, science and engineering to children. Wait—the Pentagon is funding youth education? RADMERICA. Bonus: Gov’t funds are fun. “‘Senator Johnson is an advocate for earmarks because he is able to direct spending to South Dakota that is for the benefit of South Dakotans in a variety of cases, whether it’s for the National Guard, to move the railroad tracks in downtown Sioux Falls or a wide variety of other occasions,’ [Johnson's communications director, Perry] Plumart said.” | Mitchell Daily Republic

Video lottery providers may soon be able to offer 14 machines to customers in one establishment instead of the current 10. This story has it all: vice, state arbitrariness, addiction, lobbying, strange governmental agencies, digital screens and winnings. | Mitchell Daily Republic

Beer sellers in Whiteclay, Nebraska, sell more than 13,000 cans of beer a day. Now their customers—members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe—are suing the beer industry for $500 million “to help repair damage done to the reservation.” | KELOLAND


The lede says enough: “Banks in the US state of Minnesota – home to a large ethnic Somali community – have stopped money transfer services to Somalia, fearful of prosecution under US anti-terror laws.” | BBC

The state of Minnesota says a 68-percent minority population at a St. Cloud elementary school is too high. They are not explicitly calling for more white kids at Talahi, but my goodness, the public school system in this country is convoluted. | St. Cloud Times

Are you a high schooler that makes movies, or do you know one? The 2012 .EDU Film Festival is looking for entries. | AP / WCCO

Teachers in the area are grateful for exemptions from No Child Left Behind requirements this year. From this story in West Central Minnesota: “‘We all know that No Child Left Behind, while well-intentioned, has often been an impediment to the great work you are doing to help children in your districts,’ [Minn. Education Commissioner Brenda] Cassellius said in an email to school superintendents. ‘Under this waiver, we have a great opportunity to transition to an accountability system made in Minnesota that works for Minnesota.’” Let’s hope someday soon, children and families have the opportunity to transition to an accountability system made in their local community and family that works for their local community and family. | West Central Tribune


Researchers at Delft University of Technology continue work on Tribler, a torrent client that disregards websites for searching or downloading. From the story: “… the main goal is to come up with a robust implementation of BitTorrent that doesn’t rely on central servers. Instead, Tribler is designed to keep BitTorrent alive, even when all torrent search engines, indexes and trackers are pulled offline.” | TorrentFreak

The Malaysian government arrested a Saudi blogger Thursday. He had fled Saudi Arabia after Twitter comments he made resulted in state threats of imprisonment. The end result of his innocuous statements might be death by government. | Al Jazeera

The New Youth Normal – About the only easy thing for young people these days is keeping in touch. Other than that, it’s rough-going, says Durden. From the piece: “As these increasingly disenfranchised young adults make some of life’s biggest transitions (or not as the case seems to be), we wonder just how long it will be before Al-Jazeera is reporting on the Yankee-Spring and showing video of young hoody-wearing Americans throwing their ‘Vans’ at 80 inch plasma TVs; or maybe the BLS will decide to redefine basement-dwelling (or rioting) as a full-time job.” | ZeroHedge

[This has been another Wilmot Wake-up, a daily survey covering some news and views of the Upper Midwest. For link tips, broken links or to deliver rabbles, email us at thepeglegupdate {at} gmail {dot} com. For more wake-ups, see here.]
[photo courtesy El Bibliomata on flickr // CC 2.0]

10. February 2012 by Mitch LeClair
Categories: Local, News | Tags: , , , , | 1 comment

Wilmot Wake-up


Image searching for "blowhard," one finds few results not connected to John McCain. BEANIE.Digital billboards are no longer outright prohibitable in S.D., though various levels of the state can still regulate them. “Cathie Calhoun of Rapid City opposes the bill because she says the digital signs flash too many messages to passers-by.” Oh, hush up, Cathie. | KELOLAND

Some veterans find adjusting to college life at SDSU difficult—and they might suffer from PTSD, judging by this article. The lede: “Danny McLaughlin winces when he sees someone fuss over a cup of coffee that has too much cream in it, or if it’s not the perfect temperature.” | The Collegian

A 45-year-old man from Mitchell hit his daughter with a piece of scrap oak wood last year. He probably will not spend any time in jail. | AP / KELOLAND

The University of South Dakota will finally allow adults to enjoy their drug of choice in their residence halls: “‘This is not about giving people permission to have a raging party,’ [Phil Covington, associate dean of students] said. ‘This is about someone simply being able to, if they want to, at the end of the day while they’re kicked back watching a ball game and want to have a hit of marijuana, they can do that. They can do it responsibly, they can do it legally and now they can do it within the policy.’” Oh, did I copy/paste wrong? The correct quote is “want to have a beer, they can do that.” My mistake, dear readers. This is still America, isn’t it? | Volante


More wood news. A Duluth woman pleaded guilty to stabbing her sister in the face with an 8-inch piece of trim board. From the story: “The victim said she was beaten by her sister. She said she was punched about 15 times with a closed fist and then stabbed with the piece of wood.” The prosecutor said the assailant will not spend any time in jail—if a probation officer approves a plea agreement plan. | News Tribune

Signs both supporting and opposing war have caused a stir in Little Falls. The city forced a resident to comply with a town ordinance and take down signs supporting peace and Occupy Wall Street in her yard, yet a “We Support Our Troops” banner has stayed posted downtown. | Brainerd Dispatch

Some Minnesota legislators want to make voters show photo ID at the polls. One group thinks banks and other firms who bankrolled proponents’ campaigns are leading the charge to prevent folks from voting. Plus some stuff about the “1 per cent.” Style score: -2. | Star Tribune


Students at a Pennsylvania university can purchase the morning-after pill out of a vending machine. Hundreds of people have used the service. As Mangu-Ward states over at Reason, this machine lets “consumers make their own moral choices, on their own schedule, with the company they choose to keep.” | Hit & Run / WTAE

Not exactly news, and another link from Reason, but this Remy parody is spot-on. | Hit & Run / Reason.TV

Public Service Announcement: Citizens hoping to vote for presidential candidates running in the Jedi and Absolute Dictator parties have reason to celebrate. Brian C. Moran is hoping to use the force in the White House, and Hrm Caesar St Augustine de Buonaparte Emperor of the United States of Turtle Island is looking to upset the field with, I assume, unimaginable force. I can get behind all of this. | Green Papers

I love political candidates who love rhetorical questions, especially when they also love big wrenches. I introduce: John Davis, candidate for president of the U.S. From his site: “How about IQ? Should a president be someone so smart he or she can’t communicate with the people of the nation? Or should he have a lower IQ so as to understand the simple things in life? Or perhaps an average IQ and able to understand a little bit of both?” | John Davis for President.org

An openly gay Republican from California is running for president too, by the way. He’d be great for the job, I bet [absolutely nothing on that statement]. Here are a few ideas featured on the “Issues/Jobs Now! Plan” page: “Work with top retailers to feature American made goods in a special ‘Made in the USA’ section.” And: “Create a web program, Jobs.gov, to connect employers with perspective employees. The program would use a viral marketing campaign to put America back to work.” Go Karger! And freedom. | Fred Karger for President

[This has been another Wilmot Wake-up, a daily survey covering the news and views of the Upper Midwest. For link tips, broken links or suggestions for monetizing collections of armpit shavings, email us at thepeglegupdate {at} gmail {dot} com. For more wake-ups, see here. I dropped the "A" on purpose.]
[photo courtesy Nika Vee on flickr // CC 2.0]

08. February 2012 by Mitch LeClair
Categories: Local, News | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Fresh Peg Leg: “Ron Paul repeats himself in St. Cloud; many listen”

This is what happens when one has no money for film.The three-time presidential candidate and traveling lecturer made his second appearance at St. Cloud’s River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud yesterday. All the usual stimulation emerged, and only one Vikings jersey was in attendance.

Read the entire article here at ThePegLeg.com.

07. February 2012 by Mitch LeClair
Categories: Local, News, Social | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Wilmot Wake-up


Actually a metaphor representing what MSNBC does to you.No painkillers, no panic. Look at that nail. Surgery was successful. Wow. | Pioneer Press

Buying some hard assets in Duluth? Prepare for a mug-shot. City police have treated pawn shops differently for years, and now they want to add burden to precious metals dealers. Pawn owners don’t mind. Coin dealers don’t want to do hours of extra work a day and harass their customers. | News Tribune

Supervalu—the large grocery chain that also owns Cub Foods, Jewel-Osco, Albertson’s and Save-A-Lot—is laying off 800 workers around the country, including 200 in Minn. The chain has been crawling the last few years, and its enormous acquisition of Albertson’s in 2006 never really panned out. | Pioneer Press


A House committee killed a proposed bill that would require drug testing of welfare recipients. From the story: “‘If we are going to be that compassionate, giving society, heaven forbid we make sure that our support goes to those people truly in need and not those people on illegal drugs,’ said Rep. Mark Kirkeby, R-Rapid City.” Because a compassionate, giving society requires invasions of the worst kind—give me your bodily fluids, you other human. Also, why are these automatically diametrically opposed: “people truly in need,” “people on illegal drugs”? Also (2), marijuana stays in your system for three weeks or more. Crack, meth, PCP, opiates, ecstasy, acid and cocaine all leave a person’s body within days. Just something to remember, drug warriors, you dumb bastards. | Rapid City Journal

Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) has found a solution to dropped calls and spotty telephone service in rural areas: a government agency. Yesterday, the FCC released a ruling—that carries the force of law, a declaration not put in place by elected officials, btw—that states, “… carriers responsible for traffic routing problems are in violation of the law and degraded service quality to certain areas is strictly prohibited. The FCC warns carriers that its agency is authorized to issue significant penalties to entities failing to adhere to this ruling.” Phone companies that can’t afford to invest in service improvements can surely deal with “significant penalties,” right? | Press Release / Tim Johnson

A South Dakota woman admits to a synthetic marijuana addiction. She can’t afford another DVD player because of it, and chemicals sprayed on plant materials, then incinerated and inhaled, feels harmful to her. Remember: Anything can become psychologically addictive. Chess, brownies, pornography, horseback riding, synthetic marijuana, whatever. Also remember: K2/Spice/etc. appeared because of continued demand for mind-altering substances and the depleted supply/availability of natural substances used by humans for thousands of years. Coughing up brown stuff that tastes like herbal incense is extremely screwed up, and reasons do exist for that kind of occurence. | KELOLAND

“Lawmakers Take Up Sexting Punishment Bill”—terrific. I’m sure this law would never have any unintended consequences, and I’m confident it would put a stop to sexting between minors. Fun fact: Here’s the definition of “nudity” in S.D. codified law: “‘Nudity,’ the showing or the simulated showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks with less than a fully opaque covering; or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any portion thereof below the top of the nipple; or the depiction of covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state for the purpose of creating sexual excitement. This term does not include a mother’s breast-feeding of her baby irrespective of whether or not the nipple is covered during or incidental to feeding.” So, a picture sent from a beach showing teens wearing bikinis or low-rise shorts would become illegal, as would any pictures containing butts—or simulated butts—sent between 17-year-olds in a long distance relationship. Also proposed illegalities: texting pictures of jean bulges if a court rules that a person tried to “creat[e] sexual excitement.” Bonus points: The reporter presenting this story, Austin Hoffman, is the son of one of the co-sponsors of the bill in the S.D. House, Representative Charles Hoffman. | KELOLAND


People in Greece go nuts, again. The Greek government has no money, wants a nearly $200 billion bailout from the EU and the IMF and has proposed cuts of 15,000 public-funded jobs this year. Oh, and it’s proposed 150,000 job cuts for the next few years. The land of Olympus is getting harrier and harrier. | Al Jazeera

Read about new information concerning the U.S. drone operation. It’s a bit less-than-awesome. Preview: Many times drone attacks target people who respond to just-happened attacks, a.k.a., emergency-response crews. Drones also have a knack for aiming towards funerals. | Salon / Glenn Greenwald

BTJunkie shut down voluntarily yesterday. IP Pigs: 1, culture sharers: 0. | Wired

[This has been another Wilmot Wake-up, a daily survey covering the news and views of the Upper Midwest. For link tips, broken links or post-nail-in-head-accident advice, email us at thepeglegupdate {at} gmail {dot} com. For more wake-ups, see here.]
[photo courtesy St. Joseph's Hospital // use falls under "fair use"]

07. February 2012 by Mitch LeClair
Categories: Local, News | Tags: , , , | 1 comment

A Wilmot Wake-up


One of two assholes who killed Ron Johnson, a corrections officer in Sioux Falls, said he deserves to die for what he did. The judge agreed and today ordered capital punishment. Both he and Attorney General Marty Jackley disagreed with the defense’s argument that the death penalty served in this case, and will in the future, as a viable option and escape from incarceration. No word on whether killing this person will bring Johnson back or matter much to other would-be murderers. | Argus Leader

Catholic bishops don’t want the government to force all employers to provide birth control. Who knew. | KELOLAND

Representative Patrick Kirshman answered questions about his proposed bill that would raise the S.D. minimum wage. The lede: “The lowest paid workers in South Dakota could get a raise if a bill is successful this legislative session.” My edit: “The lowest paid workers in South Dakota might get fired soon if a bill is successful this legislative session.” More from the story: “And while the annual adjustment would be a few pennies or dimes each year, Kirshman says it would keep low wage workers from leaving the state, especially in rural areas.” I’m fairly certain the poorest wage earners (probably poorer than the poorest welfare recipients) cannot afford to leave the state. They are quite stuck in many situations, working paycheck-to-paycheck and definitely unable to afford time off work, new bills and rental deposits. Removing available jobs—however low the pay—does not seem to be a solution, but what do I know? I’m not a legislator. | KELOLAND

"Mmmmm, tax money."Someone was growing 500 marijuana plants in Leola, and some folks working for the state didn’t like that. From the story: “[Leola Police Chief John Grabowska] says the drug bust should have a ‘significant impact’ on the area’s illegal drug activity.” Whether or not it will have that impact—or whether similar efforts have had a “significant impact” in the past—is unknown at this time. Grabowska’s interpretation of “significant” was also unavailable. | AP / Mitchell Republic

If passed, a proposed law would require people convicted of prostitution or prostitute solicitation to submit blood to the state for AIDS testing. | AP / Mitchell Republic

Another publication in southeastern S.D. receives some positive press. Here‘s the video preview of 605 Magazine‘s Feb. issue. Plus: An ad for “slurpably fun” Go-Gurt AND fashion talk. | KSFY


Drinking on a frozen lake … in a bar: Welcome to the Ice Hole. [photo gallery] | MPR

Three of four remaining presidential candidates in the Republican Party have visited or will visit Minnesota today. Romney skipped the state, Gingrich will appear in Bloomington tonight at 7:30 p.m., Santorum hung out this morning before taking off to Colorado and Paul will speak in St. Cloud at 4 p.m. and Minneapolis at 7 p.m. | Star Tribune

Rick Santorum thinks Americans are darn cool. Plus: an uncommon tale of deceased newborns. | Star Tribune

A 9-year-old boy in Winona received a suspension after grabbing his crotch while performing a Michael Jackson routine. | WCCO


A Minnesota news channel conducted an “undercover” investigation in a Wisconsin bar, discovering that the owner encouraged his patrons to enjoy a cigarette while they occupied his establishment. This “brazen lawlessness,” according to the news channel, continues—despite repeated snitching by locals to the county sheriff. His response: I have too many other important things to do than care if people smoke in a bar. The fine is lower than the cost of lost business, says the bar owner. The saga continues. Also: Episode one, in 2-D, courtesy Wisconsin news station WSAW and their story from July 2011. | KSTP

A friend opines about Black History Month from his libertarian perspective. | Students for Liberty

Our current president recently spoke about his Christian faith and its guidance in his presidency. No word on Jesus’s opinion of collateral damage or prison populations. | Reuters

Remember that time (February 2012) the NYPD killed a guy who was suspected of dealing marijuana? | Wall Street Journal

Inmates in Vermont sneak a pig silhouette onto troopers’ cars for months. Editorial: HA. | Reuters

[This has been another Wilmot Wake-up, a daily survey covering the news and views of—and from—the Upper Midwest. For link tips, broken links or advice on what to do with that week-old cabbage in your fridge, email us at thepeglegupdate {at} gmail {dot} com. For more wake-ups, see here.]
[photo courtesy rickis_refuge on flickr // CC 2.0]

06. February 2012 by Mitch LeClair
Categories: Local, News | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A Wilmot Wake-up


His eyes look weird. Probably on dope. Lock him up.An interesting bill is headed to the S.D. Senate after passing through the House. HB 1132 would legally prohibit any “business or other public or private employer” from saying, “No,” to an employee or visitor who wanted to keep a gun and/or ammo in his/her locked car. Property rights bonanza! Here‘s KELOLAND on the subject, and here‘s the bill.

The government of S.D. has sentenced a Minnesota man to life in prison for distributing drugs. Life in prison for trading banned substances. He never killed, raped or molested anyone. Meth exists because of the drug war. Et cetera. From the Argus: “Authorities say Chantharath traveled from Worthington to Sioux Falls on several occasions and distributed meth from local motels.” Welp, that seals it. Take his life. | Argus Leader

A state Senate committee has killed a bill that proposed to ban texting while driving. | Argus Leader

Hey, look: Nate Wolters is from St. Cloud, and now he’s a Jackrabbit. He’s a pretty darn good ball player too. Readers: we need his endorsement. Work on it, please. Side note: I made some copies for his dad a few weeks ago. Nice guy. | The Collegian


Duluth residents celebrate Groundhog Day a little differently: “… we’ll do it again at 11 a.m. today at the Lake Superior Zoo. Here we’ll be watching for the prairie dogs to emerge, along with a porcupine named Spike.” | News Tribune

Going under the knife when you’re young may prove to be a bit unsettling, say Mayo Clinic researchers. Possible link between anesthesia and ADHD? What … squirrel! | MPR


The union representing North Dakotan American Crystal employees, who have been striking for just more than six months, plans to lobby against the sugar industry on Capitol Hill. Strange days. Check the nice finale from the writer here: “The U.S. sugar program’s key provision is limiting sugar imports and propping up domestic sugar prices.” | AP / Pioneer Press

The state of California has one month left in its wallet. Seriously: with no more borrowing or delayed payments, the state is screwed, budget-wise, in early March. “More cash solutions may be required,” says the controller. Sounds like he needs to get his budget under con … ok, I’ll stop. | ZeroHedge / Sacramento Bee

Bill Simmons on the NBA season thus far. Part One. Part Two. Even if you’re not a “sports person,” I recommend this website. Wonderful writing. | Grantland

The City of Boston has quietly banned blunts. No more cheap cigars in Beantown. | Tumblr / Hipster Libertarian

Students at the University of Connecticut successfully pressured their administration to change penalties for possessing marijuana. Now the authoritarian response in cases with pot is nearly equivalent—in fact, a bit lighter—than it is with alcohol on campus. Sensible, indeed. | Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP)

[This has been another Wilmot Wake-up, a daily foray into the news and views of and from the Upper Midwest. For link tips, broken links, tips for Link, tips for Zelda or advice on how not to use a credit card between the ages of 19 and 22, email us at thepeglegupdate {at} gmail {dot} com. For more wake-ups, see here.]
[photo courtesy Wade Patrick Brooks on flickr // CC 2.0]

02. February 2012 by Mitch LeClair
Categories: Local, News | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

A Wilmot Wake-up

[This is the first post in a new daily series here at ThePegLeg.com. These Wilmot Wake-ups will feature short bursts of information from news sources in the Upper Midwest region and elsewhere. The name "Wilmot" comes from our faux-muse, Wilmot Brookings. Any recommendations for links or news sources, or to report broken links, send an email: thepeglegupdate {at} gmail {dot} com. Shukran.]


These chickens just smoked some K2. // by woodleywonderworks on flickr // CC 2.0Breaking: People in South Dakota like to get high. No comment about the fallibility of drug legislation. Also: don’t smoke nutmeg, kids. That’s just ridiculous. Also #2: This article is a hyphenated disaster. Copy/paste much? | Mitchell Republic

Related: An “alarming” rate of synthetic drug use has emerged in Sioux Falls. Kids smoke incense with weird chemicals added. According to KELO, “It’s a dangerous trend.” Opinion their own, apparently. Go drug war. Feel free to watch the Sioux Falls School District and a few guests talk about K2 (scroll down a bit: video from Dec. 2011). Update after half of that video: Holy crap. Any kids in Sioux Falls reading this: stay strong. The people with power over you have little clue. | KELOLAND

Brookings will soon welcome a Bel Brands cheese plant to the northeast corner of town. Big pull in bringing the Laughing Cow to BKX: $11.7 million in public financing. Could the PLU have .4 of that? Oh wait—I don’t feel comfortable with taking people’s money without their consent. Don’t worry about potential public/private problems or crony bologna. According to writer Ken Curley, “A large part of that investment will be recovered, however.” | Brookings Register

The boys basketball team in my hometown of Rosholt, S.D., is ranked third in the latest Class B state rankings. Congrats. [When I played basketball, I think we won something like six games total during my junior and senior year. What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger—and sad.] | KELOLAND

Editorial writers in Mitchell don’t like the Occupy movement. | Daily Republic


I hope former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann can do the doggy-paddle: Her campaign is $90,000 in debt. | Pioneer Press

The other strange Minnesotan who once tried to convince people to let him take great power over your life, Tim Pawlenty, is still in debt, too ($100,000). Cheers! | MinnPost

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis supported anti-gay marriage legislation last year with a whole bunch of cash ($650,000). | Pioneer Press / AP

Things are getting real in Minneapolis, according to the student paper at the U. The lede: “A University of Minnesota student was assailed with a Chicken McNugget and punches at the McDonald’s in Dinkytown.” | MN Daily

Two Alexandria boys become the envy of peers (and me): Jones Soda chose their unicycling photo for a run on orange cream bottle labels. | Alexandria Echo Press

T-Wolves are wearing Muskies jerseys tonight. Yes, a Minnesota team called the “Muskies” once played in the American Basketball Association. My idea for S.D.’s first pro squad: the Asian Carp. | WCCO


Economic historian Deirdre McCloskey is profiled. Heads up: she’s pretty rad. “Her own scholarly work has become increasingly focused on bringing love, hope, faith, courage and other virtues back into economics.” | Wall Street Journal

Antiwar groups schedule “day of mass action” on Sat., Feb. 4, to “stop war on Iran.” | Antiwar.com

Another isolated incident. Has nothing to do with the system. “A Fort Drum soldier wounded in Afghanistan in 2009 admitted Tuesday that he killed a 4-month-old girl he and his wife were trying to adopt by banging her head against a hard surface and throwing her into a crib.” Note: if this link goes away (as it seems to be dynamic), just search for “Jeffrey Sliker” on Google. | Stripes / AP

Pfizer has recalled 1 million birth control packets. | BusinessWeek

01. February 2012 by Mitch LeClair
Categories: Local, News | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Congressional opinions during the blackout

(St. Cloud, Minn)—During a day of online protest, U.S. Congressional representatives from South Dakota and Minnesota have taken varying positions on widely contested legislation regarding online piracy and the dynamic nature of the Internet.

This is a copy, not a stolen object. [cc 2.0, Sheila Tostes, flickr]Three area co-sponsors of the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA; S 968) in the U.S. Senate have remained steadfast in their support, including original co-sponsors Al Franken (D-MN) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).

“He is in favor of the Protect IP Act,” a representative for Franken said from his Washington office Wednesday, adding, “This is a bill to give law enforcement the tools they need.”

“It isn’t going to create any additional penalties,” the staff member said.

Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) “wants to make sure its something that works for everyone,” according to a staff member in his Washington office.

Since October, when he sponsored the legislation, Johnson’s position has remained the same: skeptical but supportive, concerned that the law remains a “tool to prevent piracy as opposed to use for something else,” the staff member said.

The congressional phone operator in Klobuchar’s office claimed Wednesday that the Minnesota senator had “not taken a public position” on PIPA, though she has sponsored the legislation since its introduction last May. [The Peg Leg Update also has an information request filed with Brigit Helgen, Klobuchar's press secretary, but as of 11:30 p.m. Wednesday, no additional information was available.]

Senator John Thune (R-SD) had not taken a position concerning PIPA, a staff member in his Washington office said Wednesday.

The phone operator did comment that Thune’s office “had a lot of calls about [PIPA],” especially today, she said, when popular websites Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist, Mediafire, Wired and others shut off services or displayed protest messages against the bill and its House relative, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA; HR 3261).

House members representing all of South Dakota and Minnesota’s 6th district, which includes St. Cloud, have released cautious opinions to the public on SOPA.

A staff member in Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) Washington office said the former Republican presidential candidate had “very strong concerns about government interference with the Internet.” A worker speaking for Kristi Noem (R-SD) said she was “aware of the wording and potential dangers that come with that piece of legislation.”

The phone operator in Noem’s office commented that, “Really, within the last 24 hours, this movement has started up and gained real steam.”

I had not mentioned anything about Internet blackouts or protests before asking Noem’s own representative about her position.

The Senate version of the intellectual property-protecting legislation is scheduled for a procedural vote next week, while the House bill is currently in a congressional hold.

Update Update: This article is slightly different than its original version. I altered the piece to reflect Senator Klobuchar’s status as co-sponsor of PIPA, as well as making some stylistic changes.

Update Update 2: Friday morning, Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) postponed a Jan. 24 vote on PIPA. “In light of recent events, I have decided to postpone Tuesday’s vote on the PROTECT IP Act,” he said in a statement Friday morning. The press secretary for Sen. Amy Klobuchar also  replied to my inquiry last night through email. This is Klobuchar’s latest statement on PIPA (as of Jan. 20): “This morning Senator Reid called off the vote because we need a better balance in any legislation that we consider. I will continue to work to address concerns that have been raised going forward.”

Who raised those concerns and what, in particular, a legislative balance is weighing in this case remains to be seen, heard, felt, etc.

18. January 2012 by Mitch LeClair
Categories: Local, News, Political | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why we’re different now

When I announced the return of The Peg Leg Update last night, I said I would explain a bit more about our recent move away from a certain less-than-awesome domain registrar. Here is that explanation.

This is how seriously I take political "solutions."About a month ago, when rabble concerning the proposed Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) started to populate web sites and news providers’ content, GoDaddy.com’s corporate leadership voiced their support for the controversial legislation. A short while later, after sites registered through Go Daddy began protesting and moving their domains, those controllers of Go Daddy changed their position. They now oppose the legislation, however, the company remains lame:

In changing its position, Go Daddy remains steadfast in its promise to support security and stability of the Internet. In an effort to eliminate any confusion about its reversal on SOPA though, Jones has removed blog postings that had outlined areas of the bill Go Daddy did support.

“Go Daddy has always fought to preserve the intellectual property rights of third parties, and will continue to do so in the future,” [Go Daddy General Counsel Christine] Jones said.

They self-censored their mistake from earlier and vowed to continue “preserv[ing] the intellectual property rights of third parties,” something of which I am not too fond.

I do not believe intellectual property is legitimate property, and while this may be a secondary concern in regards to SOPA, PIPA and any other presently proposed legislation, it certainly does not bode well for my opinion of Go Daddy.

These facts, along with the company’s history of commercials promoting domain registration with womenmeat and a registration coming due, helped make my decision to transfer ThePegLeg.com away from Go Daddy.

This site is now registered through Hover, and hosting takes place through Laughing Squid, an arts- and culture-supporting company (and entertaining blog) with a solid tech record.

I wish to promote no political position or advocate no particular course of action concerning this or any other legislation. If you care to spend your time influencing political processes, so be it. ThePegLeg.com concerns itself with providing you with original material, interesting links and a look at the burgeoning subculture of the Upper Midwest.

In response to the proposed SOPA and PIPA legislation, a large number of websites will perform a “blackout” this Wednesday, Jan. 18. For more info on the legislation itself, see this discussion.

- ed.


16. January 2012 by Mitch LeClair
Categories: Blog | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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