Information, observations, and analysis from the James River valley on the Northern Plains-----
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Except for a token effort at balance today with a piece on controlling meth by Sen. Tim Johnson, the opinion-editorial page of the Aberdeen American News is a flowering of the party-line. So is some of its news coverage.
In an editorial unusual for its lack of supporting facts or its analysis of discernable circumstances even for the Aberdeen American News, the newspaper trumpets forth that South Dakota needs to take off on the energy of winds. It does acknowledge that a shortage of power transmission lines, which can cost $1 million a mile, has held back development of wind energy. It even sounds a bit tentative about energy producers putting the cost of those transmission lines on our utility bills. But then, the AAN says, "Aw, go ahead."
What the American News does not do is mention the mounting criticisms of wind energy. And as the editors of this web log are deep in a possible wind energy project, we know that the last thing corporations and their government cronies want is for wind to be developed so that individual producers may participate in its production and have some energy independence and cost benefits. [We have received a number of communications on wind energy, and will be posting the information later.] The American News, despite some serious questions, just ends up endorsing plans that put it to the consumers big time. After all, it says, they are the ones who use the energy.
A columnist sounds like a whole pack of coyotes while howling and, yes, whining about the angry divisiveness between political parties. And, oh yes, there is a recitation of the Bushene Creed that Lord George beat his chest after 9/11 and led us out of the valley of terrorism. There is no mention, and apparent understanding, of valid reasons for the anger. There is no mention of the pogrom of defamation exercised by the neo-regressives or the false information that Bush Kremlin constantly tries to cram down the throats of Americans. There is no mention of the accusations of treason and giving comfort to the enemy and the hating of America directed toward anyone who questions or resists the cramming. At least, the columnist seemed to be saying that she did not know what contributes to what is growing into a very serious political divide. There is some hope when people profess ignorance. It is better that professing certainties based on misinformation coming from Kremlin, D.C.
Probably the most egregious thing on the op-ed page is a reproduction of a letter from Regents President Harvey Jewett on a Board of Regents letterhead. The purpose of the letter is to quell any concerns that people in the region have that the proposed Sioux Falls campus for the S.D. higher education system will have a negative effect on NSU. There is nothing in the letter that deals with the real issues of why people are suspicious of the plan. In covering the story, the American News makes no mention of the fact that the plan was devised in secret by Regents Harvey Jewett and Terry Baloun, and that in itself raises questions about the idea. Some legislators who were quoted in a news story do allude to the circumstances of the plan, but there is no mention of the fact that the usual democratic processes for initiating, developing, and implementing such a plan are lacking.
A disturbing part of the coverage is that Republican legislators say they were initially put off by the plan but that their concerns were satisfied during a private meeting with Harvey Jewett. No mention is made of what was said to allay those concerns. It is the old game of telling the people, "We are your leaders. You have to trust us."
The Jewett letter is also full of assurances with no specifics of how the new campus would be run. It says that the credit hours at the new campus cost about $40 a credit hour more than on regular campuses and that tuition will sustain the operation. It also says that the campus will not serve primarily traditional college students. But anyone who has been around higher education knows that tuition has never been sufficient to run a higher education facility and that non-traditional students, those over the age of 22, have made up a significant portion of the students for decades.
One point that Jewett tries to make is that the new campus will not affect NSU because the university currently has only five students from the Sioux Falls area as it is. The statement suggests that NSU is not and never has been a target school for students from the southeast corner of the state. We do not have figures in front of us, but we recall as many as five Sioux Falls area students being in one of our classes in the past. The letter does not address the fact that NSU has had program and staff cuts and is having difficulty getting some programs accredited. Enrollment at NSU has been declining for some years. The declining population of college-age students is a factor. But so are academic programs and the reputation NSU has built.
There are problems with wind energy, political issues, and education that beset the region. You'd never know it from the reporting or opinion pages in the Aberdeen American News. It simply repeats what it has been told and would like to believe. And have us believe.
You can't believe anything coming of the Little Kremlin in Pierre, Kremlin, D.C., or the party rulers, as told by the Aberdeen Neo-Regressive News. Consequently, you have no idea what the real issues are. And so goes democracy on the northern plains.