A simple Question 2.0

About four years, eleven months and two weeks ago I wrote a blog post called “A Simple Test.”  If you don’t remember it (and I’m sure you don’t ) remind yourself of it here:

https://p3bfco.wordpress.com/2008/11/07/a-simple-test/

I will ask you today an go to your sock drawer and get the notes you took back then.  Let’s compare them to what we have today.

Here are some of mine.
On November 7th 2008 I said “My electricity costs me $8.50 per kilowatt hour.  This is about $100 a month in winter.  More in summer with the air conditioner running.  But I’ll use the winter number.”

Today my electricity is $10.50 per kilowatt hour but my monthly connection fee has increased from $13.00 to $55.00. My lowest electric bill now is about $150.00 a month and I’m told it is about to go up again. Seems the current administration is squeezing our coal fired power plants.

Here’s more: “A loaf of bread is about a dollar and a quarter today and a gallon of milk is about $3.50.  Butter is $2.28 lb. Eggs are about $1.20 a dozen.”

Today a loaf of bread I about $2.25. A gallon of milk is $4.27, Butter is $1.88 and Eggs are $1.80. With the exception of butter, all the other things are higher.

Let’s look at some more notes from my sock drawer. “Gasoline in town yesterday was $2.10 gal.
Oil is running at $61.00 a barrel on the market this morning.”

Today gasoline is running about $3.96 and the price of oil is $86.00 a barrel.   Now here’s something curious, the last time gas was around and over four bucks, oil was running in the 140 range. All the liberals were blaming George Bush for cronyism and being in bed with big oil. Where are the finger pointers now? But I digress….

Here’s more from the 2008 post, “Now, on to other things…..
My local stores are well stocked.
I can get a doctor’s appointment on the day I call in.
I have a high quality (in patient) medical facility only a few miles away
The national unemployment rate is around 6%.
Inflation is being reported at about 5%.
Remember the Misery Index?  That is the unemployment rate plus the inflation rate.  Today the Misery Index is at 11%.
The current President has an approval rating under 30% and the current congress is at about 10%.”

Okay, Obamacare hasn’t kicked in yet (it won’t until after this election {wonder of wonders}) so I still can call my doctor and get an appointment for later today.
The stores are still stocked but I am noticing empty shelves more and more often.  Especially in the big box stores like Walmart.
The national Unemployment rate is 7.8% (that is if you forget to count California like they did with this last release {oops})
Inflation for 2012 is being reported as 4.8% (but here’s a new twist, they no longer count gasoline of food {well, who uses those things anyway.})
The misery index today conservatively measured is 12.6% A truer measure of the misery index is taking the percentage number of the unemployed and adding it to the Producer Price Index (a more accurate indication of inflation). Today’s PPI is 10.8%. The true (without government jinking the numbers to make the administration look good) unemployment, according to Gallop, is 9.7%. Today’s un-underemployed index is 17%. So… You can place a real misery index at somewhere between 20.5% and 27.8%.
The current president approval rating is 48% and Congress has gone from 11% to 21%.

Now…. How about you? Got that note from your sock drawer in your hand?
What is your energy costing you today?
What is your medical care costing you today?  AND…  How good is it?
Do you think you are better off than your parents?
Do you think your children will be better off then you?
How do you see the future?  Bright or bleak?

Now ask yourself…
“AM I BETTER OFF THEN I WAS FOUR YEARS AGO?”

I think the answer is obvious.
I’ll close this by saying, “I told you so.”

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The Great South Dakota Un-Holiday

There was a time in my life when the third Saturday in October was just another day. Of course that was before I moved here to South Dakota. Now, I realize that there are holidays and there are holidays. Each holds a special meaning and importance. We stop and take a moment each December 25th to remember the reason for the season. We kick off a new year about a week later. Many in our community (myself included) bow our heads and thank the Lord on Easter Sunday. July Forth brings out the flags, the parades and the fireworks. There are others. I won’t list them all.

 

This day – the third Saturday in October is not an official holiday (though some may think otherwise). It is a day that countless people have been planning on and working toward for months. From airport to interstate people arrive to help us celebrate our un-holiday. Some have said that the population of the rural counties actually doubles this day. Many people have friends that they invite in to share our experience. Others arrive strictly drawn to the event. The influx of celebrants is so great that we would be hard pressed to find a vacancy sign today.

 

The opening day of the Pheasant Hunting Season is special to many people but it influences every South Dakota resident in some fashion. For some it is the start of a business cycle that will run through January. For others it is their Black Friday, when the annual business budget actually goes from red to black.

 

In South Dakota the biggest revenue generator is Agri-business, the second is Tourism. To us in the Northeast quarter of the state, tourism means hunting. There are many people in my area that cater to hunters. Whether it be for fun or for profit, they have been getting ready for this day for a while. The tax revenue this event brings in is a significant portion of the South Dakota state budget. From government to business to the family farm that allows hunters to walk in, the vast majority are involved in some way. There is reason that Cabela’s chose Mitchell, South Dakota for an anchor store. It wasn’t our burgeoning population. It was this day and this season.

 

My situation is not unlike many who live outside of town. I have a small hobby farm that is surrounded by three large shelter belts. I always expect a knock at my door on this day. Men and sometimes women dressed in denim and orange looking to walk my property seeking the opportunity to shoot our state bird. This year it was no different. The official opening of the season was high noon and the first knock came eighteen minutes later.

 

I look forward to this time of year. Not because I am a hunter (I’m not), but because of the people I meet. I have made some great friends over the years because of this un-holiday.

 

So let me say what is written in orange and on signs throughout the state…

 

Welcome Hunters!

Published in: on October 21, 2012 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  
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I’m confused… Happy, but confused.

Ever since I moved out here to rural South Dakota I have used propane as a heating fuel.  For the first few years it was not only my primary source but my only source for home heat.
As the price of the stuff (which tends to follow oil) continued to increase, I looked for and found an alternate source of heat in the form of a wood burning stove.
I have seen the price of propane go from 83 cents a gallon in 2003 to 2.25 a gallon in 2008.
I have reduced my consumption by over half with the a bit of sweat equity and the wood burner, and I’m fine with that.  It keeps me young to swing a 9 pound mall and split a 12” log.

Here’s why I’m confused (and believe me, I m not complaining). I called my local supplier to check the price of propane for the “winter fill program” and found out the price was on dollar and ten cents a gallon!  Last year it was 1.79.  The year before it was 1.89.
I told them to fill the tank, something I have not had the wherewithal to do in several years.

My question is why.  Why has the price of propane broken away from its link to crude oil?  The driver of the delivery truck told me there is a glut because of the mild winter.  The dry summer also has an affect here.  In the fall, farmers will use propane to dry down grain for long term storage.  Well it has been so dry that there will be little drying needed for the small harvests this year.

Anybody know it that is happening in the home heating oil business or in the natural gas industry?  Anybody have a better understanding of the energy industry than I do?

Published in: on September 15, 2012 at 8:29 am  Leave a Comment  
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Maybe not…

 My father was not a self made millionaire, but he was a self made man. He was the sole owner and employee of a floor care and janitorial business. When I was a young boy I would go with him on the weekends and in the summer. On Mondays we would clean and re-wax the dance floors at the local taverns and clubs. This was back in the days of wood dance floors. We would use a good paste wax and make them slippery and easy on the leather soled shoes. Needless to say, you could never do that in today’s litigious society.

This little story brings me to this morning:

I was outside in the wood shop working on an old window frame. In my endeavor to make the rebuilt frame fit and slide properly, I needed to plane off a bit of the wood on the sides. But like most projects, one must do one thing before doing another. I needed to clean and re-wax the surface of my power planer. I used a bit of extra fine emery paper to clean the surface then (once vacuumed) applied a thin coat of Johnson’s Paste Wax for wood. The rich aroma of that wax brought me back to those dance floors I helped polish as a boy.

I think I will title this blog:

“Smells of My Father”

Published in: on August 1, 2012 at 11:30 am  Leave a Comment  

South Dakota Gets A Bite at the Presidential Apple.

Without a definitive leader in the Republican Presidential race this year, the South Dakota Republican Caucus will actually have an influence on the choice of nominee for President.  In years past by the time the South Dakota caucuses met, the nominee had already been established.

Not this year.  The South Dakota Republican Party actually has an opportunity to help choose their Republican Presidential candidate.

On March 1st at 8 PM we South Dakota Republicans will caucus in support of our individual choices.  We will be able to stand up and be counted in favor of the person we want as President of our United States.

Those chosen by vote will be eligible to vie for a seat on the floor of the National Convention in Tampa, Florida next August.

What’s so exciting about that?  There is a growing chance that this will be a brokered convention.

A Brokered Convention?

There is a real possibility this year that there will be no candidate with the required 1144 votes to capture the nomination in the first vote.  If there is no front runner with a the required (50% +1) votes on the first vote, the choice is put in the hands of the delegates on the floor.  This could very well be one of those special events in your life you replay for your grandchildren.

South Dakota Republicans, the trail to Tampa starts in your County Seat March 1st.  To be nominated as a delegate to the Republican National Convention plan to be at your county caucus.  With very few exceptions, this is where the journey starts.

This is an exciting time for South Dakota. We finally get a turn at bat. We get a choice, rather than having our choice made for us. If you want to be at what could be a history making Republican National Convention and if you want a voice as to who should be your next President, see you at the caucus.

And now, from the, “Are You Serious!?!” department…….

I saw this piece on KELO last night and thought I’d fall off my chair.

KELO did a story on a poll conducted showing that Herseth-Sandlin D (South Dakota, or is it Texas, or Washington DC perhaps?) would win an election against the current Republican Kristi Noem.

They said in the article that “Before her defeat in 2010, Herseth Sandlin always had a favorable rating with South Dakota voters.”

I guess that just because the citizens of South Dakota FIRED her in 2010, it doesn’t really mean anything.

Here’s the kicker – and they even mention it in the article.  Know who took the poll?

Hold on….

 

Wait for it…..

 

The Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee!

 

KELO reported this male bovine excrement with a strait face.

No bias here that I can see.

Nope, nothing to see here.

Move on.

Published in: on January 31, 2012 at 8:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Snow on Basketball weekend? If the folklore is right….

Since I moved here I have heard bits and pieces of folklore.  Folklore comes from experience and the wisdom of the ages, with a little whimsy thrown in to keep things interesting.

Two tidbits come to mind this morning.

1.  There is always a blizzard around or on the weekend of the Boys High School Basketball Playoffs.

and

2.  You can expect snow about 60 days after a fog.

Here’s the deal… The Boys Playoffs start on March 15 in Aberdeen (fifty plus days)

and…

We have had two mornings of heavy fog.

Hmmmm. This could get exciting.

South Dakota Legislative Leaders Try To Sneak Around The State’s Constitution

I saw a story on KELO last night that truly concerns me.  Before I talk about it, I want to remind my friends (and less than friends) that we live in the lowest tax and one of the freest states in the Union.  There is a reason for that.  It is called limited government.

Now, there are some in Pierre who think limited government is just too, well… limiting.  They want a year round legislature.  You know, like California, New York and New Jersey (we can all see how good they’re doing).

Certain legislators are trying to circumvent the South Dakota Constitution and establish a year round legislative body.  It can’t be called a legislature, of course, so they want to call it a “Committee”.  Lets have no doubt here, this “Committee” would become a fulltime legislative body with all the fraud, corruption and perks that go with it.

What we have in this state and what has worked very well for over one hundred years is a part time legislature with citizen representatives who sit in Pierre for 35 or 40 days making decisions then going home and having to justify those decisions for the other 340 or 335.  This is good.  They watch what they do because, in the back of their minds they know they might get stopped in the grocery store by a concerned citizen asking, “What the hell were you thinking?”  It keeps our representatives (spelled representatives) honest for the most part.

I see nothing but danger here with this “committee’ concept.  This is nothing more than a power grab.  It establishes an “ad hoc” legislature to rule for 340 days.  It will write the bills, it will tell the real legislature how to vote when the real session commences.  It also lets out legislators off the hook. “Look, that’s what the Committee said to do… I had no choice.”

Here’s another question:    Just who is this “Committee” accountable to?  Are they appointed?  By whom?  Can they be fired or recalled?  By whom?  Since they are not elected, the people will have no standing with them. The people will have no say in what this “Committee” does.

To see that the Democrats like this does not surprise me but to see that our Republican leadership is behind it is greatly alarming and appalling to me.

The scary part?  There is bipartisan support for this usurpation of the very Constitution these people have sworn to uphold and defend.  

I urge you to contact your representaves and tell them you will not tolerate this.  If they want a full time legislature let them put the change on the ballot and modify the Constitution. 

No sneaky end arounds here. Not while we can vote.

 

Here’s the link to the original story:

http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=126273

It’s over…. Go home.

Ok… So the (liberal) news media is all excited about Romney winning New Hampshire. It’s over everyone else go home. The liberals know their man can beat liberal light, just like he did in 2008.

That’s why they want this RINO from the second most liberal state in the union to be “our” choice..

To hear them – it’s over. Every other candidate should just pack up their signs and go home.

Here’s what they don’t tell you.

1. Romney was governor right next door and New Hampshire has a symbiotic (almost incestial) relationship with Massachusetts.

2. Romney owns property in New Hampshire and is a de-facto resident.

3. The primary voting block in New Hampshire (and South Carolina) is center left – not center right. Why? They are “open” primaries. In other words anybody can vote on the Republican ballot. Even Democrats (and Democrats do – to skew our nomination process).

4. New Hampshire only sends 12 delegates to the National Convention.
Now you’ve see the floor on convention night. Think you could pick out the 12 from New Hampshire?

So, when the newsies tell you it’s over. Pay no attention. Let’s push hard to nominate a REAL Republican this time. Someone who represents Republican values of small government and limited spending. Not Democrat Lite.

New York Post… Look to your own house before throwing stones at us.

Concerning the NY post article:

The Great Wide Open – How rural America has become a vanishing way of life.
Read it here:  http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/great_wide_open_WqL54fjvoNYjfFI74GlmmL?fb_ref=m_site&fb_source=home_oneline

Hey New York, clean up your own cesspool before you look at our Prairie!  Last time I looked you have more murders in a week than we do out here in year, and out here carrying a gun is legal.

As to the population loss, I truly believe you have seen the last of it in Rural America.  The 2010 census shows the change in population over ten years.  In 2000 we didn’t have high speed internet, a cell phone in every pocket and I-pads.

The census looks at a population shift but not the dynamic.  The true paradigm shift has been outbound from the troubled, crime ridden, overtaxed and under serviced cities to smaller cities like Sioux Falls, Fargo or Cedar Rapids.  Now the shift is happening again.  From those towns to even smaller towns.  

People not from here are starting to find out that they can send their kids to public school with class sizes of about twelve.  They are finding out, through the new media, that South Dakota has no income tax.  In fact, per capita, the taxes here in South Dakota are lower than any other state in the nation.  

Businesses owners in tune with the information age find that they can conduct business in this state which encourages entrepreneurship rather than the one they are in which is trying to tax and regulate them into oblivion.

The next census will tell a different tale.  It will be a tale of two cities (or rather one city crumbling under the weight of it’s own bureaucracy and a small town with few government constraints).  Those cities could be New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Huston or even Los Angeles.  The other Doland, Eureka, Harried, in South Dakota or perhaps Brandon, Iowa or Bloomfield Nebraska.  One shrinking and one growing.

People who work from home are starting to realize that “home” can be anywhere.  They are choosing to leave the high cost and congested areas and moving where the kids can go out and play without the fear of being molested.

Watch the 2020 census…. South Dakota may just have TWO Congressmen.

By the way New York, just how many congressional seats did you loose this year?

Oh…. and one more thing…..  It’s pronounced “Harry-id”, not “Harried”.

Rick Skorupski

A proud transplant in South Dakota.