I’m not a Kos kid, but this is just too funny to pass up.

A few days ago, an earth-shaking article about a judge’s decision in the case of our president’s birth emerged from the depths of the internets. Never one for fact checking, Orly Taitz jumped all over it claiming this was finally the truth they were looking for. Freepers, and other assorted wingnuts had a huge collective orgasm.

Then one of them actually clicked on the link at the bottom of the article. The result? They were treated to a highly entertaining video of Rick Astley’s hit “Never Gonna Give You Up”. For those of you unfamiliar with internet memes, this is known as being Rickrolled, and by internet standards, is a very old prank.


I guess if you want to believe something bad enough, you’ll grasp at any straw you’re given.


After amusingly debunking the 9/11 truthers’ claims, Popular Mechanics has now done the same for the claims of wingnuts about FEMA death camps, FEMA work camps, and the “hundreds of thousands of coffins” found outside of Atlanta.

You may now rest assured, unless you’re the guy in the picture, who probably thinks PM was paid off or threatened by FEMA (and its always-competent leadership) to write the article.

Sometimes I wish these wingnuts would dig a big bunker and hide out there for a hundred years or so.

I don’t understand why they didn’t just print Katrina’s whole letter.

I assume it’s because the AL editorial staff has some hidden agenda to suppress dissent and criticism.

Here is Kat’s piece in it’s entirety.

Governor Rounds set goals in the 2010 Initiative to double visitor spending and develop SD’s quality of life as one of the best in the nation.   Without the foundation of the South Dakota Arts Council, how will these goals be met?  Cultural tourism revenues and the creation and development of vibrant, creative, economically progressive communities is a residual effect of government support of the arts. 


I was one of those Gen-Xers that wanted to get away from the rural life of South Dakota as soon as I graduated from SDSU.  That was, until I discovered that I could find a career in the arts here. 


I’ve worked for a non-profit arts organization for the last eight years that receives a grant from the South Dakota Arts Council.  Each time my organization produces an event our patrons and vendors positively impact the state through sales tax revenues. 


A report from Americans for the Arts shows that as of January 2008, South Dakota is home to 1,287 arts-related businesses that employ 6,368 people and it is estimated that these businesses and arts workers create a local economic impact of $48 million.  


The foundation that the SD Arts Council provides my organization keeps one more young person in this state to pay taxes, buy a home and start a family.


My life is a microcosm of the trickle-down effect of how funding the SD Arts Council benefits our communities.


I’m tired of the argument that funding the arts is frivolous and meaningless.  Ideas like this are millions of miles away from the reality of how government funding of the arts truly does benefit us all, not only intrinsically, but in regard to our economy.

I compared apples to apples and all I can say is, damn right it is!

I first want to say that Sioux Falls has an amazing park system. But is it all useful? We continue to build new parks when we are not using the current parks we have to capacity. Take Yankton Trail for instance. Rumor has it the city only allows the park for competition, not to be used as a practice facility. Why is that? I have even heard stories of police intimidation if you are using certain parks just for recreation instead of competition. What Up?!

This summer I rode my bike to work almost every day on the bike trail. I found the trail to be well maintained and frequently used, I also found our parks are over manicured, watered, mowed, and maintained (what’s the point of mowing ½” of grass!?).

Why does the parks department and budget continue to grow at such a rapid rate, and what is the solution to slow it down a bit to an acceptable inflationary level? I suggest we stop building new parks for at least two years and do an extensive study on how much our parks are used by monitoring their usages throughout the week and seasons. If certain parks have little usage – we sell off the land. I also suggest we build smaller parks that are easier and less expensive to maintain. I also think we should reduce the size of some of our larger parks. One thing I observed this summer is that smaller parks are more populated. Not sure why? Maybe people feel safer?

I decided to look at another city similar to ours in climate, size and growth. Billings, Montana is two-thirds the size in population to Sioux Falls.

Billings spends $5,714 a year per developed acre of parkland.

Sioux Falls spends $11,546 a year per developed acre of parkland.

Can you imagine if it cost you that much to maintain your lawn every year! Even if you feritlized, watered and paid a lawn service for an acre of land you are still looking at about $2,200

You must also remember, the $33 Million is the 2009 operating budget ONLY! This does not include building and developing new park land, that is in a separate budget called the CIP.

Sioux Falls maintains 4.8 times more parkland than Billings and even if you adjust for the population difference Sioux Falls still maintains 3.22 times more parkland than Billings. Sioux Falls budget is 9.78 times larger than Billings and 6.52 times larger when you adjust for population – Holy Crap! This is pretty amazing considering the similarities between Sioux Falls and Billings. If you go to Billings Parks and Recreation page you will see that they also offer as many activities as Sioux Falls. In Sioux Falls defense we charge visitors a tax to buy stuff here to help fund our parks. In Billings they are not so lucky, they only have a state income tax to work with. Not only does Billings maintain developed acres on such a small budget they also maintain over 2,000 acres of undeveloped parks but they also irrigate their parks like we do, from the river. When I spoke to one of the park’s directors about his operating budget, he said they were underfunded (well duh) but when I told him our budget, he was dumbfounded, as was I when I heard his budget.

What is the problem? My guess is Sioux Falls is paying too much for outside services and over-maintaining. It’s not like Billings is a couple bucks short of us on funding, they are millions and millions of dollars shorter than us. It tells me that Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation is in a constant state of overspending. We can have all the same things we have now, we just need to start shopping at the dollar store.

How has the Parks budget grown to such a massive level without some oversight? That’s just it, there is no oversight or accountability. The Parks board meetings are not televised or broadcast on the city website. The other problem is that the Parks board is all volunteer. I think they need to be elected officials. With a $33 million dollar operating budget a year, they operate almost as a separate entity from the city. In fact, up until a few years ago, the Parks and Rec department made their own decisions on public art, not consulting the Mayor, Council or Visual Arts Commission before placing public art. Kinda takes the word ‘Public’ out of ‘Public Art’.

Once we ask for accountability from our Parks and Rec department not only will you see incredible savings to taxpayers, you will see more CITIZEN friendly parks.