Friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting CEO privately calling for removal of all confederate items from Empire Mall

I caught this on facebook over the past day.

Ryan Howlett, the current CEO of South Dakota Friends of Public Broadcasting in his role as a private citizen is calling and encouraging others to call and attempt to put pressure on the Empire Mall, because he noticed that a retailer is selling t-shirts and other items imprinted with the Confederate Battle Flag:

My immediate thought was that despite it being done privately, it’s a fairly public advocacy action that some might find controversial wth his post for people to call up the Empire Mall and demanding the imposition of his views of what he believes to be politically correct from a corporation against a local retailer…when his job is to raise money from retailers & corporations.

Why are we at a point in our country where we feel we need to be our brother’s censor?

Our society seems to be moving away from embracing the rights enshrined in the constitution into using heavy handed tactics to punish and muzzle the opinions of people we disagree with.

Ryan is certainly entitled to his views, but I can’t help but go back to concerns about infringing upon free speech, and freedom of expression.  

When it comes to matters of economic censorship, shouldn’t retailers have a right to sell items that are legal to sell, letting the marketplace decide whether they wish to endorse the product via a purchase?  (I.E., If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.)

110 Replies to “Friends of South Dakota Public Broadcasting CEO privately calling for removal of all confederate items from Empire Mall”

  1. Anne Beal

    So many times I have heard the argument “if you don’t like abortion don’t have one,”

    If you don’t like the Confederate flags, don’t buy one.

  2. Anonymous

    It’d be a better use of his time and position to push for Gettysburg SD to remove the confederate flag from its police uniforms.

    He’s misdirecting his outrage at wanting to regulate private commerce. Let the market decide what the merchants sells not the property manager.

    Again, he ought to push for a government police force to remove that symbol from their uniforms and not worry so much about some crappy kiosk in the mall. SAD!

  3. Kelly Liieberg

    Hey busy body, there’s and actual statue of a cop down at the police station. Clock in !

  4. Troy Jones

    He has absolutely no business using his position to push the city of Gettysburg to do anything.

    I do get though his statement “Still not acceptable (allowing some things to be sold with the Confederate logo) and very much a financial only decision” because he is in a job where he is answerable to nobody in the market place since public TV lives off the taxpayer tit. Because he is so arrogant and representative of “CEO’s” in public broadcasting, it is no wonder why they only exist off the taxpayer tit.

    They are just taking food and health care and excessive taxes out of the poor. It is time for taxpayer subsidy of these ignorant fools to end.

  5. Steve Sibson

    Ryan Howlett is a Neo-Nazi fascist approach to the issue of the confederacy. Kind of ironic isn’t it? He and Cory Heidelberger are acting like a couple of supremacists. Perhaps we should rekindle the defund SDPB movement.

    1. jimmy james

      Steve Sibson says, “Ryan Howlett is a Neo-Nazi fascist” because he discourages the sale of Confederate merchandise? Merchandise that, for good reason, is offensive to blacks and others.

      I guess that makes me a Neo-Nazi Fascist. Who knew?

        1. jimmy james

          “Shut down dissenting views”?

          And here I thought I was suffering your views with gladness.

  6. RM

    First Mr. Howlett, it is not “our mall”, it belongs to a corporation. Second I have many T-shirts on which the logos offends me, i will provide the list should you wish to remove all of those. Finally i would suggest to all that if SDPB is in the business of censorship, we should withhold donations to the organization.

    1. Anonymous

      RM, why do you have many T-shirts in which the logos offend you? That seems like a waste of money to buy T-shirts that offend you? Do you wear them also ,or just own them for some reason?

  7. OldSarg

    If we remove, destroy, tear down all these “confederate” symbols how will we ever remember the history of the democrat party?

      1. jimmy james

        “Straw man” definition: An intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent’s real argument.

        Ah. No. Its just a simple question.

        Black people aren’t “straw men”. They are human beings with which you should have no problem empathizing.

  8. Troy Jones

    Since this huckster is into censorship, he will understand when the legislature terminates his position.

    This irrational, anti-history, anti-intellectual, emotion filled nonsense has permeated NPR and public broadcasting. This organization just needs to disappear. It no longer serves any purpose but feed idiots more garbage in their brain. The world would be better if the federal government just burned the money it spends on this place.

    And, if the State spends another dime next year, I do not want to hear another word about not having money for anything. Burning the state dollars would also make the world a better place than funding this garbage.

  9. jimmy james

    YouGov poll…. By 62% to 28%, Southern whites say the flag is a symbol of Southern pride; by 68% to 9%, Southern blacks say it is a symbol of racism.

    Why don’t black folks understand how important this issue is to white Americans?

  10. KM

    Word is going to spread like wild fire. Not good Mr. Howlett, not good. If you are offended, that’s on you. What a sad way to live life, you’re triggered so you force everyone to conform. Don’t like it, don’t buy it the free market will surely take care of you. Don’t expect a donation this year.

    1. Anonymous

      Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”

      – Harry Truman

    2. KM

      Wrong. Defending the Constitution and people’s right to free speech, however offended one may be.

      1. jimmy james

        Funny. I bet I can think of more than a few things, if sold at the Mall, that you would be willing to protest.

    3. jimmy james

      I have seen those guys driving their pickups with a Confederate flag proudly waving above it. I guess I never thought to ask them their views of race relations. I figured that I kind of knew already.

        1. jimmy james

          Actually I enjoy watching the Dukes of Hazzard. I think of that show whenever this issue comes up. But I also recognize that that was over thirty years ago. And its not quite the same thing as touting a huge Confederate flag here in South Dakota in 2017. It takes a special someone to do that.

    4. Cliff Hadley

      The State Fair will provide you and Mr. Howlett fainting couches when Lynyrd Skynyrd plays in a couple weeks.

    5. Anonymous

      Treason? When and where were the Trials for Treason? Were the generals, soldiers and the elected officials of the Confederacy thrown in prison?

      21st century Civil War Treason Trials will be held over at that nutty DFP Blog. Professor Porter will be presiding.

      1. Steve Sibson

        DFP is where the only persons with rights are those who agree with Cory. I don’t we would witness a fair trial.

        1. Anonymous

          Steve it looks like DFP is back at their hobby horses seeing everyone as traitors who don’t agree with them, slamming religion and the Catholic Church. They do a good job offending everyone. The Republican party should send them one big thank you card.

  11. Pistol Pete

    A guy called the mall because he didn’t like a product he saw there. He didn’t organize a protest and ambush the business owner. He didn’t tip over the kiosk. He didn’t scream obscenity or put hands on anyone. He didn’t burn the mall down. He called the mall because he didn’t like a product he saw there.

    My Grandma used to do this, although instead of using Facebook she spread the word through the local ladies aid. Some ladies joined her causes, others went home and forgot about it. Radical.

    I am as conservative as they come. Trying to pin some national controversy on this guy for a personal belief and completely benign action is idiotic. Thinking conservatives do not buy into this emotional BS, it is not productive in any way.

    How about this idea: if you think it is important that the mall kiosk is able to sell what they want, CALL THE MALL MANAGER AND TELL HIM. Seems simple enough. Nah, better fly off the handle and threaten someone who actually has the cajones to do something in real life (and express appreciation even though his desired outcome wasn’t achieved).

    1. Steve Sibson

      The idiotic action is coming out of Howlett, so it is only appropriate to go to the source of the problem. The problem is not the mall’s, unless they fall for this kind of bullying.

        1. Pistol Pete

          What do you mean “blacks”??????

          Do all African Americans everywhere think the confederate flag is a symbol of racism, or is that an assumption based on a racist generalization???

          Whether closed minded bigots realize it or not, African Americans are actually capable of forming their own opinions.

  12. Troy Jones


    And then he got on a public forum which displayed his employer and urged others to do what he did. For PETE’s sake, he is in the media and should know better.

    Don’t get me wrong. If I see a person with tattoos or piercings in places not able to be covered up, I don’t reach a positive first impression. Same with people exposing body parts which discretion would cover up. And, same with people who display Confederate symbols as a badge of honor (as if they fought in the war, sheesh).

    But not once have I called for tattoo parlors being closed, said something to people I don’t know to pull up their pants or cover up something, or told someone to take down or not sell their Confederate stuff.

    They made their statement which was their right and I formed an opinion. It’s is how it works in a free and open society. And, this idiot in the media made a statement which makes it clear he doesn’t get it why people think they are morons and should be fired for being a moron.

  13. Pistol Pete

    Yep, he had the cajones to post his beliefs with his name attached to it. I sure don’t have that strong of a conviction in the current environment.

    He saw something he didn’t like. He took what would be considered a reasonable action by most reasonable people. We seem to have a severe shortage of reasonable people these days.

    You claim to have NOT ONCE called for the closure of tattoo parlors, told people to pull up their pants, or told someone to take down confederate stuff. Then in the very next paragraph call for someone to be fired for expressing their opinion. First time for everything, I guess.

  14. Troy Jones


    I think he should be fired because in a public Facebook forum which identifies his employer (which expects him to be credible with people of multiple opinions from whom to raise money) and being in an industry under attack for being biased to one particular extreme view.

    Him speaking privately to the mall manager is his choice and one I defend.

    Actually, I don’t want him fired. I want his position to disappear because the federal and state governments cease to fund this rat hole. I would prefer they burn the money.

    1. Pistol Pete

      I guess I am more of a merit based employment kind of guy. If someone is able to do their job, I don’t really care what they do outside of work.

  15. jimmy james

    What about selling white cone-shaped hoods with eye cutouts? Can we draw the line there or is that a violation of some free commerce platform?

    1. Troy Jones

      First, my position is if it is legal, someone wants to buy, in a free country, people can sell it.

      Second, I won’t judge people who respond to the market. I have been told selling cakes to people for events they disagree with isn’t an endorsement. Why would I think any different for someone selling a hat for a legal demonstration or private meeting?

      1. jimmy james

        “I won’t judge people who respond to the market”.

        If they are selling KKK outfits at the Mall and the Republican Party stands by doing nothing, they will deserve extinction. I will do my very best to expedite it!

        1. Troy Jones

          Hmmm. So you will make such judgment. Ironic since the cake decision stood entirely on the position that selling wasn’t endorsement.

          If it would have been endorsement, the court was clear religious freedom transcends a right to a cake.

          It is obvious you are willing to only extend “rights” when you support the object or subject. Thus, you negate the concept of rights and make them proveleges based on your personal whim. A rather precarious position for a minority.

          Personally, I am vigilant defending expression and manifestation of rights I find repugnant lest people who see “rights” they grant by their whim want to deny mine.

          1. jimmy james

            If Republicans can stand idly by and watch our black population terrorized by a merchant in the local mall, then you truly are hopeless. This will be my last communication on this website. I’ve had enough.

            1. Troy Jones

              I think most blacks are able to see something offensive, make a judgment about the person and situation and hold their self esteem in place. And maybe they will see this as an opportunity to prove the reason for the bigotry is unfounded.

              Sorry you think so little of blacks you would equate a flag with terrorism where people die.

            2. Springer

              Can you name one Black who was terrorized by seeing that merchandise in the mall? I didn’t think so.

    2. Pistol Pete

      What if someone makes their own cone shaped hood? What if they own a book with instructions about how to make one? What if they just think about making one? Can we draw the line there?

      These symbols are powerful because WE give them power through our fear. Once all current hate symbols are eliminated, do we think hateful bigots will disappear? All hate will be gone from our society? Is that the logic here?

      Anything can be used as a hate symbol (even cartoon frogs!) if we give it power to intimidate us and cause us fear. What will we do when they adopt something more benign like the American flag, statue of liberty, Mercedes logo, etc. Eliminate those too?

      The line is determined by the rule of law (ie Bill of Rights), not the rule of the mob.

  16. MC

    So, I head over to the mall to see what all the fuss is about. I find three wallets with the confederate battle flag on them. Beyond that, I found wallets with the American flag, and the state flag of Texas. Even more offensive, was some of the tee shirts being sold in the next kiosk. These tee shirts are designed to provoke and offend.

    What I found even more offensive is a state employee, even in the capacity of a private citizen, would seek the squelch the free speech rights of other citizens. I see and hear plenty of things every day that I find offensive. I just don’t let it bother me. I just move on with my life, because there are much bigger issues that we need to address. Like North Korea, human trafficking and I haven’t forgotten about the non-menananded waters issue.

    I will not go around and covering, removing, or destroying symbols, statues or anything else that someone find offensive. If something bothers you that much, don’t look at it and move on. The time, money, energy and now blood spent on this is outrageous. Let’s all just be grown-ups, recognize we are all a little different, then go after the scum who sell young girls for sex.

  17. Tim Higgins

    Pure and simple, if ya don’t like something don’t buy it. If ya don’t like what’s on TV don’t watch it. That is one of the big differences between conservatives and liberals. Liberals only will protect freedom of speech as long as they agree with what you say. Another big difference is conservatives actually have a brain.

  18. Troy Jones

    Jimmy James,

    Yes JJ, I know you have changed the subject to be about the sale of KKK headgear. Would I sell such a hat? No way. But:

    1) The Supreme Court has taken a very broad understanding of speech and it extends into the commercial realm- If a hat is intended to be an expression of one’s political views, restrictions on its sale are very hard if not impossible to enact.

    2) Since the Supreme Court ruled selling something is not endorsement as per the cake case, the mall’s (or your’s) standing to restrict the sale is limited. Maybe a case can have been made under decency laws (purient interest is the measure) but now that this has become a political issue, that option is gone as it is now about freedom to speak.

    To properly limit a location of a business (can’t prohibit the sale) who trades in offensive wares is to assert it has an adverse commercial impact on neighboring businesses (this is why you don’t see porn shops, etc. in malls). But, because the moron from Friends of Public Broadcasting made it about limiting free speech, he cut the legs off the mall manager. Now the manager has to weigh the cost of a lawsuit he’d likely lose plus all the attention. See #4 below.

    3) Pistol Pete is right. Suddenly these items have been given great symbolic power they haven’t had in about 150 years. The Neo-Nazi’s or white supremacists didn’t give them this power. JJ, you and those saying what you did gave them this power.

    There are some people who love to get under another’s skin. Asserting this is some deep offense only gives these people satisfaction. I have no idea why anyone thinks giving these people such satisfaction is a good idea. Ignore them and a large percentage go away.

    4) Just like overtime Obama made an anti-gun statement guns and bullets flew off the shelf, making this business/kiosk a cause celeb’ likely only enhanced his business. Sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore it.

    I’m still flabbergasted when I imagine morons sitting around when someone said, “Hey the neo-Nazi’s and white supremacists got a demonstration permit down at the park. These 200 people will likely have unconcealed and concealed weapons. Let’s weaponize ourselves, recruit 400 guys, and go down there and get in a fight.” And his buddies said “Sure.” You just can’t fix stupid.

    1. Miranda Gohn


      I just finished having a dialog with some Hard Lefties that are the admins at Living Blue South Dakota. They are supportive of Antifa and they obviously have not taken the time to check what they really are. They basically implied that if I am against Antifa that I am a fascist. The same group with Woody Kaine that attacked peaceful Trump supporters saying the Lord’s prayer and the pledge of allegiance in the Minnesota Capitol Rotunda while minding their own business earlier this year. Antifa is an Anarchist group that with their actions betray what their name and supposedly they are against.

      1. KM

        Miranda – You should check out Austen Fletcher (Fleccas Talks) video interviewing Antifa members. I don’t think Living Blue SD would want to be supportive of this group if they actually knew what they stood for, I don’t think Antifa members even know themselves . There’s another video of an Antifa member beating another Antifa member bc they didn’t know he was on their side. It’s quite ridiculous and I can’t help but laugh.

        1. Miranda Gohn

          Hey KM,

          Living Blue Admins were pushing the pot/NASD and Antifa thing and you can check out the dialog on their facebook page. I lived in Minneapolis for 15 years along with other parts of the country and knew who they were and even though I self identified as a Dem at the time I was like the conservative kid from South Dakota in comparison while living in Uptown. lol If you look at the videos Antifa are Anarchists totally separate from any major political party. They vandalize property, wear masks when together, into the drug culture and look to fight. If your group regardless of your political affiliation were to organize a protest march or demonstration you would need to really coordinate with law enforcement and hire security or you run the risk of Antifa coming in hijacking it with property damage and violent acts and your own group’s message would be lost and have very negative publicity

          Living Blue SD Admins blew my concerns off leaving the dialog implying was a fascist, didn’t know what I was talking about and weed is something we should all smoke and it is good for us. Sounds like a winning strategy for an opposition party in SD. Yep! 🙂

          1. Miranda Gohn

            Randee Huber an admin from Living Blue just posted this. Unbelievable!

            LikeShow more reactions
            · Reply · 3 hrs

            Living Blue in South Dakota

            Living Blue in South Dakota Miranda Gohn I have read and done research. Apparently you have read something else. The only reason there is to urge “antifa,” as an organized group, against violence is because it causes people like you and that president person to think there are “two sides” to fascism. There is only one side, and that is to be opposed to it. I contend that if antifascists had taken a harder, less passive and ineffective stand against Hitler and Mussolini, WWII and the 60 million deaths it caused might have been avoided. If you want to support fascism, do it somewhere else. Randee Huber

            LikeShow more reactions
            · Reply · 34 mins · Edited

            1. KM

              Dang, these groups/people are ruthless. If you don’t get in line & stay in line you are automatically a fascist, racist, sexist, etc. Don’t dare ask questions about their motives or you’re surely to be shunned. Is it getting easier for you to cross party lines;) At least here we are willing to participate in discussion and open to changing our minds.

              It’s a shame these groups are linking their causes to Tim Bjorkman & Billie Sutton, I was starting to listen and seek out information. Not so sure that’s such a good idea anymore.

              1. Miranda Gohn


                Tim Bjorkman and Billie Sutton are out campaigning and talking to real everyday South Dakotan people on the ground. I highly doubt they have any time or interest in reading anything from Living Blue. Nothing against Living Blue in that regard. Those two candidate’s focus is elsewhere. Listened to Tim in Aberdeen at a meet and greet and as I have said before he is the most conservative Democrat I have ever run across and he is genuine in his beliefs, listening and serving.

                Like others have found out I know enough now to stay far away from Living Blue South Dakota. It is counterproductive.

    2. Miranda Gohn

      I had two great great uncles who were Pennslyvania Dutch (German) that fought against slavery for the Union Army in the civil war. My grandfather who with his Penn Dutch heritage fought under Gen Patton and helped liberate a concentration camp in Germany. He brought back photos of that camp to teach us what the German Nazi Fascists did and to fight against in the future. When I joined a branch of the military during the Reagan years and Cold War it was not so we can have thugs fighting in the streets to solve our political differences. That is not how our political system works.

    3. jimmy james

      Troy says, “Suddenly these items have been given great symbolic power they haven’t had in about 150 years. Neo-Nazi’s or white supremacists didn’t give them this power. JJ, you and those saying what you did gave them this power., ”

      Man….. that is just about the dumbest thing I have ever read on this blog.

      Blame Jimmy James! Sweet.

        1. KM

          jimmy james says..”This will be my last communication on this website. I’ve had enough.”

          Apparently, not….

          1. jimmy james

            I was expecting that one, KM.

            You guys have tried to mischaracterize my “last communication” more than once. I will correct those attempts… and then I will be more than happy to let you wallow in your Confederate sympathies for all time thereafter.

            1. KM

              Awww, come on. I respect your insight;)

              Let me leave you with this…

              The Islamic world is to this day active in slavery and the slave trade, Egypt for example. Should we tear down mosques too?

              Jefferson asked Americans to read the Koran, today the Left asks us to trust what they say about the Koran. What do you think? I encourage you to check out David Barton’s WallBuilders.

  19. Troy Jones


    I agree. We are spending too much time giving legitimacy to these people (on both sides).

    My family’s story is almost the opposite as it is one of being the victims and not the liberators. My family were in Luxembourg refugee camps because of the Proto-Nazis when Reconstruction ended in the US and the KKK was at its Apex. And, during the KKK’s last hurrah in the 1930’s, they were being denied jobs because of the “no Irish” or “No Papists” shall apply signs and practices.

    Anyone who believes Antifa is better than the Neo-Nazi’s et. al. because they oppose them are using the same logic that Stalin is better than Hitler because he fought against Hitler. Its faulty logic. The KKK and Antifa are both evil and arguing about who is worse makes as much sense as arguing whether Stalin or Hitler is worse (which probably would only come down on whether you think gas is more humane or not vs. shots to the back of the head).

    One of the great benefits of Freedom of Speech is it “outs” the crazies in our nation. Instead of them mostly living in secret where I can’t see their crazy, freedom of speech draws them out. I can see them. I can hear them. And they can be rejected for not what I say about them but what they say themselves. We get it right from the horse’s @$$’s mouth.

    And, by letting them speak, we don’t make them martyrs. History is replete with examples of martyrs winning battles that were lost.

    1. Steve Sibson

      If the Progressive left truly believed in equality and equal justice, then they should agree that both sides are wrong. But instead they, with the help of the media, attack the President for saying both sides are wrong. Think what it would be like if most of us would denounce both sides and stop fighting among ourselves. Perhaps that environment would foster the idea of diversity better than protesting Trump by attacking law enforcement, as happened in Arizona yesterday.

  20. Anonymous

    Open a strip club or a sex toy shop and you will see where Republican free market principles end.

    1. Pistol Pete

      Some Republicans, sure. And some Democrats would suddenly be on the opposite side of the coin.

      Some people on BOTH sides are hypocritical. The hysteria of the present should not drive policy as it relates to these issues. Thoughtful people revert to the Bill of Rights, not emotional arguments that can be adjusted to condone or condemn anything in the right environment.

  21. Troy Jones


    Huber’s comment is eerily similar to Maximillian Robspierre’s justification for the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution. And Huber is scared of 200 wack jobs in Charlottesville. While we should be very afraid of these Antifa folks as they are all over our country, I don’t advocate anything more against them than a large police presence, arrests for violation of the law, and fair justice before their peers.

    Again, I agree with Pistol Pete. Default to the Bill of Rights and all will work out. It has served us well for over 200 years. And invite someone from the other side to sit on your deck for an adult beverage.

  22. Miranda Gohn


    I agree! We keep doing what we always have been doing using the system we are so grateful to have in our country to make it a better place for all of us.

  23. Troy Jones

    Jimmy James,

    I have no Confederate sympathies. Only a commitment to protect the Constitutuion and Bill of Rights. Any conclusion you make based on the false premise it is motivated by Confederate sympathies is at its core wrong.

    1. jimmy james

      I asked what you’d think of someone selling KKK hoods at a mall? Your answer?

      Let’s review.

      Troy says, “First, my position is if it is legal, someone wants to buy, in a free country, people can sell it. I won’t judge people who respond to the market…. Why would I think any different for someone selling a hat for a legal demonstration or private meeting?”

      Well Troy, I not only would call the mall, I would get a sign and picket that store. I would be absolutely outraged that someone in this day and age would be so greedy and/or evil as to do that to our fellow citizens. Could I watch as African American men, women and children walk by a display of KKK hoods and justify that as the “free market”? Never! The whole purpose of that hood is to deny the rights and humanity of black people. And yes, to terrorize them.

      Why would I take action? Because I believe that is what real political leaders do when challenged by evil… if they don’t have Confederate sympathies.

      1. KM

        Not interested in answering my question? I’m so offended;)

        Today, right now, the Islamic nation is practicing slavery and involved in the slave trade. That’s not an evil you want to challenge? Should we tear down mosques or not allow burqas? You are in favor of women being forced to cover their entire bodies? Or how about the practice of FGM?

        You are now the spokesperson for black people? How do you know that black people agree with you? Do you think it could be a possible a black person is making comments on this site who does disagree with you? Hmmm…

  24. Troy Jones


    That is a great point. The burka (or burqa) and Niqab are the more extreme forms of the Hijab. Their roots/genesis/motive are at least as discriminatory as the Confederate flag or the KKK hoodie. I know women who viscerally react when they see the burka or Niqab. But, as one says, I don’t know if she wears it out of respect to tradition or repression so I keep my mouth shut.

    Jimmy James willingness to speak for people other than himself regarding the KKK hoodie, does he have the same resolve with regard to burka and Niqab? Or is he less offended by the repression of women vs. blacks.

    1. KM

      Troy – Also, good points. I should’ve stayed focused on fact about how Islamic nations are currently participating in slavery, so should we tear down mosques too? Which jj refuses to answer.

      From what I’ve learned following Ayaan Hirsi Ali and the countless articles about Muslim women being killed for wearing a skirt or going without their Hijab, the Koran forces women to stay oppressed. I’ll continue to speak up for and continue to learn (anticipating my copy of ‘No Go Zones’) about how to help women & children who are actually enslaved in 2017.

      I do appreciate jj speaking up for blacks, but he doesn’t speak for all. Some could really care less if there’s a wallet or t-shirt with a Confederate flag on it. Many black people are not as offended as jj claims, I know this on a personal level and there are numerous black people that challenge taking down statues: Paul McKinley and residents in his Chicago neighborhood & Condolezza Rice.

      I too think there’s an argument/debate to be had within communities that have Confederate statues; take them down if that’s what they want. But to claim that Republicans (or anyone) who have a different perspective about this issue are racists or lack decency is ridiculous. Like I’ve said, I often agree with your statements and do again w/comments you made below: #1, #2 and especially your last sentence.

      1. jimmy james


        Why not get yourself and Troy a couple of those KKK outfits and go trolling African Americans on the streets of Chicago? Then maybe we could settle the whole issue of whether blacks are really unsettled by that KKK hood.

        I will happily admit that I am wrong… if things go well for you.

        1. KM

          jj – I’ll get right on that and I’ll encourage you to attend a BLM rally in MPLS. I guarantee (assuming you’re white bc that’s what you assume I am) you’ll be told to leave, give up your job and the home you own.

          Why do you refuse to answer the question about slavery taking place in 2017?

          Right now, today, the Islamic nation is actively participating in slavery and the slave trade, so should we tear down mosques too?

            1. KM

              Just answer the question, should we tear down a mosque because the Islamic nation is currently involved in slavery? A mosque is a symbol of slavery.

              From what I’ve gathered you’d like to see symbols (flags, t-shirts, statues) that represent/promote slavery and oppression of blacks banned from being viewed/sold in public places. Does it seem unreasonable to want that for all people, not just the black community?

              If you are in favor of removing these symbols, I’d assume you would want other objects that are today representing slavery removed too, hence a mosque.

              1. anonymous

                Explain what you mean by “the Islamic nation”. There’s no such thing as a worldwide nation of Muslims anymore than there’s a worldwide nation of Christians. If you mean ISIS that’s a terrorist organization who’s members are Muslim. ISIS has been denounced by many Islam countries who are actively fighting them.

  25. jimmy james

    Troy noted, “Jimmy James willingness to speak for people other than himself regarding the KKK hoodie….”

    I thought I could assume that the Republican Party would condemn things like the sale of the KKK hoodie. As for African Americans… well, if you don’t know what the vast majority of them feel about the subject then you are willfully ignorant.

    My question here since yesterday afternoon has been… WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF SOMEONE DECIDED TO SELL KKK HOODIES AT THE MALL? And none of you respond that you’d be outraged??

    I know that many Republicans from the offices of Thune, Noem, Rounds, Daugaard, Nelson, Krebs etc. read this blog. The office-holders themselves do. Hundreds of state legislators past and present as well. Now what all of you need to ask is… why are none of you speaking up about this? Are you capable of defending decency?

    Shame on all of you.

  26. Troy Jones

    Jimmy James,

    If someone decided to sell hoodies at the mall, I would likely do nothing open and visible.

    1) I refuse to make martyrs out of such people and give them attention and free advertising for their business.

    2) I think who is in the mall is a matter between the mall and other tenants. If I were a tenant, I probably would ask if expulsion were an option but not likely as there will be a lease. Instead, I’d advocate for policies which prevent indecent items from being sold in the future. As a customer, I would search out a place I frequent and tell the manager I think that retailer is bad for the mall. But, I’d leave it to that manager to decide what to do.

    Lest you think there is anything I say which endorses or condones slavery or racism, you are greatly mistaken. However, I often believe ignoring certain situations and people is more effective than feeding their need to be controversial and get attention of which the KKK is only about being controversial and getting attention. If i discern they want controversy and attention, I don’t feed it under any circumstances. If you want to feed it, that is your choice.

    Nothing you said shames me in the least. I’m quite comfortable with both my personal opposition to the KKK/Neo-nazi’s, etc. and my capacity to discern my best action for decreasing their influence and presence in our society. The utter weakness of your intellectual arguments (it is actually devoid of anything intellectual and is purely emotional) confirms me in my position.

    BTW, my basic “ignore the b@ssturds” outlook was ingrained by a son of a sharecropper and Howard graduate with whom I have had a close personal and business relationship for almost 25 years. Instead of trying to guess what others feel about the hoodie and other such items, I just listen to them from their own mouth.

    And EVERY single Black American I know better than casual passing by are of the position those fighting the last war, in this case the Civil War, are significantly less important than the more subtle forms of prejudice of they are stupid, lazy, or criminals. And, frankly, I think your continued rant they are terrorized by a hoodie only feeds the perception they are stupid and lazy.

    1. MC

      The average life span of an enclosed shopping mall is about 15 to 20 years. The Empire Mall is an oddity because after being built in 1979, it is still going strong. It has reinvented itself several times over. During the holiday shopping season, it draws people from Omaha, Fargo, and far off places.

      This mall isn’t supposed to be that great! Do people go to the mall, yes.

      1. Emoluments Clause

        It opened in 1975. 😉 Governor Kneip cut the ribbon for it:

        It is my understanding that it is the largest mall in the country, that is under one roof and with only one floor too.

        I was just asking a snarky question. I already knew the answer. I was just playing off of the news from Amazon’s influence upon brick and mortar retail.

        Personally, I think stores should be allowed to sell whatever they want, as long as the item is not illegal, but why would any store want to sell the items of a treasonist and racist group?

        I believe there is a big difference between what government does and what the private sector does when it comes to endorsements. The state should not glory treason or racism, but if the private sector wants too, then let the market prevail, unless they are proactively advocating treason or racism, then they owe the public a big explanation or better yet deserve a boycott….

        So people should boycott stores that promote the Confederacy, instead of telling them to not sell a given item or items…. Let the market prevail…..

  27. jimmy james


    You can appease the KKK and call it “intellectual argument”. I will stay true to my “emotional” need to resist. This isn’t a child’s tantrum that you can ignore. Its a cancer.

  28. Troy Jones

    Jimmy James,

    Look up the definition of appease. It is basically rewarding bad behavior.

    The KKK wants controversy and attention. I don’t give it to them. I ignore them. You give them just what they want. You feed the beast. That is textbook appeasement.

    Just because I disagree with you and I think you are unintentionally and naively making it worse, I don’t call you a KKK apologist. You should reduce your hubris and not accuse people of being pro-kkk because they disagree with you.

  29. jimmy james


    You criticize me for making the daring assumption that black Americans can be offended or terrorized by the KKK hood. Then you say that my assumption “feeds the perception they are stupid and lazy.” OK?? I think I need to channel Freud for that one.

    Now, you are divining the intentions of the KKK. They just want “controversy and attention”.

    NO. THEY. DON’T.

  30. Troy Jones

    1) I’ve never said Blacks aren’t offended. It is offensive and it offends me. There just isn’t a right to not be offended. There is a right to free speech.

    2) Let’s not conflate offense with terror. They are two different matters of significantly different magnitudes. Not to mention, more Blacks in just about any city in America are threatened by black thugs than by the KKK. Not sure these thugs love them any more than the KKK members. And if so, it is a distinction without a difference.

    3) If you interpreted my words they JUST want controversy and and attention, I’m sorry as that was my intent. They want many disgusting things. But, if they don’t get attention, they can’t accomplish those disgusting things. They are just losers in a basement or people yelling to no audience in a park.

    4) You give them attention and make what they do into big controversy. I’m going to give the attention these people deserve- none.

    1. jimmy james

      Troy says, “But, if they don’t get attention, they can’t accomplish those disgusting things.”

      Who gave you that idea?

  31. jimmy james

    Troy says, “Not to mention, more Blacks in just about any city in America are threatened by black thugs than by the KKK”

    No “appeasing” there.

  32. Troy Jones


    Look up the definition of the word appease. What ever you think I’m doing, appeasing isnt it. Emotional and inerudite isn’t becoming.

    And, as you admit you are motivated by emotions. I don’t trade in emotions and I can’t argue with emotions. Do as you will. I will do as I will.

    1. jimmy james

      You have been minimizing the impact of the KKK’s threat while at the same time insulting their victims. (crime in cities)

      What would you have me call that?

  33. Miranda Gohn

    Hey Jimmy,

    I do appreciate and can relate to what you are saying. There are so many negative things that are going on right now since the past election season that were building up for years and have been brought to the surface. It is bringing out the worst of humanity. Communication over the internet can be a barrier and has it’s negatives vs taking the talk and listen face to face with someone and try to find out where each other are coming from and possibly reach some type of common ground or respectful disagreement. I’d wager many of us feel the same way on many issues but we approach them in different ways.

    After dealing with Hard lefty admins at Living Blue SD where because they disagreed with a point I was trying to make I was suddenly accused of supporting fascism and that I was a big supporter of President Trump. Their new group of heroes wore masks ganged up and assaulted a 70 year old woman and a few 60 plus year old men at a peaceful Trump gathering in the rotunda at the Minnesota State Capitol earlier this year. You know what? These Senior Citizens that were assaulted could of been life long voting Democrats that felt like many Americans were left behind by BOTH political parties and now just because they voted for Trump they are all racists and fascists.

    Now Hard Lefty Heidelberger is having issues on his blog for not having many new commenters there especially with opposing or questioning views because they will get attacked and demonized. It is the same few day after day living in their lala land bubble solving world problems while offending more South Dakotans daily. The SDGOP Chair should send them one big thank you card every New Years.

    Luckily these extremists and they exists on all sides of the political spectrum are a minority.

  34. Troy Jones


    Draw any inaccurate emotional conclusion you want. Its your head you live in.

    It is my opinion the KKK is not in the top 100 challenges (maybe, just maybe some hyperbole but illustrative) impacting Black America. Sure, it is easy to call them out and pretend you are doing something meaningful. It is my opinion it is shallow and self-aggrandizing of white Americans to focus on the KKK so they can delude themselves they give a crap.

    Is my opinion clear enough?