As someone who comes from the land of the Tea Party, Glenn Beck, and the rest of that nightmare, it's kind of quaintly Canadian that he calls this a “rant”, but Ted Warren says something very important here, which I've been thinking about a lot since he posted it over a year ago:
Pure chops are experiencing a little bit of a golden age right now, and an increasing number of drummers seem to be viewing the act of playing as purely a matter of muscular training and physics, so it's good to remember that the first guiding principle for all musicians should be the sound you get out of your instrument. Forgetting that makes your practice something like, say, going fly fishing in a wading pool, or learning to bake using an inedible flour substitute. Pick your simile in which you learn a technique, sort of, but never actually do the thing that is supposed to be the whole point: making bread that tastes good, or hooking and boating a damn fish. I do think that using a practice pad is pretty much unavoidable, but it is important to remember, and compensate for, what you are not getting from it.
PS: Incidentally, Warren has a new piece up on the subject of sound, that is worth a read.