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Showing posts from July 30, 2006

Don't forget the RCJ's Rally Blog

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If you're like me, either doing other things or lacking a motorcycle, you can live vicariously through the Rapid City Journal's ongoing blog on the Sturgis Rally by Reporter Bill Harlan. You know it's worth reading when he uses comments like "On my newsroom computer, if I hit “control F8″ it automatically types “A tourist was gored today …” It happens a lot."

Read it all here.

Herseth Wikipedia driveby discussion continues over at Mt. Blogmore. Lets talk about the lack of debates instead.

There's a discussion raging over at Mt. Blogmore regarding the Wikipedia information posted on Congresswoman Herseth's profile that I discussed on Thursday.

While some of it is with regards to the falsification of the information in her Wikipedia profile, some of it is with regards to.. er, the content of the announcement of the information being there. I'll leave that discussion over there.

Regardless, I'd reiterate the comments I made before. Whomever posted this on Stephanie didn't do Republicans any favors. And it puts me in a really awkward position essentially having to defend her honor.

For crying out loud, I'd rather be questioning why she's avoiding debates with Bruce Whalen. Yes, yes, before you bring it up, I've read the excuse on this one that she was never told about it. And I can even accept that. But what about the next time? And why aren't more being scheduled?

As recently as yesterday, I've been told by a prominent Democratic friend…

Are Dems trying to squelch the GOP at the Union County Fair?

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I caught this in one of the Union County Newspapers yesterday. Dr. Thomas Burns of McCook Lake expressing his displeasure at the Union County Fair Manager who disinvited the GOP because it supposedly "compete with a business uptown."

And what is this flap all about? Smoothies.

Yup, someone in town might be also selling smoothies to the populace, and THOSE DAMN REPUBLICANS ARE GOING TO RUIN THEIR BUSINESS.

You have got to be kidding me. And not just a little.

This is despite the fact that I'm sure that aside from the offending smoothies, there likely are people offering such oddities at the fair such as soda pop, ice cream, popcorn, bbq's (or taverns), cheeseburgers, and a plethora of fried oddities. And somehow, I imagine if you look hard enough, you can find somone offering fountain pop in town.

Are we going to next hear about other vendors being kicked out of the county fair because they might offer (shudder) BOTTLED WATER?!?

Yes, the sarcasm is dripping today.


So what do…

Do we need to add "beatin' on the wimmin folk" to the statutory duties of mayor?

What is it lately? First, Belle Fourche Mayor Todd Keller is arrested and convicted of assaulting his wife. Now, according to KGFX Radio, Onida Mayor Gary Wickersham was just arrested for assaulting a man in front of the man's young daughter, and he was also arrested for subsequently assaulting the man's sister:
The Mayor of Onida is out of jail on bond, after an incident Tuesday evening in Onida, which resulted in authorities leveling two assault charges and a disorderly conduct charge against him. The Sully County Sheriff’s Office says authorities responded to the call of an assault of an Onida man in the parking lot of the Fireside Restaurant, which occurred about 8:45 p.m. that evening. Allegations are that the 54-year-old, Gary Wickersham, had assaulted another man in the presence of the victim’s young daughter.

and..

The victim left the restaurant and reported the incident to authorities. While his report was being taken, the victim’s two sisters went to the restaurant to t…

Marriage Amendment isn't polling so great, according to the Argus Leader

The Argus Leader is noting today that if the Marriage amendment were voted on today, suprisingly in South Dakota, it might not necessarily be a winner:
South Dakota State University political scientist Bob Burns said the poll results could show that people think the proposed amendment reaches too far.

"It suggests people understand that it isn't limited to constitutionally banning gay marriage but that it reaches farther into unions and relationships that may have broad impacts," Burns said.

That's the opinion of Jon Hoadley, spokesman for South Dakotans Against Discrimination. He says the language banning recognition of civil unions and other relationships could mean protection from domestic violence would be denied battered men or women who weren't married to their partner.

"This isn't about gay marriage. South Dakota passed a law against that in 1996," Hoadley said. "The second sentence of the amendment is causing the opposition. People read tha…

Did someone do a driveby on Stephanie via Wikipedia? If not, congratulations... I think?

I often rely on Wikipedia for information and definitions when I'm writing my blogposts. Why is this being noted? Well tonight, it looks like someone might have done a driveby on Congresswoman Herseth.

It wouldn't be the first time that someone falsified information on Wikipedia regarding a public figure. Buzzwebster, an on-line website of political information notes:
Over the past few months, there have been reports alerting the public that Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia which allows its users to edit its content, has seen an influx of entries with potentially false and misleading information. With little surprise, the biggest targets are political candidates.
So why am I pointing this out? Congresswoman Herseth, seems to have a few... interesting facts on her Wikipedia profile that if true, aren't widely known. And then, there's just one little claim that seems.. Well it seems rather incredible:
....In both elections, Herseth campaigned as an "independent …

Herseth in Pierre on Friday at KCCR Radio

According to Tony Mangan at KCCR Radio, Stephanie Herseth is going to be in town visiting:
Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth will be in the KCCR studio Friday morning (august 4th).

Herseth is in the Pierre area for a number of events.

Our live interview with Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth is scheduled to start around 9 a.m. Friday morning on 1240 AM KCCR.Can we call in with questions?

Tony is also reporting that Republican Senator John Thune and Democratic Senator Tim Johnson will be in the area this next week:
Senators Tim Johnson and John Thune will visit several communities, including Fort Pierre and Onida on Wednesday. They plan to visit with ranchers and farmers on the day-long event.

They will be at the Fort Pierre Livestock Auction Barn next Wednesday morning from 10:20 to 11:15 Central Daylight Time. They will meet with ranchers at the Eagle Butte Diamond A Restaurant and the Faith Livestock Barn, tour the Duane Quiett’s farm in Gettysburg before ending the tour at the Onida Grain E…

RCJ says quit intimidating churches

From the Rapid City Journal:
A frequent criticism of HB1215 made by its liberal opponents is that the abortion ban law is an attempt by the far right to impose its religion on everyone else. It is left to one's political view whether that critique of HB1215 is hyperbole or fact. What is more bothersome is the apparent effort to frighten religious leaders and churches from speaking out about November's referendum on the abortion law by threatening to have the IRS revoke a church's tax-exempt status.The Internal Revenue Service shouldn't be used as a tool to stifle free speech.While there are some restrictions on non-profit organizations against involvement in political campaigns, we don't believe that religious leaders and churches should fear taking a stand on political matters.There's a clear difference between actively campaigning for a candidate or ballot issue and discussing politics informally or even in sermons or official statements.and...But churches, ch…

More crying from Amendment E Supporters over the AG Explanation

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Dave Kranz's column this AM picks at the scab of the AG's ballot opinion on Amendment E. And Bill Stegmeier is doing all the oozing:
Supporters of Amendment E - a measure that would hold judges accountable by challenging them on procedures and seat a special grand jury of citizens to hear concerns about the judges and their rulings - are threatening a lawsuit against Attorney General Larry Long if he does not change wording they find objectionable on the ballot.

Bill Stegmeier of Tea, state sponsor of the amendment, sent Long an 18-page letter.
"We believe the wording that AG Long chose to use in his Ballot Explanation is biased against Amendment E, and appears to be nothing more than partisan campaigning against the amendment," Stegmeier says.

A reference on the ballot indicating that the amendment covers "citizens serving on juries, school boards, city councils, county commissioners, or in similar capacities, and prosecutors," is a matter of concern, Stegmeie…

Okay, okay. I'm getting a minute to do something on the Whalen/Herseth poll results

The Argus Leader Reported at mid-morning while I was at work on the Herseth/Whalen race, and the anonymous commenters started nipping at my heels because I hadn't written on it yet.

For Gosh's sake, I am gainfully employed. Which means if I'm lucky, I get time to write at a breakneck pace before work, at lunch while I eat a PBJ, and after work. I'll even do it if I'm suffering from insomnia, as I sometimes do (hence the 3am updates).

Not to mention that I might find other things interesting. I like Constitutional races, legislative politics, and local stuff too - those are my bailiwick, moreso than the federal races. So, if I don't write about Herseth (including her hair or cutoff jeans) as often as you'd like, I'm sorry. It's my party, and I'll blog what I want to.

Anyway, due to popular demand, here's the Argus on the Whalen/Herseth Race:
Rep. Stephanie Herseth enjoys a commanding lead in name recognition and in voter preference over Repub…

Hypocrisy in the Capitol City *updated*

Catchy title, huh? (as you know, if it bleeds, it leads). And it's true - oh so true.

But as a departure, this post doesn't involve high government officials offices, or constitutional officers, or even legislators. This is a little tale of something brewing among the doors of the Hughes County Commission and the Hughes County Planning and Zoning board. And as opposed to an elected official committing the act, it looks as if they're actually the victims in this matter.

I'd heard rumblings about it earlier, but it's really hitting the press for the first time with the KCCR story by Tony Mangan about Hughes County Commissioner Brad Scott resigning from the County Planning and Zoning Board:
Commissioner Brad Scott, who served as the commission’s liaison to that board, decided to resign after a meeting last month of the joint county and city planning and zoning board. He and fellow county board member Ross Sperry exchanged words about Scott’s job as manager of Oahe Elect…

AP says another Ballot Measure explanation is under fire

The Associated Press is reporting this morning that another ballot measure explanation is threatened with a lawsuit because of what the AG has to say about it:
A woman who said she smokes marijuana to ease symptoms of her exposure to nerve gas while serving as a U.S. Army medic in Iraq said Tuesday she will sue the state attorney general because of his warning on a ballot measure seeking to legalize medicinal marijuana use in South Dakota. The measure was approved for the Nov. 7 ballot after supporters gathered more than the necessary 16,728 valid signatures.

and...

But Attorney General Larry Long has written a ballot explanation that says even if the measure is passed, those who possess, use or distribute marijuana for medical reasons can still be prosecuted by federal authorities. The warning adds that doctors may be subject to losing their federal licenses to prescribe legal drugs if they certify that people with debilitating health problems would benefit from marijuana use.

"…

Opposition Group Arises for Tobacco Tax

A group announced their opposition for the tobacco tax being promoted by citizens and coalition of anti-smoking interests yesterday. Americans for Prosperity came out against the measure as being a Government Slush Fund. From the Argus Leader:
The free-market grass roots group called Americans for Prosperity announced plans Tuesday to campaign against the tax, which is going before voters in November.

However, creators of the proposed tax argue that the tax will help get people to stop smoking and pay for programs that will keep kids and others from using tobacco products.

and...

Duane Sands, state director of Americans for Prosperity, held a news conference at Munchies, 10th Street and Minnesota Avenue, voicing concerns about the proposed tax.

Sands said it is wrong to impose a new $40 million tax to raise $5 million for a program.

"Why the first $30 million is going to the general fund and why the first money wouldn't go to the prevention program ... that makes no sense to me,&q…

Hargens offers to take Ryan Olson up on his challenge

The SDDP is busy sending out releases and posting information that Dale Hargens is offering to step in as proxy for Jack Billion, and stands ready to debate fellow Legislator Ryan Olson:
On July 29th, South Dakota state Representative Ryan Olson challenged Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Jack Billion to a debate on South Dakota’s drought conditions and plans for relief. Today, House Democratic Leader Dale Hargens, Miller, challenged Representative Olson to a debate.

“If Representative Olson really wants to debate about drought conditions and what needs to be done, he can debate me,” said Hargens who operates a farm and ranch in Hand County. “Hand County is facing significant challenges. My hope is that Representative Olson is not using cheap tactics to play politics with South Dakota’s critical drought situation. However, I’d welcome the opportunity to hear some creative solutions from the Representative from Onida on how to address the current crisis.”

“Speaking of solutions, Sou…

That can't be good news for the Billion campaign

The Argus Leader/KELO poll is out for the gubernatorial contest. And let's just say that I'm sure the Billion camp was wishing for better results. From the Argus Leader.com website:
Republican Gov. Mike Rounds would be re-elected handily if results of a new South Dakota poll were mirrored in voters’ decisions in November.

A new survey of 800 likely voters showed Rounds with a 2-1 lead over Democrat Jack Billion. The same respondents pegged abortion and education as the issues that will be most important to them in their choice for governor.

Rounds won support of 56 percent of those who were asked. Billion got 27 percent, and 17 percent were undecided. While 19 percent identified abortion and 18 percent education as the issue that would influence their choice for governor, 20 percent responded “Not sure.’’

Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Washington, D.C. did the survey for the Argus Leader and KELO-TV. The firm contacted 800 South Dakotans by phone from July 24 through July 2…

Aberdeen Dems change batting order.

In response to Isaac Latterell's Cinderella victory over Duane Sutton, the Democratic party has announced the change in lineup for the District 3 races. And they repeat an admission that sometimes leaves me shaking my head no matter what side of the aisle it happens on. From the Aberdeen American News:
Names to change on local fall ballot
Dems altering their lineup of candidates
By Scott Waltman
American News Writer

Local Democrats are making some changes to the November ballot.

Al Hoerth, a retired Aberdeen teacher, is the party's new District 3 state Senate candidate. He takes the spot of Ted Kneebone of Aberdeen, who is now seeking one of two District 3 House seats.

Hoerth and Republican opponent Isaac Latterell of Aberdeen are both newcomers to politics. Latterell defeated veteran Sen. Duane Sutton, R-Aberdeen, in the June primary.

Kneebone and Tom Black of Aberdeen are now the Democratic candidates for District 3 House of Representatives. They face incumbent Rep. Al Novstrup, R-A…

KELO poll shows it could be a hard "Roe" to hoe for Vote Yes on 6. (get it? Roe, not row... Sorry, bad pun)

The initial results of the KELOland polling on HB 1215 referral vote show that the Vote Yes on 6 people are coming out on the downside in one of the first public benchmarks of how the vote would turn out if held today... Well, if it would have been held on July 24-26:
We surveyed 800 registered voters July 24-26 and asked how they would vote on the referred law.

If today were Election Day, 47 percent of people in our scientific poll say they would vote no and reject the state's proposal to ban most all abortions. Thirty-nine percent would vote yes and accept the new law. 14 percent are undecided.

The margin of error is plus/minus 3.5 percent.Read it all here. Actually, if it's accurate, that's only 8 percentage points that the Vote Yes on 6 people have to make up. And it begs a big question - are people's attitudes on issues such as abortion as fluid as opinions about candidates? Or are they deep-seated and intractable?

I'd tend to think of things as more fluid, just g…

CCST 30 million in debt. What's going to be done?

Terry Woster of the Argus Leader is reporting this morning that the chairman of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe reports his tribe is over $30 million in debt with no end in sight:
The Crow Creek Sioux Tribe is $30 million in the hole and desperately in need of a cash infusion to beef up its anemic police force in the face of a surge in drug-related crime, Chairman Lester Thompson Jr. says.

Thompson, who took office in May, recently issued a report to tribal members outlining the severity of the tribe's financial woes. It included notice that the tribe owes the Internal Revenue Service almost $4 million in unpaid taxes and penalty fees.

The Crow Creek reservation has consistently ranked among the top five poorest areas in the United States. Unemployment tops 70 percent. Alcohol and other drug abuse is rampant. Education is sorely lacking.
The tribe has long had money trouble as a result.

Thompson blamed the latest crisis, however, on the tribe's fiscal ineptness. "Our tribe is broke…

Project Vote Smart sends out surveys. Are you filling it out? I wouldn't.

The Associated Press is noting tonight via the Argus Leader's website that Project Vote Smart surveys are out for South Dakota candidates:
Candidates across the country are again being asked to complete and return National Political Awareness Test surveys to the nonpartisan Project Vote Smart.The surveys were sent to South Dakota's candidates for U.S. House, governor and the state Legislature asking for viewpoints on a variety of issues.2004 marked the first time South Dakota's entire national delegation shunned the group, whose founding board members include Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter.In 1996, 72 percent of congressional candidates answered the group's questions but participation has been falling since. In 2000, it dropped to 63 percent, and it dipped to 50 percent in 2002.
Project Vote Smart, started in 1992 by failed Senate candidate Richard Kimball, provides information on national and state candidates, including the surveys, voting records, campaign speeches and r…

Are Dems just discovering that Door-to-door is something you should do in a campaign? I've know that for years.

The Democratic Party kicked off thier 100 days -100 doors campaign in Rapid City this weekend. Like this is a revalation? I don't think I've ever advised a candidate not to go door to door. In fact, I think it's one of the facets of a winning campaign.

Anyway, from the Rapid City Journal:
Inspired by presidential forefather Thomas Jefferson, the Pennington County Democratic Party on Saturday launched its “100 Days-100 Doors” campaign, which members said was intended to revive and rebuild party representation in South Dakota and capture the votes of Republican Party moderates. Justin Lena, Pennington County Democratic Party chairman and House candidate for District 34, said as part of a national Democratic campaign strategy, candidates would fan out through the city to knock on doors in each legislative district to listen to the concerns of residents.

“It is 100 days until election. Each candidate will contact 100 voters today by going to and knocking on 100 doors,” he sai…

A gauntlet is thrown down at Jack Billion

This one is interesting - especially given that the feathers are flying in a debate about debates.

I had an e-mail from State Representative Ryan Olson that indicates he's going to enter the debate fray. And to that end, he's throwing out a challenge to Jack Billion to debate him on the topics of drought relief and educational funding:
I have challenged Jack Billion to a debate on drought relief and school funding. As a member of the taxation and education committee as well as a farmer/rancher, I think we all need an explanation other than his pie in the sky gobblelty gook.

P.S. Jack and the A.P. have received my requestThis sounds like this could be pretty interesting.

The Billion camp, including my friend Todd Epp, has been making much ado about the availability of the Governor to discuss the important election issues at hand. Well, here's an opportunity for them to do just that with someone else directly in the fray; a farmer/rancher legislator who happens to sit on the…