Showing posts from September 24, 2006

The Grapes of Wrath?

One reader reported to me today that they observed State Senator Duane Sutton's daughter at the Gypsy Day parade in Aberdeen wearing an Al Hoerth t-shirt and handing out stickers for same.

They were kind of surprised, because they thought she was a member of the Teenage Republicans.
Of course, this comes after Isaac Latterell defeated her father in the Republican primary.

Thune to vote "aye" on Referred Law 6

The Rapid City Journal is reporting this morning that U.S. Senator John Thune will be voting for Referred Law 6 (otherwise known as HB 1215) when he steps into the voting booth in November. This is in sharp contrast to Johnson and Herseth, who have indicated they will be actively campaigning the other way, going so far as to be part of the No on 6 campaign by recording messages for them.
Despite his belief that any ban on abortion should include exceptions for rape and incest victims, U.S. Sen. John Thune said Friday that, when he steps into the voting booth in November, he will vote in favor of a referred law that does not contain those exceptions.

Earlier this week, the South Dakota Republican restated his position that any abortion ban should include exceptions to save the life of a pregnant woman and to allow victims of rape and incest to have an abortion.

Referred Law 6, which was approved overwhelmingly by the South Dakota Legislature and signed by Gov. Mike Rounds before being ref…

Sandra Day O'Connor - Say No to JAIL's judicial intimidation

In an article in one of this week's editions of the Wall Street Journal, retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor takes after South Dakota's JAIL amendment.
Wall Street Journal
September 27, 2006

The Threat to Judicial Independence
By Sandra Day O'Connor

In November, South Dakotans will vote on a state constitutional amendment being advocated by a national group called "JAIL 4 Judges." If the amendment passes, it would eliminate judicial immunity, and enable a special grand jury to censure judges for their official legal determinations. Although the amendment's supporters claim they seek a "judicial accountability initiative law" (JAIL), they aspire to something far more sinister --judicial intimidation. Indeed, the national Web site of JAIL 4 Judges boasts with striking candor that the organization "has that intimidation factor flowing through the judicial system."

It is tempting to dismiss this proposed amendment as merely an isolated bou…

Hundstad part two

I just got this tonight, as issued from the Rounds for Governor campaign. It was issued in response to the Hundstad for Senate campaign's "less than honest" advertisement of Hundstad being pictured with Governor Rounds in a "National Enquirer" style photo.

I hate to say.... Okay, no I don't.

I told you so.

Hundstad dug his own grave on this one. He involuntarily drug Governor Rounds into this race. But now, Brian Johnson gets to reap the benefit. Because he's going to have the Governor's full support and backing while Hundstad is left responding to embarassing questions about his intent and honesty.


What is the deal with Pennington County and their $350 absentee ballot list?

I must have gotten up on the crabby side of the bed this AM after last evening's drive to Brookings. I used the P* word and the A* word in the prior post. My apologies.

Why am I apologizing? This post isn't going to me any good if I'm not trying to sound like "angryman" today. Although this came first, so if you want to blame anything specific for unloading on Jim Hundstad (not that I'd change a word) blame Pennington County. Because they got me going yesterday when I heard about this one.

The story? I had a call from one of my friends a couple of nights ago.

Their lament? “It cost me $350 to get the absentee voter list from the Pennington County Auditor, and when they provided it, it was a .pdf file. I asked about getting it in Excel, ASCII, or another text format, and they said that’s the only way they would do it. I can’t do anything with this list! Do you have any ideas?”

Uh oh. This was not a call for help coming from a novice. This was coming from someone …

Senator Jim Hundstad is less than honest. Again.

Remember back during session when I railed on Senator Jim Hundstad (a former teacher) for his blatant plagiarism of his legislative column? It was a blogpost I titled "When teachers plagiarize. A legislator not giving credit where it is due."
If I didn't know better, I'd say all he did for his weekly legislative report is to copy a few of the GPPPI e-mail reports to his local newspapers, slap a paragraph on the beginning and on the end, and make it look like it's his own work.

It's like he erased the name off of someone else's homework and wrote his own.


So, as far as the SDWC is concerned, Senator Hundstad's legislative report this week gets a Failing grade. Not for content, but for not giving credit where credit is due. For presenting the work of another as his own. And Senator, if you're going to parrot GPPPI material for your weekly legislative reports, at least give them the appropriate citation.I know it got attention, because the followin…

Light posting until later this evening or tomorrow

I'm going light today, as I'm heading to Brookings tonight after work a day early to surprise my wife on her birthday tomorrow. So, light posting ahead.

Although, I do have a few topics I'm writing on my plate from things I've read and heard. So watch for these in the coming days:
Klaudt in newspaper; calls Amendment D, "revenue neutral."

Is there a chance another commissioner could leave the PUC?

Why is the Rapid City Journal selectively removing articles about a certain politician?

What in the hell is the deal with Pennington County and their $350 absentee ballot list?Stay tuned.

Billion has a campaign jingle. And words escape me at the moment.

(Hat tip to Mt. Blogmore.)

Jack Billion has a campaign song tonight. And I'm still a little struck by it's awfulness, so please forgive me. I'm having a hard time with words.

Click on the image to hear it.

It's kind of a bluegrass twangy thing. And you know, I used to find bluegrass relaxing - even soothing. No more.

This is bluegrass which sounds like it was sung by Weird Al. Seriously. Dammit. Billion has ruined a music genre for me.

Personal opinions aside, the campaign song is 1:47 long. Until you get through 1 minute and 30 seconds (1:30) you don't hear anything that allows you to identify the candidate. And then it's 17 seconds of "back Jack." Unfortunately, "back jack" isn't on the ballot.

And the guy who is - "Billion," is not mentioned at all in the song.

So tell me, can you call it a campaign song if it doesn't mention the candidate?

Now, I actually like campaign songs for some stupid reason. "Kennedy Can" is t…

More on Johnson fight against HB 1215/Referred Measure 6

This e-mail is making the rounds on the internet tonight among politicos and bloggers:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Megan Colon (Email redacted by pp)
Date: Sep 27, 2006 1:06 PM
Subject: Help South Dakota stop a ban on women's rights

Hello! Well, I'm on my soap box again about one of the most egregious pieces of egislation (HB1215) that SD has passed. Most of you know about the recent bill that was passed in SD that would prohibit women from having an abortion, except if the mother's life was in danger, even if the case of rape or incest! This legislation is completely unacceptable. On November 7 South Dakotans will head to the polls and
voice their dissent of this bill, however, there is tons of work that must be done before then. Currently, there is an organization called the South Dakota Healthy Families Campaign that is doing all it can to overturn this ban and our efforts are working. In a recent poll 47 % of South Dakotans DO NOT want this ban with 13 % un…

Tim Johnson jumps into South Dakota abortion debate with both feet

I thought this was kind of unusual. According to the Argus Leader, U.S. Senator Tim Johnson is inserting himself into the HB 1215/Referred Measure 6 abortion debate by recording a message for the "No on 6" forces:
The campaign against a proposed law that would make most abortions illegal in South Dakota has gained a well-known politician as a spokesman against the measure.

U.S. Sen.Tim Johnson, D-S.D., has taped an automated telephone message that urges voters to reject the legislation.

South Dakota’s senior senator said the proposed ban on most abortions should be dumped because it contains no exceptions for women who have been victims of rape or incest.Read it all here at

Aside from the fact that whether or not the measure contains exceptions is still up for debate (and debate, and debate), I don't recall it as typical for a US Senator to jump into a matter like this?

Why? South Dakotans are evenly divided on the issue, and by making a clear stand with one…

Whalen makes his case for the charge of Herseth ducking debates

In an e-mail sent out to people today, Republican Congressional Candidate Bruce Whalen stated his case for the charge of Herseth ducking debates with him. And one has to admit, it looks like there have been plenty of missed opportunities:
This is the debate schedule that has been offered to both candidates. I have agreed to all. Ms. Herseth must not be allowed to take this election out of the voters minds any longer please forward this to your family and friends and let them ask the question, why is Ms. Herseth scared of open debates? LocationCityVenueDateTimeHerseth's ActionOglala Nation Pow WowPine Ridge Public Debate Aug 6th1:30-2:00 MSTRefused Dakota Fest MitchellCandidate ForumAug. 17th10:30-11:30 CSTRefusedState Fair

Epp Makes the Pierre paper

(Click on image to enlarge)

In the Pierre Capitol journal this morning, fellow blogger Todd Epp continues to garner news coverage from the state's media for his move from the Billion campaign to South Dakotans Against Discrimination.

The full article by Kate Turnbow should be on-line in a few hours at the Capitol Journal Website. In the meantime, you can read the teaser above.

Yes on 6 campaign commercials to start. First one - A Mt. Rushmore idea from a snow globe.

The campaign commercials for Yes on 6 are starting. And a first one talks about Mt. Rushmore. As you can read in the Argus Leader, according to one person with the campaign, it came about when Leslee Unruh gave her a snow globe:
Vote Yes for Life on Six, the political campaign formed to uphold the ban, has remained tightlipped on its advertising strategy. Leslee Unruh, the Vote Yes campaign manager, said Tuesday that the campaign has been focusing on grass-roots efforts such as holding house parties and distributing informational pamphlets and DVDs.

Unruh said she's grateful that people across the country, including Falwell, are helping her organization fight to uphold the ban. She said her group is "waiting for the right time" to start airing its television ads."We're not going to turn down money from anybody," Unruh said. "Obviously, we're up against a machine that has been making a living with this issue."

But a number of supporters of the abo…

The Gov has two new commercials out there tonight

I just got an e-mail update from Rounds for Governor with information on two new television commercials out there.

The first, called Recognizing Talent is about one teacher's experience with the Dakota Corps Program:

Click here to view the commerical

The Second, is about one family's experience with the State Insurance Risk Pool.

Click Here to View the Commercial

I'll like the second one better than the first one, on the basis of the voice over. And I'll leave it at that.

Photography: 101

Tonight I'm going to discuss briefly what makes a decent campaign or news article photo.

First off all, I would suggest having the photo taken by a professional. You will save a lot of wasted energy if you have someone who knows what they're doing actually behind the camera. If it's important to you that you come across as electable or believable, then it's probably worth the $25 it'll cost you to get a decent photo.

You next need to decide what you want the photo to accomplish. A headshot will give you face recognition to go along with your message, an "action" photo will lend more to the story that you are trying to tell. An example of an action photo would be talking to a farmer or sitting on the edge of your desk with your shirt sleeves rolled up. It tells an extra 1,000 words about who we are, or who we are trying to portray.

Headshots are safer. There's less risk in a simple photo of the candidate from the shoulders up, so I'll cover those firs…

Judicial Accountability Act people sponsoring government conspiracy movie

I was checking out the newly designed Judicial Accountability website (it's a matter of "know thine enemy") when I noticed that as part of their campaign activities they're sponsoring the nutty Aaron Russo conspiracy movie "America: From Freedom to Fascism."

It's being shown at the Ramkota Hotel and Conference Center on Friday October 27 and Saturday October 28th at $12 a head.

(click on the images to enlarge them) What can I find about this movie? As one reviewer noted about it:
America: Freedom To Fascism gives the Michael Moore muckraking-underdog treatment to the kind of delirious conspiracy theories generally associated with mentally ill homeless people screaming at passersby to stop stealing their brainwaves.


Fascism rails semi-coherently against bogeymen on the left and right, employing public-access production values and a world-changing sense of purpose wildly disproportionate to its paltry resources and amateurish direction. The film somehow …

Quote of the day.

From AP news, regarding the Planned Parenthood Potluck effort this weekend:
Sarah Stoesz, president of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota, said ban opponents in more than 30 states are planning to hold the potlucks as fundraisers.

"For the first time we are on a truly offensive grassroots political mission," Stoesz said.Read it here. Yup. "Rockin' fun potlucks" in support of abortion. A truly offensive grassroots political mission.

South Dakotans Against Discrimination continues their push against Amendment C

There's an awful lot of activity on the part of Amendment C opponents in the past few days.

First, Amendment C gained a bit of attention last night with their hiring of Todd Epp to work on the South Dakotans Against Discrimination campaign.

Then this morning, in the Rapid City Journal, Dakota Voice publisher and fellow blogger Bob Ellis found himself in the letters column doing an unintentional point-counterpoint exchange on Amendment C with Barry Wick.

First a snippet from Bob's letter:
The marriage protection amendment doesn’t discriminate against anybody; homosexuals have the same right to marry someone of the opposite sex that heterosexuals do. It prohibits homosexuals from having “special” rights and preserves the sanctity and meaning from activist judges who would hijack it.

You can’t legally call a maple leaf a $20 bill, and you shouldn’t be able to call two people of the same sex shacking up together “marriage.” Why? It counterfeits marriage — thus undermining its value — j…

Billion's Education plan.. It might not cost quite a billion, but I'll bet it's several million

In the campaign for Governor, Democrat Jack Billion is talking about adding dollars to education. And in this article from the Argus Leader's website, he has no idea how much:
Billion said he and running mate Eric Abrahamson, who are challenging Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, propose revamping the system, beginning with preschool.

"South Dakota is one of 12 states without a preschool education program," Billion said. "That is absolutely a tragedy." Other proposals involve increasing teacher salaries, auditing state government spending for additional funding, and increasing funding for scholarships.

"Our pledge is, we will bring teachers salaries up to a competitive level, up to the average of the surrounding states within our first term," Billion said.
Billion said he wants to expand long-distance learning technology and help rural school districts share services. He also wants to improve scholarship funding for state schools, saying South Dakota co…

Take that Billion campaign... Epp takes position as press and legal consultant

Almost immediately after his recent departure from the Billion campaign, Todd Epp has taken a new campaign position as the press consultant for the South Dakotans Against Discrimination. From my e-mail box:

SIOUX FALLS --South Dakotans Against Discrimination (SDAD), the grassroots group opposing Amendment C, announces that Harrisburg attorney and activist Todd Epp will be its legal and communications consultant.

"Todd offers a unique combination of legal experience and communications skills that will assist us in educating the public and the media as to why Amendment C, the ban on "quasi-marital relationships," should be defeated," according to Jon Hoadley, SDAD's campaign manager.

Epp is a former local broadcaster for S.D. Public TV and KSFY-TV and a freelance writer. He is admitted to practice before the state and federal courts of Kansas and South Dakota and 8th and 10th United States Circuit Cou…

Our take on the Argus redesign

Yup. The Argus did a redesign.

How can I sum it up in one sentence or less? How about:
"I now have to scroll past pictures of somebody's cat to see today's news."That pretty much sums it up right there, and you can quote me directly.

Yes, yes, I know my friend Todd likes it. But at the moment, count me in the other column.

I'm not saying it couldn't be great, but it's just like the same mad jumble they tried two years ago in the election, where they had a political website that they sort of paid attention to, and then it dropped off the earth. As well as other failed Argus experiments (Did someone mention the Argus Blog?).

Now, as they did back then, the Argus committed the error of trying to be too many things to too many people. And they failed then as I expect they will now.

My prediction? Watch for another re-design within 6 months.

I mean, c'mon. For starters, the layout looks like something I barfed up in this mad, mad jumble of weather, advertisements…