Showing posts from November 19, 2006

The IRS has some of your money...

The IRS published a list of the people in SD who are owed IRS refunds as reported in the Rapid City Journal. And did anyone else notice a familiar name?
The IRS is looking for 155 taxpayers in South Dakota whose income-tax refund checks could not be delivered. When a taxpayer moves or changes address and fails to notify the IRS or the U.S. Postal Service, a check sent to the taxpayer’s last known address is returned to the IRS.

An address issue is the most common reason that a check is returned as undeliverable, according to Christopher Miller, IRS spokesman.

“Either someone fails to update their address with us or the postal service when they move; or perhaps, their mail fails to catch up with them because they’re going back and forth from home to school,” he said. “In other cases, you’ll have someone who has experienced a life-changing event. They get married or divorced. Sometimes, a taxpayer dies, and we’re not able to get them the refund.”

Checks totaling $134,074 can be reissued as …

Has anyone noticed....

That the news has snuck back up towards the top of the Argus' new website design?

The South Dakota Supreme Court deals a blow to victim's rights (Legislators, are you listening?)

In an Associated Press article in today's Rapid City Journal, it looks like in an unusual move, the South Dakota Supreme Court sided with vandals and criminals and said that people who destroy property only have to pay the actual cash value on what they destroy, instead of replacement value:
Crime victims are not entitled to full replacement value for property that is damaged or destroyed, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.The decision came in a Custer County case that involved Jerrold Ray Martin. He pleaded guilty last year to destroying property owned by Michael and Paula Kear of Buffalo Gap.After Martin got into an argument with the couple at a bar, he went to their home and destroyed virtually everything in it on Christmas Eve 2004. Among things smashed and destroyed were bookcases, a computer, antique lamps, several guns, an aquarium, an oriental rug and a couch.
and..“None of the listed values were a reflection of fair market value, nor did they contain any diminu…

Herseth Featured in Esquire Magazine, and shows why she's going to be a challenge for the GOP to beat

(Hat tip to Associated Press)

In a magazine article in this month's Esquire Magazine, Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth is featured in an article about the best and brightest women in the nation.
At thirty-five, Herseth is South Dakota's golden girl. Her grandfather was governor, her grandmother secretary of state, her father a popular state legislator for twenty years. She was high school valedictorian, got a master's and a law degree from an elite East Coast university, and got elected to Congress at the tender age of thirty-three. She's a Democrat who opposes gun control so completely, she's endorsed by the NRA and part of the small group of conservative Democrats who continue to support the war in Iraq. "This is one of those things where I've made myself available to work with the administration," she says. "I'm just not looking to make this partisan. Not only will I lose support among my constituency if I do that, but I just don't think …

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

While the turkey is in the oven, and I have a few minutes to sit in front of the computer while I sip on a little Bailey's Mint Chocolate Irish Cream on the rocks, I have to count my many blessings.

And you all are included in that. Thanks for your readership.

And please enjoy your holiday season this year.

Mayor shaw fought the law and.... guess who won?

The Rapid City Journal is reporting this morning that Mayor Jim Shaw pled guilty, despite the fact he originally said he would fight his arrest for disorderly conduct at the Iowa State Fair:
Mayor Jim Shaw said Wednesday that he has pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a $100 fine to settle an incident in which he was involved on Aug. 11 at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.


After returning to Rapid City, Shaw conducted a news conference in which he said he didn’t believe he did anything wrong and that he would plead not guilty to the charges and likely go to trial.

But on Wednesday, he said, “By going to trial, I would have had to make at least two trips of several days each to Des Moines. Although I personally would have preferred to have my day in court, because Iowa officials dismissed one ticket completely and reduced the other to the lowest level possible, I believe my acceptance of their settlement offer was the best action for me to take. I did not ask for, nor was…

Wikipedia strikes again. Not Stephanie, but the Argus gets it this time.

Check this out -
ControversyIn March of 2006, the Argus Leader came under fire for attempting to control distribution rights within the city of Sioux Falls.The Argus Leader through a subsidiary company, News Center Distribution (NCD), had local businesses sign contracts saying that the Argus Leader controlled the publications to be distributed in their businesses. [2]The agreement allowed the Argus Leader to display and give away its free publications like Live, PetMag and City Style. Other independent publishers such as Prime, Renter's Guide, the Shopping News and others would have to pay the Argus Leader a fee to distribute their publications.But if the independent publishers didn't pay the Argus Leader, they threatened to physically take their competitors magazines out of contracted businesses.The Argus Leader’s move was viewed as a violation on First Amendment rights after they gained exclusive contracts to control distribution on …

I think this is more sucked in by a black hole than shooting by us as a rising star.

Today as I sit at my computer in Brookings doing laundry, I had a comment placed under the recent post I did on rising stars in politics noting that we have "a new rising star." And apparently he's so new that no one has ever heard of him:
Charlie Johnson is a grassroots rising star!
Monday, November 20, 2006

Charlie Johnson of the Alliance for Our Future today challenged the governor's Constitutional Commission to themselves collect signatures to put their proposals on the ballot.

"I dare any of the commission members to take any of their predetermined measures and personally stand in front of courthouses and post offices to collect the required amount of signatures rather than having a governor-led legislature put their measure on the ballot for them."

Johnson has co-chaired several statement initiatives and referendums relating to preserving family farming and rural democracy. He accused the Constitutional Commission meeting Monday in Sioux Falls of trying …

Congress Daily on the upcoming races.

Congress Daily (Subscription required) had a few comments on the state of South Dakota's Federal Races in their daily update yesterday:
Sen. Tim Johnson's likely bid for a third term could become a top-tier Senate race or a footnote of the 2008 election cycle. The difference depends on whether Republicans can recruit GOP Gov. Mike Rounds to run against Johnson, who won his second term in 2002 by just 524 votes. Rounds won re-election to a second term in 2006 with 62 percent, and afterward said he was not interested in another office. "I have always had a strong desire to stay right here in South Dakota ," Rounds told the Associated Press. "Truly, I'm not trying to be coy about it. I can't think of another job that I'd rather have than working as governor of South Dakota ." Nonetheless, Rounds is likely to become a top GOP recruiting target for 2008 because of South Dakota 's Republican leanings and its inexpensive media markets. Those att…

There's Trouble in Hot Springs. And that starts with T, which rhymes with "G" and that stands for "Golf Course"

So far, Legislative Audit has come down on the dealings behind the Hot Springs Golf Course. Followed by the City Council signing a letter demanding the mayor's resignation for his part in it.

And that's been followed by the Mayor filing an open meetings complaint against the council, because he claims it was an unannounced or closed meeting when they allegedly met to sign the
letter asking for his resignation.

And as the Rapid City Journal is reporting today, this saga is continuing to roll on:
The golf-course addition built for the city of Hot Springs looks good and plays well, but it isn’t the golf course the city ordered from the course developer, according to Pat Wyss of Wyss Associates of Rapid City. Wyss said the golf-course greens and tee boxes are smaller than the specifications in the contract, and the drainage is inadequate. He also questioned some construction costs itemized by builder Steve Simunek.


Earlier this fall, a state audit found that state laws wer…

Kranz on the 2010 Slate of Gubernatorial Candidates

In his Argus Leader column today, Dave Kranz noted those who are considering a run at the office of Governor. Interestingly enough, I heard he was actually calling a few people on it:
Plain and simple: Don’t rule out a third-generation Herseth for Governor campaign sooner than one would have thought.

If she does vacate the House seat, it is a no-brainer that Brendan Johnson, son of
Sen. Tim Johnson, would have no trouble getting the Democratic nomination and would be a credible candidate from the beginning.


Whether he wants to be named, Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard is at or near the top of most lists. If Gov. Mike Rounds runs for U.S. Senate and wins, Daugaard becomes governor in 2009, making him an incumbent in 2010. That would make Rounds doubly happy because he would go to Washington and also get his guy in the governor’s office – keeping some whom he doesn’t prefer off the second floor.

Even if that Rounds-Daugaard situation does not materialize, count on several names interested in t…

Hey now, you're a rock star. But don't stare at them too long.

I was having a discussion with someone yesterday about who the emerging Rock Stars were within the political scene. His thesis centered on the fact that most of the big names emerge as the best and the brightest among distinct political camps, such as John Thune who emerged from the Abdnor camp.

Here's a topic for discussion - who are the new political rock stars, and to whom do they owe their allegiance - or, at least what camp would you identify them with?

And do we inadvertently burn out potential Rock Stars in their "star infancy" too quickly by identifying them and amping up expectations to ridiculous levels. Such as when political columnists start predicting congressional runs on the basis of a single election win?

Did clumping doom Amendment F? That's what the revision commission thinks.

The Associated Press writing at the Rapid City Journal is noting that at least some of the items included with the constitutional revision measure F might have passed if they weren't all lumped together:
South Dakotans shot down constitutional Amendment F earlier this month by a 68 percent to 32 percent margin. In doing so, they refused to enact several changes suggested by commission, which included requiring a two-thirds vote of legislators to close lawmaking sessions and lifting a 5-cents-per-mile travel limit.


Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Miller, chairman of the commission, said the Legislature decided to combine the commission’s changes into one amendment instead of listing them separately. He, too, heard complaints about the cluster but said that South Dakotans were already complaining that the ballot was too crowded with other amendments and initiated measures.


Barnett said voters communicated effectively that they are not going to agree to fix the con…

A silly diversion..

This is bad. I keep playing this mindless little game.

Would you like some cheese with that?

SD Progressive hates it. SDP loves it.

And add me to the love it pile.

I think I've noted on several occasions (as in my 2005 top 10 political stories of the year), that it doesn't look like the Argus Leader cares much for the Governor.

And as related by the publisher Arnold Garson to Gannett News, amazingly enough, after being beaten on by the Argus for the last two or three years, Governor Rounds exercised his right in choosing how to spend money out of his personal campaign funds. And he refrained from spending it with them:
When the election was over, Arnold Garson, publisher in Sioux Falls and vice president for the Gannett Pacific Group, sent an e-mail to me showing both the cost and the payoff of this investigative project. The e-mail said:

"On the one hand, our tough reporting on the governor's unchecked personal use of state airplanes was one of two news projects that have cost us having any kind of relationship with the governor. (The other project is our still-…

New Blog Project is up

The new weblog that I'm doing with Todd Epp from SD Watch is up at with myself taking the position of the right, and Todd handling duties on behalf of the left.

The first topic is whether or not special interest groups are usurping the role of political parties and overtaking them in the political process. It might be a little bumpy start, but we'll find our groove soon enough.

As opposed to serving as a monologue as blogs can tend to be, it's designed to be a bit more of a dialog.

If you have any suggestions for topics, e-mail them to Todd or I.

Hugh Weber joins Bokorney Group.

A press release went out today noting that GOP campaign veteran Hugh Weber has joined David Bockorny in forming the Bockorny group; a one stop shop for campaign management, lobbying, and public affairs:November 20, 2006
Bockorny Group, Inc. Opens South Dakota ’s First Full-Service State and Local Firm in Sioux Falls

South Dakota natives David Bockorny and Hugh Weber are pleased to announce the opening of Bockorny Group Inc. (BGI) State and Local, South Dakota ’s first full-service public affairs, government advocacy and political management firm.

“We are very pleased to open the first branch of our State and Local operations here in South Dakota . As South Dakota natives, Hugh Weber and I have a strong commitment to ensuring that this state continues to build on its record of success in economic development, education and agriculture.” said David Bockorny, CEO of Bockorny Group, Inc. “While based in Sioux Falls--the economic engine of the region--the Bockorny Group State and Local pract…


(I'm sure that someone will correct me if I'm grossly wrong, but) I'm told several people are involved with the the Jarrod Johnson School and Lands transition team. I think we can expect that many of the same faces will likely find themselves in that office after the dust settles in January.

Aside from Jarrod himself, Jennifer Giannonatti, who had early on been part of the campaign, has been taking part. Add to that list Mike Mehlhaff Jr., a GOP activist who had been a paid staffer during the waning months of the campaign.

Tom Leckey, former Deputy Secretary of State under Joyce Hazeltine and Secretary of the State GOP, has been mentioned as part of the transition, as well as an aunt of Jarrod's who has been in on discussions taking place in the S&L office.

The big question for me is "who will end up as the deputy" as that topic has been pretty quiet at this point. Will it be Jennifer? Will it be Tom? Will it be one of the others, or will Jarrod bring in a…

A cautionary tale of the ps3 phenomena

Has anyone been watching the ps3 mania sweeping the nation? Yeah, me too, and I could care less. Although, I was at my sister's today when my brother in law related a cautionary tale on one computer game affecianado who got a good life's lesson off of all of this.

Apparently my in-law's friend was one of the first ones in line to buy a PS3 at a popular electronics retailer in Sioux Falls. In fact, he was exuberantly on South Dakota tv talking about it.

How did he accomplish being first in line? By taking three days off of work and starting in line on Tuesday. He and a friend had manned the line to be able to buy two ps3's. One for personal use, and another to speculate on eBay with - a promise which across the nation had been noted to make the savvy videogame speculator thousands.

The only problem? That's what most everyone else is doing. A good example of th elaw of supply and demand. With supplies on ebay being plentiful, instead of selling for $2300 or more as had…

For Republicans, it's about leadership. And that's why our legislators are in the process of choosing theirs

This weekend (or shortly before) the incoming members of the Republican House Caucus met and chose their legislative leaders for the next term of office.

Tom Deadrick is coming back as the new Speaker of the South Dakota House, and assisting him will be Tim Rave, who moves up from his position as Republican House Whip over the past two years.

House Majority Leader Larry Rhoden returns with Assistant Majority Leader Joel Dykstra.

And there is a brand new slate of House Majority Whips in 2007. All second term elected officals, coming in as whips are Tom Brunner, Shantel Krebs, Bob Faehn, and Chuck Turbiville.

Given the large turnover at the top for Republicans in the Senate, they're holding off on their elections for a while. But in the hunt are Dave Knudson, and Kenny McNenny for Majority Leader.

Jim Lintz's name is mentioned for whip, and I have heard Tom Dempster's name for President Pro Tem. Orv Smidt has sent out a letter noting his interest in the same position. I've al…

New Blog Project

Sorry for the light posting.

I'm one of two people who is going to be writing for a new South Dakota weblog which will look at issues from both ends of the political spectrum, and I've been trying to bring some cohesion to my points as I write my half of an inaugural post.

3 hours in a car will generally make you a little punchy, and I see some of my post isn't as good as I'd want it to be, so I need to sleep on it.

When we're all done, I'll add it to the blogfeeds and announce it here. It probably won't be a daily thing as much as a weekly thing, but it should add a nice dimension to the political discussion as I don't think there's currently another GOP/DEM blog out there.

That's what I said... Everyone else is jumping on the campaign finance reform bandwagon

I seem to recall that I've been bitching about this kind of stuff almost since I've started this website. The Argus has a story today about South Dakota's nearly non-existent campaign finance laws, where Garry Moore intentiionally failed to file to see what would happen.

Well, nothing of course. All he would have to say is "I forgot" and then get the filing in:
Democratic Sen. Garry Moore, who won a state House seat in the Nov. 7 election, broke a campaign finance law last summer.

He admits it. He says he did it on purpose - and with a purpose.

Moore, who was term-limited in the state Senate after rising to be a leader of his party's caucus, entered the House race in his district. He won a primary but didn't file a campaign-finance report required by law to be in Secretary of State Chris Nelson's office by July 3. That's a misdemeanor, according to Nelson."I wanted to see what would happen,'' Moore said. "They never enforce that fili…