Showing posts from December 10, 2006

Breaking Story - Herseth IS engaged. (I was right, I was right)

The Rapid City Journal is reporting this AM that apparently my rumor was 100% on the money. Congresswoman Herseth did get engaged about a week ago:
Herseth, 36, is engaged to Max Sandlin, a former congressman from Texas whom she met in July of 2002.

She became engaged last weekend and waited until Friday night to make the announcement, Olson Duhamel said. She said the couple has not set a date but will be married in South Dakota.

“It’s good news,” she said.Read it all here.

BREAKING RUMOR: Herseth engaged?

I just had this dropped in my lap.

It's still at the status of rumor, as it has not been officially confirmed, but I heard from a very reliable source that Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth has/may be getting engaged to her boyfriend, former congressman and now lobbyist Max Sandlin.

Why am I giving this creedence? I hear there's lots of chatter about it around her home grounds, and among some of the DC crowd. It might turn out to not be true, but it's a little more than the average politico chatter - to the point where I think we can note it as something more than goofy specualtion.

If it isn't true, sorry about that. My source is usually uber-reliable, so I feel comfortable enough to go with it.

And if it is true? Well, then congratulations to the Congresswoman, and best wishes for the holidays.

Senator.... Senator...? Are you home?

I just heard a good one. One of the dozen or so reporters who had Kloucek's press release sent to their employer was trying to get ahold of him all afternoon. And, not having much success.

Apparently, Frank's voice mail is full at the moment. For the life of me, I can't imagine why. Just because he trashes his colleagues and others.

Just to be a helper, in case any of you miss him at home this weekend, don't forget the first part of his press release. You know, the part that says:
On the Monday Jan 15th and Tuesday Jan 16th our Czech Royalty and Supporters of Tabor Czech Days will be traveling to Pierre.Frank will be at the Pierre discovery center, among other places, where I'm sure you can contact him and ask him why he sent the other half of the press release out to the Argus Leader, the Yankton paper, the Aberdeen paper, and many others, with such entertaining statements as:
At the last two state farmers union convention Dennis weise had people follow me around the …

Argus: Sutton hearing will take place during week 2

The Argus Leader is reporting this afternoon that the accusations against Dan Sutton for allegedly fondling a high school boy won't be heard until week 2 of the legislative session:
The Senate had planned to begin a hearing to decide whether to discipline or expel Sen. Dan Sutton, D-Flandreau, as soon as the session opens Jan. 9.

But Sioux Falls lawyer Jim McMahon, who will handle the hearing for the Senate, has a scheduling conflict, so the hearing will not be held until at least Jan. 16, Sen. Ed Olson, R-Mitchell, chairman of the Legislature’s Executive Board, said today.Read it all here.

Tim Johnson continues to improve

The Argus is reporting that as South Dakota watches and waits, Tim Johnson is continuing to improve from the medical event he suffered:
Sen. Tim Johnson continues to make slow improvements as he recovers from emergency brain surgery, and staff and family remain optimistic about his recovery, his spokeswoman said minutes ago.

The senator’s condition is expected to remain classified as critical but stable throughout the weekend, said Julianne Fisher, spokesperson for Johnson.

He was able to move more limbs last night than he had previously, Fisher said.Read it all here.

Representative Lange, have some cheese with that whine.

There was an article that I read in the Madison paper the other day that I wanted to make sure I got back to. Outgoing Democratic Rep. Gerry Lange had his chance to cap off his career nicely and exhibit class as he ended his public service.

Instead, the first thing he did was to spit in the pie plate, and spoil an easy recipe for showing grace.:

Lange, a Madison resident, had planned for a fourth term in the state House, after which he would have had to leave the chamber under legislative term limits. However, his intentions were pushed aside last month when he placed third in a three-way race for district 8’s two House seats.

A month after the election, Lange remains a bit annoyed with the results. Looking back at his time in Pierre, he sees himself as a Democratic thorn in the side of Republican interests - an annoyance that was pulled so Lange would no longer bother the state’s majority party.

Lange had offered bills that would have changed the state’s tax system. In particular he supp…

New Scandal Brewing.
Oooooo. I don't think Senator Kloucek meant to send this to god and everyone.

WOW! I just got a copy of a really interesting e-mail that Frank Kloucek sent to Scott Heidepreim. And for some reason, he copied nearly everyone under the sun, including the media.

And it's not just that he sent an e-mail out to the media that may or may not have been intended to go to the media. He used it to completely trash a lot of people. And several of them are in his caucus.

I heard tonight from a good source that it's already costing Frank. Supposedly the Farmers Union people are so mad over it that they're considering kicking him out. Here's the first part:

From: Frank Kloucek [mailto:fkloucek@*******]
Sent: Wednesday, December 13, 2006 9:05 PM
To: (A very extensive list including several bloggers, people at the argus, the Mitchell paper, the Yankton paper, etc, and so on)

Subject: Trip to Pierre - Promoters of Tabor Czech Days Needed!News release December 13,2006 for immediate release!
Contact Senator Frank 583-4468Are you interested in going to Pierre to promote T…

I like John as much as the next Republican. But some facebook participants are going a little far on this one.

As I try to play with the campaign aspects of the on-line social network of facebook myself, I note that there's actually a facebook group called "I would SO move to South Dakota for Senator Thune."

Is it just me, or does that border on being stalker-ish?

Today show on Tim Johnson

MSN - Today Show Link on what might have happened to Senator Johnson.

Lawmaker issues apology in Argus. Not that you can find it.

Returning State Representative Rich Engels has an apology today in the Argus Leader for his comments to Gordy Swanson regarding working with the county.

Not that you can find it on-line in the A.L.'s horrible mish mash of a website.

So here's a couple of blurbs I'm typing in:
As I mentioned to Argus Leader reporter Josh Verges, I immediately
regretted my comments to Deputy State's Attorney Gordy Swanson, as they did not
reflect the way I truly feel about working with the county.


I had already decided after talking to many people that I would not
introduce a bill (requiring county jails to allow weddings). I did post a
comment to that effect on the blog which you can
read yourself, even before the Argus Leader editorial.Go read it all in the Argus' dead tree edition on page 3B. Otherwise, as Representative Engels noted, you can read his comments here on this website.

Associated Press: Johnson in Critical Condition after brain surgery

From the AP:
Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson was in critical condition early Thursday and recovering from surgery.

and...A person in the hospital's media relations office, who declined to be identified by name, said George Washington University Hospital was preparing to announce that Johnson's condition was critical.Read it all here.

CNN via KELO: Tim Johnson undergoing brain surgery.

Latest report on Senator Johnson from CNN as noted on
Senator Johnson Suffers Health Emergency

Two Democratic sources tell CNN that Senator Tim Johnson was undergoing brain surgery Wednesday night at George Washington University Hospital.

The senator was taken to the hospital Wednesday for stroke-like symptoms, but his Communications Director Julieanne Fischer tells CNN, Johnson did not suffer a stroke or heart attack.Read it all on KELO here.

Possibly not a stroke, but an as yet to be diagnosed illness?


Apparently, Johnson's spokesman is saying it might not be a stroke. More to come.

Senator Johnson has an apparent stroke.

On a very sad note, Democratic US Senator Tim Johnson has reportedly had a stroke.

As reported in the Argus Leader, initial reports of his condition coming from Congresswoman Herseth are troubling:
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., was hospitalized today, according to his Washington office.

He suffered from a possible stroke, and was taken to George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C..

Rep. Stephanie Herseth, at the conclusion of a Sioux Falls meeting with board members of the Lewis and Clark water project, called the group back together around 3 p.m. and announced Sen. Johnson had been taken to a hospital.

In a shaking voice, she called on South Dakotans for their prayers.

Herseth said she believed it was a severe stroke.

Johnson, 59, had become disoriented during a conference call with reporters, stuttering in response to a question. He appeared to recover, asking if there were any additional questions and then signing off.Read it all here.

Senator Johnson - South Dakota's though…

Ed Olson to Churches: With moderates at the helm, the taxman cometh

Dave Kranz has a telling story today. In his Argus Leader column, he features a story on how Ed Olson, with (as Dave terms it) the moderates firmly in control they're thinking issues. And what's the first issue that Ed is talking about targeting? Taxing Churches.
State Sen. Ed Olson, R-Mitchell, was a key player in putting together the Mainstream Coalition of legislators who were tired of being branded as a bunch of anti-God, pro-death legislators.

Olson took a visible position with the largely Republican group that was trying to communicate a moderate, and sometimes liberal, point of view about social issues.
and... Olson expects another effort by lawmakers in reaction to the Referred Law 6 campaign."It is time to have a serious discussion about tax exemptions for churches. People are ticked, don't want to be preached to from the pulpit, didn't want signs plastered all over their house of worship. The people spoke, and their voices were heard," Olson said.


This had been covered on other blogsites earlier, but the Argus has a good story on Gant walking when GOAC shut the doors.

This had been covered on other blogsites earlier, but the Terry Woster at the Argus has a good story today on the recent incident when State Senator Jason Gant walking when the Government Operations and Audit Committee shut the doors when talking about the report of the Juvenile monitor.
Jack Getz said the recent decision by the Government Operations and Audit Committee to close a portion of its meeting to consider a report from the juvenile corrections monitor is the kind of case that should be reviewed by the state's Open Meetings Commission.

"Pre-emptive secrecy is a good word for it," said Getz, a member of the journalism and mass communications faculty at South Dakota State University. "It speaks to a mindset that is chilling in a democratic society. Taking the public business into private sessions has to remain a last-ditch option for very limited circumstances."At issue is the semi-annual report of the juvenile monitor. That's the position responsible …

A nod to 2005 as I look at 2006.

As I'm starting to work on my list for the top ten political stories of 2006, I wanted to briefly do a recap on what I had viewed as the top political stories of 2005. Does it matter? A bit.

I wanted to see if any of the stories had carried over any momentum into 2006. And not surprisingly, a few did. I won't give away what I think this years' top ten political stories are just yet, but here's 2005's to chew on.

SDWC Top Political Stories of 2005.

10.JAIL Amendment
9. Special Session for Homestake
8. S.T.O.P.
7. Democratic Bloggers
6. Argus Leader’s Assault on the Governor
5. Signs of life - Grassroots Democrats place billboards/ Howard Dean kicks in $85k to SD Democrats
4. Abortion Task Force Walkout
3. Mt. Blogmore
2. Mainstream Coalition Forms
1. Ellsworth AFB Saved

Next time someone talks about Stem Cell research, point out this example of where some of them are coming from.

I actually found this on as their site of the day. I'm assuming it was named as such because it's so over the top and horrific. But even worse, this is not something out of "the onion" or another parody website. It's coming from thes BBC and it's being reported as the stone cold honest truth.
Healthy new-born babies may have been killed in Ukraine to feed a flourishing international trade in stem cells, evidence obtained by the BBC suggests.

Disturbing video footage of post-mortem examinations on dismembered tiny bodies raises serious questions about what happened to them.

Ukraine has become the self-styled stem cell capital of the world.

There is a trade in stem cells from aborted foetuses, amid unproven claims they can help fight many diseases.

But now there are claims that stem cells are also being harvested from live babies.


One campaigner was allowed into the autopsy to gather video evidence. She has given that footage to the BBC and Council of…

The Political Roundup for December 12th *updated*

I'm going to try to resurrect this feature which I haven't done for ages. Why? I've been too busy writing large articles over aggregating small ones like this..

Watch for Senator Jerry Apa to retain his leadership position on Senate Appropriations, despite earlier overtures made to newly elected Senator Jean Hunhoff, who will likely take the Vice Chair position. It's an attempt to at least try to keep the peace.

Bob Mercer had mentioned in his column late last week/early this week that there would be some changes on that panel, and there will. Both Senator Bill Napoli and Senator Jason Gant had already noted that they wanted off of the committee, so expect they'll be gone. But Senator Brock Greenfield is not one of the crew that's weary of the time intensive panel, so there's no similar request to depart. The big question is whether he will stay or not.

Right now, even filling two positions on that panel will be difficult, much less three. Unless they can fin…

RCJ Columnist Michael Sanborn gives Bill Napoli the dickens. And gets back a lot more than he gave.

The Rapid City Journal printed a column today by Michael Sanborn, one of their columnists in their slight "argusification" of that newspaper, allowing for more local columnists and user generated content. And what a column it was.

Was it critical? Yes. But it went far beyond what one expects in a mainstream publication, and even farther than what you might find on many weblogs. In fact, Mt. Blogmore takes up the topic, and almost unanimously, the columnist is getting holy hell for his venom and unprofessionalism. First, here's a snippet from the article:
I've tried to get my arms around the idea of handling this diplomatically. I've waited patiently for someone else to take up the issue and report the truth. Nobody has. Politicians have danced around this issue. So it falls to me to tell the world (or at least a few readers) what thousands already know but will not say: Sen. Bill Napoli is hopelessly and irretrievably stupid.

Pick a synonym you think might be mo…

NOOOOO!!! My Precious.....


A word of advice to the readers. *Always* check your pockets before you do laundry. You might inadvertently leave your USB flash drive in one.

I'm so mad at myself. I'll give it a few days to dry out before I try it, but I'm not holding out hope. I've got (or had) tons of stuff on it, including newspaper articles from the library, articles I was working on, campaign stuff from this past election, a backup of a database I was working on, etc.

That's enough disappointment for the night.

The Daschle - Obama Connection

One observant reader pointed out an article on the Washington Post's weblog on how the Daschle and Obama political orbits have intermingled, allowing Obama to snag many of the former Senator's staffers for his presidential run:
Daschle has yet to endorse any candidate for president although he did have kind words for Obama recently, saying: "I think because of the tremendous amount of enthusiasm and support that Sen. Obama has around the country, you'd be foolish not to give it some very careful thought."Here's a look at the major former Daschle staffers now in Obama's orbit:*Pete Rouse: Rouse served as Daschle's chief of staff for 20 years before the South Dakota Senator's defeat in 2004. Shortly afterward, he was selected to serve in that same post for Obama. *Robert Gibbs: Obama's communications director, Gibbs served in that same role at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in the 2002 cycle. He was handpicked by the Daschle operati…

Has anyone else noticed....

Has anyone else noticed that Arlo Levisen, the spokesman for the coalition of schools that are using tax dollars to bring a lawsuit against the State of South Dakota to spend more tax dollars on education, is also (according to the SDDP Website), a Democratic party official for Grant County?

It just got me thinking after driving by the 4x8 sign posted at the eastern edge of Miller which talks about how the Miller School board is spending tax dollars to sue the state for more money. If the stars align, I'll try to get a picture of it.

To have and to hold... In sickness and in health... Sometime in the next five to ten...

Hold on just a minute.. I'm still picking my jaw off the floor after reading today's Argus and reading

Representative Rich Engels, someone I consider a friend of mine (and former co-worker from my days at the Division of Insurance) has always been a person I've enjoyed talking politics with, but politically we're probably at opposite ends of the spectrum. Tonight, as noted in the Argus, I'm seeing how far the ends of that spectrum go as I see he's petitioning the court to allow 2 people about to plead guilty to drugs and theft to be able to marry while they serve out their sentences. :
Two lovebirds became jailbirds several months ago when they were arrested on theft and drug charges.

The co-defendant couple, in their early 20s and engaged to be married, have been in Minnehaha County Jail since their arrests. With both anticipating plea agreements and facing several years at separate prisons, they'd like to get married soon.

"I wouldn&#…

AG Long and Roger Hunt are going toe to toe on the $750,000 donation to Yes on 6

I would have written on it yesterday, but the Argus only had the story in it's dead tree edition.

Today in the Rapid City Journal, the Associated Press has the tale of how Attorney General Larry Long believes Roger violated campaign finance laws in not disclosing the name of the donor. Of course, Roger disagrees:
State Rep. Roger Hunt, R-Brandon, violated campaign finance laws by not identifying the person who gave $750,000 to a group supporting the recently defeated abortion ban, Attorney General Larry Long said. Long said in a story in Sunday's Argus Leader that he is investigating his options but would not say what step he will take next.

"That disagreement is going to have to be resolved," Long told the Sioux Falls newspaper.

and...Long could negotiate with Hunt, prosecute him for failing to comply with campaign finance laws or ask a judge to decide whether he must identify the donor. Failure to comply with campaign finance laws is a misdemeanor punishable by …

Newcoming Representative Betty Olson to go after open fields doctrine

The Rapid City Journal is writing today that incoming Representative Betty Olson is going to go after the 'open fields' doctrine used by Game, Fish & Parks to inspect for game violations despite prior efforts that have failed:
State Rep.-elect Betty Olson of Prairie City, a rancher who campaigned on protecting landowner rights, plans to introduce a bill during the 2007 state Legislature to restrict the power of conservation officers to enter private land.“It was one of the main reasons I got elected, so I guess that’s what they want me to do,” Olson said by telephone Sunday night.

Legislation in past sessions to restrict the use of the so-called “open-fields doctrine” by state Game, Fish & Parks Department officers has been a contentious issue. In 2005, the South Dakota Senate passed a bill that would have required officers to get landowner permission before entering private property — unless they needed to respond to emergencies, kill crippled animals, had reasonable su…

Madge Mickelson; Wife of George T., and Mother of George S. passes away at 103

The Argus Leader is reporting tonight that Madge Mickelson, the wife of Governor George T Mickelson, and the Mother of George S. Mickelson passed away yesterday at the age of 103:
Madge Mickelson, wife of the 18th governor of South Dakota, mother of the 28th governor, died Saturday at her Dow Rummel residence in Sioux Falls at the age of 103.

She was South Dakota’s First Lady when her husband, George T. Mickelson was governor from 1947-51 and First Mother when her son, George S. Mickelson, served from 1987 to 1993 when he died in a plane crash.
Read it here in the Argus Leader.

RCJ gets it on educational spending..

I don't recall that I'd ever seen such a spot on editorial as I did this AM as I read the Rapid City Journal on the internet (my dead tree copy is in Pierre, awaiting my return). While I might not agree with all of the characterizations, they hit the nail on the head perfectly - South Dakota spends what it has available to spend on education.

State spends on education what it has available to spend

Gov. Mike Rounds' budget plan for fiscal 2008 had few surprises. Reactions to the governor's spending blueprint weren't surprising either.


That wasn't enough, said some lawmakers and educators. If so, it's up to
the Legislature to find more money. New Senate Democratic leader Scott
Heidepriem of Sioux Falls said the state should take some of its $877 million in
various trust funds and use it for public education.

That's an idea to consider, but also consider that once the trust funds are depleted, so is the boost to education. Lawmakers then would have to cut …

Jack Billion is new SDDP Chair. I guess he's a good choice (for Republicans).

While I was enjoying some family time yesterday, I see that the Associated Press reports this AM that the Dems were electing Jack Billion as their new state chairman:
Jack Billion lost the governor’s race but will lead the South Dakota Democratic Party as chairman.

Delegates to the party’s central committee meeting in Chamberlain elected him Saturday by less than 1 percentage point over Bill Walsh of Rapid City.


He said he plans to focus on attracting more voters and challenge Republicans onissues including jobs, health care, education and open government.“Democrats in South Dakota need to bring these things forward,” Billion said.Read it all here as written by AP reporter Carson Walker in the Rapid City Journal.

As the article notes, Billion won the chair race by 1% - 1% when he had been their choice as Governor. I'd argue it's little wonder why Democratic delegates wanted to just say no.

First, in his candidacy for Governor, where was the strategy? The campaign imploded aft…