Showing posts from December 17, 2006

Now THAT'S a Christmas Present - over 1/2 MILLION page views.

I just passed over a half a million page views. WOW.

Who would have ever thought that I could create something that people thought was worth looking at over a half a million times.

Thanks for the nice Christmas present.

The plot thickens.... Flandreau to sue Ridgefield

One of the most convoluted stories in South Dakota history just had another twist added to it. The Argus Leader is reporting that the Flandreau Development Corp is taking legal action against Ridgefield farms to get their $850,000 back:
An attorney for the Flandreau Development Corp. has told the Argus Leader
he will file a lawsuit against Ridgefield Farms, stating the company defaulted
on a promissory note and broke other agreements.

The complaint, to be filed by Madison attorney Wilson Kleibacker, seeks to
recover the $850,000 loan from Flandreau Development Corp. to Ridgefield Farms.
The suit also seeks payment of interest on the loan and the recovery of court

It is unclear how much of the $850,000 has been spent, or what it has been
spent on.“The promissory note was breached and the (Development Corp.) felt
obligation to do what they could to recover the note,” Kleibacker said. “It
appears that some misrepresentations have been made to the board to induce them
to enter the agreement.”


Is smoking coming to an end in South Dakota?

The word on the street is that at a legislative forum in Sioux Falls, one of the major hospitals noted that the American Heart Association is floating a poll that 70% of South Dakotans are supposedly in favor of completely banning smoking in South Dakota.

Is this true? I don't have full confirmation yet, but if it's even remotely the case, this is a major bombshell. They could either bring it to the legislature as a contentious fight, or they could take it to the people as a contentious fight.

Why would they? Right now, they're coming off of a November victory for a huge increase on tobacco taxes in SD. And they might be best in trying to strike while the iron is hot.

Higher sin taxes on everybody's favorite vice to hate are one thing. But will prohibition be going too far? Wait for this next session to see if we start hearing more about this...

SD Watch has breaking news regarding the SDDP

Todd Epp over at SD Watch has some breaking news regarding a shakeup over at the South Dakota Democratic Party. A departure, some restructuring of their offices, and the return of Rick Hauffe.

Go check it out here.

So I'm one of Time's people of the year? Somebody would disagree.

As I'm recently reading about TIME magazine naming bloggers and youtube denizens as the person of the year, I recently had a note from a detractor to knock me off of my heady Man of the Year perch that wonderfully summed up all sorts of ignorance and and abject stupidity when it comes to politics (and blogging):
All you bloggers are is a bunch of ignorant self-important asses who spend your time
tearing down people. You are what make people hate politics, as you sit in your
underwear and talk about nothing positive. I think the world would be better off if you all just went away.
Well, there's the epitome of someone who doesn't "get it."

First off, I don't sit around in my underwear. (It's not a pretty sight). I finally wore out my spongebob jammies, and my wife bought me a "corona beer" pair for my birthday.

Second, and more to the point, while this anonymous person spends their time watching "entertainment tonight" and other television vap…

Betty Olson confirms what had been discussed earlier - a landowner privacy act is coming to shut out game wardens

Representative Elect Betty Olson conforms to the Associated Press this morning that she's coming with a bill to require a permission slip for game wardens as had been previously mentioned in other places. Check out this story via the Rapid City Journal:
A newly elected lawmaker said she will offer a bill in the 2007 South Dakota Legislature that would require game wardens to ask for permission before going on private land. Rep.-elect Betty Olson, R-Prairie City, said officers could still enter private property if they have a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing or get a tip about it.

But she says game wardens should not be allowed to simply drive onto someone’s land to look for hunters who may or may not be doing something illegal.

The right of game wardens to go onto private land comes from a policy called the open-fields doctrine. Legislators have tried to repeal it twice in recent years.

“I’m hoping that ... both houses will decide that Game, Fish & Parks (should) show the com…

No.. No.. Notorious. At least living together in North Dakota

The Aberdeen American news has a story on our neighbors to the north who live in that Artic wasteland known as North Dakota. Apparently it's illegal to "openly and notoriously" live together, despite the need to huddle together for warmth:

Legislators are again being asked to do away with a state law that forbids unmarried couples to "openly and notoriously" live together as if they were married.
Freshman state Sen. Tracy Potter, D-Bismarck, said he will sponsor a bill in the 2007 Legislature to repeal the cohabitation law, which officials say is rarely enforced.

Efforts to repeal the law have failed in the last two sessions. Before that, the most recent effort to abolish it was in 1991, when the House voted down a repeal measure by almost a 3-to-1 margin.


"I just don't understand - if nobody's going to enforce it, why do we have it on the books?" he said. "It clearly steps on the toes of freedom of association. We should be able to lea…

Steele is in - White Plume is out. At least as far as the BIA is concerned.

The Rapid City Journal has the story on how the Bureau of Indian Affairs is recognizing president elect John Yellow Bird Steele over Alex White Plume who's been a bit pokey in giving up the office:
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is recognizing President John Yellow Bird Steele as the official president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, according to a letter sent to Steele on Tuesday by BIA regional director William Benjamin . “Congratulations to you and other newly elected tribal council members, as indicated by the certified election results forwarded to us from the Oglala Sioux Tribe,” the letter said.

The BIA now considers Steele, vice president William “Shorty” Brewer and tribal representatives elected in the Oct. 3 primary and Nov. 7 general election the rightful owners of their respective tribal offices.

Benjamin said he wrote the letter to acknowledge that his office had received the OST’s Dec. 5 resolution that certifying the primary and general election results.

“We in the Gre…

Just a comment... Traffic is still high after the election season

As of today, My post-election December 20th has higher traffic than the entire pre-election month of September did, right at about 18,000 or more.

I'm not sure, but I think I might actually keep pace with October and November hitting above 25,000 visitors. (yeah!)

I'm also noticing my slowest days (Sundays) keep trending higher and higher. This actually leads me to believe that my readership continues to grow. That's really surprising, since most websites like this tend to drop off after the election cycle.

Thanks for your continued support.

Rounds sounds off on new "airplane law" at Rapid City Journal

I almost missed this - today at the Rapid City Journal, Governor Rounds sounded off on the new "Airplane law." You know - the one that attached civil penalties to state employees on business trips that stop off at Wal Mart to buy a book to pass their evenings, or get a toothbrush because they forgot it at home.
This law goes far beyond restricting the use of a state airplane by a governor because it adds significant new penalties, and those penalties also apply to all state vehicles and all state employees, not just the state airplane and the governor.


Unfortunately, the biggest impact is not on me. It will be on any state employee who uses any kind of state vehicle.

If a state employee does something of a personal nature on a trip, even if it is unintentional, they are in violation of the new law. If they stop at a drug store for aspirin, that is a violation. If they missed lunch and stop at a grocery store for a late snack, that is a violation.

This law is flawed. In ma…

It's starting already. The road to 2008 has hit South Dakota's shores

I got this article, and in a lightning strike of weirdness, apparently there's 2008 presidential ads running in Rapid City.
Rep. Duncan Hunter appears to have scooped other presidential hopefuls in both parties by becoming the first potential candidate to air television commercials aimed at smoothing a path to the White House.

Hunter, an Alpine, WA Republican, started airing two 30-second ads over the weekend in South Carolina , North Carolina and South Dakota . Both ads focus on Hunter's assertion that China is stealing U.S. jobs and threatening its security by “cheating” at trade. The ads will air for two weeks.

Joel Rivlin, deputy director of the Wisconsin Advertising Project, said Hunter's commercials appear to be the first of the 2008 presidential campaign with the possible exception of ads aired recently in New Hampshire urging that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama be drafted as the Democratic nominee. The commercials were prepared and financed independently of Obama.



The South Dakota War College's top 10 political personalities of 2006!

Just like the top ten political stories, I've given it some thought, and quickly, before I change my mind, here's who I've chosen as my top ten political personalities for the year, along with a few honorable mentions.

Saddle up, read them, and let me know if you disagree.

10. Democratic Lt. Governor candidate Eric Abrahamson
Who would have ever thought the State Library Board would be a launching pad for Statewide political office? As the Democrat’s Lt. Governor Candidate, Eric came across as introspective and thoughtful. After he got his feet under him, it seemed like Democrats might have preferred him as the gubernatorial candidate.

9. State Senator Bill Napoli - Never say "die." Or "virgin raped and sodomized in the worst possible way."

Don't forget that in addition to his verbal faux pas with a national reporter, and having a target drawn on his head by Stan Adelstein, who spent plenty of money on his general election opponent, Bill also authored …

Flashback - top 10 political personalities of 2005

In preparation of doing another one of my "top ten of 2006" posts in coming days, I wanted to at least point out another one of them I'd done around this time last year:

SDWC's top 10 political personalities of 2005
10. State Senator and Mainstream Coalition Executive Director Ed Olson9. Kate Looby, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood.8. State Senator Jerry Apa7. State Senator Brock Greenfield, Executive Director South Dakota Right to Life6. State Senator and President Pro Tempore Lee Schoenbeck5. Governor Mike Rounds4. Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth3. U.S. Senator John Thune2. State Senator Stan Adelstein1. State Senator Bill NapoliRead why I named them as such here.

A lot of it had to do with who was hot in the political news and why. Already on this list, I see a few who will be back (albeit in different positions) and a few who won't.

Adelstein will likely make it back as he's absolutely dominated political news (whether I like it or not) in Rapid City. M…

Havin' a bad day. Might there be light at the end of the tunnel?

I hate short people
I hate tall people
I hate all people today

Cuz, I'm havin' a bad day
Havin' a bad day
Get out of my way
cuz, I'm havin' a bad day
- "Bad day" by Blue FlannelUgh. What a day. It's days like this one that make me want to just leave the key to the office on my desk, go pack up my computer at home and drive to Brookings, never to return. (or at least not to return until I need to get something from the house).

People won't call me back at work, too much on my plate in Brookings that needs my personal attention, etcetera, and so on.... and on top of everything else I got a rejection from a job interview I had last week.

I have to say it was the nicest rejection I've had to date. They told me they wished they had two positions to fill, because they were pleasantly surprised how much they liked me, and it was between me and one other person. Supposedly they agonized over which one of us to pick, and the other person had more …

Is that still news? Argus limps in at the tail end of the Kloucek story, despite being one of the first to have it.

Dave Kranz writes in his column today about the Frank Kloucek e-mail. Despite the fact it went out about a week ago. And it was sent directly to Peter Harriman who had the story in his e-mail box.

But you know, I think the thing that slightly irks me is the way it utterly soft pedals the Kloucek comments, and neuters any and all statements. I mean, isn't this the Argus Leader that's supposed to be fierce about seeking the truth?

I have no doubt that if it was a Republican who had blundered and written the e-mail, it would be printed verbatim. But a Democrat? It's so watered down that a disinterested and new observer would wonder what all the hubbub is about.

From the original e-mail to the Kranz article - Here's what we get:
"Another issue that is very important to me was the fact that sutton continually redirected interns away from helping me for the last 4 years and consistently ordered them not to help me with research constituent replies phone calls help with com…

David Zucker takes on the Iraq Study Group

Funny, but really, really biting political humor.

LDRDSD: Christmas Wishes from the left and right

Todd Epp and I take a few minutes out of our busy lives to present Christmas wishes over at the bi-partisan Left Dakota - Right Dakota - South Dakota weblog, as evidenced by one of my gifts:
Gift #3 - Righteous indignation

For the Argus Leader. Because after going after the Governor, Roger Hunt, and any number of assorted topics (State airplanes, the Governor's Hunt, pistol permits, health records, etcetera...) in an overblown and overhyped manner this year, I think they used up everything they had.

Unless Santa brings them more to restock their supply, they'll be stuck running pictures of people's cats....

Oops. too late.

Argus getting pounded for their Herseth coverage

Check out the Argus' gaggy article on the Herseth engagement:
Rep. Stephanie Herseth, 36, is engaged and plans to be married in South Dakota in the first half of 2007, her spokesman Russ Levsen confirmed Saturday.

Herseth made a surprise announcement of her engagement to former Rep. Max Sandlin, D-Texas, at a birthday party in her honor Friday in Rapid City.

"We had an update on Senator Johnson's condition, which is first in our hearts and minds. Then she said she had some exciting news she wanted to share with her friends out here."She was real excited. It was real fun. It was an added feature to the birthday celebration," said Judy Olson Duhamel, former chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party.
and...Herseth rode with Sandlin in the annual Mayor's Ride at the 2005 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and he was with her in Sioux Falls in November when she celebrated her re-election.

He was not with Herseth in Rapid City, but Duhamel said Herseth's announcement br…

Nothing to do with politics, but I just wanted to prove to everyone that I do manage to attend my kids' events once in a while...

Yes, as opposed to singing like an angel in the concert for the St. Thomas More Church pre-school, my son's major accomplishment was standing (relatively) still for the ten minutes or so of the concert.

And like any proud dad, I was snapping away like I had a camera and spotted Britney out on a bender.

(Oh my god, I sent my e-mail to who......!?!)

The top South Dakota political stories of 2006

Okay. I've thought long and hard on this one. And I think I've come up with my list for what I believe to be the top political stories of 2006.

Unlike KELO or the Argus when they get around to their top ten stories, no lame zip feeds mill here. Just SD political stuff.

I've reviewed and revised this list. Things have gone on and off of it, and I'm trying to put it to paper, so I'll be over and done with it. So, here it is. I can't change anymore, so it's yours to argue and debate.

The top ten political stories of 2006

10. Dang, is that ballot long.
Some view it as activism, some view it as due to the in-activism in the legislature. Either way, people were signing a lot of petitions this year. Medical Marijuana, JAIL, Smoking, School Start date, abortion, and the list goes on. I can’t recall when we’ve had so much to consider.

And the challenges! Many of those ballot issues were in court at least once in these hard fought tooth and nail battles. Maybe, just may…

Christmas at the College!

It's Christmas at the SD War College! And I've got the cards to prove it. (and you can click on any of the images to enlarge them).

Here's just a sampling of a few of them I've gotten. First, Governor Mike Rounds' entry into the political Christmas Card soiree':

The Governor's card has a message from the new testament, as well as noting "May the Holiday season bring you joy, peace and hope for the New Year."

Next up... Vice President Dick Cheney's card with a view of the north entrance of the Vice President's House.

This card notes "Our best wishes to you in this holiday season and throughout the year ahead." This one was a real plus for me, because it not only recognized my gender (My Bush card was addressed Ms.) it's a hallmark card, just like the President's:

And the President's card (which Dave Kranz says is selling for $26.01, I'm assuming on eBay), notes "May the light of the season shine bright in your hear…

New LDRDSD post coming up

I just finished up my half of a Christmas post for new blog left dakota/right dakota that you should be able to read as soon as Todd Epp completes his part.

Where else can you see a statement like "And it's much cuter when you hang a sock monkey off of it" in it's proper context .

Hot off the press - SDFU: Frank is OUT

From a press release just out:

SDFU Board of Directors remove Kloucek from District Post
Sombke: "We have the responsibility to police our own ranks."

HURON – In a vote today (Monday), the S.D. Farmers Union Board of Directors voted to remove Frank Kloucek from its board of directors.

Doug Sombke, Conde, president of S.D. Farmers Union, said the board removed Frank Kloucek in a special teleconference meeting which had been convened after Kloucek, a state senator from Scotland, sent an email that attacked the organization and its involvement in promoting the Ridgefield Premium Hereford Beef project. Sombke said the vote followed a brief discussion of the publication and related issues.
"Our objective is to uphold the good name of South Dakota Farmers Union and to assure the public that we agree that the statements in Mr. Kloucek’s letter are damaging and wrong," Sombke said. "At Farmers Union, we have standards we expect of our leadership. We also have the responsi…

More coverage and a load off of Frank's mind..

The "Kloucek doesn't play well with others" e-mail is starting to gain momentum with the mainstream media.

Check out the interview Tony Mangan did with him at KCCR:
.....Kloucek, who is considered a vocal Senator, criticized the expected hearing to be held next month against state Senator Dan Sutton of Flandreau, who is accused of groping a male page. Kloucek expressed doubt about the family that has accused Sutton of the misconduct, but also suggestd that he was troubled by Sutton’s behavior with the pages. In the e-mail, Kloucek also said he no longer wanted to sit next to either Sutton or B-J Nesselhuf of Vermillion because he didn't agree with their views.

While not taking back the remarks, Kloucek says they were not designed for public consumption. Kloucek says he has an old e-mail system that requires him to cut and paste copy for e-mail messages. He says that part was not deleted as planned.

Kloucek says he will not speculate on any possible punishment that may be…

Undoing what the voters hath wrought?

The argus leader is reporting this AM that legislators might be looking at undoing what the voters themselves did via initiated measures:
State Sen. Garry Moore, who moves to the South Dakota House next month, said he might introduce a bill to reduce the tobacco tax increase that voters approved last month.

Moore, a Democrat from Yankton, also said some lawmakers are considering making changes to a ballot measure passed by voters that places restrictions on the use of state aircraft. Read it here.

Cap Journal: Ed Olson says Kloucek could face censure for comments

It's not on-line yet (look about 10:00 AM or so at, but Senator Frank Kloucek's e-mail may be getting him into dutch, big time. You have got to go pick up the dead tree edition of the newspaper today for this top of the newspaper article, or wait to check out the website.

The article talks about how Frank inadvertently sent private correspondence to newsrooms all over the state in an article entitled "Senator's e-mail airs dirty laundry."

The first sentence? "A recent press release from a State Senator accidentally made his views known on everything from the Senate page scandal to who he refuses to sit by during the upcoming legislative session."

Much of the rest has been recounted all weekend on this website, but Ed Olson adds a new wrinkle to it with his statement:
"I just went 'my gosh' when I read the e-mail, and when we adopt rules (Kloucek) could possibly get a censure as well," Olson said.It's not all…

The Argus complaining about media vultures seems like a contradiction in terms

Today's editorial cartoon in the Argus:

One of today's above the fold front page stories:

Johnson illness may alter Rounds' '08 plans
Governor has expressed no interest in Senate run

Sen. Tim Johnson was raising money and dropping hints that he would seek a
third term in the U.S. Senate in the 2008 elections.

Rep. Stephanie Herseth was eagerly looking forward to January when she,
Johnson and their fellow Democrats would take power in both the House and

And Mike Rounds, the popular Pierre Republican who never had to leave
his hometown to ascend to the governorship, appeared satisfied to finish his two
terms and then move back down the street to his insurance business.Or at least
that's the way it seemed - until a leaking blood vessel Wednesday in Washington,
D.C., clouded the political landscape of America and potentially altered the
futures of Johnson, Herseth and, in particular, Rounds.


Rounds did not return a …

Frank Kloucek isn't backing down

You could have knocked me over with a feather this AM when I saw this in my e-mail box. Senator Frank Kloucek, who is in dutch with several people, including the SD Farmers Union for the window into his personal thoughts (As provided by Frank to the Argus, Aberdeen paper, Yankton paper, Mitchell paper, Avon paper, etc.), instead of offering apologies to the SDFU is coing out swinging against them:

S.D. FARMERS UNION BOARD MEMBER REQUESTS S.D.'S ATTORNEY GENERAL INVESTIGATE RIDGEFIELD FARMS, LLC SCOTLAND, SD--A Long-time South Dakota Farmers Union board member has requested S.D. Attorney General Larry Long to investigate the controversy concerning Ridgefield Farms, LLC.

S.D. Farmers Union District 1 president and SDFU board member Frank
Kloucek sent the letter to AG Long Saturday evening via fax and email through Kloucek's attorney, Todd D. Epp of Harrisburg, SD.

"As a SDFU board member, I have been extremely frustrated in doing my duty of due diligence in getting answers abou…