Showing posts from January 7, 2007

Friday's postscript, and remember the other day when I said I was having a bad day?

For those of you who were kind enough to ask about my daughter when I noted we were going down for tests related to her apraxia of speech problems, everything went well. We won't know the results of the tests for a while, but its not as if it's going to change her regimen of speech and physical therapy.

Clearly she understands what's being said to her, it's more of a matter of trying to alleviate her frustration in communiction. The terrible two's are one thing, but when you can't make your parents understand you want "a cookie now, dammit" obviously little ones can get a little flustered.

That aside, if you recall, I had noted a little while back that I was having a particularly bad day. Part of it was concern over my youngest. As for the other part... My wife had informed me of some suspicions she was having.

And this week, well..... those suspicions were confirmed.

This summer, for the seventh time, we're going to be parents again. Now that the sus…

To credential or not to credential II

As I sit and continue to wait for a reply to my request for credentials for the legislative session, I had one observant reader point out to me a recent article in the Washington post about bloggers being credentialed for Lewis Libby's upcoming trial:
But for the first time in a federal court, two of these seats will be reserved for bloggers. After two years of negotiations with judicial officials across the country, the Media Bloggers Association, a nonpartisan group with about 1,000 members working to extend the powers of the press to bloggers, has won credentials to rotate among his members. The trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the highest-ranking Bush administration official to face criminal charges, could "catalyze" the association's efforts to win respect and access for bloggers in federal and state courthouses, said Robert Cox, the association's president.The new validation doesn't necessarily clarify the blurry line between bloggers and tra…

It's about health, not potential promiscuity.

As the only South Dakota blogger out with 5 daughters, I feel I need to weigh in on the whole discussion that's occurring with regards to the HPV vaccine, and Governor Rounds' proposal to make it available.

My family (including my three oldest girls) watched my mom, their grandmother, succumb slowly and painfully to cancer which spread throughout her body. If a similar fate from a different type of cancer was preventable through a simple shot, why wouldn't anyone advocate for it?

At the age most of my kids are going to be getting it, they're still playing with barbies, and negative influences such as most of the programming on MTV, and other assorted trashy television is verboten in my house. All they're going to know about this vaccination is that it's a shot, just like for teatnus or measles. They'll go "Ow, I don't want a shot," and that will be it. Just another mark on their vaccination record. One check box for DPT, one for HPV, and so on.


Senate says that you just can't stop them (judicially). But just in case, they'll get confirmation of it. is noting that the legislature is telling people that the Circuit Court can't push them around... Because they're the legislature. But just in case, they'll get a ruling from dad:
Attorney General Larry Long and the South Dakota Senate now says the Moody
County Circuit Court does not have judicial authority to stop the legislature from investigating one of it's members.

The order Sutton's lawyers filed Wednesday argues the investigative hearing scheduled to begin next week is outside the jurisdiction of any administrative, judicial, tribunal, corporation, board, or person. But today's filings say a legislative body does not fall under any of those categories.

The Senate's court filings today also say because of the clear division of the three branches of government, a judicial body cannot have authority over the
legislative body and cannot stop the law-making process while it's ongoing.
Read it all here. It's like a boulder rolling down the …

What a stand up guy......

Not much political on this story, although my friend Lance Russell was in Pierre this week to watch some of the proceedings, as he's facing the same defense attorney in the murder trial down in Hot Springs. What absolutely floored me on this is the utter ridiculousness of the defense. Read what Brad Reay says really happened when his wife was killed....

Did Brad Reay brutally and premeditatedly stab his 41-year-old wife Tamera five times in the back of her shoulder, 19 times across her chest and then slit her throat?

Or is it possible that the Reay's 12-year-old daughter committed the violent act while apparently sleepwalking, as defense attorney Timothy Rensch said during opening statements Wednesday morning?and.."Something very bad happened," Rensch said, "something that no family should ever have happen. It was horrific and terrible.

"Keep and open mind - (the girl) killed her mother. It may seem unbelievable, but truth is stranger than fiction."


AP: Tim Johnson on the mend.

The Associated Press is reporting tonight that US Senator Tim Johnson has been transferred out of intensive care and appears to be on the road to recovery:

An MRI on Wednesday showed the speech centers in the senator's brain were spared injury in the initial hemorrhage Dec. 13, said Johnson's neurosurgeon, Dr. Vivek Deshmukh.

"This is confirmed by the fact that he is following commands and has started to say words," Deshmukh said in a statement released by Johnson's office.

Johnson will be participating in "aggressive therapy" in the inpatient rehabilitation unit at George Washington University Hospital, the statement said.

Johnson's doctors have said that when he arrived at the hospital, he was feeling weakness on his right side, and that condition will require physical therapy.

The senator has responded correctly when asked his name, Fisher said, though there is not much sound coming out of his mouth because of the tracheotomy tube still in his throat.

more stuff.....

After his loss in the 2006 June legislative primary, Clark School Superintendent Jim Holbeck is one of the three finalists for the vacant Harrisburg School Superintendent position. You might recall that he had been defeated by Senator Brock Greenfield who later went on to win in the fall.

The Associated Press is reporting on a story out of Minnesota where public broadcasting has formed a fantasy sports league. Except it's for political junkies:
George Linkert has high hopes for his first-round draft pick, Sen. Ann Rest. "She's been in leadership and she's had lots of experience," he said of the veteran Democratic state lawmaker. "She's had a history of sponsoring bills that get the governor's signature."and...Both are similar to fantasy sports leagues, but instead of tracking touchdowns or home runs, managers win a point every time one of the six lawmakers on their team introduces a bill. Points escalate for every step the bill takes through the l…

One in a million

The associated press is reporting tonight that the 1 millionth user of their on-line patent and trademark application is a South Dakotan:
A South Dakota bait company owner has landed the big one, lots of publicity from the U-S Patent and Trademark Office. The agency hosted a celebration for users of its Trademark Application System.

Donald Junck became the one (m) millionth person to register the name of his company, Bait Craft, which makes fishing accessories.Read it all here.

More good stuff from out west

I heard another couple of good ones from out west tonight.

(Consider it unsubstantiated rumor at this point, but) the talk out there is that Rapid City Alderman Sam Kookier might be challenging Rapid City Mayor Jim Shaw in the mayoral race this summer.

The person I spoke with said that we can expect Kookier to team up with fellow Rapid City alderman Mike Schumacher who will be managing his campaign.

There's also been unconfirmed talk that outgoing Pennington GOP chair (and an alderman himself) Bill Okrepkie might also potentially be a candidate.

He had to drop out of partisan politics while he was a candidate, but after his loss to A.P. "Pete" Fuller for the judicial race, State's Attorney Lance Russell is back in as Fall River County GOP Chairman. He's back up for election as S.A. in 2008, but the question is whether or not he'll pull the trigger for that or another race...

More good stuff to come...

Overheard at dinner

I'm starting this up for people to send me humorous political quotes they overhear during meals, around town, etcetera during the session. E-mail me your quips, quotes and observations.

Tonight's entry:

"On Local Government Committee we've got one Bill. And we had to stand up on the floor to stop them from taking it away from us. Maybe by the end of session, we'll have two."

Is the first "dog of war" a poodle? The Sutton team unleashes an injunction.

After promising to unleash the dogs of war on to the Senate should they proceed with a hearing, the Sutton defense team struck first with an injunction trying to prevent the hearing from going forward.

As related at tonight, things are now on hold in the Senate:
A judge has ordered the Senate to put on hold a hearing to decide whether to remove Sen. Dan Sutton of Flandreau, who has been accused of groping a legislative page a year ago.

Judge Dave Gienapp of Moody County signed the order, obstained late today by the Argus Leader.

Patrick Duffy, one of Sutton's lawyers, had asked for the ruling today.

Duffy said the Senate does not have the right, constitutionally, to force Sutton to leave office by holding the hearing that it had planned.

The hearing was to start as soon next week.

The judge will hear arguments in the case at 9 a.m. Jan. 19 in Flandreau.

Sutton has not spoken at length about the issue, but his lawyers have maintained his innocence.

Asked about the case toda…

Gilbertson kicks amendment E in the tail on it's way out the door

Check out for comments from the Chief Justice as he made his State of the judiciary speech:
South Dakota Supreme Court Chief Justice David Gilbertson says voters did the right thing in November when they soundly trounced a measure that had been labeled "jail for judges."


Gilbertson, in a speech today to a joint session of the Legislature, said approval of the measure would have brought "catastrophic results" for the judicial system.Read that all here as Gilbertson sticks it to them one time. Interestingly enough, Bill Stegemeier isn't down for the county just yet. He was commenting on increased petition signature requirements over at the Argus Leader today...
Surprising support, though, comes from Bill Stegmeier of Tea, the prime backer of the judicial accountability amendment that failed on Nov. 7. Stegmeier and others paid for a Nevada company to organize the petition drive - but he's OK with any possible changes.

"South Dakota's pr…

Light posting tomorrow/friday.

You probably won't see much out of me tomorrow evening and Friday. I'm off to home in Brookings and then down to Sioux Falls for some diagnostic testing for my youngest.

I haven't talked about it much other than mentioning a couple of emergency trips over to Brookings for medical reasons. What's going on is that in the recent past (last year), my youngest experienced a couple of seizures. I'd note that she's been receiving medication since, and has not had another one to date.

But then there's the other thing.

What my wife and I are finding out after concern for the seizures has long passed is that at the age of two, my daughter has a condition being tentatively diagnosed as apraxia.

What is apraxia? According to the apraxia-kids website:
Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a motor speech disorder. For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have great difficulty planning and producing the precise, highly refined and specific series of movem…

Sutton matter moving forward. So are other things.

The Rapid City Journal is quoting Bill Napoli on the Sutton matter at a time when subpoenas have been issued to several people in the case of the allegations being made.
"Courage or stupidity," Sen. Bill Napoli, R-Rapid City, said. "If the charges are true, and he knows better than anyone, what in the world is he doing here? And if the charges are not true, he's a very courageous man."

Apparently determined to contest the allegation and defend his reputation - or preparing to start litigation that could prevent the Senate from holding an inquisition - Sutton held up his right hand in the Senate chamber and took the oath of office. He had resigned from his Senate seat after winning re-election in November, which scrubbed the need to have an investigatory hearing.


As he was preparing to walk across the Capitol to hear Gov. Mike Rounds make his annual State of the State speech, Napoli said the allegation against Sutton is serious and should be fully explored. B…

New SDWC Sponsor

If you're reading this, you'll notice that the SDWC is starting up having regular sponsors again.

DeMersseman, Jensen, Christianson, Stanton & Huffman, LLP is advertising here, and I'd strongly encourage you to go check out their website at, as well as to consider using their services for your government relations, lobbying, and general legal needs.

In addition, I'll be adding more sponsors over the coming months to help continue keeping the SDWC your South Dakota source for political news.

Roll Call: Johnson's re-election plans on hold.
Rapid City Journal: not so quick

Big speculation out in the mainstream media on Johnson's health and his electoral chances for 2008. Now, in Roll Call magazine, a spokeswoman is saying that his re-election plans are on hold, pending the course of his recovery:
A spokeswoman said Monday that the Senator’s health will dictate whether a 2008 bid, which had been on track until illness struck, can eventually resume.

Johnson had long ago started raising money, and he was beginning to assemble a campaign staff and mull over when to announce his bid for a third term when he was hospitalized for a brain hemorrhage. Those re-election plans are now in limbo as his health and ability to wage what could be a very demanding Senate race are assessed.

“Things are on hold to prioritize the most important thing, and that’s got to be his health,” Johnson spokeswoman Julianne Fisher said. “It’s just a matter of how long the recovery process is going to be. We’re still in a holding [pattern] on that one.”


Patrick Davis, a Denver-ba…

Already, there's lots of chatter in Rapid City for the 2008 races

At dinner and on the phone tonight, I kept hearing about the 2008 legislative races at a time when the 2006 contests have barely cooled off. What am I hearing?

District 30 - Mike Verchio with the Hill City Chamber and Pennington County GOP Committeeman supposedly gave an indication at the last GOP Ambassadors meeting that he's in the hunt for the seat that Gordon Pederson will be termed out of in 2008. But there will be a good sized primary for that one - count on at least 3 if not 4 running for the 2 seats.

District 33 - The word is that Pennington County Commissioner Ken Davis supposedly made noise at the last one of his commission meetings that he intends on running for Van Etten's seat vacated due to term limits in 2008.

District 34 - The word I heard from one reader tonight is that former Rapid City State Senator Mike Diedrich (who I thought was always one heck of a nice guy) is contemplating a look at Mac McCracken's termed out seat in 2008.

I guess it's never too e…

Breaking News - Latterell versus Sutton, Part II

BREAKING NEWS - I just heard that the news coming out of Aberdeen today is that there was a rematch between Isaac Latterell and Duane Sutton. The race this time? Brown County GOP Chairman.

And guess who came out on top?

Now two for two, I hear that Isaac had strong support from those in attendance. The big surprise is that he had no idea that he'd be facing his former primary opponent. A different opponent was anticipated. But the name that was placed in nomination was Duane Sutton.

Shades of a 2008 race to come? We'll have to wait and see if there's a third rematch.

It's beginning to look a lot like session..

Sometimes there are days when you can tell the legislature is in session. Big TV trucks, and gatherings of people with signs.

I caught this on the way home for Lunch today. A small group had gathered to thank the heroes of 1215.

Now, if the rest of us could figure out which side they were thanking..

Big bill? Or quickly killed?

Senate Bill 69 - An Act to revise the funding of K-12 education in the state.

The consolidation bill. Is this going to be the big measure of session?

One Blogger says "No" to press credentialing bloggers. But also admits he'd stand in line for one too.

Professor David Newquist, South Dakota's James Lipton of bloggers, writes yesterday that he disagrees with me on credentialing bloggers. But at the same time, admits that he'd apply for one himself.
PP at the South Dakota War College has posted that he is in quest for press credentials. Like many bloggers, he seems to think that his politically oriented opinions and his gossip, often mean and snarky gossip, is news.

Unfortunately, the South Dakota media do not present much of a contrast in the content and writing to blogs. But there are journalists in the state who are concerned about thoroughness, accuracy, and who subject their stories to the kind of rigorous evaluation and fact-checking that is fundamental to the profession. Sometimes blogs do come up with some items before the professional media do, but I have still to see many blogs, except one, post a story that contains the verifications, the qualifications, and the searching for facts that is a requisite of professional…

Rick Hauffe returning to SDDP as Party executive director

Todd Epp over at SD Watch has the scoop that the South Dakota Democratic Party will have a familiar face at the helm.
“Right now, we’re in a three-month interim phase. When we’ve completed that, we’re going to have the most talented group who’s ever worked on our state party staff.”

Returning to the state Democratic Party as executive director is Rick Hauffe, who had served as executive director and legislative director when Democrats gained a state senate majority in 1992. He worked for the state party 1987 to 1997 and then as a consultant in public affairs, communications and fundraising for clients throughout the nation.

A new face to the party’s staff is Ellie Highstreet of Hurley who recently worked as deputy campaign manager for a congressional campaign in Nevada, and who had worked on campaigns for both Sen. Tom Daschle and Sen. Tim Johnson. Highstreet, who also worked as a fundraising consultant in Montana, will serve as the state party’s finance director.

April Reis, who has w…

$8000 PAC limit to be proposed.

In today's Argus Leader, as part of his package of campaign finance reform, Secretary of State Chris Nelson is proposing an $8000 limit on PAC's:
Lawmakers arriving in Pierre on Monday also were greeted with their first look at a package of legislation reforming some of the state's campaign finance reporting laws.

"We'll spend some time on that issue. It's an important one," said Republican Sen. Bob Gray of Fort Pierre. He's the president pro-tem of the Senate.Secretary of State Chris Nelson is pushing the package. It includes limits, for the first time, on contributions by individuals to political action committees. Nelson proposes an $8,000 limit for those committees.

"That makes a lot of sense," said Sen. Ben Nesselhuf, D-Vermillion. "I still think we also need to include those subfunds and other political funds in reporting requirements."

It also seeks to raise the amount that individuals may contribute legally to legislative and s…

Pierre Americans for Prosperity Meeting

I actually made the Americans for Prosperity meeting over yesterday's noon hour.

Several people attended the meeting including myself, Representative Tom Hackl, State GOP ED Max Wetz, and others as AFP director Duane Sand gave an overview of what they were hearing in their listening meetings across the state.

Duane indicated that through the listening meetings, they’ve gotten over 250 recommendations for further consideration and study.

Property taxes are a consistent theme, as well as educational funding, sales tax, and government spending.

As far as the topics touched on in Pierre, I had to leave as the discussion got really good, but several topics were covered while I was there;
Property Taxes,
Educational funding
Protection of State Trust Funds
Encouraging the feds to not increase income taxes
Local control of revenues
The Food Tax Exemptions and
Caps on city indebtedness.I thought the local control discussion was the most interesting. It’s clear among those in attendance that people ar…

To credential, or not to credential...

Last week, I asked a question that might cause a little trouble. That wasn't my intent, but in all fairness, I had to ask.

I sent a note to Jim Fry at the Legislative Research Council and posed the question "If any of us who have political websites or blogs want to have press credentials for session, what do we need to do?" I sent it at the end of the day on Friday, so I wasn't expecting to hear about it for a while.

But, I happened to run into Jim at the inaugural, and yes, he had gotten the note. His response? The legislature is going to have to address that question...

Now, he didn't mean that negatively at all, and I apologized, because my intent wasn't to cause him work and consternation. But, it is a changing world, and whether people want it or not, "new media" is at a point where many consider it just that - media. But, there are still those who look at us like media's "uncivilized trailer-court living cousin who was just on Jerry Sp…

Just a couple of changes... and a little gossip

I finally had a moment to change up the stuff at the top of the website. So, if you're not seeing the new photos at the top of the website, hit your browser's refresh button. Several new faces, and a few old ones.

And as opposed to my South Park version of Stan Adelstein, we have Jim Hundstad on a Segeway, and Pierre City Commissioner (and former State GOP ED) Jason Glodt hanging with his stuffed friends...

Now that I look at it, I think everyone in the banner will be up at the Capitol during session for one reason or another.

Speaking of session, I had it confirmed by an inside source that Senate Page numbers ARE DOWN as I predicted. Most years they pick 40 from a big stack of applications, with many people who want it having to be turned down.

This year, look for 30-31 of them, and the word is that they barely had 35-40 applicants, period.

And one SDWC commenter - someone calling themselves "looking for the GOP chicks" - has far too much time on their hands. Way too …

A few more inaugural photos

As I review the pictures I got last night, a couple of things were apparent. First, the lighting in the Capitol remains the worst possible environment for photography. It's nobody's fault, it's just a big building with limited natural light in the hallways. Too many of my photos are a unrecognizable black fog.

Second, I was way too busy to snap many photos.

I did manage to get one of NSU's trumpet group Dominant 7 as they practiced some of the music they played at the inauguration.

This is of the crowd as they danced. Notice the light coming up from the first floor through the glass blocks embedded in the cement.

And here's a photo of local big band group Over forte'. Among the members are my old swim team coach (and current CUC Director) Ron Woodburn, as well as my Doctor, Dr. Tom Huber.

There was a second band playing after them, the Fabulous Jadesmen from Sioux Falls. Included in that group is former Sioux Falls Mayoral Candidate Bruce Halverson.

If you've …

School and Lands Team set

I had a chance this weekend to confirm a few of the people who are going over to the Office of School and Public Lands, as Jarrod Johnson opens the doors to his new office tomorrow AM.

As mentioned at one point on my website, Jennifer Giannonatti will be serving as Jarrod's deputy. Also joining the office will be Dena McCaskell coming from the AG's office, and they smartly managed to snag Jae from down at the State GOP HQ to be part of the team.

You might think that it doesn't seem like a lot of people, but there are only 7 positions in the office.

As we welcome Jarrod into his position, I'd also like to bid a fond farewell to Bryce Healy who has held the office for the past 4 years. Political party aside, Bryce is a good guy, and I wish him success in his future endeavors.

Minnehaha County GOP e-mail Spoof

Someone was trying to mess with the Minnehaha County GOP, and more specifically, chairman Sara Burnette. While dirty e-mail tricks have been around as long as e-mail has, they typically haven't happened with Republicans in South Dakota. Until now.

An unidentified party sent out an e-mail purporting to be from Sara containing the following notice:
Finally, after much thought and prayer, I have decided not to seek another term as your Chair. My personal circumstances require that I devote my time to my family and my career.


We will be scheduling a Central Committee meeting for mid to late January for the election of new officers. If you are interested, please contact me as soon as possible.

It has truly been my honor to serve this great Party and to work with each and
every one of you.They're nice sentiments, but the part about Sara not running? Completely untrue. Once that was discovered, another e-mail came out - this time actually authored by Sara:
The email you received l…

Abstinence Clearinghouse has a blog? Where's the RSS Feed?

Hat Tip to Madville Times.

As I was checking out the blog feeds on the left hand side of the page, the Madville Times notes that Leslee Unruh's organization has a weblog.

You can check it out here at

My only complaint? Where's the RSS Feed?

Inaugural 2007

(I think the state GOP Secretary is in there somewhere)


I'm finally off of my feet.

Big shout outs to far too many elected officials to mention. What did I hear today? Great stuff.

I hear someone tried to spoof the Minnehaha Co's chair's e-mail on whether she was running again or not.. I heard rumors on who the new Governor's press secretary might be.. and I heard who is going to make the cut for the incoming School and Public Lands Office.

Add to that... I heard that Representative Gary Jerke in what he noted to the media was actually intended to be a joke, despite what was reported.

So he made a joke..., it was reported as anything but, and I took the newspaper report as 100% accurate. I should have known better. After I've gotten a good night's sleep, I'll drop him a note.

I just hate it when you can't trust the media.