Showing posts from March 4, 2007

New Blog - And everyone is invited

If you recall, a couple of weeks back, there was a bit of fuss when I accidentally used an Associated Press Photo that I thought was simply a Thune publicity photo.

In the midst of all of that, I think it might have been one of the other bloggers who suggested "why don't the bloggers get together to share some photos that they can use freely between each other?"

And as I sifted through a pretty good volume of photography I've done yesterday to find a photo, I thought to myself "well, why not?" So, today I'm starting the SD Blogosphere Photo Repository.

If any of the other South Dakota bloggers want to participate, I'm happy to send them an invite so they can put their photos up. In fact, I hope my inbox is flooded with requests this afternoon.

What are the ground rules that I'm setting? Only a few (and I'll post them on the website).

First, by posting each person doing so (the poster) is granting permission and license for their photos to be use…

GOVERNING magazine's take on the Rounds rejection of the nanny-state car seat bill

In the past couple of days, the weblog for the national publication GOVERNING took notice of the veto by Governor Rounds of the bill to force 5-7 year olds to be in car seats. Please take note of the slam from this national publication on the proposing legislator:
Rounds has a point. He said the law would be unenforceable. But laws such as these often serve more as advice than as something that's enforced, signaling citizens about basic safety precautions. The bill's sponsor said his action was prompted after he told a woman that a booster seat would be safer for her kid. She told him, "If it's that important, the government would make me do it."and...This is a classic reaction from a legislator. Some bad thing has happened, so there ought to be a law to address it. Which brings us back to the original question. When is it government's business to offer us advice or enforce such advice, and when should people be left alone to make their own decisions in life?…

More on the South Dakota Connection to the mess with all the US Attorneys. Is the finger being pointed at Judge Piersol in congressional hearings?

On February 6th, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on prosecutorial independence, giving us all a window into why provisions were put into the patriot act to grant the Justice Department greater latitude in judicial appointments. And after seeing what went on, I can see why the administration might ask for it.

What did this hearing note? Again, it looks as if all of the trouble with the U.S. Attorneys comes back to South Dakota and Judge Larry Piersol trying to appoint his own person at nearly the same time as the president was appointing someone.

If you recall, there had been some trouble securing an permanent appointment. And come to find out, as they were in the middle of a new person taking over on a temporary basis, at one point in a criminal trial the federal public defender challenged an indictment brought by the interim U.S. attorney, claiming that he didn't have the authority prosecute because Judge Piersol had appointed someone else.

Of course, it's never a …

SDWC: Hawking the t-shirts once again.

I haven't mentioned it for a while, but from time to time, I'll sometimes push the t-shirts I make. I don't order them or anything like that. I make them by hand on the t-shirt screen press I built.

This all came to mind because I'm cleaning up my screen printing stuff in preparation for making the annual St. Patrick's Day shirt I usually do for my kids. I'm trying to clean up, because I've got my shop in the garage here in Pierre. Due to the weather, I tend to shut down the operation in the winter. Now that I'm dusting if off for the kids, and Spring is nearly upon us, I find myself tempted to do some "fantasy" shirts for the upcoming political seasons, as well as re-issuing some old favorites.

Of course, you see the current SDWC t-shirt at the top of the page. But that's only the beginning. I would have to re-create the stencil, but what Republican conservative wouldn't want me to re-issue my infamous "Republican Lite" sh…

Argus Weblog is close, but not quite there as a member of the SD Blogosphere.

I must not have been paying close attention, because I hadn't noticed that the Argus Leader's weblog "Voices" has started a blogroll recognizing several South Dakota politically oriented blogs, including this website, SD Watch, CCK , SDP, and others.

Tonight, a debate is starting over at Voices because of a post explaining why they won't include a link to fellow blogger Steve Sibson's website.

I have to give the Argus credit, as they've come full circle from a couple of failed attempts at political blogging to one that actually seems to be working.

What would I attribute as the biggest reason it's working at this point? It's stripped down, and comes across with the opinion and the honesty that most people read blogs for. And it doesn't hurt that they've finally stopped trying to write off the SD Blogosphere as a bunch of simple minded pajama clad boobs, as the Argus organization had previously.

But just when you think they've got it right,…

Do we have to take minutes on this trip?

Here's one that I haven't seen in the media yet. This notice went out a couple of days ago to the Rapid City Media and others:
M E M O R A N D U M . . .
TO: City Council Members and News Media
FROM: Jackie Gerry, Administrative Coordinator
RE: City Council Informal Meeting

Six members of the Rapid City Council will attend the National League of Cities Conference in Washington, D.C. from March 9, 2007 to March 14, 2007. No formal action will be taken by members of the City Council while attending the conference.

Questions about this trip should be directed to the Mayor's Office at 394-4110.Why should anyone care that six members of the Rapid City Council are taking a junket? Aside from taxpayers, it's the number of people going. Six.

Why does "six" matter? It's because it's the same number that constitutes a quorum. Councilmen Johnson, Okrepkie, Hadcock, Chapman, Olson, Lacroix are all going to be in the same place, at…

Today's bit of sanity, courtesy of Governor Rounds.

From a press release from the Governor's office:
March 6, 2007

The Honorable Thomas J. Deadrick
Speaker of House
State Capitol
Pierre, SD 57501-5070

Dear Mr. Speaker and Members of the House:

I herewith return House Bill 1189 and VETO the same.

House Bill 1189 is entitled, “An Act to require certain children to be in booster seats when in a motor vehicle.”

The bill proposes to criminalize the failure to place children between 5 and 8 weighing less than 80 pounds in a booster seat. I want to make it abundantly clear that I support the concept of booster seats and child safety in motor vehicles. In fact, my Project 8 Child Seat Program specifically promotes and encourages parents to ensure the appropriate children are transported using booster seats.

While promoting and encouraging parents to use booster seats is sound public policy that I support, I do not believe mandating and criminalizing their conduct is good public policy. I can think of a plethora of circumstances where compliance …

I'll get you my pretty... And your little bill too!

The Rapid City Journal has a Bill Harlan story this morning noting that Representative Hargens had been one of the legislators in full support of SB 173. Until he didn't get his way:
Hargens asked Rhoden to switch the House agenda so school funding would get a vote before the property tax bill.

“It was very clear what his intentions were,” Rhoden said Monday.

On Tuesday, Hargens readily acknowledged what he wanted. In return for Rhoden’s support on more aid to schools, Hargens offered to persuade members of his own caucus to support the property-tax measure.


Rhoden, however, noted that Hargens had stood up with him at a news conference the previous week to support SB173 as vital to agriculture.

After Rhoden refused to deal, however, Hargens voted against the property tax measure, which lost 40-30 in the House, with 17 of 20 Democrats voting against it.Read it all here.

So, one day Hargens is saying that SB 173 is vital to agriculture, and is even photographed at the same press con…

South Dakota connection in US Attorney/Patriot Act Revision Uproar

I had an observant reader pass this one on to me.

Apparently, there is a pretty significant uproar in Washington because a law was changed to make it easier to remove seated US Attorneys. And what was the explanation? It was because of what happened in South Dakota. Check out this article from Slate:
U.S. attorneys are well aware that they serve at the president's pleasure, but new wording in the Patriot Act made it worth the president's while to fire a big, fat lot of them and hire a group of new ones. And while certainly half the scandal is that the Justice Department did that—let eight U.S. attorneys go, seemingly for no reason—we seem to have forgotten that even without the mass firings, this law had been changed in the sneakiest way imaginable.


Specter added that he only looked into how the provision was altered after Feinstein told him about it. As he explained, "I then contacted my very able chief counsel, Michael O'Neill, to find out exactly what had happen…

SDWC Computer Center back on the air!

About the time I started to type this after being impressed with myself for completely re-wiring my data network tonight in about an hour's time, I noted that someone was posting that "many of the people that commment on this blog are idiots--people who vote and you have to dumb-down to in order to get their vote."

You just can't win sometimes.

Personally, yes, I'd agree that the comments get out in left field at times. But on occasion, there are some really well thought out gems. I wouldn't trash the intellect of the commenters on this website, because they do "get it" when it comes to politics coming down to who can get their message across and connect with the greatest number of voters.

Most of the disagreements here are simply splitting hairs over ideology.

If you think about it, one big problem in politics is that sometimes candidates don't dumb it down. Whether the elite and effete' like it or not, not everyone has a college education. The…

Sibby on Senate Majority Leader Knudson & the MAINstream anchor.

About a week after hitting Assistant Majority Leader Tom Dempster over his ugly duckling comments, Steve Sibson (as we all know and love as Sibby), today took out his keyboard and swung away at Senate Majority Leader Dave Knudson:
Knudson’s agenda was that of the Sioux Falls Country Club Republican agenda, as the true South Dakota Republicans shot down the property tax and the 4.3 % education funding plans. Knudson did successfully get the technical school governance plan through, but fellow Country Club Republican has threatened to veto that.and..In conculsion, these Country Club Republicans tried to fool us by saying they are "mainstream". But the 2007 South Dakota session proved that they are for big government so that they can line their big business pockets with taxpayers’ money. They attacked small schools, small Daycares, and small family farms and ranches. These Country Club Republicans can hardly be considered mainstream. It is time for a coalition of the small peopl…


Bob Ellis over at the Dakota Voice had a column in the Rapid City Journal today where he noted that I've been talking about "the nanny state" that some legislators seem bound and determined to transform South Dakota into with regards to smoking in bars, tanning, and child seats until age 8.

Thanks Bob.

Maybe it's because I don't keep tabs on that scene, but is that the first?

Todd Epp over at SD Watch had noted there was a new South Dakota related blog, THEGLBTNETWORK.COM that I went over to review for possible inclusion in my RSS feeds on the left hand side of the page.

I didn't note any RSS feed to capture, but I did catch this little item that caused me to raise an eyebrow:
Also some good news from the UCC in Vermillion, SD: Their congregation voted overwhelmingly to allow their minister to perform same sex commitment ceremonies in their church. Congrats UCC! (But, won't it be nice when we can take our ceremonies for granted!)Read that here. Maybe it's because I don't keep tabs on that scene, but I hadn't heard of same-sex committment ceremonies having been held in South Dakota before and presided over by a church minister. Is that the first chuch in the state that performs them?

And if so, what kind of official recognition does the UCC church confer upon the couple?

Anyone remember these promises......?

Does anyone remember these promises by the Democrats going into the legislative session?
Common Ground
The Democratic Party Charts a New Direction for South Dakota

Your Paycheck…Bigger
Democrats understand that average South Dakotans work hard for their paycheck…and we want to make sure it stretches out far enough to make up for skyrocketing energy, health care and transportation costs.

1. Democrats will introduce legislation to increase economic development for South Dakota’s small towns and rural communities. First, by requiring ethanol and bio-diesel use in state vehicles. Second, by offering incentives to school districts to switch their buses to use ethanol and bio-diesel. Third, by bringing South Dakota’s wind energy production to levels equal with surrounding states.
2. Too often, large out-of-state corporations are given preferential treatment in South Dakota at the expense of small business. Democrats will introduce legislation that uses the Future Fund for grants and loans for …

The Last Night before the legislators go home for a while

I spent some time out with several of the legislators tonight as they prepare for the sojourn home, and there were some interesting comments and information that came across.

One thing was the fact that I actually saw some Legislative Interns and legislators in the same room for the first time this session. I was pointing this out and noting that when I was an intern myself (way back in 1988), the big speech from the Intern supervisors that we got was that because of events in previous years, the Intern were admonished that they should not fraternize with the high school aged legislative pages. (Of course, it was quipped that "according to this years' legislature, fraternizing with the pages is OK.")

For those readers who are asking, no, I'm not going to tell what I saw, was told, overheard, and those photos were not for the blog. I was out being social, and everything was off limits.

Except for this photo. This one was kind of funny.Whether I agreed with them or not, I…

Governor Rounds on Global Warming

Seth Tupper over at the Mitchell Daily Republic has a story today with Governor Rounds making a statement on global warming that I don't think I've seen elsewhere:
After attending a conference last week where global warming was discussed, Republican South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds acknowledged human impact on the problem but said he disagrees with some long-term environmental policies that lack feasible, short-term action steps.

Rounds said that “clearly, human activity has impacted global warming.”

“I would assume that there are other issues that may impact it, and I know that there are climate changes that are occurring,” Rounds said, “but most certainly you cannot walk away from the fact that when you burn huge amounts of fossil fuels as we have, that the U.S. along with every other country in the world has contributed carbon to the atmosphere.”Go read it all here.

That statement is sure to set up some debates between the GOP's moderate and conservative wings between the caus…

Is Knudson the Kranz choice for Governor?

Over at the Argus Leader this Monday Morning, Dave Kranz spends some time gushing over Senate Majority Leader Dave Knudson, announcing that the 2007 Legislative Session was the "Knudson Session," and notes how Knudson's name is in the hunt for Governor:
When the 2007 South Dakota Legislature is gaveled to an end, it will seem clear that this was Sen. Dave Knudson's session.

Powered by his new role as Senate majority leader, Knudson guided the Republican agenda, offered the script for many of the major measures offered this year and, in the process, gave his party a new image.


One would think this Democrat-turned-Republican was in the middle of everything this session, while at the same time acting with a rational voice and low-key style.


It's no secret that he wants to be governor, competing in what is expected to be a herd of Republicans who want the nomination for that second floor office.

One of the spectators of the political process is Joel Rosenthal of…

It must be monday.

After I finally managed to get to Brookings on a later flight than anticipated (on Saturday), getting back this morning at "oh-dark-thirty," I'm finding that my segment of the home computer network is completely hosed.

It seems to be telling me that I've got network, but I can't see anyone else, nor do I have Internet.

Of the suspects, I can't tell if it's my switch that's goofed up, my network card, or if my network cable went itself that went bad. I know it's not the router, because I'm typing this from a computer plugged directly into it.

Of all of them, if it's my cable, I'm really going to be unhappy. That means I might have to look for another solution, since I'm not re-stringing that much cable. Unfortunately, wireless doesn't work well in this house between floors due to the fact this is probably the only house in town with poured concrete floors.

And I thought I'd exclusively be grumbling about politics today.