Showing posts from February 12, 2006

Another J.A.I.L.breaker sounds off in the Rapid City Journal

Charles Abourezk takes charge and writes a Rapid City Journal Forum explaining the evils of the JAIL amendment, as if we haven't heard it already. But in politics, it's always good to reinforce your message.
The judicial branch, which is supposed to be stronger than the other two branches of government because it does not fear elections or any other punishment by the majority, would instead become the most fearful and weak. This would upset the delicate balance of power between the branches of government.

In truth, we already have immunities all throughout our government and system. We give immunity to our jurors, who sit as judges of the facts at trial. Our legislators already have immunity for what occurs while they are in session, as do many government officials in their official capacity.

We, as voters, retain the ultimate veto power already - the ballot box. We need to trust and rely upon our own power as citizens, and the constitutional framework that our founders created f…

The Readers. I do it all for the readers.

Hey, just quick props to the readers. Today I'm hitting 4500 site visits for the month (8000 page views.) That's more than my total for the entire month of December. And we still have ten days to go. I'd love to be on track for 7000 site visits for this month.

I couldn't do it without you readers.

Please let your friends know that when it comes to South Dakota politics - Highbrow thought, lowbrow gossip, and everything in-between, they can find it at the South Dakota War College.

PP got called out at the Republican Central Committee Meeting. And I didn't like it very much.


WHOAAAA! - This post is going down for a bit. There needs to be some brakes put on it before things go out of control.

My whole point was that I was being singled out in front of 100 people because I happen to blog. And I considered it bad manners unbecoming a party chairman. Nothing more, nothing less.

And as unhappy as I was (am) about being singled out, and had every intention of sleeping on the whole deal, once I saw the post over at SD Watch, I recognize that it's time to pull the reigns in before the horses tumble off the cliff.

So, lets all sleep on it.

Tom Jones has nothing on Bob Sutton

Bob, I saw this in the Belle Fourche Post today, got thinking about comparing you to Tom Jones, and couldn't resist. (You'll have to get me back at the casino night tonight).

Frankly, I'm wondering where his legislative column has been the last two weeks.

Where have Frank Kloucek’s legislative columns been for the last two weeks? I haven't been able to find it in his district's papers. It's usually worth the read, because whether you agree with it or not, it pulls few punches.

Nothing sinister here. Just wondering.

Maybe Bob can be the One-Star General in charge of Agricultural Affairs

Two-Star General Jailer-in-Chief Bill Stegmeier of Tea explained himself and his measure a bit today in the Rapid City Journal. And at the same time, also brought out an interesting fact about Bob Newland’s Medical Marijuana Petition.
Amendment E and Stegmeier himself has been the subject of repeated and harsh criticism from state lawmakers in recent weeks.

The South Dakota campaign received assistance from Gary Zerman, a California lawyer.

And Stegmeier hired a company from Nevada to run the petition drive. But 95 percent of the paid petition carriers came from South Dakota, Stegmeier said.

Some of those same workers are now circulating petitions for an effort by Bob Newland of Hermosa to legalize marijuana for medical purposes, Stegmeier said.(Read it all here) Maybe we’ll see it on the ballot after all. As of February 8th, the petition signature count was at 7407 on So, it's pretty apparent if they want to get the job done, it's time for a fixer.…

BREAKING NEWS: Volesky says he’s out of the race

Ron Volesky announced today in the Huron Daily Plainsman that he’s out of the race. The Huron City Commission race that is. (What race did you think I was talking about? Silly goose.)
Ron Volesky said Thursday that he won’t seek a second three-year term on the Huron City Commission in the April Election.

“It was an honor to work with others on the commission in helping to build our city’s future,” he said.Also in the Plainsman today, Joshua Haeder of Huron has announced that he’s running for District 22 House on the Republican Ticket against Haley and Hargens. Josh is also the advisor for the Beadle County TARS.

Welcome to the game Josh, and congrats to Ron for his City Commission service. I might have issues with his aspirations, but I can't fault him for serving.

Time to out some Political Figures....

No, not in that sense. But what's political news and gossip is rumbling under the surface at the moment? I figured I need a better name than "roundup" since everyone uses it. So, here's our political outing for 2/16/06

According to the Timber Lake Topic, Democrat Ryan Maher of Isabel is circulating a petition to run for the District 28 Senate Seat being vacated by Eric Bogue. Ryan will vace the victor in the Republican primary - Representative Ted Klaudt and Ken Wetz are running for the Republican Nomination for that seat.

I think I've heard it from four people already that Deputy State Treasurer Mike Mehlhaff Sr. might be considering a bid for elective office in 2010. I'll have to try to firm that one up this weekend. But as I said, I keep hearing this around Pierre - and not from fellow political hacks. I first heard it from a non-political "joe six-pack" type who was asking me about it several weeks back.

As our little tribute to Valentines day, th…

Legislators Jumping off the Fence

There must be something unusual in the air this year.

I was reading the papers today, and found yet another example of a legislator coming out and stating a position on a ballot issue. Senator Jim Lintz, in this weeks’ edition of his legislative column (in the Custer County Chronicle) has a big headline above his writings that says “STOP needs to pass.” I think John Koskan and several others were blasting JAIL as well.

The vote on the J.A.I.L. resolution today? Probably unanimous. STOP? There are legislators on either side of it. Taxing tobacco? There are several legislators who introduced that measure.

Why is this so darn unusual ? In previous years it was more typical that they would have ran like the wind to avoid taking a firm position on these measures. Because as long as I can remember, legislators have usually shied away en masse from stating a position on initiated measures. Their position was all too often to not take a position.

The old standard line had been “I think it’s up t…

Sorry. That sad tune isn't tugging on my heartstrings. Todd Erks laments his loss of illegal poker

Pick up this week's copy of the the Tea/Harrisburg Champion. And read the cover story by Jamie Gibson.

The story today by Gibson was good. It's the type of reporting we don't see in a lot of South Dakota papers. It wasn't sensationalized as the Argus tends to. It didn't just give a cursory superficial glance as many of the others. It was just a good solid story.

While not labeled as an "in-depth report," it really got to the meat of matters with Todd Erks. Todd, if you recall, is the gentleman who has been circulating the petitions to legalize texas hold 'em as tournaments involving skill. As opposed to it being gambling. The bottom line of ths story was very telling. Todd is at the juncture where he has to decide if his bar can make it without Texas Hold 'em Tournaments.

Clearly, his fight to place the measure on the ballot isn't about South Dakotans demanding the right to play a game of skill. It isn't about legalizing something that everyb…

He's just needin' his J.A.I.L. fix

I had a note tonight from a reader, "Bored One."

As many readers do, he was giving me the business. But I wasn't getting poked for what I was writing. He was trying to nudge me awake for what I wasn't writing about.
Must say I'm shocked not much J.A.I.L. coverage this week. Stegmeier refused to answer Senators questions at hearing, media reports of possible subpoena or criminal charges for it, Senator Moore's home called by dozens of irate JAILers from across the US, Senator Moore's email jammed with viruses and worms. Branson's 1 hour radio interview on "scum" judges. Not to mention tomorrow's almost certain passage and Branson's hints of legal action against the legislature to boot. And that's just one of a dozen news articles.

Tsk tsk.(Jeez...) Now, by printing this, I'm not picking on "Bored One" by any means. In fact I'm printing his note to m…

Got my invite. Say, you should come too. They won't mind

I got my invite to the party this Friday night. Since everyone loves a party - especially a Republican Party - I asked the State GOP if they would mind if I invited a few friends.

They said "Sure." So, you can all just meet me down there:
You’re invited to enjoy a free night of no-risk casino play with fellow Republican Party members and elected officials.

Friday, February 17th at 7:00pm
Pierre VFW - 401 S. Central Ave

Everyone that comes in will get $50 in chips to play with until the event ends. At the end of the night, you will put your winnings in one of the jars, each representing a different Constitutional Candidate race. And the South Dakota Republican Party will write the check to the candidate!

There is no charge for the event. For more information contact Angela Nielsen at 224-7347

And now, some analysis from the SDWC Legal Team

Rick Kreibel, Bob Hurlbut's opponent from the last election (And STOP Amendment supporter) had the following question in the comment section under the blogpost I did on his former opponent's DUI arrest:
I am curious why breathalyzer results are not admissable in court ? news to me, seems odd, why didnt they ask for blood ? could he even stand ??(Ouch! -pp)

Also reading the prior post and the subsequent comment, recently returned Iraq vet and USD Law Student, Joel Arends had e-mailed me and explained why it could not be used. And since I couldn't say it any better myself, I asked, and he was nice enough to give us his legal analysis (as opposed to having to do it for one of his professors). As you will read, Joel informs us why a breathalyzer result is not admissable in court:
"Generally a PBT, ‘breathalyzer’ test is not admissible in court for the purposes of proving BAC. Due to the rules of evidence the State cannot lay the scientific foundation necessary to validate bl…

Quote of the day.

“Because Sioux Falls has a toothache is no reason for everyone to go to the dentist.”
- Rep Steve Street (D, Dist 4 – from his legislative report 2/15/06)

Too much nice.. Time for "Elected Officials Gone Wild"

The Rapid City Journal is reporting this evening that Rapid City Ward 5 City Councilman Bob Hurlbut was recently arrested for DUI. And check out that reported Blood Alcohol Count!:
A Rapid City Councilman was arrested last weekend for drunken driving. Robert Eugene Hurlbut, 36, is scheduled to make his initial appearance in magistrate court March 2 on a charge of first-offense drunken driving.

According to the police report, Hurlbut was arrested about 11:15 p.m. Saturday after a police officer saw his 1999 Infinity blocking traffic while stopped at a green light at 9th and Main streets. “The male driver informed me that he was waiting for a girl to leave the bar,” the officer wrote in his report.

Hurlbut reportedly failed sobriety tests. According to the report, a breathalyzer test indicated Hurlbut had a blood-alcohol concentration of .257. The legal limit for driving is .08. Breathalyzer test results are not admissible in court.

“There is no excuse for my lapse in judgment in putting my…

Is there room for a shade of grey in a black and white world?

I was noticing tonight on my RSS feed bar (the one on the left) that Sibby was going off on the South Dakota Department of Education and seminars that they have put on regarding sex-ed for special needs students.

As a parent, I too am concerned about making sure that what is taught is age appropriate, and within the boundaries of my values.

But the topic of special needs students threw a bit of a wrinkle into the whole thing. That's my wife's bailiwick, not mine. She's been involved in special ed at the local, state, and national level, so I did what any smart person would do, I asked her.

The explanation of the program that has Steve so exercised? Apparently it's designed to enable instructors to teach some basic sex-ed to special education students. And that's about it.

As I'm told, we're not talking about a curriculum that involves resource materials instucting in the finer points of same-sex relationships and bestiality to young children - the stuff that ha…

I've got the blue-hued ticket (all four of them)

I've always been a ticket designer, as opposed to a ticket seller. But this year, I'm going to give it the old college try. For once, I'm going to push to sell my tickets.

Aside from the ticket I'll use myself for the Hughes County Lincoln Day Dinner, I have three more tickets to sell at $25 each. This year's event is featuring Governor Rounds as the keynote speaker. And as the letter enticing me to sell tickets says, it also features "Local Favorite Bob Sutton as Master of Ceremonies."

(If you catch me early enough Bob, I'll fill you in on George Mortimer's Alice Kundert joke. Brings the house down everytime.)

So, readers, legislators, people in Pierre who didn't get tickets sent to them, drop me a note and get your ticket from me. If you need more than three, I'm sure I can accomodate you as well. But the key here is to e-mail me, and I'll get you handled.

$25 each, and the proceeds go the Hughes County Republicans (and sorry for missi…

Now that’s just silly. Don, I'm quite sure that you're ok.

I heard through the grapevine that supposedly my name came up in a conversation where SDDP Press Secretary Don Carr was present. And also supposedly, the remark was that “he didn’t think I liked him.”

I was actually a little taken aback by that, because, how would he know if I liked him or disliked him? I’ve never met him.

Readers, there are lots of people who’s chain I might yank on in my blog. And there are people who I might give holy hell to. It doesn’t mean that I have a burning dislike for any of them. Not at all.

I give all sorts of grief at times to Republican candidates, and at times, I'll question the State GOP. Do you think I dislike them? No. faced with the option, I’d likely take a bullet for them. But that doesn’t mean I won’t cajole them to be better.

If this blog is anything, it is a place to disagree. An open forum to say “I don’t concur and this is why.” By my own admission, the language might get a little inflammatory because of the passion that I or commentors may…

Shared Parenting Bill Stalled in the House

James at has asked all the SD bloggers to print his message on the status of the shared parenting measure. So, without further ado....
I thought you might like to know about our efforts to get a shared parenting bill passed in the South Dakota Legislature. It has been a rough road but we think this year could be the year.

We all know that children are the first to suffer when a family breaks up. It is a further tragedy when a child loses daily contact with a parent, or forfeits the communal decisions that two parents make together, both common occurrences in custody decisions.

The South Dakota Coalition for Shared Parenting, now in its sixth year, is dedicated to the passage of Senate Bill 112. This bill supports equal rights for all parties who are affected by family dissolution. It offers an additional option to help equitably solve the problems that these broken families face year after year.

The SB 112 Bill has achieved success on the Senate level, recently …

You read it here, AND ONLY HERE:Clash of the Titans II
Schwiesow versus Adelstein

Here's the scenario:
Two high profile Republican candidates;
There's a prior go-around, and no love lost between them;
One participated in publicly savaging the other in the media for his liberal views;
In turn, the other stole the one's campaign chairman from the first go around.
One is a State Party official. The other is a state legislator.This is going to be a damn good race to watch.

Of course, I can only be talking about the re-match of the century: State Senator Stan Adelstein versus South Dakota GOP Vice Chairman Elli Schwiesow.

Why is this quickly eclipsing other hot races as the race of next June? We'll get to that in a minute. To start, let's just look at where they ended up after the last election:


Stanford M. Adelstein2108

210851.49%Elli Schwiesow1986


Reader Requests - Dear Professor, What's going on with the GOP?

I've had a couple of readers send me e-mails recently, inquiring on a couple of topics with relation to the South Dakota GOP. It's just regular party people or activists who want to get the skinny or to clarify things in their own mind about what's going on with our party.

As one friend said to me, your blog is a place where Republicans can talk about things - it's a powerful tool. So, ok, let's discuss.....

To take things one at a time, here's one I got today from a reader:
Professor PP -

I just received a phone call from the state Republican party requesting money. One of their talking points was that "Daschle was going to run against Rounds for Governor" and "Didn't I want to make sure that Daschle didn't win?"

Is this true? It would explain the Argus' attacks on Rounds lately. What have you heard? My reply? I haven't gotten the phone call myself yet. But otherwise, I haven't heard a thing on Tom running for Governor on th…

New Ballot Measure Group Forms:
Against Amendment C,
Against the GOP

Denise Ross noted over at Mt. Blogmore that a group has now formed to try to defeat Amendment C (.pdf alert) - the amendment passed by the legislature in 2005 to appear on the 2006 ballot regarding the definition of marriage.

Their page, at is apparently still under construction, but it indicates that they are taking the standpoint that the current law should stay the same, and it's a large basis for their opposition.

I don't know that any official group has formed to promote the measure, but I'm assuming their argument for the measure would be that the problem isn't with South Dakota law, it's with other states passing laws on domestic partnerships, and the legality of whether we would recognize them or not.

I wasn't familiar with the Director of this effort, Jon Hoadley, or the organization. A cursory "whois search" of the domain name shows that the person or organization who registered the web name has…

Sins of omission by the SDWC. Sorry, I missed that one.

A former South Dakotan who is nowup in ND pointed out that I omitted the fact that this is the second go around for Ted Klaudt and Ken Wetz. Back in 2000, they faced each other when District 28 was broken apart.

As Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!” I completely missed that one. 2000 had me attending to family affairs and my mom’s declining health, so I didn’t pay attention to anything outside of local politics. This race just went right by me.

My ND reader was right as rain that they had faced before, and had the clipping to prove it. And what a clipping it was. Ted not only won that race, he destroyed Ken Wetz, 64 to 36%.

For some great background on the whole thing, click on the image of the article from the Rapid City Journal to read it.

And thanks again for the article!

Ugh. It's that time of year again.
Political Catalog time.

See my little box of political buttons? It sits in an alcove at the top of my desk hidden away from the world. My collection used to be much more expansive with some really cool SD ones, including a early 1900's (1900's or 1910's) set of matching ribbon badges in mint condition from the SDGOP and SDDP state political conventions.

This box, and my "Headquarters - Harrison/Morton Club - Deadwood, Dakota" silk campaign ribbon of 1892, which always was the prize of my collection, is about all that remains from my collecting heyday.

It mostly fell victim to my all consuming need to keep my family fed and clothed earlier in life. Hobbies are nice, but when your kid needs dental work, etc., sacrifices must be made. And so my box of political stuff has dwindled to what is pictured above.

The point of all of this is that these buttons, as most of them ever produced, simply end up in someone's box of stuff. They didn't end up on my coat. They weren't affixed to my…

Scott Waltman's Aberdeen Veggie Tales

Scott Waltman of the Aberdeen American News is reporting that he is set up a weblog at: is going to do a report on going vegetarian for a month. As stated in the announcement, he says that "it's the opposite of a political statement", and that "he hopes his sacrifice entertains us."

At least we can tell his heart is in the right place when he says that giving up meat for a month is a sacrifice. (And I'm adding his blog to the blog feeds for entertainment purposes).

Nazi Rhetoric and the Democratic Party

Why does it keep coming up?

It's not everyone by any means. And it doesn't happen all the time. But in far too many occasions those in the Democratic Party (and those who are farther left than that) keep invoking the names of extremist political groups when referring to Republicans and Republican candidates.

The most recent incident? Next door in Minnesota. On Democratic Congressional challenger Colleen Rowley's website, her Republican opponent was pictured as fictional Nazi official Colonel Klink (as reported on Minnesota television station KARE11's website):
The photo of Kline as Col. Wilhelm Klink - a monocled, bumbling German prison camp commandant in the TV comedy that ran from 1965-71 - was inserted into a blog posting already up on Rowley's site that criticized Kline for supporting the replacement of President Grant's portrait on $50 bills with a likeness of President Reagan.

At the top of the blog, titled "Colonel Kline vs. General Grant," Rowley …

Per the RCJ - Tom Hennies is running for a new job

From today's Rapid City Journal:

State Rep. Tom Hennies, R-Rapid City, announced Saturday that he plans to run for the Rapid City Council. Hennies, a former Rapid City police chief with 35 years of law enforcement experience, has been in the South Dakota House for eight years, representing District 32. He cannot run for another House term because of term limits approved by state voters. And he will not run against incumbent Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, for the District 32 Senate seat.

Read it all here.

Claire Konold doesn't get a walk in the Primary

I just got the heads up from Watertown - apparently Claire Konold is going to have a challenger in the District 5 Republican Primary for Lee Schoenbeck's Seante Seat. As it was put to me:
Dennis Arnold announced on Friday he will seek the Senate Seat here in District 5, looks like Claire might have a REALLY big challenge.It's not a name I'm familiar with, so I did a little hunting, and from the Watertown Public Opinion, I found his announcement. As noted:
Arnold, 56, will run as a Republican. He recently retired after spending more than three decades in education, the last 24 of which were as principal of McKinley Elementary School in Watertown. During his time in education, he was recognized with a number of honors and served on professional boards all the way up to the national level. He and his wife, Deb, own and operate Arnold Construction Inc. They have lived in Watertown for 33 years and have two grown children.Read it all here. (Registration Required)