Showing posts from August 27, 2006

Secretary of State posts Ballot Question Pamphlet

Secretary of State Chris Nelson has posted the 2006 Ballot Question explanation pamphlet.

My only question: Who decides who get to write the ballot question pro and con explanations? I think my Amendment E explanation would have been much more incindiary than Tom Barnett's.....

Oh. Maybe that's why they didn't ask me.

Anyway, go read it for yourself here.

Newland deadlocks jury for his right to petition.

In today's Rapid City Journal, Bill Harlan reports on the progress that the Pennington County State's Attorney made against stopping Bob Newland from gathering signatures for his ballot measure. As in "None":
A jury deadlocked Thursday on whether Libertarian political activist Bob Newland had a right to circulate petitions inside Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Newland was arrested Jan. 31 during the Black Hills Stock Show after he refused to leave the civic center. He was collecting signatures to put a medical marijuana measure on the November ballot.


Testifying in his own defense, Newland told jurors that collecting signatures on city-owned property is a First Amendment right.

“I was engaging people in conversations about politics,” he said.


The jury began deliberating about 2:45 p.m., and they reported a deadlock shortly after 6 p.m. Magistrate Judge William Severns declared a mistrial.

“I’m disappointed that it’s not over yet for Bob,” Hymans said after the…

Another candidate website review: Rich Engels for District 9 House

Over at, my friend Rich Engels has his website up for his District 9 House race. Just by way of disclosure, I worked with Rich over at the Division of Insurance several years back, and I consider him a friend. (yes, I have a couple Democratic friends, but only a couple).

Rich has what I like to see in a candidate website - it's graphically pleasing to look at, and it has lots of information. It's also easily navigated from the web links on the left of his page.

No complaints on this website, although on the home page I might do a little bulleting in his statement and highlight more of his previous legislative experience. But that's goes towards the realm of personal preference.

Regardless, go check it out at

JAIL slapped down yet again. Supremes say No as JAILers quit denying that JAIL applies to School board members, city commissioners,

According to the Associated Press as printed in the Rapid City Journal this morning, the South Dakota Supreme Court decided to just say NO when it comes to anything the Judicial Accoutability people want:
The South Dakota Supreme Court has refused to order any further changes in the wording that will appear on ballots to explain a proposed constitutional amendment that would let people sue judges and other government officials.


The amendment’s main sponsor, businessman Bill Stegmeier of Tea, wanted the Supreme Court to require that the ballot explanation be changed to say that the measure would let people sue judges for deliberately violating their rights. He also wanted it to say the measure’s purpose is to hold judges and other officials accountable for such violations.

“The only way to make this ballot statement accurate in all respects is to include language in the explanation that informs the voters that this amendment seeks to hold those persons claiming to be shielded by judi…

State Dems politicize execution

Judy Olson and the South Dakota Democrats issued a press release yesterday that was picked up by the Rapid City Journal. Apparently they take issue with the administration making a decision to halt the execution of Elijah Page because of concerns regarding State Law:
Olson Duhamel said the public suspects that the last-minute news conference announcing the stay of the execution of Elijah Page until after the election was politically motivated. Making the stay decision based on so-called new information is deceptive, she said, noting in a news release that "the information Gov. Rounds is referring to has been on the books for 22 years."

"The public needs to know every detail pertaining to this obvious blunder and deserves to know how the state can prevent another such embarrassment," Olson Duhamel said. "The bipartisan, veto-proof committee we propose must have the power to subpoena all evidence and witnesses, and every testimony should be put under oath with no …

From KELOland: Protesters vandalize Brookings Catholic church

Members of a church on the campus of South Dakota State University are concerned about some overnight vandalism.

Someone armed with a spray can wrote on a sign and on the side of the brick church.

Lance Catron a member of the church, said, "It's disheartening. I mean this is the place I come to worship each week. This is my place and when people come here and do this it's disheartening."Read it all here.

You know, I'd put up a bounty on the people who did this, but I'd rather make a donation to the church to repair the damage. This is no different - NO DIFFERENT - than the type of people who would burn down black churches in the South. It's a hate crime. It's bigotry masquerading as a political statement.

I went to church here during college. Not as often as I probably should have, but it was still my church at one time.

It's a cowardly act, and incredibly beneath people who engage in legitimate debate. I at least have respect for peo…

Whalen: Yes on Lewis and Clark, no on PP (the other one)

From my e-mail tonight:
Bruce Whalen, Republican Candidate for U.S. Congress will join Bound4Life in a Prayer Siege on Planned Parenthood.

Candidate Whalen will join an expected crowd of a thousand Christians and anti-abortion advocates Friday from 11:00-1:00 at 6511 West 41st Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57106.

“We can pay for 143 miles of the Lewis and Clark pipeline by federally de-funding Planned Parenthood. The Lewis and Clark Pipeline has a price tag of $1.9 million a mile; currently the Planned Parenthood receives $272 million a year from the government.” Said Bruce Whalen Republican Candidate for U.S. Congress ( and

Planned Parenthood has a four-pillar business plan. First, they teach school age children that homosexuality and underage sexual activities are acceptable. Second, they distribute condoms to further encourage sex with minors. Third, they sell abortions to terminate pregnancies that are a result of the first tw…

More Candidate stuff: Scott Heidepreim for Senate

As my daughter is napping after ear surgery, I got a chance to check my e-mail.

I had somone who was nice enough to send this to me, and I have to admit, it's a darned good looking piece. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them).

Bulleted points, and not too much text either. Graphically, it's one of the more pleasing advertising pieces I've seen this year. In the past, his Republican opponent Dick Kelly has not been known for achieving greatness in his advertising material. In fact, one consultant I know used it as an example of what NOT to do.

While I haven't seen it yet, hopefully this year he's stepping up his game.

Regardless, what would I change about this piece? Not much.

The "let's get back to work" has been used before, but I don't know if it is going to resonate as strongly as he might hope. In fact, I think many South Dakotans wish the legislature would be "less activist." But again, that might be just me.

Campaigning as an outsider…

If you're a candidate that reads the blogs, I wouldn't do this.

Onan committed the sin of self love. And candidates loving themselves too much can get themselves into just as much trouble. From WCCO news:
A Post-Bulletin Web site user who calls himself "127179" has often commented about local issues and has praised the work of City Council member and mayoral candidate Pat Carr.

Turns out, the six-digit Web user is none other than Carr himself.

The newsroom doesn't regularly check identities of online users, but a reporter noticed similarities in the way "127179" writes and Carr talks.

Some of the dozens of messages posted from Carr's account since November found notes of praise for him, while some attack officials who voted differently than Carr.


Carr acknowledged Monday that he wrote all past comments except one, which was written by a friend visiting his office.

"If people want to trash me, I have the right to stand up and defend myself," he said. "I stand by what I said." Read it all here.

I had a f…

A New Record - 17,000 visitors in August!

You might notice this is a slightly off-time for one of my posts.

I just got back to Brookings from Sioux Falls a little bit ago. I have a little one who is prone to ear infections, so we were on the road at 5am this morning to go get tubes put in. As I finally got around to checking stats today, I see that I've officially broken my record for visitors - 17,000 this month (providing about 35,000 hits).

Thanks again for your continuing readership.

Napoli weighs in on the execution

Tonight on the Sioux Falls Argus Leader website, Bill Napoli weighs in with his opinion on halting the execution:
State Sen. Bill Napoli of Rapid City said Gov. Mike Rounds should not have stopped the execution of Elijah Page.

And he questioned why the state planned to use three drugs to kill him.

Napoli said he was disappointed that the issue involving the lethal drugs was not discovered much earlier.


“People can’t have faith in the justice system if justice is not carried out,” he said.Read it all here.

This issue is one of those I suppose you'd term a sticky wicket. If they used the three drugs, they'd be in violation of state law and possibly liable for a lawsuit. If they used the two as prescribed under state law, then the question becomes whether or not it's cruel and unusual punishment as one of the other inmates has alleged for his future execution.

In either case, the state would possibly be facing a lawsuit.

So, you're damned if you do, damned if you don'…

NCLB cost me $50. (or at least my school district)

I was reading the other day in the Watertown Public Opinion about something I’d heard about before at home, regarding the application of NCLB to special education. Basically, one of the problems with the No Child Left Behind Act is that it lumps the achievement standards for children utilizing special education along with the everyone else, without consideration for the fact that the special-ed kids might be receiving special education services for a reason.

From the Watertown Public Opinion:
The biggest challenge for Watertown , assistant superintendent Leslie Hanson said, is meeting proficiency in its sub groups: groups of 10 or more people in areas of ethnicity, low socio economics, special education and limited English proficiency.

“Overall, the Watertown school district did very, very well,” Hanson told the Public Opinion today (Friday). “ Watertown will always be a district that has many subgroups, so all of our subgroup categories also have to make proficiency”

The high school, how…

The Civic Center One goes on Trial on Thursday

God knows we're on opposite ends of the political spectrum on the issue of Medical Marijuana. But I do support Bob on this issue. Bob Newland, aka "the Civic Center One" goes on trial for gathering petition signatures in the doorway of the Rapid City Civic Center. From my e-mail:
I go on trial for a Class 1 misdemeanor (max 1 year in jail and $1000 fine) Thursday morning at the Pennington County Court House (Rapid City SD). The charge is “failure to leave a premises after proper order given”. The crime? Asking a question while carrying a clipboard inside the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.

Public places – those built with money extracted in the form of taxes – should be open to political discussion. They should not be reserved as free-speech-banned zones for the convenience of well-to-do promoters who use these publicly-funded venues to line their pockets.

I think it’s great if people want to hold events, and that they risk capital to do so. But if they are doing so in a venue…

The Shape of the MAINstream to come??

In 1933, famed science fiction writer H.G. Wells wrote a book called The Shape of Things to Come which dealt with a future history for the century after 1936.Much like that future history, after I did the post on the South Dakota Mainstream Coalition, I find myself wondering about it’s future history. In five years will it be consigned to the dust heap of bad political ideas, or will it develop into something further? And if it does develop into something further, what form will it take.I think we need look no further than what the organization has become in Kansas. The Mainstream Coalition down there, which the South Dakota group is modeled after, just put out a newsletter which they have posted on the net, and I’ve reproduced a portion of for your perusal (click on any of them to enlarge):
They're pretty strong in their statements, and that's ok. They're entitled to their opinion. But now, here's the part that I think that South Dakota Republicans ought to pay particu…

Dems announce Billion fundraiser in Huron

From my e-mail box tonight, the Dems are announcing a Fundraiser for Billion over in Huron on the 2nd:
Please Join the South Dakota Democratic Party for Breakfast & Billion

A Billion for Governor Rally
On Saturday, September 2nd at 8:30 A.M.
At the Crossroads Hotel and Convention Center
100 4th St SW, Huron, SD
(605) 352-3204

Donation includes breakfast and a BACK JACK mug
Please make checks to SDDP
We hope that you are able to join us and then stay at the State Fair for the Billion/Rounds scheduled debate at noon.This doesn't do anything for me, but it might be enticing to the Dems. So, here it is for our Democratic Readers.

More on the execution stoppage. When 3 won't go into a law designed for 2.

Governor Rounds, citing a problem with the current law which mandated the use of two drugs instead of the three that are used in common practice, is putting off the execution of Elijah Page for a year according to Keloland news:
Rounds and Attorney General Larry Long say the law on the books since 1984 requires the state to use two drugs to kill a condemned person, but the standard nowadays is a three-drug combination.

Long says using the three drugs, as was planned, could put the people who carry out the execution at legal risk.

Rounds says the stay is in place until next July. That would give lawmakers time during the next session in the spring time to review the law and bring it into line with the common practices of lethal injection. Read it all here.

For at least the moment, the execution is off.

The Argus Leader (as well as other news outlets) are reporting tonight that the execution is off:
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds will stay the execution of Elijah Page, the Argus Leader has learned.

Attorney General Larry Long confirmed moments ago that Page's execution will be stopped from happening tonight.

At 5:05 p.m., Long said he was drawing up the paperwork for the stay.Read it here and watch the media tonight for the reasons.

MAINstream Coalition shows signs of life, comes out on ballot issues

(Big HT to Tim from a Progressive on the Prairie who wrote on this on the No on E blog.)

The MAINstream coalition, which has been surprisingly quiet over the course of the past few months, came out recently with a number of position statements on various issues. As written on by Russ Keen in today's Aberdeen American News, They oppose Amendment E, as well as several other issues:
Abortion measure: The coalition is against the near-total ban on abortions because it doesn't make exceptions for incest and rape, Olson said.While the measure approved by the Legislature allows women who are raped to take the so-called morning after pill, Olson said that's not adequate because most cases of rape and incest aren't reported. The law has been referred to a statewide public vote.Amendment D: The so-called STOP (Stabilize Taxing Our Property) constitutional amendment should not be approved, Olson said.Amendment D would change the way property is assessed, basing it strictly on sale …

From the Kate' Turnbow's article in the Cap Journal this AM on the Billion visit.

"I've talked to people even about prairie dogs. Now, you need to talk to a producer to really get a feel from a guy whose being overrun by prairie dogs and whose land is being ruined. It's a whole different problem then. "

And Billion's solution to the prairie dog problem?

"Maybe we'll make pets out of them and sell them out east. We'll call them big hamsters and ship them out on trucks," he said.That has to be the quote of the day.

Video lottery ballot explanation determined

Judge Gors must be getting sick of ballot initiatives lately. Because he's certainly deciding the fate of many of their explanations. Tonight, the decision is out on the Video lottery measure:
A circuit judge has ordered Attorney General Larry Long to make a change in
the language that will appear on South Dakota ballots to explain a measure that
would repeal the video lottery.

The attorney general’s explanation can continue to tell voters that
repeal of video gambling would cost the state $112 million in revenue, but
language should be added to explain that the loss would be equal to 11 percent
of the state general fund budget, Circuit Judge Max Gors ruled.

Long’s office said the judge’s ruling will not be appealed because ballots
must be printed soon. Secretary of State Chris Nelson has said the ballot
language must be finalized by Friday in order to give soldiers stationed
overseas a chance to get ballots and return them by the Nov. 7 general

A lawyer for sponsors of the measure s…

I think I'm on track for another record month

As of tonight, I'm over 15,000 visitors (just under 35k hits). If this trend continues, I think I'm going to break my old record of about 16,100 visitors.

What's coming up this week? Aside from the usual junk and "hackery" as one reader describes it, I hope to cap the month off with some thoughtful insight into NCLB and some problems with it that need addressing on the state and federal level.

Stay tuned.

Billion's visit to Ft. Pierre to talk about ag

As I had mentioned before, tonight I went over to Ft. Pierre after work to hear Jack Billion's spiel since it was a political speech, and I had nothing better to do at the moment.

Actually, It gave me a chance to meet Capitol Journal reporter Kate Turnbow in person, and to chat with KCCR's Tony Mangan. Otherwise, for a gubernatorial candidate speech, there didn't seem to be much media in attendance.

When a "pretend-m..." Er.. let's just say I'm a representative of the "new media." When a member of the "new media" constitutes 1/3 of the media representation, that seems pretty skinny for media coverage.

The big reason for this event was Jack pushing his agricultural platform, which you can read as follows (click on the picture to enlarge):

(click to enlarge)

As you can see, his platform consists of 11 points: Enforcing SD's Country of Origin Labeling, property tax relief for drought victims, filing a state drought plan with the Nationa…

New Blogger on the block

Since J-Ro is kind of using the name for his Blog, Straight Talk radio host Greg Belfrage has now joined the blogosphere at

Hopefully, I'll get it added to the blogfeeds tonight.

Me Too! Me Too! Ag Secretary comes to SD to tour with Gov. And others as appended.

This morning, Governor Rounds announced that he would be touring a drought-inflicted farm in the Hayes area with the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture:
Gov. Mike Rounds today confirmed that USDA Secretary Mike Johanns will visit South Dakota on Tuesday, August 29.

"We are pleased that USDA Sec. Johanns is coming to South Dakota and view firsthand the impacts of this continued drought on our farmers, ranchers and businesses," said Gov. Rounds. "We will have a tremendous opportunity to visit with the Secretary to share the concerns of our agricultural producers who are struggling to continue their family farming and ranching operations."

Secretary Johanns will tour a portion of the severe drought area west of Pierre, S.D., at the Don and Lura Kirkpatrick ranch, located 4 ½ miles South and ½ mile East of the Little Brown Church near Hayes, S.D. (Address: 21348 Brown Church Road).

Sec. Johanns and Gov. Rounds will tour the Kirkpatrick Ranch at 1:15 CDT; make remarks at 1:45 p.…

(Exclusive content alert) Ag's response to Napoli proposal on non-violent prison facility

Here's a little exclusive content for you.

I would have made it more timely, but I wanted to ensure I had permission before reprinting the comments I was provided by Attorney General Larry Long.

If you will recall, about ten days ago State Senator Bill Napoli commented on how he felt we needed facilities for non-violent offenders in South Dakota. And Republican or Democrat, he was going to recruit whomever he needed to his cause:
State Sen. Bill Napoli proposed a new type of prison facility Thursday for nonviolent criminals struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. And in an unusual move for a conservative Republican who has criticized GOP moderates for blurring political philosophy, he sought Democratic support for his plan.

"If I have to go to the Democrats to get this done, I will," the Rapid City incumbent from District 35 said during a news conference attended by both Democratic and Republican political candidates.

Napoli said South Dakota has a "terrible" in…

Sneek peek of my review of Billion meeting

(click on the picture to enlarge it)

I have to go meet with another candidate for a different office, but I did manage to make it over for most of Jack Billion's appearance at the Ft. Pierre Senior Center after work tonight.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with one of the pictures I got. And please notice my photography didn't totally suck as it usually does. I have a few documents I have to scan to include with the post, but I have volunteer work to get done first.

Biggest regret? I missed getting a picture of Bob Hockett frothing at the mouth as he went off on a tangent as he disagreed with Billion. But then he came back and saying he's going to work to get him elected.

I did notice a couple of odd stares as I went in from a couple of the Democratic locals as if they were thinking "what in the hell is this Republican spy doing here?" Hey, it said the public is invited... Even Republican bloggers might be included in that.

Billion here today, US Secretary of Ag Tomorrow

The Pierre/Ft. Pierre area is hosting a couple of dignitaries in the next couple of days, according to Tony Mangan at KCCR News/
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Billion is in Fort Pierre today (Monday).

The Sioux Falls physician will hold a public forum on agriculture and rural development. Billion has been holding similar meetings statewide.

The meeting starts at 5 p.m. in the Fort Pierre Senior Citizens Center. The public is invited to attend.


US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns will be in the Pierre-Fort Pierre area tomorrow (Tuesday) to get a first-hand look at the drought conditions.

Governor Mike Rounds, in a press release this mroning, says Johanns will tour the Don and Lura Kirkpatrick ranch near Hayes in Western South Dakota.

Earlier this month, Senator Tim Johnson told ranchers and farmers in Fort Pierre that he had invited Johanns to South Dakota.

The Kirkpatrick ranch is located about 5 miles southeast of Hayes.

Rounds and Johanns will tour the ranch…

Stifiling political expression through vandalism

These pictures were taken near Delmont, SD recently of a pair of Rounds for Governor signs that were vandalized. And you know, it speaks volumes about the person who did it. And the word that comes to mind is "impotence."

No, not the kind of impotence that requires viagra. It's the kind of impotence where a person feels so inadequate and inarticulate that the only form of political expression they have is the destruction of another person's show of support.

Debate? Not for them. The ability to promote their own views? They can't. Simply refuting the opinion of one who believes the opposite? They'd rather hide in the closet.

Am I heaping too much scorn on the perpetrator? I don't think so. This is shameful, and the kind of act that would have to take place under cover of darkness. Because the kind of person who would do it likely spends most of their time fearing the light of day.

Secretary of State to Dems: You thought that one got by me, didn't you? Wrong.

The Argus Leader is reporting this morning that the Secretary of State's office has forwarded information to the Attorney General regarding the some financial reporting that they did which might not have reflected where the checks ultimately ended up:
The secretary of state's office has forwarded possible evidence to Attorney General Larry Long that at least two Democratic political action committees failed to report $55,000 in contributions from an out-of-state donor.

"We have turned all of that over to the AG," Secretary of State Chris Nelson said.

Long said last week he can't confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

But Nelson said his office forwarded items to the attorney general indicating that South Dakota PACs might have violated the state's campaign-finance law by not reporting the contributions.

Nelson didn't name the PACs, but he did say they are related to a controversy surrounding contributions made by the wife of a prominent Democratic …

Stephanie should have sent in Dave Dedrick as a pinch hitter.

It got better as she got the ball rolling, but dang, there were some moments when you're asking yourself if this was an audition for the weekend weather on KELO. I'm sure she went back to her office and kicked herself about referring to the chart as a "Drout Monitor Rap."

"Sundavel" posted this on You-Tube as recorded from C-Span.

Upcoming attempts at over-regulation in South Dakota

An article by Russ Keen printed in today's Aberdeen American News notes how the Executive Director of South Dakota Voices for Children, Susan Randall, is going to try to force licensing on those day care providers who care for fewer than 13 children this next legislative session:
The state requires licensing only for those who care for 13 or more children a day. That could change. The 2007 South Dakota Legislature likely will be presented with another bill to require licensing for those who care for fewer than 13 or at least for those who care for seven or more, said Susan Randall, executive director of South Dakota Voices for Children based in Sioux Falls.Cities can have their own rules. Aberdeen has no ordinances on child care, but building codes address it, with regulations that apply regardless of how many kids are cared for.and..
"Often a parent's relationship with the child-care provider is such that the parent would be seen as a busybody if (she or he) went around th…