Showing posts from September 3, 2006

Sometimes I see.... Road Signs

As I think I've mentioned many times, I do quite a bit of driving along Highway 14, and I love 4x8 signs. I managed to remember to bring a camera along for once, so I snapped a few pictures of them on this trip.

You can find this sign for Bryce Healy along the side of the road in Highmore:

And you can find those of his opponent Jarrod Johnson all over the place in several locations along the way:

I forget where I saw this Steve Kolbeck sign - there's a couple of them in the route between Brookings and Pierre.

Bruce Whalen's sign coverage is starting to pick up - I saw several of these signs along the route:

This sign for Tom Hansen is around the Ree Heights area and is one of several her has between Ree Heights and Huron. This is by far the best looking one, as it appears to be from a stencil. He's got a few free hand ones that are different, and I'll try to get a picture on the way back.

Here's a Billion sign which I think I snapped outside of Wessington.

I think th…

No on 6 commentary in the Denver Post

One observant reader pointed out that members of the South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families has some commentary in yesterday's Denver post. From the article:
Anti-choice forces go too far in S.D.
By Jan Nicolay, Maria Bell and Sarah Stoesz

South Dakota - known to millions of Americans as the home of the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore and the world's largest biker rally - could soon acquire a new reputation as the laboratory where right-wing conservatives experiment with one of their pre-eminent goals: overturning Roe vs. Wade.

In November, the state's voters will decide whether to enact or reject the most restrictive abortion law in the country. For many, this is a gut-check moment. Anti-choice forces have gone too far.

This extreme law has no exception for victims of rape or incest and does not provide an exception for the health of a woman. A pregnant woman will be left with no options to treat terminal illnesses like breast or ovarian cancer because pregnant women cannot…

What's with the South Dakota Association of County Officials lately?

The South Dakota Association of County Officials is an interesting organization. Since this organization representing County Treasurers, Auditors and Registers of Deeds (if I pluralized that correctly) started up several years ago, having served as a director of the organization used to mark a sure rise up the ladder in Pierre's political community.

If you haven't taken notice, the SDACO has spawned several successful careers. Bob Sutton, current head of the South Dakota Community Foundation started as a director there as he moved out of USD's MPA program. Following him was Shawn Lyons who has recently taken over as the Executive Director of the South Dakota Retailers Association, arguably one of the most recognized and influential lobbying positions in South Dakota.

After Shawn was director, Rich Sattgast accepted the position and after a successful tenure, found himself on the statewide scene as South Dakota's State Auditor. I think Rich himself would tell anyone he ow…

Light posting ahead.... more of this week's happenings

If you haven't noticed yet, I'm not posting at my usual frenetic rate.

It's crunch time for me on a couple of fronts - first and foremost the impending Vietnam War Memorial Dedication. I'm deeply involved in it, and as we approach the 15th and 16th, I'm bumping up against some deadlines. So, my evening activities are sometimes dedicated somewhere besides blogging.

Also, my son's 5th birthday is also approaching on September 11th, and I promised him some custom t-shirts for the occasion. I also threw in some custom canvas totes for the birthday party swag.

This week was kind of legislator heavy for me - I enjoyed dinner with State Representative Joel Dykstra and got a little more up to speed on a couple of the telecommunications issues, as we talked politics and etcetera. Coincidentally, another legislator was also in Pierre that evening for interim meetings, as sitting next to us were Jim Hundstad and his wife.

I don't think Hundstad recognized me as someone wh…

Project Vote Smart is getting the hint - it's election dumb for candidates to fill out.

I caught a little flack a while back for telling candidates not to fill those surveys out from Project Vote Smart.
...My advice would be to all prospective candidates - especially new ones - keep in mind that this might be the only source of information on your stance on a particular issue and the only time it comes up. So why would you throw it out there for dissection and use by your opponent?

There's a reason why participation is going down. Most voters don't give a darn whether or not you fill out an out-of-state survey. The only ones who care are project vote smart who will hound you if you don't.

I like it when my opponents fill them out - sometimes it's great documentation of where they sit on a controversial issue. Have no idea where they sit on abortion or gun control? Well, there it is. But when my candidates get those, my advice is to file it in circular bin #13.And according to the Associated Press this morning, I'm not the only one telling candidates to j…

Oops, SDEA did it again.

(Click to enlarge)
A few months back, I had written about SDEA's propensity to support Democrats as related from the 2004 election:
In the 2004 election, the SDEA PAC, EPIC supported 9 Republicans and 41 Democrats. Of the Republicans, three were unopposed, and you could argue the rest were lopsided in GOP favor.

Tom Hennies was the only Republican to earn a donation of $500 and Alice McCoy (running against Gary Loudner, so it was a shoe-in) got $200. The rest got $100 donations, while 19 of the Democrats got over the "$100 base" PAC donation.

SDEA a Democrats only club? It's possible that it's not. But when the rubber hits the road, and the support is balanced 72% to democrats and 18% for Republicans, I'd say it's not probable. (note - that's just on the people supported - not the cash.)Well, I'm glad to see that in the 2006 general election, they've proven me right again. In the August/September edition of the SDEA Advocate, out of 75 candidates…

The KKK's Retirement Center?

Top of the news this morning in the Pierre Capital Journal was an article about the Pierre Senior Citizens Center which was…. Well, let'’s just say they'’re not going to be winning very many awards on their multicultural awareness programs as related from this article (that was front page above the fold):
The Pierre Area Senior Citizens Center's most recent newsletter contained notes from the Aug. 22 Board of Directors meeting, the September calendar and a tip from the attorney general about door-to-door meat salesmen.

The newsletter also published an item, placed under the list of September birthdays and kitchen supervisors, that has drawn some criticism:

"Towel Heads - Recently I received a warning about the use of this politically incorrect term, so please note. We all need to be more sensitive in our choice of words. I have been informed that the Islamic terrorists who hate our guts and want to kill us do not like to be called 'towel heads' since the item the…

New Blog: SoDa Plains Politics

(Hat tip to SDP) A new weblog has been added to the feeds, SoDaPlains politics. One of their first posts is on the DM&E railroad project. Go check it out.

Rapid City Journal online unveils new format

If you haven't looked recently, the Rapid City Journal Website has had a makeover into a several column format with smaller type. This makeover also features a few more graphic elements, although, it's a pain to navigate at the moment when trying to go "back" from a page.

Go check it out at

Giebink for House.
Otherwise known as "What not to do in a fundraising letter."

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This fundraising letter is making the rounds across South Dakota. This one is from Sioux Falls, but I've also seen a few people in Pierre who have gotten it (an attorney or two). I've got to say that without a doubt this is one of the worst fundraising letters I've run across this year.

It's not just that it says "Dear friends." Bleaugh. It's not just that it doesn't ask for an amount and you can barely tell that it's a fundraising letter. It's an entire letter of poison prose. Here's the basic structure of the letter - you tell me if you'd send her some money on the basis of it's content:
Vote for me
Oh, there's also an envelope enclosed for some vague purpose.
Boy, that one just makes me want to get out the checkbook.

I've said before that "you need to show the need and make the pitch." In this letter, there's no illustrating why we should send HER …

Argus Leader Poll: Some people should start getting nervous

It sounds as if people are getting tired of hearing that PAC's are being used as vehicles to get around campaign finance laws.

Whalen to open Sioux Falls Campaign Office

From my e-mail box tonight:
Bruce Whalen to cut ribbon at Sioux Falls Campaign Headquarters!

Bruce Whalen, Republican Candidate for U.S. Congress, will officially open the Sioux Falls Headquarters with a ribbon cutting at noon on Wednesday the 6th of September. The Sioux Falls Campaign Headquarters is located on the second floor of the Southway Center: 2127 S. Minnesota Ave. The Ribbon cutting will be held at 12:10 with light refreshments served afterwards.

Mr. Whalen will be available for live interviews during the ribbon cutting and immediately after the ceremony. Please contact Lee Breard 605-430-7629.

What's hot at the SDWC on September 5th?

I'm rushing, trying to hammer out a quick post over the noon hour, and the blogger software isn't complying very well. I think I face this dilemma most noons, and it's a killer. And that's with two drugs, not three.

Bad jokes aside, what's happening since this weekend?

Bob Mercer is penning his weekly column which runs in many of the daily papers telling legislators, in effect, that if they want to find some money, they might consider dismantling the PUC. I'll try to get the article and comment on it more in depth tonight.

As State Senator Ed Olson leaves the helm of the MAINstream coalition, he's spending some time trying to make amends to other Republican legislators for comments he made in last week's Aberdeen American News which appeared here. I believe it's the comment attributed to him noting:
Now, Olson said, middle-of-the-road politicians need to do the same with their supporters. If that doesn't happen, he said, "extremists" will…

Healy revises financial reports for his old job. Does that make it all better?

In an article by Johnathan Ellis, today's Sioux Falls Argus Leader has former State Dem director Brett Healy talking about three campaign finance reports that he's filed revisions for. Nearly three years after the fact:
The former executive director of the South Dakota Democratic Party has amended two campaign finance reports after admitting to "bookkeeping errors" by misreporting two contributions from a wealthy Minnesota activist.

Bret Healy, who served as the party's executive director three years ago, filed amended finance reports for two political action committees he oversaw in 2003. An amended report is also being prepared for a third Democratic PAC.

Healy filed the reports last week with the secretary of state's office after questions arose about what happened to two checks written in early 2003 by Lois Quam, the wife of a prominent Minnesota politician.

The checks totaled $55,000, and were not included on the finance reports of the two PACs.
and... Nelson…

It sounds like legislators are in the mood to clear up some of the ballot initiative mess

Unlike the constitutional revision commission which had rumblings about throwing out the baby with the bathwater (but also realizing South Dakotans wouldn't go fo it) , some legislators are talking about some reform in the initiative process in today's Argus Leader:
Sen. Dick Kelly, R-Sioux Falls, said the idea has merit as part of a comprehensive look at election laws.

"We gave the attorney general more flexibility to explain the issues on the ballots, and we're getting more and more ballot issues," Kelly said. "It just makes sense to have some sort of timeline for ending challenges so the election process can unfold. I'd like to see that looked at next session, along with such things as whether petition circulators should be South Dakota residents and the whole process of getting something on the ballot. In South Dakota anymore, $40,000 or $50,000 will get anything on the ballot."

Read it all here. I'd love to see petition circulators being limit…

Nothing to do with politics, but "Crikey", how do you explain that one to the kids?

I mention it because it's a needed diversion from politics this weekend, and I used to watch this all the time with my kids. Today it is being reported that Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter" was killed today while filming.

No, it wasn't a crocodile that got him, but a stingray which stabbed him in the heart while ironically, filming a special called the ocean's deadliest. From Yahoo/AP news:
Steve Irwin, the hugely popular Australian television personality and conservationist known as the "Crocodile Hunter," was killed Monday by a stingray while filming off the Great Barrier Reef. He was 44.

Irwin was at Batt Reef, off the remote coast of northeastern Queensland state, shooting a segment for a series called "Ocean's Deadliest" when he swam too close to one of the animals, which have a poisonous barb on their tails, his friend and colleague John Stainton said."He came on top of the stingray and the stingray's barb went up and into h…

New Blog - Jason Folkerts Political Cartoons

If you haven't noticed some of the recent political cartoon entries on the Argus Leader, cartoonist Jason Folkerts has had several cartoons that have made the paper. And he has a website that you can see here at You'll also notice that you'll find his site added to the RSS feeds.

Welcome Jason, and readers, please take the time to visiti his site and comment.

Candidates - are you ready to explain where you stand on the death penalty

Who would have thought a year ago that the death penalty would be taking such a prominent role in the elections this year. But that's what's happening.

Don't get me wrong; Abortion, economic development, rural development, wind energy, etc., are all still there. But this topic once considered a long dormant or sub-issue is now in the forefront of people's minds. It could very possibly be a issue that serves as a wedge or a magnet issue for some voters this year.

So what are people thinking? What are the attitudes? I haven't located any recent studies that have targeted specific South Dakota opinions outside of the vapid, unscientific knee-jerk polling that many newspaper websites have posted. But the national data is interesting.

Some of the newspaper coverage we're seeing on the issue tries to balance their opinion between pro- and anti- death penalty sentiments, and that could lead candidates to wonder. But the cold hard fact is that there's little disparit…