Showing posts from October 1, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: Jack Billion's two positions on the death penalty


I was perusing the Rapid City Journal this AM when I read the story about Jack Billion and the Death Penalty in the story titled: Billion says questions about execution remain by Kevin Woster:
Jack Billion said Thursday that he believes the death penalty is “an acceptable alternative” in South Dakota but stopped short of saying he would have allowed confessed murderer Elijah Page to be executed in August.


Billion also said he didn’t have enough information to say whether he would have allowed Page to die in August. Billion said he doesn’t believe that the death penalty is a deterrent against crime but would honor the wishes of the majority of South Dakotans who support capital punishment.

Asked if he believes in capital punishment, Billion said: “In my heart, I believe the death penalty is an acceptable alternative. But I also think it needs to be re-visited.”Wait a minute. I KNOW I've read somethi…

Billion/Rounds Debate in Spearfish. Moderated by Kris Kringle

Governor Mike Rounds debated challenger Jack Billion in Spearfish yesterday as reported in the Rapid City Journal (where this photo is from). The debate was moderated by Santa Claus:
The Republican governor answered challenges from his Democratic opponent, retired Sioux Falls surgeon Jack Billion, during a debate at the annual conference of the South Dakota Municipal League. When Billion questioned the effectiveness of the governor’s economic development policies, Rounds noted the state’s nation-leading 20.5-percent increase in per-capita personal income during his first three years as chief executive, as well as the addition of 18,000 jobs statewide.

“And those are good jobs. They’re not low-paying jobs,” Rounds said.

In addition, the gross state product has grown to a new high of more than $29 billion, Rounds said.

Billion questioned the governor’s numbers on job creation, saying Rounds had previously used different figures. Whatever the actual number, Billion said, they were created by…

Do you have all of your legs under your campaign media plan?

I was talking the other day with a candidate about their media plan. You know, how they intended to get their name out in front of the voters. And he told me about the newspaper ads he was doing. And how he was going door to door. And how he was doing TV and Radio.

I thought “That’s great!” And I asked him what he was going to do for direct mail.

He replied, “Oh, I’m not doing direct mail.”

What?!? No direct mail?How can that be? Blasphemy! That violates the rules….

Well, ok. Maybe it does, and maybe it doesn’t. There really are no set rules for what does and doesn’t work in each and every district. It can depend on your area and it’s own individual characteristics. And as I do more and more of this stuff, I’ve come up with a theory on campaign media. And I'm even going through the exercise of putting it to paper, because there are times I don't think of it myself.

What's my theory or "model" on campaign media? Think of it as "a chair."

Okay, it might seem c…

More ads in need of a band-aid

Lest it be said that I just pick on members of the opposite party, here's a couple more ads that I ran across that show that Democrats don't hold a monopoly on campaign advertising that needs help.

The first one is from Republican Representative Ted Klaudt who is running for State Senate:

"District 28 needs a senator with 8 years of experience. That is why District 28 needs Ted Klaudt. Why waste his experience? " It doesn't work for me in a sentence format. It's definitely a "clunky phrase." Why would it now work if you wrote it with two different fonts?

I think you could make this concept of experience work, but this ad isn't it. (Ted, drop me a note, and I'll help you put something together besides this.) A Picture or a campaign graphic would help make it stand out from every other ad in these small town newspapers he's advertising in.

And there's also the ad for Jean Hunhoff, another state rep making the switch to the State Senate:

I'm glad he's not one of ours.

(click to enlarge)

You know, I can't imagine why someone described Hundstad as the "Kloucek of the North" to me today. Nope. No Idea.

Oh, and as far as my campaign ad analysis goes: See the above ad?

Don't do this. Ever.

Amendment E - two radio commercials from the opposition

The No on Amendment E committee has two pretty cute campaign commercials out there that I was able to get copies of for your listening pleasure.

The first one is a take off on the old game show "Pyramid"

Click here to listen

And the second, a take off on "Jeopardy"

Click here to listen

I love the tagline - "With Amendment E, nobody wins."

Nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof.

I'm alternating between nervousness and elation, and my adrenaline is pumping as I get myself all worked up. I'm trying to settle my stomach down, which is a little difficult because I'm all keyed up.

Why am I bouncing around the room? I've been asked to an interview tomorrow for the No on Amendment E weblog that Tim Gebhart and I write (Tim is doing it as well). And it's a national level interview with a National Press "Broadcaster of the Year" recipient among this reporters several other awards.

I'll probably stink. But once it has been broadcast, regardless of my own inadequacies, I'll link to it if it's out there on the Internet.

So, I might have light posting tonight as I prepare.

Do you think I should refer to Bill Stegmeier as misguided or eccentric... And, do I question Bonniee Russell's motives at a national level... So much to consider, so little time..

Bruce Whalen Ad /Herseth Planned Parenthood Teleconference call

Here's some of the recording referred to in the previous posting. Stephanie Herseth speaking regretfully about being from a state with so many Republicans.

Listen to it here. (mp3 file)

Could you clarify that? I'm not sure if you were clear enough..

If South Dakotans weren't clear about Congresswoman Herseth's position on abortion, I think there's little room left for argument now. In an article in today's Rapid City Journal generated from a Whalen campaign press release, Herseth is on tape talking about all the pro-choice groups that have endorsed her:
Republican U.S. House candidate Bruce Whalen says Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth revealed her true feelings on abortion rights in a statement she made to pro-choice groups.The Whalen campaign issued a news release this week that contained quotes from Herseth taken from an August telephone conference call with Planned Parenthood officials and former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle. The conference call was aimed at defeating Referred Law 6, the near-total ban on abortions to be decided Nov. 7 by general-election voters in the state.
The Whalen campaign pointed to excerpts from the conference call, which were posted on a Web site, as proof that Herseth has a more …

Chasing Murderers? Nah. Going after Drug Dealers? Nope. The Pennington County State's Attorney is chasing... Unintentional Oath violations

KNBN-TV is reporting tonight that Pennington County States Attorney Glen Brenner is going after his big case to make his name on a statewide basis... Or not. He's spending man-hours and taxpayer dollars going after GOP Senate Candidate Dennis Schmidt for a clerical error:
The Pennington County State's Attorney's Office says they are looking further into allegations that the Republican candidate for the District 33 Senate seat lied under oath. Dennis Schmidt swore under oath when he declared his candidacy that he was a member of the Republican Party. It wasn't until five days later that he officially registered with the GOP. Schmidt says the registration problem was a mere oversight that he quickly corrected. Pennington County State's Attorney Glen Brenner says he has contacted Sheriff Don Holloway to assign an investigator to look into the perjury allegations, but before they can do that Holloway says they needed more information regarding the st…

SDPB candidate videos: Districts 1-12

South Dakota Public Broadcasting has been doing a series of 2 minute candidate videos this year to help candidates bring their issues forward.

The more cynical among us might call them "don't cut our funding during the summer study" videos.

Click on any of the following links to view the candidate videos for those who traveled to Vermillion to get them done. And thank god that TV is not a dominant form of candidate communication in South Dakota.

Some candidates are relaxed and their spots are well done. Some are a bit... stiff.

There's one I watched today where I'd term the candidate "master thespian" with his ridiculous gestures and clear case of "acting" for the camera.

Regardless, check out these 2 minute videos in "Real Media Format," courtesy of South Dakota Public Broadcasting.
District 1
Clayton Halverson (D) House Veblen
David Sigdestad (D) House Pierpont

District 2
H. Paul Dennert (D) House Columbia

Howie: God told me to run.
Ratliff: A polled Hereford is an entirely different animal than a South Dakota woman.
Gordon Howie: Amen

The Rapid City Journal reported today that last night's legislative campaign forum at the School of Mines sounded a bit... interesting. From the Kevin Woster article:
District 30 incumbent Republican Rep. Gordon Howie - who said in a recent campaign solicitation that God called him to run for the Legislature - defended actions by the 2006 Republican-controlled Legislature that critics have labeled extreme because of conservative moves on social issues such as abortion.


Howie took a public pummeling last year after he compared pregnant women to pregnant cattle in a legislative crackerbarrel. On Tuesday, he criticized "moderates" for supporting causes such as abortion on demand and same-sex marriage.


District 30 Senate candidate Catherine Ratliff, a Democrat, began her short presentation by offering to give Howie a tour of their district, as well as a short Darwinian lesson in species identification.

"He can look at a polled Hereford and can know that it's a…

Check this out from next door to SD. Wetterling uses Foley in campaign. And facts don't get in the way.

From Hugh Hewitt:
“It shocks the conscience. Congressional leaders have admitted to covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the internet to molest children.”

That quote comes from a new campaign ad by Patty Wetterling, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Minnesota’s 6th district. You have to admit, it’s pretty impressive – in two introductory sentences, Wetterling ably and completely misrepresents two of the key facts of the Foley scandal.

It’s important to put this commercial in context. It’s already been linked to by Markos Moulitsas who gushes, “Patty Wetterling in MN-06 is already using Foley in an ad. More will follow.” We should also recall Nancy Pelosi’s promise last night to tar every Republican candidate with the Foley scandal.Once again we get an unhindered view of the Democrats’ campaign philosophy: Offer pure bile, unconstrained by any fidelity to available facts. As has so often been the case in recent history, the last days of a campaign seas…

Sign, Sign, everywhere a political sign. Except in right of ways...

What's the law on campaign signs? You're guess is as good as mine.

From today's Argus Leader:
Politicians who put up campaign signs along Minnehaha County roads will be reminded to remove them within five days after the Nov. 7 election.

However, that is the only regulation that Minnehaha County has in place governing such signs.

"We do not regulate the location or size of political signs," planning director Scott Anderson told the Minnehaha County Commissioners Tuesday."The only thing we regulate is that they need to be removed within five days."Read it all here.

Compare that to the ordinance on campaign within city limits of Pierre, considered the most restrictive in the state:
With the exception of bumper stickers placed on licensed motor vehicles, no person shall place or display any political candidate or election issue signs on public or private property prior to two weeks before any election and all such signs shall be removed the day following the elec…

Democrats Common ground platform.
Okay, cut to the chase. How much?

In an article in the Rapid City Weekly news, the Democrat's presented their common ground plan. My question - Come on people. You can't tell us what this is all of this going to cost, can you?
In an effort “to appeal to all South Dakotans east and west, rural and urban, Democrat, independent as well as Republicans,” Lena said, “this agenda is common sense, balanced and established sound fiscal policy.

“Our proposal establishes a new direction for South Dakota. We call this proposal Common Ground.”

Backed by 90 Democratic legislative candidates, the Common Ground platform has three basic tenets:

♦ Your paycheck … bigger
♦ Your tax money … used responsibly
♦ Your family’s future … brighter


“In the 2007 legislative session Democrats will introduce legislation that directly benefits the pocketbooks of South Dakotans,” said Hemmingsen. “These include tax free zones for small business start-ups, raising minimum wage … ,” at this point the small library conference room echoed with app…

KELO: Poll shows 65% of South Dakotans in favor of raising cigarette taxes

Raising taxes isn't usually popular. However, a recent poll showed nearly 65 percent of South Dakota voters are in favor of increasing taxes on tobacco products.

If approved in November, initiated measure two would add one dollar of tax to each pack of cigarettes in the state. It would also raise the tax on other tobacco products from ten percent, to 35 percent. The projected revenue from the additional tax would be about 30 million dollars a year for South Dakota.


However, opponents of the proposal say higher tobacco taxes are unneeded.

Craig Dewey of the “Americans for Prosperity” groups says, “Currently, South Dakota has parity among neighboring states with current levels of tobacco tax. If approved, South Dakota would have higher tobacco taxes than every neighboring state except Montana."

The group, Americans for Prosperity, says it would hurt small businesses near bordering states with lower tobacco taxes.Read it here.

There's a moral conundrum; Is it better to vote in ignorance, or to hold your tongue?

The Associated Press (via the Rapid City Journal) reported today on a difference between Governor Rounds and his challenger, Jack Billion.

The Gov says if you aren't familiar with a measure, it's probably better to vote no. Jack Billion disagrees:
Gov. Mike Rounds says he will vote to raise tobacco taxes and keep video lottery, but he says people who don't understand issues that will be on the Nov. 7 ballot should vote against them.Democratic challenger Jack Billion says he also will vote to increase tobacco taxes and keep video lottery, but he says it's bad advice to urge people to vote no on issues they may not understandand..

I (Rounds) just simply tell people, 'Look, if you don't have an opportunity to look at it, and if you don't have the opportunity to really study the issues, it's always better to just vote no than it is to go back in and take a chance and guess.'"

That's especially true with tax measures, Rounds said, because th…

If a clip-on tie isn't a qualification for Governor, I don't know what is.

From one of the readers. Thanks "R."

WIth that clip-on, either he's qualified to be Governor, or to greet people as they go in to Wal Mart.

A couple of more advertisers, one of which is another shameless plug for myself.

A couple of notes on advertisers:

For those who have asked me, No, I don't have the phone number of the young lady in the "Yes on 6" ad. Although, I believe she's working for the campaign.

And if you hadn't noticed, I've put up two new advertisers today. One of which is Vince Foley for Circuit Court judge, so please check his website out at Vince noted he's a regular reader, so If you could give him a look, it would be greatly appreciated.

The other advertiser? That's where the shameless plug comes in.

I've done a few campaign t-shirts this season if you recall the Sattgast "silly goose" convention shirts, and the "Greenfield for Senate" baseball style shirts, and it got me thinking.

I was thinking that it might be worth my while to tell readers that if you're looking for an inexpensive campaign t-shirt for your campaign workers or as giveaways - Republican, Democrat, or other, drop me a note. I'…

Comings and goings (and I finally address that PUC rumor)

It's more "comings" than "goings" today, but what have I heard out there?

Former GOP campaign staffer Mike Mehlhaff Jr. is taking a paid position with the Jarrod Johnson for School and Public Lands campaign from now through the election.

I'm told that former GOP staffers Hugh Weber and Doug Loen are once again doing work on behalf of the state GOP for this election cycle.

There's another few campaign staff movements, but at least one hasn't gotten back to me as promised (*cough* G, drop me a note when I can go with it*cough*)

The big rumor floating around last week was that PUC Commissioner Dusty Johnson was going to be leaving the PUC to take the position of Bob Miller with the South Dakota Electical Utilities when he retires. Aaaaannnnd... that one went nowhere.

I spoke with Dusty himself, and he confirmed that "the rumor is false." I'm sure the rumor got started because many out there see the job as a natural for Dusty, given his curre…

When politicians usurp the role of a parent

The Whalen for Congress campaign sent out a release yesterday which troubles me in so many diffferent ways.

The release started out with the statements she made in support on her position on abortion on a National Planned Parenthood teleconference:Herseth: “I’m calling from South Dakota to tell you a little bit about choice politics in our state.” “Myself and Senator Johnson, you know, we’re both pro-choice,” said Herseth recently on a teleconference that Planned Parenthood sent out. She went on to say: “I was proud to be endorsed by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Emily’s list in 2002 and in 2004 again in this election cycle…voting for someone who believes in protecting a woman’s right to choose.” At the end of the day, she's entitled to her personal position on abortion. That's not to say that voters might not decide to take issue with it at some point - but she is entitled to her position.

But then the release goes into an issue that kind of gets my goat. The issue of parental no…

SDWC weighs in on Foley e-mails and messages to page: Ick, and you bet he ought to be investigated.

The Democratic blogs are doing a lot of finger-pointing at my side of the aisle over the Congressman Mark Foley thing. And as a parent of six kids, I'm going to weigh in on this myself.


If it's true, Foley has breached the decorum of his high office, as well as abused the trust of those young people serving our government to further their education. If the investigation shows the accusations are warranted, he should be fully prosecuted under federal law.

I don't care if it's a Republican Congressman from Florida or a Democratic State Legislator from South Dakota, or a non-partisan Judge from Iowa. Party doesn't matter in these types of situations. What's wrong is wrong. People in positions of authority not only have the requirement of following law, they have the added responsibility of being in a position of leadership.

An elected official allegedly asking a 17-year-old male page if "he's horny," among other things deserves a swift and severe…

A new month, a new advertiser, A cheap plug. Still lots of room left!

As you're probably noticing, I've got a new advertiser. The Vote Yes on 6 campaign was nice enough to purchase a couple of ads to promote their website and campaign.

One of their ads is up at the top, and the other is on the left just underneath the Yes on 2 campaign who bought their ad early. That's in addition to the other advertisers such as Jarrod Johnson for School and Lands, Dan Lederman for State House, Bruce Whalen for Congress, and everyone who has purchased an ad at the top. It's a long list, so bear with me:
Senator Brock Greenfield,
Representative Alan Hanks,
The Retain Judge Zell committee,
Steve Kolbeck for PUC,
SD Yes on 8 (Cell phone tax repeal),
Tammy Weis for State Senate,
Rebecca Cradduck for Senate,
John Koskan for PUC,
Katy Dressen for House,On a couple of them such as Greenfield and Hanks, they don't have websites, so I linked it to their legislative profiles.

I'd also be remiss for not mentioning Gordon Swanson for Judge in the text links on the r…

Howard Dean: Honoring and helping Native Americans when it's convenient for a sound bite.
Where are the DEMS in the media?

Howard Dean was in Rapid City several weeks back, and some of his visit was covered by Kevin Woster where in the lead-up to the visit, it was noted:
Howard Dean, the outspoken and controversial chairman of the Democratic National Committee, will stop in Rapid City Wednesday to meet with American Indian leaders and local Democrats. State Democratic Party Chairwoman Judy Olson Duhamel of Rapid City said Saturday that Dean is coming to western South Dakota to learn more about tribal issues and to energize party faithful heading toward the November general election.


Olson Duhamel said Dean is committed to developing a better understanding of problems facing American Indians in South Dakota. That is an important part of his visit, she said. In today's Rapid City Journal, Kevin points out that when called on further to discuss some of what he was preaching, to the benefit of Theresa Spry, one of the Democratic candidates who was a tour guide at the Soo-San hospital serving Na…

Here's a hard lesson that should give candidates pause: Before you take out a petition, make sure your ducks are in a row.

Dennis Schmidt is finding out the hard way that if you haven't run for office before, make sure you check your registration before you take out your petitions. Because in his case, as reported in the Rapid City Journal this morning, he didn't.

And now it's turning into a headache for a race in which he had previously been considered a easy win:
With five weeks to go in his general-election campaign for the South Dakota Senate, Republican candidate Dennis Schmidt is facing more than the typical questions about taxes, teacher pay and abortion laws. He also is answering charges that he broke state law last January when he officially declared his GOP candidacy without being registered with the Republican Party.

Nine months later, he says the registration problem was a simple oversight that he quickly corrected. And he rejects assertions by his critics that the registration problem casts doubt on his true party philosophy and his fitness for public office.

“It was just an ov…

Representative Ted Klaudt: Amendment D is Revenue Neutral

I had promised this one the other night. State Representative Ted Klaudt wrote a column in the Faith newspaper where he mentioned that Amendment D was "revenue neutral."

Without taking judgment on it one way or the other, it's an interesting concept to consider; that a constitutional amendment re-writing the way property taxes are assessed could possibly contribute no more or no less to government coffers:
By Ted Klaudt

Thanks for all the calls, emails and people who wanted to visit with me about the my last weeks article on Amendment C. I can see it is well worth my time to write these reports. This week I want to explain the issues in Amendment D. I want to remind you to feel free to clip the article out of the paper and save them for future references.

Amendment D is a change in the South Dakota Constitution that will completely change the State constitutions article XI, Section 2 dealing with the assessment of real property. The way it works now is the County Assessor …

Argus spins story on creationism to their own point of view. Or did they? How can you tell in the "new Argus"

The "new" Argus Leader did a story this morning on the resolution passed by the State GOP convention this summer on alternatives theories to evolution as well as possible proposals to include alternatives to evolution in state educational curriculum:
"To the extent possible, I would carry the water for that bill," said state Sen. Brock Greenfield, a Clark Republican who stirred the pot this past session by pushing through draconian cuts to South Dakota Public Broadcasting, which later were rescinded.

But as much as Greenfield supports the notion that students ought to be taught both creationism and evolution, he's uncertain about legislation. He'd sponsor such a bill only if someone asked him to do so. And he wants to be careful about getting into a losing court fight.

"I'm not looking to get myself out there on a limb that can't hold me," he said.


"If the bill were introduced, I'd be inclined to support the idea of teaching kids…

Former States Atty to Judges: I'm wishing you'd fall over dead.

Do you think this is going to affect his standing in the legal community? Two judges have filed recusals for hearing cases filed by Robert Chavis after he had some light criticism for them. Okay, so it wasn't light criticism. He was merely wishing for their deaths.

The Yankton Press and Dakotan originally reported it, and the Rapid City Journal picked it up (which is where I read it):

Two South Dakota First Judicial Circuit Court judges have recused themselves from hearing future cases brought forth by a former Yankton County state’s attorney after they said he left a voice message asking why they couldn’t “fall over dead.” According to a joint recusal filed by judges Arthur Rusch and Glen Eng, Robert Chavis left the message on the local circuit court voice mail Sept. 18 after the death of First Judicial Circuit Court Judge Lee Anderson.

Rusch and Eng state in the recusal they can “positively” identify the voice as belonging to Chavis.


Chavis apparently believed he was le…

Aker has harsh criticism for Rapid City's Tom Johnson and Jim Shaw

Former Republican Legislator and Rapid City Journal columnist Alan Aker has some harsh words for Rapid City Alderman Tom Johnson and Rapid City Mayor Jim Shaw in his column this weekend as he makes the case that the seat belongs to the constituent, not the elected official:
I thought about that day when I read about the recent scuffle in the Rapid City Council chambers in which Alderman Tom Johnson accused Aldermen Sam Kooiker and Mike Schumacher of being liars. Specifically, he used the terms “pack of lies,” “not honest,” “deceitful,” “bullying,” and “overbearing” in describing Kooiker and Schumacher and statements they had made outside council chambers.

Schumacher and Kooiker denied lying or doing anything wrong, and I believe them. But that’s not the point. Even if you believe everything Johnson said about Kooiker and Schumacher, Johnson’s outburst was wrong and destructive, and he owes an apology to Kooiker, Schumacher and his constituents.

Johnson lacked legislative temperament. Som…

Once again - THANK YOU to the SDWC Readers

Love me or loathe me, I owe you all another big thank you as I seem to do every month. For the second month in a row, the SDWC's readership has jumped by 1000 visitors to over 18,000 visitors for the month of September.

What does that mean in terms of page views? During this past month, I've had over 40,000 page views of this website during the same period.

(For doubting thomases, the graphs on this page are coming from sitemeter, not me.)

So again, thank you.

In the coming months, as I'm trying to figure out to do with my life, this website will very likely continue to be a part of things.

So, love me or loathe me, there are no plans for me to go anywhere.