Showing posts from December 24, 2006

25,000 visitors for the THIRD month running

I figured my October numbers were because of the election, and while I might experience a decent first week, they'd drop off in November. But they didn't.

And now for December, while I've had a slight dip, I'm still running at 25,000 visitors monthly.

That's teriffic. Thanks for your continued support and patronage.

There will be tons of good stuff coming up as we approach session. I need to drop a few pounds anyway, so I plan to use my lunch hours to haunt the 3rd and 4th floor of the State Capitol during session.

And if you have a hot tip for me, don't hesitate to drop me a note at

If you get the Sundance Channel, you HAVE to watch this.

I just caught the documentary by British filmmaker James Rogan titled "Blog Wars." If you get this channel, set your TIVO, or else find someone who has it. It's worth your while to watch it.

It's a great look at how blogs can still embody the wild west of the internet, but can also shape political coverage. My favorite quote? "Someday, someone with their video camera is going to be at the right place at the right time, and they'll change the course of an election."

Clearly this was filmed earlier. Because all I could think of was the George Allen "Macacca" comment. And how I need to get a little video camera that I schlep around with me. I have to start hitting the events and toting it along. And try not to feel so darn dorky when I do so.

Focusing on the Connecticut Senate race, it was amazing to see how just plain jane bloggers like myself were taken seriously, and how candidates in races to come need to engage bloggers as a potent political f…

Dale Hargens seems to have a slight case of Pot/Kettle blackness.

Dale Hargens is in the Argus today noting that he wants to sanction Roger Hunt for not filing campaign finance forms he believes should be filed (despite the law's ambiguity). Of course, Roger claims that he's within the law because of loopholes in it:

The Democratic leader in the South Dakota House says lawmakers should discuss whether state Rep. Roger Hunt should be reprimanded.At issue: Hunt, a Brandon Republican, failed to identify the person who gave $750,00 to a corporation that contributed it to the unsuccessful abortion ban.

House leader Dale Hargens of Miller said earlier this week he intended to challenge whether Hunt should be able to serve as a state representative next session.

On Friday, though, he said he doesn't think he can do that legally."It looks like here's no way I can stop him from being seated," Hargens said. "But at the very least, he ought to be censured in some way for the campaign report."

Hargens said he is investigating way…

No.. This measure won't be controversial. Not at all.

The AP is reporting in the Rapid City Journal that a plan is circulating and will come forth as legislation to close most school districts with fewer that 200 students.
A group of lawmakers who served on a state task force will propose a measure that would require many school districts with fewer than 200 students to consolidate by July 2009, Senate Republican Leader Dave Knudson of Sioux Falls said. The state would put together a merger plan for any of those schools that do not consolidate by that deadline, he said Friday.

The consolidation plan would not apply to sparsely populated school districts, mostly in western South Dakota, that cannot consolidate because distances between schools are too great, Knudson said.


Of South Dakota's 168 school districts, 48 have fewer than 200 students, according to the task-force report. But nine of those districts are considered to be sparsely populated, meaning distances to nearby schools are so great that consolidation would be difficult…

If a protest was held and a reporter hadn't been called.....

I read that yesterday the South Dakota Peace and Justice Center held a protest outside Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth's office. And one is left to ponder the ethereal question: If a protest was held and a reporter hadn't been called..... Would anyone have noticed?
In Rapid City, about a dozen people (my emphasis - pp) read the names of some of the 2,984 U.S. military deaths to date in Iraq in front of the congressional offices of Rep. Stephanie Herseth, D-S.D., before moving to the offices of Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., to do the same.


"As many have remarked in recent months, there are no good options left in Iraq." Herseth said. "What is clear is that we need to do more to train and equip Iraqi security forces so that we can turn over a stable democratic Iraq to its leaders. Like all South Dakotans, I am extremely proud of the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces, and I share concerns regarding the safety of our soldi…

The Prefiles are here for 2007

The prefiled bills are starting to arrive in the hopper. And a couple of them have very political implications.

HB 1004 revises and amends sections of the law on state vehicle use to just apply to state airplanes.

Senate Bill 3 mandates that constitutional amendments and referred measures have to have petition circulators who are county residents of the county they are circulating petitions in.
What else.... Oh yes, there's also these...

BillTitleSJR 1To propose a constitutional amendment to revise certain provisions regarding the legislative process.SJR 2To propose a constitutional amendment to require certain meetings of the Legislature to be open to the public.SJR 3To propose a constitutional amendment to repeal certain voided provisions regarding term limits for United States senators and representatives.SJR 4To propose a constitutional amendment to revise certain provisions regarding private and special laws.SJR 5To propose a constitutional amendment regarding certain restriction…

Senate seating arrangement is on-line.

I see the Senate Seating arrangement is out..

While they didn't put Frank Kloucek directly next to BJ Nesselhuf or Dan Sutton (per Frank's very public request), they did put Frank in a position where he will have to stare at the back of Dan's head. That is, at least until the rule violations are heard.

It looks like Dan will be in the Senate for a little while. I'm told that last Friday was the deadline given to him by his caucus mates to resign. With yet another ultimatum deadline having come and gone, Dan is dead set to put the Senate on a collision course with history.

What else? According to the chart, Frank's new seat mate is Democrat Tom Katus. And Sutton's seat mate? None other than Republican Senator Brock Greenfield.

(I'll have to ask Brock if this is intended as punishment for he or Sutton.)

Senator Johnson turns 60. Still under sedation as South Dakota holds their nightly vigil. What's going on here?

It has almost disturbingly become habit among South Dakotans to check the news in the evenings to check for signs of improvement for Senator Johnson.

It's not like we stand at the precipice waiting for nuggets of information to fall like the national media, to eat them up and regurgitate them with the commentary of our favorite tele-doctor. On either side of the aisle, we care about the guy. He might be our neighbor, or the man our candidate ran against for mayor (or in this case, U.S. Senator). For gosh's sake, as noted on this website, my wife and kid were taking pictures with him this summer.

So we're genuinely concerned.

And we take strong note and pay attention when the Associated Press tries to play our emotions like a roller coaster as in the latest from the AP/MSNBC:
Dr. Vivek Deshmukh, head of Johnson's surgical team, said in a statement that the South Dakota senator's overall condition has improved and he is gradually being weaned off sedation to help his br…

CCK: Hargens to challenge seating of Rep. Roger Hunt

Chad over at the Democratic Clean Cut Kid website did a post on Friday that I finally caught today. Apparently, Democratic Minority Leader Dale Hargens plans on challenging Republican Representative Roger Hunt's being seated as a member of the new legislature:
State Represenatative Dale Hargens (D-22), last night on South Dakota
Focus, was asked how he intends to deal with Representative Roger Hunt (R-10)
who blatantly broke campaign finance laws this past election by hiding the
identity of an individual who spent $750,000 in a failed attempt to influence
the voters of South Dakota.

Hargens' response:I might as well let the cat out of the bag right now.My intention is to challenge the fact of whether or not he can be seated or not as a state representative.We do have somebody who has taken an oath. Not once but twice. Once as an attorney and once as a state representative to uphold the constitution of South Dakota and the laws of the state of South Dakota. And he thumbs his nose at …

Support the SDWC

I wanted to take a moment to say "Thank you very much" to a few of you who have been willing to click on the "beg button" or otherwise support the SDWC.

Your support is what helps keep this little political website going. So to the rest of you, if you read me for your daily fix of hard politics and other politically related nonsense, and you haven't done so yet, please consider supporting the War College.

KCCR News reporting that President Pro Tempore Bob Gray finalizing committee assignments

KCCR News is reporting that Senator Bob Gray is finalizing committee assignments. Where do things sit?
One reason for the delay in releasing the assignments was the uncertainly over Flandreau Democrat Dan Sutton, who has been accused of groping a male page. There had been talk that Sutton might resign, but that hasn’t happen. Sutton, who had four committee assignments last session including State Affairs, is only on two this year – Agriculture and Retirement Laws.

Gray says that decision was made after input by others – including Democratic leaders.

Among the chairmen for some of the more notable committees are Assistant Majority Leader Tom Dempster of Sioux Falls, State Affairs, Ed Olson, Mitchell, Education, Gene Abdallah, Judiciary and Jason Gant, Sioux Falls, Government Operations and Audit. Gray will chair the Legislative Procedure Committee and will be vice chairman of both the State Affairs and Commerce Committees.
Read it here.

Legislature might lift cap on liquor licenses?

The Associated Press is reporting this AM in the Rapid City Journal that the legislature might lift the cap on on-sale liquor licenses. Who would oppose it? Those who already have them:
The number of licenses a city or county may have is tied to population.

Dave Owen, president of the South Dakota Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said some consider the issuance of liquor licenses a quality-of-life issue.

“More and more cities are finding the kind of restaurant chains they want to attract won’t come in unless they can offer a full-beverage menu,” Owen said.

and...Caren Assman, executive director of the South Dakota Retail Liquor Dealers Association, said her organization opposes any expansion of the availability of liquor licenses because licenses already in hand are valuable.

“My businesses have invested in that liquor license. To just open up the cap would be like pulling the rug out from underneath their investment,” Assman said.Read it here.I'm tossed on this one. I certa…

The media doesn't get it again....

Dave Kranz was writing yesterday in the Argus Leader regarding some coffeehouse chatter about political consultant David Bokorney, and the value of his house. Supposedly, because David has a nice house, he's been rendered unelectable:
First, consultants, aides and any behind-the-scenes players generally don't run for anything. Significant in public assessments of possible candidates: their real estate holdings.Memory is fresh about how former Sen. Tom Daschle was pounded in advertising by John Thune's campaign for his $1.9 million home in Washington. That home was prominent in the message that he was out of touch with South Dakota voters.

and...His residences in Sioux Falls and elsewhere would make Daschle's home look like a small house in Goodwin. His $3 million house on a Sioux Falls hill for starters would likely be fodder for any Republican primary opponent or a Democrat in a general election.Read all of that (plus a report of Ron Volesky's application fo…

What was with that?

Sorry about the overnight outage. Blogger was doing something that caused the site to crash. I ended up having to republish everything.

My Predictions for 2007

As we wind down the remaining days in 2006 and dust off the party hats for New Years Eve, the time is coming upon us to think about the future. The time has arrived to dig the dusty magic 8-ball out from the toy box

Were my predictions worth a darn last year? I've got to think about that. What were my predictions for 2006?
1. A Republican Congressional Candidate will be recruited.
(got that right)
2. Ron Volesky is the Democrat's man for the Gubernatorial race. And that's
(Close, but that was tough. Ron had a track record of running. Not
3. Medical Marijuana is NOT something we'll be voting on this year. Neither
will the Alcohol Tax.
(half right)
4. Dems forgo fielding a lot of constitutional level candidates in favor of
legislative ones.
(dead on)
5. Mainstream Coalition runs some election ads, but otherwise lays low.
(They didn't get to the level of running ads, and instead issued position
papers, so I'll call this close)
6. Blogging continues to march onward.

R.I.P. President Ford

President Gerald Ford has passed away at the age of 93:

I was 8 years old when Ford became president, and to my young mind was the first person I remember being President. I remember lots of talk about watergate in the few months before, but it was pretty confusing talk for a young kid. I could put my arms around the concept of president, though.

From my impressions watching and reading the media, Ford struck me as a nice guy. A decent human being. I remember him as being mocked on Saturday night live for taking a few tumbles, but it didn't dim my impression of him.

In his years out of the presidency, that impression was never tarnished. He still came across as an everyman. A good person who you'd like as your neighbor. (Even Homer Simpson had that pleasure one episode).

An everyman who you'd enjoy as your neighbor. I can't think of a better compliment for someone who ascended to the presidency. He was one of us.

But who will get the coffee?

Here's a tip I got last night. We'll know in short order whether or not the rumors are true.

Normally, the South Dakota State Senate has 4 sessions of different legislative pages. And during each of those sessions the Senate hosts 10 high school kids.

What did I just hear on this? There will not be the same number of kids. In fact, I'm told that the rumor is that numbers are down.

Why? Well, that whole Dan Sutton thing has thrown a bit of a wet blanket on the interest level of kids to come to Pierre to fetch coffee from the cafe' for legislators and to update their bill books.

As a legislator related to me, one future page's dad approached him and very clearly stated "if that Sutton thing is not dealt with, there's no way my kid will ever do that."

I can't blame the dad. Heck, with my oldest child having the name of "Paige," I'm considering calling her by her middle name until this all blows over.

You know, I wouldn't want her to be ex…

Christmas at the SDWC

I was working on my Christmas "themed" message for this year, and I was debating back and forth whether or not to just re-post last years' Christmas message, or to do something new. Last year's message was about tolerance and mutual respect. But it didn't seem to fit as well as another theme this year.

In light of the family of Senator Johnson spending his 60th birthday and Christmas in the hospital as they pray for his recovery, a theme of Christmas tradition and family seems much more timely. We all have our Christmas traditions, but they exist in our minds less as set procedure and more as good memories.

In other words, the things that get engraved in our minds as family traditions are that which reinforce the feelings of togetherness and fellowship. The good stays and the bad goes away.

The things my wife and I have kept from each other's Christmas traditions and turned into our own involve the memories of family and fellowship they invoke.

The advent calenda…