Showing posts from January 21, 2007

Is this over and done with before it's debated?

(click to enlarge)

I read the Capital Journal this morning, and was pretty surprised to see that Bob Mercer is reporting that it seems that Ed Olson has made up his mind, and was promoting that view to other Senators, before a final decision was to be debated this afternoon.

Go check it out for yourself in the Pierre, Aberdeen , Watertown, Mitchell or Spearfish papers, but I was operating under the impression that the Senate would debate a decision based on the yet to be forthcoming recommendation of the Select committee.

Before two crucial steps are done, it seems like there is already strong campaigning for censure.

It's not that I mind or disagree with the decision. I think there was wrongdoing, but I question whether the conclusive evidence is strong enough to kick someone out of office.

But the bottom line is that I think we need to get through the process first.

1/29 update.

Okay, the comments are being shut down and hidden. Some of them have gotten way out of hand.

Is this a list of who's in and who's out on the impending abortion bill

Here's a hot one -

Republican District 6 Representative Kristi Noem sent out an e-mail plea yesterday to people in her District. It regards the abortion measure that I've noted is going to be filed in the legislature, supposedly by Representative Gordon Howie.

Why is this interesting? It contains a run down of (allegedly) who is, and who isn't on board the measure in the senate:
Abortion bill update from Rep. Kristi Noem

I would like to ask you all to pray. There was an impromptu meeting today of all legislators in the House who have taken a strong pro-life position.

One of our house members is considering filing a bill that would ban abortions in the state with exceptions for rape, incest, and for the health of the mother. These are the issues that most people had objections to during the initiative vote on November 7th when the Vote yes for life campaign lost its battle.

There was some dissention among the group that some did not want the bill to be filed unless we could be …

Today's the day.

Yesterday afternoon was reserved for closing arguments. But today is for decisions.

Expulsion, censure or nothing. One of those will come out of it.

What's not in dispute? Senator Sutton and Austin Wiese shared a bed. And something happened that caused a question. What that something was is in dispute.

Does the offense rise to the level of ejecting a member. Or should it be a slap on the wrist?

Or nothing at all?

A noble group statement for abstinence?

I had this sent to me the other day, and I’m not sure what kind of position to take on it.

If you aren’t familiar with the practice, it’s relatively new. Purity balls have started springing up all over as a night of dinner and dancing with your daughter in order to honor her purity and to impress upon her that her virginity until marriage is what is expected of her. And now there’s one literally in my backyard (if Chamberlain could be considered Pierre’s backyard).

Liberals and sex ed/birth control advocates have howled at the prospect of such a display as medieval demonstrations of control over female children. Advocates talk about it as coming together to honoring abstinence.

As the advertisement says “This night will help you impress upon your daughter that abstinence until marriage is the expected standard of behavior.”

So, who is correct?

Coming from an Irish Catholic background, people in my religion accomplished that through plain old “Catholic guilt” and intimidation. The notion o…

Sandy Jerstad tries to kill the death penalty.

Sandy Jerstad just gave whomever her 2008 opponent will be a massive issue. She just prime sponsored a measure to repeal the death penalty:
Senate Bill 161: An Act to repeal the death penalty and commute certain death sentences to life imprisonment.

Jerstad, Bartling, Katus, Kloucek, Koetzle, and Nesselhuf and Representatives Thompson, Burg, Elliott, Glenski, and Lucas.I seem to recall writing a while back that something in the neighborhood of 70% of South Dakotans are solidly in support of the death penalty. I would assume that these same people would compromise a significant constituency. So why would they bring such a measure?

It will probably get killed in committee, but I'd love to see an up or down vote on the floor on the issue.

Well, that saved me 2 booster seats...

KELO is reporting this morning that the House Transportation committee smartly killed that stupid bill to require kids 5 through 8 to be in booster seats.
A bill to require booster seats for children from the age of five through seven was killed today in the South Dakota Legislature.


They also say it would be difficult to enforce a law that would require booster seats for children of five through seven who are not yet 57 inches tall because police couldn't tell their ages by looking at them or how tall they are. Read it all here. Let's hope that it doesn't come back this, or any other session.

Eleanor McGovern passes away

The Associated Press reported this morning that Eleanor McGovern passed away. And later this Argus posted details on the funeral:
Funeral services for Eleanor McGovern will be 2 p.m. Saturday at First United Methodist Church, 310 N. Rowley St. in Mitchell.

Public viewing and visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the church.

Refreshments will be served at the church following a private committal service on Saturday. She will be buried a Graceland Cemetery in Mitchell.
Read it all here.

They might be referencing this book in the Sutton trial

How to touch what, By Eve Sonneman and Lawrence Weiner

Although, I'm not sure, but I think it's out of print. It must have been a popular one. has used ones available for a dollar. That could be what Brady Olson's note behind the chair in the Sutton hearing referred to.

"Hand on wiener?" Maybe he had his hand on this book in the school library. There - now the trial doesn't seem lurid and silly.

I think.

Tonight's recap.... Are we hitting every branch on the way down the looney tree?

I only caught tonight's stuff in bits and pieces. But, admittedly, there were parts that left me shaking my head:

I’m not comfortable talking.” (Well, no kidding. I'm not comfortable listening to all of this).

"I did not do what Austin is claiming" was Sutton's mantra. But it took a screeching wild turn off the road as he speculated on what he thought could be Austin Wiese's motivations. I thought he would have done himself a better service if he hadn't speculated, because I thought McMahon killed him on some of it.

So Wiese supposedly 'fabricated' a story and made frantic phone calls at what time in the night? I don't think that helped the case any.

And then... Oh wait. I took some notes on the next part, but I have to go find them. I left them under a chair in the other room.

Seriously - could this hearing involve anymore weirdness? I thought the cross examination of Austin yesterday about his facebook page (not MySpace as I've been correc…

Okay, now best three out of five.

I'm hearing that there's a little controversy from the last Sutton versus Latterell contest. No, not the primary election where Latterell beat Sutton. The contest for Brown County GOP Chair.

I'm told that apparently they have to do it all over again, with procedures to ensure that only the precinct Committeemen and Committeewomen vote (as well as eligible others), because there was a concern that others who showed up to work and participate may have voiced an opinion.

I'm not sure when the "do-over" is scheduled, but the word I'm hearing is that the results are likely to be the same.

Even more interesting, I have heard that both of them may actually run in 2008. For the same office.

Against each other.


Time to start checking for the union label on Al Hoerth.

Time to start checking for the union label on Hoerth.

Why would I say that? He’s following closely behind Gil Koetzle who is labor's most visible and vocal advocate in South Dakota. And for the labor bills that Koetzle is sponsoring, it's like Hoerth is attached at the hip.
SB 124 – repealing certain right to work provisions just in case the right to work provisions of the Constitution are removed.

And the bill that's spawning it –

SJR 12 - To propose a constitutional amendment to repeal the right to work provisions of the State Constitution.Why does this strike me as blogworthy? Hoerth's district doesn't strike me as very "labor oriented." And this "pro-union" "anti-right-to-work" attitude wasn't aired during the campaign that led up to his taking office. He was one of those running as a "new democrat."

But yet here he is, trying to kill South Dakota's right to work provisions.

Meet the new democrat, same as the old.


I had one reader drop me a note observing something that's been on people's minds lately.
There's something wrong with the whole scenario when the question is: Did the senator do something he shouldn't have when he was in bed with the page?
There's also what one reporter was thinking her heart of hearts that I couldn't express any better. I think Sheri Levisay over at the Argus Leader's Voices blog had it perfect when she noted:
Only one observation: How would we treat this whole situation if this were a coach on a trip with athletes? It’s the closest analogy I can come up with. If nothing illegal was committed, that coach would still certainly be fired, and would most likely never work in a school again. To be sure, Sutton’s primary job in the Legislature is not to work with pages, but I think it is not unreasonable to suggest that, if any sexual contact at all occurred, Sutton is not fit to serve in the Legislature.
Read that all here.

Today's action in the Sutton Hearing

Just like yesterday, if you want to catch the Sutton Hearing, go to the LRC Website and the feed for room 412 around 3:00 - 3:30pm:

Sutton Hearing

Or if you like to watch, go to, who will be streaming the proceedings live.

I'd also put in a plug for the Argus Leader's Voices weblog who, admittedly, has stepped up to the plate for live text based coverage. You can read that at

Denise Ross over at her Hog House blog is also doing a pretty good job herself. Catch text and video over at at

I got too entranced by the coverage to live blog it yesterday myself (along with Blogger's problems). Hopefully, both of those issues are resolved for today, and I'll try to get to it in about the 5pm Hour.

And for that other trial going on in Pierre.

The Reay trial reached it's conclusion yesterday with the Jury rendering it's verdict after a few hours of deliberation. Probably because that's how long it took them to fill out the forms.

If you are one of the few people who hadn't pre-judged him as guilty, guilty, guilty; there has to be something wrong with your logic and reasoning. From a friend of mine who was there to watch the closing arguments, I'm told Mark Barnett absolutely destroyed that incredibly weak and sorry story that Reay's 12 year old daughter went medieval on her mother and that he was just trying to be a helper and cover it up.

Of course, it didn't help that it was coming after he had previously tried (and failed) to frame his wife's boyfriend for the brutal murder.

This is one of those cases where I have to say, it's almost too bad they didn't go with the death penalty. It certainly seems like he might have deserved it. Regardless, with that guilty verdict that was rendered,…

Associated Press Weighs in on the Sutton matter. In all it's graphic detail.

Chet Brokaw of the Associated Press has his first story in on the day's proceedings in the Sutton case (on the Rapid City Journal website) . And he doesn't mess around with telling what went on. The article goes straight for the jugular..... well, a more accurate description is about two feet lower than that:
Wiese, the first witness at the hearing, said he did not realize the motel room had only one king size bed. He said that after he went to sleep the first night, he was awakened by Sutton covering him up and touching him. He said he woke up numerous times and felt Sutton touching him on his side, back and hip.

Wiese said he kept repositioning himself and turning over. "I was stunned and didn't know what to do," he said.

He said that when he moved, Sutton would move his hand. Wiese said he didn't say anything about it the first night but that he was confused and shocked.

The second night, after going to bed, Sutton "placed his hand on my penis. He had his…

DCI Agent - There are other victims.

While being interviewed on the witness stand for the Sutton matter, DCI Agent Brian Zeeb (who I've actually met in the past) dropped a major bombshell - Allegedly, there are other victims.

The Argus licked up on this as well:
At the close of his testimony, DCI agent Brian Zeeb was asked by the Senate's attorney Jim McMahon if his investigation had turned up other victims.

Zeeb answered "Yes I have."Read that here. If any one of those other victims can be proven conclusively, this thing can only go in one direction.

Update on Harrisburg Superintendant

I'm hearing tonight that the person who lost in the District 6 GOP Senate Primary running under the banner of being a moderate (challenging Brock Greenfield), Jim Holbeck, has been named the new School Superintendent at Harrisburg, SD.

On one hand we have have the accuser. I don't want to talk about what's in the other one.

(One of the buttons worn today by Dan Sutton supporters)
I've been listening to the Sutton proceedings for what seems like hours now.

We've heard from the accuser, and several other people giving testimony. We've heard the word "penis" over and over (and over). What have we heard at this point in the testimony?

They stayed in the hotel room together. There was a bed and a couch,
but they both slept in the bed for two evenings.

Dan bought Austin a shirt and tie. And he ironed it.

Dan had candy. And teenagers apparently hang out at his house.

There were accusations of touching, and right after the incident, those
accusations were related to the Attorney General, The local priest in Flandreau
and the High School Principal. In about that order.

Someone working for an unnamed congressman got Austin out of trouble for an
underage consumption charge out east. And he had a mySpace page that sounded
pretty darn wild.

We may (or may not) have heard the word "penis" on the ta…

3 hours to go until it's "apocalyptic pain" time

It's about 3 hours to go until the time of "apocalyptic pain" as described by attorney Patrick Duffy (not to be confused with the Man from Atlantis, or Bobby from Dallas). As far as the apocalyptic pain thing, the rest of us know it as the Sutton Hearing.

Want to listen? You can hear it the LRC webcast (as run by South Dakota Public Broadcasting) here:

Sutton Hearing
January 23, 2007 3:00 PM

Or if you like to watch, go to, who will be streaming the proceedings live (and presumably uncensored).

I'm hearing from an inside source that most of the chairs in the room are going to be taken up by the Senators, which makes me wonder why they aren't doing this in the Senate Chambers where there is more seating. Regardless, I'm thinking that Room 412 in the Capitol is going to be nigh-inaccessible, so the best option is to catch it in another location.

Keep in mind - this isn't just a hearing. For better or worse, this is history.

Should your drinking buddy be able to tell a doctor there's a DNR order in place?

Chet Brokaw of the Associated Press is writing in the Rapid City Journal this morning that Senator Jean Hunhoff is priming legislation, specifically SB 74 and SB 75, which allow "close friends" to determine whether life support should be shut off or not in the case of incapacitated people.
SB74 would provide that if no relative is available, doctors could consult a patient’s close friend, defined in the bill as someone who has provided significant care, has maintained regular contact and is familiar with the patient’s activities, health and religious or moral beliefs.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also approved SB75 and SB76, which seek to clarify and simplify state laws dealing with living wills and decisions on whether to provide artificial food and water to an incapacitated patient who is terminally ill.

The three bills next go to the full Senate.

The measures’ main sponsor, Sen. Jean Hunhoff, R-Yankton, said some people face the end of life with no relatives. A close friend…

The roster for the Sutton hearing has the lineup for the subpoenaed witnesses tonight. I spoke with one of them, and let me tell you... he's just thrilled to be here (insert sarcasm here). The duty will be honored, but it's pretty understandable that no one wants to be in the position of being in the Senate hot seat:
The following persons subpoenaed by Senate Counsel to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion during the week of January 22, 2007.

Austin Wiese
Anna Wiese
Owen Wiese
Kyle Wiese
Steven Dahlmeier
Chelsey Gassman
Brady Olson

The following persons subpoenaed by Counsel for Senator Sutton to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Discipline and Expulsion during the week of January 22, 2007.

Brandon Carr (also subpoenaed by Senate)
Michael Mohr
Mitch Fargen
Rick Weber
Brett Doyle
Rod Clark
Janna Ellingson
Shawn Powers
Noah Johnson Read that all here. No relation to me on the Powers witness, BTW. My branch of the clan comes from out east. But best of all in the hearing, asi…

Congrats to Representative Ryan and Kim Olson

I'm told tonight that District 24 Representative Ryan Olson and his wife Kim Olson, a staffer for Governor Rounds just celebrated the birth of their first child, a daughter Olivia.

Congratulations on the new parents.

(only 6 more to catch up with me, guys)

Right To Life Hour of Reflection

I just spent the last hour and a half at the Right to Life hour of reflection. I've got some video, some photos, etcetera that I'll be posting. But the big thing I wanted to note is that I had it confirmed with some conviction that an abortion ban is in the pipeline, and will appear this session.

Watch for it to have exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother, and expect it to be sponsored by Rep. Howie.

I'm going to try to get my hands on an early copy and if I can, I'll post it for you to review.

Dear God.... It's me, PP.
Please save us from the do gooders...

They're back at it again. The do gooders who are going to save us from ourselves. What am I talking about? House Bill 1134 - a measure to put everyone in Booster seats until they are age 8.
Any operator of a passenger vehicle operated on a public street or highway in this state transporting a passenger who is at least five and under less than eight years of age or less than fifty-two inches in height shall assure that the passenger is seated in a booster seat properly secured by a lap and shoulder belt system. Any operator of a passenger vehicle operated on a public street or highway in this state transporting a passenger who is at least eight years of age or at least fifty-two inches in height and less than eighteen years of age shall assure that the passenger is wearing a properly adjusted and fastened safety seat belt system...Read all of this ridiculous measure here.

With this, I'd have kids in three child seats (instead of one), down to two next month, and by this summ…

A different view on state funding for the SD Hall of Fame

I had a nice note and spoke with Judd Lindquist, the Executive Director of the South Dakota Hall of Fame himself over my post the other day on the bill that's been introduced to provide the Hall with state funds to help promote their efforts. Obviously, Judd didn't entirely agree with my position. But not in a bad way. He was entirely professional, and as such, in the spirit of debate, I offered him the space on the SDWC for another point of view.

So without further ado, here's the SD Hall of Fame making their case as to why the bill might be a good idea.

A Case For The South Dakota Hall of Fame

My name is Judd Lindquist and I’m the Executive Director of the South Dakota Hall of Fame and being simple-minded I was told at a young age, “If you always tell the truth, you will never have to remember what you said.”(Meaning I’m trying to break the ice to show I’m sincere in making the case for the South Dakota Hall of Fame requesting state funds).

The South Dakota Hall of Fame miss…

A solemn duty approaches.

From the Senate Journals:
Sen. Ed Olson moved that, pursuant to Senate Rule 8-1, a select committee on discipline and expulsion be established to investigate the conduct of Sen. Dan Sutton.

The question being on Sen. Olson's motion that, pursuant to Senate Rule 8-1, a select committee on discipline and expulsion be established to investigate the conduct of Sen. Dan Sutton.

And the roll being called:

Yeas 27, Nays 6, Excused 2, Absent 0

Abdallah; Albers; Bartling; Dempster; Duenwald; Gant; Garnos; Gray; Greenfield; Hansen (Tom); Hanson (Gary); Hauge; Heidepriem; Hoerth; Hundstad; Hunhoff; Knudson; Lintz; Maher; McCracken; McNenny; Napoli; Olson (Ed); Peterson (Jim); Schmidt; Smidt; Turbak

Jerstad; Katus; Kloucek; Koetzle; Nesselhuf; Two Bulls

Apa; Sutton

So the motion having received an affirmative vote of a majority of the members-elect, the President declared the motion carried.

The President announced as such committee Sens. Knudson,…

They're baaaaack...... Hillary to run for White House

KSFY News (and just about everyone else) is reporting this AM that New York Senator Hillary Clinton is making a run for the white house in 2008:
Democratic Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton embarked on a widely anticipated campaign for the White House on Saturday, a former first lady intent onbecoming the first female American president."I'm in and I'm in to win," she said on her website. Clinton's announcement, days after Senator Barack Obama shook up the contest race with his bid to become the first black president, establishes the most diverse political field ever.Clinton is considered the front-runner, with Obama and 2004 vice presidential nominee John Edwards top contenders. New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who would be the first Hispanic president, intends to announce his plans on Sunday.Read it all here. Here's a question I've got - which SD politicos are lining up besides whom? I noted that my friend Todd Epp sent out an e-mail on Edwards. Republ…

More support than they might have thought?

I was cruising the financial reports tonight when I noticed that the report for the "Save our Summers" group was filed in the question of Initiated Measure 3, which failed about 57 to 43 percent, meaning that our school year would remain the same.

With the understanding that I was (and am) against this measure, what caught my attention was that the group only raised and spent $6586, which really didn't provide them much advertising at all - and it still was 57 to 43%. They spent less on the campaign statewide than many candidates did in individual legislative races.

I was kind of surprised with that lackluster initiative to press the measure coming from the tourism industry.

Imagine if they'd mounted a significant campaign with a complete package of television commercials, and a multi-week campaign of newspaper ads and direct mail. It might have been enough to put them over the edge.

Hmmm... Food for thought.

Light posting tonight. I discovered Media portal.

Aside from being bushed from doing the weekly back and forth from Brookings, I'm trying to get my ducks in a row for later this week.

I'm going to be making a point to spend some time at the peanut caucus on a regular basis, and I'm also trying to figure out whether I'm going to live blog the Sutton evening hearings from home (or if I'm going to show up for the audience and blog after the fact).

I'm also taking some time out to configure my PC with Media Portal. What is it? Think Windows XP Media Center version on steroids... And it's free. Interested in downloading it? Go here.

Yes, I'm a techno-geek at times. A friend had told me about the XBMC project, but in the process, I found a similar program for the PC in Media Portal. It turns your PC into a media center without some of the headaches and hardware costs you might experience otherwise. It also allows you easy access to pictures slide shows and music.

So all you readers (and fellow bloggers) with a T…

Argus Leader Reporting the Sutton hearing is full speed ahead

Despite reports late last week of State Senator Dan Sutton leaving Pierre on Thursday, with no word on his return, the Argus is reporting this AM that it's full speed ahead for the hearing this next week:
The state Capitol will be thick with lawyers this week, a sure sign that tumultuous events are unfolding inside.

Lawyer-lobbyists typically ply the halls during legislative sessions, but the disciplinary hearing to investigate Sen. Dan Sutton is sure to draw more barristers than usual.

Sutton, a Democrat from Flandreau, is represented by two of the top defense lawyers in South Dakota. The Senate, which is holding the hearing, is represented by former U.S. Attorney Jim McMahon. Attorney General Larry Long and others from his office also are expected to be on hand.

Then there's former governor and congressman Bill Janklow, who recently got his law license back. Janklow represents the high school page who accused Sutton last year of sexual misconduct.


Once you count 35 senators…

Say.... Who's paying for this? Is Rapid City's municipal government choosing up sides in a political campaign

In today's Rapid City Journal:

(Click in image to enlarge)

Apparently Rapid City has a bond resolution coming up at the end of the month which most people in the know believe will be referred to a vote of the people. And now, mysteriously, just ahead of the bond resolution we have what I'd consider a campaign ad.

But where's the disclaimer? And who's paying for it?

I think I've come down on this type of issue before when I questioned whether or not public tax dollars were being used on the telephone ballot issue. They're certainly being used in the educational lawsuit being brought against the state.

And now, from reading the language in the advertisement, it's entirely possible that public funds are being used on yet another campaign - the expansion of the Rapid City Civic Center.