Showing posts from April 15, 2007

It's not about the gun - it's about the gun owner

In yesterday's Pierre Capital Journal, it was reported that Governor Rounds had some comments to a group about how South Dakotans need to retain their pro-gun attitude in the face of a madman shooting up a campus:
Gov. Mike Rounds said that despite tragedies like the recent shooting at Virginia Tech, South Dakotans will continue to recognize the importance of gun rights.


He said his heart goes out to all the victims, but added after the speech that people in this state understand that it was not the gun that was responsible for the incident.

"In this particular case I'm sure that there will be some individuals that will use this and say we should do something about the second amendment," he said. "I think in South Dakota people understand that the gun is not the issue here. In this case, it's the individual that perpetrated the crime."Read it all here. It's not on-line yet, but in today's Capital Journal, the associated press is reporting t…

Johnson's office issues correction to Congresswoman Herseth statement.

From the Pierre Capitol Journal:
Although a local U.S. Representative recently said U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., could be back in the Senate by this summer, a spokeswoman from his office still will not give a timetable for his recovery.

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., told a Pierre audience last week that Johnson would be working part time in the Senate by this summer and in outpatient care within the next few weeks.

"I can't confirm or deny, to be honest with you, other than to say that he's doing great," said Johnson's spokeswoman Julianne Fisher. "He continues to do really well. He's in good spirits so that's really fun actually."

Herseth Sandlin said Johnson's daughter Kelsey works in her Washington D.C. office and that is partly how she has been getting updates on his recovery.Read the whole story here.


Just a thought to leave you with tonight.

As I'm trying to get a few boxes pulled together to bring over to Brookings tomorrow, I'm finding that I have too much to do, and too little time. So blogging is taking a back seat until later. But to accompany the Tuesday post I did on today, April 19th, I wanted to note something that even I didn't know until recently with regards to the commemeration of the plane crash 14 years ago today.

This is a recent addition to the State Capitol. In addition to the Fighting Stallions memorial, this stained glass was placed at the entrance of the Capitol to commemorate the loss to the families that day. According to the write up:

The stained glass window above the center front door of the Capitol was installed and dedicated on January 11, 1996. It was donated by the Capitol Club and is dedicated to the eight families who were victimized by the April 19, 1993 state plane crash. The design of the window is done in segments of eight to symbolize the eight men who lost th…

Is it just me, or is this going to be a really expensive incarceration?

Wednesday, the same jury that found Daphne Wright guilty of murder, spared her life. It took eight hours of deliberation for the jury to come to the decision which was passed down at 8:30 Wednesday night.

Wright will have to spend the rest of her life in prison for the kidnapping, murder, and dismemberment of Darlene VanderGiesen.So they gave her life in prison based on the information they had at hand. To me, It brings up a few issues of how laws are going to apply for accommodations at the state prison for people with disabilities.

Is passing notes sufficient? Or is our state corrections budget going to have to fund multiple interpreters in the women's prison? Or would it be cheaper to incarcerate her in another state where they've already made such considerations?

She might be paying for her heinous crimes, but with a life sentence, the taxpayers are going to be paying for them for a long, long time.

Campaign Cash - Thune way out front

Reports have been been trickling in, but the campaign cash reports are out for our federal representatives:

Senator John Thune - $2.15 million in the bank - up for election in 2010.
Senator Tim Johnson - $1.2 million in the bank - up for election next year.
Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin - $329,366 in the bank - up for election next year

Read it all here at the Argus Leader.

Johnson Staff memo on Senator Johnson's return

The Washington Post's blog "Capitol Briefing" had an interesting memo from Julianne Fischer posted several days ago. Check out what the Johnson spokesperson had to say about handling questions about his return:
From: Democratic Press Secretaries [mailto:REDACTED] On Behalf Of Fisher,
Julianne (Johnson)
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 3:53 PM
Subject: Update from Senator Johnson's Office...

Hey, everyone - I thought I would touch base quickly from the Johnson office
to thank you all again for all of the support you have given Team Johnson. I
only wish I had a nickel for every time someone has asked us for a timeline
or a firm date for his return. He's receiving regular briefings from staff,
following the news, reading memos, etc. While I can assure you he would much
rather be here than where he is, we are still not releasing a date.

The Senator is doing great and making wonderful progress. You may soon be
seeing stories about some physical changes to Senator John…

Sandy Jerstad on her first session. Trying to put a positive spin on her success (or lack thereof)

First-term Democratic Senator Sandy Jerstad is writing in the Tea/Harrisburg Champion tonight on how we should not only judge the session on the measures that passed muster among both legislative chambers and the Governor, but we should judge it on what was blocked.

No, really:
I learned about the process of committee work, how bills are introduced on the floor, and about lobbying. I learned that new legislators are probably not going to get any bills passed, although they can certainly help get other peoples’ bills passed. There is definitely an unspoken policy that new legislators are not supposed to speak often, and that experienced folks take the lead on everything. And that is as it should be.


The legislature was given a very poor grade as a whole by the media, which was appropriate. We didn’t accomplish a great deal for the people of South Dakota. However, two things should be noted: first, there are two separate chambers, the House and the Senate; and there are two separate …

And there was that little court decision on that abortion thing today....
With comments from the Executive Director of SD Right to Life

One of my commenters under a prior post was giving me the business for not being johnny-on-the-spot on the SCOTUS decision upholding the banning of the partial birth abortion procedure.

Guys, I work for a living, OK? For as long as I can remember, I've taken my lunch from 11:30 to 12:30 with occasional deviations (there's better parking at 12:30 than 1). I was back at work by the time the decision was publicized, so I had to wait until now to unleash the topic on unsuspecting commenters.

So, as reported by the Associated Press in the Rapid City Journal:
The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench. The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

The opponents of the act "have not demonstrat…

This just keeps going downhill.

How do you preface such a thing? It seems at times like I'm beating a dead horse when it comes to integrity issues with Rapid City councilmen, but then another separate incident comes up.

The Rapid City Journal has a story on the front of the Local section today where councilman Mike Schumacher is involved in yet another controversy:
Alderwoman Deb Hadcock blasted fellow council member Michael Schumacher on Monday for failing to publicly own up to an e-mail critical of her that he sent to the council in December using a phony name. She also aired suspicions that Alderman Sam Kooiker was involved in other false e-mails sent to the council last year.

Schumacher admitted to sending a phony e-mail, but Kooiker denied any involvement.


According to several council members, Schumacher was confronted by the entire council in an executive session last month and urged to make a public apology.

Hadcock said because Schumacher had failed twice to apologize to citizens and the council, she…

Butte County GOP Golf Tournament

I'd have to go to this thing (that is, if I could swing a golf club to save my life).

The Butte County Republicans are holding their big fundraiser for the year - the annual Golf tournament. You if any of yo GOP golfers are inclined, you know where the place to be on May 19th is.

(Click on flyer to enlarge)

700,000 by tomorrow!

As you can tell from my stat counter (as screen captured above) tomorrow will likely mark the SDWC's 700,000th page hit. It's certainly worth noting as far as I'm concerned.

Thank you all for your readership.

And if you're so inclined to help keep things going for another 700,000 page visits (about 2 1/2 years), your support of the SDWC is always appreciated. (Just hit the infamous "beg button" up on the right hand side of the page.

And if you are in need of an attorney, please patronize our advertiser - the DeMersseman Jensen Christianson Stanton & Huffman law firm.

April 19th

This Thursday, April 19th, marks the 14th anniversary of the crash of the state airplane which killed Governor George Mickelson and seven others.

On that day, please take a moment to remember them, and all the others who selflessly serve to forward the interest of South Dakota as a whole - be it in government or the business community.

Too scary for belief

The Rapid City Journal is reporting late this AM that Rapid City Central high school is in lockdown at the moment - only a day after the worst campus violence in our Nations' history:
Witnesses at the scene reported that Rapid City Police officers and Pennington County Sheriff’s cars were stationed around the building and that some officers had guns drawn as they arrived.Read this developing story at the Rapid City Journal

Bad Fire Chief. Bad, Bad Fire Chief *Updated*

The City of Brookings Fire Chief is on involuntary leave tonight after he did a bad thing:
Brookings Fire Chief Darrell Hartman has been suspended without pay for
three weeks.


Sheriff Marty Stanwick says two former sheriff's department employees
vandalized one of his campaign signs last October. He says it happened
while they were riding in a city-owned vehicle being driven by Hartman. Read it all here at

There's got to be more to this than we're hearing.

*UPDATED* - The Brookings Register story is finally on-line with more information:
Brookings County Sheriff Marty Stanwick said he filed a complaint with the City of Brookings on March 30 after he learned that Hartmann, while driving his city-owned fire vehicle, was a witness to a vandalism that occurred last October and the fire chief never reported it to police.

Stanwick said that last fall, the two county correctional officers vandalized one of his campaign signs, located on 22nd Avenue across from the city go…

Watertown Public Opinion: Stop the lobbyists!`

This past weekend, the Watertown Public Opinion publisher, Mark Roby, penned a scathing editorial absolutely ripping apart tech school lobbyist (and former Republican Legislator) Mitch Richter for his action on the tech school bill.

It wasn't one of those articles leaving you to ask him not to hold back. Because nothing was:
For more than four years now our Watertown School Board and LATI administration have approved spending about $25,000 per year , when matched by the other tech schools, totaled more than $100,000 per year for a lobbyist charged with finding a solution to chronic funding problems. The lobbyist Mitch Richter, is a former Sioux Falls legislator.

What have we gotten for this sizable investment?

In my view, nothing. Maybe worse.


The Watertown School board should immediately end payments for lobbying for a change in control. We ought to learn our lesson now, and stop paying for this "expert" advice which led us down the path to a solution nobody wants. Rea…

Taxes, Education, Economic Development... and now water

For as long as anyone can remember, the top issues in political elections across South Dakota have involved Taxes, Education, and Economic Development. Abortion can come and go (it's in full swing lately) but historically it's not a major issue in every election.

Lately, water keeps popping to the forefront. And it might lead one to wonder if it's going to rise to be a permanent issue in South Dakota elections. Why? Simply because it seems as if there's not enough of it.

Towns and villages on the northern Missouri river are losing their source of municipal water as the corps of engineers continues to let the mighty Mo' dry up. Around Pierre (an issue which affects me directly) the rural water provider has put tapping the supply to a halt - crushing non-municipal housing development.

And Rapid City and Sioux Falls continue to struggle with dependable water supply as you might note noted in today's column in the Rapid City Journal by Mike Sanborn:
The good news from…

Speaking of Senator Thune, he was quoted in "the HIll" yesterday on Gonzales

Speaking of Senator Thune as I did in the past post, I see he was quoted in the on-line edition of the Washinton insider publication "The Hill" regarding embattled attorney general Alberto Gonzales:
Many Republicans have adopted a wait-and-see pattern with regard to Gonzales, but are careful not to back him squarely. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said it is not time for the attorney general to resign, though he also noted that there is cause for concern.“There have been some pretty serious questions raised about his performance, and those questions have to be answered,” Thune said. Asked about Gonzales’s chances of remaining on the job, Thune said he had a better chance of winning his NCAA basketball pool than to setting any odds for what the future would hold for the attorney general. Read it all here.

After getting diverted to Denver this past weekend, all I can say is "hear hear!"

After getting diverted to Denver last weekend when I was supposed to be flying to Pierre, I don't have a bit of sympathy for the airlines - and I'm glad to see what can only be divine convergence in Senator John Thune's announcement of legislation forcing airlines to post their performance on delays and other problems:
Sen. John Thune says he wants to do something about the inconveniences and annoyances sometimes experienced by airline travelers. Thune has introduced legislation in Congress to give travelers more information about airline problems.


His legislation would make airlines publish their performance statistics — such as the percentage of on-time departures and delays for each passenger flight.Read it all here in the Rapid City Journal.

Do you hear what I hear? Thoughts of redistricting are in the Air

Terry Woster has a story in today's Argus Leader that Republicans should pay great heed to - Democrats are focusing their efforts on the 2010 races. Not just to gain seats - but to gain the upper hand in re-districting:
South Dakota Democrats are linking a search for candidates and a fundraising push to the next legislative redistricting in 2011.

Democrats never have controlled either house of the state Legislature during a redistricting year, a party mailing touting the "Our Time to Lead/2011 Club" says.

The redistricting hook is part of an initiative to build on gains in the state Legislature made during the last election, said party Executive Director Rick Hauffe.


"When we talk about 2011, we are seeking to retain the value of winning five state Senate seats in 2006, and how we are now in position to go the rest of the distance," Hauffe said.

The focus on redistricting is both practical and political, Hauffe said. It gives donors something tangible to target…


From Denise Ross over at the Hog House Blog:

I'm not sure if I could put a better caption on that photo, taken as Democratic Senator Tom Katus was noticeable as the only legislator who dared to show up at the environmental activist event this weeken in Rapid City.