Showing posts from April 29, 2007

Argus Letter to the Editor: Johnson's condition more serious than we're being told

The Letters to the Editor page in the Argus today contained one of the first public criticisms of Senator Tim Johnson or his staff for their handling of Senator Johnson's debilitating medical condition:
We have been assured that things are on the mend with Johnson. If that is the case, the senator might consider a news conference or an occasional press release to assure those of us who are represented by him that he is in fact on the road back to productivity.

My suspicion is that the senator's condition is much more serious than he or his staff has seen fit to admit. This South Dakotan is not comfortable when elected officials put themselves and their ideology above the best interest of those they represent.
Read it all here.

This is a tough one to comment one, because I think the author (Randy Amundson) comes off as harsh, and maybe a bit insensitive. But on the other hand, a few points he tries to make are valid.

The Senator is very ill, and has a long road ahead of him. That…

This rippled through Republican politicos yesterday. Just a bit.

From Tony Mangan at KCCR News:
Rounds support

Even though the election is still three years away, Governor Mike
Rounds says he has already decided who to endorse for his job, if that person

Several Republicans are already looking at running for Governor in 2010
since Rounds will be term- limited. One of those considered as a possible
candidate is current Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard.

While not mentioning Daugaard by name, Rounds says he would support his
running mate if he chooses to run. Rounds says he chose Daugaard because of his
ability to replace him if something would happen. Rounds says his thoughts on
that have not changed.

Daugaard has not publicly announced yet if he is a candidate. Rounds
says he will endorse Daugaard if he decides to run. Rounds and Daugaard served
together in the state Senate.
Go read KCCR News here.

Wow. This is early, but not entirely unexpected.

I think the biggest question in politicos minds is how this is going to affect the relationship between Governor…

SD Chapter of Concerned Women for America Blasts Herseth on Hate Crimes Vote

The State Director of the Concerned Women for America just added to the dogpile of commentators blasting Congresswoman Herseth for her support of the selective hate crimes legislation that was just passed by the House. (This same legislation is also facing a presidential veto):

New Holland , SD - Concerned Women for America (CWA) of South Dakota regards the passage of "The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act" (H.R. 1592) as troubling for all citizens and for the integrity of the United States Constitution.

"Hate crimes" legislation would officially give homosexuals and cross dressers special elevated status in society based upon their sexual behaviors and/or wardrobe. "We find it disturbing that the U.S. House and Representative Herseth-Sandlin voted to elevate special classes of victims based solely upon their sexual preference and gender …

What about those other groups? Herseth denies hate crime protection to vets and seniors.

A bill was introduced in the United States congress recently to provide additional funding for the prosecution of hate crimes.

HR 1592 the `Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007', protects several groups of people in an effort to protect against violence based on "perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim."

Recently, Republicans offered an amendment to this legislation to expand on who would be protected to include veterans, soldiers, and senior citizens as a protected class under the Hate Crimes bill, since sometimes people in those classes are victims of violence because of their status.

As you'll note here, on this mostly party line vote, South Dakota's representative, Congresswoman Herseth-Sandlin, voted against providing additional protection for veterans, soldiers, and senior citizens from violence directed at them. But in the final vote, she extended that same…

Great. That's just great. DMV creates a free speech martyr.

Let me just say, I couldn't agree less with the message on the license plate in the following story. I couldn't agree less.

But then, someone over at DMV decides, "let's take a minor annoyance, and turn it into a news story on free speech." For several days. That will probably hit the national press.
Heather Moriah loves the personalized license plates on her silver Prius encouraging the impeachment of President George W. Bush.But somebody doesn’t agree. And that somebody complained to the state. Now, the South Dakota Division of Motor Vehicles is trying to recall the plates -- which read MPEACHW. And if Moriah doesn’t turn them in voluntarily, the state might send law-enforcement officers to pick them up.Even so, she’s not immediately inclined to cooperate.“I don’t think I’m going to play,” Moriah said Thursday afternoon. “The plate isn’t in poor taste. It‘s not sexual in nature or pornographic. To me, a political message should not be considered offensive.”and..…

Don't hold it in. Tell us what you're really thinking.

Former Governor Bill Janklow had a full page advertisement in the back of the Capital Journal today praising recently retired GFP chief John Cooper. He praised Cooper for his many years of distinguished service in an often thankless job.

But that's not what got my attention.

What got my attention were the flames specifically directed at the Sioux Falls Argus Leader for their recent take on Cooper's retirement:
The Sioux Falls Argus Leader, a former journalistic enterprise now essentially reduced to being a medium for advertising flyers, marked John Cooper’s recent retirement by offering a story that began: “Man of integrity or lying scum?” The newspaper quoted a chorus of John’s critics, including one, who, after admitting, “I don’t know him personally,” did not let that ignorance stand in the way of pontificating about his professional career.

In attributing the source of some of the criticism, the newspaper fell back upon the ever-mysterious “they,” which is always a convenient …

Banking the benjamins instead of spreading it around.

There are several articles in the mornings news, Associated Press and otherwise regarding Governor Rounds' speech to the National Retired Teachers Association how funding from schools have gone up, but instead of it going towards teacher pay, school districts are squirreling it away for a rainy day:
Rounds says the state has given schools an extra 30 million dollars in the last four years while school districts have increased their budget reserves by 31.5 million dollars.

Lawmakers approved another 24 million dollars for the coming budget year, and the governor says he hopes that most of the extra money will be put into salaries and efforts to improve education.Read that here. The Pierre Capital Journal has a more extensive story on the topic, which isn't on-line yet. (I'll put it here over the noon hour.)

This isn't the first time I've heard this. This past session, it was brought up in various legislative forums, including in Rapid City where I was told the Democra…

Dave Kranz: Who cares if we have an election in 2008 - it's all about the Gov

Dave Kranz is writing in his Argus Leader column today that despite all the recent chatter on the US Senate and Congressional Race (which he kind of got going with one of his last columns), more people are paying attention to those that are running for the 2010 Gubernatorial contest:
Even though some believe the Republican gubernatorial race will add up to a herd of candidates, political handicappers say it won't be as many as once thought.Most often heard in the speculation of "definite" candidates is Daugaard, state Sen. Dave Knudson, former House Speaker Matt Michels and former state Sen. Lee Schoenbeck.

Political observers say Knudson and Schoenbeck seem to be making the most inroads. July 1 will tell whose got the money advantage.

Sen. Scott Heidepriem continues to be regarded as the only "sure bet" candidate to seek the Democratic Party gubernatorial nomination.Read it all here.

Rapid City Journal Editorial: Good Riddance Mike Schumacher

The Rapid City Journal didn't recently show a lot of love for it's former employee Mike Schumacher who is at the center of a couple of swirling controversies. (This time it's for the faked e-mails critical of a fellow city commissioner.)

The editorial which appeared this weekend basically said "He's not running again? Probably better that he isn't." Harsh words for someone who used to work for the organization:
That’s why it’s disappointing that aldermen have been bickering among themselves over, of all things, phony e-mails being sent to the council and mayor. What’s worse is that they talked about the bogus e-mail matter — and thought they had it resolved — in executive session — closed to the public.


Hadcock made the matter public at the April 16 council meeting, during which she said it was inappropriate and unprofessional for Schumacher “to play games” and that he told the council he sent the e-mail “because he believed it was funny.”

Well, it’s no…

This got ratcheted up a bit. Rapid City School District now dealing with the bishop

You knew this was going to happen. After the controversy yesterday of the Rapid City School District picking on the catholic schools, now they're going to be facing off with the Bishop. And very likely, a lot of catholic constituents who happen to be voters as well:

As reported in today's Rapid City Journal:
The exclusion of a Catholic-school team from an invitational track meet at Sioux Park on Tuesday has raised a public discussion about allegations of sports recruiting that have been muttered in private for months. It also prompted a flurry of phone calls throughout the day Tuesday between officials for the Rapid City School District, the Rapid City Catholic School System and even Bishop Blase Cupich that will lead to a group meeting on the issue later in the week.


The fact that decisions by adults cost the track-team members for St. Elizabeth Seton the chance to compete this week had some Catholic-school parents questioning the commitment to students stated by Wharto…

Healy joins the SDEA

What happens when you lose an election in South Dakota?

Many people take some time off to reflect on the controversies, the continued and extended political battles, and the warring between the political parties.

But not Bryce Healy. He's jumping back into the thinck of all of those things with his new job at the SDEA as reported by KCCR News:
Bryce Healy has gone from a job dealing with education funds to a job advocating for educators.

Healy officially today starts his new job as the executive director of the South Dakota Education Association. The organization, which represents more than 7,000 educators statewide, is based here in Pierre.


That challenge, Healy says, will include making sure SDEA works with other educational groups on issues during the legislative session. Healy says cooperation is the key.

Healy says he plans to spend time initially learning about the issues involving SDEA.Read it all here. I might be teasing Bryce a bit, because he's an awfully nice guy.…

Mitchell Daily Republic is jumping on the bandwagon to sound the Johnson for Congress horn

The Mitchell Daily Republic spent some time tooting PUC Commissioner Dusty Johnson's horn today in an article touting his candidacy for Congress:
There are at least two obvious reasons that some Republicans want Dusty Johnson to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.

In a 2004 campaign for a relatively obscure post in state government, he won more votes and raised more money than the 2006 Republican candidate for South Dakota’s House seat.

Johnson, a Mitchell resident, won a spot on the Public Utilities Commission in 2004. In doing so, he garnered 196,974 votes and reported receiving $194,905 in campaign contributions. Conversely, Bruce Whalen earned 97,864 votes and raised $150,447 last year in his failed bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.


Another consideration in Johnson’s decision-making process may be the status of Herseth Sandlin. Some political speculation has her running in 2008 for the U.S. Senate seat currently occupied by Democrat…

South Dakota Democrat to run for President.
No, Tom isn't getting into the race.

I noted it in passing that a South Dakota Democrat has entered into the Presidential Primaries. And it wasn't Tom Daschle.

Although, none of the other South Dakota Democrats seem to be endorsing this long shot candidate, as they've signed on with Obama in the case of Tom Daschle, or Edwards who has Congresswoman Herseth's support, or any number of other presidential hopefuls.

Dang them for picking someone who has a snowball's chance in hades. Because Karl Krueger is in the house:Could the next president of the United States have been at the 2007 Mid-America Trucking Show?

Not likely. But truck driver Karl Krueger, a self-described conservative Democrat, is going to give it his best shot. One of his catches: He won't accept any campaign donation more than $50.


Krueger's ambitions may raise eyebrows. If you watch Fox and CNN, you won t find his name sprinkled among the McCains, Giulianis and Clintons. That s because he hasn' t talked to the major media outl…

The Tim Johnson issue is still out there like this white elephant.

If you can't tell, The Tim Johnson issue is still out there like this white elephant. It's there, and we don't know how to handle our feelings on the matter. One one hand, we want him to get better. On the other...... well, as illustrated by the Yankton newspaper, we're starting to ask questions.

The Rapid City Journal came out this morning, and was the perfect illustration of why the way his staff is handling this is getting to be irksome to the people of South Dakota.

Yesterday, I noted how I hope the guy gets well, and does so quickly. I do, I really, really do, because I'm in the position where I have a child who is receiving rehabilitative services. But at the same time, I'm not keeping my daughter sequestered as his staff is.
Julianne Fisher said there’s little doubt that Johnson, who is mentally sharp, will be back in his office and back casting votes on the Senate floor.

“I think South Dakotans should definitely know that he’ll be back. It’s not a question …

Rapid City School District punishes the Catholic Kids. Why? Because they can.

In the Rapid City Journal this morning, there's a Kevin Woster story how the Rapid City School District disinvited the St. Elizabeth Seton Junior High school team who had regularly attended the event because they thought the people at the Senior High might have been recruiting athletes.

And the school district isn't saying why they're exhibiting their bias against the catholic school. Just that they are.
The Seton team, which is part of a Rapid City Catholic School System that includes St. Thomas More High School, was not invited to compete at the popular middle-school meet this year. That was a break from tradition that Catholic-school coaches and administrators suspect could be payback over allegations of improper recruiting of athletes by Thomas More.

“They wouldn’t let us in,” St. Thomas More principal Wayne Sullivan said Monday. “I just think it’s a shame because kids are the ones who are being hurt. We’ve always been invited to the West River Invitational.”


Mark Fo…

Yankton Press and Dakotan Poll: Will he or won't he?

The Yankton Newspaper isn't pussyfooting around on the issue tonight -

Do you think Sen. Tim Johnson will run for re-election in 2008?Yes

Go vote at (left hand side of page)

Who's your man? (or woman)

One of the readers pointed out to me how many comments that the Dusty Johnson congressional post got, and asked me to revisit the issue, so here it is:

Who are your top two picks (either party) for the 2008 US Senate, and the 2008 Congressional Race and why?

Tim Johnson released from rehab

I just got back into Pierre, and caught the story on the Argus Leader website about Tim Johnson being released from the rehabilitation hospital as he prepares for more therapy on an outpatient basis:
"As I continue with my therapy, I also get more and more work from the office," he said. "The doctors tell me to pace myself and prepare for the long road, but I am determined to get back in the saddle."

Johnson will continue speech, physical and occupational therapy five days a week for several hours each day on an outpatient basis, according to the statement.

Robotic treadmill training is an important part of the senator's recovery, according to Dr. Michael Yochelson, director of brain injury programs at the National Rehabilitation Hospital.Read it all here at While I'm sure our politics may disagree on many points, I do hope his continued recovery is successful.

I'm sure it's incredibly frustrating. My youngest at the moment continues i…

Interesting moments in Rapid City Politics
If there was ever an opportunity for payback...

Until someone mentioned it to me today, I don't think I had ever heard this one before.

As I'm told, this last year in the Sioux Falls Mayoral race, candidate for mayor Vernon Brown (also on the city council) had an endorsement radio ad done for him in the contest by the Rapid City Mayor Jim Shaw. (UPDATE - I'm hearing that it was NOT Vernon Brown - it was Darrin Smith. My Bad -pp).

Fast forward a year later.... And the embattled mayor is not Dave Munson, who survived the contest, but Rapid City Mayor Jim Shaw who is coming off of a string of controversies, including his very public arrest down at the Iowa State Fair.

So are we going to see any payback? Will a Sioux Falls councilman do an advertisement for Shaw?

Or will Mayor Munson's phone start ringing with various Rapid City mayoral candidates asking him if he "remembers that ad that Jim Shaw did?"

Speaking of Rapid City politics, did anyone pay any attention to the Letter to the Editor in the Rapid City Journ…