Showing posts from May 20, 2007

Kebhart officially announced for Senate. No, I didn't see it anywhere either.

Brandon Bennett of the Black Hills Pioneer had an interesting job the other day. Apparently, he's one of the few people who covered "the official announcement" of Spearfish Republican Sam Kephart's challenge of Tim Johnson for one of South Dakota's seats in the US Senate. (Kephart had announced his intentions last week which got quite a bit of attention, but this is the official kickoff).
"This is like the last scene in Thelma and Louise," he said. They have their foot on the gas, nothing is said, and they drive off a cliff. That's the Congress. They just push ahead and don't ask the American people what they want."

Kephart went on to say the American people are being lied to when it comes to the war in Iraq.

"Why can't the government tell us this was about oil all along? We have 120,000 troops watching oil wells and we keep getting told this isn't about oil but democracy."


He had kind words about current South Dakota S…

State to UFWS: It's over

The controversy between the US Fish and Wildlife Service the state of South Dakota has hit the boiling point. According to a report at - it's over:
South Dakota’s long-standing agreement to help federal officers enforce laws protecting migratory birds and other wildlife will end Tuesday because controversial U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent Bob Prieksat has not been fired or reassigned, the chief of staff for Gov. Mike Rounds said Friday.
Rob Skjonsberg said FWS officials failed to meet their obligation to respond within 60 days to his demand that the agency replace Prieksat as the three-state law enforcement supervisor in Pierre. Skjonsberg said he will now make good on his threat to end the agreements that authorize state Game, Fish & Parks Department officers to work with Prieksat and other FWS agents in enforcing federal wildlife laws in South Dakota.


State officers can still enforce a variety of state laws and regulations affecting wildlife. Bu…

Daugaard confirms again that he's in

Tony Mangan over at KCCR news posted a story this am that Lt. Governor Dennis Daugaard is definitely "IN" as a candidate for Governor less than six months after Governor Rounds started his second and final term of office:
Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard confirms that he has started organizing his campaign to run for Governor in 2010.

Daugaard, a former state senator who is from Garretson, is the executive director of the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota. He says his main efforts so far have been to solicit both support and money from statewide Republicans.


Daugaard has served as the lieutenant Governor for Governor Mike Rounds for the past five years and Rounds has said that he will endorse Daugaard. But Daugaard says he also will have to be his own candidate running his own campaign.Read it all here at KCCR News.

What does the future hold for our school districts in the face of an aging population?

The Governor recently spoke to students and faculty out at the High School in Spearfish - here's what the Black Hills Pioneer had to say about it:
With nearly 60 faculty, staff, administrators and community members in attendance, Rounds spent almost three hours in Spearfish in order to address local education issues. One of the main points the governor continued to express was how well Spearfish students are excelling academically despite the tough budget cuts.


Spearfish High School junior Paul Gainey sat with his fellow debate team members and also inquired about the state's contribution to education. He asked the Governor for advice on how a community such as Spearfish, with nearly 80 percent of its population living in retirement, can get additional funding when an opt out is simply not possible.

Though Rounds couldn't give a clear answer, he did note that he is optimistic about the future of South Dakota Schools.

With the state education funding formula based on enro…

UFWS Agent Speaks out on GFP Case

Kevin Woster has a big story today in the Rapid City Journal on the very politically charged case of the State of South Dakota versus US Fish and Wildlife service. For the first time, the person at the center of this swirling hurricane, Bob Prieksat, offers his opinion on it all:
Federal game warden Bob Prieksat said Thursday that the public attack against him by Gov. Mike Rounds and his chief of staff is at least partly rooted in a 3-1/2-year-old investigation of former state Game, Fish & Parks Secretary John Cooper in a Black Hills elk-hunting case.

“Yeah, it was directly related,” Prieksat said Thursday, during a rare interview on the issue.

But Chief of Staff Rob Skjonsberg denied that Cooper was behind the push to oust Prieksat from his job as three-state law-enforcement supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Pierre.

“If Coop had wanted to push it three years ago, I very likely would have supported it then,” Skjonsberg said Thursday. “Coop never brought that threat …

Gorilla Revealed?

The Wall Street Journal is on the Gorilla Story, and has this speculation from a couple of locals who've done some independent cyber-sleuthing:
Several landowners say they've been told the company would employ a technology or process not currently used in the U.S. That may point to a new type of fuel creation, such as a plant that converts coal into a liquid fuel that can be put into regular diesel engines, a process in use in several countries. Such a facility could generate electricity and produce ultraclean diesel, jet or other fuels.

In the past few weeks, Messrs. Cody and Curry stumbled onto some tantalizing new evidence. They got word that a man named Richard E. White is the "R.E. White" whose signature is on land-option papers filed at the courthouse. Mr. Cody searched the Web, and found a detailed biography of a Richard E. White of Findlay , Ohio , who's a former senior executive at Marathon Oil Corp.

Mr. White, who played on Indiana University 's 1953 n…

This one seems to be getting a lot of attention on the Dem Boards.

This clip of Neil Cavuto interviewing a person from Planned Parenthood and Leslee Unruh (as captured by seems to be getting a lot of attention.

I'm not sure that Leslee is doing herself any favors by steam-rolling over her debate opponent as she did.

CQPolitics.Com - profiles on SD challengers to Johnson

Congressional Quarterly is profiling the two main challengers expected against incumbent Senator Tim Johnson who has been out of commission for a while with a brain injury caused by a congenital condition.

After they rehash the details on Senator Johnson, they get down to business on profiling the two people who are actively expressing interest in the race:
Dykstra: a Conservative Party Pro

Dykstra, who is assistant leader in the state House, describes himself as a “pro-life, fiscal conservative Republican.” He said he is testing the waters to see whether a Senate run would be feasible.

“I believe strongly that the system requires that we have credible candidates on both sides and that the incumbent have credible challengers that present options to the electorate,” he said.

So far, the response he is receiving for his possible bid has been “generally positive,” Dykstra said.

Dykstra cited two issues as vital to South Dakotans : health care and security. The high costs of health care and ins…

KEVN FOX in Rapid City has big series on PACs in Rapid City races

The FOX TV station out in Rapid City had a big series of stories this week on the influence of PACs in Rapid City Elections. Unfortunately, it wasn't terribly complete:
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Click on each link to view the stories. It's not a bad series on how PAC's have affected the Rapid City, but it could be a bit more in depth. For instance, it has extensive information on Doug Hamilton, but literally nothing on a much bigger donor, Stan Adelstein. It mentions him, but barely.

It talks about how Sam Kooiker (yes, Sam is an advertiser here) cut ties with Hamilton at the same time that Mayor Shaw maintains them. It goes into the Shaw/Hamilton/Schumacher controversy in part 2, but utterly ignored the fact that the terms of the goofy contract were impossible at the time it was written; where the contract was for more hours of work than remained in the election. And the fact that nobody ever files such things with the Secretary of State. (Such wonderful journalism....)

And it h…

Changes are coming in the Legislative page program

KCCR Radio is reporting that we can expect some changes in the State's legislative page program after recent incidents involving Democratic Senator Dan Sutton, and Republican Representative Ted Klaudt:
There have been calls to review the program since former Representative Ted Klaudt was arrested last week on 14 criminal charges, including eight second degree rape charges. Prosecutors say some of the charges occurred with legislative pages in Klaudt’s hotel room during the 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions.


State Senator Bob Gray of Pierre, who is on the LRC Executive Board, believes the page program is strong and that it is a safe program overall. But he says these issues have to be addressed.

After the Sutton case, rules were implemented requiring that legislative officials know where pages are staying if they are not living in state sponsored housing. Gray says other changes could also be made to the program.Read it all here. Changes in the page program? Imagine that.

Double Vision in authorship

Todd Epp has an interesting story starting to take form over at SD Watch, regarding former Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Dennis Wiese.

According to Todd, Dennis recently penned an article for the Argus Leader where he expressed some concerns about immigration policy.
Immigration is a defining feature of America's history and of America's future. Unfortunately, America's current immigration system is broken. Instead of legal channels, legal immigration and orderly, screened entry, the immigration system has fostered a black market characterized by a ballooning undocumented immigrant population, widespread use of fake documents, increasingly violent smuggling cartels and widespread exploitation of undocumented workers.

The American people are frustrated with their leaders on this issue and hunger for a solution that will work. They want neither open borders nor closed borders - they want smart borders. The time has come for the president and Congress to work together to en…

Spam, spam, spam, spam....

Sorry about some of the garbage in the comment sections lately. But it came to my attention last night that it would seem that I'm under attack.

If you hadn't noticed, someone has been posting entire articles on the website in an attempt to garbage up the comment section, and make it difficult for others to use. In effect, a kind of denial of service or "DOS" attack.

At first yesterday, it started to be random Yahoo articles posted where the contents of the page were dumped on the website. Then, these big random posts seemed to be dumped from a libertarian party related website.

Then all pretense was dropped, and the comment areas started to be hammered by Medical Marijuana garbage - of the type I'd previously been dropping because 99 times out of 100, they were utterly off topic.

Now, I don't necessarily have a name to go with the DOS attack on this website, but from checking, it would appear that they seem to coincide with heavy usage on the website with someon…

TIm's just wild about Harry.

Tim's just wild about Harry.

Well, I'd be too if he was bringing me people at $2500 a head. Click on either image to enlarge.

New chat in the federal contests

I'm hearing today that Joel Dykstra is pretty firm on taking on that Senate Race as opposed to the House contest. Between he and Sam Kephart, there may actually be a primary before the challenger takes on Tim Johnson or Stephanie Herseth (depending on who you talk to).

I also hear that Pat Costello's name continues to be bandied about, and my sources are correct that former SDGOP Executive Director Georgia Hanson will play a role in that race. Among her most recent contests include Costello's city commission race, as well as Sioux Falls Resident Dale Zimmer's unsuccessful race for the Sioux Falls School Board.

Larry Russell continues to be supported by a bunch of people in that race as well. While Pat's hanging out in Sioux Falls, Larry was at a Spearfish County Republican event this past weekend, and very noticeable by his presence, since it was across the state from his home. No word on what Jim Seward is thinking of doing, although it's expected tha…

I think it just might happen. Thompson coming closer to a decision.

According to a national AP story this morning, it sounds like former senator Fred Thompson might be deciding to finally pull the trigger. I don't know why, just because polls show him in second or third place by not even saying he might be interested?
Numerous signs point to a Thompson candidacy, and a summertime announcement is widely expected, although people close to him caution that he has not made a final decision about running.

Never mind that he basically already is.

Thompson is hiring staff, speaking to conservative groups, writing online columns on topics of the day and staking out positions on issues like the Senate immigration overhaul. He also is testing his pitch on the Internet.

"It's important to the future of this country that (Republicans) have somebody that can win in November," Thompson said in a recent online interview. "People are looking for somebody who can talk straight to them. That's what I hope I bring to bear."

His expected entran…

Americans for Prosperity hosts "Camp Liberty"

The fiscally conservative advocacy group "Americans for Prosperity" is hosting a campaign seminar in the Black Hills this coming August. As the notation on their website reads: "Interested in running for public office? Here is your chance to brush up on what you need to know to run a campaign."

What else do you need to know about it?:Camp Liberty will be held August 19-25, 2007, at the Fillmore Lodge. The Lodge is in one of the most beautiful areas of the Black Hills, south of Spearfish near Tinton. The camp is free to prospective candidates [A registration fee of $25 is charged and is refundable to those who attend.] Camp Liberty is sponsored and funded by Tom Gerber as a way to encourage and develop candidates for public office. He can be contacted at 1437 Spruce Street, Sturgis, SD, 57785 or at This is a working camp for candidates. [The family of a candidate may accompany the candidate to enjoy the amenities of the Lodge and surroundings…

Oooo. I got a big mention in the Kranz column today.

I noticed I was taking a bit of razzing recently when I did a little political blogging on the Dakota Territory political button show, and what I snagged from the event.

"Jumping the shark" was the comment that I think was pointed out from one philistine. Obviously, not a long time reader, since I've spoken about buttons since nearly day 1. If you appreciate political history, campaigning, and advertising at all, the buttons are a window into the past. Presidential candidates such as Abe Lincoln used them for gosh sakes. The prize of my collection is a South Dakota item dated 1892 (not 1982).

I'd argue that at least a passing nod to political history is a requirement for anyone involved in politics. Who knows, you might even learn something.

Anyway, this post is on a completely different tangent. While I might have gotten razzed about the two or three posts about the button show, it did earn me a nice mention in Dave Kranz's column today at the Argus Leader:
I get …

State Senator declares that we need an independent investiator

State Senator Bill Napoli is in the Argus Leader this morning expressing that an independent investigator is needed to prevent a Klaudt situation from ever happening again:
In the wake of the felony charges announced Friday against former Rep. Ted Klaudt, a child advocate and a state senator both said South Dakota should reconsider funding a totally independent investigation position.Such a person would be capable, perhaps, of catching complaints early.

"Sooner or later, we're going to have to go back to that and see if we can create a totally independent investigator," Republican Sen. Bill Napoli of Rapid City said Tuesday. "Whether next session or after, we have to look at that again."Lawmakers considered such a position after 14-year-old Gina Score died in DOC custody in 1999. Instead, they created the position of juvenile monitor within the state Human Services Department. State officials have said the monitor has unchecked authority to investigate the juveni…

More on the Klaudt Tragedy.

There's more news swirling about the Klaudt tragedy today.

I call it a tragedy because there's no part of it that isn't tragic. It's tragic for the victims. It's tragic for the people who supported him at one time finding out what he's admitted to already, not to mention what he's accused of. It's tragic for the Foster Care program. It's tragic for the State Legislature's page program.

Anyway, part one is that the District 24 House members are weighing in on the whole thing according to KCCR News:
District 24’s two House members are worried that allegations against a former colleague will cast a negative light on all legislators.

Former Representative Ted Klaudt is facing 14 counts, including eight counts of second degree rape, in two different counties. Some of the charges allegedly were committed while Klaudt was in Pierre for the 2005-2006 legislative session.

The allegations have many South Dakotans question the integrity of all legislators. Dist…

Roll Call: While Johnson Raises Money, the field starts to form

While Senator Tim Johnson recuperates and raises money, the GOP Field for this fall is starting to flesh out. Roll Call has a big (and judging by my e-mail box), and popular story today on who's who and what they're running for:
Rounds, who was just re-elected in November, is a prime example of how Johnson has forced Republicans to put their political plans on hold. Sources said the governor is not inclined to run for Senate but is particularly less likely to do so if Johnson stands for re-election.

State Rep. Joel Dykstra’s (R) situation is similar. He recently attended the candidate-training school for prospective House candidates that the National Republican Congressional Committee held in Washington, D.C. But Dykstra said in an interview that he is more interested in running for Senate, although he is waiting to see which Democrat he would be running against before deciding on whether to run at all — and for which seat.

“I’m exploring my options for 2008, and in particular sh…

Herseth-Sandlin goes on a junket to view the ice caps at Greenland.

Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin joined Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on a trip recently....
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a group of House members are planning to go to Greenland and Europe next week as part of what her critics have dubbed the “Global Warming Tour.”

Pelosi will be joined by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Hilda Solis (D-Calif.), Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin (D-S.D.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), John Larsen (D-Conn.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), and David Hobson (R-Ohio) on the trip, according to a draft itinerary of the trip circulating among House insiders and obtained by my Crypt-mate, Patrick O'Connor.


Pelosi and her group are scheduled to arrive in Greenland on Saturday and after a tour of a glacier (we’re not saying which one for obvious security reasons), she will leave for London, including a dinner at the U.S. embassy there, followed by a stop in Brussels (and Berlin is possible if there’s time). Pelosi and the other lawmakers will hold talks with …

He's Back. SD Watch Rises from the dead. Or at least a nap.

I'd join SDP and the others in the blogosphere in welcoming back Todd Epp to active posting again at SD Watch. Todd had taken some time off as he worked at his new job with Galland Legal.

There could be a song in this.

KELO is reporting this AM that a former inmate is suing the state over it's tobacco tax:
Gary Knecht is mad as heck, and he's not going to take it anymore.

Knecht, who shot a man to death several years ago in Martin but is out on parole, has filed a lawsuit against the state in an effort to repeal the one-dollar-a-pack tax increase on cigarettes.Read it all here. That whole scenario sounds like the makings of a great Johnny Cash-eque country song.
He shot a man in Martin, just to see him die.
Now he's taking on Revenue, Because his taxes are too high.
He's just out of Sioux Falls Prison, and he's really mad.
'Cause he can't afford his smokes. And isn't that too bad....Okay. I promise I'll stick to Blogging.

Frank is miffed. And it's time to launch into a miffive.
Sorry, "missive"

The headline in the Rapid City Journal noted this morning how a legislator is miffed over high gas prices. Which of course meant it was time for a totally useless press release:
State Sen. Frank Kloucek, D-Scotland, has asked the state's congressional delegation to immediately start a congressional inquiry into dramatic price increases for gasoline and other fuels. He also said wholesalers should be monitored to prevent illegal ethanol blending. Read it all here. Predictably, the entire congressional delegation has ignored him. Why do I think we're seeing this? Because it's an easy, non-intrusive way to fulfill a campaign promise as made on the Frank for Senate Website:
From working for more jobs to helping ensure more quality jobs in every town in District 19, from flooding and drought relief to fighting for better prices for our ag producers and lower gas prices, your issues are my issues!Read that here. If we go look at the legislative record for this "Rebecca Dunn …

Where can I get a hold of one of these brochures?

Over the course of this last week, I've seen two separate articles on a brochure recently released by the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development.

The first article was from Robert Morast in the Life section of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader referring to how Taco Johns was apparently now a South Dakota Tourist attraction:
Recently, the South Dakota tourism office sent out a "Great Getaways" brochure that highlighted eight of our state's attractions. Under the heading "Land of Cultural Variety," the flier - which was distributed in-state - showcased the likes of Brookings' McCrory Gardens Party, Huron's city murals and Taco John's.
Yes, our state is pimping a fast food chain serving diluted Mexican recipes alongside South Dakota thumbprints like DeSmet's Laura Ingalls Wilder heritage.

Apparently, as the flier says, "great tacos and burritos are practically synonymous with Taco John's and South Dakota."When did this ha…

Divert intelligence to study global warming?

I really rolled my eyes when I saw this:Instead of tasking our satellites to take a look at exactly what the proliferation capabilities are in China or North Korea, we are going to task them to look somewhere else even though that same kind of capabilities may be available from commercial imagery? Exactly what information does the intelligence community, I mean, it's our business to steal secrets, to find out what the plans and intentions are of those who want to attack the United States. This is information.

There are hundreds and probably thousands of people that are very skilled at investigating climate change, predicting what may happen in certain regions of the country and certain regions of the planet, and they are not in the intelligence community. These people have their plate full. The threats are real. We should not diminish the threats. The information is in the public. These are two missions that do not come together.

Studying climate change can be done by other govern…

What a weekend. Where do I go from here?

As I was departing Pierre for Brookings last weekend, attempting to start fresh in a new city, I wasn't expecting that I'd spend my lunch hour and subsequent weekend hammering out Ted Klaudt articles. But the big story broke and with the passage of the weekend, things have slowed down a bit, and here I am.

I'm sitting here this morning, and I find myself freer to express opinions I might have previously censored for the sake of my employment. I mean, I might be a fool, but I'm not a damned fool.

In light of all that transpired this weekend, more than anything I want to talk about "a better way." No, that doesn't mean the half-baked ideas, redistribution of wealth through taxation, and other liberal social modification policies that supposedly "progressive" folk hope to instill on society. I want a better way of governance that seeks to be less intrusive into our lives. I think the people who earn money need to be able to keep more of what they ear…

Movement in the right direction on the lion issue

I'd be "lion" if I told you I didn't think raising the limits was a good thing. While some are grousing about raising limits on hunting Mountain Lions, I think it's past time that we start to cull their numbers.

The Rapid City Journal has a story this morning on the topic:
At the May 11 commission meeting, the GF&P wildlife division staff recommended that this year's mountain season should have a harvest limit of 35 lions or 15 females - meaning the season would end when either 35 lions or 15 females were killed.

"In general, I'm very disappointed with their decision to nearly double the female sub-quota," said Sharon Seneczko, a Custer veterinarian who heads up the Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation. "I don't understand the motive for that."

GF&P regional supervisor Mike Kintigh said the recommendation for the larger female limit was made after careful consideration. He said the GF&P still considers the limit "cons…

Mitchell Daily Republic: 2010 Gov Candidates are on deck.

This story kind of snuck in while we were all looking the other way. Not one, but two 2010 gubernatorial hopefuls have confirmed that they're at least looking at running for Governor on the Republican ticket. Seth Tupper at the Mitchell Daily Republic has scooped us all:
Among the potential South Dakota gubernatorial hopefuls, at least two have already registered their campaign domain names. Both are Republicans: Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard of Garretson, who has registered and, and state Sen. Dave Knudson of Sioux Falls, who has registered

Daugaard confirmed that he is planning to run for governor, but Knudson said he is merely considering it. Both said the real reason they registered their domain names so early was because their children urged them to.

The Daugaard site was registered by the advertising and marketing firm Lawrence & Schiller, which employs Daugaard’s daughter and also registered domain names in 2005…