Showing posts from June 3, 2007

A brief synopsis of what's going on out in South Dakota

It's 6AM, and I couldn't sleep.

Why? None of my kids had to be hauled anywhere last night, so I treated myself to an icy cold beverage in a frosty mug. The downside of that, is any intake of alcohol causes me to wake up ridiculously early. So, at about 5am this fine Saturday morning, my internal alarm clock started blaring for me to get up. And here I am.

After checking the news and e-mail - What can I tell you about what's going on in South Dakota today?

I've got a parade in Volga I'm taking the kids over to this morning. And I had a note from former Senator Lee Schoenbeck that he's going to abuse his body by doing a triathlon up at Lake Poinsett today. I could handle the swimming and the biking, but the running? Forget it. I'm not sure I have any cartilage remaining in any part of my left leg which tends to hinder such foolish notions.

What else is happening?

Pierre lost a local personality in Radio Broadcaster Del Fischer who passed away yesterday:
Del Fisch…

Rick Hauffe makes the Huron newspaper

SDDP Executive Director Rick Hauffe is in today's Huron Daily Plainsman touting Democrat's chances in the upcoming election, as well as touting Brendan Johnson as a rising star in SDDP politics.

Pick up a copy of the Huron Daily Plainsman, and read it for yourself.

I blinked this week, and shot past 800,000 hits

I was going to commemorate my 800,000th hit, but it shot past me like lightning (on 365,000 page views). At this rate, in another 12 weeks - I'm going to shoot past my 1 millionth website hit.


Herseth: Global warming bad.

Crystal Lindell of the Pierre Capitol Journal is reporting today that Congresswoman Herseth now backs the Kyoto treaty, a document she had rejected earlier:
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, D-S.D., said she thinks global warming is real and President George Bush needs to do more to acknowledge the problem.

Herseth Sandlin recently completed a tour of four nations with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and said the evidence is easy to see.

"From the scientific evidence that's been presented in Washington , from the observations and experiences of the native people, as well as witnessing first hand the melting and what's happened, it confirms even more in my mind that global warming is happening," she said.


"We've got to fill in the detail and keep sort of the pressure on to move forward with the immediacy that I think this deserves," she said.

Herseth Sandlin originally was against the Kyoto Treaty - which assigns emissions limits to reduce gree…

Investor's Business Daily profiles South Dakotan awarded the bronze star

South Dakota Bronze Star winner Joel Arends is profiled in depth for his service in Iraq by the latest issue of Investor's Business Daily:
Arends and his men were on patrol one day when one of his soldiers recognized that a man detained on a routine traffic stop had been one of Saddam Hussein's personal bodyguards. They arrested him and transported him to detention.

Another time, Arends got word that four men in masks had been shooting at civilians. "We immediately started a house-to-house search in the area," Arends said.

It all added up to a mission that called for different tactics than in combat. "When you're engaging the public like this, you have to be mindful of the fact we don't want to be perceived as being the occupiers by bursting into their houses without permission," he said. "We're knocking, asking for permission, saying, 'We're asking for your help.' "

His platoon also adopted a day-care center in Baghdad . His m…

Mark Barnett is now honorable again.

I got a call when I was at a conference noting that former AG (and current Deputy AG) Mark Barnett was announced to a judgeship today. I got home and verified it, finding it on the State's website just now. So, from the announcement:
Gov. Mike Rounds announced today the appointment of Mark Barnett of Pierre as judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of South Dakota.

Barnett is currently Chief Deputy Attorney General of South Dakota. Prior to that, he spent nine years in private practice, served as Hughes County State’s Attorney and was elected to three terms as Attorney General.

“I am deeply honored by this news, and very grateful to Governor Rounds for placing trust in me,” said Barnett. “I will do everything I can to serve the public in a fair and efficient way.”

Barnett has been involved in high profile cases since 1981. He has argued and won two reversals in civil cases in the United States Supreme Court. He was the lead prosecutor on two death penalty cases, including the case agains…

On the road again..... Don't forget the beg button

I'm going to be out today at a conference - but in the meantime, there's plenty to comment on.

Speaking of that, as some have noted that they enjoy reading for the opportunity to smash me, don't forget you won't have PP to kick around unless you contribute to the tip jar via the pay pal beg button.

Help keep the SDWC on the air. Or the net, that is. (I have expenses too, you know).

And support the advertisers. go visit Sam Kooiker and the website as well.

Could the School Funding lawsuit get smashed soon? Let's hope so, for taxpayers' sake

The Argus Leader is writing this morning that a judge is going to rule of the legality of spending taxpayer dollars to sue taxpayers (via the state) for more taxpayer dollars. All for the sake of the taxpayer:
A judge's ruling on a new lawsuit could kill dozens of South Dakota school districts' funding fight and cost individual board members money.

Board members from three South Dakota school districts have asked a judge to rule that their tax-dollar pledges to support a lawsuit against the state were legal.

Attorney General Larry Long said it's illegal for school districts to sue the state and has sought to audit the coalition to determine which districts have given how much money.Read it all here.

State of SD/UFWS agreement cancellation still up in the air.

I've kind of been ignoring this controversy lately. Not on purpose, but I've been tied up with other things. What's been going on?

First, the deadline passed for the UFWS to fire or reassign officer Prieksat (or else).

Then, it was noted that one of the Governor's brothers, and some GFP agents were on a list of people to talk to about illegal game processing.

Then the UFWS cleared Prieksat of any wrongdoing in the whole matter.

And that should bring us to the latest article in the whole chain of events, where the Governor is noting (in tomorrow AM's Rapid City Journal) that has hasn't made a decision yet:
Gov. Mike Rounds hasn't made a decision on whether to terminate law-enforcement agreements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, his press secretary said Wednesday


Hall told Rounds last week of a plan to add a field agent to the Pierre FWS office and allow Prieksat to focus more on office work. That's part of the discussion between Rounds and Hall…

Options? What options?

Denise Ross is over at the Hog House Blog noting that when asked about returning to public service, former Senator Tom Daschle noted that
“you never say never but I have no plans at this time,” line and then emphasized how much he enjoys public service. And, "I’ll be looking at options as they present themselves."Read it here.

There is a whisper out there that some of "his people" want him to consider taking over Johnson's slot if it becomes available. Hmmmm.....

Tom Johnson Speaks (kind of)

The Rapid City Weekly news has the full story on that little Tom Johnson/Transvestite/underage consumption/DUI thing that happened the night before the election. I don't think this examination of it makes it any less bizarre.

Check out the latest in one of the most bizarre South Dakota political stories I've ever seen:
Police learned the driver, who was dressed as a woman, was actually a man. Johnson said the driver was someone he knows — not a campaign worker, as reported in other media outlets — but he didn’t want to disclose how long he has known the 18-year-old man, whom he knew as a woman named Trina Seviera.“I’m not going to give you that information,” Johnson said. “This is about turning into a witch hunt.”Police Chief Craig Tieszen, who is taking media calls on the incident, said he has seen photos of the driver. “Appears to be Trina to me,” Tieszen said.Johnson said he had not been drinking at all Monday night — “zero, not a drop” — and had been putting out campaign sig…

Mayoral Candidate Tom Johnson was a passenger in vehicle of campaign worker. Except the campaign worker got busted for DUI. While dressed as a woman.

Here's the bizarre stuff I mentioned last night from Kevin Woster at the Rapid City Journal:
An 18-year-old Rapid City man faces charges of underage consumption and driving under the influence after a traffic stop early Tuesday morning that involved Rapid City alderman Tom Johnson.

Rapid City Police Chief Craig Tieszen said Tuesday evening that a city police officer stopped the vehicle about 1:15 a.m. for erratic driving and malfunctioning tail lights. The driver of Johnson's car "was dressed like and appeared to be a woman" but was eventually identified as a man, Tieszen said.

Tieszen said the driver initially gave a woman's name but then provided a man's name.

"As far as we know, (he) is legally a man," Tieszen said.


"She was driving the car, and I was putting out signs. That's exactly right," Johnson said. "Campaign people put up a lot of signs before an election."

Johnson said he wasn't aware that the person, whom he …

FINAL - KOOIKER and HANKS go to runoff

From the Rapid City Journal Scroller:

Dowling 135
Hanks 3352 **2
Hargens 311
Johnson 1528
Knipsel 41
Kooiker 3864 **1
Redden 125
Shaw 2317

Sam Kooiker and Alan Hanks are the candidates for a runoff, since neither one received over 50% of the vote. Watch for a fierce and hard fought battle.

And as I said, there's a super bizarre story about one of the candidates (who lost tonight) noted as a passenger in a vehicle who's driver was arrested for DUI. That hit the TV news in Rapid City tonight, and is sure to blast across South Dakota in coming days.

I don't even want to get into it at this late hour. But I'll get to it in the AM.

RCJ's latest...

Rapid City Journal is reporting in their scrolling bar....

With 21 of 25 precincts in

Dowling 16
Hanks 2394
Hargens 215
Tom Johnson 1020
Knippel 33
Kooiker 2904
Redden 107
Shaw 1643

Yet another update from an observer..

Sam 2489,
Hanks is at 2199
and Shaw at 1519

From a City Hall observer....

KOTA update

Check it out here.
76% of Precincts Reporting - (2 Seats)
SAM KOOIKER 2,348 34%
ALAN HANKS 1,972 29% * JIM SHAW 1,396 20%

Another update....

Word from a City Hall observer...

Sam has 2002,
Alan 1798,
Shaw at 1261,
and johnson at 715.

And word is that there's a really, really bizarre story out there that broke tonight with one of the candidates.

More results.... as it continues

Go watch (or read) KOTA's coverage....

I think it's more than the 36% reporting as it was the same as previous results, but the vote totals are more updated...

36% of Precincts Reporting
1,294 34%
1,107 29% * JIM SHAW
793 21%
437 11%
98 3%
51 1%
38 1%
14 0%
Of the legitimate candidates, Tom Johnson is completely getting his butt kicked. As one politico pointed out as I chatted with him today, mentioning the main point on the Tom Johnson postcard:
"...If that's the main point on your resume, it's better not to list anything."

What's next…

Early RC Returns.....

I think there's only 6 or 7 precincts in at this point.....

Sam Kooiker 1090
Alan Hanks 768
Jim Shaw 630
Dowling 29
Hargens 74
Knipsel 12
Redden 99

(update - that's 36%)

....In with the new

I don't have final numbers yet, but I'm told that early reports show newcomer Jesse Naze beat out incumbent Pierre City Commissioner Stan Schwellenbach by over 100 votes. Congratulations to Commissioner Naze!!

Just a little reminder of why we vote from our last election

It was fitting that this was pointed out to me as we come to one of the first election days after the 2006 General election. Remember November 2006? There was no revolution. People changed offices without shots being fired.

And no black helicopters from the trilateral commission and IRS depositing agents to tamper with our voting machines.....

Maybe. If you're Ron Branson, Bill Stegmeier and the rest of the conspiracy minded JAIL4Judges crew, you're not giving up on that last one yet. Check out the latest from the JAIL4Judges website as they try to convince a documentary producer to take on the 2006 election results and expose the 'fraud' of how they lost the election:
Beverly Harris:

I am Ron Branson, founder of the organization I am sure you are familiar with our effort to bring judicial accountability to South Dakota, and what happened as a result.

Basically, we were ahead in the polls approximately 3 to 1 throughout the campaign, and a poll taken af…

I'm going to add to the dogpile on the Argus on this one.

Greg Belfrage jumped on the Argus, and SDP joined them this morning. I'd have to add a "me too" on this issue.
Now comes a column from the Imperial Editor of the Argus Leader, Randell Beck. Beck is taking issue with those who are concerned the public isn't getting enough information about Johnson's condition.

Beck says, "Anyway, it's my guess those who are griping about the shortage of information on Johnson's health didn't vote for him in 2002 and won't vote for him next year if he does seek reelection."

This is the kind of hypocrisy from the Argus Leader, and especially Beck, that I find infuriating. When he and the Argus want more information on completely trivial matters, such as the names of those attending the governor's hunt, their motives are above reproach. However, those wanting more information about Senator Johnson's condition are "griping" for political reasons. Does anyone really believe the Argus Leader'…

Candidates in? And tomorrow is election day.

Over at the Hog House Blog, Denise Ross has been reporting recently on who is planning on jumping into the legislative races. She has Stan Adelstein who claims he will run as a Republican... (I'm not going to start. It's too easy), and Craig Tieszen of Rapid City who she notes will run in 34 as a Republican.

I'm also hearing of others out there who are planning to make the leap in the fray this next fall. One in particular is former Democratic Legislator Deb Fischer-Clemens.

I'm told through the grapevine that she's gone as far to approach her employer about the idea, so look for that to be a possibility. It's still very early, and minds change over time, but as Democrats continue to look to past successes for future candidates, she could spell trouble for the GOP.

In the federal races, I haven't heard anything more in the past few days on Jim Seward jumping in the US Senate contest against Tim Johnson. Right now it's standing at Sam Kephart in, Joel Dyks…

When the going gets tough, the tough get weird.

I got a copy of the big full page anti-Kooiker ad that was placed by Doug Hamilton and Mike Schumacher's PAC, the Elect Better Government PAC that donated Tens of thousands to Mayor Shaw's campaign this election.

And it seems little more than a re-hashing of some of the old nonsense that's been surrounding this mystery contract since day 1.

(Click to enlarge)

There's three checks listed at the top of the ad from Doug Hamilton to Mike Schumacher. And, well, ok. I don't think that's any shock. But supposedly they're supposed to tie into this mysterious contract that was filed with the Secretary of State. And the ad demands that Sam supposedly come clean about all of this.

But absent any evidence to the contrary, I'd say it still hangs on the other side of believability.

I see evidence where Mike likely knew about the checks. And where Doug knew about them, but nary a signature from Sam can be found.

And then there's the contract which I contended some time…

Bat-ter up! Enviros say no to green energy

Senator John Thune is quoted in the Washington post today commenting on an enviro-mental proposal to slow down wind energy development because of concerns that bats and birds might have trouble navigating the big blades:
John Stroud, the co-chairman of Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, is fighting a wind power project in Rahall's district, saying it will spoil scenic views and endanger bats.

GOP Sen. John Thune, who has introduced legislation that would give the industry more incentives, was more blunt."This proposal is badly misguided and is a step in the wrong direction," said Thune of South Dakota, one of the windier states. "Congress should not be blocking the development of one of the nation's cleanest energy resources ... I will fight any efforts to stymie its development because of unfounded concerns for bats and birds."Read it all here.

Is it just me, or does it seem a bit nutty that after they've beat the drum of greener energy fo…

Cartoonist Jason Folkerts takes on the Herseth icecap trip

South Dakota Editorial Cartoonist Jason Folkerts takes on Congresswoman Herseth Sandlin's trip to Greenland on the editorial section of the Argus Leader, as well as his own website:
People aren't sitting kindly in SD as they hear about her chatting it up with Belgium scientists (all the while there are pressing issues needing her attention back home). If you thought the polar ice caps were cold Stephanie, wait till you get back to the heartland.See the entire cartoon, and read it all here at

The New direction of the ELCA?

I was reading with some interest the large article in the Argus Leader today on Pierre ELCA pastor Dave Zellmer who was just named bishop of this large South Dakota Lutheran denomination. Why? Those in the political arena have heard his name mentioned a bit over the past year or so:
When the South Dakota Mainstream Coalition was initially formed in June 2005, many people, especially Republicans, had lots of questions. Since then, few of those questions have been answered. The Coalition was founded by seven South Dakota Republican senators: Ed Olson of Mitchell, Tom Dempster of Sioux Falls, Dave Knudson of Sioux Falls, Stan Adelstein of Rapid City, Royal “Mac” McCracken of Rapid City, J.P. Duniphan of Rapid City, and Duane Sutton of Aberdeen. The group of so-called moderates formed the Coalition because they felt their disagreement with the Republican base on a number of issues was not welcome. According to a report by David Kranz in the Argus Leader, executive directo…

The Washington Post talks about prairie dogs today

The Washington Post is talking talks about the South Dakota prairie dog controversy today, and the plight of ranchers versus environmentalists:
For years, South Dakota politicians from both parties have championed the ranchers' cause, questioning why prairie dogs should be allowed to prosper at the expense of private landowners who hold federal grazing permits. As recently as April 26, Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) asked Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to guarantee financial compensation to people whose livelihoods are affected by the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret to Wind Cave National Park.The U.S. Forest Service, which manages federal grasslands, approved a management plan in 2002 that made black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs a priority. Two years later, as the drought deepened and prairie dog populations expanded, the agency permitted poisoning to stop them from burrowing onto private land."We were trying to be good neighbors," said Don Bright, the agency&#…