South Dakota Politics
A University of South Dakota law student's blog dedicated primarily to shining light (either a harsh, unyielding spotlight or a soft, warm glow) on figures and institutions in South Dakota.

Friday, January 17, 2003  

A great tradition was continued last night at the Frost Arena in Brookings:

The Coyotes, the No. 1 free throw shooting team in the nation, hit just 3-of-8 from the line in the first half. That included a pair of technical foul shots that missed the mark after a frozen coyote came tumbling out onto the floor from the State student section during player introductions.

I foresee some frozen bunnies being tossed onto the court when State plays USD down here in Vermillion!

posted by Jason | 3:43 PM

Here's a link to the Foss Institute which was mentioned in today's London Times.

posted by Jason | 3:23 PM

My old boss at the Senate Republican Policy Committee, now a Deputy Assistant Secretary for Tax and Budget at the US Treasury, has written an interesting article in the Washington Times. If you're interested at all in the dire situation in Zimbabwe, take a moment to read the conservative perspective on the issue.

posted by Jason | 1:41 PM

The Joe Foss article underneath this one is excellent. Please take the time read about a true American hero.

Timmy and Tommy are carping today about the Bush administration’s common sense plan to help shore up the quality of care at Veterans Administration’s hospitals. The plan proposed by the Department of Veterans Affairs will suspend enrollment for higher income veterans seeking health care for non-military related ailments. This plan just sounds fundamentally fair when you think about it. The VA already has many problems with sustaining the quality of care for those individuals who are suffering from service-connected disabilities. Siphoning money away from these soldiers and giving it to those who can 1) otherwise afford private care and 2) are suffering from non-military ailments just makes good South Dakota common sense.

I have spent time at the VA hospital in Sioux Falls visiting with veterans about health care issues and they seem to understand the nature of the dilemna. At the same time they are absolutely right in demanding that our government help them out when seeking care for military related illnesses. In fact our government has promised to take care of those soldiers who suffer from service connected ailments. I applaud the Bush administration for taking the time to propose a plan that will shore up the quality of care and allow more soldiers with other service connected ailments to receive care. Furthermore, I am severely disappointed by Msgrs. Johnson and Daschle when they say that the "rich" don't deserve to keep more of thier own money and in same the breath claim that wealthy veterans should be taken care of by VA hospitals. I have a great idea! Let's allow people to keep more of their own money and they can then use it to pay for insurance. We should also create tax credits for individuals to purchase health care, including our veterans.

Timmy and Tommy should be ashamed that they are sticking up for rich wealthy veterans and yet want to deny quality care to much less fortunate veterans who have service connected disabilities. I am severely disappointed by both men. What's even more disturbing is that both of them voted for Bill Clinton's "let's slash defense spending to the bone" defense budgets during the last decade. Experts agree that that our military capabilities were severely hurt by the Clinton-Daschle budgets of the 90's. Senator Daschle tells us that he is concerned about the message the Veterans Administration's plan sends to our troops. Well, what about the decade-long period of indifference that Senator Daschle showed toward the military? Daschle wants more money now to take care of wealthy veterans but he refuses to introduce legislation that would take our soldiers off of food stamps. I am outraged, outraged! Senator Daschle is the winner of the "I am outraged, outraged!" award of the day.

posted by Joel | 11:14 AM

The London Times, of all newspapers, has an excellent obituary today on Joe Foss. It's the best write-up I've seen yet because it gives a fuller explanation of why Joe Foss was a true American hero. In order to understand why Joe Foss was an American hero, we have to understand the historical context in which Joe Foss was involved. Oh, and if Tony Dean is supposed to be carrying the mantle of Joe Foss in the tradition of South Dakota sportsmen, then it is absolutely a travesty how Tony Dean has violated that great tradition with his compromise on conservative principles. As this story relates, Joe Foss was uncompromising in his conservatism. I'll shut up now and let you read it:

As a fighter pilot in the US Marine Corps, Joe Foss took part in the desperate air battles that raged in the skies over Guadalcanal in 1942 and early 1943. This inhospitable tropical island in the Solomons chain has become legendary in US military annals for the life-and-death struggle with the Japanese for control of its strategically important assets. For six months both sides strained every nerve on land, at sea and in the air to assert their mastery. It was the epic confrontation of the Pacific War, and by the end of it the Japanese could clearly be seen to have suffered not only a severe military loss but also a serious moral defeat.
Leading a force of Grumman Wildcat fighters which became renowned in American aviation circles as “Joe’s Flying Circus”, Foss repeatedly broke up Japanese bombing raids which aimed at crippling Henderson Field, the vitally important American base of air operations. By the end of the campaign, which resulted in the abandonment of Guadalcanal by the Japanese early in 1943, Foss’s unit had shot down 72 enemy aircraft. His own wartime tally of 26 combat victories made him, by the end of the war, the second-ranking Marine Corps ace and, virtually, a wartime pin-up. His picture featured on the cover of Life magazine in June 1943, dubbed “America’s No 1 ace” — as indeed he was at that time.

After the war Foss had a career as a politician in his native South Dakota, serving a term as Governor of the “Coyote State” in the 1950s. A farmboy through and through, he gloried in his redneck, huntin’-and-fishin’ image, featuring as a cover story again in the 1980s, this time in Time magazine, where, as president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), he sported a ten-gallon Stetson and carried a six-shooter.

Joe Foss was born in 1915 on a farm near Sioux Falls, South Dakota. His imagination was fired as a boy by the exploits of Charles Lindbergh, who completed the first solo crossing of the Atlantic by air in 1927. But his father was killed in a road accident when he was in his teens and he had to turn to and help to work the farm. Through doing odd jobs he managed to raise the cost of private flying lessons, and in 1940 he joined the Marine Corps.

When war came to the United States in December 1941 with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, he was instructing at an air-base in Florida. When he applied to be put on operations he was told that at 27 he was too old to be a fighter pilot. But he persisted and was posted to the Advanced Carrier Training Group. Proving himself a fine shot during an intensive course on the rugged Grumman Wildcat naval fighter, he was sent to Guadalcanal where the Americans were determined to exploit their naval victory at Midway in June 1942.

The scene was set for a titanic clash in which fortunes at first swayed to and fro. The seizure by the Marines of Henderson Field from the Japanese gave the Marine Air Corps a base from which, as the Japanese fought back by land and air, they were eventually able to dominate the skies. Throughout October and November Foss and his Flying Circus repelled repeated waves of enemy bombers. They also carried out strikes on Japanese warships approaching Guadalcanal from the north. On one such occasion Foss’s engine failed over the sea and he came down in shark-infested waters, five miles from land. Breaking the chlorine capsule issued to naval flyers against such eventualities, he evaded the sharks’ attentions, was picked up after five hours and returned to operations.

In the period from October 9 to November 19 Foss shot down 23 Japanese aircraft and in the following January he added three more to his tally. For this remarkable performance as well as for his inspiring and astute leadership of his unit, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honour — bestowed on him by President Roosevelt at a White House ceremony — the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. The hard-fought victory at Guadalcanal caught the public imagination and back home Foss found himslf lionised. Apart from his Life appearance he was in constant demand for interviews and appearances.

After the war he returned to South Dakota where he ran a flying service and operated a Packard dealership. He also helped to organise the state’s Air National Guard, rising to the rank of brigadier.

Going into state politics, he was elected to South Dakota’s House of Representatives in 1954. In 1958 he was defeated for a seat in the US House of Representatives by the future Senator George McGovern, who was later to run unsuccessfully for President against Richard Nixon. Foss served a four-year term as Governor of South Dakota from 1955.

He became the first commissioner of the fledgeling American Football League, expanding it and increasing its importance through lucrative television broadcasting deals in the face of the long established National Football League. His reputation as a rugged outdoorsman made him an attractive television proposition and he hosted ABC-TV’s show The American Sportsman from 1964 to 1967.

A man of uncompromisingly conservative opinions, Foss was very much the embodiment of the type of character aspired to on screen by John Wayne; Hollywood at one time wanted Wayne to portray Foss in a cinema version of his life. As Foss told Time when interviewed by the magazine for its NRA feature: “I say all guns are good guns. There are no bad guns. I say the whole nation should be armed. Period.” It was a sentiment in which Wayne would undoubtedly have concurred.

In 2001, having been settled for many years with his second wife in Scottsdale, Arizona, he established the Foss Institute, an organisation designed to foster an understanding of freedom and patriotism in school-age children in America.

Foss is survived by his wife Donna, whom he married in 1967, by two children from his first marriage, to June Shakstad, which was dissolved, and by two stepchildren.

posted by Jason | 9:42 AM

Thursday, January 16, 2003  

Governor Rounds has appointed his brother to be the "central contact person" for the proposed Underground Laboratory in Lead. We're not even a month into the new administration and already we see nepotism occurring. I think Mike Rounds will be a good governor, and I voted for him, but criticism of this move is warranted. It just looks bad to have family members placed in important governmental positions. Would the governor ever fire his brother if there's a screw-up?

posted by Jason | 4:34 PM

The Senate Republicans cave in to Tom Daschle's demands on partitioning of staff and funds. Aaargh!

posted by Jason | 9:32 AM

Here's an interesting perspective of the Badlands in today's Washington Post.

posted by Jason | 9:29 AM

Wednesday, January 15, 2003  

Here's an interesting story on the Rosenthal-Thune dynamic. It's a must-read.

posted by Jason | 6:37 PM

Did you know that Tom Daschle is writing a memoir? On a related front, OpinionJournal has a piece on political memoirs today. One paragraph seems particularly fitting:

Politicians' memoirs and other literary adventures usually dive bomb into the swamps of narcissism, mendacity and petty obsession. After all, the maneuvers, reversals and double-crosses essential to the successful political life usually require that the skullduggery in question remains safely in the shadows, and not exposed by the perpetrators themselves to the full and merciless light of day.

That's not a promising prediction for Tom's book.

UPDATE: AP reports than an author is helping him write it:

Daschle says it's kind of like ``writing with training wheels.''

Awwww. Isn't that so CUTE?

posted by Jason | 10:25 AM

Look at how Tom Daschle exercises his clout:

Even though Republicans won control of the Senate in last November's elections, Democrats are refusing to surrender power, leaving the Senate paralyzed....

The deadlock demonstrates that the Democrats, even though they are a minority, are willing to employ a political scorched-earth strategy, threatening two years of gridlock in Congress before the 2004 elections.

Got that? "Political scorched-earth strategy." That's how Tom wields his "clout." It strikes me that Tom must be a very bitter person, or at the least a sore loser. Tom whines about the fact that the Democrats had a 51% to 49% split of funding and staff levels during his tenure as Majority Leader:

Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota argued Tuesday that the Senate had set a new precedent in the last Congress, which began evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Then, Democrats and Republicans agreed to split committee funding and staff levels evenly. When Jeffords become an independent, both sides agreed to alter the ratio so that Democrats had 51 percent and Republicans 49 percent.

It's about simple democratic principles, Tom. Your side never attained the majority through an election. The country noticed this and promptly placed you back in the minority the very next time an election occurred. Do you think the country is trying to send a message? Perhaps desiring that you not practice such an in-your-face brand of partisanship? I don't think Tom got the message though. In case you forgot, Tom wields his clout by employing a scorched-earth strategy:

"We're prepared to do whatever it takes to obligate this Congress to that standard of fairness that we established last year," Daschle said.

How odious can political posturing get?

posted by Jason | 9:42 AM

Tuesday, January 14, 2003  

What is a blogger? PBS explains.

posted by Jason | 9:53 PM

The great Herseth hunt for a non-job in South Dakota is over. She's become the executive director AND general counsel for the newly formed South Dakota Farmer's Union Legal Foundation. Surprisingly, she has not ruled out a future run for political office:

A future run for public office is possible, she said.

"I'm going to keep the option open," Herseth said.

Hopefully, circumstances will eventually dictate that there's no point in her staying here. She's waiting for the next opportunity to come along, but it's looking more and more like there's not going to be one anytime soon. Daschle's running for reelection. Janklow says he's staying put. Maybe she should follow the advice she gave us at the law school last year to run for the state legislature. Riiiight. That's way beneath her dignity.

posted by Jason | 7:52 PM

The sanctimonious Randall Beck gets some national recognition for screwing up. Note the lame excuses:

How does the senator's home-state paper feel about its "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment? "I have mixed feelings because I never want any reader to think we were careless with the facts or in any way misled them," Editor Randell Beck says. But he insists the story was right -- at the time....

"If I don't sound properly self-flagellating, it's because I'm not. The story was dead-on correct and I slept like a baby. Yes, when you read it it was wrong. I understand people being upset with us. Damn, we're human."

But Howie Kurtz has a too-gentle admonition:

But other humans, called politicians, change their minds, which is why journalists should be careful about crawling too far out on a limb.

My hunch is that there's no Pulitzer in the near future for the Argus Leader.

posted by Jason | 3:36 PM

Monday, January 13, 2003  

With all of the talk about how the legislature plans to recoup the state budget shortfall, I'm surprised nobody's talking about an Internet access tax. Did you know that South Dakota is one of the few states that doesn't have to abide by the Internet Tax Moratorium on Internet access?

Seven states currently have the right to tax Internet access because those states levied taxes on Internet access before Congress passed the first moratorium in 1998. However, the states--New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin--have largely respected the moratorium and refrained from imposing the access taxes.

Thank God. I'm opposed to any kind of tax on the Internet. The fact that the state legislature isn't even talking about it this year shows how successfully a stake has been driven into the heart of that idea.

UPDATE: I was wrong. South Dakota DOES tax internet access:

But Scott Peterson, director of the Business Tax Division of the South Dakota Department of Revenue, told that Allen is only considering part of the economic impact of such taxes.
"Eliminating South Dakota's tax on Internet access would reduce our state and city sales tax revenue by $2 million in the next fiscal year," Peterson said. "When you add that to a $55 million deficit, for a small state, that's a lot of money."
Peterson said South Dakota, like 11 other states, has been taxing Internet access for a number of years. The state treats businesses that provide on-ramps to the information superhighway just as it does every other business that provides goods and services to its residents.

posted by Jason | 11:20 PM

Tony Dean, when did you learn to hate? It should be of no surprise to anyone, especially after the last election, that Tony Dean has joined the ranks of the Bush-haters. Dean, in his zeal to stay abreast of the Administration's rule-making policies, has nothing but hate-filled comments for the President. Tony, we are disappointed and surprised that that you would resort to such tactics when you have an honest disagreement with the President.

However, after the last election cycle you alienated 75% of the state with your hate-John Thune message camoflauged by your interest in wetlands management. A word of advice Tony, when you have an honest disagreement with the President on an issue such as wetlands management don't resort to name calling and intellectual bigotry.

Furthermore, in addition to forgetting what you learned in kindergarten about not calling other people names, your position on the issue of wetlands managment is wrong. First of all, the President's plan respects the rights of private property owners. Socialists have no respect for private property rights. They beleive all property is collectively owned and thus access is not limited. Forefathers of this country died for something called private property rights. Today, President Bush's plan pushes back the socialist "what's yours is mine" theory of property rights.

For a guy who makes his living pulling fish out of an 8-inch hole I would expect more. Tony, let me get to the heart of the matter. You no longer have any credibility. You say you are a Republican and than you support a liberal for the U.S. Senate. You call one of the greatest Presidents of our time names. You beleive socialism is the preferred method of wetlands management. You are not a Republican, you are a camoflauged, tree-hugging liberal.

Please Tony, stick to pulling fish out of the ice and finding the best Little Lindy lure for fishing in weeds, it's the only thing you can speak with credibility about.

posted by Joel | 4:05 PM

Apologies to our readers for the random retooling of SDP that is going on today. I've inserted a code that tracks the number of hits we get, and I must say the number is making me realize that work on this weblog is definitely worthwhile. Thanks to all our visitors and again, sorry about the random nature of the changes.

posted by Jason | 3:16 PM

Sunday, January 12, 2003  

The latest buzz: John Thune may be teaching a class or two at the University of South Dakota.

posted by Jason | 10:15 PM

This is an exciting time for history buffs in South Dakota. The Lewis and Clark Expedition Bicentennial is kicking off in Charlottesville, VA this week.

posted by Jason | 5:19 PM

My friend Paul Glader of the Wall Street Journal has a thorough feature on a South Dakota farmer striking it rich. Another example of what you don't see in the Argus Leader.

posted by Jason | 5:09 PM

Is South Dakota a poor state? Read Professor Ralph Brown's analysis of the question to find out.

posted by Jason | 4:38 PM

The ABC News website has an interesting article on Bill Janklow. There are quotes from the only other former governor in the House, Mike Castle of Delaware. Go ye and read of it.

posted by Jason | 3:50 PM

Daschle apologist David Kranz scribbles another excuse for Tom Daschle in today's Argus regarding Daschle's lobbyist wife:

Linda Daschle said last week that she planned take an active part in a Daschle for President campaign.

"She was prepared to quit her job and commit full time," Tom Daschle said.

Linda Daschle had planned to begin notifying colleagues last week about her decision before her husband decided not to run.

She now will keep her job.

Why is it unseemly for Linda Daschle to be a lobbyist when her husband is running for president, but not when he's the highest ranking Democratic official in the country? Note too the pre-emptive attack on those who would dare to question such an unseemly connection between one of Washington's premier lobbyists and the Democratic Leader:

"She finds it troubling that people who are teachers and nurses, and those in other walks of life, aren't referred to as schoolteacher Nancy,' or nurse Diane,' but with her, it is always lobbyist Linda,' " he said.

What a whiner.

posted by Jason | 2:54 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias