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.

Saturday, February 01, 2003  

Here's an interesting piece in The New Republic about the shameful mishandling by the federal government of the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust fund.

ON A RELATED NOTE: Tex Hall delivers the State of Indian Nations address. BROUGHT TO SDP'S ATTENTION BY: The Volokh Conspiracy.

posted by Jason | 8:17 PM

Greg Belfrage prominently featured SDP on his show yesterday, and I see he's linked SDP on Straight Talk's website. Thanks Greg!

posted by Jason | 6:42 PM

Thursday, January 30, 2003  

SPOTTED: Tony Dean having dinner with Judy Olson, chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party, at La Minestra in Pierre. C'mon Tony, come out of the closet! We know you can do it!

posted by Jason | 10:36 PM

As mentioned earlier, a voter identification bill has been introduced in the state legislature. Forty states have some form of identification requirement for voters, and it's about time South Dakota got on board. In a world where picture ID is becoming indispensable (try getting onto a plane without it), it is not asking too much that something more than "take my word for it" be presented before pursuing a fundamental act of citizenship.

This bill offers voters a number of easy options to be able to identify themselves. Every single voter will be required to show a form of identification. The predictable objection will be that this requirement will intimidate minorities. It is unfortunate that there are some who believe there is a whole class of people too challenged to be able to properly identify themselves. The only people the voter identification requirement will intimidate are those who want to commit voter fraud. As an added benefit, it will make election officials' jobs easier. When voters hand over their driver's licenses, poll workers won't have to ask twice about how to spell a name, and can locate it more quickly on the registered voter list. Ultimately, this bill will protect voters from having their votes cancelled out by fraudulent votes, and all people of good will want to do everything possible to have everyone who is qualified to vote be able to do so.

posted by Jason | 4:51 PM

A voter identification bill has been introduced in the legislature. This is a reform measure widely anticipated. It looks like the bill has a lot of momentum already, as it is co-sponsored by over 60 legislators. If your state representative or senator isn't on the list, send them an e-mail urging them to support HB 1176.

posted by Jason | 9:27 AM

Wednesday, January 29, 2003  

There was an anti-Bush rally at the University of South Dakota today. See the broadcast here (click on KELO-LAND News at Five). SDP was there on short notice to observe the shenanigans. The speakers and sponsors of the rally were all College Democrats, many of whom were recognized as either volunteer or paid staff of Stephanie Herseth's campaign last year. And I thought Stephanie was supposed to be a conservative Democrat who supported the Joint Resolution Authorizing the Use of Force in Iraq! SDP also noticed a couple of USD professors there. After the speakers were finished, some brave student started shouting his opposition to the message of the rally, and this attracted the professors. Professor John Fremstad got into a heated debate with this brave soul, and the student did an admirable job of articulating the idea of a free Iraq. All of this was videotaped and photographed by the press. The contingent of dissenters to the rally numbered about a dozen, while the "anti-war except when Bill Clinton bombs Sudanese aspirin factories" people numbered probably in the forties to fifties.
The Saddam enablers seemed a bit taken aback by the presence of people willing to carry placards and shout their support for President Bush. They seemed to expect press coverage to be solely about them. The best line I heard was some guy explaining to a member of the radio press that "the UN is a bunch of pussies." One of the speakers at the rally said that "Iraq is not an imminent threat to the United States." The best comeback to that statement is something Secretary Rumsfeld said in his afternoon briefing today: "When was September 11 an imminent threat?"

UPDATE: The Argus ran a story on the rally today. My friend Joel, who regular readers will recall as my fellow blogger who was called up by the Guard, sends an e-mail from an undisclosed location in response to the rally:


Thanks to the internet American soldiers, including those from South Dakota, were able to see your courageous stand against the anti-bush hate America crowd.

Nikhil, you are to be congratulated for standing up for your beliefs and those of the greater majority of this country. Americans realize that the debate is over. Now is the time to support our Commander in Chief as he contemplates the use of force to liberate the people of Iraq.

South Dakotans and other soldiers from around the country were ecstatic after hearing your comments. Keep up the good work. Remember the anti war crowd is not so much anti war as they are "we don't want GWB to have a second term" crowd.


Joel A. Arends

posted by Jason | 6:52 PM

Tom Daschle has one of his characteristic under-the-radar op-eds (no doubt written by a staffer with a single digit IQ) in the Mitchell Republic today.

posted by Jason | 3:01 PM

Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson respond to the State of the Union. A particularly outrageous comment by Tom Daschle, echoed by the sycophantic junior senator:

Daschle said the president offered little new evidence to support his charges against Iraq.

"I'm not convinced today that war is essential," said Daschle. "I think it's critical that we make the case about the threat that Iraq poses and that we've exhausted every diplomatic means. I don't think we've done that yet."

Johnson agrees. While the president said U.S. intelligence is aware of certain weapons in Iraq, he has not shared that information with United Nations inspectors, said Johnson.

Hmmm. Both of these clowns voted on October 11, 2002 to authorize the president to use military force in Iraq. Some key text in the resolution:

Whereas members of al Qaida, an organization bearing responsibility for
attacks on the United States, its citizens, and interests, including
the attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, are known to be in

Whereas Iraq continues to aid and harbor other international terrorist
organizations, including organizations that threaten the lives and
safety of United States citizens;

Whereas the attacks on the United States of September 11, 2001,
underscored the gravity of the threat posed by the acquisition of
weapons of mass destruction by international terrorist

Whereas Iraq's demonstrated capability and willingness to use weapons of
mass destruction, the risk that the current Iraqi regime will either
employ those weapons to launch a surprise attack against the United
States or its Armed Forces or provide them to international
terrorists who would do so, and the extreme magnitude of harm that
would result to the United States and its citizens from such an
attack, combine to justify action by the United States to defend

Someone should tell Tim and Tom we don't live in an Orwellian world where certain facts and documents can be tossed down the Memory Hole. They probably wish that were the case, but there was this pesky election that forced them to actually vote the way their constituents wanted. Now that the election is over, we're back in the twilight zone, where Tom can cast a vote to say that Saddam Hussein is harboring Al Quaida, but three months later not be convinced the case has been made.

UPDATE: The Weekly Standard is confused by Tom's double-cross too.

posted by Jason | 10:07 AM

Tuesday, January 28, 2003  

Former senator Larry Pressler from South Dakota has an interesting piece in yesterday's Washington Times advocating a new geopolitical ally:

A billion Indian people of diverse faiths practice democracy and enjoy religious freedom. They look to courts for justice, respect human rights, and, in short, embody American values far more than our closest allies in this region. It is time for Mr. Bush to embrace India — as a key ally, democratic torchbearer and trading partner — for the sake of security in a post war world.

posted by Jason | 3:51 PM

John Thune joins First Midwest board of directors:

First Midwest Financial, Inc. announced today that former South Dakota Congressman John Thune accepted an appointment to its Board of Directors. He will also serve on the First Federal Savings Bank, Security State Bank, and First Services Trust Company boards and on the Audit and Stock Option Committee.

posted by Jason | 11:39 AM

Would Another Thune Senate Bid Amount To a Suicide Mission? That's the question posed by Stuart Rothenberg in yesterday's Roll Call. Rothenberg argues that John doesn't have a choice:

If he doesn’t make another Senate run next year, he’ll have to wait until at
least 2008 to run for higher office, when he would be able to take on
Johnson again. Republican Gov. Mike Rounds presumably will seek re-election
in 2006, so the governorship won’t come open again until at least 2010. And
Thune is unlikely to try to reclaim the House seat, whether or not fellow
Republican Bill Janklow is still holding it.

So Thune doesn’t have a lot of political options, unless, of course,
President Bush rides to the rescue and offers him a spot in his Cabinet.

posted by Jason | 9:19 AM

Monday, January 27, 2003  

Secretary of State Chris Nelson's bill, HB1009, a bill that completely guts existing absentee voting requirements, is lodged this very moment in the Senate Local Government Committee. It seems as though it's well on its way to passage. But SDP is committed to stopping it in its tracks. Here's how to contact the state senators on the committee:

State legislators are hardly ever contacted about specific bills from the grass roots. This means that even one or two e-mails will definitely get their attention. The arguments against the bill are extremely persuasive and simple to make: absentee voting is the preferred method of those who would commit voter fraud. Absentee voting is much more susceptible to illegal activity than voting in person at the polling place. Relaxing absentee voting requirements increases the likelihood of voter fraud. Because absentee voting is so prone to voter fraud, absentee voting is a privilege, not a right. The rationale underlying the bill is that people were lying about being out of town and just voting absentee for convenience. These people felt bad about lying and wanted the law changed so they wouldn't be forced to lie. They should have been prosecuted. As the South Dakota Supreme Court wrote in Brown v. Dakota Pub. Serv. Co. (68 SD 169 at 178): "[Absentee voters] should be required to strictly comply with the requirements of the statute in order to prevent fraud and preserve the purity and integrity of elections." But in the infinite wisdom of Chris Nelson, instead of prosecuting those who admitted breaking the law, these people are instead rewarded for breaking the law by a complete gutting of the relevant statute. Scroll a few posts down and you'll see a more comprehensive argument we posted last Friday.

posted by Jason | 10:45 PM

Tom Daschle is not a Jerry Springer fan according to the Washington Times:

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle apparently is less than enthused that TV talk-show host Jerry Springer has expressed an interest in seeking the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from Ohio in 2004.
Mr. Springer "wouldn't be my first choice," Mr. Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, said Friday on CNN's "Inside Politics," in response to a question from host Judy Woodruff.
"I understand he was a mayor at one point, but I think we can do a lot better than that, and I'm sure Ohio will," Mr. Daschle added.

posted by Jason | 3:38 PM

Tom Daschle has a surname ripe for daily alliterative acrobatics. One can also easily make a play on words using that illustrative surname. SDP's choice for today is the alliterative Dead on Arrival Daschle, but opts for the play on words: Tax-Cut Hopes Are Daschled.

posted by Jason | 3:24 PM

Tom Daschle strikes again. Tom read the polls and is trying to exploit a perceived chink in the Bush administration's armor in the war on terror. Recall that Tom was "outraged" on the floor of the Senate for the "politicization" of the war not so long ago. I guess Tom gets to pick and choose who gets to politicize the war.

posted by Jason | 1:53 PM

Ever wonder how letters to the editor are chosen for publication? Today's NY Times (registration required) has a fascinating account of the process many editorial boards go through in determining whether a letter is "authentic" or not.

posted by Jason | 1:16 PM

SDP has been listed on the PBS website Media Matters.

posted by Jason | 9:54 AM

Sunday, January 26, 2003  

Dave Kranz has a laserbeam analysis of all the South Dakota political developments this past week. Just kidding. One notable omission is the story in Roll Call this week that Tony Dean is thinking of running for the House as a Democrat. Another is a tough, no-nonsense story in LA Weekly about Tom Daschle's wife, Lobbyist Linda. Has Dave ever discussed the in-depth stories on Linda Daschle featured in the Washington Monthly and Slate? It's not as though these stories were written by right-wing publications like the Wall Street Journal editorial page. Of course Dave always soft-pedals negative stories about Tom Daschle. And what does Dave get in return? A total bait-and-switch story on Tom's abortive run for the presidency, for which the Argus Leader achieved laughingstock status among the likes of Howard Kurtz at the Washington Post. It really is hard to take the Argus Leader seriously.

posted by Jason | 5:04 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias