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, September 13, 2003  

FROM THE CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY: I'm blogging from the public library in downtown Chicago. Very cool. For today's post, check out the story about Wayne Greenfield, the Aberdeen man who appears in the Club for Growth's commercial critical of Tom Daschle HERE.

You can read a Denise Ross column discussing a book project entitled "The Other Side of Tom Daschle" being shopped around by a publishing company HERE, and the Washington Post also discusses it HERE.

posted by Jason | 1:43 PM

Thursday, September 11, 2003  

BOUND FOR WRIGLEY: I'm going to Chicago tomorrow to catch a Cubs game, so I'll be away from my laptop for the next few days. Blogging will be sparse. Meanwhile, check all of the links on the right side of this weblog.

posted by Jason | 9:23 PM

ABOUREZK V. PROBUSH.COM UPDATE: An amicus brief for the defendants in the case of Abourezk v., prepared by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, can be found, along with other court documents, at Piercingly insightful excerpt from the brief:

With low barriers to entry, global reach and flexibility, the Internet has made manifest much of the promise of the marketplace of ideas. Yet as a result, and unlike newspapers, TV, and commercial radio, the Internet houses a good deal of individual, unedited speech. Readers have adjusted their expectations accordingly. People expect much Internet speech to be opinionated, even caustic, and often rife with poor grammar and spelling that would rarely be found in a professional publication. This is because it is accessible to average citizens who have not necessarily embraced the modern “objective journalism” model and tradition of editorial oversight that newspapers and TV purport to follow. While some Internet publications are expressly offshoots of more traditional media where expectations of more “journalistic” standards remain, the vast majority are labors of love by individuals or groups of individuals with no qualifications other than a strong passion for a particular topic.

You can view Professor Volokh's blog, an SDP favorite, by clicking HERE.

posted by Jason | 8:20 PM

A reader points out that the writer of this letter to the editor in today's edition of the Argus Leader is the brother of Jonathon Lehman, Tom Daschle's legislative aide for Agriculture and Energy policy.

posted by Jason | 8:06 PM

NEVER FORGET: It's appropriate today to mark 9-11 with this memorial.

posted by Jason | 12:19 PM

Wednesday, September 10, 2003  

Howard Bashman, whose blog is one of SDP's favorites, notes with delight that a federal circuit court judge invoked his blog during oral arguments recently. That federal judge is none other than the Honorable Roger L. Wollman, a native South Dakotan who formerly served as Chief Justice for the South Dakota Supreme Court, and is a graduate of the USD School of Law.

posted by Jason | 10:35 PM

BECK AND NYT GOT IT WRONG: Do you recall early last summer when a brouhaha erupted about some improprieties that were going on with a deal that would allow Boeing (Linda Daschle's lobbying client) to lease air refueling tankers to the Pentagon? A New York Times story mentioned Linda Daschle's name as one of the lobbyists working on the deal. Shortly thereafter, a correction came out from the Times stating that Linda Daschle "is a lobbyist for Boeing on commercial aviation issues only, not on military-related matters."

When Argus Leader executive editor Randell Beck took some heat for ignoring the mention of Linda Daschle in this story, he responded with a column in which he stated:

First, I explained, Linda Daschle has been a lobbyist for Boeing since 1998. Second, while she is a member of a well-known schmoozing firm, she doesn't lobby the Senate. Third, when she does go to bat for the airplane manufacturer, she handles commercial, not military, issues. She's not involved in the contract. And finally, while we can debate the propriety of a powerful lawmaker sharing living quarters with a powerful lobbyist, nothing has changed since this newspaper last published a story about her job. No news.

While it may be true that Linda Daschle is not involved in the present contract between Boeing and the Pentagon, it turns out that it is not true that she only handles commercial issues for Boeing. Because she has worked on military issues for Boeing in the past. According to page 2 of the 2001 year-end lobbying report on Linda Daschle and Boeing, available on, Linda Daschle worked on "H.R. 3338, P.L 107-117, Department of Defense Appropriations and Emergency Supplemental" for Boeing back in 2001. The document even contains Linda Daschle's signature. Gee, that sounds pretty military, doesn't it? So much for the new "If your mother says she loves you, check it out'' axiom, found in Beck's latest column. I guess there's the Steve Hildebrand exception to the "mother says she loves you" doctrine. That is, when Steve Hildebrand says something like "Linda Daschle doesn't work on military issues for Boeing," we don't bother to check it out. What's that? Oh, she doesn't work on military-related issues for Boeing ANYMORE. OK, got it.

posted by Jason | 5:46 PM

KRANZ WATCH VS. BEEBWATCH: The Daily Telegraph has introduced a new feature entitled "Beebwatch." Excerpt:

[B]BC bias is not a piece of partisan trickery - it is a state of mind. So strong is the state of mind that a great many of the acts of bias, perhaps the majority of them, are quite unconscious. It is time to delve into that unconscious. Hence our Beebwatch, which starts on the opinion pages today.

And hence SDP's "Kranz Watch," which has been delving into the biased unconscious of David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters, for the past six months.

posted by Jason | 4:08 PM

Tuesday, September 09, 2003  

Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, delivers a scathing editorial on the withdrawal of Miguel Estrada from the Senate confirmation process: The Borking of Miguel Estrada. Excerpt:

Congratulations to my two U.S. senators, Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor of Arkansas. And to Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy. And to the whole, solid block of Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

You must be very proud. All of you played a key role in blocking the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the federal judiciary. Month after month after month. For more than two years. Until finally he gave up and withdrew his name from consideration.

One could substitute the names Tim Johnson and Tom Daschle for Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor into this editorial and have the same effect.

To understand the leadership role of Tom Daschle in this travesty, one need only view a small portion of
this transcript via the Federal News Service.

posted by Jason | 12:21 PM

Monday, September 08, 2003  

On March 18, 2003, the Argus Leader editorialized on the Estrada nomination with a column entitled "Estrada Deserves Full Senate Vote." In light of the fact that Miguel Estrada has now withdrawn his name from consideration, it's reasonable to expect a new editorial commenting on this development from the Argus Leader, as was done by the Washington Post last Friday.

posted by Jason | 9:34 PM

STEPHEN MOORE ON HOWARD DEAN: For those of you who think Stephen Moore is reflexively opposed to liberals of all stripes, consider the piece written by him in this week's Weekly Standard: The Appeal of Howard Dean. (Via Andrew Sullivan).

posted by Jason | 8:48 PM

WHEN DID TOM DASCHLE'S MEDIA CONSULTANTS LEARN TO HATE?: There's an interesting article in the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times concerning Tom Daschle's media consultants Karl Struble and David Eichenbaum, entitled Graham boiling theme down to 30 seconds. Excerpt:

"Struble was recently called one of the hottest political consultants in the nation by Campaigns & Elections magazine. Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist says he liked Struble and Eichenbaum because 'I not only felt they believed in me, but I felt they hated my opponent.'"


posted by Jason | 5:25 PM

Stephen Moore has a new article in National Review entitled Tom’s House Is a Very, Very, Very Nice House; The Senate Minority Leader is anti-tax — at least, for himself.

posted by Jason | 11:56 AM

Sunday, September 07, 2003  

JANKLOW ACCIDENT UPDATE: Diane Carman of the Denver Post has a column on the Janklow accident entitled S.D. lawmaker finds pity from old adversary. Carman's article, based on an interview with Russell Means, omits a couple of salient facts, and doesn't quite seem to grasp the nuance of Janklow's relationship with the Indians. First, Carman fails to mention the fact that Janklow pardoned Russell Means this past January. Means had been convicted of a felony stemming from an April 30, 1974, clash between police and American Indian Movement (AIM) supporters in Sioux Falls. Interestingly, Russell Means has also been charged and subsequently acquitted of the crime of murdering Martin Montileaux. Below are the facts quoted from the case of State v. Marshall, 264 NW2d 911:

[T]he record evidence shows that Martin Montileaux, an Indian male, entered the Longhorn Bar in Scenic, South Dakota, sometime in the afternoon of March 1, 1975. He was accompanied by his sister-in-law Marian Poor Bear, one Richard Weston, and a girl named Natonabah. For the most part, the group occupied a booth and drank beer throughout the afternoon and evening. During the evening there were approximately twenty customers in the bar.
About midnight a group of A.I.M. Indians entered the bar and started "milling" around. In the group were the defendant Marshall and his wife, Russell Means, David Clifford and his wife, Dusty Labeau, Joe Bat Richards, Red Colombe, Monica Cisneros, Evelyn Bordeaux, Rose Lee Janis, Webster Poor Bear, Bap Dubray, John Thomas, and Lester Lonehill. The owner of the bar, Halley Merrill, became concerned and instructed his grandson to call the sheriff.
Shortly after the group of Indians arrived, Martin Montileaux went into the men's room located in the rear area of the bar. He was immediately followed by defendant Marshall and Russell Means. Soon afterwards a "thump" was heard and then a shot. Defendant and Means came out of the restroom smiling. After a brief interval defendant and the other members of his group left the bar.
Martin Montileaux was found lying on the floor of the restroom with a small hole in his neck. When asked by the Deputy Sheriff Phillips whether he knew who shot him, he replied "Russell Means' friend." Montileaux died several days later from the effects of the shot. The bullet had entered his front throat, severed his spinal cord, and lodged in the back of his neck. While in the hospital Montileaux described to Deputy Sheriff Phillips the man who shot him was "shaggy haired" and wore "an army jacket."
Following the shooting, defendant, Means, and other members of their group got into cars and started towards Rapid City, South Dakota. Defendant and Means were passengers in a Ford car driven by David Clifford. The car was intercepted and followed for seventeen miles by the sheriff in a pickup with a red light and by a patrol car with a siren and red lights. The car was being driven erratically from one shoulder to the other and at speeds varying from 40 to 80 miles per hour. During the ride Means and the defendant exchanged jackets. The chase ended in the outskirts of Rapid City when the Ford turned into a trailer court. As it attempted to leave the sheriff struck and stopped it. Means and the defendant were placed under arrest.

Marshall was subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison. But the story gets more interesting. On December 27, 1984, Richard Marshall was inexplicably freed from prison on the orders of Governor Bill Janklow.

The second criticism I have about Carman's article is Carman's assertion that Means is a "revered" figure on the Pine Ridge reservation. This assertion is a bit humorous, in light of the fact that Russell Means couldn't even win an election for tribal president in Pine Ridge last year. Incumbent John Yellow Bird Steele defeated him. I suppose it's possible to be revered and still lose an election, but at the least you'd think Carman would write about this paradox.

All of the above goes to show that the relationship between Bill Janklow and the Indians is not as cut-and-dried as many seem to believe. There's a lot of nuance to it that frankly I even have trouble grasping.

posted by Jason | 6:45 PM
Ungarnered Praise
Talon News Series on Argus Leader Bias