|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, August 02, 2003
WILL DASCHLE VISIT STURGIS? Don't miss the second installment of Kim du Toit's parody of Tom Daschle's blog. Daschle will be starting out his roadtrip in Rapid City. I wonder if Daschle will meander over to Sturgis for the Motorcycle Rally that will be going on this coming week? He could go gladhand Sonny Barger's Hell's Angels. I don't know if Sonny will be in Sturgis this year, but I saw him there last year in One Eyed Jack's Saloon. Anyway, imagine Tom Daschle amongst the leather chaps and vests, the scantily clad women with boa constrictors around their necks, and all of those fuel-wasting, tympanum-shattering Harleys. It would be a hoot!posted by Jason | 10:53 AM
"BLOG IT IS AND BLOG I'LL DO:" From the Huron Plainsman: Daschle says the blog is on. Excerpt:
Of course, the story doesn't reveal that the reason Tom Daschle learned about blogging is because the Dakota Alliance of bloggers has been taking him to task for months. The failure to report that fact is yet another sad outcome of the stale monopoly of local reporting in South Dakota. Tom Daschle wouldn't be venturing into the blogosphere today if the Dakota Alliance did not exist. posted by Jason | 10:17 AM
Friday, August 01, 2003
THANKS TOM: Tom Daschle starts a blog, and as a direct result SDP gets linked by the biggest blog in the world, allowing hundreds of new readers to discover SDP. Life is good. For all of you new readers, check out the rest of the Dakota Alliance of bloggers: High Plains Observer, Greg Belfrage and Sibby Online.
DASCHLE BLOG UPDATE: I had to snicker at a quote from Tom Daschle in Mike Madden's report on Daschle becoming a blogger:
Yeah, I'll bet they did. Do you suppose SDP came up in that conversation?
Anyway, the blogosphere has latched on to this story. Below is a list of posts from various blogs about Daschle blogging:
Hit & Run
Student Life posted by Jason | 12:58 PM
KIND WORDS: Greg Belfrage has me blushing with his latest post.posted by Jason | 7:20 AM
JEFF GANNON RIDES AGAIN: Former Senator Jim Abourezk, who has been subjected to very harsh criticism by SDP in the past, sued a website a few months ago for $5 million. This week, the defendant, Jeff Marino of ProBush.com filed a motion to dismiss. Jeff Gannon, who made a big splash in South Dakota with his reporting on bias in the Argus Leader, has a thorough report. You can read Abourezk's complaint by clicking here. Interestingly, some nutbar sent me a hate e-mail last May and signed Jim Abourezk's name to it.posted by Jason | 7:14 AM
Thursday, July 31, 2003
DASCHLE BECOMES A BLOGGER: In a curious new development, Tom Daschle has decided keep a weblog as he does his August recess roadtrip around South Dakota, according to a report from Mike Madden of the Argus Leader. Could it be in response to the blogging phenomenon that has swept the plains of this state for the last seven months? We will be able to access Daschle's blog from his official Senate website. However, you will not be able to access Tom Daschle's voting record at his official Senate website, something Ralph Nader requested that Daschle do in a recent open letter published in the Rapid City Journal. Many state legislators around the country are taking advantage of the blogging opportunity, as seen by this Minnesota state legislator. Hopefully, South Dakota state legislators will soon follow suit. At any rate, SDP welcomes Tom Daschle to the blogosphere.posted by Jason | 1:02 PM
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
ARGUS OVERDUE FOR OMBUDSMAN: Today, the executive editor of the New York Times announced he would soon hire an ombudsman, or readers' representative, who would "have license to write about issues of our coverage, and to have those independent, uncensored commentaries published in our pages." I would think that what's good enough for the Times is good enough for the Argus Leader. Argus Leader executive editor Randell Beck constantly tells us what makes a great newspaper and a great editor in his columns, and below are a few recent examples:
Clearly, Randell Beck has assigned to himself the role of ombudsman for the Argus Leader, as seen by the second quote above. The fact that Beck is the executive editor AND the ombudsman presents an egregious conflict of interest. How can we legitimately rely on Randell Beck to hold his newspaper "conspicuously accountable to both readers and the public" especially in light of his argument on Greg Belfrage's radio show recently that his newspaper shouldn't be held to the same scrutiny as government officials because the Argus "isn't on the public dole?" Or when he can't bring himself to admit he goofed last January when he created the Argus' own "Dewey Defeats Truman" moment? Obviously, the Argus Leader is overdue for an ombudsman who could provide independent, uncensored commentary on its coverage. As the Times' report quotes, "a pair of professional eyes, familiar with us but independent of the day-to-day production of the paper, can make us more sensitive on matters of fairness and accuracy, and enhance our credibility." Would that the executive editor of the Argus Leader was this introspective and farsighted. posted by Jason | 8:03 PM
DASCHLE ROAD TRIP: Tom Daschle's annual road trip through South Dakota will be an opportunity for him to discuss people's fears about health care. Last year, Daschle's road trip was on C-Span, which showed him driving on I-90 west of the river between Rapid City and Chamberlain. Watching Daschle drive Kennebec's new fire truck was a hoot!posted by Jason | 7:41 AM
THE GOLDEN AGE OF NEPOTISM: Jonathon Turley, law professor at George Washington University, discusses the Daschle family business--lobbying--as one example among many of nepotism run rampant: Don't let jobs grow on family trees.posted by Jason | 7:34 AM
Monday, July 28, 2003
BAD PRESS: Tom Daschle has taken a few missiles today from the editorial pages of two national papers and one local paper
ARGUS BEATS THE POST: Kudos to the Argus Leader for beating the Washington Post to the punch by weeks in publishing an editorial on the issue of lawmakers' family members being lobbyists. The Post finally gets around to editorializing about it today, although the Post piece is less muddled than the Argus' was. Unfortunately, I can't link to the Argus editorial because they have a nasty habit of erasing their editorials after a week or so.
BEWARE THE MISQUOTE: Today's edition of the New York Times had this quote from Representative Bill Thomas regarding Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt:
And yesterday's edition of the Washington Post contains the following:
So whose head is it easier to get inside of or know what's going on inside? One of these papers has misquoted Bill Thomas, or maybe even both of them have. Whoever pitched this story to the Times and Post sure got the quote tangled.
posted by Jason | 12:53 PM
Sunday, July 27, 2003
SUNDAY ARGUS ROUNDUP: It's Sunday, so that means it's time once again to endure preacher/executive editor Randell Beck's weekly sermon/column. I don't know. I want to try to understand and like Mr. Beck, but the tone of his sermons is usually so silly, but at the same time so patronizing and sanctimonious, that I usually have the dry heaves by the time I'm finished reading. I mean, is it ever possible in Randell Beck's world that he and his newspaper could be wrong sometimes? Recall that when the Argus Leader goofed on announcing that Daschle was running for president, Beck couldn't bring himself to admit that he had goofed when he talked to Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post. Kurtz even talked about Beck's goof on his CNN show. Excerpt from Kurtz's January 13, 2003 report in the Washington Post:
Does Randell Beck ever admit to making a mistake? Does it ever occur to him that the Argus Leader has a lot of room for improvement? I could try not reading his column, but I care too much about what's going on in this state to risk it. As executive editor of the state's newspaper of record (or at least the newspaper with the most subscribers), Randell Beck is a force to be reckoned with. The following, from Beck's contribution today, is a typical passage:
But heaven forfend that Randell Beck and the Argus Leader should ever be uncomfortable. He "sleeps like a baby." It brings to mind Beck's assertion on Greg Belfrage's radio show saying that the Argus Leader shouldn't be held to the same scrutiny as government officials and institutions.
In today's column it's hard to tell whether Beck is talking about the editorial page, in which case I agree with the sentiment, or if he's talking about the newsgathering side, in which case I would disagree with the sentiment. A very good South Dakota newspaper merely has to publish all the news that's fit to print regarding South Dakota. I have often pointed out where the Argus Leader has failed to do precisely that, the latest item they're ignoring being Tom Daschle's speech at the annual convention of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, in the wake of Daschle's filibuster of malpractice reform. The Argus Leader has also never reported on Tom Daschle's trip to Hollywood two months ago to talk to the members of the movie industry about the issue of runaway film and television production. Both the movie industry and trial lawyers contribute substantial amounts of money to Tom Daschle. These items are facts, and they are facts that South Dakotans deserve to know about, indeed would be interested to know about. But the Argus Leader doesn't report these facts.
I hasten to add that the Argus Leader has reported thoroughly on the issue of Linda Daschle's lobbying, but only after substantial prodding from persistent critics. Mike Madden, the Argus Leader's Washington bureau chief, did an excellent job in reporting this story, and I believe that Mike Madden is a fair reporter.
Which brings me to the final item to discuss, namely, today's column by David Kranz, the dean of South Dakota political reporters. Much to my surprise, he has reported on the poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates this past week, but unsurprisingly has failed to report on Tom Daschle's speech to the trial lawyers after filibustering malpractice reform. I am smarter today than I was yesterday due to Kranz's column, though. I hadn't realized before that there are two polling groups that contain the name "McLaughlin." One is McLaughlin & Associates, the other is Fabrizio McLaughlin. posted by Jason | 6:31 PM