From the Washington Times:
A poll on the political mood in the United States conducted by the Democratic Party has alarmed the party at its own loss of popularity.
Conducted by the party-affiliated Democracy Corps, the poll indicated 43 percent of voters favored the Republican Party, while 38 percent had positive feelings about Democrats.
"Republicans weakened in this poll ... but it shows Democrats weakening more," said Stanley Greenberg, who served as President Clinton's pollster.
Greenberg told the Christian Science Monitor he attributes the slippage to voters' perceptions that Democrats have "no core set of convictions or point of view."
Maybe if the Democrats had an actual agenda besides trashing the GOP it would help.
Joel Rosenthal at South Dakota Straight Talk is advancing possibilities for the Supreme Court, including a home-grown South Dakotan, Roger Wollman, who is currently serving on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. The South Dakota War College is contemplating the situation of the Democrats in South Dakota:
It seems like some of the Democrat faithful base is saying, we're in dire straits. Then I read in the past few days how you're getting money from the National Democratic Party, and talking about how you need people for your office. Clearly, you are in a rebuilding cycle.
My advice? If you want to rebuild yourselves, it happens from the bottom up, not the top down. We've known that for years. And our ability to field candidates in nearly every race is a sign of that strength.
And to me, that's your problem. We're winning by attrition. Yeah, you got Stephanie on us. But we got John Thune and Dusty Johnson on you. We lost one, but we took 2. You're certainly not gaining any ground in the state offices or the legislature. And why are we taking you two for one? We have the numbers coming up through the ranks. In 2006, it will continue to be pretty hard for you to field 7 or 8 constitutional candidates this next time out simply because your talent pool keeps shrinking. And ours keeps growing.
Your lack of candidates at the legislative level is killing you.
Ryne McClaren is tired of the constant claims of "McCarthyism" coming from Democrats. The anonymous Blog Watch Man is on vacation. Meanwhile, the Thune-bashing of the various former Daschle staffers who are now running anti-Thune blogs, the former Daschle staffers who are "consulting" for national groups and running anti-Thune blogs, and the anonymous people running anti-Thune blogs are becoming manic in their attempts undermine the state's new Senator. The permanent campaign continues...
Rapid City Journal reporter Kevin Woster is wondering Public Radio bias on Mt. Blogmore:
[D]uring a local news break, a South Dakota public radio reporter did a piece on the lawsuit filed in federal court by Planned Parenthood challenging a law passed by the state Legislature requiring abortion providers to give specific information to their patients prior to the procedure about the effects of the abortion.
The public-radio report had some live quotes from Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Kate Looby saying she was confident the federal judge would see the problems in the law and rule in favor of Planned Parenthood. She also said the law requires abortion providers to give information that is clearly erroneous.
No problem so far. I was waiting for the live quotes from one of the legislators who sponsored or voted for the bill or a state lawyer, arguing, of course, that the required information was not erroneous and touting the new law and its chances in court. That never came. Instead, the public-radio reporter virtually ignored the other side and very briefly summarized what an unnamed lawyer representing the state said about the law.
Not good enough, by a long shot.
By the way - if my 53-year-old memory serves me - this is the second time in the last few weeks that I’ve heard a report on public radio that gave Kate Looby and Planned Parenthood live quotes on this issue without anything close to a fair and equal response from the opposition.
You’d like to hope this is just a coincidence of a rushed reporter not taking the time necessary to balance a story. That happens. We make mistakes.
But the fact that it happened twice on the same story certainly raises larger questions.
The current Chief Justice of the South Dakota Supreme Court was re-elected to another term as Chief. Dave Kranz in the Argus Leader: "Local man takes office once held by Karl Rove." A federal judge in Rapid City will rule today on the abortion law passed during the last legislative session in South Dakota.
After the last election, in addition to remaining on Senator Daschle's payroll, former Daschle campaign manager Steve Hildebrand took charge of Americans United to Protest Social Security and hired anti-Thune blogger Jeremy Funk to help him. According to liberal blogger Joshua Micah Marshall, the organization was running out of money and about to lay off staffers until it received a cash infusion from the labor union which endorsed Howard Dean for President. From Marshall:
Here's a story that is both distressing in the particular and telling as a general weakness of progressive politics in this country.
You may know that Americans United to Protect Social Security is the main umbrella group mobilizing opposition to President Bush's plan to phase-out Social Security. According to an article in today's Roll Call, they were getting set to scale back their field operations and start laying off staff. Those plans have now been called because AFSCME has pledged a new contribution to keep the organization afloat for the time being.
AUPSS has been criticizing Thune for several months and even staging protests in front of Thune's office. AUPSS-employee Jeremy Funk and other former Daschle staffers and anti-Thune bloggers have been promising yet more jabs at Thune in coming days. The permanent campaign continues.
Update: Sibby keeps putting a question to the former Daschle staffer/current anti-Thune blogger: "who is paying you for your consulting work?" Perhaps it is AUPSS.
Update: From the 6/27/05 edition of Roll Call:
Facing serious financial woes, Americans United to Protect Social Security received a promise of a critical infusion of funding last week from a powerful labor organization - ensuring that the advocacy group will continue operating in 33 states for the foreseeable future. The liberal-leaning Americans United was considering recalibrating its political plan by trimming down its field operations and laying off staff in the wake of the group's continued struggle to raise money. But the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees pledged a donation in "excess of six figures," sources said, to keep the organization's grass-roots infrastructure intact. Chuck Loveless, AFSCME's director of legislation, said he was unable to provide a specific dollar amount because it was not finalized, but noted it could be signed off on as early as today.
Facing serious financial woes, Americans United to Protect Social Security received a promise of a critical infusion of funding last week from a powerful labor organization - ensuring that the advocacy group will continue operating in 33 states for the foreseeable future.
The liberal-leaning Americans United was considering recalibrating its political plan by trimming down its field operations and laying off staff in the wake of the group's continued struggle to raise money. But the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees pledged a donation in "excess of six figures," sources said, to keep the organization's grass-roots infrastructure intact.
Chuck Loveless, AFSCME's director of legislation, said he was unable to provide a specific dollar amount because it was not finalized, but noted it could be signed off on as early as today.
An editor from Gannett (which owns the Argus Leader) has promised that "[i]f the U.S. Senate follows its silly siblings in the House of Representatives and votes for a ban on burning the American flag, I'm going to burn one."
The top editor at a newspaper owned by Gannett, which publishes USA Today, promised in a Sunday column to burn an American flag if the Senate passes an anti-flag burning amendment. Linda Grist Cunningham, Executive Editor of the Rockford Register Star in Illinois, pledged: "If the U.S. Senate follows its silly siblings in the House of Representatives and votes for a ban on burning the American flag, I'm going to burn one. It never occurred to me to burn a flag -- except in some flag-retiring ceremony -- but just the idea that Congress has nothing better to do than spend time on this nutty issue makes me want to burn one." She also displayed her disgust with critics of Senator Dick Durbin, complaining that people "with an ax to grind" took "a couple of lines out of context."
There are conservatives on both sides of the debate over whether flag-burning should be banned via a constitutional amendment, but I don't think any of the conservative opponents of such an amendment would burn a flag just out of pique for coming out on the losing side.
Via the Counterterrorism Blog is an interesting Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued this month entitled "Homeland Security: Actions Needed to Better Protect National Icons and Federal Office Buildings from Terrorism." The report notes that Mt. Rushmore "could be targeted for symbolic reasons and for the purpose of harming people" and that "Information from Interior shows that these and other assets are vulnerable to attack in a variety of ways." The report discusses Mt. Rushmore at length on pages 24-27 and a pdf copy can be accessed here.
In case you're wondering, here's the definition of irony:
Could a hotel be built on the land owned by Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter? A new ruling by the Supreme Court which was supported by Justice Souter himself itself might allow it. A private developer is seeking to use this very law to build a hotel on Souter's land.
Justice Souter's vote in the "Kelo vs. City of New London" decision allows city governments to take land from one private owner and give it to another if the government will generate greater tax revenue or other economic benefits when the land is developed by the new owner. ...
"This is not a prank" said [Logan Darrow] Clements, "The Towne of Weare has five people on the Board of Selectmen. If three of them vote to use the power of eminent domain to take this land from Mr. Souter we can begin our hotel development."
From the AP Wire:
National Democratic Party funneling money to South Dakota
YANKTON, S.D. (AP) _ The South Dakota Democratic Party will be better funded -- thanks to the new national Democratic Party chairman, Howard Dean.
He's sending money to all 50 state parties.
State Executive Director Jason Schulte says it will allow the South Dakota party to hire three full-time positions – a legislative director, field director and communications director.
He says the state party has been badly understaffed and has had to rely on volunteers and activists.
Schulte says the money will help the party restart its grassroots organizing efforts.
North Dakota Democrats indicated they're getting 84-thousand dollars. Schulte says he expects South Dakota will get a similar amount.
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Two Sarasota teens accused of burning six American flags have been charged with arson and manufacturing a firebomb.
Scott A. Baber and Brian A. Richard III, both 18, told deputies they burned the flags because they are anarchists and disagree with the war in Iraq and other U.S. government policies.
They set fire to six flags Sunday and tried to firebomb a car, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said.
Richard remained in jail Tuesday on $402,120 bail. Baber was released Monday on $101,120 bail.
The pair were charged with arson, manufacture of a fire bomb and criminal mischief.
Baber and Richard burned about five flags at homes in the Bent Tree subdivision, where they live with Baber's parents, then set fire to a flag at its clubhouse, said Lt. Chuck Lesaltato, a spokesman for the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.
"Our deputies came up on them as they were returning to their car," he said.
The arrest of his son surprised Brian Richard II.
"His grandfather was a decorated military man. The whole thing really stunned me. I was really sad that they made that choice," the elder Richard said.
Residents of the golf course community were also upset.
"How stupid," Pat Davidson said, straightening the stones surrounding her blackened flagpole. "What kind of thrill would you get burning an American flag?"
6/28/2005 Roll Call:
When the discovery of high levels of lead in the drinking water prompted the Architect of the Capitol to undertake a comprehensive study of the Congressional water supply earlier this year, reaction on Capitol Hill was, for the most part, muted.
Given the more than 20,000 Congressional employees on the Hill, one might expect outrage from those exposed to lead contamination. But an examination of Congressional spending records, as well as interviews with dozens of House and Senate employees, suggest that very few Members or their staffs actually drink from the Hill’s water supply.
An analysis of disbursement records for the first quarter of 2005 found House Members’ personal offices spent approximately $127,000 on bottled water, a figure that suggests the chamber’s annual spending on water exceeds a half-million dollars. And adding in leadership and committee offices, the total is likely quite higher. ...
Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) recorded the largest total water expenditure at more than $1,600, although it should be noted that the Golden State lawmaker’s tab includes an annual $1,500 payment to Mountain Valley Water of Maryland.
Also topping the list are Reps. Stephanie Herseth (D-S.D.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who each spent significant funds to stock their offices with drinking water, paying out $1,270 and $1,055, respectively.
From Senator Thune's office:
June 28, 2005
John Thune statement on Energy Bill
“Today’s vote is a major step towards a national energy policy that promotes ethanol and creates jobs. The Senate bill makes ethanol a cornerstone of our energy policy and creates jobs in America’s heartland. Since the Senate version includes the Domenici-Thune ethanol amendment for an 8 billion gallon Renewable Fuels Standard, we are in a strong position to dramatically increase ethanol use. Today’s high gas prices reflect Congress’s failure to pass an energy bill in recent years. Passing a national energy plan is long overdue. I hope Congress moves quickly to send a final energy bill to the President.” – Senator John Thune
Evidently people are wondering where the Northern profs have taken off to. For all who care (both of you) Prof. Blanchard was on vacation and is now with me in Boise, ID where we are doing a week long seminar on the origins of the Civil War. I have been here over a week doing administrativ things and am now teaching. I have just finished a lecture on Lincoln's Lyceum Speech, Temperance Address, and Peoria speech against Kansas Nebraska. Prof. Blanchard is about to talk on the Dred Scott case. He's against it, I think.
Democrat Brenda Barger lost her bid for a sixth term as mayor of Watertown to Paul Fox 54% to 27% (other candidates captured the remaining votes). Anyone want to speculate on the reasons for her defeat? Dave Kranz is speculating in today's newspaper.
From Michelle Malkin:
He just doesn't shut up. Fortunately, the vigilant bloggers at Pirate Ballerina continue to track the nutty professor's bloviations. At a forum on "conscientious objection and resistance to military recruiters" in Portland on Friday, Churchill seemed to suggest support for fragging--troops murdering their own on the battlefield--as an effective anti-war tactic.
The article by PB is here:
Ward Churchill, harsh and scolding, at a forum on Conscientious Objection and resistance to military recruiters in Portland, Oregon Friday:
After discussing the effectiveness of fragging officers in Vietnam, Churchill says (26:48):
Later, during the Q&A (:1:13:31):
Also, from PB, Churchill is also trying to weasle his way out of his "little Eichmann's" statement, citing a "faulty grammar-checker."
Embattled ethnic studies professor Ward Churchill is blaming the debacle of the last five months on a faulty grammar-checker, saying that his infamous "roosting chickens" essay about the 9/11 terrorist attacks wasn't taken out of context, it was just not well-edited.
"I'm surprised nobody noticed this before," a red-faced Churchill said at a hastily-called press conference Friday, "but I have to admit that even I didn't notice it until just this morning. ..."
Churchill told the estimated crowd of 200 local and national journalists that a recently-installed freeware grammar-checker, "Gramma-Cheka", had changed what he typed—"little Entenmann's" (referring to the popular brand of donuts and pastries)—to "little Eichmanns." The change went unnoticed despite widespread internet distribution as well as an expansion into a book-length work. ...
"I mean, really," Churchill said, "what kind of idiot would liken 3,000 innocent victims to Adolf Eichmann?"
I would also recommend the numerous previous posts done by Ms. Malkin (see this link). Historical fabrication isn't the only thing Churchill is guilty of. He's also been guilty of selling fake art, advocating terrorism, and plagarism.
From GOP and the City:
America has spoken (3 votes at a time) and named Ronald Reagan the Greatest American in the show put on by The Discovery Channel. The show listed the Top 100 and worked down from there, sadly Michael Moore did not make the top 25.
Top 10 Greatest Americans
1. Ronald Reagan
2. Abe Lincoln
3. Martin Luther King Jr.
4. George Washington
5. Ben Franklin
6. George W. Bush
7. Bill Clinton
9. Oprah Winfrey
Some notables that not make the Top 25, but should have: Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Dwight Eisenhower, Alexander Graham Bell, George Washington Carver, and Patton. Are there any you think should have made the Top 100? Top 25?
The latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has found overwhelming American dissatisfaction with the news media, with a rising number of people saying that the press is "too critical of America."
And while Democrats have generally been more supportive of the press than Republicans, the survey found a marked increase in the number of Democrats who say reporters are too soft on the Bush administration. ...
"Republicans increasingly express the view that the press is excessively critical of the United States," the survey said, with 67 percent agreeing with that statement, compared with 42 percent in July 2002.
About one-quarter of Democrats say the press is too critical, the same level as three years ago.
Any good will that the press earned after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, appears to have eroded.
In November 2001, 69 percent of all respondents said that the press stood up for America. Only 17 percent found it too critical. At the same time, 60 percent said the press did a good job of protecting democracy while only 19 percent said it was hurting democracy.
Now, only 47 percent say the press protects democracy and 33 percent say it hurts.
I recommend reading the whole article.
From U2's Bono on Meet the Press (HT Power Line):
Well, I think [President Bush has] done an incredible job, his administration, on AIDS. And 250,000 Africans are on antiviral drugs. They literally owe their lives to America. In one year that's being done. … Yes, there's a lot of pressure on President Bush. If he, though, in his second term, is as bold in his commitments to Africa as he was in the first term, he indeed deserves a place in history in turning the fate of that continent around.
And then there's this from Bob Geldof, the founder of live aid (via Time):
America doesn't have a lack of empathy; they just don't know the issues as well. Actually, today I had to defend the Bush Administration in France again. They refuse to accept, because of their political ideology, that he has actually done more than any American President for Africa. But it's empirically so.
Also from Power Line: Blog the Live 8 Concerts! .
On June 26th 1975, Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams of the FBI were killed in the line of duty while attempting to serve arrest warrants for robbery and assault with a dangerous weapon on the Oglala Sioux Indian Reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
For all the commemeration of the event, you are hearing a lot more about the person convicted for killing them, then the men themselves. I think that truly dishonors their memory. They were husbands and fathers who left loved ones behind. And it was because they were doing their job.
I feel pretty strongly about this, because as I may have mentioned in a previous post, my dad is a retired agent who just as easily could have been in their place.
It's not a glamorous job. In fact, I think it's kind of thankless, crappy work. There were many weekends where my dad would get home at 2 in the afternoon and go to bed after spending all evening and morning on the reservation attending to the corpse of a victim of violence, or someone who had the bad luck of being involved in a fatal accident. This is not the kind of work that people aspire to. But it must be done.
Take a moment to read about the case for yourself, and take a moment to thank god that there's people out there who are willing to lay down their lives to uphold the law. They don't take a position on whether a law is good or bad. But it's their job to enforce it.
So please remember the agents. Not the man convicted of murdering them.
Sioux Falls blogger Jay Reding:
Erick Erickson notes Karl Rove’s brilliant political jujitsu with his recent comments at the New York Conservative Party dinner. Here’s what Rove said:
Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war. Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said we must understand our enemies.
Note what Rove didn’t say. The word “Democrat” isn’t in that statement. By responding so vociferously, the Democratic Party is admitting that they are the party of the liberal left. Not a particularly shocking revelation, but critical nonetheless.
I recommend reading the entire post.
Dave Kranz in today's Argus Leader:
It was a day for justice served. Shovels dug into the soil Thursday on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus in a ceremonial gesture starting the construction of the George and Eleanor McGovern Library and Center for Public Service. ...
Yet it was a long time coming. Ever since it became obvious that George McGovern would hold a place in South Dakota’s history – and the nation’s history – there has been a curiosity why Mitchell never did much to recognize the prominence of a man who was educated here and taught in the community. ...
[Former DWU president Donald] Messer put the day in perspective Thursday, saying this was recognition for “a giant who walked in our midst.”
Kranz is once again shilling for McGovern. Note this SDP post concerning Kranz's "coverage" of a meeting in Mitchell:
The text of the memo details how David Kranz overheard a conversation in the Mitchell Holiday Inn between two priests discussing strategy on McGovern and abortion, subsequently approached Bishop Dudley (the bishop of the Sioux Falls diocese at that time) about it, and then passed the information gleaned on to the McGovern staff. Kranz then wrote a story for the M[itchell] D[aily] R[epublic] which included a purported quote from the Bishop asking people "not to involve themselves with politics and personalities" regarding the abortion issue. The story was then picked up by the AP wire. You can read the pdf copy of the memo as well as the attached background story on why the priests were at the Mitchell Holiday Inn by clicking HERE. Excerpt from the memo:
While removing his coat, [David Kranz] overheard two priests talking, one of whom he recognized as Father James Wolf, Holy Name Church, Watertown. The other one was younger with a beard. They mentioned McGovern and the pro-life people and the younger one told Wolf they have to sit back and take stock of the situation before they do anything as a unit. At that point, my brother pretended to make a phone call to overhear the rest. It sounded as though they had discussed the situation in some committee meeting and finally the younger priest convinced Wolf that they shouldn't be too hasty about their plans.
With a chuckle, I commented to Dave that I should have "worked the meeting." He said he finished it for me. He talked to Bishop Dudley about the conversation and Dudley was just shocked and wanted to know who the priests were, but my brother kept his sources. Dudley said that the subject has never come up in this meeting or any committee meetings. He said he has written letters to the priests about pro-life, but is upset because the church is being misunderstood-by its own people, also. He says their goal is to advance life and not to mention or endorse any candidates toward that end. Although he said he cannot control what individual priests do on the altar, he will not issue any memo or mention any names when it comes down to elections. And, he will not encourage any such actions. [emphasis the original authors] ...
This memo indicates that Kranz was working as a McGovern operative, gathering and passing along intelligence to the McGovern campaign. He even tells the McGovern campaign who his sources are, but refuses to tell Bishop Dudley. As the memo states, the McGovern staffer wanted to "work the meeting" but David Kranz told the staffer that "he finished it for me."
Four months later, Kranz wrote a story for the Mitchell Daily Republic covering the issue of abortion and McGovern. As is noted, "Kranz was inaccurately quoting organizations and priests in his zeal to protect McGovern's political vulnerability on the issue of abortion." The same observation the SDP post makes can be made again today concerning Kranz's latest article:
...Kranz was making efforts to undermine conservative politicians and enhance the prospects of liberal politicians twenty years ago, and continues to do much the same thing today. [emphasis mine]
UPDATE I: Sibby adds his two cents.
As I've noted before, I'm working on an historical research project about Indian activism on the High Plains. With that in mind, I'd like to note this article from The Washington Post:
Calvin Jumping Bull was away at college when the shootout at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation left three people dead and became part of the storied battle between federal agents and the American Indian Movement in the 1970s.
Jumping Bull, 75, now lives on the reservation where tension between the FBI and Indian activists escalated on June 26, 1975. That was the day agents Ronald Williams and Jack Coler were shot in the head at point-blank range after being injured in a shootout.
Also killed in the shootout was AIM member Joseph Stuntz. The Justice Department concluded that an FBI sniper killed Stuntz, who was clad in Coler's FBI jacket when his body was found.
Three decades later, questions remain about the fatal shootout and about Leonard Peltier, who was convicted of murder for the agents' deaths. Peltier, 60, who is serving life in prison, has claimed the FBI framed him. The agency denies that. ...
Before President Clinton left office in January 2001, he considered granting Peltier clemency. Among those who urged Clinton to keep Peltier behind bars: then-FBI Director Louis Freeh, former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle and former Gov. Bill Janklow, who flew to Washington and had a lengthy meeting with Clinton at the White House.
Lately, there's been some developments in the Peltier case:
In April [15, 2005], a federal judge [Donovan W. Frank] in St. Paul, Minn., admonished the FBI for withholding documents on Peltier's case but denied a request by Peltier's lawyers for quicker access to information used to convict him.
And most recently, at a hearing this month in Fargo, Peltier's lawyer Barry Bachrach argued the government had no right to send Peltier to prison. Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Schneider said the claim is frivolous and the only way Peltier could get back in court. A ruling is expected within months.
Although it has been Peltier and his lawyers who have drawn the most attention to the case, federal prosecutors have introduced a possible link between Peltier and the 1975 slaying of another AIM member _ Anna Mae Pictou Aquash, whose body was found in February 1976 on the Pine Ridge reservation.
Tomorrow will be the 30th anniversary of the shootout.
Unrelated Footnote: Readers may have noticed that posts have been light lately and that Profs. Schaff and Blanchard haven't been posting in a couple weeks. Both are currently attending a conference, so this has left Quentin and I carrying the ball for a few more days. Rest assured, both will be returning shortly.
SD War College is writing about old campaigns and their lessons:
If you're hellbent on looking for an issue that you're convinced is a silver bullet, you also might end up with an issue which is so offensive to the voter that they lash out at your campaign for bringing it up in the first place. I was watching Primary Colors on AMC the other night, and if you recall, they had discovered that an opponent was a bisexual cokehead in his past. Imagine that issue coming out in a South Dakota campaign. Aside from fatally smashing the opponent, you would end up fatally smashing yourself.
Take the lesson from the Kirby/Barnett/Rounds race. Of course you saw that ad noting that a company that Kirby's investment company had invested in was buying and selling skin cells from dead people for plastic surgery. And that burn victims were dying because they didn't have the skin that was going to people getting collagen injections.
When that ad aired, there was a collective statewide "Oh My God" uttered. If you've ever watched campaign commercials from other states, on the spectrum of campaign commercials, there are a lot worse ones. But for South Dakota where seldom is heard a critical word - it was a harsh introduction to big state political ads. And because of that ad, among other things, it put the voters in a punishing mood and the rest is history.
BWM takes 1,200 words to say he refuses to reveal his identity. He throws in lots of insults and even a predictable Nazi reference. The irony is that he started his site to be a blog WATCHER, or critic/analyst, but he does it in hiding and doesn't appreciate criticism. He often insults people personally, but he won't reveal his personal identity.
The NYT has an interesting column today about historic Deadwood, SD headlined "The Mild, Mild West." Excerpt:
But if you talk to some historians and economists about Deadwood and the rest of the West, you get a much different picture from what's on television - or what's been taught in history classes.
These revisionists' history, unlike the one now fashionable in academia, is not a grim saga of settlers exploiting one another, annihilating natives and despoiling nature. Nor is it like the previously fashionable history depicting the settlers as heroic individualists who tamed the frontier by developing the great American virtue of self-reliance.
The Westerners in this history survived by learning to get along, as Terry Anderson and Peter Hill document in their new book, "The Not So Wild, Wild West." These economists, both at the PERC think tank in Montana, argue that their Western ancestors were usually neither heroic enough to make it on their own nor strong enough to take it away from others.
Note how an anonymous chicken, who is afraid of disclosing his real name, can poke fun at another blogger’s real name.
And Todd Epp, who made a huge deal out of disclosure of paid bloggers…how are you going to tell that a blogger has been or is being paid if they remain anonymous? Why are you being a total hypocrite about this. If the anonymous chicken receives compensation from a politician, it certainly won't be listed as Blog Watch Man. Sounds like there is a loophole in your plan to regulate paid bloggers, isn't there.
Actually, I should have made one more point in my post:
I really don't care if people have personal reasons for not disclosing their identities, unless they want to retain their anonymity only for chickenshit purposes.
And believe me, you definitely fall into that category.
Word came from Roll Call yesterday that a Democratic trio of hard-scrabble Senate race veterans — Jim Jordan, Joe Hansen, and Diana Rogalle — have joined up to form a new 527 called the Senate Majority Project (or "SMP," as opposed to "SSMP") with the apparent mission of generating opposition research and guerilla press and political operations against not-in-cycle Republican Senate incumbents and presumed future candidates.
Ah, the Permanent Campaign.
According to Jordan, they're simply filling a glaring hole in the Democratic Party machinery, and the goal is to harass and generate negative press in the years when incumbents generally operate out of the media spotlight. Jordan's speculation regarding the possibility of an expanded mission for the Senate Majority Project might intrigue some.
Hmm. This seems vaguely familiar...
Our left-of-center friends of the blogosphere have been attacking Thune for favoring the flag amendment. What they fail to mention, though, is that Tim Johnson and Stephanie Herseth also support it. From the Rapid City Journal:
Rep. Stephanie Herseth, D-S.D., who missed the vote because she was in Rapid City for the regional hearing of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission, said she supports the amendment.
"I would have voted for it had I been there," Herseth said Thursday.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., said he is "optimistic that this Senate will find the handful of votes we've lacked in the past to protect the American flag."
"As our troops fight to defend the principles of the American flag around the world, Congress has a responsibility to defend the flag at home," Thune said.
Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said he supports the amendment.
"For most of America's history, flag desecration has been illegal under state law and local ordinances. This constitutional amendment would simply allow the return of the law to its former state," Johnson said. "There are good, thoughtful and patriotic Americans on both sides of this contentious issue. Nonetheless, I am again a co-sponsor of Senate Joint Resolution 12, which would prohibit desecration of our nation's flag."
If you're going to attack one for supporting it, why not them all?
One of the lefty blogs in South Dakota says "The Class War is On":
All hell is going to break loose if Bush doesn't stop this madness. I said good, it should have happened a long time ago. Let's hope the right-wingers and the corporations to whom they pledge allegiance push harder. I believe the backlash will be so extreme it will shake this god-damned Empire to its roots.
While I hope the Democrats put up a fight, I know they can not be counted on to stop Bush's corporate agenda. This is why there must be revolution. There is little in the American government worth saving; let us scrap it altogether and try something new.
At this point, the Bush Administration and the corporate interests it represents are doing so much damage to this country and the world that I encourage any dissenters to take direct action against the state and incorporated America. This madness can not go on for one minute longer. It must stop, by any means necessary.
From the AP News Wire:
Thune appeared on the C-SPAN cable network and fielded questions about the Defense Department's recommendation to close Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City.
Thune, a freshman senator, said he has made it clear from the start that he would do everything possible for Ellsworth.
"That obviously means using the tools that you have, the powers you have at your disposal as a United States senator," he said. "Clearly, I'm going to do what I think is in the best interest of my state of South Dakota as well as in the best interest of the country because I think that's our responsibility as senators."
Thune said he is making his argument with the administration, the Pentagon and his colleagues in Congress. "We're not going to go down without a fight, that's for sure." ...
It was Daschle who raised the Ellsworth issue during the campaign, Thune said, adding that his response was, "if, in fact, there was a political component that was part of this process, that yes, I would be able to make the case to this administration."
The Bush administration has taken a hands-off attitude and allowed the base closure process to work, Thune said. "They have not tried to influence the decisions that were made by the Pentagon."
Still, the Ellsworth decision is wrong, he said.
"I was surprised like a lot of people were" when it was announced, the senator said.
You can watch a video of the CSPAN broadcast here.
A Minneapolis man charged last year with conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda is facing additional terrorism-related charges brought by a federal grand jury. The suspect reportedly attended an Al-Qaeda terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. ...
According to the superseding indictment, [Mohammed Abdulla] Warsame provided false statements to the FBI when he claimed that since 1995 he had traveled only to Saudi Arabia and Somalia. However, from 2000 through 2001, Warsame actually traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to attend military training camps and participate in combat. He also made false statements about his frequent contact with associates he met while attending military training camps in Afghanistan...[and a] false statement regarding his financial support of associates he met while attending military training camps, omitting his collection and transfer of about $2,000 to an associate in Pakistan.
If convicted, Warsame faces a maximum potential penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of conspiracy and providing material support to al Qaeda, and up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each count of making a false statement.
I also remember Todd Epp and I were on the same side of the argument regarding anonymous bloggers. So why isn’t Epp giving the SDBWM, the David Kranz of the South Dakota blogosphere, hell for not coming clean? What’s wrong with SDBWM?
I would also like to thank the South Dakota Blog Watch Man for mentioning by work on his web site. He’s a rather moody fellow, but I do enjoy his web log and I feel fortunate that he hasn’t developed a moniker for me like the ones he uses for other writers, particularly the person he calls the Hillbilly. In my day, that sort of reference wasn’t looked upon kindly, even by actual hillbillies.
BWM does seem to be moody. SDP readers think they have BWM figured out. Will he step up?
SD War College blog is noting some interesting SD political history:
Back in the day, when Joe Barnett was in charge of the GOP in the State House of Representatives, he ruled the GOP Caucus with an iron fist (in a velvet glove). Joe laid down rules that there would be no intra-party caucuses. Period. No east river caucuses, west river caucuses, conservative, moderate, whatever. And it was a BY GOD rule. Nobody violated it.
I was visiting the legislature when Joe Barnett's name was included in the memorial to the legislators who had passed the previous year. At the mention of his name, I was taken aback at how many grown men openly wept out of loss and respect for their departed colleague.
Joe Barnett was in the legislature for 19 years, and was majority leader from 1979, until his death in 1985. For better or worse, with term limits, I think we've lost a little of that cohesiveness and authority to keep the troops in line on both sides of the aisle. I don't want to call it a free for all, but it seems there is more jockeying for position than before term limits.
In response to another blog's request that SDP address the Durbin/Rove issue, please see Powerline:
The Democrats, apparently hoping to stop the bleeding resulting from Dick Durbin's faux pas and Howard Dean's many miscues, went into coordinated attack mode when Karl Rove drew this distinction between the liberal and conservative reactions to the September 11 attacks:
Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war.
That's a pretty accurate, if slightly hyperbolic, characterization of the opposing camps; any number of liberals have called for "understanding" the terrorists' grievances against us. The Democrats apparently thought the shoe fit, and went ballistic, demanding a tit-for-tat apology from Rove to balance out Durbin's tearful recantation. Needless to say, it won't be forthcoming. And I don't know that the Democrats gain anything by highlighting, once more, the charge that they are soft on terror.
SDP has noted before how the Daschle campaign rolls on in a new form and has become a permanent campaign. The national Democrats are now openly targeting Senators like Thune who aren't up for re-election for many years. In addition to the Daschle campaign and PAC continuing to pay Daschle's former campaign manager Steve Hildebrand, several former Daschle staffers (some of whom now work for Hildebrand) are running anti-Thune blogs. One anti-Thune blogger says openly that his efforts are based on "revenge" for Daschle's defeat and designed to "soften up" Thune for future races. One former Daschle staffer/Hildebrand employee/anti-Thune blogger promotes "F--- John Thune" t-shirts on his website, which is the basic theme of their effort. In the following article about the wider permanent campaign by national Democrats which mentions Thune, note that Jim Jordan was Tim Johnson's press secretary in the 1996 Senate race in South Dakota and that Joe Hansen was Johnson's and Daschle's campaign manager in 1996 and 1998 (this article also has lots about Joe Hansen and many former Daschle political advisors and is written by a former Daschle staffer who isn't a Hansen fan). From today's Roll Call:
527 Aims for Six-Year Drumbeat on Senate GOP
A handful of Democratic operatives have formed a 527 group aimed at keeping steady pressure on Republican Senators throughout their six-year terms rather than focusing solely on the two years before they face re-election.
The Senate Majority Project is the brainchild of Jim Jordan, a former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and now a member of Westhill Partners, a Democratic consulting firm.
Joining Jordan in the venture are Diana Rogalle, a veteran party fundraiser, and Joe Hansen, a partner in the Democratic direct-mail firm Ambrosino, Muir and Hansen.
“My hope is to simply fill a fairly glaring hole in the party’s machinery,” said Jordan, adding: “It’s conceivable that our mission will morph and expand over the cycle.”
A fundraising prospectus for the group obtained by Roll Call notes that “with an eye to the long run, Republicans have done a much more effective job than have Democrats in erecting political barriers and affecting media coverage of Senators in the opposing party ... to their credit.”
The Senate Majority Project aims to “close that gap by closely reviewing the public actions and positions of Republican Senators — votes, statements, fundraising, outside-of-Washington activities, gossip, etc.,” according to the prospectus.
Jordan would not discuss specific budgetary details for SMP, saying only the group would run on “several hundred thousand” dollars a year.
“Since this is primarily a research, free press and policy organization, the budget is relatively modest,” he added. “Diana and I have had initial conversations with generous Democratic donors and we have received a positive reception.”
Under tax law, 527s can accept unlimited contributions but they must report the identities of their donors on a quarterly basis.
The brief history of House- and Senate-focused 527s is — at best — mixed.
Following the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act in 2002, which banned national parties from raising and spending nonfederal, or soft, money, several Democratic 527s cropped up to serve as a conduit for the $246 million in soft dollars collected by the party in the 2002 cycle. ...
Phil Singer, communications director for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, called the organization “hugely important.”
“With any luck [it] will hopefully force some of these Republicans to be more responsible in the way they conduct themselves in office,” Singer said. He added he was not previously aware of the existence of the group prior to a reporter’s call.
Singer said that the DSCC was itself already doing some of the same kinds of longer-term work, noting releases sent out by the committee this year targeting Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — none of whom are up for re-election in 2006.
The SMP memo points out that while the DSCC does an “able job with opposition research and communications related to in-cycle races ... it lacks the staff and the resources to challenge votes and public actions of Republican Senators who are not yet up for re-election.”
John Podesta, President Clinton's one-time chief-of-staff, has announced that former Senator Tom Daschle is joining the Center for American Progress, which Podesta founded during the last campaign. Podesta said: "Senator Daschle has been a friend and mentor to me for nearly twenty years. It is a real honor to have the benefit of his leadership at the Center." Podesta, along with current Daschle staffer and former campaign manager Steve Hildebrand, helped to plan and would have worked for Daschle's Presidential campaign, which Daschle pulled the plug on in 2003. One writer described the beginning of the Center for American Progress:
Al Franken was becoming agitated. The comedian and conservative-basher was at a Washington party for the new liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress, when he was asked to say a few words to the crowd. As he often does, Franken began riffing on the subject of the Fox News Channel, and in no time at all had worked himself into a fit of anger.
"Basically, what there is, is there's a right-wing media in this country," Franken told the group. He recounted the story of Fox's lawsuit against him — "a f***ing complaint against me, thank you very F***ING much," he said, as the audience roared with laughter — and then moved on to the network's coverage of the war in Iraq, which he said showed "how shameless, how shameless, how SHAMELESS these people on the right can be."
The crowd, made up mostly of left-leaning activist, political, and media types, loved it. "We have to fight back," Franken exhorted them. Looking at John Podesta, the former Clinton White House chief of staff who is heading the new think tank, Franken said, "Thank God you're doing this. We have to fight back."
"The Pentagon, in its zeal to consolidate and reach some perceived quota for base closures, picked the wrong base by putting Ellsworth on the list," retired Air Force Gen. John Loh told three members of the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.
The BRAC Commission held a hearing at the civic center arena Tuesday afternoon.
Loh had sharp words for the Pentagon's plan to close Ellsworth and move its B-1B Lancer bombers to Dyess AFB in Texas. "It's a recipe for unmanageable congestion and never-ending chaos that spells inefficiency, waste and degraded operational readiness for the B-1s," he said. ...
As commander of Air Combat Command in the 1990s, Loh was in charge of all the Air Force's bombers and bomber bases. He said one of his "guiding principles" was to never base more than 36 long-range bombers at a single base.
"Putting more than 36 bombers at one base results in a very inefficient operation," he said. "Operational readiness suffers because too many crews share too few training ranges and air space."
Loh was followed by his former deputy ACC commander, Lt. Gen. Thad Wolfe (Ret.), who told the commissioners, "Ellsworth has been a well-kept secret. Perhaps too well kept."
Wolfe said he believed the Air Force had underestimated intangible benefits of Ellsworth, including its quality of life for airmen, which he said affected performance. He quoted Napoleon, who once said, "The moral is to the physical as 3 is to 1," or in other words, morale is important.
Wolfe also cited Ellsworth's "remarkable access to uncrowded airspace" and a series of construction projects over the past 20 years that have converted Ellsworth into a virtually new base.
The BRAC commissioners toured Ellsworth on Tuesday morning, and after the hearing, Commissioner James Bilbray said he was impressed with the new buildings at the base. But Bilbray said, "Whatever we close, we'll lose hundreds of millions of dollars of infrastructure."
All three members of the state's congressional delegation spoke at the hearing.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. - a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a strong ally of the Bush administration on most issues - probably has the most political capital to lose from Ellsworth closing. But Thune also earned one of the longest standing ovations of the afternoon.
"We need to increase our flexibility, not decrease it," Thune said.
Citing the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and emerging threats from Iran, North Korea and China, Thune, like almost every speaker Tuesday, argued against consolidating the B-1s at a single base "where a single terrorist attack could wipe out our entire fleet."
One of SDP's frequent readers is wondering why the political temperature keeps rising, in the nation at large and even in SD, even though the election should have given us a reprieve. Not sure, but the AP has a new story about the hot political summer (wait until there's a Supreme Court fight).
In case you missed it, South Dakota War College is commenting on the influence of incumbency in South Dakota politics: "What does it take to dump an incumbent? If it’s purely head-to-head, it’s a major undertaking. Not just your run of the mill campaign in this state, it has to be a well planned, tightly executed effort. And despite all that, you still might not win."
South Dakota Blog Watch Man has been shopping for the editor of the Argus. He's also ranking SD newspapers. BWM has come alive of late and SDP needs to pay better attention. One thing BWM might want to rethink, however, is his claim that Senator Johnson "didn't promise South Dakota that he'd protect Ellsworth last fall." During his last race in 2002, BWM should note, Johnson's television advertising said quite boldly that "Clearly the best thing we can do to protect Ellsworth is to keep Tim Johnson in the United States Senate."
So who is Blog Watch Man, anyway?
Johnson did claim to have enough influence to keep Ellsworth open, but I'm sure that the senior senator never expected the leader of the senate Democrats -- Daschle -- to be beaten in an election. It's like the kid with the tough older brother a couple years older than him shoving class bully and saying, "you'll be sorry if you keep this up." ...
No matter how much finger pointing the Apple Dumpling Gang does, it's going to be very hard for them to advance the notion that Johnson -- in the minority party and in the party without White House ties -- can be blamed for the Ellsworth closing.
Nobody blames Johnson for closing, as BWM asserts, but it's worth noting that Johnson ran TV ads saying he could keep the base open. Thune never ran TV ads on Ellsworth, but Daschle ran at least a few. And Thune never guaranteed that the base would stay open. He simply said something very close to what BWM says about it being better to be in the GOP than in the "minority party and in the party without White House ties," i.e. that it would be better to have some compatibility with the President instead of constantly blocking everything he wanted to do. The closure process was de-politicized in the end and everyone took lumps, unfortunately for Ellsworth. In any event, this string started with a question about why Johnson doesn't get more calls to discuss BRAC when he ran TV ads saying he could save Ellsworth, a question worth considering. Maybe the answer tells us more about the press than anything.
Again, who is BWM? Some readers have interesting theories, which SDPers enjoy reading.
UPDATE: Sibby is calling BWM an "anonymous chicken." Why the anonymity, BWM? While BWM apparently finds it amusing to take jabs at Sibby, it should be noted that Sibby is willing to openly express his opinions and sign his name to his posts.
Readers who attended today's BRAC hearing note that Senator Thune received a standing ovation, that the generals were impressive speakers, that South Dakota and its Congressional delegation generally presented a very focused and persuasive case, and that the BRAC members seemed receptive to the arguments. Here's some thoughts from the AP:
John Thune and Tim Johnson, Rep. Stephanie Herseth and Gov. Mike Rounds were among those scheduled to address the commissioners at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. Organizers hoped 9,500 people would attend.
Hills Materials Co., a construction firm, parked some of its cement mixers and other vehicles downtown and along the road to Ellsworth. They contained banners saying, "Save Ellsworth. Our 300 families depend on it."
Outside the center before the hearing, a couple dozen disabled people who work at Ellsworth held signs and waved flags on the street to show their support for keeping the base open.