I must now turn my fire on my alma mater, South Dakota State University, for political favoritism and restriction of free speech. Apparently they (and there's dispute as to whether "they" is the Hobo Day Committee or President David Chicoine himself) will not let Independent candidate Larry Pressler putt-putt through the Hobo Day parade on his old John Deere D.

Kevin Woster captures the supreme irony that USD and NSU are letting Pressler grace their homecoming parades with his tractor while the state's great land grant institution nixes Pressler's ag homage. Woster also explains that State hasn't banned Pressler from the October 25 parade; they've just said he can only participate if a student organization sponsors him.

That rule sets the Independent at another disadvantage to main-party candidates with campus party machines. But incumbents get an even better deal: the Hobo Day Committee up and invites Governor Dennis Daugaard, Congresswoman Kristi Noem, and other sitting elected officials to ride in the parade.

Hobo LarryBut even those favored invitees dare not say anything political. Hobo Day Committee advisor Nick Wendell says candidates are not permitted to distribute any political campaign material during the parade. Why SDSU thinks its homecoming activities are somehow too good for politics while every other campus in the state makes no fuss over pols using their parades to practice organizing and propagandizing escapes me. The Hobo Day parade organizers should let candidates march and say whatever they want... as long as they wear Hobo duds!

Forget the tractor, Larry! If you can't get the campus thespians or the women's rugby club to sponsor you, forget the tractor and just walk the parade route. Instead of keeping your tractor running, shake hands on the street, then get up to the Back Yard for tailgating!

5 comments

Northern Plains News reports that Democrats Susan Wismer and Corinna Robinson have not moved their poll needles since July. Nielson Brothers Polling surveyed over 600 likely voters from September 21 to September 25 and found the races for Governor and House looking statistically identical to the results two months ago:

Nielson percentages July Sept
Daugaard 53 53
Wismer 29 28
Myers 7 10
undecided 12 9
Noem 54 55
Robinson 37 37
undecided 10 9

Evidently Wismer's takedown of Governor Daugaard at Dakotafest went unnoticed by the electorate. So has anything else she or Robinson has done during or since the August fair ramp-up of the campaign.

Independent gubernatorial candidate Mike Myers's climb to 10% could be noteworthy as his first post-primary double-digit polling. But the three-point climb from Nielsons' July poll is still within the margin of error, meaning we can read no momentum into the result.

Nielson Brothers Polling has been branded a Democratic-leaning polling firm. It is thus interesting (or disheartening, depending on your inclinations) to see that NBP consistently scores Wismer, Robinson, and their Senate field counterpart Rick Weiland lower than the Survey USA poll published earlier this month.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, the Jim Mowrer campaign is crowing about a transportation union poll that shows the Democrat just three points under his incumbent Republican wingnut opponent Rep. Steve King. Managing Mowrer's aspiring campaign is Ben Nesselhuf, who used to run the South Dakota Democratic Party.

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All right, no more cutesy assertions that Senator Harry Reid is actually giving Rick Weiland cover by pretending to keep his D.C. distance from the South Dakota Democrat. The Majority Leader appears to be a petty, pouting idiot. After dissing Weiland at every turn, Reid now asserts that folks like Tom Daschle who are trying to help Weiland win are working against Democrats:

Reid last year declared Weiland was “not my choice” in the race, and this summer added, “We are going to lose in South Dakota, more than likely.”

Asked if those comments hurt Weiland’s chances, Daschle told The Hill, “Well, it certainly hasn’t helped.”

Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Reid, fired back on Monday: “It’s sad that Sen. Daschle is working against Senate Democrats’ interests rather than working to preserve the Democratic majority that Sen. Reid restored” [Bob Cusack and Jessica Taylor, "Reid, Daschle Feud Erupts," The Hill, 2014.09.30].

Senator Reid appears to be confusing his personal interests with the interests of the Democratic Party. The only reason not to endorse Weiland is Reid's pissy-pants pouting over not getting his way on the nomination, which is as morally reprehensible a failure of Democratic leadership as if local party leaders who wanted Joe Lowe to win South Dakota Democrats' gubernatorial nomination were refusing to endorse nominee Susan Wismer. If Reid wanted Stephanie Herseth Sandlin to run, he should take out his frustrations on Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Weiland didn't force her not to run; she made that decision on her own. (And gee, Harry, maybe if you had offered her an immediate endorsement and big money, she would have run. Did you ever think maybe you only have yourself to blame, Mr. Majority Leader?)

Fighting for every winnable seat is in Senate Democrats' interests. South Dakota is winnable, if you throw punches at Republican Mike Rounds's glass jaw, the EB-5 scandal. Two outside groups already sense that opportunity. With Mike Rounds stuck below 40% and with surging but cash-poor Pressler easily swampable with well-targeted and well-financed ads, South Dakota is worth the effort. Daschle, Weiland, and a whole lot of Senate Democrats recognize that fact. Reid might realize that, too, if he'd set aside his ego and get back to winning the election.

50 comments
Tasiyagnunpa Livermont

Tasiyagnunpa Livermont

In this guest column for the Madville Times, actual live Native American Tasiyagnunpa Livermont weighs in on Watertown's cultural misappropriation, football, war, and racism:

Nobody likes to be told they are wrong.

Let alone racist.

I get it.

You feel like you are a pretty good person, and then suddenly, into your world of your own worries and personal concerns, some ticked off minority tells you that your world is not their world.

Your coziness, your personal issues and your own worries, yes, even those charming little things that you personally find comfort in, like football, don’t matter to them.

How dare someone criticize a group of children dressed like Indians during homecoming?

Or the name of a football team?

What is more laid-back and innocent that a game?

War.

I know, I know, Indians just need to get over it.

The Indians lost, America won, and just move on, people.

For God sakes, we bombed Japan and they’re doing just fine.

What the hell does football have to do with war, anyways?

Turns out, a whole lot.

American Football is the vehicle by which historically we have trained our military during war and kept youth fit for the military.

In fact, the military can be thanked for democratizing football, because in the 1800s only America’s elite Easterners in fancy colleges played or cared about football.

Back then, football was violent and bloody, and played by America’s most wealthy.

Last week, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart aired a segment that he had to give a lengthy forward to, because as one website put it, “Washington football fans freak out when confronted by actual live Native Americans.”

My fellow Americans, and South Dakotans, let me tell you something utterly shocking.

American Indians are not dead.

Oh, we were butchered, slaughtered, murdered and fought against, to be sure. We have suffered disease and war, both in our own lands and during major wars of American history on these shores and over seas.

We have been starved, marched, imprisoned and stolen from.

And yes, there are tribes that no longer exist in our country, utterly succumbing to Manifest Destiny.

Tribal differences aside, the homogenizing affect of hundreds of years of genocide and war has given us a solid voice.

And that voice says, stop glorifying our deaths.

Stop lying to yourselves that you are honoring a culture by calling it a slur associated with blood money.

In a country that prides itself on leading the overthrow of a government that murdered, imprisoned and yes, traded the body parts of a minority, America—you can be better than this.

The settler colonial worldview gave birth to a myriad of false stories, mythologies and justifications for how America treats those indigenous to this land.

Among these is a cultural agnosia that perpetuates us as things of legend and story.

In this agnosia, American Indians become nothing more than characterizations in stories like the Indian Maiden in Peter Pan.

Or Slurskins in the NFL.

And when presented with "actual live Native Americans," American football fans don’t know how to react.

The American Indians didn’t all die, as their history books taught them.

Even in South Dakota, in a state (and territory) named for an American Indian tribe, the Dakota, children of pioneers protected by forts against Indians, still think it is cute to re-enact their own false mythologies of Indians and dress up in faux-buckskin.

What would those children do if some South Dakota tribal students walked up to them and said, "Stop. We aren’t fantasy or figments of your historical imagination. You may not imagine us away into colonial imagery of pilgrims and Tonto and autumn displays of corn and leaves."

Would those children react the same way as fans of the Washington Slurskins did when "actual live Native Americans" went to FedEX stadium and were threatened to be "cut."

I don’t know.

I want to believe better than that of my fellow South Dakotans. I want to believe better of the children my son could play football against at State.

Cultural criticism can hit awful close to home. It can feel personal, because we are all products of our cultures, and it is against what we know about ourselves.

So is racism.

Yes, even the sort that puts on a jersey and takes to the battlefields of American football.

Go team!

Tasiyagnunpa Livermont is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. She consults with small businesses on marketing and blogs at Sustainable Dakota.

21 comments

A mystery woman appears in the EB-5 scandal. Her name is Brick. Cherri Brick.

Brick was Joop Bollen's secretary at the South Dakota International Business Institute. In March 2009, right next to declarations from her boss, from the Regents' counsel and Regents' exec, and the attorney general himself, Brick had to file a declaration as part of the Regents' effort to pull its fat out the litigatory fire into which Bollen had gotten them in Darley v SDIBI.

Brick's succinct declaration remarkably alleges that someone forged her name on a proof of service:

I have reviewed a proof of service that was filed in the above-captioned action on September 30, 2008. It appears as Page 2 of 3 on Document 13 of the Court's electronically-filed documents. The document contains two typewritten misspellings of my name as "Cherry" Brick and even contains a signature that appears to misspell my first name. The signature is not mine. I never saw or signed this document, nor did I ever serve the documents refrenced therein. I did not authorize any person to sign this document in my name [Cherri Brick, declaration, Darley v SDIBI, 2009.03.20].

It's Cherri, with an i. Get it right.

Brick's statement was an important brick in the Regents' main defense against Darley's lawsuit, that Darley had failed to serve the proper authorities (i.e., Attorney General Larry Long and Governor Mike Rounds), thus mootifying their whole suit.

Brick cleared her head with a few long bike rides and went quietly back to work. She kept answering the mail and the phones at SDIBI, even after her boss quit on December 21, 2009, and even after the Regents axed the SDIBI director position from its budget in 2010.

Then in February 2011, she quits. According to an invoice submitted by Garcia Calderón Ruíz on March 3, 2011, Brick resigned to go work for Bollen at SDRC Inc., the private company Bollen formed to turn his state duties into a profit center and to shield himself from suits like Darley's over the state's EB-5 program.

James Lynch, invoice #4561, Garcia Calderón Ruíz, 2011.03.03, excerpt, p. 2

James Lynch, invoice #4561, Garcia Calderón Ruíz, 2011.03.03, excerpt, p. 2

Brick's job change was apparently significant enough to draw attention from the Regents' hired California lawyer James Lynch, Northern State attorney John Meyer, Regents' chief counsel James Shekleton, and Governor's Office of Economic Development attorney Tim Engel. They discussed Brick's job change in March, too, trying to figure out "possible reasons" for her resignation.

James Lynch, Invoice #4660, Garcia Calderón Ruíz, 2011.04.28, excerpt, p. 2

James Lynch, Invoice #4660, Garcia Calderón Ruíz, 2011.04.28, excerpt, p. 2

James Lynch, Invoice #4660, Garcia Calderón Ruíz, 2011.04.28, excerpt, p. 3

James Lynch, Invoice #4660, Garcia Calderón Ruíz, 2011.04.28, excerpt, p. 3

The GCR invoices do not indicate what reasons the lawyers might have divined for Brick's jump to Bollen's ship.

But consider this: in June and July 2010, GCR invoices show that Lynch and Engel were discussing GOED Secretary Richard Benda's availability for the pending arbitration. Six months later, in January 2011, Benda had engineered his exit to Bollen's SDRC Inc., with $550,000 in hand from Governor Mike Rounds's Future Fund Grant #1434. $450,000 covered his salary as "loan monitor" at SDRC Inc. As far as I know, the remaining $100,000 has not been accounted for.

But then in February 2011, Cherri Brick walked back in Joop Bollen's door. Along with Benda, she was now out from under the state's authority and directly financially obligated to the man most interested in keeping everything EB-5 quiet.

14 comments

Even the Internet doesn't trust Chad Haber:

Untrusted: Haber for Attorney General; screen cap, 2014.09.29

Untrusted: Haber for Attorney General; screen cap, 2014.09.29

The above warning came up this afternoon when I tried to access Haber's fake attorney general campaign website. No truer words could have popped onto my screen.

Meanwhile, Marty Jackley road tests images for his 2018 gubernatorial campaign:

Marty standing in empty courtroom talking to himself—no. Frozen family shot for last ten second of ad—awkward. Angela striding boldly toward the camera in those boots—yes!

36 comments

Holy cow! People are going to pay real money to hear me talk. I'd better work on that speech....

The second TEDx Brookings event—themed "On Fire"—happens Saturday, October 4, at the SDSU Performing Arts Center. Warm-up activities (among other things, yoga!) start at 8 a.m.; speakers go in three sessions, starting with words of welcome at 9:15 and wrapping up at 3:30 p.m. It looks like I'm first out of the chute... because, you know, I'm a morning person!

Here's the full roster of big thinkers up with whom I'll be trying to keep on Saturday:

The inaugural TEDx Brookings in February brought several fascinating speakers to town (this blog featured Carter Johnson and John Fischback; more February TEDx Brookings videos are available here). Saturday's TEDx Brookings bring even more brain power to a bigger stage.

You can get tickets on Eventbrite. See you in Brookings on Saturday!

9 comments

At the end of the Mike Rounds Administration, South Dakota's cost of living was 98.5% of the national average.

At the end of the second quarter of this year, South Dakota's cost of living was 100.8% of the national average. In our region, living is cheaper in Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming, and Montana.

Thus, according to data from the Council for Community and Economic Research posted by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center, under Governor Dennis Daugaard, the relative cost of living in South Dakota has increased by more than two percentage points, to within one percentage point of the cost of living in North Dakota and Minnesota.

Any number of factors could have contributed to this increase in the cost of living, like lack of local food production and manufacturing increasing our reliance on imported goods, or perhaps low wages depressing economic growth and business creation to spur competition. But since our candidates like to take credit for investment and imaginary jobs. Will Governor Daugaard take credit for raising the cost of living in South Dakota?

Second Quarter 2014 Cost of Living
State Rank Index Grocery Housing Utilities Transport Heath Misc
Mississippi 1 86.2 90.1 71.8 86.8 94.9 91.3 91.8
Tennessee 2 89.3 93.5 76.3 91.8 93.8 89.4 95.4
Idaho 3 90 93.1 75 85.7 100.8 101.1 96
Oklahoma 4 90.6 92.6 79.5 95.2 94.4 95.5 94.9
Indiana 5 90.9 92.3 79.6 94.6 100.2 94.8 94
Utah 6 91.6 96.9 86.1 88.7 94.4 92 93.7
Arkansas 7 91.8 91.4 83.9 96.1 90.7 87.1 98
Kentucky 8 92 93.9 78.1 98.5 101.8 92.6 96.5
Michigan 9 92.1 94.8 80.3 97.3 100.2 95.1 95
New Mexico 10 92.1 94.6 77.4 89.5 100.9 98.8 99
Nebraska 11 92.3 97.2 82.9 97.1 95.5 97.3 94.2
Alabama 12 92.4 99.8 79.4 100.6 95 86.9 96.9
Texas 13 92.5 90.1 84.3 94.2 96.7 94.7 97.4
Kansas 14 92.5 94.4 84.6 96.8 94.2 97.4 95.3
Iowa 15 92.8 94.5 87.2 90.7 96.6 96.8 95
Georgia 16 92.9 100.9 80.3 93.7 97.7 95.8 97
Missouri 17 93.4 98.9 79.4 106.2 95.7 98 96.9
Wyoming 18 94 96.6 95.2 99.4 91.6 98.8 90.6
Louisiana 19 94 98.1 88.1 91.1 96 95.3 97
Ohio 20 94.3 99.9 83 100 101.1 96.5 96.2
South Carolina 21 95.7 105.4 81.4 106.1 94.3 98.3 99.8
West Virginia 22 96 95.2 94.6 91.4 100.2 97.3 96.9
Illinois 23 96.2 96.8 92.5 94.4 105.9 101.4 94.8
North Carolina 24 97 103 86.1 100 98.5 106.5 100.2
Virginia 25 97.1 97.2 92 103.4 92.8 99 100.4
Wisconsin 26 97.5 98 88.7 98.9 102.2 109.9 100.2
Montana 27 99.4 102.9 111.6 87.9 86.2 105.1 96.1
Florida 28 99.8 103.6 95.1 102 103.1 98.3 100.1
Arizona 29 100 100.9 100.5 97 98.4 101.9 100.5
Nevada 30 100.8 106.7 95.6 86.5 106.6 96.7 105.1
South Dakota 31 100.8 103.1 104.5 96.9 92.6 98.6 101.4
Colorado 32 101.2 96.1 110.9 91 99.4 103.7 99
North Dakota 33 101.4 103.4 105.2 92.3 101.2 107.9 99.2
Minnesota 34 101.6 105.5 97.1 87.4 100.7 104.5 107.9
Pennsylvania 35 101.9 102.7 98.7 110 100.5 96 103.1
Washington 36 104.2 101.8 110 87.2 106.4 115.7 103.2
Delaware 37 105.4 108.7 96 114 103 100.8 110.4
Maine 38 108.1 96.8 118.5 83.6 107.8 122 110
New Hampshire 39 114.8 100.9 125.2 124.7 97.4 119 115.3
Maryland 40 117.5 108.6 170.6 100.9 101.6 90.9 94.1
Vermont 41 117.6 103.7 140.4 124 107.9 108.1 108.5
Rhode Island 42 122.4 108.2 135.1 124.8 104 119.2 124.9
Oregon 43 123.8 113.8 158.9 91.9 113.3 115.5 114.9
New Jersey 44 124 103.7 160.5 114.4 107.4 105.4 115.4
Massachusetts 45 124.1 109.3 153.6 116.5 108.6 113.5 116.5
California 46 127.8 115.3 176.1 111.9 115.8 111.7 106.4
New York 47 131.8 111.7 189.8 106.5 111.3 105.1 113.7
Alaska 48 132.2 130.5 149.4 160.1 108.6 144.6 118
District of Columbia 49 138.2 108.7 242.5 96.6 103.7 97.7 99.5
Connecticut 50 141.6 115.1 204.4 128.8 117 107.9 121.2
Hawaii 51 158.9 157.4 206 224.9 125.3 113.3 122
2 comments

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