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

An Exclusive Madville Times Interview

Somewhere in my piles of stuff is a photo of Senator Larry Pressler with me and a nice girl from Vermillion, Angeline Wilson, at the U.S. Capitol on a muggy June day 25 years ago.

Larry Pressler, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2014.08.23

Larry Pressler, Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, proudly displays a photo of his grandkids.

On this muggy Saturday in Sioux Falls, as candidate Pressler and I discussed policy and politics at his Sioux Falls office, I mentioned that brief meeting, one of thousands the Senator politely hosted during his time in Washington. Pressler said recollections like that are one of the small joys of his campaign. As he tours the state, people come up to shake his hand and say they're glad he's running again (though Pressler himself muses that maybe those folks are just being kind to an old man). And often they'll show him a picture from back in the day of Mom, Dad, and the kids (now with grandkids) with Pressler in D.C. or the State Fair or some such remarkable moment in their families' lives.

Ah, nostalgia. It's like Styx coming back and riffing out "Mr. Roboto" on the casino circuit. But will we elect Dennis DeYoung to the Senate?

You wouldn't think so, when Pressler has maybe a hundredth of the money of his main-party opponents. Pressler admits that, as a rule, "Money is determinative" of electoral success. "We"—and he looks around the office at his wife Harriet, his one paid staffer, and a friend-volunteer—"will be the exception."

Pressler's run at age 72, 16 years after losing his seat to the now retiring Tim Johnson, is not a return from retirement. Pressler has been teaching and serving on boards ever since leaving the Senate. He says he will always work. But he'd like to give South Dakota six more years of his work.

Pressler's Legacy: The Telecommunications Act

Pressler runs on the record of what he achieved for South Dakota. He refers to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 as his "magnum opus," a project that consumed his efforts for ten years. That law created the Universal Service Fund, a tax that he had to rename a fee to get past the Gingrich Congress (sound familiar?). Pressler notes that Tim Johnson was one of only 16 votes against that fee and the final form of the bill in the House. Johnson may have had his reasons, but Pressler says the Universal Service Fund subsidized installation of fiber-optic cable across the country.

Larry Pressler, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2014.08.23

Maybe Al Gore invented the Internet, but Larry Pressler brought it to Pukwana. Candidate Pressler discusses the importance of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Basically, says Pressler, the USF allowed us to have Internet and cell phone service almost everywhere in South Dakota, not just Sioux Falls and Rapid City. The Telecommunications Act made long-distance calls an ancient artifact, made phone calls cheaper than they were in the 1950s, and stimulated the economy by bringing almost everyone, including rural folks, access to the newest communications technologies.

Pressler says he wanted the Telecommunications Act to include cable TV regulations that would have given customers à la carte channel selection, pricing controls, and a 15% cap on ad time. But Pressler says that after attending a cable industry convention in Las Vegas, President Bill Clinton sent VP Al Gore to the Senate to kill those regulations.

Pressler would like the chance to revisit those regulations and restore the public service requirements for broadcasters. However, Pressler would place more priority on enforcing existing anti-trust laws to keep media companies from consolidating and monopolizing. Calling himself a "Teddy Roosevelt trust-busting conservative," Pressler says Time-Warner and Comcast are too big and that we need more competition in the media. He says the big media companies got a break by getting Congress to move anti-trust enforcement on their industry from the Department of Justice, which knows anti-trust law, to the Federal Communications Commission, which finds anti-trust law somewhat out of its ken.

Deficit and Taxes

Larry Pressler will raise your taxes. He said at Dakotafest that he would cut corporate, personal, and charitable tax deductions. In our interview, he said he would vote to increase the gasoline tax to replenish the Highway Trust Fund. He says Congress's temporary fix is irresponsible, since it adds to the deficit. Pressler sees great danger in the deficit and says we must get serious about fixing it.

Military and Foreign Policy

Pressler is the only candidate for South Dakota's open Senate seat who served in the military (U.S. Army, Vietnam, two tours, 1966–1968). The veteran is not eager to give today's young men and women the same experience. When it comes to foreign military intervention, Pressler labels himself a "Ron Paul Libertarian": he would send troops overseas only to secure "substantial American foreign policy interests."

I asked if that standard justifies intervention in the Islamic State's slaughter of the polytheist Yazidis in Iraq. Pressler said it may, depending on information that the President may have, but where there is doubt, he would err on the side of non-intervention.

Pressler worries that President Obama has erred in the other direction with his use of force in Iraq this month. He notes that he voted for Obama in 2008 for conservative reasons, expecting Obama to entangle us in fewer wars than John McCain. Pressler says McCain would have maintained permanent U.S. military presences in Iraq and Afghanistan and sent troops to Syria.

Pressler regularly cites the example of a U.S. fort that he and his wife visiting in northern Italy. Far from repelling the Slovenian menace, that base serves mostly to stimulate the local economy. If the military must be a jobs program, Pressler would prefer to bring those jobs home and boost the economy here. But "the whole economy has been taken over by the military-industrial state," says Pressler, and he would like to restore our military focus to military objectives, not big money.

Defining Independence

Pressler holds out his own Senate candidacy as a jobs program for young pols across South Dakota. He vows to serve just one more term, meaning that a whole crop of aspiring candidates will be able to rev their campaign engines in 2020. I ask if there's any chance he could be re-seduced by the power and celebrity of D.C. life. Pressler says absolutely not: he's been there, done that, and won't get stuck. One term—Pressler means it.

Larry Pressler with Joe Lowe photo of Mount Rushmore. Pressler campaign office, SIoux Falls, SD, 2014.08.23

Hanging on Pressler's office wall is this panoramic photo of Mount Rushmore, a unique view showing the most-photographed faces in the world small in the breaking dawn, in the context of the entire geological formation. The photographer? Rapid City artist Joe Lowe, a Democrat who ran for governor last spring.

That one-term promise is crucial to his expectation of what he regularly refers to as "the glorious freedom of independence." He says Senators and Congresspeople of both parties have to spend more than half of their time in Washington raising money. They aren't just filling their coffers for their own reëlections; the party leaders set quotas on contributions to colleagues' campaigns as conditions for plum committee appointments.

Pressler says nuts to that. While John Thune runs across the street each day to beg for money, Pressler says he will be working full-time for South Dakota. Even if he did reach for cash, Pressler knows he'd come up short, since the special interest groups don't stand to gain from candidates who free themselves of partisan and reëlection pressures. Ah, independence!

Blogospheric Curiosity

Say, remember that Internet that Pressler's Telecommunications Act helped bring to everybody? (Harriet jokes that she thought Larry, not Al Gore, invented the Internet.) Candidate Pressler shows a marked curiosity about the Web he hath wrought. He spent a few minutes at the beginning of our interview grilling me about the South Dakota blogosphere and the journalistic quality of its various nodes, including my own. I wouldn't say Pressler is taking his cues from the blogs, but he is paying attention to them.

Pressler's curiosity about our homegrown use of the Internet stands in marked contrast to his opponent Mike Rounds, the former governor who leaves all that Web stuff to his lackeys. Rounds's techno-aloofness makes him a little less qualified to legislate amidst the ongoing technological revolution than the ever-curious Pressler, who gave that revolution an early boost.

8 comments

KELO notes Google's claim that the search giant helped generate $55.6 million in economic activity in South Dakota in 2013. According to Google's nationwide economic report, that's the third-lowest amount of Googly economic activity, behind only Alaska and North Dakota.

A low raw-dollar figure is to be expected, since we have the fifth-lowest state population. But compare the per-capita economic impact Google has in our region:

  Google EconActiv (millions) Biz/Orgs using Google Ads population (2013) Google EconActiv per capita
SD $55.6 2,300 844,877 $65.81
MN $1,900.0 24,000 5,420,380 $350.53
IA $147.0 8,900 3,090,416 $47.57
ND $52.7 1,600 723,393 $72.85
MT $64.0 4,000 1,015,165 $63.04
NE $1,400.0 6,000 1,868,516 $749.26
WY $70.2 1,800 582,658 $120.48

Google stirred up $65.81 in economic activity per South Dakotan in 2013. Google thus rang the relative till harder here than in Iowa or Montana. But in Wyoming, Google generated almost twice as much business per person. In Minnesota, there was over five times as much Google economic juice per person, and in Nebraska, over eleven times.

The national per-capita figure for Google economic activity was $353.65. Here's a list of all states (plus DC) with population and Google economic impact per capita:

Rank State population (2013) Google Econ/Activ Google Econ/Activ per capita
1 District of Columbia 646,449 882 $1,392.43
 2 New York 19,651,127 18300 $934.81
3 Massachusetts 6,692,824 5800 $872.80
4 Vermont 626,630 522 $833.93
5 Nebraska 1,868,516 1400 $754.57
6 California 38,332,521 25400 $668.42
7 Illinois 12,882,135 8100 $629.46
8 Utah 2,900,872 1760 $616.49
9 Washington 6,971,406 4200 $609.11
10 Nevada 2,790,136 1280 $464.72
11 Connecticut 3,596,080 1520 $423.19
12 Minnesota 5,420,380 1900 $353.18
13 Colorado 5,268,367 1800 $346.86
14 Florida 19,552,860 6500 $336.43
15 Arizona 6,626,624 2100 $320.55
16 Delaware 925,749 283 $308.60
17 New Jersey 8,899,339 2200 $248.09
18 Georgia 9,992,167 2400 $242.04
19 Pennsylvania 12,773,801 2800 $219.36
20 Maine 1,328,302 286 $215.28
21 Texas 26,448,193 5600 $214.88
 22 Kansas 2,893,957 611 $211.76
23 Virginia 8,260,405 1700 $207.66
24 Maryland 5,928,814 1200 $203.91
25 Oregon 3,930,065 780 $200.01
26 Missouri 6,044,171 1200 $199.19
27 Michigan 9,895,622 1700 $172.02
28 Rhode Island 1,051,511 173 $164.71
29 New Hampshire 1,323,459 206 $155.87
30 Ohio 11,570,808 1800 $155.80
31 Wisconsin 5,742,713 862 $150.58
 32 South Carolina 4,774,839 650 $137.61
 33 Tennessee 6,495,978 815 $126.26
34 Wyoming 582,658 70.2 $121.74
35 Indiana 6,570,902 762 $116.55
36 North Carolina 9,848,060 1100 $112.84
37 Idaho 1,612,136 164 $102.78
38 West Virginia 1,854,304 174 $93.72
39 North Dakota 723,393 52.7 $75.14
40 Arkansas 2,959,373 201 $68.14
41 South Dakota 844,877 55.6 $66.66
42 Montana 1,015,165 64 $63.65
43 Hawaii 1,404,054 82.3 $59.20
44 Kentucky 4,395,295 255 $58.22
45 Oklahoma 3,850,568 199 $52.15
46 Iowa 3,090,416 147 $47.80
47 Alabama 4,833,722 203 $42.14
48 Alaska 735,132 27.3 $37.38
49 Louisiana 4,625,470 170 $36.94
50 New Mexico 2,085,287 75.5 $36.24
 51 Mississippi 2,991,207 60.2 $20.16

Notice that the top ten are an interesting mix of urban centers and rural places, while the bottom ten have are more uniformly large, rural states. If we take Google economic impact as a sign of overall online economic activity, these data suggest that rural states can exploit online tools (not just search, but online ads, YouTube, and analytics) to generate revenue as effectively as urban places like New York and Massachusetts.

These numbers may also suggest something about interstate trade. It is possible that the states with lower Google economic impact per capita have more insular markets, with more businesses relying on local sales and word of mouth. I am really curious, though, what difference has Nebraskans spending so much more time and money on Google tools than we South Dakotans next door.

14 comments

Here's a low ranking in which South Dakota can find relief: South Dakota is among states with low participation in the white-supremacist hate forum Stromfront.

Stormfront participation by state, 2014. Source: Analysis of Stormfront U.S. user profiles by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

New York Times graphic, 2014.07.12 based on analysis of Stormfront U.S. user profiles by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Stephens-Davidowitz found 12 South Dakotans participating in Stormfront's particularly vile community of loathing of "the other." According to his data, South Dakota ranks 34th per capita, below the national average, on this metric. Nebraska has the lowest per-capita Stormfrontery in the area, with a ranking of 44th for the 18 profiles Stephens-Davidowitz found.

Stephens-Davidowitz, who writes for the New York Times and wields a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, offers one other bit of hopeful data about South Dakota's online racism. In a 2013 paper, Stephens-Davidowitz found that South Dakota ranked 40th among states for Google searches including the n-word. Wyomingians, Minnesotans, and, interestingly, Stormfront-avid Montanans searched that term even less than South Dakotans.

I wonder: is casual Googling among the broader population a stronger indicator of racial animus than active participation in an online hate group? If we're feeling hopeful, let's interpret the Montana data as a demonstration that Stormfront is a fringe element with little impact on overall statewide characteristics, kind of like South Dakota's Constitution Party.

16 comments

“[W]e might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books, so that every member of Congress, and every man of any mind in the Union, should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them” [Thomas Jefferson to Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, 1802.04.01].

We're not that great at running elections (how'd your great-idea voting centers do on poll wait times in Sioux Falls yesterday, Secretary Gant?), but South Dakota gets good marks for online budget transparency. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group has scored states on offering online access to government spending data. South Dakota gets a B+, tying with North Carolina in the "Advancing" category, and just missing joining eight "Leading" states. Our only neighbor in the Leading category is Iowa, scoring 90 compared to our 89.5 (so close!). Minnesota and North Dakota both get D's.

South Dakota was among the top ten improvers, boosting its public finance website score from 70 to 89.5 in just one year. The big improvement was adding searchable data on "Tax Expenditures," the tax revenue that South Dakota could collect under uniform application of existing laws but which it gives up in the form of sales tax exemptions, preferential rates, and other special favors. (The total listed this morning for all tax expenditures: $632,450,622.00. That's enough money to raise our teachers' pay to the highest in the nation and still have $304 million left. Or we could pay the $510 million it would cost to send all 36,000+ plus students in our Regental universities for free.)

Of course, since our EB-5 program went private, I can't find the checks Joop Bollen, Richard Benda, and friends were able to cash under his contract with the state. Open.SD.Gov allows us to follow the money... just not all of it.

We also get special mention for auditing our state checkbook each year. The online checkbook is fun: it allows to discover fun information like the fact that so far in the current fiscal year, the state of South Dakota has paid Lawrence & Schiller, the ad firm founded by state GOP chair Craig Lawrence, $3,039,006.20. It also lets us itemize state payouts to Northern Beef Packers over its unproductive five years for a total of $2,327,815.47. What fun!

 

4 comments

...says unquestionable authority Google Maps.

There's an odd kerfuffle going on with the fake Senate campaign of Annette Bosworth. Team Bosworth and her mouthpieces claim that I have somehow tied the names of various political figures and her own son to my Lake Herman address. A Saturday press release paid for by the Bosworth Senate campaign alleges that I have thus stolen a minor child's identity and committed mail fraud.

These allegations are false and defamatory. I have e-mailed the Bosworth campaign and requested  a formal retraction and an apology from Bosworth personally. Bosworth has not responded.

But if we're going to play this game (yes, we're giving in, walking into the trap Chad and Annette like to set, talking about anything other than the fake campaign, the petition fraud, the direct-mail scam, the raffle scam, the unpaid employees, the violation of non-profit and campaign finance laws), then let's play.

Go to Sioux Falls on Google Maps. Punch in "Annette Bosworth." What comes up this morning?

Annette Bosworth on Google maps, screen cap, 2014.04.07

Annette Bosworth on Google maps, screen cap, 2014.04.07

"Annette Bosworth... Permanently closed."

Boy, if only that were true. But you just can't believe everything you read on the Web, can you?

20 comments

An eager reader notes an odd Google quirk. Search "Celebrate Church," he suggests. I do, and here's what I get:

Google search results for "Celebrate Church" 2014.02.22

(Google screen cap, 2014.02.22; click to enlarge)

Celebrate Church in Sioux Falls tops the search results. To the right, we get the church's Google+ information: map, address, phone number, and a picture a nice couple, probably the lead pastor and her husband...

...wait a minute. That's not Pastor Loy. That's featured church singer Annette Bosworth and her committed if marginally employed husband Chad Haber. How nice! The church demonstrates its inviting, community-oriented, non-hierarchical structure by featuring photos of parishioners in its social media channels. Who else from the congregation do we find among their Google+ photos?

Celebrate Church Google+ photos, screen cap, 2014.02.22

Celebrate Church Google+ photos, screen cap, 2014.02.22 (click to enlarge)

Huh. Whoever was in charge of creating this strand of Celebrate Church's Web presence must have gotten tired or distracted or something, because who would ever create a church web page and post just one photo of one couple from the church, as if that one couple is somehow the face of the entire church?

This bit of unfinished Web business will surely make the humble Chad and Annette blush. Not wanting to create the false impression that they are the brand for Celebrate, I suspect the couple will chat with their church's social media guru tomorrow and remind her or him to finish up that project and populate that Google+ page with photos of all the Celebrate parishioners they can find. Quite the photo hound himself, Chad will probably volunteer to upload a bunch of pix of his fellow congregants straight from his iPhone.

Update 2014.02.24 12:01 CST: Within 36 hours of my posting on this topic, whoever controls Celebrate's Google+ account added another logo image to the church's photo page, thus supplanting the Haber-Bosworth photo as the lead image on Google search results. However, the Haber-Bosworth photo remains the only personal image on the Celebrate Google+ page.

18 comments

A Bosworthy exercise in logical syllogism:

  1. Fake Senate candidate Annette Bosworth paid Facebook 19 disbursements totaling $1,635.40 in 2013 Q4.
  2. Facebook is run by Mark Zuckerberg.
  3. Zuckerberg donated 18 million shares of Facebook stock in 2013 to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. That stock is worth $992 million.
  4. SVCF gives money to Planned Parenthood.
  5. SVCF has Planned Parenthood members among its directors and index advisors.
  6. Planned Parenthood, according to Bosworth supporters, murders babies and manipulates women.
  7. Ergo, Annette Bosworth murders babies and manipulates women.

But seriously, candidates vying for the title of true conservative alternative to Marion Michael Rounds must now boycott Faceboo, right?

8 comments

Recent Comments

  • Kurt Evans on "PAC Postcard Misport...": The comment below has apparently been removed at S...
  • Douglas Wiken on "Jason Gant Fighting ...": A few elections ago, a Native American ran for off...
  • Francis Schaffer on "Did February 2009 Li...": Well it is obvious if there were emails that showe...
  • Jana on "PAC Postcard Misport...": Of course, the fact that the legislature allowed t...
  • lesliengland on "Did February 2009 Li...": of course joop delayed preservation until he got c...
  • Jana on "PAC Postcard Misport...": Stace, appreciate your sentiment. It must just ...
  • larry kurtz on "Daugaard-Michels Hav...": grud, just hiked the ruins at ...
  • Joan Brown on "Daugaard-Michels Hav...": I would jump up and down laughing if all these gra...
  • larry kurtz on "Did February 2009 Li...": Is this a petition and not a lawsuit, Cory?...
  • mike from iowa on "PAC Postcard Misport...": Cory,just out of curiosity,why is it illegal to li...

Support Your Local Blogger!

  • Click the Tip Jar to send your donation to the Madville Times via PayPal, and support local alternative news and commentary!

Hot off the Press

Subscribe

Enter your email to subscribe to future updates

South Dakota Political Blogs

Greater SD Blogosphere

Visit These Sponsors

Join Stan Adelstein's conversation about South Dakota's past and future
Vote for Robin Page—District 33 Senate
Mike Myers, Independent Candidate for South Dakota Governor
Conversation and Lunch with Democrats!

SD Mostly Political Blogroll

South Dakota Media

Madville Monthly

Meta