Still Around

Whoever said it never rains in Southern California must never be here when I am as it seems that everytime I come out here it rains. This time around is no exception as the whole week has been damp and cold (cool for those in South Dakota). Of course it is still better than cold and snowy but it is my luck just the same.

Training has kept me quite busy but I did get the chance to head up and do some people watching on Venice Beach and on Santa Monica pier this afternoon in between rain drops and the picture below is of that famous landmark taken with what has to be one of the worst camera phones known to man.

santa monica pier

Anyhow, posting will continue to be light through next weekend but hopefully soon thereafter I can get back to some sort of regular posting.

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Born And Died On Same Day

I had heard of this the other day but more details have since come out.

A Sioux Falls couple that was born on the same day has died on the same day. Diana Kraft and her husband, Kent, both 67, died together Saturday of separate illnesses. Both were born on Sept. 2, 1941, and they’ve been married for about 43 years.

I met Kent when he was still working for the TSA at Sioux Falls Regional Airport and hearing of his passing was sad news indeed but the added details of his wife dying on the same day as him and then to hear that they were also born on the same day has all the makings of a fairytale love story come true.

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South Dakota Priorities

A couple of days back I wrote on how South Dakota’s senior Senator, Tim Johnson, voted along with 17 other Democrats to give our government almost free reign to spy on us without needing to have warrants. As expected, the Democratic Party mouthpiece blog, Badlands Blue, was eerily silent on that vote though they did post Johnson’s statement supporting “tax refunds” that in many cases will be larger than what folks actually paid. To be fair though, other than here, not one South Dakota political blog from either party that I am aware of saw fit to mention it nor did it receive much play in our local MSM.

While our 4th Amendment rights were being assailed by our elected officials in Washington and ignored by most, the big news instead in our state was whether South Dakota colleges were violating the 2nd Amendment rights of students by not allowing them to keep or carry weapons on campus.

Spy on us without a warrant? No problem. Prohibiting college students from carrying a “concealed heater” in English class, the sky is falling! How’s that for priorities…

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Johnson Vote Basically Guts The 4th Amendment

I know I said posting would be light but I just had to comment on this before leaving

One Tim Johnson press release you probably won’t be reading on Badlands Blue is in regards to his vote yesterday to gut the Fourth Amendment and allow the government to invade our privacy. Johnson was one of 18 spineless Democrats who voted to give President Bush what he wanted, the authority to spy on Americans without warrants and almost limitless immunity for the Telco’s that will assist or have assisted in spying on us up until now as well as in the future.

From Firedoglake

Not one of the 49 Senate Republicans stood up for the Fourth Amendment. And there are nearly 20 weak Democrats who simply cannot be relied upon to stand against the Republicans when fundamental rights are at stake.

These Democratic Senators will forever be remembered as having failed their oaths to preserve and protect the Constitution. Bayh, Inouye, Johnson, Landrieu, McCaskill, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Stabenow, Feinstein, Kohl, Pryor, Rockefeller, Salazar, Carper, Mikulski, Conrad, Webb, and Lincoln. Whitehouse voted to mitigate the worst provisions, but ultimately voted for the Bill.

Some highlights of what Senator Johnson’s vote could allow.

— The President can direct US spy agencies to intercept every e-mail, telephone or internet communication of every American and anyone legally in the US with only the most minimal safeguards. Although the bill was supposed to deal with exclusively “foreign” communications, the techniques it sanctions will in fact sweep up domestic and foreign combined.

— Acting without individual or particularized warrants from any court, spy agencies can sweep up millions of communications without differentiating between those warranting surveillance and those not. Procedures for separating out totally innocent persons or communications that have nothing to do with foreign intelligence or any security threat to the US are minimal to non-existent. Procedures allowing a secret court to review such procedures have been weakened, along with measures to correct violations of even these limited procedures.

— Persons spied upon have no ability to determine what information the government has collected, or to affect what the government does with the information. Americans will never know which persons or government agencies were shown private information about them, and if restrictions are placed on their activities or travel because of this secret information, it will be impossible for victims to determine why or to challenge the information.

— Telecommunication companies who participated in government’s illegal spying activities, and those who ordered this, would be forever immune from any consequences for their actions and cannot be required to disclose what they did.

Thanks Tim! (And of course Senator Thune as well but we already know he is in Bush’s back pocket so this is not a surprise)

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Super Delegates

Super Delegates are getting a lot of press lately because of the closeness of the Democratic primaries and the fact that these "special" delegates could possibly determine who gets the nomination despite who gets the popular vote. Along those lines I decided to see who holds that power in South Dakota.

Jack Billion – SOUTH DAKOTA DNC MEMBER
Deb Knecht – SOUTH DAKOTA DNC MEMBER
Nick Nemec – SOUTH DAKOTA DNC MEMBER
Sharon Stroschein – SOUTH DAKOTA DNC MEMBER
U.S. Senate – Tim Johnson
U.S. House of Representatives – Stephanie Herseth
Distinguished Party Leader – Tom A. Daschle

State’s Total Number of Super Delegates: 7

As a side note to show just how screwy this could end up being, supposedly one of these Super Delegates from Wisconsin is a 21 year old college student whom has yet to ever even vote in a Presidential election…

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Going Dark For Awhile

As you might have noticed, posting has been real light lately and based on current circumstances it will continue this way through at least the beginning of March due to work concerns. I will be heading to Los Angeles  this weekend for 2 weeks and will try to check in as time allows but I do not foresee having the time to post much if anything for at least the near future. In the interim feel free to read some of the other fine South Dakota blogs listed in my blogroll and hope to see you back here on the flip side.

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Thanks Mitt!

It seems that Mitt Romney’s decision to suspend his campaign wasn’t because of his poor showing last Tuesday but instead was to save us from terrorists.

Romney: ”If I fight on in my campaign, all the way to the convention, I would forestall the launch of a national campaign and make it more likely that Senator Clinton or Obama would win. And in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign, be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.”

But besides us now being safer because of Mitt’s heroism, the rest of the far right might not be feeling the Mitt love as much as he would hope, especially Focus on the Family chairman Dr. James Dobson. Dobson doesn’t seem too impressed with his choices this time around and says that he and many of his followers will be sitting this one out.

“I am deeply disappointed the Republican Party seems poised to select a nominee who did not support a Constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage, voted for embryonic stem-cell research to kill nascent human beings, opposed tax cuts that ended the marriage penalty, has little regard for freedom of speech, organized the Gang of 14 to preserve filibusters in judicial hearings, and has a legendary temper and often uses foul and obscene language…. Given these and many other concerns, a spoonful of sugar does NOT make the medicine go down. I cannot, and will not, vote for Sen. John McCain, as a matter of conscience.”

With todays announcement, we have Conservative talking head Rush Limbaugh’s last hope out of the race, right wingnut Ann Coulter pledging to support Hillary Clinton, and the religious right talking about staying away completely. Thanks Mitt!

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Cold Dead Hands

As our legislature debates whether to allow our college students to bring guns on to colleges, the Brady campaign report card shows just how bad our gun laws already are in South Dakota as far as letting the bad guys get a hold of guns.

Out of a possible 100 points with 100 being the best, South Dakota scored a 6 with the lowlights below thanks to the RCJ.

* States can earn up to 35 points by taking all measures needed to “Curb Firearm Trafficking.” States can fully regulate the gun dealers within their borders, limit bulk purchases of handguns, provide police certain technology to identify crime guns, and require lost or stolen guns to be reported to the police. South Dakota scored zero points in this category.

* States can earn up to 25 points by “Strengthening Brady Background Checks.” This involves requiring background checks on all gun sales and requiring a permit in order to purchase firearms. Short of universal background checks, states can also close the gun show loophole, at least requiring background checks for all gun show sales. South Dakota scored zero points in this category.

* States can earn up to 20 points by “Protecting Child Safety” when it comes to guns. States can require that only childproof handguns be sold within their borders, require child safety locks to be sold with each handgun, hold adults accountable for keeping guns away from kids and teens, and require handgun purchasers to be at least 21 years of age. South Dakota scored zero points in this category.

* States can earn up to 10 points by “Banning Military-style Assault Weapons,” as well as banning high-capacity ammunition magazines. South Dakota scored zero points in this category.

* States can earn up to 10 points by making it harder to carry “Guns In Public Places” (except for trained law enforcement and security) and by allowing localities to “Preserve Local Control” over municipal gun laws. This includes keeping guns out of workplaces and college campuses, not forcing law enforcement to issue concealed handgun permits on demand, not permitting “shoot first” expansions in self-defense laws, and not preventing municipalities from passing their own gun laws. South Dakota scored only six points in this category.

Maybe instead of passing laws that look to increase the prevalence of guns in our state we should instead concentrate on keeping them out of the hands of people that shouldn’t have them. But then again we are only 37th in the nation on this so we have a long way to go before we hit our comfort zone of last.

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Perfect Timing

Last week I got on my “Bully Pulpit” to rag on my local cable company about not carrying our local Fox station’s hi def feed. It really sucked that I had this nice expensive HD set all ready for the Super Bowl and wouldn’t be able to take advantage of it. Somebody must be reading this blog from Golden West Telecommunications as to my surprise, they added KTTW’s (our Fox affiliate) HD feed today. The day AFTER the Super Bowl…

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Fly On The Wall

First it was Caroline Kennedy coming out in support of Barack Obama, and now another prominent name from the Kennedy clan has come out and supported Obama’s run for the White House.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to be a fly on the wall in the Governor’s mansion in California?

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