Showing posts with label South Dakota. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South Dakota. Show all posts

16 May 2024

From the Annals of Unforced Errors: RFK Jr and Kristi Noem

But this is not an unforced error.  RFK Jr. didn't go out and actively seek a brain worm, and he hasn't been bragging about it:  his undisclosed health issues, from the brain worm to the mercury poisoning (10 times the recommended limit in his blood),  - all of these were in a legal deposition and had been available for quite a while to the earnest researcher.  

Why in a legal deposition? Because he was getting a divorce from his second wife, and wanted to show that memory loss and cognitive decline meant his earnings were going to go down, meaning he shouldn't have to pay as much alimony.  

What may turn out to be an unforced error is the article he did for Inside Edition, in which he talked about his daily "fistful of supplements" and testosterone replacement therapy - but don't call them steroids around RFK Jr., because steroids are bad (LINK) - while providing hunky pictures of himself doing pushups and going as shirtless as Putin (all that was missing is the crocodile).  

Why would this be an unforced error?  Because men who take testosterone replacement, a/k/a anabolic steroids, often get "mood swings, runaway irritability, and a general inability to listen to anyone else, but they also tend to find their mental functioning—especially their memories—going through a certain Swiss-cheese transformation. The holes in what they recall keep getting bigger."  (LINK)  Testosterone supplements can also cause heart trouble, heart attacks, and strokes, but details, details... 

Okay I can't resist:  The irony of a man who is 1000% anti-vaccination putting anabolic steroids as well as "a fistful of supplements" in his body on a daily basis...  

But the worst unforced error is the diary that RFK Jr. kept in the early 2000s, with a file called Cash Accounts, "where he recorded the date of the infidelity, the name of the woman involved, and a code of numbers, ranging from 1 to 10, representing the performance of certain sex acts."  And there were a lot of them.  His second wife read them during the divorce proceedings, and it sent her into a literally suicidal depression, but not before she shared them with others. You can read some of the grotty details here:  (LINK)

Look, even Samuel Pepys knew enough to use code to record his philandering.  Granted, it would be better to never have an affair, but today that seems to be impossible for politicians and entertainers.  

 Of course, the Queen of Unforced Errors has been Governor Kristi Noem who has kept the fire hose going at full force:

  • Killing the puppy in the gravel pit. 
  • Killing the male goat in the same gravel pit because it was smelly.
  • Claiming to meet Kim Jong Un and staring him down.  
    • My favorite part of that one is "I'm sure he underestimated me, having no clue about my experience staring down little tyrants (I'd been a children's pastor, after all)."  Since when are Sunday School teachers called "children's pastors"?  And isn't calling your students "little tyrants" just adding more mud to the pile?  Or is it gravel to the pit? 
  • Claiming to have cancelled a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron because of his "pro-Hamas / anti-Israeli comments."
  • Promising that if she got to the White House, she would say "Commander, say hello to Cricket."
  • Going on news media all over the country and blaming the puppy (by the time she was done, Cricket sounded like another Cujo), the he-goat, the "woke" mob who don't have the guts to shoot a puppy in the face, the unnamed ghost writer who wrote it all and got it published without her ever knowing, despite the fact that she posted a publicity still of her reading the audio version.  (How do you record something you don't read?)  

Well, after a number of media interviews, almost all of them scathing (when Newsmax tells you you're not on the VP list anymore, you're in trouble), she did a classic runaway, worthy of Monty Python:  cancelling her appearances on Fox News and CNN because of snow back in South Dakota.  LINK 

 (NOTE:  Some snow fell in the Black Hills May 6-8; they're used to it, and some folks went snowmobiling. By May 12, the weather was in the 60s, and the streets were clear.) 

Oh, and Fox News host Greg Gutfeld responded to her cancellation with a brutal interview of her anyway, with Dana Perino taking Kristi's role.  I think she's toast at Fox, too. (LINK)


And finally - yes, Governor Noem has now managed to get banned from seven out of the nine Native American reservations in this state. Crow Creek, Sisseton-Wahpeton Lake Traverse Indian Reservation and the Yankton Sioux Tribe are the latest three to get thoroughly fed up with interviews like this one:  (LINK)

Kristi Noem and Elizabeth Vargas on News Nation, May 8th, 2024:

“But we have the cartels set up in South Dakota,” said Noem.

“They are set up?” asked Vargas.

“They are set up in South Dakota,” said Noem.

“How do you know that?” asked Vargas.

“Because I’ve seen the pictures, and our investigators have interacted with them,” said Noem. “In fact, we had a cartel member kidnap an FBI officer just last week. You know it is well known, and they are able to operate on those tribal reservations because they are protected.”

Now, granted, it may be top secret and all that (and if so, what is she doing talking about it on national news?), but nobody up here has heard anything about an FBI officer being kidnapped in the last two weeks.  But two weeks before that, a Rapid City judge did sentence three people to federal prison for carjacking/kidnapping an FBI agent (not knowing that he was an FBI agent) in 2022.  Does that count?  (LINK)  Yet another unforced error… 

No, you can't make this stuff up, but I wish you could.


When you have a nice little political career going,
don't take it to the gravel pit.


My latest new story, "At the Dig" is in Black Cat Weekly #138. (HERE)

And let's not forget the wonderful anthologies, Murder Neat, and Paranoia Blues, both available on which have, respectively, my "Bad Influence" and "Cool Papa Bell" in them:



18 April 2024

South Dakota - Criming and Whining Edition

We do get some interesting crimes in South Dakota.  Some of it is that, when you have a very few people scattered over very large distances, privacy can lead to... odd behavior.  Or criminal behavior.  As Sherlock Holmes once said, 

“It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.”

“You horrify me!”

“But the reason is very obvious. The pressure of public opinion can do in the town what the law cannot accomplish. There is no lane so vile that the scream of a tortured child, or the thud of a drunkard’s blow, does not beget sympathy and indignation among the neighbours, and then the whole machinery of justice is ever so close that a word of complaint can set it going, and there is but a step between the crime and the dock. But look at these lonely houses, each in its own fields, filled for the most part with poor ignorant folk who know little of the law. Think of the deeds of hellish cruelty, the hidden wickedness which may go on, year in, year out, in such places, and none the wiser."

— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Copper Beeches

Thus Joel Koskan, disgraced former SD Senate candidate, could groom and rape his adopted Native American daughter for years in a small town of Wood, SD (population 41) and still maintain a "pristine image". Apparently none of the neighbors noticed the cameras in every room of their house… (LINK) He was finally sentenced to 10 years in prison, which frankly (imho) was not enough, because he filed a motion recently to get out and NOT have to register as a sex offender, because it was simply "consensual incest", which is no worse than bigamy, and why is he being punished so badly?  (LINK 1)

My Note:  Perps gonna whine while they do their time.

Meanwhile, we have two interstates which cross our fine state, I-29 running north/south and I-90 running west/east, which brings all kinds of people and things in by car, RVs, and trucks, including the occasional dead body.  

Back around March 10, 2024, the body of a dead woman was found at the I-90 Travel Center near Mitchell, SD, shoved under some pallets.  Her head was found in a trashcan nearby.  Apparently someone had run over her, multiple times, in the parking lot. It didn't take very long to track down Anthony Melvin Harris, Sr., 60, of Detroit, MI, and he was charged with second-degree murder, a Class B felony, and improper disposal of a body, a misdemeanor.

However, South Dakota AG Marty Jackley released additional information on Friday that stated the victim, Melody Faye Gooch, 57, of Detroit, died of an “accidental drug overdose.” The statement said Gooch’s overdose did not occur in South Dakota. Autopsy results showed Gooch’s death was caused by “combined drug toxicity due to Buprenorphine, Fentanyl, and Cocaine, and that the manner of death to be accidental.” And the blunt force trauma Gooch sustained from being run over at the I-90 Travel Center “did not occur when she was alive." So they dropped the second-degree murder charge, but he's is still facing improper disposal, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor charge.  (LINK)

Being the curious sort, I still want to know why he ran over her body multiple times to the point where literally her guts were on the pavement, how she got beheaded, and why he tossed that part of her in a garbage can?

Oh, let's change the subject.

Gov. Kristi Noem has been banned from yet another Native American Reservation in South Dakota (that's four out of nine, folks) after doubling down on her claims that Mexican cartels are infiltrating Native American reservations in South Dakota. (LINK) She claimed that South Dakota DCI and the SD Attorney General's Office had photographic proof of the cartels operating on the reservation - specifically, "the Bandidos Gang and the Ghost Dancers Gang". (See my exasperated post about the Ghost Dancers HERE)

A couple of questions:

  1. Which Reservation?  We have nine of them in South Dakota: Cheyenne River (Noem banned), Crow Creek, Flandreau, Lower Brule, Oglala (Noem banned), Rosebud (Noem banned), Sisseton Wahpeton, Standing Rock (Noem banned) and Yankton.  One or two?  All nine of them?
  2. If they have the photographs, why aren't there FBI, South Dakota State Troopers, etc., posted at the roads leading into the reservation so they can arrest them whenever they leave?

Eagle Butte, tribal headquarters of the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, pop. 1,258.  

General map of the US state of South Dakota.
Shown are state's topography, major cities,
roads, boundaries, and bodies of water.
Credit: Jon Platek (Wikipedia)

It could be done.  Or would that be too simple?

Finally, there was a "disturbance" or a "disruption" or a "small riot" (depends on who you talk to) at East Hall at the Hill complex of the Sioux Falls, South Dakota penitentiary for two days at the end of March, 2024.  One corrections officer was injured, but will be okay.

Background: Back a couple of years ago, the DOC administration gave out tablets to all inmates, which allowed them to make telephone calls and send messages (all carefully screened - no privacy).  They could also listen to music, access an on-line law library (saved money on someone actually manning the libraries), and a few other carefully curated items.  They could not, and never could, surf the internet.  At the same time, once everyone got the hang of the tablets, the administration took out most of the wall phones that had been the old way of communicating with family.  The result was there were like, 5 telephones left for 500 men.

And then on March 8, calling and messaging were restricted since as a result of an investigation into what Noem called “nefarious” uses by some inmates. So the administration removed the ability to message or call families on the tablets, and there were some strong objections in East Hall. Now the disturbance / riot becomes much more understandable once you realize that East Hall is where they put all the young knuckleheads whose basic mentality is - and I am quoting:

"The last time anyone told me what to do, it was my Dad, and I told him to f*** off, so why the f*** should I listen to you?"

Anyway, thanks to them, everyone on the Hill was put on lockdown for a few days (now it's only East Hall), so all the lifers and old-timers are, as always, fed up with the knuckleheads.

Meanwhile, an ex-inmate pointed out that “When you’re on the Hill or in Jameson, 95% of your communications are done with your loved one on the tablets because you’re locked down so much. Kristi Noem is saying ‘oh, they still have access to phones on the wall.’ Well, okay, yeah, that’s technically true. But we’re talking about 1,000-plus inmates with maybe two to three hours a day to have access to those phones.”  And, as I said, there are about 5 phones to every 500 inmates. (LINK)

Anyway, the administration in Pierre has restored the ability to call / message on the tablets, although now the inmates will be allowed 5 calls / messages a day.  BTW, the resumption of tablet communications isn't entirely altruistic or even realistic: some of it is economic.  The State of South Dakota gets a commission on messaging and phone calls: $6.25 million a year.  That's a lot of money to pass up in a poor state... (LINK)


Global Tel Link (GTL), the tablet providers, hid a 2020 data breach for nine months and then told only a fraction of affected users about it, according to a settlement filed in late February with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC’s decision and order in the data breach and fraud case against GTL was issued on Feb. 27, two weeks before the South Dakota Department of Corrections took away the tablets. So there's a strong possibility that the "nefarious activities" with the tablets might very well have been the PROVIDER'S (Global Tel Link, a/k/a GTL) "nefarious activities": selling data to outside nefarious agencies… (LINK)

"Perps gonna whine while they do their time":  I heard about a new inmate who (before the disturbance / riot) was having a fit because his means of livelihood was trading on-line on the stock market.  He was planning to sue for his right to earn a living, even in prison, which was so ridiculous that everyone started laughing, which only made him madder.  Tough.  I told my friend to tell him, "Good l uck with that.  At least you'll give an attorney and a judge a really good laugh.  And thanks for giving me one hell of a laugh."

08 February 2024

Ghost Dancers and Other Voices

by Eve Fisher

Governor Kristi Noem was back in the news last week with her trip to the Texas border, her promise to stand tall with Gov. Abbott, to personally provide more razor wire to put in the Rio Grande and to send more National Guard Troops to the Border.  Meanwhile, South Dakota has not been reimbursed the $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars that Noem spent on the last deployment, and she has just admitted that she never expected to be, so suck it up, taxpayers!  She's only doing it for our own good!  

And she gave a speech to the South Dakota Legislature on the warzone at the border and how, here in South Dakota, the Bandido's "sub-gang" The Ghost Dancers are selling drugs all over the Rez:  

“Murders are being committed by cartel members on the Pine Ridge Reservation, and in Rapid City, and a gang called the Ghost Dancers are affiliated with these cartels,” Noem said. “They have been successful in recruiting tribal members to join their criminal activity.” (SOURCE)

Many of us in South Dakota went into a Symphony in F-Major over this and other statements, and we're not getting over it for a while.  Let me explain:


First of all, a little history on the Ghost Dance. It's a religious ceremony, a literal dance, begun in the 1880s by Northern Paiute spiritual leader Wovoka (renamed Jack Wilson), who said that dancing it would "reunite the living with spirits of the dead, bring the spirits to fight on their behalf, end American Westward expansion, and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to Native American peoples throughout the region." It spread throughout the Native American communities of the West, and was - and is - very strong here in the Dakotas, among the Lakota people. (BTW, it even caught the interest of the Mormons, who had a tendency to believe in and listen to Native American prophets. One of the things that were used in the Ghost Dance, besides the Dance itself, was a Ghost Shirt that some believe to have been adapted from the Mormon temple garment.)  

The Lakota interpretation of Wakova's vision derived from their traditional idea of a "renewed Earth" in which "all evil is washed away". This Lakota interpretation included the removal of all European Americans from their lands:

They told the people they could dance a new world into being. There would be landslides, earthquakes, and big winds. Hills would pile up on each other. The earth would roll up like a carpet with all the white man's ugly things – the stinking new animals, sheep and pigs, the fences, the telegraph poles, the mines and factories. Underneath would be the wonderful old-new world as it had been before the white fat-takers came. ...The white men will be rolled up, disappear, go back to their own continent. - Lame Deer

Anyway, back in 1890 the US Government (warning, "spoiler" alert) broke a treaty with the Lakota by confiscating the Great Sioux Reservation and dividing it into 5 smaller reservations. They were making room for white homesteaders from the eastern United States; in addition, its purpose was to "break up tribal relationships" and "conform Indians to the white man's ways, peaceably if they will, or forcibly if they must". No more Native customs, language, clothing, or food - despite the fact that if you try to farm down around, say, the Pine Ridge Reservation, you are trying to farm a semi-desert. Hunting, yes. Farming? No...

(Above clip from the movie, "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee")

So the Lakota started doing the Ghost Dance, and that scared the hell out of the US government. The local BIA agent claimed that Sitting Bull, the spiritual leader, was the real leader of the movement. A former agent, Valentine McGillicuddy, God bless her, saw nothing extraordinary in the dances and ridiculed the panic that seemed to have overcome the agencies, saying:

"The coming of the troops has frightened the Indians. If the Seventh-Day Adventists prepare the ascension robes for the Second Coming of the Savior, the United States Army is not put in motion to prevent them. Why should not the Indians have the same privilege? If the troops remain, trouble is sure to come."  Wikipedia

Of course nobody listened to her, and thousands of additional U.S. Army troops were deployed to the reservation. On December 15, 1890, Sitting Bull was arrested for failing to stop his people from practicing the Ghost Dance. One of of Sitting Bull's men, Catch the Bear, fired at Lieutenant "Bull Head", striking his right side. He instantly wheeled and shot Sitting Bull, hitting him in the left side, between the tenth and eleventh ribs; this exchange resulted in deaths on both sides, including that of Sitting Bull.

Sitting Bull
This was almost immediately followed by the Massacre at Wounded Knee (December 28, 1890), where 153 Lakota, mostly women and children, were murdered in cold, cold, cold blood. Twenty US soldiers were awarded Medals of Honor for their brave deeds, which were never rescinded.

Mass grave burial of the dead after Wounded Knee.  (Wikipedia)
The Ghost Dance movement went underground, but never died. During the Wounded Knee Incident of 1973, Leonard Crow Dog, spiritual leader of the the American Indian Movement (AIM), brought back the Ghost Dance, saying:  

"My great-grandfather's spirit gave me a vision to do this. The vision told me to revive this ceremony at the place where Chief Big Foot's ghost dancers, three hundred men, women, and children, had been massacred by the army, shot to pieces by cannons, old people, babies."  (Wikipedia)

And, after building a sweat lodge and doing a purification ritual, they did.  

So, when Governor Noem claimed that the Ghost Dancers are part of the Bandidos motorcycle gang... it infuriated a lot of people, and not just the Oglala Sioux Tribe. 

Although we might as well start with the Oglala Sioux Tribal President Frank Star Comes Out's announcement: 

“Due to the safety of the Oyate, effective immediately, you [Governor Noem] are hereby Banished from the homelands of the Oglala Sioux Tribe!" 
Star Comes Out said he took deep offense at her reference, saying the Ghost Dance is one of the Oglala Sioux’s “most sacred ceremonies,” and “was used with blatant disrespect and is insulting to our Oyate.” (AP News)

This is the second time Ms. Noem has been banned from the Rez.  The first time was in 2019, when Gov. Noem introduced bills and signed them into a law that basically criminalized the Lakota fervent opposition and peaceful protests to the Keystone XL Pipeline on tribal land, calling it "riot boosting", punishable by prison sentences of 5-25 years.  

And none of us will forget the beginning of Covid, when there were no vaccines and contagion rates were high, especially on the reservations, among the elderly. (The Lakota cherish their elders.) In March of 2020, the Cheyenne River Reservation tribal leaders established masked checkpoints on all the roads leading in and out of the reservation to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and barred some drivers from passing through or stopping on the reservation. Noem said the checkpoints on state and federal highways were illegal because they were interfering with interstate commerce.  (BTW, a lot of the "interstate commerce" was nearby white ranchers wanting to go hunting on tribal lands and/or take a shortcut to their own grazing land.)  Anyway, the lawsuit failed, but eventually, in 2021, when the vaccines came out, the Reservation finally opened the checkpoints (AP).  The Rez never banned her, but they sure don't like her...  

Trivia fact(s) of the day:  South Dakota has 9 reservations, covering 5 million acres.  Pine Ridge and Rosebud are the largest.  Flandreau, the smallest, has the big Casino and is the most prosperous.  They're all important to South Dakota.


As Wonkette's Gary Legum wrote:  "You have to hand it to South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, who over the weekend found herself banned from the Oglala Sioux’s Pine Ridge Reservation for the second time in five years. She has now been banished from more Native land than the 7th Cavalry."

Meanwhile, Governor Noem has accused the Tribal President "of politicizing the issue".  

Honey, respect has to work both ways.  

That's it from South Dakota, where we talk like Mayberry and act like Goodfellas. And sometimes we just BS all over the place.


Meanwhile, if you're in the mood for a good read, check out Josh Pachter's Paranoia Blues.  Nominated for Best Anthony Award for an  Anthology, with GREAT stories, including my own "Cool Papa Bell".  Available at Amazon!

And both my own "A Time to Mourn" and John Floyd's "Wanted" are in the latest issue of Crimeucopia:  Say It Again, also available at Amazon.  

29 June 2023

South Dakota Man

I'm starting to think we here in South Dakota can catch up to Florida.  (And, in the interests of keeping it clean - this time - I've left off all the cases but one of sex crimes.)

Sioux Falls police arrest man who threatened officers with a gun - the officers were standing on the sidewalk, talking to someone who had probably just committed a hit-and-run, when South Dakota Guy came out of his house, told them to get the hell off his property (hey, bright eyes, sidewalks are public property!), and when the police didn't, went inside and came back outside holding a rifle with a weapon-mounted light that made it obvious he was pointing at them, yelled at them some more, and then started running, dropping the gun only when he tried to climb a fence.  Officers subdued him, arrested him, and charged him with three counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement, three counts of attempting to commit a felony with a firearm and possession of a loaded firearm while intoxicated.  (What, you thought he was sober?)  (ARGUS)

Sioux Falls man arrested for backing into police car - the suspect was in a stolen vehicle, two detectives were able to approach the vehicle in their own detective vehicle and activated their overhead lights, at which point the driver put the stolen vehicle into reverse and backed into the detectives’ vehicle - twice - before taking off. (BTW, this is a sure way to get the full attention of the police department.) The suspect was later arrested on two counts of aggravated assault on law enforcement and possession of a stolen vehicle.  Also possession of a firearm which may or may not have been stolen.  (Hard to say - most people up here don't report if their gun was stolen from their car. Too embarrassing?)  (ARGUS)

Sioux City man arrested for throwing knives at Sioux Falls police - 4:21 PM, after threatening people with a knife, the suspect took of on his bicycle. the police quickly intercepted him, and he started pulling knives out of his pocket and throwing them at them. The suspect was arrested for three counts of Aggravated Assault on Law Enforcement, Obstructing Police Officers, Fleeing Police, and was placed on an emergency mental hold. (Dakota News Now)  

Man stabbed, arrested for aggravated assault after attacking man with stick - Two men were smoking meth at a campsite and one accused the other of stealing from him and started hitting the victim with a large stick.  The victim has a pocket knife and stabbed the suspect, then they rolled around on the ground, and the suspect bit the victim in the face, Petersen said. Eventually, the victim told the suspect that he had stabbed him and to get up so he could call the ambulance. (Must have been really tweaked out to not know he'd been stabbed..)  (Argus)

Sioux Falls Man Arrested at Disney World for Slapping Woman's Butt
 - The woman was a security guard at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, who did not take it as the compliment that Sioux Falls Man (who was stumbling drunk) apparently thought she should.  He was arrested for two misdemeanors.  The world's happiest place is not going to put up with that s***.  (Hot 104.7)

Sioux Falls man arrested after fatally shooting dog - Police say many people in a house on the 3300 block of South Westbrooke lane were "drinking and messing around with guns." Sioux Falls Man loaded one of the guns and accidentally shot and killed a dog, and was arrested for cruelty to animals. (Otherwise, everything was fine, and the evening went as planned.)  (KELO)

Sioux Falls man arrested for following victim, Lyft driver & pulling gun - A Sioux Falls man has been arrested for following a 29-year-old woman and her Lyft driver and pulling a gun on them Saturday night in southeast Sioux Falls. The suspect stated his reason for following the victim downtown and back and pulling a gun was because he believed the victim was connected to knocking he heard on his door earlier, which alarmed him. KNOCKING????? This easily alarmed snowflake was arrested for 2 counts of Aggravated Assault.  (Dakota News Now)

South Dakota State Representative Calls Mt. Rushmore Demonic Portal - “What the Lord has revealed to me is that Mount Rushmore has a direct ley line to Washington, DC.,” Republican South Dakota (R) Joe Donnell said in the podcast clip that was tweeted. “In order to understand the spiritual realm of what we’re facing, we have to realize that in order for the enemy to do anything, it needs the agreement of human beings. In order to be empowered to do more damage he needs the agreement of human beings and oftentimes that comes in the form of an altar that acts as a portal for other demonic things. What we’re really dealing with in that portal is communism. That witchcraft, altar, those things that are happening in the Black Hills, what we’re dealing with is communism. It’s the ideology and all the demonic entities and spirits behind that.”  We're all still waiting for Governor Kristi Noem to comment on THAT one.  Also, many of us want to know where that witchcraft altar actually IS, because that could turn into a whole 'nother tourist attraction. (KELO)

Random South Dakota man strolls into Kentucky store, buys cigarettes, shoots the ceiling and demands the police be called - "When police arrived, the owner says the man was on the ground by his truck, with a gun pointed to his head. After about an hour, police were eventually able to resolve the situation peacefully without the man hurting himself.  They say South Dakota Man intentionally committed a robbery in order to trigger a law enforcement response and attempt “suicide by cop.” (LINK)

And my favorite:

3 Arrested for Stealing Velociraptor in Sioux Falls - This one I can understand - after all who wouldn't think that a velociraptor statue wouldn't be a handy accessory to any home?  But it must have been made out of fiberglass, don't you think? Anyway, the security cameras taped the whole thing, and the Washington Pavilion got it back, but they're trying to figure out how to prevent this from happening again. I don't know... The hunger for dinosaurs knows no bounds...  (ARGUS)  

And one that isn't South Dakota Man, but really, shouldn't it be?

Cow Manure Ponzi Scheme puts California Man in Prison - (LINK)  At least Dark Ally and my idea of Urban Buffalo would have actually provided the manure... 

Well, it could be worse.  Check out this wedding party from 1268:

I think that Doolin' Dalton, Rob Lopresti and I should work together on a "Medieval Man..." piece.  What do you think, guys?

17 November 2022

All the Cockroaches Coming Out...

 by Eve Fisher

I haven't written about the 2022 election in South Dakota, because it basically took its dismal normal shape:  we are a ruby-red state, and people will vote for anyone with an R in front of their name.  Our new Secretary of State, Monae Johnson, is an election denier, as were many of our State House and Senate candidates.  But that's not the worst of it.  Hell, this election proved that Jason Ravnsborg wasn't the worst we could do, at least in my humble opinion.  Meet two major losers:

Bud May (R), who got 2,348 people to vote for him for a House Seat:

This is his mug shot from Nov. 13, 2022 on one count of second-degree rape. Link

"The alleged victim said May decided to force himself on the victim in a bathroom stall at a bar and says May said to her at the bar: “I am 6′8″, white, it is all consensual.” According to the police report, he fled the area, and upon being detained he claimed he had no involvement at first, then claimed: “it was simply a hug.”

Apparently  the woman was hiding behind a bar counter with dirt, blood and an abrasion on her face when law enforcement arrived. She said May raped her in multiple ways and that the blood on her was May’s, who had been in an altercation before the alleged incident. May’s mugshot clearly shows a bloody wound on his left eye, which had settled into a dark purple by the time he appeared in court Tuesday morning via video conference from the Pennington County Jail.

Fun guy.  Thankfully he lost his election.

And here's Joel Koskan, who ran for a SD State Senate seat (R):

Mr. Koskan was arrested for one count of exposing a minor to sexual grooming behaviors. It’s a class four felony. However, the DCI probable cause statement shows years of child molestation (incest, BTW) of one of his 5 children, and "surveillance". He got a plea deal, in which he agreed to "accept some responsibility for his actions, but ultimately would deny any sexual intercourse had occurred throughout the alleged abuse" and would not have to serve any time or register as a sex offender, or be separated from his other 4 children (who are still living with him). Thankfully, the judge in the case is reconsidering this plea deal. (LINK)

He still got 2,495 people to vote for him.  Thankfully, HE lost.  

I wish I could believe that these two bastards are anomalies.  But they're not. When I was working as Circuit Administrator of the now-defunct 4th Judicial Circuit, we had a grandfather who was convicted of molesting all 4 of his grandchildren. He'd only been caught because the oldest (around 12) was now pregnant. The judge at the time (brought in because all the locals had to recuse themselves) gave him probation "because he had no prior criminal record."

And then there's South Dakota's Jabba the Hut (look up a picture of him online, I'm not providing anything that fat and ugly), Ted Klaudt, farmer, rancher, and former Republican member of the South Dakota House of Representatives (1999-2006) from Walker, South Dakota. Thankfully, in November 2007 he was convicted of four counts of raping his two foster daughters and he was sentenced on January 17, 2008, to 44 years in prison, where he still resides.  

And to add to the general mood of this piece, South Dakota has the third-highest rape rate in the U.S., with 72.6 rapes per 100,000, up from 68 in 2018. (LINK)

Meanwhile, Gov. Noem has been fighting the culture wars against LGBQT+ with all flags flying, in a steady determination to eliminate transgenders from... well, everywhere.  And yesterday the Rapid City based Family Heritage Alliance (having fits about LGBQT+ wherever they go) pitched a major one about SDSU hosting a drag show last night. But the sponsor of this event was the Gender and Sexualities Alliance student organization, and they held it at the Student Union, and not a penny of taxpayer dollars were spent. Oh, horrors!  (LINK)  (NOTE:  Said Family Heritage Alliance failed to speak out against Mr. Koskan before, during or after the election.)  

Personally, I'd rather have drag queens reading to my grandkids than Jason Koskan, Ted Klaudt, and Bud May, not to mention Matt Gaetz , Dennis Hastert, Jim Jordan, Larry Nasser, Roy Moore, Herschel Walker, Charles Herbster, Newt Gingrich, Bob Allen, Mark Foley - Seriously, the list is just so damn long of people I don't want my friends, children, or grandchildren exposed to.  And none of them are gay. 

Meanwhile, can we make it, someday, that "nice white men" can no longer get away with incest and rape?  Asking for children and women everywhere. 

From South Dakota, where Mayberry keeps looking further and further in the way-back mirror...

30 June 2022

Little Church on the Prairie

First of all, & at last, we knew it was coming:  Jason Ravnsborg has been impeached on both counts in the death of Mr. Boever, after damning testimony on the part of the DCI, etc.  He's also been removed from office, and barred from ever running for public office again in the State of South Dakota.
“The wretch, concentred all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured, and unsung.”
                    Sir Walter Scott, "The Lay of the Last Minstrel"
And now on to other stories.

Sometimes these blogs just write themselves.  In this case, it was written by Angela Kennecke at KELO-News.  (I clearly note when I'm putting in my two cents' worth.)  Stay with it - this is quite a story.


“One of the gentlemen had seen someone we didn’t know, completely unaware who this person was, with what was described as an AR-15 rifle. And they took it out of their vehicle and walked into the church building. At that point, with the amount of back story and personal safety concerns, we were very hesitant to go in the building,” Jay Nelson said.

An armed guard stands on the steps of Singsaas Church near Astoria, South Dakota, looking over a crowd assembed to attend the annual meeting of the church's cemetery association, June 12.
Contributed / Marlene Kjelden

We’ll get to that back story in just a moment.

“I apologize for law enforcement and everything showing up,” Attorney Dennis Evenson said during the meeting. 

KELOLAND Investigates obtained a video from June 12th. An annual meeting was underway for the Singsaas Cemetery Association. The people outside, mostly descendants of those buried on the grounds, wanted a say in what was happening. But they found the armed men at the door intimidating.

“I did talk to some of the congregation that said the reason for the security was that they had a previous meeting and it got out of hand and they felt there were threats made and they needed some type of security,” Sheriff Stanwick said.

“Never, ever could I have imagined it could have escalated to the point where you have an AR-15 in a church building and men with revolvers sitting outside,” Jay Nelson said.

Life-long member Jay Nelson says it all started after Jason Hartung took over as pastor in 2020.

“The church was already in the process of becoming non-Lutheran, but becoming non-denominational” Singsaas Pastor Jason Hartung said.  

MY NOTE:  I don't necessarily believe this.  As we proceed, I hope you will see why.

Singsaas Church Pastor Jason Hartung

You need to know that Hartung’s congregation does not own the church building, the cemetery or the surrounding land. There is a separate fund for donors to the cemetery association, many of whom are buried at Singsaas, to maintain the cemetery and grounds, a fund that has more than $200,000 in it.

From the Mitchell Republic: "The Singsaas Cemetery association lies at the heart of the conflict due to an unusual relationship between the well-funded association and the church itself. Whoever controls the cemetery association controls its finances — and the church's physical future.  At stake is not only what Singsaas Church is now, but what it means as a historical location and pioneer legacy."  (LINK)  

My Note:  This is very common with country churches in South Dakota.  The church may have closed, or dwindled to almost nothing, but the Cemetery Association is well funded, by purchases (of cemetery sites) donations and legacies, and they take care of the maintenance of the cemetery and church grounds. Sometimes of the church.  Nothing unusual in this.  But, they are sitting on a chunk of change, which may have some import to what comes next:

"There were rumblings that the church was going to make changes to Singsaas that would eliminate its spot on the National Register of Historic Places, where the church was placed in 2003. Recently a cemetery association member noticed the plaque indicating the church's status had been removed from the front of the church." (LINK)  

“So this is my mom and dad. And there’s my grandma and grandpa,” McHugh said.  Nadine McHugh’s maiden name is Knutson and you can find that name all over this cemetery.  “We’d ring the bell an hour before church started. And before us, my grandparents also were the caretakers here. It’s just in the Knutsons that we’ve been taking care of this church,” McHugh said.

Despite her history with this place, McHugh stopped attending services here when Hartung took over.

“There are things that are going on that perhaps we don’t really understand and perhaps scripturally it doesn’t really sit well with us. And so we haven’t been going here now since 2020,” McHugh said.

"Hartung is no staid Lutheran preacher, and Singsaas is not a quiet Lutheran church. Congregants recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag and hear a reading of the U.S. Constitution during Sunday services. And the church has become stridently vocal on social issues of the day."  (My emphasis)  (LINK)   

MY NOTE 1 - I have never heard of a church where they say the Pledge of Allegiance and/or read the US Constitution during Sunday services.  Sounds more like the Aryan Nations or militia movement "services" to me... 

MY NOTE 2 -  So much for separation of church and state.  Looks like tax fraud to me.

Jay Nelson says he didn’t leave the church voluntarily:
Nelson: There was a congregational meeting held at which me and four other people–none of us were told about the meeting; none of us were told about what was going to happen at the meeting–it turns out in that meeting they voted all five of us out as members.
Kennecke: You got kicked out of your own church?
Nelson: We got kicked out of our own church.

Hartung: We pleaded with them to reconcile with the church. They knew that I was following and church leadership was following the doctrine of the word of God according to Matthew 18.*
Kennecke: Did they know they were going to be voted out?
Hartung: Did they? Yes, they did. They knew they were going toward that direction.

MY NOTE:  Probably Matthew 18:15-22.  

It was the direction that the church was going that led to the fallout in the first place. Nelson and two others have filed a petition with the court over the church’s constitution being thrown out.

“We want to make sure there is integrity in the process of changing the church constitution so that everyone is on board and everyone is represented,” Nelson said. 

MY NOTE:  A unsurprising reason to change the church constitution and the church membership and the Cemetery Association membership would be that $200,000 in the Cemetery Association Fund...  

“There is no such thing as having a church constitution that is unchangeable in any way shape or form,” Hartung said.

Meanwhile, the Singsaas Lutheran Church Cemetery filed a suit against Nelson and two other men, demanding they turn over any cemetery records they may possess. 

MY NOTE:  $200,000, sitting there...  

It’s a battle that has divided this community.  “It’s pitting lifelong friends against lifelong friends; people I’ve been friends with my entire life that won’t make eye contact with me,” Nelson said.

KELOLAND Investigates obtained a letter from Hartung where he asks his flock to pray for God to deal properly with the enemies of Singsaas. 

Kennecke: Are you an enemy of the church?
Nelson: I do not consider myself an enemy of the church at all. But we’ve been made aware that the pastor is communicating within his congregation, citing enemies of the church, which we would take to mean ourselves.

Kennecke: So who are the enemies of the church?
Hartung: Satan.
Kennecke: Not the people that…
Hartung: The people may allow the enemy, be used by the enemy to go against a church that preaches and teaches the word of God. I love these people and I’ve given my life for them.

MY NOTE:  Given his life???  He's only been there a couple of years.

Kennecke: Have you divided this community?
Hartung: It has revealed this community.
Kennecke: Tell me what you mean?
Hartung: It has revealed where people stand on the word of God.

Remember that Sunday meeting where all the guns and “security” showed up at church?

Kennecke: Was it an appropriate response, do you think?
Hartung: Is it an inappropriate response? Not according to the Constitution of the United States, the Second Amendment.
Kennecke: You’re allowed to have guns.
Hartung: Absolutely.
Kennecke: You didn’t break the law.
Hartung: Absolutely
Kennecke: But was it appropriate?
Hartung: Yes.
Kennecke: The sheriff said there was a rifle in the church. Was it an AR-15?
Hartung: Absolutely not.

But that’s not what a Brooking’s County Sherriff’s Deputy saw. According to his report, there was an AR-15 rifle with an inserted magazine leaning in an AV closet to the rear of the church’s sanctuary, and it was in a secure location. The owner of the rifle told the deputy he brought it to church at the request of the pastor to be armed security for the vote.  (My emphasis)  

“It’s not against the law to carry. It’s not against the law to carry into a church. No reason to secure any guns or anything. It’s just something you don’t come across, especially in this part of South Dakota,” Sheriff Stanwick said. 

At the end of the meeting that day the congregation’s attorney, Dennis Evenson acknowledged there wasn’t any real threat posed by the crowd of mostly older people who had gathered.

“Just let them clear out first. We can sit here all day. They’re good people, they’re good people. It’s not a problem there,” Evanson said in the video of the meeting in the church.

Hartung: There was a desire for order and management of the crowds, the potential crowds and there was a request by Dennis Evenson for security due to previous threats.
Kennecke: Have you been threatened personally?
Hartung: Yes I have.
Kennecke: What kind of threats?
Hartung: Death threats.
Kennecke: Have you reported those to police?
Hartung: I have talked to the sheriff’s department yes.

However, the Brookings County Sheriff tells KELOLAND investigates his office has not received any reports of death threats against Hartung. (My emphasis)  Nelson says there is an easy solution to end the conflict.

Nelson: If they wanted to go off and start their own non-denominational congregation with their own constitution, they were always free to do so. They could leave. 

Kennecke: Wouldn’t it just be easier, with this controversy you’re dealing with, to pick up your congregation and move them to a different building, a different site?
Hartung: That’s what some of the controversy; that’s what they want us to do, but the point is why?
Kennecke: And why not?
Hartung: I ask them why? What do they want the building for?

MY NOTE:  Because their ancestors built it?  That it's their building?  Not yours?  But, let's face facts - there's $200,000 just sitting there...

“We’re all a big family here and we’ve never had any issues with this until just the last few years. I just don’t want anything to hurt the cause of Christ in this situation. It’s a church and we’re here to worship God almighty. It’s just really a sad day for there to be so much confusion,” former Singsaas caretaker Nadine Knutson McHugh said.

Kennecke: What is it going to take to resolve all this?
Hartung: The truth.
Kennecke: And the truth is what?
Hartung: The truth is that, instead of having control, manipulation, and lies, we need to go, first of all, How do we honor God in this.

A lot of people on both sides of this issue have mentioned to me that none of it seems very Christian-like.  I spoke to pastors at a couple of previous churches where Hartung served in South Dakota. Both told me he brought more division than unity to their churches. In fact, one church ousted its long-time pastor shortly after he arrived.  (MY NOTE:  That would probably be Spearfish. LINK) Hartung told me that had nothing to do with him. 

Thanks, Angela!

MY NOTE:  $200,000, just sitting there, waiting...  Just one more thing that seems a little rotten in South Dakota, where we talk like Mayberry, and act like Goodfellas...

07 April 2022

Due Diligence in South Dakota

The South Dakota State Legislature has finally wound to a close. Lot of drama. Lot of culture war bills, which, as usual, took up the first 2 months of the session, leaving the truly important stuff - like the State Budget - until the last freaking week. 

There was also a lot of feuding between our Governor and the legislators, culminating in 3 gubernatorial vetoes of bills which the legislature wanted: oversight of all the latest in Federal dollars coming to SD, a bill allowing pregnant minors to give consent for prenatal and maternity care *, and a bill that would allow marijuana misdemeanors to be automatically expunged after 5 years from someone's record.  

* MY NOTE: So much for pro-life, right? Our Governor's reason for vetoing the bill was that "Parents' constitutional rights include the right to care, custody, and control of their children. That includes the right to make healthcare decisions for their child." (HERE) And what if they make terrible ones, Governor? What if they're the worst parents in the world?

But the Legislature declined to even try to override each veto.

Instead, the House Select Committee's response was to vote against recommending the impeachment of South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg for killing Joe Boever in an automobile accident. (HERE) Governor Noem has been pushing for Ravnsborg to resign or be impeached from the get-go.)

It was all classic South Dakota passive-aggressive. 

Speaking of passive-aggressive, I've mentioned before that we have and are having an influx of Blue State Refugees (BSRs) - and some Red State Refugees (apparently Missouri is getting expensive) - that has made for some interesting dynamics. For one thing, these BSRs do not practice passive-aggressive. Nor do they do due diligence, as far as I can tell.  

Officer Grant Tripp has told me some of the tales from Laskin, SD. A lot of BSRs have moved there, drawn to it for freedom, rural values, cheap prices, clean air, and the right to do whatever they want:

They see these ads for houses, you know - 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, new furnace, $75,000, and they think hey, it's the deal of the century. Which, compared to where they're coming from, it is. Only they don't bother to ask why it's got a new furnace. Why they all have new furnaces. We all know it's because it's on the flood plain, and we've had two 100 year floods in 20 years, and the third is due any time we get another 5 inches of rain in 5 hours. In other words, probably next year or so.  And so they buy it and move in, and go around moaning about the smell of mold and mildew down in the basement. Well, guess what?  You really should take a sniff of a basement before you buy it, at least in my book. 

And then there's all those cheap slab constructions that Lars Opdahl put up south of the tracks, you remember? Well, he had them as rentals, because no South Dakotan is going to buy slab construction, because you need a basement for tornadoes in the summer and insulation and storage in the winter. But these people snap them right up. No questions asked. And then they bitch and moan about freezing to death all winter. Not to mention their pipes freeze and then burst.

And that leads to the bitching and moaning about the heating bills, which are high. One guy told me, 'I pay more in utility bills here than I did in _____ !'  Well yeah, you're in a small town now, and most small towns get most of their money from electric and sewer and water bills, because there's not a large tax base.

'And they tax everything!'

Yep. South Dakota state sales and use taxes are 4.5%, and every community's tacked on a municipal tax rate, too. Some places are as much as 6.5%.  Look, we don't have an income tax in South Dakota, but you still need to get the money from somewhere to run counties, towns, cities, and the state. So we have high property taxes, sales tax on everything, and use tax on everything but concealed carry permits. It costs more to live up here than you might think. An income tax would probably be a lot cheaper.

The other complaint, of course, is that there's nothing to do in Laskin, as if it's a national tourist center or a big city:

'There's no shopping! 

'The movie theater's so small, and it shows the same damn movie all week, and no matinees!

'And the casinos - they're just dive bars with slot machines! 

'And the restaurants - there's no variety. Just fast food and a few cafes.'

What did you expect in a county of less than 10,000 people?  And it could be worse. You could move out to one of the really small towns in South Dakota, population under 500. There all you'd have is a post office, and a bar, which at least will serve chislic and burgers with the beer. You want more variety? Do what the rest of us do, go to the nearest big city once a week or so and stock up, and have a nice dinner before you drive home.  

Oh, and they're shocked there's so much crime. Yeah. Well, guess what, there's meth in Mayberry these days, along with fentanyl-laced heroin. I-90 is a major drug corridor that runs from the Pacific to the Atlantic and right through South Dakota. 

I heard about some Blue State Refugee guys who were hired as cops in Rapid City, and they were shocked, shocked, shocked! that there wasn't much in the way of cheap housing. Really? They didn't notice Ellsworth Airforce Base? And the Black Hills, Sturgis, and other major tourist centers? And then they found out about gangs. And drugs. And a high murder rate.  Back in 2019, the crime rate in Rapid City, SD was higher than in 92.2% of U.S. cities. It hasn't gotten better. And Sioux Falls' crime rate was higher than in 83.1% U.S. cities."  (HERE)

Another fun thing is their sudden concern for the environment, as in 'Isn't there anything they can do about the feed lots? That smell...'  Nope. Just thank God you don't live by a CAFO (that's Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) of hogs.  Oh, and that stinky green stuff in the lake is agricultural runoff. Nitrates and phosphates. Fertilizer. You know. Agriculture and tourism, our two biggest industries.

'Why do you live here?'

Well, most of us were born here. All our friends and family are around here. You can, or at least could, always count on your neighbors to help out in a crisis. And living in a small town has a lot of advantages:  It's quiet. (In other words, tone it down, folks.) There's a slower pace of life. (Slow down. Quit driving 50 on 20 mph roads.) And good manners. Or at least that's how it used to be...** And when you really want to get away from it all, there's lots of wide open spaces, especially West River. Nothing but grasslands as far as the eye can see. Just sit and listen to your own heart beating…

Think about it: If you want to change South Dakota to the place you left, then why did you leave? Why are you here?  

Thanks, Grant!  Say hi to Linda!

** Please stop yelling in stores and at city / county commission / school board meetings. [Example HERE]  That's not how we do things up here. At least, not until now... 

27 January 2022

Same Old Rodeo

It's a bleak cold January day, up here in South Dakota. The legislature has been called into session, and the usual barrage of anti-transgender, anti-abortion, anti-CRT, anti-academic freedom, and anti-[insert title here] bills are flying around the Capitol like the snowflakes they are. 

The impeachment hearings for AG Ravnsborg are on-going.

Governor Noem took time out of her busy schedule to go to a gun show in Las Vegas.

Somehow I believe that the firearms and ammunition business would continue to thrive out here, even if she hadn't attended. But she got on TV!

The Summit Arena in Rapid City, SD is going to host the Black Hills Stock Show from January 28-February 5th. This event generally hosts 200,000-300,000 attendees, and so the announcement was made: "As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, there are no health requirements or mandates in place for the event. The Monument officials encourage everyone to stay home if they are sick and be respectful of others." (KELO)  Which makes perfect sense when you realize that right now 1 out of every 25 South Dakotans has an active case of Covid-19. Come for the fun, stay for the ventilator…

So, how to chase the blues away in dark January? Watch TV!

My latest recommendation is Mr. & Mrs. Murder, an Aussie comedy-mystery on Netflix. "Nicola and Charlie Buchanan run an industrial cleaning business specialising in crime scenes". They're also funny, quirky, and it's always sunny and bright. Only one season, but 13 episodes, so enjoy!

Available now on Prime: the Death in Paradise Christmas Special.  

On my soon to be watched list are a couple of police procedurals: Bergerac (Britbox), set on the Isle of Jersey, and Candace Renoir set in France.

And I've just heard that the 4th Season of The Good Karma Hospital has dropped in Britain, which means it will be coming soon to Acorn, which I watch via Prime. TGKH stars Amanda Redman, which makes it a must-see in my book anyway.

Not so cheerful, but fantastically well done is the 1987 production of Carr's A Month in the Country (set in post-WW1 Britain) starring unbelievably young future stars Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh in their first screen roles, & Natasha Richardson in her second. The uncovering of the medieval mural is an experience in itself, along with the eventual discovery of who / what / why...  

Another wonderful walk down nostalgia lane is Cider With Rosie - there's one version, with Timothy Spall (2015), available for free on Amazon, and another (1998), with Laurie Lee (the author) narrating it available on Tubi.  On a dark January day, either is worth it for the wildflowers alone...

And let's not forget Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot:  Evil Under the Sun (1982) where he's joined by Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, James Mason, Jane Birkin, Roddy MacDowell and/or Death on the Nile where he's joined by Bette Davis, David Niven, Simon MacCorkindale, Jane Birkin, Olivia Hussey, Jack Warden, George Kennedy, Angela Lansbury, Maggie Smith, and Mia Farrow all over-acting their little hearts out.

Back to Netflix and comedians:  we laughed our heads off at Russell Howard's Lubricant, Jim Gaffigan's Comedy Monster, Nate Bergatze's The Greatest Average American, Gina Yashere's stand-ups, including her on the new season of The Standups, and many, many more. Plus I just keep Tom Papa's You're Doing Great on file, ready to cheer me up on cold, gray days like today.


02 December 2021

Yesterday's Gossip is Today's Headline

The problem with living in a small state (or town) is that it's almost impossible to keep a secret.  You can try, but you're not going to succeed.  The stories float out on the wind, like the breath between your neighbors' lips.  But it's also a gift, because there is endless entertainment. 

A few examples:

(1) Back in October the South Dakota Supreme Court unsealed the search warrant records for South Dakota's own billionaire, T. Denny Sanford, but most of us had heard about this and have been discussing it, and what it was for, 2 years or so.  So, you who aren't South Dakotan might ask, "What were the search warrants for?"

"Sanford’s electronic devices came to the attention of investigators with the South Dakota attorney general’s office after a technology firm reported that child pornography had either been sent, received or downloaded on his device, according to one of the people who spoke to AP. Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg determined there was sufficient evidence to move toward prosecuting Sanford, but passed the case to the U.S. Department of Justice because it spanned to Arizona, California and Nebraska, according to both people." (AP News) (my emphasis added – also, that's quite a span, don't you think?)

There has since been fallout, including National University in San Diego putting a hold on changing its name to Sanford National University specifically because of the charges.  And a lot of executives at Sanford Healthcare have quit, some with 8-figure golden parachutes. And… Well, any more would be just repeating the gossip. I'll report more when it finally comes out on the news.

(2) Corey Lewandowski. Everyone's been talking about that hot mess since 2019.  

(3) The Covid-19 outbreak at Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls back in 2020:  I (and others) first heard about it well before it came out in the news, from people who were desperately trying to get the word out and warn everyone what was coming, while the CEO and other executives (and certain SD officials) were trying to cover it all up like a cat in a litter box.

My note:  This is why I don't have my knickers in a twist over China's supposed malfeasance about Covid-19, because I don't remember many cities, states, or businesses in America being really open and forthcoming about having a Covid outbreak in early 2020… Everyone tried to cover it up here in the United States, too.

(4) The story of Governor Kristi Noem's 2020 meeting with Executive Director of the South Dakota Appraiser Certification Program to discuss her daughter's getting an appraiser's certification had been circulating for some time. It finally made the news in October of this year, as someone pointed out that the same executive director was apparently urged to retire and given a $200,000 payout. (Argus)  The investigation is ongoing.

BTW, my favorite story about Governor Noem is an on-going lawsuit by "Blue State Refugees" (hereinafter referred to as the BSR) who wanted to protest Covid vaccine mandates at the Capitol on Pierre. Now the BSR is an unofficial organization of people who responded to Governor Noem's call last year to "Move to South Dakota and enjoy your freedoms!" And they came. And they want to protest. "The state, though, says it has banned all political demonstrations from the capitol grounds in November and December to accommodate the annual holiday and Christmas displays and decorations at the Capitol." Well, Governor Noem  quickly announced that they would indeed allow the Blue State Refugees to assemble, and the Blue State Refugees – via their lawyer – announced “We resolved the issue whether the protest will take place next week. The lawsuit is not dismissed. It’s going forward.” Why?  "We need to have some kind of assurance that they will not be enforcing this policy, not just now but into the future." (KELO) (Argus) If you're surprised that the BSR can't take "yes" for an answer – I'm not. If you invite people to come, promising them total freedom to do anything they want…

Speaking of doing anything they want:

(5) Our State Senate Majority Leader Gary Cammack was arrested for a DUI and driving without a license on January 18, 2020, and (after spending the night in jail) plead down to a misdemeanor of careless driving (a popular charge given to powerful people arrested for various problem driving incidents, see AG Ravnsborg), and then on October 4, 2020 got the court to seal the records.  But word got around:

“The sealing of Mr. Cammack’s record was the final step in a common and lawful process occurring thousands of times a year in South Dakota,” Nelson wrote. “But the coincidental timing of those events did nevertheless appear suspicious, even though it was not.”   (Cammack: Sealing of Court Case...)  (My Note: I'm trying to think of anyone who is not a politician or mover/shaker who has gotten a record sealed and can't think of one.  Thousands? I doubt it.) 

 And from "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree" file:

(6) Cammack's son, Chris, received more than $700,000 in state coronavirus relief funds designed to help businesses in South Dakota recover losses suffered during the pandemic, plus more than $300,000 in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans from the federal government to keep 10 workers employed. His business? A taxidermy business called Prairie Mountain Wildlife Studios.

BTW, up here in South Dakota, the first question that most people asked was, "What taxidermy place has 10 workers?" Seriously, try 3.  Maybe 4.

Anyway, Prairie Mountain Wildlife Studios was listed as being in Union City, SD, and it once was - but in 2014 or 2015, Chris and his family and the business all moved to Cypress, Texas. 

NOTE: This image from Google Maps shows the Cypress, Texas properties owned by Chris Cammack. The Brush Country/Prairie Mountain studios building has a red roof at the top of the image, and the home just to the south has a gray roof. Photo: Google Maps See the link at SD NewsWatch below.

Not only that, but back in March, 2020 Chris lobbied hard for special hunting licenses for non-residents (like him) of South Dakota to hunt on land they still owned in South Dakota.  Oh, and Chris also received PPP loans at the same time in 2020 and 2021 for two taxidermy businesses that have nearly the same names in both South Dakota and Texas totaling $798,217 to pay employees at both locations.  And it gets worse - but read it all for yourself at (SDNewsWatch).  We'll see if any of the money - loans, relief funds, etc. - gets clawed back.  I'm not holding my breath.  

And a reminder that domestic abusers are dangerous to more than the folks at home:

(7) I read with shock, horror, and absolute revulsion the story of the man who ran through the Christmas parade up in Waukesha, WI. Apparently the driver had a history of violence at home and abroad, and had used his fists, his gun(s), and his car as weapons before. No surprise to me, because back in the 1990s, I experienced sitting in my car, trapped between a berm and other cars, as a man gunned his car directly at me. He was a domestic abuser, with an expired license, who'd just smashed out the windows of his house, and, still angry, decided to use his car as a weapon against the first woman he saw. Which was me. I was lucky: at the last moment he swerved away. But it was still pretty damn scary.  I wrote my fourth blog with Sleuthsayers on it - read it here:  (The Circuit Administrator's Tale)  

And now for something completely different!

A true Thanksgiving-ish story: 

A few years back, I was walking on a trail in Lake Herman State Park here in South Dakota. Now that park has wild turkeys, deer, fox, coyotes owls, hawks, seagulls, pelicans, and once in a while some eagles, roaming free. And this day, the flock of wild turkeys was right there, in the middle of the trail, eating and gobbling. Well, I did a big loop around them, because I didn't want to disturb them. And I got back on the trail further up, and walked on.  Well, after a while, I realized there was this tremendous rushing sound behind me, almost like water. So I looked over my shoulder, and by God, there was the whole flock coming towards me. RUNNING towards me. So I stopped. And they all skidded to a stop around me.

So there they were: gobble-gobble-gobble. Hooking their necks and looking up sideways at me. Gobble-gobble-gobble. I mean, it was interesting, but I didn't have any corn with me or anything, so after a while I said, "Well, you caught me, now what are you going to do with me?" Gobble-gobble-gobble. And after a while, they finally got tired and went on. And so did I, chuckling away. But later, I thought, "I wonder if that's how a wooly mammoth felt, surrounded by humans in the Ice age?" and then, "If turkeys ever learn how to make and use tools, we're screwed." 

BTW, one of the ways we South Dakotans can tell a BSR is by the 4-way stop test.  There aren't a lot of traffic lights in most small towns around the state, because we (used to be) frugal, and low population, so what we have is a lot of 4-way stop corners. A South Dakotan knows to pull up to it, stop, and take turns, starting with whoever got there first or the person on the right. A BSR invariably just blows on through, leaving us all shaking our heads and muttering under our breath...