Man Dies Trying to Disprove CSI  0

Posted on Thursday, 18 October 2007 at 02:03 AM. About South Dakota.

It astonishes me that I forgot to blog this when it happened. This is an article that I noticed in a newspaper at my parents' house while I was back home in August. I swear that is true.

Police: Provo man died trying to disprove 'CSI'
Gun accident prompted by TV show
Rapid City Journal, 4 August 2007

A Provo man fatally shot himself with a shotgun while trying to disprove a popular TV crime show, according to authorities.

Earl F. Ellwanger Jr., 55, accidentally shot himself in the stomach about 7 p.m. Tuesday and died of his wounds Thursday at Rapid City Regional Hospital.

Ellwanger saw a television episode of "CSI" in which investigators were trying to show that a woman couldn't have shot herself in the stomach, according to Fall River County Sheriff Jeff Tarrell.

"He decided to show that the program was incorrect and didn't realize the shotgun was loaded," Tarrell said.

Family members were present at Ellwanger's home in Provo when the accident occurred, the sheriff said.

Ellwanger was taken by ambulance to Minnekahta Junction where the ambulance was met by a Black Hills Life Flight aircraft, which flew him to Regional Hospital.

The Fall River County Sheriff's Office and Edgemont ambulance service responded.

* This is, in fact, the Provo in South Dakota; a tiny town in the middle of nowhere out west of Hot Springs. Utah is off the hook on this one.

Gold chains  1

Posted on Tuesday, 14 March 2006 at 03:03 AM. About South Dakota.

So I haven't written in a while. Sorry about that. There's really no excuse for it. I mean, so much good stuff has happened since the last time I talked to you! Here's an example, a follow-up on my last couple of posts. You might want to skim them quick if you missed them. With me? Okay.

So Governor Rounds signed that abortion bill after taking the weekend off to think about it. Came in on a Monday, held a big signing ceremony, all the media came and snapped photos, there was all sorts of rigamarole. I caught a couple of pictures from the Reuters wire and I thought, huh. Something's different about ol' Mikey boy today.

New gold watch there, guv?


There is some good stuff in my blogging queue, but I've been too busy with other things to deliver, my friends. Like tomorrow, I'm heading up to Sioux Falls to catch Atmosphere at the Oaks Hotel and hopefully have some tasty dinner with some nice USD folks. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes, of course. But the point is, there are things afoot! Be excited.

Conspiracy revealed  0

Posted on Sunday, 26 February 2006 at 04:49 PM. About South Dakota.

I was intar-web chatting with Jesse last night when a revelation struck me...

J: So how 'bout that abortion... alright!
R: I figure it's just a plot by Black Hills Gold to sell more wedding rings
R: but that's just me
J: haha
J: good call
R: Steve Kirby with the mysterious million dollar legal fund... hmm...
R: "Gosh, that sure is a nice gold medallion you have there, Representative Hunt!"

Wacky conspiracy theory  1

Posted on Friday, 24 February 2006 at 03:31 AM. About South Dakota.

We interrupt your regularly scheduled silence for a lengthy political rant. The occasion? A bill soon to be passed by the South Dakota legislature that would outlaw all abortions in South Dakota.

I always knew politics in South Dakota was--forgive the expression--a clusterfuck, but this time they really put it over the top. Nearly half of the members of the Senate and a good chunk of the House broke with their parties on the two votes thus far. (Here, I made a helpful spreadsheet.) Instead, the sides here seem to be the reservations plus most of the Rapid City and Sioux Falls delegations standing in opposition of House Bill 1215 against, well, everybody else really, save the stray Libertarian--Clarence Kooistra (R-Garretson) for example.

That's just a guess, though. You have people voting against the bill because it will be contested in the courts. You have people voting for the bill because it will be contested in the courts. You have Julie Barting (D-Burke), the chief Senate sponsor of the bill, claiming to be part of "a movement across this country [that] wishes to save and protect the life of the unborn." You have Roger Hunt (R-Brandon), the bill's author, claiming to have found a million bucks somewhere* to help pay state lawyers when they appeal the inevitable legal challenges bill to the Supreme Court. And finally you have House Bill 1222, the "intellectual diversity" bill, that was introduced on the same day as 1215 by twenty of the same sponsors, and that Board of Regents director Tad Perry has said "was designed by out-of-staters with a specific political philosophy."

I guess what I'm getting at is, it seems like to me that ever since the Daschle-Thune and Herseth-Diedrich races in 2004 funnelled millions of dollars from national Republican-affiliated organizations into South Dakota politics, our fair state is increasingly becoming a proving ground for conservative legislation that would be considered too far "out of the mainstream" in other places. 2004 being the year, coincidentally, that Mr. Hunt wrote an earlier version of his abortion ban bill that was killed by a gubernatorial style-and-form veto.

Call it an unforseen side effect of the campaign finance reform movement, perhaps. Soft money is moved out of states that have passed reform bills into places like South Dakota, where politics are still virtually unregulated. Perhaps the Democrats are similarly manipulating the legislature of, I don't know, Rhode Island or something. But it's a damn shame for those of us still living in South Dakota, our elected representatives held captive by nothing less than a gargantuan pile of money.

Almost makes me glad I moved.

Notifications  0

Posted on Saturday, 29 January 2005 at 04:36 AM. About South Dakota.

I'm a bit behind the ball with my usual news-type magazines, so I completely missed this interview with Bill Janklow, the former Governor of South Dakota, about my home state's role in the ubiquity of the credit card. A number of my relatives--and later, my friends--took jobs working for these 'financial services' companies, but I never questioned where the jobs came from or why they were in South Dakota instead of some place with better infrastructure, larger population and/or a greater base of support services. So maybe this is an old story to people my parents' age, but for me it explains a great deal.

Most interesting to me, then, are a couple of quotes from the interview. Citibank offered to move their credit card operations from New York to South Dakota in 1981 to take advantage of new legal rulings that would allow the corporation to turn around its unprofitable credit card division. When they opened negotiations with then-Governor Janklow, the state was in dire straits:

I lived in a state where the economy was, at that time, dead. I was governor of South Dakota at the only time in this state's history when the economy shrunk from one year to the next. It actually was smaller in one year in the early '80s than the year before. Our sales-tax collections actually took in less total money one year than the previous year. That's how bad our economy was in South Dakota. I was desperately looking for an opportunity for jobs for South Dakotans. To me, this wasn't a credit card deal; it was a jobs deal. It was an economic opportunity for the state.

So the political and banking leaders of the state got together and capitalized on the opportunity. Within weeks, the necessary legislation was created and passed and soon thousands of jobs were created, and millions of dollars poured into South Dakota. Soon other states moved to follow South Dakota's example.

But if they'd have waited just five or six more months, we'd have had 20,000 more jobs in this state. We would have had to import workers. Seriously, we would have had to import workers. [South] Dakotans would have come home.
See, one of the things that always haunted me -- you have to understand where I'm from. I'm from a remote, rural, Midwestern/Western state. Citibank, the second year they were in operation, had 24,000 applications for work on file. Twelve thousand of them were former South Dakotans that live out there in the universe someplace who wanted to come home.

Some of them got the chance, but not that many. And in the intervening years, investment in the state dried up again and, well, here we are, exporting talented, educated young people in droves. Shoot, I left. Most of my friends from high school moved away and have no hope of returning. With the exception of some promising small-business growth in Sioux Falls, South Dakota is slipping back to where it was in 1980, except this time there's no hope of another deus ex machina to bail us out. What happens next?

Anyway, the rest of the program--titled "The Secret History of the Credit Card"--is an interesting overview of the state of our consumer debt, and the Janklow interview is of particular interest to my fellow South Dakotans. I can say that even without taking a snide pot-shot at ol' Wild Bill; it was that good.


OK for now. January was pretty gonzo, but February should be better. Will continue to work on the site in my spare time, an hour or two here and there. Stay tuned!

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