Sep. 1st, 2003

sisyphusshrugged: (Default)
I love Google News.

Jennifer Walters and her family were headed to grandmother's house for a holiday dinner in December when they heard the squeal of tires behind them at a rural South Dakota intersection. When she turned, she said, she saw a white Cadillac trying to stop after running a stop sign.

"A split-second difference and the Cadillac would have hit us," Walters, 30, of Trent said recently. "That's how fast the car came through."

Walters, who was riding in a pickup truck with her husband and two sons, said she called Moody County authorities to report the driver and describe the make and color of the car.

Within the hour, she said, a dispatcher called her back to say an officer had stopped the car and identified its driver -- South Dakota Gov. and U.S. Rep.-elect William Janklow.

Walters' close encounter with the Cadillac occurred at the same intersection where Janklow allegedly ran a stop sign two weeks ago and collided with a Minnesota motorcyclist, who died...

How did local authorities respond?

Walters said the dispatcher who called her back that day never told her whether the Cadillac was speeding when the driver was stopped. But Walters said that when she asked the dispatcher why the driver ran the stop sign, the dispatcher "chuckled under her breath and said, 'It was Governor Janklow.' "

Over the years, Janklow developed a penchant for speeding and joked about it in one State of the State address and made reference to it in another.

His driving record shows numerous citations from the early 1990s, when he was ticketed 12 times for speeding and paid more than $1,000 in fines. In several cases, he was stopped for driving 15 to 20 miles per hour faster than the posted speed limits and once was caught going 90 mph in a 65-mph zone.

However, the records also show he hasn't received a ticket for speeding since October 1994, just before he was elected to his third term as governor...

Oddly, not all South Dakotans were treated to this relaxed a view of criminal justice during Janklow's reign:

On a muggy July morning, 14-year-old Gina Score collapsed during a forced run at South Dakota's boot camp for girls.

She lay on the ground for three hours before dying of heatstroke...

Two days into the program, the 5-foot-4, 226-pound girl joined other girls on a 2.7-mile required run.

She collapsed near the end, and staff members left her on the ground because they thought she was faking. A nurse at the scene later said she didn't recognize the girl's symptoms as heat exhaustion.

Investigators said the temperature had reached 77 degrees in 81 percent humidity by the time an ambulance was called. Score's temperature reached at least 108 degrees, the maximum a thermometer could record.


Score's parents have also filed a lawsuit, set to go to trial early next year. Lawsuit documents quote state Attorney General Mark Barnett as saying the state was responsible for the girl's death because of the way the boot camp staff treated her.

"We killed her," he said.

Gov. Bill Janklow, who credits three years in the U.S. Marines with turning his life around, called five years ago for boot camps as a way to teach teen-age offenders the discipline and other skills needed to set them straight.

What did the little desperado do?

Score was sent to the camp in July 1999 after stealing a bike, skipping school and shoplifting.

Which, I suppose, calls for more than an indulgent chuckle, even if it wasn't a thirteenth offense.


Sep. 1st, 2003 11:38 am
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Franken Retorts, You Decide

Why didn't I think of that two weeks ago?

Oh, right.

Hey. Anyone who's going to the thing with the people, check your e-mail.


Sep. 1st, 2003 09:34 pm
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As I watched the commotion over the Ten Commandments at the Alabama Supreme Court last week, the thought that kept running through my mind was this: What if Judge Moore had insisted on placing a large statue of the Buddha in the lobby, or perhaps a tribute to Mohammed, the founder of Islam? That's not so far-fetched, you know. There are more Muslims in America than Episcopalians and a sizeable Buddhist population, too. It's not inconceivable that one day a Muslim will be elected to a U.S. court. Would Judge Moore's supporters expect a Muslim-American judge to keep his religion a personal matter or would they want him to use his position to promote Islam?

I don't question their sincerity or their piety, but I hope they've begun to think about that, because Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, has been the guiding light now for millions of our citizens.

Someone once said that any religion that needs the help of the state is not a very powerful religion. To suggest that these great religions, which have survived for thousands of years, somehow need or require the state government of Alabama to promote them is not only questionable, it borders on the blasphemous.

The true place of honor for the Ten Commandments is not a state courthouse, but the churches and synagogues of America. An even better place is deep inside our hearts. To place them otherwise is not to honor, but to trivialize them.


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