Jackley crashes Rapid City crackerbarrel

In another year, Marty Jackley slipping quietly into the back of the first Rapid City crackerbarrel of the legislative session might have prompted little more than some hearty handshakes and perhaps a few questions about obscure matters.

SD AG Marty Jackley at Rapid City crackerbarrel

South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley talks to New Underwood Superintendent Jeff Marlette and another man at the Rapid City crackerbarrel, held Jan. 18 at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.

This year, though, members of the crowd seemed to have one thing on their minds, or rather the conglomeration of things that has kept tongues wagging for several months – EB-5, Rich Benda’s death and Northern Beef Packers.

Just in the few moments it took to snap a few photos, I heard Jackley telling these folks that further investigation belongs under the Department of Legislative Audit, the latest agency to wade into the ongoing investigation(s).

“I don’t want the attorney general running economic development in South Dakota,” he said, which would suggest he would be glad to push as much of this mess off his plate as possible.


Dent-gate? Thune damages tuba

The email arrived with the subject line “Durable,” and we presume that means the tuba.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., played tuba at Jones County High School in Murdo, SD.

In the Harold Thune Auditorium in his hometown of Murdo, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., poses with the tuba he played – and dented – in high school.

In the auditorium named for his dad, Harold, in Murdo, Sen. John Thune visited an old friend late last week. Thune’s office is so far declining to release details of how the dent came to be. The accompanying statement arrived with the photo:

John Thune showing off the tuba he played in the 1970s at Jones County High School — taken in the rafters of the Harold Thune Auditorium in Murdo during tonight’s Jones County Invitational game between Jones and Lyman counties. ┬áThe tuba is still being used and still has the big dent that John put in it.

I never figured Thune for a tuba player, but now I really want to see some photographic evidence from the 1970s. Wouldn’t it be extra awesome if he wore American Hustle-style glasses?

And, oh yeah, inquiring minds need the rest of the dent story.

Thune gives Christie props on national TV

South Dakota’s own John Thune offered potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a few drops of the milk of human kindness on MSNBC’s Morning Joe today:

We all know that South Dakota’s junior senator, himself a potential 2016 national ticket candidate, is ever the gentlemen, polite to a fault. So it’s no surprise that he did not bash Christie over “Bridgegate.”

What’s more noteworthy, for those into nuance, is that he volunteered some rather positive remarks beyond a circumspect sentence or two, saying Christie is doing all the right things, that New Jerseyites appreciate the transparency. Thune even called Christie a true conservative.

Thune might be making a pass at Christie’s supporters, knowing they are likely to be looking for an alternative soon. He could be positioning himself as a non-Christie hater for the Garden State gov himself, should he still grasp the 2016 presidential nomination.

Perhaps he believes Christie is getting a bum rap – that would place him in a tiny minority.

Whatever it is – his unfailing good manners, angling ahead of 2016 or genuine sympathy – Sen. Thune planted a flag in some interesting ground.