Thursday, September 30, 2010

Should reservations consider secession from the States in which they reside?

This post is being resurrected (rezurrected?) after reading Bob Mercer's story in the Pierre Capital Journal:
The 2010 NCLB results show 80 percent of white students and 50 percent of Native American students were advanced or proficient. In 2005, there were 85 percent white students and 59 percent Native American students who were advanced or proficient. State board member Stacy Phelps of Rapid City, who has worked for two decades in tribal education efforts, said the lessons from the successful places need to be shared with other schools. He said local school board members should be shown what they can do, especially in situations where the board members tend to be white and the populations of Indians students are growing rapidly. “They would make changes, but they don't know,” Phelps said. State education deputy secretary, Melody Schopp: “Things are not working in Indian country,” she said. “We're open and ready for change, but it has to come from outside (the department), not from within.”
Maybe it's time to consider a radical alternative to reservations land-locked within South Dakota, Montana, and other States. Political manifestations on tribal lands are becoming more organized as frustrations mount with legislative bodies paralyzed by entrenched racism and dwindling federal appropriations to State and local governments.

While the Palestinian homeland looks like holes in the slice of Swiss cheese analogous to the illegal Israeli state, progress toward resolutions of Native trust disputes would have far more political traction after tribes secede from the States in which they reside and then be ratified to form one State sans contiguous borders with two Senators and a House member.

Revolutionary? ip says, "Hell yeah!"

Republican Dennis Daugaard is just one more example of the Rounds administration's failure to thrive.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Poll sez TEA movement will accelerate the death of the GOP

Yep. Well over half of ip readers believe that the lunatic fringe is throwing gasoline on the fire already burning in the Big Tent.

This bodes well for Democrats likely to benefit from the schism rattling the Republican Party. In Minnesota, Democrat Mark Dayton is one beneficiary of a nut-jobbery wringing the hands of moderate Republicans.

In South Dakota, Democratic At-large Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has opened a commanding lead over TEA-stained Republican Kristi Noem, who recently "netted the nut nod" from a far-right gun group while the NRA endorsed the Democrat.

Montana's own Inebriate At-large, Denny Rehberg, rabidly courting the Xe wing of the Republican Party, holds a morbidly obese fund-raising advantage over Democratic challenger Dennis McDonald.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Arabic. Not Blackfeet or Crow?

The Missoulian reports that rudimentary Arabic is being offered to Hellgate High students. Sure. That's cool.

But, why not Crow, Blackfeet, Assiniboine and the other tongues native to Montana? ip has hammered on the absence of Lakota in South Dakota high schools and on language equivalents for geographical features on SDDoT highway maps.

Kayla Gahagan:

For public schools, simply meeting No Child Left Behind requirements absorbs resources, and with a majority of the day devoted to math and reading, there is little time for Lakota, said Mike Carlow, director of the Tusweca Tiospaye, an organization dedicated to revitalizing the language.  But learning the Lakota language and mastering other subjects does not have to be mutually exclusive, said Nicky Belle, project coordinator for the Lakota language program at Red Cloud.  "It's not learning Lakota language and culture to the detriment of everything else," he said.  Success in a second language often translates into overall academic success, experts say, and educators don't have to separate the two.  Red Cloud Indian School language teacher Philomine Lakota said the desire to learn the language can't be tied directly to success in school anyway, or it won't be reason enough for students to learn it.  "It goes beyond college and how much you earn," she said. "The greater world is going to hold you to who you are."  Darrell Kipp, founder of the Piegan Institute on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in northwest Montana, is convinced there is only one way to save a language: immersion.  The Blackfeet language stood on the verge of extinction in 1985. It prompted Kipp and several others to found the institute and start an immersion school, modeled after successful programs of the Aha Punanoe Leo in Hawaii, which have produced more than 1,000 fluent speakers in the past 25 years.  The Blackfeet program is much more humble, Kipp said, but serves as a model for many of the tribes in the western half of the United States. At least a handful of tribal members visit every month to observe the program, he said.
South Dakota high schools barely offer German, Norwegian, Danish, the languages of its own immigrant population. My sister teaches high school Spanish, now hugely important to families moving to and employed in, Brookings County. But, Lakota is offered in reservation schools only.

What's up with that?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

US Department of Justice v. Marty Jackley?

From The Buffalo Post:

On Sundays, Buffalo Post features a column by Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, who is the editor and publisher of Native Sun News. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard with the Class of 1990. His weekly column won the H. L. Mencken Award in 1985. His book Children Left Behind was awarded the Bronze Medal by Independent Book Publishers. He was the first Native American ever inducted into the South Dakota Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2007. He can be reached at editor@nsweekly.com

Tim Giago:

There are disparities in the system of justice in South Dakota that can only be found in other states with large Native American populations.

The incarceration ratio for Native Americans in South Dakota is far out of proportion with the total state population. The main prisons in the state are top heavy with Native Americans. The prison in Sioux Falls reportedly houses a population that is 33 percent Native American. Since the total state population of Indians is about 10 percent, the number of Native Americans that are incarcerated should raise some concerns within the judiciary in this state. It does not.

Native Americans are faced with a system of justice that is usually not applicable to South Dakota’s white citizens. Crimes committed on the state’s nine Indian reservations are considered to be federal crimes and sentencing for the crimes is set by federal guidelines with little freedom allowed to the judges to make individual assessments. But to South Dakota’s Native Americans it really doesn’t matter whether they are tried in city, county, state or federal court; it just seems that the sentences they receive are much more severe than those imposed on the white population.

The entire system of justice in South Dakota needs to be re-examined. Justice for Indians and whites needs parity. If it takes a special course in sensitivity training for every judge in this state, so be it. The justice system in South Dakota and in other states with large Native populations must stop destroying the lives of young Native Americans.


As he runs for reelection, it is certainly no secret that Attorney General Marty Jackley is an apparatchik of the South Dakota Republican Party as he ignores flagrant Koch Industries' instances of ecoterrorism so it comes as no surprise that he is a racist, too.

Since 2010 campaign donor lists are not yet available, the 2009 list remains the only public identification of his puppetmasters:

Monsanto, GlaxoSmithKline, Burlington Northern Santa Fe, banker Jeff Erickson of Sioux Falls and former U.S. attorney, former U.S. Senate chief of staff and railroader, Kevin Schieffer of Sioux Falls, greased Jackley's machinery. Yet to weigh in this cycle is Koch dupe and fellow attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli of Virginia whose political bedfellow, 2009 PAC man, Bill Mims gave swarthy Marty a thousand Simoleons.

----------------------------------------------------------
More grist for the mill from the Rapid City Journal:

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed suit seeking information in the coerced use of Pitocin to induce labor within the IHS/Eagle Butte facilities on the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation:

Many women report that they are being told to forgo natural labor and delivery, and instead accept medication to induce labor, either on or before their due dates, at a time selected exclusively by their doctor. They are given little or no counseling — indeed, many women say that the first time their doctor spoke to them about induction of labor was on the day they were induced. One young woman told us that shortly after learning she was to be induced, she asked her doctor to wait just one day so that her mother could be with her during the birth of her first child. Her doctor refused.

No word yet from SDDoJ.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Montana woman wields zucchini against marauding bear

This is too funny not to post on a Friday. When this story aired on Yellowstone Public Radio this morning it made coffee come out my nose.

From the Missoulian:

"A woman in the Huson area warded off a charging black bear with a garden fresh zucchini early Thursday after the 200-pound bruin attacked her dog and swiped at the woman's leg.

The woman reported the bear had its head and one paw through the threshold of her back door when she threw the squash at it. She threw the vegetable at the bear's head and the animal retreated, running back up the the hill and into the darkness.

The bear had not been located as of Thursday afternoon, though wildlife officials were setting a trap in an attempt to catch the animal..."


A zucchini is, of course, not a vegetable at all, but a fruit.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Connect the dots

Remove the predators, expect pine beetle outbreaks!

150 years ago Populus tremuloides was the predominant deciduous tree species on the Black Hills and the Rocky Mountain Complex. Aspen, the most widely distributed deciduous tree species on Earth, is critical to the survival of the Black Hills’ unique ecotones.

Beaver communities rely on aspen to slow runoff and store water supplies. Paha Sapa ("hills that are black" may have been a reference to burnt timber instead of the accepted, "seen from a distance") hasn’t been a natural forest since 1863 when a nearly Hills-wide fire (possibly set by humans hoping to clear pine), opened grazing for distinct historic ungulates. Aspen shoots are favorite browse for elk and bison. Brown and Sieg have noted at least 77 instances of human-induced wildfire on the pre-settlement Hills.

From the Missoulian:
"Researcher Christina Eisenberg’s work shows that before wolves were killed out, about one in every six aspen trees grew to reach the canopy. When wolves were absent, perhaps one in 300 made it. Aspen ecosystems are considered some of the finest and richest songbird habitat on the continent, second only to river-bottom riparian zones. Remove the wolf, and you remove the songbirds. Remove the songbirds, and the bugs move in. Everything changes, top to bottom, right down to the dirt."
Dr. John Laundre’ from the blog of the Cougar Rewilding Foundation:
“Though one can reduce the number of less than 3 month old kittens orphaned by changing the season dates and trying to find those that are, there still will be small spotted kittens left out in the woods to starve to death. The public needs to know this. Also, by the calculations presented, 40 % of the females killed will have kittens between 3 months and 1 year old. Though there is a 71% survival rate (again one value from one study), this still means that out of the 20 females with these age kittens, 17 died of starvation and over 40 survived uneducated! These become the trouble makers, the ones who will go to human inhabited areas and eat pets or domestic stock, or attack people. Are we not exacerbating the dilemma of problem cougars (which some then use as an excuse to kill more)? I think that there can be an acceptable level of orphaning but the current management plan does not achieve it. Lastly, I would like to observe that many of the management strategies proposed here, if applied to ungulates, would be considered biologically unacceptable. For example, would the Department (SDGFP) propose that out of a bighorn sheep population of 160 adult (huntable animals), hunters could kill 40 of them, including females?? Would the Department allow the killing of does with spotted fawns? For that matter, would current game laws permit hunters to shoot deer, take their head and hide and leave the meat in the forest? I think these issues need to be addressed and the public be made aware of them if the all the public is to make sound decisions on the management of mountain lions.”


Mycologists report disruption in the fungal communities associated with aspen: the oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus, v. populinus, is in steep decline. The saprophytic mushrooms often associated with human consumption are the most important bioremediators of toxins presenting on the Forest. Morels fruit after fires in mixed pine/aspen habitat to entice animals to deposit organic material; bison and elk will crawl on their knees and loll their long tongues for morels growing under dead-fallen pine trees. The suppression of fire threatens that relationship, too.


The Forest Service manages about 1.25 million acres in the Hills, most of the other 5.5 million acres of the Black Hills hydrologic region are privately held lands whose owners largely blame forest failures on Federal or State mismanagement. Ponderosa pine draws water from deep sources in ore-bearing formations and transpires both water vapor and heavy metal oxides downwind, aspen stores more surface water. Pine needles absorb heat and shed snowmelt, aspen leaves reflect sunlight in summer and hold snowpacks.

There are signs of accidental success: the Grizzly Gulch Fire outside of Deadwood has yielded a very encouraging, very visible pine to aspen forestlands transition. Mount Rushmore and the Park Service have seen the data; they have the opportunity to lead by reducing pine stands, reintroducing fire, and saving their own aspen.


Connect the dots.


From the Rapid City Journal:“From a socio-economic perspective, the existence of so much private land has caused forest managers to fear fire, prompting even greater fire suppression and more commercial logging and thinning for fuels reduction and breaks. While this may make landowners feel more secure, these activities have not and will not maintain the natural processes that regulate the health and the vitality of this ponderosa pine forest. Unquestionably, private development has also contributed to the cultural loss and impoverishment of the Lakota Nation who claim the Black Hills under treaties broken by the U.S. Government.”
From Wildfire Today:“Across western North America, from Mexico to Alaska, forest die-off is occurring on an extraordinary scale, unprecedented in at least the last century-and-a-half — and perhaps much longer. All told, the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the United States have seen nearly 70,000 square miles of forest — an area the size of Washington state — die since 2000.”
From the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station:"Aspen could disappear from the North American continent by 2090."

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The neighbors: Montana patriots making history

From Mariss McTucker and Lively Times:

Basin resident and beloved jazz maven MJ Williams, she of the be-bop vocal bent and stellar trombone licks, spends time in France each year, performing at clubs for jazz-crazy Europeans. As the recipient of a grant from Helena’s Myrna Loy Center, she was able to record this mostly instrumental CD of original music with friends who are world-renowned jazz pros and composers in their own right.

The album features Williams on voice and trombone, Amy Gamlen, saxophones; Jobic LeMasson, piano; Peter Giron, bass; and John Betsch, drums – masters of the jazz vocabulary, all. It was recorded April 11-12, 2009, at Bopcity in Paris; engineered by Max Jesiom and mixed and mastered by Ken Nelson at Cottage Recording in Helena.

The album starts off with a bossa nova beat on Williams’s “In the World Again.” It crackles and dances, with Williams in fine voice. She sings scat, while Gamlen too-wees on sax; piano and percussion bubble underneath.

“Really,” by Gamlen, finds Williams and Gamlen trading honking lead lines; the lazy “Shop Girl in Green,” by Williams, starts with unison trombone and sax, segueing into a sleepy bass solo from Giron; and LeMasson’s “Sides” is bluesy, ominous and a bit crawly. Trombone and sax tiptoe around the blues beat, piano roiling below.

Gamlen wails on her pretty, moody “Zebra Drive,” and “Airport Tango” trots out some cool drums from Giron while the ladies interweave nice melodic lines on their instruments. It’s nice to hear Williams play the trombone again.

There’s ensemble improv work on “Two Views/No Secrets,” where Giron gets a bass solo, and Williams doop-dee-wee-woes some scat. The album ends with Gamlen’s “For Nothing Else,” with lyrics from a Robert Creeley poem. Williams sounds younger, her voice vibrant. She doesn’t sing much on this mostly instrumental effort and her vocal interludes set off the compilation nicely.

One recognizes the intimate friendships here, showcased by the effortless communication each player brings to the music. On the liner notes, Williams speaks of “indescribable synaptic magic that can occur between lovers of music everywhere.” There’ll definitely be some neurons firing when you listen to this CD.


And that ain't all at a time when the Republican party is struggling with its identity:

HELENA, MT — Seven committed same-sex couples have filed a lawsuit against the state of Montana for failing to provide legal protections to same-sex couples and their families in violation of the Montana Constitution's rights of privacy, dignity and the pursuit of life's basic necessities and its guarantees of equal protection and due process. The goal of this lawsuit is ensure that same-sex couples are able to protect their families with the same kind of legal protections that opposite-sex couples are offered through marriage.

Plaintiffs in the case Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana are Mary Anne Guggenheim and Jan Donaldson of Helena, Stacey Haugland and Mary Leslie of Bozeman, Mike Long and Rich Parker of Bozeman, MJ Williams and Nancy Owens of Basin, Rick Wagner and Gary Stallings of Butte, Denise Boettcher and Kellie Gibson of Laurel, and Casey Charles and David Wilson of Missoula.


From the Bozeman Chronicle:

Bozeman Mayor Jeff Krauss wants his city to set an example for other cities across Montana by being the first to pass a resolution supporting the seven same-sex couples suing the state for the same rights as married couples.

"These couples are really walking out on a limb to put their faces forward, to put their stories forward, and I think they deserve the support," Krauss told the Chronicle.


Krauss is a Republican.

As MJ told us over cocktails last night, "It's time to butch up!"



Friday, September 17, 2010

Syngenta implicated in terracide

From the NRDC Switchboard:

Jennifer Sass:
So, what are the independent white-coats saying? You can view EPA's powerpoint presentation by staff epidemiologist Dr. Carol Christensen in the docket. Here is my pick of the highlights:

Women’s reproductive health:

Atrazine exposure was associated with delayed timing of menopause (Farr 2006), and with a 2-fold increased risk of gestational diabetes among women who had direct exposure to atrazine during pregnancy. (Saldena 2007)

EPA Conclusions: "The data support the hypothesis that atrazine may affect hormonal milieu, and possibly reproductive health outcomes."

Mens reproductive health:

Men with detectable atrazine in their urine were 11-times more likely to have poor semen quality than men without atrazine (95% CI 1.3-98.9). (Swan 2003)

EPA Conclusions: "Suggestive of possible association, replication needed."
Fetal and infant outcomes:

Abdominal wall defects in infants was correlated with surface water atrazine contamination (Mattix 2007). Gastroschisis (a specific abdominal wall defect) was elevated in infants of mothers residing in areas of high surface and groundwater atrazine levels (Waller 2010). Birth defects were associated with conception during spring atrazine use (Winchester 2009). Infant limb abnormalities and abdominal cavity defects were more common in infants born to mothers residing closer to corn and soybean fields (Ochoa-Acuna, 2009)

EPA Conclusions: The studies have some major uncertainties, but taken together they suggest atrazine "may play a role in developmental effects".

EPA also reported a “possible association” between atrazine exposure during fetal development and low birth weight. (Villanueva 2005; Savitz 1997; Ochoa-Acuna 2009; Munger 1997)

Although EPA backed away from concluding that atrazine was the cause of the health and development abnormalities above, it did declare that there was “an association” between atrazine exposure and the effects. EPA also pointed out that similar effects occurred in laboratory animal studies with atrazine, thus strengthening the scientific confidence in the epidemiology.

People, don't drink the atrazine-Kool Aid! It's "associated" with some seriously unwanted effects, especially if exposure is during early developmental life stages.

EPA updates its atrazine activities here. Next step is another review of the human impacts (epidemiology) sometime in the first half of 2011. When is EPA going to assert its "P" and actually take this stuff off the shelves?!


Think South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley hasn't seen this data?
There is a crappy little Syngenta pole-shed/office just east of Brookings on US14 just waiting for that rogue asteroid to erase from the face of Turtle Island.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Basin hosts Native artists

From the Missoula Independent:

Skylar Browning:

I had the privilege of spending last weekend in Basin, Mont., at the American Indian Artists Symposium, hosted by the Montana Artists Refuge. I wrote about the Montana Artists Refuge (MAR) for the Indy in 2007, and later served on the organization's board. I say that in the interest of full disclosure, but should add that I knew almost nothing about last weekend's event before I arrived for the opening reception. That's because it's organized by Native artists, for Native artists, to discuss the past, present and future of Native art.

The two-day event, which was entirely free (meals, too) and open to the public, included an A-list lineup of regional talent, including poet Vic Charlo, painter Jeneese Hilton, printmaker Corky Clairmont and multimedia performer Bently Spang, as well as prominent artists from Washington (Joe Feddersen), Colorado (C. Maxx Stevens), California (Emmanuel Catarino Montoya) and New York (Kaye WalkingStick). Discussions covered topics like, "Post-Indian: Is 'Identity Art' Over?" and "Reclaiming Identity and the Future of Native Art," and Saturday evening was filled with poetry reading and an open mic.

For those unfamiliar with the featured artists, their work appears in museums and galleries across the nation. Hilton has shown at the Missoula Art Museum, as has Spang and Feddersen. Spang made a splash with his interactive Techno Powwow, which he honed at an American Indian Artists Symposium years ago. WalkingStick is a professor emerita at Cornell University, and her work can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Big Apple, as well as in 35 other museums around the country. All of which is to say, it was an impressive collection of talent to be found in tiny Basin, a sleepy mining community nestled comfortably in the middle of nowhere.

It's also a nice preamble to the fact that a young artist managed to temporarily steal the spotlight from her more established peers. Ryan Elizabeth Feddersen, Joe's daughter, graduated from Cornish College last year and is quickly making a name for herself in the Pacific Northwest. During a short presentation Saturday night, Ryan showed examples of her recent installation projects, including the coolest coloring book you've ever seen.

In "A Little Color in the White House," Ryan basically recreated a White House dining room by wall-papering the 500-square-foot space on three sides with white paper. On the paper, she outlined in black Sharpie the fireplace, the molding, an Abe Lincoln portrait, etc.

Then, on a table in the middle of the room, Ryan outlined place settings. The food at the center of the table, however, offered the installation's only color: a big hunk of ham, a plate of oysters, some veggies, etc., all of which is three dimensional, as you see here:

And here's the catch: That food is actually crayons.

That means you're invited to pick up that hunk of ham and use it to color Abe's foot. Or grab a green bean and color the windowsill.

Ryan's exhibit was a hit, and she was later commissioned to create a similar installation for a benefit dinner for Seattle's Henry Art Gallery.

Even with the immense talent on hand in Basin, Ryan's work stood out. She's worth keeping an eye on as her career — and the future of American Indian art — continues to evolve.


We hosted C. Maxx Stevens from the University of Colorado and the goddesses from Lame Deer who fried all the 200 pieces of wojape (Wo zha pee) in Joani's kitchen.

Anyone know the author of these quotes? Part1 (Hint: It's not Bob Ellis)

All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.

All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.

Any alliance whose purpose is not the intention to wage war is senseless and useless.

Anyone who sees and paints a sky green and fields blue ought to be sterilized.

As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice.

As soon as by one's own propaganda even a glimpse of right on the other side is admitted, the cause for doubting one's own right is laid.

By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.

Demoralize the enemy from within by surprise, terror, sabotage, assassination. This is the war of the future.

Generals think war should be waged like the tourneys of the Middle Ages. I have no use for knights; I need revolutionaries.

Great liars are also great magicians.

Hate is more lasting than dislike.

He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.

How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think.

Humanitarianism is the expression of stupidity and cowardice.

I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.

I do not see why man should not be just as cruel as nature.

I go the way that Providence dictates with the assurance of a sleepwalker.

I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.

If today I stand here as a revolutionary, it is as a revolutionary against the Revolution.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Self-taught archaeologist has life's work impounded

UPDATE:

PIERRE-- A Fort Pierre man who pleaded guilty in federal court to trafficking in archaeological resources has been sentenced to eight months in federal prison.

KCCR says 61-year-old Scott Matteson will be on supervised release for three years following his prison term.

Matteson was accused of illegally taking and trading American Indian artifacts and old military items dug up on public land and Indian land along the Missouri River.

Court documents say the items ranged from stone tools to cannon balls.



From the Rapid City Journal:

Sentencing is scheduled Sept. 13 for a Fort Pierre man who pleaded guilty in federal court to trafficking in archaeological resources.

Sixty-one-year-old Scott Matteson faces a maximum prison sentence of five years.

He was among five men charged in a federal indictment with illegal taking and trading of American Indian artifacts and old military items dug up on public land and Indian land along the Missouri River. The other four defendants also pleaded guilty in plea agreements with prosecutors.


I've known Roy the Boy (that's what Kris called him when she introduced us in the old house in Brookings) for thirtysome years. He's a Peckerville boy. His dad gave him a collection of pre-settlement artifacts, some from long before the Archaic Period. Stone hammers, atlatl points, some arrowheads, all of which collected within the provisions of the Antiquities Act. It stoked a great curiosity in Roy.

He walked countless cornfields and pastures with permission throughout South Dakota and the United States. His collection swelled and his archaeological knowledge grew vast enough to consider becoming a doctoral candidate; an authority on the anthropology of the Clovis People he believes that the history of humans in the New World is far older than many university-trained scientists do.

Then he traded for some artifacts not knowing that they had been gathered on public ground by a person being watched by Federal officers. Roy's life's work has been impounded and may never be seen by human eyes again. He has never made a dime from it and if he fights his charges in Federal court, he will lose his opus to lawyers anyway. So he copped a plea.

Montanans pit Dennis against...Dennis, Part 2

From Left in the West:

I haven't seen polling on this yet, but as things stand now, the odds seem to be against Dennis McDonald defeating Denny Rehberg in November. The biggest thing going against McDonald is how much less money he has than Rehberg. According to OpenSecret.org, Rehberg has raised well over a million dollars in this campaign cycle (a large part of it from large corporations) while McDonald has raised less than $200,000. Rehberg still has over $600,000 to spend on his campaign while McDonald has only $18,000 left. As the race tightens, look for Rehberg to try to bury McDonald under a deluge of negative TV ads.

In Rehberg's Bozeman debate with McDonald, where McDonald skillfully took him apart over his voting record (consistently voting against working-class people and for large corporations and the wealthy), Rehberg looked quite weak. He had no real defense for his record. Instead he retreated to vague slogans like "Stand up for America."

Rehberg is pinning his hopes on low-information voters, especially older people. He's not even trying to reach younger, better-educated voters. I gather, from watching the Bozeman debate, that his strategy is to attack President Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, though he never explains why they deserve to be attacked. All he knows, or all his handlers know, is that uninformed voters have been conditioned by Glenn Beck and other right-wing charlatans to react negatively to the words "Obama" and "Pelosi."

Speaking of right-wing charlatans, do people know that in July Rehberg joined, along with thirty-nine other extremist members of congress, Michele Bachmann's Tea Party Caucus? Bachmann (R-MN), some will recall, has urged people to protest Obama's nonexistent reeducation camps for young people. She want to investigate "un-American" members of congress, and she's dead-set against the census and incandescent light bulbs, both of which she considers government plots.

But Rehberg, by so enthusiastically joining this crazy woman's caucus, has shown he's okay with her delusions. Or, if he knows they're delusions, he thinks he can use them to manipulate gullible people.

The only reality-based Montanan running for congress this year is Dennis McDonald. Too bad he doesn't have more money. Voters shouldn't let vague and delusional thinking win the day just because it has strong corporate backing.


Montana's often-errant, ED med-aided-At-large member of the US House of Representatives is well fed, generously-oiled Republican, Dennis Rehberg. Last summer his plastered host beached a boat at 30 knots, fellow inebriate Rehberg aboard, nearly killing at least one in the party.






Dennis McDonald is a still-recovering refugee from a big city law practice now running cattle and developing on his experiences after herding Democrats as party chair. He has been a generous visitor to Jefferson County, to the Basin Community Hall at least twice, and listened politely as ip ranted on Sudden Aspen Death and the Final Solution to pine infestation. His platform reflects Montana's frustration with its collapsed forests.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Smoking Gun?

From Minnesota Public Radio:

Louis Guillette and Deborah Swackhamer are doing research on endocrine disruptors and their impact on alligators and raise new awareness of environmental pollutants in our water. They argue that the impact of their work, and the research being done by scientists in Minnesota, goes beyond the animal world.

Guillette has served as a science adviser to many U.S. and foreign agencies and has testified before Congress about environmental health issues. He recently joined the faculty of the Medical University of South Carolina as professor of obstetrics and gynecology after 25 years at the University of Florida. At Florida, he studied a number of animal species – especially alligators – in ecosystems contaminated by agricultural and industrial chemicals. Many of those chemicals have been found to be endocrine-disrupting compounds that interfere with the animals’ hormone systems.


In field studies Guillette found evidence of infertility and birth defects involving both the male and female sex organs of alligators. In laboratory experiments, Guillette and researchers working with him exposed alligator eggs to the same chemicals and found the same abnormalities in hatchlings. His growing body of research shows chemicals—including trace amounts often found in lakes and rivers—cause birth defects in both animals and humans.

The United States has become a nation of "pharmers." Be very afraid.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Justice Breyer: US Constitution is living document

NPR's legal affairs goddess, Nina Totenberg interviewed Justice Stephen Breyer on background for his new book, "Making Our Democracy Work, A Judge’s View:"
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has sparred for years with Justice Antonin Scalia on the printed pages of legal opinions. The two have even debated about constitutional interpretation in public. And now Justice Breyer has taken his argument to the printed pages of a book written for popular consumption.
In his first interview about the new book, Breyer's targets are the ideas of originalism and textualism advocated by Scalia — the notion that the framers of the Constitution meant what they said and no more — and that the provisions of the Constitution are limited to what they covered back in 1789.
Scalia’s view is much more black and white. “The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living, but dead,” he famously said. Scalia contends that the Constitution is not flexible and its meaning cannot change over time. To allow the Constitution's meaning to morph over time, he contends, just allows judges to say it means whatever they want it to say.
Not so, Breyer says.
“People think we decide things politically,” Breyer says, “or that the only way to protect against subjective views of judges is to have something called originalism, which is as if you could reach decisions by means of an historical computer. I don't think any of those things are true.”
The history chapters cover some of the court's most famous and infamous decisions: The court’s 1831 decision telling white Georgians that they could not simply kick the Cherokee Indians off land that was theirs by treaty with the U.S. government, and President Andrew Jackson’s action to not only disregard the decision but countermand it; the Dred Scott case, which upheld the constitutionality of slavery; the Little Rock school desegregation case in which the court's desegregation orders were enforced by federal troops; and the court's 1944 decision upholding the internment, in barb-wired camps, of all individuals of Japanese descent living on the West Coast — 120,000 people, 70,000 of whom were U.S. citizens.
Breyer, 72, was nominated to the court by President Clinton in 1994. He’s now fifth among the nine justices in length of service. He finds himself in dissent more and more these days on a court that is dominated by a new brand of conservative. But he is undaunted.
Here is the Fresh Air interview with Justice Breyer.

It seems important to add that Justice Scalia is the longest serving member of the Court, that he resides in McLean, Virginia, and is a devout, traditionalist Catholic uncomfortable with the changes in the Church caused by Vatican II. Scalia prefers the Latin Mass and has driven long distances to parishes which he felt were more in accord with his beliefs.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Colorado restoring aspen habitat the hard way

From Inciweb:

UPDATE 9/13/2010

Reservoir Road Fire
--------------------------------------------
UPDATE 9/11/2010:

Any surface fire activity will be moderate in the grass fuel models. Potential exists for moderate terrain driven surface fire through under story fuels and grasses. Where fuels, topography and dirunal flow align, the potential for sustained surface runs exists. Single and group tree torching with spotting is possible under forecasted conditions.

A Red Flag warning has been issued for the fire area. The warning is due to anticipated lower humidity and high winds and is expected to impact the fire area around 3:00 pm. Winds are expected to increase to 25-30 mph with gusts to 50 mph.
In light of the forecasted weather, residents in Boulder Heights, Carriage Hills, Pine Brook Hills subdivisions and surrounding areas who were allowed back into their homes this morning will be required to leave their homes by 2:00 pm in advance of the wind event.

20 subdivisions west of Boulder have been evacuated and 3 major County Roads closed. Residents in Boulder Heights, Carriage Hills, and Pine Brook Hills subdivisions will be allowed in to their homes today from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm to take care of needs they may have.


This is how not being proactive will restore historic clonal aspen forests to the urban/wildland interface.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

IM13 moves forward in South Dakota blogosphere

He may be a cannaphobe, but Pat Powers is no dumbass and knows how to bait his readership with spectacular, outrageous posts. After a week of lackluster hit counts at South Dakota War College in the wake of ip's prolonged walk-out he has not only managed to lure me in, he has Bob Newland at the Decorum Forum in a creamy, steamy froth.

Thank you to all that are getting the facts to readers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Freudenthal lame ducks Halliburton

From New West:
"In June, the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission unanimously ruled that ingredients would be reported to the commission – at the insistence of Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal, a member of that body. At the time, it was unclear how that would work and whether ingredients would be public. 
In a phone interview with New West, Freudenthal said he’d pushed a straightforward argument –that the actual formula or recipe for fracking fluid could remain a commercial secret, but that the ingredients had to be revealed to the state and, by extension, the public. Several energy companies were not enthusiastic about this approach, said the governor, but none of them pushed back as hard as Halliburton, the leading developer of hydraulic fracturing technology. 
“Halliburton sent a big-time lawyer to talk to us, but it didn’t go well for him,” Freudenthal said. 
In crafting what environmentalists dubbed the “Halliburton loophole,” Congress relied on a 2001 energy task force chaired by (former Vice-Dork and erstwhile Halliburton Chair, Dick) Cheney, which reported on the many advantages of hydraulic fracturing, and that most fracking fluid is recovered. 
Gov. Freudenthal confirmed Wyoming is the only state to require that fracking ingredients be made public. “What other states do is up to them,” he said. “What’s important is that we got ahead of this. This big play on the Niobrara shale (in southeast Wyoming) is going to mean a lot of fracking.” From now on, said the governor, Wyoming will have the necessary records and data to determine the least-harmful methods of future fracking. 
“This is huge,” said Deb Thomas, an organizer for the Powder River Basin Resource Council. She and her group have been working for years to get state and federal agencies to investigate a growing number of complaints from Wyoming citizens about water contamination that occurs near drilling sites. 
John Robitaille, vice-president of Petroleum Association of Wyoming, said he’s somewhat comforted that the commission is willing to look at industry claims of confidentiality if requested. 
He said it is “too early” to know whether industry can live with these new regulations or not: “We’ll just have to get some experience with this under our belt.”

Freudenthal is no Liberal and leaves office after elections. Wyoming voters, recently polled as America's most conservative, might just get a taste of what an angry lame duck Democratic governor will do to enshrine into law safe food, safe water, safe shelter, safe sex in another red state where Republicans=cheap food, cheap water, cheap shelter, and cheap sex.

Update from the Rapid City Journal:

BISMARCK, N.D. -- Testing showed that underground water supplies are safe after a ruptured oil well leaked more than 2,500 barrels of crude oil and water in western North Dakota, and it appeared the leak had been cleaned up, the state Health Department said Tuesday. 
The ruptured oil well, dubbed Franchuk 44-20 by the company, used horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, a process that uses pressurized fluid and sand to break open oil-bearing rock some two miles underground.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Poll sez Kristi Noem an empty skullcase

The astute readers of ip narrowly agree that Kristi Noem should just chuck the head she has now for something with more in it although two respondents think a new hairdo would at least help. For hard evidence of Mrs. Noem's vacuousness, Madville Times has a blistering assessment of her debate with Studmuffin At-large, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Back in Basin

The trip was 985 miles this time because the new rig towed the old rig down I-29 to I-90 at Sioux Falls instead of over the shorter course to Sturgis from Elkton or from Summit to Miles City. A couple of days in Rapid City and Deadwood permitted the winterization of the trailer in Whitewood Canyon.

An early winter storm is expected for parts of the Divide over 6000' even as the high cirrus portend cooler weather in this photo taken at Alzada. A fire is blazing in the stove because it is in the 40's as this is being keyed into ip; 45, the forecast high for tomorrow. The Odd Goddess is happy to have a man around again to split wood and to move the summer's furniture off the porch.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

South Dakota War College is a toilet

Ok, ip has had it for a while.

Pat Powers' failure to stem repeated attacks on Bill Fleming and other named commenters by bots hiding behind pseudonyms is reprehensible. Bill and others have brought significant traffic to the website that have even caused the repeated crashes of Pat's servers as SDWC sells innuendo and diatribe to the uneducated masses that make up the bulk of Republican voters in South Dakota. In stark contrast, Cory Heidelberger at Madville Times sacrifices click numbers for integrity and deserves the kind of web traffic that Mr. Powers has enjoyed through a smear campaign.