Thursday, June 30, 2011

Montana, South Dakota judges thwart red state legislatures

A Helena, Montana district court judge has temporarily stricken provisions described as the "most onerous parts" from SB423, a statute restricting distribution of cannabis to persons under the state's medical marijuana law while a South Dakota judge granted an injunction barring that state's oppressive new abortion restrictions.

First, the Helena Independent Record:
In an order issued late Friday, District Judge James Reynolds temporarily blocked a number of key provisions of the law from taking effect. Some of them had been conceded by Attorney General Steve Bullock in a hearing last week. In striking down these provisions, for now, Reynolds said, “By these provisions, the Legislature is attempting to make it as difficult and as inconvenient for persons eligible under state law to use medical marijuana to obtain this legally authorized product.”

The Rapid City Journal tells readers that a South Dakota judge sounds like she feels similarly about the horrifyingly restrictive abortion legislation passed in its legislature's last session:
Chief Judge Karen Schreier issued the written ruling on Thursday. Schreier in her ruling said that Planned Parenthood demonstrated that the law and its specified provisions are "likely" unconstitutional. "There is a public interest in protecting a woman's constitutional right to choose an abortion and in protecting the constitutional right to free speech," she wrote. "And the public has a clear interest in ensuring the supremacy of the United States Constitution."
NPR reported these events as this was being typed, but in reverse order.

Results of the poll, "Who extorted the Corps to ignore the obvious?" are linked here. I worded this one badly. The nine respondents who voted "Other" clearly believed that, too. Anyone want to help me ask which Republican(s) ip missed?

RFK, Jr. on Tavis Smiley

ip partied with Robert Kennedy, Jr. at Durty Nelly's in Deadwood the night before he got popped at Rapid City Regional Airport. Here he is on PBS's Tavis Smiley Show discussing the politics of coal extraction and greenhouse gases.


Watch the full episode. See more Tavis Smiley.

25th ANNUAL PERMACULTURE DESIGN CERTIFICATION COURSE: Mon. August 1st - Sat. August 13th, 2011.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

NOAA posts graphic higher temperature normals; climate pattern "decoupling"

From the weather service of We the People:
According to the 1981-2010 normals to be released by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) on July 1, temperatures across the United States were on average, approximately 0.5 degree F warmer than the 1971-2000 time period. Normals serve as a 30 year baseline average of important climate variables that are used to understand average climate conditions at any location and serve as a consistent point of reference. The new normals update the 30-year averages of climatological variables, including average temperature and precipitation for more than 7,500 locations across the United States. This once-a-decade update will replace the current 1971–2000 normals.


Hat tip to MPR's weather blod.

Flash mobs as tools of protest

Ohio is using social media to organize protests. From the Columbus Dispatch:
Echoing its "flash mob" protest last week at a Bob Evans restaurant, ProgressOhio struck again today at Huntington Bank's 41 S. High St. headquarters. The Columbus-based liberal advocacy group organized the protest, in which about 50 people gathered outside the bank to sing a politically-charged parody of Hang On Sloopy. Another representative of ProgressOhio said they choose to use a "flash mob" style of protest because it is a positive way to demonstrate their frustrations.
John Nichols of the Nation noticed Ohio's will to resist Republican community-busting, too:
Opponents of Ohio Governor John Kasich’s push to strip public employees of collective bargaining rights—as part of a national push by newly-elected Republican governors to silence opposition to their cuts in funding for public education and services — needed to collect 231,000 valid signatures to force a referendum that would override anti-labor legislation enacted by Kasich and his allies. With petitions carrying 1,298,301 signatures packed in 1,500 boxes carried by a semi-truck, organizers of the “We Are Ohio” campaign and thousands of their allies marched to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office in Columbus Wednesday — one day before the deadline—to file the paperwork necessary to force a November vote on overturning Ohio Senate Bill 5 and Kasich’s attack on labor rights. Ohio does not have a recall provision. But it does allow citizens to force a vote on legislation recently passed by the legislature. The Ohio petition drive, which began a statewide phenomenon, has yielded the largest number of signatures ever gathered in the state’s history. In fact, the almost 1.3 million signatures filed Wednesday represents one of the most remarkable examples of petitioning for the redress of grievances—and of popular democracy—in American history.
If Democrats wanted to bring teaching moments to young people disheartened by powerlessness in the political process, bringing a flash mob to disrupt traffic during rush hour or to the end of a shift at an arms manufacturer or like EarthFirst! plans for megaloads destined for the ConocoPhillips refinery in Billings or at the Montana-Dakota generating plant in Rapid City, anyplace where younger voters could have their consciousness raised about how the consequences of capitalism impact the Earth, maybe we could make sure they are registered to vote.

Tribal members most often targeted in hate crimes

Ten percent of American Indians have been victims of violence. That rate is much higher in South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming. The election of a radical white christian as mayor of Rapid City could make life for Native Americans even more difficult there. From Indian Country Today:
During his six-year term on the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, Chairman Arlan Melendez of the Reno Sparks Indian Colony saw more than his share of racism, discrimination and hate crimes against Native Americans. “We know from hearings in Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota that hate crimes are continuing to happen against Native Americans, mostly in border towns near our reservations,” he said, citing a soon-to-be released report developed by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that compiled testimony in 2009 about hate crimes from hundreds of Americans Indians. In her 2007 book “Anti-Indianism in Modern America,” Native American Studies professor Elizabeth Cook-Lynn said, “There has been little attempt by legal authorities or anyone else to understand the phenomenon of racially motivated violence in these communities."
Here's part of how she describes the state of race politics to readers of the Rapid City Journal:
Sadly, the tea party gives us the narrative of the offspring of the early immigrants who are coming to the sad conclusion that they can no longer "take" the land and the resources as their forebears did. But their belief that they are entitled to do so is a strong belief in the idea that any worthwhile history in this country is their history. Make no mistake, this cry of "take our country back" by the tea partiers is about race, skin color and discrimination. This never works on the long term in a country, nor did it work in Nazi Germany decades ago. It didn't even work when Red Cloud signed a treaty in 1868 at Fort Laramie that said white men had to show their "papers" to get permission to enter the Great Sioux Lands of the West. Apparently, Custer has won the war in the minds of American settlers everywhere, thus, "taking" America and "taking back" America are synonymous historically.
In Washington state:
Students in Richland school classes won’t read an award-winning book by a Northwest author in the foreseeable future. The Richland School Board voted 3-2 this week to prohibit use of “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie in classrooms of any grade level.
But you can bring your phone into school and play video games that simulate the decapitation of a person of color.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nordstrom wins 1073-620! Kooiker wins

Results here.

rcjMontgomery: WE HAVE RESULTS. Ritchie Nordstrom wins the Ward 2 runoff 396-231 over Deb Hadcock. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: This is also bad news for Kooiker. Ward 2 is his stronghold, and the 627 votes cast today is 1/3 of the turnout in round 1. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: Officials weren't predicting a big turnout dropoff. If turnout's down in Ward 2 but not in Hanks' strongholds like Ward 3, good for Hanks. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: IGNORE THE PRECEDING. We've been misinformed in the newsroom, results thus far are just absentee ballots. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: Ward 2 is *not* decided, though Nordstrom's off to a strong start in absentee ballots. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: Looks good for Kooiker so far, up about 15 points over Hanks. But Hanks' strong wards are yet to come in in strength. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: RT @rcjWoster: Ritchie Nordstrom, 1073, Deb Hadcock, 620. I'm heading for Thirsty's to talk to Ritchie. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: All of Ward 3 is apparently still out, and that's big Hanks territory. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: Based on what votes are in and what's still out, I'd say Kooiker pulls it off. Hanks has a chance, but it's slim. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: Three Ward 3 precincts in, and Hanks isn't breaking 60%. Not good for him. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: Hanks is leading in 8 precincts and trailing in 12. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: But in the precincts Hanks won, he's up 55-45. In the precincts Kooiker won, he's up 65-35. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: Update to my prior: I made a math error, Kooiker's leading by 63-37 in the precincts he's winning. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: If turnout in the remaining wards is similar to round 1, Hanks would have to win 72% there to prevail. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: Kooiker's best ward was 72%, so it's theoretically possible. But it sure looks like Mayor Kooiker. [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: FINAL: Kooiker wins 6977 to 6499. 51.8% to 48.2% [via Twitter]

rcjMontgomery: A 478-vote margin of victory for Rapid City's next mayor, Sam Kooiker. [via Twitter]

Sinkhole developing near Oahe Dam. How legal cannabis fills the gap

A Pierre radio station and the Rapid City Journal are reporting that sinkholes are developing in Stanley County:
KCCR radio reports that state Transportation Department crews already have filled a large hole that developed on state Highway 1806. It was estimated at 6 feet across and 10-15 feet deep.
Recall the reminder from TCMack that the Army Corps of Engineers touted the construction of the Oahe Dam on the geological formation known as Pierre Shale. That same shale accounts for the systematic breakup of roadways and railbeds in South Dakota likewise confounding KeystoneXL pipeline engineers. Note this publication archived at the USGS:
... The non-tectonic origin for this deformation is strongly supported by the observation that, since construction was completed in 1962, movement on a fault in the Pierre Shale near the spillway of Oahe Dam (about 10 km north of the city of Pierre) has created a 1.5-m-high scarp. This scarp formed without any notable seismic events.
The topic was covered at the conference of the United States Society on Dams in 2009: Slope Stability Concerns on Pierre Shale, Oahe Dam - Pierre, South Dakota...655, Robert J. Worden and Michael T. Kelly, Corps of Engineers.

Todd Epp mentions that the corps knew water was stacking up behind the dams and that record rainfall in the upper basin surprised them. But, what he doesn't seem to get is that they also know that early releases send ice floes crashing into bridge supports: events that worry resource managers every year. From Friday's Lincoln, Nebraska JournalStar:
Now, suddenly, total water in the six reservoirs is at 72.7 million acre-feet, 600,000 acre-feet above the previous record, reached in 1975. Total capacity is uncomfortably close at 73.1 million acre-feet. Winter ice, summer barge traffic, habitat for endangered species, recreational considerations and dam repairs are among the factors that regularly influence decisions about seasonal flows.
Robert Schneiders took listeners' calls today on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio.

California's Proposition 19 went down in defeat because the law gave the power to control varieties to the state. Recall this NPR report from October of last year:
At a garden cafe in Sonoma County, Dragonfly de la Luz lights up her glass Hello Kitty pipe filled with primo California weed. De la Luz is a marijuana connoisseur for West Coast Cannabis and Skunk magazines, and TV's Cannabis Planet. She has a monthly column called "Getting High with Dragonfly," in which she reviews the latest flavors of ganja. De la Luz says she was excited at first to hear California was trying to legalize pot. "I thought it was a dream come true," she says. "Then I read it and realized it was a nightmare." Proposition 19 allows local governments to license commercial marijuana companies, which worries self-professed stoners like de la Luz. "We're kind of like anti-Wal-Mart and anti-McDonald's," she says. "So for them to try to sneak in and turn cannabis into a corporation, that's disgusting."
Exactly.

The future of the business should be a combination synthesizing the cannabis equivalents of organic microbreweries, vintners, and greenhouses rolled into (heh heh) cottage industries that can withstand fiduciary and insurance requirements. We are a litigious society: ways to generate revenue for states can be hammered out in committee in each state legislature to head off some of the torts likely following enactment and to guide law enforcement using most of the same language that governs alcohol use. Patients that seek cannabis as medicine can be seen by a health care provider and be excused from paying the excise taxes.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Human evolution, smoking, tribal sovereignty, and Republicans

Bob Newland got me thinking again about how humans developed a technology to ingest the smoke of native plants. ip converted to a pipe in 2003. Since then it has become obvious that smoking keeps flying insects at bay when i'm in the woods. Nicotine has long been used as an insecticide; my blood likely doesn't taste very good to mosquitoes. Birds react to my pipe. Predators and other animals in the woods know when i'm in their space.

The concept is simple enough: imagine seeing a horn or an antler smoking in a lightning-caused fire looking like a novel way to move fire from place to place:
East African sites, such as Chesowanja near Lake Baringo, Koobi Fora, and Olorgesailie in Kenya, show some possible evidence that fire was utilized by early humans. At Chesowanja, archaeologists found red clay sherds dated to be 1.42 Mya.
Smoking mixtures came with humans as they passed through Beringia:
Prehistory: In 2010, tobacco was found that dates to the Pleistocene Era 2.5 million years ago. Paleontologists from the Meyer-Honninger Paleontology Museum discovered the small block of fossilised tobacco in the Maranon river basin in northeastern Peru. 
Prehistory: As far as human use of tobacco, although small amounts of nicotine may be found in some Old World plants, including belladonna and Nicotiana africana, and nicotine metabolites have been found in human remains and pipes in the Near East and Africa, there is no indication of habitual tobacco use in the Ancient world, on any continent save the Americas. 
c. 6000 BCE: Experts believe the tobacco plant, as we know it today, begins growing in the Americas. 
c.1 BCE: Experts believe American inhabitants have begun finding ways to use tobacco, including smoking (in a number of variations), chewing and in probably hallucinogenic enemas (by the Peruvian Aguaruna aboriginals). 
c. 1 CE: Tobacco was "nearly everywhere" in the Americas. (American Heritage Book of Indians, p.41). 
470-630 CE: Between 470 and 630 A.D. the Mayas began to scatter, some moving as far as the Mississippi Valley. The Toltecs, who created the mighty Aztec Empire, borrowed the smoking custom from the Mayas who remained behind. Two castes of smokers emerged among them. Those in the Court of Montezuma, who mingled tobacco with the resin of other leaves and smoked pipes with great ceremony after their evening meal; and the lesser Indians, who rolled tobacco leaves together to form a crude cigar. The Mayas who settled in the Mississippi Valley spread their custom to the neighboring tribes. The latter adapted tobacco smoking to their own religion, believing that their god, the almighty Manitou, revealed himself in the rising smoke. And, as in Central America, a complex system of religious and political rites was developed around tobacco. 
600-1000 CE: UAXACTUN, GUATEMALA. First pictorial record of smoking: A pottery vessel found here dates from before the 11th century. On it a Maya is depicted smoking a roll of tobacco leaves tied with a string. The Mayan term for smoking was sik'ar
White Buffalo Calf Woman brought the pipe to the Plains cultures. Among the first pipes fashioned by the human hand depicted animal species important to tribes:
Today, state laws and legal precedents hold manufacturers more liable for the effects of their products. And the old legal defense of "contributing negligence" -- which prevented lawsuits by people with some measure of responsibility for their own condition -- is no longer viable in most jurisdictions. Instead, a defendant can be held partially liable and forced to pay a corresponding percentage of damages. Finally, the notion of "strict" liability has developed; this means a defendant can be found liable whether or not they are found negligent. If a product such as tobacco causes harm, the company that produced it can be held responsible, even if it wasn't aware of the potential danger.
Enforcing tax codes on tobacco is not about the money:
This media brouhaha is the result of a recent court decision out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, holding that Indian merchants selling cigarettes to non-Indians in Indian country have to collect sales tax for the State of New York. In its ruling, the Second Circuit purportedly weighed the state/tribal interests, finding that New York’s “valid interest in ensuring compliance with lawful taxes that might easily be evaded” outweighed the tribes’ interest in inherent sovereignty. In other words, the State would rather invade the sovereignty of tribal governments, in order to obtain less than one-tenth of the amount due to it, than to make efforts to enforce its own laws against its own citizens.
Big tobacco adds ingredients to its products that do not exist in most Native-produced brands. Now the health results of a century of corporate control over an essential part of indigenous culture has led to a crisis in hospital care in South Dakota. From this Garrigan piece in the Rapid City Journal:
The director of a community hospital in Martin says it will be forced to close its doors this summer if Indian Health Service doesn't pay at least some of the nearly $1 million in unpaid emergency room bills it has been sent since 2009. "The hospital is on the verge of closure," George Minder, chief executive officer for Bennett County Hospital and Nursing Home, said Wednesday. Closure would devastate the economy of Martin, a town of about 1,200 people, where the health facility's 100 full-time equivalent employees is the largest employer in the county, Minder said.
It should come as no surprise that the industrial tobacco companies are major campaign contributors to Republicans:
The two highest ranking leaders in the House of Representatives -- Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) -- are among top tobacco industry recipients.
Montana's Denny Rehberg is leading the assault on tribes in Montana:
The measure, introduced by Rep. Rehberg (R-MT), vaguely mandates that only “hard science” be used to justify agency rule-makings and imposes arbitrary exclusions on what the agency can consider in regulating health risks in food, medicine, cosmetics and tobacco products. The measure is so poorly written that it’s hard to tell exactly what it means, but lawyers here believe it could also be interpreted to prevent regulatory action when pharmaceuticals are determined to cause public health risks, unless those drugs are also shown to be ineffective.
Citing freedom of expression protection, the Supreme Court upheld the rights of minors to use violent video games but adults still cannot smoke recreational cannabis legally in most states.

The Hirbour Building in Butte is scheduled to receive new life:
A developer received $350,000 Friday in government grants and loans as part of a project to build seven upscale condominiums in the eight-story Hirbour Tower, 102 N. Main St., Uptown Butte. Nick Kujawa, who recently purchased the building, said Friday's approval of assistance from the Urban Revitalization Agency will help leverage other money for the project. "It's the first step of a long road," he said. The URA board approved a $150,000 matching grant and a $200,000 loan at 4 percent interest over 15 years. The $1.8-million project, which includes Kujawa's costs to purchase the building, includes windows, doors, roof, fa├žade, an elevator and electrical, plumbing and heating improvements.
Kristi Noem votes with her party 94% of the time. Expect her to support big tobacco in their efforts to refuse to pay for crimes they committed by denying to pay for health care costs to Native Americans.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Beware the Wyomingization of Montana

h/t Madville Times.

From the new earth haters' manifesto:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a lowering of U.S. ground-level ozone standards. Under the new guidelines, the "primary" standard would be reduced to 60-70 parts per billion (ppb) measured over eight hours, down from the 75 ppb level set in March 2008. Unfortunately, this action lacks scientific justification and there is absolutely no basis for EPA to propose changing the ozone standards promulgated by the EPA Administrator just two years ago. Furthermore, the implementation of these new standards would be economically disastrous to many local economies. Many counties across the country would likely be out of attainment with the new standards, and billions of dollars would be spent by local governments and the private sector across the nation to try to achieve attainment -- all with marginal benefits.
Think Sublette County, Wyoming:
Ozone levels exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limit on 13 days in February and March. Preliminary data show ozone levels topped the worst readings in many large U.S. cities all last year.
The Chevron ad is offensive:


Watch the full episode. See more PBS NewsHour.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Are the main stem dams like the big banks: too big to fail?

Just asking.

The Madisonian:
The mythical scenario was horrible – an earthquake in Yellowstone National Park has caused the failure of Hebgen Dam; a wall of floodwater is heading down the Madison River and will be at Ennis in little more than eight hours. Chances are Madison Dam wouldn’t be able to contain the waters coming into Ennis Lake and would also fail. Three Forks would be flooded, so would Townsend. In fact, a failure at Hebgen Dam could cause flooding in Great Falls as Canyon Ferry Dam released high flows to accommodate the influx of water from upstream. The flooding would result in thousands of evacuations, millions of dollars of property damage and widespread power outages.


Wordle: Untitled

Friday, June 24, 2011

Montana Dem AG forced to defend GOP initiated marriage law and cannabis legislation

Update: Couples and ACLU win in New York!

Montana's attorney general, Democrat Steve Bullock, has not yet announced his intention to run for governor and he is being tested on at least two fronts by his own constituency.

He defended the state's position in Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana where domestic partners are suing for equal rights after voters amended the state's constitution to affirm the Bush-era Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). He filed a motion to dismiss the case that was ruled on by a Helena District Court judge and is now headed for appeal.

Today he is faced with Senate Bill 423, a pit dug out for him by Republicans in the 2011 Montana Legislature and unsigned by Montana's Democratic governor, Brian Schweitzer. From the Billings Gazette:
If District Judge James Reynolds temporarily halts implementation of the full law, the state acknowledged that Montana law would revert to what it was before parts of the new law took effect May 13, a memorandum filed Thursday said. The new law, Senate Bill 423, repeals the current medical marijuana law, which Montana voters passed as an initiative in 2004. At a hearing this week, Reynolds strongly signaled he was considering striking down parts of the law -- if not the whole statute -- on a temporary basis before it takes effect July 1. The state maintained that it believes this ban on sales of marijuana, which is an illegal product under federal and state law, is "rationally related to legitimate governmental interests and is, therefore, constitutional." However, if Reynolds enjoins this section, other provisions of the law would remain in place, and subject to enforcement, the Attorney General's Office said.
Bullock could be facing a tough primary against popular labor-backed Missoula legislator Dave Wanzenried, and state senator Larry Jent of Bozeman.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Frank, Paul lead bipartisan cannabis repeal today; yikes! US hate map

h/t hipneck. From Cannabis Times:
H.R.2835-Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act — authored by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas — would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or interstate smuggling, letting people legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states that allow it without fear of federal prosecution.
Contact Dennybriated Rehberg, Krusti Noem, and Cynthia Lummox today and urge them to support this historic legislation.

NPR catches us up:
Update at 5:49 p.m. ET. The Bill Is Introduced: We've updated our lede and headline to reflect that Frank and Paul have introduced the bill in the House. The AP reports that Frank said "he's not advocating marijuana use, but believes that criminal prosecution is a waste of resources and an intrusion on personal freedom."
Here is a dismal view from the AP via Cannabis News:
The bill has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled House. The bill would have to go through the House Judiciary Committee. Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said his panel would not consider it.
Fucking hypocritheocrite Republicants.

Which red state is next again? Here is the hate map of the United States. Compare this map of counties where women's life expectancy is declining. Could a woman be the next Jared Loughner?

Montana is in the news.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Corps politics and annual spring pulse

Every year we hear something like, "Army Corps mulling Spring Pulse." This year in the Rapid City Journal it went:
The Army Corps of Engineers said it might cancel the March surge of extra water meant to help an endangered fish in the Missouri River. The so-called spring pulse below Gavins Point Dam is meant to replicate a natural spring rise that prompts the pallid sturgeon to spawn. The corps said the two-day March pulse could be canceled if the river level is already high from spring runoff. The corps said implementing a second pulse planned for May also will depend on the river level.
Todd Epp apparently has heard it before, too.

From a superlative trove of events on the Missouri River called the Big Muddy News is this from February:
Corps of Engineers discuss ‘liquid highway’ by Marshall White originally published in St. Joseph News-Press - February 9, 2011 original link: http://www.newspressnow.com/localnews/26814051/detail.html
KANSAS CITY — The liquid highway is at St. Joseph’s western doorstep and will be about as good as it can get in 2011. That was the word from Army Corps of Engineers officials, in Kansas City on Wednesday to meet with navigators, shippers and boaters. “For Missouri River users, this is as good as it’s going to get,” said John LaRandeau, the corps’ navigation program specialist. In fact, this may be the best the river has been in about the last 40 years, he said.
The path leads to Roy Blunt's door.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cobell approved; comment on Dakota Grasslands proposal

From Jodi Rave's blog, Buffalo's Fire:
U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan directed people standing in the doorway into the jury box. As the seats filled, one person was conspicuously absent — Elouise Cobell, the lead plaintiff. The fairness hearing marked a significant milestone in the now 16-year lawsuit. By the end of a seven-hour hearing, Hogan approved the Claims Resolution Act signed into law by President Barack Obama in December 2010. “After fifteen years of litigation, today’s decision marks another important step forward in the relationship between the federal government and Indian Country,” Obama said in a statement. ”Resolving this dispute was a priority for my administration, and we will engage in government-to-government consultations with tribal nations regarding the land consolidation component of the settlement to ensure that this moves ahead at an appropriate pace and in an appropriate manner.” Hogan surprised many people in the courtroom by announcing his final decision on merits of the settlement. The case centers on the historical government mismanagement of American Indian royalties earned from oil, gas, timber and grazing leases.
Tribes in South Dakota were not parties in the suit although some members will receive some compensation as a result of the settlement.

The Supreme Court of the United States recently denied an appeal by the Yankton Sioux Tribe to block the transfer of land from the federal government to the State of South Dakota.

The Rapid City Journal reminds us that the US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking comment on its proposed Dakota Grasslands Conservation Area. This is damned important for preserving the future of wildlife in these United States; go support it. Weaving this concept into settlement of tribal land trust disputes seems to be one component not yet addressed.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Freedom=right to pollute

A Mercatus Institute study lists South Dakota as the second, Montana as the 29th, and Wyoming as the 22nd freest states. Never mind that the research was conducted by a so-called "Libertarian" think-tank. David Montgomery described the results in the Rapid City Journal with an accompanying photo of a tribal member from Sisseton holding a flag:
South Dakota received top marks for "economic freedom," which the Mercatus Center defined as low taxes, low government spending and low regulation. But South Dakota trailed in "personal freedom," a combination of factors including regulations of alcohol and tobacco, seat-belt laws, cellphone driving bans and arrests for drug use, prostitution and other categories the Mercatus Center terms "victimless crimes." Gov. Dennis Daugaard's spokesman, Tony Venhuizen, praised the ranking.
The article set off alarm bells for former South Dakotan, Donald Pay, who responded in the comments of the RCJ piece:
DM,

You call this a libertarian outfit, but just a couple of mouse clicks and you can find out that the Mercatus Center was founded and funded by the Koch Brothers, and receives money from Exxon Mobil and other multinational corporations. Hmmm, I wonder what interests the big fossil fuel industry has in promoting lax regulation. A bigger story awaits you. Also, this study is an exhibit of the way multi-national corporations utilize university-based think tanks and "centers" to manipulate the press and the public. Is this playing out at South Dakota universities? Would a neutral researcher come to a similar conclusion?
And, in response to an anonymous red stater rushing to defend police oppression in South Dakota, Pay says:
Why would anyone care that a Koch funded outfit might be trying to butter up SD politicians with sweet talk about lax regulations? Oh, I don't know. Maybe the Keystone Pipeline might factor in there somehow. Politicians eat this stuff up, as evidenced by statements by the Governor's mouthpiece. Of course, the politicians end up having to live up to being a doormat, selling out the state's interests, while the state's citizens suffer.
The Casper Star-Trib defended Wyoming's apparent hypocrisy:
Part of the reason that Wyoming fell from 15th in the 2009 study to 21st this year has to do with Wyoming’s economic reliance on energy production, said Texas State University political science professor William Ruger, who co-authored the study. For one thing, Wyoming has an unusually large public sector compared to other states, he said. In 2010, there were 328 state and local government employees for every 1,000 private-sector workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, Dan Neal, director of the Equality State Policy Center, a Laramie-based liberal think tank, was more skeptical of the study’s findings. “I guess I don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said. “I didn’t wake up the morning the report came out and feel like, ‘Gee, I’m much less free today.’”
The states appearing at the top of this study are among the most polluted: Indiana, Idaho, and New Hampshire are even bigger chemical toilets than South Dakota is. Montana and Wyoming have epic pollution problems, too.

The EPA is still trying to make up for its public relations challenges by holding industrial agriculture to the fire. From Sierra Crane-Murdoch in High Country News' the Goat Blog:
This time last year, Steve Owens of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention issued a “challenge” to major industry trade associations. First, he asked that CBI claims be made more prudently in the future, “only when absolutely necessary.” Second, he asked companies to sift through their stacks of CBI claims granted in the past, and declassify all those that are no longer necessary. The letter reads like an invitation to sign a college honor code. But it’s been somewhat successful: chemical companies voluntarily declassified many of the chemicals the EPA disclosed this month. As for those who didn’t volunteer, the EPA politely informed them that their chemicals were no longer protected under TSCA and would soon be made public. The declassification puts only a small dent in the 17,000 undisclosed chemicals on the EPA’s toxic substances inventory.
See the connection? The EPA flexes We the People muscle and fascism responds with a study decrying states for selling out to safe water, safe food, safe shelter, and safe sex for cheap water, cheap food, cheap shelter and cheap sex.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bob Karolevitz passes; Daugaard loads pea-shooter

The Sioux Falls Argus Leader is only good for the obituaries. This one made me sad for Jan and Jill on Father's Day:
Bob Karolevitz, 89 of Yankton and formerly of Mission Hill died on Friday, June 17, at Avera Sister James Care Center, Yankton. A Memorial Mass will be at 10:30 AM, Wednesday, June 22, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Yankton. Burial of Bob's cremated remains will be in the Sacred Heart Cemetery with military rites by the Ernest-Bowyer VFW Post #791, Yankton and the SDARNG, Sioux Falls. Visitations will begin at 2:00 PM, Tuesday, June 21, at the Opsahl-Kostel Funeral Home and Crematory with a 7:30 PM Scripture service and video tribute. Visitations will resume one hour prior to the service at the church.
Dominus vobiscum, Bob.




False chanterelle, Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca



Red or artist's conch (conk), Ganoderma tsugae on Douglas-fir


The RCJ staff brings this little tidbit:
Daugaard has named Jason Glodt, his public safety policy advisor, and general counsel Jim Seward to lead a team that will question the corps and examine the management decisions that contributed to the flood.
Bwwaaahaaahaaa!! You stupid pea-shootin' red state motherfuckers!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Does the Earth have consciousness? NSN reports on pending Bear Butte oil war

Is the Earth consciously reacting to an infestation of humans?



From Alex Knapp in Forbes:
I am very excited to learn that starting in July, Netflix will have every Star Trek episode from every series available for instant streaming. And since I’ve been alluding to Star Trek quite a bit when touching on issues of artificial intelligence, I thought I’d give a rundown of what I think are the ten finest episodes of Star Trek dealing with issues around artificial intelligence, the singularity, transhumanism, and the post-scarcity society, along with a few honorable mentions that deal with the same themes as the ten best.
Talli Nauman brings a report on the recent Meade County commission meeting. Here is an excerpt from her piece at Native Sun News via indianz.com:
At a June 8 hearing on the matter, commissioners stopped short of approving a lawsuit. Instead, they voted unanimously to send a letter to state regulators, disputing the decision to hold oil drilling to five wells, instead of 24 initially permitted near the prayer site sacred to dozens of Native American tribes. The South Dakota Board of Minerals and Environment decided on May 18 to reduce Nakota Energy LLC’s 2010 permit for oil drilling in the sacred butte area from 24 to five initial wells, after three public comment periods revealed substantial opposition on religious grounds. “People are tired of coming in here. A lot of people don’t want to talk anymore,” United Urban Warrior Society organizer James Swan testified to county commissioners at their most recent meeting. “They just want to take over the mountain.” Mato Paha, as the mountain is called in Lakota, was noted and reserved as a traditional council site in the 1851 and 1868 Ft. Laramie treaties with the U.S. government.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fort Peck Dam failure scenario; more on "mega fires," gaia-revenge theory

Rumors of a Corps cover-up persist:
Bernard Shanks, an adviser to the Resource Renewal Institute, has studied the six main-stem Missouri River dams for more than four decades. He has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey and served as director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. He has written three books on public land policy and is completing a book on the hazards of the Missouri River dams. Why another flood disaster? Six dams from Fort Peck in Montana to Gavins Point in South Dakota, authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944, are in the process of failing at flood control. With spring water levels low, they can hold back more than three years of average Missouri River flow — enough to stop the worst floods and protect 750 miles of the Missouri River valley and heartland cities. This year, that is not the case.


Note recent tremor in north central Montana and its relative proximity to the Fort Peck Dam. The USGS tells us:
The first significant 20th century Montana earthquake occurred on June 27, 1925, when a magnitude 6 3/4 shock caused violent shaking over a 1,600 square kilometer area in southwestern Montana. The earthquake was felt over a 803,000 square kilometer area extending from the North Dakota line to Washington and from the Canadian border to central Wyoming.
Here is today's burn index. Via Wildfire Today this from Chip Ward reposted at CBSNews:
If you live in the West, you can’t help wonder what will burn next. Eastern Colorado, Oklahoma, and the Dakotas are, at present, deep in drought and likely candidates. Montana’s Lodgepole Pine forests are dying and ready to ignite. Colorado’s Grand Mesa is another drying forest area that could go up in flames anytime. Wally Covington estimates that a total of about half-a-million square miles of Western forests, an area three times the size of California, is now at risk of catastrophic fires. As ex-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger observed in 2008 when it was California’s turn to burn, the fire season is now 365 days long.
More on the gaia-revenge theory; the irony of the ad to the story is mind-twisting.

Montana Pride, ACLU event

Bozeman plays host to Montana Pride 2011 this weekend in cooperation with the Helena-based branch of the American Civil Liberties Union:
The ACLU was dealt a setback on April 19 when a Montana District Court judge ruled against us on our domestic partnership case. But the journey for fairness is far from over. Montana's Constitution guarantees the rights of privacy, dignity, pursuit of life's necessities, equal protection and due process. The goal of our lawsuit, Donaldson and Guggenheim v. State of Montana, is to see 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. Couples in the suit live and support their families in communities across the state, including Basin, Bozeman, Butte, Helena and Laurel. In September 2010, the Bozeman City Commission unanimously passed a resolution supporting our couples and our lawsuit. Thank you, Bozeman!
A dinner hosted by Montana ACLU supporting the lawsuit is being held tonight in Bozeman. Donations will be accepted here.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

GOP sends 2005 energy funding bill to the floor for 2012, high speed rail money to Corps

Washington, Jun 15 -
The House Appropriations Committee today approved the fiscal year 2012 Energy and Water Appropriations bill. The legislation provides the annual funding for the various agencies and programs under the Department of Energy, including the National Nuclear Security Administration, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and various regional water and power authorities. The legislation totals $30.6 billion – a cut of $5.9 billion below the President’s request and $1 billion below last year – which brings the total cost of the bill to nearly the 2005 funding level.
Montana's Denny Rehberg and Wyoming's Cynthia Lummis were among the 26 earth haters voting against the Democrats and one brave Republican, Arizona's Jeff Flake.
In addition, the Committee today approved an amendment – offered by Subcommittee Chairman Frelinghuysen (R-NJ): The amendment provides $1.028 billion in emergency funding to the Army Corps of Engineers to repair damage caused by recent storms and floods, and to prepare for future disaster events. The funding is offset by a rescission of the remaining emergency High Speed Rail funding that was originally approved in the failed “stimulus” bill. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.


Panaeolus campanulatus and Panaeolus semiovatus on horse shit

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Democrats seized on this, hoping to put pressure on New Jersey Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, the Republican manager of the energy and water bill. To bursts of applause from fellow Democrats, Rep. Peter Visclosky (D-Ind.), Frelinghuysen's co-manager, began to recite aloud from a list of Corps projects built with emergency funds in Afghanistan and Iraq - and not offset by the GOP.
After a post at The Angry River Rat ip posed this question: "Thanks, TC. In your opinion, knowing what you know now, who is in the best position to put the Corps off releasing water earlier this year?" The answer from TCMack:
Well Larry, Corps control their own destiny set by the guide lines given to them by Congress. Meaning that if the Corps wanted to change the Master Manual quickly and increase flow they would have needed an act of Congress to get that done. The problem with that is two things; one the excessive high water and flow from the Missouri and trying to get down stream Representatives an Senators to go along with a possible flooding of their states. For example Corps when they release water from the dams they have to take in account how that will affect the whole system from Yankton to New Orleans. There are no dams between this area, and if they let water out they need to be sure that it will not cause flooding in the lower areas. That leads to the second point. There are more representatives in the House on the lower end of the basin than on the Northern end of the basin. This affected the legislation in 1944 and it affects policy now. The likelyhood that Congress would have allowed early releases last fall or early spring would not have gone through. A once and a life time event happens, there is very little an organization can do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Celebrating 'Two-Spirit.' Why IS Janklow scared?

Winkte is the Lakota word for gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender (GLBT) members in its culture and ceremonies. The folkway became all but extinct after so-called "christian" missionaries swept in to prey on children left orphaned by the slaughter and/or chemical enslavement of their parents. Indian Country Today brings this scholarly report:
Like many Native traditions, this acceptance was lost when the dominant society drummed traditional tribal beliefs out of a generation of Indians and replaced them with Christian values.“Two-spirit” has become the accepted term for GLBT Native Americans. It is an English translation from the Ojibwe term niizh manidoowag, which refers to people who carry both a masculine and feminine spirit.
From Montana PBS and Independent Lens:




Convicted felon, Bill Janklow sounded scared shitless on his idea of public radio as he condescendingly pontificated yesterday to host Paul Guggenheimer. Effectively held hostage, Guggenheimer threw journalistic integrity into the river by repeatedly addressing the former governor as "Bill." Ever hear Neal Conan or Diane Rehm refer to a multiple-term governor as "Bill?" Of course not.

I coulda sworn Janklow called for the removal of the mainstem dams. The Corps enjoys sovereign immunity; expect a political powerplay directed at them from Marty Jackley.
Marion’s Pastures is situated in a large meadow, west to the Missouri River, within the City limits of historic Fort Pierre, South Dakota. This development was established in 2000 and is nearly completed at this time.
Is this single-party patronage coming home to roost in a town with a history of flooding? Flood victims sue THIS guy!

The Corps sells 24% of US hydropower capacity. In March, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced S.629 - Hydropower Improvement Act of 2011. From TreeHugger: "With US public support fading fast for nuclear power, timing of this reintroduction has to be intentional."

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blogger finally gets on morel scoreboard; GOP presidential fungi



dangerous look-alike: Conifer false morel, Gyromitra esculenta.




the real deal: Morchella elata. these were under an ancient spruce in deep duff with douglas fir and aspen nearby.


From left to right on the CNN dais: Santorum is a DC insider with perfect pitch and who hasn't a clue. Bachmann was remarkably lucid, almost dreamy; her gaffe won't play well and she's WAY too short to be president. Newt won, imho; clearly the smartest one up there, too bad he's fucked. Romney lost, he's incomprehensible. Ron Paul always makes the most sense; too bad he doesn't support womens' reproductive rights. Tim Pawlenty fell flat on his face; i was almost embarrassed for him. Herman Cain would make an excellent Secretary of Commerce in a Republican administration. The high point came when Jon Huntsman's name came up in his absence. He blew it by not being there.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Woster eyes chemical toilet; more refugees in Basin

How bad does it have to get before Marty Jackley files lawsuits against Black Hills Power, the Conoco/Phillips refinery in Billings, against plants in North Dakota, and/or the Colstrip Generating Station?

Kevin Woster tells readers in a series of articles why environmental lawyers are patriots and Republicans are responsible for killing people. From the Rapid City Journal:
Coal-fired power plants like those operating across the region are easy targets when it comes to fixing blame for mercury pollution, because they do release mercury in their emissions. Trevor Selch, a former South Dakota State University doctoral student now working as a biologist in Montana, did research on the mercury impacts in South Dakota from 2004 to 2007. He sampled about 1,000 fish for mercury during that time and saw strong evidence of “the reservoir effect.”
And, from another Woster piece in the Journal:
South Dakota has been using a mercury threshold of 1 part per million to determine when to issue a fish-consumption advisory for a given lake or other fishable water. That standard is used by the Food and Drug Administration, but the federal Environmental Protection Agency prefers a lower standard of 0.3 ppm. Scientists for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources are recommending use of the more stringent standard.
Here is more from the eastern South Dakota chapter of the Sierra Club:
Anglers who come to South Dakota for toxin-free fishing may soon lose that luxury and South Dakota, in turn, will lose the revenue from fishing tourism. Mercury contamination is harder to repair than farm run-off---like cleaning up mercury from a broken thermometer, it's hard to do. Also, the costly burden of clean-up is too often on the State and local governments and not the polluter. Since mercury removal is often too much for state governments; it is easier to tell the public not to eat the fish.
Montana is experiencing some runoff woes of its own. From the Helena Independent Record:
Even though heavy rains and snowmelt are causing bright acidic orange water to flow out of old mines and into Ten Mile Creek — one of the sources of Helena’s drinking water — officials say it doesn’t pose any health hazard, and most don’t believe it may carry heavy metals that could recontaminate roads and yards in Rimini that recently were replaced.
Much to the frustration of locals, EPA moved much of Rimini's contaminated soil to a mine in upper Basin Creek where it was encapsulated.

Basin jazz maven, MJ Williams, tells listeners about the power of the music on Mountain West Voices. She and Nancy were at the potluck we hosted for the Montana Artists Refuge last night. The current refugees were in attendance including plein air artists Amy MacLennan and her husband Mike. Newlywed writing duo, Amber and Aaron, helped us fill sandbags on the creek the other day. Glen Chamberlain, an adjunct MSU professor, is writing more short stories and awaiting the release of her new book. She and ip had a long discussion about Montana politics. Twenty people and two four-leggeds shared wine, dinner, and dessert.

We have been getting more heavy rain this morning.

Mike Sanborn posted a response to my calling out Rapid City for what it is. Here's the chance to take your best uncensored shots at ip.

Wildfire Today spots a must-read in the Arizona Republic:
Stephen J. Pyne, Regents Professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, is the author of numerous books, including Fire: A Brief History, Tending Fire: Coping with America's Wildland Fires, and Voyager: Seeking Newer Worlds in the Third Great Age of Discovery. He says, "We aren't going to stomp fire out, and we can't afford to outsource it to lightning, arsonists, and sloppy campers. We know better. We've known better for years. We just can't muster the social consensus to fix it. It's finally worth noting that only a scratch line in the duff separates tragedy from travesty."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Google Mars user finds odd surface feature

A California man stumbled onto a very curious image as he surfed with the Google Mars computer program. Via NPR's 13.7 science blog:
David Martines of San Luis Obispo is getting some national and international attention for a discovery he made while looking at a Google map of Mars. Martines posted a video on YouTube of what looks like a structure on the surface of the red planet and the video has created quite a buzz on earth.

Elevated snow water equivalents due to global warming; more flooding for Bighorn River

Paul Huttner is right.

Here is more evidence that humans are accelerating global climate change. From NPR's environment god, Richard Harris:
This year is a notable exception — unusually heavy snowfall throughout the Rockies this winter has caused a lot of flooding and water-management headaches downstream. But taking the long view, the trend is toward less and less snow. Water managers have noticed in recent decades that the snowpack is, on average, getting thinner in the Rockies. In fact, the situation could lead to drought. That's true not only in the southwestern U.S., where water managers have already started to brace for the worst, but also farther north. Drought isn't always caused by a lack of rainfall. "Here in the western U.S., where we rely really heavily on snowmelt for summer water supply, anything that impacts the snowpack can also cause a drought," says Phil Mote, a climate scientist at Oregon State University. "And what this paper shows is the warming of the 20th century and beyond is already affecting and will profoundly affect the frequency of droughts in the West, simply by whittling away at the snowpack."
Arizona Public Media's KUAZ brings this story of the role of permaculture in rebuilding Haiti:
Kate Tirion loves to talk about soil. In her forties, when her daughter was grown, Tirion turned back to her love of the land, studying at UC Santa Cruz’s Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems. She traveled throughout the southwest and Mexico studying permaculture design and techniques including green building and regenerative land development. Permaculture is a term that combines Permanent Agriculture and Permanent Culture.
From Wyoming Public Radio and the Casper Trib:
Two inches of rain over the past two days in northern Wyoming are causing a rapid rise in the Big Horn River in the vicinity of Basin. The National Weather Service says the river at Basin will cause some flooding in low-lying areas today before beginning to quickly recede. The river will get close to flood stage at Greybull. Many rivers and streams in Wyoming already are running high because of the melting mountain snowpack. The amount of water expected to reach river basins in the state from snowmelt will be close to 200 percent of average statewide. The latest report from the U.S. Agriculture Department's Natural Resources Conservation Service says the runoff will be as high as 387 percent of average in some places.
Basin, Wyoming, not Basin, Montana.

From MPR's blod of weather:




The ACLU's Blog of Rights' war on the War on Drugs.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

More on Nazi/Soviet flying saucer at 1947 Roswell, Forest Service role in flooding

Author Annie Jacobson on DemocracyNow!


This story in the Casper Trib brought it all home:
A new study suggests the mountain pine beetle outbreak in the West could trigger earlier snowmelt and increased water yields from snowpack under beetle-killed trees. University of Colorado doctoral student Evan Pugh and his team monitored trees near Rocky Mountain National Park in the 2009 and 2010 winters. His study, published this week in the journal "Ecohydrology," found snow accumulation was about 15 percent higher under trees whose needles had fallen off than other stands, whose branches and needles collected snow. Pugh says trees without needles let more sunlight through the canopy, and dead needles on the ground absorb sunlight, allowing for faster snowmelt. Dead trees also don't suck up water from the soil. Pugh said that could boost potential flood risks but also water availability.
Runoff due to beetle kill is one element missing from the US Army Corps of Engineers' Master Manual. ip's argument seeking to assign some blame to Congressional Republicans like Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns includes additional Colorado and Wyoming inflows to the North Platte and Lake McConaughy in Nebraska, although it is a Bureau of Reclamation project.

The results of recent closed ip poll, "Who's to blame for this year's epic flooding?" are indecipherable leaving me to conclude that it was gamed by either redstaters, apoliticos, or both. The best spin might be that the 14 voters blaming blue states, the President (there might be evidence of his input), and Democrats apparently live outside the Earth's biosphere. There were 184 hits on that poll. Show me the evidence for those voting to blame Democrats.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rapid City fails in referendum on race relations; Corps funding was nixed by House Republicans

A squalid 32% of registered voters turned out to affirm Mayor Alan Hanks' leadership on the continued racial profiling being perpetrated by white members of the Rapid City Police Department. The results lead this blogger to conclude that the other 68% believe that entrenched race hatred is acceptable and popular.

After smoking out a respected progressive member of the Rapid City intelligentsia at Madville Times yesterday in an effort to get a sense of the crippled Democrats' role in the status quo, this messenger came away with little hope that Native Americans living in Rapid City will ever enjoy equal civil rights.

The Buffalo Post feed alerted ip to this Indian Country Today story:
Obtaining internal documents under Canada’s Access to Information Act, Russell Diabo and Shiri Pasternak found a concerted, complex effort to gather information about what the government termed “hot spots” in the aboriginal community, as well as coordinate enforcement efforts with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), they reported in the current edition of the newsletter First Nations Strategic Bulletin. As the authors point out, besides perhaps expecting some opposition to his initial Conservative agenda from First Nations opposition, Harper “was also clearly taking a hard line on aboriginal & treaty rights and moving toward a security paradigm familiar since the War on Terror was launched in 2001.
Rapid City is a failed community. It's reliance on nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base and on Republican-owned Rapid City Regional Hospital System of Carelessness forces complicity in historic hatred of non-whites.

As the mayoral election heads for a June 28 runoff that will likely put radical christian Sam Kooiker at the helm, voters will mull the responsibility for stemming further police oppression as it falls on Democrats Ritchie Nordstrom, after a runoff with Deb Hadcock, and Jerry Wright to lead from the City Council.

The Lincoln, Nebraska JournalStar ran this fascinating letter dated February 4. Here's a snip:
Earmarks of federal funds for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood control studies and projects have a different approval process from many other earmarks. In fact, historically and currently, the only way federal funds are provided for corps projects is a line-item appropriation for a previously authorized project. Congressional members during the appropriations process may request funding for specific corps projects, but only if the projects have been authorized previously by congressional action. These are known as "congressional adds." So, to label all federal earmarks as pet projects or pork is woefully inaccurate because of the planning and analysis process used by the corps and required by Congress.
South Dakota's Republican governor warned us today on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio that it is not yet time to assign blame for flooding. That statement alone makes him a "person of interest" in the crime.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Flooding at the foot of the Continental Divide

It's our turn to sandbag. Sorry, folks: we're sending you some more. The fire whistle blew at about 8 this morning and damned near the whole town showed up to fill sandbags. It has been raining since 8 last night.

At least two residential bridges spanning Basin Creek have been pushed out by boulders rolling along the creek bed. Logs and debris are banging into the bottom of the only bridge that connects us to the rest of civilization.



Across the creek and twenty feet in elevation below us is Basin Creek Pottery.

The Boulder Monitor has more pictures of flooding in Jefferson County at its Facebook page.

Fort Peck increasing releases; more t-storms

It rained all night in Basin increasing the roar of the already bank-filled creek to full throat awaking this blogger at 4 AM. The Boulder River is a frothing chocolate water storm adding volume to the Jefferson River rising to roadway level at their confluence near I-90 just above Cardwell. The morels are fruiting but it's too wet to go out to pick.

Yellowstone Public Radio tells listeners that the Army Corps of Engineers is moving up their scheduled releases from the Fort Peck Reservoir to relieve additional inflow from the Musselshell River system. Billings experienced severe storms and funnel clouds last evening swelling the Yellowstone River to new crests. The Fort Peck Indian Reservation then Bismarck will bear much of the next series of downstream miseries.

Two Corps spokespersons from the Omaha office fielded questions yesterday on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio where the Corps' answer to a question from a loyal listener affirmed state governors' input to the Master Manual.