Monday, March 31, 2014

Wuerthner: apex predators critical to healthy ecosystems




Surprise! The Anthropocene has triggered a trophic cascade. Here's yet another reason young Democrats need to vote in midterm elections:
George Wuerthner, a prolific author, ecologist and longtime critic of grazing on public lands, came to Steamboat Springs in the midst of Agriculture Week on Tuesday to talk about the role of predators, particularly wolves, in healthy natural ecosystems. The theory behind that much talked-about phenomenon, Wuerthner explained, is that when animals like wolves and cougars are removed from the top of a food chain, the numbers and behaviors of prey species are significantly altered. Wolves have, however, aggressively reduced the number of surviving coyote pups by 30 to 40 percent in Glacier and Yellowstone national parks, Wuerthner said. Coyotes are rivals of wolves when it comes to hunting. Mature male cougars tend to dominate large territories that overlap the smaller territories of the three or four females they breed with. When a hunter kills a trophy lion, the removal of that dominant individual allows younger, less effective hunters to occupy the territory. It’s most often these younger lions that interact with human society on the edge of cities like Boulder, Wuerthner said. [Tom Ross, Steamboat Today]

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bison key to rewilding mountain west, high plains




Here are several more reasons young people need to vote in midterm elections.
Proposed changes to a 2001 plan to manage Yellowstone Park’s wild bison will be considered as part of a new environmental impact statement to be jointly developed by the National Park Service and state of Montana. New information and circumstances pertaining to bison and the management of brucellosis will be drawn from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Montana Department of Livestock, and the Park Service, according to a statement released Friday by park officials. [Yellowstone Gate]
Montana's Fish, Wildlife, and Parks has approved wild bison preservation as reported by Matt Golz in the Billings Gazette:
"These majestic animals have played a very significant part in the history, religion and culture of our native people on the Fort Peck reservation," said Fort Peck tribal chairman Floyd Azure. "These bison have sustained our ancestors for thousands of years and they are in need of us of returning the favor. We are here to make sure they will always be here for our children."



Friday, March 28, 2014

Noem, Daugaard screwing poorest South Dakotans

Here are a few more reasons why midterm elections are important to young voters.

Rep. Kristi Noem (earth hater-SD) wants to end environmental protections and has taken steps to gut President Obama's power to protect sensitive lands:
A coalition of more than 50 activist groups sent a letter Monday to U.S. House members urging them to kill a bill that would drastically change the 1906 Antiquities Act and the national monument designation process. The 108-year-old law allows presidents to unilaterally declare historically or environmentally significant lands national monuments. There are times when antiquities, artifacts, prehistoric fossils, public lands, ocean resources or war memorials can be at risk, said Joan Anzelmo, spokeswoman for the Coalition of the National Park Service Retirees, a group that signed the letter. “It would be insane if Congress were to ruin this act that has provided so much for the American People and the American economy,” Anzelmo said. [Kyle Roerink, Casper Star-Tribune]
Just as sage grouse protection helps to kill a Black Hills Power coal-fired plant, the latest near Gillette, Wyoming, that state's At-large representative retaliates with legislation aimed at weakening the Endangered Species Act:
In another attempt to placate their industry benefactors and burnish their Tea Party credibility, House Republicans have introduced four bills that would divert funding from protecting species and discourage citizens from helping enforce the landmark law that has prevented extinction of 99 percent of the species it protects. Under the guise of reform, the highly partisan bills introduced on Thursday by Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and his allies would actually weaken the Endangered Species Act’s effectiveness and redirect scarce agency resources from species-recovery work to pointless reporting requirements. [press release, Center for Biological Diversity]
The National Park Service and the State of Montana have agreed to prepare a joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to mull changes to Yellowstone's bison strategy:
The process will allow the NPS and the State to account for substantial new information and changed circumstances since the implementation of the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) began in 2001, and could result in the creation of a plan to replace the IBMP. The NPS and the State will be working within the guidelines of both the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) in preparing the EIS. [press release, NPS]

Andi Zeisler was in Vermillion and spoke to the University of South Dakota's Diversity Symposium:
Zeisler's keynote presentation included on her experience with the re-appropriation of the use of "the B-word." If being an outspoken woman means being a bitch, Zeisler said she takes that as a compliment, and while some people are offended by its use, she and her coworkers choose to reappropriate the word. It is a matter of getting people to think about what they are saying when they use the word. [Megan Card, The Volante]

Ammonia pollution from agricultural sources poses larger health costs than previously estimated, according to NASA-funded research. Manure from livestock and fertilizer for crops release ammonia to the atmosphere. In the air, ammonia mixes with other emissions to form microscopic airborne particles, or particulates.

Kristi Noem and the United States House GOP voted again, for the 51st time, to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Those votes are totally worthless. Has anyone figured out how much time and tax dollars have been spent on these repeal votes? [Arlen Hanson, Letter: Don't stop health care, Aberdeen American News]

There is a misconception that by expanding Medicare, South Dakota state spending will increase. This is simply not true. Federal contributions to those newly covered under the expansion are much higher than current spending, therefore shifting much of the financial burden from the state level. Hospitals provided approximately $40 billion in uncompensated care in 2011. If we can cut that spending by almost half while providing more citizens with insurance coverage, it is shameful that South Dakota would opt out of this opportunity. The South Dakota government is sending the message that the health of its citizens is not a priority and neither is finding a solution to the national healthcare crisis. [Abby Peters, letter, Pierre Capital Journal]

The Indian health system is underfunded and third-party billing — money from private insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs — is the only way funding will improve. Like it or not, Treaty or not, the Congress is not going to pay for Indian health through appropriations. The $6 billion budget for the Indian Health Service shows the agency collecting more than a billion dollars from Medicaid and only $90,307,000 from private insurance. [Mark Trahant, Indian Country Today]

Thursday, March 27, 2014

SD press group to host earth hater forum

The South Dakota Newspaper Association says it will host a 90-minute debate on April 12 at 10:15 a.m. at the Ramkota Conference Center as part of its annual convention. The debate is open to the public. Watertown Public Opinion publisher Mark Roby will moderate. Questions will come from a panel of three South Dakota newspaper journalists. The June 3 primary winner will join Democrat Rick Weiland and independent Larry Pressler on the Nov. 4 ballot. [AP, KBHB Radio News]

With an April 3 deadline looming for public comments on the military’s proposal to expand its Powder River Basin airspace training area in Indian Country, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has conditioned its permission on nothing less than total disarmament. Three National Historic Landmarks are located beneath the PRTC airspace. Also listed on the National Register, they are Bear Butte sacred area, Frawley Historic Ranch, and Deadwood Historic District. Ellsworth AFB initiated government-to-government consultation with each of the four tribes in the proposed PRTC in April and May 2008. [Talli Nauman, Native Sun News, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe rejects military plan]

Montana’s U.S. senators are accusing the Federal Aviation Administration of not giving Montanans a fair chance to comment on a proposed Air Force bomber training range over southeast Montana. Democratic Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh say the FAA is not following normal federal practices for the public comment, making it difficult for Montanans to respond to Air Force plans for the Powder River Training Complex, which sprawls over an area about the size of South Carolina. Montana pilots in the proposed bomber area have suggested relocating the entire bomber complex to South Dakota, whose U.S. senators are asking the FAA to quickly approve the PRTC. [Tom Lutey, Billings Gazette]

Mark Kirkeby didn't expect that he would be polishing up his resume at this stage of his life. On Feb. 28, Kirkeby said he went to work and was handed a letter — one that said he no longer had a job as development director for the Black Hills Salvation Army in Rapid City. [John Lee McLaughlin, Rapid City Journal]

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hubbel to hammer Daugaard's right side

South Dakota's embattled governor will be getting some religion:
Republican Lora Hubbel of Sioux Falls and Democratic Rep. Susan Wismer of Britton received approval to be on the ballot for the June 3 primary elections. Hubbel, a former one-term legislator, is challenging Gov. Dennis Daugaard for the Republican nomination. Hubbel needed a push in the past weeks to get sufficient signatures to qualify for the ballot. Hubbel’s main themes have been reversing Obamacare and stopping the Common Core standards that are used in South Dakota public schools. Hubbel served in the state House of Representatives for the 2011-2012 term. She ran for the Republican nomination for a state Senate seat in 2012 and lost to the incumbent, Sen. Deb Peters, R-Hartford. [Bob Mercer, Pierre Capital Journal]
Progressives like John Nichols see South Dakota's US Senate race as an opportunity:
This year, with South Dakota’s Senate seat open, Rick Weiland is running like the prairie populists of old—challenging the big corporations that don’t pay their fair share of taxes, big banks that seek bailouts and, above all, the big money that has come to dominate our politics. He has attracted considerable support in South Dakota. Weiland proposed voluntary campaign spending limits. But his likely foe, former Governor Mike Rounds, rejected the idea and has announced plans to raise an epic campaign fund of $9 million—with an eye toward scaring other candidates and Democratic donors away from the race. [Nichols, What DC Democrats Don’t Get About Populism, The Nation]

Tim Johnson may be furious with Denny Daugaard and Pierre while South Dakota's earth hater governor seeks US aid for cyber criminals; but he isn't ready to call South Dakota a failed state:
Sen. Tim Johnson made a stop on the SDSU campus Wednesday, March 19 to discuss how federal funding is aiding research for the state and the university. Johnson has been a large support of the Sun Grant Initiative, a program started at SDSU in early 2001. The grant focuses on research and extension activities, and has been reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. The Sun Grant Initiative is a large source of funding for several of the research projects that are conducted on campus and within Brookings. The grant is good for five years and although it has been included on the 2014 farm bill, the funds still have to be appropriated for the research to be done. [Heidi Kronaizl, SDSU Collegian]
Former Governor Mike Rounds and current office-holder Dennis Daugaard, both members of the earth hater party, have broken federal law.
While smoking rates have dropped nationally to 14 percent, the report said the pattern was uneven and governments can do more to encourage declines in areas like Western South Dakota where above-average rates are still prevalent. [Rapid City Journal]
And:
Cities in the Black Hills region have a higher percentage of residents who lack health insurance coverage, according to data compiled from 2008-2012 by the American Community Survey and United States Census Bureau. [Black Hills Pioneer]

Despite a string of wind generators in central and east central South Dakota, the state ranks 50th in having a clean energy economy, according to a new study by the Brookings [Institution]. The study considers clean energy economies to include industries such as sustainable forest products, biofuels/biomass, wind energy, conservation, public mass transit, hydropower and waste management and treatment. [NPNS, Mitchell Daily Republic]
The dying red state is inviting the firearms and ammunition industry to come pollute South Dakota according to this AP report published at SFGate:
South Dakota officials say they made some promising contacts with outdoors businesses while attending last month's Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas. State Economic Development Commissioner Pat Costello says South Dakota officials have attended the show for the past 12 years.
Minnesota is still cleaning up after one of her 'job creators:'
The New Brighton/Arden Hills Superfund site, which is comprised of the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant and its associated property, is a federal Superfund site located in Arden Hills, Minnesota. Contamination resulting from past ammunition manufacturing operations at the facility has been identified in groundwater, soil, sediment and surface water.

South Dakota, of course, doesn't give one shit about environmental protection or whom is killed by products manufactured in that struggling, red moocher state where liability for deaths due to firearms exist only in an alternate universe.
Several Sioux Falls area businesses will be represented on a trade mission to China with Gov. Dennis Daugaard in April. Each participant selected for the trade mission offers an opportunity to increase state exports to China and create jobs in South Dakota, according to the governor’s office. The trade mission to China is funded through an export promotion grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.--SFBJ.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wismer petitions approved

Roger Larsen of the Huron Plainsman gets today's news nod: he highlighted Rep. Susan Wismer.
“Our voters are the ones who are out there on the edge of survival,” Wismer, a six-year legislator from Britton said at Thursday’s Beadle County Democratic Forum. While many Democrats are among South Dakota’s low-income population, they must also understand how important it is for them to vote if their lot in life is to change, Wismer said. But it’s tough to do that because voting is the furthest thing down on their list of priorities. With Republican control of the administration and Legislature, there have been education and Medicaid cuts, bankrupt projects using state-sanctioned dollars and swelling budget reserves at the same time schools and nursing homes are fighting to keep their doors open, she said. Wismer is calling on her party to rebuild the county organization structure, and for Democrats to get more involved. [The Huron Plainsman]

Four years after Obamacare was enacted, and more than 50 House votes to undo it, Republicans remain dedicated to destroying the law. But they're still lost on what they'd put in its place if given the chance. For one, the project is greatly complicated by election year considerations. Many Republicans would rather hammer Obamacare than do the hard work of crafting and defending a bill of their own. And even if House Republicans coalesce around a bill -- a big if -- it'll invariably carry its own set of tradeoffs and disruptions. That'll be tougher to defend while Republicans are raising hell about cancellations and other disruptions caused by Obamacare. [Sahil Kapur, Talking Points Memo]
Wismer left a comment at Bob Mercer's Pure Pierre Politics:
Your comments regarding lack of public notice are on point, but if you haven’t heard from someone else in the administration already, I don’t think it is fair or even accurate to put the Board of Regents and the technical institutes on the same plane regarding the tuition actions and the representations made during the session. It took me a few minutes to find and confirm my memory, but slide 26 of the Governor’s budget address from December, here: does NOT refer to a tuition “freeze” for the technical institutes. They do refer to a tuition “buy-down” and the Governor verbally refers to a buy-down of $5 per credit hour for them. In comparison, he DOES refer to a tuition “freeze” for in-state students only for the Board of Regents institutions.




Recall Larsen's report about a conference call with Rep. Kristi Noem (earth hater-SD). This stuck out:
While the president’s proposal does start the discussion on entitlements, Noem said she’s also concerned about tax increases and a lack of meaningful spending reductions. Obama also seeks to cut areas critical to South Dakotans like the federally impacted school district program and energy assistance for low-income people, she said.
Right, let Republicans cut assistance to schools and old people because the GOP is so good at ending gun violence.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tribes, ranchers outraged at Ellsworth bomber range expansion, KXL land grab

Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City has lost at least two aircraft in southeastern Montana, tells people that 'malfunctions' plague the aircraft yet acknowledges that bird strikes are all too common.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is giving the public until April 3 to submit letters of comment on the military’s proposal to expand its Powder River Basin airspace training area over four Great Plains Indian reservations and adjacent ancestral lands. The Northern Cheyenne and Crow tribes, as well as the Cheyenne River and Standing Rock Sioux tribes, have been in negotiations since 2008 with the 28th Bomb Wing on its proposal to extend the geographical area for current B-1 bomber training missions operating out of Ellsworth Air Force Base in western South Dakota and B-52 bombers out of Minot Air Force Base in central North Dakota. The expansion of the current Powder River Training Complex (PRTC) would quadruple its area, making it the equivalent of half the size of the entire state of South Dakota -- and the largest terrestrial training airspace over the continental United States. The FAA comments and the tribes’ government-to-government negotiations with the U.S. Air Force are part of the process to finalize a 2010 draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on a 35,000 square-mile range for large-scale bomber and fighter jet exercises. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe said the EIS should examine how the expanded training activities would affect wildlife, already threatened by habitat encroachment from coal bed methane and other energy development near the reservation. [Talli Nauman, Native Sun News, posted at Indianz]

Ranchers north of Belle Fourche are getting angry because of a proposed expansion of an Air Force training area that would have bombers from Ellsworth Air Force Base flying at low levels over their ranches. Tom Davis says his sheep and cattle may run through fences if they're spooked by the big aircraft flying just a few hundred feet above the terrain. A statement from Ellsworth Air Force Base says the expanded air space is necessary to allow multiple aircraft, or formations of aircraft, to use the individual training areas simultaneously. It also says the close proximity of what is called the Powder River Training area to Ellsworth will decrease costs for taxpayers. [Al Van Zee, KEVN teevee]
In a letter to the Secretary of the Air Force and to the Air Force Chief of Staff, Montana Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh have voiced their opposition to the proposed expansion of the Powder River Training Complex in southeastern Montana. Citing the potential loss of 95 Montana jobs, concerns over the safety of Montana citizens from aircraft based at South Dakota's Ellsworth AFB and outcry from residents in the area, the Senators wrote that they are unwilling to include the Little Bighorn National Battlefield within PRTC.
"I would never wish on anybody the noise impact that comes from a B-1 bomber flying over at mach one," says Marvin Kammerer, whose ranch is adjacent to the base. "Thirty-six people have died in plane crashes on this ranch over the years," he adds. Residents worry that the airspace would become too dangerous for civilian planes, turbulence would disrupt wind farms, flares would start wildfires, chaff would sicken livestock, and sonic booms would interrupt the peace and quiet. [Emilene Ostlind, Who's terrorizing who?, High Country News]
Of course Democratic US Senate candidate Rick Weiland doesn't buy the KXL line of Koch.

The US Environmental Protection Agency is calling the State Department review of the ill-fated Keystone XL pipeline "insufficient" according to Zack Colman reporting in The Hill.

So, why should Canada get the flood water from the pending Souris and Red River events when that water could be used to refine tar sands bitumen on Canadian soil?
On April 22nd, our alliance of pipeline fighters — ranchers, farmers, tribal communities, and their friends — called the Cowboy Indian Alliance will ride into Washington DC for the next, and perhaps final, chapter in the fight against Keystone XL. The Cowboy and Indian Alliance (C.I.A) brings together tribal communities with ranchers and farmers living along the Keystone XL pipeline proposed route. Farmers and ranchers know the risk first-hand. They work the land every day. Tribes know the risk first-hand. They protect the sacred water, and defend sacred sites of their ancestors every day. They have united out of love and respect for the land and water on which we all depend.



Sunday, March 23, 2014

Senator Johnson blasts Gov. Daugaard, Pierre

Where to start?

South Dakota's governor Dennis Daugaard says he's a conservative; yet, he has begged for billions from the Obama administration and stuffed his war chest. His predecessor's office where he was lieutenant governor and his current bureaucracy have trafficked Native kids, exploited the federal EB-5 green card scam, and is quietly expanding a Medicaid safety net for those not yet voting for his party. A former legislator insisting she is even farther to his right has threatened to run against him in a GOP gubernatorial primary.

Recall the hopeful piece in the Mitchell Daily Republic where Tom Lawrence reported to readers that Tim Johnson isn't slowing down.
U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, D-S.D., visited the recently opened Aberdeen Community Health Center. “Thanks to the president, they have committed themselves to building more and more community health centers for the lower income people,” Johnson said. He said he hopes for the continuation of more community health care centers being built. “They tell me Huron and Aberdeen have been doing very well; I hope that they continue to pick up the slack,” Johnson said. One of the challenges in Pierre has been with the lack of an expansion of Medicaid. “It is a real problem, as I understand it,” Johnson said. “There’s hope, they tell me, but it doesn’t look good so far,” Johnson said. [Annie King, Johnson speaks about health care needs]
Remember the Republican governor who let the Homestake fill with water, built a sex industry and presided over the highest crime rates in the US?
It’s a more straightforward case, except that the presumptive Republican nominee, Gov. Mike Rounds, has been caught up in a controversy over the state’s participation in the EB-5 immigration visa program. To have much of a chance, Democrats will either need Rounds to lose the Republican primary or be significantly damaged by it. [Nate Silver]
Mike Rounds=Todd Akin? Ouch.

The former South Dakota earth hater governor is hardly universally liked, even among members of his own party. David Montgomery reminds readers of the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:
“There are a lot of people that are discouraged, in a sense, from the way Gov. Rounds spent his time in Pierre,” said state Rep. Manny Steele, R-Sioux Falls. “I’ve heard other conservatives talking, and would tend to agree, Mr. Rounds has a pretty good spending history — he likes to build government and likes to spend money,” said Mike Mueller, president of South Dakota Citizens for Liberty, a Rapid City-based tea party group.
Rounds is running in the earth hater primary: a bid to buy the seat now held by Senator Johnson.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stace Nelson blasts Mike Rounds, SDGOP

We are witnessing corruption in South Dakota that is akin to Third World country corruption. We had politicians that happily sold out that state of South Dakota to get access to communist Chinese money. Wasted millions of taxpayer dollars to do so. I don't know of anybody in my field (military intelligence) that would think it was wise or prudent for any elected official to marry South Dakota taxpayer dollars with communist Chinese interests. [Rep. Stace Nelson, interview in Rapid City Journal]

Friday, March 21, 2014

Daugaard: do as I say, not as I do


Gov. Dennis Daugaard released a statement recently on South Dakota Sen. Phil Jensen's controversial comments to the Rapid City Journal. "I found his comments to be completely out of line with South Dakota values," he said. "I don't agree with him and I haven't talked to anyone who does." [Mitchell Daily Republic]
Candidate Dennis Daugaard drew gasps from a State Fair audience in 2010 when he said: “I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts."
A Halloween tradition in Pierre is for local kids to go trick-or-treating at the governor’s mansion, to get treats from the governor and first lady. Gov. Dennis Daugaard has been a good sport, not just participating but dressing up. Daugaard is Phil Robinson [sic], the duck whistle entrepreneur and patriarch at the heart of the show. Linda Daugaard is Phil’s wife Kay Robinson [sic]. [stolen under artistic license from David Montgomery's Political Smokeout]
In related news: the same NPR ombudsman who criticized the report exposing the Rounds and Daugaard practices of kidnapping American Indian children is urging his employer to abandon the use of the 'R' word when doing stories on the American football team. Listen for the howls of protest from the SDGOP.

Stupid state.




Thursday, March 20, 2014

Judges covering up Pennington County ICWA violations

Pennington County's behavior has been called shocking.

Christina Rose, Native Sun News Associate Editor told readers at indianz:
According to Stephen Pevar, attorney for the ACLU, “What happened in the Pennington County Courts is something you would expect in a Third World Country.” Pevar has been an ACLU attorney for 36 years and said he has never seen such blatant violations in his career.
Daniel Simmons-Ritchie writes in the Rapid City Journal, itself a focus of racial controversy:
Between choked sobs and streaming tears, more than a dozen Native American families delivered testimony Wednesday in Rapid City about how their children were taken from them by South Dakota social workers.
With state officials sitting in the audience and not on the dais, former US Senator James Abourezk urged the federal government to sue the State of South Dakota.

Comes this from Brandon Ecoffey of Native Sun News:
In a suit that was filed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, and the American Civil liberties union on behalf of tribal members in March of last year that alleges that the state of South Dakota and Pennington County specifically, has institutionalized the process of denying tribal members their constitutional right to due process, several judges in South Dakota have refused to comply with a court order to turnover copies of transcripts from hearings that allegedly detail this denial. The five Judges, all from the seventh circuit, refusing to comply with the motion are Judge Eklund, Judge Trimble, Judge Thorstensen, Judge Pfleifle, and Judge Mandel. [Brandon Ecoffey, South Dakota judges balk at ICWA court order]
Recall the resignation of Judge A.P. (Pete) Fuller in 2011:
Pennington County State’s Attorney Glenn Brenner, Rapid City Police Chief Steve Allender and then Pennington County Sheriff Don Holloway made the formal complaint in May that led to Fuller’s suspension and subsequent investigation by the Judicial Qualifications Commission, a seven-member body that includes 7th Circuit Court Judge Jeff Davis of Rapid City. The frustration in the State’s Attorney’s Office reached the boiling point when Judge Fuller called Rapid City police officers a “bunch of racists” while listening to an officer explain in a juvenile court hearing why he stopped a car driven by a Native American who was on probation. [Andrea Cook, Rapid City Journal]
One astute Journal respondent said it this way:
South Dakotans, your memories seem to be hazy. Fuller, a Democrat, is being asked to leave because he engaged in some relatively mildly inappropriate comments. However, when a Republican Governor does the same thing, while killing people on his own time (and then denying the right of the family to sue him by claiming he was on government time), and breaking the speeding laws even more than Kristi, then it seems to be okay. Fuller is being removed because he is a Democrat, period.
This interested party has direct knowledge of abuses visited upon families by employees of the state from 1994 to 2000 and is all too close to this story.
The plan to nearly triple the training airspace for the Air Force Base's Powder River Training Complex has received the support of the Pennington County Commission. The Butte County Commission expressed its concerns back in 2010. [Billings Gazette]

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Acoma enchants






Beauty. Culture. Art....For More Than Two Thousand Years.
Sky City Cultural Center and Haak'u Museum rich in cultural architecture, serves as the reception center and museum for visitors to the Pueblo of Acoma. It's part of New Mexico's cultural heritage, as the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America and the 28th Historic Site designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Acoma history is also the story of the Southwest, from its initial role as the home to the Anasazi people, to the thirteenth century founding of the Pueblo, which is still alive and well as a community and touchstone for Native Americans in the area and nationwide.



Robert was our guide: funny, smart and tribal member. He is standing in front of the mission that Spanish invaders forced the community to build over a sacred kiva.




Something has to said about this image: photos of the cemetery or its walls are forbidden but porta-potties are ubiquitous throughout the village and this shot seems to say it well.







Enchanted Mesa was the first home to the Acoma culture







15 to 20 families live atop the mesa year round








The village was rebuilt after Spanish cannons leveled it and vanquished the population. Some original emplacements can be seen under newer adobe: a material introduced by the invading forces led by catholic friars. That's Mt. Taylor deeper in the shot.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Pennington County under fire: SDGOP legislator getting flayed over KKK remarks

From the beginning, he sensed that something was off. Soon after Rapid City attorney Dana Hanna saw two Indian parents lose their children into the South Dakota foster system in less than a minute during a routine court appearance in October 2011, he began asking questions and requesting records from the Pennington County Court Clerk's office. [Suzette Brewer, Swept Away, Part 2: Oglala v. Van Hunnik]
Not long after two boys were rescued from a mud hole, and a Sioux Falls legislator made an ass of herself at CPAC, a GOP lawmaker from Rapid City has stepped into a manure pile:





Sex trade flourished under Rounds, spikes under Daugaard: Johnson to brief public


Media Advisory - Press Conference March 17
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMarch 13, 2014
Contact: Ace Crawford
605-341-1915
United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson will hold a Press Conference on Monday, March 17, 2014, at 11:30 a.m. CST.

WHEN: Monday, March 17, 2014, at 11:30 a.m. CST. Members of the media should arrive by 11:00 a.m. due to extra security measures.

WHERE: United States Attorney's Office, 325 S. 1st Ave., Suite 300, Sioux Falls, SD.

NOTE: Media must enter through the third floor reception area. ALL media MUST PRESENT GOVERNMENT-ISSUED PHOTO ID (such as driver’s license) as well as VALID MEDIA CREDENTIALS. Press inquiries regarding logistics should be directed to Community Services Coordinator Ace Crawford at 605.341.1915 or 605.838.6092.

If human trafficking came to a halt what would legislators do for amusement in Pierre during the session? The GOP calls rape "the pursuit of sexual freedom."

Habitat destruction, lapses in ethics, scandal, crime spikes, increased incarceration rates, more people infected with sexually transmitted diseases, the failure of prisons, human trafficking: all mark the terms of Republican governors in South Dakota. The state leads the nation in the growth of violent crime.
Three years ago, prostitution was an afterthought for Sioux Falls police. There were six arrests in 2010: Four for prostitution, two for pimping. For more than a decade, federal law has defined those pushed into sex for money through force, fraud or coercion as victims, but acceptance of that definition within law enforcement has come slowly. The biggest formal change came last year, as U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson convened a human-trafficking task force, which included law enforcement from the state Division of Criminal Investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sioux Falls police and the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office. [AP, Pierre Capital Journal]
From KOTA teevee:
Human sex trafficking is happening right here in South Dakota. Nearly 100 people turned out to hear speakers teach about human trafficking and raise awareness about the problem in our area. Speakers included Brendan Johnson, the United States attorney for South Dakota, Brent Gromer, South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, and Hollie Strand, a forensic interviewer for the Child Advocacy Center of the Black Hills. [Alexandra Montgomery, Human sex trafficking conference held; a problem in SD]
Embattled At-large-bottomed Rep. Kristi Noem (earth hater-SD) has opened a can of worms by bringing sunlight to the pollutants generated by agriculture in a state where the levels of toxicity in soils is off the charts in most watersheds.
A few years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced they wanted to regulate dust to the point that it would have been hard for farmers to dig their fields unless it had rained that week. OSHA doesn’t belong on family farms, and the law clearly states that. They don’t need to be threatened with more regulatory oversight to make sure they’re operating in a way that keeps their family safe. [some Noem staffer]
Even the conservative Billings Gazette editorial board gulped then praised the new EPA emissions rules:
How big a problem is mercury pollution? It’s a bigger concern in New England where wind patterns tend to carry emissions from other states. But even in Montana, dozens of lakes have such high levels of mercury that people are advised to avoid or limit consumption of fish caught in them. Mercury is particularly bad for children and women of childbearing age because of the damage it does to a developing fetus and to a child’s growing brain.

For one semester I attended Roosevelt School on E. North Street in Rapid City. The school is now a huge pawn shop. My friend Edgar Lone Hill and I decided to walk one of the girls in our fourth grade class home. When we got to her house her mother came out and screamed, “You dirty little Indians stay away from my daughter.” We were never friends with her again. Native Americans were forbidden by law to enter any establishment where alcohol was served. In fact, Indians could be barred from any establishment in Rapid City at the behest of the business owner. Kind of reminds me of the law the Arizona lawmakers tried to initiate last week. I learned to say the Pledge of Allegiance before “one nation under God” was added in 1954. As I grew up the words “with liberty and justice for all” sort of stuck in my craw because I knew them to just be words with no connection to reality. [Tim Giago, Liberty and justice for all -- except Native Americans, indianz]

GOP to sue administration over legal cannabis; Rand Paul's state cultivation leader



You can't make this shit up.
If you’ve been wondering how Darrell Issa is spending his time since the Benghazi scandal proved to be a non-scandal, he, along with several of his colleagues want to sue President Obama for not arresting people for marijuana in states where it’s legalized. Legislation was actually passed on Thursday to force Obama to crack down on states that have legalized marijuana in any form. [Freak Out Nation]
We Democrats would be foolish not to cheer Sen. Rand Paul (earth hater-KY) as he packs thermite into the basement of his party's world trade center.
Kristin Nevedal chairs the Emerald Growers Association, the triangle's marijuana trade group. The coauthor of an ecofriendly pot-farming guide, she often consults with state and local lawmakers about how to make the industry more responsible. "Prohibition hasn't curbed the desire for cannabis," she says. "So we really need to look at changing our policy and starting to treat it like agriculture, so we can manage it."There will likely still be a niche for the Emerald Triangle growers who started it all, Nevedal believes, just as there has been for craft whiskey distilleries in post-Prohibition Kentucky. Growing really good weed is simply too much work and too much strain on the environment to make sense on an industrial scale. [Mother Jones]
Sen. Paul wants legal GMO hemp: is that want America wants?

Cannabis is already a 35 billion dollar crop in the US.

Most cannactivists see the future of the business as a synthesis of the cannabis equivalents of organic microbreweries, vintners, and greenhouses rolled into (heh heh) cottage industries that can withstand fiduciary and insurance requirements without large corporations running the show.

Recall that California's Prop 19 went down because growers didn't then, and don't now, want to cede control of strains to the state.

Comes this from Doug Fine posted at AlterNet. He talked to a grower named Mark who said:
“It’ll be the end of the small farmer,” he told me. “Foks’ll [sic] be buying packages of joints made by Coors or Marlboro.” Section 40 of Title 27 of the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s regulations has 534 subsections. If a black-market farmer is simply churning out quick turnaround, pesticide-heavy, indoor-grown popcorn buds to pay the mortgage, that farmer is going to lose out to Coors-style mass-produced cannabis, because he’s essentially growing a Coors-quality product already.
Danger, though, lurks in other places besides Big Tobacco and Alcohol for the small post-drug war cannabis farmer. The first few years of federal drug peace will be the best of times and the worst of times for the independent cannabis farmer. Just as the end of alcohol Prohibition put bootleggers out of business, the question of who will snatch the cannabis market when the cartels are pulled out of the equation is ultimately up to America’s 100 million cannabis consumers.
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 seeking cannabis as medicine can be seen by a health care provider and be excused from paying the excise taxes.

Anyone who doesn't see the consequences of Citizens United as guaranteed free speech telegraphed into cannabis law is blind.