Tuesday, September 27, 2016

South Dakota sucks so badly meth looks like a gift from god

All of a sudden we know why Governor Denny Daugaard wants to tap federal money for Medicaid expansion: he has a gun to his head.

Thanks to meth South Dakota's law enforcement industry enjoyed a 22 percent increase in drug arrests last year, the Republicans are out of cash to house inmates and civil forfeiture just isn't paying the bills.
While the Public Safety Improvement Act was not designed to address drug trafficking, we need to consider whether our practices need to adapt to address the growing number of drug-related incarcerations. Just as we all tend to overlook our own shortcomings, some politicians tend to defend their programs at all costs. I have tried to do the opposite. [Daugaard staffer writing in the Rapid City Journal]
Under Denny Daugaard and the SDGOP American College Testing scores in Rapid City are in free fall. Rapid City schools suffer the worst attendance rates in the United States, 2016's ACT scores are below the state average, and the lowest the district has seen in 10 years. All the while the Republican school to prison pipeline is thriving.

A Feeding America survey shows 105,880 people in South Dakota are food insecure. Homelessness in the state is rampant; drunk driving, meth use and teen binge drinking are off the charts.

The state is second in addiction to gambling and teachers' salaries are 51st in the nation. Wage slavery is the state's biggest claim to fame and South Dakota dairies are wreaking habitat havoc. Infrastructure is crumbling and the state's bureaucracy is overbearing and unwieldy. Ag groups want federally subsidized crop insurance and the right to pollute. Corruption and graft are commonplace.

Pollution from industrial agriculture has made waterways poisonous, the state has no modern statute addressing financial assurances for pipeline leaks. Trophy fishing for threatened species is a tourist activity. East River, South Dakota is a dead zone and likely a new repository for nuclear waste.

Racism is endemic and white immigrants have been accepted while displacing and disgracing American Indians. South Dakota wrongly puts thousands in nursing homes. Mass incarceration fuels the white foster home industry: a pet project of the governor's wife.

In South Dakota 302 children are confined per 100,000 kids; that's the highest number in the United States according to Pew.

Habitat destruction, lapses in ethics, 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.

South Dakota is a sanctuary state for white collar crime, too.

South Dakota has the worst access to healthy food in the United States.

The crony capitalism that keeps South Dakota the 8th worst state for the working class is destroying lands promised to native peoples by treaty and my home town of Elkton is struggling to find enough housing for migrant workers often living in squalor.

South Dakota isn't about growth; it's about keeping Social Security recipients alive long enough to pay the property taxes that sustain red state failure.

Meanwhile, climate change denier Republican Governor Denny Daugaard is presiding over an exodus of educators fleeing the failed red state. He has virtually hand-picked a compliant extremist legislature.

Little wonder South Dakota's junior senator wants to abolish the US Department of Education: it is condemning the state's failure to produce.

Make South Dakota great again. Flush the SDGOP.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Forest Service to State of South Dakota: fuck you

As Governor Denny Daugaard sues to prevent Pe'Sla from becoming federal trust land the Sicangu Oyate has filed an opposition to transfer of land in Spearditch Canyon to the racist State of South Dakota.

Herded by Senator don Juan Thune (earth hater-SD) the failed red state's extremist delegation is trying to force the land grab through Congress.
The U.S. Forest Service stated its opposition Thursday to a bill that would trigger a federal-state land swap and facilitate the creation of a state park in Spearfish Canyon. The bill, known formally as the Spearfish Canyon and Bismarck Lake Land Exchange Act, would transfer two chunks of the federally owned Black Hills National Forest to state ownership: 1,468 acres in the Spearfish Canyon area of the northern Black Hills and 524 acres adjacent to Custer State Park in the central Black Hills, including Bismarck Lake and also Camp Bob Marshall. [Rapid City Journal]
The Canadian miner Barrick Gold gave the land in question to the state instead of remanding it to its rightful tribal owners. Barrick returned some Wyoming holdings to the tribes; and, after it takes responsibility for its complicity in the destruction of the Missouri River Basin it should divest of its remaining holdings in the sacred Black Hills remanding them to the owners by treaty.

Thune wants more bureaupublicanism to slow Forest Service efforts in reducing problem fuels on public lands.

The Service has seen the wisdom of my plan to restore portions of the Black Hills National Forest to pre-European settlement conditions.

It's only a matter of time before the US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of Interior, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the US Environmental Protection Agency come to South Dakota and tell Gov. Daugaard he has better shit to do than tell sovereign tribes how to run their worlds.

South Dakota-owned lands are already fucked. Gaia may not even be enough to fix those.

Of course, the South Dakota Democratic Party should urge President Obama to dissolve the Black Hills National Forest, move management of the land from the US Department of Agriculture into the Department of Interior; and, in cooperation with Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Forestry and Wildfire Management, rename it Okawita Paha or He Sapa National Monument eventually becoming part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge. Mato Paha (Bear Butte), the associated national grasslands and the Sioux Ranger District of the Custer/Gallatin National Forest should be included in the move.

It's time for the State of South Dakota to abandon Bear Butte State Park that it claimed through colonization and remand it to the tribes for governance so they can restore its name to Mato Paha and for the US Park Service to add the name Mahto Tipila to Devils Tower National Monument.

Last year this interested party told Daugaard that the blog would support his land grab if he backed the kurtz cannabis template. So far that has yet to happen.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Told you so: SDGFP responsible for bighorn/biker collision

Thirty years ago Sheryl Hicks was a knockout: tall, thin, sparkling blue eyes. Today, not so much.

When this writer was in the food service industry Sheryl and her husband Larry operated Madre's Pizza in Wall; but, after the Husteads began offering pizza at Wall Drug the Hickses relocated to LawCo then became involved in the gambling industry.
The 60-year-old Hicks, who lives in Deadwood and has been riding motorcycles nearly all her life, wrestled her bike to a stop. She and her 16-year-old niece, who was on the seat behind her, were safe. There are about 35 bighorn sheep in the Deadwood-area herd, according to John Kanta, Rapid City-based supervisor for the state Department of Game, Fish & Parks. Bighorn sheep are native to the Black Hills, but because of uncontrolled hunting, they were gone from the Hills by the early 1900s. Reintroduction efforts intended to provide public hunting and viewing opportunities have since rebuilt Black Hills bighorn sheep numbers to around 400, split among various herds in the region. [Bad cycle crash highlights concerns about bighorn sheep in Deadwood area]
Back in May of 2015 I said:
During the Sturgis Rally riders loop through Aladdin to Hulett and Devils Tower then back through Sundance. Highways are often crowded to capacity and drunken bikers can be seen weaving over every roadway in the Black Hills. Deer are unpredictable and now join bighorn sheep, recently released by the South Dakota's GOP wildlife 'management' arm, as obstacles to avoid. [The Dakota Progressive]
The Grizzly Gulch Fire opened nearly 13,000 acres of overgrown and beetle-killed ponderosa pine but invasive weeds and cheatgrass moved in because cars and hunters have killed off the elk, white-tailed and mule deer. Now, the US Forest Service has allowed a state agency known for ecocide to introduce a species prone to disease.
GF&P released 26 head of bighorns trapped and transferred from the Hinton, Alberta, Canada area, somewhere east of Jasper National Park, then hauled them down for release at a high-country place near Deadwood left open by the burn in 2002. Sheep like open country more than dense forest. The project was helped along by the $82,000 raised last year by the auction of one of three bighorn hunting tags authorized by the state Game, Fish & Parks Commission. To say nothing of mountain lions, which of course they would have known up in Canada. They’ll know them here, too. And depending on who you talk to, lions could be a major or relatively minor threat to the well being and growth of the new herd. [Kevin Woster, KELO]
So, Game, Fish and Plunder has learned nothing from Arizona?
In 2013, Arizona Game and Fish began its on-going program to reintroduce bighorn sheep to the Santa Catalina Mountains. At the time, 31 of them were relocated to the area from Yuma. More than half of that herd were killed by mountain lions a few months later - causing the department to eliminate three of them for preying on the sheep. They've been largely criticized for that move, and for the reintroduction as a whole by groups like Friends of Wild Animals. The release gives some background, saying lion killings in the Catalinas were up to a couple of dozen by 2012, then when the bighorns were introduced, this leveled off, and last year the deaths dropped to 12 by hunters, 1 by bighorn program and 1 by a rancher as of December 2014. [Tucson Weekly]
Hunting cougars with dogs has been blessed by South Dakota but not within the Black Hills district.
In 2005 the harvest quota was 25 lions or five breeding-age females. The sub quota was reached in 24 days, faster than anyone anticipated. Today there is a 75-lion quota and a sub quota of 50 female lions. So far this season, 17 lions have been killed including nine female lions. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Stupid state. Red state failure on parade.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Small government Thune wants another layer of bureaupublicanism for fuel treatments

After a century of destructive ranching practices invasive grasses infest most of western South Dakota.

Cost to We the People for managing the Pautre Fire was about $1 million. No livestock was lost and there was minimal damage to fences. 3,519 acres of federal and 7,160 acres of private property were cleared of cheatgrass and other invasive species. There were no injuries and the only structure lost was a derelict rural schoolhouse.

The US Forest Service knew an advancing cold front would aid the clearing of the foot-high grasses and mowed a fire break instead of using a disk to make a fire line. Snow showers ended the burn.

Senator John Thune (earth hater-SD) is touting S.1100: the Prescribed Burn Approval Act of 2015 as a solution to a problem that doesn't even exist.
[The bill] Bars any federal agency from authorizing a prescribed burn on federal land if, for the county or contiguous county in which the federal land is located, the grassland fire danger index indicates a high, very high, or extreme danger of grassland fire or the Forest Service has declared a very high or extreme fire danger, unless the agency obtains prior approval from the applicable state government and local fire officials. Makes a federal agency that authorizes a prescribed burn liable for any damage to private property, notwithstanding the Federal Tort Claims Act or any state law. [ProPublica]
"Ready. Fire. Aim." Custer-based Wildfire Today lowered the boom on South Dakota's GOP senior US Senator.
Our position is that it is very appropriate for the legislative Branch to provide oversight of actions taken by the Executive Branch of government. However, that oversight should NOT be a knee-jerk reaction based on the quick assumptions and guesses of a Senator about what caused a particular outcome. Wait until the facts are in, THEN provide reasoned advice based on science. Politicians should take a breath, and resist the overwhelming temptation to criticize the administration of the other party before the facts are known. [excerpt, Wildfire Today]
Federal agencies always coordinate prescribed burns with local and state officials while using weather models to optimize fuel treatment effectiveness.
Neither the [US] Forest Service [nor] the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) are commenting on criticism from South Dakota Republican Senator John Thune over the handling of prescribed burns in the area. But both stand by the use of controlled burns as a solid management tool – even when they get out control as was the case recently at Wind Cave National Park. While U.S. Sen. John Thune has introduced a bill that would require collaboration between federal and local officials before a prescribed burn on federal lands when fire danger is high, that concept is already in place – leaving some to wonder if the congress [member] is simply grand standing ahead of an election year. KBHB Radio
On the same day the Cold Brook Fire was lit ahead of forecast snow and rain land managers should have put the drip torch to every parcel of public ground in a triangle with points at Wright, Wyoming; Bismarck, North Dakota and Brush, Colorado.

A study funded by the Forest Service shows litigation can affect local businesses and economies but the Black Hills National Forest is largely devoid of logging lawsuits because too few people care about that threatened ecosystem.

Thune is a flip flopper, most recently after overwhelming data confirms human-induced climate change.

A better idea would be to make the Forest Service look more like the Bureau of Reclamation, move it out of USDA and put it into the Department of Interior.
An inspector general’s report finds the U.S. Forest Service lacks a consistent way to pick high-priority wildfire fuels reduction projects, doesn’t use scientifically based risk assessments to choose them and has been over-counting the number of acres it has treated to reduce wildfire risk. [Rob Chaney, The Missoulian]
Hey, John: how is heaping another layer of bureaupublicanism on a federal agency, whose budget is pinched already by your political party's anal retentiveness, conservative or sustainable?

In related stories, the conservative Heritage Foundation has decried payments to welfare ranchers and Representative Krisi Noem (earth hater-SD) wants more welfare for her farmer/donors.