Monday, October 23, 2017

Pheasant phorecast: phirst phowl phormally phucked


Introduction of the Chinese ring-necked pheasant to South Dakota is one of most destructive examples of ecoterrorism in US history.

Not only has it heralded the eradication of habitat for native wild turkeys and grouse species this year's near eradication of pheasants is bringing an unsustainable hunting demand on waterfowl in the Prairie Pothole Region.
Staggering habitat losses have put at risk the state’s reputation as a ringneck Mecca. South Dakota lost 1.8 million grassland acres between 2006 and 2012, a sizable portion of which came from the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which pays producers to idle marginal cropland. As a result, pheasant numbers tumbled 30 percent from the 10-year average. Hunter participation and hunter harvest also have nose-dived. [Star-Tribune]
A decade ago CRP acres were about 1.5 million in South Dakota but that number has plummeted as it has throughout the US.
If they initially qualified for CRP contract by plugging some wetlands, those wetland could qualify as mitigation acres, if the farmer doesn’t take the plugs out when the CRP contract expires. [Profit from wetland rules: Offer mitigation acres]
The CRP program was thirty years old last year.

Pheasants don't eat grasshoppers but wild geese and turkeys sure do while the pesticide industry that greases Republican politicos don't give a shit about anything but profits. The reasoning is hardly mysterious: it's all about the money hunting and subsidized grazing bring to the South Dakota Republican Party depleting watersheds and smothering habitat under single-party rule.

South Dakota's experiment introducing an exotic species has just not been able to keep up breeding a bird unable to adapt to the state's brutal weather and climate science-denying legislature.

During the past weekend social media images of grinning white people with several thousand dead pheasants told a story of an industry on the wane even as some announced the sale of former ag land to out of state buyers promising wildlife restoration. Even children have been enlisted to remove the non-native bird from South Dakota grouse habitat.

Add the extirpation of apex predators, the resulting rise of mesopredators, increasing numbers of domestic dogs and cats then stir in a melange of industrial chemicals and climate change and voila! Red state collapse on parade.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Front Range rail service depends on Denver's future

As the New Mexico Rail Runner suffers a downturn in ridership Move Cheyenne is studying passenger rail to Denver.
The Action & Advocacy Committee of The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce met on October 10, 2017, in Cheyenne. Chamber CEO/President, Dale Steenbergen, shared more on the Move Cheyenne initiative that focuses on solutions for the I-25 corridor. "Our businesses need accessibility to/from Denver. Rail and road are our primary areas of focus to achieve this." stated Steenbergen. The partnership of Chambers of Commerce along the Front Range works to strengthen the advocacy related to the Move Cheyenne initiative. This collaboration will help provide regional solutions for regional issues. Wyoming Wranglers, the program funding a Lobbyist at the Federal Level, is also focusing on transportation and will work to drive the budget towards supporting a regional project, such as this. [Move Cheyenne]
Denver is lobbying hard to attract Amazon's second headquarters although Albuquerque has an outside chance.
Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, chairwoman of the Rio Metro board, said she expects Rail Runner ridership to bounce back as the economy improves. Public transportation is important to economic development efforts, she said, as shown by Amazon’s desire for a strong mass transit system wherever it builds its new headquarters. And, of course, some people already rely on the Rail Runner to get to work, she said. [Albuquerque Journal]
A bi-annual survey found 86 percent of regular riders of the New Mexico Rail Runner rate the service very high. 77 percent of the passengers believe price structure is good or excellent.

About 126,000 boardings and departures by Southwest Chief riders are made each year in New Mexico. Amtrak says it employs 57 New Mexicans and total wages were about $5.2 million in 2014.

Denver International Airport is Hell to fly into and then finding a way back into the city complicated and expensive. If the political will existed the Rail Runner could access the Lamy spur from Santa Fe and go directly into Denver serving Colorado communities along the way.

Equip the Rail Runner to connect with Amtrak farther south in New Mexico then on to El Paso and put the Rail Runner into downtown Denver to connect with the California Zephyr, maybe into Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Anyone with me?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

New Mexico learning lesson of South Dakota's red state failure


New Mexico is one of only 13 states to have implemented some kind of public financing system and the cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe have adopted the rules. State Auditor Tim Keller, a Democrat, is leading in Albuquerque's mayoral race.

The state's legislators are unpaid and it’s one of just eight states without an independent ethics commission.
In November 2016, for example, South Dakota voters passed Initiated Measure 22, which provided for an overhaul of the state’s campaign disclosure laws and other major reforms, including tough new rules on lobbying and ethics and the creation of a new state ethics commission. Two Koch-backed groups—Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and Concerned Women for America—spearheaded a campaign called Defeat22, with AFP providing $590,000 of the roughly $610,000 raised. Although the campaign failed to stop the ballot measure, which passed with 52 percent of the vote, it was apparently enough to persuade the state legislature to step in. Invoking an “emergency” clause, legislators repealed the changes that the voters had just approved, undoing the much-needed reforms. [The Fight Against Dark Money in New Mexico and Beyond]
To address Pierre's culture of corruption a task force of four South Dakota Democratic legislators, four Republicans and three people representing Republicans have voted to tighten provisions that currently allow gifts to public officials but the SDGOP earth haters prevailed in blocking lower campaign limits.

Supporters of IM22 in South Dakota have collected some 50,000 signatures to put an analog measure on the 2018 ballot so voters can have another chance to overturn the whims of that state's Koch-mad reactionary electioneers.

Steve Pearce, an earth hater running for his party's nomination for governor has sued New Mexico's Democratic secretary of state to release campaign funds Pearce raised as US representative from his district.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

New Mexico cannabis grower's collaboration with Israeli firm is deeply troubling


In March Israel-based Panaxia Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and New Mexico-based Ultra Health opened a facility in Bernalillo to manufacture cannabis oil, oral tablets, suppositories, pastilles, transdermal patches and topical creams.

The collaboration comes on the heels of a University of New Mexico resolution demanding the school divest from corporations that profit from human rights violations both in Palestine and at the US-Mexico border. It was later rescinded.
Last year, Human Rights Watch urged that all corporations had to end all business in or with settlements in order to comply with their human rights obligations, and that governments are responsible for taking steps to discourage settlements. “Settlement businesses unavoidably contribute to Israeli policies that dispossess and harshly discriminate against Palestinians, while profiting from Israel’s theft of Palestinian land and other resources,” Arvind Ganesan, director of the group’s business and human rights division, said. There is also a growing consensus among international legal scholars that trade in settlement goods violates international law. [The Electronic Intifada]
New Mexico is struggling with its own colonial past.
When it comes to Native American history, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz is out to squash every superstition, lie, and rumor. Remember, it was a papal bull that gave permission for the Portuguese to colonize Africa, for the Spanish to colonize the Americas. It was taken up by British Protestants, too — it essentially became international law — the right to colonize non-Christian peoples. Thomas Jefferson supported this doctrine, and under Andrew Jackson, it was codified into law as the U.S. sought the subjugation of Indians west of the Mississippi River. That follows us to this day,” Dunbar-Ortiz said. [Pasatiempo]
Ultra Health has just opened its ninth dispensary, this one in Silver City, inching it closer to a virtual monopoly in New Mexico's lucrative cannabis industry. Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez has praised the state for blooming sales and is showering Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Michelle Lujan Grisham with campaign dollars.

How condoning the loss of local control and colonial brutality both in Palestine and in New Mexico looks good to Democratic voters remains a mystery.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sturgis proves it's the worst town in South Dakota

“Go back to the rez!”

A South Dakota school board has voted unanimously to cancel homecoming activities that would have featured a football game between the Sturgis Scoopers and the Pine Ridge Thorpes after a car bearing hate speech and a symbol painted on it that some said resembled a swastika was smashed by Sturgis students.

After numerous racially-charged episodes at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in Rapid City the President of the Oglala Lakota Nation came under intense pressure to urge organizers of the Lakota Nation Invitational to move that event.

While incidents like the one in Sturgis are not uncommon in South Dakota white nationalist incitements have intensified after Russia helped Donald Trump steal the 2016 presidential election.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke says that if Confederate monuments are taken down, there’s no telling how far America might go —Native Americans could call for the removal of statues commemorating leaders who orchestrated violence against their ancestors. [Huffington Post]
The United States was founded on the backs of slaves as systematic genocide became a way of life for white christians quoting scripture as they slaughtered their fellow humans. After colonizers realized enslaved American Indians had no resistance to diseases brought from the Old World, Africans were imported to do the dirty work.

US Presidents Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren drove thousands from their lands and to their deaths over the Trail of Tears yet Rapid City brazenly displays their likenesses in conspicuous locations downtown.

South Dakota is home to numerous sculptures that idolize genocide visited upon American Indians. Mount Rushmore is the state's premier example of racist ideology. Its sculptor was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Sturgis is home to Fort Meade: one of the last outposts supporting the US Army's war against Native forces.

In a June poll hosted by this blog readers voted Sturgis "worst town in South Dakota."

Right to life? Only if you're white in Trump's America.