Thursday, December 31, 2015

President Rubio? LOL

Marco Rubio isn't just a lousy money manager he's a serial con man.
When Marco Rubio was majority whip of the Florida House of Representatives, he used his official position to urge state regulators to grant a real estate license to his brother-in-law, a convicted cocaine trafficker who had been released from prison 20 months earlier, according to records obtained by The Washington Post. The governor, at that time, was Rubio’s political mentor, Jeb Bush — who is now running against the Florida senator for the Republican presidential nomination.
Read the rest here.

Rubio has misused Republican credit cards on spending sprees rocking his campaign and putting him deeply into debt.

Under fire for missing key Senate votes Rubio is currently joy-riding through Iowa cherry-picking decisions made by the Supreme Court of the United States and parroting the Benghazi trope.

The Republicans can't afford to lose Rubio in the Senate so he won't be Donald Trump's Veep pick either.

Back in September half of Florida voters thought catholics Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio should drop out of the Trump Show.

South Dakota's At-large Representative Kristi Noem is supporting Rubio for the Republican presidential nomination.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Colorado judge concerned cannabis in a more dangerous category than cocaine

Update, 30 December, 1420 MST: A Democratic New Mexico legislator has pre-filed a bill resembling Colorado's law that legalizes cannabis. Wyoming Democrat Jim Byrd has drafted legislation that would ease penalties for possession and recognize licenses from states where therapeutic use is legal.


U.S. District Judge R. Brooke Jackson is hearing arguments today in a Colorado cannabis banking case but has no deadline for making a decision.

Colorado Public Radio's Ben Markus and Kristen Wyatt of the Associated Press are covering the hearing.

The federal government has asked the Supreme Court of the United States not to hear a lawsuit brought by Oklahoma and Nebraska Republican attorneys general.
Not all employers are taking the just-say-no approach. Some are rethinking their policies and considering ditching their marijuana bans altogether. [ABA Journal]
Read more on the story here.

Tribal casinos are miniature banks. Colorado could enter a cannabis compact with the Ute Nation in the state and let the tribe be the bank.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

All the above: fire, bark beetle, thinning critical for water supplies

Update, 28 December, 1350 MST:
Despite the gains, at least 65 million National Forest System acres are still in need of restoration, agency leaders said, explaining that the rising cost of wildfire suppression has taken funding away from restoration, watershed and wildlife programs, limiting the Forest Service’s ability to do the work that would prevent fires in the first place. [Bob Berwyn]

Update, 26 December, 0915 MST: "Fire top factor as officials update forest management plan:" Santa Fe New Mexican.


Laura McCarthy is director of conservation for the Nature Conservancy in New Mexico.
“Healthy forests, which are not so packed, release more water,” McCarthy said. “Overgrown forests are not in the condition to function as the water towers we need them to be. Overgrown forests work at 70 percent of their capacity.” She said investors know that water is critical to the economy, and that water fund projects are as important to business as they are to the environment. [Albuquerque Journal]
And, from the US Geological Survey:
Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), the most widely distributed pine in North America, experienced one of the most rapid and extensive of these post-glacial plant migrations. The eastern race of ponderosa pine (variety scopulorum) spread northward along the Rocky Mountains, starting at its northernmost known distribution in southern New Mexico and Arizona around 13,000 years ago, and reached central Montana only within the last millennium. The western race (variety ponderosa) experienced a parallel but less well-known migration along the Sierra Nevada, eventually mingling with the northernmost populations of the eastern race in the northern Rockies. [Climate Past as Prologue for Ponderosa Pines]
Talk about shutting the barn door after the horses were incinerated by arsonists.
Any fire study that only looks back as far as 1979 ignores huge fires that resulted from major droughts in earlier decades. The 1970s were one of the wettest decades on record, with an average of just 3 million acres a year burned. By comparison, there were 9 million acres of annual fires in the 1950s; 23 million in the 1940s; and 39 million in the 1930s. While there are some problems with data from those early decades, they are valid enough to show that recent changes in droughts and fires are due to cyclical variations in climate, not to human-caused warming. [The Antiplanner]
How firing off those forests didn't contribute to a warming planet remains a mystery.
On average, the Forest Service spends about $1.3 billion on fire suppression, but that cost has been steadily rising in recent years. This year, for the first time ever, more than half of the Forest Service’s budget was dedicated to fire, meaning that other, non-fire programs — like watershed management or road maintenance — have seen their budgets decline. [2015 Was The Costliest Wildfire Season Ever]
Global warming has been accelerating since humans began setting fires to clear habitat, as a weapon or just for amusement. The Industrial Revolution and European settlement in the New World took hardwoods for charcoal then humans allowed fast-growing conifers to replace lost forests.
A new analysis of the fossil record by scientists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has revealed that the structure of plant and animal communities changed significantly about 6,000 years ago, around the time agriculture began to spread across North America. Obviously, something had changed the way plants and animals interacted with each other and with their environments — the question that remained was what might have been the cause. The researchers had two main theories: the first was that changes in the climate were responsible, and the second was that some kind of other biological pressure, likely human activities — which were on the rise during this period in history — was to blame.
Read that here.

Grass, gambel oak and creosote bushes would replace the piƱon and juniper stands where groundwater is threatened.
According to a new scientific study, New Mexicans might come to live amid such a landscape, virtually barren of all coniferous trees, within a generation or two. The study, led by a Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher, says the conifers of the southwestern United States’ pine-juniper woodlands could be wiped out by climate change. “What we found is that by 2050, give or take multiple decades, there should be no forests in the Southwest,” said Los Alamos ecologist Nate McDowell. [Albuquerque Journal]
According to the US Department of Interior forests, grasslands, shrublands and other ecosystems in the West sequester nearly 100 million tons (90.9 million metric tons) of carbon each year.

The US Forest Service responded to 52 new wildland fire starts totaling 23,425 acres during just one day in August. 15,089 of those acres are in the Northwest. The US Army mobilized to assist with structure protection. A record 35 Incident Meteorologists were deployed to support firefighters and to provide vital weather info to responders.

Latest reports place western wildfire damage at a record-breaking 6.9 million acres so far this season, 45% higher than in an average year. Half of the Forest Service budget is ear-marked for wildland fire costs and this year's allotment is up in flames.

Dense Douglas fir, spruce, lodgepole, ponderosa pine stands prevent aspen restoration and hardwood release while opposition to mechanical harvest rages on in the environmental community. No longer natural after a century of fire suppression Montana's forests are building fuel loads in habitats where indigenous cultures cleared for millennia.

Last year the western spruce budworm defoliated 25,000 acres of Douglas fir, Engelmann spruce and lodgepole pine in northwestern Wyoming: more evidence of anthropogenic climate change.

Trees growing on public land are not agriculture any more than wild salmon are aquaculture. One part of a solution to forest management woes is to move the US Forest Service from the US Department of Agriculture into Interior where American Indian nations could more easily assume additional responsibilities for stewardship on public land.

People building in or near these hazards should be denied homeowners insurance but blaming federal land managers for running out of money to protect private property while denying climate disruptions are influenced by human activity is just delusional.

Pre-emptive burns and managed lightning-struck fires are essential to restoring balance in western ecosystems just like letting bison crop invasive grasses is to the Greater Missouri Basin.

There are no naturally-occurring Black Hills spruce in the Wyoming Bear Lodge Mountains likely due to the massive aspen community there.
The area near the headwaters of Middle Redwater Creek is hardly extraordinary. Located in the Black Hills National Forest 10 miles north of Sundance, scraggly trees and brush surround shallow ponds and slow-moving streams. Because the beavers left, the ponds started to deteriorate. This not only affected finescale dace, which were no longer in the immediate area, but also surrounding vegetation and deer, waterfowl and other wildlife. But people eventually moved in, killing beavers, blowing up dams and redirecting water for human consumption and use. This transformed the environment of the region. Aside from that, the finescale dace still hold an important place on the landscape if nothing else than the fact they are a “glacial relic.” [Sheridan region biologists work to preserve finescale dace]
Recall that dace was the only fish identified in Black Hills streams by the Custer Expedition in 1874 and trout are not native to the region.

Box Elder Creek is still running in December because of the mountain pine beetle's feast of pine while a town named for a war criminal is preparing another celebration of ecocide.

South Dakota Governor Denny Daugaard is a climate and Anthropocene denier yet state climatologist Dennis Todey is ringing the climate alarm.

So, the question remains: should rewilding efforts seek to restore sustainable wild lands to Pleistocene Era conditions or let the Anthropocene lay waste desertifying precious resources changing the landscape forever leaving survivors to cleave out habitable zones forsaking native species?

“Clearcuts are the prescription for lodgepole pines,” according to Kelly Norris, the Wyoming State Forestry district forester in Buffalo.

Get cattle off the Black Hills National Forest and make it part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge.

If enviros succeed in driving from office the only Democrats who can preserve public lands and leave Republicans to their devices we are truly fucked.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Daschle, Lott: Congress at 'Crisis Point'

Montana Senator Max Baucus threw fellow Democrat Tom Daschle under the bus during a pre-confirmation quarrel in 2009.
Why doesn’t anyone mention Tom Daschle when they talk about possible Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate election in 2016? The retirement of the party’s last federal office-holder, U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, last year left the Democrats without a leader. So the question remains. If not Daschle in 2016, then who? [excerpt, Bob Mercer]
President Obama's pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, Daschle was widely expected to push Congress toward a Medicaid-for-all health care plan as Big Pharma-backed Baucus worked to pass the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare. Daschle withdrew from nomination.

Note during the video introduction that Daschle proudly said he is a Democrat from South Dakota.

How often does anyone say that any more?

With Harry Reid stepping down as Minority Leader and the possibility that Democrats could retake the Senate why wouldn't Tom Daschle, who retains his seniority if elected, want to reach for the brass ring an unvetted, ethics-negative John Thune can't touch?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Priebus says GOP 'cooked' if nominee loses

Rand Paul is still on the main stage at the Republican debate in Las Vega: he is leading the GOP field as their cannabis advocate. Nevada is moving forward with cultivation and distribution.

Front runner, Donald Trump has called for the legalization of all controlled substances.

Chris Christie is a sideshow for the criminally obese.

Ted Cruz is just plain creepy.

Marco Rubio is an infidelitous crook.

Jeb Bush is complicit in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Ben Carson is in a death spiral.

With former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton zooming away from the Republican clown car in fundraising the GOPers are panicking.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus fears the worst for his party in the event of a loss in 2016. During an exclusive interview with the Washington Examiner Thursday, Priebus said that the GOP will be "cooked" as a national party if they fail to take back the White House next November.
Read the exciting news here.

David Brooks calls the Republican caucus bumbling, incompetent and dysfunctional.

The GOP is between Iraq and hothead: if Donald Trump doesn't get the nomination he'll run an unaffiliated campaign and drag his supporters with him.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Today in gun reform: tax the hell out of them

On Weekend Edition Saturday Scott Simon lumped the Westerhuis murders in with acts of domestic terrorism.
The names of towns — Colorado Springs last week, San Bernardino this week, Roseburg, Oregon in October, Platte, South Dakota in September, Lafayette, Louisiana in July, Omaha, in January — and of victims, heroes, and assailants sometimes seem to run together. [After Mass Shootings, People Turn To Prayer — And Prayer Shaming]
A gun is like a lawyer: you carry one around long enough and sooner or later you're going to use it.

From the Casper Trib online:
The Wyoming Department of Revenue has suspended sales tax collections from gun shows because of increasing animosity toward the state's field tax agents. Dan Noble, director of the department's excise tax division, said Friday that an incident at a gun show triggered the decision. He added, however, that resistance from gun show sponsors and participants has been a recurring problem statewide. "I have 10 field reps throughout the state, and every one of them has experienced some animosity," he said. "Folks are nervous anyway because there are guns there. I don't want to put my people at risk."
Red states are not going to fix their own problems.

Only We the People can slow these people down. Local law enforcement is only as effective as a legislature wants it to be.

Is this how Americans really want to live? Carry rifles and sidearms into every bar, church, and arena?
Milch has pointed out repeatedly in interviews that the intent of the show was to study the way that civilization comes together from chaos by organizing itself around symbols (in Deadwood the main symbol is gold). If history is written by the victors, Deadwood is all about giving the losers their due. In the first season, magnificent bastard Al Swearengen (Ian McShane) came off as a villain; this year, his inevitably doomed campaign to save the lawless town from annexation by the United States and exploitation by robber barons served as a brilliant allegory for the evolution of American capitalism.
Gun carrying people are saying they are being responsible (but won't be held liable) for our safety if the rest of us don’t, or refuse to, carry.

Thomas Jefferson believed a standing army and the right to bear arms are mutually exclusive.

Stand your ground has become vigilante justice because the courts are overwhelmed with suspects in the war on drugs, our communities are becoming armed camps and we’re barricaded in our homes afraid to let our kids go to school.

How many more people will be caught in or die from as yet uncounted crossfires?

Maybe this would be a great time for a piece of rhubarb pie.

Wyoming is most heavily armed state, South Dakota is number 22.

Prohibition doesn't work: levy transaction taxes on the sales and gifting of shotguns, rifles, handguns and extended clips then tag the revenue for Medicaid expansion.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Gregorian calendar: what is it good for?

The Gregorian calendar is a ridiculous anachronism. How is something called the 'the christian calendar' appropriate in secular societies?
The prayer for rain, which asks God to “bestow dew and rain for blessing upon the face of the earth,” has a number of curious characteristics. First, it is the only Jewish ritual whose start in the Diaspora is tied to the Gregorian civil calendar, rather than the Hebrew one, though its termination (back to dew) reverts to Hebrew timing. [Haaretz]
Well? What is it good for?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Award-winning RCJ cannabis series features Central City pioneer

Media cripple Lee Enterprises has presented its President's Award for News Excellence to a Rapid City Journal series.

The July reports written and photographed mainly by Assistant Managing Editor Chris Huber with able assistance from Seth Tupper examined the debate over therapeutic cannabis in South Dakota.
The series featured on-the-record stories of people who feel compelled to break state law in order to obtain the relief they say marijuana provides them. The judges said the series "offers a very personal look into legal risks of those who use the drug and informative reporting intended to help frame a more intelligent debate on medical marijuana."
Read it all here.

Among the stories is Central City's Brad Morgan, who canvassed Deadwood for signatories to Initiated Measure 24. Brad and this reporter have been friends for twenty years.

His resilience and energy compelled the construction of this template for South Dakota's legislature to consider.

The State of Colorado is hiring a deputy cannabis coordinator.

The Gannett Company should buy Lee Enterprises which owns the Rapid City Journal and 45 other daily newspapers.

Chart of the Week: Momentum Building for Marijuana Legalization Via Ballot Measures