Friday, December 30, 2016

Hickey: shutter Ellsworth

South Dakota's Republican senior US senator is crowing about the drone mission at Ellsworth Air Force Base being secure; but, former legislator and pastor emeritus, Steve Hickey says enough is enough.
A politician in South Dakota who wants to close Ellsworth commits political suicide by saying so. When I was in elected office my private commitment to myself was to be willing to commit political suicide once a year to support the right thing. Many of my Republican colleagues in the legislature were “fiscal conservatives” and would get loud and vocal about Washington DC’s inability to balance the budget. Yet we seemed so oblivious to the depths of cuts it would take to balance the national budget and what that would mean to a little dependant [sic] state like South Dakota, and of course an income tax would never be considered. Never was there talk of cutting Defence spending in DC, ever. And never would anyone support closing a base in our state that brought MONEY and JOBS and PEOPLE into our state. Say goodbye to Ellsworth if you are truly a fiscal conservative and figure out how to wean South Dakota off Federal Dollars. [Steve Hickey]
South Dakota's US senators trumpet success after prostituting stolen Lakota ground by bringing the current heavens-based smart-executor of civilian death, the Predator drone, to Ellsworth Air Force Base, cementing the continued commitment of South Dakotans to rain white phosphorus and dismemberment on children, women, and men of color for decades to come.
"We're seeing problems in the MQ-1/9 community at both the major command and base levels that can be solved quickly," said U.S. Air Force Col. Troy Jackson, C2ISR Operations division chief and CPIP officer in charge. "Airmen in this career field are being exhausted with no end in sight; we want to fix this." [Rapid City Journal]
But how safe are soft targets in Rapid City from a retaliatory strike?

US imperialism created the Somali refugee crisis where ISIL chickens are coming home to roost in Minnesota now Syrians are fleeing another Israeli/American war of aggression and taking its toll on American airmen in South Dakota and other remote locations.

But you know what scares me? Someone from Yemen, Afghanistan or somewhere rolling a truck bomb into Rapid City Central High School or the School of Mines after an Ellsworth-based drone pilot targets a wedding party or religious service.

It's just a matter of time until Hell comes to breakfast.

Rapid City sez: fuck you, Mr. President; but, thanks for the dough.

Ellsworth Air Force Base has resumed practice-bombing parts of Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota. Damage to ranch land values, wildlife habitat and to quality of life is expected to be in the millions if not more.

Can't wait for bombers to buzz Betty Olson's house.

Monday, December 26, 2016

South Dakota is a permanent disaster area

High winds, ice storms, downed power lines, flooding, blizzard conditions, weaponized wildfires: signs of the Second Coming? Nah, just more ways South Dakota's deplorables pay for infrastructure.

Where to start?

South Dakota's current governor says he's a conservative; yet, he has begged for billions from the Obama administration. 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.

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, infrastructure is crumbling and 20.6% of bridges are structurally deficient. Over the Missouri River, the US14 bridge between Ft. Pierre and the town to the east and the I-90 bridge at Chamberlain are imperiled.
The report, “Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland,” (pdf) was released Thursday by TRIP, a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The report says that in 2013, 21 percent of South Dakota’s rural bridges were rated as structurally deficient, the fourth-highest rate in the nation. In 2012, 12 percent of South Dakota’s major rural roads were rated in poor condition. The fatality rate on South Dakota’s rural roads was 2.21 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, the 17th-highest rate in the nation and nearly three times higher than the fatality rate of 0.74 on all other roads. [Mitchell Daily Republic]
The crumbling bridge over the Missouri River between Fort Pierre and her neighbor, the putrid cesspool to the east, won't be replaced until at least 2025: how many more times do you want to go over it for free?
By 2100, Rapid City, South Dakota—in the vicinity of the Pine Ridge Reservation—will reach the average summer temperatures of Cedar Park, Texas, which means a rise from 81 degrees to 93 degrees, Climate Central reported. [Indian Country Today]
Self-reliance or moral hazard?
Officials say five electric cooperatives are using state and federal disaster funds to bury hundreds of miles of power lines to protect against widespread outages from storms. The cooperatives are burying more than 530 miles of line damaged in a powerful storm that struck 14 western South Dakota counties last year. Officials say the cost of the line-burying project is estimated at more than $32 million. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is paying 75 percent of the cost. The state provided 10 percent and the cooperatives paid the remaining 15 percent. [Associated Press]
That 10% the state kicked in also came from the feds.

The above article doesn't say how many white ranchers will get buried cables and how many tribal nations will still have storm-prone overhead lines.

After public outcry one South Dakota utility thought better and chose not to assess a fee on customers who add alternative means of electricity generation to their services while those poorly served by cooperative utilities are becoming power self-reliant.

From KSFY:
Agriculture Secretary Walt Bones said the department is asking those affected by the drought what they could the department could better. Bones says many farmers have developed a safety net for drought conditions but livestock ranchers don't have the same assistance.


Remember this? South Dakota's embattled earth hater governor wants government assistance according to the Sioux City Journal:
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a preliminary assessment of damages the recent ice storm caused to public and nonprofit property in southeastern South Dakota. Daugaard says damage to rural electric cooperatives and the removal of fallen tree limbs and power lines will likely be a significant part of the cost.
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."
Remember, too, that these utilities are not Google or Facebook. They are not accustomed to a state of constant market turmoil and reinvention. This is a venerable old boys network, working very comfortably within a business model that has been around, virtually unchanged, for a century.--David Roberts at Grist
What a fucking surprise.

Scientists have excused anthropogenic climate change as a negligible influence in the 2013 blizzard.

So, this is how red states finance infrastructure improvements while bitching about Big Government.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Mercer out; South Dakota media go dark

Bob Mercer, the only reporter in South Dakota with any credibility whatsoever, is on medical hiatus leaving Pierre to continue operating in a black hole.

Bill Janklow's idea of public broadcasting can't cover Pierre effectively because its funding is reliant on the South Dakota Republican Party, the Associated Press can't do it because they've been neutered so has the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. South Dakota's teevee stations are bound to Republican advertisers and nobody reads college publications.

The only effective twitter presence comes from a guy living in New Mexico who owns the #sdleg hashtag and I quit following the South Dakota Newspaper Association on twitter because its feed reads like a bulletin from the South Dakota Republican Party.
This week is Sunshine Week, a national observance to spotlight the importance of openness and transparency in government at all levels. For example, South Dakota's open records laws contain several broad exceptions that allow certain records to be kept confidential. Specifically, almost all official correspondence (including email) of public officials can be kept secret. And, it usually is. Another exception in the open records law allows public officials to keep secret wide swaths of documents and records used by government to make policy. Let's make the sun shine brightly in the halls of government at all levels in South Dakota. Good government depends on it. [Dave Bordewyk]
There is an exodus of journalists leaving the profession for public relations jobs as the media lurch to drive the message to the extreme right.
Talking about race seems to be a frightening topic to the leadership of the SDNA and that is too bad because they have had the opportunity to be the media leaders in improving race relations but instead have chosen to hide in the weeds. The director of SDNA, Dave Bordewyk, is still young and he can still make it a key part of his administration to address racial prejudice and racial ignorance in a state that can never lay claim to greatness until it solves its racial issues. [excerpt, editorial, Native Sun News, posted at Indianz]
Flouting the Indian Child Welfare Act South Dakota has been seizing thousands of American Indian children then placing them in the white foster care industry while reaping billions from the federal government.

When was the last time a South Dakota media outlet even talked about it?

A week of sunlight can't possibly penetrate the other 25.5 fortnights of gloom in Pierre.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Casita nearing completion


Continued great weather allowed for more elastomeric stucco finish. Took the decking off the portal to let more light inside the building. The plan is to cut it to match the width of the roof steel so it can be more portable and capable of going up as needed for shade during summer months.



Here's a view out the back door facing north.



Click on any image for a better look. Here's the interior stud wall mostly wired, plumbed for water and gas.


Trapezoid and kiva.


View to the south. Progress and more images here.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Neighbor Steve hosts installation at Photo-eye Bookstore


Eight of the geezers were here for breakfast Tuesday bringing fraternity and community news.
Romance is alive on the two-lane highways that meander through the rolling hills and empty deserts of America. There is nothing so satisfying as taking off on the open road, and part of that nostalgic glory lives in the vintage paint and light bulbs of motel signs. Photographer Steve Fitch banks on your attachment to the iconography of Americana in his solo exhibit, American Motel Signs, 1980-2008. Featuring photographs taken around the country, each image includes regional differences (like palm trees or tall cacti) that orient the viewer in the space of our vast nation. [Maria Egolf-Romero]
Steve and his two sons recently took some of his work to an exhibit in Moscow after an invitation from a Russian art outreach program.

Additional topics included Trump's lack of legitimacy, the many failures of Governor Susana Martinez, progress on the casita, the cutting of junipers on the Santo Domingo Pueblo under the PNM power line, new radios for the community internet, Bob and Karen's Winter Solstice party, and the guy trying to salvage the Ratplex: a double wide on top of the hill ravaged by a decade of neglect.

One of our gathering, Terry Asher, walked on in August. His obit is posted here.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will be at the Acoma Pueblo Friday trying to reassure tribal members that they won't be herded into concentration camps if Donald Trump actually becomes President of the United States.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Lambert: Devils Tower a malapropism


Imagine pulling a clan up the Little Missouri River in dugout canoes 12,000 years ago.

Exploiting the gap between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets during the Wisconsin Glacial Episode those Clovis People were the first humans to see the Missouri Buttes and Devils Tower. They settled Paradise only to have their descendants watch it be destroyed by colonization.

With the Oglala Lakota Nation as an interested party Chief Arvol Looking Horse has submitted a request to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names saying the words “Devils Tower” are a malapropism.
Wyoming officials hold the name Devils Tower to be "sacred" for the way it attracts tourists and their dollars. They say changing the name will harm the tourist trade. Do they seriously believe the word “Devil” attracts tourists, instead of the unusual geological formation? The geological formation isn’t going to go away and tourists world-wide will always be attracted to it. Its pull for people of all backgrounds won’t be weakened by a name that more perfectly reflects its inherent magnetism.

Bear Lodge appeared on most 1874 to 1901 maps. In 1875, a translator with the Dodge Expedition mistakenly led Colonel Dodge to believe the Lakota term for “grizzly bear” meant “bad god.” Local corruption of the translation produced the even more insulting term, “Devil,” paving the way for “Devils” Tower.

If a translation of an English language place-name was both incorrect and offensive, it would be immediately corrected by an outraged English-speaking White majority, including Wyoming’s Federal and State elected representatives.

A local rancher says, “… the vast majority of all of the public worldwide recognize it ... as Devils Tower [and] don’t see it as an evil thing, as a bad thing.” To the 26 affiliated tribes, descendants of the people who were on the land first, this argument just compounds the insult. Being spiritually connected to the land, with long-standing spiritual names for its landmarks, calling their sacred landmark by the name of a demonic figure like the Devil, and then promoting it by that name world-wide, is to them a "bad and evil thing."

Isn’t it, therefore, a moral imperative that we make amends and restore the correct Lakota name to a landmark that actually is sacred to the Indians? Moreover, if we humbly recognize our error and restore the rightful traditional name, translated as Bear Lodge, the public world-wide might well see it as a good and noble act, and be all the more inspired to visit our area.

Call or write President Obama and ask that he make this respectful name change from Devils Tower to Bear Lodge National Monument.

LTE: SYLVIA LAMBERT, Interior, South Dakota appearing in the Casper Star.
The tower, a remnant of an intrusive laccolith, has been called Mahto Tipila or Bear Lodge for centuries by the Lakota.
Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, has a family ranch at the base of the tower. “If they want to find something offensive, they ought to look at Custer, South Dakota,” he said. “Custer obviously had a problem with the Sioux, and I’ve heard nothing about renaming of Custer, South Dakota.” [Laura Hancock]
In the occupied Black Hills of South Dakota descendants of European colonizers are apoplectic over the proposal to restore the state's highest point to its Lakota name, Hinhan Kaga or A Making of Owls.

The ancestors of all American Indians living east of the Rocky Mountains saw that peak when the Clovis Culture crossed into the Cheyenne/Belle Fourche drainage then into the Missouri/Mississippi River system. Lakota is an Algonquin-based tongue and is spoken by a majority of South Dakota’s tribal nations. After migrating into present-day North Carolina and forced westward by manifest destiny then acquiring horses from Spanish exploiters the Lakota reclaimed the Black Hills.

Senator Lisa Murkowski and the US Park Service are doing what Alaskans are asking of Congress urging the body to approve a name change for North America's highest peak.
The Athabascan name, meaning “the high one,” has been a bone of contention between Alaska’s congressional delegation and Ohio’s, which has sought to preserve the current name honoring assassinated U.S. president William McKinley. “At home in Alaska, we just call it Denali because it’s part of our history,” Murkowski said, according to the statement. “Officially changing the name from Mount McKinley to Mount Denali will show the long-standing significance that the name Denali holds for Alaskans.” [KTUU teevee]
Restoring the dignity of endangered cultures is one tiny part of eliminating American Indian suicides and despair in South Dakota and Wyoming.

Humanure has been a feature of the Missouri River basin for 12 millennia but the Dakota Excess pipeline is the real human waste.

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.

ip photo: Missouri Buttes and Devils Tower at sunset. Click on the image for a better look.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thune responsible for Facebook's fake news

Senator John Thune (earth hater-SD) has flip-flopped on Donald Trump's legitimacy so many times it looks like he's been bought.
Mr. Thune also asked directly whether the curators had “in fact manipulated the content,” something Facebook denied in a statement on Monday. Among Facebook users, 63 percent consider the platform to be a news service, according to a Pew Study. The company could ignore or refuse to comply with Mr. Thune’s requests on First Amendment grounds, said Floyd Abrams, a leading First Amendment lawyer. [New York Times]
After his Republican overlords stuffed his war chest Thune reversed his rejection of Trump in just a matter of days.
Once Donald Trump wrapped up the Republican nomination, Thune started showing up on vice presidential short lists before Indiana Gov. Mike Pence got the nod. By October, after disclosure of taped remarks in which Trump discussed groping women without their consent, Thune called on the billionaire businessman to withdraw from the race in favor of Pence.

HARWOOD: The head of the NSA said (Monday) at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council that no one should have any doubt that Russia got involved in our election for the purpose of achieving a specific effect. Are you concerned about Donald Trump's position on Russia, closeness with Russia, and Russia's role in this election?

THUNE: Russia is constantly looking for ways to undermine and disrupt our democratic systems. I mean, I think they wanted to create doubt, and skepticism, and anything they can do to raise questions about that. So sure. [CNBC]
Thune and Federal Bureau of Investigation czar, James Comey play basketball together.

If Thune can be such a spectacular liar it does make one wonder whether he has a direct connection to Russia, too.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

South Dakota law enforcement industry thrives on racism

Administrators from the Rapid City, Pennington County and state Highway Patrol law enforcement industry converged on Rapid City in the latest round of talks designed to address racism in South Dakota.
Rapid City Police Chief Karl Jegeris admitted that historic injustices still weigh on perceptions in the community. Chief Deputy Pennington County Sheriff Willy Whelchel agreed. "We do have a divide," he said. [KOTA teevee]
According to Bill Janklow's idea of public radio, Vaughn Vargas, a Cheyenne River Sioux tribal member and the Rapid City Police Department Community Advisory Coordinator, said law enforcement must be the first to set a good example.

Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, a member of the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, said the forum turned into a discussion about how great South Dakota police departments are at enforcing the law and didn’t include nearly enough input from South Dakota's American Indian community.

Racism is endemic in South Dakota, especially in reservation border towns like Rapid City. In 2011 South Dakota's 7th Judicial Circuit Court Judge A.P. (Pete) Fuller was removed after reminding residents that RCPD is made up of "a bunch of racists."

Pennington County's behavior has been called shocking. The state seizes about 750 American Indian kids every year reaping nearly a billion federal dollars since the Indian Child Welfare Act was signed into law. 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. Mike Monahan helped. Here's his phone number: (605) 722-3957.

On the public dole Pennington County sent deputies and the State of South Dakota sent state troopers to beat up water protectors standing up at Standing Rock. How that translates to trust and civility between Whitey and tribal members remains a mystery.

Public broadcasting in South Dakota serves at the pleasure of the state's earth hater legislature and like every other media outlet in that chemical toilet it's a mouthpiece for the South Dakota Republican Party.

Cops' lives suck. Little wonder they abuse their families, alcohol, drugs, food, power, detainees and even occasionally murder their wives.

If South Dakota was serious about truth and reconciliation it would stand down, shut up and take the punishment it deserves.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Keillor: give Trumpers enough rope to hang themselves

If I could go back in time I'd kill baby Fred Trump.

When Garrison Keillor opened A Prairie Home Campanion in the Rapid City Civic Center Theatre on November 20, 1999 he cited a statistic that Pennington County has the highest per capita gun ownership in the United States. A nervous chuckle rolled through the audience.
The Trumpers never expected their guy to actually win the thing, and that’s their problem now. They wanted only to whoop and yell, boo at the H-word, wear profane T-shirts, maybe grab a crotch or two, jump in the RV with a couple of six-packs and go out and shoot some spotted owls. The past year of politics has taught us absolutely nothing. Zilch. Zero. Nada. The future is scary. Let the uneducated have their day. [Garrison Keilor, Trump voters will not like what happens next]
The annual White House Tribal Summit will be going away under a President Trump.

Donald Trump's fellow earth haters are already balking at his plan to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure improvements and his federal trial on fraud charges is scheduled for 28 November.

The Republicans calling for calm is hypocrisy on Viagra. Had Clinton won the electoral college and Trump the popular vote white people would be slaughtering each other in the streets.

Pray the Yellowstone supervolcano will erase the Trump majority in the high plains.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

God damn America


Let's face it: Clinton's choice of Tim Kaine was a cowardly act. Brian Schweitzer would have been a far better running mate.

Clinton was squishy on cannabis rights and lost in most states where it won. She should have picked a running mate from the western United States. She didn't visit a single tribal nation and refused comment on the Dakota Access Pipeline. She ran a scripted, stuffy campaign and never let her freak flag fly.

One sentence might have altered the outcome. "But, unlike some others, I did inhale."


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

USFWS inching closer to Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge


One image shows why President Thomas Jefferson used an executive order to defy the US Constitution, began the Native American Genocide and purchased the Louisiana Territory from a country that didn't even own it.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife is proposing a dramatic reorganization of its National Wildlife Refuge system in Montana and seven other states that would result in significant staff and program cuts. U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials said the “Realignment Strategy Staffing Framework” was a draft document that had been in the works for three years. “Status quo is not an option,” said the report. “We cannot operate with high numbers of vacant positions on organizational charts while we try to continue to do the work of those vacant positions – it is simply not sustainable.” Instead of assigning staff members to specific refuges, the positions for each district are pooled, without an indication of where people will be headquartered. [Missoulian]
Included in the plan is the CM Russell National Wildlife Refuge on the Missouri River in Montana and the Prairie Pothole Region.

Rewilding is happening!
Sportsmen for Bison’s initial focus is the tremendous opportunity to restore bison at Montana’s million-acre Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge (CMR). The refuge – which, yes, hunters helped pay for – is ideal, prairie bison habitat adjacent to several million additional acres of public lands. And, in case you’re wondering, the CMR welcomes hunting and is regarded as one of North America’s premier big-game hunting areas. The area could easily accommodate thousands of wild, wide-ranging bison. [National Wildlife Federation]
And:
On the cold and stormy evening of Oct. 20, 2005, 16 American bison were released on the grasslands of northeast Montana. The bison, from Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota, roamed out into a prairie landscape the species had not inhabited for 120 years. In the midst of the herd a calf bolts, its rust-colored coat standing out from the nearby adults. The calf finds its mother and begins to nurse. The herd moves quietly beneath an impossible sky.
Read the rest here.

Invasive species are plaguing the main stem dams on the Missouri River. Accumulated mercury in large fish causes spontaneous abortions yet record non-native salmon in Lake Oahe go untested.

Christopher Guy, assistant unit leader with the US Geological Survey Montana Cooperative Fishery Unit and professor at Montana State University, joined Dakota Midday host Karl Gerhke on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio to talk about the importance of recent findings on the endangered pallid sturgeon in the upper Missouri River basin.
According to American Rivers, an advocacy group that tracks U.S. dam removals, 72 dams in 19 states were torn down in 2014, a record. That is roughly double the annual number from 10 years ago. Some 1,185 dams have been removed since 1912, according to the group. The fleet of U.S. dams, however, is still enormous. The Army Corps of Engineers counts at least 87,000 dams in its database. Removing dams produces its own benefits. Public safety is enhanced by reducing the risk of a dam failure, and moribund freshwater fisheries are rejuvenated when a segmented river is reconnected. [Circle of Blue]
Below the Missouri River dams pallid sturgeon are showing signs of recovery but above?

Surprise!
Pallid sturgeon come from a genetic line that has lived on this planet for tens of millions of years; yet it has been decades since anyone has documented any of the enormous fish successfully producing young that survive to adulthood in the upper Missouri River basin. Now, fisheries scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, Montana State University and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have shown why, detailing for the first time the biological mechanism that has caused the long decline of pallid sturgeon in the Missouri River and led to its being placed on the endangered species list 25 years ago.
In a paper published this week in the journal Fisheries, the scientists show that oxygen-depleted dead zones between dams in the upper Missouri River are directly linked with the failure of endangered pallid sturgeon hatched embryos to survive to adulthood. Given what the new research shows about how no oxygen is available to hatched pallid sturgeon embryos, the authors of the paper propose that officials will need to consider innovative approaches to managing Missouri River reservoirs for pallid sturgeon conservation to have a chance. [press release, US Geological Survey]
The extirpation of bison, cougars and wolves has created explosive wildfire conditions in the Greater Missouri Basin. Wildlife Services, part of the US Department of Agriculture, wants to exterminate a wolf pack that killed nineteen elk in a Wyoming refuge that feeds and over-winters the ungulates. Elk in the region are dying en masse from Chronic Wasting Disease that researchers say results from the federal government feeding of elk in close proximity. Feral horses and burros are destroying vast swaths of public land.

We all know this: unless the West embraces rewilding on portions of the Missouri River basin west of a north/south line from Oacoma, South Dakota through the CM Russell National Wildlife Refuge to Yellowstone National Park then to the Yukon water wars will clog the courts leaving violent armed vigilantism to settle disputes.

The feds should buy out landowners unwilling to lease for wildlife corridors.

President Obama: decertify the dinosaurs that are the main stem dams, tear the earth fuckers down and rewild the West.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Casita getting stuccoed


Front elevation. To prevent rain from penetrating adobes tops of parapet walls are rounded with mesh and are nearly stuccoed. Click on any image for a better look. More here.



Curious creature praying for rain

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Heidelberger full of shit; cannabis on ballot helps Democratic turnout

Not really South, not really Dakota: the state represents everything that is wrong with America. 2016 could be the year the South Dakota Democratic Party dies in a whimpering puddle.

As Democrats flee South Dakota fake progressive and dry drunk Cory Heidelberger is losing his District 3 statehouse bid to earth hater Al Novstrup.
So, legalization initiatives have a clear Democratic benefit. Democratic-leaning voters, who otherwise might have stayed home, could turn out to vote on marijuana reform. Some may leave other parts of the ballot blank, but Democrats could see a meaningful benefit overall. In a race that is close, a few thousand votes here or there could force an incumbent Republican Senator to pack up his office or shift a state’s electoral votes from red to blue. [Brookings Institution]
Since Heidelberger began blogging Democratic registration numbers have gone right down the toilet.

According to Pierre insider Jim Mehlhaff my reputation is well known to the victims of Stockholm Syndrome who still live there. Even if South Dakota ballot issues pass the state's extremist legislature will overturn them anyway. Another indicator that SD Dems are done in South Dakota? Marty Jackley is leading on legal cannabis.

Paula Hawks' dad, Hugh Hagel has been liking my anti-SDGOP comments in the Argus Leader.

Primaries are expensive and allow far too much mischief: since turnout is so pathetic especially during midterms the drain-circling South Dakota Democratic Party should end them and choose candidates at the state conventions.

Indian casinos are small banks. It's time for states to enter cannabis compacts with tribal nations.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Lalley sacked for not deleting blogger's comments

It's been confirmed by an Argus Leader insider that Patrick Lalley was sacked as news director for not deleting my incendiary comments about John Thune under several articles. According to my source somebody named Daron Petit led the campaign for Lalley's removal.

The Argus invited this interested party to join its Facebook discussion group but like Dakota War College and Dakota 'Free Press' it is too sensitive to advertisers to allow dissent so it sent me into social media exile creating another political refugee.

With the Argus Leader in the tank for the South Dakota Republican Party Patrick Lalley's job might indeed be better held by someone from Iraq but unfortunately Tariq Aziz is no longer available.

Argus Leader webcast 100 Eyes on Politics hasn't aired for several weeks after this interested party was targeted and after my blocking of the panel on Twitter.

Being a pariah is hard but holy fucking jesus the rewards are so transcendentally satisfying!

Thune sycophant Cory Myers is handling day-to-day operations in the newsroom.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Johnson, NM Dems fill blogger's ballot

As promised New Mexico favorite son, Gary Johnson, got my vote for president during early voting at the Santa Fe County Fairgrounds. Democratic candidates got the rest of my ballot.

Six presidential tickets from other than the two major parties made it onto the state's ballot this year. American Indian Movement leader Dennis Banks, famous for his participation in the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee, is the veep candidate for the Socialism and Liberation Party.

Johnson, who suffered through several Aberdeen winters as a youth and his running mate former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, campaigned in South Dakota. Both are former earth haters. An interview with Johnson aired on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio. Weld talked in Spearditch as part of his whirlwind tour.

At the geezers' breakfast yesterday the guys reminded me that although Governor Johnson left office with a budget surplus he was a shitty executive even appointing Heather Wilson, earth hater former NM US Representative from the First District now President of South Dakota School of Mines, to his cabinet as the state’s Children, Youth and Families Department Administrator in 1996. Wilson recently hosted a Halliburton ecoterrorist during at an event at SDSMT. She sits on the boards of Sioux Falls-based Raven Industries and bankrupt Peabody but has yet to endorse publicly anyone for America's Commander-in-Chief.

Johnson has been enjoying pretty good support in New Mexico garnering around twenty five percent in some polls. Nate Silver, however, plots Johnson's chances of winning the state at two or three percent and is polling about six percent nationwide.

Bob Newland, South Dakota cannabis activist and principal in that state's Libertarian Party, registered this scribe in that party in 1995. Recognizing that maintaining 900+ known US military installations is obscene I self-identify as a progressive with libertarian leanings.

Sick of losing South Dakota Democrats are taking my advice and registering in the earth hater party in record numbers.

NM Democrats are voting early at nearly twice the rate that earth haters are.

Public radio's Living on Earth aired more about the Johnson/Weld ticket, its role in environmental protection and a revenue-neutral carbon tax.

Johnson has told supporters he will not run again in 2020.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Prescribed burns in Tony Dean Wilderness could have prevented spread of the Cottonwood Fire

Update, 26 October, 0750 MDT: this photo looks like the Cottonwood Fire zone: synchronicity or something else?

...................
Update, 1740 MDT: it looks like the blaze began just north of I-90 on the Pennington/Jackson County border near the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site recently the setting in a political advert for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and staging ground for the suppression of the Cottonwood Fire. If intentionally set during red flag conditions it would be the first known case of weaponized wildfire in South Dakota. Recall that the Jasper Fire was intentional but was never proved to be politically motivated.

The State of South Dakota is the fourth most dependent on federal dollars and as expected disaster funding has been requested.

Mop-up operations on the human-caused 31,000 acre Cottonwood Fire east of Wall are continuing today. Some federal lands in Pennington and Jackson County, South Dakota managed by Nebraska National Forests and Grasslands were involved.

The above map was generated by Pennington County IMT: note the federal lands in green. Two state-owned parcels in the image (shaded purple) are proposed in the troubled land swap between the State of South Dakota and the feds in Spearditch Canyon. So, the State approached an agency based in Nebraska for the exchange likely bypassing the Black Hills National Forest.

Back in 2010 then-Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) tried to make some of that portion of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland part of the Tony Dean Wilderness Area.

Kevin Woster reported on its lack of progress in 2011. Former Deadwood businessman Dave Miller supported the Act, too:
Designating eight percent of the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands as wilderness is no land-grab conspiracy to curtail cattle grazing, nor will it threaten private lands or terminate management. Instead, it will secure a prairie grassland heritage that has few equals on this planet. [Grasslands bill isn’t a land grab]
Author George Wuerthner mentioned S. 3310 as a part of the doomed Omnibus Wilderness Bill.
America has very little of its native prairie in any protected status. Most of the plains have been carved up by till farming, and the rest is grazed by livestock. Tony Dean Cheyenne River Valley Conservation Act would correct this by designating 48,000 acres as wilderness in the Indian Creek, Red Shirt and Chalk Hills areas of the Buffalo Gap National Grassland on the borders of Badlands NP. Walking these vast open breathing spaces reminds me of being on the vastness of tundra in Alaska. It’s a sense of freedom that is more difficult to experience in more forested terrain. As with any designated wilderness, livestock grazing will continue. This is particularly ironic since Tony Dean, who was an outdoor writer in South Dakota, railed against welfare ranchers and their impact on the state for decades. [Wuerthner]
Election year politics from Senator John Thune (earth hater-SD) has forced federal land managers to curtail prescribed fires on national forests and grasslands in South Dakota. The Black Hill National Forest just cancelled a critical prescribed burn under favorable conditions because of threats from Thune.

Not talking about fuel treatments during a wildfire is the same thing as not talking about firearms management during a mass shooting.

Had Sen. Johnson been successful in passing his bill the land in question would have been placed within the stewardship of Badlands National Park and much, if not all, of the federal land scorched by the Cottonwood Fire would have been burned off prescriptively in increments instead of being managed by some careless rancher or passing motorist.

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.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Casita nearly enclosed


Front elevation, image shot from south. Underneath that tarp is about half of the roof foam and OSB; the other portion is inside the building. I buried the vigas in the parapet wall because neighbor Phil reminded this builder that as the vigas shrank and cracked there is no way to stop water from penetrating the adobe wall. Additional mortar will go into the viga bays, the adobes will be scrubbed and stucco applied.



Northeast elevation.




Northwest elevation. Some of the last adobes being laid are going between the vigas today. Progress development here, here, here and here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Allender learning how Rapid City bilks the feds and the poor

After the 1972 Flood that wiped out Teepee Town and killed some 238 people, mostly poor American Indians, the feds gave Rapid City rent supports to house those displaced by the disaster.

Extremist nutcase Mayor Steve Allender, the former police chief who led a "bunch of racists," is at a loss to house the 100 or so homeless people in Rapid City. He's even asked the Cornerstone Rescue Mission, a front for the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, to help.
The issue at hand is certain land lords getting rich at the expense of low income people needing housing. "Landlords or slumlords are making money on the poorest people who desperately need housing." Allender said, "People renting the place won't complain because they don't want to get evicted because then they won't be able to find anywhere else. It's kind of a sick arrangement between the landlord and the tenant. I'll let you rent my place and not do a background check on you or call your references but you don't complain about anything." Allender said in a letter to the city council that Rapid City has a "slumlord" epidemic that is carried out behind the shield of "free enterprise" or some other gutless reasoning. [KOTA teevee]
Under ethics-free Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard homelessness in South Dakota has become epidemic.

Back in 2013, NPR's Planet Money reported on an experiment in Kenya.
The results from the study are encouraging, says Johannes Haushofer, an economist at MIT's Poverty Action Lab who was one of the study's co-authors. "We don't see people spending money on alcohol and tobacco," he says. "Instead we see them investing in their kids' education, we see them investing in health care. They buy more and better food." Getting money made people happier, less stressed out. [What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?]
Hey, Rapid City: give these people without places to live $1000 vouchers so they can flee South Dakota and its brutal winters or put them on Medicaid.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fischer Rounds cutting fat hog as insurance oversight flags

Steve Rounds enjoys an unusual 30-year lease on land managed by a state agency. Rounds got the lease to the Oahe Marina from South Dakota Game, Fish and Plunder while his brother was governor and when his banker, Larry Deiter was named South Dakota Director of Insurance.
“We are obviously concerned about the impact that Wellmark’s decision will have on consumers,” South Dakota Insurance Director Larry Deiter told the Public Opinion this week. “The current environment under federal health care reform is causing companies to either raise premiums, narrow networks, or cease marketing of products.” Lonnie McKittrick, who heads up the Health Department at Fisher Rounds and Associates, echoed those comments. “ACA is just not working,” he said. “People are getting hammered. Everybody on the inside knew this is what could happen. You crossed your fingers and hoped it wouldn’t, but it did. It’s a system that was set up to fail, especially in a small state like ours.” [Looking for health insurance? Good luck]
And:
Forty-three states and the District of Columbia require insurance commissioners to file some kind of personal financial disclosure report. All but two of those jurisdictions — Hawaii and Vermont — make the documents available for public inspection. Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming have no such disclosure requirements. [Drinks, dinners, junkets and jobs: how the insurance industry courts state commissioners]
Here's Mike Rounds' career donor page at Open Secrets.

Here is how Mike Rounds took federal money then gave it to SDGOP donors.

Kinda makes ya wanna puke, init?


Thursday, October 6, 2016

Told you so: South Dakota voters least anchored to reality

South Dakota Republicans have succeeded in making voting in the state a fool's errand.

interested party has suspected this for a long time but seeing it in graphic detail is somewhat gratifying.

Diana Popa from WalletHub has this blog on her media list. She sent me some of her latest findings:
Hi Larry,

With WalletHub’s National Voter Representation Index being at 87 percent and very different demographic groups leaning toward Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report examining the States with the Best & Worst Representation on Election Day.

Worst Overall Representation: 50 South Dakota (73.10%)
Worst Racial Representation: 50 South Dakota (41.84%)
Chelsea Clinton just spoke to an enthusiastic audience at Augustana University in Sioux Falls.
"When you're more informed you're more likely to vote." said Government Assistant Professor at Augustana University, Emily Wanless. Wanless also says being unfamiliar with what's at stake in elections and a lack of interest have a negative affect to turnout. "Younger voters are less educated and so again it all ties back to that informational level and if you feel comfortable discussing issues and make a choice you are more likely to vote," added Wanless. [South Dakota last in "represented voters," KOTA teevee]
Bob Mercer is reporting that South Dakota Democrats are taking my advice and registering in the earth hater party. Even longtime Democrats are seeing the futility of open primaries.

Primaries are expensive and allow far too much mischief: since turnout is so pathetic especially during midterms the drain-circling South Dakota Democratic Party should end them and choose candidates at the state conventions.

Stupid state. Flee now before Republicans put up a wall and make you pay for it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Montana toxins case has ramifications for South Dakota


The Montana Standard based in Butte is trying to sort out responsibility for toxins deposited in Silver Bow Creek by Atlantic Richfield Co. How the State of Montana and the US Environmental Protection Agency should pursue the cleanup remains a mystery.
In the Butte Superfund cleanup, the longest-running Kabuki production this side of the Pacific, what appears to be rational is routinely dismissed as fantasy, and what appears to be real is frequently revealed to be chimera. The state would not wait for EPA and ARCO to hem and haw and trade favors in secret negotiations even as they held their masks and recited their tired lines onstage. As The Montana Standard has surveyed this landscape over the past year and a half, we have repeatedly raised the issue of transparency. We all know this is the largest Superfund site in the nation. We all know this Superfund litigation spans nearly two decades. Let’s try bringing the citizens into the room, and holding both those responsible for the pollution and our public agencies accountable in real time. [It's time to unmask the Superfund talks once and for all]
Downstream in Missoula concern over toxins runs deep.

Nearly a century of residue from Black Hills Mining District affects millions of cubic yards of riparian habitat all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Although the Oahe Dam was completed in 1962 sequestering most of the silt the soils of the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers are inculcated with arsenic at levels that have killed cattle. Endangered pallid sturgeon, paddlefish, catfish and most other organisms cope with lethal levels of mercury throughout the South Dakota portion of the Missouri River. Tailings from uranium mining have been detected in Angostura Reservoir in the southern Black Hills and in northwestern South Dakota cleanup in the Cave Hills area went for decades without remediation.

Ellsworth Air Force Base is already a Superfund site leaching contaminants into Box Elder Creek, a tributary of the Cheyenne River. The former Gilt Edge Mine south of Deadwood is a Superfund site leaching contaminants into Elk Creek also a tributary of the Cheyenne and Missouri Rivers.

Canadian miner Barrick Gold bought off the State of South Dakota for Homestake Mining Company's role in polluting Whitewood Creek by trading land in Spearfish Canyon for a proposed state park.

South Dakota's earth hater US senators and attorney general are leading a crusade to block the US Environmental Protection Agency from identifying non-point sources of pollution deposited into watersheds by their GOP donors.

Barrick Mining Company is on the hook for most of the worst shit: it's armed to the teeth with a bank of lawyers and lobbyists. The State enjoyed royalties and severance taxes. In another government land grab Barrick is engaged in negotiations that would trade property in Spearfish Canyon to the State of South Dakota belonging to tribal signatories of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. Former Deadwood businessman Dave Miller just wrote a letter to the Rapid City Journal opposing the state land grab in Spearfish Canyon.

With help from former Homestake land manager now Sturgis real estate broker, Denny McKay, former US Senator Tom Daschle sold out the people of South Dakota and the tribal nations trapped within its borders by drafting legislation holding Barrick harmless.

On the east side of the Continental Divide Barrick also operates the Golden Sunlight Mine near Whitehall, Montana. Effluent from that mine goes into the Jefferson River also a tributary of the Missouri and much of it lies in repose within Canyon Ferry Reservoir.

It's time for South Dakota's press to investigate the collusion between the state and polluters instead of pandering to the South Dakota Republican Party.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

New Mexico revisiting capital punishment moral hazard

Despite the astronomical legal costs of prosecuting capital offenses, the grisly death of an Albuquerque girl and shooting death of a Hatch cop has prompted calls from small-government Republicans in New Mexico to resurrect the death penalty for certain crimes.

Earth hater Governor Susana Martinez has called a special legislative session to address budget shortfalls and lobby for reinstatement of state-sponsored killing.
Legislators and then-Gov. Bill Richardson repealed the death penalty in 2009. Though Martinez called to reinstate capital punishment when she took office in 2011, subsequent bills to bring back the death penalty languished early in her first term. [Santa Fe New Mexican]
A Nebraska study showed that that state spends about $14.6 million per year on the death penalty: a price New Mexico simply cannot afford to pay.

Senators in the single-chamber Nebraska Legislature voted 30-19 to override the veto of GOP Governor Pete Ricketts who supports the death penalty. Ricketts has retaliated by vowing to execute people on death row anyway after ordering drugs illegally from outside the United States.

Montana is grappling with capital punishment.
The ACLU says Attorney General Tim Fox has some explaining to do. Confronted with a challenge to the state's lethal injection cocktail, the Department of Justice leaned on a controversial medical expert last year to argue the sedative it planned to use to kill two death row inmates would work as quickly as Montana law requires. But Auburn School of Pharmacy Dean Lee Evans didn't say what state attorneys needed him to—at least not initially. [Missoula Independent]
South Dakota enjoys killing and has built an economy around death but Nebraska's move has stirred hopes in South Dakota that its legislature could follow suit. When he was in the legislature Republican Representative Steve Hickey said 46% of the state oppose the death penalty.
Conservatives who voted for the repeal cited their own personal principles, such bureaucratic overreach and fiscal recklessness involved in the process. So, in some ways, this has become a philosophical alignment, in which both conservative and liberal philosophies have melded together. ["]Do we want a government so big, so powerful, they can decide life and death?” stated District 18 Sen. Bernie Hunhoff (D) of Yankton in an Associated Press report. [editorial, Yankton Press & Dakotan]
Justice delayed is justice denied. No family should have to wait years, if not decades, to learn the fate of someone convicted of a capital crime.

Suicide by cop is commonplace. This November Colorado will vote for an end of life option.

The litigation costs of trying a capital crime persuaded Nebraska to abandon state-sponsored killing: how are the prices and the human costs of putting people to death against their will either conservative or sustainable?

Personally? This blog believes persons convicted of capital crimes should have the right to decide his or her punishment whether it be death or living a life of Hell in a prison cell.

The state-ordered death penalty looks far more like vengeance than justice: it's not self-reliance; it's moral hazard.

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.