Friday, January 29, 2016

It's time for state/tribal cannabis compacts

In occupied South Dakota the Oglala Lakota Nation wants to poll reservation residents about whether cannabis should be legalized.
If the council agrees, a referendum would be called within 90 days of the council vote. Ellen Fills Pipe, chair of the Law and Order Committee, says she likes the idea of hearing from the people but is skeptical of the business prospects of legalizing pot and is also leary of jeopardizing federal funding.
Read the rest here.

US Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell promised tribes engaged in the cannabis industry will not lose their federal funding as long as they don't use HHS funds in their efforts to legalize.

The illegal drug trade is driving record crime rates in Rapid City.

South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard is struggling to convince his caucus that a regressive sales tax is the best way to reverse the state's education crisis and to fix crumbling infrastructure. “We are not going to be happy until the governor changes his ways,” Rep. Mike Verchio (RWNJ-Hill City) concluded.

The Puyallup Tribe is the third nation to enter a cannabis compact with the state of Washington.

Casinos are small banks. The Colorado legislature could enter a cannabis compact with the Ute Nation and let the tribe be the bank.

Wyoming's legislature is hearing testimony on reducing penalties for cannabis possession.

The Fort Peck Tribes in occupied Montana have legalized therapeutic cannabis.

61 percent of New Mexicans polled by an Albuquerque-based firm believe cannabis should be legalized.
Support rises to 69 percent when residents are informed that tax revenue generated by marijuana sales would be used to pay for health care and substance abuse programs. The telephone survey of 406 residents took place on Jan. 8-13. The poll was commissioned by private and nonprofit groups including licensed marijuana producers and the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance. [Santa Fe New Mexican]
Opioid overdose deaths surged in 14 states including New Mexico last year. Deaths from cannabis overdose? Zero.

Under Republican Governor Susana Martinez New Mexico is suffering the highest unemployment in the US.

Does anyone call it recreational alcohol? Of course not.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Earth haters driving US to end days

Yes, 'Republican environmentalist' is an oxymoron.

The Rapid City Journal is a trip into bizarro world today.

When South Dakota's senior US Senator is calling 'silly' an end to lead contamination in the watersheds that support all life in the state you know life is upside-down.
As crazy as that sounds, if the liberal wing of the president’s party and EPA bureaucrats had their way, they’d even regulate the tackle South Dakotans use to reel in walleyes from the Missouri River and ban the lead ammunition they use to bag ringnecks in the prairie. Thankfully, last year Congress passed and the president signed legislation that included my provision to permanently block the EPA from an outright ban on lead ammunition used in the field. [op-ed, some idiot on John Thune's staff]
Lead is a potent neurotoxin.
The most significant hazard to wildlife is through direct ingestion of spent lead shot and bullets, lost fishing sinkers, lead tackle and related fragments, or through consumption of wounded or dead prey containing lead shot, bullets or fragments. Although lead from spent ammunition and lost fishing tackle is not readily released into aquatic and terrestrial systems, under some environmental conditions it can slowly dissolve and enter groundwater, making it potentially hazardous for plants, animals and perhaps even people if it enters water bodies or is taken up in plant roots. [US Geological Survey]
The Victoria Lake area above Rapid City is lead Superfund site in the making.

Lead is released by coal-fired power plants, too.

In Flint, Michigan a Republican governor could go to prison for telling residents that lead in the water is no big deal.

Bill Janklow's idea of public radio is reporting that the US Forest Service has just suspended the Draft Environmental Impact Study for a Wyoming Black Hills mountaintop-removal mine in the Belle Fourche watershed.

The Sundance (Wyoming) Times had a report yesterday detailing other effects from the mine.

Here's more from Native Sun News.

The suspension comes in the wake of federal concern over Wyoming mining regulators.
Re­pub­lic­an donor Andy Sabin had a great seat on the floor for Thursday’s GOP pres­id­en­tial de­bate and found him­self in­creas­ingly im­pressed with the way Ted Cruz answered some ques­tions. But over­all, Sabin left frus­trated with a lack of dis­cus­sion of his pet top­ics: en­ergy and cli­mate change. “Zero. None. It’s a non­is­sue,” Sabin said. Of the can­did­ates with strong enough poll num­bers to make last week’s main-stage de­bate, only former Flor­ida Gov. Jeb Bush has ac­know­ledged that hu­mans play some role in the chan­ging cli­mate, al­though it’s hardly an en­dorse­ment of the sci­entif­ic con­sensus. And with dwind­ling sup­port that puts him around fifth place in the polls, nobody is count­ing on Bush’s stance to make much head­way.
Read the rest here.

Clay County is preparing to vote on an ordinance that would revise the definition of Confined Animal Feeding Operation. The commission held a public hearing on the effects of revisions.
According to commissioners and Toby Brown representing SECOG (The South-Eastern Council of Governments), the ordinance up for a vote is a revision of the 2013 revision of the 2005 ordinance. According to Brown, the major changes of the current ordinance up for vote include reinstating the Animal Feeding Operation (AFO) definition which was removed from the 2013 version and moving the cap up for dairy operations. “The third change is clarification is what the setback is off of waters,” he said. “Right now it’s ‘waters of the state.’ If you read the definition of ‘waters of the state’ that could be an irrigation pit, it could be anything that has water in it. The next public hearing for this ordinance will be held Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Vermillion Courthouse basement.
Read the rest here.

Intersecting with Clay County's fight to preserve its water supplies is Yankton County's relationship to the James River and South Dakota's Republican congressional delegation war on clean water.

Proposed changes linked here.

News from a gaggle of South Dakota Republicans feeding from the wildlife slaughtering industry revealed that the interest among young people in killing animals just for the hell of it is on the wane.
A report at the meeting showed a troubling slump in license sales for youth ages 12 through 17, with last year's small-game and youth combination license sales down compared to recent past years. When that happens, GF&P has to come up with different options to fund its operations, and that can include an increase in license costs and fees.
Read it all here.

Can you say extirpation?

Local control is just another euphemism for the freedom to poop on somebody else's pancakes.

When Republican domination is literally deadly to wildlife and humans alike maybe it's time for a little hope and change.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Across the aisle: Daschle, Lott at Kennedy Center

As Republicans bash each other and denounce cooperation in Congress former US Senators Tom Daschle and Trent Lott are taking their tutorial on bipartisanship on the road.

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?
Actual governing has ground to a standstill in favor of blood sport. As a consequence, a new silent majority, level-headed Americans who simply want their government to solve problems, now regularly stay home come election time. They surrender their privilege of voting out of a mix of apathy, bitterness and cynicism. It’s far past time to rotate which states go first—or in our opinion, just scrap the staggering and institute a National Primary Day. It’ll eliminate the embarrassing pandering and raise the turnout with one swoop.
Read the rest here.

Sens. Daschle and Lott recently appeared at the National Press Club where they will be unveiling their book, “Crisis Point: Why We Must — and How We Can — Overcome Our Broken Politics in Washington and Across America.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

BLM suspends ecocide on some public lands

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey confirms that much of the mercury in Lake Superior is the result of burning coal from as far away as China and as close as Minnesota.
Citing concerns over pricing and pollution, the Obama administration on Friday unveiled a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. The review process is expected to take about three years. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the change in a conference call Friday morning. The federal Bureau of Land Management handles coal leasing on the approximately 570 million acres of land. In 2014, the most recent year with complete data, Wyoming received more than $555 million in royalties and revenues, with more than 200,000 acres covered by 102 federal leases. [NPR]
Even after spending over $350 million mercury emissions are still a problem in NE South Dakota.
An environmental retrofit of Otter Tail Power Co.’s largest coal-fired power plant has finished significantly under budget, but the achievement is clouded by worries that new greenhouse gas rules will curtail how much the plant operates in future years. At first, Otter Tail officials raised alarm with the EPA that the plant — the only coal-fired generator in South Dakota — would be forced to shut down, stranding an investment that costs residential ratepayers in Minnesota about $5 per month. But the final rule softened South Dakota’s carbon targets, and the utility officials no longer are concerned about shuttering the plant.
Read that here.

Gillette, Wyoming is a scary place. It's where ecocide is encouraged and mercury from coal burning power plants is released into South Dakota's watersheds.

Wyoming receives nearly half of all federal mineral receipts. (pdf)

Cross-state pollution? Say it ain't so, Marty.

How bad does it have to get before Marty Jackley files lawsuits against Black Hills Power, NorthWestern Energy, Otter Tail and/or the Colstrip Generating Station?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bundy-inspired SD legislator would bleed the beast

South Dakota is the fourth most dependent moocher state yet its governor says he hates dependency.
South Dakota Stock Growers Association leaders are questioning what they’re calling an unbalanced response of federal land management agencies to fires that burned public and private land. Representative Lynne DiSanto is bringing forward a bill, on behalf of the Stock Growers Association, that would hold the federal government responsible for their actions. [Today's KCCR]
Disturbing soils can allow the growth of plants that had been introduced by European settlers in the 19th Century. After a century of destructive ranching practices invasive grasses infest northwestern South Dakota.

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

There were no injuries and the only structure lost was a derelict rural schoolhouse. 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 invasive grasses.

DiSanto supports the actions of the sleeper cell of armed christianic militants holding a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon: a procedure known as "Bleeding the Beast."

DiSanto's insurance company husband, Mark has announced he's getting into the Pennington County commission race: Rapid City Journal.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

He's in: Gary Johnson enters presidential barnstorm

Does anyone call it recreational alcohol? Of course not.
Johnson announced his candidacy for the Libertarian Party nomination Wednesday at the New Mexico state capitol in Santa Fe. [Albuquerque Journal]
Gary Johnson got 5795 votes from South Dakotans in 2012.
Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson on Tuesday hinted that he soon might be announcing another Libertarian Party presidential bid. “I’ve enjoyed working with CBDS, and am confident of the future successes of the company and the cannabis industry and I’m confident that legal cannabis is a societal good,” Johnson said in a news release.
Read the rest here.

Colorado’s cannabis law includes a 15 percent excise tax on wholesale product that is set aside for school construction capital.

Public Policy Polling released a survey commissioned by Minnesota NORML from January 18-21, 2015. 49% of Minnesotans want legal cannabis ala Colorado and Washington, 44% are opposed; men embrace legalization 51/43. 76% of respondents condone therapeutic access. Even Republicans showed support at 61% and American Indians showed overwhelming approval at 93%. 54% believe cannabis prohibition is not more effective than alcohol prohibition, 51% think Minnesota’s economy would benefit from market legalization.

North Dakota has legalized cannabis so getting the means to cultivate onto the Standing Rock tribal nation is already taking place. But distribution of finished product remains smoke and mirrors unless states and tribes adopt a regulatory strategy and form compacts.

Progressives overwhelmingly support legal cannabis while liberals are too afraid to offend a non-existent base. Clearly, South Dakota ‘Progress’ doesn’t have a progressive spine and should just join the SDGOP.

Letting GOP Senator Rand Paul lead on cannabis rights will result in the defeat of Democrats nation wide if we don't step up to the bong, listen to voters and send the message to end Prohibition.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Lee Enterprises will close Billings call center

Historically in the bag for ethics-free right wing extremists like Steve Daines and Mike Rounds Lee newspapers are media cripples.

After gutting its capital bureau Lee Newspapers of Montana is cutting more staff.
A regional customer service call center based at The Billings Gazette and serving its parent company, Lee Enterprises Inc., will be closed and consolidated by Feb. 4, company officials announced Tuesday. Ten full-time and 26 part-time jobs will be eliminated by the closure. [Billings Gazette]
Lee Newspapers of Montana could survive as part of a Bismarck Tribune, Rapid City Journal, Casper Star-Trib marriage and not become part of a Gannett takeover.

But who has the huevos to pull that together?

Lee stock is trading lower today and Gannett's is trending upward.

Monday, January 4, 2016

God, guns and the siege of Oregon

A group of armed thugs, including a retired Air Force master sergeant from South Dakota allied with mormon Cliven Bundy, are occupying not a courthouse but a national wildlife refuge in none other than Harney County, Oregon.

Tim DeChristopher is Bidder 70, the climate activist arrested after taking part in a Bureau of Land Management auction. He appeared on DemocracyNow! where he called for young people to participate in a peaceful uprising.

Thirty years ago a Philadelphia house occupied by African American militants was firebombed by police.
Because the refuge is so remote and no government employees are at risk, law enforcement isn't likely to immediately confront the militia. But law enforcement will be under great pressure to act because of the Bundys' confrontation in Nevada. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management retreated from that confrontation and has yet to publicly act against the Bundys to collect $1 million in unpaid grazing fees.
Read that here.

And from the Panhandle of Nebraska:
So-called blood sports, such as deer and pheasant hunting, might not be as popular with up-and-coming shoppers — the all-important millennials — as with past customers, retail watchers say. That’s upping the competition for companies like Cabela’s. Its stores now feature taxidermied animals in elaborate displays, but what about, say, a virtual reality test of a new gun or fishing rod? [Is it time for Cabela's to reinvent its image?]
Cabela's has always extorted cities throughout the United States by exploiting tax increment financing.
Cabela's was what began the development along Mitchell's I-90 corridor. Then came Walmart and Main Street business, the north-side mall, and Kmart all took major hits. We no longer have elected governmental entities at the local, state, and federal levels that represent the people. Instead we have oligarchies that form informal public/private partnerships on Chamber and Development boards that end up moving public dollars into the pockets of private entities. The general public benefit little, if at all. The big winners are the crony capitalists.
Read it here.

Bombs, wildfires, and mass shootings are just some of the tools of terror. It's likely that the FBI is stretched too thin to get ahead of the curve and it is hiding the scope of its findings to mask the extent of the hatred.

The sovereigns are overwhelmingly white christians using a maladapted interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to rationalize its commitment to a pending race war using links to the federal storming of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas and culminating in the Oklahoma City bombing. Many are either convicted felons no longer able to vote or have been marginalized by those who believe that the democratic process is ineffective especially since a person of color is President of the United States.

The Ridiculous Right brands Black Lives Matter protesters as unemployed slackers but a horde of Huns that takes over a federal facility to wait out the End Days are called patriots.

The American Left poses no violent threat to the United States while the hate-filled right wing of the Republican Party always will.