Monday, October 23, 2017

Pheasant phorecast: phirst phowl phormally phucked


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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Front Range rail service depends on Denver's future

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

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

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

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

Anyone with me?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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


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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

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


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

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

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sturgis proves it's the worst town in South Dakota

“Go back to the rez!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Doctors: tax sugary drinks


It looks like South Dakota isn't going to add new taxes on tobacco next session to fund red state failure but there is plenty of other sin to tax.

Forty percent of cancers are caused by obesity. Breast cancer rates in South Dakota are the highest in the United States and 31.4 percent of South Dakotans are obese. Raising taxes on tobacco raises rates of obesity.
The state’s most remote counties are particularly afflicted by conditions linked to inactivity such as diabetes and obesity. Ann Schwader of South Dakota State University Extension identified and trained “walk coaches” in four rural communities, who organized local walking campaigns.Schwader will offer another “Everybody Walks! SD” training next February to bring additional communities on board. [Utne Reader]
New analysis has revealed that consumption of sugary drinks results in some 25,000 deaths in the United Snakes and 184,000 deaths worldwide each year.

How Coca Cola, Archer Daniels Midland, and News Corpse have fattened themselves and us on sugar water is patently offensive and criminal. Drilling for the petroleum to make containers that end up in landfills is malicious and hateful especially when exposure to plastic can cause hormone changes that can lead to gender dysphoria.
A new study published in Social Science & Medicine suggests that taxation that depends on the number of calories or amount of sugar per liter may be the best approach and could even encourage manufacturers to produce and promote healthier alternatives. Last year, Mexico became the first country to implement a nationwide sugar-sweetened drink tax when it introduced a tax of one peso (around $0.07) per liter – about 10 percent of the price. As well as being a possible approach for sugar-sweetened drinks, this dose approach to taxation could also be effective at controlling unhealthy food consumption, and even fuel consumption.
Read it here.

Mexico has slowed its consumption of beverages with added sugar by taxing the industry.

Treating patients in a surge of obesity, doctors in the United Kingdom are urging lawmakers to pass a 20 percent tax to pay the medical costs to the national health care system.

Autism is caused by faulty gut/brain connections even in nanny states like South Dakota. Genetically engineered sugar beet seed contributes to the spectrum disorder in kids.

Advertising is a gateway drug; it should be subject to increased taxation, too.

What do the fat, white people below have in common besides being far greater burdens on American health care than those who exercise regularly? They all say cannabis is dangerous to young adults while also saying efforts to reduce childhood obesity, like a sugar or soda tax, is over-regulation, government overreach or nanny-statism.




From top to bottom: Korndog King Pat Powers, Quorndog Queen Linda Daugaard, Emperor Corndog, and last but not least a corn fed lead con man.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Trial set for WA man who stood his ground against SD state trooper


A South Dakota state trooper systematically spent his time profiling cars with license plates from states with legal cannabis...that is until, allegedly, Zachary Bader was nearly killed for violating a Washington man's rights.
22-18-4. Justifiable use of force to protect property--Use of deadly force--Duty to retreat. Any person is justified in the use of force or violence against another person when the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other person's trespass on or other criminal interference with real property or personal property lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal right to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only as provided in §§ 22-16-34 and 22-16-35. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be. Source: SDC 1939, § 13.2402 (3); SL 2005, ch 120, § 8; SL 2006, ch 116, § 2. [South Dakota Codified Law]
Cannabis is legal in Washington but for standing his ground Donald Willingham is charged with multiple counts in Pennington County after Trooper Bader illegally profiled the vehicle in which he was riding on Interstate 90. He is being held on an outrageous $5 million bail but his associates are out on bond. Jonathan Melendez, Chase Sukert and Desiree Sukert pleaded as part of a deal with prosecutors in which they agreed to testify against Willingham.

A mental health evaluation revealed Willingham is fit to appear for trial in December.

Recall that in 2012 short guy power hungry Bader accosted a Montana family instead of policing Sturgis Rally traffic. In 2004 Montana voters legalized cannabis for some patients.

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

South Dakota voters are expected to overturn some of the state's repressive cannabis laws in 2018.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

With the political will Lead, Deadwood's downturns easy to reverse

Well, it's that time of year again.

Not long after Homestake Mining Company announced its intention to close operations in Lead, we were listening to this NPR story about an ice climbing park in Ouray, Colorado, a former mining town that has remade itself by farming ice. My daughters' mother turned to me and said: "Wow, they should do that in the Open Cut."

It was if she had spoken with the Voice of God. The very next day I made an appointment and met with Bruce Breid, the general manager charged with the mine's mothballing, an aerial photo of the pit displayed on the wall behind his desk.

"What a brilliant idea, Mr. Kurtz, we have water here, here, and here," Mr. Breid said, pointing to locations at the rim near the Homestake Visitor Center. "Can you provide a legal instrument holding Homestake harmless?"

Right. There was that.

Though not a climber myself, more research led me to locals, some of whom had actually climbed the natural seeps deep in the pit while working for subcontract miners.

The horseshoe-shaped bowl directly under the Visitors Center is geologically sound, anchors for top roping easy to place. I have spoken to every Lead mayor since; the desired property is in the city limits. Barrick, the current owner has resisted any discussion of the concept. The Authority governing development of the Lab looks at me like deer in headlights.

The Open Cut contributes about 11% of the water to the mine being pumped for the Lab, the ice climbing park would add another 5000 gallons or so. If a clay liner would be applied to the floor of the pit, the resulting reservoir (yes, acidic mine runoff mostly) could be tapped for emergency fire-fighting or diverted to the treatment facility for water from Sawpit Gulch in Central City: some of that is already happening.

A couple of points: most of the Open Cut is comprised of very porous rock; filling the pit with water would only succeed in filling the emerging lab. Barrick wants the wall of the pit to "spall," ie. move loose material from the walls to the floor. Accelerating this process would serve the purpose.

There are precious few places on Earth where nearly a thousand feet of vertical ice would be this easy to access.

Ice climbing is driving the winter economies of several former mining towns like Bozeman, Montana; Durango and Ouray, Colorado; and Cody, Wyoming.

Lead should take some advice from Hill City and Hot Springs. Coordination with the Grateful Deadwood High Cannabusiness Institute could bring new life to some old towns.

Build it and some will even climb it naked.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Ultra Health crosses $1M NM cannabis threshold


Through its eight dispensaries New Mexico producer Ultra Health has announced it crossed the million dollar threshold providing $1.1 million in therapeutic cannabis last month to some of the state's 47,000 patients.

Ultra Health CEO Duke Rodriguez has praised the state for blooming sales.
"You know, even in the short time that we've advocated for medical cannabis, the program has rocketed from nonexistent to – next year we should, 2018, we should probably be at $150 million," he points out. Rodriguez notes that New Mexico's heavy reliance on the oil and gas industry benefits only some parts of the state, primarily counties in the northwestern and southeastern corners. He maintains total legalization would level the playing field. [Public News Service]
Ultra Health is part of an agreement with the Paiute Tribe in Las Vegas, Nevada and with New Mexico tribes to provide equipment for their facilities.

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham of Albuquerque, the leading fund raiser in the New Mexico gubernatorial Democratic primary, sees a green future for the state.
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]
New Mexico's Republican governor is appealing a state court's ruling that overturned some of her vetoes of legislative bills one of which legalizes industrial cannabis.

This blog sees little value in the widespread cultivation of hemp especially on tribal lands: it is an invasive species capable of overgrowing native grasses and easily migrates into adjacent lands. Why anyone would want to buy genetically engineered seed from Monsanto or some other earth hater every year remains a mystery.

It's also the view of this blog that Colorado shafted her medical growers to expand the industry there and that local control is essential to keeping profits from legal cannabis out of the hands of Big Dope while working for the states' stakeholders. Tight control of the industry is the only way most state legislatures will legalize for all adults.