Anniversary of Wounded Knee, birthday remembered

December 29 has always been an easy date to note: my dad would have been 91 today.

For two boys growing up in South Dakota, one attending a single-room schoolhouse and one a Catholic grade school, this day on the calendar had no other significance (Do you remember it being taught?). It was not until college that this student learned it represented the most heinous event in South Dakota history.
At daybreak on December 29, 1890, Col. Forsyth ordered the surrender of weapons and the immediate removal and transportation of the Indians from the "zone of military operations" to awaiting trains. Specific details of what triggered the fight are debated. According to some accounts, a medicine man named Yellow Bird began to perform the Ghost Dance, reiterating his assertion to the Lakota that the ghost shirts were bulletproof. As tension mounted, Black Coyote refused to give up his rifle; he was deaf and had not understood the order.
The narrative that follows that passage is too horrifying to appear here.

One of the first jobs we kids learned after moving to the farm in the Spring of '64 was picking rock. I was almost ten, sister Lynn was eight. We learned to drive taking turns at the wheel of that old tractor and wagon moving at a half a mile an hour while Dad did most of the real work.

Finding stone hammers was our reward for clearing glacial till from those fields not knowing that they had been left there by the ancestors of those killed at Wounded Knee. Blood from our oft-smashed fingers is still on some of those rocks.

Happy Birthday, Papa.


South Dakota bomber crews notch share of 2010 Afghan civilian deaths

Bomber crews based at Ellsworth Air Force Base have likely killed Afghan civilians again this year.

Democracy Now! reports the deaths and injuries of 742 civilians in Afghanistan perpetrated by US-led forces in 2010 including 162 innocents killed and 120 wounded in air strikes.

In June, South Dakota's junior senator, Republican John Thune, announced success in prostituting stolen Lakota ground by bringing the current heavens-based smart-executor of civilian death, the Predator drone, to Ellsworth cementing the continued commitment of South Dakotans to rain white phosphorus and dismemberment on children, women, and men of color for decades to come.

Seems laudatory in a Republican campaign wheelhouse, innit?

Senator, you're no John McCain.


Zeitgeist: Addendum hooked me

ip believes it is time for crippling nationwide general strikes until the Bush/Cheney regime is brought to trial. 

Warning! This movie is only 99.44% true.  The Venus Project.


ip poll nixes Biden in 2012

ip poll results can be iffy at best.

Fascinating findings emerged from the most recent one that didn't exactly go the way it was twisted to go. It was expected that Secretary Clinton would get more votes leaving the editor to suspect that a number of pixies participated in the wildly popular plebiscite at ip.

Be that as it may: A landslide number of respondents, 70%, in fact, believe that Joe Biden will be booted from the Democratic presidential ticket in 2012 fueling speculation about a short list doubtless being divined in the minds of Democrats.

NPR is giving John Thune far too much press and it's pissing me off.

The new year begins today following a brilliant solstice. The Gregorian calendar will bring a slew of Republicans to DC. Let the wild rumpus start.


Spearfish boy saddened by hometown

It's no secret that ip loathes Spearditch.  Hammering on the failures of that community, including the potential razing of the 1924 structure built as Spearfish High School, has been favorite fodder in the comment section of the Rapid City Journal, where ip's rants heaping scorn on the demolition of historic buildings are often redacted.

 A plea for the preservation of that building currently housing East Elementary through adaptive reuse recently appeared as a Forum piece:

Picture this: A gorgeous brick 1920s era high school with all of its large, multi-paned windows and doors replaced. Spacious rooms are transformed into condos and apartments. The quaint auditorium is restored and useable for lectures, small concerts and seminars.
Those words are of Kevin Miller, an alumnus. Two children from one of ip's former lives also attended grades there.

So, ip contracted the drywall and plaster finishes in Lead where the Bates Brothers built condos in the former grade school, in the Homestake Opera House, and in numerous other historic properties in Lawrence County since '92. French Bryan and Taffy Tucker did a beautiful job at the Queen City Hotel; yes, ip did the drywall there, too.  In 2004, the last project in the ditch was the second floor location of Bella Luce in the Lown Mercantile. Ed and Kathy Dykstra did magnificent work at the building that houses Good Earth Natural Foods.

My flight from LawCo and the chemical toilet that is now South Dakota has left saving Spearfish to you, Kevin.  ip is done.

Colbert on Xmas

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Ron Paul and the pencil

NPR ran two stories this morning that hipneck might like.  The news that Ron Paul will become chairman of the Federal Reserve Oversight Committee ran with Planet Money's story recalling Milton Friedman's famous pencil speech.  Rep. Paul is the author of End the Fed, a polemic on abandoning gold and silver as legal tender to favor a powerful Fed.  The gold standard is often blamed for the collapse of markets in 1929.

In an interview with John Nichols in a joint Nation/NPR collaboration Ron Paul says:

"State secrecy is anathema to a free society. Why exactly should Americans be prevented from knowing what their government is doing in their name? In a free society we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, however, we are in big trouble. The truth is that our foreign spying, meddling and outright military intervention in the post–World War II era has made us less secure, not more, and we have lost countless lives and spent trillions of dollars for our trouble. Too often it's the official government lies that have given us endless and illegal wars resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths and casualties."

So, here we are in a place where the Dollar is destined to become cheaper to compete with China Rep. Paul wants to shine sunlight into the bowels of the Fed.  Should be fun.


Tribes gather for White House conference

Direct from the White House blog:

Kicking Off the White House Tribal Nations Conference
Posted by Secretary Ken Salazar on December 16, 2010 at 10:41 AM EST
Ed. Note: The closing session of the White House Tribal Nations Conference will be streamed live on WhiteHouse.gov/live starting at 1:45 p.m. EST. Video of the opening session, including President Obama's remarks will be available on WhiteHouse.gov later today. Learn more about the new Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs being announced from the Department of Energy's blog.
CENSORED NEWS reports that the President announced support for the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights.

KW is hosting a thread at Mount Blogmore on Native issues.  Join us.

Pete Rouse interview at Indian Country Today.


Uptown Comet, Montana

War College redacts Adelstein link

Well, it looks like a disturbance in the Sith Order of South Dakota politics:

In response to Mount Blogmore's Kevin Woster shining sunlight on the hiring of South Dakota War College founder Pat Powers to the office of incoming Republican Secretary of State, Jason Gant, State Senator Stan Adelstein, also a Republican, blasted the War College blog as likely defamatory:
The employment of a patently dishonest person in an office requiring absolute objective fairness is outrageous. . .Just as my choice to run for office renders me unable to take action against Slander and Libel, this gentleman chose to render himself ineligible for a task requiring public trust. He chose to muckrake with deliberate viciousness and disregard for facts - thus his employment is grossly inappropriate.
He goes on to say:
Not unlike the State Department hiring a Wikileaks employee to organize their data - saying as Senator Gant states above “The press will like it very, very much.” Which press? The Kevin Wosters? I doubt it! (though few have his thoroughness and energy to seek accurate and substantial truth) More likeley those “bloggers, when they assign motives without first discussing it with the assignee and pass judgment without getting all the facts” After Powers knows well how to segregate, abbreviate and “anonymou-ate” data.

“never to be senator again” Stan Adelstein
ip posted a hyperlink at SDWC to the Blogmore discussion asking the question: "Do you think Senator Adelstein will flee the party?" with the thanks of Tyler Crissman only to have it deleted with an apology. 


UPDATE 1/6:  ip still blocked by the War Toilet.


Open Thread: What else is ip missing?

An activist judge guided by the Kochtopus?  Bill Clinton: Surrogate in Chief? Pending Omnibus Parachute? Thune's key to the Emperor's Club? Kristi's address to the nation? Rehberg's errant brainlessness? Statehood for Cuba?


South Dakota's Republican administrations piss DUSEL down legs

Let's be clear: ip unwaveringly supports the Lab at the former Homestake, warts and all.

In the years after the thunderstorm at Orman Dam, a quest for redemption overtook me.  I pursued numerous concepts nearly simultaneously. A recycling initiative that would look much like the MRF does today would have been based in Lead where the mining infrastructure vacated by Homestake's closure would be adapted. Metals, paper, plastics, glass, the whole schmear. The Janklow administration, right?

The ice climbing park concept got floated and rejected and forgotten for a few cycles. Still is.

Not long after the September 11 attacks and the anthrax hysteria, during an interview on SDPB Radio with then-governor Bill Janklow, a caller asked whether survivable space might be considered for the former Homestake Mine. After a familiar, but brief, tirade, BJ the DJ said, "I can't talk about that."

In 2003, Barrick announced the surplus of several properties.  ip led a group of investors to the Ross Compressor Plant, a magnificent architectural masterpiece that housed the three leviathan compressors that had provided most of the pneumatic needs for the mine.  They drove hundreds of miles of line lovingly and were meticulously maintained by union workers for at least seven decades. The winning proposal for the property would gain ownership of these massive machines.

Having realized that these machines could slow water filling the mine, I attempted multiple contacts with the Rounds administration. Calls and emails to Jamie Rounds went unreturned. We presented our proposal to purchase that would have moved the compressors to a mining museum, preferably local. The winning bidder sold them for scrap.

And the craziest part? The Homestake represents 8000 feet closer to the geothermal potential capable of powering much of the region.

Here is David Newquist's fine synopsis of South Dakota's race for the bottom. David Montgomery said it like this.

Stupid, stupid state.


Food and Reproduction

A legume and a grain, a grain and a tree nut or a tree nut and a legume eaten together create a complete protein suitable for human nutrition. Because of the deleterious impacts of livestock production on the environment plant-based diets are replacing animal protein in much of the world and even in the United States as eaters learn the levels of glyphosate, a known endocrine disruptor found in corn sugars and in small grains and hay fed to the creatures people eat, is incompatible with human life. Pulse crops like lentils, split peas, pintos, black beans and chickpeas or garbanzo beans are legumes that restore lost nitrogen in corn-damaged soils.

Noodling around in Everybody's Bookstore in Rapid City not long after the thunderstorm at Orman Dam, a great insight was uncovered.  The revelatory Marvin Harris compilation, Food and Evolution: Toward a Theory of Human Food Habits wired right into that copious section of a forager's brain after having been altered by a boyhood spent on a farm with a two-bottom plow  then groping for non-pharma relief from life's rigors.

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.

Montana marriage amendment likely unconstitutional

With support from the American Civil Liberties Union, seven couples filed their landmark lawsuit challenging the implications of Montana's 2004 amendment to the state constitution citing a "chilling effect" on couples' rights to due process. 

In November, Montana's Democratic Attorney General, Steve Bulllock, filed a motion to dismiss.  The case is a no-win for Bullock, a likely 2012 gubernatorial primary contender with strong support in the most Liberal pockets within the party.  With California's Prop 8 likely doomed, the constitutionality of Montana's  Initiative 96 crashes into question.

The Helena Independent Record reports that an attorney for the plaintiffs filed a motion for summary judgment in Lewis and Clark District Court on Friday:

“The state can’t distinguish or give protections and benefits to one set of couples and deny it to another,” said Betsy Griffing, ACLU of Montana’s legal director. “With this motion, what we are saying is that we are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Plaintiffs include Jan Donaldson and Mary Anne Guggenheim of Helena; Kellie Gibson and Denise Boettcher of Laurel; Gary Stallings and Rick Wagner of Butte; Nancy Owens and M.J. Williams of Basin; Mike Long and Rich Parker of Bozeman; Stacey Haugland and Mary Leslie of Bozeman; and Casey Charles and David Wilson of Missoula.  Bullock’s office is reviewing the newest motion, but declined to comment further.  A hearing on the motions before District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock is set for Jan. 25, 2011. If the case proceeds to trial, the ACLU expects that to take place in July 2011, but noted it’s likely that the case will end up before the Montana Supreme Court in the next few years.


2 million acres of wildlife corridor proposed

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is my new west hero. They are standing up to Earth-hating lobby interests pushing governors to question Endangered Species protections for keystone and apex species.

In cooperation with local chapters, the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge will become part of a proposed two million acre regional complex of wetlands and grasslands toward an ultimate goal of 12 million acres:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  is proposing to work with private landowners to accelerate the conservation of native prairie, consisting of both wetland and grassland habitats, within the Prairie Pothole Region in the eastern portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. The proposed Dakota Grassland Conservation Area (Dakota Grassland) is part of a landscape-scale, strategic habitat conservation effort to conserve populations of migratory birds by protecting the unique, highly diverse, and endangered ecosystem known as the Prairie Pothole Region. To do this, the Service will develop a Land Protection Plan and associated environmental analysis to describe the proposed action.
Exactly.  Public comment is encouraged at these meetings.

Here is Cory's cross-post.


Hit counts at ip mirror Noem contributions data

David Montgomery displays his awesome web savvy and data chops over at Mount Blogmore.

His numbers on Kristi Noem's campaign contributions seem to show some synchronicity with the server-crashing volume of the hits on blog posts where Pat Powers' now-redacted assault brought withering virtual fire on Stephanie Herseth Sandlin coincidental to this October 24 post at ip.


Montana's Republican legislators moving to abridge womens' civil rights

You knew it was coming:

Swept into into office lathered-up over government control of individual rights, Montana's tea-buggering Republican anti-civil rights caucus wasted no time announcing their proposals for the intrusion of government into doctor/patient relationships.

As Charles Johnson at the IR reports this morning:
The state Republican Party platform says, "We affirm our belief in traditional family values and support the preservation of innocent human life at every stage of life, beginning with conception."  Gregg Trude, executive director of Montana Right to Life, is hopeful that some bills restricting abortion will pass this session.  "Every Republican in the House is pro-life." Trude said. "Every Republican in the Senate is pro-life."
Get a grip, Gregg.  Right to Life is code for the vivisection of the body of law that brung ya. These people aren't patriots, they're peasants wielding pitchforks and torches as they campaign for the complete submission of half of Montana's population to the other half.

This chorus of anti-education legislators includes Basin's own Alan Hale, whose campaign serially slimed the infinitely more qualified Sheila Hogan.  His poaching conviction past is replete with a history of domestic violence, brutalizing his family during drunken rages.

The good news? Governor Brian Schweitzer will veto anything smacking of the application of religious dogma to constitutional law standing for those Democrats phoning in their games rather than voting.

Second trimester: it's not just a good idea; it's the law.


US withstands witch hunt intended to exterminate wolves

The US Fish and Wildlife Service resisted the efforts of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming governors to force the removal of wolves from endangered species protection.  Montana's governor Brian Schweitzer tells Matthew Brown of the Associated Press that it's "unlikely" the lame-duck congress will pander to the frothing anti-Earth set waving pitchforks, torches, and automatic weapons.

The Billings Gazette:

The Fish and Wildlife Service has previously approved plans to hunt the predators in Idaho and Montana — but not Wyoming. That's because Wyoming law classifies wolves as predators that can be shot on sight across most of the state.  Schweitzer said the administration was ready to back legislation to take wolves off the list in Montana and Idaho, while giving Wyoming three years to craft an acceptable management plan for the predators.  "I was ready to go forward with a hunt in January of 170-something wolves," he said. "But the governors, we couldn't come to a consensus with the secretary of Interior about a possible legislative fix."  U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy ruled in August that it was illegal to declare the animal recovered from near-extinction across a part of its range while it remained at risk in Wyoming.

The technology exists to administer drugs without capture that neuter or spay not just the predators, but the ungulates decimating deciduous tree populations essential to forest restoration efforts in western states.

--------------------------------------------------------Update:  Check out this editorial in The Arizona Republic:

The Endangered Species Act is a popular, scientifically sound law that has had spectacular success recovering species like eagles, condors and wolves [that] Congress should not undermine.


Montana lot for sale: manifesto not included

The real estate remnants of one domestic insurgent is on the market as the Billings Gazette reports:
A 1.4-acre parcel of land in western Montana that was once owned by Unabomber Ted Kaczynski is on the market for $69,500.  The property is listed by John Pistelak Realty of Lincoln. The listing offers potential buyers a chance to own a piece of "infamous U.S. history" and says the forested land "is obviously very secluded."  The Lincoln-area property, which had been listed at $154,500, does not have electricity or running water. Kaczynski was critical of technology.  The property does not include Kaczynski's cabin. It is on display in the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Kaczynski is serving a life sentence for a series of mail bombings over 17 years that killed three and injured 23.
Here is the link to Ted's essay later described as the Unabomber Manifesto. It looks to me like an early forecast (and evidence) of the anthropogenic trophic cascade that's currently underway.

So, reading through Ted's psych eval revealed some similarities with ip's, whose parents and nuns conspired to leapfrog fifth grade:
As the result of testing conducted in the fifth grade, it was determined that he could skip the sixth grade and enroll with the seventh grade class.


Cannabis science influencing Montana law

As Montana's legislature prepares its agenda for the upcoming session, the state's medical cannabis law settles into the crosshairs. Initiated law and its inherent clumsiness makes legislators wring their hands at the power wielded by an electorate angry with gridlock.

Matthew Frank at the Missoula Independent brings a science-based report from a researcher's perspective. This excerpt from his lengthy study begins with Dr. Noel Palmer:

"It's the dosing," says Palmer, co-founder of Montana Botanical Analysis, located in the Bozeman Medical Arts Center. "That's one area where I feel like our work has really impacted physicians and the general public. Those are concerns that seem to be fairly common. How do you dose this stuff? But you can. We're here and we're doing it right now...We can talk numbers. It's not just some dude who makes cookies in a kitchen."

Palmer does indeed talk numbers. He thumbs through a stack of files and pulls out a printout of a recent analysis. The liquid chromatographer detected a handful of cannabinoids—the active constituents of cannabis—with the biggest blip on the chart corresponding to THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive and analgesic substance in cannabis.

Sen. Jim Shockley, R-Victor, who drafted a bill for the 2011 legislative session that would repeal Montana's voter-approved Medical Marijuana Act, says the cannabis labs' work makes him more likely to embrace the burgeoning industry.
Palmer becomes giddy when his explanation of cannabis' biosynthetic pathway reaches CBD, a cannabinoid with no psychoactive effects that, therapeutically, may be more promising than THC. He refers to it as "the silver bullet of the modern cannabis movement."

"It's not about THC anymore. It's about everything, the blend. It's all of these in there," Palmer says, pointing to the cannabinoids written on his whiteboard. "We think of them working symbiotically."

"Law enforcement needs a clear protocol," Palmer says.

More to the point, law enforcement needs a medical marijuana law that better reflects how medical marijuana is being used. Mark Long, chief of the Montana Narcotics Bureau, points out that cannabinoid quantification matters little to his colleagues because the law defines usable marijuana only as its dried weight.

Credit the cannabis labs then for at least providing a service it appears most Montanans, no matter their position on medical marijuana, can support. As the Legislature will surely prove when it tackles the topic in January, consensus ends there.

The South Dakota legislature will be seeing some lobbying by advocates of medical cannabis. Who will listen?

Photo: Chad Harder.


Rehberg votes against Native water rights, Herseth Sandlin upholds them

Funding intended to settle the lawsuit citing endemic mismanagement of Native American land trusts at the US Department of Interior is headed for President Obama's signature.

From the Billings Gazette:

In a 256-152 vote, the House approved the Claims Settlement Act of 2010 that resolves a class action lawsuit brought by American Indians who alleged that the Department of Interior mismanaged trust accounts for more than 300,000 Indians — 33,600 of them in Montana.  The act included $3.4 billion to settle the lawsuit initiated 14 years ago by Elouise Cobell, a member of Montana's Blackfeet Tribe.  The Claims Act also approved $1 billion to resolve Indian water rights cases across the nation. Of that, $461 million will go to the Crow Tribe to implement a water rights compact with the state of Montana and fund water projects throughout the southeast Montana reservation.  Montana's lone representative in the U.S. House, Republican Denny Rehberg, voted against the act, explaining that, while the cause may commendable, he could not support spending for the multibillion-dollar bill.  Cobell, in a statement from Browning, said passage of the act was a “landmark milestone to justice for native people.  This is truly an historic day in Indian Country as well as in American history,” she said. “By Congress placing a seal of approval on this settlement, a monumental step has been taken to remove a stain on our national honor, and create a better future for Indians as our government begins to make some amends for grave past injustices.”
Mary Garrigan at the Rapid City Journal quotes Deputy Interior Secretary David Hayes:

The Cobell settlement contains "no forced requirements for folks with fractionated interests to sell their land," but it does contain incentives for them to do so, Hayes said.  One of those incentives is $60 million for a scholarship fund for low-income Native American college students. In addition to being paid for the land, the Interior Department will make a donation to that fund whenever a landowner participates in the consolidation program.  "We believe this combination will make this a very attractive program," Hayes said. But even $1.9 billion will buy only a percentage of those fractionated interests, so the Interior Department plans to focus on specific tracts. Decisions about which trust land to consolidate first will be made in consultation with tribal governments, he said.

South Dakota's turned-out Democratic Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin has been a strong voice for the bill. She recently spoke to the Mitchell Republic.

Maybe it's a good time to consider Statehood for reservations. Montana's Crow and South Dakota's Cheyenne River Sioux, whose tribal Chairman Joseph Brings Plenty opposed the settlement, are historic enemies. Looks like a job for democracy.


Check out this photo!

This photo appears in Wildfire Today. Courtesy National Geographic and Sean Heavey.

Wuerthner: Tony Dean Wilderness "Ironic"

In his latest New West post, author George Wuerthner mentions S. 3310 coming up as a part of the upcoming, likely doomed Omnibus Wilderness Bill:

SOUTH DAKOTA: 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.


Update: Text of Omibus Wilderness Bill.


Grid-free Basin family attends permaculture conference

Dave and Susie live on Pole Mountain about a thousand feet in elevation above Basin.

The house they built themselves from mostly found and salvage materials is about 1500 square feet with views looking south across a mind-blowing part of the Boulder Batholith, The architectural design is functional, yet roomy. It is not huge, but, it is not humble, either.

Their Bosch refrigerator runs on propane, solar cells power a set of batteries that manage their electrical needs (including a welder), Leah and Micah's diapers were washed in rainwater collected in a cistern that also waters the garden. Goats supply milk and meat. The orchard provides fruit. They recently added a chest freezer.

They just spent half of October and half of November at a permaculture conference in California and insist that what they learned changed their lives.

ip posts this knowing that they read this blog. Sarina called it a propaganda site over Thanksgiving. I did not disagree.

With some luck, Dave and Susie will contribute more. Just click the comments button at the bottom of this post, guys.

This article on smart growth appears at the blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council.


Fertility vaccine pending for wild horses works for cougars and wolves

This story aired on Yellowstone Public Radio the other day that reinforces ip's rant on a non-lethal compromise to manage predators, especially cougars and wolves:

The federal Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday it will use fertility treatment on some 900 wild horses that it hopes to round up in western states during the current fiscal year. The "catch, treat and release" approach comes amidst ongoing controversy over the roundups, which are designed to control the population of horses on federal rangelands.

The BLM argues that reducing herd sizes are necessary to protect the range and to keep the horse populations healthy into the future. The agency intends to apply a fertility vaccine called PZP to 890 mares, then release the animals back to the areas from which they were captured.

The technology exists to administer this drug to predators without capture even as western states are suing to force the United States Fish & Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list pressured by livestock producers. The South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks has ordered the extermination of 50 cougars under pressure from hunting industries who rely on tourist dollars.

ip has jammed this concept into numerous western blogs with mixed success. Selling licenses to track and identify females then administer these drugs could capitalize its application. PZP is effective for a year. DepoProvera renders males sterile for three months.

Here is an article on the contraindications associated with the long-term use of PZP, it's environmental effects are noted.


Hasselstrom speaks out

Linda Hasselstrom is a Hermosa-area writer, rancher, and contributor to Writers on the Range, a feature of High Country News.

Excerpted from the Missoula Independent:

"E. coli contamination thrives in feedlots, but grass-fed livestock,
including beef, pork, chicken, sheep, elk, deer, antelope and other wild
meat animals, is free of this dangerous pathogen.

Range cattle roam freely, rarely spending more than a day in one spot. They must be branded to prevent theft and vaccinated against disease, but they are herded only briefly into corrals. Since cows live outside in all weather, their wastes are scattered and broken down by elements and insects. Pastured cattle never stand knee-deep in manure, because cows don't like to eat near feces. That's why, in winter, ranchers scatter supplementary feed onto clean grass. Buyers who cram cattle into feedlots for fattening waste resources and in the process make the animals—and those who dine on them—less healthy.

A 2002 U.S. Department of Agriculture study identified 358 million acres of privately owned grassland, pasture and range. The 2007 Ag census noted that only 656,475 farms and ranches are raising beef cattle, even as more U.S. residents consume more imported food every year.

Meanwhile, wild animals in national parks and popular wilderness
areas live precariously because public lands are increasingly crowded. Private land allows those species to breed and rest. Gary Nabhan,
the conservation scientist and writer, estimates that 80 percent of half of the country's endangered mammals, plants and birds are nurtured on private and tribal lands rather than in national parks or wilderness areas.

How can we enhance wildlife habitat in ranching country? We might
zone grazing lands so they can't be invaded by housing or commercial
developments. How about incentive payments for ranchers who shelter wildlife and protect open space—much like the "tax increment financing" given to businesses? Or we could lower taxes on ranch property, since ranchers feed many animals we consider public property.

As I write this, 40 antelope are grazing my pasture."


Ba'ath Party takes the reins in South Dakota

Governor-elect Dennis Hussein assumed the mantle of Ba'ath Party leader by appointing Tariq Nelson to the Public Utilities Commission. Nelson was defeated in his bid for the Ba'ath Party's nomination to the US House by Kristi Hussein, now Bimbo-elect.

From the Rapid City Journal:

From the official blog of the Christian Republic of South Dakota:
Steve Sibson:

“And the PUC and Pierre are already captured by
industry. You’ll
need to elect Dems to fix that.”

and DC is also captured by industry and the Dems own the White House and had
control of both chambers of the legislature…so how can you say the Dems can

Nelson will then be appointed and serve on the PUC until an election
is held in 2012. Nelson said he is planning to stand for election for the
remaining four years of the six-year term.

Hussein appointed Nelson
despite the secretary of state lacking experience in the utilities industry,
saying Nelson was the right person for the job.

As secretary of
state Nelson earned $78,362 a year. He will get $91,390 as a member of the
public utilities commission.


California moving to ban plastic bags

The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico brought emergency to the abuse of Earth to make plastics while ecoterrorists Halliburton, Koch Industries, and Exxon Mobil reap record profits.

This story aired today on KCRW's To the Point:

25% of the world now bans plastic bags, and Los Angeles County is one of a growing number of US communities getting on board. Will the limits of cloth bags like Grandma used to carry require thinking about what goes in them?

Explosive, heptane-rich ponderosa pine infests Black Hills and Rocky Mountain forests historically populated by aspen, chokecherry, and hazelnut.

Connect the dots.

Photo: LooseDoodles.

US torture memos reveal chilling human suffering

Minnesota Public Radio News has become a morning obsession. The hosts are brilliant, respectful, and well-sourced. Since MPR News streams for BlackBerry, it often displaces my traditional drive-time radio.

This Friday, Midmorning host, Kerri Miller, conducts multiple interviews with writers and journalists whose visions of western democracy have been profoundly shaken by their research findings. These interviews are terror-invoking, indeed:

Darius Rejali, professor of political science at Reed College, is a nationally recognized expert on government torture and interrogation. Iranian-born, Rejali has spent his scholarly career reflecting on violence, and, specifically, reflecting on the causes, consequences, and meaning of modern torture in our world. His work spans concerns in political science, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, history, and critical social theory.
Torture and Democracy (Princeton, 2007) is Rejali’s most recent book. It is an unrelenting examination of the use of torture by democracies in the 20th century. As democracy, human rights, and the free press blossomed after World War II, so did the market for “clean” torture techniques that leave no evidentiary scars, such as the use of drugs, stress positions, and waterboarding. Rejali reveals the most controversial Western intelligence-gathering techniques, explains their origins, and questions if their use actually hinders the torturer’s ability to gather credible intelligence.
Waterboarding is torture when they do it to us; but, it is an enhanced interrogation technique when we do it to them.


Wuerthner nails it

From NewWest contributor, George Wuerthner:

Perhaps the best control we have on the effects of hunting on predator-human conflicts is California. In 1991 California voters passed an initiative that outlawed hunting of cougars. Today California has more cougars (about 6000) than any other western state, yet has the lowest per capita rate of cougar attacks in the West. In other words, in states where cougars are hunted so they presumably “fear man” there are far more cougar attacks on people than in California—even though California has more people, and more cougars than any other state—thus should, statistically speaking, have much higher per capita cougar attacks.

South Dakota is a failed state.


South Dakota's Representative At-large-elect, Kristi Noem has been recognized as Washington's newest Boehner ascension after being elected Majority Installed Leadership Freshman:

Noem said she was honored that her colleagues in the freshman class selected her as a liaison. Noem and other freshman lawmakers are in Washington this week for orientation.

Yeah, right! No trailer hitch in DC is safe.

AP photo.


ACLU urges AG to probe Bush crimes

From the blog of the American Civil Liberties Union:

Sounds to us like President Bush broke the law. So last Thursday, the ACLU sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to ask Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate whether Bush violated the Anti-Torture Statute. From our letter:

"The ACLU acknowledges the significance of this request, but it bears emphasis that the former President's acknowledgement that he authorized torture is absolutely without parallel in American history. The admission cannot be ignored. In our system, no one is above the law or beyond its reach, not even a former president. That founding principle of our democracy would mean little if it were ignored with respect to those in whom the public most invests its trust."

If this country is committed to the rule of law, our leaders cannot ignore this very clear, plain evidence that our former president authorized torture.

The Nation's John Nichols believes that there is no time like the present:
Both the House and Senate judiciary committees have Constitution subcommittees. There needs to be an examination by one or both of these committees of the question of whether George Bush's statements mark him an a man who violated his solemn oath to "faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

President Bush and Vice President Cheney continue to "enjoy" the benefits of the positions they held -- in the form of the pensions and extensive staff and structural supports afforded former members of the executive branch. As such, they are subject to the scrutiny of Congress. And that scutiny should be applied with the purpose of achieving accountability -- not just for Bush and Cheney but for the executive branch in general.

The point is not punishment. Rather, it is clarification. Bush has acknowledged wrongdoing. That wrongdoing should be examined, documented and censured by the Congress. Ideally, Democrats and Republicans would accept the importance of a proper investigation and response -- as it would, in many senses, be as much about the future as the past.

From Matthew Rothschild at The Progressive:

Under the Geneva Conventions and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, countries that have ratified the accords have a binding obligation to exercise jurisdiction over those accused of grave breaches. (See “Stripping Rumsfeld and Bush of Impunity,”).

So if I were Bush (and what a horrifying thought that is!), I’d cancel those plans to visit Spain or Germany or any other country where some prosecutor, somewhere, respects international law.

Fry, Baby, Fry.


Basin School in the news

Alana Listoe of Lee Newspapers in Montana tells this charming story of the Basin School:
According to Tammy Urich, or "Ms. U" to the students, the average number of students during her 18 years at the school has been 24. Since school funding is based on the number of students, 14 students means less money for the operating budget. "The board talked about if there becomes 10 or less reducing to one teacher, so we are really worried," Urich said. The environment isn't for everyone, and Urich said it either clicks or it doesn't for both families and teachers. Rhandi Rachlis loves spending time with the school children. On this day, she walked by during recess and said hello to the teachers and the children. She was on her way to the fire hall to display a photo of all the children with the local fire truck. Rachlis, 73, reads to students twice a week at the school through Rocky Mountain Development Council's Foster Grandparent Program. "These kids are like a family with each other," she said. "They get wonderful individualized attention, the teachers know the community, and all that gives them a learning advantage. They care about each other and the teachers, and it's mutual. There's a quality of respect that's fostered there, and I think it's really powerful."

Rhandi has been an anchor on the Basin Volunteer Fire Department for thirty years, is a Founding Mother of the Montana Artists Refuge, owns the historic Diott Building (green front on the right in the photo, the Hewitt on the left houses the Refuge), and hosts Tom Elliott's yoga practice in her backyard on summer evenings. The second-story south classroom in the school is our space otherwise.


Cougar shooting resembles poaching attempt

This story has ip roiling!

Some xenocidal idiot from Colman failed at killing a treed cougar with a fucking shotgun, then blasted the animal several more times before it succumbed. South Dakota's neutered wildlife agency refused to file charges.

This cougar belongs to the people of South Dakota and not to GFP. It's death should be recorded as the first kill of the pending season designed as a Final Solution.

Anonymous manifesto left at ip

Somebody left this at a post below:

"Anger about Messerlee. Understandable.
They need to understand this man was pushed into the offense. Cops have been getting away with killings like this for a long time. Blacks in the South know this all too well. Each time they were all confident the Blue Shield would protect them, and it did. The difference is in many IF NOT MOST of these cases they were rogue cops who the Gods tempted. They did it intentionally thinking they were "earning", knowing they would get away with it. They were the ones whom the Gods disliked, while the Messerlees of the world who get caught are being punished, feedback reserved for those the Gods have interest in keeping.
There are those in the ghetto whom are singled out, targets of the community whom everybody hates. The rogue cops in the South who are guilty of these kind of killings have been reincarnated into roles like this. It's just one of the clues the Gods offer to the community. Lucky for those preditors the ghetto has been an ignorant community, but I think that might be changing.

Of course there could be anoher possibility:::::Due to the history and resulting legacy of hatred for the Gods, since I am guarenteed a spot on the next Planet Earth I will be the original "bad seed":::The Lucifer-figure of the next reality. Unlike Christian dogma, he may just represent the solitary target of the God's ire early, a disgruntled asshole who pissed the Gods off, the proverbial "apple" of the next reality, beginning the process which leads planets to where we are today. A crucial figure in any planet's history, he represents the "beginning of the end".

People, especially liberals give W a very hard time.
Don't forget what I say:::Everything today is both good and evil. The Gods have positioned it as such as we have become increasingly disfavored, confusing the enviornment.

Republicans and conservatives as well, only they fall more on the good side while their adversaries fall more on the evil side, quite contrary to the God's positioning.
Yes, W's evil is illustrated in the United State's efforts in Iraq, and the "Red State"r's who believe we were "earning" are among the worst of them.
If conservatives fall on the side of good, Fox News falls on the side of evil. They pander to the type of trash my brother is, the kind of trash who thinks their war mongering efforts "earn" for them and all others who think like them.
Anyways, it is positioned that W trashed the economy before he left office. Selfish it didn't happen while he was in office, granted, but economic turmoil is a motivator. It's not cancer, mind you, but many have begun praying hard because of their experinces in this event, and it says something about those affected as opposed to those sheltered from affect.
One day just as they will allow vaccines to diseases, especially AIDS, encouraging deviacy the likes which hasn't been seen since the 70s, they will allow cures for cancer, MS, COPD, alcoholism, etc.
Women's diseases will be last. Just as research into women's diseases receive the least amount of funding so is it justified their cures come last, and both for the same reason:::They have the most favor, and the Gods use their diseases as a motivator to pray and find the path. As such they get God's benefit as long as they are willing to offer it."

Wyoming, South Dakota battle for the bottom

From the online Casper Star-Tribune:

Republicans won nine state House seats and three state Senate seats this year, giving them a 50-10 majority in the House and a 26-4 majority in the Senate. That’s the most dominant the GOP has been in the Legislature since 1921.

Predicting legislative races in Wyoming can be tougher than in other states.

For one thing, Wyoming legislative districts are the smallest by population in the country: As of 2002, the average Senate district had 16,459 people, while the average House district had just 8,230 people, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Because a comparatively small number of voters decide the election, it’s harder to predict the outcome.

Interestingly, though, only 66 percent of registered Wyoming voters turned out for the general election. That’s the lowest turnout for a midterm election in Wyoming since 1978, according to the Wyoming secretary of state’s office.

Water quality and environmental issues get ignored in red states where greed is good.


Montana moves to block patriots' lawsuit

The Helena Independent Record reports that an amendment to Montana's constitution is flawed:

Montana's attorney general has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by seven gay couples seeking the same rights as married couples in making decisions about their family's health care and finances.

Attorney General Steve Bullock says the Montana Constitution limits spousal benefits to married couples.

The constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Bullock says in his motion to dismiss the case that the court does not have the jurisdiction to extend spousal benefits beyond that definition.

The American Civil Liberties Union claims the state is violating the couples' rights to equal protection by denying them those benefits.

District Judge Jeffrey Sherlock has set a Jan. 25 hearing on the motion to dismiss the case.

The neighbors are out of town and could not be immediately reached for comment.


“Courts may not exercise the power to enact laws and revise, alter or amend the constitution,” Bullock said. Such policymaking power belongs to the Legislature and the people of the state, he added.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents the seven gay Montana couples in the lawsuit, said the couples aren’t challenging the 2004 initiative that added the marriage definition to the state constitution.

But the ACLU claims the state is violating other parts of the constitution — the right to equal protection, privacy and dignity — by denying gay couples in committed relationships the legal protections enjoyed by married couples.

The plaintiffs are asking Sherlock to impose an injunction that requires the state to give gay couples the legal status and statutory framework that gives them those protections.

ACLU of Montana legal director Betsy Griffing said the marriage amendment should be more narrowly construed than the way Bullock is interpreting it.

“It doesn’t provide an exception to the other rights (in the constitution), especially the right to privacy and equal protection,” Griffing said.

The ACLU plans to respond to Bullock’s motion to dismiss by Dec. 10.

Just moments ago in an interview conducted over the fence in my bathrobe, one of the plaintiffs, Nancy Owens, agreed that AG Bullock, considered a front-runner in the 2012 Democratic gubernatorial primary, would alienate a strategic portion of his base by moving to dismiss this lawsuit believing the State would win it. More likely that the amendment defining marriage would not stand scrutiny.



George Washington: US Constitution is Living Document

From Peter Henriques via the Billings Gazette:
One of George Washington’s most important and far-reaching decisions made as president revolved around the question of whether he would sign into law a bill establishing a national bank. Alexander Hamilton, his brilliant secretary of the treasury, argued for such an institution and justified his action by seizing on Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which endowed Congress with all powers “necessary and proper” to perform tasks assigned to it in the national charter.
In short, Hamilton posited that there were “implied” powers in the Constitution as well as “enumerated” ones. Thomas Jefferson was aghast at such implications and prophesied that for the federal government “to take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn is to take possession of a boundless field of power.“
Washington saw it differently and signed Hamilton’s controversial national-bank bill. With a stroke, he endorsed an expansive view of the presidency and made the Constitution a living, open-ended document. The importance of his decision is hard to overstate, for the federal government might have been stillborn had the president rigidly adhered to the letter of the document as urged by Jefferson.
In seeking to reconcile Hamilton and Jefferson (whose views were every bit as divergent as those of the Tea Party and Obama are today), the president eloquently urged forbearance: “I would fain hope that liberal allowances will be made for the political opinions of one another; and instead of those wounding suspicions, and irritating charges there might be mutual forebearances and temporizing yieldings on all sides, without which I do not see how the reins of government are to be managed.”


Don't you just love the Internet?

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Food not Bombs doing good very well

The Rapid City chapter of Food not Bombs is set to celebrate seven years of sharing soup with residents of the East Boulevard Bridge area.

From the days of setting up on card tables with a stock pot filled with steaming soups every Sunday on the banks of Rapid Creek, Deirdre Monahan, Pat Zent, and their intrepid group of volunteers, intent on providing an alternative for people who would otherwise be subjected to persecution at the hands of the Calvinists that operate the Cornerstone Mission, have expanded to share goodies with as many as seventy people.

Today at 11:30, whether rain, blizzard, 100 in the shade, or below zero, Madeline and Claire Kurtz will share salmon casserole they helped make with their mother and with an eclectic community of persons on a sunny, but chilly, November day.

Donations of food, clothing, and money are accepted at the site, at Main Street Market, and at Black Hills Federal Credit Union.


What if Kevin Weiland would have run against John Thune?

He'd have been strangled by the Kochtopus, too.

Just for fun, we can look up dead horses' butts all day long to know much less than we know now and letting John Thune have a free ride was South Dakota Democrats' first stupid choice. Sam Hurst laments the defeat of apparent DINO, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, because Dr. Kevin Weiland chose to mount stupid choice number two, a primary run against her, then strike three? Weiland withdraws, too late to file a run for Senate.



Rocky Mountain Eye Center wins the bid

The vision effects of a torn retina began about three weeks ago after a series of events: a head-first fall of twenty feet, pushing a pose too hard at yoga, and a second bathroom remodel in six months. Spots began appearing in the left eye followed by a darkening curtain appearing from the top of my vision. A retinal tear in that eye three years ago produced similar symptoms.

My drive to Rapid City seeking consult with Dr. Abraham at the Black Hills Regional Eye Institute with one eye was difficult but uneventful. Other patients in the reception area were shocked to have a half-blind man stand up and yell, "Fuck you!" at FOX as ip walked into the exam room, foreshadowing the ultimate result of the entire episode. Erin, the tech, recognized me instantly.

Dr. Abraham poked and prodded, deployed the dreaded "Depressor," and confirmed that which was already known. Then, the Patient Accounts person appeared with the estimate. "Mr. Kurtz, your surgery will cost $12,452 and we want half now." I gulped. Three years ago, the same retina surgery and two cataracts cost that. I got up, said thank you, paid the $423 for my visit and walked out the door.

A call to Rocky Mountain Eye Center in Missoula yielded a quote of a little over $7000.

So, the day after Democrats were slaughtered en masse, I had my left eye cut open. Dr. Guess played Pink Floyd as he performed, ip under conscious nerve block. Great staff.

Thursday morning, we went to Bernice's Bakery (Joani drove) in my old stomping grounds on South Higgins and ran into a guy that had lived across the hall from me thirty years ago, Philip Burgess. He loves Basin so we exchanged numbers and look forward to his visit.

The eye is sore today.


South Dakota collapses

Not surprisingly, South Dakota voters chose entropy over success as Bimbo At-large-elect, Kristi Noem, bested incumbent moderate Democrat, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. None of the above won nearly six per cent of the vote in a state that refuses to win for losing.

Democrats not willing to succumb to a life of recitations from Bill Janklow's Little Red Book, currently being circulated by SDGOP apparatchiks, are advised to evacuate as soon as possible. Civil rights activists have been withdrawn in the wake of a cascade burying education in a shitstorm of effluent vacated by Republicans waving the flag of former slave owners.

Whimpers were heard from under the pile of rubble that used to house SDEA.

On a hopeful note, an earthquake swarm stirred the Yellowstone Caldera.


Halloween at Herb's: The Vision

Herb and ip were pondering the future of the Democratic Party after the TEA movement blows itself up and takes the GOP with it.

His ranch is about nine miles south as the raven flies from Devil's Tower. The house on the sandstone rimrock overlooking the Belle Fourche River with the deck view of the Bear Lodge Mountains looms in my memory as this is being typed. He hadn't seen the Christine O'Donnell campaign ad or the SNL skit parodying it, so I played them for him on the laptop.

Moments afterwards, this image appeared for just long enough to get a photo as the cackling echoes died in the canyon.

What's wrong with this picture?

Our little fascist buddy, Pat Powers, at South Dakota War College took this picture. Spot the irony and make a caption about it.