Poll nails it

50-50. Surprise anybody?

This is where the rubber meets the road. Half of the country is up to its tits, calls itself christian, and is willing to rape its own mother. Half of the country wants to preserve a better Earth for the next generation.

The read is simple: The people calling themselves conservatives want to squander resources with reckless abandon. Self-identifying liberals want to save it. Crazy, and it played out right here at ip.


US212 photos

Little broken house on the prairie

Election corner in Lame Deer


Noem's bad behavior well known to other legislators

Phone calls to several South Dakota legislators have revealed a pattern of seemingly inappropriate choices made by House member, Kristi Noem.

From the inbox:

"Have you all looked into the federal subsidies Noem’s crop insurance business receives? The USDA just finished renegotiating the SRA in June (Standard Reinsurance Agreement-dictates crop insurance agreement between the Federal Government and private crop insurance companies) and the cuts, which bring down the overall cost of the program by 6 billion, were not well received by the crop insurance industry .

Since Noem owns an insurance agency that provides crop insurance, it’s likely she receives subsidies for the
Administration and Operation, I wonder if she supports this $6 billion in cuts since it’s helping to reign in government spending and was passed as part of a bipartisan Farm Bill to make it revenue neutral, a farm bill that overcame a presidential veto.

Looks like there’s also a
cap on commissions paid to crop insurance agents like Noem included in the agreement. Since it’s taxpayer money subsidizing crop insurance, does Noem agree with the cap on the commission she receives that’s taxpayer funded?"


Caption contest

OK, so ip is stealing this idea from Bob Newland.

Come up with a caption for this AP photo and win coffee at your choice of locations in Rapid City. If a Montanan wins, your choice of coffee joints. Kim, if you win, you have to come spend the weekend.


SD House candidate Kristi Noem participating in tryst?

interested party has learned that the speculation surrounding South Dakota Republican House candidate Kristi Noem's extramarital love life has produced a name: Jim Meidinger. Google searches point at a principal in the FSA group. An email sent to a USDA server was returned as undeliverable. Persons within the Republican campaign circle have allegedly observed intimate contact between Kristi and Jim that is ordinarily reserved for couples.

According to a source, Meidinger has since retreated to DC after a visit to South Dakota leaving purported love interest Noem to flounder following revelations of a 20-year driving record fraught with recklessness resulting in numerous arrest warrants for failure to appear.

From the Argus Leader:
Noem's dive into the family operation led to posts agricultural boards - her first steps into politics. She served on the South Dakota Soybean Association board. In 1997, then-Sen. Tom Daschle nominated her to serve on the state board of the Farm Service Agency. That led to an appointment to the board from President Clinton. Noem also attended one of Daschle's leadership camps, which were intended to groom up-and-coming Democrats to compete for local and state offices. Noem said she attended when the camps were open to Republicans because she wanted to learn more about campaigning. Noem isn't sure how her name got to Daschle for the FSA appointment. It came when the board was being expanded from three members to five. Regardless, Noem was a Republican serving among Democrats. "I don't know why or how she got on that board," said Mike O'Connor, a former Democratic lawmaker who served as the executive director of the state FSA.
Hmmm. Millions in farm subsidies apparently negotiated through FSA. Evidence of entitlement, solipsism.

Democrats=safe sex. Republicans=cheap sex.


Montana Cowgirl Blog goes viral!

A favorite contributor to Montana politics posted a hilarious pair of photos hoisting a Republican office-holder on his own petard. Montana Cowgirl, known only by pseudonym, is based in Helena and operates a mean Mac using Montana's free capital-based WiFi network. Some members (2?) of the LGBT community have objected to the tone of the blog post; the others are laughing their asses off with the rest of us.

Matt Gouras of the Associated Press has graciously provided Montana Cowgirl with one of the greatest achievements that a blogger can earn, a story in the mainstream media:

The Montana Cowgirl blog launched its own Web site last summer after the Left In The West blog decided the strictly anonymous relationship was no longer working out.
Hey, Badlands Blue Liberal! You getting this?

NPR finally jettisons Williams

Let's be clear: Juan Williams makes my butt tired. Always has.

When he became Senior News Analyst (mostly to give the more gifted and more cerebral Dan Schorr a break), he quickly revealed himself as the token conservative amidst a gaggle of reporting and on-air staff that look more like me. You know, raving radicals. Williams' perspective on Bush-era crimes too often displayed an apologist's tone. His moonlighting at FOX was like having sand lacing the food of the gods that NPR provides its listenership.

From NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard:

In 2008, I received 378 emails complaining about remarks Williams made on Fox – but I heard very little about his comments on NPR. My February 2009 blog post on the Stokely Carmichael incident drew 216 comments – many asking why NPR put up with Williams' dual role.


Garrigan shines light on dark side of energy

Newcastle, Wyoming has been part of energy production since coal was discovered nearby and shipped through town by rail; a hand-dug oil well is a local tourist attraction. The Rapid City Journal's Mary Garrigan reminds readers back in September just how dependent some communities are on industry no matter what the cost. Resident Rhonda Sandness begins this story that got by me:
It was so pungent and so strong. It smelled like dead cattle and propane mixed together,” Sandness said. “I couldn’t see. My eyes were watering. My throat felt like it was closing up. I couldn’t breathe.”
Carol Wolfe and Forest Sullivan smelled it, too.

“It was like hitting a wall of vapor,” said Sullivan, who was returning to his Newcastle home from Rapid City about 7 p.m. when he first encountered the odor. It filled his home, killed birds in his backyard and sickened his dogs.

Wolfe described a sulfuric acid smell that lingered for days and caused her throat to burn and bleed.
Sullivan called 911 on July 29 to report what he assumed was a noxious odor — and a public safety issue — caused by the Wyoming Refining Co. Bad smells are not unusual at the oil refinery, which is located, literally, on Main Street in this town of 3,000 people on the southwestern edge of the Black Hills National Forest.
Elliott and Ellis Hemler are two longtime Newcastle residents who blame Wyoming Refining for a litany of health ailments. The refinery does have a history spotted with spills, leaks and soil contamination that have occurred over its more than 80 years of operation. That includes a 2005 pipeline leak at a pumping station at Mule Creek Junction, where remediation is still ongoing after the 6-inch pipeline that brings gasoline from the refinery to Rapid City leaked up to 200 barrels. Elliott alleged the cumulative effect of those pollutants has had a detrimental effect on the health of many, including him.
Garrigan's story is horrifyingly comprehensive and comes on the heels of the announcement that Black Hills Corp. is closing the ancient asbestos-cited coal-fired plant just upwind at Osage.


ip readers reject non-lethal predator management

57% of voters in the most recent ip poll rejected non-lethal methods to cougar and wolf control. The results reflect a more heterogeneous readership than previously thought that perhaps suggests pragmatic reactions to existing practices more than a willingness to explore options that currently do not exist.

Thank you for voting.


Detached retina sidelines blogger

The Black Hills Regional Eye Institute, Drs. Abraham and Nixon are miracle workers. Three eye surgeries already seem like too many, so one more can't be the end of the world.

The 914-mile carbon smear begins again.


Psychiatrist legitimizes cannabis medical properties

Dr. Julie Holland has spent ten years as weekend psychiatrist at New York City's famed Bellevue Hospital.

Her latest collection of essays, "The Pot Book: a Complete Guide to Cannabis. Its Role in Medicine, Politics, Science, and Culture" is an indictment of the federal policy that treats cannabis as a pariah. She states that the word, "marijuana" was coined as a slur in 1937 by out of work feds seeking to marginalize, then criminalize the "Negroes" using the plant as medicine since being interned as slaves by the Founding Fathers.

She was interviewed by Ira Flatow, host of NPR's Talk of the Nation, Science Friday.


Native languages boosting student successes in SD

Excellent Dakota Midday on SDPB. Paul Guggenheimer interviewed South Dakota education secretary, Tom Oster and state director of Indian education, LuAnn Werdel, who stressed the importance of offering indigenous languages to meet the college preparatory foreign language requirement. ip has hammered on this for at least twenty years. Seeing it being implemented in South Dakota schools is remarkable.

Eco-patriot takes on grazing entitlements

Jon Marvel has been stalwart in withering lawsuit fire against long-held sheep and cattle grazing permits on public lands. This NewWest report bolsters arguments for wildlife corridors.

Excerpted from Dennis Higman's piece:

There are two topics you don’t want to bring up with most Idaho ranchers: wolves and Jon Marvel, the white-haired, 63-year-old founder and executive director of the Western Watersheds Project. He was appalled by the activity supervised by the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the state. He saw it as the long-standing, irresponsible, wanton destruction of the land and its resources---fish, wildlife, plants and water---by cattle and sheep. He surmised this destruction was aided and abetted by complacent, complicit government agencies charged with regulation and oversight of grazing on millions of acres in the public interest.

Idaho ranchers who graze livestock on public land during the summer most emphatically do not agree with any of this. “Jon Marvel’s an environmental obstructionist,” insists Carl Elsworth, Idaho Cattle Association (ICA) President. “His goal is not to help the environment or help local economies. He holds up good projects like improvement of salmon and bull trout habitat on technicalities because all he really wants to do is get cattle off public land.”

The Forest Service, one of the primary regulatory agencies that oversee livestock grazing on public lands in Idaho and other Western States---and a constant target of Jon Marvel’s lawsuits and ire---is also gun shy. A local Idaho district ranger in that vast bureaucratic organization now needs permission from Washington, D.C., to talk to the press, and that permission was not forthcoming in time for this article.

Excluding revolution, there are basically two ways to initiate the kind of sweeping change Marvel is seeking: politics or litigation---and he has clearly opted for the latter. In a one-party state like Idaho, there’s little choice, he says. Lawsuits may not be the ultimate answer, Marvel concedes, but they are an effective way to focus public attention on an environmental problem, bring about change and, equally important, increase the cost of noncompliance for violators. “There just aren’t any significant examples of environmental laws being enforced without litigation or threat of litigation,” he says.

In the final analysis, it appears that the battle lines between Jon Marvel, Western Watersheds and the ranching community have been drawn. There is precious little room for compromise on the issues, and probably no room at all for politically bipartisan solutions on the land issues he champions.

That, and the fact that upcoming November elections will, in all likelihood, make it look even darker on Marvel’s horizon, almost guarantees there will be only more contentious lawsuits and animosity ahead. The real winners look to be only one group---lawyers---who surely must rank somewhere not far below the cowboys on Jon Marvel’s survey, among the least-admired of any profession.

Mail a check here.


Is Beck Inciting Holy War?

This NPR story stopped me right in the middle of finishing drywall in the new bathroom:
Only a handful of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are aware of the "White Horse Prophecy," according to Utah State University professor Phil Barlow, who teaches Mormon history and culture. "And among that minority, very few would be able to explain what it actually refers to," Barlow tells NPR's Guy Raz.  The prophecy originates with the diary entry of an LDS church member, who scribbled the following quote and attributed it to Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church:  "You will see the Constitution of the United States almost destroyed," the diary quotes Smith as saying. "It will hang like a thread as fine as a silk fiber."
Whether that quote actually came from Joseph Smith, Barlow says, is difficult to prove. But the language itself? "That phrase, Latter-day Saints would have heard of."  "I think that in many ways, Glenn Beck has picked up some of the more obscure — and more extreme — work of Mormon thinkers," he says.  There's no denying Glenn Beck has used the phrase "the Constitution is hanging by a thread." In fact, he's been saying it at least since Nov. 4, 2008.
"We are at the point — or we are very near the point — where our Constitution is hanging by a thread," Beck told a guest on his radio show, Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, who is himself a Mormon.  "You got that right," Hatch replied.
Apparently, The End Days and Holy War are selling pretty well for Republicans. Calamity, mayhem, cheap sex. . . next thing you know, they'll be in power again.


Montana medical cannabis symposium cultivates awareness

From the Helena Independent Record:

There are rumors that caregivers are treating hundreds of patients, but the facts are that only 2 percent have over 41 patients; 24 percent have four to 40 patients; and 73 percent have three patients or fewer, a slide Gingery presented to the crowd read. There’s a rumor that school-aged children are getting medical cards at record number, but the fact is there are 44 card holders 18 or younger in Montana.

Education is key, said Tayln Lang, chapter director of MMGA Missoula.

“I’d never want to go into combat without the proper gear and knowing what I’m up against,” Lang said. “This will help people get what they need in our industry and outside our industry.”

Lang added that professionals at the symposium with extensive credentials would help educate attendees. Professionals like Chris Christensen, a physician from Victor who prescribes marijuana to patients when necessary, or Noel Palmer, who has his doctorate in chemistry and works as a scientist for Montana Botanical Analysis.

Valerie Hellermann, of Helena, is convinced that marijuana helped with her son’s ADD.

“After years of struggling with ADD and terrible drugs, he suddenly had a semester of getting A’s,” she said.

It was because he was smoking marijuana, Hellermann said, adding that her son is now senior in college studying astrobiology.

“He kept saying mom, ‘I am able to focus (after smoking marijuana),’” she said. “We should explore the use for ADD and ADHD because kids come down and crash from Ritalin horribly.”

Activists in South Dakota are working tirelessly to ensure the passage of Initiated Measure 13 allowing patients with debilitating medical conditions safe access to the right of self-treatment. IM13 is expected to pass.


Polls infer ip insanity

Only one person of the seven voting in two recent ip polls thinks that I am not completely nuts. . . (the photo comes from Google, he's got way more hair on his head). That seems about right, eh?

This is my 100th post to interested party. The stats reveal that this post about Bozeman gets far more traffic than any other with 147 pageviews out of nearly 4800 since January. While Blogger sends the most inbound traffic, South Dakota War College is close behind. Thank you, Pat, and to all your little malonyms, too. Not too surprisingly, a bunch of you come from the Rapid City Journal, The Decorum Forum and Madville Times. Most referrals come from my profile at Blogger. 4122 come from the US, the rest come from nine other countries.

Thank you to all that join in the insanity.


South Dakota Game Fish and Parks going through with cougar extermination plan

Kevin Woster delivers the horrifying news that the SDGFP commission is hell-bent on exterminating South Dakota's cougar population by incrementally increasing 2011's kill numbers even though there is overwhelming scientific evidence that predators help sustain the aspen growth that retards the advance of the mountain pine beetle by predating the elk and deer that browse aspen shoots.

In a state where Republicans control the wildlife management agency charged with "conservation," biologists are again stymied by an entrenched political machine greased by the hunter's lobbies and the livestock producers that contribute to the GOP-dominated Governor's Club.

In two phone interviews conducted this morning with activists involved in cougar preservation efforts, ip learned that in past lawsuits seeking to stop this slaughter, courts in South Dakota have exhibited flagrant complicity with actions that generate large amounts of revenue from "sportsmen" that converge on the state to stalk and kill these magnificent animals.

Cougars are a keystone species in the food web. Remove them, and coyote numbers will swell; wolf packs hiding out in the Powder River Basin and in the Bighorns, will find their way to the Black Hills, if they have not already been, encouraged by fewer cougar numbers. Next, sage grouse will cease to exist, fewer aspen mean fewer songbirds. The bark beetle is managing the pine forests because South Dakotans have been deceived into blaming the Forest Service and State Forestry for not controlling the bug.

The Game Fish and Parks is an arm of the South Dakota Republican Party, nothing more.

What if hunters were trained to administer specially-designed darts filled with the cougar equivalent of DepoProvera to chemically spay or neuter a cougar, or wolf, for a year, maybe longer. Design hunts around breeding seasons. Use hounds in some hunts to better identify and include a microchip to track animal movements. Encourage hunters to pay to manage wildfire through wildlife in a more holistic way.

Where is the outrage? Get angry!


United States of North America is one step closer

From the Utne Reader:

Some things are meant to be united as one, like milk and cookies, or cream pie and the face of a sad clown, or—Canada and the United States? Les Horswill concludes as much in the Canadian culture quarterly Maisonneuve (Winter 2009), arguing that the “Canada-U.S. border blinkers our thinking, even when we believe we’re thinking big.” He proposes that Canada form a greater North American federation, with Washington, D.C., as the capital, Canadians eligible to run for office (including president), and congressional representation extended northward. If none of this sounds particularly radical, perhaps the time has come to swap maple syrup recipes.

Sound familiar?

At a time when China is moving toward super-power status it seems increasingly prudent to consider merging several countries into one mega-power capable of exerting quieting strength over a burgeoning economic megalith under one President and one Congress.

Ass-tral convergence expected in Rapid City

Yep. Twin recta are expected in Rapid City for a "Battle of the Butt-heads."

TEApottyers are salivating over the appearances of Glenn Beck and Ted Nugent, two of the leading voices in a movement best described as Batshittery on Steroids.

Kevin Woster, his story appearing in the Rapid City Journal, seems to be struggling desperately to keep a straight face as he describes the schism that has separated the men from the non-men:

By announcing Tuesday that it had snagged national broadcaster Glenn Beck for a luncheon appearance in Rapid City on Oct. 26, the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance stole a bit of the show from a previously announced Oct. 16 appearance by rocker and gun advocate Ted Nugent, hosted by Citizens for Liberty.

The two tea party affiliates are the splintered halves of the original Citizens for Liberty, which formed in the spring of 2009 and fractured three months ago in a dispute over leadership. The remaining Citizens for Liberty group had tried but failed to book Beck this fall and was working on an April appearance when the Alliance made its announcement.

Alliance president Shad Olson said Wednesday that the organization was not trying to top Citizens for Liberty with the Beck appearance, which the group coordinated with an appearance by Beck in Colorado Springs the evening of Oct. 26. The book signing and luncheon address by Beck is about promoting conservative values and constitutional understanding, not payback to Citizens for Liberty, Olson said.

"Nothing we're doing is based on bitterness or angst or ill will. We wish them success," he said. "We're not trying to upstage anybody."

Barb Lindberg, acting Citizens for Liberty president, admitted that she was surprised and flustered by the Beck announcement, initially labeling it as "a book signing promotion." But she also said that it would not "take away from the magnitude of the Ted Nugent rally," and would probably benefit the conservative cause in the Black Hills overall.

After a TEA-influenced member of the South Dakota legislature, Don Kopp attempted to pass a resolution adding astrology as a factor in climate change to high school curricula, it is anticipated that former witch, Delaware Senate hopeful, Republican Christine O'Connell will fly in on her broom for opening statements in this pre-Halloween coven.


Papers cashing in on "budding" revenue source

From the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:

Alternative weeklies are not the only publications raking in medical marijuana lucre. Dailies like The Denver Post and The Bozeman Daily Chronicle in Montana are taking advantage of the boom and making no apologies.

“My point of view is, for the moment at least, it’s legal,” said Stephanie Pressly, publisher of The Daily Chronicle, adding that the paper generates about $7,500 a month in advertising from medical marijuana businesses. “The joke around here is that it’s a budding business.”

At The Missoula Independent, where medical marijuana advertising now makes up about 10 percent of the paper’s revenue, there is concern that the spigot may soon tighten.

Matt Gibson, The Independent’s president, said marijuana businesses have helped carry the paper through a rough recession. “It’s been stressful for us for several years,” he said. “There’s no question that they’ve been good for our business. And we’re worried about 2011, if the state revises the statute, which it appears is all but certain.”


Hogan gets it

Dennis McDonald has been a generous visitor to Jefferson County and to the Basin Community Hall at least twice; his platform reflects Montana's frustration with its collapsed forests.

At a recent get-together in Boulder, Sheila Hogan, the Democratic District 77 House candidate energized those in attendance by reminding the group of the importance of her solidarity with Montana's rich history of extractive industries in brilliant contrast to her lackluster, poorly-informed Republican opponent. She extolled the abilities of Montanans to focus on reclamation by taking full advantage of record metals prices, one of the planks in Dennis McDonald's platform and stressed the importance of education, education, education by touting record enrollments in Montana universities as looking forward instead of bullying the legislature with the tired same-old-same-old doom-and-gloom gnashed by Republicans.

Thank you, Dennis and Sheila for being the voices of optimism!

Democrats=safe food, safe water, safe shelter, safe sex.
Republicans=cheap food, cheap water, cheap shelter, cheap sex.


RCJ prints ip's ice climbing lede

A badly edited copy of one ip economic development initiative appears here.

From Chicks with Picks:

Dawn Glanc was born and raised in Brunswick Ohio. After high school, Dawn realized Ohio was not the place for her. In 1996, she moved to the Black Hills of South Dakota to pursue an Outdoor Education degree from Black Hills State University and to experience the outdoors. It was in the Black Hills that Dawn started to climb both rock and ice. After spending 8 years in the hills, Dawn craved bigger mountains, and in 2004, she moved to Bellingham WA to begin a full time guiding position with the American Alpine Institute.

Dawn has averaged more than 200 days of climbing and guiding each year since then. Climbing and guiding has taken her to mountains in the Northern Cascades, Eastern Sierras, the French Alps, the Fairweather Range and the Alaska Range, as well as Squamish and Bugaboos Provincial Park in Canada. Dawn is pursuing the American Mountain Guide Association certifications. She completed both her Rock Guide certification and the Alpine Aspirant in 2008.

Dawn lives in Ouray each winter to be close to her ice climbing passion; since living in Ouray, she has begun mixed climbing, and this learning curve went quickly. Dawn’s latest accomplishments include winning first place at the 2009 Ouray ice festival.

Build it and they will come.


Graymailers formerly known as Blackwater land dream job

From Al Jazeera English:

Wired.com reports that while neither Xe nor Blackwater appear on the list of eight firms hired for the Worldwide Protective Services contract (a group of contracts combined into one), one of the company's fronts, International Development Solutions LLC (IDS) is on the list.

In total, the contract for all eight companies is worth $10 billion.

Two former Blackwater employees are currently on trial in the US on charges of murdering Afghan civilians and keeping human remains as trophies. The charges stem from a 2009 incident in Kabul.

In 2008, five Blackwater guards were charged in the deaths of 17 Iraqi civilians, who were shot in Baghdad's al-Nisoor Square in 2007. Those charges were ultimately dismissed.

Another employee of Triple Canopy - another contractor included in the new Worldwide Protective Services contract - was charged with killing at least one Iraqi after he fired into a civilian vehicle for "sport."

In August, Blackwater agreed to pay $42m in fines for weapons export violations.


Schwarzenegger terminates most cannabis arrests

From the Sacramento Bee:

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opposes Proposition 19, which would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state, but he offered a consolation Thursday by signing a bill that would downgrade possession of an ounce or less from a misdemeanor to an infraction.

"Notwithstanding my opposition to Proposition 19, however, I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name," Schwarzenegger wrote in a signing message.

"In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket."

This new law is scheduled to take effect January 1, 2011 even though Proposition 19 is expected to pass overwhelmingly.

Means launches Thune lawsuit

Coming across CENSORED NEWS is a video of Republic of Lakotah activist, Russell Means, announcing "a pending lawsuit" accusing potential presidential contender, Senator John Thune (R-SD), of a breach in his fiduciary duty as sworn in his oath of office. Mr. Means believes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), part of the US Department of the Interior, is violating Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) statutes within Mr. Thune's full view. View it here.

This on the heels of an ACLU lawsuit seeking evidence of Indian Health Services (IHS) coercion in Pitocin-induced births on the Cheyenne River reservation. IHS is administered through the US Department of Health and Humans Services.

Thune abandoned Native Americans by voting against funding the landmark Cobell Indian trust class action.

As of this post time, nothing has appeared in regional mainstream sources.