Montana Republicans thwarted in marginalizing Native vote

An emotional appeal by Billings legislator, Carolyn Pease-Lopez, during testimony against an amendment to HB130, may have at long last turned Montana's public opinion against Republican lawmakers. 

From the Billings Gazette:

Pease-Lopez was upset over Republicans' support Thursday for an amendment to House Bill 130, which would have allowed all-mail voting in Montana. The amendment struck language from the bill that called for special outreach to Indian voters and college students. Rep. Derek Skees, R-Whitefish, one of the vocal opponents of HB130 and a supporter of the amendment, told reporters later that his opposition "had absolutely nothing to do with race. I have absolutely nothing to do with hate," he said, adding that he's a Christian and follows Christian principles. "We're all humans in God's eyes. ... It pains me that she looks at me and sees hate. Nothing could be further from the truth." Skees was among the several Republicans addressed by Pease-Lopez in the Democratic caucus meeting.

This legislature has pulled out all the stops as it crowds the schedule with extremist, even capricious proposals hoping that whatever compromises are reached their agenda will be advanced.  They will stop at nothing to ensure that the tribes are marginalized in discussions that interfere with Republican control of energy.  Profound pessimism has gripped the GOP having realized that their talent pool suffers greatly. 

From the Missoulian:

Local election officials have been clamoring for the change, arguing it will be more efficient, reduce fraud and save money. Secretary of State Linda McCulloch, a Democrat who had worked with a Republican lawmaker to advance the bill, said it is time to let voters answer the question with an initiative.  She blamed unfounded fear over voter fraud for the failure.
Sound familiar, South Dakota?   "Fear over voter fraud" is Republican code for whom the bait shop and gun show crowd call "prairie niggers" in a state without a Democratic governor to halt hatred against non-whites as a matter of course.

Barrick, Wharf, Black Hills Corp. mercury pollution targeted

Headwaters News alerted on a Denver Post article of a move by EPA to flex against mercury emitters at US gold mines and coal-fired power plants:

The regulations announced Friday will reduce airborne mercury pollution from the mines to about 1,200 pounds a year, a 77 percent reduction from 2007 levels, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The rule represents the first national standard for mercury air emissions from gold mines, the seventh largest source of such pollution in the country. Fourteen of the nation's 20 or so gold mines are in Nevada, the richest gold mining state in the country. The rule also affects mines in Alaska, California, Colorado, Montana, South Dakota and Washington.

The Environmental Protection Agency issued long-overdue rules to limit mercury air pollution from gold mines, for the first time bringing a significant source of a dangerous neurotoxin in Americans' diets under the authority of the Clean Air Act. The new rule did not include limits for other hazardous mining air pollution like cyanide and arsenic.  Most airborne mercury pollution comes from coal-fired power plants, but emissions from gold mines account for about 10 percent, or 2,775 pounds, according to figures compiled from the EPA's 2009 Toxic Release Inventory by EARTHWORKS, an international mining reform group. Even the smallest amounts of mercury are extremely dangerous to the developing brains of infants and children.
Colstrip, Montana is a serial offender. NewWest said it like this.

Re-formed blogger Powers facing showdown

The South Dakota blogoviator is on a collision course with Hell.


Reich debates at oligarch conference

Clinton Labor secretary, Robert Reich is slated to appear as a panelist (presumably one of a handful of token Democrats) at a super secret Koch-hosted retreat in Palm Springs this weekend. 

The Nation's Nancy Goldstein writes:

Now, thanks to some fine investigative reporting, we know that the brothers—the fifth richest folks in the United States—are radical right-wingers whose dad served on the John Birch Society’s governing body. Lee Fang of Think Progress tagged them early on as primary funders for the allegedly populist Tea Party, whose coast-to-coast “spontaneous” uprisings against Obama and taxation, were carefully orchestrated by staff. A March 2010 Greenpeace report uncloaked Koch Industries as a “financial kingpin of climate science denial and clean energy opposition,” and unveiled their underwriting of organizations like the Mercatus Center, Heritage Foundation, and Cato Institute, whose pseudo-academic “research” and “reports” lobby for the wealthy and powerful from behind the protection of tax exempt, nonprofit status.
Also in attendance is Eric Cantor (R-VA), House majority leader and one of anti-Earth's largest campaign recipients of Koch Industries' ecoterror ponziarchy.

Other Republicans having sucked from the Koch tit include South Dakota's very own John Thune, Marty Jackley, and Kristi Noem.  Dirty energy also pollutes Montana's (a purple state TEAtering on failure) Denny Rehberg, who defied President Obama's plea for members of Congress to sit with opposition at the State of the Union address and sat with fellow GOP slimesuckers as far to the right in the chamber as physically possible.


Honor killings for fun and profit in South Dakota

South Dakotans are redstaters who live to kill.

The State Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted 5-3 Tuesday to approve the shooting of coyotes from snowmobiles.  Interestingly, one of the other swollen organs of the Republican Party in the state, Game, Fish, and Parks, worries that the bill might impact the image of hunting.

In related news, Frank Schmidt assassinated a 177 pound male cougar.  Kevin Woster tells Rapid City Journal readers :

Schmidt, a retired firefighter from Dearborn, Mich., moved to the Black Hills in large part for its outdoor recreation. He was recreating hard on the morning of Jan. 21, hiking through the snowy forest in a search of lion tracks when he inadvertently interrupted the big male cougar as it fed on the remnants of a mule deer doe. The smallest lions taken so far were two female kittens, each of which weighed 33 pounds.

"Recreating hard?"  Better than ED meds.  ip's guess: he's a white militia member fleeing Michigan's flourishing ethnic diversity for a state where non-whites are largely encouraged to remain confined in their isolated reservations.

In Aberdeen, law enforcement seeking a ban on pit bulls, dogs innately predisposed and often trained to tear humans apart, are meeting formidable resistance from blood-thirsty alcohol, video loottery, and meth-dependent residents.


Weapon drawn at Tribal Council; Bad Man Clause invoked


The decades long tinderbox of tenuous relations between the poor, full-blooded and traditional Lakota people and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) supported Oglala Tribal Council that claims to represent them is set to explode as traditional Elders stumble upon a secret tribal council meeting and are assaulted by councilwoman Deborah Rooks-Cook. On Tuesday, outside a secret meeting of the Oglala Tribal Council, a group of Elders were physically assaulted and threatened with a gun by Deborah Rooks-Cook, council representative from the Oglala District. Due to slow action by the Tribal Council, Elders are now speaking out for the immediate removal of Deborah Rooks-Cook while Strong Heart will seek banishment of Rooks-Cook and her family under the traditional Flotter (pronounced “Floater”) Law that is supported by the “Bad Man Clause” of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie between the Lakota and the United States.
The "Bad Man Clause" has been applied in other actions:
The "bad man" legal argument was successfully used by Lavetta Elk, another Oglala Sioux, in a lawsuit alleging that a U.S. Army recruiter had violated the "bad man" clause when he sexually molested her while transporting her to a military recruiting appointment. Elk recently won a $650,000 settlement that left intact a federal judge's ruling that said the treaty language requires the government to reimburse Sioux tribe members who are injured by "any wrong" done by "bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the United States."
The son of an assaulted elder said, “We are taking our government back,” said Duane Martin Sr. “We’ve had enough!”

Will US House pass new gun laws?

"Epic" flooding predicted for Upper Midwest, Plains

The Updraft Blog is written by Minnesota Public Radio's meteorologist, Paul Huttner. 

He has just made the startling prediction that the Red River and Minnesota River drainages can expect flooding events never seen in recorded history.  His conclusions are based on findings that high pressure is being created by steady Arctic warming adding moisture and diverting the Siberian Express then precipitating into the basin created by Lake Agassiz producing elevated snow water equivalents.

The James and Big Sioux, higher now than ever seen in my lifetime, are also expected to see record events this Spring

Anybody invent that snow baler yet?

Prohibition doesn't work; tax luxury guns, ammo

From the Casper Trib online:

The Wyoming Department of Revenue has suspended sales tax collections from gun shows because of increasing animosity toward the state's field tax agents. Dan Noble, director of the department's excise tax division, said Friday that an incident at a gun show triggered the decision. He added, however, that resistance from gun show sponsors and participants has been a recurring problem statewide. "I have 10 field reps throughout the state, and every one of them has experienced some animosity," he said. "Folks are nervous anyway because there are guns there. I don't want to put my people at risk."
Red states are not going to fix their own problems.  Guns are like lawyers; you carry one around long enough and sooner or later you're going to use it.

Only We the People can slow these people down.   Local law enforcement is only as effective as a legislature wants it to be.

Raise the taxes on non-hunting rifles, certain handguns and extended clips.


Christine O'Donnell not the only metaterrestrial in politics

For those of you who believe that the TEA phenomenon evolved on this planet.

NPR generated this fishy word cloud on the SOTU.

Two to beam up.


JeffCo Dems plan activism

The Jefferson County Democrats met at the former High Note Cafe in Basin to plan counter insurgency tactics designed to derail attempts by Republicans in the Montana Legislature in their efforts to impose Sharia Law.  Chair Leslie Thomas brought the meeting to order.

2010 House District 77 candidate, Sheila Hogan spoke about lessons learned in her defeat to TEA-stained Basin bar owner, convicted poacher, and serial domestic abuser, Alan Hale.  His candidacy included slimy innuendo and pledges to landowners that he'd fend off enforcement of federal and state environmental laws if elected. 

Actions to be taken:

Contact Jan Anderson about Hale's column (or lack thereof) in the Boulder Monitor. The amazing Nancy Owens did that before the night was out and received a message from Jan saying that Hale's column may be forthcoming.

Bryher will contact Alan Hale for a group dinner conversation. Hasn't been done yet.

We will all take responsibility to begin drafting letters to the editor on the issues that speak to us. Karole Lee agreed to be our fact checker.

Send an email to IR editor saying we want more "letters to the editor" included in both daily and sunday paper.

MJ, Leslie and Ann are meeting to talk about the phoning local folks to talk about issues; and a reminder of rallies: today's is happening as I write this -- by Naral; Friday, January 28, at noon, in support of DPHHS--no more social service cuts.
In an era where red states refuse to fund mental health assessments and experience more instances of domestic terrorism, the time to act against the TEA mullahs is now!

A hearing on the ACLU lawsuit seeking the neighbors' rights to co-equal those of married couples is scheduled for this week.


Anwar al Awlaki of Fascist Right to speak at UW

NPR reports this morning that Jared Loughner was clearly influenced by right-wing propaganda.

Likely a reflex to the William Ayers speech at the University of Wyoming, Ann Coulter, a female equivalent of the imam that propelled Nidal Hasan's rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, has contracted to speak in Laramie.  The red state at the bottom of the tolerance scale, Wyoming has negatively ascended in recent years becoming a monolithic enclave for religious cultists:

Republican congressional candidate Cynthia Lummis, a devout Lutheran, said that when she was growing up in Cheyenne many of her closest friends were Mormons, and during her college years she twice considered converting, taking all the introductory lessons for membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Of course, Lummis won.

For a state that deplores the exercise of government, Wyoming's workforce is 25% public-employed.  The LDS is a heavily armored, cradle-to-grave, member-swollen organ of male extremists heavily armored against any threat to a hypocritheocracy dedicated to white rule.  A Mormon with great hair, Mitt Romney is expected to do well again in the Wyoming Caucuses, where he will announce that he is fulfillment of the White Horse Prophesy.


South Dakota-trained Native journalist leading media effort

The Buffalo Post alerts ip to Nez Perce journalist Brian Bull, a former intern and news producer for Bill Janklow's idea of public radio.  He is part of a group hoping to create a Native-themed news section at Huffington Post

Indian County Today reports:

“I think a mainstream media site could feasibly host a Native American section,” said Brian Bull, assistant news editor at Wisconsin Public Radio. “We’re the First Nations… as far as relevancy’s sake, there’s history, politics and financial influence galore within Indian country, which can certainly establish Native people as a relatively small—but significant—demographic.” He noted that there are 565 federally recognized tribes and many state recognized ones with unique and powerful stories to share in every major news-making area.
An on-air interview with a former UN ambassador and South Dakota senator was a laugh out loud moment when Mr. Bull asked his esteemed guest how he'd like to be addressed to which Ambassador McGovern replied, "George."  To listeners' aghast amazement, that's how cub reporter Bull began every question.

Another SDPB/radio alum, Curt Nickisch, is based at WBUR in Boston.

Skyscraper to be adapted

This may be the most beautiful building in Butte.  The Montana Standard reports:

Fresh off the renovation of the Sears Building, Nick Kujawa is tackling a taller, albeit much skinnier, project.  Kujawa purchased Hirbour Tower, located on the northeast corner of Broadway and Main, earlier this month with plans to turn it into seven upscale condominiums. The building, erected in 1901, is known as "Butte's first skyscraper" because of its internal construction of vertical steel girders. He had been talking with the Hirbour's previous owner, Jeff Francis, for more than three years about acquiring the 110-year-old building. Earlier this month they finally completed the transaction, and Kujawa said he hopes to get started with construction this summer and be finished by spring 2012. He said the cost of the renovation would be "in the millions." Plans call for one condominium on each floor of the building, approximately 1,500-square-feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Kujawa said prices will start "in the low 200s."

This news comes just as Butte becomes the home of the Montana Folk Festival after hosting the national event for the past three years.

It's about time.  I wept upon first seeing this building.


Big bowls propitiate polls

Let's review:

Timothy McVeigh was 27, Eric Robert Rudolph, part of the Christian Identity movement, was 30, Eric Harris was 18 and Dylan Klebold, 17, Seung-Hui Cho was 23, Nidal Hasan was 39, Jared Loughner, 22.  Average age--25 years.  The acts of domestic terrorism were all committed by these guys in red states.  All seven men were victims of bullying, isolation, and ostracism.  All seven had histories of extensive video game exposure and easy access to firearms.  Distrust of government was a factor in most, if not all of these episodes. Ted Kaczynski, likely master of the minds in all these events, punctuates this post since he resided in Montana, a red state when, at 36, his activism morphed.  His case changes the average age to 26.5. 

Bruce Edwards Ivins, the 55 year-old Zionist and anti-abortion anthrax weaponizer, deserves dyshonorable mention maybe because Maryland is a solidly blue state.

ip poll voters tell us that Jared Loughner's date with his story was not the result of rhetoric from the established Republican hate-speech machine (85%), although 14% of voting readers know better.  Four respondents, however, tell us that they know a total of 65 people capable of desperate violence.

These latest findings scare the shit out of me and for the record, the author of ip does not vote on these polls.


A hundred heads on pikes

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.  Here's another horrific story that was swept under the rug of American history in the name of manifest destiny.

Daniel Rasmussen tells Diane Rehm:
Well, it's amazing, Diane, that on the bicentennial of the revolt, you know, so few people have heard about this. And the reason is, those newspaper accounts and letters from William Claiborne describe an insignificant insurrection led by slave criminals. So let me tell you about the strategy they used to suppress the news and cover up what happened. The first thing they did was to kill as many of the slaves as they could identify who participated in the revolt. They beheaded about 100 of them, put their heads on poles, dangled their dismembered corpses from the gates of New Orleans. And then in newspaper accounts and letters, they wrote about these brigands. They described them as guilty as criminals. Charles Deslondes, they chase into the swamps, they capture him, they shoot him in both thighs, chop off his limbs and then burn him alive.
We are all children of Africa.

On the day Americans celebrate one patriot's opus, red states conspire to build more walls.

The Great Migration is reversing as African Americans are heading back to the South to cities like Atlanta after facing discrimination in places like Minneapolis and Chicago. 


Ecocide underway in Black Hills

1/24:  This post has been edited to reflect new information.

The slaughter of cougars in the Black Hills is underway following a decree from the tyrannical, politically-dictated, Republican-manipulated SDGFP as if the introduction of invasive species to wildlands wasn't enough to accelerate trophic cascades on the West.  Removing predators to accommodate the parasitic, chemically-dependent cattle species killing the grasslands and forestlands of western South Dakota is sealing that state's collapse.

It's hardly surprising.  Earth-hatred is endemic among the descendants of religious fundamentalists absconding from the body of law shaping the eastern 19th century US as a response to the perversions of the teachings of Joseph Smith and John Calvin.  They and their disciples extolled the accumulation of wealth as praise to a god that would ultimately end life on Earth anyway.

After wounding a 94-pound female cougar that bled to death overnight, Black Hills resident and trophy hunter, Steve Bulle poses with the result of xenistic felicide.  Bulle reports that GFP appartchiks declared the cougar as not having kittens.

From Kevin Woster's blog Take It Outside:

Bulle’s cat, the 20th mountain lion taken in the 2011 season, came to a FoxPro electronic call shortly before legal shooting hours ended (yeah, right*) last Tuesday. Bulle found a blood trail, but said that since it was getting dark he decided to pick up the trail the next morning. He and a friend followed the trail for about 500 yards early the next morning before they found the cat.
This isn't hunting; it's the sanctioned baiting of a political enemy and dispatching her in cold blood with reckless disregard for the consequences or collateral damage.

There is an alternative to extermination.  Real men shoot dart rifles.

Update from the Rapid City Journal

One mountain lion kitten has been shot and killed during the first two weeks of the 2011 cougar-hunting season, while three other kittens have been rescued for shipment to zoos after their mother was killed by another hunter. It's a seemingly contradictory irony that shows problems in the mountain lion season, Custer veterinarian Sharon Seneczko said Monday. Seneczko, founder and president of the Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation, praised the state Game, Fish & Parks Department for rescuing three kittens estimated at 3 to 4 months old.
No shit.


ip confesses

My dad was the last Republican for whom ip had any respect whatsoever.  The ten months since he's been gone have been tremendously reflective and cathartic.   Friday always leads me to the same place:  EJ Dionne and David Brooks sum up the week.  It was not until this lecture that ip knew that there might be one more Republican worth listening to:


Domestic terrorism awake in red states

The news that Jared Loughner had been pulled over three hours before his Safeway date, clicked. That his behavior had been documented by poorly-equipped staff, clicked. An isolated manchild with access to guns, clicked. When a troubled college student was involved it clicked again. Five instances of domestic terrorism; five red states.

Red states fail at talking about mental health, too:
The big issue is the right's message of fear that is sometimes laced with flammable inferences. The week after President Obama's election, gun sales jumped 50 percent and gun stores still can't keep up with ammunition demands. Domestic terrorism has the same roots as foreign terrorism. Loughner defined a terrorist as "a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon."
Think about it: except for the attacks of September 11 (because some would argue that that was a case of domestic terrorism, too) mass killings take place overwhelmingly more often in red states.

Montana has a Democrat in the attorney general's office; South Dakota, of course, does not.

Connect the dots pdq.


Public radio in South Dakota falls victim to Republican Party

On Dakota Midday Paul Guggenheimer interviewed, or to be more accurate, gave a virtual blowjob to Lucas Lentsch, the apparatchik mouthpiece of the South Dakota Republican Party.  Ben Nusselhuf, the hapless chairman of the bankrupt Democratic Party in that state who was also a guest on the program, managed to bumble through the show.

In his opening remarks, Lentsch willfully deployed the malapropism, "Democrat Party" that went uncorrected by the host.  Lentsch then lobbed the code words, "adult conversation" into a prolonged soliloquy that reminded Mr. Guggenheimer that his employer serves at the pleasure of a legislature looking again to cut with capricious whimsy the very programming that was chartered as a government-partnered watchdog.  In the smoky darkness of Bill Janklow's minds, a dog yelped.

It was horrifying.


1/25 Update.  It's only fair to share.  ip emailed into Midday asking a question to a visiting Canadian lobbyist who gave it an expectedly blythe brush-off.   Email addresses have been redacted.

-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Kurtz
Sent: Monday, January 24, 2011 12:34 PM
Subject: Keystone XL

What percentage of tar sands oil goes to China and why won't Canada
build a pipeline to its own coasts?

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

------Original Message------
From: Paul Guggenheimer
To: Larry Kurtz

Subject: RE: Keystone XL
Sent: Jan 25, 2011 1:58 PM


I would like very much to know who is behind the disgusting, neanderthal
comments made about me on the "interested party" site or blog or
whatever it is. I don't mind if someone has an issue with how I
conducted an interview as long as it's done with some level of class and
intelligence, which this anonymous person clearly lacks. I don't like it
when a coward doesn't have the guts to put his name behind his words.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would tell me who this person is
and how I can contact them.


Paul Guggenheimer

-----Original Message-----
Date: Tue, 25 Jan 2011 21:48:51
Reply-To:  Paul Guggenheimer

 Subject: Re: Keystone XL

I am that disgusting neanderthal, though not quite anonymous, coward with no class or level of intelligence, commenting on another red state failure with biting satire and disgust.

A comment from either you or Anonymous, under that post would serve as a public rejoinder to interested party that you vehemently and vigorously protest such barbaric and vituperative use of the English language at your expense.

It is with a light heart and heavy bowel that ip wishes you a great day,

Larry Kurtz

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


ip poll respondents reject christian marriage

Eighty percent of ip poll respondents believe marriage should be prohibited for those self-identifying as christian. These results likely reflect frustrations with sex among the sects in sectors of secularism when citing the sighting of sites where the blue blew bleu.

Rhetoric like Beck’s “constitution hanging by a thread,” Nugent’s “suck on this” referring to the automatic weapon in his law-breaking grip, and Palin’s crosshair map are indicative of The Right’s commitment to the destruction of the Democratic Party.

Loughner had a hundred rounds with him likely visualizing the white horse prophesy to which Glenn Beck refers in the LDS-based sermons to his minions that air in his parents’ household.

It is with some synchronicity that ip detects a mounting romanticism for violence among those experiencing real or perceived political disenfranchisement.

Geothermal mining to be discussed at sustainability conference in Helena

Geothermal mining will be one topic discussed at a sustainability conference scheduled for 6:30PM Monday at Carroll College. 

From the Helena IR:

During the fall semester, a group of Cornell (NY) students were divided into teams that focused on eight components of a successful sustainable community — urban design, business and economic development, food production, green buildings, renewable energies, waste management, transportation, and water management, said Cornell Professor Norman Scott, one of three faculty members slated to come to town for the discussion. In addition to Scott, who has conducted extensive bioengineering and sustainable development research, Professors Jefferson Tester, an expert in geothermal energy and “green” chemical synthesis, and Kifle Gebremedhin, who has focused on agricultural and biological engineering, will be present for the discussion. It’s work that has a Helena connection. Richard Bowen, a Washington resident, has planned for a sustainable model at a 266-acre plot of land, referred to as Aspen Trails Ranch, off York Road.

See that red blob on the map under south central South Dakota? It represents enough energy to decertify all the dams on the Missouri River in that stupid state.

UPDATE.  Video and podcast should be available soon.


Dakotah historian visited by FBI after call to action

Update: FBI backs off:

Kyle Loven, chief division counsel for the FBI in Minneapolis, said he cannot comment on the individual case, but the FBI will become involved if there are indications a speech advocates violence.

A 2010 speech at Winona State University in Minnesota has netted a Dakotah historian and activist a visit from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Dr. Waziyatawin:
Given the reality of Indigenous experience under colonialism, it is imperative that in addition to recovering and practicing our traditional ways of being, we also take steps to challenge the existing systems and institutions of oppression. Ultimately, if we are to live as free Peoples, we must not only remember who we are, we must also work to eradicate the colonial structure. Today, however, we have reached an era in which the existing system is on the verge of collapse, with colonizer and colonized alike resting near a precipitous edge. We can either succumb to the ongoing discourse of complacency propagated by the colonizing government, or we can mobilize for revolutionary change.

Update:  International Justice Project scheduled for tribes meeting on the Pine Ridge.

More fallout at NPR

An independent review of Ellen Weiss' decision to jettison Juan Williams by phone from NPR has resulted in her resignation

Weiss spoke to James Rainey in the LA Times:

Weiss stressed that she did not make the decision to fire Williams alone. She acted after the comentator [sic] went on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" and described his occasional discomfort flying with people in "Muslim garb." NPR Chief Executive Vivian Schiller, who remains in her job, approved the firing. "What I would say is that the decision to terminate the Juan Williams contract by NPR, of which I was a participant, was based on the highest journalistic standards," Weiss said Thursday. Meeting with a small group of confidantes inside the network Thursday, Weiss said she previously had advised others that any organization had to prepare for the loss of the boss. "If you get hit by a bus, you want to make sure you have the right people in place, you want to make sure it doesn't end," Weiss said. "I feel I have an incredible newsroom in place, with fantastic leadership and unbelievably courageous reporters. I am glad I followed my own advice. Because the bus came, and I am gone."  "It was extremely hard," she said of her decision, finalized with NPR chief Schiller on Thursday. "It was not the hardest decision I ever made in my life but certainly one of the hardest."
Why Ms. Weiss didn't also push the button that activates Mara Liasson's ejection seat remains a mystery.


860 Federal Judges, 0 American Indians

There is an interesting aside to the recent events surrounding President Obama's recognition of the UN Declaration of Indigenous Rights.  Of 860 judges, no American Indians sit in the federal judiciary and none has ever been appointed to the federal appellate bench.

Natives are ignored for federal court appointments and tribal representation in Congress isn't representative.

 Mark Trahant, a Shoshone-Bannock writer waxes sagacious:

On the world stage, in the nation’s discourse, and even in regional and local affairs, the standard is clear: Tribes have a right (if not an obligation) to have their voices heard. Seven cabinet members attended the Tribal Nations Conference and many of those federal agencies are at least going through a process of consultation with tribes. But that moment is no longer enough. A year ago it was a big deal to meet. And even more so a second year. But a year from now it will only be a big deal if there are success stories that add jobs, improve the health or educational opportunities for young Native Americans.

Montana's Republican-glutted legislature and South Dakota's single-party Politburo are formulating statutes that mimic Arizona's anti-ethnic studies laws

Makes me wonder if there are enough lawyers that speak Crow or Lakota or Navajo or Yupik.


Cal-Earth workshops scheduled

Ceramic architecture using recycled glass and plastics has been a topic for us Basin beer swillers looking for ways to make our community sustainable.  We have been talking about drilling for hot water and building greenhouses, too.


Activist Montana jury pool refuses to seat itself in cannabis case

In a previous post an anonymous commenter pasted the story still running in all the Lee Papers in Montana (the Rapid City Journal ran it, too) about the Missoula jury pool that refused to be seated in a District Court case where possession of "a couple of buds" of cannabis was one of the charges facing defendant Teuray Cornell.  A plea agreement reached in an accompanying felony charge mostly suspended a long prison sentence.

When asked whether they could remain impartial, many pool interviewees responded in the negative citing perceptions of Cornell as a black man trapped in a whites-created judicial morass.

From the Missoulian:

Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg declined to comment on the effect, if any, of the incident on future prosecutions. But what happened so publicly in Missoula has been going on quietly in black communities for years, according to Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor who is a professor and associate dean at Georgetown University's School of Law.  "It happens all of the time in the Bronx, the District of Columbia, Oakland - mostly in districts with a majority of people of color," said Butler, who explored the issue in his book, "Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice," and on a "60 Minutes" interview last year. "We (as prosecutors) were told that jurors thought drug cases were selectively prosecuted against blacks and didn't want to send another black man to jail," especially for minor offenses, said Butler.
Missoula is a pretty progressive place and simple cannabis possession is considered a low law enforcement priority.  But, could you imagine such compassion for a Native American person or one of Trooper Oxner's profiled targets in a Great Falls, Billings, or South Dakota courtroom?

Me either.

Is the action of this jury pool a viable method of change or just a blip on one court's docket?


Basinites gather to support artists

Thirty patrons gathered at Joani's for chili then went uptown Basin to the Hewitt Building (about half a city block away) where Burke Jam, played as Churchmouse, then 2/3 of AM String Band, Johanna Davis and Adam Nordell performed.  The three artists, former residents of the Montana Artists Refuge, played in the front downstairs studio while the wood stove crackled.

What a sweet, intimate treat!


2011: year of the flying car?

As a kid conceived and born hearing bombers taking off, human flight was a literal reality.  At Dow, my second grade teacher would have to stop talking while the windows in school rattled as another wave of B-52s loaded with armed nukes headed for the boundary of the former Soviet Union.  My dad often mused his surprise that the concept of a flying car in every garage hadn't materialized in his lifetime.

My twenties were spent under a hang glider either aloft or waiting for wind on the top of a mountain somewhere drooling over the Aurora 400 in the back of Popular Mechanics.  I even learned nearly everything there was to know about the V-22 Osprey before it entered service.  A crash on my birthday in '82 compelled the purchase of a sailboat instead of a new glider.  The design of a tilt-rotor aircraft using the remains of my crashed ship lies at the bottom of the box holding my "failure files."

In '96, Paul Moller convinced me to pursue a brief sales fantasy.  VTOL became an obsession.

This morning, NPR announced that, although it will not be VTOL, 2011 will finally be the year