Red flag warnings amid 42,000 lightning strikes

Portions of the Northern Rockies will experience some frantic firefighting in the next few days. Note the impact on the red states.

The Billings Gazette reports:
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for southeast Montana, parts of northwest South Dakota and parts of northcentral Wyoming on Wednesday morning. The warning will remain in effect from noon Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday. A cold front is expected to move into the area bringing strong, gusty winds with scattered thunderstorms and low humidity, impacting existing fires and potentially starting new ones.
More than 42,000 lightning strikes were recorded across the Northern Rockies in a 36-hour period, sparking new wildfires in Montana and Idaho in addition to the dozens already burning across the region, fire officials said Tuesday. The lightning strikes from Sunday to Tuesday also started new wildfires in the Clearwater and Nez Perce national forests in Idaho, according to Bryan Henry of the Northern Rockies Coordination Center. There were at least three dozen active wildfires burning Tuesday in those two states and in northern Wyoming.
Looks like aspen restoration with extreme prejudice to me.


Tim Johnson not dead

Novice political watchers stationed inside the chemical toilet are talking trash about the state of the state's senior senator. Apparently, one newcomer believes Tim Johnson won't run again or will be challenged in the Democratic primary:
Much has changed since Johnson won his first statewide campaign in 1986, claiming South Dakota's seat in the House. For two decades, Johnson was a member of a Democratic circle that dominated federal politics in both South Dakota and North Dakota. Democrats routinely controlled five of the six federal offices in the Dakotas and, for a brief period in 2004, all six. Johnson is willing to increase the amount of income subject to Social Security withholding, which is now capped at $110,000. Republicans argue that raising the cap is nothing more than a tax increase. It might leave Johnson vulnerable to charges that he raised taxes.
But, yesterday on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio veteran reporter Kevin Woster set Ellis on a more realistic path to 2014. Senators don't go quietly into the night, Jonathan.

Musing about Senator Johnson's health last night one of my colleagues remarked: "Well, a stroke is certainly one way to stop a politician from talking out of both sides of his mouth."


Black Hills closer to BIA management; Bush henchmen seek asylum in red states

The Black Hills are broken. The white race stole the ground, plundered the resources, continue to pollute waterways and deplete watersheds, and have encouraged ponderosa pine to infest lands once dominated by aspen and sage. Nine tribes have sued to force the courts to act on Forest Service and BLM mismanagement.

From PBS:
Plagued by an unemployment rate above 80 percent, arid land, few prospects for industry, abysmal health statistics and life-expectancy rates rivaling those of Haiti, it’s no wonder outsiders ask: Why do the nine tribes constituting the Great Sioux Nation, including those on Pine Ridge, staunchly refuse to accept $1.3 billion from the federal government? Edward Charging Elk, a member of the Rosebud Tribe, has put together one such proposal for a bill that he says is “realistic and doable” that focuses on three elements: the return of 1.3 million acres of the Black Hills, relabeling the trust money as back rent and then agreeing on the terms of future rent for the resources from the land to the tune of roughly $7 million a year.
The Helena Independent Record and Montana Standard are reporting that an alleged war criminal and former Bush henchman has sought political asylum in Montana:
Donald Rumsfeld, secretary of defense for presidents George W. Bush and Gerald Ford, is retired and spends a portion of his summers on a gentleman’s ranch along the Big Hole River in southwest Montana.
A co-conspirator touts torture chops in the Casper Trib:
Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he has “no regrets” about the harsh interrogation policies the Bush administration pursued in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
A train derailment just west of Sturgis has gone unreported. This blogger witnessed at least eight railcars on their sides.


Lead mayor's wife boinking former model

Here's some fun news: state senator and Lead mayor, Tom Nelson caught his wife Melodee catching a high hard one from a former California model and ex-ip business partner.

Melodee Nelson has been an outspoken Republican opponent of women's reproductive rights and is a figurehead for mining interests in South Dakota.

More coming.


Wilmer, Gillan seek Democratic support to make Montana a blue state

From my inbox:
Franke Wilmer for U.S. Congress

August 18, 2011: Franke Wilmer hires Pollster Anna Greenberg 
Franke Wilmer, Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress in Montana, announced today that she has hired Veteran Political operative Anna Greenberg, of Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research on as the campaign’s pollster. 
"I am really excited to be working with Anna Greenberg. Her firm has a reputation for being among the industries top firms. I believe it is important to work with talented people that share my beliefs in strengthening the middle class, protecting social security, and empowering unions," said Franke Wilmer. 
“I am thrilled to be working with Franke Wilmer in her run for Congress. Nobody understands the real economic challenges facing Montanans like Franke. She has the ideas and determination to get things done in Congress that will improve people’s lives,” said Anna Greenberg. 
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner specializes in political polling and campaign strategy, helping political candidates, parties, and ballot initiatives succeed across the country and around the world. In the past few election cycles, GQR played a pivotal role in electing leaders such as Senators Jeanne Shaheen, Tim Johnson and Amy Klobuchar, Representatives Gabrielle Giffords, Gary Peters and Martin Heinrich and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Other clients include EMILY’s List, DCCC, AFL-CIO, SEIU, Human Rights Campaign, and NARAL Pro-Choice America. 
For More Information, please click here to visit the Franke for Congress Web site! 
Paid for by Franke for Congress 541 E. Mendenhall St Bozeman, MT 50715
It was 76 years ago today that President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the creation of social security. 
It was one of the most important steps that this or any country has ever taken to make sure that our seniors can live a secure retirement. That’s mattered to Americans of every age, who could start businesses or change jobs knowing that they had a baseline in place to protect them in their old age. 
I wish social security were having a happier birthday. But, unfortunately, it’s at risk. And it’s up to us to protect it. 
We saw what happened in the debt ceiling deal. Steve Daines’ tea party allies in Congress threatened to force the United States government into default unless they got a radical re-working of the social contract. 
While they didn’t succeed, for now, their agenda is clear: end social security as we know it. And it’s up to us to stop them. 
I’m raising my voice as loudly as possible to make sure that Montanans understand what’s at stake for social security in this debate: that if Steve Daines and his tea party allies win, we lose. 
And now I need your help to make sure I can be that voice in Congress for social security. Your contribution will help me be Montana’s one voice in the House of Representatives – and make sure we’re protecting a secure retirement for all Montanans. 
Sincerely, Kim 
P.S. I served meals to more than 500 seniors today at the MontanaFair in Billings, and saw the faces of so many who are depending on us to protect social security. For their sake, I hope you’ll support my campaign. 
PO Box 1978 
Billings, MT 59103

My lunch date


Hacking Cheney's artificial heart

I wonder if Anonymous has thought of this.
Earlier this month, Jay Radcliffe, a computer security professional who is also diabetic, showed how an attacker could remotely control insulin pumps to deliver too much or too little insulin to the individual wearing the device. “My initial reaction was that this was really cool from a technical perspective,” Radcliffe told the Associated Press. “The second reaction was one of maybe sheer terror, to know that there’s no security around the devices which are a very active part of keeping me alive.” He noted that many other medical devices that use wireless communication and allow for remote-control access could have the same vulnerabilities.
--Wired's Threat Level


eTool on the Bighorn River

A visitor from Billings spent some time in Deadwood and the Black Hills taking photographs then putting them up on her blog.

has amassed a trove of images that knock me out.

Canpásapa Wi – Moon When the Chokecherries Are Ripe


Annie E. Casey Foundation: red states failing their children

Nobody should be surprised by this piece in the Missoulian:
Montana received the worst rankings in its five-state region in key child health and well-being indicators, the Annie E. Casey Foundation reported in the 2011 Kids Count Data Book released Wednesday. In contrast, North Dakota ranked 10th, South Dakota 21st, Idaho 22nd and Wyoming 28th. "It's not the best news," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said. Since taking office in 2009, Juneau has launched a statewide effort called Graduation Matters aimed at reducing the dropout rate. Legislators this year rejected her proposal to require students to remain in school until they are 18 years old or graduate from high school. Students now can drop out at age 16.
Note that the states at the bottom have the highest numbers of minority children.

Do you know this guy?


Rally is over: time for Lobster Mushrooms

The season is about a week late as has been the case all Spring and Summer.

After picking thirty pounds in about fifteen minutes yesterday, slicing them then halfway through drying, a strong hailstorm destroyed the whole works. Oh well, there were a few left this morning to photograph:

The spot above Deadwood near Mt. Roosevelt produces every year: limestone talus near the 1959 burn in deep ponderosa pine duff with oak and aspen nearby. Here is a stock photo of the likely host mushroom, a bitter, otherwise unpalatable species:


Rick Perry's Texas

Rick Perry’s environmental record is as straightforward as it gets. Under his leadership, the state has consistently ranked as the worst in the nation when it comes to carbon emissions.

-- Mother Nature Network


The earth haters debate

From left to right:

Santorum: If ip was an earth hater he'd be my guy. Smart, conservative, rich, determined war-monger. He won. Not veep material because Pennsylvania is a solidly blue state. Their nominee will be a governor and the GOP needs his Senate seat. This guy is having an affair: expect a prostitute to disappear or wind up in the morgue.

Cain: Over his head. Commerce Secretary candidate maybe. Having an affair, too.

Paul: He's too sane to be a Republican and will continue to be a force deep into the primaries.

Romney: Empty suit. At least one affair.

Bachmann: Empty dress. Veep contender because Minnesota will be a battleground state. Bet she's doing her plastic surgeon, or more probably, her minister.

Pawlenty: Pawlempty. If his wife isn't having an affair, she should be.

Huntsman: Wow, is this guy in the wrong party. Will likely do lousy in the straw poll. Should consider a Cabinet post in the next Obama term, Energy maybe. Bet he's bi-curious.

Gingrich: Clearly the smartest chameleon on the dais.

The FOX format was unfair, biased, sexist, hateful and unprincipled. Perfect for Rick Perry. Surprised he wasn't an analyst.

Blame for budget impasse rests with:
Michele Bachmann 0 (0%)
Mitch McConnell 2 (25%)
Eric Cantor 2 (25%)
Fox News 2 (25%)
Other Republican earth hater 2 (25%)

Update, 1/4/2012:

This post is getting a bunch of traffic because I plowed it into several other blogs. Please indulge a modification on whether Santorum could be veep material: Pennsylvania looks more like a battleground state today than a like solidly blue one.


How We the People screwed the Indians: part three

To attract followers after each campaign, Genghis Khan ordered feasts in each khanate he conquered. An apex predator he lives large in human history and has 16 million descendants who include the Uyghurs. Food and reproduction drove his legacy that took 30 million lives:
"This is a clear example that culture plays a very big role in patterns of genetic variation and diversity in human populations," said geneticist Spencer Wells, one of the 23 co-authors of the paper. "It's the first documented case when human culture has caused a single genetic lineage to increase to such an enormous extent in just a few hundred years."
From PRI's The World:
This growing unease about immigrants raises a deeper question about such attitudes: Is it human nature to distrust those who come from outside our own community? When two groups of chimps bump into each other in the forest, it always leads to conflict. Males threaten each other with loud calls and aggressive gestures. And, occasionally, things escalate to physical violence and warfare. Primatologist Frans de Waal of Emory University has studied what happens when two groups of bonobos encounter each other. “They have initial hostility, but then they have sex, and they groom, and very soon it looks more like a picnic than like warfare between them,” says de Waal.
h/t hipneck:


Pierre earthquake not unforeseen; Jackley: law enforcement crackdown coming in wake of RC gun battle

The earthquake that occurred ten miles under the sinkholes that developed in the Pierre Shale in Stanley County last June was just one large enough to be felt by the humans that live there. An earthquake bot in ip's Twitter feed has been reporting recent ripples preceding the South Dakota event.

Stop the Keystone XL pipeline.

Marty Jackley on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio set the scene for retaliation after insurgent reaction to harassment by occupying forces.


Pew: opinion of TEA Party crashes among "independents." Pitcher plant eats great tit

From the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press:
More Americans now think that members of Congress who support the Tea Party are having a negative effect than said that in January, at the start of the new Congress. Currently, 29% judge the impact of Tea Party supporters as mostly negative compared with 22% who see their impact as mostly positive. At the beginning of the year, the balance of opinion was just the opposite: 27% said that Tea Party members in Congress would have a positive impact, while 18% expected a negative effect. The balance of opinion has changed the most among political independents. In January, by a margin of 29% to 14% independents expected that Tea Party members would have a positive effect. Currently, about as many independents say Tea Party members in Congress are having a negative effect (28%) as a positive effect (24%).

No shit:
Nurseryman Nigel Hewitt-Cooper, from West Pennard, was inspecting his tropical garden when he discovered one of his pitcher plants had trapped the bird. Mr Hewitt-Cooper said he thought the great tit had been attracted to the plant on Saturday by the insects and landed on its leaf.


Lost Words: preserving the languages of the West

As Rapid City braces for its next flareup in racial violence this soothing film reaches out to activists anxious to fund support for the preservation of Native languages. RT @REZBOMB. Brian McDermott at KickStarter:
Lost Words, a 60-minute documentary tells the story of Amber, Conrad, Yellow Otter, and S. Neyooxet Greymorning among other Indigenous peoples who are engaged in saving endangered languages. Through them we learn of how language is used to perform ceremonies and to express cultural identity. We also learn of the government push to eradicate American Indian languages and how the traumas experienced affect Indigenous peoples today. Professor Greymorning, a determined and energetic professor, blazed a trail for others who are committed to saving dying languages by contacting Disney Studios and convincing them to rerelease the classic film "Bambi" in the Native American language, Arapaho. Now he continues to fight for language revitalization as he shares his teaching methodology, Accelerated Second Language Acquisition (ASLA), with Indigenous groups around the world.


Glacier National Park to be free of glaciers by 2020; 'bunch of racists' now reduced by two

We have been to Glacier National Park twice. We did the hike around Two Medicine Lake where we saw black bears; and, we hiked over breathtaking Siyeh Pass where we nearly walked right up to a fearless flock of mountain goats lounging on a rock bench. We began the hike in shorts in seventy degree weather and put on wind pants and parkas at the summit where it was in the thirties with a howling wind.

RT @grist. According to Stephen P. Nash in a piece for the New York Times, if you want to see glaciers in the park, you'd better hurry and go there:
For now, though, there are still glaciers to be seen. The park’s skein of well-maintained trails traverses every section of its million-plus acres and can accommodate any level of ability, from backpackers to the sheets-and-coverlets crowd. And for those who want to get closer, some serious legwork over steep terrain can put you right next to both the Grinnell and Sperry Glaciers, respectively a day and an overnight’s hike away. There are other glaciers to be glimpsed in the distance during a hike, but they can’t be reached by trails. These are excursions that require ice ax, ropes or crampons: the well-sequestered Pumpelly Glacier, for example, at 8,420 feet, and its close neighbor, the Pumpkin Glacier. Other glaciers are nearer a trail, but still display their remote and frigid glory at some distance, and in a way the craggy surroundings make them even more vivid. I chose the Siyeh Pass Trail because it affords a prolonged, spectacular view of the Sexton Glacier from below.
The Battle at Anamosa and Greenbriar has claimed another casualty. In the mind of a martyr, two for one works.

Update 8/8, 11:23AM from KW's superlative piece in the RCJ:
As members of street-crime squads and North Rapid patrols, they sought not just to arrest but more often to engage, diffuse and deter. They made dozens of stops each week similar to the one they made with Tiger and three companions.
Or, in other words: white guys profiling and shaking down people of color.


GMOs are Monsanto and Syngenta scams

Genetically modified organisms are manufactured by industry not to stem hunger but to enrich stockholders. hipneck is on full tilt about it and passed this video to ip.

From John Robbins at HuffPo:
While Monsanto would like us to believe they are seeking to alleviate world hunger, there is actually a very dark side to the company's efforts. For countless centuries farmers have fed humanity by saving the seed from one years crop to plant the following year. But Monsanto, the company that claims its motives are to help feed the hungry, has developed what it calls a "Technology Protection System" that renders seeds sterile. Commonly known as "terminator technology" and developed with taxpayer funding by the USDA and Delta Pine Land Company (an affiliate of Monsanto), the process genetically alters seeds so that their offspring will be sterile for all time. If employed, this technology would ensure that farmers cannot save their own seeds, but would have to come back to Monsanto year after year to purchase new ones. Critics refer to these genetically engineered seeds as suicide seeds. Despite the PR, Monsanto's goal is not to make hunger history. It's to control the staple crops that feed the world.
From the NRDC Switchboard blog is evidence that organic food production can solve hunger throughout the planet:
Under the microscope, healthy soils are teaming with life, with bacteria, nematodes, tiny arthropods and mycorrhizal fungi that cycle nutrients back to the plant. It’s a living city beneath our feet. Soils doused in harmful chemicals, by contrast, are revealed under the scope to be lifeless and inert.
Matthew Koehler takes on Keystone XL at Left in the West:
A wonderful coalition of environmental groups has built a strong campaign across the continent -- from Cree and Dene indigenous leaders to Nebraska farmers, they've spoken out strongly against the destruction of their land. We need to join them, and to say even if our own homes won't be crossed by this pipeline, our joint home -- the earth -- will be wrecked by the carbon that pours down it. And we need to say something else, too: it's time to stop letting corporate power make the most important decisions our planet faces. We will, each day through Labor Day, march on the White House, risking arrest with our trespass. We will do it in dignified fashion, demonstrating that in this case we are the conservatives, and that our foes -- who would change the composition of the atmosphere -- are dangerous radicals.


Rapid City incident not unforeseen

When Garrison Keillor opened A Prairie Home Campanion in the Rapid City Civic Center Theatre on November 20, 1999 he cited a statistic that Pennington County has the highest per capita gun ownership in the United States. A nervous chuckle rolled through the audience.

The number of experiences that i have had in gun and pawn shops in Rapid City that have taken me aback are too numerous to count. Two are vivid: a fifteen year old with mother in tow pointing at a Glock in a case saying: "that one" and a man buying five AK-47s with cash.
Christopher J. Capps, 22, who died of multiple gunshot wounds on Sunday night at Rapid City Regional Hospital, had been accepted by the University of South Dakota – Vermillion. Described as a “very outgoing” young man, Capps was well known around the neighborhood where was shot in a hail of bullets that may have ranged as high as five or six shots from Sheriff Department deputy David Olson, a nearly five-year veteran of the department. [Native Times]
The people involved in this skirmish are not the first casualties of this war; nor are they the last.


Candidates at JeffCo Dems

Jefferson County Fairgrounds -- Volunteer Hall 6:30 p.m., Monday, August 1
Call to order
Jesse Laslovich, Candidate, Attorney General
Carl Borgquist, Candidate, Governor (Tentatively scheduled) 
Discussion of Volunteers to gather signatures for the IR 125 (HB 198) petition
Up-coming Jefferson County Fair (Democrat participation in parade and booth)
Hors d'oeuvres, wine, soft-drinks served -- Hope to see you there!!
Shirley Chovanak
Chair Leslie Thomas read the minutes of the previous gathering in Whitehall then spent nearly two and a half hours moderating and asking questions.

Senate Distict 43 legislator Jesse Laslovich is standing for our party's incumbency in the Attorney General's office being vacated by Steve Bullock, a likely gubernatorial candidate. Senator Laslovich has held his Anaconda district starting at 19 years old and serves as a prosecutor in consumer protection cases for the State.

Smart as a whip, he would assist AG Bullock in defending misshapen SB423, a virtual repeal of the citizens' medical cannabis law if efforts to stop it are unsuccessful. He acknowledged the motion to dismiss Guggenheim and Donaldson v. Montana as a shrewd political maneuver when pressed by a voter. The goddess expressed her concern over the Ravalli County Title X refusal. Sheila Hogan, 2010 HD 77 candidate supports Senator Laslovich for Attorney General.

Also visiting our raucous interview was governor primary hopeful Carl Borgquist, president of Grasslands Renewable Energy of Bozeman. He is a calm, deliberate speaker with a bright vision for Montana.

Since MSTI is a favorite topic for County Commissioner Leonard Wortman, a staunch defender of private property rights especially in clashes with eminent domain implications, he and Mr. Borgquist found themselves at odds over how transmission line corridors should be constructed as Jefferson County is already home to many. Borgquist also likes geothermal as the next best source of generation and believes this voter's idea of burying transmission lines in highway or railroad rights of way to power cars and trains is too expensive.

For more background here is a snip from Chris Cillizza at The Fix, who includes a link to commentary from Montana Cowgirl:
Montana (D, 2012): Democrats are still waiting to see what Attorney General Steve Bullock will do. Luckily for them, Republicans are off to a slow start. Former Rep. Rick Hill (R) leads the rest of the GOP field by a wide margin with $285,686 so far. Former state senator Ken Miller (R) isn’t giving up — he’s touting polling showing a tight race and he’s accused of spreading dirt on Hill. Bullock, who says he won’t decide until Labor Day, still looks like Democrats only hope for holding this seat but most sharp observers expect him to, eventually, run. (Previous ranking: 2)
hipneck sent this video:

Program note: Yellowstone Public Radio will air the Humankind interview with David Kaczynski tonight at 7PM.


Bat study underway in Yellowstone, ravens preying on sage grouse, buffalo jump video

White nose syndrome is moving from the eastern US into the west suggesting human-distributed rather than weather-driven infection and warmer winters are contributing to its spread. Closures of caves on public lands to human activity have been extended. The Billings Gazette's Martin Kidston report appears in the Casper Trib:
Wildlife biologist John Treanor and his team of researchers began studying the park's bats in May, recording species diversity and known roosting sites around Mammoth. The study also is looking for signs of white nose syndrome, a disease that has decimated bat populations in the Eastern United States. The disease is named after a white fungus that invades and erodes the skin of hibernating bats. It causes the mammals to become active more frequently during hibernation, which depletes their fat stores more rapidly. Fearing that white nose syndrome could continue spreading, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in May launched a national plan to combat the disease. It's estimated that some bats can eat between 3,000 and 7,000 mosquitoes a night.
The Trib tells us that protected ravenous birds are eating sage grouse eggs:
Mike Conover, a wildlife biologist at Utah State University, said sage grouse are big birds with big eggs, which make them tempting targets for ravens. Moving or killing ravens isn’t easy because they’re protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. It’s illegal to kill them without a permit. Although there aren’t many statistics, Conover said the raven population is swelling unchecked in Wyoming, as the birds have few significant predators.
Hmmm: pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics lead to industrial diseases.