Badlands, Conata Basin make eco list

The Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska has announced her top ten regional ecotourism favorites. The Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge is, of course, on the list as are other Montana treasures.

#1 is:
Badlands National Park (S.D.) -- The park has 244,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie. It is home to bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets and other wildlife. The South Unit of the park is in the process of becoming the first tribal national park, with its world-class natural and cultural resources to be managed by the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
Conata Basin (S.D.) -- The basin refers both to a larger ecoregion consisting of some 142,000 acres just south of Badlands National Park and to a smaller tract of 6,188 acres (plus 25,188 acres of federal grazing allotments) owned by the Nature Conservancy. This largely intact prairie, which provides a home to the full array of prairie wildlife, is the site of a critical and controversial effort to reintroduce nearly extinct black-footed ferrets, which require prairie dogs as food source.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota and Devils Tower in Big Wonderful also made the cut: h/t @jayfug.

And yes, 71 between Crawford and Hot Springs is still pants-wetting for her sunsets.



Federal interrogation required to receive medical care in Montana

Update, 18:46 MDT: #medicalmarijuana: Williams attorney vows an appeal and to get him out of jail quickly.Only person in MT to not plea bargain, faces 45 yrs. RT @IR_EveByron

Update, 17:23 MDT: Chris wms found guilty on all 8 charges in med marijuana freedom court case. Led away in handcuffs. RT @IR_EveByron

Update, 14:11 MDT: Defense calls for mistrial.

Does the US Constitution require a jury to convict persons accused of violating federal law while acting within the strictures of state law?

Montana's Democratic Attorney General is running for governor. Steve Bullock has touted his defense of the state's limits on campaign contributions against the federal Citizens United case while failing to show up for the rights of same-sex couples and for an initiated medical cannabis law. A fellow blogger cited a personal interview where Bullock said he believed his only responsibility to Montana was fiduciary.

As has been noted in progressive Montana blogs, Bullock comfortably leads his opponent in polls so he can take a little heat from the Left.

Eve Byron reports in the Helena Independent Record, a Lee paper under fire for conservative bias, that a jury didn't hear all the facts in a high profile medical cannabis case because the judge sent them home after instructing them to ignore the medical value of cannabis. Ms. Byron writes:
Federal attorneys danced around the elephant in the middle of the U.S. District courtroom in Helena for the third day in the trial of Christopher Williams, finally mentioning Montana’s Medical Marijuana Act only after the jury was dismissed for the day on Wednesday. Williams readily agreed that he had formed a partnership with Thomas Daubert, Chris Lindsey and Richard Flor in the spring of 2009. But it was only after the jurors had left the room that Daubert, Lindsey, Williams and his attorney, Michael Donahoe, outlined before Judge Dana Christensen the full story of why they created the business and wanted high standards.

“This case is being prosecuted in federal court. As such, the case is governed exclusively by federal law,” Christensen said. “Under federal law, marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. Federal law prohibits the manufacture, distribution, possession with intent to distribute, simple possession and use of marijuana for any purpose. State laws related to the legality of marijuana in certain circumstances have no bearing on the issues before you and provide no defense to any charge against the defendant as set forth in the superseding indictment. 
“Unless I instruct you otherwise, you should not consider any reference to the medical use of marijuana, as such references have no relevance to the charges set forth in the superseding indictment. Similarly, you must disregard any statements or argument about the defendant or others purporting to comply or not to comply with state laws concerning marijuana.”
Bullock's silence on this case is so deafening that his collusion with DEA and other federal Justice officials could barely be heard whispering it in courtroom hallways.

Mr. Williams is the only defendant fighting the case while his former partners took plea deals and testified against him.

A letter to the editor of the Billings Gazette, another Lee paper known for its right-wing bias, reminds readers that Montana federal judge, Richard Cebull, is still on the bench after violating President Obama's civil rights.

The Gazette reports this morning that the case is headed for appeal.

Hey earth haters: pick a lane!


Gillette, Wyo hospital first denied it was treating flesh-eating cases; dog succumbs (debugged)

Facility now admits these cases are necrotizing fasciitis after first denying it:
[CCMH] trustee George Dunlap said people in the hospital knew about the cases and didn’t release the information.Dunlap said he didn’t speak up because he was tired of being criticized by trustee chairman Brook Bahnson for speaking out about issues at the hospital.
From a press conference held earlier at Campbell County Memorial Hospital:
The Gillette News Record:
[I]nfectious disease specialist Dr. Christopher Brown will answer questions about the three cases of invasive Streptococcus A, also known as flesh-eating bacteria, the hospital has treated in the past three weeks.
The Billings Gazette reported that at least two cases are linked. A dog has also died from the bacteria according to the News Record.

As global average temperatures rise due to greenhouse gas emissions, the effects on the planet, such as melting ice caps, extreme weather, drought and rising sea levels, will threaten populations and livelihoods, said the report conducted by humanitarian organization DARA. It calculated that five million deaths occur each year from air pollution, hunger and disease as a result of climate change and carbon-intensive economies, and that toll would likely rise to six million a year by 2030 if current patterns of fossil fuel use continue.
Americans are expected to pay for medical care for industrial diseases caused by processes and services, many of which are patented, but spend money on insurance (or not) instead?

Just go to the emergency room.


US right wing molts, readies for holy war

Consider how a loosely-hinged member of the right-wing fringe – an unstable individual among the third of conservative Republicans who believe Obama's a Muslim or the almost two-thirds who think he was born in another country – expecting a landslide victory for the Republican might process an Obama victory.--Joshua Holland, AlterNet.
You see, I am not only fighting back against my opponent, but I am also fighting back against the national Democrat attack machine and liberal "Super PACS" that have targeted my campaign for defeat. --Rep. Michele Bachmann (earth hater-MN)
On Friday, Mitt Romney declined to condemn Rep. Michele Bachmann’s witch hunt against Muslim Americans in the federal government, breaking with GOP leaders like Senator John McCain and Speaker John Boehner. He said that “those are not things that are part of my campaign.” If that’s the case, then why did Romney hold a closed-door meeting the evening before with high-profile supporters of Bachmann’s effort, including Jerry Boykin, a leading figure in the anti-Muslim movement? --Josh Glasstetter, Right Wing Watch


Okay, it's legal in your state: now what?

The Seattle Times' editorial board says yes on Initiative 502.

Washington is just one state where cannabis legalization is on the ballot: she currently sanctions some medical use. Montanans certainly learned how unwieldy and fleeting initiated law can be. The Department of Justice and its enforcement fist, Drug Enforcement Agency, doesn't comment on pending state law.

Here is a splice from Sharon Salyer's awesome read in the Everett Herald:
If voters in Colorado and Oregon also approve similar measures this November, it is unlikely the federal government will simply sit on its hands and watch the drug be sold from storefront businesses. Hugh Spitzer, who teaches state and federal law at the University of Washington's law school, said a growing legalization trend among states could set off a tug-of-war over enforcement of marijuana laws with the federal government.

In part, Initiative 502 would allow people 21 and older to buy an ounce of marijuana from stores regulated and licensed by the state, where it would be taxed at 25 percent. Voters approved an initiative to end prohibition in 1932. The federal constitutional amendment repealing prohibition wasn't ratified until December 1933, he said. If three or four states pass marijuana legalization initiatives "it will be as hard to enforce federal marijuana laws as it was to enforce federal alcohol prohibition laws in 1932 and 1933," Spitzer said.
Franklin Roosevelt won on a repeal platform in 1932: President Obama is leading in Colorado. It's hard to forget the hot mic episode between the American President and Russia's: message trumps principle in an election year.

From Reuters:
Nine former heads of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration urged Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday to take a stand against possible legalization of recreational marijuana in three western states, saying silence would convey acceptance. "Anyone who is objective at all knows that current marijuana policy in this country is a complete disaster, with massive arrests, wasted resources, and violence in the U.S. and especially in Mexico," said Jill Harris, managing director of strategic initiatives for Drug Policy Action, which has poured money into legalization campaigns.
Here is why is DEA is supporting a global black market: it sustains a budget-fat revolving door that finances war against our enemies:
We have an increasing number of for-profit prisons in the United States, and the Corrections Corporation of America, for instance, which is, I think, the biggest, signs contracts, and they have to have a guarantee, basically, that 90 percent of the prison beds will be filled. So you have Michelle Alexander, who wrote The New Jim Crow and I interviewed for Truthout, is very eloquent about this.


Johnson, Ventura tag team Minnesota event (updated)

Libertarian presidential candidate Governor Gary Johnson has filed an anti-trust lawsuit in federal court to force his way into debates with President Obama and that other white guy.
Today's rally for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson at Macalester College will also feature former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura, who's long expressed libertarian views. The Macalester appearance is part of Johnson's three-week campus tour. It's from 1 to 3 p.m. at Macalester's Kagins Commons Hill Ballroom. --Joe Kimball at MinnPost online.
RT @GovGaryJohnson

RT @ByronTau
Reason national poll: Obama 49, Romney 42, Gary Johnson gets 6%. Without Johnson: Obama 48%, Romney 43%.
Ibuprofen and opioids eat your liver.

Pfizer was one interested party in the outcome of the SCOTUS review of ACA. From Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News:
On March 13, 2012, though, the Arthritis Advisory Committee to the FDA unanimously concluded that the potential benefits of anti-NGF drugs outweighed the risks associated with their use. They voted 21 to 0 to allow Pfizer and other developers to resume testing, despite cases of joint destruction and osteonecrosis associated with their use.

President Obama is getting a significant challenge for the 18-32 vote. "And the Feds are cracking down on #MMJ? Sheer idiocy."

From the Santa Fe New Mexican:

USA Today:
The increases have coincided with a wave of overdose deaths, pharmacy robberies and other problems in New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Florida and other states. Opioid pain relievers, the category that includes oxycodone and hydrocodone, caused 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, and the death toll is rising, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.
Deaths from cannabis overdose? Zero. Deaths from the "War on Drugs?"

Matt Varilek: talk about the future.


South Dakota solar company recognized

Democrat Nick Nemec is running for a seat on the Public Utilities Commission in the chemical toilet: he believes that the PUC should be promoting renewable energies.

In 2010, some of the state's American Indian nations were left without power for many weeks because utility companies have succumbed to the moral hazards of disaster declarations that pay them to replace ice-downed power transmission lines year after year.

A South Dakota manufacturer has just received the Solar Flare Award from a Connecticut technology incubator according to the PR arm of the Sacramento Bee, a McClatchy publication.
"Small really is beautiful," said Jeffrey Mayer, Soluxe's president, in recognizing Peppermint Energy of Sioux Falls, SD with the prestigious honor. "At a time when utility scale power projects have reduced our dependence on carbon-based fuels, this company is creating small-scale applications that will make a difference in people's lives," he said.
The Solar Flare Award was also recently conferred upon an innovative purification/desalination system.

The Sicangu-Lakota Oyate sits above a geothermal gold mine.

The Billings Gazette is reporting that PPL Montana will mothball a coal-fired plant on the banks of the Yellowstone River.

Megan Kamerick is Conservation Beat reporter for KUNM, New Mexico's Community Powered Public Radio, she sez:
We're used to putting the blame for climate change on industrial plants and gas-guzzling cars and trucks. But Santa Fe architect Edward Mazria says it's actually the buildings we live in that are the worst offenders. Mazria is the author of the Passive Solar Energy Book used by builders worldwide. He'll be speaking tonight in Albuquerque.
More on thermoelectrics here, here, and here.

Canwápegi Wi - Moon When the Leaves Turn Brown.


Bozeman could spend millions on ice climbing venue

Lead, South Dakota has pissed away another year of potential recovery and success by entombing itself in Republican stupidity while Bozeman storms into the future of recreation.

From Jodi Hausen's piece in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
Perhaps the most compelling notion about the 84-foot-tall tower that will also include an outdoor performance venue and flexible office space is that it could attract elite, competitive ice climbers to Bozeman, Anker and others told Commissioners Steve White and Joe Skinner. It will be built using stacked shipping containers as structural support and for the office spaces. There will be solar panels and the ability to reuse water from the ice to irrigate the adjacent baseball diamond. The tower has been in the works for two years and started with a design contest at MSU. Students from the schools of architecture and engineering formed teams and submitted designs.


NH jury nullifies religious cannabis conviction

Incarceration rates in South Dakota are jaw-dropping.

From Reason:
A jury unanimously acquitted Doug Darrell, a 59-year-old Rastafarian charged with marijuana [sic] cultivation, after his lawyer, Mark Sisti, argued that a conviction would be unjust in light of the fact that Darrell was growing cannabis for his own religious and medicinal use. More remarkably, Judge James O'Neill instructed the jury that "even if you find that the State has proven each and every element of the offense charged beyond a reasonable doubt, you may still find the defendant not guilty if you have a conscientious feeling that a not guilty verdict would be a fair result in this case." "Cases like this shouldn't be brought," Sisti says. "And when they are brought, I think that safety valve, that nullification safety valve, is very important. Other states had better start waking up, because without it, people are going to be convicted of very serious charges through hypocrisy. The jury's going to think they can't do anything else, and that's wrong." --Jacob Sullum
The future of the business should be a combination synthesizing the cannabis equivalents of organic microbreweries, vintners, and greenhouses beginning as cottage industries that can withstand fiduciary and insurance requirements.

We are a litigious society: ways to generate revenue for states can be hammered out in committee in each state legislature to head off some of the torts likely following enactment and to guide law enforcement using most of the same language that governs alcohol use. Patients that seek cannabis as medicine can be seen by a health care provider and be excused from paying the excise taxes.

Home growing law should look just like home-brewing and wine making.


Images of Lamy

My maternal grandfather was a career conductor for the Union Pacific Railroad: after my mother passes (she's 91), the rest of the story will be posted. I have at least one vague memory from my toddlerhood of riding the California Zephyr between Omaha and Emeryville, California near Castle AFB where my dad was stationed and the place of my birth.

The El Ortiz Hotel, a Harvey House, stood on the right-hand side of the tracks

Trackside depot: this end of building houses Beyond Borders Bookstore


Timetables for Missouri River water wars, Rounds colonoscopy announced

US Senators from the upper Missouri River basin have requested a hearing with the Army Corps of Engineers: the definition of 'surplus water' is central to talks. This from a press release at Senator Tim Johnson's (D-SD) website:
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ [sic], which manages water flow from the six dams on the Missouri River, recently proposed a change that would institute a fee for gaining access to water in Missouri River reservoirs. Senators Thune, Conrad, Hoeven, Johnson, and Tester have concerns that the Corps’ actions contradict state water law, historical and legal precedent, and would have negative impacts on individuals, tribes, businesses, and water systems in Montana and the Dakotas.
Recall this intersection at interested party in June, 2011?
The Corps sells 24% of US hydropower capacity. The Corps enjoys sovereign immunity; expect a political powerplay directed at them from Marty Jackley.
The Senators called for testimony from the attorney general of the State of South Dakota. It's suing the Army Corps of Engineers to determine ownership of so-called 'surplus water.'

Hardly coincidentally, a former earth hater governor of South Dakota (after having built a house in a swamp, that flooded resulting in a generous self-reimbursement from insurance coverage underwritten by his own company), just used exactly the same brand of coded vitriol for non-whites described in interested party's previous post when he announced his intent to begin grovelling for money from supporters.

He expects to make a case for running for the seat held by Senator Johnson by attacking the Army Corps of Engineers despite the fact that the corps is hardly accountable for flooding (surplus water) but is, through statute, responsible: remember that an apology implies liability in US law.

Gov. Mike Rounds made an unholy deal, along with Tom Daschle, by the way, holding Barrick harmless for polluting the Cheyenne River watershed while dropping the ball on the compressors in the Ross then allowed the Homestake to fill with water.

The Tribes got screwed (again) and believe that they own the water.

Missouri River discharge from Oahe Dam at Pierre
photo courtesy Bruce Venner

Hidden agenda? The state has a $83 million dollar surplus but would argue it can’t afford to dredge and treat the dams so it expects taxpayers to do it. Ag and livestock special interests likely contribute the most poison crap to the system followed by human-based pharma/chemical toiletries.

Barrick Mining Company is on the hook for most of the worst shit: it's armed to the teeth with a bank of lawyers and lobbyists. The State enjoyed royalties and severance taxes.

AG Jacklow is engaging in legal sock-puppetry. By suing the corps over surplus water he is forcing them (US?) to pay for the clean up of a century of mine tailings and organic effluent that has saturated the banks of the Belle Fourche/Cheyenne River system then depositing many tons of toxic silt into Lake Oahe and the other downstream dams after 1962 now displacing many acre-feet of water.

Another Canadian mining company just admitted to polluting a river in the US: yes, slag is toxic.

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer told a local news outlet that the Keystone XL pipeline will be built replete with crossings of the river and hundreds of her tributaries.

Let the wild rumpus start.


Alexander: mass incarceration "New Jim Crow"

The United States has a label for non-white men: felons.

Anyone believing that African-Americans, Latino-Americans, or American Indians are disproportionately imprisoned because they are more often criminals is wrong. In fact, white people per capita commit at least as many drug-related crimes than their non-white brethren o amigas.

Michelle Alexander is an associate professor of law at Ohio State University, a civil rights lawyer, an activist, and was a law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun. She is the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.

As part of the Lannan Foundation's Cultural Freedom Lecture series, the Lensic Performing Arts Center in downtown Santa Fe was packed to the rafters with one of most multicultural audiences this interested party has ever witnessed in one room.

A plank of the Southern Strategy seeking to assuage poor white people in the wake of the civil rights movement, the so-called 'War on Drugs' declared by the Nixon White House, then institutionalized by the Reagan and Clinton Administrations, redefined caste in the United States becoming a policy tool for the mass incarceration of non-white men.
Jarvious Cotton cannot vote. Like his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather, he has been denied the right to participate in our electoral democracy. Cotton’s family tree tells the story of several generations of black men who were born in the United States but who were denied the most basic freedom that democracy promises—the freedom to vote for those who will make the rules and laws that govern one’s life. Cotton’s great-great-grandfather could not vote as a slave. His great-grandfather was beaten to death by the Ku Klux Klan for attempting to vote. His grandfather was prevented from voting by Klan intimidation. His father was barred from voting by poll taxes and literacy tests. Today, Jarvious Cotton cannot vote because he, like many black men in the United States, has been labeled a felon and is currently on parole. --excerpt from The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.
Ms. Alexander reminded the mostly flaming liberal attendees that had Barry Obama been raised in the 'hood his chances would have been unremarkably grim.

At one thought intersection she used the example of any kid in South Dakota (a state where suicide is the 9th leading cause of death) having easy access to illegal drugs but whose family can't afford or lives too far from clinical care.

Plea agreements are legal coercion. Alexander called on those asked to serve jury duty to lie to the court about your feelings and nullify convictions of any person accused of non-violent drug crimes. She counsels people arrested and indicted for non-violent drug crimes to refuse plea agreements then force jury trials to overwhelm the broken system.

The next guest in the lecture series is Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!


PPP: Tester ahead in Montana, Libertarians strong

Here are some of the first results from findings in Montana by Public Policy Polling:
PPP's newest poll of the Montana Senate race finds Jon Tester with a small lead over Denny Rehberg, 45-43. Libertarian Dan Cox is polling at 8%, and 3% of voters remain undecided. This is the second survey in a row where we have found Tester with the lead. Montana's a state where Gary Johnson may have a bigger impact than other places. When he's included he polls at 7% and since he pulls more from Romney than Obama he pushes Mitt's lead down to a 46-43 margin. The race for Montana's open House seat looks like a toss up. Republican Steve Daines has a narrow edge over Democratic opponent Kim Gillan, 40-37, with Libertarian Dave Kaiser at 9%. Gillan has gained 3 points on Daines since our last poll of the race in the spring.

Q12 Would you describe yourself as very liberal,
somewhat liberal, moderate, somewhat
conservative, or very conservative?
Very liberal ...................................................... 13%
Somewhat liberal ............................................ 13%
Moderate......................................................... 28%
Somewhat conservative.................................. 24%
Very conservative ........................................... 21%

Rasmussen polled an alternative universe last month.

President Obama is very strong in Gary Johnson's state of New Mexico.

PPP says that the GOP is polling horribly in Minnesota: Michele Bachmann, Teabag mentor to South Dakota's Kristi Noem, has nearly fallen off the charts.

Horrified at his party's struggling nominee, Willard Romney, Sen. McCain tweeted, "Just watched an excellent and moving stmt by Sec. Clinton- just the right message and tone."

Insider analysis of Libya here. More on about hate film producers here.

Earlier today, @ArgusMontgomery covered Libertarian VP candidate Judge Jim Gray at USD. Gray: "They are so much the same, we call them Robomney."


11 September: the what-Bush-knew edition

CIA analysts threatened to resign ahead of the attack because they knew they'd be blamed for the failures of the Bush White House.

Yes, I believe that 1, 2, and 7 were "pulled." And, when you're appointed POTUS by your brother(s) or your father, you lop all the heads of those with whom you do not agree when you come to office because you're focused on deposing Saddam, the winner of the first Gulf War.

ProPublica has this. Salon has this. The New York Times has this. lizard posted this. VegasJessie said this. The Dick, Cheney, blames President Obama for poor timing to take out OBL.

Rasmussen sez likely voters trust the President as a better job creator than they do the guy in second place.

You just can't make this shit up.

Some see hope:
Scientists, visionaries, entertainers and the public will gather in Houston this week for the 100-Year Starship Symposium, a meeting to discuss space travel to another star.
Mr. President: please, listen to your analysts. Put a price on carbon, tear out the Missouri River dams, and rewild the West.


Is Matt Varilek Really the AntiKristi?

Omg: did Huffington Post really just call Mitt Romney an earth hater? RT @HuffPostGreen:
Romney doubles down on planet-hating

South Dakotans appear destined to vote, not just for a white guy they don't like very much, but against a President looking unstoppable by today's numbers, who happens to be a Democrat (not to mention a guy with closer genetic ties to Mother Africa), while returning a distracted, ineffectual opposition member back to the US House just because she's a Republican in a year when that party is imploding.


Kristi Noem represents a culture of conspicuous consumption, waste, and entitlement at the expense of aquifers, watersheds: for some of the above.

Matt Varilek is a trained energy analyst, has experience abroad, and mentored under Tom Daschle among others.

Harry A. Atwater is a physicist at the California Institute of Technology and James C. Stevens is a chemist with The Dow Chemical Company. They led a partnership that developed new electronic materials without using rare earth technologies that are suitable for use in solar-energy-conversion devices. Presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society and released in NewsWise is this quote from Stevens:
The United States alone has about 69 billion square feet of appropriate residential rooftops that could be generating electricity from the sun. The sunlight falling on those roofs could generate at least 50 percent of the nation’s electricity, and some estimates put that number closer to 100 percent. With earth-abundant technology, that energy could be harvested, at an enormous benefit to consumers and the environment.
It's time for Matt Varilek to embrace President Obama and the party's platform exploring all the pathways to the regulation of carbon and if he wants interested party's endorsement as the real AntiKristi he'd better start sounding more like a Democrat.

Someone tell him he should be wearing a tie, too....


Obama surging

Update, 9 Sept. 07:47 MDT: Rasmussen is giving President Obama an 8 point convention bounce.
This is the president’s biggest lead over Romney among Likely Voters since March 17. The president has made significant gains among voters aged 40-64.


 President Obama has posted gains in opinion polls against his closest competitor following the successes of the Democratic National Convention and the embarrassments of the Tampa gala held by a once-viable political party in second place. Even pollster and GOP tool, Rasmussen, reported today that the President was leading one opponent by two points well before the bounce from the DNC had been fully polled. A Reuters/Ipsos poll sez:
"The bump is actually happening. I know there was some debate whether it would happen... but it's here," said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark, referring to the "bounce" in support that many presidential candidates enjoy after nominating conventions. In fact, Obama led Romney in a dozen such favorable characteristics, such as "represents America" or "has the right values." The only such category in which Romney had an advantage was being "a man of faith," as 44 percent picked Romney, who is Mormon, compared to 31 percent for Obama, who is Christian.
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee and heir to the supporters of the failed Ron Paul campaign, is now being included in national canvassing: it looks very bad for members of the party in opposition.


Gov. Schweitzer on Myth Romney

President Obama is no radical leftist, that's for sure.

In fact, there were several lines in his speech last night that made me wince: like the line about America as the largest war machine in human history, for instance. 40% of the IRS take goes to militarism: that's unacceptable to this leftist especially when global warming is the greatest threat to our species.

Any debt clock must acknowledge that a cheaper dollar builds exports. As the Arms Dealer to the World, the US sells billions worth of advanced weapons to the Israeli mob and the Family of Saud who in turn, sell their old shit to Iran, Syria, and worse. So, what's the bad news?

Mitt's a good family man and a loyal American. But—and you knew there was a "but"—he brought the wrong agenda to Massachusetts. And he is the wrong guy to be president of the United States. Governor Mitt Romney saddled Massachusetts taxpayers with an additional $2.6 billion in debt, and left 'em with the most debt per capita of any state in America. Mitt, you can't Etch-A-Sketch away your record. Taxes: up. Cost of college: up. Debt: up. New business starts: down. Manufacturing: down. Median household income: down. Economic growth: down. If private equity Mitt Romney met Governor Mitt Romney, he'd do what he says he likes to do. He'd fire 'um, and outsource the job! Governor Romney said that finding Osama bin Laden was "not worth moving heaven and earth." Tonight, bin Laden isn't on earth, and he sure isn't in heaven. Thanks to the courage of American Special Forces and the bold leadership of our president, Osama bin Laden is at the bottom of the ocean.--Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer.


Juneau, nuns on the bus with Bill Clinton

Update, 7 Sept. 5:44 MST: Gyasi Ross at ICT tells readers that 161 Natives attended the DNC and gives a shout-out to Superintendent Juneau. The Great Falls Tribune weighs in.


What a wild ride: Romney/Ryan's christofascism got slammed by a nun!

Sister Simone Campbell had the crowd on its feet chanting and President Bill Clinton had women in the crowd wet with enthusiasm.

The Democratic Convention has been a celebration of women, no doubt about it. The sea of faces in the delegations was as multicultural as any in recent memory.

Montana's State Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau is the first American Indian to win a statewide election in the state:


Native Sun News chooses ip photo in online Pe 'Sla story

Bless health and environment reporter Talli Nauman of Native Sun News. For her piece at indianz she chose a photo taken by this interested party for her update on a Lakota, Dakota, Nakota holy site in the Black Hills.

The Sicangu Oyate Lakota (Rosebud Sioux Tribe) has raised at least $1.3 million and plans to combine those resources with contributions from the other members of the Oceti Sakowin, the People of the Seven Council Fires, intended to purchase the property called Reynold's Prairie by the descendants of white settlers.

An agreement to purchase has reportedly been signed by the parties according to organizer, Chase Iron Eyes and the Lakota People's Law Project. The real estate closing date has yet to be announced: talking about the purchase before closing is often fraught with angst.

Cory's corresponding story appears at Madville Times.

Above photo courtesy Native American Netroots:
On Nov. 26, 2011, Harper's magazine Contributing Editor and National Geographic photographer Aaron Huey joined Shepard Fairey, the prolific street artist known to most people for his iconic Obama HOPE campaign image, and installed a stunning 20x80-foot mural THE BLACK HILLS ARE NOT FOR SALE. It's at the intersection of Ogden and the highly trafficked Melrose Avenue in West Los Angeles near Fairfax.


Employee-owned or union organized?

The guy who taught me drywall finish in 1979 in Missoula was a sole proprietor. Kim Morris, wife of Deadwood's Jack Daniels worked for his family in high school (it's a bizarro miracle how this is connected, don't ask).

In 1981 to do the work restoring the former Milwaukee Road Clark Fork Station we had to join the painters' union. Here's a quick glance at Missoula's trade union list today.

Montana's rate for worker fatalities (10.8/100,000 workers) is more than three times the national average of 3.3/100,000, says a press release printed in the Montana Standard. This from the Billings Gazette:
Wyoming’s workplace fatality rate improved from the worst in the nation — 17 fatalities per 100,000 workers in 2007 — to fourth worst in 2009, according to an AFL-CIO report, passing the “worst” distinction to Montana, Louisiana and North Dakota, where many drilling rigs migrated during the same period. But before Wyoming leaders and employers claim victory over such a poor past performance, safety officials are warning that workplace fatalities could spike again when drilling and construction activity returns to Wyoming. Last week, an iWatch investigative report, “‘Model Workplaces’ Not Always Safe,” found that many companies across the nation that are enrolled in state-level Voluntary Protection Programs enjoy the benefit of fewer inspections but still were guilty of serious safety violations — many resulting in the death of workers.
A coal mine in Campbell County, Wyoming is a defendant in a case led by Spence Law Firm (an underwriter of Wyoming Public Radio):
The Spence Law Firm, working in association with the Michaels and Michaels law firm in Gillette, Wyoming, has filed a complaint against Wyoming corporation Western Fuels-Wyoming, Inc., (owner and operator of the Dry Fork Mine) and two of its employees. Negligence claims and other counts are also being brought against the mine employer, which fired Shawn Cunningham the day after he filed for Wyoming workers compensation benefits, in violation of public policy.
From WyoFile:
UnlikeWyoming’s coal mining industry, oil and gas companies work without borders and they do it without a clear set of safety ground-rules or certifications that are transferable from one drilling location to the next. “You can build all the policies you want, but if you don’t hold employees accountable for their actions,” the policies have little effect, said Denny Gladwin of Halliburton Services. “The legislature is very much a part of the Tea Party movement, and that’s good,” said Dallas Scholes of Williams Production RMT, who serves on WOGISA’s legislative committee.
An extensive piece written by David Murray in the Great Falls Tribune intersected with how insurance and perks provided by employers evolved to replace union benefits: Montana is likely representative of Mountain West states where workers' rights have been sacrificed to employers' profits. Here's a splice:
According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, organized labor was at its height in Montana during the 1950s. In the first decades after World War II, there were roughly 240 union locals across the state, the largest and most powerful of which belonged to the United Mine Workers of America, the Railroad Brotherhoods or the United Steel Workers, which beginning in the mid-50s oversaw labor negotiations for Montana’s metal miners, smelter men and mill workers. Today, the face of organized labor is vastly different. Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in 2011, only 13 percent of Montana workers belonged to a union. Of those, 45 percent were women, and the largest unions in the state are the Montana Education Association-Montana Federation of Teachers, the Montana Public Employees Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Comes this from Sara Horowitz, the founder of Freelancers Union, a nonprofit organization representing the interests and concerns of the independent workforce. She writes in The Atlantic:
Collective economic power enabled workers to focus on their full lives, not just what they did on the shop-room floor. In Amalgamated housing complexes, arts programs, summer camps, and citizenship classes thrived. Through their collective efforts, workers realized they could build something greater than themselves. This isn't just a dream for young do-gooders. Countless experienced actuaries, lawyers, and accountants are yearning for a way to use their business acumen to rebuild the nation's middle class. A union movement focused on creating sustainable, revenue-generating institutions could provide a platform to serve the social good and the bottom line.
Pacific Steel and Recycling, based in Great Falls, is 100 percent owned by its employees. In May of this year, CEO Jeff Millhollin wrote in the Billings Gazette:
Consider one study from Georgetown University, which found that so-called S corporation Employee Stock Ownership Plans (S ESOPs) have demonstrated a striking resilience — growing and hiring new workers during the recession, though their counterparts had been shrinking. While overall U.S. private employment in 2008 fell by 2.8 percent, employment in S ESOP companies rose by nearly 2 percent. This kind of motivation and work ethic translates to a stronger bottom line. Recognizing that employee ownership is proving successful in Montana and across the country, a bill has been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to help eliminate barriers that exist for companies that want to become employee-owned. The Promotion and Expansion of Private Employee Ownership Act represents meaningful action to help American businesses thrive and their workers to retire with dignity.
Note sponsorship includes Reps. Kristi Noem, Denny Rehberg and Todd Akin.

Elkton's Twin City Fan is employee-owned as is grocer Hy-Vee.


Tutu: prosecute Bush43 and Tony Blair

A Nobel Peace Prize winner is calling for the prosecution of disgraced former Republican US President George W. Bush and sexed-up former British Prime Minister Tony Blair alleging that a conspiracy based on lies thrust war upon innocents.

From Toby Helm in The Observer:
Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for Tony Blair and George Bush to be hauled before the international criminal court in The Hague and delivered a damning critique of the physical and moral devastation caused by the Iraq war. Writing in the Observer, Tutu also suggests the controversial US and UK-led action to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003 created the backdrop for the civil war in Syria and a possible wider Middle East conflict involving Iran.
Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that the US will not prosecute those implicated in torture while acknowledging the likelihood of other crimes.

Bush43 has cancelled trips to Switzerland and Canada as the Center for Constitutional Rights and other human rights groups prepared to submit a 2500-page indictment of the former President of US. A publicist for the former Dick-puppet cited concern that the visits could trigger violent protests.

Yeah, right.

Wave bye-bye, W; and, think: October Surprise.


Large Time with Large Band at Santa Fe Opera

ducks in a row

Truchas Peak and Santa Fe Baldy, Sangre de Cristo Range

sunset from Santa Fe Opera

Lyle Lovett and His Large Band including veteran side-men Leland Sklar on bass and Russ Kunkel on drums. Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek played numerous violin solos. The concert was a benefit for the Santa Fe Watershed Association. Local musician, Bill Hearne was featured during one set. The band played for nearly three hours.