Thursday, April 30, 2015

NM pueblo cartoonist in Pine Ridge

Pine Ridge is the second-largest reservation in the United States and the most poverty-stricken. Its death rate exceeds that of the rest of the country by 300 percent. The Rapid City Journal apologized for a headline it ran with a story about the trouble, which the paper said “signified that there was a justification for the harassment of Native American students at the … hockey game.” In February, one man was charged with disorderly conduct for his role in the attack. Ricardo Caté, a writer from Santo Domingo Pueblo whose Without Reservations cartoon series runs daily in The New Mexican, is among the group heading to Pine Ridge on Saturday. “I just happened to run across the story on Facebook. I was appalled and thought, ‘I have to draw something about this’ … to try to draw attention to this matter,” Caté said. [Santa Fe New Mexican]

Mr. Caté's work posted at Indianz

Journalists for Diversity has opened up registration for the coalition’s first regional media summit May 2.
Empower Your Lakota Story” will bring journalists from around the country for a conference centered on media literacy, multimedia training, entrepreneurial journalism and a special town hall. The event at American Horse School in Allen, South Dakota, is free and will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kevin Abourezk, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux and a higher education reporter with the Lincoln Journal Star, is the event’s keynote speaker.
Without Reservations makes readers wince, laugh and cringe sometimes over just one cartoon.

Our property abuts the Santo Domingo Pueblo.

ip images captured at the Santa Fe Indian Market.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Liberation theology freeing christians from consumerism, dogmatic bondage

Pope Frank is heading to Cuba and has scheduled an audience with President Barack Obama to discuss pending climate catastrophes.
Marking an end to one of the most divisive debates in Catholicism in the past 35 years, Pope Francis has officially declared the late Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero a martyr, clearing the way for eventually proclaiming him a saint. A hero to the progressive liberation theology movement in Latin America, which sought to place the Catholic Church on the side of the poor in struggles for social justice, Romero was shot to death in 1980 while saying Mass. [Crux]
It's estimated that christians slaughtered nearly 100 million indigenous since landing in the New World.

Even the Pope Emeritus decried consumerism from arguably the most decadent religious palace on Earth:
In his homily, Benedict lamented that Christmas has become an increasingly commercial celebration that obscures the simplicity of the message of Christ’s birth. -AP, Washington Post
Truthout may have said it even more succinctly:
But what if all roads to prosperity don't lead to the shopping mall, as most economists would have us believe? What if, in fact, all that shopping -- and the imperative to grow corporate profits quarter after quarter and continuously expand the economy -- was actually the root of many of the problems we face today? That's the view of a renegade but increasingly influential band of economists, who say the myth of perpetual economic growth and "the iron cage of consumerism" are the chief causes of world economic dysfunction and environmental crisis -- and the biggest obstacle to our very happiness.
Royal Hassrick in his 1964 groundbreaking work on the Plains Indians said, "the Sioux practiced Communism with extreme prejudice." -The Sioux: Life and Customs of a Warrior Society.

Capitalist indoctrination has destroyed hope in Indian Country where throughout herstory family and community have been more important than money and consumerism.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Montana's Park County diverting BNSF funds from dump cleanup

An email from a concerned Montanan has alerted this blog to a move by the Park County Commission to redirect funds awarded in a lawsuit that were intended to clean up soil contamination now in repose within the city's unlined landfill resulting from decades of spills by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway.

Local resident and a former commissioner, Larry Lahren, took out a full-page advert in the Livingston (MT) Enterprise decrying current office-holders for their actions and offering alternative proposals.

From the email exchange:
Dear Mr. Kurtz,

As a Park County resident, I am concerned about this serious issue raised by Dr. Lahren and want to raise public awareness. The landfill sits above Chicken Creek, which flows into the Yellowstone. BNSF should ask for its money back. Fifteen years have passed and the Park County Commission has failed to take any action to remediate the landfill pollution and is misappropriating the settlement outside the jury award.

There needs to be some outside pressure put on the county commission.

(Name withheld)
Lahren has become a lightning rod for criticism painted as an outsider interfering in local governance. He is author of "Homeland: An archaeologist's view of Yellowstone Country's past."

The Yellowstone River and its tributaries are governed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pheasant pharmers phucked

So, South Dakota's GOP-owned Bureau of Game, Fish and Plunder has a season on native mourning doves but none on the imported Eurasian collared dove? What a phucking surprise.

Call the uh-oh squad: South Dakota's most phamous invasive species is likely phucked by the bird phlu.
Tim Lund has owned Lake County Pheasant Hatchery for three decades. It's his passion and it's his livelihood. But the looming threat of the bird flu has taken over Tim's every thought. "It would shut me down. There'd be a farm sale here because if it took out everything, I raise a little over 30,000 birds, If it took all of them out it would put me out of business," said Tim. [KSFY teevee]
Money is time.
Imagine a dumpster full of pheasant carcasses with just the breasts cut out. That’s what my friend found after the governor’s hunt back in October, behind the processing place in Fort Pierre that handles the birds. [Kevin Woster, Outdoors in Keloland]
40 below keeps the riff-raff out: remember that old white wives' tale?

The guest list for the 2011 Governors Invitational Pheasant Slaughter reads like an earth hater's group grope. At least 1,376 birds were killed although that number doesn't include other items blasted into oblivion by that murder of Daugaardian crows.
As farmers across the Midwest have simplified the landscape and plowed up grassland to grow more corn and soybeans, habitat for pheasants, quail and other grassland birds has become increasingly scarce and their numbers are falling. In Nebraska, wild pheasant concentrations have fallen 86 percent since their peak in the 1960s. The pheasant harvest during hunting season in Iowa is off 63 percent from the highs reached in the 1970s. In areas that used to be overrun, you’ll struggle to find a pheasant now. [Grant Gerlock, Iowa Public Radio]
Chinese Ring-necked Pheasants don't eat grasshoppers but wild geese and turkeys sure do while the pesticide industry that greases Republican politicos don't give a shit about anything but profits.

Add the extirpation of apex predators, the resulting rise of mesopredators, increasing numbers of domestic dogs and cats then stir in a melange of industrial chemicals and climate change: voila! Red state collapse on parade.

Stupid phuckers.

PeeAir, South Dakota: think Wait, Wait doesn't read me?

Friday, April 24, 2015

More bird pix uploaded

Click on any image for a better look.

Here is a young red-tailed hawk giving a photographer the stinky eye.

The Scott's orioles are showy and sing sweet melodies.

These hummers are pretty early this year.

We scared the mourning dove off its nest: this native species is at risk to the larger, invasive Eurasian collared dove.

For more galleries of birds click here and here.

Cold Brook Fire expected to boost Wind Cave's tourism numbers

The Rapid City editorial board has lost its way writing drivel about what some have called the Cold Brook Fire's "roaring success."
The episode also has raised questions about Wind Cave National Park Superintendent Vidal Davila's decision to start the fire. Davila, however, has chosen not to address the matter with Black Hills residents, who are among the park's neighbors as well as taxpayers. [RCJ editorial]
The reality:
A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 547,022 visitors to Wind Cave National Park in 2014 spent $52.8 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 919 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $69.8 million. Superintendent Vidal Dávila said Wind Cave National Park welcomes visitors from across the country and around the world. She stated that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service, and Wind Cave appreciates the partnership and support of neighbors and they are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities. [KCSR Radio]
In the SDGOP one hand has no idea what the other hand does. One unkindness of Republican ravens is considering language changes for a county burn ordinance that would hold the party responsible for a fuel treatment liable for damages caused if the burn escapes control even if that party is state or federal even though those entities are liable anyway.

South Dakota's vulnerable Republican senior senator wants control over the Department of Interior's science-driven prescribed burns.
Before humans began suppressing them, wildfires occurred naturally in grasslands and forests. Prescribed burns are sometimes conducted to mimic the positive natural effects of wildfires. Wind Cave officials hoped to stave off a catastrophic wildfire by burning off some of the thick, dry vegetation that wildfires feed on. [Seth Tupper]
But another Republican with an actual background in forest management calls the Cold Brook Fire a "roaring success:"
The Wind Cave fire reduced the heavy thatch of dry grass, young junipers and young pine trees that are drowning our forest everywhere, opened up much new grazing ground, increased grazing productivity for buffalo and wildlife, and will turn out to be just what the doctor ordered. [Frank Carroll]
Devils Tower National Monument cancelled a fuel treatment as dry conditions threaten a record fire season.

Of course fire managers would rather burn under April conditions than in July or August.

On the same day the Cold Brook Fire was lit ahead of forecast snow and rain land managers should have put the drip torch to every parcel of public ground in a triangle with points at Wright, Wyoming; Bismarck, North Dakota and Brush, Colorado.

Despite negative nattering from Republican nabobs 2015 is expected to be a record year for Black Hills tourism.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Lynch to target police abuse in forces like RCPD, APD

Tim Giago sees little difference between Rapid City and Ferguson, Missouri where today Michael Brown's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against that police department.

The cop who managed 'a bunch of racists' wants to be Rapid City's mayor.

A federal judge has ruled that Christopher Capps' family can sue for wrongful death after the unarmed Lakota man was gunned down by Pennington County deputy.
Loretta Lynch, who the Senate confirmed Thursday to be the nation’s next attorney general, has said she’d make it one of her “highest priorities” to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. The Department of Justice (DOJ) has two tools available to reform police departments. The first is a program in which it works collaboratively with law enforcement agencies who ask for assistance to implement best practices. That program, administered by the department’s COPS office (Community Oriented Policing Services), started in 2011. The other tool is more powerful: the ability to investigate police departments for patterns or practices of misconduct, and then sue them to implement reforms. Since the DOJ first received this authority, under a law passed by Congress in 1994, it has launched at least 66 so-called “pattern or practice” investigations. [PBS Frontline]
The Albuquerque Police Department, ridiculed for its brutality and ineptitude in the award-winning series Breaking Bad, has added two more officers to the list under investigation for possible use-of-force violations.

To her credit, GOP Governor Susana Martinez signed a law aimed at ending property forfeiture and Policing for Profit.

Lynch has shown some reticence about cannabis legalization while out-going Attorney General Eric Holder sees value in not imprisoning people for its possession and enjoyment.

Cannabis company named for Floyd Red Crow Westerman

A tribal nation trapped in California will grow cannabis in a state-of-the-art building known as an “automated light-deprivation production module."
Richard Tall Bear Westerman, the CEO of Red Crow, explained why he and his partner, Rick Hill, an Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin Native and former chairman of the National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), reached out to the Torres Martinez tribe in the first place: “They have a lot of land and they aren’t as successful as other California tribes. Because they are so poor, we think it is a great opportunity for them,” he said. “We want to work with tribes where we can make a real difference. It’s not just about cannabis, it’s about medicine, jobs and building communities.” Westerman is the son of Floyd Red Crow Westerman, a famous Dakota Sioux known for his accomplishments as an actor, artist, musician and political activist who died in 2007. Westerman named his cannabis company after his father. [Indian Country Today Media]
Funny. Where have i heard this before?
Some of this state’s most business-savvy Native American tribes are evaluating the risks and opportunity to grow or sell marijuana, as well as the relatively untapped potential in medical-marijuana research. What all this means for Washington is that, in time, tribes could be a major influence in legalized marijuana. They have the capital and business acumen to grow the market while keeping prices competitive, something that will appeal to some medical-marijuana patients and perhaps put a dent in the black market. For the state of Washington, getting out in front of this and working with the tribes is not only the smart thing to do, it’s imperative. [excerpt, Mark Higgins]
Oh, yeah: now i remember.

In another nod to tribes as the 51st State, Attorney General Eric Holder signaled to American Indian nations that they could begin building cannabis industries.

Hey guess what the ninth most important cash crop in South Dakota is.

Tribes can do this: the South Dakota Legislature should be kept out of the cannabis loop completely unless Deadwood chooses to be the test bed off-reservation. Addiction? After some guy named Janklow closed the brothels in Deadwood for political gain to cover up his being implicated in the death of Jancita Eagle Deer, Bill Walsh and Tom Blair pressed a five-dollar bet limit to preserve historic Deadwood because the Syndicate Building burned to the ground.

South Dakota could adopt Minnesota's medical cannabis law worthy of FDA scrutiny, legalize for adults then allow Deadwood and the tribes grow and distribute under a compact putting the gaming commission to tax and regulate.

Deadwood and tribal gaming are inextricably linked: would revenue from the sales of cannabis require a change in the state's constitution, too?
The notion that marijuana users are lazy and unproductive stoners is like most stereotypes fueled by ignorance. Part of the pitch used by states like Colorado in their campaigns for legalization was that it would attract the top talent and minds from across the country to come work in the state. For someone who has spent a significant amount of time in the Ivy League frat scene I can tell you first hand that some of the people occupying top positions in this country’s most profitable businesses indulged in the recreational use of pot from time to time. There are those who fear the danger of addiction and this is a concern but addiction is already present and we lack the funds to address it. I ask these same people to show me one person who has overdosed on marijuana, and to quote Tucker Max, “I will show you my stable of rainbow colored unicorns ridden by Leprechauns.” The time to legalize is now. [Brandon Ecoffey, posted at indianz]
Democrats are losing even more credibility with young people and American Indians. Tribes trapped in South Dakota and in other states with off-reservation properties are considering a test of cannabis law.
In what could be a first step towards legalization of marijuana on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation the Wounded Knee district passed a motion that legalizes the sale of medicinal and recreational marijuana as well as industrialized hemp. [Lakota Country Times]
Deadwood and tribal gaming are inextricably linked: revenue from the sales of cannabis would require a change in the state's constitution then be directed to raise teacher salaries and fix a crumbling infrastructure.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tribes want Pe 'Sla exempt from county control

Tribal signatories to the purchase of Pe 'Sla want to be sure Pennington County has no authority to tax or regulate activities at the sacred site. Changing the land as a taxable property to a nontaxed trust property could take a number of years.
Lisa Colombe says, "It's more to ensure that the tribal members and community members that wish to take part in ceremonies, which could just be on your own, going up on the hill and praying on your own, for your own needs or your own family, but that basically we are never denied access, you know, and also there were some other interested parties that looked into purchasing the same area and do some commercialization of the area." A consultant for the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community says that if the land is accepted in "in trust" status then it is Indian land and will be under Indian jurisdiction, not county jurisdiction. [KEVN teevee]
Another earth hater wants to mine the Black Hills not far from Pe 'Sla on Forest Service ground:
[South Dakota] Department of Environment and Natural Resources engineer Eric Holm said this week that Dakota Resource submitted applications for permits for its project from the state in early August and that the applications were reviewed, site-inspected and approved, and only await deposit of a $20,000 reclamation bond before taking effect. [Tom Griffith, Hunting for the second Homestake]
The GOP-owned SDDENR is a rubber stamp for earth scorching.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Racial tensions sour SDPUC KXL hearing

Paul Seamans and Dakota Rural Action testified before the GOP-owned commission where tribes learned that racism is not just happening in Rapid City.
After the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) denied motions by the Yankton Sioux and the Standing Rock Sioux tribes on TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL tar-sands crude-oil pipeline, tribal opponents of the project and their allies rallied to be heard at an April 15 hearing. With a May evidentiary hearing looming at the PUC, TransCanada Corp. is seeking to exclude more than half of the 40 interveners the commission accepted to comment on the case. Among those the company would exclude or limit are the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy (COUP) and the Yankton Sioux tribe, as well as non-governmental organizations, ranchers whose lands would be used for the pipeline, and other individuals. [Talli Nauman]
As the South Dakota Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club drop out of the permitting process for TransCanada's Keystone pipeline route through South Dakota, President Obama has stopped the climate-killing project...for now.
Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency. The president has said he won't approve Keystone if it's found to significantly increase U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas blamed for global warming. A State Department analysis found that the tar sands would be developed one way or another, meaning construction of the pipeline wouldn't necessarily affect emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month called for that analysis to be revisited, arguing that a drop in oil prices may have altered the equation. [Associated Press]
TransCanada's permit is up for certification in South Dakota because of inaction for four years.

In a likely lethal blow to the proposed Keystone XL pipeline the US Environmental Protection Agency is urging the State Department to rethink the costs to the climate. The oil patch is seeing some panic as prices fall.
The State Department, which is evaluating the project because the TransCanada Corp pipeline would carry oil from a foreign country, is expected to make a recommendation to Obama soon, after reviewing comments from the EPA and other federal agencies. The EPA also said the State Department's final review showed that until efforts to cut emissions from oil sands production are more widespread, development of the resource "represents a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions." [Reuters]
Few have doubted that the foreign enterprise proposed to ship diluted bitumen mined on lands leased by the Koch Brothers then shipped to refineries half a continent away would ever leave the drawing board.

Water crossings where ice floes bash moorings and flooding causes scouring of fill from river bottoms are where pipelines become particularly vulnerable to failures.

One company who spilled oil in the Yellowstone River in Montana has removed the offending pipeline.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Racial tensions move Native celebration from Rapid City

Worried about a federal investigation, the GOP-owned South Dakota Supreme Court has reinstated some Indian child sex abuse claims (pdf) against the Church of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers.
With racial relations in Rapid City under some tension after past events, the 32nd annual Lakota Omniciye Wacipi could not have come at a better time. The word Wacipi, meaning pow wow, is a spiritual celebration that brings together all generations to draw from the past and design the future through education of youth through tradition. [KOTA teevee]
Spearfish boy, Mato Standing High (Rosebud Lakota), attorney/consultant and Karin Eagle of Lakota Country Times are participating in the activities.

Citing contract obligations, organizers of the Lakota Nation Invitational have voted to keep the event in Rapid City for one more year.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Devils Tower plans fuel treatment; Badlands land swap slated

Update, 20 April, 0515 MDT: Park Service calls off prescribed burn at Devils Tower. "Decision comes after Wind Cave prescribed burn gets away from park service."


Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell is passionate about protecting and preserving public lands. She has directed the US Park Service to continue its multi-pronged attack on cheatgrass.
Fire management officials from the Northern Great Plains Fire Office and Devils Tower National Monument plan to burn 85 acres near the entrance of the Monument and east of the Belle Fourche River. The burn is needed to remove build-up of dead fuels and woody herbaceous growth and encourage the growth of native prairie grasses and forbs and lessen the chances of possible wildland fires. Prescribed burns return a key natural process to the landscape, improve the health of the ecosystem under controlled conditions, and lessen the chance of wildland fires. Prescribed burns are carefully planned, conducted within an approved boundary and ignited only under specific weather conditions such as humidity, fuel moisture, wind speed and direction and short and long range weather forecasts. If conditions are not acceptable on the scheduled day of the burn, it will be postponed until desirable conditions return. [Sundance Times]
Of course fire managers would rather burn under April conditions than in July or August.

On Thursday ahead of forecast snow and rain land managers should have put the drip torch to every parcel of public ground in a triangle with points at Wright, Wyoming; Bismarck, North Dakota and Brush, Colorado.

Conata Basin and Badlands National Park are part of a land swap with The Nature Conservancy.
Big chunks of scenic badlands and grasslands would change ownership under a swap that seems headed toward approval over the objections of some ranchers in southwest South Dakota. The deal, known as the Cain Creek Land Exchange, is described by the parties doing the swapping as an attempt to straighten out some of the checkerboard pattern of public-private land ownership in the area. Some ranchers don't see the swap as so benign. Rather, they worry that the deal will put them closer to pesky prairie dogs and will subtract property-tax revenues from local governments. [Seth Tupper, Rapid City Journal]
The Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska put the Badlands at the top of her 2012 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.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lawsuit slowing state land grab in Spearfish Canyon

Land stolen from the tribal signatories of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 appears to be going to a corrupt red state again.
The Spearfish Canyon Foundation would purchase a 73-acre tract that includes Spearfish Falls and donate it the department, according to Doug Hofer, director for the state Division of Parks and Recreation. The property was appraised at $1,225,000 but foundation officials are attempting to secure it for a smaller amount, Hofer said. [Black Hills Pioneer]
But a wrench has been thrown into the giveaway machinery:
A complaint of violation of easement law and resulting nuisance was filed Dec. 5, 2014, in Lawrence County by plaintiffs Kathy Romano, Chris Romano, and Debra Jilka against defendants the Homestake Mining Company; Arleth Land Surveying, LLC; Spearfish Canyon Foundation; Jerry J. Boyer; and South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks (GF&P). Todd Duex, closure manager for Homestake, declined to comment on the lawsuit citing company policy to not comment on cases in active litigation. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Todd Duex is the local representative for the Canadian firm. It owns most of the rights to water in the Northern Black Hills: water destined for the proposed Deadwood Standard Project.

Bill Harlan reported a previous swindle:
Homestake and its parent company, Barrick Gold Corp. of Toronto, have agreed to those terms, but GF&P Secretary John Cooper warned that if the state doesn't act, some of the most spectacular scenery in the Black Hills could end up in private hands. "Without public acquisition of these lands, it appears inevitable, that Barrick will sell these lands to developers that seek to build trophy homes," Cooper wrote in a letter accompanying his proposal. He argued that even Roughlock Falls could become privately owned, "thus locking out a public treasure." Money for the $3.3 million deal would not come from taxpayers, Cooper said. In fact, most of it would come from Homestake. Cooper hopes to use about $3.1 million that the state already has been awarded as compensation for cyanide and other hazardous substances Homestake dumped into Whitewood Creek for decades. The creek was named a Superfund site in 1981, but Homestake completed restoration in 1994, and the creek was taken off the Superfund list in 1996. In 1997, however, South Dakota and Indian tribes sued Homestake. The settlement established the Whitewood Creek Restoration Fund. The state's share of the complicated settlement was about $2.7 million, which has grown with interest to about $3.1 million. Cooper hopes to use that money to buy the Homestake land.
While tribes are forced to raise $9 million to buy their own land, the State of South Dakota is bribed to just take it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lakota council endorses tribal cannabis

RasDawn Meeks will host an educational event Saturday at Mount Rushmore, paying tribute to Jack Herer and his book, “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”. The focus of the book is on the many industrial, medical, religious uses of cannabis and hemp. [KOTA teevee]
Hey, Governor Daugaard: it's time for you to pardon Bob Newland.
In what could be a first step towards legalization of marijuana on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation the Wounded Knee district passed a motion that legalizes the sale of medicinal and recreational marijuana as well as industrialized hemp. “There was a motion passed by the district to legalize,” said Wounded Knee tribal council representative Mike Her Many Horses. The debate over legalization on reservations has picked up steam after the Department of Justice advised U.S. Attorneys across the country to not prosecute tribes who were attempting to enter in to what some experts are guessing is a $6 billion dollar industry in the U.S. alone. [Lakota Country Times posted at Indianz]
Funny. Where have i heard this before?
Some of this state’s most business-savvy Native American tribes are evaluating the risks and opportunity to grow or sell marijuana, as well as the relatively untapped potential in medical-marijuana research. What all this means for Washington is that, in time, tribes could be a major influence in legalized marijuana. They have the capital and business acumen to grow the market while keeping prices competitive, something that will appeal to some medical-marijuana patients and perhaps put a dent in the black market. For the state of Washington, getting out in front of this and working with the tribes is not only the smart thing to do, it’s imperative. [excerpt, Mark Higgins]
Oh, yeah: now i remember.

As oil prices tank North Dakota's Republican governor, Jack Dalrymple, has taken steps to avert an economic bust in his state.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wind Cave area residents: chill

Update, 1015 MDT, Bill Gabbert on John Thune: "A rational person would wait until an investigation or review sheds more light on what actually caused the prescribed fire to go out of control."

It's National Park Week.

Further discussion of the Cold Brook Fire's contribution to habitat restoration can be found at Dakota Free Press.


Update, 17 April, 0740 MDT:

Fire managers expect full containment of the Cold Brook Fire by noon today.

500 acres of cheatgrass is burning north of Wall: not even close to enough fire for the confluence of the Cheyenne and Belle Fourche Rivers.

Elemental carbon produced by wildland fire sequestered in aquifer recharges filters contaminants from essential water supplies: a practice long-forgotten by profit-driven livestock producers sucking the federal tit.

Corridors leased from landowners could connect public grounds like the Comanche, the Pawnee, the Oglala, the Buffalo Gap, the Thunder Basin and Ft. Pierre National Grasslands with tribal lands and national forests in the upper Missouri River basin to heal some of the destruction caused by the Anthropocene.

Bison, not cattle, will save the High Plains from the European descendants who have decimated the West in the last two hundred years.

The discussion among those of us driving the rewilding of the basin wonders whether the ecosystems should look like they did before the Clovis People began altering them 12,000 years ago or before humans even got to the continent.


Update, 16 April, 0350 MDT: unplanned wildfire "not all bad;" and, a crystal ball would have seen dust devil in advance.


Update, 1830 MDT, at 80% containment:
Authorities say the Cold Brook Fire has scorched 6,500 acres in the southwestern South Dakota park. That's about 20 percent of the park's surface area. [Associated Press]

The area of the planned Cold Brook Fire inside Wind Cave National Park hadn't burned since at least its founding in 1903.
The prescribed burn began Monday morning after an 8:48 a.m. test burn. The park’s superintendent, Vidal Davila, who was not made available for an interview Tuesday, then made the decision to continue with the full burn. Hours prior to the test burn Monday, the National Weather Service had issued a fire-weather watch for the following day, Tuesday. But at the time of the test burn Monday morning, the forecast for the rest of Monday was good: a high temperature in the 50s, with 6 mph winds. [Rapid City Journal]
Despite some strong gusty winds the fire is 30% contained and consuming invasive cheatgrass at rates the previous human inhabitants of the Black Hills would have yawned.

600 years ago 20 million bison migrating north would be cropping those grasses ahead of Spring thunderstorms while people following them gathered dry dung to fuel campfires.

The Rocky Mountain Type II Interagency Incident Management Team ordered will ensure that structures are protected; and, the event will give way to greening conditions after light rain forecast for this weekend.

As the Black Hills fire risk increases, good on the US Park Service for bringing attention to a century of destructive fire suppression.

Now burn some more.

More information and photos of this incident are posted at Wildfire Today.

ip photo.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

AFPMT pulls hashtag boner

A Koch-funded astroturf group is mucking up in Montana talking about the things #MillionsOfMontanans did.
The state chapter of Americans for Prosperity quickly issued a statement Thursday opposing the decision, saying it contradicted the wishes of “millions of Montanans” who “do not want more Obamacare.” Montana users of the online social media site were eager to pile on. The hashtag had been tweeted or retweeted 2,000 times by Monday evening, according to the tracking service Keyhole. Around 1.6 million Twitter users saw the tweets — 600,000 more than state’s population. Its Montana state director, Zach Lahn, served previously as the state director for then-Rep. Steve Daines and managed his 2012 congressional campaign. [Billings Gazette]
AFPMT has been targeting the Republican lawmakers who have not pledged to resist helping Democratic Governor Steve Bullock expand Medicaid in the state.

Earlier this year in Kalispell the Koch-backed tool held a "Healthcare Town Hall" taking aim at House District 7 Rep. Frank Garner.
Garner, who made the eight-hour round trip from Helena to attend the meeting, took umbrage with the postcards and said the group never told him about the meeting, which he learned about from a reporter on the House floor at the Capitol. Following a hasty exchange with AFP State Director Zach Lahn minutes before Thursday’s meeting commenced, Garner took the podium to defend his record before the crowd of mostly supporters, who cheered the lawmaker on. “You have pissed me off,” one man told Lahn. Referencing a quote by Henry David Thoreau on the sanctity of town hall meetings, Nathan Kosted told Lahn the gathering smacked of exclusivity. “Why did you call this a town hall meeting? I didn’t get an invite. I wish I’d been invited, because I want to know how we get the Koch Brothers out of politics. I want to know how we get you out of politics,” Kosted said. [Tristan Scott, Flathead Beacon]
Montana and the legislature is being flooded with cash from Koch-backed 'Americans For Prosperity' in a state where the far right-wing is pushing the legislature to seize federal lands to mine, log, graze, whatever to pay back their benefactors.

AFP performed a similar stunt in Dillon.

Libertarians are doing my job for me: necropsying the GOP pathology into its constituent turds. Of course the Democratic base wants ObamaCare amended to include the single-payer public option.
Donors Trust is not the source of the money it hands out. Some 200 right-of-center funders who've given at least $10,000 fill the group's coffers. Charities bankrolled by Charles and David Koch, the DeVoses, and the Bradleys, among other conservative benefactors, have given to Donors Trust. And other recipients of Donors Trust money include the Heritage Foundation, Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform, the NRA's Freedom Action Foundation, the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Federalist Society, and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, chaired (PDF) by none other than David Koch.--Andy Kroll at MoJo.
Don't let 'em shit'cha: Libertarians are the Kochs hedging their bets.

The South Dakota Republican Party's nominee for US Senate received an endorsement and a wad of cash from the National Federation of Independent Businesses, a Koch/ALEC cabal. Now, that junior senator is paying back his benefactors by seeking the elimination of the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education: two more Koch/ALEC bullet points.

South Dakota's branch of AFP is lobbying the state's GOP delegation to support lifting the estate tax for about twenty SDGOP donors.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

New poll: whose testicles will Hillary crush?

Yes, even The Donald has thrown his hair into the ring. Whose testicles would you most want to see Hillary Clinton crush?

Choose your loser: vote now!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jackley 'appalled' by Scott killing, didn't charge PennCo deputy for gunning down Lakota man

South Dakota's attorney general, Marty Jackley, is a hypocrite.
The video of Officer Michael T. Slager firing eight shots at a fleeing Walter Scott was captured by a bystander, and the incident has re-ignited a nationwide debate about racial profiling, police brutality, the filming of police activity by bystanders and the growing role of body cameras in police departments. Slager has been charged with first-degree murder. "I was appalled at the conduct and was satisfied to see that the prosecutors moved in the right direction," Jackley said. "Division of Criminal Investigation agents record conversations. Sometimes, the recorder's not on. If it's not on, you have to simply explain why it's not on," Jackley said. [Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
People concerned about police violence against persons of color know that Slager would have been exonerated had there been no video of Walter Scott's alleged murder just like a Pennington County deputy was after killing unarmed Lakota man, Christopher Capps.

A federal judge has ruled that Capps' family can sue for wrongful death.

The cop who managed 'a bunch of racists' wants to be Rapid City's mayor.

As for Jackley: he is probing white pockets for enough cash to finance a run for higher office.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Franklin Hotel crumbling

A collapse is imminent: fix the south side of the building or it's going to kill some people.
Several historic preservation questions were asked, mainly regarding the city’s National Historic landmark status recently being downgraded from satisfactory to watch and nearly moved straight to threatened status, quizzing the candidates on how they might have done things differently, what steps they would take in protecting the landmark status, and what they will do if elected to support enforcement of the newly revised historic preservation ordinances. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Only Gary Todd and Mark (Spiro) Speirs know how, Deadwood.

Photos coming.

Howe, Hurst crossing European, Lakota stars

Sam Hurst is the author of many works, including the viral post-mortem of the candidacy of former South Dakota Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin: a sobering reminder of how Democrats lost the word war in the state.
Dr. Craig Howe and Sam Hurst will speak at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 14 in the Joy Alumni Welcome Center on the BHSU campus. Howe and Hurst will introduce and show their film, “Lakota Star Knowledge,” which links the Greco-Roman view of constellations with the traditional Lakota culture. The film was directed by Hurst with the assistance of The Center for American Indian Research and Native Studies under the direction of Howe and with additional support from Oglala Lakota College. They will discuss the subject and making of the film, as well as conduct a question and answer session. The presentation is held in conjunction with American Indian Awareness Week on campus. “Lakota Star Knowledge” was shot in southwestern South Dakota. In the film, Hurst and Howe take a group of middle school students from the Rosebud Indian reservation on an adventure, educating the youth on the Lakota universe and the role the stars play in their heritage. [BHSU Communications]
A visit with Hurst at The Badlands Bash, a fundraiser for an initiative promoted by former US House candidate, Kevin Weiland, in Rapid City's Main Street Square gave me pause.

Mr. Hurst mused about starting an online newspaper to fill the void left by the mainstream media in the chemical toilet. He decided to make films.

Just for fun, we can look up dead horses' butts all day long to know much less than we know now while knowing we let John Thune have a free ride in 2010.

Hurst's Dakota Day piece about the defeat of the incumbent Sandlin to Kristi Noem defined the choice of the South Dakota Democratic Party to allow Dr. Kevin Weiland to mount a primary run against Sandlin instead of a general election run against the unopposed Thune who now has an untapped $10 million war chest.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Brookings mayor proud of fattening town, polluting Big Sioux, screwing taxpayers

Big Sioux River pollution and the failures of South Dakota's wildlife and natural resource agencies dominated the Argus Leader's 100 Eyes broadcast on Monday.

Just when you thought it was safe to go to Brookings.

“So far, we are on track,” project director Francine Moudry says with a broad smile.
According to Tim Reed, it’s important for the leader of city government to be a team player. “When you’re a mayor, in this form of government, you have to get out and work with people and get to the solution and figure out how to get things done,” said Reed, 49. Reed, who is running for his third term as mayor, said working with a wide array of people from various interests was instrumental in the city being able to attract Bel Brands. “We had to work together as a team to figure out how we could get Bel to come here,” Reed said. [Brookings Register]
Okay: it's the home of far too many old, fat, white people already; so, why would any business locate in The Peoples' Republic of Brookings anyway? Councilor Jael Thorpe wonders whether the town even has a future.
“I like the direction you’re heading,” Thorpe told Jay Bender and Dwaine Chapel, “but when does the subsidy stop?” Bender, who heads the Growth Partnership, parent organization for the Research Park at SDSU, gave an equally straightforward answer: “We’re projecting seven to 10 years, at which time there should be enough rental income to reduce our requests. The short and the long answer, Jael, is that at this moment we need your help.”--Ken Curley, Brookings Register.
Let's see: the town owns a research park, the liquor store, the water, the phone company, the power company, an entertainment venue, the golf course....

South Dakota's lack of environmental oversight has everything to do with offshore and out of state investors in economic development initiatives: little wonder the Big Sioux River is a sewer of biblical proportions.

Richard Benda died for Brookings' EB-5 sins.

Reed and his GOP cronies have made the Big Sioux River waterway the 13th most polluted river in the United States.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Sierra Club blazed trail for Black Hills habitat restoration

The collapse of the Black Hills ponderosa pine monoculture was forecast as early as 2002.

According to the Forest Service's Northern Research station South Dakota's forested areas have increased 2.9% since 2009.
“Nobody should be content with the management of the Forest over the last three decades,” wrote authors Ashley Hoffman, a graduate of the University of South Dakota Law School, and Sean Kammer, an assistant professor at the school. “Forest” refers to the Black Hills National Forest, of which the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve is a part. [SD Law Review authors: Black Hills reflective of need for 'new law of fire']
GOP forest consultant, Frank Carroll, struggles with the truth as he bemoans the lack of prescribed fires on the Black Hills National Forest after one got away in 1989.
By the time [Sen. Daschle broke the deadlock] and got environmental analyses approved, the infestation had grown to 32,000 acres, but, you guessed it, the Forest Service was limited to taking action on the original 8,000 acres. It would be simple and perhaps partly true to blame obstructionist groups for stopping management action on the one hand. On the other hand, the forest was in such a mess after a century of misguided fire-suppression policies coupled with unfettered private-land development that it’s probable the beetle would have come, lawsuits or no lawsuits. One wonders, for example, how environmentalists could abuse “federal law” if the law did not allow for such abuse? Recent efforts to help facilitate the bark beetle fight have only managed to compound the problem. Neither Sen. Thune nor Rep. Noem made compelling arguments that they have accomplished much on behalf of sensible forest policy. [Carroll, Congress could do more for forests]
From 2012:
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today signaled the U.S. Department of Agriculture's intent to issue a new planning rule for America's 193-million acre National Forest System that seeks to deliver stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of our rural communities, by releasing online a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. The planning rule provides the framework for Forest Service land management plans for the 155 forests, 20 grasslands and 1 prairie in the National Forest System.
The Sierra Club's Frances Hunt, director of the Resilient Habitats campaign issued a statement that included this:
The new standards announced today can help ensure that our forests will survive for future generations to explore and enjoy. We will continue to work with the Forest Service to promote effective enforcement of strong habitat protections and implementation of plans that are in the best long term interest of our great outdoors.
Wind Cave National Park has postponed a controlled burn.

Today in climate change:
Not so long ago the U.S. Forest Service considered it primarily a summer problem with a few regions breaking the trend in early spring and late fall. But climate change, according to most wildland fire experts, has turned fire season into a year-round issue. What used to slow down fire season was winter—a long and cold time of year with lots of snow that killed off many invasive or destructive pests and filled rivers and reservoirs with ample water to supply the needs of millions living in the West. Now winter is shorter and has far less snow accumulation in many areas. It will take years to slow and hopefully reverse the effects of climate change on our wildlands, but it’s not impossible — we just all have to pitch in. [US Forest Service]
Carroll is right about findings that show the world's oldest trees are dying while contracting out to the very industry taking the biggest Black Hills trees leaving doghair as a ladder fuel.

Hardwood forests and lighter-colored surfaces reflect sunlight and protect watersheds while the needles of conifers absorb heat creating faster snowmelt.
In summer, the eastern United States is the world’s major hot spot for volatile organic compounds (V.O.C.s) from trees. Chemical reactions involving tree V.O.C.s produce methane and ozone, two powerful greenhouse gases, and form particles that can affect the condensation of clouds. Research by my group at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and by other laboratories, suggests that changes in tree V.O.C.s affect the climate on a scale similar to changes in the earth’s surface color and carbon storage capacity. [Nadine Unger, New York Times.]
The Industrial Revolution and European settlement in the New World took hardwoods for charcoal then humans allowed fast-growing conifers to replace lost forests.

In the Mountain West vast tracts of land have been cleared by bark beetles where aquifers are being recharged: a practice well known to pre-Columbian cultures who burned forests to increase ungulate populations.

Department of Interior releases carbon findings:
Forests, grasslands and shrublands and other ecosystems in the West sequester nearly 100 million tons (90.9 million metric tons) of carbon each year, according to a Department of the Interior report released today.
Wildfire risk assessment proposed.
This non-native species was first introduced to the United Sates from Asia in packing material. Initially distributed along rail lines, it spread throughout many States including Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, and South Dakota.-- By Fabian Menalled MSU Extension Cropland Weeds Specialist
Christopher Joyce, NPR:
These cheatgrass fires are increasing partly because the climate is warmer and also because more people are living in cheatgrass country. There are some things that can be done though, like planting green borders of less flammable vegetation around cheatgrass as a fire break.
From the USGS Western Ecological Research Center:
There is significant concern that repeated burning at historically appropriate fire return intervals for ponderosa pine forest will benefit this invasive plant to the detriment of native species. There is additional concern that the high flammability of cheatgrass fuelbeds will lead to fire return intervals that are more frequent than occurred historically and that are prescribed in the agency fire management plans, potentially preventing recruitment of pine seedlings and leading to type conversion of native forests to alien grasslands.
Grazing cheatgrass early in the season by native ungulates that deposit organic fertilizer helps restore native plants.

Uncanny that as this interested party called for the Sioux District of Custer National Forest to be remanded to local control two wildland fires, one of unknown origin, began clearing cheatgrass in the Slim Buttes area on the same day.

Game, Fish & Parks and the livestock industry have had far too much control over Black Hills habitat to blame the Forest Service for the collapse of the ponderosa pine monoculture most of us have been warning of for over a decade. Two hundred years ago when the Lakota and other cultures burned off the region for ungulates, open spaces dominated the landscape and water supplies weren't being sapped by an oppressive conifer canopy.

Only hardwood release restoring aspen and bur oak to the Black Hills will reduce wildland fire risks.