9/30/15

kurtz agenda advancing slowly

I began playing in Jerry Apa's illegal poker games in the basement of the Bodega in Deadwood somewhere around 1985. It was a seminal time in bringing gaming to the Gulch. The late Mike O'Connell was a founding father and a Democrat as were Chuck and Bernie Williams.

One frequent player was Walter Dale Miller even after he became Lt. Governor Miller. After poker became legal he played while governor and even after Bill Janklow shafted him forcing him from politics he came to Deadwood to play. This reporter has been in Texas hold 'em games where Gov. Miller, Mark Hollenbeck's dad, Bud, and Kevin Costner were also playing.

Miller was horrible at poker sometimes pouring thousands into a game. He liked being called Walt.

My eldest daughter, a feminist and staunch Democrat, is a Rapid City Central grad and has almost finished her education degree at Black Hills State University. She has begun the process of joining the San Diego school system. Her fiance and two other young Democrats are looking forward to living in a blue state. My younger daughter, a top athlete and Democrat, is fleeing Rapid City for Chicago.

Why? Because teaching in South Dakota sucks.
A new study ranks South Dakota as one of the worst ten states in America to be a teacher. WalletHub looked at a range of factors including average starting pay. The state came in 2nd to last: 50th overall, in median annual salary for teachers, and 39th in public school spending per student. [Black Hills Fox]
While nutcases like Fred Deutsch are crusading for an end to women's civil rights the state is hemorrhaging educators.

Want to reverse the exodus?

South Dakota should listen to Paula Hawks, Bernie Hunhoff and Cory Heidelberger and pass a corporate income tax.

Reduce the number of South Dakota counties to 25, turn DSU into a community college, and adopt my cannabis template: the kurtz solution painted on a thumbnail.

Read more about the GOP war on public education here.

Recall that after years of financial problems Miller's son and daughter-in-law, Randy and Mary, were convicted of tax crimes then served time in federal prison.

Mark Hollenbeck is up to his tits. Bud was a shitty player, too.

My obsession with poker and power wiped out a career and destroyed at least two of my marriages so, i haven't played for over ten years.

Going into a restaurant where poker is on teevee causes my mind to replay images of the past and renders me unable to take my eyes off the screen.

Imagine the number of lives touched by video lootery.

The specter of Janklow operatives sabotaging Governor George Mickelson's plane still haunts me.

It took the lobbying of Lt. Governor Walter Dale Miller, Democrats Bill Walsh and Tom Blair to bring legal gaming to Deadwood to finance historic preservation; but, Republican greed has turned it into the prostituted cultural wasteland that it is today.

Cannabis in South Dakota, rewilding through expanding bison range, fire being used to reduce ponderosa pine overgrowth restoring aspen habitat, tribal nations being recognized as counties in a non-contiguous 51st State, raising awareness of Republican failures in protecting watersheds, shining flashlights into GOP recta, pulse crops instead of corn, restoring Lakota names to geographical features and teaching American Indian languages in public schools have taken decades of effort by a team of thought leaders advancing a progressive agenda for a red moocher state.

We still have much to do.

We need Democratic butts in every county chair, we need to raise money, we need candidates in local elections like city council, county commission and mayor, we need to talk more about the things that we want and do not have like protecting women's rights, reversing the horrors of the Janklow/Rounds/Daugaard years, and raising the revenue to make South Dakotans' lives better.

I'm plowing the road to get to those things.

Join me. Let's make South Dakota safe for Democrats again.

9/29/15

kurtz remembers Governor Miller

I began playing in Jerry Apa's illegal poker games in the basement of the Bodega in Deadwood somewhere around 1985. It was a seminal time in bringing gaming to the Gulch. The late Mike O'Connell was a founding father and a Democrat as were Chuck and Bernie Williams.

One frequent player was Walter Dale Miller even after he became Lt. Governor Miller. After poker became legal he played while governor and even after Bill Janklow shafted him forcing him from politics he came to Deadwood to play. This reporter has been in Texas hold 'em games where Gov. Miller, Mark Hollenbeck's dad, Bud, and Kevin Costner were also playing.

Miller was horrible at poker sometimes pouring thousands into a game. He liked being called Walt.

Recall that after years of financial problems Miller's son and daughter-in-law, Randy and Mary, were convicted of tax crimes then served time in federal prison.

Mark Hollenbeck is up to his tits. Bud was a shitty player, too.

My obsession with poker and power wiped out a career and destroyed at least two of my marriages so, i haven't played for over ten years.

Going into a restaurant where poker is on teevee causes my mind to replay images of the past and renders me unable to take my eyes off the screen.

Imagine the number of lives touched by video lootery.

The specter of Janklow operatives sabotaging Governor George Mickelson's plane still haunts me.

It took the lobbying of Lt. Governor Walter Dale Miller, Democrats Bill Walsh and Tom Blair to bring legal gaming to Deadwood to finance historic preservation; but, Republican greed has turned it into the prostituted cultural wasteland that it is today.

9/28/15

Lunar eclipse enchanting








Howie drops Westerhuis murders at Rounds' feet; Gant, Powers hid Tike Mike's crimes


Today's intersection: the Westerhuis murders and a 2012 hacking incident that Jason Gant and Pat Powers never cleaned up.
We may never know what really happened or what motivated this terrible event. What we do know is that it seems to have its beginnings in a multi-million dollar government program from the administration of former Governor Mike Rounds. [Gordon Howie]
Howie has been making noises like a candidate for US Senate might make.

The last reporter standing in Pierre, Bob Mercer, wonders whether these crimes might have taken lives at all. Bendagate and these grisly murders send pretty strong signals to anyone who might be considering blowing the whistle on South Dakota’s 1 percenters.

The Reformed Church in America IS a little preoccupied with death.
A decision to take one's own life thus appears to be a denial that one belongs to God./ A second conviction is that God does not abandon people in times of suffering...A decision to end one's life would appear to be a cessation of that trust...If Christians are to be involved in debating laws regulating assisted suicide, it will be out of a concern for the health and well-being of society.
The Westerhuis family was apparently very active in their church.

Speaking of slimy, Pat Powers, a morbidly obese white man who spews nonsense in support of South Dakota Republicants and his butt buddy, Jason Gant, left a mess at the Secretary of State's office. After bringing order to some the chaos in the Gant/Powers hack job SOS Shantel Krebs said, “That is what really put the red flag up for me.”

Powers has long been banned from this and other South Dakota related sites because of a constant stream of bigotry, misogyny and other hate speech while Gant has waddled away into obscurity.

Dakota Access pipeline provides nothing for South Dakota except risk


Man-camps in North Dakota are becoming ghost towns and Royal Dutch Shell is abandoning its efforts to drill in the Arctic in part because of tanking oil prices but one Republican donor continues its land grab in South Dakota.
The Dakota Access Pipeline’s permit hearing before the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission will last two weeks in Pierre and see testimony from landowners, pipeline representatives and commission experts. A march against the pipeline took place Saturday at Lyon Park. Opponents marched down Phillips Avenue to Falls Park, where speakers talked about the upcoming hearing and their concerns over potential leaks, water contamination and other issues. “We really want people to be aware of what’s going to happen with this pipeline hearing,” said Peggy Hoogestraat, a landowner and vocal opponent of the project.
Read more about Chris Nelson's conflicts of interest here and here.

Last cycle, Representative Kristi Noem enjoyed a $2500 face lift from Dakota Access' parent, Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas company that gave nearly $321,000 to Republicans and less than $27,000 to Democrats.

South Dakota can provide few skilled workers for such excessive ruin so labor will come from outside the state except for pimps exploiting women in the sex trade.

NorthWestern Energy, another client applying PUC lubrication after priming the election pump, is expecting to achieve orgasm at the hands of Nelson, Chairman Gary Hanson and Kristie Fiegen any minute now.

Note Iowa's Steve King was greased by Energy Transfer Partners. Value in that state's farmland is in free fall.

While prices slide, Charlie Hoffman likes the idea of condemning South Dakota land so a Canadian company can sell refined tar sands bitumen to China and Bakken crude can create jobs - for pimps.

As GOPers like don Juan Thune, Tike Mike Rounds and Krusti Noem plot how to jam the Keystone XL pipeline up America's armpit girls as young as ten are for sale in the Bakken.
Over the past six months, Forum News Service has investigated an emerging issue in the Bakken oilfield region of western North Dakota: sex trafficking, including the trafficking of children. We reviewed hundreds of documents and conducted more than 100 interviews with law enforcement officers, victim service providers, victims rescued from the sex trade and experts who have examined the issue regionally, nationally and internationally. In the past year, federal and state courts in North Dakota have charged seven people with offenses related to sex trafficking or felony facilitating or promoting prostitution. The cases involve allegations in Bismarck, Minot, Williston and Dickinson, including the case of one man who pleaded guilty to enticing women to travel to the “fracking areas” to work as prostitutes and two accused of operating brothels in Oil Patch cities. [Billings Gazette, links added.]
At least one South Dakota Republican calls it the "fed's war on energy" when it's really Big Energy's war not just on the Earth but on women and girls, too.


9/27/15

Reversing Rapid City homelessness easier to fix than you think

Under ethics-free Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard homelessness in South Dakota has become epidemic.

Extremist nutcase Mayor Steve Allender, the former police chief who led a "bunch of racists," is at a loss to house the 100 or so homeless people in Rapid City. He's even asked the Cornerstone Rescue Mission, a front for the Bandidos Motorcycle Club, to help.

Back in 2013, NPR's Planet Money reported on an experiment in Kenya.
The results from the study are encouraging, says Johannes Haushofer, an economist at MIT's Poverty Action Lab who was one of the study's co-authors. "We don't see people spending money on alcohol and tobacco," he says. "Instead we see them investing in their kids' education, we see them investing in health care. They buy more and better food." Getting money made people happier, less stressed out. [What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?]
After the 1972 Flood that wiped out Teepee Town and killed some 238 people, mostly poor American Indians, the feds gave Rapid City rent supports to house those displaced by the disaster.

Hey, Rapid City: give these people without places to live $1000 vouchers and put them on Medicaid.

9/26/15

Paper: suppressing every wildfire “dangerous, expensive, and ill advised”


Mixed pine, fir and aspen stand after Las Conchas Fire

We all know this, right?
“We are in the middle of this 30,000-acre, near-treeless hole,” said Craig D. Allen, a research ecologist with the United States Geological Survey. If historical patterns had held, the remaining pines would by now be preparing seeds to drop and start the cycle of regrowth. The trees in too-dense forests are already competing for water that the historically more sparse stands of trees might have found adequate; as drought increases, the stress will kill many trees outright and weaken others to the point that they become more vulnerable to predators like aggressive bark beetles. In an increasing number of cases, said Malcolm P. North, a research scientist with the United States Forest Service Pacific Southwest research station in Davis, Calif., “after the satellite trucks leave and everyone goes home, you have a charred condition on the landscape that does not have a historical precedent.” In a paper published last week in the journal Science, Dr. North and colleagues argued for ending the national policy of fighting every fire, and for making more concerted effort to thin forests so more fires might only scorch trees without destroying them. The authors called the traditional policy of trying to suppress every fire “dangerous, expensive, and ill advised.” [excerpt, John Schwartz]



Sentinels



Ortiz Mountains from burn



Deadly diseases, violent crimes soar under climate denier Daugaard

Under Governor Dennis Daugaard increasing rates of measles, sexually-transmitted infections, cancer and violent crimes have ravaged parts of South Dakota.
Diagnoses of gonorrhea in South Dakota have soared this year, with the number of cases reaching a 30-year high. According to a recent South Dakota Health and Disease Summary, the number of cases has increased 62 percent compared to this time last year. Efforts to educate the public started in 2012, when the number of gonorrhea cases in the state began to climb.
Read more about Daugaard's failures of leadership here.

From South Dakota Public Broadcasting:
State Epidemiologist Doctor Lon Kightlinger says in 2004 there were about 3,900 cases of disease in South Dakota and about 7,500 in 2014. He says the higher numbers are driven largely by increases in STDs, as well as Hepatitis C, whooping cough, and intestinal illnesses. “Now drilling down into some of the specific diseases, there has been 141% increase in gonorrhea in South Dakota,” Kightlinger says. “Going back ten years ago from 351 cases to over 800 cases this past year. An over 1,000% increase in syphilis, a 147% increase in Hepatitis C cases, a 167% increase in MRSA.” [Jenifer Jones]
And:
According to Ashley Miller, chronic disease epidemiologist for the Department of Health, the number of students who are overweight or obese has plateaued in the past several years. She says that 175 of the state’s schools submit weight and height measurements for the department to calculate the obesity rate of kindergarten through high school age students. Miller says the state’s 2013-2014 school data found that 15.8 percent of South Dakota students were obese and another 16.5 percent were overweight. A total of 175 schools submitted student height and weight data for this latest survey, which accounts for 31.5 percent of the all the students in the state. [WNAX]
South Dakota's GOP governor has strong opinions about his white privilege:
[Governor] Daugaard objects to a portion of the Affordable Care Act that expands Medicaid for poor adults with incomes at 138 percent of the federal poverty level, saying it's too expensive for South Dakota. Critics, however, say that Daugaard's decision means the state will forego hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years in federal spending that would have otherwise been used on those 48,000 adults who qualify for expanded Medicaid. The proposal is backed by the state's health care providers, which would benefit from more Medicaid dollars flowing into South Dakota. [Jonathan Ellis]
From Indian Country Today Media:
Some un-enrolled Indians may live in states that did not accept the federally funded Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. If that is your situation, you are exempt if you would have been eligible for Medicaid but did not get it because your governor did not choose to cover you. Keep in mind, if part of your family is enrolled and others are not, that every individual named in your tax return must either be insured or have an exemption. There is another exemption for people who just flat out cannot afford coverage, and there is a worksheet in the instructions for Form 8965 that will help you determine whether you can get the government to agree you can’t afford insurance. [Steve Russell]
Montana's Democratic governor wants to extend medical protection for people in his state: so does Wyoming's GOP governor.

Self-reliance or moral hazard?


Source: WalletHub

And:
“Twenty-five percent of the drivers in South Dakota tell us that they're driven drunk within the last 12 months,’ said John Korkow, USD Addiction Studies Professor. Korkow says while ages 18 to 30 are most likely to drive under the influence, he says there's an increase of those who are newly-retired driving drunk. [KDLT]

Kill 'em all and let Dog sort 'em out: right, Marty?

The University of South Dakota has turned to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to remediate a mold infestation after the governor and GOP-controlled legislature blew off a request from the school: KWAT Radio.

South Dakota's governor is a liar.

"Thirty-four states, including South Dakota, have chosen to participate in the federal exchange," Dennis Daugaard said in an op/ed in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

No, Denny: you chose to be the death panel, not South Dakota.

South Dakota:

Number of People Losing Tax Credits 51,000
Total Value of Tax Credits & Cost Sharing Reductions
Lost (Millions $) 147.1
Increase in the Number of People Uninsured 42,000

Not just spikes in disease transmission rates and more violent crimes:
While South Dakota legislators had a long and loud debate over funding schools, roads and healthcare providers in the short term this session, there are long term trends that will need attention too. At a recent legislative forum, District 18 Representative Jean Hunhoff of Yankton said a recently updated study shows the state is aging rapidly. The study is evaluating long term care options for the state, and Hunhoff says that aging population will impact most of the counties in the state. Hunhof[f], who runs a home health care service for Avera, says they are having a hard time finding people to work for them. Hunhoff says it is another issue that will take time, study and more money to resolve. [WNAX]

South Dakota voters deserve better.

I swear.

9/25/15

Boehner to resign as Speaker: what does that mean for white earth haters?

9/24/15

Westerhuis' church deplores suicide, euthanasia, death penalty

Okay, these murders are a head-scratcher.
A service for Scott Westerhuis is planned for 9 a.m. Saturday at the First Reformed Church in Platte. A private service is planned for Nicole Westerhuis. [Yankton Press & Dakotan]
The Reformed Church in America IS a little preoccupied with death.
A decision to take one's own life thus appears to be a denial that one belongs to God./ A second conviction is that God does not abandon people in times of suffering...A decision to end one's life would appear to be a cessation of that trust...If Christians are to be involved in debating laws regulating assisted suicide, it will be out of a concern for the health and well-being of society.
The Westerhuis family was apparently very active in their church.

Weird, huh? Maybe Nicole Westerhuis' name came up on that Ashley Madison list.

Earth is too precious for a Republican president



Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads Senator Bernie Sanders 43% to 22% in a new survey conducted by Public Policy Polling.
PPP's new Iowa poll finds Donald Trump continuing to lead in the state with 24% to 17% for Ben Carson, and 13% for Carly Fiorina. Trump's recent comments about President Obama waging a war on Christianity don't hurt him much with the GOP base.
Read the results here.

Clinton has renounced TranCanada's ecocidal Keystone XL pipeline and the Bakken oil fields with their man-camps are becoming ghost towns.

Dams on the Missouri River are causing the extinction of pallid sturgeon which feed on invasive species like the zebra mussels now infesting the system.

The Obama administration has passed over the Greater Sage Grouse for endangered species protection but has expanded the preservation of habitat with the biggest land protection initiative so far in the Obama years and in all of US Bureau of Land Management history.

A panelist on WAMU'S Diane Rehm Show remarked that Vice President Joe Biden is right: "Sunnistan, Shiastan, and Kurdistan" is the eventual outcome for Iraq.

So, fellow Dems: if Bernie Sanders is unelectable and you believe Clinton is a political millstone, would you like to see Al Gore in this race?

9/22/15

Thune: protect the unborn and arm the sociopath

Putting the best face on the dilation and curettage performed on his caucus today by Senate Democrats, John Thune is vowing to fight the good fight.

Senator Thune's party may have lost a skirmish in their War on Women but, wait: Thune wants to guarantee that guys like Scott Westerhuis have the right to assassinate their own families with a shotgun, torch the house then turn the gun on themselves.

Marty Jackley’s selective forensics in the Westerhuis murders is just another example of red state collapse and a link between despair and easy access to firearms. Marty releasing his results at breakneck speed but dragging his feet on Richard Benda's death is suspicious as hell and easy access to guns accelerates the wildfire of mass murder in the US yet Republicans justifying the murder of a family as a personal choice with assaults on our collective concern is simply horrifying.

These are more deaths where the Board of Regents is a player: even Bob Mercer is weirded out by it.

The hypocrisy of the Republican Party is without bound.


Joy of sects: shady shyster Schoenbeck appearing with Whitney to defend red state failure

Lee Schoenbeck is one of South Dakota's richest white men. He is scheduled to appear with Argus Leader Media's Stu Whitney to defend his position on raising taxes on the poor.

Schoenbeck, a member of a pedophile cult and of the National Rifling Association (NRA), has covered up crimes against children who were diddled by his sect's clergy.

It'd be scary if it weren't so Stoogesque, Marxistic or Mouseketeerian.

Fred Deutsch: "I asked to serve on the task force – I bring a background of serving on school board – but my request wasn’t granted." Fred is a sectarian who just attended an anti-civil rights conference featuring one of the Duck Dynasty philosophers.

Troy Jones: "If someone has a different read with facts and knowledge, I’ll defer to them." Jones is an SDGOP squish and Roman Catholic apologizing for his cult's atrocities committed in the name of colonialism still trying to find the handle after fifty-something years of life.

Charlie Hoffman: "And that; [sic] Fred, is the proper class of intellect every person thinking about a Leadership position should write with publicly." Charlie is a rancher living in a farmer's body eclipsed by his wife's shadow.

Lee Schoenbeck: "Jones, that was too easy to bag." Schoenbeck is merely a crook for hire.

Yep. These are South Dakota's mansplainin' Republican thinkers.

Few things bring these old bones greater joy than to watch GOP on GOP cluelessness.

The nut wing of SDGOP is denying the Anthropocene, the American Genocide, and the legacy of slavery while those four losers scramble to cover up the crimes being committed against South Dakota's workforce.

South Dakota deserves the legislature it suffers.

Pass a corporate income tax, reduce the number of South Dakota counties to 25, turn DSU into a community college, and legalize cannabis: the kurtz solution painted on a thumbnail.

The hypocrisy of South Dakota’s Republican Party knows no bound.

Gabe Galandra: "For some tribes, recreational or medicinal marijuana commerce will make economic sense..."

9/21/15

Howie reads like a US Senate candidate

Surprise! Some conservatives believe John Thune is a fake.

Gordon Howie hasn't announced a primary run against South Dakota's ethics-free Republican senior US Senator but he's licking his chops.
Maybe it’s just me, but there doesn’t seem to be much conversation on the campaign trail about our national debt. If the Federal Reserve had raised interest the quarter of a percent that was expected, it would have added another burden of millions of dollars to the already growing debt. I think the dollar is in serious trouble, the Congress will raise taxes, the Federal Reserve will continue to create new money out of thin air and government will continue to increase spending. How secure does that make you feel?
Read more from Howie's crusade here.
A few years ago, a man named John Thune went to Washington. Over the past few years, I have watched Thune as he has moved away from his conservative prairie values and replaced them with what I am sure he would call pragmatism. I am sure you will see the obligatory conservative vote here and there, but when he had to really put skin in the game for us, he will almost always go with the Beltway Gang. So if I was still in S.D., I may be helping unseat the prince. You may want to consider this, also. [excerpt, LTE, Joe Bingiel]
Bingiel contacted Argus Leader content director, Patrick Lalley, and pledged to unseat Thune even finding a real conservative to oppose the Beltway insider in South Dakota's Republican US Senate primary. Lalley's comments came during Monday's broadcast of 100 Eyes.
A Washington DC based conservative group, “For America” has begun a campaign called “Dump the Leadership” aimed at the republican leaders in the House and Senate. The group says [R]epublicans have not lived up to the promises made in the “Pledge to America”. South Dakota Senator John Thune, one of those targeted, says it’s kind of a rift in the family… [WNAX]
Thune sold out to the Obama Administration by giving control of rail business to the federal Surface Transportation Board. He has been considered by some to be a vice-presidential pick yet others scratch their heads at that notion.
You used to see it a lot, before Rapid City native Dan Nelson and his once-thriving network of automobile businesses faltered under an array of alleged misdeeds and eventually a string of criminal charges. Ultimately, Nelson and a business partner ended up in prison on charges conspiring to lie on financial records. It was a big story, with tentacles that reached out in all directions. One of them touched Sen. John Thune, a Nelson friend who happened to sit, during the senator's time between the U.S. House and Senate, on a bank board where Nelson did lots of business. [Kevin Woster]
Besides, not just any job pays $33,000 a day.
"Do I plan on running for President?" Thune said, according to South Dakota's KELO-TV. "I don't. I enjoy the job I have. And being the President is a very, very hard job." "Do I like my job? I do," Thune said. "You know, I'm going to tell you guys something about it. Any job you have, there are going to be good parts about it and bad parts about it. My job's like any other job."
As for Thune signing a letter undermining America's foreign policy?
Larry Pressler is worried about America. "I think we're slipping in the wrong direction," the former U.S. senator said Thursday. Pressler said the conservative South Dakota Legislature should consider implementing a state income tax, allow for gay civil unions and reconsider the new raised speed limit. He said people need to learn how to follow before they can lead. [Mitchell Daily Republic]
Pressler was recruited for the 2014 US Senate race by Republican strategists to run as a liberal siphoning resources and votes from Democrat, Rick Weiland.

Thune wants to gut the National Weather Service, end environmental protection and start World War III by invading Iran.

So, name a conservative with enough moxie and resources to make a primary fun? Gordon Howie? Don Haggar? Kristi Noem? Bill Napoli?

South Dakota: Land of Infinite Vicissitude.

South Dakota 4th least tax-fair state

Surprise! South Dakota coddles its 1 percenters but Montana and her income tax is number one in tax fairness.
And, according to the study, Wyoming was the No. 1 state where the top 1 percent on income-earners were undertaxed. “Although conservatives appear to support higher taxes on the poor and lower taxes on the rich, the general trend is the same: all Americans believe a fair state and local tax system imposes higher tax rates on wealthy households than on lower- and middle-income households,” it stated.
Read more at the Great Falls Tribune.

9/20/15

CBO: John Thune bad for South Dakota, worse for US

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office is calling bullshit on John Thune's repeated attempts to shut down America.
One of the important lessons Americans should have learned over the past six-and-a-half years is that when the voters elected an African American man as President, Republicans wholly embraced governing by crises. Specifically, the CBO determined that maintaining sequester-level cuts would lead to 500,000 fewer jobs and 0.4% less growth in 2016, and 300,000 fewer jobs and 0.2% less growth in 2017. Many Americans have been led to believe the emerging crisis is solely about Planned Parenthood funding, and that may be somewhat true. However, at the rate Republicans love killing Americans’ jobs and retarding economic growth that the CBO warned is the result of not addressing sequester cuts, pundits should consider the real impetus for the looming crisis is the GOP’s rejection of eliminating their precious sequester.
Read more about Republican failures here.

John Thune is a voice for twenty SDGOP donors who want the estate tax repealed.

A bill intended to end local control, pre-empt stronger state laws that prohibit the rental of unrepaired vehicles and delay railroad safety improvements is raising hackles at the National Transportation Safety Board.
A transportation bill introduced by a Senate committee chairman would allow car rental companies to rent recalled vehicles that haven't been repaired and eliminate any hard deadline for railroads to start using long-sought technology that automatically stops trains to prevent crashes, safety advocates say. The bill, introduced Thursday by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., the chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, says companies must tell consumers about the recall notices in writing if they don't intend to fix the cars first. "It's an attempt to fool the American people so that government officials and railroad officials can say something is being done when the reality is it isn't," former NTSB Chairman Jim Hall said. [Associated Press]
John Thune is all about giving the nanny state control over industry.

Just when you thought you knew what John stands for South Dakota's senior US Senator wants to take control from railroads and give it the federal Surface Transportation Board.
The bill would, in part, authorize the board to investigate and resolve matters like service disputes, allowing regulators to tackle rail disruptions before they lead to major issues. Thune's bill still needs a companion in the U.S. House.
Read it here.

Thune's bid to wrest control of prescribed fires from land managers has gone nowhere but lives to showboat and grandstand at taxpayer expense while pretending to be a conservative.

A primary contender from Thune's right has yet to emerge although conventional wisdom says it's just a matter of crime time.

Today's intersection: meth and plutonium

New Mexico Republicans are getting caught doing stupid stuff.
Probably the best political ad on TV in this state last year was Tim Keller’s spot, filmed in front of the Albuquerque car wash used in Breaking Bad for Walter and Skyler White’s meth money-laundering scheme. Then the ad showed a photo of Keller’s Republican opponent, Robert Aragon, over Breaking Bad’s opening logo with a yellow cloud of methamphetamine smoke as an unseen narrator blasted Aragon for past problems (none of which involved dealing methamphetamine). As I noted in a story a couple of weeks ago, beleaguered Secretary of State Dianna Duran could be the first public official to have all or part of her pension taken away from her if she is convicted of any of the 20-plus felonies included in the 64 charges she is facing. (The remaining charges are misdemeanors.) By the way, that narrator in the Keller ad was none other than Steven Michael Quezada. [excerpt, Steve Terrell, New Mexico politicos keep on breaking bad]
Republicans are Hell-bent on keeping Iran from enriching uranium but in New Mexico weapons-grade plutonium is looking for a place to go.
Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Carlsbad leaders recently re-entered a long-running national debate about what the country should do with tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium – staking opposing views. The shuttered southeast New Mexico nuclear waste repository known as WIPP has been floated as a potential final resting place for the nuclear material – an idea to which the Department of Energy has warmed in recent years and which Richardson, a former U.S. energy secretary, opposes. The U.S. has designated about 50 metric tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium that it wants to get rid of in such a way that it cannot be accessed again for nuclear weapons – and can be kept out of the hands of terrorists, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. [Albuquerque Journal]
In a newly-completed study 78 percent of groundwater samples found with unsafe concentrations of uranium were also contaminated with nitrates from industrial agriculture.
The researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln estimate that nearly 2 million people in California and the Great Plains live over groundwater that has been contaminated with uranium, which can cause health problems. Data from roughly 275,000 samples from two of the nation's largest aquifers — the High Plains aquifer and the Central Valley aquifer in California — were examined for the study. Those two underground stockpiles supply water for irrigation and many communities rely on the aquifers for drinking water. The High Plains Aquifer stretches underneath some 174,000 square miles in parts of South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. [Mitchell Daily Republic]
At Crow Butte near the headwaters of the White River above Crawford, Nebraska Canadian-based Cameco, Inc. has obtained rights to use 9,000 gallons of water per minute to extract raw uranium ore through 8,000 holes bored into the Ogallala and Arikaree Aquifers.

The foreign miners have already pumped about half a billion gallons of radioactive waste water into disposal wells and have rights to bury more. Two years ago Cameco, the world’s largest uranium producer, paid a million dollar fine for environmental damage in Wyoming.
In 2011, the total water stored in the aquifer was about 2.96 billion acre-feet, an overall decline of about 246 million acre-feet (or 8 percent) since pre-development. Change in water in storage from 2009 to 2011 was an overall decline of 2.8 million acre-feet. The overall average water-level decline in the aquifer was 14.2 feet from pre-development to 2011, and 0.1 foot from 2009 to 2011.
The High Plains Aquifer, also known as the Ogallala Aquifer, underlies about 112 million acres (175,000 square miles) in parts of eight states Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. The USGS, at the request of the U.S. Congress, has published reports on water-level changes in the High Plains Aquifer since 1988. Congress requested these reports in response to substantial water-level declines in large areas of the aquifer. --news release, US Geological Survey, links added.
A breach like one at the Gold King Mine in Colorado would send toxic, radioactive waste into the Oglala Lakota Nation and into the Missouri River.

Read more about indigenous action from Debra White Plume's piece at Indian Country Today.



At least one South Dakota Republican calls it the "fed's war on energy" when it's really Big Energy's war on the Earth.
Debra White Plume (Wioweya Najin Win), Executive Director of Owe Aku, is an Oglala Lakota grandmother and water rights activist who is taking on Cameco, the world’s largest producer of uranium, near her homeland on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, in South Dakota. From traveling through the lands, providing training camps, speaking engagements, strategic planning meetings, prayer circles with the Cheyenne Nation, Lakota Nation, Diné Nation, Apache Nation, Annishanabe Nation (Canada), Gila River Nation and Palestinian allies, the message is out there to continue to resist, to engage, to empower, to act collectively, to never give up.
Read it here.
Powertech/Azarga proposes a uranium mine split between Fall River County and Custer County threatening water uses and availability in those areas. This project is loaded with red flags for both water and public health. The economic fate of the Black Hills is at stake. The EPA has proposed rules changes for In Situ Recovery to protect valuable water resources. They recognize that ISR activities use significant volumes of water and state "the ISR process does directly alter groundwater chemistry, posing the challenge of groundwater restoration and long-term subsurface geochemical stabilization after the ISR operational phase ends." They also acknowledge that the lixiviants used can liberate other elements, particularly heavy metals, and that the migration of these outside the production zone can potentially contaminate surrounding aquifers. [Letter, Rebecca Leas]
With uncanny accuracy Gary Heckenlaible predicted the failure of the Gilt Edge Mine south of Deadwood now a Superfund site. He was also a strong champion for reproductive rights and a valiant opponent of the Dewey Burdock uranium mine.

The President of South Dakota School of Mines is a crook.
To clinch the contract extension, Sandia labs officials hired high-priced consultants — including Heather A. Wilson, the former New Mexico congresswoman, who allegedly was paid $226,000 — to write up a “contract extension strategy.” Among the tactics allegedly suggested by Wilson was “working key influencers” by targeting then-Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s staff, his relatives and friends, and his former colleagues at another federal lab — all with the goal of keeping Lockheed Martin in charge of Albuquerque-based Sandia. Lockheed “engaged in deep and systemic corruption, including paying Congresswoman Heather Wilson $10,000 a month starting the day after she left office for so-called consulting services that had no written work requirements.” [Washington Post]
Wilson wants to bury radioactive waste in South Dakota.

Volcanic clays like bentonite mined near Belle Fourche make radioactive waste repositories such as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, New Mexico possible. Bonus: the railroad from Belle goes right into Brookings, brought to you by Kristi Noem!

Huh, one of Heather Wilson's favorite benefactors, Albuquerque-based Valero Energy, gave Tike Mike Rounds $10,000 last cycle.
If stacked appropriately, all the used fuel we have generated in the U.S. so far would cover a single football field about 7 yards deep. Although the amount of used fuel is not much of an issue now, possible growing demand for nuclear power might test that assumption. Tasks such as replacing coal or natural gas, producing hydrogen or electricity to power vehicles, desalinating water, or actively removing carbon from the atmosphere will require a lot of carbon-free nuclear energy. But we could then reprocess the used fuel to reduce the amount of waste requiring storage in a permanent repository. [LTE, Robert McTaggart, GenXer]
Interim really means forever.

When Black Hills Corp. greases candidates like Heather Wilson while South Dakota's Board of Minerals and Environment makes conflicts of interest harder to find and the Public Utilities Commission is stacked with Republicans, the blur of the revolving door is vertiginous.

Heather Wilson is the Mike Ehrmantraut of GOP nuclear fixerhood.

9/19/15

LawCo throws in the towel on bark beetle




Kill the cougar, fight the bug.
Lawrence County Deputy State’s Attorney Bruce Outka said that starting in 2014, and continuing into 2015, the state replaced the respective counties as the responsible entity for mountain pine beetle tree identification, marking, and tree cutting. The South Dakota state legislature appropriated $750,000 to fight the mountain pine beetle Hills-wide for 2015-16, an amount that has decreased drastically from more than $1.2 million just two years ago. The state’s local emphasis is on two Black Hills priority areas, with funding going toward a landowner cost share program. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Do we need more government to fix people's screw-ups when they're trying to fix the government?

It's 46 degrees tonight for the Deadwood Jam: you'd think Bill Pearson and Melody Dennis would have dialed it in by now, init?

I swear.

Mercer: voters taking laws into their own hands

South Dakota's legislature is a Reichstag that's why there could be sixteen initiatives and referenda on the 2016 ballot.
State law already sets some requirements to be a circulator. But we're seeing there's no easy way to enforce that law. Requiring the circulator to be certified beforehand would provide the public with a tool of self-defense. We're heading into an era of much more direct democracy, of lawmaking by ballot. State law looks clear. Governments in South Dakota can't expend money to support candidates, or to petition for a ballot measure, or to take a position on a ballot measure. It would seem any resolution considered by a government body at a public meeting must cost taxpayers something. With 16 measures possibly on the 2016 ballot, some conflicting with each other, these aren't small matters. [excerpt, Bob Mercer]
Read Todd Epp's piece here.

You'd think a former JAG and counsel to a "great statesman" would catch this stuff:


Marion's Gardens in Fort Pierre held a contest of lights and cash prizes awarded in various categories:
*** Brightest: First Place, Jim Seward residence.
Seward the brightest bulb in the Reichstag chandelier? Probably not.

Randy Rickman decimated the Helena Independent Record; now, parent Lee Newspapers of Montana has closed its capital bureau. Pierre had maybe two journalists covering the statehouse and Rickman forces Steve Baker from the Capital Journal.

Gifted journalist, Emily Saunders, who covered Idaho politics left Boise Public Radio to work for Montana's Office of Public Instruction as communications liaison.

Tony Mangan left radio journalism in Pierre to work for South Dakota's Department of 'Public Safety' as its public voice.

Ben Dunsmoor covered Pierre during the legislative session: he left KELO teevee for public relations.

That pretty much leaves Bob Mercer to write the gloomy news from South Dakota's capital city.

If the legislature had the balls to divert its attention from ending women's civil rights, building more prisons and trying to look at naked juveniles it would have more time to head off ballot clutter.

By throwing out video lootery and adopting my cannabis template the state could make at least two ballot measures meaningless.

9/17/15

Who won the earth haters' debates?

Keep the nuclear launch codes from Carly and Lindsey: they look like empress and queen.

Trump persevered. Jeb is a lying sack of shit from a family of liars and murderers: he lost the debate. Rand Paul is leading the GOP toward legal cannabis. Chris Christie is a slimy crook. Rubio pretended to be the voice of reason. Kasich's posture suggests he's weak and in poor health. Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee are unelectable. Ben Carson is qualified to be Surgeon General, maybe. Scott Walker is clueless. Jindal and Santorum are next to exit the building.

You?

66 counties begging for more money

Discussions are moving forward to protect more South Dakotans from medical usury.
Senator Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton says background discussions between state and federal officials have continued on expanding the government insurance program. Hunhoff says they hope to have some proposals this fall for possible inclusion in the state budget process. The expanded program would add about twenty six thousand people to Medicaid coverage. [WNAX]
66 county seats are neither sustainable nor conservative.
The South Dakota County government Interim Committee met in Pierre Wednesday. The committee, made up of state Senators and Representatives, took public testimony from several county commissioners about the struggles that county governments are currently facing around the state. [Today's KCCR]
Hmmmm: where have I heard this before?
The population of several South Dakota counties is evaporating. Forty-two of the state’s 66 counties are losing residents, most at a rapid rate. In 2010, 11 South Dakota counties met the traditional U.S. Census Bureau designation of “unsettled” or frontier territory, having two or fewer persons per square mile. Five more have fewer than three and the population in each is declining. A consolidated form of city/county government works in many metropolitan areas. There are 40 in the United States, including Butte, Mont.; Denver; Indianapolis; Jacksonville, Fla.; Louisville, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; Philadelphia and San Francisco. [excerpt, LTE, Joe Kirby]
It ain't easy being green.

I remember having a conversation with none other than Bill Janklow on SDPB when Dakota Midday was still called South Dakota Forum back in the '90s about consolidating counties and making two regental universities community colleges. He said he carried a "bloody shirt" for bringing a similar suggestion to the legislature and regents.

I swear.

9/15/15

Pope Frank scaring the bejeezus out the GOP

Update, 16 September, 1153 MDT: Joe Kurtz is Generalissimo at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. He and Pope Frank aren't saying the same climate change Mass.

..................


Ahead of a visit to the US and an address to Congress by Jorge Mario Bergoglio several Republican US House members are calling for action on anthropogenic climate change.

Now His Eminence is backing President Obama's groundbreaking action with Iran.
In a statement presented before the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday, the Catholic Church’s effective foreign minister offered his strongest support yet behind the agreement. That could put Republicans — all of whom have opposed the Iran deal — in an awkward position. The pope has previously been expected to discuss the need to combat climate change and wealth inequality, which could mirror Democratic policy positions.
Read more at The Hill.

Half of Florida voters think catholics Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio should drop out of the Trump Show.

SuFuStu: Hildebrand links video lootery, loan sharks

South Dakota's choice to use video gambling to pay big government bills is driving the quickie loan industry according to Steve Hildebrand. He called Rod Aycox, CEO of North American Title Loan Co., a crook during an interview with Argus Leader Media's SuFuStu.

Hildebrand's comrade in efforts to cap interest rates, Republican former lawmaker Steve Hickey, the only SDGOPer in South Dakota's legislature with any brains whatsoever, was invited to join the discussion but had a previous engagement and was unable to be there.

Despite lies from SDGOP, video lootery, payday loan sharks, domestic violence and homelessness are inextricably linked putting children at risk to more catastrophic consequences far more often than has happened in states that have legalized or lessened penalties for casual use of cannabis.

Pope Frank scaring the bejeezus out of GOP

Ahead of a visit to the US by Jorge Mario Bergoglio several Republican US House members are calling for action on anthropogenic climate change.

Now His Eminence is backing President Obama's groundbreaking action with Iran.
In a statement presented before the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday, the Catholic Church’s effective foreign minister offered his strongest support yet behind the agreement. That could put Republicans — all of whom have opposed the Iran deal — in an awkward position. The pope has previously been expected to discuss the need to combat climate change and wealth inequality, which could mirror Democratic policy positions.
Read more at The Hill.

The Sioux Falls Diocese is consolidating parishes as the church pays hush money to victims of clergy crimes and settles lawsuits.

Half of Florida voters think catholics Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio should drop out of the Trump Show.

9/14/15

NDSU begins destroying habitat with first industrial cannabis harvest

For the record, I do not support widespread growing of hemp: it is an invasive species and capable of overgrowing native grasses.
North Dakota State University’s Langdon Research Extension Center started variety trials of industrial hemp this summer and is now beginning to harvest its crop. Kentucky is looking at industrial hemp varieties for the grain for seed and the biomass, and are getting yields about 1,000 pounds of biomass per acre, according to the Kentucky Department of Ag. One of the exciting products they are finding for industrial hemp is medicinal uses for people with epileptic disorders and seizures.
Read the bittersweet news here.

But, a red moocher state like South Dakota is powered by sin: video lootery, a loan shark industry that preys on the least fortunate, a massive gambling addiction and a too-big-to-jail banking racket fill in the gaps created by lobbyists who enjoy the protection of single-party tyranny.

Right: like irrumatio Mike Verchio would drive to Flandreau from Hill City and back without compensation from the state.

The hypocrisy of South Dakota’s Republican Party knows no bound. While nutcases like Fred Deutsch are crusading for an end to women's civil rights the state is hemorrhaging educators.

Fact is: South Dakota's legislature can write a bill that would adopt Minnesota's medical cannabis law worthy of Federal Drug Administration scrutiny where real medicine could be sold by pharmacies, legalize for adults then allow Deadwood and the tribes to grow under organic standards and distribute under a compact putting the gaming commission as the administrative body to tax and regulate.

In my view edibles should only be available to patients suffering from debilitating diseases, disorders or conditions and be dispensed by pharmacists and taxed like other prescriptions.

Home growing for personal enjoyment should look like this California model.

Tribes can do this by themselves and the South Dakota Legislature should be kept out of the cannabis loop completely unless Deadwood chooses to be the non-Native test bed off-reservation. Nations trapped in South Dakota and in other states with off-reservation properties are already testing cannabis law.

A GOP task force is leaning toward a regressive sales tax increase to nudge teachers' salaries out of 51st place.

South Dakota should listen to Paula Hawks, Bernie Hunhoff and Cory Heidelberger and pass a corporate income tax.

Reduce the number of South Dakota counties to 25, turn DSU into a community college, and adopt my cannabis template: the kurtz solution painted on a thumbnail.

9/10/15

With political will South Dakota's education crisis easy to reverse

Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard's Blue Ribbon Task Force found need of $75 million to implement its findings. The GOP-heavy task force is leaning toward a regressive sales tax increase to nudge teachers' salaries out of 51st place.

Initiated law is a blunt instrument: cannabis statutes need to be hammered out in committee then ground into sausage.

South Dakota's legislature can write a bill that would adopt legislation similar to Minnesota's medical cannabis law but worthy of Federal Drug Administration scrutiny where real medicine could be sold by pharmacies. Legalize for adults then allow Deadwood and the tribes to grow under California organic standards then distribute on reservation and off-reservation properties under a compact putting the gaming commission as the administrative body to tax and regulate.

Because cannabis is illegal under federal law, and use of the term "organic" is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture, a licensed cannabis business cannot be certified as USDA organic.

In my view edibles should only be available to patients suffering from debilitating diseases, disorders or conditions and be dispensed by pharmacists and taxed like other prescriptions.

Home growing for personal enjoyment should look like South Dakota's beer home brewing and wine making laws.

For the record, I do not support widespread growing of hemp: it is an invasive species and capable of overgrowing native grasses.

Tribes can do this by themselves and the South Dakota Legislature should be kept out of the cannabis loop completely unless Deadwood chooses to be the non-Native test bed off-reservation. Nations trapped in South Dakota and in other states with off-reservation properties are already testing cannabis law.

Washington State's Liquor Cannabis Board has entered a compact with the Suquamish Tribe.

Gannett's Jonathan Ellis believes the South Dakota Republican Party is on the losing side of cannabis prohibition.

That South Dakota Republicans prop up illegal drug use and project an ethics black hole while ignoring a potential revenue source is just more evidence of red state collapse.

But, a red moocher state like South Dakota is powered by sin: video lootery, a loan shark industry that preys on the least fortunate, a massive gambling addiction and a too-big-to-jail banking racket fill in the gaps created by lobbyists who enjoy the protection of single-party tyranny.

Tribal nations are taking steps to bank cannabis proceeds. “The Indian casinos are basically small little banks,” according to Bloomberg News.

Wyoming is actually weighing cannabis as a revenue source. Led by Democrats, Wyoming's legislature is slated to tackle numerous cannabis bills.

Pass a corporate income tax, end video lootery, reduce the number of South Dakota counties to 25, turn Dakota State University into a community college, and adopt my cannabis template: the kurtz solution painted on a thumbnail.

Larry Kurtz is a mostly-retired builder with a background in marketing who grew up in Elkton, attended South Dakota State University and South Dakota School of Mines, lived in the Black Hills for thirty five years, in Montana for ten and now resides off the grid in western Santa Fe County, New Mexico. He blogs at interested party.


9/9/15

Aspen returning to Jasper Fire zone


Wildfire severity is about average this season
and low compared to the 1930s but county commissioners are still allowing development into the urban/wildland interface where records are being broken for loss of private property to fires.

The Mountain Pine Beetle is still vigorously opening view sheds and doing its part to keep even Box Elder and False Bottom Creeks running as September overtakes the Black Hills.

Smoke and haze from wildfires burning farther to the west made conditions for photography less than optimal on the 29th of August but I captured some eighty images of returning greenery in the 2000 Jasper Fire north of Jewel Cave National Monument.

Click on any image to make it easier to see.


















Bill Janklow's Kodos moment probably came at the Jasper Fire where he became the story:
But federal firefighters point out that the governor has no fire training and therefore does not understand the ramifications of his decisions. Janklow himself admits he never had been on a wildfire before the summer of 2000.
Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today penned a vivid sketch of the still-dead former Republican governor. Here's a snip:
Governor Bill Janklow, always a hands-on governor, was bewildered and flabbergasted by the fires and in many ways interfered with the Incident Commanders (your’s truly included) which at times created serious safety problems. On the Jasper Fire the Type 1 Incident Commander placed a resource order for U.S. Marshals who stood by at the Incident Command Post ready to put a halt to any actions by state employees that put firefighters in danger, such as setting backfires and running dozers out ahead of the fire without coordinating with the Incident Commander or the Incident Management Team. The next year Governor Janklow created the Division of Wildland Fire Suppression and hired [Joe] Lowe to run the agency. [Gabbert]
Cheatgrass is still a feature where the uncountable number of cattle graze in the Upper Limestone but within the fire zone it was nowhere to be seen: a testament to the importance of fire intensity in some biomes.

Ellsworth drone pilots suffering under illusion of 'The Good Kill'

South Dakota Republicans love the foetus but hate actual non-white, non-christian children discarding them as collateral damage.
"We're seeing problems in the MQ-1/9 community at both the major command and base levels that can be solved quickly," said U.S. Air Force Col. Troy Jackson, C2ISR Operations division chief and CPIP officer in charge. "Airmen in this career field are being exhausted with no end in sight; we want to fix this." [Rapid City Journal]
South Dakota's US senators trumpet success after prostituting stolen Lakota ground by bringing the current heavens-based smart-executor of civilian death, the Predator drone, to Ellsworth Air Force Base, cementing the continued commitment of South Dakotans to rain white phosphorus and dismemberment on children, women, and men of color for decades to come.
Ellsworth’s new mission of remotely piloting unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, will be under way by the end of the year, Weatherington said. Ellsworth airmen will control the MQ-9 Reaper from South Dakota as it flies reconnaissance or tactical strikes overseas. --Holly Meyer, Rapid City Journal.
Tike Mike Rounds is getting basted in the Rapid City Journal's notoriously Republican comment section. Rather than fund veterans care South Dakota's GOP Senators would rather expand the size of a cemetery.

Ellsworth Air Force Base will start practice-bombing parts of Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota if the expansion of the Powder River Training Complex ever gets off the ground. Damage to ranch land values, wildlife habitat and to quality of life is expected to be in the millions if not more. Can't wait for bombers to buzz Betty Olson's house.

Rapid City sez: fuck you, Mr. President; but, thanks for the dough.

US imperialism created the Somali refugee crisis where ISIL chickens are coming home to roost in Minnesota now Syrians are fleeing another Israeli/American war of aggression now it's taking its toll on American airmen in South Dakota and other remote locations.

It's just a matter of time until Hell comes to breakfast.