Hickey: shutter Ellsworth

South Dakota's Republican senior US senator is crowing about the drone mission at Ellsworth Air Force Base being secure; but, former legislator and pastor emeritus, Steve Hickey says enough is enough.
A politician in South Dakota who wants to close Ellsworth commits political suicide by saying so. When I was in elected office my private commitment to myself was to be willing to commit political suicide once a year to support the right thing. Many of my Republican colleagues in the legislature were “fiscal conservatives” and would get loud and vocal about Washington DC’s inability to balance the budget. Yet we seemed so oblivious to the depths of cuts it would take to balance the national budget and what that would mean to a little dependant [sic] state like South Dakota, and of course an income tax would never be considered. Never was there talk of cutting Defence spending in DC, ever. And never would anyone support closing a base in our state that brought MONEY and JOBS and PEOPLE into our state. Say goodbye to Ellsworth if you are truly a fiscal conservative and figure out how to wean South Dakota off Federal Dollars. [Steve Hickey]
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.
"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]
But how safe are soft targets in Rapid City from a retaliatory strike?

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 and taking its toll on American airmen in South Dakota and other remote locations.

But you know what scares me? Someone from Yemen, Afghanistan or somewhere rolling a truck bomb into Rapid City Central High School or the School of Mines after an Ellsworth-based drone pilot targets a wedding party or religious service.

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

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

Ellsworth Air Force Base has resumed practice-bombing parts of Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota. 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.


South Dakota is a permanent disaster area

High winds, ice storms, downed power lines, flooding, blizzard conditions, weaponized wildfires: signs of the Second Coming? Nah, just more ways South Dakota's deplorables pay for infrastructure.

Where to start?

South Dakota's current governor says he's a conservative; yet, he has begged for billions from the Obama administration. His predecessor's office where he was lieutenant governor and his current bureaucracy have trafficked Native kids, exploited the federal EB-5 green card scam, and is quietly expanding a Medicaid safety net for those not yet voting for his party.

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, infrastructure is crumbling and 20.6% of bridges are structurally deficient. Over the Missouri River, the US14 bridge between Ft. Pierre and the town to the east and the I-90 bridge at Chamberlain are imperiled.
The report, “Rural Connections: Challenges and Opportunities in America’s Heartland,” (pdf) was released Thursday by TRIP, a national non-profit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. The report says that in 2013, 21 percent of South Dakota’s rural bridges were rated as structurally deficient, the fourth-highest rate in the nation. In 2012, 12 percent of South Dakota’s major rural roads were rated in poor condition. The fatality rate on South Dakota’s rural roads was 2.21 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel, the 17th-highest rate in the nation and nearly three times higher than the fatality rate of 0.74 on all other roads. [Mitchell Daily Republic]
The crumbling bridge over the Missouri River between Fort Pierre and her neighbor, the putrid cesspool to the east, won't be replaced until at least 2025: how many more times do you want to go over it for free?
By 2100, Rapid City, South Dakota—in the vicinity of the Pine Ridge Reservation—will reach the average summer temperatures of Cedar Park, Texas, which means a rise from 81 degrees to 93 degrees, Climate Central reported. [Indian Country Today]
Self-reliance or moral hazard?
Officials say five electric cooperatives are using state and federal disaster funds to bury hundreds of miles of power lines to protect against widespread outages from storms. The cooperatives are burying more than 530 miles of line damaged in a powerful storm that struck 14 western South Dakota counties last year. Officials say the cost of the line-burying project is estimated at more than $32 million. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is paying 75 percent of the cost. The state provided 10 percent and the cooperatives paid the remaining 15 percent. [Associated Press]
That 10% the state kicked in also came from the feds.

The above article doesn't say how many white ranchers will get buried cables and how many tribal nations will still have storm-prone overhead lines.

After public outcry one South Dakota utility thought better and chose not to assess a fee on customers who add alternative means of electricity generation to their services while those poorly served by cooperative utilities are becoming power self-reliant.

From KSFY:
Agriculture Secretary Walt Bones said the department is asking those affected by the drought what they could the department could better. Bones says many farmers have developed a safety net for drought conditions but livestock ranchers don't have the same assistance.

Remember this? South Dakota's embattled earth hater governor wants government assistance according to the Sioux City Journal:
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a preliminary assessment of damages the recent ice storm caused to public and nonprofit property in southeastern South Dakota. Daugaard says damage to rural electric cooperatives and the removal of fallen tree limbs and power lines will likely be a significant part of the cost.
Candidate Dennis Daugaard drew gasps from a State Fair audience in 2010 when he said: “I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts."
Remember, too, that these utilities are not Google or Facebook. They are not accustomed to a state of constant market turmoil and reinvention. This is a venerable old boys network, working very comfortably within a business model that has been around, virtually unchanged, for a century.--David Roberts at Grist
What a fucking surprise.

Scientists have excused anthropogenic climate change as a negligible influence in the 2013 blizzard.

So, this is how red states finance infrastructure improvements while bitching about Big Government.


Mercer out; South Dakota media go dark

Bob Mercer, the only reporter in South Dakota with any credibility whatsoever, is on medical hiatus leaving Pierre to continue operating in a black hole.

Bill Janklow's idea of public broadcasting can't cover Pierre effectively because its funding is reliant on the South Dakota Republican Party, the Associated Press can't do it because they've been neutered so has the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. South Dakota's teevee stations are bound to Republican advertisers and nobody reads college publications.

The only effective twitter presence comes from a guy living in New Mexico who owns the #sdleg hashtag and I quit following the South Dakota Newspaper Association on twitter because its feed reads like a bulletin from the South Dakota Republican Party.
This week is Sunshine Week, a national observance to spotlight the importance of openness and transparency in government at all levels. For example, South Dakota's open records laws contain several broad exceptions that allow certain records to be kept confidential. Specifically, almost all official correspondence (including email) of public officials can be kept secret. And, it usually is. Another exception in the open records law allows public officials to keep secret wide swaths of documents and records used by government to make policy. Let's make the sun shine brightly in the halls of government at all levels in South Dakota. Good government depends on it. [Dave Bordewyk]
There is an exodus of journalists leaving the profession for public relations jobs as the media lurch to drive the message to the extreme right.
Talking about race seems to be a frightening topic to the leadership of the SDNA and that is too bad because they have had the opportunity to be the media leaders in improving race relations but instead have chosen to hide in the weeds. The director of SDNA, Dave Bordewyk, is still young and he can still make it a key part of his administration to address racial prejudice and racial ignorance in a state that can never lay claim to greatness until it solves its racial issues. [excerpt, editorial, Native Sun News, posted at Indianz]
Flouting the Indian Child Welfare Act South Dakota has been seizing thousands of American Indian children then placing them in the white foster care industry while reaping billions from the federal government.

When was the last time a South Dakota media outlet even talked about it?

A week of sunlight can't possibly penetrate the other 25.5 fortnights of gloom in Pierre.


Casita nearing completion

Continued great weather allowed for more elastomeric stucco finish. Took the decking off the portal to let more light inside the building. The plan is to cut it to match the width of the roof steel so it can be more portable and capable of going up as needed for shade during summer months.

Here's a view out the back door facing north.

Click on any image for a better look. Here's the interior stud wall mostly wired, plumbed for water and gas.

Trapezoid and kiva.

View to the south. Progress and more images here.


Neighbor Steve hosts installation at Photo-eye Bookstore

Eight of the geezers were here for breakfast Tuesday bringing fraternity and community news.
Romance is alive on the two-lane highways that meander through the rolling hills and empty deserts of America. There is nothing so satisfying as taking off on the open road, and part of that nostalgic glory lives in the vintage paint and light bulbs of motel signs. Photographer Steve Fitch banks on your attachment to the iconography of Americana in his solo exhibit, American Motel Signs, 1980-2008. Featuring photographs taken around the country, each image includes regional differences (like palm trees or tall cacti) that orient the viewer in the space of our vast nation. [Maria Egolf-Romero]
Steve and his two sons recently took some of his work to an exhibit in Moscow after an invitation from a Russian art outreach program.

Additional topics included Trump's lack of legitimacy, the many failures of Governor Susana Martinez, progress on the casita, the cutting of junipers on the Santo Domingo Pueblo under the PNM power line, new radios for the community internet, Bob and Karen's Winter Solstice party, and the guy trying to salvage the Ratplex: a double wide on top of the hill ravaged by a decade of neglect.

One of our gathering, Terry Asher, walked on in August. His obit is posted here.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will be at the Acoma Pueblo Friday trying to reassure tribal members that they won't be herded into concentration camps if Donald Trump actually becomes President of the United States.


Lambert: Devils Tower a malapropism

Imagine pulling a clan up the Little Missouri River in dugout canoes 12,000 years ago.

Exploiting the gap between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets during the Wisconsin Glacial Episode those Clovis People were the first humans to see the Missouri Buttes and Devils Tower. They settled Paradise only to have their descendants watch it be destroyed by colonization.

With the Oglala Lakota Nation as an interested party Chief Arvol Looking Horse has submitted a request to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names saying the words “Devils Tower” are a malapropism.
Wyoming officials hold the name Devils Tower to be "sacred" for the way it attracts tourists and their dollars. They say changing the name will harm the tourist trade. Do they seriously believe the word “Devil” attracts tourists, instead of the unusual geological formation? The geological formation isn’t going to go away and tourists world-wide will always be attracted to it. Its pull for people of all backgrounds won’t be weakened by a name that more perfectly reflects its inherent magnetism.

Bear Lodge appeared on most 1874 to 1901 maps. In 1875, a translator with the Dodge Expedition mistakenly led Colonel Dodge to believe the Lakota term for “grizzly bear” meant “bad god.” Local corruption of the translation produced the even more insulting term, “Devil,” paving the way for “Devils” Tower.

If a translation of an English language place-name was both incorrect and offensive, it would be immediately corrected by an outraged English-speaking White majority, including Wyoming’s Federal and State elected representatives.

A local rancher says, “… the vast majority of all of the public worldwide recognize it ... as Devils Tower [and] don’t see it as an evil thing, as a bad thing.” To the 26 affiliated tribes, descendants of the people who were on the land first, this argument just compounds the insult. Being spiritually connected to the land, with long-standing spiritual names for its landmarks, calling their sacred landmark by the name of a demonic figure like the Devil, and then promoting it by that name world-wide, is to them a "bad and evil thing."

Isn’t it, therefore, a moral imperative that we make amends and restore the correct Lakota name to a landmark that actually is sacred to the Indians? Moreover, if we humbly recognize our error and restore the rightful traditional name, translated as Bear Lodge, the public world-wide might well see it as a good and noble act, and be all the more inspired to visit our area.

Call or write President Obama and ask that he make this respectful name change from Devils Tower to Bear Lodge National Monument.

LTE: SYLVIA LAMBERT, Interior, South Dakota appearing in the Casper Star.
The tower, a remnant of an intrusive laccolith, has been called Mahto Tipila or Bear Lodge for centuries by the Lakota.
Sen. Ogden Driskill, R-Devils Tower, has a family ranch at the base of the tower. “If they want to find something offensive, they ought to look at Custer, South Dakota,” he said. “Custer obviously had a problem with the Sioux, and I’ve heard nothing about renaming of Custer, South Dakota.” [Laura Hancock]
In the occupied Black Hills of South Dakota descendants of European colonizers are apoplectic over the proposal to restore the state's highest point to its Lakota name, Hinhan Kaga or A Making of Owls.

The ancestors of all American Indians living east of the Rocky Mountains saw that peak when the Clovis Culture crossed into the Cheyenne/Belle Fourche drainage then into the Missouri/Mississippi River system. Lakota is an Algonquin-based tongue and is spoken by a majority of South Dakota’s tribal nations. After migrating into present-day North Carolina and forced westward by manifest destiny then acquiring horses from Spanish exploiters the Lakota reclaimed the Black Hills.

Senator Lisa Murkowski and the US Park Service are doing what Alaskans are asking of Congress urging the body to approve a name change for North America's highest peak.
The Athabascan name, meaning “the high one,” has been a bone of contention between Alaska’s congressional delegation and Ohio’s, which has sought to preserve the current name honoring assassinated U.S. president William McKinley. “At home in Alaska, we just call it Denali because it’s part of our history,” Murkowski said, according to the statement. “Officially changing the name from Mount McKinley to Mount Denali will show the long-standing significance that the name Denali holds for Alaskans.” [KTUU teevee]
Restoring the dignity of endangered cultures is one tiny part of eliminating American Indian suicides and despair in South Dakota and Wyoming.

Humanure has been a feature of the Missouri River basin for 12 millennia but the Dakota Excess pipeline is the real human waste.

Of course, the South Dakota Democratic Party should urge President Obama to dissolve the Black Hills National Forest, move management of the land from the US Department of Agriculture into the Department of Interior; and, in cooperation with Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Forestry and Wildfire Management, rename it Okawita Paha or He Sapa National Monument eventually becoming part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge. Mato Paha (Bear Butte), the associated national grasslands and the Sioux Ranger District of the Custer/Gallatin National Forest should be included in the move.

It's time for the State of South Dakota to abandon Bear Butte State Park that it claimed through colonization and remand it to the tribes for governance so they can restore its name to Mato Paha and for the US Park Service to add the name Mahto Tipila to Devils Tower National Monument.

ip photo: Missouri Buttes and Devils Tower at sunset. Click on the image for a better look.