Blue states still far better for women: WalletHub

Source: WalletHub

Of the 25 best states for women 22 of them are blue according to the latest rankings from WalletHub.

My home state of South Dakota still holds 51st place for the number of women who own businesses, 49th in percentage of women who voted in 2020 but tied for 1st with North Dakota for lowest unemployment among women.

New Mexico is tied with Alaska for a high femicide rate, 48th for female high school graduation and nearly the highest percentage of women living in poverty.

The bottom 8 states for women's well-being are red.

WalletHub sez jobs are still hard to find in Albuquerque and Rapid City but less difficult in Sioux Falls even as New Mexico and my home state see negative growth in gross domestic product. Sioux Falls is the 12th hardest working city in the United Snakes but is that even healthy?


More New Mexicans likely to enroll in tax-free therapeutic cannabis program

The number of patients in New Mexico's therapeutic cannabis program is expected to blaze even higher as it approaches 131,000 and some people will be able obtain the medication at no cost if they're enrolled in an accredited insurance plan. 

Senate Bill 317, which was signed into law in 2021 and took effect in January includes all medications for behavioral health conditions including post-traumatic stress. 
The sponsors of SB 317, Democratic Sens. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces and Martin Hickey of Albuquerque, said Wednesday the law makes it clear insurance coverage of medical cannabis should be offered to patients. The law does not apply to patients who receive Medicaid coverage, which is in part funded by the federal government, Hickey added. [New state law requires health insurers cover medical cannabis for some conditions]
The NM Department of Health will maintain the patient registry while ensuring sales remain tax-free even after retail sales for all adults over 21 begins in April but it’s predicted demand for all cannabis products will overwhelm supplies.

There are concerns that a budding hemp industry will drive more growers of therapeutic and “recreational” cannabis indoors to prevent pollen drift from destroying crops and will boost energy costs.

Here in the Land of Enchantment supporters are lauding cannabis legalization as a way to diversify New Mexico’s economy, raise revenue for infrastructure, address inequities left by the war on drugs and balance the state's water crisis with growers who prove they have valid and sufficient water rights.


Hard working Sioux Falls symptomatic of mental illness

Source: WalletHub

So, what’s not to like about six (seven? eight?) month winters, rampant racism, chilling effects on civil rights, an extremist legislature, living in a chemical toilet, sacrifice zone, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area? 

WalletHub sez jobs are still hard to find in Albuquerque and Rapid City but less difficult in Sioux Falls even as New Mexico and my home state see negative growth in gross domestic product. Sioux Falls is the 12th hardest working city in the United Snakes but is that even healthy?
Even though workaholism is generally considered a mark of success and rewarded with praise and pay raises, it is an addictive behavior that often has destructive consequences. Ironically, most workaholics report a lower job satisfaction than do non-workaholics. There is no doubt I was medicating with work. One of the consequences was the end of my first marriage. What underlies workaholism? Emotional pain, commonly resulting from unresolved childhood trauma or wounding from physical abuse, verbal abuse, or neglect. [Rick Kahler: Workaholism is about emotional pain, not money]
It's obvious this phenomenon is no accident: it has been manufactured to make the state a corporatist tax haven for an exclusive set of Republicans while some $4 TRILLION languishes in South Dakota banks and trusts.


Voters in Mountain West wary of Republican march to climate collapse

In 1991 after the Soviet Union fell Republicans began their war on the environment substituting a new Green Scare for the old Red Scare. This blog was established in 2010 as a vehicle for rewilding the American West.

Putting the country on the path of protecting at least 30 percent of its land and 30 percent of its ocean areas by 2030 (30x30) is imperative to preserving public lands. A supermajority of registered voters in the Mountain West agrees according to bipartisan polling conducted by the Colorado College State of the Rockies project.
The poll, which surveyed the views of voters in eight Mountain West states (Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming), found 69 percent of voters are concerned about the future of nature, meaning land, water, air, and wildlife. That level of concern was a notable jump from 61 percent in last year’s poll. Against that backdrop, 86 percent of Western voters now say issues involving clean water, clean air, wildlife and public lands are important in their decision of whether to support an elected official, up from 80 percent in 2020 and 75 percent in 2016. [The 12th Annual Survey of Voters in the Rocky Mountain West]
Global warming has been accelerating since humans began setting fires to clear habitat, as a weapon or just for amusement. Evidence that we humans have eaten or burned ourselves out of habitats creating catastrophes behind us is strewn throughout the North American continent. The worst megadrought in at least 1200 years is driving desertification in most of the western United States. 

ip photo: stacked rock structures at Chaco Culture National Historical Park mostly withstanding over four centuries of European colonialism.


Montanan should tackle raptor lead poisoning from her position at USFWS

In 2016 South Dakota's senior US Senator called an end to lead contamination in the watersheds that support all life in the United States, "silly."
It was just before Christmas when Kathy Richardson and her husband noticed the large bald eagle on the ground near a stackyard of hay. Her post of the haunting photo of the eagle with its head dropped standing immobile in the snow led to a call to Potomac’s Wild Skies Raptor Center with hopes the eagle, later named Darby, could be saved. The center’s executive director, Brooke Tanner, had seen it before. She quickly diagnosed acute lead poisoning and guessed that the bird’s demise happened quickly. A week later, it died.  A Bitterroot study from 2011 to 2018 that tested 91 golden eagles in the winter found almost 95% had elevated lead levels in their blood. [Ravalli Republic]
Lead tackle is often swallowed by fish then ingested by other wildlife and not just by raptors. A potent neurotoxin, lead is released by coal-fired power plants, too. The Victoria Lake area on Beretta Road above Rapid City, South Dakota is a lead Superfund site in the making after decades of unrestricted shooting. 

The Waters of the United States (WOTUS) legislation seeks to give authority to the US Environmental Protection Agency to use some teeth to enforce the rights of people downstream to have clean water even from some sources that the US Geological Survey (USGS) has already identified as impaired. 
Led by scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Conservation Science Global, Inc., and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, researchers evaluated lead exposure in bald and golden eagles from 2010 to 2018. “Studies have shown lethal effects to individual birds, but this new study is the first to show population-level consequences from lead poisoning to these majestic species at such a wide scale," said Anne Kinsinger, USGS Associate Director for Ecosystems. Lead poisoning typically occurs when an eagle eats lead ammunition fragments lodged inside an animal carcass or in gut piles left behind when game is dressed in the field. [USGS]
Yes, Republican environmentalism is an oxymoron. When Republican domination is literally deadly to wildlife and humans alike maybe it's time for a little hope and change.
Martha Williams, the former director of Montana's wildlife agency, has been confirmed to lead the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is part of the Department of Interior, is responsible for protecting species listed under the Endangered Species Act. The service also oversees national conservation efforts — including fisheries, hatcheries, migratory birds, ecological services and federal wildlife refuges. [Helena Independent Record]
Eco-warrior Tracy Stone-Manning was an aide to Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), chief of staff for former Montana Governor Steve Bullock, ran the state’s Department of Environmental Quality and as the director of the Clark Fork Coalition she guided dam removal and river cleanup. She was confirmed to lead the US Bureau of Land Management late in 2021. 

On March 1 EPA will host a lead listening session for Region 8; it serves Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and 28 Tribal Nations.


Noem encourages freedom and civil disobedience but only for white people

In 2020 Republican South Dakota Governor Kristi Lynn Arnold Noem (KLAN) sued to have the checkpoints that protected Native Americans removed from the highways on reservations

South Dakota is rife with sobriety checkpoints, racial profiling makes I-90 a civil rights black hole and police just recently were stopped from forcing catheters into the urethras of the accused. 

Recall that mercenaries, some from South Dakota, and National Guard troops brutalized many of the thousands of demonstrators opposed to the Dakota Excess pipeline who camped on federal land near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. In its aftermath some 761 people were arrested between early August, 2016 and late February, 2017. Trump apparatchiks even referred to the American Indians and their compatriots as jihadists and insurgents.


After blogger points the way Hot Springs sees record growth

In 1942 the US Army Corps of Engineers built 830 concrete and steel all-risk bunkers at the Black Hills Army Depot in Fall River County south of Edgemont, South Dakota. 

In 1967 the military sold the property to the City of Edgemont who then sold it to local cattle ranchers until Del Mar, California-based Robert Vicino entered a 2017 agreement with S&S Land and Cattle Co., and its partner corporation, Fort Igloo Bunkers. Vicino bought much of the 18 square mile property and 575 bunkers in 2020 for nearly $2.5 million. Today, starting at $35,000 and boasting remote off-grid survivable spaces with two deep wells the Vivos xPoint bunkers are being marketed and leased to doomsday preppers.

Hot Springs and Edgemont were parts of my marketing territory for eight years when I was with Twin City Fruit in Deadwood and for another year after Sysco bought us in 1990.

In 2014 this interested party passed a Black Hills State University article on community organizing to a Hot Springs official. The town then expanded its social media platform and the Mammoth Site is at the focus of scientific research on a 9300-year-old mummified bison uncovered there. 

In 2015 Hot Springs hosted a visiting New Mexico couple at breakfast, walks through the historic downtown, the Veterans Administration complex, the Pioneer Museum and the Mammoth Site: a test of cannabis possession in several jurisdictions. Nearby Wind Cave National Park is a perennial favorite destination for ecotourists and is within biking distance of the Mickelson Trail. Real estate is affordable and historic properties abound.
County GIS Coordinator Stacey Martin told the Fall River County Commissioners during their meeting on Feb. 3 that had been 121 new addresses assigned in the county in 2021. Most years the county assigns 50 to 60 new addresses, she said. She explained that out of the 121 addresses assigned, 50 homes were built. Director of Equalization Lily Heidebrink reported that the number of bunkers at Igloo is 575, with a total of 99 leased in 2021. “If all the bunkers are leased and lived in, the population could be larger than Edgemont,” she said. Currently, 201 bunkers are being valued by the assessor’s office.
Read it all here.


DMR editorial: ethanol is over

Ending America's dependence on so-called bridge fuels is an idea whose time has come. 

Following the release of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's latest measurements Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Lehman said that state's Nutrient Reduction Management Strategy is proving to be ineffective in controlling the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.  But, Lehman is concerned that without further financial incentives from the Biden administration Republican welfare farmers will simply continue polluting waterways.

In Iowa voluntary buffer strips and other conservation practices have simply failed desertifying parts of the state and causing the Raccoon River to be named one of the most endangered waterways in the United Snakes so Summit Carbon Solutions wants to dig a $4.5 billion pipeline that would rip up over 700 miles of unceded tribal lands where thousands of Indigenous Americans are buried. According to Iowa State University some land impacted by pipelines never recovers from the disturbance.
Instead of tossing more eggs into the biofuels basket — including both this bill and the wrongheaded proposals to crisscross carbon pipelines all over the state — Iowa and its leaders would be better served to figure out what comes after ethanol. The state won't be able to use its own laws and influence in Congress to perpetuate the "need" for biofuels forever. We have to find another way. Numerous hard questions need answers. What can soften the blow of a seemingly inevitable reduction in demand for corn and soybeans? How can monocultured farmland be restored to greater soil health? How can we avoid falling into "greenwashing" traps and prioritize real environmental benefits over profit-making? [Des Moines Register Editorial: Ethanol has been a boon for Iowa's economy. But it's time to pivot and figure out what's next]
Koch Industries' relationship with the late Republican Kansas Senator Bob Dole not only helped to delegitimize the issue of oil theft it allowed the company to build an ecoterrorism empire. Charles Koch was a member of the John Birch Society and Koch Industries has given loads of cash to Mike Rounds, Howdy Doody Dusty Johnson and John Thune. 

Sioux Falls-based POET bought a Koch-owned plant in Kansas in 2021.
POET, which has headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, supplies customers with CO2 for beverage carbonation, food processing, municipal water treatment, fire suppression, and various industrial uses. [Gasworld]
Today, Koch is praying for conflict in eastern Europe to drive fertilizer prices even higher.


Today in red state failure: Montana sez okay to shoot wolves from aircraft

Yes, Republican welfare ranchers are apoplectic about shooting destructive invasive cattle from helicopters on the Gila National Forest but they’re more than excited to slaughter wolves from aircraft.
While animals such as elk or mountain lions are legally classified as “big game,” and bobcats and beavers are classified as “furbearers,” wolves are classified as a “species in need of management” by the state of Montana. [FWP: Aerial hunting of wolves legal in Montana]
Not wolves, cougars or even coyotes — in 2019 golden eagles levied a 53% mortality rate on domestic sheep on one ranch in Wyoming. Yet, failed red states like Wyoming, Montana and Idaho are targeting wolves and grizzlies for extermination. 

Kill off apex predators like wolves and cougars, spray atrazine, neonicotinoids and glyphosate on everything then wonder why cervids like deer and wapiti contract a prion contagion like chronic wasting disease. 

Combine the absence of cultural fire, the extirpation of apex predators, the resulting rise of mesopredators, increasing numbers of domestic livestock, dogs and cats then stir in a melange of industrial chemicals with climate change and voila: red state collapse on parade

ip photo: a young coyote drinks from a photographer's water trap.


Plan to shoot feral cattle from aircraft tabled

Update: some 67 invasive cattle have been eliminated so far.


Update: court expedites removal, "Wildlife Services is killing the unbranded and unauthorized cows using suppressed firearms and non-toxic copper bullets."


The Gila National Forest near the New Mexico-Arizona border has had a problem with feral cattle for years after a grazing permittee went bankrupt then left his herd and the country in the 1970s. 

Agents from the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or APHIS had planned to reduce the population of some 250 invasive critters by shooting them from helicopters. But, Republican welfare ranchers who pay pennies a head per day to graze are concerned permitted cattle will be targeted so the US Forest Service has tabled the idea for now.

Early in 2020 the Center for Biological Diversity sued the Trump Organization's Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and its local representatives saying the agencies are allowing cattle in restricted areas along the Gila River and its tributaries in southwestern New Mexico and southeastern Arizona. Investigators from the Center discovered cattle on the Gila National Forest in excluded riparian zones in violation of a 1998 legal settlement. Because of pollution from cattle grazing American Rivers named the Gila the nation’s most endangered river in 2019. 

In 2020 Senate Bill 3670, the MH Dutch Salmon Greater Gila Wild and Scenic River Act was introduced by former Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). It would protect 450 miles and 23 segments of the Gila River and its tributaries in New Mexico under the 1968 National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. If passed the bill would also transfer 440 acres from the Gila National Forest within the US Department of Agriculture to the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument within the US Park Service and the Department of Interior. The bill was reintroduced by Democratic New Mexico Sen. Martin Heinrich in 2021.

Just north of the US border with Mexico long-time environmental activist, Ted Turner has teamed up with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of New Mexico to foster a pair of endangered Mexican gray wolves and their pups on his 243 square mile ranch near the Gila National Forest. Nearby, jaguars have been reintroduced.


Pulse crops filling gaps as drought intensifies

If livestock grazing is the key to preventing wildfires why is ranch country still suffering from near daily high even extreme grassland fire danger indices? 

Because of the deleterious impacts of livestock production on the environment plant-based diets are replacing animal protein in much of the world and even in the United States as eaters learn the levels of glyphosate, a known endocrine disruptor found in corn sugars and in small grains and hay fed to the creatures people eat, is incompatible with human life.

Warnings of drought coming from the National Weather Service and US Army Corps of Engineers are prompting farmers to plant less corn. Ethanol being grown for motor fuel is produced by burning diesel fuel. How is that either conservative or sustainable? The number of acres in agroecosystems has tripled since the 1940s but ag practices like tiling have made soils unable to absorb rainfall creating elevated levels of salinity and concentrated animal feeding operations contribute to nutrient runoff. 

Today the Chinese ring-necked pheasant isn't wildlife but it is a canary in a chemically and genetically engineered corn mine. Pulse crops like lentils, split peas, pintos, black beans and chickpeas or garbanzo beans are legumes that restore lost nitrogen in corn-damaged soils. 

Farm to table is now.
USA Pulses, a nonprofit trade association, notes that the crop is currently grown in nine states: California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Washington. The legumes are drought-resistant, require few inputs and fix nitrogen in the soil. An annual crop, they are often part of a rotation with other row crops, like wheat. Chickpea seeds are planted in April, and the pulses (the dried, edible seeds that grow in pods) are harvested in September. After harvest, growers sell their chickpeas to processing facilities to ensure the crops get from field to table. Chickpeas are often hailed as an ideal replacement for meat in vegan and vegetarian diets, but the powerful pulses aren’t just popular with those on specific diets. In fact, a nationwide interest in healthy, sustainable protein alternatives has allowed chickpeas to develop major staying power. [How chickpeas became America’s favorite superfood]
Our Lady of the Arroyo and an interested party are considering chickpeas for the garden this year.
And beyond simply being lower down on the food chain, pulses and legumes offer a broader suite of opportunities for food system sustainability. As members of the legume family, pulses fix nitrogen from the air into nitrogen that plants can use, thanks to the help of friendly bacteria that live in the plants’ roots. The upshot is that pulses require little or no manure or synthetic fertilizer. Additionally, they reduce the fertilizer needed for other crops in a farmer’s rotation system. And yet, the demand for pulse proteins is greater in other parts of the world, especially Far East Asia and Africa. Canada is the world’s largest exporter of both pulses and dry peas. The US is the third-largest exporter of pulses. [The Promise of Pulse Proteins]
Canada not only buys most of America's exported ethanol she's become the biggest foreign landowner in the US.


President Biden should consider an Indigenous woman at SCOTUS

There are 870 federal judges in the United States but only two are Native and neither serve on any of the nation's federal appeals courts nor on the Supreme Court. 

Nominated by President Joe Biden Sunshine Suzanne Sykes could be the first Indigenous American to serve on an Article III court in California and the first Navajo Article III judge anywhere in the country.
It is too early, according to some, for Biden to appoint a Native man or woman to the Supreme Court because he needs to appoint a black woman first. Why? Native Americans have waited for more than 200 years to have a judge on the court who understands their laws and concerns, but it will probably never happen in our lifetime because there is not one person in the White House who understands the difference between Indians and whites. [Native Sun News Today]
In 2011 this blog noted the absence of Native Americans on the federal bench then in 2013 President Barack Obama nominated Judge Diane Humetewa, Hopi, to the US District Court of Arizona and she was confirmed by the Senate in 2014. 
All article III judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. “Being female and Native American, people aren’t used to seeing us as lawyers, at least when I was practicing back in the ’90s,” she said. Humetewa said Native American judges are particularly needed in states with large Native populations. “It gives the community the perception that people that they see on the district court reflect their community and some familiarity with the environment,” she said. According to the Federal Judicial Center, only three Native Americans have been federal judges in history. Michael Burrage, Choctaw, was confirmed in 1994 and served on the bench in Oklahoma until 2001, when he returned to private practice. [Indian Country Today]
Nominating Judge Humetewa for SCOTUS is not a new idea.


Former deputy Forest Service Chief: Neiman will close Spearditch sawmill

As Jim Neiman threatens to close his sawmill in Spearditch timber harvesters in other states are converting the kilns that dry lumber to biochar production. 

Jim Furnish was deputy chief of the US Forest Service from 1999 to 2002.
Now the battle is on. Industry and SD and WY Reps and Govs are going nuts. [Neiman Enterprises] had 3 mills; closed Hill City last Spring and another closure will likely follow soon. And they blame the FS after modernizing to expand capacity and improve efficiency. Color me outraged. The vast majority of BHNF harvest is with Nieman [sic]. Maybe smaller mills will step into the void if they leave. I get that BHNF may have been over a barrel with Trump and Sonny Perdue at USDA … but now?? Stop the madness. [Furnish]
The Black Hills have been "beat to hell" after the Neimans pressured the Black Hills National Forest to overlog but in my home state of South Dakota Lawrence County, where Jim Neiman owns a sawmill, has so far been deprioritized in the BHNF's revised plan.
With the relatively low precipitation rate the Northern Hills has been seeing this winter, many residents are concerned about what the fire season will bring this summer; but according to Chris Stover, fire and fuels specialist with the U.S. Forest Service, the lack of snow is the more immediate threat. The Black Hills is a diverse forest system, which sits in an area where weather patterns can flip from year-to-year creating new challenges for its management. Stover said it’s vital for the health of our forest and the continued well-being of the people who live here that everyone do their part to meet those challenges whatever the weather. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Ponderosa pine sucks billions of gallons from aquifer recharges, needles absorb heat and accelerate snow melt while aspen leaves reflect sunlight in the summer months and hold snowpacks in winter. Insects like the mountain pine beetle and spruce bud worm can help promote drought- and fire-tolerant species like aspen.

The Black Hills hasn’t been a natural forest since probably 1863 when a nearly Hills-wide fire likely set by Lakota people hoping to clear pine opened grazing for distinct historic ungulates. The collapse of the Black Hills hydrologic region was forecast in 2002 even as the mountain pine beetle fights to save Paha Sapa water supplies.
With the increasing frequency and severity of altered disturbance regimes in dry, western U.S. forests, treatments promoting resilience have become a management objective but have been difficult to define or operationalize. Many reconstruction studies of these forests when they had active fire regimes have documented very low tree densities before the onset of fire suppression. Building on ecological theory and recent studies, we suggest that this historic forest structure promoted resilience by minimizing competition which in turn supported vigorous tree growth. Creating stands largely free of competition would require a fundamental rethinking of how frequent-fire forests can be managed for resilience. [Operational resilience in western US frequent-fire forests]
Blaine Cook and Dave Mertz are just two former Forest Service employees concerned about the 13,000 acre Bull Springs Timber Sale in Custer County. According to Mertz there haven't been any litigators to sue the Forest Service allowing Republicans to infiltrate management of the Black Hills National Forest. 

Lodgepole pine and Douglas fir have been extirpated from the Black Hills for nearly a century, the oldest aspen was logged out during European settlement; yet, tiny stands of old-growth ponderosa pine can still be found in the Hills. Ponderosa pine contains a much higher level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than many other cone-bearing trees and tends to be more explosive in wildfire conditions especially when under drought stress. Beetle-affected trees are pockmarked with ‘pitchouts’ that burst into flames during wildfires and torch more readily.

Overstory removal can work because conscientious land managers have learned that where fire is introduced after mechanical harvest emerging aspen and other hardwoods add the biodiversity necessary to sustain healthy ecosystems while sequestering carbon. 

New Mexico has been home to much larger aspen communities in the fairly recent past. Because it reproduces clonally underground from adult trees aspen (Populus tremuloides) is one of the first plants to reestablish after fire. Fuel treatments on the Santa Fe National Forest helped contain the Medio Fire in 2020. 

Neiman is currently logging within the Sioux Ranger District on a national forest named for a war criminal and has stepped up harvest on the Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming where there are still stands of Douglas fir to feed their sawmill in Hulett which is expected to remain operational.