Thursday, April 30, 2015

Obamanomics driving decline in SD SNAP numbers

Tia Kafka, communications director for the South Dakota Department of Social Services, said the decrease in SNAP benefits distributed can be attributed to the state and country’s recovering economy. SNAP benefits are based on a federal formula. Eligible households are issued a monthly allotment of SNAP benefits based on the federal Thrifty Food Plan (TFP), a low-cost model diet plan. The TFP is based on National Academy of Sciences’ recommended dietary allowances. The minimum monthly benefit an eligible household may receive is $10. The maximum depends on the household size. As part of the commitment to program integrity, Kafka said, the USDA works closely with the states to ensure the accuracy of eligibility and benefit determinations. [Custer County Chronicle]
In stark contrast to his GOP successor former US Senator Tim Johnson knew how to help real South Dakotans.
USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Bruce Jones announced today that $463.8 million was invested in rural South Dakota communities from Oct. 1, 2013, through Sept. 30, 2014. Since 2009, $2.4 billion has been invested in South Dakota’s economy and of that total, $229.4 million has been secured for projects on reservations. For more information on reservation projects, see the Rural Development Report on Tribal Projects in South Dakota 2009-2014.
Read it here.

Denise Ross has a look at Senator Johnson's legacy posted at the Mitchell Daily Republic: subscription may be required.

Donate to Senator Johnson's South Dakota First PAC.

Pierre bracing for loss of federal air service subsidy


Mike Rounds can't fly home.
Recent concerns of poor service and late or canceled flights from Great Lakes Airlines have prompted Pierre officials to try and find a different air carrier as of lately. Pierre’s bid to get another airline firm, Aerodynamics Inc., to provide flights in and out of the capitol is not going to happen.
Read it here.

South Dakota's At-large Representative Republican Kristi Noem voted for an amendment that would have ended federal funding for Amtrak. A bill investing $8 billion in Amtrak's future was ultimately passed.

Recall that former GOP governor, Mike Rounds, squandered Amtrak money on an airplane for his personal use now Pierre continues to suffer Essential Air Service woes and low boarding numbers even while the legislature is in session.

Sanders expected to drive Clinton to the left; Franken for Veep?

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is a self-confirmed "Democratic Socialist."
The 73-year-old is considered a long shot but if elected, he would be the oldest person and first Jewish person to serve as commander-in-chief. He was the butt of an Obama joke at this year's White House Correspondents' dinner. "Apparently people really want to see a pot-smoking socialist in the White House," the president said. "We could get a third Obama term after all." [NPR]
A ticket with Hillary Clinton and Minnesota's Al Franken as her veep pick would be formidable against whichever clowns the GOP nominate.


Custer resident: Black Elk massacred white people

Revisionist history turned the Wounded Knee Massacre into a battle where soldiers were awarded medals of honor and peaks in the Black Hills were named after murderers like George Armstrong Custer.
Public comment hearings before the State Board of Geographic names are being held throughout the state as a result of a petition drive to change the name of Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak or something more culturally sensitive. Custer resident Leola McAfee says she doesn’t favor changing the name, but if it is changed she would like to see a more neutral name, "Black Elk was really not that much better than Harney. He also committed massacres, the only difference was he was an Indian massacring white people", said McAfee. [KOTA teevee]
Harney Peak's Lakota name is “Hinhan Kaga” or the place of owls.

The mountain was made taller than South Dakota's highest natural point, Odakota Mountain, by white people with concrete and stone. It is not the highest US point east of the Rocky Mountains, either: Guadalupe Peak in Texas is.

South Dakota: red state collapse on parade.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Secret Service cautioned about SD law enforcement

Dear President Obama, US Secret Service:

No law enforcement agency in South Dakota can be trusted.

The South Dakota Republican Party owns the Department of Public Safely, is comprised of fringe groups, some violent, and voted to impeach the President of the United States.

Vigilance takes on a whole new meaning in a state where people of color are routinely shot without cause by a law enforcement industry with Marty Jackley at its helm.

At least one former SDGOP legislator, Don Kopp is heralding the End Days; his warnings appeared recently in a letter to the editor of the Rapid City Journal as do Betty Olson's, a sitting lawmaker.

There isn't a single officer or resident of the state who wouldn't take you down and not go to trial as a hero if such an incident, Allah forbid, take place.

Just sayin.

Iowa hates Steve King

According to court documents released to the Associated Press Dakota Dunes-based slaughter house BPI was in the business clique that raised concerns about a state official GOP Iowa Governor Terry Brandstad tried to force from office.

Using ammonia to reduce bacteria the company processes a lean, finely textured beef product that critics often call “pink slime.” BPI had a processing plant in Iowa but moved its headquarters to South Dakota to take advantage of its regressive tax structure.
Iowa voters are strongly opposed to Governor Branstad's proposal to privatize Medicaid. Just 22% of voters are in support of it, with a 52% majority against. Both Democrats (7/78) and independents (25/49) are firmly against it and even Republicans (36/26) are only narrowly in favor. Steve King is an unpopular figure on a statewide basis- only 30% of voters have a positive view of him to 41% with a negative one. But he breaks even in his own district at 41/41, which has been good enough to keep getting him reelected. [Public Policy Polling]
King believes the Supreme Court of the United States has no authority to rule on marriage equality.
In a legal deposition, Branstad denied allegations levied in a lawsuit that he targeted former Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey because Godfrey is gay. Branstad repeatedly defended the company’s product in the deposition, bristling when attorney Roxanne Conlin called it “pink slime.” [Associated Press]
BPI donates generously to Republican candidates like Branstad and to South Dakota's GOP delegation.
I found myself looking at my own personal ledger. And what I found, was that I owe a debt for many things. I am so far in the red, I need to start paying that tremendous debt back. Because these are debts I owe to my family for their love and support over the years. [Dan Lederman]
Sleaze and crime built Dan's business. He spent $50,000 to buy a seat in the legislature flaunting the same class throwing it away resigning after the 2015 session. No doubt his name has come up in the federal Bendagate investigation linked with his ties to human trafficking and his role in electioneering the 2014 US Senate race.

Steve King and Dan Lederman make pink slime look um um good.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Thune's bill to hijack prescribed fires DOA

Frank Carroll has more knowledge about forest management in his middle finger than John Thune has in his entire closet.

South Dakota Public Broadcasting interviewed Carroll who spoke about the Cold Brook Fire and how additional acres burned beyond what was prescribed is 6 times better for Wind Cave National Park than fire managers had expected.

But South Dakota's vulnerable senior senator wants to control how science fights fire with fire by introducing grandstand legislation that would hamper those efforts.
Wind Cave Chief Interpreter Tom Farrell has said the park has performed thousands of prescribed burns and successfully burned millions of acres to prevent more catastrophic wildfires. He also has said weather conditions were appropriate for a prescribed burn. [Associated Press]
In the words of one Republican:
Thune is acting like a moron. So they stop burning when it is needed and a much larger fire happens…..Let me guess: you’ll look to the feds for monetary support. [comment, Daniel Buresh]
Couldn't have said it better myself.

Federal agencies always coordinate prescribed burns with local and state officials while using weather models to optimize fuel treatment effectiveness.

Hey, John: how is heaping another layer of bureaucracy on a federal agency, whose budget is pinched already by your political party's anal retentiveness, conservative or sustainable?

Thune's bill is going nowhere.

USDA, HUD select Pine Ridge as 'Promise Zone'

Former US Senator Tim Johnson is still delivering for tribal nations trapped in South Dakota.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have pledged Pine Ridge as one of eight new "Promise Zones:"
Promise Zones are high-poverty communities in which the federal government partners with local leaders to increase economic activity, improve educational opportunities, leverage private investment, reduce violent crime, enhance public health and address other priorities identified by the community, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. [Rapid City Journal]
Castro is considered a possible Clinton running mate and is attending veep school.

Jim Kent brings this news from South Dakota Public Broadcasting:
As federal checks of substantial amounts are sent out to tribal members across the country, banking institutions and local banks are preparing for their impact. Some 4,000 fractionated tracts of land on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation alone have the potential to deliver $69 million into the pockets of 8,000 tribal members. [excerpt, Kent]

Hickey: SD racism looks like Deep South

GOP legislator, Steve Hickey wants the state to fly flags at half-mast during President Obama's visit to raise awareness of suicides in Indian Country.

Hickey spoke with KCCR Radio and is imploring the legislature to address the racial tensions between tribal nations trapped in the state and the white people who make the rules off-reservation.
From my end of the state I’ll continue to push the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation commission like the one that helped S. Africa get past the atrocities and racial tensions after apartheid. There have been 40 such commissions worldwide since the first and most famous one in S. Africa. They have gone by a variety of names. The one in Peru was called a historical clarification commission. They have worked to move societies out of a painful past and contentious present into a good future together. You can continue to be stuck and stubborn your present attitude and mindset but we are all worse off for it. My view is we need leaders who also lead the conversation and are willing to engage the public on blogs and in the press. If you want someone who sits there and goes along and does and saying nothing noteworthy please help that someone beat me this upcoming election. [comment, Rep. Steve Hickey]
The election of GOPer John Thune forced the Wakpa Sica Reconciliation Place into bankruptcy.

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.






Monday, April 27, 2015

Tim Johnson's efforts helped USDA rural development deliver


In stark contrast to his GOP successor former US Senator Tim Johnson knew how to help real South Dakotans.
USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Bruce Jones announced today that $463.8 million was invested in rural South Dakota communities from Oct. 1, 2013, through Sept. 30, 2014. Since 2009, $2.4 billion has been invested in South Dakota’s economy and of that total, $229.4 million has been secured for projects on reservations. For more information on reservation projects, see the Rural Development Report on Tribal Projects in South Dakota 2009-2014.
Read it here.

Denise Ross has a look at Senator Johnson's legacy posted at the Mitchell Daily Republic: subscription may be required.

Donate to Senator Johnson's South Dakota First PAC.

Photo, courtesy Northern Plains News: former Senator Tim Johnson addresses the South Dakota Democratic Convention.

NYT editorial: prosecute Bush henchmen


These are, simply, crimes. They are prohibited by federal law, which defines torture as the intentional infliction of “severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” They are also banned by the Convention Against Torture, the international treaty that the United States ratified in 1994 and that requires prosecution of any acts of torture. But any credible investigation should include former Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who drafted what became known as the torture memos.
Read it here.

Cannabis already legal in parts of South Dakota

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

Brandon Ecoffey is editor of Lakota Country Times.
Over a year ago I had a conversation with former OST councilman Larry Eagle Bull Sr. about the possibility of legalizing marijuana on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. At that time we estimated that tribes would have approximately a 3 year window to establish its own industry before the rest of the country rapidly legalizes and big corporations take over production. Last week when the Wounded Knee district board passed a motion indicated that at least some in the district support legalization the debate picked up steam once again. The citizens of the Oglala Nation deserve to have a strong economy and legalized pot may be the quickest way to achieve it. [Ecoffey, posted at Indianz]
Deadwood and tribal gaming are inextricably linked. Revenue from the sales of cannabis would require a change in the state's constitution just as it was to enter gaming compacts with tribal nations. South Dakota's gaming commission could regulate off-reservation cultivation and sales.
A Senate committee approved a measure Wednesday that would allow terminally ill patients access to treatments that aren't FDA approved but have undergone some testing. Rep. Leslie Heinemann, R-Flandreau, is the prime sponsor of House Bill 1080. The bill is written to waive liability and also makes participation voluntary for patients, doctors and drug companies, Heinemann says. "When patients come see us as physicians, they're not only looking for ways to get better, they're also looking for hope," Sen. Blake Curd, R-Sioux Falls, said.
Read more at KELO teevee linked here.
The South Dakota Democratic Party supports:
10. Ongoing evidence-based research into the use of alternative medical therapies for specific patient populations.
11. The patient’s right to privacy and confidentiality and the resources to make an informed decision in one’s health care.
Addiction? After some guy named Janklow closed the brothels in Deadwood for political gain to cover up his being implicated in the death of Jancita Eagle Deer, Bill Walsh and Tom Blair pressed a five-dollar bet limit to preserve historic Deadwood because the Syndicate Building burned to the ground.

South Dakota's junior senator signaled support for Attorney General Eric Holder's drive to bring cannabis into the mainstream by voting against Lynch's confirmation to succeed Holder.

U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy believes cannabis shows medical value and supports its expanded research as medicine.

Unaffiliated or so-called 'independent' voters support legal cannabis overwhelmingly.

Racism and guns are bolstering Republican gains in the West while young people, cannabis rights advocates and Latino voters support Democratic efforts.

Tribes can do this: the South Dakota Legislature should be kept out of the cannabis loop completely unless Deadwood chooses to be the test bed off-reservation.

If the South Dakota Democratic Party is too timid to tackle legal cannabis the task should fall to the fledgling South Dakota Progress.

Albright, Daschle to address SDSU forum

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is scheduled speak at South Dakota State University as part of the second annual Daschle Dialogues. Albright is expected to be joined by former Senate Majority Leader and SDSU alum, Tom Daschle at the event slated for 13 October.

The address comes after Michelle Malkin speaks to SDSU about EB-5 abuses.

In 1993, then-U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle requested the Government Accountability Office conduct a study of Indian Health Service employment practices, specifically in the areas of salaries and recruitment programs.

Again making waves in the state, Daschle spoke in Watertown at a fundraiser for the Aspire Foundation ahead of President Obama's commencement speech for graduates of Lake Area Technical Institute.

The state's vulnerable At-large US representative blew off a roundtable in Watertown fearing charges of grandstanding.

According to one source Daschle will not accompany President Obama in Watertown.

Astute political observers are watching Daschle energizing state Democrats, American Indians and veterans ahead of a possible run against South Dakota's vulnerable senior senator who signed a mutinous letter to Iran.

Oblivious to ethics, the current GOP South Dakota governor signed a bill reversing the so-called 'Daschle Rule' that restricted candidates from appearing in multiple spots on the ballot.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Daugaard leadership voids leave fire departments in the lurch

Prescriptive fires should have been set weeks ago but South Dakota, suffering repeated leadership lapses, now faces red flag conditions settling over the state.
Of 337 fire departments in South Dakota, 326 were all volunteer, and six were a combination of paid and volunteer, according to a 2013 demographics study conducted by the South Dakota Fire Marshal’s Office. There were just under 7,900 volunteer firefighters, as opposed to 426 paid firefighters. The volunteer force had an average age of 42.3. A review of financial reports, however, show that many departments have needs. Some think that a program similar to one offered to Minnesota’s volunteer firefighters could be a solution. But even that can’t fully compensate for the fact that people are busier with family and work lives. [Jonathan Ellis]
Joe Lowe called South Dakota's current GOP governor, Dennis Daugaard, incompetent and uninterested in governing.

Lowe obviously believed that South Dakota's governor is not taking the ecological collapse taking place on the Black Hills seriously enough.

A trustworthy or competent US Representative would call out the failures of the Daugaard regime but making South Dakota a perpetual federal disaster area is the only way Republicans know how to pay the bills.

RCJ blasts Daugaard, Jackley on Bendagate affair

As former US Attorney for the District of South Dakota Brendan Johnson moves into private practice the US Department of Justice has refused to trust the state's attorney general with sensitive information in the EB-5 scandal.
It should come as no surprise when the Gov. Daugaard Administration decides not to release information concerning an EB-5 visa program that continues to be shrouded in mystery. In March, the Journal's legislative correspondent, Bob Mercer, asked the state Supreme Court to release Attorney General Marty Jackley's death report on Richard Benda, a former state department head and SDRC official who reportedly shot himself in the stomach with a shotgun while dressed in hunting gear near Lake Andes. Since Benda died in October 2013, state officials have seemingly went the extra yard to keep this program under wraps. This lack of transparency reaffirms the fact that closure in this case is not on any agenda in Pierre, which raises even more questions.
Read it here.
The Department of Justice is refusing to release records related to former cabinet secretary Richard Benda, who was at the heart of a state and federal investigation into the state's EB-5 program. The department declined the Argus Leader's request for Benda's FBI file, indicating the matter remains under investigation. The department's response to a Freedom of Information Act request said that releasing the records "could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings." Also included in the investigation was the Department of Justice's Public Integrity unit, which investigates allegations of corruption among elected and appointed government officials.​ The attorney general's office is defending itself from a lawsuit brought by journalist Bob Mercer, who is trying to force the office to release more information about the Benda investigation. The hearing is later this month. [Jonathan Ellis]
Oooops.

Hey, nutball winger, Michelle Malkin is coming to South Dakota State University invited by campus Republicans but SDGOP is scared spitless of what she's going to say.
Can we stop putting America up for sale to the most politically connected bidders yet? Where is our self-respect? Created under an obscure section of the expansionist 1990 Immigration Act, EB-5 promised bountiful economic development for the U.S. in exchange for granting permanent residency (and eventual American citizenship) to foreign investors. A few years later, Congress conjured up the idea of EB-5 “regional centers” — government-sanctioned business groups and corporate entities acting as middlemen to administer the immigrant investments and facilitate the visa peddling. One underling called it “a whole new phase of yuck.” [Michelle Malkin]
The SDGOP's culture of corruption, controlled by principals in banking and health care industries, is unravelling: with federal diligence Pierre could be soon be liberated.

No-show Noem blows off Watertown event

So much for trying to upstage President Obama.
If you were planning on attending that roundtable discussion with Congresswoman Kristi Noem in Watertown this afternoon—you can stay home. Noem has had to cancel the event. She was scheduled to talk with local business and community leaders about small business issues, taxes and health care, but a spokeswoman says she needs to remain in Washington today.
Read it here.

Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown is scheduled to host President Obama who will deliver the commencement speech for the Class of '15.
Watertown Public Schools will dismiss students early on May 8th—the day President Obama will be in town to speak to graduates of Lake Area Technical Institute. K-through-8th grade students in Watertown Public Schools, Watertown Christian and Immaculate Conception will dismiss at 1:30 with busses running at that time. To assist with the early dismissal that day, the Watertown Boys and Girls Club will host after school programs for students in grades K through 6 at each Watertown public elementary school. [KWAT Radio]
LATI has joined with Habitat for Humanity for a Watertown construction project.
2015 graduates of Lake Area Technical Institute can now sign up for tickets for Commencement Day featuring keynote speaker President Barack Obama. LATI spokeswoman LuAnn Strait says the college has set up a specific “graduate” tab on the LATI web site, Graduates need to access that site to get a ticket for themselves and up to four family members to attend the graduation ceremony. [KWAT Radio]
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle remains a popular figure among South Dakota Democrats, American Indians and veterans. He is expected to accompany Obama in Watertown and some believe he is ready to help energize the state party.

Under Obama's leadership confidence in the economy is at its highest since the Great Recession.

Democrat Matt Varilek ran a strong but unsuccessful campaign against Republican Noem in 2012. As Region 8 director for the Small Business Administration Matt Varilek has done far more for South Dakota than Kristi Noem has.
Our partner network of business experts can boost your chances of success with free and confidential one-on-one counseling, training and mentorship. Last year, these efforts helped small firms throughout the nation secure more than $4.7 billion in capital, start more than 13,500 new companies, and create and retain more than 70,000 American jobs.
Read that here.

South Dakota's current governor has turned to Varilek and the SBA after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied one in a barrage of disaster declaration requests from the red state. The governor's political party passed a resolution at their convention to impeach President Obama who appointed Varilek.

Noem has a history of flakiness and not showing up for things.

Photo: Rep. Aaron Schock and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) at the Great Wall of China last April.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Registration opens for “Empower Your Lakota Story” inaugural


Journalists for Diversity has opened up registration for the coalition’s first regional media summit May 2.

Empower Your Lakota Story” will bring journalists from around the country for a conference centered on media literacy, multimedia training, entrepreneurial journalism and a special town hall.
The event at American Horse School in Allen, South Dakota, is free and will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kevin Abourezk, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux and a higher education reporter with the Lincoln Journal Star, is the event’s keynote speaker. Nationally syndicated cartoonists Ricardo Caté and Lalo Alcaraz, also will attend and hold cartoon workshops for Lakota children.
Caté's syndicated cartoons appear in the Santa Fe New Mexican. He is an enrolled member of the Santo Domingo Pueblo. His art appears above courtesy: Indianz.

Attendees can register here.



Low level terrorist = South Dakota Patriot

LOW LEVEL TERRORIST FROM SOUTH DAKOTA EMBROIDERED BASEBALL CAPS.

Discover the latest Tea Party gear for South Dakota. Visit the Universal Tea Party Gear Category for personalized Tea Party gear.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Rock: MLB not black enough

When serious journalists like Bob Mercer pull on the mantle of American jingoism it makes my skin crawl.
Chris Rock thinks baseball has a problem: It's not black enough. And while baseball team owners are making more money than ever, Rock said, their fan base continues to grow older and less diverse. The average age of a person who tunes into the game is 53. Of those viewers, five out of six are white. Meanwhile, little league participation is down and only 8 percent of MLB players are black. As Rock quips, "that's an average of two guys per team—and those two probably listen to Blake Shelton to keep from getting their ass kicked by their teammates." [National Journal]


Varilek outpacing Noem in bringing jobs to South Dakota

As Region 8 director for the Small Business Administration Matt Varilek has done far more for South Dakota than Kristi Noem has.
Our partner network of business experts can boost your chances of success with free and confidential one-on-one counseling, training and mentorship. Last year, these efforts helped small firms throughout the nation secure more than $4.7 billion in capital, start more than 13,500 new companies, and create and retain more than 70,000 American jobs.
Read it here.

Democrat Varilek ran a strong but unsuccessful campaign against Republican Noem in 2012.

South Dakota's current governor has turned to Varilek and the SBA after the Federal Emergency Management Agency denied one in a barrage of disaster declaration requests from the red state. The governor's political party passed a resolution at their convention to impeach President Obama who appointed Varilek.


Under Rounds, Daugaard, Jackley adult and teen binge drinking off the charts


Hey, Governor Daugaard: it's time for you to pardon Bob Newland.
As the map shows, more than 30% of adults in North Dakota and South Dakota admitted to binge drinking during the previous month. Those in surrounding states had high rates of binge drinking, as well.
Read it here.

A change in Nebraska law that allows petition organizers to pay circulators by the signature, instead of by the hour has fired up cannabis rights advocates.
Supporters said they've started gathering signatures to place the issue on the November 2016 ballot. Despite significant hurdles, activists from the Omaha chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said the new petitioning law will make a difference. "It's still a mighty task, but this helps us tremendously," said Bryan Boganowski, the founder of Omaha NORML. Organizers hope to replicate the efforts of last year's successful ballot campaign to increase the minimum wage, which relied heavily on financial support from unions and wealthy Democratic donors. [Associated Press]
There is some debate in South Dakota Democratic circles about whether Bill Maher's planned appearance helps or stunts the party's chances of a resurgence or if the issue might be better advanced by the fledgling South Dakota Progress.

Watertown schools to dismiss early for Obama gala

Lake Area Technical Institute in Watertown is scheduled to host President Obama who will deliver the commencement speech for the Class of '15.
Watertown Public Schools will dismiss students early on May 8th—the day President Obama will be in town to speak to graduates of Lake Area Technical Institute. K-through-8th grade students in Watertown Public Schools, Watertown Christian and Immaculate Conception will dismiss at 1:30 with busses running at that time. To assist with the early dismissal that day, the Watertown Boys and Girls Club will host after school programs for students in grades K through 6 at each Watertown public elementary school. [KWAT Radio]
LATI has joined with Habitat for Humanity for a Watertown construction project.
2015 graduates of Lake Area Technical Institute can now sign up for tickets for Commencement Day featuring keynote speaker President Barack Obama. LATI spokeswoman LuAnn Strait says the college has set up a specific “graduate” tab on the LATI web site, Graduates need to access that site to get a ticket for themselves and up to four family members to attend the graduation ceremony. [KWAT Radio]
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle remains a popular figure among South Dakota Democrats, American Indians and veterans. He is expected to accompany Obama in Watertown and some believe he is ready to help energize the state party.

Under Obama's leadership confidence in the economy is at its highest since the Great Recession.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pierre flushing town after noxious session. Do I go for the obvious joke?

There must be a joke in this story somewhere.
State officials said Tuesday a Hughes County grand jury has indicted Pierre’s former longtime sewer works superintendent on 10 counts alleging he lied for more than a year in official reports about how well the city’s wastewater was treated before it was dumped into the Missouri River. [Pierre Capital Journal]
Still struggling to find a reason for people to fly into Pierre, the city's GOP mayor is calling for the town to be scrubbed down after the legislative session.
The next week and a half will bring a flurry of activity to Pierre-as part of this year’s Go Green and Clean Campaign. Pierre Mayor Laurie Gill officially started the 2015 campaign yesterday on Earth Day with an address before a group of students at Georgia Morse Middle School. After Wednesday’s talk before the middle school students, Gill said there is a lot of momentum with this year’s campaign, as several volunteers have committed to various clean-up and improvement projects. She said Pierre received a call recently from the National Cities of Service Organization which asked about the annual campaign and how the city can organize so many volunteers to help. [Dakota Radio Group]
Here is the audio of Senator Billie Sutton reflecting on the legislature as a guest on SDPB's Dakota Midday. He cites strong leadership from Sens. Bernie Hunhoff and Jason Frerichs as critical support for minority Democrats.
Senator Bernie Hunhoff of Yankton says it was a disappointing finish. The road funding bill was the last spending bill that passed. It will raise taxes and fees by about fifty million dollars for road improvements. Hunhoff says that bill turned into a mess. [WNAX]
Sutton laments the virtual single-party rule in Pierre where Republicans march legislation through to a tune orchestrated by the autocratic executive branch. He also cited GOP infighting between the senate and the house as a distraction from important work in a short session.

Hunhoff spoke with voters in Rapid City today:
"What we've got to do is keep building from the grass roots, finding good candidates at the local level, whether it's city commission, school board, county commission or legislature and keep building that farm team. We've got some really really fine young leaders around the state. A lot of them don't have a lot of name recognition right now. We've got a good farm team and we just need to wait for the cycle to move through. We've got a good farm team and we just need to wait for the cycle to move through. I'm confident that South Dakota, in general, is becoming more progressive." [KEVN]
That my home state has become a chemical toilet is just one more sign of red state collapse.

Tickets for Obama event open to LATI students

LATI is scheduled to host President Obama who will deliver the commencement speech for the Class of '15. Under his leadership confidence in the economy is at its highest since the Great Recession.
2015 graduates of Lake Area Technical Institute can now sign up for tickets for Commencement Day featuring keynote speaker President Barack Obama. LATI spokeswoman LuAnn Strait says the college has set up a specific “graduate” tab on the LATI web site, Graduates need to access that site to get a ticket for themselves and up to four family members to attend the graduation ceremony. [KWAT Radio]
LATI has joined with Habitat for Humanity for a Watertown construction project.

Letter: feds should investigate SD courts

Family law courts in South Dakota are disgusting, disturbing and highly abusive. The Lakota People’s Law Project was the first organization to uncover the Mette rape scandal, publishing a full investigative report in 2013. The Lakota People’s and growing voices are demanding that the U.S. Department of Justice launch a full-scale investigation into the Mette rape scandal. What that means is that judges in South Dakota know they are a protected class.
Read it here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thune wants control of prescribed fires; Carroll: Cold Brook Fire 'roaring success'

In the SDGOP one hand has no idea what the other hand does.

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

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

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

On Earth Day South Dakotans struggle to salvage habitat

South Dakota suffers from high cancer rates and instances of spontaneous abortions due to industrial agriculture. The Big Sioux and James River systems are poisonous to anyone exposed to the liquids within their banks that used to be water.

In 2010, after another GOP governor gutted environmental protection in South Dakota, the Big Sioux River was named the thirteenth most polluted river in the US and nearly every waterway in the state suffers impairment.
There will be a recycled art contest highlighting work from local college students, free hor d'oeuvres and door prizes, and a speech by Omaha sustainability consultant Craig Moody at 7 p.m. called "Talking the Talk on Climate Change." [Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
And:
Meghann Jarchow, USD’s sustainability coordinator, said the point of having a week long celebration of Earth is to make Earth Day a broad topic beyond just a day or a week out of the year. [The USD Volante]

Reed Richards is an attorney practicing in Deadwood and Spearfish: he is also Treasurer for the Lawrence County Democrats.
The Rapid City Journal recently applauded the EPA for its actions on the Gilt Edge Mine disaster. Why don’t South Dakota newspapers do some reporting on why the EPA has had to declare the area a Super Fund Site?
The record is clear. In the 1980’s, Gov. Bill Janklow and his Republican toadies forced through the approval of the Brohm Mining permit (it’s good for business, you know) even though knowledgeable opponents clearly pointed out that the bond was inadequate (so far, by about $90 million tax dollars and still counting).
So, what’s the moral of this story? Have you heard of the Trans Canadian Pipeline? Good for business, the Republican politicians say. They don’t need a big bond because their pipeline will never leak (really?). Besides, if it does leak, they will clean it up (sure they will). They won’t go bankrupt like Brohm, (we have their word on that) and leave the taxpayers holding the bag.
This bullroar is South Dakota’s very own Groundhog Day. When will the citizens stand up and tell the South Dakota Republican politicians to stop using South Dakota as a waste dump so their business supporters can make millions at the expense of South Dakota’s clean air and water. [Reed Richards, Sioux Falls Argus Leader, links mine.]
Photo: Rapid City Journal.

Habitat destruction, lapses in ethics, crime spikes, increased incarceration rates, more people infected with sexually transmitted diseases, the failure of prisons, human trafficking: all mark the terms of Republican governors in South Dakota.

That my home state has become a chemical toilet is just one more sign of red state collapse.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Obama Watertown host to team with Habitat

Building Trades students from Lake Area Technical Institute are partnering with the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity on a Watertown construction project. [KWAT Radio]
LATI is scheduled to host President Obama who will deliver the commencement speech for the Class of '15. Under his leadership confidence in the economy is at its highest since the Great Recession.

Habitat for Humanity enjoys the support of Rosalynn and former Pres. Jimmy Carter. Carter tried to save the world during his Presidency but nobody cared.

icymi:
President Jimmy Carter spoke March 6, 2015 in Minneapolis at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum sponsored by Augsburg College. His book is titled, "A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power." [Minnesota Public Radio]
Reading reports from District 28's Republican senator Betty Olson can be a bit of a trip. One has to suspend some disbelief when reading lines like these:
I got HCR 1003 urging the federal government to abolish the US Department of Education passed in the Senate on Thursday. Pres. Carter inflicted the Dept. of Education on us in 1979 so the feds could dictate to the states how we educate our children. If the Dept. of Ed. was abolished, it would save between $30 and $50 billion that could go toward the $18 trillion national debt and allow the states to control education. [Communities, Rapid City Journal]
Cuba is Earth's second most literate country; the US is tied for 20th.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Madison parish reading Mass en Español

A blog formerly based in Madison apparently no longer follows Lake County stories.
The Madison Daily Leader reports that Francisco Vargas has started the church Cristo Viene. Vargas has experience as a pastor and has been doing radio ministry for 13 years. Services in Spanish are held twice a week and Vargas says they are open to anyone.

Read it here.


Dominus vobiscum, Pilgrim.

Obama event shines light on rare South Dakota success story

Excitement is building for President Obama's visit to South Dakota. The event is cast to fulfill part of his proposal in the State of the Union address where community colleges and technical institutes be supported by the federal government.
South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Ann Tornberg said her office and Lake Area Technical Institute where Obama will deliver the commencement address May 8 have been bombarded with ticket requests. Each of the state’s technical schools is a treasure, Tornberg said at the Beadle County Democratic Forum on Thursday. She said LATI has promised 748 tickets to the students; each graduate will receive six tickets for family members. [Roger Larsen, Huron Daily Plainsman]
Under GOP tyranny South Dakota has been suffering under low wages, spikes in crime rates and sexually-transmitted diseases and crushing teacher shortages.

South Dakota is the only state unvisited by President Obama and his team says he is determined to visit all fifty states by the end of his term.

The Obama administration continues reaching out to Indian Country and helping communities to organize with education at their cores.


Noem fleeing T Party, now bilking DC, taxpayers

Kristi Noem wants to sit on a US House death panel.

She's raising campaign cash out of one side of her mouth while decrying Big Government out the other side even as the national GOP is rethinking whether all that money is really free speech.

South Dakota's lone representative is boasting about voting to give 20 SDGOP donors a tax break even lying about why her family business had to take out a loan after the death of her father.
Asked to defend this, Republican leaders – the same leaders who balk at all requests for public investment, saying the nation is too “broke” to fund domestic priorities – say it’s only “fair” to approve a $269 billion giveaway to the hyper-wealthy. It’s like Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens got together to write a novel, and Congress’ majority wants Americans to live in it. [MSNBC]
Kristi Noem's ALEC handlers are putting the screws to her.
The US House passed a budget resolution that could make major changes in how Medicare operates. South Dakota Congresswoman Kristi Noem says the plan would expand means testing as a way of covering costs. Noem says the changes would not really take effect for some time. Senior citizens can sign up for Medicare when they turn 65, but starting in 2024, that would increase by two months a year, eventually moving up to age 67. In that same time, the plan would change into a voucher program, where seniors could buy coverage on a health insurance exchange. [WNAX]
Too funny.
Helping middle class families take advantage of the benefits of the health care law, like ensuring millions of seniors and people with disabilities have access to more affordable prescription medications and free preventive services through Medicare, should be a top priority for lawmakers in Washington. Yet instead of working to fix the law, Congresswoman Noem and her tea party friends have voted to repeal the health care law more than 40 times. They even shut down the government to prevent new benefits, like saving seniors money on prescription drugs and preventative services, from taking effect. [South Dakota Democratic Party]
Save Medicare! Fire Noem. Get Your Free Sticker Today!


Rounds foot-dragging on AG advances cannabis policy

Narcs are playing a key role in western North Dakota’s drug scene.

On 4/20 South Dakota's junior senator is signaling support for Attorney General Eric Holder's drive to bring cannabis into the mainstream. While Tike Mike Rounds says he'll vote to bring Loretta Lynch's nomination to the Senate floor his final no vote will keep Holder at the Department of Justice.
Yet, one thing is quite clear. Loretta Lynch holds a less reform-oriented position on marijuana than does President Obama or Attorney General Eric Holder. As the nation’s top law enforcement official her influence on the issue will be substantial, and a new Justice Department status quo could be a real possibility. [John Hudak, Brookings Institution]
U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy believes cannabis shows medical value and supports its expanded research as medicine.

Unaffiliated or so-called 'independent' voters support legal cannabis overwhelmingly.

Racism and guns are bolstering Republican gains in the West while young people, cannabis rights advocates and Latino voters support Democratic efforts.

With the help of the GOP establishment the ethics-negative Rounds bought his Senate seat by bringing a former Republican senator to run as a liberal siphoning resources and votes from a more qualified Democratic candidate.

Rounds is now pimping his grandchildren to divert attention from his Bendagate foibles.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cannabis coming to Nebraska ballot

A change in Nebraska law that allows petition organizers to pay circulators by the signature, instead of by the hour has fired up cannabis rights advocates.
Supporters said they've started gathering signatures to place the issue on the November 2016 ballot. Despite significant hurdles, activists from the Omaha chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said the new petitioning law will make a difference. "It's still a mighty task, but this helps us tremendously," said Bryan Boganowski, the founder of Omaha NORML. Organizers hope to replicate the efforts of last year's successful ballot campaign to increase the minimum wage, which relied heavily on financial support from unions and wealthy Democratic donors. [Associated Press]
There is some debate in South Dakota Democratic circles about whether Bill Maher's planned appearance helps or stunts the party's chances of a resurgence or if the issue might be better advanced by the fledgling South Dakota Progress.

OKC bombing manifesto for right wing domestic terrorists

Let's review:

Timothy McVeigh was 27, Eric Robert Rudolph, part of the Christian Identity movement, was 30, Eric Harris was 18 and Dylan Klebold, 17, Seung-Hui Cho was 23, Nidal Hasan was 39, Jared Loughner, 22. Average age--25 years.

All seven men were victims of bullying, isolation, and ostracism. All seven had histories of extensive video game exposure and easy access to firearms. Distrust of government was a factor in most, if not all of these episodes. Ted Kaczinski, likely master of the minds in all these events, punctuates this post since he resided in Montana, a red state when, at 36, his activism morphed. His case changes the average age to 26.5.

Bruce Edwards Ivins, the 55 year-old Zionist and anti-abortion anthrax weaponizer, deserves dyshonorable mention maybe because Maryland is a solidly blue state.

Eric Frein is 31: his right wing views led him to assassinate a state trooper and the attempted murder of another.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the brothers suspected of carrying out the Boston bombings, subscribed to right-wing American publications that espouse white supremacy and government conspiracy theories.

Bombs, wildfires, and mass shootings are just some of the tools of terror. It's likely that the FBI is stretched too thin to get ahead of the curve and it is hiding the scope of its findings to mask the extent of the hatred.

The sovereigns are overwhelmingly white christians using a maladapted interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to rationalize its commitment to a pending race war using links to the federal storming of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas and culminating in the Oklahoma City bombing. Many are either convicted felons no longer able to vote or have been marginalized by those who believe that the democratic process is ineffective especially since a person of color is President of the United States.

The American Left poses no violent threat to the United States while the hate-filled right wing of the Republican Party always will.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Maher to rally SD Dems

Update, 19 April, 0620 MDT:
Schultz, Democrats heap scorn on Republicans on issues ranging from environmental regulations to economic policies. "Our battle is a battle for the people of South Dakota, it's a battle for humanity, and it's just a plain battle for decency," said party Vice Chairman Joe Lowe. [Rapid City Journal]
.................

South Dakota Democratic Party interim Executive Director Zach Nistler announced today that Bill Maher will appear at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls on Sept. 13. Maher will help sustain the momentum Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz is expected to bring to McGovern Day 2015. President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit Watertown on May 8.

The author of this blog doesn't use teevee but knows that Maher started his career as an equal opportunity offender but now has become a committed roaster of Republican failures and candidates.

Maher has called the first Obama years the "White Term" and his second "The African-American Term."

Railing on the religious tone of the Republican Party he has said:
The only Catholics not using birth control are priests.
And:
It's better to leave kids in the road than hiring Republicans as babysitters.
On President Obama's patience with the GOP, Maher said:
Among Republicans Obama is like a Special Ed teacher.
Maher said he supports capital punishment. He mused about the militant Right saying:
Guys named Vern and Earl expect to take on the FBI and Homeland Security.
More on the GOP field:
Newt Gingich is so slimy he would die if someone hit him with a box of salt. Sarah Palin having a show on the Discovery Channel is like me having a show on the Christian Broadcasting Network.
In the final minutes of a show after a drink of water and a glance at his notes on a small lighted lectern stage left, he said: "...now, I'm not hear to mock religion..."

Don't forget to vote on the new poll.


New poll: will Daschle run for Senate?

The Yankton Press & Dakotan is hosting a poll, so The Dakota Progressive is, too.

Will former Senate Majority Leader, Tom Daschle, run for a US Senate seat in 2016 from his home state of South Dakota?

Vote now! Click on right tab ------------>

Friday, April 17, 2015

Dems to announce some campaigns at McGovern Day gala

Oglala Lakota County is not just the bluest county in South Dakota; it's the most Democratic county in the nation.

The South Dakota Democratic Party is expected to announce candidates for some races at Saturday's McGovern Day 2015. This year's gathering features an address from Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Rep. Schultz has called the GOP presidential field a bunch of "wackadoodles."

SDDP Chair Ann Tornberg said the party wants to field candidates for as many races as possible. "It's important for voters to have an election," Tornberg said. Activist Democrat and former US House contender, Jeff Barth said current At-large Representative Kristi Noem is an easier target for Democrats this cycle than last.

McGovern Day dinners historically feature three main awards: one for an up-and-coming member under 30; one for lifetime achievement; another for a recognized grassroots party builder.

When he ran for Congress in 2012, Barth was told he wasn’t “progressive” enough. He was the only Democratic candidate who publicly supported gay marriage.

When only two South Dakota natives know what wins elections in that state, life might be easier if the author of The Dakota Progressive just jams a fork up his nose.

BHSU leading American Indian studies

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell is passionate about preserving public spaces and restoring Indian Country to prosperity through education. She has met with tribal leaders ahead of President Obama's trip to South Dakota.

Boasting the highest American Indian enrollment among the regental institutions Black Hills State University will host notable American Indian speakers during a week of celebration.
American Indian Awareness Week festivities are underway at Black Hills State University. In addition to notable American Indian speakers on campus throughout the week, BHSU expects over 3,000 participants and spectators for the 32nd Annual Lakota Omniciye Wacipi (Pow Wow) April 17-19 at the Donald E. Young Sports & Fitness Center on the BHSU campus. [BHSU Communications]
The American Indian Studies-Great Plains Consortium launched late last month by the University of North Dakota, the University of South Dakota, South Dakota State and Black Hills State University is leading collaboration efforts, boosting the quality of offerings to students, raising awareness of Native American issues and helping to ensure indigenous futures.
Drums, dancing and discussion converge on Black Hills State University’s campus during a week-long celebration of Native American culture April 12-19 with this year’s theme “Draw from the Past, Design the Future” with an emphasis on examining new and emergent Native art. [BHSU Communications]
Harney Peak's Lakota name is “Hinhan Kaga” or the place of owls.

Elders and educators are providing opportunities for American Indians to preserve language and culture essential to heritage.

BHSU is making "strategic changes" in efforts to address a revenue shortfall. Adding more programming options for students in the area the South Dakota Board of Regents recently approved putting the University Center in Rapid City under Black Hills State University governance.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

AAN: Daschle expects aggressive and effective Clinton campaign

Former U.S. Senate majority leader Tom Daschle provided some insight into the 2016 presidential election. He said it could set a new record in the amount of money spent and expects Hillary Clinton to run another aggressive and effective campaign. [Aberdeen American News]
Daschle was the keynote speaker at Aspire Foundation's annual dinner and fundraising event in Aberdeen. He's expected to accompany President Obama on a trip to Watertown.

Spiro wins Deadwood commission seat

It's not his first rodeo.

Milbank boy, former South Dakota State University golf letterman, economics graduate, now golf club builder and house painter, Mark (Spiro) Speirs has won a Deadwood seat.
Commissioner Gary Todd retained his, while Commissioner Georgeann Silvernail lost hers. Mark “Spiro” Speirs, a former commission member and current member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, will take Silvernail’s seat. A fourth candidate, Greg Vecchi, also fell short. Deadwood voters also rejected two ballot measures. One would have allowed diagonal parking in certain sections of Main Street, and the other would have required a majority vote of the public before anyone moved, demolished or destroyed any property designated historic by the state or federal government. [Rapid City Journal]
Silvernail has been the millstone draped around the the commission's neck for far too long.

I've known Speirs since 1973 when we went to college in Brookings. A long, long ponytail and bane to a 1970s SDSU golf team, Spiro's nickname evolved as a parody of the long-dead former vice-president from the Nixon era. From the mid-70s to well into the 80s his house at One Adam 12 (12 Adams) in the Presidential Section of Deadwood hosted many East River anchors in a West River port. He has sat on the board of the Tomahawk Country Club for many years, too.

Rose Speirs is Communications Director for the Adams Museum & House and a Democratic Party community organizer.

Deadwood homeboy, Gary Todd has been owner/operator of the breakfast hangout for locals, Gold Country Inn for many decades.