Monday, June 27, 2016

Crow Peak Fire: told you so


Update, 1 July, 07:26 MDT: after intense lobbying efforts from this interested party and The Dakota Progressive the fire is now being managed as a controlled burn.

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Update, 30 June, 06:35 MDT: let it burn. With afternoon thunderstorms forecast over the Crow Peak area for the next several days conditions are perfect to make a lightning struck fire on public land a controlled burn.

The Crow Peak Fire is affecting mostly Republican landowners who built in the wildland urban interface now begging the feds to protect their properties. These people, white retirees from somewhere else who hate gubmint, fled Minnesota, Colorado or California then parachuted into South Dakota hoping to isolate themselves from fair taxation, African-Americans and cultural diversity.

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Phil Lampert was in the Black Hills tourist industry long before this writer was and has been a client of mine. His house is still standing because of the 2015 Cold Brook Fire.
"By the time I got to my west gate to unlock it, at my west boundary, that fire was already coming down the hill to the ranch," Lampert said. "So it was a little nerve wracking there for a while." Firefighters saved the place, with help from Lampert's years of tree-thinning and a state-federal-private prescribed burn nearby more than a year ago. [KELO teevee]
There is no let it burn policy in the Black Hills because there is no money to manage a fire not on the prescribed burn list.
The clouds of smoke rise from Crow Peak, where steep, rugged terrain makes the blaze difficult to battle on foot. So the firefighting focus so far has been from the air. With a dry forecast until at least Tuesday, there's plenty of firefighting to do. And Sunday evening, the fire was still far from being contained. Early Sunday morning, fire officials were estimating the blaze area at 400 acres. [KELO teevee]
There was a Crow Peak Fire stopped at 135 acres in 2012 that the Forest Service should have let burn.

Ponderosa pine only arrived in the Black Hills a little over a thousand years ago.

Stupid fucking state.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Guns and legal cannabis colliding in New Mexico, other states


Still believe the Second Amendment is absolute? Think again.
Former Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White says he is no longer a certified law enforcement officer, doesn’t have a concealed handgun carry license but does own a firearm. White has also publicly disclosed that he is a medical cannabis user and an investor in a new medical marijuana grower and dispensary in Albuquerque, as well as its chief administrator and security chief. As of May, about 25,000 people had medical marijuana cards issued by the Health Department. About 41,000 New Mexicans had concealed handgun carry licenses in 2014, the most recent year for which statistics are available. [Albuquerque Journal]
Under a surge of patients' applications the New Mexico Department of Health is under fire for extended delays of new cards for therapeutic cannabis.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) will make sure you lose your Second Amendment rights if you admit to ingesting cannabis or even if you are a patient being treated under the care of a doctor.

From Brian Doherty's piece at Reason:
Merely having a state medical marijuana card, BATFE insists, means that you fall afoul of Sect. 922(g) of the federal criminal code (from the 1968 federal Gun Control Act), which says that anyone “who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance” is basically barred from possessing or receiving guns or ammo (with the bogus assertion that such possession implicates interstate commerce, which courts will pretty much always claim it does). While the BATFE has not yet announced any concerted program to go after people who may have had legally purchased weapons before getting a marijuana card, Morgan Fox of the Marijuana Policy Project says that it’s common practice in medical marijuana-related busts that “if weapons are present, there will be gun charges added on as well.”
Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, another state where cannabis has been legalized, has teamed up with Colorado congress member, Jared Polis: they have introduced legislation that would end the federal prohibition.

The Democratic National Committee has approved a party platform plank calling for cannabis law reform.

Prohibition doesn't work: eliminate the nanny state cannabis restriction on firearm ownership, levy hefty transaction taxes on the sales and gifting of semi-automatic rifles, handguns, their ammo and extended clips on Senator Diane Feinstein's list then tag the revenue for Medicaid expansion.

As tribal nations mull the Justice Department's memorandum on legal cannabis within reservation boundaries and BATFE remains free to pop anybody in Indian Country more clashes and lawsuits seem inevitable.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Legal cannabis is a legitimate alternative to Big Dope

Use of the word 'pot' to describe cannabis isn't journalism, it's propaganda.

Twenty five Pueblo County, Colorado students will receive scholarships derived from the county’s cannabis excise tax even as pro-cannabis Growing Pueblo’s Future filed an official complaint with the Secretary of State’s Office claiming that there are three campaign finance violations by Citizens for a Healthy Pueblo which circulated a petition asking for a ballot measure that would ban the industry in the county.

Seventy eight percent of Colorado high school students have not ingested cannabis in the last 30 days according to a survey just released by the state's Healthy Kids initiative.

In fact rates of consumption have remained flat or even declined since the herb was legalized there. The most common method among teens of obtaining cannabis was through gifting.

Studies in the Netherlands and Portugal have revealed that legalization causes cannabis to seem passé to teens who experiment with taboos.

Moorhead, Minnesota opened their first therapeutic cannabis dispensary last Saturday while North Dakota supporters petition to legalize on that state's November ballot. In New Mexico the therapeutic cannabis industry is controlled by ten guys, profits go elsewhere instead of to the beleaguered pueblos and reservations.

Obsessing over legalization and fretting over teens getting stoned in mom's basement when opioids are killing tens of thousands of people a year while Big Pharma bribes physicians to prescribe dangerous drugs is simply rank hypocrisy.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisconsin) has introduced H.R.5014, the Tribal Marijuana Sovereignty Act: a bill ensures that tribes can't be punished for entering the cannabis industry.

Screw Nebraska. Flood the state with cannabis grown in the Oglala Lakota Nation.

Let’s ensure that cannabis cultivation and distribution stay out of the hands of Big Dope. It’s time to enter compacts with the tribes, let them distribute on the rez, on off-reservation properties and in Deadwood.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Dakota Progressive successfully trolls earth hater blog


The Dakota Water Closet is an earth hater's wet dream. In the form of a poll its owner called for input as to whether South Dakota's red state legislature should hold a special session to debate Medicaid expansion in the chemical toilet. Pat Powers is staggering under the weight of health insurance for his diseased family and they would qualify for Medicaid if the state expands coverage for people at 136% of poverty.

Clearing the cache on my iPhone i voted yes on his stupid poll at least 65 times and once for maybe.

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

I like the idea of rolling the funding for Tricare, Medicare, the IHS and the VA together then offering Medicaid for all by increasing the estate tax, raising taxes on tobacco and adopting a carbon tax. Reproductive freedoms should be included unconditionally just like the military does under Tricare.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Despite a shortage of firefighters South Dakota sending some to New Mexico

Mike Maltaverne is one of the most honorable, competent men to ever run a fire department or to date a daughter.
Rapid City Fire Chief Mike Maltaverne says he doesn’t have enough firefighters to answer the growing number of fire and ambulance calls. He has been warning policy makers in memos for three years. Now the Rapid City Fire Department personnel shortage is “significant.” [Rapid City Journal]
Personnel from the South Dakota Division of Wildland Fire and volunteer fire departments from nearby Black Hawk, Interior and Piedmont are headed to New Mexico to help local communities affected by the Dog Head and North fires. Evacuations are underway as the wildfires grow. At least twenty five homes have been destroyed by the Dog Head blaze and the New Mexico National Guard is patrolling to prevent looting.

So far on the Cibola National Forest, nearly 18,000 acres of ponderosa pine and drought-stressed grasses have been consumed by the Dog Head Fire. The North Fire has cleared nearly 40,000 acres of ponderosa pine, mixed-conifer pinon-juniper, grass and litter understory. Fire danger on the Santa Fe National Forest is also very high.

New Mexico has been the first state of the season to see extreme wildfire behavior before.

But look on the bright side, people: your lives could be much worse; you could be living in Aberdeen, South Dakota.

Just across the border from South Dakota, Campbell, parts of Weston and Crook Counties, Wyoming are under a red flag warning at press time.

Republican former US congress member from New Mexico, Heather Wilson, is president of South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City. The Libertarian Party of South Dakota has been recognized by the Secretary of State's office where former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and his running mate will appear on November's ballot likely helping turn that red state blue this cycle.

Rapid City-based Black Hills Energy contributes to the methane bubble in the Four Corners region.

After a century of fire suppression, a decades-long moratorium on prescribed burns, a lack of environmental litigators and GOP retrenchment the Black Hills National Forest is also expecting an active wildfire season.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Orlando is just another day in the GOP ditch

Update, 23 June, 1350 MDT: Mateen was gay, motivated to kill by Latino immigration and Seattle's gun tax was upheld.

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The drone war has come home.

Orlando is the worst US shooting massacre since Wounded Knee. Omar Mateen clearly knew what he was doing with some very lethal weapons. Where did he train? Saudi, my guess with Mossad as his mentor. Of course Israel wants to divert attention from its own crimes against humanity.

The United States is the arms dealer of the world preaching about gun control as it assassinates hundreds of children, women and men throughout the Muslim world. Hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and beyond.

Orlando falls right at the feet of Bush, Cheney and the GOP for their two illegal wars. The "War on Terror" is what if not genocide? How lone wolf shooters aren't freedom fighters by Ronald Reagan's definition remains a mystery.

A gun is like a lawyer: you carry one around long enough and sooner or later you're going to use it.

Red states are not going to fix their own problems. Red state legislatures will get back to the important work of passing bathroom laws tomorrow.

Only We the People can slow these lunatics down. Local law enforcement is only as effective as a legislature wants it to be.

Is this how Americans really want to live? Carry rifles and sidearms into every bar, church, and arena?

Gun carrying people are saying they are being responsible (but won't be held liable) for our safety if the rest of us don’t, or refuse to, carry.

Thomas Jefferson believed a standing army and the right to bear arms are mutually exclusive.

Stand your ground has become vigilante justice because the courts are overwhelmed with suspects in the war on drugs, our communities are becoming armed camps and we’re barricaded in our homes afraid to let our kids go to school.

How many more people will be caught in or die from as yet uncounted crossfires?

Maybe this would be a great time for a piece of rhubarb pie.

Wyoming is most heavily armed state, South Dakota is number 22.

Orlando's loss is one man's rage against the machine and retaliation for America's war on rebellion more than an attack on a single community.

Gun reform: tax the hell out them!

Prohibition doesn't work: eliminate the nanny state cannabis restriction on firearm ownership, levy hefty transaction taxes on the sales and gifting of semi-automatic rifles, handguns, their ammo and extended clips on Senator Diane Feinstein's list then tag the revenue for Medicaid expansion.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Cannabis turnabout would be Whiteclay fair play

It would be interesting to know how much beer distributors pay tribal authorities to keep reservations dry.

Taz A. Duysak Jr. is President of the Organization for Native American Unity, Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Whiteclay could go the way of Scenic if tribes would sell alcohol. The letter appeared in the Rapid City Journal:
Draft a five-year plan (pro’s and con’s, keeping the revenues in OST coffers, vs. allowing Whiteclay business owners to continue as they are now) and take it to the districts. Let the people vote by referendum.
Nebraska is whining about Colorado cannabis while exploiting the disease of alcoholism in the Oglala Lakota Nation. Some are calling Whiteclay an "humanitarian crisis."
Whiteclay has long been the source of divisiveness between activists who would like to see the stores closed and those who support their right to operate. The four sell nearly 4 million cans of beer a year, mostly to residents of South Dakota’s nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where alcohol is banned. [Kevin Abourezk]
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]
Cannabis has shown to be an effective treatment for alcoholism.

Screw Nebraska. Flood the state with cannabis grown in the Oglala Lakota Nation.

Let’s ensure that cannabis cultivation and distribution stay out of the hands of Big Dope. It’s time to enter compacts with the tribes, let them distribute on the rez, on off-reservation properties and in Deadwood.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Senator Jon Tester: Road Trip

Dear Larry,

There is no better time to leave Washington D.C. and head home to Big Sky Country than the beginning of summer.

Last week, I traveled across our great state from Missoula's Mount Jumbo to the Billings' Rims and everywhere in between.

First, I spoke at the Stop Human Trafficking Conference in Missoula. It was great to see folks from across the state working together to address such an important issue. Human trafficking is modern day slavery and we need to come up with solutions to protect our families and communities.

Then I headed over to Simms High School to deliver the commencement speech to an impressive group of 19 graduates. They will go on to do amazing things, I'm sure of it.

On Memorial Day I joined hundreds of folks in Great Falls to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms. It was my honor to play Taps to remember the men and women who died serving our country.

After Memorial Day I drove south to Ennis where I held my first Rural Health Summit. I brought healthcare officials from Washington, DC, and elsewhere around the country to Montana because it is critical that these folks understand the challenges facing rural health care providers and patients.

Following my Rural Health Summit I was joined by Montana seniors and the AARP in Billings to announce my support for the Credit for Caring Act. This bill will support caregivers by providing more financial certainty as they care for their aging or disabled family members.

Then I headed over to Lincoln and spoke at the 95th Annual Montana Disabled American Veterans Convention. These men and women bravely served our country and Congress needs to work hard to ensure they get the care they earned. I hope Congress acts on the bipartisan Veteran's First Act sooner rather than later because this bill will hold the VA accountable and fix the Veterans Choice Program. Shortly after I visited with veterans, I addressed men and women in Great Falls at the Military Appreciation Community Luncheon.

Finally, I stopped in Fort Benton on my way back to the farm to receive the Golden Triangle Award from the Montana Farmers Union. As a farmer myself, I know firsthand how hard those in agriculture work and it's an honor to be their partner in the Senate.

As with every trip across the Treasure State, it's a pleasure to visit with Montanans, hear their concerns, and work with them to create opportunities. Now I'm heading back to D.C., but I get to go back with fresh ideas from you so I can continue to make DC look a little bit more like Montana.

If you think of anything while I am in DC don't hesitate to contact my office, I am here to serve you.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Be sure to vote for Bernie today


Help Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders become Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.

Join me in thanking him for getting the base to the polls by voting for him today in ‪New Mexico, Montana or the South Dakota presidential primary and restore the US Senate to Democratic control in November.

Bennet Applauds Move to Restore Year-Round Pell Grants

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet issued the following statement on reports that the Senate Appropriations Committee will include a measure to restore year-round eligibility for Pell Grant recipients in the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill.

"At a time when higher education is more important for success in the 21st century economy than ever before, we should remove barriers to attend, afford, and complete college. For many students, attending classes year round would allow them to complete their degree quicker while taking on less debt. Unfortunately, many students aren't currently able to apply Pell Grants to classes during the summer term. Year-round Pell Grants would offer students more flexibility to complete their education sooner and increase graduation rates."

Earlier this year, Bennet sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee urging that if the surplus is sufficient, it use funds in the Pell Grant program to reinstate year-round eligibility for students who wish to continue their coursework during the summer months. Bennet's bipartisan FAST Act also includes a provision to restore year-round eligibility to allow students to study at their own pace. [press release]

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Monday, June 6, 2016

Udall, Moms, Kids Discuss Importance of Chemical Safety Reform to Keep Children Safe from Dangerous Substances

U.S. Senator Tom Udall hosted moms, kids, and children's health and safety advocates at an organic children's clothing store to illustrate how important it is for Congress to pass Udall's landmark bipartisan chemical safety reform bill. The legislation would overhaul the current broken law and finally protect the most vulnerable members of our society - especially pregnant women and infants. Udall held the event, titled "Toys, Tots and TSCA," at Indigo Baby, a shop for organic and natural products for pregnancy, infancy and childhood.

Udall was joined by Santa Fe Mayor Javier M. Gonzales, who delivered a proclamation declaring June 3 "Toxic Substance Safety Day." Udall's "leadership and willingness to take on this difficult issue has led to a bill that will give the Environmental Protection Agency real utility and power in regulating some of the most dangerous and commonly used chemicals ... and make children and families in Santa Fe safer every single day," the proclamation reads. A copy is available on Twitter here.

Udall thanked Mayor Gonzales for the city's support. "Moms shouldn't have to wonder whether the furniture, bedding, toys, clothing and household products around us are putting them at risk. Parents are busy with families and work, they don't have time to do complicated research to make sure the things they buy for their kids are safe," Udall said. "Our existing law is so broken, the EPA hasn't even been able to regulate asbestos. That's why I'm working hard to overhaul the law and put a cop on the beat to restrict the use of hazardous chemicals if they pose a risk. We're just steps away from enacting this bipartisan bill so we can finally ensure our children are safe."

Most Americans believe that when they buy products at the hardware store or the grocery store, the government has tested them and determined that they're safe. But that has never been the case because our 1976 chemical safety law - the Toxic Substances Control Act - has been broken from the start and was further gutted by a 1991 court decision. In 40 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been able to regulate just a handful of the 85,000 chemicals in commerce, even though some have been linked to cancer, infertility, birth defects, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses. Udall's bill would ensure that for the first time, the EPA will have the authority and the resources to evaluate for safety the hundreds of new chemicals made each year before they go to market. And it would require the EPA to evaluate the tens of thousands of chemicals already in use, starting with the most hazardous, such as formaldehyde, flame retardants, and BPA. These chemicals are found in sofas and other furniture, non-iron shirts, pressed wood floors, credit card receipts, and many common household items.

Udall wrote the bill, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, with U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.). Named for the late U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a champion for public health and safety, a final agreement on the bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week by a vote of 403-12. It is expected to pass the Senate soon, and the White House has indicated that the president will sign it into law.

Today's event was Udall's second this week to highlight the importance of TSCA reform for New Mexico families. On Tuesday, he held an event focused on household products and safety at Albuquerque's Southwest Green Home Center, a business devoted to selling home and building products free of hazardous chemicals. He was joined by representatives from the building trades, the March of Dimes, Bernalillo County Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins, moms and experts on health and safety, including Dr. Cheryl Willman of the University of New Mexico Cancer Center, and Caroline Scruggs of UNM's School of Architecture and Planning. [press release]

Thursday, June 2, 2016

"Lovely?" Meh.


"Lovely?" Hardly. More like plain or not unattractive, maybe. But at least she's not a fat pig like Pat Powers' wife:

If only there was a wall of separation between church and state in South Dakota.

It would be interesting to some to know how much South Dakota Right to Life has diverted to the lobbyists who drafted law to end victims’ rights in suing for clergy sex abuse cases.

Rich women have full reproductive freedom while women at middle and lower income levels experience chilling effects on their rights. South Dakota’s repeated attempts to restrict access to medical care are not only mean-spirited, they’re discriminatory anti-choice extremism.

But, applaud the nutball Republican efforts diverting attention from the party’s culture of corruption where murders and their covers up are commonplace by clogging the legislative session with christianic religionist argle-bargle.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Heinrich Statement on Paris Auction House Canceling Sale of Acoma Shield

U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) issued the following statement today after the Eve auction house in Paris announced that it is canceling the sale of a shield used in religious ceremonies at Acoma Pueblo:

"This is welcome news, and I am pleased that pressure from the Pueblo, federal officials, and the public at large forced the auction house to cancel its sale. But it never should have come to this. The Pueblo of Acoma has previously been unable to halt similar foreign auctions of their cultural patrimony, resulting in profound damage to the Pueblo's control over their own sacred objects. The United States must do everything in its power to ensure that priceless Native American cultural artifacts are returned to their rightful homes instead of being sold off to the highest bidder."

Last week, Heinrich wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the U.S. State Department to take all possible action to help repatriate stolen cultural items to Native American tribes. In the United States, it is illegal to sell ceremonial Native American items. However, in France, where an auction of the item was planned for today, it is not.

Senator Heinrich plans to introduce legislation soon that would prohibit the exporting of Native American religious or sensitive cultural items and strengthen penalties under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. Senator Heinrich credits Dominic Peacock, a University of New Mexico student from Acoma Pueblo who interned in his Washington office last fall, for helping bring this issue to his attention and doing much of the early research used to draft the legislation. [press release]