Wednesday, November 7, 2018

TDP will go on hiatus

Democrats lost in South Dakota because the party abandoned legal cannabis as a campaign strategy and nominated an anti-reproductive rights candidate for governor failing to attract American Indian and younger voters.

The only reason Billie Sutton got any SDGOP crossover votes whatsoever is because Kristi Noem is hated by almost half her caucus. Vote margins in the other statewide races proved that. Stephanie Sandlin or Bernie Hunhoff would have done at least as well. After bombarding the Facebook pages of every single South Dakota media outlet that has one, blocking over 1000 bots and helping to draw out some 91,000 new Democratic voters in my home state I have unfollowed all media outlets in South Dakota on FB and Twitter. Thanks to my FB friends for your patience amid the tsunami of notifications.

The Dakota Progressive will go inactive until the 2020 election cycle begins in earnest. Follow interested party until then.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Daugaard's leadership failures drive wildland fire danger

Thanks to John Thune and Denny Daugaard the grassland fire danger index will reach the high and very high categories today and tomorrow for parts of the red moocher state, chemical toilet and permanent disaster that is South Dakota.

Just a hundred and fifty years ago bison and cervids would be clearing the grasses that drive prairie fires.

But, 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 and surrounding grasslands remain at risk to more blazes like the Legion Lake Fire yet poor ranching practices continue to add fuels to an already dangerous West River drought bringing with it moderate fire danger today to all reporting stations on the Black Hills.

Want to slow planet warming and flatten the Keeling Curve?

The Rocky Mountain Complex and the Black Hills have been home to a much larger aspen community in the fairly recent past. Ponderosa pine sucks millions of gallons from aquifer recharges, needles absorb heat and accelerate snow melt. Clear the second growth ponderosa pine, conduct fuel treatments, restore aspen and other native hardwoods, build wildlife corridors and approximate Pleistocene rewilding using bison and cervids.

Today and tomorrow are perfect days for West River emergency managers to be burning road ditches adding to buffers for later in the developing wildfire season but that won't happen because South Dakota has no effective leadership or commitment to environmental protection, it’s cheaper to bill the feds after a wildfire than it is to conduct fuel treatments and more expeditious to litigate forgiveness than to ask for permission.

If you live in the wildland-urban interface government can't always protect you from your own stupidity. Volunteer fire departments are irreplaceable as first responders to unexpected blazes and if the Federal Emergency Management Agency survives a Trump presidency it should convince Congress to make sure the resources are there to sustain rural firefighters.

Governor Daugaard describes Melody Schopp's breast implants

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

South Dakota officials lied about slag pile toxicity

Recall that in 2011 a portion of a highly toxic slag pile in repose below Deadwood collapsed into Whitewood Creek. The force of the cave-in caused ejecta to partially block the adjacent roadway and dammed the creek for approximately thirty feet.

After an interested party reported the incident to the Lawrence County Sheriffs Department Stan Michals from South Dakota Game, Fish and Plunder called me and said he had only just heard of the incident from my voicemail to him. He said the Department of Ecocide and Natural Ruination dispatched an inspector and GFP would act on its recommendations. DENR's words to Michals were that the metals in the slag are "not very mobile" and "they don't immediately impact the fishery." The creek ultimately pushed through the dam spewing slag down the streambed.
Because rail lines in Butte and Anaconda were built using slag – waste from smelting – the ground underneath Mitchell Stadium could contain arsenic and lead contamination not previously discovered. EPA declared Anaconda a Superfund site in 1983 due to more than 100 years of copper smelting. Despite the fact that the sandbox at Benny Goodman Park came back with arsenic levels at 725 parts per million and lead at 817 parts per million in 2017, EPA said last year that the sandbox was still “safe.” [Montana Standard]
If the slag in Whitewood Creek was harmless or benign it would be added as aggregate to concrete destined for highway repairs.

Nearly a century of residue from Black Hills Mining District affects millions of cubic yards of riparian habitat all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Although the Oahe Dam was completed in 1962 sequestering most of the silt the soils of the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers are inculcated with arsenic at levels that have killed cattle. Endangered pallid sturgeon, paddlefish, catfish and most other organisms cope with lethal levels of mercury throughout the South Dakota portion of the Missouri River. Tailings from uranium mining have been detected in Angostura Reservoir in the southern Black Hills and in northwestern South Dakota cleanup in the Cave Hills area went for decades without remediation.

Ellsworth Air Force Base is already a Superfund site leaching contaminants into Box Elder Creek, a tributary of the Cheyenne River. The former Gilt Edge Mine south of Deadwood is a Superfund site leaching contaminants into Elk Creek also a tributary of the Cheyenne and Missouri Rivers.

Canadian miner Barrick Gold bought off the State of South Dakota for Homestake Mining Company's role in polluting Whitewood Creek by trading land in Spearfish Canyon for a proposed state park.

South Dakota's earth hater US senators and attorney general are leading a crusade to block the US Environmental Protection Agency from identifying non-point sources of pollution deposited into watersheds by their GOP donors.

Barrick Mining Company is on the hook for most of the worst shit: it's armed to the teeth with a bank of lawyers and lobbyists. The State enjoyed royalties and severance taxes. In another government land grab Barrick is engaged in negotiations that would trade property in Spearfish Canyon to the State of South Dakota belonging to tribal signatories of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. Former Deadwood businessman Dave Miller even wrote a letter to the Rapid City Journal opposing the state land grab in Spearfish Canyon.

With help from former Homestake land manager now Sturgis real estate broker, Denny McKay, former US Senator Tom Daschle sold out the people of South Dakota and the tribal nations trapped within its borders by drafting legislation holding Barrick harmless.

On the east side of the Continental Divide Barrick also operates the Golden Sunlight Mine near Whitehall, Montana. Effluent from that mine goes into the Jefferson River also a tributary of the Missouri and much of it lies in repose within Canyon Ferry Reservoir.

It's time for South Dakota's press to investigate the collusion between the state and polluters instead of pandering to the South Dakota Republican Party.

Hot Springs is acting on blogger's advice

Most South Dakota schools could be feeding food waste to chickens and hogs maybe composting for community gardens. Hot Springs, Philip and Midland enjoy hydrothermal water to heat greenhouses.

In 2014 an interested party passed a Black Hills State University article on community organizing to a Hot Springs official.
A new way of growing food is coming to Fall River County. The Southern Hills Economic Development Corporation was recently awarded a $42,435 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture to develop a hydrothermal greenhouse in the county. The project will be known as “Hydrothermal Applications for Sustainable Agriculture,” otherwise known as HASA. [Hydrothermal coming to Fall River County]
Progress has been made under current school lunch rules but as industrial agriculture lines Republican pockets South Dakota's children still suffer from elevated risks to obesity.

Hot Springs could be something someday if it wanted to be. The town has recently 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.

Nearby Wind Cave National Park is a perennial favorite destination for ecotourists and is within biking distance of the Mickelson Trail. There is a movement to bring a mountain bike race to the area that would rival the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival. Real estate is affordable and historic properties abound.

In 1921 my maternal grandparents rode the train from Humphrey, Nebraska and honeymooned in Hot Springs where Evans Plunge became the Black Hills' first commercial tourist attraction and if passenger rail ever happens again nearby Maverick Junction will no doubt be a stop.

North Dakota now accepting patients for therapeutic cannabis program

Applicants accepted to North Dakota's therapeutic cannabis program will be able to access a domestically-grown harvest as early as December.
"We currently have a variety of strains and the plants are entering the flowering stage," Dave Meyer, CEO of Pure Dakota, said in a news release Friday. Conditions include cancer, PTSD, Crohn's disease and glaucoma. Dr. Chris Meeker, chief medical officer of Sanford Health in Bismarck, said in a statement that the hospital will leave the decision to its doctors. "Sanford will not limit a hospitalized patient’s access to or use of medical marijuana to the extent it is allowed under state law," Meeker said. "Patients legally using medical marijuana are allowed to do so in our hospitals in North Dakota and Minnesota." [Bismarck Tribune]
There is concern among activists that Republican operatives will provide names of patients to the Trump Organization that would prevent them from purchasing firearms but voters are expected to legalize for all adults next Tuesday.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Philip, Haakon County likely ground zero for KXL protest

I was in Philip the day of the Challenger explosion in 1986 because I drove out there from Deadwood twice a week for two years and got to know the town all too well.

Recently, it has been home to Trace O'Connell who spilled beer on a group of American Horse School students. During testimony a teacher from the school said she felt beer hit her, too. Remember Rapid City businesses shat all over themselves trying to extinguish the wildfire of anger over entrenched racism as organizers of the Lakota Nation Invitational sought alternative locations for the annual event. Sioux Falls, Bismarck and Spearfish were considered.
Matthew Reedy testified that he was part of a large group of 14 or 15 friends from Philip that traveled to Rapid City on January 24 to attend the hockey game in a luxury box leased by Eagle Sales of Rapid City and given over for the game to Don Carley who owns the steakhouse in Philip and is an Eagle Sales customer. When asked by defense counsel Michael Butler if O'Connell had been drinking he replied, "Yeah. He was. Everybody was drinking up there." He said he saw O'Connell raise his arms and wave them over his head like he was roping, demonstrating from the stand a rodeo cowboy's motion. It was this waving that caused beer to spill from his can of Bud Light, according to Reedy. [KCCR]
I know Don Carley: he's an arrogant bigot just like the rest of those stupid yachos from Philip are.
While Carley isn't sure what to expect from the pipeline construction, he has his sights set on making some extra money at The Steakhouse, a sit-down restaurant and full bar he runs in downtown Philip. Carley doesn't open the restaurant on Sundays, but he may reconsider that approach once the pipeline crews move in. "You'll always have people who want to go have some drinks and a good meal," he said. "Or if they want to watch a football game or baseball game, where else are they going to do that?" [Big hopes, big worries surround Keystone XL pipeline plan]
Attorneys for the Trump Organization will stop at nothing to erase Barack Obama's legacy including accelerating the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, a warming climate and an eventual American Indian rebellion to protect treaty lands. The Bad River country in Haakon County is pretty awesome that includes millennia of human history with bison habitat expanding into the horizon.
Approximately 200 people attended the TransCanada Keystone Pipeline meeting held at the American Legion Hall in Philip, SD, on Tuesday. The majority of the interest came from land owners, but also on hand were local business owners, water and electric company representatives, local law enforcement, city, county, and school officials, and area contractors. The main conversation was concerning the “man camp” that will be built north of Philip, SD. An estimated peak population was stated to be close to 1,200 people. “Once we are set up, we are part of the community and we want to be a good neighbor,” said Robert Latimer, Facility Land and Permitting Manager for Keystone XL Project. Most of the meeting drew upon question and answering. [Large Attendance for Keystone Pipeline Meeting]
Cancer is a not so silent genocide in Indian Country. Human history in North America is sacred to those who were here first but to those who have arrived in the last century or two not so much. After Manape LaMere renounced his citizenship, disenrolled from the Yankton Sioux Tribe, and gave up his Social Security number he joined the resistance to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline at the Wiconi Un Tipi Camp near Lower Brule.
He describes the current state of American-tribal relations as that of an apartheid government toward an oppressed minority. To break free from that dysfunctional relationship, tribes must break free from America completely in order to be treated as equals, LaMere said. [Wiconi Un Tipi Camp rises to fight back against another controversial pipeline]
Graves are often uncovered or disturbed by Borg-like construction operations frantically creating the conditions for sprawl.

Less than 3 percent of 8,000 acres in Iowa affected by a proposed pipeline was surveyed by a professional archaeologist. The Corps of Engineers is just required to perform archaeological surveys on 16 of the 17 major river and stream crossings.

Meade County in South Dakota is facing charges of desecrating burial sites when excavators besmirched sacred lands adjacent to Mato Paha (Bear Butte) for another road through Indian Country.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has closed the application process for a position as Region 6 archaeologist to serve the states of North and South Dakota.

After watching how easy it is to pull the wool over SDPUC's eyes TransCanada is redoubling its efforts to engage landowners and has decided to go straight to Nebraska's GOP-owned Public Service Commission even as man-camps in North Dakota are becoming ghost towns. Royal Dutch Shell is abandoning its efforts to drill in the Arctic in part because of tanking oil prices but another Republican donor continues its land grab in South Dakota.

Genesee & Wyoming, the parent company of the Rapid City, Pierre and Eastern Railroad, conducts the business on the west end of the state-owned track and operates on the right of way that intersects the proposed Keystone XL pipeline at Philip. Rail cars carrying diluted bitumen could be loaded there then be transported through Pierre, Huron and maybe Brookings then south through Sioux Falls to the depot at Cushing, Oklahoma; but, the same geology that thwarts railroads and forces engineers to rebuild I-90 between Reliance and Rapid City and I-94 between Mandan, North Dakota and Billings, Montana every year also makes construction of the Keystone XL pipeline untenable.

Running a bomb train through white towns won't fly when you can build a leaky pipeline through stolen treaty ground so it's hard to imagine these projects going through cemeteries where people of European descent are buried.

Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska says support for TransCanada's day in court is facing its final argument and that the pipeline will never be built.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe has created a website to raise funding and awareness for the dispossession of treaty land, natural resources and to provide information about the nation's battles against the Dakota Excess and Keystone XL Pipelines.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Split vote in District 30 favors Democrat

Saying she was called to contribute her talents, skills and experience 63 year old Democrat Kristine Ina Winter is a retired professional civil engineer running for South Dakota State Senate from District 30.

Also in the contest are Libertarian Gideon Oakes and earth hater Lance Russell whose mother sold property near Pringle to the FLDS Church where minor girls are trafficked and raped. They're expected to split the earth hater vote giving an easy win to Winter.

Winter was interviewed for a story in a Black Hills newspaper in a town and county named for a war criminal.
She said. “I am running because I believe government provides vital services to the citizens and the citizens deserve the best government possible. Excellence in government provides quality services at the best price for the short term and the long term.” Winter, also of Fall River County, has served as president of two Rotary clubs, governor elect of a Rotary district, director of the Southern Hills Economic Development Corporation and a trustee for Fall River Health Services.

She said her 30 years of experience as a civil engineer in highways for a state agency allows her to understand infrastructure and the relationship between federal agencies and state agencies. She added the oversight provided by a stronger representation of the minority party can help with accountability and oversight of programs. It is important to preserve healthy land, air and water while also attracting new industries compatible with a healthy environment, she said. Investing in public education and healthcare for all citizens is vital, she said. Emerging technology will impact our lives and businesses, she said, and therefore legislators need to be informed on technological innovation. Winter is concerned about the loss of population from the rural areas of the country. She believes the loss of young people needs to be addressed. Trust in government and government institutions is suffering, she said, and the only way to solve a problem with trust is to be unwaveringly trustworthy.

Her approach, if elected, is to ask these questions of every proposed legislation:

• Will it help or harm the environment?

• Will it help or harm the state?

• Will it help or harm District 30?

• Will it promote the general welfare of citizens and communities?

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

SDGOP indignation elicits eyerolls at Board of Regents

Sponsored by the worst of the worst earth haters in the Legislature House Bill 1073 sought to force South Dakota's college campuses to allow hate speech that could lead to violence and expose universities to lawsuits.
House Majority Leader Lee Qualm of Platte says it appears many universities tilt toward liberal speakers. [SD Legislative Leader Asking Board of Regents for Free Speech Policy]
As the Board of Regents mulls what constitutes free speech on campus almost everyone actually affiliated with South Dakota's universities says the state's legislature is glutted with extremist reactionaries and that Lee Qualm is an earth hater doing the bidding of white nationalists being paid to incite violence against anyone they choose.
Such is the case with House Bill 1073, an onerous piece of legislation that aims to regulate free speech on college campuses by demanding policies with language influenced by lawmakers, requiring the state’s public universities to file annual progress reports to lawmakers, and encouraging individuals to sue the state if they sense an injustice. The bill is sponsored by 30 lawmakers, including Senators Phil Jensen, Terri Haverly and Alan Solano and Representatives Lynne DiSanto and Julie Frye-Mueller, all Rapid City Republicans. This legislation isn't about free speech. It's about making a political point at the expense of taxpayers and the state's universities. [editorial, Rapid City Journal]
Like Board Chair Kevin Schieffer does Pam Roberts gives loads of campaign cash to Dennis Daugaard and their fellow earth haters so in turn she got cash from the Future Fund and was appointed to the scandal-plagued Board of Regents.
The simple fact of the matter is, freedom of speech is not under attack on South Dakota college campuses, and HB 1073 opens institutes of higher education up to frivolous litigation and imposes unnecessary standards upon them. Speech that challenges students creates a full college experience and is essential for institutions of higher education. But we don’t need this bill to protect our freedom of speech. We need students, faculty, staff, Brookings community members, South Dakotans and United States citizens to use their First Amendment rights and continue to speak freely. [SDSU Collegian]
Even the Republican state Board of Regents executive director and CEO, Mike Rush, said HB1073 was a solution in search of a problem.

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