Saturday, January 31, 2015

Medicaid expansion moving through committee process

Democratic lawmakers are hopeful that some 48,000 South Dakota residents will be covered after the state's GOP governor signs proposed legislation.
Democrat Billie Sutton says the cost of expanding Medicaid is around 100 million dollars through the year 2020 but the state would receive around 2 billion dollars of federal funds in return. "The economic impact of that 2 billion dollars would actually make our state money after we pay for Medicaid expansion," says Sutton, "There’s a study done by two professors out of the University of Nebraska and it stated that we would gain 64 million dollars over the next 7 years if we expanded Medicaid in South Dakota. That’s after Medicaid expansion is paid for." [Jackelyn Severin, SDPB]
Wyoming's Republican-dominated legislators are moving similar proposals through that body supported by a GOP governor.

Legislative crackerbarrels are being held throughout South Dakota: go encourage them to pass health protection for working class citizens and families.

Friday, January 30, 2015

USD hosts Cuba conference

Professor Benno Wymar moderated the University of South Dakota’s international forum “Cuba: A New Start,” held last Wednesday at Farber Hall.
President Barack Obama recently declared an end to the U.S. and Cuban diplomatic and economic isolation that had lasted more than 50 years. Citizens of the U.S. will finally be able to travel legally to the small Caribbean nation. Wymar said that he didn’t see how such a small island that couldn’t be a threat to the U.S. could be treated so differently. The lifting on the embargo will also benefit local businesses. The forum was sponsored by the USD Beacom School of Business. Co-sponsors were the Modern Language, Linguistic Department and the Multicultural Student Center at USD. [Jordynn Hart, Cuba: A New Start? USD Forum Ponders The Future]
South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke applauded President Obama's initiatives in Cuba.

Cuba is Earth's second most literate country; the US is tied for 20th. President Carter tried to save the world during his Presidency but nobody cared.

GOP facing congressional reality, losing steam

Keystone was supposed to be the low-hanging fruit Republicans could pluck right away. Back in November, with Democrats still in the majority, a similar measure failed by a single vote. But as the GOP tried to push the bill through last week, Democrats cried foul. They pointed to new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's promise to open up the amendment process over which now-Minority Leader Harry Reid previously exerted a stranglehold, something both Democrats and Republicans complained about at the time. The bill was delayed and ended up taking all month. Democrats, naturally, are relishing this. As New York Senator Chuck Schumer told Politico with a grin, "They’re just tied in knots. They’re learning that being in charge isn’t so easy and isn’t so much fun.” [Molly Ball, The Republican Congress Meets Reality]

SDGOP hypocrisy unmasked

After denying the latitude to Tom Daschle Republicans want to give John Thune legal cover to run for president or vice president while also running for Senate in 2016.
In 2002, state lawmakers passed three laws that barred candidates from running for president or vice president while also running for another office. One of the three laws applied to primary elections. Why? At the time, then Sen. Tom Daschle was weighing a possible run for president in 2004. Daschle's Senate seat was also up in 2004, and the Republican-controlled Legislature was trying to ice Daschle out: He could run for the Democratic nomination for president, or he could run for a fourth Senate term. But he couldn't do both. [Jonathan Ellis]
From Bob Mercer:
The irony was that Republicans really didn’t have anyone of top caliber willing to take on Daschle in 2004, until Thune became available because of his loss in 2002. Thus ended in 2004 the South Dakota political career of Tom Daschle, the most powerful Democrat in the state’s history. [Rapid City Journal]
Thune continues to be dogged by a scandal involving donor Dan Nelson. Read Kevin Woster's piece on Thune linked here.

Much to Republican chagrin Americans are spending fuel cost savings on ObamaCare.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

SDDP survey: What's your vision for the party?

I want to know your priorities, top issues, party building strategies, and more about your engagement, so we can develop a strategic plan to help elect more Democrats who will fight for working families, not just the big corporations. Your input for our strategic plan is vital because the GOP will do anything to protect Wall Street profits even if it means gutting middle class investments that help everyday South Dakotans like you and me. [Ann Tornberg, Chair, South Dakota Democratic Party]
66 county survey linked here.

Tornberg: we know the issues are on our side

It's a new vision for a political party needing a boost to regain momentum. As newly-appointed party chairwoman Ann Tornberg works with her colleagues in Pierre, she looks back at a night that could've had more celebration. "Even at the state legislature, I've seen Democrats that might've sponsored legislation that might've failed a session or two, and then the 3rd year it's taken up by Republicans and it passes," Tornberg said. Along with strengthening the county party structure and a bigger fundraising push, Tornberg says the future can be strong for a party still seeking a return to prominence. [Jared Ransom, A Democratic Future?]

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Todey: South Dakota facing climate crisis

As South Dakota's GOP governor denies human impact on climate change and the state's legislature ponders the end days some alarms are being sounded.
South Dakota state climatologist Dennis Todey spoke Tuesday during the Southeast Experiment Farm’s annual meeting, held at the Parker Community Center. He noted the long-range findings of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) national climate assessment. “The NOAA says we’ve seen temperature change during the last 100 years,” he said. “Climate change is real.” Last year’s cool weather in the state actually contained warming in a different sense, Todey said. He pointed to the statistics for eastern South Dakota from last June, July and August. “The big difference is in the low temperatures, not the high temperatures,” he said. “We’re warming, but we’re warming differently. We’re seeing higher nighttime temperatures.” Midwest farmers could step in and start growing crops that are no longer going to be grown in California and other Western states, Todey said. “Can you do something here that they can’t do there?” he asked his Parker audience. [Randy Dockendorf, Yankton Press and Dakotan]
Weeks before the first official flood predictions of the late winter, levels on the state's rivers are very low. Todd Heitkamp at the Sioux Falls office of the National Weather Service says it's pretty obvious why.

High temperature records have been falling throughout the region.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rep. Frerichs: week two in Pierre

Our education committee hosted the leaders of the State’s technical institutes and Board of Regents to give updates on their respective higher education opportunities. I continue to work with interested parties and individuals to gain consensus on Senate Bill 2 which would create natural resource river basin councils to manage water based on watershed instead of county ordinances. I hear widespread support for the concept that we should manage water based on where it flows. The reason we are even having this discussion is because the Legislature back in 2012 recognized the problem of thousands of acres of farmland that are submerged under water and the need to manage surface water so our interim watershed task force was created. I am working on amending the introduced version of the bill to exclude class one municipalities because they already file a water management plan. Please keep in touch on the issues that matter to you. [excerpt, Rep. Jason Frerichs]

Daugaard, GOP governors still deny human impact on climate change

Climate denial is common in the now fully Republican-controlled 114th Congress, where 56 percent of congressional Republicans refuse to accept the reality of basic climate science. The situation is similar in the statehouses and governors’ mansions across the country. According to a fresh analysis CAP Action conducted of public statements from the current slate of governors on climate change, half of America’s Republican governors agree with the anti-science caucus of Congress. 
SOUTH DAKOTA: Governor Dennis Daugaard (R):
“I am skeptical about the science that suggests global warming is man-caused or can be corrected by man-made efforts. It’s a complex world we live in,” Governor Dennis Daugaard (R) said in 2010. He has helped increase oil and gas production in South Dakota and supports the use of hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘‘fracking.’’ Governor Daugaard won re-election in 2014. [ThinkProgress]

Monday, January 26, 2015

SDPB: Sutton, Dems offer hope for rural schools

Democrat[ic] State Senator Billie Sutton plans to introduce legislation to attract more teachers to rural schools. "There are over 1,000 teachers eligible to retire right now. There are only 726 in state students who will enter the teaching profession in 2015. But how many of those will stay in South Dakota? There’s no guarantee that even half will stay in South Dakota," says Sutton. Sutton and his fellow [D]emocrats say low teacher pay is also a contributing factor to the shortage of educators and that lawmakers need to make education a priority. [Jackelyn Severin]

SDHSAA considering changes to high school American football policies

At a meeting last week, the South Dakota High School Activities Association's board of directors discussed changes to its concussion policy, including limiting the amount of full-contact practice allowed in football during the preseason and in weekly practices.
Read the full story at Education Week.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

GOP legislators grilled at Hills crackerbarrels

The School of Mines hosted Rapid City's event.
Featured speaker Representative Jacqueline Sly spoke briefly on [funding] and says education affects everyone. Sly says, "I think we have real inequities in our funding formula that's just gotten to be a bigger and bigger spread. We have some school districts that have more money than what they need, so they're putting it away instead of putting it into students and teachers, and then we have some school districts, especially large school districts, they're struggling because they have not received that additional funding or small school factor that was put in place 20 years ago." [Black Hills Fox]
And in Sturgis:
State Representative, Tom Brunner said, "Well it's always good to have these crackerbarrels and a good turnout; certainly the Sturgis people are always engaged. I think one of the biggest concerns we hear is a lot of financial concerns, both Medicaid expansion, the new road taxes proposed by the governor and others and you know, we are a frugal state, we're faced with the responsibilities of divvying up a small amount of money and not without raising taxes and so it's the never ending challenge." Senator Gary Cammack (KUH–MACK) and Representative Dean Wink were also in attendance Saturday. [McKenzie Nelson]

More from the Rapid City Journal linked here.

Coverage of Aberdeen area legislator crackerbarrel linked here.

Next West River dates:

In the New Classroom Building at the South Dakota School of Mines from 9 to 11 a.m.
Saturday, January 31st

At Deadwood City Hall beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Saturday, February 21st

Spearfish: at the Black Hills State University Joy Center beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Saturday, February 7th
Saturday, March 7th

East River dates linked here.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Bush Foundation, Rep. Killer announce major initiatives in Native education

South Dakota State Rep. and Native Nation Rebuilder Kevin Killer (Cohort 1) won his re-election to serve District 27 for a fourth-term in November—and a second victory at the polls he values just as highly. By a four-to-one margin, the community he represents in Shannon County voted in favor of adopting a new name: Oglala Lakota County. Killer hopes the new name will remove the stigma that was associated with Shannon County and its high poverty rates, and replace it with a name reflecting the pride and heritage of the Oglala Lakota people. “This is a declaration saying, ‘Hey, we are still around—the policy to stomp out our language and our ways failed,’” Killer says. “All you’ll have to do is look at the map in 2015 and see we are still here. That’s something to build on, and inspire our young people, and all of our partners who invest in our community. It is setting us up for success.” [Bush Foundation]
The Bush Foundation funding Native language programs since 2008 has scheduled session 2 of Native Nation Rebuilders March 25-27, 2015 in Spearfish.

Letters of inquiry about grants and funding will be accepted until March 8.

GOP hypocrisy driving KXL, Dakota Access land grabs

PUC Commissioner Kristie Fiegen cited a conflict of interest in the matter because her extended family owns land in Spink County where the pipeline is proposed. In her place, Gov. Dennis Daugaard appointed State Treasurer Rich Sattgast to be an acting commissioner in the matter. [Dickinson Press]
South Dakotans are concerned that out of state pipeline companies are abandoning environmental protection for profits.
TransCanada staff began visiting landowners four years ago, trying to strike deals and avoid court battles. That didn’t work with John Harter in Winner, S.D. The rancher says TransCanada offered him a one-time payment of $13,300 to snake the line across a half-mile of his 280-acre cattle pasture. Harter demanded an additional $70,000 annually to compensate for the fact that he wouldn’t be able to graze his herd on the land for several years. The company refused his request and instead filed a lawsuit to seize the land through eminent domain, arguing the access to Harter’s land is worth just over $6,000. “They’re doing it with no regard to human life, let alone the earth,” complains Harter, whose case will be heard by a state court in June. [Ranchers Tell Keystone: Not Under My Backyard]

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Koch group lobbying to end protection for South Dakota watersheds

There isn't a more egregious example of the stranglehold that "big money" has on our Congress and elected officials than this effort to build the Keystone pipeline. As I stated throughout my campaign for the United States Senate, this is all about greed -- billions of dollars of it every year. When the threat of climate change has 99 percent of the scientists in the world seriously worried about the future of the planet and the human race, this greed is inexcusable and needs to be exposed and rejected. We should be transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy, not doubling down on Keystone. [excerpt, Rick Weiland, Mitchell Daily Republic]
As a Wyoming-based pipeline company dumps more crude oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana, South Dakota struggles to clean up a century of ag runoff in the polluted Big Sioux River watershed. Nearly every waterway in South Dakota is impaired. With the help of former Senator Tim Johnson the US Department of Agriculture has pledged funding to clean up parts of the Big Sioux.

So-called 'Americans for Prosperity' a Koch-funded group with a lobbyist based in Sioux Falls signaled to legislators that they will lose campaign funding from the Kochs unless they act to reverse the progress the US Environmental Protection Agency has made in South Dakota.

South Dakota's GOP legislators and candidates have enjoyed millions in lobbyist benefits from the Kochs' contribution arm, the American Legislative Exchange Council; the state's junior senator was elected with cash from ALEC-backed National Federation of Independent Business.

The Kochs own Kansas and millions of acres of Canadian tar sands leases but the courts and voter participation can stop their efforts to run the climate-killing Keystone XL over private land using eminent domain.

South Dakota voters need to be alerted to these dark money efforts to end environmental protection in the state and the Democratic Party supports EPA's mission to protect South Dakota's waterways.

Contribute to SDDP today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

As Gov. Daugaard shames the poor STDs spike

South Dakota's GOP governor has strong opinions about his white privilege:
[Governor] Daugaard objects to a portion of the Affordable Care Act that expands Medicaid for poor adults with incomes at 138 percent of the federal poverty level, saying it's too expensive for South Dakota. Critics, however, say that Daugaard's decision means the state will forego hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years in federal spending that would have otherwise been used on those 48,000 adults who qualify for expanded Medicaid. The proposal is backed by the state's health care providers, which would benefit from more Medicaid dollars flowing into South Dakota. [Jonathan Ellis]
From South Dakota Public Broadcasting:
State Epidemiologist Doctor Lon Kightlinger says in 2004 there were about 3,900 cases of disease in South Dakota and about 7,500 in 2014. He says the higher numbers are driven largely by increases in STDs, as well as Hepatitis C, whooping cough, and intestinal illnesses. “Now drilling down into some of the specific diseases, there has been 141% increase in gonorrhea in South Dakota,” Kightlinger says. “Going back ten years ago from 351 cases to over 800 cases this past year. An over 1,000% increase in syphilis, a 147% increase in Hepatitis C cases, a 167% increase in MRSA.” [Jenifer Jones]
From Indian Country Today Media:
Some un-enrolled Indians may live in states that did not accept the federally funded Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. If that is your situation, you are exempt if you would have been eligible for Medicaid but did not get it because your governor did not choose to cover you. Keep in mind, if part of your family is enrolled and others are not, that every individual named in your tax return must either be insured or have an exemption. There is another exemption for people who just flat out cannot afford coverage, and there is a worksheet in the instructions for Form 8965 that will help you determine whether you can get the government to agree you can’t afford insurance. [Steve Russell]
Montana's Democratic governor wants to extend medical protection for people in his state: so does Wyoming's GOP governor.

Monday, January 19, 2015

ASBSD posts legislative crackerbarrel dates

Associated School Boards of South Dakota joins the Chiesman Center for Democracy with a posting of five East River meets and one West River so far:
Please send any dates and locations of legislative cracker barrels in your area that are not listed below to Tyler at and we will add them to the list, which will be updated throughout session and included in the ASBSD Blog Brief. []
Hey Democrats: go jack up your legislators.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sutton calls out SD governor on legislative priorities

Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Tuesday proposed hiking taxes by roughly $50 million to fund road and bridge projects, only half the amount being sought under a legislative plan to address one of the most significant issues facing South Dakota lawmakers this year. But Democrats, who are the minority in both chambers, lamented that Daugaard didn't specifically address South Dakota's low teacher pay or expanding the state's Medicaid program. "The governor said roads and bridges are our most valuable asset," Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton said. "I would hold our kids and teachers are our most valuable asset in South Dakota." [Watertown Public Opinion]

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tornberg expresses support for marriage equality ruling

U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier’s ruling overturned South Dakota’s ban on same-sex marriage. Six couples filed a lawsuit challenging the ban, created through a 1996 state law and a 2006 constitutional amendment — passed by the state’s voters — defining marriage as one man and one woman. After Monday’s ruling, South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Ann Tornberg of Beresford expressed support for Schreier’s decision. “Because the South Dakota Attorney General’s motion to dismiss was rejected by the U.S. District Court, we are now able to move forward and proceed with a ruling on the case itself,” Tornberg said. “Discrimination has no place in South Dakota law. As we celebrate this success today, the South Dakota Democratic Party reaffirms its commitment to extend equal rights and protections for all South Dakotans.” [Randy Dockendorf, USD Prof: Judge’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision ‘Powerful’]
Tornberg's comment adheres to the SDDP platform:
The South Dakota Democratic Party is a party of inclusiveness. We recognize that South Dakota is a global and multicultural community. Each individual brings a special gift to the community. We prosper when we are all in it together. We believe in the principles of dignity, self-determination, equal opportunity, justice, and quality of life. In order to promote a more open, civil society, we support the following: Recognizing the gay rights are human rights. We believe in full equality for our LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) citizens on the state, national and local levels. Full equality includes: non-discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations, marriage equality, adoption rights and domestic partner benefits.
Additional reading linked here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tornberg: 'we have a lot of work to do'

It's been worse.

When George McGovern rose to prominence in South Dakota there were only two Democrats in the legislature and none held a statewide office.
Ann Tornberg, elected last month as chairwoman of the South Dakota Democratic Party, told the group of 17 that in this new year, when there are only 20 Democrats among the 105 legislators meeting in the Capitol in Pierre, it will take grassroots organizing by everyone to bring the party back to relevance. It’s been worse, and the same things that worked for the party back then can again, said Tornberg, who is 59 and from Beresford. Much of her time is spent fund-raising, she said. There is $60,000 in the kitty and 163 people who have pledged monthly donations to the state Party, including one of her former students. [Stephan Lee, Pierre Capital Journal]
Democratic strategist Bajun Mavalwalla appeared on the Sioux Falls Argus Leader webcast 100 Eyes.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Chiesman announces legislative crackerbarrels

Here are the legislative crackerbarrels that have been scheduled so far; please check back for updates. If you know of additional crackerbarrels not listed here, please let us know so we can add them to the list.

Rapid City Area Legislative Coffees/Crackerbarrels:

(Districts 32-35)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday, March 7, 2015

All crackerbarrels will be held at the SD School of Mines and Technology Classroom Building from 9:00 am-11:00am.

Sioux Falls Legislative Coffees/Crackerbarrels:

(Districts 6, 9, 11-15)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Saturday, February 21, 2015

All crackerbarrels will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown from 9:00 am -11:45am.

For more information, please contact the Chiesman Center for Democracy at 605-341-4311.

Bob Mercer posted a thumbnail guide to the 2015 session at the Rapid City Journal.

South Dakota tribes considering cannabis legalization

The Pinoleville Pomo Nation is planning a $10 million, 2.5 acre indoor cannabis growing facility to be completed in February.

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

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. 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.

If Democrats won't do it Republican legislator Steve Hickey can write a bill that would adopt Minnesota's medical cannabis law worthy of FDA scrutiny and sold by pharmacies, legalize for adults then allow Deadwood and the tribes grow and distribute under a compact putting the gaming commission to tax and regulate? In my view edibles should only be available to patients suffering from debilitating conditions and be dispensed by a pharmacist.

Deadwood and tribal gaming are inextricably linked: would revenue from the sales of cannabis require a change in the state's constitution, too?
The notion that marijuana users are lazy and unproductive stoners is like most stereotypes fueled by ignorance. Part of the pitch used by states like Colorado in their campaigns for legalization was that it would attract the top talent and minds from across the country to come work in the state. For someone who has spent a significant amount of time in the Ivy League frat scene I can tell you first hand that some of the people occupying top positions in this country’s most profitable businesses indulged in the recreational use of pot from time to time. There are those who fear the danger of addiction and this is a concern but addiction is already present and we lack the funds to address it. I ask these same people to show me one person who has overdosed on marijuana, and to quote Tucker Max, “I will show you my stable of rainbow colored unicorns ridden by Leprechauns.” The time to legalize is now. [Brandon Ecoffey, posted at indianz]
Home growing for personal enjoyment should look like this California model.

Cherished reader and contributor, Bill Dithmer, believes cannabis could bring needed revenue to tribes:
Legalizing the growing of hemp and the industries that would come as a result of that one act would make huge strides on the Pine Ridge Reservation. What we are doing is not working, hasn’t worked in the past, and history is a guarantee that it wont work in the future so why not perpetuate change now? The Pine Ridge is in the unique position to bring it's people out of poverty and at the same time give lawmakers in Pierre a bloody nose. If they legalize industrial hemp and pot at the same time their history with this state would just be a bad dream. [Bill Dithmer, comments]
Democrats are losing even more credibility with young people and American Indians. Tribes trapped in South Dakota and in other states with off-reservation properties are considering a test of cannabis law.

Just say now.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Tornberg to address Dems in Ft. Pierre

Ann Tornberg, newly elected Chair of the South Dakota Democratic Party, will address the Hughes and Stanley County Democrats at 7pm, prior to their meeting Monday, January 12th in Pierre at the Longbranch (351 S. Pierre Street). Following her presentation, those interested may remain for the planning of the February 17th Legislative Dinner at the Ft. Pierre Senior Center. Also on the agenda is the Nominating Committee for the April or May election of new county officers, and there will also be a celebration of local efforts during the 2014 election cycle. As usual, this meeting will be preceded by an informal 5:30 p.m. dinner at the Longbranch, ordering off the menu. Interested Democrats are encouraged to attend. [Pierre Capital Journal]

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Gas tax increase wolf in GOP clothing

If John Thune and James Inhofe want it: be very afraid.
You do not have to be a U.S. senator to know that our roads, bridges and even dams are falling apart from a lack of maintenance. It may interest you to know that foreign aid has gone up every year since the financial crisis and that foreign aid is exempt from sequester. The operating budgets for the State Department and its foreign aid arm, the U.S. Agency for International Development, are also exempt from sequester. Therefore, we have had plenty of money to fix and build infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not for our homeland. Now that plunging oil prices have lowered the price of gasoline and given the working people of the U.S. a real tax cut, Sen. Corker, a Republican, wants to raise the federal gas tax. Of course, the gas tax is a regressive tax and, as such, it would be more acceptable to a Republican. The Corker has been hanging around hoping that the Republican Party that has seen him on CNBC will wake up to his brilliance and will draft him as their presidential candidate. [Matt Horween]

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Schumer: Senate Dems can sustain Obama KXL veto

Update: The White House has confirmed that President Obama will veto KXL if bill gets to his desk.

As the Keystone XL pipeline looms as a GOP Waterloo Democratic leadership is confident that President Obama's likely veto can be sustained.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced on CBS’s Face The Nation that Senate Democrats have enough votes to sustain the widely expected veto that President Obama will issue after Republicans pass a bill authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Republicans are going to try to spin this veto as the president being against job creation, but enough Senate Democrats will stand with the president to sustain his veto. Republicans better get used to it, because they don’t have enough votes to pass anything on their own. Congressional Democrats and President Obama are going to present a unified front against Republicans giving Big Oil the gift of Keystone XL. [Jason Easley]
Pipelines moving diluted bitumen and Bakken crude are creating jobs in the sex trade: anathemas to any perceived success created by Big Energy.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

SD Peace and Justice: just say no to uranium mining

At least one South Dakota Republican calls it the "fed's war on energy" when it's really Big Energy's war on the Earth.
The General Mining Act of 1872 basically gave away the rights to natural resources as a way to spur development of the American West. This act is still in effect, and it’s now used to rob us of our birthright. A foreign entity can create a U.S. subsidiary, file for mineral rights, and take whatever hard-rock minerals are produced without paying a cent to “we the people.” This has happened frequently throughout our country. As often as not, after taking these resources the company shuts down or files for bankruptcy, leaving a huge mess for taxpayers. The classic example is the Gilt Edge Mine Superfund site near Deadwood. [Jim Petersen], links mine.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Reich: progressives won some in 2014

Paraphrasing Bill Moyers and Company: "It’s important to remember how quickly progressive change that seemed radical becomes inevitable when enough people make a ruckus!"
Voters approved a minimum wage hike in November -- going from $7.25 to $8.50 an hour. The tip wage increases from $2.13 an hour to $4.25 an hour. 20 other states approved minimum wage increases which will impact about 2.4 million employees nationwide. [KSFY]