Sunday, January 31, 2016

Coal crash leaves Wyoming hospitals yearning for Medicaid expansion

In a quiet vote the finance committee and trustees for the Campbell County Hospital in Gillette agreed to write off more than $1 million in noncollectable debt for November and December.
At the midway point of the year, the hospital has written off about $12.2 million in bad debt, estimated Dalton Huber, chief financial officer at Campbell County Health. “It’s getting worse,” Huber said simply. The state Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee recently voted against expanding Medicaid programs through the Affordable Care Act in Wyoming. It may force smaller hospitals to close, the governor said in recommending the expansion of Medicaid.
Read the rest here.

Gillette is a scary place. It's where ecocide is encouraged and mercury from coal burning power plants is released into South Dakota's watersheds and beyond.

And, from an editorial in the Lee-owned Casper Star:
Last week the Legislature’s Joint Appropriations Committee voted down some $268 million in federal funding for Medicaid expansion in Wyoming ... again. Wyoming hospitals wrote off nearly $100 million in charity and uncollectable charges last year, partly because the ER is the provider of choice for many of the roughly 20,000 Wyoming people who would be covered by Medicaid expansion. Medicaid expansion is no longer a political third rail. If the Legislature has a better plan, they should roll it out. If not, it’s time to accept Medicaid expansion.
Read that here.

A policy brief submitted to a legislative panel by the Wyoming Department of Health said Medicaid expansion would mean a $11.4 million savings for state government.

Citing studies from the Pew Charitable Trust even the conservative Sheridan Press is urging the legislature to expand Medicaid coverage.

Because of the race hatred projected at an African American president and at American Indians another red moocher state South Dakota would rather die of cancer, mercury and lead poisoning instead of adopting Medicaid expansion.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Tribes, states mulling cannabis compacts

In occupied South Dakota the Oglala Lakota Nation wants to poll reservation residents about whether cannabis should be legalized.
If the council agrees, a referendum would be called within 90 days of the council vote. Ellen Fills Pipe, chair of the Law and Order Committee, says she likes the idea of hearing from the people but is skeptical of the business prospects of legalizing pot and is also leary of jeopardizing federal funding.
Read the rest here.

US Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell promised tribes engaged in the cannabis industry will not lose their federal funding as long as they don't use HHS funds in their efforts to legalize.

The illegal drug trade is driving record crime rates in Rapid City.

South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard is struggling to convince his caucus that a regressive sales tax is the best way to reverse the state's education crisis and to fix crumbling infrastructure. “We are not going to be happy until the governor changes his ways,” Rep. Mike Verchio (RWNJ-Hill City) concluded.

The Puyallup Tribe is the third nation to enter a cannabis compact with the state of Washington.

Casinos are small banks. The Colorado legislature could enter a cannabis compact with the Ute Nation and let the tribe be the bank.

Wyoming's legislature is hearing testimony on reducing penalties for cannabis possession.

The Fort Peck Tribes in occupied Montana have legalized therapeutic cannabis.

61 percent of New Mexicans polled by an Albuquerque-based firm believe cannabis should be legalized.
Support rises to 69 percent when residents are informed that tax revenue generated by marijuana sales would be used to pay for health care and substance abuse programs. The telephone survey of 406 residents took place on Jan. 8-13. The poll was commissioned by private and nonprofit groups including licensed marijuana producers and the pro-legalization Drug Policy Alliance. [Santa Fe New Mexican]
Opioid overdose deaths surged in 14 states including New Mexico last year. Deaths from cannabis overdose? Zero.

Under Republican Governor Susana Martinez New Mexico is suffering the highest unemployment in the US.

Does anyone call it recreational alcohol? Of course not.

Friday, January 29, 2016

WOTUS: court compels cult to continue conservation

A religious cult notorious for decimating watersheds has been ordered to restore riparian habitat.
This week U.S. District Court Judge Karen E. Schreier issued an order requiring the Mayfield Hutterite Colony to restore federally-protected wetlands it drained in 2011. In November 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discovered that Mayfield Colony had installed drain tile to drain four wetlands in Hamlin County that were protected by a permanent wetland easement owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service filed suit against the Colony in 2014, seeking the removal of the drain tile from the wetlands and a permanent injunction preventing further drainage of the wetlands. The Colony also agreed to be permanently enjoined from draining or permitting the draining of the wetlands in the future.
Read the rest here.

Aquifer sources are not considered high quality water for irrigation but fossil water from limestone contains the minerals that made us human. Note the huge number of Hutterite communities applying for permits awaiting approval at South Dakota's Department of Ecocide and Natural Ruination to pump dwindling aquifers.

I really don’t care what happens East River because it’s already destroyed but West River can still be rewilded and preserved. I want to see money for West River land owners who would put their ground back into native grasses be exempt from taxes and leased as wildlife corridors. I want to see domestic livestock confined to internment camps East River where Hutterites will ultimately control all the ag ground there.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Religious freedom under fire in Custer

Rep. Lee Schoenbeck (RWNJ-Watertown) wants to shut down public discussion on changing offensive names in South Dakota. If his House Bill 1060 survives a senate vote and is signed by Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard the US Board on Geographic Names will decide which geographical features will be renamed.

Custer is one such offensive name destined for review.

In the town and county named for a war criminal religious freedom has come under fire.
A meeting of those interested in doing something about the Fundamental Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) compound in Custer County will be held at the Pine Room in the courthouse annex building Thursday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. [Custer County Chronicle]
As South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley looks away as a favor to political allies, Charlie Najacht of the Custer County Chronicle has amassed an archive mountain and is on full tilt about the growth of the compound housing members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints near Pringle.

Following arrests and a death during a siege by Mormons in Harney County, Oregon tensions are high where white people are becoming conflicted about whether sedition is an appropriate response to perceived government tyranny.

Sounds like the residents of Custer feel justified about taking the law into their own hands, too.

Recall that the legislature has deferred uranium oversight to the feds because nobody trusts Pierre to do it.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Powers: don't UA test my family

Anyone wondering why some members of the South Dakota Republican Party are lobbying to defeat House Bill 1076 only needs to read Pat Powers' screed in the state's two biggest newspapers.

Powers and his brood have been on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for decades. Several of his kids are autistic and being treated with cannabis. His wife suffers from migraines. Both she and Powers endure acute knee and back pain and are dependent on opioids. Little wonder he doesn't want them or himself to be tested.

Betty Olson and her husband Reuben received over $222,000 in federal welfare. She has been writing for years in the Grand River Roundup that Reub suffers from knee pain and has become dependent on opioids.
Maybe the thing to do is actually to expand what HB 1076 seeks to do. Consider, for a moment, that HB 1076 specifically names a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as one area to focus on. But that is only a portion of the federal aid that is transferred from the taxpayer via USDA to recipients around the country. Perhaps our Legislature should consider amending this bill to add all South Dakota recipients of money through USDA programs. They can do their drug tests at the same time they sign up for crop insurance subsidies and the like, and not only farmers and ranchers, but crop insurance agents can be tested.
Read the rest here.

Morbidly obese Powers believes letting teens get skin cancer is okay and that usury is a divine right. His family receives financial assistance from St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Brookings and from the Knights of Columbus.

Powers is all about capital punishment, too. Schadenfreude is his stock-in-trade.

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

Want federal welfare, Pat? Have your kids and wife pee in a cup.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thune: regulating Pb in watersheds 'silly'

The Rapid City Journal is a trip into bizarro world today.

When South Dakota's senior US Senator is calling 'silly' an end to lead contamination in the watersheds that support all life in the state you know life is upside-down.
As crazy as that sounds, if the liberal wing of the president’s party and EPA bureaucrats had their way, they’d even regulate the tackle South Dakotans use to reel in walleyes from the Missouri River and ban the lead ammunition they use to bag ringnecks in the prairie. Thankfully, last year Congress passed and the president signed legislation that included my provision to permanently block the EPA from an outright ban on lead ammunition used in the field. [op-ed, some idiot on John Thune's staff]
Lead is a potent neurotoxin.
The most significant hazard to wildlife is through direct ingestion of spent lead shot and bullets, lost fishing sinkers, lead tackle and related fragments, or through consumption of wounded or dead prey containing lead shot, bullets or fragments. Although lead from spent ammunition and lost fishing tackle is not readily released into aquatic and terrestrial systems, under some environmental conditions it can slowly dissolve and enter groundwater, making it potentially hazardous for plants, animals and perhaps even people if it enters water bodies or is taken up in plant roots. [US Geological Survey]
The Victoria Lake area above Rapid City is lead Superfund site in the making.

Lead is released by coal-fired power plants, too.

In Flint, Michigan a Republican governor could go to prison for telling residents that lead in the water is no big deal.

When Republican domination is literally deadly to wildlife and humans alike maybe it's time for a little hope and change.

Monday, January 25, 2016

WNAX: GOPers panicking over lost federal dollars

Boil up another plate of crow: South Dakota Rebumblicans are losing their federal welfare.
Decreasing federal support for state agencies could put more pressure on the state’s general fund. Representative Jean Hunhoff of Yankton says they are seeing agencies lose more of their federal funding. Hunhoff, a member of the Appropriations Committee, has been hearing budget requests from state agencies. She says the Labor Department had to cut thirteen employees when they lost some federal funding. She is concerned that agencies will want state dollars to replace the federal dollars that were lost. Hunhoff says some agencies are being paid for services provided to other agencies, but that is not new money. Hunhoff took part in the first District 18 legislative forum Saturday in Yankton. [WNAX]
The SDGOP and Americans for Prosperity Poverty should be careful what they wish for because it might crawl into their beds and rob them.

Cap Journal: pee test all USDA aid recipients

Betty Olson and her husband Reuben received over $222,000 in federal welfare. She has been writing for years in the Grand River Roundup that Reub suffers from knee pain and has become dependent on opioids.
Maybe the thing to do is actually to expand what HB 1076 seeks to do. Consider, for a moment, that HB 1076 specifically names a U.S. Department of Agriculture program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, as one area to focus on. But that is only a portion of the federal aid that is transferred from the taxpayer via USDA to recipients around the country. Perhaps our Legislature should consider amending this bill to add all South Dakota recipients of money through USDA programs. They can do their drug tests at the same time they sign up for crop insurance subsidies and the like, and not only farmers and ranchers, but crop insurance agents can be tested.
Read the rest here.

Want a subsidized grazing permit on federal lands? Pee in a cup, ranchers.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

'Republican environmentalists' throwing in the towel

Yes, 'Republican environmentalist' is an oxymoron.
Re­pub­lic­an donor Andy Sabin had a great seat on the floor for Thursday’s GOP pres­id­en­tial de­bate and found him­self in­creas­ingly im­pressed with the way Ted Cruz answered some ques­tions. But over­all, Sabin left frus­trated with a lack of dis­cus­sion of his pet top­ics: en­ergy and cli­mate change. “Zero. None. It’s a non­is­sue,” Sabin said. Of the can­did­ates with strong enough poll num­bers to make last week’s main-stage de­bate, only former Flor­ida Gov. Jeb Bush has ac­know­ledged that hu­mans play some role in the chan­ging cli­mate, al­though it’s hardly an en­dorse­ment of the sci­entif­ic con­sensus. And with dwind­ling sup­port that puts him around fifth place in the polls, nobody is count­ing on Bush’s stance to make much head­way.
Read the rest here.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Drinking Liberally's Osborn only semi-literate

How putridity purveyor Pat Powers can take Sheldon Osborn seriously remains a mystery.
After all, Ann Tornberg, before assuming her election as Chairman of the South Dakota Democratic Party and mother hen of the few remaining Democratic Legislator's [sic] in Pierre, was President of SDEA's organization in Sioux Falls, the largest school district in the State. Why not let the Republican's [sic] themselves decide if they want to increase taxes or change their priorities and release a little bit of money from the mammoth Reserve Funds they control for our teachers, our children, and the future of our state? [Sheldon Osborn]
Osborn has called the Republican Party "Klan-like."

"Assuming her election?" Ann Tornberg the mother hen of Bernie Hunhoff? That's simple ridiculous.
“I don’t agree with all the details of the governor’s plan. We should expand the poverty limits for Medicaid, for example,” Hunhoff said. “But we’re all going to have to compromise. Hunhoff said he has seen opposition among some GOP lawmakers. [Vermillion Plain Talk]
Only semi-literate himself, morbidly obese Powers believes letting teens get skin cancer is okay and that usury is a divine right. He has long been banned from this and other South Dakota related sites because of a continual stream of bigotry, misogyny and other hate speech.

Friday, January 22, 2016

'Waters of the state' meet the CAFO debate

Clay County is preparing to vote on an ordinance that would revise the definition of Confined Animal Feeding Operation. The commission held a public hearing on the effects of revisions.
According to commissioners and Toby Brown representing SECOG (The South-Eastern Council of Governments), the ordinance up for a vote is a revision of the 2013 revision of the 2005 ordinance. According to Brown, the major changes of the current ordinance up for vote include reinstating the Animal Feeding Operation (AFO) definition which was removed from the 2013 version and moving the cap up for dairy operations. “The third change is clarification is what the setback is off of waters,” he said. “Right now it’s ‘waters of the state.’ If you read the definition of ‘waters of the state’ that could be an irrigation pit, it could be anything that has water in it. The next public hearing for this ordinance will be held Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Vermillion Courthouse basement.
Read the rest here.

Intersecting with Clay County's fight to preserve its water supplies is Yankton County's relationship to the James River and South Dakota's Republican congressional delegation war on clean water.

Proposed changes linked here.

Local control is just another euphemism for the freedom to poop on somebody else's pancakes.

SDPB: DEIS suspended for Black Hills rare earth mine

Bill Janklow's idea of public radio is reporting that the US Forest Service has just suspended the Draft Environmental Impact Study for a Wyoming Black Hills mountaintop-removal mine in the Belle Fourche watershed.

The Sundance (Wyoming) Times had a report yesterday detailing other effects from the mine.

The suspension comes in the wake of federal concern over Wyoming mining regulators.

Across the aisle: Daschle, Lott at Kennedy Center

As Republicans bash each other and cooperation in Congress Senators Tom Daschle and Trent Lott are taking their tutorial on bipartisanship on the road.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

South Dakota youth just saying no to Game, Fish and Plunder

News from a gaggle of South Dakota Republicans feeding from the wildlife slaughtering industry revealed that the interest among young people in killing animals just for the hell of it is on the wane.
A report at the meeting showed a troubling slump in license sales for youth ages 12 through 17, with last year's small-game and youth combination license sales down compared to recent past years. When that happens, GF&P has to come up with different options to fund its operations, and that can include an increase in license costs and fees.
Read it all here.

Can you say extirpation?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Study: states without access to legal cannabis are fatter

The vast majority of South Dakotans are in horrible physical shape: obesity, addiction to opioids, teen binge drinking, sexually transmitted infections...yada, yada, yada.
Want to take a bite out of the American obesity epidemic? Legalize medical marijuana. Researchers from San Diego State University and Cornell University found that at the state level, passing a medical marijuana law (MML) “is associated with a 2 percent to 6 percent decline in the probability of obesity.” So if medical marijuana reduces pain, it may be allowing those patients to be more active — and hence, burn more calories.
Read the rest here.

A study of the efficacy of cannabis on children with epilepsy is beginning in New York. Effectiveness to reduce symptoms of autism have already been documented.

Obese SDGOP blog bully, Pat Powers embraces usury and thinks skin cancer is okay but cannabis prohibition is not nanny-statism. He has kids suffering from autism yet he decries an effective therapy for the afflicted.

Surprise! IHS in trouble after GOP, Noem defund care

Remember this from last year?
Let’s be clear about this plan: It would require deep spending cuts in federal Indian programs. According to a report from The Associated Press the draft document adds some $40 billion to military spending and calls for deep cuts to all domestic programs, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service. At the same moment that the Congress is pursuing its latest “repeal” of the Affordable Care Act more states, even states controlled by Republicans, are moving forward with an expansion of Medicaid. This may be the most important part of the Affordable Care Act, especially for Indian country because it’s adding new dollars to the underfunded health care system. [Mark Trahant]
And, today:
U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem said federal health care provided to South Dakota's Native American population is inadequate and called Wednesday for an overhaul. "I stand firmly in the corner that it's the federal government's responsibility to provide health care to our Native Americans and we should be doing that through reforms to IHS," Noem said. [Dana Ferguson]
Native Sun News editor emeritus, Tim Giago supported Kristi Noem in 2010 but now he's seen the handwriting in Wall.
Noem has done little or nothing to promote legislation favorable to South Dakota’s large Indian population. Instead she has done just the opposite by opposing women’s rights, she voted to make drastic cuts in the food stamp program and has been a strong supporter of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a pipeline that is diametrically opposed by the tribes of the Great Sioux Nation. Kristi Noem laid out a bunch of things she would do for Native Americans while campaigning, but forgot to follow up on any of them once she was elected. Well, we’ve had a couple of years of Noem or as one columnist calls her, Kristi No, and we have discovered that she walks lock step with the Republican Party without considering the basic needs of her own citizens in South Dakota, and she has made it a particular point to absolutely ignore and even damage the interests of the Native Americans of this state. It is time for a change and it is early enough for all Indians to register to vote and when the time comes, get out and make that vote count. [Giago, It is high time to show Kristi Noem the door]
Noem missed 17 out of 22 meetings of the House subcommittee on Indian and Alaska Native Affairs.
The Indian Health Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and other federal programs that deal with Indian housing, health, education, transportation, energy, economic development and so forth face over a billion dollars in Noem supported cuts. IHS alone will face $637 million in cuts. These cuts are from the Paul Ryan budget plan that that Congresswoman Noem fully supports, voted for and is campaigning on as a badge of courage. In my view there is nothing courageous about trying to balance the federal budget of the United States on the backs of Lakota children, Lakota elders and Indian country in general. [Wilson, Indian Country can't afford Kristi Noem anymore]
Now Noem feigns care for Indian Health Service while voting repeatedly to defund services for American Indians.
Despite the claims by U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., of flagrant violations of health standards that put patients "in serious danger" at the IHS hospital on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, the federal agency that administers Medicaid and Medicare tentatively has determined that the hospital is clearing up its most serious problems. [Rapid City Journal]
But South Dakota doesn't care about needs in tribal nations so Noem's apocrypha rattles on.

Kristi Noem clearly has no idea how many patients in South Dakota are already on medications for the various mental illnesses plaguing the state but she did receive $3000 from the National Rifle Association in 2014.
U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said lawmakers need to re-evaluate mental health care programs, which can be the "root of the violence," in response to a shooting that left three dead at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic Friday. A mass shooting also occurred Wednesday in California. "Mental health issues seem to be the thread that ties so many of these crises together, but our system remains broken," Noem said in a statement.
Read it here.

Pick a lane, Kristi.
Sanford scored in the bottom 10 percent of hospitals nationally in a composite ranking of several patient-safety indicators, including accidental punctures or lacerations, post-surgical wound ruptures, medically induced lung damage and post-surgical hip fractures. The Brookings Health System ranked in the bottom 10 percent of hospitals nationally in a score that assessed site infections on patients who underwent colon surgery or hysterectomies. Two other South Dakota hospitals – Rapid City Regional and Avera St. Mary's – narrowly escaped being penalized. [Sioux Falls Argus Leader]
So, Rep. Noem wants to violate the civil rights of people with mental illnesses and restrict their access to firearms?

Noem has voted repeatedly to defund the mechanism to expand mental health care to those most at risk of acting out violently.

Noem's party may have lost a skirmish in its War on Women but, wait: Kristi wants to guarantee that guys like Scott Westerhuis have the right to assassinate their own families with a shotgun, torch the house then turn the gun on themselves.

Putting the best face on the dilation and curettage performed on her caucus by House Democrats, Kristi Noem is vowing to fight the good fight.

The hypocrisy of the Republican Party is without bound.

Kinda makes you wanna puke, init?

Bombshell polling: RCJ readers hate Spearfish Canyon State Park

A Republican land grab in the Black Hills is up the creek with quite a battle.

By a margin of 2-1 readers of the Rapid City Journal are rejecting a plan to create a state park in Spearfish Canyon.
Non-profit Spearfish Canyon Foundation is paying $750,000 to Barrick Gold Corporation for the property and giving it to the state government. [Black Hills Pioneer]
During a Dakota Midday interview on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard described a process where Senator John Thune would just slip a bill into Congress that would swap public ground held by the US Forest Service with state property of equal value to consolidate holdings.

A cynical observer might wonder whether the state would offer to hold Canadian miner Barrick harmless for future spills from abandoned mine operations in the area of the exchange.

A Republican donor has been gifted the chair of the state tourism board. Yes, Ted Hustead has mining interests in Spearfish Canyon.

Take the reader poll here.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Schoenbeck: what racism?

Watertown High School hosts a racist pageant every year.

Channeling the Bundy domestic terrorists laying siege to Harney County, Oregon Rep. Lee Schoenbeck (RWNJ-Watertown) is embracing white privilege.
A lawmaker has introduced a measure that would dissolve a state board thrust into the spotlight for considering a recommendation for a new name for Harney Peak. The board's chairwoman didn't immediately return a request for comment. Gov. Dennis Daugaard's spokeswoman says he hasn't yet reviewed it. [KDLT teevee]
White South Dakota bureaupublicans should know better than to live on the wrong side of history.
Two members of Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s cabinet have submitted letters to the state Board on Geographic Names opposing the board’s recommended renaming of Harney Peak to “Hinhan Kaga (Making of Owls)." [Seth Tupper]
South Dakota's GOP governor has little choice but to accept a county name change after voters sanctioned it even if some state Republicans are resisting because of SDGOP's long history of racism.
In the November general election, voters in Shannon County overwhelmingly approved changing the name to Oglala Lakota County, but the new name cannot go into effect without legislative action. But in the past few years, a state panel has been replacing names considered insensitive, such as Negro and Squaw from creeks and formations, and this year a proposal surfaced to replace Harney Peak in the Black Hills with Black Elk Peak. [Rapid City Journal], links mine.
The Lakota called William Harney, "Woman Killer." The French called the Lakota 'Teton Sioux' which is highly offensive. Numerous geographical sites in South Dakota bear part of that tag. No doubt Big Sioux and Sioux Falls will ultimately be contested.
The BGN’s policy is that if a public presentation is made, a vote on that issue will automatically be deferred until at least the next meeting. After months of public meetings and comment periods, the South Dakota Board on Geographic Names (SDBGN) voted 4-1 to leave the name of William S. Harney attached to the peak. The original name submitted for the name change was Black Elk Peak, which was later changed to “Hinhan Kaga (Making of Owls),” by the SDBGN. The SDBGN forwarded its final recommendation as well as packets of materials including comments from a large number of interested parties, results of its meetings and audio files to the U.S. board for consideration. A vote is not anticipated until early 2016. [Carrie Moore, Harney name still up in air]
Heȟáka Sápa (Black Elk) returned to Lakota ways after he realized the Roman Church was committing crimes against his people.
Damian Costello's monograph on Black Elk, the Oglala holy man, is the latest in a growing number of scholarly contributions to the controversial topic of Black Elk's religious identity. Was Black Elk truly a wicasta wakan, a holy man, who only became a Catholic convert as a result of the colonial pressures endemic to the reservation system? Or was Black Elk actually a devout catechist, whose "Great Vision" was unnecessarily bereft of its Christian message because John G. Neihardt desired a romanticized and non-Christian Indian narrative? First, tribal nations such as the Lakota are still under the yoke of colonialism and, as such, are engaged in a process of decolonization rather than postcolonialism. Second, taking [Lamin] Sanneh's perspective and arbitrarily applying it to early twentieth-century Lakota history only serves as a way of making excuses for historic wrongs that both Protestant and Catholic churches committed against the Lakota people. [excerpt, Black Elk: Colonialism and Lakota Catholicism (review)]
This blogger has been arguing for Lakota names on South Dakota's geological features for at least twenty years. It is the opinion of this blog that if the mountain is named for Black Elk it should be in the Lakota language: loosely translated as Paha Heȟáka Sápa.

It's time for the State of South Dakota to abandon Bear Butte State Park that it claimed through colonization and remand it to the tribes for governance so they can restore its name to Mato Paha and for the US Park Service to add the name Mahto Tipila to Devils Tower National Monument.

Daschle, Lott: 'we need a National Primary Day to raise voter turnout'

With Harry Reid stepping down as Minority Leader and the possibility that Democrats could retake the Senate why wouldn't Tom Daschle, who retains his seniority if elected, want to reach for the brass ring an unvetted, ethics-negative John Thune can't touch?
Actual governing has ground to a standstill in favor of blood sport. As a consequence, a new silent majority, level-headed Americans who simply want their government to solve problems, now regularly stay home come election time. They surrender their privilege of voting out of a mix of apathy, bitterness and cynicism. It’s far past time to rotate which states go first—or in our opinion, just scrap the staggering and institute a National Primary Day. It’ll eliminate the embarrassing pandering and raise the turnout with one swoop.
Read the rest here.

Former US Senators Tom Daschle and Trent Lott will be appearing today at the National Press Club where they will be unveiling their book, “Crisis Point: Why We Must — and How We Can — Overcome Our Broken Politics in Washington and Across America.

Monday, January 18, 2016

DiSanto doing same thing over and over, expecting different results

Rep. Lynne DiSanto (RWNJ-35) wants poor people to pee in a cup.
Under the bill, adults applying for cash assistance would complete a screening or questionnaire and would be subjected to a mandatory drug screening. They would not receive the benefit if they test positive. In 2011 and 2012, South Dakota lawmakers rejected bills requiring drug tests for welfare recipients.
Read the rest here.

She says she's seeking guidance from tribal nations. My guess is they'll give her directions to Sheridan Lake where she can jump in.
Farm subsidies and government-subsidized crop insurance are one of the biggest portions of federal spending in South Dakota. The following shows how they compared with federal spending on other well-known programs or entities in the state in 2012:
Farm subsidies: $720,927,000
Premium subsidized crop insurance: $474,805,350
Highway planning and construction: $323,593,936
Food stamps*: $165,357,967
Ellsworth Air Force Base: $102,400,000<
DiSanto's proposed legislation would do nothing but reinforce SDGOP's hypocrisy on federal dependency. She is leading a crusade against the Rapid City County Commission, too.

Under Daugaard obesity rules

Progress has been made under current school lunch rules but as industrial agriculture lines Republican pockets South Dakota's children continue to suffer from elevated risks to obesity.
The number of South Dakota kids who are overweight or obese is 32.2 percent, essentially unchanged for the fourth straight year, according to a new state health report. The survey defines obese as at or above the 95th percentile body mass index-for-age when compared to kids of the same age and gender.
Read the rest here.

Treating patients in a surge of obesity, doctors in the United Kingdom are urging lawmakers to pass a 20 percent tax to pay the medical costs to the national health care system.

Under Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard increasing rates of measles, sexually-transmitted infections, cancer and violent crimes have ravaged parts of South Dakota.

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

RCJ: Badlands fee hike bad, state park would charge to visit Roughlock Falls

The Rapid City Journal is ironing out its website problems but its editorial board can't seem to visit the forest for the fees.
The proposal calls for raising the walk-in rate from $7 to $12, the motorcycle rate from $10 to $20 and the vehicle rate from $15 to $25. These passes are all good for seven days. The Park Service also wants to raise the annual fee from $30 to $50. Regardless of the outcome of the public hearings, it is important that members of the public attend these meetings and challenge park officials to specifically explain the need for rate hikes that will certainly discourage some from visiting one of the true treasures of the western U.S. [editorial]
South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard wants to make part of another public treasure a state park after lawsuits in Spearfish Canyon are settled.
Last week, the Journal asked Doug Hofer, director of the Division of Parks and Recreation for the state Department of Game, Fish & Parks, if the creation of a state park would bring an entry fee to Roughlock Falls. Another state official, Hunter Roberts, a policy adviser to Daugaard, told the Journal that while Spearfish Canyon State Park is a long way from reality, an entrance fee to the park and Roughlock Falls is a possibility over the long-term. [Seth Tupper]
Land stolen from tribal nations appears to be going to a corrupt red state again. While tribes are forced to raise $9 million to buy their own land, the State of South Dakota can decide to just sue for it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Drinking Liberally Sioux Falls: GOP 'Klan-like'

Sheldon Osborn is the South Dakota Democratic Party's rank and file like Pat Powers is a pole vaulter.
Besides, not only is Hillary the most qualified Presidential candidate in a very long time, the one best able to withstand the angry, No-Nothing [sic?], Klan-like tide which dominates the GOP today, the candidate best able to secure President Obama's policies and make sure a Democratic nominee fills the 2 or 3 Supreme Court vacancies which will occur during the next President's term, she has earned the opportunity to be the Democratic nominee numerous times over the last eight years. [Sheldon Osborn]
We need a National Primary Day to raise voter turnout: Tom Daschle and Trent Lott.

SDGOP blog bully Powers embraces usury but cannabis prohibition is not nanny-statism. He has kids suffering from autism yet he decries an effective therapy for the afflicted.

Cold Brook Fire brings record visitation to Wind Cave

"Ready. Fire. Aim."

Despite claims by Republicans the Black Hills are NOT being devastated by the mountain pine beetle.
Wind Cave National Park says it set a modern-day visitation record in 2015. Park officials say visitation at the world’s sixth-longest cave was up 9.8 percent to about 109,000 people. Park Superintendent Vidal Dávila says the National Park Service is celebrating its centennial this year, and the park is looking at possibly breaking the record again. [KWAT Radio]
The southern Black Hills are greener and vistas more spectacular after the mountain pine beetle opened view sheds and increased water supplies. Wind Cave National Park is greenest in its history after a prescribed burn took even more invasive grasses than was planned.

Neiman Enterprises is putting pressure on Republicans to increase logging of the old growth pine: critical habitat for threatened and endangered species.

Researchers are saying insect activity doesn't make wildfire potential more likely in the Rocky Mountain Complex where fires and bugs have been clearing overgrowth.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Vermillion Plain Talk: Daugaard is Wizard of Oz

South Dakota's Republican Governor Denny Daugaard already sits on the state's death panel.
I honestly feel like I am having a "Wizard of Oz" moment. You know, the one where they are off to see the Wizard in the Emerald City, believing in the big, exciting image of the Wizard. Then they arrive and look behind the curtain… For schools that have been living on the edge and trimming programs to cut their general fund budgets more and more in the last few years, this proposal is once again going to force the local districts to be the bad guys. While the new funding plan would be more transparent for both legislators and districts, it is still falling short of the needs of the schools across South Dakota. I would say as a state, we are currently on the Yellow Brick Road.
Read the rest here.

K-12 Achievement: D (65.2), Status: D- (62.5), Change: F (57.6), School Finance: D (66.3), Spending: F (48.6). Read it all at Education Week.

More evidence of Daugaard tyranny: a third of qualified teaching grads leave South Dakota while the remainder struggle with certification.

Verchio's industrial cannabis bill DOA but state still reliant on addiction for cash

This reporter is convinced South Dakota can’t afford any more Atrazine, glyphosate and invasive species threatening watersheds and soils. According to Libertarian blogger, Ken Santema, at least one group will lobby against a bill legalizing industrial cannabis arguing that the plant is a noxious weed that will negatively impact ag producers long-term.

Gambling in South Dakota accounted for more of state revenues than any other state in the 2014 fiscal year.

Former Butte County States Attorney Heather Plunkett was fired with pay after she and her husband were charged with ingesting cannabis in a state with the most Draconian laws.

Mike Verchio (RWNJ-30) lives where industrial cannabis will never be grown. His actions are those of a colonizer who would introduce a plant from Asia to tribal nations and write legislation that would give county or state control over grow operations on reservations like California Public Law 280 does.

Verchio has only lived in South Dakota since 1988 yet is seen as a native by Republicans; but, Joe Lowe, a Democrat who moved to South Dakota about the same time, is portrayed as an outsider by the Ridiculous Right.

Red moocher state South Dakota is powered by sin: video lootery, a loan shark industry that preys on the least fortunate, a massive gambling addiction and a too-big-to-jail banking racket fill in the gaps created by lobbyists who enjoy the protection of single-party tyranny.

Without a compact with the State of Nebraska the Omaha Nation has turned its focus to industrial cannabis.

But, at least Pierre is talking.

With the new calendar year changes are coming for Oregon's cannabis law.

And in Minnesota:
The commissioner of the Department of Health was given authority to add intractable pain to the list of conditions that qualify for the use of medical cannabis, and did so in December. The law calls for the commissioner to report findings to the Task Force on Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research by the first of the year.
Read that here.

For the record, I do not support widespread growing of hemp: it is an invasive species and capable of overgrowing native grasses.

Cannabis is already legal for some residents of South Dakota.

In a state reliant on sin taxes for revenue a vigorous discussion of cannabis grown for personal enjoyment is overdue; but, Rep. Mike Verchio’s bill should die in committee.

Friday, January 15, 2016

BLM suspends ecocide on some public lands

A new study by the U.S. Geological Survey confirms that much of the mercury in Lake Superior is the result of burning coal from as far away as China and as close as Minnesota.
Citing concerns over pricing and pollution, the Obama administration on Friday unveiled a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands. The review process is expected to take about three years. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced the change in a conference call Friday morning. The federal Bureau of Land Management handles coal leasing on the approximately 570 million acres of land. In 2014, the most recent year with complete data, Wyoming received more than $555 million in royalties and revenues, with more than 200,000 acres covered by 102 federal leases. [NPR]
Even after spending over $350 million mercury emissions are still a problem in NE South Dakota.
An environmental retrofit of Otter Tail Power Co.’s largest coal-fired power plant has finished significantly under budget, but the achievement is clouded by worries that new greenhouse gas rules will curtail how much the plant operates in future years. At first, Otter Tail officials raised alarm with the EPA that the plant — the only coal-fired generator in South Dakota — would be forced to shut down, stranding an investment that costs residential ratepayers in Minnesota about $5 per month. But the final rule softened South Dakota’s carbon targets, and the utility officials no longer are concerned about shuttering the plant.
Read that here.

Gillette, Wyoming is a scary place. It's where ecocide is encouraged and mercury from coal burning power plants is released into South Dakota's watersheds.

Wyoming receives nearly half of all federal mineral receipts. (pdf)

Cross-state pollution? Say it ain't so, Marty.

How bad does it have to get before Marty Jackley files lawsuits against Black Hills Power, NorthWestern Energy, Otter Tail and/or the Colstrip Generating Station?

Gloomy SD congressional delegation: America doomed

Rep. Mike Verchio (RWNJ-30) has filed House Bill 1054 legalizing industrial cannabis.

Roger Larsen of the Huron Daily Plainsman is reporting the end of the world as we know it.
In his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress and the nation, Obama struck an optimistic note about his administration’s progress, and the country’s future if everyone comes together. But South Dakota’s Republican team in Washington, D.C., sees the past seven years differently. [Larsen]
Verchio has only lived in South Dakota since 1988 yet is seen as a native by Republicans; but, Joe Lowe, a Democrat who moved to South Dakota about the same time, is portrayed as an outsider by the Ridiculous Right.

Speaking of crackers: a legislative crackerbarrel will be held in Rapid City at the School of Mines. Go over there and jack up your Republican lawmakers.

USFWS finalizes protection for Black Hills bat

Another step toward preserving some Black Hills habitat has been taken.
In an effort to conserve the northern long-eared bat, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced a final rule today that uses flexibilities under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to tailor protections to areas affected by white-nose syndrome during the bat’s most sensitive life stages. As white-nose syndrome continues to affect this species, the bat’s status may decline to the point that it becomes endangered. In that event, the Service would publish a new proposal requesting public input. If the bat were to be listed as endangered in the future, the 4(d) rule would no longer apply, and all regulatory prohibitions under the ESA would take effect. In the United States, the northern long-eared bat is found from Maine to North Carolina on the Atlantic Coast, westward to eastern Oklahoma and north through the Dakotas, reaching into eastern Montana and Wyoming. [press release, USFWS]
GOP donors being subsidized by the federal government to log in the Black Hills are putting pressure on the state's congressional delegation to resist habitat protection for the black-backed woodpecker, too.
"The species, by any sensible measure, clearly deserves endangered status," says Mollie Matteson, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity in Vermont. "It's dying at rates of 90 to 100 percent." [Environmentalists Say 'Threatened' Status For Bats Not Enough]
Senator don Juan Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem have tossed bones to their campaign contributors by railing against the protection of endangered species like the northern long-eared bat and for more money for the Neiman family to log the old growth ponderosa pine essential to preserving Black Hills habitat. Neiman Enterprises sells clear pine to Pella for windows and doors.
Like most bats, northern long-eared bats emerge at dusk to feed. They primarily fly through the understory of forested areas feeding on moths, flies, leafhoppers, caddisflies, and beetles, which they catch while in flight using echolocation or by gleaning motionless insects from vegetation. [USFWS fact sheet]
Box Elder Creek is still running in January because of the mountain pine beetle's feast of pine even as a town named for a war criminal is preparing another celebration of ecocide.

South Dakota's GOP-dominated legislature is also pandering to the logging industry by voting to give them more cash.

Cougars and the American Dipper have been all but extirpated from the Black Hills.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Daschle wins TDP poll; Thune offended by being called GOP establishment?

Thanks to all who voted.

Former Democratic Senator from South Dakota, Tom Daschle has overwhelmingly won a reader poll conducted by The Dakota Progressive. In the 2016 South Dakota general election for whom would you vote?
John Thune - 5
Tom Daschle - 28
Larry Pressler - 1
Seriously? It's impossible to think of don Juan Thune as anything but a part of the DC Republican Establishment.

With Harry Reid stepping down as Minority Leader and the possibility that Democrats could retake the Senate why wouldn't Tom Daschle, who retains his seniority if elected, want to reach for the brass ring an unvetted, ethics-negative John Thune can't touch?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Daugaard confirms bargain with Barrick

Update, 15 January, 1100 MST:
Non-profit Spearfish Canyon Foundation is paying $750,000 to Barrick Gold Corporation for the property and giving it to the state government. [Black Hills Pioneer]


Today on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio Republican South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard confirmed that the state is dealing with Canadian miner, Barrick on property in Spearfish Canyon.

Here's some backstory:
Officials with Homestake Mining Co. have been considering selling two large parcels of land in Spearfish Canyon that would be given to the public and connected to land the state already owns. Altogether the land could form a large state park. Game, Fish and Parks Department officials briefed the public on the plan Friday at the agency's regular meeting in Yankton. Under the plan the Spearfish Canyon Foundation would purchase a 73-acre tract, which includes Spearfish Falls, and donate it to the state. [Associated Press]
Land stolen from the tribal signatories of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 appears to be going to a corrupt red state again.
The Spearfish Canyon Foundation would purchase a 73-acre tract that includes Spearfish Falls and donate it the department, according to Doug Hofer, director for the state Division of Parks and Recreation. The property was appraised at $1,225,000 but foundation officials are attempting to secure it for a smaller amount, Hofer said. [Black Hills Pioneer]
But a wrench has been thrown into the giveaway machinery:
A complaint of violation of easement law and resulting nuisance was filed Dec. 5, 2014, in Lawrence County by plaintiffs Kathy Romano, Chris Romano, and Debra Jilka against defendants the Homestake Mining Company; Arleth Land Surveying, LLC; Spearfish Canyon Foundation; Jerry J. Boyer; and South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks (GF&P). Todd Duex, closure manager for Homestake, declined to comment on the lawsuit citing company policy to not comment on cases in active litigation. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Todd Duex is the local representative for the Canadian firm. It owns most of the rights to water in the Northern Black Hills: water destined for the proposed Deadwood Standard Project.

Bill Harlan reported a previous swindle:
Homestake and its parent company, Barrick Gold Corp. of Toronto, have agreed to those terms, but GF&P Secretary John Cooper warned that if the state doesn't act, some of the most spectacular scenery in the Black Hills could end up in private hands. "Without public acquisition of these lands, it appears inevitable, that Barrick will sell these lands to developers that seek to build trophy homes," Cooper wrote in a letter accompanying his proposal. He argued that even Roughlock Falls could become privately owned, "thus locking out a public treasure." Money for the $3.3 million deal would not come from taxpayers, Cooper said. In fact, most of it would come from Homestake. Cooper hopes to use about $3.1 million that the state already has been awarded as compensation for cyanide and other hazardous substances Homestake dumped into Whitewood Creek for decades. The creek was named a Superfund site in 1981, but Homestake completed restoration in 1994, and the creek was taken off the Superfund list in 1996. In 1997, however, South Dakota and Indian tribes sued Homestake. The settlement established the Whitewood Creek Restoration Fund. The state's share of the complicated settlement was about $2.7 million, which has grown with interest to about $3.1 million. Cooper hopes to use that money to buy the Homestake land.
The State of South Dakota is suing the Army Corps of Engineers to determine ownership of so-called 'surplus water.'

Tribes believe that they own the water.

Attorney General Marty Jackley is engaging in legal sock-puppetry. By suing the corps over surplus water he is forcing We the People to pay for the clean up of a century of mine tailings and organic effluent that has saturated the banks of the Belle Fourche/Cheyenne River system then depositing many tons of toxic silt into Lake Oahe and the other downstream dams after 1962 now displacing many acre-feet of water.

Hidden agenda? The state has a $83 million dollar surplus but would argue it can’t afford to dredge and treat the dams so it expects taxpayers to do it. Ag and livestock special interests likely contribute the most poison crap to the system followed by human-based pharma/chemical toiletries.

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.

During the Dakota Midday interview Daugaard described a process where Senator John Thune would just slip a bill into Congress that would swap public ground held by the US Forest Service with state property of equal value to consolidate holdings.

A cynical observer might wonder whether the state might offer to hold Barrick harmless for future spills from abandoned mine operations in the area of the exchange.

While tribes are forced to raise $9 million to buy their own land, the State of South Dakota can decide to just take it.

Rapid City Journal looks Gannett-y

The Journal Media Group was purchased by Gannett taking ownership in the first quarter of 2016.
In late June, Gannett was split from its former parent, now called Tegna (TGNA). Gannett focuses on USA TODAY and local markets, 10 of which are now in Wisconsin. Tegna, whose former name was Gannett, sought the spinoff to focus mainly on television broadcasting and its digital businesses, and When the split was announced in August 2014, then-Gannett executives said the new Gannett would begin operating largely without debt and was poised to be an acquirer in an industry ripe for consolidation.
Read that here.

The Rapid City Journal's website design now looks like the Billings Gazette, Casper Star, The Missoulian and others.

Tim Rounds won't seek reelection

A source close to the Rounds family just sent this reporter a note that state Representative Tim Rounds (R-24) won't seek reelection to his seat. His current term ends in 2016.

Tim Rounds is a career bureaupublican.

From the Wikipedia entry:
His father, Don Rounds, worked at various times as state director of highway safety, a staffer for Rural Electrification Administration and executive director of the South Dakota Petroleum Council. Rounds' brother, Tim Rounds, is a member of the South Dakota State Legislature representing District 24, which includes Pierre. During the 2006 legislative session, Governor Rounds signed House Bill 1233, entitled “An Act to provide for the establishment and operation of artisan distillers and to revise certain provisions concerning farm wineries.”[6] This bill, proposed by Jamison Rounds (another of Gov. Rounds' brothers), changed state law to allow for operation of small-scale (50,000 gallons/year/facility) liquor distilleries in the state.[7] At the time, Jamison Rounds testified before the legislature and explained that he was advocating the change so that he could open a distillery in the state.[8] The bill passed the state house 60-5 and the state senate 33-2; among those voting in favor was another Rounds brother, Representative Tim Rounds.
Charges of nepotism are nothing new in the chemical toilet.

Brian Rounds is the son of former Gov. Mike Rounds.

The junior Rounds' plan accepted by the South Dakota's Public Utilities Commission, where he is an analyst, forcing NorthWestern Energy to buy power from a local wind farm, where the elder Rounds sits on the board, did not immediately feel like a conflict of interest to Argus Leader reporter, David Montgomery in response to a question submitted at today's 100 Eyes webcast.

Steve Rounds enjoys an unusual 30-year lease on land managed by a state agency.

Jamie Rounds was appointed to lead economic development by his brother, former governor Mike Rounds, one of many moves that the Sioux Falls Argus Leader called, "ethically confused."

I attended SDSU with Mike Rounds' brother-in-law, Randy Brich, in fact: we have shared bongs on more occasions than can be recalled.

Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard has already appointed more lawgivers than any other governor in South Dakota history.

Tim Rounds stroked in July.

Remember when SDGOP called for Senator Tim Johnson's resignation after a brain bleed?

A bridge to nowhere, boardings at the Pierre Airport are at record lows.

Spearfish legislator, Fred Romkema (R-31) has been fingered for conflict of interest: his days in the South Dakota House are numbered, too.

The iron curtain continues to descend over the Reichstag.