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 its holdings 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.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Urban bighorn sheep climbing to nuisance peak in Deadwood

Yep, South Dakota Game, Fish and Plunder has forced wildlife management on someone else again after losing control of another self-created crisis.

After the 2002 Grizzly Gulch Fire opened nearly 13,000 acres of overgrown and beetle-killed ponderosa pine invasive weeds and cheatgrass moved in because cars and hunters have killed off most of the native elk, white-tailed and mule deer.

Now, a herd of disease-prone bighorn sheep, likely seeking relative protection from cougars orphaned by one of GFP's other failed policies, has moved right in and made themselves at home within the City of Deadwood causing traffic snarls and wreaking havoc on gardens and lawns.
Until now, no natural water sources existed on Sunrise Mountain. “Installation of a guzzler to collect water on Sunrise Mountain provides bighorn sheep and other wildlife with a safe, secluded, high elevation water source that could potentially reduce the need for them to travel through Deadwood and across busy highways in search of water,” said Valerie McKean, Northern Hills Wildlife Biologist, Black Hills National Forest. The new guzzler is located within the Deadwood Fuels Project which is being implemented over the next 5 years by the City of Deadwood, SDDAWFD, SDDOC and Black Hills National Forest. [press release, Black Hills National Forest]
The below video has been lifted from Bob Reiling.

During the Sturgis Rally riders loop through Aladdin to Hulett and Devils Tower then back through Sundance. Highways are often crowded to capacity and drunken bikers can be seen weaving over every roadway in the Black Hills. Collisions with deer and bighorn sheep regularly injure and kill motorcyclists.

The reasoning is hardly mysterious: it's all about the money hunting and subsidized grazing bring to the South Dakota Republican Party depleting watersheds and smothering habitat under single-party rule.

The stills below have been lifted from Sandy Smith Bittner.

Events like these are hardly unexpected in a Republican-choked state that stages an annual mock bison roundup appropriated from indigenous cultures and keeps a drove of allegorical mooching donkeys in a park named for a war criminal as a slap in the face to a feckless South Dakota Democratic Party.

BHSU wins Sierra Club sustainability award

Ice storms routinely knock out electric power on American Indian reservations often resulting in lost lives and the inevitable cyber attacks on the US will take down the grid for days, even months causing food shortages and mayhem.
Black Hills State University was recognized nationally for its sustainability achievements as it was included on the annual listing of “Cool Schools.” BHSU is the only South Dakota school included in the listing. Each ranking includes stats from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) STARS system, a self-reporting framework for colleges to measure their sustainability performance, and Sierra Club Cool School Points awarded. STARS stands for Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System. [Sierra Club includes BHSU in ‘Cool Schools 2018’ listing]
Utilities are not your friends.

South Dakota suffers the highest breast cancer rates in America due in large part to emissions from coal-fired electricity generating plants in Montana and Wyoming. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission is staffed by Republicans so they're pushovers for rate increases by companies who bankroll the elections to the posts they hold. Xcel Energy enjoyed a 4 percent rate hike from the South Dakota Public Utility Cartel (SDPUC) but reduced its request in Colorado. Commissioner Kristie Fiegen herself is circling the drain wracked with cancer caused by Attorney General Marty Jackley's partisanship and conflicts of interest.

No corporate taxes, a compliant regulator and cheap labor make South Dakota the perfect dumping ground for earth killers like coal. Jackley got campaign cash from NWE last cycle; so did a bunch of other South Dakota Republicans. In 2014, Xcel gave $10,000 to Mike Rounds, $2,500 to John Thune and $4,250 to Kristi Noem. In 2016 Black Hills Corp. gave Thune and Noem wads of cash, too. Basin Electric doled out $270,000 in 2016 alone. Oil and gas found Mike Rounds' zerk, too. Noem has received $5,500 from electric utilities so far in the 2018 election cycle.

If South Dakota had a Democratic attorney general she might be compelled to sue Montana and Wyoming for the toxic legacy created by Colstrip, Basin Electric and Black Hills Energy.

The cost of subsidizing, manufacturing, transporting, erecting and maintaining just one wind farm turbine bat and bird killer would take a thousand subscribers to energy self-reliance. Microgrid technologies are destined to enhance tribal sovereignty, free communities from electric monopolies and net-metering only gives control back to utilities enabled by moral hazard.

Leaving the grid has never been easier so anyone who can afford to it should do it now and with Trump still in the White House it's never been more urgent.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Bendagate player Turbiville found dead

Republican State House member from District 31 and Deadwood Mayor Chuck Turbiville has croaked.

Turbiville's name still appears on the November ballot and if he wins either lame duck Denny Daugaard or a new governor will name his replacement. Democrats Naveen Malik, Wyatt Osthus and earth hater Tim Johns are also in District 31 house contests. In 2014 Chuck fled an economic development post ahead of a lawsuit seeking information about criminal activity committed during Governor Mike Rounds' administration resulting in the suspicious death of Richard Benda.

During a photo shoot when construction on the Bendagate-financed Deadwood Mountain Grand went obscenely over budget the following was heard by a city employee uttered by Big Kenny Alphin as he handed a check for $5 million to Mike Gustafson.
This is the last goddamned check I'm going to write to you assholes!
Bendagate/Deadwood Mountain Grand player Joop Bollen is a Future Fund recipient and SDGOP campaign contributor. Reporter Bob Mercer's request to see Richard Benda's autopsy report and investigation proving he was shot in the abdomen was denied by a Republican-owned court in South Dakota. On advice of counsel now-US Senator Mike Rounds has never released the names of his Future Fund and Bendagate scandal cronies because he's shielded by South Dakota's lack of ethics oversight.

At their last meeting Deadwood's historic preservation commission heard testimony on the Grand’s latest expansion plans.

Turbiville served three years in the US Armed Forces including a tour in Vietnam. He was obese, sedentary and in poor health when he died. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Sanford Health posts therapeutic cannabis guidelines

North Dakota has turned to therapeutic cannabis and is expected to legalize for all adults in its efforts to reverse opioid abuse.
"Sanford does not endorse or oppose the use of medical marijuana. The decision is up to each Sanford doctor and what they feel is medically best for their patients. We base our discussions on medical research to ensure the best treatment for our patients." [KFYR]
But, North Dakota's repressive neighbor to the south is among the worst states for opioid abuse yet Democrats in that red state believe residents are too fragile for legal cannabis. Even the South Dakota State Medical Association contends that although "marijuana and dronabinol decreased pain" the fact that it is illegal makes it less effective as a therapy.

Moral hazard keeping South Dakota red

The grassland fire danger index will be in the very high category today and tomorrow for parts of the chemical toilet and permanent disaster area that is South Dakota.

Drought remains where welfare ranchers now dependent on moral hazard continue poor ag and ranching practices squandering the precious precipitation that fell earlier in parts of South Dakota. Socialized agriculture, socialized cheese, socialized livestock production, socialized coal, a socialized timber industry, socialized air service and socialized freight rail: South Dakota truly is a perpetual welfare state.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

SDPB quietly lobbying for legal cannabis

Travel with Rick Steves airs on Bill Janklow's idea of public radio on Sunday mornings. He lives in Edmonds, Washington.
After four years of legalization, I look out my window here and marijuana's legal and it looks just like it did before it was legal. It just means we arrest 8,000 people fewer a year, it means money is being taken away from organized crime and our government is enjoying tens of millions of dollars of tax revenue that they wouldn't have had otherwise. And mature adults have the civil liberty of going home and smoking a little pot if they want to. I mean, I've got my bong right out on my shelf at home, and it's just great to have it there right next to the wine glasses. [PBS Host Rick Steves Discusses His First Trip, Breaking Marijuana Stereotypes And Being An Advocate]
Cannabis is a safe, effective palliative.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Black Hills water still at risk to SDGOP

Under the General Mining Law of 1872 Canadian miners have carte blanche to rape the Black Hills, so they are.

According to GOP apparatchiks at the South Dakota Department of Ecocide and Natural Ruination (DENR) the Canadians filed for three consecutive 1.8-million-gallon water permits on April 5. Mineral Mountain Resources is drilling some 120 holes on 7,500 acres in the Homestake Gold Belt on both public lands and on private holdings known as the Standby Mine Target near a site sacred to American Indians. The Canadians just secured enough water from Rapid Creek to resume operations until 31 December, 2018.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Seiler nets endorsements from Republican former AGs

Heitkamp resisting Republican racism

Tester beating back Republican death panels

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

District 31 Democrats open shop

Lead girl Sherry Bea Smith is running for the District 31 senate seat currently being warmed by Blob Bob Ewing.

She and her husband Dennis are personal friends of The Dakota Progressive. When she was Chief Operating Officer for Rapid City Regional's hospital in Deadwood I contracted the drywall finish and paint at the couple's home outside Nemo during the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. She has served the Lawrence County Democratic Party in several capacities and on the board of the Homestake Opera House. I contracted some improvements there in 2005.
She points to the importance of education and a trained work force with wages and jobs to stop the migration of South Dakota’s bright and skilled residents to other states. “We all understand how special life is in South Dakota and especially the Black Hills,” Smith said in a news release, “and the leaders of our state should be working to make quality of life a priority, ensuring a healthy, productive society and open government that will drive economic growth and stability.” [Rapid City Journal]
Donate to her efforts here.

Naveen Malik and Wyatt Osthus will take on Tim Johns and Bendagate player Chuck Turbiville in the house contests.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Welcome to Hell

Had Hillary Clinton been elected the US House would have already impeached her and the Senate would be debating her removal.

In 2010, NPR's legal affairs goddess, Nina Totenberg interviewed Justice Stephen Breyer on background for his book, Making Our Democracy Work, A Judge’s View.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer has sparred for years with Justice Antonin Scalia on the printed pages of legal opinions. The two have even debated about constitutional interpretation in public. And now Justice Breyer has taken his argument to the printed pages of a book written for popular consumption.
In his first interview about the new book, Breyer's targets are the ideas of originalism and textualism advocated by Scalia — the notion that the framers of the Constitution meant what they said and no more — and that the provisions of the Constitution are limited to what they covered back in 1789.
Scalia’s view is much more black and white. “The Constitution that I interpret and apply is not living, but dead,” he famously said. Scalia contends that the Constitution is not flexible and its meaning cannot change over time. To allow the Constitution's meaning to morph over time, he contends, just allows judges to say it means whatever they want it to say.
Not so, Breyer says.
“People think we decide things politically,” Breyer says, “or that the only way to protect against subjective views of judges is to have something called originalism, which is as if you could reach decisions by means of an historical computer. I don't think any of those things are true.” [History Through A Supreme Court Justice's Lens]
The Fresh Air interview with Justice Breyer is linked here.

It seems important to add that Justice Scalia had been the longest serving member of the Court, resided in McLean, Virginia, and was a devout, traditionalist Catholic uncomfortable with the changes in the Church caused by Vatican II. Scalia prefered the Latin Mass and drove long distances to parishes which he felt were more in accord with his beliefs.

Now, another member of the Church of the Holy Roman Kiddie Diddlers, Brett Kavanaugh, has ruined Christine Blasey Ford's life, his own life, his marriage now he's poised to ruin America.

From Peter Henriques via the Billings Gazette:
One of George Washington’s most important and far-reaching decisions made as president revolved around the question of whether he would sign into law a bill establishing a national bank. Alexander Hamilton, his brilliant secretary of the treasury, argued for such an institution and justified his action by seizing on Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which endowed Congress with all powers “necessary and proper” to perform tasks assigned to it in the national charter.
In short, Hamilton posited that there were “implied” powers in the Constitution as well as “enumerated” ones. Thomas Jefferson was aghast at such implications and prophesied that for the federal government “to take a single step beyond the boundaries thus specifically drawn is to take possession of a boundless field of power.“
Washington saw it differently and signed Hamilton’s controversial national-bank bill. With a stroke, he endorsed an expansive view of the presidency and made the Constitution a living, open-ended document. The importance of his decision is hard to overstate, for the federal government might have been stillborn had the president rigidly adhered to the letter of the document as urged by Jefferson.
In seeking to reconcile Hamilton and Jefferson (whose views were every bit as divergent as those of the Tea Party and Obama are today), the president eloquently urged forbearance: “I would fain hope that liberal allowances will be made for the political opinions of one another; and instead of those wounding suspicions, and irritating charges there might be mutual forebearances and temporizing yieldings on all sides, without which I do not see how the reins of government are to be managed.” [History shows Washington saw Constitution as living document]
North Dakota scholar Clay Jenkinson describes himself as an historian who initially thought Jefferson was quirky, mired in the Enlightenment and sided with Justice Marshall in Marbury v. Madison establishing the principle of judicial review in the United States. Marbury affirmed that courts have the power to strike down laws, statutes, and some government actions that contravene the U.S. Constitution. Jenkinson has rounded back to the Jeffersonian model, believes that Jefferson would be horrified to learn that the US is operating with a 242 year old manual and says we are long overdue for a Constitutional Convention.

This country's founders never expected the US Constitution as written to last more than ten years and most predicted it would be rewritten every generation. Thomas Jefferson wrote that a standing army would lead to military adventurism, would ultimately turn on its own citizens and that has happened. Now, we've become the Hamiltonian Empire Thomas Jefferson warned us about. Anyone who believes America is safer because of a military filled with mercenaries is delusional so thanks to the GOP we are witnessing the end of the republic as we have known it.

Welcome to Hell.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Wells near Ellsworth found to be contaminated

In the above tweet the smoke is actually from a pit fire several miles behind the building in the image.

Officials at Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City say nine private drinking water wells in Box Elder tested above the US Environmental Protection Agency health advisory level for two chemicals, PFOS and PFOA, compounds in a foam used to fight petroleum-based fires at a site where pit fires are common.

In the documents that give Ellsworth guidance in flaring off toxic materials are the words, 'Waters of the United States' or WOTUS.
Surface water resources generally consist of wetlands, lakes, rivers, and streams. Surface water is important for its contribution to the economic, ecological, recreational, and human health of a community or locale. Waters of the United States are defined within the CWA, as amended, and jurisdiction is addressed by the USEPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). In 2006, the Supreme Court addressed the jurisdictional scope of Section 404 of the CWA, specifically the term “the waters of the U.S.,” in Rapanos v. U.S. and in Carabell v. U.S. (referred to as Rapanos). [Final ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT: Addressing the Privatization of Military Family Housing at Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota]
Some 400 bases mostly in the Air Force suffer from contamination including Kirtland in New Mexico where these chemicals have migrated into Albuquerque's municipal water supplies.
Whether the chemicals — which don’t degrade in groundwater — move quickly or slowly depends on what type of water system they’re in, said William Battaglin, a research hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. [Albuquerque Journal]
Earlier this year the Dakota Progressive pressed teevee meteorologist Andrew Shipotofsky to investigate Ellsworth's involvement in geoengineering. In the name of geoengineering or albedo modification, the Air Force routinely sprays into the atmosphere over the ocean and above parts of at least four states, an aerosol cocktail of silver iodide, lead iodide, aluminum oxide, barium, frozen carbon dioxide, common salt, water and soot from burning hazardous waste in pits at bases including concoctions from Ellsworth near Rapid City, South Dakota.

The Deadwood oldtimers used to say that when the Ellsworth wells were drilled many wells in southern Lawrence County went dry. Nearly a century of residue from Black Hills Mining District affected millions of cubic yards of riparian habitat all the way to the Gulf of Mexico until the Oahe Dam was completed in 1962. The soils of the Belle Fourche and Cheyenne Rivers are inculcated with arsenic at levels that have killed cattle. Box Elder Creek is a tributary. Catfish and most other organisms cope with lethal levels of mercury.

Ellsworth AFB is home to a Superfund site so are Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota and FE Warren AFB, Wyoming. All participate during the so-called "Combat Raider" deployments in the Powder River Training Complex now scheduled again. General aviation, private pilots, climate watchers, even some Republican landowners and ranchers are concerned the elevated atmospheric hijinx could exacerbate drought conditions that persist in a region where dried grasses are causing Fall fire danger.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

South Dakota's prison/industrial complex at boiling point

Corrections Department Secretary Denny Kaemingk says South Dakota's jails and prisons are full, the numbers continue to rise, the population "hit a new benchmark" and are especially evident in the women’s prison.
A March 18 trial date has been set for 19 people accused of drug crimes while they were inmates at Mike Durfee State Prison in Springfield. All 19 defendants have pleaded not guilty. Bon Homme County Clerk of Court Heather Humphrey says they will stand trial as individuals, not as a group. A grand jury indicted the suspects last month. The attorney general's office says each faces two marijuana-related charges that together carry a maximum punishment of three years in prison. [KELO teevee]
Policing for Profit has allowed the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) to provide military armaments for the law enforcement industry throughout South Dakota even as Attorney General Marty Jackley pleads for more resources for his minions. That South Dakota Republicans prop up illegal drug use and project an ethics black hole while ignoring a potential revenue source is just more evidence of red state collapse.

At their state convention the SDGOP adopted a platform that punishes people seeking relief from intractable pain and suffering so their nominee for attorney general, suspected incel Jason Ravnsborg, wants to build prisons to warehouse meth addicts and the mentally ill.
South Dakota Supreme Court Justice David Gilbertson, speaking at the Mitchell Rotary Club's meeting at the Ramada Inn, said the cost savings and reduced recidivism rates among targeted offenders has allowed the the state's system to continue working. Gilbertson noted there are 450 individuals in the state's drug and alcohol court programs, and 1,244 children under their parents' care. Instead of the state Department of Social Services providing for those children because their parents are in jail — at the estimated cost of $10,000 per year — those children are cared for by their working parents, who are also working to address their drug or alcohol addictions. [Mitchell Daily Republic]
Gilbertson is South Dakota's ranking Democrat.

Jeb Bush just gave Il Trumpo an 'F' on being role-model-in-chief. He's headlining the 37th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner and Children's Charity Fundraiser in Sioux Falls. It's not difficult to imagine how that kind of talk will go over with a bunch of Gene Abdallah deplorables.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Kelleys host solar showcase

Don Kelley is a cool guy: as a fellow former Kucinich supporter on a western South Dakota burro, windmills often become mutually quixotic destinations.

With nurse and partner, Kim, the Vietnam-era former pathologist has built a small farm along one Black Hills elk migration route within prime mushroom habitat just off the Merritt Estes Road between US385 and the Nemo Road on the border of Pennington and Lawrence Counties. They have been part of Dakota Rural Action, Solarize South Dakota and off-grid builders for at least two decades.

The rest of you still trapped in South Dakota are simply idiots.

The cost of subsidizing, manufacturing, transporting, erecting and maintaining just one wind farm turbine bat and bird killer would take a thousand subscribers off the grid. Craigslist, barter and four golf car batteries powered our new investment property for about $1200. Anyone who can afford to get off the grid should do it now.

Upper left is the charge controller, upper right is the 12V breaker box, on the counter is the inverter and underneath the counter are four 6V golf car batteries wired as two 12V. Note gray conduit holding cables coming from the rooftop array going into the breaker box. The gray cable coming out of the inverter goes through the adobe to the 120V breaker box in the building.

The workhorse inverter is a Trace 2000W 12V but a dinosaur by today's technology. We traded neighbors Lynn and Steve some dirt work for it.

After searching Craigslist Our Lady of the Arroyo found Tim, upsizing to a 24V system who had three Solarland 100W panels, a mount and the 2015 model year charge controller for $625. Delivered! That cost is about a third of their new value.

The four batteries came from Sam's Club at $85 each but we had two old cores worth $18 apiece lowering the final bill. We have since added two 100W panels, a new Outback charge controller and two additional batteries.

The water system features the pressure pump in top of image, 20 gallon pressure tank lower left and the filter on the right. Water source is a 1600 gallon tank filled by a 100 year old Aermotor windmill. Neighbor Kosta gave us the 12V pump motor for letting him use an air stapler but the brass pump itself has been remanufactured.

I did all the plumbing and interior wiring but our guru electrician, Bob wired the array, the 120 and 12V panels, batteries, charge controller and pressure switch on the tank.

A cheap one inch spade bit 10 inches long went through the adobe for pipes and wire.

This is a Bosch LP gas tankless water heater without its cover. The exhaust is taped for now but it runs great after getting the regulators figured out. Propane is a waste byproduct of natural gas wells and is usually flared off. Why not tap it instead of burning coal for electric baseboard or cove heat? The water heater and drop-in stove top are fed by a 100# Skelgas bottle salvaged from the farm in Elkton: it's stamped 1963 but passed certification with ease.

Here's a photo of the the array before the pump house was built.

Prior images threaded here and here.