A Bemidji statue reveals uncomfortable Native history

We grew up hearing the story of local trader and store owner Andrew Myrick, who told starving Dakota people to “eat grass or their own dung” if they were hungry. He was one of the early fatalities of the 1862 US-Dakota War, a figure our very conservative father offered as a cautionary figure to encourage us to use civil discourse Continue Reading

Wagenius: MN House energy omnibus bill sabotages solar

On her blog, Minnesota state representative Jean Wagenius warns in The worst energy bill ever sabotages solar. And that’s not all:Rep. Pat Garofalo has introduced his draft Omnibus Energy Bill. d0b80283-da3f-4839-baf9-551613c2b6d9.pdf   Since he is Chair of the House Jobs Creation and Energy Affordability Committee, his bill is the Republican bill.The Garofalo bill incorporates the energy-related ideas and bills that had been heard in his committee. Rep. Garofalo then found more bad ideas to include. This post would be much too long if it did more than scratch the surface. So it just covers the worst of the worst. Continue Reading

Buffers: farmer mentions removal of Dakota people, whines about land grabs in same breath

The tweet above by a friend who attended the Governor’s buffer initiative meeting in Worthington was fleshed in a Worthington Daily Globe article by Julie Buntjer, Dayton’s buffer initiative targets water quality:A New Ulm-area farmer was the first to speak up, saying that of the 55 million acres in Minnesota, the state’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages more than 5 million acres, and 27 million acres is in production agriculture.“I foresee this as a land grab,” the man said. “My ancestors settled in southern Minnesota in 1858. They removed the Native Americans from this property to gain access to it, and now I look at our government moving us off of our land.”Moerke noted in a message that this statement caused some in the audience to groan.  Buntjer reports on the governor’s response:“We’re not trying to take your land away, but when it comes to runoff and stuff going into the water, that’s a different story,” Dayton responded. “If everything were good out there, there’d be no reason to get involved with it.”He then turned the table on the crowd, asking for solutions to clean up Minnesota’s waters.Covering the same meeting, MInnesota Public Radio’s Mark Steil reports in Plan to curb runoff too costly, unworkable, farmers tell Dayton:At a meeting in Worthington Thursday, farmers said they want to help solve the problem. But many told Dayton his plan goes too far and would take too many acres of cropland out of production.”I foresee this as a land grab,” said Tim Waibel of New Ulm, Minn. “When you start taking 50 feet of my ditch slopes away, it hurts you in the back pocket.”Moerke confirmed that Waibel is the same guy who mentioned that his ancestors removed Native Americans from the land and he now fears a land grab by the government.  This is a curious take from a guy who grabbed $588,971 in farm subsidies between 1995-2001, $4,765 of which came from conservation subsidies, between 1995 and 2012, according tothe EWG Farm Subsidy Database.Here’s a screengrab of the payments:[Another sign of Tim Waibel’s oppression are the crop subsidies he’s received, via EWG Farm Subsidies Database. He’s a victim.]Waibel’s farm property is locate in rural Courtland, Nicollet County. Courtland is a small town near New Ulm.  Waibel’s wife, Mary Jean Waibel, received $115,293 in subsidies from 2006 through 2012, according to the EWG database.In an added twist of irony, the New Ulm Journal reported in 2008 that the Pawlenty administration gave the Waibels a good neighbor award. Continue Reading

Court grants summary judgment for the defendants in Klayman v. City Pages et al

Back in 2013, we began posting about the defamation lawsuit filed by conservative activist attorney Larry Klayman against then City Pages blogger Aaron Rupar, local cartoonist Ken Avidor and a host of others.Today, the defendants were granted a summary judgment and the case was closed. We embed the court order below and congratulate Ken Avidor and the rest of the defendants in having this attack on the freedom of the press to report on court proceedings dismissed.As the Pioneer Press first reported in Florida-based lawyer sues City Pages for defamation:A Florida lawyer has hit City Pages with a $1.4 million defamation lawsuit for a story last fall that said the lawyer inappropriately touched his children.Larry Klayman’s lawsuit, announced Monday, March 25, said City Pages sought to hurt the attorney in retaliation for Klayman’s representation of Bradlee Dean, the controversial anti-gay preacher and founder of an Annandale-based group You Can Run But You Cannot Hide.The City Pages story, which ran Sept. 28 last year, said an appeals court in Ohio had ordered Klayman to pay his ex-wife $325,000 in attorney’s fees, and that the order noted a lower court magistrate had heard evidence of sexual abuse from his children’s pediatrician, who reported it to children’s services, and from a social worker at that agency.The story said the social worker’s findings were changed to “unsubstantiated,” but the magistrate found that Klayman acted in a “grossly inappropriate manner” with one of his children, although his conduct may not have been sexual….The wags at Wonkette immediately trolled Klayman with Snipy’s post, In Which Wonkette Tries To Bait Larry Klayman Into Suing Us Also, Too, but to no avail.[See original court documents on the post at Bluestem Prairie: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2015/04/court-grants-summary-judgment-for-the-defendants-in-klayman-v-city-pages-et-al.html] Continue Reading

Who’s got a ticket to ride on private Zip Rail?

While a private entity calling itself the North American High Speed Rail Group LLC has declared itself the private organization that’s going to raise capital and build the Zip Rail, a nonstop high speed rail line between the Twin Cities and Rochester, the group has been reluctant to share much about its corporate structure or backers.In an email exchange with Bluestem Prairie, the group’s Chief Strategy Officer Wendy Meadley declined to share information via email about the group’s corporate structure, the CEO’s bio, and the group’s plan to elevate the Zip Rail tracks to accommodate agriculture.  “At this time we are not publicly displaying the type of information you are requesting, but we are happy to respond,” Meadley wrote.We’ve done a bit of research, hoping to learn more. This is what we’ve come across so far.CEO: Joe SperberThe Rochester Post Bulletin’s Heather Carlson reported in Long road ahead for private rail developer:During an interview after the meeting, North American’s CEO and president, Joe Sperber, said the company believes it can do something that has never been done in the United States before —privately build and operate a high-speed rail system. The key to making the plan a success is that it would not rely simply on the rail. Instead, Sperber said the project would including economic development tied into the project.Who is Joe Sperber?  He appears to be a resident of Stillwater who was CEO of HexFuel.  Finance and Commerce reported in HexFuel gets state grant for Hastings facility:Maplewood-based startup HexFuel is getting a $740,000 grant from the Minnesota Job Creation Fund to help with a new manufacturing facility in Hastings that is expected to employ 150 people within three years, according to a Department of Employment and Economic Development news release.HexFuel makes a device that can be installed on diesel engines to make them more efficient. The BoostBox H2 breaks down water into hydrogen and oxygen and uses the gases to improve combustion, which increases fuel efficiency, reduces emissions and enhances performance.The company is investing $10 million to open a plant for manufacturing the devices. Continue Reading

MN House Coal Caucus votes to keep bill about air pollution away from environment committee

It’s the sort of post-moronic (and moneyed) politics Bluestem has come to expect from Speaker Daudt’s majority, foreshadowed by the leader’s removal of “Energy” from the Environmental and Natural Resources committee to team it up with “Jobs.”In Tuesday’s floor session, Minnesota House Environment and Natural Resources minority lead Rick Hansen ( DFL-South St. Paul) moved to have HF333 pulled from the House Ways and Means Committee and sent to the Environment Committee.HF333, a bill that would require legislative approval of a state plan to comply with federal regulations regarding emissions from existing power plants, would be paid for by the state’s environmental fund. Implementing the lanuage would be be part of work of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The “federal regulations” about air emissions is part of the implementation of the federal Clean Air Act.Hansen also noted that plans for regulating power plant emissions are part of addressing climate change, another concern tasked to the Environment Committee.In short, this bill has everything to do with environmental policy and funding. Bill author, Becker Republican Jim Newberger, opposed Hansen’s motion–prompting a remarkable line of questioning from Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley).Newberger: . Continue Reading

Mall of America, where civil liberties go to buy

[See original post here: http://www.bluestemprairie.com/bluestemprairie/2015/02/mall-of-america-where-civil-liberties-go-to-buy.html]Bluestem’s editor has been to the Mall of America three times in her life: once to shop in the mid-1990s, once to stop by a bookstore where a friend of a friend worked, and a final time to meet a former student for lunch as he was on his way to Hazelton.Thus, we can’t honestly say we’re boycotting a place we don’t patronize to begin with. Had we enough money for reckless consumer spending, we’d indulge our tastes locally, with purchases of pasture-raised pork or beef raised by family farmers and prints by prairie photographers.Two stories underscore the liberty-loving nature of our shopping preferences, both centered on MOA. First, the complaints brought up against people involved in the pre-Christmas Black Lives Matter protests. Just three days ago, Minnesota Public Radio’s Emily Kaiser looked at that issue in Black Lives Matter: The legal issues behind MOA protest:Black Lives Matter and local civil rights groups have denounced the charges, suggesting their participants are being unfairly singled out. The city attorney is also seeking restitution for the cost of policing the event.”I think the charges and the nature and number of charges being brought are disturbing,” said Bruce Nestor, attorney and member of the Black Lives Matter legal team on MPR News. Continue Reading