Tag Archives: North Dakota

North Dakota pipeline leak: Listen to the Great Oz

Sometime before December 5, a North Dakota pipeline started leaking oil near Belfield. True Companies, which operates the pipeline, has electronic monitoring equipment to detect leaks. The fancy equipment didn’t work. The leak was discovered by a landowner. By the time the company shut off the oil, it had “migrated about almost 6 miles from the spill site along Ash Coulee Creek, and it fouled an unknown amount of private and U.S. Forest Service land along the waterway.” Now the company says that “more than” 176,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled. The spill is about 150 miles from where the Standing Rock water protectors are camped out, trying to prevent Energy Transfer Partners from drilling under the Missouri River. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under environment

Watching history, live from Standing Rock


UPDATE,  10 a.m. October 28: More than 100 people were arrested on October 27. Police fired beanbag rounds and teargas. Meanwhile, an Oregon jury  said that the armed white men who forcibly occupied federal offices for 41 days are not guilty of anything. For more reports on October 27, see: 

When I tune in to the live Facebook feed, less than an hour after  it begins, some 4,000 people are watching police move in on protesters – water protectors – who have barricaded Highway 1806 in North Dakota. They are trying to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline, trying to protect the waters of the Missouri River from the oil pipeline that is planned to run under the river, trying to protect sacred sites of the Dakota Sioux people. This is the frontline camp, the north camp. Less than an hour later, the number is up to 16,000 people and climbing.

A young Native American man, E’esha Hoferer broadcasts live from the site, saying he is reporting for One Nation TV. We hear the police telling protesters to move south, to take their tents with them. We see people carrying straw bales and American flags. We hear the police broadcast loud, ululating noise to disrupt communications or to warn people to move back. We see the lines of law enforcement, like wings extending in both directions from their vehicles on the road. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under environment, human rights, media, race, religion

Dakota Pipeline Part 5: Jailing journalists and paying sock puppets


Photo of Sacred Stone Camp by Tony Webster, published under Creative Commons license.

As thousands of Native Americans gather in North Dakota to resist the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), local law enforcement has pushed back by arresting journalists covering the protests and the Sacred Stone Camp and by outright lies about the protests and protesters. In addition, misinformation and propaganda is flooding social media, posted through sock puppets and other sources. Continue reading


Filed under environment, human rights, media, race

Dakota Pipeline Part 4: Protest on the prairie


Photo by Joe Brusky, published under Creative Commons license

The Stone Spirit encampment began back in April with 50 people. By August, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chair David Archambault II wrote in the New York Times that it was “a spectacular sight: thousands of Indians camped on the banks of the Cannonball River, on the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. … The Indian encampment on the Cannonball grows daily, with nearly 90 tribes now represented.” As summer slides into fall, the protesters — or protectors, as they call themselves — plan to stay through the winter. Continue reading


Filed under environment, human rights, race

Dakota Pipeline Part 3: Water protectors and the Emperor’s New Pipeline


Photo by Jeffrey Putney, published under Creative Commons license

I remember the old story of the emperor’s new clothes. The emperor bought new clothes from a charlatan who sold him on the idea of clothes so fine that they would be invisible to anyone who was stupid or unfit for their position. The emperor paraded before his courtiers and sycophants and everyone admired the new clothes. Only a child said, “But he isn’t wearing any clothes!”

Today pipeline companies and their buddies in government dismiss the threats posed by pipelines. Nobody should worry about the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), tunneling underneath the Missouri River. Maybe some old pipelines leak, but this is a new pipeline. Can’t you see the difference? The emperor’s new pipeline poses no problems. Continue reading


Filed under environment, human rights, race

Dakota Pipeline Part 2: Betrayal by bulldozer


Image by A. Golden, published under Creative Commons license.


On Friday, September 2, lawyers for the Standing Rock Sioux went to court to ask for a halt to construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline over specific sacred sites and burial grounds. They provided a map of the specific cultural sites identified by the tribe’s expert.

The very next day — September 3, Saturday of Labor Day weekend — Energy Transfer Company sent its bulldozers to destroy the specific cultural sites identified in the map submitted to the court. Continue reading


Filed under environment, human rights, race

Dakota Pipeline Part 1: Breaking the rules


By now, everyone who reads this blog has heard about #NoDAPL, the protests in North Dakota over the Dakota Access Pipeline. The issues are either very simple (NO to all pipelines, everywhere, end of story) or quite complex, involving Native rights, a protest encampment and permits and injunctions, arrests of protesters and journalists, calling out the National Guard, procedural challenges to the Army Corps of Engineers, destruction of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe cultural and burial sites, other substantive challenges based on water protection and climate change, defeats and partial victories in court, and federal government orders to stop the construction – or to stop parts of it. Confused yet?

Since I make sense out of confusion by reading and writing, and since you (presumably) read this blog for some kind of enlightenment, I’m posting a two or three or maybe even four-part explanation of what is going on. This is the first part: Continue reading


Filed under environment, human rights, race

News Day January 7

(Not) teaching English already? Education Week magazine finds that Minnesota lacks enough ESL teachers, the Strib reports, with a ratio of 49 students to each ESL teacher, compared to a national 19 to 1 average. That’s critical, since Minnesota’s ESL student population doubled, growing from 30,000 in 1995 to 61,000 in 2005, according to Education Commissioner Alice Seagren. In suburban Anoka-Hennepin, the state’s largest district, ESL enrollment has gone from 118 students 15 years ago to 3,200 today. In contrast to today’s push for all immigrants to learn English yesterday, the Hispanic Fanatic notes a recent University of Wisconsin study showing that a century ago “many immigrants felt no need to learn English at all, much less quickly, and that some of them, in the words of the researchers, ‘appeared to live and thrive for decades while speaking exclusively German.'”

Kudos to MinnPost for adding a DC correspondent, Cynthia Dizikes. That makes two for MN, with the other spot occupied by the Strib’s Kevin Diaz. Minnesota may have only one senator at the moment, but we have eight congressional reps, and now two whole reporters to cover the crowd.

Maybe we should move to NoDak. MPR reports that North Dakota has a $1.2 billion budget surplus and Governor John Hoeven is planning both tax cuts and increased state spending. (He also wants to keep a budget reserve of at least $600 million, noting that the state is not immune to the national economic recession.)

Okay to discriminate. The Minnesota Court of Appeals agreed that a lesbian couple raising two daughters can be denied family membership in a Rochester health club, reports the Strib. No gay marriage, no equal rights: 2009 repeats 2008 repeats 2007 …

“It’s a nightmare, dude.” Both the Strib and the PiPress devote major column inches to the Minnesota Fatal Attraction story of a former “female friend” who trashed her ex’s apartment, pouring paint over walls and into computer and toilet and even impaling his daughter’s teddy bear on a steak knife. The case should be easy to make — she posted photos on her MySpace account.

Their ex-prime minister trumps our president-elect. TPM has the Blair House answer we have been waiting for: King George Bush II said president-elect Obama and his family can’t stay in the official guest house while awaiting the inauguration (and getting daughters in school and naming cabinet members and handling the rest of the transition business) because, in the waning moments of the reign of George II, he is “hosting former Australian Prime Minister John Howard, and will be giving him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Fun fact about Howard: He is a staunch Iraq War supporter who said in early 2007 that if he were in al-Qaeda he would be praying as much as possible for an Obama victory and for the Democrats in general.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized