Later On

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Archive for January 10th, 2018

Native Americans Say They’re Targets Of Shootings And Jailhouse Rapes By White Law Enforcement

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John Stanton reports from Wisconsin for Buzzfeed:

Hours after seeing her 14-year-old grandson, Jason, lying in the street just feet from her home, with police and EMS hovering over his motionless body, Cheryl Pero found herself in the cavernous gymnasium of the Bad River Reservation community center.

Cheryl and her husband, Al, couldn’t go home — where they’d raised Jason since infancy — because it was a crime scene.

So the family awaited word in the local gym about why an Ashland County Sheriff’s deputy had just fired two shots into the chest of Jason, who friends and family say was a relatively normal, happy child. With news of the shooting spreading rapidly via text message and Facebook, members of their tight-knit tribal community soon joined them.

Tracy Bigboy, a neighbor and victim services coordinator for the tribal government, was dispatched to take care of the Peros’ needs. She stood in the cold air outside of the community center, quietly smoking a cigarette, until Ashland County Sheriff Mick Brennan pulled off Highway 2 and into the parking lot.

With his squared-off shoulders, neatly cropped silver hair, and mustache, the 62-year-old Brennan has a carefully crafted by-the-book reputation and looks every inch the small-town sheriff. As he and one of his investigators approached, Bigboy stopped them, warning the sheriff that emotions were running high inside the gym and urging him to talk to the family privately.

As the Peros huddled in private with Brennan, it seemed to the family that the sheriff hadn’t come with answers, or even condolences. His main message, as the grieving Peros remember it: Let him control the public narrative of Jason’s death.

“Don’t talk to the media,” Bigboy and the Peros remember Brennan telling them. “Let us go first so we can tell you what to say.” And they say he had a warning for the community: Settle down and don’t riot.

Now, two months after Jason took two bullets to the chest on Nov. 8, his family still doesn’t know exactly what happened the morning that Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich shot him dead. Jason’s family says the sheriff has told them nothing, and Brennan did not respond to multiple requests to speak to BuzzFeed News about the shooting and about local law enforcement’s relationship with the Bad River community. Michael Nieskes, the St. Croix County District Attorney who has been appointed as a special prosecutor to investigate the case, declined to comment.

The feeling of sadness and loss is palpable among members of the Bad River Band. But there’s also a deep sense of numbness and fatalism here that manifests in the nonchalant ways people talk about other violent encounters involving law enforcement and Native Americans. Jason’s death was at least the second time in as many months that a member of the Bad River Reservation had been killed by uniformed officers: On Oct. 28, a Jackson County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed 27-year-old Lucas DeFord in nearby Black River Falls.

Locals have long complained about being pulled over for what they consider no good reason. “Driving while Indian,” they call it. And then there’s “the women,” a sort of shorthand that refers to allegations detailed in federal lawsuits that Sheriff Brennan did nothing as one of his jailers repeatedly raped and assaulted Native American women. “You’ve heard about the women, right?” locals say almost between thoughts.

The lack of information since Jason’s shooting has only compounded tensions here, laying bare the deep-rooted, systemic racial divisions between the Bad River tribe and the white community of Ashland.

“This has been going on for generations and generations,and it’s not going to stop,” Bigboy said.

In April 2013, a Native American woman with the initials J.L. arrived in the Ashland County Jail.

It didn’t take long for J.L., then in her early twenties, to catch the eye of Ashland County correctional officer Christopher J. Bond. The women’s showers, with their waist-high walls and central location in the jail, gave Bond — and anybody else who happened to walk by — a perfect view to ogle female inmates as they bathed.

According to a federal lawsuit filed in March by J.L., Bond would leeringly comment on her “pretty mouth” and simulate ejaculating into it when she ate jail-issued meals of hot dogs or kielbasa. He’d regularly corner her in areas of the county jail without cameras, forcing her to open her jumpsuit so he could grope her, said the lawsuit, one of five filed since January 2017 against the county and sheriff’s department alleging violation of the women’s civil rights. On nights he was on watch, Bond would direct J.L. to lie naked on her bed and masturbate while he watched on the jail’s surveillance cameras, the 25-year-old woman alleges. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 January 2018 at 1:42 pm

Five Spills, Six Months in Operation: Dakota Access Track Record Highlights Unavoidable Reality — Pipelines Leak

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Just about a spill a month. That’s why the oil pipeline is opposed. Alleen Brown reports in The Intercept:

REPRESENTATIVES FROM Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, traveled to Cambridge, Iowa, in October to present a series of $20,000 checks to emergency management departments in six counties. The money was, in part, an acknowledgement of the months of anti-pipeline protests that had taxed local agencies during construction, but it was also a nod to the possibility of environmental contamination. One of the counties had pledged to use its check to purchase “HazMat operations and decontamination training/supplies.” Less than a month later, in Cambridge, the Iowa section of the Dakota Access pipeline would experience its first spill.

According to the standards of most state environmental agencies, it was a small spill that wouldn’t require much attention from emergency managers. On November 14, “excessive vibration” caused 21 gallons of crude to leak out of a crack in a weld connection at one of the pump stations, which are situated along pipelines to keep the product moving and monitor its flow. Since the leak was contained at the site, it went unreported to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, although it did make it into a federal pipeline monitoring database.

The Dakota Access pipeline leaked at least five times in 2017. The biggest was a 168-gallon leak near DAPL’s endpoint in Patoka, Illinois, on April 23. According to federal regulators, no wildlife was impacted, although soil was contaminated, requiring remediation. DAPL went into operation on June 1, along with its under-the-radar sister project, the Energy Transfer Crude Oil pipeline, a natural gas pipeline converted to carry crude. Together, the two make up the Bakken pipeline system. ETCO leaked at least three times in 2017.

Most of the Bakken system leaks were considered minor by state and federal monitors. According to regulators, water was not impacted in any of the cases. The only spill considered “significant” by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, was a 4,998-gallon leak on the ETCO pipeline in Dyersburg, Tennessee, on June 19. Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokesperson Kim Schofinski told The Intercept that reporting the spill to the agency was not required because it was contained within the pumping station where it occurred.

The series of spills in the pipelines’ first months of operation underlines a fact that regulators and industry insiders know well: Pipelines leak.

To regulators like Bill Suess, who deals with a crude oil spill nearly every day as North Dakota’s spill investigation program manager, it’s the nature of the game. “A tanker truck rolls over and spills 7,000 gallons of crude oil, and nobody pays attention. Twenty gallons spill on DAPL, it makes world news, so it’s kind of funny,” he told The Intercept.

But Winona LaDuke, an Ojibwe environmental activist who was involved in the anti-DAPL protests, noted that “accumulation of the little things is pretty significant.” LaDuke is now pushing to stop construction of the Enbridge Line 3 oil sands pipeline in Minnesota. The Line 3 project’s environmental impact statement has underlined that damages to tribal natural and cultural resources along that pipeline’s pathway are “not quantifiable” and “cannot be mitigated.” “Somebody lives there,” LaDuke said. “Maybe that somebody who lives there is a little animal; maybe that somebody who lives there is a little plant. All of those are beings.”

Lisa Dillinger, a spokesperson for Energy Transfer Partners, told The Intercept, “All of these minor issues occurred within our easement at either valve sites or pump stations and did not go beyond our workspace.” She noted that four leaks occurred before the pipeline system went into service during a testing period and were contained on a protective liner, although PHMSA notes that those incidents involved soil contamination. Three leaks occurred at pump stations after the pipeline was fully operational and were isolated to a “concrete work area,” Dillinger said.

ETP has denied responsibility for a spill that occurred on March 3 on a feeder line that transports oil from the well where it’s extracted to the main Dakota Access Pipeline. The 84-gallon leak produced “a mist that settled on top of the snow” but penetrated to the ground in a 200-square-foot area, where contaminated soil and snow were removed by a vacuum truck. Caliber Midstream, the company behind the feeder line, did not respond to a request for comment.

“We understand there are varying opinions on infrastructure projects,” Dillinger told The Intercept, but pipelines are the “safest and most environmentally friendly way to transport the oil and gas products we use every day.”

Anne Rolfes, head of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, which is fighting ETP’s proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline, said the company’s argument about safety is unproven. “The company has an accident problem,” she said, adding that state agencies’ view of the spills as minor “just shows how problematic our so-called regulatory system is.” . . .

Continue reading. There’s more at the link, including some informative charts.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 January 2018 at 9:37 am

Rooney Style 3, Tcheon Fung Sing Tobacco Verde, the Stealth, and Alt-Insbruck

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Tcheon Fung Sing makes a very nice lather, and the Rooney Style 3, Size 1 is a pleasant brush to use. I’ve not used the Stealth for a while, and it did a good job, but I did have to work a bit for smoothness under the jawline and on part of the chin, so I put in a new blade after the shave was done. One advantage of sticking with a single razor is that you can learn when it’s best to change the blade before a sub-par shave.

A splash of Alt-Innsbruck, and the middle of the week is upon us.

Written by LeisureGuy

10 January 2018 at 8:59 am

Posted in Shaving

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