Pat Powers really doesn't like looking in the mirror.

Larry Kurtz announces a new blogging venture, the Dakota Progressive, a forum "affiliated" with the South Dakota Democratic Party and intended to "compete with the SDGOP blog, Dakota War College."

I'm not clear what either of those phrases mean. If they mean doing what Dakota War College does but for Democrats, expect a regular stream of party press releases shortly.

Whatever the mission, Powers evidently feels threatened, since he immediately turns up his tired "I hate Larry" rhetoric, accusing Kurtz of hate speech and bigotry. Ah, yes, whenever South Dakota Republicans start complaining about "hate speech" and "bigotry," you can bet they aren't defending other groups; they are defending themselves. Powers pans and bans Kurtz because Kurtz insults Powers and his fellow Catholics.

Powers's attack on Kurtz isn't much different from his attack on blogger Scott Ehrisman, whom Powers loathes because Ehrisman exposed the conflict of interest that pushed Powers out of his cushy patronage job in Secretary of State Jason Gant's office in 2012. Powers's attack isn't much different from the baseless insults he throws at me. Kurtz, Ehrisman, and I all disagree with and effectively challenge the party line Powers fawningly regurgitates. Rather than offering good faith rebuttals, Powers plays at personal destruction... which sounds at least as hateful and bigoted as anything Kurtz writes.

I will monitor Dakota Progressive's progress. I'll link to and expand on readworthy posts, and, as with other blogs, if Kurtz can sustain the effort, I'll consider adding it to the sidebar blog feed. But if it really just is a left-wing version of Dakota War College, a mouthpiece for party propaganda, why would I bother?

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Pat Powers enjoys dismissing my criticism of Rep. Kristi Noem's bad policy, laziness, vacuousness, and legislative ineffectiveness as childish insults or mental disorder. If Pat thinks my policy critiques of Noem are deranged, his own obsession with attacking Democratic candidate for Secretary of State Angelia Schultz must warrant a straitjacket. Unable to tolerate a strong woman who disagrees with him, Pat is on a blog campaign to discredit the Aberdeen writer and former Defense intelligence analyst as a bitchy teen drama queen.

Compare Pat's vitriol with the reasonable portrait Ken Santema painted of Schultz based on his interview with her during her unsuccessful campaign for the District 3 Democratic Senate nomination. As a Libertarian, Santema is principledly conservative than Powers, yet he appears not to find Schultz a threat or an object of ridicule. He deems Schultz logical, knowledgeable, and less partisan than he expected.

But as usual, when someone challenges one of Pat's political patrons, Pat goes on the attack. Angelia Schultz is challenging Shantel Krebs, a key cog in the GOP-Rounds political machine whose favor Pat so craves. Thus, Angelia Schultz is a mean girl.

The proper response to any lecture from Pat Powers about pettiness, cattiness, and "talking smack about other politicos" is to point a mirror his way (preferably a mirror with hyperlinks to Pat's own catty smack here, here, here, here, and here... and that's just since June 26).

The proper response also includes linking to Larry Kurtz's stunning claim that Shantel Krebs may be the queen of the SDGOP mean girls. According to Kurtz, Shantel Krebs, who served in the Legislature with Noem, is the source of the story he ran in 2010 accusing then-candidate Kristi Noem of adultery.

Imagine it: a Republican woman is running to unseat a Democratic incumbent, and another Republican woman calls a blogger five steps to my left to tell him the Republican candidate has cheated on her husband. If true, that story would pretty much negate any mewling Pat makes about his party's uncatty moral superiority.

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Peripatetic blogger Larry Kurtz has Black Hills dirt permanently under his fingernails. He offers a remarkable account of the 2002 Grizzly Gulch fire, which he watched from the north side of Deadwood as the town faced imminent destruction from flames rising 800 feet. Only a switch in the wind saved Deadwood and perhaps, says Kurtz, Whitewood and Sturgis.

Also remarkable, says Kurtz, is the resiliency of the ecosystem. What we see as disaster, nature treats as healthy renewal:

Using my cell phone I gave live updates to Jack Daniels at the head-banger radio station. His home was just one of hundreds threatened by the blaze. His family returned to a near-miss now a place where oak is returning to those canyons at the foot of Pillar Peak.

In two hours during the following Spring I picked over 200 pounds of morels which carpeted the skidder trails. A hard rain made another 1000 pounds unusable.

Ten years later aspen is exploding into the hills where pine once infested these draws and buttes [Larry Kurtz, "Deadwood Not Dead Nearly Ten Years After Grizzly Gulch," interested party, 2012.05.08.

Lawrence County Commission candidate Robert Romanov drew some skeptical hissing and clucking from audience members at a Spearfish public forum last week when he suggested that one response to the pine beetle infestation is to plant different trees. He also recognized the forest's ability to come back from fire.

I look with dismay on those reddish-brown beetle patches on Spearfish Peak, not to mention the wide-ranging beetle devastation further south in the Hills. But whether those trees come down by beetle, blaze, or chainsaw, we should keep in mind the long view. Nature used to clear out patches of the Hills with fires like the Grizzly Gulch blaze all the time. And as Kurtz shows us around Deadwood, those fires clear the way for new life and healthier Hills.

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