Archive for January 3rd, 2007


D*mn it! These “Links…” posts are addictive! Okay, until we figure out what to do with these things, I’ll still work on ’em. Maybe they won’t be so good. Maybe they won’t be so long. Maybe I’ll miss a day now and then. 

Gwen Florio profiles Sam Kitzenberg.

Sirota mocks the Montana GOP for claiming an election mandate.

This is hilarious: Robert Novak calls Tester a pro-life democrat. Er…how much does this guy get paid?

ExxonMobile “manufactured uncertainty” about global warming. Anybody surprised?

Kurt Anderson: the “middle class is getting royally screwed” and we need to do something about it.

Another reminder of why elections are important.

The GOP’s “minority bill of rights” is actually full of good proposals – but it comes with bitter and unreal rhetoric. Remember, these scumbags weren’t clamoring for this when they were in the majority.

Ellison’s not just going to swear on any old Koran – he’s going to use Thomas Jefferson’s.

Obama used drugs in high school! And why is this front-page news anyway?

And reporters get their hands on Giuliani’s 2008 presidential bid playbook. Wheee!

Well if the Bush administration doesn’t have a case against Jose Padilla, they’re at least happy that they drove him mad.

You want to know what’s wrong with the Iraq War? Good men like this are dying there every day. (Hat tip Nicole.)

Why the number of US deaths in Iraq matter.

The Bush administration is about to throw somebody else under the bus for its own incompetence in Iraq. This time it’s General Casey.

C&L calls Bill Kristol the “anti-Nostradamus.” A well-earned moniker, indeed.

Fiesta Bowl: best college game ever?

by Jay Stevens

Did you see this? Classy:

In opening-day remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday, Senate Minority Leader Corey Stapleton, R-Billings, spoke directly to Kitzenberg and said his post-election party switch “undermined the integrity of the Senate.”

“On Election Day, the voters decided on an equal Senate and, senator, you decided that they were wrong,” Stapleton said.

Let’s ignore the fact that voters vote for candidates, not necessarily for party control of legislative bodies. Let’s ignore for another moment the fact that Kitzenberg wasn’t even up for re-election in 2006, and the time of his party switch actually benefited the GOP. (Could you imagine how Republicans would have whined at the pre-election bombshell announcement by Kitzenberg that he was switching parties because the GOP increasingly had no room for moderates?)

Instead, let’s focus on the incredible hypocrisy of Corey Stapleton’s remarks.

Remember, Stapleton is a leader of a party that publicly announced a few days after the election it was abandoning its party platform. Got that? Stapleton et al erased all of their pre-election promises…then has the gall to accuse Sam Kitzenberg of unfairly manipulating the election process?

Let’s allow the new Democrat speak on why he made the party shift:

Kitzenberg said he’s comfortable with his decision, and that he’s representing his district, because the Democratic agenda better serves his district and the state.

“I want to fight for the causes that I believe in,” he said in an interview, and those causes include more money for education, lower college tuition and expanded health coverage for Montana citizens. “I think I’m where I should be. My integrity is intact.”

I’m sure not a few Montanans are indeed wishing for a do-over, Senator Stapleton. But not because of Sam Kitzenberg.

by Jay Stevens 

The latest update from the Missoulian about the Bison Range dispute doesn’t have much new information, but there are a couple of things I’d like to point out.

First, of course, is that Shane did make good points in the comments to the previous post on this subject. The CSKT has had its fair share of mismanagement in its history. The USFWS could be relaying accurate information.

That’s why I’m glad the Department of the Interior is sending an independent negotiator to oversee the transfer of the refuge into tribal hands:

The announcement also included the news that an ombudsman would be retained to assist Interior officials in identifying and resolving problems and conflicts at the range, that Cason and Hall would travel to Montana to discuss management issues and concerns with FWS and tribal personnel, and that an earlier process to phase in full tribal management at the range would be suspended for now.

It could be that the ombudsman comes to the same conclusion as the USFWS – although I doubt it. If so, I’ll eat crow on this here site.

As for federal employees’ worry about privatizing wildlife refuges across the country?

“I don’t see a national movement to privatize refuges or bison ranges,” [CSKT chairman James] Steele said. “Even if there is, it has nothing to do with this range. This will still be a federal bison range, on federal property, governed by federal laws. The only thing different would be tribal involvement. It would be best if both sides worked together for the betterment of the bison and the other wildlife and vegetation on the refuge, for the betterment of all American people.”

And, IMHO, the kicker:

Acts of Congress allow Indian tribes to seek involvement in, and control over, many federal lands where they can demonstrate a cultural, historical or geographic connection. The bison at the refuge descend from bison brought to the Mission Valley, and owned, by Indians. The range’s 18,500 acres sit within the boundaries of the Flathead Reservation.

It’s not just that the CSKT needs the work, the money, or the responsibilities of land stewardship…this is their herd on their land.

If there were irregularities with tribal involvement on the range, the USFWS should have tried to correct or influence the tribal members rather than shut down the project. No matter who’s at fault in this – and, as you know, I suspect the USFWS of sharing a larger role in creating the mess – the question should be how to shift control to the tribes, not whether control should be shifted.

by Jay Stevens 

It ain’t glamorous stuff, the opening salvos of the 2007 legislative session: what to do with the state surplus. Basically, it boils down to this: Schweitzer and the Democrats want to spend it on agencies who were damaged by years of Republican rule, and the Republicans want to…well…obstruct and complain about spending.

Wayward spending is, of course, a problem. On the other hand, underfunding education, prisons, and other vital state services is also a problem. The Governor’s budget director, David Ewer, met with legislators to lay out Schweitzer’s intentions:

Ewer said he’ll emphasize that the $7.7 billion, two-year budget is investing in the “three basics of state government” – public education, public safety and public health – as well as offering tax relief and fiscal responsibility.

That’s Democratic rule for you folks, increased funding of vital areas of government while still producing a budget surplus.

Still, I admit that it’s a good thing that there’s a legislative check on all the spending proposals the Governor will make. Republicans should have a say in what our state budget will look like. That’s not a bad thing – unless the Sideshow Scott Sales dog & pony show turns the whole negotiating process into a circus. Which might just happen.

In the end, because the Senate basically has the final say over the composition of the budget – and the Senate is controlled by Democrats – the Governor and his lefty allies will ultimately shape spending and taxation for the next two years. That’s a good thing.

by Jay Stevens 

Here’s the problem: the “Links…” posts take too much d*mn time to write up, and I want those precious hours of my life back. On the other hand, I know they’re very popular, and I’d hate to take them off the blog.

How about this? Would other Montana bloggers like to contribute a “Links…” post once a week, and I’ll do the same? That way we can still have the cool links without spending so much time on it.

Or do you have a better idea? I could, say, just do the post once or twice a week, or do a less exhaustive version of it…or I might just scrap it altogether if the posts don’t have much support.


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