Archive for April 12th, 2007

by Jay Stevens

As I guessed, House Republicans wouldn’t let the bill abolishing the death penalty to reach the floor for debate.

I’m with Bigfork Republican, Bill Jones, who responded to Scott Sales’ implication that considering a death penalty ban would hurt Republicans politically:

“There’s more liability for those who obstruct the legislative process than those who vote their conscience,” Jones said.

The notion that death penalty support or opposition falls purely along party lines is a quaint notion. On one hand, you’ve got Wulfgar!, who supports the death penalty, and on the other you have Montana Headlines, who opposes it. (And by the way, anytime MH starts a sentence off with “liberals think…” you can skip the paragraph. If MH actually knew how liberals think, he’d be one.)

The death penalty is expensive, it’s not an effective deterrent, it’s unfairly applied, and it’s subject to mistakes, as the recent spate of pardons based on DNA evidence attests. Unease about the practice has grown, not just among liberals who are understandably uncomfortable with the idea of a government putting its citizens to death, but among Christians who value life, repentance, and an eternal soul; lawmakers, who hate to see the courts bogged down in endless appeals; prison officials who have to deal with the ugly and difficult mechanics of the process; and citizens of all ideological stripes who are beginning to realize that there are innocent men and women on death row, more than we can be comfortable with.

At the very least, House Republicans should be open to debate. Let the public record show how our representatives feel about the issue. Let them suggest ways that we can fix the obvious and glaring problems with the death penalty. It’s time we address this issue again.


Phillipsburg soldier, Kyle Bohrnsen, was killed in Iraq. My condolences, and thanks, to his family.

Jon wins kudos for his independent streak in the Senate. Thanks, Jon, that’s why we elected you.

Baucus goes after tax cheats. While he didn’t mention the worst cheats – the rich — maybe he’ll pressure the administration to rehire of the IRS employees who audit the wealthiest Americans.

Meanwhile Baucus plunges on with his Internet censorship project: creating a virtual red-light district for sites with “racy” material and requiring operators of such sites to register with the government. Ugh.

Space financier and former INSA backer, Robert Bigelow, is back in the news with his inflatable space stations. He probably won’t be looking to Montana for investing, thanks to his getting burnt in the recent INSA scam.

Yellowstone county commissioner and Democrat Bill Kennedy to run for Montana’s House seat.

Brian Schweitzer adds stream access to a House Republican’s bridge bill. Republican angry; Montanans happy.

Montana Headlines is dismayed by the state budget proposed by the Senate, forgetting that the Democrats are in the driver’s seat in the legislature. But notice how the budget got passed without all the fuss and rancor and delay found in the House? Expect more Sturm und Drang from House leadership, and eventually a budget closer to what the Good Guv originally proposed.

The Chamber of Commerce on the state business equipment tax.

Mike Wheat, candidate for Attorney General, has put up his website.

Missoula House Authority’s basket of woes.

Larry LaRocco: the next Jon Tester?

Is the GOP losing support in Utah?

Shane points out that 64% of Americans think the government should guarantee health care for all.

End Times paranoia: “America, [they are told], is being ruled by evil, clandestine organizations that hide behind the veneer of liberal, democratic groups….The radical Christian right has no religious legitimacy. It is a mass political movement.”

Imus dropped from MSNBC.

Neocon Paul Wolfowitz abused his authority to get his girlfriend extra pay.

The Notorious Mark T points out that a nation very close to us, and that supports terrorists, is getting off without much scrutiny.

The Denver Post profiles Howard Dean: “Dean is on a self-anointed mission: to purify the Democratic Party by taking power from the governing class and returning it to the people.” (Hat tip to Julie Fanselow, who’s got some key info about the upcoming Democratic National Convention.)

Christopher Dodd challenges the Democratic presidential hopefuls to support the Reid/Feingold resolution to force withdrawal from Iraq.

Matt Yglesias argues that the GOP hasn’t learned from its 2006 defeat: “The truth, of course, is that this is all backwards. The Republican Party has been suffering not from a shortfall of Bush apologists in public roles, but from a surfeit of them; not from insufficient aggression in, for example, the politics of national security but from far, far too much.”

Fred Thompson has cancer. Our thoughts and hopes go out to him and his family.

DNC: Mitt Romney has hired John Rakolta – the *sshole responsible for the illegal push polls here last election – as a campaign chair. Classy.

I’m with Atrios: the “gotcha” attack on Giuliani about the price of milk is ridiculous. I buy gallons of milk all the time, and I couldn’t tell you how much it costs. I just put it in the cart among the squirming tots, and off we go!

Latest polls shows McCain slipping to third among Republican presidential hopefuls. (Clinton first among Democrats.)

Edwards, Clinton, and Richardson speak about Iraq.

Deadly attack strikes the heart of Baghdad’s Green Zone.

A “war Czar”? This is some kind of joke, right? No wonder no one will take the job.

The Pentagon is going to extend the tours of duty for all military personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There’s a rift between Sunni insurgents in Iraq and al Qaeda – which will take root only if we withdraw from the country.

It’s official: nobody loves Dick Cheney.

What’s with the Bush administration penchant for destroying effective government agencies? First FEMA and the EPA, now the FBI. Administration terror policies mean that billions in theft is being ignored.

Montana’s Bill Mercer testifies behind closed doors about the prosecutor purge.

Prosecutor purge scandal spinoff #1: Turns out that the use of non-governmental email accounts to conduct government policy by White House officials the law and White House policy, and has p*ssed off Senate Judiciary Committee chair, Patrick Leahy.

Prosecutor purge scandal spinoff #2: Despite cries of voter fraud for the past five years by Republicans, it just didn’t happen.

Jon Stewart on Imusgate.

And Colbert defends his anti-Hungarian comments — “paprika-snorting goulis” – from Matt Lauer.

The Missoula Independent gets an exclusive interview with director David Lynch.

Montana Jones posts his blog’s code of conduct.

Kurt Vonnegut links

by Jay Stevens

Kurt Vonnegut is dead.

I’m at a loss for what to say. He was one of my favorite writers and humans.

Julie Fanselow fondly remembers Vonnegut’s scathing indictment of new conservatism.

The Booman Tribune’s Steve D thinks Kurt – WWII POW, survivor of the Dresden firebombing, teacher, and social critic – was American hero.

Stefan Beck talks about his influence as a writer.

The Y Chromosone fondly remembers his appearance in Rodney Dangerfield’s “Back to School.”

Cory Doctrow has more links.

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