Archive for May 15th, 2007

by Jay Stevens

Matt Singer at Left in the West has invited me to blog at his site, and I’ve decided to take him on his offer.

It’s a bittersweet move, of course. Left in the West is a great blog and has a large and dedicated readership. I’ll be writing the same stuff and in the same way I write here – a style a little different than Matt’s – so I’m not really going anywhere. Matt and I – tho’ we don’t always agree on policy and politics – are working towards similar progressive goals, so the switch seems to be natural, even inevitable.

On the other hand I’ve scratched out 4&20 blackbirds from nothing. I get a fair number of readers every day, a few hundred, and have had over 150K clicks since I switched over to WordPress about six months ago. And I’ve put a lot of work into this blog. I know it’s just code and a Web address, a couple of graphics and a lot of text, but it’s come to feel like my little house. So I’m sad to leave it behind.

That said, I’m not taking 4&20 blackbirds down. I’m trying to convince some suckers — er, some interested people to take over the site and make it more of a local blog, focusing on Missoula city politics and issues and culture. Everyone reads the national blogs, but I think local and state blogging is where the real effect of blogs will be felt, as bloggers can bring attention to and explain municipal and state issues, topics that really aren’t commented on enough in the traditional media.

If that happens, I’ll no doubt pop over and post now and then on local issues or events.

In the meantime I invite you to follow me over to Left in the West. I’ve got a bunch of topics on the back burner that I’ll be able to write about now that the legislature is over and done with. The 2008 election is coming up; you’ll be able to follow the state and federal races at LiTW, as well as providing rockin’ commentary on the issues crucial to the state as we plunge further into the 21st century…

Come on! Let’s go! What are ya gawkin’ at?


CQ’s Matthew Spieler praises “Red State Dems,” including Jon Tester.

USA Today: “Senators who weakened drug bill got millions from industry”; with graphic that includes a certain Montana Senator.

Matt Singer sees in Lange’s sacking the result of his compromise with the Good Guv. That is, the MT GOP wants to be more combative and obstructionist…

Jeff Mangan pitches in his two cents on the end of the special session…

The AP is reporting that the Governor’s “square deal” made it nearly intact through the Montana legislature.

Singer examines the “Give it Back” website and its backer, Steve Daines, and thinks something fishy is going on. I have to agree: why would someone start this movement now, when it was too late? Seems to be an anti-Schweitzer political ad, if you ask me…

jhwygirl is a little appalled at all the recent nutso crime in Missoula.

Steve Benen: “On the one hand, they hate frivolous lawsuits. On the other hand, they hate gay people. What’s a conservative movement to do?”

Wolfowitz: “It’s my girlfriend’s fault.” Classy. Let’s hope he loses his job and his girlfriend.

Gonzalez: “It’s McNulty’s fault.” Classy. Let’s hope he loses his job and…and…his dignity? Already gone.

Democrats are falling down on lobbying reform. Remember why we voted for you, you c*cksuckers!

Republicans are gloomy about the state of the party, blame Bush.

Fox News mixes up race and voter fraud, apparently scaring up support for Republicans’ phony voter fraud claims.

Fred Thompson passes muster with secret right-wing foreign policy group, the Council for National Policy.

Newt edging towards a presidential bid? Oh man, I hope so.

So…both the Iraqi parliament and the US Congress want us to withdraw from Iraq. Mitch McConnell: “…if they vote to ask us to leave, we’ll be glad to comply with their request.” Colby wants to know why the Iraqis’ vote is more important than Congress’.

An update on the state of the Feingold-Reid bill to cut off funding for Iraq. Presidential campaign politics enter the mix…

Josh Marshall on the death of US soldiers in Iraq: “…the service and sacrifice wash the death clean of the folly of the leaders who ordered them into battle.”

Leave it to the Bush administration to make John Ashcroft look like a paragon of restraint and a man more committed to his country than his pet ideologies.

Oops. MSNBC quotes a satire site on Jerry Falwell. I guess they should reconsider outsourcing their producing to India…

Ed Kemmick realizes his corporate overlords think an Indian bus-boy could do his job, sweats.

Jon Stewart on “ongoing investigations.”

Colbert pays homage to Tony Blair.

by Jay Stevens

The bill that would close the tax loopholes for out-of-staters was scuttled by the House Republicans. In response, the equipment tax reductions for businesses was scrapped.

That’s not terribly surprising. The GOP has been against the tax-collection bill since day one. What’s interesting about this particular report is what Sales has to say about the bill:

House Speaker Scott Sales sent a clear signal to Democrats on Tuesday that the “revenue enhancements” would not get through the House.

“Hell no,” he told Senate President Mike Cooney after Cooney asked him in a morning meeting to reconsider the issue.

“I’m not raising taxes on someone to cut taxes for someone else,” Sales said.

Got that? First, Sales acknowledged the bill would have meant more revenue from the state. Second, the Speaker also considers tax collection to be a form of “tax increase.”

It appears that Speaker Sales is saying that poor tax collection is a known form of tax cut for big business. It’s an interesting moment of truthfulness from the House Speaker, isn’t it? He apparently would undermine the laws and government agencies of the state in the name of ideology. Classy.

by Jay Stevens


The House adjourned after passing its tax and budget bills without waiting around to see if the Senate will pass them. If the Senate rejects any of the bills, the Governor will have to call another special session…

As ID’s Jason says, “I am beginning to think that Mr. Sales really just doesn’t get how the Montana Legislative system works.”

The first casualty in the brouhaha is now former House majority leader, Michael Lange, who was stripped of his position, largely over his obscenity-laden tirade.

A couple of things. First, I told you so!

Second, I actually feel bad for the guy. Apparently having learned his lesson from the fallout of the angry rant, he was one of the 13 House Republicans to reach out to the Good Guv and rescue the state’s budget.

I suspect there will be other casualties from the 2007 legislative session. I suspect we won’t ever see another Sales Speakership, for one. Or another Constitution party member in the body (Jore terms out after this session). Or Sinrud given the reigns of the Appropriations Committee.

Whether Schweitzer has suffered any damage this session remains to be seen, but despite some institutional criticism in the papers, some critics in the blogosphere (myself included), and general disgruntlement in political circles, I suspect it may be Schweitzer who may emerge from this session as the “winner.” Certainly it could be – and likely will be – spun that Schweitzer stepped in and saved the day.

Update: It’s over

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