Archive for February 14th, 2008

by jhwygirl

This information comes to us via Jordan Hess’ Discovering Transit in Missoula.

Jim Lieter, Community Affairs Director for the MBIA, sent out a letter calling on its apparently under-represented members (along with those other under-represented people like realtors and those in the business community) to “TURN OUT AS MANY BUSINESS PEOPLE AS WE CAN” (his caps, not mine) in order to halt the “Pie in the Sky approach to transportation and land use planning.”

His problem? He feels it is “very slanted towards bike/ped/bus/light rail interests and will be slanted away from growth issues related to both commercial and residential development.”

Missoula’s problem? That MBIA (I won’t go as far as to assume that he is speaking for everyone else) believes it should be as unencumbered as possible, as it has been, and infrastructure should bow only to those with cars.

I mean, suggesting a bias towards bike paths? Sidewalks? Mass transit? WT* is in this guy’s water?

Really – go read it.

And while you’re at it – don’t forget that there is an Envision Missoula meeting today from 3-5 at the South Ballroom at the University Center….and, hell be damned, why not ride the bus?!

by jhwygirl

No matter how you run the numbers on the remaining primaries and caucus’, neither Hillary or Obama gains the necessary number of delegates.

While this CNN story says “neither candidate is likely to gather the delegates necessary,” in its election coverage last night CNN went through endless number of scenarios (with a nifty large screen computer) that showed neither candidate, under any circumstance, would be winning enough regular delegates to score the nomination. Try as I may, I can not find a link, sorry.

Howard Dean’s latest email, then, mystifies me: “First, I think we’ll have a nominee before the convention.” Is that a clue that he is going to take some measure to bring both Florida and Michigan delegates back to standing at the convention? Will there be supplemental caucus’, as some have suggested?

Caucusing in Florida and Michigan seems problematic to me. People have voted – and the outcry from citizens in both states is that they feel disenfranchised. Wouldn’t caucusing in Florida would be difficult in a state with such an aged population? I just don’t imagine that the caucus system is optimum for seniors. {Sigh – more disenfranchisement.}

What is painfully apparent for Hillary now is that Dean’s 50-state strategy was right all along – failing to pay attention to all 50 states is what got us Bushwhacked – twice – and what has perhaps put her in (what I’m sure she feels is) a quagmire of a primary race. Looking at it in the daylight, now, it appears she never knew what was coming. As LiTW reports today, Hillary is now hiring staff in Montana, Wyoming, and even Puerto Rico.

Singer says that he thinks that the staff is going to be up and running only for the primaries – in other words, they’ll pull out or be redirected for the general. He’s probably right….and isn’t that ironic? Even though it has been shown that Dean’s 50-state strategy is really the way to go (flashback 2006), neither candidate will give it the respect it deserves – until it’s in the rearview mirror. And even then – only as much respect as they absolutely have to give it. (“Oops!”)

There’s discussion all over the place about the superdelegates – calling on them to not pull a Mondale-scenario where they overrule the popular primary vote. But does that call include the popular votes of the primaries in Florida and Michigan, where the delegates have been stripped?

So the thought on my mind today is “What is Dean thinking?” What is he going to do with those bad, bad legislator’s in Florida and Michigan who moved the primaries against the parties wishes? The primaries in both states are over – Hillary taking both. Reinstating their delegates can’t avoid the appearance of favoring Hillary. A “do-over” wouldn’t seem right (remember that ever-so-brief discussion back in Florida 2004?), and throwing together caucus’ for both seem problematic if only from that perspective. Then there’s the money, yada, yada, yada.

Talk about aye yi yi……Howard? Wouldn’t want to be ya….

Update: Hummingbirdminds reports that Obama is opening offices in Cheyenne and Laramie. Is Montana soon to follow?

by dharmagrrl

With the g-friend sick and sub-freezing temperatures outside, I have been consuming a lot of hot tea lately. So imagine my shock and horror the other day when I reached for my newest tea and was absentmindedly reading the label and read the words on the box top, “From the Fields of Five Continents.”

As the water boiled and the whistle blew, I was struck by the fact that I was supposed to think this was a good thing. That to gather the raw ingredients from around the world, and bring them together in some factory in California to be assembled, packaged and shipped out to various places in the country was being marketed to me as desirable and perhaps even superior. My full-bodied tea, sipped in a slow deliberate fashion, allowed me time to get worked up in to a tizzy.

And then I decided to make some lunch for the girl and myself. I whipped out the can of beans and began to turn the wheels of the can opener. Again I casually caught the words, “Product of China” imprinted on the top. I almost dropped the can, when the words sunk in to my consciousness fully.

It turns out my freakin’ beans are from China, shipped to a port across the world, then loaded on a truck where they are carried across several mountain passes to make it to the local food store. Are you kidding me? What has happened to the need to wean our selves of the dependence on foreign oil and unsustainable (i.e.- resource extractive) ways of producing energy?

So often the energy consumption debate gets framed in terms of the cars we drive and what light bulbs we screw in, but we cannot forget the many resource heavy industries that we support every time we head to our local grocery store.

Fishing, for example, is one of the most heavily resource extractive food industries out there. Imagine how much energy gets consumed by trawlers and fishing boats, not to mention the processing plants and then the airlines/trucks that ship the finished cans of tuna or fish for our barbecues—”direct to you, today!”

According to the Garden City Harvest website:

Over 90% of the produce we eat in Montana is shipped in from out of state. Yet in the early part of this century, Missoula earned the title “The Garden City” by producing fruits and vegetables for much of the surrounding region.

Investing in local food systems moves us closer toward energy self-sufficiency. When we produce food locally we don’t have to spend money and resources to ship them halfway across the world from their field to our plate. And we make ourselves less vulnerable to the inevitable energy crisis that I am certain I will see in my lifetime. We need to be the producers of much of what we eat and we need to invest in agricultural land, before it is divided up for ranchettes that only the wealthy can afford.

Local ‘chicken ordinances’ are a great example that we are moving in the right direction here in Western Montana. And organizations like Garden City Harvest, the Missoula Food Co-op and local Homegrown farms, such as Lifeline are on the forefront of where we need to be headed in the future. When we can feed ourselves from what we grow we move closer to the land and closer to true self-sufficiency.

We don’t need to drill in the artic, or mine more coal, we need to invest our time, energy and money in developing strategies to allow our communities to be more self-sustaining. And you know it wouldn’t hurt if you’d sell that SUV that gets 20 MPG and screw in a few energy efficient light bulbs. And trust me, I’ll look closer next time I buy beans!

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