Archive for August, 2008

by jhwygirl

I’ve suspected as much for the last eight years (at least).

From the New York Times:

“I pledge that tomorrow night, and if necessary, throughout our convention if necessary, to act as Americans not Republicans, because America needs us now no matter whether we are Republican or Democrat.”

by jhwygirl

Maverick McCain seems to think they should.

Just how much of a “maverick” is McCain? Just how much “in control” is he of the party? How beholden is he to Republican party interests (like having a convention party over the interests of an impending national disaster)?

As Gustav nears the coast, it is expected to strengthen to a Category 5 – the same as deadly Katrina of 2005. Mayor Nagin is calling it the “mother of all storms” and millions are being evacuated from Houston to Alabama.

Yep, it sure is more important for the Republican party’s electeds and delegates of Texas and Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama to be up there making the social rounds in St. Paul rather than tending to their state’s needs down in Gustav’s path.

Here we are, three years later, and the levee system has yet to be fixed. You’d think the Republicans would want to avoid being blown off of front pages and television screens by coverage of flooding and sandbagging of a woefully under-protected and failing infrastructure system.

Under-protected 3 years later, because of who? Protecting New Orleans is in the national security interests of the entire U.S., folks…and the Bush Administration has done little to see that the job has been done.

Oh – and better fill up your tanks: While the Gulf of Mexico produces nearly 25% of this nation’s oil and 15% of its natural gas, nearly one third of our refining capacity is located right in the epicenter of Gustav (and Katrina).

So sit back and watch the show: The RNC is still plowing forward with plans to crown Bush’s hopeful successor, and New Orleans will be sandbagging its levees in an effort to stop another Katrina.

Both shows brought to you by miserably failing Republican Party policies.

Looks like we’ve got two national disasters brewing this weekend: One down in the Gulf of Mexico, another in St. Paul, Minnesota.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Let’s see, a Governor who wants to end wasteful government spending; a former star athlete who’s a cheerleader for increased natural resource extraction; an outsider placed in a position of power; an anti-choice, anti-science Christian who promises reform; a small businesswoman, devoted wife and mother fond of poufy hair and interesting eyewear; a historic candidate whose first term in office is already marred by scandal. Gee, this lady

sounds an awful lot like this lady.

Ask yourselves, do you really want to see another Judy Martz just a heartbeat away from the presidency?

by jhwygirl

Seems little Trig has been a very very busy little boy: Scrubbing his mom’s Wikipedia entry. And example of “Young Trigg’s” edits? How about adding a Weekly Standard article, titled “The Most Popular Governor” while removing citations to a Wall Street Journal article titled “Alaska’s Palin Faces Probe”?

Here’s a good before and after, courtesy of Wikipedia. Thank you NPR.

The Arizona Central has some interesting comments from its readers on McCain’s pick.

This is a good article on the effects of biofuel production and its disruption of food supplies.

There was quite an uproar earlier this week of the DNC’s stage set for Obama’s acceptance speech, yet nary a mention of the similarities to George Jr.’s state set of the 2004 RNC.

Obama’s acceptance speech made it to over a quarter of all American households. That’s over 38 million – larger than the opening ceremonies of the Olympics and larger than the audience for the final American Idol (yep, folks, that’s how we measure these things), where the winner is announced.

It was actually larger – Nielsen doesn’t count PBS and C-Span.

Hmmmm, wonder what the average size is of an American household?

Utahan’s like to drive cheaply – Natural gas, at 87 cents a gallon.

It’s a long weekend for many. In perusing this nations newspapers, I’m shocked to see the word “food crisis” and “food bank” in so many. How about taking some time this weekend and clearing off the shelves of some canned good for the local food bank? Put it out in the middle of the floor where you can’t miss it, and get it downtown on Tuesday.

by jhwygirl

Oh, it’s a common topic on blogs across the U.S. – knock on the main-stream media for not covering this, not covering that, or not covering this enough or not covering that enough. But it’s a two-edged sword – and I and others have said that without newspapers, we’d not be able to editorialize like we do. It’s a love/hate thing, you see.

I’ve got a love for news of all sources – paper, magazines, online, radio and even satellite radio – I roll down the road either listening to talk radio (locally) or, further out from town, satellite talk or CNN – news, news, news for me, you see.

Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show, took the media industry to task at a reporter’s breakfast on the opening day of the Democratic convention in Denver. He called FOX News “an appendage of the Republican Party,” and “the biggest f*** you to people with brains.”

He railed on the 24-hour news networks as “gerbil wheels,” and equated them with “brutish slow-witted beasts.” He criticized their reporters for following “the veins that have been mined,” instead of pursuing serious and in-depth reporting.

Ouch!

Makes what we say around here look milquetoast by comparison.

For a near play-by-play, check out Part One , Part Two, and Part Three, courtesy The Daily Show Blog.

It’s not like Stewart is without some sort of authority on the subject, either. The Project for Excellence in Journalism recently analyzed Comedy Central’s The Daily Show (which Stewart hosts), to the news content of the likes of CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC. And it found that while it leans liberal, nearly half of its content is political news, and that regular viewers of The Daily Show and its spin-off The Colbert Report were most likely to score in the highest percentile on knowledge of current affairs.

It also pointed out – relevant to the last point, and relevant to the point I made above – that you gotta read the news to understand The Daily Show (or this blog, as it were).

So while Stewart is railing on the MSM, you can bet he and his staff have 50 daily papers strewn about the office, and there are staffers whose day is spent just reading news.

by jhwygirl

Hypocrisy, now, from the Republican presidential candidate. Thought we only got that from the Bush Administration!

McCain has touted his experience over Obama’s supposed inexperience since it was clear Obama was a force to be reckoned.

So now he picks Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his VP choice. No Washington experience….not much experience at all, frankly. Hell, she won’t even live in the capital, Juneau. Governor of a state that’s under investigation, I guess she looks better than her predecessor.

Gee, that’s just the kind of comparison I’d want to see for my VP choice: The previous governor was very corrupt.

Oh – she’s been a Mayor. Mayor of a town with less than 6,000 people (Wasilla, pop. 5,470). Think Polson (5,046) or Lewistown (5,945).

Palin will be one heartbeat away from the Presidency, and McCain will be 77 in 2012.

Sara Palin will appeal to all, it seems: She looks like an Oprah audience member, she’s the right gender for 51% of the U.S. population and she’s a former beauty queen. Something for everyone, I guess.

Guess we won’t be hearing much about experience anymore.

by jhwygirl

It was news when Obama’s daughter turned 10 back on July 4th, in Butte – but it seems Republican Presidential candidate John McCain is trying to deflect any stories about his 72nd birthday by announcing Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential pick.

Now, why would Republicans try and ignore their chosen one’s birthday? Shouldn’t they be grabbing up all that feel-good press? Seems cruel to me. You’d think there’d be a big old (no pun intended) cake…with 72 candles…and silly hats and a birthday song. Right?

Maybe it’s something they’re gonna do behind closed doors.

by jhwygirl

BWAM and several local groups including the Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation (MIST), Mountain Bike Missoula, and Missoula in Motion have come together to plan a family-friendly festival in celebration of non-motorized transportation.

The event starts at noon, at Caras Park, and goes until 8 p.m. A great kick-off to what is going to be a fabulous Labor Day weekend.

There will be a local contingent of food and beverage vendors, live music, local bike and walk organization exhibits, the Safety Team, and a variety of performers that together will provide an all-day fun-time festival atmosphere.

There are, in fact, looking for additional talented folks that might be able to add to the entertainment. If you can help out, shoot an email over to Erin at events@bikewalkmissoula.org.

by Rebecca Schmitz

That John Kerry who was breathing smoke and fire from my television last night–where the hell was he four years ago?

by Rebecca Schmitz

Okay, forget all the whining below. Someone with a sense of humor at Slate is covering the convention on Twitter. Perhaps there is a reason to look forward to St. Paul.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Last night’s television coverage of the convention reminded me once again why I don’t watch network TV: none of the big boys, even my home slice Jim Lehrer–Jim Lehrer!, bothered to completely cover our Governor’s speech. I started the evening with Jim and his crew of blowhards analysts. (I kid about the “blowhards”; even though I disagree with him most of the time, David Brooks is a conservative I can respect) They missed Governor Deval Patrick because of all the blah, blah, blah, so to make up for it PBS replayed his speech, then cut to more of the blah, blah, blah. By this time I jumped to NBC–no, there’s Brian Williams talking to his analysts, okay, how about CBS, nope, hey, who are those people? Who cares? Okay, how about–nah, forget ABC. CNN? Nope. Commercials. Hmmm, do I dare? Am I ready to lose some IQ points? Fine. I’ll go there. Wait…you’re kidding. FOX is airing a recap of the primary season? Well, shit. This means only one thing.

C-SPAN.

Finally, there was Brian, in the words of our friend Goof Houlihan, “clowning and corny“. But hey, I got a kick out of his speech. The floor loved it. Even Bill Clinton liked it. During the standing ovation, the Big Dog mouthed “I like this guy, he’s good” to Rebecca Gwatney.

I guess there’s only one channel for me. Jill, I know it’s not your fault, but this kind of news coverage–all punditry and no substance–is the reason why I never tune into CBS’ broadcast or that of your competitors. Sorry, Jim, but even PBS dropped the ball this time. One lousy speech, and you guys felt it was more important to talk to the historians on the panel. I’m sticking with C-SPAN for the next two days, and, if I have the stomach for it, I’ll stay there next week for the Republican National Convention. We’ll see, though. It all depends on whether or not Costco sells Tums by the case.

by Pete Talbot

(The serious blogging is coming out of Denver but someone needs to cover the bases back home. Here is some local insight, light fare and escapism.)

Obama, yes, but no Dick

Barack Obama’s last stop before hitting the Democratic National Convention in Denver is Billings. He’ll hold a town hall style meeting on Wednesday.

Vice President Cheney cancelled his Wednesday visit to Bozeman to raise funds for Montana Republicans. He’s on a mission to Georgia (not the peach state) where he’ll surely garner more respect for the U.S. and sow the seeds of peace.

Digital hijinks

Naughty software is to blame for Helena’s KTVH broadcast of the Olympics with Mystery Science Theater 3000 characters superimposed on the screen. Wish I could have seen it. (I loved that program — the Olympics weren’t bad either – what a great combo those two shows would make).

Apparently, the used equipment’s ‘Flexcoder,’ recently purchased by the NBC affiliate, only affected high-definition signals. This story is making the rounds on the internet.

Different strokes

Hispanic singer Daddy Yankee endorses John McCain. That’s the biggest news out of the Republican camp lately. Hey, no candidate is immune from uninformed celebrity endorsements but I feel sorry for the Latino community on this one. Does ‘Daddy’ really have credibility?

Lonely

Finally, with most of my blogger friends down in Denver (or should it be up in Denver, since it is the Mile High City) here’s a little You Tube hit from Bobby Vinton. Anyone born after, maybe 1957, won’t recognize this song.

I liked the little anti-war line at the end of the song. That’s a new twist from Bobby.

by jhwygirl

Each morning, we can all get downtown via free shuttle buses being provided by the city for all delegates and press and people in limbo, like me. I still haven’t written about yesterday’s ride – but I thought I might write about today’s.

I mentioned this morning, the delegates are getting pretty comfortable. Some of them are sharing rooms – and it all has the air of a college reunion. Not all are legislatures, so they don’t all work together all the time, but it is clear that they know and like each other quite well.

And No – they aren’t really wearing “regular old t-shirts” – I know I said that earlier – but I certainly don’t want ya’all getting the impression they’re down here on vacation. This stuff really is hard work. There’s important stuff to do for the next 2 1/2 months…and you can tell they mean business.

I didn’t get out of here until about 11 a.m. this morning – which put me on a shuttle with JP Pomnichowski, Michele Reinhart, Julie French and Anthony Jackson.

Anthony is a fine young man from Billings – 26 – who is currently working on Steve Bullock’s race for Attorney General.

Michele is our local HD-97 state house representative – who is running for re-election, BTW. I find her to be very much keyed into understanding the how and why behind things. Hell, I almost feel like she’s interviewing me at times. It’s all good, and I don’t mean that to sound bad – it isn’t. She’s my representative, and she’s very interested in my perspective of things. How could an active voter not like that?

Julie French is really a firecracker. You get the sense, from the get-go, that this is a woman that does not take “no” for an answer. That people – men and women – kinda sit there and nod in agreement when she speaks, and that when she tells you that ‘this is the way this is going to be,’ then, that is the way it is going to be.

I won’t tell you who told me, but I hear they call her Grandma. I assure you, it has nothing to do with her age.

Julie defined what a good legislator is – and she was clear to say that it didn’t matter if it was a city council person, or a state legislator or someone in the federal level. A good legislator is a good listener. “They have to listen to people. They have to want to listen to people,” she said. Julie then cited Jon Tester as an excellent example of someone who exemplifies a good legislator. Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

Those were former nine term Congressman Pat Williams’ words this morning, when he, too, spoke about the importance of this upcoming presidential election. Pat followed Senator Baucus, who spoke extensively about the same, and time was running short, but those 10 words alone say so very much about not only the election, but the intent energy behind Montana’s Democrats working for meaningful change. Behind all Democratic Party members. Positive change. A positive future.

“What you do will affect the other delegates and future delegates. When you nominate Barack Obama and we elect Barack Obama, what it will do is it will change the lives of children not yet born.”

I think we all took a breath as Pat said that (I know I did) – but only long enough to give him a standing ovation.

Thanks, Pat Williams, for that.

Someone should put you on that podium down there in the Pepsi Center. With words like that, you’d have all of America spellbound.

by jhwygirl

Look for the Good Gov to speak tonight around 8:20 – 8:40. Following him will be Senator Hillary Clinton.

Jag, we hear, won’t be there. He doesn’t fly commercial.

Maybe our delegates should throw some stuffed animals up there on stage. If anything, Brian can take them back to Jag as a peace offering for being left out.

by jhwygirl

Well, if you read Jay’s FUBAR post, you know I didn’t get my Monday credentials to get onto the floor with Montana’s fine delegates. I walked more than 35 city blocks yesterday in search of the darned thing – and now know that at one point I was in the right place but apparently the people I talked to weren’t aware they were there. The free pedestrian shuttle would have saved all kinds of urban hiking (which can get pretty miserable when it’s 85 degrees or more out, and you are carrying around 15 pounds of electronics), but that wasn’t functioning very well either because protesters are everywhere – including McCain DRILL NOW folks.

Lovely, huh?

But I’m well rested and back at it – today is Jay’s day for the floor credentials (good luck, Jay!), so I plan on trying to head to a Media Matters event (I hear they are here in our hotel), and then the Council for a Livable World and Veteran’s PAC event at Coors Field.

Just came from breakfast with Montana’s delegation, and they’re getting comfortable. I saw some regular old t-shirts and tevas – frankly, it’s just too darn hot and muggy for anything else.

Our wonderful Senator Max Baucus was the main speaker this morning, and he spoke quite passionately about the importance of the upcoming election. I have to say I honestly really like Max – he’s really very down to earth – he’s quick to pass credit to anyone he possibly can, including Dennis McDonald, our Montana Democratic Party Chair, this morning – and he seems genuinely taken aback at everyone’s admiration for him. Not everyone likes to share the spotlight – Max never has it any other way. Really.

In speaking about the upcoming election, Max laid out the work that needs to be done: “…in 70 days and 12 hours, the polls will be closed. We have an obligation for our kids and our grand kids – the promise of change, or hope, of the future.” He went on reiterating this very important mission several times. It is clear that Max sees the work that needs to be done in very far, generational terms, and he said in a very obviously heartfelt way: “Remember that it is our responsibility to do everything we possibly can to prevails. I do believe that we have a moral responsibility to leave this world a better place.”

When I watched him say those words, I know he means it and that he believes it. It clearly is his mission.

There are important issues at stake in November, and he reminded us of them – Healthcare, Tax Policy, Foreign Policy. He pointed out – angrily is how I would describe it – that “McCain wants to lower taxes of the very rich. Lower them!”

He may be the longest sitting US Senator from Montana, and he may spend a hell of a lot of time in Washington, but he comes off as my neighbor.

Max spoke of the importance of other races and how a 60-seat majority in the Senate is what really needs to happen. How hard it is to eek out those extra 9 votes to get a filibuster proof bill passed – and even here he was quick to throw credit to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her work in the House.

He ran down a list of seats where he felt that Democrats have a good chance to make a difference – Mark Warner in Virginia and Jeanne Shaheen New Hampshire (he said he was sure that Sununu was out – and Jeanne looks to be 10 points ahead there!); Tom Udall of New Mexico; Mark Udall of Colorado (now up by 4 or 5 points); and Jeff Merkley of Oregon (fighting a tough race against lots of $).

He mentioned some others that he thought were possible: Al Franken in Minnesota and state Senator Kay Hagen in North Carolina (Hagen in a dead heat with Elizabeth Dole – tell me that aint’ bad news for old Libby!); and Bruce Lunsford, facing a pretty uphill battle in Kentucky against Mitch McConnell.

“We’ll pick up seats,” he said. “4 will be OK – 6 would be a great night, and 8 would be fabulous.” The room roared with that statement.

I’m getting long winded here, so I will save Max’s Ted Kennedy story for another post.

But let me add just 2 more items….Max closed out by pouring more credit out there on Raph Graybill, Montana’s youngest delegate (19). Raph is blogging the election for the Great Falls Tribune, BTW….and then Max went on to shower more credit and sunshine on Stephanie Sherrick, a Butte native who is running Al Franken’s campaign (and who had worked her magic on our own Jon Tester’s amazing win in 2006).

Finally – this: Congressman Pat Williams spoke this morning too, commenting on the historic events before us. He lead off with his first experiences with the national convention in Chicago 1968. It seemed maybe Dennis McDonald had been there with him (?) too – and for those of you who don’t know (or don’t remember), Chicago was a hell of a time with Mayor Richard Daley and the anti-war protests.

“These protesters don’t know how to protest,” he said (only jokingly). “I saw a whole bunch of them last night – lined up in a single line, wearing dark black hoods, looking very serious – holding things in their hands – and I saw them walk out of the convention area, walk down the street, and come to a red light. They stopped.”

The room laughed.

“That wasn’t Chicago!”

Later, in all seriousness, Carol Williams and Sara Pyfer closed out this morning’s meeting reminding folks to be careful out there – police had to use pepper spray last night – that things were only going to get more active, and how the situation was very fluid….and that the police have a job to do out there and that we should all be aware that they need to be able to do it.

Off to downtown…..Cheers.

by consonant girl

Thanks Indy!

Ed Tinsley’s blog is up at the Billings Gazette. If you forget that first link, go to the main page, search for that “blog” tab at the top of the page, the DNC will pop up when you get there, and there you go!

You’d think with Montana’s delegates front and center for the DNC this year – they have floor seats 20 rows from the front – and with the Good Gov speaking on Tuesday (around 8 p.m., I’m told) – that the Gazette would put that in a much easier place to see like the front page?!

Come on over to 4&20 Ed! I’ll put you on the front whenever you want!

Bob Struckman, of NewWest, has a piece up on his travels down to Denver with Jay, Matt, Dante and me the people from the Oregon Bus Project – and another on his adventures with the camera guy on The Bus. Don’t miss them!

JP Pomnichowski (HD-63) is blogging the convention too! You can see her stuff over at her blog, over at JP for Montana.

Well, I’m off to catch the shuttle. Hopefully I’ve not missed the first one – I’d like to score an interview with any one of our wonderful delegates – or even a guest….

by jhwygirl

No surprises there, I guess….but honestly, what a shame. Seems Montana GOP can’t play fair or nice – just dirty – especially when it comes to JP Pomnichowski.

Kent, a poster, gives us some news on a push poll he received Saturday morning.

Obviously JP Pomichowski of Bozeman is a threat, because they’ve done this sort of stuff against her before.

DONATE, and help this deserving candidate fight these kind of political games.

Seriously folks? In a Montana House race, even a small donation like 10 bucks can help out. JP has a track record of support for education, healthcare, local government and zoning and planning issues. She also has a track record of support for water rights and water and natural resource quality issues. Support for all the kinds of issue I blog around here all the time. In other words, One Good Representative that Montana needs to keep around.

by jhwygirl

I’ll be crossposting these DNC bits at LiTW – because, after all, I wouldn’t be there – hell, I might not even be blogging – if it weren’t for those guys. Yep. Blame it all on Matt and Jay!

Well, folks – made it here in one piece. Tired but happy, and well fed by a BBQ hosted by New Era Colorado, a mighty-fine progressive organization bringing politics to younger folks a la Forward Montana.

Jay, Matt, Dante and Bob Struckman (of NewWest) and I all drove to Twin Falls to meet up with the Oregon Bus Project, a fabulous group of 20 and 30 somethings doing wonderful things for progressive politics on the west coast. We had a bus of 37 (?) passengers, from California, Washington, and (mostly) Oregon. Ian and Lucy and Jeff and everyone else? KICK ASS! I never had a finer bus trip – and some of you might remember my thoughts on bus trips.

I did some “stunt” driving for Public Television France. Let’s just say, when a cameraman wants to get the shot, he’ll do just about whatever it takes….but more on that later. But if ya’all have DSL, and you find something over there with a bus driving down the interstate, with the city in the background, well….I had a hand in that. Or two and a foot – on the gas pedal.

From what I hear, protesters are lining the streets more than a mile and half outside of the convention center…It’s hot, it’s muggy, and several tornadoes are being shown live on TV right now. Looks to be a pretty action-filled week.

I’ve already shook hands with Carol Williams, Ed Tinsley and Art Noonan…all people I am HUGE fans of….also had introductions with Walter Schweitzer, and without the beard, I mighta guessed who he was.

Now, if I can get off this blog and hit the shower – I might be able to go down and meet some of the rest of our delegation.

Time’s a wastin’

One more – Ed said that the Billings Gazette has asked them to post a blog of their experiences…he said he’s sent them something, but it hasn’t hit the web yet….so once I get a link for that, I’ll give it to you all.

He also told me that he reads 4&20 and he agrees with it 99% of the time. I think we’ll need to figure out that 1%, and try to find some common ground, and work toward solutions for all of us. Don’t you think?

After all, that’s what this blogging stuff is all about.

Nice. Welcome to the blog world, Ed!

by jhwygirl

Posting has been light for me – apologies. Housesitting in the Bitterroots put my priorities elsewhere, and once I got back into town, I had to begin the preparations for a week at the DNC.

Shakespeare & Co.’s Emily posts her thoughts and recent experiences with healthcare – and along the way, recommends a good book. Check it out.

Montana DEQ has hired 12 new people, although, apparently not for the open pit mining division, which has been having such a horrible time.

Sigh.

Spelling fanatics have been correcting vandalizing historic signs. They’ve gotten busted and have plead guilty. And example of what made them do it:

After correcting a misplaced apostrophe and comma, Deck reported, he was aghast to discover what he described as a made-up word: “emense.”

“I was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further, so we had to let the other typo stand. Still, I think I shall be haunted by that perversity.”

Come on – that is TOO funny, isn’t it?

The Big Foot thing I posted about last week is a hoax.

Oh, well….

Speaking of last week, I also commented on how young those Chinese gymnasts looked. Apparently, evidence has surfaced that one of them is only 14 – the one that took gold from Nastia Luikin. The IOC is investigating, and experts say taht it could be years before we find the truth. Or never.

The United State’s Terror Watch List has hit 1,000,000 people.

One Million? Seriously? This Bush Administration is making Nixon and Stalin, and, come to think of it, Putin, all look like a pansies.

And that’s the world from my margarita’d perspective. Enjoy.

by jhwygirl

‘Cause we got trolls.

heh, heh….

I’ve said it before – and I’ve admittedly stole the line from Jay – but keep it coming. You aren’t doing your team any favors.

by Pete Talbot

KECI’s weatherman, Mark Heyka, claims that the August Singularity is “poppycock.” Just because every year about this time the temperature drops and it rains and then it gets warm again (for awhile) he says it isn’t a singularity. Sounds like a singularity to me.

And it’s a harbinger of things to come. It was 42 degrees Fahrenheit at my house this morning and you could smell autumn in the air. As a Montanan, you can never complain about the rain or cool in August — there are forests and fields that need the moisture and those temps. Probably isn’t helping the tomatoes, though.

I’m not ready for summer to end. Most years, we get maybe two or three months of real summer, and this has been one of those years.

As this summer wanes, there are some things to look forward to: the Labor Day Weekend and back to school for the kids, including UM (the Griz play Cal Poly here on Sept. 6) and perhaps a gorgeous fall.

(The first Griz game is away.  The first home game is Sept. 13 against Southern Utah.  Thanks, Dan)

And there’s still the Democratic Convention in Denver coming up in just a few days. That’s exciting. Some of Montana’s best bloggers will be posting from the Mile High City: jhwygirl and Jay Stevens and Matt Singer. It will make for good reading and some insights not offered by the mainstream media.

The Republican Convention follows on its heels. I’m waiting for my press credentials to that.

So enjoy the rest of the summer. It’s supposed to be back in the 90’s on Sunday. Then let’s gear up for the general election in November. There’s work to be done and this is one of the most important elections that I can remember, and I’ve been around a long time.

by Pete Talbot

Recent news from two of the biggest players who do business in Montana gave me pause: are stockholders and boards of directors becoming enlightened?

First was the story that a group of Plum Creek stockholders was urging management to abandon the shady talks that Plum Creek has been holding with Ag Undersecretary Mark Rey. According to a letter sent from Trillium Asset Management to Plum Creek, the talks should stop, “to protect shareholder value and rehabilitate our company’s reputation.” Cool.

Unfortunately, Plum Creek Board Chairman Ian Davidson penned a guest column in today’s Missoulian saying that Trillium and another asset management company, “do not represent a majority of our shareholders and they are the only investors we have heard from on this matter.” Not cool.

So it’s back to business as usual for Plum Creek: selling off the most valuable lands for development purposes, selling back the lands it has cut the hell out of to land trusts and conservation groups, and holding back-room meetings with the feds and state government to get easements to the lands.

This was a bad P.R. move from Mr. Davidson. Not only does he brush aside criticism, he goes on to crow about the stock’s performance:

“Over the past 15 years, the company’s annualized total shareholder return was 15.2 percent, and last Tuesday, Plum Creek’s stock hit an all-time high of $50 per share. This performance is quite contrary to the Dow Jones being down more than 13 percent this year and the S&P 500 being down more than 12 percent.”

Mr. Davidson isn’t making any friends here (except maybe some of the more gluttonous stockholders) which is too bad. I didn’t even know that he was chairman of the board at Plum Creek. I do know him to be a philanthropist, and a strong supporter of education and entrepreneurs in Montana. He should have kept a lower profile on this issue.

(Sorry, no link to the Davidson guest column that I could find anywhere.)

On the other hand, Northwest Energy seems to be heading in the right (correct) direction. This came as quite a surprise to folks in Missoula and Helena, and really, most everybody in Montana involved in energy and energy politics: Bob Rowe replaced Mike Hansen as Northwestern Energy CEO.

My first thought was that maybe Mr. Rowe had gone over to the dark side.

But in the news stories I’ve read and an interview I heard on KUFM, it sounds as if Rowe is putting Montanan’s interests first. The utility, he said, “will do it better, more creatively, more responsibly, and (provide) real value to the communities in the state that we serve.”

And if you look at his background, I tend to believe his claims. Through the Montana Legal Services Association, he spent years in Missoula representing low to middle-income people with legal problems. He then went on to become a valued member of the Montana Public Service Commission in Helena.

So I’ll be cutting Northwestern Energy some slack here at 4&20, at least until I see how things shake out. Plum Creek? Not a chance.

by jhwygirl

The shame brought to us by the Bush Administration never ends, does it?

First, a review of some of my outrages – because this isn’t the type of stuff you “move forward” on:
More Shame From the Bush Administration

More Disrespect for the Troops from the Commander-in-Chief

Symbiotic Relationship of Bush Administration and Mainstream Media Has No Bounds

From the VA: Shhh, 1,000 Attempted Suicided Per Month

Before I go further, just imagine the stuff you don’t hear about….

James B. Peake, Secretary for Veteran’s Affairs, has issued a directive that bans non-partisan voter registration drives from federally-financed nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and shelters for homeless veterans.

Peake was nominated by the White House in 2007, and his job is described as “the principal advocate for veterans in the U.S. government.” He graduated from West Point, and served in the Army Infantry Division. He went on to get is medical doctorate degree in 1972, and retired as a Lieutenant General in 2004.

Why would a military guy oversee – in fact, facilitate – impediments to voting for the very veterans he has sworn an oath to protect? Why would he do something like this when voting is one of the very basic of rights the military is there to uphold for the United States? What kind of military guy does this?

Peake is citing the Hatch Act in his defense. The Hatch Act forbids federal workers from engaging in partisan political activity.

Registering voters is NOT a partisan political activity. No matter who is doing the registering.

Two Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Robert A. Brady (Pa.) and Bob Filner (Ca.), have sent a letter to Peake, asking him to halt the directive.

Meanwhile, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), along with Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John Kerry (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Barack Obama (D-IL), Harry Reid (D-NV), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have introduced legislation to require the VA to facilitate voter registration for veterans. Since being introduced on July 22nd, Sens. Rick Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), and Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) have signed on to S.3308.

I’ve asked this before – but someone please explain to me why something that is in the best interests of everyone, of all veterans – why aren’t there any Republicans signing on to this bill?

Or, put another way, why wouldn’t Republicans want to make sure that veterans can vote?

Please take a moment to contact Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and ask them to support S.3308.

Oh – and don’t forget Representative Dennis Rehberg.

by jhwygirl

Benson’s Farm is finally finally open!

They promised us fans, weeks ago, that their veggie store would be open “mid-August”. For many of us, I think we believe that was last week – as I stopped by every day after work, hopefully pulling into the parking lot, just wishing that they would open.

“Wasn’t the mid-August the 2nd full week in August?” I said to myself.

And then, when it wasn’t Sunday or Monday, I started to think “Could it be Friday? The 15th? Yes, it has to be – the 15th is the middle of the month!”

And, finally, when it wasn’t Friday the 15th, I told myself that I was going to steal away, in the night, an ear of their beautiful white-and-yellow corn (or 2) and pay them a buck a piece when they finally opened.

I never did….but today (birds singing, angels flying, rainbows in the background) the store was open. A child and mother, hand-in-hand, walking up the road, a bag filled with veggies. Cars pulling in, cars pulling out. Yippee!!

As I paid for my 2 ears of corn (I never did raid the fields, promise) two couples walked in, both oohin’ and ahhin’ walking straight for the golden stuff.

But don’t pass that broccoli either – nothing compares to fresh broccoli.

They’ve got their regionally famous corn (yellow and white, and yellow), along with a lovely assortment – today – of eggplant, zucchini, broccoli (which looked fabulous), red cabbage, and a pretty large assortment of green and yellow peppers. Green tomatoes, fresh herbs – oh, and an assortment of various squashes.

Stuff can’t be fresher – they pick it and drop it in the bins while you are there

Anyways folks – come get your veggies, corner of 7th and Reserve. A piece of Missoula. A fantastic piece of Missoula.

by jhwygirl

The building, silly wabbits!

Bids are due by Friday for the City Hall building, which has been appraised at $1.68 million.

It’s been years since I’ve been in it – 2003? 2002? – but at that price, it seems like a steal. Backs up on a residential neighborhood – if my memory isn’t failing – with sidewalks and mature trees. Quite lovely. I figure you could get 4 sweet-sized luxury condos, and maybe even 2 or 4 small “affordable” units in the basement. That would only work, though, if they’ve got some windows.

Similar to Missoula’s Babs – which will be making its developers quite a pretty penny.

Hopefully they put something into the bid that keeps the building from being razed. It is a piece of Montana history, and it’d sure be a shame if that was its fate.

by Jay Stevens

Patia and Rebecca go to the opening of Hooter’s, Patia writes it up over at New West, and all h*ll breaks loose in the comments.

Besides finding the column an inspiration to write Penthouse-letter-quality softcore Hooters porn, commenters used the space to point out that anyone who mentiones Hooters’ prime attraction (tits and ass) must be hairy, smelly, and liberal — which are apparently synonymous. Weirder still is the implication that if a woman goes into Hooters and doesn’t immediately toss off her clothes and don the trademark Hooters half-shirt and orange short-shorts, she must hate men.

One commenter asks, “So… have we decided if a confident, liberal, libido-loving gal would be confortable in a Hooters?”

Good question.

I cautiously advance that a confident libido-loving gal of any political persuasion probably does not fulfill her sexual fantasies by serving greasy-fingered overweight men fried food. Her fantasies probably revolve around, you know, men…like this…or this. (Or, for nontraditional libidos, this?)

So, yeah, a confident, liberal, libido-loving gal probably would feel comfortable in Hooters…if the tip money is good. Tho’ she’d probably rather go to Peckers




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