Archive for August 1st, 2008

by Pete Talbot

Bonehead of the week

Goes to the dude who cut off the Hells Angels on I-90. Now the Angels were in the wrong but still, sometimes you have to let things go. Especially if you have your 17-year-old daughter in the car. What’s this guy going to do for an encore, stroll through the streets of Tehran with a “The Ayatollah Sucks” placard?

I’m not a big fan of the Hell’s Angels — racist, sexist, gay-bashing, and prone to violence and meth distribution — but I’d probably cut them some slack on the highway when they’re bearing down on me.

By the way, shouldn’t the Angels pick up the tab ($139,371) for all the extra patrols Missoula is paying for to keep the citizenry secure? Just a thought — although don’t ask me to present them with the bill.

Slower than molasses …

Back in my globe-trotting days, I flew into airports from Belize to Borneo, Caracas to Cotenou, Malaysia to Madagascar. The slowest baggage delivery system I’ve encountered? Missoula, Montana.

I mean, how long does it take to unload an eighty-passenger Horizon turbo-prop? (Thirty minutes, the last time I flew into Missoula.)

I smell the Tavern Owners Association

I have nothing against taverns. I’ve passed more than a few pleasurable hours at various watering holes around the state. The Montana Tavern Owners Association, however, is one of my least favorite lobbies.

I’ve seen it ram lousy bills through the Montana Legislature, with help from both political parties: from stifling cabaret licenses, to hobbling brewers, to being the mouthpiece for all those obnoxious casinos.

Now it has the Montana Department of Revenue doing it’s dirty work. Apparently, the department is going to crack down on tasting room patrons who can’t finish their beverages by 8 p.m. That’s right, 8 p.m.

On a less bitchy note

Look for the ‘Think Local, Buy Local’ stickers in various independent businesses around Missoula. The Sustainable Business Council is promoting this campaign with an official launch at the River City Roots Festival, Aug. 23-24 . Here are just a few of the reasons to buy local:

* You bolster our economic base since local businesses are more likely to use other local services and products.

* You keep more tax dollars in our community to support our schools, parks, police, and other services.

* You support businesses that provide a large share of jobs in our community and are more invested in Missoula’s future.

* You ensure a solid foundation for our nonprofit organizations because they receive a majority of their donations from locally-owned businesses.

* You protect the beauty and natural resources of our community. Our local stores help sustain vibrant, compact, and walkable shopping districts and conserve energy and resources by reducing the transportation costs of goods.

by Rebecca Schmitz

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they’ll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies — including Wal-Mart. [snip] According to about a dozen Wal-Mart employees who attended such meetings in seven states, Wal-Mart executives claim that employees at unionized stores would have to pay hefty union dues while getting nothing in return, and may have to go on strike without compensation. Also, unionization could mean fewer jobs as labor costs rise.

Read that again. unionization could mean fewer jobs

Is that a threat?

The article continues:

The Wal-Mart human-resources managers who run the meetings don’t specifically tell attendees how to vote in November’s election, but make it clear that voting for Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama would be tantamount to inviting unions in, according to Wal-Mart employees who attended gatherings in Maryland, Missouri and other states. “The meeting leader said, ‘I am not telling you how to vote, but if the Democrats win, this bill will pass and you won’t have a vote on whether you want a union,'” said a Wal-Mart customer-service supervisor from Missouri. “I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote,” she said.

It’s no secret Wal-Mart is opposed to unionization of their workforce. What is surprising to me, however (and maybe my naïveté is showing today), is this open attempt to tell its associates how to vote. It will be interesting to see if this completely backfires on Wal-Mart, or, desperate to keep their jobs in the face of a recession, employees will vote for someone who doesn’t have their best interests at heart.

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