Archive for September, 2008

by jhwygirl

What do they have in common?

Read this, via the Billings Gazette, and you’ll figure it out.

(Sorry – that one couldn’t wait until Saturday)

by jhwygirl

Warning: This digressed, I’m afraid, into a rant. With that being said, I invite you all to join in.

Who can keep it all straight anymore? News is moving so gosh darn fast you can’t read the stuff fast enough before something changes, there’s so much going on.

Is there a better plan to be had? Better plan in who’s point of view? A Republican’s or a Democrat’s? Are we that divided and drawn up to our corners that it’s gotten to a point that we’ll be lucky to hold it all together until Thursday at noon when the House re-convenes? ‘Cause it’s sure sounding like it.

Nancy made what Republicans are saying was a bad speech. The way I see it, she failed to give any credit to Republicans for negotiating out a better bailout package than the original 3 page I’m-King-of-the-World proposal from Paulson.

Eric Cantor, Republican, blames Pelosi, waiving the text of her speech around for all news cameras to see. He agrees we need a bailout, he agrees something has to be done, he agrees it’s a crisis – but, gosh darn it, Nancy said something mean.

House Minority leader John Bohner, too, blames it on Nancy’s partisan speech, saying “I do believe that we could have gotten there today had it not been for this partisan speech that the speaker gave on the floor of the House,” adding that Pelosi “poisoned” the GOP conference.

So what did Democrats have to say? Barney Frank summed it up well: “Give me those 12 people’s names, and I will go talk uncharacteristically nicely to them and tell them what wonderful people they are and maybe they’ll now think about the country.”

So let me get this straight? You all agree that something needs to be done, but Nancy said something bad and you guys can’t get your egos out of the way so you vote nay? Because that’s what you both said…to dozens of television cameras, for all the world to hear…

Gingrich is now calling for the firing of Paulson, calling the situation the “Final Collapse of the Bush Administration”. But he’s also blaming Democrats. And he’s also saying he’da voted for today’s package.

The Negotiators claim to be protecting us from “golden parachutes.” That’s a lie. I hate laws with no teeth. And, excuse me, FUCK giving those wall street guys bonuses for putting us into this mess.

We are seeing fraud of the highest level, committed against the citizens of the United States of American.

Paulson? The guy who said that limiting parachutes would be a “poison pill”? The guy who got $18.7 million in bonus’ for 6-months of work for Goldman-Sachs in 2006 – the year he started as Treasure Secretary? If you clink that link above from moneycentral, Paulson gets to decide who gets bonuses. Do you really want this guy deciding who deserves a bonus and who doesn’t? What currently sitting CEO that needs a bailout deserves a bonus? What fucking plant is this guy on?

Excuse me, but I’m pissed off.

And come to say it – Paulson has been Treasure Secretary since 2006 and he’s not done a gosh darn thing about this until now? And people want to blame Democrats since they’ve “been in charge of congress since January 2007”? Dispel that thought from any Einstein mind that is thinking that with this simple yet concise comment from Councilman Ed Childers.

Problembear has a nice little bio on Paulson that shouldn’t be missed.

So here we are – the House is in recess until noon on Thursday. We’ve got nothing, stocks falling in every market around the world.

Is this the shit history is made of? Paulson on bended knee begging Nancy Pelosi not to ‘kill the deal’? Republicans voting nay because they are offended by Nancy Pelosi? While banks close, fortunes are being lost, businesses are failing?

Maybe for the next day or so we can get back to the election.

I’m not betting on it. But I’m wishing on it.

Oh – and How ‘Bout Them Steelers?!

by Rebecca Schmitz

For those who reflexively blame the bailout on, let’s see, “clever community organizers“, here’s Bill Maher:

by jhwygirl

I don’t know about you, but I’m getting bailout overdose. Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop – it is a trainwreck in the making – but my anger is at peak. I need relief…

The next “in” thing – quite literally: Surgery via an existing orifice.

Poor 575 pound grizzly up along the Sun River. All he wanted was some honey.

$1.9 million in traffic fines? Man, that’s pretty bad.

71-year old man is told he is pregnant. To top it off, he’s a logger and a mechanic. Think of the fun the guys are going to have with that one….

Chris LaTray puts out some fine shit.

John Elway is happy. I’m guessing his wife-to-be is too.

Blacksmith Brewing in Stevensville is hoping for an October opening. What I want to know is what are they doing with all the beer I hear they’ve been brewing? Are there free samples? Because I’m available, you know?

I may have to go to Arkansas on vacation. Finding 4.97 carat diamond? That’s crazy. 600 have been found down there so far this year.

by jhwygirl

Five years at it certainly deserves a notice. He does it with a bite and passion that I both admire and fear. He is also certainly at the very top of the list of Montana’s finest bloggers. If you are missing A Chicken Is Not Pillage, you are missing way too much.

Congratulations Wulfgar!

by Rebecca Schmitz

Terrific. The guy hasn’t even been elected yet, and he’s already hanging up a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

by Rebecca Schmitz

It’s not often I find myself agreeing with Rob Natelson of all people, but that’s what the Bush bailout has created: odd bedfellows. I agree with Garth and Jay on the left and, on the right, Carol and GeeGuy; I oppose the bailout. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert in economics, but in the words of James K. Galbraith, the bailout is not “necessary“:

The point of the bailout is to buy assets that are illiquid but not worthless. But regular banks hold assets like that all the time. They’re called “loans.”

After eight years of free market fundamentalism, suddenly the Bush Adminstration has discovered that government handouts are, to paraphrase Martha Stewart, a Very Good Thing. Here’s David Sirota:

Close a factory in socialist Denmark, and workers get immediate government help, along with their free health care. Shutter one in Ohio, and workers get nothing, except politicians saying their jobs are never returning and national health care is “unaffordable.” But if investment banks teeter, those same politicians quickly find billions for bailouts. Of course, socialist revolutions can share key traits. Many feature aspiring dictators like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former Goldman Sachs banker. He is pushing Hugo Chavez-style legislation demanding totalitarian authority to spend the $700 billion “without limitation” or “review by any court of law or any administrative agency.” And surprise — Paulson’s scheme would enrich his Goldman Sachs pals.

Somewhere in Hell there must be a ski slope open for the season, because I’m cheering on the conservative Republicans in the House. They seem to be the only ones listening to the public. Carol and Garth have posted plenty of contact info on their sites for we, the public. Be sure to give Baucus, Tester and Rehberg a call.

As for the Republican presidential nominee, well, pulling a silly–and patently fake–stunt like “suspending” the campaign isn’t “bold” or “masterful”; it only makes you the headline act at the freak show this week. If you’re going to cancel your appearance on Letterman because you have to rush back to Washington to help solve our financial crisis, it might be a good idea to actually leave New York, not wander over to Katie Couric’s studio for an interview, give a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative later that evening, spend the night in the Big Apple, and show up in D.C. a day later with nothing to say.

At the bipartisan White House meeting that Mr. McCain had called for a day earlier, he sat silently for more than 40 minutes, more observer than leader, and then offered only a vague sense of where he stood, said people in the meeting.

Do you think McCain wanted to dazzle everyone with his Clarence Thomas impersonation? Lord knows we all need a little humor right now, because this joke isn’t funny anymore.

by jhwygirl

This one sounds like FUN – BBQ, bonfire, Ten Spoon wines and Big Sky brews, music by The Pleasure Kings PLUS membership to Footloose Montana, all for 20 bucks?!

There’ll also be games and a fundraising auction.

Thursday night, 6- 9 p.m. at Ten Spoon Vineyard, at 4175 Rattlesnake Drive. Call Anja at 549-6663 or Jerry at 829-3618 if you have any questions. There’s also this link too.

Footloose Montana is a fine organization, founded to help educate people about the dangers trapping and traps present to their pets. It’s not only pets that get caught up in traps – non-targeted species – the words MTFWP uses – are also meet horrible deaths in traps. I first blogged about Footloose here, when a eagle was killed when it was caught in an illegal trap. It was the 3rd eagle killed out near Clinton in just 2 years.

In the short time this organization has been around – only about a year – it has taken time to educate the public with mini-workshops on how to unset these traps. It has lobbied the legislature for change, and it has met with some success with the FWP Commission, most recently, this past August when greater setbacks were required for traps.

Anyways – there’s a Thursday evening in Missoula for you! What could be more fun that great wine and a bonfire, all for a most excellent cause?!

by Pete Talbot

Goldman Sachs fared much better than Montana Power, the company it helped bankrupt.

For ninety years, the Montana Power Company (MPC) had been a reliable and profitable company. In 1997, it pushed energy deregulation through the Montana legislature, freeing the company to diversify. From 1999 through 2000, on advice from Goldman Sachs, it sold off its power generation and transmission capabilities and entered into the high-risk telecommunications business. In 2003, MPC (renamed Touch America) filed for bankruptcy, having lost around $2.5 billion.

Goldman Sachs, however, received $20 million from MPC for its expertise and counsel during this disastrous transition.

Now it’s 2008 and another bubble has burst. But Goldman Sachs looks like it will weather this one, too. It’s been transformed from an investment bank to a bank holding company to ease investor panic.

This change allows what was the biggest investment bank on Wall Street to help itself to more federal funds and to buy time to stabilize its funding base, according to Bloomberg.com.

Montana Power didn’t have the Fed to fall back on. MPC stockholders got screwed and Montana energy consumers are still feeling the pain.

by jhwygirl

Well, geez. Here I was working on a healthcare piece about Republican Presidential Nominee Senator John McCain, and here he goes and says it – in his own words!

Via Left in the West, my friends.

Guess I’ll save my piece for some other time…I mean, what’s better than hearing it right from the candidate himself?

Whee! Deregulate!! Whooo hooo!

Any bets on how long it is before the American Academy of Actuaries takes it down off of its website?

by Pete Talbot

Contributors at 4&20, and a few other Montana political blogs, try to maintain some semblance of objectivity — either in the posts themselves or in the comments section. I believe allowing the opposition the opportunity to weigh in goes a long way toward site legitimacy and civil discourse. Otherwise, blogs are just personal rants.

The occasional personal rant, on the other hand, can be quite informative.

Some would call Bill Vaughn’s attacks on Rep. Bill Nooney (R-HD 100) personal. So what? If my representative gave the sand-and-gravel industry the wherewithal to put a gravel pit next to my house, I might get a little personal, too. Check out Vaughn’s latest, entitled, “Denials and Delusions” with the subhead, “The website of Montana Representative Bill Nooney is a place where something besides the truth has beaten out everything else for control.” That sort of says it all. It’s vintage Vaughn and vintage Nooney.

(You might have to scroll down a bit on Vaughn’s site to get to the story. It’s below a fine piece on author James Crumley.)

Remember the name Willis Curdy out there in West Missoula when you step into the ballot booth on Nov. 4.

*******

Others have waxed more poetically than I about the death of James Crumley. (Here’s his obit in the Missoulian, L.A. Times, and N.Y. Times.)

You can still see him down at Charlie B’s, amid the legendary photographs taken by Lee Nye, during Eddie’s Club heyday. That same photo graces the dust covers of Crumley’s first few novels.

In my youth, I fancied myself a writer and Crumley had great influence on my prose. I’d sit on the periphery while the writers and poets like Crumley, Hugo, Ganz and Kittredge would shoot the shit at Eddie’s or East Gate.

Later in life, I’d join Crumley for the occasional drink, etc. Ran into him at the Depot one time and I ordered us a couple of shots of Glenlivet, which I thought at the time was exceptional Scotch.

“Swill,” he said and then proceeded to buy many rounds of Lagavulin, Oban, Glenmorangie, and other single-malts. I don’t recall what we talked about.

I dated his stepdaughter, Mary, for awhile. She had a wild soul, like Jim, and soon tired of me. In those days, she was a stunning redhead.

He was a father, grandfather and great-grandfather. This mellowed him, somewhat, in his later years. He was a friend to the down-and-out and a mentor to the up-and-coming. He was a good Democrat, too.

Crumley captured the ethos of Montana and the West like few other writers. His writing lives on but his presence at the workshops, watering holes and soirees will be greatly missed.  Condolences to Martha, Mary and the rest of the Crumley clan.

by jhwygirl

Tomorrow night’s city council will be taking into consideration the approval of a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the old Fox Theater site located on Front Street – down there by the Orange Street Bridge.

You know – the site that was being contemplated as the location for the still-not-quite-dead-yet $60,000,000 Performing Arts Center? The one that I first heard about when the city tried to help along a proposal in the 2007 legislature that would have allowed school districts to issue bonds – i.e., tax – for structures that they don’t own?

Now, maybe 60 days is enough time. I’m truly putting the question out there.

It’s not a typical city lot – or even two. This property has been appraised for nearly $2 million.

Now, aside from the minor (?) problem that the actual proposal being considered isn’t available for people like you and I to view (there seems to be a glitch with the links within the minutes of the most recent Administration and Finance Committee meeting), the pre-committee meeting RFP will base its selection based on criteria like:

–The degree to which the proposed development meets an identified market needs of the community and downtown area. Proposal should present credible evidence supporting the need or market for the proposed uses. It is understood that a complete market analysis may not be possible in the timeframe of this RFP.

–Clear demonstration of the respondent’s ability to obtain financing for the project. The proposal should present verifiable evidence of the developer’s history of completing successful projects of similar cost and scope. (This part goes on to include things like a business plan, evidence of financing, and a description of the extent the project depends on federal, state and local grants, along with donations.)

It goes on, but perhaps you get the gist?

I guess I’m wondering what the hurry is? The PAC is still out there floating around, despite what some may say, and the 18 month extension that they were granted last November has yet to expire.

Any respondent – and this RFP is going out in the Seattle and Spokane newspapers, along with The Missoulian (and, according to Chris Behan, should get picked up on nationwide RFP lists) – has to consider the following, all in 60 days:

1. Missoula Riverfront Triangle Redevelopment Urban Renewal Plan
2. Missoula Riverfront Triangle Redevelopment Master Plan
3. The Riverfront Triangle Special Zoning District
4. Initial concepts of the Riverfront Triangle for the Missoula Greater Downtown Master Plan
5. Various maps and air photos of the project site showing location, infrastructure, parcel size,
ownership, etc.
6. Utility and soils information
7. Montana Laws governing transfer of public property for private use are attached to RFP.

Is it reasonable to think that decent legitimate proposals for a $2 million riverfront parcel would only take 2 months? Do we want a proposal that goes out cold on an RFP and comes back in 60 days? What kind of proposal are we going to get back?

Not that I’m a conspiracy theorist or anything, but could it be that there’s someone out there waiting in the wings with something?

Geez, come on. It’s September 2008. The markets are in shambles – and no one, realistically, is going to start anything on that site until 2010, at the earliest. At the earliest.

Give the city a fighting chance for the best possible proposal that we could get for that site. Put it out there for 6 months, at least.

by jhwygirl

Did the largest EPA cleanup site in the nation just, like, quadruple in size during spring runoff this year?

That’s the question Vince Devlin of The Missoulian basically lays out there today in an seemingly innocuously titled piece, Thomson Falls Residents Concerned About the Flow of the Milltown Sediment.

Rumblings have certainly been bandied about in the months since spring runoff…but some of the stuff in Devlin’s piece are shocking:

Sonju, the property owner who is also trained as a geologist, says he was working near the dam and watched oddly colored water escape over the top during spring runoff.

“It was this dark, pea-green color,” he says. “If that means heavy metals were coming over the dam, it could affect Noxon Reservoir, Cabinet Gorge Reservoir and even Lake Pend Oreille” in north Idaho.

Or:

They may have their work cut out for them. Said Sonju, “How many more times worse is it than their worst-case scenario said it would be?”

“I don’t want to insult anyone,” he went on, “but common sense tells you they’ve already been proven wrong.”

Runoff was definitely the ‘topic du jour’ in the months leading up to this years high water. Weekly reports were put out the EPA noting that they had monitored the situation and there hadn’t been anything out of the ordinary. Recently there were a flood of calls to the Missoula County Health Department with people concerned about whether the Clark Fork was safe enough for their dogs to swim in or safe enough for crop irrigation.

I know what I think. There are plenty of other choices – the Bitterroot, the Lolo, The East Fork of Lolo, etc.

But hey – hopefully Devlin’s story is a call for getting to the truth of the matter. How hard can it be to do some immediate testing? We’ve got health departments, labs – hell, we got a big ole’ university sitting over there on the river. Isn’t there some gumption with some geology or biology or hydrology student to get out there and do some water and sediment samples?

Sounds like John Sonju down there in Thompson Falls might have a couple samples he could provide.

by jhwygirl

Relied on Wall Street. Just three years ago.

I’m thinking Mildred and few thousand shareholders are thinking differently right now. McCain better stay far far away from them with that privatization talk.

In 2005, McCain and Bush stood together, advocating for private accounts for social security.

So Economic Einstein and Republican Presidential nominee John McCain, just three short years ago, felt that Wall Street was the appropriate place for people to place their trust in their long-term economic security?

Let’s see – the AIG bailout was $85 billion. Economist are estimating the total bailout costs will be $900 billion. Today, the Bush/Paulson Administration requested a $700 billion dollar no-strings-attached bailout package that will raise the national debt ceiling from $10.615 to $11.315 trillion.

Take a moment to let those numbers sink in, people. Clinton left Bush, 8 long and torturous and ethically devoid years ago, with a surplus.

And all this destabilized in just 3 years? Today those same Wall Street people are greedy? Where were thee three years ago, pal?

Obama/Biden, though, know the real story. Biden’s been hitting McCain hard on the campaign trail – and if you have a few moments tomorrow, I highly recommend watching CNN’s “On the Campaign Trail” to see just how hard. For a taste of some real Straight Talk:

“If John cares so much about this now, where was he a week ago? Where was he a month ago? Where was he 5 years ago? I’ll tell you where he was. He was bragging to the folks on Wall Street, the executives who now he calls greedy, he was bragging to them how he was going to shred the regulation that fetters them, that ties them down,” Biden said, calling those regulations “the very things that protected ordinary people on Main Street.”

“All of a sudden it’s ‘my goodness there’s greed on Wall Street. My goodness we need common sense regulation. My goodness,’” he continued. “This is a simple simple choice people have. It’s a choice between those who think that the marketplace and the corporations and the wealthy of America should go unfettered and have no regulation, and those of us who think there should be common sense rules to protect transparency so people can see the ability to know where your dollars are going.”

“John has said to the folks on Wall Street, and again I’m quoting here – this is in the Wall Street Journal – I’m always for less regulation. Here now, John has said he’s going to crack down on the greed on Wall Street. The greed of American corporations,” he said.

“Lets take a look at John’s conversion here. Something happened on the road to Damascus. John fell off his horse, but he got back on the same horse.”

Make no mistake, McCain’s privatization plans for Social Security have deep roots. Senator (now Republican Presidential nominee) John McCain’s plans go back more than 25 years. Here’s one of his speeches from 1999.

As Biden put it: He may have had a political epiphany, but it sure wasn’t a policy epiphany.

Or, as ABC News’ George Will put it, a Conversion of Convenience (even if you are on dial-up, this one is worth the wait):

This is McCain/Palin. This is the Republic Party.

Vote accordingly folks.

by jhwygirl

Over at Left in the West, Jay brings us word of Art Noonan, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party, and their complaint filed May 12th against PSC commissioner Brad Molnar and his violations of state ethics law.

Here’s a link to the official complaint.

Why isn’t the Noonan/Montana Democratic Party’s complaint even listed as a formal complaint? Two other complaints, made after Noonan’s, have apparently made it to the docket.

Did I say “two other complaints”? Two other complaints against Molnar?

Just what is 4&20 fav Art Noonan and The Montana Democratic Party complaining about?

1. Use of campaign materials without the proper disclaimer.
2. Use of corporate (PPL and Northwestern Energy) sponsored campaign materials.
3. Use of materials that appear to be paid for with public sources.
4. Falsely implying support from individuals in his campaign materials

Hasn’t the state sued PPL for 40 or 50 years of using its rivers? Isn’t something like a $40,000,000 settlement being discussed? And Northwestern Energy? Don’t even get me started there…

To top it all off, even after being called on to stop using these materials by School District 2 and the Billings Chamber of Commerce, he said that he’s just too cheap to buy new pamphlets. He’ll use the brownout pamphlets until they’re gone.

“What is so wrong with dated brochures?” Molnar said. “I’m a fiscal conservative, and I just can’t throw anything away.”

Molnar apparently continues to use state funds towards his re-election: In August he sent out a fund raising letter using his Montana government email address and phone number.

The only complaint against Molnar on the Commissioner of Political Practice’s docket that has gotten a hearing date (September 4th) – the one filed in June – had to be postponed to give Molnar time to consult his attorney.

Let’s get this straight – Molnar was served with a complaint from the Commissioner of Political Practices back in June and he’s only recently retained an attorney?

This guy serves on the Public Services Commission (and 4 previous terms as a state legislator) and he doesn’t have the brains or the forethought to hire an attorney when ethics charges are filed against him? When he knows there is going to be a hearing?

Because if he does have brains, then he’s intentionally undermining the process.

So which is it?

It’s bad enough that the Commissioner of Political Practices is woefully understaffed so much so that is isn’t able to do timely investigations into election ethics violations. But to have a candidate willfully undermine the process is worse.

by jhwygirl

Lord knows we need it….

Hundreds of new ocean creatures, from some slick-lookin’ ocean slugs to soft corals to I-don’t-even-know-what-you-call-thems have been found off the coast of Australia. Make sure to check out the pretty pictures.

Palin’s favorable rating slips by 10 points in just 3 days.

It only took 111 years – but a rare New Zealand reptile has finally become a father. Seems a cancerous growth on his, ummm, genitals was the problem. Wonder how good that had to feel….

Apparently,the Japanese have more money than they know what to do with it. Happy for them, huh?.

Good news if you like peanut butter.

OK…now how about a little fun too?

ZOMBIE ALERT: The librarian at Wretched Oddments warns us about zombies and overdue books. Consider yourself warned.

What would your name be if you were born to Sarah Palin? With names like Track and Trig, Bristol, Willow and Piper, who knows, right?! Click here to find out what your name would be if you were born to Sarah Palin. Mine would be Chase Rooster Palin.

Bozeman! Akron! People – Please! Take care of your goats!

Finally, on a final note….

Gregg at Electric City Weblog has figured out nifty way to to deal with trolls. It’s kinda like the tactic some local businesses use when they post bounced checks behind the counter. Me likes.

What He Said

by Pete Talbot

(In computer parlance, they’re called emoticons, but I’ve hated smiley faces since they first appeared in the 1970’s. That being said, I can’t for the life of me figure out how to embed a ‘thumbs-up’ or ‘thumbs-down’ emoticon in a post, so you’ll have to put up with smiley faces in this week’s review of events.)

:( Judy Stang. In what was already considered a tight race in Senate District 7, with Democrat Paul Clark running against Republican Greg Hinkle, Ms. Stang filed as a write-in candidate. She’d lost a close primary battle with Clark earlier in the season — the key word here being “lost.” Now she has the potential to hand the race to the Republican candidate, thereby giving the state senate a Republican majority. Thanks a lot, Judy.

:) Missoula Red Tape. Missoulian city beat reporter Keila Szpaller and county beat reporter Chelsi Moy have teamed up on a new blog site (it’s new to me, anyway). It offers some insights into local government that might not make it into the daily dead tree edition. Welcome to the ‘sphere, you two. Missoulian blogs tend to ebb and flow. Here’s hoping that this one stays around.

:( Roy Brown. Gubernatorial candidate Brown has the same respect for the scientific community as VP candidate Sarah Palin, that is to say none. He vows increased coal mining and more coal-fired generating plants in Montana if elected. What part of human-caused global warming, much of it coming from the burning of coal, don’t these people fathom?

:) Barack Obama and Dave Stewart. This latest music video has been making the rounds but I haven’t seen it linked to on any of the blog sites I usually visit — so here it is. Enjoy.

:( Direct TV. Yes, I know, Direct TV employs a bunch of people at its call center here in Missoula. That still doesn’t make up for the fact that it shows no local programming (including Grizzly games!). I live in a place that gets a really poor local signal and I hooked up to Direct TV quite awhile ago. Guess I’m going to have to switch over to Dish or maybe even Bresnan. They both carry the local stations.

by Pete Talbot
This just forwarded to me from an alert reader:

“In April, Sen. John McCain skipped the vote on the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which restores the longstanding interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (overturned last year by a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling). In New Orleans, McCain explained his opposition to the bill by claiming it ‘opens us up to lawsuits for all kinds of problems.’ Later in Kentucky, he added that instead of legislation allowing women to fight for equal pay, they simply need ‘education and training.’

So, Senator John McCain failed to show up to vote for the Equal Work – Equal Pay legislation, and he said that had he been there, he would have voted against it.
That said, since Sarah Palin is less qualified than the other candidate (Biden), and a GIRL, do you think that McCain should ask her to work for less? About 20% less?”
I’m sure Ms. Palin won’t mind.

RIP James Crumley

by Rebecca Schmitz

A few years ago at the Montana Festival of the Book a friend and I attended a panel discussion at the Wilma about mystery writing. It featured C.J. Box, Neil McMahon, James Lee Burke and James Crumley.  Near the end, the moderator announced that the authors would sign books in the lobby after the session. I had my copy of The Last Good Kiss; my friend clutched The Mexican Tree Duck. After a short delay, Burke, Box and McMahon were sitting under the shabby gilded lights and red flocked wallpaper (this was before that hideous pastel paint job) in the lobby. James Crumley was nowhere to be found. I remember a few people were having a heated discussion in a corner. One of them broke away and ran out the main doors. He reappeared five minutes later, out of breath. “Crumley headed straight for the bar”, he panted. “Someone’s bringing him back right now.”  

When I got to the head of Crumley’s line about twenty minutes later, he took The Last Good Kiss from my hands. “What the fuck did you buy this for?” he growled.

The death notice in today’s Missoulian includes an observation from one of his friends: James Crumley had “a real hard-nosed exterior”. Maybe so, but I definitely saw a twinkle in his eyes that night.

by jhwygirl

I mean, just look at today’s Board of County Commissioner (BCC) Agenda.

Now, compare that to the City Council agenda.

One has links to staff reports, maps, committee reports, etc. The other just tells me that they are considering a 69 lot subdivision next to the Clark Fork River.

Which do you prefer?

A county with 2,598 square miles of land, one of the fastest growing counties in the state, and an $83.9 million budget, and they can’t see fit to provide the taxpayers with sufficient public information?

Of course, we know how they’ve enjoyed the possibility of public comment in the past. Or you could always try this post for 2 more examples of the BCC’s approach to public comment.

Maybe it’s about time they instituted a new policy – one that keeps the public informed, 21st century style?

Consider writing a letter to the editor of either The Missoulian or the Missoula Independent, and call on the BCC to let the public know more about their doings in a more informative modern way. Citizens should not have to call the office and hope someone is available to fax you a staff report or talk to you when they should be providing this stuff on their website.

Whatever materials they have to decide the matter should be available to you and I. They aren’t getting that stuff on Wednesday mornings.

Please – go ahead and write that letter – because, obviously, they appear to be internet-challenged.

And then, maybe, just maybe, news reporter Chelsie Moy might actually have something worthwhile to praise the BCC about.

by jhwygirl

in Michigan. By using foreclosure listings.

“We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses,” party chairman James Carabelli told Michigan Messenger in a telephone interview earlier this week. He said the local party wanted to make sure that proper electoral procedures were followed.

See – they’re even shameless about it.

Michigan is a swing state. Michigan is one of 8 states with an above-average foreclosure rate. The others? Nevada (+1, McCain), Florida ( +5, McCain), California (+14, Obama), Arizona (+16, McCain), Michigan (+6, Obama), Rhode Island (+19, Obama), Indiana (+4, McCain) and Ohio (+3, McCain).

Where are McCain/Palin’s Macomb County, Michigan headquarters? Housed in the office building of foreclosure specialists Trott & Trott – who’s founder, David A. Trott, has raised upwards of $250,000 for McCain/Palin.

The Obama/Biden campaign has joined with 3 affected Michigan homeowners and the DNC in defending the lawful right of families facing foreclosure or who have lost their homes to vote in the November election.

THIS is the Republican Party, folks. THIS is McCain/Palin. THIS is Karl Rove.

Or is it just More of the Same, that being John McCain?

Vote accordingly.

by jhwygirl

You know you’ve gone too far.

As of tonight, McCain/Palin are up to 55 – counted by nonpartisan organizations such as FactCheck.org, Wall Street Journal, CNN and Associated Press. Click the pic to get an up-to-date listing.

by jhwygirl

Well, this link no longer works – for some reason, The Helena Independent has apparently removed the story from its pages….but after some searching, I found this, from KPAX, Missoula’s CBS affiliate.

(UPDATE: Found this, via Wulfgar!s link, below, from the Great Falls Tribune. Should have known to look there.)

FWP officials euthanized 5 bears in the Smith River drainage last month, after they had become habituated to humans. The habituation was the result of rancher and outfitter Gary Anderson,71, of the Heaven on Earth Ranch near Ulm having fed the bears, repeatedly, with grain. He was hand-feeding them.

In the story deleted from the HelenaIR, a FWP game warden was apparently awaken, while camping, by one bear who was licking his hand.

This kind of irresponsible behavior disgusts me. It goes on, despite the best efforts of FWP, and common sense. How many of those 5 were sows? Ultimately, was it just 5 that were killed, or 3 or 4 generations?

Ultimately this is a crime against all citizens of Montana. I don’t know what the appropriate punishment is – but $135 certainly is not enough.

I’m Done Babysitting

by jhwygirl

I won’t edit out your randomly used foul language, I’ll just be deleting your post.

Post something that is trollish? I’m deleting it.

I’d rather you trolls stuck around and added intelligent conversation, but if you want to behave like idiots, go do it elsewhere.

Just so I’m clear, here’s a couple definitions of what a troll is:

>>A troll is a user of a newsgroup, forum or message board that posts messages with the intent of inciting an argument or flame-war.

>>An Internet troll, or simply troll in Internet slang, is someone who posts controversial and irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum or chat room, with the intention of provoking other users into an emotional response[1] or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion.

If you need more, check this.

by jhwygirl

I mentioned last week that I attended the dedication of the Western Montana Veteran’s Cemetery, and how Lt. Governor John Bohlinger spoke eloquently about war and its impact on soldiers and Americans.

I had a friend request a copy of the speech, and his staff was kind enough to send it. Bohlinger’s words are definitely worthy of remembrance:

Ladies and gentlemen, honorable veterans, and fellow Montanans, thank you for your invitation to share a few words with you today. I come to you today as Montana’s Lt. Governor, but I also come to you bearing another title. It is one that I hold with great pride, as it brings honor to my name, and the life that I have led. The title is that of United States Marine Corps veteran. There are many words that can describe a veteran, but the most prominent is honor. The men and women who wear the uniform of the US Armed Forces live by the words of John F. Kennedy, who said; ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.

The lessons I learned in the Marines were the lessons of discipline and commitment. When I learned to submit my will to a greater cause, I discovered that sacrificing the self for the good of the whole, was really no sacrifice at all.

While the tools and strategy of war have changed, the spirit of the American soldier has not. Their commitment to each other and to our country has remained strong as American oak. A deceptive adversary in the Middle East has uncovered a new ugliness in modern warfare. A disregard for innocent human life, and deception, make up the strategy of our opponent’s in Iraq and Afghanistan. The face of war is one not easily forgotten, and life after combat can be an unfamiliar reality for a soldier. We have witnessed increasing numbers in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder amongst the men and women who wear the uniform. It has been said that in war, there are no unwounded soldiers. (José Narosky)

If a soldier returning to the states does not find the network of support needed to reintegrate into society, then we face the possibility of losing that connection indefinitely. Governor Schweitzer testified before congress in Washington DC this year and told them of Chris Dana, a soldier in the Montana National Guard. He told them of the lack of resources available to Chris through the Veterans’ Administration after his tour of duty. He told them of the struggle that Chris endured after returning from deployment, and of the tragic end to Chris Dana’s life. In times of war, casualties and loss of life are inevitable, but the life of Chris Dana was not taken by a stray bullet, or a roadside bomb. It was taken by neglect. Neglect to bring light to an issue that has been repeatedly overlooked for far too long.

I believe that Governor Schweitzer said it best when he stated, “The federal government does a remarkable job of converting a citizen into a warrior; I think they have an equal responsibility converting a warrior back to a citizen.”

With this comes an understanding, that support for our service men and women does not cease at the end of a tour of duty, or even after an honorable discharge. Our soldiers need to be reassured that a post-military career, and life, will permit them to enjoy the American way of life that they so diligently fought to uphold.

Veterans make up 11% of Montana’s population, the highest in the nation. We are known for our patriotism and willingness to serve our country. Governor Schweitzer, myself, and Montana’s Congressional Delegation, will continue work for our veteran community to ensure all resources and support necessary are available to men and women returning from duty.

Seven years ago today, nineteen men of a terrorist network attacked American soil and took innocent American lives. In the eyes of the leaders of al Qaeda the mission was a success. In the eyes of Americans, it was their biggest mistake.

We will never forget the day that American liberty and freedom was attacked. Our American values did not falter in 9/11’s aftermath, but were strengthened. 2,974 people died in the attacks. Another 24 are missing and presumed dead. The overwhelming majority of casualties were innocent civilians, including nationals of over 90 different countries. Let this day serve as a reminder, that there are those in the world that cannot grasp the beauty and merit of a truly free society, and have dedicated their lives to threatening our way of life. But we are Americans, united under the stars and stripes, and we will not allow those who attempt to strike fear into our hearts oppress our American way of life. Our freedoms and our liberties are not granted to us merely by the grace of God, but they are upheld by the great sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. Let this day forever remind us of that sacrifice, and to bring the highest honor to our veterans and their families.

To the veterans in attendance today, I say thank you for your service to our country and your people. It is hard to imagine what the United States of America would have endured, and continued to endure, without your service. Thank you. To my fellow Montanans, whether you have family or friends in the Armed Forces or not, I ask you this. Extend your hand of friendship to your veteran community. In one manner or another, volunteer and be a visible means of support, for these are the men and women who stand on guard to preserve the way of life we all enjoy. Do not forget that freedom comes at a price and that we all must share in the cost.

In closing, I will leave you with this thought from Elmer Davis.
~ This nation will remain the land of the free, only so long as it is the home of the brave. ~
Saepius Exertus – Often Tested
Semper Fidelis – Always Faithful
Fraters Infinitas – Brothers Forever

Thank you, God Bless America!

by jhwygirl

Unveiling what they call “one of President Bush’s most lasting legacies,” the New York Times brings us the news that the Bush Administration has nearly tripled foreign arms sales to countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, and countries in northern Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, this fiscal year alone, has signed at least $6 billion worth of agreements to buy weapons from the United States government — the highest figure for that country since 1993, which was another peak year in American weapons sales, after the first Persian Gulf war.

The 9/11 terrorists came from where?

Saudi Arabia, of course.

Even further – and the Times article touches specifically on this – didn’t the U.S. arm Osama bin Laden when he was helping lead the fight against the Soviet Union in the Afghani War back in the 80’s? Yep.:

Travis Sharp, a military policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, a Washington research group, said one of his biggest worries was that if alliances shifted, the United States might eventually be in combat against an enemy equipped with American-made weapons. Arms sales have had unintended consequences before, as when the United States armed militants fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, only to eventually confront hostile Taliban fighters armed with the same weapons there.

That exact scenario is playing out right now. Pakistan is buying a huge chunk of arms. Apparently, we’ve picked a side in the Pakistan/India rumblings. Of course, Pakistan is our friend too, right? But wait. Just this last week Pakistan’s military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, lashed out at the U.S. Wednesday, saying the cross-border military raids executed in the last week were not in keeping with any military agreement between the two nations.

Of course, there’s this, too: The U.S. is currently faced with fighting the same F-16’s it’s supplied to Pakistan.

Might have to rethink that friend thing.

I guess the Bush Administration figures it hasn’t left us with enough mess – a crumbling economy and an illegal war in Iraq that has only fed the rise of terrorism in the Middle East – now they’re increasing arms sales to throw the unstable regions of the world into more chaos.

Maybe that’s the Bush Doctrine: The Foreign Policy via Chaos Theory.




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