Archive for October 12th, 2008

by Pete Talbot

Curse the Missoulian. I had a couple of pithy posts bouncing around in my brain this weekend and then opened the Sunday paper to see my ideas in print. Well, here’s my take:

Young Republicans on the move

H.D. 93 candidate Steve Dogiakos and H.D. 92 candidate Dan Stusek are featured in the Sunday dead-tree edition. I like it when youngsters get involved in politics, no matter what their stripe. I really do. And I like Steve’s gnarly Mohawk.

I have a few problems with them as candidates, though. First, neither bothered to fill out the Missoulian questionnaire on local legislative races. One has to wonder if this was on the advice of higher-ups or whether they just wanted to keep their constituents in the dark. Hardly what I’d call voter outreach.

Steve is running against retired UM economics professor Dick Barrett. Barrett has authored numerous papers on Montana economic trends and has done research on Northwest economic, employment and environmental policy. I’m thinking that Dick would be a better legislator in these uncertain times.

Dan is running against H.D. 92 stalwart Robin Hamilton. Dan’s number one political issue is family values. This would be fine if he defined family values as making sure that families don’t have their homes foreclosed on, that they can earn a decent wage, have decent health care, get a decent education, have a healthy environment … I imagine his family values have more to do with gay marriage, prayer in schools, abortion — issues that are about as relevant these days as horse-and-buggy legislation.

But you can read about them here

I stumbled across this website the other day. It’s written by UM journalism students and features interviews with many western Montana legislative candidates. There’s one with Mr. Dogiakos and a brief profile on Mr. Stusek. I suppose those two think that at least, maybe, they can snag a few student votes by filling out UM student journalist questionnaires. The site is called “Missoula’s Choice 2008” and is worth checking out.

Ignorance is bliss

And some more university news: twelve conservative groups are urging Montanans NOT to vote for Legislative Referendum 118, the six-mill levy that helps fund the Montana university system. The Missoulian’s Helena Bureau Chief, Chuck Johnson, takes an historic look at past foes of the six-mill levy. Those foes include the Anaconda Copper Company and the John Birch Society. Another opponent was an ROTC lieutenant colonel who didn’t like the language in an assigned English course essay. The colonel was later arrested in Salt Lake City for soliciting sex from an undercover meter maid.

So, it’s great company that the conservatives are keeping in their bid to continue underfunding the university system. I’ve never even heard of half the folks trying to block the funding but some of them, like the Montana Family Coalition, Roger Koopman and Gary “Bazookas for Eight-Year-Olds” Marbut, are well familiar to me.

I suppose by helping crush critical thinking and dissent at the university level, they’ll be able to recruit more idiots into their ranks.

by Rebecca Schmitz

Good news for those of you who are asking the question “Who is Barack Obama?” PBS’ Frontline is airing The Choice 2008 on Tuesday night. It’s an in depth look at the candidates. If after the broadcast, and after four years of being in the national spotlight, two years on the campaign trail, thousands of interviews and speeches, two autobiographies, numerous books both pro and con, and hundreds of websites devoted to the man, you insist you still don’t know the guy, I’m guessing there’s no answer that will satisfy someone with such a startlingly distinct lack of intellectual acumen. Or maybe, just maybe, your question is insincere. Regardless, by all means keep on parroting the subtle race-baiting used by a politician our nation was introduced to just six weeks ago; a person who really refuses to face media scrutiny.

Did you know Johnny Ramone was a Republican? No, really, he was. This profile in today’s Missoulian reminded me of that fun little fact.

Steven Dogiakos hopes his ideas speak louder than his looks. This coming from a 23-year-old with a spiky, multi-tone Mohawk inspired by punk bands such as The Ramones and Stiff Little Fingers.

Look, legendary punk guitarists aside, if you’ve come away from the punk movement with a healthy respect for authority, a desire to stand up for the status quo, support for preemptive military strikes and expansion of government power, a membership in the political party of corporate America and the religious right, and you take the side of the powerful against the powerless, well, I hate to be the first to break it to ya, kid: you missed the point entirely.

Or maybe this is the ultimate use of irony. I don’t know. If so, keep on keepin’ on, Steve, you mavericky maverick you.

by jhwygirl

One most of us probably haven’t heard about, either, but one that has a local Montana connection.

Nickelodeon is hosting a Q&A tonight with Linda Ellerbee, filled with questions from 10 young citizens from across America. That includes Great Falls teenager Jasmine Flamand, a 14-year old student from C.M. Russell High School.

Her question for the candidates? Jasmine is one of 4 children in her family, and she wanted to know how she and her siblings will be able to afford to go to college.

Good question. I’ll be interested to hear both candidate’s answer.

The special is only a half-hour long (begins at 7 p.m.) – good Sunday evening family fare. Afterwards, kids can go online and vote at Kids Pick the President.

Interestingly, to day, Nickelodeon voters have been amazingly accurate in predicting the next President of the United States: They’ve been correct in 4 of the last 5 elections, missing it in 2004 (and I know many who would share a laugh – or a cry – with me on that one.)

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