Archive for May, 2009

by jhwygirl

Monday night’s city council meeting brings the much talked about and much debated vote on banning the use of a cell phone when operating a motorized vehicle. The motion on the agenda (the results of this Wednesday’s Public Works Committee vote) is to deny the ordinance.

The issue was prompted by Ward 1’s Dave Strohmaier, who, if I recall correctly, was nearly tagged by a driver who was using their cell phone. The public has been pretty outspoken on this issue, and much like council, feelings run pretty passionate on both sides of the issue.

I go back and forth. Glad I don’t have to vote. On one hand, we got plenty of laws – plenty of them that go unenforced. If we’re going to have laws, they need to be pro-actively enforced. Or at least “primary” offenses.

Ever try and get the junk vehicle code enforced? It’s impossible – and I’d suggest, based on my experience, that the city/county health department spends more time trying to figure out how not to enforce the ordinance then enforcing the thing. Go ahead, give ’em a call on a vehicle that’s been sitting for years in your neighborhood and see what happens.

We’ve got laws, already, that make using the cell phone and driving illegal – it’s called distracted driving. But on the other hand, proponents will say that we’ve got laws against drunk driving. I suppose that is derived out of the need to educate the public to the specific danger. And I do buy that, for sure.

Some councilors say they may vote for the ban if it is a secondary offense – or if it exempts people on bikes. I can’t understand either of those exceptions. Going at it as a secondary offense doesn’t do crap and puts it at the level that it currently is as distracted driving…it other words, the only time it’d be an offense would be if the driver caused and accident and admitted to using the phone. Police are – I am told – to busy to pull call records on every driver involved in an accident.

Exempting people on bikes – are you kidding me? What about me, the driver, behind the wheel, who hits a person on a bike who is talking on their cell phone? The effects of car versus bike are likely to be much more deadly than car versus car. It’s a dingbat exception derived out of some overly-compensating need to make Missoula bike friendly, and has nothing to do with safety.

Which is where this all started, no?

So here is sit, having written, real Missoulian editorial-like and all, going back and forth on the issue. LOL. But in an effort to actually land on a position, here it is:

If you are going to ban cell phones while driving – and many cities and towns and counties and even a state or two has done it – ban ’em. Ban ’em for cars and motorcycles and bikes. Make it a primary offense, and tell the police to proactively get out there on enforcing this thing for a while to let people know that it will be enforced. Maybe hand out warnings for a month.

Anything less, fuggetabout it.

by Pete Talbot

First this

Mark your calendar, folks.  As part of a statewide and national campaign, there’ll be a rally at Sen. Baucus’ Missoula office at 280 E. Front St. on Friday, June 5 at noon.  

Here’s a note from Montanans for Single-Payer, the organizer of events across the state:

” … as part of national events held by Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) and Healthcare-NOW! rallies are planned to give Montanans an opportunity to show their support for single-payer universal health care and to continue to request that Sen. Baucus include single-payer representatives in the national debate on health care reform … ”

More information at and a contact for the Missoula event is Bill LaCroix at  

See you there.

Max gets hammered 

I overheard some Baucus staffers saying they were surprised by the overwhelming support here in Montana for single-payer. Sure, Missoula was bound to be feisty, but Anaconda? Glasgow? Pablo? I don’t know what Max was expecting with his “listening” tour but apparently his staff is getting an earful.  We’ll see if the message gets through to the senator.

I went to the session in Missoula.  The anger over our broken health care system was palpable.  A standing-room-only crowd responded with shouts and applause over any mention of single-payer.  “Bullshit,” said one audience member as a Baucus staffer tried to explain the complex issues the senate was facing.

In some ways, it was a surreal event.  It started out with a welcoming video from the senator himself, which due to technical difficulties, didn’t air.  Then a powerpoint presentation on the health care problem and Max’s role in the debate.  Then a panel discussion.  Then, fifty minutes into the program, an opportunity for the audience to speak (the program was scheduled to run an hour).  Staff did take questions after the hour was up but for how long I’m not sure.  I couldn’t stay for the whole thing.  For Christ’s sake, the session was scheduled for 10 a.m. on a weekday — kinda hard to get too much time off.

There were three gentlemen standing in front of me.  Dressed in khaki Dockers and polo shirts, they’d shake their heads at any mention of “Canadian style” health care or other single-payer systems.  Don’t know if they were health care industry reps or just conservative guys with really good, private health insurance plans.  
“You say something,” said one.  “No, you,” said another.  “Not me,” said the third, “the crowd’s against us here.”  And he was right.

Stupid is as stupid does  

Problembear beat me to the punch and Jay has some good comments over at Left in The West, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the Republicans’ really bad roll out of their anti-health care reform campaign.

“Our role right now is to stand up and say, ‘Let’s take a minute, let’s not rush to health care reform just for the sake of health care reform,'” said lead organizer Jake Eaton.

That has got to be the stupidest quote I’ve heard in a long time. We shouldn’t rush to health care reform just for the sake of health care reform?  Sure, let’s take our sweet-ass time, Jake.  Health care in America is hunky-dory — we all have nothing better to do than try to reform this great system of ours — we’re thrilled with the status quo.

Lee newspapers’ Mike Dennison has the story about this anti-reform group called Patients United Now and its shadowy front organization, Americans for Prosperity Foundation. 

But it gets better.  Does that name Jake Eaton ring a bell?  He was the guy who fled the state in disgrace after heading up the failed voter suppression drive for the Republican Party last summer.

Just when you thought the Republicans couldn’t do any worse …


by problembear

the people are in a pretty ugly mood these days regarding health care reform as evidenced by the vehement local rejection of  the baucus plan, so montana’s republicants thought they would strike while the iron was hot and came out yesterday with their recycled vote suppressor champion jake eaton and a handful of brain-dead zombies dumb enough to follow him anywhere….

are you guys kidding me?….this is the best you could come up with? hire a retread party henchman to tell the people who  have just overwhelmingly spoken out angrily in half the newspapers in the state that they do not trust health insurers that they should just trust private insurers and not the government?- well yes i could see the logic of that argument if your fallen leader bush were still in charge of the government….but i will throw my lot gladly with the government before i would trust that snakepit full of vipers the republicants are shilling for…talk about picking the right moment to say exactly all the wrong things….

for a while there i thought that the people would have to fight a two front battle to get decent health care reform…on one side – our own democrat controlled congress who appear either too timid to do the right thing…or too bribed by the health insurers to do the right thing….and the party of no brains at all….

you guys really are tone deaf and i am thankful for it… the sadly diminishing party of the headless right wing elephant sinks quietly into the tarpits of it’s old fossilized beliefs, the country moves on and ignores them….but as we pass by and the sad pathetic tattered remnants of die-hard right wingers  continue to flail helplessly, their ineffectual screaming annoying as it is fades into a slap-stick comedy with the circle of the lens getting smaller and smaller while a pig that looks like rush limbaugh says’s all folks!!!!……..somewhere else in my flickering memory banks of the surreal that has evolved into montana politics i see that andy sipowicz is muttering  your epitaph….if i were you i would have tried a different approach…

but i am certainly glad you didn’t….this is so much more entertaining.




by problembear

are you listening senator baucus? can you hear the far-off rumble of discontent? it is getting louder every day. i can hear it in people’s comments when they stand up in missoula montana and begin to question the leaders of both parties in government about the direction this country is going in, and i find it interesting that health care reform seems to be the last straw here in middle america ….the line in the sand…..and the final breaking point of the patience of the great majority in this country who have been waiting 10 long years to be heard by our government…..

 the people spoke in ’06 when we elected a democratic congress to get our servicemen and women out of the middle east and back home. that hasn’t happened yet….the people spoke in ’08 when we elected more democrats to congress and a democratic president so that we could level the playing field that was becoming increasingly the territory of huge corporations and the wealthy elite who ran our economy into the ground ….

instead, our overwhelmingly democratically elected congress and president continues to pander to lobbyists interests and ignores the will of the people with weak excuses and a shrug that tells us that the democrats are in the pocket of the wealthy elite and the corporations as much as the republicans are….i could hear  the grumbling earlier from the far left  but the great majority was relatively quiet until now….

now that senator baucus has ruled out single payer from the equation of health care reform….people are getting up in his listening sessions and saying WTFDYTYA senator baucus?…we are the people and we want to be heard on this….we want single payer on the table and we want guaranteed health care and we have taken all we can take of your meally mouth excuses and your weak-spined proclamation that single payer can’t  pass.

you aren’t defying the easily ignored far left anymore when you say single payer can’t  pass,  senator. you are defying the great majority of the american people and we don’t know how to quit when you’ve made us mad. now that we are mad you have not even begun to see the outrage that is welling up at kitchen tables all over america senator. talk is building like a quiet magma chamber out here in middle america senator -talk like “apparently there is plenty of money to bail out the investors and the banks but when it comes to health care workers and the middle class we are shafted again by big business interests and we are sick of it”….. ” we are willing to fight for single payer universal health care whether you and the committee want to hear us or not”….and yes- we are willing to pay for it too…just for the love of god give us a plan that we can trust will actually cover us when we need it- no more insurance weasels- period. they have worn out their welcome by ripping us off for too long….

because we here resolve that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom and shake itself loose from the shackles of the wealthy elite and the corporations who fill your campaign coffers….we are the people senator – the majority of the american people want single payer universal health care  and we resolve that finally this government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth…….in a sea of red tape and corporate lobbyists bribes.

this saturday may 30th  there will be mass demonstrations in at least 50 cities accross the country. i suggest you pull up a chair with mr obama and watch it and listen to what the people are telling you….this is not about party affiliation or loyalty- we are loyal to america first – not parties or corporations or the people who bribe you to do their bidding. if we are to continue as a great nation and i believe we will,  the will of the people must be first in your considerations. because if you do not, i feel this volcano of frustration that is building in middle america will erupt and overtake both parties. people will unite for the people in the next election and to hell with democrat or republican.

if you ignore us senator, then all the party leadership of both parties had better start scoping out some higher ground because a volcano of pent up frustration is coming  your way. i have never seen montanans this riled up about anything in all the years i have lived here…and when you rile up montanans senator…watch out for the rest of the country!

by the way congratulations to missoula’s own michael moore of the Missoulian for being linked in the michael moore (the movie producer’s)blog for his story about the baucus aides health care reform listening session … is a fine piece of journalism and is being picked up everywhere on the web. be sure and hang out there long enough to read some of the comments the missoulian got on their story….i found this one particularly poignant….

Patty Herrick wrote on May 28, 2009 2:30 PM: ” It took the likes of Max Baucus to change me from a lifelong Democrat (61 voting years) to an Independent. “

this story is an excellent example of why we need to support our local newspapers –  the mainstream national tv news media is ignoring the will of the people regarding health care because they are beholdin’ to the prescription drug companies. (just watch the commercials during katy couric’s fluff and puff and see for yourself) our local newspapers are all we have left to tell our story…..

by jhwygirl

I must say I’ve been remiss in my normal scrutiny of city council’s doin’s – for some time now – but I did happen to catch the ‘comments from council’ portion of last Monday’s public hearing, and I was left wondering a couple of things…

There were some comments criticizing the anonymous zoning petition. What I heard was a criticism of the anonymous nature of the thing…but the thing is, the Indy’s Jesse Froehling revealed about a month ago that Dick Haines, John Hendrickson, and about 3 or 4 more (as in “probably 5 or 6 of us”) were involved in the now not-so-anonymous petition.

That wasn’t the first time I had heard about the “anonymous” petition. People don’t read the Indy? I’ve had, probably all told, at least 5 people approach me about that anonymous petition. People: Read the Indy! I do, and I’m smarter for it.

Pete did a post on the anonymous petition, which included a link to the office of planning & grants’ response to the petition.

I also caught some ranting by Ward 2’s John Hendrickson, on the subject of last year’s budget – the semantics of whether he had proposed specific cuts or whether he had proposed some sort of concerted plan or talking points. First my mind went to “last year’s budget???” but then as he continued, I wondered how he could put forth such a blatant untruth. We blogged here last year about the specific randomness of Hendrickson’s proposed cuts….and even live-blogged the FY2009 budget approval hearing – much of which is verbatim – which illustrates the thoughtfulness behind Ward 2 Councilperson John Hendrickson’s approach to last years budget.

John Hendrickson has, too, an issue with the Indy, but as this past week’s editorial points out, Hendrickson’s issue is likely one that is in search of his own political capital via bashing on the feigned inaccuracies of the Indy more so than it is about the budget or actually getting some work done.

If anything, Hendrickson’s mayoral bubble has been burst – not that he ever had a chance – and quite possibly his own re-election. Someone is to blame, and for Hendrickson, that someone is the Indy.

On the other hand – it’s budget season, everyone! That means, it’s time for John Hendrickson to shine. Gonna free me up some room on that DVR, ’cause we’re always up for some good quotes during budget discussions!



by problembear

i am proud of missoula montana today….

our senior senator’s staff got an earful today in missoula about how angry people are about the health care insurance industry. we told max that we are tired of the games, the lies, the cheating and the complicated rules designed to keep us from getting health care when we need it. they just want the premiums- not the liability- and that is what we are to them- liabilities.

as far as the politics goes- i get that too. i read the democratic platform and i listened to obama say what he was going to propose during the election campaign. i voted democrat as a registered independent because compared to bush2 mcsame and his bimbo vp it was an easy pick. i also know why democrats are afraid of going too far. even though they probably have enough votes to push single payer universal health care through- they won’t. we will be handed some type of hybrid that offers a component of public health care.

it will still leave us with a thousand or so private insurers and hundreds of other health plans – each with it’s own rules and paperwork. it will still be a maze of choices that we will need to navigate, but i have one question for montanans- remember when we used to have a great utility in this state called Montana Power? remember when the argument for breaking it up was that more choices will drive prices down? competition will be good for the consumer? remember that?

do you really think that anyone believes that garbage anymore?

the democratic party leadership is going to do what it will do and it has nothing to do whatsoever with the will of the people. it has nothing to do with government of the people and for the people … is all about building the base of support for the democratic party and to do this they fear handing the republicans any ammunition to stage a comeback. it is not enough to win now. the democrats want to grind the republicans into dust  for infinity and to do it they are more than happy to throw  decent health care reform under the bus. i have no love for the republican party after what bush/cheney did to us but i am sorry- i cannot support what the democratic leadership wants over the will of the great majority of americans regarding health care. i am an american first. i believe that the will of the majority should be at least consulted if not adhered to. that is my bottom line. single payer univeral health care is the choice of most americans. we’re fed up with insurance rip-offs.

i guess it remains to be seen what is the choice of the democratic leadership. there are many more hearings to go and this drumbeat of single payer will not quit.  but if i were a betting bear i would say at least we have shamed them into pledging to throw over 60% of americans a tiny scrap  called public health insurance. let’s hope it works and let’s also hope it devours the private insurance parasites. because if we don’t devour them. the health insurers will surely devour us.

oh and while we are hating on the parasites, let’s remember the carriers that want to keep us suffering without even a little reform….good lord, are the republicans trying to make everyone hate them??? matt does a nice post on this here at litw…

update: here’s a good post on the baucus 13 that should settle who is really interested in providing affordable and good quality health care in this country today…it sure as hell isn’t the government or the insurance industry…



by problembear

it turns out that my work day schedule which involves providing necessary supplies to a non-profit serving the needy will not permit my attending the so-called listening session  at 10:00 am tomorrow (tuesday) at St Patrick’s hospital in Missoula by senator max baucus’s aides….

so i hope this testimony will be entered into the record: (i will submit a copy of this under my name etc to the senator’s office.) i post it here because i want it to be listened to.

dear senator baucus and members of the finance sub-committee:

re: Health Care Reform

i am in sole support of single payer universal health care as the one sensible solution for cleaning up the mess that has become our health care crisis in this country. insurance companies have made a mess of things by denying claims and creating so many exclusions that most of us who are insured live in constant fear of getting sick for fear that we will be fraudulently denied the coverage we are paying too much for. it is clear that the companies are driving the discussion by your committee because they contribute to your campaigns millions of dollars each year to influence your votes. denying single payer advocates a place at the table is beyond brazen. it is corruption of the process of government and should not and will not be tolerated by the majority of americans who favor single payer universal health care.

single payer universal health care is not being seriously considered by this committee in my opinion because it would put private health insurers out of business. period.  and that is a mistake, because after the way these companies have behaved the past 30 years toward their clients -the workers and businesses who support them, they should be put out of business for greed and corruption.

all accross this country everyone has a story about being denied access to health care by their insurance company or knows someone who has. this rampant greedy behavior has contributed to thousands of needless deaths, over 50% of the nation’s bankruptcies and untold  foreclosures.  the greedy insurer’s behavior is rampant and abusive. so much so that doctors and nurses who are charged with taking care of patients are uniting to push for single payer. why? because they are tired of argueing with our insurance companies to be able to provide us with necessary and recommended health care before they can minister to us. insurers are playing “doctor” with our lives and the lives of our families by questioning our doctor’s judgements and getting in the way of caring for the ill and injured.

this system of private insurers has created a hellish tight rope walk for your citizens senator- i hope you listen finally now and allow single payer advocates to come to the table and state our case.

thanks for patronizing us with your belated decision to “listen” senator by providing aides at these meetings accross montana. i am not a million dollar contributor to your campaign, just a citizen who fears that after working all my life, a single major health care issue could ruin me and the ones i love who rely on the moving target shell game that private insurance has become for most of us. i also fear that by giving private insurers even more power over us with your blatantly slanted white paper that things will only get worse for us workers who are covered by employers.

i join the doctor’s and nurses you had arrested at your hearings in supporting nothing less than a health care plan which includes a strong component  of single payer and will work toward it’s defeat if it resembles what you have been dishing out to us so far. and i believe you will need a lot more police if you try to cram private insurance down our throats with compulsory IRS enforced provisions.

yours truly,


by problembear


gettysburg address image courtesy smithsonian archives

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal”

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow, this ground– The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, to stand here, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people by the people for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States.

hey cheney…..


by problembear

just thought it would be nice for the country to take a little break from that war-mongering and sabre-rattling of yours…

and while you are enjoying that nice big cup how about a little enhanced interrogation? and bring your sick little friend rush over for a twofer…..i’m real curious about how long a couple of draft-dodging chicken hawks can go



by problembear

Bill Moyers Journal on PBS aired an indepth look at single payer last night. (update) since this program aired bill moyers has a poll on the obama/baucus health reform plan up on his website. you can watch the program if you missed it and vote here. they also have an easy way to submit comments if you want to add your 2 cents to what america is saying about this. so far people are not pleased about mr baucus’s plans. the early word is that max baucus is the number 9 pin and it’s a strike!

the albany times union newspaper has gone on record as supporting at least looking a single payer and giving it a place at the table.

do not miss this if you like to watch train wrecks… you just gotta see  this program before the so-called listening meetings with baucus aides next week. donna smith is especially compelling and they address most of our frustrations with dealing with health insurers.

i also find compelling and ominous this post over at piece of mind by the ever incorrigible but eminently logical mark t. read it and get fired up before max crams this stinking mess down our throats and makes us swallow….say aaaahhhh! 

wait- don’t run away max…we only want to talk….after all. what’s the harm in talking to your constituents?

if i am able i’ll take a few minutes out of my work day to attend the so-called baucus aides listening session here in missoula cause i like train wrecks and i like to think that a majority of citizens still means something in this country. but there is no excuse at all for not allowing single payer to be on the table. it is embarrassing behavior for a senator from montana to act like this and it should not be tolerated without letting max know how you feel about it as a citizen of montana. see you all on tuesday morning at 10:00am at St Pat’s. i hope they have a lot of seats cause i think they are going to need them.

update saturday; after watching moyer’s piece on single payer last night it is clear that the baucus plan is too corrupt for me to support. see what you think after listening to this lady.

donna smith makes a compelling case for single payer. and i have heard no argument thus far which would allow me to support the contaminated with corruption baucus health care arguments for the uniquely american solution- which is designed to funnel more money to the powerful interests who bribe our politicians while patients and the doctors and nurses who care for us just get screwed all over again.

seems to me it is always politically feasible for congress to bail out big banks and wall street investors but when it comes to even looking at a plan which would provide guaranteed health care to it’s working middle class supported by over 60% of the people suddenly max says it just won’t pass….

bears have simple rules; if it doesn’t pass the smell test – don’t eat it!

makes me ask this question; is it just me or does something not smell right about what max is dishing out here?……


by Pete Talbot

(Update: a memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 30, at the University Congregational Church, 405 University Avenue.  A reception will follow.)

Well into his eighties, Doug Campbell spoke truth to power.  He died on Tuesday at 93, on his own terms.

He and his wife Alice were progressive political icons in Missoula and Montana. Alice preceded him in death.    

I consider Doug a mentor. Although his fight was usually with right-wing regressives, he wasn’t above challenging his own party — Democrats — when he saw them selling out to corporate interests or political expediency.

When I would get discouraged pursuing progressive politics, all I had to do was look to Doug Campbell for inspiration. He fought more battles on behalf of the people than I could even consider. And at nearly 40 years my senior, he was still fighting them: labor, peace, social justice, health care … the list goes on and on. He continued to speak out for those who had no voice; the underdog ignored by the powers that be.

With Alice by his side  – what a wonderful couple — it was a force to be reckoned with.

He wasn’t a wealthy man, but he was the first to write a ten or twenty dollar check at fundraisers for progressive candidates and causes.

If we had more Doug Campbells in the world, it would certainly be a better place. Missoula and Montana are improved by the Campbells.

He was also an expert gardener; iris, I believe.  Beautiful, huge blossoms.

Doug will be missed but he left a legacy in the many people who will continue to advance progressive causes, in part because they knew Doug Campbell.

A memorial service is planned for May 30 at University Congregational Church — details forthcoming.  Look for an obit in the Missoulian and perhaps a story, too (as well there should be).  



by problembear

perhaps if we put this in words you can understand; in corporate-ese…

the board of directors held an election last november and your ceo was replaced. your side of the room  lost mr. cheney. we took away your keys to the white house and congress, had the marines escort you away and yet you refuse to leave us alone.

when we need a draft dodging liar, a hunting partner that blows away his friends  and a torture prone asshole again we will let you know….meanwhile, quit looking over our shoulders and get the f***out of our news ferrcrissakes….the whole country is sick of your worthless ass. why don’t you take your 70 million and go look up your old pal don rumsfield. i’m sure you both have a lot of catching up to do……

by jhwygirl

Disgusting. Shameful. Reprehensible.

Montana’s complicity in this is beyond any possible justification. I don’t know how to express more disgust.

Montana Department of Livestock officials are in full attack mode at Horse Butte this week, “managing” bison, and the Buffalo Field Campaign has several videos exposing the reprehensible activities of these state-paid officials harassing wild Yellowstone bison on conservation easement land near West Yellowstone.

If you or I or any rancher were to manage their livestock this way, we’d be arrested.

Watch this video as helicopters swoop low over bison with their young calves. Watch as a cow bison protects her calf, struggling with a broken leg – injured as a result of the Department of Livestock’s air and ground assault – from further harassment by a Department of Livestock official on horse.

Rob and Janae Galanis bought 800 acres on Horse Butte in 2007 with the intention of preserving as much open space for bison as financially possible. Horse Butte has always been a gathering area in the spring for bison, and Galanis was well aware of the history of the Montana Department of Livestock entering the area to harass bison. He sought to bring an end to that.

In 2007 Galanis told the Department of Livestock that he intends to file trespass charges against the department should they enter the property. I wish he would, on the grounds that the current plan is no plan at all – that overwhelming evidence both in Montana and Wyoming show that managing bison has no effect on halting brucellosis transmission and that until an effective plan is in place, entering onto his property under the guise of “management” is nothing more than fraud.

Fraud. Criminal.

Brucellosis has been found in both Montana and Wyoming in the last year – and Montana lost its brucellosis-free status last June after two cases were found in the space of one year.

Horse Butte is isolated, and no cattle graze there.

Brucellosis is transmitted by body fluids – and bison are hazed under an assumption that the afterbirth leaves brucellosis virus in areas where cattle graze. The problem with that “logic” (and I use that term facetiously) is that bison birth from mid-April through mid-May. Cattle can’t utilized public grazing lands until mid-June. By then the afterbirth has been returned back to nature by the activities of coyotes and ravens and eagles who feed on those remains.

Bulls can not transmit brucellosis

Governor Schweitzer? You threatened to pull out of the interagency bison management plan last July. The time is now. Stop the insanity. Stop the waste of state funds. Stop this cruel embarrassment now.

(There’s plenty more written on these pages about the insanity of the state’s brucellosis management. Start here.)

by jhwygirl

From today’s speech:

The era of apologizing for Republican mistakes of the past is now officially over.

Really? “Era of apologizing”? Someone, please – when did I miss this?

We have turned the corner on regret, recrimination, self-pity and self-doubt.

Whaaa? Still missing that “regret, recriminatation, self-pity and self-doubt thing…

We are not going to be silent. We are going to speak up.

You haven’t exactly been sitting around mute…

He’s taking us in the wrong direction and bankrupting our country… We will and we must stand against his disastrous policy…. We’re going to take this president on with class. We’re going to take this president on with dignity

Now, that would be a change in direction, that “class” thing…

Steele went on to deride the “classless and shabby way” that Democrats challenged former President George W. Bush.


Look – the Republican party is in shambles. Steele knows it. He can’t keep Cheney under control – the man recently chose Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell as a leader of the party during a Face the Nation appearance – and well all know that Rush is really heading up policy direction. No one’s in charge, and I don’t know how much of it is Steele’s fault. It seems to me, given the respect he’s been garnered, that he was picked not to lead, but to provide a new “face” to the party more than anything else.

And that’s a shame. Steele’s way too conservative to me, to be clear – but by all indications he’s an intelligent man, carries himself well, and is, well, a Republican.

Let me go one step further – I have a much better interest in seeing the Republican party fall part than I do in seeing it save itself. In some ways, it’s entertaining…but we voted for change, and this dysfunction we are seeing in the Republican party is taking away from the real work at hand. Get yer you-know-what together, or blow-up already. We all need to move on.

It comes down to a simple thing – something I mentioned on Saturday, via a link to Margaret and Helen, the blogging grandmothers – change is inevitable, and life goes on. The two are intrinsically related….and neither can be avoided.

Someone better tell the Republican party – whoever that is anymore.



by problembear

i did today. and if you are one of your credit card companies better customers (always pay on time, keep your balance low) you will get it soon too….isn’t this fun?

guess this is how they show us their gratitude for bailing them out…. 

of course they are just trying to make as much money as possible before the  new credit card law before congress is enacted. my capital one card went from 8.5% to 26.8% . i know – let’s play a fun game and compare to see who gets the highest interest rate this week! c’mon it’ll be fun…

my good friend john callahan was right; modern american business knows no shame…




by problembear

or perhaps more correctly; why does the leadership in the democratic party cross the aisle on health care? what happened to their victories this fall?- the house, overwhelmingly democratic.  the senate will be a super majority soon.   the presidency? what more courage do they need to at least take a good honest and legitimate look at single payer universal health care? what are they afraid of? does doing what the overwhelming majority in the country want them to do with health care scare them? do they even know what we want anymore? do they listen? do they even know how to lead anymore after almost ten years of waffling and appeasing the republicants? baucus seems to be running in blind terror from single payer. why?

i don’t understand what possible political logic could possibly be guiding this health care planning process in this country? is there any logic to it at all or is it just blind terror?


the S.O. in front of jd’s (formerly Katy’s)Wildlife Sanctuary bar in Bynum


by problembear

one sad note of our annual trip along the front and the hi-line was discovering that katy of the world famous katy’s wildlife sanctuary bar in bynum has passed away. may heaven be as fun and inviting as you always made your bar to us katy….on windy snowy days from pheasant hunting in october to annual spring runs to enjoy the rocky mountain front in all it’s glory, your bar was an oasis to us all. goodbye katy. so many good memories…..and no katy-we never did put in a sliding glass door so we could shoot gophers from the lazy boy. the S.O. has her limits when it comes to problembear’s redneck tendencies….we will miss you lady.

we support local montana so don’t forget the local fest in caras park this afternoon….

as a sidenote the S.O. and i always take a montana vacation in the spring but this year we  noted that many of the places we used to stop in and chat to get the local news are now boarded up or for sale….potomac bar…..(closed) Bowmans (also closed) .little pieces of montana are drying up and blowing away in this recession. our advice…take lots of gas and provisions along the hi-line and the front when you go and most of all- support the ones who are still open. if you are not hungry get a cup of coffee and leave a five near the till. we need our little places to catch up with our long distance neighbors. some bright spots still left- the cabin cafe in choteau provides real montana meals with some local flavor worth catching – the grand in chester (great halibut sandwich’s and what a fun bar to visit- very friendly.) don’t forget to visit patty and philip aaberg’s music shop while you are in town. (they have a great bed and breakfast called the great northern. steam shower and very reasonable!

if you are in big sandy some morning you want to stop by the mint and get a cup of coffee. they only charge 50 cents but we left a lot more…the conversation with local ranchers is worth more than money could repay- but help them keep the lights on folks. saw lots of sage grouse trying to tempt the ladies. we love the prairie in the spring. try it out sometime!

and don’t forget to top it off with another great montana lunch at Bob’s riverside cafe in fort benton on your way to the cm russell museum in great falls. the only way you could top that trip off is with a dairy queen  before heading back to missoula and some reverend slanky at the top hat. but wait, the week of montana vacation is not over yet. there is still the montana fiddlers gathering  to catch at the lumberjack this sunday.

a trip to costco is ok but remember to live like you live in montana once in awhile and get out and support local businesses….



by problembear

 max baucus’s inept and sorry spectacle in his handling of his finance committee’s hearings on healthcare served to galvanize supporters of single payer universal health care (the majority according to all the polls i have read). his blundering laughter and arrogant statement that “we need more police” while doctors and nurses were led away in handcuffs, who were arrested for the crime of attempting  to speak out about being ignored and denied a legitimate place at the discussion table only aroused a growing wave of resentment and disgust  against his proposals to impose forced private insurance plans upon all citizens to the utter dismay of those who want to see real health care reform enacted this year.  and then, to make matters worse, the health insurance and health care industry groups backed out of a promise they had made to obama to limit health care costs.

baucus’s idiocy has been damaging enough but, the real enemies of health care reform are only now beginning their attack ads and they have a 7 to 1 advantage in ad revenue that they can spend telling lies and creating fear about health care reform. by the use of 30 second ads they hope to foment enough angst to stall or kill any health care reform in this country.

backed by right wing sociopaths and the extremely wealthy coffers of health care insurance lobbyists (thanks to you and your empoyers increasingly burdensome premiums for less and less coverage) these snake oil salesmen and sales ladies will pull out all the stops to derail anything resembling public health care choices (leave alone the single payer option) because they fear the competition will expose them for the profit mongering, greedy and merciless vipers that they are.

so while we must fight max baucus’s unyielding and arrogant attitude toward universal single payer….let’s not forget about that snake in the grass….

by jhwygirl

Morning walk with dogs
Air wafts with scent of fruit trees
Lovely day today

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread.


Tax soda pop for healthcare? I’m fine with it.

New Urbanism is really old urbanism….building walkable communities rather than strip mall highways. This video, winner of The Congress for New Urbanism CNU 17 video contest, explains it all.

The Thursday grand opening of the new Cabela’s in Billings went astoundingly well. Pics included.

Pic included with this one, too: Man bras.

Sunday morning news show junkie? David Gregory is bringing those ratings down for NBC.

Jim Hightower slams Senate Democrats.

Why should you care? Care about anything? Grandma blogger Helen Philpot of the blog Margaret and Helen explains that you should because “…change is inevitable. Children grow up. Grandparents die. Life goes on.”

I bet that woman is fun to drink with.

Have a great weekend folks. I’m a little bummed. Age has made me a bad deadhead – I knew the show – the show at the Gorge – was coming up, but I wasn’t paying attention. And so late on wednesday I realized the show was saturday, and I was ticketless. Now – a quick twitter turned up a ticket (see how useful twitter is?), but I didn’t have enough time to find appropriate lodging for one of my poochies (the one who is a real terriorist). I find some comfort in a few things: Last night I found out that Sirius will be broadcasting the thing live at 8:30 p.m. tonight; I know at least one other old fart is there goofing off and enjoying the show; and the band winded down the Mountain View show the other night with Morning Dew (so I won’t be missing a favorite).

Congratulations UM grads!


by problembear

and the lying liars who lie….health insurance industry lobbyist groups renege on promise to lower costs of health care.

matt singer posts a fine piece at litw today…thanks matt.


by jhwygirl

Funny that the other name many use for Montana is Montucky.

Poisonous gas = CO2

From McClatchy, Kentucky passed (in a 2007) a bill which included $1.5 million in funding for experimental drilling to see if underground storage of CO2 was a viable possibility.

Sure it is – with both Illinois (it doesn’t say how much) taxpayer money; with Kentucky taxpayers $1.5 million; with the Tennessee Valley Authority’s money (a quasi-governmental agency) and privateer E.ON U.S.’s funding, which owns Kentucky Utilities.

The McClatch article links to a Lexington-Herald-Leader article with this lovely gem:

“Imagine a jar of marbles,” said Brandon Nuttall, a geologist with the geological survey. “The spaces between the marbles — that’s where the CO² will go.”

And that’s where, if the scientists are right (emphasis added), it will stay.

I wonder how often, when experimenting, that scientists are right.

This Is Reality is one of many media campaigns directed towards the myths of clean coal. They point out that “According to a recent “60 Minutes” report and an analysis by The Center for American Progress, the coal industry’s investment in CCS (coal carbon sequestration) technology amounts to a paltry two cents on every dollar of profit — or less.”

In other words – and exhibited by both the the Kentucky article and Governor Schweitzer’s inking of SB498 – the coal industry, knowing that EPA regulations are imminent, want taxpayer welfare to support their industry. The Department of Energy is, according to the Kentucky article, kowtowing to their desires.

Tell me – do we put billions (maybe trillions – watch that 60 Minutes video) of taxpayer dollars into and unproven scary quest to sequester a poisonous gas in the ground under our feet, or do we spend taxpayer dollars in search of newer, cleaner energy possibilities and the 100’s of 1,000’s of jobs that come with newer technology?

If you need a reason to choose the latter, check this post out.

I promise you will be inspired.

by jhwygirl

Bunk the West addresses yet another Republican hypocrisy.

Don’t miss it.

by jhwygirl did up a nice piece, with interview, about congressional candidate Tyler Gernant’s use of the Kindle (an wireless electronic reading device) in his campaign.

Gernant recently announced the release of his policy papers – which can also be obtained on his website at – in electronic format for Kindle download at, for .99 cents each.

From Tyler Gernant’s blog:

While we understand that these are the same policy papers that are available on our website, there is something that’s a little different about our Kindle program. First of all, the Kindle content allows you to more easily share issue positions with your friends while you’re away from your computer. You won’t have to carry around a bunch of loose papers or squint to read text on your phone or blackberry. In fact, Kindle’s text-to-speech feature can read the issue positions to you. More importantly, though, 100% of the money that we make will go back into Montana . . . literally. For every Kindle download, we receive a portion of the proceeds, and all of those proceeds will be used to plant trees right here in Montana. This is a creative new way to help us spread our message of opportunity while ensuring that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy Montana’s natural wonders.

I bet that Kindle is great for the college crowd. I don’t own one, and I don’t think I’d use it for books – I tend to underline and highlight and write notes in the margins (I know, I know – the horror!) – but I’d sure love to have it to download magazines, newspapers, and individual articles….and it’d be especially great for camping, flying and long road trips.

by problembear

congratulations on being selected as one of eight honorees at tonight’s YWCA Missoula’s Salute to Women dinner and awards banquet!

(the S.O. required me to use capital letters for Ana’s post, but don’t get used to it folks- special occasion!)

thanks missoulian!

by problembear

nice to know some people are paying attention.

unfortunately, it appears that the link to montanans for single payer website that is linked to in the editorial above is broken. you can access their website here;

by jhwygirl

President Obama pushes for financial reform over derivatives.

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