Various & Sundry for the Weekend

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread….

Welcome Yellowstone County Democratic Party to the blogosphere…

I’m a birder, so here’s a Summer tanager alert:Male and Female Summer tanagers

Here’s an interesting NYTimes story on blogs and bloggers, titled Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest,

The latest news out of the dam removal at Milltown: Volunteer vegetation has sprouted in excavated cells in pre-reservoir soils. These seeds may have been lying dormant under the reservoir sediments for over a century. Another interesting factoid from Diana Hammer, who is the face for the EPA on the project: 2.5 million tons (about 1.9 million cubic yards) of contaminated sediments removed/loaded/disposed. Usually she tells us how much that is in railroad cars, which I find interesting…

The Montana legislature wasted very little time getting to interim session – they were getting at committee assignments and such with in a week of the drop of the gavel. Its newsletter – The Interim is out, with a rundown of the what is going to be discussed and who is going to be leading those discussion. Wanna keep in the loop? Be sure to read it and then sign up for email alerts.

On that note: DEQ is facing a budget crunch. Lovely, huh? Democrats like JP Pomnichowski and Mary Caferro tried heroically this last session to update regulations and get this Department sufficient resources to address things like unregulated dumps and the huge backlog of meth contaminated properties and the inefficiencies and complete failure of the DEQ to address open-cut mining issues and existing regulations. You-know-who voted against or amended to worthlessness the bills these legislators proposed to help correct these issues.

Well – there’s a start. What do YOU have?

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  1. Lizard

    this vid by max blumenthal was scrubbed from Huffington Post for not being newsworthy. i obviously disagree; bigotry, racism, intolerance, and ignorance are virulent among many different strata of our society, and should always be exposed and condemned, even when those spouting the hate (and issuing death threats against obama) are american and israeli jews.

  2. Big Swede

    Looks like the YCDP blog and the NY times story goes together.

    According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled.

  3. Pronghorn

    I’ve never seen a summer tanager, but have seen a couple of western tanagers in the past few days, and we have nesting bluebirds and hairy woodpeckers on our property. The best part is, the hairys have drilled out the tall stump that bears our “certified wildlife habitat” sign!

  4. goof houlihan

    Thoughts for the weekend:

    Should Bozeman be libertarian like Missoula, cover the city in chickenshit and gambling parlors? That’s hot in the Chronicle and in front of the Commission (which is looking at confining gambling to industrial zones only but allowing chickens anywhere, unlike Missoula where gambling/payday loan places are more ubiquitous than protesters du jour.)

    Speaking of hypocritical, it’s not just a gubmint thing, more on that later, but is the new Garden city slogan: Missoula, where you drive stoned, but un-phoned?

    Tomorrow is the 42nd anniversary of the hideous and unforgiveable attack by the Israelis on the USS Liberty. Israeli torpedo boats fired on sailors abandoning the ship while it was flying it’s giant “holiday” american flag, machine gunning american sailors in the water.

    Tea Party-ers are angrily insisting on, in the interests of protesting government spending, the City of Bozeman spending $1100 extra to close Main Street on the fourth of july. Nobody at the City of Bozeman, apparently, is a patriot or anything but a godless progressive bent on denying constitutional rights. I say, seal off Main Street and let the Party-ers be the bad guys. They care so much about small business that they’ll show it by blocking off the business people who are giving up their fourth to make a little money…makes total sense in a urban chicken, gambling everywhere, you’re too old and sick to see a doctor kind of way.

    Finally, this WP article, where the killer of Dr. Tiller is bragging that more such terrorism is imminent and his action was just one of a planned series. So much for lone gunman theories. There’s a Montana connection to Tiller with Dr Wicklund in Bozeman, and it seems, she’s only marginally less threatened. It CAN happen here.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/07/AR2009060701207.html?hpid=topnews

    Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,
    The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
    And somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout;
    But there is no joy in Mudville…when the whack jobs run about.

    • petetalbot

      Goof, I don’t follow your “libertarian like Missoula” question — both Bozeman and Missoula have their progressive and libertarian streaks. Anyway, I’ll take chickens over casinos anywhere, any day of the week.

      And yeah, I have mixed feelings on our cell phone ban. Missoula drivers being almost as bad as Bozeman drivers, banning cell phone use in our rigs might actually improve traffic safety here, which is good. In the interim, I’m making cell calls from my car like a madman, until the ban kicks in on July 1.

      Like your take on the Bozeman teabagger parade, though.

      And I appreciate your Dr. Tiller comment.

      • goof houlihan

        Pete, Missoula didn’t take chickens over casinos. Both are able to be pretty much anywhere in the city it seems.

        Now, one theory of zoning is that there shouldn’t be any, and that performance standards are the key. Anything could go in any areas, casinos, chickens, ADUs, etc, as long as they’re done right.

        Another theory, widely used in Gallatin county, is that nobody but us rich people should live here, and you’ve got to be able to buy twenty acres and a Range Rover to join the club…the extreme, maybe, but the essence of “exclusionary” zoning. Keeping the…riff raff out. Or the chickens, or the casinos (in the cities.)

        It’s not that you like one better than the other. It’s that a city’s right to direct land use, whether it’s chickens, or casinos, should have some consistency. I don’t think there should be a right to have casinos any more than there’s a right to have farm animals in the city.

        Bottom line for zoning is what it always is with government, and what the ideologues and the protesters forget; health, safety and welfare. So would chickens kept by every apartment dweller and 3500 sq ft lot with house be healthy and sanitary in the city? Are casinos on every corner good for public welfare…after all, at least they contribute a million dollars plus to the cities’ general funds?

        Of course, I shouldn’t have ranted quite so hard. It was a cold wet rainy literally mudville weekend with some “me Me ME!” demands in the paper.

        • I’m sure if anyone started a discussion here geared towards casinos we’d get some interpretation out of city hall saying that we can’t do that because they are regulated by the state or something like that.

          • goof houlihan

            I’d tell them that zoning land uses is a legitimate use of local government authority. I would ask, “how is it that gambling is exempt from local zoning laws, as opposed to, say, “retail” or “manufacturing”?”.

    • Goof, what you call ‘covering the city in chickenshit’, I call providing fertilizer. There doesn’t have to be a choice between extremes here, and I don’t think anyone is calling for apartment dwellers to seriously turn the Bird Houses into, well, bird houses. Minimalist agriculture can still be controlled in terms of health and safety, and very few urban Bozemanites have the wherewithal or will to raise chickens. There is already a Bozeman ordinance against having more than two dogs without a kennel license. I’m certain that some similar compromise can be reached as regards small stock. The outright ban is the extreme.

      And for the record, I’m seriously glad you have taken an unfavorable view of spending to protest spending, though I would have expected the bill for such to be higher.

      • goof houlihan

        But Cluc is asking for a by-right chicken ordinance. I haven’t seen any sideboards suggested by them. We don’t want to be unfairly discriminating against renters….eh? However, my first sideboard would be, “if your neighbors complain, the chickens are outta there”.

        The reason for the juxtaposition is that they’re both in the news and I get a little bit annoyed with the “they’ve got chickens in Missoula”. Yep, they do, and a casino on every corner too. Some fights are worth having, and some, well, are chickensh*t.

        • klemz

          Everyone has at least one neighbor who complains about everything.

          They have chickens running around.
          They shot a pig in front of its offspring.
          They erected a pirate mast made out of PBC pipe.

          Wah wah wah.

  5. goof houlihan

    It’s been a long time since my wife would classify our lot as having “wildlife”. You’re a lucky guy, Wulfgar!.

    • Apparently, you folks aren’t being overrun by the rabbits yet. ~wink~

      I know it’s just a result of having the 4 huge trees on the lot, but just off the top of my head I can list about 30 species of vertebrates that call our backyard ‘home’ or ‘lunch kitchen’. I guess it’s all in the nomenclature but some of those species I call ‘annoying’ or ‘pests’. Our younger cat calls many of them ‘food’ or ‘toys’. The government calls some of those species ‘protected’. But, with exception of the dogs, the cats and the koi (and I’m not certain about the younger cat) one thing they all can be called is ‘wildlife’.

  6. Anon

    It looks to me that the 2009 Legislature passed HB678 which gives DEQ a lot more funding for the next budget period. HB 678 passed the House 88/12 so not too many of the you-know-who’s voted against it. It is not the fault of the 2009 session the DEQ is short of money now.

    From the Gazette article you reference:
    House Bill 678, signed by Schweitzer, imposes an industry-endorsed tax on the mining of gravel and other materials, such as clay. The tax is projected to generate about $400,000 a year for DEQ, much of which the agency says will be used to increase the opencut staff. Other provisions include time frames for processing gravel applications.

    • HB678 was watered down by House Republicans to decimate any attempts at dealing with public noticing, or the timing requirements for DEQ to respond. 5 days, now, to determine sufficiency of the application. It started with 30. The department is woefully understaffed. How is that going to work out? The sponsor the bill had significant reservations about that issue – which was front and foremost the original reasons for sponsoring it, given the multitude of problems in Gallatin County.

      DEQ couldn’t meet the 180 day permitting requirements, and has been sued and forced to issue permits.

      The funding? That didn’t really change things much – interim audits last year found that DEQ wasn’t collecting what it should have been, and this cleared up that issue and spelled out where it would go.

      • Anon

        As I recall, HB 678 was a Committee bill which requires bi-partisan support to create/pass.

        You seem to be reading the bill differently than I. The 30 days to 5 days is for DEQ to review the application and determine if it is complete. The applicant then has 15 days after being notified the application is complete to do the public notice process. I suggest you read page 7 – the requirements for public notice:
        http://data.opi.mt.gov/bills/2009/billpdf/HB0678.pdf
        The 2.5c per yd tax is supposed to fund 4 new FTE for DEQ – that should allow them to process things in a more timely manner. HB 678 was a joint effort between the R’s, D’s, DEQ and the industry – the sponsor was certainly not going to get her way on everything.

        • Fully aware of what that 5 days means, Anon. Expecting a state agency to receive an application and review it within 5 days of receipt to determine sufficiency is a bit much, considering it probably takes 2 days for it to get from the capital mail room to the agency…

          Honestly? I listened to the several committee hearings and the floor hearings. I also read the 4 legislative audits done last summer, in addition to numerous hearings last interim related to DEQ issues. You might want to start there before reading one news article and the remnants of the bill itself.

          You also might, at least, listen to some of that to hear what the sponsor had to say?

          That all being said, given the wealth of problems there are with understaffing and underfunding, the 4 FTE’s that are hired as a result of the 2.5c fee? 2 of those are going to be needed just to oversee and manage the funds….

          DEQ is a huge umbrella of mining, water quality, subdivision review, meth houses, contaminated cleanup sites, abandon mines, dumps…much of that being decades behind in review.

          It’s not just about processing – it’s about enforcing the regs that are there. What industry wanted was the ability to speed up the process to move more apps through. Place greater time constraints on the applications (which had been 180 days with a 180 day possible extension). Under those conditions DEQ was being sued and forced to issue permits sans MEPA.

          Newer, shorter timelines and 4 more people to cover open cut mining is going to help out a whole lot./snark




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