Archive for August 15th, 2009

(Cynthia, a Missoula resident, was on the ground for more than 5 hours at President Obama’s town hall meeting in Belgrade yesterday. Contrary to national media reports, events on the ground were downright hostile at times. I thank Cynthia for taking the time to write this post. – jhwygirl)

by Cynthia Wolken

I was one of the pro-reform protestors in the free-speech zone outside of President Obama’s town hall meeting yesterday on healthcare reform in Belgrade, Montana. I am shocked and disappointed at the mainstream media’s coverage of the protest and declarations that both sides acted ‘civilly’. Many of the anti-government protesters used violence, threats of violence, and intimidation to stifle the pro-reformists in the exercise of their first amendment right to assemble and protest.

In context, there were two groups with permits to protest on a few acres outside the Gallatin Field Airport that were set aside as a free-speech zone. The pro-reformist group was comprised of protesters supporting some form of healthcare reform – from those supporting the President’s proposal to those advocating for a single-payer system. The other group, organized by the Gallatin County Tea-baggers, was ostensibly there to oppose any legislation reforming the current healthcare system. I say ‘ostensibly’ because it was clear by their signage and rhetoric that most tea-baggers were merely using the forum to further an anti-government agenda by using violence and intimidation to stifle a true public debate. Their members included members of the Republican Party, right-wing extremists, and skinheads. Their messaging was on everything from abortion to second amendment and militia rights.
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by JC

Heather Wasson
RIP, Heather Wasson.

Ok, sure. Whatever. So the inquest coroner’s jury found that “there was nothing criminal about the June death of a female inmate at the Missoula County.”

Nothing criminal about letting people with treatable illnesses die needlessly in jail? Then I daresay that our City Council’s attempts to outlaw panhandling and criminalize homelessness are misplaced indignations. I think the far more grievous crime is our ability as a community to deny any responsibility for deaths like Wasson’s.

Not criminal? We’re all criminals when we allow our public servants to lockup people who desperately need medical care, not incarceration.

My condolences to the Wasson family.

by jhwygirl

Yesterday was a good day, people. Montana was downright civil with the President coming to Bozeman, unlike some other places around the nation.Montana and the City of Bozeman and the Town of Belgrade should be proud – they showed Montana to be a bunch of civil folk who were for the large part able to express their differing opinions without hurling insults or silencing the opposite point of view.

I was interested in the national coverage of the event – of which there was quite a bit, but not enough controversy to have it hit every news show soundbite – and here’s links to some of it:

~Todd Wilkinson, this time for the Christian Science Monitor, covers quite a bit with three very excellent stories: Obama wins over a Montana crowd on healthcare, (with obligatory baby picture); this one Obama and Montana’s Baucus: Who needs whom?, which explores the Obama-Baucus relationship; and How’s Obama fairing in the Rocky Mountain West?, which gives a brief history of Democrats and Presidents here in Montana, and the west.

~This story from Politico took issue with Obama’s critique of nationwide town hall coverage.

~Dave Stout, of the NYTimes ‘Prescriptions’ blog, live-blogged the event.

~This CBS news video shows at least a Missoulian or two and interviews the two anti-reform questioners from the town hall meeting: insurance agent Marc Montgomery and retired welder and self-identified NRA member Randie Rathie.

~This one, from CNN.

~From CBS’ Political Hotsheet blog.

~From the Washington Post: Obama Pushes Insurance Reform

Finally – here is an earlier version of that WaPo story, via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which I wish I could send to Hannity who I heard spouting off sometime late last night about how the Montana audience was stacked by White House officials with pro-reformers:

At one point yesterday, Mr. Obama practically begged for something tougher. “And I want somebody who’s got a concern or is skeptical about health-care reform,” he said. “Here we go, there we go. I knew we could find a couple here.”

White House officials say they did not try to load the audience with sympathetic voters. They said tickets to Mr. Obama’s events have been given out much more broadly than in prior administrations. Former President George W. Bush often distributed tickets to his events through a state’s Republican Party.

In fact – the first person to get a pair of tickets after having waited 18 hours in line was Donna S. C. Kelley who told Bozeman Chroncle reporter and someone at KBZK, too, that she was “very frustrated with what the government is doing, angry with what they’re doing.”

If you have more links, by all means, add ’em in the thread. I’d be especially interested in getting links to some of the more conservative points of view.

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread…

Chances are that your dog is smarter than your toddler. Or your neighbors toddler…or your neighbor’s dog and your toddler.

I knew that. Hell…by last dog was smarter than me sometimes….

The Alaska Legislature had a final parting shot at their former Governor.

Remember Benson the Carp? There’s more to the story.

The BNSF Railroad is storing 3,000 cars on unused track in Butte. Because of the economic downturn, they’ve got 35,000 cars nationwide. I saw miles, double wide, of empty cars up near Plains last week….and on spurs all over the lower Clark Fork are empty cars that have been in storage since spring (at least).


Shameful miscarriage of justice.

The Livingston, MT anti-health care reformer in this story here, I’m sure, doesn’t see her own conundrum.

On that note – in case you missed the ruckus in Bozeman yesterday, that link’ll take you to a full video of President Obama’s visit. (I can never seem to be able to embed those msnbc videos, regardless of the link they provide.)

Remember I shouted Tax My Soda Pop, Please! a while back? This article answers the question of How Much That Can of Soda Really costs.

It seems that 10 cents per can is about right.

I have a question for ya’all which I woke up thinking about: If I’m looking forward to seeing a tribute band, does that make me old?

Looking forward in the ‘your-aunt-and-I-went-to-see-the-Elvis-show-when-we-were-there-and-it-was-fabulous’ sense, not the ‘let’s-go-see-what-happens-at-the-AC/DC-tribute-band-show’….

Well…that’s kinda it. What say you?

Peace, everyone.

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