Archive for November, 2009

by jhwygirl

We’ve blogged a number of times here about the Tongue River, coal and sequestration fallacies, and the state’s Otter Creek tracts – all of these are intertwined with a number of issues that are presenting themselves currently in the form of the state determining whether leasing of its own property for coal is a responsible decision.

As The State, the Land Board (comprised of the state’s 5 highest office holders) is beholden to the public. They have a responsibility to make the best decision for the long term of both the land and the public. Generating $ is a priority, but it has to be done responsibly.

The Bozeman office of the Sierra Club has been active with public outreach regarding the issues surrounding the Otter Creek tracts (picked up in trade-off for that failed gold mine near the east entrance of Yellowstone). Tuesday, at 6:30 p.m., the Sierra Club will be screening the movie Coal Country along with hosting a discussion regarding coal and its related issues (environment, jobs, school funding) and what it means for Montana. All this being held in that lovely new Bozeman Public Library at 626 E. Main.

So folks out Bozeman/Belgrade/Livingston way? Get thee to that public library, and maybe learn a little more about how it isn’t just about digging a little bit of coal out of the ground.

by jhwygirl

The state Land Board is currently mulling an additional 30 days over the coal leases in the Powder River drainage (the Otter Creek coal leases), giving members time to consider the applicability of a year-old market analysis on the value of the coal (which was compiled pre-EPA ruling and pre-cap-and-trade legislation). They’re probably also looking at the rest of the Major Conceptual and Factual Errors, brought to you courtesy The Button Valley Bugle.

The Bugle does, indeed, a fabulous job on the fallacy surrounding coal’s myriad of boondoggles – sequestration, gasification – and Sunday’s article Subsidizing Carbon Pollution is a must-read.

Coal has been around powering industry for what? Forever? Yet it still needs subsidy? And the stuff isn’t even renewable or sustainable? It defies logic, it really does.

All that aside, with a severely depressed market for coal (as reported by the Wall Street Journal) and significant unknowns such as cap-and-trade legislation and criteria for co2 emissions on coal-fired plants post-EPA ruling, coal’s value is really a wildcard – and the state Land Board is making its decision based purely what is in the best long term interests of of the state’s land, both environmentally (long term) and in profitability (short term). At this point, it seems disingenuous to claim some inflated value as potential revenue when the facts used to reach that inflated value are clearly not relevant due to significant changes in the legislative and regulatory environment.

Peruse information on Otter Creek – the state has a website as well – and consider contacting the Land Board telling them that the mining of Otter Creek is bad policy for the state and bad terms for the state trust. You can find contact information here.

by JC

This upcoming week marks Barack Obama’s taking full ownership of the Afghan war, and escalating it to over a hundred thousand troops. To those of us who lived during the Vietnam war the similarities are eery. That war changed the history of this country–not because of the war or the purpose it was fought for, but because of the clash of cultures at home that ripped this country apart.

Even given that Obama will sell his war and its escalation with an exit strategy, we have to ask: is it worth this? Does this make sense for America to take on at this time? Can you really write an exit strategy while you are escalating a war with ill-defined goals, and botched strategies? A war in a part of the world where outsiders have never won?

Another similarity with WWII: it was the scope and scale of that war which eventually drug this country out of the Great Depression. Will our destabilization of the middle east–with Iran and Pakistan potentially entering the war theater with Afghanistan and Iraq, lead to WWIII? Is this the end play? Perpetual war? Return of the draft?

Too many questions, and no answers.

afghanistan

I’m reminded, as the title to this diary attests, of the scene in Apocalypse Now, where the helicopters rage across the countryside spewing napalm, and we feel the war taking a turn towards madness.

“This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes…again
Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
In a…desperate land
Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane…”
– The Doors

by jhwygirl

Lacking an identifying tag, the thing’s illegal, right?

Publisher, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of NewWest Publishing Jonathan Weber was walking his pet in his families subdivision – in the open space area owned in common with all of the homeowners – along a trail used by many when his dog got snagged in an untagged trap placed 10 feet from the trail.

Fortunately, Weber’s Norwegian elk hound is fine, save for some bruises – and the trauma inflicted upon Weber and his son.

All the more shocking is that when Weber went back to check the situation out further – once boy and dogs were back home safe – the trap had already been reset.

His report on the Thanksgiving day incident, though, brought out all sorts of utterly shocking and senseless accusations against Weber as having staged the event. While it’s not shocking – it the same tactic trapping advocates and enthusiasts, some of them from out-of-state, have done around here when we’ve mentioned other irresponsible trapping behavior – the attacks have been taken to heart, understandably so, by the Weber family who have had to experience the trauma of their family pet (and it could easily have had far tragic results) being caught in the trap.

While I get that advocates of trapping would pay attention to the story – they are currently mounting a massive effort to defeating a ballot initiative by Footloose Montana that would halt trapping on public lands here in Montana – but to accuse an award-winning journalist of having staged the event does their cause no good that I can see.

Fact is, I suspect it’s the same out-of-state interests that have trolled this site when we’ve posted about trapping in the past…none of it positive. It’s amazing to me the money that is poured into this state by out-of-state interests on a variety of issues – guns, coal, trapping are a few examples – and our state legislators listen to these lobbyists who are doing nothing more than using Montana as its pawn for its national interests. A win here chalks one more up on the map for these folks…many who parrot talking points that include ‘facts’ not even applicable here in Montana.

And aside from all that, it really bugs me how trapping advocates seem to toss aside any animal, whether it be bald eagle or threatened Canada lynx or the neighbor’s golden retriever, as something that didn’t belong there or ‘that’s the way it goes sometimes,’ defense.

Point is folks – attacking a bona-fide nationally respected journalist on his home turf of an award-winning online news media site has little chance of bringing trapping advocates the positive press they are going to need so badly. Recognizing that there are jackasses out there doing what responsible trappers would never consider is one way to move forward a reasonable dialogue regarding laws and regulations that protect both the trapping public and the general recreating public.

But defending every documented negative trapping-related incident isn’t going to get those advocates anywhere.

by jhwygirl

One very impressive Hellgate junior that I know informed me yesterday that he’s taken up wrestling for the winter, after yet another year of yet another successful season running cross country. Wrestling was probably my favorite sport – spectator sports – in high school. The impressive Hellgate junior also mentioned there were a number of girls on the team.

Girls on the wrestling team, I asked? Yep, he replied, rather non-plussed. I guess I’m behind the times.

Lo and behold, what’s the Missoulian’s Keila Szpaller writing about for today’s paper? Female wresting.

All very interesting stuff, Spzaller profiles a Big Sky High School alumni who now wrestles collegiate for the women’s team at Northern Michigan University. Her goal is the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

I always thought wrestling was interesting. It’s not really just purely a match of strength. A wrestler’s gotta have a strategy and he’s they’ve got to be able to adjust that strategy during the match. Chess with muscles, as it were.

As for the women on the Hellgate team? One of ’em, I hear, is nearly unbeatable.

Happy Thanksgiving

by JC

Consider this an open thread.
thanksgiving

by JC

Happy, happy Joy, joy!!!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Yeah baby. Run Sarah run!!!

Update: Glenn Beck ruled out a Palin-Beck ticket today:

“Beck-Palin, I’ll consider. But Palin-Beck — can you imagine, can you imagine what an administration with the two of us would be like? What? Come on! She’d be yapping or something, and I’d say, ‘I’m sorry, why am I hearing your voice? I’m not in the kitchen..”

Aren’t these two just so… precious?

by jhwgirl

Pretty big deal. Montana’s Supreme Court remanded Beach’s case back to court to assess potential new evidence. The court ruling came unanimously.

As Great Falls Tribune Helena bureau reporter John S. Adams points out, Beach has consistently maintained his innocence, despite his confession which is says was coerced.

He’s also been the subject of numerous justice projects and media stories focused around his self-professed innocence.

The Trib story promises more tomorrow. I imagine this is going to create quite a media stir, given the attention the case has already had over the years.

by JC

Well, now we know what the republicans really think about health care and the plight of the poor. Senator Lamar Alexander basically acknowledged the third world status of the less fortunate Americans among us.

The plan, said the Senator from Tennessee, is “arrogant in its dumping of 15 million low-income Americans into a medical ghetto called Medicaid that none of us or any of our families would ever want to be a part of for our health care.”

“Medical ghetto” indeed. Better a medical ghetto than sitting on the street outside a community health care clinic that has little or no services available to you.

These guys really do live in an alternate universe. One where poor blacks get free health care via Medicaid, and gosh, what a travesty that we’ll lump in another 15 million Americans… AMERICANS… with them.

Heaven forbid that a white senator from Tennessee would have to tell his low income and white constituents that they’re going to have to share Medicaid with the rest of them ghetto dwellers.

I guess we can say at this point: “and now you know the rest of the story.” Arrogant, indeed.

by Pete Talbot

That’s my advice to the fiancee of Jordon Bryant Iddings, the alleged jerk in Thursday night’s downtown rampage.

Actually, it started at Hooters, that classy joint out on Reserve St. Then proceeded downtown to the Bodega and Reds. Iddings’ abhorrent behavior, and that of his five buddies, was blamed on a bachelor party — Iddings being the groom-to-be.

Here’s the Missoulian story. Read the comments, too, they’re as fascinating as the story itself. Apparently, Iddings had a Facebook MySpace page where he professed his love for his fiancee (shortly after, as the police report states, he groped a woman and then punched her in the face). And the wedding is still on, according to the comments. There was also a reference to the fiancee being with child. I sure hope that’s wrong.

Anyway, it looks like the MySpace page has been taken down, perhaps on the advice of Iddings’ attorney. The page is still up — thanks Pogo.

All I can say is: may I recommend a vasectomy, Jordy, to go along with that lobotomy?

by jhwygirl

A fifth vacant rural development officer position in the state’s Department of Commerce is already vacant and won’t be filled.

Ravalli Republic’s John Cramer has the story.

Cutting 5 jobs geared towards economic development that hold statewide importance to communities all over the state…5 jobs that have created or saved over 3,800 jobs – and not having an answer to them about what you are going to do to “reorganize” isn’t exactly serving the citizens of Montana.

Maybe it would of been nice to have answers in place for the County Commissioners and the Dick Kings of the state before making that kind of cut.

by jhwygirl

This is in follow-up to a previous post.

Somewhat surprisingly if only for who made the motion, the State Land Board voted to delay decision on the Arch Coal Inc. leases of the state’s Otter Creek coal holdings for 30 days to allow for additional time for public comment regarding the leases.

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch made the motion. McCulloch has been a vocal supporter of the Otter Creek coal project since her days as State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Does this signal weakening support for the leases? At least from what any local citizen can see here at either the city or county level, when approval is expected to go south, elected who support a project will often make a motion to return the thing back to committee rather than face a death-knelling vote. Delaying the vote is usually a last ditch effort to try and solidify an affirmative vote.

Was McCulloch sensing the vote heading south? Time will tell.

Lee Newspapers Mike Dennison first story on the vote made mention of the massive amounts of carbon dioxide that will be released into atmosphere should the 1.3 billion tons of coal be burned. His second story on the vote provided information from the two counties that provided proponent testimony on the project, which included Powder River County Commissioner Don McDowell – who is also listed as Treasure of the Montana Association of Coal and Gas Counties.

Given there are 30 more days, those interested might want to go back to my previous post which links to many great resources on the subject of Otter Creek. For some related stuff around these parts, you can search “Tongue River” “coal” and “sequestration” for additional information concerning issues of Otter Creek, coal production and the water quality and quantity degradation that it brings to Montana and the residents of the Tongue River.

If coal could be shown to be clean, I’d be fine with it. It’s not, though. The EPA, until recently, exempted carbon dioxide from NEPA analysis when permitting coal-fired plants. Montana’s CO2 output is increasing.

With less of a market for coal and with rising CO2 outputs in the state – and aren’t we supposed to be going green or something? Isn’t would that what the Good Governor campaigned on back in 2004? – why would we facilitate the extraction and consumption of more coal and CO2? Isn’t that bass ackwards considering that it is 2009 and “renewable” and “sustainable” are the names of the game now?

There are many factors here where public comment and testimony depart from the economic analysis done last fall (prior to the EPA decision regarding coal-fired plants). The leases are based upon that older analysis that is in dispute. Certainly, given that this is one of the largest leases ever put out by the state ever, a thorough, accurate and timely analysis is in order.

Let’s hope that the additional 30 days provides all with sufficient time to more thoroughly look at all factors surrounding the Otter tract leases to determine whether it is what proponents are saying it’s going to be.

by jhwygirl

Well poodles if this doesn’t deserve a shout out and a couple of Andrew Jackson’s, folks. Coming to 4&20 via the every-awesome-in-local-coverage KPAX, UM fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon has decided it’s annual fundraiser for the Watson’s Children Shelter will be a run to Bozeman for the annual Griz-Cat’s game. Frat members will run to Bozeman in 4-hour shifts via I-90.

Obviously, that’s a bit impressive. I wonder if this is in some sort of competition with MSU’s Sigma Phi Epsilon – because if that’s the case, those guys are going to have quite a time topping a run from Missoula to Bozeman.

You can support this one-hell-of-a-fundraiser at its

by jhwygirl

Apparently it’s being contemplated.

Mountain Line has a survey out – available on the web – seeking to determine the viability of a Missoula to Lolo line that would run weekdays, once or twice in the morning and the same in return in late afternoon. From the info request for public comment:

MOUNTAINLINE SURVEY FOR BUS SERVICE TO LOLO Mountain Line has received many requests for Bus service to Lolo. The most likely scenario for bus service to and from Lolo would be a weekday commuter express bus service, traveling to and from Lolo once or twice in the morning, and once or twice in the late afternoon/ evening. The bus would pick up and drop off at Harvest Foods in Lolo, who have agreed to serve as a park and ride. The bus would then go directly into Missoula.

First off, I think its great that Harvest Foods is helping this along. Offering its parking lot for park-and-commute is not only a good community-oriented thing to do, it’ll probably help add to its sales, given that instead of driving by in the comfort of their vehicle, many will probably run inside to get those handful of items that are needed around the house instead of waiting until lunch hour the next day to go and grab the stuff down in town.

Reducing traffic on that drive down the hill? Smart for many – that road gets pretty slick, and more and more are commuting into town. Taking 20 or 30 or 50 cars off the road will improve safety and reduce carbon emissions also. I imagine, on snowy or days, that riding the bus instead of negotiating icy roads might be quite attractive.

by jhwygirl

This comes to me via a reader from Bozeman. I’ve edited it slightly for posting.

The Billings Gazette reports on the Otter Creek coal tracts and the decision to be made Monday by the State Land Board. Letters sent via email are needed NOW to stop the giveaway of state resources to out-of-state corporate coal. Slow down. Coal is not clean, coal power is not clean, and coal mining is not clean. If coal development happens, it should not happen in rushed manner without benefit to Montana.

This is NOT about jobs. With six big strip mines and a new underground mine, Montana is already the 5th largest coal producer in the country, and that has translated into only 1008 jobs total, according the the coal companies’ own Montana Coal Council.

The important thing is write an email NOW and send it to the members of the Montana State Land Board:

Gov. Brian Schweitzer — (406) 444-3111, governor@mt.gov

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Denise Juneau — In-State Toll-Free 1-888-231-9393, Local (406) 444-3095 OPISupt@mt.gov

Attorney General Steve Bullock – (406) 444-2026 contact doj@mt.gov

State Auditor Monica Lindeen – (406) 444-2040 mlindeen@mt.gov

Secretary of State Linda McCulloch – (406) 444-2034 sos.mt.gov

OR you could cut and past these into your email: governor@mt.gov; OPISupt@mt.gov; doj@mt.gov; mlindeen@mt.gov; sos@mt.gov Be sure to put “Otter Creek” in the subject line.

~~~~~
Monday’s Land Board hearing begins at 9 a.m., so as you can see action is needed now.

Many have blogged on Otter Creek. For a great start, Button Valley has done a number of pieces. Remember the Tongue River Valley and Maybe We Shouldn’t Otter are two that contain a number of links to other sources, including one to 4&20 hero and Indy columnist extraordinaire George Ochenski.

The Northern Cheyenne, who darn near border the area and who will be affected directly by any development, have – officially – barely endorsed the plan. As you can see from their comment provided to the Land Board earlier this year, they are suspicious that the promises made to them for jobs won’t be followed through. Seeing the facts on jobs from the Montana Coal Council, they should be suspicious.

Despite the official response of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, meetings held this summer showed even less support amongst the tribes, and native American news source Reznet has that perspective.

Coal isn’t clean. Montana is not the Saudi Arabia of coal as the Governor and Arch Coal and Great Northern would want us to believe. Many organizations have been working hard to drive this message home to the Land Board, including Northern Plains Resource Council and the the Montana Environmental Information Center, two very fine organizations that have fought the good fight, taking up against the state in a number of environmental cases and winning. Economists here in the state (and elsewhere) have said the Otter Creek tracts are overvalued.

Arch Coal will now use pressure to get final approval of its leases at the Land Board on Monday. They have no access – they have no railroad. Two significant impediments to that access are the heir to the Mars candy fortune – who has said “NO” to the railroad moving through his property – and FWP, whose board recently denied a request from Great Northern for its railroad through some of its land. Condemnations and eminent domain requests are messy and lengthy. Why should the state lease its land now when not only is access lacking, but once (and if) major impediments are removed, the value of that coal (if there really is value) and the leases themselves will increase immensely?

Please take the time as you read this to send and email and ask the Land Board to say “NO” to Otter Creek until all effects and affects of both the mine and the railroad can be assessed.

Below is the news alert from the Sierra Club. Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

The Rep. Gordon Hendrick’s promotion of secession talk for parts of Missoula County continues to bug me.

We’ve got a state representative here who represents an area that is more Missoula County than it is Mineral County (about 60%), promoting – or looking into – the secession of a region of Missoula County to Mineral County. He’s not been down to the local courthouse in Missoula to see what those county commissioners down there think about it, yet along inquire about the issues the so-called 70-80% of Petty Creek residents have that is precipitating such a drastic request. You kinda think he’d head down to that governmental body first and try and help things out there – since he’s such a helpful guy and all – instead of adding up the tax dollars a particular group of home down there pays.

He might try, too, knocking more than a handful of doors up Petty Creek. Apparently, Hendrick’s hasn’t really contacted a majority of residents there.

Beyond that, we’ve go a state legislator that is apparently very unaware of the Montana Constitution: Article IX of the Montana Constitution mandates that the boundaries of Montana’s counties remain as they are until approved by a majority of those voting on the question in each county affected.

I mean, really? From the time Hendrick caught wind of the issue – to talking to whomever he talked to – to figuring out the money – to scheduling the meeting with the county – and so on and so on – it didn’t dawn on him to look into the law surrounding the issue of changing a political boundary within the state?

Come to think about it – maybe it isn’t so shocking. We’ve got a bunch of laws out of this last legislative session alone that are “illegal” out of the hatch. Maybe there needs to be some sort of basic government 101 class for our elected people up there in Helena, because here’s how it is folks: In Montana, aside from that pesky U.S. Constitution that trumps all, at the top of the heap we’ve got the Montana Constitution. Our legislators – even if every single one of ’em agreed – can not write a law (Montana Code Annotated) that contradicts (violates) that Constitution. From there, we’ve got Administrative Rules….and those are implemented to uphold law (MCA)…and those, too, have to uphold everything above it.

Many legislators – and even some executives – in our government, it seems, forget that. We’ve got laws, for example, that are written to ignore the Montana Environmental Protection Act (Article IX of our Montana Constitution). I’ll take a lesser politically polarizing (polarizing nonetheless, but not in the R vs. D kind of way) example: Rep. Ed Butcher’s horse slaughter bill HB418. Out of the hatch, Butcher proposed a bill that exempted horse slaughter plans from MEPA review and and MEPA appeal to the courts to shut it down. That was illegal out the hatch. Shouldn’t of even gotten out of committee, but it did with some amendments. Eventually the thing made it through two committees, two floor votes – remaining essentially intact with buffers from MEPA challenges and impediments to making those challenges – and up to the Governor’s office. He offered an amendatory veto (being concerned about the Constitution and all), which was ignored…and then the Governor signed it into then the Governor left it for two weeks, allowing it to become law anyway.

MEPA, in fact, was a favorite target of laws which were introduced by both our legislators and our state agencies to circumvent that pesky Montana Constitution.

But getting back to Rep. Gordon Hendrick – who has announced that he will not be seeking re-election. Unless he’s willing to propose a constitutional amendment to then take it to the voters of both Mineral and Missoula counties, he might as well move on to his next biggest and latest project, whatever it may be.

But please – leave it within a county line, OK?

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread.

Wow. Didn’t know compliance with state laws was voluntary. Pretty convenient, huh?

Bitterroot foreclosures are skyrocketing.

I follow a number of foreign tweeters, including some chinese folk who continue to try and push stories out about the melamine-in-baby-food problem. One that I follow was arrested and then later released probably because he tweeted his own arrest. Now, that tweeter is tweeting that organizers for the families of the victims of the tainted milk have been arrested. There’s one guy who has posted pics of his tiny baby who is in kidney failure. It is heartbreaking. Their government is failing them, and the world needs to know.

Twitter is all very interesting. There is great potential there to influence and help promote democracy from what seems a silly tech site. When the Iranian guard cracked down recently most media and even those within Iran agreed that Twitter served as a tool to save lives from the harsh government crackdown. Another group that I’m aware of is trying to get 5 Cubans released, and wants the U.S. to intervene. Twitter makes the world larger for one of it’s most difficult issues: human rights.

Melinda Gopher, Democratic candidate for Montana’s lone House of Representative seat, has a website up. Ms. Gopher is OjibwekweOgemaw on twitter.

Forward Montana is hiring a managing director. No mail or phone calls, please. Deadline is December 7.

Facts are, apparently, a problem for former Republican Vice President candidate Sarah Palin

If you aren’t reading the Indy’s blog every day, you are missing out.

The Montana Kaimin reports on the woefully sad story of how the Board of Regents is going to have to have to give King George a $75,000 raise, all because the hired a new president out an MSU. The Missoulian covered the same story about a week ago…and it, too, had interviews with persons who were more than happy to frame it as a “oh, poor us, we have to give him a $75,000 raise.” Sorry. Not buying it. No where else in Montana is an entity hiring new people based on competitive wages and then giving a raise to every single other person of the same job a raise.

In more irony, these people are framing this as some sort of search for excellence. Let’s be clear here, with regards to George Dennison. He’s there already. What has he done to increase his excellence rating to a tune of $75,000? And lately, he’s not really shown any excellence in leadership towards education. Football maybe. Beyond that – isn’t he due to recycle his let’s-bulldoze-the-golf-course-and-build-condos plan again? I say let him prove his excellence to someone else if he wants $280,000 a year…and then let’s promote from within the walls of UM. I’m sure there’s someone down there not only capable, but more than willing to take the job on at less than $280,000.

Well now – that’s enough, isn’t it? What say you?

by jhwygirl

Whatever happen to the Republican/Lieberman ideal of not wanting government to come between the patient and the doctor?

Ugh.

By now you’ve heard of the passage of the House’s Affordable Health Care for America Act. Before that vote could hit the floor, conservative Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak put forth an amendment pro-choice people are accurately calling The Stupak Coathanger Amendment. It prohibits the health insurance plans in any government health insurance exchange from covering abortions.

64 Democrats and all but one Republican (Shadegg, of Arizona, who won’t vote for any reform) voted for the bill, and there you have it – the end result being that those most in need of health care – those that have the least – will be left to fend for themselves as those with private coverage move to the front of the line.

For abortions.

Don’t kid yourself, either, into thinking it was anything less.

That amendment didn’t need to occur. Reform was going to pass, and Stupak was bluffing, and many were calling Dems on that bluff up to the vote.

Women’s rights are that expendable for that many? For what? For a show?

Shakesville’s quixote summarizes it well:

But women are just, as always, the expendable canaries in the coal mine. Their rights are toast, which means so are everyone else’s.

I’m going to shout that: WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE TOAST WHICH MEANS SO ARE EVERYONE ELSE’S.

Rights are for all. When only some people have them, they’re just privileges. And privileges can be taken away.

When only some people have them, they’re just privileges. And privileges can be taken away. Think about that.

The most superior Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (of Florida) is over this bill already, saying it will be stripped in conference, after which there is no chance to offer amendments – it becomes an up-or-down vote only.

I trust in Wasserman-Schultz. She’s the type of person you don’t want to get in front of – she’ll run ya’ down if you aren’t going top speed.

40 lawmakers have signed on to a letter saying that they will not support reform if Stupak’s amendment remains.

There are some things you don’t budge on. Pro-choice and preservation of that choice are building block components of the Democratic Party platform. There is no wiggle there.

No wiggle there with my vote either, btw.

Not one vote Not one dime Not one moment of time. Period.

by JC

This open thread is dedicated to the incredible perseverance and diligence shown by goof, lizard, Mark T. and PogoPossum last week on my thread the rise of the conservative party. Have at it boys! And if anybody else has something they’d like to gab about, this thread is for you.

conspiracies

by jhwygirl

Most of you, by now, have probably heard a little about the Swan Valley & Condon secessionists? The group of Missoulians up on the furthest northern reaches of the county that would like to secede to Lake County?

I’ve not heard anything for some time, and while I was tempted to give a holla to the courthouse and ask around, I failed to catch any time today to do it.

Apparently, though, there are more Missoula County residents that think they’d be better off with another county: Petty Creek residents have bent the ear of state Representative Gordon Hendrick about seceding to Mineral County.

Hendrick is hot on their cause, which would bring $253,663.58 of 2009 tax assessment revenue from Missoula’s 19th precinct to Mineral County. He’s also got his eyes on the tax revenue from 50 homes in the 20th precinct also.

Missoula County’s pretty large. It’s bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island. It may, frankly, be better for both counties if either Condon or Petty Creek if they went to Mineral or Lake County. Government, any level of it, exists to serve citizens…so if either of this group feels it isn’t getting its money worth – and the cost of providing those services on these outer reaches of the county is better met by another county, well – can’t really complain about that, right? Should be about the citizens getting the best value for their tax dollar.

Missoula County might be better off to not be sprawled out so much either.

All that being said, one thing that stuck out to me was how ill-informed Rep. Hendrick was – The Clark Fork Chronicle references Hendrick as saying that Missoula County had set precedent in having portions of it secede, and then he apparently referenced the Swan/Condon group. I mean – I can see him being overeager to get at what will probably amount to close to a million in tax revenue, but jumping the gun and telling Mineral County Commissioners that Swan/Condon was now part of Lake County was a bit of an untruth.

There’s also talk about creating another county. All very interesting stuff.

by jhwygirl

Sometimes I think I don’t pimp this blog often enough. This will be a bit of a rant.

Sad to see Missoula’s progressive talk radio AM930 go. So suddenly – and I’ve missed anything if it’s been mentioned elsewhere.

Now – I don’t know when it happened, but Tuesday I settled in the wheels for an early long drive east and couldn’t figure out if someone had messed with the settings on my radio or if whoever it was on the airwaves was some guest host…but clearly, it wasn’t progressive. Sure enough, later that day I got an email.

So now there are 3 conservative stations on the dial here (at 3)? 930, 1290 and 1340? Or something like that?

Now, I imagine Gap West (who owns all three of those stations and a near handful of others around town) is probably claiming that he’s not able to generate any ad revenue on that station. Would seem hard to believe, given he owns the other two regressive stations and Missoula is a progressive town, university and all.

Glad I have satellite radio because I’d rather listen to talk or news at times, and I sure don’t want to listen to that stuff. I’ll turn Gap West Missoula radio back on when they put progressive talk back on air.

by jhwygirl

In the form of $549,349 in campaign contributions from big oil.

From Montana Conservation Voters.

“Give us a reason to vote for you, or we sit home”

by JC

Conventional wisdom already is telling us that the lesson democrats should take home (and republicans and the MSM is amplifying) is that when the base doesn’t turn out, as it didn’t in the NJ and Virginia gubernatorial races, that candidates should move to the right in order to capture moderates and independents.

Ezra Klein explains this phenomenon:

“…Barack Obama wasn’t on the ballot yesterday, and he won’t be on the ballot in 2010. If his voters stayed home last night, many politicians will take that as proof that they’ll stay home in 2010, too. That doesn’t just make the map harder for Democrats. It also moves Democrats to the right, as their consultants will explain that a winning coalition requires more voters from relatively conservative blocs, like seniors and downscale independents, and thus a more centrist campaign strategy.”

Kos takes the opposite approach, and clearly lays out why dems need to move to their left in order to shore up their electoral chances:

There will be much number-crunching tomorrow, but preliminary numbers (at least in Virginia) show that GOP turnout remained the same as last year, but Democratic turnout collapsed. This is a base problem, and this is what Democrats better take from tonight:

  • If you abandon Democratic principles in a bid for unnecessary “bipartisanship”, you will lose votes.
  • If you water down reform in favor of Blue Dogs and their corporate benefactors, you will lose votes.
  • If you forget why you were elected — health care, financial services, energy policy and immigration reform — you will lose votes.

Tonight proved conclusively that we’re not going to turn out just because you have a (D) next to your name, or because Obama tells us to. We’ll turn out if we feel it’s worth our time and effort to vote, and we’ll work hard to make sure others turn out if you inspire us with bold and decisive action.

The choice is yours. Give us a reason to vote for you, or we sit home. And you aren’t going to make up the margins with conservative voters. They already know exactly who they’re voting for, and it ain’t you.

So as we head into the 2010 election season, dems have a choice: work for the progressive base that swept Obama to power, and ignite them to help fight for change; or follow the CW and continue the tack to the right in the off-year election, in hopes of capturing enough independent and centrist votes to make up for the loss of the base.

It isn’t just the right that is struggling with a split in their party–conservatives ejecting RINOs in an attempt to purify the republican party is indicative of the failure of GOP politics. The left likewise is split with a strong progressive section that refuses to follow timid democrats ratcheting to the right. Bad dem politics, as exhibited by the likes of Max Baucus, already is beginning to cement a growing rift between progressives and mainstream democrats on the left.

Democrats need to make up their minds what is more important to their party heading into ’10: progressive ideals, or conservative, centrist and corporatist pandering. Because without a candidate like Obama on the ticket to turn out the progressive, young and minority base that his presidency owes its existence to, they’re left to their own devices (good policy votes for incumbents, strong stances by challengers) to motivate those voters to turn out.

As Kos said: “We’ll turn out if we feel it’s worth our time and effort to vote, and we’ll work hard to make sure others turn out if you inspire us with bold and decisive action.”

Obama should take that as a wakeup call for ’12.

by Pete Talbot

Congratulations to Roy Houseman, who defeated incumbent John Hendrickson by 162 votes in the Ward 2 race. Condolences to Mike O’Herron, who almost took out incumbent Dick Haines in Ward 5: 1,398 – 1,328.

And with all the other Missoula Democratic Party-endorsed incumbents winning their seats, it looks like President Barack Obama has the support of all America — at least if you follow the thinking of the mainstream media.

You see, this off-year election was supposed to be an indicator of support for Obama, the Democrats, and their policies.

According to the AP, two GOP gubernatorial victories (New Jersey and Virginia) are “a troubling sign for the president and his party heading into an important midterm election year.”

Bull-ony.

Apply this reasoning to our city council races and the country overwhelming supports Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. It’s a litmus test confirming the national mood: a referendum on health care legislation, and the handling of the economy and the war in Afghanistan, and is a precursor to the 2010 elections … yeah, right.

First, the fact that a Democrat took the vacant GOP seat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District and a Democrat won a special election for a congressional seat in California are strong indicators that Democrats are holding their own — certainly as strong as looking at any gubernatorial races. People don’t vote for governors the same way they vote for U.S. Senators and Representatives.

Second, on the governor races, New Jersey is awash with corruption scandals (Really? New Jersey you say? What a surprise!). So, the voters are going to throw the bums out, doesn’t matter what party is at the helm. And Virginia has always been a conservative, southern state. I was surprised it had a Democrat as the incumbent. No big shocker there.

Seems that the mainstream media and the political pundits are reaching a bit so they can make interesting banter and exciting headlines.


by JC

going rogue

It’s election day, and the thoughts on my mind, one year after Obama and democrats swept to victory and republicans went down in defeat, are thus:

Will the conservative uprising in elections back east amount to anything more than a squabble in the GOP, and progressive democrats will succeed in wresting control of their party from its moderate entrenchment?

Or has the republican party completely lost its ability to govern, and the return of the two party system will revolve around a centrist democrat/republican corporatism vs. a far right conservative ideology?

Alternatively, anybody feeling the love, àla hope and change?




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