Archive for November 29th, 2009

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

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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.




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