Archive for March 10th, 2011

by Pete Talbot

In a serendipitous moment, a friend sent the email below.  I’d been thinking about how Montana Republicans wanted nothing to do with the feds; how they wanted to make county sheriffs the final say in law enforcement; how they’d spurned, at no cost to the state, $35 million to electronically upgrade medical records; and how they want to nullify several federal laws.  That is, except, for the fine federal agricultural subsidy money that gets handed out.

So, here’s the little quiz she sent to me while I was ruminating:

Which Montana Republican has received the most in federal farm subsidies over the last 15 years?

Rep. Christy Clark (Republican, HD-17, serving Lewis and Clark, Powell and Teton Counties, subsidies listed under husband Lewis)
http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A10754290

Rep. Bill Harris (Republican, HD-30, serving Fergus, Garfield, McCone and Petroleum Counties)
http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A08284939

Rep. Roy Hollandsworth (Republican, HD-28, serving Chouteau, Liberty and Toole Counties)
http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A08277446

House Speaker Mike Milburn (Republican, HD-19, Cascade County)
http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A08286152

Rep. Lee Randall (Republican, HD-39, McCone, serving Dawson, Prairie, Fallon, Custer, Carter, and Powder River Counties, subsidies include entire Broadus-area Randall clan)
http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?s=yup&stab=US&zip=&z=See+Recipients&last=randall&first=&stab=MT&fullname=&stab2=AL<http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?s=yup&stab=US&zip=&z=See+Recipients&last=randall&first=&stab=MT&fullname=&stab2=AL>

Rep. Joe Read (Republican, HD-15, serving Glacier, Flathead, Pondera, Lake, and Missoula Counties)
http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A08283769

Rep. Daniel Salomon (Republican, HD-12, serving Lake County)
http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?s=yup&stab=US&zip=&z=See+Recipients&last=salomon&first=&stab=MT&fullname=&stab2=AL<http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?s=yup&stab=US&zip=&z=See+Recipients&last=salomon&first=&stab=MT&fullname=&stab2=AL>

The Stahl Clan in Saco, MT (Rep. Wayne Stahl) Republican, HD-35, serving Valley and Phillips Counties)
http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?stab=MT&last=STAHL&i=Search&first=&page=0 <http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?stab=MT&last=STAHL&i=Search&first=&page=0>

The little town of Harrison, MT (home of Rep. Bob Wagner) Republican, HD-71, serving Jefferson and Madison Counties
http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?s=yup&stab=US&zip=59735&z=See+Recipients&last=&first=&stab=MT&fullname=&stab2=AL<http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?s=yup&stab=US&zip=59735&z=See+Recipients&last=&first=&stab=MT&fullname=&stab2=AL>

The Welborns of Dillon, including Rep. Jeffrey Welborn Republican, HD-72, serving Beaverhead County
http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?s=yup&stab=US&zip=&z=See+Recipients&last=welborn&first=&stab=MT&fullname=&stab2=AL<http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?s=yup&stab=US&zip=&z=See+Recipients&last=welborn&first=&stab=MT&fullname=&stab2=AL>

Sen. Terry Murphy (Republican, SD-39, serving Jefferson and Lewis and Clark Counties)  http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A08316772

Sen. Jim Peterson (Republican, SD-15, serving Chouteau, McCone, Garfield, Fergus, Petroleum, and Judith Basin Counties)  http://farm.ewg.org/persondetail.php?custnumber=A08282185

And the winner is (hint — he’s the Montana Senate President): Jim Peterson, from Buffalo, Montana, for a total of  $637,548.

Now I’m not completely opposed to ag subsidies.  They’ve been instrumental in stabilizing commodity prices and helping out family farmers and ranchers.  I’m suspicious of the corporate farms and ranches that receive them.  But more so, it’s the hypocrisy of the party in charge — Republicans who rail against government assistance to veterans, the poor, hospitals, and schools — but nary a peep on agricultural handouts.

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By JC

So says GOP Congressman, and oil industry apologist Joe Barton.

So do all you free market believers out there agree that we need to subsidize the most profitable corporation on earth, as a matter of faith in the marketplace?

Or do we really just need to defund social programs and nonprofits like NPR and Planned Parenthood, because that’s how we’re going to balance the budget?

Madness and hypocrisy!

A book recommendation

By Duganz

I’m in the middle of reading the most horrifying book, and I want to put it on everyone’s radar so I’m  not alone. 

Nothing to Envy, by Barbara Demick is a series of stories from North Korean defectors that all add up to one thing: North Korea is the world’s saddest, most oppressed nation. Seriously. Nowhere else is as sad or terrifying as North Korea. With every page I read I am equally more sad, and more angry, and more convinced that the reasoning we were given for the War in Iraq was bullshit. Because if we wanted to defend the freedom of oppressed people we long ago would have arrested Kim Jong-Il, tied him to a post, and paraded him through Hollywood screaming, “You like movies? Welcome to movie town!”

It’s obvious that our foreign policy under Bush and Obama has not really been about freeing people, or we’d by occupying Pyongyang instead of Baghdad, regardless of if the Chinese would be pissed.

And I’m not trying to advocate war. I’m really not. I’m just sad that tonight I’m going to bed and I live in a nation lit up like a fucking Christmas tree (much to my dismay as I live next to a street lamp…). But this is what Korea looks like at night Note: the bottom is South Korea, one of the strongest economies in Asia.

Just a disaster. Go buy the book, please.

by jhwygirl

The Marion School, a grade school up near Kalispell Montana, with a student body of 89 kids no older than, say, 12, has some problems.

And so parents packed some School Board meeting room mad that the principal had taken the doors off the bathroom stalls (apparently both the boys and girls) because of excessive and persistent graffiti…

…and the need, according to Principal Justin Barnes, “…to follow through.”

Now, my purpose isn’t to argue with that logic. I’m certainly no expert on kids, nor an educator. What I ponder is the purpose of punishing the whole group of kids – in a school with 89 kids, all less than 12 years old.

I also wonder what the graffiti said. It appears from the story that the topic didn’t even come up. Clearly, it isn’t purple ponies and rainbow unicorns. Anyone think that isn’t important to this situation?

So we got some teachers that can’t collectively outsmart the kids in a less humiliating fashion….and a group of parents that would prefer to yell at the teachers about privacy issues.

Neither appear to notice that they got a budding group of intimidation artists that have more control over the school than their very own parents and teachers do of them. Nor do these people feel a need to identify these kids and get them the help they need.

Now, those comments might get me some flames…feel free. Despite my anti-social tendencies, I like kids and old people and they seem to like me. I don’t think the parents concerns about privacy are invalid…and I certainly recognize that vandalism is a problem (costly, at minimum.) When I read this story, I immediately felt sorry for those kids – even those budding criminals there – because no one, it appears, was looking at the cause. They were only looking a stopping some vandalism which was inconveniencing them.

Ignoring this stuff and just seeking punishment – especially napalm-style like they did and as young as those kids are – will only create much larger adult-size problems for the rest of society in the future. That I’m pretty sure of.

~~
A hat tip to Andrea Lutz, reporter extraordinaire for Missoula’s KPAX CBS news station.




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