Archive for April 16th, 2011

by Pete Talbot

You get who you vote for

Montana’s PSC is one of the most important government bodies we have in this state. As the banner at its website reveals: energy, telecommunications, water/sewer, transportation and pipeline safety are all under its purview. Since last November’s elections and the new 3-2 Republican majority, the commission has been in turmoil. The latest dust up is being well chronicled by Pogie at Intelligent Discontent, and by the Great Falls Tribune, Lee Newspapers and the Associated Press.

But since the voters decided to return the incendiary “rogue commissioner”* Brad Molner to the commission, and replace utility expert and consumer advocate Ken Toole with utility owner Bill Gallagher, well, what do you expect?

The jury is still out on Travis Kavulla.

* Attributed to PSC Commissioner Gail Gutsche.

Denny’s going down

Rep. Denny Rehberg toed the Tea Party line when he voted against House Resolution 1473, the congressional compromise that cut $38 billion but kept the government up and running.

From the L.A. Tribune’s Washington Bureau:

The bill approved by the House and Senate Thursday will fund the government through the end of the 2011 fiscal year on Sept. 30, cutting $38 billion from environmental, health, education, job-training and other domestic programs. Despite the steep reductions, the measure didn’t go far enough for the House’s most conservative members, exposing divisions among Republicans. (Emphasis mine.)

It’s still early and anything could happen but if the Senate race isn’t already trending to Sen. Tester, I’d be surprised. Tester has been in the news a lot, lately: his wolf-delisting rider, veteran’s issues, and a wilderness bill (there are folks on both sides of the aisle upset with his wolf and wilderness stances, which indicate that they’re moderate positions). And Montanans, for the most part, are a moderate lot, which bodes well for Tester.

Rehberg has done nothing of note (besides casting Tea Party votes) and therefore hasn’t been getting much press, either good or bad, which goes to the old political axiom: I don’t care what you write about me, just spell my name right.

And I was so worried that Gadhafi would appear on the ballot

Some Montana legislators have offered up crazy stuff this session but most of the bills have died in committee, on the floor or have been vetoed by the governor. Not so in Arizona, where a bill promoted by the “birthers” is on the Arizona Governor’s desk awaiting her signature — and it’s possible the socially-conservative Republican governor will sign it. The bill demands proof of U.S citizenship before allowing presidential candidates on the ballot, and Arizona wants to see hospital records, baptismal certificates or circumcision records, along with other affidavits.

Always good to see that Montana’s legislature hasn’t cornered the market on wacky.

This Is 4&20 Blackbirds

by lizard

As we approach the 1,000,000 mark, I would like to thank j-girl for inviting me to be a contributor. I wrote my first post, Poetry & Politics, on September 8th, 2010, and have since had the pleasure of writing about a range of issues that I feel passionate about. And that’s what I really appreciate about this flock of bloggers who roost here; the range of opinions and thoughts expressed on these virtual pages.

A few weeks ago I noticed a slight change in the scope of our little blog. Instead of focusing on just Montana Politics and Culture, the subtitle now reads: Blogging the politics and culture of Missoula and Montana and everywhere else beyond.

This alleviates a bit of my guilt for focusing on issues that are happening outside the borders of our state from time to time, like “humanitarian” wars waged by a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, the shadowy realm of our tax-supported intelligence community, and the world of poetry (which has no border).

A few of us b-birders have, as of late, drawn a bit of heat for our opinions, and that heat has turned to flame-offs in the comment threads. It’s unfortunate because the animosity that now exists seems to trump the substance of the arguments. I don’t care what point someone is trying to make with me when my intelligence is being called into question or personal choices I’ve shared about my lifestyle gets thrown in my face. When that happens, it’s impossible to piss out the fire.

I hope what’s gone down in the last few weeks doesn’t detract from the phenomenal blogging j-girl and others do here covering local issues. Sure, a few of us b-birders may be seen as being cranky lefty extremists fighting to maintain our delusional hope that American Imperialism can be reined in, criminal banksters can be held accountable for their crimes, and other crazy stuff like that, but what makes this blog so great is the awareness j-girl and flock provide about how the levers of local and state government operate.

And to everyone that reads and comments, a BIG thank you. It wouldn’t be worth it withoutchya.

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