Archive for May, 2011

Sen. Jon Tester supports anti-immigrant policies and impedes immigration reform.

A guest post by Helena Immigration Attorney, Shahid Haque-Hausrath, posted by Jamee Greer

Jon Tester (D-MT) is facing a tough run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, but he just keeps giving progressives more reasons not to vote for him. His track record on immigration issues has been abysmal, as I’ve written about before. Make no mistake about it — Tester is probably the worst Democrat in the Senate on the issue of immigration, and he is one of the most vocal. The way he talks about the issue, you would think Montana wasn’t one of the states with the least number of immigrants in the whole country.

Despite outrage over his despicable vote against the DREAM Act, Tester hasn’t decided to leave immigration policy to states that actually have a dog in the fight. You won’t see him bragging about his DREAM Act vote, mind you — after all, Daily Kos famously called him an “asshole” for that reprehensible vote, and he doesn’t want to rekindle the ire of the netroots crowd. However, he has continued to make his anti-immigrant positions a core part of his campaign, jumping at every opportunity to link immigration to national security concerns. For instance, when a college in California was found to be enrolling foreign students without proper accreditation, Tester quickly issued a press release noting that “several of the terrorists who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001, had entered the country using student visas.”

Recently, Jon Tester put up two web pages on the issue of immigration that are so ignorant you would think Tester locked anti-immigrant zealots Mark Krikorian and John Tanton in a room with a bottle of whiskey and posted whatever they came up with.

In fact, these two immigration pages are so wrong-headed that they require some analysis and interpretation to fully make sense of them. One web page outlines his unsophisticated view of the immigration issue in four paragraphs. His other page lists his immigration “accomplishments.” (By accomplishments, Tester seems to mean ways he has screwed immigrants and wasted federal money.) I’ll review both of the pages together.

Jon’s position on immigration is simple: people who wish to immigrate to the United States must follow the rules, and we must enforce them. That’s why Jon opposes amnesty for illegal immigrants.

During his first year as Senator, Jon helped put a stop to a bill that would have granted amnesty to illegal immigrants living in the United States.

Jon voted in 2007 to defeat the Immigration Reform Bill, telling his colleagues, “We don’t need hundreds of pages of expensive new laws when we can’t even enforce the ones we’ve already got on the books.”

Where do we start? Polls have consistently shown that the people think our immigration system is broken and want some form of immigration reform. The last time our immigration laws were substantively changed was in 1996, and almost everyone agrees that those changes were ineffective — in fact, they created more problems than they solved. People are frustrated by the federal government’s failure to act, and don’t believe that “enforcement only” solutions are going to work. As a result of the federal government’s inertia, states like Arizona, Utah, and Georgia have begun to enact their own immigration policies, which raise significant constitutional concerns including due process violations and racial profiling. While I strongly oppose state level enforcement of immigration laws, and I believe that these state laws are misguided, it is difficult to fault the states for at least trying to take action when the federal government will not.

Yet, Jon Tester considers it an “accomplishment” that he has ignored the will of the public and done absolutely nothing to fix our immigration system. In fact, he is proud that he helped derail immigration reform in 2007, and has continued to sabotage efforts to reform our immigration laws. It’s nice that he sets the bar so low for himself, but the rest of the country is expecting a little more.

Tester refuses to acknowledge that our system needs to be fixed, stating “we don’t need hundreds of pages of expensive new laws when we can’t even enforce the ones we’ve already got on the books.” The problem, of course, is that our system is broken and we need to reform our laws in order to more effectively enforce them. Current immigration reform proposals aim to increase enforcement on the border and interior of the country, but recognize that in order to curb undocumented immigration we also need to fix some of our laws that are creating the problems in the first place. For instance, our laws include huge gaps in coverage, where many family members have no reasonable opportunity to immigrate legally to the United States. Among other things, reform proposals would open new paths to family-based immigration that were causing needless undocumented immigration.

Tester remains willfully obtuse in his opposition to so-called “amnesty” for immigrants who lack lawful status. “Amnesty” means a general pardon for an offense against the state, but Tester uses the term “amnesty” to refer to any changes in the law that would create a path to legalization — even if the path is strenuous and imposes a strict set of requirements. He even used the term amnesty to refer to the DREAM Act, which would have created a seven (or more) year path towards citizenship for men and women who serve our country in the military or go to college. There is no “amnesty” on the table, and there hasn’t been for years. Instead, what is being proposed is a way for immigrants who are already here to earn their way back into lawful status by paying fines, back taxes (if they haven’t already been paying like most immigrants), and potentially even community service. After all, even Newt Gingrich understands that it is not realistic to deport all of the 11 million people who are here without status.

Finally, comprehensive immigration reform won’t be expensive, as Tester states, but will actually increase wages for all workers and improve our economy. Time and again, it has been proven that spending money on border security alone, without any other changes to our laws, is untenable and ineffective. Nevertheless, Tester has chosen to advocate these “enforcement only” solutions.

Instead [of immigration reform], Jon has focused his energy on boosting security along America’s borders, particularly our northern border with Canada. From his seat on the influential Appropriations Committee, Jon has secured investments to combat the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, as well as critical investments upgrading Ports of Entry along the Canadian border.

That same year, Jon introduced and passed into law a measure requiring the Homeland Security Department to report on weaknesses along the northern border and develop a plan for improving northern border security.

So let me get this straight: Instead of working for immigration reform to help the entire country, Tester is pushing for huge government expenditures to protect us from Canada? It is foolish to tout Canadian border security as an alternative to comprehensive immigration reform, because it is clear that the risks from an unmonitored northern border have almost nothing to do with the larger immigration problems our country is facing.

While the GAO issued a report stating that Department of Homeland Security needs to work better with other agencies and partners along the northern border, the GAO didn’t endorse Tester’s crusade to spare no expense to “secure” the border. Indeed, the GAO previously pushed back on claims about insecurity on the northern border.

Nevertheless, Tester is so eager to appear strong on immigration enforcement that he managed to get an appropriation for military grade radars on the Canadian border. He also wants to expand the use of unmanned drones (and they are already being used in some areas). Those radars and drones would have come in handy last year, when I helped a Canadian kid who got lost and accidentally drove his ATV across the border.

As George Ochenski put it: “For most Montanans, the border with Canada has never been and likely will never be seen as a threat. After all, the U.S. and Canada share the longest border on the continent, and it has been our ally in world wars as well as regional conflicts. It’s also our largest trading partner and our closest, largest and most secure source of oil. Treating Canada as some variant of Pakistan’s border is, in a word, insulting to both Montanans and our Canadian friends.”

Jon was the only Senate Democrat to put his name on legislation pumping new resources into border protection for new technology and new border patrol officers. Jon cosponsored the measure after securing a pledge that a certain percentage of those new resources would be spent along the northern border.

Here’s a tip for Tester’s staffers: When you’re the only Democrat to put your name on a piece of legislation, its probably nothing to brag about. The bill that Tester is referring to is actually a corollary to one that was introduced by his opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT). Jon Tester partnered up with Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-AZ), among other Republicans, to co-sponsor a $3 million amendment. This bill also funded construction of the fence along the Mexican border — a project that has been abandoned and condemned as a tremendous failure and waste of billions in taxpayer dollars.

And from his seat on the influential Appropriations Committee, Jon has secured investments to combat the flow of illegal drugs into the United States, as well as critical investments upgrading Ports of Entry along the Canadian border.

One of Tester’s “critical upgrades” was a $15 million dollar renovation to the border station in Whitetail, MT, which was reported to get about five crossings a day and no commercial traffic. After facing criticism for needless spending, Tester and Max Baucus reduced the appropriation to only $8.5 million. Meanwhile, Canadian officials closed the road leading to this border station, rendering the whole project useless. This embarrassing episode didn’t make Tester’s list of accomplishments.

Of course, even though he votes against any legislation that isn’t directed purely towards deporting immigrants, Tester wouldn’t want you to get the impression that he is against immigration:

Jon knows that legal immigrants, like his grandparents, helped build America into what it is today. But he also believes that no one is above the law.

In public statements and constituent letters, Tester is constantly stating that his grandparents “waited in line” and followed the rules, implying that new immigrants should be expected to follow the same process. However, it appears that Tester’s ancestors entered the country in 1916 — before our current immigration system even existed. At that time, our immigration policy was comparable to an “open border” policy. Years later, quotas were enacted to limit immigration and more stringent criteria for entry were developed. It was not until 1965 that the current Immigration and Nationality Act was enacted, with its very limited methods for gaining permanent residence in the U.S.

There is no question that Jon Tester’s ancestors faced a dramatically different immigration system than those who are immigrating today. Tester and other enforcement advocates often evoke the image of a “line” that immigrants must simply wait in. However, the truth is that for most immigrants, there is no “line.” Tester’s own grandparents may not have been able to enter the country under our current immigration scheme.

Jon Tester seems intent on mimicking Rehberg in many ways, including sharing his anti-immigrant views.

Jon Tester’s vocal anti-immigrant positions have placed Montana progressives in a difficult position. Contrary to the attacks of those who want to silence any opposition to Tester’s bad policies, none of us are excited about the prospect of his opponent, Dennis Rehberg, being elected to the Senate. Indeed, Rehberg’s stance on immigration is no better than Tester’s. However, Tester’s ignorant views on immigration are also making it impossible for us to lend him our vote.

Tester’s positions on immigration are not gaining him support with Republicans, but they are causing a split among Democrats. The best thing for Jon Tester to do is distance himself from the issue of immigration, because each time he opens his mouth, he brings many progressives closer to sending a difficult message: The progressive movement cannot tolerate a Democrat who has an anti-immigrant agenda, regardless of the consequences.

Shahid Haque-Hausrath blogs about local immigration issues at Border Crossing Law Blog.

by problembear

http://www.achieveglendale.org/blog/2011/05/ending-veteran-homelessness-in-glendale/

 

i see no reason we cannot make this happen for those who fight for us. seems the least we can do is provide homes for our veterans. anything less is shameful.

By JC

You know, Democrats really hate people who put policy before politics. Principles before compromises. Issues before elections. Especially when you’re talking about wilderness.

Seems that criticizing policy that seeks to release lands protected by the late Senator Lee Metcalf’s Montana Wilderness Study Act and other roadless and protected areas, in exchange for the official “designation” of a few hundred thousand acres of said protected land garners folks the “ilk” moniker from Dems.

Well, I happen to like the “ilk” that i have been associated with. So thanks to the thought police for pointing that out and reminding me who my friends are, here. I’d so rather work with folks who’d rather take a principled stand on the value of wilderness, instead of trading wilderness for votes.

Fighting for, and about wilderness has become a time-honored tradition in Montana between the body politic, and those who would protect or would destroy it. Sometimes, Dem gossip columnists get the facts mixed up a bit, and come off sounding a bit down-right hostile to enviros.
Continue Reading »

by lizard

I’m going to have a little fun with this week’s LWPS and position a poetic dialogue between myself and Missoula poet Mark Gibbons, a fine poet who i have had the pleasure of listening to around town a few times.

Mark’s been kind enough to offer the much appreciated support ofcomments and verse here at 4&20, and does some great work with the Missoula Writing Collaborative.

This poetic dialogue will begin with a poem I wrote 4 or 5 years ago around this time of year, in which I play the role of the prick. In response, with his poem GRASSHOPPER, Mark will unfurl, through delightfully measured blows of verse, how one effectively deals with pricks through transcendence.

And before this dialogue begins, it should be noted Mark’s poem is from a collaborative effort between Mark and Michael Revere, titled War, Madness, & Love, published in 2008 by R&R Publishers.

Okay, here we go— Continue Reading »

by problembear

….but it will be tweeted.

word tonight that Gil Scott Heron has passed away at the age of 62.  this is one of my favorite riffs……   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

BCFS

And the Fuax News Achievement Award goes to… The Missoulian.

I’m not sure if its possible for the Missoulian to have their collective heads farther up the ass of new Bresnan owner Cablevision.  I know the Missoulian is a loca paper, and as such carries some pretty worthless ‘news’ items from time to time, but did they just reprint a press release or something with this ‘informative’ story … er… advertisement?  As always Missoulian,  stay classy.

If you don’t already know, Bresnan Communications was bought out by Cablevision back in December and is now calling itself Optimum West (because its going to optimize its profits yo!).  So… an already annoying local monopoly with horrible customer service is now a local monopoly owned by a national corporation with monopolistic aspirations and most likely even worse customer service.

Optimum’s services are advertised as cheaper and more advanced than Bresnan’s.

Yeah, the introductory rate may be, but in cruising the whole of the Optimum site, the one .pdf that did not load properly was the document showing their regular prices after the promotional period ends.

Anyway, I never liked Bresnan service much, its customer service was horrible and its service expensive, but it was kinda the only game in town. You can’t really  shame a company into acting in a more socially responsible manner or treating their customers in a more respectful manner (they have no conscience after all) so this is just me complaining.

It would seem that customer service is already worse under the new owners.  In the last few months I have gotten at least one call per week badgering me to upgrade my current service, you see I didn’t have the optimum package for streamlining profit potential.  Needless to say i finally freaked out on a poor telemarketer that probably didn’t even work for Cablevision, but he seemed to understand my frustration.  Customer service shouldn’t be mainly about selling your customer more crap they don’t want.

Yeah for faux news.

The Traditional Woman

by lizard


I can’t help myself. After reading Rob Natelson’s masculine appreciation of the Tea Queen, Michele Bachman, I was overwhelmingly compelled to break my once-a-week blog diet.

Like Pogie, I was immediately struck by this line in Mr. Natelson’s BIG PIC/small content post:

On the practical level in the TV age: Bachmann easily pulls off the challenging feat of looking simultaneously traditionally-feminine and competent.

the term traditionally-feminine is a quagmire. plugged in to Google images, that pic is the first image offered. Add to that Natelson implying being traditionally-feminine excludes being competent, well, that’s just icing on the cake cooked by a nice stupid submissive house wife, right? Continue Reading »

by jhwygirl

Oh boy…what? A new union? Those crazy liberals!

Yeah…no.

Dairgold Creamery in Bozeman is laying off 2/3 of its workforce – 35 to 40 people. It’s cheaper to send raw milk to Salt Lake City (which is, incidentally, hiring) for pasteurization and will save Dairgold trucking miles and costs.

My heart goes out to those workers and their families. Those were undoubtedly good stable jobs. Then there’s the tax base.

Well – I’m in for co-opting it. A dairy co-op. Buy the thing, Montana – just like the local co-op grocery store. Don’t let Dairgold dismantle the thing like Smurfit intended…or like Stimson who is letting its whole facility cave in and rot on stilts (as they are doing with dozens of historic homes in Bonner).

Montana needs to continue value-adding to its raw dairy products. Montana-made milk. Yogurt. Ice Cream. While I’m more of a soy-milk fan, I don’t see that about to break any trend here in Montana….so milk is a pretty stable commodity, I’d say.

It all starts with an idea. Sitting around and saying “oh well,” doesn’t work.

by jhwygirl

I didn’t catch the evening news on the idiot box, and I’m not seeing a flashing red “Breaking” notice across the Missoulian page, so here goes.

The National Weather Service has put out a Flood Warning for Missoula – in the area where the city lies (from East Missoula to past the city).

What is interesting is this:

* AT 10.0 FEET…FLOODING OF LOW LYING AREAS ADJACENT TO THE RIVER
IS POSSIBLE. SPECIFIC FLOOD PRONE AREAS INCLUDE NORTHERN PORTIONS
OF TOWER AND STONE STREETS IN THE ORCHARD HOMES AREA.

* AT 12.0 FEET…FLOODING IS POSSIBLE ALONG THE CLARK FORK RIVER
FROM RESERVE STREET THROUGH THE ORCHARD HOMES RESIDENTIAL AREA
AND TOWARD THE CONFLUENCE WITH THE BITTERROOT RIVER NEAR KELLY
ISLAND.

Just how close will we get to that 10 foot or 12 foot level? Take a look a this hydrograph from near East Missoula. That hydrograph is live info for the actual flows – and the projection portion is changed pretty frequently. It has – so you know – only been going UP and for a longer period of time for the last few days.

So if any of you folks live in the Orchard Homes area or near Tower and Stone Street (especially) you might think about getting prepared. Believe it or not, I’ve actively ‘participated’ (for lack of a better word) in two floods. They aren’t a lot of fun – especially if you don’t have any warning.

Also of interest is the Bitterroot between the East and West Fork and on down to its confluence with the Clark’s Fork. The National Weather Service currently has a Flood Watch in effect for the Bitterroot. Here is, also, the hydrograph for Bell Crossing.

As you can see, those bridges are going to be pretty stressed, as they already are. The current projection for Bell Crossing is for it to hit above flood stage. The Bell Crossing bridge has, in fact, met the ire of a number of people, including one of Ravalli’s tea party leaders who owns a home right next to the river. As you can note from that article, he now feels the government should come in a take action to protect his home.

As an aside, I love that quote in there from former Ravalli County Attorney George Corn: “You can sue a ham sandwich if you can pay the filing fee.”

In other parts of the Bitterroot more theater will likely play out with Tom Robak, who built his house illegally in the county floodplain. Hef also brought in fill to do it, which is also a violation of (at least) county floodplain regs. I’ve written twice about the Robak issue here, touching on the greater issues his violation presents – and why floodplain regs are a good thing.

Robak’s house is somewhere down near theEast Fork/West Fork of the Bitterroot, and Robak recently made application to dredge out and remove an island in the BItterroot to help protect his unfinished illegally-built home…along with rip-rapping the bank of the river to help save the home.

As you can see from that hydrograph, it isn’t looking pretty there – and if you built your home in the floodplain and brought fill in to do it? Not only are you going to have problems, you are going to be causing problems for any bridge downstream from you…for any irrigation structure downstream from you…and pretty much any property downstream.

His liability at this point is pretty great.

Bottom line, folks, is that if you live next to the river or you know anyone that does, you might want to offer them some help to get stuff up out of the basement and up off the first floor. Sitting in denial until it’s creeping up on the lawn isn’t smart. Trust me.

By JC

Open thread for this glorious, rapturous spring day!

Continue Reading »

by lizard

It’s rare for poetry to become pundit fodder, but when president Obama got a little cultural on the 11th of this month, a ridiculous controversy only the right could conjure emerged. Here is the performance (which is not the controversy)

No, what lit the controversy up were these rather bland rhymes Common penned about Bush:

“Burn a Bush cos’ for peace he no push no button/Killing over oil and grease/no weapons of destruction”

Really? If that little jab at Bush butt-hurts Republicans, then maybe Ted Nugent can cheer them up: Continue Reading »

by Lesley Lotto

Oh damn Tim Pawlenty, a devout Christian, is waiting until Monday to announce he’s running for President in 2012.  Joy and #Rapture.  I mean, couldn’t he have announced tonight?  Then I could have watched him on Fox and had his voice lull me to sleep.  I would like to go with everyone else in a peaceful manner and I cannot think of a more boring person to listen to as a take my last wink. snore… If the world really is ending tomorrow, as Harold Camping tells us, why would Pawlenty wait until Monday for his big announcement?

Yes, the former two-term Governor of Minnesota has announced he’s going up against Obama.  You know the President who recently pissed off the right by declaring there should be borders up in Israel like before the “Six Day war”.  (For you non-Jews, that’s one important war.)  As a Jewish person, I find it way offensive when Christians, I’m talking to you Glenn Beck, get all hoity toity about what should be done in Israel and how the US has it all wrong.  George W. knew what to do, but Obama, the Muslim, he knows not.  But I digress…

Pawlenty is believed to be the only serious candidate for the Republican party.  Hell Newt Gingrich’s “campaign” has already taken a death spiral.  (Have you seen that Gay Confetti video?)  Pawlenty could have run for a third term as Governor with his tidy record of conservatism, the not raising taxes and the being against abortion, except for those pesky core issues he mulled for a minute like raising taxes on cigarettes to balance his state budget and that nasty moment he considered Cap and Trade legislation. Then there’s the 5 Billion Dollar Budget hole he left for the new Governor and his taking of Stimulus Dollars from the Fed, what a thing!

Now Sarah Palin has reared her gorgeous mug and mane again, not wanting to stay out of the limelight for even a second, to say, “I’ve got the fire in my belly”.  Oh holy hell, she’s pregnant again?  No, and damn, she’s just toying with a run in 2012.  She wants to stay in the conversation, dontcha know.  After all why would she let Pawlenty  (a really tangible VP candidate pairing for McCain back in 2008) get all of the attention from the “Elite Media”?

Palin and her co-hort, Rep. Michelle Bachman also of Minnesota, oh please let the two of them run on the same ticket, are both considering a run in 2012.  But who could be the running mate when they both have the fire in the belly and all?  Bachman is loved by the “Tea Party” and Palin is loved by angry, old white men.  You know the type that will fondle themselves tonight to the likes of a threesome with Bachman and Palin before the world ends.

Meanwhile, Obama is getting down with the serious issues of our time and has no time for the nonsense of this all.  But then again if the world DOES end tomorrow, why would he care?

By CFS

Oh Newt, you’ve given us so much entertainment this week, mostly from your mis-steps, tax-evasion, and being ripped apart by your own base.  For this I thank you Newt, its nice to know the Republicans have their own version of Biden running for president.  Keep up the quality work.

By CFS

Since the Republicans showed their true communist colors and adopted the slogan “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need,” with the passage of SB 423 ridding the fledgling medical marijuana industry of the profit motive patients will inevitably suffer and the black market will invariably fill the void left by the current caregiver system.

I wonder what the Republicans think all these MMJ growers will do once they become outlawed… Sell their equipment on craigslist? More likely, these growers that have sunk thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of dollars into their business will continue to grow for the black market where they can actually make money… Tax free at that. These people are small business entrepreneurs after all, and they just need government to get out of their way.

Anyway, there is a great Slate feature that I suggest anyone interested in this issues should read. The article is written by a woman whose son suffers from a severe form of autism and the only thing that she has found that helps her child is marijuana. There are four parts to the series spanning a two year period of her family’s struggle with the disorder and how, through the use of medical marijuana, they have been able to live a more normal and happy life.

by Lesley Lotto

So Newt Gingrich has announced he’s running for President in 2012.  Whoop dee doodle.  Really?  Has there ever been a more hypocritical run for higher office?  Well, ya, probably.  The overly bloated, egotastical Newt made the announcement via Twitter last week to which his 14 followers all bellowed from the Internets, yahoo, wait, what?

Gingrich was of course the Speaker of the House when Bill Clinton was President. He was swept onto the throne on a tidal wave of popularity when the country was confused, kind of like right now, voting for whatever the opposite is to what there was at the time.  Sort of like an episode of Seinfeld.

Newt was also widely known as one of those who tried to get Clinton ousted from office through Impeachment, but of course Clinton would have none of that, shouting “I did NOT have sex with THAT woman” to which Newt and his clingerson found that so arousing, they had to bring in an investigator to search for semen on a blue dress or was it a cigar that landed in Clinton’s mouth after being in the nether regions of a White House intern?

For me, the best part of all of it during that era was ol’ Newt embroiled in some of his own sexual shenanigans while touting himself as the Family Values type.  Oy Vey.  He married one of his high school teachers when he was 19, she was 26.  He was married to her for 18 years when he allegedly went to the cancer-stricken, bed-ridden, hospital-laying wife and asked for a divorce because she just didn’t do it for him anymore. Besides he was sticking it to someone else and really wanted to marry her, ya know being the family values type and all.

That someone was 23 years younger than Newt and a Congressional staffer, oh my!  All of this happening at the same time Newt led the investigation into President Clinton.  Now I don’t personally care what Clinton did in the Oval office.  Heck, the country was hummin’ along ;) yeah, he lied, so what?  What politician doesn’t?  But Newt, after cheating on wife two with now wife three, to say G-d has forgiven me and so should you?  Ahem…I think not.  I think he needs to sidle right up to Bill and Hillary and ask for forgiveness.  You know, make amends.  Then it should be up to the Clintons to decide if he gets a mulligan.

Newt quit his position in the House after a government shutdown and Republicans made a horrible showing in the 1998 elections.  Not unlike another high-powered Republican leaving a high-powered position who we’ve yet to hear may also make a run in 2012.  They really are the cut and run party.  I hate that saying, but it really works here.

But Newt’s one of those types that went to rehab or went to G-d and saw the light.  He knows he can do a better job than the suddenly upright Obama.  He says Obama’s got it all wrong, he’s the “Food Stamp President” and to blame for all that is not holy.

Newt says he found G-d after seeing the Pope and seeing the peace that exuded from him.  Well Newt, the Pope’s never done it.  Shouldn’t you be way more peaceful than the Pope given how many women you’ve had?  While we’re on the subject, what’s wrong with your wife? She looks so frightened.  Is it me or does she look more plastic than Cindy McCain and Nancy Pelosi all rolled up into one. Newt might want to take a step back for a minute and meditate like Mike Huckabee who just said his heart said no even though his many followers said yes to a 2012 run.

Not as salacious, but just as damning, Newt was embroiled in a nasty ethics scandal which some say was the reason he finally stepped down.  He apparently misused election funds to help sweep Republicans into the majority in 1998 and was fined a stealthy 300-grand.  At the time he was going to borrow the cash from Bob Dole, but then turned up the cash.

Newt was also one of several members of the House involved in “Rubbergate” where the House Bank allowed Legislators to keep overdrawn bank accounts.   And this guy thinks he can bring the economy back from a banking scandal?

Over the weekend Newt said Congressman Paul Ryan had the budget bill all wrong and that his healthcare mandate and changes to Medicare were wrong for America.  When he was called out by his own party, he blamed the “Elite Media”.  Sounds awfully like another Cut and Runner Repub.

And all of this so easily investigated through Googling Newt’s name by a lil’ radio reporter here in Montana… Far from elite.

BCFS

So… My better half is contemplating purchasing a new vehicle, which means that I get to have some fun doing internet research and reading car magazines on possible options.  She decided that she wanted better gas mileage than her current Subaru provides (28 mpg), and I convinced her that she if she wanted a significant improvement that she should go with a diesel, specifically a Jetta TDI (used or new).  The only problem it seems is that you can’t find a diesel car within 500 miles of Missoula: of course you can find hundreds of diesel Chevy Silverado 3500s.  The dealers seem to think that they wouldn’t sell which means that the closest diesel cars are embargoed in Seattle, Denver, or Salt Lake City.

This isn’t the only barrier that crops up when you want to get your right foot on the gas pedal of a diesel.  Prices of diesels in the used car market have significantly risen in the last half decade as fuel economy suddenly became important to people.  Used Jetta TDIs routinely go for several thousand dollars above their suggested blue book value making a slightly used TDI almost as expensive as a brand new one.  A diesel Jetta is the “cheap” option as many of the other diesels available in America are European luxury models.

And that gets me to my question of the day… Where the fuck are the American diesels?  Half of all cars sold in Europe are diesel.  If you want to buy an American made diesel vehicle in this country you have a lot of option that look like this:

Other than that you have to go with a European manufacturer if you want a car and not a truck.  Audi has 4 diesel models available in the US; BMW 3; Mercedes 7; Volkswagen 7; GM 0, Ford 0; Chrysler 0.  And Audi, BMW, and Mercedes cars aren’t exactly cheap and so aren’t feasible for most Americans to purchase.

Petrol prices are once again averaging $4/gallon and are nearing the record high reached in 2008 and yet the mix of cars available in America has changed very little even in the face of rising prices spanning the last decade.  As of 2008, the average passenger vehicle in America got 25.6 mpg compared to 25.1 mpg in 2001.  That’s American innovation for you.

But this being America, we like big sweeping plans to solve issues, the simple solutions are just plain boring.  T. Boon Pickens has his idea for converting the American passenger vehicle fleet to natural gas and Obama wants us to believe that plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) are the technological answers to our commuting nightmares.  Both of those options might be viable long-term solutions to our dependence on oil to drive our economy, but in the short-term neither really makes all that much sense.

The problem with both EVs and NGVs is that they both require whole new systems of distribution and manufacture to develop.  We are talking about investments in the trillions of dollars here to undertake the necessary research, develop new, scalable manufacturing techniques, convert factories, and build the distribution system that will allow Americans to plug-in or fill up their car with natural gas.

Diesel doesn’t require any of that.  The distribution system is already in place.  American car makers might have to spend $50,000 grand buying an advanced diesel car from Europe and reverse-engineering the engine but that’s about all the research they would have to undertake to catchup with European manufacturers.  And diesel cars could show an immediate impact on fuel efficiency, often providing two or three times the fuel efficiency than gas engines currently in use in America.

In the end, diesel isn’t the answer to our oil-dependence (and talk of our energy addiction would make this post too long) as we are going to run out of crude anyway.  What diesel can provide is a bridge between today and whatever system comes along in the future… whether that may be flying cars or living in termite mounds.

by problembear

tonight’s segment of CBS 60 minutes dealing with the sovereign citizen’s movement should alert us all to the dangers of a fanatical movement which encourages people to believe themselves above the law. many of these sovereign citizens openly brag that they will shoot to kill any law enforcement officers, government officials, politicians, judges or  anyone who they encounter which in their twisted minds might threaten their fanatic beliefs that our government has exceeded its authority and that the final solution to any encounter with peace officers should be a willingness to shoot it out in order to protect their rights. besides the willingness to use personal weaponry , the use of private liens against those they disagree with is also pervasive.

this is insanity.  and the beliefs and actions of this movement  sure sound an awful lot like these guys doesn’t it? 

this threat places police officers, wildlife officers, sheriff’s deputies, and indeed any government official in grave danger during routine traffic stops here in montana. first amendment rights give these groups the right to say whatever they want. but come on- shooting police officers encouraged?

sure seems like a lot of the “bat-crap crazy” GOP supported tea party legislators from our recently adjourned montana legislature espoused some very similar beliefs.

not sure what we can do about this, but it seems important enough to at least discuss. makes me wonder about some recent police officer shootings in this state. were they simply a crazy person snapping or did this movement play a hand in this.

by Pete Talbot

This is insider stuff.  About three weeks ago 4&20 notched one million hits.

I was hoping jhwygirl or maybe even founding father Jay Stevens would announce this and also add some pithy commentary. Didn’t happen, though, so I guess it’s up to me.

First, I’m not sure what a hit is versus a visit versus a ‘unique visit’ and I don’t really care.  Our traffic is nothing compared to Huffington Post, Daily Kos or most of your celebrity websites, but one million seems like a lot to me.

Here’s some history — corrections appreciated.  4&20 was started by the legendary Jay Stevens in February, 2006, as a progressive political blog (and vehicle to help get Jon Tester elected to the U.S. Senate).  Jay also mixed in some arts and culture and observations.  He held the position of chief contributor and site administrator until around April, 2007, when he was invited by Matt Singer to join Left in The West.

Jhwygirl took over as the main contributor and site administrator, although Jay continued to post from time-to-time.

I joined in June, 2007, followed by Rebecca Schmitz and, I think this order is correct: Jamee, problembear, JC, carfreestupidity, Duganz and Lizard.  Rebecca retired and Jamee moved on except for the occasional post.  Everyone else is still going strong.

Other occasional contributors included Jason Wiener, Matt Singer (particularly when his site crashed) and Ross Keogh (hey Ross, what’s happening with Mountain Water?).

Here are some stats: As of 2011, we’re averaging about 850 hits a day.  Our top day was 3,885 visits on March 5, 2009, the day of the natural gas explosion that leveled several Bozeman buildings and killed a woman.  We’ve logged 3,107 posts, 28,887 comments and 78,930 spam comments (most of them, thankfully, caught by the filter). Lately, most of our referrals have come from MT Cowgirl, followed by Wulfgar!, Left in The West and Intelligent Discontent, although this ebbs and flows weekly.

It’s been a great ride and I’ve learned a lot.  The current crew of contributors got together a couple of weeks ago for some celebratory beverages. I hadn’t even met most of them.  We all have different styles (we can’t even agree on a headline format) and different issues.  It’s what makes this site, well, different.

They are a well-spoken, out-spoken bunch of guys (jhwygirl couldn’t make it) and passionate about what they do and what they write.  I like ’em.  They want what’s best for our community, state, nation and world.

All that being said, I’m taking the hiatus I promised I would when we hit 1,000,000.  I have an addictive personality and I’m finding myself obsessed with this and other blogs.  I’m also a pitifully slow writer.  So, it’s time to take a break from the keyboard and deal with all the day-to-day responsibilities I prefer to avoid.  If I don’t, I’m afraid there will be an intervention in my future.

I know that the other very qualified contributors will pick up the slack.  I imagine I’ll be back, too, when some issue which I can’t ignore rears its ugly head.

Finally, blog traffic seems to have slowed at the Montana sites I’ve visited lately.  Blame it on the close of the 2011 legislature (which provided much fodder) or perhaps it’s this sort of spring-like weather.  It could also be the flame wars, between progressives, so apparent on these Montana sites.  I’d like to see less of that and more focus on the skanks in state and national politics who are selling your average Joe and Josephine down the tubes. Denny Rehberg immediately comes to mind.

4&20 is an ever-evolving site.  Thank you contributors, commenters and gentle readers for helping us reach one million.

by lizard

This is the first in what will be a once-a-week poetry selection.

*

PLEASE

for James Broughton

Oh god, let’s go.
This is a poem for Kenneth Patchen.
Everywhere they are shooting people.
People people people people.
This is a poem for Allen Ginsberg.
I want to be elsewhere, elsewhere.
This is a poem about a horse that got tired.
Poor. Old. Tired. Horse.
I want to go home.
I want you to go home.
This is a poem which tells the story,
which is the story.
I don’t know. I get lost.
If only they would stand still and let me.
Are you happy, sad, not happy, please come.
This is a poem for everyone.

*

—Robert Creeley

By Duganz

Oh man. I love me some nutty Christians. I do. I love them because every time a nutty Christian makes a big fuss I get to do a little atheist jig (which, by the way, looks like this). And after my jig I get to write snarky blog posts gently mocking the wee gentiles.

Many of you have probably already heard about Harold Camping, an adorable old man whose cute shar pei-like appearance is only matched by his adorable nuttiness.

Harold says that the Rapture, the Christian version of Mardi Gras (ironic, no?) where good Christians get to be taken up to Heaven while the rest of us heathens get to party (much like Mardi Gras, I suppose), is coming. Soon.

Hans Moleman, er, Harold, says the Rapture will happen on May 21–only 10 days from now. That means that we’ve only got 10 more days to put up with The Phelps Family Players, President W., and many more. Camping’s followers claim that 3percent of the world’s population, around 200million will be gone.

And you know what that means: JOBS! What’d you think of the bail out now Ron Paul?

Anyway…

New York Magazine actually interviewed this guy in a serious way, which seems to me like a waste of time, but, whatever. They at least went to the trouble of pointing out that this is Harold’s second prediction on the end of the world. I guess that’s okay because they got him to say this:

[The] Bible has every word in the original language — it was written by God. … [blah blah blah*] … In other words, when we get to May 21 on the calendar in any city or country in the world, and the clock says about — this is based on other verses in the Bible — when the clock says about 6 p.m., there’s going to be this tremendous earthquake that’s going to make the last earthquake in Japan seem like nothing in comparison.

And Harold knows what he’s talking about. Not only has he read the Bible (a book a friend once used in lieu of rolling papers), but he’s also got a camper painted with his prediction. And we all know how accurate Van Art is.

There’s also this exchange from the article that I think shows Harold’s critical thinking capabilities:

You haven’t thought about what you’ll tell your followers on May 22 if the Rapture doesn’t take place?
I’m not even thinking about that at all. It. Is. Going. To. Happen. Because I trust the Bible implicitly, the Bible is God’s word — it’s not from a man, it’s not from an organization of some kind where there’s plenty of room for error. It is the word of God. When God speaks that it is going to happen, the Bible is a very factual book, and God gives many examples of how he has made prophesies and it always has happened in exact accord with what God has prophesied.

I’ve underlined a few sentences from Harold’s quotes as a way for you to test yourself. But here they are again:

“…the Bible has every word in the original language — it was written by God.”

“…the Bible is a very factual book…”

If you read them and nod, then you’re on Camping’s side, please feel free to skip ahead to the comment section and call me atheist scum or post poorly Photoshopped effigies of me. If you read those sentences and gave a chortle, guffaw, chuckle, hoot or laugh, then you’ve obviously taken a science, or history class, or have read the Bible making notes of the constant inaccuracies and inconsistencies found throughout the text.

Regardless, good for you. Unfortunately if Camping is right you’ll be roasting ‘mallows with Lucifer, Dawkins and me (actually that sounds like a good time).

I’ll be in Hawaii during the Rapture, which means that you’ll be dead, ascended, or partying about 4 hours before me. Remember a few things: Drink lots of water, and always know your dealer.

Oh, and if anyone ever tells you they have intimate knowledge of a godhead take the time to point out that if said godhead was knowable it would cease to be a godhead. Point out that to be supernatural is to be unknowable, and then ask the person why their godhead would pick them of the 6billion living people to give this revelation to. Particularly if the crank telling you this jive looks like Hans Moleman.

*blah blahs added for emphasis.

by problembear

and why is this important to us ? because oil and gas industry subsidies prevent the private market from setting real oil prices.

congress is pretending to debate this issue but the subsidies will remain in place

listening to the main stream media you would think that this is a partisan issue but,  despite the rhetoric of senator harry reid, democrats are simply trying to make some political hay over this issue knowing full well that they lack the votes to actually do anything about big oil subsidies. and i doubt if they would even suggest it if they did have the votes. why? well, besides the obvious fear over campaign contributions that all politicians have when they take on big oil, there is an even simpler explanation: prices at the pump would skyrocket if we stopped the subsidies and the voters would revolt…….

if tax subsidies were eliminated, oil companies say that prices at the pump would eventually become equivalent to the average market price of gasoline in europe (around 5.50 to 6.12 / gal) or even the average equivalent price in japan (7.00/ gal)

now the reason the oil companies prefer subsidies to allowing the free enterprise market to work it’s magic is quite simple:

if prices were to go above 5.00/gal, then alternative fuel (solar, wind, electric cars etc) would become economically viable; people would park their vehicles in favor of bicycles, bus, and walk more. we would buy less gas for our vehicles and oil for our homes. industry would convert to solar. …….

so big oil in collusion with our elected politicians are using government to force taxpayers to subsidize the industry in order to keep us from developing alternatives.

how is that for pure unadulterated socialized contempt for the american way?

by lizard

I’m going to try and pull back a bit from my political commentary. There is too much noise that serves no purpose, and I am a part of it. Not to mention it’s sucking too much of my personal energy from more important things.

I’ll still post poetry related material, and chime in on some local issues I know will be developing this summer, but I need to take a step back from the national circus.

As a parting shot, though, I did write the following letter to our president, signed with the pseudonym I use for my own writing.

*

Dear Mr. President,

I watched you on 60 Minutes the other night, and I must say, you have certainly taken the keepin’ it cool approach to the successful mission that put two bullets in the head of America’s #1 Enemy. Contrast your commanding performances to the bumbling idiocy of Bush talking about how he don’t really think thar too much ’bout Binny Laden just months after 9-11 and it’s clear you have now become, to partially quote Bill Maher, a steely-balled black ninja gangster president at the top of your political game.

But something you said during that interview with Steve Kroft got me thinking:

…the one thing I didn’t lose sleep over was the possibility of taking bin Laden out. Justice was done. And I think that anyone who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn’t deserve what he got needs to have their head examined.

I took your advice, Mr. President, and examined the inner processes of my head, and what I found is a word that I think more accurately describes this violent act which you call justice, and the word is vengeance.

But you didn’t actually mean that people like me, who disagree with your notion of justice, should express our opinions. Instead, Mr. President, you are suggesting that anyone who deviates from your definition of justice is crazy.

Speaking of crazy, I hear you missed blowing up that radical cleric born in New Mexico, now living in Yemen. Just imagine, Mr. President, if Gaddafi, Osama, and that other guy (born in America, but no biggie) were all taken out in the span of a week. The high from that trifecta of death would have been amazing.

I’m pretty sure you’re already assured victory now, so the prospect of losing the vote of a crazy person shouldn’t concern you too much. The way the whole conversation is geared, there is plenty of societal reenforcement that team six did a noble deed and justice was served. Don’t worry about facts and how your administration can’t get them straight. Presidents don’t have to worry about pesky hindrances like fact, truth, or due process anymore. That is like so pre-9/11.

Instead, embrace the massive deposit in your political piggy bank and do good. Domestically you could push the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (I know, no Elizabeth Warren before the election is over because she scares the un-indicted criminals on Wall Street). Abroad, leverage ground troops out. I mean it’s obvious you like deadly toys in the sky and surgical strikes more than a bulky ground presence, so now you’ve got the cover to do it. I will still think you are an asshole imperialist enabling the war complex, but I’m a small minority that’s easily depicted as hating America and spitting on troops.

After your reelection we can all hope once again (like after Clinton’s reelection) that you will push the skewed-right center back to the left.

Who knows, maybe you’ll even take those newly minted steel-plated testicles and swing them against Israel, who, let’s be honest, have dealt your administration more than a few backhands (timing settlement expansion with the Biden visit one small example), not to mention holding you back from what I am sure is your true love of the Democratic yearnings from the youth fueling the Arab Spring in client states like Egypt.

Mr. President, it’s like this: you hold the fucking sword of Excalibur. So please, swing it wisely. More than just the citizens of our Dear America are depending on you NOT being another arrogant American Imperialist pushing for full spectrum dominance.

Sincerely,

William Skink

It’s Just Business


by lizard

Pittsburgh Steeler’s running back Rashard Mendenhall has learned an expensive lesson about what being “under contract” means in corporate America. Mendenhall was quickly dropped from representing Champion sports apparel after making some controversial tweets about OBL and 9-11. Here are the two offending tweets:

What kind of person celebrates death? It’s amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We’ve only heard one side…

and

We’ll never know what really happened. I just have a hard time believing a plane could take a skyscraper down demolition style.

In a statement sent to ESPN, Champion explained it’s decision:

“Champion is a strong supporter of the government’s efforts to fight terrorism and is very appreciative of the dedication and commitment of the U.S. Armed Forces. Earlier this week, Rashard Mendenhall, who endorses Champion products, expressed personal comments and opinions regarding Osama bin Laden and the September 11 terrorist attacks that were inconsistent with the values of the Champion brand and with which we strongly disagreed. In light of these comments, Champion was obliged to conduct a business assessment to determine whether Mr. Mendenhall could continue to effectively communicate on behalf of and represent Champion with consumers.

“While we respect Mr. Mendenhall’s right to express sincere thoughts regarding potentially controversial topics, we no longer believe that Mr. Mendenhall can appropriately represent Champion and we have notified Mr. Mendenhall that we are ending our business relationship. Champion has appreciated its association with Mr. Mendenhall during his early professional football career and found him to be a dedicated and conscientious young athlete. We sincerely wish him all the best.”

Champion made a smart business decision, and Mendenhall made a very stupid decision. Hopefully others will absorb this pricey lesson Mendenhall was forced to learn: if you have a contractual obligation to represent a clothing company and its corporate values (which includes exploiting cheap labor in other countries) then wondering what kind of person celebrates death and expressing doubt about airplanes demolishing skyscrapers will cost you.

by LesleyLotto

3 years ago Senator Barack Obama was little known by most people.  He was a U.S. Senator from Illinois who gave a kick-ass speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention, so Hillary Clinton told us.  I was comfortably on the John Edwards bus back then, that face, that message, the hair.  Be still my bleeding, liberal heart.  Hillary was shrill and arrogant with her “It’s 3 A-M” message.  And who remembers the other 9 candidates in the Democratic Party anyway.  But who’s this Barack Obama?  What do we know about him after all?  What audacity he has thinking that after only 2 years-ish in office he could become President of the United States (POTUS).  I always kind of admired John McCain as the Maverick, you know – the guy from the Republican party who walked the talk.  Mitt Romney looked like he was a waffler before we knew he was a waffler.  C’mon, who admits they hunt grouse as a sport anyway?  Mike Huckabee, likable enough, but a tad too Christian for this Jew. I literally forgot all of the other candidates because they were so dull.  Well John Edwards turned out to be a big fat lying disappointment that the National Enquirer outed for sexing it up with, well, words cannot express.  Hillary Clinton – still shrill, now add lying to that, and her husband, oh Bill, really, where to begin.  Then there’s the Maverick, who’s not a Maverick anymore, he’s a meandering, near-senile man hanging onto his glory days that he can barely remember, who slides in a Vice Presidential candidate, a hot mess of a woman, nobody know,s but we all want to take to bed with a nice tourniquet outfitted snugly around her mouth.  Maybe even camouflage in color?  Barack Obama came out of nowhere, with the “Hope”, the “Change”, and the “Yes We Can”.  But still, we know nothing about him.  Where was he born with that name?  And so it begins…

After McCain imploded in 2008 during the worst economic crisis in modern history, Obama slid into victory.  The first Black man to be elected to the highest office in the land.  Tears flowed freely around the world when he was elected.  But then he took office and his first order of business as POTUS was to put together a decent administration (slim pickins round here, might as well find me some old Clinton hangerson),  create jobs and fix the reputation of the United States, which had been so badly tarnished by the administration before. And oh yeah, maybe fix the economy while you’re at it.  The first few little bits of business were okay, passing some equal pay legislation, which has done exactly nothing, passing a massive Healthcare Reform Bill and another Bailout or two for whoever cares to further screw with our economy and announce the closure of the notorious Guantanamo Bay Prison.  Little did poor POTUS know the mean ol’ Republican party would stand at every door putting their palm up to anything remotely  Bi-partisan while crying “Oh, No you di-n’t”.  They also cried, wait, “where were you born again”? or “No, the American people didn’t vote for THAT kind of change”.  The Liberals were also crying, what happened to Single Payer Health Insurance, what happened to my 401k, what happened to the war in Iraq, wait, what, you’re putting more troops in Afghanistan? Then all the independents and liberals ran screaming from the room and took another look at the Republicans, maybe they’re not so bad or maybe they just plugged their noses and voted them back in to take the ever-incompetent, weenie of a Democratic party off their throne in the House of Reps.

What’s a poor liberal to do?  The mean ol’ Republicans are creating (well not really creating, but fomenting) a frustrating, lying, cheating, brickwall of a party who are doing exactly nothing for the American people and the POTUS seems to be cowering in the corner, shivering under the mist of I told you so’s.  Time to bring in David Plouffe to save the day!  He’ll make the President’s message more Badass.   But Plouffe doesn’t do that at all, he hides in the corner with the POTUS devising a plan to walk tall and maintain his lackluster ratings.  Hey, at least they didn’t fall to where “W” was when he left office.  Some of those way over on the left were already holding caucuses to find a contender to run against Obama in 2012, then it happened, something to really make them bleed, ANOTHER war.  Oh my!  After several uprisings in the Middle East, the attacks on civilians, the murder and public rape of journalists and the toppling of a leader or two, the POTUS does the unfathomable, he jumps into a war with Libya, but claims we’re not at war, really.  The blood-thirsty leader of that country now has a rag-tag team of “Rebels” fighting against him and they’re not so far removed from the 2002 “insurgents” in Iraq.  John McCain calls the Rebels his heroes and all is right in the world.  So POTUS with his big, bad multi-kazillion dollar army blasts into Libya to oust Colonel Ghaddafi, but only for two days, “then we’re gone”.  All the while the Republicans, while weeks earlier chided the President for not intervening in Libya, now complain, it’s too late, and oh my yes, “where’s that birth certificate?”.

Then walks in the savior for an entire country, the host of an NBC Reality Show who says, he’ll be the best damn president this country has ever seen, says he too wants to see that missing birth certificate and oh wait, does anybody have a comb?  He spouts off all kinds of foreign policy expertise like he once talked to the Colonel in Libya about a real estate deal on a 6 bedroom tent.

Meanwhile the country people are sufficiently confused because a majority of them say they might just vote for the Reality Show star instead of Mr. Hope and Change.  Then it happens, out of nowhere the President pulls his “long-form” birth certificate out from under his hat, swoops into Libya and kills the Colonel’s son and 3 grandchildren, visits the Tornado decimated south, delivers a hilarious speech at this years “Geek Prom” that makes the Reality Star’s crazy comb-over hair blow back onto his wife’s botoxed forehead with a grin, then coolly let’s his people know the most notorious terrorist the world has probably ever known has been murdered on his order, following his death plan, WAIT, WHAAAA? Back up, yo!

I’m still happily back in March wondering why I voted for this guy when all of the sudden his Hope and Change steel balls descend and the angels start singing and the butterflies of spring are flying and I’m all slathered up in his Hope and Change juice again. Then the POTUS sends an email to all important News organizations who still deliver fair, accurate, truthful, objective and impartial news telling them to get to work and not to worry about the who, what, where, when and why.  His balls descend further as he interrupts the Reality Star’s Show to make the Steel Bally announcement that Osama Bin Laden has been killed.  A picture surfaces of the bloody room where the dirty deed happened and another of the POTUS and his National Security team where Obama’s determined and Hillary looks like she might puke (it might have been about 3 A-M in Pakistan when it all ended Ms. Clinton ;)).  The Republicans limply praise our leader’s moves, then go on Fox News demanding pictures and death certificates and videos and first borns and pieces of helicopters and DNA samples.

But after all he’s been through in this one silly weekend, the POTUS maintains the cool character that is he and of which we’ve been disdaining and tells them all to go back to work before he sends the newly minted head of the Democratic Party Debbie Wasserman-Schultz down to ruin their 2012 dreams.  So I admit I’ve been waffling, but now “I’m In”.  My President’s badass.

by jhwygirl

HB198, the eminent domain bill, is ugly folks.

Governor Schweitzer knows it, having promised the day a majority in the Senate was fooled (having been heavily lobbied by not only NWE and Tonbridge, but by the Governor’s office) into voting for the thing.

This is a bill that was pushed through the legislature with the help of the thugs of NWE. A bill that was tabled in Senate committee.

On the floor of the Senate just 8 days before the close of the session the beast was blasted onto the floor with lobbyists having worked the Senators the night before with drinks and dinner. Amendments to HB198 were offered that even proponents of agreed were worthy and needed to protect private property right, but they failed because there wasn’t enough time to get the thing back through the House.

Apparently though Governor Schweitzer has forgotten the legislative process…or he’s telling us something over and over in the hopes that we will start to believe it (like I said in an earlier post on this subject)…..but when Schweitzer bloviated about his successes to the press on Thursday, he included his “amendment” to HB198, the eminent domain bill:

The Democratic governor also talked up successes like the passage of a business equipment tax cut, workers’ compensation reform and revisions to Montana’s eminent domain laws, which he called the most important “job creator” of the session.

Schweitzer said his recent amendment to House Bill 198, which addresses eminent domain, will terminate the law in two years. The amendment ensures the 2013 Legislature must take another look at landowner issues, while allowing job-related development to flourish in the meantime; without passage of HB198, Schweitzer said badly needed energy development projects would have been jeopardized.

“That energy bill did not consider the rights of landowners, and they were worked up. So it was a balancing act for legislators to say, ‘We need to develop Montana and we need to develop our resources,’ ” Schweitzer said, commending lawmakers for meeting in the middle.

Now – that’s not just Schweitzer saying something in passing about his successes – this is the Governor going on for quite a bit about how he fixed the bill and what it does and what it doesn’t do…along with his own version of the bill’s benefits that many dispute.

Trouble is, Schweitzer started complaining that the bill needed amended – as I pointed out at the top of this post – and that he was going to amendatory veto the thing before the sun had gone down the day of the vote’s successful second reading vote in the Senate which gave the bill the necessary approval in both houses.

So the Republicans, in control, decided to hold back on the thing, not handing it up to him until last Friday, April 29th. A tactical move on their part.

Governor Schweitzer can not amendatory veto the bill – the session is closed.

His choices are two: He has until Sunday to veto the thing or sign it into law. He can also let it lapse into law, but the effect is the same as approving the thing. Letting lapse into law is a choice of the Governor’s, and is equal to signing it into law.

And when it does become law, it will not have a sunset clause.

Look – I know this stuff is boring for you folks but realize this – the effects of handing over eminent domain authority to any private transmission business that comes into this state under the major facilities siting act should be utterly offensive to you.

It is the rise of the ghosts of the Copper Kings. It will be a turning point in our history, just as the sale of Montana Power.

If you have questions, I encourage you to ask – we’ve had some very informed people on this issue, including Kate Orr and John Vincent, who sits on the Montana Public Service Commission (so how’s that for expert, huh?). That’s me kinda openly soliciting his help there, too.

It’s that important.

Please stand up for your fellow Montanan ranchers and property owners out in the eastern and central part of this state that are fighting this thing and contact the governor by email governor@mt.gov and tell him that working solutions to this issue require full analysis which fully weighs the concerns of Montana’s citizens.

In the meantime, Tonbridge can play fairly. Is that asking too much?

by lizard

As I mentioned in CFS’s post, I dj’d at KBGA for years. So to continue the fun from the previous thread, I’m going to be building a playlist and adding to it through out the night.


Continue Reading »

BCFS

The now infamous famous photo of Obama and his peeps in the Situation Room watching our favorite terrorist get one in the head has become a viral meme.  Over @ Wired.com they have a great gallery of Photoshoped pics for your enjoyment.

Happy Friday!




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