Archive for March 20th, 2012

by jhwygirl

Caught this one last week, the day after I pondered whether the free-market Tea Party-controlled Ravalli County Board of County Commissioners would subsidize Denny Washington’s MRL rail line into the Bitterroot.

Which they did.

And it’s not that I thought it was the wrong thing to do – the point of that musing was that when it comes down to brass tacks, the government has a role in jobs – and it isn’t always “cut taxes, cut taxes, cut taxes.”

Which hasn’t worked, yet they still beat that drum. Honestly, I think the real agenda is to dismantle government.

But I digress….

Up in the community of Noxon, Sander’s County residents are decrying the closing of the Bull River Family Medicine Clinic that is operated by the Clark Valley Hospital (located in Plains.)

The clinic serves the small communities of Noxon, Heron and Trout Creek.

The Clark Valley Hospital has operated the Bull River Family Medical Clinic at a deficit of $76K a year for the last two years.

Community members are upset with the Clark Valley Hospital for their decision, saying that “We’re the poorest part of the county, and the farthest away from the hospital. You should be doing more here.”

It’s an hour drive for residents of Noxon to the Clark Valley Hospital – and about an hour and a half drive for the residents of Heron. So this is a pretty big deal, and if I lived up there, I’d be upset with this decision.

Nor am I sitting here in Missoula, a hub of medical accessibility for easily a couple hundred thousand people, finding some sort of enjoyment out of this situation…me, someone having supported (the horror!) healthcare reform.

But it is fair to point out that Sanders County is a Republican stronghold, and a Tea Party hotbed of activity. Republicans who will continue to attack healthcare reform with every single ALEC-written law that they can put through the next session (and you can darn well bet they’ll be going after birth control, too.)

Republicans who sponsored – and passed on a party-line vote [CORRECTION: John Brenden SD18, John Esp HD61, Krayton Kerns HD58, Steve Gibson HD78 all voted “NO” to this bill. Thanks to the person who pointed this out.] – a bill that puts a referendum forward that, if passed on the ballot this fall, will somehow prohibit the health insurance purchase requirement of the federal health care reform bill.

The Bull River Clinic’s problem, it appears, is that it doesn’t have enough patients. The people in that community are going outside of their community for healthcare, while another clinic in Hot Springs – which serves the same size of population – has 3 times as many patients.

Use it or lose it, I guess. Market rules.

So the poor people or the senior citizens that don’t like to drive a hour or more to Plains or Sandpoint Idaho to see a doctor are basically shit out of luck when it comes to healthcare, because the young and those with money are able to drive for theirs.

What’s 220 miles of gasoline cost for a F-250 pickup these days?

It’s only healthcare. Having a baby? A heart attack? Take the drive, or tough it out on your own.

I sincerely hope the residents up there find a solution that allows the Clark Valley Hospital to keep that clinic open. I have no doubt there are residents up there that need those vital services.

One has to wonder how many good paying jobs will be leaving Noxon should that clinic close, too.

Hopefully the community members up there consider the implications of their vote this November. Will they elect a legislator that will support laws that ensure and enhance availability of basic services like healthcare?

Or will they vote for someone who will throw their rural constituents to the Free Market?

by jhwygirl

The last candidate forum I wrote about, Kim Gillan touted oil spill disasters as a job creation industry for Montana, so who knows what can happen.

There’s 7 – SEVEN – candidates on the Democratic side, so let’s hope the Montana Standard maintains well enough control to let everyone speak, while ensuring that we get a wide variety questions put out there for them to answer.

Mark you calendars – and I plan to be there to live blog or tweet the thing.

April 3, 7 p.m., at the Montana Tech Auditorium.

AND – in an added bonus, the Montana Standard is taking suggestions for questions. You can email your suggested questions to

by lizard

Francis Ford Coppola is finally bringing the generation-defining book by Jack Kerouac, On The Road, to the big screen. He’s owned the book rights since 1979, and numerous attempts to get the project going have fell through over the years, including one that cast Ethan Hawke and Brad Pitt to play Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty. Here’s the trailer tease:

I can’t help thinking back fondly on reading On The Road for the first time (though my introduction to Kerouac was the much better novel, imho, Dharma Bums).

I was of course much younger, which I think is a requirement, because when you break it down, On The Road is a coming of age tale, one that trapped its author when it burst on the scene in 1957, spreading the seductive youthful appeal of being hip, cool, and beat.

Though I’m interested in seeing this adaptation of Kerouac’s paean to Beat counter-culture, I’m a little more weary about the historical context and continuing cultural relevance of the book and the movement it helped shape.

What makes me the most weary is how some of the mechanisms of cultural control that the Beats were, to some extent, rebelling against, like segregation of race and criminalization of drugs, are still being employed today. Continue Reading »

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