Archive for the ‘Blogs’ Category

by Pete Talbot

[What’s an emptive?  Lizard says he’s posted a preemptive strike (below this post) to a piece I’ve been working on.  Well, here’s my postemptive.  I’m finishing something I’ve started; not my strong suit.  Damn you, lizard.]

No one really needs me to defend this site.  The contributors do a fine job of responding to comments and criticism, and they even show a little introspection from time-to-time.

But I found this in my inbox a few days ago from someone I respect. For my own reasons, I’ll keep it anonymous but here’s the gist:

I hope you’re following what is going on at 4 and 20 these days.

It seems that there isn’t a Democrat they “like” anymore. Literally, not one.

I’ve been a lurking b’birder from the beginning but I think I finally may let it go.

I mean they’re even going after Pat Williams. I think we’ve got Senator Essman and the Montana Republican party doing enough of that, don’t we?

He/she has a point. This site has made many twists and turns over the years.  It started Democratically-centric, particularly in Jon Tester’s successful bid to unseat Sen. Conrad Burns in 2006. 4&20 has had many contributors since then from all stripes left of center, but it belongs to no one. The opinions are those of the writers and I appreciate them all. There are sites that espouse party line — left, right and center — and I’m grateful for those, too.

Now, the 4&20 reins are in lizard’s hands.  It’s great to see jhwy.girl in the mix again and a post now-and-then from JC.  But this not the site to visit if you’re looking for party talking points. After our founding father, Jay Stevens, I’m the closest to a Democratic apologist and I seldom post anymore.

I enjoy the unbridled ideology this site brings to the ‘sphere.  I can’t always embrace it because of life’s realities.  Example: I’m against coal trains, tar sands, the rape of the Bakken and the Keystone XL Pipeline.  If this was my platform for an upcoming bid for statewide office, how would I fare?  Piss poor, and having just returned from the Magic City, Montana’s largest berg,  where I did some unscientific polling, I say this with conviction.

So, I’ll continue to straddle that line between idealism and pragmatism while  absorbing the musings from the blogs, and hoping we lean to the left as far as feasible in this great state of ours.

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David Crisp is Back

by jhwygirl

Somehow I missed his reemergence last month.

The Billings Blog is well worthy reading.

Don’t miss it.

by Pete Talbot

Eating crow

First, an apology to our readers for a factual error.  We wrote that GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Miller was going to announce Billie Orr, from Bozeman, as his running mate.  It turns out that the PSC’s Bill Gallagher got the nod.

We got the Orr info from a reliable source.  The tip was originally emailed to jhwygirl but it bounced back because of an old address. It was then forwarded to me.  I passed it back to j-gal because: 1) I’m super busy right now and 2) I’m not really that interested in who the far right is recruiting for lieutenant governor.  But I figured the tip was worth a mention.

Now in real journalism, at least one more source should have confirmed this, and calls to both Miller and Orr would be made, to confirm or deny.  But hey, this isn’t the New York Times.  It isn’t even the Missoulian.  It’s a blog.  The contributors here all have real lives and do this in their spare time, with no remuneration.

But apologies are still due to jhwygirl for me passing the buck to her, to Pogie for giving him an erroneous tip, and to our readers.

Some interesting asides, though.  One is that I learned a little something about Ms. Orr — an education activist and tea party member.  Now that’s an oxymoron.  Also, the Miller campaign is doing some strange things — campaign insiders are either being very clever or haven’t a clue as to what’s going on.  I suspect the latter.  Finally, the PSC’s Gallagher is a right-wing ideologue who poorly represents Montana on the commission.  We can only hope he resigns to spend more time on the governor’s race but fat chance of that.  The PSC paycheck is just too good.

UM makeover

So the University of Montana is giving $160,000 to a Pittsburgh consulting firm to “rebrand” the school’s image.

From the Missoulian story:

“Tree-hugger school.”

That’s what a Missoula gas station attendant called the University of Montana when a Mind Over Media team member casually asked whether he knew anything about the university.

The university is redoing its image based on what a gas station attendant says.  It should be ashamed of its nationally recognized environmental studies program, its touring Montana Repertory Theatre, its creative writing program, its journalism, pharmacy, law, education, forestry and music schools …

Yo.  It’s a liberal arts college.  If someone wants to learn about mining, they go to Butte’s School of Mines (now known as Montana Tech).  Engineering or agriculture?  Go to MSU (also known as Moo U, but I don’t see them “rebranding”).  Another excerpt:

UM is still defined in some ways by the political rhetoric expressed in the 1960s. That, in addition to its liberal arts curriculum, has earned UM names over the years such as “The People’s Republic” and the “Dancing Academy.” It shows how slowly perceptions change, said Chris Comer, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Your campaign is going to have to be awesome,” he said.

Again, the university should shy away from its artistic, political and environmental activism.  That sure would be “awesome.”

Here’s a PR suggestion: take that $160K and put it toward faculty and staff raises, or a break on tuition, and be proud of what you are, UM.  I am.  That’s what I call “branding.”

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 Pete Talbot

At first glance, maybe this was something I should have attended. The Helena Independent Record headline read: Insight offered to bloggers.  Gosh, I thought, I wonder why I didn’t hear about this earlier.

Then some of the names in the story caught my eye: Aaron Flint of the Flint Report, Carl Graham of the Montana Policy Institute, Montana Watchdog, the Franklin Center — all pretty much mouthpieces for right wing and Libertarian causes.

Flint, for example, has a radio show on the Northern Ag Network, a conservative station out of Billings.  He has the Flint Report website, too, that carries headlines like: Tester Profits Off Credit Card Companies and Bullock Gets Testy Over Otter Creek.

The Montana Policy Institute out of Bozeman is a Libertarian think tank that refuses to reveal it’s funding sources.  Perhaps you’ve seen MPI President Carl Graham’s guest columns in your local paper on the wonders of a free market economy.  MPI just finished hosting a “Health Care Freedom Panel” with keynote speaker and MPI Senior Fellow Rob Natelson.

There’s Montana Watchdog, another website, that is sponsored by the Montana Policy Institute and presents itself as a news organization with Front Page links to, well, Natelson’s “Health Care Freedom Panel.”

The Franklin Center, based in North Dakota and Virginia (now there’s a strange pairing) bills itself as an organization dedicated to investigative reporting.  The group’s founder and president, Jason Stverak, is the former executive director of the North Dakota Republican Party.

Here’s a line from the end of the IR story:

Also among them was Big Sky Tea Party Association board member Roger Nummerdor, who thinks it might be time to start doing some blogging.

This all happened last Saturday at the Red Lion Colonial Inn in Helena.

And these guys are joined at the hip.  I don’t begrudge some dudes holding a workshop, spreading the righteous word, maybe having a few beers, chewing the fat.  It’s just that they’re so sneaky about it.  You seldom see them flaunting their right-wing credentials.

Heck, they even fooled the IR reporter, who didn’t mention a thing in her story about these guys’ background.  I’m hoping she was fooled, anyway, because if she knew and didn’t mention it, that’s piss-poor reporting.

By CFS

In all this ongoing back and forth between the liberal/progressive/Democrat blogs of Montana (the Great Flame War of 2011) one point that is yet to be made is the differing approach that the two parties seem to deal with internal dissent.  One party gives the impression of eagerly embracing the mutiny… while the other is trying to quickly stomp out the fire before it can spread.

What started as a grassroots movement from outside the ramparts of a party historically known for it’s discipline in pulling it’s member into line on issues; the Tea People’s anger, enthusiasm, and naivety was quickly capitalized upon by the Republican establishment and old guard power base.  Organizations that, at first ad-hoc groups meeting at coffee shops bitching about how the Republicans had betrayed their ideals, were quickly provided with organizational support, funds, and training from long-time Republican political operatives.  Nation-wide organizations were built by the likes of Dick Army and elected Republicans such as Michele Bachmann embraced the mass of angry white people produced by a steady diet of Fox News.

Now that the Tea People are well ensconced in the warm and loving embrace of the GOP guess what happens whenever the Tea People get all uppity?  Thats right… Boehner quickly folds and make overtures to please his new far right base.

Contrast this with the current approach that the mainline Democrats seem to want to take when dealing the more progressive/liberal/whatever side of the party…

This attitude comes straight from the top as Obama and his press secretary have said more than once that they are tired of the criticism coming from the left.  Other Democrats have used this type of language, calling liberals “extremists.”

 The same attitude has been on display recently on various Montana progressive blogs.  Pogie actually did a great job of getting to the issue and fostering a discussion around the role of dissension within a political party in shaping policy and strategy.  Others however have been eager to follow the STFU guidelines.  From LITW:

Here’s the dealio.  Democrats still have value.  I like Jon Tester, even more for taking action on wolf control dictated by the judiciary.  Don’t like that?  Tough shit.  Leave.  I like Barrack Obama.  I think he called out the Republicans and has played them very well.  Don’t like that?  Tough shit.  Leave.  Seriously.  You don’t like Democrats?  Leave, assholes.

The problem with the STFU/your-either-with-us-or-against-us type attitude is that people really do leave.  People will choose to vote for third party candidate like Nader when they get frustrated enough which then gives us 8 years of THE ADVENTURES OF BUSHIT AND TURD BLOSSOM .

If a party doesn’t listen to internal dissent and respond to the criticism by addressing people’s grievances then people leave.  The Republicants were electorally successful in the last cycle specifically because they embraced the crazy hidden within themselves and physically manifested as the Tea People.

Do we really want to put this at the entrance to the Democratic party?

by jhwygirl

In a post titled “Profiting from Hypocrisy“, blogger montanafesto exposes the troubled hypocrisy of Rep. James Knox and his pro-repeal medical marijuana stance. First the video:

Read montanafesto’s post. Rep. James Knox offered his services to a medical marijuana business, at a greatly discounted price because his business “was slow.”

There’s more – montanafesto takes Knox on in Facebook…and now, apparently, an email has been removed from the website because Knox was threatening his lawyers.

Neither here nor there, now…the Billings Gazette has picked up the story.

Wonder if Knox has threatened to sue them, too?

~~~~~~~
So all this insane personal intrusion schizophrenic state-rights/anti-state rights Montana Republican party-led legislating has me now more than just barely pondering: What is it these guys and gals are doing up there? Rep. Warburton is obsessed with making my vagina a crime scene….Rep. Kristin Hansen wants to treat LGBTQ human beings as something less than such, and now we have Knox falling all over himself to provide discounted services to the medical marijuana community.

What is it they say? People in glass houses should not be throwing rocks?

What else is there to explain this regressive hate-filled legislation? There’s a ton of it out there.

Kuddos to you, montanafesto!

by Pete Talbot

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza has a great blog called The Fix. Besides dishing Washington insider info, he does an annual column on the best political blogs, state-by-state. I’m proud to say that 4&20 usually makes the list.

Now Mr. Cillizza has compiled the best political tweeters from each state. Here’s the link but you’ll have to scroll down a few stories to find his column on “tweeps.”

I’m familiar with most, but not all, the names. For example, our own jhwygirl made the list. I’m not sure who assigned the (D) behind each name but here are the players, copied straight from The Fix site:

EllieHill (D), c_sjohnson, brycebennett (D), JameeGreer (D), montuckyliberal (D), Mike_Wessler (D), jgrennan (D), dpogreba (D), jhwygirl (D), chasemohney (D).

Since I don’t have a Twitter account, I’m running late and I’m technically challenged, I can’t find links for all of the above. Maybe someone could help me out?

Anyway, congratulations. I’m sure about the time I start tweeting, some new technology will make the scene, rendering me obsolete, again.

(Update: The Missoula Independent gives us the links here. Thanks for doing the work, Indy, and a hat tip to p-bear and Mookie.)

by jhwygirl

Travis over at Electric City Weblog wrote up a nice piece on the recent court case surrounding the MATL transmission line, the law, and his musings on the issue. Recommended.

by jhwygirl

I’ve slept on this two nights, and I’ve failed to find a moral or a logical reason for Tester’s vote, other than pandering for votes.

I guess I’m one of those idealistic ones who expects the people I vote for to do the right thing. Even when it’s tough.

A number of progressives here in Montana have written about Jon’s vote – Pogie at Intelligent Discontent, Matt at Left in the West, Wulfgar! and Jamee Greer at Left in the West too….and Shahid Haque-Hausrath, a Helena-based attorney and human rights activist.

I see Tester’s vote as unreasonable. It was a step towards reform. We’ve been told to accept steps on health care. We’ve been told to accept steps on financial reform. Compromise.

I thought this was compromise. A baby step towards reasonably and morally solving one little slice of the immigration issue.

Beyond that, I’m pretty much in line with the laments of Pogie and the disappointment of Jamee Greer. We all were working very hard in 2006 for Tester.

DREAM would have made citizens out of people brought here as minors. Children that did not have a choice and children that did not knowingly come here breaking the law.

DREAM made citizens of these people who came here as children providing they had clean records and a good grade average and hadn’t broken the law.

DREAM had nothing to do with so-called ‘anchor babies’ because – like it or not – those ‘anchor babies’ are legal citizens of the United States of America.

Now, if you want to call that amnesty – and I point to the fact that these are kids we’re talking about who had no choice – call it that. But it sure seemed fair to me.

I mean, what – punish the child for the ills of the parent? Really?

Sen. Tester issued a statement at 5 p.m. Friday, the eve before Saturday’s vote, saying he couldn’t vote for amnesty.

So the other reason I see his vote as utterly without logic is this: If Senator Tester’s position is “no amnesty” how, pray tell, do we meet his position? What is the end-game to that position? Deportation of all undocumented immigrants? How are we going to do that? More importantly, how are we going to fund it?

And think about it – Exactly what kind of government does it require to round up all these illegal people? Are you going to go door to door? Am I going to have to carry citizenship papers with me at all times?

I mean, really? What is the end-game of a “no amnesty” position?

Tester’s vote is extremely disheartening for me…especially from what I read outside of the Montana blogosphere – “burn in hell”? “bigot”? Those words cross lines that shouldn’t be crossed.

As for my part, I’ve taken a number of criticisms just for posting kos’ response to Tester’s vote (a post, btw, which mentioned Baucus). As I started out above – I’ve slept on this two nights trying to see a reasonable side to this vote and I’ve yet to find it.

Do I make Jon an adversary by being so upset about this vote? I would certainly hope not – and I would hope he thought the same when he cast his NO vote knowing I and a whole bunch of others here in Montana and elsewhere would think it was a shitty thing to do.

If anything, the cynic is me says that there’s a part of him that’s giving me a tip o’ the hat for giving him some street cred with the voting xenophobes of Montana. I mean – consider the value kos got him over at Electric City Weblog.

by Pete Talbot

The death of the political blog Left in The West has been greatly exaggerated.

While it’s hard to do to justice to the writings of Jay Stevens and Matt Singer, there are some new posts up that deserve your attention. Matt Koehler, someone named Rustin (who follows Bozeman issues) and 4&2O’s own problembear have been filling the void. Rob ‘Wulfgar!’ Kailey has a post up and is also administering the site. This is all good news.

So, if you thought that LiTW had bitten the dust, think again, and pay the site a visit:

http://leftinthewest.com/

by jhwygirl

I’ve been hampered in my blogging since Tuesday when I (feebly) installed a new wireless router and ended up with a laptop that won’t connect. Tonight I cave and plug in the damned ethernet.

In between that time I got one of those neat ereaders. Fun.

All of that being said, Jay, the founder of this blog 4&20 blackbirds and principal blogger over at Left in the West, gave me a call Wednesday morning to tell me that he was moving on. It was a busy day for me and I have to admit I kinda didn’t think it was actually going to happen..I guess?

But then the post went up. Or I should say the emails started. Either way – whoa.

It was something that was briefly discussed when he moved to PA, but I guess I never saw a need for it…even though I knew that Jay was involving himself locally – which is a great thing.

But then the next day the other foot – Matt Singer – drops? Seriously, I was like WTH?

I have more admiration and regard for Matt Singer than I can put into words. Or if I did, I’d embarrass him or at least make his face all red. Though that hasn’t stopped me from trying every once in a while when he was extraordinarily newsworthy, and you can search our Matt Singer archives here for posts.

Here are two guys that have made an indelible foot-in-the-ass imprint on the politics of Montana. For more than half a decade.

Then tonight I find out that there is a going away party for Matt. So his heading to Oregon isn’t happening in a while, it’s happening soon – and all of this becomes so much more real.

For me personally, both Jay and Matt are the reason I blog – so ya’all can pretty much blame them both equally there – and for Jay’s part, when he headed on to take the helm as COO of Left in the West, he handed the reigns over here.

So the blame on Jay can be spread on a little thicker, I guess.

And Jay made it a point in our conversation on Wednesday to say how much he enjoyed the writers here….always the cheerleader for opinion and discussion. Always.

Wulfgar! wrote his own thoughts about Matt and Jay’s goodbye to Montana politics. Wulfgar! is another one who can whomp some darned fine progressive blogging out, and I have to say I am somewhat relieved by reading his posts that he doesn’t show any of the same indications.

Montana progressive politics will never be the same – but they also wouldn’t be what they are without the imprint of Matt Singer and Jay Stevens.

Go be famous elsewhere. The world deserves it.

A loss to the ‘sphere

by Pete Talbot

While trying to write a post on the Montana initiative contests, I surfed some of the other blogs for insight. Jay Stevens over at Left in The West is always my first go to guy. So it was disheartening to see that he is retiring from LiTW.

Jay’s writing was well-reasoned and researched. His posts were based on fact, not rumor or innuendo. Also, Jay wasn’t above self-reflection or re-thinking a stand on the issues. And his links were some of the best in the biz.

He’s a Democrat, to be sure, but he isn’t a party hack. He’s criticized just about every elected Democratic figure when they deserved it.

It’s usually the other way around. The old dude mentors the young dude. This was not the case here. Young Jay offered me a slot at 4&20. He proffered encouragement but also a free rein. Then there was the technical advise, which was sorely needed.

He left 4&20 in the capable hands of jhwygirl and the site continues to perform. His work over at LiTW is the standard by which other progressive Montana blogs are measured.

This post reads like an obit, which it is not. Here’s to Jay’s sabbatical. I’m sure we’ll see his writing some other time in some other place. Til then, thanks buddy.

(Update: it appears Matt Singer is leaving LiTW, too. Seven years isn’t a long time in the realm of most things but it’s an eternity in the world of the blogosphere. If the word “institution” can apply to blogs, then LiTW comes closest to fitting the definition. Founding father Singer set the tone for political blogs in this state and his voice will be missed. There is now a void where political junkies, elected officials and just regular folks who like to stay informed can go for news and commentary. Best of luck, Matt, on your future endeavors.)

(Final update: when the MSM reports on the blogs, well, that’s news in itself. Here’s Chelsi Moy’s take on the shuttering of LiTW.)

by jhywgirl

I’m voting no on CI-105, the constitutional initiative to amend the state’s guiding document to prohibit a real estate transfer tax.

Montana is one of 13 states that don’t tax the sale of property. Get that? We DON’T tax the sale of property. I don’t think that we need to amend our constitution to prohibit something that doesn’t exist.

All that aside – Why is the National Association of Realtors, out of Chicago, spending nearly $2 million to PASS CI-105?

problembear has weighed in, as has Moorecat and Jay at Left in the West

When I first heard of Constitutional Initiative 105, I immediately thought of it as some California-type proposition that has ham-stringed that state government into paralysis and perpetual session.

Now to find out that out of state money is funding this behemoth? Pushes me even further away from the thing.

The ever-analytical James Conner, of Flathead Memo, sums it up with a fabulous economy of words in a comment at Left in the West:

This absolutely unnecessary and dangerous constitutional amendment is an excellent example of how a society begins to deprive itself of tools that might someday be necessary for governing effectively. For that reason alone, voters should reject it.

It’s also bad policy. A transfer tax can be limited to large transactions. That would raise a lot of money, yet protect small land owners.

As is usual in this kind of situation, the proponents are reactionaries and libertarians, many wealthy, who never met a tax they liked or thought was necessary…unless, of course, that tax was paid by someone else.

If this measure wins, and it probably will, others will be emboldened to add more anti-tax amendments in the coming years. We could well end up as hard to govern as California.

You can damned well bet that I’ll be checking the “Against” box on CI-105 on election day.

Conner is right, and he speaks to the hamstringing of government that I speak of above. 2nd home ownership in this state by out-of-state owners has placed tremendous pressures on property values in this state. A tax – if ever instituted – could be limited to any number of categories merely by specified criteria.

Besides that, there’d have to be one big mighty shift in this state politically to ever institute something like that.

by Pete Talbot

This is just FYI but I’m curious to see other bloggers’ opinions on this story from the Montana Associated Press.

Montana Cowgirl is receiving some attention on a post written about the Van Dyk/Brown Montana Senate race taking place in Billings. Ms. Cowgirl is taking heat from the right and the left for portraying Roy Brown in less than flattering light. The comments after her post are a good read and should elicit some introspection.

Reminds me of the Sen. Baucus TV spot showing Max’s opponent back in 2002, Mike Taylor in disco regalia, rubbing a man’s head.

Also, questions about using state computers and a possible cozy link to elected officials, is in the mix.

Your thoughts gentle reader?

I’m Kinda Agreeing

by jhwygirl

I’ve got my mail ballot. Haven’t opened up yet. Probably should get that done.

That being said, back-in-the-blogging-world Moorcat has written up his thoughts on the initiatives.

I guess I hadn’t thought out the hunter licensing thing – but Moorcat certainly puts out a good set of reasoning.

He also comments on the CI-105, and I have to say I pretty much agree with that 100% – we can’t be amending our constitution with every whim of the moment. Franky, I’m a little tired of everyone’s doomsday scenario, you’ll-pry-my-gun-from-my-cold-dead-hands mentality. There hasn’t been a proposal to put a sale tax on property and why do it in the constitution when it really seems like a legislative issue?

Awfully paranoid bunch of people that seem to want to run government by mob rule.

Anywho – head on over and read what Moorcat has to say.

by jhwygirl

Why do I call him Supermontanareporter? Because John S. Adams isn’t afraid to back down off of a story. Try and intimidate him – and believe me, it has happened, and it will continue to happen – and he doesn’t blink an eye. Adams is the stuff that becomes a Pulitizer.

And no, I’m not exaggerating. You heard it here first, but when it happens, all the credit goes to him, certainly.

I caught Tea Party jackass Tim Ravdahl, president of Helena’s Big Sky Tea Party on KGVO this morning, reading off his press release – which had appeared to be both taped and rambling, as the host kept playing multiple snippets of it througout the morning. An “exclusive” he said.

The parts I heard, he blamed the whole affair on being misquoted and the evils of political correctness and social justice.

Yep – that damned justice for society is an evil that we need to stop RIGHT NOW!

Well, apparently it was a press release addressing Supermontanareporter John S. Adams’ story in last Saturday’s Great Falls Tribune.

You’ll have to read that pretty quickly, as the GFT archives its stuff pretty quickly.

So Adams caught wind of banned Big Sky Tea Party president Tim Ravdahl’s press release and fired back at him, saying Ravdahl “plays loose with the truth” and lied about being misquoted or misrepresented.

Does Supermontanareporter Adams stop there? Nope. He called Ravdahl this afternoon to ask him for the specifics of the allegations Ravdahl was putting out in his press release. What did Tim Ravdahl do? After stumbling around the subject a bit, he hung up.

And lest Ravdahl try and discredit a good honest hard-hitting reporter like Adams, he’ll have some trouble – JSA taped the conversation. You can hear even hear the abrupt silence of Ravdahl hanging up on him.

Political correctness? Yeah – I’m a bit sick of it too – a liar is a liar, and when a reporter is ready willing and able to label a liar a liar, I’m all for throwing political correctness aside. The idea that you can’t call out a politician as a liar or a lie as a lie has gone on for far too long.

Thank Goddess for journalists like John S. Adams and George Ochenski. Long may they live, and all others like them.

by jhwygirl

4&20 blackbirds is pleased to announce the addition of two very fine writers, each with their own style and perspective.

Lizard, a frequent commenter, has finally agreed to join us and I (for one) couldn’t be more pleased. I find his strong sense of social justice and extensive knowledge of subjects that are not on the front page – yet alone the last page – of most main stream media news especially enlightening. He’s promised to bring some artistry to our pages too, with his poetry. I think that’s great, as Missoula certainly is an art town, and that is one aspect we don’t do very much on these pages.

Until now.

Our other addition is Patrick Duganz, who has long been one of my favorite Missoula writers who simply doesn’t write enough. He comments here fairly regularly on a myriad of subjects, and his ability to get to the core of the matter with an economy of words is a skill I’d love to have. I have to admit I tried luring him back in 2008 (around the same time I first approached Lizard, too). Pat’s an Anaconda boy who is wicked smart and fearless in his writing.

Welcome aboard Lizard…Pat! Can’t wait for your first posts!

Thanks!

by problembear

it is about time that the main stream media took these guys to task. congrats to sherry for telling it like it is. used to be a time when this country didn’t tolerate bad behavior. now we don’t just tolerate lying, we reward it.

in another state this lady takes on the fraudulent behavior of glenn beck. Carla is a pioneer of blogging, much like wulfgar. and it shows. enjoy.



Added Two New Blogs

by jhwygirl

Native American Netroots

and

Blue Oregon

Enjoy.

by Jay Stevens

Congratulations to the gang here at the b’birds for winning the Missoula Independent‘s readers’ award for best blog of Missoula:

Rabble, rabble, rabble. Missoulians tend to be about the most issue-minded people in Montana, and 4&20 blackbirds serves as the favorite online meeting place to rake environmental injustice, political skullduggery or whatever else is happening over the liberal coals. Various different contributors-including the anonymous “jhwygirl,” “JC” and “problembear,” as well as Pete Talbot-help churn through a myriad of issues each day. The addition this year of local blogger “Carfreestupidity,” who specializes in alternative transportation and urban design, brought yet another take to the site. The best part of 4&20 may be that a post from one of these writers only serves as a starting point for a spirited discussion in the comments section.

Write on!

If any of you posters are down by Caras Park tonight, I believe the Indy has drink tickets for you…

by jhwygirl

In what is the first various-and-sundry-like post I’ve ever seen from one of Montana’s very best bloggers, Wulfgar! weighs in with his thoughts (and advice to Democrats and Republican’s alike) on the congressional primary races.

Interesting stuff he’s saying…and you know – and I am NOT saying this to be critical of anything – that kind of thinking is what makes Montana elections so unprecedented at times. Montana’s elections have pulled some whack results….and really, I know people who are considering doing pretty much what Wulfgar! kinda snarkily puts out there.

It’s an interesting perspective on the election.

I have some concern about this happening – there are a lot of serious legislative races that can not be left to such folly. I just hope people think carefully about the down-ballot races, too – because in a primary, you only get one party’s ballot.

by jhwygirl

I certainly hope the Dems in Kalispell are paying attention to this.

Democratic candidate for HD8, Dane Clark, of Kalispell was handing out tea party pamphlets, packin’ heat (because rumors of agent provocateurs, it seemed prudent) and passing out campaign lit for Mark French, Republican primary congressional wingnut racist bigot from Sanders County.

~~~~
James Conner never writes enough for me. I wish he wrote more – but it looks like he’s done two pieces recently, both regarding Flathead County politics.

I did read his eulogy for friend Loren Kreck, back when he posted it a couple weeks ago. Loren Kreck is an environmental hero that I had never heard of, yet generations of Montanans – generations of people – will benefit from his diligent work to preserve the North Fork of the Flathead.

James? You did Loren righteous. It’s a beautiful piece of writing.

by jhywgirl

Well, this is rich, coming from our very own lone congressional Representative Dennis Rehberg – He’s swearing off earmarks for a year, “in a symbolic stance against federal spending.”

Where was he his other 9 years in congress?

Dennis, you see, loves to (first) put earmarks in bills, (next) vote against said bills in a sudden fit of fiscal conservatism, and (finally) take credit for earmark that he placed in the bill he voted against.

Pogie – who has an affection for Rehberg that I certainly admire – is quick on Matt Gouras’ latest Rehberg blurb, pointing out that Rehberg has been a drunken sailor for the last 9 years, and his latest stance is yet another example of his ongoing inconsistency regarding his claims of fiscal conservatism.

I mean – Pogie had Dennis Rehberg pegged a drunken sailor back in April of last year.

Voters shouldn’t be fooled by Rehberg’s election year antics. He goes through this every two years, occasionally pulling out some vote that reaches for the moderate voters of this state – two years ago it was his switch in voting for CHIP funding, this year apparently he’s trying to bill himself as a deficit hawk.

A deficit hawk who touts deficit spending to reduce the deficit.

That’s right folks – after 10 years in congress, Dennis Rehberg has yet to comprehend basic budgetary principles. Let’s not forget the schooling the Kaimin did of Rehberg earlier this year.

What a joke.

Head through Pogie’s archives for your reality check on our hypocritical Rep. Dennis Rehberg…and once your done there, feel free to peruse our own archives here.

by Pete Talbot

It came back to me in a torrent of emotions: why I seldom visit the right-wing blogs.

It was the comments over at Missoulapolis this time, on this post, about resurrecting the Hiawatha train route — a pretty innocuous subject.

It wasn’t “Max Bucks” calling our site “4 & 20 Black Girls.” I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he really isn’t a racist. He’s just making a feeble attempt at humor by melding blackbirds with jhwygirl — this site’s longtime contributor. I hope that’s all it is.

Nor was it Mr. Bucks calling European rail passengers “stinking euro-socialists.”

No, it was the entire tone of the comments. From the reasons as to why this guy won’t take the train:

“I can drive 156 miles in Montana in two hours for about $75.00. I can ride in extreme comfort and privacy, leave when I like, stop when I like, and return when I like. There will be no government record of my travel.”

I mean, where do you start with a comment like that: the selfishness, wastefulness and extreme paranoia of it all.

There are the ever popular government is bad/free market is good metaphors.

There’s a swipe at Ward 2 Councilwoman Pam Walzer’s unfortunate DUI, for who knows what reason.

Then it devolved into a rage against food stamp users:

“Ever wonder how many folks that are on welfare, then either purchase their intoxicant “de jour” (sic) with cash from food stamps or cash from a welfare check?”

Now I’m not saying the left-wing blogosphere is made up of saints. I do believe, though, at least at this site, we try to moderate the really malicious comments — no matter what the political persuasion. I, for one, take offense at the misuse of the word Nazi when applied to conservatives, and will call out the commenter.

I just don’t see this happening at the right-wing sites, and the nasty rhetoric makes me sad. It gives me less-and-less faith in humanity, and our ability to solve the myriad problems facing our nation and world.

If you’ve the stomach, take a quick look at the site. Read it and weep.

by jhwygirl

This comes to us via Michael Shay at hummingbirdminds.

Wyoming’s legislature just started its 20-day legislative session, and one of the first tasks at hand was to “send a message to Washington” that health care reform was not welcome. Titled the Health Freedom of Choice resolution, the senate proposal was intended to tell the federal government that “the federal government shall not interfere with an individual’s health care decisions.”

The resolution failed on its first reading.

The make-up of the Wyoming senate? 30 members, 23 of ’em Republicans, 7 Democrats.

Quite the message. Let’s see if Washington, Republicans, Blue Dogs, the media and the rest of America takes note.

Wherein Big Swede’s head begins to spin….

~~~~~~
Update: The Wyoming senate actually killed two anti-health reform bills. The other was a bill that would have required the AG to investigate the constitutionality of any health reform bill passed in congress.

by jhwygirl

The importance of net neutrality can not be overstated – the ability to access anything from any provider is key to the free flow of information. Allowing corporate control over what can arguably be called one of the last truly free places where ideas are exchanged freely would be a tragedy for free speech.

Do you want your provider deciding what you can access on the internet?

The FCC’s public comment period for their proposed net neutrality rules ends this Thursday. There are several ways to comment – two sites, CREDO and Free Press have a place where you can submit public comment. You can also use the FCC’s website, although it is a bit cumbersome.

While you’re at it, you might also consider contacting the White House. They are, apparently, backing off of their initial support for the protections.




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