Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

by jhwygirl

Still more rolling on the University of Montana rape scandal – the U.S. Department of Education is investigation the University of Montana over its handling of (at least) 11 rapes of UM students over the last 18 months.

Title IX violations would be devastating, and have a disastrous effect on federal funding availability. The U.S. Department of Education has already found violations in how UMontana handles criminal complaints.

They’ll be coordinating with the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation into civil rights violations by UMontana, the City of Missoula Police and County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg’s office.

Van Valkenburg – as a reminder folks – is an elected official, who is up for reelection in 2014.

We’re only getting started on this, Montana. I have little doubt an NCAA investigation is impending…and (just a reminder) UMontana president Royce Engstrom’s contract is up in June. You can speculate for yourself what that means.

In other news – I hope you all caught this editorial by the the UMontana Kaimin editorial board, published two Mondays ago, February 23rd: Go Back to D.C. Jim Foley.

Bold, and much respect in the face of the actions of other leaders within UMontana – such as outgoing ASUM president Jen Gursky who has publicly stood by the University’s handling of the rape and sexual assault scandal since December. A bit troubling, considering her political aspirations here within the City of Missoula – and under the Democratic Party banner.

Vice-president Jim Foley fired back on Friday – showing, quite frankly, his lack of understanding of how the UMontana presents its editorials (a theme they touched on in their call to have him removed) – by saying that he was “staying in Missoula.” While he continued to hid behind privacy concerns (for who, I ask: The victims or the criminals?), he did offer his perspective of the 1st Amendment:

An anonymous and poorly written editorial attacking one’s character is not the signal we should be looking for in print journalism in the 21st century. I like the idea of the Kaimin being the watchdog of UM; however, as the saying goes,the watchdog never barks at one of its own family members. The Kaimin can do better.

So Foley supports the The Kaimin’s right to watchdog journalism – they just shouldn’t watchdog the University.

One is left wondering exactly what kind of education Mr. Foley received in his past life given this lack of comprehension of the 1st Amendment and his understanding of watchdog journalism.

Maybe he should sit in on a constitutional law class. Might do everyone good.

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by jhwygirl

Boy – what to say about this lte in the Montana Kaimin from Ms. Clarissa Holmes, a freshman at University of Montana.

She steps in there to defend the Griz players – but it isn’t her specific defense of the football team that bothers me – it’s where she places the blame. Please….read it for yourself:

Three: Are we really to blame the Griz football players? I’m going to come out and say that the football players aren’t the main problem of this and we all know it. It’s the ladies. You know the ones I’m talking about; the ones at the parties who are drinking everything they’re handed and wearing far-too-short skirts. I’m not saying they’re the ones getting raped, or that the girls who experienced sexual assault fit this stereotype, but what these girls are doing is just opening the way for these guys to assault them. Whatever happened to some of the first rules we learned as children? Not getting in cars with strangers, not taking candy (ahem, alcohol) from strangers. These rules are common sense and the fact that the women of this school are breaking them is purely unsafe and naïve.

By going to parties, drinking all they can, and acting like they want some, these girls are practically serving the cake to these guys. Girls really need to learn to draw the line on what’s an appropriate image at parties. Also, they need to stand up for themselves. Who cares if he’s popular? Who cares if he’s a senior or a football player? If he’s doing something you don’t like, do what my mom taught me and kick him in the balls. That’s what they’re for.

So….boy…I’m sitting here shaking my head wondering how we – America – got to a point where a young woman – a freshman in college – believes that women are to blame for being sexually assaulted.

Then put that in the context of a university that has been (supposedly) working to address the problem? What, exactly, are they doing? And maybe they should consider doing something else?

But let this letter also serve as a bit of a notice to our high schools here in Montana – Ms. Holmes is a freshman. She didn’t get to blaming, essentially, her female peers by accident. In fact, her letter makes me realize something that I hadn’t thought about – that the University of Montana didn’t get to where it’s gotten in terms of this rape scandal by itself. They had help getting there along the way, and it started somewhere down the line.

Work to do? You betcha.

by jhwygirl

The University of Montana has released its rape investigation report. At least I can say that President Engstrom is finally sounding sincere:

“We have had a serious issue with sexual assault and we have to take bold and decisive measures to move toward the elimination of sexual assault,” he said in a telephone interview. “It is a new time for the university with respect to sexual assault. We are as serious as we can possibly be about this matter.”

The university’s legal counsel David Aronofsky had input to the university’s rape scandal report with a memo (which Engstrom makes reference to in the Engstrom’s 4-page report (which doesn’t appear to be online,) saying that the university shouldn’t be assisting athletes in finding legal council.

Not because it’s a conflict of interest or anything, given that the University oversees this fabulous Student Code of Conduct they repeatedly refer to – but because of the appearance of impropriety of treating one class of students (athletes) different from the rest.

Oh – and also because it might open the U to an NCAA violation.

Engstrom’s 4-page comprehensive report on UMontana’s ongoing rape and sexual assault scandals references the fact that 5 students are no longer with the University after they completed their investigations into reported assaults. He would not – because of that fabulous Student Code of Conduct – say whether they had graduated, dropped out or been expelled. Three more cases were dismissed for lack of evidence, while in 3 more cases, the students are appealing sanctions that resulted out of the investigation.

Missoulians and the victims probably feel oh-so-safe knowing that President Engstrom and his lawyers have investigated and sanctioned 3 students while 5 more are gone.

Gone where? From the registrars roles? Have they moved into my neighborhood? Are they here in the community?

Did they head down the road to MSU in Bozeman? Or perhaps Montana Tech over there in Butte?

And what about the University’s obligation to not obstruct the law. Pretty sure they can’t write a Code of Conduct for anyone – even President Engstrom – that says you can have knowledge of a crime such as assault and not have to report it (along with the evidence) to law enforcement officers.

Otherwise, that’s really pretty much a civil rights violation, regardless of whether the victim reported the crime to the proper (THE POLICE) authorities.

Which brings me again to say – If you are on campus, your 911 call is going to the university cops. Take that advice for what its worth.

City Police 24 hour number is 552-6300.

I’m not joking when I say this – but there needs to be an investigation. An investigation into the very (un)timely homeland return by a Saudi Arabian student accused of two incidents involving rape and sexual assault. An investigation into whether the University has knowledge of a crime or crimes and isn’t turning over that information to the City of Missoula police.

Will even ONE legislator speak up about the University system hiding behind this Student Code of Conduct? Do we need changes to the law?

Surely there’s a law that requires people with knowledge and or evidence (such as investigations) of criminal activity to report it?

I give Engstrom’s “report” a D+.

~~~~~
You know? There’s an ongoing pattern here of perpetrators of sexual assault being removed from campus, one way or another and clearly with the assistance of evidence of sexual assault or rape.

Who’s protecting whom here, I have to ask?

What kind of Student Code of Conduct does this University have that perpetrators of sexual assault are afforded protection from their crimes?

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 jhwygirl

There’s been some pretty shocking video out of University of California-Davis over the last several days. 99% of the reaction has been that people were horrified and disgusted by the police actions.

For myself, I must be numb. The blatent disregard the UCDavis cops had for the students they are paid to protect – protect – has been played out all over the country in cities across America. Police beating with billy clubs and people beating them with fists and body slams? Police pepper spraying – pepper spraying randomly and with malice? Police firing guns with rubber pellets and tear gas and other various projectiles? It’s been played out in NYC, in Portland, in Phoenix, in Denver…Pittsburgh…LA..Oakland. Everywhere.

All of this directed at masses of peaceful protesters. People angry at the banking system and corporatization of America. An America that is making money on money – and leaving real America- the 99% – out floating in its wake.

And let’s make not mistake – peaceful protestors shouting angrily about their protest issues does not necessitate a need for mob control. We are not seeing mass vandalism, people. We are seeing mass protest and over reaction by police which incites mobs and results – sometimes and not all the time and you all know this to be true – some actual property destruction.

On Friday, UCDavis chancellor ordered the #occupy occupation tents removed. Cops come in with full riot gear, and..well…started beating on not only students, but also a poet laureate and Wordsworth scholar, along with their colleagues who had gone down to bear witness to the alleged violence of the students. Here is the first video that I saw of Friday’s removal:

It’s bizarre. It’s troubling – and again, remember my numbness to these scenes of violence. I see this stuff day in day out on twitter – regular network news doesn’t even have time in their 20-second sound bite rule to cover this stuff, yet alone fit it into their corporate-biased agenda. But did you watch to the end? At 8 minutes long, I wonder how many of you bailed about half-way through?

Sometime late Saturday someone posted the video below which shows the same situation from another angle, with a longer lead in – and it cuts out the events that occurred late in the video I posted above:

It was this second video that sickened even the numb jhwygirl. The vitrol the one lead officer directed at peaceful students – children for crying out loud! – is stomach-turning. I feel the pain of the woman you can hear in the background screaming (and later crying) “you are supposed to protect them!” as the cops, with determination and deliberation, pepper spray those kids at close range while they sit peacefully on the sidewalk of their campus.

Goddess, what has this nation come to?

My numbness though requires me to try and find something good – a sanity mechanism I’m learning ;) – and it is the end of that first video (and less so the second) which shows the police’s full retreat.

Those police stood there in full riot gear facing down peaceful protesting students sitting on a sidewalk. Hundreds stood there in witness – all of which included cameras and cell phones and video cameras. It wasn’t just students standing there – it was news media and university personnel. Yet those cops stood there as a handful pointed guns (likely loaded with pepper spray balls or rubber bullets) at eye and head level. Those cops stood there in bullet proof vests and masks and watched as a colleague stood like some sort of cattle master over those peaceful students and shook up that pepper spray – and at one point double-fisted himself with the stuff, having grabbed a fellow cops can – and marched up and down in attempts to intimidate peaceful students sitting on a sidewalk with that pepper spray.

For what? Control of the sidewalk?

And yet even after he emptied a can of pepper spray on those kids and only one or two ran after the pain was inflicted, those cops were safe. The only rush was to the safety of those students – and yet those cops who are sworn to protect left those students in bodily harm (pepper spray is NOT harmless folks…it can blind, and in this case it did cause bleeding) and beat back the people who attempted to protect and assist.

What is moving about those two videos is the safety of those disgusting officers who violated multiple laws and policies by doing what they did…

What is moving is the safety they had as they retreated from their failed attempt to clear a sidewalk. A friggin’ sidewalk.

What is moving is the obvious fear that the same officer who inflicted the pepper spray exhibited as he retreated – and his companion officers who continued to point those rifles at the heads of those peaceful protestors and their accompanying witnesses.

Did they cry when they shut the door of their office or their car after they completed their retreat? Do they look at this video and realize the complete shame of what they did? Do the ones that stood guard realize the sin of their complicity?

I have some understanding of mob mentality, I’d like to think – so I wonder what those cops thought after they exhaled that evening. After they saw themselves on film.

Finally – last night UC Davis’ Chancellor Katehi took a late night walk to her car. The campus is now filled with protesters. And Chancellor Katehi – who had said on Saturday that the police use of pepper spray was justified because her and the staff at the university felt threatened – walked in silence and shame to her car.

I bet she was shaking once her and her companion drove away. And I bet she cried too.

by jhwygirl

Bringing it back. As always, consider this an open thread

If you watched only one The Daily Show this week, hopefully it was this one. He starts off with “Democracy” – brings in Saudia Arabia’s lack of it with regards, especially, to women. Slaps the U.S. for embracing Saudia Arabia and then whips it all together with #occupywallstreet and the NYPD attacks on peaceful protesters.

On that note, here’s The Nation’s FAQ on Occupy Wall Street. Just the basics, for those still wondering what it is.

For your visual pleasure and cultural and even perhaps political curiosity, some pics from an expat living in China, twitterer @lonniehodge – who’s also a TED speaker.

I was seriously asleep on this one – Supermontana reporter John S. Adams broke the story, then Don Pogreba took the Rep. Denny Rehberg Federal land-grab story and pulled it all together with a very thorough analysis.

More hypocrisy from Rehberg. Against National Monuments, but fine with handing over unilateral authority over Montana’s borders to the Department of Homeland Security. Kinda like a double-dip of hypocrisy there, isn’t it?

Speaking of hypocrites..the face of Montana’s reasonable conservatism Montanafesto absolutely rips on Reverend Harris Himes’ criminal activities in this post titled Hypocrite, Meet Karma – Another Righteous Right Winger Down.

Himes, if you haven’t heard, is Blaming the gays.

Jack over at The Western Word had a piece this week about a local drinking-and-driving tragedy there in Great Falls. He has written quite a bit on the topic of drinking and driving, and I had, in fact, had reason to come across this tough criticism on the legislature from this past session just today.

Are you reading James Conner? Because you need to be. James’ latest piece at the Flathead Memo is on the bullying incident at Glacier High School. The story is pretty sick, and I knew it was going to get ugly when the coach resigned as the story broke. For all that, read this earlier post from James, which really rings together the whole sordid thing, along with a local history of the issue, together.

Montana is one of only 5 states in the nation without anti-bullying laws. Congressional candidate and state senator Kim Gillan sponsored SB141 this past session in an effort to address bullying. While it passed the Senate, it was tabled in the House Education Committee. A blast attempt on the floor failed also, 63-34. That’s not a party-line vote, btw – looks like 2 Republicans might have voted with the Dems to try and get the thing a fair floor hearing.

Disgraceful.

2nd Grade Bike Rack got linked to in an Huffington Post piece on the Keystone XL pipeline this past week. Pretty sweet! Kudos to James for that. Wanna read it? Republicans Oppose Keystone XL Pipeline.

That’s all I got – what about you?

by jhwygirl

I’ve not read even a portion of it, but here’s the entire enchilada of the deficit ceiling bill (or whatever the cool kids are calling it today).

What I did pass by today in my quick reads was this story which has $21.6 billion in savings for the taxpayers, but will cost students dearly. From the story:

This change would shift some $125 billion in loan volume over to unsubsidized loans and would cost students $18.1 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The student loan cuts start on page 71.

The whole student loan program is screwed up. The federal government guarantees student loans. They pay the interest on these loans while students are in school. Students get loans from banks. Banks get the money from the feds and charge students interest. Tell me that isn’t screwed up.

Why can’t the federal government back these loans? They can back Canadian-built transmission lines but they can’t back the higher education of its citizens? Student loans are a guaranteed steady source of income. You can’t default on them. Why does the federal government loan money at treasury rates to banks that will charge 7% or more in interest on loans that they know they will be able to collect? That’s just plain stupid.

We’ve handed the Class of 2011 one hell of a mess. They aren’t going to find jobs in this economy – and now we’re gonna make ’em fund the banks should they choose to further their education while the economy recovers?

We didn’t just push this stuff off on the middle class – we directly billed a bunch of 20-somethings.

by appalachianfreedom

There was some great news from the University of Montana’s Provost Website recently:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: At this time, the funds available for Student Enrichment Opportunities have been exhausted. This notice will be removed as soon as additional funding sources are identified. It is unlikely that any more proposals will be funded in fiscal year 2011.

This is great news because there is finally a disclaimer that tells prospective grant applicants that the Provost is broke, even though it is more than a year overdue, its nice to see some consideration there. I also like to think that I played a small part in this after my discussion with the Provost office earlier this Spring. The discussion centered around the disdain from me and my graduate ilk toward the office after we and our department faculty spent three weeks preparing and rewriting a grant proposal. We then waited a month and a half after submission until we contacted the office (as an ironic twist, the submission deadlines on the office’s website were also wrong). It took them a few minutes to retrieve our request from file, followed by an additional minute to explain that the office had been out of funds since before the previous semester. I took a few days to confirm this with other departments that I knew had submitted grants and I suggested another meeting with the Provost office to try to get them to put a notice on their website that they were broke. They did not grant us the pleasure of such a congress.

Please understand that I am not disgruntled because our grant did not get funded. I have written many unsuccessful grants in my tenure as a student. When writing a grant you have to make yourself believe that you have the largest non-zero probability of getting funded. I can honestly say, however, that this was the first grant that I have been a part of where the probability of funding was in fact, zero. I certainly wish I had not wasted three weeks writing and revising it, that is for sure.

So the Provost is out of money, that is certainly par for the collegiate course in our current economic environment. We researchers may just have to go a bit lean for a while, it is understandable. As long as our campus community at-large can also make some sacrifices, it may even bring us a higher sense of fraternity as we all weather the great recession together–Students, Faculty, Staff, and Administration alike. Wouldn’t that be something?

Instead, errors of excess continue. Had you walked into the Davidson Honors College lounge on a Friday evening when school was in session, you would have seen this:

The Friday night faculty and staff party. I am not going to tell you how much a cheese buffet and open bar form the University of Montana Catering Services costs for two reasons. Number one, you probably would not believe me, and number two, the cheese you see on the silver platter is in principle, wrong. It is wrong because these pictures were taken during the threat of a 34 million dollar cut in funding from the State Legislature. Three days prior to this party I stood in the cold rain with my fellow students to rally in hopes that the legislators would reconsider. One week prior to this party the University sent a mass email preparing students for “double-digit tuition increases” and a “dramatic decrease in student services.”

The cheese party went ahead as scheduled. Now we know that the budget scare is over. The University will actually receive about a 2.4 percent increase over the next two years. The question now becomes; will that money be used for more cheese, or perhaps to fund students by creating an environment that they deserve as scholars (paying scholars, that is). Perhaps it could be used to replace the carpet in the Mansfield library currently being held together by duct tape?

by Pete Talbot

It was one of the broadest coalitions I’ve seen in years.

But it was hard to get crowd estimates in the rolling front yard of the Capitol — over a thousand for sure.  Folks kept pouring in from around Montana, connecting with friends and sharing the wrath.

The rally literally took off at the end: a march around the Capitol grounds with all the signs and fired-up people, just as the sun was breaking through the clouds, and to the PA playing “We’re Not Going to Take It” by Twisted Sister.

This followed the speeches which were many, but short and to the point: a Billings firefighter, a Bozeman pastor, a Missoula small business owner, a veteran, a Blackfeet Indian, to name a few.

The themes were “Courage, Not Cuts,” “These Cuts Hurt,”  “We Have the Money, Reverse the Cuts,” and “Work That Matters.”

It was an eclectic mix: ironworkers and teachers, environmentalists and health care activists, Crow and Blackfeet, emergency service workers and the disabled … and kids.

(More photos and copy below the fold.)

Continue Reading »

by Pete Talbot

Montana’s governor isn’t Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker.  And there aren’t quite the same union-busting laws being advanced by either the executive or legislative branch here in Montana.  But there’s potential for a Wisconsin-like rally on Friday, April Fool’s Day, in Helena.

This is very apropos, considering the many foolish bills, radical cuts and a special session offered up by the Republican majority during this legislature.

The rally is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. at the Capitol.  Here’s some background from the Havre Daily News.

One of the organizers of the event, Molly Moody, said the rally represents union members, community leaders, neighbors, teachers, firefighters, nurses, snowplow drivers, health workers, business owners, conservationists, cowboys, police officers …

No one is sure what the turnout will be yet.  Buses are being chartered in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Havre, Great Falls, Kalispell and Missoula, so I’m betting it’s larger the March 3 Tea Party rally. I know I’m going.

Continue Reading »

by Pete Talbot

General Electric makes a $5.1 billion profit in the U.S. and pays nothing in taxes.  It actually gets a $3.2 billion tax credit.

Is this the Republican tax policy?

Man, things are definitely askew.  Not enough money for education, the poor, kids and seniors.  Gosh, I wonder why.

Here’s the story in the NY Times.

by Pete Talbot

Special session?

There are rumors in Helena that this session could end early.  It’s all coming down to the budget, now, and since the Republicans aren’t accepting any amendments or, really, compromising on anything, their budget proposal will head straight to the governor. Schweitzer will veto it.  That pretty much guarantees an early out — I’ve heard April 2 instead of the scheduled April 21 end date — and a special session.  Thanks, GOP, for not reaching across the aisle and getting the people’s business done in 90 days … and costing the state more money in a special session.

Champ is still a chump

They don’t mind spending money on a special session but are loathe to spend money on children, Montana college kids, seniors and the poor.  Republican Champ Edmunds (HD-100) has a letter to the editor today that plays fast-and-loose with the facts-and-figures in explaining the Republican budget.

A more accurate description comes from Democrat Carol Williams (SD-46):

“The Governor’s budget is balanced, funds critical services and maintains the second largest savings account in Montana history.  The Republican budget is balanced on the backs of women, children and seniors.  Republicans took an ax to the budget when we have money in the bank,” she said.  “I had hoped that we would be able to say to Montana’s families: we’re going to take care of your children if they get sick, make sure you put food on your table, and keep your homes warm.  But the Republican majority turned a deaf ear to the pleas of Montanans who came before the committee asking for services to be restored.”

Here are some of the facts:

* $206.2 million in cuts to the Montana families, kids, students, and seniors

* $49 million eliminated from Medicaid which would result in 4,084 babies losing coverage.

* $34.9 million cut from SNAP/Food Assistance impacting 53,000 kids, 30,000 seniors, and 42,000 adults who would go without food benefits for two months.

* $35 million rejected in healthcare information technology for 47 critical access hospitals in rural areas across the state.

* $26 million slashed from Healthy Montana Kids that would boot 5,000 children off of health insurance.

* $9.6 million removed from LIEAP that will force 12,000 families to go without heating assistance the next two winters.

* $4.7 million cut from family services eliminating services used by over 27,000 Montana families every year for healthcare, screenings and reproductive care.

* $32 million in cuts to higher education, which will result in a tuition increase of 26% over the next two years.

Williams added that with the $174.2 million in cuts to the Health and Human Services budget, Republicans turned back over $80 million in federal money, which could go to other states.  She also noted that the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana estimates that for every $10 million cut in healthcare, about 144 jobs are lost.  These cuts could result in a loss of over 2,508 healthcare jobs.

The tale of two headlines

I’ve been visiting the Magic City of Billings and reading the Billings Gazette. Here was the Front Page, above the fold, headline on Sunday:

Poll: Tightening up medical marijuana law preferable to repeal

When I checked my hometown paper, the Missoulian, here was its Front Page headline:

Most Favor Repeal

And it had a subhead that read: Lee Newspaper poll shows that 52 percent support dumping law.

Here’s the story, and while the Missoulian headline is technically correct, if you read the entire piece you’ll notice that if not given any other choice, yeah, Montanans would be in favor of a repeal. But, if given the option, 57 percent backed stricter regulations and licensing requirements, while 31 percent wanted to repeal the law and 11 percent favored keeping the current law intact.  So basically, 68 percent don’t favor repeal.

The Gazette got it right.  Missoulian: that’s lazy headline writing.

Molnar screws Missoula

I was pleasantly surprised when two of the three Republicans on the PSC voted to allow the Clark Fork Coalition “intervenor status” in the review of Mountain Water’s sale to the Carlyle Group, a private global investment firm.  Republicans Bill Gallagher and Travis Kavulla joined Democrats Gail Gutsche and John Vincent in the votes.  Volatile Republican Brad Molnar voted against CFC in intervening on behalf of Missoula water drinkers saying, “it’s a purchase issue and they don’t have standing.”  Thanks, four out of five, for voting (initially at least) in Missoula’s interest.  The Garden City needs all the friends it can get while battling this international conglomerate.

Some newspaper kudos

I’m one of the first to throw brickbats at our state’s newspapers. We are, however, extremely fortunate to have veteran Lee Newspaper reporters Mike Dennison and Chuck Johnson covering the state capitol.  An unscientific poll over at LiTW (you’ll have to scroll down a little) has blogs being the first source for information on the Montana Legislature — among bloggers, naturally.  That’s a nice ego stroke but I still continue to turn to seasoned reporters as my first source for news and analysis. Then I go to the blogs.  (I particularly respect anything Dennison writes on health care issues.  His Montana perspective on the effects of the national health care debate has been Pulitzer Prize calibre IMHO.)

John Adams of the Great Falls Tribune has done some outstanding legislative reporting although I don’t follow him as much.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.  Same with Montana Public Radio.  Thank you, all, and keep up the good work.

by jhwygirl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by jhwygirl

I’ve ranted to a seemingly uninformed audience in support of Governor Schweitzer’s bill to change the way certain oil & gas revenues are distributed.

I’ve called it unfair. I’ve decried the conservatives lambasting of the proposal as further evidence of their hypocrisy towards government subsidies. I’ve complained about how it it shows an abandonment of the free market – and example of how this so-called great profitable high-paying and tons-of-jobs industry doesn’t truly support the communities from where it extracts it’s resources.

Because if there are all of these high-paying jobs, shouldn’t those high-paid employees be paying taxes that support the social infrastructure of the community?

Lee reporter Mike Dennison has a great article on the issue which includes a paragraph better summing up the message I may have failed to convey.

A handful of school districts – primarily in far eastern Montana – get millions of dollars in oil-and-gas revenue, have large financial reserves and levy zero or very few local property tax mills to support their schools.

What that oil & gas fund has done is bought the pockets of a whole bunch of legislators out east and a whole bunch of voters that don’t have to pay taxes to support their schools.

Imagine the perspective you might have if you in Missoula or in the Flathead or up in Lewis & Clark county didn’t have to pay taxes to support your schools?

Imagine the political perspective in the counties listed here if those citizens there actually had to pay “market” taxes for schools?

I’ve said a bunch of times and I’ll say it again – the mineral estate is the property of the citizens of Montana. If the state is taxing it, it belongs to everyone. It is not the property of a handful of counties with less than half of the state’s population so that they can have lower taxes and so they don’t have to support their schools.

HB136 was killed Wednesday in House Education.

It’s disgusting. It’s unfair. It’s wrong.

Governor Brian Schweitzer was correct.

On this one.

by jhwygirl

Sunday’s Missoulian has an article reporting the budget issues facing Missoula County Public Schools and how decisions being made in the legislature are impacting their ability to determine structure for next year’s school year.

It isn’t just Missoula County that is facing these questions. Citizens across the state are likely to get the same answers from their own local school administration.

It’s a scary time up there – the storm metaphor used by Jamie Kelly is perfect – and frankly, it’s hard not to believe that the sole purpose of the insanity of bills up there is to dismantle state government to a state of utter chaos and costly lawsuits with both citizens and the federal government.

These days when I think of this, I ponder whether the GOP in the senate will attempt to save the State and their own party in the process.

It isn’t just the 5% across-the-board cuts that parents and educators should be watching. Tomorrow, Rep. James Knox’s HB397 will have a hearing in House Taxation.

HB397 will provide a tax credit for school choice and home schooling.

Here’s a bill in House Taxation having public hearing without the public seeing a fiscal note on the thing. Who in the hell is running the show up there?

Wait.

Never mind.

by Pete Talbot

Five middle school suicides in the past year. Twenty attempted suicides. In a town of less than a thousand. In a school of fewer than 160.

This is criminal negligence.

It happened in Poplar, Montana, and the story is in today’s paper. The gist of the piece was about a principal who singled out kids at a student assembly for getting Fs. If true, well, that’s pretty sad.

But that’s not really the story. Kids as young as ten are taking their own lives out of desperation. It’s an unbroken cycle of poverty and hopelessness; while the rest of us turn a blind eye.

Here’s the best link I could find at the Great Falls Tribune but the suicides are buried in the story. The online Lee Newspapers have no mention of the suicides. (It was reported in the print edition of the Missoulian.) That’s unconscionable. It should have been the lead story on every newscast and in every newspaper across the state … and it should have happened months ago.

Where else should the blame lie? Our state and national governments, for sure. Our disparate education system. Society as a whole. The list goes on.

Can you imagine the outcry if this had happened at Washington Middle School in Missoula? No expense would be spared. Every expert in the region, every anti-suicide program that’s ever been conceived, would be employed to prevent this from happening.

But it happened in Poplar on the Fort Peck Reservation where, apparently, kids aren’t quite as valuable.

We should all be ashamed and make sure this doesn’t happen again on this reservation or any other school, anywhere.

by jhwygirl

Here we go again.

Not even a month after this season’s first ‘incident’.

I guess we’re starting on year 3 of this kind of activity (odd that this link from this previous post doesn’t go to the article that the Kaimin did last year.

Maybe someone will fix that?

As for last night’s incident, Hauck mighta recruited Stuberg – a third year sophomore – but Pflugrad is apparently content to continue with this academic underachiever.

I point that out because the Grizz team may have criminals – but it also has enablers.

Because, right or wrong, it’s all “Win Win Win!”

~~~~~~
Speaking of enablers, the state has yet to replace King George Dennison – he gave the opening address to the newest round of students last week.

by jhwygirl

For those of you who might of missed it, CBS News’ Face the Nation has posted the video of Bob Schieffer’s interview with Bozeman native Greg Mortenson.

Don’t miss it. There’s lots to learn there.

Nicholas Kristof, one of NYTimes best, had a column recently where he lamented the war as it juxtaposed upon the wisdom of Mortenson’s best-selling book, Three Cups of Tea. It’s a must-read.

One thing that’s been stuck in my head from watching Mortenson’s interview this past Sunday?

The U.S. spends $1 million per soldier, per day, for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan

Imagine if we’da built schools over these last nearly 10 years? Imagine if we’d bring 246 our soldiers home today and build a higher education system for all of Afghanistan?

by jhwygirl

Briefly:
Last month, the Missoula County Public School District voted a 20% pay raise ($ + bonus’) for superintendent Alex Apostle, while holding teacher raises to one half of 1% and acknowledging that staff lay-offs were going to occur.

News is News:
Criticism reached a crescendo immediately as news of the pay raise made it out into the community – teachers, students and taxpayers alike weren’t very happy. Letters to the editor were plentiful…more than one school board trustee could take.

Potty Mouth:
Trustee Nancy Pickhardt, an elected official, apparently didn’t like the criticism. She left a voice message for friends of hers who had written a letter criticizing the board’s pay raise decision amidst the current economic situation of giving the teachers only .5% – stating succinctly that Apostle works no harder than the rest of the MCPS system.

What Did Nancy Say?
Go fuck yourself.

What Happened Immediately?
The roar of the dirty masses (i.e., teachers, taxpayers, students and staff ) became louder. At the very next monthly school board meeting (August 10th) a standing-room only crowd protested the raise and scores of people – the dirty masses – spoke in public comment, many quite eloquently, of (1) the board’s misplaced decision regarding the raise (2) Nancy Pickhardt’s potty mouth and the poor example it set for the students, and (3) the need for Nancy Pickhardt to resign.

What Happened Today?
Nancy Pickhardt resigned today. When contacted by the Missoulian to confirm the authenticity of her emailed resignation, Mrs. Pickhardt screamed at the Missoulian reporter (unnamed in the story), saying sarcastically “No, it’s not real. You must be very happy. You’re the one who fomented this. Have a great life.”

Shame on you unnamed Missoulian reporter – you made baby Nancy Pickhardt cry.

I truly hope that is the last we ever hear of this undignified piece of a human being.

by jhwygirl

Setting a fine example and a tone for the season, Coach Pflugrad allowed hoodlum Jimmy Wilson back to practice today after a one week suspension since his “not guilty” plea to biting a woman on the leg.

Wilson has been sitting in prison in California for the last two years awaiting a second trial on murder charges because the first one ended in a hung jury. The second trial acquitted him.

But why was Jimmy Wilson suspended? It was because of pending citations from the city for a late night incident August 5th. This, from the Missoulian’s fine court and crime reporter Tristan Scott:

According to court records obtained by the Missoulian, the alleged offense occurred on Aug. 6 at 2:15 a.m. near the intersection of Park Street and Southwest Higgins Avenue. The ticket alleges Wilson committed “assault by biting (name redacted) on the right leg, causing pain and visible injury.”

Ryan said the alleged offense occurred inside a vehicle occupied by Wilson and five other individuals, including the alleged victim. The woman did not report the incident to police until later.

“There were six people in the car and nobody else saw what happened. What occurred was either unintentional or it was playful,” Ryan said. “He’s pleaded not guilty, and he deserves a fair shake until all the facts are compiled and the investigation is completed. It’s a strange allegation.”

So Jimmy’s back in town, dancing and having fun on the field as I saw from KECI’s clips on tonight’s evening news.

Pflugrad, for his part, justified putting Wilson back on the field saying “we’ll let the legal system play out.”

I’m sure he’s just a misunderstood youth, just looking for a break…and all of these incidents are just a bunch of mistakes. All of ’em.

It’s a great discipline message sent to the gang of Grizzlies, no?

Coach Pflugrad is setting quite the tone there in his new haunts. City residents better buckle-up – this is just the beginning.

Wh00t! Wh00t!

by jhwygirl

Update:
I used an old article for the 6-4 vote…and I can’t find what the vote was in the Missoulian. When I can clarify that, I will. It appears there are several versions of what the final vote was on Apostle’s raise.

Missoula citizens and Missoula County Public Schools (MCPS) teachers alike aren’t too pleased with the Missoula County School Board’s recent 6 to 4 vote to approve what amounts to a 20% pay hike to Superintendent Alex Apostle’s compensation.

Apostle will now make $155,000 a year – he’ll get an annual automobile reimbursement of $12,000 and an annual contribution to his tax-sheltered annuity to $9,996.

Sweet, huh? In this economy? In a county where the median household income is about $35,000?

Let’s give some credit where credit is due, too – trustees Rick Johns, Kelley Hirning, Drake Lemm and Adam Duerk opposed the pay hike.

Yeah, yeah – that’s right….j-girl is agreeing with something Drake Lemm did.

Citizens and teachers alike will be on hand tomorrow, starting sometime before 5 p.m. to let the school board members know what they think of their 6 to 4 vote for a 20% hike in Apostle’s compensation. 5 p.m. is the public meeting for the budget hearings and there is no agenda set. At 6 p.m. is the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees, and the agenda for that meeting can be found here.

The meeting is at 915 South Avenue.

In related news:

Nancy Pickhardt? Don’t Let the Door Hit Ya Where the Good Goddess Split Ya

Nancy Pickhardt is a school board trustee. An elected official. She has a potty mouth, and no respect for the people that elected her.

No only that, she isn’t very smart.

A deadly combination of attributes to have, IMNSHO.

I have no doubt that elected officials get mad and frustrated. But leaving a message on a phone messaging system – whether you know them or not – and telling them to “Go #!&$ yourself!” is a whole bunch of messed up arrogant stupidity.

It’s one thing to think it….it’s one thing even to say it out loud – but to hear the beep of a messaging system and to actually leave that kind of message? Seriously?

Makes you wanna see her emails, doesn’t it.

Time for Nancy Pickhardt to go. Her arrogance for the voters is dangerous. Can we recall her? Someone should look into it, because I get the sense that she doesn’t give a you-know-what what the voters think of her and her representation on the Board of Trustees.

by Pete Talbot

In his Fourth of July newsletter salutation, Congressman Denny Rehberg warns us that:

“ … teaching American History and the Constitution has taken a back seat to a politically correct alternative history curriculum.”

Seems to me that American History curriculum is actually headed in the other direction. Texas for example, has rewritten its curriculum. From the New York Times:

… the Texas Board of Education on Friday approved a social studies curriculum that will put a conservative stamp on history and economics textbooks, stressing the superiority of American capitalism, questioning the Founding Fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and presenting Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

Texas textbooks will also challenge evolution and minimize the role of important Latino figures in Texas and American history.

So I’m not sure what Denny’s issue is unless it’s his usual goal of stirring up his base with misinformation and fear.

Then he poses one of his lame quizzes that, of course, will lead to nothing except to agitate his supporters even more.

Matt over at LiTW nailed it on Rehberg’s recent quiz on Health care.

Someday Denny will present us with the important issues of the day and suggest some solutions to the real problems that face Montanans. Yeah, right.

(Update: Looks like Pogie over at Intelligent Discontent saw the same newsletter. Here’s his take on it.)

by jhwygirl

No drunk like this one – and Montana has far too many of these kind – is stopped from getting behind the wheel because of the threat of a fine or jail time.

Montana isn’t going to find an instant solution to this. It’s gonna take years. We need to change the culture of drinking here – we need to start working with middle school and high school children.

We need laws that are actually enforced, too. A 20-year old UM student killed early Tuesday morning when she fell while climbing the fire escapes, trying to reach the roof between two downtown bars – the Rhinoceros and the Missoula Club? Wonder where she was drinking.

Education is cheap. It can change the world.

by jhwygirl

Got mine the other day….and what is really neat is the Missoula County has created an online ballot tracking system that allows absentee voters to track their ballot online.

How cool is that?! First in the state, I hear.

County officials believe the online tracking system will also help reduce the call volume the Elections Office receives leading up to elections freeing up busy staff to focus on other Election Day related duties.

“The tracking system allows voters to participate in elections in a new way,” remarked Vickie Zeier, Elections Administrator. “The voters get to check on their ballot and make sure it’s moving through the process as it should be. It’s really exciting to give electors that option.”

Not registered absentee yet? Check this page out.

In other news, Missoulian Editor’s blog from Sherry Devlin reports that the Missoulian has created a k-12 schools beat – and have an assigned reporter, veteran Jamie Kelly.

That is great news. I hear very interesting things – good things – coming from both Big Sky and Hellgate High Schools, and it’d be good to hear more from these young citizens of Missoula. School board coverage should be more apparent too. Besides that – we’ve got the school trustee and levy requests on the ballot, and hell, I don’t even know the who what where (and I can’t find a sample ballot).

Anyways – looking forward to that school beat coverage.

by JC

Also overshadowed by all the hoopla over the health reform legislation was the fact that SAFRA, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, was bundled into the Health bill’s reconciliation package. So Congress actually ran a reform package for student aid through Congress with little or no opposition from the GOP.

What does SAFRA do? Here’s some highlights:

  • kill subsidies for private lenders,
  • expand the federal direct-lending program,
  • and channel the money saved into bolstered Pell grants for low-income students

I guess this is the what happens when the party of Hell No gets all wrapped up in politics and ignores policy. Some actually good policy can move along undercover.

by jhwygirl

The Missoulian continues its coverage of Griz Coach Bobby Hauck’s asshole-ish behavior, with a report on UM’s crisis management of the situation, along with a synopsis of the nationwide attention being thrust upon the Griz football program – virtually all of it critical.

Hauck continues berating Kaimin reporters?! You have got to be kidding me?

Chelsi Moy’s story had some interesting WTH? tidbits, I thought – one of them being the reason offered up for UM President (King) George Dennison along with Vice-President Jim Foley’s excuse for being “unable to weigh in,” on the matter:

UM President George Dennison has been in Europe for the past two weeks working to expand student exchange programs in Italy and Ireland, and is attending the International Student Exchange Program’s annual convention in France, and therefore has been unable to weigh in on the issue.

Executive Vice President Jim Foley was traveling this week, attending a Big Sky Conference meeting in Salt Lake City and a meeting with the Collegiate Licensing Company in Atlanta. On Friday, he was in Sacramento, Calif., with the Grizzly football team.

Really? A two-week trip touring Italy, Ireland and France? How much is that costing? While UM has a $3.6 million budget shortfall?

Beyond that – the Hauck “situation” began publicly back on September 18th, when the Kaimin reported it. Now, of course it may be possible that Dennison and Foley were in South America or Australia or something. But at that point, King George and VP Jim Foley knew (at least) that Hauck was shutting out Kaimin reporters. They had an obligation then to step in. Hauck should be a role model, as should UM and any and all of its programs – and allowing that behavior to occur, yet alone to continue is disgraceful.

Sport’s Illustrated columnist Jeff Pearlman sums it up well:

Generally speaking, pinning behavioral stupidity on your players is an even worse move than, say, locking out the student newspaper in a town where – on a good day – you’re covered by three media outposts. And even if your athletes did decide to protest, it’s your job – as a presumed educator – to do the opposite; to pull the student writers aside, explain your gripe and try to work it out in a mature manner.

We also know now that the administration was complicit in silencing the Griz players physical attack on a UM student, as VP Jim Foley acknowledged to the Kaimin last month.

Honestly folks – It’s appalling that this criminal behavior is condoned at the highest levels of administration in the University.

Another thing that struck me was this statement, from UM athletic director Jim O’Day:

“I would prefer (Hauck) did talk, but I respect the decisions he’s made…..I’m against forcing someone to do something against their wishes and would prefer an amicable solution.”

Hauck’s behavior has brought unwelcome attention on the entire university. As an administrator, balancing an employee’s right not to talk to the media with protecting the university’s image is a tricky situation, O’Day admits(my emphasis added).

O’Day would prefer that he talks? “I’m against forcing someone to do something against their wishes?” – but then going on referring to “balancing the employee’s right not to talk to the media?

You have got to be kidding me, right?

Because UM tells all its other employees- and reminds them regularly – that they are to avoid talking to the press and they should refer all questions to the administration, blah, blah, blah…..so talking about an “employee’s right not to talk to the media” and “forcing someone to do something against their wishes,” are not really making sense when you put it in the context of their very own public information policy for employees.

That is, unless UM has changed its policy? Because it’s sounding like they prefer that their employee’s speak to the press when asked. I mean, I bet a whole lot of University employees might have a whole lot to say about the Griz football Bobby Hauck situation – and perhaps event the administration’s complicity in facilitating the behavior.

That 2-week trip to France and Italy and Ireland, too, I’m sure doesn’t pull a lot of sympathy either.

Lastly, Coach Hauck puts out a damned lame excuse (and I’m sure he thought he was oh-so-smart when he said it) for why he couldn’t answer questions from UM Kaimin reporters:

“My players have asked me not to participate in this. I had two seniors in my office this morning, and I apologize, but I’m not going to participate.”

So it’s the seniors on the Griz team are calling the shots? It’s not Hauck – it’s not King George Dennison, and it’s not VP Jim Foley – it’s the seniors on the Griz football team.

Shameless.

by jhwygirl

With seemingly little backlash from the tailgating Griz fans. Lauded at homecoming..and still packing them in.

Hauck doesn’t have to care. Clearly, Hauck can do whatever he wants, with little backlash from the University administration, from the fans, or from the Board of Regents.

At least some responsible journalists are stepping up to the plate. Indy editor and primary blog poster Skylar Browning hit Hauck on the eve of homecoming, reporting that the Kaimin had notified its readers that it no longer could effectively provide sports coverage for the Griz football team.

So 3 weeks after the Kaimin does some unflattering – but factually accurate – reporting on Hauck’s handling of an umpteenth violent criminal act involving the Griz team, Coach Hauck is still taking out hissy-fits on the University reporters who cover the team?

As Browing gets at the highlight of inadequacies surrounding Hauck:

Hauck’s killing himself here. Assuming he still aspires to coach at a FBS school, what’s a potential employer going to think of a coach who gets rattled by student reporters in Missoula? That’s not to mention his shady three-year-running record of having players caught in high-profile assault charges. If Hauck quit holding a grudge, held his players more accountable and faced the issue head-on, he could actually focus on what he sometimes appears to enjoy: coaching football.

Where’s the Missoulian? A full week after the Kaimin reporting that it could no longer effectively cover the Griz – after having its sports writer witness Hauck’s asshole-ish behavior (having repeated the question to Hauck that Hauck berated the Kaimin reporter for) – the Missoulian finally brings the story to the notice of Missoulian readers everywhere.

Other than that, the only noise emanating from the Missoulian concerning Hauck’s irresponsible and border-line criminal behavior has been a lone LTE, by Missoulian Donna Hall.

But check the comments on the Missoulian’s late-is-better-than-never article. Seems the public isn’t all slap-happy let’s-win-at-any-cost Hauck-is-a-Superstar happy with the the handling of the Griz football program issues.

Maybe they realize now how absolutely accurate Browing is? That if Hauck’s gonna get rattled by some student reporters (and that statement should not serve to reflect on the skills of the Kaimin’s reporters), how is he going to hit big time?

Yesterday, sports blog Deadspin got at the Hauck story, and it seems they’re looking at it the same way: If Hauck can’t handle the heat of a university paper, he might want to rethink his game plan. (That, too, came to 4&20 via the Indy’s blog.)

And now, college sports writer for the New York Times, Pete Thamel is taking notice of Hauck’s childish irresponsible behavior.

All of this, for me, comes down to what it is UM symbolizes, and what makes UM valuable. Is it the Griz? Or is it education and ethics and social responsibility?

Hauck is stomping on the latter – he may be the coach of the Griz, but he is also a leader both at UM, in Missoula, in Montana – and yep, to Griz fans all over. When he recruites poorly and then covers up the crimes of his proteges, he’s facilitating their behavior.

problembear is wondering the same.

I’ve asked, and I don’t remember if it was on these pages our in conversation, but what is it that Missoulians and the University and the Board of Regent’s needs? A shoot-out on the streets? Will it mean more or less if its downtown as opposed to the University District? Or maybe if it happens in the Rattlesnake it really isn’t OK?

I mean – the charges that came out 2 years ago were kidnapping, assault and weapons charges. That’s a home invasion, folks. Missoula Montana?! Then there was a murder arrest wrapped up there somewhere – but it was Hauck’s protege’s buddy up visiting from southern California, and he was extradited, so I guess that makes it OK?

Or maybe it’s the boys-will-be-boys mentality? Kind of a more sanguine version of the everybody-drinks-and-drives-here-in-Montana defense thrown up by Sen. Greg Barkus and Rep. Denny Rehberg fans?

Whatever it is, it needs to stop. The fans, the university administration and the Board of Regents need to take a hardline with Hauck – assist him in recruiting, because obviously he’s learned few lessons in those regards – and set some standards for grades and academic achievement and responsibility. Perhaps the team should be required to be involved in extra-curricular activities that are community-based?

Failure to expect better will continue to result in more of the same.

Other than that, I’m thinking some anger-management classes are in order for Senator Hauck, himself.




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