Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

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.

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by Pete Talbot

When newspapers start to merge, and there has been a lot of that lately, they usually start with the advertising, accounting and circulation departments, and keep the newsrooms separate.

So it was a bit of a surprise when the Missoulian announced that the Ravalli Republic and Missoulian were combining their newsrooms under Missoulian editor Sherry Devlin (although I should have seen the handwriting on the wall with all the Ravalli Republic reporter bylines showing up in the Missoulian’s pages).

So what’s the next step, one daily newspaper serving Missoula and the Bitterroot? This is not good news for any of the communities up and down the valley, Missoula included.


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.



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 problembear

give up?    an unholy alliance between republicans, fox, and the saudis.

that’s who.

wag the dog republican style. that’s the way to regain power. spend a little cash to cause a controversy. report on it with your own personal news service. wait for the stupid democrats to start fighting each other over it, then cash in on tea baggers hurling racist ignorant garbage at the president…..

that’s how.

brilliant!!!

By CFS

I’m not going to delve into the controversy surrounding Dr. Laura Schlessinger’s use of “the word that no white person should say for fear of having their career ended,” for lack of tact and not really caring about all the Mediawhores talking heads getting a chance to shout about something for five minutes before moving onto the next sensationalized story that’s not really a story.  Rather I would like to take the opportunity to share a clip of my favorite comedian, Louis CK’s thoughts on the subject… Enjoi.

by jhwygirl

On behalf of all b’birders, I want to thank everyone that took the time to vote 4&20 blackbirds Best Local Blog in the Missoula Independent’s 16th annual Best of Missoula.

Left in the West got the silver, with NewWest bringing in the bronze. That’s some pretty impressive company.

Speaking for me, at least, I have to give a HUGE thanks to both Matt Singer and Jay Stevens. Without them laying the tracks, I don’t know that I’d be blogging. It was Matt who gave me my first ‘kick in the ass’, and without Jay’s continual prodding (and inviting me into his living room), I might of just taken up crocheting instead.

So blame it on them.

As for Pete, problembear, JC and carfreestupidity – all more than deserve the kudos in their own right that The Indy and its readers put out there today.

ALSO RECOGNIZED in The Best of Missoula 2010 issue – and I adore admire and love on each one of these awesome wonderful selfless super-smart people equally are Missoula’s Best Activists Ellie Hill, Jamee Greer and Matt Singer.

IMNSHO, they are the Best Activists In Montana. Just sayin’.

I won’t ruin the rest of it for everyone who hasn’t read it yet – but one more thank you has to go out to the Best Nonprofit Organizations. All of ’em – and problembear put together a wonderful list of those here in Montana and MissoulaThe Poverello Center, the Missoula Food Bank, the Clark Fork Coalition and Animeals were all recognized for their tireless work for Missoula. All deserve that thank you and the recognition.

by jhwygirl

MDOT refused to extend the 30-day public comment deadline on the environmental assessment written by Exxon/Imperial Oil for transport of its oversized Korean-built Canadian tar sands equipment, despite a wealth of public comment requesting just that – some of which came directly from the City of Missoula City Council. And despite the fact that the state’s email system shut down from the overload of public comment being submitted.

Lovely.

I pondered in this post who was pulling the strings on this project, considering that MDT Director Jim Lynch testified last July before the legislature that (a) this project should undergo an Environmental Impact Statement scrutiny and (b) that this proposal was essentially a permanent high-and-wide corridor proposal.

Not only that – but the Exxon/Imperial Oil written environmental assessment said it would be a permanent corridor within its EA. It’s also fair to note that this EA was signed by MDT’s very own Dwayne Kailey.

Didn’t take much to figure out who was pulling the strings – Governor Brian Schweitzer, who said it was about ..jobs, jobs, jobs.” Maybe he doesn’t understand the funky math that got Exxon/Imperial Oil to that $68 million figure? Because I heard the president of Imperial Oil explain here in Missoula that they came to that number “through a complex economic calculation,” that “takes into account that dollars will be spent repeatedly throughout the community.”

Sounds like trickle down economic theory to me – and we all know how that works, don’t we? Kinda funny how we’ll sell ourselves for flag-waving jobs and no one will stand up (save for a bunch of citizens and a Canadian parliament member) for having these things brought here in pieces and contract assembled somewhere here in North America.

Yep – Montanan’s should aspire to waving the flags to clear the traffic for these Korean-built things to head on through the state.

I ruminated during the Otter Creek fiasco on how Montana could aspire to be like that teeming economic power state of coal-rich West Virginia. Now maybe what we’re hoping to be is the new inland version of Louisiana.

Maybe he doesn’t care. The Good Gov sure loves his fossil fuels, that’s for sure. So much so that he’s willing to repeat the same tired old misinformed fact over and over – that the proposal is “temporary.”

He did it in this Missoulian article weeks ago, and he did it again, recently, in supermontanareporter John S. Adams’ that was published this past Friday in the Great Falls Tribune.

Adams did a great in-depth look at the Exxon/Imperial Oil proposal to transport these oversized loads which includes a repeat (by both MDOT – who I noted signed the industry-written EA – and Schweitzer) that this is only a temporary proposal. He also gets to Imperial Oil spokesman Pius Rolheiser, who also repeats the lie that his very own consultants acknowledged in the environmental document they submitted.

I guess, like Bush or Cheney, if you repeat it enough, someone’ll start believing it as truth.

Different communities have different perspectives – and Adams talks to Teton County Commissioner Dellwo and Manager of the Port of Lewiston Idaho David Doeringsfeld, who is looking for between $1.8 to $2.8 million in upgrades to double the capacity to his ports.

Yeah – it’s about money, but who’s gonna benefit the most? Exxon/Imperial Oil with its one-time influx of flag-waving and turnout-building money? Lewistown with its trucking/motel industry and the multi-million dollar upgrades that will generate long-term jobs and expansion? Or Montana with it being on the receiving end of the one-time influx of Exxon/Imperial Oil money and a few motel rooms rented out along the way? Calculated by a “complex economic calculation”?

Who else has gotten into it, too? Ochenski asked, weeks ago, how long it would be before the Gulf disaster would be repeated in Montana – and truthout pressed forward this past Saturday with a lengthy article titled Trucking Toward Climate Change.

Nick Stocks, co-founder of the group Northern Rockies Rising Tide is interviewed for the article, as is Brett Haverstick with the group Friends of the Clearwater and Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss.

by jhwygirl

The sheer disregard that this proposal has for what is one of the more scenic drives and accessible recreational and prime fishing corridors in western Montana blows my mind.

There are so many things wrong with this proposal as it is now – a weak environmental analysis, prepared by Exxon, without any scoping. You can count on hearing more about that as I attempt to delve into the nearly 200 page (plus 12 addendums) document….by May 14th!

That’s right – public comment, which opened April 8th – closes on May 14th on a proposal to establish a permanent “High and Wide Corridor” from Lewistown Idaho, over and across Lolo Pass and 300 miles of western Montana on to Canada and Exxon’s oil tar sands in Fort McMurray in Alberta.

You can access the full Kearl Module transportation Project here, from MDOT’s EIS and EA public notice page.

I think we got lucky last winter, but how many trucks and 18-wheelers end up in the drink down there on the Idaho side? Because that road is so narrow?

Are they going to have to blast some of those cliffs to widen the road? Along what is a pretty darn scenic corridor?

Two pieces of equipment are expected to move through Montana every day for a year. 24-feet wide, 30-feet high, 210-feet long, and weighing up to 334,568 pounds.

Do you recreate Lolo Pass? I do in the summer. Several times a week….and then with occasional weekends. Imagine the delays! They say 15 minutes? No frickin’ way – not with stuff as largw as what they’re proposing to move.

Of all choices, Lolo Pass was best? Well, guess what? We really don’t know – the environmental review done by Exxon included four alternatives: four Canandian highway routes and one US Interstate route. Those 4 alternatives? Dismissed in four paragraphs with no analysis of the so-called impassable barriers, while the Idaho/Montana route is extensive in the number of turnouts needing to be constructed, the number of small bridges needing crossed, and the extent of modifications needed to complete the route.

That was before Exxon tried to say that this project was “categorically excluded” from analysis.

In some circles, this is called a “pre-determined analysis of the preferred pre-chosen alternative.”

It’s bad enough when they don’t scope the thing to first see what types of alternatives come from the public…but when they don’t even bother to fully analyze the alternatives, well, folks, that’s just about bordering on violating some of our Montana Environmental Policy Act laws and rules.

ARM 18.2.251 requires a programmatic analysis “whenever the agency is contemplating a series of agency-initiated actions, programs, or policies which in part or in total may constitute a major state action significantly affecting the human environment,” and “whenever a series of actions under the jurisdiction of the agency warrant such an analysis as determined by the agency, or whenever prepared as a joint effort with a federal agency requiring a programmatic review.”

Did I mention that last July, MDOT Director Jim Lynch testified before the joint legislative Revenue and Transportation interim committee of the large impacts of this proposal? He said that the very nature of the project required an EIS..and yet, despite that testimony, MDOT chose to direct Exxon forward with an environmental review that didn’t even include scoping (a process in which initial outreach is made to the public for comments in an effort to determine alternatives and the scope and scale of analysis. Here is a link to Director Lynch’s presentation to the committee

You can watch the July committee hearing here. Lynch’s testimony starts about 18 minutes in. You can also review the minutes here.

What to do? Email MDOT public comment saying that the scope of this project requires a public scoping process to better assess alternatives; that all alternatives should be fully any thoroughly analyzed equally; that potential risk to important fisheries and other natural resources must be taken into consideration and weighed against other alternatives; that an assessment of risk to the public along what is a narrow secondary route used primarily for recreation should be considered; and that consideration of permanent impacts to scenic and historic corridors should be afforded the maximum protection necessary for future generations.

Just wait ’til I get to the economic impacts (or lack thereof) of having these things shipped nearly whole, after assembly in North Korea or China or wherever….

by jhwygirl

These guys and gals are really digging themselves a hole, aren’t they?

Finance reform is a another big important honey-do for Obama…but frankly, it shouldn’t matter who is president and what party you are a member.  The need for finance reform should not be lost on anyone.

Apparently it is lost on Republicans. Over the weekend, Republicans withdrew over 300 amendments to proposed reform. Finance reform has been kicking around for as long as health reform. Republicans have used every tactic to delay moving it forward.

Sound familiar?

Just about 10 days ago, as a whole bunch of us were getting sick and tired of inaction, Dodd set the stage to move reform forward with or without Republican support.

Today, in a party-line vote of 13-10 in Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Dodd moved his finance reform bill forward.

I find it unbelievable that Republicans won’t participate in the forward movement of anything with regards to domestic policy. Withdraw proposed amendments? How are they going to spin that one? Bill Clinton made ’em do it?

What possible justification do they have in objecting to finance reform that prohibits future bank bailouts?

Our own Senator Jon Tester seems to have had his own gut-fill of the situation, speaking out in a guest opinion in today’s Missoulian of the tactics employed by Wall Street to halt reform.

I’m glad Senator Tester is continuing his strong support of finance reform.

If this nation can regulate pork and wheat futures, we can darn well regulate banking futures. Frankly, the whole idea that banks can bank on futures and consider that solid investment seems obscene to me. It makes banking little more than a crap shoot.

Which is damned near what it was starting 2 years ago, remember?

Take time to contact Sen. Tester and thank him for standing strong in support of meaningful finance reform.

While you’re at it, contact Sen. Baucus and ask him to support finance reform.

Another one who should be getting a call is Rep. Dennis Rehberg.  It’s an election year…maybe he should be asked to commit to reform.

Does he support the current bill? If not, what does he support?

Rehberg should not get a free pass on this one. I do not want to hear him criticize that which he offered nothing meaningful or constructive.  Which is all he did on health insurance reform.

Let’s hope Montana’s media hold Rehberg to some sort of constructive position on finance reform. He should not be allowed to get away with just criticizing something without offering real solutions.

by jhwygirl

I wrote here just the other day of what many view as the galling move by WellPoint to increase health insurance rates of 34 million people across 8 states.

That increase will help increase profits by an estimated 7% for this year. This, from a company that made $4.7 billion in profit off of $60 billion in sales.

Stop, take a breath and read that again.

Not gonna happen here? Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana controls 75% of Montana’s health insurance market share. And now here comes The Missoula Independent reporting that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana has recently sent out notices of rate increases, as high as 43%.

Apparently this is an anomaly that perhaps we shouldn’t be worried about:

Tim Warner, the company’s senior director of external affairs, says most rate hikes this year fall between 10 and 20 percent, on par with recent years.

Make sure you read that last paragraph with a heavy dose of sarcasm, folks.

Make sure to read that Indy link – Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana put out a notice on February 10th telling its customers that their health insurance rates (not their cable costs, or their internet costs – all things that people can really do without) would be going up by as much as 43% on April 1st.

State auditor’s office spokesperson Jackie Boyle said that while they lack any authority to crack down on the rate increases, “anybody who has bought into a health insurance product from our company and there’s a premium increase that high, they really should…contact us so we can work with them to see if there’s a better solution.”

The Indy’s Matthew Frank is looking for Montanans that have gotten these rate increase letters. If you can help him out with that, check out that post and give him a holla. This story deserves thorough investigative coverage.

~~~~~~~~
I haven’t given up on expecting some real reform. After last week’s WellPoint showdown in the Senate, with the rate increases meeting press release on the eve of this past week’s bi-partisan health reform summit, patience is wearing pretty thin with those that know something has to be done.

Think me crazy if you will, but these reckless increases by health insurance corporations only serve to make me renew my calls for a public option. Here in Montana, there is no competition, and competition is key to affordability.

Think about this, readers: If Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana just put out notices raising rates as high as 45% – and it is (fact) the state’s largest insurer – it makes sense that other minor insurers will be following.

Think about what that means – because every single taxpayer in this state – whether you have health insurance or not, whether you obtain it from your employer or whether you obtain it on the free market – all of you should be expecting another larger bill here sometimes in the future. That’s because as a taxpayer, you not only have your very own health insurance that you either pay for or you don’t, you are paying for all sorts of local, state and federal employee’s health insurance.

And they are pulling out of the same market (or lack thereof, as is the case here in Montana) as everyone else.

Expect that bill in the mail sometime before the next legislative session. At some point, the insurers start negotiation with the state. Probably Department of Administration. Will the state negotiate any impending 45% rate increase? Rates that have – by their own admittance as linked to above – normally increased between 10 and 20% annually over the last decade?

Seriously – imagine your heating costs or your mortgage or rent going up by 10 to 20% annually. Those kind of increases – let’s take gasoline as an example – strap this nation and bring it to its knees. Yet Montana Blue Cross Blue Shield puts that out there very matter-of-factually. That that’s OK…and here we are standing around debating the need for health reform.

The status quo is not acceptable when it comes to healthcare in this nation.

~~~~~~~
I hope I’ve sufficiently fired you up. Remember some main points: WellPoint, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana and 45%. Now fire off an email, ever how brief, telling Sen. Tester, Sen. Baucus, and Rep. Denny Rehberg that you want real meaningful reform…and remind them (by mentioning WellPoint, Blue Cross Blue Shield Montana and that 45% figure) that you are watching.

Silence, in this case, is not golden.

by jhwygirl

Superprogressiveeditorialist The George Ochenski has his latest column up for the Missoula Independent taking on the Fire Sale that the state land board put forward (by a 3-2 vote) on Monday by dropping the .25/ton bid price on Otter Creek coal by a full 20% 40% to .15/ton.

(I should note I stole that headline right out of GO’s post, too)

He lays out the hypocrisy of saving the Flathead from coal mining, while approving Otter Creek, knowing darn well it will destroy that valley.

That’s the difficult thing to reconcile. And while I’ve been called “bitter” for railing on Otter Creek (and yes, as a pro-coal cheerleader for Otter Creek, Governor Brian Schweitzer has been on the receiving end of this wrath) while not mentioning a peep about the wind projects approved – one was actually approved by Judy Martz (Judith Gap) – I believe that is a bit unfair.

Since Brian likes to tell stories – he compared the dropping of the bid price to an auctioneer trying to sell a couch – I’ll put forth my reasoning for not championing these wind projects.

Two rights don’t fix a wrong. If your 16-year old son takes your car for the night and comes home drunk, but still makes it home safely and by curfew, do you reward him because he came home on time without a scratch on the car? I doubt it. You aren’t going to overlook that he is drunk and that he drove drunk. Frankly, once you realize he’s drunk, the fact that he got home on time and the car was unharmed won’t mean a damned thing. And if he says to you as you drill down on him for drinking and drinking and driving “but I got home on time,” that might even piss you off more.

So approving 3 wind projects (this is kind of an extension of that hypocrisy that Ochenski was talking about, isn’t it?) over the last 5 years doesn’t make approving Otter Creek right.

These kinds of decisions aren’t like elections. It isn’t a popularity contest. There are people that don’t keep a score of good and bad and whichever you do more of in the end negates all that other stuff. I dare say that most people expect their electeds to do the right thing.

And Otter Creek was the wrong thing.

And George Ochenski kicks ass.

~~~~~~
There are other things that don’t have me all happy and cheery about those wind projects. Every single one of ’em is taking power to California or Oregon or Washington or Colorado or Nevada. They require major transmission lines crossing our state – and those transmission lines are going to mean private property is going to be taken in some cases under eminent domain (or threat of – most people end up knowing that they really can’t afford a fight with those big corporations).

So it’s kind of hard to champion wind power when we aren’t getting any of it…but what we are getting is a whole bunch of power lines crossing the state, carrying that power over our heads and over to California. AND private landowners (ranchers), some of which are reluctantly acquiescing to the presence of those lines, under the inevitable threat of a government takings lawsuit.

What is Montana? A colonial outpost for California’s electricity and Wyoming’s coal rail road market line?

Call me crazy, call me whatever – but when someone’s talking green energy, I expect it to be for us here in Montana. At least some of it.

by Pete Talbot

I’m talking adverting here, not news stories. And I want to know what’s going on.

I saw my first medical marijuana ad in the Missoulian last Sunday. It was a little guy buried in the Territory section. Has the paper’s advertising policy changed or do pot dispensers think Missoulian readers just aren’t their market?

Med./mar. distributors have been a godsend for the Missoula Independent — full-page, half-page, four-to-a-page ads fill our weekly. So, I’ve got to wonder if some of the ad execs at the Missoulian decided to climb on the bandwagon and allow the pot shops to advertise. It’s not like daily newspapers are rolling in black ink these days (pun intended).

And what’s next? A pot spot leading into a Mark Heyka weather report? Med./mar. underwriting NPR’s All Things Considered?

There’s nothing like a recession to change a company’s policy on the kind of advertising it will accept. I’d love to hear from media reps, herb distributors or others in the know.

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.

by jhwygirl

Lacking an identifying tag, the thing’s illegal, right?

Publisher, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of NewWest Publishing Jonathan Weber was walking his pet in his families subdivision – in the open space area owned in common with all of the homeowners – along a trail used by many when his dog got snagged in an untagged trap placed 10 feet from the trail.

Fortunately, Weber’s Norwegian elk hound is fine, save for some bruises – and the trauma inflicted upon Weber and his son.

All the more shocking is that when Weber went back to check the situation out further – once boy and dogs were back home safe – the trap had already been reset.

His report on the Thanksgiving day incident, though, brought out all sorts of utterly shocking and senseless accusations against Weber as having staged the event. While it’s not shocking – it the same tactic trapping advocates and enthusiasts, some of them from out-of-state, have done around here when we’ve mentioned other irresponsible trapping behavior – the attacks have been taken to heart, understandably so, by the Weber family who have had to experience the trauma of their family pet (and it could easily have had far tragic results) being caught in the trap.

While I get that advocates of trapping would pay attention to the story – they are currently mounting a massive effort to defeating a ballot initiative by Footloose Montana that would halt trapping on public lands here in Montana – but to accuse an award-winning journalist of having staged the event does their cause no good that I can see.

Fact is, I suspect it’s the same out-of-state interests that have trolled this site when we’ve posted about trapping in the past…none of it positive. It’s amazing to me the money that is poured into this state by out-of-state interests on a variety of issues – guns, coal, trapping are a few examples – and our state legislators listen to these lobbyists who are doing nothing more than using Montana as its pawn for its national interests. A win here chalks one more up on the map for these folks…many who parrot talking points that include ‘facts’ not even applicable here in Montana.

And aside from all that, it really bugs me how trapping advocates seem to toss aside any animal, whether it be bald eagle or threatened Canada lynx or the neighbor’s golden retriever, as something that didn’t belong there or ‘that’s the way it goes sometimes,’ defense.

Point is folks – attacking a bona-fide nationally respected journalist on his home turf of an award-winning online news media site has little chance of bringing trapping advocates the positive press they are going to need so badly. Recognizing that there are jackasses out there doing what responsible trappers would never consider is one way to move forward a reasonable dialogue regarding laws and regulations that protect both the trapping public and the general recreating public.

But defending every documented negative trapping-related incident isn’t going to get those advocates anywhere.

by jhwygirl

Well poodles if this doesn’t deserve a shout out and a couple of Andrew Jackson’s, folks. Coming to 4&20 via the every-awesome-in-local-coverage KPAX, UM fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon has decided it’s annual fundraiser for the Watson’s Children Shelter will be a run to Bozeman for the annual Griz-Cat’s game. Frat members will run to Bozeman in 4-hour shifts via I-90.

Obviously, that’s a bit impressive. I wonder if this is in some sort of competition with MSU’s Sigma Phi Epsilon – because if that’s the case, those guys are going to have quite a time topping a run from Missoula to Bozeman.

You can support this one-hell-of-a-fundraiser at its

by jhwygirl

Sometimes I think I don’t pimp this blog often enough. This will be a bit of a rant.

Sad to see Missoula’s progressive talk radio AM930 go. So suddenly – and I’ve missed anything if it’s been mentioned elsewhere.

Now – I don’t know when it happened, but Tuesday I settled in the wheels for an early long drive east and couldn’t figure out if someone had messed with the settings on my radio or if whoever it was on the airwaves was some guest host…but clearly, it wasn’t progressive. Sure enough, later that day I got an email.

So now there are 3 conservative stations on the dial here (at 3)? 930, 1290 and 1340? Or something like that?

Now, I imagine Gap West (who owns all three of those stations and a near handful of others around town) is probably claiming that he’s not able to generate any ad revenue on that station. Would seem hard to believe, given he owns the other two regressive stations and Missoula is a progressive town, university and all.

Glad I have satellite radio because I’d rather listen to talk or news at times, and I sure don’t want to listen to that stuff. I’ll turn Gap West Missoula radio back on when they put progressive talk back on air.

by Pete Talbot

Congratulations to Roy Houseman, who defeated incumbent John Hendrickson by 162 votes in the Ward 2 race. Condolences to Mike O’Herron, who almost took out incumbent Dick Haines in Ward 5: 1,398 – 1,328.

And with all the other Missoula Democratic Party-endorsed incumbents winning their seats, it looks like President Barack Obama has the support of all America — at least if you follow the thinking of the mainstream media.

You see, this off-year election was supposed to be an indicator of support for Obama, the Democrats, and their policies.

According to the AP, two GOP gubernatorial victories (New Jersey and Virginia) are “a troubling sign for the president and his party heading into an important midterm election year.”

Bull-ony.

Apply this reasoning to our city council races and the country overwhelming supports Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. It’s a litmus test confirming the national mood: a referendum on health care legislation, and the handling of the economy and the war in Afghanistan, and is a precursor to the 2010 elections … yeah, right.

First, the fact that a Democrat took the vacant GOP seat in New York’s 23rd Congressional District and a Democrat won a special election for a congressional seat in California are strong indicators that Democrats are holding their own — certainly as strong as looking at any gubernatorial races. People don’t vote for governors the same way they vote for U.S. Senators and Representatives.

Second, on the governor races, New Jersey is awash with corruption scandals (Really? New Jersey you say? What a surprise!). So, the voters are going to throw the bums out, doesn’t matter what party is at the helm. And Virginia has always been a conservative, southern state. I was surprised it had a Democrat as the incumbent. No big shocker there.

Seems that the mainstream media and the political pundits are reaching a bit so they can make interesting banter and exciting headlines.


by jhwygirl

I expect negative stuff from this crew during an election, but John Hendrickson has sunk to new lows with a radio spot done in such a way that most listeners would be left to believe Mayor John Engen has endorsed the guy. The Missoula Independent’s Skylar Browning was first on the story, in its must-read-daily blog.

Hendrickson has been so ineffective in his last 4 years on council that he can not find anyone or anything to say something positive about himself that he had to plagiarize Mayor John Engen’s endorsement of his opponent Roy Houseman?

How amazing low is that? Really?

And you know he was thinking he was being oh-so-smart…

As for trying to claim Engen’s endorsement? Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Roy Houseman 2009

See that paragraph up there on the top of the page? Now listen to that radio spot again. Unbelievable.

Ineffective has been my favorite word for both Hendrickson and Haines lately. Both of these guys are campaigning, essentially, on the same issues they campaigned on 4 years ago. Haines on his $50,000,000 bridge over the Bitterroot and Hendrickson with his not-quite-as-costly (unless you consider the rise in pedestrian and biker related deaths) recall of the W. Broadway diet.

I mean – even if you are on board with both or either of these issues, Hendrickson and Haines clearly aren’t your guys. Think about that. Not if you want to get something done.

Both of these guys claim to be fiscally conservative, yet both of their pet issues are costly costly changes to and issues that have been decided because of other factors beyond their control. Hell-be-damned, they want what they want regardless of what it’s going to cost – and in the meantime, neither one of them will work towards other solutions in the interim.

I can give Haines credit for at least admitting his involvement in suing the City – Hendrickson, on the other hand, didn’t have the guts to admit his involvement, even after Haines had ‘let ‘er slip.’

Haines compounds on his false claims to fiscal conservatism by deceptively suggesting that “(O’Herron) has said city council members should not sue their employers. Will he go along to get along?

First off – Haines has been chasing O’Herron since the start of this election on this “suing his employer” statement of O’Herron’s. I find that funny.

Secondly – and you gotta love darthvadardemocrat* Lee Clemenson’s word choice – “Will he go along to get along?” ??? What? Will O’Herron work together to make sure something gets done? Will O’Herron (the horror) cooperate? Is that a bad thing?

On the other end of that ridiculous (think Jaws music in the background) suggestion that O’Herron will “go along to get along” as if it is something absolutely sinister, Haines did go along to get along on the vote to fund the separate analysis of the MDOT draft EIS for Russell Street. That cost the city some $85,000 I believe – feel free, anyone to correct me – and Haines went along and provided a crucial vote to move that alternative study forward all because he eventually wanted the same votes in return when and if his bridge-over-the-Bitterroot ever surfaced again.

So when, exactly, Ms. Clemenson, Mr. Haines, is it OK to go along to get along? Apparently it’s OK some of the time.

Ahh…the drama that is these Haines and Hendrickson. Vote the bums out. Houseman and O’Herron will get things done.

For his part, Engen has now recorded his own radio spot endorsing Houseman. Funny. It uses the same words.

Missoula County Democrats have filed a complaint against Hendrickson with the Office of Political Practices. As Keila points out – don’t hold your breath, anyone….the players in this could be long on social security before OPP ever gets to it. Ward 6 Councilperson Ed Childers is still waiting out on his complaint against Lewie Schneller from the 2007 elections.

Which is another problem all unto itself now, isn’t it?

*With a wink to klemz on that one…

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

Really should be giving credit to supermissoulian Ellie Hill who tweeted on a NYT article, “The Public Plan, Continued“.

It’s a good article that lays out – very plainly – what a public option means; some of the various options of public option health insurance; and a nice overview of the process now that all health reform bills are out of the various committees and heading to merging committees and floor votes.

I like the read, for the fact that not enough main media sources are stepping up and explaining the meaning of the words swirling the artificially inflated controversy over single payer or public option. It also touches on one of the things that I’ve been waiting for – which is the legislative debate. Up until know, much emphasis was placed on one person as if what the committee he heads up puts out is what we are stuck with. We could end up with something very different than that which has been the central focus of all public option single payer advocates – and now is when it will happen.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she and the majority she claims in the house won’t approve anything without a meaningful and real public option. Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, is taking a more milder position (he doesn’t seem to want to fight for anything, IMHO) – that a public option isn’t passable. To say that they are at odds, is clearly putting it mildly.

Anyone catch video of Nancy’s cold shoulder to Harry’s shoulder hug this week?

My bet is on the Lady of the House.

~~~~~
There are many who have been working on insurance reform since just as the presidential election finished up. Health insurance reform is the biggest domestic policy attempt in U.S. Congress in generations. We’re only half-way there. Those truly working on meaningful reform been able to focus on the meat-and-potatoes of the issue and not all of the extraneous personality-based coverage that is purposefully the focus of our corporate media. I admire that – because even when I ask them (as I’ve been drawn into it myself) “what in the hell is Max thinking,” they skillfully brush it off and guide the discussion back to the facts and figures and the heart of the issue.

Who benefits from shifting the discussion away from the topic at hand and instead focusing on all the “superstars”? Olympia Snowe, Up and Coming? What sells now that America is numb? Policy or personality? Last week it was Sen. Harry Reid – this week it’ll be Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Maybe we should be talking about the fiscal irresponsibility to the taxpayers and the added cost to health care should there be no real public option instead of Harry v. Nancy, Baucus v Dodd/Kennedy, Republicans v Democrats.

Maybe we should be taking about the 50 million uninsured in America and the effect that has on the cost of health care.

Maybe we should talk about what what the cost is to America if we don’t act.

Because that’s the real news.

by jhwygirl

I was watching Keith My Hero Olbermann tonight – as was 4&20’s Chuck – when Olbermann offered up $50,000 towards helping sponsor the National Association of Free Clinics here in Butte Montana.

The idea is to sponsor Free Clinics in each of the states where their senators (in our case, Sen. Max Baucus) are standing in the way of meaningful health insurance reform.

Butte Montana America USA? A town steeped deep in labor history, unions and corporate irresponsibility run amuck? A struggling town, fighting to come back?

Butte Civic Center, anyone?

I think Montana’s Democratic Party should sponsor the rental of that facility. Stand behind its talk of support for public option and health reform. County Democratic Parties around the state should join together and help make this happen.

I can’t seem to figure out how to embed MSNBC videos. That is annoying to no end, especially since Olbermann is what I usually want to embed, and Olbermann is so easy on the eyes, and Olbermann is so wonderful…but I digress. If you want to watch Keith offer up the cash to Butte, check this out.

Count me in as being one who will do whatever is needed to help make this happen. Chuck too. And I’m betting a whole bunch of you readers out there, also.

Update: JC figures out MSNBC embeds!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "msnbc.com Video Player", posted with vodpod

(j – Isn’t he just the best looking sight on television? Thanks JC!)

by jhwygirl

That’s from television host Jay Leno.

When mainstream network television is saying that in prime time…well, I’d have to say that those teabagger and anti-health reformers got problems.

That’s all.

by Pete Talbot

As much as U.S. Rep. Rehberg and state Sen. Greg Barkus wish they could take back the night of August 27, it ain’t going away.

Lee Newspaper’s Jennifer McKee has a pretty decent analysis of the politics of late surrounding the boat wreck. I have a few comments on her story, of course:

First, McKee states that, ” … Rehberg is heading into a good time to run for re-election as a Republican in Montana and he’s got a lot of money.” I agree with “a lot of money” but why is this a good time to run for re-election as a Republican in Montana? Denny’s the only Republican in the state to hold any sort of high office, which doesn’t trend well. He’s really nothing more than an obstructionist when it comes to health care reform, our economic crisis, climate change … well. the list goes on-and-on. I truly believe that Denny is as vulnerable as he’s ever been. Just look at these polling numbers from August of this year.

The there’s Montana Cowgirl’s withering critique of Rehberg over at Left in the West. She lauds Democratic challenger Dennis McDonald’s charges that Rehberg used “bad judgment” for taking staffers on a boat ride, after drinking, with Barkus at the wheel.

Here’s the story on McDonald’s written attack on Rehberg. I’m not sure how savvy this is and kind of prefer McDonald’s primary opponent, Tyler Gernant’s, take on the accident (which was to bring up health care reform, noting that Rehberg has great, taxpayer-subsidized health insurance whereas, if it were you or me, we’d probably be paying off the medical bills for the rest of our lives). I prefer those who take the high road when it comes personal politics but that isn’t what’s taught in Campaign 101 and I suppose McDonald wants to strike while the iron is hot.

Speaking of Campaign 101, and back to Ms. McKee’s analysis, there are some quotes from political science professor at Eastern Montana College’s (yeah, yeah, I know it’s MSU-Billings now, whatever) Craig Wilson:

“I was a bit surprised by the timing of it,” Wilson said of McDonald’s attack. “It seemed a bit early.”

So when should McDonald attack, if he’s going to at all? A year after the fact? When everyone has forgotten about the incident? I don’t know why Montana journalists always go to Wilson for comments. The guy bugs me (more on Wilson here and here).

Then McKee quotes Will Deschamps, Montana Republican Party Chairman, who castigates McDonald for attacking Rehberg’s “bad judgment.” Deschamps compares Rehberg’s judgement call to McDonald’s support for a health care public option. Huh?

Finally, McKee quotes former Montana Republican Party Executive Director Jake Eaton. Remember Jake? He was behind the voter suppression campaign last fall, and this past summer he’s helping the teabaggers. What a source!

Anyway, it looks like boat driver Barkus’ political career is over. It’s still a question as to how much Rehberg will be hurt by the incident. I sincerely hope that Denny doesn’t lose the race because of this particular case of bad judgment. Unless one is being a total hypocrite, I prefer seeing personal issues kept out of the political debate. Rather, Rehberg should lose because of his lack of judgment on so many legislative matters, and his inability to advance any meaningful legislation in his five terms as our representative in congress.

by jhwygirl

Montana Kaimin goes big on exposing the sheer disregard Griz coach Bobby Hauck has for the reputation of the University of Montana and the safety of the residents of Missoula, exposing more violence, internal investigations and more of Hauck’s “no comment” policy. This includes covering up a tape recorder, refusing to answer questions, threatening to boycott the newspaper and bullying reporters out of the room.

This isn’t new, and the Kaimin listed the last two years of known criminal activity by the Griz players.

God knows what we don’t hear about or what else Coach Hauck (and King George Dennison) is shoving under the carpet.

Bloods and Crips? WTF?!

And why are these guys still on the team, yet alone still hitting the field?

Shouldn’t expulsion from the team and the university be automatic? Maybe some cooperation and coordination with City of Missoula police?

Seriously? Is this what King George and UM alumni want? Football over academics? Who in the hell is running things over there? What, exactly, are their priorities?

Hauck is a DISGRACE. A DISGRACE. Dennison is just as bad (if not worse) for continuing to allow this to occur.

Winning should not take precedence over the safety of this community and the safety of UM students. Nor should it take precedence over the national image of the University of Montana.

Go Kaimin. Excellent gutsy reporting. Not that I feel safer, but this citizen of Missoula thanks you.

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread

James Conner of the Flathead Memo writes of a loophole in the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act of 2009. It’s an interesting read, in case any of you missed it.

Imagine No Cars, a Missoula blog, recently celebrated its 100th post.

Billings Blog and The Button Valley Bugle have been kicking blog butt on healthcare: here, here, here, and here.

Frankly – there is so much good stuff over at both of those places, I get lost on the intertubes for hours when I start over there.

I’m rarely shocked – but a study which shows that 90% of all U.S. currency is tainted with cocaine sticks out for the high numbers. What city is higher? A few are right up there at 100%, but Washington D.C.? 95%.

These numbers might be a surprise too: Montana numbers on health care reform, Baucus, and his re-election potential.

Feral Cat brings us the news that Mad As Hell Doctors will be coming through both Missoula and Helena this upcoming week….on Thursday, September 10th. Be sure to follow these single-payer doctors from Portland on twitter.

OK, howz about some authoritative outrage over something else that deserves the wrath….

Robert Reich rants on how banking and investment oversight and reform is being proactively ignored by the Treasury department.

Amen, brother.

On that note, The Center for Public Integrity has released its investigative study into the subprime mess. 25 main lenders, who are collectively responsible for nearly a trillion in subprime lending from 2005 – 2007, are now being stabilized by Wall Street banks that are receiving bailout funds.

The super-rich are becoming poorer for the first time in decades.

Doug sums it up well over at The Montana Misanthrope: FWP took a huge crap on Montanans with its handling of a poaching investigation. I have to admit, I didn’t understand the why so many were so upset, afterall, undercover agents sometimes have to commit some crimes to catch the criminals – but when I read author Allen M. Jones’ take on the killing over at NewWest, I found myself disgusted.

The Beaverhead County Democratic Party has been updating its website, and its looking great. They’ve added a page for our infamous congressional Representative Denny Rehberg.

Finally? You really must read this: Recession Resistant Jobs, from the Missoula Independent. HI-larious. Just what are recession resistant jobs? Nurses (check – everyone’s still gonna get sick)….pot dealers (check – people are gonna want their pot, just like their gonna want their beer)…and morticians (yep – the recession isn’t going to stave on dyin’, that’s for sure). There’s more….don’t miss it.

Just one local observation: I was heading out to I-90 the other day, taking the evil Reserve Street exit. Noticed that there is a new (?) Sean Kelly’s Pub up there. Looks like a significant remodel, in the least. How long’s that been open? I don’t remember even hearing about it and I’m sure it didn’t sprout up over night.

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone. Enjoy, be safe…be kind. Peace.

by jhwygirl

Well, this guest post from Cynthia Wolken has garnered about half the attention it deserved…with a whole bunch of traffic incoming from resistnet.com/montanaresistance. There’s this link, too, and this one, also – so apparently, it’s quite the topic of discussion over there with them.

No – I’ve not dared to register, but if anyone does, please let us know what is being said behind those walls…

I never did a post on the local coverage – my one post on the event summed up the national coverage…but supermontanareporter John S. Adams, of the Great Falls Tribune, has offered some additional insight to what he saw on the ground in Belgrade during President Obama’s visit on Friday. He’s got a post up at The Lowdown, and this video:

Jay’s got some funny pics, too, up at Left in the West…oh, and he’s finally joined the world of Twitter.




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