Archive for the ‘Various & Sundry’ Category

by jhwygirl

As always – please consider this an open thread.

Kevin Hamm has a new project: PoliticktickBOOM. It’s a podcast on politics. I’m looking forward to an issued-based audioblogpodcast for here in Montana. Hamm (if his blog stuff is any indicator) will be doing it right.

Crazy amount of money pouring/poured from Jackson Hole Wyoming residents into GOP pacs for Santorum and Huntsman. This story from the Jackson Hole News & Guide also illustrates the absolute stripping of any election funding limits that result from PAC’s. Sickening.

Reminds me that I probably should go poking around looking at where Montana’s money is coming and going….

From two of the best this week, George Ochenski over at the Missoula Independent points out the similarities in Obama’s “Blueprint for an America Built to Last,” to nearly every conservative’s favorite, President Ronald Reagan. That ‘built to last thing’ is described by the White House as “President Obama’s Blueprint to Make The Most of America’s Energy Resources.”

Supermontanareporter John S. Adams, of the Great Falls Tribune, was back from furnication this week with the real scoop on who Governor Schweitzer has in mind for that (what I’m thinking now is a) ridiculous office of the Commissioner of the Office of Political Practices.

First there were 16, then there were 4…And somewhere in between there a secret email about a secret Republican.

I don’t know why this is kicking in here, but did anyone notice the <a href = ""Psycho boyfriend burns lovers car" story? At least that's what the headline should have read. The "Man burns former lover's car" has a bit of a bias, if you asked me. Lover? Really?

Seriously..anyone notice that?

Montana’s beloved Rep. Denny Rehberg was out with a gaff this week – but what do you expect from a mulit-millionaire subdivision farmer? Don Pogreba over at Intelligent Discontent kicks up that story which has a lot of people talking.

Speaking of….James Conner, of the Flathead Memo scores a “10” with his piece this week on Whitefish’s Big Mountain’s Jesus. Perfect weave of words on the absurdity of truth. Don’t miss it.

Jack over at The Western Word gave his take on the political scene here in Montana this week. (Hint? “Money Money Money”)

And that’s about all I got…Happy weekend everyone!

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.


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

Please consider this an open thread.

A new study shows that the death penalty costs $300 million per person.

The main drug used in lethal injection is no longer in production in the U.S. That means that no state can obtain the drug legally. (with a hat tip to Steve Dogiakos)

If you haven’t read this piece, you should. From Time Magazine’s political blog Swampland, it’s an indepth look at Montana’s Tea Party. The piece is recent – June 17th.

So yeah…more national attention on Montana.

Has anyone read Sarah Palin’s InBox yet?

Public Policy Polling has all kinds of polling out on Montana 2012 races. With both a Senate and a Governor’s seat open, there’s lots of national interest.

Must read from The Nation on reimaging our economic future. There’s lot’s to it – a series of articles – but well worthy of bookmarking.

Pogie reports on this weekend’s gathering of the John Birch Society with featured guest Derek Skees. It’s a must read. And do remember – that’s straight-up serious stuff he’s talking about.

Button Valley recently threw down on the economic realities of Arch Coal, one of Montana’s newest raider of taxpayer-owned natural resources. Poor Arch Coal. Thank Goddess the Montana taxpayers were able to subsidize their bid for the state’s schoolchildren’s coal. Corporate coal welfare – what would the industry do without it.

Which reminds me – Steve Bullock for Attorney General. Only.

by Lesley Lotto

So he went and did it.  Caved to the pressure of the masses who said, “you must resign” because he let his third leg do the talking.  For shame.

I’ve been privately hoping Congressman Anthony Weiner of New York would stay in office.  It seemed that things quieted down quite a bit when the Weenie, err, Weiner went off to “rehab”.  Then there was the dumbest press conference I’ve seen in years with who else, Gloria Allred, and her latest victim (I mean “client”) accusing some man of some thing.  Ginger Lee, the “featured dancer” read: stripper and former porn star who may or may not have sent naked pictures of herself to Weiner.  She said Weiner should step down because he lied and encouraged her to lie and lying is bad I guess.  And I care what you say, because?

Seriously, WE. DON’T. CARE.

At least I don’t care.  I always thought the Congressman had an itch in his pants, but not the literal kind.  He was going to be the next Mayor of New York City after all.  At least that’s what Janeane Garafalo said on Bill Maher last week.

For those of you under a rock the last month, Congressman Weiner tweets his stuff to the world, unbeknownst to him… allegedly, a simple typo apparently, an @ instead of a d.  Then the women start coming out of the woodwork, literally, saying he did nasty things to them ONLINE.  What was illegal about that?  So he was indiscreet, being a married man and all.  One of his “victims” even saying she had to tell because she feared for her life, she feared for her toddler and, oh yeah, there’s that $10,000 ABC News paid me to share my private Weiner tweets which came in quite handy while living as a single mom and all.  Now that’s what I call a stimulus!

Some of the “risqué” photos that have now circulated online show Weiner holding his thing all proud, showing off his rather impressive 6 pack and most recently, posing in the House Gym holding himself again.  I’m guessing all the Congress members pose with their stuff in the mirror, but I’m thinking Debbie Wasserman-Schultz doesn’t then tweet the pic to unsuspecting young coeds.

To me, the whole thing boils down to a sad, insecure individual who was clearly not getting anywhere near the attention he desired.

Now his wife, who’s “Hillary Clinton’s Shadow” aka Deputy Chief of Staff comes back from Africa.  (She’s also “newly” pregnant by the way).  She reportedly encouraged her hubby of a year to stay in office, not resign.  But of course that was before all the mega powers in Congress told him to split the scene and make it keen. But he was “defiant”!

Man it would have been awesome to be a fly on the wall in Africa when the wife found out and told Hillary.  I’m guessing Hill had some words of encouragement, like tell him to stay in office but make him sleep on the couch.  Word is Weiner even apologized to Bill Clinton.  A good President, by any measure, with a tiny blemish on his record, remember that?  A B.J. in the Oval Office.

What could Weiner have possibly apologized to President Clinton for?  “I disgraced you because I couldn’t get ‘er done”?  One does wonder…

The Chilean Miners

by jhwygirl

I’m going to indulge myself with this post, so you may not want to bother reading any more….

So these Chilean miners – recently rescued – have made a pact that none of them will speak to the press, and at that only in one group – and only if they get paid. I think this will be interesting to see how this works. Here in the USA, I doubt the pact would of lasted even the near 24 hours it appears to have already.

I can get why these guys are wanting money for their story – but I have no doubt they’d make some money regardless of whether they talk to the press. Or talked to the press multiple times. There’s going to be a movie – hell…I want to see it. Can’t wait. I’m certain it includes tales of corporate miscrede and misdeed.

That being said, and knowing they will get their money whether the oath is broken or they get whatever it is deal that they want — or darn near close to it, I’m going to ponder this: Will Chilean culture be any different if the oath is kept? If no miner breaks the oath and talks to the press individually? Or will it be a miner/commonality of tragedy/human reason if they keep the oath? Or will it be a man thing?e a

Would U.S. citizens caught in the same situation have even made a pact?

I guess I think that they wouldn’t have even made a pact…and I’m kinda rooting for those Chileans that they both keep the pact and get every bit of riches they surely deserve. And if they keep the pact, I’m going to say it’s a cultural thing that Americans wouldn’t be capable of.

by jhwygirl

Yeah, yeah – some of this stuff was just too good to pass up, and not enough to blog about….and yes – Please consider this an open thread.

Dave Crisp unearthed over 52,000 ancient Roman coins, worth an estimated $1 million.

Famously dead Door’s singer Jim Morrison is haunting a bathroom in Santa Monica, located in a Mexican restaurant that used to the the band’s studio. “You feel it here almost every day, throughout the entire place, but especially near this spot,” says the manager – the “spot” being a unisex bathroom.

DEQ puts out a great monthly newsletter. It might even be twice a month – but it’s always filled with great information. There are regular webinars that could be of interest to any number of small or large businesses or even state/county or city administrations. In the latest issue is some interesting news on chicken feed and arsenic – and another link to a story pondering whether the U.S. meat market will be controlled by just 3 companies. You can subscribe to the newsletters by hitting that link.

Another one of interest in that newsletter that shouldn’t be missed by those advocating for crackdown on illegal immigration is Take Our Jobs. The United Farm Workers have formed the website looking for legal Americans who want to take jobs away from illegal immigrants. They’ll even help with training.

A recent Harper’s Index (which they don’t appear to put online) put the cost of rounding up, processing and sending all illegal immigrants home at an estimated $72,000,000,000,000,000,000.

Yeah, I double checked those zeros

A couple of things that I think history will look back on and see as the harbingers of the downfall of world civilization?

The first shopping mall

Feel free to add to that list.

The Congressional Budget Office has recently costed the cap-and-trade climate bill. It has Lieberman smiling, which is usually a scary thing for someone like me. The numbers were pleasantly surprising. I will say that America needs to not let this opportunity for new industry pass. Shipping solar panels here from China, and wind turbines from Holland should be an affront to American ingenuity. We can’t be a nation of Burger King and Walmart jobs.

Just one more, in closing. It’s just a pic:

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread.

The City of Billings is now publishing its city council’s emails.

Was the housing market stabilized or is it being propped up? That’s the gist of this NYTimes article:

“The choice we appear to be making is trying to modify our way out of this, which has the effect of lengthening the crisis,” said Kevin Katari, managing member of Watershed Asset Management, a San Francisco-based hedge fund. “We have simply slowed the foreclosure pipeline, with people staying in houses they are ultimately not going to be able to afford anyway.”

Mr. Katari contends that banks have been using temporary loan modifications under the Obama plan as justification to avoid an honest accounting of the mortgage losses still on their books. Only after banks are forced to acknowledge losses and the real estate market absorbs a now pent-up surge of foreclosed properties will housing prices drop to levels at which enough Americans can afford to buy, he argues.

The Missoulian’s Native people and news blog, The Buffalo Post puts out an amazing amount of information on issues that never make mainstream news. Recent snowstorms have caused tremendous strains on the poorest region in the United States – the Pine Ridge Reservation. People there live in abject poverty (I’ve been there). Housing conditions are horrible. With blown-in roads, there is great concern over meeting the basic necessities of heat and food. If you want to help, there are a variety of posts there with links to organizations coordinating relief efforts.

At some point this past week I got interested in just, exactly, what the penalties were in Montana for DUI. This site explained the difference in potential penalties for first offense, second, third…and so on. Repeat offenses really aren’t that harsh – factor in ysuspended sentences, pleas that allow work release, allowances during license suspensions for work – I mean, for many it’s probably not much more than a major inconvenience for a chunk of time. And that’s if they stick to the conditions.

There are currently 15 people in the Missoula County Detention Center on felony charges of 4th time DUI offense.

Your dog’s carbon footprint is that of two Toyota Land Cruisers. The cat? A small Volkswagen. Even a goldfish has one – equivalent to that of two cell phones.

On the other hand…

Button Valley directs us to this story in truthout, that expounds on the green sustainable hypocrisy that is Governor Schweitzer along with AG Steve Bullock, SoS Linda McCulloch and Auditor Monica Lindeen.

2.6 billions tons of CO2 in the Otter Creek coal, and, come to think of it, the Gov’s got two dogs, doesn’t he? Boy – that’s gonna take a lot of carbon credits.

And speaking of carbon footprints….

Rehberg kicked off the 2010 election season with a nice booklet mailing recently telling Montanans that he doesn’t work for big oil – that he works for us. Whatever. Just because he says it doesn’t make it true – between his top 20 industries that donated to his 2008 re-election, along with the PAC $$ he got, Montanans are keenly aware of just who Denny’s working for.

Happy Hollydays!

by jhwygirl

Wishing everyone the very best. Hope you’re all warm and toasty.

by jhwygirl

Update: I have turned off comments to this post.

Please consider this an open thread.

I’m a volcano/Yellowstone/earthquake/geology geek. Geek may be the wrong word, but whatever. This is the coolest thing. Then there’s the video 3-D imagery showing the plume, which can be found here. Wild stuff.

Seem like someone has finally decided to give the Kootenai sturgeon some water. That would be a good thing. Here is where the sturgeon survive today:

If you click on the pic, you get a report that includes some interesting how-did-we-get-here information. NewWest has a great article with more information on the current situation surrounding the sturgeon.

Former Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfield has bought a ranch in the Big Hole.

I’ve actually pondered this recent situation in Helena, wondering whether that sort of thing’d be a problem. Apparently it is.

Them teenagers in Helena sure seem to get in to a whole lot of trouble, don’t they?

Don’t miss this shocking post from Mark Tokarski.

Just to be clear, it’s the “there, I said it,” part that is shocking. NOT.

I read this and I think this is harassment of the homeless. I mean – does this town allow its citizens to lock up its bikes? What is the point in fining him?

Now, here’s a class act, NOT.

I can’t get why people like her. I get the sense that at a party, I’d want to avoid her..

Our Governor has been on, quite frankly, a roll. First, as guestnote speaker for the Montana Stockgrowers Association meeting in Billings last week, Schweitzer took a big ole’ jab at the leadership, telling its 2,000 members (over dinner) that they “don’t always act” in their best interests. That, after making peace with them a while back.

Then Schweitzer blocked payment of some mis-appropriated funds to Kalispell-based Swank Enterprises, a long-time generous supporter of the Montana GOP’s latest felon, Sen. Barkus. Schweitzer’s taking the late-minute insertion into the state’s budget bill quite literally – using the words “up to” in “up to $600,000” quite literally, and saying he’ll get nothing.

Now, I’ve no love for the Stockgrower’s Association, nor Barkus – so reading these had me, quite frankly, laughing. Pretty damned bold. But then I read this, where he brags to the Stockgrowers that he’d “sent more bison to slaughter than any other governor,” which only leaves me shaking my head, reminded that slaughtering wildlife for no frickin’ reason is one of his several UNendearing qualities.

Way to go.

Speaking of “way to go” and Sen. Barkus, seems they guy wants all his felonies dismissed.

My thoughts? Hey – a guy can dream. I’m also sure Rep. Rehberg is just thrilled to have Barkus eeking out every delay possible, especially when you consider the possibility of Rehberg’s subpoena increasing looking like it will be coinciding right smack-dab in the middle of his 2010 re-election campaign. Whee!

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread.

I’m looking for craft shows around the area – and by area I mean Kalispell, Helena, Bozeman, Butte, Deerlodge, Billings, Great Falls. Know any? Let me know below. (Thanks.)

Goddess knows there are plenty of people upset about the County’s plan proposal to consolidate precincts and close polling stations. If you are concerned about the closing of polling stations, and want the county to take time to get community input on putting together a plan that is workable, why not sign Forward Montana’s petition?

Via Missoula’s Heavy Metal Hippy, we learn that Big Foot has been sighted. In Minnesota.


Montana’s lone congressman, Representative Denny Rehberg voted against reforming Wall Street in a vote on the floor of the House yesterday.

We’re making a list, checking it twice, gonna find out who’s naughty and who’s nice – congressional elections are coming, to town.

Missoula’s Poverello Center – like other homeless shelters across Montana – have been inundated this week due to sub-zero weather. The Pov has been overmaxed this week, sleeping over 100 on Thursday night. You can help by clicking that link above and dropping $5 or $15 or $50 bucks.

Sometimes you come across something on the intertubes that is unexpected and smart. This post did that for me, and it’s about the escalation of the war in Afghanistan. A superb arrangement of words which ignored all economy.

Couple of short interesting ones….

Out of Bozeman, a 140-year old Christmas cactus.

There’s a huge-ass iceburg floating off of Australia. Be sure to click through the pictures.

Global warming, schmobal warming, right?

In geekdome this week, I found a link on the state’s website for all the state’s online news sources.

I also found Google Scholar. This week it started offering federal and state opinions and patents….which is sure gonna hit up market sources like LexisNexis and Westlaw.

Still more – I am loving Google Scholar – here is a blog post which explains how to use the site. Which means I’ll be bookmarking that blog, too.

Out of Bozeman (again!), we’ve got gravel pits and zoning rising to the surface once again. Remember and the hullaboo about gravel pits about a year or so ago? Well, all that emergency zoning (in lots of places – we’ve the same emergency zoning that occurred here in Lolo) is coming due, placing pressure on local governments to get ‘er done.

Mainly because the legislature failed us, due to GOP amendment of what had been a darn good bill from Bozeman’s representative J.P. Pomnichowski.

I’m closing here with this one: I’ve not been over to Wulfgar!’s in a while, mainly because he’s been so sporadic and I end up getting out of pattern in my surfing. His beloved pooch Mara passed away more than a week ago, and I see he has a post up about her, which I am off to read. That kind of loss is so wrenching, so loyal or pets are. I still dream of my chessie Sadie, wonderful companion that she was.

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread.

Wow. Didn’t know compliance with state laws was voluntary. Pretty convenient, huh?

Bitterroot foreclosures are skyrocketing.

I follow a number of foreign tweeters, including some chinese folk who continue to try and push stories out about the melamine-in-baby-food problem. One that I follow was arrested and then later released probably because he tweeted his own arrest. Now, that tweeter is tweeting that organizers for the families of the victims of the tainted milk have been arrested. There’s one guy who has posted pics of his tiny baby who is in kidney failure. It is heartbreaking. Their government is failing them, and the world needs to know.

Twitter is all very interesting. There is great potential there to influence and help promote democracy from what seems a silly tech site. When the Iranian guard cracked down recently most media and even those within Iran agreed that Twitter served as a tool to save lives from the harsh government crackdown. Another group that I’m aware of is trying to get 5 Cubans released, and wants the U.S. to intervene. Twitter makes the world larger for one of it’s most difficult issues: human rights.

Melinda Gopher, Democratic candidate for Montana’s lone House of Representative seat, has a website up. Ms. Gopher is OjibwekweOgemaw on twitter.

Forward Montana is hiring a managing director. No mail or phone calls, please. Deadline is December 7.

Facts are, apparently, a problem for former Republican Vice President candidate Sarah Palin

If you aren’t reading the Indy’s blog every day, you are missing out.

The Montana Kaimin reports on the woefully sad story of how the Board of Regents is going to have to have to give King George a $75,000 raise, all because the hired a new president out an MSU. The Missoulian covered the same story about a week ago…and it, too, had interviews with persons who were more than happy to frame it as a “oh, poor us, we have to give him a $75,000 raise.” Sorry. Not buying it. No where else in Montana is an entity hiring new people based on competitive wages and then giving a raise to every single other person of the same job a raise.

In more irony, these people are framing this as some sort of search for excellence. Let’s be clear here, with regards to George Dennison. He’s there already. What has he done to increase his excellence rating to a tune of $75,000? And lately, he’s not really shown any excellence in leadership towards education. Football maybe. Beyond that – isn’t he due to recycle his let’s-bulldoze-the-golf-course-and-build-condos plan again? I say let him prove his excellence to someone else if he wants $280,000 a year…and then let’s promote from within the walls of UM. I’m sure there’s someone down there not only capable, but more than willing to take the job on at less than $280,000.

Well now – that’s enough, isn’t it? What say 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 Jay Stevens

Here’s an op-ed from last week, from Yukio Hatoyama, Japan’s Democratic Party candidate for Prime Minister, that’s worth taking a look at:

The economic order in any country is built up over long years and reflects the influence of traditions, habits and national lifestyles. But globalism has progressed without any regard for non-economic values, or for environmental issues or problems of resource restriction.

If we look back on the changes in Japanese society since the end of the Cold War, I believe it is no exaggeration to say that the global economy has damaged traditional economic activities and destroyed local communities.

In terms of market theory, people are simply personnel expenses. But in the real world people support the fabric of the local community and are the physical embodiment of its lifestyle, traditions and culture. An individual gains respect as a person by acquiring a job and a role within the local community and being able to maintain his family’s livelihood.

Under the principle of fraternity, we would not implement policies that leave areas relating to human lives and safety — such as agriculture, the environment and medicine — to the mercy of globalism.

Our responsibility as politicians is to refocus our attention on those non-economic values that have been thrown aside by the march of globalism. We must work on policies that regenerate the ties that bring people together, that take greater account of nature and the environment, that rebuild welfare and medical systems, that provide better education and child-rearing support, and that address wealth disparities.

Hatoyama’s concern is foreign policy, and urges the United States to abandon its recent desire to set itself up at the center of a “free market” capitalistic and global hegemony – and putting itself at odds with a multi-polar block of midsize countries looking to retain their own national identities and avoid getting crushed by runaway globalization. I like the advice, but whatever.

But what Hatoyama describes as conflicting forces – unbridled global corporate capitalism set against communities – seems spot on and vitally important. And it seems to me the real division in American politics, a division that spans political party – although offhand I can’t think of any national-level Republicans that oppose this destructive form of global greed – forms around the forces described by Hatoyama. Healthcare reform, climate change legislation, credit card reform, etc & co, are all issues that pit large corporate interests against the health and well-being of everyday citizens and the viability of our communities.

And pro-corporate unfettered market capitalism has subsumed the Republican party and its base, and stripped it of any meaning or usefulness. Check out this interview with Sam Tanenhaus on the death of conservatism as a “vital, contributive force.” Tanenhaus – quite rightly, IMHO – calls the contemporary conservative movement the “politics of resentment, anger, and revenge”; today’s dominant conservative force is one that has no notion of the use of government for the benefit of society. In short, it’s completely devoid of any positive vision and utilized solely as an opposition movement to block any meaningful policies that oppose corporate dominance. The only conservative intellectual basis for corporate control – fiscal libertarianism – is a kind of rhetorical moebius strip that views people – with all of their cultures and traditions and illogical nature of contentment – as inconvenient and unwanted contaminants in their otherwise perfect economic theories.

All that’s left for discourse from the right are Obama Hitler posters.

You object? Read this blog post from Eric Ethridge about the state of our “meritocracy.” Here’s a quote pulled from it that originated with the AmPro’s Adam Serwer:

Last week, Greg Mankiw wrote a post casually asserting that people with “good genes” make lots of money and pass their intelligence off to their kids who then get high SAT scores. John Sides and Brad DeLong demolished Mankiw’s argument, but I think Mankiw’s assumption is informative here: The right doesn’t mind privilege being retained, by whatever means, within those groups that already have it, because it proves their theories about meritocracy. But when someone like Sonia Sotomayor goes from the South Bronx to Princeton valedictorian to the Supreme Court, it forces the question of how much people of privilege depend on their circumstances — their financial and social advantages — to succeed rather than their ability or intelligence. That’s uncomfortable for some people to think about, and it’s part of why Sonia Sotomayor provokes outrage over “merit,” while glaring examples of preferential treatment for the privileged do not.

And it’s conservative rhetoric and activism that opposes any reforms that make our society more egalitarian, that batter down the economic and social obstacles to success, that protect communities from the unthinking love of profit.

Not that I think middle- and working-class supporters of conservatism view themselves as privileged or elite – nor are they. I think they see things like affirmative action or funding of the Indian Health Service or single-payer health insurance as a drag on their own fragile domestic economies and an unfair additional obstacle to their own well-being. Of course, they miss the holistic benefits of these policies – cheaper health insurance, say, or less taxpayer money spent on severe health problems endemic to reservations. I also think the years of civil rights struggles for women, racial minorities, gays, etc. have caused blue collar whites to believe (helpfully pushed by GOP politicos) that progressive policies are intended to benefit someone else, at their expense.

I ramble. The point here is that we are at a crucial period of American political history, and we need to seize this time to make crucial reform. Healthcare reform is the first – and it needs to affect everyone positively, or else it’ll reaffirm fears that progressives and liberals care only about someone else.

And, honestly? I’m not doing all this writing and advocacy and activism for someone else. I’m doing it for me. I need health insurance reform. I need cheaper bills, and I need my insurers to honor their obligations, and I need to know that, if my children have a medical emergency, it won’t bankrupt the family.

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread…

Chances are that your dog is smarter than your toddler. Or your neighbors toddler…or your neighbor’s dog and your toddler.

I knew that. Hell…by last dog was smarter than me sometimes….

The Alaska Legislature had a final parting shot at their former Governor.

Remember Benson the Carp? There’s more to the story.

The BNSF Railroad is storing 3,000 cars on unused track in Butte. Because of the economic downturn, they’ve got 35,000 cars nationwide. I saw miles, double wide, of empty cars up near Plains last week….and on spurs all over the lower Clark Fork are empty cars that have been in storage since spring (at least).


Shameful miscarriage of justice.

The Livingston, MT anti-health care reformer in this story here, I’m sure, doesn’t see her own conundrum.

On that note – in case you missed the ruckus in Bozeman yesterday, that link’ll take you to a full video of President Obama’s visit. (I can never seem to be able to embed those msnbc videos, regardless of the link they provide.)

Remember I shouted Tax My Soda Pop, Please! a while back? This article answers the question of How Much That Can of Soda Really costs.

It seems that 10 cents per can is about right.

I have a question for ya’all which I woke up thinking about: If I’m looking forward to seeing a tribute band, does that make me old?

Looking forward in the ‘your-aunt-and-I-went-to-see-the-Elvis-show-when-we-were-there-and-it-was-fabulous’ sense, not the ‘let’s-go-see-what-happens-at-the-AC/DC-tribute-band-show’….

Well…that’s kinda it. What say you?

Peace, everyone.

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread

One extraordinary fish: Benson the carp.

Wednesday or Thursday, Washington Post put out a lengthy piece giving some insight into the current guts of the Senate Finance Committee’s consensus-building version of health care not insurance reform.

How about seeking some consensus with me?!

Some fabulous music coming to town, I have to say: Bob Weir and Rat Dog at the Wilma Aug 26th. If your really adventurous and young at heart and have a portable schedule, you could hit a mini-tour of Dark Star Orchestra, starting at the Spud Drive-In in Driggs, (I can’t think of a more fantastic outdoor venue, it being on the backside of The Tetons and in the shadow of The Grand) next Wednesday…hit the Emerson Theater in Bozeman on Thursday, an then finish it with a Geothermal Jerry Bash at Lolo Hot Springs on both Friday and Saturday.

Honestly? If I think about that one too much, I think my head will explode….

In case you missed it in the news: For the first time in one year, job losses slowed.

It was also a good week for this woman. Wulfgar! is a bit harsh on himself as he breaks down the confirmation vote.

Pogie rails on some local stuff on the City of Helena – apparently the city is taking on a $65,000 per year public information officer. This isn’t keeping one, or even giving one a raise – it’s a whole new position!

He also had a good book review on Edward Royce’s Poverty and Power: A Structural Perspective on American Inequality.

The VA has launched a Veteran’s Justice Outreach Initiative, which, in reading it, seems like a gosh-darn common sense thing to be doing. I hope Missoula is able to grab up some assistance there, which might help out our overtaxed mental health system infrastructure.

There is no line that won’t be crossed in the vicious despicable tactics being used to defeat health reform.

And that’s all she wrote….

Have a nice weekend….

by jhwygirl

Well…came across a National Journal article that links to a Great Falls Tribune – John S. Adams news article on Sen. Baucus’ annual Big Sky retreat for health care sector lobbyists.

That’s no joke, people – Montana’s senior Senator actually hosts an annual fling-ding in Big Sky specifically for lobbyists from the health care sector. Pretty unreal.

Nice to see, though, national media taking notice of Montana’s fine journalists.

Bozeman Chronicle had an article recently on the big Hebgan Lake earthquake of 1959. All that geology stuff fascinates me and I’ve read a good bit on that event, but I don’t ever recall hearing that a kid survived the boulder-smashed-a-tent story. The 50-year anniversary is coming up: August 17th.

In last V&S I mentioned ex-health insurance executive Wendell Potter – well, this week the UK’s Guardian did an interview with him. Fascinating view of our fabulously wonderful American real world health care system.

Bozeman’s spending $10,000 to hire a Missoula investigator to look into the who what why when of the City’s requirement that job applicants had to provide their facebook/social networking site passwords…and email and banking information, too, apparently. That really is an incredible situation. How could someone even dream that up, yet alone implement it?

So I guess it’s all good – The Lawsuiters hire a Bozeman attorney and the City of Bozeman hires a Missoula investigator.


I want to remind everyone that August 10th is the deadline for submitting public comment to FWP about their plans to electrify numerous state park campgrounds. Comments should be directed to Lee Bastian by phone to 406-542-5517 or emailed to Today’s the first of the month – get it done and tell a friend.

Oh – how about this one: NY’s Attorney General is looking into 9 banks that needed and took the most bailout money, and still handed out minimum $1,000,000 bonuses to 5 THOUSAND employees. When you read how much these guys lost to earn that kind of bonus, it makes you kind of sick.

Reform anyone? Pretty Please??

OK. One more.

Ward 1 Councilman Dave Strohmaier has invited everyone to the Greenough bridge restoration fundraiser. It’s today, from 3 – 5 p.m. at the picnic shelter.

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread

What do you think is going to happen when the Army Corp of Engineers tries this crap here in Missoula??

Ten toxic things you should never discuss on the internet

I think we’ve only discussed 4 of ’em here…

A majority of conservatives think that Colbert is pretending to be joking on his evening show “The Colbert Report”

Still? Even after that famous roast of George W. Bush? Oy vey!

Two action items, folks: Button Valley Bugle reports that FWP is considering allowing the proposed Tongue River Railroad run right through the Miles City hatchery. This railroad is needed to open up the Otter Creek tracts, which the state acquired in some boondoggle scheme to stop gold mining that was never going to happen on the edge of Yellowstone National Park.

The Tongue River, on the other hand, is being called The National Sacrifice Area by the Editor, and sadly they’re quite right. Coal bed methane activities are polluting the precious water resource of the Tongue and salinating wells across the land, and now the Otter Creek tract proposal. A number of environmental affronts would occur should the State Land Board decide to open these tracts to leasing for coal mining – the railroad and not only its large environmental footprint on the landscape and the spreading of pollution it will leave across landscape, but its trampling of private property rights that the eminent domain activities of the state will seek along the way. Clean Coal is a myth, something we’ve written about a number of times…and in case you had any doubts, check out the latest fallacy concerning coal

Well, I’ve tuckered myself out. Looks gorgeous out. I’m hitting the sunshine. What say you?


by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread.


Tax soda pop for healthcare? I’m fine with it.

New Urbanism is really old urbanism….building walkable communities rather than strip mall highways. This video, winner of The Congress for New Urbanism CNU 17 video contest, explains it all.

The Thursday grand opening of the new Cabela’s in Billings went astoundingly well. Pics included.

Pic included with this one, too: Man bras.

Sunday morning news show junkie? David Gregory is bringing those ratings down for NBC.

Jim Hightower slams Senate Democrats.

Why should you care? Care about anything? Grandma blogger Helen Philpot of the blog Margaret and Helen explains that you should because “…change is inevitable. Children grow up. Grandparents die. Life goes on.”

I bet that woman is fun to drink with.

Have a great weekend folks. I’m a little bummed. Age has made me a bad deadhead – I knew the show – the show at the Gorge – was coming up, but I wasn’t paying attention. And so late on wednesday I realized the show was saturday, and I was ticketless. Now – a quick twitter turned up a ticket (see how useful twitter is?), but I didn’t have enough time to find appropriate lodging for one of my poochies (the one who is a real terriorist). I find some comfort in a few things: Last night I found out that Sirius will be broadcasting the thing live at 8:30 p.m. tonight; I know at least one other old fart is there goofing off and enjoying the show; and the band winded down the Mountain View show the other night with Morning Dew (so I won’t be missing a favorite).

Congratulations UM grads!

by jhwygirl

Bunk the West addresses yet another Republican hypocrisy.

Don’t miss it.


by jhwygirl

Maybe jackasses, I don’t know.

Probably both.

UPDATE: Flathead Beacon has a nice little story up on the incident.

by jhwygirl

I bet it’s a very decent amount.

by jhwygirl

Take the test.

I scored 315.

by jhwygirl

They’re everywhere.

911 dispatcher to man parked on train tracks with train coming: “Get out of the car. OK, walk away.”

by jhwygirl

Is Twitter even narcissistic?

I vote Facebook.


by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread

Well, a hell of a week, I’d say. Yesterday, especially, was really a WTF? With Bozeman still in major catastrophic mode, an early morning quake rocked the area – 4.2 – centered just south of Whitehall. Not good for a bunch of former buildings now laying like sticks. News reports used the words minor, and moved on…but my thought was “4.2? Hell, that’s enough to rattle some stuff off walls.” A short time later, downtown Whitehall was on fire. The Bozeman Chronicle reports this morning that at least 5 businesses are a loss.

Frequent 4&20 commenter goof hoolihan has added his observations and after-thoughts to Pete’s post – this morning was another.

The whole downtown Main Street will be suffering from the affects of this for quite a while. Don’t rule Bozeman out for a ski trip for the last few weekends here of ski season, folks – many of those businesses in that area – while vehicle traffic might not be possible – will be open for foot traffic. Many of the open businesses are going to help out and employ – in these tough economic times – their neighbors who are unemployed because they don’t have a building to go to. They’ll need some extra consumers. Keep that in mind.

And with that one woman still missing, rescue and recovery works? Safety first.

I actually started this V&S about two weeks ago? Maybe three? So picking up from there….

Back then, the Obama Administration is considering a lift of the ban on media coverage of returning fallen soldiers. A little over a week later, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the ban would be lifted.

Also from the NY Times, a graphic presentation of 2008’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Wherein I find out that my Britta water filter is fairly worthless. The Atlantic has the story.

Wulfgar! did a great piece on the Republican folly aftermath of President Obama’s State of the Union address.

The whole Michael Steele/Rush Limbaugh thing has been fascinating. I had happened to catch the interview that has initiated the whole most recent conservative firing squad – it was on the D.L. Hughley show on CNN. DL circled in – with a co-host – on Steele, pushing him on not only his party’s failure to address black issues, but on how Rush was really the leader of the party. How if Steele was really the leader of the party, wouldn’t he and the party want to marginalize someone who openly spoke of wanting our President to fail? How speaking that way is very contradictory to what Republican’s have been accusing Democrats of doing for the last 8 years?…

Steele mealy-mouthed his way through the interview, and finally gave Hughley what he was looking for – Steele saying Rush wasn’t leader. Neither statement there lasted long – Steele has been under attack form conservatives since then – he’s apologized to Limbaugh, and he’s had to take down his blog at the RNC because of the overwhelmingly critical posts coming from conservatives.

DL Hughley? His show was cancelled on Thursday in a release titled DL Hughley takes new role at CNN.

Guess Rush Limbaugh, an OxyContin and hydrocodone-loving buffoon, really is the head of the RNC.

Bunk the West takes on rural healthcare issues.

Pogie tells us about Sen. Bob Story’s pathetic defense of not funding CHIP in the state house. He also feigned some tears for the poor professionals who make more than $250,000 a year, who are belly-achin’ about Obama’s tax plan.

The Button Valley Bugle brings us a history of a house that had to be burned before it fell into the river – with a nifty picture, don’t miss it – and a call, again, for support of the Big Sky Rivers Act. This one is still in the House, folks…let’s give it a lift and tell that House Natural Resources Committee to get it moving!

Help out if you can for pancreatic cancer research? There is a 7-week challenge going on, that requires but a few seconds of your time at a keyboard. Karbon Kounty Moos tells you all about it. Small things really do make a difference. The keyboard can be mightier than the sword.

Robert Struckman is back, blogging for Montana Change That Works, a project of SEIU, the Service Employees International Union..a very very fine group of people. Don’t miss his stuff over at Left in the West

One more…

Politics, Peaks, and Valleys had a nice thorough analysis of the early pickin’s in Montana’s U.S. congressional race. Insider v. outsider: Who’ll bloody Rehberg? I’m very much enjoying that blog over there…

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread

I don’t have much. It’s been a tough week.

One thing I did pick up and that has been bouncing around in my head is this NPR interview with David Denby, author of Snark.

I’m not much of a fan of over-kill snark. I don’t see it as a way people can carry on an ongoing conversation in real life, therefore it seems pretty unrealistic to write the stuff. Real life isn’t TV. It isn’t Seinfield. Or whatever new TV show is doing it as an art form nowadays. I believe it does tend to shut down productive discussion.

Is all snark bad? Unproductive? Denby says “no,” and attempts to explain. There’s more in the comments there, too, that ya’all might want to read. Can or is snark in the minds and eyes, perhaps, of the beholder? Is the subject of snark more prone to think, automatically, that it is “bad” snark than, perhaps, the audience?

I’ve conversed on this subject a little this week, and honestly, I’d like to hear more feedback on it: Snark and me. In self-examination, I want to think that I don’t do much “bad” snark at all. Note that I’m not saying I don’t feel I do “bad” snark, just not a lot of it. I know I definitely go there at times. Is my self-examination through serious rose-colored lenses? What happens to your brain when I do go there?

Anyways, there it is – one of the half-dozen or so things banging around in my head this week. If you can help slow down that banging, I’d be mighty grateful. In any event, the cathartic nature of this post – of writing – may have helped in and of itself.

Perhaps later today I get to the fabulous posts of MontanaNetroots, Pogie, Wulfgar!, Singer and Jay, The Button Valley Bugle, Will Fish for Work, Politics, Peaks, and Valleys, and the Flathead Democrats, just to name a few.

If I don’t get to that later, I want to make sure I say this: I’m glad there are others out there kicking out stuff…it was getting pretty lonely out there for a while with the Montana lefty blogosphere and everyone seemingly on vacation. Now the great ones are back in action, and there are even some newbees up that are kicking out absolutely fabulous, quality stuff. Plus, there’s even some legislative stuff going on. I love it. I love seeing additional perspective.

If there’s other Montana blogs out there that I’m missing, please do put them in the comments. I don’t want to be missing any.


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