Archive for the ‘montana’ Category

burns-tester debate

October 10, 2006

 watching the debate on c-span.  hilarity itself.

question 1:  pork.  i have a great deal of respect for libertarians, but did the stan jones just say montana should pay to maintain all the highways?  does he have any idea how much that would cost the state?

question 2:  energy.  did conrad burns just endorse schweitzer’s energy policy?

question 3:  education and montana.  too bad they can’t give real answers.  nice that burns implies tester created the debt, as compared to years of republican stewardship we’re having to fix.

question 4:  impeaching bush?  haha, the libertarian just clapped for impeaching president bush.  na-na.  congrats on becoming my #2 choice for president.  i’m glad that tester calls for more accountability, goodness we need that here in dc.

burns:  “you have not given up one freedom under this patriot act that you have not before, unless you’re a terrorist,… or a suspected terrorist,… or affiliated with the mafia,… or drug kingpins”.  or, you know, breathing.

queston 5:  debt.  burns notes that we didn’t ask for a number of events that have swelled our debt.  conveniently neglects iraq.  tester – get rid of no bid contracts, in iraq, in medicare

question 6:  greenhouse gasses.  burns “we’ve been warming since the ice age”.  !?!  tester – we need to solve this carbon issue, msu has a role.  this requires communication, internationally (north korea indicates breakdown), and leadership.  stellar answer.

seriously – stan, conrad… global warming isn’t a political issue.  its scientific fact.

question 7.  executive authority.  tester – fight the war on terror with resources (intel) and not by sacrificing our liberties.  burns – the meth control act is part of the patriot act [is it just me, or could we save that part of it?]

summary comments. 

stan jones.  “i risk sound like a conspiracy theorist, but” … “the secret organizations of the power elite are no longer secret”… sorry, i started rolling on the ground.  i need to get a transcript.  something about our currency being the “amero” and world communism.

conrad burns. . . . taxes.   says taxation got more “progressive” under bush II, because 84% of tax share is by the rich, compared to 82%… more on this later

jon tester.  we need leadership in washington.  the legislative branch needs to do its job, and hold the executive branch accountable, no matter who is in charge.  otherwise – disasters (healthcare, war on terror, …) happen.  nice close. 

(also covered at leftinthewest)

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clueless UofM admin? really?

September 18, 2006

apparently, the administration atthe University of Montana just doesn’t understand the state of eduation problems in montana.  instead of focusing on the rising cost of attending college, and the inability of poor students to pay for school, they’re doing a train tour of the state.  how quaint.

“These kids are growing up with parents who never went to college and don’t realize the value,” said Mick Hanson, director of the university’s financial aid office. “You build dreams at an early age, and they’re hearing you don’t need to go to college to make a living.”

from the director of the financial aid office, that moves right past comic to tragic.  the issue isn’t that people don’t realize the value of a college education (pardon the double negative), it is that they can’t afford it.  students who come from rural montana can’t take on $20k in debt – the bank won’t lend it to them, and the places they come from rarely have enough equity to cover it.  even if they do take it on, how can you pay back $20k in loans when the most you’ll make in montana, even with a college degree, is around $25k a year? – if you’re lucky.  sure, some do, but it is unreasonable to expect that everyone can take that risk.

it gets worse.  if you go back to my hometown, you’ll find that almost none of the college grads stay in bozeman (including me).  those who do stay have a hard time making ends meet.  surprising as it is, bozeman is an expensive place to live if you’re just starting out.  which is a problem, because cities are where the college jobs are.  the result – graduates leave montana, and people with savings move in to take the jobs, because they can afford them.  odd, i know.

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why is the Missoulian so lame?

September 12, 2006

apparently, the survival of our nation is at stake.  war on terror?  nope.  iran’s nukes?  nope.  north korea?  not so much.  apparently, the single greatest threat to our nation – the one that should guide us on election day:

immigrants.

yes, those hardworking folks that make the economies of every state in the west work – those are the real ones for us to be terrified of.

they’re right – the fight over immigration threatens to unmake america, but only if we transform from a country that welcomes the powerless, to a warped country club.   one where everyone looks the other way from the groundskeeper, but only as long as it is fashionable.  thats not the country i know.

beyond out of touch

September 1, 2006

in today’s helena IR:  “Burns urges Schweitzer to take steps already taken“…

U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns urged Gov. Brian Schweitzer to declare a fire state of emergency Thursday and activate the Montana Army National Guard for firefighting more than a month after Schweitzer had already done so.

what has he been up to out here?  apparently schweitzer issued those declarations twice – first on july 11th.

he had to insult farmers now?

August 23, 2006

apparently, insulting firefighters wasn’t enough.  conrad burns had to go and call farmers lazy.  could he be more out of touch?

(the tester interview in newsweek, btw, is quality)

[update:  we need a futures market for who burns will pick on next.  little old ladies?  our troops?  babies?]

wind, sun, montana version

August 22, 2006

the missoulian calls for racial profiling in airport screening.  the argument itself is pretty damning of the author.  in, short it argues that racial profiling is more effective than x-ray machines or ‘hostile intent’ screens.  why?  xrays miss stuff, and hostile intent is overbroad.  profiling a whole race apparently suffers from neither prblem.  you know, because no white person has ever tried to blow up a plane or anything.  and most muslims definitely hate america.  oh, oops.  (hear that sound?  it is reality crashing in.)

it isn’t nativism if you tap into panic, after all…

there really is no excuse for this hatred.  the missoulian owes a big appology to our state, for feeding fear, and defaming several distinct groups of people.  oh, about that…  what crazy tree did these people fall off of? 

“we are at war with people who are more homogenous than the general U.S. population”

i don’t even understand what that means.  did they hit shift+F7 for the thesaurus and find a smart-sounding word?  egypt, turkey, morocco, pakistan, iran, indeonesia… yeah.  i bet that there is absolutely no variation between those countries.  also.  all muslims.  totally alike.  that shite – sunni division causing all the mess in iraq?  the fact that saddam was a secular leader and al qaeda radical sunni?  apparently, the missoulian has declared it all to be irrelevant.

the article is, in fact, so crazy, that it runs past the actual important point

It will allow us to focus scarce time and resources screening the people who are members of the class that is the most likely threat. (emphasis mine)

so maybe – and i’m going out on a limb here – the solution is to increase the time and resources that go to airport security?  gasp!  a real solution!

burn’s firefight

July 30, 2006

so i step off the plane into beautiful and open montana, proud of the beautiful landscape i’m honored to call home, only to discover that my junior senator called the firefighters that protect our lands lazy. this, obviously, given the 300+ comments on the Gazzette story, was a stupid thing to do. and 2-1, his apology hasn’t earned forgiveness. but it has made it into his wikipedia entry. along with his other greatest hits (abramoff, the raghead quote,… strangely nothing is in there on his policy record)

it is rare anymore to find out what a candidate really thinks, when their media advisor isn’t around. so i take this to be insightful. for an example of what it’d have loved the senator to have said instead: compare-and-contrast with an old report on firefighting in montana from the Red Cross.

Comparing this kind of firefighting to a war is not a stretch. The fire crews live in tents at base camps part way up the mountain, where they eat and sleep for a few hours before heading out to fight again. They wear uniforms of fireproof yellow material and brandish shovels and axes. When they return, exhausted, medical workers tend to their injuries — mostly blisters and smoke inhalation.

fire sign
Thank-you signs for the fire crews hang all over the valley.

Down below in the towns of the valley, residents may not see the firefighters, but they are well aware of their presence. Thank-you signs are posted everywhere, on houses and roadsides and restaurant marquees, praising the hard work of the crews in the mountains.

“We Love You, Firefighters!!!” reads a hand-painted poster along a cabin-lined portion of Highway 93. “Firefighters Rock!” exclaims a brightly lit sign at the Applebee’s restaurant in Hamilton. Fire crews that stop by one local gas station can get “free unlimited soda,” according to the sign outside. That offer won’t get many takers this week — few firefighters can be spared from the fire lines.

so that is what montanans think. and you can bet, that with summers getting hotter (and drier) we’ll be relying on firefighters more and more. lets hope we’ll have a senator who will share our sentiments.

montana pride

July 30, 2006

i get this stare of wonderment whenever i tell someone i’m from montana. you know, like when aliens disembark from the mothership and everyone is surprised when they are liberals and can speak english. ok, the liberal part is just about montana. though, martians with a respect for JS Mill would be cool.

some of it is exposure. in college, we had more students from both singapore and turkey, so we were a prized minority or something. i twisted it, of course, by convincing a california girl that montana bordered on mexico. (no, it really doesn’t). as a result of our minority status, we created a homeland group. though, the plans for steak meetings never came through.

some of the stereotype is my fault, i suppose. in nyc, i started asking for directions with “hi, i’m from montana, and lost, do you know how to get to…”. and i do get inordinately irate when jerks do jerky things back home, which can’t help our state image.

on a related note, being east, some things continue to baffle me. like v, i was surpised to discover that they charge for WiFi in DC (it is free in virtually every bozeman coffeeshop). i mean, really? or debates about health insurance. our state offers free/low cost insurance to all children. but others can’t afford it? we really aren’t the land that time forgot. sure, we’re more personable and friendly, but that doesn’t make us naieve. just, you know, nice people.

i think this shirt sums it up, and i’ll be the guy in dc wearing one of them. though, at the moment, i’m back in the homeland, wandering up a mountain or the like.

pork or policies?

July 26, 2006

back home in montana, senator burns appears to be running on the “i bring home pork” platform. looks like he’s stopped letting the little things (like an ideology of small goverment and low taxes) get in the way of his being a senator. as wulfgar notes in the comments,

New airport lights in Butte, new baseball park in Billings, new ice rink in Bozeman, federal hand-outs to the YMCA in Dillon …? It’s just Burns doing what he knows best, trading favors for votes. That’s what he did for Abrahmoff, and now he expects us to follow suit.

what bothers me isn’t just that this drives up the deficit. or that i’ll have to pay that deficit off later. it suggests burns isn’t working on his moral compass, that he isn’t acting on principles. our senators were supposed to come up with broad policies that help the whole country. we’re facing real problems – and the best montana’s republican senator can point to is an ice rink? no offense or anything, but make me one of the 100 most powerful in government, and i’m pretty sure i could do better. what has he been doing for the past 20 years?

its a shame that burns’ wikipedia page lists pork as his primary accomplishment. and time considers this his primary justification as well.

or, as bret put it on leftinthewest

Having solved all of the nations problems Senator Burns has brought a skating rink, baseball field, and lights!!!

oh wow, turns out he can’t even deliver on this last round of pork.

[via leftinthewest]