Tamara "Tammy" Hall, the ultra-angry, ultra right-winger in Bozeman who pens an occasional column for the Bozeman Chronicle and is supposedly a "motivational speaker" for a living, has written a hater-piece about the Governor this week. She compares him to a rat, calling him arrogant, and using the favorite new accusation of the right wing: that he is a "celebrity" (talk about desperate). It's probably for the best that the column doesn't appear online, as I'd hate to have to link to it.
The interesting part about Hall, and the small handful of angry, downwardly-mobile types that pay any attention to her, is that Schweitzer recently got the endorsement of Newt Gingrich and the Wall Street Journal. I don't care much for Newt or the WSJ's Stephen Moore who wrote the editorial, but Schweitzer did deserve the credit because he made the decision, when the state was flush with cash, to save money rather than spend it.
(And Schweitzer is probably the only politician in the last fifty years to get praise from the WSJ while advocating a Canadian Health System.)
Nevertheless, the continuously manic and angry Hall may have become delusional as well, and should check the label on her medication. Because if she is calling somebody a tax-and-spend politician when they have just gotten praise from Gingcrich and the WSJ for being fiscally responsible, she probably needs to up her dose.
Next Tuesday Jan 5th the Gallatin County Commissioners are voting on a grant application from the the HRDC. It's for a seven million dollar affordable housing grant. Commissioner Steve White is vehemently opposed. Commissioner Bill Murdoch is in favor. Commssioner Joe Skinner said "convince me" He mentioned on the news that he was hearing from property owners that they didn't want more competition from HRDC.
The reason Bozeman needs affordable housing is that landlords are charging high rents. Affordable housing has been an clear need for our community for years. That's the reason that our community was granted the seven million dollars. The property in question was bought out of foreclosure. A recession is the perfect time to create affordable housing. This is a good deal for our community. if refused, the grant money in question will revert to somewhere else in the state. We will lose seven million dollars, and the opportunity to serve our less fortunate citizens.
Could it be Commissioner Skinner is feeling the hot breath of Scott Sales on his neck? He's been hearing from the tea party about this. If he votes against this, Commissioner Skinner may gain the tea party support at the loss of his moderate image. He needs the moderates to come out for him, otherwise Scott Sales is our new commissioner. (shudder) Commissioner White made a point about the federal deficit. If this goes down, we'll not decrease the deficit by one dime. The only thing will be that more poor people will be on the street, or living in squalid conditions. At a greater cost to our society at large. Voting against this grant is fiscally insane, callous, and immoral. We will be judged by how we treat our fellow humans. This is good policy that really helps folks and I hope the County Commission comes to find it's better angels.
For anyone who missed it, Jon Tester had a public meeting on the forest bill yesterday in Dillon and he's doing another in Bozeman tomorrow:
DATE/TIME: Monday, September 28, from 9:30-11 a.m.
LOCATION: 3rd Floor Community Room of the Gallatin County Courthouse
311 West Main Street, Bozeman
This is all part of a complicated strategy to ram the bill down people's throats in a smoky backroom while pretending to have an open process where they go out and take feedback from thousands of Montanans. Or something.
I'm not really sure what the conspiracy theory will be here. Notably, these meetings are coming before a hearing has been called on the bill, more evidence that this bill ain't exactly being rammed through Congress (anyone following the health care debate will actually note the Democrats' unwillingness to ram anything through Congress).
Anyways, go check out the open house, offer feedback, etc.
Worth noting as well, although on places like Left in the West, you'll note that the there's a lot of criticism of this bill from the left, the loudest voices against it are particularly anti-wilderness voices. If this bill dies, the CW in Montana will remain that wilderness is not politically defensible and no more wilderness will be protected.
I was one of the pro-reform protestors in the free-speech zone outside of President Obama's town hall meeting yesterday on healthcare reform in Belgrade, Montana. I am shocked and disappointed at the mainstream media's coverage of the protest and declarations that both sides acted 'civilly'. Many of the anti-government protesters used violence, threats of violence, and intimidation to stifle the pro-reformists in the exercise of their first amendment right to assemble and protest.
This being Montana, the traffic jam includes big gravel-hauling trucks. Gravel pits operate on several borders of the airport because the geology is right. When I creep my little truck up to the key intersection, if I turn left I would go to the pit run by the Knife River company, where I could pay about $25 to get myself a Nissan load of what's called "road mix." I make that run once a year to maintain the gravel driveway at my house. I turn right instead, where a deputy standing in the intersection directs the town-hall traffic, creep past more protesters that line this side road, follow another cop's directions and pull off on another mowed field loosely organized for parking.
So. There was a meeting hosted by a president in Montana yesterday. While I'm at the NN09 in Pittsburgh, I followed Facebook accounts of the ugly, ugly protests - and Charles Johnson's coverage in the Gazette left out the uglier aspects of the Tea Baggers, the white supremacists, the Obama = Hitler signs, etc & co, and the pushing and shoving that went on. (Rumor: a Tea Bagger was arrested?) Remember: these protests are not about health care....
I'd point you to the various summaries of Obama's speech in Bozeman, but better to read what he said. For me, the biggest news was that he reaffirmed his commitment to the public option, and his continued advocacy for a surtax on the wealthy (as opposed to taxing health care benefits) as a means for paying for health care reform. You'll notice that both stances differ substantially from where Baucus (apparently) stands.
By making a rare presidential visit to Montana, Barack Obama has put even more pressure on the rural state's senior senator, Max Baucus, and his panel to produce bipartisan health care legislation in just a month's time.
Given the context of this visit - the fact that Baucus' committee is essentially single-handedly holding up health care and gutting provisions that the Democratic caucus thinks crucial to reform - you can't help but think Obama's visit is intended to put pressure on Max by appealing directly to his constituents. And then there's this from the Gouras report:
For his part, Baucus doesn't appear worried that a bipartisan group of six senators has already blown through several targets for producing a Finance Committee bill. The veteran senator has told Obama that "it will be ready when it's ready" - even if that means waiting until September.
Heh. Tough words, eh?
Probably as a result of signals from the White House, which Jane Hamsher helps us interpret. The WH, through Emmanuel, is blaming Baucus for the logjam in Congress, and he and Jim Messina are being set up to take the fall if all fails, and for any untoward deals cut in Baucus committee with the health-care industry. (Wasn't it in the Indy's profile that Baucus said his whole life prepared him for this legislation? Little did he know how prescient that comment may be...)
So now Obama's in Montana playing "good cop."
Oh, and in case you want a good laugh, check out Montana GOP chair (and Missoulian!) Will Deschamps lame attempts to put forth positive policy on health care:
Deschamps said the current system does have problems, but he doesn't think the federal government ought to be the one trying to fix it. Asked what role central government should play in health care changes, Deschamps said he "didn't have a hard and fast answer."
He said the government should use other means to change health care.
"Maybe they should spend their time in the (public relations) end of it," he said. "They should promote healthy living."
Some people can afford health insurance, but choose not to buy it, he said, particularly young people who don't think they'll get sick.
"There ought to be some way to encourage them to buy health insurance without government interference," he said.
That would lower premiums for everyone else.
Uh...okay...so basically stick with the status quo. Cool.
Which is too bad, because I was thinking maybe Bozeman city officials should share the usernames and passwords of the blogs and social networking sites they frequent...
It would probably make for some interesting reading, eh?
Is it time to start talking again about a federal amendment protecting US citizens' right to privacy? Of course it'll never happen. Too many people make too much money off of your private information...
I think Bozeman needs to seriously rethink their hiring practices to have more respect for privacy:
"Please list any and all, current personal or business websites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo, YouTube.com, MySpace, etc.," the City form states.
Um, Google and Yahoo (and to a lesser extent Facebook and MySpace) means giving access to potentially years of personal email correspondence.
That's obviously the biggest red flag, but the idea that any employer -- public or private sector -- should be able to not just witness your personal online accounts (which include information like religion, sexual orientation, etc., that could trigger discrimination) but access them as a user -- completely messed up.
And I'm no lawyer, but this strikes me as violating the Montana Constitution's privacy protections big time.
update: just spoke with one of the organizers and it has been changed to the XXXXs. Mayor Engen will be present. The location was changed so it doesn't appear that folks are upset with the City, which has been abundantly supportive of Missoula's queer community.
Saturday morning, cities across America will host actions in response to the passing of California's Prop 8 which threw LGBT citizens back into the cruel world of "separate but equal" civil unions. Missoula's takes place at 11:30 near the XXXXs on North Higgins Avenue.
Last Tuesday was a bittersweet night for members of the queer community: a painfully potent reminder of how important it is to keep hoping for, and working towards, a more just and equal society. It just happened to be juxtaposed with the election of the first African American president, an amazing victory.
I will be at Saturday's rally, but not because of Prop 8. I'll be there because it's still legal to fire a gay Montanan because of who he is, or deny a lesbian Montanan housing because of who she loves. I will be there because it's damn difficult for queer parents to adopt a child, and because if my partner ends up in the hospital and near death, I have no legal rights to even see him.
Missoula | Saturday, November 15th
11:30 am at the XXXXs on North Higgins Avenue
Billings | Saturday, November 15th
11:30 am in front of City Hall, 210 N 27th St
Bozeman | Saturday, November 15th
11:30 am in front of City Hall, 300 West Main St
Wow -- some big news on the day jobby job front. Forward Montana is spreading like a wildfire, but with fewer casualties.
Here's the cool news:
Up and Running in Bozeman -- We just hired a great new Gallatin Coordinator to do some on-the-ground organizing in Bozeman. His name is Jeff Bangs. He hails from Hill County and we're excited to have him on board.
We're Hiring Voter Registration Organizers -- With the primary coming up, we want to make sure Montanans are registered and ready to vote. Want to help with that goal? Let us know and we'll get you to work registering voters and working with volunteers to register voters.
Fake Medical School -- We're in the middle of launching a huge health care campaign to identify Montanans' concerns about health care, build a progressive majority in Montana, and fight for comprehensive health care reform. Sound interesting? Sign up for our Fake Medical School. April 12 in Missoula. We provide the food, the training, and the plan. You provide the passion and energy for change.
I'd be remiss in failing to note that this expansion is funded in part through some new found generosity. Our in-state giving by individuals has ticked up considerably recently. We also are getting more support from organized labor. And, of course, George Soros.
The Bozeman City Commission is today considering a resolution against the Iraq War. If passed, Bozeman would join Helena , Butte , and Missoula as Montana cities that spoke out against Iraq .
Activists against the war have been gathering signatures for the debate since the commission narrowly approved considering the resolution. Opponents bang a familiar drum:
But critics say commissioners should spend their time on more pressing local business such as building a new jail and fire station.
"Resolutions like that really have nothing to do with the business of our city," Bozeman resident Mike Comstock said.
(Mike Comstock is a regular letter-writer to the Bozeman Chronicle, once claiming that traffic congestion in major cities is a result of liberalism. So we can probably suspect his opposition is ideological, not practical.)
I'm doubtful the commission will approve the resolution - after all, it was a 3-2 vote just to consider it. But then politicians, even local ones, are jumpy folks. I'd also have preferred a referendum. Let the people of Bozeman speak to their representatives directly, en masse. Still, here's to being optimistic about the resolution's passing. If the folks in Washington DC won't move, we need to give 'em a push.
The Helena crowd and those from SW Montana know that Scott Sales win was a fluke, something that the GOP wouldn't have let happen if they were paying attention. But way too many people know that Sales has more skeletons in his closet than John Morrison (or Mike Taylor, if he weren't hiding in his closet).
Here is the question, will Sales make it to the end of the legislative session?