Wednesday, August 11, 2010

"Dirty Energy Money" as art

Posted By on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 11:30 AM

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Here's a cool site that shows how much money politicians receive from the oil, gas and coal industries, and from where the money came. The visuals are pretty cool; the figures pretty high. Make sure to click on the details — each "bubble" provides more info, as does a chart on the side of each politician's page.

You'll see the following from Montana's delegates:
U.S. U.S. Sen. Max Baucus: $529,992 since 1999.
U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg: $339,000 since 1999.
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester: Just $22,000 since he was elected in 2006.

Hat tip to former U.S. Senate candidate and longtime environmental activist Paul Richards for the link.

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When I studied method acting with David Mamet, he taught us to develop such a vivid imagination that we could taste the pretend coffee that we drank out of an imaginary cup. We’d feel the heft of the cup in our hand and the steamy heat rising. We’d hallucinate the bitterly flavorful smell, and the muscles of our face would move the way they might if we were sipping the real thing. Pop star Lady Gaga didn’t work with Mamet while she was maturing as an actress, but she got similar teachings. Recently, she told New York magazine that she can “feel the rain, when it’s not raining.” And more than that: “I can actually mentally give myself an orgasm.” If you think that you will ever want to have that strong an imagination, Aries, now is a good time to start working toward that goal.

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trustee Nancy Pickhardt issues apology

Posted By on Tue, Aug 10, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Tonight, Missoula County Public Schools Trustee Nancy Pickhardt will read a prepared statement during the school board's monthly meeting (which starts at 6 p.m.). The statement, emailed to us by Pickhardt late this afternoon, includes an apology to Caroline and Nicholas Pickolick, the targets of a profane voicemail message Pickhardt left on July 28, as well as a request for forgiveness. Here is Pickhardt's statement, in full.

The guiding principles of my life have been twofold: to treat others as I would like to be treated and to show my appreciation for the good things in my own life by making the lives of others better in any way I can.

Two weeks ago, I compromised my own values. I let feelings of anger and frustration dictate my behavior when I left a voice mail message for Nick and Caroline Pickolick that was rude and vulgar. I made a big mistake and I deeply regret my actions. I extend my heartfelt apologies to the Pickolicks.

I take full responsibility for my actions and they should in no way be construed to reflect on the other members of this board or our respected superintendent, Dr. Alex Apostle.

I know that many opinions have been voiced about my actions that, in fairness, have been both critical and disparaging. I have received many other messages from people who have encouraged me to “hang in there” and “don't give up.”

I believe deeply in the power of great public education and, in particular, the vision and direction that this board, along with Dr. Apostle, has worked diligently to create and move towards.

I ask Dr. Apostle, my fellow board members, the employees of the Missoula County Public Schools, and the members of this community for forgiveness for my inappropriate actions and language.

It is my great desire to continue to be a member of this board but ONLY as long as I am able to support and work toward making the Missoula County Public Schools the very best they can be.

The goal of the board of trustees and our superintendent has not and will not waiver: achievement and success for all students, no exceptions. I would like the opportunity to continue to work toward this end.

Nancy L. Pickhardt
August 10, 2010

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Aug 9, 2010 at 9:00 AM

In this installment: flaming prostheses, quashed confessional sales and the worst laundry day ever.

Curses, Foiled Again
Dallas police said Dwayne Lamont Moten, 20, hired a friend, Jacob Wheeler, 20, to shoot him, intending to blame the crime on his wife’s boyfriend so he could gain custody of his 3-year-old son. Wheeler was only supposed to wound Moten, who “drove a short distance before he realized he was shot a little worse than he had planned and got out of his car and was screaming for help,” then died, according to Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse, who noted, “There’s legal ways to get custody of a child, and taking a bullet and ultimately dying is definitely not one of those ways.”

Shawn Martines, 25, flagged down a sheriff’s deputy in Pasco County, Fla., and explained that he let a woman put handcuffs on him, thinking they were fake, but they were real, and the woman didn’t have a key. Martines managed to pick one cuff and wanted the deputy to unlock the other. First, though, the deputy patted down Martines for weapons. When he found a hypodermic needle and nine Xanax pills, he locked the loose cuff on Martines’s free wrist and arrested him on drug charges.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

First Friday: Totally, dude

Posted By on Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Ever wonder what that smiling barista is really thinking as he or she hands you your coffee mug and croissant wrapped in wax paper? We do, too. One of the coolest parts of First Friday this evening will be the chance to get a little insight into the creative minds of baristas, bakers and cooks of the neighborhood gathering spot Bernice’s Bakery, when the employees exhibit their own paintings, pottery, photography and fashion art.

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After a shot of coffee at Bernice’s we’ll probably head down the block to Betty’s Divine to survey some "rock 'n' roll" piñatas inspired by the upcoming independent three-day rock fest, Total Fest IX. The piñatas are not to be whacked until the "a-buck-a-wack" contest at the Record Swap Saturday, Aug 21., but you can admire them while drinking some wine and beer and listening to some live music by Colin Johnson. Be sure to stop by Taco Del Sol to see a photo retrospective of past Total Fests, plus Total Fest posters by Tom Dewar, which are the bomb. Totally awesome.

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Here is another thing we find intriguing: Right in the same neighborhood as Bernice’s and Betty’s is a new gallery called The Gallery at 4th & Oak, which is, not surprisingly, located at 4th and Oak streets. Studio owners Laura Blaker and Nancy Seiler will be there to welcome us with open arms (we hope) and to show off their artwork in the new space, which is upstairs in the old brick building at 615 Oak St.

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That’s just the beginning. There’s plenty more art fun to be had across the Higgins Ave. bridge downtown, including on into the Northside at the Ceretana (801 Sherwood) where artists Ladypajama and Josh Ludwick will probably surprise us with kooky drawings of odd characters among other imaginative things. Unlike most art shows tonight that last between 5 and 8 p.m., this one will appeal to night crawlers since it goes until 11 p.m.

If Robert De Niro loves it...

Posted By on Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 1:00 PM

&hlThe film Monica & David, about a couple with Down syndrome, won Best Documentary this year at Robert De Niro’s own Tribeca Film Festival.

The film is a complex story about the way the world perceives disability, as well as what sorts of obstacles and triumphs two people experience working toward an independent life together. De Niro told New York magazine that he was impressed with the film, and ended up choosing it out of three top choices for the win.

You can see it tonight when the Big Sky Film Series screens the film at the Wilma Theatre, at 7:30 p.m.

In the meantime, check out the trailer:

More reactions on Molloy's wolf ruling (UPDATED)

Posted By on Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Judge Donald Molloy's Thursday ruling to put the Northern Rockies gray wolf back on the Endangered Species List has generated an outpouring of comment from all corners of the debate. We'll keep a running list here as individuals, organizations and agencies continue to root for/rail against the decision.

• (UPDATE) Sen. Max Baucus weighed in this afternoon, vowing to introduce legislation to restore state management of the gray wolf population.

“I am extremely disappointed that Montana’s population of gray wolves will return to the Endangered Species List," Baucus said in his release. "Montana has long had an excellent wolf management plan in place and it shouldn’t be set aside because Wyoming’s plan continues to come up short. This dispute has gone on long enough and I’m looking at all options to deal with it. When Congress returns next month, I plan to introduce legislation that puts wolves under Montana’s management.”

• Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) announced this morning that the agency intends to appeal Molloy's ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court. According to Dave Risley, administrator for FWP's Fish and Wildlife Division, there's no definitive word on what FWP will appeal, and he admits Molloy left little room for such action.

“Obviously our lawyer’s taking a look at the decision to see what our options are, but I think our options are very limited," Risley says. "Basically, for the time being, we feel it takes the hunting season off the table.”

Risley adds such a decision will likely take years to formulate.

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Molloy overturns gray wolf delisting

Posted By on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 4:40 PM

U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy today overturned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's decision to remove gray wolves in the Northern Rockies from the Endangered Species List, siding with the Defenders of Wildlife in a contentious lawsuit aimed at restoring federal protections for the wolf population. The previous decision to delist gray wolves in the Rocky Mountains was made by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in spring 2009. Molloy overturned the decision, stating it was a political solution that failed to comply with federal law.

The Defenders of Wildlife issued a statement late this afternoon hailing Molloy's ruling a "significant victory for wolves, for the integrity of the Endangered Species Act, and for all Americans who care deeply about conservation." President Roger Schlickeisen elaborated, saying, "Had the federal government prevailed in the lawsuit, real wolf recovery would have been set back for perhaps decades. Worse, the precedent of the federal government making listing and delisting decisions for endangered species based upon political boundaries rather than science would have crippled the Interior Department’s future management of the Endangered Species Act to the detriment of many species."

Some conservationists will no doubt be dancing in the street over the court's decision. We'll have more from state agencies and others as comments come in.

State issues decision notice on Spotted Dog acquisition

Posted By on Thu, Aug 5, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) announced early this week it intends to move forward on a $16.6 million purchase of 27,616 acres in the Spotted Dog complex east of Deer Lodge. The Decision Notice, released Aug. 2, recommends that the FWP Commission approve the acquisition during its meeting Aug. 5. However, the public comment period on FWP's request for funding through the Natural Resource Damage Program (NRDP) does not end until Aug. 9, and the acquisition still needs approval from the Montana Board of Land Commissioners before FWP can make a purchase offer to the Rock Creek Cattle Company.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Find Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology online, every Wednesday, one day before it hits the Indy's printed pages.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The ancient Greek god Dionysus did not, in fact, encourage people to get sloppy drunk, lose control and do stupid things. His preference was that they free themselves from their inhibitions by imbibing moderate amounts of alcohol. With this medicinal spur, they might get unstuck from their worn-out old behavior patterns and invite refreshing doses of wildness into their lives. Healing was the intention, not craziness and frenzy. It is true that if someone was not willing to escape their rigidity —if they clung to their hidebound attitudes and refused to open up to the call of self-transformation —Dionysus might lure them into reckless inebriation. Keep these thoughts in mind in the coming weeks, Aries.

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