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 he was three years old, actor Charlie Sheen got a hernia from yelling too much and too loud. I definitely don’t encourage you to be like that. However, I do think it’s an excellent time to tune in to the extravagant emotions that first made an appearance when you were very young and that have continued to be a source of light and heat for you ever since. Maybe righteous anger is one of those vitalizing emotions, but there must be others as well—crazy longing, ferocious joy, insatiable curiosity, primal laughter. Get in touch with them; invite them to make an appearance and reveal the specific magic they have to give you right now.
In this week's installment: mobile absolution, burrito madness, and a chainsaw down yer britches.
Curses, Foiled Again
Police arrested Michael Trias, 20, after they said he broke into a home in Mesa, Ariz., and became stuck in a clothes hamper underneath the window he climbed through. The homeowner, who heard Trias trying to untangle himself from the clothes, restrained him and called police. (Mesa’s East Valley Tribune)
The Nation wrote a long profile of former Missoulian Jim Messina, labeling him in the headline as "Obama's Enforcer." Messina served as Obama's deputy chief of staff up until his recent appointment as manager of the president's re-election campaign.
The article, which quotes a number of prominent Montana politicians, takes a critical look at Messina's position within the Obama team. It also talks a lot about his history with Max Baucus, and the nature of Montana politics. It's worth a complete read, but here are some highlights:
Obama’s fixer has arguably created as many problems as he’s solved. “He is not of the Obama movement,” says one top Democratic strategist in Washington. “There is not a bone in his body that speaks to or comprehends the idea of a movement and that grassroots energy. To me, that’s bothersome.”
Under Messina, Obama ‘12 could more closely resemble the electoral strategy of Baucus or Bill and Hillary Clinton—cautious, controlling, top-down in structure and devoted to small-bore issues that blur differences between the parties—than Obama ‘08, a grassroots effort on a scale modern politics had never seen. “It was a major harbinger to me, when Obama hired him, that we were not going to get ‘change we can believe in,’” says Ken Toole, a former Democratic state senator and public service commissioner in Montana.
The inside [health care reform] strategy pursued by Messina, relying on industry lobbyists and senior legislators to advance the bill, was directly counter to the promise of the 2008 Obama campaign, which talked endlessly about mobilizing grassroots support to bring fundamental change to Washington. But that wasn’t Messina’s style—instead, he spearheaded the administration’s deals with doctors, hospitals and drug companies, particularly the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), one of the most egregious aspects of the bill.
Solmonese offered a different perspective, calling Messina “unquestionably one of the great unsung heroes of DADT repeal.” The two stood side by side on the Senate floor as the bill cleared the body on December 18. When the sixtieth vote came in, Solmonese said, Messina began to cry.
“If you want to have a future in Montana politics, you don’t criticize Jim Messina,” says James Anacker, a former field rep for Baucus. “That would be career suicide. People are afraid of him, to tell you the truth.”
The past week brought a number of interesting developments in the ongoing heavy haul debate. Front and center was the joint lawsuit filed against the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) by the National Wildlife Federation, the Montana Environmental Information Center, the Montana Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Missoula County Board of County Commissioners. The suit aims to force additional review of ExxonMobil subsidiary Imperial Oil's proposal to ship more than 100 pieces of Canada-bound oversized equipment up highways 12 and 200. Click here to view a copy of the plaintiffs' complaint.
“Exxon’s mega-loads put Montana at risk while locking us into a future of dirty energy from abroad," National Wildlife Federation attorney Tom France said in a statement this morning, referencing Imperial Oil's tar sands mining operation in Alberta. "Before we let polluters run roughshod through Montana we must have a proper review of the environmental costs and risks.”
News of the legal filing broke just days before the Calgary Herald reported that Imperial Oil plans to "revisit" its deal with the South Korean manufacturer that made the loads. Imperial Oil Chief Executive Bruce March explained to the Herald that the oil company originally turned to the Pacific Rim in 2007-08 when manufacturers in Edmonton were unable to accommodate its needs. Imperial Oil spent the subsequent two years scoping the potential for a shipping route through Idaho and Montana, eventually announcing its Kearl Module Transportation Project to the public in spring 2010. Protests began almost immediately, and March's interview with the Herald suggests that the resulting delays contributed greatly to the company's recent call to "revisit" its manufacturing situation. In the meantime, Imperial Oil continues to reduce the size of more than 30 loads at the Port of Lewiston, preparing them for transport on the interstate highway system.
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