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): For every trillion dollars the U.S. government spends on the military, it creates about 11,000 jobs. That same expenditure, if directed toward education, creates 27,000 jobs. Personally, I’d rather have the taxes I pay go to teachers than soldiers—especially in light of the fact that the U.S. spends almost as much money on its military as all the other nations in the world combined spend on theirs. I suggest that in the coming months you make a metaphorically similar move, Aries. Devote more of your time and energy and resources to learning, and less to fighting. Ironically, doing that will ultimately diminish the fighting you have to do. As you get more training and wisdom, you’ll become more skilled at avoiding unnecessary conflicts.
On Saturday April 28, University of Montana student Anita Green danced with a well-dressed man at the Elk’s Club. After they danced, the man, identified by the Missoula Police Department as Obioha Onwubiko, a 21-year-old UM student, led Green outside. “He wanted to take me away from the club. But I said no. I felt uncomfortable with that,” says Green, 21, of Billings.
According to Green, Onwubiko tried to put his hands down her pants. She said, “no” and swiped him away. Onwubiko was rough when they kissed, she says. Green got scared and tried to walk away. “He...grabbed my shirt...I was terrified.”
Then Onwubiko grabbed her crotch, she says. She believes that’s when he discovered that she’s is a pre-operative transgender woman, born a biological male but living as a woman. Green says Onwubiko seemed infuriated. She again tried to get away. “He then punched me in the right eye.”
Although the alleged incidents occurred nearly five months ago, they only recently came to the Independent’s attention.
As a result of her allegations, Onwubiko faces misdemeanor sexual assault and assault charges, punishable by a maximum of 1 year in custody and a $1,000 fine. Onwubiko is pleading not guilty.
Onwubiko’s Missoula attorney, Craig Shannon, says that Green’s story is a “fabrication.” He adds that his client was provoked and acted in self defense.
“She was a man, that was confusing for Obi,” Shannon says. “It would be confusing for me, too.”
On April 30, campus police charged Onwubiko with a third misdemeanor. According to Missoula prosecutor Carrie Garber, Onwubiko allegedly threatened another UM student and caused “fear of injury.”
Shannon says the third charge stemmed from Onwubiko’s attempts to figure out “who was playing the prank on him Saturday night...He’s from Nigeria. English is not his mother language. He was confused.”
The case is slated for an October 26 trial in Missoula Municipal Court. Onwubiko is “very interested in having his day in court,” Shannon says.
Green says she agreed to discuss the alleged attack in the hope that it will raise awareness about violence against LGBT people. “People in the queer community are attacked every day,” she says. “They deserve to have their voice heard.”
New research questions effectiveness of prescribed burns
William Baker, a fire and landscape ecologist at the University of Wyoming, co-authored a paper with Mark Baker on their research that compared reports from agents of the federal General Land Office created in the mid-19th century on landscapes in Oregon, Colorado and Arizona with present-day conditions, and concluded that reducing fuels doesn't help limit the severity of fires much, and that big fires are inevitable and promote species diversity.
New York Times; Sept. 18
Idaho Wool Growers Association a plaintiff in grazing lawsuit in Idaho
The Idaho Wool Growers Association, industry groups and individual ranchers filed a federal lawsuit in Idaho against the U.S. Forest Service over its plan to protect bighorn sheep by reducing domestic sheep grazing in the Payette National Forest.
Idaho Statesman (Lewiston Tribune); Sept. 18
Folks around these parts are pretty excited about tomorrow's show at the Wilma featuring The Head and the Heart, Blitzen Trapper and Bryan John Appleby. For one, it's a great lineup. Second, it's sold out, meaning the atmosphere should be special. Lastly — and stop us if you've heard this before — tonight's show is presented by the Indy as part of the paper's 21st anniversary celebration, so pardon us if we have a little extra excitement.
To help spread that excitement to everyone attending, check out the recent feature story in Seattle Weekly about tomorrow night's headliner. "The Headliners and the Heart" details the folk sextet's newfound success through hard work and the help of its record label, Sub Pop. Here's how the story opens:
Halfway through the second song of The Head and the Heart's set at The Cedar in Minneapolis, Jonathan Russell smashed his Martin guitar to pieces and walked offstage into a crowd of blood-stained half-humans.
It was Zombie pub-crawl night, and Russell, the band's co-frontman, spent the rest of the evening being cussed at by people in zombie suits because he wasn't in uniform.
"I was convinced I was going to fly home," Russell says, "[thinking] 'I don't give a shit. This is no longer the idea that I thought this was going to be. I'm over it.' "
It was October 2011, more than a year into the promotion of the band's self-titled debut, and The Head and the Heart was working harder than Scott Perlewitz, Sub Pop Records' head of commercial radio, had ever seen a band work.
Report assesses wildfire risk in Western states, cities
CoreLogic released a report that assessed the wildfire risk to property in 13 states, including Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado and Utah, in the Western United States that found 2,000 homes in Wyoming were at high risk from wildfires.
Casper Star-Tribune; Sept. 17
Declining moose populations in Montana, Wyoming under investigation
Moose populations in Montana and Wyoming, as well as Michigan and other states, are in a freefall, and some researchers say a changing climate may be the culprit.
Billings Gazette; Sept. 17
This week, Scrabble players on steroids.
Curses, Foiled Again
Less than an hour after Richard Owens, 18, was released from jail in Land O’ Lakes, Fla., a sheriff’s deputy saw him trying to break into a car in the jail parking lot. “He knows Richard because he released him from jail earlier in the evening,” the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office reported, adding the car belongs to another deputy. (Tampa Bay Times)
For the snarky set, it’s easy to mock the world of tribute bands and the tribute fans. That is, until the snarky set has had enough to drink and happens to find themselves at, say, a Hells Belles (AC/DC) or Appetite for Destruction (G ‘n’ R) show. Headbanging ensues, horns are held high and memories of high school keg parties are as fresh as the day you stole the Appetite cassette from so-and-so’s red Ford pickup at the Strawberry Festival Hall.
A devil’s advocate might say that the musicians giving tribute often perform better than the original artists. Makes sense. I’ve heard bands play the crud out of Metallica’s Master of Puppets; Metallica hasn’t done that in 15 years, at least. Undoubtedly, there are Bob Dylan tributeers out there who have a pretty low bar to reach these days. However, it’s one thing to cover a band’s tune and quite another to mimic the band: the look, the patter, the winks and nods to legendary past performances. That’s what Thunder Road does.
The shoes they’ve chosen to fill are The Boss’s, and they fill them with New Jersey-born Josh Tanner performing as Bruce Springsteen. The San Diego-based group began playing because Springsteen and the E Street Band haven’t performed in their part of the world in nearly 30 years. Thunder Road includes 1977 UM School of Law grad John Farmer on lead guitar. Apparently he has remedied the dangerous lack of “Tenth Avenue Freezeout” covers for the legions of diehards in San Diego. Although the band focuses on the oldies and goodies, they cover some newer material as well.
After watching a few YouTube clips of the Thunder in action, one can see that Tanner has the moves down. He shakes his hips like Bruce. He holds his Tele neck in the air like Bruce, and most importantly, he sounds like Bruce. The likelihood of The Boss playing Missoula in the next 30 years is slim, may as well check out the next best thing.
WHO: Thunder Road, Bruce Springsteen tribute band
WHAT: Pre-Homecoming concert
WHERE: The Dennison Theatre on the University of Montana campus
WHEN: Fri., Sept. 14, at 8 PM
HOW MUCH: $20, tickets available at Griztix outlets
Tis the season for politics—and beer, since beer never goes out of season. We give you the lowdown on the White House ales. What says liberty and pursuit of happiness more than a patriotic beer and a president who's into homebrewing? As Thomas Jefferson once apparently said: "Beer, if drank with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes good health.”
The story: Last year President Obama bought a home brew kit and, with the help from expert home brewers, crafted some special White House beers. According to the White House website, it’s the first known time that beer has been brewed there—George Washington brewed beer and distilled whiskey at his Mount Vernon home and Thomas Jefferson made wine. At a time when micro-brew culture is on the rise, it’s a pretty good move to hop on the home brew wagon. Especially when your opponent is on the non-drinking wagon.
What you’re drinking: The White House made two beers—a honey ale and a honey porter. The recipes were released after a petition signed by over 12,000 beer lovers was sent out stating: “In keeping with the brewing traditions of the founding fathers, homebrewers across America call on the Obama Administration to release the recipe for the White House home brew so that it may be enjoyed by all.” White House chef Sam Kass responded punily, “With public excitement about White House beer fermenting such a buzz, we decided we better hop right to it.”
What Missoula beer crafters say: None of the local homebrew shops have tasted the White House brews yet, but they were intrigued. Mark Chapman of Chapman Homebrew says he found it “encouraging and interesting” that the White House was brewing beer. Hoyt Smith of Summer Sun Brew Supply says that they’re currently brewing the ales, which will be ready in a few weeks. Smith says the White House recipes call for powders and extracts but, for the home brew purists, the supply store can help figure out substitutes to make grain-only versions.
How to make it:
2 (3.3 lb) cans light malt extract
1 lb light dried malt extract
12 oz crushed amber crystal malt
8 oz Biscuit Malt
1 lb White House Honey
1 1/2 oz Kent Goldings Hop Pellets
1 1/2 oz Fuggles Hop pellets
2 tsp gypsum
1 pkg Windsor dry ale yeast
3/4 cup corn sugar for priming
2 (3.3) lb. cans light unhopped malt extract
3/4 lb Munich Malt (cracked)
1 lb crystal 20 malt (cracked)
6 oz black malt (cracked)
3 oz chocolate malt (cracked)
1 lb White House Honey
10 HBUs bittering hops
1/2 oz Hallertaur Aroma hops
1 pkg Nottingham dry yeast
3/4 cup corn sugar for bottling
Wildlife refuge in Montana grows by 12,352 acres
On Wednesday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a $3.6-million addition to the Rock Lakes Wildlife Refuge in Montana near the Montana-Idaho border.
Great Falls Tribune (AP); Sept. 14
Montana DEQ releases report on water quality in Lower Gallatin River
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality completed its review of 15 streams that flow into the Lower Gallatin River and, on Thursday, released its report on those streams, 11 of which had high sediment levels.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle; Sept. 14
Montanans, get used to hearing the phrases "toss up" and "neck and neck" between now and Election Day.
Public Policy Polling has released new polling results for the big seats up for grabs, and every race is close.
In the Montana Senate race—one of the most closely watched races in the country—PPP gives Democratic Sen. Jon Tester a 45-43 advantage over U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg, the Republican challenger.
Montana voters aren't actually happy with the job Tester's doing. The negative ads have taken a toll and only 46% of voters approve of him to 48% who disapprove. But Rehberg's even more unpopular with just 42% of voters happy with the job he's doing in the House to 52% who disapprove...Both candidates have their party base pretty much locked up—Tester's winning 89% of Democrats and Rehberg has 88% of Republicans behind him. Tipping the balance to Tester overall is a 41-33 advantage with independents.
In the race for Rehberg's House seat, Republican Steve Daines holds a narrow 40-37 lead over Democrat Kim Gillan. PPP found that likely voters barely know these two candidates. When voters were asked if they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Daines and Gillan, 56 percent were unsure about Daines, a Bozeman businessman, and 59 percent were unsure about Gillan, a veteran state legislator from Billings.
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