Yeah, you're right, Rose - that office has its priorities so far up it's ying-yang that it's amazing it can see straight to walk down the street.
Let's see if we can do a tally:
Hardworking citizens trying to relax at the end of the day;
Sick people dying of cancer or other terrible conditions;
Women (let's just group them all together as it's too complicated to figure out which women might be considered human by the office);
And just about anyone not on the football team or a member of the political good 'ol boys here in town.
Bozeman Economic Development Council;
The "We Hate UM" Coalition;
Men Against Women (Middle Eastern Group thinking of putting stakes down here);
Foot in the Mouth Gang (this is the group of republican senators from across the nation that think women should be raped and not allowed abortions - they're looking for spots for their annual gathering);
Of course I'm sure I'll just get another angry email from Van Valkenburg after this post telling me I'm more of a comedian than a politician.
I don't know, I'm not sure having another attorney in the County Attorney's Office is such a good idea.
Candidate - House District 98
"...one assumes the octopus is gross. We fill in the parts we can't see with suckers and a creepy beak, so that the less we know the worse we imagine."
This kind of talk only leads to oppression of cephalopods. Why must they be exploited in glib yet grim comparisons to county attorneys? Is this fair? Cephalopods are conscious, intelligent beings who employ reasoning, which is more than you can say for a lot of Homo sapiens. Just look at the mess in Ravalli County. So who's the *real* sucker here, hmmm?
But seriously, and just FYI--several fascinating, short videos of octopuses engaged in problem-solving and tool use (amazing!) are linked in this piece, as well as instructions for a no-sew octopus costume: http://www.othernationsjustice.org/?p=9855
Mr. Van Valkenburg had NO problem inviting the feds into his office and into Missoula when he was taking down state licensed medical marijuana caregivers. They are easy to prosecute and manipulate for career gain. ADA Andrew Paul coasted nicely during this time, dressing up like a SWAT team cowboy and going along with raids.
It seems that prosecuting sexual assault is 'hard' and 'complicated' and apparently just doesn't give him the metrics he's looking for. Now suddenly, he's all concerned about his 'independence' from an 'over-bearing federal authority'.
But Missoula, we get the government we deserve. Last election NO ONE ran against Van Valkenburg and we have no idea who would run for this office now.
Interesting analogy, Dan.
I'm not sure anyone can tell Van Valkenburg what to do right now. Even the voters that put him there have little say, and what say they do have is rather inconsequential - he's not running for reelection and is retiring at the end of this term. That's frustrating.
I like your comment about what he wants to accomplish these last few months. Gosh, I read the Missoulian online comments and they're really against him. I can't help but think anyone occupying that office after him is going to have serious trust issues with the public, perhaps through no fault of their own.
Candidate - House District 98
Thank you. Shadow. People need to make their own choices. Lots of people in town love drinking and have no problems, others stay away from it because they want to or maybe because they have to due to past problems.
One of the main reasons there was so much support in the legislature a few years back to repeal the medical marijuana laws was because there was so much abuse. Mainly it was average Joes trying to get their pot legally for a change, but unfortunately it made it a lot harder for people with legitimate medical needs to get it.
From people I've talked to, however, it's still pretty simple to get if you have a serious condition, and there isn't a lot of making you feel bad from the agencies involved either.
I think a great start would be for the state to open back up that medical aspect of this, but have firmer regulations. Right now I think the policies they do have in place are too draconian. There's room for middle-ground on this.
I do respect your blunt way of dealing with things. I’ve just seen firsthand what this drug can do in long term use. If the states would vote this in I would support it because the people have spoken and that should be respected.
As of today most states regulations of this drug are so loose, I can see nothing but it being abused with the old I have a medical condition and need a medical card.
I do have to say that you are by far a person who is extremely far and I would vote for you in a second.
I certainly hope we can get past the shortsightedness of the above comment by Shadow.
I'd rather have parents educate and talk to their kids about drugs, not have the state do it. Maybe if they weren't working 80 hours a week at jobs that don't pay enough they could do this. Or riding their morale high horse on blogs.
Sir, or Madame, what would you like to spend the $20 million Montana budget surplus on when we legalize marijuana in a couple years, or hopefully sooner?
Personally, I'd like to use it to give Missoula more snow removal equipment and pot-hole fixing apparatuses.
I guess the difference between you and me is that I think people are smart enough to make their own choices while you think they're bumbling idiots incapable of free thought.
Candidate - House District 98
Here is another study on the use of this drug for all of you that keep hitting the dislike button. Until I see a true study by a qualified entity that says the use of this drug has some sort of true medical reason to be legalized I will always be against the legalization of it.
Keep in mind I do believe that a state has a right to legalize this, it’s just I don’t see a good reason why. This is because everything that this drug is stated to help has already been taken care of by legal medications approved by the FDA. Standing on a soapbox doesn’t help nor will it change the truth.
Videos of people who use this drug. I ask you, would you like to see your children ending up like this?
Comments from real people who use this drug. Cut and pasted so please forgive the spelling errors.
1. I'm 19 and this is my 6th week of stayin clean. I started when I was 12 and i probably spent about 900 dollars in the last 7 years. For me it was an addictive issue as well. What motivated me to quit was not only I'm seeking employment but everytime I smoked it made me feel more depressed and I kept on thinking about people who I smoked pot with that picked on me. Forreal I was dumb enough to keep going back to those people thinking they were my friends just to smoke pot and after I stopped for a while I started to see it in a different perspective and realized it turned me into an idiot. I couldn't bear the humiliation I put myself through and I started to lose friends my real friends one by one. I turned around decited I ain't ever going back no matter what the cause. I hope I won't ever relapse cuz now I'm clean I feel better, sharper and I sure as hell won't ever hangout with those people again. Thank goodness I realized this before it was too late.
2. im 46 smoked weed since i was 15 4 days clean now.. but jeez its hard
3. Huge respect man ! I ve been smoking for the past 10 years and I'm only 24. I also have an addictive behavior so I can t just smoke the fridays for example, its everyday or nothing and unfortunatly nothing never happend. Its actually really but REEEEEALLLY tough to take this decision because it s obviously much easier so say "Its alright i m going to stop smoking later" and finally you never stop and the bad long term effects are getting worst ! It s has been 5 days since I stop, I know its not that much but I hope I will continue on this track.
This could go on and on.
I couldn't agree more with you, Greg. The medicinal use of marijuana is so much more important too than people are realizing. It helps with cancer treatments, pain, anxiety, appetite and a whole slew of things. And you're right about the problems in our community being alcohol related - it's also become meth related as well - but NEVER marijuana. How often do we hear about a man going home to beat his wife because he's so stoned? How often do we hear about someone acting aggressively and out of control because he's so stoned? NEVER. Marijuana CALMS - and I think the world could use a lot more calming lately. If someone doesn't like how it affects them - as in paranoia - then it's simple - don't smoke it. I have NEVER known ANYBODY - EVER - that "hallucinated" from smoking marijuana. The only way that could happen is if it was laced with something else. There are studies that back all of this up. Montana really needs to go back to what was voted in in the first place - and start getting the revenue flying back in our community, the way it was!
Can’t agree with making this legal. All I can say is keep taking a pull on that pipe. The world is you drug induced oyster. Here is some real information for you.
Although legalization activists and many marijuana users believe smoking pot has no negative effects, scientific research indicates that marijuana use can cause many different health problems. (Yes we need more health problems in America.) Note: It said CAN CAUSE and not MAY CAUSE.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. When smoked, it begins to effect users almost immediately and can last for one to three hours. When it is eaten in food, such as baked in brownies and cookies, the effects take longer to begin, but usually last longer.
Effects on the Brain
The active ingredient in marijuana, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, acts on cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and influences the activity of those cells. Some brain areas have many cannabinoid receptors, but other areas of the brain have few or none at all. Many cannabinoid receptors are found in the parts of the brain that influence pleasure, memory, thought, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement.
When high doses of marijuana are used, usually when eaten in food rather than smoked, users can experience the following symptoms:
The list goes on and on. Smoke up fools. Also don’t forget all the other stuff that comes with making this legal. Little things like upsurge in crime, receiving stolen property and a big list of other illegal stuff. Don’t believe me just look at the past arrest of some of the proprietors of the smoke shops in our very own city.
And 70 years later Obama is making a racial argument to legalize it. He's said that black youths are more often than not arrested, prosecuted, fined, and imprisoned at a much higher rate than their white counterparts. This is true.
We also know that Colorado is going to make $70 million in extra tax revenue from pot sales this year, according to projections. That's money the state didn't have the year before, all of it from new taxes targeting people willing and happy to pay them. Hell, maybe in a few years some of the other taxes in Colorado could be lowered, perhaps even a property tax rebate or refund could be issued, maybe right before the busy December shopping season when people need it the most.
I see no reason why Montana couldn't have the same. I'm frustrated that legalization movements in Montana and across the country are waiting for 2016 to get these issues on the ballot. Folks, if the people in Colorado waited that long they'd lose out on $140 million in revenue for their state, maybe more.
The stage is set to do this, especially now that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has relaxed the lending restrictions banks previously had regarding schedule-1 substances, which marijuana is still amazingly listed as, despite the mountains of scientific and medical evidence proving it has value to many people for many different conditions.
And what of those detractors saying this will erode our moral values and corrupt our children? I'm sorry, but I live in Missoula where I read about issues like that everyday, most of them involving alcohol. Sure, pot could have been smoked as well in some of those dorms where women were violated, but every story in the Missoulian I can remember from the past few months has emphasized alcohol.
Montana's an agricultural state, and we shouldn't let other states develop this industry ahead of us. We have the chance to guide the way on this, set the example of what responsible taxation and regulation can look like, as well as reap a windfall of jobs and new business in a state economy that can desperately use some new ideas and new revenue producers.
I hope the legislature, the governor, and the people of Montana will all have an open mind when these issues become front and center in the months and years to come.
Candidate - House District 98
The author failed to mention the only legislation that would actually provide protection for entire ecosystems and include much needed connectivity for wildlife. That legislation is the Northern Rockies Ecosystems Protection Act (NREPA). The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act is not a wilderness bill. It’s a logging bill. While some islands of habitat would be protected, it would result in massive clear-cutting of nearly 1 million acres of inventoried roadless areas. The partnerships between timber companies and conservation organizations that this author boasts about included a very select group of organizations like Montana Wilderness Association. Most local groups weren’t even invited to the table.
I think this ad has nailed Montana politics, where guilt by association loses elections. I had forgotten the name of the guy Judy Martz beat out for governor, but I'll never forget that he was married to Lucy Dayton. That's how he lost, and how she won. "Make him spend it all, Judy" was the bumper sticker that gave us our own Sarah Palin.
Outside Missoula, out there in Benghazi-land, Obama is shorthand for evil. Why waste time explaining the boring details of an insider-baseball scandal and risk letting it slip that Walsh is a veteran, which might compromise the mudslinging? Screw the particulars, hitch his wagon to the great Satan, and let people's own prejudices do the rest. Calling attention to actual details might invite people to investigate, which is the last thing you want to as a political entity in election season.
The irony that Mr. Wolke is a commercial outfitter operating in Wilderness seems completely lost on him.
Well I’m not in the lease surprised this sort of political garbage is going on. Seems like no one, Republican or Democrat, wants to be in office for the people anymore. I will give Greg Strandberg credit. He seems to care about the people he wants to serve.
Did you know it costs $27,000 to air a 30-second TV ad in Montana during prime time?
Yeah, if you're like me, that's more than you're making in a year.
Let's think about that. 30 seconds. The money most people in this state make in one year.
Hey, that's what the news director of the Great Falls station told me when he was in Missoula last month for a candidate training school.
Folks, these amounts are insulting, and they show that the republicans don't care about you. When the democrats start pumping the same amount onto the airwaves, it shows they don't care about you either.
I don't watch TV and I feel sorry for those that do and have to see this crap for the next 8 months or so.
It doesn't have to be like this.
Candidate - HD 98
This article completely misses the points of the criticism, which is that Baucus resigned ENTIRELY to give Walsh the advantage of taxpayer funded offices and media for the remainder of the campaign. In the same way Walsh was unrepentant about using taxpayer dollars for personal gain with his position in the National Guard, he obviously won't have much problem using taxpayer money to help his re-election. Montanans shouldn't be having their tax dollars, which are earmarked for public services, funneled through unions and corrupt politicians to help further their pet political causes and keep them in office.
Mountain biker laments the harm of the horse in Wilderness. That is not the point.
Bikes, especially speeding bikes, are mechanized equipment and do not belong in Wilderness. It is the speed of the visitor that matters for wildlife. Walkers are slow. Horseback riders are slow. Bikers do not amble along; they go for speed.
Nature. Wildness. Go to it and get its glad tidings, instead of going through it on a mechanized wheeling contraption.
In response to Howie Wolke’s anti Mountain bike opinion piece.
Wow Howie what biker ran over your toes? It is pretty hard to take someone serious when they preach the virtues of horse packing and usage over mountain bikes in the backcountry. For every picture of mountain bike damage you can document in roadless areas I can send you a hundred caused by horses. I can also send you plenty of examples of abusive backpacker use in the wilderness. You are staking your claim on a historical definition and not on reality. Some things need change. We used to use outhouses. We don't anymore. There all kinds of things we did as traditions or lack of knowledge in the past but now we know there are better ways. Would you advocate the required wilderness use of cooking fires and all that goes with that over the use of mechanical stoves? Yes mechanical… as in lots of other wilderness gear.
Your views are emotional and not logical. You put mountain biker users in the same category as motorcyclists, snowmobilers and other motorized users. Mountain bikers are on your end of the impact scale even more than a horse user, yet you don’t demonize the horse. You further state “When mechanized mountain bikers demand access to proposed and designated wilderness…”. I do not know of any proposal by mountain bikers to seek access to existing wilderness. No one would take on that lost cause. Access to roadless areas… yes.
How do mountain bikers passing you and your clients diminish their “hard earned wilderness experience” any more than a horse packer going by you with all the animal feed, mechanization and excesses that horses bring into the wilderness? For one thing if your clients see mountain bikers then you are not in a wilderness. Horse and stock feed is a much larger “trolling for grizzlies” nuisance than any biker moving through the woods. I am curious as to why you feel you can force feed the definition of wilderness on these adjacent and unspoiled lands that you also happen to be exploiting for profit right along with traditional wilderness?
If you’re your point truly is protection of the land then you would have to address the “sacred horse”. No legal animal or use of wilderness is as damaging as the horse. If you are the backpacking outfitter you claim to be then you know this for a fact and would never refute it. You know that discussion is “off limits” as it a “tradition”. So instead you turn your wrath again to bikes in non-wilderness settings.
Perhaps it is time to start with a clean sheet when it comes to policy on wild, but currently, non-wilderness lands. Let's consider a “horseless” interface that only allows horse usage via corridors of access to get to existing wilderness areas. The balance of the “roadless interface” would be for use by other non-motorized users. I assure you that in 20, 50 or 100 years that this roadless and horseless interface will be in much better shape than our existing wilderness.
You need to pick your fight with the true degraders of the wild areas. How about cattle grazing on public lands? That “sacred cow” is almost as sacred as the horse… Don't get me started. “Let’s be frank”, you should look around and see who your low impact comrades truly are.
Oh Howie... Can't you see how your mindset in this article follows the same sad path that sent EF down the path to irrelevance. There will always be someone who can clamor for, and claim, the greater purity of purpose. A five fingers wearing ultralight solo backpacker could just as easily look down on, or have their "experience ruined" by your guided groups of aging baby boomers in the "proximate wilderness" as you look down on mountain bikers. Just like a myopic llama wool hat wearing skinny skier who only "earns their turns" can smugly claim the high ground above resort skiers, who in turn hold themselves above dreaded knuckle draggers. Not only does each outdoor sport have it's own esoteric hierarchy of self rightousness (I.E. - I only open boat high water wilderness self support trips) but outdoor quiet recreation holds itself upon a lofty pedestal that the act of getting out in itself is the preservation of something sacred. You know, academically, people are bad for wild places. So get off the high horse and hug a biker. The coming generations with nature deficit disorder won't know or care if hikers were holier than bikers. There is plenty of room out there for everybody, the important work is to preserve access for everyone who wants to experience nature first hand via excercise, and challenge themselves out of doors. When stakeholders are not Balkanized into small user groups it is easier to get more land into conservation. Don't let outdoor rec go the way of environmentalism in the 90's. Being a Vegan Wiccan Feminist Eco terrorist is a small (not to mention smelly) tent. Lets embrace the commonalities that exisist in the improbability of sharing the same love of outdoors, and recognize that this might be the definition of a "white person's problem" that does not deserve the time spent hand wringing we ascribe to it.
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