Since the Worst of Missoula issue is a virtual field of opportunity for we nabobs of negativism, there is no chance we could leave this rhubarb unturned. Seems that Ken Miller, state senator from Laurel and chairman of the Montana Republican Party, was the only one of our 50 senators who didn’t make the special legislative session called earlier this month to address the state’s budget snafu.

Miller explained his absence by saying that he and his family had planned their vacation to Orlando, Fla. for two years, and that they had already spent over $1,600 on nonrefundable airfare for the trip. But before you get all teary-eyed about a guy who puts his family’s well-being ahead of that of his job, consider this: Miller’s expenses—airfare, lodging, meals—were covered by the American Legislative Exchange Council, which sponsored a forum for conservative politicians during the week.

Miller’s effort to cast himself as a beacon of family values is punctured by the sacrifices of guys like Sen. Don Ryan(D-Great Falls), who sent his wife and kids away on the vacation they had planned while remaining at the capitol to get his hands dirty along with everyone else.

Adding injury to insult, the Lege changed the rules of the special session (in a vote—surprise!—along party lines) to allow senators to vote in absentia, which Miller did when his vote was needed to sway a bill to the right.

So the man who heads the ruling party that has run this state into the ground over the last 15 years jets out on a partisan junket rather than help clean up the mess he’s helped create. And here we thought self-serving displays of bad judgment were strictly the territory of Gov. Martz.Proper shoppers...or proper suckers? We’re keen to hear what you think, Missoula, about the latest addition to the city’s public art. How does it stack up against the squashed cat on Main Street and the Australian beer logo in the roundabout on North Higgins? What kind of message does it convey to you? Please sound off—in 50 words or less—to artwatch@missoulanews.com, or haul out the quill and inkpot and send a letter to Arthur Watch, c/o Missoula Independent, 115 South 4th Street West, Missoula, MT 59801. Comments will be published in a future issue; please include name and phone number (for verification purposes only).

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