Monday, February 28, 2011

The state's best political tweeters

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 10:00 PM

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza compiled yet another state-by-state best-of list today, this time focusing on the best political tweeters.

Who made the cut from Montana?

State Rep. Ellie Hill (Funny note: The Post has had Hill currently listed as a Republican. (Update: It's been fixed.))
Lee columnist Chuck Johnson
State Rep. Bryce Bennett
Political organizer and lobbyist Jamee Greer
Political organizer Matt Singer
Democratic Party Communications Specialist Mike Wessler
Compassion & Choices' Jessica Grennan
Intelligent Discontent's Don Pogreba
4&20 blackbird's "jhwygirl"
Great Falls native and political strategist Chase Mohney

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment: rooster murder, snow shovel violence and sexy extracurriculars.

Curses, Foiled Again
Even though arson-for-hire suspect Ismael Ortiz, 24, wore latex gloves when he started a house fire in Titusville, Fla., police found his fingerprint, plus the finger that left it. While fleeing the scene, Ortiz “slammed his finger in the door,” Detective Jessica Edens said, “and cut the tip of his finger.” (Orlando Sentinel)

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Friday, February 25, 2011

The week's links: Christian pregnancy centers, concerts and hippy punching

Posted By on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 4:00 PM

A Friday afternoon roundup from local blogs and alternative newspapers from across the country.

RIP Jim McLure. You can read Erika Fredrickson's write-up here. The New York Times obit ran Wednesday.

Are you a friend of the Indy on Facebook? If so, you've already seen a link to this excellent editorial from the Great Falls Tribune about a Missoula judge, Denny Rehberg's boat crash and justice. (And if you're not a friend of ours on Facebook, what's up? We're not as good to you as that long-lost high school friend you only looked up because you wanted to see if she/he was still hot? Come on, friend the Indy.)

Joe Nickell writes a story about big concerts skipping Missoula, and days later we hear Ray LaMontagne is playing at Big Sky Brewery and Iron & Wine is coming to the Wilma. Granted, Joe was writing about shows at the Adams Center, but still. Maybe he should write about massive overhauls in Helena next.

Speaking of which, you can find coverage of the crazy ongoing legislative session almost anywhere these days, but here are a few suggested reads:

- Intelligent Discontent writes about HB 456 ("Another Terrible Idea" that makes a mess of sex education) and takes a few daily papers to task for falling for GOP lingo.
- Montana Cowgirl says armed Tea Party supporters will rally at the Capitol March 4.
- Rob Kailey at Left in the West points out that HB 516 isn't just an attack on Missoula's LGBT community, as some have framed it, but an attack on the entire state. "Bozeman's fair policies are only collateral damage to the hippy punching of putting Missoula in it's 'proper place'," he writes.
- Ron Natelson weighs in on Amendment Conventions at Electric City Weblog.
- Montana Watchdog reports on Missoula Rep. Champ Edmunds' bill that authorizes a "health care compact" and essentially creates an alternative to President Obama's health care reform.

Finally, here are three stories from other alternative newspapers across the country:
1. The Montana Leg ain't got nothin' on Wisconsin. Madison's Isthmus is located about a stone's throw from the Capitol, and the paper's covering everything from Gov. Scott Walker getting punked to reactions from state teachers to The Daily Show's "fucking camel." Yes, a real camel.
2. That lawsuit by an NFL owner against the D.C. City Paper just won't die. But City Paper appears to have the people behind it. In an open letter from the publisher:

"More than 600 supporters have given checks, most of them for just $20, to ring up more than $28,000 to a legal defense fund we set up to help us fight the suit."

You can learn more — and donate to the fund — by clicking here.
3. The Stranger's Ciena Madrid visited Christian pregnancy centers that lure women in with false promises of medical care. Learn what they told her about abortions, breast cancer, shame, and death.

Focus on the Family tied to effort to overturn Missoula's anti-discrimination ordinance

Posted By on Fri, Feb 25, 2011 at 3:45 PM

It appears Havre Republican Kristin Hansen's crusade to overturn Missoula's anti-discrimination ordinance has roots in one of the country's largest and most conservative evangelical Christian organizations.

The Washington Independent reports that Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Focus on the Family is championing, and perhaps even drafted language for, bills seeking to limit the rights of homosexuals in Montana, Kansas and Tennessee.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Local cartographers drawing new map of Bob Marshall Wilderness

Posted By on Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 2:58 PM

Last summer and fall, Jamie Robertson and Amelia Hagen-Dillon, of the budding Missoula-based business Cairn Cartographics, and Robertson’s brother Thomas, collectively hiked some 800 miles in the Bob Marshall Wilderness over the course of 53 days with GPS devices in hand to create a new—and more accurate—map of the sprawling mountainous backcountry.

Their first map, which charts the southern half of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex, is nearly done, and in order to raise enough money to print it, they’re using a novel approach: a web-based funding platform called Kickstarter. About two weeks ago Cairn Cartographics reached its $5,000 fundraising goal using Kickstarter, enough to print about 2,000 copies of its first map.

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McCulloch sets the record straight

Posted By on Thu, Feb 24, 2011 at 9:15 AM

In a guest opinion piece distributed yesterday, Secretary of State Linda McCulloch calls out the "irresponsible" attacks leveled at Montana voters by the current Legislature. McCulloch is referring specifically to two bills that affect voter registration — one, HB 180, sponsored by Missoula Rep. Champ Edmunds, eliminates same-day legislation and another, HB 152, requires voters to use state- or tribal-issued identification when registering to vote, instead of other documents currently allowed to prove residency.

The rhetoric surrounding both bills has been hyperbolic and misleading. For instance, the bills are supposedly "aimed at reducing the chance of voter fraud in Montana" despite the fact there's no history of voter fraud in the state. Edmunds also says he's concerned about the stress same-day registration puts on country clerks and recorders, but yet he — and other supporters of his bill — shot down a mail-in voting bill. As McCulloch writes, "The onslaught of careless and unsubstantiated remarks threatens fair, honest, and accurate elections across Montana because it diminishes the people’s trust in the election system."

Here's McCulloch's piece, in its entirety:

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Your future, a little early

Posted By on Wed, Feb 23, 2011 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): “Newspapers are unable, seemingly, to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization,” said George Bernard Shaw more than six decades ago—and it’s still true. It’s very important that you be more discerning than newspapers in the coming weeks, Aries. You can’t afford to confuse a minor mess with a major snafu; it would be a big mistake to treat a small temporary detour as a permanent loss of momentum. Please keep your melodramatic tendencies in check, even as you appreciate the entertainment value of your ever-shifting story.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Poll: Montanans oppose repeal of Medical Marijuana Act

Posted By on Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Poll results released today by Patients and Families United suggest that about three out of four Montanans support either more strict regulation of the state's Medical Marijuana Program or no change to it at all, while only 20 percent support the outright repeal of the program.

The findings appear to conflict with the mood in Montana's Capitol. The Senate will soon take up a bill that would repeal the Montana Medical Marijuana Act. The House passed the measure on Monday by a vote of 62-37. This despite the fact that 62 percent of Montana voters approved the law in 2004.

Public Policy Polling conducted the poll on behalf of Patients and Families United, a group that lobbies the Montana Legislature for marijuana patients' rights. Find the group's press release below, and the full poll results here (PDF).

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Extra, extra: In Other News, online

Posted By on Mon, Feb 21, 2011 at 9:00 AM

In this week's installment: a steak slap and fun with fire.

Curses, Foiled Again
After breaking into the same house he’d broken into eight months earlier, John Finch, 44, found himself trapped, according to police in New Castle County, Del., because the homeowner had changed the locks in the meantime so that a key was required to open the door, even from the inside. Finch entered through a rear window and helped himself to liquor but couldn’t let himself out the door without the key and was too drunk to climb back out the window. So he called 911 for help and was arrested. (Associated Press)

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Bill threatens state park and fishing access funding

Posted By on Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 11:01 AM

A bill moving through the Montana Legislature could result in severe underfunding of state parks and fishing access sites.

Senate Bill 13, sponsored by Rep. John Brenden, R-Scobey, proposes that a person who registers a vehicle may elect to pay $25, rather than elect not to pay $4, for state parks and fishing sites. On Tuesday the Senate Finance and Claims Committee passed the bill by a vote of 11-7, and it now heads to the Senate floor.

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