Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Gut-check time

Posted on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Will the real Rep. Steve Daines please stand up?

So which is it, Mr. Daines? Are you the fellow that Montanans thought they were sending to Congress—the guy who listens to all sides of an issue and champions ideas from Montana? Or is Daines swept up in the nonsense that is too prevalent in Washington, D.C.? Is he just listening to political operatives more bent on gouging the eyes of their opponents than in actually solving this nation's problems?

Sadly, Rep. Daines appears to be falling into the camp with the partisan radicals.

Case in point: Daines has recently signed on with a radical national forest management bill being forwarded by Tea Party favorite Doc Hastings. The bill is a fantasy of those with a simplistic, narrow-minded view of national forests.

Now, Montanans want their forests managed. That's no secret. But the Hastings bill won't actually accomplish that because it's overly broad, unrealistic and driven more by ideology that pragmatic solutions. It's classic, winner-takes-all politics.

Does that sound familiar? Doc Hastings would manage Montana's national forests the way his Tea Party friends managed the federal budget.

Across Montana, folks from sawmills, conservation groups and sportsmen's organizations have hammered out real, practical visions for bringing people together and getting things done on the land. These balance both the conservation of and the wise utilization of natural resources.

It's gut-check time for Rep. Daines. Whose side are you on, Montana's or Washington, D.C.'s?

Gabriel King


Dinosaur favorite

Posted on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 4:01 PM

My congratulations to Matt Rosendale for officially announcing his run for U.S. Congress. This takes the speculation away, and now gives reporters the obligation and opportunity to cover the competition equally.

Great job by Mr. Rosendale for selecting Makoshika State Park as the perfect location for this event, a magical place in eastern Montana that is rich in landmarks and artifacts that date back hundreds, thousands and, for some misinformed geologists and members of the public, millions of years. Your speech about conservative values must have warmed the hearts of those departed dinosaurs. Why, they probably said, "Finally, a politician with old ideas like us."

Someone who supports criminalizing a woman's right to an abortion—even in cases of rape or incest, an interpretation of his religion that has been around for years. Someone who wanted Montana to be able to secede from the uniona thought that goes back to at least the Civil War. Finally, a dinosaur favorite who wanted to keep an unconstitutional law on the books, making it a crime to be a homosexual. Mr. Rosendale's conservative reasoning is "the Bible forbids it."

To Mr. Rosendale's credit, he will devote his entire time to the U.S. House race. It remains to be seen if his entire Tea Party conservative agenda will translate statewide.

Pat Mischel


Off target

Posted on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 at 4:00 PM

I like your paper and read every issue cover to cover, but I was surprised to find a tirade by a poorly informed hypocrite in the food section (see "Hunting just got harder," Oct. 17). In the article, the writer complains of an ammo shortage—an ammo shortage caused by anti-gunners like Obama, the Clintons and Bloomberg trying to restrict guns and ammo purchases. Gunners are all stocking up, thus leaving the writer no ammo to hunt with. Too bad.

This writer is a hypocrite because he thinks it's okay to use his rifle but not others. AR originally stood for armalite rifle, not automatic rifle. Today, they are called Modern Sporting Rifles, or MSRs. They look different than bolt action rifles but function same way. One pull of the trigger causes one bullet to come out of the barrel. Everybody wants to use the best tool available to do a job. The MSR is the most reliable, durable and accurate rifle a hunter can get.

MSRs can be had in any caliber, not just the stupid zombie .223 caliber that hunters never use. The writer of this article is an idiot and should be given an IQ test before getting a hunting license. MSRs do not mow things down—lawnmowers do. Use of these rifles does not, as the writer says, open the door to irresponsible and unethical shooting, such the unfathomable practice of hunting at night. Hunting with an MSR is not an insane practice, it's as safe and responsible as using any other weapon. It all depends on person using weapon.

I hope this writer never finds his .270 ammo because the woods will be much safer without this person running around with a gun.

Richard Brodowy


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Unchecked exotics

Posted on Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 4:00 AM

I’m writing to commend Allison Mills and the Missoula Independent for your article “Western native plant societies urge USDA to ban exotics,” published Sept. 12, 2013 on the Indy Blog, highlighting the threat of invasive species.

Your coverage educating and informing people of the dangers of exotic invasive species is welcome in the battle to control and eradicate these non-native threats. Not all non-native plants become invasive, but the rapid proliferation of invasive non-native plants in our wildlands can have a devastating effect. Even though some invasives may look beautiful to the eye, if unchecked they present a real threat to wild species diversity and degrade many natural areas. Invasive species are the No. 2 cause of plant endangerment in the United States, forcing native species to the edge of extinction, and they also cost millions of dollars in damage to agriculture and infrastructure.

The Center for Plant Conservation has developed information about invasive species, including resources, contacts, and proactive measures that will help prevent the introduction of new invasive plants. We invite your readers to visit our website for additional helpful information.

Kathryn Kennedy

President and Executive Director

Center for Plant Conservation

St. Louis, Mo.

Rhetorical questions

Posted on Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Is there any hope? What kind of world are we living in? It’s almost like everything is upside down and backwards. The newspaper headlines include wars and more wars, genocide, economic collapse, drought, famines, floods, cancer epidemics, viruses, pandemics, toxic environments, increasing earthquakes, nuclear threats and power grabs. Elderly tourists are held at gunpoint at Yellowstone Park! Forest Rangers are ordered to “Make life as difficult as possible” for citizens! (Illegals, no problem.) Vets and relatives are barricaded from the U.S. War Memorial! Unaffordable health care! Double and triple premiums and deductibles! Many are losing their health care as a result.

Are we about to go over the cliff or have we already gone over? It’s almost like we are leaping towards self-destruction! In a world gone berserk, is there any hope for us?

Let us ask one of the most respected men of the past century, a spiritual councilor to many modern presidents: Billy Graham. Mr. Graham will celebrate his 95th birthday on Nov. 7 with a message especially for America at this critical time. The My Hope America message titled “The Cross” will be airing all over the United States and Canada from Nov. 7 to Nov. 10. It will also be available on demand, via DVD and internet streaming, along with “Defining Moments” and “Lose to Gain” bonuses.

“The Cross” will contain life-changing testimonies and one urgent message from Mr. Graham filmed at his North Carolina mountain home earlier this year.

Donna Lundquist

Fort Benton

Thank you?

Posted on Thu, Oct 24, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Well, ya folks scared me with the last issue. It was so dull I fell asleep just carryin’ it to the truck! However, your Oct. 17 issue is back up to standard. Thanks.

Angelo Pecora

Seeley Lake

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Speaks for the trees

Posted on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 at 4:00 AM

So, the trees of Crazy Canyon were recently thinned, as in cut down and killed. Why? Fire danger, bug infestation, forest enhancement or really just something to do? (See “Scary prognosis,” Sept. 19)

Every day, trees, which are living things, are ignorantly cut down and killed. Are we at war with the trees? What is going on here, really? Maybe we are at war with ourselves, and we vent it out on the trees. Why do we decide that certain trees are not allowed to live? Who do we think we are?

No wonder our environment is in sad shape. We are not living with our environment. We are living against it. We are here to accept and love ourselves and the environment. We want to nourish the environment and see it flourish. We want healthy trees and a healthy environment in which to live.

Finally, it is a mystery why no one speaks up for the thinned dead trees of Crazy Canyon. Maybe the people just don’t care or are too timid. Maybe it is all just for money.

Let’s wake up and change our thinking now!

Rev. Harry Strong


Proud of PPL Montana

Posted on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 at 4:00 AM

In recent days PPL Montana has received some unjust cheap shots in the news. PPL Montana is a for-profit corporation as are most main street businesses, and is owned in part by Montanans. PPL Montana’s function is to make money. That is what their shareholders expect and demand. PPL Montana does not own any power distribution lines, nor do they sell power to end consumers. They produce then sell electricity in a highly competitive market to companies that will, in turn, deliver and sell to you.

But this letter is not about PPL Montana profits, coal generation plants or even about the possible sale of their hydroelectric facilities. It is about how PPL Montana and their employees are giving back to our communities.

I recently finished the first year of a two year appointment to PPL Montana Community Fund Board. This mix of PPL Montana employees and non-employees meets twice a year to review and distribute funds PPL has ear-marked for grants to non-profit organizations, schools and school districts with a focus on education, environment and economic development. Since this fund was established, $1.4 million in grants has been awarded to nearly 200 organizations across Montana. This past year, in the south central area of Montana we have awarded grants to Musselshell School Community Center to help preserve a focal point of the area, Special K Ranch of Columbus to build a hydroponic garden, Billings Education Foundation to provide weekend backpack meals for school children and Yellowstone CASA to pay for training of needed volunteers that serve as court advocates for abused and neglected children. Grants to preserve the Colstrip History and Art Center and rebuild the Howard Community Club roof. Funds in Hysham for the Yucca Museum and the Evelyn Cameron Heritage Center in Terry. In Lewistown, PPL has provided funds to the Snowy Mountain Industries in support their goals, and to the Lewistown Boys and Girls Club for needed renovations to their building.

In addition to local contributions and sponsorships, Community Fund grants are just one part of PPL Montana’s community involvement. PPL Montana provides over 500 good paying jobs statewide and pays more than $26 million per year in state and local taxes and fees. So the next time someone starts talking about what PPL Montana is taking out of Montana, let’s take a moment and look at what PPL Montana is giving back to Montana.

Jim Kane


Taken seriously

Posted on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 at 4:00 AM

This is in response to Dan Brooks’ short-sighted inconvenience caused to him by our inane government shut down (see “Domestic dispute,” Oct. 10). Mr. Brooks is obviously a GOP supporter as he blames Obama for our government’s inefficiencies, when in fact the Tea Partyers state as their cause to defund Obamacare at all costs to “protect our nation.” To protect our nation from what, I dare ask, affordable health care for millions!

Mr. Brooks is upset by his girlfriend being furloughed and requesting he pay the heating bill. What about all the poor, single mothers who are going without food to feed their children because the SNAP program has been shut down as well? This seems a far more pressing concern than Mr. Brooks not being able to look at porn—excuse me, be a professional writer at home while his girlfriend is furloughed.

Our government has stopped working not because Obama won’t compromise with delusional House Republicans. It has stopped working because the Tea Party would rather not take care of the most needy of our population so they can pursue their short sighted, albeit misguided, political agenda. Is that what America is all about? I think not.

Chris Henderson


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Poor choice

Posted on Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 4:00 AM

I was delighted to see the article on the forthcoming Montana Health CO-OP and the great work John Morrison has done helping health CO-OPs across the country get launched (see “Proving ground,” Sept. 26).

It was a poor editorial choice to repeat details from a Senate primary in 2006, and in poor context. John continues to make good things happen for Montana and the rest of the country, but the author felt it was important to take a shot at John.

The article states that Morrison’s 2006 Senate bid failed in part because of a story that broke about “alleged ethical misconduct while in office.” This apparently refers to the story run by the Independent in the heat of the primary, citing unnamed sources, who faulted Morrison’s handling of a certain securities case.

No one ever filed a complaint or charge of any kind against Morrison in any forum regarding this unfounded “misconduct”.

After the Senate primary, John Morrison asked numerous people to review the case file. The State Auditor employees, and former employees who were involved in the case, unanimously wrote that Morrison acted with the highest degree of integrity in the handling of the case. Those employees also affirmed Morrison’s honesty and dedication in handling all cases before his office.

Supreme Court Justice Beth Baker, then the special prosecutor in the case in question, agreed. John then submitted the file to outside experts, including: a former (Republican) State Auditor, former Attorney General, former Supreme Court Justice, former U.S. Attorney, and many others.

All wrote that Morrison handled the case properly and in accordance with high ethical and professional standards.

The allegations, made then to a reporter by unnamed sources during a contested primary race, were unfounded and unfair. They do not now merit being mentioned in current stories about John’s continued public service for our state.

Joe Easton


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