Most mornings are simple.
- Start off with the Montana blogs;
- Check the local newspaper and TV news sites;
- Scan the national newspaper headlines;
- Glance at the national TV news sites;
- Scroll a ways down the Facebook feed to see what the local media is posting;
- Scroll a ways down the Twitter feed to see what the hardcore politicos are posting.
That’s about it.
Pretty easy, huh?
Only takes me about 10 minutes each morning and it’s one of my favorite parts of the day.
It’s also a time of day I get the most worked up.
Why is our country so stupid? Why are we wasting so much money? Why are our priorities so messed up?
Those thoughts typically go through my mind on most mornings, and I bet my blood pressure rises quite a bit as well.
All from the news and our reaction to it.
Hence the reason many of the Montana blogs have slowed down. People have slowed down, getting out and trying to forget it all for a short time.
- James Conner has put up 15 posts this month, many telling us that posting will be light this month.
- Travis Mateer has put up 6 posts on his site this month.
- Cowgirl/boy has put up 9 articles this month, most lambasting Steve Daines.
- ID has put up 7 posts this month, most lambasting Steve Daines.
I’d be happy with a few more posts from the two former sites, a few less from the latter two.
Anyways, here are some of the things that caught my attention this morning.
I see that the transgender bathroom opponents are going to begin gathering signatures for a ballot initiative.
It’s I-183, it’s sponsored by Jeff Laszloffy of the Family Foundation, the ACLU opposes it, and it’ll need 25,000 signatures to appear before you when you vote in 2018.
Those signatures aren’t due until next June…a whopping 11 months from now.
I’m confident this initiative will get on the ballot, both because they have so much time and they have the organizational/financial support.
When I and a bunch of other regular citizens were gathering signatures to legalize marijuana last year, we didn’t have either of those.
We were totally grassroots and we managed to get just 9,000 signatures for our initiative and 7,000 for the constitutional initiative.
I’m not sure if we’ll be back in 2018 (I guess the time to start is now, huh?) but you know there’ll be tons of people requesting your signature for a gaggle of initiatives.
Banning transgender bathrooms is one of them, and I’d encourage you to not support this one.
I don’t really care about the issue because I know it affects so few.
That said, the economic and public relations fallout that the passage of these laws causes to communities simply isn’t worth whatever jollies the puritanical religious right gets off of ‘em.
You know I’ll be voting against it next fall.
It’s not all doom and gloom…at least not for you.
When you see a story about a car chase ending up in the river, you kinda have to click on those.
As always, I recommend the TV news sites for these. They’re free, unlike our daily newspapers. Still, I rarely use up my 10 free articles a month anymore…mainly because the newspapers have so few stories I’m interested in.
Here in Missoula I know the Missoula Current will have whatever the Missoulian has anyways, and usually more of it. Sounds like Great Falls will have similar soon.
A story that many will skip over is the economic forum in Helena, led by $95,000-a-year range economist, Patrick Barkey of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.
According to Barkey, we’re in a period where “wage and salary folks are doing better than business owners.”
Farmers and ranchers are also being hit hard. We know that 11% of the country has drought right now, with 50% of spring wheat affected and 15% of corn and soy.
I don’t think it’s gonna get any better in August.
Here in Montana it means our state income tax revenue has been hit hard.
The Montana Infrastructure Coalition was there as well, once again pushing their local option sales tax idea to generate that much-needed revenue.
Ahem…excuse me while I go smoke a bowl of my non-taxed, black market marijuana. Yeah, I could talk-up the $150 million in legal marijuana tax revenue that a state 790 miles to the south of us brought in last year, but who gives a shit?
The GOP-controlled legislature? Hell, even most of the Montana Democrats in that august body don’t support this awesome revenue-generating tool.
In a way, they’re as puritanically hung-up as the religious right is.
I see that Bullock is increasing the size of state government, even while bread-and-butter departments are seeing multi-million cuts to their critical services.
As an example, I see that Opportunity Resources here in Missoula is facing 3.47% cut to their budget, as OPI is cutting that due to their own cuts.
That comes out to $400,000.
Opportunity Resources is a nonprofit that’s been around since 1955, has 350 people on staff in town here, and works with 1,500 clients.
Already the organization is paying seriously low wages, and they know that. “With the wages we’re paying, some of our staff already have two or three other jobs to make ends meet.”
They pay $10 an hour to the people on the ground, and they decry fast food joints offering $14 an hour.
Personally, I wonder what all the higher-level staff at Opportunity Resources are making in wages or salary (plus benefits).
You know there’ll be no cuts there.
Kinda makes you feel sorry for them.
Administrators could tighten their belt, but instead they choose to cut services and minimize the lowest-level staff.
That’s just business as usual in America these days.
While we’re on the subject of greed, let’s get to Missoula’s jail problem.
Seems a large stumbling block is the lack of funding for a jail diversion program. Ironically, the funding that’s been voted on would have gone to increase the salaries and benefits packages of court employees.
One of those employees saw their pay jump from $110,000 in 2014 to $120,000 in 2015.
Personally, I call that corruption. A big reason I call it that is private businesses aren’t giving their employees such raises, just organizations that get their money from the taxpayer’s pocket.
We also see that my opponent in Ward 4, Jon Wilkins, had a big hissy fit over this issue and staged a walkout when people questioned the conflict of interest that arises for him with his wife running Missoula Correctional Services and him voting on their budget.
Business as usual in city government.
Finally, I’d like to mention that about all I think Bullock is gonna get out of his national aspirations is a cabinet-level position, and that’s if a Dem wins in 2020.
I highly doubt that’ll happen. Last I heard it was Pocohontus that’d be a top pick for the Democrat elite that control things and tell us what to think and do.
Personally, I’d love to see her run.
I know it’d be damn entertaining, it’d waste a lot of money, and when it’s all said and done, Trump would have his second term and Dems would be at each other’s throats even more than they are now.
Ah…you’d have to love it if you didn’t hate it so much.