That’s what I told you at the beginning of the month – December will be slow.
The election is over, holidays are upon us, and not a whole lot is happening.
That’s not to say that nothing is happening.
In this post we’ll discuss some of those happenings.
To make it more interesting, we’ll sprinkle in some quotes from Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, a diary-like book of thoughts the Roman Emperor wrote in the year 168.
“Do not waste the remaining part of your life in thoughts about other people, when you are not thinking with reference to some aspect of the common good. Why deprive yourself of the time for some other task? I mean, thinking about what so-and-so is doing, and why, what he is saying or contemplating or plotting, and all that line of thought, makes you stray from the close watch on your own directing mind.” (III, 4)
I see that the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are in a ruckus over mussels.
Quagga and zebra mussels are decimating Montana’s waterways and I don’t see that changing.
You might remember way back on January 1 that I said we needed a better watercraft inspection bill in the 2017 legislature.
I’m sure we’ll see one, but it’s probably too late.
- What are ya gonna do?
- How are you going to stop the spread of these mussels?
- Who’s going to pay for it?
Because honestly, I feel anything the state does will just be half-assed, mainly due to funding.
The money’s not there to do inspections all over the state. We certainly don’t have the money to get rid of the mussels we have now.
So I see this as something we’ll just have to live with.
“Consider, for example, the time of Vespasian. You will see everything the same. People marrying, having children, falling ill, dying, fighting, feasting, trading, farming, flattering, pushing, suspecting, plotting, praying for the death of others, grumbling at their lot, falling in love, storing up wealth, longing for consulships and kingships. And now that life of theirs is gone, vanished.” (IV, 32)
Something that state agencies will have to live with is Bullock slashing their budgets by 5%.
Well, Bullock is making them do that – he’s just giving the order. Easier to keep your hands 'clean' that way.
At the same time he insists on this magical number of $300 million as a state surplus.
Why not $290 million?
What’s so special about that $300 million, the same number we saw in the 2015 session?
I think it’s a damn shame he’s acting like this, especially when he needs to raise taxes by $123 million to have that magic number.
In that regard, we should shoot for a surplus of $177 million, don’t you think?
That way taxes won’t have to go up.
And honestly, if $177 million in the bank isn’t enough then I feel we have serious problems.
That’s a lot of money. Sure, maybe not to a Steptoe & Johnson lawyer like Bullock is, but for you and I, that’s a lot.
But tell that to the bubble in Helena, or at least try.
I think it’s clear they don’t give a damn what you think, and why should they?
Elections are over, and with them all accountability for the next 4 years.
“Most of what we say and do is unnecessary: remove the superfluity, and you will have more time and less bother. So in every case one should prompt oneself: ‘Is this, or is it not, something necessary?’ And the removal of the unnecessary should apply not only to actions but to thoughts also: then no redundant actions either will follow.” (IV, 24)
Why does it take so long to figure out why someone died?
You’ve probably heard the story about the woman in Helena that was found outside her home, frozen.
They did an autopsy on Monday – 5 days after they found her – but are now waiting on toxicology reports.
- Well, why does that take so long?
- Why can’t we do a toxicology test and get that data back within the hour?
- Where are these toxicology tests being done?
- Maybe they have to be sent out, and if so, why?
- Why can’t we do that here...and does anyone really care?
“Think constantly how many doctors have died, after knitting their brows over their own patients; how many astrologers, after predicting the deaths of others, as if death were something important; how many philosophers, after endless deliberation on death or immortality; how many heroes, after the many others they killed; how many tyrants, after using their power over men’s lives with monstrous insolence, as if they themselves were immortal. Think too how many whole cities have ‘died’ – Helice, Pompeii, Herculaneum, innumerable others. Go over now all those you have known yourself, one after the other: one man follows a friend’s funeral and is then laid out himself, then another follows him – and all in a brief space of time. The conclusion of this? You should always look on human life as short and cheap. Yesterday sperm: tomorrow a mummy or ashes.” (IV, 48)
By now you’ve probably also heard about the continued problems with the state crime lab.
They can’t keep a high-ranking employee on staff for very long.
Why is that?
I can’t help but think the two issues are related, but maybe they’re not.
Either way, shouldn’t we figure this out?
But those aren’t really big priorities in Montana, at least not like taxing you more so that your money can sit in the bank in Helena.
That’s a priority. Fixing the state’s problems is not.
“Be like the rocky headland on which the waves constantly break. It stands firm, and round it the seething waters are laid to rest
‘It is my bad luck that this has happened to me.’ No, you should rather say: ‘It is my good luck that, although this has happened to me, I can bear it without pain, neither crushed by the present nor fearful of the future.’ Because such a thing could have happened to any man, but not every man could have borne it without pain.” (IV 49)
Well golly, I guess I had more to say than I thought.
I guess there’s more going on than I thought.
If you want to look for problems, you’ll always find them.
That’s what I try to do on this site – identify problems, talk about them, perhaps offering a solution or two, but most of all, just informing you.
I’m sure you’ve heard most of it before, but on this site you get a new perspective.
Not everyone likes it, and that’s fine.
“Harm to you cannot subsist in another’s directing mind, not indeed in any turn or change of circumstance. Where, then? In that part of you which judges harm. So no judgement and all is well.” (IV, 39)
And let me leave you with one final thought from the 16th emperor of Rome.
“Say to yourself first thing in the morning: Today I shall meet people who are meddling, ungrateful, aggressive, treacherous, malicious, unsocial. All this has afflicted them through their ignorance of true good and evil. But I have seen that the nature of good is what is right, and the nature of evil what is wrong; and I have reflected that the nature of the offender himself is akin to my own – not a kinship of blood or seed, but a sharing in the same mind, the same fragment of divinity. Therefore I cannot be harmed by any of them, as none will infect me with their wrong.” (II, 1)