That’s to be expected.
Besides the legislature – which started on Monday – most people were just getting back to work after the holiday.
I guess when I say most people I mean those with kids.
Yeah, school started again yesterday. I was very grateful that I managed to get up early and get my son off to school.
It’s tough that first day back, and I’m sure many around the state were feeling it.
Oh well; the kids were ready for bed earlier last night, and that offered some respite.
I hope this post offers you some respite from your otherwise boring day.
We’ll discuss state records a bit, talk about the special election, get into what’s in the infrastructure bill, discuss why Montana reporters are colluding with Democrats to release false numbers, and finally we’ll mention an old alcoholic that ran a university.
James Conner had a post up the other day saying that some “Democratic leaders are starting to look like fools on the issue of retaining emails and other official documents.”
It gets back to a report that IR reporter Jayme Fraser did on Monday on the fact that “not a single email is stored in state archives” even though “state law requires emails of importance to be preserved.”
It’s just not a high priority, and that led Conner to wonder what Dems are trying to hide from the public.
I’m a big fan of record retention, and allowing easy access to them.
I feel we need to get all our old PDFs and other files into text format that you can read on a website.
That way Google can index it all and it’s easy to search.
Heck, have a state website/search engine that allows me to type in a name or date or expense record and have everything with that come up.
It means more openness and transparency in government, and since taxpayers paid for the creation of all those records in the first place, it’s a good idea.
I know the state has time. The Secretary of State’s office has already updated their website, after all.
Special Election Talk
What in the hell is going on with Hillary staffers taking over the Democratic National Committee?
I saw the story last night and then James Conner had something up today on it.
“…political suicide, the only thing Democrats still do well,” Conner wrote of the decision to have the DNC war room staffed with “Democratic establishment operatives who helped Hillary lose the election.”
I think it’s pretty clear looking at the Montana Democratic Party that Dems haven’t learned a damn thing since November.
It’ll be amusing watching them muddle about in the coming months.
I fully expect them to lose the upcoming special election for Zinke’s seat.
Hell, Nancy Keenan is still calling the shots for the Party!
We know how well her ideas ‘work.’ Logicosity had a good post ripping apart her silly fundraising request.
Why anyone would donate to the Montana Democratic Party while she’s in charge is beyond me – just pissing money away.
Currently I’m most interested in supporting Casey Schriener for Zinke’s seat.
He’s a legislator from Great Falls, and I know absolutely nothing about him.
I do know that he’s never lost a statewide race before, like Amanda Curtis has.
If Curtis couldn’t do it in 2014, how’s she going to do it in 2017?
Until someone can give me an answer to that question, I see no reason to get excited about Curtis.
Pete Talbot over at Intelligent Discontent thinks that a network of staff and support will help with that.
Sadly, because Brian Schweitzer hasn’t made his intentions clear yet, many candidates are unsure if they should start the money-raising game yet.
Well…why wait on Schweitzer?
Montana Democrats need to get over this hangup that Brian Schweitzer is the only thing that can save them.
It’s actually got very little to do with Schweitzer at all – it’s his ideas, his message, his tone, and his penchant for not giving a damn.
That’s what people like, and any circus trainer can make a candidate jump through those hoops.
That’s why I like the idea of giving someone else a chance.
And really, if you haven’t said anything by January 20th, then to hell with you – those that have declared their interest will get my support and anyone after that date can rely on the state press for their publicity.
What’s the Infrastructure Bill?
Don’t ask me where they got that number, and please don’t ask what the bill number is.
I’ve been asking for about 12 hours now and no one will tell me.
- I think it’s shoddy journalism.
- I think reporters just made that number up.
We have the statehouse reporters just going with what the Dems tell them, which is this $293 million number.
Nowhere was I able to find a bill with that amount…yet.
I looked through every bill that Jim Keane has signed-off on and there’s nothing about this $293 million.
So our state newspapers are actually lying to us right now.
No one is calling them out on this.
That’s sad – the corporate collar is back in full-swing for another Montana legislative session.
So what do we know?
- HB 2 is the 39-page General Appropriations bill and it has $4.93 billion in state spending in it right now.
- HB 5 is Long Range Building Appropriations bill, and it has tens of millions of dollars earmarked for various agency projects, many of which have been approved and just need to be signed-off on.
- HB 11 is the Treasure State Endowment Program, which will give $1 million to local governments via the Department of Commerce.
- HB 14 is the Jobs in Montana Program, which gives $50 million in grants to local governments for infrastructure.
All of those bills are being carried by Jim Keane, the man that all the newspapers said had signed the fiscal note for this new infrastructure bill.
Well…what is the note…what is the bill?
I want to know that so I can look the bill up and begin going through it with a fine-toothed comb.
Perhaps that’s why the press is shy about giving us that information – they don’t want us ripping it apart.
Or it could just be shoddy journalism, which is what I call it when you leave critical information out of a report.
To our reporters, however, maybe that’s not critical.
To their way of thinking, it’s not the public’s job to go and look up bills and read them, it’s their job.
If you had more people like me doing that, what would we need those reporters for anyways?
That’s kind of been the trend for the past decade, however – go to places online to get your news so you don’t have to pay shoddy reporters for it.
What’s In the Infrastructure Bill?
- The university Student Assistance Program will be getting a paltry $9.6 million in 2018.
- The Department of Transportation Construction Program will be getting $318 million for 2018 and $377 million for 2019.
- The Commissioner of Political Practices Office is getting $771,000 for 2018.
- Overall, HB 2 has about $4.9 billion in spending, with $2.1 billion coming to us free from the feds and the other $2.03 billion coming from the state’s general fund.
So I’m sorry that I can’t give you more on what’s in the main infrastructure bill.
I blame reporters for that, and I blame Democrats.
Both should have been putting this information out there.
The fact that they didn’t makes me wonder…what don’t they want me to know?
I figure it’s Romney Hall and the Heritage Center – two boondoggles that helped sink infrastructure last time (not the $92 million in infrustructure we actually funded with smaller bills, however).
It could also be the heavy reliance on bonding.
I heard HD 94’s Kim Dudik talking on the radio yesterday about bonding, and how if we do that we can have it all – infrastructure and taxpayer-funded preschool!
That’s true, it just means going into debt when there’s absolutely no reason for us to.
Please, don’t forget that we’re set to raise taxes by $123 million this year…and there is absolutely no reason to.
Well, there’s one reason – Bullock’s bromance.
For years now our governor has had a hard-on for the cool sum of $300 million.
He loves that number, loves the idea of that much of your money sitting in the bank in Helena…or wherever the rich bankers put it.
Please, don’t forget that to have such a high surplus of cash we’d need to take yours, to the tune of $123 million.
Sure, we could have a $177 million surplus without raising taxes…but that’s not the Democratic way.
The Democratic way is to take money from rich people that worked hard – and in many cases simply stole through legal means – so they can shuffle that money around, fund programs, but mostly keep it in the bank.
See, by keeping that money in the bank we can keep our ‘good’ credit rating.
With a ‘good’ credit rating the rich bankers will allow us to borrow more money.
That works really well for rich bankers as they don’t pay interest on their loans, so when we give them more money they have more to lend out at those reduced rates.
The Federal Reserve – a foreign bank that’s never once been audited – ensures it stays this way.
It’s all a big mess, does nothing to benefit you or your family, and I’m glad we have a GOP-controlled legislature to stop this nonsense.
Personally, I’d rather have my money in my pocket and if the state needs more, they can figure out what to do with the money I’ve already given them.
That’s how it’ll turn out this session – Bullock will be forced to accept a smaller surplus, infrastructure will be more cash than bonding, and very few new programs will be started.
Or did Democrats have some kind of leverage that I wasn’t aware of that will allow them to get their way?
No, I didn’t think so.
Yes, George Dennison has died, the longest-serving president of UM.
My, he really drove that place into the ground, huh?
Oh, I guess you could say he boosted donations by $100 million, and that did help with building tons of new buildings, but gosh…so what?
- What difference does it make if you boosted enrollment by around 6,000 students if most of those gains are now wiped out?
- What difference does it make if a year of college back when his presidency started was around $5,000 and today it’s about $15,000?
- What difference does it make if most of our graduates are moving out of state and all we get moving in to replace them are rich transplants?
What difference does it make?
Let’s not forget it was the campus atmosphere that Dennison helped create that directly led to the U’s current problems.
What are those problems?
Dennison was a boozer, big time. I’d call him an alcoholic, actually. I figure he got up really early to run each morning so he could work that booze out of his system.
I always wondered too if he lost most of his teeth due to problems with his alcoholism.
Of course, much like Engen’s alcoholism, the Missoula press didn’t report on Dennison’s either.
I took the opportunity to schedule a meeting with Dennison on December 8, 2006.
I remember the day because it was the last Friday night football game of the season, one where they brought the lights in.
We ended up losing that game, and I think I lost all credibility with Dennison that morning too.
I didn’t talk with him long, just 5 or so minutes. I could tell right away that he didn’t want to meet with some student, especially when he just did so for the Kaimin earlier that week.
One thing I remember is asking him what he’d do when he was done being president (which I hoped would be soon, though it took a few more years).
He said he really wanted to write a book on the early land-grant colleges of Montana. I thought that was interesting, but alas, Dennison never did that.
Here’s a guy with a BA in History from UM, and a MA as well. He even got a doctorate somewhere!
Yet despite all that schooling, the man was only able to write one book in his lifetime, and that on a long-forgotten UM professor.
Well, I guess if that’s what someone as educated as he was wanted to spend his time on, oh well.
To me, however, it points to failure.
Dennison could have given us so much more – books on Montana history, university history, Missoula history, political history, and even manuals for his successors on how to run a university.
He gave us none of that, however.
He did give us the culture of beer and circus, and for that, UM alumni will be forever grateful.
Most students in the state won’t pay much attention to the passing of Dennison.
Many have no idea who he is.
Most of them go to Bozeman now, after all.