Here are a few cool links for reflecting on gratitude:
how gratitude works
simple abundance journal
interactive gratitude ecard
Plus, send a Thanksgiving message to our troops
and, for a little inspiration, RushLimbaugh.com posted these videos, produced by Sergeant Clay, an Afghanistan Vet: The Ones :: Wings of Freedom
Little Belt tug of war
locals mobilize to battle use limits in Little Belt mountains
Hooray for the folks getting the word out! The showdown is overdue, but, for once, locals need to get their two cents in.
In a departure from typical Trib reporting (Sonja Lee rocks!), the article reported that the groups resisting motorized use limits are encouraging people to write their own comments, and noted:
Historically, groups such as the Montana Wilderness Association and Wilderness Society, have generated thousands of form letters from their members. A proposed travel plan for the Rocky Mountain Front, for example, brought in about 37,000 comments, and nearly 34,000 were form letters opposing motorized use.
And how many of those form letters were solicited by the Montana Wilderness Association, Sierra Club, or any of the various & sundry environmentalist meddlers? It's time that Montanans started fighting for control of our land, and this is a right fine place to start.
Thanks to Great Falls Trail Bike Riders Association, Montana Pilots Association, Russell Country Sportsmen, who have rallied their members, and all the motorcycle shops who have comment information available, including Steve's Sports Center.
Submit comments by email: email@example.com
with subject line of Little Belt-Castle-Crazy Mountains Travel plan
More info on the plan is here
Fighting the Public scourge
NWE rates to fall in December
Apparently, the GF Tribune didn't think this news worth mentioning in today's paper.
A few salient points from the Gazette article:
Electric rates will be dropping about 5.5 percent, reflecting lower market prices.
NorthWestern adjusts its gas and electric prices each month, depending on fluctuations in the market. The utility, which serves 310,000 electric customers and 160,000 natural gas customers in Montana, doesn't produce its own gas or electricity and must buy on the market what it supplies to customers.
Call me cynical, but I doubt Montana Public Power would resond to market forces in this way--especially if they ever succeed in getting legislation approved that would exempt them from PSC oversight.
The other BIG news today is that NorthWestern is seeking a merger with South Dakota-based Black Hills Corp. This did make it into the Trib, though the dead-tree edition featured a typical Tribune snafu: the front-page article was continued to "see UTILITY, 5A," but was nowhere to be found on that page--or any other, for that matter.
The online article is complete, at least for Trib coverage. But, for more facts about Black Hills Corp and the merger, check out the Gazette article.
Full disclosure: I have no stock in NorthWestern or Black Hills. I pay little in taxes to this state, since I'm underemployed. But I trust the market before any elitist politician or bureaucrat.
I'm amazed how so many in this state can put so much faith in the blighters. Is it selfishness? Is it greed? Is it incurable economic ignorance?
Politics of Personal Destruction
Democrats to start anti-Burns ads today
Based on petty allegations and selective facts, this ad could be the silliest attack yet. I choose to believe Montanans aren't that dumb.
But had to LOL at this:
"Senator Burns is living in some kind of 'Leave it to Beaver' fantasy world if he think[sic] one income pays the bills for most Montanans," said Jim Farrell, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. "In reality, hundreds of thousands of Montanans work two or even three jobs in order to make ends meet."
This begs the question: Now who might be responsible for Montanans struggling to make ends meet, hmm? Perhaps the Democrat/bureaucrat/envirocrat cabal that has reigned in Montana for lo, these 30 years?
Methinks this ad could backfire badly...shhhh...don't tell the Democrats.
Note: Western Word also had some revealing information on the Dems accusations
Heinous, just heinous
The AP article was hilarious and revealing--of the AP bias against the war, and of just how against the wall the Dems really are. They went into puerile hysterics over losing control of the issue:
At one point in the emotional debate, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, told of a phone call she received from a Marine colonel.
"He asked me to send Congress a message - stay the course. He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message - that cowards cut and run, Marines never do," Schmidt said. Murtha is a 37-year Marine veteran and ranking Democrat on the defense appropriations subcommittee. Democrats booed and shouted her down - causing the House to come to a standstill.
Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn., charged across the chamber's center aisle screaming that Republicans were making uncalled-for personal attacks. "You guys are pathetic! Pathetic!" yelled Rep. Marty Meehan, D-Mass.
Democrats gave Murtha a standing ovation as he entered the chamber and took his customary corner seat.
Great comments & analysis concerning this among the bloggers, especially at Power Line, LittleGreenFootballs, & Hugh Hewitt.
It's interesting that the AP article online has been revised from the original (printed in the Saturday GF Tribune). The opening paragraphs have been re-written, and Murtha's most inflammatory comment ("Our troops have become the enemy") removed. Also, I was disappointed to see my favorite quote has disappeared:
"It's just heinous," Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif., said of the Republican move.
What I consider heinous is that Murtha, Marine veteran, came out with his cut & run speech just one week after the Marines celebrated their 230th anniversary. Plus, this is just one week before Thanksgiving, a tough time for our troops when they are so far away (fighting for a just cause while ingrates like John Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, Harold Ford, etc dedicate themselves to outrageous political maneuvering and obssessive hatred of President Bush).
Perhaps what the Dems consider most heinous is that the Republicans pushed back, forced the Dems to go on record either for or against finishing the job. The tantrums on the floor yesterday were because the GOP changed the rules. How dare they challenge the Dems' propaganda? How dare they point out that Americans don't want another Vietnam?
I sure hope the backbone displayed on Friday stays intact.
When blighters attack...
I'm thrilled to see President Bush & VP Cheney finally fighting back. Even more fun has been listening to conservative talk radio hosts taking so many calls of the terminally confused. There's the hint of desperation behind the calls...folks clinging to their fantastic delusions, determined to regain control of the message...yet many also seem to be grappling with logic, trying to reconcile the truth.
Here are the Dems, in their own words about Iraq & Hussein. Sure makes them look now like either traitorous hypocrites or moronic partisans. Their behavior is either pathological self-interest, or they have a deep, abiding hatred for the US military & Americans that may even surpass the French. I mean, what else can a reasonable person think, listening to Murtha, Clinton, Rockefeller, & Reid (not to mention 4 years of blather from Kennedy, Kucinich, etc)?
I think, every time I hear one of these nutcases on the news, I'm gonna fire off a message to our troops. It's a small gesture, but all I can do right now.
And another thing...
Mr Whitso sought to comment on the Public Power issue on Tuesday night by reading from the Leaderless. Angry Randy cut him off, declaring that "unattributed" writings could not be entered into the record. Mr Whitso shot back that everyone knew that Robert Haffner was the author. Randy was having none of that; Mr Whitso left without any further comment.
KUDOS! to Mary Lois Jolley. She's spent over a month researching the Public Power scheme, reviewing minutes of other cities' meetings, and verifying the claims in Montana Public Power presentations. Her efforts resulted in changes in the language of the amended agreement.
MPPI touts the fact that 20 cities have converted to public utilities since 1998; they fail to note that another 150 cities considered & rejected the idea in that same timeframe.
MPPI told cities that one of the public power buyouts was "only" $2.5 billion; Mary's research found that that buyout was actually $7.3 billion.
The Missoula council vote was 6-6, with Mayor Kadas breaking the tie. It appears Helena commissioners voted 2-1.
Before you sow the seeds of justice & peace
you have to pull the weeds.
Don't get stuck on stupid.
The man who would be king (of Public Power)
Never heard of Kadas? Why, he's that wacky Missoula mayor who leads the charge for Montana Public Power--and recently broke the 6-6 tie in the Missoula's council vote for tossing another $100K in MPPI's pot.
Kadas defends his MPPI vote
"Missoula Mayor Mike Kadas didn't violate a law when he broke the City Council's tie vote on giving $100,000 more to Montana Public Power Inc.'s effort to buy NorthWestern Energy two weeks ago.But residents have raised ethical questions since the vote, Councilman Jerry Ballas said Monday night, and a look at the conflict of interest is justified, he said."
He's a wise one, ya know. Four out of five mayors (plus one supervisor) agree. Last week, he weighed in on Great Falls' elections...
Kadas not concerned about mayor change in Great Falls
"Missoula Mayor Mike Kadas - leader of the MPPI effort - doesn't see the change in Great Falls as a problem. 'We have a responsibility to sit down and explain the whole project to her (Stebbins) and then she'll make a decision based on that,' Kadas said Friday. 'Of the (Great Falls) council there's still a strong majority that supports it even if the mayor were opposed to it.'"
My two cents on public power
The most critical, obvious point against Great Falls’ involvement in Montana Public Power is that running a power utility is not a function of city government. The Mayor, Commissioners, and City staff, not to mention local media, fail to even acknowledge this. I know proponents of MPPI believe this is a great idea, but when I think of government-controlled utilities, I think of Chernobyl.
According to the Great Falls Tribune, public control of power “might result in lower power rates eventually.” I don’t believe I could walk into a bank and say, “Give me $100,000 and I might start a business that will benefit thousands eventually.”
The taxpayers of Great Falls have already funded Montana Public Power to the tune of $100,000, but we have yet to see a business plan or even an organizational chart that explains what we are funding. We’ve heard a lot of promises and bland assurances, but very few specifics.
No one seems able to explain who will supply the wholesale gas and electricity to MPPI. Talk of retaining current employees appears to be a whisper on the wind. Shouldn’t the folks expected to pony up the $2 billion be able to vote on this grand scheme? And who, exactly, would oversee this huge new bureaucracy?
The City’s support of recent state legislation that would have eliminated competition and exempted municipal public utilities from Public Service Commission oversight is also a huge red flag. The assumption that what’s good for the city is good for the citizens is plain foolish. It simply makes no sense to replace private sector jobs with a new bureaucracy, unaccountable to both investors (ie. taxpayers) and ratepayers.
The state is also concerned that officials have seen no guarantees that MPPI will pay the same corporate or property taxes currently paid by NorthWestern. This is a valid concern to all taxpayers. The temptation for MPPI to convert to a tax-exempt municipal corporation will be irresistible, especially when the losses start piling up.
I ask the City to show some respect for the taxpayers and vote no on additional funding of Montana Public Power.
Note: Angry Randy responded indignantly that power utilities certainly are the function of city government. I suspect this is why he's been un-elected.
Note2: Commissioner Heinz did ask Missoula's Mayor Kadas to describe the planned governance of MPPI if this sale goes through. Apparently, MPPI hasn't really thought that far ahead; he threw out possibilities--like a board appointed by the governor (yep, get the Kaiser involved); or an elected board (another layer of politicians) to represent districts (no doubt drawn by those eminently fair Democrats) in affected municipalities ("Browning's part of Missoula, right?"). Ah, nothing warms a progressive's heart more than the prospect of new, exciting layers of bureaucracy and innovative ways to increase power while ignoring the people.
I thank RJ for the inspiration; finally, I am motorvatin' on my own blog, getting some thoughts down. Way overdue.
(I apologize if you stumble upon this & find my posts a bit erratic or ranting. Will take a bit for me to get in the habit, polish my stuff. Please bear with me...I may eventually make some good points)
But the one thing I noted in the article in the Trib was the indignation about the anonymity…curious that; facts are no less factual just because the source is anonymous. Got me to pondering why facts may be dismissed if the author is unknown.
1) Of course, we now live in a society so rejecting of objective fact that the source is essential before any thought can be given to the veracity of facts, ie. if Michael Moore or Dan Rather is reporting, then the "facts" are dubious, and may be mere figments of overactive (paranoid?) imaginations.
Put another way, think about the stink about Iraq right now (Bush lied to get us into war, etc, etc, ad nauseum). Yet the very same folks (both local and national) shrieking about Bush's lies accepted the same information without question from Clinton. And Gore. And Pelosi. And Kerry. And Kennedy. And every other "authority" with a D or L after his/her name.
2) Blighter Maxim #4: When unable to refute facts, attack the messenger. Those defensive about the truth need a target for their wrath. This has been the leftist/liberal MO since McCarthy--or maybe even earlier. This simple strategy just requires high-octane emotion and accusations of hypocrisy/conspiracy/malevolence to effectively distract attention from consideration of the facts.
As a bonus, the messenger wastes an awful lot of energy defending himself and battling these nutjobs; the result is the truth winds up dismissed, or even completely lost. And the messenger is hesitant to take on the insanity again.