It’s hard to imagine that I’ve run this blog since July of 2005, but here we are, at the tenth anniversary of the blog. In ten years, with more site makeovers than I care to remember, one semi-serious retirement, and a few dead spells, we’ve thrown up just over 3,000 posts. In that time, we’ve annoyed our share of politicians and community leaders, offered the occasional dash of snark, periodically poked the mainstream media in Montana, and received one or two death threats. Gun posts: never a good idea.
While there have been many great contributors at the site over its decade-long run and I’m sure I’ve missed some posts, I thought I’d try to go back and take a look at some of the most memorable, entertaining, and even occasionally well-written posts I’ve thrown up in the past decade.[Somewhat surprisingly, Neil Livingstone, James Knox, Derek Skees, Art Wittich, John Bohlinger,and the magical bills from the 2011 Legislative session didn’t managed to make the cut.]
I’ve always enjoyed the spectacle of members of the Republican Party, many of whom imagine themselves to be the reincarnated John Wayne, flopping and crying every time they get stung in a political fight. I even like soccer a great deal more now than I did in 2008, too.
I’d probably rather have you read my angrier critique of the Lee Newspapers decision to not retain Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, but, for impact, it’s hard to match this piece which mocked the future of print journalism in Montana’s largest cities, only to be plagiarized by the paper I was mocking. Without a doubt, the saddest part of blogging has been watching the political coverage in the Lee papers and others wither away to nothing over the past ten years.
While Gary Marbut and his gun fantasies have been the subject of many posts here, one of the best came back in 2008, when I made the most sensible observation about Marbut, that he should just be ignored: “the ubiquitous coverage that Marbut receives gives the mistaken impression that he speaks for many Montanans. It turns out that he seems to really only speak for a few Washington lobbyists and members of the media. They might be easy to look up in the Rolodex when writing a story about gun rights, but Montana journalists would be much better served ignoring this unimportant partisan hack in the future.”
Shortly after we started the blog, the race to unseat Senator Conrad Burns took off in earnest, and this blog was one of a group of blogs, some since long gone, that enthusiastically supported the farmer from Big Sandy. While a great deal of blogging is necessarily critical, even cynical, I still look back fondly on our early, enthusiastic support of Senator Tester.
While I have written a great deal about my feelings about the Montana Meth Project, this relatively early post from 2009 was one of the first (and only) pieces to explore just how the Meth Project was spending taxpayer money.
This post was certainly a hit with my friends at the 4and20blackbirds blog. In it, I tried to explain how a person who is more liberal than the Democratic Party tends to be would choose to still work within the party and support it. I’m not sure I convinced anyone, but it certainly helped me understand where I’ve gone.
There were various incarnations of this post before 2015, but this one captures the reasons why Montana should not embrace the charter movement best. Despite excellent results from our public schools, Montana Republicans seem hellbent on bringing these unconstitutional engines of racial and economic segregation to Montana.
I haven’t written enough about education over the years, but one of my real passions is preserving academic freedom for teachers, and this piece explored the impact of policies designed to mandate “common” instruction: “To reduce that individualized instruction, that human connection, those occasionally transcendent heights, all for the sake of mandated conformity will be a tragedy for people who have committed their lives to being educators, and, far worse, even more tragic for the students who will lose so much.”
Among the reasons I may never give up this blog is my quixotic belief that if I write often enough about how Ryan Zinke not only outed Navy SEAL Team Six following the bin Laden raid, but then had the unmitigated gall to condemn others for it, that someone might just cover it.
While there were dozens of posts about the Senator for the Saginaw Chippewas, Conrad Burns, where would this site have been without the subdivision-ranching, Kazakh-insulting, Tune Inn-sleeping, firefighter-suing, Popeye’s Chicken-slinging, Pell-Grant hating, racist invective-spewing, lobbyist-loving Congressman from Billings,Dennis Rehberg?
While my horrible Photoshop/iMovie skills have occasionally been on display, these are some of my favorite quality works: