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An alert reader sent me this link to the Guardian.

It’s a depressing read titled “Financial despair, addiction and the rise of suicide in white America” and it focuses on Butte.  The story notes Montana’s first place finish for suicides in the U.S.

There isn’t a definitive answer in the article as to why this is happening.  There is a long list including: socio-economic factors, easy access to guns, drug and alcohol abuse, isolation and health care issues.

My takeaway is the future looks bleak for these folks.  There’s no job security.  Wages aren’t keeping up with costs.  Health care is a major drain.  A comfortable retirement is fantasy.

We’re one of the richest nations in the world (richer countries like Qatar, Luxembourg, and Brunei don’t really factor into this equation).  This is a pitiful comment on the American dream.

Pay no attention to the U.S. Supreme Court.  That’s my advice to Gov. Bullocks’ Clean Power Plan advisory group.  Formed to address the EPA’s requirement to cut Montana’s carbon emissions by 47 percent before 2030, Bullock scrapped the panel in the wake of yesterday’s SCOTUS ruling.  The Supremes voted 5-4 to halt the EPA plan. You can probably guess at the breakdown of that vote.

This is not a done deal.  After being heard in lower courts, this suit will end up back in the Supreme Court’s lap.  And although I’ve seen greener, more forward-thinking groups in my day, the advisory panel is a starting point.  It’s time for some sort of plan and then we can move on to serious negotiations.  Climate change isn’t going away.

A special shout out to Montana Attorney General Tim Fox for joining 26 other states in the suit.  May his favorite fishing hole dry up.

I bumped into Ed Kemmick on Montana Ave. while in the Magic City.  A former Billings Gazette reporter, editor and columnist, Ed now runs the online newspaper Last Best News. He’s been at it for awhile but reminded me that David Crisp, also a former Gazette reporter and editor, has joined Ed’s enterprise. This also is not breaking news but it’s formidable team cranking out some great stuff lately.

David recently folded his well-respected weekly, the Billings Outpost. When he’s not teaching German, he’s writing excellent posts.  His piece on Greg Gianforte’s mission to replace foreign language with computer science in our schools is a good example.

And both Ed and David have written about the reporting of news, or lack thereof, here and here.

As more seasoned journalists leave the corporate dailies, and struggling weeklies, and put their skills online, they’ll become our sources for real news in the not too distant future.  A story Ed just broke that has yet to appear in the Gazette has to do with some potentially hinkey stuff going on at the Red Lodge Police Department.

Another site is John Adams’ Lowdown, although he hasn’t posted anything in 2016.  Where you at, John? Montana Free Press.

If there are other sites I should be acknowledging, please let me know.

 

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About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

9 Comments

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  • There’s Big Sky Words and Reptile Dysfunction…but I think the idea was not to mention those, right?

    How about Logicosity? Is that already on the banned list?

    I probably shouldn’t mention Piece of Mind, either. I don’t care for it much myself, but it does produce regular posts.

    Many times I’m baffled that Montana blogs think having dead sites on their sidebar is somehow a sign of quality or class. Wouldn’t it be better to have modern, up to date sites that produce content on a daily or weekly basis?

    But then I remember we only want certain viewpoints, not all.

    • Wrong, We want intelligent, thoughtful viewpoints. Paranoid rants and poor writing skills from someone without insight or accomplishment doesn’t cut it, Greg.

    • The worst bloggers (and commenters) are those who arrogantly assume they know what happens in the minds of others. You’re not much different than Tokarski in that respect, Greg.

    • Thanks for the reminder, Greg. I’ll be sure to take a look at my list of blogs. My criteria for being listed is pretty simple: interesting and original content about Montana and the region. While I’ve checked out Logicosity, they don’t promote much, and I have just forgotten about them.

      The others? Not banned. Just not interesting.

    • I asked if I had missed any online news sites, Greg, not blogs — two different animals. And the only people who really care about the sidebar blog lists are other bloggers. I’m just a contributor here and I suppose the blog list could use an update but that’s probably not a priority.

      As to your comment, “But then I remember we only want certain viewpoints, not all” … I don’t think it’s as much about viewpoint as content.

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