Monday sundries: Zinke, Quist and the Gianforte/Trump Jr. safari

Worst op-ed ever?

A guest column by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, along with his buddies Scott Pruitt (EPA chief) and Rick Perry (Dancing with the Stars), has to be in the top ten worst ever. They’ve decided that last Saturday’s Earth Day would be better named Energy Day.

They write about “sound science to keep our environment and economy healthy and strong.” If their science is so sound, why did tens of thousands take to the streets for Saturday’s worldwide March for Science?

That’s just the start. Damn near every line in their opinion piece is a whopper. It’s in the Billings Gazette so please take a look, but here’s a sampling:

“Superfund sites shouldn’t languish on a list for decades without cleanup.” So the Trump budget targets the Environmental Protection Agency, which is in charge of Superfund sites, slashing it’s funding by 31 percent.

“Other countries may continue to lag behind in responsibly deploying energy resources in a way that minimizes negative impact to the environment, but America is already leading the way.” Huh? Besides being one of the most convoluted sentences ever conceived, keep in mind that Trump, Zinke, Pruitt and Perry want to pull America out of the Paris Agreement, and that the U.S. ranks behind such countries as Uruguay, Nicaragua, Morocco and China in renewable energy development.

“By investing in technology that reduces emissions without destroying jobs and industry, and executing strong reclamation plants after resources have been extracted, America can continue to provide leadership in responsible energy use.” Has anyone seen the bills or budget line items that invest in “technology that reduces emissions?” Or how about the “strong reclamation plants?” Perhaps they meant “plans.” Can you show me those plans or plants or whatever?

That’s just a taste.

Quist commercials

There’s some controversy over the latest Rob Quist ad showing him shooting a TV with the old family 30-30 rifle. It’s in response to the constantly running Greg Gianforte spots telling folks that Quist wants to confiscate your guns, ads purchased with help from the NRA.

Most Democrats are singing the praises of the Quist commercial. Two websites take a different point of view: Flathead Memo and Last Best News. The Memo’s James Conner says he’s about to pull his support for Quist following the spot. (Don’t do it, James. I’m sure it was the Quist “consultants'” idea and not Rob’s, and being a political neophyte, he took their advice.)

The News’ Ed Kemmick sums it up this way:

Quist’s ad won’t stop the attacks on his stance toward guns … Montana Democrats, resist the temptation. It’s an arms race you can’t win.

I’m sure Quist’s commercial plays well with some demographic but I prefer his earlier ones: simple, mellow “get to know me” spots, as opposed to the nasty, negative ads Gianforte is running. Conventional wisdom says it’s the negative ads that work but let’s prove the conventional wisdom wrong.

My favorite Quist message to date comes from Paradise Valley resident Doug Peacock. He nails it.

Fishing not shooting

Maybe Gianforte’s PR people suggested that a fly fishing photo might be more appealing than a picture of pregnant prairie dogs getting blown to bits. There’s been no mention of Donald Trump Jr. and Gianforte’s prairie dog safari since the initial stories. This photo appeared on Gianforte’s Facebook page with him, Junior and Sen. Steve Daines, stalking the wily trout. Well, they’re not exactly fishing but looking good in their brand new Simms waders.



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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.


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  • Is it just me? Doesn’t look like fishing Water! But if was I sure would not wear chest waders. In Montana we do fotos after fishing. Oh, but of course, they were only phishing for dudes w dollars.
    All I see are dry waders, three stooges and a stogie.
    In my view, shooting TV ad w single slug a proper rejoinder to his opponent firing a shotgun at a computer monitor. Maybe someone will photo shop a split screen view!

  • Growing up in Montana, and I suppose in many other states kids were taught to shoot at a fairly young age. A large percentage of these kids were probably taught by their dad using a Winchester model 60 or 67 single shot .22 caliber rifle. In my family this goes back to a Model 1902, similar design just an earlier version that John Browning designed. My great grandfather bought it around 1904 and since then just about every decedent of his has learned to shoot with it, both boys and girls. We were taught to stand and shoot free hand at Campbell’s soup cans lined up on a fence rail, first at 10 yards and when we got better we would work our way out to 30 or 40. So since both campaigns are now featuring ads where they shoot TV’s or Computer screens, I propose that we settle this by having a shoot off at soup cans. We line ten up for each of them and they shoot free hand at 20 yards to start and keep moving them out till you have a winner. The catch is that they both use the same old Winchester single shot .22 that has been properly sighted in. It is my hunch that Gianforte would have a problem with the old iron sights, as I have a feeling he has only shot with a scope. This little show would be both entertaining and would clearly show which candidate should get the gun vote.

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