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Best of the Montana Blogs, 2018

Barring an unexpected revival, this may be the last year we feature this list at the end of the year as the once-vibrant world of Montana political blogs seems to have undergone a fairly serious contraction this past year. Most of the blogs we featured last year, even the venerable Montana Cowgirl Blog, seem to have either vanished or gone dormant in the past six months. That being said, there are certainly some pieces from this past year that deserve one more look even if the sites that hosted them appear to be heading for the sunset.

Pestering voters is a strategy that can backfire

Democrats need to give this some thought, and to show some more respect for the voters. Increasingly, the party sees elections not as opportunities to persuade voters that the Democratic way is best, but simply as exercises in identifying Democrats and somehow getting them to the polls. That approach lends itself to avoiding issues out of fear of taking a position or making an argument that would cause a voter not to cast a ballot.

MIN Pride Service Homily

As a therapist, I believe that part of my job is to help my patients see their inherent worth and value in the human family. Believing that I am worthy of respect, consideration and compassion and love is not a sinful way of being- it’s in so many of our traditions. All religious traditions have tenets promoting the dignity of every human being. The problem is, they’ve forsaken those traditions for having power. “I’m better than you” is the message of the early Christian missionaries to the Native Americans. “I’m better than you” is the message of too many religious communities to marginalized and misunderstood people. “I’m better than you” falsely inflates the rhetoric that there are a limited number of ways that human beings can glorify their Creator. From Eternity to Here

How the Trump Administration is quietly stripping away environmental protections 

Make no mistake about it — Trump and company have done everything they can to roll back environmental protections that have been established over many decades. This has been done primarily through rulemaking and other administrative procedures, which are generally ignored by cable news but can have a huge impact. Preserve the Beartooth Front

Carhartt, Bloodlines, and Place of Birth: The Recurrent Battle Over Who’s the Most Montanan

In large part, the mechanism through which this connection has been fostered in Montana, as well as that upon which many campaign appeals based on place identity are made, is the candidate’s birthplace. For successful Democratic candidates in Montana, it seems that part of the litmus test has been whether they’re a native of the state. For a recent example, look no further than Governor Bullock’s successful 2016 reelection bid against then Republican gubernatorial candidate and current U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte. Big Sky Politics

What Color is a Montanan?

My coworker and I communicate regularly with individuals from immigrant communities, as well as non-white US citizens. One, true thread that weaves through all of these conversations is that people are living in fear. Recent raids by ICE across Montana have made normal activities – like going to work, or even just leaving the house – a nerve-racking prospect. Increased racial profiling and police harassment is significantly impacting the quality of life for people of color, regardless of citizen status or ethnicity. ACLU of Montana

The Right Way and Wrong Way to Decide the Fate of Our Public Lands

The BCSA was hammered out over ten years by a diverse group of Montanans representing timber, ranching, conservation, outfitting, business, outdoor recreation, and other interests. The compromise, transparency, and abundant public input that went into the BCSA no doubt accounts for the bill’s popularity.  We are grateful to Sen. Tester for listening to Montanans and for championing this collaborative proposal in Congress. In stark contrast, Rep. Gianforte’s two bills opening 29 wilderness study areas (WSAs) to hard-rock mining, oil and gas development, and expanded motorized use were introduced without any public notice.

Packed and Ready to Run

In junior’s case, the burden of a two-year term in the Montana House of Representatives from Billings proved too much of a burden, so he simply resigned ten months in. Assuming he wins the June primary, he’ll have to campaign for nine months to win the senate seat being vacated by Ed Buttrey.Besides the family name and that ever-so-brief stint as a member of the Montana House, as a candidate exactly what qualifications Adam brings with him is not at all

A Parting of the Ways on Guns

Part of the problem here is that we tend to view the issue of effective background checks through the lens of the terrible mass killings that have become a regular part of our national life. Every time some madman or abuser or deranged high school student shoots and kills churchgoers, or fires into a crowd at a concert or club, or murders  a classroom full of kids, we ask where the guns came from, and too often the answer is that they were purchased legally, or taken from the family gun closet, or bought on the street. And from this we shake our heads and sadly conclude, once again, that expanded background checks couldn’t have prevented this most recent mass shooting.

What Will Happen With Missoula’s Chronic Homeless Population When It Gets Cold?

How many more people need to die before our city leaders prioritize WITH ACTION the costly and cruel plight of chronically homeless individuals in Missoula? And by action I don’t mean creating a new city initiative or funding another study. I mean ensuring the full spectrum of housing is available to address the full spectrum of need. Reptile Dysfunction

How Much Is Steve Daines Fealty to the NRA Over Flights Going to Cost Taxpayers? A Lot of Time, Money, or Both

So due to Daines’ undying fealty to the NRA he will either have to spend less time with his constituents (probably what he wants anyway) by flying out a day early or spend more taxpayer dollar for less efficient flights (not very conservative if you ask me).  All this just to kiss the ring of the NRA?  Seems a bit much. MT Cowgirl

Troy Downing’s Montana Values

Somehow Downing wants us agree with him that people who play music are what? Effeminate? Weak? What? I can’t even wrap my head around this. If Downing believes this and thinks it is a valid criticism then he needs to use his words and say it instead of using innuendo and a pathetic attempt at humor. East of Billings

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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