Some commentary on recent political news

OPI chief Arntzen skirts the gun issue

It’s the new normal. Kids go back to school this year practicing lockdowns and active shooter drills.

A nebulous guest opinion piece in Sunday’s Missoulian has Montana Office of Public Instruction Superintendent Elsie Arntzen expounding on “comprehensive school safety.”

There is not one mention of guns but then again, as an elected Republican, the subject of sensible gun laws is verboten. Just ask Mitch McConnell.

So instead of noting the obvious, Arntzen babbles on about “Interdisciplinary Child Information and School Safety Teams” and “multi-tiered systems of student support” and a “cybersecurity panel,” while never really defining what these are.

It all came home to me as I delivered voting equipment to various Missoula schools in preparation for Missoula’s municipal election being held today. I do this most election cycles to earn a little beer money.

Buzzers at the entrances, steel doors, everyone with IDs on lanyards around their necks. From KECI-TV:

That means things like controlled access points, basically no more open doors around the building. You’ll find key card access, including lockdown buttons and cameras.

It’s a hell of a way to run an educational system and frankly, Arntzen’s op-ed doesn’t ease my concerns.

China scared witless by Daines

Sen. Steve Daines is throwing down the the gauntlet. He traveled to China recently to tell the Chinese to end the trade war, initiated by his buddy Donald Trump. According to the Missoulian,

The Republican senator from Montana also said he’s very supportive of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on Chinese goods coming to the U.S., which in turn caused the Chinese to implement tariffs on U.S. goods. Those actions have caused higher prices for U.S. consumers, provoked Chinese businesses and consumers to do business with other countries, and slowed economic growth around the world, according to some economists.

Not to mention the toll it has taken on Montana farmers, ranchers and manufacturers. But I’m sure the Chinese will be rushing to negotiate following Daines’ PR stunt.     

GOP House race getting crowded

Could the Republican primary contest for the U.S. House get any funkier? Two inept candidates in Tier B jobs, Secretary of State Corey Stapleton and Auditor Matt Rosendale; two no-names, Joe Dooling and Timothy Johnson; and now former Montana Republican Party Chairwoman and Montana House member out of Livingston, Debra Lamm, all throwing their hats in the ring (and the filing deadline isn’t for another six months).

She’ll be hard pressed to get any further to the right than Stapleton or Rosendale, but she’s trying, as excerpted from Montana Public Radio and the Great Falls Tribune:

Lamm said socialism is a threat to America and she will stand with President Trump to, “keep Montana and America Great.”

And, referring to her Democratic opponents: 

“We’re talking about confiscating guns and post-birth abortions. It’s getting really crazy,” she said.

I don’t recall confiscating guns or post-birth abortions in any of the Democratic candidates’ platforms. It was probably in the fine print.

The Montana Post has covered a number of her shenanigans over the years. Here and here are just a couple of the examples. 

This race could get as wild and nasty as the GOP governor’s primary.    

A photo of Butte

This final snippet isn’t really political, although famed photographer Robert Frank showed a side of America not usually represented by the photos of glowing American families, landscapes, celebrities and politicians of the day.

His pictures were gritty and grainy and honest. He died yesterday in Nova Scotia at the age of 94.

A favorite shot of mine was one he snapped in Butte in 1956. I’m guessing it’s from the Finlen Hotel?

Here’s the link to the New York Times article about him. Scroll down a bit and you’ll see the Butte image.

Rest in peace Mr. Frank.    


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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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