my Montana political bear sense is tingling….something it has not done since Max Baucus’s corruption and the Democratic leadership mislead us in 2006 and failed to do any of the things they promised when Jon Tester was elected to the senate. but, finally we have a real choice this year…..
Amanda Curtis is the real deal. Forthright. Not afraid to speak her mind. An actual leader. Something Montana politics was once known for with the likes of Mike Mansfield, Lee Metcalf, and Pat Williams standing up for they believe in- acting like the real people they were and courageously representing the people of Montana, regardless of the politics and the cowardly advice of “handlers”
of course, eventually, as Amanda’s campaign gains steam and convinces the vipers in party politics to slither out from beneath their rocks to either attack her or, even more dangerous, offer to support her in exchange for compromise, we the voters in Montana are now in the lucky position of supporting someone like yourself- someone who is sick and tired of the failure of party politics dominating every issue in America to the detriment of the country and the people who have been waiting for someone who has the character and independence to fight the vipers who wish to destroy her.
If you are tired of party politics and corporations pulling the strings of wooden puppets who purport to represent us in Washington DC, support Amanda Curtis for Montana’s Senator.
Give what you can. DO what you can. opportunities to support a real person who wants to represent us do not come around that often.
Last night, Bud Robert couldn’t decide if this was a trip to cure something or just a trip to end everything. This morning, it doesn’t matter because his canvas backpack is packed, and the first sight of the Trailhead entices. He carries two weeks worth of provisions, even remembering to pack the small campfire espresso maker Ruth had always used and a pound of the good coffee ground fine, enough to last at least a month. This is it. The old truck is parked next to the horse corral where Howard and Gordon can pick it up if he doesn’t make it out before the snow flies. They are sworn to secrecy and they will tell no one.
He tightens the waist belt and shifts the sixty five pounds on his back until his shoulders move freely, snaps his chest strap tight and then grabs his hiking staff. Bud Robert breaks the law by walking past the USFS registration box, ignoring the required forms to fill out, as he starts up the trail. His bad right knee feels surprisingly strong. He knows that later the weight will bring pain and that he will soon regret everything he has packed, just like he always does on any extended solo Wilderness trek, But the adrenaline of entering a wild place already feels therapeutic. Leaving the horses behind was not easy. Bud Robert wants it to be simple and free of responsibility, whether it is the end or just another trip that he hopes will bring an answer to some question he is still too ignorant to ask..
The difference today….. as he marvels at the green canopy of subalpine firs crowding both sides of the trail, all his senses sharp in a lush late june landscape still smelling of recent rain, which itself is a mere five mile preamble to the deeply prehistoric breathtaking view at the notch in the East Fork Trail where it comes out on the Continental Divide, still covered in six feet of snow….. is that no one will be terribly worried about his whereabouts regardless of what happens
Bud Robert smiles as he remembers Ruth’s favorite saying when he became too worked up about things on the farm; “The single greatest impediment to happiness is taking yourself too seriously.”
EXCERPT from MERCY
Somewhere in Oregon there is a corner of an office, a closet or attic space where dozens of cardboard tubes are hidden away. Each tube contains several topographical maps, many with scrawled notes about landscapes that he visited. Most of these landscapes were Roadless Areas in National Forests. On most of these maps are drawn boundaries; lines which hope to protect something precious.
Life has boundaries for all of us. Some are limited by income, others by physical impairments, mental limitations, or simply circumstances. Wilderness must be protected within boundaries because deep inside the DNA structure of all humans there is a primitive desire to greedily consume everything which is balanced by an equally primitive need to know that there are still places on maps where the disease of civilization has not yet infected and sickened the land. He understood this.
Wilderness advocates are an odd lot. We gather together reluctantly to protect the lands we love. In 1975, when a group in Bend first formed to protect Roadless Areas of the Deschutes National Forest, there was a slide show and a lecture scheduled in an auditorium on the campus of Central Oregon Community College. As attendees filtered into the room, most seated themselves as far from others as the space allowed, resulting in an audience that resembled an array of free radicals in a biochemistry graph.
If there can be such a thing as a camaraderie of solitary individuals, this room represented exactly that. Wilderness advocates value our isolation not because we crave loneliness but because we require solitude as a respite from the world of civilized chaos that swirls around us and threatens to devour peace of mind. A love of solitude and a desire to be free from the constraints of society form the basis of a desire to protect wild lands. But few individuals stay true to this cause their entire lives, devoting themselves to it, poring over maps for forty years with a cigarette and a cup of coffee while Red Garland’s Country Little Shack plays in the background.
Tim Lillebo loved those maps. He loved a good blues tune. He loved good coffee and he loved rolling a cigarette while his eyes followed the well spaced loops in a contour line that represented a seep or a bog where elk could wallow in mud and escape biting deer flies in the middle of summer in a remote canyon near Glacier peak. He loved to follow the tight contours of ridgelines where perhaps the last lone wolverine in Oregon was spotted near Monument Rock. He loved to stand in a forest of old ponderosa pines; he called them pumpkin pines, and gaze into the rich yellow and orange hues of their puzzled barks. He loved wild land enough to devote his entire adult life to it, with little monetary reward. If good coffee and blues and a pouch of roll your own could be acquired, Tim was happy. Saving and protecting wild land kept his soul fed. And Oregon will forever benefit from his efforts.
Over the past 40 years most of us wandered away from the cause, nipping at the edges in our respective habitats by signing a petition here, writing a letter to congress there. We had families to raise, careers to chase, dreams to follow. But Tim stayed at it, working every day to draw some protective boundaries around land that is always threatened. One man’s passing does not stop a cause as deeply rooted in the human psyche as Wilderness advocacy, but it certainly sent a tremor wave throughout this odd camaraderie of solitary souls who still seek the solitude of wild places.
Somewhere, in an office or a closet or an attic are dozens of cardboard tubes of topographical maps which should be protected so that future generations can unroll them and study the work of one man who stood for something greater in a world that seems to only reward wealth and power. We should teach those after us to follow those contour lines. Because land will endure long after human effort passes away.
twenty years ago, i remember looking out our 2nd story bedroom window at dawn. i could see the local newspaper boy, pedalling his bike down each end of the street, delivering freshly printed news at virtually every step.
ten years ago, i watched as a car drove down Edith Street stopping only three or four times to deliver the paper.
two years ago, i watched the car drive the entire length of our street and stop at our house only.
today, no newspaper showed up at all. which didn’t even bother me.
the corporate morons who own this paper have stripped it of all dignity and worth in October by laying off local editors and using “paginators” in Indiana to produce our news. i have not read it since then. i do not lament the painful death throes that constitute the inevitable demise of our local paper.
rather, due to this example of short-sighted corporate monkey brained remote ignorance of Missoulians in general, i lament the loss of any hope that our newspaper will ever again regain any relevance to younger people who now demand genuine non filtered information easily obtainable online. and this leads me inevitably to mourn the loss of unfettered local reporting and editorship control in our daily local newspapers in general.
and so it goes….
Bud Robert looked at the meadow across the lake. Moose were pulling weeds from the inlet channel of Brushy Fork Lake and the falling drops of water from their chewing could be heard a half mile away in the still dawn air. A loon began to siren to it’s mate on Bill’s lake, just a mile away. Bud Robert regretted the death of Tim. That Tim would miss this today seemed a crime. He began to write something in his head.
Note to ACLU:
RE: Original Sin
The grievous punishment meted out to the human race for the crime of “taking a bite out of an apple” is disproportionately harsh. The sentence of a lifetime of hard labor followed immediately by a slow and painful death, is discriminatory and unconstitutional and the threat of going to Hell if we don’t follow strict rules constitutes unreasonable and inhumane treatment.
The plaintiff seeks a return to plaintiff’s original condition and demands redress in the following:
The Human Race
P/S Since paradise is already Heaven, there is no need to go anywhere else.
There is a great opinion piece in the Missoula Independent today….
We know there is honor among thieves. This is a challenge to see if there is honor among judges. The embarrassing district judge Todd Baugh remains seated and despite the wrath of the public, his ability to preside over further cases continues and his conduct has been mostly met with silence from our courts. Despite a massive judicial blunder which is costing the state of Montana millions he continues to draw a salary of $117,600.00 from taxpayers. His conduct regarding the rape case of a 14 year old girl who subsequently committed suicide has been reprehensible. his legal knowledge regarding rape sentencing guidelines has been shown to be so lacking that he should be immediately removed from the bench before he can cause more mayhem and a judicial panel should be convened to conduct an investigation into his competence.
Judge Baugh’s breathtaking ignorance and colossal insensitivity toward the victim on his bench has attracted national coverage and his continued employment continues to heap humiliation on the state of Montana. Waiting will only supporate this wound further and reflect poorly on the judicial branch of this state. If honor still resides in our courts and if serving the law means anything to our court system, Judge Baugh’s removal should be the highest priority of all 45 district judges of Montana.
If there is indeed honor among judges, we shouldn’t need to spend another minute on this. I am thinking that one of Judge Baugh’s peers could simply take him for a long walk and suggest he resign and save Montana further embarrassment.