Last Best News
Hungry Horse News
(Hardin) Big Horn
Carbon County News
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
(Sidney) The Roundup
Sanders Co. Ledger
FORMER Gov. Brian Schweitzer's rise as a potential presidential candidate was rapid and hot, in good part because of the media attention he won for attacking Hillary Clinton and, well, spouting off on pretty much anything.
But any thoughts he once had of a presidential run have been dashed, BuzzFeed reporter Ruby Cramer believes, by the former governor's recent controversial statements suggesting House Majority Eric Cantor was gay and comparing California Sen. Dianne Feinstein to a prostitute.
Cramer says "...in the end, Schweitzer's rise amounted to the thing people in Washington call a media narrative. And his burned hot and fast and then just went away. Schweitzer talked and talked and talked until finally he said something stupid. Now he can still talk, but there's no one left to listen."
Schweitzer apologized --- though not personally -- for his remarks. And while he had been a regular guest commentator on MSNBC (he has a little studio in his Georgetown house), network brass have decided not to bring him back on the air since he made his brash remarks, according to Cramer. They told Cramer they'll bring him back when "his insights will add value to a story."
As for Schweitzer, he told Cramer he hasn't decided to "not" run for president. But then he's never decided that he would, either.
The bottom line, he told Cramer, is that nothing has changed.
HERE"S an "award" no politician wants to win: National Journal's Dead Man Walking citation.
In assessing many of the nation's key political races at their midpoint, the online political journal honored Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett with its "dead man walking" award, saying he trails his challenger by 22 points and will have a tough time being re-elected this fall. The journal named Montana Sen. John Walsh as one of three runners-up for the award.
WITH THE Bakken oil boom, fossil fuel production on the nation's federal lands must have risen dramatically in recent years, right?
Not so fast. Actually, fossil fuel production on federal lands has declined considerably in the last decade, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The country got over 20 billion BTUs (British thermal units) of fossil fuels from federal lands in 2003, but that slipped to just under 16 billion BTUs last year -- or a quarter of the country's energy production. Thirty-six percent came from federal lands in 2003.
Interestingly, production rates for coal have remained pretty constant. The big production drops on federal lands have been seen for oil and natural gas. In short, the energy industry has been shifting its focus to private and state lands.
AS ONE of only two states in the country that doesn't ban texting while driving, Montana could prevent a lot of accidents and save a lot of lives with a prohibition. "It's a no-brainer," as state insurance commissioner Monica Lindeen says.
Or is it?
Perhaps surprisingly, studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show texting bans haven't really made the roads safer. "Unfortunately, we have found that there's no evidence that various kinds of cellphone restrictions have reduced crashes," said institute official Russ Rader.
Calling it a "confusing conundrum," Rader notes that texting ban do appear to reduce the amount of texting and cellphone use by drivers, but that doesn't necessarily translate into fewer accidents. In nine out of ten cases, Rader said, vehicle mishaps are simply due to drivers making mistakes.
"There's no question that distracted driving is huge, but it was huge before we had cellphones," he said.
THE ADMINISTRATOR of the state's embattled Disaster and Emergency Services agency is moving to a new state job, according to a conservative news site.
Montana Media Trackers says Ed Tinsley has taken a post as a continuity of government program manager -- a post that generally would be considered a step down in state government from being administrator of a division.
Media Trackers noted that Tinsley's four-year tenure with the agency was rocky, and a 2011 legislative audit was critical of its contract management and other issues. A federal report also was critical of its management and handling of federal grants.
Moreover, several former employers have complained about a dysfunctional workplace, sex discrimination, and that the former chief of staff (not Tinsley) trading favors for sex. At the time all this was happening, John Walsh was the head of the Montana National Guard.
When he became Gov. Steve Bullock's running mate, he was replaced by Brig. Gen. Joel Cusker. But after Cusker tried to rehire one of the women who had been released by DES and who had complained about conditions there, he himself was fired by Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
Why does all this matter? Because it all is resurfacing in the Senate campaign, where Sen. Walsh is now squaring off against Congressman Steve Daines. Daines has run a commercial that contends Walsh ignored sex discrimination issues at DES while he was commanding the National Guard.