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THE Bozeman Chronicle's political reporter, Laura Lundquist, had an interesting reaction on Twitter after Congressman Steve Daines was one of 94 House members to vote against the recent budget deal: "Tea Party moron," she said.
Journalists usually avoid making such subjective statements about the people they cover. And it appears Lundquist had second thoughts, as it has been scrubbed from her Twitter account, but not before talk-show host Aaron Flint got a screenshot of it.
The screenshot also caught Tea Party activist Henry Kriegel's response: "Are you seriously using the term Tea Party moron.' Really? Because Daines & the Tea Party want to cut runaway spending?...And you also cover Cong. Daines."
We'll have to wait to see if Lundquist or the Chronicle responds
GOV. Steve Bullock is headed east. Not to eastern Montana, but to Maryland, where he'll be promoting the candidacy of his friend, Attorney General Douglas Gansler. The two met through their activities in national AG organizations.
Gansler is a Democratic candidate for governor, and Bullock will be his "special guest" this week at his biggest fundraiser. Gansler needs all the help he can get, as he faces current Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, who has the backing of the party's establishment, in next June's Democratic primary.
MOST Montanans may never heard of Linda Pritzker, perhaps the state's second wealthiest resident, if you put Dennis and Phyllis Washington at No. 1.
So who the heck is Linda Pritzker?
A divorced mother of three, she lives a quiet life at St. Ignatius. But she's part of the Chicago-based Pritzer family, whose large fortune was created by the Hyatt Hotel chain and dozens of other companies. The family's fortune was worth an estimated $30 billion in 2011.
But like a lot of families, the members couldn't agree on how all the family-owned businesses and finances should be managed as the elders passed on. Some family members even went to battle in court.
Eventually, they agreed on a plan to reorganize and sell off holdings to give the heirs control over their own fortunes. Now most family members are going their own way.
Linda Pritzker's estimated worth now is $1.6 billion -- put her at No. 298 on the Forbes 400 list last year.
Wikipedia lists her as a psychotherapist and a Tibetan Buddhist. She's also a contributor to liberal political causes.
For a fascinating look at the breakup of her family's fortune, read this recent Wall Street Journal piece.
FORMER Gov. Brian Schweitzer's dropping more hints that he's running for president.
In a recent appearance on MSNBC, he declared that visiting all of the counties in Iowa is on his "bucket list." That's quite a task, given that Iowa has 99 counties, almost twice as many as Montana.
So why on earth would anyone want to visit all those Iowa counties? Well, Iowa, of course, holds one of the first presidential primaries in the country. And Schweitzer, who doesn't have a lot of name recognition nationally, probably has a better chance of making noise in Iowa than he does in many other states.
Schweitzer also is slated to speak to a liberal group in Iowa in a couple weeks.
YOU MIGHT cuss about those dopes who run state government in Helena. But Montana has one of the better-run state governments in the country. At least, that's the finding of an extensive survey of the financial data of all 50 states by 24/7 Wall St. published in USA Today.
The survey ranked Montana No. 15 out of all the states, with North Dakota coming in No. 1. Here's what it said about Montana's situation:
"Montana was one of just eight states that did not need to close a budget shortfall going into fiscal 2012. State revenue came to just under $8,000 per resident as of fiscal 2011, and the Montana government spent roughly $7,100 per person that same year. However, the state still had a considerable amount of debt per capita, and Montana’s pension obligations were just 63.9% funded as of the end of 2012, compared to a 72.4% rate of pension funding across the nation. The state’s credit is rated just AA by Moody’s, putting it in the bottom half of the states. Montana’s poverty rate was roughly in line with the national rate in 2012. On the other hand, the state had the highest percentage of adults with a high school diploma, at 92.8%, compared to the 86.4% of adults nationwide."
IF YOU read the police reports in your local newspaper -- or the online reports of other newspapers -- you'll stumble across some pretty amazing and amusing stories. Consider this headline in the Daily Inter Lake: "Sack of potatoes subdued without incident."
The story that goes with the headline notes that a Kalispell police officer and fish and game warden removed the 5-pound sack of potatoes from a tree because it looked as though it could fall into the street.
"Apparently, the potatoes were subdued without causing any mayhem," the paper drolly reported. Unfortunately, there was no explanation for how the potatoes got into the tree.
Police reports are such fertile ground for fun reading that the Bozeman Chronicle has just issued a 2nd edition of its popular book, "We Don't Make This Stuff Up: The Very Best of The Bozeman Chronicle Police Reports." The first edition went through three printings.
Here's just a few of the gems in the new edition:
*A man called to report his Subaru was stolen. He called right back saying it was not stolen, but it was rolling down 14th Avenue.
* A man wanted officers to check and see if his ex-girlfriend had thrown his clothes in her front yard. However, he didn't know her last name or address.
* People who were fighting were separated after a man demanded he get his chicken back, though he failed to recall the chicken had been eaten for dinner a few hours earlier.