Tuesday, May 24

A Purple Victory!

Last night, fourteen smart moderate members of the US Senate got into a room and made a courageous decision that is good for both the civility of the Senate and the entire country.

Of course, I am talking about the preservation of extended debate, a.k.a. the filibuster (the elimination of which too many people in the ten-mile square reality free zone that is our nation's capitol are referring to as though it had anything to do with particle physics).

Why is the filibuster important? Why should anyone care?

The filibuster is one of the many devices written into our system of government that protect minority opinion from the winds of the current popular opinion. It is a check and balance that makes the institution of fundamental change a very hard thing to do.

Changing the status quo should be hard. The framers of our government recognized this, and the systems of checks and balances salted throughout our federal system reflect it.

Today I say BRAVO to the seven Republicans and seven Democrats who looked beyond party lines to forge an agreement here. It is just too bad that Montana's Senators were not among those fourteen.

Monday, May 16

Can Montanans Now Buy On-Line Wine?

This morning, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that struck down laws prohibiting out-of-state wineries from shipping directly to customers (subscription required for link) in New York and Michigan.

Our fair state also has laws prohibiting Montanans from purchasing directly from wine distributors.

This decision looks to be narrowly tailored. If a state allows customers to directly purchase wine from in-state wineries, then that state must not restrict out-of-state wineries from directly shipping to that customer.

Does anyone know if that is the basis of Montana's prohibition? Will we be affected by this ruling?

If so, will we finally be able to get a variety of kosher wine in this state?

Thursday, May 5

Great Falls Parents; Be Careful

A quick note to Great Falls parents; there have been three reports in the last three days of a man trying to pick up and abduct children in our area. More reports on this can be found here and here.

Yesterday, a 12 year old child reported that a man in a station wagon attempted to pick him up on 38th Street. All three reports have been about a man, described as a caucasion between 35 and 40, wearing glasses, acne scars and a scratch or scar down the left side of his face.

The car this man is driving is described as a medium-sized, boxy station wagon, rusty brown with a broken front grill.

The police have asked anyone with information on this situation to call at 771-1180.

Wednesday, May 4

OK. East will stay open. What next?

Yesterday's School Board election in Great Falls saw a victory by those seeking a reversal of the School Board decision to close East Middle School. The system works as it is designed, and the majority will rule.

As I have mentioned before, I do not have a dog in this fight. My kids will have to go on a bus no matter which school is closed. Paris is 25 blocks away and East is 45. Doesn't much matter to me which building they will attend. I was, and am, against spending too much time and effort on this decision, as more difficult decisions lie around the corner.

East will stay open. What next? Great Falls schools are still seeing declining enrollment. This year's kindergarten class will be the smallest in 35 years. After investing so much time and effort into this one issue, what will we do to ensure that our remaining schools remain institutions of excellence?

Also, and not inconsequentially, who will be Whittier's principal next year? East's current principal is scheduled to come to Whittier this Fall. If East remains open, will she stay at East? The Whittier students, staff and parents (of which I am one) deserve to know.

Baby-faced Neo-Nazi Gets His Butt Whupped

Today is a solemn day for the Jewish people, Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Memorial Day. Today is a day to reflect on the six million that were murdered by the Nazi regime.

Solemnity is fine and proper, and I do grieve. However, today is also a day for rejoicing. Yesterday, during the balloting in Bozeman, the baby-faced Neo-Nazi (as named by Ed Kemmick) was solidly trounced in his race to win a seat on the School Board there. The voice of hate won only 157 votes, as compared to over 4,000 each by his opponents. For those keeping score, he managed only 3.6% of the total vote.

I salute the people of Bozeman and Gallatin County for striking a note for toleration and reason. I didn't go to MSU, but 'GO BOBCATS!'

Now, a quick word to the 156 people that voted for the baby-faced neo-Nazi. I really don't care what you think or why. Whatever you say or do, I will still be here. Yesterday, the people of Bozeman, Gallatin County and Montana showed that your views and the bile that you spew are not welcome.