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4&20 blackbirds / 4and20blackbirds.wordpress.com

Blogging the politics and culture of Missoula and Montana and everywhere else beyond.

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As "college graduates live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can get going with their lives," there's a whole new generation plastering up their Ron Paul and Rand Paul posters embracing freedom, liberty and the American Dream. The Republican Party has been through dark days but the Republican youth is promising, and I have great hope for the future of the party and the future of America under their leadership. 2013-08-15T20:28:09-06:00 Adam
The money going to Missoula in Motion needs to take on a new role. Whether through work they've done or through changes in society, MIM's mission has been successful. People in Missoula are very open to alternative means of transportation. Our city would now be better served if that money went to infrastructure and enforcement. The demand for alternative transportation is there, but we need the infrastructure to meet the demand and the education and enforcement to teach people how to use it without endangering themselves and others. As you know, challenging the status quo of an organization as deeply rooted as MIM is nearly impossible in our city, but that's my two cents.

Maybe Strohmaier's "swan song" could be an ordinance outlawing dread locks...
2013-05-17T11:02:16-06:00 Adam
You raise some interesting and timely points that I naturally I would enjoy discussing with any respectful individual.

But alas, I'm not interested in responding to baseless personal attacks against myself and my family.

You've sucessfully degraded a worthy discussion quickly. I've enjoyed 4&20 for some time thinking y'all were more apt to being part of the solution in a nation where presidential campaigns play out over birth certificates and tax returns rather than meaningful policy differences. I suppose I was wrong.

4&20 bookmark deleted.
2012-09-04T12:20:44-06:00 Adam
My wife and I needed housing and had the freedom to choose where to live. A developer bought a field, subdivided it into lots and built infrastructure, we bought a lot, and then we built a house. Pretty straightforward. Our needs were met and I assume the developer's needs were met.

On the other hand, UM has a shortage of student housing. First year students are required to live on campus (not freedoms of choice) but are often confined to gym space, basements, and other overcrowding. The UM housing agency, as a subset of the government, clearly hasn't been able to meet the needs of its students (aka consumers) in the nine years I've lived in Missoula. Despite overcrowding, the students don't have free choice when it comes to choosing housing. Thus their needs are not met, or are met poorly.

Of course the housing market is more complex than that, but I feel that's a pretty simple explanation of freedom of choice vs forced compliance in the housing market.
2012-09-03T00:16:18-06:00 Adam
I don't recall saying the libertarian's utopia of a perfectly free market. When producers and consumers make choices about housing, needs are fulfilled far better and more quickly than when a central government makes those choices. I also don't recall denegratig basic infrastructure or tax incrementfinancing or any other community necessity that I regularly vote in favor of. 2012-09-02T10:22:20-06:00 Adam
By the way... All snark aside, this was a great post. It's interesting to read Gibson's thoughts. I've certainly been taking note of the Indy's changes, and appreciate their move towards living up to the Independent name. 2012-08-31T22:56:02-06:00 Adam
I wouldn't type it if I didn't think it was 5 star worthy. ;) It won't be long before Missoula's rental market is back into healthy territory. There are some very large rental developments going up, housing sales are up (some of which is renters becoming owners), and UM enrollment is stagnant. The free market has a funny way of meeting peoples' needs...though in this case it's been slower than optimal with a tight debt market making development difficult. 2012-08-31T22:13:24-06:00 Adam
I was hoping you'd catch that. 2012-08-31T21:30:32-06:00 Adam
I knew the Indy’s endorsement of me must have been some kind of conspiracy! Facebook said it swayed the election and it was all because the Indy wanted advertising dollars from my in-laws. That accusation made for a real good laugh and better conspiracy. 2012-08-31T20:57:46-06:00 Adam
Thanks for the good post. It's about time Missoula starts wising up to the good ol' boys. I thought you might take interest in this email from the Mayor, subject "Hindsight and regret":

Good morning, folks.

I make mistakes, some big, some small.

Not all of them appear in newspaper headlines, but one did on Sunday and I wanted to let you, the officers I count on to serve and protect our community, know that I’m sorry for that mistake.

I overreacted to an e-mail written by an officer on his own time with his own e-mail account that criticized The University of Montana’s handling of sexual assaults. At the time, I was worried that a critical e-mail from one of my own, even written as a private citizen, could hinder progress we’d made with UM in ensuring good, open communication. I was also concerned that the e-mail would harm the officer’s credibility and ability to do his job effectively.

In the end, I apologized for something that wasn’t mine to apologize for and I asked someone to apologize for expressing his opinion outside of his work life. Now, months later, I regret both of those actions.

If I had it to do over, I’d have had a private talk with the officer about my concerns and left it at that. I hope I’ve learned from my mistake and I hope that I haven’t harmed my own credibility with all of you.

You should also know that the officer was not “reprimanded;” no formal disciplinary action was taken.

I’m copying all employees, because I want them in the loop.

Thanks again for all you do.

John Engen
City of Missoula
435 Ryman Street
Missoula, Montana 59802
Office: 406-552-6001
[email protected]
2012-05-21T13:51:30-06:00 Adam
I know you're not a one issue voter. When I said "you" I was referring more to a generic "someone."

You're right...the two party system has to go. I don't think that's very likely. The most realistic fix, in my opinion, is for real leaders to step up within both parties, quit playing games, and get to work.
2012-05-06T10:06:31-06:00 Adam
Ok. Fair enough. If you meant Bullock was taking the position of the GOP Gubernatorial candidates, then I misunderstood you.

I still stand by my point. There are Republicans in favor of marriage equality. They are not running for governor, as you point out. The Democrats have used the LGBT community for political gain, sometimes (as in this case) without any real conviction to work on their behalf. Some people in the LGBT community have made a huge strategical error in blindly aligning themselves with the Democratic party and demonizing all Republicans. The truth is, there are a number of Republicans on their side, not so much in Montana as in other states though. I know many more would proudly step up if they weren't routinely chastised. Besides, the best way to further your issue is to convince the opposition to change their mind, not dump piles of money into the wolves in sheeps clothing.

When you're a one issue or one party voter (or activist) you're bound to get burnt, especially if your one issue is a wedge issue.

What's astounding to me is that there are people out there who have given money, volunteered time, and otherwise supported a candidate without even having asked questions about the issues most important to them. Did no one ask Bullock this question before? Seriously? Are Democratic events just pep rallys without any substance and no chance to vet candidates?

Anyway, good for you for blogging about issues instead of strictly partisan garbage. You should teach the Cowgirl a thing or two.
2012-05-04T15:30:17-06:00 Adam
I think you misinterpreted Bullock's comments. I certainly didn't interpret that quote to say that he even support civil unions. Having visitation rights at hospitals is not a civil union. Being together free from discrimination is not a civil union. My interpretation is that Bullock flat out doesn't support allowing gay marriage or civil unions, and he threw in some doublespeak hoping that that he wouldn't lose his LGBT support. Are you surprised to find a professional politician acting like a professional politician?

Also, you've mischaracterized Bullock's position as a "GOP position." It seems anytime you disagree with a Democrat's position you're quick to call it a GOP position, conservative position, moving to the right, etc. Tell me, if it's only a "GOP position," then why, when the Democrats controlled the Presidency, US House, and US Senate, was gay marriage not legalized? There are Democrats on both sides and Republicans on both sides of the issue.

Steve Bullock may very well support gay marriage, but he's always been more interested in political gain than following his convictions. Bullock is just another degenerate member of the means justify the ends crowd.
2012-05-04T10:45:49-06:00 Adam
I appreciate that. It's a lot of work, but I'm honored to have the opportunity. 2012-03-27T13:26:08-06:00 Adam
I couldn't reply to you up top liz.

Believe me, I'm far from financially insulated. I've had no health insurance for the past 9 months. Between working 2-3 jobs and my wife working full time, we manage to live comfortably (not financially insulated) while trying to put a little aside every month hoping to be able to afford a few kids someday.

Anyway, I'm not surprised to see that healthcare costs are the #1 cause of foreclosures. Obviously, we have a huge healthcare problem. Obama missed a golden opportunity to have a real conversation about single payer and instead made the Obamacare mess his landmark legislation. There was no consensus or compromise, which obviously put the legislation on the road to repeal. It wasn't even an attempt at a real fix, it was all a political game. And you're right, what will the Republicans do? Probably very little unless it means winning elections. That's the climate we're in as a result of the dumbing down and polarization of American politics. Anonomyous blogging has helped perpetuate that climate...I hope you're proud. ;)

The #1 cause of foreclosures that I've personally dealt with is Bank of America's policy to drive people into foreclosure by convincing them that Obama's HAMP is going to be their silver bullet. They stop making their payments when they're told it will help them get a modification. Several months later, they're told the modification didn't work out, and voila, they're months behind on their mortgage with absolutely no means to get caught up on the fees and back interest. More often than not, I'm told "We didn't need a modification, we just thought we'd take advantage of it because they were offering the program." The very government program meant to save people from foreclosure has likely led more people into it. Color me shocked.
2012-03-27T11:41:23-06:00 Adam
There are probably pieces of Obamacare worth keeping, but the individual mandate has to go. I find it hard to believe that you're such an Obamacare lover for it's positive effects on "actual people" are very, very minimal. Democrats should have been outraged at the passage of Obamacare and threatened to put up a good primary opponent if he didn't support single payer. Isn't that what you really believe in? Why sell yourself out for the reelection of someone who cares more about being President than achieving any real accomplishments? Obamacare is to healthcare what $38 billion in "cuts" were to the 2011 budget. Pretending that this supposed overhaul of the health industry is anything near real change is nothing more than political posturing. Republicans and Democrats need to get real, because right now both are failing big time. 2012-03-26T23:46:44-06:00 Adam
It shouldn't be a yawner. It should outrage every one of us. It's just that we've grown complacent to a lack of integrity from our elected officials.

I'm blown away that the Democrats had set their sights on universal healthcare and landed on this turd instead...and they're proud of it! All while controlling the Presidency, the house, and the senate. Obamacare was a huge handout to the for profit healthcare industry that leaves the people high and dry. It's not "f*ed up" to want it overturned when there are a number of healthcare policies that would be infinitely better than Obamacare.
2012-03-26T22:47:36-06:00 Adam
Here's an even better example...

2012-03-26T21:05:27-06:00 Adam

"With more than 100 raids on pot dispensaries during his first three years, Obama is now on pace to exceed Bush's record for medical-marijuana busts."

I'm not sure why anyone would expect Obama to uphold states' rights when it comes to this issue. His every policy shows his affection for federal authoritarianism. He said one thing while running for office and did another when elected? What a shocker! At least dispensaries, growers, patients, and landlords knew what to expect under the Bush empire (that's not an endorsement of Dubya - just an observation).

Mittens has ducked this question time and time again. He sure talks a big game on states' rights...pre Etch A Sketch, that is. Perhaps when he's elected President he'd be willing to pull back on the Justice Department's reins if it meant allowing venture capital into the marijuana market?
2012-03-26T14:56:43-06:00 Adam
I strive to be a pragmatist rather than a zealot and will continue to do so. Thanks for the snarky jab though. :) 2012-03-16T13:41:10-06:00 Adam
The commissioners already committed to the funds.

2012-03-15T22:22:33-06:00 Adam
Pretty pathetic slam article lizard.

I don't work at Moody's. I work at Moody's Market, Inc. We own and operate grocery stores in Montana and Idaho, employ nearly 250 people (with benefits like health insurance, 401(k)'s, health savings accounts, and an awesome wellness program), contribute millions to local economies yearly, and have a great track record of donating to the communities we operate in. I work as a "mortgage broker" (actually loan consultant) on a part-time basis. I run our reverse mortgage program, where I've helped save seniors from foreclosure and rising housing expenses that they simply can't keep up with. Despite objecting to our central banking system, I work within it. I didn't have much of a choice when I found myself unemployed and in need of a job 2 1/2 years ago, and now I've come to enjoy my niche of helping seniors.

The Indy's endorsement of me was based on the Indy staff's research and a very meaningful and open hour long conversation I had with them. I believe they recognized not only my financial talent, but also my ability to listen, learn and always keep an open mind. If my opinions sound rash or uncompassionate, I apologize. If anyone's opinion differs from mine, I am ALWAYS happy to sit down, listen, and consider the facts. While a widely generalized categorization of me would pin me as a fiscal conservative and social libertarian, I do not carry a pre-fabricated political agenda that's set in stone. I let my reality shape my politics rather than letting my politics shape my reality. Ward 2 will benefit from my work ethic, creativity, and ability to listen.

Perhaps we don't agree on the Pov relocation. I'd be happy to hear how you feel about it, rather than demoting the conversation to unfounded personal attacks. I've read "Homelessness and Housing Instability in Missoula." Perhaps we need to be having two separate conversations - one about Missoula's homeless population and one on transients. Everyone deserves to have a roof over their head and food in their stomaches. Our long-term goal as a community should be to provide the resources necessary so that people who aren't able to provide themselves with food and shelter may have a chance at self-reliance and independence in the future. In the near term, organizations like the Pov and Missoula 3:16 are doing a great service. I simply hope to see them address the root of these problems rather than the symptoms. Rather than handing out sack lunches to folks who come knocking at the door of the Pov and turning them away for intoxication and drug use, we could encourage a system that gets these people not only a lunch, but counseling, training, encouragement, and a hand up. Perhaps in collaboration, we could develop a "flow" of sorts with steps from being completely dependent, to being semi-dependent with a final goal of becoming self-sufficient. I certainly didn't mean to demean the Pov. I've just been frustrated by the lack of planning and collaboration our community has put behind the effort. Maybe Engen's 10 year plan to end homelessness will be a step in the right direction.

Anyway, thanks for the ink...no matter how unfactual or misguided it is.


2011-11-03T13:35:06-06:00 Adam
You're obviously a racist. Innocent until proven guilty. 2011-10-31T20:49:41-06:00 rawr
I'm not about to stick up for Conrad, but I do take issue with your reference to "tax-payer funded oil subsidies." You seem to routinely trade facts for talking points. Lying about and misrepresenting facts won't move our country forward. We need constructive debate fueled by facts and ideas. I suggest you clear up some of your commonly refered to talking points at factcheck.org. For instance, your alleged oil subsidies...http://www.factcheck.org/2008/02/oil-and-gas-company-tax-breaks/ 2011-10-31T20:48:24-06:00 rawr
Source please... 2011-10-19T13:16:19-06:00 rawr
That's a lovely letter that George Soros wrote. 2011-10-06T14:50:03-06:00 rawr
It's just ironic that it's now being pushed by big money (moveon.org, George Soros, etc). I'm all for the protests, but they need to get on track! They need to #occupythefed not #occupywallstreet. Wall Street is just a symptom. Address the real problem. Most Americans don't even know what the Fed is or does. 2011-10-06T14:48:32-06:00 rawr
I assume that since you've become so excited about this movement, a movement ironically funded and organized in part by BILLIONAIRE George Soros, you don't have a very good grasp of the subject at hand. The Federal Reserve is the problem! Raising taxes on the wealthy or expanding social programs doesn't address the real problem. The ultra wealthy are gaming the system with the Fed, funneling money to the top, and screwing the people. TARP should have people outraged. It was a full blown theft from the middle class to the ultra rich under the guise of "saving us from financial collapse." That's exactly what this is about. You have to see that this is not capitalism and it's not socialism, it's fascism. A giant private bank who manipulates currency for the US and prints money at will. They use inflation to fuck the people. Democrats and Republicans are funded by the same billionaires and multinational banks. They win no matter who is in office, and they keep you distracted over a couple of percentage points in the top tax tier or a few healthcare mandates. The only way to get corporations and big money OUT of government is to ABOLISH THE FEDERAL RESERVE and restore sound currency. The Fed builds the casino, the banks make the rules, and the people wander in looking for a way to feed their families....and we all know how it ends. 2011-10-05T23:32:52-06:00 rawr
"All Republicans and maybe half of the Democrats are full-fledged corporatists who need to be called out for specific instances of betraying the American people."

Denny Rehberg voted against TARP. Ron Paul voted against TARP. How about your Democrat buddies? How did they vote?

Those are simply examples to disprove you. 95% of politicians are pawn of big business and the distribution does not change with political party.
2011-10-05T13:59:23-06:00 rawr
No, but you're going to pretend I said that so you can further your political talking points. I said weed out flagrant irresponsibility, not genetic predisposition. If you want to shoot up smack, blow coke, drink yourself silly and binge on fast food then you've given up the privilege of having someone else pay for your healthcare. 2011-10-04T09:26:47-06:00 rawr
If you think Obama doesn't support the union of mega business and state as much as Bush, then you're just a partisan hack. This is THEIR economic system. Crony capitalism and a thieving Federal Reserve that answers to NO ONE. End the Federal Reserve. Give the middle class a level playing field where they have the ability to take care of themselves and their families! If you think raising taxes by 3 or 4 percent on the elite is really going to produce equality, then you've been duped by Demicans and Republicrats. 2011-10-04T09:13:18-06:00 rawr
It's well-known in many circles that Max and Brian do NOT like each other. That said, Brian can't run for re-election so there's no blessing to give. Max is too old to run for re-election and who's likely to make a run for his seat...you guess it...Brian Schweitzer. There's much speculation about a possible Schweitzer 2016 presidential run. I'd venture to say that he's a little too independent for the national party. 2011-09-30T08:51:36-06:00 rawr
I'm conservative, but I'd actually like to see more about this proposal. A national healthcare system would be an absolute failure, but the state may be able to put together a program that spends less on healthcare than we current do and free small business owners from footing the bill by themselves.

One thing I'd really like to see is a program that includes more preventative healthcare and reasonable responsibility requirements. If taxpayers don't have to foot the bill for problems like liver failure if someone is an alcoholic or lung cancer for a life-long smoker, then we would be able to cover our responsible citizens at a minimal cost. It's important to set the system up so that health care is the privilege of responsible citizens and not an entitlement to all.
2011-09-30T08:47:04-06:00 rawr
Due process is a right of AMERICAN citizens.

You said it yourself ..."our president can now boldly state that such antiquated notions as due process for American citizens no longer apply."

This was a known terrorist living outside of the US in a declared war zone. Get your holier than thou head out of yer tail. Terrorist are not afforded rights under our Constitution, just like Nazis weren't.
2011-09-30T08:40:47-06:00 rawr
Perhaps if you didn't hide behind misinformation, you could see clearly. Roll that Obamanomics vs Reaganomics graph out another 4 quarters and you'll see the big difference. Of course, instead you'll let your politics shape your reality when your reality should be shaping your politics. 2011-09-27T08:42:49-06:00 rawr
By the way, deception is a bad color on you. "Greedy hogs indeed!" :) 2011-09-26T15:19:10-06:00 rawr
The lack of demand is absolutely a barrier to economic growth. However, the lack of credit is currently a much larger barrier. Given that credit is very unlikely to loosen anytime soon, the economy will have to grow on equity rather than debt. How do we get the necessary equity injected into the economy? We return it to the people who will use it for economic growth! You can't do that with blanket tax cuts, but you can do that with target tax credits to people who expand their businesses and create jobs! Fillings a new position? Tax credit. Building a new factory? Tax credit. Opening a new location? Tax credit. It's effective and proven, but you can't get common sense past corruption. 2011-09-26T15:17:10-06:00 rawr
Don't you think it's a little ridiculous to claim that Republicans are using "economic terrorism?" How are we supposed to work towards common goals when you label nearly half the country the same way you'd label Osama bin Laden? Terrorism is a strong word...be careful that you don't let MSNBC rot your brain into inappropriately using it. 2011-09-26T15:10:11-06:00 rawr
Yes, the government certainly exists for a good reason. I can certainly agree that public roads, student loans and safe travel are necessary. I don't find it surprising that you would attempt to demonize me by claiming that I disagree with uses of government funds that are obviously necessary. However, I can't agree that war after war (and "not-wars" like Libya), crony capitalism (Solyndra), a bought and paid for tax system (General Electric), and thoughtless/strategy-less overspending (stimulus) are good when 40 cents of every dollar the federal government spends is BORROWED. There are billionaires and multinational corporations absolutely screwing the American taxpayer as we speak. Often times, they operate within a tax structure that allows them to avoid paying their "fair share" and it's sickening. Why not go after tax loopholes rather than demonizing hard working, rule-following Americans? I can't stand the constant class warfare in this country. To lump a hardworking Montana businessman who grew up in poverty, paid his way through college, employs a couple hundred people, and happens to make a couple hundred thousand dollars a year into the same category as the Waltons, George Soros, Buffet, etc is ridiculous. The fact is, nearly 50% of Americans don't pay any federal income tax at all. If we're going to have a progressive tax system, then why can't everyone pay SOMETHING...even if it's 5% of their paycheck? Responsibility requires a little "skin in the game" doesn't it? And why is someone making $379,150/year paying the same tax rate as someone making $100,000,000/year... but someone making $12,150/year is in a different tax bracket than someone making $46,250/year? The argument that billionaires are providing jobs and need a tax cut is ludicrous, but not anymore ludicrous than asking someone making a few hundred thousand dollars a year to pay the same tax rate as someone making several million dollars a year. If we are going to have a progressive tax system, then let's make it progressive in 2011...not 1935! Get rid of the loopholes, and make it a level playing field for businesses. I get sick of hearing Obama claim that taxes need to be raised on people making $250,000/year (not a TON of money in NYC, LA, SF or a lot of other US cities) while he sits next to Jeff Imelt, who runs the biggest tax dodging company in the US! Give me a break. This president is corrupt and he'd like to balance the budget on the backs of the working wealthy rather than billionaires...even though he tells you differently. Most billionaires make money on capital gains, thus being in a lower tax bracket (although, arguably a double-taxed bracket). Regardless, it's oppressive to expect anyone to pay higher taxes when the government isn't willing to take a serious crack at cutting waste. Make the necessary cuts to balance the budget, and raise taxes on billionaires ONLY to pay down the debt over 10 or 15 years. 2011-09-26T15:05:04-06:00 rawr
Who do you think implemented the ridiculous rules? Well, since the City and County has been run by progressives for years, let's take a wild guess! 2011-09-21T16:49:32-06:00 rawr
Reagonomics didn't work. He wasn't that great of a president. Obama sucks more. What's your point?

I like how liberals always try to use "greed" when referring to anyone making money. Of course, wanting to make money is all about "greed," but when the government wants to take your money, or when people want something for "free" from the government...it's not greed, right? It's only "greed" if you work for it?
2011-09-21T16:47:38-06:00 rawr
Isn't it funny how all of the commies on this site forget who abolished slavery. 2011-09-19T09:25:21-06:00 rawr
I remember when it was all the rage to believe that we were headed for another ice age. Of course, that theory disappeared around the time that Al Gore invented the internet. 2011-09-12T16:39:35-06:00 rawr
Ron Paul! But you, just like the national media, fail to acknowledge the massive following that Ron Paul has. 2011-09-12T16:33:55-06:00 rawr
This is the only piece of common sense I've ever seen you write. That is, 80% of it. 2011-08-02T20:28:59-06:00 Rawr
I like how you're "not going to go into details" about cut, cap and balance. That's because you didn't even read the details. You're just a partisan hack and cheerleader of all things "progressive." We don't need cheerleaders anymore. We need coaches. 2011-07-21T23:53:49-06:00 rawr