The Billings Outpost

Protect public lands

I recently read about Matt Rosendale’s plan to transfer federal lands to state control. This is a hugely problematic proposal. As a member of the Public Land/Water Access Association, I get concerned when people start fiddling around with public lands.

But there are other concerns here besides the prospect of losing public lands and that is the huge expense of maintaining federal land such road maintenance, fighting wildfires, and many other expenses that are now funded by the federal government. I expect there would be a tax hike here in Montana to care take these roughly 27 million acres. Many Montanans, including some of Rosendale’s challengers, have spoken out against Rosendale’s plan. We have to be very smart and cautious about any proposal that may end up with Montanans losing any of our public lands.  I hope voters will recognize a bad idea when they see one.

Colleen Jensen


Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:54

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Treat everyone the same

You asked for help [Editor’s Notebook, April 17], well, here it is.  Concerning the sign “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone,” in the six states that I have lived in (California, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota and Montana), this sign has always referred to people who were causing problems (drunk, disorderly, profane or generally causing a disturbance).

This is the first time in my 54 years on this planet that I’ve ever seen it applied to race, creed, color or sexual orientation. This new view here in Billings is quite disturbing. The view that I have stated has always been the accepted usage to anyone I’ve ever known, until now.

So here’s the help you asked for: If you want to work, own a business, or in any other way work with or for the public, everyone should be treated the same, or find a job that keeps you from the public. Otherwise it is just another form of oppression, bigotry and segregation.

Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago it was done due to your color, race, religion and social status. I don’t see any difference. Do you?

Robert Jackson


Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:53

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Thanks for photo

Thank you for the photo and cutline about our Knights of Columbus annual Tootsie Roll Drive [Outpost, April 10].

We Knights appreciate it.

Harold Kelso

St. Pius X Council 9976


Last Updated on Thursday, 01 May 2014 11:52

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Help fight Alzheimer’s

On April 9, more than 800 people living with Alzheimer’s, caregivers and advocates from across the country, gathered in Washington D.C. for the 26th annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum. Representing millions of people, they engaged in the democratic process and appealed directly to members of Congress for action on Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, there are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and 15.5 million Alzheimer’s caregivers. As an Alzheimer’s advocate, it is my honor to play a role in addressing this rapidly growing health crisis.

I lost my beautiful mother to Alzheimer’s over the course of 10 years. My dear father-in-law suffers now. I’ve seen the toll this heartbreaking disease takes on Alzheimer’s sufferers and the people who are trying to care for them while often letting their own health concerns go unaddressed.

In addition to the human toll, Alzheimer’s is the most expensive condition in nation, costing a staggering $214 billion a year.

Did you know that nearly one in every five dollars spent by Medicare is on people with Alzheimer’s or another dementia?

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death among the top 10 without a way to prevent, stop or even slow its progression. If we could eliminate Alzheimer’s we could save half a million lives every year.

It is only through adequate funding and a strong implementation of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease that we will meet its goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025.

Please call our Sens. Jon Tester and John Walsh and our Congressman Steve Daines.  Ask them to make Alzheimer’s disease a national priority.

Alzheimer’s is a disease that affects us all. To learn how you can get involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s, visit 

Joanie Tooley


Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 16:19

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Back trapping ban

In response to the trapping of yet another companion animal in Montana, this time an old pet, this is what a trapper in Montana posted on Trap Free Montana Public Land’s Facebook page:

“im an avid trapper and all I can say is suck it up, why would u be so

irresponsible to take your dog with you during an open season ... the only thing immoral here is your stupidity!!~!!”.

A photo of the many trapped pets and the tragic reminder of the trapping death of beloved Cupcake in Missoula resulted in another Montana trapper posting, “Wonder what the fur price on Cupcake was.”

Less than 1 percent of Montanans are licensed trappers holding our public lands, only a third of Montana, hostage for the other 99 percent’s safe, enjoyable recreational use ...  and they blame us, often callously.

Note trapping is legal year round in Montana. There is no “open season.” Love your pet? Trappers answer is don’t let them accompany you while you recreate on our public lands. Leave those bird dogs, hound dogs, family pets, search and rescue dogs home. Best you leave your kids home then, too, and watch your step. Traps don’t discriminate.

Support I-169 Trap Free Montana Public Lands for people, pets, wildlife, for Montana. Visit to sign up to gather signatures and other ways to help get this on the ballot for all Montanans to decide.

K.C. York


Last Updated on Thursday, 17 April 2014 16:19

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What next for GOP?

What might happen after the current Republican civil war plays out?

Some context: By the standards of the rest of the developed world, we do not have a party of the Left. The Republicans, largely because they were unwilling, and now unable, to marginalize the Tea Party and other right-wing extremists, are a party of the Right, resembling European right-wing parties. The Democrats are a centrist party that has denied effective power to extremists of the Left. Democratic Party positions on political and economic policy since the New Deal and the Great Society are now mainstream – Social Security and Medicare; investment in infrastructure, public education at all levels, and federally funded research; civil rights and civil liberties; minimum wage and union rights; progressive income taxation; environmental protection; some degree of government regulation of capitalism; subsidies for agriculture; maintaining a safety net for the poor and disadvantaged; etc.

On lifestyle issues – women’s reproductive freedom; contraception; gay rights; separation of church and state; rights of privacy and other First Amendment Rights; respect for science and other intellectual inquiry, and openness to evidence and expertise, etc. – Democratic positions that once were left-of-center are now embraced by a majority of Americans. Even in the interpretation of the Second Amendment, most Americans, even most NRA members, agree with the Democratic position of sensible controls on the arms industry. Those who are literal believers in the NRA, and who as a result stockpile guns and ammunition in service to some paranoid delusion that either the federal government or the United Nations will come for our guns, are justly seen as a lunatic fringe of the right.

What does all this portend in regard to possible realignments?

It’s pretty much up to the Republican moderates. If the moderates continue to co-exist with the Tea Party wing, there will be either continual internecine strife or a Tea Party takeover that will guarantee minority status nationally for the Republicans. They will continue to rely on gerrymandered, backwater precincts to produce a sufficient number of true believers in the U.S. House and in many state legislatures to throw a monkey wrench into the machinery of democracy. The reward for this will be to face a growing contempt for the Republican Party, and to share in the gradual decline of the United States vis-à-vis the world’s other major democracies.

If the moderates and extremists split, giving us, at least for a short period, a three-party system, the moderates would at least have an opportunity to position themselves as a constructive party of the center, pointing to the Tea Party on the extreme right, and trying to make a case that the Democrats are a party of the Left. This depiction of the Democrats would be inaccurate, but even though they are not a Left party, with this array of three parties the Democrats would be the one to the left of the other two. Moreover, a majority of Americans, who are hungering for an end to partisan gridlock and government dysfunction, might opt for the new center, which would have been effectively moved to the right. Republicans already benefit from the fact that a significant portion of American citizens have a remarkable track record of believing things that are factually inaccurate in politics, history, economics, science and religion.

Will the moderates, who lacked the courage to take on the extremists in their own party, have the courage to break away and form a new party of the “center”? Or, in the face of unrelenting demographic changes that favor the Democrats, will Republican moderates hold their noses, continue the uneasy alliance with their far-right wing, and go along with the Tea Party strategy to suppress voting among Democratic constituencies? Will they endorse this stance on the wrong side of history and watch their national role diminish? Or will they conclude that to save the Party they must take the other risk and break away and try to co-opt the political center.

As a Democrat, I will watch this Hobson’s choice with great interest. And all of us in Montana will watch to see which kind of Republican Steve Daines turns out to be.

Lawrence K. Pettit


Last Updated on Thursday, 10 April 2014 11:10

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