The Billings Outpost

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Live on the edge

During the Christmas break I went by a school. The sign said, to the effect, “Have a safe, fun and happy vacation.” Happy I could see, but fun and safe seem like an oxymoron. When one is young, fun rarely is safe.

Some examples: swinging from a rope in a tree or hay loft, riding a three-wheeler, now four-wheeler as the former has been federally banned, sledding down a hill on whatever is slippery, cardboard, scoop shovel, sled, plastic. From my youth, everything was fun till someone got hurt.

Life is to be lived on the edge. Yes, one can be safe and cautious, but when does that become fear of failure, embarrassment or becoming paralyzing to the point of not doing anything? “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

If you are doing what you enjoy, you are going to make mistakes; you will have accidents. Others will disagree with you or be offended. If you are doing things to please others, sometimes you please neither yourself or others.

For the new year, follow your heart and take that leap of faith.

Lauris Byxbe

Pompeys Pillar

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 February 2014 09:42

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Urge Alzheimer’s funding

Alzheimer’s stories are all around us.

My mom. My husband’s dad. My uncle. My college roommate’s dad and her young sister. My oldest friend’s mom. Most families I know have had this disease strike heartbreakingly close to home.

Today there are an estimated 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s including as many as 21,000 here in Montana.  

That’s why Montanans should join the Alzheimer’s Association in urging Congress to prioritize Alzheimer’s disease as a vital component of the fiscal year 2014 budget.

Alzheimer’s is not a Republican or Democratic issue – it affects all of us.  It was encouraging to see Congress create and pass, on a unanimous bipartisan basis, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act, which spurred the creation of the first National Alzheimer’s Plan.

The Senate has prioritized the National Alzheimer’s Plan by including an additional $100 million for research, education, care and support; it is vitally important that Congress include these resources in fiscal year 2014.

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. Please contact Sen. Jon Tester today and ask him to provide the funding necessary to support the National Alzheimer’s Plan through Alzheimer’s research, education, outreach, and support activities.

You can contact the Alzheimer’s Association state office in Billings. It offers a great resource and loan library, free education materials, group presentations, support groups (three in Billings), facilitator training and initial care counseling for families facing Alzheimer’s. 

The important thing is to let your voice be heard in Washington on behalf of Alzheimer’s families in Montana and everywhere. 

Joanie Tooley

Alzheimer’s Association


Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 11:53

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The average Montanan

The redneck, racist viewpoint of Max Lenington insulting the president and his wife: Do you suppose that this is the viewpoint of the average Montanan against the president of the United States?

James O. Southworth



Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 11:52

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Crying foul

In the 2010 Citizens United case, the Supreme Court of the United States, by a partisan 5-4 vote, opened the door to unlimited corporate financial support of political activity. Some of this money is channeled through 501 (c) 4 “social welfare” groups, the number of which mushroomed after the court decision. The overwhelming share of this money goes to support conservative political messaging, even though 501 (c) 4 groups, like 501 (c) 3 “charitable groups,” must essentially abstain from political activity to merit tax-exempt status.

A unit of IRS, housed outside Washington and woefully understaffed with politically naive civil servants, is responsible for reviewing applications for tax-exempt status and deciding whether to extend this benefit.

This involves determining whether applicants disqualify themselves because of political activity. 

Only an idiot would deny that the Tea Party was established as a purely political group and has engaged in political activity from its inception. The IRS staff is simply doing its job to target and examine Tea Party applications for tax-exemption. They give the same scrutiny to left-leaning groups, although there are far fewer such applications. To deny tax-exempt status is not to deny an entitlement - it is to withhold a special benefit.

It takes enormous chutzpah for a politically active group to request such a benefit in violation of the law, and they to cry “foul” when it is denied. Perhaps burdening the IRS with a flood of groundless applications was a political strategy in itself?

Lawrence K. Pettit


Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 19:53

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Flip interest rates

Progressives talk about fairness and ability to pay as they relate to taxes, but not interest. Why? Progressives want to run the government. They want to spend freely, and they want to pay as little as possible for their borrowing.

Progressives are capitalists. Who knew?

At least, they’re capitalistic about their access to funds. Don’t believe them if they tell you that they don’t want a free lunch with mandatory dessert, too.

Government, big business, and banks have squeezed the poor and middle class out of the financial marketplace. The federal government is the biggest financial entity in the country; it has the ability to pay. Multi-billion dollar corporations have the ability to pay, yet they pay the lowest interest mortgage interest on the biggest assets Americans have – their homes – and pay, on average, around one-half of 1 percent on savings accounts, one of the smallest assets Americans own.

Store cards are allowed to charge over 20 per cent annual percentage rate interest. Who allowed them to charge that rate? The government!

So, the answer is to flip the interest rate structure in America. The government should have to pay a minimum of 20 per cent interest on the treasury bonds they sell. Multi-billion dollar companies should pay a minimum of 20 percent on anything they borrow. If they borrow $1,000, they’ll only pay $200 interest a year. Fair is fair.

The middle class and the poor would love to borrow monstrous amounts of money, at one-half of 1 percent interest, which they would spend freely and stimulate the economy. They want a free lunch with mandatory dessert, too. If they borrow $1,000, they’ll pay $5 interest a year, and they won’t even gripe about it.

So, come on Progressives, back this plan to flip interest rates. Don’t you want to help the middle class and the poor?

Conservatives believe that if you want less of something you add cost or you add a tax. This wouldn’t be a bad plan to rein in government borrowing, except the government has the power to tax and the power to print money. But, even those powers will have a limit someday.

Jack Mackenzie


Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 19:54

Hits: 3621

Adding to pollution

Recently in the news was this fact. In 2010, 1.2 million people died in China from air pollution alone. The question is: Could that happen here in this country? Would our government allow such a devastation of human life to occur without trying to protect its citizenry? Or would corporate greed buy its way into the Halls of Congress even more to limit regulation? Much of this air pollution is from the combustion of carbon based fuels. In southeastern Montana there is a proposal to develop another coal mine called Otter Creek. This coal is designed to be transported to China as well as other Asian nations. Since coal burning in the U.S. is on the decline since 2007 by 14 percent, there is no need for the coal here. Not this coal.

Let’s think of the positive influence that Montana could have on meeting the world’s energy needs. Why should we sacrifice our own pristine land, water, air wildlife and lifestyle for such a dirty, needless, and unwanted alternative?

Clinton Nagel



Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2013 19:55

Hits: 3827

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