The Billings Outpost

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Babies aren’t trash

“The most precious gift of God is a child.” So said Mother Teresa.

I remember a picture of her holding a tiny baby who was recovered from a trash bin in Calcutta, India. This wrinkled and saintly nun, face beaming, held aloft that child as though he were the infant Christ Himself. And to her, he was.

That babe in the trash bin sums up much of what has gone wrong with our world. Children are discarded like so much garbage not only in Calcutta, but also in the cities of America.

Countless unborn babies are killed in their mothers’ womb through abortion. The old and disabled are “put down” like cats and dogs that have outlived their usefulness.

If only we could take the words of Mother Teresa to heart. A child is precious. He is of infinite value even before he is born. Human life is sacred. Even the old and feeble are made in the image of the living God.

How dare we treat them as disposable trash?

Mike Kecskes Sr.



Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 19:47

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Beware of coal mine

I am writing to you concerning the proposed Otter Creek Coal Mine. With changing political environments in the past few years, big industry has begun to creep into politics so extensively that individuals are losing the ability to represent themselves and each other, and decision makers can’t decipher right from wrong. Let me help.

Polluting people’s air is wrong. We have no choice whether or not to breath the air around us. We cannot control its quality, nor can we clean it on our own. Everyone has the right to have clean air. Polluted air from coal causes 23,000 deaths each year, not to mention other coal ash-related health issues.

Exponentially increasing greenhouse gas emissions is wrong. The coal from this mine will contribute approximately 280 million tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere a year. We’re already seeing the detriment of global climate change each year, and significantly adding to it is unethical.

Finally, destroying water sources is wrong. Ranchers depend on this water for their cattle, as well as their irrigation. Coal mines cannot prevent heavy metal seepage into surface waters nor can they prevent coal ash pollution in water. Bioaccumulation of heavy metals also means check your fish before consuming; they could be toxic.

Allowing another outdated energy source in this state is wrong. Check the facts and listen to the individuals, not the big corporate groups just saying what you want to hear. Please let democracy work!

Janet McMillan



Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 19:47

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Take care of car, health

Ever have one of those days when you learn something the hard way? Auto maintenance, OK, the shocks are bad, I’ll get to them some day. The tires are getting thin but can’t find used ones and don’t want to put out all that money for new ones. I can get a few more miles on them. Yes, I have a headlight out and the wipers work sometimes.

Coming from town one evening, it starts to snow/rain, you have your one light on, the wipers sort of clean the windshield, you hit something in the road, and due to the shocks not holding and the tires not gripping the road, you lose control. Down through the borrow pit you go, into a power pole, through the fence and out in some farmer’s field.

When everything finally stops you get out to check the damage. The field is soft enough you can’t drive out plus you have a flat tire. The one headlight that did work got hit and is busted plus the front fenders are both dented up.

So how much money did you save by not replacing the shocks, wipers, tires, and a headlight?

You are now looking at a tow charge, replacing a power pole, fence, and more than likely your vehicle, maybe even a nice little fine.

Your health is much like your vehicle. Regular maintenance can save you a lot of headache down the road. That ache in my side usually goes away in a day or two. That chest pain – a couple of deep breaths and all is fine.

OK, so I drop a few things now and then or I reach for something and it isn’t where my hand goes.It’s just the flu; I’ll be over it in a couple of weeks.

I guarantee if you put off checkups and you will go to the hospital and the doctors won’t quit looking for something or anything they can get money out of you for.

My suggestion: Keep an eye on your gauges, pressure (tire, oil and blood), temperature (coolant and body), mirrors, make sure what is behind you, as in how did you feel last year, 10 years ago or 15? Your vehicle needs air circulation for the radiator to work; your body needs good air and blood circulation for it to work.

Get that chuck up and do the maintenance. It will save you money in the long run.

Lauris Byxbe

Pompeys Pillar


Last Updated on Thursday, 06 June 2013 19:45

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Editor gets it wrong

In the Editor’s Notebook dated May 2, David Crisp misreads gun owners and the situation entirely.

Any attempt to repeal the Second Amendment requires a two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress or two-thirds of the state legislatures and the amendment has to pass three-fourths of the states. That isn’t easy, regardless of what Thomas Jefferson thought.

The history of the Second Amendment included legislative attempts to ban firearms. The reasonable anti-gun people want to take the power out of the Second Amendment instead of repealing it. What if the 13th amendment, the abolition of slavery, had the history of the Second Amendment?

Would David Crisp brand the 13th Amendment defenders as worshipers of a sacrosanct document? Or would he see the attempt to reintroduce slavery as outrageous?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., once said that if she could have achieved what she wanted, she would have said, “Mister and Mrs. America: Turn in your guns.”

What if the 19th Amendment, women’s suffrage, had the history of the Second amendment? Would Ms. Feinstein like to hear someone say, “If I could have my way, I would say, ‘Ladies, go home! You don’t have a say in the future of this country!” Or would she see that idea as outrageous and fight against it with everything in her power?

Gun owners don’t expose their throats to wolves. They don’t disarm unilaterally in the face of their enemies, and they don’t trust anti-gun people who describe themselves as reasonable.

Would Mr. Crisp have even written this opinion if the 13th or the 19th amendments were at stake?

Jack McKenzie



Last Updated on Friday, 24 May 2013 00:37

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No to Otter Creek coal

Anyone concerned with increased train traffic, expanded West-coast ports, or the industrialization of eastern Montana should cross their fingers and hope that the Department of Environmental Quality decides not to permit the mining of Otter Creek coal.

The Otter Creek mine is the largest proposed coal mine in the lower 48 states. Though the coal is located in southeastern Montana, it is destined for Asian countries where cleaner energy sources are not yet in high demand.

For transportation purposes, the mine’s approval would strongly influence the construction of the Tongue River Railroad and the expansion of various ports along the Pacific Coast. Though presented to the public as three separate projects, the development of the Otter Creek mine, the construction of the Tongue River Railroad, and the expansion of West Coast ports are interconnected undertakings. These three destructive projects are actually segments of a larger strategy for out-of-state coal companies to make money by convincing Montana agencies to allow our state to become a coal colony for China.

If Otter Creek Valley is overrun by Arch Coal, Montanans will suffer the endless effects of air pollution, aquifer depletion, property value loss and misdirected tax dollars. Eastern Montana’s most prosperous agricultural region should not be sacrificed for temporary corporate gain. The hazardous implications associated with private and public agencies’ elaborate plan to mine and transport Otter Creek coal are not worth the risks.

I hope state agencies set higher standards for the uses of Montana’s natural resources.

Mary Ellen Wolfe



Last Updated on Friday, 24 May 2013 00:37

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Background checks in place

In the May 9 edition there was a letter keyed “improve safety” on which I would like to comment. To buy a firearm from a dealer at a gun show, the dealer has to have a federal firearms license and the purchaser is given a background check according to statute.

Fifty or more percent of those buying space at gun shows are selling items ranging from needlework to helicopters. A background check is not needed to buy these items.

To legally purchase a firearm from the internet, the weapon must be shipped to a dealer with an FFL, who then charges a varying amount to call in the background check before the weapon is released. It is safe to say that in any legal transaction involving firearms and dealers, a background check is mandatory.

If the transaction is between individuals, a background check is useless because criminals are hardly concerned with background checks as they steal their firearms or get them from the black market.

I fail to see where more laws on background checks are going to improve gun safety or stop illegal sources of firearms. The government is not enforcing the laws already on the books so more laws would just sit there also.

How are more laws regarding background checks going to improve safety?  The law-abiding citizens who go through the background checks are not those who cause problems with guns. As far as “gun nuts” go, I suppose the British thought the colonists were gun nuts as well as they were fighting for their liberty and as we know the major cause of the Revolutionary War was the king’s attempt to disarm the colonists.

Congress was astute enough to realize that more  background laws would be an exercise in futility. And let’s not even talk about gun trafficking!

Keith Babcock



Last Updated on Friday, 24 May 2013 00:36

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