The Billings Outpost

Overpass protesters call for impeachment

By JANE WHITE - The Billings Outpost

Eight people from Whitehall, Big Timber and Billings identified themselves as everyday people who are so frustrated with corruption in the Obama administration that they stood on the South 27th Street overpass with signs emblazoned with “Overpass – Impeach Obama,” on the last Saturday of July.

Josh Daniels, 37, a precinct committee man in the Republican Party – which allows him to attend conventions and vote on the Republican Party platform – and Jim Buterbaugh, 58, not affiliated with any political party, said, “We are not fanatics. We are just regular people who care about America.”

Truckers honked their air horns, and drivers gave thumbs up, smiled and waved at the protesters. Smaller vehicles beeped as they drove by the sign-waving group.

Buterbaugh estimated that the crowd had gotten 200 beeps from the constant stream of traffic. The small group split up to ensure that about four people remained on each side of the overpass for many hours on July 27. The group members said they found each other on a Facebook site called Overpasses for Obama’s Impeachment.

One man, Kyle Hartman, 23, a retail employee who carried a huge American flag from Big Timber, said, “We want to raise awareness about how Obama is crushing our constitutional freedoms.”

Can a president be impeached for potentially violating a citizen’s constitutional freedoms? Can the president be said to have been guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors,” as the Constitution requires for impeachment?

A Billings lawyer who asked not to be identified said that the House of Representatives initiates the impeachment process and the Senate prosecutes the impeachment via a trial. After the president is removed from office, another court would be required to continue the legal action by another trial and conclude with conviction or acquittal or another appropriate punishment.

Mr. Daniels said that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ “Fast and Furious” operation, which resulted in the death of an ATFE agent – via U.S. guns that they shipped to Mexico in an attempt to determine which gangs were trafficking in guns - should be prosecuted as murder.

Other items that the group cited included 33 witnesses under gag orders (a judicial order not to speak about an issue under investigation) crucial to the outcome of the ongoing Benghazi investigation, the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative 501 (c) 4 political organizations given special tax benefits, the collection of information belonging to private citizens by the National Security Agency, the refusal of the Drug Enforcement Administration to reschedule cannabis from a drug with no medical value to a drug for medical use in appropriate circumstances and, finally, raids on a slew of Washington state dispensaries, where voters approved the legalization of cannabis. Possession, distribution and intent to distribute cannabis remain illegal under federal law.

Mr. Daniels said, “This is in response to blanket spying on U.S. citizens, the recording of their private phone calls … . Under the Fourth Amendment, [the clandestine monitoring of] U.S. citizens requires a search warrant from a special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court. If you don’t have a warrant, that’s a crime.”

He added, “I am furious that the DEA has not rescheduled cannabis and has raided 18 dispensaries in the state of Washington, where voters passed by 55 percent the complete legalization of marijuana.”

A Billings cannabis activist, Elizabeth Pincolini, said that authorities in Washington, D.C., are circumventing the Constitution.

Cannabis should be rescheduled from a Schedule I narcotic (a highly addictive dangerous drug with no medicinal value) to something with medical significance, she said.

“Instead of going through proper channels, they just put the DEA in charge,” she said. “Back during Prohibition, a constitutional amendment was required to make alcohol illegal [on a federal level]. It is ridiculous to make a plant that grows wild illegal.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 August 2013 16:58

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Minister decries spread of U.S. militarism

By JANE WHITE - The Billings Outpost

Eleven people saw jarring images of the atomic bomb hurtling through the air toward Hiroshima in a video shown at a lecture organized by Will Crain of the Peace and Justice Forum last Friday night.

The Rev. Sam Smith, a traveling pastor for Fellowship of Reconciliation Chicago, addressed the rapt audience, composed mostly of Billings Unitarian Universalist Fellowship members.

He said that the military industrial complex, via its recruiters, improperly influences youth, and he played commercials that he said depicted military life as glamorous in order to attract naïve young people to enlist in the armed forces.

Finally, he showed photos of the “Baby Marines,” boys about age 6-8 years old dressed in camouflage and marching in formation, and said that the myth of redemptive violence (e.g., might vs. right) must end.

Although Mr. Smith presented the lecture at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, his presentation was not associated with the well-known Wednesday Evening Community Lecture Series.

Mr. Smith showed other materials that he says trick young people into thinking they are invincible once they put on a military uniform. For example, to demonstrate that military recruiters give today’s youth a sanitized version of military life, he pointed to “An Army of One,” a commercial accompanied by breathtaking classical music and words that promise, “There is no one on this green earth stronger than a U.S. soldier.”

Smith pleaded for listeners to pay attention to youths, who people in the audience said get advice from their high schools that military enlistment is a more viable career path than less risky, more conventional careers.

Statistics about the dangers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the consequential increased likelihood of suicide, exposure to chemical and biological warfare germs and poisons, vaccines soldiers receive, physical disfigurement and other serious permanent injuries are conspicuously absent from the discussion.

Ms. Farnum said the Hiroshima video shocked her. “The thing that comes to mind readily are the views of Hiroshima,” she said. “I don’t think people in the United States have ever come to terms with the fact that we did so much damage with the atom bomb.

“The effect was so much greater than that … the nuclear fallout … the cancer, radiation sickness that followed. The bomb detonated in the sky - not on land – it was like a dust cloud and it went every place.”

Interspersed between flashing images of the bomb’s long journey to earth were shots of a 5-year-old Japanese boy with straight black hair and dressed in a tiny blue blazer, white shirt and striped tie, cringing and covering eyes with his hands.

Violence is inherent in our culture, said Ms. Farnum. “The childhood game, cowboys and Indians … we have John Wayne, we think we can engage in violence for the right reason.”

But Mr. Smith aims to destroy what he called the myth of redemptive violence. The main campaign Mr. Smith encouraged is entitled, “I will not kill,” an initiative created at his Chicago FOR chapter.

In the campaign, students from that fellowship and DePaul University’s peace studies department pledge that they will resist recruitment into the military and encourage other young people to do the same.

Dressed in a black T-shirt, on which was written in both white English and Arabic letters, “I want peace,” Mr. Smith said his back pain and his exhaustion from driving all the way from Chicago, stopping at various locations to publicize the “I will not kill” message, prevented him from standing up to deliver his presentation.

Why is he taking a position staunchly opposed to militarism? “There is a peace component to all theology,” he said. “I just could not see Jesus in a rice paddy with an AK-47 … . I want to teach kids that to join the military is to join a killing machine.”

Will Crain agreed. He said, “Every kid that I get not to join the military, I tell them to join the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, some kind of peace organization.”

The Peace and Justice Forum’s next event is at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 3 at the Frank Little Memorial in Butte.

At the park, peace-minded individuals plan to sing songs, deliver impromptu speeches and otherwise commemorate the accomplishments of the lynched worker and the Industrial Workers of the World, of which Mr. Little was a member.


 

Last Updated on Thursday, 18 July 2013 12:42

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Fair entries sought

From MetraPark

Win cash prizes, blue ribbons or those coveted bragging rights by “showing your stuff at MontanaFair,” Aug. 9-17. Now’s the time to begin planning your entry.

Anyone and everyone is eligible and encouraged to enter. MontanaFair has an exhibitor category for everyone and at every experience level including: fine arts, photography, decorative arts, horticulture, heritage arts, art needlework, culinary arts, hobby hall, youth art and livestock.

To enter online, visit www.montanafair.com and click on “Exhibit.” Once you decide on your categories, just click on the “Enter Online” button. For help contact Connie Watts at 256-2410 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Also sought are singers, dancers, rockers, magicians, comedians, jugglers and more; you can put your act on center stage at MontanaFair.

To sign up for time on stage, contact supervisor Sandy Wong at 855-4829 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

MontanaFair is the region’s largest event. During this weeklong event, nearly 10,000 people will earn prizes for their exhibits, the Thomas Carnival will thrill the young and the young at heart alike, and family and friends will come out to enjoy top notch food and entertainment.

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 July 2013 15:03

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12-year-old sings Anthem

The fourth annual Big Sky State Games National Anthem contest winner is 12-year-old Anthony Cox of Great Falls. He said in a news release that it was a “great honor” to be chosen to sing at this year’s opening ceremonies.

Anthony Cos attends the Montana School for the Deaf and Blind in Great Falls as a blind student. His interests are in the direction of music. He sings in the Great Falls Young People’s Choir and in the Visually Impaired Performers singing group at his school.

He also plays the violin and is a percussionist. He likes to play on the iPad, listen to books on tape and watch descriptive videos. Anthony and his family thank everyone who voted for him, the news release said.

The fourth annual National Anthem contest began in March. Over the course of six weeks contestants posted videos of themselves singing the National Anthem to YouTube or Facebook.

A panel of professional judges together chose the top five singers, and voting for the winner was open to the public May 8-15.

Anthony Cox will sing the National Anthem at the 28th annual Big Sky State Games Opening Ceremonies on Friday, July 19, at Wendy’s Field at Daylis Stadium in Billings.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the Parade of Athletes begins at 7:30 p.m.

To register for the Big Sky State Games visit www.bigskygames.org or call (406) 254-7426 for more information.

Big Sky State Games Major Sponsors are Kampgrounds of America, First Interstate Bank and Montana Cycling and Ski. Wendy’s sponsors opening ceremonies.


 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 12:10

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Cancer scare makes life more precious

By SHARIE PYKE - For The Outpost

May 7, 2013: a day that will live in infamy. Well, not really. But I’ll never forget it.

The phone rang that morning at about 8:15. I’m a night owl, so I usually skip those early calls. But this time I struggled out of bed, read “Billings Clinic” on the caller ID, and answered the phone.

It was my dermatologist, Dr. Reck, calling to tell me that the small lesion that he had snipped off my head 10 days earlier was lymphoma and that his nurse would be calling back shortly with an appointment with an oncologist.

Lymphoma. Cancer. The Big C. Something that happens to other people. Right? This time, wrong. I was booked in with an oncologist that same afternoon.

“How are you?” Dr. Muslimani asked as he entered the exam room. How am I? Well, Duh! Why do medical people ask you that? Would I be there if I were fine?

“Scared,” I said, which was the truth.

“Don’t be scared.” He then explained to me that I had a rare form of lymphoma that he’d only seen once before at a big teaching hospital back East. When I find a piece of 19th century porcelain at a secondhand store, rare is good. But who wants a rare cancer? But, lucky for me, the doctor had seen this before.

He then outlined The Plan. If the cancer had not moved from my scalp to other places in my body, it was not only treatable but curable. I’d have a cat scan, then a bone marrow biopsy, and then, if it was “so far, so good,” I would have radiation treatments.

And so began my journey of discovery. May felt more like a month of months rather than just 31 days. It was a time of faith and questions. We all know that we’re born, we live and we die. Was this how my life would end? Was it better to know for sure, ahead of time or to just fall asleep and not wake up? And always with cancer, “Why me?”

On May 9, two days after my diagnosis, and on my 65th birthday, my father died. Are coincidences God’s way of remaining anonymous? One friend said that my dad had given me a birthday gift.

So just what kind of a gift was this? Lymphoma and my father’s death within 72 hours? The angels should be floating down from the Great White Throne with instructions and explanations.

My father’s funeral was on May 17, just 10 days later. I arranged with Smith Funeral Chapels to have a private time with dad the day before. I had a very small floral token that I placed in his hands. Then I sang to him, prayed and read my Bible.

“See you soon, Dad,” I whispered. Truly, our few years on earth, in comparison to eternity, are nothing.

But then I realized that with this weird lymphoma, our reunion might, indeed, be soon. Or sooner than I would have thought just 10 days earlier. Looking at my father in his casket, I was facing my own mortality. But at the same time I could feel his presence with me. The body in the casket was not my father. A great sense of peace came over me, a peace that had nothing to do with the results of my medical tests.

Still, cancer is cancer. Many obituaries include the phrase, “A courageous battle with cancer.” It always makes me think of Dylan Thomas’s poem. “Do not go gently into that good night ... Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” Would I be waging a courageous battle with cancer?

And are you only courageous if you die? If you live on without the drama of a hard-fought decline and death, are you still considered courageous?

My older grandson, Trey, has often commented on how many people I know in Billings. “Every time we go out to eat, Grandma, you see someone, and they’re always somebody different.”

But if I know a lot of people, so does God. Every day, one or two friends or acquaintances would call me or cross my path.

“I just felt the Lord wanted me to call you,” said a friend the day of my dad’s funeral. She had not known until then that my father was gone. I thank everyone for the kindness, caring and prayers.

I have now safely passed both the CT Scan and the bone marrow biopsy and have begun radiation treatment on the site of that first lesion on my scalp. Dr. Goulet, my radiation oncologist, explained to me that I may have permanent hair loss in that area. For me, it was a no-brainer. I signed in three places to give my OK.

But Dr. Goulet said that people actually decline treatment for that reason. I imagine their obituary: “died of cancer, but their hair was beautiful; not a strand out of place.” What’s a small bald spot in exchange for, in my case, a 95 percent recovery rate?

And the Clinic cancer center even has a wig boutique. Maybe I’ll end up with a collection of hair pieces in different colors.

I am now a cancer survivor. I was the too-smart girl with the glasses who didn’t go to the senior prom, not a clique that I enjoyed. We cancer survivors belong to another special club that I would also have preferred to skip.

There are many platitudes about the superiority of the spirit over the body. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma invaded my world and has made me revalue what days and years I may still have. I intend to cherish every moment I have between now and lights out.

My Aunt June, an eight-year survivor of ovarian cancer who has since died, told me that she started every day with this verse: “This is the day which the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24). My grandmother taught her, and then she taught me. I think of my aunt every morning as I say it myself. Today is the only day we truly have.

I will walk proudly around the West High track on July 12 at the Relay for Life with my fellows. You are a cancer survivor if you are alive. If you can walk. If a friend can push you in a wheelchair.

I look forward to receiving my survivor’s T-shirt, for me as significant an award as an Olympic gold medal or a Purple Heart. To join us at Relay for Life, call the American Cancer Society at 256-7150.


 

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 11:31

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Glendive senior honored

An 84-year-old Glendive man has been honored as the Montana winner of the Home Instead Senior Care network’s Salute to Senior Service award, a news release said.

Bus Morris is being recognized for his dedicated community service, including his work at the Eastern Montana Veterans’ Home.

He has been volunteering there since the home opened in 1996 and now spends close to eight hours a day, seven days a week helping the residents. Early each morning he delivers newspapers, a task that would otherwise get put off until late in the morning.

In a given week, he runs errands for residents, has coffee and toast with them, serves as an escort for community outings and acts as a translator for individuals with communication challenges.

As one of 50 state winners, Morris earned $500 for his charity of choice – donated by Home Instead Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network and contest sponsor.

Morris also will have a spot on the Salute to Senior Service Wall of Fame on SalutetoSeniorService.com where his nomination story has been posted. As a state winner, Morris now will be considered for the national Salute to Senior Service award.

The Salute to Senior Service program was launched last year by the Home Instead Senior Care network to honor seniors’ commitments to their causes and communities.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 11:30

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Reenactments mark battle’s anniversary

Hardin Chamber of Commerce

HARDIN – In the United States, there are few battles more famous or controversial than the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Fought on the plains of present-day Montana (then a territory) on June 25 and 26, 1876, the battle saw Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors, led by dual legends Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse, clashing with Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and the U.S. Army Seventh Cavalry.

Nicknamed Custer’s Last Stand, this famous battle comes to life every year on a plain six miles west of Hardin, Montana. Now in its 24th year, this reenactment features more than 300 reenactors on foot and horseback.

“This is open-air theater at its best,” says Bill Joseph, chairman of the Custer’s Last Stand Reenactment and a former portrayer of Sitting Bull. “We give people a taste of what it was like on that day and during that time in history. In addition to the Indian warriors and cavalrymen, we have people who portray settlers, we have an Indian village with tipis, and there is a fort set up.”

Also this weekend, a reenactment is held on the Real Bird Ranch near the Little Bighorn Battlefield. The reenactment takes place at 1 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

The reenactment script for the Hardin reenactment is based on the notes of Crow Tribal historian Joe Medicine Crow, whose grandfather, White Man Runs Him, was Custer’s Indian scout. Medicine Crow, who lives south of nearby Lodge Grass and turns 100 on Oct. 27, 2013, used his grandfather’s passed-down accounts to craft the story through the eyes of his forefathers.

He has also attended the reenactment since it began, singing “Son of the Morning Star,” a Native American warrior song, to all those engaging in the battle.

“Each performance begins with the cavalry riding in military formation from the west, and the Indian warriors riding in from the east,” says Joseph. “They meet in front of the grandstands while Lee Greenwood’s ‘Proud to Be An American’ plays over the PA system. After the battle, the scene is repeated. It’s very powerful and it gives many people chills.”

Joseph says seeing the battle reenactment provides a deeper understanding of America in the 1870s, and especially of Native Americans as they dealt with the wars, treaties, relocations and other difficulties resulting from America’s westward expansion.

He says people travel from around the United States and the world to experience the annual event.

This year, one performance of the Custer’s Last Stand Reenactment will occur at 2 p.m. each day on Friday, June 21, Saturday, June 22, and Sunday, June 23. Visitors will be able to meet and take photographs with many of the reenactors as well as participate in other Little Big Horn Days events.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 11:28

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Williams plays Custer

HARDIN — A familiar face will lead the U.S. 7th Cavalry into battle at this year’s Custer’s Last Stand reenactments at Little Big Horn Days in Hardin (June 19-23). For the seventh straight year, veteran reenactor Rick Williams will portray Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer.

Williams began his reenacting career as a dismounted private in Company B, 1st Kentucky Cavalry, reenacting Civil War battles. He eventually volunteered for mounted duty and instantly fell in love with mounted combat, riding at every opportunity.

He first appeared as General Custer at Cridersville, Ohio, in July 2003. “For several years I had reenactors approach me and tell me how much I looked like Custer,” said Williams. “It finally got to the point where I couldn’t ignore it.” Today, he portrays Custer regularly, speaking at Civil War Round Tables, historical interest groups, school programs, reenactments and many other functions.

Much of his focus has been on Custer’s lesser-known Civil War record, but he embraces the role that made Custer a household name. In addition to portraying Custer at Little Bighorn Days, he also appears twice yearly in Custer’s birthplace of New Rumley, Ohio, where he is also a member of the Custer Memorial Association.

Williams’ movie credits include “Gods and Generals” and “Reel Injun.” He has also appeared in numerous short films and documentaries on the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, the Outdoor Channel and Our Ohio. Williams is the author of “The Beginner’s Guide to Civil War Reenacting.”

His research on famous killer Clyde Barrow was published in the United States and Great Britain in November 2003.

He is the father of four and has nine grandchildren.

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 10:04

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Variety of events planned for weekend

HARDIN – Hardin’s Little Big Horn Days continues through Sunday, June 23. During the annual event, put on by the Hardin Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture, the town’s population swells from 3,500 to more than triple that amount as people from around the state, the United States and the world gather to enjoy a celebration of local history and culture.

“Little Big Horn Days is an authentic American West experience,” says Al Sargent, who chairs the event for the Hardin Chamber. “It’s a terrific mix of history, music, art, food and events, and it’s all family-friendly. Everywhere you look there is something to see or do.”

Sargent says the crown jewel of Little Big Horn Days is the Custer’s Last Stand Reenactment.

Other planned events for Little Big Horn Days include a street dance featuring country music band Confederate Railroad, a parade featuring a California-based Lamborghini Club, a demolition derby, parades, a street fair, Native American dance demonstrations, suitcase relay races, historical symposiums and exhibits, and much more.

“We are also going to bring back our military ball, which we reintroduced last year,” Sargent says. “It will be held Thursday night, before the reenactments begin on Friday. We hold it under a large outdoor tent, and people wear period costumes.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 10:01

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Sports cars on display

HARDIN — A group of 22 1960s and ’70s vintage Lamborghini sports cars will be in Hardin on Saturday, June 22. They will drive in the Little Big Horn Days Parade at 10 a.m., and then be on display from noon to 3 p.m.

It’s all part of Little Big Horn Days, a four-day celebration of Western culture and history presented annually by the Hardin Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.

“We’re thrilled to have these classic Italian cars on display as part of Little Big Horn Days,” said Al Sargent, chairman of the Little Big Horn Days Committee. “It’s not every day you get to see an auto show like this.”

The Lamborghinis, or “Lambos” for short, are being driven to Hardin by their owners from all over the United States and Canada as part of a touring trip to nearby Billings. The owners are members of an internet forum called the Vintage Lamborghini Garage (http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/VintageLambo/). This worldwide group has about 1,100 members (up from six when it started in 2002) and is dedicated to the preservation, restoration and enjoyment of vintage Lamborghinis.

One of the founders of the Vintage Lamborghini Garage is Jack Riddell, a Billings native and 1956 graduate of Senior High School. He currently lives in San Diego, but is making the 1,250 mile trip to Montana to participate in the parade and show. He will be driving his 1967 400 GT 2+2 model, which he calls an “IRA on wheels” due to its stellar appreciation in value over the years.

“It’s always great to show off our Lambos, and to catch up with each other,” said Riddell. He added that though he hasn’t met some of the group’s members in person, “We chat so much online, I feel like I know them extremely well.”

The Lambo owners also plan to watch the signature event of Little Big Horn Days: the reenactment of Custer’s Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

Little Big Horn Days is an annual multi-day event presented by the Hardin Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. The centerpiece of the event is three reenactments (June 21, 22 and 23).

Last Updated on Thursday, 20 June 2013 10:00

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