David Crisp: Politicians, we voters have failed you

Every couple of years when election season heats up, I write a column in defense of politicians.

Don’t judge politicians so harshly, I argue. Yes, some are corrupt and some are liars, but it ruins democracy to paint them all with the same monochrome spray can. Not all politicians are ignorant and incompetent, I tell voters.


Montana Viewpoint: Lessons from the Hi-Line lawmaker


Several years ago, when I was a member of the Montana Senate, a constituent called me to ask for my help in an issue she was having with a state agency.

I don’t remember what it was, but it must have been pretty simple because it took only a short phone call to resolve it and I was able to call her back the same day to tell her it had been taken care of, and in the way she had hoped for. Continue Reading →

Nothing compares: A Montana musician pays tribute to Prince


“Dearly beloved … we’re gathered here today to get through this thing called life.”
—Prince, “Let’s Go Crazy”
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a Prince fan. If you’re not a Prince fan, you might be dating or married to one. Growing up, I wasn’t a Prince fan. When I was in high school in the late ’90s and early 2000s, he was a symbol, and I didn’t understand. “He used to be a Prince,” my dad, a now-retired Presbyterian pastor and musician, told me. Continue Reading →

Most of the pieces are in place for downtown co-op bookstore


Step by step, plans for a cooperative bookstore in downtown Billings are moving forward.

Last week, the project got a certificate of filing from the Montana secretary of state, which allows it to begin selling stock for the venture. Organizers have commitments for more than $24,000 worth of stock and can now begin invoicing to collect on those pledges, said Carrie La Seur, one of three initial board members selected at a recent general meeting of the Billings Bookstore Cooperative. Continue Reading →

Athlete’s privacy rights debated in Krakauer’s high court hearing


The Montana Supreme Court on Wednesday heard oral arguments in a case that pits the public’s right to know against a student’s right to privacy, and whether a lower court erred in granting author Jon Krakauer access to the student’s disciplinary records. Krakauer is seeking records pertaining to the 2012 disciplinary proceedings of Jordan Johnson, the former starting quarterback for the University of Montana football team. The proceedings found Johnson guilty of rape and ordered him expelled from school. Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian overturned the decision, however, and Johnson was never expelled. He was later found not guilty in Missoula District Court. Continue Reading →

David Crisp: After all these years, newspapers still needed


Last week, I was asked to speak to the American Association of University Women about the meandering path that brought me to Last Best News. What follows is a condensed, and possibly improved, version of those remarks.

To begin at the beginning, a long, long time ago, in a place far, far away, I was born.

That beginning is more relevant than it may sound, because even before I really knew how to write letters properly, I was already self-publishing little family newsletters, commentaries and magazines, sometimes using little toy printing presses that my brother and I had. Continue Reading →