David Crisp

Recent Posts

When was America great? Let’s try 1927


Weary of waiting for America to become great again, I went searching for a time when America already was great. What drove me back in time may have been yet another letter to the editor admonishing no-Trumpers to give it up and admit the election is over. Fair enough, if the letters did not support the election of a man who took more than seven years to acknowledge that his predecessor was legally elected. If he gets seven years, don’t we get seven weeks? Angrily, I climbed aboard my time machine and headed to 1927. Continue Reading →

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Montana government’s mythical spending spree

Austin Knudsen

Two prominent Republican legislators published an op-ed in Wednesday’s Billings Gazette calling for an end to “irresponsible spending” in Helena. House Speaker Austin Knudsen, R-Culbertson, and House Majority Leader Ron Ehli, R-Hamilton, say they want to be “a check on the governor’s spending and expanding government.” They also say that Montana faces a tight budget this year because of falling prices for oil and agricultural commodities and a “non-existent timber industry.”

Because of “poor management and excessive regulations,” they say, revenues are too low to meet basic costs. They don’t explain how poor management and regulations made oil and food cheaper, and they don’t explain how a nonexistent timber industry managed to bring in $296 million in labor income in Montana as recently as 2013. They do say that state government has added “well over 1,000 new state employees” in the last 12 years. Why 12 years? Continue Reading →

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Only thing worse than Obamacare is … what?


The most important issue before Montana legislators this session isn’t really even on the agenda. And it’s not their fault.

The fate of health insurance for millions of Americans, and for tens of thousands of Montanans, rests in the hands of a Congress dominated by Republicans, who have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as one of their first items of business when Donald Trump takes over as president. The GOP also has vowed to replace Obamacare, but that could take years. In the meantime, uncertainty could damage or even destroy insurance companies, and millions of people could lose insurance. This has left Montana lawmakers in a quandary. Continue Reading →

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Schweitzer: Values unite us, issues divide

The guv

Former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer showed up on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning to talk about prospects for the Democratic Party. Schweitzer’s name has been tossed around as a possible Democratic candidate to replace Ryan Zinke in the U.S. House of Representatives if Zinke is confirmed as President Trump’s secretary of the Interior. The speculation hasn’t come from Schweitzer, who has kept quiet about his political prospects since early talk about a run for president ended with a couple of ill-considered remarks to the National Journal in 2014. Given how the 2016 race played out, those remarks seem almost comically innocent. But Schweitzer publicly apologized and talk of his candidacy dried up. Continue Reading →

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Tester seeks input on Obamacare

Jon Tester

Has the Affordable Care Act made your life better? If so, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., wants to know. Tester has set up a website to gather input from Montanans about what the ACA, better known as Obamacare, has done for them. The goal is to thwart plans by Republicans to repeal the law once Donald Trump takes office as president. “I know our healthcare system isn’t perfect,” Tester said in a news release. Continue Reading →

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Coal prospects looking up? Maybe not

Shelby DeMars

The outlook for Montana’s coal industry may not be as bright as an opinion piece in Wednesday’s Billings Gazette suggests. The article sees losses of thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenues if Obama administration policies remain in place, but predicts all of that could improve under President Donald Trump. The author of the piece is Shelby DeMars, who is identified in the article as “the spokeswoman for Count on Coal Montana.” DeMars works with Chuck Denowh for The Montana Group, a consulting firm in Helena. Denowh, former executive director of the Republican Party of Montana, also has been identified as a spokesman for Count on Coal Montana. DeMars did not respond to a phone call or an email message on Wednesday. Continue Reading →

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It’s all right, Ma, it’s only snowing


It’s not really a Montana Christmas until you have spent part of it on hands and knees in snow and mud, trying to pry something or other loose from the cold claws of winter. I knew the holidays had arrived in full when I found myself on Tuesday kneeling on a  sidewalk in downtown Livingston, trying to extract a hat that a 65 mph gust had blown from my head into a perfectly inaccessible spot under a parked car. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Conduct code for lawyers stirs Supreme Court furor


The Montana Supreme Court has delayed action on a proposed change in the professional code of conduct for lawyers that has drawn hundreds of complaints from people who say the change threatens lawyers’ First Amendment rights. The proposed change comes from the American Bar Association, which adopted it in August. The change considers it professional misconduct for a lawyer to “engage in conduct that the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or socioeconomic status in conduct related to the practice of law.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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