Last Best Blog

This is the weblog page of Last Best News. Here you will find some news, perhaps, but also lots of commentary, opinion and satire. Just so you know.

Recent Posts

‘Dreyfest’ organizers interview ‘the man himself’

Dreyfuss

The main organizer of Richard Dreyfest V, the punk-inspired music and arts festival that opens Friday in downtown Billings, wasn’t really expecting to get an interview with the actor to whom the festival pays indirect homage. “It was just kind of a weird, cool, freaky thing for us to pick up,” said Phillip Griffin, a musician and writer who stepped in this year to put together the fifth annual festival. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Freshly arrived writer overwhelmed by Montana crime news

Cuffs

A recently arrived resident of Missoula has noticed a curious thing: that exposure to Montana’s daily newspapers makes one keenly, alarmingly aware of local crime. Anne Helen Petersen, the author of these musings, is a bit more than a casual observer. She is a native of Idaho who covers the West for Buzzfeed, who wrote one of the best, most thoughtful pieces on the special election that resulted in Greg Gianforte’s ascension to the House of Representatives. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Minnesota Avenue’s Oasis sign comes down

Sign1

We reported a couple of weeks ago that the old Oasis Bar sign on Minnesota Avenue had been sold to a local, private collector. The sign came down today, witnessed by its new owner, Steve Henry, and the couple who sold him the sign, Pat and Angie Cormier, as well as a few passersby. We were too busy to do any kind of story today, but we did get some photos. If you do want more details, KTVQ evening anchor Jay Kohn was on hand and should have the whole story later today. Continue Reading →

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Daines introduces bill he opposes

steve daines

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who has been criticized for his silence on healthcare reforms, took to the Senate floor Thursday to thrust a fresh new proposal into the Senate debate: Medicare for all. Daines offered a single-payer amendment identical to House Resolution 676, which has been stalled in the U.S. House since it was introduced in January by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. The House bill has 115 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats. Democrats on Thursday criticized Daines’ amendment as political grandstanding, and all of them voted against it or voted “present,” a tactic urged by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., unless Daines himself voted for the amendment. The amendment failed, 0-57, with both Daines and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., casting “no” votes. Continue Reading →

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Documentary traces history of Great American Hill Climb

Hill

In case you haven’t heard, the 99th annual Great American Hill Climb, billed as the world’s oldest motorcycle hill climb, and the one with the largest riders’ purse, gets underway Friday in Billings. Whether you’re a big fan of the event or have never seen it live, you’ll wanted to check out a “The Great American,” a 15-minute documentary on the climb made by Highway Goat Productions. One of the founders of the production company is Ryan Seitz, a graduate of Billings Senior High School. The documentary features lots of interviews, action scenes from last year’s hill climb, and archival footage tracing the history of the event—including a priceless black-and-white scene from the earliest days of the climb, showing a competitor on a big, heavy Harley-Davidson. And no helmet, of course. Continue Reading →

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Butte folk festival a success, planning underway for 2018

Folk

In a press release issued Wednesday, the people behind the Montana Folk Festival in Butte declared that the 2017 festival, which concluded on Sunday was a “tremendous artistic and economic success.” This will come as good news to all the thousands of devoted fans of the peerless festival, which has been going for 10 years now—three years as the National Folk Festival, produced by the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and the past seven as the Montana Folk Festival, produced by Mainstreet Uptown Butte. “The festival was a success on every metric we use to evaluate it,” festival director George Everett said in the press release. “This was the best and most beautiful Montana Folk Festival we have produced in a decade.” Everett gave much of the credit to more than 850 festival volunteers, with whose help they were able to “properly greet and entertain thousands of guests this past weekend, including friends and family from throughout the world.” Continue Reading →

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Former treasurer up to old tricks

Max

Talk about a bad penny… Max Lenington, the former treasurer, assessor and superintendent of schools for Yellowstone County, ended his long career of public service in disgrace a few years ago, after it became publicly known that he harbored racist, homophobic and all-around reprehensible beliefs. When I interviewed him in the midst of the firestorm about his comments, he still seemed rather proud of his notoriety, saying, among other things, “I enjoy the infuriation of the liberal left-wing media like you. I could say ‘fuck’ and I wouldn’t get as much news as when I said ‘Obama.’”

Since he left office, he has continued to trumpet his extreme, offensive views. Just this morning, in a letter to the editor of the Billings Gazette, he was at it again. Continue Reading →

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Gianforte: Congress’ newest misdemeanor

Gianforte

In case you were wondering whether Greg Gianforte will ever live down his body slam of a reporter for the Guardian, here’s a clue. The Associated Press reported last week that Gianforte drew boos from the Republican side of the aisle during his brief speech following his swearing in as Montana’s representative in the U.S. House. The murmurs apparently had nothing to do with misdemeanor assault but came in response to Gianforte’s call to “drain the swamp” and for a bill denying pay to members of Congress if they fail to balance the budget. Background noise is pretty hard to evaluate in a recording, but you can judge for yourself here. Perhaps an easier way to determine how Congress feels about tying members’ pay to balancing the budget is to look at the identically titled bill touted by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont. Continue Reading →

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