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

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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Bozeman to host far-right ‘Red Pill Expo’

GE

We received a press release yesterday from the Montana Human Rights Network about a truly epic gathering scheduled for this weekend in Bozeman. I have been traveling way too much lately so I can’t be in Bozeman this weekend, but let’s hope the Bozeman Chronicle does as much thorough coverage as its reporters can stand. Meanwhile, it seems pointless to try condensing the network’s lengthy, well-researched press release, so we’ll just give it in full: (more…) Continue Reading →

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Missoula Current overhauls website, marks success

We are happy to report that our partners in Western Montana, the people behind Missoula Current, are announcing all kinds of good news. In a column by founding editor Martin Kidston, we learn that Missoula Current has launched “a new and enhanced webpage offering a greater variety of stories, images and video.” It was already a good website, but now it’s even better, and easier to navigate. And like the website you’re reading at the moment, it is free of the clutter and maddening distractions one has to endure to read news stories just about anywhere else. Kidston also had this to say: “Last month—in what marked a new Missoula Current milestone—more than 60,000 unique readers logged on for a combined 104,000 pageviews. Continue Reading →

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Conservation Voters score Legislature

Montana Conservation Voters didn’t get much of what it wanted in the 2017 Legislature, but it managed to avoid the worst of what it did not want. MCV released its 2017 Montana Legislative Scorecard this week, detailing its positions on 12 bills, plus two resolutions, of concern to the state’s environmental interests. Seven of the bills made it through both houses of the Legislature but were vetoed by Gov. Steve Bullock. The resolutions, both backed by MCV, failed, and none of the five bills MCV supported or the seven it opposed became law. “Special thanks should go to Governor Steve Bullock who stopped the terrible legislation that would have limited access to Montana’s public lands, put more money in the pockets of big polluters, and rolled back our clean energy economy,” Clayton Elliott, MCV’s executive director, said in a news release. Continue Reading →

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List of Montana’s priciest houses includes Red Lodge property

House

A real estate industry website, PropertyShark.com, recently compiled a list of the 10 most expensive homes for sale in Montana. The list includes properties in all the places you’d expect, including Whitefish, Flathead Lake and Big Sky. Unusually enough, the list even includes a home in Eastern Montana—if you consider Red Lodge part of Eastern Montana. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Panel to discuss ‘Civility in America’

“Civility in America,” a panel discussion with two professors, a journalist and a minister, is the next entry in the Billings Public Library’s Civil Conversation Series. The topic comes on Election Day for the U.S. House seat vacated by Ryan Zinke that will be filled either by Republican Greg Gianforte, Democrat Rob Quist or Libertarian Mark Wicks. Gianforte and Quist have bombarded the airwaves with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ads, many of them conveying negative messages about the other candidate. (more…) Continue Reading →

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