Donald Trump

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Richard Spencer messes with Texas, Montana


Richard Spencer is stirring up trouble in both my native and adopted states. Spencer, who created the term alt-right, is a resident of Whitefish. On Tuesday, he gave a speech in the Texas town where I used to live, at the university where I both taught and studied. Spencer has been spouting the virtues of the white race for years, but last month he gained a dubious national reputation for shouting “Hail Trump” at a conference in Washington, drawing Nazi-like salutes from his white supremacist fans. Even for many hardcore racists, invoking Hitler was going too far. Continue Reading →

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Updating protest in the age of Trump


Heading into Thanksgiving weekend, I hosted a discussion at Rocky Mountain College on protests. Even though the Coffee and Conversation discussion came after classes were out for the week, and even though a cold front was supposed to be on the way, 20 or so students showed up. Maybe it was the free coffee that brought them out, or the prospect of a long weekend too far from home to spend the holiday traveling. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Opinion: Dear President-elect, take the lead on climate change


An open letter to the president-elect:

Perhaps we can help you bring us together on the most important issue facing humankind. More than 97 percent of climate scientists have given you a flying start. They’ve proven that global warming is real, and we are causing it by burning too much fossil fuel. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Prairie Lights: In the new news biz, truth is for suckers


There has been no lack of disappointing, discouraging news over the past few months, but I don’t think anything I read was as depressing as these two sentences:

“Six months ago, Wade and his business partner, Ben Goldman, were unemployed restaurant workers. Now they’re at the helm of a website that gained 300,000 Facebook followers in October alone and say they are making so much money that they feel uncomfortable talking about it because they don’t want people to start asking for loans.” (more…) Continue Reading →

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A racist bone to pick for Thanksgiving


Ed Kemmick’s recent story about racist and misogynist comments on social media by a local businessman drew so much interest that it crashed the Last Best News website. It also may have crashed the prospects of the Coffee Tavern, the business Larry Heafner was planning to open. But none of that was the most striking thing about the whole affair. What struck me was this quote from Heafner: “I’m not racist by no means, and I’m not a woman hater.”

The funny thing is, I believe him. Not that he isn’t racist—the evidence in the story is overwhelming—but that he doesn’t believe he’s racist. Continue Reading →

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Joliet coach maker’s latest work to be seen by millions


JOLIET — Dave Engel has been making and restoring wagons, coaches and other horse-drawn conveyances for almost 40 years, but the commissioned project he’s working on now is likely to be seen by far more people than anything else he’s done. Working out of Engel’s Coach Shop on Joliet’s Main Street, just off Highway 212, Engel and one employee have been laboring since last February to build replicas of two of the wagons once used to haul borax in California’s Death Valley. (more…) Continue Reading →

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TPM: Zinke serving in ‘Snow Job Caucus’

Ryan Zinke

U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, R-Mont., has been placed in the “Snow Job Caucus” by Talking Points Memo. The caucus, according to TPM, consists of members of Congress who have used “Word Salad to Avoid Giving a Position” on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s plan to replace Medicare with some sort of private insurance and voucher system. Zinke “told a TPM reader that there was no plan to phase out Medicare, therefore he does not support a plan to phase out Medicare,” the liberal web site reported. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., was placed on the “We’ll Get Back to You:” list of those “whose offices were caught unaware, or claimed they would pass on constituents’ concerns.”

Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., was listed as opposing the Medicare changes. TPM disputed Zinke’s claim that there is no plan to replace Medicare: “What Zinke’s office says isn’t true. Continue Reading →

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Red state mysteries: Bud Light, Donald Trump


They got their country back. And they are welcome to it. Colleagues in academia were commiserating last week after Donald Trump’s stunning presidential win. A couple of them stopped by my office for long talks as the results sank in. One wondered how she would explain to her kids that bullying and sexual predation are not OK, no matter what the president says. Continue Reading →

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Montana Viewpoint: Trumped—in spades


Well, the election is over, the dust has sort of settled, and the most obvious post-mortem on it is that political pundits didn’t have a clue as to how it would turn out. During the primaries Trump was dead meat. How could he win against all those qualified Republican candidates? OK, he won that primary, but if he continues to say outlandish things people will get wise to him and his support will plummet. OK, he won the nomination, but he can’t possibly win the election. Continue Reading →

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