MYOB: The pharmacy owners in Great Falls who have decided not to carry birth control pills have been catching all sorts of grief, which really is amazing.
Part of the reaction is probably due to the fact that most of the people in a tizzy over it are from Missoula, where it is commonly believed that Great Falls has only one pharmacy, that the nearest alternative pharmacy for Great Fallens is in Calgary, and that even if there were more than one pharmacy in Great Falls, the residents wouldn't be bright enough to think of switching to the other one.
If the pharmacy had dropped a particular class of drugs because they believed the pharmaceutical manufacturers were making an immoral amount of money -- or if they had dropped a class of products because the carbon footprints of the factories were immorally large, they would be receiving the Granola Peace Prize right about now.
Golden Pen Award: Speaking of receiving awards, while we rarely read the letters to the editor in the Gazette, one thing that has caught our attention over time is the "Golden Pen Award." Doing a non-scientific survey based on the Gazette's search engine, it appears that the award invariably goes to a letter expressing a liberal sort of opinion -- except when it is a generic feel-good letter. Just one more objective piece of evidence that we Republicans really are a pretty unlettered bunch of knuckledraggers.
Rep. Rehberg on the Bush-Kennedy amnesty bill: Nothing fancy -- just a straight no-nonsense assessment of what a bad bill the current immigration "reform" measure really is. We have approved of how Sens. Tester and Baucus have voted so far on this bill. Rehberg's position is even stronger, if anything -- and somehow we imagine that we won't have to be watching his votes, when the time comes, as closely as we will have to watch Sens. Baucus and Tester.
Bill Kennedy's recent mailing for fundraising tries to make the case that Rehberg simply does President Bush's bidding. He'll have a hard time making that case, since Rehberg has done a good job of finding the right balance of party loyalty (without which a lone Congressman is dead in the water) and of knowing when the views of Montanans differ from those of many Republicans in other parts of the country. Just check out his ACU rating, and why he doesn't have a 100%. This is just one more example of Rehberg's natural bent toward a genuine Montana populism -- which is, of course, a mostly conservative sort of populism.
A CPA's opinion on whether Montana is "open for business": A nice piece in the Missoulian. No matter how much Democrats like to talk about "out of state tax-cheats," it is hard to escape the uneasy feeling that the real targets of the empire-building going on in the Montana DOR are the 20% of Montanans of modest means who already pay 60-70% of the taxes in this state -- not billionaires in Bel Air. This editorial strengthens that suspicion.
What Montanans should be demanding to see is concrete evidence and concrete examples of out-of-staters breaking Montana's tax laws, and how changing laws to address those specific situations will affect Montanans. The debate on this in Helena during the last session was long on rhetoric and short on specific examples -- in that regard, each party failed to make its case effectively.