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Teachers on the Front Lines

School shootings and the bloody murders of totally innocent children and their teacher caretakers is a societal tragedy that Americans have become numb to. Without the common sense outlawing of the assault weapons used in most of... — Updated 3/31/2023

 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion

Looking out my Backdoor: Old, Used and Flawed

A few weeks ago, well, several weeks ago, well, a whole lot of weeks ago, Michelle ordered a throw or small bedspread made from pieces of used saris. She spread out the throw for... — Updated 3/31/2023

 By Carrie Classon    Opinion

The Postscript: Enough steps

Anxiety likes numbers. I only recently realized that a lot of my anxiety fixates on meaningless numbers. I like to know how many there are of a particular thing and then attach... — Updated 3/28/2023


Lots on taxes after transmittal

We are now past the transmittal cutoff, which means the bills that did not make it from one house to the other in time are now dead, so to speak. No need to worry however, there are still plenty of bills to watch as they move... — Updated 3/28/2023

 By Pam Burke    Opinion

View from the North 40: Of all the things I still have ...

My grandma developed Alzheimer’s in her early 80s, which isn’t a particularly funny way to start a humor column because, of course, the disease is not funny. There were moments... — Updated 3/24/2023


Canary in a coal mine

Over the past two years, Montanans watched the president’s attack on oil, coal and natural gas bring our nation to the brink of an all-out energy emergency. Gas prices rose to more than $5 a gallon and many Montanans are worried... — Updated 3/24/2023


It's a big club, and you ain't in it

If you want to know what's happening in America today, a good place to start is late comedian George Carlin's rant, “It's a big club, and you ain't in it.” In the Carlin worldview, people with money and connections run the... — Updated 3/24/2023

 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion

Looking out my Backdoor: The Onion Fairy and Other Tales

I grew up reading Hans and the brothers Grimm and Aesop. I love fairy tales and fables. Back then, we had the unexpurgated versions, full of blood and guts. I’m not saying that... — Updated 3/24/2023

 By Carrie Classon    Opinion

The Postscript: Tourist town

My husband, Peter, and I are staying in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, which is, according to a lot of folks, a tourist town. Sometimes, the person saying this means it is not a... — Updated 3/21/2023


Back after transmittal break

As we come back after the break, we are beginning to see and hear many of the House bills that were moved to the Senate just before the transmittal deadline. I thought it might be helpful to recap just some of the types of bills... — Updated 3/21/2023


Montana sportsmen groups oppose HB 635

Montanans have long fought to make sure that hunting is available for all, equitably, and not just reserved for the wealthy and well-connected. This is so important that when many of us agreed to join — and some of us helped... — Updated 3/21/2023

 By Pam Burke    Opinion

View from the North 40: It's an exercise in lunacy

It seems only fitting that a recent push to define and enforce some kind of time zone system on the moon has a link to the word lunacy. The Associate Press reported Feb. 28 the... — Updated 3/17/2023


Keeping our judicial branch independent

Every student of government learns about the three independent branches of government. Succinctly put, the legislative branch writes the law; the executive branch administers the law; and the judicial branch interprets the law.... — Updated 3/17/2023

 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion

Looking out my Backdoor: An interrupted peace, Or, Lola the Wonder Dog

Lola is a dog. See Lola run. Lola barks. Hear Lola bark. Lola is a working dog. She takes her duties seriously. She makes sure her master (Mistress? Mattress? Whatever.) goes outsid... — Updated 3/17/2023


Working Montanans look to lose out?

Montana state legislators are grappling with what to do with the state’s historic $2.5 billion budget surplus. This surplus is a result of higher-than-predicted income tax revenues as well as federal legislation that provided... — Updated 3/17/2023

 By Carrie Classon    Opinion

The Postscript: More useful

I spent last week trying to be useful. I volunteered for a writers’ conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where my husband, Peter, and I stay. I love writers... — Updated 3/13/2023


Who should be rebuked? Not Marc Racicot

I’ve spent considerable time pondering the Montana Republican Party’s rebuke and excommunication of Marc Racicot. It’s clear to me and other conservatives who know Marc well that it’s the party’s leaders—not him—who... — Updated 3/13/2023


Montana wants freedom from disease

State lawmakers are considering two bills that would put at risk the lives of the most vulnerable Montanans. Bills moving forward in both the Montana House and Senate would allow parents to send an unvaccinated child to a daycare... — Updated 3/13/2023

 By Pam Burke    Opinion

View from the North 40: This is how our world ends? Pigs?

Really, Canada? Super pigs? What were you thinking? I mean, of all the countries in all the world we might’ve imagined would bring about the end of mankind in some manner, did... — Updated 3/10/2023

 By Sondra Ashton    Opinion

Looking out my Backdoor: The worst possible scenario

“The pain ran from the outer edges of my rib cage, across my diaphragm, here to here,” I told Kathy. “It started right after I got out of bed and got worse during the... — Updated 3/10/2023


Transmittal break underway

We just completed the first half of Montana’s 68th legislative session. This week had a few long days as we made our way to transmittal. Wednesday and Thursday were particularly stressful days as they were both right at 12 hours... — Updated 3/7/2023


The Postscript: Mr. Muscles

My husband, Peter, is learning Spanish his own way. I do Duolingo online. It is free. It is easy to do. The whole thing is designed like a game, and dancing animated creatures hop up and down and celebrate every time I get five... — Updated 3/7/2023


On second thought: The new quiet time rule

What if the losing candidate went away after a presidential election? Suppose the nation had heard nothing from Donald Trump these last two years, except, perhaps report of the day he scored the greatest golf tournament triumph eve... — Updated 3/7/2023


Letter to the Montana Republican legislative leaders and party Executive Committee members

It’s not that the Constitution does not contemplate dynamic tension precipitated by differences of view. It is that it also, simultaneously, calls for self-restraint, sincere consideration of contrary views, a willingness to... — Updated 3/7/2023

 By Pam Burke    Opinion

View from the North 40: It's that old sinking feeling, again

I sound bonkers, even to myself, when I talk about how this whole kitchen sink project has affected me. I mean, it’s a sink — houses have them in 21st century U.S.A. They do.... — Updated 3/3/2023


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