Friday, March 2, 2012

"I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt that they're coming here to work," he said. "But it's made the residents who live here very nervous."

Oil exploration boom changes the town of Sidney, up in the corner of Montana.
Full story here:

Another black eye for Montana

Appellate Court Will Review Cebull Email

Originally printed at
By Sarah Gravlee
March 1, 2012

BILLINGS - An appellate court will conduct a judicial misconduct review of Montana's chief federal judge. This after Judge Richard Cebull forwarded an email to friends containing a racist joke involving bestiality and President Barack Obama's mother.

Cebull is sending a formal apology to President Obama and Cebull himself is asking the Ninth Circuit to review the matter. One local man who has spent more than two decades battling intolerance said Cebull's email made him lose faith in the bench.

"Nothing short of a resignation is going to fix this," said Eran Thompson, the chair of Not in our Town, a world-wide organization started in Billings in 1992 when white supremacy groups targeted minorities.

"Our work is to stop hate," Thompson said. "To stand up and say, 'not in our town.'"

Thompson addresses racial issues in the community on a regular basis, but said the email sent by a federal judge hit close to his heart.

"On a personal level for me, I have a white mother and African-American father, and my initial reaction was anger when I saw this judge had written such a horrible email," Thompson said.

The email Cebull forwarded to six addresses ended up in the hands of a reporter at the Great Falls Tribune. They report the email, sent February 20th, included a remark that Cebull admits as being racist. The Tribune quotes the judge saying his motive was political, not racial. For some, that's not good enough.

"It's dehumanizing, first of all. Comparing the likes of skin other than white to being some kind an animal," Thompson said. The news broke around the anniversary of his mother's death.

"I flash to my mother's eyes. The sadness that would have been in her eyes to see something like this," Thompson said.

He is not the only one asking Cebull to resign. The Montana Human Rights Network has an online petition where anyone can join a list of people asking the judge to resign.

"We really feel like this email violates public trust that we put into people who serve in those positions," said Executive Director Travis McAdams.

Common Cause, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 1970, also filed an official complaint with the Ninth Circuit Court. President of that organization Bob Edgar said, "The judge is a federal judge appointed for life. He's to uphold the highest standards of the judicial code of ethics, and he's failed."

Cebull has reportedly apologized for sending the email, but for someone who has been fighting racism in this community for over 20 years an apology is not enough.

"People of color, women who were the target of this insensitive and ugly email will never be able to step into a court room or have any decisions made by him where we won't feel there is a sense of fairness lost," Thompson said.

Several attempts to reach Judge Cebull were unsuccessful Thursday. The Ninth Circuit Court issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying in part, "Judge Cebull has publicly acknowledged that he has acted inappropriately. The judicial council is expected to act expeditiously in investigating and resolving this matter."

The circuit could do anything from dismissing the complaint to recommending Congress impeach Cebull.

Friday, February 24, 2012

We're hearing more and more about ALEC these days

Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, ... bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills. ALEC boasts that it has over 1,000 of these bills introduced by legislative members every year, with one in every five of them enacted into law. ALEC describes itself as a “unique,” “unparalleled” and “unmatched” organization. We agree. It is as if a state legislature had been reconstituted, yet corporations had pushed the people out the door.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Homeless Has A Name

Homeless Has A Name: that's the tag line for - short interviews with houseless people all over the U.S.

Monday, January 9, 2012

How to Defend Your Home

How to Defend Your Home(from foreclosure threats)

“What a little survivor"

Happy New Year for dog, owner as pet survives Montana wilds

By John Grant Emeigh
The Montana Standard

BUTTE, Mont.
An Arizona man is ringing in the New Year with good news after a local animal warden found his dog — which had been missing for a month — near Butte.

Phil Nichols and his 6-year-old lab mix, Buddy, became separated in November while stopped in Dillon, he told The Montana Standard in a telephone interview Friday.

Exactly when and how Buddy jumped out of his camper, Nichols isn’t sure.

But the news received this week that Buddy is alive — albeit thin, haggard and nursing a badly hurt back foot — has Nichols brimming with happiness.

The mutt wandered rugged terrain, endured freezing temperatures and BB shots — all with the lame foot — before being rescued this week near Buxton, southwest of Butte.

Animal control officer Charlie Dick said Friday that he is amazed the dog is alive.

“What a little survivor. He was out there a long time,” Dick said.

Buddy’s odyssey started on Nov. 28 when Nichols, 79, was driving back to Arizona in his pickup truck after visiting his daughter in Helena. Buddy rode in a camper in the bed of Nichols’ pickup truck. Nichols recalls seeing Buddy in the camper while in Dillon to gas up.

But when he stopped again in Idaho Falls to let Buddy out for a quick walk, his dog was gone.

“I turned around and drove 150 miles back to Dillon to look for him,” Nichols said.

He stayed in Dillon for a day and a half searching for his best friend, which he had adopted from an animal shelter.

Buddy was nowhere to be found.

With a heavy heart, Nichols finally called off the search and returned home to Arizona. He assumed Buddy may have fallen out or just got out of the camper through a small side door.

It turned out to be a lucky thing that Buddy wasn’t in the camper, however. Nichols crashed near Pocatello, Idaho, when another vehicle cut him off. He hit a guardrail and rolled. Nichols survived, but the camper was smashed to bits.

Nichols suspects Buddy may have had a “sixth sense” about the accident and got out of the camper before it was too late.

“I think the dog has more brains than I do,” he said.

It’s not known if Buddy has a sixth sense, but he certainly has a survival instinct.

Animal services got a call about 8:30 a.m. Thursday of a wounded dog hanging around the Buxton area, about 10 miles southwest of Butte. Buddy had scratches on his face, a badly wounded right rear foot and was thin.

“He was just wandering around on three feet and was very skittish,” Dick recalled.

It took Dick about 45 minutes to finally coax the dog toward him with treats.

Animal control people found Buddy’s owner through a lost dog ad on Craigslist, which had been posted by Nichols’ daughter in Helena.

Erin Wall, shelter director, said Buddy was recovering Friday at the Amherst Animal Hospital in Butte and appears to be doing well. She said it is amazing the dog managed to survive so long in his condition.

“They (dogs) have such an instinct to live and a homing drive to get home,” Wall said.

She suspects Buddy found food and shelter in barns, because he was covered with hay. X-rays also showed Buddy was shot with a BB gun.

At the shelter, Buddy appeared in good spirits, but exhausted.

“He just sat down, then lay down and let out a big sigh,” she said.

Nichols said he plans to reunite with his dog within the next few days — as soon as the vet says it is fine for Buddy to leave.

He wants to call the veterinarian hospital to let Buddy know he’s coming.

“I just want them to put the phone to his ear and let him hear my voice,” Nichols said. “I think that would make him feel better.”


Information from: The Montana Standard,