Notice the Republican yard signs on 10th Avenue South? Have you noticed that they are almost all in front of casinos, low rent motels and empty lots? Have to wonder what’s up with that. So, we took a minute to look a few things up.
Researching ownership of commercial property is tricky business since many owners create different legal entities to hold property and because the named owner may have little control over the property. With that said, here is a list of the casinos. Palace Casino, Cash Out Casino, Player’s Casino, Cash Out Gold Casino- (this one is owned by Buttrey Realty. Yes, that Buttrey). The motels are The Western and Plaza Inn (both owned by Metha Mukesh)
One must wonder why these are the only businesses with big bunches of Republican signs on 10th Ave South. Could it be that these businesses know that Republicans carry their water in the legislature?
I was pregnant when the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting happened. I remember folding laundry while tears poured down my face. Those poor children and their families. What an unthinkable tragedy. Surely, we would do something about gun violence when 20 first graders were murdered in their school.
Our politicians spoke passionately on both sides of the issue. But the Republican majority in Congress ensured that no new gun violence prevention legislation would reach the President’s desk.
When the Parkland school shooting happened, high school students organized March for Our Lives. This time it seemed different. We had new energy in the gunsense fight.
When back-to-back shootings happened at an El Paso grocery store and a Dayton, Ohio bar, gun violence prevention organizers were fed up. I personally organized a rally in Great Falls to call on our members of Congress to pass stronger red flag laws and universal criminal background check legislation.
In 2021, a GOP majority in the legislature and newly elected Republican Governor Gianforte, signed into law legislation eliminating permit requirements to carry a concealed handgun in nearly all public places (H.B. 102). This law removes requirements for background checks or safety training to concealed carry. The bill also forced colleges and universities to allow anyone to carry concealed, loaded firearms on campus. The university system Montana Board of Regents filed a lawsuit over those provisions of the law and the District Court found some portions of the law unconstitutional. Montana Attorney General Knudsen appealed the ruling to the Montana Supreme Court and the case is still pending.
On Tuesday, May 24th, 2022, a man went into an elementary school in Ulvalde, Texas and murdered 19 children and 2 adults. Second, third and fourth graders. I cried in front of my third grader when I heard the news. My eight-year-old asked, “What’s wrong mommy? Why are you crying?” And I couldn’t tell her the complete truth. Because my baby has to walk into her classroom tomorrow.
Every day, I send my elementary aged children off to school and I wonder. Will this be the day? Will today be my worst nightmare? I compartmentalize it and hug them tight when they get home. And I do that over and over again like so many other American parents.
It is time for change
As our federal and state politicians eagerly pass more and more lax gun laws in a hopeless effort to appease gun rights advocates, are we safer? Does loosening of gun restrictions help? No.
When will we be the voice for the voiceless and say enough? When will we stand up to prevent these tragedies?
It is time for change. There are known regulations that balance gun ownership with public safety. Preventative measures such as universal background checks on gun sales, red flag laws, and safety training. But our politicians must have the courage to pass them into law. If our representatives won’t act, we need to elect people who will.
With love for all of our nation’s gun violence victims,
Today, the Senate took time to make important arguments about bodily autonomy. Specifically, if people with uteruses should be allowed to control said uteruses. It seems like the answer here should be simple. Of course people should be allowed to control their own uteruses. But, that’s actually not what the Senate decided.
A central figure in this argument is Montana’s own Senator Steve Daines. Adding to the practice of comparing human women to the animal kingdom, Daines highlighted his particular brand of idiocy by comparing women to…wait for it… sea turtle and eagles. According to Daines, human babies are totally comparable to the eggs laid by sea turtles and eagles. You may be thinking, “Odd. I don’t recall my mother ever laying any eggs.” We at WTF understand your confusion. So, we’ve created a quick guide to help you determine if you’re a sea turtle or an eagle.
Please answer honestly.
1. Did you emerge from the sea? 2. Have you dug a nest using all four flippers? 3. Have you ever laid 100 eggs in one sitting? 4. Did you flee to the ocean after your babies hatched?
If you answered “Yes” to 2 or more of these questions, you may be a SEA TURTLE. No flippers? Don’t worry. Just answer these next questions to find out more.
1. Do you have the urge to gather sticks, twigs, and moss? 2. Are you perched hundreds of feet up in a tree? 3. Do you catch small prey in your claws? 4. Is your wingspan between 6 – 7.5 feet? 5. Do you have feathers? If any of this checklist rings true, you’ll want to consult your doctor or wildlife veterinarian right away. You may, in fact, be an EAGLE.
Is there a third option? Something whose taxonomy is a little less avian? Perhaps, but honestly you’d likely get more respect from our government if you stuck with being an eagle.
Since Covid, drama and controversy in our schools have dominated the news. Calling themselves the “parental rights movement”, angry parents have appeared at local school board meetings demanding they have things their way. Rowdy and abusive, these parents have accused school board members and staff of all kinds of (wildly untrue) things. You can watch a sampling of the vitriol our Great Falls School Board experienced during a special meeting in August 2021 here. Pushing conspiracy theories about masks, the books kids are using, and demanding that history classes teach only things they agree with, these parents repeat talking points directly taken from national far-right organizations.
As school elections approached, they began filing for open seats on school boards across the state. By and large these candidates toned down their far-right rhetoric attempting to present a friendly face to the electorate. So how did they do in the elections? Turns out not very well at all. (A summary of key school elections can be found here: https://montanafreepress.org/2022/05/04/montana-school-election-results/)
What the Funk Happened in our School Board Race?
Well, the Great Falls Public School Board Trustees are in! Drum roll please.
Incumbents Gordon Johnson, and Mark Finnicum retained their 3-year seats. Paige Turoski nabbed the last 3-year slot. And Amie Thompson earned the 1-year slot.
What a rollercoaster ride of an election! Paige Turoski was the only right-wing and GOP-endorsed candidate to win in a race that had 11 candidates vying for four seats. In a climate doused with sheer absurdity, we must celebrate our victories where we can. The elections of Johnson, Finnicum, and Thompson are major wins for our schools, faculty, and kids!
We have faith our trustees will continue to do right by our students and staff. Hopefully Ms. Turoski will gain more awareness when removed from her right wing echo chamber and instead surrounded by reasonable, logical adults. We’re thrilled to see Great Falls voted for more moderate voices on the board. After all, local elections are nonpartisan for a reason.
When we decided to start a local blog, I was picturing elections, levies, crime, maybe some local art reviews. I didn’t anticipate getting as micro as discussing my uterus, but here we are. Today, we’re going to talk about my abortion. Some folks reading will call me a murderer and say I’m going to Hell. Honestly, I’ve heard all that before and those threats fall pretty flat when you’re talking to an Atheist. (Notably, those folks also think Queer people are an abomination, and I’ll go to Hell for having sex with women. You just can’t please some people, huh?)
So, let’s get started. Picture it. Somewhere around April or May 2012, I don’t remember the date exactly, but I think I was 23. I was pregnant and I didn’t want to be. I understand plenty of people want to know a little more than that. Was I on birth control? (Nope, had just stopped a 6-year stint as it made me sick). Was I married? (Not at the time, but the father would eventually be my husband). But really, none of that matters. What mattered is that I didn’t want to be pregnant, and I would have gnawed my own arm off if that’s what it took to not be pregnant anymore.
If you haven’t experienced an unwanted pregnancy, it’s easy to downplay the enormity of it. The feeling of an alien object inside your body that doesn’t bring any degree of joy- only panic, desperation, and fear. Pregnancy severely and permanently alters your body. For me, that meant being so incredibly sick and exhausted that I lost 10lbs in a month and could barely summon the energy to go to work.
From the moment I saw that positive test, I knew I wanted an abortion. However, my Catholic roots (although long abandoned when I came out as Queer) made me terrified. I knew I would go through with the abortion, but I fully anticipated feeling all-consuming guilt for the rest of my life. Still, it was better than the alternative.
After several hoops, both financial and medical, I was able to have a medication abortion. This means I was given medication that induced miscarriage. I took the pills, went home, and had a miscarriage alone in the bathroom. It was excruciating physically, and I was in no way prepared for the pain. But as soon as it was over, I was flooded with relief. And that guilt? It never came. Rather than feeling like my life had been permanently altered for the worse, I felt thankful. Thankful to not be pregnant. Thankful to have control over my body again.
Ten years on, and I’ve never questioned my decision for a moment. I still don’t want children, and I was absolutely right not to bring an unwanted child into the world. When talking about my abortion, I often feel compelled to list all the things I’ve accomplished since then. All the reasons why I am worthy of living my own life. But really, I don’t have to prove why my own life is worth saving. The fact is, I would have died rather than stay pregnant. I would have thrown myself down the stairs. I would have gone to a back alley. If that didn’t work, I would have killed myself.
My life is worth more than the possibility of a child. My life is worth more than a clump of cells I passed in the bathroom. My body is my own, and I alone should be making decisions about it. Sex is not just for procreation. For me, it will never be for that purpose. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have sex, nor does it mean I should be forced to give birth as a “consequence” for having a sex life.
The idea that a woman owes her body to anything, let alone a zygote or a fetus, is utterly insane. The folks calling me a murderer don’t give a single fuck for babies after they are born. They aren’t supporting universal healthcare, or taking in foster kids, or working to end poverty. They simply want to impose their skewed religious views on all of us, and most of all, they want to exercise control over people with uteruses. As I said, I don’t believe in Hell at all, but if it does exist, it’s not the pro-choice crowd that deserves to burn.