Sunday, February 26, 2006

Okay, Brian Schweitzer finally made it to '60 Minutes'

I'm ecstatic that Governor Schweitzer finally received national network coverage. Not that I am un-biased, but winning the governorship in redstate Montana deserved an episode itself. But I guess Schweitzer's 'squeaker' of a victory (4 percentage points) in no way compared to Bush's mandate and his resulting 'loads' of political capital.

Was it just me who found it disconcerting to see images of Hitler and his goons plus South African blacks being beaten by thugs in a Schweitzer feature? Sure it was a combo Schweitzer/energy cepisode but was it that important to feature visuals of Nazis and racists? The editor of this production dropped the ball.

And what about Stahl wrinkling her pretty little nose over the smell of coal production? Hell, I've smelled far worse at multiple spots in New York City! Lesley has to get out of that CBS building more often and away from the Upper East Side.

All in all, I see it as a big positive. A national audience in primetime on a top-rated show is hard to garner.

Gotta get me a border collie,


Saturday, February 25, 2006

Brian Schweitzer on "60 Minutes" this Sunday

It's finally going to happen. Leslie Stahl's "60 Minutes" segment on Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is going to appear this Sunday. No word if it is the first, second or third episode.

Talk about 'Must See' TV!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Brian Schweitzer is coming to your neighborhood!

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is takin' it to the road for the next couple of weeks, representing Montana and pushing his energy/economy projects at various locations around the country.

Of course, the Montana Republicans have to throw their usual 'hissyfit,' again demonstrating how bereft the GOP in the Big Sky State is of ideas to improve the lives of Montanans and those in the rest of the United States.
Schweitzer begins tour around U.S.
By CHARLES S. JOHNSON of the Missoulian State Bureau

HELENA - Gov. Brian Schweitzer will be out of the state for most of the next two weeks for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association and a series of speeches and meetings in New York, Washington and Denver.

“It's going to be a very successful trip in that there's going to be an enormous amount of interest,” said Eric Stern, Schweitzer's senior counselor who's accompanying the governor. “He's really gotten Montana a lot of attention as far as businesses go.”

But State Republican Party Chairman Karl Ohs, a former lieutenant governor, questioned the length of time Schweitzer will be away.

“It's seems like an awful lot of time to be spending out of state,” Ohs said. “That's always of concern when a chief executive has his mind on other things than governing the state.”

Stern countered, saying when Schweitzer travels, he remains in contact with his office “many times a day” through phone calls and e-mail.

Schweitzer has said that without a legislative session, he intends to travel extensively in-state and out-of-state promoting Montana business opportunities

Schweitzer flies to New York Wednesday, and on Thursday he stops by for a get-acquainted meeting with New York Attorney General Elliott Spitzer, a Democratic candidate for governor. Spitzer “has prosecuted a lot of companies in which the state through the Board of Investments has been heavily invested,” Stern said.

Later Thursday, Schweitzer will address the Columbia University Earth Institute's Center for Sustainable Energy, which Stern called one of the nation's most prestigious energy and resources program. Schweitzer will speak about the future of energy and the role of the West.

On Friday, Schweitzer will meet with investment bankers, analysts and investment advisers from companies interested in energy issues and possibilities. It's a chance to visit with a number of bankers and investment advisers at once, Stern said.

“The governor has done an extraordinary job of publicizing the energy opportunities in Montana,” Stern said. “We want to gather people around so the governor can sell Montana.”

He has a similar meeting set with Citigroup, a major investment bank, before traveling to Washington later Friday.

On Saturday, the National Governors Association convenes for a “Healthy America” seminar for two days, followed by its annual two-day winter meeting of the 50 governors.

On Tuesday, Schweitzer and three other Democratic governors will discuss energy policy at a meeting sponsored by the Center for American Progress.
To read the rest, go here.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Brian Schweitzer way ahead on the reform curve

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer was attempting reform before reform was 'cool' or polled as voter attractive. He has been doing so because it is the right thing to do.

Now, he is taking it to the people.

Please take note Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

Don't bother alerting the Republican congressional leadership to Schweitzer's move--they are too busy erecting their facade and can't be bothered with the real thing:
Gov proposes bill to close revolving door
IR State Bureau

HELENA - Rebuffed by the 2005 Legislature, Gov. Brian Schweitzer said Monday he will take a ballot measure directly to the voters this year to prevent legislators, other elected officials and their directors and staffs from becoming lobbyists for two years after leaving office.

Schweitzer submitted a draft of his initiative to the Legislative Service Division for review. Once the proposal is approved by state agencies, Schweitzer said he will rely on volunteers to gather the 22,308 signatures of registered voters needed to put it on the November ballot.

"What this one will do, it will absolutely pour cement in the revolving door," Schweitzer said in an interview.

It would apply to legislators, elected officials, including governor, department directors, appointed state officials and members of the personal staff of any elected officials.

"This affects me more than anybody else," Schweitzer said. "This is closing a door on myself, moi. There is no out for me. This is clear that this means that I have closed the door on me working for special interests. You look at former governors. Where do they go work?"

Schweitzer had been looking at a more ambitious ballot measure that would include requiring more detailed disclosure of lobbyist spending, including reporting how much a particular lobbyist spent to take a certain legislator to lunch and where. But he said he worried that if an initiative becomes to "all-encompassing," a court might throw it out.

In his State of the State address in January 2005, Schweitzer first called for putting higher barriers before former elected officials could join the ranks of lobbyists. His proposal came a year before the ongoing congressional debate over lobbying and its abuses.

Although Schweitzer's bill died in a House committee last year, he vowed to take his case to voters with an initiative. Schweitzer is confident Montanan voters will strongly support the measure.

"I think this will send a clear signal to the Legislature that enough is enough," Schweitzer said. "It's time to clean up our act."

Then Schweitzer said he will present a bill to the 2007 Legislature requiring more detailed reporting of how lobbyists actually spend money trying to influence specific elected officials through lunches, dinners, trips, jackets and other gifts and requiring more frequent reporting.
To read the rest, go here.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Brian Schweitzer continues to surprise

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer won't ever be mistaken for the 'man-in-the-gray-flannel-suit.'

No unless the gray-flannel man is packin'.

Schweitzer continues to surprise and receives accolades from Frank Miele, the managing editor of the Daily Inter Lake, in the following article:
Schweitzer dares to be himself
Managing Editor - The Daily Inter Lake
Feb 11, 2006

Politics these days is too much about political correctness, which is why it was refreshing for the governor of Montana recently to show up at a meeting with the editorial board of the Inter Lake with a gun.
No, he was not brandishing the gun; that would not be so nice.

But it turns out that Brian Schweitzer had stopped at a local sporting goods store prior to visiting us, and before we could ask questions about his plans for coal liquefaction or school funding, he just had to show off his new Browning handgun. He was as giddy as a schoolboy who had just got his first BB gun, and whether you care for guns or not, it was fun to watch his excitement.

That’s one of the many nice things about Gov. Schweitzer. He doesn’t mind being himself. He doesn’t mind saying what’s on his mind, and he doesn’t mind offending people who might not agree with what’s on his mind. Which is to say, he really doesn’t fit into the mold of this politically correct age.

He wears blue jeans to work at the state Capitol, and brings his dog to work with him, too. Some people take offense.

He tells the education lobby enough is enough. There’s no more money to “cough up” unless you want it covered with blood. Some educators take offense.

He says Washington politics has the whiff of the skunk about it. Some skunks take offense.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking Brian Schweitzer is all show and no substance. That coal-to-liquids program the governor is proposing for Eastern Montana is just the kind of creative solution that can make Montana a major player in the national economy instead of a bench warmer.

To read the rest, go here.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Reform is in the air -- Brian Schweitzer was on to it first

Every politician and probably his/her brother and sister are now jumping on the 'reform' bandwagon now that the sewer has overflowed in D.C..

You know it's THE hot topic when the Republicans in Congress fail to select frontrunner Roy Blunt to replace Tom DeLay as Speaker of the House. Of course, all three of the Republicans candidates for the position were 'pinch-your-nose' and select the least tainted types--least being EXTREMELY relative in this particular case.

Well folks, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer was on to reform long before reform became cool.

In a John M. Broder/New York Times article about states overhauling lobbying rules, Schweitzer receives this mention:
Some state officials are not waiting for scandal before proposing stricter rules on lobbying in their state capitals. Gov. Brian Schweitzer of Montana, a Democrat, said that in 2005, his first year in office, nearly every bill he supported was approved. "But I didn't get to first base with lobbyist reform," he said. "I asked them to close the revolving door, put cement in it and bolt it tight. I got nowhere."

Montana does not have a "cooling off" period before a legislator or government official can become a lobbyist, as the federal government and 22 states do. Mr. Schweitzer, pointing out that the former director of the state's Natural Resources and Conservation Department now works as a coal lobbyist and the chief of staff for a former governor now lobbies for the State Chamber of Commerce, is seeking a two-year ban on lobbying one's former colleagues. He also wants lobbyists to report every expenditure on a public official, "right down to a cup of coffee."

Mr. Schweitzer said he had no hope that the legislature would pass the measures, so he was planning to put them on the November ballot.

"I'm not following any scandal," he said. "I'm attempting to head it off at the pass because I don't like the smell of it."