Attorney Milt Datsopoulis at the sentencing of client Beau Donaldson—photo by Kurt Wilson
Our sleepy little mountain town got a little fancier this month, as the law firm of Datsopoulis, MacDonald and Lind has registered as a political action committee. Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl called on DML to register as a PAC last year. Although they contributed only about 5% of the total money raised in local races in 2014, they backed the right horses: every candidate DML supported won. Recipients to which the law firm contributed include the sheriff, a justice of the peace and the Missoula County Attorney. Those are handy people for a law firm to know. Everything DML did is perfectly legal, of course, thanks to Citizens United and the attendant overturning of Montana’s longstanding law against election spending by corporations. You can read all about it in my latest column for the Missoula Independent. Attorneys for DML, if you’re reading this, please don’t call me to talk about how you could totally sue me but you don’t feel like it right now. You’re pretty much the only major firm in town that hasn’t done that, and I think of you fondly. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links.
The patio bar at Ace Hotel, Palm Springs, California, America
Something about impending liver failure must make you take good pictures. Last night I flew back from Palm Springs, where we spent the weekend hoarding the last slivers of Mike Cassady’s bachelorhood. It was lovely. The Birthday Boys were there, affable and fun as always. Micky McKeon was there and is the subject of this photo series:
Which I think we can agree captures something about the human spirit. We also watched Jack Hanna ad lib a 90-minute monologue about death and charmed hell out of some strippers. It was an enormously successful weekend—such a successful weekend, in fact, that I must devote the rest of today to paying work and self-care. I know it’s Wednesday. Being friends with Mike Cassady isn’t easy. Okay, it’s incredibly easy, but it’s also fun. He’s going to make a great husband and father, and I am going to make a big pot of coffee.
There is very little Combat! blog today, because I must fly from Los Angeles back to Montana. I live a life of extraordinary privilege—so much so that I feel compelled to reiterate that I do it on my own dime. Just getting born in the United States is a massive inheritance, though. While I live the high life, how about you enjoy this news from Oxfam, who warns us that the richest 1% of humans will control more than half the world’s wealth in 2016. Inequality is A) real and B) a thing that we do, not just something that happens. Remember that when you’re trying to decide which pre-packaged salad to eat on your layover. We’ll be back tomorrow with more self-righteous bull.
Jesus rides into Bethlehem on a dinosaur (Exodus 4:20)
At this turning point in modern civilization, we must throw off what we merely wish were true and cleave to what is absolutely certain. Only by reasoning scrupulously according to the evidence at hand can we hope to grapple with the complicated problems of 21st-century living. Philosophy, sociology, climate science—these are exciting realms of conjecture, but in the end, they are only castles made of sand. Give me hard facts and established knowledge, i.e. the Bible. Today is Friday, and we can’t afford to live in a fantasy world much longer. Won’t you embrace realism with me?
The view from Water Works hill—photo by Lido Vizutti
On Monday, the City Club of Missoula hosted a debate on the ongoing effort to purchase Mountain Water. For those of you who live out of town for some reason, Mountain Water is the local water utility, owned by the Carlyle Group. After Carlyle rebuffed its offer to buy, the city began pursuing condemnation by eminent domain, but it turns out the global asset management term has some tricky lawyers—possibly even trickier than those hired by the sleepy mountain town. We’ve already blown through our original $400,000 in estimated legal costs, and we’re not close to the end. The mounting costs of condemnation raise a question: how much can we spend to buy Mountain Water and still get a good deal? Surprisingly, neither city councilman present at Monday’s debate had an answer. They didn’t even have rough estimates. In this week’s column for the Missoula Independent, I humbly suggest that might be a problem. A plan to buy something at any cost is not a plan to get a good deal. Give it a read, and then right a series of comments about what an Obama I am. We’ll be back tomorrow with Friday links!