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March 15, 2017

Basketball Champs and a Seal in the Cold

Tom McLaughlin

Malta, Montana USA – The cold is the worst. And then the snow. Temperatures hovered around the -22 C (0 F) for most of the week. Sometimes it went to -25 C (-6 F). So bitterly cold for this guy from the tropics. I didn't leave the house.


I just watched it snow and snow and snow for days on end. My daughter took me to the grocery store and I ran from the house to the car to the store and back again. My Nikes were no good in the light fluffy snow that soon covered them. Everyone else was wearing boots.


The Malta boys’ high school basketball team went to the state championship and won. They played six games and came out on top. Most of Malta left to watch the game about three hours away. I wasn't interested in basketball, but I got caught up in the excitement. I listened on the radio to the game.


The girls’ basketball team lost the state championship game by one point. Everyone said it was okay because they had won the last four years. Never have I seen an area more involved in high school sports. We will have a ceremony at the school and I will carry a sign that says "Borneo Loves Malta," or something like that.


Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is also from Montana. He was the guy who rode to his office on a horse wearing a cowboy hat the first day at work. I thought it was a nice touch showing the western flavor of the area.


As his first task in office, he revoked an Obama Administration rule that stated one could not use shot or fishing gear made of lead. I asked around about whether one had a choice. I mean, could you go into a store and ask for lead or steel ammunition? Or, could one purchase a hook and sinker made of lead? Everyone told me no, they were all made of steel and had been for years.


Besides, Montanans eat what they shoot and everyone had long ago recognized the dangers of lead. Secretary Zinke's gesture was mainly symbolic. They didn't want federal control over their lives even though they had not used the lead products for years.


Secretary Zinke is not my favorite politician. He called Hillary Clinton" the devil incarnate," was the first Navy Seal to be elected to Congress (I don't know what that means, but there you go) and has only served in Congress for one term. Rumor has it that he took the Trump boys hunting and that's how he got the "in."


However, and this is a BIG however, he is in favor of not selling federal lands to the states, or to private interests. That means no condos on the rim or the Grand Canyon, ocean front hotels on Assateague and the selling of the Prairie to mining or fossil fuel concerns.


Regardless of his love for Donald Trump and his sons, this a major policy I support fully. He agrees there needs to be minor changes in the laws, but nothing that would change the status quo. If he keeps his promise, he will be a great secretary of the Interior Department because he will have to face down the many members of Congress who want to destroy America's lands.


Maybe that's where his Seal training comes in.


...Life is good


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