Commentary

Commentary - August 28th, 2014
1:36 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Political Debates Strengthen Our Democracy

In the United States and in Montana, the proper functioning of our democratic form of government requires an active and informed participation by the electorate.

Broad “participation” is essential to the American democratic election formula.  That is why GOP efforts at suppressing the vote across the nation, the subject of my commentary last month, is not just reprehensible, but also detrimental to the proper functioning of our system.

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Commentary - August 29th, 2014
10:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

An Open Letter to Steve Daines:

Mark Twain once observed: ”A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”  Our American Sage wasn’t wrong on that matter.  A recent example of Twain’s words was the wham-bam, thank you, ma’am destruction of one of Montana’s finest people — a man who had spent thirty-three years in service to  his country and this state.  Not once in the rush to judgment about this man, did someone of note stop to say, “Wait! Let’s look at the facts.”   

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Commentary - August 27th, 2014
2:13 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Justice At Risk

When we think of America's legal system, it seems we most often think of our criminal justice system and the protections it offers to hold criminals accountable while also shielding innocent citizens from governmental abuses. In some ways, the more remarkable part of our legal system may be our civil justice system and the contributions it and our constitutional right to trial by jury have made to consumer health and safety.

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Commentary - August 25th, 2014
7:28 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Green-Washing Coal Mining And Coal Exports

The Oregon Department of State Lands recently denied a permit to Ambre Energy for its proposed coal shipping port on the Columbia River at Boardman. That proposed Morrow Pacific coal port is the smallest of the three coal ports still under consideration in the Pacific Northwest to move Powder River Basin coal from Montana and Wyoming to Asian markets.

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Commentary - August 14th, 2014
3:45 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Repower MT Road Trip

 A gold flash of lightning struck the valley and for just a moment the sky was the richest hue of purple. The thunder surrounded me. In the most peculiar way I was reminded of my childhood. Often, I drove down Las Vegas Boulevard seeing bright lights and flashes of gold.  On the road in Montana, things are much different though.
 

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Commentary - August 19th, 2014
1:41 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Preventing Suicide Is Everybody’s Business

Robin Williams’ suicide has rocked the nation.  How could someone with such talent, so universally beloved, not see life as worth living? 

Closer to home, too many of us in western Montana have lost family, friends and colleagues to suicide.  Their deaths leave a hole in our hearts and in the fabric of our community.  As we grieve the loss of a loved one to suicide, we agonize over whether we missed warning signs, and ask ourselves what more we could have done. 

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Commentary - August 18th, 2014
8:25 am
Tue August 19, 2014

The Need For Comprehensive Federal Forest Reforms

There has been quite a bit of opinion writing lately about whether members of congress should focus on place-based federal forestland pilots, or whether they should work to pass comprehensive federal forest reforms.

On the one hand, place-based efforts are homegrown initiatives that carve out temporary solutions to meet local needs, while a comprehensive reform package offers sweeping changes that land managers, timber companies and timber-dependent communities can rely on for the long-term.

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Commentary - August 15th, 2014
3:13 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Community Health Centers: Ensuring Access to Health Care for Montanans

I want to tell you a familiar story. A young man, we’ll call him Joe, he doesn't make a lot of money, has a toothache and needs to see a dentist, but doesn’t have dental insurance. In a lot of communities this guy is going to land in the emergency room, get some pain meds, maybe antibiotics, and then he’ll call all over town trying to find a dentist he can afford.

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Commentary - August 11th, 2014
3:10 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Word-Play As A Solution To Western Wildfires

The 2014 Western wildfire season got an early start with large fires in Washington and Oregon that left those living in Western Montana gagging on the resulting smoke that seemed to be continuously recycled through our valleys. As the summer progresses, we all have our fingers crossed that our own home-grown wildfires will not re-create the “nuclear winter” of thick smoke blocking out the sun at mid-day that we have had to live through in summers past.

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Commentary - August 18th, 2014
1:13 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Wilderness And Who We Are

Late July in the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness area:  a sweeping cloak of flowers still silently blooms on a high alpine meadow.  Some are rare; all are beautiful.  There are few places like it, even in Montana.

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