Commentary

Commentary- August 8th, 2013
3:56 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

President Obama’s Climate Plan Deserves Our Support

The signs of climate change are all around us.  2012 was the hottest year on record in the country.  Last October Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the nation’s largest city.  And the Southwest is locked in another severe drought this summer.  Here in Montana, it’s hard to travel on any mountain highway and not notice the large swaths of beetle-killed forests, and we had evening fishing closures kick in for a time as early as July this year.  The planet is warming and extreme weather events are becoming more common. 

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Commentary - August 7th, 2013
3:00 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Assisted living

Good evening.  I’m Susan Kohler, CEO of Missoula Aging Services; the Area Agency on Aging for Missoula and Ravalli Counties. This evening I would like to share some of my perspectives about the issues raised in the recent Frontline episode on public television.  It was called “Life and Death in Assisted Living.” 

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Commentary - August 5th, 2013
2:34 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Montana’s Extreme Weather

You know the old saying:  if you don’t like the weather in Montana, just wait five minutes. We’re a state that’s known for its wild weather changes.  But in recent years even our extremes have become extreme.  Our fire seasons start sooner, last longer, burn hotter, and cost more to fight.  Just two years ago the historic floods of 2011 became one of the most expensive natural disasters in state history.  And in the past month alone we’ve seen intense wildfires, and destructive flash floods - both of which have threatened lives and destroyed property.

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Commentary - August 2nd, 2013
2:34 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Food Stamps Work for Montana

One of these days I am going to get on the radio and talk about how Congress has really put partisan politics aside and gone back to the good ol’ days of legislating - coming together to invest in programs and services that make our families and communities stronger. Well, today is not one of those days. Today, I get to talk about the newest ideological debate - whether we make sure that our neighbors don’t go to bed hungry - today we get to talk about food stamps.

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Commentary - August 1st, 2013
1:02 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Detroit: Conquering Challenges

The challenge in Detroit is two-fold: financial and economic.

There are sensible and proven solutions to both challenges.  This country and its leadership need to move beyond dogma and politics to do the right thing for both Detroit and the nation.

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Commentary - July 31st, 2013
10:47 am
Wed July 31, 2013

The Section 504 Marvel

It’s strange to me that I know so many parents now who have a child with a debilitating illness.  It’s strange because throughout my own school years, first grade through twelfth, I was aware of only one classmate who was chronically ill.  And over 18 years of teaching high school students, I recall only two with chronic illness.

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Commentary - July 30th, 2013
9:22 am
Wed July 31, 2013

Regulating Corporate Behavior

Is Congress doing it's job? Most of us would agree that the answer is no – Congress's approval ratings are at an all time low for good reason. But that doesn't mean they aren't busy.

The House will be voting on 10 bills this week to highlight their headline grabber “Stop Government Abuse Week.” Now, if the name makes you think this might be a renewed effort to rein in the NSA's surveillance program, you'd be wrong. Maybe the name conjures up hope that Congress is looking at how to rein in the TSA before every air traveler is irradiated, no such luck.

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Commentary - July 29th, 2013
9:40 am
Tue July 30, 2013

“Fuel Treatments” of Our Forests: Does It Protect Us from Wildfire?

The drama and distress of wildfire season is upon us again: Fires sweeping towards homes, families hurriedly evacuating their homes; the constant buzz of fire retardant bombers, water-carrying helicopters, and spotter planes; and exhausted fire-fighters struggling up hill to try to contain a fire while other firefighters stand guard at our homes.

            This drama and distress always raises the question of whether there is something we could have done or should be doing that would better protect us against wildfires.

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Commentary - July, 26th 2013
12:40 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

The Health Care Marketplace

Beginning on October 1st of this year, just about 2 months away, Montana and the rest of the country will begin a process which will radically change how many people shop for and buy health insurance.

Most people have heard of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, though a survey just a month ago showed that up to 40% of Americans still believe that it has been repealed or is not going to take effect.  This points out the problem of a major new law which many people simply don’t understand.  The ones who could benefit the most are probably the least likely to get it.

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Commentary - July 24th, 2013
12:09 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

A journey of young leaders on global environmental issues

We represent the group of 20 undergraduate students selected for the Study of the United States Institute   (SUSI) program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, led by Dr. Len Broberg, and hosted by the Mansfield Center of the University of Montana. This is the fourth year that this program has gathered the young and talented future leaders to study about global environmental issues. We all agree that it is a five weeks of brand-new experiences throughout Montana, Louisiana and Washington, D.C.

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