Opinion

Commentary from a variety of Montana citizens expressing a range of viewpoints.

Views expressed by the commentators do not necessarily reflect the views of this station.

Let’s Require Civics Education at All Levels

Sep 26, 2013

After many years away from the formal classroom, I am teaching again.

When I left graduate school in 1968, I was hired on to teach civics to high school seniors.  I ended up with a different teaching position, and after one year of teaching, I took a 44 year fork in the road.  Instead of teaching civics, I entered the real world of civics – the world of government and politics.  Over that period I was heavily engaged in government at local, state and federal levels – working for and with governors, senators, congressmen, legislators, local government officials. 

New Beginnings

Sep 25, 2013

“It’s a new beginning!” I tell my grandson at the schoolhouse door.  “Kindergarten!  You’ll learn new things and make new friends.  It’s going to be great.”

Joe isn’t buying it.  Three older kids whirl by, shrieking, and he shrinks back against the wall.  A few feet away, a little girl with French braids does too. 

“What’s your name?” I ask her.  I get a miserable “Celia” in response.  “What a pretty name,” I say.  “Celia, this is my grandson, Joe.  It’s his first day at school.  Is it your first day too?”   Celia nods and sidles away from me.

Mansfield for a New Generation

Sep 18, 2013

Mansfield for a New Generation
by Abraham Kim, Ph.D.
Director, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center

What is an Indian?

Sep 18, 2013

In the background of all issues involving American Indians is always the question of what is an Indian? While there are any number of groups in this country today who have complicated issues surrounding identity, there is no identity issue more complicated than that of American Indian identity. As an aside, you will notice I did not say no identity issue is more important.

Two tales of one industry

Sep 16, 2013

Two recent opinion articles in a local newspaper highlighted the fact that Montana’s forest products industry continues to suffer from two tales of one industry. 

Childhood Hunger

Sep 16, 2013

Last night I was eating dinner at a restaurant in Missoula and there were flyers on all the tables from the group No Kid Hungry letting people know that a portion of what they spent on dinner would go to services that help feed hungry children.

Before I go on, I better offer up my own disclaimer. I work for an agency that is part of a coalition working to end childhood hunger and as you might well imagine, there are no easy solutions to this problem.  There are millions of families who don’t have enough food.  The current phrase to describe this is food insecurity.

The Costs of Fear

Sep 13, 2013

September 11, 2001, is often called the Pearl Harbor of our generation.  Like our response to Pearl Harbor, we rallied ourselves to face a dangerous enemy.  Unlike Pearl Harbor, we suffered a blow targeting innocent civilians, designed to elicit fear.  And fear is a dangerous thing. 

While remembrance of the victims is our primary task for today, we do them no dishonor by also reflecting on some of the moral costs of the fear that day inspired and the lessons we might still learn.

The Power of Less

Sep 12, 2013

This past May I attended two meetings full of contractors, architects, and planners. One was a “listening” session for the public to provide commentary on the adoption of a new energy code for all buildings in the State of Montana. The other was a public meeting of a group called the Northern Rockies Passive House Alliance. Both meetings were about energy conservation in buildings, but the tone between the two couldn’t have been more different. At the listening session, I heard a lot about why any energy code improvements at all will cause reckless damage to a fragile industry.

Veteran's Viewpoint

Sep 12, 2013

This is Dan Gallagher with Veteran’s Viewpoint.

Let’s begin with this premise:  The reason that veterans were initially called to military service was to defend our nation’s liberties from an enemy--or enemies--whose goal was to destroy those freedoms; and to defend, sustain, or advance our nation’s principles and interests.

Now, I’m not claiming veteran status qualifies us as foreign affairs experts, nor can it be used as evidence that our knowledge of military matters surpasses our non-veteran peers.  Ultimate wisdom is not necessarily a bonus that war gives us.

Why the Federal Government Wants to Get into Rating Colleges

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