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.

As we approach Labor Day, Montana and American workers are plugging away at their jobs, producing products and profits for their employers while Congress goes out of session for 5 weeks, leaving Washington having produced little or nothing.

There is a great disconnect between Washington, DC and the rest of the nation.  Is it no wonder that less than 10% of folks give Congress a positive rating?

Let’s take a minute to compare the jobs, job quality and productivity of workers in Montana and the nation with the wages, working conditions and productivity in Congress.

Dream Deferred

Aug 28, 2013

Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech as the March on Washington drew to a close.  The nation was wowed.   But as good as the speech is, to appreciate the full range of King’s gifts, you must read the letter from Birmingham jail he wrote five months earlier.  As an example of persuasive writing, it’s top-drawer.   It matches the “I Have a Dream” speech in imagery and musicality, but surpasses it in rhetorical genius.

Work Comp on Right Road? Not for Workers

Aug 28, 2013

Last week, the Missoulian Editorial Board proclaimed, “State on right road with workers’ comp.” As an attorney who represents injured workers, I could not disagree more. From my perspective, if you are injured on the job in Montana, and relegated to the “meat grinder” of the workers’ compensation system, you are often on the Road to Ruin.

Health Care Marketplace provides competitive rates

Aug 27, 2013

Health Care Marketplace provides competitive rates

Many of us already know that there will be new ways to obtain health insurance starting in 2014.  After a long process following the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, which included a Supreme Court decision and a Presidential election, we are now approaching the time when health insurance will be within reach for most Americans.  Many call this Obamacare, but few really understand what it’s all about.

     Young people graduating from high school face a conundrum: Going to college has gotten more and more expensive while the economic payoff from having a college degree has increased in value. College tuition and fees have continued to grow much faster than most other costs in the economy. At the same time, state legislatures have become increasingly reluctant to subsidize college operations.

American Youth Leadership Program

Aug 21, 2013

Montana summers are filled with great things for teenagers – sports camps, swimming, family reunions, sleeping – but for 20 Montana high school students, a month of their summer was spent on an educational exchange in Cambodia. Through the State Department’s American Youth Leadership Program, or AYLP, the Maureen & Mike Mansfield Center selected 20 talented young leaders and two innovative high school teachers to participate in an intensive environmental studies and cultural exchange program in Cambodia.

Drugs and Prisons Dominate the Week’s News Cycle

Aug 19, 2013

Drugs and prisons hit the news cycle this week with the force of a coordinated campaign. New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy was found unconstitutional and we learned that the NSA shares intercepted information with the DEA to use against American citizens. It is the DEA’s policy, then, to makes up stories to cover up how they got their leads.

Food and Community

Aug 16, 2013

In July, NPR’s “All Things Considered” reported on the Farm Bill. Legislators failed to pass the bill before vacation, which angered farmers who sell food locally. The bill contains the “Local Farm, Food and Jobs Act.” This act marks an important policy shift to promote local foods. Supporters argue that locally grown foods are healthier and better for the environment. Less discussed is the importance of local food and farming for building community and strengthening democracy.

The benefits of community supported agriculture

Aug 16, 2013

The buzz around buying local is fairly widespread and luckily our community has many options for access to locally grown and produced food.  Local food can be purchased in many retail grocery stores and from May to October there are a number of Farmer’s Markets available.  How can we take the idea of supporting our local food system one step farther? The answer is Community Supported Agriculture.  You may have heard of Community Supported Agriculture also known as CSAs or CSA shares or a CSA box or maybe even food shares. But really…what is it?

Teaching and learning are under multiple pressures to make heavier use of the Internet’s vast capability to provide access to information and almost instantaneous communication to and from the most remote of locations.