Opinion

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

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

Bystander Intervention

Apr 25, 2014

Imagine you and your friends are out at a bar on a Friday night. When you came in you noticed a woman at the bar sitting alone. Later in the evening, you notice her again, now sitting with a man who keeps moving closer to her and buying her drinks. She looks uncomfortable and keeps moving her chair farther back while looking around the bar. A bit later you notice that she stands up and tries to walk away. He follows her and puts his arm on the wall to talk to her further. It looks like she’s cornered. What do you do?

American Oligarchy

Apr 25, 2014

When asked to name one idea that would change the world, venture capitalist Tom Perkins responded that wealthy Americans who pay more taxes should get more votes.  Pay a million dollars in taxes, get a million votes.  His audience laughed.  But Tom Perkins, a very wealthy man, wasn’t joking.  The sad fact is that, in a certain respect, his wish has already come true.

Swift and Substantial Action on Climate Change

Apr 22, 2014

The International Panel on Climate, or IPCC, released another report on Sunday.  Written by thousands of science, policy, and economic experts, this IPCC report, along with others that have been released in the last year, represent a synthesis of existing climate research knowledge.  The findings in the reports are alarming, and while the report is very detailed in its research the results can be summarized rather easily with four main points.  One, the climate is changing.  Two, carbon pollution is almost certainly responsible for the change.  Three, the environmental, social and economic

New Efforts to Fire Proof Our Forests:  The Initiative Built into the 2014 Farm Bill[1]

Good evening Montana! Matt Elsaesser here with Recycle Montana. Next Tuesday, April 22nd, is Earth Day! Earth Day is a great time to discuss day-to-day opportunities to reduce our impact on the planet and build community. The three Rs of reduce, reuse and recycle are always a great way to start the discussion. Reducing our waste by bringing our own mug to the coffee shop or donating our used household items to a local thrift store is pretty strait forward.

Aging-in-Place Safely

Apr 18, 2014

Good evening.  I’m Susan Kohler, CEO of Missoula Aging Services, the Area Agency on Aging for Missoula and Ravalli counties.  Tonight I want to talk about Older Americans Month, which takes place during May, and this year’s theme “Safe Today, Healthy Tomorrow.” I will also talk about how this theme ties in with a recent keynote address about aging-in-place which I heard at the Montana Gerontology Society conference.

In Defense of the United States Postal Service

Apr 11, 2014

    A while back Charles Osgood, the host of SUNDAY MORNING, a television news magazine presented on (of all times) Sunday morning, made some remarks about the United States Postal Service which I found uncalled for.  I wrote him a letter and it reads: 

Tax Day

Apr 11, 2014

There’s a story in my family that goes back a few decades.  It’s the kind of story people like to pull out and dust off over the holidays, when everyone is enjoying some cheer and good company.  The story goes something like this:

Living Up to the Legacy

Apr 10, 2014

Twenty years ago, Billings, Montana set a national standard for community rejection of hatred and bigotry.  Almost as one, the community shouted a loud “NO” to ultra-right-wing extremist behavior that was racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic.

The Northwest United Skinheads and, police believed, elements of the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nation, were equal opportunity bigots, targeting for abuse and intimidation anything that wasn’t “white, American and Christian.”  Whether you were black, Latino, Indian, Jewish or gay, you were not welcome in their America, or their Billings.

After winning Picture of the Year for his film “12 Years a Slave”, celebrated Director Steve McQueen dedicated his Academy Award to the 21 million people around the world still entrapped in slavery.  To many Montanans, this statement may sound a bit strange, even unbelievable.   It is hard to imagine world where men, women, and children are brutally exploited and trafficked like a commercial property.  Such practices, however, not only exist today but also thrive. 

GM, oh GM, what to do about you? You hid dangerous defects from the public and federal regulators, you determined 57 cents was too high a cost, to you, to fix the problem, and as a result Americans have needlessly died. If it weren't for those pesky family members who lost a loved one seeking accountability from you, and the trial lawyers that represent them, you wouldn't be the butt of late night comedy sketches. But, you have somewhat of an explanation, it wasn't all your fault.

Confusing Politics and Economics in Electric Supply Decisions

Collaboration

Apr 2, 2014

Recently, I was asked to speak about collaboration in the nonprofit world:  what it is, why it’s important; what makes it work and what makes it fail.  That got me thinking. 

As a start, I looked up “collaboration” in the dictionary.  Its two definitions amused me.  Collaboration is first defined as “the act of working together with one or more people in order to achieve something”; and second, as “the betrayal of others by working with an enemy, especially an occupying force.”

Building tall with wood supports rural America

Apr 1, 2014

If cities are serious about tackling climate change, then the solution may be found in building the city of tomorrow to look more like the city of yesterday.  As glass and steel towers continue to rise, wood skyscrapers are likely to start sprouting alongside.  Multi-story and high-rise wood buildings are already planned or rising in Europe and Canada.  They are architecturally distinct, and they are made of the original green building material. 

Good evening, my name is Elisa Prescott and I am the Sustainability Coordinator for Lewis and Clark County in Helena.

Over the last few years, Lewis and Clark County has been working hard to encourage, promote, and support resource efficiency, energy conservation, and economic savings throughout our community.

As the second session of the 113th Congress develops, it is my great hope that Congress can leave its abysmal bill passage record in the past. In 2013, Congress signed just 58 bills into law, the lowest since bill tracking was initiated in the 1940’s. Much of the stalemate characterizing the last two congressional sessions has been blamed on bipartisan gridlock. It begs the question, why aren’t the widely supported bipartisan bills that are waiting in committee becoming law? Bills that are well rounded, effective, and supported by stakeholders are repeatedly dying in committee.

The Flight from Coal in U.S. Electricity Production

 

          In the late 1990s as the Montana Power Company exited the electric utility industry and headed for bankruptcy as a telecommunication company, Montana Power sold off all of its Montana electric generating facilities to Pennsylvania Power and Light. The utility that bought Montana Power’s electric and natural gas delivery system of pipes and wires, NorthWestern Energy, is now trying to buy back those Montana hydroelectric facilities.

Natural Hazards

Mar 21, 2014

Floods and avalanches are on Montanans’ minds right now.  That means it is also an appropriate time to take a step back and think about natural hazards more generally.  We are accustomed to thinking of these disasters as acts of God or bad luck, or otherwise entirely outside of our control.  However, if we look carefully at disasters worldwide, we see an important result: natural disasters are more often—though not always—human disasters, because the largest influences on the outcome are social and ethical considerations.  Let me give you an example: the Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Fr

The Future of Aging

Mar 20, 2014

Good evening.  I’m Susan Kohler, CEO of Missoula Aging Services; the Area Agency on Aging for Missoula and Ravalli County.  Recently I attended the American Society on Aging’s (ASA) national conference, the largest one related to aging in the country. For 60 years ASA has studied the issues and opportunities surrounding our nation as we age. Tonight I will share some of the exciting conference highlights.  

Rewarding the Profession: Melding the Art with the Science

Healthy Montana Initiative

Mar 18, 2014

All over Montana this week, people were peering outside and breathing a sigh of relief.  The sun is out, the temperature is above freezing, the snow is melting.  Early signs of spring are appearing.   Many of us are beginning to think ahead to spring and summer – the hiking and camping, rafting and floating, road trips and barbeques.  But for some Montanans, while the weather is improving, they are still living day-to-day without access to healthcare.

A True Montana Melodrama

Mar 17, 2014

A True Montana Melodrama

A Montana Public Radio Commentary by Evan Barrett

March 13, 2014

Much has been said about the appointment of John Walsh to the US Senate including comparisons to Montana’s earlier Senate appointments.

It’s interesting to look at the actual historical facts of the earlier situations.

Civil Justice System - Protecting All Citizens, Even Hypocrites

Buying Back the Dams: An Important Billion Dollar Decision for Montana

 

          When NorthWestern Energy announced last year that it had entered into an agreement to buy back the hydroelectric facilities that the Montana Power Company once owned, most Montana’s probably smiled a little , thinking that a serious public policy mistake of the 1990s was about to be corrected.

Montana’s Role in Global Sports Diplomacy

Mar 5, 2014

Montana’s Role in Global Sports Diplomacy

 

Deena Mansour

Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center

Your Nonprofit Wants You to Hear This

Mar 5, 2014

Your Nonprofit Wants You to Hear This

Hey, nonprofit board members, listen up.  Your nonprofit organization has asked me to talk to you.  Yes, you.  I mean, I ASSUME your nonprofit wants me to talk to you.  Otherwise, why would the CEOs of so many nonprofit organizations, from A to Z – from arts organizations to zoos – talk to me ABOUT you?  They MUST want me to talk TO you.

Obamacare deadline

Mar 5, 2014

Olivia Riutta - Montana Primary Care Association

MTPR Commentary - 02/27/2014

We are now just one month away, from the March 31st deadline to enroll in the new health insurance Marketplace.

When you hear talk of health reform, or the ACA, or Obamacare or whatever you prefer to call it, a lot of things probably come to mind. For me, as a Navigator whose job is to  help folks in my community by answering questions and walking them through the process, I think about Bill, a man I met in southeastern Montana.

Beware of Common Sense

Feb 27, 2014

Beware of Common Sense

Valuing the Montana Colstrip Electric Generators: A Strange New World

 

NorthWestern Energy is proposing to purchase the Montana hydroelectric generators originally owned by the Montana Power Company. Montana Power sold them off in the late 1990s as it pursued a speculative dream of becoming a national telecommunication company. Instead Montana Power went bankrupt and ceased to exist.

Educators as Leaders

Feb 14, 2014

What do Mike Mansfield, Pat Williams, Jon Tester, Bob Brown and Angela McLean have in common?

Mike Mansfield, Senate Majority Leader longer than anyone in US history, led a US Senate that was arguably the most productive in US history.

Pat Williams, elected Montana Congressman for nine straight terms, more than anyone in our history, had a record of legislative accomplishment in fields as varied as labor, education, the arts, wilderness and public lands access.

Pages