MTPR

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.

Giants Among the People

Jan 16, 2014

When I was young, there were three pictures in my parents’ hallway -- Jesus Christ,   Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and John L. Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers Union.  These men informed my family’s political and life perspective.

Corporate Paid Umpires?

Jan 16, 2014

The L.A. Times has an editorial today on a subject I've spoken about before – arbitration. It opens with a “what if” - what if the L.A.

Dodgers have “just won the pennant and are going to play the New York Yankees in the World Series. But the rules have changed: All games will be played in Yankee Stadium. And, there are new umpires, hired and paid for by the Yankees.” The opening concludes with the observation that 'with rules like that, the Dodgers wouldn't stand much of a chance.'

Swan Song

Jan 15, 2014

This will be my last commentary on this program.  As I pondered what to say in parting, I landed on what I what I should have said to you at the start:  why I think ongoing commentary on the subject of public education is important.

The Oil Companies’ Self-Serving Fatalism on Petroleum Use

Fracking: America’s new “F” word

Jan 9, 2014

Since the release of the film Gasland, the 60 year old petroleum extraction process of hydraulic fracturing, better known as “fracking” has been lighting up the media like the flaming faucets used to scare energy consumers.

Fracking, a post drilling injection that pumps pressurized water, sand, and publicly disclosed chemicals into tight formations several thousand feet below ground, is being used today with another innovation; horizontal drilling, to take America from energy scarcity, to energy abundance.

Sustainable growth in the forestry economy

Jan 7, 2014

With the global financial crisis of 2007 (hopefully) behind us, it is time to look at the future and what opportunities lay ahead for the forest products industry.

The world is increasingly becoming a single market, with interdependent production systems, consumption of similar goods and consumers responding to similar conditions.  We no longer compete only in a local economy.

Humility: The Forgotten Virtue

Jan 2, 2014

On New Year’s Day, many of us make resolutions to do certain things for self-improvement.  The ancient Greeks thought that becoming a better person was the product of taking on certain traits of excellence, called virtues, traits like courage and justice.  One learns virtues by imitation:  imitate a good person, and you will become a good person.

Creating and Destroying “Good Jobs”

Dec 31, 2013

Creating and Destroying “Good Jobs”

Funding Impacts on Senior Services

Dec 27, 2013

Good evening.  I’m Susan Kohler, CEO of Missoula Aging Services; the Area Agency on Aging for Missoula and Ravalli counties. As many of you know, Congress has come to an agreement on the major budget issues that have delayed finalizing the funding for fiscal year 2014, which started October 1.  Because Congress has only partially offset sequestration with this budget deal, I want to talk tonight about why it is important that we advocate on behalf of vulnerable older adults. 

Three Lumps of Coal for the Working Poor

Dec 19, 2013

Three Lumps of Coal for the Working Poor

A Commentary from Evan Barrett

I ended my commentary last month this way:  “Here’s hoping that the onset of Christmas will result in some Christian values rising up in that ‘millionaire class’ that we call Congress so that we might, by year’s end, see the minimum wage go up.  But I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Well here it is, almost Christmas, and so far Zippo from Congress.

The Holiday Gift That Keeps on Giving

Dec 18, 2013

Of all the tasks involved in being a school board member, certainly the most pleasant is attending holiday concerts. Every year I drop in on school programs throughout Great Falls, and this year, I’ve been focusing on the elementary schools.  The talent and sophistication are certainly more evident in the high schools, but in the elementary schools, every child is part of the program.   And for a couple of hours, you get to be part of the unique mini-community that develops around the hub of a neighborhood school. 

Holiday Cheer - Mandatory Arbitration Fixes?

Dec 18, 2013

It's that time of the year when when many of us are out buying gifts as part of our holiday celebrations.  The vast majority of those will be purchased with debit or credit cards.  Later this month and continuing next month the statements for those cards will be arriving – in mailboxes or in-boxes across the state.  And, if you have a dispute with the bank – such as additional fees being tacked on that you didn't know about that caused you to go over your limit and incur even more charges – you will likely find that buried in the fine print of your account agreement is a provision requiring

From Violence to Non-Violence:

Putting Nelson Mandela’s Contribution into a Broader Context

The toxic politics of health care

Dec 13, 2013

The editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association have put together in the November 13th issue, a wide ranging collection of articles that address the current organization of health care in the US.  They say “The US health care system has reached a tipping point when there is both little doubt about the kind of change that is needed and much uncertainty about how to achieve it.”

Peace Corps

Dec 12, 2013

With the first 50 years of the Peace Corps behind us and more than 200,000 former volunteers, we need to take stock of its original purpose and consider what still needs to be done. When President Kennedy proposed the Peace Corps in 1961, he envisioned a volunteer corps of 100,000 Americans each year. But at its high point, the maximum number sent has been 15,000 volunteers in a given year. In 2006  former President George W. Bush called for a doubling of Peace Corps' size, but to no avail.

Chickens

Dec 11, 2013

Recently, I figured out that all I ever wanted was 25 chickens.

I don’t mean ‘if I only had 25 chickens my life would be complete’. 

No.  I mean ‘all I ever wanted was 25 chickens, NOT 700.’

At the pinnacle of my chicken mania, my flock was about 450 laying hens and 250 baby chicks.  We dispatched about 200 of the oldest birds that fall, so thankfully, I only had about 700 chickens for most of one summer.

A season of goodwill and cherished memories

Dec 10, 2013

A season of goodwill and cherished memories

I must confess I am one of the roughly 30 million people in the United States that bought a Christmas tree from a tree farm lot this year.  I do have fond memories however of many a cold winter’s day in December, as a youngster, trampling through a deathly quiet forest – with only the sounds of an occasional “thud” as huge clumps of snow would fall from pine tree branches, and my own heavy breathing from struggling to extract myself from waist deep snow – in search of the “perfect” Christmas tree.

Veteran's Viewpoint

Dec 9, 2013

This is Dan Gallagher with Veteran’s Viewpoint.

Terry's Top 5 Lessons for 2013

Dec 6, 2013

As the end of 2013 draws near, we will be inundated with lists.  The top 10 movies, the best and worst dressed list, the top selling songs, and of course, the very important list of celebrity breakups of 2013. 

The Collapse of Compassion

Dec 6, 2013

We’ve seen the fateful video many times.  Dallas, November 22, 1963.  You see the turning of his head, a wave of the hand, that big smile erupting under bright eyes, and that broad shock of hair parted right to left.  At that moment, he doesn’t know that it is the last time he will ever smile.  And that unknowing, in that smiling moment, of what will happen next . . .

Scaring the Political Wits Out of Us: How Important Is the Federal Deficit?

The costs of treating pollution

Nov 27, 2013

You pretty much can’t swing a dead cat these days without hitting some politician, Chamber of Commerce spokesperson or tea party activist lecturing about how government spending is chaining future generations to a bottomless maw of debt and impoverishment.

To them, it’s always about protecting the future, the kids, grandkids. Fine.

Home for the Holidays

Nov 27, 2013

Good evening.  I’m Susan Kohler, CEO of Missoula Aging Services; the Area Agency on Aging for Missoula and Ravalli Counties.  Tomorrow is the start of the holiday season, a time when many of us gather with family and friends, including parents and older loved ones who live far from us.  This can be a wonderful opportunity to have important conversations with them. Tonight I want to share some tips on having these conversations while you are home for the holidays.

Building with wood connects us to our environment

Nov 21, 2013

World demographic statistics report that one person in three, or one billion people, actually live in slum conditions.  One hundred million people across the globe are homeless and over the next 20 years, three billion people, or forty percent of the world’s population, will need a new home.  The scale of the challenge facing society is staggering.

Raise the Minimum Wage

Nov 21, 2013

Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Next Thursday is Thanksgiving.

Events surrounding these two separate dates coincide to make a strong point about the challenges facing America's working poor.

Cat-Griz XLV

Nov 21, 2013

This weekend will mark my 45th observance of the Bobcat-Grizzly Game, “the Brawl of the Wild,” as it is now hyped.  I’m not too keen on the brawlish aspects of the event, especially what goes on in the stands and in town after the game.  Nor do I like the barbs that fly back and forth for weeks beforehand in the name of rivalry humor.   Some remarks delivered in jest are received as jabs, and why cultivate animosity with a neighbor?  I’m not even particularly a football fan.  Yet I’m irresistibly drawn to the Bobcat-Grizzly game.

Holiday Safety

Nov 21, 2013

We're quickly approaching the holiday season, a festive time for gathering with family and friends.  It is a time for celebrating and for giving thanks.  Every year it seems that we are urged to get into the holiday spirit earlier and earlier,  at least the buying part.  So, here are some tips to keep your holiday season and gifts joyful, and safe. 

          If the Obama Administration cannot get the incompetent, stumbling rollout of the Affordable Care Act fixed in the next month or so, we will soon face another game of “economic chicken” between Tea Party Republicans and President Obama. 

Marking International Education Week in Montana

Nov 15, 2013

Last week while visiting Beijing, China, I appreciated once again how large our world is and, at the same time, how small it is as well.  While scaling the Great Wall and walking through the grandiose imperial palace of the Forbidden City, I was reminded how historically rich and culturally diverse the global community is outside of the United States.  At the same time, as I passed the bustling streets of this metropolis of 21 million people buzzing with market activities, I also realized how interconnected our worlds are.

Veteran's Viewpoint

Nov 11, 2013

This is Dan Gallagher with Veteran’s Viewpoint.

Next Monday, November 11th, is Veterans Day.  Let me tell you about a couple of the things planned for that day.

First of all, the annual ceremony at the Doughboy Statue on the Missoula County Courthouse lawn will begin at 11:00 a.m., and last for a little more than an hour--but more about that in a minute.

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