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.

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.


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.

Renewable Energy Standard: A Good Deal for Montana 

In less than a decade, renewable energy generation has grown exponentially in the United States. In 2012, renewable energy accounted for nearly 50% of all new U.S. power generation. State renewable energy standards- policies requiring a minimum amount of a state’s electricity to come from renewable energy—are an important reason for this growth. Thirty states, including Montana, have adopted renewable energy standards.

Judy Smith

Nov 8, 2013

I met Judy Smith when I was 23 years old and my life forever changed directions. I worked with her in a variety of projects for the better part of three decades. Judy died Wednesday evening.  We will all miss her vision, drive, passion and brilliance.  She was one of the smartest people you could ever hope to meet.  She had her doctorate in Microbiology but devoted her life to social justice. 

A Harvest for All

Nov 7, 2013

A Harvest for All

We reap a bountiful harvest.  Many Montana kitchens fill with aromas of applesauce simmering on stovetops and later, pumpkin pies and Thanksgiving turkeys.  We stock pantry shelves with garden bounty.  If nothing else, we sit down tonight to dinner and have the luxury of not thinking about hunger until the morning—most of us, that is.

Is the Bakken Oil Boom an Example of the Economic Development We Are After?

Death. Talk about it.

Nov 1, 2013

Hello.  I’m Maurika Wells, Administrator for Hospice of Missoula.  This is my 5 minutes and I am going to title it: DEATH.  TALK ABOUT IT.  Picture a black billboard, and in big white bold letters… DEATH. TALK ABOUT IT

Last week I watched a fantastic TED talk titled “LET’S TALK ABOUT DYING” by Peter Saul (I highly recommend this talk!) and in it he says... “How we die, lives on in the minds of everybody who survives us.”  Think about that. 

How WE die.  Lives on, in the minds of everybody who survives us.


Oct 30, 2013

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 share some information about Alzheimer’s disease which I learned at the UM Geriatric Education Center’s Conference in mid-October.  But first I’d like to say “Hats off!” to the GEC for providing this free, top notch conference broadcast to 25 sites in Montana.  What I share are snippets from a variety of the excellent speakers who discussed the latest research on treatments, and the interrelationship that lifestyle risk factors and genetic influence

Post-Shutdown: Where Do We Go From Here?

Oct 25, 2013

Last Thursday, sixteen days into a federal government shutdown, Congress passed a temporary budget that re-opened the government and raised the debt ceiling until January of 2014.  This agreement sent federal employees back to work and diverted a potential default on national debt, and that is inarguably a good thing.  However, for those of us that watched in dismay as partisan politics left our country uncertain, our economy weakened, and our government in disarray, there are larger lessons to be learned from the last few weeks.

The Importance of Learning Foreign Languages

Oct 25, 2013

Learning a foreign language is both time consuming and troublesome.  I still recall in high school and in college spending hours trying to memorize hundreds of vocabulary words in Spanish and Japanese and the dozens of ways to conjugate verbs.  I still cringe when thinking about the deep embarrassment of those awkward moments when I tried to express complex thoughts in front of my foreign language classes using kindergarten level terms because of my limited vocabulary.  Although these were difficult times in my international academic training, I certainly do not regret it.

The Stink Coming Through the Revolving Door

Oct 24, 2013

When one reflects on the recent federal government shutdown and Congress’ near “default” on the “full faith & credit” of the US Government, a whole lot stinks.

Buried in that stinking pile of refuse is a small item that reminds us of a big problem -- the pervasive power that special interests have through their lobbyists and the benefits they gain from the revolving door between Congressional members and staff and those same special interests.

Common Core Craziness

Oct 23, 2013

"You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension - a dimension of sound and fury, a dimension of fright. You're moving into a land of shadow and little substance, of things and ideas fiercely believed, though barely believable. You've crossed over into the Fact-Free Zone."

What's The Cause of Rising Health Care Costs?

Oct 23, 2013

Well, the rhetoric over the Affordable Care Act, Obama Care, is heating up. Amazing that a private health insurance plan that Republicans touted as a solution not so long ago, is now being attacked by those same Republicans as being “socialist,” while Democrats who supported a national single payer system, now defend a private insurance plan. We even have disagreement as to whether it is a good idea for every citizen to have insurance coverage.

 The Montana Chamber of Commerce recently attacked EPA’s regulation of the emissions from coal-fired electric generators. That regulation, the Chamber argued, would have catastrophic consequences for both controlling carbon emissions and for the Montana and American economies.

Population Health

Oct 18, 2013

Most health insurance companies in 2013 remain focused on the financial health of their organization.  In today’s environment most large employer groups self-insure and pay all their own medical costs and a fee for services to the insurance company.  When providing coverage for individuals, insurance companies now avoid people who are likely to use much in the way of medical care.  This means trying to insure only people who are likely to remain healthy and who have no history of serious disease.  The sad truth is that looking for ways to improve the health of the people they insure is not

Indian Identity - Part 1

Oct 16, 2013

Walk into any law library in this country and peruse the wall of US Code, that record of Congressional statutes, and among the 51 volumes there you will find titles such as The Congress, Agriculture, Railroads, Minerals and Mining, War and National Defense – all subjects common and particular enough to the US that no one would think twice about their presence.  But among these volumes you will also find one titled “Indians” – Title 25 to be exact.  A second perusal of the wall of Congressional law should be enough to show you that no other group of people in this country have been made dist