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.

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.

Alzheimer's

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

Montana’s Forest Products Week

Oct 14, 2013

This week marks the third annual Montana “Forest Products Week”.  In 2011, the state legislature set-a-side a week every October, in order to recognize the value of Montana’s forest products industry, their contribution to the management of our forest lands, and to the stability of Montana’s economy. 

Veteran's Viewpoint

Oct 12, 2013

This is Dan Gallagher with Veteran’s Viewpoint. 

First of all, let me remind you that Veterans Day is coming up--Monday November 11th.  And again this year, American Legion Post #101will sponsor the Missoula Veterans Day ceremony on the county courthouse lawn, and, again, I will be organizing this event.

According to an article in “Uncover Missoula, “a publication of the Missoulian newspaper the city’s history began in 1860 with a settlement known as Hell Gate. The standard article included in the past two editions failed to recognize important events relating to American Indians and their deep historical connection to Missoula.

It’s about Democracy

Oct 10, 2013

If you think the current standoff in Congress over the government shutdown is the failure equally of both sides to negotiate a compromise, suppose the party roles were reversed.  A Republican president is confronted by a Democratic House speaker whose most liberal party wing refuses to fund the government unless the president agrees to a single-payer, government-funded health care system.  We all know Republicans would howl that this is government by extortion, which it is.  Give a minority the laws it wants, or everybody suffers.  If President Obama gives in to current demands, th

          Some economic fantasies never seem to recede, even in the face of economic reality. One of these is the belief that if only more and more federal land were opened to oil and gas drilling, local and state economies would enter a period of permanent prosperity. That source of extensive economic prosperity, we are told, is just beneath our feet. All we have to do is drill. But, we are told, the federal government’s environmental regulations and bureaucratic incompetence block this drilling and keep  us unnecessarily poor.

Medicaid Expansion in Montana

Oct 1, 2013

Earlier this year, Montana had the opportunity to expand our Medicaid program to provide affordable, quality health care to 70,000 low-income Montanans. 

Gun Safety - Get Your Remington 700 Repaired

Oct 1, 2013

For me, these crisp autumn mornings mean the big game hunting season is near.  Right now hunters are out sighting in their rifles.  The general rifle season for elk, deer, and antelope opens next month.  Hunting is a family tradition in Montana, a higher percentage of our population hunts than in any other state, and it is common to see hunting parties of two or three generations in the woods and on the prairies throughout Montana.  Unfortunately, a Montana family may lose a loved one to a hunting accident.  While any loss of life is tragic, we are doing better with safety training and safe

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.

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