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.

Friendship

Jul 12, 2013

Good evening.  I’m Susan Kohler, CEO of Missoula Aging Services, the Area Agency on Aging for Missoula and Ravalli counties.  This month I celebrate 30 years at Missoula Aging Services and 34 years working in the field of aging. Tonight I would like to pay tribute to all the older adults who have served as my mentors and helped shape my personal and professional journey.

CSKT tribal water compact a good deal for Montana

Jul 9, 2013

Never underestimate the ability of fire-breathing propaganda to tie good natural resource policy in knots -- even when the misinformation operates against the very interests it purports to defend.

Good policy is exactly what the proposed water compact between the State of Montana and Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes represents. However, thanks to extremist opponents – and some otherwise reasonable non-tribal irrigators scared by fear mongering -- the Compact, years in the works, was high-centered at the last Montana Legislature, a necessary stop for its ratification.

A federal budget that works for women and families

Jul 8, 2013

The summer of 2013 is shaping up to be anything but slow in the news department. Last week alone, the US Supreme Court issued three huge rulings and the US Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform.

Counterfeit Constitutionalists

Jul 4, 2013

Today our hearts swelled with pride as the Stars & Stripes led our local Fourth of July Parades.  That flag reflects an American reality of which we are rightfully proud.  For, despite its imperfections, we live in a great country, with a remarkable democracy and governmental structure that are the envy of the world – the bedrock of our national identity.  We are a government of, by and for the people.  We are a nation of laws, not of men and their whims and fancies.

Revolutionary Women

Jul 3, 2013

In his book, Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen levels a scathing criticism at the subject of American history as it was taught back when most of us were in high school.  Christopher Columbus was not the first explorer to discover America, and his treatment of the New World’s indigenous people is pretty hard to condone.  The Pilgrims were not benefactors to the Indian tribes in Massachusetts; the reverse was the case.   Manifest destiny, slavery, war … all were sugar-coated beyond recognition and peopled by a monolithic parade of white male heroes.

US Supreme Court's Fireworks

Jul 3, 2013

With so many things happening in Montana and across the country affecting the civil justice system, I had a hard time picking a topic for tonight. The U.S. Supreme Court ended it's term in June with a bang. There was the Windsor case striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and the Perry case that the Court sidestepped but in effect allowed the nullification of California's Propisition.

Both the proponents and opponents of the Keystone Pipeline were encouraged by President Obama’s recent statement that he would approve that pipeline as long as it did not “exacerbate” greenhouse gas emissions.

My Mom’s Birthday

Jun 26, 2013

Today is my mom’s birthday.  She has been going around her house singing 76 Trombones.  That should give you a clue as to how old she is. My mom and I are lucky to have a close relationship and a very strong friendship.  She and I were together for my first four years of life and then she married my step-dad.  By everyone’s admission, including hers, that was a big mistake.  She was single, 24 years old with a 4 year old child living in Hot Springs Montana and not too many prospects. 

The Maureen and Mike Mansfield Center of The University of Montana pursues a dual mission:  to foster mutual understanding between the people of the U.S. and Asia, as well as to foster ethics in public affairs.  Over the past thirty years, we have developed a number of programs in support of this vision -- always with the spirit of Mike Mansfield as the driving force in our carefully designed programming. 

Nothing is quite as loud as the silence of a sawmill not running.  Unfortunately, the sound of the closure of 28 sawmills in Montana since 1990, and the loss of over 3,200 direct, good paying, mill manufacturing jobs has been deafening.  These closures and job losses are the direct result of the increase in federal timber harvest litigation during that same time.

Finding Wildness at Home

Jun 20, 2013

Could it be that the simple act of planting a native snowberry shrub or quaking aspen in your back yard is more than an expression of decorative taste?  I’m willing to say that it’s actually a simple but highly significant act of conservation that fosters a way of relating to nature that we, and the natural world, could sorely use.  The ecological problems we face now require solutions on a mammoth scale—a paralyzing thought for those who care.  But perhaps before we can achieve the elusive political will to take on these problems, a more personal, psychological change must be nurtured.

Millennials Making Change

Jun 20, 2013

We all hear it, all the time: “The trouble with kids these days is… ” This line is often followed by a string of complaints that detail the sense of entitlement and addiction to Facebook and other social media we often associate with the Millennial Generation.  But what if that’s just not true?  I’ve had the opportunity to work with young people from across Montana and I’m here to tell you:  not only are many of them motivated, intelligent, and selfless— they’re here to make change.

          One important justification for having an armed citizenry is to keep the government from having a monopoly on the means of violence. If the government has that advantage over its citizens, so the logic goes, there is nothing to keep the government from using its armed advantage to displace democracy with authoritarian rule.

Elder Abuse Awareness

Jun 12, 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 raise the unpleasant but important topic of elder abuse.  By defining what it is and giving examples, I hope to increase your awareness of this growing “silent epidemic” and suggest ways we can all help stop its spread.

With Memorial Day behind us and summer vacation in full-swing, summer is just beginning to hit its stride here in Montana. Just talking about it brings a smile to my face: vacation, bbq, family, camping, fireworks, roasting marshmallows, swimming, and this summer, comprehensive immigration reform.

The season that seems to celebrate so many things American, is perhaps the perfect time for our country to embarking on an epic discussion of immigration reform.

It’s said that "those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.”  Almost exactly thirty years ago the last Anaconda/ARCO miner laid down his tools.  Does that economic disaster provide lessons for Stillwater Mining today?

Like No Other

Jun 5, 2013

This week across Montana, schoolchildren are scampering off to what they hope is endless summer.  Meanwhile their teachers close another chapter in their careers.  For some of them, it’s the last chapter.  But whether it’s the first, middle or last time, the closing of the school year is a bittersweet time for our K-12 schoolteachers.

US Supreme Court's Balls and Strikes Count

Jun 5, 2013

Last month I spoke about how mandatory, pre-dispute arbitration clauses in consumer and employment contracts can never be fair, because the parties do not have equal bargaining power, equal experience in arbitration, equal ability to understand contract language, particularly the ramifications of the rights being waived, and an equal ability to insist on clauses being included or excluded in the contract. 

The Right to Bear Arms Against the Government

Jun 4, 2013

One of the interesting under-currents in the great American gun debate goes well beyond the right to self-defense against attacks on our person, family, or home. Instead it focuses on the need for the population to be significantly armed so that it can effectively rebel against a government that has become authoritarian and threatens our basic democratic rights and liberties.

Health Reform and Medicaid in Montana

May 31, 2013

A recent article in the May 2 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine reports on a study of a group of adults in Oregon who were given the option of applying for Medicaid health insurance in 2008.  This study is important because it shows what happens when uninsured people do get health insurance; in this case Medicaid.  Our own state legislature recently decided in a very close vote not to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid in Montana.  Despite this, or maybe because of it, we all need to understand some of the important facts about health, health care, and health insurance.

Happy Anniversary, Montana CPAs

May 31, 2013

Have you seen the Men in Black movies?  Most of us have.  They focus on this secret agency whose sole purpose is to rid Planet Earth of alien creatures.  No one knows about this covert agency, no one knows about the good they do or how they save the planet countless times each day.  CPAs are a lot like that.  Yes, you heard me right, I said CERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS  are a lot like a secret organization of professionals who right the world of wrongs and make it a better place to do business.  Let me explain . .

Indians in the Military

May 29, 2013

On this day following Memorial Day I think it would be good to briefly consider some facts of American Indian involvement in the history of the US military.  I think would be good to consider that there may not be any such thing as American military history without American Indian history. 

Our “last full measure of devotion”

May 28, 2013

Today is Memorial Day!  For some, this holiday marks the beginning of summer barbecues, blockbuster movie premiers, and retail sales events.  However, for many Americans, it is a day to pause, reflect and honor the many men and women who, as President Lincoln stated in his address to Gettysburg in 1863, “…gave the last full measure of devotion.”  Taking time to acknowledge the sacrifice of service is documented as far back as 1862, when women in Savannah, Georgia decorated the graves of soldiers.  After the Civil War, an annual Decoration Day was created to commemorate the loss of 625,000 U

The Great Produce Rescue of 2012

May 24, 2013

I’m Robin Taylor, and I’m the garden manager at Wholesome Foods in Bridger. We’re in the middle of planting, but with every seed I put into the ground I’m reminded of my visits to this vegetable garden last summer – during a time that eventually became known as the Great Produce Rescue of 2012.

Therapeutic Cloning

May 24, 2013

Imagine, for a moment, that you have been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease, and the only cure for your condition involves using one of your cells and a human egg to make an embryo, which is a clone—or genetic copy—of yourself. From that embryo—or blastocyst, technically—stem cells are removed, thereby destroying the embryo, but providing a source for the neural tissue to treat you. Would you do it?

Government and the Decline in Violence

May 24, 2013

One source of the split among Americans on the issue of gun control has its roots in fundamentally different judgments about the legitimacy, trustworthiness, and reliability of government.

Your Secret’s Safe With Me

May 16, 2013

I’ve visited the East Rosebud River every summer I’ve lived in Montana. 

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