Archive for April 28th, 2009

Olympia Snow

by jhwygirl


That’s pretty fast, no?

I sympathize for her.

by jhwygirl

I think the county fairgrounds should be relocated and rebuilt with the historic buildings down by Fort Missoula and make that whole area a combination park and historic center and activity/expo center.

Fort Missoula is the biggest bestest asset the county has – and it speaks to what Missoula and Montana and the history of our nation. Incorporating the fairgrounds down there would be one of the smartest things that could happen for both the fairgrounds and the Fort.

Then that property should be sold to some housing trust where the underlying ground collects perpetual income from a mixed-use, predominately affordable housing development.

Hey! I can dream, can’t I?!

by jhwygirl

I’ve yet to write about Ezra Klein’s visit to Missoula last week to speak on health care (or my meeting with Wulfgar! – I don’t know which was a bigger event!), but one thing that Ezra spoke of was our senator’s important – very important – roll in instituting some sort of health care policy.

Max is the man, because, when it comes down to it, it’s about the money. It’s always about the money. And with Sen. Baucus as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, nothing will get done without going through his committee.

Before heading home, Ezra Klein sat down with Montana journalist Mike Dennison for an interview. While that interview was posted in several places, the Billings Gazette gets the link because it had the most comments.

I’ll note that blogs aren’t unique in having commentators that resort to personal attacks – in this case, the usual: Forward Montana – and anything but the subject at hand.

Congressional Quarterly Politics has a nice interview with our Senator Baucus on the subject of health care. Baucus is clearly wrestling with the idea of having a government-run health care insurer – whether it is necessary and what, if any, role one would play.

Wednesday begins the formal policy discussions in the Senate on health care reform and national health care.

While a government-run insurance plan was still on the table, Baucus said “it might be a bit on the side of the table.” Instead, he said, he would focus on preserving the insurance system for self-insured companies while expanding private insurance and public programs such as Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor. “We’ll end up with more private insurance and more public insurance,” he said.

He later backed off that statement slightly, saying he might return to the government-run idea later on. Baucus has previously backed the idea of a government-run plan to compete with private insurers and drive down costs, but the political difficulty of the idea has put pressure on him to drop it. Many Republicans vehemently oppose any idea of a government-run insurance plan, while many of the left are demanding its inclusion.

The CQ piece mentions Baucus’ “white paper”. People should really go read it before going off and ranting about “socialism”.

It’s fair to note that while there were many skeptics when it comes to Baucus and health care reform, virtually all health care policy analysts on the progressive side have agreed that Baucus is serious about health care reform and that he is clearly seizing his lead in guiding the process.

On Tuesday, Baucus released this report to the Senate Finance Committee as a precursor the the initial discussions, which begin Wednesday, April 29th.

Health care is the largest policy initiative that has been so very very long in coming, in all honesty there’s a part of me that can’t comprehend that there is actually going to be serious discussion working towards solutions. It’s not something that I’ll be reading about like fiction or hypothetical – it’ll all be something that is going to end up being something real.




by problembear

when colin powell defected from the republican party and endorsed obama for president over john mccain last fall you could see that moderate reasonable republicans were getting fed up with the right wing nut leanings of the republican party leadership…today with specter’s defection i can’t help wonder if this is just the start of many such defections….

no reasonable moderate party says that they hope that their president and their nation will fail in rebuilding our economy…

no reasonable and fair-minded party stands in the way of predatory lending reform…

no reasonable and responsible party continues to lobby for tax advantages for the rich when so many are without jobs…

no reasonable and THINKING party continues to support private health care insurance plans over single payer universal health care for everyone…

arlen specter chose wisely today. the republican party leadership has driven the republican party over the cliff by embracing zealous lockstep radical right wing agendas which seem to be at odds with mainstream and main street america. 

i have my eye on at least 4 more republican senators and at least 12 republican representatives in congress. back atcha right wing zealots – here’s hoping your agendas all fail.

by Pete Talbot

It started as a rumor but was confirmed by the Missoulian. Smurfit-Stone will continue its 10-day shutdown for another 30 days — to June 1.

That’s 280 people out of work in the Missoula area, for at least a month. Add that to what could be 369 Plum Creek layoffs (Ksanka mill in Eureka and Pablo mill closed, Evergreen and Columbia Falls being eyed for closure) and that’s a lot of unemployed Western Montana timber industry workers. Our sympathies to them and their families.

It should be noted that Plum Creek’s first quarter profits were $175 million but, obviously, not from the sale of timber products.

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