Archive for October 22nd, 2009

by jhwygirl

Following up on Monday’s news that ABC/Time polling showed 57% support a public option in health insurance reform changes being hammered out in congress, today brings us news that affirms that trend.

CNN polling tells us 61% favor a public option for inclusion in any health insurance reform bill. That number is up 5% since late August.

A few short weeks ago – just before the Senate Finance Committee’s bill was freed – Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ordered a CBO markup of the cost of including a public option. She wanted an analysis of 3 different versions. Guess what? The CBO found that including a Medicare-for-all option, along with a 5% increase in doctor payments, would actually lower the deficit. The cost? $871 billion over 10 years – and it would insure everyone.

The Senate Finance Committee’s bill leaves 25,000,000 American uninsured.

House Democratic leaders wisely quick to jump on this – and even Harry up there in the Senate is is hinting that he’s got the 60 votes necessary to pass a bill that includes a public option.

Keep the calls and email folks. I’m told I put up Tester’s fax number for the Missoula office last time – and Pete was kind enough to fix it…this time, I’m a cuttin’ and pastin’ out of that post, that way I know the numbers are correct. With apologies to all….

Keep calling. Keep emailing.

Sen. Max Baucus – 329-3123 in Missoula – others here
Sen. Jon Tester – 728-3003 here in Missoula – 1-866-554-4403 statewide.

Don’t forget Denny:
Rep. Denny Rehberg – 543-0663 here in Missoula, or 1-888-232-2626 statewide.

by jhwygirl

NW Montana – Columbia Falls, to be specific – is taking another significant living-wage job loss hit, this time in the form of the closure of the Columbia Falls Aluminum (CFA) plant. The Missoulian’s Michael Jamison has a meaty story up on the closure and how the plant got to that point.

Cheap subsidized electricity, or rising electricity costs, depending on how you look at it.

Jamison details the court challenges that brought the cost of power for the plant to where it is today. A few things strike me, first being the tenacity of both BPA (a quasi-governmental outfit that moves power around the Pacific Northwest) and CFA: BPA was sued for providing at-cost power. BPA lost. BPA and CFA immediately put together a “bridge” agreement to continue more of the same. BPA is sued again. BPA loses again.

Screw the courts, they were determined to do what they wanted to do.

Secondly, I wonder about that relationship between BPA and CFA. And who else is getting that kind of deal? BPA is a quasi-government entity. They operate with a pretty swift hand when the see fit, under the umbrella of eminent domain and all other sorts of perks afforded to it where they operate. But they were also created out of an act in Congress, for the sole purpose of moving power from the NW’s dams to other areas in the West for no cost. That is (ah-hem) non-profit.

So when BPA was providing so-called “no cost” power CPA – and keeping in mind, BPA is a non-profit, so they’re not actually cutting their losses by cutting someone a deal – consumers were paying whatever it is we were paying.

Someone was paying for CPA’s power, and it wasn’t some for-profit corporate executives salary (it rarely is) – it was the taxpayer. You and me. Anyone using electricity here in Montana – anywhere here in the West or the region BPA serves – Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and parts of Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California.

Many people wonder where the power produced here in Montana goes. So do I. Montana can champion all those windmill sites (some going back to having been approved by Martz) – but if the power’s going to California, big friggin’ deal. If the consumer here in Montana is paying for the infrastructure that moves Montana-made power down to California, well – now that there would be pretty screwed up now, wouldn’t it?

Montana can run around championing a 210 megawatt plan near Glacier but if the power is bound for California, its Montana championing green energy for California while creating just a dozen full time jobs here in Montana and a whole bunch of powerlines running across our landscape.

Montana’s not gonna get green browning up our landscape with powerlines for California. That’s all I’m sayin’.

And as for the free market? Seems everyone loves it until they actually have to live with it.

by jhwygirl

Have you filled out your ballot yet? Get ‘er done. Why wait until tomorrow? Or next week.

The Missoula Independent has its endorsements out today – and (as usual) I am in full agreement.

Dave Strohmaier for Ward 1
Roy Houseman for Ward 2
Bob Jaffe for Ward 3
Jon Wilkins for Ward 4
Mike O’Herron for Ward 5
Marilyn Marler for Ward 6
John Engen for Mayor

Both John Engen and Jon Wilkins are unchallenged. Far as I can tell, Wilkins doesn’t have a website.

If you haven’t gotten your ballot yet (this is a mail-in only election), you might want to contact the County Elections Office at 258-4751 to verify your address. If you are at a different address from your registration or if you haven’t registered to vote yet, you’ll have to be heading to the fairgrounds to vote.

That’s why it’s important to vote early and get it done. If you wait until election day and can’t find your ballot or you find out your not registered, you’ll be having to venture down to the fairgrounds.


Anyone not able to get what I’m trying to convey about the voting-at-the-fairgrounds thing?

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