Archive for March 11th, 2010

by jhwygirl

Florida Representative Alan Grayson introduced HR4789 Tuesday. It’s pretty simple. In introducing the bill, he speaks to the very issue we here in Montana face – just like dozens of others: Lack of true competition in the market place. Here in Montana, Blue Cross Blue Shield Montana controls 75% of the market.

Pass the Bill

by jhwygirl

Apparently, spines are evolving out there amongst the Washington creatures we call Democrats.

Today I hear that Sen. Harry Reid announced his intent to pass health reform via reconciliation….Durbin is saying that a public option – if it is to occur – is up to the House….and Dodd is saying that he will move a finance reform bill forward regardless of whether Republicans choose to support it or not.

Either that or someone slipped me a mickey or a benny or whatever the kids are calling those things these days and I’m imagining things….

We are entering a full year and a half where, seemingly, nothing Obama has campaigned on has gotten accomplished. Republicans will be campaigning on exactly that that – and in pretty short order, really.

I mean – we got tax cuts, but most people don’t realize that…and you’d never hear a Republican mention it, either.

Pass the bills. Move them forward. If Republicans stop them, then it will be them that stops it – and it will only ensure an even stronger Democratic base.

If Republicans stop health insurance reform, we’ll start ticking off the lives lost every single day because of lack of health care….the bankruptcies filed because of health care bills…the jobs lost overseas to foreign corporations more competitive than America’s because their industrialized nation has national health care. Reality isn’t going to go away.

If Republicans – the so-called fiscal conservatives – don’t want to participate in meaningful finance reform they’ll look like fools. Corporate lap-dog fools. We know finance reform means no more bailouts – we know finance reform means better bank regulations that prevent irresponsible costs being passed on to consumers. Again – reality isn’t going away.

If any elected out there thinks that we can stop reform and then get away with it, they’d be nuts. And that goes for both sides.


Missoula is having a hard time of it lately and things are not going to be getting much better anytime soon.  Macy’s closed this week and several other local downtown businesses are set to shutter their doors.   And no, The University will not be able to bailout this community.  In fact, The University is likely to become a source of more pain as budgets are cut further and departments are forced to let positions stay unoccupied.

At a recent meeting discussing an infrastructure project to be built in the next few years someone made the comment that, “The University should just contribute more.” No… they really can’t.

According to, The University could be facing a $7.6 million budget cut in fiscal year 2011, or about 5%.  Thats a lot of money for our local economy and a lot of corresponding jobs.  Perhaps the worst thing coming out of The University for Missoula is not a budget cut but a lack of building projects.  Over the last decade hundreds of millions of dollars went into new buildings on campus.  Not only did this create new educational opportunities, but it also gave a substantial boost to the local building trade, helping to support many a contractor, architect, laborer, and even LEED supervisors.  Once built all those new buildings needed to be maintained by a legion of support staff and everyone’s favorite… administrators.

But now the building spree is over and future investments are now in question, especially with King George set to depart.  Dennison was a big supporter in recent years of reducing The University’s carbon emissions and energy use.  Retrofitting the campus to be sustainable would require a large amount of investment dollars.  Was this out of some altruistic sense?  Probably not… much more likely that he was thinking of the financial benefit such a program would reap five, ten, or twenty years down the road as well as the marketing pot-of-gold a sustainable campus would represent.  Previous policies initiatives could be up in the air with any new captain steering the ship.

Already projects that might have found funding in a different economic environment are on hold indefinitely, such as the COT expansion and a new coffee shop on campus that would have been LEED certified.  The pain is even creeping into student organizations such as the Office of Transportation which is facing an 8-12% budget cut because expected federal funding will most likely not show up on time.  An 8-12% budget cut for an organization that has a $700,000 annual budget means 3 or 4 part-time student positions disappear.

So while The University may seem like its own little world that some would like to ignore or marginalize, including the student body, it’s really an integral part of Missoula… and when Missoula suffers so does the U.

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