Every week, I hope to highlight some of the most important and interesting reads that may have passed you by. If there’s a story you think I should highlight, be sure to drop me a note.
Higher education a priority for local Missoula Democrats – The University of Montana is cutting an estimated $12 million from its 2017 fiscal year budget in response to dropping enrollment, and the topic of funding higher education is on the front burner nationally on the presidential campaign trail. In a 2013 report, the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted that “states have cut higher education funding deeply,” some 28 percent from 2008 to 2013. Adjusted for inflation, it noted Montana had cut per-student spending 17.3 percent over the same time period. Missoulian
Editorial: UM’s latest crisis is of identity – “Trying to shock a depopulated liberal arts and sciences school into a STEM university through public announcements of secret firings and disaster capitalism is an unconvincing facade of progress, a lurching homunculus ambling awkwardly into the sea. The University of Montana got into this position because it didn’t have a heart. Wishing for a brain won’t get it beating.”Montana Kaimin
Keeping fighting against misguided push for federal land transfer – In this respect Fielder is no different. What may be different here is the ideas she promotes as a legislator and as the head of ALC are incredibly unpopular with the majority of Montanans who value their public lands and the legacy they have in Montana — a state known for its breathtaking beauty, abundant fish and wildlife habitat and ample recreational opportunities. We are suspicious of people and organizations who see these lands as simply an opportunity to expand the state economy. These lands are already the economic engine of our state — just ask the software developer in Bozeman, or the doctor in Helena or the restaurateur in Kalispell. They live here and make their living here because of the tremendous access to our public lands and the resources those lands offer.Independent Record
Prairie Lights: Who will do the work newspapers once did? | – Here’s what worries me: There’s no way Last Best News can cover any subject in that much depth, and increasingly it is almost as impossible for the Gazette, with its never-ending cutbacks, to do so, either. And TV and radio have never even tried to provide that kind of depth. There is a lot of “news” that can be covered in short bursts, crime and sports being especially conducive to that kind of coverage. But the nitty-gritty details, the tedious discussions and serpentine processes—all those things that might seem as interesting as watching paint dry—need to be covered, too, and covered well if we want our civic institutions to work well and to be accountable. – See more at: http://lastbestnews.com/site/2016/02/prairie-lights-who-will-do-the-work-newspapers-once-did/#sthash.CRvTalh8.dpufLast Best News
Scientists: Climate Influencing Global Trout Populations – – “Temperature-sensitive trout thrive in water that is cold, clear and abundant – not exactly groundbreaking news. But a recent study tracking the relationship between warming climes and the adverse effects on global trout populations is the first to establish a scientific connection.”Flathead Beacon
Click fate | News | – Jay Stevens, who founded the Missoula-based 4&20 Blackbirds partly to support Tester’s bid, agrees the timing was right for a rise in alternative online discussion. Montana’s collection of blogs traded compliments and barbs, depending on the post, and the public was free to weigh in on comment boards. The medium was “hip and new,” Stevens says. It felt like people had been thirsting for alternative opinions. The blogs quickly became not only a forum for discussion but an online home for a growing progressive community, one that promoted activism and, in Stevens’ view, was even poised to influence policy. When Gov. Brian Schweitzer bumped into Stevens at an event in early 2006, Stevens was surprised to learn some of the state’s highest ranking politicians were among his readers.Missoula Independent
Rosendale goes for state auditor, GOP goes for lands board – “Rosendale, a wealthy real estate developer, spent approximately one million dollars of his own money in an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination for the U.S. House in 2014. He released a zany campaign video in which he used a deer rifle to shoot down a peeping drone. He also attended a Second Amendment Rally in Kalispell that was sponsored by the Oath Keepers. “Flathead Memo
On FMLA’s 23rd anniversary, poll shows that it’s time for paid leave | – “While the FMLA provides working families greater protection, many working Americans – and Montanans – do not qualify for the FMLA. And even among those who do qualify, many employees cannot afford to take unpaid time off work. Debra Ness, President of the National Partnership for Women and Families, which led the fight to enact FMLA in 1993, states that “America’s workplace policies have failed to keep pace with the realities of people’s lives” and that workers need something better.”Montana Budget and Policy Center
Good Job Dreams – If you’ve heard one thing from Gianforte lately, it’s the claim that Montana is “49th. in wages.” That sounds pretty bad, but as Parker, who teaches political science at MSU, noticed, it doesn’t seem to square with what we know about the state’s rankings in household and per capita income, the unemployment rate, and employment growth, all of which are really pretty decent. So Parker did some digging around, and it turns out that the measure of “wages” that Gianforte is relying on, and at which we appear to be so miserable, is, to put it mildly, deeply flawed.Barrett for SD 45
This last item, a video posted by Lone Mic Productions, reveals the ugliness of the anti-refugee rally in Missoula, as well as the humanity of those who came to counter protest:
If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.
Don Pogreba is an eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.