Political Trough: NPR Covers State Employee Clinic in MT

NPR covers the Montana health clinic for state employees. Is it proof the IRS doesn’t just target Republicans? Sequester hits military funerals. And, in case you run into Robert Rubin in Big Timber this summer…all that and more is included in this week’s Political Trough:

NPR’s “Morning Edition” featured this report from Dan Boyce with Montana Public Radio:

Excerpt from Boyce’s report:  

..for the Helena area’s 11,000 state workers and their dependents. With an appointment, patients wait just a couple minutes to see a doctor. Visitation is more than 75 percent higher than initial estimates.

“For goodness sakes, of course the employees and the retirees like it, it’s free,” says Republican State Sen. Dave Lewis….”If they’re taking money out of the hospital’s pocket, the hospital’s raising the price on other things to offset that,” Lewis says.

 TheWesternWord.com writes: “and here I thought the IRS was only going after people who leaned to the right…”

Lee Newspapers is reporting that Montana State Senator Jonathan Windy Boy (Democrat) “owes more than $146,000 in federal taxes, penalties and interest, according to a document filed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.”

The Great Falls Tribune: Sequester Hits Military Funerals

The effects of sequestration are beginning to impact military funerals.

So far though, Malmstrom Air Force Base hasn’t encountered this particular change.  Previously, Air Force retirees were entitled to seven-person honor guard teams. But a recent change in Air Force policy, known as an Air Force Instruction, or AFI, has reduced the entitlement to a two-person team. 

The policy for active-duty members and veterans has not changed, according to the Pentagon.

And, in case you run into former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin in Big Timber this summer (he has a stake in a ranch outside Big Timber) you could ask him his take on who should be the next Fed chair…

From Politico’s Playbook:

N.Y. TIMES ENDORSES JANET YELLEN for Fed chair in a tough, harsh lead editorial : “Despite a campaign from allies both inside and outside the White House, the recent drive to install Lawrence Summers as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve seems to be faltering – and with good reason: He is not the best person for the job … But the group behind Mr. Summers does not give up easily. Composed of protégés of Robert Rubin, the former Treasury secretary who was a leader at Citigroup as that institution careened toward its serial bailouts, some of Mr. Summers’s supporters are now pushing the notion that neither Mr. Summers nor Ms. Yellen should get the top Fed job. The idea is that the supposed rivalry between them – fanned by Mr. Summers’s supporters – has consumed both of them, requiring a third candidate. That is nonsense. Nothing that has occurred in the past week changes the fact that no one else can match Janet Yellen’s combination of academic credentials and policy-making experience. …

“What has changed in the past week is that the power dynamics around economic policy-making have become more public than normal. Mr. Rubin and his circle – including Mr. Summers; Timothy Geithner, Mr. Obama’s first Treasury secretary; and Gene Sperling, currently a top economic adviser to the president – have dominated economic decisions in both the Clinton and Obama administrations. Most of them were also prominent in Wall Street circles in the George W. Bush years. In the wake of the financial crisis and the Dodd-Frank reform law, the Fed chairmanship has only become more central to the fate of the banks and economy; as a result, they want someone who shares their background and can be counted on to further their views. … The facts are entirely on Ms. Yellen’s side.” http://nyti.ms/1bESv9U

AP: Ex-Montana Coach Defends Record Following Penalties

Penalties to the University of Montana football program following an investigation are the result of the NCAA being “extremely technical,” former head coach Robin Pflugrad said.

He told the newspaper that he disagrees with the NCAA’s definition of a “booster.” The NCAA determined that backup quarterback Gerald Kemp and cornerback Trumaine Johnson were bailed out of jail after their arrest on Oct. 23, 2011, by the mother of a teammate who paid $130 and $190. Kemp’s grandfather later reimbursed the woman.

“In the highest degree of technicality, I looked at that relationship, as a mother of a player whose teammate was in trouble, and when does that cross over to being a booster?” Pflugrad said. “If that’s my biggest mistake, then I’m going to move forward with it. Because there has to be some form of humanity in what we do.

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