Weekend Wrapup: Brokaw Says He’s Beating Cancer

Team Opaque demands transparency from the NFL.  The burger I hope former Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) brings to Montana. Kellyn Brown tells candidates: you’ll be tracked- now get used to it.  Emergency room visits are up in Medicaid expansion states.  A GOP Senate could force Obama’s hand on the Keystone XL pipeline.  And, did former Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) not run for the US Senate because he thinks Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) doesn’t like him?  The answer and more is below in the Weekend Wrapup.  

But first, Politico’s Playbook has this:

BEST NEWS OF THE DAY — “Tom Brokaw says he’s beating his cancer,” by USA Today’s Jayme Deerwester: “Tom Brokaw was back behind NBC’s ‘Today’ anchor desk Thursday … During a segment called ‘Ask Tom Brokaw Anything,’ he told the audience, ‘Actually I’m doing fine. … I’ve gotten some very good news in the last week. I hope that within six weeks, I can be on a drug maintenance program. The myeloma (an incurable cancer of the blood cells found in bone marrow) appears to be gone. I’ve got one more marker to get down, then I’ll be all right.'” http://usat.ly/1wlqvla

Brokaw has a home in Montana.

The Great Falls Tribune- Election: Seniors, guns and Schweitzer

Did former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer decline to run for this year’s open U.S. Senate seat in part because he thinks U.S. Sen. Jon Tester doesn’t like him? No way, Tester told the Tribune Editorial Board last week. Tester did not acknowledge any friction between the state’s senior senator and the former governor, but “it shouldn’t mean a (thing) what I thought” in any case, the senator said. Tester thinks Schweitzer, whom he called a remarkable “on-the-ground politician,” declined “because of something else.” Some Democrats wanted Schweitzer, a popular two-term governor, to run for the open seat vacated by Max Baucus, now U.S. ambassador to China. Tester and Schweitzer are Democrats.

On a potential US Senate race debate:

Brock Lowrance, spokesman for the Steve Daines for Montana campaign, shot back: “After already skipping out on a recent candidate forum in Colstrip, it shouldn’t be surprising that Amanda Curtis is doing everything she can to avoid talking about the issues that concern Montanans. Instead of actually working with our campaign to get a debate on the books to discuss the issues, Curtis is more concerned with debating about debates.”

Lee Newspapers: In state’s major congressional races, 1 debate scheduled, 1 other looks likely

Just eight weeks before the election, an Oct. 4 debate between Montana’s U.S. House candidates is the only debate scheduled for any candidates in state congressional races — but another one appears likely to happen.

U.S. Senate candidates Steve Daines and Amanda Curtis have tentatively agreed to debate Oct. 20 in Billings, which so far is the only debate scheduled between the Senate competitors.

Candid Camera

The Flathead Beacon’s Kellyn Brown: Basically, candidates for higher office should get used to having the rest of their public – and sometimes private – lives filmed

Whatever your view of them, trackers continue to influence races. And now they are beginning to follow candidates off the campaign trail. Over the summer, a Democratic group’s tracker began filming North Carolina Speaker of the House Thom Tillis around the state capitol building. Tillis is challenging incumbent U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan in November. Ironically, last year Democrats accused Republicans of violating “unwritten rules” after a conservative group dispatched a tracker to follow Hagan on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Basically, candidates for higher office should get used to having the rest of their public – and sometimes private – lives filmed. And we should get used to only seeing the most exciting, or more often embarrassing, portions of their days – just like any good reality show.

Trackers are now so prevalent that they are often tailed at events by other trackers. Yes, trackers are now tracking trackers. Makes me want to run for office.

Side note from me:  I’ve bumped in to a few of these trackers.  First was at the Montana VA clinic grand opening in Billings.  The GOP tracker following appointed Sen. John Walsh (D-MT) seemed to do a good job giving the Senator a bubble to operate in (I believe this is the same tracker following Curtis now).  The Dem tracker following Rep. Steve Daines (R-MT); however, seemed to be way over the line.  As for the Dem tracker following US House candidate Ryan Zinke (R-MT)- he actually seemed like a pretty cool guy…then again- who isn’t cool when you run into them at Moose’s in Kalispell?


A Republican-controlled Senate could bring President Obama to the table on Keystone XL and other GOP energy issues, Sen. Rob Portman says. “A Republican majority helps make those happen,” Senator Portman said yesterday at a Christian Science Monitor event. “By getting a Republican majority we get the president to the table on some of these issues.” Portman was also sure to note that a GOP-controlled Senate could move the energy efficiency package he authored with New Hampshire Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. The package has twice been derailed by partisan sniping. More: http://bit.ly/1pUipax

Alan Olson writes for The Flathead Beacon: Asian Coal Demand Will be Supplied, Why Not by Us?

There would be no impact on emissions because the Asian demand will continue to increase no matter what we do in Montana – they’ll just find a way to supply that demand from elsewhere. Most likely the spoils of our folly will go to Indonesia or Australia.

New coal-fired power plants are springing up all over Asia, both in developed countries like Japan and South Korea, and in emerging markets like India and China. Demand is going through the roof because they have over 1 billion people who still do not have access to electricity.

So why are environmental activists cheering Oregon’s small-minded decision? We’ve simply handed what should have been American jobs and investments over to our good friends north of the border.

Lee Newspapers: VanDyke tops court fundraising for month

Now that he is back on the ballot, Supreme Court candidate Lawrence VanDyke raised more campaign money during the past month than the other three candidates combined for the two justice seats.

VanDyke raised about $48,500 from Aug. 6 to Sept. 5 and spent $7,100 to leave about $55,200 left in the bank at the end of the reporting period.

VanDyke is the state’s former solicitor general under Attorney General Tim Fox. He lives in northern Jefferson County.

The Heritage Foundation’s DailySignal.com: Is the AP U.S. History Exam Changing Because of Common Core?

Certain AP courses are being redesigned to better match the Common Core standards. That raises questions about the reach of Common Core in disciplines beyond the original English and Math standards outlined and the standards’ influence on higher education.

The redesign of AP exams, such as AP U.S. History, is “one outgrowth” of the College Board’s effort to reform its curriculum and exams to reflect Common Core, argues Joy Pullmann in The Federalist.

Great Falls Tribune: Nuke chief confident in Malmstrom mission

The man who called the meeting — and is holding others on nuclear bombers and submarines — is Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, one of the military’s nine unified commands that is responsible for nuclear, cyber and space operations, missile defense, weapons of mass destruction and more.

He said that in talking to civic leaders and the general public he tells thanks them for supporting the airmen and also Malmstrom’s mission, which he says remains relevant today.

“We’re not in a Cold War, we’re beyond that time in history,” he said. “But, it’s an area we cannot ignore.”

DailySignal.com: What Obama Got Right—and Wrong—in His ISIS Speech

Obama did spend too much of the wrap-up on emphasizing how this is different from “Bush’s wars.” He could not resist the added emphasis here that again, there would be no ground combat role. Never tell your enemies what you will not do, Mr. President.

The final words were an attempt to convince the listeners that his leadership has been successful. That “case” is weak. Now the nation will wait to see if this works.

Reason.com: Emergency Room Usage is Way Up in Medicaid Expansion States

When President Obama pitched his health care overhaul in 2008 and 2009, one of the arguments he often made was that the existing system relied too heavily on emergency room usage by the uninsured, which drove up the cost of care for everyone else. “If there are affordable options and people still don’t sign up for health insurance, it means we pay for those people’s expensive emergency room visits,” he  said in a major speech promoting the law in September, 2009. In multiple speeches, Obama suggested that excess emergency room visits added almost $1000 a year to the average family’s medical insurance costs.

Thanks to the Supreme Court, which ruled that states could choose whether or not to expand Medicaid under the law without fear of losing their existing federal funding, we now have something of a natural experiment. Some states have expanded the health program. Others haven’t.

And the results are clear: Emergency room visits are up significantly more in expansion states than in non-expansion states, according to a new  study by the Colorado Hospital Association which examined 450 hospitals in 25 states. Medicaid expansion states saw a 5.6 percent increase in emergency department visits in the second quarter of this year compared with the same period last year. Emergency department usage in non-expansion states saw a 1.8 percent increase, possibly because of people who were previously eligible for Medicaid getting covered and using emergency rooms more.

MichelleMalkin.com: Congressional Democrats demand greater transparency … from the NFL; Team Opaque has issued a transparency demand:

And here’s a story I first reported right here on this blogMissoula Independent: Ivory Republican; What do bagpipers, Daines and the NRA have in common?

For more than two decades, a troupe of Canadian bagpipers have traveled to Glasgow, Mont., each fall for a string of high school homecoming parades, halftime performances and musical bar crawls. But the Saskatoon Police Bags and Pipes bowed out earlier this month, citing fears that their instruments—which contain ivory components—would be confiscated at the border under a new order from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Daniel Ashe banning commercial import of elephant ivory.

The Saskatoon pipers have reason to worry. Federal inspectors confiscated seven violin bows from the Budapest Festival Orchestra in June after a physical examination in New York revealed they had ivory parts. Last month, two New Hampshire teenagers returning from a bagpipe competition in Canada were forced to surrender the ivory components from their bagpipes to border patrol agents. In both cases the musicians recovered the items after paying a fine. These incidents have only served to bolster opposition to Ashe’s new regulation from organizations like the National Association of Music Makers, Chess Collectors International and the International Society of Cane Collectors.

Finally…I’m counting on former Congressman Denny Rehberg (R-MT) to bring this burger to Montana…

From Politico’s Playbook:  DESSERT

“In Japan, Burger King has a burger with black cheese,” by LA Times’ Jenn Harris: “Burger King in Japan is taking black food to another level … [by] introduc[ing] a new burger with black cheese … The cheese resembles ink-dipped slices of Kraft American cheese singles. But it’s really just cheese made with bamboo charcoal.

The cheese comes on the new Kuro Burger, layered with a beef patty on a black bun made with bamboo charcoal, onion and squid ink.” http://lat.ms/1qMt6BB

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