We’ve heard about Republicans in Montana fighting over an open or a closed primary, but to hear Politico tell it- Democrats like Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) don’t want to have primaries at all…that story is in the Weekend Wrap. Plus, the many hats of uber-consultant Jim Messina. The Washington Post says it is ok to insult Montana if you’re a presidential candidate. Ryan Zinke’s “warning shot” to Amtrak. The Senate GOP lays out a case for oil exports. Elon Musk says driving cars will someday be against the law. The teachers union helps fund an ad saying all cops are bastards? And, Michigan looks to do away with film subsidies (should Montana too?).
Those stories and much more are in the Weekend Wrap…but first:
The Wall Street Journal:
The Obama administration today is expected to issue long-awaited regulations setting new standards for hydraulic fracturing in the oil and natural-gas industries. The drilling technology, commonly known as fracking, has been key to unlocking vast reserves of oil and gas across the U.S., but qualms about its environmental impact have made it controversial. The regulations will set standards for wells and disposal of wastewater, and will require disclosure of chemicals used.
Flathead Beacon: Huckabee Headlines Stillwater Christian School Fundraiser
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told a crowd gathered at the Flathead County Fairgrounds Thursday night that he would soon decide whether to run for president in 2016.
During Huckabee’s 45-minute speech, he talked about the importance of education and raising children in a Christian environment. He was also critical of public school systems and other institutions that are obsessed with “political correctness.”
“So many of the values that a mother and father give their children are undermined by an education system that has gone off the rails,” Huckabee told the crowd. “I don’t remember someone being hurt or injured (when I was younger) by someone talking about God or mentioning Christmas in a public school.”
Politico Plabook Friday: The Many Hats of Jim Messina
OBAMA ALUMNI — “The Many Hats of Jim Messina: The head of Clinton’s main super PAC also advises Uber and Airbnb,” by Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brad Stone: “Messina, an in-demand Washington operative and head of Priorities USA Action … has become Silicon Valley’s go-to government fixer. He’s still working with Uber-he helped recruit fellow Obama campaign alum David Plouffe as its senior vice president for policy and strategy-and advises Airbnb, used-car market Beepi, and [Shervin] Pishevar’s Sherpa Ventures … ‘We call him ‘The Wolf,’ says Pishevar, a reference to the murder-cleanup consultant in Pulp Fiction, played by Harvey Keitel. …
“The Valley has already been lucrative for Messina and his consulting firm, the Messina Group. When he started working for Uber, Messina received an undisclosed number of shares in the company, which was then valued at $330 million. Uber’s valuation is now 124 times higher-more than $41 billion-meaning Messina’s shares are potentially worth tens of millions of dollars. ‘It certainly helps to pay the rent,’ says Messina.” http://bloom.bg/1BEzsU8
Politico: Senate Democrats work to avoid primaries
Senate Democratic leaders are quashing unpredictable and bloody primary fights before they even begin.
In Ohio, for example, national Democrats have thrown the full weight of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee behind former Gov. Ted Strickland’s attempt to win the party’s nod to take on Republican Sen. Rob Portman. Party officials worked unsuccessfully to muscle out 30-year-old Cincinnati Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who says he’s determined to stay in the race. In Florida, meanwhile, Reid is signaling that he favors Rep. Patrick Murphy, 31, and would like to keep the field clear for him, even as Rep. Alan Grayson indicated he’s increasingly interested in a bid.
Montana Sen. Jon Tester, chairman of the DSCC, said he has spoken with Murphy and that he could be a “great senator” — even though Murphy hasn’t yet officially launched a campaign. National Democrats are wary of a bid by Grayson, the outspoken liberal firebrand who they think would be a far weaker general election nominee and could hurt Murphy in the primary.
“I think in that particular case, I don’t know that a primary helps us,” said Tester.
Washington Post: The states presidential campaigns can insult, ranked (h/t Bob Funk)
Liz Mair worked for the not-yet-a-campaign presidential campaign of Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) for just over a day when her tweets disparaging the Great State of Iowa prompted enough of a backlash that she resigned, however willingly. The problem isn’t really what Mair said; we’ve probably said worse, albeit not while working for a 2016 candidate. Instead, the problem was that it disparaged Iowa, a state that in presidential politics is like a made man in “Goodfellas.” Before you could touch Iowa, you had to have a good reason. And you better get an okay, or you’d be the one who got whacked.
So which states can presidential campaigns insult? Unfortunately, according to this ranking, Montana- you got whacked.
Flathead Beacon: Zinke fires warning shot at Amtrak
Zinke ultimately voted in favor of the funding package and reform, saying it makes Amtrak more transparent and accountable while also increasing competition and private sector participation in passenger rail.
But before his vote of support, Zinke backed a proposed amendment in the bill that called for stripping Amtrak of its entire federal funding. He called his amendment vote a warning shot for Amtrak.
“I’m a supporter of rail,” Zinke told the Whitefish Pilot. “I grew up next to the railroad and understand how important the rail is to Whitefish and tourism. “But it’s come to a point where Amtrak has to adjust its business model,” he said. “My vote was a ‘shot across the bow’ to let Amtrak know that we are serious and take fiscal accountability and transparency seriously in Montana.”
The Hill: Senate GOP lays out case for oil exports
Senate Republicans on Thursday laid out a series of arguments that they said justify lifting the 40-year-old ban on exporting crude oil.
At a hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Republicans said lifting the ban would decrease gasoline and diesel prices in the United States, add 1 percent to the gross domestic product, create a million jobs and improve the country’s standing internationally.
Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) said exports would be beneficial internationally. “Many of the world’s energy resources are in unstable regions,” he said. “I do believe the world should rely more on American energy, instead of Russia or the Middle East.”
Earlier this week during the budget battles at the Montana Legislature, Zac Perry tweeted this quote by Rep. Jenny Eck (D-Helena): “What we fund reflects our values as a society.”
Here’s my reaction: What we fund with our own money? Or what we fund with money forcibly taken from other people?
Previous Gallup research shows that employee engagement predicts nine performance outcomes for organizations. Business units with engaged workers have 22% higher profitability than those with disengaged workers because they have higher productivity, higher retention rates, fewer accidents on the job and fewer quality defects. As reported in Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report, strong employee engagement is linked to higher customer engagement. And with benefits such as improved overall well-being and physical health, high engagement is also good news for individuals.
Engaged employees are involved in and enthusiastic about their work and workplace. Day after day, they are passionate about their jobs and feel a profound connection to their company. They are more productive, drive innovation and promote organizational growth.
Not engaged employees are essentially “checked out.” They demonstrate less concern about customers, productivity and profitability. They do not own or feel passionately about their work.
Here’s a very insightful article on Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen in The Fairfield Sun Times: Knudsen Is Industry-Experienced Attorney With Oil And Gas Development On Family Farm In Heart Of MT’s Bakken
Petroleum News Bakken: You recently introduced House Bill 402, legislation that would authorize up to $55 million in grants to local governments impacted by oil and gas development. As part of his “Build Montana” bill, HB 5, Gov. Bullock is proposing $45 million in infrastructure spending in eastern Montana communities impacted by the industry. What was the impetus behind your introduction of HB 402, how does it differ from the governor’s funding proposal, and what prospects do you give it versus the governor’s proposal?
Knudsen: The impetus for House Bill 402 really started last session with HB 218, which was a bipartisan bill that several of us oil-impacted legislators put together for an impact fund for eastern Montana. It was modest – it was only $35 million and we were hoping for more but with the way the budget ended up shaking out last session, $35 million is where we ended up. But it was $35 million in direct state aid coming right out of the general fund out into a grant program administered by the Department of Commerce that could be accessed by oil-impacted communities in eastern Montana immediately. And we were looking specifically at the Sidneys, at the Glendives, at the Bainvilles, at the Culbertsons, the Fairviews – the towns out there right along the border that are being dramatically impacted by the Bakken oil development.
The governor – all last session – was right along there with us, he was going to support the bill, he promised several of the towns there was going to be support coming their way, “don’t worry, there’s money coming,” and at the last minute he vetoed the bill and left those towns in the lurch.
Wall Street Journal- Film Subsidies: Exit Stage Right
Corporate welfare is popular with politicians, but those who want to throw money at millionaires might watch the debate in Michigan. The Wolverine State may end its subsidies for Hollywood as it faces the fiscal damage from years ladling taxpayer cash on business.
Last week the Michigan House voted to end the state’s film incentive program, which has spent $500 million to lure movie makers into shooting projects in Detroit and elsewhere. The program debuted in 2008 as a refundable tax credit, but in recent years the state changed wardrobes and now simply reimburses production companies for up to 27% of eligible costs. Michigan shelled out $39 million in 2013.
The Daily Caller- Elon Musk: The Cars You’re Driving Today Will Eventually Be Outlawed
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk thinks every car on the road today — and many more in the future — will eventually be outlawed.
The reason? They require humans to drive.
“In the distant future, [legislators] may outlaw driven cars because they’re too dangerous,” Musk told NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang at company’s annual developers conference Tuesday. ”You can’t have a person driving a two-ton death machine.”
Also from The Daily Caller- OWN IT: ‘ALL COPS ARE BASTARDS’ SIGN Shows Up At Nation’s Largest Teachers Union-Funded Protest [VIDEO]
Attendees at an anti-police protest in Wisconsin funded heavily by the National Education Association — America’s largest teachers union — unfurled a banner declaring “ALL COPS ARE BASTARDS.”
The Wednesday event was organized by Wisconsin Jobs Now, reports EAGnews.org.
The National Education Association is a major financial donor for Wisconsin Jobs Now. The teachers union — the largest in the United States — gave $125,000 to Wisconsin Jobs Now in 2014 alone.
A federal border agent said Tuesday that the Department of Homeland Security is manipulating border statistics to make it appear as if the border is secure, but said in reality that the border is not secure, and that border agents fail to capture as many as two-thirds of all illegal aliens who try to cross into the United States.
“I want to be crystal clear – the border is not secure,” said border agent Chris Cabrera in prepared testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday. Cabrera was also speaking on behalf of the National Border Patrol Council.
From Jim Geraghty’s “Morning Jolt” newsletter earlier this week- Here’s Micah Halpern, writing some tough truths about how the media sees Bibi Netanyahu in the New York Observer
Contrary to what pundits and skeptics and newspapers projected, Bibi and his Likud did not take a savage beating, but rather trounced the opposition. There should be no doubt at this stage just how corrupt media coverage of this election, which captured headlines around the world, was. Someone started drinking the anti-Bibi Kool-Aid and everyone else sipped along. Everyone, that is, except for Israeli voters.
The end result of this election is not a condemnation of the polls and the pollsters but rather of the interpreters—the analysts and the pundits and those who supposedly understand what makes Israelis tick. Israelis haven’t changed, the pundits just wanted them to change. Israel today, after the election that once again re-elected Benjamin Netanyahu to the position of prime minister, is the same Israel that it was yesterday.