— Joshua Sizemore (@Sizemore4MT) April 24, 2015
Mark Wahlberg gives Tom Brady a pat on the back- for snubbing President Obama. The Gossip King of Vegas, a Montana native, lands a big award in Denver. A pro-racer preps an autograph session in Great Falls, Montana. “Stay calm & Sine Die” takes over Helena. Middle class incomes drop as immigration surges. Obama took office vowing to end America’s wars- now we’re in at least five. Tom Cotton prepares for Patriot Act battle. Union warns against privatizing grain inspection. The Left questions Medicaid expansion in Montana. Sen. Barrett says Schweitzer’s free state health clinics are anything but. The Economist looks at the regulated West. And, Krakauer’s Missoula continues to get a lot of national attention. Those stories and more are in the Weekend Wrap.
But first…a school board member is arrested after being accused of flashing a woman at a coffee kiosk:
A Browning School Board member was arrested for indecent exposure in Billings earlier this month.
Police arrested Robert Rides At The Door on April 11 after an employee at the Sunshine Express coffee kiosk reported that he exposed his genitals to her shortly after 6 a.m., according to police spokesman Lt. Casey Hafner.
She gave police a description of the man and his vehicle, which police used to pull over and arrest Rides At The Door, who denied exposing himself.
A new book by investigative journalist Jon Krakauer details alleged sexual assaults on the Missoula campus. A series of high-profile attacks involving the school’s football team drew national headlines between 2008 and 2010.
The sleepy college town was dubbed the nation’s rape capital, and the chronic claims forced the federal government to probe Missoula police and the university, ABC’s Nightline reported.
Krakauer’s new book, “Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town,” was released Tuesday. In in, he profiles students who said they were sexually assaulted while attending the university.
Competition for land use is as old as the West, but for most of the time it has been between humans. Those who would do as they please now also find themselves in conflict with the greater sage-grouse, a rare and neurotic bird whose habitat is too easily disturbed. In Montana the animal competition is hairier. There the American Prairie Reserve, a charity, aims to set aside an area larger than Yellowstone National Park where wildlife can roam free. The reserve already has 480 bison, brought in from South Dakota and Canada, on 305,000 acres (123,000 hectares) of land. Its managers look forward to giving them the company of cougars and bears. “It was hard to make prairies sexy when you’re competing with snow-capped mountains,” says one. “But now we are reaching the sorts of donors who can fund wings of hospitals, football stadiums and art museums.” For nearby cattle ranchers wishing to cash in, this is great news. For those who do not, the predators next door will make awkward neighbours.
The Great Falls Tribune: Schweitzer’s free state health clinics are anything but…by State Sen. Debby Barrett
In 2011, then-Gov. Brian Schweitzer established — without legislative authority — “free health clinics” for state employees and their dependents to use “free of charge.” These clinics were supposed to save the state government millions of dollars on the amount we spend on health care every year by “improving health outcomes of employees.”
But the reality is that since the establishment of these clinics, the cost of the state’s health insurance program has grown at one of the highest rates ever, increasing 22 percent in the last four years.
When the governor’s office began the “free” health clinics, the balance in the account for the state employee’s health plan contained $75.9 million. Today, that number is closer to $35 million. In just a few short years, the governor’s program burned through over half of our state employee health care reserve funds, largely to pay for these “free clinics.”
The Left questions Medicaid expansion in Montana…
Here’s a post from 4&20Blackbirds:
It sounds like some MT Democrats are getting annoyed that James Conner keeps writing about the pesky details of Medicaid expansion in Montana. Yesterday Conner wrote about Rachel Maddow spreading MT Medicaid expansion misinformation. It may not technically be misinformation to state that SB-405 expands Medicaid eligibility for the 70,000 Montanans state legislators have been vigorously tweeting about, but it is misleading. As Conner keeps pointing out, the fiscal note puts the number of Montanans that could be covered at around 46,000. That means tens of thousands of Montanans could be eligible, but not covered, under SB-405.
The takeaway? Just because legislators tweet using popular hashtags, you still gotta read the fine print.
Thankfully, not every national publication is drinking the Medikoolaid. Mother Jones takes a look at how the Obama administration’s plan to expand Medicaid in red states is by weakening it.
Flathead Memo:Is Obama going too far by weakening Medicaid?
That’s a good question, considering SB-405 in Montana, what’s happened in Indiana and Arkansas, and what Gov. Scott in Florida wants to do. At Mother Jones, Stephanie Mencimer takes a look, Obama Has a Plan to Expand Medicaid in Red States—by Weakening It, at how the White House panders to Republicans. My 13 April 2015 post on this angered some Montana Democrats who lovingly embraced SB-405, which may be crueler than Indiana’s approach. But I was right.
The Daily Caller: Union Warns Against Privatizing Grain Inspection
Grain is one of the leading agriculture products in America, and as Congress works on reauthorizing the U.S. Grain Standards Act, one union warned Wednesday against privatization.
However, Nick Friant, who testified on behalf of the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA), said that allowing outside qualified personnel could actually strengthen the federal system by allowing third parties to assist in certain operations, especially when it comes to ensuring operations continue in case of disruptions. He says its plan has been attacked as a privatization scheme when it’s more an effort to allow partnerships with existing federal processes.
Sen. Tom Cotton is preparing for battle against Sen. Rand Paul and the GOP’s libertarian wing over the USA Patriot Act and the power of government to conduct spying operations domestically and abroad.
In May 2014, the House voted on an NSA reform bill that would have outlawed bulk data collection but was viewed as watered down by privacy advocates. That vote split the class of new GOP senators that came over from the House. James Lankford of Oklahoma, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Cotton voted for it — while Steve Daines of Montana and Cory Gardner of Colorado opposed it. The bill did not become law.
Like Gardner, Daines hails from a libertarian-leaning state where passion over privacy rights runs high. And like Gardner, Daines remains skeptical about a straight extension, even as he’s discussed the matter privately with Cotton.
Bonners Ferry, Idaho is only 33 miles from Troy, Montana…and just over 50 miles away from Libby, Montana.
But at least one military service member from Bonners Ferry is reportedly on an ISIS “kill-list,” as CBS News reports.
The Pentagon has responded to a globally-released ‘Kill List’, asking law enforcement to give extra protection for military personnel whose personal information was released.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) published the list days ago, a report that contained names, photos, and home addresses of U.S. Armed Forces personnel, causing alarm in cities potentially at high-risk.
(h/t Duane Williams, KTNY radio, Libby)
The report will outline preferred cleanup methods for Libby and Lincoln County and long-term institution controls that will signal the beginning of the end of the community cleanup that began more than a decade ago. The report comes just months after the EPA released its human health assessment that stated cleanup efforts in Lincoln County had drastically reduced the poisoning that has killed or sickened hundreds of residents over the years.
Thomas said it’s too early to announce exactly what the EPA and Department of Environmental Protection will recommend in the report, due in early May, but said that it will recommend that more properties be cleaned and that some asbestos be left in place. Thomas also revealed that the EPA would recommend the continuation of the Lincoln County Asbestos Resource Program to help manage the contamination after the EPA leaves town. When the EPA does leave, DEQ will manage the Superfund site.
Politico’s Playbook on Friday:
THE BIG PICTURE – “World War O: Obama took office vowing to end America’s wars. Now we’re in at least five, and U.S. officials are unsure what to do about it,” by Michael Crowley: “Some administration officials fear that things will get worse before they get better, particularly in Ukraine and Iraq. But they are divided on how … to proceed, … with … Secretary of State John Kerry urging … arming Ukrainian government forces with Javelin anti-tank missiles, which can … be called defensive. … But … more cautious advisers fret about how much more military risk America should take on as global conflicts multiply.” http://politi.co/1Psukfo
The Washington Examiner- Congress: Middle class incomes drop as immigration surges
Wages of America’s middle class have dropped below 1970s levels as immigration has surged 325 percent, according to a new congressional report that questions claims that native Americans are economically helped by greater immigration.
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service report studied immigration and middle class income from 1945-2013 and found that as immigration slowed between 1945 and 1970, American incomes increased.
RELATED: Census: Record 51 million immigrants in 8 years, will account for 82% of U.S. growth
— Aaron Flint (@aaronflint) April 23, 2015
— Stefanieponte (@SPonteKFBB) April 24, 2015
— Kristen Inbody (@GFTrib_KInbody) April 24, 2015
— Ryan Zinke (@RepRyanZinke) April 23, 2015
— Aaron Flint (@aaronflint) April 24, 2015
Had a great tour of All American Pharmaceuticals in Billings, Montana today….impressive facility and story. Thanks to Dr. Jeff Golini for the tour. Here’s a pic of Rocky Erickson getting suited up.
— Aaron Flint (@aaronflint) April 24, 2015
— The Hill (@thehill) April 24, 2015