Political Trough: Pell Grants for Prisoners? Bullock Won’t Do an Interview

Cottonwood fallin’ like snow in July…uh, sorry Luke Bryan- that’s snow…in July.  Check out the pic below.  Plus, Politico looks at the holes in Clinton’s solar energy plan.  NPR features Gianforte’s bring our kids home to Montana message, while Bullock declines an interview with the admin-friendly Lee Newspapers and demands written questions in advance.  Is there a battle brewing over MT Democratic Party Chair?  Arming U.S. military recruiters is being delayed by a patchwork of laws.  Is it silly to blame fracking for high school dropouts? What’s up with the cheeseheads, and a dairy dispute with Canada? And, Pell Grants for prisoners?  Those stories and much more, including Evil Knievel Days in Butte, Montana landing on Fox News, is in this week’s Political Trough.                    

Snow in July?  Did you see the pics from Lone Peak at Big Sky?

Posted by Aaron Flint on Monday, July 27, 2015

So- right now folks will be mocking global warming while the activists hunker down.  Then, when it warms up again, they’ll be back on Twitter. 

Yahoo.com: Cold front brings rare July snow to Northern Rockies

A freak July cold front brought snow to the Northern Rockies on Monday in a rare weather event that set record-low daytime temperatures across Idaho and could see overnight readings at or near freezing in parts of the region, meteorologists said.

The combination of moisture and cold air from Alaska and Canada was expected to settle over Idaho, Montana and Wyoming through Tuesday in a pattern rarely seen in those states before late August or September, forecasters with the National Weather Service said.

More than an inch of snow was reported on Monday at the renowned ski resort of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and in the mountains of western Montana and central Idaho near Salmon, where local farmers scrambled to cover crops and potentially run sprinklers to prevent frost damage.

KTVQ.com: Fire in Glacier National Park 45 percent contained

Fire and Ice….That’s what firefighters are dealing with in Glacier National Park.

With snow falling at the higher elevations in the park Sunday night and Monday, firefighters were able to gain ground on the Reynolds Creek fire burning on the east side of Logan Pass

 Updated mapping now shows the Reynolds Creek fire at 3,170 acres in size.

Meanwhile, as the snow falls in July here in Montana, Hillary Clinton unveiled her energy plan (and then jumped on a carbon burning jet).

Politico’s Morning Energy:  THE HOLES IN CLINTON’S PLAN

Clinton’s climate vision is ambitious in calling for 500 million new solar panels from coast to coast, eco-minded energy tax breaks and enough green power to keep the lights on in every U.S. home. But just as glaring were the details she left out. Does she support or oppose the Keystone XL oil pipeline? Or Arctic offshore drilling? Or tougher restrictions on fracking? Or the oil industry’s push to lift the 1970s ban on exporting U.S. crude oil? Elana Schor has the rundown of what was not in Clinton’s proposal: http://politi.co/1D3VmYT

From the Republican National Committee:

“Hillary Clinton’s energy ‘plan’ is to raise more taxes and double down on President Obama’s EPA overreach, which held down wages and cost American jobs. Clinton avoided specifics and refused to take a position on important job-creating energy projects like the Keystone Pipeline, reminding voters why they think she’s untrustworthy.”—RNC Spokesman Fred Brown

The kicker…

The Daily Caller: Will Hillary’s ‘Half A Billion Solar Panels’ Promise Send Billions To China?

“It’s also a huge boon to Japan and Malaysia, who make the lion’s share of the remaining world production,” Kish said. “I’m not sure Americans are going to be comfortable with Chinese solar panels covering their houses, plugging into their electricity systems and taking their jobs as official government policy.”

Thanks to government subsidies, China is the world’s largest producer of solar panels, and could see huge benefits from increasing solar energy incentives in the U.S. A 2014 report by the European Commission found that “China and Taiwan together now account for more than 70% of worldwide production.”

Clinton would have to increase subsidies for solar energy to get the 700 percent increase she promises, which will be made more difficult if tariffs make solar panels more expensive. The U.S. solar industry could still benefit from Clinton’s plan, but solar panel installers have complained that tariffs are already making panels more expensive and, therefore, less attractive to consumers.

While Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT) was busy dodging a Lee Newspapers interview, and demanding the written questions be sent to him in advance- potential 2016 Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte’s plan to bring our kids home to the Big Sky state was featured on NPR (National Public Radio)

NPR: Tired Of The Big City? Consider Telecommuting From Montana

Greg Gianforte started a software company in Montana that created hundreds of high-paying jobs. But now he’s trying to entice thousands of people who already have good jobs to bring them to the state and telecommute.

He just sent 18,000 glossy brochures to the alumni of two universities here, inviting them to “come home to Montana.”

Gianforte’s brochures are a naked come-on to overstressed urbanites. There are pictures of mountain lakes and wildlife, and Gianforte holding a fat trout he just caught. It includes a guide to getting your boss to say yes to letting you work remotely. There’s even a list of telecommuting-friendly employers. Yahoo may have famously cracked down on working from home, but health insurance giant Anthem has fully a third of its employees working remotely. The company says that helps it attract top talent, and productivity hasn’t suffered.

And if you thought I was making it up about Bullock, here’s The Missoulian story from over the weekend (which still didn’t mention the fact that this doctor contributed to Bullock’s campaign by the way).

Missoulian- Montana Crime Lab: Bullock allowed problematic doctor to perform infant autopsies

Gov. Steve Bullock did not enforce a mandate that a forensic pathologist with a problematic record refrain from conducting infant autopsies when Bullock was the state’s top law enforcement officer.

The Missoulian requested an interview with the governor; the governor’s office requested written questions and provided written responses.

In 1998, Dale appointed Bennett to do autopsies for coroners in eastern Montana. However, he told the doctor not to handle infant autopsies.

Of course it is still very early on in 2016 Governor’s race…but here is how the Cook Political Report rates things today: “Likely D”

Battle Brewing Over Montana Democratic Party chair? Per the anonymous, liberal MT Cowgirl blog:

A woman named Louise Bruce has announced that she is running for Chair of the Montana Democratic Party.  The announcement was actually made by one of her backers, the former candidate Dirk Adams, who ran for Senate and lost to Amanda Curtis in the shortened Democratic primary.  Adams has sent an email out, criticizing the current chairman Jim Larson, and announcing his support for Bruce.  He cites her 30 years of organizing and an assortment of other activist work.

Washington Times- Blame it on bureaucracy: Arming U.S. military recruiters delayed by patchwork laws

While federal law gives the secretaries of the various armed forces the power to arm military employees if there’s a threat to a particular military base, most recruitment centers are located in malls or in public places — not federal land — and it’s unclear if the law applies to recruiters or reservists.

Mr. Hunter and Sen. Steve Daines, Montana Republican, intend to clarify the law to ensure secretaries can grant permission to arm reservists and recruiters with a case-by-case special authorization.

“As much as we would like to say you have to arm all these guys, it’s too problematic through the huge patchwork of state and local laws, and that creates a huge patchwork of complications,” Mr. Kasper said. “You’d run into problems, and it would be in their interest to have their authorization from Congress.”

SayAnythingBlog.com: It’s Silly To Blame Fracking For High School Dropouts

It’s easy to understand why educators contacted by Johnson didn’t want to make that connection. That’s because the connection, for any thoughtful person, is a fallacy.

Drawing a connection between fracking and high school dropouts is more than a little silly. It’s not the fracking, per se, that’s causing the dropouts. It’s the direct and indirect economic opportunities created by shale energy development made possible by fracking.

Is it wise for them to drop out of high school? Of course not. But is this a surprising phenomena? Not at all. And hey, at least they’re working. That’s better than dropping out and going on welfare.

MSNBC sees a problem with Hillary divulging classified material

The Blaze: After Latest Developments, MSNBC Host Makes Big Admission About Hillary Clinton Email Scandal

The media have seemingly underestimated the significance of Hillary Clinton’s private email scandal so far, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell admitted Monday on “Morning Joe.”

When asked by host Mika Brzezinski if “media analysts and others” have “underestimated the impact of this email situation” on the Clinton campaign, Mitchell replied, “I think so.”

What’s with the cheeseheads and the dairy fight with Canada?


Key U.S. lawmakers, including Rep. Paul Ryan, one of the most powerful “cheeseheads” in Congress, are demanding Canada open its dairy market to U.S. producers as negotiators race to wrap up trans-Pacific trade talks. But Canadian politics are complicating the matter, reports Pro Trade’s Doug Palmer from Kaanapali, Hawaii.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper faces an election in October and is understandably reluctant to anger 13,000 dairy farmers, mostly in Quebec and Ontario. But pressure is mounting as negotiators from the 12 TPP countries meet this week in Maui. Canada’s failure so far to engage in negotiations on changes to “supply management programs” for dairy, poultry and eggs is one of several issues that could block a deal. The concern prompted 22 senators to write to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman last week to request he seek export gains like those Washington is offering New Zealand, which exports 95 percent of its dairy products. Check out the full story from Palmer here: http://politico.pro/1HWSsDX

So- if you work for a living, you can take out a loan and pay for yourself to go to college…but if you go to prison…


The Obama administration plans to restore federal funding for prison inmates to take college courses, a potentially controversial move that comes amid a broader push to overhaul the criminal justice system. The plan, set to be unveiled Friday by the secretary of education and the attorney general, would allow potentially thousands of inmates in the U.S. to gain access to Pell grants, the main form of federal aid for low-income college students. The grants cover up to $5,775 a year in tuition, fees, books and other education-related expenses. Josh Mitchell and Joe Palazzolo report.

MitchellRepublic.com: Tribes push to end Affordable Care Act coverage requirement

Representatives of several Indian tribes say they support legislation introduced by congressional Republicans this week that would exempt tribes nationwide from being classified as large employers under the federal Affordable Care Act — a designation that requires tribes to pay higher insurance costs or face federal penalties.

In Montana alone, sponsors say they have the support of Crow, Blackfeet and Fort Peck Reservation’s Assiniboine and Sioux tribes. Those supporters say that federal penalties for failure to comply would reduce money available for essential tribal services.

Bill sponsor Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, issued a statement this week saying such unreasonable fines have the potential to kill reservation jobs and further cripple tribes’ economies. “It is critically important that our tribes and tribal employees aren’t penalized due to a hastily written law,” he said.

Evil Knievel Days in Butte, Montana jumps on to Fox News

Posted by Aaron Flint on Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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