Bullock should let military recruiters be armed
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A daily digest of Montana news
Aug. 2, 2015
A MYSTERIOUS Whitefish firm is one of the biggest backers of Ohio Gov. John Kasich's campaign for the GOP nomination for president.
The firm, called MMWP12 LLC, donated $500,000 to the pro-Kasich New Day Independent Media Committee a day after it was formed. The firm is actually controlled by another LLC called K2M, which has just two officers. One is Whitefish real estate developer Paul Johannsen. The other is Mark Kvamme, a venture capitalist and former Kasich administration official who also has ties to Whitefish.
Kasich will need all the help he can get. He and Texas Gov. Rick Perry appear to be battling it out for the 10th and apparently last spot in the Fox presidential primary debate soon to take place in Cleveland.
MONTANA'S travel-promotion officials have to be happy about the state's latest celebrity endorsement.
Gwen Stefani, the singer, co-founder of the rock group No Doubt, and one of the hosts/coaches of NBC's popular reality show, "The Voice," posted this message on Instagram while recently vacationing in Big Sky Country: "Wow #Montana u r so beautiful #favoritevacaever#neverwanttogohome."
Stefani also posted photos of herself and her 16-month-old son, Apollo, on a Montana mountainside, as well as photos of herself dwarfed by evergreen trees and on a horseback ride.
Her fans were impressed, and hundreds posted responses. "Yay for big sky country!" said one. "Im going in 3 wks."
AN IN-DEPTH story by the Missoulian's Keila Szpaller says that Gov. Steve Bullock, when he was attorney general, didn't enforce a mandate to keep a forensic pathologist with a troubled track record from conducting infant autopsies. Nor did the previous three attorneys general who, like Bullock, are (or were) Democrats.
The forensic pathologist was Dr. Thomas Bennett, who had problems with infant autopsies before even coming to Montana, according to records.
While the story describes in great detail the state's long history of problems with Bennett's work, it doesn't provide many clues as to why they festered for so long, partly because those involved didn't want to say much.
Spaller's story did note that a recent guest column in the Missoulian alleges that political alliances protected Bennett. In 2008, Bennett divorced Melodee Hanes, and in 2011, Hanes married former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, who now serves as the U.S. ambassador to China, (Oddly, the Helena Independent Record deleted that portion from the printed long version of Spaller's story it ran in its Sunday paper.)
Back on July 14, a conservative web site called Mediatrackers reported that Bennett had donated thousands of dollars to Montana Democratic candidates since 2001. The site also said that Bennett had referred to McGrath as a 'friend' in a deposition he'd done for a lawsuit over an autopsy he'd done on a child.
MONTANA is on pretty solid financial footing. In fact, it ranks 10th among all the state in terms of their fiscal conditions, according to a new study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The rankings were for fiscal 2013, the most recent year for which data was available.
The states in the best financial shape tended to be located near Montana. North Dakota is No. 2, South Dakota No. 3. Nebraska No. 4 and Wyoming No. 6.. At the top is Alaska.
The states in the worst shape were mostly in the Northeast, places like Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. But hurting the most: Illinois.
One of the common burdens for those states, said the report, is a commitment to pay out huge sums in public-employee benefits.
Montana got its best marks in the category of long-term solvency, which asks the questions: Can the state meet its long-term spending commitments? Will there be enough money to cushion it from economic shocks or other long-term fiscal risks?
MONTANA has moved up from 33rd to 28th in CNBC's much-watched ranking of the best states in which to do business.
The state got its best ratings in the categories of infrastructure (tied for 12th), quality of life (tied for 13th), and economy (tied for 16th). Its worst mark -- No. 48 -- was in the workforce category.
"Big Sky Country offers pristine quality of life and a strong infrastructure," said CNBC. "But its workforce is among the least productive."
The study measured the 50 states on more than 60 metrics in 10 categories of competitiveness including low business costs, technology and innovation, and education. You can visit this page to see all the measures and how they were weighted.
Minnesota finished first in the rankings, with Texas, Utah and Colorado closed behind. North Dakota was No. 6. Hawaii, interestingly, was last.
After a recent spike in bison attacks on tourists, Yellowstone Park officials are trying to figure out more ways to get more distance between the two. (Bozeman Chronicle)