In mid-February, news hit that dirt bikes and ATV’s intended for kids under 12 years old were banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Why? They contain lead. Where? Try maybe the crankshaft bearings, battery terminals and control-cable ends. Trust me, no brat clever enough to rip apart the engine before Dad finds out is […]
It’s difficult to accurately measure a recession by everyday anecdotes. We tally vacant storefronts, count new job listings and scan local real estate prices. They’re subjective, but the signs of hard times are there. What we tend to overlook – or at least I do – are other indicators; the ones that point to optimism, […]
“The U.S. faces potentially crippling electricity brownouts and blackouts beginning in the summer of 2009, which may cost tens of billions of dollars and threaten lives. Unless major investments are made immediately in electricity generation (power plants) and transmission (power lines), the threat of service interruptions will increase.” That’s a quote from a report by […]
Despite their many critics, Montana lawmakers do well representing their constituents’ varied opinions. This state is quirky and impossible to pigeonhole left or right. Don’t touch our guns, but smoke marijuana once approved by your doctor. The politics mix progressive and conservative views with staunch libertarianism. This legislative session lawmakers, by and large, have again […]
John Halick, a wise man who worked as a cereal chemist for Uncle Ben’s Rice for a number of years, was instrumental in the formation of USDA’s rice quality laboratory in Beaumont, Texas, in the 1950s. Dr. Halick is quoted as saying: “Man has many problems, but a hungry man just has one.” With those […]
On a weekly basis, I find myself chatting with someone who wants me to help them find a way to differentiate their business from their competitors. That’s a good thing, but it really isn’t what they’re really after. The reality is that these folks want me to suggest a thing or two about the products […]
So far this year, I’ve made a couple of trips to Helena, testifying on bills for the first half of the legislative session. Every Montanan should make the effort to visit the Capitol during the session, even testify on a bill. You are guaranteed to learn something about how our government runs – notice I […]
Judging by their remarks on the recently passed federal stimulus plan, it’s hard to believe Rep. Denny Rehberg, Republican, and Sen. Jon Tester, Democrat, voted on the same piece of legislation, are in the same profession or work in the same city for that matter. The two men, in separate interviews at the Beacon last […]
During President Franklin Roosevelt’s first term he and his economic policy assistants were busily developing “economic stimulus” efforts to cope with the devastating effects of The Great Depression. Then too, as now, the public had varying opinions about the president’s proposals. Those differences echoed not only across the nation but even within the Oval Office. […]
While a fair portion of the media (and yeah, I get the irony of saying that) seems intent on talking about nothing but bad economic news, there are good things happening out there as well and they deserve equal time. For example, I’ve been encouraged to see the Beacon spending more time covering stories about […]
The much lauded and criticized federal stimulus plan has now passed. Montana’s U.S. lawmakers are back on the trail to defend their votes one way or another. The bill will either “bloat the federal government” or “create millions of good-paying jobs” – depending on who’s talking. What exactly is in the plan is still not […]
Most people find it hard to believe that we have not always elected our U.S. Senators, but prior to the approval of the 17th Amendment in 1913 Senators were appointed by state legislatures, and Montana was important in bringing about that change. Copper King W.A. Clark literally bought a seat in the U.S. Senate in […]
With all the talk about layoffs and shutdowns in the valley, you have to wonder where the new businesses are going to pop up. These folks have to go somewhere. Many can’t afford to wait for the economy to turn. More on that shortly. I’ve always been amazed that a large company can lay off […]
Last column, I suggested folks need to start paying attention to the fundamentals of our economy. Last week, the Highwood Generating Station coal plant proposal was dropped by Southern Montana Electric. They’re now going for wind towers, and a natural gas boiler that will provide “timing power” to back the “inconsistent” wind power. And just […]
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