I’ll mention James Conner’s recent post further on, but I just wanted to mention that I shared it on Facebook and a good discussion ensued.
We talked about why there are so few blogs and why conservative blogs in Montana just can’t seem to keep it going.
One of the reasons listed was that those putting forth conservative ideas are ridiculed. You don’t see as much ridicule directed at those coming from the Democratic perspective.
Anyways, just some thoughts as we get going on what may well be our last post of 2017.
Wow, what a Friday! Snow everywhere and it was slushy and heavy and the roads were terrible.
But it wasn’t as bad as we were led to believe. For instance, here in Missoula we were told it’d snow 1-2 inches an hour until Saturday afternoon.
That was not the case. Mostly it was that damn freezing rain all day, but even that let up at times. I was real worried about driving home from work at 2:30 AM, but it wasn’t that bad.
So we got lucky. Can’t complain about that.
What we can complain about are the damn wars we’re still fighting.
I know it’s not fashionable to discuss this anymore, but gosh darn…Iraq and Afghanistan.
We’ll be coming up on 15 years in Iraq this March, and we’ve been in Afghanistan for over 16 years now.
Who’s this benefiting…and how does war benefit?
In 2015 we budgeted $73 billion for the war in Afghanistan and $1 billion for the war in Iraq.
Some estimates put the total war cost since 2001 at $1.64 trillion, with Iraq costing $818 billion and Afghanistan $715 billion.
A couple weeks before the 2016 election, Trump said the wars had cost us $6 trillion.
- CHIP costs the government about $14 billion a year.
- The 2015 Highway Bill was $305 billion.
- In 2016 we spent $916 billion funding Social Security.
Pray tell…what are our priorities?
Again, I know it’s not fashionable to talk about these things. Putting out real numbers, comparing overseas spending to what we spend here on the homeland…people just don’t want to hear it.
The media doesn’t even talk about these wars and their costs and what we could do with that money, and that’s not likely to change.
Blogs Could Step Up
One of the best posts I’ve read on Montana blogs this month was put up by James Conner over at Flathead Memo.
He mentions the main political blogs in the state, and also that they should do a bit more.
He makes a good point. Besides that, I like his little chart tracking the political-leanings of the various blogs. I was labeled disruptive, which I take as a compliment.
“Innovative or groundbreaking,” is one of the definitions for that word.
Anyways, Conner makes a good point about the blogs not exerting the level of power and influence that they could, not just on the public, but on policy makers and those behind the scenes.
His idea is that we do this through quantitative reporting.
Well…what in the hell is that?
I guess it’s digging through Census and other demographic-style data…and then putting it into interactive maps and such.
Boy…that’s a lot of work, and not easy. I went to the U.S. Census site trying to find the 2010 records, and boy…I could not find them.
This from a guy that’s dug through huge Montana Census PDFs for the 1930s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.
Going through that data was how I was able to give you the startling statistic that public admin officials increased their numbers by 2,400% from 1940 to 1950.
We also learned that in 1930, the Irish were actually the 4th largest ethnic group in the state (9.7%), behind the Canadians (13.5%), Germans (13%), and Norwegians (12.6%).
Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know you’ve grown up with the idea that the state was totally Irish…but that’s just not true. Maybe it was from the 1890s to the 1920s or so, but evermore…just not the case.
So those old Census’ tell us.
Alas, I can’t find 2010.
And even if I could…would you want to read it?
When I was a teacher in China it was clear to me that students (and many times the parents) didn’t want their kids informed, they wanted them entertained.
Most of the Montana blogs are providing this now.
Hopefully Conner will expound upon his idea of what the blogs should be putting out. I’m certainly interested in getting more details, and perhaps a point in the right direction.
The Missoulian had the article up the other day, one called 47,699 sign up for Obamacare coverage during open enrollment…which is about 5,000 fewer than last year.
I doubt that fewer people are going without insurance. I have a feeling that more are simply choosing to shop outside the Obamacare marketplace.
Maybe it’s cheaper for them. Sure…by shopping outside the marketplace you lose your tax credits and income-based subsidies, but again, this might be a more affordable route for many people.
And while we’re on the subject…if having every American insured was so important, why is the marketplace only open for 45 days out of the year?
Seems damn sketchy to me. Some might call it communist.
I bought my healthcare plan through the marketplace this year. It’s a silver plan – we’ve only had bronze the two previous years – and we’ll be paying more for it.
The premium is about $75 a month and the deductible is $600.
That’s a lot better than the $0 premium and $10,000 deductible I’ve done in the past. Still, taxpayers are subsidizing my plan, each month, to the tune of $800.
Yep, this is an $875 a month plan…but because my income is so low, you pay my way.
How’s that make you feel?
If you’re one of these families paying through the wazoo, then you’re probably pissed. Still, the GOP has indicated they’re moving on from the Obamacare debate.
Guess the current system is here to stay awhile.