Don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do? 

The people behind the Most of Us™ campaign say their programs have a proven track record of success. They may be right in more ways than they know.

The Montana State University-Bozeman Department of Health and Human Development research project tracks and encourages healthy lifestyle choices. The campaign works toward increased seat belt usage and decreased teen tobacco use, but is probably best known for its “Most of us—4 out of 5—don’t drink and drive” slogan.

Connecting the dots, the Indy has realized a few things. First, drinking and driving isn’t the only thing 4 out of 5 Montanans don’t do. Second, maybe the Most of Us™ campaign needs a new poster child.

How about: “Most of Us—4 out of 5—don’t agree with Gov. Martz’s budget cuts.”

Or what about: “Most of us—4 out of 5—think Judy is a joke.”

It’s funny how synchronicity works. But it’s not so funny that most Montanans think the governor’s doing a crappy job and that a program proven to save lives is strapped for funding.

Most of Us™ Project Manager Jamie Cornish says much of the program’s funding has been cut.

“When [former Gov. Marc] Racicot left office, he was suggesting something like $7.2 million over two years [for the program],” says Cornish. “Now we’re down to something like a few hundred thousand dollars a year.”

We can only hope that most of us are smart enough to wear seatbelts, abstain from drinking and driving and vote for an administration that supports a healthy future for Montanans.

Ah, the quiet majesty of Yellowstone National Park. Bison, bears, Old Faithful and respirators for park rangers with headaches, sore throats and burning eyes from snowmobile exhaust.

In its latest confounding move, the National Park Service has decided to continue letting snowmobilers use the park as a winter playground and is issuing protective equipment to rangers who have a difficult time dealing with the noise and exhaust from the machines. This winter rangers may be using not only respirators, but also helmets and earplugs.

Even after a recommendation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban snowmobiling in the park, the Bush administration has instead decided to explore a proposal to limit their numbers and work with the industry to get the machines to meet more stringent pollution standards.

The EPA thinks snowmobiles have a long way to go before they’re considered green machines. One of the EPA’s most damning factoids about the contraptions is that a single snowmobile puts out the same amount of carbon monoxide in an hour as a typical passenger car does during a 1,520-mile drive. Imagine 800 of these machines revving in tandem and the park rangers suddenly don’t seem like such wimps for wanting a little fresh O2.

“This just clearly shows how the Bush administration is serving the narrow interest of the snowmobile industry, rather than protecting the broader national interest of Americans and our first national park,” says Greater Yellowstone Coalition associate program director Hope Sieck. “Furthermore, this just sweeps aside ten years of scientific study that documents that snowmobile use is damaging Yellowstone and creating a threat to human health.”

Thank goodness we have the EPA and conservation organizations around to provide these interesting nuggets that the Bush administration won’t put to use.

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