Caught My Eye…

We are well into March – you can tell that by all the basketball tournaments.  This Sunday it’s once again time to change the clocks and spring is trying to appear with some warmer temperatures.  Before long, it will be yard and gardening time – one of my favorite times of the year.

But right now it’s time for another edition of Caught My Eye!  Congratulations on making it to another Friday.  If you are stopping by for the first time, welcome!  Caught My Eye is posted almost every Friday morning right here!  This is the column where I take a quick look at some of the stories I did not have time to comment about during the week – often with a touch of sarcasm thrown in for good measure.

Everyone and everything is fair game – so watch out…

Today I write about 144th Fighter Wing, the Keystone vote, ICBMs, One-Star General, Barbie, dropping out, International Women’s Day, a photo op, I share some e-mails from my Political Inbox, I help you understand Tebow, I poke fun at Ohio footwear rules, and there’s much more!

144th Fighter Wing -Feinstein & Boxer write letters:

If you followed me on Twitter, you would have already seen this!  Apparently the California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer write letters, too.  They believe the 144th Fighter Wing might be eliminated as part of the Air Force’s 2013 budget proposal.

Supposedly that is where Montana’s F-15s are headed.

It’s becoming a circus – several southern governors are upset C-130s may come to Montana.  Montana officials are upset the F-15s may go to California and now California may not have a base to house the F-15s.

Montana leaders should be all over this…

Keystone Pipeline Vote/Game:

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) voted for the Keystone pipeline on Thursday.  The game played behind the scene was much more interesting.  Weak Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell was hoping that Senators like Jon Tester and Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) who are both up for reelection would follow President Obama’s request and vote against it and give the Republicans more ammo for the November elections.  Both McCaskill and Tester probably received the “OK” from party leaders to vote “Yea” (and live to fight another day) because the Democrats knew it would not pass.

Now the Republicans lost an issue to use against Tester and McCaskill.  Tester hammed it up with this statement, “Keystone XL will create jobs and I’m disappointed Congress missed another chance to move the ball forward.”

Sure you are.  If this vote had happened three years ago, I would bet the votes from Tester and McCaskill would have been cast differently.  It’s all one big game in the Washington…especially during an election year.

Rehberg – No Cuts to ICBM:

Congressman (and U.S. Senate candidate) Denny Rehberg “introduced legislation to prevent reductions to ICBMs contained in the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) without modernization.  The legislation would also prevent the President’s more dangerous 80% reduction in nuclear forces that he’s reportedly considering.”

That’s a good move by Rehberg, but it will be tough to pass and get signed into law.  Hopefully Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester will introduce the same bill in the Senate. 

I think the United States will be safer if we keep the current levels of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) well into the future.

Bullock Picks Walsh:

On Thursday morning, the Bullock for Governor Campaign sent an email saying, “I want to introduce you to my friend, my partner in this campaign and with your help, the next Lieutenant Governor of the State of Montana, Brigadier General John Walsh (ret.).”

For the “non-military folk” in the audience, a Brigadier General has one star…

It might be tough for Walsh going from a “General” to a “Lieutenant” Governor (that’s a military joke).

Walsh was an interesting pick – and it will be interesting to see if the “rank and file” members of the Guard (those who do not belong to the good ol’ boys club) really like him enough to vote for him (it’s an officer/enlisted thing).  We’ll see.

If Bullock had wanted a person with a military background and political experience, he should have asked Larry Jent to be his running mate…

Jent Drops Out:

Larry Jent announced on Thursday that he was dropping out of the Democratic Governor’s primary.  KRTV (CBS) reported, “Jent says he hasn’t raised enough money to be successful in the primary election.”

Right now that leaves Steve Bullock as the only Democratic candidate for Governor.  The deadline to file is Monday. 

Partisan Photo Op?

I happened to catch a Twitter post from the Montana GOP that linked to their website where they wrote, “Evidence has surfaced that Democrat Steve Bullock used on-duty time of American soldiers to stage a partisan campaign photo op.”

Bullock is running for Governor and on Thursday he named (very recently) retired Brigadier General John Walsh as his Lieutenant Governor running mate.  Walsh is so recently retired that his photo was still displayed on the State of Montana’s Department of Military Affairs website yesterday afternoon (it was removed as of this morning).

If Walsh and Bullock did what the Montana GOP contends, that is about as smart as a box of rocks.  Maybe they were filming a Public Service Announcement (PSA), and we all know that is legal to do at any time in Montana – even after you have filed for public office…

Welcome to the political world, General…

International Women’s Day:

Since it was on Thursday, March 8, I kind of figured Steve Bullock would mark the occasion by naming a woman as his running mate. He did not. Neither have any of the Republicans who have filed for office which is a shame.  There are several women involved in politics in Montana who would make a great Governor and/or Lieutenant Governor.

Unemployment Rate:

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3 percent…”

Although some say this is good news (most of the media is touting the 227,000 jobs added and not that the rate remained unchanged) I am not so sure.  8.3% is still a very high unemployment rate and it did not go down last month.

Time springs ahead:

I think it pretty much sucks getting up a 2:00 a.m. to set my clocks ahead…but this is your reminder to do it Sunday morning (change your clocks)…

Trying to understand Tim Tebow:

One Montana television sports reporter wrote a 1300 word article about Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and his visit to Montana this week.  He concluded his article with, “I am not a Tim Tebow fan. Not now, not ever.  But I tip my hat to you sir for everything you have done in Montana this week and hopefully again in the future.”

It’s easy to understand Tim Tebow in just six words:  Jesus is first in his life…

Political Inbox:

With the election season in full swing, I have been getting hundreds of e-mails each week from the candidates, political parties and groups.  Almost every week I share some of those e-mails that caught my eye – and I add a little commentary to spice things up.

-The folks at National Review Online sent me an e-mail with the subject, ‘Sheriff Arpaio claim is “birther baloney”’ and they write, “Republicans who have chosen to associate with the birthers have done their party and their country a disservice.  And as Sheriff Arpaio settles comfortably into that political mental ward, the same must be said of those Republicans who choose to associate themselves with him more broadly.  Those who cannot distinguish between the birthers’ flim-flam and the critical questions that face our nation in 2012 will not win and do not deserve to.”

I hope a few folks in Montana read it…

-The Rehberg for Senate Campaign sent me an e-mail with the subject, “Hypocrisy that hurts…” where Campaign Manager Erik Iverson writes, “There are 243 days until Election Day 2012, and I can tell you for a fact that Senator Tester’s Washington allies and his liberal activist friends are already hard at work to hide his hypocrisy and re-elect Tester and President Obama.”

Obama’s re-election chances are looking better.  The Montana senate race is going to be close, but if Rehberg keeps screwing up, he may not win…

-Former Presidential candidate Herman Cain sent me an e-mail with the subject “Newt’s got March Momentum” where he writes, “This is Herman Cain and I am writing to tell you that my good friend Newt Gingrich is back! So many times in this presidential campaign, the elites in the liberal media and the establishment have written off Newt Gingrich.”

Sorry Herman, but I don’t think Newt is back…

-Dayna Swanson, the Deputy Campaign Manager for the Tester Campaign, sent me an e-mail with the subject, “Dennis and Rush” where she writes, “Friend, what the heck are these guys thinking?  Washington politicians and Tea Party radicals have made attacking women part of their platform.”

She continues with, “Rehberg tried his best to defund Planned Parenthood — thankfully, he failed.  But the Rehberg agenda is popping up everywhere — not just in Congress, but on the airwaves.  Just last week, radio shock jock Rush Limbaugh launched an unbelievable misogynist attack against an innocent woman.”

Deputy Dayna called me “Friend” so that made the sun shine just a little brighter here at The Western Word…  

- Jim Elliott, the Chairman of the Montana Democratic Party, sent an e-mail with the subject, “Mansfield-Metcalf: Help Celebrate Our Democratic Women” where he writes, “Today is Internation [sic] Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the accomplishments of women across the globe.  Here in Montana we have a lot to celebrate. Great women leaders like Linda McCulloch, Monida [sic] Lindeen, Denise Juneau and Carol Williams have been champions for our values.”

Since at least a couple of these women have been teachers, I’m sure they will mark off for spelling errors…

Monday @ 5:00:

Monday (March 12) @ 5:00 is the last day to file – officially it is the “last day for candidates to file declarations for Primary Election.”

I know this will sadden people, but I am not running for public office this time although we could use some independent-thinking people in public office instead of the “party faithful.”  By the way, my personal election record is 1-0, but I have assisted probably hundreds of candidates in getting elected.

Trails, Tales and Journeys:

The response to my new book “Trails, Tales and Journeys” has been tremendous and I thank you.  Please click on the link at the top of the page “Buy My Book” to get your electronic copy for only $4.99.

You will probably smile a few times while reading it – and isn’t a smile or two worth it?

Happy Birthday:

On this date in 1959 Mattel’s Barbie doll made its public debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.

By the way, I write about Barbie, Ken, and G.I. Joe in my book…

Footwear Required:

According to this story, “Visitors to the Ohio Statehouse must now wear shoes.”

That’s a great move – Ohioans sure don’t want to be confused with their neighbors in West Virginia…

One More Thing (OMT):

Don’t forget to stretch…