Caught My Eye…

Congratulations on making it to Friday!  If this is your first time visiting The Western Word and reading “Caught My Eye,” welcome!

Caught My Eye is posted every Friday morning right here!  In this column 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.

Be Advised:  Everyone and everything is fair game…

Today I write about health care, the Rocky Mountain Front, drinking buddies, lending a hand, BRAC, bounty hearing, University of Montana, opposition research, Etch A  Sketch, plus I peek inside my political inbox and share some of the best e-mails from the week!

Happy Anniversary:

On this date in 2010, President Barack Obama signed the $938 billion health care overhaul and Vice President Biden said, “This is a big f***ing deal.”

We’ve not really seen the full impact of the law yet.  We may not if the Supreme Court throws it out, so right now all we have are a bunch of politicians telling us it’s good or it’s bad.

Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act:

According to a story from the Associated Press, U.S Senator Max Baucus on Thursday “presented his plan for new wilderness and conservation area along the Rocky Mountain Front.”

If it really has been a “homegrown effort” as Baucus contends than I am in favor of it if the bill goes through the normal legislative process.  I think something as important as this should be passed as a stand-alone measure (not tacked on to another bill in the middle of the night).

Put some sunlight on it and bringing it to an up or down vote would be great, but this is Washington and getting something like that through the Senate and House (and signed by the President) will be difficult leading up to November…

Drinking Buddies:

Looks like a Montana man has scored some publicity for his state because he was “charged with animal cruelty after his 20-pound dog was found so intoxicated it couldn’t stand up.”

The dog was identified as Pomeranian and was drinking vodka – and that’s probably an even bigger embarrassment for the man and Montana…

Lend a Hand:

According to this story, “Officials at Whitefish Mountain Resort think an overzealous high-five might have been what separated a hand from a nearly 60-year-old statue of Jesus last month.”

You should not mess with Jesus…

McCaskill – No BRAC:

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri) used her five years of clout to put the brakes on another round of base closures saying bases abroad should be closed first.  McCaskill is chair of the Senate Armed Services Readiness and Management Support subcommittee.  She has Whiteman AFB and Fort Leonard Wood in her state.  She is up for reelection this year, too.

McCaskill and Senator Jon Tester (D-Montana) were both elected to their first terms in the senate back in 2006.  I wonder if McCaskill would like to move to Montana… 

Bounty Hearing:

I have known for years that U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) was not the sharpest pencil in the drawer.  He’s proved it once again by saying he wants to hold a hearing on the bounty system allegedly used by several National Football League teams.

Good grief.  I guess high gas prices, high unemployment, passing a budget, and the out-of-control national debt are just too easy for Durbin (who is the Senate Majority Whip) to tackle.  

UM & Sexual Assault:

The University of Montana has been heavily damaged by the way they handled nine sexual assaults that occurred between September 2010 and December 2011.

Supposedly, the investigation is now closed.  I imagine several prospective students have decided not to attend UM due to safety concerns now, too.

In my opinion, the situation was not handled properly by UM leadership.  Someone should be held accountable for dropping the ball.  There needs to be a clean slate and students and their families need to feel safe. 

Jack’s Political Inbox:

Almost every week I take a look at all the e-mails I receive from candidates, elected officials, and political groups and share a few with my readers.  I also offer some commentary.  Here are five that Caught My Eye.  Enjoy!

-U.S. Senator Jon Tester sent a campaign e-mail with the subject, “Real people get it” and he had a photo of him riding a tractor in the Butte St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  He wrote, “One of the strangest things about the debate over how our elections should work has been the idea that corporations should have the same First Amendment rights as people.”

Although the tractor had nothing to do with the e-mail, I kind of felt sorry for it…

-U.S. Senator Carl Levin writing for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) sent an e-mail with the subject, “Obama’s ads” where he writes, “President Obama may not need his own TV ads.  He could just replay the Republican debates, 30 seconds at a time.”

Good one…I really doubt that Obama will have much trouble winning another term.  Now what we really need to do is work on Senator Levin’s comb over…

-Congressman Denny Rehberg sent an official e-mail with the subject, “Rehberg Comments on 2-Year Anniversary of President Obama’s Health Care Law” in which he said, “When Senator Baucus wrote this bill and Senator Tester cast the deciding vote for it, they hadn’t bothered to ask Montanans what they thought about it.  They didn’t ask seniors about cutting $500 billion from Medicare.  They didn’t ask small businesses about thousands of pages of job-killing regulations and fees.  And they didn’t ask young people about adding trillions of dollars of debt that they’ll have to repay.  I opposed this law because I asked these questions at open, public listening sessions across the state.”

I was thinking that Rehberg would break out in the song from the Little River Band called “Happy Anniversary” by singing Happy Anniversary baby…got you on my mind…”

-Dayna Swanson, the Deputy Campaign Manager for Jon Tester, sent another e-mail about women’s health care.  This time the subject was “More than talk” and she writes, “Dennis Rehberg already has an irresponsible record in Congress and supports an extreme agenda that would take critical health services away from women across Montana.  He and his allies would put employers in charge of women’s health care, roll back reproductive rights, and hurt women’s rights in ways that go well beyond offensive rhetoric.  I don’t know about you, but I want to be in charge of my own health care decisions.”

I totally agree with Dayna – I don’t want to be in charge of her health care decisions…

-The Newt Gingrich for President campaign jumped on the “Etch A Sketch” bandwagon with an e-mail called, “Sketchy Romney” where they wrote:

Here’s what his senior adviser, Eric Fehrnstrom, told CNN in an interview, when asked if the conservative positions Romney was taking in the primary would weaken his appeal to independents: “You hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”

Is there anyone on the Romney campaign who can speak without inserting their foot in their mouth? 

Now Santorum is comparing Romney to an Etch A Sketch – which is very unfair to the Etch A Sketch… 

Opposition Research:

As one who has dug for dirt on several people over the years (and still do) and found some jewels, I found THIS STORY in the Daily Caller interesting:

“A Virginia middle school teacher recently forced his students to support President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign by conducting opposition research in class against the Republican presidential candidates.”

I wonder when they looked into Newt Gingrich’s past, if it scared them…

Santorum- Pick Obama:

It’s kind of the nuclear approach – GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum “said Republicans should give President Barack Obama another term if Santorum isn’t the GOP nominee…”

Voters probably will give Obama another term.  Besides, Obama motivates people and Romney makes us sad…

Go Ahead – Download it:

Go to the top of the page and click on “Buy My Book” from Amazon.com.  You will enjoy it!

One More Thing:

Don’t forget to stretch…

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