Thursday Numbers

The best advice I ever got was that knowledge is power and to keep reading.David Bailey

Here you go – keep reading…

In case you’re new around here, “Thursday Numbers” is the weekly column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary sometimes sprinkled with sarcasm.

This week I write about the C.M. Russell Museum, Montana Millionaire trial, unemployment, the Powder River Training Complex, CodeRED exercise, the carpool lane, the ISIS “Hit List,” my brackets, State Rep. “Recon” Randy Pinocci, the Top 10 Community Colleges, Ronda Rousey & Jimmy Fallon, Rockin’ the Rivers, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and the Germanwings Airbus A320 crash. There’s a lot more so read on…

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Amanda Knox: There’s No Place Like Home…

Several years ago I started reading and watching shows about the Amanda Knox case. Knox was the University of Washington student who was studying abroad in Italy. Her roommate, Meredith Kercher, was murdered in Italy on November 1, 2007. Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of the murder of Kercher. She was declared innocent after spending four years in an Italian prison. The story gets weirder from there.

Here’s a timeline of events from the pro-Knox website Injustice in Perugia:

  • On December 4, 2009, Knox and Sollecito were convicted of the murder of Meredith Kercher. They were sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison.
  • On October 3, 2011, Knox and Sollecito were declared innocent on appeal and were released from prison.
  • On March 26, 2013, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the acquittals and ordered the case back to the appellate level.
  • On January 30, 2014, the appeals court in Florence reinstated the guilty verdicts for Knox and Sollecito. They were sentenced to 28 years plus and 25 years respectively.
  • Knox and Sollecito have now appealed the guilty verdicts to the Italian Supreme Court and that is what we are waiting to hear about today.

One interesting fact is that a man named Rudy Guede was found guilty of murdering Meredith Kercher. In October 2008 Guede was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder. Later the sentence was reduced to 16 years on appeal and later confirmed by Italy’s Supreme Court. Judges believe Guede had help from Knox and Sollecito.

If you think the justice system in the United States is messed up, then one needs only to read the story about Knox and the Italian system to see how “wonderful” we have it in the good ol’ USA.

The Italian justice system is a freaking circus.

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BREAKING: Powder River Training Complex Approved

Despite the whole Montana Congressional Delegation being against it, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given the final approval to the Powder River Training Complex (PRTC). (Source)

This will extend into southeastern Montana an air training area that would be used by B-1 and B-52 airplanes from Minot and Ellsworth Air Force Bases in North and South Dakota. It will expand to about 28,000 square miles from the current 8,300 square miles that is used for training. PRTC will save millions of tax dollars because crews will train closer to home. That means they will also be closer to their families. If the area had been approved for training 2013, the Air Force estimates it would have saved $21 million.

Congratulations go to U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) who worked tirelessly on this plan and his unwavering support for our nation’s military.

On the other hand, U.S. Senators Jon Tester, Steve Daines, and Representative Ryan Zinke (and before that Senator Max Baucus and Rep. Denny Rehberg) dishonored the military by coming out against the PRTC.

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Barry Beach: A Light…

It looks like convicted murderer Barry Beach has at least two more chances to be freed from prison. Beach is serving a 100-year prison sentence for the 1979 murder of Kimberly Nees near Poplar, Montana.

Beach’s case came to light back in 2008 when a show on Dateline NBC called “The Killing at Poplar River” aired. Beach contends he was coerced into a confession. His case has bounced around the justice system in Montana, and for about 18 months he was even freed from prison.

He has an appeal pending before the Montana Supreme Court. Just this week a bill was signed by the Montana governor that, according to the Associated Press, will allow the governor to grant clemency to prisoners even if the state parole board recommends against it. The governor can also waive fines, lessen a sentence, or issue a pardon.

The law takes effect Oct. 1, 2015.

I’ve probably written about Barry Beach more than most. It all started back in April 2008, and this will be the 30th column in which I mention Beach. You can read them all by going to “categories” on the right side of the screen and selecting “Barry Beach” from the dropdown menu.

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Monday’s Potpourri

Welcome to Monday – It’s time for Monday’s Potpourri! When there are several stories out there that I want to comment about, I combine them into a “potpourri” column. Today I provide that valuable independent commentary you’ve come to love from The Western Word about:

  • Randy Pinocci’s Meltdown
  • The Tribune’s “The Edge” column is back featuring Taylor Brown, the Montana GOP, and the Montana Democrats.
  • North Dakota’s vision
  • I won a Big Gulp

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The Sunday Message

The only time people dislike gossip is when you gossip about them. -Will Rogers

Face it, ol’ Will Rogers was 100% correct with that statement. The juicer the gossip, the better it is. Unless it’s about you.

One sad fact about those who attend church and those who profess to be Christians is that they are probably the worst at spreading gossip. Many don’t even understand what they are doing, yet some are so good at it that they don’t think twice before spreading it.

Gossip is just not an issue with the common church-goers; it happens a lot with the leaders in the church, too.

They use gossip and make it OK because they connect it to praying. It’s a classic Christian way of spreading gossip and feeling OK about it. Here’s an example:

Telling fellow churchgoers something like “We need to pray for [person’s name] because I heard his/her [wife/husband] is [drinking] or [in jail] or [something else].”

The person receiving this info tells others and the tale grows taller on down the line.

These people feel justified in spreading the gossip because they used the word “prayer” to make them feel that it is alright. The person being told this gossip does not need to know the details. A better way to put it would have been to say, “We need to pray for Susie and Tom.”

Whether the gossip spreaders understand this or not, God already knows what is happening in Susie and Tom’s life. He does not need the details, and if he doesn’t need the details, others don’t either.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.James 1:26 (NIV)

Have a great week!

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Caught My Eye…

It’s Friday and the first day of spring – congratulations!

By the way, my NCAA bracket is busted, too.

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted here every Friday morning! This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. Sometimes I throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – or maybe both.

Today I write about the Montana Legislature and their budget, Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Judge Richard Cebull’s emails, CQ Roll Call’s 50 State Project, Chainsaws in Big Sandy, the best Montana Legislature band names, and much more!

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