It’s Friday and that means it is time to end your week with another exciting edition of “Caught My Eye!”
Reminder: “Caught My Eye” goes well with a glass of wine or with your favorite microbrew (especially on Friday afternoons).
If you are a first-time visitor, this is my weekly column where I take a quick look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. Often I throw in some sarcasm and poke fun at people just to make you smile.
Today I write about Daines and Obamacare, Barry Beach, Brad Molnar, Brown v. Board of Education, Werfel/Wuerffel, IRS, Top Baby Names of 2012, Making Montana Proud, and much more!
Welcome to my weekly column called “Thursday Numbers!” I’m glad you stopped by!
If you are a new visitor, this is where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary (sometimes with a little sarcasm).
DISCLAIMER: By reading this column you may be able to use the information to impress your family, friends, and co-workers. Please consider yourself warned.
This week I write about the highest-earning athletes, Powerball, salaries for university presidents, unemployment, Barry Beach, Montana Department of Justice, anesthesiologists, deer and bus, satisfaction, shampooers, Trevor Runyon, IRS and Obama, BAC, and much more!
On Tuesday the Associated Press reported that the Montana Supreme Court had ruled 4-3 that “a judge was wrong to release Barry Beach from prison two years ago and order a new trial in the 1979 slaying of a teenage girl.”
The opinion from the Montana Supremes is pretty absurd. Barry Beach does deserve a new trial.
The ruling means Beach will probably go back to prison after being out since December of 2011. He had served about 29 years of the 100 year sentence and had been free awaiting a new trial for almost 18 months. Beach found out about the Montana Supreme Court decision from a reporter. This all seems pretty brutal, but that is pretty much the method of operation for the justice system in Montana.
In case you are wondering what this is all about, it started in 1979 when someone killed 17 year-old Kim Nees near Poplar, Montana. Barry Beach was convicted of that deliberate homicide on April 13, 1984. In May of 1984, he was sentenced to 100 years in the Montana State Prison without the possibility of parole. Beach was given a new evidentiary hearing in November 2008 and was released from prison pending a new trial in December 2011. I happened to catch a story about it on Dateline NBC that aired in 2008. I have followed and written about the case since then.
In my opinion, Montanans should face the fact that our state has one of the most incompetent State Supreme Courts in the country. That incompetence seems to trickle down into the state district courts as well. These judges, who are elected to office, are certainly better politicians than they are judges or attorneys and that’s part of the problem with the justice system in Big Sky Country. Shameful is one of the more merciful words I can use to describe the people who occupy these courts.
Yesterday I wrote about five issues the Obama Administration owns and will have to defend during the mid-term elections of 2014 and the Presidential election of 2016. You can read it HERE.
Now there are six issues. It’s very hard for a Presidential Administration to juggle six issues.
The Associated Press (AP) reported yesterday “The Justice Department [DOJ] secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press.” The AP claims the records obtained listed outgoing calls from their offices in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn.
The fourth estate was just slapped across the face, and it probably hurt a little more since it came from the Obama Administration.
Yesterday the Washington Examiner reported, “Attorney General Eric Holder can imagine a scenario in which it would be constitutional to carry out a drone strike against an American on American soil, he wrote in a letter to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.”
Oh no. Holder said “can imagine.”
Politico reported that Sen. Rand Paul said this means “Americans could be killed while they’re ‘eating dinner’ or ‘at a cafe.’”
In other words, that means people like me who eat a lot are more likely to be killed by a drone. This is terrible news for the restaurant business…
When Emily Adamson, the NBC Montana reporter at KECI TV in Missoula, tweeted “Not guilty #JohnsonTrial” at 3:53 p.m. on Friday, she was the first one on my Twitter Feed to deliver the breaking news that had many Montanan’s attention. Adamson was followed by the Missoulian Newspaper’s tweet a few seconds later.
This sure was an exciting time for a Friday afternoon in Montana.
Then the Monday morning quarterbacking started. That is what this column is about – my commentary about the trial as an interested far-away observer – or Monday morning quarterbacking.
To set the record straight, I feel for both people and their families. I do not know either person. I do have a son and daughter around their ages. I do know that rape is a terrible crime and must be punished and that “no” is “no.” The accuser felt she was raped. The court was brought in to make the legal decision. Johnson was found not guilty.
I am not a lawyer (So I won’t insert a lawyer joke here) and I don’t even play one on television, but I did follow the Johnson trial in the news and via Twitter. What that means is with my undergraduate degree and by watching just one more season of Law & Order or a half season of Law & Order SVU, I should be able to prosecute cases as well as some current prosecutors. Or, maybe I would decide not to prosecute if the evidence was just not there – no matter how intense the outside pressure is.
In case you missed the news late Friday afternoon, the Associated Press (AP) reported “Montana moved a step closer Friday to declaring that local sheriffs are the supreme law of the land and trying to nullify any federal crackdown on assault rifles.”
Great googly moogly…
The AP also quoted State Representative Ellie Hill (D-Missoula) for the story who said, “To call the sheriffs in our state the supreme law of the land, I find that absurd. What is the message we are sending to Montana and the rest of the nation?” Continue reading →
Former Congressman Pat Williams spent nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Montana from 1979-1997. Most folks would find it hard to remember anything remarkable about Williams’ career in the U.S. House. Maybe readers can refresh my memory…
So Pat Williams’ claim to fame might be a February 2013 quote in the New York Times about the trial beginning for Jordan Johnson, the former starting quarterback at the University of Montana. Williams said, “The university has recruited thugs for its football team, and this thuggery has got to stop.” Just before that sentence, Williams said, “We’ve had sex assaults, vandalism, beatings by football players.”
Williams is currently serving as a Montana University System Regent (his term expires in 2019). He also attended the University of Montana.
And I thought University Regents and alumni were supposed to promote their university…
Welcome to Monday Morning Politics – this is the “circus” edition in honor of the 63rd Montana Legislature that starts today!
In case you are a new visitor, this column is where I take a look at some of the political stories that caught my attention from the past weekend and put them in one place for my readers to see. I also provide some commentary!
Today I write about the Circus beginning in Helena and some advice to those in the media covering it. I also chime in about the GOP Chairman’s views on voting, Daines’ disaster vote, Chuck Hagel, John Brennan, Crapo paying for his DUI, and a salute to Virginia for their DUI laws. There’s a lot more so read on…
2012 was the best year yet here at The Western Word (TWW) – and I’ve been doing this since January 2005! Thank you!
It is always fun to see which columns are viewed the most and from where the columns are viewed – this past year people from 75 countries visited TWW – a special “shout-out” to one person in China who stopped by!
Listed below are the top five columns that received the most views in 2012 here at The Western Word. Continue reading →