Caught My Eye…

Thanks for stopping by “Caught My Eye” which is coming to you from The Western Word world headquarters deep inside a bunker in Montana…

Just kiddin’ about the bunker – I’m actually in my basement.

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

Today I write about the Ryan budget, the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices, Barry Beach, Obama & Keystone, Rep. Vance McAllister, Kathleen Sebelius, a new app, plus we have TWO winners who are Making Montana Proud!

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Jury Duty

Faithful Readers,

Today I have the distinct pleasure of reporting to U.S. District Court for jury duty.

In case you are not up on your U.S. District Court rules, this is the court where “Electronic devices, such as cameras, cellular phones, wireless devices, laptops, etc., are not permitted.”

Lord help me.

I am sure there will be a future story somewhere in this little adventure.

I’ll be back…

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The Best of 2013

Happy New Year! Thanks to you, 2013 was a great year here at The Western Word (TWW) world headquarters in Great Falls, Montana.

TWW has been an active blog since January 2005. By the way, I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

A special thanks to the 124 subscribers to TWW. By the way, you can be notified of new columns by subscribing. You can do that by clicking on the +Follow tab in the bottom right corner and entering your e-mail address, or by going to the subscribe box on the right side of the page (under the Twitter feed box) and entering your e-mail address there.

It is always fun to see which columns are viewed the most and from where the columns are viewed. This past year people from 95 countries visited TWW. A special “shout-out” to one person in China who was able to stop by!

In 2013, there were 317 new posts, growing the total archive of TWW to 2,097 posts.

Listed below are the top five columns that received the most views in 2012 on TWW:

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McGrath: Judges Are Honest. Trust Us.

I had to do a double take when I read an Associated Press story that reported, “Montana Supreme Court justices should not have to publicly disclose their personal financial interests or those of their families because the high court already follows a strict code to avoid potential conflicts, the chief justice [Mike McGrath] said.”

His plan? The AP reported, “It’s the judge’s responsibility to disqualify himself or herself from presiding over a case in which he or she has a financial stake, McGrath said.”

Why does McGrath think this? He said it’s because Montana’s high court justices follow a strictly enforced Code of Judicial Conduct.

Seriously?

We’re supposed to take his word for it. It kind of reminds me of Reagan’s nine words, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

If Montanans actually believe every judge will be honest and forthright with their financial dealings, and “follow a strictly enforced Code of Judicial Conduct” then I have some ocean-front property to sell you near Geyser.

It was sunny and 85 degrees there last week, too.

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Congrats Montana!

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a report (with 2012 stats) that showed “in 2012, 10,322 people lost their lives in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.” These were people killed nation-wide.

That was an increase of 4.6% from 2011.

As for Montana, it leads the nation with 44% of the fatalities being alcohol-related. During 2012, there were 89 people killed in Montana in alcohol-related crashes, according to the report.

These 89 people left behind family and friends.

So congratulations Montana!

The NHTSA should make a traveling “Drunk Driving” trophy that has to be prominently displayed in the state capitol for the year after a state leads the nation in alcohol-related fatalities. Maybe state legislators, the governor, and the attorney general would work harder to deter drunk driving if they had to see that trophy.

The sad thing is there are people driving around right now who have multiple DUIs on their record. Hardly a month goes by that I don’t read about someone with more than five DUIs getting caught again.

It does not have to be that way.  Continue reading

Caught My Eye…

Thanks for stopping by to read “Caught My Eye” as you speed toward your weekend – and maybe a government shutdown!

If this is your first time visiting The Western Word the “Caught My Eye” column is posted every Friday morning! This is when I take a quick look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. By the way, I often throw in a touch of sarcasm just to make you smile – or maybe to irritate you just a little.

Today I write about Barry Beach, Little Shell Tribe, Montana Highway Patrol Chief, Wyoming Senate, George H.W. Bush, Major League Baseball, birthdays, and there are two winners who are Making Montana Proud.

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Judge G. Todd Baugh: Hang Up Your Robe

Sometimes apologies aren’t enough. Montana District Court Judge G. Todd Baugh should step down from the bench or the Montana Supreme Court should remove him.

In case you don’t know about Judge Baugh, here are the details:

A few weeks ago, teacher Stacey Rambold, was sentenced by District Judge G. Todd Baugh “to 15 years in prison with all but 31 days suspended and one day credited for time served for three counts of sexual intercourse without consent starting in 2007.”

The sexual intercourse was with a 14-year-old girl, who later killed herself. During sentencing Baugh said the girl was “as much in control of the situation” and she was “older than her chronological age.”

His remarks were soon news around the world. Baugh embarrassed the judiciary. Baugh embarrassed Montana. Baugh embarrassed Billings.

He used six sentences in a letter of apology, which was written more to save his butt, than to really apologize.  Continue reading

Caught My Eye…

Thanks for stopping by to read “Caught My Eye!”

If this is your first time visiting The Western Word the “Caught My Eye” column is posted every Friday morning! This is when I take a quick look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. By the way, I often throw in a touch of sarcasm just to make you smile – or maybe to irritate you just a little.

Today I write about the accidental “Like,” Barry Beach, Malmstrom AFB and the Golferoo, Syria and the Montana delegation, Hello Kitty, plus there are three people who are Making Montana Proud this week!

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2000

It’s a special day here at The Western Word, so pop the cork!

This is the 2000th post/column/article/commentary on this blog. It all started way back on January 10, 2005, which is eight years, seven months, and 28 days ago.

Great googly moogly!

My first “post” was about football. My stats (I was on Google’s Blogger back then) showed that somebody actually read it. Then a few posts later somebody left a comment, and the rest is history.

My most read column of all time was the November 2010 “Politics 2012: 10 Most Vulnerable Senators” which was picked up by a few newspapers. A follow-up to that column came in second. The article about Barry Beach titled “The Killing at Poplar River” is the third most viewed column of all time.

Now several of my columns have been published in newspapers, and several people who work in the journalism world have blogs.

The Western Word has been read in over 100 countries. It is wild to think that a blog can even be read in 100 countries – just imagine the possibilities. Technology is powerful.

After all these years, my goal is to write something that makes people think a little, smile a little, and maybe wonder just a little.

Every weekend I look ahead to the upcoming week with great anticipation waiting to see what the world gives me to write about. It’s almost as much fun as Christmas morning…

Thank you,

Jackie M. (Mike) Brown
Blogger

 

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MT Attorney General: No Fun Allowed

There’s a new regime in the Montana Attorney General’s office, led by first-term Attorney General Tim Fox and his team of “seasoned professionals.”

Apparently, they are card-carrying members of the N.F.L. – the No Fun League.

For several years now CBS affiliates KRTV and KXLH in Montana have hosted a contest called “Pro Football Picks” where people picked the winners of NFL games and won prizes like pizza and there was a big grand prize at the end of the season. They also did the contest for the NCAA basketball tournament.

But now the fun and games appear to be over, courtesy of Montana Attorney General Tim Fox.  Continue reading