Caught My Eye…

Congratulations on making it to Friday! It’s just not any Friday – it’s the last Friday before Christmas!

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted right 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 House dress code, the Markus Kaarma trial, Cuba, The Interview movie, Honesty & Ethical Standards poll, obesity & binge drinking, The Western Word Christmas Party, plus we have a winner who is Making Montana Proud.

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Tuesday’s Political Potpourri

When there are several stories out there to comment about, I combine them into a “potpourri” column!

Today I provide commentary about revising the Montana House dress code, Senator-elect Steve Daines’ new committees and his plans as a senator, State Rep. Jesse O’Hara’s alert, plus one senator blocking a Veterans’ suicide prevention bill.

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Powder River Training Complex: A Hail Mary?

Back in July 2008 I first wrote about the Powder River Training Complex (PRTC) and the proposal to expand it into southeastern Montana. The expanded training area would be used by B-1 and B-52 airplanes from Minot and Ellsworth Air Force Bases in North and South Dakota. Other planes from other bases could use the area, too. It would expand to about 28,000 square miles from the current 8,300 square miles.

I have been in favor of the PRTC since the beginning.

PRTC will save millions of tax dollars because crews will train closer to home. If the area had been approved in 2013, the Air Force estimates it would have saved $21 million. (Source)

Unfortunately, the Montana congressional delegation has not supported the expansion for trivial reasons. Who knows, maybe some big donors live in the area and this is their ultimate reason for not supporting the expansion.

Just last week, the Montana Congressional delegation attempted a “Hail Mary” type blitz. The Associated Press (AP) reported, “Montana U.S. Sens. Tester and John Walsh and Rep. Steve Daines told Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James in a Friday letter that the proposal would stifle economic development and threaten safety in the region.”

That’s absurd.

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Thursday Numbers

And just like that it’s Thursday – and your weekly dose of knowledge awaits!

In case you are a first-time visitor, “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 spiked with sarcasm) just to make you smile, shake your head, or make you send me nasty e-mails or Tweets.

This week I write about the Federal government spending bill, the Montana delegation fails, expanding preschool, political donations, Google Earth, CIA Torture Report, gun rights, groundbreaking albums, musicians, military pay, unemployment, and much more!

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Politics: Hires & Fires

With the election season over in Montana, it’s time for the winners to put staff in place and for those already in office to shuffle staff around so they are ready for the new congress and able to assist Montanans.

There are over a million people Montana and 147,164 sq miles to cover. U.S. Senator Jon Tester, U.S. Senator-elect Steve Daines, and U.S. Representative-elect Ryan Zinke can’t do it alone so they need staffers who will represent them at meetings and assist constituents.

As a member of the U.S. House, Zinke will have fewer staff and offices than Tester and Daines. It’s not fair to Montanans, but Zinke’s “district” is all of Montana whereas a Representative in New York City may have a “district” that’s just a few square miles.

Here are some of the hires that caught my attention. Congrats to them.  Plus, I think there’s a job opening in Tennessee for a Communications Director…

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It’s Keystone Tuesday!

Note: This column is not about Keystone beer, but you can drink Keystone beer today if you wish.

Wowser! With the 2014 election just two weeks old, Congress is moving at breakneck speed! Is this great or what? Republicans will probably try to take credit for it, although they don’t actually take over the Senate until January.

Can a bill on immigration be far behind?

OK, that’s a stretch…

The U.S. House voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday by a vote of 252-161. Montana’s lone Congressman, Steve Daines, voted for it.

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Thursday Numbers

Thanks for stopping by The Western Word. Your free dose of knowledge is ready!

“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 spiked with sarcasm) just to make you smile, shake your head, or make you send me nasty e-mails or Tweets.

This week I write about votes cast, unemployment, Cascade County attorney, Arkansas congressional delegation, cellphone violation, women in the next congress, repealing Obamacare, voter turnout, U.S. House, Glenn Frey, “compromising and getting things done,” a new digital news channel, close contests, vacancy in office of United States senator, price of gas, and much more!

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