Thursday Numbers

Welcome to the first “Thursday Numbers” of May! I’m glad you stopped by!

If you are a new visitor, this is my weekly column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary (sometimes with a little sarcasm).

PLEASE NOTE: 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 incentive payments, Electric City Power, hiring veterans, The Weather Channel, Brian Schweitzer, Social Security Administration, explosives, Ted Cruz, Cheap Trick, morning after pill, Chicago Newspaper Guild job opening, hearings about extraterrestrials, and bin Laden. There’s a lot more so read on!3,950,000

That’s how much ($3.95 million) St. Vincent Healthcare in Billings (MT) and Holy Rosary Healthcare in Miles City (MT) will pay “to settle allegations they gave doctors incentive payments for patient referrals.”

I wonder who will ultimately pay the $3.95 million…

3,250,000

The City of Great Falls commission approved a $3.25 million settlement last night with Southern Montana Electric to start the process of bringing to an end the city’s venture into the power business. The Great Falls Tribune reported that this endeavor is “expected to cost the city more than $12 million.”

They are going to need to issue a lot more $100 tickets for operating a cell phone while driving to help pay their way out of this mess. Maybe they should approve residents having urban chickens and tax them.

435,000

The Washington Post reported that, “The White House announced a significant new effort Tuesday to reduce unemployment and improve job prospects among veterans, enlisting the support of U.S. companies to hire 435,000 veterans and military spouses over the next five years.”

I wonder if there are any openings for independent columnists…

324,000

That’s how many new claims for unemployment were filed last week which was a decrease of 18,000 from the week before. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor)

That is great news! I heard it’s close to a five-year low!

1982

On this date in 1982, The Weather Channel debuted.

OK, I admit that I was amazed when I first watched The Weather Channel…

1,600

That’s how many jobs there are at the Stillwater Mining Company in Montana. The Associated Press reports “Shareholders in Montana’s largest publicly-owned company are scheduled to gather in Nye on Thursday to decide whether dissident investors including former Gov. Brian Schweitzer should take control of Stillwater Mining.”

This is a big deal for Schweitzer politically.

895

According to this story, Gilbert Stokes had money taken from his tax return because his mother was overpaid by $895 by the Social Security Administration in 1971. Yes, 1971. His mother has been dead for five years.

Can you say bureaucracy?

559

That’s how many pounds of explosives were stolen from a U.S. Forest Service storage bunker near Red Lodge (MT) last month. The Billings Gazette reports that the “Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Wednesday that it is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.”

There are several questions – like why weren’t the explosives secured better.

139

The 139th running of the Kentucky Derby will be held this Saturday.

65

According to Gallup polling, “Sixty-five percent of Americans say the U.S. Senate should have passed the measure that would have expanded background checks for gun purchases, while 29% agree with the Senate’s failure to pass the measure.”

It should have passed.

50

Jeffery Todd Guy was sentenced in a Billings court to serve “50 years at Montana State Prison in the shooting death of his friend.”

I wonder what sentence he would have received if they were not friends…

42

Ultra-conservative U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is 42 years old. He is considering running for President of the United States. He was born in Canada. His mother was a U.S. Citizen at the time of his birth. Some people will probably question if Sen. Cruz is actually a “natural born citizen?”

I think we’ll need to check and verify his birth certificate. We might as well examine his college transcripts, too. What goes around comes around…

35

It was 35 years ago that rockers Cheap Trick recorded “Cheap Trick at Budokan” at Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, April 28 & 30, 1978.

I have seen Cheap Trick in concert several times over the years – great show!

31

As of May 1, that’s how many years I have been married to my wonderful girl!

BTW, I was only 13 when she married me…

15

The Food and Drug Administration Tuesday announced “that it has approved an amended application submitted by Teva Women’s Health, Inc. to market Plan B One-Step (active ingredient levonorgestrel) for use without a prescription by women 15 years of age and older.” It is also called the “morning after pill.” Before this decision, women had to be at least 17 years old.

The Justice Department will appeal this decision.

13

The Chicago Newspaper Guild has a job opening (H/T JimRomenesko.com). They need a reporter “to cover news for print and Internet community in the metropolitan Chicago area.” The “candidate should have a car, as it may be your office.” You must be “On call 24/7 for possible breaking news for as low as $13/hour.” For experience they state, “Enough to know how to churn out multiple stories per day, but not enough experience to demand a reasonable salary.”

They also say knowledge of WiFi hotspots is a plus and you should “be comfortable using public restrooms.”

6

Six former members of Congress with former U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick presiding will hear “a week’s worth of testimony about the existence of extraterrestrials.” She will be paid $20,000 for the week, plus expenses.

I think they may need to form an interim committee to hear more about this issue…

2

On this date two years ago (May 2, 2011) Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Follow me on Twitter @TheWesternWord

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