Thursday Numbers

Thanks for stopping by The Western Word – I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of “Thursday Numbers!”

If you are a new visitor, this column is where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary (sometimes laced with just 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 this your warning.

This week I write about highway money, lobbyists, Arlington National Cemetery, Twitter followers of Montana’s major newspapers, the evaluation of the Great Falls Airport Director, Montana Republican Convention, unemployment, Meadowlark, Barbara Eden, losing religion, a very live update, Michele Bachmann, a scooter, working mothers, Barry Beach, and much more!


That’s how much ($438 million) the Montana Department of Transportation has to spend on highway and bridge repair projects this year.

Looks like life will be full of detours this summer…


The Associated Press reports “Lobbyists reported spending $6.1 million to influence and educate politicians during the 2013 legislative session. Lee Newspapers of Montana reports lobbyists for corporations, trade associations and advocacy groups spent the equivalent of about $40,500 per lawmaker.”

That’s a lot of steak and alcohol…


Arlington National Cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families.



That’s the number of new claims for unemployment for last week – an increase of 10,000 from the week before.

Increases are not good.


That’s how many followers the Missoulian (@missoulian) newspaper has on Twitter.

The Missoulian appears to be the leader of Montana newspapers with followers on Twitter.  Congrats! 


That’s how many followers the Billings Gazette (@billingsgazette) newspaper has on Twitter.


That’s how many followers the Bozeman Chronicle (@bozchron) newspaper has on Twitter.


That’s how many followers the Helena Independent Record (@helenaironline) newspaper has on Twitter.


That’s how many followers the Great Falls Tribune (@GFTribune) newspaper has on Twitter.


That’s how many follower the Flathead Beacon (@FlatheadBeacon) newspaper has on Twitter.


That’s how many followers the Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (@DailyInterLake) newspaper has on Twitter.


That’s how many followers the Montana Standard (@mtstandard) newspaper has on Twitter.


The Great Falls Tribune Editorial Board devoted about 745 words in Wednesday’s paper saying the evaluation of Great Falls Airport Director John Faulkner should be open to the public.

Considering the way a former airport director was treated by several current members of the Airport Board, Faulkner may want his evaluation open to the public so he has witnesses – the honeymoon won’t last forever…


If you want to attend the Montana Republican Convention (June 7-8), it will cost you $150. That doubles to $300 if you wait until June 1.

So in congressional budget-speak, if you don’t attend, you save $300, right?


A new elementary school in Bozeman (MT) has been named “Meadowlark” after the legendary basketball player, Meadowlark Lemon. Just kiddin – it was named “Meadowlark” after the Montana state bird. There were 80 suggested names and Meadowlark came in first and “Spanish Peaks” was second.

I wonder if the name Max Sieben Baucus was considered since he’s soon going to be a Bozeman-area resident…


Barbara Eden is 78 and, may I add, she still looks good in her “I Dream of Jeannie” costume.


A Gallup poll found “Over three-quarters of Americans (77%) say religion is losing its influence on American life, while 20% say religion’s influence is increasing. These represent Americans’ most negative evaluations of the impact of religion since 1970, although similar to the views measured in recent years.”

But, “But 75% say American society would be better off if more Americans were religious.”

Amen to that.


According to Yahoo! News, “Robert McDonough, a 73-year-old who suffers from dementia, had been missing for more than 14 hours when he walked past the WMTW News 8 crew camped out on the side of his road in rural Limington.”

The News 8 crew was getting ready to do a live update about Robert McDonough…


According to this story, “A 56-year-old Madison man who likes to ride around town on a scooter wearing a thong, a helmet and a black cape with red trim might be a disturbing sight to schoolchildren and teachers, but he’s not breaking any laws.”

But if he’s caught texting on that scooter…


According to the Pew Research Center, “America’s working mothers are now the primary breadwinners in a record 40 percent of households with children — a milestone in the changing face of modern families, up from just 11 percent in 1960.”

That’s the way it is in my household…


It took Congresswoman Michele Bachmann 8 minutes and 40 seconds to tell her constituents that she was not running for a fifth term in the U.S. House.

I wonder if that is what her Rice Krispies told her to do…


Here are Michele Bachmann’s 5 most quotable soundbites according to the National Journal.


In 1983 during a “lengthy interrogation” in Louisiana by a detective with a questionable work history, Barry Beach confessed to killing four women – three in Louisiana and one in Montana, Kim Nees. The Great Falls Tribune reported, “Beach was later cleared of the Louisiana murders when it became known that Beach was not in Louisiana at the time of the killings.”

It’s a shame the Montana Supreme Court will not give Barry Beach a new trial.  I think the four members of the Montana Supreme Court who decided Beach did not deserve a new trial couldn’t pour water out of a boot with instructions on the heel…