Caught My Eye…

Hey – it’s the first Friday of June, school is out, and it stopped raining! Also, it’s National Donut Day which makes for an even greater day!

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 Ryan Zinke, Derek Skees, phone records, Shannon Augare, USS Billings, Jon Tester, Max Baucus, Jobs, How Americans Speak English, Marathoners, and I take a  look at those who are Making Montana Proud!

Zinke Testing the Waters:

The Associated Press reported “Former state legislator Ryan Zinke of Whitefish says he may consider a U.S. Senate run if the Montana Republican Party’s big names don’t get in the race.”

In other words, he is throwing his name out there to see who cares – kind of testing the waters. He should check out my friendly advice in the next paragraph.

I am all for fellow veterans running for elective office. In fact, that is one of the first things I check on when I am looking at candidates. I applaud Zinke for his military service, but the Livingstone/Zinke (Montana Governor/Lt. Governor) ticket did not do well in 2012 losing to Hill/Sonju by about 35,000 votes in a seven-way primary. Hill/Sonju lost to Bullock/Walsh in the General Election. If Zinke aligns himself with the far-right fringe, he would easily be beaten. That’s the end of the advice, and I did not even have to bring up Brian Schweitzer…

Derek Skees:

Today is the start of the Montana GOP Convention, and Lee Newspapers published a story about an idea from ex-state legislator Derek Skees called “unity principles.” Skees reportedly “sent an email to fellow conservatives within the party, asking whether they would support a party resolution to create ‘unity principles’ that candidates must largely support if they expect help from the party.”

Lee Newspapers also reported that “Two Republican senators who sometimes joined Democrats on key votes, Bruce Tutvedt of Kalispell and Llew Jones of Conrad, said Thursday that Skees’ proposal amounts to a ‘purity list’ that is offensive to voters and would divide and harm the Republican Party.”

Tutvedt and Jones are right.

Skees took his far-right views statewide this past election cycle and was soundly thumped by Monica Lindeen in the race for State Auditor. Lindeen was not a strong candidate, but she beat Skees by about 33,000 votes in a two-way race.

Republicans can’t expect to win many statewide races with candidates who have extreme views.

Phone Records:

U.S. Senator Jon Tester sent a press release with the headline, “TESTER SLAMS COLLECTION OF AMERICANS’ PHONE RECORDS” in regards to the National Security Agency data collection program to combat terrorism. You can read it HERE. He also used the press release to restate his disgust of the Patriot Act. U.S. Senator Max Baucus also sent a press release calling the data collection an “intrusion on law-abiding Americans.”

Personally I have no problem with data collection from phone records or the Patriot Act. They keep us safe.  Freedom is not free.


According to the Associated Press, “Blackfeet officials have yet to make a decision on whether to file charges against Democratic state Sen. Shannon Augare for allegedly fleeing a traffic stop.”

I don’t believe State Senator Augare has spoken publicly about the incident yet.

Bueller, Bueller, Bueller…

USS Billings:

A new combat ship will be named the USS Billings. Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester were very proud of the announcement – almost like grandparent proud – and they issued a press release!

“Montanans volunteer for service at one of the highest rates in the country” exclaimed Baucus, who never served a day in the military, so he brings those “highest rates” down a notch.

It will be interesting to see how well the USS Billings navigates the Yellowstone River as it makes it way to its home port in Billings for commissioning in 2019…

Jobs Report:

“Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in May, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.”

It was 7.5% in April.

Rep. John Dingell:

Congrats to Rep. John Dingell (Michigan’s 12th congressional district), who will become the longest serving member of Congress in history today at 57 years, five months and 26 days.

He surpasses one of my favorite senators, the late Robert C. Byrd.

Morally Acceptable or Not:

Gallup polling reports that “Older Americans’ Moral Attitudes Changing” in poll that released on June 3. They asked people of three age groups (18-34, 35-54, 55 and older) if they thought certain issues, like Gay or Lesbian relations, Abortion, Divorce, were morally acceptable or not. There were about 18 categories, so see where you stand by going HERE.

Maybe the older a person gets, the less they care about these things…

Making Montana Proud:

Several folks have commented favorably about this new section of “Caught My Eye” called “Making Montana Proud.” The people who are mentioned in this section embarrass Montana, and in case you can’t figure it out, you may end up here. Enjoy…

-According to the Missoulian, “Theresa Birdsley, 22, was charged with felony criminal child endangerment on Wednesday in Missoula County Justice Court.” A police officer “followed the van as it turned onto Hollis Avenue, where he found it parked. In the affidavit, he said he found Birdsley lying on the fully reclined driver’s seat and smelled ‘an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle.’” Birdsley reportedly told the officer “she was scared.” In the back of the van the officer saw an infant.

It’s a shame someone would endanger his/her child like this.

-According to the Billings Gazette, “A Billings woman (Dawnalee Ellis-Peterson) who caught the attention of police during a drunken horse ride through a South Side neighborhood denied charges Friday in District Court for a subsequent driving incident.”

Yippee ki-yay, Dawnalee, Yippee ki-yay!

-The Billings Gazette reported Daniel Howard Lucas, 23, “denied criminal endangerment and drunken-driving charges in District Court on Thursday.” He reportedly told police that, “he was trying to jump the ditch in his car and admitted to drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and taking pain medication and anti-anxiety pills before the crash, according to the affidavit.”

Taking that stuff would keep me from clearing most ditches…or walking…

How Americans Speak English:

For those readers who have lived in different parts of the country (like me), you’ve heard how words are pronounced another way around the country. For example, words like caramel and crawfish are pronounced differently depending on where you live. The maps also show which words are used in different areas like tennis shoes or gym shoes or sneakers. Do you say pop or soda or coke or soft drink when describing that sweetened carbonated beverage?

Check out the map HERE.

Those Crazy Marathoners:

The Associated Press has the story about the half-marathon runner in Minnesota who had back pain. “Trish Staine, 33, says she had no idea she was pregnant before Monday’s surprise birth. The Duluth mother of three said she hadn’t gained any weight or felt fetal movement in the months before. And besides, her husband had a vasectomy.”


One More Thing:

Don’t forget to stretch…


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