Caught My Eye…

Thanks for stopping by to read “Caught My Eye” – the last one for April, so buckle up!

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 Barry Beach and Bullock, Lawrence VanDyke and the Supremes, Corey Stapleton telling us “Folks are Upset,” Cliven Bundy telling us “about the Negro,” and (sadly) about 40 veterans who died in Arizona.

Plus, we have a winner who is Making Montana Proud! Read on…

Barry Beach:

Apparently Montana Governor Steve Bullock woke up and decided he needed to do or say something about Barry Beach just before Beach’s clemency application is considered by the Montana Board of Pardons and Parole.

Somebody probably told him it could help him politically. Sadly, that is what his letter to the board was all about. Scoring political points is the norm these days. On a side note, when Bullock speaks does anyone else feel like they are hearing Forrest Gump?

Way back in April 2008, I was one of the first to write about Barry Beach. Back then I said Beach deserved a new trial. He certainly deserves clemency.

While Beach deserves to be released from prison, the Montana Attorney General’s office over the years deserves shame. Bullock, who was Montana Attorney General (AG), has been part of the problem, along with current AG Tim Fox, former AG Mike McGrath, all the way back to Marc Racicot.

Lawrence VanDyke:

VanDyke, who works for Montana Attorney General Tim Fox as the Montana solicitor general, is trying to run for a seat on the Montana Supreme Court against current Justice Mike Wheat. The key word there is “trying.”

VanDyke’s eligibility is being questioned. Some might question his judgment for wanting to be on the Montana Supreme Court, too.

According to the Associated Press:

The Montana Constitution says a candidate is eligible to run for the state Supreme Court if he has lived in the state for two years and was admitted to practice law in Montana at least five years prior to the election.
VanDyke was admitted to the Montana State Bar in 2005, but went on inactive status in 2007 to practice law outside the state. He was reinstated as an active member to become solicitor general in 2012.

The interesting part about all the fun and games with eligibility is that the club (Montana Supreme Court) to which Justice Mike Wheat belongs will get to ultimately make the decision about VanDyke’s eligibility. I bet it’s Wheat’s turn to buy the donuts…

I’m not a lawyer (and I don’t play one on TV), but I have watched a few episodes of Law and Order so that puts me on pretty equal footing with some in the business, so here is my prediction: VanDyke will be found ineligible to be a candidate for the Montana Supreme Court.

“Folks are Upset”

U.S. House candidate Corey Stapleton posted his “Folks are Upset” 30 second video last week. See it HERE. Stapleton talks about learning here (Montana) and at the Naval Academy that if you get knocked down you get up and fight back. He then talks about President Obama dismantling our country. He says that folks are upset and fed up with being lied to and tired of a government that keeps spending us into debt.

He closes with “I’m Corey Stapleton, fourth generation Montanan, Navy veteran, proud conservative, and I approved this message.”

Amazingly, Stapleton did not shoot a drone or even carry a weapon (unless it was concealed). The delivery was pretty good, but the hand gestures were a little odd. I don’t know where the video was filmed, but it looked a little like he was outside of a prison.

I give it a seven out of ten.

Cliven Bundy (Part II):

You’ve probably heard the saying “keep your powder dry” which basically means stay prepared and save your resources until they are needed.

There are several Republicans, Tea Party folks, and conservatives who wish they would have kept their powder dry in support of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Bundy is the rancher who had a stand-off with the government over his not paying grazing fees. reported that Bundy is a “pro-slavery racist” after The New York Times ran a story about him with his thoughts “about the Negro.” Those remarks have several elected officials making a mad dash to get away from Bundy. National Journal reported, “Now that rancher Cliven Bundy is officially racist, Fox News isn’t too eager to even utter his name.” This is what Bundy said that caused the turmoil:

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

I’ll bet a lot of Tweets were deleted and Facebook posts erased from elected officials after these remarks. Some responses to constituents who had contacted their elected officials had probably already gone out the door.

40 Veterans:

I found out through a press release from my friends at Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) that CNN reported this week:

At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list. The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor.

It was also reported, “Internal e-mails obtained by CNN show that top management at the VA hospital in Arizona knew about the practice and even defended it.”

First, the “top management at the VA hospital in Arizona” should be fired. I urge my fellow veterans and veterans groups to demand this.

Second, every veteran in Arizona who is waiting for an appointment should be given access to civilian healthcare near their homes – for free.

Third, Congress must decide if spending money on leasing and purchasing buildings, hiring doctors and medical personnel, is better than sending veterans to civilian medical professionals close to home and covering their medical bills – and getting them the quality and timely care they deserve.

We would see fewer problems such as this if we had more veterans in Congress and more veterans running the VA.

Making Montana Proud:

This section is where I mention people or groups whose actions embarrass Montana in some way.

-From the Montana Standard in Butte: Barbara Allyn Guest, 51, was arrested for a probation violation when officers responded to a call about “an extremely intoxicated woman stumbling around Quartz Street with one shoe” and wearing “an ankle bracelet which is used to monitor alcohol consumption.”

I’m not an expert on ankle bracelets, but I don’t think this one was working properly…

Happy Birthday:

Actor Al Pacino turns 74 years old today. My favorite Pacino movies: Godfather, Scarface, Any Given Sunday.

What is your favorite Pacino movie?

Quote for the Week:

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” -Benjamin Franklin

One More Thing:

Don’t forget to stretch…


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