Caught My Eye…

This is the 200th edition of “Caught My Eye!” It’s party time! Please, no gifts.

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 – or both.

Today I write about Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, the director of the Montana VA, Montana Marijuana, Voting on Tuesday, the moral acceptability poll, Air Force Global Strike Command, Kate Middleton, Maya Angelou, plus we have two winners who are Making Montana Proud.

Fire Shinseki Friday:

The big question is when, not if, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki will be fired. In government, Fridays are always a good time for these things. People have short attention spans on Fridays.

Long before Congressman Steve Daines, Senator John Walsh, and other folks running for office found it politically helpful to call for Shinseki’s resignation, I called for it. I said Shinseki should resign in May of last year (2013) because he was not getting a handle on the backlog of disability claims. By the way, that was in Caught My Eye #147. Now we find out that under the leadership of Shinseki, people were cooking the books on veterans’ medical appointments and some veterans may have died.

This whole situation is dishonorable. Due to the lack of people serving in Congress who understand veterans’ issues and what it’s like to be a veteran, the VA has not been monitored properly.

Things must change. It starts with firing Shinseki and his people, today.

Note:  At approximately 9:20 a.m. (Montana time) this morning (May 30), President Obama announced that Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki had resigned.

MT VA Health Director to Resign:

The Associated Press reported last night that Christine Gregory, who is the director of the Veterans Affairs Montana Health Care System, “plans to resign after 16 months on the job, saying she wants to spend more time with her family, officials said Thursday.”

The AP also reported, “A report released this month by the VA inspector general ranked the Montana VA in the bottom eight in wait times for specialty care, primary care and mental health treatment.”

As a Montana veteran, I welcome this news. Hopefully the position will be filled by a veteran. The Montana congressional delegation should demand it.

Montana Marijuana:

The Associated Press reports that a “proposed ballot initiative to ban marijuana use and possession in Montana has cleared a legal review.”

Now all it needs is 24,175 voter signatures in three weeks to make the ballot. It won’t get my signature to get it on the ballot or my support if it makes the ballot.

I supported Montana’s medical marijuana law – and I still do. Montana should follow Colorado’s blueprint when it comes to marijuana.

Vote Tuesday:

Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, June 3 – which is next week. Unfortunately, in Montana’s primary election you have to pick either the Republican or Democrat ballot – decisions, decisions.

Montana voter information, including how to register to vote, can be found HERE.

Follow me on Twitter @TheWesternWord on election night for updates!

Air Force Global Strike Command:

Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James has recommended making the head of the Global Strike Command a four-star general. It is now a three-star general position. James made this recommendation to the Secretary of Defense.

The Air Force Global Strike Command is responsible for the overall management of the Air Force nuclear missions at Malmstrom, F.E. Warren, and Minot Air Force Bases, plus B-52 and B-2 bombers at Minot, Barksdale, and Whiteman Air Force Bases.

This change requires congressional approval. It should not get congressional approval, because it’s a silly request made by someone (James) who has no military experience. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel should shred James’ request.

The Air Force, especially the nuclear forces, has a lot of work to do to regain the confidence and trust of the American people. If a three-star can’t manage/lead the force properly, why would anyone think a four-star could?

Making Montana Proud:

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

-From the Great Falls Tribune: “Great Falls Deputy City Manager Jennifer Reichelt, arrested on suspicion of a DUI in October, has pleaded guilty to a lesser reckless driving charge in Cascade County Justice Court.” It was also reported, “She was sentenced to pay a $335 fine. Her license was also revoked for a six-month period following her arrest because she refused to take a breath test.”

First, shame on the judge and the prosecutor for allowing her to plead to a lesser charge – you just gave drunk drivers a reason to believe they can get out of DUI charges and take the chance of driving drunk. Second, did the city make special accommodations since Reichelt could not drive for six months? Finally, the current City Manager, Gregory Doyon, should ask for her resignation because she embarrassed the city.

-From the Helena Independent Record: “A man accidentally shot himself at Fort Harrison around 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office said.”

The man was a law enforcement officer. He was involved in an exercise where officers were “drawing their weapons, firing and re-holstering.” He is in stable condition, which is good news.

For some reason officials would not release the name of the law enforcement agency where the man works…

Moral Acceptability:

Gallup released a new poll today that tells us the “American public has become more tolerant on a number of moral issues, including premarital sex, embryonic stem cell research, and euthanasia.”

Abortion is still ranked as one of the most contentious issues. Married men and women having an affair is ranked as highly unacceptable. Using birth control is ranked as highly acceptable.

Somewhere the Church Lady is saying, “Could it be…SATAN?”

Hello Kate:

Here at The Western Word, we are I am always looking for information that our more sophisticated readers will enjoy. Here you go:

Kate Middleton, who is the Duchess of Cambridge, had a rough week last month due to the wind. Several reports surfaced saying she “experienced a wardrobe malfunction and flashed her bare butt on an April 17 tour stop in Winmalee, Australia.”


I suggest she wears jeans or a pantsuit if she ever comes to Montana! Nonetheless, here in the good ol’ USA we know all about wardrobe malfunctions…

It was kept quiet until a German newspaper recently published the photo. The Daily Mail folks were not too pleased with the German newspaper.

A few headlines from this international incident caught my eye: “Mooning the world…” to “Bottomgate” to “Kate Middleton Goes Commando…”

You must admit that the “Commando” line is pretty funny…

Maya Angelou:

Over at we found out the Fox affiliate in Houston let viewers know that Angelou had cancelled her Houston appearance on Friday; while at the same time letting viewers know she had died at age 86.

One More Thing:

Don’t forget to stretch…

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2 thoughts on “Caught My Eye…

  1. Good call on the timing of Shinseki’s departure. I wonder whether his mastery of and confidence in military institutions were the qualities that led to his downfall. He had so much respect for, and faith in, the chain of command that he thought inside the box and could not believe until it was too late that the low level knavery that brought him down could exist.

    • James – Thanks. I know it is hard to transition from the military to the civilian world. Shinseki probably found that people did not jump as high as they did when he wore four stars. They really need to get the right person for this job – but all the right people can make a lot more in non-government positions. -JmB

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