Congratulations – you’ve made it to Friday – now buckle your seatbelt for “Caught My Eye.”
If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted right here every Friday morning! This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. Sometimes I throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – or maybe both.
Everyone and everything is fair game.
Today I write about Ryan Zinke, Intelligent Discontent, Powder River Training Complex, Montana CBS & DirecTV, snow plowing, Ben Carson & plagiarism, term limits, National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, and much more.
Ryan Zinke’s Start:
The last thing a freshman in Congress needs is to start off their first term with negative publicity, but that is what happened to U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke this week.
The Associated Press explained it best with this sentence, “U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke of Montana named Scott Hommel, the former treasurer of the political action committee that spent nearly $200,000 in support of Zinke’s candidacy, as his chief of staff Monday.”
While that is not illegal or anything, it does smell a little. I’m glad Zinke hired a veteran on his staff, but I don’t think Hommel is a Montana veteran. Zinke, as well as Senators Tester and Daines, should employ all Montanans on their staff in D.C. and in the state because those seats they temporarily occupy belong to Montanans. There are many bright people on the right and left from Montana who could excel in these positions.
Zinke made some tactical errors during his candidacy and he’s making more errors early in his first term. It might be time to find some new advisors to help him make better choices.
The Intelligent Discontent blog was first to put the pieces together about Rep. Ryan Zinke hiring Scott Hommel as his Chief of Staff writing, “Hommel was the treasurer for Zinke’s personal Super PAC, Special Operations for America.”
A day later, the Associated Press and Lee Newspapers picked up the story. As far as I can tell, they failed to mention that Intelligent Discontent broke the story. If so, that is wrong.
Montana is mostly the beginning of the road or the end of the road for most reporters, but I believe there still are some rules on that road.
Powder River Training Complex:
I hope that the Air Force and the FAA quickly approve the Powder River Training Complex (PRTC), so Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines can save time and resources by not scheduling meetings and sending out press releases on a topic they and their staffers know little about.
The latest has Tester and Daines meeting “Air Force officials” which probably means if the “Air Force officials” are unnamed, Tester and Daines were probably shuffled down to a lower level official like a legislative liaison.
Maybe they met these “Air Force officials” at the “renowned” Montana coffee…
The fact is that every press release sent from Tester and Daines against PRTC basically tells the military and aerospace/defense companies that Montana’s skies are closed. It also shows their lack of support for our armed forces.
I’ve been in favor of the PRTC from the beginning, and there are many Montanans who support the PRTC. It will save time, money, resources, and make our military better. I commend Senator John Thune of South Dakota for his work on this issue – an issue that is vital for national security.
Daines & Term Limits:
On Thursday I read that U.S. Senator Steve Daines is signing on in support of a congressional term limits bill. According to a story by the Associated Press, “Senate Joint Resolution 1 introduced by Republican Rep. David Vitter of Louisiana, proposes a Constitutional amendment that would limit the number of terms that a Congress member can hold to three two-year terms in the house or two six-year terms in the Senate.”
This resolution is dead on arrival. It’s posturing. Daines will be able to say from here on that he supports term limits. The Republicans are doing this because this feeds some red meat to the base who helped Republicans gain the majority.
If Daines wants term limits so badly, he can impose them on himself by not running for a third term. If he does run for a third term, he just gave his opponent an issue.
Montana CBS & DirecTV:
This week the Great Falls Tribune published a story about the CBS television stations in Montana and DirecTV:
A contractual dispute between television station owner Cordillera Communications and satellite service provider DirecTV has led to a blackout of CBS network programing across much of Montana.
Cordillera Communications reportedly owns six Montana television stations that televise CBS programming.
It all boils down to money.
CBS is carrying the NFL football playoffs so this is a freaking tragedy (IMHO). On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts play the Denver Broncos. If the local CBS stations are not back on DirecTV, it could get ugly – and Cordillera Communications will lose the Public Relations (PR) battle.
I subscribe to cable, so I’ll get my CBS station. On two of my TVs I get the local CBS station via a $10 antenna, so I don’t really have a horse in this race. Cordillera Communications and the Montana CBS stations appear to be losing this battle from the comments I’ve read.
No matter who is winning the PR battle, the bottom line is that two companies outside the state are giving Montanans the middle finger.
The City of Billings, Montana, will begin plowing residential streets today because they have received 36.8 inches of snow this winter. Officials told the Billings Gazette, “Residents should move their vehicles from the streets to avoid having them plowed in. The snow will be plowed to the curb on both sides of the street.”
Good for Billings. Maybe the City of Great Falls, Montana, will follow their lead. Great Falls has received 46.8 inches of snow this winter and, once again, they have proven they know very little about snow removal.
Ben Carson & Plagiarism:
BuzzFeed News this week reported, “Several sections of potential Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson’s 2012 book America the Beautiful were plagiarized from various sources.”
This information should have Republicans fuming because we know how much they detest plagiarism!
Ironically, Dr. Carson campaigned for Steve Daines in Billings on October 28, 2014. It was senate candidate Steve Daines’ opponent, John Walsh, who was found to have plagiarized a paper at the Army War College. After that information was disclosed, Walsh withdrew from the U.S. Senate race.
Isn’t it funny how the world turns?
Back in October I said that Dr. Carson and I have at least one thing in common – we won’t be the President of the United States. My chances may be better than his now…
In 2013, another possible Presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul, was accused of plagiarism in a book he authored. You can read that story HERE.
Maybe Ben Carson and Rand Paul can run together on the “Plagiarism ticket” and just copy ideas from other candidates…
Making Montana Proud:
This section is where I mention people or groups whose actions embarrass Montana in some way.
-From the Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell): “Four teenagers were arrested and charged with armed robbery Wednesday evening after allegedly taking money from an undercover Northwest Montana Drug Task Force Agent.”
The agent “responded to an ad on Craigslist that implied that the advertiser had methamphetamine for sale.”
Just imagine their surprise…
The good news is that they did not have any drugs on them to sell.
The bad news? One teenager was carrying a handgun. Ouch.
One More Thing:
Today (January 9) is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. I want to personally thank those involved in Law Enforcement for all you do to keep us safe each day.