Congratulations – it’s Friday and there are only two days left in January!
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.
Today I write about the Keystone XL pipeline bill, Tester/Daines & amendments, Montana Democrats & PACs & Zinke, State of the State speech & the Montana Republicans, Montana VA & Tester, shame on the Great Falls Tribune, Montana’s best political reporters, Marshawn Lynch, plus there’s a Super Bowl poll!
Reminder: Everything and everyone is fair game. Grab your coffee and buckle up…
Amendments to Keystone:
According to Congress.gov there were about 247 amendments to the Keystone XL Pipeline bill in the senate. It looks like about 41 amendments received a vote; few passed. The Keystone XL bill passed the senate 62-36 Thursday afternoon. The bill now must be reconciled with the version the House passed.
I don’t believe that the big amendment supported by Montana’s U.S. Senators, Jon Tester and Steve Daines, even saw the light of day. It was an amendment that would prohibit the Air Force from occupying low-level airspace over a crucial onramp for Bakken oil in Baker, Montana. Basically, it was another Hail Mary against the expansion of the Powder River Training Complex. I imagined a lot of senators just laughed at the absurdity in it.
Although their ridiculous amendment did not get a vote, once again Tester and Daines have shown the world that they would like Montana’s skies closed to military and aerospace companies and, more importantly, they are showing a lack of support for our brave military men and women.
From the Desk of…
I’ll admit the Montana Democrats got me. Boom! For a few seconds, I thought THIS EMAIL with the subject “HIRING ALERT!” and with the header, “From the Desk of Congressman Ryan Zinke” was actually from Ryan Zinke, and that he was advertising for a job opening.
It was the first point that kind of gave it away-
-Be willing to coordinate directly with my campaign.
By the last two points, I was laughing out loud:
-Spend most of the PAC money on my next election.
-Funnel money into my family’s “consulting” firm.
The Montana Democrats don’t seem too happy that Congressman Ryan Zinke started a Political Action Committee (PAC), although PACs are about as common as noses in Washington. Other pure and clean Montana politicians had/have them: Max Baucus had one, Jon Tester has one, and Steve Daines has one.
Zinke’s PAC called SEAL PAC is set up to support veterans running for office, but the veterans have to be Republicans.
I have considered starting a PAC to support veterans (seriously), but my PAC would be for all veterans running for elective office regardless of political leanings. The money would spend the same.
State of the State Speech:
Here in Montana we recently had the “State of the State speech” by Governor Steve Bullock who is a Democrat. The Montana Legislature (House and Senate) is controlled by the Republicans.
I did not watch the speech live, but did watch it later. I also read it. Governor Bullock did OK. The big thing to remember is that what stops the boys/girls in the legislature from running wild is Bullock. What stops Bullock from running wild are the boys/girls in the legislature.
I kind of like the tradeoff. Montanans are all safer this way.
The Montana Republican Party did call Bullock “Governor Hypocrite” in their press release, which seemed a little harsh.
Pro-Tip: I use words such as “clowns” and the “Three Stooges” to describe elected officials (from both parties). Full Disclosure: Since the legislature started, I have had the yearning to use the word “dipsh**” a few times…
Montana VA Director:
I enjoyed reading the press release from U.S. Senator Jon Tester about the Montana Veterans Affairs being without a director. The first line made me chuckle, “After eight months without a permanent VA Montana director, Senator Jon Tester has some harsh words for the VA.”
The good senator should realize they want insiders to be in these positions and not someone who would make waves and hold them accountable.
Someone I know applied for several jobs with the VA a few years ago. These were the GS-11-13 level jobs, but they were told confidentially by a VA employee from within the organization that because this person held their feet to the fire as a congressional staffer, they would probably never get a second look from those who do the hiring within the Montana VA.
The Montana VA will get their director – and you can bet it will be someone who won’t make waves and someone who does not expect 100%.
The Montana VA should follow what Malmstrom AFB did during the cheating scandal – and that is to get rid of most of the higher level managers and bring in new blood.
Montana’s Best Political Reporters:
Four members of the Montana media made “The Fix’s 2015 list of best state political reporters.” Congratulations. Those making the list are:
John S. Adams – Great Falls Tribune
Lisa Baumann – Associated Press
Mike Dennison & Chuck Johnson – Lee Newspapers.
I voted for Adams. He needs to write more.
It is worth mentioning that no Montana radio or television political reporters made the list.
Great Falls Tribune:
Shame on the Great Falls Tribune newspaper (and Publisher Jim Strauss) who decided to publish the name of the 14-year-old boy who was accused of the attempted kidnapping of a teacher at North Middle School.
It was such a cheap move that I won’t even link to the story. Shame on local television station KRTV for following the Tribune like sheep.
The act the child is accused of was terrible, and my thoughts and prayers go to the teacher as well as the staff at North Middle School. My thoughts and prayers also go with the child and his family, who now have the added burden of everyone piling on because the Tribune needs to drive traffic to their website and sell papers.
I don’t believe children under 16 should have their names published in the newspapers and on television for crimes of which they are accused. There should be some decency from the local newspaper and television stations. Professionalism would help, too.
This is a small town in Montana, not New York or Los Angeles or even Denver.
I wrote about Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch this week, and his decision to not speak to the media. He basically gave fans, the NFL, and the media the middle finger.
Lynch spoke a little more at his final press availability yesterday. You can read it HERE.
After hearing Lynch speak, the following quote which has been credited to Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, and others came to mind:
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”
One More Thing:
Take the poll – Who do you want to win the Super Bowl?
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