Thanks for dropping by The Western Word for “Thursday Numbers.” Get prepared – your free dose of knowledge awaits!
In case you’re new around here, “Thursday Numbers” is the weekly column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary sometimes sprinkled with sarcasm. Everyone and everything is fair game.
This week I write about federal employees, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Cascade County Detention Facility, the Montana VA, The Breakfast Club, the anti-bullying law vote, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Jon Tester & Pinocchio, the Keystone Pipeline veto & Montana’s Congressional Delegation, gas prices, unemployment, and much more!
That’s how many new claims for unemployment were filed last week, which was an increase from the week before. (Source)
National Journal reported, “More than 16,900 federal employees took home in excess of $200,000 in base salary in 2014, according to a partial database of federal salary data.”
They also reported, “More than 1,600 federal employees cleared $300,000 in base salary last year. Just two—VA doctors in Palo Alto, Calif., and Pittsburgh—took in more than $400,000.”
Nice work if you can get it…
CBS News is reporting that’s how many claims the Department of Veterans Affairs mismanaged for veterans who were due benefits, pensions, and funeral assistance – and that is just at one regional office. One veteran had filed a disability claim in 2004. He received a response in July 2014 thanking him for his claim – 10 years later! Sadly, he died seven years ago without ever hearing from the VA.
The Department of Veterans Affairs is the worst-run agency in the Federal government. Major changes need to happen.
The Cascade County (MT) commission approved the purchase of 220 cameras for the Cascade County Detention Facility. Officials claim purchasing the cameras had nothing to do with a “scathing review” from the ACLU about the detention facility. (Source)
If that’s your story…
It’s a tough time for Montana veterans. The “acting” VA medical center director can only hold the position for 120 days and can get a one -time extension of 120 days. So Montana’s acting director has been removed because he had exceeded that amount of time. (Source)
It is beyond comprehension that the VA has not filled this position. This is a management position and should be easy to fill. They might as well get rid of the person in Denver responsible for hiring the Montana director. He/she is is not fulfilling his/her duties. With the head of the VA lying about his military service, the claims backlog, the problem with over 13,000 claims that I mentioned above, the VA needs a major housecleaning.
Check out “The Breakfast Club” 30 years later HERE.
The Associated Press reported, “Montana has moved one step closer to joining every other state in the country in making anti-bullying policy law under a bill endorsed by the House on Wednesday.”
Joining every other state…
House Bill 284 passed on second reading by a vote of 74-26. Click HERE to see who the 26 members of the Legislature are who must not believe bullying is a problem.
Here are the 10 Worst Snubs from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
REO Speedwagon, Styx, and Cheap Trick should be in there, too.
Montana’s senior U.S. Senator, Jon Tester, received “Four Pinocchios” from the Washington Post when he stated on Montana Public Radio that, “Unfortunately, every logging sale in Montana right now is under litigation. Every one of them.”
Tester issued a revised statement the next day: “Nearly half of the awarded timber volume in Fiscal Year 2014 is currently under litigation.”
According to the Post, the revised statement also had some problems.
The Post added this:
Given that Tester is the senior senator from Montana, his comments on litigation in Montana’s national forests are embarrassingly wrong. In both statements, he was wildly off the mark. He needs to brush up on his facts — and his math — before he opines again on the subject.
By the way, getting “Four Pinocchios” means it was a whopper – the worst rating (Source).
I guess Tester decided to go big or go home…
When President Barack Obama vetoed the Keystone Pipeline bill, it was only his third veto. In comparison, George W. Bush issued 12 vetoes and Bill Clinton had 37. (Source)
This was historic for Montana because U.S. Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, plus Representative Ryan Zinke all agreed that the President should not have vetoed the Keystone Pipeline. Mark this date because agreements like this won’t happen very often…