You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. – Winston Churchill
Welcome to the Big Show – “Caught My Eye!”
If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” is posted here every Friday morning. This column is where 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 – maybe both.
Today I provide independent commentary about the Montana Legislature, Loretta Lynch & the Montana delegation, Adam Sanchez, Jr., & Cascade County, former Judge G. Todd Baugh, former General David Petraeus, and Barry Bonds. Plus, we have a winner who is Making Montana Proud!
From what I’ve been hearing and reading, the 64th session of the Montana Legislature will probably end soon, maybe today. It’s OK to applaud.
This is a good thing because the circus has gone on way too long, the clowns are tired and cranky, and the wheel’s spinning, but the hamster is dead.
I’ll have final thoughts a few days after it officially ends, but for now I’d give this session a grade of “C.”
We can do a lot better. Think about this in 2016 when the election comes around.
Lynch was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday for Attorney General (AG). The vote was 56-43. Montana’s two U.S. Senators, Jon Tester (D), and Steve Daines (R), split their votes. Tester voted for Lynch, Daines voted against Lynch.
Early Thursday morning the Daines campaign team sent an e-mail with the subject, “Repeal the 2nd Amendment?” stating, “I’d never support repealing the 2nd Amendment… but if Loretta Lynch is confirmed as our next Attorney General it may just have the same effect.”
Later in his email, Daines asked me to sign a petition and send him a donation “to get this petition into the hands of every patriotic American who believes in our right to bear arms and the authority of the Constitution.”
At least Lynch can be used by Daines as a scare tactic to raise funds for a few months. Trying to tie Lynch to repealing the 2nd Amendment is pretty ridiculous, but there are some on the right fringe who will believe it.
Before Daines tried to scare us, on Wednesday U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke sent an e-mail with the subject, “Loretta Lynch Unfit to Serve as Attorney General” stating, “I urge my colleagues in the Senate to hold true to their oaths to defend the Constitution and vote no on Ms. Lynch’s confirmation.” After the senate voted to confirm Lynch, Zinke tweeted “I’ll be on with @IngrahamAngle tomorrow at 9:30 am (7:30 mt) to discuss #LorettaLynch nomination.”
I guess Laura Ingraham could not book a senator for her radio show who actually voted for or against Lynch.
The confirmation process for Lynch went on for way too long. Some say it’s because she is female and black. I hope that was not the case for Daines and Zinke coming out against her.
When George W. Bush nominated Alberto Gonzales for AG, it only took 30 days, and that was considered a long time, until now. Lynch’s confirmation took 161 days. According to FiveThirtyEight.com, Obama has waited longer for cabinet confirmations than any other recent President.
The fact is that Lynch had been confirmed twice before for other jobs by the United States Senate. She is highly qualified; politics or race or gender (or all three) got in the way. The Republicans in the senate are looking rather small-minded in making a highly qualified candidate of Lynch’s caliber wait this long.
As for Zinke, I would like to see him concentrate on issues in which he actually has a vote.
Adam Sanchez, Jr:
Adam Sanchez, Jr., is back in the news. He is the person accused of killing Cascade County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Dunn last August. Now Sanchez is claiming he is not getting proper representation from his court-appointed attorneys. A hearing on this complaint will be held next week with District Judge Dirk Sandefur presiding. (Source)
I’ve written about the Sanchez case several times. I believe, as do many others, that Cascade County Attorney John Parker and people in his office dropped the ball on the Sanchez case and District Judge Kenneth Neill also shares the blame. They allowed Sanchez to be out of jail at the time Deputy Dunn was killed. (Source)
I’ve written before that Parker and Neil should both resign.
As for obtaining new attorneys to represent him, if the past is any indication Sanchez will have a friendly face or two prosecuting him.
Finally, with District Judge Dirk Sandefur presiding over the latest complaint, one must wonder since he is running for a seat on the Montana Supreme Court whether or not he will let politics play a role in his decision. If searches relating to Sandefur on this website are any indication, these issues will be brought forth during his campaign.
Are You Kidding Me?
Sometimes I read things and say, “Are you kidding me?” Here are two that caught my eye this week:
-From the New York Times: Former CIA Director and retired four-star General David Petraeus was sentenced to two years’ probation and fined $100,000 for providing classified information to a mistress . He did not have to serve any time in prison.
Petraeus was given preferential treatment. Others facing similar charges have gone to prison. That is where Petraeus should be. He’s a disappointment.
-From the Associated Press: Former state District Judge G. Todd Baugh of Billings, who was censured by the state’s high court for his comments about a 14-year-old rape victim, has been chosen for a lifetime achievement award by the Yellowstone Area Bar Association.
You read that correctly, “has been chosen for a lifetime achievement award.”
It’s no wonder the state justice system in Montana is laughed at and ridiculed so often. Shame on the Yellowstone Area Bar Association and anyone who believes Baugh deserves any type of lifetime achievement award.
I wonder if we’ll see the Yellowstone Area Bar Association give an achievement award to former U.S. District Chief Judge Richard Cebull, who sent racist e-mails about the President.
Making Montana Proud:
This section is where I mention people or groups whose actions embarrass Montana in some way.
-From the Great Falls Tribune: One of the most colorful characters at the Montana Legislature, Sen. John Brenden, R-Scobey, said goodbye to the Senate recently in a speech that ended in song.
I always giggle when a reporter uses the word “colorful” to describe a politician. I think that “colorful” can be a “code word” for some other word they would rather use!
As for the song, the Tribune titled it the “Brenden song” and, well…it’s something that listeners may never get out of their heads. My first thought as I was listening to the state senate floor session and doing other things on the computer was, “What the &^%$.” I am thinking that the lyrics to “I Love This Bar” may have been more appropriate:
We got cowboys, we got truckers
Broken-hearted fools and suckers
And we got hustlers, we got fighters
Early birds and all-nighters
Beware – it’s two minutes and 44 seconds you’ll never get back. Watch it HERE.
There was just a little bit of coverage about Barry Bonds this week. Maybe sports reporters didn’t like the news that after 12 years of legal battles Bonds was cleared of any wrongdoing. The New York Times did report this:
After years of investigations and court proceedings in the performance-enhancing drug case involving Barry Bonds, baseball’s home run king, federal prosecutors were able to pin only one obstruction of justice conviction on him.
Now, that is gone.
On Wednesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco reversed the conviction from 2011, stemming from an answer that Bonds gave to a grand jury in 2003.
The Appeals Court voted 10-1 to reverse the conviction.
I’ve written about Bonds a lot over the years. The justice department wasted millions of dollars going after him. They did the same thing with pitching great Roger Clemens. They got nothing.
Bonds and Clemens never failed a drug test. They both deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
One More Thing:
The most important use for cowhide is to hold the cow together…