Caught My Eye…

WARNING: Buckle up!

Welcome to another exciting edition of “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’s topics include the difference between Memorial Day & Veterans Day, Lee Newspapers State Bureau, Veterans Affairs Appropriations, Patriot Act – The Big Picture, Top 10 Candidates, Josh Duggar of TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” show. There’s a lot more so read on!

Memorial Day:

Here is my (almost) annual column about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Memorial Day is this Monday (May 25). It has always been pretty interesting to watch and read what people say and do on Memorial Day, and I’m not talking about what the folks do or say after they have been drinking beer and eating barbecue all day on Memorial Day.

Memorial Day was first called Decoration Day and it was held on May 30 of each year. It was a time set aside for the nation “to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.” Notice they said, “war dead.” According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website, “In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May” (Congress loves three-day weekends).

You can read more about the history of Memorial Day HERE.

Maybe this column will serve as a Memorial Day 101 primer. Some people need it. One elected official sent an e-mail last year saying, “This Memorial Day, please join me in honoring the servicemen and servicewomen who have served our country overseas.” Just last night, a local news anchor said Memorial Day was a day to honor those serving in the military.

As for Veterans Day, that day is November 11. That is a great day (as is every day) to thank a veteran for their service. November 11 has been a legal holiday since 1938. They attempted to make Veterans Day part of a three-day weekend, but that failed.

Veterans Day was once called Armistice Day and according to the VA website, “With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.” They key words are “a day to honor American veterans of all wars.”

You can read all about the history of Veterans Day HERE.

Finally, it is never wrong to honor and thank veterans for their service – that can never be done enough in this country, but it’s also important to know the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

Lee Newspapers State Bureau:

The Great Falls Tribune reported Thursday afternoon that Lee Newspapers was closing its state bureau. Tribune reporter Kristen Inbody opened with this paragraph:

Chuck Johnson and Mike Dennison, Montana’s most prominent political reporters, are leaving their posts next week as the Lee Newspapers State Bureau closes.

While I might disagree with using the word “prominent,” these reporters will leave a hole in Montana’s political reporting. There are a lot of compliments being spread around the Montana blogosphere for Johnson and Dennison today, but you won’t find any here.

I always thought it was pretty easy to see who they were pulling for or against, which somewhat tainted my feelings toward them over the years. I’m sure one or both of them could work for the Montana Democratic Party or, better yet, work for the leading blog in Montana, the left-leaning Montana Cowgirl. Cowgirl has already made an offer.

While I personally know it sucks to lose a job you enjoy as well as the paycheck, life goes on. Good luck to Johnson and Dennison.

Veterans Affairs Appropriations:

For some silly reason, Montana’s two U.S. Senators (Democrat Jon Tester and Republican Steve Daines) are both on the Senate Appropriations Committee. Even sillier, they both have seats on the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies subcommittee, plus the Defense subcommittee, plus the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies subcommittee. Montana has little clout in Washington and doubling-up committee assignments hurts the state.

When the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Bill passed the full committee, they both had different opinions about the bill:

Tester, who is the ranking member of the subcommittee, had this to say:

“At a time when we are demanding more from the VA, we simply cannot shortchange efforts to provide for our veterans, and that’s exactly what this bill does,” Tester said. “Taking care of the brave men and women who served our nation is a cost of war, and this bill fails to live up to the promises we made them.”

Daines had this to say:

“Our nation’s heroes should have easy access to the resources, services and medical care they need and deserve,” Daines stated. “I’m glad that we were able to secure several important provisions in this bill to address Montana veterans’ long-standing concerns and ensure that all veterans are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

It’s great that they both toe the party line so well…

The Big Picture:

So U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke on the senate floor for about 11 hours this week. I was not that impressed and feel Paul was trying to get back in the spotlight in his run for President.

As evidence, please note his “Filibuster Starter Pack” on the Rand Paul for President Website.

Montana’s junior U.S. Senator, Steve Daines (R-MT), sent a press release saying he ‘Stands with Rand’ in opposition to NSA bulk collection of Montanans’ phone records. The Daines campaign team got in on the action and sent an email that I received around 6:48 a.m. Thursday. The Daines campaign asked, “Are you with me? Click here now to show you’re behind me and against this unprecedented violation of Americans’ civil rights.”

Montana’s senior U.S. Senator, Jon Tester (D-MT), had the following to say on his Facebook page:

The Patriot Act violates the privacy rights’ of law-abiding citizens. I will oppose efforts to reauthorize the Patriot Act without a debate about real reforms. If you don’t believe the Patriot Act is a problem, then you don’t know the Constitution.

I would venture to say that I do know more about the Constitution than Tester, but the major point is these two fellas are missing the big picture. It is nice to see them somewhat agree on the issue, but there are “bigger fish to fry” in Washington than bulk collection of data.

We have highways, bridges, and railways that are crumbling. We have a Veterans Administration that has run amok. The Indian Health Service needs more funding. There’s this thing called ISIS that needs attention. There’s the immigration issue, trade issues, and taxes.

Those issues seem just a wee bit more important than whether the NSA does a bulk collection of my data which would quickly put the NSA to sleep.

Top 10 Candidates:

Is this exciting or what? Fox News and CNN plan to limit the GOP Presidential debate to 10 candidates. The top 10 will be decided by national polls. CNN is having two debates; one for the top 10 and another one for the rest of the candidates who get at least one percent in the polls.

There’s so many candidates, that each one will probably speak for about two minutes during the whole debate.

If there’s a tie in the polls, those candidates will participate in a game of rock, paper, scissor to see who gets on the big stage – I’m just kidding.

Meanwhile Hillary Clinton is sitting back and smiling…

Josh Duggar:

Duggar was the Executive Director of the Family Research Council (FRC) until yesterday when he resigned. The “Duggar” name may sound familiar as he is part of the TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting” show.

TMZ reported this information:

Josh Duggar has resigned as Executive Director of the Family Research Council, acknowledging he sexually molested underage girls including some of his sisters, calling his conduct inexcusable.

You can read a statement from FRC President Tony Perkins on the FRC website. As many who read my columns know, I am not a fan of FRC.

USA Today provided the following information, some that was taken from InTouch magazine:

InTouch reported that his father took Josh to an Arkansas state trooper who was a personal friend, who took no action other than a “very stern talk.” That officer is now serving a 56-year term in prison for child pornography, the magazine reported, and no case was ever brought against Josh Duggar.

Those actions were just wrong.

I have watched their show on TLC and enjoyed seeing how they live. This story may be devastating to the show’s future. I sure won’t look at it the same way again.

One More Thing:

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. – Joseph Campbell.

 

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