Thursday Numbers

Welcome to the first “Thursday Numbers” of June!

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.

This week’s topics include Cam Newton, Caitlyn Jenner, unemployment, the Eagles, TSA, moral values, Greg Gianforte, live anthrax, social/economic conservatives, Affordable Care Act, secret surveillance flights, the top 10 for Republican Presidential debates, construction season, Montana Republican Party chair, and much more!

103,800,000

That’s how much ($103.8 million) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton’s five year contract is reportedly worth.

I have not been that impressed with Newton’s play, and I consider myself a professional sports watcher…

2,367,754

As of this morning, that’s how many Twitter followers Caitlyn Jenner (@Caitlyn_Jenner) has on Twitter. She has posted four tweets.

276,000

That’s how many people filed new claims for unemployment last week. This is a decrease from the week before. (Source)

9,500

That’s how many people saw the Eagles play at the MetraPark in Billings Tuesday night. The concert brought in more than $1.4 million, making it the highest grossing show in MetraPark history. (Source)

I believe with the price needed to be charged for tickets, it was no wonder it was the highest grossing show. If just one city in Montana had a big indoor arena that could seat 15-20,000 people, imagine the concerts and other events they could draw.

If you build it they will come…

95

Undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through airport checkpoints in 95 percent of the trials ABC News reported.

This is appalling. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) needs to hire better people not to mention better trainers.

They should hire Air Force veterans – we were all dorm guards in basic training!

72

That’s the percentage (72%) of Americans who continue to believe the state of moral values in the U.S. is “getting worse,” while 22% say it is “getting better.” (Source)

Is it Bush or Obama’s fault? I forgot who is supposed to get blamed this week…

53

That’s the age of technology entrepreneur Greg Gianforte who recently told the Associated Press that he is considering running for Montana governor in 2016.

I don’t think this was too surprising to anyone who follows Montana politics.

51

The Associated Press reported that the Pentagon disclosed Wednesday that it inadvertently shipped possibly live anthrax to at least 51 laboratories across the U.S. and in three foreign countries over the past decade.

Like I said last week, we need to look at the bright side: At least they did not ship six cruise missiles with nuclear warheads…and nobody cheated on any tests…

42

According to a new Gallup Poll, that’s the percentage of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who describe themselves as both social and economic conservatives. That’s the lowest level Gallup has measured since 2005.

The Republican Party of today has a very small tent that is closed to moderates.

34

Three insurance companies offering plans under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Montana are requesting double-digit rate increases next year. These increases range from 22 percent to 34 percent. (Source)

It’s been fun to read some of the “told you so” comments from people who have been against Obamacare from the beginning. I think the belief was that the rates were probably going to increase after the plans were first rolled out. Before the ACA, double digit increases were the norm.

I’m positive the pro/con sides of the ACA will work together to bring down the cost of healthcare, you know, because they care about their constituents…

23

The FBI has admitted to flying secret surveillance flights over American cities in recent weeks. The story was first reported by 23-year-old independent journalist Sam Richards who put out information under the twitter handle @MinneapoliSam. Richards first published the story of the FBI surveillance program on the website Medium on May 26. (Source)

A big salute to the independent journalist!

10

Fox News and CNN will be hosting Republican Presidential debates. They will take the top 10 candidates based on recent polls. According to The Hill, the top 10 Republicans today would be Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, retired neurologist Ben Carson, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Ted Cruz (Texas), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, businessman Donald Trump and former Texas Governor Rick Perry.

This is going to be a lot like the Chase for the Sprint Cup in NASCAR…

7

The Great Falls Tribune editorial team wrote about construction season in Montana and urged drivers to chill out. They also point out that according to the Montana Department of Transportation website Great Falls has seven construction projects taking place within a 60-mile radius of the city.

I think everyone should have to perform traffic flagger duties for at least a day or two so they can genuinely feel the warmth from the drivers…

3

So far that’s how many people are vying for the role of party chair for the Montana Republican Party. They are state Representative Jeff Essmann of Billings, former Madison County Commissioner Dan Happel, and current chairman Will Deschamps of Missoula. (Source)

It’s an unpaid position, so that would seem to curtail who can run. I can’t really think of a reason why anyone would want this job.

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