Caught My Eye…

Welcome to another (almost)award-winning edition of “Caught My Eye!”

Before we get started today, I just want to dispel the rumors about the new movie “Magic Mike XXL.” The movie is not about me. Let’s move on…

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. Buckle up…

Today’s topics include Veterans’ Graveside Service, MT Legislature lobbyists, COOL, Flag Day & U.S. Army’s birthday, the pool party, Franklin Graham, CNN Quiz Show, plus we have a winner who is Making Montana Proud!

Veterans’ Graveside Service:

A salute to Montana Governor Steve Bullock for issuing a directive to the Montana Veterans Affairs Division to ensure military families whose loved ones are laid to rest in a Montana state veteran cemetery will be allowed a graveside service at their request. You can read Bullock’s press release HERE.

Just a few days ago the Montana Veterans Affairs Division said that they would not allow “most graveside services” which I thought was pretty ridiculous.

I’m happy to see a little common sense being used in this situation which is something we don’t see enough of from agencies like the Montana Veterans Affairs Division and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

MT Legislature Lobbyists:

The wine and whiskey bottles are empty. The steaks and seafood are just distant memories. Now we get to see who spent how much on what.

The Associated Press (AP) reported that preliminary data from the Commissioner of Political Practices released Thursday showed lobbyists spent at least $5.8 million to influence Montana lawmakers and the issues they discussed this year. That’s $5.8 million for the 90-day session. There are 150 state legislators.

The AP also reported Montana Association of Realtors was the big spender spending $237,660 — the most ever recorded by a single entity lobbying the Legislature. The Realtors should be proud – I wonder if they get a plaque or trophy or t-shirt for coming in first. It could say something like, “We spent over $237,000 of our members’ money and all we got was this t-shirt/trophy/plaque!”

Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL):

Remember when almost everyone in the United States wanted COOL implemented so they could tell where their beef, pork, and lamb came from. I think it’s a good thing. Back in the election of 2006, candidate Jon Tester said he would “stand up for Montana farmers and ranchers in the Senate, including fighting for relief for captive rail shippers and to implement country of origin labeling.”

COOL was finally implemented, but then along came a ruling from the World Trade Organization (WTO), saying the labels that say where animals were born, raised and slaughtered are discriminatory against the two U.S. border countries (Canada/Mexico). Both have said they plan to ask the WTO for permission to impose billions of dollars in tariffs on American goods. (Source)

On Wednesday the U.S. House voted to repeal COOL. Montana’s only U.S. Representative, Ryan Zinke voted to repeal it. In his press release, members of the Montana Stockgrowers, Woolgrowers, and Pork Producers praised Zinke for his vote to repeal COOL.

As for Tester, it appears as of May 2015 he’s still supporting COOL. The Associated Press reports that there’s currently no bill to repeal COOL in the U.S. Senate.

Sunday, June 14:

This Sunday is Flag Day – so fly your flag proudly.

It’s also the birthday of the U.S. Army. Although I was a proud member of the U.S. Air Force where I frequently searched for the “wild blue yonder” and still believe that “Nothing’ll stop the U.S. Air Force,” I sincerely wish my brothers and sisters in the U.S. Army happy birthday. Thanks for all you do.

Making Montana Proud:

This section is where I mention people or groups whose actions embarrass Montana in some way.

-From the Billings Gazette: William Earl Cunningham, convicted of killing another man by slashing his throat, was sentenced to 80 years in prison this week by a state district judge in Billings.

Cunningham killed Nathan Horn during an argument about whether the Army or Marines is the better branch of the military. Cunningham was in the Army.

The McKinney (TX) Pool Party:

Most folks have probably seen the video of the McKinney, Texas, police responding to a disturbance at a pool party. One police officer did not handle the response very well. He resigned and has since apologized for his actions. (Source)

In my younger days, I had a few run-ins with the police. Maybe I disagreed with the officer, but I always, I repeat always, obeyed the police officer’s commands. I never got into the officer’s personal space. When I was told to stand, sit, leave, I quickly complied with the order.

I performed duties as a law enforcement officer in the military where I was taught how to assess the situation and provide the appropriate response – a response that could include deadly force.

The first step when an officer approaches you is to obey his/her commands. Most of the time you can hear those commands better if your mouth is shut. Police officers are the authority during that time and people need to first obey that authority.

Franklin Graham:

In case you missed it, Franklin Graham is in the news again. According to an article I read in USA Today, Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham, said Christians should boycott businesses that promote a gay lifestyle—just as he did with Wells Fargo after the bank ran ads featuring lesbian couples.

I have deep respect and admiration for Franklin’s father, Billy Graham, and all that he has done in his lifetime. I don’t care if Franklin Graham removes his organization’s money from Wells Fargo, but why shout it from the mountain top? I think Franklin Graham craves attention for himself and his organization. I don’t remember his father ever doing things just for attention.

Franklin Graham can boycott Wells Fargo, but the way things are looking now he may soon have to boycott every business.

You can read Franklin Graham’s reasoning for the boycott HERE.

CNN Quiz Show:

When you trail Fox News in primetime ratings, you might as well have some of your news anchors compete in a quiz show. That’s what CNN has been doing with “The CNN Quiz Show” which has Anderson Cooper as the host.

It’s all fun and games and the money raised goes to charity, which is a good thing. I watched a few minutes of it the other night. Jeopardy has nothing to worry about – neither does Fox News.

For some reason watching the anchors perform during the quiz show reminded me of the Mark Twain quote:

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

One More Thing:

It’s a smile, it’s a kiss, it’s a sip of wine…it’s summertime! ― Kenny Chesney


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