Caught My Eye…

Freedom is the open window through which pours the sunlight of the human spirit and human dignity. – Herbert Hoover

It’s Friday and the day before Independence Day – so there’s probably not much of an appetite for blog reading – but here I am cranking out another edition of “Caught My Eye” so thanks for stopping by!

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 snarkiness to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – maybe both.

Today’s topics include Montana autopsies, 125 errors, Americans for Prosperity – Montana, U.S. Air Force and volunteering, Donald Trump, and much more!

Montana Autopsies:

I almost titled this section, “He’s dead, Jim” but I decided against it.

The Missoulian newspaper reported earlier this week that with the resignation of the only two state forensic medical examiners qualified to assist county coroners, Montana will outsource its autopsies to other states during the coming weeks. Bodies will be sent to either Seattle or Rapid City by vehicle.

After reading the news reports and the letter of resignation from Dr. Walter Kemp, it’s hard to understand how Attorney General Tim Fox and his staff could let this happen.

During interviews his staff tried to diminish the effect on Montana, but the bottom line is AG Tim Fox failed his constituents.

125 Errors:

The Associated Press reported a few days ago that an analysis of the state of Montana’s finances last year revealed 125 errors and a lack of internal controls that could have brought the inaccuracies to light earlier.

Of course, since Governor Steve Bullock is a Democrat, Republicans went after him for the errors. Bullock did call the errors “unacceptable.”

The Montana Republican Party issued a statement saying:

We should all be deeply concerned by the Bullock administration’s mismanagement of our taxpayer money, their grievous errors, and their litany of excuses as they attempt to downplay the significance of this accounting disaster. The level of incompetence here is simply outrageous.

While it’s good to see the new leadership of the Montana Republicans reading from the same old tired script, I will admit that we should all be “deeply concerned” about the errors. I also agree with Bullock that the errors are “unacceptable.”

I think with this many errors there should be no second chances for the person responsible.

Americans for Prosperity – Montana:

Congratulations to David Herbst who is the new state director for the Montana branch of Americans for Prosperity (AFP). According to the AFP press release:

Herbst is a fifth generation Montana native who has spent his career working to advance the cause of liberty and promote economic freedom across our great state. Most recently, Herbst worked to develop the sophisticated field programs to deliver U.S. Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Ryan Zinke their historic wins.

I’m not sure about the “sophisticated field programs” delivering wins, but if those things work for you, then run with it.

The Associated Press reported that the state chapter of AFP is part of a national political network backed by industrialist billionaires Charles and David Koch.

It’s always good to give an organization backed by billionaires some friendly ink. Hopefully I can get a free bumper sticker or a million dollar grant or something.

I do have some advice for State Director Herbst – work hard because millions of Montanans are counting on you…

U.S. Air Force & Volunteering:

I happened to catch a story in the Great Falls Tribune about the Air Force announcing that volunteering would no longer count toward promotions for enlisted airmen. I didn’t really believe it at first, so I read more about it in the Air Force Times.

It’s true. It’s also a really dumb move. Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, who is the director of military force management policy, announced the decision. I hope that someone higher in the chain of command than a one-star general made this decision. Kelly believes airmen will continue to volunteer. We’ll see.

I was in the Air Force for over a decade and volunteered many hours in communities near the bases where I was stationed in Missouri, Guam, and Montana. Some of my volunteer work was listed in my performance reports. It was used to “fill the three blocks” of duty performance, off-duty education, and community service. In other words, it was part of the job.

With some of the problems the Air Force has had recently, I think they should reconsider this boneheaded move. Their image needs some help. Volunteering will help repair it.

Donald Trump:

If you are a Democrat, then you must be thinking that Trump running for President is the best gift ever. His Mexican immigrant remarks were golden for Democrats.

Actress America Ferrera wrote a blog post about Trump’s remarks for the Huffington Post, saying:

You see, what you just did with your straight talk was send more Latino voters to the polls than several registration rallies combined! Thank you for that. Here we are pounding the pavement to get American Latinos to the polls, while your tactic proves most effective. Remarks like yours will serve brilliantly to energize Latino voters and increase turnout on election day against you and any other candidate who runs on a platform of hateful rhetoric.

Trump’s remarks set the Republican Party back five years with Latino voters.

One More Thing:

Have a safe and wonderful Independence Day holiday! Please don’t drink and drive! Make sure you buckle up when you travel!

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