Caught My Eye…

Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else. – Margaret Mead

Welcome to Friday and “Caught My Eye.” Unlike many newspapers, cable and network news shows, today’s column is free of any mention of Donald Trump.

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 Fair Cops, the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, Veterans Health Administration, plus we have a winner who is Making Montana Proud!

Fair Cops:

The Montana State Fair in Great Falls begins today (Friday).

It was only one line, but it probably changed the plans of many folks headed to the Montana State Fair. To be quite honest, the news totally devastated me.

On July 15, the Cascade County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office announced the following on their Facebook page:

Fair Update…the company that was going to film “Fair Cops” has decided not to film the series.

O–M–G ——Nooooooooo!

They also wrote that the only video cameras around will be the body cameras on the deputies! Sheriff Bob Edwards previously told fairgoers “Don’t act like a fool” with “Fair Cops” being filmed.

In case this is news to you, the “Fair Cops” television show was planning on spotlighting law enforcement officers doing their jobs at the Montana State Fair.

But not now – which leads me to ask two questions: Was the “Don’t act like a fool” comment from Edwards the reason for the cancellation and should I even attend the fair now?

Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act:

It’s always interesting to watch the jockeying when the three members of Montana’s congressional delegation have different opinions about an issue.

Montana’s only member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Ryan Zinke, voted for the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act” this week which he says would create a federal labeling standard to certify genetically engineered food. Zinke said in a press release that the bill is supported by the Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Stockgrowers Montana Agricultural Business Association, Montana Beverage Association, Montana Grain Growers Association, and Montana-Dakota Beet Growers (MT/ND).

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, Montana’s senior senator and an organic farmer, issued a press release about the House passing the bill, saying:

If GMO producers were proud of their product, they’d be labeling it already, and the House’s bill ensures they never have to. This bill undermines states who want to empower consumers with more information, and it prevents American families from knowing where their food comes from.

With several Montana agricultural organizations supporting the bill, it appears Zinke came out the winner in this little battle.

Making Montana Proud:

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

I mentioned this yesterday in my “Thursday Numbers” column, but it is so ridiculous that it deserves another mention.

From the Great Falls Tribune: The Great Falls city commission voted to approve a contract for $203,974 for West Bank Park bathrooms.

Before you go jumping to conclusions, that price also includes a water fountain…

One person asked me if the toilets were going to be gold plated.

It’s embarrassing that the city would spend this much money on a bathroom and not fully fund their public library.

Veterans Health Administration:

The Department of Veterans Affairs is still not being properly run.

USA Today is reporting that the Veterans Health Administration has 41,500 job vacancies for doctors, nurses and other medical professionals across its sprawling health care system while it struggles to provide timely medical care for veterans.

I’ve written before about the Department of Veterans Affairs having substandard hiring practices.

USA Today also reported that failure to fully staff hospitals is one reason why the Department of Veterans Affairs paid for 1.5 million veterans to see doctors outside the agency in the past year and that the private visits have cost U.S. taxpayers more than $7.7 billion, according to the VA.

I have stated many times that instead of building/leasing structures and hiring staff in thousands of towns across the USA, the VA should look at using private healthcare facilities in these towns. It might be costly at first, but in the long run it would be better for veterans and save money.

The VA is a little short in one of their accounts and are facing a $2.6 billion shortfall this year. USA Today reported that VA Secretary Bob McDonald wants lawmakers to quickly pass a bill that would give him flexibility to shift money within the VA budget to cover the gap.

U.S. Senator Jon Tester, who is a member of Veterans’ Affairs Committee, issued a press release saying he offered an amendment that would have provided the VA funding flexibility, but the amendment didn’t have enough support in the committee to get a vote.

Congress will probably fix this problem, but it’s just a band-aid approach and ignores the bigger problems in the VA system.

One More Thing:

Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone. – John Wooden


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