Caught My Eye…

Truth will always be truth, regardless of lack of understanding, disbelief or ignorance. – W. Clement Stone

Welcome to Friday and the big show I call “Caught My Eye” (CME). If you are a first-time visitor, the highly popular CME has been posted here every Friday morning since October 2010! 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 I write about Ashley Madison & Montana, helicopters & fires, Zinke, Gianforte, & Boehner, a new campaign complaint, MTN’s new political reporter, The Western Word lives on, and Donald, Roger, & Megyn make the big show!

Ashley Madison & Montana:

In case you have not heard about the website Ashley Madison, their motto is, “Life is short. Have an affair.” They contend that they are the most successful website for finding an affair and cheating partners and that thousands of cheating wives and cheating husbands signup everyday looking for an affair.

The personal information of thousands of customers stored on the website was recently hacked. Now it’s becoming public – even in Montana.

Folks at the Billings Gazette downloaded the hacked information and conducted an analysis of user and credit card information leaked by hackers and posted online. The Gazette found approximately 49,900 Ashley Madison accounts for Montanans, including 9,300 accounts in Billings.

Bozeman had 4,232 accounts, Butte had 1,956, Great Falls 4,489, Helena 3,676, Kalispell 2,854, and Missoula had 6,363 accounts.

The Gazette staff also found that only four email addresses from the data leak were tied to Montana state government email addresses — — but two are considered invalid.

This is a story that will keep on giving as more and more details about these 49,900 accounts are released.

Montana’s Helicopters:

Montana has five Bell UH-1H helicopters that can’t be used to fight forest fires on federal lands because they have been modified to use larger buckets that the Feds contend are a safety issue. The Associated Press has the story HERE.

Dealing with the Feds during fire season can turn into a freaking mess – I’ve seen it up close.

Montana’s Governor and the Secretary of Agriculture issued a joint statement saying that in the coming days, federal aviation experts will travel to Montana to work with state officials to review firefighting protocols and develop a plan for operating state helicopters in coordinated firefighting efforts on federal lands.

Of course, there are those who want to score some political points on the helicopter issue. I suggest holding off on trying to score political points until the snow flies – Montana is burning.

Secret Fundraisers:

I guess if a Montanan wanted to donate some hard-earned money to Greg Gianforte or Congressman Ryan Zinke and maybe get a photo with the Speaker of the House John Boehner while he was in Montana last week we would be, as they say, SOL.

It seemed to be a pretty secretive affair, but the MTN folks did do a very brief story about it, HERE. Maybe it was a good idea to make it top secret – later on in the week, Boehner was caught calling U.S. Senator Ted Cruz a “jackass” at a fundraiser in Colorado.

The secrecy surrounding the one and only Speaker of the House being in Montana for a day or two is what turns people off regarding politicians and campaigns. If Zinke and Gianforte are going to bring high profile people into the state to help them raise money, they should own up to it.

A Campaign Complaint:

If you follow me on Twitter (@TheWesternWord) you would have been one of the first to know about a story published Thursday afternoon on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle website regarding Greg Gianforte. A complaint by Richard LaBreche of Butte was accepted by the Montana Commissioner of Political Practices Thursday. LaBreche alleges Gianforte began a gubernatorial campaign in March but only filed the necessary disclosure paperwork this month. LaBreche believes that Gianforte began spending money in the spring by hiring staff and registering his campaign website’s domain name. Read the Chronicle story HERE.

This complaint will be interesting. If LaBreche is correct, these are rookie mistakes made by Gianforte.

Chief Political Reporter:

The folks at the Montana Television Network (MTN) are giddy about the hiring of Mike Dennison as their chief political reporter for the network. See the announcement HERE.

Dennison previously worked for Lee Newspapers, the Great Falls Tribune, and the Associated Press. I don’t know if he worked outside of Montana or not.

I guess working for MTN was the next logical step. After that, I think the next step is working for a politician.

When I tweeted the story and posted it on The Western Word’s Facebook page, several people seemed excited about the hire by MTN. I wish Dennison the best.

Dennison did say in an interview that he might have a political blog. I don’t think a political blog being run by someone working for one of the major mainstream news organizations (television/newspaper) works too well in Montana. Others have tried and failed to do both, so good luck with that.

The Western Word Domain:

This is the last “Caught My Eye” for August! When September rolls around readership will start to pick up which is always good, plus we have the 2016 election season heating up!

The good news is that I recently renewed (TWW) with WordPress for another year, which will take me up to the 2016 election. In case you don’t know, I’ve been blogging through WordPress since January 2005 – which makes TWW one of the oldest continuous blogs here in Big Sky Country.

I look forward to providing more independent commentary about politics, sports, the media, and current events throughout the next year. I have no agenda. My bio is posted at the top of the home page for all to see. Each column I post has my name displayed for all to see.

Since I don’t have a newspaper, television station website or radio program to promote this website, please help me out by subscribing and by forwarding TWW posts to your friends. Please “Like” TWW on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @TheWesternWord.

By the way, I share my columns on Google+, Tumblr, and LinkedIn, too! Occasionally my columns (or parts of them) are published in the Great Falls Tribune.

Donald, Roger, & Megyn:

I’m talking about the tiff between Donald Trump, Roger Ailes, and Megyn Kelly. There’s a fight and then there’s a truce and then there’s a fight.

Frankly it’s getting old.

I don’t agree with everything that Trump said about Kelly, but the reason I decided to write about it is the comments Ailes made recently while asking Trump to apologize. Here is one brief part of Ailes’ comments:

Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism…


I believe Kelly has gotten better at reading the news over the years at Fox, but she does not come close to representing the best of American journalism. She has a time slot between two of the better performers on the channel, O’Reilly and Hannity, which helps her tremendously.

I urge people who watch only Fox News to spread their wings a little and get more than one side of a story. You’ll be better for it.

One other thing, I do wish that Kelly would come to Montana and give lessons on how to properly read a teleprompter to some of the local broadcasters… #Boom

One More Thing:

He who angers you conquers you. – Elizabeth Kenny


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2 thoughts on “Caught My Eye…

  1. Ashley Madison & Montana: I wonder if this would ever happen at

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