Caught My Eye…

Freedom, well, that’s just some people talking. Your prison is walking through this world all alone. – The Eagles (Desperado)

Welcome to the big show – on Friday the 13th of November – let’s be careful out there!

If you are a first-time visitor, “Caught My Eye” 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 sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – maybe both.

Today I write about the Cascade County recount, Zinke & veterans, Daines & ObamaCare, and we have a winner who is Making Montana Proud! Plus there’s a “Pro Tip” for the week!

Cascade County Recount:

November 11 is the day set aside to honor veterans.

November 11 is a legal holiday in Montana.

Sadly, November 11 was the day selected by the Cascade County Commissioners and the Clerk and Recorder to begin the recount of the Great Falls city commission race.

Maybe the Cascade County Commissioners (Jane Weber, Joe Briggs, and Jim Larson) along with Cascade County Clerk and Recorder, Rina Moore, don’t believe November 11 is very important.

Maybe an adult in the room should have told them to start the recount on November 12. They could have worked on Saturday if it took them more than two days to count to 14,000.

According to the Great Falls Tribune, the recount ended late Thursday afternoon. Tracy Houck won the recount by 11 votes. She won the initial race by 7 votes. After that, the Clerk and Recorder found some more uncounted ballots and counted those. Houck won in that count by 10 votes.

Houck won the race, but I’m not too confident in the job of Clerk and Recorder, Rina Moore. Counting may be too hard for her and her staff.

The Cascade County Commissioners and the Clerk and Recorder seem to be several nuts short of a full pouch…

Rep. Ryan Zinke:

Commander Ryan Zinke (U.S. Navy Ret.) Montana’s Congressman is Dedicated to Veterans.

How do I know this?

This week I received an 8.5” x 12” flyer from Zinke telling me. It was sent to my address but had someone else’s name listed as the addressee. In the upper left corner, the statement, “This mailing was prepared, published and mailed at taxpayer expense” was listed.






I’m sure that will tick some people off, but it is perfectly legal. Members of Congress can do this to communicate with their constituents. It’s a perk used by many members.

Zinke will have to work a little harder to get on the front page of the Great Falls Tribune, though. U.S. Senator Jon Tester was able to get a story about his “State of Veterans Report’ on the front page of Thursday’s Tribune. That has to be a high-five moment for Tester.

Meanwhile on page A2 of the same paper, readers saw that the VA is still just as effed up as ever with this headline, “VA pays bonuses amid scandal $142 million given to executives, employees in ’14.”

You can do “reports” and get the gullible Montana media to publish your press releases and you can send flyers to constituents until the cows come home. Meanwhile, the Department of Veterans Affairs has not and is not being properly run. That agency needs a house cleaning like we’ve never seen before.

Sen. Daines & Medicaid Expansion:

Several people, including the Montana Cowgirl blog, caught the story in The Hill, “Republicans divided over how far to go with ObamaCare repeal.”

I have written many times that I don’t want to see ObamCare repealed, but I want to see both sides of aisle work together to make it better for everyone.

In the story Montana’s Republican U.S. Senator, Steve Daines, kind of stepped in it. He then has his spokeswoman come to his rescue. Here is the key part:

“I respect the decision of our Legislature and our governor on Medicaid expansion,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R) of Montana, which has a Democratic governor. “I’m one who respects their rights and voices.”

More than 5,000 people signed up for Medicaid in Montana after federal officials approved expanded eligibility in the state earlier this month.

Alee Lockman, a spokeswoman for Daines, clarified Thursday that her boss “is committed to repealing as much of ObamaCare as possible and replacing it with sustainable solutions that provide Americans with access to quality, affordable healthcare.”

If Daines was still in the House, right-wing wackos would be announcing their intention to run against him next year because he said something favorable about ObamaCare. They would be saying he was not a true conservative. Glossy flyers would already be headed to the print shop with photos of Daines and Obama smiling at each other. Daines is lucky – he has just started his six-year term in the senate and has time to make up to the wackos in his party.

I’m not too sure that extremely rich people like Steve Daines can understand the need for affordable health insurance. I doubt he understands that a visit to the emergency room would devastate the finances of many Montanans.

I doubt he ever will understand. That is just one reason he will never be a statesman.

Making Montana Proud:

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

-From the Billings Gazette: The Yellowstone County commission on Tuesday placed the county’s emergency and general services director, Duane Winslow, on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation in his recent drunken driving arrest allegedly involving a county vehicle.

A county vehicle.

If Winslow was driving a county vehicle while intoxicated, that is completely unforgivable. If it’s proven that he was driving a taxpayer-owned vehicle while drunk, his employment with the county should be terminated by the commissioners – even if he is allowed by some soft judge to plead guilty to a minor charge.

It was also reported that Winslow has been employed by the county for 25 years and makes an annual salary of $82,256.

See ya.

I’ll be monitoring this case. Maybe Yellowstone County will set an example on how Montana local governments deal with employees who are charged with drunk driving. The City of Great Falls should watch this case very closely.

Pro Tips:

If you are going to repost something on Twitter or on Facebook, it’s always good to check to make sure it’s accurate. You can normally do this by searching Google or by going to a website like

Secondly, If you’re posting something from a left or right leaning website, don’t expect others to believe it to be completely true.

Finally, if you post something incredibly stupid or an outright lie that takes someone 20 seconds to debunk, please just surrender and turn in your keys to the internet. This internet thingy is undoubtedly too much for you to handle.

One More Thing:

Elaine Dickinson: You got a letter from headquarters this morning.
Ted Striker: What is it?
Elaine Dickinson: It’s a big building where generals meet, but that’s not important.

## END ##



  1. Mike, regarding Obamacare, if you had to rely on the ACA for your health insurance instead of TriCare for Life or whatever insurance you get from serving, you would likely have a different outlook. This is a poorly drafted law that was 100% crafted and designed by Democrats. This law won’t be able to be repealed without causing great havoc. But as long as Obama is the POTUS, he will not allow any changes to what he sees as his legacy program. 17 of the 34 state exchanges are failing to break even, most are underwater, that will increase to costs to the people in those states. If a Republican is elected POTUS, you will see necessary changes take place…

    Stepping back to Veterans Day, thanks again for your service!

    • Barry: Thanks. I hear Obama say work with me to make it better. I hear Republicans say repeal it. If a Republican is elected President and repeals it, there will be a big mess if it is not immediately replaced, and that President will be a one-termer if it is not replaced. I think we have the people and the resources in this country to have healthcare for all. The politicians need to stop the partisanship and just do it. -JmB

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