Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough. – Franklin D. Roosevelt
Welcome to Wednesday! When there are several stories out there that I want to comment about, I combine them into an “Odds & Ends” or “potpourri” column. Today is one of those days!
Before you start, buckle up. Here are today’s topics:
- Denise Juneau’s DUIs
- Syrian Refugees
- MT Lawmakers’ Pay Raise
- Seatbelts on School Buses
The first thing I thought about when I read that current State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Democratic candidate for the U.S. House, Denise Juneau, had two DUIs in the 1980s was why did it take Montana Republicans all this time to discover it?
Republican Sandy Welch is probably asking the same question – she lost to Juneau in 2012 by just 2,231 votes.
Face it, although really late on this one, the righties have recently nailed two major Democratic candidates in Montana: John Walsh and now Denise Juneau.
Those hits will leave a mark – like a Holly Holm kick to Ronda Rousey’s head.
I’ve conducted a lot of opposition research and found some “juicy info” on people. I still have several files on people from the past, people from the present, and people who may run for political office in future. That’s part of the game of politics.
The blogger Montana Cowgirl came to Juneau’s defense. You can read the column HERE. Cowgirl writes, “Denise Juneau just became an even stronger candidate who is [a] lot more relatable to a lot more voters in Montana.”
If that’s the case then maybe all candidates should drive drunk and endanger the lives of people to become a stronger candidate?
I remember when former Congressman Denny Rehberg was involved in “the boat crash.” Someone used the name of “Drunks for Denny” on Twitter or on some website that garnered laughs. Several Rehberg staffers and Rehberg supporters were forever pissed at me for writing about “the boat crash.” It got nasty. I’m still writing.
If I remember correctly, the Cowgirl blog went after Rehberg and the driver of the boat with both barrels blazing. Cowgirl was right to do it, too.
Maybe it’s a little different with Juneau as there was no accident that almost killed someone, and it was before she held elective office. The bottom line to me is I don’t think two DUI convictions can make anyone a stronger candidate, period.
Thankfully nobody was killed or injured when Juneau was driving drunk.
I do admire Juneau for what she has accomplished in her life. I’ve voted for her. In my mind, she has been the best State Superintendent of Public Instruction I have seen. She has handled this “new news” pretty well, but she’s had about 30 years to prepare an answer.
I wrote a few days ago that Juneau can’t beat Ryan Zinke, but I also said that things can change. With two DUI convictions, the Montana at-large House race is even more solidly in Zinke’s favor.
Each day I am amazed at what offends someone. Recently many Americans have come out against allowing Syrian refugees into the United States. Mostly these people are misinformed or maybe just angry white people.
I don’t have a problem with properly screened Syrian refugees being allowed into the United States. I guess I do not suffer from Islamophobia. There are more important things happening in this country and the world than to worry about a Syrian refugee who may or may not be living in my neighborhood.
As for those so-called Christians who don’t want Muslims in the USA, Holly Williams of CBS News, reports that ISIS has killed many more Muslims than it has members of other religious groups, including Christians.
Several Republican Governors and elected officials do have a problem with it. That includes U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and Congressman Ryan Zinke (R-MT). Click on their names to read why they believe the way they do.
The Hill reported that the U.S. House of Representatives is likely to vote this week on legislation to temporarily halt President Obama’s plan to allow thousands of refugees from Syria to resettle in the U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters:
Our nation has always been welcoming, but we cannot let terrorists take advantage of our compassion. This is a moment where it’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
All we need to do is do a thorough screening which is not an easy process. CNN reports that the average processing time for refugee applications is 18 to 24 months, but Syrian applications can take significantly longer because of security concerns and difficulties in verifying their information.
To make this easy for people on the right to understand, Hillary Clinton will be well into her first term before the screening process for Syrian refugees is complete…
I do applaud Montana Governor Steve Bullock (D). According to a Great Falls Tribune story, Bullock said that Montana does not plan to close its borders to refugees from Syria. U.S Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) was also quoted in the story, saying he opposed closing the U.S. border but urged caution.
I’m sure many third, fourth and fifth generation Montanans will welcome them with open arms…
There seems to be a growing divide in the USA. This divide is especially apparent with those who look different than the average white man/woman or if they have different religious beliefs than the majority of people. This troubles me. It’s dangerous for our country. The following quote should still mean something to us:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door. – Emma Lazarus
We can still be safe. We can still show kindness.
MT Lawmakers Pay Raise:
There’s some talk about members of the Montana Legislature getting a pay raise. Please don’t go looking for your state senator and representative to slap him or her. They think they make about $10.33 an hour, and they don’t believe that is enough. They seem to forget about the perks.
I don’t think they deserve a pay raise. They deserve minimum wage. If I served in the Montana Legislature, I would introduce a bill to make sure Montana Legislators are paid no more than Montana’s minimum wage.
House Speaker Austin Knudsen, a Republican, would like to see the pay raise issue addressed in a bipartisan way. Knudsen said, “I know what doing this job costs me, personally.”
I suggest that if this job is so costly for you to do, then resign. Somebody else will step up. You will not be missed.
I don’t want any Montana Legislator to think what they are doing 90 days out of every two years is actually a job. It should be more about serving and not an occupation. We already have full-time legislators in Washington, D.C., and we know how well that works.
Seatbelts on School Buses:
Local television station KFBB had an interesting question on their website this week. They asked:
Should parents be required to pay a fee so that kids can have access to school buses with seat belts?
That question struck me as funny, although the safety of children is no laughing matter. If you are easily offended, stop reading now.
- Maybe they could install a credit/debit card reader on the seats so kids can use their parents’ card to pay to use the seatbelt.
- They could send two buses on each route – one with seatbelts and one without.
- If little Johnny is caught misbehaving, mom and dad could take his seatbelt money for a day or two as punishment.
My dad, who was not too politically correct, would have told me (with love):
You just need to toughen the hell up – I’m not paying for you to have a damned seatbelt – let the doctor’s and lawyer’s kids have them. Besides, you’ll just get trapped in the damned bus and die if you wear a seatbelt.
I miss my dad…