Caught My Eye…

Life doesn’t require that we be the best, only that we try our best. – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Welcome to the big show to end the week – “Caught My Eye” (CME).

If you are a first-time visitor, CME is posted right here every Friday morning. This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. I often throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – maybe both.

Topics this week include Firefighting & C-130s, Surge Operation & Zinke, Bushman & the PSC, RINO Fight, Veterans’ Wait Time, Postal Service, ASSOL or ASS Law, and much more!

Firefighting & C-130s:

Montana’s Congressional delegation is upset about Air National Guard’s decision to move Air Guard MAFFS (Military Airborne FireFighting Systems) units to Reno, Nevada, rather than to Great Falls. (GF Tribune)

I am not surprised Montana was shortchanged.

It’s probably because the Montana delegation (Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, and Rep. Ryan Zinke) basically told the Department of Defense and defense contractors that Montana’s skies were closed when they came out against the expansion of the Powder River Training Complex in southeastern Montana. The expansion, which I totally supported, was approved. It will save taxpayers millions of dollars by allowing the pilots to train closer to Ellsworth AFB in South Dakota.

The folks who work at the Pentagon remember little things like Tester, Daines, and Zinke not supporting Powder River. I doubt they throw any favors Montana’s way – and locating the MAFFS to Reno instead of Great Falls was just a little payback.

Montana is fortunate to still have a few old C-130s – for now.

Surge Operation & Zinke:

The Associated Press (AP) reported that the first Syrian family to be resettled in the US under a speeded-up “surge operation” for refugees left Jordan on Wednesday and arrived in Kansas City, Missouri, to start a new life.

It was also reported that while the resettlement process usually takes 18 to 24 months, the surge operation will reduce the time to three months. The priority is given to high-risk groups such as unaccompanied minors and victims of torture and gender-based violence.

Montana’s only U.S. Representative, Republican Ryan Zinke, fired off a press release blaming President Obama and saying the refugee processing program is unsecure:

President Obama has once again misled the American people and members of Congress in order to get his way. Obama and his Democrat allies in Congress have proven they will use bait-and-switch tactics to move more unvetted refugees into our communities. This will inevitably put our nation and our citizens at risk for future terrorist attacks.

The “unvetted” part of Zinke’s quote is false. The family resettled in Kansas City had lived in Jordan for three years. The resettlement process will be reduced to three months. It does not mean that during the surge operation they are not “vetting” people. It does not mean the refugee processing program is “unsecure.”

Zinke’s rhetoric may play well with the extremists in the Republican Party, but it’s short on facts. I expect more from Zinke than a weekly temper tantrum done on the taxpayer’s dime about Obama and the Democrats being liars.

I’m sure Zinke realizes that there’s more of a chance a terrorist will enter the United States via unsecure borders than through this surge operation.

Bushman & the PSC:

I happened to catch the MTN story about PSC District #2 Commissioner Kirk Bushman running for reelection and it gave me a chuckle. Read the story HERE. MTN’s Mike Dennison reports:

Republican Public Service Commissioner Kirk Bushman of Billings has no Democratic opponent for re-election this year – but three of his fellow GOP commissioners want him un-elected.

These three fellow Republicans – commissioners Brad Johnson, Travis Kavulla, and Roger Koopman – are supporting Bushman’s opponent in the Republican primary for PSC District 2, Tony O’Donnell.

They hosted a fundraiser for O’Donnell in Billings last week and say they believe Bushman is too friendly to the utilities that the PSC regulates.


Bushman, you may remember, has the distinction of losing to perennial candidate, the late Bob Kelleher, in the 2008 Republican Primary for U.S. Senate. With Johnson, Kavulla, and Koopman all against Bushman’s reelection, that about covers all the Republican Party from the extreme to the moderate.

Since there’s no Democrat running for the seat, this is probably one of the better times for Republicans to fight it out with one another, although there will probably be hard feelings for years to come.

RINO Fight:

I mentioned this yesterday in my “Thursday Numbers” column, but I wanted to say a little more about former GOP lawmaker Jesse O’Hara filing a 63-page complaint against the Cascade County Republican Central Committee (CCRCC). (GF Tribune)

You can read the whole complaint HERE. The CCRCC is splintered. Moderates don’t feel wanted there and O’Hara feels the committee should be more neutral. Some extreme members have been calling the more moderate Republicans RINOS (Republican In Name Only) and dividing the party even more. It’s freaking nasty.

The committee should always be neutral when there’s a primary contest and they should unite and get behind the winner.

I mentioned yesterday that some of the more extreme members of the Cascade County Republican Central Committee do whatever their Rice Krispies tell them to do. It will probably remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Veterans’ Wait Time:

USA Today reported that supervisors instructed employees to falsify patient wait times at Veterans Affairs’ medical facilities in at least seven states.

They also found that employees at 40 VA medical facilities in 19 states and Puerto Rico regularly “zeroed out” veteran wait times, the analysis shows. In some cases, investigators found manipulation had been going on for as long as a decade. In others, it had been just a few years.

Everyone involved in falsifying these records should have their employment terminated with the VA immediately.

As a veteran, I find it hard to believe those in power care about veterans when the people who are screwing us over are allowed to continue working in the VA.

Postal Service:

Wow – reported that the U.S. Postal Service is lowering the price of postage stamps for the first time in 97 years. The price of a stamp to mail a standard letter will drop from 49 cents to 47 cents.

Is this a great country or what? I can’t wait to see which members of Congress take credit for the decrease!


Whoops! CBS News reports that officials at George Mason University (GMU) recently decided to honor the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia by naming the university’s law school for him, but they were perhaps a little hasty in announcing the name.

The acronym for the Antonin Scalia School of Law, as it turns out, ends up as ASSOL, or ASS Law.

They have since changed it to Antonin Scalia Law School (ASLS).

ASS Law had such a nice ring to it…

One More Thing:

Don’t forget to stretch…


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2 thoughts on “Caught My Eye…

  1. Real bad week for Tester. First he gives us the lame VA center news, which is nothing more than replacing two staff members that quit long ago.

    Then we learned he’s purposefully using the DSCC to attack Democrats that are too ‘populist,’ or something like that. Mainly, if they don’t take corporate money and don’t let the National Party do everything for them, they’re a traitor.

    The Democratic Party, much like the GOP, is broken.

    I suspect both of the ‘broken’ pieces will split off and join together to form a new part in August. I’ll be one of the first to join.

    • Greg – Thanks. Maybe the new party could be called the “Mod Squad” for moderates in the middle. -JmB

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