There are no true friends in politics. We are all sharks circling, and waiting, for traces of blood to appear in the water. – Alan Clark
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 the closed primary lawsuit, Last, Lowest, Almost Last, Worst, Near Dead Last, Juneau v. Zinke & Big Money, Tester & USAJobs.gov, medical marijuana for veterans, Senate District 10 fight, GF School Board Forum, Hillary & Bernie debate, 2016 NFL Schedules, 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and much more!
Closed Primary Lawsuit:
I have been against the Montana Republicans closing their primary from the beginning, so I was happy to hear they decided to seek to dismiss the case challenging the constitutionality of the Montana open primary law. Maybe someone with some brains made some sense to the Executive Board of the Montana Republican Party.
You can read Chairman Jeff Essman’s statement about the issue HERE.
Although that’s good news, there are still around 10 Republican Central Committees here in Montana who do not understand that closing the primary will severely hamper the Republican Party’s efforts.
Last, Lowest, Almost Last, Worst, Near Dead Last:
The Montana Republican Party sent a press release this week that was quite interesting.
The title was “Governor Bullock’s Bad Business Climate.” In it, the Montana GOP contends:
-Montana ranks last in overall states for business and business friendliness, compared to our neighboring states
-Montana ranks among the 10 lowest states in economic confidence
-Montana ranks almost last in good jobs available
-Montana ranks as the 7th worst state to make a living
-Montana ranks lowest in the country in income for millennials
-Montana ranks near dead last in wages – 49th in the nation
With rankings like that, we might as well just quit and go home.
Of course, the Montana GOP seems to have forgotten that the Republicans have controlled the State House and State Senate since the 2011 session.
If their assertions are true, most people would blame the legislature, not a governor who has only served a little over three years.
Juneau v. Zinke & Big Money:
It was a pretty incredible money haul by U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) who raised close to $800,000 during the first three months of the year and had more than $1 million to spend. That’s according to reports from MTN news and the Associated Press.
Zinke’s opponent, Democrat Denise Juneau, did well herself. She reported raising $363,000 and has $524,000 cash on hand.
I don’t think this race will come down to which candidate raised the most money. I do get a feeling that this race might be more competitive than I once thought.
I happened to catch a quote from U.S. Senator Jon Tester about the USAJobs.gov website this week. The website is getting an “overhaul” and the federal hiring process is in need of some work, which is an understatement.
Tester had this to say:
The private sector is “kicking our butt,” on hiring talented young job-seekers, Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mon., said Tuesday — and that’s because of the slow hiring process on USAjobs.gov.
One other senator said using the website was like “typing your information into the black hole.”
I had my résumé posted on the USA Jobs website for years and still get daily updates about openings. I would venture to say that I have applied for about 100 federal jobs through the website. I am qualified at the GS-11/13 level. My military and civilian evaluations have always been at the top – and I would put them up against anyone. I was actually hired for one temporary job for 18 months. After that, I got so “fed up” with the Feds that I finally just cashed it in and retired early from the Federal government about six months ago.
In the Federal Government hiring process, it’s who you know. The human resources “experts” are great at making the qualifications so narrow or wide that only a few people qualify – like their friends. It’s screwed up and corrupt beyond repair. Tester and his fellow senators need to realize that first. That cronyism is why agencies like the Department of Veterans Affairs and Indian Health Service are so screwed up.
Medical Marijuana for Veterans:
Military Times reported that a bipartisan amendment sponsored by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Montana, and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, would let VA doctors discuss marijuana as a potential medical treatment for veterans passed the Senate Appropriations Committee by a 20-10 vote.
I applaud Daines for his support of this amendment.
In the future, I expect to see the full legalization of marijuana. I hope that in the meantime officials would stop trying to hamper the use of medical marijuana like we have seen here in Montana.
GF School Board Forum:
The Great Falls Tribune and Great Falls College – MSU are hosting a school election forum 6 p.m. Monday at 2100 16th Ave. S. in Heritage Hall.
The Tribune reports that candidates running this spring are three board incumbents: Laura Vukasin, Ann Janikula and Jeff Gray; and four other candidates: Barbara Going, Rudolf Tankink, Beth Cooper, and Patrick Flaherty.
I am pretty happy with the current board, but my mind could be swayed. Some candidates could be dangerous if they are elected. If the extreme right-wing candidates would work together and get behind one candidate instead of having two or three run for the board, they might actually win a seat once in a while. That would require some deep thought from them, so I don’t see that happening.
Thanks to all those who are running for the school board.
Senate District 10:
The fun continues in the Republican primary for Senate District 10 in Great Falls. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think the two Republicans, J.C. Kantorowicz and Steven Fitzpatrick, like each other that much.
The Great Falls Tribune reports that Republican state Senate candidate J.C. Kantorowicz filed a lawsuit against Commissioner of Political Practices Jonathan Motl and Attorney General Tim Fox on Thursday claiming that his First Amendment rights to criticize his opponent are muzzled by a state law that he described as an “incumbent protection act.”
The Tribune also reports that the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Helena, arises from a complaint filed Monday with the COPP office by Steven Fitzpatrick, a Republican now serving in the state Legislature who is running against fellow Republican Kantorowicz in the June 7 primary for state Senate District 10.
I’ve written about this race before. Kantorowicz claims he is the real conservative Republican and that Fitzpatrick is a RINO (Republican in Name Only). It’s the same old song and dance from the extreme members of the Republican Party – and it’s getting old.
Hillary & Bernie Debate:
I think the first line of the Associated Press story said it best, “Democrats brawled in Brooklyn…”
The Reuters headline was also good, “White House hopefuls Clinton, Sanders joust in Brooklyn brawl.”
I did not watch all of the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I needed something milder to watch, so I watched the Vikings on the History Channel for an hour.
The Hill has “Five takeaways from a fiery Sanders-Clinton clash in Brooklyn” which is a pretty good look at the debate
USA Today has “Top takeaways from the Brooklyn Democratic debate.”
The New York Presidential primary is Tuesday.
2016 NFL Schedule:
In case you missed it, the 2016 NFL regular season schedules were released last night. My Kansas City Chiefs have three primetime games: At Pittsburg Oct. 3 (NBC), hosting Oakland Dec. 8 (NBC/NFLN/Twitter) and the big one is a Christmas night game in Kansas City where they host Denver (NBC).
Find your team’s schedule HERE. The regular season begins Sept. 8 with Carolina at Denver – the two teams who played in the Super Bowl!
2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs:
The 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs started Wednesday. While I am not a big fan, I do try to watch the playoffs. I try to catch all the games I can during the Conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals.
See the playoff schedule HERE.
One More Thing:
Let’s eat grandma.
Let’s eat, grandma.
Just a friendly reminder that punctuation can save lives…