Caught My Eye…

Note: I received word yesterday that former United States Senator Conrad Burns died. He was 81.

As many of you know, I had the honor of working for Conrad for about 12 years on his U.S. Senate staff. You can read my commentary about Burns and a few stories about my time with him by clicking HERE.

My condolences go to his family and friends.


Welcome to the big show to end the week – “Caught My Eye” (CME). It’s also the last CME of April!

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 Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, KRTV’s Expert, Tongue River Railroad, Columnist, and much more.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell:

The Great Falls Tribune reported this week that U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D) will host Interior Secretary Sally Jewell at an event just outside of Helena to promote the state’s outdoor economy and federal conservation funding as the summer outdoor season kicks off.

Montana’s other U.S. Senator, Steve Daines (R), fired off a press release saying that Jewell should tour Colstrip and the Crow Reservation. Republican candidate for Governor Greg Gianforte said in the press release that he is calling on the Governor of Montana to demand a public meeting with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

That’s a perk of being in the same political party as the President – Tester is able to give input on the cabinet officials’ agenda.

Daines and Gianforte should relax. When Donald Trump is President I’m sure Trump’s Interior Secretary, Sarah Palin, will be more than happy to go where they want her to go. Knowing Trump, he may nominate an interior designer to the post.

KRTV’s Expert:

A few minutes before the Wednesday evening KRTV news, they had a short tease where they say something to make people want to stay on the channel and watch their newscast. They told viewers that an “expert” would be interviewed about Montana losing out on the wildfire equipment. So I tuned in because I like to hear from experts on military issues.

The expert was the chair of the Montana Defense Alliance, David Weissman. The Montana Defense Alliance is a pay to participate program that is run by the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chairman said Montana losing out to Nevada in getting the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems was “…disappointing but it’s not the end of the world.” Read/watch the whole story HERE.

I wrote about this issue earlier and I disagree with Weissman. I think it’s payback and I think they should expect more losses. With the Congressional delegation coming out against the expansion of the Powder River Training Complex, they basically told the Department of Defense and aerospace companies that Montana’s skies are closed.

Many folks believe the Montana Defense Alliance is a joke. I can foresee a statement coming from the group when the last plane leaves the National Guard and/or the last missile is pulled from the ground in Montana saying something like, “It’s disappointing but it’s not the end of the world.”

Someone needs to be a leader and stand up and fight for Montana’s military missions. Is the Montana Defense Alliance up to the task?

Tongue River Railroad:

Lee Newspapers reported this week that the $405 million Tongue River Railroad is the latest casualty of the crashing coal economy. The federal Surface and Transportation Board published its unanimous decision Tuesday to kill the coal railroad given the recent bankruptcy of Arch Coal.

A blog I follow, “east of billings” put it this way, “It’s official. The proposed Tongue River Railroad is done.” I love the photos on this website!

Times are changing. Congrats to those who fought against the Tongue River Railroad.

Bumper Stickers:

The race is on – I contacted the Ryan Zinke and the Denise Juneau for Congress campaigns and asked them to send me a free bumper sticker. We’ll see who responds first.

I am still waiting for a free bumper sticker from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich. It’s been over a month now. Will I get one before the June 7 primary?

New Page “Columnist”

I’ve added a new page at the top of TWW called “Columnist” which basically tells folks to feel free to use whatever you want from this website – just say it’s from me. Plus, if you need a column for your newspaper, magazine, and/or website I’m available to send you something that is sure to stir up your readers and increase the viewers.

One More Thing:

Closing time – You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here…

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