Caught My Eye…

Never pick a fight with an ugly person, they’ve got nothing to lose. – Robin Williams

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 VA in Montana & the congressional delegation, the Debate Games starring Zinke & Juneau, Tester & Women, Three Things You Should Do, My Favorite Comment of the Week, and much more!

Montana VA Director Resigns:

The Veterans Administration is a mess. It’s been a mess for years and it’s a bureaucracy beyond repair. Those who have the power to repair it don’t understand it enough to make the needed changes.

This week we learned that the director of the U.S. Veterans Affairs’ Montana Health Care system, John Ginnity, was resigning. The Associated Press (AP) reported it this way:

The director of the U.S. Veterans Affairs’ Montana Health Care system announced his resignation Wednesday, as the agency conducts an internal investigation into allegations of misconduct by senior leadership.

The Montana Congressional delegation issued their obligatory press releases pledging to work to find a replacement quickly. All three, U.S. Senators Jon Tester, Steve Daines, and U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke were fortunate enough to get quotes in the AP story. Daines had this to say:

Montana veterans deserve a leader who will ensure their needs are being met and the Montana VA has not lived up to this commitment.

I think Montana veterans also deserve to have a congressional delegation that does more than send a press release or write a letter.

There’s a photo of Elvis Presley sitting in a waiting room with the caption:

Dead? What the heck are you talking about dead? I’ve just been here in the waiting room of the VA.

Sadly, that is more accurate than some people might think.

The Debate Games:

First, the Democrat running for Montana’s U.S. House seat, Denise Juneau, proposed having six debates with incumbent Republican Ryan Zinke. Juneau wants one to be held on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Juneau made the request back around May 16.

This week, Ryan Zinke countered that offer with a proposal to have five debates, “including two in Indian Country.” Zinke also wants the Libertarian candidate, Mike Fellows, to participate. Zinke also listed details of who should moderate the debates in each location. Some of the folks would sadly bring the same tired old questions to the debates. His proposed moderators made me yawn.

In his comprehensive debate proposals, Zinke failed to mention having a debate that deals with military and veteran issues.

The actions of the two candidates are right out of the old campaign playbook. Both received some media attention for their proposals. Zinke’s proposal to have the third-party candidate participate means that the time would be divided three ways instead of two, which is also right out of the old campaign playbook.

Now the campaign managers should meet and pin down some actual dates that will work for both candidates, decide on the details, and make a joint announcement. Then they can go back to playing games again…

Tester & Women:

Montana’s senior U.S. Senator, Jon Tester, gave the country a juicy quote this week when he was asked by a reporter if Hillary Clinton should pick U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren as her running mate. Tester, who is the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, responded with:

Well, I don’t know. Is the country ready for two women? I don’t know. You know? I don’t know.

CNN even picked up the story. CNN reported that Tester ‘walks back” his comments about a two-woman ticket. CNN reported that Tester said:

“I shouldn’t have said that and it doesn’t reflect my values,” Tester said in a statement provided by his office. “I have always believed that we need more women in leadership positions, not fewer.”

The CNN story did not say if Tester received “guidance” from home.

On Thursday Tester’s office sent a press release with the headline, “Tester Stands with Montana Women” which dealt with legislation that addresses the growing epidemic of suicide among female veterans.

The press release was sent to the media by a male member of Tester’s staff.

Three Things You Should Do:

It’s campaign season! To keep informed you should:

1. “Like” The Western Word’s Facebook page by clicking HERE.
2. Follow The Western Word on Twitter @TheWesternWord
3. Subscribe to The Western Word blog at (on the right side of this screen) to get columns delivered straight to your inbox.

Favorite Comment of the Week:

After the Great Falls Tribune posted my column, “The Republican Party deserves Donald J. Trump,” I received this comment in email:

Jackie—ummm—opss!! I mean “Mike”

I can see why you go by Mike—-reminds me of the song “A Boy named Sue”

Loved your article on Trump Sunday ? (” GOP deserves Donald Trump”)
SPEAKING AS A DEMO–who probably endorses Hilarious clitON—I just have to LAUGH at how Trump gets under the skin of OLD & OUTDATED and USELESS Politicians—as well as (people who write stories–like you(notice I did not say Journalist–which is a higher echelon you obviously cannot be included in).

I love it! I enjoy the snide remarks and of course I responded to the email as I always try to do.

BTW, I am certainly not a journalist and I have never claimed to be. I don’t even play one on TV, and I’ve never even stayed at a Holiday Inn Express.

I am just professional blogger living in a bunker, eating Twinkies, drinking Folgers coffee, while waiting for Obama to come and take my guns.

Don’t even try this at home…

One More Thing:

Don’t forget to stretch…

## END ##



  1. I think Tester’s comment was accurate. In the age of Trump, his comment is nothing. He should treat it that way.

    • Greg – Maybe, but in the age of “gotcha” politics which Tester and his supporters have used to his benefit, this is a big deal. That video will be saved for the future when Tester runs for re-election or for Governor. -JmB

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