Thursday Numbers

We are America, second to none, and we own the finish line! Don’t forget it! – Vice President Joe Biden, 07/27/16

Welcome to “Thursday Numbers!” In case you’re a first-time visitor, this is the weekly column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary sometimes sprinkled with sarcasm.

This week’s topics include Powerball, Veterans Administration & art, unemployment, beer historian, Donald Trump & Russia, the fire near Great Falls, Yellowstone National Park, President Obama’s speech, Robin Selvig, John W. Hinckley, Jr, Freddie Gray, and much more!


That is the jackpot ($478 million) for this Saturday night’s Powerball lottery. (



Forbes reported that the Veterans Administration managed to spend $20 million on high-end art over the last ten years – with $16 million spent during the Obama years.

The VA is being poorly run, but that is not news.


That’s how many people filed new claims for unemployment last week. (USDOL)


The Smithsonian Institute is looking for someone to be a “beer historian.” The pay is $64,000 per year and you get to drink and write about beer.

How cool is that?


Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump invited Russia to help find Hillary Clinton’s emails. Reuters reported that during a news conference Trump said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

That was a dumb statement from Trump, but what else is new. Trump said he was being sarcastic.


That’s about how many acres burned in the Vinyard Two fire on the North end of Great Falls Tuesday evening. Reports say it was started by farm equipment. (MTN News)

There were evacuations ordered but many people trying to evacuate the area were slowed by people coming to see the fire, which is ridiculous. Come on…


The Associated Press reported that a Texas man has been sentenced to three days in jail and ordered to pay $250 in restitution for carving his initials into the iconic Roosevelt Arch at the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

I don’t think $250 and three days in jail is enough to fix stupid…


According to The Hill, President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention lasted 44 minutes. Former President Bill Clinton’s speech lasted 42 minutes.

The Hill also pointed out that Obama is the 44th President and Clinton was the 42nd President.



University of Montana women’s basketball coach Robin Selvig has announced that he is retiring after 38 years as the coach of the Lady Griz. (Missoulian)

Congrats to Coach Selvig on a great career.


Thirty-five years after he shot President Ronald Reagan and three others outside a D.C. hotel, John W. Hinckley Jr. will be released from a government psychiatric hospital, a federal judge ordered Wednesday. (Washington Post)

Wow – that was 35 years ago.


Baltimore prosecutors on Wednesday dropped all charges against the three remaining officers facing trial in connection with Freddie Gray’s death. Gray, 25, died after sustaining a neck injury while in police custody in April 2015. Three of the six officers charged in the case had already been acquitted. (CNN)

This was a strange case. The bottom line is that Freddie Gray died in police custody and it does not appear anyone will be held responsible.


## END ##