Caught My Eye…

The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it. – Stephen Covey

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 that I am providing commentary on today include the University of Montana, Denise Juneau & UM, Sarah Palin & VA, Jon Tester & VA, TWW Christmas party, and much more!

University of Montana:

It was not that much of a surprise to me to read an Associated Press (AP) report that University of Montana President Royce Engstrom is stepping down effective Dec. 31, as the university continues to face declining enrollments and budget cuts.

The AP reported that during Engstrom’s tenure, UM faced reports of uninvestigated sexual assaults that led to a Department of Justice Investigation for the university as well as city police and county prosecutors. UM has seen a 22 percent decline in enrollment since 2010.

Ironically, the AP file photo on the front page of the Great Falls Tribune that accompanied the Engstrom stepping down story showed Engstrom being flanked by U.S. Attorney for Montana, Michael Cotter. This was probably taken during a press conference about the investigation into the University’s handling of sexual assaults.

I think it’s going to be years (if not a decade) before the University of Montana and Missoula overcomes the disgrace of being called “America’s Rape Capital.” It really won’t matter how well the football team plays either.

The bottom line is that parents who spend thousands of dollars to send their children off to college want their children safe. There are doubts and that is why there’s a decline in enrollment.

If UM has not hired a crisis management team yet, they should before enrollment declines further and UM becomes just another community college or MSU-West.

Denise Juneau – UM President:

There’s a petition posted on to encourage the Montana Board of Regents to hire Denise Juneau as the new President of the University of Montana:

The University of Montana has seen enrollment decline by 21% in the last half decade. As a result, budgets have been slashed and students are no longer able to timely complete their educational requirements as classes are offered less frequently. Although Royce Engstrom took steps to combat declining enrollment, the University of Montana needs a dynamic leader that can attract potential students. With the news that Royce Engstrom is stepping down, Montana has the opportunity to catch a rising star in Denise Juneau.

For those not from around these parts, Juneau is the outgoing Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction and was recently defeated in her bid to become a member of the U.S. House. She was also mentioned for a possible cabinet position if Hillary Clinton was elected President.

I think Juneau should be considered for the position.

As of this morning the petition has about 450 signatures. See it HERE.

Sarah Palin – VA Secretary:

I’ve written in this blog that Presidents should be able to pick whomever they want on their cabinet unless that person is a felon or mass murderer or white supremacist or someone like that.

When I heard that Sarah Palin was being considered for secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, I kind of shook my head and muttered, “That’s not who I would pick.”

As far as I know Palin never served in the military. Her son did and she was the Governor of Alaska. I do not doubt her patriotism and her desire to help veterans.

In my opinion the Department of Veterans is one messed up bureaucracy that has had tons of money thrown at it and has not seen any significant improvements. I also believe that there needs to be a good housecleaning of leadership in the regional offices and in the networks.

Trump can give Palin the VA job if he wants – but there are many other people who are much better qualified to try and clean up the mess.

Tester and VA Secretary:

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said in a press release that President-elect Trump needed to meet with Veterans Service Organization leaders before nominating the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

I’m fine with that, although just about everything Tester says and does between now and 2018 is related to him being reelected.

I’m not a big fan of veteran service organizations. I once belonged to one and quit several years ago because they are too political and do little. As long as Congress throws more money each year at the VA, the veteran service organizations seem to be fine with things. I have about 25 “Certificate of Service” or “Certificate of Appreciation” from one service organization stuffed away in a drawer, so I’d like to take a moment to say thanks for the address labels!

One More Thing:

Here at The Western Word, I am planning the office Christmas Party. Here is a video from last year’s party. It got a little out of hand:

I’m just kidding about the video; it’s not from last year’s party…


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4 thoughts on “Caught My Eye…

  1. I’d like to see Petraeus head up the VA, or Secretary of State. Palin’s no use to anyone, even her family.

    • Just remember, any office that Petraeus is to appointed can be visited by his parole officer with no notice. You do remember why, don’t you Greg?

      Let us not forget that Snowmachine Snookie had a son who served in the Army including a year in Afghanistan or Iraq. Did he serve any time for that domestic violence incident involving alcohol, an AR-15 and beating his girlfriend?

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