Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family. – Kofi Annan
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 Guns in the Capitol, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Obamacare, independent candidates, Presidential polls, Stephen K. Bannon, and much more!
Guns in the Capitol:
Lee Newspapers reported this week that state Representative Randy Brodehl, R-Kalispell, introduced a bill that would let lawmakers carry guns on state-owned property.
Lee Newspapers also reported that House Bill 280 would let legislators carry guns openly or concealed on state property, such as the Capitol. Weapons are currently banned at the Capitol and other state-owned facilities. The bill would not require lawmakers to get a concealed-carry permit to carry a gun.
I’ve known some state legislators over the years and I would be afraid to be in the same room with them if I knew they were armed. Plus, and let’s be honest, some of our state legislators are a few fries short of a happy meal.
Superintendent of Public Instruction:
I think it’s safe to say it’s been a rough first month for the new Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction, Elsie Arntzen.
There was the problem with her senior policy advisor and then the issue with the “Graduation Matters” program. Arntzen was in Great Falls this week to address the Montana Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals. She was asked a question about funding preschool from Great Falls School District Superintendent Tammy Lacey. According to the Great Falls Tribune, she provided this answer:
“I do need to share with you that when I did ask that question, and I did a lot of traveling, it was not on the number one. The number one was making sure I had a teacher that’s there. So I do believe in our tight, fiscal minds, we have to say that wish list is big. That wish list is there and it’s on that list. But at this opportunity time, is that it? But again, I’m going to reiterate, if the Legislature does so happen, because it would take that opportunity to occur, if that happens, then I would do that within my power and with your energy in this room, to put that forward for our neediest and our youngest. I will not impede that.”
Well alrighty then…
You can read the whole article (including the transcript of the question from Lacey for Arntzen) HERE.
By the way, maybe the Democrats should ask Tammy Lacey to run for Office of Public Instruction in four years.
If people think there are problems with the new Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, just wait and see what happens if Betsy DeVos is confirmed as Secretary of Education…
Affordable Care Act/Obamacare:
If you’re wondering how Montana’s U.S. Senators, Jon Tester (D) and Steve Daines (R), feel about Obamacare and the plans to repeal/replace it, Mike Dennison of MTN news has the answers in this report.
I think if Congress and the President go at it with the intention to make it better instead of repealing it because they don’t like Obama, then that would be great. If they repeal it without replacing it and hurt the millions of people who rely on it, then the GOP will probably lose their majority in the next election.
House Bill 186:
Applause goes to State Representative Forrest Mandeville for his attempt to make it easier for independent candidates to get on the ballot in Montana. Mandeville introduced HB 186 which would revise independent candidate filing laws and eliminate the requirement for an independent candidate to submit signatures with a petition for nomination.
I’ve said for years that the legislature should make it easier for independent candidates to get on the ballot. I believe if more independent people were elected to office we might see more compromise and less partisanship.
Unfortunately, the bill was narrowly defeated on third reading 51-48.
Worst President Since Nixon?
The headline “Americans Think Trump Will Be Worst President Since Nixon” caught my attention this week. Public Policy Polling (PPP) released a poll that showed voters split evenly in their appraisals of Trump’s job performance with 44% approving and 44% disapproving of him.
They added that these are “historically awful numbers” for a newly elected President. Maybe so, but do we really trust polls these days? If most polls leading up to November 8 had been correct, we’d be seeing President Clinton instead of President Trump.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not a fan of Trump (nor was I of Clinton) and my “favorable” ratings for polling are at an all-time low…
One More Thing:
The following quote is from a recent New York Times interview with chief White House strategist, Stephen K. Bannon:
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview on Wednesday.
“I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”
I think it’s safe to say there are a lot of people who do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States…