Caught My Eye…

Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on. – Thurgood Marshall

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 about today include Judge Ingrid Gustafson, Net Neutrality, Mueller, The Tax Bill, and One More Thing!

Judge Ingrid Gustafson:

The Associated Press reported this week that Montana Governor Steve Bullock has appointed District Court Judge Ingrid Gustafson of Billings to fill a vacancy on the state Supreme Court. Gustafson will replace Justice Mike Wheat, who is retiring Dec. 31.

Gustafson has graced the pages of The Western Word before.

Back in 2008, John Patrick Carey who had worked for then U.S. Senator Max Baucus on his campaign and Senate staff was driving a vehicle intoxicated and had an accident that killed his passenger – a young man named Matt Wilder. Wilder was 28 years old.

It was Carey’s third DUI. He was convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to 15 years at Montana State Prison, with five years suspended.

In May 2010, Gustafson basically threw that sentence out. Carey spent about two years incarcerated. The other eight years was suspended. He is now on probation. The Deputy County Attorney was against it. The family of Matt Wilder was against it. But the Montana District Court Judge, Ingrid Gustafson, was for it so Carey is free.

Judge Gustafson made a silly remark saying “I’m not sure I can measure (the value of) a person’s life by the number of years we can put someone else in prison.” (Billings Gazette)

I think I can.

So forgive me if I am not all that excited about Gustafson being on the Montana Supreme Court.

Montana is soft on drunk driving. We will now have another person on the Montana Supreme Court that does not seem to take drunk driving seriously.

Net Neutrality:

It was not much of a surprise but Associated Press reported that the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to repeal the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules Thursday, giving internet service providers like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit or charge more for faster speeds.

I was hoping they would leave the current Net Neutrality rules in place.

It’s a long way from over – there will be legal challenges. Maybe Congress will do something. If it does stay repealed, look for rural areas like Montana to get screwed over the most.

USA Today has a good report about Net Neutrality HERE.

Mueller:

The Associated Press reported this week that two FBI officials who would later be assigned to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign described him with insults like “idiot” and “loathsome human” in a series of text messages last year, according to copies of the messages released Tuesday.

And with that information, the investigation is tainted. Mueller removed one of the agents from the team and the other one had already concluded her work. The damage was already done.

While I won’t argue with the term used to describe Trump in the text messages, what this does is create doubt that the investigation is neutral and non-partisan. That is not a good thing.

The Tax Bill:

We’re still not sure what will be in the final tax bill that is being negotiated between the House and Senate conferees, and we’re not sure if the Republicans have the votes to pass it in the Senate.

There’s a chance we’ll find out what is in the bill today.

There are concerns about the health of Republican Senators John McCain and Thad Cochran. The Republicans need their votes. McCain is in the hospital and Cochran has missed some votes because of his health.

As for me, I’m dreaming of a final bill that will provide me with a big bag of money!

Back to reality – the New York Times has a rundown of the bill HERE.

One More Thing:

Actually, it’s about 40 things and a National Championship game! This is a friendly reminder that the 2017-18 College Football Bowl season kicks off this Saturday (Dec. 16) and concludes with the National Championship on January 8.

You can see the full schedule HERE.

 

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