Caught My Eye…

I was hoping for a battle of wits, but you appear to be unarmed. – Unknown

Welcome to the big show to end the week “Caught My Eye” (CME)!

If you are a first-time visitor, welcome! CME is the once a week column that is posted 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. There may be some sarcasm and pointed commentary so be warned!

Here are the topics that “Caught My Eye” this week:

  • Legislative Referendum 129
  • Recounts in Montana
  • Cascade County Elections
  • Ryan Zinke
  • CNN’s Jim Acosta
  • Fox News’ Tucker Carlson
  • One More Thing

Legislative Referendum 129:

One of the ballot issues in Montana I was most surprised that passed was Legislative Referendum 129 (LR-129). The “Yes” votes for LR-129 are 63% and the “No” votes against LR-129 are 37%.

The 37% No votes equate to 174,111 Montanans. These people are just a little more intelligent and took time to study and read the silly referendum.

Here is part of the ballot language:

The 2017 Legislature has submitted this proposal for a vote. LR-129 prohibits a person from collecting another voter’s ballot, with certain exceptions. The prohibition would not apply to an election official, postal worker, caregiver, family member, household member, or an acquaintance. Any such individuals that are caregivers, family members, household members or acquaintances would be required to sign a registry at the polling place or the election administrator’s office when delivering the ballot and are required to provide the following information: the individual’s name, address, and phone number; the voter’s name and address; and the individual’s relationship to the voter. An individual who violates any provision within LR-129 could be fined $500 for each ballot unlawfully collected.

The other morning, I dropped my ballot along with my wife’s ballot off at the elections office at 5:45 a.m. They have a drop box that is accessible from the outside of the building. Another person was doing the same thing. When I departed, another vehicle pulled into my spot.

Voting in the United States is supposed to be that easy.

Now since LR-129 has passed, I guess voters will have to drop their family members’ ballots off when someone is working at the elections office and have their name checked for authorization.

Excuse me, but that is bullshit.

I thought Montanans were smarter than this.

Recounts in Montana:

According to an article in the Great Falls Tribune and verified by The Western Word there are three races in Montana that might qualify for a recount.

The Tribune lists House District 22 between GOP incumbent Lola Sheldon-Galloway and Democratic challenger Laura Dever for a possible recount. There’s a five-vote difference in the race.

The Tribune also reports the District 13 Court Judge race in Department 8 between Ashley Harada and Juli M. Pierce as another one for a possible recount. 59 votes separate them. The other race is the Musselshell County attorney race between Republican incumbent Kevin Peterson and Robert Spoia. Peterson has a nine-vote lead.

Cascade County Elections:

The local MTN station, KRTV, did a puff piece titled “Beyond the ballot count, election is far from over” about how hard the Cascade County election officials worked during the mid-term election.

It was also a story about excuses, too.

The Cascade County Elections Administrator is headed by Rina Fontana Moore. Moore, a Democrat, was also on the ballot running for reelection. I did not vote for her because election after election she does a terrible job.

She spends more time doing interviews than doing her job.

KRTV reported that election officials worked over 40 hours at Montana ExpoPark, starting as early as 3:45 a.m. on Election Day. It was also reported that the elections office was not done at Montana ExpoPark until 10 p.m. Wednesday night.

Wow, imagine working in the elections office and having to work long hours on Election Day!

Moore cited the two-page ballot and paper jams has the reason it took so long. She also said the counting machine can only count 2,000 pages per hour.

Maybe it’s time for a new machine?

It’s an embarrassment that several hours after states like North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming are reporting 100% of their counts are done, Montana is sitting on only having 65% done.

Some of the reasons for the slow count are the personnel in charge; some of it is the process that needs to be updated for this century; some of it is not thinking outside the box and getting the mission accomplished.

Ryan Zinke:

Politico reported this week that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been exploring potential roles with Fox News, the energy industry or other businesses amid growing signs that he will leave President Donald Trump’s Cabinet as he faces investigations into his ethics, according to people knowledgeable about the discussions.

Zinke’s press secretary at Interior said the report is “laughably false and belongs in The Onion.”

Zinke is a former Montana State Senator and U.S. Representative. He is the first Montanan to serve as a cabinet secretary. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 1, 2017, by a vote of 68-31.

By many accounts, it has been a rough time for Zinke as the Secretary of Interior. The Interior Inspector General’s office has referred at least one inquiry about Zinke to the Justice Department.

It would be a disgrace if Zinke were to be fired by the President. That may also harm him if he decides to run for elective office again in Montana.

CNN’s Jim Acosta:

When I worked in the political world, there were reporters that I disliked. There were some that I would not stop and help if they had a flat tire. I never let them know it while I was employed in that arena. There were always ways to work around them and still get your message out. I have mentioned some of them in this blog since I am no longer attached to any politician or political party.

Our President, Donald J. Trump, is not used to being questioned. He likes things on his own terms. The press is not used to having a President who lies and stretches the truth. It’s kind of a learning experience for both.

The Freedom of the Press is an important part of our Constitution. I believe in it.

I remember former President Barack Obama doing press conferences and calling on members of the press from a list. I think President George W. Bush did the same. It worked for them. I know that Trump thinks Obama was born in Kenya and any methods he used were probably un-American.

CNN’s Jim Acosta did nothing wrong on Wednesday. The President called on him looking for a fight. The President was already pissed that he lost the U.S. House to the Democrats.

Several sources (like WaPo) are reporting that White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Wednesday night shared a video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta that appeared to have been altered to make his actions at a news conference look more aggressive toward a White House intern.

I don’t know if that is true, but the White House suspended Acosta’s press pass. That is not right. If Sanders did knowingly send an altered video, she should be fired.

The bottom line is that Trump is going to keep attacking the media and I’m afraid that one or more of his disturbed followers is going to try to harm members of the media. We already saw an attempt to attack some who spoke out against Trump when one of his supporters sent bombs to them.

Reinstate Jim Acosta – and grow a pair, Mr. President.

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson:

I don’t think I have watched 10 minutes of Fox News host Tucker Carlson in my lifetime. I always thought of him as sort of a rich prick that fell into some nice gigs at Fox News because people like Greta Van Susteren and Megyn Kelly left and Bill O’Reilly was canned.

He has lived a charmed life.

This week it was reported that protestors visited his home and shouted things like “Tucker Carlson, we will fight. We know where you sleep at night.”

Tucker Carlson has several children, but his wife was the only one at home at the time.

Although I don’t care for Carlson, some places are off-limits. It’s wrong for protestors to show up at someone’s home. Protesting outside of the Fox News studios is the proper place or outside where Carlson is giving a speech is appropriate.

Families and homes are off-limits.

One More Thing:

With another election under my belt, I want my faithful readers to know that The Western Word will continue to provide independent commentary about politics, sports, the media, and current events.

The Western Word has been active since January 2005 making it one of the longest-running blogs in Montana.

You can bet that I will continue to pick on both sides of the political aisle and take no prisoners.

My words will either attract a strong mind or offend a weak one. – Unknown