Caught My Eye…

No man’s life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session. ― Gideon J. Tucker

Welcome to the big column 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:

  • The Montana Legislature
  • The U.S. House
  • More Zinke
  • Just Football
  • One More Thing

The Montana Legislature:

The 2019 Legislative session will convene on Monday, January 7 in Helena. Get your popcorn ready – if you like a circus with clowns, this is for you!

The Montana Free Press is reporting that an old rift has re-emerged among Montana’s Republican lawmakers – and that is when moderate Republicans work with Democrats to pass legislation. You can read the article HERE.

I like moderates from both parties. I like it when both parties work together for the good of the state and nation. The extremists in the Republican Party are what drove many of us to leave it and vote for Democrats.

I will be watching the Legislature for batshit crazy stuff to highlight. Please feel free to let me know if you see any crazy stuff.

Here are my thoughts on some issues:

  • No pay raise for Montana Legislators
  • Fund Medicaid expansion
  • Increase DUI penalties – make it hurt.
  • One minor thing that needs to be done to increase revenue is to allow debit cards to be used to purchase Montana Lottery tickets. They need to change the (Montana Code Annotated 23-7-302 (3)) that reads, “Tickets and chances may be purchased only with cash or a check and may not be purchased on credit.” They need to change that line and add, “debit card.”

As for the members of the press who are covering the Montana Legislature, I leave you with this: Be reporters not supporters.

More information about the 2019 session can be found HERE.

The U.S. House:

The U.S. House is now controlled by the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi is the Speaker of the House. This fact seemed to bother my friends on the right quite a lot. Pelosi for the righties, as Trump is for the lefties, are great for fundraising for their respective parties.

I tweeted that watching the U.S. House proceedings on Fox News is like watching a funeral. On MSNBC it’s like watching college students on spring break.

I think it will be fun to watch the back and forth between Pelosi and Trump.

On their first day, Roll Call reported that the House Democrats passed two government funding bills to open shuttered federal agencies. By the way, this is day 14 of the partial federal government shutdown.

Roll Call also reported that before the votes Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated that Democrats will not agree to a border wall but joked that she’d give Trump $1 for it.

Of course, those two bills will probably die in the House.

The Republicans controlled the House, Senate, and White House for two years. They could have done a lot, but they did not. The government was shut down three times during these two years and that was with the Republicans in control! The National Debt was $19 trillion in 2016; it is now approaching $22 trillion.

The bottom line is to get much of anything done in the next two years they will need to work together. The House will have their agenda and the Senate will have their agenda. Trump will have his agenda. Sometimes, maybe not very often, they will meet in the middle.

Oh, and there will be hearings and investigations.

Both sides will be jockeying because we are approaching a Presidential election. It’s always about the next election.

Click HERE to see the demographics of 116th Congress. Maybe it is starting to look more like America…

More Zinke:

The Associated Press (AP) conducted an interview with former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. You can read the story HERE.

The AP touched on many of the investigations surrounding his tenure in Trump’s cabinet.

The one thing that stood out is Zinke contends in the interview that he quit President Donald Trump’s cabinet on his own terms, despite indications he was pressured by the White House to resign effective Wednesday.

The AP also reported:

In Zinke’s telling of events, Trump remained fully supportive to the end and it was the secretary himself who made the decision to go.

“The president does not want me to leave. The president thinks it’s B.S., too. That’s his words,” Zinke said, referring to the allegations against him. “It was my decision based on what I thought was best for both the president and Interior, and I think the president reluctantly agreed.”

We’ll see how his time as Interior Secretary affects his future political plans if he has any. He will need to clear up these investigations if he plans to run for elective office again.

The bottom line is if he is cleared of these charges, Zinke will be a political force to deal with in Montana.

Just Football:

Football season is winding down. That always makes me sad.

In the NFL, we have the Wildcard games on Saturday and Sunday. The “Wildcard” round starts Saturday at 2:30 p.m. Montana time (Colts at Texans). There are two games on Saturday and two on Sunday.

Here are my picks:

  • Colts over Texans
  • Seahawks over Cowboys
  • Ravens over the Chargers
  • Bears over the Eagles

On Saturday it’s the NCAA Division I Football Championship between Eastern Washington University and North Dakota State. The game is being played in Frisco, Texas, and it starts at 10:00 a.m. Montana time. It will be carried on ESPN2.

I hope Eastern wins it, but North Dakota State is pretty tough.

Monday night (the last Monday night football for quite some time) we have Alabama and Clemson for the College Football National Championship. It starts at 6:00 p.m. Montana time. It is being played at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. That is where the 49ers play.

I like Alabama to win it all again.

One More Thing:

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. ― Aristotle



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