Caught My Eye…

The unhappiest people in this world are those who care the most about what other people think. ― C. JoyBell C.

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 independent commentary so be warned!

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

  • Medicaid Expansion
  • Colstrip & PSC
  • Trump & WikiLeaks
  • One More Thing

Medicaid Expansion:

MTN News reported that the bill to continue Montana’s $700 million-a-year Medicaid expansion program failed on a 25-25 vote in the state Senate Thursday, setting up a last-ditch effort to revive the measure on Friday.

I’m thinking (and hoping) that the Senate will pass it when it comes up again.

MTN News reported that earlier this week, some Senate Republicans indicated they might withhold their support for Medicaid expansion until they’re confident that a separate, unrelated proposal will pass, to help NorthWestern Energy buy a portion of the Colstrip 4 power plant and related transmission line.

That’s politics. The sad thing is that 96,000 Montanans are being used as pawns.

As the saying goes “Wanting everyone to have healthcare and food does not make you a communist, socialist, or unpatriotic. It just makes you a good person.”

There seems to be many Republicans who don’t realize this.

Colstrip & PSC:

The Great Falls Tribune reported this week that eight former Montana Public Service Commissioners (PSC) from both sides of the political spectrum, and two current commissioners, sent a letter to state lawmakers Wednesday saying they “share grave concerns about a senate bill’ involving the Colstrip coal-fed power plant, saying it strips commissioners of their authority.

The Tribune says that former commissioners signing the letter include Democrats Tom Schneider, Gail Gutsche, Ken Toole, Greg Jergeson, Bob Raney and John Vincent. Republicans signing the letter include Brad Molnar and Travis Kavulla. Current Commissioners Tony O’Donnell and Roger Koopman, both Republicans, are also among those who signed the letter.

In their letter, they state:

We oppose SB 331 because it eliminates the authority of the Montana Public Service Commission to do its legal duty to, ‘supervise and regulate the operations of public utilities, common carriers, railroads, and other regulated industries…’

A round of applause goes to these former and current commissioners for sounding the alarm.

If the bill passes, maybe Montana should just look at eliminating the Montana PSC.

I happened to catch a new ad on a local TV station last night from a group called They are telling viewers to oppose NorthWestern Energy’s newly released procurement plan that they say burns more coal and natural gas.

On the group’s “About” page they say the following about their organization’s mission:

350Montana works to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 350 ppm by implementing strategic actions and advocating policies to end fossil fuel burning with the greatest urgency. We envision a rapid conversion to a 100% renewable global energy system using wind, water, and solar. We work with the global grassroots climate movement to achieve these goals and safeguard Earth’s life-support systems.

Here’s the ad from YouTube:

They are also raising money to keep the ad on the air. Click HERE for more information.

We should all work for cleaner air, cleaner water, and for better ways to provide for our energy needs.

Trump & WikiLeaks:

When Donald Trump was just a businessman, it was not common for people to check to see if his statements were factual. Most of the people he surrounded himself with back then were “Yes” people and the rest of us did not care about him or what he said.

Since he became a candidate for President and then was elected to the office, he has found that there are people out there that check the accuracy of his statements and those who are doing the checking are not afraid of him. He calls them names and labels the information they publish as “fake news.” We care about what he says now. He’s our President.

I can’t stand the constant lying from President Trump.

It happened again on Thursday when it was reported that WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange was arrested. Trump was asked about the arrest and WikiLeaks and responded with, “I know nothing about WikiLeaks, it’s not my thing.”

Anyone who has followed Donald Trump knows he talked (nonstop) about WikiLeaks during the campaign. He even said he loved WikiLeaks.

The website says:

Despite his feigned ignorance on Thursday, the president in fact mentioned or talked about WikiLeaks at least 164 times in the last month of his 2016 campaign alone.

President Donald Trump lies so much that many people don’t even notice it anymore. That’s sad. To those who report on the President, please don’t stop reporting his lies. It’s the patriotic thing to do.

The truth still matters for many of us.

One More Thing:

This is the 445th “Caught My Eye…” (CME) column here at The Western Word. Some columns last a long time, but CME is the leader. The CME columns are always near the top for most read columns every year.

I started CME as a place to wrap up the week and devote a little more time to some issues. It’s also a good place to get things off my chest.

As I say at the top of each column, “Caught My Eye” is the “once a week column that is posted here every Friday morning.” With this being #445, that’s a lot of Fridays. I’ve missed a few Fridays because of holidays and other things, but CME and Thursday Numbers are two of my favorite columns to write.

Thank you for reading CME.

Rest assured, I have no intention to stop the independent commentary that you enjoy.

Onward and upward…



2 thoughts on “Caught My Eye…

  1. Seriously enjoyed this column. I am left wondering if I am the only Montanan to notice tens-of-thousands of square miles of Montana have a HUGE pond of Hot Water just beneath the surface-it bubbles up in various places all over our state. Even if it’s not boiling hot(and a Bunch of it is) it can still be used to generate energy and to heat homes and businesses. This UNTAPPED energy is 5X larger than coal, oil and gas combined and won’t destroy our Planet if we tap into it. WHY is nobody even talking about this?

    • Bob – Thanks. I agree that we should use more geothermal energy especially in places where it’s abundant like Montana. -JmB

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