The Western Word is coming to you from deep inside an underground bunker in Montana – where we’re helping to deprogram the Trump cult one column at a time…
Welcome to “Thursday Numbers!” In case you are a first-time visitor, this is the weekly column where I take a look at the numbers in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary sometimes sprinkled with sarcasm and humor.
This week’s topics include Mega Millions winner, unemployment claims, deaths in the USA from coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Montana state agency directors, Montana Army National Guard, Super Bowl LV, nation’s greatest challenges, states with the fewest coronavirus restrictions, plus much more!
After a record run of 37 draws, the second-largest jackpot in the history of Mega Millions was won Friday night! The final jackpot value of $1.05 billion ($776.6 million cash), updated to reflect strong sales, goes to a lucky ticket holder in Michigan. That was the only ticket to match all six numbers drawn on January 22 – the white balls 4, 26, 42, 50, and 60, plus the gold Mega Ball 24. (MegaMillions.com)
In the week ending January 23, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 847,000, a decrease of 67,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 14,000 from 900,000 to
914,000. The 4-week moving average was 868,000, an increase of 16,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 3,750 from 848,000 to 851,750. (DOL)
*Note: On Thursdays, this column is published right after 6:30 a.m. (Montana time), so I can post the latest unemployment numbers.
That is how many people have died in the United States from coronavirus, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There are at least 429,178 deaths and 25,599,961 cases across the country so far. The first death in the USA was reported on February 29, 2020. (Johns Hopkins)
Last week there were 406,162 deaths.
That’s how much Dr. Anthony Fauci made in 2019, the latest year for which federal salaries are available. That made him not only the highest-paid doctor in the federal government, but the highest paid out of all four million federal employees. (Forbes)
Fauci is a good man – I’m glad President Joe Biden kept him around. He deserves to make significantly more – like a professional athlete.
Most Montana state agency directors appointed by Gov. Greg Gianforte are getting paid at substantially higher salaries than their predecessors under the Bullock administration. The highest-paid director will be Adam Meier, at the Department of Public Health & Human Services, which is the largest state agency. His salary will be $165,000 – a 46 percent increase over the previous director’s salary of about $113,000. (MTN)
A 46% salary increase before you’ve been on the job a month – sign me up!
The world’s tallest, longest and fastest single-rail roller coaster will open at Six Flags Great Adventure this year. Six Flags put the last piece of track together for the new Jersey Devil Coaster. “Towering 13 stories, at speeds up to 58 mph, Jersey Devil Coaster riders will soar single file through the dark and foreboding woods over 3,000 feet of track. Inspired by infamous New Jersey mythology, the cutting-edge coaster will feature five intense elements including three dramatic inversions,” Six Flags said in a press release. (Philadelphia CBS Local)
Sign me up!
About 150 soldiers from the Army National Guard returned to Montana from Washington D.C. on three C-130s late Tuesday night. The soldiers joined about 26,000 National Guard members from all 50 states and three territories in the nation’s capital. The soldiers assisted with inauguration security for President Biden. (MTN)
Although they faced difficulties – break areas in parking garages, lack of restrooms and places to recharge their smartphones – they accomplished their mission. Good job!
Now there are two teams! The defending Super Bowl champion and AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs take on the NFC Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV on February 7, 2021.
Click HERE for all the details. Go Chiefs! #RunItBack
Americans are sizing up the nation’s greatest challenges a bit differently this month in the aftermath of a political insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the second impeachment of former President Donald Trump and the national rollout of the coronavirus vaccine. Amid this backdrop, the percentage of Americans citing governmental leaders or behavior as the top problem jumped to 29% — the highest in almost a year — from 20% in December. Also, a record-high 12% cited national discord, up from 5% last month. At the same time, mentions of the coronavirus fell 11 percentage points to 22%, while mentions of race-related issues were essentially unchanged at 10%. (Gallup)
Trump and his cult ruined the United States…
With the U.S. starting to open up more but a full reopening only possible once we achieve widespread vaccination, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released updated rankings for the top 10 states with the fewest coronavirus restrictions and the top 10 states with the most coronavirus restrictions. (WalletHub)
The spin from the governors in states with fewer restrictions is to align it with “freedom.” They also place it on the people to use “personal responsibility” to wear masks and social distance. We know how well that’s working.
Yesterday I was talking to couple employees of DPHHS who are concerned who will lose their jobs due the new DPHHS director’s 46% salary increase. Because Governor Gianforte said”salary increases will be directly funded by inefficiencies these agency heads find and eliminate in their own departments” Of course getting rid of employees is the easiest route to take. This really is the cart before the horse attitude by the Governor. Why wouldn’t you find out if there really is problems to fix then reward the director when the problems are corrected. Most of these out of state directors that Gianforte appointed were employees in state or federal government agencies that were strong Trump supporters such as
Sonny Perdue or former Kentucky governor Bevin. I find it strange Gianforte couldn’t find someone that was from either flag ship University of either Bozeman or Missoula. Especially since the Governor funded the Gianforte School of Computing at MSU and was awarded the 2012 Pioneer of Industry from U of Montana. I never supported Gianforte and felt Fox a native Montana would have been a better governor. The Democrats ran a very weak candidate which we may pay the consequences for years.
Dennis – I agree. Great points! These new agency officials should be rewarded if they perform, not after a few weeks on the job. It is a slap in the face of many qualified Montanans who could do these jobs. Thanks, JmB
“Personal responsibility” – It’s why the Republicans have never come down on the citizenry with laws about things like DUI, seatbelts, texting while driving, abortions, etc.
Terry – Good point. Thanks, JmB