These times are so uncertain
There’s a yearning undefined
People filled with rage
We all need a little tenderness
How can love survive in such a graceless age?
-The Heart of the Matter (Don Henley)
Welcome to another exciting edition of Caught My Eye (CME)!
CME is the once-a-week column that is posted 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.
Here are some of the things that “Caught My Eye” this week:
- Gas Prices
- Mr. Potato Head
- Dumbass of the Week
- One More Thing
Trump lovers are posting fake news on social media about the rise in gas prices all across the fruited plains. Of course, they blame it on President Joe Biden.
One fake story posted said that that oil prices had jumped from about $25 a barrel when Joe Biden became president to more than $61 a barrel. USA Today rated that claim false. Read the whole story HERE.
Another story said the rise in gas prices was because of Biden canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline. First Coast News reports that is false and the real reason is the winter weather (remember Texas being shutdown) and supply. Demand is higher as more people are out and about. Read the whole report HERE.
It’s tough on the Trump lovers when presented with facts, so go easy.
MR. POTATO HEAD:
The Associated Press (AP) is reporting that Hasbro created confusion Thursday when it announced that it would drop the “Mr.” from the brand’s name in order to be more inclusive and so all could feel “welcome in the Potato Head world.” It also said it would sell a new playset this fall without the Mr. and Mrs. designations that will let kids create their own type of potato families, including two moms or two dads.
Social media went wild!
The AP reported that in a tweet later that afternoon, Hasbro clarified that the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head characters will still live on and be sold in stores, but under the Potato Head brand. In a picture posted on Twitter, the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” names are less prominently displayed at the bottom of the box, instead of the top.
Montana’s only U.S. Representative, Matt Rosendale, tweeted:
Is Mr. Potato Head the first victim of the ‘Equality Act’?
After Hasbro clarified, Rosendale tweeted:
Thank you @Hasbro for recognizing there’s only 2 genders.
It’s a plastic potato, Matt. Rosendale seems lost in his new job. Maybe if he didn’t jump from job to job so often he might learn the ropes and stop being so ignorant.
Mr. Potato Head has been around longer than I have. I had a Mr. Potato Head when I was a kid. I did not care whether he was male or female – he was a freaking plastic potato! We grew bigger potatoes in our garden!
By the way, Mr. Potato Head was no match for my G.I. Joe!
DUMBASS OF THE WEEK:
We have our first repeat winner! Back on February 5, for saying “Most of the time, nature has a way of miscarrying those children because of the trauma of the act,” Rep. Sheldon-Galloway (R-Great Falls) was awarded the “Dumbass of the Week.”
This week she sponsored a bill that would make it harder for Montanans to vote by absentee ballot (HB 455). That bill was tabled. She also sponsored a bill that would limit the number and location of recreational marijuana dispensaries (HB 568). That bill is waiting for a hearing.
For those two bills, Rep. Sheldon-Galloway is the “Dumbass of the Week.”
In case you were wondering where the term “dumbass” comes from, here’s the answer: Calling people a “dumbass” was Red Forman’s favorite insult on “That ’70s Show.” Watch the collection HERE. Enjoy!
ONE MORE THING:
“[Donald Trump] will always put American first, he will always protect Americans and citizens. We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here. We will not see terrorism come here, and isn’t that refreshing, when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama?” – White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany (one year ago 2/25/20)
Have a great weekend!
Lola is certainly making a name for herself in the Lege. And I think dumbazz pretty much covers it.
I think I was misunderstood. Population is quite different than demographics. I too lived here in the seventies. Left in seventy-four for Billings and college at Eastern. Came back in ‘95 after living and working across Eastern Montana. When I left, GF was still solidly Democratic. Union jobs aplenty. But a lot of the old timers were dying off, being replaced by others. That’s demographic change. The old timers would never have voted Republican. Basically, it was much like Butte.
But in the last twenty-five years I’ve seen a lot of changes in the population make up, not the size. I’ve worked various jobs during that time in which I met a lot of people. And a whole lot of people I met and worked with were indeed from out of state. And believe me most of them were trump type people. And I have even gone door to door to campaign for various issues in previously strong Dem neighborhoods and was surprised to discover folks barely getting by still voting for republicans.
But I think it’s not a “resist-all-change” attitude that keeps Great Falls from growing. There are an endless amount of variables in growth. ie. Mountains, wind, location, infrastructure, etc. Government can actually do very little. But I personally don’t bemoan a lack of growth here. I have lived in those cities with rampant, unchecked growth. It’s ugly, and it’s not Montana. It’s Colorado. I vote for smart growth, because once you turn your city in Billings, Bozeman, Kalispell, Denver, you’ve lost what made your city a great place in the first place, a livable environment. Besides, if you really want to live in an urban crap hole, it’s all out there.
I always like to say that economic development has to make economic sense. If you destroy the very things that make your community attractive for development, it’s game over.
Social science bears this out. Every study indicates that people are attracted to a place for its environment and amenities, not for how big it is. New businesses included.
And one last note. Try buying a house here now. Nearly impossible. They aren’t on the market for a day. And most of the time the buyers pay above market value. I know. I’ve tried. And who can pay cash for a house above market value? One guess. Out of staters. So yes, they’re coming. We’ll soon have all the growth we can handle.
On the contrary to your experience, after being gone for 40 years, I was surprised to find how many people who were here when I left are still here. And how many people you meet around town who grew up here. I have some friends who seem to know everyone in town.
But the political attitudes have shifted far right even with those who grew up locally. When I grew up a lot of our dads belonged to unions and they were generally viewed positively. Teachers and scientists were respected, and role models. A Republican president signed the EPA into law. That was “the center” in Great Falls back then. What’s changed since then is not so much new people IMO as the attitudes of the same local people who used to be centrists, mostly thanks to the hard right propaganda that seeps into folks’ homes via cable TV and so on.
I disagree that government can do very little about growth, or governments elsewhere would not compete so vigorously with others to lure new businesses. Or just ask our local builders about the City code impediments to building in town.
However the comment was more about the general attitude of a certain segment of the local citzenry who seem to stand against any change at all, whether it’s new businesses or new local oridinances that would make the town more accommodating or provide more amenities. That attitude IMO is what has kept growth here stagnant even as the rest of the state moves forward. Population per se isn’t what’s important, but it is certainly a reflection of the local economy and available jobs. In that sense, Great Falls seems little better off than it was when I was a kid. If the community had been attractive for development all these years, it would not still be stuck at 62,000.
Move forward to what? Spent nearly twenty years in Billings. If that’s moving forward, I’ll take Great Falls any day. That’s why we didn’t move back. And that’s why all my friends from there have moved too. Not worth it any longer. If you’re going to live in a bigger city, Missoula is much nicer than Billings as my old friends discovered. Life’s too short to live in a crap hole. Great Falls is as close to old Montana as you’re going to get in a city. I prefer that over Californication.
I own eleven acres just south of the Peak. I have a hundred deer on my place every night. I have seen every native species out there except a bear. Have lions out there regularly. And they darted that moose out there a few years back. Lewis and Clark camped on or near my land. Where else are you going to find that in Montana? That close to town? Nowhere. Great Falls has some of the finest recreation in the state close by. I know. I lived in Billings and worked in Red Lodge too. Red Lodge is superb but try buying a house there. I know. I tried.
Nope, for me Great Falls is perfect. Love the Little Belts, and love the Front. Oh, and the Smith River. And I gotta tell ya, in all honesty, size doesn’t matter! Look at Sarah Calhoun who started that Red Ants Pants. She chose White Sulphur. Why? I think we know.
My experience has led me to believe that once Great Falls is truly discovered, as appears to be happening, all those possibilities that you mention will become reality. Again, I know. I’ve seen it elsewhere. And yeah, I would like a few good restaurants too!
I referred to moving forward in the sense of economic growth and jobs, like the politicians are always talking about. Especially those from Great Falls now down in Helena passing anti-transgender, religious freedom, anti-immigrant, etc. laws.
If a person merely wants a jumping off spot to the great outdoors, Great Falls fits the bill. But economic growth requires, well, growth. And a locality that welcomes it.
Lola’s major qualification for elected office seemed to be, according to her campaign literature, was the fact that she was a grandmother. Hence, the production of children somehow confers the intelligence and temperament required to create laws and public policy. I once worked with a real reprobate fella years ago who had at least eight kids from numerous wives and girlfriends. And he was only in his late twenties. By Lola logic, this guy would make a fantastic legislator! But as we can see from Lola’s antics, that is not the case. She truly is an embarrassment. She cashed in on the changing demographics of Great Falls to get elected. A lot of the newcomers are just like her. Trumpers.
Larry – good points. It’s amazing how the far right legislators have taken over Great Falls. I think we need people from all walks of life, but fewer wackos. Thanks, JmB
Not a whole lot of newcomers it doesn’t seem. When I left Great Falls after high school in the 1970s the population was about 62,000. When I came back in the 2010s it was about 62,000. Meanwhile the more progressive cities in the state have blossomed. Now our elected legislators seem determined to inflict that successful resist-all-change Great Falls mindset on the entire state.
Terry -I’ve only lived in GF, but traveled all over the state for work. I think you are correct. Thanks, JmB