Thursday Numbers

Quote for today…

The past is where you learn the lesson. The future is where you apply the lesson. -Unknown

Welcome to “Thursday Numbers!” In case you are a first-time visitor, this is the weekly column where I look at the numbers in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary sometimes sprinkled with sarcasm and humor.

This week’s topics include money spent in Afghanistan, deaths from coronavirus, fully vaccinated Montanans, new unemployment claims, TWW poll results, Cascade County & COVID, 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates, the Afghanistan war by the numbers, drunk driving in Montana, the lawsuit against Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen, plus much more!


In his speech this week, President Biden said, “After more than $2 trillion spent in Afghanistan — a cost that researchers at Brown University estimated would be over $300 million a day for 20 years in Afghanistan — for two decades — yes, the American people should hear this: $300 million a day for two decades.” (Source)

That is a lot of money.


That is how many people have died in the United States from coronavirus, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There have been 39,399,080 cases across the country so far. The first death in the USA was reported on February 29, 2020. (Johns Hopkins)

Last week the death total was 632,283.


That is how many Montanans have been fully immunized for COVID-19. That is just 50% of the eligible population. (Source)

Last week the number of fully immunized Montanans was 458,497.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Montana’s estimated population in July 2019 was 1,068,778.

Find COVID-19 Vaccines Near You by clicking HERE.


In the week ending August 28, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 340,000, a decrease of 14,000 from the previous week’s revised level. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The previous week’s level was revised up by 1,000 from 353,000 to 354,000. The 4-week moving average was 355,000, a decrease of 11,750 from the previous week’s revised average. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500. The previous week’s average was revised up by 250 from 366,500 to 366,750. (DOL)

Note: On Thursdays, this column is published right after 6:30 a.m. (Montana time), so I can post the latest unemployment numbers.


A western Montana sawmill is closing this fall, putting 99 people out of work when they finish processing its remaining log supply, likely by mid-November. (AP)

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte should do something…


Public schools are starting across the United States. There are several ideas about when schools should start.

This week’s poll question asked, “When should public schools begin the new school year?”

Here are the results:

Tuesday After Labor Day: 92%
Around August 15: 4%
Undecided: 4%
Around August 1: 0%
Around September 15: 0%

Thanks to all those who participated.


50 years ago (Wednesday) on September 1, 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates made history, penciling in the first all-minority starting lineup in MLB history. (Source)

That was a great team!


The Cascade County (Great Falls, MT) City-County Health Department reports that as of Wednesday only 46% of eligible individuals in the county are vaccinated. (Source)

Mask-up Montana – and get a vaccine!


After nearly 20 years of war, the last of America’s troops made a frantic final exit out of Afghanistan on Monday, capping the US’s deadly and botched withdrawal from the strife-torn country. The New York Post has a breakdown of the cost of the Afghanistan war by the numbers — including lives lost and dollars spent HERE.

God bless our military personnel. Thank you for your service.


A 60-year-old Butte (MT) man with at least 10 previous drunken-driving convictions was found passed out behind the wheel of a Chevy pickup with the motor running, allegedly drunk. Police say Craig Lee Barth had pulled over in the area of Tecumseh Way and South Washington Street, and when an officer knocked on the truck window around 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, Barth had a hard time waking up and then staying awake. (Montana Standard)

Drunk driving is normal in Montana – some act like it is a badge of honor.


A group of seven small businesses has sued Secretary of State Christi Jacobsen for refusing to refund money after the Secretary’s website double-charged customers for fees.
According to a press release provided to The Western Word from Upper Seven Law, the Secretary collected at least $120,000 in duplicate fees.

KHQ has the story HERE.


8 thoughts on “Thursday Numbers

    • “Who the hell could dream up such a law as the Texas abortion bill where anyone can turn in anyone else for a reward?”

      The Gestapo?

  1. Why do we need DUI laws in Montana? Our governor believes the good sense and personal responsibility of Montanans is enough to keep us from hurting each other. It’s a wildly successful approach, as evidenced by the current 0% Covid transmission rate.

    As for what our governor should do about that St. Regis sawmill and the 99 jobs, it’s simple: Call an emergency session of the legislature and get some more socialistic laws passed that prevent out of state companies from running or closing their Montana operations as they see fit, just like they did for the good of society in putting up barriers to closure of Colstrip units. Because if there’s anything our Repub lawmakers know from their philosophical bible Atlas Shrugged, it’s that businesses should be strictly regulated and coerced into running those businesses for the benefit of workers and society as a whole (not to mention Northwestern Energy shareholders), instead of selfishly serving the capitalist owners/creators of the businesses themselves.

    • Terry – thanks. I was thinking the guv could use some of the Covid money to upgrade the mill. Or, the state could invest other resources to upgrade the mill. If he doesn’t do something, the loss of jobs fall on him. -JmB

      • Investing public money in just one facility would be governmental “picking winners and losers”. We know Repubs are adamantly opposed to that. Unless it is in their district, of course.

      • Another reason cited for the mill closure is a shortage of workers. Adapting to the state as it currently is, not what it was, is not something the current administration seems to understand. Governor G needs to bring high tech to St. Regis just like he did for Bozangles.

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