The Monday Memo

Quote for the day…

You are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice. – Unknown

Today’s independent commentary deals with these issues:

  • The Western Word Poll
  • Turnover at OPI
  • Rep. Sam Graves
  • New Rule: OK, Zoomer
  • Reading Assignments


It’s the first Monday after the time change! So, this week’s poll question asks, “Time Change – which do you favor?”

Results will be released later this week.


The Montana Free Press (MTFP) reported on Friday that in the past five years, Montana’s Office of Public Instruction has experienced a turnover rate of nearly 90%, generating questions about the adequacy of agency staffing, loss of institutional knowledge, and downstream impacts on school districts statewide.

I wonder why?

The MTFP interviewed two former OPI employees who cited Superintendent Elsie Arntzen’s management style as their primary reason for accelerating their retirement plans, describing an atmosphere of intrusive behavior, condescension, and lack of understanding of agency operations.

If my math is correct, there have been Democrats running that agency for a little over 30 years, so maybe the place was full of cronies and needed some cleaning. That’s not to say I believe the current Superintendent, Elsie Arntzen, is doing a bang-up job. I think she is terrible at her job. Apparently, others do, too.

The best thing is Arntzen is finished after this term. Will Democrat Melissa Romano give it another try?

Read the full report from MTFP HERE.


Sam Graves is the 6th District Representative in Missouri – the area where I was born and spent my youth. The 6th District is very conservative, and Graves has been in office since 2001. He has accomplished very little. If the good conservative folks want to elect a conservative, that is fine. They should also elect one who accomplishes something.

I follow Graves on Facebook, and he recently posted this statement:

No American should have to choose between getting a shot and keeping their job.

I found this statement ridiculous. There are many Americans who must get “a shot” to join or stay in the military (many shots), to work in healthcare, food service, education, and probably many other places we don’t even realize.

Of course, some of his devoted followers reposted the statement and were applauding Graves for his stance. They showed that they are as ignorant as Graves.


I try to watch Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO each week. This week in his “New Rule” segment he talked about Kylie Jenner and Greta Thunberg. It was pretty good!

Watch it by clicking HERE.


Here are some articles that you should read…

Although the conservatives are cheering this, it is just a temporary stay…

I guess the headline says it all…

I think Rodgers is about through…

There’s a lot of great things for Montana in the bill. Only Jon Tester voted for it. Click HERE to review the list.


8 thoughts on “The Monday Memo

  1. Pingback: Caught My Eye… | The Western Word

  2. I didn’t get a chance to comment on the Reefer Madness item Friday, so with your indulgence will do so today, and apologies in advance for the length. It seems we have one or more members of our Great Falls Crime Task Force who are trying to use the Task Force as a backdoor to sneak their personal morals on marijuana into official City policy to try and overturn the will of the voters. Not to mention some world class idiocy on the City Commission courtesy of the usual source.

    A bit of background:

    The subject was hardly mentioned during the discovery phase of the task force. One guest speaker pointed to a Colorado drug task force report that mentioned some outcomes of legalization there, where the primary “crime” that increased was impaired driving. When GF Chief Newton presented, he said that he expected that the main thing local police might see from legalization would be some increased impaired driving. And that was it for evidence, data, and findings about the effect of legalization.

    Then when all the discovery was complete and Commissioner Tryon wrote up his initial draft of recommendations for the entire task force to consider, an item appeared recommending that the City take “all necessary steps … to prevent the coming proliferation of recreational marijuana shops in Great Falls” with some stuff about addiction and crime that was not supported by any previous testimony. These initial draft recommendations were only briefly discussed in the task force meeting of August 23, when Sheriff Slaughter made the comment that recreational marijuana is legal and not going away, and what the City really should do is work to bring the shops into the legal banking system, as well as propose a tax.

    The recommendations were revised before final deliberations took place on Sept 13 and 27, when lo and behold new subitems had appeared seemingly out of the blue, “a) Prohibit the establishment of marijuana shops within the city limits. b) By resolution, the City Commission states its position regarding recreational marijuana sales in Great Falls, and state a position of no recreational marijuana. Work with local organizations to repeal allowance of recreational marijuana in its jurisdiction using existing state law.” These additions to the recommendations were never discussed by the Task Force, at least in public. The only further discussion of the recommendation at all took place on September 27, when Tryon’s initial first sentence was briefly discussed regarding its timing, and a question “Both a and b as well?” which elicited no comment. The recommendation to overturn the will of the voters embodied in subitem b) never got a single word of discussion.

    Flash forward:

    The City Commission held a work session on November 2 for initial discussion of these recommendations. Commissioner Moe correctly pointed out that the recommendations document included no “findings”, in other words no written support for where the recommendations came from, or the data behind them, or etc. She characterized the recommendations as “untethered”. One of the items she specifically asked the Task Force chairperson about was the recreational marijuana recommendation, to the effect of “Was there ever a formal presentation about this?” to which the answer was no, there was not a formal presentation, a tacit admission that this recommendation was pretty much untethered to any actual evidence or expert testimony or whatever else the Task Force had heard. It appears someone just tossed it in there.

    The greater point that Commissioner Moe was trying to make was about how recommendations not specifically tied to findings or testimony or data as well as the task force’s inclusion of some seemingly out of the blue was going to make it hard for the Commission to sell some of these to the public. This discussion, however, was soon derailed by Commissioner Tryon going into his signature loud braying bullying mode, claiming that the wording of the Task Force creation resolution did not specifically call for for findings, just recommendations. Moe then said that because no findings were included with the recommendations it would have to be up to the Commission to come up with the backing data to sell them to the public … to which Tryon responded to the effect of, “Good, I’m glad you realize that’s the responsibility of the Commission and not the task force.”

    Now can you imagine, ever, in business, if you were tasked with doing a study or task force for something like whether or not your business should undertake a costly major expansion somewhere, like say what Amazon did in selecting new headquarters locations, and all you came back with was, “Yes we should. It should be in Austin. And the XYZ Company should get the contract to build it.” And then, when the board of directors asks you where’s the data and study and analysis supporting those recommendations your response was, “You want data and study and analysis? You go get that yourself to shoehorn our recommendations in backasswards, including the ones we just threw in there out of the blue.” But somehow this is acceptable in City government? Preposterous.

    Personally I am unlikely to ever visit any legal pot shop, but this business of public officials trying to overturn and/or subvert the will of the voters as expressed in resolutions they approved just makes me see red. They did it with the gambling resolution back in the 70’s, they did it with a couple medical marijuana resolutions, they tried to do it with the resolution about open pit mining and cyanide heap leaching, most recently they tried to do it with the recreational marijuana resolution, and probably many other resolutions I forget. And now we have one or more members of this Crime Task Force trying to use the task force to sneak in their own personal beliefs that would make it official City policy to try and overturn the will of the voters yet again. Total BS.

    • Terry – great information. Thanks for presenting it. As for your not visiting the pot shop, that’s fine. As for me, i will. I’d ask for something “like a light beer” with not too much kick! Lol.
      Thanks again, JmB

  3. Might I offer a more plausible explanation as to why the exodus at OPI? Btw, Jackie, your cynicism is showing. The vast majority of people in the field of education are there because they care greatly about kids and want to be their advocates when no one else will. I seriously doubt cronyism at OPI. You have to remember these folks are professionals. Most have spent their time in the trenches. They’ve earned their stripes in the classroom. If they happen to be Democrats, it’s because it’s the party of education. Always has been.

    I suspect that the reason that people are leaving is because they can’t stand working for someone who is so stupid that they believe that CRT is real and threatening public education. I call it Chimerical Race Theory. It simply doesn’t exist except in their minds. How can a professional educator in good conscience work to advance goals that are antithetical to public Ed? And that is exactly what all this nonsense about CRT is. And now we have a seriously ethically challenged AG to support her. It’s kind of a lose/lose situation. If you do your job well, you destroy what you love.

  4. Graves’ post cracked me up. No one is having to choose /between/ getting a shot and keeping their job. If your employee is mandating the vaccine, you can get the shot, AND keep your job! Win-win!

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