Caught My Eye…

Happy Veterans Day – thank you to all my fellow veterans for your service.

Quote for the Day…

A Veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life. ― José N. Harris

Caught My Eye (CME) is the once-a-week column posted every Friday morning. This is when I look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week.

Here are a few things that “Caught My Eye” this week:

  • Zinke – Tranel
  • Gustafson – Brown
  • More Ballots in Cascade County
  • Personal News


The Decision Desk called the race for Ryan Zinke (R) around 8:46 pm Montana time on Wednesday. The Associated Press called the race for Zinke around 8:31 am on Thursday.

Zinke beat Democrat Monica Tranel 50%-46%.

Back in April of this year, when I heard that Zinke was running, I said that unless he screws things up, he should win. There was a ton of shit thrown at him and he is probably the least-liked statewide elected official, but the haters can now call him Congressman-Elect Zinke.

I think Tranel put up a good fight. Thursday afternoon the Tranel campaign released a very well-written statement. She should have stopped with the statement. Tranel gave a speech Thursday and almost every report about her speech on Thursday contained the word, “tearful.” It’s not like she does not have a job and will be out on the streets because of the loss. “Tearful” is not the way you want voters to remember you.

I do hope that our two members of the U.S. House don’t get wandering eyes. We need to build some seniority for Montana in the U.S. House.

U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D) is next up for the Republicans to go after, (he’s the only statewide elected Democrat left), so they could go after him, although I think someone like Austin Knudsen will try to take him on (and fail).


The supporters (many of them MAGA folks) of James Brown for Montana Supreme Court were crying foul about “dark money” winning the race for incumbent Justice Ingrid Gustafson.

Brown in his concession speech said:

“We fell short after a hard-fought campaign where we were significantly outspent by special interest groups and saw millions of dollars in liberal money flood the state in the final weeks of this race.”

I would have figured that Brown would have had all the money he needed to win the race. On one local TV station, I was seeing two Brown ads to one Gustafson ad.

It’s too bad that elected officials endorsed the candidates in this non-partisan race.

Since Brown wanted to change jobs, it would be the adult thing for him to resign from the Public Service Commission.

Since Brown was supported by the MAGA crowd, I could not vote for him. I had concerns about a vote for Gustafson because of her stance on drunk driving.

This is what I wrote about Gustafson in December 2017:

Back in 2008, John Patrick Carey who had worked for then U.S. Senator Max Baucus on his campaign and Senate staff was driving a vehicle intoxicated and had an accident that killed his passenger – a young man named Matt Wilder. Wilder was 28 years old.

It was Carey’s third DUI. He was convicted of vehicular homicide and sentenced to 15 years at Montana State Prison, with five years suspended.

In 2010 as a District Court Judge, Gustafson basically threw that sentence out. Carey spent about two years incarcerated. The other eight years were suspended. He is now on probation. The Deputy County Attorney was against it. The family of Matt Wilder was against it. But the Montana District Court Judge, Ingrid Gustafson, was for it so Carey is free.

Judge Gustafson made a silly remark saying, “I’m not sure I can measure (the value of) a person’s life by the number of years we can put someone else in prison.”

That was the reason I was wary about voting for her.


I saw that KMON radio is reporting that there are about 130 ballots that still need to be counted in Cascade County.

That may not sound like much, but KMON reports that Cascade County Elections Director incumbent Democrat Rina Fontana-Moore is trailing by just 20 votes in the race to challenger Republican Sandra Merchant.

The count will be held Monday at 3:00 pm.


I will be posting columns intermittently from now until January. I have been scheduled for surgery on November 23 and should be in the hospital for 5-7 days with six weeks of recovery at home.

For those of you who pray, I would appreciate your prayers.

I hope by 2023 I will be pain-free, off antibiotics and pain pills, and back to annoying those on the left and the right.



23 thoughts on “Caught My Eye…

  1. Good analysis, but very sad. What to do, what to do, especially when so many people now seem to be uneducable to the point they enjoy and revel in voting against their own best interests? These folks are out to pasture, literally it seems, because they prefer to live in the outlying areas, in trumplandia.

    “The federal government provides half of what we operate on for two years, which is a lot of money,” Gist said. “How do we become more independent of that?”


  2. Jackie, Happy Veterans Day from a fellow Veteran from Polson! Well I hear hospital food has improved lately,but missing Thanksgiving Dinner at home is a heartbreak. I wish you well in your surgery and recovery. I certainly will miss you in the early morning for your calm well informed,thought out articles. It’s second thing I do in morning after making coffee is to read your site. Just stay positive,keep those Chiefs winning and I looking forward to hear from you in 2023.

  3. It is only fitting that the candidate who defended the worst dark money offender that’s so far come to light in Montana would be done in by out-of-state and dark money. Or at least claim he was. Just like every other losing campaign does.

    Like you I don’t believe for a minute that the party of billionaires, corporations, and PAC’s that are nothing but fronts for dark money was outspent, particularly in a contest that would mean so much to would-be tinhorns, Christian nationalists, and robber barons as far as undermining the “socialist rag” Montana constitution and its protections for things like privacy, freedom of religion and a clean and healthy environment.

    But no tears for the Republicans. They now have more than 2/3 of both the state house and senate. Coupled with Gianforte’s new power to hand pick judges for openings I suspect they’ll get their conservative majority on the supreme court by hook or by crook.

    Along with everyone else I wish you the best for your surgery and recovery.

    • I thought it was fitting, too, but you explained it better than I could.
      Thanks for the well wishes! -JmB

  4. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. You will be missed. Don’t watch too much
    foot ball 🙂

  5. We are at that age, aren’t we? At least I am. I’ve had five surgeries and a heart attack since I turned sixty-five six years ago. The medical community saved my life at least twice. I had incredible doctors, nurses, etc. I can’t thank them enough. I for one am someone who really appreciates our medical community in Great Falls. That’s why when I see MAGAs introducing bizarre bills in the legislature designed to scare doctors out of the state, I become enraged. They are idiots who don’t care what happens as a result of their bullsh*t and how it affects others.

    Speaking of MAGAs, when they cheer on these idiot senators who openly say they plan to do away with Medicaire, it boggles my mind. There’s stupid, then there’s MAGA stupid. Because I have Medicaire part A and B and a supplement, after deductibles I ended up paying nothing. Why should we give that away for more tax breaks for billionaires? As was noted about one of our local MAGA candidates who won, they are uneducable! And always will be apparently.

    And yes, I’m hoping and praying all goes well with your surgery. I’ve grown so used to reading your blog first thing in the morning that I’ll be lost without it. Get well as soon as you can and hurry back. Someone has to keep the MAGAs honest! And as in hockey, you’re the enforcer!

  6. Monica
    Tears galore. Bitter too. Just watched the speech. She said she was spit on. Find that hard to believe.

    • With the toilet politics is in these days, I would not put it past someone to spit on a candidate.
      Thanks, JmB

  7. Good Luck with your surgery and recovery! My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    In the sometimes insane world of Montana politics you have been a voice of reason.


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