Caught My Eye…

As we wind down to the end of the year, there seems to be a lot happening. Here are some of my thoughts and commentary on matters that recently caught my eye.

The topics include:

  • Tryon versus Taylor
  • Great Falls Taxes
  • Elsie Arntzen
  • January 6 Committee
  • TikTok
  • Susan Gianforte


Over at the MAGA conservative E-City Beat blog, they are pretty good at not adding their name to hit pieces about members of the Democratic party.

Recently “ECB Staff” posted a story about local progressive Jasmine Taylor getting banned from Twitter. When I checked Twitter, Taylor was still there, but maybe she removed the post that got her banned.

Taylor posted a response to the story titled, “Tryon Continues Obsession with Local Woman.”

The opening graph from Taylor kind of says it all:

If there’s one tax credit I can claim every year, it’s the one I get for living rent-free in Commissioner Rick Tryon’s head. Tryon, like many an aging Republican, has a long history of targeting women. Women in politics. Women in leadership. Hell, even women he’s never met outside of a Facebook comments section. That’s why I know that although I am the current object of Rick’s unblinking attention, I am but the latest in his long history of targeting women who are too loud for his liking.

You know she is spot-on about Republicans targeting “loud” women,” “women in politics,” and “women in leadership.”

Read the complete response from Taylor HERE.


It looks like the citizens of Great Falls will get their taxes increased next year, but maybe not as much as first thought. That is after The Western Word and other folks complained about it.

The Electric reported this piece of information:

At the time, commissioners said they wanted to pursue the best option until the finance office explained the cost impact to taxpayers, which would have been an estimated 191 percent tax increase.
When City Manager Greg Doyon returned to town, he told commissioners in a work session that was not likely to be palatable to the taxpayer and that they should look at a different mix of options.

So, those commissioners were all in until they were brought back down to earth.

I don’t want my taxes raised at all, but I do support taxes that educate people – like taxes for public schools, and I have said from the beginning that I would support a levy for the local library. I said I would support the levy for the library to help educate the ignorant MAGA folks roaming around Cascade County. Plus, we need to ensure that the less fortunate in the community have access to the local library.

You can read The Electric report HERE.


The Electric reported that Montana Office of Public Instruction Superintendent Elsie Arntzen held a community forum Dec. 19 in Heritage Hall at Great Falls College MSU.

It was also reported that the event didn’t appear to have a structured format or focus and Arntzen said they were there to share their voices as a community.

While Arntzen came across as unprepared, a few local MAGA legislators like Daniel Emrich and Scot Kerns should have kept their mouths shut and just listened and learned. It’s the one mouth two ears philosophy.

Check out the full report from The Electric HERE.


Will anything happen with the report from the January 6 committee? I kind of doubt it. I watched the hearing, and the information was alarming.

We’re hearing from a few Republicans who are turning on Donald Trump. That reminds me of the 2016 campaign season when there were a lot of Republicans against Trump until they found out he was going to be the nominee. It’s all about who can butter your bread in politics.

With the committee’s final report and the Trump taxes being released, people should realize that Trump is even more of a scumbag than we thought.


I think the ban on TikTok is ridiculous. It’s an overreaction to a nothing burger.

I probably spend more time on TikTok than on Twitter or Facebook these days. I have an account (@BigSky1959). I also have accounts with Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Truth Social to name a few.


There is a Facebook post from Governor Gianforte from a while back, but I wanted to comment about First Lady Susan Gianforte killing a deer with a slug from her 20-gauge shotgun.

Congratulations to the First Lady.

As a pre-teen and then teenager, I used to hunt with a 20-gauge single-shot shotgun and during deer season I used slugs. You had to be really close. I could not afford a rifle to hunt deer.

Overall, the First Lady impressed me. By the way, I think she could afford a deer rifle, but maybe she is more familiar with the shotgun.

Here comes a story from my younger years…

One time I was duck hunting (I was not using slugs) with that 20-gauge and called in some mallards near my blind. I shot the first duck, and the spent shell would not eject. The word got out to the other ducks, and they all decided to land while I was trying to get my shotgun to operate.

I was so mad that when my dad picked me up, I said I wanted a new shotgun. A few days later we purchased a Remington Model 870 12 Gauge pump action shotgun. That was around 1970 and I still have that gun today. I gave up hunting several years ago as there are too many hoops to jump through, but I have (mostly) great memories from all those outings.



21 thoughts on “Caught My Eye…

  1. Glad to read in a previous comment you are recovering nicely.

    So many interesting topic to comment about today.

    Great Falls Taxes:

    Based on this past Tuesday’s work session meeting, it seems as though the commission is creeping towards a concept the fire chief termed “Good+” that would fall somewhere between Good and Better. Though the new fire annual number is pretty close to the original Better.

    The Legal department also outlined its needs and told the commission how overwhelmed it was, starting with a slide that showed Great Falls is issuing more-to-far-more citations per capita than any other example large city in Montana. No wonder our city courts are overwhelmed. So why is our city policing its citizens so much harder than any other Montana city? Can’t help but think back to a Crime Task Force discussion about why citations and thus City revenue had fallen (due to a change in State law), as if citations were a way of treating the citizenry like an ATM.

    And yes you are correct the commission was all for 191% until it wasn’t. That can be seen at the end of the November 15 work session video when the finance director informed the commissioners just how much a $36 million ask would cost homeowners in taxes. Which, oddly, they seem to have had little clue about up until right then. Even with those tax numbers in hand the discussion continued seemingly rationalizing it, “Only $100 a month to feel safe in your home!”, “All we can do is put the question, it’s the public that will decide”, and Commissioner Tryon stating he would most certainly vote yes for that ask. By this past Tuesday things had somehow changed to the point Commissioner Tryon felt compelled to make a point on record that he was NOT in favor of raising our taxes 191%, the community just can’t afford that! (And IIRC claimed he never had been, but don’t quote me).

    The same session Tuesday also featured a presentation from the library about a public levy for them (they want $59 on a $200k property). We’re also looking at the two minor tax increases imposed by the City and County last summer ($17 and $10 annually, IIRC), plus the new County levy passed on the November ballot ( $36 on $200k), none of which has yet appeared yet on our tax bill I don’t think. Voters could be seeing a noticeable increase on their tax bill next Fall right at the same time the City is going to be asking for an additional $500/yr or whatever Good+ turns out to be. Then add the $10M or $20M or whatever bond(s) for new fire stations. Good thing everyone living in GF on Social Security got a raise this year … but don’t walk around thinking it has any chance of staying in your own pocket.

    Elsie Arntzen:

    Our SOPI spent that entire meeting floating around the hall repeating in a soft and soothing kumbaya sort of way that the meeting was all about communication, and dialogue, and talking with our legislators, and each other, about education and the kids, and yada yada. But my immediate question was if that’s the case then why the hell was this meeting so poorly publicized in advance by her department? Instead we only learned about it when schools Supt. Moore made a big stink about not getting an invite, just a couple days ahead of the fact. If you’re truly holding an honest public listening session without some ulterior motive, send out press releases to all the news outlets weeks in advance, for God’s sake. You have the full PR machinery of the State of Montana at your disposal.

    Most of our local legislators were in attendance including your own Kerns (who then proceeded to walk out early) and seemed pretty reasonable and said mostly the right things when it was their turn to speak. The complaint Kerns had about getting information didn’t seem out of line. It’s an issue at all levels of government. All seemed reasonable, that is, except one who seems to have it in for school administrators and publicly exhibited some serious disrespect for them – while addressing Moore. He managed to elicit quite a chorus of grumbles, groans, no’s, and maybe even a boo or two from the audience. I think he also said he was going to focus on championing school choice this session.

    The makeup of the crowd may have surprised Arntzen, as it was heavily pro-teacher and pro-public schools. For the most part everyone was pretty civil, aside from the evil administrators episode, which also motivated one obviously anti-public schools woman near me to turn and tell another woman to “shut up”. Nice behavior. There were a few testy questions but they were deftly defused.
    No wingnuts spouting CRT or any of that nonsense.

    Despite the overwhelming positive support for public schools shown at this meeting, I personally have zero faith that any of the hardline Republican legislators’ minds were moved. Good of them as well as the moderate ones to make an appearance, at any rate.

    Tryon vs Taylor:

    I personally don’t think that ECB piece on Taylor was written by Tryon himself. Doesn’t seem his style, and he’s usually not afraid of affixing his name to his opinions. That blog has another writer (or two) in its stable who dutifully leaps to Tryon’s defense at every turn, going back a long time, as well as a habit of regularly demonizing Taylor just as a matter of course. The he or she behind ECB Staff has a tell of gratuitously mentioning at every opportunity Taylor’s failed tries at pubic office as was the case yet again in this latest piece, while ignoring all their buddy Tryon’s own several elections failures before finally running into an election he could win. I give Rick credit for more self-awareness than that.

    Mildly interesting note about that “ECB Staff” entity: Back in the day when ECB still got comments on its blog submissions the “ECB Staff” entity as moderator used to insist very shrilly and stridently that it was a hard and fast blog rule that everyone had to use their full real name when posting comments. He or she would remove comments and/or block commenters that did not comply – unless of course it was some rando commenting, “I agree with your post entirely! So awful!” ECB Staff acted totally oblivious, apparently, to “ECB Staff” being no one’s real name and the fact that “ECB Staff” regularly contributes anonymous smear pieces like this latest against Taylor. It’s a wonderful world of hypocrisy out there.

      • One thing I forgot to include in my lengthy comments above:

        The SOPI is to be commended for the effort of at least holding an open, unstructured public Q&A/comment session. So many of our other elected officials never bother at all, only talk informally to invited guests in closed meetings, or wall up behind the safety of the highly regimented public meeting format of no Q&A, limited comments primarily on scheduled agenda items, etc. So good for her.

  2. Hope your recovery is going well, I’d also like to say how much I enjoy your blog and the comments. Happy Hollidays.

    • Bill – Thank you! I saw my surgeon this week and he says after two more weeks of taking it easy I should be good to go. – JmB

  3. Super MAGA versus Super Woman! Tryon v. Krypton! Poor widdle Ricky. He doesn’t understand that his super powers only work in MAGA world. Whenever he ventures out into the real world to act tough and encounters a woman king from Krypton, like Jasmine, he gets his ass handed to him! So for you folks new to town, if you’re out and about and run into a guy holding his ass in his hands, that’s one of our city commissioners! Super powers don’t come with super brains!

  4. I bet that deer will be delicious since it feasted on bridger creek golf course grass all summer. and yes that picture is 100% from their property that is adjacent to the golf course. so proud of her though. shooting a deer that is largely desensitized to the presence of people.
    also she’ not allowed to use a rifle it’s a weapons restricted area.

    • Sumthin’ real strange about a billionaire popping a deer. Seems that all the commenters thought that that makes her a real Montanan now. I think it makes her look a little feeble minded. If you’re a billionaire, why would you eat deer meat when you can afford the best Montana beef in the world? True Montanans who hunt are are peasants looking to put meat on their tables because they can’t afford filet mignon at every meal. But they are NOT stupid enough to pass up great Montana grass fed organic beef for a stinky old buck! I would lay you money she probably donates the meat to some “appreciative” peasants like a food bank and gloats about in her Bible studies class. Loaves and fishes you know. For God’s sake if you’re gonna be a robber baron, ACT like one!

      • I am not sure what they do with the deer meat. I hope they donate it to the less fortunate. Too many people go hungry in this country. -JmB

      • On purpose? Or for propaganda purposes. Guess they weren’t raised on it. Ask ANYONE who was raised on wild game. See which they prefer, premium beef or wild meat. I happen to love wild game meat. But given a choice, I’ll take great beef every time. Wild game is just too risky. Most folks end up chuckin’ out a bunch after a while. That’s just the way it is. Or takin’ it down to the Rescue Mission. Anyone who says they prefer game meat is a liar. Gianfortes have a lot to learn before they can claim to be native Montanans.

      • Agree with you on game taste, Larry.

        Murdered my one and only (mule) deer lifetime up by Alice Creek the same year I took hunter safety, so maybe I was 13 or 14? It was godawful to eat so I vowed no more, ever. But then the next year I lost my head and proceeded to murder my one and only antelope lifetime, way up on the side of Crown Butte. That thing made the deer taste like finest filet mignon. My big game hunting career was officially over, forever.

        But there’s people who like it. And someone has to get those deer off our roads.

      • Alice Creek! You mean mosquito heaven! I used to fish that fifty years ago, but had to quit while I still had some flesh on my bones! The mosquitoes were voracious. The beaver ponds were amazing. A fish every cast. Little Brook Trout. But I hear that Giantforte, in his attempt to become a real Montanan, is even considering making a movie staring himself and his family, and how they had it so tough they lived on wild game instead of raiding their billions in the bank for world class beef! The movie is to be called, based on a true story, Dances With Collared Wolf! It’s a story about how just before the Gianfortes succumbed to starvation, Greg had a vision about a wolf tied in the wilderness. And sure enough, he found it. And shot it. And that wolf meat sustained Greg until he became governor. And now, all the tribes refer to him as he who dances with collared wolf! True story.

      • We used to fish by Alice Creek too, but more where it joined the Blackfoot in those beaver ponds south of 200, back in the day before the Mike Horse mine retention pond washed out and poisoned the whole river. We were just kids then but were very proud of those little brook trout. And damn they made good breakfast.

        My deer murder happened occurred up the road and almost over the ridge and into the Landers Fork drainage, on the Fickler ranch, close to Silver King Lake. Could probably still find the spot today. But alas the day when who your uncle knew got you onto private land is long gone, especially when your uncle is also long gone.

        By the way, if you’re hankering for an old-timey mosquito experience, try fishing Highwood Creek after a good flood. Can hardly see your buddy in front of you for the fuzzy cloud of mosquitos. Thank the good Lord for bestowing 100% Deet upon mankind.

        The main question I have about Gianforte’s wild game cooking and eating career is how did that mountain lion taste, the one he murdered out of a tree after (allegedly) someone else treed the thing and called him to come and take the manly-man kill shot from maybe 40 feet below the tree. We all know a real Montanan does not waste meat.

        Have a good Christmas, Larry. As well as all the blog’s commenters, readers, all their kids, and especially the boss Mr. Brown.

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