The Monday Memo

Here are some topics that caught my attention:

  • Tester’s Restaurant Bills
  • Johnson Accolades
  • Hello, Berlin


About 10 years ago I made fun of U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) for taking a roller suitcase full of meat to Washington, D.C. so he could have some Montana beef to prepare for his meals. I think he did a campaign commercial about it.

I joked in one column that I hoped he would give me a roller suitcase full of meat just for writing about it. That did not happen.

Recently, the Washington Free Beacon, which leans to the right, ran a story about Tester’s dining habits in Washington, D.C.

The Free Beacon reports:

“Tester’s campaign and leadership PAC have dropped at least $1.2 million at restaurants and on catered events since 2006, including more than $270,000 at restaurants since 2019, according to campaign finance records.”

I thought going all the way back to 2006 was interesting so I did a little math. By the way, Tester did not take office until January 2007. From January 1, 2006, to today comes out to about 6,280 days. If his campaign and political action committee spent $1.2 million for food, that comes out to about $191 per day, which would buy some nice meals in many places, but not D.C.

The bottom line is for that $191 a day, I bet the Tester folks brought in five times that in donations to his campaign. Wining and dining are the way it’s done in big-time politics. The folks eating the food and drinking the wine are making an investment. They eat, drink, and donate. It’s legal.

Of course, some “journalists” can make legal things seem illegal.

While the Free Beacon’s story might make a reader with little political knowledge go “ah-ha,” it’s really a nothingburger.

You can read the Free Beacon story HERE.


It has been a pleasure to read many of the accolades about former Lee Newspapers reporter Chuck Johnson, who recently passed away.

My prayers go out to his family, friends, and colleagues.

Johnson followed The Western Word and would often “Like” some of my Tweets. Interestingly enough, he had liked a couple of my Tweets, and in the Twitter notifications, a follower had retweeted my tweet about his death. I bet that does not happen very often in Twitter land. (See it HERE).

In keeping with The Western Word rule of not picking on or attacking the dead because they can’t defend themselves (I wish other so-called journalists would have the same rules), here are some thoughts about Johnson.

Overall, I think Johnson was very good at his job. Back in 2006, he pissed me off a lot, but then he made me smile a few times since then with his stories. As my former boss said a few times, “You can’t fight those who buy ink by the barrel.”

I happened to see a story in the Montana Free Press (MTFP) about Johnson from two of his former colleagues, Bob Anez and Mike Dennison.

In case you forgot, I made comments about Dennison’s book HERE.

One part of their column caught my attention:

In 2005, Jennifer McKee was a reporter working alongside Johnson at the Lee Newspapers State Bureau when they began investigating connections between Montana U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns and corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
National publications had broken some stories initially, but McKee and Johnson started looking more closely at lobbying records and soon had their own series of damning stories, with McKee, at age 29, taking the lead.

Take it from me, most of the stories McKee wrote were basically talking points from the Montana Democrats and the National Democrats.

Nobody on his staff, or Burns, was found to have done anything wrong. No charges were ever filed against Burns and/or his staff, and nobody went to prison as the Montana Democrats alleged would happen.

Is it any wonder that after the “yellow journalism” during the campaign of 2006 that newspapers started circling the drain?

You can read the MTFP story HERE.


CNN reports:

Berlin’s authorities took action after a female swimmer said she was prevented from attending one of the city’s pools without covering her chest in December 2022. The woman lodged a complaint with the city’s ombudsman’s office at the Senate Department for Justice, Diversity, and Anti-Discrimination.
Authorities agreed that the woman had been a victim of discrimination and this week said that all visitors to Berlin’s pools, including women and those who identify as non-binary, are permitted to go topless.

This might be the place to head for your next vacation…



3 thoughts on “The Monday Memo

  1. I don’t know what the meal or snacks are but I’ve read Sen. Tester is fund raising in Palo Alto (Silicon Valley) tonight.
    Yes, Conrad got screwed with the reporting in that election.

    • The fundraising travels are pretty tough. He should raise some major bucks in Palo Alto to make up for the travel. Thanks, JmB

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