Thursday Numbers

If you listen to your fears, you will die never knowing what a great person you might have been. – Robert H. Schuller

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

This week’s topics include the Powerball jackpot, an interesting business proposal, Greg Gianforte, Steve Bullock, TWW poll, unemployment, privately funded congressional trips, a big concert, U.S. Senator Bob Bennett, Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Facebook shares, veterans, Cleveland Cavaliers, Pittsburgh Penguins/Washington Capitals, sleep, and much more!

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Haters Gonna Hate

I posted a column late Thursday night after learning of the death of my former boss, U.S. Senator Conrad Burns. The Great Falls Tribune picked up the whole column and it was published in their Saturday paper.

Overall, the comments to my column were pretty good. I heard from people all across the fruited plains via email. It was nice to hear from some old friends, too.

Former press secretaries for Burns, Matt Mackowiak and Derek Hunter, wrote columns about Senator Burns in the past few days. You can read Matt’s column HERE and Derek’s column HERE.

One comment posted in the Great Falls Tribune from gadfly Howard Strause brought up some things from Burns’ past, and he closed his comment with “By the way, a Burns staffer was caught deleting some of Burns statements from Wikipedia and inserting glowing comments. Wonder who that was?”

I guess I must confess; it was not me who edited the Wikipedia entry. So that leaves about 500 other suspects.

I don’t know what on God’s green earth that has to do with the death of a U.S. Senator, but if Howard Strause wants to come over to my yard,, and leave his cheap comments, he is more than welcome. School is in session.

I guess in the words of Taylor Swift, “Haters gonna hate.”

I have always thought it was in poor taste to go after people after they were dead. My parents taught me to not speak ill of the dead. I guess some folks didn’t learn that lesson. It’s been interesting to see the commentaries after the death of Burns.

Some liberal blogs had some nice posts, but some of the comments were not so nice. Over at the Intelligent Discontent blog, Pete Talbot wrote:

Burns was a down-to-earth guy and, from what I’ve heard, he provided excellent constituent services. Never underestimate the value of constituent services. Having issues with Social Security, Medicare, Veteran benefits? A call to one of Conrad’s field offices and often, the problem was solved.

It’s nice that some folks understand that Burns is no longer running for political office. Some not so much.

The Great Falls Tribune editorial board disappointed me with their editorial in Sunday’s paper.

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The Sunday Message

No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather. ― Michael Prichard

The first time I heard part of that quote was from former U.S. Senator Conrad Burns. Conrad passed away this week, so he has been in my thoughts.

I can’t remember which senator Conrad said he was talking to (it may have been Robert Byrd). The other senator was complaining in private to Conrad that he was pretty much hated by members of his own party because of some tough votes he made or because of some appropriation requests that he turned down. The other senator said that he was so disliked that probably nobody would even come to his funeral if he died today. Conrad told him he shouldn’t worry about that because the size of his funeral would pretty much depend on the weather.

That is probably pretty true – at least from my experience with funerals.

During one of my parent’s funerals, the weather was terrible. It was one of those days in Missouri when the freezing rain basically stopped everything. Luckily the service was held at the same location as the cemetery where my mother or father was to be buried.

The pellets of snow and freezing rain bounced off the umbrellas as the final words were said. People were shivering and when the short final prayer ended, people quickly left.

When my sister died, the services were held at the same cemetery. It was so hot – almost 100 degrees that we kind of moved away from the gravesite so we could stand in the shade of a nearby tree to get out of the sweltering sun. It was also a short service.

As I grow older I think of funerals and things like that. Especially after someone I know dies.

I told my wife that I did not want a funeral because probably nobody would attend. I also wanted to be cremated and my ashes scattered in Montana and, if possible, near my boyhood home of Mill Grove, Missouri (Google it).

She told me that she would consider it, but I would be dead. She said she would do what she wanted. I think she was joking…

I do know that when my time is up that I am going to Heaven. Are you?

Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours. – Yogi Berra

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Caught My Eye…

Note: I received word yesterday that former United States Senator Conrad Burns died. He was 81.

As many of you know, I had the honor of working for Conrad for about 12 years on his U.S. Senate staff. You can read my commentary about Burns and a few stories about my time with him by clicking HERE.

My condolences go to his family and friends.


Welcome to the big show to end the week – “Caught My Eye” (CME). It’s also the last CME of April!

If you are a first-time visitor, CME is posted right here every Friday morning. This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. I often throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – maybe both.

Topics this week include Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, KRTV’s Expert, Tongue River Railroad, Columnist, and much more.

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Caught My Eye…

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life

-“Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince
(June 7, 1958-April 21, 2016) RIP

Welcome to the big show to end the week – “Caught My Eye” (CME).

If you are a first-time visitor, CME is posted right here every Friday morning. This is when I take a look at some of the stories I did not have time to write about during the week. I often throw in a touch of sarcasm to make you smile – or to irritate you just a little – maybe both.

Topics this week include State Rep. Randy Pinocci & Fairfield Sun Times, the conspiracy, Armed Forces Reserve Center, Gianforte & Facebook, Drunk Driving, the Governor’s Plane, Curt Schilling, Earth Day, and much more!

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Monday’s Odds & Ends

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. – Robin Williams

Hello Monday! We are starting the last week of January, so hang in there! We’re just a week away from the Iowa Caucus!

It’s time for another odds and ends edition from the past weekend! When there are several stories out there that I want to comment about, I combine them into one column and call it “Potpourri” or “Odds & Ends” or something catchy to get your attention.

Today’s topics include:

  • Gianforte Kickoff
  • Conrad Burns
  • National Review
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Super Bowl 50
  • Snow Totals in Washington, D.C.

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Political Donations & Selective Amnesia

There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour. -Benjamin Disraeli

Political parties are so darned predictable, but they are fun to watch!

At about 10:15 a.m. Monday morning I laughed out loud. Why? I received an e-mail from the Montana Republican Party with the subject, “Will Tester Return Menendez’s Tainted Money?”

In case you missed last week’s “Thursday Numbers” column, I wrote about U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) being indicted on corruption charges (14 counts). Menendez has not been found guilty of anything.

According to the Montana GOP, U.S. Senator Jon Tester “received $10,000 of Senator Menendez’s tainted money.”

After that piece of information, the Montana GOP threw in a statement to make people think they genuinely care about people: “Montanans deserve to know why Senator Tester won’t do the right thing and return the $10,000 of tainted campaign cash he received from Menendez.”

Thank you Montana GOP for telling us what we deserve to know.

The fact is that most Montanans just don’t care. It’s just a political “gotcha” game that looks silly from the sidelines.

I must stop and applaud the Montana Republican Party. They did accomplish part of their mission – and that was to get the mainstream media to do a story about their “concerns.” A reporter for the USA Today writing for the Great Falls Tribune wrote close to 400 words Monday afternoon about Tester receiving a donation from Menendez. He was even able to get a quote from an associate professor of political science who is not from Montana State University – great googly moogly!

I was actually impressed with the speed with which the USA Today reporter, Christopher Doering, was able to get this story posted. Political parties and politicians will take note of this. His inbox will fill quickly.

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