Caught My Eye…

So I still hope, as you write your stories, and I appeal to America, that let’s not let this maybe last thing that’s held sacred in our society — a young man, young woman going out and giving his or her life for our country — let’s try to somehow keep that sacred. – Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, (USMC retired) (10/19/17)

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 that I am providing commentary about today include Chief of Staff John Kelly, U.S. Senate & the Budget, Crowd Sizes, Tapper vs O’Reilly, Dumpster Dozing, and One More Thing!

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The Western Word Poll: Gorsuch

Should U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch be confirmed by the U.S. Senate?

If you do not see the poll, click on “Continue Reading”

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Published in: on March 21, 2017 at 7:30 am  Comments (1)  
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Wednesday’s Quick Hits

It is always easier to believe than to deny. Our minds are naturally affirmative. – John Burroughs

Welcome to Wednesday! Here are some of “Wednesday’s Quick Hits” about these important issues:

  • The Senate Gun Votes
  • An Energy Plan
  • Privatize VA Care?
  • Columbus Day

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Thursday Numbers

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and 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 St. Patrick’s Day & Guinness, unemployment, Missouri Presidential Primary, Marco Rubio & Florida, Supreme Court nominee poll, Western Art Week, Mansfield-Metcalf Dinner, State offices for Tester & Daines, NCAA brackets, and much more!

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Politics 2016: The President’s Supreme Court Nominee

Here are some of my thoughts on President Barack Obama nominating Federal Judge Merrick Garland to the U.S. Supreme Court.

President Obama’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court should get an up or down vote. The Republican-controlled Senate should allow this. It is also up to the President to nominate someone who can get the required votes in that Republican-controlled Senate to be confirmed.

Whether Republicans like it or not their argument that Americans need a say in this process is hogwash. Americans did speak – they elected Barack Obama (twice).

As of today, there are 310 days left in the President’s term. By nominating Merrick Garland, the President has done his constitutional duties. Garland was confirmed before (1997) to the Federal Court (76-23) with 32 Republicans voting for him.

The Republicans in the Senate should do their constitutional duty.

For a Republican U.S. Senator (or a Democrat Senator if the tables were turned) to come out and say they will oppose any hearing or votes for the President’s nominee to the Supreme Court is one of the reasons people are mad as hell at the Federal government. It’s also one of the reasons the job approval rating for Congress is around 13%.

There are very few statesmen and stateswomen left in Washington, let alone adults.

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Wednesday’s Odds & Ends

I grew tired of using “potpourri” so I am using “odds and ends” today. Who knows, I may move up to hodgepodge or miscellany next time there are several stories to write about.

The “Odds & Ends” today include these topics:

  • Sage Grouse
  • Brad Johnson
  • The Abortion Vote
  • Hillary & Keystone & the Pope
  • Scott Walker
  • Yogi Berra
  • TWW’s New Look

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Lead, Follow, or…

Congress argued until about two hours before the deadline Friday night to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It was fun to watch if you enjoy politics. If you don’t enjoy politics, then you would probably compare it to a root canal.

The approved funding is only good for one week, so the soap opera may play out again later this week.  Keep your Friday evening open…

Overall, it was not a good showing by the Republicans. They have the majorities in the House and Senate, but are so divided that they could not pass a three-week extension. They played a game of chicken with the Democrats, and lost.

The problem with the DHS bill is that Republicans wanted to attach language to the bill that would defund the President’s “executive order to shield several million illegal immigrants from deportation.” The Senate could not pass the bill with the executive order language in it; the House did pass it.

A federal district court judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction on the executive actions which gave the Republicans some momentum, but that still did not stop them from messing it up.

The Democrats had their own problem with this little victory. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent an e-mail early Saturday morning saying, “Republicans forced a shutdown of Homeland Security. It started at MIDNIGHT last night.”

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Published in: on March 2, 2015 at 7:12 am  Comments Off on Lead, Follow, or…  
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DHS Funding: A Game of Chicken

Unless Congress acts, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is due to run out of funding in about nine days (February 28).

If DHS isn’t funded, it won’t be the end of the world. There will still be people at the airport to screen passengers and at the border to welcome folks to the good ol’ USA. These people may not be smiling much, because according to several reports those folks are “essential personnel” and they get to stay on the job, but would not receive paychecks.

According to the Washington Post’s editorial board, here is the root of the problem:

The (DHS funding) bill passed by House Republicans would defund Mr. Obama’s executive order to shield several million illegal immigrants from deportation. In the kabuki theater of Congress, the bill has followed a predictable course. It has been taken up three times in the Senate, where it lacks the 60 votes needed to clear procedural hurdles, and three times it has been filibustered by Democrats, just as Mr. Boehner and every other member of Congress knew it would be.

Late Monday another issue came up thanks to a Federal judge:

President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration have been halted temporarily, thanks to a preliminary injunction issued late Monday by a federal district court judge in Texas.

The injunction does not seem to bother the Democrats, probably because they know it won’t last too long.

So, the U.S. House passed a bill, but the U.S. Senate can’t muster the 60 votes needed to pass it because the Democrats won’t go along with the House version to defund the President’s immigration policies. With all that in mind, who will get the blame if DHS shuts down?

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Published in: on February 18, 2015 at 7:48 am  Comments Off on DHS Funding: A Game of Chicken  
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MT Senate 2014: In the Land of China…

Most Montanans who follow politics know that Max Baucus resigned from the U.S. Senate to become the U.S. Ambassador to China. He was given the Ambassadorship because he was not running for office again, and the Democrats wanted to give someone a head start to keep the senate seat with the Democrats. That someone ended up being Lt. Governor John Walsh.

Before all this happened, about all I (and Baucus) knew about China came from Forrest Gump who said, “In the land of China, people hardly got nothing at all.”

According to the campaigns of U.S. Senate candidates John Walsh and Steve Daines, China has something that belongs to Americans: American jobs. To hear them tell the story, it’s all because the other guy let the jobs go to China.

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Published in: on May 21, 2014 at 6:59 am  Comments Off on MT Senate 2014: In the Land of China…  
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U.S. House: Pass Unemployment Extension

Back on January 13 I wrote, “It’s really a no-brainer – the U.S. Senate and U.S. House should extend unemployment benefits. They should get it done this week.”

I was writing about the unemployment compensation that expired on December 28, 2013. It’s now been over three months since these folks (some two million people) last received a check.

The U.S. Senate finally passed an unemployment extension bill yesterday (April 7) by a 59-38 vote. For those keeping score in Montana, Senators Jon Tester and John Walsh voted for the bill. I applaud Tester and Walsh for their votes.

According to several reports, Speaker of the House John Boehner doesn’t like the senate bill so it may not even get a vote. Boehner has not brought forth his own bill.

This whole situation shows just how cold-hearted many who serve in Congress are – most have probably never had to count on an unemployment check to make ends meet.

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