Monday, January 26, 2009

Some Questions to Ponder

My weekend was a rather uneventful, normal weekend for me. We didn’t do much except get caught up on some rest. Gator Wife had decided Saturday morning we wanted a turkey and we wanted it cooked early enough to give our daughter some to take home. To do that, the day had to start much earlier than normal on a Saturday.

I have a rather unrealistic expectation of sleeping at night. I say “unrealistic” simply because I’ve hit an age when there’s usually a nightly wake up call. I need what sleep I can get. So, when I get an early wakeup call as I did Saturday, it puts the whole day into a sleepy mode. In this case, it put the whole weekend into that mood.

While just hanging around and watching some very awful television, a bunch of question ran through my mind. Here are some of them:

**There was an auto race on the TV. I’ve never seen that particular race before. Before it began, the announcer proudly pointed out a Rolex watch, one that looked even more expensive than most Rolexes. He said it was a “one of a kind” watch and the winning drivers got it. It seems more than one class of cars were racing at the same time.

My question: How many “one of a kind” watches were there? Just how many does “one of a kind” mean?

**I’ve noticed that according to the Time Warner Cable guide on the internet that Rice University has played the Texas Longhorns somewhere around 20 or more times this season. Ever since the season began, a description in the listing pointed out that Texas thumped Rice rather badly last season. I guess Rice keeps going to Texas to try to get revenge.

My question: Does anyone ever proofread those listings? Or, if the games really are being played, couldn’t the listing be updated at least to give their records this year against each other? And while we’re on the topic of TW on-line guide, why doesn’t it list all the channels the cable company offers?

**During a discussion in the Oval Office the other day, a Republican leader objected to one of the stimulus plans of President Obama. Obama reportedly said, “I won the election and winning trumps losing.” So much for wanting bipartisan support in Congress. Both House leader Pelosi and Senate leader Reid picked up on the phrase.

My question: Do our two senators still believe by voting for Democrat proposals they are bipartisan? Or are they beginning to get a suspicion they’re being played for fools? But then being more D than R anyway, they probably still believe they’re part of a bipartisan Congress.

**All during his campaign President Obama promised that he would not appoint a lobbyist to his group of leaders and insiders. In the first hours of his taking office he issued a decree that no lobbyist would be in a position in his administration. The very next day, he amended that order to exclude at least one lobbyist from the decree and nominated a defense industry lobbyist to be deputy Secretary in the Pentagon. (This was also a discussion yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press.)

My question: Since it only took a couple of days to break his word once, how many of those promises will he break in the next few months? Has he set a tone where it’ll be hard to trust him at his word? Will it signal a very early end of the so-called “honeymoon period?”

**A large portion of Governor Baldacci’s budget cuts to meet a revenue shortfall will leave the burden of paying for mandated programs to local communities. One example is the cut in the state’s education budget without cutting state mandates for schools. There are no cuts in taxes at the state level.

My question: How are taxpayers saving anything with these cuts? Since state taxes will remain intact, doesn’t that mean local taxpayers will have to pay higher taxes?

**The state is trying its darndest to institute universal health care so its insurance disaster Dirigo wasn’t touched. Doctors and hospitals will take a hit as the state will cut some Medicaid payments. The governor does say that IF the federal government offers a bailout to states, part will go to the 450-million-dollar debt the state already has with doctors and hospitals.

My Question: If the state can’t pay its medical bills now, how on Earth does it think it will be able to pay them through Welfare? Couldn’t we reduce our health insurance costs dramatically by simply eliminating some mandates in coverage? Like men having to be insured for pregnancy? Like allowing residents to find insurance in another state?

**Now just a comment without a question: Cities and towns are gearing up to fight a proposal to lower the excise taxes on vehicles. They say they need the money to maintain our streets and roads. (We’ve all noticed the great job their doing with the tax, haven’t we? Whoops! A question.) Gator Wife and I were talking just the other night about buying a new car to replace one of our ten-year old ones.

We agreed the excruciating excise tax based solely on the sticker price, not on the actual price and use, would not be worth it just to have a new car. When one buys a car, one already pays sales tax, a registration fee (which because it is a government collection is just another name for tax), and a huge excise tax.

We note that new car sales are down and one dealership in Sanford announced it was closing. And yes, the credit crunch is a major part of the problem.

There you have it. Some questions to ponder as we begin this last week in January. Perhaps your Congress people or Legislators could help you with the answers.

**Oh, here’s a final ‘My question’: Will I ever get my new glasses? I’m losing faith in a optometrist/optician group in Saco I’ve done business with for many, many years.
Edited 2:35 PM to add: A call came today that my glasses were ready. I drove to Saco to pick up my new glasses. I'm still waiting for my new glasses!


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