Monday, April 27, 2009

A Great Weekend, Very Little Politics, Some Sports

After listening to the weather forecast all last week and then having it all fall apart in Friday’s forecast, I was beginning to wonder about the value of long, even the seven day type, range forecasts. We heard all week long that the weekend that ended yesterday was going to have temperatures at least well into the 70s and in some areas into the 80s.

Then the Friday forecast came out and the weekend changed. Saturday would be cloudy and the temperatures would only reach 65-68 here in the Greater Portland area with showers over night. Inland could touch 80. A cold front was expected to pass through the state on Sunday and we could kiss those nice, high temperatures ‘good-bye.’

Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Saturday was a beautiful day. Although it was much warmer inland, that temperature at least on my unofficial weather station got to 72 degrees. In fact, I think that was the official high in the area as wherever those official readings are taken was also 72. I think it’s the airport. We got a whole lot of outdoor work done around here, including the cutting down of some tough weeds in our yard compost area.

We successfully had our first cookout of the season.

We must have gotten some light showers overnight as yesterday morning Gator Golden came in from her morning tour of the yard with damp feet. My rain gauge, however, didn’t record anything. It was very cloudy and all the indications were that the weather forecast was correct. It wasn’t.

What it was was muggy. About mid-morning, the sun came out and the temperature on my device climbed and climbed. It had crossed into the 80s the last time I looked at it so I don’t know what the high was, except my “Highest” indicated 83. I didn’t see the weather on the TV last night, but I think I heard in another room being told Portland set a record for the date.

Veggie plots got tilled, flowers were planted, cars were washed, and dogs romped and played. It was another fantastic day.

So that long range forecast from early last week turned out to be correct, but the weather guys looking at their computer toys had apparently given up on it.

Mondays aren’t particularly great days to write about politics. The results of the economy continue to dominate discussions in both Augusta and Washington. Last Saturday in his weekly address, Governor Baldacci said the situation in Maine is troubling, but not yet dire. He said with some hard work and no tax increases the state can overcome the situation, but it will take time. He’s expected to reveal his new plan to meet a near 600-million-dollar revenue shortfall this week.

In Washington, even some Democrats are beginning to see the nation simply cannot continue to borrow itself out of debt.

The Maine Republican Party is going through a little controversy. One group thought the party’s treasurer should resign or be released. The Party insiders, however, successfully fought back the attempt. But there are many who think what they call the “good old boy” network is the reason the party hasn’t been in power for more than 35 years and change is needed.

Automobile manufacturers are still in the news. General Motors and Chrysler are both facing bankruptcy. Chrysler could be there this week. But, the company announced concessions by its union workers over the weekend which could lead the way to restructuring and keeping out of bankruptcy. GM has announced the closing of many plants, most of them temporarily, and the possible elimination of one car line, Pontiac, as it works to meet a government deadline to avoid bankruptcy.

It could be an exciting week on that front, too. One thing’s for sure, this is a time to buy a new car if you’re so inclined. Except that five years of ridiculous excise taxes has kept me from considering changing cars.

I was also listening to a news report over the weekend on home buying. Interest rates are low and incentives are high. One thing I’m not too sure many potential buyers are aware of is the tax incentive being offered by the federal government. It’s an $8,000 write off on taxes. But I’m not sure everyone understands that to qualify, you cannot have bought a house in the last three years and you cannot claim the tax write off until you’ve owned the new house for three year.

Sounds to me like it’s awful close to just encouraging the home buying of the last several years that was among the reasons we’re in this awful economy right now. Is there some déjà vous here?

And finally, two sports events cry for attention. Thanks to television, I saw both. First was that car crash at Talladega where Carl Edwards went airborne after a crash as he was heading for the finish line for a win. His car hit the fence barrier in front of the fans. He wasn’t injured, but reports are some fans were. What a sight seeing Edwards running to the finish line so he could say he personally finishes his races. There were several other crashes, some spectacular, as crashing is what Talladega is known for.

There’s just something exciting about stealing home. Jacoby Ellsbury provided that excitement in baseball yesterday when he slid across the plate on an Andy Pettite pitch. It has happened before but I’ve never seen it. The Sox swept the Yankees, a feat in itself noteworthy.


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