Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New state budge almost complete

I believe our garden survived the overnight temperatures. Gator Wife had covered her seedlings with tarps last evening and, along with temperatures remaining in the mid to upper 30s right here, we didn’t get that potential frost. The temps won’t be as bad nights, at least for the foreseeable future, so we may now be out of those woods. Of course we won’t know for sure for another few days to be sure the plants are O.K.

My Fearless Friend and his wife are expected home sometime possibly late tomorrow. They’re apparently bringing some of the Florida weather with them. The weather guy on Channel Six said this morning some of Maine’s temperatures could reach 88 degrees Thursday.

I seem to be on a plateau in Senior Fitness. I went this morning, did my routines, changed nothing, and was happy to be leaving for home. I think the absence of one of our members due to illness has dampened the fun of the activity. It’ll get back to normal soon, I hope. I wish my fellow senior a speedy recovery.

Subject now to the approval of the full Maine Legislature, the state will soon have a new budget for the next biennium. Working well into the night, the Appropriations Committee unanimously passed a budget and will be sending it to the full body, I think today. Because it happened so late there isn’t much information about the budget anywhere early this morning so I can’t make any specific comments, one way or the other. I did hear on WCSH-TV this morning that it contains no broad-based tax increases and state workers will be taking a big hit.

There will be several shutdowns of government which will result in non-pay days, but apparently the five percent pay cut was eliminated. State workers will also have to pay a portion of the health insurance premium. I don’t recall other provisions of the budget this morning and when I checked their web site before I headed off to my Senior Fitness session, the story hadn’t yet been posted.

I had thought about checking again when I get home and delay this publication, but I think I’d rather get a chance to digest its provisions during the day and possibly make my comments tomorrow. You’ll know the story from many news sources, but I’ll bet there’ll be parts of it, like no substantial changes to programs that should be cut, that I might be able to offer a thought on.

I let a very funny headline slip by me yesterday and forgot to copy it or create a link to it, but it was priceless. Remember a few days ago when Vice Pres. Joe Biden revealed the location of the super secret bunker used to protect to the President and Vice President in a crisis? It was last used, at least the last time we know of, during the 9/11 crisis. I’m not sure what his motive was, but Vice Pres. Biden described the bunker the other day.

He gave another speech this weekend. I can’t quote the headline on a national publication exactly, but it was something like, ‘Vice President Biden gives another speech; doesn’t reveal any national secrets.’ Again, that wasn’t exact, but pretty darn close. Anyway, I’m wondering if it signals the beginning of a change of attitude by the national news media. I’ll surely try to be much more diligent next time I see something like that.

Another school related item hit me this morning. Well, actually, I saw it on TV last night. There is a Portland police officer who deserves a lot of credit for diligence. The Portland High School police liaison officer Stephen Black making his rounds spotted a man loading a rifle in an alley leading to the school from Congress Street. The officer ran to the man, ordered him to put the rifle down which he did, and took him into custody.

Apparently the high school was in no danger as the man was, according to witnesses, planning something for some members attending an AA meeting inside an adjacent church. Nevertheless, if shooting did begin, we’ll never know where it could have ended up, including in that nearby high school. Shades of past school tragedies cross the mind.

You can find the full story just about anywhere including the Portland newspaper, local TV and radio stations, and even on the national Fox News. I just want to give my “well done” to that diligent Portland police officer Black who prevented any real tragedy.


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