Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The great rivalry and other things

I liked last week much better than this one. Actually, refined, that should be, “I liked last week’s weather much better that the weather we’re having this week.” It was generally clear, nice, dry, and warm just a week ago. Even though the Ch. 6 weather guy says our corner of the region will probably be rain free for the best part of today, it will be cloudy, drizzly at time, cold and damp.

The rain probably will return sometime tomorrow morning and continue into Friday. It’s generally not the rain, although the wet weather certainly adds to the problem, it’s those darn passing low pressure fronts that cause my discomfort. Yesterday wasn’t nice. Today will be uncomfortable, and tomorrow will back to that just plain discomfort range. Oh, well!

Speaking of the weather, actually this has nothing to do with the weather, but it got me back to the station I watch most…Ch. 6. I must say, though, that it’s getting more and more difficult as they no longer do the in depth challenging news stories about state and local doings. Most of the stories are just acceptance of whatever a newsmaker presents to them as fact.

It must be a great station for which to work, however. I have no idea just what their individual contracts say or what station policy is, but the perception is most of their on air personnel work two weeks and get at least a week off. The perception here is it’s one of the cushiest jobs in Maine.

I get my national and world news mostly from the internet. Watching the network stations is just too painful.

I stayed up a little later last night than normal. I think when I grew up way back in the 1940s and ‘50s there was no greater sports rivalry than the Red Sox/Yankees. Maybe the Bruins/Canadiens rivalry was right up there. Come to think of it, when they played basketball, the Celtics had some good ones, too. But baseball is #1 for me at every level. College football may be right up there, though.

The Sox/Yanks rivalry has succeeded, however, where extremely few if any other gone. It began way back in the beginning of baseball and a century later, continues. And so it did last night. That kept me up just past ten, about my limit these days, as the Sox pounded the Yankees. Teams don’t keep the Bombers off the scoreboard very often. And for the Sox to win the first six games against them in a season is a first, I think, in my lifetime.

Let’s get back to a little reality. The Maine Legislature continues to ignore my perception of the obvious. If it truly wants to get state finances under control, it will have to examine programs and draw a blue line through some of them. Spending must be cut or we’ll be right alongside California, a place from where many of our problems were copied, on the edge of bankruptcy with the sides wearing away quickly.

Once again our legislature passed a budget using gimmicks, shifts in spending to local communities, dependence of federal spending fund money and new fees and taxes to get us into a new biennium budget. As the budget papers are drying, it learns that on top of a huge April revenue shortfall, the May shortfall was another $21 million. As I understand it this morning, the state’s “rainy day” fund will be all but drained to meet that deficit.

We still haven’t seen June’s figures as this fiscal year draws to a close at the end of the month. Because we haven’t taken the real steps necessary to get the budget under control, the months from July through December could raise havoc with the next budget. There’s only way to get the spending under control and that is to stop spending money we don’t have. At some point, that mythical bull’s horns will have to be faced.

Raising taxes, incidentally, isn’t the answer. Higher taxes will have the reverse effect of revenue making matters even worse.

We mentioned earlier this week about a Republican who has declared for the governorship. Another Republican, Bruce Poliquin whom I’m also unfamiliar with, has registered to run. There’s a prominent Democrat now in the mix. As expected, Stephen Rowe took out papers yesterday that start him on the road to next June’s primary. Rowe is a former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives and a former Attorney General. There are also four third-party candidates who have filed papers.


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