Saturday, October 31, 2009

Because of the problems I'm having on my other computer, I thought I'd get my weekend post prepared just a little early. Shucks, it's a whole day early. That, of course, means I can't discuss the weekend weather, or much else for that matter, but at least it's a post change and light for the weekend.

Just a couple of important reminders, one for Saturday and the other for the weekend.

First, the Saturday one: It's Halloween. That means the streets and roadways will be teeming with little people seeking a treat so they won't have to trick you. If you're out and about in your vehicle, especially in the early evening hours, be sure to take it easy and be on the careful watch for those costumed monsters. Their minds will be far away from worrying about you so it's imperative that we keep a lookout for them and drive with extra care.

Now the second: This is the weekend when we turn our clocks back one hour. You know the old saying, "Spring forward, fall back." Daylight Savings Time ends at 2 AM Sunday morning and we return to Eastern Standard time for a few months. Before you go to bed Saturday night, turn back your clocks an hour and gain that hour of sleep you lost last spring. While you're at it, don't forget your thermostats. If you have automatic ones, they also need adjusting. I usually choose this time to change from summer to winter settings, too.

If you have smoke/carbon dioxide detectors in your home, this is also a good time to change your batteries. I'm a firm believer in the detectors, and I believe anything built in the last several years, must include them. Push the test button or other test yours might have to be sure they're still working properly. Replace broken ones and add them if you need to do so.

Enjoy your weekend, and Microsoft Word willing, there should be some new words here on Monday.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Be very afraid!

I've isolated where the glitch (see post below) is. It is in my word processor. Copying my post to a different computer allows me to post. So at least I now know where the work is needed. Here is the 6 AM post I normally would have put here.

I’m a day early with this reminder, but in case you miss my upcoming weekend post, we turn our clocks back an hour tomorrow (Saturday) night when we go to bed. Daylight Savings Time ends for this year and Eastern Standard Time resumes at 2 AM Sunday morning.

Poor Gator Golden’s eating calendar will be thrown off. She knows exactly when it’s time for breakfast and supper. Being the mean old fogies we are, we’ll keep her on the same clock schedule so she’s going to be an unhappy little dog for a while.

That all will begin Sunday.

The Congressional House Democrats unveiled their version of health care reform yesterday before a selected audience. The general public, apparently because they knew the plan is so horrible the congress people didn’t want to face the criticism, was not permitted to attend.

This is one plan you’ll really want to read. Your Representatives won’t take the time to do it. If it should pass as is, it will totally end health coverage as we know it. It will not only establish a “public option,” the provisions of the plan will eventually lead to a single payer mandate.

The plan says you will have insurance of some kind or you will pay a tax. The proposed law includes on page 297 the establishment of a tax based you’re your disposable income for the tax year.

Another scary provision will be put in place if the federal fund paying the claims runs out of money. The proposed law says, The Secretary shall make such adjustments as are necessary to eliminate such deficit, including reducing benefits, increasing premiums, or establishing waiting lists. How do you like that waiting list provision?

A friend of mine has a relative who lives in Canada where those lists already exist and his relative had to wait more than a year just for the test which could lead up to a procedure after getting on another list. He said that is the norm in Canada.

You can read the almost two thousand page document for yourself here.

Now this is just their proposal and not yet law. There’ll be a lot of work both in the House and in committee to get the House and Senate bills together, but everyone should know what the Democrats are proposing for you. It is a financial disaster for every American because of the cost in spite of their saying it won’t add to the deficit.

We need only to look at the Dirigo Health plan offered in Maine as a public option to see how ineffective and costly a federal plan will be. Dirigo Health is a complete failure and our hospitals and other care providers are paying for it dearly as the state either just doesn’t or can’t pay its Medicaid bills. That is a leading reason why health care is so expensive in Maine. And we were told it would cost taxpayers nothing.

As for the federal reform plans, you should be afraid, very afraid, of how your health is going to be affected. Don’t take my word for it; I’m no one important. But don’t just listen to the talking heads on TV and radio about it as they’re only passing along the party lines. Read the law for yourself and be informed. I will warn you, it is not easy reading and appears to be designed to confuse you into believing how good it is.


A temporary (I hope) glitch!

My word processor/computer will not allow me to transfer my post this morning; so until further notice, I'm out of service. As you can see, I can reach Blogger and believe me, I can write in the word processor. They are just not working together right now. We'll see if we can get this straightened out. Thanks for checking in here today.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lousy campaigning

Too many years ago Gator Wife and I attended Barbershop Harmony sessions to hear some truly fantastic harmonizing. Among our favorites was the Downeasters Chorus, the Portland representatives of the state group.

I must admit to a little prejudice here; one of our friends was a member of that chorus which is how we became intrigued. But after our first session, we looked forward to more song filled nights. We haven’t been to a performance for several years now, but some good memories leaped forth when I read Tuesday morning on that the chorus won a New England competition.

If you’ve never attended a performance, it is something you should consider.

The ladies also have a chorus of their own. I’ve only attended one performance of that group, which I believe is called the Sweet Adelaide’s, but it was extremely well done as well.

After reading about the Downeasters Tuesday, I think we just might keep our eyes open for another local performance.

I’m going to be so happy next Wednesday morning. This election season will be over. All those obnoxious ads for both sides of the questions will have finally ended. No matter which side wins, it’s not going to be a happy victory as the way these campaigns have been waged has not brought glory to anyone.

That’s too bad. There are always people wanting an item to pass and people who want it defeated. The issues, four of them, this year could have been fought on the highest of levels because of the importance of the issues and both the winners and losers could have walked away next week proud of a job well done.

But that isn’t to be. Perhaps the issues weren’t as important as I thought and the tactics employed were all they were worth.

But we’ve had nothing but lies, scare tactics, gross exaggerations, and just plain lousy ads on both sides of all four questions. Well, perhaps not the excise tax question (#2) as I've seen precious few ads concerning that one. However, the one being repeated over and over, you know, the one with the tow truck driver, begs the questions, “Since you object to a potential increase in property tax if the question passes, why is it fair for him to be subsidizing your property tax if it fails?” That tow truck does more road/bridge damage than the car.

I don’t accept the premise that the passage of that measure will have to cause an increase in property taxes. In fact, if TABOR (#4) passes, it can’t without your permission. What a passage of both questions would do would be to force community governments to examine their spending more carefully and if they need more money, prove it to the electorate.

Speaking of TABOR, perhaps the only good ad is the last one the "Yes" group has aired. In it a young lady without fanfare and using an understandable chart simply shows that the side believes nothing is cut and increases are made only as inflation increases. It also points out as I said above, if the community wants more, all it needs to do is ask for it and justify it.

I think it’s just too darn bad we’ve reached this level of battle in elections. I’m not sure what we’ve seen this year and in recent years is exactly what our founders had in mind when they included “freedom of speech” in our Constitution.


Monday, October 26, 2009

Windows 7 Revisited

It didn’t take very long for me to change my mind about installing Microsoft Windows 7 on my now former Vista operated laptop computer. I had run into a problem or two last Thursday when my copy, which I had pre-bought for half price last spring, arrived.

I had ordered the wrong version and the one that came was not compatible to upgrade the version of Vista on my system. I could have done a full, clean install, but that would have required me to back up all my files, let my laptop get reformatted thus losing everything that was on it, and then starting from scratch including reinstalling all my programs.

I’ve reached an age where simple is better. I wanted to just upgrade Vista, which I thought I had read was possible. I apparently had misread because all versions of Windows 7 won’t upgrade all versions of Vista. As I said, all Windows 7 versions will do a complete clean install on a computer capable of handling it; but I wanted to keep my programs and files on the computer.

Backing up the data files wouldn’t be difficult; in fact, it is done daily. But I didn’t want to have to reinstall all my software even though I do have all the programs disks and all are totally legal and registered. But I had gone through all that with my XP operated computer not too long ago and it is extremely time consuming and intense. It’s not just putting disks in and letting the setup programs do their things. Drivers, upgrades, etc., all have to be picked up from a host of websites, too.

Since all the programs on my laptop were already Vista ready thus updated on schedules, the only thing I needed was a Windows 7 upgrade. So last Thursday I cancelled my order, the product key was blocked at the Microsoft site so it could never be used, and my credit card was credited with the cost. I had put Windows 7 behind me and felt pretty darn good about it.

A situation developed Friday which caused me to stay quiet and generally just at my computer. I needed to keep busy, so I called the Microsoft Store to discuss my options. “No problem,” said the person who answered. He said getting the equal version of W-7 to the version of Vista I had would solve the problem easily so I bought it.

Within a minute I had an email with the download instructions and new product key in my mailbox. I downloaded the program ran the suggested compatibility test. There were two problems, actually five, but three of them, the test said, would be corrected with the automatic upgrade after installation. The other two were Microsoft programs that W-7 doesn’t support and I don’t use, so they were easy…just uninstall them.

Even though all my data files are backed up daily on an external hard drive which is bootable and a Vista mirror of my laptop, I decided to make another file backup on a DVD. And now I was ready. If W-7 did screw up the computer, that external hard drive (using Bounceback Ultimate software) would restore it to its full Vista self easily. But there was no screw up.

Upgrading can be extremely time consuming and it took just over four hours to accomplish the task. Finally after a whole lot of automatic reboots and file installations, etc., my laptop booted into Windows 7. Everything, except three things, worked perfectly and all my files were still there.

As it had said, W-7 went out and found an upgraded driver for my non-Microsoft internet protection program and it now works. Two other items weren’t quite so easy.

Saturday I tried to print through my home network to my wireless printer. I couldn’t and Windows 7 couldn’t find a solution. So I went to printer’s home site to find a new driver and it did have one. Once it got installed, the printer now spits out stuff on demand.

My home network was the third problem, but after a little research which took only a couple of minutes, I found the solution. Even though my laptop was communicating with my wireless router, as was the printer, and I did have the internet connection, my XP computers refused to play nice. Perhaps it was the laptop that wouldn’t cooperate since the XP computers had been working all along.

Windows 7 wants everyone to be using W-7, but it is not required. It sets up a network group called "Homegroup" and assumes all other computers on the home network are in it. In my case, the others were in a "Workgroup". The help files said I could mix the two systems on the home network, but I had to change the laptop to a "workgroup" and eliminate the "Homegroup". I ran out of playtime over the weekend so by six Monday morning, I hadn’t made the change. I’ll be doing that later Monday and then I expect file sharing, etc., will have resumed.

Edited Monday evening to add: Networking my new W-7 operated system with XP has certainly become an enigma. I have not yet completed the task. It sure is a lot different from the Novell network I managed 15 years ago. But we'll keep working on it. (End edit.)

I’ve read that some people have already had trouble with Windows 7, but I found that upgrading an all-Vista laptop to W-7 was only time consuming. It was easy and flawless except for three exceptions which were easily resolved. So Far, I’m not unhappy.


Microsoft, Vista, XP, Windows and Windows 7 are all registered trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation. Bounceback Ultimate is registered to CMS Products.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

An October Weekend

"I'm resting up hoping my sister will be here to play this weekend."

The weekend is here and only half of it will be on the nice side. A rainy Saturday will turn into a mostly sunny Sunday, at least according to the TV weather folk.

We don’t have many plans for the weekend. If the ground dries out enough, there’ll probably be a tractor ride around the Gator countryside. The lawn could use a little evening off, but the bagging attachment does a super job in picking up leaves and things. Except acorns. I guess my oak trees are more than 50 years old since they rain their fruit onto my driveway and surrounding lawn. I hate acorns.

Gator Wife and I are, in all likelihood, in our final home; but if I ever were to look for another, even the hint of an oak tree within three miles would turn me away. Anyway, cleaning up acorns is another task on our agenda. The problem is the oaks see us doing it and then plot to rain even more down. Did I mention I hate acorns?

Gator Golden has one dumb fault. She eats acorns. Then she gets sick and returns them to the land. I think it’s the only fault she has, probably not but she never learns the relationship between eating those things and her upset stomach.

Gator Daughter may or may not be here this weekend. As usual, it will depend on the weather conditions. GD does love to bring her Golden here for the two dogs to get some socializing time with each other.

If the yard doesn’t dry out for the work on Sunday, well, there’s always next week. I hope you have a super weekend.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Elections season; TABOR; Windows 7

"You'd have a lot more fun with this ball than with that Windows stuff!"

Time is running out for those bombardments, the bombardments of political advertising lying to me about all the terrible things that will happen if I vote “Yes” or if I vote “No” on all those state issues. I’ve known ever since this political season began several years ago that September into November would be brutal.

Just think how bad it would be if we were facing people elections on the state or national levels along with the citizen initiatives. Most communities do have people elections on the local level, for city/town councils, school boards, water districts, counties, etc., varying with the cities/towns. Some of those locals also have bonding questions or referenda of their own.

I think one of the worst shams being put out there is the sham the Vote No on TABOR group is putting out. They talk only of massive cuts and how education will be cut. TABOR doesn’t cut anything, it only limits growth. And then it gives the communities the chance to override a budget with a vote of the people. If the community has made its case for more increase than the increase already allowed, then, like school budget votes, it’ll get passed. TABOR cuts nothing.

That ad that tells us TABOR will take local control away from local communities is a super big "Wow!" If anything, passage of Question 4 will give MORE control to the residents of a community.

As for the massive cuts in schools, TABOR doesn’t affect schools. That part of the budget was passed over a year ago by the Legislature. And, folks, it already requires a community vote on the school budget no matter if it stays the same or if the school committee cuts or increases it.

Those budget cuts we’re hearing about now are all because the State has already failed to create a prioritized budget and isn’t receiving the tax money it says it would get. TABOR has nothing to do with it, yet as we watch that poor girl commit suicide pretending to be a science teacher, we’re supposed to believe it’s because of TABOR.

Yesterday was the big day for Microsoft Windows 7. I pre-bought my version for half price last spring. It came yesterday. One of the things one should do before installing is run a compatibility check with the computer on which it would be installed. I have three computers in service, but one of them is older than Methuselah so I had no intention of even considering it for that one.

My main computer is operated by Windows XP Professional and my laptop is controlled by Windows VISTA Home Premium. It would be less expensive to buy a brand new Windows 7 operated computer than attempt to upgrade my XP machine. Virtually every card, such as the video card, needed to be replaced. Not just the drivers, mind you, the cards. It’s not exactly a new XP machine. Some of the other drivers as well as some of the software also needed to be upgraded. And then it would require a totally new install of everything.

Even the memory on that main computer was marginal for Windows 7, but memory is relatively inexpensive. I decided the XP computer would remain an XP computer for the foreseeable future.

So, that left the laptop. It had a couple of driver problems but the compatibility check said they would be fixed on an upgrade right after the install. Well, I decided to go forward. I hit the “install” button and sat back to watch. Pop! A window. “This version of Windows 7 is not compatible with Windows VISTA Home Premium.” It then suggested I back everything up (I do that daily anyway) and do a full, clean install which would require a reformat of the hard drive and reinstallation of all my programs.

Today I’m running Windows VISTA; my credit card has been credited with the cost of the program; and I’m a “happy camper.” I hope any of you who upgraded had better luck than I.


(Windows, XP Professional, XP, VISTA, Windows 7 are all registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A "Gator Golden" in Maine?

"Me? A Gator? You must be nuts!"

I was sitting here Monday reading over the post. That’s an occurrence that happens daily (when I post my thoughts). I do have a great friend, you know him as “My Fearless Friend,” who also critically reads my posts to check my spelling and punctuation. He also looks over my sentence structure to see if what I’m writing is generally understandable.

When he notices an error, which is somewhat frequently, he only comments on the structure, rarely, if ever, on the content. He may agree or disagree with me when we are together of various issues and he sometimes even sends me an e-mail concerning ways I might have strengthened my comments. He continues his ‘editing’ simply because he knows that necessary corrections will be made quickly.

This really doesn’t have much to do with anything, except, as an old-time journalist who was taught at the University of Florida that correct English and syntax was critical to a story and to the ease of its understanding, I strive to continue that use of the language. We were also taught that including both sides of a story was absolute. Any papers we turned in without correct English was an automatic failure. Incorrect spelling was one of the biggest no-no’s. My professors wouldn’t even read past such a mistake.

Unfortunately for today’s journalists, H. G. “Buddy” Davis and Hugh Cunningham retired from their positions years ago. Prof. Davis, a Pulitzer Award-winning writer himself, was my advisor. From what I’ve seen from our modern journalists, the strong standards that were once taught at journalism schools throughout the nation are no longer emphasized.

This is a blog but you rarely will find, I hope, grammar or spelling mistakes. But they do occur. My sentence structure isn’t always correct, but when it varies from the standard, such as using sentence fragments which I use often, those variances are always by design.

I learned early on that editing one’s own ‘perfect’ writing is extremely difficult. After all, the writer has already written what he thought was correct. That’s why I’m always happy when my Fearless Friend points out something he thinks I might want to revisit.

When I started this ramble, I had something totally different in mind. The huge majority of the pictures I include, when I include pictures, are of a precious, six-year-old Golden Retriever, Gator Golden. That’s not her real name, but she doesn’t care. She’ll start wiggling all over when she detects either Gator Wife or my talking to or about her and we probably have a hundred names we call her.

She has an enormous vocabulary and GW and I frequently have a hard time keeping things from her and have even resorted to spelling certain words. That doesn’t work much anymore, either. She also has learned to communicate her wants to us as well.

I suspect the owners of all dogs feel about the same way about their pets, although ‘pets’ isn’t a correct name for the animals. They are family members. I’ve never owned anything other than dogs, but I’d bet owners of other types of pets feel about the same way as I.

The pictures, however, are not of Florida alligators. The thought that entered my mind as I was sitting here reading over Monday’s post was perhaps I should consider a name more symbolic of what is frequently a major part of this blog. “A Golden in Maine” certainly wouldn’t do as there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of the animals in this state. (There are a whole lot of Gators here, too.)

It’s a thought I’ll have to mull for a while.

And how about that umpiring crew in the ALCS last night???


Monday, October 19, 2009

A little catching up!

"Hey! Can I tempt you to come back with a squeaky toy?"

Howdy! I just thought I drop by for one day to say, “Hello.” I’ve been enjoying my little vacation from blogging but since it’s now been two weeks, I thought I’d catch up a little.

We had a little surprise on the outside last night. It snowed! Can you imagine on Oct. 18th we had a bunch of very big, very wet snow flakes falling? If you watched any of the Patriots' football game yesterday, you got a preview of the outside of the Gator homestead last night. There'll be no trace of it today.

One of my biggest strengths is hindsight. I didn't take any pictures.

Not a whole lot has happened in the Gator family. Gator Wife has continued to go to her place of part time employment. Gator Daughter and her dog have continued to visit us on weekends. But it’s been so darn “cool” we haven’t done much on the outside. I have made one sweep with the tractor/bagger to get some leaves picked up and we did scare the oak trees by taking away their acorns. They retaliated.

The ballot questions are heating up as we move into the final couple of weeks. It’s scary listening to all the advertisements. I don’t think I’ve heard a true statement in any of them. And that includes both sides. Sadly, the vast majority of people will only learn of the issues from those ads so, in my humble opinion, the issues will be decided by a mostly uninformed public.

I’ve made all my decisions. I’ll be voting “Yes” on the first four citizen initiatives and Question 7. On our local ballot, I’ll vote “No” on the bonding question. Just for the record, my “No” votes on the two bond questions I’ll face is consistent. I do think I was on the winning side on one of a bond question once. Over the years, I’ve been about 50-50 on other questions.

There’s an interesting situation on the petition drive that has stalled the implementation of that tax reform scam passed in the last legislature. The Constitutional time for the Secretary of State to act on those petitions has passed. If the state follows the Constitution, those petitions will be automatically certified and the question will face the voters in June.

The Secretary of State says he hasn’t had time to check the signatures, yet. Interestingly enough, he did have time to approve a different petition, one to send the casino question to voters once again. The organizers on that one simply don’t believe the voters who have voted down casino plans in Western Maine in at least two previous occasions and are trying again. That signature drive will be underway soon.

That gets us caught up to date just a little. Perhaps we can expand the items just a little in the near future.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Gator in Maine has gone away for awhile

"I can be patient. I think he'll come back."


For a while, at least, from GiM

Monday, October 5, 2009

Taking a little vacation

Back in 2007 I started reading several blogs on a regular basis and that activity got me to thinking that maybe, just maybe, I could write my thoughts on current and not so current events. After all, I was a journalist with a degree from the University of Florida. As a member of the news media here in Maine for 30 years until I retired, I had done my share of writing.

But my vision of a blog would not be for any purpose except having some fun and getting some things off my chest. Since my first venture into the world of blogging on Dec. 26, 2007, that’s what I’ve done for 559 posts. And now I need a break.

I’ve been telling my Fearless Friend in recent weeks that I needed a vacation but I’m not sure he thought I’d take one. I am. I’m taking at least this week off to give my batteries a chance to recharge and my head a chance to seek some fresh thoughts.

Thanks for checking in today.

Gator in Maine (GiM)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

First October Weekend is a Wet One

Happy Weekend!

The weather probably isn’t the best we could have for the two days most people use for rest and relaxation, but with a little thought it can still be productive.

The weather folk told us Friday that Saturday will probably be the least favorable of the two days as showers probably will turn into rain during the day and even be heavy at times during the evening and early nighttime hours. There is a possibility the latter half of Sunday will see some sunshine, but for our little family the wetness of the ground will determine what we do outside.

Because she doesn’t like to have soggy doggies running around inside, Gator Daughter and her dog probably won’t be visiting Saturday as she regularly does when the weather permits. Any possible Sunday visit will be determined by conditions on Sunday.

We really don’t have a lot to do anyway. We took delivery of our fireplace wood Friday and Gator Wife and I got it all put safely away before it could get wet. The weather will give, especially her since she also works a part time job, a chance to catch up on some rest.

So, with the family stuff now shared, we hope you and your family will have a good, enjoyable weekend and will overcome the unstable weather.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Just a few questions about some issues

Today should be nice. At least until late this afternoon when showers are expected to start moving in. It sort of looks like the weekend will be close to a washout with Saturday a definite rain and Sunday rain long enough to ruin a lot of plans.

But today should be nice. I’m expecting delivery of my seasonal fireplace wood this morning. It’s the kiln dried kind so it’ll be ready when the time comes to use it for warmth in the old Gator home. The wood guy told us we should get it put under cover as soon as possible as the wood could absorb moisture if it gets wet. Gator Wife and I will get it stacked under cover after she gets home for her job this noon.

With just a month and a day left before the November 3rd elections, the campaigns of the pro and con forces of several items are heating up and we can expect even more. I find it fascinating how the out-of-state money side of just about any of them is telling us the other side is using out-of-state money.

The people of this state should really look at the Tax Payer Bill of Rights (Tabor) ads. I’m in favor of setting limits to spending, but to listen to the vote no side, one would think the sky would fall if that one passes. Tabor doesn’t limit any spending. What it does do is say that if a city or town wants to spend more than an already allowed increase, then the voters will have to approve it. If the extra spending is really needed, then the government should be able to make a case to convince the voters. If they can’t, then the excess is probably not needed.

As for the argument that schools will suffer, well, schools aren’t even included in Tabor. The governor and the legislature took care of that last year when it passed the law requiring school budgets to be approved by the voters, whether they are increased or decreased. I don’t know how many school districts voted down the budgets last year, but it certainly wasn’t very many if any.

Have you noted how many people who want Tabor defeated are those people who you are supporting with your tax money?

A little change of pace here. Two or three weeks ago I told the story of my trip to Plymouth Rock and how surprised I was at the size of what’s left. I said I didn’t have a good picture of that rock to print here. Well, I found one. Can you imagine all those Pilgrims landing on this rock?

And finally for this Friday, I have another question; this one about a popular judge show on TV. Have you ever noticed how often, two or more times about every show, Judge Judy tells the person testifying to look her in the eye during the testimony? At the same time, have you ever noticed how often, throughout the whole darn show, she rarely looks the people in the eye as hers wander all over the place, most of the time way off to her right?

Have a great weekend, everyone, and keep dry.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Thursday hodge podge of stuff

We’re in for a day of more unstable air today. Some places will get some showers and others may not. Gator Wife and I are hoping that forecast for dry weather tomorrow holds. We’re expecting a delivery of wood for our fireplace. It is of the kiln-dried variety and the woodman suggests we get it put away before it gets wet. That’s what we want to do tomorrow after the delivery.

Kudos go out this morning, at least for the short term until the final vote is taken, to Senator Olympia Snowe for her vote against the so-called public option in the federal health care reform attempts. Government control of health care has been considerably expensive wherever it has been tried, including the Dirigo plan here in the State of Maine. It has cost us taxpayers more than a $150-million to insure fewer than five thousand people.

That is the kind of cost we can expect from a federal public plan, except exponentially higher.

Furthermore, a little honest checking and not just listening to the sound bites on the TV would tell you about the very long waits for health care in those countries with it run by the government. And those waits don’t always result with any care.

So I hope Sen. Snowe sticks to her guns and continues to oppose the public option. At the same time, the projected cost of this federal plan would lead me to hope it gets completed defeated. Very little, if anything, the government sticks its hands in works or saves money or makes things easier for the taxpayers. When this government health care finally materializes, it will cost us dearly and our children will be paying for it their entire lives.

One of the ballot measures coming up in November is a citizens’ initiative to repeal the same sex marriage law passed last session. It’s all part of a gay rights agenda which will lead to other areas, as that agenda has in other states, that go against what I think are Maine and national values. That agenda is easily researched using Google.

As for claim of teaching gay marriage in schools, you might want to research the background of Kevin Jennings, the so-called “safe schools Czar” in the Obama administration. And for those of you who want to tell me there is no gay agenda for schools, once again a little work will show you the lesson plans and suggested activities.

Another question: If the same sex marriage law has nothing to do with an agenda for schools, why does every ad by the “No” side mention kids and schools? Of course the “Yes” side does, too.

I’m not offering any specific websites here as your own work would be more beneficial to you. It’s sort of like the difference between how you took care of things you saved your own money to buy and things that were handed to you. One caution, to get the full picture be sure to check out both sides of the argument.

Have you ever noticed in local car commercials the people used for spokespersons? The producers of those commercials all seem to need to have woman walking while men just stand there and make their spiel. I’ve never understood that. Why do we need to see the women walking past a line of cars while extolling the greatness of the dealership while the men stand there, usually with some kind of gimmick. The national ads usually just use a voice over while telling us the virtues of their cars and company.

I don’t think I’ve ever been enticed into a dealership because a pretty young woman walked past a line of cars or a couple guys stood there gesticulating. I have seen national ads showing me some spiffy features and beautiful designs that have caused me to want one of their cars. Fortunately for me, though, I also don’t want to go into debt so none of them really get me into a dealership any more.

And while I’m on the topic of commercials, am I the only one who finds those awful telephone company ads with that unbelievable wimp of a housewife and that obnoxious pushy neighbor totally objectionable? Those commercials are so grating I wouldn’t even think of using that company’s service.

My last thoughts today in this little “this and that” post concern another happy claim by Maine’s government. According to the Press Herald/Maine Today website the other day and repeated on the TV news shows, Maine is ranked second in the nation in the number of households receiving food stamps. We should certainly be proud of that. It is just one of the pieces of evidence that we live in a socialized state and, possibly because of the lack of private sector jobs in the state, we are using the tax money that those who still have jobs to pay for food and services of those who don’t.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t help people in need out; I’m only suggesting that a good business environment and a favorable tax practice in our state would lead to the creation of jobs rather than the closing of businesses. I honestly believe that the majority of people receiving those food stamps would much prefer to have a good job where they could earn their own way in life. Simply adding more and more government jobs and increasing taxes doesn’t accomplish that.