Monday, August 1, 2011

An interesting beginning to August

Monday A.M., Edited Monday P.M., and edited again Tuesday P.M.

August First, a new month.  And a good one it promises to be.  You see, football season gets underway.  The pros got started last week with their "welcome to training camp" activities.  College football, which I enjoy, is just around the corner, and in Maine high school sports begin in two weeks.  It's that college football, though, that I look most forward to.  And it begins this month.  (The Gators' first game isn't until Sept. 3rd, though.)

It looks like we're in for a day and a half or so of some unsettled weather.  Some places in Maine could see some pretty strong storms beginning this afternoon and continuing into tomorrow.  Our area is included in the rather large area of the state under an elevated storm warning.

It took a little longer than I thought, but, "I told you so!" (Referring to previous post)

The President has signed the "compromise" budget.  What a great compromise.  The country gets to borrow several trillion dollars, which will add to the deficit, in return for a trillion future cuts and no balanced budget.  Those cuts, incidentally, are for ten years.  Guess what?  Oh, yes, you already knew that once the current Congressional session ends, future sessions are in no way bound by the cuts.  What a great deal!  Once again, we have been shafted.  As for that "no tax increase" you're hearing about...keep your eyes open.

Before this day is done, the nation may have a new budget which includes a resolution to the debt crisis facing the country.  It was a heavy weekend for Congress as House and Senate proposals were debated and then defeated.  The House plan was a Republican one and the Senate plan, a Democrat one.  What it all led to, however, was what I called for last week, a compromise.  President Obama and leaders of both Houses announced a compromise deal had been completed. 

It is far from a perfect bill, but it does have some elements resulting from compromise.  Although it will probably pass in both chambers today, that passage won't be without detractors.  Neither side got what they really wanted and debate could be contentious today.  If, as expected, it does get settled today, it appears to me that possibly the Democrats came out winners.

A couple stories on the Portland newspaper The Portland Press Herald's web site over the weekend and this morning intrigued me.  One concerned the upcoming referenda on gambling and its future; the other concerned the petition drive to get a repeal of a change in election laws passed by the last legislature.

The weekend story was about what would happen to a plan in Oxford to build a big casino resort if Bangor's Hollywood Slots, already open, get the O.K. to include table games along with its slot machines, and voters approve a casino for Lewiston and slots for Biddeford and Washington County.  The Oxford plan included a phased in design to eventually become a casino/restaurant, then a hotel, then a full gambling resort.  But then the other gambling requests surfaced and people are now wondering if the Oxford plan, primarily because of its location, will ever grow beyond the casino/restaurant. 

No matter what happens, I continue to be opposed to gambling in Maine as it attracts people who cannot afford it.  I believe it will send more people into the public assistance lines.  I have no proof this happens and reports from other gambling states are mixed.  My upbringing taught me that we are the happiest and most successful with that for which we work and earn, not from the "easy" attempts at success like gambling.

The other item concerns a people's veto attempt at repealing a newly enacted law that requires voter registration at least two business days before an election and eliminates same day registration.  A coalition of mostly Democrat supporting organization uses a specious argument that it an unfair change.  I had read last week that the coalition had gathered about 60-thousand signatures (They need about 57 thousand.) but were seeking another 10 thousand for a safety valve.  This morning newspaper web site says the group needs to make a decision this week as to whether they have enough signatures to submit to the state by Aug. 9th. 

I suspect part of the problem the coalition is facing is a report from Maine Republican Party Chairman  Charlie Webster last week that he had uncovered proof of same day registration voter fraud.  The coalition had been telling people there was none.  Shortly after Webster presented his proof to the Maine Secretary of State, that department official said he had already been told of potential fraud and an investigation was underway.

The Democrats, of course, continue their talking points that no fraud exists and no proof had been shown.  One must wonder, though, why if none existed just why it is so important for them to keep same day voter registration.

So drama continues both on the national and state stages.  It might be an interesting beginning to August.


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