Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Facebook, R's in the Legislature, Occupy

Everywhere I look I'm seeing the "Friend us on Facebook" message.  I read frequently the social media, mainly Facebook and Twitter I think, are affecting all of us.  I have a Facebook page. I've had it for a couple of years. I look at it occasionally, but there's nothing there to look at. 

I think I might like to try Facebook just to see what this social media stuff is all about.  There's only one little problem:  I have absolutely zero idea how to use it.  I see a place on my page called "Wall."  I gather that's where I'd post stuff.  Post what?  Who would ever see it?  There's another page for pictures.  Pictures of what?  Does it explain how to get pictures there?  I don't know.  And I have a "Friends" page.  I have no friends.

There's just so much about Facebook that I don't understand.  There's a good chance I never will.  But when I hear people talk about their communications through Facebook, I'd almost like to be able to join them.  Unfortunately, it looks like I'm destined to be in The Black Hole of Facebook.

Twitter is another story.  About the same time I got my Facebook page, I joined Twitter.  Just 30 minutes after opening the account, my email inbox filled up with about 50 or more junk emails.  I cancelled my Twitter account even though they admonished me that I'd probably never be allowed to join again.  No problem.  I've never tried.  And the junk email almost immediately returned to what I'd consider normal for me.  Unfortunately for the spammers, I have a program that does tell me that junk is on my server, but it doesn't allow it onto my computer.

I guess that's life.  I just have to accept that I'll probably never use social media.

Maine Republicans in the Maine Legislature are trying to live up to my expectations.  They are not doing a very good job, as I expected.  Now, in fairness, the whole Legislature hasn't yet discussed or worked on the DHHS shortfall problem and a budget plan isn't yet in place.  However, the Republicans on the appropriations committee working on Gov. LePage's plan to fix the crisis is doing just what Republicans in the Legislature have been doing for the past 40 years:  Giving in to the Democrats.  Like the whole Legislature, R's on the committee outnumber the D's, but that seems to be a well-kept secret.  Tuesday night, the committee did vote to cut some of the medicaid budget, but that now would go to the full legislature.  It was a copout vote.

For the first time in 30 to 40 years Republicans have a majority in both houses of the Legislature and in the governor's office.  It would seem they should have the ability to get spending under control in this state.  They don't.  As I have said, Maine Republicans have lost the ability to legislate.  I had said after the elections that gave them the control that I hoped they didn't lack the intestinal fortitude ... or if you prefer, the uniquely male appendages ... to fix problems.  My fears are coming true.

At least we have a governor who's willing to take on the challenge; it's too bad those other Republicans we elected aren't.  As I said, so far it's only a small R majority on the committee that is giving in to the past practices.  We haven't heard, however, any efforts by the rest of the body to put pressure on them leaving me with the impression the whole group's actions will be no different.

I surely do hope I'll have to eat some humble pie when this is over.  But the DHHS problem is just one facing this state and I'm not getting very pleasant vibrations that any of the others will have any different debate.  If you feel as I, I hope you'll contact your Legislators today and urge them to get this state's spending under control.  Tuesday night's effort doesn't do the trick.

And today's final topic, the City of Portland has given several extensions to the Occupy Maine group to stay in Lincoln Park in Portland.  After winning a court battle that allowed the city to force the group to vacate the park by last Monday, the city gave the group yet another extension to this Friday.  I'd bet that if my group of retirees decided to make camp in the park, we'd have been ousted before the first day had ended.  It'll be interesting to see Friday if the city is serious this time.


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