Saturday, April 9, 2016

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Lesson

Today I learned a lesson.  Actually, I didn't learn anything I didn't already know; but I sure did create a mess which could have been avoided.  "Could"?  No, "should" would be more appropriate.  But it does illustrate how important it is for those of us, really anyone, who have reached an age, to think once, reason out the results, think again before performing.

I wasn't thinking.

I have a walk-in bathtub.  Yup, you can see it coming right now, can't you.  It has a door on the side which opens for entering and exiting.  One opens the door, walks into the tub area, thus the name "walk-in tub," sits and then turns on the water.  That's what I did, but I left out one little, meaningless step.

I have a 60 gallon water tank and my tub takes 80 gallons so I have to run the water at a slower rate than  I would like.  It takes about 15 or 20 minutes to fill my tub.  On this day, though, after about 10 minutes, I noticed the tub wasn't filling.  The door, you may know, is on the side of the tub but in front of the seat.  I have no idea where my mind was.  Certainly not there.

So I looked around and you simply could never guess what I discovered.  Well, you easily could and probably knew it a couple paragraphs back.  I discovered the door not only had not been locked and sealed, it also hadn't even been shut.  Oh my God, what a mess out there in the bathroom!  There easily was a 1/4 inch of water everywhere.  It had gone under a closet door into the closet where my wife stores the extra boxes of facial tissues and rolls of paper towels on the floor. 

They all were 'damp'.

My wife came in to see what was taking so long and said nothing.  She didn't have to as I could hear her head screaming some very choice phrases at me.  It took a lot longer to clean up the room than it did to wet it down but my lesson had been etched into my head forever. 

I'll rationalize that my screw up, no, that the tub didn't hold the water by pleading my age.  When one gets here, there are all sorts of aging conditions that I could use.  I won't acknowledge that plain stupidity or carelessness could be included in this incident. 

But let this be a lesson for those of you who might have or be thinking of getting a walk-in bathtub to be sure the door is shut and sealed before you turn on the water.


Sunday, April 3, 2016

An interesting Maine government month is now underway

This week will be the beginning of what could be an interest couple of weeks as the parties in the Maine Legislature have taken their feud up a notch.  Coming up is the state budget for the next year and if we get one could be a fun battle to watch.

A couple of "children" began this round last week when the Democrats refused to confirm a commission appointment of Rep. Gov. Paul LePage.  Then the Governor retaliated by refusing to sign the election result document of a Democratic Biddeford lady to keep her from being sworn in to the office she clearly won in a district election last week.

My optimistic hopes were also raised last week before being shot down by the latest conflict.  Bipartisan support was shown for a couple of measures that will make Maine a little better place.  They are awaiting the Governor's signature.

One of the bills was an act that will allow terminally ill people, along with their physician's approval, to seek out experimental drugs to help them live a little longer, or perhaps even cure them.  Not everyone who has been told time was getting less neither wants nor is ready to die.  The slow FDA in Washington takes years to approve new medicine because of the testing process.  Much of it has already passed in European countries and at least partially passed in the United States.  But until that medicine gets the final O.K., people can't use it.  The new law in Maine would allow use of such drugs if requested by a patient.

Another legislative bill passed as part of a comprehensive reform bill that will allow Maine National Guard members to have their tuition in waived in the state colleges and the University system.  It will help many Mainers become better prepared for the work force.

A third bill, this one sent to the governor, will protect gun owners in subsidized housing.  Many such housing project prohibit keeping guns on the premises.

But then came the end of the week.  On Thursday, a Legislative committee refused to confirm an appointment by the governor of a man that even Democrats had said was well-qualified for the post.  The governor retaliated the next day by refusing to allow a citizen newly elected Democrat to be sworn in to the Maine Senate.

Tit for tat?  Sort of, I guess, but it does seem like a childless course of action to me, and you all know I'm a supporter, usually, of Gov. LePage.  The Dems said the governor was playing politics as usual;  the governor said about the same thing about the Dems.

And now we're told the Republicans in the Legislature will do all they can do to block any partisan budget that the Democrats may pass in the coming weeks that do not include Republican input.  That, probably, is in retaliation for the Democrats blocking just about everything the governor attempts.

This is a short session taking place in the second year of the Legislature and time is simply running out.  It could lead to a government shutdown, but I'd bet that never happens.  If I lost my bet though, I think the state just might be better off without the Government.  There are a few services, though, I think even I'd feel sorry about our people really needing so probably it wouldn't be a total shutdown.

In any case, an interesting month is now ahead of us.  A lot of people have simply got to start thinking about the good of Maine over their own very misplaced priorities.  As I've said before, that which is best is usually somewhere between the positions of the two parties and only the working together can solutions be found.


Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Female sports are on the rise, not being killed...

There's a brouhaha on the Internet this week about girls' sports, primarily basketball.  Apparently it all started when a Boston sportswriter tweeted that the current University of Connecticut women's basketball team started its run for the national championship this year.  The U-Conn ladies have won all their games so far by double digits and that sportswriter said they were killing women's basketball.  It was boring, he said, and this fourth straight run for a fourth straight championship was shutting down any interest that may have existed.

He's wrong.

It's true that other sports, and that includes the men's equivalent, draw more TV viewers that women's sports.  That might be true and I neither have nor am going to research it, but if it's true, an awful lot of people are missing some extremely exciting play.

I'll concede that U-Conn is now dominating the basketball scene, but it hasn't always done that.  I still remember the SEC days of Pat Summit who had her teams equally as dominating in their times.  I think the school was Tennessee. 

I also don't recall those UCLA teams of times past getting the same kind of criticism as U-Conn is getting now.  One team has dominated just about every sport at one time or another.  Even on the professional level, we can think of the Yankees or Canadians or . . . you name it.

The U-Conn coach, Geno Auriemma, simply outcoaches and draws the best players right now.  There are some super female athletes in other programs, too.  If you think not, take the time next Sunday to watch some of the NCAA women's final four.  I watched the games this weekend and Monday and saw some terrific basketball, better, I thought, than many of the men's games.

Perhaps Auriemma had it right when he compared the dominance of his women to Tiger Woods' dominance when he could play golf.  No one said Tiger was killing golf, Auriemma said.

But this attempt to undermine the women is sort of typical of what's happening in sports today with the young learners.  Instead of pointing to the stars of today and teaching how hard they work to get to the top and win, today's young people are taught that just to participate deserves a medal or ribbon or trophy or something.  Some youth sports have even abandoned score keeping.

There are no winners today, therefore incentives to succeed are being destroyed.  It'll be interesting to see how this generation works when it becomes the business and government leaders.  I'll probably never know.  But I do know I love watching the talent out there on the courts and in the playing fields today.  Gee...I just thought of another growing "dynasty."  The Florida Gator Gals are working for their third straight national softball championship.  It won't be long before they're being torn down for killing their sport, too.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Happy (for us) week

The piece on which I was working wasn't working for me, so I abandoned it. 

Now I'm working, sort of, occasionally at least, on a new one.


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Quiet Time for G-i-M

I'm going through what best may be called a "Quiet Time."  My personal life has consumed me and I've not thought about other things lately. 

What "personal" stuff, you probably didn't ask.  Well, it was completely successful.  Less than six weeks after the surgery, she's wandering around the house and venturing to stores, etc., without using a walker or cane.  Her doc says she's doing remarkably well and has given her permission to return to her part time job next Monday.  She got her schedule today.  It's a good thing, I think.  She's bored to tears just sitting around home.

I said a final goodbye to my Maine Health Visiting Nurses care team this week.  They took my electronic TeleHealth away with them.  That I'll miss.  Was it a good thing?  You bet.  In the time since last October I've used it, it has kept me totally aware of my vital signs, but to me, most importantly, my weight.  I'm happy that I weigh less today that I have weighed since I was a teenager, and that was way back in the 1950s.

The Home Health care folk were just super.  One could not ask for a better group of people to work toward my improving health.  Unfortunately my Medicare option expired.

Next up on my medical front is an overnight sleep apnea test at the end of this month.  That sounds like a fun night.  Not!

And finally, in the "Who cares?" department...My son is coming for a visit from his home in Oregon in a couple of weeks.  We're looking forward to that as it's been several years since we've seen him.

We'll find something we find interesting soon.  Be back then.


Monday, March 7, 2016

I'm surprised at the turnout for the caucuses

Maine's Caucus Weekend is over with no huge, but one small surprise.  That was the win by Ted Cruz over Donald Trump Saturday in the Republican statewide caucuses.  The Democrats held their meetings Sunday and Bernie Sanders made a strong case for his repetitive claim that if he can get the voters out, he will win.  Almost 50-thousand turned out and Sanders gave Hillary something to think about...he won handily.

The pundits are proclaiming great gains for the parties, but I'm not sure I could agree them.  After all, fewer than 20,000 people voted in the Republican caucuses but more than 46 thousand cast a ballot in the Democrat one.  I'm not too clear on censuses, but I have a strong feeling there are a lot more registered Mainers than 70-thousand.  I'm one of the "more than."

I think Republican Phil Harriman, analyzing with John Richardson for the Democrats on the WCSH6 Political Brew segment on the Sunday morning news gave an excellent reason why Trump lost Maine.  Harriman pointed out that Trump's speech when he visited Portland last Thursday was all about Trump.  I (this), I (than), "," etc., and on and on.  There was precious little, if anything, about what he might do for Maine if elected and, perhaps even less, on what he might do for "Us."  That type of speech turns Mainers off and I think it may have shown than Saturday.

That's not to take anything away from Ted Cruz.  Maine is much more conservative than one might think and Cruz is trying to place himself as the new leader of the Conservatives.  He seems to be making grounds.

So far, however, I for one have not yet made a final choice.  In fact, I think I'm silently hoping someone else will jump into the race.  I'm not a Democrat, so this will be no surprise:  There's no way in living heaven that I'd vote for Hillary.

About the only sure things, I think, might be the need for Marco Rubio and John Kasich to drop out of the race.  They sure are spending a bunch of money trying to convince themselves they still have a chance.

Speaking of Kasich, I got an email from his campaign today asking for a donation.  I get six to ten letters each day concerning the election, both from state and national campaigns.  They all start out with "Dear Tracey."  I have absolutely zero clue as to who this "Tracey" person is, but whoever sold or gave away my email address sure has a lousy mail merging program.  Even I could send out a mass mailing email with that "Tracey" substituted by the receiver's real first name.  Meanwhile, I think starting today, I'll look at the sender or the sender's candidate or cause in that message and cross the name or cause off my list of any consideration at all.  I do wonder who this "Tracey" is, though.

I'm not sure if I simply feel sorry for Bernie Sanders or secretly hope he can convince the Democrats that the Maine outcome does prove that he can win and do the near-impossible task of beating Hillary to the Democratic nomination.  If I had to vote "D" I almost could color in the Sanders circle.

There are still several caucuses or primaries to go before it's final, but it appears the only real race is between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.  Once again, I hope I'm wrong.

There may be one good outcome from my perspective of the huge turnout for the caucuses this past weekend.  A Democrat leader, State Senator Justin Alfond of Portland, is introducing a bill to change our system from the caucus to the primary one where voters can simply go to the polls and vote.  I've said before I prefer the primary type.  I can guarantee I probably wouldn't have stood in that line outside Deering High School for four or more hours, Dem or Rep.  And wasn't there a similar long line Saturday upstate during the Rep caucus there?  If the method doesn't change, at least I'd hope the parties would provide more polling places.

We join the Americans in both political parties in mourning the passing of First Lady Nancy Reagan over the weekend.  She was 94 but the driving force behind one of the United States' premier Presidents.  Truly, there hasn't been a better or more respected First Lady either before or since Mrs. Reagan was officially the First Lady, who continues to be called "The First Lady."  Mrs. Reagan, may you rest in peace.


Friday, March 4, 2016

Caucuses: It's Maine's Super Weekend

Edited to add a corrective paragraph. . .

I guess one might call this "Super Weekend" in Maine, and possibly a couple other states as well.  The political parties will be holding their caucuses here.  The Republicans will meet in various spots around the state Saturday while the Democrats will be meeting Sunday.

Now that I have paid a little attention to this way of doing political business, I don't like it.  The polling system where people simply cast a ballot is my preference, but the politicos seem to like caucuses better.  Perhaps it's because they have more control over the results when they can intimidate people, usually a relatively small turnout, into making choices they want.

Intimidation can come from many forms, but one of the more subtle forms is simply asking people of like mind to form a group.  Someone at the caucus wanting to support, say, his next door neighbor might see many people grouping for someone else while he alone is standing in support of that neighbor.  A person of integrity probably would stand alone anyway, but more likely would seek out someone else.

Edited to add:  I'm not sure how the Sunday Democrat caucuses will work, but because several cities and owns will meet in 22 locations around the state, paper ballots will be cast to select the Republican to be supported at the state and national party conventions later this year.  By using paper ballots it will be easier to name the delegates from each community.  I'm happy the paper ballot will be used, but I still cannot attend this year.  Now back to the original thoughts . . .

It's much more pleasant to cast a ballot type vote and probably the results would be a lot more accurate of the people's choices or feelings.

Caucuses do have one small advantage.  Because of the number of people in one place, candidates tend to make more visits so more people get to see and hear them live and in person.  Even national candidates occasionally bless our state as shown Wednesday through Friday by the appearances of Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, and Ted Cruz.  I didn't go to see any of them, but we saw the people in the thousands on the TV news shows.

I don't know how much influence they had on the outcomes of the weekend selection of delegates to the national political party conventions later this year; but a lot of Mainers saw live some persons they may not have otherwise ever seen.

Unfortunately, and I'm probably in the wee minority on this point, we no longer have our own city caucuses.  The Scarborough Republican Caucus, for example, will be held in conjunction with the town/city parties in Westbrook with that city and several other towns.  Nothing against Westbrook, it's just I would have preferred to have ours held right here in our town. 

This year it's a hollow desire, though.  Because of various circumstances, health being the major one, I wouldn't be attending anyway.  But, if you are wondering, yes, I have attended caucuses in the past, but never a combined one.

All our caucuses accomplish is the selection of local delegates to the State conventions which are the ultimate source for selection of delegates to attend the national affairs.  It is there where the ultimate nominees for the Presidency are reduced to just for each party.

It looks like, as many have guessed for a very long time, Hillary Clinton will be the selection of the Democrats.  Donald Trump leads the Republicans right now, but there's about to be a vicious battle to get him out of the race.

No matter who in either party ends up with the nomination this summer, I'm not sure I could consider this year as one of the best ever, either in the quality of the candidates, the methods they reached the goal, or the standards they are carrying for the future of our country.

But that's another story.

Meanwhile, it's caucus weekend, and I hope all of you make good decisions.  The future of America depends on it.


Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Scamming Season

This seems to be the Scam Season around here.  We've been warned many times about various scams, most notably lately the one where the caller claims to be from the IRS and tells the called person that unless an amount owed to the IRS immediately, a marshal will be sent to make an arrest.  Naturally, there's a way to meet a deadline.  Pay with a loaded debit card.

We've been told literally hundreds of times that the no government agency makes calls demanding money or other information.  If you get such a call, just hang up.  Don't get cute and engage the caller in can bet the caller is "cuter" than you.  Just hang up.

My wife is among those who have received the call.  Sandra just hung up.

That scam is just one of many making the rounds.  The elderly apparently are the principal target of the scammers.  We weren't brought up in a scamming age and were taught to be polite on the phone and not hanging up on people.  It's a hard good trait to break.  I have broken it and I hope other folk in our age group (closer to 80 than 75) will also break it.

I got another phone call today that I'd bet is very high among the scammers.  When I answered the phone, the voice said, "You or someone at this phone number called to inquire about getting a back brace and left a message to return the call."  No one in this household ever made such a call.  I must admit I was tempted to engage the caller to explain just that, but didn't.  Don't let yourself get wrapped up in such a call.

We have a rule in hour house:  Don't do any telephone business we did not originate.  It seems to work for us.  Someone once told me I was missing out on a lot of good deals with that rule.  I responded that I've more likely saved a lot more money.

If I had accepted all those cruise trips I've hung up on, I might be the most traveled old guy around.

And then there's Bridget.  She used to be Rachel.  I think Bridget has a secret crush on me.  She calls sometimes three or four times a day.  I do feel sorry, though, for one resident right here in Scarborough.  Bridget has confiscated her phone number trying to fool me into thinking it's a neighbor calling, but I don't know the person and when I see that number, after the first time I answered it and was told it was Bridget, I now know instantly I don't need to pay more for my credit card.

Remember, you don't have to be polite to scammers, just hang up.


Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Maine Conservative organization says school funding being held hostage

The Maine Wire, a project of The Maine Heritage Policy Center, sent out a commentary this Wednesday morning via e-mail that discusses what it calls a hostage situation in the Maine Legislature.  It concerns school funding in return for conformity of Maine's taxes with the federal tax structure.  The commentary, written by State Representative Larry Lockman represents Maine House District 137, which includes parts of Hancock, Washington, and Penobscot counties. He may be contacted at, claims the Maine Democrats want to put 22 million dollars in the fund that gets distributed to help local school costs.

That commentary begins, "If there were ever any doubt that Democrats in the Maine House of Representatives are willing to kill tax conformity if they don’t get their way on raiding $22 million from the state treasury for another round of school subsidies, we now have a smoking gun that should remove any lingering doubts. A recent email exchange exposes the Democrats’ strategy of holding tax conformity hostage to the spending spree. And it appears they’re prepared to shoot the hostage if legislators refuse to pay the ransom demanded."

You can read the whole commentary in The Maine Wire.  You also can start getting your copies of The Maine Wire simply be signing up using your email address and the link at the top of the linked page.  Remember, though, this is a conservative organization.


Saturday, February 27, 2016

"That's our opinion; we welcome yours." -- Former WCSH6 Editorial Director Fred Nutter

You've read my complaints about the passing of real news reporting during the past several years.  I'm sorry to write about one of the last real reporters I knew who did all he could to uphold the standards of equal and fair news coverage.

WCSH6 legend Fred Nutter passed away Friday night.  He was 82 years old.

I first met Fred in the early 1960s when we both worked for local radio station WPOR.  Fred was full time and I worked weekends.  During the week, however, I was able to put my journalism degree to work chasing local news stories and reporting from the scenes of many events.

Toward the middle of the 1960s, Fred was hired away from the station to become a city reporter for WCSH radio and television.  As you know, WCSH radio has long since been sold and the radio call letters are no longer in use.  But Fred had already become one of the best local reporters in any media and remained at WCSH TV. 

Fred hadn't missed my work ethic and in 1965 he recommended to the lead announcer at the WCSH radio station that I might make a contribution there.  After a lengthy interview, where I think I made an absolute fool of myself, not hard for me to do, I too was hired away from the first radio station.

I think it was Fred who told the then TV news director I would make a good part time addition to the news staff and his recommendation was accepted.  Fred later became news director of WCSH-TV and he continued the standards established by his predecessor of requiring equal and fair coverage of all news events. 

After WCSH radio was sold, he found a weekend spot for me along with my continuing to be a "chaser" for local news events during the week. 

The station's news department grew into Maine's number one source for News and even today boasts that more people get their news from WCSH6 than from any other news source.  Our reporters were simply not allowed to "editorialize" in news stories or let their own feelings become important in reporting.

That did leave a little void in our coverage, and station management filled it.  Fred Nutter became the Editorial Director and he presented frequent editorials on various subjects.  He even included invitations to newsmakers to have time to make their news known.

Like his name, his editorial closings became household:  "That's our opinion; we welcome yours."

I am proud to have had Fred Nutter as a friend, colleague, mentor, and leader during my broadcasting career.  He leaves behind three kids, several grandchildren, and a wife of 55 years.  Fred Nutter...May you rest in the peace your hard work and leadership earned.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Race to the Top...Would it be bad if none made it?

It's looking more and more like Donald Trump could be the flag carrier for the Republican Party this presidential election year.  He's won another local, Nevada, and some now consider him to be on the way to being unstoppable.  Marco Rubio has become the near-clear second placer, while Ted Cruz seems to be falling from grace. 

Cruz's continuation in the race could be totally dependent on the upcoming Texas Super Tuesday affair.  The Texas Senator is confident he'll win his own state, but Trump also claims he's leading in the race, both there and in many other states.  Rubio needs to win his state, Florida.  We could have a far less cloudy picture by the end of March.

None of the three top contenders, however, have grabbed my support.  I still haven't made up my mind as I'm not sure any of the three would make a good President.  Although he'll probably be from the race soon, I'm still doing some study on John Kasich.  I'd guess I'm still hoping there's someone out there who will suddenly appear that can give us the leadership we need.

Although Hillary Clinton looks like she's got the Democratic nomination all locked up, I think the Dems may be in tougher shape than the Republicans.  Looking at Clinton's past and reading what Sanders wants to accomplish are among the scariest things simple Americans like me can do.  I don't understand why so many people support Clinton and why Sanders is making such a slightly smaller mark in the race.

Americans truly do not learn from the history they no longer are being taught in schools and universities.

I don't often say any nice about our President, the there was a touching news story on the television a few nights ago.  President and Mrs. Obama welcomed a 106-year-old woman into the White House.  Among the activities, Mrs. Obama took her by the hand, led her out of her wheelchair, and "danced" with her.  Well, at least they were moving their feet and swaying to the music in a single position.  I don't think I've ever seen a more loving face on President Obama as he also reached out with apparent love to that woman.  As old as she is, the moment simply had to be the very best in the life of that woman.

As much as I hate the Obama politics, I would go see him and any President of the United States at any chance I'd get.  After all, it isn't the man but the position that would be such an honor.

I hope I never lose that feeling, but any of today's hopefuls just might cause it to go away.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I think I made myself hungry.

It'll be a while, possibly a long "while," before we see one here in the Greater Portland area, but the news out of Bangor is good.  Krispy Crème is coming to Maine.

The news articles I've seen say a New Hampshire Donuteer, another of my new words, is planning to build three of the franchise shops with Bangor the most likely spot for the first one.  Nevertheless, the "ice" will be broken.

Because of the lack of one anywhere near here my lack of experience with Krispy Crème donuts is understandable.  I'll bet there are a goodly number of folks here who have never had one.  I have.  My wife and I were in, I think, New Orleans when we first ran across a Krispy Crème coffee shop.  Having seen them on TV for quite a while, we decided to try one of their donuts.

Then two.  And both of us would have liked to just go on with more, but we resisted that temptation and left. 

But I must say I've never had a better donut anywhere before or since.  There are two or three absolutely wonderful donut shops here in Greater Portland, including a franchise place and several small bakeries/coffee shops.  Remember when Dunkin' Donuts were made on premises?  They were far better, in my humble opinion, than the trucked in ones offered now.  In fact, they may have been in line with the Krispy Crème.  My favorite local bakery, though, no longer exists.  I was among the many to mourn when our favorite "Uncle" closed shop in South Portland.

But that Krispy Crème in New Orleans still ranks as the very best.  At least when one gets it right out of the cooker.  We went back a second day and it was equally as good.  Have you ever seen that little light in the window?  That signaled "Get your donut NOW."  Both of our visits had been early in the day when the store was cooking its inventory.  I didn't know about that light then and we both wondered what it was for.

We found out on the third day as we were leaving New Orleans at a different time.  Naturally we stopped by that Krispy Crème shop to pick up a couple of donuts and coffee for the first part of our ride.  We almost didn't eat the donuts.  Thinking back, there was no light in the window.  The donuts we got had been made probably a couple hours earlier.  And they were simply awful.  The quality of the donut went from one extreme flat down to the other in a relatively short period of time.

But, Boy!  Within a short while of being cooked, there wasn't a better donut anywhere.  That would send me to a local Krispy Crème in a heartbeat once I learned the local's cooking schedule.  I, for one, am looking forward to the arrival of Krispy Crème in Greater Portland.  (I certainly wouldn't drive all the way to Bangor to get one.)  I hope that "light" signal is still in effect.

Speaking of food, there's another place I wish would come to Greater Portland.  One of the best buffet food restaurants I've ever eaten in is Golden Corral.  We were introduced to Golden Corral during one of our retirement trips a few years back.  We first checked one out in Branson, MO, when we visited there to take in a whole bunch of their famous shows.  It was one of our better trips and that Golden Corral just outside the city caught us by surprise.

We've eaten in others since then and in each instance found the establishment to be extremely neat, clean, and laid out.  The food was delicious and, most importantly, the hot food was hot.  The selection was outstanding and the staff extremely pleasant. 

I'd like to see a Golden Corral come to Greater Portland.

I have had good experience with other franchises, too, that we visited elsewhere.  When a couple of them came to our area in Southern Maine, they soon became favorites of ours.  We prefer Texas Roadhouse for steak dinners and love Five Guys for fast-food hamburgers. 

I haven't tried one yet, but both my wife and daughter like Red Robin, too.  However, I'd have to quickly add there's a super hamburger shop in Falmouth we like and another one in Auburn.

There are too numerous eating places in Greater Portland to mention them all and I'm sure I've missed your favorite place.  I do apologize for that, but we started out here just praising that one donut shop.  I was just trying to point out that being a "franchise" doesn't mean it can't be a super place, although there are a whole lot more mediocre ones than great.

Hmmmm.  I wonder if it's eating time, yet.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

A time to warm up

To say simply, it is cold today, and that might be close to an understatement.  It's closing in on 9 AM on this Sunday morning, and the temperature out on my deck is 7 degrees below zero with a wind chill of minus thirteen.  That's cold.  Now don't take my temperatures as anything official as they are taken strictly on an Acu-Rite weather station.  As the sun gets higher, the temperature has now already begun to rise...slightly.

Nevertheless, if you're reading this on this Sunday morning, let me wish you and your partner a most wonderful Valentine's Day.  If the Day has neared its end or is over, I hope you had a great Day for cuddling.  It was surely cold enough for that activity.

Watching the news this morning sent me back down memory lane, a trip I like to take frequently.  When I was much, much younger, I worked a seven day week so my bride and I could make some headway into our future.  I had a full time week day job and a two-day weekender.  There was a florist shop in the same building I worked in and back in the early 1960s, every Saturday I took home a single red rose to honor my bride for putting up with my endeavors.  It cost me seventy-five cents, but well worth it.

Even back then, though, prices on just about everything occasionally climbed.  My Saturday rose went from seventy-five cents to ninety one weekend and then, within 18 months or so it climbed to a full dollar.  That, I think, was my pay for the first hour of my part-time job.  It wasn't long after that the price went up again.  It was the last Saturday rose I took home.  Sandra was well worth it, and still is, but we were trying to save to buy our own house and that dollar plus could be put to another use.

This morning, the news said a single rose today would cost ninety dollars, not ninety cents and I mentioned to my bride how much money I have saved us.  I'm not sure she agreed with my logic.

Conservatives, and the whole country should be, are mourning the loss of Supreme Court Justice Scalia this morning.  If President Obama appoints his replacement, any chance of the Court interpreting our Constitution as it was intended will be gone, probably forever.  Even today's divided Court, in my very non-legal opinion, incorrectly interprets many laws in ways that would cause our forefathers to literally roll over in their graves.

I am among you hoping that that President and Senate will hold off until after the next election in November to name a replacement.  At least after the elections the selection will reflect the will of the people better as the people will cement our country's direction.

Meanwhile, we mourn the loss of a Great Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, appointed by then President Ronald Reagan.  Sadly, for me, he was just a few months older than I.

I'm not going to defend Maine Gov. Paul Lepage's appointment of himself as acting commissioner of education.  Last week I defended his action of withdrawing his then nominee after learning the Democrats on the Education were going to tear the nominee apart in confirmation hearings.  I said it showed that the Democrats were not interested in working with the Governor and Republicans in fixing the many problems facing our state.

The actions, name calling among them, by the Governor, following the withdrawal will, probably has destroyed, destroy any chances of bringing the sides together and signal two more years of continuing and growing turmoil in Augusta.  I'm disappointed in this action.

This growing power struggle will take Maine absolutely nowhere and we could be in for a long two years.  There is a whole bunch of legislative branch and executive branch people who should take a good, hard look in the mirror mornings and grow up.  The people of Maine deserve more than what we're getting. 

There are always two sides, sometimes even more, to any issue facing us and the best solution is often somewhere in the middle.  It takes good people to meet, face the problem head on, and then COMPROMISE to find the correct solutions to work for all of us.  It's the way it used to be done when Maine, and America, grew into greatness.  The current atmosphere is simply accomplishing that famous Russian's pronouncement before the United Nations, "We will destroy you from within."

It's now "grow up" time in Maine.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Surprise? I don't think totally.

I'm not surprised at the party winners in New Hampshire, but I am a wee bit surprised at the order of the underlings on the Republican side of the ballot.  Of course you all know Donald Trump, as expected, finished atop the R heap while Bernie Sanders surprised only Hillary Clinton on the D heap.  Well, the D's didn't have a heap, but Bernie's win wasn't unexpected by most.

The NH results did show what one "expert" said was a change in the electorate that wants to see politics in America returned to the people.  I remember not his name right now, but he told WCSH6 reporters the voters want ordinary folk, not the super rich, to be running the country.

That would be the case if either Trump or Sanders holds on to win next November.

My mild surprise was that Marco Rubio dropped all the way down to fifth.  I honestly had expected to see a real battle between Rubio and Ohio Gov. John Kasich for that second spot but it turned out that only Kasich was there.  Remember I've been saying all along that Rubio could come through and win the R nomination.  He still could, I suppose, but he probably won't.

Kasich might be a good alternative to Trump.

It'll now heat up in down South as attention turns to South Carolina and out West in Nevada next.

The race will heat up.

Back to Maine.  A chance of peaceful relations between the Democrat controlled Legislature and the Republican Governor we thought might bring some civility to Maine governance this session has apparently been rather short-lived.  On the first day of the current session after the tumultuous year of the last session opened with the Democrats seeking to impeach governor Paul LePage.  However a majority of Dems didn't want to start out that way in hopes, I imagine, of at least having the two sides work together for the good of Maine.

That has apparently come to an end.  I haven't seen it in the news anywhere, but as you know I don't get much of the news to read Gov. LePage withdraw his nomination for Commissioner of the Department of Education, Dr. Bill Beardsley.  Dr. Beardsley is highly qualified for the position and will continue in his temporary position until all this is cleared up.

According to the Governor's Press Release I read in the Maine Wire, the newsletter of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, the withdrawal resulted from what the release called a planned blockage by democrats on the Legislature Education Committee.  The Governor said he had learned that the Dems had planned to pack the confirmation hearing with strong groups and transgendered students to stop the nomination.

The Maine Wire says, "At issue appears to how Maine is dealing with transgendered students, and the brewing conflict between left-wing groups and their allies in Augusta, and the governor’s office over the issue."  The Maine Supreme Court had urged the legislature to fulfill its duties of creating specific rules for transgendered students to use bathrooms, especially in schools.  The Governor had stopped incomplete action of the Legislature until that body followed the Court's instructions.

The action of the Democrats on the Education Committee, however, signaled they would continue to ignore the Court, until they got their way at least, and that signaled that they will continue to be in conflict with the governor at every turn.

The Maine Heritage Policy Center in the same newsletter is calling upon all Mainers to look closely at electing more Republicans who support Maine ideals to the Legislature next November.

Something surely needs to be done to return civility to our legislative lives.


Monday, February 8, 2016

A little snow heading our way for a couple of days

Remember Keith Carson?  He was a weatherman, meteorologist if you prefer, on WCSH6 a  while back until he moved to Atlanta to join The Weather Channel.  The Scarborough Police Department published a post by him on Facebook and my Facebook page picked it up.  That's where I saw it yesterday.

All that to tell you what Carson thought yesterday would be the storm here today through Tuesday, at least.  According ro Keith's post, we're right on the edge of a "monster Nor'Easter."  Of course later information released today by Todd Gutner, a current meteorologist at Channel 6, updates that forecast.  Nevertheless, it was rather amazing to read that a former super weather forecaster who has moved on to what he believes is a greater pasture still keeps an eye on Maine.

Now from Todd:  Monday morning on NewsCenter6 Todd Gutner pretty much confirmed what Keith Carson posted Sunday.  Although we awoke to no snow, Todd told us it would begin this afternoon and continue at least until noontime Tuesday in our region.  The heaviest stuff will fall during the overnight hours and result in 4 to 8 inches of new snow by the time it stops Tuesday, 

Northern parts of the state will probably only see up to four inches.  But think of those Bostonians; Parts of Massachusetts could see a foot or more.

There's also a chance of more snow later this week.

Topic change:  Yes.  I did watch the entire Super Bowl last night as Denver whomped Carolina.  I think the domination was even more than the 24 to 10 score would indicate.  I was happy to see Peyton Manning win what could be his final hurrah.  I do think, though, over the summer the NFL should give its fumble rules a good looksee.

To me, there were two major disappointments.  I think my age might be showing here, but the half time show was simply terrible.  And the much anticipated and touted commercials were for the most part awful.  A couple were even just plain disgusting.  Oh, well, so much for 30 million dollars.

Finally, tomorrow is the "big day" in New Hampshire.  Both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have held on to their huge leads in the polls there heading into tomorrow's primaries.  We'll probably be inundated all day today with news out of New Hampshire.



Saturday, February 6, 2016

I still don't like the weather, but this weekend was pretty.

Edited Sunday morning to add:  I violated my own word last night that I wouldn't spend any time watching that Republican debacle.  I watched most of it.  I went to bed last night feeling that no matter whom we elect in next November's presidential election, this country is in real tough shape.  The Republicans and Democrats are just about even in incompetence.  There isn't a leader among them.  If you are like me and believe these two terms of the current electees (Yea, I know!) is not good for America, just wait and see what we're in for in the next term.  Wow!

Now on to my previously posted breather.

We'll see what our (Maine) Legislature does Monday, but if it's typical, the next big political event will be Tuesday when the New Hampshire presidential primaries take place.

Over the weekend we were told this week could see some snow on several days.  Meanwhile, our first major storm in our area fell last Friday.  Portland got 8.8 inches of the heavy stuff, but the temperature on Saturday along with a warm sun helped folk get their driveways and walkways back, at least near back.

This is the way it looked outside our front window Saturday ...
I've been complaining about the little snow we've had this winter as a combination of my age and physical restrictions have made the winter difficult.  Nevertheless, this was rather pretty.
If you've been around here the last few years, you know how much I showed off our Golden Retriever Mariah.  As I've mentioned earlier, Mariah went to Doggy Heaven last winter after a bout with cancer.  A new Golden adopted our daughter a couple years ago shortly after one she had left her.  Here is Brandy enjoying this snowy weather while visiting our house over the weekend.
There's just something about Goldens that get deep under one's skin and Brandy is another precious one.
We'll get back to the serious stuff this week.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

No real surprises...Well, not many, at least

The first test is behind us and I didn't see any real surprises, at least from my viewpoint.  I might be a wee surprised at the closeness, just five votes, between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side.  Hillary is claiming total victory; Bernie is calling it a tie. 

I expected a Clinton win, but was just a little surprised at the closeness.  One thing is for sure, there won't be a recount.  The votes are taken as caucus attendees make their decisions and then physically move to a designated place in the room.  The bodies are then counted and the total becomes the vote.  Once the attendees have left, there isn't any place for a recount.

I'm not sure I expected the win by Ted Cruz over Donald Trump and the late surge by Marco Rubio for third place was just a mild attention getter.  Cruz's actual win wasn't so much of a surprise as was the vote spread between him and Trump.  It wasn't huge, but it was more than I think I anticipated.

The surprise to me is only one Republican dropped out as a result of Iowa.  The others, including Jeb Bush and other candidates, fell even further behind with less than five percent each of the vote.  The Republican race continues, only even more so, a three-way affair between Cruz, Trump, and Rubio.  Edited:  A second and third candidate dropped out Wednesday.

Considering Trump's campaign strategy record, it'll be interesting to see where it takes us now.

But, more "Now," it's on to our neighbor New Hampshire for next Tuesday's selections.  This will be a busy, noisy week both here in Maine and in New Hampshire.  And it's all to pile up delegates for the national conventions this summer where the real nominees for the presidency will be determined.  Tuesday will be a primary with actual voting whereas last Monday was a caucus where actual people were counted.

Imagine...the bottom line of all this hype and spent money is to select delegates to the conventions which is the only real impact, the important one, of whom the nominees will eventually be.

I love talking about this weather.  Wasn't yesterday just a grand day?  We didn't hit that record, but my deck temperature came very close.  I guess the official one did, too, missing by only four degrees.  Right now at 8:45 this Tuesday morning, my deck tells me it's 43 out there, but the telly says it's still in the 30s officially.  Nevertheless, it looks gorgeous out there.

Unfortunately, this might be the end for this winter as some wintery stuff might be heading toward Maine.

Edited again:  And here it is Saturday morning and that wintery stuff did smack us yesterday.  Nevertheless, I must admit it's even more gorgeous out there today, albeit a different kind of wonder.  And, Tom at WCSH6 says, we're in for snowy weather virtually every day next week.


Monday, February 1, 2016

What a beginning for February!

This is February??   Twelve noon on February First and the temperature out on my deck is 60 degrees.  Let me be clear, my deck temp is never the same as the "official" temperature and this time of day there could be 4 or 5 degrees difference.  But 60 is the way it feels out on the Deck.  We could actually beat the "official" high record of 63 degrees.  'Spose to be right up there tomorrow, too.  Wow!  But then some rain, precious little chance of snow, Wednesday will start us back down into the 30s for the rest of the week.  But that won't take today's Start of February away from us.  Imagine, 60 degrees on February First in Maine!

Before this night is over, we could have some interesting news out of Iowa.  This is Presidential Caucus in the state with the first real vote heading toward presidential nominations this summer.  Each party will select who voters in that state should support.  I'm glad I don't live there as I haven't decided which lousy candidate I'd support.  There isn't one that I could trust to lead this country with honesty and integrity.  One good thing could come from tonight's voting.  A whole bunch of second level Republicans could decide to throw in the towel.

I'll have to wait until tomorrow morning to learn the official results as I'll be going to bed tonight at my regular Monday bed time.

Here's a phrase that's is so needlessly overused it has become trite and dumb-sounding.  "Special Edition."  Like "This is a Special Edition of the Today Show."  Or "This is a Special Edition of Meet the Press."  I've never seen anything "special" about these and other regularly scheduled programs which are broadcast at the usual times on their usual days.  One exception of course is the lead announcers, anchors if you will, travel to the locale of the main event.  Today, for example, Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie of the Today Show are in Iowa.

I don't know what makes that "special," though, and I've never understood why putting those people on site gives the event any more substance or importance.

This post won't be here long, so we'll keep it short.  See you probably tomorrow.


Friday, January 29, 2016

A Quickie!

Another weekend.  And it's the end of January.  Did anyone tell the Maine weather gods that it's supposed to be cold?  And snowy?  Well, I'm thankful it isn't snowy.  We're also in for another week of "warm" temperatures, at least mostly above the average for February.  I'm not complaining.

I think one of the better lines I heard last week was a friend discussing the temperatures.  "Have you noticed the difference of people's attitudes when the temperature falls from the 40' to 20 and when the temperature rises from zero to 20?"

The hardest part of this weekend is the lack of college, or NFL for that matter, football games.  I don't consider "all-star" games as real games.  College ones come the closest as most players in them are trying to impress the NFL scouts.  The pro game, though, is just a showcase as far as I'm concerned.

I had thought the debate season had ended and praised the end.  It hadn't.  We've had two more since, one for each party.  I didn't watch either.  All the candidates were trying to gain the votes of Iowans who hold their caucuses Monday night.

Donald Trump claimed he was the winner of the Republican debate despite his not being involved in it.  He threw a tizzy-fit and refused to attend because he didn't like the network moderator.  He did lead a huge fund raising event for veterans which was very successful.  I guess that's why he claimed victory.

It'll be interesting to see how Hillary Clinton's minions explain away the latest concerning her e-mails and her private mail server.  Seems several of the messages were Top Secret.  She has been proclaiming no confidential correspondence took place.  Sadly, though, probably no one really cares.

Can anyone explain any real, honest successes she's had?  I gave you a link to a multitude of non-successes a few posts ago.

Some personal and family events have kept me rather quiet.  I think the beginning of February would be a good time to begin here again.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Another storm? Well, we'll see!

Most of you know why I took the weekend off.  My wife Sandra had a very successful hip replacement last Friday and I wanted to be with her in the hospital and help her our this weekend after she came home Saturday.  She's already walking easier than she did before the replacement although she is using a walker.

Boy, have hip replacements procedures ever changed since the last time anyone I know had one.  We arrived at the hospital at six AM and by 7:30 she was in the operating room.  By 8:30 she was already in the recovery room and about nine o'clock, my daughter and I were told we could go to her room to wait.  About five minutes after we got there, her transportation bed arrived at the door and stopped.  A nurse came into the room and picked Sandra's walker and took it outside to the bed.

The nurse asked Sandra if she was ready to go into the room and her own bed and the affirmative response had the nurse simply telling her to get out of that bed, grab the walker and walk into the room.  And walk into the room.  Holy mackeral, she had just had a new hip put in.  But she followed the instructions, gingerly sat up and swung her legs around and was on the floor.  She walked the several steps with no help except the walker.

When I asked her about pain, she said there was a little tingle, but generally no pain.  By noon Saturday she was home and, still using the walker, was walking anywhere she wanted to go.  Sunday saw massive continued improvement and I'd bet she'll be using a cane by Wednesday.  The last person I knew to have a hip replacement was in the hospital several days and it was a couple of weeks before a cane was in use.

My, how times have changed!

Did you watch the football games yesterday?  If you didn't, you didn't miss much.  Well, we did learn two things:  injuries don't help teams and neither do trades of key players.

And now the hype for the coming end of the week has begun.  "Possible storm coming up the coast for Friday."  Todd...we went through this last week remember?  Is it at all possible the station's reputation for storm prediction this far in advance should be looked at?  I think through the last 75 years or so, and wonder just how often these long range forecasts are accurate.  And, like last week's, this one still hasn't established a definite track.  Seems to me weather forecasting was much more accurate when someone simply looked out the window and not at computer "models."

In fact, I once had a high school student who did exactly that.  He'd come to school in the morning, look out our home room window, and predict whether or not we'd have school the next day during the winter.  He was closer to 100% accurate than the TV was.  He worked, by the way, for a short time at WCSH but had to use those models and wasn't nearly as accurate.

But, for now, we'll get all excited about another weekend storm.


Friday, January 22, 2016

A Short Break

I'm taking a couple days break.  I don't have any ideas for comments right now so I'll spend a minute or two through the weekend to see if I can come up with anything.  I hope you'll come back and, since we're apparently going to miss that massive storm to the south of us, I trust you'll have a superior weekend.  I'll return either Sunday or sometime Monday, to this space


Monday, January 18, 2016

Debates done for a while, probably a short one

Editing my own blog early this Tuesday morning to confirm something to you I've known for a very long time but only got real confirmation earlier this morning.  I'm not sure I believed it or not when I was told that Microsoft turns on your computer to upgrade it as long as it's connected to a power line.  I received an e-mail so many moons ago, I honestly remember not when, warning me that if my computer powered on or off were left plugged in to the electric power, it could be accessed.

Sometime about three o'clock this morning I was awakened to perform a task many men my age have to do sometimes during the night.  I noticed a light coming from the kitchen where one of my computers resides so went to check it out.  Microsoft had awakened it and was performing Windows Updates.  I'm not sure how long it was on as once satisfied the happening was what the screen said it was, I returned to bed.

It was completed when I did get up an hour later to have breakfast with my wife who went to work for the last time before surgery very early this morning.  The computer and monitor were powered down and a quick check showed the upgrade was completed.

That e-mail I had received was confirmed.  It had warned me that as long as the computer had a power source, it was never totally off and could be accessed.  Now I have to wonder, if Microsoft can do it, who else could access my files.  Scary, isn't it?  I've got to work on this one.

If it hasn't happened to you, please know I've seen it actually happening now so you, too, could be a lot more vulnerable than you think.  My excellent protection software did nothing to stop it.  If you didn't know it before, now be informed.

And now back to the original blog for this time period . . .

I haven't changed my mind about liking snow, but today (Monday) really was a simple pretty one.  I'm also beginning to like the weekend forecast as the weather folk seem to backing off just a wee bit from last weekend's forecast for a Nor'Easter.  Models tonight hint it will go further out to sea than originally thought.

I'd like that a lot.  As I've mentioned, my wife Sandra is having a hip replaced Friday and she's scheduled to come home Saturday.  I don't drive, but my daughter has volunteered to take me to the hospital to pick her up.  I wouldn't like driving or riding in a massive snow storm.

Thank goodness one small part of this long election season is over.  I think the season will be about 8 years old when it finally leaves next November.  That part that's over didn't accomplish a whole lot for me, but, in all fairness, I didn't watch much of the debates.  I did tune in to the television for a few minutes at the beginning of a couple, including the last Democratic Debate before the Iowa Caucuses.

When the caucus/primary part of the season is over, I'm not sure whose name for either party will appear on the ballot.  Probably Hillary Clinton is the obvious one on the Democratic side, but Bernie Sanders is making some solid gains.  Actually, I think he might be the better President if elected.  There's a long list of reasons why Mrs. Clinton shouldn't be elected on a forum page in the The Maine Citizen forum.  The submitter gives a litany of material concerning Hillary.  FYI:  It's the second item on page two of this thread.  I must say, however, I wouldn't switch parties to vote for either candidate nor for the third person in the race who doesn't have a chance anyway.

I still haven't made up my mind for whom I'd vote in a Republican primary.  I do think the long list has been cut way down to three or four real possibles.  A few of the original declarers for the nomination have already dropped out.  I'm not particularly happy with any of the remainders, though.  There are one or two of the remaining candidates that I wouldn't support under any conditions, but it's too early to break them out here.

It was fun reading this Monday about the debate in the British Parliament about banning Donald Trump from entering England.  Parliament spent a goodly part of this day bashing the Republican candidate for the United States Presidency.  What a waste of good time and money in Great Britain debating something over which they had neither control nor say.  Some of the debaters pointed that out and there were a few from Scotland who were afraid Trump would pull his millions from his golf courses there.

The debate concerned Trump's proclamation of banning Muslims from entering the United States.

I said once a while back I thought probably Marco Rubio might end up the nominee and I'll stand by that for now.  Even though his numbers are low, I'm not counting Jeb Bush out just yet, either.  Ted Cruz is still around, too, but I don't like his manner.

November still seems like a long way off, but we'll begin to see the end two weeks from tonight (Monday).


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Weekends shouldn't be like this!

It's Saturday morning as I begin this little communication.  The weather is just awful.  I said the other day that I simply don't like snow anymore.  My age has something to do with that feeling; but I must say I like snow a whole lot more than I like ice.  My wife works very part time and Saturdays are on her list.  She left for work at 4:45 this morning and the weather channel was proclaiming doom and gloom for conditions here.

She called me about 4:55 to say she had arrived at work and that the driving wasn't as bad as we had been told it was, but the parking lot where she worked was just awful.  She said it took her about seven minutes to get from her car to the building because of the ice buildup.  She'll be heading home in another hour (about 9 AM).

The weather forecast indicates we'll be in for less than nice weather the rest of the day today. If the snow does come as it's forecast, we'll do any cleanup tomorrow.

By now you know the majority in the Maine Legislature has killed, at least for the time being, an attempt to impeach our governor for allegedly exceeding his authority.  The Legislature was also very critical of some remarks Gov. Paul LePage made last week concerning drug dealers and what he said they do to Maine young women.  "Racist," said legislators, the news media, and liberals nationwide.

But one Maine Representative, Heather Sirocki (R - Scarborough and parts of other nearby communities) pointed out one truism about our "racist" governor that I read absolutely no where else during all this debate, although it had been said many times before.  I get a newsletter regularly from Rep. Sirocki and this is what she said in her latest one, Jan 15th:

“Gov. LePage made national news last week with a comment from a town hall meeting in Bridgton. While I agree, Gov. LePage may not always express himself the way that you or I might, his words are also frequently taken out of context and/or are sensationalized by the media. Unfortunately, his words have been used negatively in our nation's highly charged political and racial atmosphere. Many people do not realize that Gov. LePage welcomed into his own family a boy from Jamaica, nor do they know that the governor is bilingual and learned to speak English at age 13.

The Paul LePage I know and respect is not racist, but he is vehemently fighting the substance abuse pandemic that causes about 3 babies a day, or almost 1,000 Maine babies a year, to be born addicted and causes hundreds of overdoses every year. The governor referred to "drug dealers" in his comments, but he did not specify the race or skin color of the traffickers. After speaking with individuals from Bridgton and reading about the national fanfare, near as I can tell, the charge of a “racist comment” seems largely unfounded.”

 Thank you, Rep. Sirocki, for simply stating facts about our governor that most of us never considered.



Thursday, January 14, 2016

No impeachment . . . for now!

There will be no impeachment of Gov. Paul LePage, at least not now.  The Democrats in the Maine House of Representatives, controlled by the Dems, decided instead to pass a nothing resolution that simply called for civility.  I guess the Republicans thought being civil was the right direction and joined the Democrats in passing the resolution after not joining them in killing the impeachment attempt.

The debate and comments on WCSH6 NewsCenter sounded like the democrats had changed hoping to save some of their seats in the November elections.  Perhaps they have discovered that not all their constituents think that wasting time on this issue, especially after the democrats' own Attorney General has said the governor did nothing illegal nor committed any crime, was not in the best interest of the state.

The impeachment charge arose after some democrats tried to help their leader save his job.  A charter school had offered House Speaker Mark Eves the presidency of the school.  An Eve's staffer was the a member of the board running the school.  He allegedly coached his boss on what to do and say to get the presidency job.  That staffer has subsequently resigned from the school's leadership group and Eves' contract was withdrawn a week after it had been accepted.

Eves now has a suit against the governor in Federal Court.

The governor has allegedly said he could not allow state funds to go to the charter school because he said Eves has opposed such schools since their inception in the Legislature.  During a hearing a few weeks ago the school could not produce a memo it said it got that had the governor making a threat.

That is now behind us, but a small group of democrats say they will be on the lookout for what they perceive has more LePage judgment mistakes and again bring impeachment charges.

I find it interesting that those democrats apparently find nothing wrong with their power leader accepting the position in the first place.  Talk about breaching power!

I also doubt the "civility" resolution will amount to anything.  After all, it's the democrats that have not worked with the governor in the first place, a huge step toward the incivility currently in Augusta.  I'll be watching to see something change.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Snow has fallen from my list of "liked" things!

I'm beginning not to like snow.  We got a wee bit here; about six inches we're told, but it looks like a little less than that.  Thank heaven for my neighbor who plows me out.  Do you know how hard shoveling is while using a wheel chair?  My wife, who is going to have a hip replacement surgery next week, suffered through the steps.  And we have more snow forecast for the weekend.  No.  I'm simply not liking snow right now.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Fixing the Drug Problem

Gov. Paul LePage has made another statement that liberals across the country and especially here in Maine have severely criticized.  The governor was critical of primarily men from out of state coming here to sell their drugs, notably but not limited to heroin.  The governor also said that before many of them leave, they impregnate young Maine girls which creates even another problem.

The Maine Legislature, meanwhile, is trying to find a solution to Maine’s growing drug problem and ways to help addicts already affected.  That four plus million-dollar solution includes policing sales and providing help for those needing and wanting it.

The governor’s comments also led to at least an hour long discussion on the Ray Richardson Show on the WLOB radio network.  Included in the discussion were Richardson, of course, along with his guests, pharmacist Joseph Bruno of Community Pharmacies and Steve Webster, a retired South Portland police officer involved with drug prevention.

I can’t quote what the governor said directly, but the liberals are once again attacking him.  They are using their now very familiar race card calling what the governor said as “racist.”  It seems, of course, that anything not said by a liberal is simply racist.

According to both guests, four million dollars will fall far short of any lessening of the problem.  The Legislature wants to emphasize education and support for users.  It would like to base the reforms on what is being touted as a great success, the Project Hope offered by the Scarborough Police Department.  Project Hope simply asks users who want to get out of drug use by go to the Scarborough Police Station and ask for help.  They do not face arrest for the visit.  The police then find a rehabilitation facility somewhere in the country and helps pay for the user to get there to participate in rehab.

The answer to the problem, however, may not be in education and rehab.  Rather the Legislature itself perhaps holds a key to a resolution.  Pharmacist Bruno, himself a former legislator, indicated a major problem was the lack of control over doctors who way over prescribe powerful drugs to patients.  I didn’t take any notes as I should have, but he told of one physician who prescribed something like of a powerful narcotic of more than 400 pills a month.  And the only choice the issuing pharmacy had was to fill the prescription.
That was just one example of how the laws seem to help out drug users.  Retired officer Webster also had several examples of how people abuse the use of drugs.  My interpretation of the discussion was that a good part of lessening of the overuse and non-necessary use of the drugs lies in the hands of the legislators, right in front of their own noses it seems. 

This is one part of the problem that could be addressed in one day by the legislators.  It is not the total solution, but reigning in the issuance of legal drugs might be an excellent start. 

Both Bruno and Webster are regular guests on WLOB radio’s Ray Richardson Show and both always offer very listenable opinions.  I’d like to hear more on this topic in a future session.

That other problem I mentioned in the beginning is the growing welfare one.  Many of those girls/women the drug sellers impregnate become part of our welfare system and we take care of them and their children for years down the road.

And finally back to Gov. Lepage’s comments.  It absolutely amazes me how the liberals have zero care about the contents on a remark, often time a truthful statement or, at the very least, an honest opinion, and all those attackers can do is attack the messengers.  No defense gets offered, just the playing of that very infamous card.

The governor, incidentally, today apologized saying the drug dealers often leave behind impregnated young white girls, the remark that probably led to the racist attack.  He said today he meant Maine women.


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Surprise! Surprise!

I don't have a lot of information yet as the news media hasn't had time to get it all together, but WCSH6 Newscenter reported this noon that the Democrats have forced their leader, Mark Eves, to back off at least for a while on attempts to embarrass Gov. Paul LePage.

Some Democrats had wanted to start this first session of the 2016 Legislature with either an attempt to impeach the governor or, at the very least, censure him for his actions.  The one most often mentioned had been the Governor's suggestion that Eves might not be the best choice for a leadership position at a charter school.  The Governor had said that Eves had opposed such schools since their inception.  Gov. LePage also had hinted at a possible conflict of interest in the hiring.  Eves was fired about a week after his appointment last year.

Rank and file democrats apparently caucused yesterday and the only conclusion they could agree with at this time was to start the year without the confrontation and attempt to have a harmonious beginning to the session with their republican counterparts and focus on important issues facing all Mainers, such as the development and funding of a plan to meet the state's drug problem head on.

It doesn't mean the Eves thing is over, however.  Eves reportedly said, "Stay tuned."  He continues to have a law suit pending against the governor and LePage has filed a motion in the court to have that dismissed.

But at least for this day, it appears that reasoned minds have prevailed and the session may be off to a good start.  Let's hope the legislators like getting along with each other and true bi-partisanship will lead to fair compromise on issues to move our State forward.  After all, the best solutions seem to always be about in the middle of the solutions offered by both sides of an argument.  Sort of like the real truth of a situation usually is somewhere between your version of the truth and my version of it.

We'll see.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Not a good way to start the 2016 Legislative Session

The Maine Legislature opens its 2016 session Wednesday morning and early indications would seem to indicate it'll be just as contentious as last year's session.

According to WCSH6 Newscenter's Don Carrigan on the Monday evening news, Maine's Democrat legislators want to begin not with important issues facing Mainers but rather with more attack on Gov. Paul LePage.  This doesn't seem to me as a good beginning as it'll start the session already saying their agenda is more important than Maine's problems and it certainly won't put the governor in a bi-partisan mood to work with the Legislature.

Carrigan's report, which you can read here, says at least a few Dems plan to open the session with either an outright call for an impeachment of the governor or, at the very least, an attempt to censure him for his actions.

The issue is not regarding any perceived Maine need but rather revenge on the alleged threat by LePage to withhold funds from a charter school if it hired Dem. Mark Eves for its staff.  An official of the school did testify that he received a threatening note from LePage to that issue, but could not produce the note at a hearing. 

The Dems also told Carrigan that other issues they perceive as the governor going beyond his authority last year.

Carrigan reported that most Republicans do not support this opening of the session.  Even some Democrats simply want the issue put behind them and to move forward.

Even Dem. Attorney General Janel Mills has said the governor has not committed a crime and she has nothing she can do about the alleged situation.

No matter what they want, this type of session beginning does not bode well for a productive 2016 Legislative session.

Meanwhile, WCSH6 uses the Portland Press Herald as a source to tell us that Gov. LePage's lawyers will file a motion next week in the courts to have a personal lawsuit against him by Eves dismissed claiming diplomatic immunity.

I for one am sorry to see this session of the Legislature opening on this note.  Although I didn't expect harmony, I was hoping my expectation was wrong.


Saturday, January 2, 2016


And now the New Year is underway.  It did have a lousy start for us Gator fans; our football team didn't look very good in the Michigan blowout Friday.  At least we Red Sox fans learned a long time ago just how to say simply, "Wait 'til next year!'

The political season in Maine is underway once again as the Maine Legislature returns to session Wednesday.  Will it make any better progress at improving life in Maine than the 2015 session?  I doubt it, but I'd love to begin eating those words rather quickly.

I got a regular newsletter from my House Representative recently which touted that I'd have a little more money to spend this year due to tax cuts which took effect Jan. First.  She also said that we'd pay more taxes at food places, like the grocery store.  Did you notice this weekend that the cost of your groceries climbed?  Virtually everything with few exceptions is now taxed.  I won't remember it all, but only such things as bread vegetables, meat, and milk remain exempt.

We also learned that once again the Legislature went against what it said would happen, after a certain period of time, two years, I think, the 5.5% sales tax would revert to 5%.  We really never expected that to happen from Day One as the Maine Legislature has never been known to keep it's collective word.  "Tell the folks what they want to hear...change it later" seems to be a common theme up there in Augusta.  So a lower sales tax isn't leading to more money for us to spend.  We never learn, do we?

They also left intact the 8% restaurant food tax and increased the lodging tax to 9%.  That, they say, has our tourists paying a "fair share" (don't you just love that phrase?).  I'd bet Mainers pay a vastly larger "fair" share of those combined taxes than people "from away."

In return for those tax increases, income tax payers will get a wee cut in the tax rates to appease us.  Of course not all Mainers have to pay any income tax in the first place, so that segment of the population gets a higher hit through all the other increases.  Even Legislators say we won't notice the income tax cuts until 2017 when we file this year's returns.  Is that also when we'll notice the increase in the grocery bag?  Oh, that's already happening.

The Inheritance Tax has also been lowered.  Now the tax begins at 5 million instead of two million dollars.  I suspect there are a whole lot more families like mine who never saw that first two million.  Big help that tax change will be for the majority of us.

The news media seems to be doing a fairly good job, but not a completely unbiased one, on explaining the tax changes so I'm not going into the whole lot of them.  But telling me we're better off now and the economy will get better hasn't worked, yet.  It'll take much more explanation to convince me the piddling decrease in income tax but the raising of 97-million more dollars in sales taxes is anything but the Democrats raising more money to support their socialistic agenda.

There's only one way to lower our taxes and that's to cut spending.  It won't happen with our current bunch.

I hope you will follow the actions of your Representatives and Senators through the session.  You'll have to decide if we indeed are better off with the crew that's there now than we might be with people who truly will work to make the state better for us.  We get a chance to replace them all in November.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

It's hard to believe that yet another year has passed.  And now we can start seriously thinking about a new President for the United States.  Yeah.  I know, we've been on that track for 7 years already.

But we wish you

A Happy New Year

With hopes that


Brings you success, peace and happiness

David and Sandra

(A Gator in Maine)