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)