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Hide Your Wallet

It’s time again for the annual performance of the world’s least humorous comedy troop, the Florida legislature: State lawmakers begin budget-balancing act.

Their 60-day performance begins on Tuesday and they are supposed to create a budget after eliminating all of the reasonable sources of revenue. As the GOP holds 65% of the seats in both the House and Senate, this disaster is all theirs.

Understand that they have raided all of the funds and set-asides available to cover the disaster of last year’s budget, so they will be required to actually make really nasty decisions this term. Being dependent on sales tax revenue during the GOPression is not exactly the best position a state can be in.

The basic problems are: the value of homes is in the toilet; tourists can’t afford to visit; the state stopped growing; and consumers are not spending. The investment income on the various state funds is now negative, so they are going to require more funding at some point and are not available for raiding.

This is going to be painful to watch.

March 1, 2009   6 Comments

Fires In Central Texas

In the drought stricken areas of Texas the threat of fires is ever present: [News 8, Austin] One of Bastrop’s worst wildfires scorches 1,250 acres

Residents woke up to find more than 1,250 acres of land charred and 25 homes lost in a blaze that officials call one of the worst fires ever in Bastrop County.

The blaze, which began around 12:30 p.m. Saturday, continued well into Sunday, and though conditions have improved, the situation remains precarious, and anxious residents are discouraged from returning home.

“It’s going to be a hard thing to get through, and I know that a few of my neighbors have already lost their homes,” evacuee Robert Graham said.

They think it was started by a downed power line, but just about anything will touch one off as dry as the vegetation is in the area. Obviously, obtaining the water to fight a fire is also a problem. This was the worse of several wild fires in the region.

March 1, 2009   10 Comments

Once More

The threat returns to Victoria in Australia: Black Saturday warning as Victoria braces for the worst

Victorians are being warned to be ready for fire conditions that could be as bad as Black Saturday when strong winds and high temperatures hit the state tomorrow.

Fire authorities say it will be too late to leave properties tomorrow morning, and anyone planning to evacuate should do so as soon as possible.

Northerly winds are expected to pick up tonight, and winds are predicted to reach gusts of up to 150kph.

Authorities warn that strong wind gusts could lead to power cuts and falling trees.

About 2,200 firefighters are continuing to battle four fires – in Bunyip State Park and Wilsons Promontory, and two in Kilmore East-Murrindindi.

With hurricane force wind gusts anything is possible, including fires sparked by downed power lines. All they can do is wait and hope that this passes.

March 1, 2009   2 Comments

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant

flag of St. David

It’s Saint David’s Day, and, as he is their patron saint, it is a national holiday in Wales.  The Welsh wear leeks or daffodils [called Peter’s leek in Welsh] on this day.

March 1, 2009   Comments Off on Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant