And in the local news...

While the markets are trying to decide, as my dad used to say, whether to jump up or go blind (don't ask me what that means--my dad was a Texan in the mold of Ross Perot, and often censored his aphorisms for us kids), we're dealing with some issues of our own down here in Florida. We've got a huge budget hole to fill, and with tax revenues coming in lower than projections and the state economy not looking like it's going to recover before 2011-2012, that hole seems like it's getting deeper and wider. But never fear, Floridians--there's one thing you can count on from this legislature. The people in charge are clueless.

But the Republican-led Legislature has no interest in raising taxes, even so-called sin taxes on cigarettes, alcohol or gambling, said incoming House Speaker Ray Sansom of Destin. Sansom said the Legislature is living within its means and that there's an advantage to the budget cuts: Smaller government.

"Today really is a good day for Florida," Sansom said. "I have three [children] in public school. They're getting as good or better an education this year than they've ever had. They're as safe in their schools as they've ever been."
You know something I've noticed about countries that have small governments? They tend toward the banana republic style of government--a dictator at the top who cedes all real authority to whatever corporations are busy exploiting the country's natural resources. I can't say I'm a fan of that style of government. It's a little lax on the regulation side, and I think the last year, if nothing else, shows that we could use a touch more of that in the financial markets.

There will come a point here in Florida when the citizens will decide that they're tired of having the roads stay unmended, of having to wait half an hour for a cop or the fire department to show up, or of seeing 40 students to a classroom because teacher salaries are so poor that the school boards can't keep positions filled, and when that day comes, they'll put people into office who understand that government can actually do some stuff, and do it well, if only you put people in charge who actually believe that. Until then, this is what we have, a government that can't decide whether to jump up or go blind.

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