Politics & Other Mistakes: Questionable answers to unanswerable questions

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In these uncertain times, you probably have many concerns about what the future holds. I don’t have a clue, but I’m willing to fake it by making stuff up.

Question: Maine faces a budget shortfall next fiscal year that may total more than $1 billion. What can be done about all that red ink?

Answer: This is an easy one. While the coronavirus has shut down much of the state’s economy, it’s also produced a bumper crop of idiots who claim not to believe the problem is real. Folks like Rick Savage, the owner of Sunday River Brewing; Paul LePage, former governor-like object; and John Eder, ex-Green Independent Party legislator turned populist crank, all advocate removing nearly all restrictions on commerce, entertainment and education in order to get the money flowing again.

These delusional chowder brains have the combined medical knowledge of a packing crate, but nevertheless contend that the worst is over, and shutdowns and quarantines are no longer needed. It’s time to put their hallucinations to good use. The state should impose a hefty levy on anyone demonstrably divorced from reality. I call it the Pinhead Tax. Medical marijuana patients would be exempt.

Q: Why is the state Department of Labor having such a difficult time processing unemployment claims?

A: For years, joblessness had been at record lows in Maine, during which time bureaucrats at the Labor Department had little chance to exercise their skills. Their abilities to perform simple tasks atrophied to the point where they had trouble recalling how to answer the phone. Subsequently, the state hired the geniuses who developed Windows 8 to design a computerized system to perform the tasks previously handled by human beings, such as telling desperate people to call back later, placing callers on perpetual hold, and sending benefits to scammers with stolen identities.

There were numerous complaints, so, the department decided to just hand a fat check to anybody who asked. If it turned out they weren’t really unemployed, that computer system would probably be able to figure out how to get the money back. Some day.

Q: How come the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention seem so reluctant to release statistics that virtually all other states give out, such as the number of positive tests for coronavirus in each town or the number of people who tested negative statewide? Wouldn’t this be valuable information for the public to have?

A: What are you, some kind of Chinese spy? Don’t you think our enemies (Iran, North Korea, New Hampshire) would love to have this intelligence, so they could use it against us? I suppose you also want the super-secret Maine Information and Analysis Center run by the Maine State Police to stop monitoring your phone, keeping clandestine records on who’s bought a gun, and spying on protesters opposing Central Maine Power Co.’s plan to rip up the wilderness for electrical lines to Massachusetts. When that happens, the terrorists win.

Q: So, what’s the point of those daily briefings the Maine CDC keeps holding?

A: It’s all about showcasing Dr. Nirav Shah, the center’s director. He’s the new sexy. One look at him explaining why – although the numbers show that things might be getting worse, or maybe they aren’t – and you forget all about Gov. Janet Mills’ fumbling approach to deciding what should be open and what shouldn’t.

Dr. Shah just exudes pheromones or whatever those little airborne buggers are that make you horny. You can even feel them when watching his news conferences on a video feed. If it weren’t for social distancing, everyone in the state would be lining up to jump his bones.

Q: Now that restaurants in 12 of the state’s 16 counties have been allowed to reopen, is it really safe to go out to eat?

A: It is if you can avoid pinheads. Remember, no matter what Trump says, hydroxychloroquine can’t prevent stupidity.

I wear a mask in public for more reasons than just avoiding COVID-19. But you can safely contact me at [email protected].

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