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Senator Arlen Spector (D-PA)

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the news this afternoon around lunch time. I was kind of frustrated too. No one else in court was either surprised or interested.

It’s not like the balance of power just shifted in the legislative branch of government.

Ah, but you see: it might have. When Al Franken is seated (the likely senator from Minnesota), the Democrats will have 60 seats… a filibuster proof majority. But I probably don’t have to tell you that. No, it doesn’t mean all of the Democrats will hold hands, sing campfire songs, and vote as one to pass Obama’s progressive agenda. And for my conservative friends… no, it doesn’t mean the Senate just turned into the Soviet Politburo.

But it does open up a whole lot of opportunity… and responsibility. The Democrats will own the next year and a half, for better or worse. I just hope they won’t govern to retain power; that they’ll do something with this opportunity. Oh, and please, please Mr Spector, don’t reprise the role of Zell Miller.

The biggest individual beneficiary may be Mr Coleman, the former senator from Minnesota. I bet he won’t have to worry about paying any of his legal bills (if there was any question before).

In session

I almost hate to say anything before it’s over, but the truth is this won’t be over for a long time, regardless of when our legislature is in session.

I’m being cryptic again. Sorry.

The Florida Legislature is in a special session to deal with the 2 billion hole that appeared in the state buget last quarter. There’s been a similar hole in each of the last several quarters, so it’s getting to be old hat by now. Still, folks are a little more worried this time. It may be a little worse than thought, with holiday sales dropping off a cliff, and revenue so dependent on sales taxes.

So far the hurt only goes as far as the positions we’ve been holding vacant – my department is smart that way. Like many of you we’re increasingly accustomed to the “more with less” chant, happy to still be employed.

Governor sun tan has been cranking out the optimism as if his life depended on it. And maybe his political life does.

We also heard what we already knew – caseloads are way up, almost certainly due to our plumeting economy. There’s a lot more people out there needing help, and the calvary ain’t walking through that door.

Nothing new here. It’s time to get creative.