By the time you read this, I should be on my way with my family for three weeks at my home in Minnesota. It may be a bit inconvenient there because the state government has closed its doors.
Minnesota state services such as state parks and the state historical sites have been closed because the governor and lawmakers can’t agree on a budget
5pm July 13, Minnesota time (5am July 14, Bangkok time)
Hello from Northfield, Minnesota. The trip from Bangkok to Minneapolis was almost completely smooth. Take-off time was 5:30am Bangkok time and arrival was 1pm the same day local Minnesota time (1am the next day in Bangkok). I used the word "almost" because both my wife and my son had problems with US immigration despite having perfectly valid US visas. I fillled out an incomplete entry form for them and then went through the regular line for US citizens, leaving them to go through the foreign citizen line. When the incomplete form was caught, the officials made the two of them try to fill it out fully without allowing me to help at all. Actually, they were rather rude, but fortunately one Japanese-American helped them out and after about 30 minutes, they officially entered the country.
Warning to those entering the States: Fill out the I-94 form correctly and if you are not sure ask an official before you get in line.
I haven't had any sleep for more than 36 hours, so it is unlikely I will be posting anything new until Friday morning.
local – in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
immigration department – the government agency dealing with people entering and leaving the country and those who want to live there สำนักงานตรวจคนเข้าเมือง
valid – legally accepted ชอบด้วยกฎหมาย
rude – not polite หยาบคาย
By the time you read this, I should be on my way with my family for three weeks at my home in Minnesota.
Minnesota, of course, is in the far north of the United States with a long border with Canada. It is famous for being very cold in the winter – minus 20 Celsius is not unusual – but most people don’t realise that it can also be very hot in the summer.
This is the summer season and we are expecting temperatures in the 30s – just like Bangkok. It makes packing easy.
The big news from Minnesota these days is that the state government has shut down. The state governor and the lawmakers have been unable to agree on the budget, so the government has essentially closed its doors until an agreement is reached.
Lawmakers from the majority Republican party are insisting on severe budget cuts and no new taxes.
The governor, a Democrat, wants to avoid some of the most drastic cuts by raising money through increasing taxes on cigarettes and the wealthiest Minnesotans, something the Republicans have thus far rejected.
They, like many Republicans throughout the United States want smaller, less expensive government. US Republicans would clearly be opposed to the many populist programmes proposed here in Thailand by the Phue Thai and the Democrat parties.
Meanwhile, many people in Minnesota are hurting. State employees are being laid off and many services are closed – the beautiful state parks are a good example. Road repairs have stopped and even bars and restaurants are worried they soon will not be able to sell alcoholic drinks as their state-issued cards allowing them to buy liquor begin to expire. Maybe that will get some action from the lawmakers.
I’ll have more on my stay in Minnesota after I arrive.
site – a place where something is located สถานที่
budget – an amount of money able to be spent on something งบประมาณ
border – the official line separating two areas, regions or countries เขตแดน อาณาเขต
pack – to put clothes, etc. into a bag in preparation for a trip away from home เก็บเสื้อผ้าลงหีบ
essentially – the true, important or basic nature of somebody/something เป็นหลัก, อย่างตามความจริง
majority – more than 50 percent of a group เสียงส่วนใหญ่
insist – to keep saying very firmly that something is true ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
severe – very serious and unpleasant รุนแรง
drastic – having a very big effect มีผลกระทบอย่างใหญ่หลวง
wealthy – having a large amount of money, land, and other valuable things ที่มั่งคั่ง ร่ำรวย
reject – to not agree with a request, offer or proposal ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
oppose – to disagree with or not approve of a plan or policy คัดค้าน
populist – related to the type of politics that claims to represent the opinions and wishes of ordinary people or to support programmes that will benefit the ordinary people ประชานิยม
propose – to suggest an idea for a group to consider เสนอ
meanwhile – at the same time ในเวลาเดียวกัน
lay off – to cause someone to lose their job, usually because there is not enough work for them to do การปลดคนงาน
repair – to fix something that is broken or damaged ซ่อมบำรุง
issue – to give or provide something official แจกจ่าย
expire – to come to an end or stop being in use หมดอายุ
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