Piney Woods Pete
Number of posts: 47
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By Piney Woods Pete:
My wife thinks I’m too hard on telephone solicitors. “They’ve got to make a living,” she says. She objects that I let them go through their spiel, ask a lot of questions, decline the offer, then ask to speak to their supervisor to make certain everyone, including the persons listening to the recording made for training and verification purposes, understands I have declined the offer. I figure every moment I can delay the evil telephonic solicitation machine is a moment my fellow citizens are safe.
No matter the organization, I’ve always figured if they call my house selling or seeking donations, they are crooks.
Now, however, I think the telephone workers need our help.
Sunshine and seventy degree days arrived this week in the flat woods. The dogwoods burst with pure white blossoms and a thousand tiny bees, sprung from their still-cold hives, rattle the morning with a collective , near-startling , vibration as they welcome each new flower.
Winter, be gone!
It’s interesting that Republican congressmen are so full of concerned advice to their Democratic colleagues about health care reform.
The GOP counsels that the voters won’t like affordable and available insurance. The GOP advises their party apparatus will vigorously challenge any Democrat who votes for reform.
Waka Flocka Flame and the rest of Gucci Mane’s crew thought Young Jeezy’s posse dissed somebody at Walter’s and all hell broke loose.
This is a certain sign that either Atlanta is nowhere to be or that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution can’t tell its behind from a hole in the ground.
Late last week the AJC ran a breathless story about the showdown between competing hip-hoppers at Walter’s Clothing. The story said shots were fired and the store, said to be the place to spot celebreties, had to close for 30 minutes.
The man had but one word – “Faith” – fixed on the church signboard as he perched near the top of his stepladder fumbling through a stack of plastic letters, looking for the remainder of the sentence.
As state legislatures reconvene, the annual search for a cause we can all believe in renews. One of the most likely subjects is Texting While Driving.
Opposing texting drivers is an ideal political position. Everybody is against it. Everyone knows someone who does it. It is widely believed that teenagers, evil offspring and non-voters that they are, are the most likely texting suspects.
Even those who admit texting while driving know, in their hearts, that they are wrong. that the practice is dangerous, and that they need to stop.
But Piney Woods Pete happened upon a more insidious evil yesterday – texting while peeing.
There’s been a lot of interest in the flat woods about the news coming out of the world climate meeting in Copenhagen.
Folks have varied opinions on global warming, icepack levels, and how many glaciers
Boosted by a contingent lured from the nearby Georgia Farm Bureau Convention, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue led a small but enthusiastic group of boosters and state officials Monday to celebrate the official start of the long-anticipated and much-debated revitalization of Jekyll Island.
While running immediate past-Speaker of the Georgia House Glenn Richardson out of town on a rail, the tar and feathers-toting crowd is howling about the influence of money-wielding lobbyists on state government.
The Atlanta papers are reporting that Richardson received more than $50,000 in food and fun since he ascended to the speaker position in 2005. And he’s not the only recipient of glad tidings from Georgia corporations and other special-interest groups.
Note to public speakers, especially television personalities: If you use the word “segue,” meaning a smooth, uninterrupted transition, while attempting a segue, you have not accomplished a segue.
Privacy rules, well-intended though they may be, sometimes result in silliness. My cousin, a lady of a certain age, flew to Atlanta from San Francisco for my daughter’s wedding. Back in the day Betty was well-travelled. She thought I’d meet her in the waiting area at her landing gate. That’s how well-mannered folks used to greet incoming passengers. She sat for an hour while I stood at the designated greeting area at the top of the escalators between the north and south baggage claim areas at Hartsfield-Jackson. Her San Francisco cell phone didn’t mesh with the Georgia towers and our calls to each other rang no bells. About the time she asked the Delta agent at her gate for advice and learned that arrivals are now met at the top of the escalators, a Delta agent at the airport entrance advised me that, though Delta could not, due to privacy […]
In preparation for the onslaught of Georgia-Florida football related partying this weekend, Jacksonville City officials are again setting up “Student Sideline Safety Zones” to provide sanctuary for those too drunk to remember where they parked.
According to a Florida Times Union story on Thursday, the safety zones – areas where police and other public safety officials will offer assistance and protection rather than immediate arrest for knee-walking drunks – are not just for students this year. All inebriates are welcome.
The safety zones originated to counter the perceived problem of drunks falling into bad company after the big game. Bad company at the Georgia-Florida annual mayhem is drunks who like to beat other drunks. Gators beating Dogs. Dogs beating Gators. Thugs stealing and stabbing the semi-conscious. Local boys shoving visitors into the St. Johns River. Oh my!
Someone is always trying to drag you down, to tell you that you can’t, you aren’t, you’re lacking, you’re too this or too that. Well, phooey on them. I’m standing in the sporting goods aisle looking at aluminum baseball bats for no good reason other than that I recently re-discovered the old bat my brothers and I used for backyard games. It’s splintered and grey and has two tiny nails driven and crossed over to mark where you can’t see the trademark anymore. We’d worn it off and one of us evidently thought the trademark needed to be designated and there was a hammer and two nails. In drippy red paint we’d branded the bat — Woods Brothers. Modern bats are light and fast and sparkly. I said to my spousal unit, I bet even I could have hit a ball with this thing. A little boy wandered down the […]
Signs are endlessly fascinating, thanks in part to our long tradition of protecting free speech, no matter how silly. There’s a little enterprise stuffed into one end of a convenience store I pass about once a week. The primary sign — lighted and professionally produced — announces the business is the “Fun Place.” Then follows a bulleted list of the types of fun available: * Family * Arcade * Fun Games * Billiards * Video Fun * Video Poker * Monitored Already, I’m a little doubtful. Of seven items, only two are specifically indentified as fun. It sounds like a gambling joint, but the first and last words are “family” and “monitored.” I’m thinking either it’s video fun, poker and pool or it’s monitored and family-oriented. It can’t be both. Curious, I ease in for a closer look. I don’t go inside, only a stroll past the front door. There’s […]
The U.S. Senate has agreed that Amtrak must allow guns to be carried in checked baggage. It might be a Second Amendment thing but it’s mostly an unfunded mandate. Amtrak banned firearms from its trains in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the sponsor of the Amtrak gun language added to the transportation and housing appropriations measure currently before Congress, argued that all domestic airlines permit firearms in checked luggage and Amtrak should do the same. The guns on the rails amendment received bipartisan support, but isn’t included in the House version so there is still time to take sides. Amtrak, cash strapped and short on both political and popular support, is protesting that setting up a gun check-in as required will be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. On the Senate floor this week Wicker said Amtrak was preventing free exerccise of the […]
Everybody’s down on poor Joe Wilson, the South Carolina Representative who shouted “You lie!” during President Obama’s speech to the joint session of the U.S. Congress Wednesday night. Even folks who think the President was lying protest that hurling insults at a U.S. President is unseemly, thoughtless, unpatriotic, rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. Here in the flat woods, we’ve always stood up for honoring the President as the representative of the entire nation. Like him or not, he’s the leader of our nation and deserves to be treated with respect. On the other hand, the Washington code that requires public show of respect is often tedious and counter-productive. Opposing Representatives and Senators seen on televised hearings (I confess to being a C-Span junkie) often are unable to articulate their arguments for or against particular ideas, proposals, and legislation because they spend so much time complimenting each other. “My learned friend” […]
A set of sharp suits from the money end of Tobacco Road, R.J. Reynolds and Lorillard to name two addresses, dropped by the U.S. District Court in Bowling Green, Kentucky at the end of August claiming their constitutional rights were being violtated.
The U.S. Congress passed a law in June giving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate tobacco marketing. The FDA wasted no time dropping a rule book on Big Tobacco.
Basically the feds want the merchants of cancer to state clearly and boldly in every marketing and advertising piece they produce that tobacco kills. Also, the feds want to shut down anything that looks like marketing directed at kids.
Whatever happened to pocket protectors? I know, people fell out with the geek look and tossed aside their pocket protectors at the same time they stopped strapping slide rules to their belts. But I’m thinking we threw the baby out with the bath water. Slide rules are archaic, unnecessary, and ignored. Sam Cook’s line in the song “What A Wonderful World” in which he declares that he doesn’t “…even know what a slide rule is for” completely escapes today’s youth. Which is fine, there is no good reason for modern youth to waste brain cells fiddling with a bulky tool prone to error when every cellphone has a snappy fast and deadly accurate calculator. But pocket protectors could still be useful. Even those fully equipped with pda’s and netbooks find daily uses for old-fashioned ink pens. And I bet I’m not the only one with slashes of ink over, under, around, and […]
An upcoming religious retreat at St. Simons Island proclaims that the main presenter is a three-fold threat, being a singer, a humorist and a folk theologian. That was a new one on me. Singers and humorists, of course, are a dime a dozen. But a folk theologian? There’s a new gig. Or perhaps it’s an old gig with a new title. I mean there’ve always been jack-leg preachers long on what they hold to be divine inspiration and short on study – formal or otherwise. And most folks have at least some half-rendered opinion on religious topics. Some are well-intentioned. But the very concept of folk theology set me wondering and looking around. The term, as near as I can determine, was popularized by a United Methodist seminary professor (and diplomaed theologian) named Albert Outler. Dr. Outler was a Georgia native, educated at Yale who taught at Duke and Southern […]
Georgia State Patrol troopers are expected to take at least 12 and possibly as many as 22 furlough days this fiscal year as the recession chokes the flow of state revenues. This is bad for public safety and bad for the troopers. It is also easily solvable. If Governor Perdue can’t find the funds to pay State Patrol salaries, he need only remind them of the posted speed limits and ask that they ticket anyone doing, say, 10 m.p.h. over the limit. I routinely drive 65 in 55 m.p.h. zones and have my doors blown off by fellow motorists. A couple of weeks of intense ticket writing would improve highway safety and raise more than enough funds to pay the patrolmen.
Almost from the moment the news broke over the weekend, folks have been brooding over the question: “Where do we send our money now that Rev. Ike has died?” Fortunately, it turns out Rev. Ike made arrangements. His only son, Bishop Coadjutor (it’s a real word, you can look it up) Xavier Frederick Eikerenkoetter III, has announced that money will be accepted in lieu of flowers. Non-believers may call it greed. At the Science of Living Institute and Seminary they call it Thinkonomics. Ridgeland, South Carolina’s most famous native son and the fabricator of the Prosperity Gospel shtick has gone on to the Pie in the Sky By and By, but here along this mortal coil, his heirs and assigns still proclaim, “Jesus $aves.”
The most incredible part of the whole, bodacious South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford story is the e-mail to his extracurricular lover about his prospects of being the Republican vice presidential candidate. Ticking off the details of his oh-so-busy life, Gov. Sanford, advises Ms. Buenos Aires that, “ The following weekend have been asked to spend it out in Aspen, Colorado with McCain – which has kicked up the whole VP talk all over again in the press back home…” Here’s a hint that Gov. Sanford’s brain wasn’t working. The obvious next sentence would be, “Of course, I’ll tell Sen. McCain I can’t join the ticket as I am currently engaged in an adulterous affair and that fact will certainly come out during the campaign and ruin any chance he could win.” Evidently having an affair is such a rush all the blood leaves the brain, being in such demand elsewhere […]
In the end the Supreme Court voted 8-1 to keep Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act in place. It may be, as Chief Justice Roberts suggested during oral arguments, an elephant whistle, but it’s been such a fine elephant whistle that most Americans are willing to keep it in place. Section 5 requires that certain voting districts (the entire states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, along with certain counties and towns in California, Florida, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina and South Dakota, and the New York boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx), gain advance federal approval of changes in voting procedures. Opponents of Section 5 argued that the measure unconstitutionally punishes select areas because of long-past discrimination. The opponents contended that discrimination no longer exists at the voting booth and therefore there is no legitimate reason for federal oversight. During oral arguments, […]
You have to allow that putting up the letters on an outdoor signboard does not always fall to the highest paid person in the organization. But sometimes, you’ve got to wonder, does the boss ever look at these things? Can the boss even read? Down in Waycross Friday, the marquee for the Mall Cinema 7, communicated this enticing offer: HANGOVER – DRAG ME TO HELL – LAND OF THE LOST – GIFT BOOKS AVAILABLE. As Weaver D. up in Athens once told me when describing a young man at a pastry shop fiddling with his nose ring while offering the sale of a glazed doughnut – “No thank you, but you have a nice day.” Years ago we had a theater in the flat woods called The Roxy. The owner, Mr. Fossett, would assemble the letters for the marquee and put them in a box for Boomer, the head usher. […]
You’ve heard the story so many times, you already know what the bereaved parents or aunts or neighbors are going to say. You don’t, you can’t, know the horror and dread that’s ahead for the loved ones after a child dies from an accidental gunshot. A brother, a playmate, someone innocent, pulled the trigger. He didn’t know the gun was loaded. The police said it was a tragic accident. Some will call for gun control, for mandatory locks, for better parental control, for more educational programs. None of those will happen or work. Here’s the thing we need to say to every child and to each other so often, so forcefully, so dramatically, that no one doubts: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN UNLOADED GUN. Many parents let their children play with toy guns. It’s as American as Texas Rangers and desperados. As common as a game of cops […]
The fine reporters, and their finer editors, at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution apparently are unable to describe locales south of the Atlanta metro area without employing a worn cliche. Drop below Clayton County and, to the AJC, you’re in the wasteland, “south of Atlanta.” This has been going on for years, though Piney W. Pete is likely the only reader sensitive enough to be outraged by the geographically dismissive, willfully ignorant, tone of the paper. The latest affront to all non-metro Atlanta residents of Georgia came in a story Saturday, June 13, “Safety changes call for plunge in pools’ budgets,” written by one Mark Davis. It was an informative and well-written piece about the financial hardships swimming pool and hot tub operators have had complying with a new drain safety regulation. Things were going well and Piney felt informed and advised. Then Mark Davis dropped in what might be termed the […]
Piney’s spousal unit thought a thorough medical check was in order, so she dispatched the old boy to the Mayo Clinic down in Jacksonville. And though everything and everyone there proved top notch, the ensuing months of financial wrangling leave one lasting diagnosis – this is no way to run a business. The doctors poked and peeked and pronounced all systems go except for an unsightly rash on my right shin and a hernia, self-diagnosed as unsightly cellulite. The docs and their helpers rubbed salve on the rash and threw me on a gurney to put a few stitches in my abdomen. That was in September 2008. At the first of October, just as I began to feel better, a thick envelope arrived in the flat woods with pages of medical jargon and a bill for $32,490.58. I picked my spousal unit off the floor (the stitches held) and told […]
The folks who run Tybee Island are getting serious about litter, again. No, really. They mean it this time. They wanted to stop litter back when they made Naz T. Butt their official, if cartoonish, anti-litter spokesfigure. They had the best of intentions when they passed their existing anti-litter regulation. And the one before that. And when they agreed to let Lamar Outdoor Advertising donate three billboards on the island to advertise the get-tough slogan “Some Butts Don’t Belong On The Beach.” Like outdoor billboards aren’t litter taken to its most extreme. But now the Tybee City Council plans to beautify Georgia’s northernmost beach by enacting a $100 minimum fine for littering on the beach or at city parks or parking lots. The Tybee Council, or any local government, can pass all the rules it wants about litter. The problem won’t be solved unless local […]
David Poythress, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor, is running a basic smash-mouth political play with his demand that Republican candidates sign a loyalty oath to the United States of America. He might gain some yardage, but General Poythress is skirting close to the sidelines. Poythress, a former secretary of state, labor commissioner, and National Guard adjutant general for the state of Georgia, has plenty of credentials for his patriotic smack down of gubernatorial candidate Congressman Nathan Deal and the Republican fringe who are mumbling secession when they think it’s just the good old boys around. Poythress has got Deal cornered using a technique similar to the one Virginia Senator James Webb used against Republican George “Macaca” Allen – record what they are really saying when the network news cameras aren’t around and expose it for all to see. Allen blew up his campaign […]
Is somebody upcountry building an ark? A pickup truck passed me coming north out of Folkston Thursday and the man in the passenger seat was leaning out the window making paddling motions. On Wednesday I saw a five-foot long alligator prancing across U.S. 341, a divided four-lane, in western Glynn County. I called one of the female environmentalists at the Georgia DNR in Brunswick. She said gator road crossings had become a pretty common thing. She seemed more concerned with traffic flow and counted it as a good sign when I told her the gator was headed toward the Altamaha River rather than scampering toward higher ground. Up in the flatwoods, where I live, we don’t have gators (mostly because our biggest waterholes are ditches by the highway) and we’re hoping and praying for more afternoon showers. One good thing about living in flat country, no matter how much it […]
GMAC Financial Services, the partially severed auto-financing, mortgage-lending, insurance-vending, banking, and investing arm of General Motors, has rolled out a new name for its banking services. Starting May 15, call it Ally Bank. The old General Motors Acceptance Corporation had spun itself into GMAC Financial Services last year and declared itself a bank eligible for TARP largess. The change to Ally is an effort to rebrand, to make you think about something other than the general mess of General Motors. A new name may help, but it’s no guarantee. I’m thinking of changing my name to Bill Gates IV. Maybe something will fall out of that tree. While I’m waiting, I’m keeping an eye on my GM credit card reward points. My latest statement says I’ve got $3,200 redeemable against the purchase price of a new GM vehicle. If the car company goes belly up, do I lose my reward […]
Preakness Day is my anniversary of serendipity. I make a special point to watch the race every year and remember the day I had the good fortune to learn how dependent we all are on each other. I was a student at UGA, visiting my brother in Washington. I’d misestimated my expenses and on the final day of my visit, in that pre-credit card era, I found myself outside the gates of the Baltimore race track with one dollar in my pocket. To my relief, it only took one dollar to gain admission to the infield. Too proud to admit my financial straits, I did without refreshment or gambling. After the race my brother dropped me off at the airport. Again I was too proud to ask for a few bucks. I knew Delta would give me a free Coke and peanuts. In the air it occurred to me that […]
You’d think Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and his Alabama counterpart, Bob Riley, would be opposed to judicial activism. But, casting aside traditional Republican thought, the two governors have joined a case before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The act requires that certain states, counties and other voting units, mostly Southern, (see map) gain federal approval of changes in voting procedures. Forget that the Voting Rights Act has been repeatedly extended by Congress and that Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and George W. Bush have all signed the measure. Perdue and Riley want the high court to legislate from the bench. They want black-robed non-elected lifetime appointees to overturn the will of the elected representatives of the people. Who would have thunk it? Sonny Perdue and Bob Riley turn out to be pinko liberals. Their rational for the amazing switch from judge-bashers to […]
My mother brought home the blue glove two days before my first Little League season. It was lumpy and had white lacing. The manufacturer, a company I’d never heard of, didn’t even bother stamping the autograph of a big-league player on the imitation leather. My mother made a little ceremony out of the glove, including a speech about being proud of her little boy ready to take the field across town. Ready to graduate from back-yard scrub games. Ready to get a real uniform and play on a real team. Maybe next year I could even get shoes with real cleats. That’s when she reached in the brown paper bag and pulled out the glove. I could do nothing except put the glove on my left hand. I could do nothing but smile and say, as gamely as I could muster, “Gee. Thanks, Mom” She smiled as she carefully folded […]
I was prepared to believe the financial unpleasantness was ending. But today I got bad news. The Ga. Pig Real Pit Barbeque in Brunswick announced at lunch they had no Brunswick stew. I reeled. What? The man behind the counter muttered, “We’re waiting on the lady now.” He wouldn’t look me in the eye. He said I could have potato salad or baked beans or Cole slaw. A barbeque sandwich, even as exquisitely as they make them at the Ga. Pig, is incomplete without Brunswick stew. How could they be out of Brunswick stew in Brunswick? All morning I’d been listening to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke pronounce the economy might not wreck after all. And the radio news said the swine flu might not kill us all. I strode with confidence into the Ga. Pig. If swine flu showed up there they’d kill it with smoke. It’s a house of […]
I’m not complaining. Buying tickets online for games and concerts is much easier than standing in line at the ticket office. But there are traps and digital hurdles to cross. The Piney Woods family voted to take in a Braves game. We checked our calendars and waded through the menus looking for a way to buy tickets for just one game, please. The Yanks and Red Sox are out as the Braves front office believes demand is so high they can demand you buy three additional games to see either of those legendary teams. We whittled our choice down to Pittsburgh (doing much better this year), clicked our date and seat choice and started a savings plan to cover our hot dogs and cold drinks. But wait! First you have to type in the secret code, presented in illegible script. Then you have to remember the Tickemaster password you created […]
You can rack the word anyway you want, torture is wrong. And mean, vicious, inhumane techniques like forced enemas, confining a person with biting bugs, water boarding, and driving nails into a man’s hands and feet are torture. If an enemy of our country commits torture against our forces or our allies that is a crime. If we commit torture against our enemies, that is a crime. Politicians and pundits will argue from now until the end of time about whether the torture we imposed on a few of the enemy combatants at Guantanamo resulted in any useful information. No one will win the argument. I’ll stick with Jesus. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he loses his soul?
Keep those rains coming, especially in north Georgia where assorted permutations of Level IV drought conditions have outdoor watering restrictions still in place in 55 counties. How strict the rules are in your neighborhood depends on which reservoir, river or well provides your water. (Click here and choose “Drought and Water Use Information” for details.) But car-washing restrictions remain in effect in every north Georgia county. It’s okay to go to a commercial wash for suds, wax and water, but don’t try it at home. That’s got some folks cranked up. Lots of car fanatics claim the chemicals and high-pressure hoses and general reliance on brute machine force is bad for their paint jobs. Those folks want that hand rubbed finish. They want to lift each smashed bug and butterfly off the front grille with a lightly moistened chamois cloth. They want their rides gleaming. They claim clean makes the […]
I’m all about the Second Amendment these days. Especially my right to keep and bear a pellet gun. High velocity. Single shot. With a scope. It’s really more about being anti-squirrel than pro-gun. I was all right with the hordes of squirrels that besiege my neighborhood, dropping batches of babies and half-eaten nuts. In fact, I used to laugh with bemusement at folks who grumbled that they are rodents, nothing more than rats with bushy tails. In some ways they’re kind a cute, scampering across tree limbs and zigzagging across the roads. Then a pregnant squirrel and her soon-to-be scurry took up residence in my attic. I used diplomacy. I used repellents. I used traps. I used poisons. The lady at the Tractor Supply in Brunswick listened to my long tale of woe and said, straight-faced, “I’d use a .22 with rat shot.” A noted local squirrel expert examined my […]
I don’t know which I enjoy more, press releases from Georgia’s state legislators or the legislation they lie about in their press releases. Incumbent members are telling the folks back home they saved the homestead exemption tax despite the flagging economy. But the text of House Bill 143, passed by both bodies and signed by the governor, plainly states that homeowners will get homestead tax relief unless they don’t. The fix is in for 2009, but if the state doesn’t have the money to reimburse cities, counties and school boards for the tax relief, the state doesn’t have to pay. The state can, but it doesn’t have to. And for future years, maybe so, maybe not. It depends. I’m not making this stuff up. Read it for yourself, though, fair warning, you’ll have to read the bill more than once unless you’re considerably above average. I’m betting most legislators think […]
Though we cheer Captain Jack Sparrow and the pirates from the old Carribean at the movies, in real life we’re on the side of the crown. We want our navy to douse the blackguards and we’re cheering today for the U.S. Navy Seals off the coast of Somalia. And although safe transport on the seas is certainly a standard worth defending, I can’t help but think that companies shipping through dangerous waters should bear more of the security expense. Evidently merchant marines avoid arming their boats for fear they may provoke pirates to deploy even larger weapons. Also, some argue that an armed crew is a mutiny waiting to happen. Still, aren’t the shipping companies a little like gas station operators who dumped wage-earning pump attendants in favor of self-serve pumps? A certain number of pirates drive off without paying and station owners rely on the police to stop them. […]
The Georgia General Assembly has cleared out. Their acts of commission and omission are still being interpreted. One major omission has MARTA threatening to shut down on Fridays. MARTA depends on income from riders and sales tax in Fulton and Dekalb counties. The sales tax income has dropped, leaving the agency $24 million short in the upcoming fiscal year and $40 million short the next. MARTA managers think they can ride out the storm using $65 million they’ve got in a capital reserve account. State law requires MARTA to put half its income into capital reserve for equipment and construction. I’m sure there are arguments for keeping the $65 million reserved for rails and rolling stock. On the other hand, these are times that require reconsideration. And MARTA’s not asking for additional funds, just to use money it already has. Various half-hearted attempts were made to free the money, but […]
Nobody gives a straight answer anymore. I was at the local chain drugstore shopping for allergy nostrums and having trouble finding the prices. I’d pieced together enough information to know that the store brand was cheaper than the national brand. But did I want 10, 15, 30, 33-percent more-for-the-same-price 40, or 90 pills? I could only find the shelf stickers for the 10- and 30-pill boxes. A clerk wandered by. “Pardon me,” I said, “Can you tell me the price of this box with 40 pills?” The clerk folded his arms. “Why do you ask?” No reason to answer a question when you can deviate. But I persist: “The box says 33 percent more for the same price. Is that the same as the 30-pill box — $9.99?” The clerk glanced. “We’re out of 30-count.” They weren’t, but I had more pressing issues. “Do you know how much the 40-count […]
So Ol’ Roy Barnes is itching to be governor again. It’s like Sheriff Lewis Parker down in Baxley, Georgia, said when people wanted him to toss his hat in the ring for state representative: A couple of folks whispering in your ear don’t make a landslide. You’d have to think there are more people who remember what they didn’t like about King Roy than folks hankering for him to return. The flaggers, for a couple hundred thousand. They’ll be climbing power poles sticking up posters they’ve already got printed. Heck, if Roy runs, it may be a boon time for Rebel flag manufacturers. A lot of those old banners have gotten threadbare. And the teachers. Sonny Perdue’s been passing out $100 gift cards for every public school teacher in the state every year. Compare that with Roy’s threat to throw them to the gators. Still, Barnes is experienced and he […]
Here’s another reason I live in the flat woods and not the White House. If Kim Jong-il and the North Koreans started the countdown on their rocket I’d drop a daisy-cutter on the launch pad before they got to 3-2-1. Then I’d say, “Wow, man, something blew up! You guys need to be more careful with your rockets.” As it is, the North Koreans dropped more garbage in the Pacific and they’re telling the folks back home that they’ve got a satellite in the sky beaming down “immortal revolutionary paeans.” Since they’re going to lie about it, I’d rather hear the revolutionary explanation of how Kim Jong-il spent everybody’s lunch money blowing up the launch site.
I’ve been having more than my share of conversations about death lately, but my meeting with the local coroner was unplanned. Being coroner in a rural county is hardly a part-time job. But when anyone dies unattended by a physician, the coroner has to investigate. We weren’t talking CSI Miami, we were talking about elderly friends and family members who are facing end of life issues. The coroner told me he’s discomfited by folks who let their loved ones enter hospice programs only to call 911 for the emergency medical technicians when a life-ending crisis appears. “I ask them, ‘Why did you call the EMT? You’d signed up for hospice so he could die at home in peace.’ And they tell me, ‘Hospice was just going to let him die.’ ” Well, that’s the point of hospice, isn’t it, to let a person die naturally instead of being attended by […]
How many ways can statehouse leaders think of to shoot Georgians in our collective behinds? As the 2009 Legislative session jerks toward conclusion, the gold dome squatters are poised to lower taxes for buyers of pricey autos while making sure that anyone who buys a car under $21,400 pays up. House Bill 480 eliminates sales taxes and annual property taxes on vehicles in favor of a one-time, up-front, seven percent title fee. But wait: The maximum title fee is $1,500. That means if you buy a car or truck for $21,400 you’ll pay a title tax of $1,498. If you can afford a $50,000 edition, you’ll pay … let’s see now … 7 percent of $50,000 is $3,500. No, that’s not right. The maximum is $1,500. Great! Anything over $21,400 is tax free. See how that will help the economy. The better, richer people will get to keep more of […]