Thursday, January 26, 2012

Inmates Running the Asylum.

When I lived in Florida I referred to Georgia as a great place to be "from".

Now I'm not so sure.

Granted, when I moved to the Sunshine State from the Peach State I immediately raised the I.Q. in both places, but I managed to forget what I left behind.  It's.  Back.

We lovingly referred to Macon as the "Armpit of the South" due to its proliferation of paper mills, which replaced alarm clocks as the wake-up call of choice when I resided in Shorter Hall on the Mercer campus.

I'm beginning to think Atlanta may be the "Lobotomy Center" of the South.  Let me explain.

Undercurrents of this idiocy have been around since 2008 when our current President was elected.  Thanks to some ding-dongs under the Gold Dome the currents have become a tidal wave.

To wit, they want President Obama to appear before a Georgia Judge in a Georgia Court to prove he's a natural-born United States citizen.  Because in order to legally serve as President you have to be a natural-born United States citizen.

When we moved back to the Moron State from the Sunburn State I had to, naturally, get a Georgia Driver's License.  Here's what I needed to "change states"...besides having a VALID FLORIDA DRIVER'S LICENSE:

--be at least 18 years of age (covered a long time ago).
--surrender a valid out-of-state license (the term "surrender" was a leftover from that bastard Sherman's rampage through the South and should have risen several red flags, but, no.).
--have a verifiable Social Security number (it will be verified).
--provide proof of Georgia residency (current bank statement, utility bill, rental contract, or a relative with a valid Georgia Driver's License who must also be present when you apply).
--proof of identity (yes, finally, here's the good part)--birth certificate, marriage license, immigration card, and so on.

So I go to the Department of Driver Services office in Cumming, Georgia with my Florida Driver's License, Social Security Card, bank statement, Mama, my birth certificate and marriage license.

And waited.  And waited, and waited some more.

Three and a half hours later my number was called and I approached the bench.  To be stared down by Nurse Ratched's sister, recently relieved of her Milledgeville duties and now a cheerful employee of the DDS, paid by me and you.  Our tax dollars hard at work.

I dutifully presented my life history on paper, got my picture took, and was the proud possessor (not owner) of a Georgia Driver's License.

I'm sure there are numerous felony cases waiting to be heard by the courts of our fair state, but someone, somewhere, has decided the "birther" case is more important.

There's tax reform, education bills, and the like that need to be addressed by our Legislature.

Instead our officials are wasting spending their time--and our money--on this non-issue.

If it gets big enough it will probably cost Republicans this state in November.

I think we should send 'em all to the local DDS office for a while.  As a customer.  That should do it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bar Stool Economics.

A friend of mine emailed me the following...I don't know who wrote it, but I wish I did.  Plagiarism at its unadulterated best:

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.  If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this… 

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1
The sixth would pay $3
The seventh would pay $7
The eighth would pay $12
The ninth would pay $18
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.  “Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20″.  Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes.  So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.  But what about the other six men ?  How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33.  But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer.

So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before.  And the first four continued to drink for free.  But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man.  He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got $10!” 

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man.  “I only saved a dollar too.  It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”  “That’s true!” shouted the seventh man.  “Why should he get $10 back, when I
got only $2?  The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all.  This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. 
But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important.  They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and government ministers, is how our tax system works.  The people who already pay the highest taxes will naturally get the most benefit from a tax reduction.  Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.  In fact, they might start drinking overseas, where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The End Of An Era. Again.

I check the online edition of the Barnesville, Georgia, Herald-Gazette almost daily.  I need to know who's died, who's living, and other assorted happenings from the Mayberry I grew up in.

It was here where I read Carter's Drug Store was closing.

I remember going to Carter's when I was a young boy.  Mr. J. R. Smith would send me there, just around the corner from the Ford place, to pick up cigars for him.  Yes, at six or seven years old, I could walk into Carter's and get Mr. Smith half-a-dozen Hav-A-Tampa Coronas.  Without identification.  And without money.

All I had to say was "Mr. Smith needs some cigars", and Mr. Stoney Carter would hand them to me, write the items down on a sales pad, and send me on my way.  I was stimulating the economy by using credit before I was in the second grade.

For what it's worth, I could do similar things at Shelor's Drug Store down Main Street, Otis Roberts' Florist, and Burnette's Grocery, to name a few.  Mr. Jim Murphy had a jewelry repair shop across the "square" from Carter's.  Bought clothes at Romeo's Fine Men's Wear and Mansour's.  Saw Santa at Wisebram's (strange that a Jewish store owner would have Santa, but hey--money's money).  Bought my first ex-fiancee's engagement ring at Moore and Zorn's Jewelers.

I could walk across the railroad tracks from the Ford place to the Dairy Queen and Mrs. Pritchett would start grilling my hamburger before I got in the door.  And give me a squeeze bottle of ketchup instead of those annoying little packets.

They're all gone now, along with Davis-Cooper Ford (which is what J. R. Smith Ford became), Daddy's Amoco Station (replaced by a McDonald's), the Frosty Palace, McConnell's and McClellan's Five and Dime, and just about everything else I grew up with.

It was at Carter's that I encountered some cadets from Gordon Military College (then Gordon Junior College, now just Gordon College) one day.  As I gathered Mr. Smith's cigars one of the cadets asked me who my "old man" was.

I told them I didn't have an old man, but my Daddy was Roscoe Berry.  They just laughed.

I'd pick up the phone and tell Miss Sara I wanted to talk to Daddy and she'd connect me.  We thought we'd gone big-time when we got dial phones.  Our number was 358-3404 and you didn't have to dial the area code first.

We got air-conditioning in our house when I was twelve or thirteen.  Before that we used a "draw-fan" to keep the air stirring in the daytime and cool the house at night.  We left the windows open and the cars unlocked.

There's more--so much more--but suffice it to say I miss Mayberry Barnesville.