The Georgia House of Representatives has passed an ethics-reform bill and has sent it on its way to the state Senate for its consideration and action. But don't get out the confetti just yet.
With what could be an endless series of fiscal crises facing the federal government during the next few months, now is a good time to check where Congress stands in its deficit-reduction efforts. After two years, here's the scorecard: middle-class families and the military, $1.5 trillion in budget cuts and reduced public investments over 10 years; wealthy households, $620 billion in fairer taxes; corporate America, nothing.
Imagine a business that oversees massive construction projects but doesn't have to worry about completing them on time or within budget. Hard to believe a company like that could stay in business, right?
Why not shut the federal government down? Congress has been shut down for decades now, accomplishing nothing of any real significance in Washington for a very long time, so what would be the big deal? Would anyone really notice?
I was in my mid-40s, attending one of my daughter's T-ball games, when the gentleman sitting next to me asked, "Which one is your grandkid?"
I understand babies are adorable, and it's hard to overcome the compulsion to pinch their chubby, pink cheeks and grab their tiny fingers. But for the sake of germ-fearing parents everywhere, I certainly wish people would learn to keep their hands to themselves.
A pile of automatic spending cuts, commonly known as the sequester, kicked in Friday, and while the impact of the $85 billion in cuts slated for this year won't immediately be felt, the potential for damage to our fragile economy has been done.
The Ogeechee Riverkeeper organization held its annual gala over the weekend with a fete at Fort McAllister State Historic Park - a fitting location along the banks of the river itself. Despite the evening's less-than-desirable weather, the event was a hit by all accounts. Good food, good music, good company and a worthy cause seemed to help turn the soggy conditions into just another part of the fun.
My recent observations on the lack of respect given public-school teachers in Georgia engendered a lot of responses, but none better than this story sent to me by my friend, David Egan, co-director of the Initiative to Protect Jekyll Island and a former educator himself.
Tuesday, Feb. 19: After a long weekend at home, we're back in business this morning and our first action is to pass the 2013 amended budget out of the Appropriations Committee. The state's budget runs on a fiscal year from July 1-June 30 and has to be amended midyear primarily to account for revenue adjustments and K-12 student population growth.
The Georgia General Assembly saw the completion of the 22nd day of the 2013 legislative session, officially crossing through the mid-way point.
I can remember writing an article almost five years ago titled, "The Long-Term Care Cruise." Wow, how time flies. The article was a comparison of living in a senior community to living on the high seas using a cruise ship as a permanent retirement abode.
Having a baby is costly in ways I did not foresee. Of course, I knew there would be added expenses in medical bills, childcare, diapers, formula and clothing. But I'm surprised at the amount of money my family wastes on things that don't seem to be to my baby's liking.
An intriguing piece of legislation dropped into the hopper in Atlanta this week has, so far, exactly one signature on it - that of its sponsor, Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus). It deserves at least a close look. The essence of the bill, S.B. 175, is that state legislators who run for federal office must either vacate their legislative seats within 30 days after officially declaring their candidacy, or officially end that bid for higher office by notice to the Federal Election Commission before that 30-day period ends.
Earlier this year, it seemed there might be some hope for Capitol Hill when Congress dealt easily with raising the debt ceiling. But don't let that single episode fool you. As President Obama and House Republicans circle each other over the forthcoming budget cuts known as the "sequester," it's a reminder that Congress and the White House have a complicated legislative agenda ahead - and that none of the items on it will come easily.
The waitress set down my cup of coffee, and I poured cream into the hot, black liquid while silently reflecting on and pondering something.
Funny thing happened the other day to our local newspaper on the way to obscurity: My teenage daughter asked for a printed copy.
Every phase of "babyhood" has its merits, and I've loved them all so far. In fact, every time my daughter Reese enters a new stage of development, I swear that it's the best one yet. I honestly can't pick my favorite.
Some say the adage about pigs flying originated with Washington politicians who have an uncanny ability to get nothing accomplished. If they did accomplish something - the politicians we mean - then said swine would take to the air. The horror.
I have some good news and some bad news. I read in the paper recently about a proposed venture to send people to Mars. The good news is that it will be a one-way trip. The bad news is that the launch isn't scheduled until 2022, meaning anybody dumb enough to consider the idea of going to Mars and staying there will be hanging around for another nine years on our planet and lowering the collective IQ for the rest of us. Bummer.
Finally, just when we thought it would never happen again, it does - we get some good news out of Washington, D.C.
"Hello, Gov. Deal's office. May I help you? One moment, please. Governor, you have a call on line one."
Halloween is a fun holiday, short and sweet. It doesn't require a lot of prep and is over in a few hours.
There's a topic I've always shied away from in this column - the working mom vs. stay-at-home mom debate. I never felt the need to broach this subject before because, honestly, I didn't really feel it was an issue anymore. I thought we, as parents, had moved past all that trivial nonsense and decided all mothers play important roles. Period.
One of the more amazing spectacles in the days after the government shutdown ended was the obsession in Washington with who won and who lost in the showdown. Yes, the capital is focused on next year's elections, but honestly! There was only one real loser, and that was the American people.
I was talking to Siri the other day - you know, that voice on your Apple smartphone that helps you with directions, tells you who's winning the football game and will also take memos for you and then store them on your iPhone.
Editor, This is to the committee of the Richmond Hill seafood festival. The Saturday morning of the festival, my 5-year-old grandson and son-in-law, both natives of Black Creek, arrived for the annual car show that had been advertised on the website only to find out it had been canceled.
The Richmond Hill Garden Club's 14th annual Pumpkin Patch held in early October was a great success thanks to the generous support of local citizens. The garden club is truly grateful to those who attended and those who helped us publicize and arrange the occasion.
I called Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company in greater Garfield to see what kind of reactions he was getting from the public to the recent shutdown of the federal government.
If you were at J.F. Gregory Park on Saturday, it will be no great surprise to hear that attendance numbers for this year's Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival were up this year compared to last. Droves of people poured through entrance gate all day Saturday, letting up only for what amounted to less than an hour of rain showers.