Originally created 06/20/00

Census can't count on affluent

A fine is a tax for doing wrong. A tax is a fine for doing well.

--Economics 101

An unexpected problem has popped up with this year's census effort.

While everyone was worried that the government would not be able to accurately count our nation's poorer residents, it turns out they're also having trouble finding the richer ones.

Concerns over privacy, security and what some might consider snobbery are keeping the rich and famous hiding behind their security gates.

The Associated Press reports that the problem is particularly prevalent in Hollywood, where entertainment celebrities have complained that details of their private lives would be blabbed by census employees.

Census officials say revealing such information is against the law, whether you're Madonna or Mother Theresa.

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MAILBAG: The vacation postcards are coming in. Ponda and David Johnson, Marjorie and Wilburn Johnson and Mary Evelyn and Larry Johnson, all of Warrenton (there must be a story here) send a card from Pike's Peak in Colorado.

In other Johnson news, Sandra and Shirley Johnson of Augusta, send a card from New Brunswick, Canada.

Closer to home, Edith Miller of Beech Island sends a 1914 postcard originally sent from Bangor, Maine. The 86-year-old card shows a little boy stuck between two little girls vying for his attention. Its message reads: "This is not me. I have no use for trouble. Mike."

And Ricky and Jason Holdeman of Wrens send a beautiful card from Brazil. They write: "Harvest is past on the rolling hills in this open country. The people are friendly and the food is excellent."

Traveling? Why not send a postcard to PO Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903 and share your vacation?

* * *

TODAY'S JOKE: Comes from Vince in Augusta.

It seems a priest went into a Washington, D.C., barbershop and got his hair cut. He then asked how much he owed the barber.

"No charge, Father," the barber said. "I consider it a service to the Lord."

When the barber arrived at his shop the next morning, he found a dozen small prayer booklets on the stoop along with a thank-you note from the priest.

A few days later, a police officer came in. "How much do I owe you?" the cop asked after his haircut.

"No charge, officer," the barber answered. "I consider it a service to my community."

The next morning the barber found a dozen doughnuts on the stoop along with a thank-you note from the police officer.

A few days after that, a senator walked in for a haircut. "How much do I owe you?" he asked afterward. "No charge," the barber replied. "I consider it a service to my country."

The next morning when he arrived at the shop, the barber found a dozen senators waiting on the stoop.

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 107.


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