Politics:Ga Amendment 3, Forest Land Conservation and Timberland Properties Amendment (2018)

I had no clue how to vote until I looked up what politicians were saying about this particular amendment.  It was so confusingly written (and honestly, that includes the original language they were editing.  UGH).

Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to revise provisions related to the subclassification for tax purposes of and the prescribed methodology for establishing the value of forest land conservation use property and related assistance grants, to provide that assistance grants related to forest land conservation use property may be increased by general law for a five-year period and that up to 5 percent of assistance grants may be deducted and retained by the state revenue commissioner to provide for certain state administrative costs, and to provide for the subclassification of qualified timberland property for ad valorem taxation purposes?

Who Do What???

Then I read what Governor Nathan Deal said, “Georgia’s working forests generate significant economic investment in our local communities due to the contributions of those who replenish and protect our natural resources. This legislation supports our timber growers and lessens the economic burden of producing quality products that sustain numerous industries, from construction to manufacturing.”[4]

I added the underline.  In my experience this is coded language for “helping my rich buddies.”   See when I looked at the actual text – this applies to timer land 200 acres or more.  200 acres.  That’s a LOT of land.  The cheapest plot I could find listed in GA was 1/4 of a million dollars ($225,000) for just over 200 acres.  (ok, there was one listed for $190k but it wasn’t contiguous.  It was broken up across several plots.  ONLY $190k you guys….)

I also read this write-up by UGA (PDF) and it sounds like it’s making it easier for people with timber on their 200+ acres of land to get tax breaks.  Specifically, “They introduce more options for forest landowners in Georgia when it is time to choose which tax incentive program to use and grant more flexibility to landowners to keep their land in forests.”

What really convinced me how I’m going to vote is this analysis in the Calhoun Times, “f it is not necessary for some compelling purpose to give this tax break, it is questionable whether this one type of property should receive a reduced tax valuation as opposed to other types of real property: homes, factories, stores or farm land.”

Thank God for a lawyer making it make sense.  I agree.  I don’t see a compelling reason (or the law makers have done a terrible job of presenting it) for timber owners of 200+ acres get a tax break no one else gets.  IF this is “conservation” they did NOT explain that AT ALL.

In other words, if I don’t understand an amendment my reaction of “fine, i’ll vote AGAINST” was justified (lol).  This is why I try really hard to find information on these things.  I don’t know about y’all but it’s confusing and frustrating, but finding some other sources…. that helps a lot.

Writing: Novel in Progress Part 4

Captain Chou looked at the report.  Out of respect they had annonymized the transmissions in all the ambassadorial suites, but he did notice a significant spike of activity after Talia’s arrival.  It wasn’t surprising, certainly each ambassador was furiously scrambling to write home and ask for instructions.  Probably video and conference calls across the stars.  That would be expensive on the power grid if it continued too long.  He sighed, running a hand through his hair.  He put out a quick message to the crew to minimize unnecessary power usage.  He then followed with a quick ping to the three shift engineer leads to give them a code to let him know if they ever hit 70% usage.  It was still well within safety range and would give them a chance to ration the power more carefully.

Rubbing his eyes, the captain set down the pad and leaned back in his chair.  He felt he could fall asleep sitting up, but also knew that would give him a terrible crink in his neck.  Slowly, he stood and rolled his head reflexively.  Tomorrow was going to be a long day no matter how he considered it.  He just hoped the existence of the Orgalla’s ambassador didn’t spark something dangerous back home.  What would the news be spouting?  Fortunately, only four reporters had been permitted – one for each racial delegate and a military reporter that was always assigned to the Sunburst.  And their videos were NOT allowed to be sent directly to any news media – each race had been instant that all communication from the media crews should be first vetted by governments to maintain any state secrets which needed to be maintained.  Talia was almost certainly a state secret in most if not all governments tonight.

Would it stay that way?  Should it stay that way?  The very thought passing through his mind made the Captain jolt slightly and run his fingers over his beard.  He was clearly too tired to think straight anymore.  He made himself go and lay down on his bed, trying to turn off his brain and let sleep come.

In the morning, when the Captain arrived in the conference room Yewoul  was already there.  The kikatal wore the general sashes tied to its furry form, designed to link together in intricate knots.  The ceremonial garb was extravagent, and despite the human belief that kikatal preferred their “natural” look, the Captain had long ago learned that they had learned to prefer clothing and tended to go “natural” when they were concerned about a potential battle.  Their hair could harden at will into sharp spikes, so it was actually a sign of trust and comfort to wear cloth.

“Good morning,” Captain Chou said.

“Captain,” the ambassador nodded its head.  Chou was fairly certain Yeoul was female, but he wasn’t completely sure.

“Have you had anything to eat yet?” the captain asked politely.

“Yes, I consumed nutrition tablets in my cabin so I could remain focused today on this negotiation.” Yewoul replied.  “I am wondering Captain, what are your thoughts on this Talia Lost?”

Captain Chou considered carefully and then said, “I honestly am not sure ambassador.  We don’t know how the orgalla communicate, we don’t know where they found or made her…”

“So you agree it is possible she was constructed?”

“But then why human?” the captain retorted, “we aren’t even the most populous species, I know the dewallo outnumber humans at least 2 to 1.  If she was constructed, why human?”

“So you believe they found her and stole her?”

“How?  And why her of all humans?”

“You speak truly Captain,” the ambassador settled into its chair with a heavy human-like sigh.  “We just don’t know.  My government wants me to ask the humans to press this issue – could you as a representative of the military demand some kind of answer?”

“I have been given orders to remain as neutral as possible.  It would have to come from Ambassador Westmire,” Captain Chou kept his voice neutral as he said it, but he saw that Yewoul understood – Paul Westmire was the worse choice for such a demand.  He would bluster and make more of a mess than now.  Ambassador Irvine was a better choice, but Captain Chou couldn’t say that outright.

Ambassadors Risyk of the dewallo and Irvine of non-earth Alliance arrived together, followed by the dewallo Deneph and the kikatal Etcorm.  Talia Lost and her silent guardian arrived shortly afterwards.  She looked around the room silently and hesitated.  Captain Chou quickly approached and said, “Welcome Ambassador Lost.  Is that how you wish to be addressed?”

“Princess Talia actually,” she replied.  “My adopted mother is heir to the… throne is the closest human equivalent.”

There were exchanged glances and Captain Chou said, “Forgive me Princess Talia.  Have you had breakfast?  We have some refreshments over here and the seats for you and your companion are right here.”

Captain Chou showed her the assortment of breakfast finger-foods, coffee, and the seats for the orgalla ambassadorial team.  She selected two morsels and moved to her chair.  She still wore the military-style outfit and her hair in a braid.  Paul Westmire arrived with the press, talking to the reports from the Sunburst and Earth alliance.  When he saw everyone already there he made a production of getting coffee and talking to Talia Lost before he finally moved to his seat, ignoring the frowns from the other ambassadors.

Review: The 10th Kingdom

I was JUST talking about this with someone…. telling them they should watch/read/either this one!

Dream by Day

Mini Series poster

This is one of my favorite books and mini-series. The show isn’t exactly like the book, but it does a very close job of it. I probably watch this once a year (maybe every 10 months) and I’ve read the book an average of every 16 months since the first time I read it. If you haven’t read this book – you need to. Not you should. You need to. You’ll never see fairy tales the same way, and it is beautiful for it.

Synopsis: I’m not going to take anything from anywhere, so I hope I do it justice: Virginia is your average young waitress living with her father and struggling to keep it all together. Until the day that Prince Wendell, the grandson of Sleeping Beauty and cursed by his wicked stepmother into the body of a dog, crashes in Virginia on her way to work…

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Writing: The Beginning

I’m trying to decide if I should do Camp NaNoWriMo in July…. I don’t know but I kinda want to face that blank page right now. It sounds kind of wonderful.

Dream by Day

As November and NaNoWriMo creeps closer I am excited and terrified. There is nothing like the beginning of a novel. Or a short story. Or a poem. Or a relationship. To me, often writing a novel is like a relationship. Sometimes I get into it knowing where I want to end up. Sometimes I think it’s just going to be a fun romp and we’ll see if it goes someplace real or fizzles out. Sometimes I go in thinking I know where it’s going and it ends up fizzling out. Sometimes I end up taking an unexpected left-turn or three and before I know it I’m looking at something entirely different and something so much better than I ever expected.

That is why the beginning might be my favorite part of a novel. That first one-thousand words which set everything else up. Many of my novels get written and re-written…

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Life Event: New Family Member!

Last week my husband and I met someone who is joining our family.  It isn’t official-official (we did a week’s trial and that won’t be over until Wed) but we are super happy to welcome this little guy.

Right now his name is Riley, but he isn’t super-attached to the name and so we’ve talked about possibly renaming him, but right now he is Riley.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/dxAGgyrhmEyBqnn4A (album of Riley pics)

Specifically, there are 2 pictues which pefectly exemplify how Genkii & Kawaii are handling this addition:

Genkii is now CONVINCED (like he wasn’t already, but now he’s certain without-a-doubt) he’s a dogggy too:

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Kawaii on the other hand is utterly confused.  This thing is ignoring her.  And doesn’t understand that IT is the intruder and unwelcome in HER house.  She isn’t mad, mostly just confused.  Bewildered at being ignored.  She has never been ignored before.

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We haven’t had any real issues since he came to the house last Wed and although we suspect there might be a few hisses from Kawaii as she learns to assert her dominance, we don’t see Riley having issue letting her think she’s in command.

do expect to eventually find Riley & Genkii cuddled ’cause Genkii wants desperately to be just like Riley… it’s so sad.  He’s so confused.

I don’t understand people who say they don’t like animals.  I don’t understand people who say they don’t like cats…  Allergies are different, but not liking the entire species “because” just means you haven’t met the right one.  They bring so much love and laughter to a family, I can’t imagine not having mine in my life.

Feminism: Single-Income Households

I recently saw an article that young men are struggling with the idea that women might make more money. As a feminist it breaks my heart that we are filling young men with this toxic idea that THEY have to make all the money. That equality means they CAN be a stay-at-home-dad and it’s OK.

Dream by Day

I’ve been jokingly saying for a few years now that everyone who works 40-hours-a-week needs a wife. It’s supposed to be funny. It’s supposed to ease the frustration that there just aren’t enough hours in the day to work a full time job and take care of a family.

Well, I think I am ready to declare that I think this is true.  Well, mostly true.  It really is a case of “the American dream is to have a single-income household.” Whether that is a stay-at-home Mom or Dad; or both parents working and they can afford in-home help (has anyone else noticed that the mom in Brady Bunch was stay-at-home and they had a housekeeper?!?!?).

We just can’t do it.  There a bazillion articles and discussions about the emotional burden of maintaining a home (cleaning, cooking, shopping for toilet paper) – much less adding in kids. Kids are a…

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Politics: Dodd-Frank Roll-back

Ok, so I started writing a piece on the recent roll-back of Dodd-Frank rules.  And I’m going to be honest, I spent about 5 hours trying to read shit about it – and I have no idea how this will impact us.

They didn’t roll back the protections I know I would be up-in-arms about (which are really the “Consumer Protection Act” and until this rollback I thought they were the same bill because I think I’ve always heard them talked about together).  But, I pretty much have the philosophy that anything the Koch brother supports, I should probably oppose on principle.

I am concerned this deregulation will lead to bubbles.  Bubbles like 1929 or 2008.  I’m not going to try to reiterate the arguments – there are people way smarter than me explaining (or trying to!) the issues at hand.

What I’ve decided to say is this: Think about it.

Well, my question for anyone reading this is: who benefits?  Who benefits from rolling back these regulations?  Over 600,000 new homes were constructed & sold in 2017.  I’m pretty sure the loaning business isn’t doing poorly.  In fact… banks made record profits in 2017.

Damn.  It’s like those regulations weren’t “slowing” business.  Unless of course those regulations might have been preventing banks from doing shit “the easy way” (which I should write why easy =/= best).  And what will their impact be?  Another bubble?  Do we really think banks learned from the 2007/2008 financial crisis?  Do you?

Here’s my thing.  I’ve been re-watching Parks & Recs for something “mindless and fun” and Ron Swanson is adorable.  And his instance that people use capitalism as a be-all-end-all runs on an assumption that people work with some kind of ethics/honor.  But they don’t.  Throughout History there are a billion and five examples of someone being incredibly unethical.

  • We wouldn’t need regulations if people could work with ethics/honor.
  • We wouldn’t need these regulations if people weren’t acting with greed.
  • We wouldn’t need any regulations if people weren’t stupid and selfish.

These things being unfortunate realities – we need some kind of regulation.  I am as guilty of the next person of seeking the best deal even when I know that company is rotten.  I’ve shopped at Walmart.  I think they are evil, but damnit sometimes I just don’t have time and money and energy to go hunting the deal… and I need toilet paper now.  I’m not proud that my own selfishness gets in the way of “the right thing” but it happens.  Knowing Walmart isn’t allowed to employee 9-year-olds HELPS. And don’t kid yourself – pun intended – if it was legal Walmart would pay 20 cents an hr to 9-year olds to be cashiers.