and the
Citizens Economic Research Foundation


Barbara's Column
July 2003 #1

Books, flowers enhance summertime respite

by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Saturday, July 5, 2003

Summer is here, and wasn't it worth the wait! 

The recently deceased Jerry Williams often read a poem by Brother Jerome called "If I had my life to live over."

Having the chance to live life over, he wrote, "I would relax. I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip ... I would ride more merry-go-rounds, pick more daisies."

At Jerry's wake earlier this year, there were daisies draped over his coffin. It's hard to pick daisies in Marblehead, though; not many meadows or roadside ditches left here. 

So I decided to plant some in his honor instead, and now have a daisy garden on the east side of my house. I hadn't known that the daisy family ranges from the common white ox-eye that grows in fields, to the mighty sunflower, and includes dandelions, chicory and thistle. 

My garden has tickseed, purple coneflower, black-eyed susan, orange and cream symphony daisies, and a magnificent sunscape daisy in shades of apricot and bronze. 

If you are getting impatient for my political news, hold your horses! I do love writing my column, but this evening I had to drag myself away from the hammock and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix." I bought it for my son, Lance, whose birthday is this week. I'll mail it as soon as I'm done. 

In the meantime, I sent him a silver gazing ball for his own Nevada desert garden. I have a golden gazing ball, which reminds me of the golden ball in the fairy tale about a princess and a frog-prince. I've also planted some pinwheels in the front of my house, where the pine trees make too much acidic shade for flowers.

Look, Jerry, I am relaxing, I am being sillier...

Lance tells me that his state assemblyman is leading the tax revolt in Nevada, where the governor is suing the Legislature because it didn't pass a balanced budget by the beginning of the fiscal year. Unlike Governor Romney, who this week cut the Massachusetts budget in order to balance it, Nevada Governor Kenny Guinn wants a tax package; but his state's constitution requires a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the Assembly for new taxes.

Assembly anti-tax rebels are holding out - an inspiration to us all for Independence Day weekend. On the other hand, I'm hearing on CNN that the Bush tax cuts, meant to stimulate the economy, will be cancelled out by other state tax increases. 

We'll soon know the extent of Massachusetts' state and local (override) tax hikes; here's hoping that the governor's veto of the pharmacy tax is sustained, and that we also prevent the Overlay exclusion from Prop 2 that will raise our property taxes by the amount of money in each city and town's abatement account.

Throwing tea bags into Boston Harbor has become an overused device; but it's good to remember the original Tea Party as we celebrate the Fourth of July.

It's hard to carry Harry Potter around, so my travel book is Jeff Shaara's "The Glorious Cause," just out in paperback. This is the second in his series about the American Revolution, the first being "Rise to Rebellion." When I was studying history in school I wished that someone would make this period into a novel so I could get to know the famous characters as real people; Shaara has done it well. Washington, Adams, Franklin, Cornwallis, and Marblehead's General Glover, all come alive and you are there with them at the birth of our nation.

As I read and write after work hours, my partner, Chip, is spending his free time changing all the attbi.coms in our database and e-mail list to, which became effective June 30. This is the second buyout, the second giant inconvenience for customers within one year, and the latest reason to dislike Big International Business, or, as the ad says, "Comcast: your new neighborhood cable provider."

As Chip found out, call your "neighborhood" tech support and you'll be talking to someone in St. John's, Newfoundland.

Massachusetts got its budget done on time, so we can all relax and limber up this weekend. I'll be back and forth between Hogwart's in England and the battle roads of young America, with their oddly common themes of bravery, folly, loyalty and sacrifice. Have a wonderful celebration yourself.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her syndicated columns appear weekly in the Salem News and the Lowell Sun; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in other newspapers.

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