Ask Americans about the most pressing concerns for the nation, and overhauling the tax code probably isn't all that high on the list — that is, unless those Americans happen to be Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the chairmen of the congressional tax-writing committees.
The two lawmakers are on a mission to simplify the tax code.
When they're out on the road selling that tax overhaul, they don't wear ties and they skip much of the formality of Washington — like last names even. Just call them Max and Dave.
On the Ashley River, a few miles south of Charleston, S.C., the water is murky and the marsh grass high. A three-man logging crew is cruising on a 24-foot pontoon boat. It's low tide and logs are poking out everywhere.
Hewitt Emerson, owner of the Charleston-based reclaimed wood company Heartwood South, is in charge. He's going to an old saw mill site, but won't say exactly where. He's heading to Blackbeard's Creek, he says, as in pirate Blackbeard — the early 18th century scourge of the seas.
Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry won a major victory over the British 200 years ago at the Battle of Lake Erie. On Wednesday the citizens of Erie, Pa., will honor him the best way they know how — with a sideburns contest. Judges are looking for sideburns that resemble Commodore Perry's famous mutton chops.
The mayor of Dorset, Minn., is now four years old. Bobby Tufts' named was pulled out of a hat last year, making him mayor of the town of 20 people. Dorset doesn't have a formal government. On Sunday, his name was drawn again.