Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Prayer Question

Among the various groups that IRS decided to mess with in this latest scandal....there was one that had a religious connection of sorts.

So in the questions developed and sent back to the organization.....was this information request...."Please detail the content of the members of your organization’s prayers."

You can imagine the manager and the accountant sitting there....it was a group in Iowa, and just pondering the necessity of listing content of prayers.

In Bama, we would sat there for a long while, and then listed our prayer...in typical Bama-fashion.

Dear God

We ask you to send your angels to the IRS and help bring them to their senses.

We ask you to lift their blindness and give the IRS people sight.

We ask you to take the child-like ways of the IRS, and bring them into the world of maturity.

We ask you to take the devil in each IRS technician, and cast that devil out.

We ask you to lay your hands upon their incompetence, and give them brilliance.

We ask you to give the IRS folks compassion, where they have none.

And Lord, we ask that you tinker with the IRS rules a bit because we really don't want to waste prayer upon the IRS.  We have really more important things to ask your help on, and this ought not be in the top ten issues.  Amen.

I'm sure an IRS guy would read this and start to wonder how he ever got into this line of work, and if maybe he should have gone onto Baptist ministry school like Grandma suggested, instead of hooking up with the IRS.

The Next Scandal?

Well....there is some talk now that when the government walked into the Chrysler and GM mess in 2008, and when the government took up it's ownership scheme....a bunch of dealers were dumped.  Letters were sent out, and franchises were lost.

The political connection to the majority of franchise owners kicked out?

Yeah, there's some growing evidence, the vast majority were Republican in nature, and they funneled money to their local voting area and state....for Republican candidates.

The odds of this being picked up by the committee?  Sooner or later, it's going to be dragged out and the statistics laid on the table.

It won't look pretty.  Will Chrysler and GM leadership confess that they just happened to pick a eight-to-one mix of Republican franchise owners to Democratic franchise owners?  You can imagine them sitting there and mostly grinning.  Someone will eventually pull out a sheet that he got from some government agency that lists the names to dump.

All hell will break loose at that point, and Republicans will close off the option of ever buying a GM or Chrysler product.

Let the Crap Flow

This is one of those odd stories that someone will tell me, and it needs to retold.

My associate at work is married to a gal, who has a sister that probably hasn't done that well-off in life.  The sister still lives up in Minnesota where she grew up.  My associate got convinced years ago, by his wife, to buy a property, and rent it to the sister.....for a very fair price.  It's safe to say that it's in the rurals of Minnesota, didn't cost that much, and requires only occasional maintenance.

Because of the way that he bought the house, the location, and the mortgage involved.....he needs flood insurance.  If there was a recent flood map of the area.....he'd get a more discounted deal.  Currently, he's paying more than what he'd desire.

Who draws up the flood maps?  Usually a city or town will request it, pay some kind of price for it, and it's available to everyone in town as they buy, sell, or trade property.  The town in this case?  Thirty-odd residences.  On their priority list?  No.  There is a mayor to the town, but for roughly three years....this just hasn't been a priority for the town at all.

So yesterday comes, and there's a phone call.  New mayor in town, and he's calling all the way to Maryland to my associate.

The town has a new 'mission'.  They want a real sewage system.  Yes, the thirty-odd residences....have prioritized things, and a one-million-dollar sewage system is on their mind.  Septic tanks?  A thing of the past, and not sufficient.

They had a town-hall meeting.  This idea just didn't sell too well.  There's around twenty-odd votes to this....apparently not enough to get it passed.  I'm assuming that there needs to be a super-majority (maybe two-thirds...maybe even seventy-five percent).  New mayor chats over this......he's new in town....and he really needs this project done.

I stopped my associate at that point, and asked why exactly would you need a one-million-dollar sewage system, for thirty-odd homes?  There just isn't any reason for it or any explanation yet that fits.  Course, if you were trying to attract some mini-manufacturing unit or small business to move into the area....it'd explain a good bit.  But that hasn't been laid out into this story.

My associate confessed to the new mayor.....if they'd give him the flood map....he'd vote for this.  Otherwise, no.

The price of the monthly bill if they go and do this?  Eighty bucks.    So it's around a thousand dollars a year....if they press forward.  The curious thing is that they've arranged for one grant, which took out around $400k on this, and they are fairly close to a second grant for almost $400k.  So the thirty-odd homes would only have to worry about a $200k chunk of money.  The grants?  I'm guessing that one came from the federal government, and I actually helped to pay.  Yeah, that irritates me a bit.....my tax money going to run a sewage plant in the rurals of Minnesota.

Who would run the plant?  Don't know.  I suggested to my associate that you'd have to hire some guy to come in....measure stuff....maintain the plant....ensure proper operation.  So there has to be more cost associated with this, but not being mentioned.

So as a true Bama resident, I asked the real question to fit this all together....doesn't the town have cops and rake in money off speeding tickets?  No.  No cops.  The town lies between two significant cities, with trucks moving on a hourly basis.  There's money to be made here....if you just hired one cop to sit and hand out traffic tickets.  Every town in Bama functions this way, and an average cop makes $100k profit for the town.

I asked, how does the town make money then?  Well....in Minnesota, the local booze establishment must be run by the town itself, and that was the chief money maker for the town.  Practically all the cash for the town, came off their one and only establishment....a booze shop.  But the booze shop had to shut down because it wasn't clearing a profit.

Why?  Well....they had six people on the payroll.  Way more folks than they needed and it was simply a job enterprise.  No real profits for the town.  The new management scheme of the booze shop probably will cure this issue, and create more cash flow for the town's city hall.

At the end of this.....I was thinking, this is the kind of place that a guy could walk into, and in one year....became the mayor.  Some guys walk around and dream of such a goal in life.  You don't have to be a four-star executive or even a college-degree guy....and be a mayor.

As for my associate?  This stupid episode will likely pass and the eighty bucks a month will be drawn from his account.  No, he admitted that he wouldn't pass this onto his sister-in-law....the nice guy that he is.  And no, he didn't really expect the flood map to ever come out of this mess.  Happily though....crap will flow past the house....onto some sewage plant....and end up somewhere else.  Maybe that's worth eighty bucks a month.  Maybe.