July 1 – Open Thread

Office 7-1-21

Brad is on shore leave, which is why some comments were held up in moderation. As the Lt. Pullings of the blog, I’ve made sure we’re back on schedule and approved some comments. I’ll be monitoring the comments so nothing should be held too long unless it’s something I have to edit or trash. I’m sure everyone will be on their best behavior while the captain is on shore leave. Above is a photo I took of my office all decorated for the Fourth of July holiday.

Here’s a few items to comment on:

Mississippi State ends a 126 championship drought. The Mississippi State Bulldog baseball team won the College World Series last night and delivered the first ever national championship to MSU in any sport. It was a great performance from the baseball team, soundly defeating the defending national champion Vanderbilt Commodores. A feel good story if there ever was one. Huzzah for the boys from Starkville!

Bill Cosby gets his walking papers. In a less feel good story, Bill Cosby was released from prison after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the prior prosecutor’s grant of immunity to Cosby precluded any prosecution. So he’s out. Has to be a real punch in the gut to the victim and her family.

Why people aren’t looking for jobs. As an anecdote, I was driving through Hendersonville, NC last week and saw a sign in front of a Taco Bell offering a $1,000 signing bonus to any new employee. To TACO BELL. Amazing.

The Olympics starts in three weeks. It will be interesting to see how Japan handles the big, international event in the context of all the COVID-19 protocols.

Today in History, in 1863: The Battle of Gettysburg started. Hey, it’s an Open Thread, not a news thread.

16 thoughts on “July 1 – Open Thread

  1. Mark Stewart

    Nice office, ship shape.

    Reading your last historical note, I wondered if a young man, or boy, turned just were the photo was taken to wave before setting off 150 years ago; last view of home or not.

  2. Doug T

    My great great grandfather was a private in the Civil War. He spent his time guarding Charleston and made it back home safely. Served 4 long years.

    My wife’s grand uncle was in the First Confederate Engineer Group G-L building roads and bridges I suppose. He made it home safely also.

    Thank goodness these guys weren’t assigned to the infantry.

    It’s weird how the luck of the draw meant the difference between life and death. Reminds me of my Vietnam era draft lottery number (#273). If I was born 6 hours later my lottery number would have been #10.

    My wife’s uncle not so fortunate. Part of the 5th Army invasion of Italy WWII. Although he did basic training at Ft Jackson, he never came home once he left for induction.

  3. Ken

    People who want to are looking for work. But not for work that pays poorly and offers no benefits and little opportunity to advance. It’s cheaper for Taco Bell to offer a $1000 signing bonus than it is for them to raise wages or offer significant benefits.

    1. Barry

      my 18 year old has applied for 2 jobs this summer at places that were supposedly hiring and needing help- neither company called him back to even talk to him. In one case, he followed up his application with 2 phone calls to the hiring manager where he left 2 voice mails. No return call was received.

      He’s a National Honor Society member and as polite as any Dad could ever hope for in a son. He volunteers at church and his references are staff members at our church.

      So I don’t believe some of the stuff that’s being reported about hiring.

          1. Bryan Caskey Post author

            Local restaurant jobs (waiting tables/line cook) are great for learning people skills, multi-tasking, and generally learning responsibility. I waited tables through college, and I find that practicing law (lots of different clients with different cases) has some similarity to keeping many different tables of customers happy.

            Hope your boy lands somewhere good. Seems like all the restaurants I go to nowadays are dying for help.

            Never worked at a hardware store – that job always seemed to be taken by old retired guys. 🙂

  4. Bill

    Well,With buck shot eyes and a purple heart
    I rolled down the national stroll
    And with a big fat paycheck
    Strapped to my hip sack
    And a shore leave wristwatch underneath
    My sleeve
    In a hong kong drizzle on cuban heels
    I rowed down the gutter to the blood bank
    And i’d left all my papers on the ticonderoga
    And was in a bad need of a shave
    And so i slopped at the corner on cold chow mein
    And shot billards with a midget
    Until the rain stopped
    And i bought a long sleeved shirt
    With horses on the front
    And some gum and a lighter and a knife
    And a new deck of cards (with girls on the back)
    And i sat down and wrote a letter to my wife…

  5. Barry

    Question – Are tax laws required to be followed now?

    Yesterday, after the indictment regarding the Trump organization, I heard several prominent Fox hosts, and at least one right wing former Assistant US Attorney on Fox state that pursing someone for failing to pay taxes on fringe (extra) benefits from an employer was a political hit job and this was frivolous. Each of them constantly downplayed the situation and stated that this was a common practice.

    I ask the question as someone who has paid taxes on the following “extras” from my company the last 2 years

    1) A Yeti cooler
    2) a $1,000 gift card
    3) Apple Airpods and an Ipad Pro 256gb
    4) 3 Company logoed Pullovers and half a dozen company logoed polo shirts.

    I also received a gift from one customer (I tried hard to turn it down multiple times) that was valued by the customer at $125 which I reported to my employer’s payroll dept. which required me to complete a disclosure form. I’m not sure how the taxes were handled on this item.

    From listening to numerous people on Fox, including an attorney, chalk up these “extras” as common and not reporting them to be frivolous issues, I’m now wondering if these items no longer need to be reported at all.

      1. Barry

        No need. I contacted my payroll dept and had them take out the appropriate taxes when they sent me the items (except for the shirts they sent me) last year. (I think they were going to do it anyway but I did call to ask).

        But I might have to contact them again and tell them not to bother in the future given what numerous Fox and right wing talkers (including a former Assistant US Attorney) said about this not being a big deal.

        Maybe they just meant it’s not a big deal when Trump organization members do such things. After all, they are exempt from normal rules and laws.

      2. Barry

        Appearing on Fox News Thursday evening, the ex-president’s namesake Donald Trump, Jr nodded in agreement as host Jesse Watters’s suggested that the amount of money Weisselberg is alleged to have hid from the IRS is basically pocket change.

        “They’re alleging $100,000 a year in perks over 15 years. This is a $2 billion company, the Trump Organization, so we’re talking about pennies on the dollar, okay? Pennies on the dollar,” Watters declared. “So this is all they can find? This is all they can find? “

        From social media.. If Hillary’s CFO and the Clinton Foundation had been indicted for concealing nearly $2 million in taxable income, conservatives would have called for the death penalty.

  6. Mark Stewart

    Barry, items are taxable at FMV. I’m not a tax advisor, but I value any item with a corp logo as $0 for FMV value. It’s their marketing expense, not like the other items you mention. You do the same for the client gift, I’d imagine, its your estimate of value that matters. If it’s logo’d merch it doesn’t really have a resale value (my company had a policy against sale of corp items). If they expect you to wear the clothing at work, it’s a uniform anyway.

    I applaud your wilingness to play by the rules, but it’s possible you might be able to relax a little, in good conscience still.

    What the Trump Organization has been doing – since Fred Trump started out, actually – is the complete opposite. They have always been nothing but a tax scam. That’s their shtick.

  7. Barry

    Of note:

    Republican leader Kevin McCarthy has announced he will assign Republican Devin Nunes (of all people) to look into allegations that the NSA has been spying on Tucker Carlson.

    For those that don’t know, Tucker Carlson made these allegations this week on tv – saying that someone he wouldn’t name had contacted him and said that he thought the NSA was spying on Tucker. No evidence was provided by Carlson.

    (Tucker has made similar allegations in the past – without evidence- and nothing came of it. The last time he made such an allegation he accused the government of stealing a flash drive that his team at Fox had shipped via UPS. Turns out, UPS did an investigation and the flash drive had simply been misplaced when the envelope it was sent in was accidentally torn. It was found and returned to him).

    Here is that story- https://www.businessinsider.com/ups-said-found-lost-tucker-carlson-documents-sending-back-2020-10

    But this time the GOP leader has jumped on the bandwagon to initiate the investigation in Carlson’s claims- while ignoring questions about Tucker’s lack of consistency on such issues.

    Also noteworthy- The news division at Fox News (Bret Baier’s team) has not covered the story of the NSA investigating one of their own coworkers. In fact, they haven’t mentioned the story all week.

    Several other media outlets, including major newspapers have reached out to Fox News corporate leadership to ask if they are conducting an investigation or asking their news division employees to report on and conduct an investigation into the matter. Fox has provided no response to multiple requests for a statement.

    Some media critics are on record saying that insiders at Fox – some friendly to Carlson- don’t believe the story- and generally don’t take Carlson seriously – even though he has the highest rated news show on cable and Republicans in Congress often hang on his every word.


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