Tuesday, May 14, 2013

More Odds and Ends

My brain just doesn't seem to be getting into gear this morning, so I guess I'll just share a few assorted odds and ends with you. It beats having to think coherently at this hour.

We'll be traveling to Chicago this weekend to attend a wedding, and since I've never visited more of Chicago than O'Hare Airport I thought I'd do a little research into the things worth seeing and doing in the City of the Big Shoulders ...

The Tea Party has found something existential to spin up about - America's favorite federal agency, the Internal Revenue Service (or IRS), has been caught paying extra-intrusive attention to the tax-exempt status requests of many conservative and anti-government groups. Nothing like waving the red tax flag in front of the bull that's already hysterical. Read the background of the story here. The issue apparently arose out of poorly planned and executed attempts by the IRS to parse the tens of thousands of requests for tax-exempt status which have poured in after the Supreme Court's wonderful Citizens United decision. The portion of the tax code which applies to political groups seeking such status is "501(c)(4)." I think I'll apply for tax-exempt status under section ... oh ... "501(gg)(917)eieio/wtf." The tax code is so vast and complicated, who'll ever know?

In other news guaranteed to fire up those who already mistrust the government, the Justice Department apparently has used wide-ranging subpoenas to obtain the telephone records of reporters working for the Associated Press (AP) as part of an investigation into the disclosure of classified information about a failed al-Qaeda plot. According to published reports, federal investigators obtained cellular, office and home telephone records of individual reporters and an editor; AP general office numbers in Washington, New York and Hartford, Connecticut; and the main number for AP reporters covering Congress. It's not only the Chinese who are hacking you.

Pretty soon we'll run out of government agencies to focus hatred on ... in addition to DOJ and the IRS, everyone loves to despise the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; FEMA; the FBI; and the National Security Agency. How long will it be before scandal hits, say, Head Start?

I'm reading a very interesting book by historian Nathaniel Philbrick - Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution. It's an engrossing and educational look at the city and the time that spawned the traditional American opposition to government, taxes, and just about everything that limits freedom. Strongly recommended.

And that's it for today. Time to draw a deep breath, put up my mental shields, and head off to work ... buoyed by the knowledge that I can retire in 1273 days. Not that I'm counting, you understand.

Have a good day. More thoughts coming.



Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Remember I am the queen of everything so I say - no taxes for you Bilbo or me....or anyone who is rational, kind, and over 50. Just the way it should be, we've earned it.

Mike said...

The IRS is paying extra attention to groups that are anti-tax? NO WAY!

Bilbo said...

Peg - no wonder I like you!

Mike - incredible, isn't it? I was profoundly shocked.