Schadenfreude

Like many others, I’ve been following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with some interest. So far, it seems like those working to stop the flow from the damaged well are pulling out every trick in the book; I’m honestly impressed that they’ve been able to attempt what they’ve done considering the remoteness of the wellhead and the unprecedented nature of an oil leak at this depth. Hopefully they get the leak stopped and things cleaned up as soon as they can.

Along those lines, I’ve also been impressed by BP’s efforts to compensate those who’ve suffered economic losses from the spill. Fishermen, for example, need only provide proof of residence, a commercial fishing license, and tax records from previous years to demonstrate their income. I’ve been highly amused by the fact that not a small number of fishermen and other workers in the area don’t bother with paying taxes, and so are hosed. As a fellow human, I have some sympathy for their plight, but as an honest taxpayer, there’s a definite feeling of schadenfreude. The words “live by the sword, die by the sword” come to mind.

An example of the type of fail I’m referring to:

“I worked for an uncle last year who paid me in cash,” said a crab fisherman who asked to remain anonymous. “The BP guy wanted my tax statements, but how can I pay taxes if everything I earned was in cash?”

Cash income is taxable. You should have reported it on the appropriate form.

Another man…said he worried BP would turn over records to the Internal Revenue Service.

“That puts you in the system,” he said. “If the numbers don’t add up, people who have not been paying taxes are going to regret it.”

Uh, yeah. You’re supposed to pay taxes. If you don’t, I feel no sympathy when the IRS drops the hammer on you.

Even more disturbingly, some government representatives are supporting those tax cheats:

Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser agreed. “The question I’m asking BP to consider is this: What are you going to do to make sure the guy who helps unload boats for tips, or the elderly lady who sells shrimp at the corner for a few bucks, gets adequately compensated?”

Short answer: If they can’t prove they earned the income (e.g. by providing tax records or other suitable documentation, which BP said they’d consider), then BP is under no obligation to compensate them at all.

“This woman in the line next to me told the BP processor she earned $800 a week — in cash — as a deckhand,” he recalled. “When he asked her for tax statements, she said she had not filed a federal income tax form since 2000. Then she said, ‘I need a check from you so that I can pay back taxes and then show you the tax records.’”

It doesn’t work that way. Sorry. What’s to prevent that woman from running off with the money, never to return?

“Trouble is, people around here live differently — always have,” [marina owner Michael Turgeau] added. “If BP is really interested in helping us out, they should identify everyone who has had a commercial fishing license for at least two or three years, then close their eyes, don’t ask questions and just pay them for their losses.”

Uh, no. If by “live differently”, you mean “skimp out of paying your taxes”, then you’ve been hoist on your own petard. Yes, it sucks to be you, but you’ve been cheating on your taxes and, without those records, BP owes you nothing.

Wayne Landry, council chairman for St. Bernard Parish, which includes Delacroix, would not go that far. But he also worried that an undetermined number of people from fishing outposts would be overlooked because BP and “the bean counters in the Internal Revenue Service do not deal with culture or heritage; they deal with numbers.”

Shocking, I know. The rest of us have to pay taxes…why do these people think they don’t have to?

Any lawyers in the house?

In March, a bit storm swept over the area where my fiancee’s condo is located, damaging the roof. The damaged roof then leaked into her unit, damaging the drywall of the ceiling.

The condo association fixed the roof a few days later, but the interior damage was already done. We’ve been back-and-forth with the association and, when they’re not stalling us, they’re disavowing responsibility for interior damage.

We think differently, because the damage to the ceiling was caused by a failure of the roof (which is their responsibility), so it seems reasonable that they be responsible for repairing the drywall of her ceiling.

The condo association and property management company keep us going around in circles.

We’d like to avoid taking them to small claims court if possible, so if anyone has some useful advice, that’d be really handy. If there’s any lawyers in Arizona who might be willing to help (even if legal advice can’t be provided, referrals to useful information would be appreciated), I’d be much obliged. Email would be the best way to reach me.

While the damage would only cost about $300 to fix and we could afford to pay for the repairs, we’re wanting the association to pay for the damage based on principle, as we believe the damage to be secondary to a failure of their roof, which is their responsibility. If we’re in the wrong and it turns out to actually be our responsibility, then we have no problem with paying for repairs.

Thanks.

Theme Change

I changed the theme from the rather outdated previous style to something a bit more modern, albeit generic.

If anything has broken, please let me know.

Now What?

So, I finally got around to getting my Bachelor’s Degree in Physics (with a minor in Math)…

But now what?

This real world frightens and confuses me.

Safe For Sale

Unfortunately, it turns out the safe won’t fit in my fiancee’s condo (it’s also a bit too heavy for the floors), so I’m looking to sell it. Alas, I don’t have access to the ArizonaShooting classifieds forums, so I’ve listed it on Craigslist and here. The asking price on Craigslist is $1,200, but I’ll offer a Arizona Rifleman Reader Discount on the asking price of $100.

Here’s the information I’ve posted on Craigslist, as well as a picture of the safe.

If you’re interested, please don’t hesitate to contact me by email.

I have a Cannon C23 gun safe that I’m looking to sell. I bought it a few years ago when I moved into my ground-floor apartment, and am now moving to a second-story condo. The safe is a bit too heavy to move up the stairs, so I’m looking to sell it.

It’s in great condition, with no noticeable damage or marks. It’s been sitting in my closet since I purchased it, so it’s not been exposed to any sort of weather. The only wear-and-tear is from being used normally. There are two screw holes in the very back of the safe where I secured it to the beams in the wall, but they’re not visible from the interior unless one looks specifically for them. The fire-resistant seals are in excellent condition.

There’s a fresh, 10-year lithium 9V battery in the electronic keypad.

It has all the standard interior shelving (with gray cloth padding) that came with the safe. It does not have the optional door-panel pistol kit, nor does it have an electric dehumidifier (though I have used silica gel dehumidifier packets since I bought it, and have renewed them as they became saturated, so there’s been no appreciable moisture inside).

Basic specs:
Weight: 620 pounds, not counting shelves. It’s probably safe to bet (no pun intended) that the total weight is closer to 650 pounds.
Dimensions: WxHxD: 30″ x 60″ x 24″
Color: Black, with gold trim.

See the Cannon website for additional specifications and details.

Important note: This safe is very heavy (~620-650 pounds). When the safe-movers came to install it, it required two men and a heavy hand cart (a heavy-duty “appliance dolly”, such as one can rent at U-Haul for a modest fee) to move. Their delivery truck had a hydraulic lift. I do not have the means to move it myself, so if you buy the safe, you are responsible for removing it from my first-floor apartment (there’s a small, 4-inch step down from the apartment to the sidewalk) and transporting it away. I would be happy to help you move it from my apartment to your truck, and to help you lift it from the ground into your truck, but if your vehicle is not equipped with a lift capable of lifting the safe, I strongly recommend bringing several muscular friends, as it’s unlikely that only two people would be able to safely lift it up into a pickup truck.

I need to sell it no later than the 16th of May. I realize this is short notice, but I had another potential buyer but that deal fell through.

I have the instructions for how to reprogram the electronic keypad, and you’re welcome to test it out to make sure the keypad works.

Conditions of sale:
- Local only. No shipping. No dealing with agents in Nigeria.
- Cash only. No checks. No money orders. No cashiers checks from Nigeria.
- You’re welcome to inspect the safe prior to purchasing it, but any damage caused while moving the safe out of my apartment to your vehicle is the buyer’s responsibility.

Private