The Ole Seagull

Illegal Aliens should only get “back where you came from” benefits

Posted in General,Opinion by The Ole Seagull on the December 26th, 2009

The title on the email the Ole Seagull received from a close friend was “What is wrong?.” It is published below as received.

In the for what it’s worth department, the Ole Seagull believes that the only benefits an illegal alien should receive should are those necessary and directly connected with providing the health care, sustenance, and travel assistance necessary to send them back where they came from as quickly as possible.

“Let’s See if I have this RIGHT!
If you cross the border from South Korea into North Korea you get 12 Years hard labor
If you cross the Iranian border you are detained indefinitely.
If you cross the Afghan border you get shot.
If you cross the Saudi Arabian border you will be jailed.
If you cross the Chinese border you may never be heard from again.
If you cross the Venezuelan border you will be branded a spy and your fate will be sealed.
If you cross the border into Cuba you will be thrown into political prison to rot.
If you illegally cross the United Stated border you get —-
A Job (sure politicians will say it’s a job Americans don’t want to do but with 10% unemployment I’m sure we can find someone)
A Drivers License (but why bother drive without one, and don’t bother with insurance either)
A Social Security Card (collect social security, but don’t bother paying any taxes)
Food Stamps
Free Education
Credit Cards
Subsidized Rent (or just get a govt loan for a house)
Free Health Care (especially for those nice diseases you weren’t inoculated for)
A Lobbyist working for you in Washington
Government Documents printed in your native language costing Billions of Dollars
The right to carry the flag of the country you left while you protest your treatment in this country which you entered illegally
And in many instances you can VOTE (thank you ACORN)
Just wanted to be clear on how our representatives that are supposed to be working for us are spending our tax dollars. Any questions?”

Can there be Christmas without CHRISTmas?

Posted in General,Opinion by The Ole Seagull on the December 20th, 2009

This column was originally written over 12 years ago and is modified and republished each year as an Ole Seagull’s testimony as to what Christmas means to him. The political correctness of “Merry Christmas” may change but the true meaning of CHRISTmas will never change.

The “Grinch” never came any closer to stealing the true meaning of Christmas than has trying to be “politically correct.” In recent years there has been a strong move to change the traditional Christmas greeting of “Merry Christmas” to the “politically correct” terminology of “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings.”

“But one wouldn’t want to offend those who are celebrating Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or something else would they?” Absolutely not, but most people are not offended by the use of the term “Merry Christmas.” Yet, it is important to the vast majority of Americans to whom the celebration of Christmas is so significant and special and to those who want to preserve the spirit, history and tradition of the “Christmas” that the U.S. Congress designated as a legal holiday on June 26, 1870.

What do “Happy Holidays,” and “Seasons Greetings,” have in common with “_ _ _ _ _ _ mas?” They both leave “Christ” out. So what? What does “Christ” have to do with the celebration of Kwanza, Hanukkah, Santa Claus, presents, office parties, red nosed reindeer, decorating trees, wreaths, holly, sleigh bells, retail sales, booze, atheism and feasting? Not much.

What does Christ have to do with CHRISTmas? Everything! Without Christ there can be no CHRISTmas. There can be a holiday, a season, festivals, and religious observations of every persuasion, but without Christ there can be no CHRISTmas, in either fact or spirit. One cannot even say or spell the word “CHRISTmas,” let alone explain its actual history, meaning or origins, as it is celebrated in the United States, without Christ.

The Concise Columbia Encyclopedia states that Christmas is “Christ’s Mass in the Christian calendar, the feast of the nativity of Jesus.” The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines “Christmas” as “A Christian feast commemorating the birth of Jesus.” Jesus who? Jesus, the Christ Child, the only begotten Son of God, born of the virgin Mary in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago.
First there was Jesus Christ and because of Christ there is the celebration of His birth, CHRISTmas. Secular customs and traditions have developed since; but, first there was Christ.

Even the greatest current secular symbol, the “Ho, Ho, Ho” jolly old Santa Claus seen everywhere during the Christmas season, was first made popular in New York during the 19th century. And before that the European traditions of “Sinterklaas,” and Saint Nicholas can be traced back hundreds of years; but, first there was “Christ.”

Why, there are even some who would try to replace the bright guiding light of the Star of Bethlehem with the red glow of the nose of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Rudolph’s nose has been guiding Santa’s sleigh since 1939 when Robert May wrote a verse for a Montgomery Ward promotional comic book. In the late 1940’s his brother-in-law adapted the verse and used it in the song “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer;” and the cowboy crooner, Gene Autry, made Rudolph famous but, first there was “Christ.”

When someone says “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings,” rather than “Merry Christmas,” those wanting to share the gift of Christmas could ask, “What Holiday?” or “What Season?” What better way to create or reinforce an awareness of the “reason for the season,” that very first Christmas when “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life?”
If we keep the spirit of the Christ Child and His love in our hearts and share it with others, Christmas, in its truest sense, will be with us every day of the year, Merry Christmas folks, Merry Christmas.

An Ole Seagull, and the rest of the Groman Family would take this opportunity to wish you and yours a blessed Merry Christmas.

“Music City Game” can cost the loss of tens of millions in revenues to Branson and Missouri?

Posted in General by The Ole Seagull on the December 13th, 2009

An August opinion of the Missouri Supreme Court (Court), “Music City Management, LLC v Director of Revenue” (Music City), changes the way that retail sales taxes on show tickets are collected and paid and authorized huge refunds of taxes already paid back to the plaintiff theatres. In doing so it created a situation that can potentially cost the city of Branson and the state of Missouri tens of millions of dollars in lost revenues and cost the taxpayers of Branson hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Prior to the Music City case, if theatre “TA” sold a Ticket Reseller a ticket that retailed for $40.00 for the wholesale (FIT) rate of $30.00 and the retail sales tax rate on the ticket, including city of Branson, state, ambulance districts, etc, was 10 percent, TA would have collected and remitted $3.00 in retail sales taxes to the Missouri Department of Revenue (MDOR). When the Ticket Reseller sold the ticket at retail to a customer for the full $40.00 they would collect and remit to MDOR an additional $1.00 in retail sales taxes, for a total tax collected and remitted of $4.00. At its simplest level, after the Music City case, the Ticket Resellers is responsible for collecting and remitting the total sales tax due, in this case $4.00.

In implementing the Courts decision MDOR has said that every Ticket Reseller must register for Missouri sales tax for each place of amusement, entertainment or recreation and collect and remit the tax based on the tax rate applicable to the place “for which the admission is sold.” The registration appears important because the “Sales/Use Exemption Tax Certificate (Form 149)” that must be presented to the theatre at the time the Ticket Reseller Purchases tickets for resale by Missouri businesses is required to have the Missouri Tax ID Number. One can only wonder how many Ticket Resellers have applied to register with the state, just how long such registration takes and if there is a public list of Ticket Resellers who have registered.

The Ole Seagull finds the Courts authorization for a refund particularly onerous. The theatres in the Music City case appear to getting a refund of money that was paid by the Resellers that bought the tickets from them. Too, an Ole Seagull believes there is a strong likely hood that the State of Missouri will go against the City of Branson and the other taxing entities for a refund of the taxes the state paid to them and is having to refund to the Music City plaintiffs. What a strain that could put on already stretched budgets.

Why is some sort of class action not being taken to have the “Music City” money held in escrow until it can be determined who actually paid how much for what? Once it’s given back to the “Music City” plaintiffs and their attorney(s), for all practical purposes, it is gone absent legal action by each entity against each theatre getting a “Music City” refund. One can only wonder about the possibility that the ramifications of this decision could cost the city of Branson, and for that matter, the state of Missouri,millions of dollars in lost revenues from tour companies and others that might choose to go somewhere else rather than play the “Music City Game?

U.S. Supreme Court says First Amendment applies only to the Federal government!

Posted in General,Government,Opinion by The Ole Seagull on the December 6th, 2009

In a column a couple of weeks ago entitled “Ouch and sorry, but our Forefathers didn’t prohibit Nativity scenes on public land, prayer in school, etc.” the Ole Seagull made some comments and asked some questions based on a Letter to the Editor by Bill Stephenson. For the most part they related the truthfulness and accuracy of some of Stephenson’s comments relating to what our “Founding Fathers” did or meant by putting the words “an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”  in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Stephenson responded to that column with another Letter to the Editor. Because of the Ole Seagull’s sincere belief that this discussion transcends religion and goes to the core of how the Federal Government has become so involved in our daily lives, on an ever increasing level, he believes it timely and appropriate to continue the dialogue. Comments made by Bill Stephenson from his letter are preceded by his initials “BS” and the response of The Ole Seagull by the initials “TOSG.”

BS:“This time he wanted us to believe that the First Amendment to the Constitution was only intended to apply to ‘Congress.’”

TOSG: That has to be a Freudian Slip because what the Ole Seagull actually did was point out, that as written “the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits ‘Congress,’ from making a law ‘respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” He then asked two questions, “Who does it apply to, local school districts, cities, states, counties” or “Congress?” and “Isn’t that the same Congress defined in Section 1 of Article I of the U.S. Constitution?”

One can only assume that BS read the First Amendment and Section 1 of Article I and reached the same logical conclusion most reasonable persons reading those words would reach. That conclusion, using the words of BS himself is “that the First Amendment to the Constitution was only intended to apply to ‘Congress.’”

BS: “Now, I don’t want to spread ‘misinformation’ here, but I’m pretty sure the ‘Ole Seagull’ was also asking us to believe that State and Local governments were never intended by our ‘Founding Fathers’ to respect any of those rights as well.”

TOSG: Absolutely.

BS: “I certainly hope I’m wrong about this because who knows how many might ask, ‘That can’t be right, can it?’”

TOSG: It doesn’t make any difference how many ask because the answer is still the same, “Of course it’s right;” that is, if the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court has any bearing on the issue. In terms of “those rights,” as evidenced by its decision in the 1833 case “Barron v City of Baltimore,” the Supreme Court held that “These amendments contain no expression indicating an intention to apply them to the state governments. This court cannot so apply them.”

BS: “It would serve the ‘Ole Seagull’ well to finish reading the First Amendment, and while he has the Constitution out he might read the Fourteenth Amendment too… “Congress added it [14th amendment] about one hundred and fifty years ago to make sure that no one would get confused again about where your rights as a U.S. citizen are protected…”

TOSG: The 14th amendment, ratified in 1868, had nothing to do with what the “Founding Fathers” did or did not do. They were in their graves.

Nor was there any “confusion” at the time of its ratification about who the Bill of Rights, the first amendment in this case, applied to. The U.S. supreme court in the case of “United States v. Cruikshank,” held that “The first amendment to the Constitution prohibits Congress from abridging ‘the right of the people to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.’ This, like the other amendments proposed and adopted at the same time, was not intended to limit the powers of the State governments in respect to their own citizens, but to operate upon the National government alone.” (Underline added)

To an Ole Seagull there doesn’t appear to be any confusion at all, only consistency. It’s probably appropriate to note that this decision was delivered in 1875 about seven years after the 14th amendment was ratified.

Some might ask, “Then how did we get from there to the National government’s growing infringement into our local government, churches, schools, and daily lives?” That’s an article for another day.