Apparently I am required by law to fill out an "annual accommodation report" from the US Census. Just what I needed. The IRS, state sales tax authorities, and the Department of Commerce all gather this same information, but for some reason the Census Bureau needs me to repackage it for them ("estimate time only 34 minutes -- thanks alot"). In fact, they need the data so bad that I am required by law to respond to their request.
Here is the weird part. First they ask for revenues including both lodging revenues and sales of merchandise, all as one single number. Then, they ask for "operating expenses" in which they want me to exclude the cost of any merchandise sold. What is the point of gathering a revenue number that includes merchandise sales but a cost number that excludes the cost of goods purchased for resale? Bizarre. My only guess is that this is so they can stack industries up without double counting, but that makes no sense either. If this were the case, they would ask me to eliminate all product purchases (e.g. toilet paper for the bathrooms, cleaning supplies). Also, wouldn't they in that case also ask me to leave out services purchased from other companies?
Postscript: The form has this notice: "Your report to the Census Bureau is confidential by law. It may be seen only by persons sworn to uphold the confidentiality of Census Bureau information and may be used only for statistical purposes. The law also provides that copies retained in your files are immune from legal process."
Does anyone above the age of eight really believe this? Ask major league baseball players what they think about promises of confidentiality and immunity from legal process. (emphasis added)
With Barry Bonds still in their sights,
federal investigators probing steroids in sports can now use the
names and urine samples of about 100 Major League Baseball players
who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs, following a
ruling Wednesday from a federal appeals court.
The 2-1 decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals
overturned three lower court decisions and could help authorities
pinpoint the source of steroids in baseball. It could also bolster
the perjury case against the star outfielder, who is under
investigation for telling a grand jury he never knowingly used
Investigators seized computer files containing the test results
in 2004 during raids of labs involved in MLB's testing program. The
samples were collected at baseball's direction the previous year as
part of a survey to gauge the prevalence of steroid use. Players
and owners agreed in their labor contract that the results would be
confidential, and each player was assigned a code number to be
matched with his name.