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Monday, October 3, 2016

Let's Talk About Mr. Trump's Tax Returns

Over the weekend, the New York Times obtained and published Mr. Trump's 1995 New York tax return - or, more accurately, 3 pages from it, his Connecticut, and his New Jersey non-resident returns.  The breathless headlines talked about Mr. Trump being able to avoid taxes for 18 years.

Let's analyze this a little:

(Disclosure:  I despise Mr. Trump.  I find him to be a disgusting pig of a human being, a poor businessman, a xenophobe, a racist, a misogynist, and just an all around sad sack of poop who has the potential to launch nuclear missles at 3 in the morning because he is pissed off at someone)

By the way:  I assume that Mr. Trump is designated as a "Real Estate Professional" - this designation allows a person to deduct real estate losses, which are ordinarily considered to be passive losses that are only deductable against passive income, down to a net of zero, and then carry the rest forward to net against future passive income (as always, there are a few exceptions, but they wouldn't affect Mr. Trump's return).

Ok - in 1995, Mr. Trump's NY tax return showed a $909 MILLION net operating loss carry-forward, as well as current passive losses of almost $16 million, and other/capital losses of $1.36 million. Wage income, interest income, dividend income, and business income was a positive (almost) $11 million - he had over $41 million in New York deductions, for a New York adjusted gross income of $<913,765,884> - to make this clear, that is NEGATIVE $913 million.

Now, it is important to understand a couple of things:

First, Mr. Trump wasn't able to lose all that money in 1995 - the majority of the losses came from his uncanny ability to bankrupt gambling casinos in 1992 and 1994 (someone please fact check me on those dates).

Second, if one is such a colossally poor businessman that one can manage to lose almost a billion dollars, tax law dictates that one can either go back and recover previously paid income taxes, or carry the losses forward as a credit against future income - THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS.

Third, apparently Mr. Trump uses a lot of "pass-through entities", which means that the income or losses flow through to the individual shareholder's tax returns (I don't know how many partners Mr. Trump had in these various passthroughs, but he did have partners to some extent).  So, the losses would have actually been greater than those shown on Mr. Trump's 1995 New York return.  The beauty (it seems to me) is that Mr. Trump can ruin businesses, (and therefore peoples lives), and yet take the tax benefit of his (apparent) hugely poor business decisions on his personal tax return.

Again - there is nothing wrong with utilizing net operating loss carryforwards, truly there isn't.  He hasn't avoided paying taxes in subsequent years simply because he had these massive losses that were available to him.

Here is what bothers me:  This man, who brags about his business acumen, lost almost a BILLION DOLLARS in the '90's - for comparison, the stock market had an average ROI (return on investment) of 18.17%:

Mr. Trump is a fraud.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A short treatise on the correct positioning of the toilet seat, using gender normative examples as proof

Executive summary: leave it up

Men are sloppy pigs. 

Women are petite fleurs.

Men only need to leave the toilet seat down when, umm, you know (not #1).

Women, on the other hand, always need the seat down to do their business.

Men are inherently lazy.

It takes just as much effort for a man to lower the seat after he is finished as it does for a woman to raise the seat after she is finished. 

A man will not bother to lift the seat up if it is already down, and will thereby leave splashes on the seat. Because, you know, men are sloppy. This creates an unpleasant sensation on the delicate rump of the female as she sits down, never suspecting that someone (a man) would be so careless with his wee wee (aka "tinkle" for the women).

Conclusion: it is far better for a woman to lower the seat when she, umm, you know, than it is to rely on nasty men to be considerate and lower the seat after they are done - or, more importantly, raise the seat before, umm, you know.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Guess what I did?

Or, guess what I'm doing?

I'm getting rid of my smart phone, and switching to, well, a dumb phone I guess.

About a month ago, I got Android Pay on my phone (you know, where you can pay for a purchase by magically touching your phone to a terminal at the store). Part of the security aspect of Android Pay is that you have to have a password, or a swipe pattern on your phone, so if you lose it, folks won't be able to have you purchase their double soy latte with nine shots of espresso in it via your unlocked phone - good move.

Now, I love a gadget.  I'm kind of a gadget head, actually. For the first couple of days, every time my phone would beep, or buzz, or ping, or chime, I would pick it up, turn the screen on, and then have to trace my password pattern in order to see who had favorited my tweet (or something equally as important).  It became annoying pretty fast, but more than that, it drove home to me just how many times a day I pick up my phone to look at it.  It had become a 200 times a day habit! (numbers may not be accurate, IDK, I didn't really count).

I had this other phone (LG Cosmo 2, complete with slide out qwerty keyboard, not the one pictured -that's the ultra snazzy LG Cosmo 3) that I have used in the past when I want to unplug, or to carry with me when I run), so I decided to carry it for a few days, and you know what?  I loved it.  That was a month ago.  Lately, I've noticed that I don't automatically reach for my phone every 37 seconds, as I don't have Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, GroupMe, Words With Friends (and probably something else I've forgotten), on my dumb phone.

It is also smaller!!  I love it. I love not having to cram this enormous phone into my pocket.

There are some drawbacks, of course.  Typing a text is painfully slow, I traded a 12 megapixel camera for a 1.3 megapixel camera, but I have an iPad I can use for all of those functions and apps - it just isn't as accessible as the phone - which, I guess, is the point.

But, don't worry, I can still argue on Facebook - I just have to do it more mindfully (hahaha)

Wish me luck.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hey, Michele Bachmann

Ms. Bachmann, I think you are attempting to somehow justify the flying of this flag NOW, by showing (on your Facebook page) a Feb. 16, 1972 picture of Jimmy Carter standing next to the flag - you've captioned it with this snarky sentence: "Apparently "someone" didn't take the flag down...."


Here is why you are so wrong (these are MY thoughts):

Jimmy Carter is a product of the white South. As he grew up, matured, and became a thinking man (honest, reflective thought - you should perhaps try it sometimes), he noticed things around him that he felt were not right. One thing he noticed was that the Southern Baptist Convention did not align with his Christian beliefs (I'm not picking on the Southern Baptist Convention, by the way - this is an illustration of what Mr. Carter did as he examined his beliefs), so, in 2000, he severed ties with it. Mr. Carter has evolved into a first class Christian, putting his faith into action - his global human rights involvement is legendary, and his commitment to equal rights for women, and racial equality is well documented. This is what thinking people do - they examine their thoughts, their perceptions, their beliefs, and when they find them wanting, they make changes.

The flag that flies on the lawn in front of the state capitol in Columbia South Carolina has always been a divisive flag.  It has always been seen as a symbol of hatred by black folks – it is billed as a symbol of “heritage” by a lot of us white folks – except that the flag wasn’t flown over the Capitol until the early 1960’s, as a thumb in the eye of the Federal Government over the civil rights movement:

Ms. Bachmann:  Your Wikipedia page says that you attend Eagle Brook Church, which is a Christian Evangelical Church, and that prior to this church you were a member of Salem Lutheran Church.  The Wikipedia page also mentions that you and your husband own a “Christian Counseling practice” – Having listened to your rhetoric since about 2011, I can tell you that I don’t recognize a Christian message in much of what you say. I was just on your Facebook page scrolling through your posts to make sure that your words match my opinion of what I think you say – and they do.  I find you to be a hateful person, and, in a way, a poster child for what is wrong with both politics in America, and a portion of Christianity in America.

As a Christian, I want to make sure that non-Christians understand that you are not representative of Christians, at least not the vast majority of Christians – just like radical, murderous Muslims are not reflective of Islam as a whole, and Dylann Roof is not representative of white people as a whole.

God gave me a brain (and put it into this enormous, round head) for a reason - He wants us all to think. I hope to evolve throughout my life, and hope that at the end of my life, I will have changed my mind about all of the wrong thinking I’ve done previously. I sincerely hope that you will try to do the same.

Friday, June 19, 2015


Racial minorities who hate homosexual people
Gay people who hate racial minorities
People who lack compassion for those who are less fortunate, less talented, less able than they are
Business people who will screw anyone in order to get whatever they can
Baristas who correct me when I order a small coffee (one tall blonde roast coming up {smug smirk})
People who text while driving
Climate change deniers
Corrupt politicians (redundant, I know)
Religious people who hate others because MY GOD IS BETTER THAN YOUR GOD
Me, when I do anything, or act like anyone on this list (and I have, and it hurts my soul)
Lazy assed government employees who only do the minimum, and who don't give a shit about their customers
Lazy assed non-government employees who only do the minimum, and who don't give a shit about their customers
Bureaucrats who don't understand, or care, that every person, and every situation is different from every other.
People who understand the proper use of a comma

To these (and I'm sure I've missed others), especially today, I'd like to offer up a heartfelt “Fuck You”

Monday, February 9, 2015

Our national lack of compassion

I’m pretty confused right now.

As I read through Facebook comments (maybe that’s my problem) about several topics, I’ve noticed what I see as a lack of compassion these days.

Specifically as they relate to:

Health Insurance
Minimum Wage
Voter Registration
Entitlement Programs
Illegal Immigrants
(but oh, so many other topics)

(I’m going to include some links that I think are interesting to read, not necessarily to support my positions, but more to provide additional information)

I guess that folks who are against the Affordable Care Act are against…governmental intrusion into health care?  But the free market hasn’t done anything but price healthcare out of the realm of affordability for many.

In my case, I bought Blue Cross/Blue Shield Bronze plans for me, my wife, and each of my two kids (we are all healthy, by the way).  My monthly premiums total $795.03 per month, and we each have a $5,200 deductible, with an out of pocket maximum of $12,800.  This means that my potential liability, before insurance kicks in, is $21,940 per year – AND THIS IS BETTER THAN IT WAS WHEN I HAD A GROUP POLICY

If everyone in America was covered, and paying premiums into the system, it stands to common sense that premiums would drop, that bankruptcies due to defaults on medical expenses would drop (and then those unpaid bills would not be added to the cost of health care). Of course, there are other problems relating to health care costs, but right now, I’m just talking about affordable health insurance. ( )

Why do we treat people who can’t make top dollar with such contempt?  Shouldn’t everyone be paid a living wage?  Have those who say that paying people a living wage would cause prices to rise, looked at the statistics to back those claims up?  (I have, they aren’t true).  I often read “They should stay in school, get educated, and climb the ladder”  Sounds good, until you remember that not everyone is capable of doing that.  Are we saying that those people are not deserving of a living wage? (

Given the absolutely miniscule number of voter fraud cases, why are many of us so eager to make it difficult to vote?  Why is it that those with the least are so much more likely the ones to be affected by the laws that have been passed in the last few years? (

The cost of drug testing welfare recipients vs the results makes no economic sense – as a matter of fact, very, very few people are testing positive:  In Florida, the overall rate of illegal drug use is 8%, while the failure rate among Florida welfare applicants is 2%.  In Utah, 12 people IN TOTAL tested positive in a year’s worth of testing.  So, what is the point here?  It’s not about saving money, given that the cost of administering these programs is greater than the savings by keeping horrible drug addicts from receiving benefits.  Is it about making sure that we shame those who have to apply? Do we feel some sort of collective superiority? (

Did you know that illegal immigrants are helping to prop up our social security system?  Under current law, illegal immigrants are not entitled to social security benefits, but you know what?  When a worker, using a fake social security number collects his paycheck, Social Security and Medicare are withheld, and matched by the employer.  That money goes into the US Treasury.  Over and above that, though, I'm amazed on a daily basis at the nasty, mean spirited things said about these people - I'll tell you this, if I were Guatemalan, and saw an opportunity to make a better life for myself, I'd for damn sure be trying to get here, to a country where hard work can be rewarded.  Don't we like that characteristic in people? Why do we feel the need to call these people names? (

To me, though, the common theme seems to be a lack of compassion aimed at those who have nothing by those who have something – such as people like the Koch Brothers (whom I consider to be evil, greedy, men), but more surprisingly, by people a few instances of bad luck away from being those people without health insurance, or jobless, or subsisting on government assistance.

And this is why I’m confused.  Why is there so much irrational hatred in our country right now?  Has it always been like this?  I don’t think so.  Is it because ordinary people feel like their lives are out of control?  That they have no power, and therefore, must hate those who might be seen as someone who is out to get their stuff?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

I can't dance

18 Experiences You Have When You Can&#39;t Dance

I mean, I really can't dance. I've got no moves. I'm terrified of how I look on a dance floor. You know how people say things like "Oh, no one is watching, just let loose"? Well, people would watch me, because I look like one of those trees found in the petrified forest, just sort of standing there, waiting to fall.

I remember the first time I ever went onto a dance floor. I was 10 and living in England. As I remember it, my sister and I went to a neighborhood dance. When we came home, I distinctly remember my mom asking Suzanne about my moves. Suzanne got this pitying look on her face and said (oh, yes, Suzanne, I can quote you, 45 years later), "well, it was sort of a walking step." I cringe every time I think of it. I imagine all of England does as well.  "I say, whatever happened to that odd American?" all of England says, in polite bemusement.

                                  Me, at the neighborhood dance (top middle)

There have been a few times that I've let my guard down, say at a wedding, where I've wandered out of the "Zone of Safety", and gotten too close to the dance floor. People don't seem to understand that I'm dead serious as I pull away saying "No, thanks, I don't dance." I'm very awkward.  

                                                         Me, being awkward

My niece, Maggie was married on November 1 of this year, and the party was fantastic! Maggie and her husband live in Montana, and a bunch of their friends came. Maggie's friends and family from here came, and Matt's family and friends from Texas came.  Every single one of them was fun.  Lisa was on the dance floor early, as were most of the people.  The picture above is me at that party.

Anyhow, against my better judgement, I started dancing with Lisa (strategically at the end of a slow song).  It was horrible for me, much worse for Lisa, I'm sure.  12 seconds into it the song finally ended, but before I could get off the floor, Christine from Montana grabbed me, and started dancing. She is very bendy and coordinated.  I was kind of like Lurch on a bad day.

                                                 Me, dancing with Christine

Finally, even she realized that nothing could be done with me.  I left the floor, deeply shamed, and embarrassed for Christine.

Apparently, Gina from Montana hadn't seen the debacle, and hadn't been warned by Lisa, because she grabbed my hand and tried to drag me out there.  This time I was successful in avoiding her and retreated to a corner somewhere where I drank beer and discussed the intricacies of FIFO and LIFO inventory methods (probably).

There is no point whatsoever in this story, by the way.