Monday, November 19, 2007

Bills Recap

That was just sad. There was about a moment's hope in the first half when Losman hit that bomb to Parrish, but the Patriots are so brutally efficient that hope turned to a dawning horror in about 6 plays and 70 yards. And then the rout was on.

Losman for the most part did not look horrible. Put it this way, with about the same level of talent at WR, he put up better numbers than Manning did. He was able to harness the power of the hair (seriously, even Marino is amazed by the flowing locks) to pull a Romo impression on one busted play, completing a great pass to Gaines for a first, and then scrambling out of trouble a couple of other times against a brutal rush. Unfortunately, that is about the only good thing that can be said about the offense (well Lindell's 52 yarder off the camera was pretty impressive)

Unfortunately the defense just gave up in the second half. Hard to blame them, but they couldn't even come close to containing the third and fourth string RBs for the Pats. When Kyle Eckel is running through your defense like a Navy Admiral running through some female colleagues at the Tailhook conference, you know you're in trouble. Unfortunate effort from the defense (I thought Dick Jauron always got his underachieving squad up for games?)

The only silver lining is that the Bills can't possibly be that bad. It's that the Patriots are exactly that good. Bills have a real tough one against Jacksonville on the road.

And to top it all off, it's snowing here in the City today.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

All Apologies

Not just a great Nirvana song, but what I am offering to anyone who came here from the Goose's Roost or Bflo Blog (or anywhere else) and got stuck reading the last few lame posts. What can I say? My dedication has been lacking. Also, the TaxWife has had me on this crazy diet the last week that has sapped my energy. Now that I've discovered cocaine, it's all good and I'm back to bloggin'...

The Taxes Update

Of course this week's big athlete tax news was Derek Jeter's tax woes. The taxman is coming after Mr. Clutch for his position that he is a nonresident of New York State and City, despite the fact that he maintains an apartment in the city and lives here half the year. The rest of the year he apparently lives in Florida.

The law on this is not actually all that clear. The first test is whether someone spends 183 days in the state. Assuming Mr. Worst Defensive SS in the AL actually spends the offseason in Florida and given the number of days he is on the road during the season, he probably is not physically present in New York State for the required 183 days.

The state is asserting that even though he does not meet this test that New York is still his primary residence based on his affinity for the city (e.g., his business ties in New York, holidays spent in New York, and, particularly, keeping items he holds "near and dear" to him in his New York apartment). This filing from the Admin. law judge in the case is illuminating. In taxgeek parlance, New York is his "tax home".

The idea is that while he may physically spend fewer than 180 days in New York, his home in New York is a home while a house in Florida is just a house - more like an offseason rental to which he has no connection. It's an interesting theory and to be honest, I haven't dug into the black letter law in New York to know if it would be enough, but we'll follow it.

The Tax Foundation notes that this is differernt than the "Jock Tax" that taxes a portion of every athlete's income in the state in which the game is played. New York is going after endorsement income, income earned in other states, etc.

Don't Mess With Taxes has a good piece on New York revenue officials' clutch performance in past cases.

The other big tax news was the continuing saga in DC of AMT relief. After some conflicting stories (it appeared for a day that the Senate would at least vote on a bill to provide a 1 year AMT patch with limited offsets solely for popular tax extenders), this do-nothing Congress continued to do nothing. So, it's at least December before any AMT relief is passed.

NFL Picks

No commentary needed (or necessary). You should be reading the Jamboroo for a funny NFL preview column.

Chargers (+3) over JAGUARS. Yes, I know people are jumping off the Philip Rivers bandwagon and that San Diego barely held on against Indy last week despite 6 picks (like Dallas against the Bills), but that defense is still solid and I think Garrard will have some rust in his first game back in a month.

Browns (-2.5) over RAVENS. Yeah, the Ravens really really suck.

Steelers (-9.5) over JETS. I almost took the Jets, but I cannot stand them. I mean, look at this guy:

Washington (+10.5) over COWBOYS.

DOLPHINS (+10) over Eagles
. The Dolphins have played almost everyone close this year. They're the best 0-9 team I have ever seen.

Raiders (+5) over VIKINGS

Cardinals (+3) over BENGALS

Chiefs (+14.5) over COLTS
. I don't care what Dr. Z says, Peyton is not the same without all of his toys. Just like the TaxBoy. If he's surrounded by the rattle, the horse on a string, the plastic balls that make noise, he's happy. If he has just the stupid fake phone? He throws six INTs.

LIONS (+2.5) over Giants. I'm a little surprised that the Lions are getting points at home, but then again, last time I went to Vegas, I came back looking like this:

Saints (-1) over TEXANS. This is where I call BS on one of the SportsGuy's theories - that early in the season nobody knows anything about the teams and that Vegas struggles just as much as the regular gambler. O.k. First, I don't believe Vegas struggles at all, ever, as compared to the regular degenerate gambler. Second, we're in week 11 and I still can't tell if the Saints, Chargers, Panthers, Washington, Seahawks, Cardinals and about 3 other teams are going to play halfway decent football or stink it up worse than Northrax.

Packers (-9.5) over Panthers. Case in point, although with Vinny starting and Steve Smith maybe not, this should be an easy one for the Favrers.

(Which reminds me of something else annoying - some moron talking head was talking about how Favre was doing this "all himself". I'm sure that Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Nick Barnett and Charles Woodson were all happy to hear that. This team does have the second best rushing defense and fifth best defense overall in the NFC).

Rams (-3) over NINERS

Bears (+5.5) over SEAHAWKS

Titans (+2) over BRONCOS

BILLS (+16) over Patriots
. Hell Yeah! This game being on Sunday night is great for a whole bunch of reasons. 1. I get to do work during the day and not feel guilty about watching the game (which I will be doing totally sober due to the aforementioned f*cked up diet). 2. I get to hear John Madden talk about Turducken and Buffalo Wings at the same time. 3. Now I can watch the MLS finals without missing any important NFL game action (score update: 0-0).

Bonus: I get to bust out my Marshawn Lynch "Money" t-shirt, recently purchased from 289 design, even though he won't be playing.

Score Prediction: Patriots 31, Bills 20. (Hoping for the upset though).

That's it, all. Enjoy the games.

(I notice that I missed calling the TB game. Let's just say that I did not have Atlanta. That one is going in the win column)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

For Avoidance of Doubt

Here were my NFL picks. And unfortunately, I took New Orleans in the Kissing Suzy Kolber suicide pool. not looking good there...

Vikings (+6.5) over PACKERS

CHIEFS (-4.5) over Broncos

Bills (-2.5) over Dolphins (ugh)

Rams (+11.5) over SAINTS

BROWNS (+9.5) over Steelers

Jags (-4.5) over TITANS

WASHINGTON (-2.5) over Eagles

RAVENS (-5.5) over Bengals

Lions (+1.5) over CARDINALS.
Incidentally, this really seems strange to me. The Lions are getting no respect from Vega$

GIANTS (+1.5) over Cowboys

RAIDERS (-3.5) over Bears

Colts (-3.5) over CHARGERS

SEAHAWKS (-9.5) over 49Ers

That's it for now.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Friday Afternoon Update

Relatively quiet afternoon at work.. so on to the updates.

The Bills Update

YES. This guy is doing the Bills-Dolphins game this weekend:

Since Eagle/Wilcots are off this week, I guess that makes them officially the Z-team of CBS broadcasters. And if I had an HDTV, I could watch the game in hi-def.

Seeing that Gus is doing the game made me wonder if I would remember differently some of the famous and infamous moments in Bills history if he had been calling the games.

Wide Right: Norwood lines up for the kick. This is at the EDGE of Norwood's distance. Marv Levy is putting his faith in the young kicker out of JAMES MADISON. It's all on the line for the Bills. The snap, the hold is down. The Kick is UP... And... It's NO GOOD!! NO GOOD!! WIDE RIGHT! And TIME HAS EXPIRED! The GIANTS WIN! Somehow the Giants are able to carry Parcells OFF THE FIELD. OH MY, Scott Norwood will carry this moment TO HIS GRAVE. SLEEP TIGHT SCOTTY! HA HAAAAAA"

Frank Reich comeback against Houston in '93: "Forget about the Nazis, here in Buffalo it's the RISE OF THE FOURTH REICH as the Bills unleash the stormtroopers aganist the Oilers. Ha haaaaaaa." "Christie lines up for the winning kick. And it's GOOOOOOOD!!!!! Christie drives a STAKE through the hearts of the Oilers as the Bills win in DRAMATIC FASHION!! DIE NOSFERATU!!!

(sidenote: this game was NOT televised locally in Buffalo because the Bills actually did not sell out the game. A playoff game. I had to listen to freaking Van Miller on the radio).

Music City Miracle: The kick is short to Neal. Neal hands off to Wycheck.. and Oh, Wycheck HEAVES it to Andre Dyson, and Dyson is RUNNING. OH NO, IT's A CLEAR PATH TO PAYDIRT. OH NO. NOBODY's GOING TO CATCH HIM. And Dyson is IN. And it's PANDEMONIUM in Tennessee. Rob Johnson can't bear to look. Wade Phillips is STUNNNED as the Titans RIP THE BEATING HEARTS out of the Bills's chests. KALI MA, they'll SEE YOU IN HELL!!!!!"

No, that still would have sucked.

Last Second Jason Elam Field Goal: Oh wait, he actually did call this game:

I'm surprised he didn't refer to it as a "CHINESE FIRE DRILL!!!!"

Anyway, it's always a "SPECIAL GAME" when Gus is announcing.

-- As for actual analysis? Happy that Losman is starting. He's like Brett Favre, except without the joy. Or much of the talent.

For actual analysis, go to Bflo Blog for the Tailgate.

Goose's Roost has an interesting post on Jim Kelly and Jack Kemp being potential white knights in a future sale of the Bills.

That's it. My prediction? (not that it matters): Bills 21, Miami 17

The Taxes Update

-- The House today passed a bill providing for a one-year AMT patch and extending a bunch of popular tax deductions, the cost of which is offset by changing the tax treatment of carried interest in private equity funds and eliminating offshore deferrals of compensation (where the payor is tax-indifferent). The Senate has not introduced a bill addressing AMT relief and apparently won't until December.

Which really is an abdication of Congresional responsibility. You see, even if a bill is introduced in December, debated, passed, harmonized with the House and signed by Bush, it won't be in time for the IRS to make changes to tax forms necessary to allow taxpayers to file returns correctly. This means that millions of taxpayers will end up overpaying their taxes and seeking refunds later (because they will be forced to file based on the law that is in effect now which sucks millions of taxpayers into the AMT. I think the House is probably more to blame for waiting so long to introduce a bill when EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT THE ISSUE.

-- One other interesting story from last week that is semi-sports related: The IRS has announced an initiative targeting foreign golfers, tennis players and entertainers who work in the U.S. That's right - Roger Federer is a tax cheat* The concern is that foreign entertainers are not paying their "fair share" of withholding taxes on income earned in the U.S. (there is a 30% withholding tax applicable to nonresident aliens performing services within the United States). The focus apparently is on the structures through which entertainers earn money within the United States and making sure that withholding takes place somewhere along the chain. This is all part of closing the tax gap.

*May not actually be a tax cheat, but this commercial is ridiculous:

And what the hell is Henry saying? "I nevuh fthk about ystdy".... Thanks Thierry, er Terry. Go back to playing with your ball.

No Death Update right now. Maybe later.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I've Been a Bad Bad....


Anyway... here are the updates...

The Taxes Update

I didn't want to comment on any of Charlie Rangel's tax machinations (he is, after all, my congressman), although he has gotten superficial coverage in the Economist, the NY Times, and elsewhere. (Edited to note: I was glib - A Taxing Matter has had great coverage on this and other recent tax issues. Much better than I, anyway.

Bottom line: The AMT is scheduled to apply to a shitload of middle-class families in '08 absent at least a "one year patch" extending prior laws exempting more and more American taxpayers. The patch is a political necessity. Rangel proposed (and the House W&M committee passed) a bill that offset the cost of the patch and some popular extenders with (1) a change in taxation of carried interest and (2) a change in the taxation of deferred comp.

Grassley, et. al., have said that they did not view an AMT patch as requiring revenue offsets because the AMT was never intended to have the bite it now has (which is odd since it was never indexed to inflation).

Thus, we find ourselves in a bit of a stalemate. Although not that much of one as Rangel has already basically caved (via Tax Notes) and agreed to look at other possible revenue offsets besides the carried interest raise. See this also from Rep. Emanuel.

Here is my view: (1) A change in legislation allowing tax-exempts to invest in funds that borrow to fund their investments will pass, (2) The carried interest and deferred compensation bills will be deferred to '09, but then pass and (3) Whatever happened to the "Blackstone Bill"? It was not included in Rangel's bill. Would have thought that would be a great revenue raiser.

Lots of other interesting tax stuff, but, it will have to wait.

The Death Update

I realized today as i was writing an entry in my "bricks and mortar" journal that the book I was writing in was intended to be used as a book of remembrance for Dean Gordanier, a brilliant tax lawyer who passed away about 4 years ago in Boston.

He was a great man, a great tax lawyer. A brilliant guy, one who touched all who came in contact with him. He was always there with a hug or a clap on the shoulder and while a bit prickly, was the first to share with you a wide, kidlike grin when things were right in the world.

He also thought accountants "whores and charlatans". Of course, this was before the Andersen meltdown. Now he'd call them scurrulous and scaredy-cats. That was Dean.

So I should be careful to make sure my bricks and mortar journal is sturdy. For Dean.

The Rest Update

Since baseball season is over, the rest of the updates, will be the... um... "Rest" Update, like Paul Harvey says.. the rest of the story.

-- The Bills - Losman back in again. Damn. And I just got my hair cut. Seriously though, the team is more suited to a QB with his particular skills. Speed, dangerous long ball, acrobatic catches. It's not a possession receiver team. Hopefully they can keep the 'fish winless this week.

-- The Sox - Schilling resigned yesterday (have you noticed that the same word means two absolutely opposite things? resigned/re-signed. EERIE). Anyway.. Great K with Schill. Hopefully they'll sign Lowell and a spot starter for the rotation, and perhaps some backup IF help. Otherwise, not sure what else they need (except for a new starting C of course, but that's not happening).

That's it for tonight. I'm tired and my Sapphire and Tonic is empty.

Oh, almost forgot. This makes me happy.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Quick Picks

I haven't blogged all week (post Sox comedown, I think). But here are the quick picks with Tax and Death Updates to come today (and a postgame report on the Bills).

BILLS (+1) over Bengals Yeah, Losman in again (as he should have been last week anyway). He should be able to complete at least one bomb to his own guys today. And what's this I see? Fucking Solomon Wilcots is calling the game? Good Christ - I get to listen about how well the "Bee-ills" are playing today. Maybe I'll listen to the NFL audio coverage at

LIONS (-3) over Broncos

TITANS (-4) over Panthers
David Carr on the road? No thank you.

CHEIFS (-2) over Packers I have to believe arrowhead is good for something.

Chargers (-7) over VIKINGS

FALCONS (-3.5) over Niners
Simmons's "sleeper" is comatose, but the Niners are Schaivo-tose at this point.

SAINTS (-3) over Jaguars

Washington (-3.5) over JETS
The Jets can go straight to hell.

Cardinals (+3.5) over BUCS

Seahawks (+1) over BROWNS

Pats (-5.5) over COLTS

Texans (+3) over RAIDERS

EAGLES (+3) over Cowboys

STEELERS (-9) over Ravens

Go here for the best NFL preview going.

And here is Bflo Blog's tailgate.

Enjoy the games, and don't forget - this guy is the WORST commentator going. God he sucks.