Glib, Yes, they are ! In the world of sports and in entertainment, what else, would you tend to expect ?
You either have to be that damn naïve to think that an industry that so often is do devoid of creativity can actually come up with something truly original . An industry such as the Hollywood film industry garnered record box office receipts, in 2012 of $10.8 billion ($10,800,000,000) . Here were are, in the first quarter of 2013 , and so far the industry receipts are approximately $1.724 billion. And need we be reminded how self-indulgent the entertainment world has become , albeit that their philanthropic efforts are well chronicled in so many areas that should make the government feel ashamed of their own alleged claims . After all of the back slapping and glad handing, after the Oscars , of which I felt , the biggest joke and the very fact , here we have an industry that claims to be one thing , but on the reverse side of that equation, they simply come across as fools . Best Picture, winner , “ Argo “ was nominated four major motion picture awards , yet somehow , the movie’s director , Ben Affleck , was somehow overlooked in the Best Director’s category . Clearly, the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) , the body that presides over the event , and its Directors’ Guild , who are privy to the voting and who list the nominees are ______ , they are either that irrational in their choices , or simply did not feel that Affleck was deserving of a nomination . Bear in mind , that Affleck swept , all of the other major awards’ show throughout the year winning “Best Director” , in the lead-up to Hollywood’s biggest night , where the young actor / director was not nominated in the Best Director category , with Chinese director , Ang Lee , winning the award for his luxurious movie ” Life of Pi” .
I recently read a somewhat ludicrous article , by someone suggesting that Hollywood now serves the consumer what they actually want, by way of their seasonal fares and offering . Multimillion dollar action thrillers , comic book adaptations , adult oriented comedies and the usual glut of blood and gore , slash-fest, moronic horror flicks , which are in fact , the cheapest form and most profitable aspect of the Hollywood film industry . Yet in spite of it all, this individual was looking to sell his morsel , that fans can relish with a great deal of joy, the second installment of the current rehashed cycle of Spiderman , whose last outing with a rather wooden Andrew Garfield in the title role of Peter Parker , aka Spiderman gave a rather pedantic wooden portrayal . And though the movie, “ The Amazing Spiderman” was rather underwhelming at the North American box office , with a stoic $262 million , albeit , the movie was able to almost double those returns on the international market with a take of 490 million , for a worldwide receipt total of $752 million . Panned at the box office, by the majority of critics , the movie’s producer and distributors Sony / Columbia Pictures , were hoping for a much larger take on the domestic front. With a second installment , now drawing attention , and the recent announcement that actor and comedian, Jamie Foxx , was now signed to the upcoming project , it remains to be seen whether or not this time around the , this installment can surpass that of the first, with Garfield reprising his role .
Courtesy of aheadoftheherd.com
By John Mauldin | January 17, 2013
I want you to have my basic rundown on what the fiscal cliff deal accomplished. It’s essential that you see both the good and the bad of the deal. Here’s a recap of the most important changes:
First, the reinstatement of the full Social Security payroll tax will affect everybody with earned (wage) income. The payroll tax had been cut two full percentage points, from 6.2% to 4.2% the past two years – but that tax holiday is now over. This tax is paid on the first $113,700 of income.
Second, if your household makes less than $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers), your taxes are not going up.
Graph – Average Federal Tax Rate by Cash Income Percentile
Those of you who make more than those thresholds will see your top income-tax rate rise from 35% to 39.6%.
Third, for investors, the big change is the taxation on capital gains and dividends…
Again, if you make less than $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers), there will be no hike in your capital gains and dividends taxes. However, if your income exceeds those thresholds, the tax on capital gains and dividends will rise from 15% to 20%.
It’s a mixed bag of good and bad.
On the one hand, everyone’s going to feel the impact of Social Security taxes going back up, and if you fall into the higher-income group, your income taxes will go up.
The definition of the higher-income group, thankfully, is also raised, from $200,000 per individual and $250,000 for a family to $400,000 and $450,000, respectively.
The bad news is that neither Congress nor the president dealt with the endgame…
And as a result, Washington’s out-of-control spending and our national debt will continue to balloon. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that our deficit will actually rise by an additional $3.9 trillion over the next decade because of the fiscal-cliff legislation. And since the total tax increases are about 1.5% of GDP, that is going to be a big drag on the economy in the first year as we adjust, making overall growth much slower in an already slow Muddle Through Economy World. But it gets worse from a philosophical point of view.
Once again Congress included all sorts of corporate pork worth billions of dollars for everything from NASCAR racetracks to Puerto Rican rum and other special-interest provisions.
LA Times Headline
According to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, the cost of these additional tax breaks will cost US taxpayers more than $63 billion just in 2013 alone. Here are the main pork beneficiaries:
Pork Barrel #1: Tax Breaks for Offshore Loans. Section 322 of the bill provides an “Extension of the Active Financing Exception to Subpart F.” “Active financing” is a fancy phrase that allows manufacturers and banks to defer taxes when they engage in special types of financial transactions. In short, it rewards firms to loan money to foreigners instead of American companies.
For example, the active-financing exception permits big banks like Morgan Stanley to avoid the 35% corporate tax rate on interest income from money lent overseas. Multinational companies with financing arms, such as Ford and General Electric, will benefit from this exception to lower their tax bills.
The exception is worth a mountain of money to a handful of corporations. It even has its own lobbying coalition – the Active Finance Working Group – which serves as a prime example of how important the 20 or so companies that benefit from the exception consider it.
Pork Barrel #2: Tax Breaks for Offshore Jobs. The fiscal-cliff deal gives huge tax breaks to American companies that sell their products through overseas affiliates.
Called a “pass-through” exemption, this loophole allows American companies to set up a new corporation in a tax haven, like the Cayman Islands, and to sell that new offshore company its valuable patents owned by the US parent company.
The royalties on overseas licensing of that patent that are earned would then be subject to no taxes.
Pork Barrel #3: Luxury Condos for Wall Street. Section 328 of the bill extends tax-exempt financing for the “Liberty Zone,” the area around the former World Trade Center, for another year. This tax break is supposed to help fund reconstruction after 9/11, but some have found that the bonds have mostly helped finance new luxury apartments, not to mention the construction of Goldman Sachs’ new headquarters.
Pork Barrel #4: Boxcars of Free Railroad Money. Section 306 of the fiscal-cliff bill gives a juicy tax credit to railroad companies to provide maintenance on their own lines. This credit costs about $165 million per year and will survive another year.
Pork Barrel #5: Thank you, Hollywood. The fiscal-cliff bill renews “special expensing rules for certain film and television” productions.
Movies and television studios can deduct up to $15 million of their costs if more than three-fourths of a project’s production takes place in the United States. The incentive will cost an estimated $266 million in 2013, and provide the industry overall , with $535 million .
Pork Barrel #6: Tax Breaks for Hedge funds and Private Equity. The mainstream media characterized Mitt Romney as an evil, job-killing private-equity pirate and loudly criticized the favorable tax treatment -called “carried interest” – that he enjoyed on his Bain Capital profits.
The bottom line is that hedge fund and private-equity moguls will continue to be taxed relatively lightly after the new fiscal cliff legislation.
The profits from investing other people’s money – AKA carried interest – will continue to be taxed as long-term capital gains for hedge fund and private-equity managers.
Pork Barrel #7: The Answer, My Friend, Is Blowing in the Wind. It is no secret that the Obama White House is very friendly toward the green-energy industry, so it should not surprise you to learn that there is a big tax credit for the wind power industry. The fiscal-cliff deal gives wind producers a 2.2-cent tax credit for every kilowatt-hour they generate in their first 10 years of operation. In broad terms, this credit is worth about $1 million for every large wind turbine.
Click on link to read in full .
Can someone remind me why once again , that our federal legislators , feel it , necessary to bail out the Hollywood film industry to the tune of $535 million , in a field , where in 2012 , they had record box office receipts of almost $11 billion ? Congress’ reasoning behind this asinine measure , it will create thousands of jobs , while assisting blossoming states with ambitious film industry initiatives to survive . That’s all we need , from a fucking goddamn clueless legislative branch of government that on a good day , had they pot to piss in , and a window to throw it out of , they would still find a way of spilling that residue all over themselves , and rightfully so , considering the ongoing incompetence of the US Congress and the present administration .
Away from the world of entertainment , MLB and IBAF are still trying to sell the public on the concept of their rather inane international team competition , the World Baseball Classic . The highlight of which , so far , has been the all-out brawl that took place between the players from Canada and Mexico , in a game that was far more entertaining and thrilling , with melee we evidenced , than the level of play, itself . Apart from being a monstrously boring concept , these games , especially those staged in North America , have been sparsely attended and poorly watched from an audience standpoint , even with ESPN and ESPN Deportes , throwing their full weight behind this quadrennial event . Last held , in 2009 , with the inaugural event being staged in 2006, it would appear that Bud Selig and his compatriot from IBAF , the game’s international governing body , Ricardo Fraccari , are still trying to work out the kinks in a poorly conceived concept , which it now appears , that even a number of the participating managers are unclear, as to the current rules for the event . Doubt, my word? Simply, listen to the explanation offered by Mexico’s manager Rick Ventura , as to the disposition of his players and why the brawl that took place between Canada and Mexico , that resulted in his country’s 10-3 loss to the Canadians.
Fraccari , and Selig have been at odds , as to how best get the game of baseball reinstated back into the Summer Olympics . At a time, when IOC President , Jacques Rogge, is looking to make the world’s biggest sporting spectacle more appealing to an ever more discerning and younger crowd , the two executives of baseball , on the domestic front here in the US and his counterpart on the international , simply just don’t get the fact, that they both have to be on the same page , concerning how the game is governed and marketed to a broad-based international market. Furthermore , Bud Selig has alienated the MLB hierarchy from the game’s international governing body , with his original and often asinine stance that he could do nothing about the rampant era of steroids within the game of baseball. Really? Bud Selig’s backbone, still carries a yellow streak, while he’s paid an estimated $25 million a year to preside over a game that he has single-handedly ruined over the past decade with his idiocy and asinine mandates ! Considering, the makeup of the MLB hierarchy , festooned with a bunch of over aged individuals, whose contributions to the game, could very well be written on the back of a first class , for all of their worth ! Now, at a time when baseball and softball , both seek to be reinstated to the Summer Games , they still can find no common ground , wherein , they will be able to convince the IOC Executive Committee that the game still has a place within that particular quadrennial showcase . With Rogge emphasizing and reiterating the fact that until baseball and specifically MLB adopts a more stringent drug policy , it remains highly unlikely that the game will be reinstated to the Olympic Summer fare .
With the formal announcement of his retirement , New York Yankees’ relief pitcher, Mariano Rivera , will end his career with the only franchise he has ever played for , after a two-decade long career. A five-time World Series’ champion , Rivera and Derek Jeter , are the only holdovers from a team that was one of the most ball clubs in baseball history . This is particularly true of the franchise , that dominated the game, from the mid-nineties, through until the early part of this last decade . Now, at a time, when questions arise about the age and health of several players on the current roster . It has to be said, that the timing of Mariano Rivera’s announcement should not really come as a surprise to anyone. The real issue however , will be, what could happen, should the game’s greatest closer break down from a recurrence from his most recent injure ?
I liken the present New York Yankees’ organization , as a franchise in transition , out with the old , and in with the new ! Unfortunately , for many of the players now being entrusted to lead the ball-club in the next stage of what has been an already historic chapters of achievements, titular accolades , professionally and economically . It would appear that a number of those players are simply not up to the task, and upon the departure of Derek Jeter , you would hard pressed to suggest who among the current roster , is fitting to assume the leadership role of this team . Suffice, to say , an ailing Alex Rodriguez , long despised by the vast majority of fans remains, more concerned with an attempt to reignite a tarnished image , rather than showing , that he is capable of leading a team by example . Whereas, Rivera has been able to carry himself with a great deal of class and integrity , the opposite can be said of the Yankees’ third baseman , who remains a pariah within baseball’s firmament after his lackluster act of contrition , concerning his use of steroids . An act of considerable deceit, that he continued to perpetrate upon the public , until his admission of guilt in 2010.
Rodriguez will be lost to the team, for the greater part of 2013 , as he undergoes surgery and the recuperation process of rehab , for what is stated as being an ailing right hip. Isn’t it amazing, what steroids can do, to detract from a player’s abilities ? Yet, he we are, with anal retentive fans of the game , suggesting , steroids simply do no harm when abused ! What the fuck, is that all about ?
Yeah baby ! The NBA is heating up, alright , and about the only thing that remains to now be answered , is which team in the Eastern Conference is likely to be the Miami Heat’s whipping post and “ bitch “ in the Eastern Conference Finals ? Can anyone, make a case for teams such as the New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets , as being “ worthy adversaries “ for the South Beach based NBA franchise ? The Heat are now rolling off victories , faster than it takes Congress to make a decision on a worthwhile piece of legislation . Truth, be known , that branch of the government , couldn’t find its own rear end, with the aid of a flashlight, were they all locked in a darkened room !
Yeah baby ! The NBA is heating up alright , and about the only thing that remains to now be answered , is which team in the Eastern Conference is likely to be the Miami Heat’s whipping post and “ bitch “ in the Eastern Conference Finals ? Can anyone, make a case for teams such as the New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets , as being “ worthy adversaries “ for the South Beach based NBA franchise ? The Heat are now rolling off victories , faster than it takes Congress to make a decision on a worthwhile piece of legislation . Truth, be known , that branch of the government , couldn’t find its own rear end, with the aid of a flashlight, were they all locked in a darkened room !
Would it now be remiss to suggest that this is now a “ one horse race “ within the conference and that the Miami Heat’s lead is now insurmountable ? That’s a big word __ insurmountable ! For Knicks’ and Nets’ fans, I will allow you some time, to find a Thesaurus or Webster’s Dictionary to look up the meaning of the word ! Got it? Good !
Boxer , Bernard Hopkins , once again found a way of redefining his career within the annals of the sport . On Saturday night, against the highly favored , younger and unbeaten , IBF light-heavyweight title holder , Tavoris Cloud . The elder statesman of the sport , at the age of forty-eight , turned back time and summarily taught the thirty-one year old, Cloud , a supreme boxing lesson . To say, that Cloud was demoralized, after suffering the first professional defeat of his career would be an understatement. I believe , it was one more of shock, as he allowed Hopkins to dictate the pace of the fight, while subjecting the title holder, was subjected to so much punishment in a thoroughly enlightening display of modern-day pugilism . These are the sort of ring heroics , that the sport now needs , and not the asinine antics of Floyd Mayweather , or the purported prowess of the Klitschko brothers , who currently dominate what is turning about to be a heavyweight division that “ is so devoid class and talent “ , that you are simply yearning for George Foreman , to come back out of retirement and clean up the “ goddamn division “ ! As to the claims of renowned boxing analyst Bert Sugar , that boxing still remains relevant . My suggestion to Sugar , would be to take a look at the boxing scene overall , then name the list of undisputed champions that currently reign supreme within the sport ? It is at times like this , I have to ask the question who in hell, just happens to be paying these assholes to proffer up anything in print , much less oratory in nature ?
Hopkins’ unanimous twelve round decision , makes him the oldest fighter to have held a world title , and a record he originally held, when he defeated , Canada’s , Jean Pascal , a few years ago . Personally , I would like to think that this was Bernard Hopkins’ last professional fight in the ring ! He has a burgeoning career as an executive, within Oscar de La Hoya’s , Golden Boy Promotions Inc , as the developer for East Coast talent , signing and providing the trainers for young aspiring fighters on the Eastern seaboard. The fact, that Hopkins is still fighting, as he approaches his fifth decade is astonishing , when one considers the brutally of the sport and that he feels there are still more challenges left for him within boxing . Kudos to Bernard Hopkins , on another excellent achievement , but at the same time , I preface my those congratulations , by asking the boxer , to now , simply , “call it quits “ !
Say it isn’t so ? The NFL teams are now seeking to divest themselves of players, they believe to be superfluous to their needs . Cap figure and financial frugality coming from the league , while they continue to hold municipalities where they are domiciled , hostage ? Yeah, please ! the Atlanta Falcons will be building a new stadium , for which the city of Atlanta will be putting up $200 million of the projected $1.15 billion cost for the new venue. The remaining $915 million will come from team owner , Arthur Blank and private financing being provided by several established financial institutions .
Remarkably , in recent years , this might be the first time wherein , a municipality , county or state governmental agency is not being asked to subsidize such a venture, as the NFL does have provisions to provide their franchises with such assistance, as and when needed . Yet, with the naiveté being shown by local politicians , at a time when, they have their own budgetary woes to deal with . It would appear that, they are willing become subservient to the whims and antics of the professional sports’ franchise owners . And the payback in all of this , an additional taxable source and revenues , while either owning that venue outright , as in the case recently , the city of Sacramento spent countless millions, refurbishing in part Sleep Train Arena , home to the NBA’s Sacramento Kings . With the impending relocation of the franchise, at the end of this season , after the sale of the Kings , to Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer and , venture capitalist Chris Hansen . I have to ask , in all of the dealings that Mayor Kevin Johnson , had with the King’ ownership , led by the Maloof family . What the hell was he thinking , when it became more routinely clear , while he was supposedly negotiating with Joe and Gavin Maloof in goodwill . How is it , with the Maloof’s repeated lies , he was unable to figure out , that he and the city’s residents were being duped and taken for a ride ? The entire city of Sacramento , just got way dumber, and that is not solely , because of their state legislators housed in state capitol ! Got it ? Good ! Fans will continue to show their absolute gullibility and stupidity , bitching and whining about their federal taxes , yet , they damn well sure as hell , don’t complain when they are being repeatedly screwed at the municipal , county or state level ? Why, is that?
Picture and slideshow gallery below .
What thoughts if any , do have concerning any of the salient points within this article ? And of the weekend’s sporting events , were there any , which offered you some form of drama and entertainment ? Chime on in with a comment as you see fit .
Picture and slideshow details below .
(1) Actor , director , Ben Affleck is seen here with cast members from his hit movie , political thriller ” Argo” . Also in picture , are two of the movie’s producing partners Grant Heslov , to Affleck’s immediate left and actor, George Clooney . Courtesy of MPAA & Oscars.com @ copyrighted material …. all rights reserved .
(2) Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield star in Columbia Pictures’ “The Amazing Spider-Man.” The hit movie collected $262 million at the domestic box office and a further $490 million worldwide , ensuring a sequel from Sony Tri-Star / Columbia Pictures Inc. @ Copyright Sony Entertainment / Columbia Pictures Inc all rights reserved …
(3) Players and coaches from Mexico and Canada come together in an on field altercation during the World Baseball Classic First Round Group D game at Chase Field on March 9, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. Getty Images North America / Christian Petersen ….
(4) Yankees front office, coaches and teammates listen as New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera , far right, who holds baseball’s all-time saves record , announces his plans to retire at the end of the 2013 season during a news conference at Steinbrenner Field , Saturday, March 9, 2013 in Tampa, Fla. AP Photo/Kathy Willens …
(5) Miami Heat’s LeBron James (6) dunks against the Indiana Pacers during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Miami, Sunday, March 10, 2013. AP Photo/Alan Diaz …
(6)Bernard Hopkins, right, avoids a punch by Tavoris Cloud, left, during the second round of an IBF Light Heavyweight championship boxing match at the Barclays Center Saturday, March 9, 2013, in New York. Hopkins won by unanimous decision . AP Photo/Frank Franklin II …..
(7) Bernard Hopkins,right, hits Tavoris Cloud, left, during the fifth round of an IBF Light Heavyweight championship boxing match against Tavoris Cloud at the Barclays Center Saturday, March 9, 2013, in New York. Frank Franklin II/ Associated Press …
Hot chic pic of the day , Tricia Helfer and Grace Park .