by John Walters

Almost forgot: The Medium Happy Knockout Designated Survivor Pool begins tomorrow but you’ll probably help everyone’s cause if you submit your team TODAY. In this Comments section.

Rules: Submit your FULL NAME in the comments. No nicknames, no first names only. Your FULL NAME (e.g. Wayne Tracker).

Then, pick a team that you think will win on Thursday. Remember, you can only use each team once so you’ve gotta balance wanting to win early versus possibly eliminating your choices when we get down to the Elite Eight, etc. 

No cost to enter. Grand prize: $100. It’s not too soon to do it now. 

p.s. I’m only playing for fun (I can’t win money) and my pick for Day 1 is West Virginia.

Starting Five

1. Tax-y Squad

Why the 2005 tax returns only? Why to David Cay Johnston? Who leaked them to him?  And does Rachel Maddow deserve the criticism she’s receiving this morning for the slow reveal?

To answer the last question first, No. For those of us who watch her frequently, we know she loves to provide context. Also, maybe she figured she could use that A block to educate first-time viewers about the Russian oligarch connection that she has spoken about before. Also, it was obvious there was not a lot of there there, and Maddow knew it—yet she still had a scoop, of sorts, so there must have been a lot of pressure to promote it.

Which leads me to believe, if I had to guess, that team Trump leaked these PARTIAL 2005 tax returns themselves. Brilliant move. Notice how there hasn’t been a single Trump tweet about it? Yes, he paid about $38 million in taxes on $153 million in income.

The man who leaked the tax docs?

The man who leaked the tax docs?

One thing I’ve always wondered about federal income tax brackets (and this may surprise you): Why do the wealthy not only pay far more in taxes in actual money and also a far higher percentage? If we all paid a flat rate a wealthy person would still pay far more than you or I (unless you read this blog and earn more than $467,000 per year, in which case, DUDE, you can contribute to the Medium Happy poor writers’ fund). But on top of paying more if, say, we all paid 10%, someone earning more than $467 K was, last year, paying nearly 40% of his income to Uncle Sam.


I can see why that would make someone a little salty. Don’t have the answers, but it seems we should severely simplify taxes and I’d lower tax rates for the wealthy while also creating at least one or three more brackets for those who earn $500K and above. It seems weird that we have the same tax rate—39.6%—for someone who earns $470K as we do someone who earns $150 million.

2. Meanwhile Back at The Wiretapping Investigation

The only Tapper truly bugging the president....

The only Tapper truly bugging the president….

You know what the Trump tax return “dump” (more like a small plop) did? It took away the focus from the fact that one day earlier Salty Spice told the press corps that his boss didn’t exactly mean “wiretapping” when he tweeted that Obama had wiretapped him.


“Can you say affirmatively that whenever the president says something, we can trust it to be real?” Peter Alexander of NBC News asked Spicer at the daily press briefing on Monday.

“If he’s not joking, of course,” Spicer replied with a chuckle.

Also on Monday, the White House gave the House Intelligence Committee a “dog ate my homework” excuse as to why it couldn’t produce evidence and asked for more time, which the HIC gave it. “We’re taking it up a notch!”

Yes, they have two solariums.

3. The Max Factor

This may be the first SNL skit of the Trump era that the White House actually liked. Loved the chihuahua line: “If Poquito is here legally, he has nothing to fear. We are a nation of laws.” Also, news out that “Weekend Update” will have a four-episode run as a half-hour stand-alone primetime show this summer. Michael Che and Colin Jost are a solid team, but they’ll want Kate McKinnon and Pete Davidson on as frequent correspondents.

4. Edward Cheserek: The GOAT

How insanely gifted is Edward Cheserek? The Oregon senior won two of the three individual events he entered last weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships (the 5,000 and the 3,000) and it almost feels like a letdown. Cheserek, who was born in Kenya and was raised in Newark, finished second in the mile.

He now owns 15 individual NCAA titles and two more in the relay. No college athlete has ever amassed more individual championships and only swimmer Jenny Thompson, courtesy of 10 relay events, owns more overall. If you want to call the 5’6″ middle-distance runner the greatest NCAA track athlete of all time, go right ahead.

Cheserek lost in the mile to New Mexico RS freshman Josh Kerr, a native of Scotland, by the way.

5. Meeting Across The River

Bruce bought this car off a kid working at a Carvel stand for $6,000. No lie.

Bruce bought this car off a kid working at a Carvel stand for $6,000. No lie.

Currently reading Bruce Springsteen‘s memoir, and as a fellow son of Monmouth County (My Hometown) whose parents moved west in their early forties (“We gotta get out while we’re young…”), I’m truly enjoying it.

Reading the news that Bruce sold his Rumson home, which I’ve driven past a few times, for $3.2 million earlier this week got me to thinking about a moment in the book when he had far less liquid and/or material assets. This, I believe, is 1971 or ’72. His manager at the time, Mike Appel, has landed Bruce a solo audition at CBS Records in midtown Manhattan. The time is non-negotiable so Bruce has to get there the next day (“Word is out this is our last chance….”).

So Bruce, living in Atlantic Highlands, I think, at the time, borrows a buddy’s car (he doesn’t own one and barely drives). He’s got barely enough money for tolls and when he arrives at the Lincoln Tunnel, to pay the $1 toll, he hands the lady 100 pennies. She says she can’t take that. He says it’s all he has. She does not lift the gate, but instead counts the pennies.

At last she tells Bruce that he’s one penny short as she hands him a Canadian penny he had given her. So, as cars honk their horns, Bruce opens up the doors to his borrowed cars and scrounges under floor mats and seats in search of one last cent. Eventually, he found one and handed it to her.

Then he drove into Manhattan, nailed the audition, and the rest is history.

Music 101

Ah Leah!

The coolest thing about Donnie Iris is that he knows he’s not cool. But man do the guitars shred on this 1980 hit that reached No. 29 on the charts. This is a song that I bet Van Halen heard and wished they had written. Iris would have one more hit after this and that was really it for him, but there are junior high kids in garages all over North America who are more than grateful that this Pennsylvania native wrote this one. My friends and I saw him play at a Cleveland rib festival on Memorial Day weekend 1997 (?) and he rocked.

Remote Patrol

Annie Get Your Gun

TCM 8 p.m.

A good 1950 musical (and an even better Squeeze song) starring Betty Hutton, who replaced Judy Garland, who was fired a month into shooting. Songs by Irving Berlin, including “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (like no business I know). What do you want from me? I don’t feel comfortable pushing play-in games….

Also, I gotta apologize. TMC aired a terrific 1975 detective noir film last night, Night Moves, starring Gene Hackman, James Woods, lovelies Jennifer Warren and Susan Clark (the mom on Webster and wife of Alex Karras) and no kidding, a 16 year-old Melanie Griffith who shows a criminal amount of skin (“There oughta be a law” “There is”). It’s the kind of film that could’ve been made in the mid-Seventies but you’d never see today. If you ever get a chance to see it, MH recommends. Think The Rockford Files meets Against All Odds. It’s very Hackman-y.


14 thoughts on “IT’S ALL HAPPENING!

  1. I watched ‘This Is Us’ so missed most of Rachel’s show but clicked over during the last 2 minutes. At 1st, I was THRILLED that at least one of The Sociopath’s tax returns had FINALLY been unearthed but then when I saw that he had actual income & actually had to pay some taxes, I immediately believed it was “leaked” by him or his toadies. Where are all the other pages detailing his income & “losses”? This way he gets to crow that he paid millions (NOT the “hundreds of millions” he bragged ad nauseum about during the campaign) in taxes AND squawk about the evil media out to get him, how they somehow “stole” his precious tax return. It should BE FEDERALLY MANDATED THAT EVERY PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE RELEASE AT LEAST THE PAST 15 YEARS TAX RETURNS!

    Most people who whine for a “flat tax” are RICH. Why? Because they want to KEEP all their tax cuts too & thus, would pay even far less. Trump was able to write off OVER $100 MILLION in “losses” on that 2005 return. WHY is that? For you & me & everyone else NOT in the 1%, you can only declare $3000 in losses (each year) beyond your gains or you have to move it forward into future years. Which Trump apparently does MOST years & is why it is conjectured that he has RARELY paid a dime in income tax for the past 4 decades.

    The reasons Trump refuses to release his tax data are numerous – (1) doesn’t want to confirm how he’s gamed the system for 40 years & paid almost NO income tax, (2) doesn’t want to reveal he is FAR from the billionaire he pretends to be, & (3) they would reveal all his RUSSIAN business ties. That the GOP neo-Nazis in Congress ruled he didn’t have to release this info just confirmed their collusion.

    I would cap the mortgage deduction to interest paid on a $1 million loan. While that still sounds HUGE to most of us, real estate is so cost-varied around the country & to have a lower cap would mean that exceptionally pricey areas couldn’t even deduct for an AVERAGE property.

    Of course, then there’s all those people who get paid in TIPS (or just cash, period) & thus have no PAPER TRAIL for their actual “pay” & so largely UNDERSTATE their income on their tax forms & you know, CHEAT THE GOVERNMENT. We need to really crack down on THAT tax “loophole”. You know, committed by the likes of doormen, babysitters, strippers, hookers ,& um, WAITERS. 🙂

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