I suppose you’ve seen the e-mail about the new canine breeds (breed a Collie with a Lhasa Apso and you get a Collapso, a dog that folds up for easy transport). If not, the only one you need be aware of, at least for now, is the Newfoundland crossed with a Basset Hound. That’s right: a Newfound Asset Hound. (Come December, you might check out the Pointer crossbred with an English Setter to produce a Poinsetter, the traditional Christmas pet.)

Ralph Sierra: ‘I don’t understand your July 11 column [about the guy with the $150,000 capital loss]. On the one hand, you say he can, ‘offset $3,000 of his income each year for the next 50 years,’ but on the other you say, ‘the first $140,000 or so of gains, should he happen to realize any, will be ‘tax-free.’ I’d heard of the former provision, but not the latter.’

☞ Let’s say you have $150K loss in 2001, only $3,000 of which you can ‘use.’ You carry forward the rest to 2002. Now let’s say that in 2002 you sell something for a $100,000 gain. Do you pay tax on that gain? No! Because you still have a $147,000 loss to offset it. In that sense, the $100,000 gain is tax-free. So in 2002 you use up $100,000 of the big tax loss carryforward, plus another $3,000 to lower your taxable income . . . and you would still have a $44,000 loss to carry forward to 2003.

Thanks to Paul Lerman for this link to a Philadelphia Inquirer editorial concerning my college classmate Elliot Abrams’ appointment at the National Security Council. The essence of it: ‘It is hard to imagine someone less suited to be the council’s senior director for democracy, human rights and international operations. Manuel Noriega? Don King? The hiring of Mr. Abrams – who makes Jesse Helms seem like a milquetoast – mocks the President’s saccharine pledge of civility.’

And thanks to several of you for this affecting piece from a Minnesota Mom in Sunday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune (‘Does Jake ring a bell? Not for the Salvation Army anymore’). It follows in the wake of the Bush administration’s quiet deal to support job discrimination at the Salvation Army in return for $110,000 a month in lobbying efforts – a deal quickly backed off of once it came to light.


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