Why Does The U.S. Government Consider The National Football League A Charitable Organization?

February 26, 2014

While reading the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch sports pages the other day, I noticed that National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell received more than forty-four million dollars in compensation last year.  With nearly ten billion dollars in annual revenue, my first thought was how is it possible that the NFL can assert itself a non-profit financial entity for tax purposes, thus avoiding paying its fair share of income taxes?  The NFL is not the only sports league to declare itself tax-exempt, as Major League Baseball and the NCAA have as well.  More than likely, these three are not the only leagues to do so; they are the three of which I am aware.

Why is it that nearly seventy percent of U.S. corporations are regarded as non-profits?  According to the latest available Internal Revenue Service statistics, the percentage of non-profits has grown from twenty-four percent in 1986 to sixty-nine percent by 2008.  Why the sudden surge in the number of corporations that consider themselves not-for-profit?  This percentage is far higher when you add in sole proprietors and partnerships.

As the uproar over the alleged wrongdoings by the IRS, regarding the targeting of Republican political action committees’ tax-exempt status, has died down and with it any proven unlawful activity uncovered, Congress now needs to investigate why it was, in 1959 that the IRS changed the wording of the actual law regarding the qualifications for tax-exemption status.  I am not an attorney, nor a tax expert (who is?); however, the law as written by Congress in Section 501(C) of the tax code requires any entity not organized for profit, applying for tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization to be operated “exclusively” for the promotion of social welfare.

As a former audit supervisor with the Auditor of State of Ohio, I understand how the perception of improprieties over the IRS choosing to determine the validity of the applications (isn’t that their job?) of far more Republican PACs than Democratic groups because, judging solely by the number of commercials these PACs air during elections, far more Republican PACs have been created since Barack Obama was first elected president than Democratic PACs.  As an auditor, one cannot look at every single revenue source nor every expenditure, you must rely on materiality.  If far more Republican PACs are filing for tax-exempt status than Democratic PACs, it only makes sense that many more Republican PACs will be audited.

The real crime that comes to light over this alleged transgression though, is why, in 1959 did the IRS change its interpretation of the 501(C) code, when they changed the wording of “exclusively” to “primarily” regarding an organization’s civic duty as a promoter of social welfare.  What exactly is the kind of social welfare being promoted “primarily,” let alone “exclusively” by the National Football League and a great many other tax evaders?

My fellow Buckeye, John Kaskinen, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, needs to be called before Congress and be informed that his agency will immediately change the wording of the code to properly reflect the actual wording of law regarding 501(C) tax-exempt status.  I also highly recommend Congress appropriate enough funds to the IRS so that it can examine the tax status of every organization that is currently avoiding its fair share of income tax.

How can an organization that pays it executive officer nearly forty-five million dollars, all the while purportedly being “primarily” in the business of providing social welfare, let alone “exclusively?”  This exemption is a travesty to the American taxpayer!

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #5290B, 5287B, 5289C, 5290D & 5288C

February 22, 2014

Bleeding Hearts, whose scientific name is Lamprocapnos Spectabilis, are a flowering perennial in the Poppy family.  Other common names are Dutchman’s Breeches, Lyre Flower and Lady-In-A-Bath as some people think the flower looks like a pair of pants, while others believe it looks like a woman taking a bath when looking at the flower upside down.  Besides being very unique looking, this plant is also deer-resistant, which is a great benefit to suburban and rural gardeners.

With its one-inch, heart-shaped, pink and white flowers, this plant certainly does remind you of the traditionally accepted shape of the human heart.  Though the heart is most often pink, they have been cultivated to bloom either red (my favorite) or all white.  With a small drop of “blood” hanging down below the heart, the plant does live up to its name.  Growing up to a height of thirty-six inches, with its spread just as wide, Bleeding Hearts grow best under partial to full shade.  It likes a well-drained, slightly acidic soil with plenty of humus.

All parts of the plant are poisonous and may cause skin irritation when touched.  Depending on the variety of plant, the foliage can be either lobed or fern-like, yellow or green.  After the plant blooms from April to June, the foliage dies off during the summer.  In a cool, moist climate, Bleeding Hearts will bloom in a full sun, and may re-bloom sporadically throughout the summer, but loves the shade in warmer and drier climates.  These plants should be divided every three or four years.  Divide them early in spring, before the plant begins blooming.

Native to Siberia, Northern China, Korea and Japan, the plant made its way to Russia by German botanist J. G. Gmelin in 1740.  Bleeding Hearts were introduced into Great Britain in 1847 by Scottish botanist Robert Fortune.  The plant eventually made its way to America where they gained popularity as a Valentine’s Day flower because of its heart-shaped blooms.  However, there are several varieties native to North America.  Fringed-Leaf Bleeding Hearts are native to northeastern America, while Western Fringed-Leaf Bleeding Hearts are native to the Pacific northwest.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #5282C, 5283E, 5283C, 191C, 183G, 5275C, 183E & 183C

February 15, 2014

In the midst of a somewhat severe winter, with lots of snow and below normal temperatures, I was recently asked to post some spring flowers, which in my neck of planet Earth means Tulips, Crocus, Irises, Lilies Of The Valley, Hyacinths and Daffodils.  Searching though ten thousand photos of flowers that I have on my computer, I found only a few of those flowers, however none of which stood out as being a great photo, something deemed worthy of posting.  I ended up searching though another couple thousand 4×6 prints of flowers, looking for something decent, before settling on what appears before you.

These eight photographs, in all actuality only five originals, the other three merely cropped, are far from being some of my best work.  They are posted only to fulfill a request from a special, life long friend.  And who am I to turn down a woman’s request.  I was the best man when she married into my family many years ago, and in a scenario right out of a Hollywood comedy, got into an altercation with her father during the reception.  No actual punches were thrown, however, he did have both his hands around my throat at one point.  If not for the request, I would never post these photos.  That being said, I hope you take the time to not only view them, but to either check out my archives or come back to my blog page (I post photos every Saturday night, and thanks to my OCD, it’s every Saturday night at 7:00 p.m. eastern time) to check out some of my better photos.

I did not do a really thorough search of all my 4×6 prints, because, if any of those were any good, they would already be scanned onto my computer.  These photos were those that never made the initial cut, for some reason (such as slightly out of focus, too dark, too light or just not very good) from a roll of developed film down to the file of flower photographs.  I know I have one somewhat decent photo of a Tulip; however, could not find it during my limited search.  I did, however, find maybe forty or fifty photos that with a little bit of tweaking, might turn into something remarkable, several of which already have.

As these spring flowers are the first to spout, there usually isn’t a full background in which to shoot the photo, often only the bare ground.  It’s also common for these flowers to be spouting up through snow.  I find it hard to photograph some of these, such as Irises and Tulips.  There is something about their shape that I have yet to figure out how best to photograph them.  Lilies Of The Valley are also difficult because they grow not far from the ground.  The biggest problem I have is not having enough of these flowers in one location to fill a picture frame.

For whatever reason, I do not have any photographs of these flowers that I would consider decent, let alone very good.  However, that is all about to change as spring is only a little more than a month away.  I bought my first new camera in thirty-three years, finally going digital, this past June, too late in the year for most spring flowers, however I shot almost fifteen thousand photos, nearly every one a flower, in just four months time last summer and fall.  With an entire eight month growing season, I should be able to up that number a little, maybe hit an even twenty-five thousand photographs!

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

If I Were The Editor Of Guitar Player Magazine…

February 10, 2014

After reading the article 50 BADASS BLUES SOLOS YOU MUST HEAR in this month’s Guitar Player magazine, and noting that they left out several incredible blues guitarists, I just had to write their new write in feature, If I Were The Editor Of Guitar Player Magazine… to correct this huge oversight.  The only requirement is that letters be limited to seventy-five to hundred words, which necessitated quite a bit of editing on my part to keep it short and to the point.

The following is my reply.

February 7, 2014

Guitar Player
C/o If I Were Editor Of Guitar Player…
2800 Campus Drive
San Mateo, California  94403

Dear Player,

If I were the editor of Guitar Player magazine, I would be kicking myself for excluding so many great blues guitarists from last month’s feature article 50 BADASS BLUES SOLOS YOU MUST HEAR!  Limiting such a list to only fifty blues solos would be a daunting task, and for the most part, I did agree with the majority of the guitarists featured; however, there were a few names that I did not recognize, such as Amos Garrett, Greg Koch, Wilson T. King and Oz Noy.  There were a couple of names I know but would have left off the list, one being John Meyer.

These cats might very well be great pickers, however to include them at the expense of Chris Duarte, Tinsley Ellis, Walter Trout, Jimmy Thackery and Ronnie Earl was a huge oversight on any magazine’s part!

Steven H. Spring

Sunset Over Plattsburg Road #53B, 54B, 54D, 58C & 56B

February 8, 2014

These five photographs were shot many years ago at my old farmhouse.  Needless to say, they were shot with film.  The 4×6 prints were then scanned onto my computer, where there was some adjusting made of both the colors and brightness.

As always, because I am color-blind, if the color saturation of the photographs are too great, or if the mats do not match the photo or each other, please let me know via a comment.

Steven H. Spring

Those Poor Little Rich Folk

February 3, 2014

Sitting down tonight to read the op-ed pages while eating supper, two headlines in the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch caught my eye; “Feds shouldn’t ding companies for making a profit” by Linda Chavez and “Punishing the rich does nothing to help the poor” by Robert J. Samuelson.

Living lavishly on my $721 a month in SSI disability benefits, I often forget just how bad off the uber rich and Big Business have it.  With individual income tax rates hovering around fifty to seventy-five year lows and corporations relocating to off shore PO boxes to avoid paying any, let alone their fair share of taxes, I feel so bad for America’s ruling elite.

Maybe we could get a few rock, rap and pop stars together, many of whom know first hand the true horrors of being wealthy, to put together some sort of charity benefit concert, something along the line of The Concert For Bangladesh, to raise money for America’s truly destitute.

It must be pure Hell when the electric bill comes due for one’s mansion!

Steven H. Spring

Barns #153D, 48G, 39C, 149C, 238C & 271J

February 1, 2014

Majestic, wooden barns, once so prominent throughout the rural American landscape, are rapidly becoming, seemingly like so many other things of grandeur in Americana, a thing of the past.  In their place, are nondescript aluminum pole barns.  I have yet to see one of these pole barns where I had the thought that the view was picturesque worthy of me taking the time to photograph it.  The old saying that they don’t build things like they used to certainly holds true in this case.

These photographs were shot many years ago, while taking photography courses at The Ohio State University.  Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, the thought of attending OSU did not cross my mind as I thought it just too large an institution of learning.  After serving four years in the U.S. Navy in order to receive the benefits of the G.I. Bill, I eventually decided to attend Ohio State because of its photography department.  However, after taking several black & white courses, I decided to switch majors to accounting because the photography courses all seemed to be held in the afternoon and as a married man with two precious babies to support, I was working full-time from 3 until at least 11 p.m. and thought it the prudent thing to do.

One comment I have remember my instructors always telling me was that I did not print my enlargements dark enough.  I do not know if being color-blind has any bearing on my ability to see things in black & white, but hopefully, these photographs do not look too terrible.

Steven H. Spring