Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wrapping Up 2008

2008 draws to close as Americans look forward with excitement or fear to a new president and I look forward to hopefully better health with ear, nose and throat illnesses at each end of December. Thanks once again to those who read Tick Marks regularly and fellow bloggers who link to this blog. Thanks to those who sent sympathies regarding my wife's sister; Karen was a tender heart who will be missed. Best wishes to all and may God bless you in 2009!

"Where Da Tax Bailout Dollars Go?"

Apparently, in the rush to pass the bailout legislation, Congress (and Secretary Paulson and the SEC) failed to put meaningful disclosure requirements and a variety of banks contacted by the Associated Press either did not know, would not tell or would only reveal under anonymity what was done with monies provided them under the bailout legislation. A sample of responses: "We've lent some; we haven't lent the rest; we're not giving an accounting" (JP Morgan Chase); we're not providing dollar-in, dollar-out tracking" (SunTrust); "bailout money doesn't have its own bucket" (BB&T) and "we decline to comment on this without anonymity" (Morgan Stanley).

Several comments: [1] the old adage of "haste makes waste" was proved again; [2] the bank bailout may EASILY be the worst moment of the Bush Administration and a "ticking time-bomb" for leading Democratic legislators like Chris Dodd, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid as well as Republican Senators like Bob Bennett, [3] cities, states and universities which have gone through the rigor of a federal Single Audit have even more reason to feel aggrieved by that process when banks refuse even prefunctory disclosure on greater amounts of cash. I reluctantly supported the second bailout vote; I now wish that I had stood firm like Mike Pence and a number of other House Republicans. Nonetheless, I do not think (though I certainly oculd be wrong) that public and media pressure will permit banks to evade disclosure for long.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Silent Night

"Silent Night, Holy Night. Son of God, Love's Pure Light."

Afraid that a second meaning to "Silent Night" applies today. My wife's sister, Karen, who has been diabetic for years and has recently had difficulties regulating her blood sugar even with an insulin pump, choked on food this past Monday and doctors found little or no evidence of brain activity in tests yesterday. Karen's family, including Pam, is in Omaha with Karen and tomorrow plan to turn off the respirator. Barring a Lazurus-type miracle, Karen probably will die shortly after.

Thankfully, there is hope for an eventually reunion of Pam and sister--and the key is the infant whose birth is celebrated today.

Four Years of "Twevlve Blogs of Christmas"

This is intended to be the first of two posts on the "Twelve Blogs" history, but I have been having problems for almost a week with either my home computer and blogspot; so we will see. At this stage, I make no distinction between yearly blogs and substitution blogs.

Accounting Blogs
Acc Man
Analyst Accounting Observer (AAO)
Accounting Onion
AGA Blog
Big 4 Guy
BSG CPA Trendlines
CPA Firm Leaders
CPA Firm Technology Blog
D & O Diary
Footnoted (Found in the Footnotes)
Fraud Files
re: the Auditors
Skeptical Accountant
Tech Gap
White Collar Fraud

Personal Finance Blogs and Blog Group:
Accounting WEB Bloggers' Crew
All Things Financial
Blueprint for Prosperity
Consumerism Commentary
Financial Rounds
FIRE Finance
Five Cent Nickel
Free Money Finance
Frugal for Life
Get Rich Slowly
Mighty Bargain Hunter
My Money Blog
No Credit Needed
pf Blog
Tough Money Love
Wise Bread

Tax Blogs
Benefits Blog
Death and Taxes
Don't Mess with Taxes
Gina's Tax Articles
IRS Hit-Man
Mauled Again
Roth CPA Updates
Tax Girl
Tax Guru
Tax Info Blog
Tax Lawyers' Blog
Tax Prof
Wandering Tax Pro
Wills, Trusts and Estates

Congratulations to all on your contributions to the blogosphere!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Whither the "Twelve Blogs of Christmas?"--or Perhaps Wither the Twelve Blogs

Congrats again to all blogs named this year; my final posts on the "Twelve Blogs" probably comes tomorrow and will be a listing of all present members of the "Twelve Blogs of Christmas" going back to 2005.

Looking forward, the preparation of this list seems to take more time each year, with an increasingly busy schedule. I used to do more posting in the personal finance area than I have done the past couple of years; I hope (and think) that my choices there were worthy, but it took a signifcant amount of looking up candidates in the area. Possibilities for 2009--a "twelve blogs" selection done similar to the past few years (more or less four, four and four); six blogs each in accounting and tax with personal finance skipped (other than replacing dormant blogs) with the option of returning to personal finance in 2010 (and maybe adding personal finance blogs every other year) or skipping the "Twelve Blogs" entirely in 2009 with the possibility of returning in 2010. At the moment, the most likely is the six accounting and tax blog approach--however, I am open to comments.

I will have limited posts for the remainder of 2008 and very early 2009; the review of four years of "Twelve Blogs of Christmas," probably a post about the misadventures of House Ways and Means Chairman Rangel; a Christmas-oriented post and perhaps one or two topical posts on end of year accounting developments. I hope to return to a regular posting schedule some week between January 12 and 26.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Final Round of "Twelve Blogs of Christmas"--Time to Get Taxing!

  • IRS Interest Rates Are Dropping

  • Savers Credit Available to Some Taxpayers

  • State [Missouri] Tax News

  • Tax Update on Independent Contractors

  • The final four (NOT the NCAA type) of the "twelve blogs" come in the area of taxation. This basically came down to five with the Tax Policy Blog (at least for now) on the outside looking in.

    Richard Close, the "IRS Hit-Man," runs a blog designed to help American taxpayers find legal ways to reduce their taxes. Two well-written recent posts were "IRS Interest Rates are Dropping (12/10, see link above) and "Non-Taxable Income: A Short List to Ease Your Worries (12/5).

    Kelly Phillips Erb of Pennsylvania has been posting for a while. Two recent posts in "Tax Girl" which may be of interest are: "Savers Credit Now Available to Some Taxpayers" (12/8, linked above) and "More Arizona Tax Facts" (12/1).

    Missourian Bruce posts to "taxguy" from his accounting business. Two articles of note were "Local State News" (12/12) and "Who is Who--A Re-posted Article" (12/10).

    Peter Pappas, a practicing attorney in the Tampa Bay area, publishes "Tax Lawyer Blog". Two of his weighty posts are "Tax Court Update--November 2008--Independent Contractor v Employee" (12/11, linked above) and "IRS Offers New Mediation Program for Offers in Compromise..." (also 12/11).

    Congratulations to the four awardees. As mentioned before, it likely is just a matter of time for Tax Policy Blog.

    Thursday, December 11, 2008

    Middle Round of "Twelve Blogs"--Mostly Personal Finance

  • Tax Mama Tips for Business Downturns

  • Ebates Fatten Our Wallets

  • Homeowner Bailouts Destined to Fail

  • What Do You and a Credit Card Thief Have in Common?

  • Perhaps I should have included the "Accounting WEB Blogging Crew" in the Accounting group yesterday, but I definitely wanted it in the "Twelve Blogs." There are about 20 bloggers, including well-known bloggers like Michelle Golden, Eva Rosenberg (her "Tax Tips for Business Downturns" is linked above) and Brian Tankersley and newer names such as Dave Burt (Shirtsleeve Accountants Blog), Linda Cavanaugh (Plugged In) and Scott Heintzelman (I recommend his recent 'Family Finances--Managing Family' post as the Exuberant Accountant).

    After including the Bloggers Crew, it seemed like too much to include a blogger who skirts the line between tax and personal finance in much the same way as "Don't Mess with Taxes," so taxguy (he prefers being noncapitalized) now will be considered in the tax blogger area (which happpens to be quite competitive already). Among the remaining nominees, FIRE Finance, Tough Money Love and Wise Bread were ultimately chosen, with Wenchypoo just missing out for the second year running.

    FIRE Finance does a nice job of spicing up its posts with visuals, but there is substance as well as style in their posts. Two good examples are "Ebates Fattens Our Wallets" (12/10, linked above) and "Retirement--All is Well if Your HEART is Well" (12/8 or 9).

    Tough Money Love pulls few punches in exhorting careful money management, both personally and by our governments. Two examples of his posts are "Homeowner Bailouts Destined to Fail (12/10, linked above) and "Sad Worlds Collide: The Unretired versus the Unemployed" (12/7).

    Wise Bread, yet another member of the mighty "Money Blog Network," is a rarity, a personal finance group blog, with at least ten bloggers posting. The format is to provide a snippet on the main blog, with a link to a longer post and any comments. Sample posts include "What Do You and a Credit Card Thief Have in Common?" (12/10, linked above) and "Flexible Holidays are Much Cheaper (and Less Stressful) (12/4).

    Congratulations to the awardees. Dare I hope to get the tax awardees in by Saturday?

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    The 2008 "Twelve Blogs of Christmas"--Accounting Blogs

  • Excellence of Execution

  • PCOAB Alert on Current Economic Environment

  • Hope Springs Eternal

  • Oil Supply

  • [Post #901) First of all, my apologies for the intermission since the most recent post--a bad cold and other factors came into play. Along the same lines, congratulations to those who contributed to the recent "Carnival of Taxes" in "Don't Mess with Taxes."

    In a closely matched field of eight (the nominees plus David Albreight's "The Summa"), the four accounting blogs chosen for the "Twelve Blogs of Christmas" are: CPA Firm Leaders Blog (Rita Keller), FEI SOX Blog (Edith Orenstein), re: the Auditors (Francine McKenna) and the Skeptical Accountant (anonymous male from Texas).

    CPA Firm Leaders has some similarities to Rick Telberg's BSG Trendlines as a "how to" blog for managers of accounting firms. Rita does an interesting "off-topic" post each weekend. Two recent posts of interest included "Excellence of Execution" (linked above) and "Just Do It! Just Try Stuff!"

    FEI SOX Blog covers current developments in financial accounting in addition to Sarbanes-Oxley related topics. Two posts of note here were "PCAOB Alert on Current Economic Environment" (linked above) and "XBRL Happenings."

    re: the Auditors was designed to provide an inside view of the CPA profession to younger accountants. Two worthwhile reads from Ms. Mc Kenna are "Hope Springs Eternal" (linked above) and "CIFRC: Unexpected Pleasures--Part 2."

    The Skeptical Accountant is a hard-nosed libertarian with no use for sloppy economic practice--regardless of who is responsible. Two top recent posts include "Oil Supply" (linked above) and "The Bloodless Coup Continues--6).

    Congratulations to each of the above. I intend for the Personal Finance awardees to be announced before the end of the week.

    My blog is worth $7,903.56.
    How much is your blog worth?