Escaping the fat police
Hearts and flowers

Ready, aim, fire


Just make sure it's not a campaign contributor you shoot.

So Dick got a little trigger happy. Haven't you ever made a mistake?

Cheney's unfortunate hunting companion, Austin attorney and Republican party financial supporter Harry Whittington, at least can be thankful that they were bagging quail this week in south Texas.

If he ever accompanies the Veep to a hunt in his native Wyoming, the stakes could be decidedly more dangerous. 

A lawmaker there has introduced a bill that would let hunters carry automatic weapons and silencer-equipped guns into the field.

Now there's just one big question left to answer. Just what country does Whittington want to serve as ambassador to when, of course, he is fully recovered?

Texas hunting laws: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department issues licenses and oversees hunting on public lands.

But, according to the Texas Outdoorsman, more than 97 percent of Texas is privately owned and many of those property owners lease hunting rights. You can find a list of private landowners that welcome hunters here, but the Armstrong Ranch, where the quail hunting incident occurred, isn't on this registry.

TODAY'S TAX TIP: Say you teach a class on, I don't know, maybe gun safety, and you spend some of your own money on classroom supplies. Well, the IRS wants to help.

Teachers and other public and private school employees who use their own money to purchase classroom supplies get a little tax help when they file their returns. They can deduct up to $250 spent on material to enhance their students' learning experience.

Yes, it's a relatively small deduction amount. However, you don't have to itemize to claim it. The deduction is available directly on Form 1040 or 1040A, as long as it's an ordinary and necessary classroom expense.

So if you're a qualified instructor who teaches a regular class for budding outdoorsmen on the critical issue of gun safety, you might be able to write off some of your out-of-pocket costs related to your curriculum.

For example, to go along with this brochure on the proper way to handle a firearm, you also purchased a gun safety video to emphasize your lesson. The price of the DVD is deductible as a normal expense.

However, don't expect the IRS to let you write off a $200 DVD player to show the video. It's probably not an "ordinary and necessary" classroom cost, since your school library likely has one you can borrow.

You can read more about this deduction here and more about shooting safely here. I think the Veep needs a refresher on the first bullet point in the last section, "Other important safety rules."


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Greg Hags

Tsk, tsk, tsk. The $250 above the line deduction is only available for teachers who are teaching students in K - 12. While I am not from a gun friendly State (NY), I don't know of many districts who teach gun safety to K - 12 students. Kids with guns in school is not a good idea...even if it is an educational course.

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