DOUGHNUT TAX: Talk about a below-the-belt tax hit -- and from a doughnut! Unsuspecting Houston Astros fan Bob Choate must have gotten a bad taste after discovering that he owed taxes on the 315 coupons for a free coffee and doughnut at Shipley Do-Nuts he won last season on fan appreciation day. The prize was estimated by the team and chain to be worth $927.61, about $3 a coupon. That was above the $600 threshold for generating a 1099 tax form, so he got a $237 tax hit.
Choate didn't think doughnuts and coffee were worth that much, especially since he used only eight coupons. After no luck with the team, doughnut baron Lawrence Shipley covered the taxes. Now, that's more like fan appreciation.
QUICK LEARNERS: Apparently, it takes only a New York minute to get the hang of Washington politics. Politico recently reported that a number of GOP freshmen have already used legislation to "assist donors, protect favored industries or settle scores with their political enemies." Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., helped out the mining sector -- which gave $40,450 to his campaign. Griffith introduced a measure that would block tougher clean water rules in the mountaintop mining permit process. That's just one example of fast-learning politicians, getting schooled the wrong way in Washington. But, then again, no surprise. Right?
COURTING TROUBLE: Closer to home, let's hope government officials figure out the mold and moisture problem in the new federal courthouse at least, before the move-in date. Whenever that happens. According to News reporter Dan Herbeck's story Friday, officials promise the problem will be "completely" eliminated before the $137 million building opens. Perhaps this fall. Meantime, a "building scientist," the third expert hired to examine the situation since January, is having a look. Let's hope he figures it out. Soon. Otherwise, the egg-shaped courthouse on Niagara Square will continue into the near future to be an expensive curiosity.
BEST WISHES: Not everyone will be glued to the telly before dawn Friday for Britain's royal wedding extravaganza. One observer we know says the two wars we fought with Britain earned him the right to sleep in. But to those who will be watching, enjoy the show and be glad we're not helping pay for it.