James Harden to Brooklyn Nets, Ben Simmons stays, mistake, ecstatic

Ben Simmons is reportedly “pretty ecstatic” about being left alone as NBA superstar James Harden left the Houston Rockets for the Brooklyn Nets.

The move sees the eight-time All-Star joining top dogs Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in New York in a team now overflowing with alpha personalities who like the ball in their hands.

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The Athletic’s Shams Charania reports the Nets are giving up four unprotected first-round draft picks and four first-round pick swaps to get their man in a wild deal that also involves Cleveland and Indiana.

ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski called Houston’s return “one of the strongest draft packages in league history”.

“Whatever the future of Kyrie Irving with the Nets, this trade does one more important thing for Brooklyn: It makes a strong case to help keep the franchise’s most important player — Kevin Durant — beyond his current contract,” Wojnarowski added.

The Rockets will also get Victor Oladipo, Aussie Dante Exum and Rodions Kurucs.

But the man they won’t get is Ben Simmons.

While his offensive production has been down to start the season, Simmons has proven himself to be one of the best defenders in the NBA.

An All-Defensive first team member last season and 2018 Rookie of the Year, Simmons’ relationship with Joel Embiid has long been criticised as not being strong enough to bring a championship back to Philadelphia.

But with shooters brought into the team to allow Embiid and Simmons to operate in the paint, ESPN’s The Undefeated reporter Marc J. Spears tweeted that the Aussie believes this season is different.

“Hearing Ben Simmons was pretty ecstatic to not be traded from the Sixers to Houston for James Harden and believes his team is capable of bringing a title to Philadelphia. Doc Rivers is also a huge fan of Simmons and believes the best is yet to come with two-time NBA All-Star,” he tweeted.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic said Simmons is “fine” after the deal went down with Shams Charania reporting that Simmons was put on the trading block.

In the end, the Rockets believed “the Nets offer just supplanted that” and that the 76ers didn’t want to “mortgage their entire future” on Harden, according to Charania.

The Simmons deal reportedly had Simmons and Matisse Thybulle but the Rockets also wanted rookie Tyrese Maxey.

But CBS’s Brad Botkin, who said he didn’t believe Simmons was a franchise player but that the Aussie was the one thing the Rockets didn’t get with the big trade haul.

“It’s not a terrible bet. Still, not coming away with Simmons in a situation like this is a risk. You can pile up picks all you want and never end up with a franchise player, which some people still believe Simmons can be with the right supporting cast,” he wrote in a piece pondering if the Rockets got too greedy with the deal.

For the Nets, Harden has proved to be a divisive player with his petulant tantrum to get out of Houston.

It will also have a lot of money tied up in its best three players.

Irving, Durant and Harden all have two years left on their deals worth $34 million ($A44m), $40m ($A52m) and $44m ($57m) a season, at least $236 million ($A305m) according to The Athletic.

The Ringer’s Bill Simmons said in November that a Harden trade to Brooklyn could become a “beautiful disaster.”

“It’s three guys who are used to having the ball all the time,” he said on the Bill Simmons podcast.

“Harden and Durant are really good friends from way, way back. Kyrie is somebody that likes to have the ball. I don’t know how I feel about it. It could be a beautiful disaster, or it could be absolutely devastating.”

Just yesterday, Harden slammed the franchise.

“(The Rockets are) just not good enough. Chemistry, talent-wise, it was clear,” he said in a press conference.

“I love this city. I literally have done everything that I can. I mean, this situation is crazy. It’s something that I don’t think can be fixed.”

But it bent his former teammate’s noses out of shape with DeMarcus Cousins

“Me, personally, I don’t feel betrayed at all,” Cousins said. “My interest was playing with John Wall to be brutally honest. With that being said, the disrespect started way before any interview. Just the approach to training camp, showing up the way he did, the answers off the court. I mean, the disrespect started way before.”

And the move has also drawn a target on the Nets’ back with anything short of a championship to be considered a failure.

The New York Post’s Mike Vaccaro said the offensive talents of the team could see 150 points being put on some nights – but it’s come at the expense of the side defensively.

“Taking the Bucks to seven games in an epic Eastern final won’t be enough. Falling to the Lakers in a memorable Finals? Nope. The Nets aren’t just all-in for the next 2-3 years, they are all in for the rest of the decade. Their viability exists in the here and now, defined by a simple equation: Parade or no parade?”

Only time will tell if any of these gambles will pay off.

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Donald Trump Might Be the GOP’s Worst Mistake

The mob violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday was deplorable and disgusting. It is the antithesis of a free society that wishes to remain free. Any supporter of President Trump and his policies must denounce this horror with even more vehemence than they denounced the riots of last summer, but the two are not equivalent.

President Trump has stoked these fires of resentment and his weak comments after the breach of the Capitol, which resulted in four deaths and at least 70 arrests, were insufficient and lacked the power of sincerity. In this, President-elect Joe Biden sounded more presidential in his statement. He called it an “insurrection.”

Criminal.findlaw.com gives a definition of what happened Wednesday: “Incitement to riot is when a person encourages others to commit a breach of the peace without necessarily acting themselves. This may involve statements, signs, or conduct intended to lead others to riot.”

By any fair measurement, President Trump’s rhetoric, especially since the Nov. 3 election, has incited people to distrust their own government and the way our leaders are selected.

At the extreme, which is what we saw on TV Wednesday and repeated nonstop on cable news, he gave permission, even encouragement, to extremists to practice the kind of behavior they denounce when their political opposites behave this way.

He even trashed his loyal vice president. In a tweet he called Mike Pence “weak.” Compared to the president’s rhetoric and character, Pence is Superman. Et tu, Brute?

The rioters—and the president—have claimed the mantel of “law and order” and “support the police” and yet when it came to obeying the law, preserving order, and respecting the police they would have none of it.

Conservatives and evangelical Christians, like myself, have for too long rationalized that ignoring the president’s language and behavior was tolerable because of his policies. There comes a time, however (even at this late hour) when one must ask one’s self if this was a Faustian bargain that overwhelmed legitimate policy disagreements.

I have been called a traitor, weak, a relic of the past, and words unrepeatable in the newspaper because of past criticism of President Trump for lesser things, but in order to retain one’s credibility a standard of right and wrong must be sacrosanct. On Wednesday that standard was jettisoned by people who claim to adhere to it.

The excuses, the comparisons with what the left does and the “whataboutisms” won’t cut it this time. This is not conservatism. This is not Republicanism. The Republican Party was founded largely as an anti-slavery party.

Too many among today’s members and among conservatives (not always the same thing) have become enslaved to the person and personality of Donald Trump. This is not hero worship. It is idolatry.

Conservative principles and ideas are not the property of any one person. It is undeniable that President Trump has done many good things for the country, but at what cost?

Republicans have lost their claim to be the party of balanced budgets. Do they also want to lose their claim to be the party of morality and “family values”?

During the 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy used a line that still rings in my ears since I heard it as a young college student. About his opponent, Richard Nixon and the Eisenhower-Nixon administration, Kennedy said, “We can do better.”

We CAN do better than the mob violence that occurred in Washington. We CAN do better when it comes to the way we speak to fellow Americans. And as much as it pains me to say so, because I have flirted at times with making this bargain with the political devils, we can do better than Donald J. Trump.

This article was first published by the Daily Signal.

Image: Reuters

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Ontario finance minister says pandemic vacation was ‘dumb, dumb mistake,’ hopes Ford won’t fire him

Ontario finance minister Rod Phillips sheepishly apologized at Pearson airport on Thursday morning, two days after it was revealed he quietly departed for a vacation on a luxurious Caribbean island while the COVID-19 pandemic surged across Ontario.

The Ajax MPP left for St. Barts, a tiny, 10,000-inhabitant island known as a hideaway for yachts and boutique luxury hotels, on Dec. 13, calling the decision a “dumb, dumb mistake.”

“It was a significant error in judgment – a dumb, dumb mistake, I apologize for it, I regret it,” he told CP24’s Steve Ryan at the terminal.

He said that he could not really explain why he went ahead with the trip at the time that he did.

“I have been asking myself the same thing over the last number of days,” he said.

His office released a plethora of tweets and Instagram posts during the time he was away, including one where he sat next to a gingerbread house and thanked healthcare workers dealing with packed hospitals, as “we all make sacrifices this Christmas.”

Many of the posts made it appear as if he was in his riding when he was not.

Phillips said it was not his intention to deceive anyone about the trip when he sent the videos, tweets and Instagram posts.

“I understand why some people believe that is the case but it is not – many politicians, in fact most politicians pre-plan and pre-load messages on social media,” he said.

But he said the messages may have made it look that way given where he was and he knows the public is upset.

“I do understand that I have angered many people – I have to work to regain their confidence.”

In a Zoom call Phillips participated in while he was away, first pointed out by the Ontario Liberal Party, the sound of the ocean tide crashing into the beach can be heard when he unmuted himself to speak.

Ontario’s two top public health officials both expressed concerns about foreign travel at the time he departed for the vacation.

The federal government has also been warning Canadians not to embark on non-essential travel since early November.

Ontario Premier Ford said Wednesday he wasn’t told about the trip ahead of time, but did learn about it shortly after it began, and should have demanded Phillips return immediately.

Phillips said that he didn’t tell Ford about the trip because the Premier has better things to do.

“Premier Ford has far more important things to do than worry about the travel of his ministers,” he said.

Ford has said it’s “unacceptable” for any public official to ignore the province’s COVID-19 guidelines, which urge residents to avoid non-essential travel.

Phillips said earlier this week he chose to go ahead with the trip not knowing the province would be placed under lockdown on Boxing Day.

Ontario opposition leader Andrea Horwath has called for Phillips to be removed from caucus.

Ford has said he and Phillips, who must now self-isolate until Jan. 13, will have a “very tough conversation,” about what has occurred.

Phillips said he wants to remain in cabinet, but he understands his error may mean he has to leave.

“I still think that there is a lot of work to be done in the province, but that is one of the things I will talk to the premier about today.”

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My husband and I are planning to give our daughter a home for Christmas. Are we making a mistake?

‘The Big Move’ is a new MarketWatch column seeking to answer questions about navigating the world of real estate.

Do you have a question about buying or selling a home? Do you know where your next move should be? Email Jacob Passy at jpassy@marketwatch.com.

My husband and I are mulling over a very big gift for our
daughter and son-in-law, but I’m having second thoughts. We recently retired
and purchased beachfront property, where we plan to spend most of our time
moving forward.

Our daughter and son-in-law are early in their careers, but
do want to have kids someday. We all live in the same town, which is in an
expensive part of the country. Home prices are only going up where we live, and
we’re worried that our daughter won’t be able to save enough to buy her own
home one day.

My husband mentioned that if our house is just going sit
empty most of the time, we might as well give it to our daughter now as a gift
rather than her inheriting it down the road. I loved the idea and suggested we
present the opportunity to our daughter at Christmas.

We’re working through the various tax ramifications, and I’m
starting to worry this could be a mistake. It will take time for us to move out
our belongings and fully settle in our beach home anyway, so I’m wondering
whether there’s a better way to guarantee our daughter will have an affordable
home for years to come. What advice do you have?


Santa’s Got a Brand New Pad

Dear Santa,

How lucky your daughter is to have such generous parent. You’re not alone in worrying about your child’s ability to afford the cost of housing. I’ve spoken with parents in a very similar situation in recent years. Indeed, as the cost of buying a home has risen, so too has the number of parents who are helping their kids out in one way or another.

You’re right to be second-guessing such a big gift. There
are a range of tax considerations at play here.

For starters, you need to consider how this will work from a gift tax perspective. The Internal Revenue Service allows individuals to gift up to $15,000 per year per person tax-free. Obviously, your home is worth more than that, but that doesn’t mean anyone would pay taxes on the gift itself — at least at the federal level. Each taxpayer currently has a lifetime gift tax exemption to the tune of $11.58 million.

“Irrevocably gifting the house can take a large asset out of
the taxable estate,” said Ian Weinberg, a financial planner and CEO of Family
Wealth & Pension Management in Woodbury, N.Y. “2020 is a good year to gift
just to time stamp use of a very generous unified gift and estate tax credit
available now, which could diminish under the new administration.”

Under President-elect Biden, the tax code could become less generous to wealthier Americans, which could increase the taxes under those rules.

Read more: How to give your home to your adult child tax-free

But the tax considerations don’t end with the gift tax.
There are also capital gains taxes to consider — and that’s where a gift of
this nature gets tricky. If you gift the home to your daughter, she will be the
one who will pay capital gains taxes one day if she sells it.

“Assuming the home has appreciated over time the parents would avoid paying any capital gains taxes they might pay if they were to sell the home by gifting it instead,” said Daniel Flanagan, a partner at Canby Financial Advisors in Framingham, Mass. “These capital gains taxes would still be paid eventually by the daughter and son-in-law when they sell.”

That may seem like a good deal for you, but it could cost
your daughter a lot. That’s because of how the cost basis transfers. When
calculating the capital gains earned through the sale of a home, you take the
sale price and subtract the original price paid for the home (plus or minus the
cost of improvements or depreciation.)

When you gift a home to someone, the cost basis remains the
same as it was for the original owners. That’s different from what happens when
you inherit a home — upon inheriting a home, the basis is stepped up. That
means rather than the original basis, the heir instead will calculate any
capital gains using the market value of the home at the time of the inheritance.

Let me illustrate that with a simple example. Let’s say you bought a home 20 years ago for $100,000 that’s now worth $600,000, and you put in around $50,000 in repairs since then. If you sold it today, the capital gain from the sale would be $450,000. At the federal level, you can exempt up to $500,000 in capital gains from the sale of home, providing you meet certain requirements.

You need to know whether the child would use the home as a residence or rental/investment property.

— Brooke Salvini, a member of the American Institute of CPAs’ personal financial planning executive committee

Now, let’s see what happens for your daughter if she
receives the home as a gift and sells it down the road. Because of how the
basis works, her cost basis for capital gains would be the same as yours is
now, at $100,000. But perhaps the home will be worth more in 10 or so years,
pretend it’s $750,000. Assuming she made no other improvements on the home, her
gain from selling would be $600,000. Because it’s above the $500,000, she would
owe taxes on a portion of the proceeds from the sale.

This is really only scratching the surface of the various tax considerations, since these rules vary at the state and local level. “You need to know whether the child would use the home as a residence or rental/investment property,” said Brooke Salvini, a member of the American Institute of CPAs’ personal financial planning executive committee. “This could impact how best to gift the property.” In California, Salvini notes, a new law on the books that goes into effect in February will eliminate the ability to preserve the property tax base in a transfer of real estate to a child that doesn’t intend to use it as a principle residence.

There are ways of reducing the tax liability the home represents, such as simply allowing your daughter to inherit it down the road or putting it into a trust. These options require careful planning, though, and should be worked through with a financial expert.

There are other financial considerations beyond the tax
implications of such a gift. Yes, your daughter and son-in-law would avoid the
cost of building a down payment and a mortgage if you gift the home to them —
but can they afford the cost of property taxes, insurance, upkeep and

Some of the experts who gave me feedback on your situation
argued there’s a financial lesson that could be lost by not having to pay off a
mortgage, too. “I prefer the recipient of the parent’s generosity to have some
skin in the game, as it makes them have a better appreciation for what they’re
getting as they have some financial liabilities to show for the ‘investment,’
whether it be for a house or an education,” said George Gagliare, a financial
adviser with Coromandel Wealth Management in Lexington, Mass.

Along those lines, I might suggest an alternative: Pitch in
for the down payment, or maybe even assist with the monthly cost of the
mortgage. If you choose to sell your old home now, the proceeds from the sale
could go toward that. This way, your daughter and son-in-law have support but
also avoid messy tax situations down the road, while learning vital financial
lessons in the meantime.

Whatever you do, I encourage you to talk at length — not
just with your husband, but with your daughter, too. I’m sure she will be
beyond grateful at the generosity of whatever offer you make, even if she doesn’t
receive a set of keys with a bow on top under the Christmas tree this year. And
with that, I wish all of you a happy holidays.

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My mental health is really suffering because of a mistake I made 13 years ago! : mentalhealth

I desperately need advice about a huge mistake!!

I think I made a dreadful mistake 13 years ago!!

I am absolutely torturing myself here and need a way to have some opinions on this scenario.

I need to give a background story for this to all make sense.

I grew up in a large family. My dad was wonderful but was subjected by emotional abuse constantly by my mum. My mum was abusive to all of us, including all of my siblings.

She would call me names daily. She neglected us and didn’t meet our basic human needs a lot of the time. To the outside world, she was an upstanding member of society. To us, she was such a cruel person and I really don’t say that lightly. She was very aggressive towards us and the depth of disgust when she spoke to us is difficult for me to convey.

As I grew up, her abuse worsened. I managed to earn enough to leave home when I was 19 and I went completely off the rails. I was drinking very excessively and sleeping with lots of men. Sometimes because I wanted to, other times because I was taken advantage of. I felt like this was the only thing I was good for and was what men wanted. I felt worthless but having sex with people made me feel that I had some shred of value to someone.

I can reel off story after story of scenarios where I was taken advantage of. I didn’t understand it at the time, but looking back it was so wrong.

On this particular occasion, I am haunted by the thought that maybe I was the one to do wrong.

My memory of the night or early morning is very vague because I was very drunk at the time and this is going back 13 years.

Basically, there was a group of men, we were all drunk from what I can recall. There was on guy there who I touched down below. I remember doing so repeatedly but I can’t remember if it was over his clothes or under. I think it was over but I can’t say for certain. I can remember that he didn’t seem to reciprocate. I continued though. What I can’t remember is if he said anything to indicate he wanted me to stop.

I keep playing this over in my mind. Did he say “don’t” and I’ve said “but you like it don’t you” and carried on? Or something like that? The fact I can’t remember for certain really kills me. I’m also wondering why this specific incident is still in my mind. That alone makes me think that something must have been amiss. Then again, maybe I remember it because it was a rare occasion when he didn’t take things further.

What I’m saying is, I just really don’t know, but something makes that memory jump out at me and I’m not sure what it is.

I am really struggling with anxiety and depression and seeing a counsellor regularly for that but I’m sitting up on my own, in the middle of the night, replaying this whole thing in my mind again and again.

Can anyone offer some words of wisdom.

I want to be a good person and this makes me fear that I’m not.


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State of Origin 2020: Game 3 result, QLD Maroons beat NSW Blues, Brad Fittler mistake, Ryan Papenhuyzen, bench, Greg Alexander

NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has admitted it was a big mistake to leave Melbourne Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen out of the squad for the Origin III decider, with the Maroons’ win leaving him “shattered”.

The Blues’ best player and captain James Tedesco saw his game end after just 20 minutes when he was knocked out my an accidental knee to the head from Jai Arrow, throwing the NSW’s structure into disarray.

With Fittler opting to go with four forwards on the bench, rather than going with fullback Papenhuyzen, who is capable of filling a number of positions along the back line, and was left ruing his decision.

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NSW ‘need to make changes’


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Ga. GOP: Biden got 9,626 votes in Dekalb County by mistake

Election workers handle ballots as part of the recount for the 2020 presidential election at the Beauty P. Baldwin Voter Registrations and Elections Building on November 16, 2020 in Lawrenceville, Georgia. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:55 PM PT – Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Observers in the ongoing vote recount in Georgia found a major mistake in the ballot-counting process. On Wednesday, Georgia GOP said 9,256 votes in Dekalb County were erroneously given to Joe Biden.

Officials said the initial count labeled 10,700 ballots for Biden and gave only 13 ballots to President Trump, a margin similar to those in Cuban and North Korean elections. In reality, Biden got less than 1100 of those ballots.

The Georgia GOP has submitted an affidavit of that violation to election officials and is demanding an investigation.

MORE NEWS: Rep. Hice: ‘Questions Will Come Back To Deal’ With ‘The Future’ Of Ga. Secy Of State

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Melbourne man’s ‘mistake’ wins him $2m in TattsLotto

A Melbourne man who mistakenly bought the same lotto ticket twice is more than $2 million richer after winning major prizes on both entries.

The Boronia player held two of the six division one winning entries in Saturday’s TattsLotto with each winning entry worth just over $1 million.

Since both of his tickets — which were purchased online — were the same type of entry, he won a total of $2,112,578.20.

The Boronia resident burst out laughing when he was told of his winnings.

He said he didn’t realise he had bought the same ticket twice.

“I play every week and I usually just press ‘play it again’. I didn’t realise I had pressed it twice,” he said.

“It’s crazy! I never imagined I’d get those exact numbers once and win, let alone twice.

“It’s the best mistake ever. I’d be happy to make a few more mistakes like this one.”

He said the numbers were hand picked at random by his family.

“We put all of the numbers in the box, and then I asked each of my immediate family members to choose one.

“So they are special numbers, but not birthdays or anything, just special because my family helped me choose them.”

The Melbourne man said he needed time to think about how he’d spend the money but planned to give some to charities.

“Maybe we’ll pull their names out of a box too,” he said.

The winning numbers in draw 4101 were 1, 2, 7, 8, 15 and 35 while the supplementary numbers were 5 and 10.

There were six division one winning entries across the country with three from Victoria and one each from Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

There are now 151 division one winners so far in this financial year.

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Biden says he and Obama ‘made a mistake’ on immigration policy

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he and former President Barack Obama “made a mistake” by failing to achieve comprehensive immigration reform during their eight years in office. 

“It took too long to get right,” Biden said during the second and final presidential debate in Nashville. The former vice president also suggested that he would be more effective at addressing the issue than Obama, pledging to deliver an immigration overhaul that would create a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented people living in the U.S. 


“I’ll be president of the United States, not vice president of the United States,” Biden said. “The fact is I’ve made it very clear within 100 days, I’m going to send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people.”

Biden has released two immigration plans: The first would reverse the Trump administration’s policies, including stopping family separations and ending detention centers for children, while the second would create a pathway for citizenship.

“All of those so-called dreamers, those DACA kids, they’re going to be immediately certified again to be able to stay in this country and put on a path to citizenship,” Biden said, referring to an Obama-era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that allowed undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to become citizens.


The former vice president’s comment came as President Trump defended his administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, days after it was reported that the government had failed to locate the parents of more than 500 children. 

But Trump slammed Biden for creating detention facilities for undocumented immigrants. 

“Who made the cages, Joe?” Trump asked. 

More than 3 million undocumented immigrants were deported during the Obama administration. 


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