Dallas Cowboys open as underdogs against Philadelphia Eagles – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

Dallas Cowboys open as underdogs against Philadelphia Eagles
Blogging The Boys (blog)
At that time, the Cowboys' 13-3 record and the Eagles' 7-9 record from 2016 was still fresh on everybody's mind. But that was then, and this now: The 8-1 Eagles visit the 5-4 Cowboys in Dallas in Week 11, and the line for the game has shifted quite a bit.

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Labour says PM ‘losing trust’ over offshore fund row – BBC News

Media captionDavid Cameron: “It was subject to all the UK taxes in all the normal ways”

Labour has said David Cameron’s admission that he owned shares in an offshore fund set up by his late father has undermined public trust in him.

On Thursday, the PM said he sold the shares before he entered Number 10 in 2010 and had paid all UK taxes due on profits from the 30,000 sale.

He said the firm, Blairmore Holdings, had not been set up to avoid tax.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the PM had “misled the public” and “lost the trust of the British people”.

He said Mr Cameron’s actions had showed there was “one rule for the wealthy and another for the rest of us”.

“After years of calling for tax transparency and attacking complex offshore tax arrangements as ‘morally wrong’, the prime minister has been shown to have personally benefited from exactly such a secretive offshore investment,” he said.

Mr Corbyn said the PM must give a “full account of all his private financial dealings and make a statement to Parliament next week”.

He also accused the government of “connivance with tax havens and refusal to take serious action against tax avoidance and evasion”, leading “directly” to public spending cuts.

Labour backbencher John Mann has called on the Commons Standards Commissioner to look into why Mr Cameron’s stake in Blairmore was not disclosed in the register of MPs’ financial interests.

Conservative MPs have defended Mr Cameron while Downing Street – whose handling of the issue has been criticised – has insisted the prime minister’s financial interests have “always been recorded in line with the rules as they stood at the time”.

There have been days of headlines about Blairmore Holdings – a fund for investors which until 2006 used “bearer shares” to protect its clients’ privacy – following the leak of 11 million documents held by Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca.

What’s the deal with offshore investment funds?

Image copyright AP

Thousands of similar funds, or companies, have been set up for various reasons although, ultimately of course, their aim is to make money.

Those on one side of the argument will argue that these funds exist, and are based offshore, primarily owing to the opportunity to escape paying certain taxes.

The opposing argument is that this decision is purely based on rational business grounds, by finding a way to attract investors from around the world and for the fund to perform to its peak.

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They show that Mr Cameron’s father, Ian, was one of five UK directors who flew to board meetings in the Bahamas or Switzerland.

Downing Street and Mr Cameron had issued four statements on whether Mr Cameron had any financial involvement with Blairmore Holdings before the PM told ITV News on Thursday about the shares he had owned.

Media captionDeputy leader of the Labour Party, Tom Watson: ”Prime ministers have to lead by example”
Media captionSkills minister Nick Boles defended Mr Cameron’s conduct
Media captionConservative MP Mark Pritchard says Labour’s attacks are ‘distasteful’

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said Mr Cameron could not be blamed for his father’s actions but had not been “entirely straight with the British people about what his own financial arrangements were”.

“That wouldn’t be so bad if he hadn’t also been lecturing very prominent people about their own tax arrangements, some he called morally wrong for being invested in similar schemes,” he said.

What Cameron said when

  • Asked on Monday whether she could confirm that no family money was still invested in the fund, Mr Cameron’s spokeswoman said: “That is a private matter”
  • Then in an interview on Tuesday, Mr Cameron said: ” I have no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds, nothing like that. And, so that, I think, is a very clear description”
  • Downing Street issued a statement later that day: “To be clear, the prime minister, his wife and their children do not benefit from any offshore funds. The prime minister owns no shares. As has been previously reported, Mrs Cameron owns a small number of shares connected to her father’s land, which she declares on her tax return”
  • No 10 then released a further clarifying statement on Wednesday, saying: “There are no offshore funds/trusts which the prime minister, Mrs Cameron or their children will benefit from in future”
  • On Thursday the PM told ITV News: “We owned 5,000 units in Blairmore Investment Trust, which we sold in January 2010”

While stopping short of calling for the PM to quit, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said it was regrettable the information had had to be “dragged” out of him.

“You need to be able to trust your prime minister and the fact that he couldn’t answer a straight question, straightforwardly, straight away I think has undermined the trust that we have in him,” he said.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said the prime minister had “big questions to answer” while Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said his behaviour illustrated a government that was intent on supporting a “small proportion of the establishment not acting in the national interest”.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Ian Cameron, who died in 2010, was a director of Blairmore Holdings

But James Quarmby, a specialist in tax planning and wealth structuring at law firm Stephenson Harwood, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there was a “massive misunderstanding” about what Mr Cameron had invested in.

He said it was a hedge fund that was “about as boring as it gets for investments”, adding that it would not be used for avoiding tax.

“It’s no different from Mr Cameron investing in a UK stock,” he said.

Analysis by political correspondent Eleanor Garnier

Even David Cameron himself has admitted it has been a pretty difficult week.

Downing Street has been thrown on the defensive, forced to ride out damning headlines that have dogged the prime minister day after day. There have been accusations Mr Cameron has “played the public” on his tax affairs and that he has lost the electorate’s trust.

Remember, he is currently in the middle of the political fight of his life, battling to keep Britain in the European Union. He’s trying to persuade voters to believe his arguments, trying to win over their trust in the referendum debate. So, the timing isn’t good. Anything like this that highlights the distance between him and voters will not help.

The problem for the prime minister is political image. He hasn’t done anything illegal but it is perception that matters.

Analysis: A problem of perception

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the prime minister had “acted quite properly” and done everything that could be expected of him.

Speaking on Any Questions on BBC Radio 4, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said Mr Cameron had done nothing “at all improper” and had “the fuller questions… been asked of him earlier in the week then it might all have been neater”.

Conservative Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee, said Number 10 had clearly “mishandled” the issue.

“I don’t know who’s been advising… but it clearly would have been much better if a much cleaner breast of all the facts had been made right at the outset,” he told Radio 4’s World at One.

Business Minister Nick Boles said “with the benefit of hindsight” it might have been better if the PM had revealed details of his shareholdings when the allegations first surfaced on Monday but he understood Mr Cameron’s “natural human instinct to rally round his father”.

‘Nothing to hide’

In his interview on Thursday, Mr Cameron told ITV News: “I don’t have anything to hide. I’m proud of my dad and what he did and the business he established… I can’t bear to see his name being dragged through the mud.”

Mr Cameron said much criticism was based on a “fundamental misconception” that Blairmore was set up to avoid tax.

“It wasn’t. It was set up after exchange controls went, so that people who wanted to invest in dollar denominated shares and companies could do so, and there are many other, thousands of other unit trusts set up in this way,” he said.

Downing Street said Mr and Mrs Cameron bought their holding in April 1997 for 12,497 and sold it in January 2010 for 31,500. That year the personal allowance before capital gains tax was paid was 10,100 per person.

The rules on members’ interests state MPs must declare a company shareholding if it exceeds 15% of total shares issued or is worth more than 70,000. Holdings in collective investment vehicles such as unit trusts and investment companies with variable capital do not need to be registered.

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Promote helps any online marketplace get into the ad business

The latest company to emerge from startup accelerator Expa Labs is focused on helping online marketplaces make money from advertising.

Promote founder and CEO Siddharth Vora used to lead the engineering team for advertising products at StumbleUpon. (StumbleUpon’s founder Garrett Camp went on to start Expa, which runs Expa Labs.)  Vora said he became convinced that with their user data and the “strong purchase intent” of those users, most marketplaces have a big ad opportunity — but few were really taking advantage of it.

“Each and every marketplace has the potential to generate a significant amount of revenue,” Vora said.

The problem is that if marketplaces run any advertising at all, it’s usually generic banners. Otherwise, they have to build an entire adtech platform in-house, which may be out of reach unless if they don’t have the engineering resources of Amazon or eBay.

So Promote’s technology allows marketplaces to incorporate advertising with minimal work of their own. More specifically, by allowing sellers who want more attention for their products to buy a promoted listing. Eventbrite is already using Promote’s technology to power its Promoted Listings.

The placement of the ads is supposed to be determined by analyzing user data. The idea is that the ads shouldn’t hurt the marketplace experience or direct them to another site. They just show potential buyers more of what they’re looking for.

Do all marketplaces have enough information about their users for Promote to deliver this kind of optimization? Vora acknowledged that data collection varies between Promote’s customers, but if nothing else, all of them have purchase data.

Vora also said his team provides some level of customization for each customer, but he added, “Our platform is very flexible,” with a setup process should take two weeks at most.

Eventually, Vora wants to help marketplaces offer promoted listings beyond their own properties, allowing the ads to run on other marketplaces and other platforms. In fact, he said Promote will be launching integration with Facebook “very soon.”

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Man jerks off on Pornhub to fund the videogame spaceship of his dreams – Destructoid


Man jerks off on Pornhub to fund the videogame spaceship of his dreams
He's getting real money from his 40k-70k viewers for his "solo male performances", which he later converts into digital money to spend on his EVE Online habits. The headline … their money on. Just make pretend you also do and we'll get to the facts

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10 thoughts on the Cowboys disappointing loss to the Falcons – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

10 thoughts on the Cowboys disappointing loss to the Falcons
Blogging The Boys (blog)
What a terrible game. We all knew things were going to be tough without All Pro's Ezekiel Elliott and Tyron Smith, but nobody could have fathomed it would go down the way it did. And to make things worse, All Pro linebacker Sean Lee went down early in
Atlanta Falcons vs Cowboys: Week 10 staff predictionsBlogging Dirty (blog)
Cowboys vs. Falcons 2017 live stream: Start time, TV schedule, and how to watch onlineSB Nation

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Airbnb is turning itself into an ‘experience’ machine beyond just booking places to stay

Airbnb is looking to move beyond the simple experience of booking a place to stay moving part of the responsibility of figuring out what to do in those places to Airbnb and its hosts instead.

Thats the goal of the companys new experiences feature in the Airbnb app. In addition to booking places to stay, hosts and locals can offer different tours, events and other things along those lines. The goal, CEO Brian Chesky said onstage at an event, was to give travelers guidance on what they are supposed to do when they finally get there.This has been in the works for a while. As of June, the service appeared as a beta.

For Airbnb, at a company level, this gives the company another way to give a layer of interaction with the travel experience. That gives it a way to monetize additional parts of the experience, which could help it continue to grow into a more full-fledged company. While traditionally competing with hotel companies like Marriott, Airbnb can move beyond just being a booking and stay service into something more.

If youve traveled domestically or, in particular, abroad the process of figuring out what to do can be paralyzing at times. Go see this museum, or, you have to try the food, can be incredibly vague and generalizations of the overall experience. Airbnb wants to focus those down into more targeted recommendations for things to do.

Airbnb users can basically craft these experiences which in the app are displayed through a sort of carousel of cinematic posters and sell them. Most of the experiences cost under $200, Chesky said. The experiences show a kind of preview for them before users end up booking them. Example experiences could be walking tours or lessons in astronomy in the area, the company demoed on stage.

This, also, gives hosts the ability to make money beyond just booking their homes or even in lieu of that. With the gig economy increasingly growing, this is a new way for locals who are experts in the area and good at building experiences a way to generate some additional cash on the side.

Airbnb, beyond that, seems to be trying to capture the complete trip experience down to booking reservations at restaurant. Users can also browse their previous trips, as well. When anything is booked, the reservation goes into an itinerary places, experiences or meet-ups for example and users can basically check their phone as to what to do next while theyre traveling.

Getting beyond just the booking experience is going to be doubly important for Airbnb as it continues to face increasing pressure from regulators. Last month, Airbnb sued the city of New York over legislation that would make it illegal to advertise accommodations that cant legally be rented out for less than 30 days.

That could help it, in the end, not grow into its$30 billion valuation, but help it continue to grow beyond that. It gives it a way to expand the overall scope of the company to one where it not only competes with hotels, but also control the fate of the tourism agency in general.

The changes are currently live, Chesky said. The company is starting in 12 cities.

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VMware-VeloCloud merger raises enterprise stakes – TechTarget

VMware-VeloCloud merger raises enterprise stakes
While pointing out that he believes defining the split between the two is "useless," White goes on to paint the difference as a divide between organizations that make money directly off the network, such as providers, and ones that grudgingly pay for

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Jason Garrett's leadership will be tested without Ezekiel Elliott – Blogging The Boys (blog)

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Jason Garrett's leadership will be tested without Ezekiel Elliott
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Let's flash back to August of 2016. You're Jason Garrett, head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The highest-valued professional sports franchise in the world looks set to embark on a successful season. Your marquee starting quarterback appears healthy
Atlanta Falcons vs Cowboys: Week 10 staff predictionsBlogging Dirty (blog)

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The day America’s top soccer club threatened to move to Mexico

Before the start of MLS, the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks saw their best hopes in a foreign country

According to those who knew him, Dan Van Voorhis was a mass of contradictions generous, gregarious and fun-loving one moment then stubborn, irascible and aggressive the next. But Van Voorhis, a man whose patronage of American professional soccer was years ahead of its time, was nothing if not bold.

Bold enough, in fact, that by February 1993 he was prepared to do the unthinkable. His team, the San Francisco Bay Blackhawks, would apply for guest status in the Primera División, the highest level of professional soccer in Mexico.

Such was the sorry state of professional soccer in America in 1993 that the countrys own federation president wanted to help its premier franchise gain admittance into a foreign league.

Were having serious discussions with the Mexican Federation on the subject and I think there is a realistic possibility it could happen, said then president of US Soccer Alan Rothenberg in a press conference. I believe both the Blackhawks and the Mexican league are interested in testing what would be a new marketing concept.

The announcement came just one year before the US was to host the World Cup, a prerequisite of which was the development of a top-flight professional soccer league. But in 1993, a detailed conception of Major League Soccer was still some way off.

The Blackhawks were a part of the American Professional Soccer League (APSL). In 1990, two separate semi-professional competitions, the Western Soccer League and the American Soccer League, merged to form the only national professional league of the era. But after only two seasons, the APSL had shrunk to just five teams, three of which played in Florida. This meant that the Blackhawks traveled further than any other team in the league, a financial strain on Van Voorhis and a physical one on the players.

Still, it came as a surprise when less than two weeks after the Blackhawks had been eliminated from the 1992 playoffs Van Voorhis threatened to remove the team from the league entirely. His demand was simple: unless Rothenberg and US Soccer began delivering on plans to form a unified professional league, he was taking his money and his knowledge out of the game.

When his threats were met mostly with silence, Van Voorhis called a press conference in to announce that his team would not play in the APSL the following season. When asked why, Van Voorhis did not mince words.

Owners of the other APSL teams are not willing to make the financial commitment to bring professional soccer in this country to a Division I level, he declared. I have informed Alan Rothenberg that the Blackhawks are leaving the APSL, and have petitioned US Soccer to allow us to play an independent schedule until a full Division I league is in place.

There were not huge financial commitments [for joining the APSL], former APSL commissioner Bill Sage told The Guardian. It was whoever could field a credible team and get through the season and paid players at least something. It was a very eclectic group of owners, some of which had very deep pockets, and some didnt.

Some people were pretenders around the [ownership] table that could not participate at that level and then there was Dan and maybe a handful of guys that could.

The biggest sticking point for Van Voorhis was always the lack of a professional league comparable to todays MLS. Without one Van Voorhis knew that he was sinking his money into something that would never offer a return.

His catchphrase was like Wendys Wheres the beef? He said: Wheres the league? Wheres the league? I need a league to play in, said former Blackhawks head coach Laurie Calloway in an interview with The Guardian. MLS was promised and promised and promised and it wasnt happening and the World Cup was coming along and there was a deadline on getting a league together before the World Cup was awarded and Dan was right in the middle and Sepp Blatter and [the Mexican Federation officials] were the type of people he was talking to.

Van Voorhis was so dogged in his pursuit of a Division I league to play in that he routinely sent handwritten faxes to Blatter, Sage, and Rothenberg at all hours of the day. His staff even came up with a nickname for the messages, Dan-o-grams. While he waited for their responses, Van Voorhis began flirting with the Mexican Federation.

In the 1980s and early 1990s, soccer in America was dominated by promoters, opportunistic businessmen, often acting as middlemen, who recognized early on that there were millions of people, nearly all Latino, willing to pay money to watch professional soccer. Stadium contracts exclusive rights with stadium owners for all soccer-related events became the most profitable currency in American soccer. Van Voorhis seethed as local promoters brought in big crowds for Mexican club friendlies at Spartan Stadium in San Jose, California.

Were doing the work of the Lord and these promoter guys are making all the money, former Blackhawks general manager Terry Fisher recalls Van Voorhis telling him. Why arent we doing that?

Earlier in 1992, the Blackhawks had advanced to the semifinals of the Concacaf Champions Cup (today known as the Concacaf Champions League) where they had faced Mexican powerhouse Club América. In the second leg of the semi-final, the Blackhawks hosted América at Spartan Stadium. There, Van Voorhis watched in astonishment as more than 25,000 fans most of them Mexican poured through the turnstiles. The crowd dwarfed any that had ever come out to watch the Blackhawks.

In May 1993, Van Voorhis finally signed his own exclusive stadium contract, this one with the San Jose State University Foundation, which gave him full control over all soccer-related events at Spartan. But within a week of signing the contract, Van Voorhis found himself the target of litigation when he tried to stop a five-game Mexican club exhibition coordinated by Imperio Productions, a local promotion company. Van Voorhis tried pointing to the contract he had just signed, but his intransigence with the promoters cost him nearly $1m in arbitration.

Shortly before he died in 2005, Van Voorhis spoke with Fisher. I dont resent a dollar that I lost, Fisher remembers Van Voorhis telling him. But that $900,000 that I had to pay those fuckers broke my heart.

Despite the significant setback, Van Voorhis finally got his audience with the Mexican Federation in June. He and his front office staff traveled to Acapulco to present his plan to a gathering of Mexican club and Federation officials. He knew, or thought he knew, what would get their attention: money.

One of the biggest factors is the opportunity for [the Mexican clubs] to make money in California with how much money is here and how much Mexican support is here, the former Blackhawks business manager Eric Yamamoto, who helped Van Voorhis put together his presentation, told The Guardian.

Money, Van Voorhis had always believed, could solve any problem and overcome any obstacle. In that Van Voorhis was not entirely wrong, but he had severely underestimated the politics and culture surrounding international soccer governance.

He was totally naive to try and understand the politics of Mexican soccer, said Fisher. How is some lawyer from Berkeley, some 5ft 8in gringo going to live in the world of Mexican soccer?

Beyond all of the logistical issues with Van Voorhiss plan the travel, the transnational border crossings, the money his timing, as it was throughout his soccer career, was all wrong. In Acapulco, the Mexican Federation was trying to mediate a pay dispute with some national team players who had already threatened to go on strike. The Blackhawks plan was tabled with no definitive timetable for a decision. The dream was dead almost as soon as it had begun and suddenly the Blackhawks had nowhere to play.

Van Voorhis, however, was not yet ready to give up on his experiment. He entered the Blackhawks, now renamed the San Jose Hawks, into the United States Interregional Soccer League (USISL), a 43-team minor league operation. The Hawks picked up where the Blackhawks had left off, winning their division with ease and earning themselves a berth in the Sizzlin Six, a six-team tournament of divisional winners. But despite winning both of their tournament matches, the Hawks missed out on the final on goal differential.

Having already spent an estimated $10m on the Blackhawks and with scant hope of a Division I professional league kicking off in 1994, Van Voorhis began scaling back his operation and dismantling the foundation that he had built. While he went on to play a critical role in bringing Major League Soccer to the Bay Area, Van Voorhis lacked the wherewithal to own his own franchise in the nascent league. The team that eventually kicked off in 1996, the San Jose Clash, was owned and operated by the league.

Van Voorhis, the man who had kept professional soccer in the Bay Area alive in the late 80s and early 90s, could only sit and watch from his private box at Spartan Stadium as the dream he had spent so much of his own time and money trying to build manifested itself on the very field and with many of the same coaches and players he had once employed where he had watched his Blackhawks go toe-to-toe with some of the biggest clubs in North America.

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Are Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz & Jared Goff the best QB draft class since 1983? – Blogging The Boys (blog)

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Are Dak Prescott, Carson Wentz & Jared Goff the best QB draft class since 1983?
Blogging The Boys (blog)
The 1983 quarterback draft class is widely regarded as the best in modern NFL history. Three Hall of Famers were chosen in the first 27 picks and a fourth enjoyed a long, successful career. Some (me) are already proclaiming the 2016 quarterback class

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