Tough times in Germany and ski tax breaks |

Tough times in Germany and ski tax breaks

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

“Death to the Aspen Institute.”

Now that’s something that you don’t hear everyday. But it was heard in Germany lately, according Jeffrey Gedmin, the director of The Aspen Institute Berlin.

Gedmin wrote a piece recently for the April 21 edition The Weekly Standard, which is edited by William Kristol, explaining some things about the anti-American attitudes he has experienced during the Iraq war.

“… These can be tricky days for an American in Berlin,” Gedmin writes after describing some of the gentler comments he’s gotten. “There’s the coarser stuff. The signs and chants of demonstrators like: ‘Baghdad=Dresden,’ ‘Bush=Hitler,’ ‘USA=Mass Murder Central,’ ‘North Korea Needs Nuclear Weapons,’ and so forth.

“Then there’s the fan mail (I spend a lot of time on German television defending the war against Saddam Hussein) that says I’m a ‘war criminal,’ a ‘coward,’ an ‘ideological pornographer,’ a ‘son of whore,’ a ‘U.S. Goebbels,’ a ‘mentally ill asshole,’ a ‘Jew f—er,’ and, incidentally, that I am ‘not welcome here.’ One woman named Stephanie (yes, they often sign these) calls for ‘death to the Aspen Institute.'”

And you thought they just sat around and talked about Plato.

@ATD Sub heds:Skiing to learn

@ATD body copy: The Washington Post on April 15 took a look at one form of tax deduction, and reporter T.R. Reid sounded a bit dubious.

“A week’s vacation in this pampered mountain mecca can set you back thousands of dollars,” Reid writes. “That’s the bad news. The good news is that if you do it right, you can deduct your ski trip when you fill out your income tax return.”

He then goes on to describe how doctors and lawyers are able to write off ski trips if they sign up for a continuing education class, which can consist of little more than watching a video.

He interviewed David Victor, president of the American Educational Institute.

“Victor’s company runs taped lectures almost every weekday at ski resorts such as Vail and Aspen, Park City and Jackson Hole, and at golf destinations such as Palm Springs, Boca Raton and Hilton Head. ‘We go where the doctors want to go,’ he explained. ‘We time our classes around lift schedules or other recreational opportunities in the venue.'”

And if you’re in business in Snowmass Village, which has long filled hotel rooms with the help of medical and legal post-education classes, you’re grateful they do.

@ATD Sub heds:Sellouts?

@ATD body copy: So, just in case you’ve been wondering how people find their way to Aspen, here’s one insight. This is from the April 14 edition of “BuyOuts” newsletter. Michael Dailey, the president and CEO of Dailey Capital Management, L.P., was letting the newsletter readers know that the buyout world is not the relatively easy going that it once was.

“Battered by portfolio problems, fundraising impediments, management fee criticism, a general decline in investor confidence and shrinking expectations, buyout players have seen better days,” he writes, before coming to his conclusion.

“Finally it is our view that the most deadly fly in the ointment for buyouts are New Economy operating challenges of the type that will severely test the mettle of every portfolio manager who hasn’t yet escaped to Aspen, Colo.”

There must be at least a couple, huh?

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