Last week the Supreme Court shocked everyone by ruling that ObamaCare was constitutional, and while I was fully prepared to hear liberals declare victory in the wake of the opposite ruling, I was shocked to see conservatives pulling the Baghdad Bob routine. How can this ruling be seen as anything except cowardly and wrong?
An incredibly chilling interview with Neal Katyal, US Solicitor General who argued in defense of ObamaCare's individual mandate in the lower courts. Read it and weep: The original text of the interview can be found here.
Follow the jump for my take on it.
This one is for Will, who loves to mock Walmart patrons. Me... I like Walmart myself.
Lifehacker has a great article discussing whether there are ways to make personal finance decision-making into a more gamelike experience. Imagine if we could focus the same kind of passion and energy devoted to video gaming towards personal finance? Or is that absurd?
Honestly, I think it's a great idea for a game. The keys are nicely laid out in the LF article, but should go into more detail. The article correctly points out that the key to 'gametizing' (not actually a word) personal finance is scoring. How can you gauge your progress? The article goes into good detail on how to mentally impose a gaming mindset on personal finance decision-making.
For example: if you've got a debt you want to reduce to zero, picture it as a boulder or endgame boss that you plan on defeating. Your net worth can be considered your 'score'. But what about more complex decisions -- should you rent or buy a home? Can these decisions be gametized?
But what about making personal finance into an actual game? Could it be done? And if so, what form would it take? Would it be fun to play, or feel like Quicken with fireballs?
Some observations after the jump.
Well, it finally happened.
First it happened to my father who (along with my mother) spends one month out of the year in Florida, and decided it was a hassle to ship so many books south for the winter. I bought him a Kindle e-book reader and he loves it. That was two years ago. This year my mother got one and she's using it and loving it as well.
After reading today's posted results of Gallup's latest poll, I realize now why I don't like taking surveys. It's the openly stupid questions. The main feature of the poll results is that Americans are almost evenly divided on the topic of 'income redistribution'. Roughly half of Americans favor it. It brings to mind an episode of SpikeTV's 'The Man Show' in which the two male hosts ask women to sign a petition denouncing the 'suffraging' of women.
But that wasn't the poll question that surprised me the most.
This is why I tend to hate journalists so much: they're inveterate liars.
The mainstream media outlets are spinning the Republican-backed 'Tax Cut' bill as a reduction of taxes, but it plainly (on balance) does not cut anyone's taxes. Look at the headlines regarding the bill itself:
Obama has agreed to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, not cut them further. So would people please stop calling it a tax-cut? All the Obama administration has done is agreed to not cut the Americans' collective throats any deeper with more taxes. The whole point of calling this the Obama Tax Cut Deal is to not call it 'Obama Extends Bush Tax Cuts', because that would ascribe something positive to the former administration, which would undercut the Obama administration's need to shift all criticism onto the former president.
There's a news story out today declaiming the fact that Google only pays about 2.4% in taxes by passing their money through Ireland, the Netherlands, and then finally sending the money to island nations that have little or no income tax.
This method is apparently so widespread that the technique has a name:
Google’s income shifting -- involving strategies known to lawyers as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich” -- helped reduce its overseas tax rate to 2.4 percent, the lowest of the top five U.S. technology companies by market capitalization, according to regulatory filings in six countries.
Finally there's an iPhone app that actually makes me (slightly) consider buying an iPhone. It passed, quickly, but so far this is the coolest 'app' I've ever heard about. EpicWin turns your ordinary, hum-drum, perfectly mundane to-do list into an epic RPG game.
Want to gain XP, level up, earn yourself some treasure? Then get the car washed, do your laundry and get that passport application notarized, Mr. Hero. Then you'll grab awesome loot like a caffe macchiato, or a 100-calorie snack pack, you badass you!
I still won't buy an iPhone, however. It's too 'hipster' for me. I'm kickin' it old school with a pen and paper, yo.