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Imagine No Taxes

Friday, April 18th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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On Tax Day, I dared to wonder what happiness I might pursue with the money I earn but never see. I asked readers to join me in the exercise and imagine what they might do with the money they lost to taxes last year. Reader Mike Mahoney added this insightful comment:

I would probably wind up spending it on protection, roads, litigation services. If one looks at tax receipts and the portion of the budget that is enumerated as a power to do things in the constitution you’ll note a similarity. The rest is all done on borrowed money. So, if I didn’t pay taxes I would still pay.

Mike lands a fair point. Government certainly provides a value. In the absence of particular government services, we would need to pursue alternatives, thus incurring expense.

Of course, in that case, we could choose to pay as we saw fit, and would benefit from the cost and quality controls of the market. Whether we would pay as much for the same services under a private model is an open question. (I think it safe to bet we’d pay significantly less.) However, we know the percentage of our income spent on such services would decrease as we earned more, instead of increasing as it does today. Market-driven prices are rarely progressive.

You don’t pay more for groceries or fuel just because you earn more. So why should you pay more for the services provided by government, particularly if you prove less likely to use them?

An unspoken assumption which may inform Mike’s comment is that a world without taxes means anarchy. But that’s not necessarily the case. Dr. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute here briefly explains how government could raise revenue without coercive taxation:

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Imagine the effect such an arrangement would have upon our incentives to produce and improve the lives of ourselves and others through trade. The sky would be the limit.

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How I Doubled My Freelance Income in Two Years (Part 1)

Monday, April 14th, 2014 - by Kathy Shaidle

bullion-coins-stacked_303x259No one needs a reminder that it’s tax time.

We Canadians don’t have to file until April 30, but that doesn’t lessen the sting for those of us who actually work for a living — especially if, like me, you run your own business.

My accountant just gave me the “good news, bad news”:

The bad news is, I owe a low five-figure amount to the taxman right now. I’ll also have to cough up quarterly payments this year on top of that — something I normally don’t have to do.

That’s because — and this is where the good news comes in — as a freelance writer, I earned more in 2013 than I ever did before, even when I was working at a “normal” cubicle job.

In fact, last year’s revenues were almost double what I earned as a freelancer in 2011.

Throughout this week, I’ll try to explain (to you and myself) how I went from making an average to an above-average income.

Believe me, none of these “lessons” will be terribly earth-shattering.

I certainly can’t promise that they’re universally applicable, either, or will even still work for me in six weeks or six years.

That said, they may still provide some food for thought at a time of year when we’re all forced to review our own individual bottom lines.

So stay tuned…

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Updated: Click here for Part 2

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Which Style of iPhone Cover Best Fits Your Lifestyle?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

Upcoming product review - iPhone 5s case by Mujjo. Comparing to the Otter Box I already have.

When it comes to cases for one’s phones the differences available range widely in both function and style. As one who has developed the, some would say, obnoxious habit of using the cell phone to film the Siberian Husky running around the neighborhood, I prefer phone cases that offer protection.

Thus, I’m not all that impressed with the Mujjo iPhone 5s case that I received last week to review. The black leather case slips on and leaves the phone’s screen exposed. It offers limited protection for liquid or direct hits onto the screen. But I understand that perhaps those living less active lifestyles might not need as much protection and prefer the Mujjo’s beneficial feature, a space on the back to hold a few credit cards or hotel room keys:

Mujjo iPhone 5s case has a slot on back for cards - the redeeming feature from an otherwise so-so product.

This could work as a vacation case but generally I’m more inclined to lean toward protection over fashion. What do you prefer with your phone case? Is there a sturdier choice than the Otterbox?

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Happy #RexManningDay, Empire Records Shoppers

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

For those of you unfortunate enough to not have grown up Gen-X, today is #RexManningDay, the day in the fictional world of the film Empire Records during which pretty boy “pop star Rex Manning was scheduled to do a CD signing at Empire Records, one of the last vestiges of what has come to be known as “independent rock”.

Released in 1995, Empire Records celebrates the small independent music store, planting the seed for what would eventually become Record Store Day. A Breakfast Club-esque group of staffers celebrates alt rock and all things un-pop while ex-Hippie store manager Joe Reaves (Anthony LaPaglia) struggles to keep his uptight yuppie brother from selling out to a chain music store. All sorts of drama ensues as Liv Tyler and Renee Zellweger fight over guys, Robin Tunney dabbles with suicide, and Ethan Embry gets accidentally high to Gwar. A lot of great music is played, culminating in a rooftop concert that raises enough funds to keep the store open, proving there is a good side to community organizing after all.

Of course, there’s an official website for Rex Manning Day, but if you’d like to travel even further down memory lane, check out 13 Favorite Empire Records Memories, get 9 Fashion Lessons from the movie,  or read 5 Fun Facts about the film. Better yet, head on over to your local record store and celebrate the things that make America great: small business, independent music, and a healthy dose of snark.

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The Rise of the Robot Employee

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Bonnie Ramthun

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President Obama’s new initiative is a higher minimum wage, and if he is successful the result will not be higher-paid employees heading off to work every day. Instead their jobs will be filled by an entirely new sort of worker: Robots.

Robots, unlike humans, don’t require pay or sick time or vacations. If they break they’re thrown out and recycled. Robots are expensive, but the threat of a higher minimum wage is now making a robotic worker more cost-effective than hiring a real person.

Across Japan the noodle-making chefs are now made of metal, and when you order a Big Mac at a MacDonald’s in Europe you do it by touch screen. A company called Momentum Machines in southern California has developed a robot that cranks out 400 perfectly-prepared burgers every hour. (Note: Robots do not sneeze. Ever. Think about that for a bit.)

Where is this going? Are we heading for a future where slinky femme fatale robots plot the destruction of mankind while wearing the perfect red dress?

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Altruism in Religion’s Free Market

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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My colleague Walter Hudson recently concluded that altruism has no place in Christian life:

Christian giving promotes life and health. Altruism promotes starvation and death. Altruism redistributes. Christian giving transacts. Christ’s own words assure us of greater blessing in giving than receiving. Christian giving leaves us better off, not worse. Altruism therefore proves atheistic, as Piper declares. We will never give more to others than God will give to us.

Walter’s basic conclusion is capitalist in nature: A Christian should be rewarded in kind (or over and above) for giving of their money, their time, or their talent. On the face of it, his argument makes sense, especially in light of congregational membership. My Christian friends often complain about the concept of “tithing,” a Torah teaching that is grossly abused by the religious establishment. Far too often, “tithing” translates into religious leadership putting pressure on church members to “donate” up to 10% of their annual income to their church. Synagogue membership, on the other hand, is rather simple: The same flat fee is charged to everyone on a yearly basis. No weekly passing of plates, no feeling ashamed; most synagogues have provision to assist members who may not be able to meet the annual sum. Programming fees are charged for additional events, like holiday services and Hebrew school. This model best fits Walter’s description of being rewarded in kind for monies given.

In the era where religious establishments have become places to fulfill business networking and social needs, it makes sense that you’d pay a fee for the religious service as you would any other mode through which these things would be accomplished. You pay for drinks at bars, JDate and Christian Mingle memberships, and head hunters; someone’s got to pay the electric bill so the lights are on when you’re shaking hands. The only question is, where is God in all of this? If the Bible is right, and we were put on earth to walk with Him in a personal relationship, what is He getting for His services rendered? That is, besides a corrupt priesthood on both sides of the aisle, pressuring congregants for cash and willing to let God take the back seat to a business deal?

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Obama: Give Up Your TV and Phone to Fund Other People’s Healthcare

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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By now you may have caught the LIBRE Initiative report of President Obama telling a town hall audience to consider cutting personal expenses to afford health insurance under the [Un]affordable Care Act. Here’s the quote:

[Obama] responded to a question received via email, from a consumer who makes $36,000 per year and cannot find insurance for a family of three for less than $315 per month. The President responded that “if you looked at their cable bill, their telephone, their cell phone bill… it may turn out that, it’s just they haven’t prioritized health care.” He added that if a family member gets sick, the father “will wish he had paid that $300 a month.”

Imagine a Republican politician saying the same thing. The leftist media would go apoplectic.

While that may appear to be a partisan double standard, the truth has more to do with ideology than parties. A Republican telling people to prioritize healthcare expenses over their cable or cell phone would likely do so in a free-market context where such priorities would serve the consumer’s individual interest. Obama, by contrast, asks people to sacrifice for the sake of others.

Obamacare depends upon its mandated enrollments to fund its mandated benefits, a process designed to redistribute wealth. Since paying for others is considered morally superior to paying for yourself in Obama’s worldview, he advises cancelling your cable or cell phone to pay for Obamacare. A Republican offering the same advice in a free-market context would be castigated not primarily for the notion of prioritization, but for the notion of self-reliance. Prioritizing to benefit yourself — bad. Prioritizing to benefit others — good.

The philosophical underpinning of Obama’s comment is altruism, the idea that you exist for the sake of others. The countervailing idea, that you exist for your own sake, is egoism. Obama gets away with his comment not because he’s a Democrat so much as because our culture embraces altruism and bristles at egoism.

Critics of the president would do well to focus on that point rather then the “audacity” of suggesting families might need to prioritize one expense over another. Indeed, families will always need to prioritize one expense over another. That’s part of being an adult in the real world. An alternative to Obamacare should not promise a world without prioritization, but a world where the priorities which individuals choose redound to their own benefit.

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34 Tools of the Trade For New Media Troublemakers

Monday, March 10th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

I am going to try hard to do a product review post each weekday. #ipad #writing goals #newmediatroublemaker

This year at PJ Lifestyle we’re going to try and increase the number of products that we review. This is version 2 of an ongoing list of the best books and products for self-styled “new media troublemakers.” I’m going to try and publish new versions of this list with more products and photos regularly. I’d say daily but don’t want to over-promise yet. I’ll TRY for daily (Monday-Friday) with more product suggestions and original photos…

7 Writing and Media Tools

1. Reading spot of choice (when Wife hasn’t commandeered it): Sumo Gigantor - reviewed here, and named “The Giant Tribble” for its furry resemblance to a notorious Star Trek villain. It serves as background for many book photos.

2. Tablet of choice: iPad, a tool I use throughout the work day…

3. Tablet case of choice: Snugg - reviewed here

4. zebra stylus pen - I like having a real pen on one end and a stylus on the other. I need to order ink refills.

5. Moleskine Journal - I strongly recommend writing by hand and this has become my journal of choice over the years.

6. iPhone for taking and uploading photos.

7. Instagram for sharing images quickly.

2 New Books I’m Enjoying Reading Now That I’ll Be Writing More About Soon:

What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House by Tevi Troy. #Book that just arrived I am excited to read and review! #history #freedom #America #siberianhusky

8What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted by Tevi Troy

On the reading agenda this morning: Lisa De Pasquale's debut book #FindingMrRighteous

9. Lisa De Pasquale’s debut book Finding Mr. Righteous

3 Of My Favorite New Books I’m Going to Reread and Write More About Soon:

Very excited to finally get to read Glenn Reynolds's brand new book! The New #School How the Information Age Will Save #American #Education from Itself

10. The New School by Glenn Reynolds

Was Islam manufactured just to unify the Arab empire? Politically incorrect questions... #history #religion #war #god #empire #secular

11. Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa’s Disinformation 

12. Robert Spencer’s Did Muhammad Exist?

12 Library Books on my Mind of Late:

10 books on #art #culture #history #WaltDisney #BillandHillaryClinton and #EVIL on my mind today.

13. No One Left to Lie To By Christopher Hitchens

14. The Wisdom of Maimonides by Edward Hoffman

15. Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal by William H. Chafe

16. Escape from Evil by Ernest Becker

17. Walt Disney’s Fantasia by John Culhane

18. Walt Disney’s Animated Characters by John Grant

#maura and me Sunday #book reading, jogging, and lunch at the park. Wish Wife was here. #siberianhusky

19. The Hebrew Republic by Eric Nelson

11 books on culture, #art, #poetry personality cults, hate, racism, and #Paganism ancient and modern. Picked up as holds from the library Friday afternoon.

20. Break, Blow Burn by Camille Paglia

21. In Search of Bill Clinton by John Gartner

22. Timothy Leary: A Biography by Robert Greenfield

23. Antisemitism and the American Far Left

"Whenever a person is haughty, the #Divine Presence wails over him." - Maimonides, Commentary on Pirkey Avot quoted in Edward Hoffman's The #Wisdom of #maimonides page 46 juxtaposed with cover of Ann Coulter's case against #BillClinton

24. High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton By Ann Coulter

3. Music and Talk Radio Recommendations While Troublemaking:

What are the 5 best #disney animated films? I am counting down my picks. I have concluded that #Fantasia is the greatest film Disney ever made. Why? I will explain in a future article...

25. Fantasia on Blu Ray

I’ve gotten in the habit of just having it on in the background some days while working…

26. Oceania by the Smashing Pumpkins, which Chris Queen blogged through track by track last year, is still my favorite go-to album when I need to focus and work.

27. Songza for classical music while working and something more energetic while running the Siberian.

28. Early Morning Talk Radio Recommendation: 6 AM-9 AM PST on Am 870 – The Morning Answer with Ben Shapiro, Elisha Krauss, and Brian Whitman

29. Late Morning Talk Radio Recommendation: 9 AM- Noon, The Dennis Prager Show

30. Late Afternoon Talk Radio Recommendation: 3-6 PM The Ben Shapiro Show on KTTH 770

Siberian Husky Supplies

A spoiled #siberianhusky #maura and her defeated #yoda #starwars toy this morning after a good run.

31. Yoda plush

3 Food Picks Today:

A late lunch: 2 cups of tea, #peanuts, #roastbeef, #salami #broccoli #banana #pitachips #pear #stringcheese

32. From the platter of my Trader Joe’s lunch today my perpetual favorite remains their pita chips. I’ll attempt more interesting selections in future photos.

33. 2 cups of Trader Joe’s English Breakfast tea.

34. Underrated Girl Scout cookies: lemon flavored Savannah Smiles.

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Maybe you have a product that you’d like to see featured or reviewed? Everything from food to books to tech gadgets and accessories to Giant Tribbles is fair game. And if I’m not the one to review it then another of the PJ Lifestyle contributors might have the expertise. Please contact me: DaveSwindlePJM <@> Gmail.com

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Video: George Gilder Explains Why Capitalism Creates A Better World

Monday, March 10th, 2014 - by Prager University

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18 Books and Products I Recommend For Other New Media Troublemakers

Friday, March 7th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

I'm going to start photographing more products to blog about. Please get in touch if you are interested in a review. Everything - books, tech, food, practical products.

This year at PJ Lifestyle we’re going to try and increase the number of products that we review. This is the start of an ongoing list of the best products for self-styled “new media troublemakers.” I’m going to try and publish new versions of this list with more products and photos regularly. I’d say daily but don’t want to over-promise yet. I’ll TRY for daily (Monday-Friday) with more product suggestions and original photos…

Beginning a new morning #reading routine with #siberianhusky #maura

Writing and Media Tools

1. Reading spot of choice (when Wife hasn’t comandeered it): Sumo Gigantor - reviewed here, and named “The Giant Tribble” for its furry resemblance to a notorious Star Trek villain

2. Tablet of choice: iPad, a tool I use throughout the work day…

3. Tablet case of choice: Snugg - reviewed here

4. zebra stylus pen - I like having a real pen on one end and a stylus on the other. I need to order ink refills.

5. Moleskine Journal - I strongly recommend writing by hand and this has become my journal of choice over the years.

6. iPhone

Recommended Books on my Mind of Late:

10 books on #art #culture #history #WaltDisney #BillandHillaryClinton and #EVIL on my mind today.

7. No One Left to Lie To By Christopher Hitchens

8. The Wisdom of Maimonides by Edward Hoffman

9. Bill and Hillary: The Politics of the Personal by William H. Chafe

10. Escape from Evil by Ernest Becker

11. Walt Disney’s Fantasia by John Culhane

12. Walt Disney’s Animated Characters by John Grant

"Whenever a person is haughty, the #Divine Presence wails over him." - Maimonides, Commentary on Pirkey Avot quoted in Edward Hoffman's The #Wisdom of #maimonides page 46 juxtaposed with cover of Ann Coulter's case against #BillClinton

13. High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton By Ann Coulter

Very excited to finally get to read Glenn Reynolds's brand new book! The New #School How the Information Age Will Save #American #Education from Itself

14. The New School by Glenn Reynolds

#maura and me Sunday #book reading, jogging, and lunch at the park. Wish Wife was here. #siberianhusky

15. The Hebrew Republic by Eric Nelson

What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House by Tevi Troy. #Book that just arrived I am excited to read and review! #history #freedom #America #siberianhusky

16What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched, and Obama Tweeted by Tevi Troy

On the reading agenda this morning: Lisa De Pasquale's debut book #FindingMrRighteous

17. Lisa De Pasquale’s debut book Finding Mr. Righteous

Siberian Husky Supplies

Today #maura #siberianhusky got groomed and a new blue harness arrived in the mail. She's now tired after our evening run and has assumed her post guarding our patio and monitoring the comings and goings in her neighborhood. Yes, her #Yoda #StarWars doll with a crushed skull in shot.

18. Yoda plush

Food:

Am I the only one who has a fondness for sour fruit? #citrusjunky

Trader Joe’s is current source of photographed foods. Their minneolas didn’t blow me away — as their fruit rarely does — perhaps these on Amazon would be better?

Or maybe you have a product that you’d like to see featured or reviewed? Everything from food to books to tech gadgets and accessories to Giant Tribbles is fair game. And if I’m not the one to review it then another of the PJ Lifestyle contributors might have the expertise. Please contact me: DaveSwindlePJM <@> Gmail.com

Beginning a new series of product reviews. #siberianhusky #maura co-starring.

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Should Atlas Shrug Off Apple?

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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What would you do, as the owner of a company, if the manager you hired to run it rebuked your desire for the highest return on investment? Imagine that you approach your manager with concerns about his performance, and he tells you to stop worrying so much about profit.

Apple CEO Tim Cook did precisely that in a meeting with stockholders at the company’s Cupertino headquarters. Mashable reports on the confrontation with a group of stockholders objecting to Cook’s wasteful spending on environmental initiatives:

“We do a lot of things for reasons besides profit motive,” the CEO said:

We do things because they are right and just and that is who we are. That’s who we are as a company. I don’t…when I think about human rights, I don’t think about an ROI. When I think about making our products accessible for the people that can’t see or to help a kid with autism, I don’t think about a bloody ROI, and by the same token, I don’t think about helping our environment from an ROI point of view.

Anyone who had a problem with that approach? They should sell their Apple shares. “If you only want me to make things, make decisions that have a clear ROI, then you should get out of the stock,” Cook said to applause.

Emphasis should be placed on that applause. Stockholders went on to vote down a proposal to halt environmental efforts which hurt the company’s bottom line. In other words, stockholders voted against making money.

The episode evokes comparisons to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and the character of James Taggart, heir to a railroad company who squanders his inherited wealth on altruistic efforts which ruin both his company and the national economy. Like Cook, Taggart believes business should be motivated by more than profit. Like Cook, Taggart believes business holds some responsibility to help people.

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Crispin Glover’s Gripe with Back to the Future

Friday, February 28th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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Back to the Future actor Crispin Glover sat down with IGN recently to talk about his experience filming the classic time-travel adventure. Glover only worked on the first film in the franchise, though his likeness and select footage from the first film was used in the second.

In his interview with IGN, posted above, Glover explained some of the creative differences which contributed to his leaving the franchise. He objected to what he called “propaganda” in the film promoting “corporate interests.” Specifically, Glover felt that the ending of the first film, portraying the McFly family as happier and notably wealthier than when it began, sent the wrong message.

The happier was fine to me. And the idea of the characters being in love, I thought was excellent. But I thought – I saw that if there was a kind of a financial reward, where the son character cheers because he has a truck in the garage – I thought that the moral aspect ends up being that money equals happiness. And I questioned that, and that was met with a lot of hostility and upset.

Glover recalls watching old movies in revival houses as a teenager in Los Angeles, films which he felt “were questioning things.” He apparently did not want to be complicit in a film which takes for granted that “money equals happiness,” a message he felt deceived moviegoers into sacrificing their interests to that of corporations.

Propaganda is essentially fooling people into believing that there’s something good for them, but it’s actually in the interests of the corporations. I mean, you can call anything propaganda. You can say what I’m saying right now is propaganda. I mean, you’re saying – it’s propagating an idea. But the kind of propaganda that I’m speaking of, that I think is very damaging, is the propaganda that is making people at large feel that what’s being put forth to them is good for their own interests. But in fact, it’s actually best for the corporate interests and it ends up hurting the people at large.

And unfortunately, I think – even though there are very positive things about Back to the Future – there’s very good story structure. There was good writing within it. My argument was, if we just take out the element of wealth as a reward – and it was only that the characters were in love, I would like the film altogether wholly.

The philosophical notion fueling Glover’s objection was that money should not matter if you pursue those things which you love.

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7 Photos of a Siberian Husky vs. a Giant Tribble

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 - by Dave Swindle

When I agreed to sample the Sumo Gigantor, I didn’t realize just what would arrive in a matter of days.

I’d hoped it might suffice as a nice, new beanbag for Maura, our Siberian Husky, and could go in the corner of my office at home.

But when the Gigantor arrived squeezed into a huge box and we emptied it out and put on the fur cover, the majesty of the product revealed itself: the whole family, all three of us, could fit on it together.

Now the Gigantor rests in the living room, having replaced the love seat in our sofa set, which has migrated to the office, kind of finally tying the room together, as The Dude would say.

The Wife has been on a huge Star Trek kick for a while now, thus we have christened the new furniture family member “the Tribble.” And April now monopolizes it with Muara when she’s home. It has become a cozy nest while she works on her master’s thesis.

The #siberianhusky #maura considers The Giant Tribble that has invaded our living room. A review coming soon of #Sumo Gigantor...

#siberianhusky #maura happy with new living room fixture.

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It took a little coaxing at first but Maura the Siberian Husky does now like to come up on the Tribble. Here we are together:

Maura and me sitting on the Tribble. #siberianhusky #maura

I find it to be wonderful during my early mornings. I get up at 4 a.m. and it’s a comfortable spot to read while I do my morning stretching and ease into the work day. (That’s before surrendering once The Wife wakes a few hours later.)

I’ve decided that for future photos of books and other products the gigantor will provide a great backdrop:

Beginning a new morning #reading routine with #siberianhusky #maura

We plan to get more gigantors when it comes time to expand the living room in the future. These are superior to sofas; they’re much more versatile for lying, sitting, or snuggling with a Siberian Husky.

The Tribble is huge.

Order your Gigantor here; they come in a variety of colors and covers.

The Tribble and the #siberianhusky #maura

*****

Do you have a product that you would like to see featured or reviewed at PJ Lifestyle? Contact me at DaveSwindlePJM@Gmail.com

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The New Morality: Crying Over Served Cake

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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In this day and age, why would you be stupid enough to use your religious beliefs as an excuse to deny someone services?

There are plenty of ways to avoid entering into a business transaction without having to appear discriminatory at all. When I worked for a private repair shop and encountered a client who seemed to be more trouble than they were worth for whatever reason, we used to simply say, “I am sorry, but we cannot provide service.” If people questioned why (which they did, very often and with plenty of attitude), we just kept repeating the same phrase: “I’m sorry, we cannot provide the service.” No one interpreted us as being discriminatory, or went as far as attempting legal action. We were simply annoying, so they moved onto a business that was willing to enter into the transaction. No harm, no foul.

That is the beauty of the free market: You have choices. If a bakery simply said “I am sorry, we can’t provide that service,” and left it at that, a gay couple denied service might interpret the owner’s choice as being discriminatory, but they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on in court. You can’t sue based on an inference. Progressives, however, rely on the courts to push their agenda because Big Government is their god. So the minute you breathe a hint of something that could be misconstrued as an opportunity for a lawsuit, they gain home-court advantage.

By simply saying, “I am sorry, we can’t provide that service,” you may be opening yourself up to some annoying picketing and internet memes, but what’s the worst that will do? Throw you in the same court as Chick fil-A? We all know how well that protest worked out. The bottom line is, you’re letting the free market decide your fate, not the courts.

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Firing Back At The Global Warming Radicals

Monday, February 24th, 2014 - by Chris Queen

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Two winter storms in a three week period blanketed the South in snow and ice. Naturally, the Left couldn’t resist the chance to link these winter storms to “climate change.” Qualified scientists like Bette Midler and Politico‘s Roger Simon - not to be confused with PJ Media’s Roger L. Simon - have tried to tie this winter’s weather to an assault on Mother Earth at the hands of capitalism. (News flash: the only climate change causing these storms was the change from fall to winter.) One climate scientist with his fingers on the pulse of reality is fighting back against the climate change madness, and he’s stepping up his game.

Dr. Roy Spencer is one of the most renowned climatologists in the United States. His work for NASA and the University of Alabama at Huntsville over the past three decades has proven valuable to the scientific community. Most importantly, Spencer has become a leading voice against the fallacy of manmade global warming.

Spencer can barely contain his anger against the vitriolic language of the environmental movement – particularly the use of the word “deniers” to describe those of us who do not subscribe to the dangerous, radical, and altogether false premise that civilization and capitalism cause global warming. And he has declared that it’s time to fight back, using their own metaphor against them:

They indirectly equate (1) the skeptics’ view that global warming is not necessarily all manmade nor a serious problem, with (2) the denial that the Nazi’s extermination of millions of Jews ever happened.

Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison. It’s time to push back.

I’m now going to start calling these people “global warming Nazis”.

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Minnesota Lawmakers Mock Poor with ‘Minimum Wage Challenge’

Thursday, February 20th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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Recently, I wrote of a Harvard/CUNY study, conducted by advocates of a single-payer healthcare system, which claims that over 17,000 people will die unless states expand Medicaid. The study rests upon a deeply cynical and inaccurate view of humanity inherent to the Left which regards people as helpless as houseplants.

Now, a group of state lawmakers in Minnesota have announced a political stunt demonstrating that same insulting view of humanity. ThinkProgress reports:

Five state lawmakers in Minnesota have decided to take on the “Minimum Wage Challenge” and live off of a typical budget for a worker who makes the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

The state has one of the lowest minimum wages in the country at $6.15 an hour, which means it gets trumped by the federal wage. A worker who puts in 40 hours a week at that level will earn just $290 before taxes. The challenge limits the lawmakers to $5 a day for food and $9 for transportation.

I am reminded of my high school health class, where it was expected students would learn the hardships of parenthood by carting around a bag of sugar taped to a Cabbage Patch Kids doll. This seems no less puerile.

Rep. Frank Hornstein (D) told CBS Minnesota that it made him take more notice of his costs. “An orange juice was $1.79. That’s not something that I would normally notice,” he said after getting breakfast from McDonald’s Dollar Menu. “Making the decision to take the bus today versus taking the car will save me a little money for dinner. For food,” he added.

Hornstein ought to recognize that the same process of rational judgment which prompts him to consider the price of orange juice while on his restricted budget would also apply when considering obligations like rent, marriage, and parenthood.

Gee, if I make minimum wage, maybe I shouldn’t rent a two-bedroom apartment. Maybe I should aspire to better means before taking on new costs.

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Toy Story ‘Gun’ Confiscated at Airport

Thursday, February 13th, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

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Amidst the vortex of impressions known as social media, some things fail to receive the attention they deserve. When I first saw the above picture of airport security confiscating a toy gun from a cowboy doll, I dismissed it as too absurd to be real. Turns out, as reported by National Review Online, it really happened:

Another gun-wielding toy has had its weapon seized by airport security. After a cowboy sock monkey Rooster Monkburn had his tiny harmless weapon seized last year, a Woody doll underwent similar probe at London’s Heathrow Airport.

Healthrow traveler John Hazen posted a picture of his son’s figurine to the social-media website Reddit on Tuesday showing a security official removing the doll’s gun. “At Heathrow, security just confiscated his ‘weapon,’ keep the world safe boys,”​ Hazen wrote on the site. The doll does not usually come armed with gun — it was an accessory the family added.

How could anyone be so stupid you ask? In a word, government.

Surely, people make dumb decisions in the market. However, the market quickly checks and balances dumb decisions by subjecting them to the individual judgment of competitors, consumers, and stakeholders – all free to associate or disassociate at will. Government, by contrast, deals in force. It mandates compliance instead of judgment. Ergo, when you tell a security officer to confiscate all guns, he’s going to confiscate ALL guns. Common sense be damned.

Let us imagine a world where government was constrained to its proper role of protecting individual rights. In such a world, functions like airport security would be private, as would airports, air traffic control, and the entire aviation sector. Competitors in that environment would remain incentivized to prevent terrorist attacks and other disasters which would adversely affect their business. It turns out having your customers die in your care does little for your brand.

Sensible security precautions would develop, tempered by the demands of consumers who would vote with their dollars on the best overall solution. No doubt, the security realized in a free market would require some assumption of risk on the part of consumers. But the flip side would be getting your kid’s cowboy doll on-board without triggering a federal case. Market judgment outperforms government edict in the development of best practices every time.

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Fifth Beatle Brian Epstein’s Unsung Revolution

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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Gay at a time when homosexuality was a felony and Jewish in an era of “polite” antisemitism, one Liverpool lad broke into entertainment management at a time when the Anglo Lords in London ruled the biz. 50 years later the music world is only beginning to acknowledge that there’d be no Beatles without their manager, Brian Epstein.

This past weekend, Vivek Tiwary, the Gen-X producer that brought Green Day’s American Idiot to Broadway, spoke to an enthusiastic crowd at The Fest for Beatles Fans about his mission to bring Epstein’s little known story to life via a critically acclaimed graphic novel, The Fifth Beatlereleased by Dark Horse Comics.

What I unearthed after much difficult research (there is a paltry amount of information readily available on Brian, which is part of why I want to bring his story to the world) was not just an inspirational business story and a blueprint for what I wanted to accomplish with my career, but also a very human story, as summarized above. It’s a story I could relate to—and wanted to relate to—on so many levels. Brian became my “historical mentor”, if you will. A person from whose history I’ve tried to learn from—both what to do and what NOT to do. Brian was certainly a flawed and imperfect hero, but a hero all the same.

Tiwary has drawn inspiration from Epstein’s trailblazing ingenuity, citing that without Epstein’s persistence, Ed Sullivan never would have brought The Beatles to America. “People scoffed when I brought Sean Combs to Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun because they didn’t believe that Broadway attracted a black audience. I told them that was ridiculous; if we gave them a product they wanted, they would come.” Like Epstein decades before, Tiwary’s was a winning gamble.

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Death or Exile: Will Immigration Reform End the GOP?

Friday, January 31st, 2014 - by Walter Hudson

Ann Coulter has published a scathing critique of House Republicans who plan to move forward on immigration reform. She previews a forthcoming report from Phyllis Schlafly which seems to indicate that any increase in immigration will redound to the benefit of Democrats. Coulter delivers a convincing argument, leading our own Leslie Loftis to herald a return to Tammany Hall.

Taking each woman’s conclusions for granted, a question of political strategy arises. What inspiring plan should be offered as an alternative? We need an answer, because opposing immigration reform solely on the basis of its political effect will convince no one. What exactly does Coulter expect House Republicans to do? Are they to stand up on the floor and say they oppose a policy which will foster votes for Democrats? Even if that somehow proved successful in the short term, this issue will not go away. Republicans need a serious proposal with marketable merit.

The first step involves dropping rhetoric about native unemployment and cheap labor. It’s divisive and offputting in a time when the Republican Party needs to build its coalition amid plainly shifting demographics. More importantly, it ignores key economic realities and the moral principle of individual rights.

The unemployment in America owes far more to government intrusion in the market than to any number of immigrants. Our market’s producers operate with one hand clasped behind their backs by regulation, and the other chopped off through taxation. The rules by which the market plays shift constantly, increasing risk and thus uncertainty and doubt. Such a climate chills innovation and enterprise, slowing the growth which creates jobs.

In a free market, immigration causes unemployment no more than native births do. Adding people to an economy does not take anything from anyone when individual rights stand protected. Under liberty, new people must become their own producers. If they want to survive and thrive, then they will work to that end. Indeed, the freedom to pursue happiness through merit has remained the lure of the New World since its discovery.

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Boycott, Divestment & ScarJo: Pop Culture Questions #BDS

Thursday, January 30th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The boycott/divestment/sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel has been the stuff of universities, investment groups and the American Jewish community until now. Thanks to the stardom of Scarlett Johansson the BDS battle has made its way into the mainstream. While pop culture addicts more attuned to the size of Kim Kardashian’s rear end will pass by the politically fueled story, chances are that the more intelligent among us, including ScarJo’s Avengers following, may take a second look at the morality behind the latest #BDSFail.

The players in this story have drawn a more definitive line in the sand than Walter Sobchak, with left-wing Jewish American sources like the Forward throwing early punches at Johansson’s presumed first move into the political realm:

…Johansson would do well to realize that “normalizing” the Israeli occupation is a bad use of her celebrity.

Justifying the sucker punch with statistics from the openly biased “Whoprofits.org” (“a project that researches and exposes ‘the commercial involvement of Israeli and international companies’ in the occupation”), the Forward got its own slap down from the Israeli leftist paper Ha’aretz, which lives too close to the facts to avoid them completely:

It is true that SodaStream employs hundreds of Palestinians under terms they probably wouldn’t get at a similar Palestinian firm and Birnbaum, to his credit, was willing even to embarrass the Israeli president in defence of his Palestinian workers.

ScarJo’s decision to leave OxFam was the star’s reaction to BDS movement leaders who demanded the international non-profit organization cut ties with the SodaStream spokeswoman who defended the Israeli company, saying:

SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights.

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Forecast for House of Cards Season 2: Stormy with a Chance of Homicide

Saturday, January 25th, 2014 - by Becky Graebner

Remember House of Cards? Well, lucky fans, season 2 will premiere on Netflix on Valentine’s Day 2014. I know, such a sweet holiday for such a sweet show! *Snort*

You may recall that I closed my series on season 1 with a few predictions for season 2. (Click here to read the original article.) After watching the trailer for the upcoming season, I  decided that I needed to make a few more. Like season 1, season 2 is going to be brutal and people are likely to get whacked by the Underwood Power machine. I decided to take a leaf out of Beatrix Kiddo’s book and write my own “Death List Five” for season 2.  My “Death List” is composed of the characters that, in my opinion, are most likely to end up dead by the final episode.  I am open to suggestions.

Becky’s Death List Five:

1. AN ANNOYING OBSTACLE: Mr. Raymond Tusk

After watching the trailer, it looks like this man is going to find himself in Frank’s cross-hairs.  Nobody comes between Frank and power.

Being BFFs with the President might make him seem untouchable, but nobody says “no” to Doug Stamper… there might be an unfortunate chain-saw accident on Tusk’s property.  You just never know…

2. KARMA SUCKS: Zoe Barnes

One of my fellow, HoC watchers submitted Zoe as a possible dead body for season 2.  They argued that “there was no way she could walk away from Frank (alive) after being in so deep.”

I could be persuaded to agree.

3. NICE BUT NOT A PIVOTAL CHARACTER: Lucas Goodwin

Lucas is a likable character, but with Janine as Zoe’s other sounding board and accomplice in “Operation Sink Underwood,” it wouldn’t be too upsetting to the plot if Lucas kicked the bucket. We all know the writers like to keep things interesting…

Would Zoe even bat an eyelash? Meh, maybe.

4. DANGEROUS WITH A PEN: Janine Skorsky

I think Janine is fairly likely to die because she is a) a nosy, outspoken journalist, b) already on Stamper’s radar, and c) underestimates the bad guys she is trying to expose.

Stamper and Underwood wouldn’t allow her to live long enough to write a juicy, tell-all story…

5.  LOOSE ENDS GET SNIPPED: Rachel Posner

Of all the characters, I think Rachel is the most likely to end up dead.  The trailer shows Rachel brandishing a butcher knife in front of Stamper (or, at least, it looks like Rachel). This might be a sneak peek of Rachel’s demise. Rachel is what Stamper calls “a loose end”–and we all know Stamper’s track record when it comes to cleaning up loose ends…

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10 Reasons Why Camille Paglia Is the Champion of the Feminist Right

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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She is an unabashed liberal. In a culture increasingly governed by Marxist Nomenklatura masking itself as “liberal”, conservatives should be bold enough to reclaim that much maligned political descriptor as one of our own. We are, after all, the ideological descendants of classical liberals, making the outspoken once Liberal Democrat, now Libertarian Camille Paglia the perfect match for contemporary politically conservative feminists.

Can’t possibly imagine the lady who, even when she smiles, gives you a look that says, “I know you’re full of s**t,” could possibly fit in the ranks of the right wing? Here are 10 reasons why you need to throw out the stereotypical baby with your lukewarm bathwater thinking and get hot for the fast-talking, heavy thinking, pop culture-loving Camille Paglia.

10. Paglia embraces the idea of electing public leaders with military experience.

“The entire elite class now, in finance, in politics and so on, none of them have military service—hardly anyone, there are a few. But there is no prestige attached to it anymore. That is a recipe for disaster,” she says. “These people don’t think in military ways, so there’s this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we’re just nice and benevolent to everyone they’ll be nice too. They literally don’t have any sense of evil or criminality.”

9. Paglia is Pro-Individual, Pro-Manual Trade, Pro-Free Market.

“We need a revalorization of the trades that would allow students to enter [manual trades] without social prejudice (which often emanates from parents eager for the false cachet of an Ivy League sticker on the car). Among my students at art schools, for example, have been virtuoso woodworkers who were already earning income as craft furniture-makers. Artists should learn to see themselves as entrepreneurs.”

8. Paglia is Pro-Capitalist and Anti-Socialist.

“…it is capitalism that ended the stranglehold of the hereditary aristocracies, raised the standard of living for most of the world and enabled the emancipation of women. The routine defamation of capitalism by armchair leftists in academe and the mainstream media has cut young artists and thinkers off from the authentic cultural energies of our time.”

“In my view, comparing the evidence of the 20th century, that socialism in a nation ultimately does lead to economic stagnation and eventually of the creative impulse, in terms of new technology and other things.”

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Men: Act Like a Lady if You Want to Get a Job

Sunday, January 12th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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It’s the economy, stupid.

So says Rachel Burger, who believes that the current economy is to blame for the demise of masculinity, not those darned feminists:

The reality is that the economy–that men themselves created–is far more to blame for the sorry state of American men. The Internet Age, along with global trade and the mass outsourcing of low-skill labor has brought forth in the West a people-based and knowledge-based economy which emphasizes social intelligence. Young women are now outpacing men across the board, from education to employment, and men should take a hint. If men want to pursue their roles as providers and achievers, they’re going to have to woman up.

It’s not the girls’ fault. “After all, it was men who invented the Internet, who created and sold mass-produced computers, who shipped jobs overseas and who even fashioned social media.” Thanks, Mark Zuckerberg.

Burger’s is a thinly veiled response to Camille Paglia’s praise of the “modern economy as a male epic” published last month in Time. Unlike Paglia, Burger comes to the table lacking an understanding of the relationship between economy and gender. With a millennial’s narrow perspective on American history, Burger manages great insight into the post-dot-com world of social intelligence-based tech companies while completely skipping over the debacle of NAFTA with the grossly prejudicial term “low-skill labor.”

In that primordial decade known as the ’90s, America’s manual labor industry was eviscerated by the North American Free Trade Agreement. Seventeen years after the agreement was signed, studies showed a loss of 682,900 American jobs, 60% of which were lost in the manufacturing industry. That doesn’t include the jobs that would be necessary without the imports from NAFTA — a whopping 1.47 million. Those jobs, and the financial boost that would’ve come with them, sure would’ve come in handy in 2008 when, as a result of the recession, the U.S. lost 2.6 million jobs. Mexico, the nation that continues to profit from NAFTA, does not defame nor downplay the benefits of so-called “low-skill labor.”

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Rolling Stone, Privately Traded Company, Advocates Millennials Share the Wealth

Thursday, January 9th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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My  colleague Walter Hudson recently ripped into the ignorance of Jesse A. Meyerson’s  Occupy-hipster treatise, “Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For.” The article was published in Rolling Stone magazine, the flagship publication of Wenner Media, a privately owned company. To clarify: ”Privately held companies are not required to file financial disclosure documents with government regulators such as the SEC, so detailed financials usually are not readily available to the public.”

In other words, the publisher of the magazine that prints articles informing readers they should advocate for:

  • “Job guarantees” through the non-profit (i.e. taxpayer funded) sector
  • A “universal basic income” funded through (taxpayer-based) Social Security
  • The creation of a “simple land-value tax”
  • A taxpayer-funded “sovereign wealth fund”
  • Taxpayer-funded state-owned public banks

doesn’t need to tell you one darn thing about the amount of taxes they do (or don’t) pay. Who knows? Wenner Media might just qualify as one of Meyerson’s despised “megacorporations”. The fact that the company’s co-founder, Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, is worth a cool $700 million makes you think twice, unless you’re some twentysomething hack who has a proclivity for overusing the word “blow.” Did the editors have to cut out his Beavis and Butthead-like chuckles from the text? No wonder the guy is advocating for a government-funded job watering that fern in his Williamsburg apartment (or, as he prefers to call it, “urban farming”); the only reason he managed to swing a writing gig is because he’s a glorified mouthpiece for the same yuppie political hucksters he claims to be fighting against. That’s right, Meyerson’s a Tool for the Machine. Huh-huh-huh, I said tool.

Forget the fact that the guy who thinks we have an unemployment problem because available jobs are “menial” and “boring” is also the same guy who believes putting every adult on an auto-pay system will actually improve individual well-being, stimulate the economy, and spark a cultural renaissance in “painting murals.” You can’t reason with stupid. You can only laugh at the irony of a Marxist hippie ideology being parroted in a magazine created by a Marxist hippie that has become a pathetic homage to ideas so dense and ridiculous that their owners, like Jann Wenner, long ago left them in the dustbin to pursue successful truths, like capitalism, the free market, and the ability to own private corporations.

Congratulations, kid, you’ve been duped. But at least Mr. Wenner and the 30% of Rolling Stone readers whose income exceeds $100,000 a year were kind enough to redistribute some of their money your way.

Working sure feels good, doesn’t it?

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