• AMERICANS’ WORK-LIFE BALANCE, WHEN MEASURED IN HOURS AT WORK VS. LEISURE, ranks ninth from the bottom of 34 capitalist countries. The major reason is that Europeans & Scandinavians have “national laws, like mandatory paternal leave, that alleviate the burden on working moms”; another is they are willing to earn less money. The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development) released a ‘Better Life Index’ last month still concluding that “the U.S. is the best country in the world” and actually places among the top countries in terms of job satisfaction and commuting time, with work-hours having dropped 200 annually (1/2 day a week) over the past six decades. However, that number is paltry compared to other countries: e.g. 540 hours reduction for Brits, close to 700 hours for French and nearly 1,000 hours for Germans. Also, in America “it is the least educated and poorest men who have seen the highest gains in ‘leisure’ – as typical working women’s work hours rose by 230% during this period, but men’s ‘housework’ increased by 370%. We did rank above Mexico. [THE ATLANTIC – June 1, 13]
  • E-CURRENCY IS A BUST. Cyber-underground users of Liberty Reserve lost everything when the U.S. government seized its ‘virtual currency’ records and shut it down for money laundering. Similar systems (eGold, eBullion and others) had earlier been shut for laundering and operating Ponzi schemes, leaving Russian-based WebMoney and Panamanian -based PerfectMoney as the dominant “centrally-managed e-currency pegged to the U.S. dollar” (each now quickly having adopted policies to preclude any new U.S. citizen or corporate investors. All private-currency-exchanges (including Bitcoin) are considered by authorities to be “Ponzi-scheme investment scams that promise unsustain- ably high returns by paying previous investors with new investor funding” and many are launched “for the benefit of drug dealers and crime forums… housed at servers in countries actively hostile to the U.S. (including North Korea and Iran)… One was designed specifically to accommodate ‘cashout’ services from fraudulent wire transfers sent via Western Union & Moneygram; another deletes records at user request, or permanently after two months. [KREBS ON SECURITY – May 13, 13]
  • BOGUS ‘SALE’ PRICE CAN NOW CREATE A CLASS-ACTIONABLE ‘FALSE ADVERTISING’ CLAIM, according to the California-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, if/when goods are “routinely sold at the advertised ‘sale’ price… inducing a consumer to buy a product he/she would not have purchased, or to spend more than they otherwise would have… Misinformation is significant in the same way that a false-product label would be… so a consumer can allege ‘lost money on property’…because of expectations about the product having a higher perceived value and therefore a higher resale value.” [MANATT ADVERTISING LAW – June 7, 13]
  • OBAMACARE INSURANCE IS JUST 6-MONTHS AWAY. Critical factors to know are: (1) Businesses with 50 employees working 30 hrs/wk must now provide medical insurance coverage for workers and their dependent children under age 26 (but not spouses), or pay meaningful penalties; (2) Same for individuals over 18 not covered by an employer – i.e., acquire coverage or pay penalties; (3) Businesses with under 25 employees at average wage below $50K per year may be eligible for tax credits; (4) Rules on minimum coverage, ratio of premiums to employees’ household income, allowable plan costs and multiple other issues are complex. You’ll need professional guidance. [CALIFORNIA CPA – Jun 13]
  • SUMMER SWIMMER CAUTION: BEWARE OF PUBLIC POOLS. Chlorine or other disinfectants don’t kill germs instantly and, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control, “58% of community pools contain E.coli… most coming from fecal matter on people’s bodies (on average, about .14 grams on their rear end)… To reduce risk of infection, rinse off with soap before and after diving in, and avoid swallowing any water.” Duh. [THEWEEK – June 7, 13]
  • THOUGHTS FOR THE WEEK: Instant Pizza Delivery, often a late-night dream, is one step closer with Dominos now testing a small ‘unmanned drone’ (named the Domicopter) that could soon be carrying two pizzas to your doorstep. Meanwhile, if interested in what real drones can see from 31⁄2 miles up, check out: http://www.youtube.com/v/AHrZgS-Gvi4

    Before the economic crisis, 47% of Harvard College 2007 seniors were hired in Finance jobs; this year’s class has 15%. Every now and then, magic acts really appear to be true magic: http://www.flixxy.com/best-international-stage-magicians.htm#.UXOSALX-Frc