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July 2006

Bastille Day lessons

I know I've been on an international jag of late, what with World Cup postings and frequent references to F1 auto racing. But I've got one more global blog for you and then I promise to settle down to more U.S. of A. specific items. Today is Bastille Day, France's national holiday that always falls in the middle of the Tour de France bicycle race. The hubby and I are watching the Tour again this year, even though fellow Austinite Lance Armstrong is not there. A "flock" of yellow flamingos at a local Austin nursery salutes Lance's seventh record-setting Tour... Read more →


Hybrids 'til you heave

OK, I swear I'll get off the hybrid car kick ... as soon as the IRS does. Remember my June 9 post that mentioned how some companies are giving their employees extra cash to help them buy hybrid vehicles? No? Then you can re-read it here, about halfway down. Well, today the IRS issued a release alerting such workers that just as there's no free lunch, there's no tax-free commute. According to the tax agency, employer cash to help defray a hybrid purchase is taxable. Such "rebates" or cash incentives to employees for buying these fuel-efficient vehicles are just like... Read more →


Pace accelerating for tax-saving autos

I was going to take down the hybrid vehicle poll results yesterday, but two things stopped me. First, TypePad crashed. OK, it only partially crashed. You still could read the blog, but when I went to update it Wednesday afternoon, I couldn't. And, secondly, by the time I was able to get around to tweaking the blog, more hybrid data had come down the pike. Specifically, the IRS announced additional vehicles that could help you save gas and cut your 2006 tax bill. So with the IRS starting to resemble an auto dealership, releasing yet more data on vehicles that... Read more →


My bliss arrived on a FedEx truck

I'm not a real girly girl. Neither am I tomboy. I'm basically lazy. That means that when I discovered that I looked pretty darn good with just a few swipes of a mascara brush, I dropped my previous full makeup regime, which ate up at least half an hour of my day. Now I admit that I do look even more gorgeous when I carefully apply full eye makeup, foundation, blush and powder and take time to style my hair instead of letting it, post shampoo, air dry naturally. And I do go all out, cosmetically, from time to time.... Read more →


Any homeowners going bare?

I'm talking about your homeowners insurance coverage, folks. The rising cost of homeowners policies has prompted a lot of owners to take a chance and do without coverage. Are you one of them? If so, are you willing to talk to me on the record -- your name, city of residence -- about your decision? I'm writing a story -- that thing I do so I can afford to blog on the side -- and for the article I would like to talk to people who are in this situation. If you're willing to share, drop me a line by... Read more →


Are you one of the thousands who was apoplectic when the Atlantic City casinos were shut down? Do you play every lottery game your state has every week … or day? What about personal foibles, such as smoking or drinking, that many people view as no longer socially correct? If so, and you have any extra cash left over from your bad habits, then maybe you should put it into a vice fund. While socially responsible investment strategies, that is, putting money only into companies that meet certain ethical standards, is a well-known practice utilized by many investors, some other... Read more →


Cruising into July

As we drive deeper into July, the latest edition of Carnival of Cars is bringing summer's automotive heat. At the Carnival, you'll find my ways to save on auto insurance. Car Buying Tips also is there, taking a look at #2 on my list, buy a safer car, and providing a list of current autos that will get you a lower premium. Our host, Tapscott Behind the Wheel, also offers items on the pricing plans of several auto manufacturers, links us to a look at the sports car coming in 2009 from Lexus and, of course, fills our need for... Read more →


Squeaky wheel gets the grease

In the case of New Jersey, though, it was a Roulette wheel. Atlantic City, the east coast's premier gambling destination was shut down after lawmakers failed to agree by July 1 on how to bridge the state's $4.5 billion budget gap. But coins should be jangling and slot levers rattling again any moment now. So what in the heck happened? And why? One of the first blogs to point out the Garden State's dire fiscal situation was Mauled Again, where Prof. Maule noted that state leaders needed to get a grip on the obvious: "The amount collected (in taxes, fees,... Read more →


The truth, or not, about immigration

The truth on immigration policy is out there, but which truth? The X-Files might have been about extraterrestrial aliens, but a series of nationwide Congressional hearings on the "illegal aliens" issue should be characterized using one of the television show's recurring themes: Trust no one. These hearings, which kicked off yesterday in Philadelphia and San Diego, are the ultimate in dog-and-pony shows. Expect whoever is leading the hearing to carefully direct the discussion to support a predetermined position. Depending on whether the hearing leader is for stricter border controls with no amnesty (the putative House position) or guest worker guidelines... Read more →


Investigate the Carnival of Investing

With the long holiday and all the noise of the actual July 4th, the Carnival of Investing slipped into town almost unnoticed. But you don't want to miss this 29th edition, hosted this week by Mighty Bargain Hunter and containing our stock market rate reactions post. It's among two dozen blog articles designed to help you up your assets, so check it out! Read more →


International sporting dilemma

The World Cup final is set and I don't know who to yell for on Sunday. Yes, it's true. I've been watching the soccer matches. And while I might not have had the sporting epiphany I hoped for in this earlier post, I have truly enjoyed watching world-class athletes compete. Now the 2006 event is almost over, with Italy and France set to battle for the Cup and European bragging rights, at least for the next four years. At various times in my life, I've dreamed of moving to both countries. How will I choose which of my fantasy future... Read more →


Real rockets' red glare

NASA did its part for America's 230th birthday celebration today, launching the Space Shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven from Cape Canaveral. It was the first ever July 4 launch of a manned spacecraft. One of my earliest dreams was to be an astronaut. I had to abandon that dream when I realized that it would involve proficiency in math; yes, much more mathematical prowess than it takes to compute taxes! But I never gave up my love of our space program. So many of my childhood memories are of NASA accomplishments. I was very young, but I remember... Read more →


Book me, Danno

I was fingerprinted today. Note to family and friends: Quit freaking out. I was not arrested. How could you even think such a thing?!? So there is no accompanying mug shot a la Smoking Gun's infamous rogues gallery. No, I simply had to have the digits inked as part of a background check for a tax-related position for which I'm applying. Not to be overly mysterious, but I'm not going to elaborate right now. My application is to a group that I'd really like to be a part of and I'm afraid if I say any more, I'll jinx my... Read more →


So sorry, but this page is no longer available. But please don't leave empty handed! You can see my latest tax post at Don't Mess With Taxes' home page. Or you can check out the blog Archives or Table of Contents for the topics that interest you. Or you can search the ol' blog for something specific by using the search feature over in the right column under the "What are you looking for?" header. I hope this helps and you find what you need. And thanks for visiting Don't Mess With Taxes. Advertisement Read more →


There's no place like a home business

The inaugural Carnival of Home Business is now available. Many thanks to Start a Side Business for developing and hosting this first edition. For all of us harried home business operators, it's divided into three categories: home business creation, business advice and business ideas. I'm please to report that my recounting of my crashed computer made it into the advice section. I hope it helps spare some other small business owner the same hassle. As for other good business tips, do your home-work homework and check out this new carnival! Coming attraction: It sure seems that the first of the... Read more →


It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a Carnival of Cars!

Section targeting

The latest Carnival of Cars and the new Superman movie converged this weekend, making me realize why I've always liked Batman so much more than that dude from Krypton (or the gas either, for that matter). To paraphrase the Dark Knight as portrayed not-so-darkly by Val Kilmer in Batman Forever, "It's the car, right? Chicks love the car." (Batmobile image courtesy of GoCarlo.com La Galerie.) OK, I'm not that shallow. I prefer Batman because I like my heroes a bit on the anti side of the line, and Batman is the best noir, literally and cinematically, crime fighter... Read more →