Tuesday, May 7, 2013

most convincing craigslist scam yet

today, at 9:53pm, i received this email in response to one of my craigslist ads

6:52:50 PM is current moment in time to support I am real. Reach out located at Vlaptj@hotmail.com
i'm pretty sure he's real.  he said so.  he even included the time.  how could a bot possibly do that?

Monday, August 20, 2012

shut the whole thing down.

oh silly liberals.  you're doing it wrong.  i know you want to get all outraged and want to put on a big show for your constituents and look real angry but you're blowing steam about the wrong thing.  trust me, i'm an expert on outrage.  recently congressmen todd akin 'misspoke' and said, when asked about abortions for rape victims, "if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."   going off on mr. akin for using the phrase "legitimate rape", accusing him of implying that rapes are legitimate and some are not is missing the point.  liberal or conservative, and regardless of where you stand on the abortion issue, the thing you should be really, honestly and truly upset about is this member of congress, this leader of nations, this MEMBER OF THE HOUSE SCIENCE COMMITTEE seems to think that the body's of women who have become pregnant as the result of being raped somehow have the magically ability to know this and self-abort.

also i love how "misspoke" has become such a popular catch-all for either outright lying or just plain saying some dumb ass shit.

Friday, April 13, 2012

how to tax the rich, without taxing the rich

it's easy, make the capital gains tax rate the same as the income tax rate.  the problem with taxes is everyone thinks everyone but them should be paying more.  that's why taxing the rich is so popular... because most people aren't rich.  i see two problems with the so-called buffet rule:

1) if you ask people what the dollar amount is to make someone rich, it's invariably more money than they are currently making.  how do you fairly draw a line on who is rich and who isn't?  someone who makes $100k in bumblefuck wisconsin, might be pretty well off, but $100k in washington dc or new york or san francisco you are probably dumping at least half your pay check on your rent.

2) it's too easy to argue that it's unfair.  poor people don't think rich people don't pay enough.  rich people think poor people don't pay enough.  poor people think rich people are greedy assholes. rich people think poor people are lazy and consume a disproportionate amount of the services the government provides.  the only "fair" way is for everyone to pay the same rates.  at least if you assume "fair" to mean allowing for the least amount of complaining.

by increasing the capital gains rate, you completely the eliminate the question of who is rich and who isn't and everyone who is paying taxes, is paying the same rate, with no perceived favoritism.

but wait!  increasing the capital gains rate will stop investment!  bullshit.  think about it.  you're a wealthy investor.  you want to make more money so you invest it.  right now you have to pay 15% in taxes on your gains.  well what if you had to pay 30%.  are you going to decide, ah fuck, it's not worth it anymore and just go swan dive in your giant coin vault, scrooge mcduck style?  of course you aren't.  you're going to invest it and pay 30% on your earnings because paying 30% on your earnings is better than not earning anything, right?  right.

problem solved.  you're welcome america. (debate is of course welcome.)

here's some other general thoughts on taxes:

  • the home mortgage interest tax deduction makes no sense and has nothing to do with anything.  the government does not need to incentivize activities that people would do naturally anyway.  it should be phased out.  and i say this, whilst holding three mortgages, not as someone who has nothing to lose and thinks everyone else should be paying, but not me
  • an effective tax rate (not marginal) of 15% actually seems like a reasonable amount to be paying.  an effective tax rate of 25-30% does not.  you should not have to work 1/4 of the year just to pay your taxes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

why i can't win at the stock market

a few weeks ago, planet money decided to run an experiment.  they asked readers to pick a number between 0 and 100, with the goal being to pick the number closest to half the average of all the guesses. so here's how to you play the game.  if you assume everyone is guessing randomly, the average would be 50, so you'd pick 25.  however, knowing that everyone else knows what you know, and are all guessing 25, you should pick 12.5, however knowing that everyone else knows what you know, and are all guessing 12.5, you should pick 6.25, and on and on and on until you wind up with some number which for all intents and purposes is zero.  makes sense right?  how could a reasonable, rational person pick anything else?  well planet money released the results along with a graph of the distribution of guesses, to which i have added my own interpretation.  for the record, the actual winning number turned out to be 11.53.  i picked zero.

this whole experiment and ensuing debates with coworkers reminds me of this...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

more fun with scammers

Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2011 02:37:12 +0100
Subject: washburn lyon electric guitar w/ practice amp - $75 (alexandria, va)
From: glevipaniz@gmail.com
To: sale-hjxug-2535751575@craigslist.org

** Avoid: wiring money, cross-border deals, work-at-home
** Beware: cashier checks, money orders, escrow, shipping
** More Info: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.html

You still have it up for sale? 

This message was remailed to you via: sale-hjxug-2535751575@craigslist.org
If this email is a scam or spam please flag it now:

To glevipaniz@gmail.com

Thanks for your response. I'm going on a vacation to London but I will instruct my assistant to prepare and mail your payment which I'm sure you will get in about 4 - 6 business days. I'll add $20 extra for the delay. I'll pay by M O or cashier check so send me your info (i.e full name, mailing address and your phone number) 
I will also make arrangement for pick-up which will be after you must have received and cashed the payment.
Awaiting your info.

To facebookpromotions001@gmail.com
You know what would really be more convenient for me is if you gave me your name, address, phone number and your bank routing number and checking account number and I will just direct-debit your account.  I'd be happy to ship the items to you.  That way we could complete this transaction much quicker.