January 3, 2002

A Not-So-Beautiful Mind

A Not-So-Beautiful Mind - As an apparent frontrunner for the Best Picture Oscar, A Beautiful Mind demands more scrutiny than critics have so far given it. Ultimately, it reveals less about the delusions of mathematician John F. Nash than it does about the delusions of the modern hack screenwriter. Read the rest of my review here. 1/3/2002

January 2, 2002

529 Plan, Tax Savings, and right half of the bell curve

Happy New Year (for some people) - I've long pointed out how we lucky members of the right (i.e., upper) half of America's IQ bell curve use our cleverness to exploit the left half. One grotesque example is the college expense tax break called the "529 Plan." It gives huge tax savings to people whose kids are going to college, but offers nothing to people who are trying to save in order to establish their kids in a trade.

Here in California, you can shelter up to $229,000 in a 529 account. You don't have to pay federal taxes on your earnings while they accumulate, and, starting today and running until at least 2010, you don't even have to pay taxes on earnings when you withdraw them to pay for college expenses for your child. Oh, you say your kid isn't the college-type, but you are saving money to buy him an 18-wheeler to drive when he gets out of the Marines, and you'd like to use a 529 plan? Sorry, but too bad. If you want the tax break, you should have had a smarter kid. Click here for an FAQ giving the unbelievable details. 1/1/02.

December 31, 2001

Have you ever heard a Kwanzaa song?

Bye-Bye Kwanzaa - What's fascinating about Kwanzaa is that its relentless advance in official recognition is solely a product of the Left's "march through the institutions." African-Americans who aren't part of the bureaucracy themselves don't seem to care much about it - at least they don't care enough to write Kwanzaa songs. Have you ever heard a Kwanzaa song? To find out if any actually exist, I logged on to an MP3 song file-sharing network. (Note to the Recording Industry of America Association's mongoose-like lawyers: This was purely for journalistic research purposes.) I found 4055 tracks with "Christmas" in the file name, a huge proportion of them performed by blacks. In contrast, there were only 11 copies of Kwanzaa songs, and, judging by the titles, they didn't seem to reflect much originality and/or respect for the holiday. Most of the files were copies of either "I'm Dreaming of a Black Kwanzaa" or "The Twelve Days of Kwanzaa" (there are actually seven days). 12-31-01