Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Amazon.com's double-whammy for Massachusetts comes in one more day (Nov 1)

Whammy #1

Despite the illegality of applying a state tax (of any kind) to an interstate purchase (in direct violation of U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause found at Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3), Amazon.com has capitulated to Massachusetts' harassment.  As of November 1, 2013, Amazon.com will begin collecting the state's sales tax on purchases sold by Amazon.com.  This does not include third party vendors which sell their product through Amazon.com's website, who are responsible to handle their own taxation (if any).

The problem I have with this is that is really is illegal.  Until such a time that Congress actually passes a law granting states the authority to apply their intrastate taxes to interstate sales, these states are in willful violation of our Constitution.  There are exceptions this that have been allowed by Federal Courts, but Amazon.com (nor most online retailers) does not have a business that operates in such as way as to fall under these exceptions.  Besides that, there are ambiguities that Congress needs to resolve.  Allowing taxation of purchases that do not originate within the state may be an open door for states to outright tax purchases that have no origin or destination within their own territory, but are rather just passing through.

There are a lot of nonsensical justifications for taxation of interstate sales, and there are a lot of good reasons to not allow such taxation.   I would go into detail here as to why, but I've actually covered this pretty well in a previous article about California's similar attempts to harass Amazon.com and other online retailers.

Whammy #2

Not quit as annoying, but still bothersome is that last week Amazon.com raised their minimum purchase for free shipping.  Instead of the $25 threshold, the minimum purchase for free shipping is now $35.  What does this mean for most casual shoppers who don't buy into the Amazon Prime plan?  There may be some short term gain in sales from customers who are not aware of the change and planned on making immediate purchase.  But over the long run, my guess is that many will wait longer between purchases rather that purchase more each time.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Friday, October 04, 2013

Portland, ME

Allie and had a nice weekend in Portland, ME in Sept.  Beautiful town with friendly people, fresh seafood and nice weather.















Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Seriously, who thought of this? Let the rhymes commence

There really is a website for everything.  Well, there is a site for word rhyming called Visual Rhymes. This site is so smart that it can even find rhymes for orange.  I always believed there are no English words that rhyme with orange.  Of course, the website shows the closest rhyme, but I think it is a bit rough, though it is technically correct.  Let me try to use the rhymes with orange in a bad poem that only Vogons will love.

Let me say how I love your skin orange.
Random pieces dogs will scavenge.
Keep your dogs away from that syringe.
Oh, o'er there the bad dogs whinge.
Watchout for the skintle to avoid a cringe
face from roughed up skin.  Oh, I love your skin orange.
Orange, orange, Oh, orange of color grand, 
sometimes impinge.

I did warn that it would be bad poetry.  As bad poetry goes, I'd say that was pretty good attempt and being really really bad.  So bad.  So very very bad. Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Sussex might be proud. Anyway, I'm not convinced it is a good idea to try to attempt rhymes with the word orange, even if there are words that are available for such as task.

Valuable lesson from my first professional job, or how much is a brownie point worth?

My first professional job was in Silicon Valley for a laser company.  My boss was Bob.  Based on my take of things, Bob was stereotypical for a guy named "Bob" in the professional realm.  I'll just leave that to your imagination.  Anyway, Bob was wise and taught this young pup a few lessons.  One that has proven exceptionally valuable is the concept of brownie points.

Brownie points are earned one at a time for doing someting that impresses the boss.  The first time I earned a brownie point for being cleaver (I can't even remember what about), Bob said to me something along the lines of,
Congraluations!  You've earned one brownie point.  It takes 1000 to cancel-out one "Oh Shit".


There it was; the formula that explained everything that happens on the job. 

1000b = 1M 

Do something impressive and you get quick praise "b".  Make one mistake big "M" and you are in trouble no matter how much good you've done.  Unlike your 401K, brownie points don't carry over from job to job either.  Get a new job - start over.  I hope this helps! :)