If the ultra-rich can always find ways to skirt taxation through shelters and loopholes, guess who's paying for you to flake on your eminently lenient student-loan repayment plan: Likely your mom and dad, who think that you're an independent, responsible adult. What you're really doing in defaulting is continuing to cash in your allowance from your parents, except that it's multiplied exponentially and laundered through the government.
--A Planet Fitness member in Massachusetts made the news last week for having her gym membership revoked by management for yakking on her cell phone in violation of the club's phone-free policy. There's nothing quite like working up an exhilarating sweat on a cardio machine at the gym while trying to enjoy a brief reprieve from the day's stresses, when suddenly you find yourself an unwitting captive to someone shouting the details of her banal life into a cell phone. There is only one kind of remark that should ever be uttered on a cell phone in a cardio fitness area: "Has the transplant arrived? Prep me for surgery -- I'll be right there!"
--Russia's parliament just voted for an incremental ban that will fully outlaw smoking in public places, including residential buildings, restaurants and bars, by 2015. The measure aligns the country with the rest of the civilized world. But it got me thinking about the rampant disrespect for others' freedoms. There would be no need for bans if people weren't so shameless as to think that imposing their noxious habit on everyone around them was acceptable. No one would be trying to take away anyone's personal choice to inhale a high density of carcinogens if they did so with a large bag tied tightly around their head so they could suck every bit of it in.
--And finally, to wrap up the Global Shamelessness Tour with an extreme case of tone-deafness: Iran has requested bilateral talks with the U.S. while their nuclear chief, Fereidoun Abbasi, announced almost simultaneously that Iran is pursuing another 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges for its broadly defined "nuclear program."
And that's just one week.