Thursday, January 07, 2010

Notes from Last Week's WSJ

Home with a cold and tired of staring at a stack of articles pulled out from last week's Wall Street Journal. Regular readers may recall I used to post a list every week of interesting PA tidbits from the WSJ. I am not starting that up again; this is going to be an occasional thing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Martin Vaughan writes "Estate-tax repeal means some spouses are left out," on 1/02. The estate tax is repealed for 2010 only. While for many people this means a year of conflicting thoughts about the health of elderly relatives, it can cause problems when wills were written specifically to deal with the estate tax. The estate tax always kind of amuses me. When my father died I inherited his drill instructor's hat, an 8 place setting set of china, and a bill for part of the funeral expenses. Family farms and small businesses do see more of an effect, but divorce also plays havoc in those situations and I don't see anyone talking about outlawing that.

Another little-known and unusual business in PA -- Citikitty, owned by Rebecca Rescate of Yardley, sells a product designed to teach / allow cats to use a toilet instead of a litter box. Citikitty started in 2005 with sales of 2,100 units. In 2009 it has sales of 7,000. (See "What's new pussycat?" by Anne Marie Chaker 12/31). My cats scoffed at me with evident disdain when I broached this topic with them.

Brent Helliker, a biology prof at U Penn is one of three brothers whose differing uses of technology is discussed in Kevin Helliker's "Daring to live your life offline," 12/29

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