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Herding Cats: The Dollar Coin, Gas Prices Tracker and More Charlie Sheen

By (view all posts by Dealman)
at 11:57AM Friday March 11, 2011
under Loose Change

It would be impossible to talk about the week's events without first addressing the tragic earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
AndrewSullivan.com - Japan Hit By Massive Earthquake, Tsunami: A good rundown of the crisis as it unfolded.  Many people woke up to this news after it had been going on for several hours.  Check the Huffington Post for the latest updates, as well as video from around the country.

Time Magazine - A Coup in Wisconsin: How the Governor Got His Way: "Coup" is a very loaded word, but this is Time Magazine not Daily Kos (though there are probably people who think the two are equal).  Just when the protesters were thought to have a victory in Wisconsin, the governor pulled a rabbit out of his hat and passed the measure with no Democrats present.  Though it's entirely legal, it's not exactly savory.  If Democrats did this, Republicans wouldn't be very happy.

On Wisconsin, The New Republic writes, "Walker sprung a far-reaching bill he didn't campaign on that was designed in large part to hamper the opposition party from winning future elections."  And then "Democrats will overturn it when they next attain a majority, which will itself become easier due to the unpopularity of Walker's actions."  Somehow, those two sentences don't seem to go together.

The Week - Time to get rid of $1 bills?:   This is interesting: There's a push to eliminate paper dollar bills, as "the GAO says that switching to dollar coins would save $5.5 billion over the next 30 years."  I lived in France for a year and you pretty much do all of your small spending with coins.  the downside of having pocketfuls of coins is they're easier to lose and you sometimes have a tendency to spend more (at least I did).  Using a dollar coin that's basically the same size and feel as a quarter makes it seem less valuable.  Also haven't they tried this already?  People aren't exactly clamoring for Sacajawea or Susan B. Anthony coins.

MapQuest Blog - MapQuest Helps Drivers with Money-saving Tools: Did you know that you can use Map Quest to find the lowest gas prices in your area?   Check out gasprices.mapquest.com--it lists the lowest prices in town. Of course, it doesn't make sense to drive 10 miles to get cheaper gas, because that will negate the savings.  It also helps to have a smartphone.  But you can imagine a time when all cars are outfitted with this kind of tech.

A follow-up to last week's Charlie Sheen post:  A video which proves Charlie Sheen is faking it.

FindLaw/Legally Weird - Millionaire Dentist Stole College Student's Credit Card to Buy Pizza: One of the more hated men in America right now.  It's the extra olives that did him in.  The other day I was at a FedEx store and someone left their debit card inside the fax machine.  I grabbed it and gave it to her.  Honestly, I'd rather receive the karmic payment than face the weird amount of guilt ripping someone off.  But that's me. I imagine if you found a card on the ground you might use it just to see if it worked.  Curiosity is this guy's only defense.

Bargaineering - Your Take: Have You Ever Bribed Someone?:  On the corruption front, Bargaineering asks an interesting question: Have you ever bribed someone?  Judging from the comments, not a lot of people have.  Personally: no, I haven't.  But that may also be because I'd feel kind of stupid giving, say, a maitre d' a $20 for a better table...is that enough?  Would it be rebuffed?  I think I'd be terrible at it.  I'd rather give someone a generous tip, which is sort of like a retroactive bribe.

So have you?  Don't worry, we won't tell--it's only on the internet.