In 2011, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta predicted Israel would bomb Iran by spring of 2012. The day before the 2012 election, political consultant Dick Morris predicted Mitt Romney would win "by a landslide." In 2011, with gold at $1,510 an ounce, a panel of experts said the price would get much higher. Gold is currently $1,270.
TMQ likes hyperspecific predictions and also predictions that extend so far into the future that by the time the day arrives, everyone will have forgotten what was predicted. This 2013 study on thunderstorm frequency combined these qualities -- forecasting there will be 2.4 more days per season with thunderstorms in parts of Texas and Oklahoma, but not until 70 years from now.
Marriage Equality Means the Marriage Penalty on April 15: Your columnist backs same-sex marriage, with the caveats that gay unions will produce just as many fights, therapy sessions and divorces as straight ones; and that while marriage offers benefits to the wedded, it also offers burdens.
Now that 2014 has dawned, one of the burdens becomes clear. The IRS has issued regulations spelling out that same-sex married couples must file as married (either jointly or separately) even if their 2014 state of residence does not recognize their union. That causes two-earner gay marrieds to face the marriage penalty. As of 2014, married high-income gays also will pay the ObamaCare tax increases embedded in new rates for Medicare, capital gains and dividends; they might have avoided these new rates if single, but there's no escaping them if the m-word is on the 1040. The IRS has further clarified that in keeping with United States v. Windsor, as of 2014, the survivor of a gay married couple owes no estate tax regardless of inheritance size, as has long been the case for married heterosexuals. Gay married bottom line: Pay more now, big tax break on death.
Wacky Food Card of the Week: The other day, TMQ placed an online order from a local Tex-Mex joint that has an affinity card. To get credit for the purchase, a customer must type in the affinity-card number, which bears 16 digits. Ten digits are needed to assign a unique number to each person on the Earth; 16 digits should assign a unique number to every sentient being in the galaxy; yet there's a 16-digit number on the Tex-Mex card. And it's not a card linked to credit or debit accounts -- account numbers of such cards are generated by algorithms that resist hacking but add length. It's just a card that issues a burrito discount.
The same day, I needed to file a complaint with the Postal Service: I was issued a 12-digit reference number. Does the USPS really get a hundred billion complaints per year? Don't answer that!
Just Say No to the Press Box: Yours truly will be freezing his keister off at the Super Bowl -- let's hope nothing goes wrong and the New Jersey Generals don't trot onto the field. I ordered fleece-lined jeans from L.L. Bean. Cold would be fine by me; light snow would be entertaining for the television audience; worst-case scenario for those in attendance would be freezing rain. So I also ordered a reporter's notebook that claims to not to run in rain.