How Much is Your Vote Worth? Mine is $21.

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Happy Election Day! I think regular Lazy Man and Money readers know I'm not one to side with any political party. That's one of the reasons why I don't write about politics in this space. I believe in voting for the person, not the political party. Most of the time I just hope I'm not in situation of voting for Kang or Kodos, but far too often it feels like I am. I guess I don't have much of an affection politics either.

So I'll put much of that aside and pass on this cool tool to see what your vote is worth online. The tool asks you a few questions and determines how much your vote is worth considering the billions that the candidates are spending online. My non-swing state vote in California is worth $21. As usual my wife has bested me... her vote is worth $38. I played with the tool a little and found that if you are undecided woman in swing-state Ohio who uses Facebook a lot, the vote could be worth as much as $48. I don't know how accurate it is, but I can over look it for the sake of fun.

Wouldn't it be a fun social experiment to see how many people would take the straight cash for their vote? As someone who went by Taco Bell for a free taco last week, I can attest that numerous people will go through great lengths for $1.29 (though Dorito tacos are particularly awesome).

I found another tool Politify that allows you to determine how much the candidate will impact your net worth by 2015. According to the tool, Romney winning will net me a cool $3,500 more than Obama. So you might think I'd be a Romney person. Well, due to Romney's history of support of MLM/pyramid schemes, I have decided he isn't the person I want to see as President. I estimate that these scams cost consumers around $20 billion dollars a year. (If there is reader interest, I could explain the calculation in more detail.) That's the equivalent damage of a hurricane Sandy every two and half years (using the $50 billion damage estimates I've seen)... and few people seem to care.

With that, I give you reason #519,285 why Joss Whedon is awesome (and I'd find it funny even if it was directed at Obama):

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Posted on November 6, 2012.

How Lazy Man Could Be Impacted By SOPA and PIPA

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As a software engineer-turned-blogger, following the technology industry has always been one of my main hobbies. While my wife may care about who is walking down the red carpet, I'm tuned in to the Amazon Web Services live broadcast of the release of its DynamoDB product.

If you've been to WikiPedia or Google's home page today you might have noticed that they are different than what you are used to see. They are trying to warn you of current legislation that may change the way that Americans have access to information on the Internet. This legislation is commonly in the form of two proposed bills, SOPA and PIPA.

Before I get into SOPA and PIPA, let me be the first to say that I'm not a politics person. You might be able to convince me that Claire Danes shows up in a white dress with a black netty thing around it and people pretend it is noteworthy in some way. In short, I tune it out.

I tried to tune out this SOPA and PIPA for awhile too. However, it simply doesn't seem to go away. So I decided to read a little more into it. On the outset it seems to have noble attentions - eliminate access to offshore websites that enable people to pirate movies, music, and other digital content. If that's all it allowed, you wouldn't see Wikipedia or Google take the actions that they are taking. The problem is that it is written in such a way that in the words of Harvard Law professor, Lawrence Tribe, "an entire Web site containing tens of thousands of pages could be targeted if only a single page were accused of infringement."

And that is what is concerning to me. Note that the wording is that just the accusal of single page could take down an entire website. It doesn't even seem to need to be proven in court.

So what does this have to do with Lazy Man and Money? While most of my posts are relatively controversy-free, I'm increasing becoming aware of the financial damage that multi-level marketing scams are causing consumers. Most of them know that they are scams and refuse to take an honorable role and address their critics. Instead MonaVie, one of the MLMs I have written about, has threatened to sue me. When I pointed out that they have no legal grounds, MonaVie decided to game Google to 'Combat Negativity' and 'Manage what People See on the Internet'. It worked for awhile, but Google caught up to them and my article is with all the information is well represented there as of this writing.

My fear is that SOPA and PIPA could be used by one of these entities to shut down my entire business because a couple of companies with high-priced lawyers find something (or perhaps even plant something) that they can convince a judge is infringing. As Wikipedia says in their protest today, "Small sites won't have sufficient resources to defend themselves."

I know it may sound a little far-fetched. Perhaps I'm reaching. If so, it might be because just yesterday an MLM company, Jusuru, asked me to take down my post about them. In any event, I want to be pro-active and make sure that no legitimate websites (especially mine!) become the collateral damage of this potential legislation.

P.S. For those having difficulty with coping with Wikipedia's outage today, Google's cached search results are your friend.

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Posted on January 18, 2012.

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