*How to keep your new year’s resolution. Forget willpower, the experts say. It doesn’t work. (How many of us have learned that lesson how many times?) Instead, try punishments and rewards. Give yourself an extra treat when you achieve a goal for a certain length of time. And a punishment, such as missing a favorite TV show, when you have one of those inevitable lapses. Plan all of this in advance. And most important of all, keep trying until you make that new behavior a habit.
*The Census confirms a free-market bias. The numbers are in and guess who’s getting more Congressmen? Not New York, it lost two. Not California; for the first time since 1920, it didn’t gain a new House seat. The low-tax, free-market states did the best, with Texas gaining four new seats, Florida two, and other mostly red states (Arizona, Georgia and South Carolina) gaining one. Are the tax-and-tax, spend-and-spend boys listening?
*Madoff trustee wins back a bunch of money. Did you see the settlement Irving Picard wrested from Barbara Picower, whose deceased husband had made a bundle by referring clients to Bernie Madoff? Widow Picower agreed to pay the Madoff victims $7.2 billion. Guess I shouldn’t begrudge the five thousand bucks an hour Picard gets paid (along with millions more for his law firm). Hard as it is to believe, he may be worth it. At least the Madoff victims probably say so.
*”Your Apps Are Watching You.” That’s the scary headline in a Dec. 18 article in The Wall Street Journal. Few devices know more about you than your smart phone, the investigators found. And they don’t keep it secret. “They are sharing this personal data widely and regularly,” the story says. If you value your privacy, check it out. You may decide to restrict your phone to making or receiving calls. What a novel idea!