2ND QUARTER ESTIMATED TAX DUE

Helloooooo, procrastinators! Second quarter estimated tax payments are due today. Click here for the instructions and form.

HONEST TEA-V

I enjoy plugging Honest Tea, in no small part because I own a tea spoon full of its (still private) stock. Well, here‘s its story on TV. (You can read the transcript, but if you have broadband, click to watch.) It’s one of those nice win-wins: tastes good, good for your health, good for the Third World communities that grow the tea, nice kid in his garage goes from an idea and a kettle to a thriving little enterprise.

My current favorites: Mint White (all the anti-oxidants of green tea, 70 calories per bottle, one-eighth the caffeine of coffee), Tangerine Green Tea (10 calories, one-fourth the caffeine of coffee), Peach Ooh-La-Long (a little more caffeine), and my caffeine-free favorite, Gold Rush Cinnamon (just 18 calories per bottle).

A FURTHER THOUGHT ON MARRIAGE

From entrepreneur Bill Stosine, pseudonymous gay Iowan in a 20-year relationship with a surgeon:

It ought to make the “family values” crowd happy that gays want to get married and settle down into committed, monogamous, loving relationships.

If gay people were allowed to marry each other, one of the benefits would be that they would not be so pressured into marrying a person of the opposite sex merely to try to conform to what society expects. Do you want a gay person to marry YOUR child or grandchild? Wouldn’t it be better to encourage gay people marry each other instead?

Is it fair that 30-year gay and lesbian relationships receive less protection than those of heterosexuals who meet in the morning and marry by sundown? A gay couple may have lived in the same home for 30 years, cared for each other through illnesses, comforted each other after the loss of loved ones and shared their entire lives together are denied the rights and protections that strangers who decide to marry on a whim in Las Vegas receive.

Britney Spears was married and divorced within 72 hours. On the TV show “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?” a man chose his bride from 50 women who paraded onstage in bathing suits and wedding gowns. She wanted his money; he wanted a trophy; neither of them had ever met each other before. The judge who officiated proclaimed the union was based on the love and trust they developed (I guess in the 90 seconds in between their meeting and the wedding).

Yet gay and lesbian people who are in committed, long-term relationships are denied the opportunity to marry because their relationships supposedly make a “mockery” out of marriage. Which relationship is the true joke?

A faithful gay partner of 30 years has no legal right to make important medical decisions for his incapacitated partner. He gets no help from federal legislation that would protect his job in the event he must care for his sick partner. Insurance companies deny them the opportunity to obtain joint policies for automobile, health and home insurance. When one of them dies, the other may have no legal right to continue living in their home. The deceased’s unaccepting family member can contest a will and leave the long-term dedicated partner bankrupt and without a home. Such insensitive maneuvers aren’t uncommon to gay men and lesbians grieving the loss of a longtime partner.

Without marriage, gay couples have tried to establish their rights privately, through contracts. For about $1,000 lawyers provide couples with a will, health care proxy, statement granting each partner durable power of attorney if the other is disabled, and a contract to govern disposition of commonly held property. But such agreements aren’t always upheld in courts, and they are like a fig leaf compared to the broad legal cloak of marriage.

I don’t describe a “special right.” The right to marry is so basic to happiness that polls have shown that Americans value a happy marriage, even above money, as most important to their sense of personal worth and fulfillment. I think as anyone matures he or she wants to connect with something bigger than self. To love someone, follow all the threads of each other’s lives, and be legally recognized as family.

Society has a compelling interest in encouraging stable, monogamous relationships between adults – straight and gay. People who are married buy houses and save money. They are good neighbors, they tend to be more helpful and quieter than singles. They have a reason to work and stay out of trouble: responsibility to their spouses. There are health benefits to monogamy, especially important in this age of AIDS. Finally, the sheer joy and comfort of having that publicly acknowledged close relationship makes one a happier person, and happy people cause less grief to others.

NTMD

I covered the remainder of my position yesterday on news that BiDil has received ‘Tier 2’ reimbursement status in about 25% of its market . . . which means that insurers will pick up a lot more of the cost of the drug. I question whether this is good for the financially strapped American health care system (why should it cover an expensive drug when a generic equivalent is available, albeit requiring nine pills a day instead of six?), but it could stem some of the company’s losses and cause a bounce in the stock. Or not. Still hard to see what makes this company worth more than $200 million – it has just one product that may never break even. But now you know what I know.

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