WASHINGTON- Too intimidated to fill out your tax return without help? Join the club. At nearly 4 million words, the U.S. tax law is so thick and complicated that businesses and individuals spend more than 6 billion hours a year complying with filing requirements, according to a report Wednesday by an independent government watchdog. That´s the equivalent of 3 million people working full-time, year-round. "If tax compliance were an industry, it would be one of the largest in the United States," says the report by Nina E. Olson, the National Taxpayer Advocate.
Vice President Biden suggested Wednesday that the White House could take unilateral action on gun control, as he kicked off a round of meetings aimed at finding ways to curb gun violence. The vice president met Wednesday with gun-safety and victims groups, saying he is "determined" to take "urgent action" to address gun violence. "This is not an exercise in photo opportunities or just getting to ask you all what your opinions are. We are vitally interested in what you have to say," Biden said. The White House has sought to avoid prejudging what Biden´s recommendations would be.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced legislation on Tuesday that would require background checks for buying gun ammunition. It´s currently illegal to sell ammunition to fugitives, felons and people suffering from mental disorders. However, while background checks are required for selling firearms, they are not required for selling ammunition. Blumenthal´s legislation would require background checks for selling ammunition as well. "Ammunition sales should be subject to the same legal requirements as firearm sales — instant background checks using the FBI’s national database, "Blumenthal said in a statement. "There is no rational reason why a person can walk into a store,
This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details. GUANGZHOU, China -- In a rare show of defiance to China’s censors, news organizations around the country rallied behind colleagues at the maverick Southern Weekly who are threatening to strike over press censorship. At least four prominent newspapers disobeyed orders on Tuesday to publish an editorial attacking the Southern Weekly journalists. Others published the editorial with a disclaimer saying it did not represent their views. News portals artfully arranged headlines so that the first Chinese character in each line spelled messages like “Go Southern Weekly!"
Vice President Joe Biden revealed that President Barack Obama might use an executive order to deal with guns. "The president is going to act," said Biden, giving some comments to the press before a meeting with victims of gun violence. "There are executives orders, there´s executive action that can be taken. We haven´t decided what that is yet. But we´re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action that we believe is required." Biden said that this is a moral issue and that "it´s critically important that we act." Biden talked also about taking responsible action. Content added by staff.
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Less than two months after being acquitted on charges of endangering his 2-day-old son and harassing nurses who attempted to stop him from taking the baby outside Northern Westchester Hospital, Douglas Kennedy is suing the hospital, two nurses and one of their husbands. The 44-page lawsuit, filed Friday in state Supreme Court in Westchester County, names maternity ward nurses Cari Luciano and Anna Lane as defendants, along with Cari Luciano´s husband, Steve Luciano. It alleges assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, malicious prosecution and breach of confidentiality and seeks unspecified damages. Source corrected by staff.
Washington - Governors warned Congress Wednesday that lingering uncertainty over raising the nation´s borrowing capacity could hinder their budgets and their ability to foster job growth in their states. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin outlined states´ agendas in 2013 on behalf of the National Governors Association, urging lawmakers to reach a deal on the debt ceiling, which will reach its limit in about two months. Markell says the postponing of spending cuts under the fiscal cliff deal and a lack of action on raising the debt limit has led to uncertainty just as states are
The Council on American-Islamic Relations says it is "troubled" by CIA nominee John Brennan´s involvement with drone killings. “In John Brennan we have an ‘architect’ of the secret, unaccountable and counterproductive campaign of targeted killings that may violate international laws of war and continues to generate hostility to our nation around the world," CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement. Nihad also expressed concerns about Brennan´s positions on torture and rendition. Critics have claimed that he didn’t strongly protest aggressive interrogation techniques during the Bush administration when he served as an intelligence official.
Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is the wrong man at the wrong time to lead the Defense Department. With any luck, a coalition of common-sense Republicans and Democrats will come together to block this potentially disastrous appointment. Mr. Hagel’s views on Israel and Iran—two rather important issues at the moment—are extremely troubling, although apparently President Obama finds them acceptable. What’s more, the former senator is positively retrograde in his opinion of gay people. It’s hard to know precisely what Mr. Obama sees in him. Unless, of course, the president shares Mr. Hagel’s skepticism
What Is Hip? America has always been a country of self-invention. Yet there used to be some correlation between the life that one lived and the life that one professed. It was hard to be a phony in the grimy reality of the coal mine, the steel mill, the south 40 acres, or atop a girder over Manhattan. No longer in our post-modern, post-industrial, metrosexual fantasyland. The nexus of big government, big money, and globalization has created a new creed of squaring the circle of being both liberal and yet elitist, egalitarian-talking but rich-acting, talking like a 99 percenter
Washington – Vice President Joe Biden described his gun control effort as a "moral issue" when meeting with gun safety advocates and mass shooting victims on Wednesday morning. "When I think of all the tragedies that we have endured, I don´t think anything has touched the heart of the American people so profoundly as seeing those and learning of those young children not only being shot but riddled with bullets," he said, referring to the December 14 shooting at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. "Every once in a while there´s something that awakens the
Three-quarters of the public back gun ownership, and many feel that President Obama should dump his gun-control plans because only states should regulate the weapons, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll. The poll is a double-barrelled blast at the president. Not only does it reaffirm the public´s support for Second Amendment rights, it shows no change in their views despite the horrific shootings last month at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Rasmussen did find support for some tougher rules on gun ownership. For example, 56 percent believe that someone who commits a crime
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa found himself sucked deeper into the Charlie Sheen-TMZ-Hollywood gossip vortex Tuesday, with the actor speaking out again about the night they met up at a hotel in Mexico over the holidays. Sheen made news last month after he tweeted a picture of himself with his arm around Villaraigosa the night of Sheen´s bar opening in Baja California, Mexico. The former star of "Two and a Half Men" praised the mayor as a man who "knows how to party." But Villaraigosa downplayed the significance of the image, telling KNBC´s Conan Nolan over the
In the face of widespread evidence of illegal foreclosure practices, federal regulators in 2011 told the big banks to investigate themselves. (Snip) Since there are no reliable analyses to identify wronged borrowers — which was the ostensible purpose of the self-reviews — there is also no clear way to apportion the $3.3 billion among 3.8 million borrowers covered by the settlement. Some borrowers may get big sums while others get nothing, or millions could receive token payments. But given the extent of foreclosure abuses and the amount of money available, the individual reimbursements will be paltry
Sure, the idea of circumventing the debt ceiling with a $1 trillion platinum coin is weird. But some of the objections to the whole idea are really preposterous. (Snip) Funny, but quite wrong. The NRCC is suggesting that you need $1 trillion worth of platinum to mint a $1 trillion platinum coin. For some bullion coins, that may be true—the coin is worth the value of the underlying metal. But there’s a clear exception for U.S. platinum coins. Again, here’s Section (k) of 31 USC § 5112: (k) The Secretary may mint and issue platinum bullion coins and proof platinum coins in accordance with such specifications,
Responding to a viewer’s question during a 2009 interview on Al-Jazeera, former Sen. Chuck Hagel agreed that the United States needs to change its image as “the world’s bully.” “Well, her observation is a good one and it’s relevant. Yes, to her question, and again I think that’s all part of leadership,” Hagel said during the March 2009 interview. Hagel was nominated by President Obama to succeed Leon Panetta as secretary of defense Monday and is facing criticism for his social and foreign policy positions while in the Senate, and controversial record during his tenure as top official of the USO.
New Jersey is No. 1. Those pulling up roots have put the Garden State in the top spot nationally for outbound residents - at least, so says United Van Lines. The company has released its 2012 migration study, listing the most moved-into states and those that people are leaving. National trends show people leaving the Northeast and heading to the Southeast and Northwest. The main reasons are jobs, housing, taxes, and weather, said economist Michael Stoll, chair of the department of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. Stoll once lived in Boston and New York City, but headed
So, Washington football fans, how’s that offensive team name and demeaning sports mascot working out? Whooping and hollering as RGIII goes on a “Redskins” warpath only to leave a trail of tears when his wounded knee gets buried at FedEx Field. In this obscene home team sports fantasy, the gifted Robert Griffin III was reduced to a “noble savage.” Let the “Redskin” play hurt. He can take it. Hail to the young brave-hearted quarterback as he limps into battle on that injured knee. Three cheers as he fights on his one good leg for Old D.C.
It’s a dubious distinction for the new class of Illinois lawmakers being sworn in Wednesday in Springfield. It’s the first time in years that three sitting lawmakers simultaneously face criminal charges. Representatives Derrick Smith and LaShawn Ford and state Sen. Donne Trotter, all Chicago Democrats, face varying charges. Smith is under federal indictment in a bribery case. Ford is accused of bank fraud. Trotter is charged with trying to bring a gun onto a plane.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the City of Austin, Texas and Travis County are both looking at proposals to limit gun shows in their jurisdictions. City of Austin and Travis County officials plan to take steps to ban gun shows on city- and county-owned property — and potentially even curtail them on private property within the city limits, the American-Statesman has learned. Less than a month after the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting that killed 26 students and staff, Council Member Mike Martinez said he and at least two other council members
Back in the 1960s, there was real discrimination in American colleges. At places like the University of Mississippi, students were threatened, assaulted, and arrested for demanding equal rights. The U.S. Justice Department (with just a handful of lawyers) fought hard, serious battles to stop these civil rights abuses. Today, with a staff of 800 and a 2012 appropriation of $145 million, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is suing universities over the food they do, and do not, serve in student cafeterias. I kid you not. Spearheading the drive against dietary “discrimination” is Thomas Perez,
The White House’s ‘Photo of the Day’ is a much more gender inclusive photo of President Obama’s senior staff after the New York Times ran a story criticizing the president for his male-dominated staff. “In an Oval Office meeting on Dec. 29, 11 of President Obama’s top advisers stood before him discussing the heated fiscal negotiations,” reported the Times in an article published today on page A-1. “The 10 visible in a White House photo are men.” Today’s White House photograph, taken January 8, shows President Barack Obama meeting with several women advisors in the Oval Office
Thirty years ago, Bonnie Svarstad and Chester Bond of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered an interesting pattern in the use of sedatives at nursing homes in the south of the state. Patients entering church-affiliated nonprofit homes were prescribed drugs roughly as often as those entering profit-making “proprietary” institutions. But patients in proprietary homes received, on average, more than four times the dose of patients at nonprofits. Writing about his colleagues’ research in his 1988 book “The Nonprofit Economy,” the economist Burton Weisbrod provided a straightforward explanation:
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to proposed new gun laws in the state that would make it the strictest in the country in response to recent gun violence spreading across the nation. The proposal is set to be announced during Gov Cuomo´s State of the State speech on Wednesday whether a deal with state legislatures is met or not according to sources speaking to CBS New York. The new laws would enforce tighter restrictions on assault weapons, stiffer penalties on firearms used to commit a crime and stricter limits on magazine capacity.
Vice President Joe Biden revealed that President Barack Obama might use an executive order to deal with guns. "The president is going to act," said Biden, giving some comments to the press before a meeting with victims of gun violence. "There are executives orders, there´s executive action that can be taken. We haven´t decided what that is yet. But we´re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action that we believe is required." Biden said that this is a moral issue and that "it´s
The current state of the GOP brings to mind the surviving Marines in Aliens, with no shortage of demoralized hacks lamenting their inability to resist by channeling Private Hudson: “Maybe you haven´t been keeping up on current events but we just got our a**** kicked, pal!” So what? So we took a hit on the Fiscal Cliff. Stand up, brush off and get back into the fight. This is no time for self-pity, no time for weakness. Every combat leader knows that when you take a hit, you regroup, reorganize, and prepare to counterattack. The defense