“I don’t know, I think Hotmail is probably as good at receiving spam as it’s ever going to get.”
For the past 10 years, Virginia has offered an online service that allows nearly every taxpayer in the commonwealth to file their state income-tax return for free.
In 2009, more than 278,000 Virginians took advantage of the state Department of Taxation’s iFile program. This year, about 300,000 are expected to do so by the May 3 filing deadline. A recent survey of the service found that 98 percent of taxpayers using it were satisfied.
So why did the General Assembly vote to end the program?
It depends on whom you ask.
To some legislators, it’s a question of defining what the government’s core priorities should be, and the belief that taxpayers will be served better and be saved more money in the long run.
“It makes a lot of sense—state government doesn’t need to be doing everything,“ said Del. Kathy J. Byron, R-Campbell, who sponsored the legislation, House Bill 1349. “We’ve got to get back to the core services.“
To others, it has more to do with politics—the product of a successful lobbying effort by private tax-filing services to steer thousands of would-be free-filers to private businesses, who now will be able to charge a fee for the same service Virginians were getting for free.
“Successful lobbying” – why not call it what it is, corruption? I mean, the amounts are right there in the article…
One of those companies, Seattle-based Intuit, has donated $113,500 to state lawmakers since 2001, according to records on file with the Virginia Public Access Project. The information-technology company owns TurboTax, one of the top tax software programs on the market.
The UK’s offshore renewable energy sector could generate electricity equivalent of one billion barrels of oil annually, matching North Sea oil and gas production, according to a new report.
The research, published by the Offshore Valuation Group and welcomed by industry body RenewableUK, said the offshore renewable energy industry could ensure the UK becomes a net electricity exporter by using less than a third of the total available resource.
For this transit of a maximum duration of 0.54s, the visibility band crossed Spain, southern France, Northern Italy, Austria etc. This band was 4.8 km wide but being placed at its edge implies that the transit duration becomes zero, so in practice I had to be placed less than 1 km from the center of the band. The choice of central Spain has been deduced from the study of weather forecast and detailed maps on Google-Earth.
ISS distance to observer: 391 km. Speed in orbit: 7.4km/s (26500 km/h or 16500 mph).
The Australian Sex Party is demanding an enquiry into why a new question has appeared on Incoming Passenger Cards at the Customs point of entry into Australia. The new question asks if they are carrying any ‘pornography’.
“If you and your partner have filmed or photographed yourselves making love in an exotic destination or even taking a bath, you will have to answer ‘Yes’ to the question or you will be breaking the law”, she said. Travellers must now also declare perfectly legal materials such as Category 1 and 2 Restricted magazines, X18+ films and quite probably a large section of R18+ films which have explicit sex in them. Ms Patten said the change marked the beginning of a new era of official investigation into people’s private lives – being investigated or searched on the basis that you might have legal material in your possession.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has promised the “biggest shake-up of our democracy” in 178 years as he sets out plans for political reform.
This would include scrapping the ID card scheme and accompanying National Identity Register, all future biometric passports and the children’s Contact Point Database. It would also ensure CCTV was “properly regulated” in future and the storage of innocent people’s DNA restricted.
Contacts in Louisiana have given me numerous, unconfirmed reports of cameras and cell phones being confiscated, scientists with monitoring equipment being turned away, and local reporters blocked from access to public lands impacted by the oil spill. But today CBS News got it on video, along with a bone-chilling statement by a Coast Guard official:
This is like al Qaeda blocking people from filming the twin towers attack, yet no one at CBS seems to think there’s a problem.
“These are BP’s rules. These are not our rules.”
But wait … isn’t that a public beach? From my viewpoint, it looks as if the Coast Guard* has been given direct orders to protect BP’s PR interests above safety concerns over air and water quality, above the outcries of local governments in need of aid, and (worst of all) above the need for the American public to be informed about what is really going on in the Gulf.
Authorities in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh are planning to set up an outsourcing unit in a jail.
The unit will employ 200 educated convicts who will handle back office operations like data entry, and process and transmit information.
Inmates and bank details. What could possibly go wrong?
Working in the unit will also be financially rewarding for the prisoners.
Yeah, I bet!
In a wide-ranging interview with Truthout, West described how the Justice Department (DOJ) abruptly shut down his investigation into BP in August 2007 and gave the company a “slap on the wrist” for what he says were serious environmental crimes that should have sent some BP executives to jail.
He first aired his frustrations after he retired from the agency in 2008. But he said his story is ripe for retelling because the same questions about BP’s record are being raised again after a catastrophic explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and ruptured an oil well 5,000 feet below the surface that has been spewing upwards of 200,000 barrels of oil per day into the Gulf waters for a month.
“The whole attack on Greece and the attack on the euro originated from a concerted strategy of Wall Street and US Institutions to permanently cripple or try to cripple the only alternative reserve currency anywhere in the world that can challenge the dollar,”
– William Engdahl, author and economic researcher
Here’s an earlier interview with him: