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Our country is now taking so steady a course as to show by what road it will pass to destruction, to wit: by consolidation of power first, and then corruption, its necessary consequence.                                                                                                  Thomas Jefferson


Be looking for the TV Police!!!
California appears poised to be first to ban power-guzzling big-screen TVs
LA Times
Marc Lifsher
October 14, 2009

The influential lobby group Consumer Electronics Assn. is fighting what appears to be a losing battle to dissuade California regulators from passing the nation's first ban on energy-hungry big-screen televisions.

On Tuesday, executives and consultants for the Arlington, Va., trade group asked members of the California Energy Commission to instead let consumers use their wallets to decide whether they want to buy the most energy-saving new models of liquid-crystal display and plasma high-definition TVs.

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Ok...This is insane...I might be for year round school...with 2 week breaks in between "semesters," but this is just ridiculous!
More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation
Associated Press
Libby Quaid
September 27, 2009

Students beware: The summer vacation you just enjoyed could be sharply curtailed if President Barack Obama gets his way.

Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.

"Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas," the president said earlier this year. "Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."

The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go.

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Deadbeats, Freaks, and Creeps:  Your Dating Days Are Numbered
Jennifer Van Grove
September 22, 2009

Imagine this. It’s Friday night and you’ve had a few cocktails, you’re feeling flirty, fly, and making a real impression on the ladies (or gents). You give out your number, but soon notice the mood changing for the worse, and your would-be conquest is now completely disinterested. So, what went wrong?

Now that there’s DateCheck (by Intelius), an iPhone app launched at DEMO for instant social web and background checks, situations like the one we painted above could become quite common place. The free mobile app that advises you to “look up before you hook up” conducts a comprehensive background check using just a name, a phone number, or an email address.

DateCheck is practically omniscient, working not only to weed out the real creeps, but to alert you to deadbeats, and even help you find compatible matches. The search application filters social web and public record results for the following factors: Sleaze Detector, Compatibility, Net Worth, Living Situation, and Interests.

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California Won't Accept Its Own IOUs
Courthouse News
By Maria Dinzeo
August 4, 2009

Small businesses that received $682 million in IOUs from the state say California expects them to pay taxes on the worthless scraps of paper, but refuses to accept its own IOUs to pay debts or taxes. The vendors' federal class action claims the state is trying to balance its budget on their backs.

Lead plaintiff Nancy Baird filled her contract with California to provide embroidered polo shirts to a youth camp run by the National Guard, but never was paid the $27,000 she was owed. She says California "paid" her with an IOU that two banks refused to accept - yet she had to pay California sales tax on the so-called "sale" of the uniforms.

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McMenacing? Cop Accused Of Pulling Gun At McD's
CBS4 TV Denver
By Brian Maass
June 17, 2009

A Denver police officer has been suspended after allegedly brandishing his gun at a McDonald's restaurant in Aurora after his order took too long to fill.

Aurora police confirmed the CBS4 investigation saying the incident occurred May 21 at the McDonald's at 18181 East Hampden Avenue.

A spokesperson for the Aurora Police Department said they plan to present the case -- now classified as a felony menacing incident -- to the Arapahoe County District Attorney's Office Thursday for possible filing of criminal charges.

Sources familiar with the case, and the fast food worker's account of what happened, say two off-duty Denver police officers placed an order from their car in the early morning hours of May 21. But once at the drive through window, the employee said the men became agitated and angry at how long their food was taking.

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States hunt smokers who dodge sales tax
The Washington Times
By Kristi Jourdan
June 19, 2009

Several states and the District of Columbia are tracking down smokers who buy cheaper cigarettes out of their jurisdictions and have even begun tax-collection procedures that can end in liens put against the offender's property.

Ohio and Pennsylvania have been particularly aggressive in trying to collect money from smokers who dodge local tobacco taxes by purchasing cigarettes online, from Indian reservations or from states with lower taxes.

In the District, the Office of Tax and Revenue has mailed notices demanding that cigarette buyers pay the D.C. sales tax on their past purchases via the Consumer Use tax return - an order that, if ignored, can provide the legal basis to seize a person's home.

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And Another...

Pennsylvanians who bought cigarettes online hit with liens for unpaid taxes
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
By Craig Smith
June 15, 2009

Gladys Kramer couldn't believe the price of a carton of cigarettes advertised by an Indian reservation in New York.

"I'd have to have my head examined not to buy from them," said Kramer, 82, of Butler Township.

A smoker since her teenage years, she jumped at the chance to buy cigarettes for $14.95 a carton, ordering 133 cartons between May 2006 and December 2008. A carton in Pennsylvania today sells for about $53.

Kramer was shocked last month to receive a notice from the Butler County Prothonotary's Office saying the state entered a lien against her home of 20 years, to recover $4,583 in unpaid state cigarette taxes, fees and interest.

"This is getting me crazy," said Kramer, who acknowledged her Brooklyn, N.Y., upbringing is fueling her desire to fight the action. She is looking for a lawyer to take her case.

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And Another...

Smokers feeling abused as federal tax hike hits
By Jason Hanna, Jim Spellman, John Couwels, Alan Silverleib and Patrick Oppmann
April 1, 2009

Larry Jukes said he remembers when he could buy 10 cigarette packs for $2.50.But he'd now take the days when -- just last month -- he could buy his carton of choice for $49.

Thanks in part to the largest-ever federal cigarette tax increase -- a nearly 62-cents-a-pack hike that starts Wednesday but was reflected in many prices earlier -- Jukes on Tuesday paid more than $58 for a 10-pack carton at the Cigarette Store in Denver, Colorado.

That same store was selling it about $9 cheaper weeks ago. Jukes and other shoppers there said they feel stuck and taken advantage of.

"They're picking on us poor people, the ones that smoke," Jukes, a 65-year-old who has been smoking since he was a teen, said of the government. "They have been for years."

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