Some 3 million to 6 million Americans will have to pay an Obamacare tax penalty for not having health insurance last year, Treasury officials said Wednesday. It’s the first time they have given estimates for how many people will be subject to a fine.
Another 15 million to 30 million people will request and be granted an exemption to the mandate by filing Form 8965. Those who aren’t subject to the insurance requirement include undocumented immigrants, low-income Americans and those for whom insurance premiums were more than 8% of their household income.
Liberals are for liberal speech:
A federal judge has rejected a series of arguments from Waubonsee Community College about why it should be permitted to bar an anti-gay group from passing out fliers on campus.
The group’s advocacy for positions that run counter to the Illinois college’s anti-bias policies are not a legal justification, the judge ruled, and barring the group from leafleting would violate First Amendment principles. Judge Robert W. Gettelman ordered the college to come up with new policies this week that would not limit constitutionally protected free speech.
Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana was a bad idea, the state’s governor said Friday.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who opposed the 2012 decision by voters to make pot legal, said the state still doesn’t fully know what the unintended consequences of the move will be.
This has been common knowledge for decades, but the leaders at these universities, and including the coaches, care more about their success and money than what is right.
Two former athletes who took so-called paper classes at the University of North Carolina have filed a lawsuit against the school and the NCAA, claiming they represent hundreds of thousands of college athletes across the nation who are promised an education but don’t get one.
Devon Ramsay and Rashanda McCants filed the class-action lawsuit in North Carolina on Thursday afternoon, leaving open the possibility for more athletes to join them. The suit doesn’t just go after the paper class scandal at North Carolina — which experts say is the worst case of academic fraud in NCAA history — but says that cheating is a fundamental flaw of the amateurism model in college sports.
Nearly 92% of Congress — or 491 of the 535 members — identifies as Christian, according to a study by Pew Research’s Religion & Public Life Project. That number is slightly up from 90% in the 113th Congress and continues a trend where the percentage of Christians and Jews in Congress outpaces their national average.
Though Christians dominate both parties, Democrats are more religiously diverse than Republicans. Of the 301 Republicans in the 114th Congress, Jewish freshman Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York is the only non-Christian.
A large majority of Democrats in Congress (80%) are Christian, with 44% Protestant, 35% Catholic and 1% Mormon. But unlike Republicans, Democrats in Congress are 12% Jewish and have two Buddhist, two Muslims, one Hindu and one unaffiliated member.
Governments don’t own 100%:
Socialist Emmanuel Macron said France, whose high taxes and regulations have stifled innovation and economic growth, is now “a haven for entrepreneurs.” He spoke Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
He said France has reformed capital gains taxes, and acknowledged that a 75-percent tax on income earned above 1 million euros ($1.22 million) had sent a bad signal to investors. He said the tax, dropped last month, “is over now, and finished.”
From the annual report from Planned Parenthood, their clinics murdered 327,653 babies during fiscal year 2014. That’s approximately 37 lives snuffed out with the approval of mothers every hour or 1 every 90 seconds.
Penny Starr reports additional information on Planned Parenthood:
Planned Parenthood also received $528.4 million from government grants and reimbursements, which equaled 41 percent of its revenue.
The federal government is prohibited from paying directly for abortions through Title X family planning grants and reimbursements, however, federal funds do pay for Planned Parenthood operations, including the clinics where abortions are performed.
The report also reveals that Planned Parenthood actually provided fewer contraceptives — 3,577,348 patients in fiscal 2014 compared to 3,724,558 in fiscal 2013.
For the most part, the gay marriage debate now falls along partisan lines: Democrats support it, Republicans oppose.
But within the crowded field of likely 2016 presidential contenders, there’s a lot of room for nuance. The would-be candidates have made much different arguments and have varying records on the issue.
Meantime, the issue continues to change. On Jan. 6, Florida became the second-largest state to recognize gay marriage, bringing the total to 36. And on Friday, the Supreme Court will meet privately to decide whether to consider cases that could lead to a more definitive ruling in favor of same-sex marriage.
Click the hot link for the list.
Gov. Butch Otter gave his State of the State speech Monday, and it was every bit as bad as I anticipated. In addition to proposing massive spending increases for education — now stylized as “K-through-career” — the governor doubled down on his support for redistributive cronyism which gives millions of dollars earned by hard-working Idahoans directly to big businesses. He also embraced a significant de facto tax increase in the form of an Internet sales tax.
The median net worth of lawmakers was just over $1 million in 2013, or 18 times the wealth of the typical American household, according to new research released Monday by the Center for Responsive Politics.
And while Americans’ median wealth is down 43% since 2007, Congress members’ net worth has jumped 28%.
Representative Darrell Issa once again topped the charts with a net worth of $448.4 million in 2013. The California Republican’s wealth stems from a car alarm business he built, but it’s now mostly invested in high yield mutual funds, according to the center. Issa’s wealth declined 3.4% from a year earlier.
Mitt Romney is moving quickly to reassemble his national political network, spending the weekend and Monday calling former aides, donors and other supporters — as well as onetime foes such as Newt Gingrich.
Romney’s message was that he is serious about making a 2016 presidential bid. He told one senior Republican he “almost certainly will” run in what would be his third campaign for the White House, this person said.
His aggressive outreach over the past three days indicates that Romney’s declaration of interest to a group of donors in New York Friday was more than the release of a trial balloon but rather was the start of a concerted push by the 2012 nominee to be an active participant in the 2016 campaign.
California Governor Jerry Brown’s higher ed budget plan for the next year would give give a chunk of new money to community colleges. The proposal released late last week also, as expected, threaten the four-year University of California system if it goes ahead with a plan to raise tuition by up to 5 percent each of the next five years.The biggest boon for higher ed is more than $1 billion for the 112-campus community college system. The system chancellor, Brice Harris, said the new money would allow the system to seat 45,000 more students.
Florida Republicans Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio – both potential presidential candidates – offered their reaction to their state’s recent decision to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, after a federal district judge ruled that it was unconstitutional for county clerks to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Earlier this week, Bush issued a statement that the New York Times called “conciliatory.”
“We live in a democracy, and regardless of our disagreements, we have to respect the rule of law,” Bush said in the statement. “I hope that we can also show respect for the good people on all sides of the gay and lesbian marriage issue — including couples making lifetime commitments to each other who are seeking greater legal protections and those of us who believe marriage is a sacrament and want to safeguard religious liberty.”
Bush also told The Miami Herald that same-sex marriage should be a “state decision.”
21 pages of Obamacare tax instructions, IRS demands ‘shared responsibility payment’ | WashingtonExaminer.com
The complicated process of signing up for Obamacare is now being matched by IRS instructions to help Americans figure out how much in healthcare taxes they owe Uncle Sam.
The agency has issued 21 pages of instructions, complete with links to at least three long forms and nine tip sheets.
It is geared to those who have Obamacare or who owe a fine, dubbed “shared responsibility payment,” for refusing to get health insurance. The IRS warned that everybody must have health insurance or pay the tax.
RUSSELLVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Once described as her husband’s secret weapon, Kelley Paul won’t be a secret much longer.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s wife of 24 years is stepping onto the national stage as part of a book tour launching at roughly the same time her husband is expected to enter the 2016 presidential race. It’s a big step for the mother of three who has long played a significant behind-the-scenes role in Paul’s political operation, but soon will be thrust into a far more public role on the political world’s brightest stage.
Rand Paul has made much of his wife being a hard sell on a presidential bid, yet Kelley Paul hinted on Thursday that she’s ready for the pressures of a national campaign and its impact on her family.
“I guess I am as prepared as you can be,” she said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I’ll try to maintain my sense of humor and optimism and just be brave.”
Should Rand Paul join the crowded 2016 Republican field later this spring, as widely expected, Kelley Paul will join the ranks of prospective first ladies who help define their husband’s political brands. It’s a high-profile role that is challenging at best, yet those who know the family suggest that she would adapt well to the next step in her husband’s career.
Some New Jersey Republican leaders are renewing their call to lower taxes after Mercedes-Benz’s announcement this week that it’s moving its headquarters to Atlanta.
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, whose district includes Montvale, where Mercedes has its offices, says the state’s incentives for businesses to move or stay here are helping cities but are not doing as much for Bergen County.
Idaho is supposedly a conservative state, and here they are harassing Uber:
BOISE — It seems free rides from the ride-sharing app Uber are back on in Boise. In an e-mail to Uber drivers within the city, the company says they are doing it for the “safety and well-being of driver-partners.”
Uber spokesman Michael Amodeo tells KTVB that the decision to reinstate free rides was made after learning that drivers could face arrest and jail time.
We tried to order up a ride using the mobile app and a message popped up saying, “free rides are back on, while Uber works to create a permanent home for ride-sharing in Boise by the month’s end.”
Fire Chief Loses His Job After Controversy Over Christian Book He Wrote — and Here’s the Bible Verse Atlanta’s Mayor Used Against Him | TheBlaze.com
A fire chief who was terminated following statements he made about homosexiality in a self-published Christian book is at the center of controversy over religious liberty and civil rights.
Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, who was suspended and subsequently terminated over comments he wrote in a book titled, “Who Told You That You Are Naked?” has received support from Christians groups who believe that he should be reinstated to his post.
But Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, who officially announced the firing Tuesday, said at a press conference that Cochran’s judgement was at the center of his firing, citing a Bible verse to make his case against the former fire chief, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Ongoing internal Republican divisions between party leaders and a small but influential conservative flank spilled on to the House floor as 25 GOP lawmakers did not support Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, for his third term as House speaker.
In the end, Boehner prevailed, as expected, with 216 votes out of 408 cast, but the opposition was the largest on record in the modern era for a sitting speaker. Boehner was first handed the speaker’s gavel in 2011, following the 2010 Tea Party wave. In 2013, a dozen lawmakers opposed Boehner’s re-election as speaker.
ESPN had a very happy new year, breaking its own record for the largest audience in cable-TV history twice on Jan. 1, thanks to college football’s new playoff system.
Both semifinal games—Oregon’s victory over Florida State and Ohio State’s defeat of Alabama—drew more than 28 million viewers, topping the previous record of 27.3 million held by the BCS Championship game between Oregon and Auburn in 2011. ESPN (DIS) now claims the top 18 largest audiences in cable history and will likely break its own record again on Jan. 12, when Oregon and Ohio State play in the first College Football Playoff National Championship.
These huge numbers, however, come at a steep cost for ESPN. In 2012, the network paid $7.3 billion over 12 years for the rights to the new championship game and the six bowl games that take turns hosting the two semifinals—an average annual cost of $608 million. Under the previous system, ESPN paid a combined $155 million per year for the Rose Bowl, the three BCS bowls, and the championship. Even if the national championship next week shatters previous records, the network’s per-viewer costs are likely at least to double.
A florist in Washington state is being sued for adhering to her Christian beliefs in declining to make flower arrangements for one couple’s wedding.
Before the lawsuit, Barronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Wash., had employed workers who identify as homosexual and sold floral arrangements to gay and lesbian customers.
One such customer turned out to be one of the men who would sue her for not being willing to be hired for their same-sex wedding.
Unlike businesses that face similar lawsuits for refusing to provide specific wedding-related services to gay and lesbian couples on religious grounds—among them bakers in Oregon and farmers in New York—Stutzman is being sued in both a professional and personal capacity.
RICHMOND, Va. A North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to show and describe an ultrasound to the pregnant woman is “ideological in intent” and violates doctors’ free-speech rights, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote that the law goes far beyond what most states have done to ensure that a woman gives informed consent to an abortion.
“While the state itself may promote through various means childbirth over abortion, it may not coerce doctors into voicing that message on behalf of the state in the particular manner and setting attempted here,” Wilkinson wrote.
Twenty-three states, mostly in the South and the Midwest, have laws dealing with the administration of ultrasounds by abortion providers, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports access to abortions. Four other states have enacted laws similar to North Carolina’s, although the U.S. Supreme Court last year let stand a lower court ruling invalidating Oklahoma’s statute.
Union foes are working to pass county “right to work” ordinances in places that don’t have statewide laws allowing employees to opt out of paying union fees.
Conservative groups are opening a new front in their effort to reshape American law, arguing that local governments have the power to write their own rules on a key labor issue that has, up to now, been the prerogative of states.
Beginning here in the hometown of Senator Rand Paul and the Chevy Corvette, groups including the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heritage Foundation and a newly formed nonprofit called Protect My Check are working together to influence local governments the same way they have influenced state legislatures, and anti-union ordinances are just the first step in the coordinated effort they envision.
A New York woman is suing the police for not arresting her son when they pulled him over for drunk driving; the 29-year-old died in a crash later that evening.
A Long Island woman says in a lawsuit that her 29-year-old son died in a drunken driving crash because police decided not to arrest him on DWI charges earlier that night.
Kathi Fedden made the claims in a federal wrongful death lawsuit this week and is seeking $30 million.
The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a federal ban on gun ownership for anyone who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution.”
In the first legal ruling of its type, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati on Thursday deemed unconstitutional a federal law that kept a Michigan man who was briefly committed to a mental institution decades ago from owning a gun.
A three-judge panel of the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the federal ban on gun ownership for anyone who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution” violated the Second Amendment rights of Clifford Charles Tyler, a 73-year-old Hillsdale County man.