Just in case you want to know …

Maybe somebody will file for me next spring.

Hackers compromise 100,000 IRS tax accounts with pre-stolen data

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the US government agency tasked with collecting American citizens’ tax dollars, has been targeted by criminals with access to the personal information of around 100,000 taxpayers.

According to a statement on the agency’s website, the attackers used information obtained from third party sites to gain unauthorised access to taxpayer’s accounts:

These third parties gained sufficient information from an outside source before trying to access the IRS site, which allowed them to clear a multi-step authentication process, including several personal verification questions that typically are only known by the

Extreme Free Speech.

Anti-Islamic State cartoon competition set to take place in Tehran

Iran has found new channels in which to express its deep contempt toward the Islamic State and its activity. This week, an anti-Islamic State cartoon competition was launched in Tehran. Artists from around the world are invited to put their criticism of IS on paper and compete for the best cartoon title.

These are the kinds of things that happen when you do nothing.

Chained to one another and marched through the desert: Shocking video shows hundreds of civilians fleeing ISIS rounded up and arrested in Iraq

I really doubt that this administration even knows soccer exists.

DOJ charges FIFA officials, executives in corruption probe

This one sounds a little creepy.

Elizabeth Warren Bought Foreclosed Homes to Make a Quick Profit

The Clintons’ Mysterious, Secret Shell Corporation

The newly released financial files on Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s growing fortune omit a company with no apparent employees or assets that the former president has legally used to provide consulting and other services, but which demonstrates the complexity of the family’s finances.

Because the company, WJC, LLC, has no financial assets, Hillary Clinton’s campaign was not obligated to report its existence in her recent financial disclosure report, officials with Bill Clinton’s private office and the Clinton campaign said. They were responding to questions by The Associated Press, which reviewed corporate documents.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide private details of the former president’s finances on the record, said the entity was a “pass-through” company designed to channel payments to the former president.

Airbnb control in Santa Monica.

The People vs. Santa Monica: Inside the Government’s Push to Regulate Short-Term Rental Industry

They’ll be back.

After feeling the public outrage coupled with Republican pressure on the commission, Democratic members of the Federal Election Commission assured there was no intent to propose internet regulations for political content.

Last year, Chairwoman Ann Ravel, a Democrat, suggested a “re-examination” of the agency’s approach political content on the Internet was “long overdue.” This comment sparked protest from both ends of the spectrum, Fox News details.

In her comments this week, Ravel promised there would be “no such regulation” to force creators of political content on Youtube to disclose spending like television and radio.

However, Rave’s comments belied the stance she took previously, when she had criticized Republican members for “turning a blind eye” to the influence of the Internet within politics regarding a recent case before the commission.

And you have to get ready to pay.

Washington is ready to spend

Another good reason for charter schools.

GA Mom Arrested, Shackled for Son’s Unexcused School Absences

Working just as planned.

When Family-Friendly Policies Backfire

In Chile, a law requires employers to provide working mothers with child care. One result? Women are paid less.

In Spain, a policy to give parents of young children the right to work part-time has led to a decline in full-time, stable jobs available to all women — even those who are not mothers.

Elsewhere in Europe, generous maternity leaves have meant that women are much less likely than men to become managers or achieve other high-powered positions at work.

Family-friendly policies can help parents balance jobs and responsibilities at home, and go a long way toward making it possible for women with children to remain in the work force. But these policies often have unintended consequences.

Passing the money back and fourth provides much more opportunity for graft.

Criminal Charges Likely for GM. Hey, Can We Get Our $11.2 Billion Back?

You can’t fool ‘the market’.

So now, many of the same groups that agitated for Obamacare are agitating for new government spending or tighter controls on the insurance industry and businesses to “solve” the problem. But perhaps the first question to ask is: How did those deductibles get so high in the first place?

The answer is Obamacare.

Obamacare’s upward pressure on deductibles started in the law’s first year. By the fall of 2010, six months after President Obama signed the bill into law, Obamacare dictated that insurers could no longer impose lifetime caps on payments, could not deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and had to insure adults up to the age of 26 on their parents’ policies.

Those provisions raised the insurers’ costs, and since then some additional cost-increasing Obamacare provisions have become law. Sure enough, deductibles began to increase significantly. The pro-Obamacare group Commonwealth Fund measured adults for whom the insurance deductible represents five percent or more of annual income. In 2003 and 2005, Commonwealth Fund found, three percent of adults were in that category. In 2010, the figure doubled, to six percent. In 2012, it rose to eight percent. In 2014, it rose to 11 percent.

Sorry about the late bllogging.

Cheesy …

A Washington state senator has survived a campaign by Western Washington University students who demanded their school revoke his master’s degree because he’s not radical enough on global warming.

Doug Ericksen, a Republican and chair of Washington’s Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, has blocked efforts to force businesses and residents to go green, but he supports voluntary compliance. He opposes mandated cap-and-trade programs and low-carbon fuel standards.

But the effort to yank Ericksen’s degree — he earned his MA in political science and environmental policy at WWU — met with a stiff rebuke last week from the university’s president.

Eiffel Tower shut down.

The Eiffel Tower shut down for six hours because of a staff walkout in protest against a surge in pickpocketing gangs.

Workers say the gangs are increasingly threatening them with assault or abuse.

The company managing the major tourist attraction “thanked the public for its understanding” and said it “regrets that visitors… are being punished”.

About seven million people go up the tower every year. The tower reopened on Friday afternoon.

Staff are demanding “formal guarantees” from management to stop pickpocketing gangs who target numerous tourists every day.

The way to the White House may not come through this house:

New ‘cottage’ at Maine compound for Jeb Bush

Espionage in LA

On Saturday, the United States arrested Hao Zhang, a professor at China’s Tianjin University, as he landed in Los Angeles. The charges brought against him, detailed in an indictment filed April 1st in the District Court, are a curious mishmash of corporate espionage, all committed against U.S. defense research. According to the case brought by the federal government, Zhang was one of six people who conspired to steal the trade secrets behind several acoustic devices and replicate them in China.

The indictment alleges that the thefts occurred during the past decade from two companies. Hao Zhang worked at Avago Technologies, while Wei Pang, another professor included in the indictment, worked for Skyworks. Here is how the indictment describes the acoustic technologies that the pair allegedly stole:

Private property. … It’s good to know it still exists somewhere.

At what point do video game items stop being trinkets and start counting as property? With the launch of Diablo III, a wildly popular online role-playing game, players looking to trade with others sometimes found themselves asking that very question as a duo of players, breaking with the in-game camaraderie of human-controlled adventurers against computer-generated monsters, proceeded to mug other players for virtual swords and armor. A fascinating look at the summer 2012 crime spree and its now-resolved court aftermath comes to us from Fusion. Their reporter spoke with Michael Stinger, one of the people involved in the theft, about the odd world of prosecuting virtual-item theft with real-world means.

NSA Wanted To Hack Google App Store, Infect Android Phones

The NSA hits just keep coming. New documents leaked by Edward Snowden show the National Security Agency wanted to intercept the connection between Android smartphones and the Google Play Store in order to install spyware.

Spies from the Five Eyes alliance, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK, and the US, developed a surveillance unit called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, according to documents published by The Intercept. The countries held workshops between November 2011 and February 2012 to explore how best to get spyware onto smartphones to improve information-gathering capabilities.

Frame by Frame

Yet another reason for dark glasses.

Iris scanners can now identify us from 40 feet away

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