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The Facts About The Marketplace Fairness Act Online Sales Tax Debate

Because every American state regulates its own procedural methods for collecting taxes, the implementation of new federal standards can be potentially chaotic and confusing. Due to the passage of the Marketplace Fairness Act within the United States Senate, there will inevitably be an overhaul of the national methods for collecting taxes on all online business activities. As the House of Representatives mulls finalizing this legislation, it is crucial to understand the specific language of the bill to determine any personal impacts beforehand. The most important skill to possess is an ability to discern between hyperbolic rhetoric and factual information; as such, a comprehensive overview of this oncoming law is provided below.


The Purpose Of New Regulations:

The Marketplace Fairness Act seeks to consolidate the entire country into a singular method of taxation in an attempt to recoup the annual loss of government income. While the statistics vary drastically between states, it is estimated that millions of dollars are being withheld from regional governments. This shortfall is the result of current loopholes that allow a majority of remote retailers to dodge standard tax rates.

Unfortunately, small businesses that rely on the internet simply do not have the resources to collect taxes from every customer. This is because every regional location is subject to the tax codes of their local government. Therefore, if the new legislation is passed in its current form, states that participate will be required to massively simplify the process of tax management for their local small businesses.

How Location Will Matter:

Currently, online retailers are typically only required to collect sales tax from residents who live within the legal proximity of their business operations. States that choose to adopt these new regulations in the future will be able to enforce sales tax income by setting up free services to conduct the convoluted calculations. Even though the legislation is aimed at universalizing the taxation system, it will not succeed in implementing unanimity among the states; however, instead of having fifty different sanctioned methods for collecting online sales tax, there will theoretically be a mere three.

There may be states that prefer to avoid the adoption of federal tax regulations, and these unions can choose to opt out of the changes. Their freedom from widespread taxation will still be widely limited by the parameters instigated by a new national taxation framework. The second option that states can consider is to operate within the context of the Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement without pursuing further modifications. This would allow them to recover some financial losses without having to commit to creating a new collection system. The final option is to accept the clauses contained within the Marketplace Fairness Act. This would generate the most governmental income, but it also shifts the onus of responsibility and liability onto individual states instead of business owners.

Divisions Among The Debaters:

Advocates of the legislation include the National Conference of State Legislatures and National Governors Association. These organizations wish to revitalize dwindling local economies by relying on increased internet taxes; contrarily, executives from major online retailers disagree with the entire concept. They claim it is excessively detrimental to the ability of individual sellers to compete with corporations. Either way, the Marketplace Fairness Act is here to stay, whether it amounts to economic lubricant or interference.


Bill in North Carolina Senate splits Auto Insurance Industry

Aimed at increasing competition within the automobile insurance industry, a senator in North Carolina has recently introduced a bill that he hopes would help to save insurance customers money. Certain insurance carriers, and the insurance commissioner for the state of North Carolina, have suggested that the legislation would actually do the opposite of what was intended, and would make rates go up.

North CarolinaThe insurance industry has come down on two sides of the issue with a coalition named Fair Automobile Insurance Rates supporting the bill. Referred to as FAIR, this coalition counted members including Geico, Allstate, State Farm, and Farmers. Against the bill is another group of insurance companies with members like Nationwide, GMAC, N.C. Farm Bureau, and Discovery Insurance.

Thus far, the increases for insurance rates in the state were guided by a department of the government called the North Carolina Rate Bureau. Much like senators might request too much funding for their state only to receive a lower amount of money, the same methods are used by the insurance companies to obtain state-condoned rate increases.

The way in which the N.C. Rate Bureau would operate would include taking a number from the insurance industry and its carriers, and using it to negotiate with state lawmakers on what rate increases would be appropriate. The rates approved by the government were very nearly always less than what was requested by the insurance companies.

The senator who introduced the new bill, Wesley Meredith, suggests that his bill would make it easier for insurance companies to give people living in high rate areas a lower rate based upon good driving habits. The bill would also make it possible for insurance carriers to hike rates up on unsafe drivers.

Current methods for determining insurance rates ensure that about three-quarters of residents in the state have to pay a premium to cover the increased costs of covering a high-risk driver. Some lawmakers within the state have suggested that this method of charging premiums has forced good drivers to pay for the mistakes and poor driving habits of high-risk drivers.

Some in the state have even suggested that the current design of insurance premiums has made it more expensive for women drivers and older drivers, and has also made it hard for any change to come about within the industry as a whole. Numbers suggest that drivers who have to pay more to cover bad drivers end up with about $16 in additional charges on their bill.

One interesting element of this bill is that one of the companies that are in opposition to the bill, Nationwide, donated money in the past to the senator’s campaign fund. The senator has suggested that funding from insurance companies in the past did not influence his decision to put the bill through the government.

Insurance consumers in North Carolina are worried and whatever the outcome, they just don’t want to have this impact their rates in a negative way. One person with spoke with, says his happy with his current auto insurance provider First Acceptance, but that he is tired of being misrepresented:

“…I’m tired of politics affecting my bottom line! It’s time our elected officials represented their people instead of the lobbyists.”

There are other bills currently working their way through the senate chamber that would also impact the state’s insurance industry. The senator who introduced those bills, Tom Apodaca, suggested that his bills would offer a better approach to the issue of making insurance rates fair across all drivers in the state. Passage of any of the bills might come down to which bill the Republican-majority senate would favor.

How Antibodies Can Help Those with Graves’ Diesease

Have you experienced problems with a rapid heartbeat, hair loss, dry skin, a feeling of fullness in your eyes, swelling in the front of your neck, weight loss, or brittle nails? All of these could be symptoms of Graves’ disease, and it is important to see your doctor for a complete health evaluation.


Graves’ disease is an autoimmune condition where the body’s own antibodies start to attack the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located right below our Adam’s apple, and it helps regulate our metabolism. When the antibodies affect the thyroid in Graves’ disease, the thyroid becomes overactive and starts to produce too much thyroid hormone. This can cause weight loss, nails that break easily, swelling of the thyroid gland, and hair loss.

Sometimes the condition can affect the eyes. The muscles that control eye movements can begin to swell, pushing the eyes forward in the eye socket and causing eye bulging. The swelling can become so severe that patients can’t move their eyes.

Graves’ disease can also affect the heart and blood pressure. An over-active thyroid causes the heart to beat too fast. This can also increase the blood pressure. The heart has to work harder than normal, creating a risk of heart problems, like irregular heart beat and even heart attacks.

Fortunately, it is very easy to measure these antibodies. Doctors and other health care providers can order a simple blood test to see if the thyroid antibodies are present and in what amount. The most common antibody blood tests for Graves’ disease are for the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) antibodies and the TSH receptor binding antibodies. Some health care providers may also order tests to check for the thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin antibodies. Health care providers will sometimes do imaging tests such as an ultrasound or scintigraphy to make sure there are no other causes for the overactive thyroid.

Once the levels of the thyroid hormone and antibodies are determined, your health care provider will discuss several treatment options with you. The three main options include medication, radioactive iodine, and surgery. Medication is used to decrease the amount of thyroid hormone produced by the thyroid gland. Blood tests to measure your thyroid antibodies will be done regularly to make sure the medication is effective and isn’t making the thyroid hormone drop below normal.

In situations where medication doesn’t work, radioactive iodine to destroy the overactive thyroid cells is an option. The radioactive iodine is taken up by the thyroid in particular and is a very effective non-surgical treatment. Once the short course of treatment is done, your doctor or other provider will monitor the levels of antibodies in your blood to make sure that the treatment was effective. Since your thyroid doesn’t function after this treatment, you’ll usually take a thyroid hormone replacement.

Surgery to remove the thyroid, called a thyroidectomy, is the final option. Since there is no thyroid for the antibodies to attack, thyroid hormone is no longer produced in excess. There is more recovery time with surgery than the radiation treatment.

Measuring thyroid antibodies can be extremely helpful in diagnosing thyroid problems. If you suspect you have Graves’ disease or another thyroid problem, please contact your primary care provider today.

New Study Shows Universe is Older Than Previously Thought

According to brand new scientific research, the universe is 100 million years older than prior estimates have gauged. Emerging statistical analysis from the European Space Agency has revealed that the universe is 13.8 billions years old. The evidence stems from data gathered by the Planck spacecraft in a project that began in 2009. The accumulation of information was focused on measuring the trace residuum of microwave radiation that has lingered throughout the universe since originating as a byproduct of the Big Bang.


The new study is unique from its predecessors, because it compiled the most comprehensive collection of data on the existence of microwave remnants. Previous studies have attempted to map out the radiation, but none have amassed such concrete substance. This is because the Planck vessel is equipped with significantly higher degrees of sensitivity for measuring the finite fluctuations in temperature that are indicative of compacted space. These dense sections represent unexpanded galaxies and star systems near the origin point of the Big Bang. Following the wavelength shifts of the microwaves has allowed for the most accurate measurement of the universe’s age that has ever been made. There are a bevy of inherent implications that generate alongside this advancement in knowledge.

A primary shift in human understanding of the universe is the accompanying protraction in the universe’s growth rate. Inevitably, expansion would have had to occur at a slower rate to reach its current size, since more time has to be allotted into the formula for calculating the speed of universal increase. This slower expansion confounds the currently accepted definitions of time by altering the dimensional dynamic to facilitate an imperceptible reduction in the pace of light travel. Gravitational pulls have also been proven to have a much more prominent influence on galactic arrangements than earlier studies have estimated; their delicate presences were detectable in nearly every aspect of the universe’s procurement.

Furthermore, the Planck’s research was able to track cosmic activity to almost the exact moment of the universe’s beginning. This is the closest view of the Big Bang that mankind has ever glimpsed. It pinpoints motion within an infinitesimally small percentage of a nanosecond after the moment the universe outwardly expanded its size by exponents of a trillion.

The full scientific insinuations of the research have yet to be completely released. The project has been conducted over the course of four years, and the research that has been publicly analyzed only comprises the first fifteen months of the mission. The recorded information will continue to be dissected and disseminated to the masses; however, the data from the earliest stage of existence has yet to be released.

Solid definitions of the universe’s compositional make-up are now more precisely determined than any point in all of human history. The statistics released demonstrate that all quantifiable matter represents less than one-twentieth of the entire cosmos. This statistic encompasses every star, planet and galaxy. Dark matter accounts for 26.8 percent of space. The presence of dark matter can only be measured by the bends in gravitational pull it can cause, because it does not respond to light in any known way. The majority of the universe consists of dark energy, which amounts to 69 percent of its composition. This element promotes faster universal expansion and is unaffected by gravity.

Red Light Cameras Being Looked At As Potential Witnesses In Non-Traffic Investigations

red-lgithThroughout the last decade, cameras have been installed to monitor street junctures for traffic infractions. The most common violation these visual devices seek is a lack of regard for red light stops. These machines automatically capture photographs of any vehicle that breaks the rules of the intersection. The picture is used as evidence of illegal behavior. Without any personal interaction with a law enforcement officer, drivers can receive a heavy fine and court appearance. Their installation is not handled by the federal government, which means each state and city determines their own regulations.

The state of Washington first implemented red light cameras in 2005. Currently, images taken by these devices can only be used as evidence in traffic cases. Lawmakers are attempting to change this in Bremerton, Washington. As the law is written, these cameras are supposed to be allowed only to take photographs for the purposes of vehicular identification. Their emphasis is supposed to be on capturing a clear picture of the driver and license plate; however, officers in Bremerton have started utilizing the cameras for an alternative purpose, which is to bring closure to unsolved homicide investigations.

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Photo Credit

In 2011, a teenage girl named Sara Burke was fatally stabbed at the intersection of Warren Avenue and 11th Street. The case has not been solved for almost two years. After the initial incident, police officers successfully filed a warrant to receive access to the footage that was recorded by the red-light camera in the area. Law enforcement was granted permission to view two hours of material from the device in hopes of locating clues. This is in spite of the county’s rules that state imagery on the cameras should only pertain to traffic cases. No clarification has been given to the media on why police were able to view legally restricted information.

Instead of admitting any wrongdoing, the Bremerton Police Department is petitioning the state legislature to legalize red light cameras for use in criminal cases. House Bill 1047 soared through the House, which approved it with nearly eighty percent of the congressional body in favor. This could initiate a caustic debate revolving around privacy concerns. Issues regarding unnecessary surveillance have a tendency to spark public outrage, especially if the accuracy of the technology is questionable.

The photo quality of pictures taken by these devices are typically abysmal. They feature a pronounced level of graininess that can render identifying features into an incomprehensible blur. The incorporation of such unreliable machinery as a legal witness could result in an unattainable degree of certitude during trials. The believably of testimony could potentially be compromised if surveillance evidence seems subjective or inconclusive. As such, the technology needs to evolve before it is applied in a widespread manner; otherwise, wrongful incarcerations and false convictions could easily result.

Burke’s death was an extremely unfortunate tragedy. It would be a disservice to her honor to allow legislation to pass that infringes on the public’s innate principle of privacy in her name. The manufacturers of such monitoring technology have not formally approved its use by criminal investigators, because they understand the challenges of veracity that the hardware will face. Officers say that expanding the cameras for this new function will prevent further violence, but it is a slippery slope to non-stop surveillance.