aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, March 17, 2006
H&R Block bashing: the response
H&R Block’s Express I.R.A. lets tax filers deposit all or part of their refunds directly into retirement savings accounts. Theoretically, it’s a great way to save because the money is stashed away before it can be spent. But the New York attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, says that in practice, it’s a lousy deal. In a lawsuit filed this week, Mr. Spitzer contends that the accounts are “virtually guaranteed to lose money” because of low returns and high fees.
H&R Block denies any wrongdoing and plans to fight in court. Regardless of the outcome, the controversy should be a reminder that low- and moderate-income earners need straightforward, low-cost ways to save. [...]
Besides facing Mr. Spitzer’s suit, H&R Block is also being sued over high-cost short-term loans it makes against filers’ refunds, and it recently paid $62.5 million to settle some cases related to the loans. That corporate history makes it all the more pressing to examine Mr. Spitzer’s charges. But the deeper issue is that people who want to save - and need to save - need more help than they’re getting.
I have friends at H&R Block both here and in New York. They’ve sent me Block’s response and it reads true to me.
On the road
I’m in North Carolina today, in Chapel Hill near where the cantankerous and unorthodox muslim man is accused of running down UNC students.
I’m here to help some of our students shoot a documentary. I wasn’t the only visitor in the area. Traffic was heavy in Charlotte as we passed by:
Unlike Dick’s last outing, our shoot went well.
Convicted sex offenders could be driven out of Georgia’s cities into suburban and rural areas under a popular Republican bill awaiting state Senate approval.
The bill would ban registered sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of child care centers, churches, schools and numerous other places where children congregate --- including bus stops.
Supporters say House Bill 1059 could lead to the nation’s toughest sex offender laws and come down especially hard on those who prey on children. “The intent of this bill is to, above all else, protect the children of Georgia from dangerous sexual criminals and predators,” House Majority Leader Jerry Keen (R-St. Simons Island), the measure’s chief sponsor, said in a written statement.
But critics say the proposal would cut sex offenders off from jobs, housing, transportation, treatment and other support.
And how has it worked in other states?
In Iowa, a similar measure went into effect last year, and now some of its loudest critics are prosecutors and police. They say the state law barring sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or child care center has driven offenders from cities and caused many to become homeless, cluster in motels or vanish from authorities’ sight. Iowa prosecutors are calling for a repeal.
[The] sweeping 38-page proposal would, among other things, impose mandatory 25-year sentences for some sex crimes and require lifetime electronic tracking for the worst offenders. If a sex offender knowingly violated the rules on where he could live, work or loiter, he would be guilty of a felony and imprisoned for at least 10 years.
The bill passed the House 144-27 in early February and is under consideration today in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Jane rejected in Georgia
I don’t know what the Georgia Dems were thinking when they introduced the resolution, maybe that her years of genuine service to the people of the state - most especially around teen pregnancy which is higher down here in the South - merits recognition.
Or maybe they hoped to bask in her celebrity glow. What were they thinking? Did they forget that they’re here in Georgia?
ATLANTA—Jane Fonda’s 1972 trip to North Vietnam is haunting her again. The Georgia Senate on Thursday nearly unanimously defeated a resolution that would have honored the actress’ charity work in the state.
The Democratic sponsor had tried to withdraw the resolution after a rocky reception from colleagues and a phone call from Fonda’s office, but a Republican leader forced a vote, saying members of his caucus wanted to go on record against it.
Fonda, who is out of the country, had asked for the resolution to be withdrawn to avoid the controversy, said the sponsor, Sen. Steen Miles of suburban Atlanta.
The effort was defeated 38-1, with even Miles voting against it.
The sponsor voted against it?
What a waste of time and government! Fonda’s work will continue here I’m sure; and she doesn’t give a hoot about getting a resolution.
Via James Joyner who I’m sure got a kick out of that.