YES LET’S DO WHAT WE CAN TO REDUCE NON-BIODEGRADABLE WASTE, BUT ARE PLASTIC STRAWS REALLY A BIG PART OF THE PROBLEM?
Putting aside the question of why anyone attempting to set public policy would rely on a telephone survey conducted by a 9 year old, the attempt to cut down on the unnecessary use of plastic straws seems like it might be a good idea. Anything to reduce the volume of non-biodegradable waste is probably beneficial.
How much the use of plastic straws contributes to the problem of non-biodegradable waste, however, is another question. The research on actual usage of plastic straws is obviously relevant to that inquiry.
Remember the good old days when straws were made out of paper?
It’s a problem I am familiar with because an author I know, who sells her books through a number of different online purveyors including Smashwords, Kobo, and DriveThruFiction (as well as Amazon and Google Play), has had to wrestle with it: when a business located in one state sells something to a customer located in another state, does the business have to collect sales tax from the customer and remit that tax to the customer’s state?
The answer currently is, no, but apparently there is a case pending at the U. S. Supreme Court that could change that answer. There’s a good explanation posted at the Volokh Conspiracy site.
IT’S NOT UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME IF YOU’RE ONLY PAYING IT TO A FEW HUNDRED PEOPLE
There’s a story in the news about the city of Stockton, California, providing a monthly stipend to a few hundred of its low-income residents. It’s being touted as an experiment with a universal basic income.
But how is it “universal” if it’s only being paid to a few hundred people? And how does saying there are “no strings attached” make it different from many other government support programs?
The money for this project isn’t entirely from the city, either. It’s being subsidized by a private foundation. That means that private donations are supporting this experiment.
I don’t know what they expect to learn from this experiment, but I don’t think it’s going to tell them very much about the effect of a universal basic income, because that’s not what it is.
ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT FOR JANUARY 2018: HOW DO YOU MAKE AN ORGAN DONATION AS PART OF YOUR ESTATE PLAN?
My January newsletter, Estate Planning Law Report, has been posted for your edification. It’s about the always-timely topic of organ and tissue donations, and how to incorporate such a donation (the legal term is “anatomical gift”) into your estate plan.
The newsletter is posted in the publications section of my firm’s web site. If you would like to receive my newsletter (with useful information on estate planning, tax, and real estate questions) via snail mail each and every month, please send me an email, using the email on my main page.
BEING PASSED OUT DRUNK IN YOUR VEHICLE WILL GET YOU A DUI EVEN IF IT’S A SELF-DRIVING VEHICLE?
Well, if your vehicle is stopped dead in traffic (especially on a really busy highway, like the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge), then the fact that it’s a Tesla with autopilot probably shouldn’t get you out of being arrested for driving under the influence.
What a stupid attempt at an excuse. Now, if it was a fully autonomous vehicle and the vehicle was actually driving itself, that would of course be different.
There’s been some news lately about court actions involving the “waters of the United States” rule. That’s a rule promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency that essentially defines what property is governed by the federal Clean Water Act. One of my firm’s natural resources law practitioners discussed it a while back in an update on the firm’s website.
Those court actions may soon be moot, however, as further discussed by another commentator. That’s because it’s been announced that the EPA is moving to change or rescind the rule. The result is likely to be a much less broad interpretation of what property is governed by the Clean Water Act. If that happens, then the court challenges to the rule will probably go away.
ANOTHER GREAT IDEA…
From the Pacific Northwest: force landlords to rent to the first applicant, regardless of other factors.
What’s that going to do to rental rates and security deposit requirements, do you think?
This is from the same locality that thinks a 1.75 cent per ounce tax on sugary drinks will both make people buy less of those products and be a revenue raiser for the city.
DID YOU KNOW THAT THE GOVERNMENT CAN DENY YOUR PASSPORT APPLICATION IF YOU OWE MORE THAN $51,000 IN BACK TAXES?
I’m just trying to keep you informed. Read the details about the circumstances under which the State Department can deny your passport application due to “seriously delinquent tax debts,” and what you can do about it, in the IRS news release on the subject, IR-2018-7.
A HIGHER STANDARD DEDUCTION IS GOOD FOR LOWER INCOME TAXPAYERS, ISN’T IT? AND IF YOU’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT A “NATIONAL OBSESSION WITH TAX CUTS,” HOW ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT’S OBSESSION WITH SPENDING?
An essay by one tax law professor has this as its thesis:
“New tax legislation enacted in December 2017 exacerbates the extent to which various itemized deductions, such as the charitable contribution deduction and the home mortgage interest deduction, disproportionately benefit high income individuals.”
A presentation by another has this as its title:
“Anti-Tax America: The Origins Of Our National Obsession With Tax Cuts”
I’m not going to link to them. They are linked at TaxProf Blog if you want to read more.
Are these representative of what tax law professors spend their time thinking, writing and speaking about?
REAL SELF-DRIVING CARS ARE transporting passengers IN ARIZONA right now, IN AN AREA I KNOW
I don’t think I have linked to this video before, but forgive me if I have because it’s just too exciting for me to not share it. Waymo’s self-driving cars are driving people from point A to point B with no driver, right here in Arizona. The video at the link shows it. The video was taken in Chandler (at the 1:28 point of the video you can see a street sign for Chandler Blvd.).
Hurry up and make it available in Tucson, please. Otherwise I might have to go try it out in Chandler.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.