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Submission + - Microsoft Managers Now In Charge of Washington State's Budget (

reifman writes: The Seattle Times reports 'For the first time in state history, the Washington state budget is being written by Microsofties,' Representative Ross Hunter has 'tamed his Microsoft-style head-butting with a politician’s trust-building.' While Senator Andy Hill is 'the first Senate budget chair ever to request Excel files instead of paper spreadsheets.' 'The two must find $1 billion in new money for the state’s K-12 system.' Unfortunately, The Times neglects to mention that Hunter and Microsoft are behind the deficit and cutbacks in the first place. Hunter helped pass the amnesty bill for Microsoft's $1.5 billion dollar Nevada tax dodge ($4.37 billion if you include impacts from its lobbying to reduce tax rates) that contributed to $4 billion in cuts to K-12 and higher education since 2008. The state has resorted to taxing using Yelp to tax dancing to try to make up the shortfall (for real).

Submission + - Suspect arrested in Spamhaus DDoS attach (

apenzott writes: According to the BBC Technology News "Spanish police have arrested a Dutchman suspected of being behind one of the biggest ever web attacks..."

"The man arrested is believed to be Sven Kamphuis, the owner and manager of Dutch hosting firm Cyberbunker that has been implicated in the attack...."

" 'Spamhaus is delighted at the news that an individual has been arrested and is grateful to the Dutch police for the resources they have made available and the way they have worked with us,' said a Spamhaus spokesman."

Submission + - 'Pathetic Attitude' to Risk and Reward Keeps UK Startups Behind Silicon Valley ( 1

DavidGilbert99 writes: Not a man to pull his punches, equity expert Edmund Truell believes it is the UK startup scene's obsessions with vicarages and fast cars which is keeping it as the poor relation of Silicon Valley. The IBTimes UK reports Truell isn't afraid to lay it on the line:
"I'm looking for ambition to be a world leader. The greatest problem in the UK that I can see is, why do we not have very many companies that really make it, to be worth $20bn (£13bn), as in the US?

"Why? [A startup founder would say] 'oh, I'm going to have £3m if I sell now, I'm really excited by that, I can buy a vicarage and a fast car.' Oh for God's sake, you could hold on and sell it for £300m. [but they say] 'oh no, I might lose my three million'."

Submission + - Earth's core far hotter than thought (

hessian writes: New measurements suggest the Earth's inner core is far hotter than prior experiments suggested, putting it at 6,000C — as hot as the Sun's surface.

The solid iron core is actually crystalline, surrounded by liquid.

But the temperature at which that crystal can form had been a subject of long-running debate.

Experiments outlined in Science used X-rays to probe tiny samples of iron at extraordinary pressures to examine how the iron crystals form and melt.

Submission + - Seattle Dance Clubs Fundraise to Pay Microsoft's Tax Bill (

reifman writes: After granting Microsoft amnesty on its $1.5 billion Nevada tax dodge ($100 million in annual savings for the company), state tax collectors are aggressively targeting Seattle dance clubs and night clubs over an obscure 'opportunity to dance' tax. The 'Opportunity to Dance' is not in any law. It is only the Department of Revenue's interpretation of the law in its rules. Auditors search the Internet to find out whether people dance at specific clubs. One clubowner reports an auditor told him: 'You have the opportunity to dance, and we verified it by 8 or 10 different references on Yelp.' The Century Ballroom, a popular dance club, is holding ongoing fundraisers to offset its $250,000 in back taxes.

Submission + - Only Way to Stop Phonebook Deliveries in Seattle is to Give Up Your Privacy (

newscloud writes: "Seattle will soon shut down its popular phonebook opt-out website as a result of a costly settlement with Yellow Pages publishers. Going forward, the only way to stop unwanted phonebook deliveries will be to visit the industry's opt out site and provide them with your personal information. They will share it with their clients, most of whom are direct marketing agencies, who in turn commit not to use it improperly. The Federal Court of Appeals ruled in October that The Yellow Pages represent protected free speech of corporations (including Canada's Yellow Media Inc.); defending and settling the lawsuit cost Seattle taxpayers $781,503. The city said the program's popularity led to a reduction of 2 million pounds of paper waste annually."

Submission + - How to Turbocharge WordPress in the Amazon Cloud (

reifman writes: "Getting started with Amazon's Web Services can be overwhelming to the uninitiated. Here's a detailed guide to setting up fast, cheap, Slashdot-resistant WordPress blogs at AWS using open source Varnish Cache on Apache and Amazon's CloudFront CDN for about $6 monthly (after Amazon provides the first year free). This is also a great way to get hands on experience with server-side caching solutions and content delivery networks."

Comment The Royalty Tax Definition Thru 2010 (Score 2) 5

And, actually - according to the law through 2010... the tax on royalties applied to worldwide revenue... RCW 82.04.2907 - Tax on royalties from granting intangible rights (1) Upon every person engaging within this state in the business of receiving income from royalties or charges in the nature of royalties for the granting of intangible rights, such as copyrights, licenses, patents, or franchise fees, the amount of tax with respect to such business shall be equal to the gross income from royalties or charges in the nature of royalties from the business multiplied by the rate of 0.484 percent. Microsoft got around it by claiming to record the sales in Reno, Nevada, not in Washington State.

Submission + - Blogger Tells Microsoft to Put Up or Shut Up on Ta ( 5

reifman writes: "After The Everett Herald published an editorial condemning Microsoft's hypocritical record of tax dodging while advocating for more education funding, Jeffrey Reading, Microsoft's Senior PR Manager wrote the paper to refute the claims: "Much of the information regarding this issue is misinformation primarily spread by a blogger, and no state official has ever provided any factual data supporting his claims." The editorial was based on reporting I've done since 2004 showing that Microsoft's avoided more than $1.07 billion in state taxes using its Nevada office. If Microsoft wishes to prove that it paid Washington State Royalty Taxes during the years 1998 — 2010, it should disclose its worldwide licensing revenue and its Royalty Tax payments for this time period (as I have done)."

Comment Section 7 – Exploration of the City of Seatt (Score 3, Informative) 153

Section 7 – Exploration of the City of Seattle as a Direct Broadband Provider - If broadband internet access service providers providing service to residents of the City of Seattle violate this ordinance in ways which evidence a pattern and practice on behalf of those providers to interfere with the rights secured by this ordinance, the City Council of the City of Seattle shall explore the potential for the City of Seattle to become a direct broadband internet access service provider to the residents of the City of Seattle.

Comment Re:There is no 'right to Internet access' (Score 2, Informative) 153

The United Nations has proposed to make Internet access a human right. This push was made when it called for universal access to basic communication and information services at the UN Administrative Committee on Coordination. In 2003, during the World Summit on the Information Society, another claim for this was made. In some countries such as Estonia,[3] France,[4] Finland,[5], the United Kingdom Greece[6] and Spain,[7] Internet access has already been made a human right.

Comment Re:Learn about state preemption (Score 2) 153

Maybe but in Pennsylvania, drilling companies have backed away: "Major gas exploration companies such as Chesapeake and Cabot are reducing their drilling significantly — and others like Talisman Energy have shifted some of that drilling to places like Texas where taxes are close to nil and where there is little opposition to the drilling unlike western Pennsylvania where environmentalists have come out strongly against the drilling and the city of Pittsburgh has passed an all-out ban."

Comment Re:Learn about state preemption (Score 2) 153

This came up in a thread with Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing, CELDF's Thomas Linzey replied "There are many things that currently prevent us from engaging in this new type of activism - one is preemption (both at the federal and state level); Dillon's Rule (the flip side of preemption which treats municipalities as children compared to the state "parent"), and corporate "rights" (that activism such as this violates corporate constitutionally embedded rights, including bill of rights and 14th amendment protections, as well as commerce clause "rights" under the constitution). Our organizing designs municipal laws to frontally challenge each of those impediments." Ultimately it comes down to who should decide in communities? Should corporate lobbyists influencing congress set the law and should we abide by these laws? Or, should we challenge them?

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