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Pentagon Makes Good On Plan To Destroy Critical Book 306

mykos writes "Remember when the Pentagon said they were arranging a taxpayer-funded, government-sponsored book burning a couple weeks ago? Well, they made good on that threat, purchasing 9,500 copies of the book to be destroyed. The publisher, St. Martin's Press, has redacted anything the Pentagon told them to redact in the upcoming second run of the book. They Department of Defense has not yet paid for the burned books, but says they are 'in the process.' Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham gave this statement: 'DoD decided to purchase copies of the first printing because they contained information which could cause damage to national security.' Whew, looks like we're safe now."

Electric Car Subsidies As Handouts For the Rich 589

Atypical Geek writes "Charles Lane, writing for Slate, argues that subsidies for electric cars are an example of 'limousine liberalism' — a lavish gift for well-off Americans to buy expensive cars for the sake of appearing green. From the article: 'How rarefied is the electric-car demographic? When Deloitte Consulting interviewed industry experts and 2,000 potential buyers, it found that from now until 2020, only "young, very high income individuals" — from households making more than $200,000 a year — would even be interested in plug-in hybrids or all-electric cars.' Lane also takes issue with the billions of dollars in subsidies offered to automakers for the manufacture of batteries, arguing that research (warning, PDF) concludes that the money will not help in jump-starting the economies of scale that will drive down prices. At least, not as much or as quickly as the President has argued."

US Gov't Orders 73,000 Private Websites Offline 536

joeszilagyi sends this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "... according to the owner of a free WordPress platform which hosts more than 73,000 blogs, his network of sites has been completely shut down on the orders of the authorities. has been with host BurstNet for 7 months, but on Friday July 9th the site disappeared. ... Due to the fact that the authorities aren't sharing information and BurstNet are sworn to secrecy, it is proving almost impossible to confirm the exact reason why Blogetery has been completely taken down. The owner does, however, admit to handling many copyright-related cease and desists in the past, albeit in a timely manner as the DMCA requires."

TSA Internally Blocking Websites With 'Controversial Opinions' 147

sterlingda writes "The Transportation Security Administration is blocking certain websites from the federal agency's computers, including halting access by staffers to any Internet pages that contain a 'controversial opinion,' according to an internal email obtained by CBS News. The new rules came into force on July 1, and prevent TSA employees from accessing such content, though what is deemed 'controversial opinion' is not explained."

BP Knew of Deepwater Horizon Problems 11 Months Ago 438

jkinney3 was one of several readers to send in news of recently discovered internal documents from BP which indicate the company knew "there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week." According to the New York Times, "The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of 'well control.' And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer." Reader bezenek points out this troubling quote about BP's inconsistent risk assessments: "In April of this year, BP engineers concluded that the casing was 'unlikely to be a successful cement job,' according to a document, referring to how the casing would be sealed to prevent gases from escaping up the well. The document also says that the plan for casing the well is 'unable to fulfill M.M.S. regulations,' referring to the Minerals Management Service. A second version of the same document says 'It is possible to obtain a successful cement job' and 'It is possible to fulfill M.M.S. regulations.'"
The Almighty Buck

IRS Wants a Cut of Sales On eBay and Craigslist 517

Ponca City, We love you writes "In 2009, $60 billion worth of items were sold on eBay, meaning 'extra' money for many sellers, whose activities may provide them with taxable income. Now the Washington Post reports that beginning next year, a new law will require 'the gross amount of payment card and third-party network transactions to be reported annually to participating merchants and the IRS.' Also, for 2011 tax returns, 'taxpayers who annually sell more than $20,000 worth of goods and have more than 200 electronic transactions' will receive a new IRS form, known as 1099-K, for reporting the proceeds. The new tax issues shouldn't be a concern for people who sell just a few small items online for less than they paid for them, because as the IRS points out, income from auctions that resemble a garage or yard sale 'generally' isn't required to be reported. But if an online garage sale turns into a business with recurring sales and purchases of items for resale, it may be considered an online auction business. 'Generally, transactions resulting in a gain are reportable, regardless of whether the taxpayer is conducting a business,' says Gil Charney, principal tax researcher at The Tax Institute at H&R Block. The real reason behind the law is simple: Research shows taxpayers do a much better job of reporting taxable income when they know the IRS is receiving information about their transactions."

US Military Blocks Data On Incoming Meteors 172

Hugh Pickens writes "Nature reports that the US military has abruptly ended an informal arrangement that allowed scientists access to data on incoming meteors from classified surveillance satellites, dealing a blow to the astronomers and planetary scientists who used the information to track space rocks. 'These systems are extremely useful,' says astronomer Peter Brown, at the University of Western Ontario. 'I think the scientific community benefited enormously.' Meteor data came from the Defense Support Program (DSP) satellite network consisting of infrared satellites in geosynchronous orbit to monitor the globe for missile launches or atmospheric nuclear blasts, forming the principal component of the United States' ballistic missile early-warning system. The satellites' effectiveness was demonstrated during Desert Storm, when DSP detected the launch of Iraqi Scud missiles and provided warning to civilian populations and coalition forces in Israel and Saudi Arabia. As a side benefit, the satellites could also precisely detect the time, position, altitude and brightness of meteors as they entered Earth's atmosphere, information the military didn't consider particularly useful, or classified. 'It was being dropped on the floor,' says former Air Force captain Brian Weeden. Although the reason for ending the arrangement remains unclear, Weeden notes that it coincides with the launch of a new generation of surveillance satellites and speculates that the Pentagon may not want details of the new satellites' capabilities to be made public, or it may simply lack the expensive software needed to handle classified and declassified data simultaneously. 'The decision may have been made that it was perhaps too difficult to disclose just these data.'"

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