The heart of Judge Ward’s ruling was that the I.R.S.’s retroactive use of tougher Treasury Department rules in 2003 on liabilities like those in Blips was “ineffective” and “not enforceable” because it was retroactive. The Internal Revenue Code generally prohibits retroactive regulations. The I.R.S. said in 2000 that it would formally challenge Blips deductions claimed by taxpayers.
Jerrold Cohen, a lawyer in Atlanta for Mr. Nix and Mr. Patterson, said yesterday that Judge Ward’s ruling showed that “the government isn’t allowed to change the rules just because it doesn’t like the result.”
Great example of the mess that is our tax system. The Opinion (PDF).
A few recent storm photos:New Mexico
More here and here.
Flying around recently, amid full planes, high fuel prices, employees who have endured some tough years and challenging weather, it seems to me that the airlines, while trying very hard to make money, are really stretching their employees and systems. Juggling planes and tickets amid cancellations and delays one night, I ended up on a 777. Passengers boarded the full flight, were instructed to close the overhead bins and buckle up. Minutes before departure, the steward announced that there were no pilots. They would be arriving in 45 minutes and we were free to get off the plane….. The steward, when asked, mentioned that they just found out about this (no pilots! – seems odd in 2006 that they were not aware that the pilots were not around, what with elaborate crew and equipment management software). I grabbed my bags and ran over to my prior, delayed flight, swapped tickets and was later on my way.
This, and other recent examples make me wonder how far the airlines can push their systems and people…. I also noticed a number of rather rude passengers along with some great, hard working airline employees.
Via an MGE email (responding to my email notifying them of our power outage):
MGE projects that most customers reporting an outage will have electricity restored yet today. Some customers may not be restored until Friday.
For crew safety, work will stop at 11 p.m. tonight and resume early Friday morning.
Fifteen crews from Milwaukee and Green Bay are helping MGE. Crews report extensive damage and a massive number of trees down on power lines in the service area. Most of the restoration at this point involves working at individual sites—clearing trees and branches, in some cases setting new poles and then reestablishing power.
If your lights are still out and you have not reported the outage, please call the MGE customer center at 252-7111.
Madison Gas & Electric Company
I’ve been critical of MG & E in the past (highest rates in the state and political payoffs). I’m glad they are using email to communicate with their (mostly captive) customers. Interestingly, I’ve not seen any mention of the outages on their website. Fortunately, they’ve done a nice job getting power back on.
Antonio Regalado & David Hamilton:
The broadly worded patents, which cover nearly any use of human embryonic stem cells, are held by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, a nonprofit group that handles the school’s intellectual-property estate, managing a $1.5 billion endowment amassed during 80 years of marketing inventions.
John Simpson, an official at the foundation bringing the challenge, says WARF’s efforts to enforce its patents are “damaging, impeding the free flow of ideas and creating a problem.” Mr. Simpson’s group got involved in the dispute earlier this year after Wisconsin officials said they would demand a share of state revenue from California’s voter-approved stem-cell initiative.
WARF doesn’t charge academics to study stem cells, but it does ask commercial users to pay fees ranging from $75,000 to more than $250,000, plus annual payments and royalties. So far, 12 companies have licensed rights from WARF to use the cells, and more than 300 academic laboratories have agreements to use the technology without charge. WARF spokesman Andy Cohn declined to say how much the organization has earned from the patents so far but says it is less than what it has spent funding stem-cell research and paying legal costs.
Jeff Jarvis notes an interesting paradox:
At the same time that Nielsen announces that the TV networks had their lowest ratings in recorded history — averaging 20 million viewers at a time — YouTube announces that it’s serving 100 million videos a day. Insert apocalyptic punchline here.