Apr 24, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Internal Revenue Service has paid more than $2.8 million in bonuses to employees with recent disciplinary problems, including $1 million to workers who owed back taxes, a government investigator said Tuesday.
More than 2,800 workers got bonuses despite facing a disciplinary action in the previous year, including 1,150 who owed back taxes, said a report by J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration. The bonuses were awarded from October 2010 through December 2012.
Well, at least it was something “minor” like not paying taxes instead of something more serious……
Other examples of misconduct by workers getting bonuses included misusing government credit cards for travel, drug use, violent threats and fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits.
If these are some of the people that received bonuses, doesn’t it make you wonder what kind of employee didn’t receive a bonus?
Oh well. All is not lost.
The IRS said it has developed a new policy linking conduct and performance bonuses for executives and senior level employees.
“Even without a formal policy in place over the past four years, the IRS has not issued awards to any executives that were subject to a disciplinary action,” the IRS said in a statement. “We are also considering a similar policy for the entire IRS workforce, which would be subject to negotiations with the National Treasury Employees Union.”
In response to the report and to boost their image, the IRS announced has announced a new “officially licensed” product – the IRS teddy bear.
Gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling, doesn’t it?
Apr 24, 2014
Brandon Jenkins wanted to become a radiation therapist. To fulfill his dream, in 2013 he applied to the Radiation Therapy Program at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC.)
Jenkins met the academic criteria for the program and maxed out his score in the “observation” part of the process where administrators and admission faculty from the college “observe” the applicant.
All that was left was the interview.
During the interview, Jenkins was asked “what is the most important thing to you?”
Jenkins replied, “my God.”
Jenkins was denied admission to the program and afterwards wrote to Adrienne Dougherty, the Program Director and Coordinator of the Radiation Therapy Program at CCBC asking why he was denied.
She responded to Jenkins in a email saying he had not done well in the interview because:
I understand that religion is a major part of your life and that was evident in your recommendation letters, however, this field is not the place for religion. We have many patients who come to us for treatment from many different religions and some who believe in nothing at all. If you interview in the future, you may want to leave your thoughts and beliefs out of the interview process.
In addition, Dougherty wrote:
I feel that I would be doing you a disservice if I allowed you into the program and you are not able to find a job based on your past. When you first contacted me, you wanted me to be honest, I don’t want you to waste 2 years pursuing a career you won’t be able to work in. I have seen it happen in the past. Although jobs are opening in the near future, it is primarily through two employers in Maryland and it is highly likely these insitiutions [sic] will not hire you based on your past. They will not directly say it, but it has happened in the past.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has now filed a lawsuit on behalf of Jennings against CCBC. (The complaint can be read here.)
The lawsuit charges that the school discriminated against Jenkins on the basis of his religious beliefs.
In addition, the lawsuit addresses the second reason Jenkins was given for his denial into the program.
Apr 23, 2014
We aren’t doing anything tricky here.
There are no mirrors, no special effects, no trick photography and no image manipulation.
Take a look at the green and blue colors in the illustration below.
The colors are nice, right?
Except for one thing……
Apr 23, 2014
This little video answers one of the great and imperative questions of our time.
Apr 22, 2014
Yesterday was “Tax Freedom Day” for the United States.
Tax Freedom Day is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay its total tax bill for year. A vivid, calendar-based illustration of the cost of government, Tax Freedom Day divides all federal, state, and local taxes by the nation’s income. In 2014, Americans will pay $3.0 trillion in federal taxes and $1.5 trillion in state taxes, for a total tax bill of $4.5 trillion, or 30.2 percent of income. This year, Tax Freedom Day falls on April 21, or 111 days into the year.
The tax burden is more than Americans will spend on food clothing and housing combined.
If you calculate the date to include federal borrowing:
Since 2002, federal expenses have exceeded federal revenues, with the budget deficit exceeding $1 trillion annually from 2009 to 2012 and over $800 billion in 2013. In 2014, the deficit will continue to decline to $636 billion. If we include this annual federal borrowing, which represents future taxes owed, Tax Freedom Day would occur on May 6, 15 days later.
Somehow we can’t get this quote out of our mind:
A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circlue of our felicities. – Thomas Jefferson.
Apr 22, 2014
There is a lesson to be learned here by the kids, but we aren’t sure what that lesson is.
Apr 21, 2014
You can find an app for almost anything these days. For example, here is an app called “French Girls:”
French Girls is the legendary award-winning* app where strangers anonymously draw portraits based on “selfies” of others. Take photos, draw portraits, and enjoy the photos and portraits that strangers have deemed appropriate to share with the digital world, all from the convenience of your iPhone.
On the homepage, the app has a nifty illustration. We can’t put our finger on it, but there seems to be something out of kilter with it.
Apr 21, 2014
Behold the nine year of daughter of Bergen Community College (New Jersey) professor of art and animation Francis Schmidt.
She’s a cutie.
The young girl was practicing yoga in her “Game of Thrones” tee-shirt when her father snapped a picture and put it on his Google+ account.
A dean at the school who received the post notified the school as he took the picture as some sort of “threat.”
In an email, Jim Miller, the college’s executive director for human resources, told Schmidt to meet with him and two other administrators immediately in light of the “threatening email.”
Although it was winter break, Schmidt said he met with the administrators, including a security official, in one of their offices and was questioned repeatedly about the picture’s meaning and the popularity of “Game of Thrones.”
Schmidt said Miller asked him to use Google to verify the phrase, which he did, showing approximately 4 million hits. The professor said he asked why the photo had set off such a reaction, and that the security official said that “fire” could be a kind of proxy for “AK-47s.”
Despite Schmidt’s explanation, he was notified via email later in the week that he was being placed on leave without pay, effectively immediately, and that he would have to be cleared by a psychiatrist before he returned to campus. Schmidt said he was diagnosed with depression in 2007 but was easily cleared for this review, although even the brief time away from campus set back his students, especially those on independent study.
Maybe the cat in the image terrified the dean who reported the picture as well. After all, a small cat can be a metaphor for a flesh eating lion being let loose in the halls of the college. (It makes about as much sense as “fire” and “AK-47′s” being the same thing.)
We cannot believe that a professor was told he could not return to work for posting a picture of his daughter in a tee shirt from a popular TV show.
The wrong person was suspended and told to visit the psychiatrist.