WEIRD NEWS

Fun with Tax Cuts!

How you liking those big tax cuts? Goodness knows Amazon is. Want to guess how much the online retail king paid in federal taxes in 2017 and 2018? Wait, before you guess we want to make sure you understand they posted nearly $17 Billion in profits. Well if you guessed zero you'd be wrong - because it's less than zero. Seems Amazon relied on tax credits and tax breaks for executive stock options to turn its 21% rate-down from 35% under President Trump's new tax plan-into a $128 million federal rebate. "This is not their first rodeo," says a senior fellow at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which issued a report on Amazon's tax payments. "More than any company I have ever seen they have built their company around tax avoidance." Trump has criticized Amazon for paying too little in taxes, yet the very tax plan just passed by Congress enables them to pay nothing. Marketwatch explained Amazon's tax strategy, noting it earned credits during bad years and uses strategies "baked in the tax code" that all public companies enjoy. Amazon also paid nearly $1.2 billion in local, state, and international taxes for 2018. Amazon's thoughts on all this? The company says in part that it "pays all the taxes we are required to pay in the US and every country where we operate." (Guardian)

Kid Arrested After Refusing to Stand for Pledge

In Lakeland, Florida, an 11-year-old student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. So they had him arrested. Polk County Public Schools spokesman Kyle Kennedy says the sixth-grader disobeyed a substitute teacher's order to stand for the pledge was arrested after "becoming disruptive and refusing to follow repeated instructions by school staff and law enforcement." However, Kennedy also says students are not required to participate in the pledge but the substitute didn't know that. He adds that the boy was arrested for disruptive behavior, not just to refusal to stand. He was charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence. His mother, Dhakira Talbot, says "If any disciplinary action should've been taken, it should've been with the school. He shouldn't have been arrested." Officials say the teacher will no longer serve as a substitute in the district. (Newser)

That Darn Isis Regret

From the "It-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time" file, one American woman is greatly regretting her decision to leave the country and join Isis. Hoda Muthana was recently picked up by Kurdish forces in Syria, along with her toddler son, and is now the only US citizen among about 1,500 foreign women and children in the al-Hawl refugee camp not far from where the last of the Islamic State is said to be hunkered down. Muthana, 24, fled her Alabama home in 2014 to join ISIS, flying first to Turkey before settling in Syria, where she got married three separate times to ISIS fighters, two of whom died fighting. She also became a self-admitted zealot for the extremist group, sending angry, inciting tweets that called for violence. Now, however, Muthana says she realizes she was "arrogant" and "brainwashed." Describing her experience with the group as "mind-blowing" - she says at one point she was forced to eat grass to survive - and that she "deeply regrets" her choices and hopes to come home. She says, "I believe that America gives second chances. I'll never come back to the Middle East. America can take my passport." (Al Jazeera)

The Only Way to Stop an Idiot with a Gun... Oh Wait, There is No Way

In Lacey, Washington, police arrested a 21-year-old man after accidentally firing a gun during an effort to impress a fellow partygoer Saturday night. The bullet hit a 20-year-old woman and her baby. Very luckily, both are expected to survive. Investigators say six adults were in the house having a party when a man with a concealed carry permit removed his gun and holster so he could pull down his pants and show off his leg tattoo. He handed the gun to another man who in turn handed it to the 21-year-old man in the story. That idiot took the gun out of the holster and began to "show it off" to the 20-year-old woman holding the baby. As you guessed, the gun went off hitting the baby's leg and continuing to the woman's pelvis. Both victims were taken to local hospitals for surgery and were stable. Our friend is facing reckless endangerment charges at least - but there could be more. Deputies said ecstasy, alcohol and marijuana were present at the party. (Q13 FOX)

Favorite Movie Has to Be Groundhog Day

We're assuming this guy's favorite movie is Groundhog Day. In Cleveland, 55-year-old William Graham is a Chief Battalion and 30-year veteran firefighter, but he found himself being arrested not once, but three times within 24 hours at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. The first arrest happened Monday afternoon after attempting to board a flight while under the influence of alcohol. Video footage from a police body cam shows a very drunk Graham arguing with a JetBlue employee at an airline gate. When police intervened, Graham became combative and disruptive, swearing at the officers. After moving outside, Graham fought verbally with law enforcement before he was arrested. He was arrested a second time after boarding his re-booked flight the following morning, this time as the plane had taxied away from the gate and was set for departure. Graham was reportedly hostile towards passengers and refused to follow safety instructions set by the airline. He also purportedly attacked airline employees in the hallway. His third and final arrest came later on Tuesday afternoon, only five hours after his second arrest. This time it was disorderly conduct, the most serious of the three charges. A judge ordered Graham to pay $100 in fines for the first two offenses. The third charge may mean more serious penalties, ranging from probation to six months in jail, and the possibility of paying up to $1,000 in fines. Meanwhile, Graham has been placed on restricted duty leave. Wait - you can get drunk at the airport, beat up an employee and it only costs you $100 bucks? Or is this just a Cleveland thing? (IB Times)

48-Hour Challenge - Not the Good Kind

Well those crazy kids are at it again. This time it's a "48-hour challenge" which is making noise all over the internet. Police are telling parents to keep a watchful eye over their teens as the latest stupid trend encourages teens to go missing for up to two days at a time and awards points for every social media mention while they're missing. Police say that in addition to being potentially dangerous for the kids, it could also tie up authorities while there are real emergencies that need attention. Anyone caught participating in the challenge could face charges. Don't do it. Suddenly Tide Pods don't seem so bad. (Yahoo News)

Well That'll Spice Up the Barbecue

Over in Japan, an artist who goes by the name Sekisadamu decided to add a touch of the macabre to his backyard barbecue when he came up with the idea to create charcoal in the shape of human skulls. It was really just something to show off at the recent Wonder Arts Festival but photos of his creation went viral and became so popular that now Sekisadamu is contemplating the idea of mass producing the charcoal skulls. The response was overwhelming, both online and at Wonder Festival Winter, where the skulls quickly sold out. But people were still asking for more on Twitter. Sadly, Sekisadamu announced that international shipping isn't an option yet, but asked potential buyers to be patient while he works out a way to get his hit product mass-produced. (Oddity Central)

What the What?

Down in Florida, a group of work-release inmates saved the day after a couple accidentally locked their baby inside their SUV. The parents could not afford a locksmith, and the father intended to break a window. That's when a crew of trusties working nearby in their black-and-white striped uniforms offered to help outside the West Pasco Judicial Center. They inmates managed to pry open the front door just enough for one inmate to use a coat hanger to push a button that unlocked the SUV. The baby's mother, Shadow Lantry, said the infant was "just sitting there happy" throughout the ordeal, adding that "it wasn't until the door opened that she started to cry and get nervous and wonder what was going on." Sheriff Chris Nocco said the trusties "know they made bad mistakes, bad choices, but they want to do the right thing in life." (WABC-TV)

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