Job bidding sites like Zaarly, Mechanical Turk and Taskrabbit have circumvented minimum wage laws and helped to create a new underclass of the underemployed. It’s time authorities took notice.
I am a Mechanical Turk. For a couple of cents, I will perform a mind-numbing, inaptly named “human intelligence task” a mind-boggling number of times, and at the end of the day I will have earned the minimum wage. In Bengladesh. Maybe. Still, the Amazon site mechanicalturk.com has tens of thousands of willing near-slaves, effectively working off the books (no 1099 until you get to $600, good luck with that) to supplement their unemployment and social security checks.
Earlier, the only way you could have got rid of your car was by selling it away. But with the passage of time there has emerged a way that can not only help you do away with your useless car but also get you good benefits; benefits in the form of tax deductibles. The simple way that is being referred to here is charity. Car owners who have a junk clunker or a SUV sitting idle in the garage can now consider car donations New Jersey. There are a good number of car donation organization that are non-profitable in nature. Being recognized by the Internal revenue Service or the IRS, these car donations can get you tax deductions once you donate your car to children charity in New Jersey.
Donation of any kind is a good thing. But when you donate a car to charity that is for helping the needy children, you have a good feeling about the entire matter. But as far as car donation New Jersey is concerned, there are certain things that needs to be taken care of.
It is not unlikely that you will come across more than one organization that claims to accept used car donation. But as all that glitters are not gold, so all the organizations will also not be the right one to donate you car to. So, there are certain things the car donor needs to ask or find out about the organization prior to donate the car. So, what are the many things that one should inquire about? Following are the simple queries that one needs to make.
Is it of to donate a car to charity that has not run in many years? Is it fine to donate it still?
Organizations that accept used car donations are not bothered about the condition of the car. So, it really does not matter whether it has run in many years or not.
What is the amount of tax deductible that the car donor can earn?
The amount of tax deduction that a car owner can earn depends a lot on the Fair Market Value of the car or the price at which the car is sold. Whichever is greater, the car owner will be able to claim that.
It has been 4 months since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico. This caused the largest marine oil spill, in the history of the petroleum industry. 4 months later, we have lots of lies and very few answers. We also have very little progress. Despite the lack of progress, BP is still in charge of operations. Luckily for them, they have been able to sink and hide most of the oil. For most of the general public, this oil is out of sight and out of mind.
Even though we cannot see most of the oil that is in the Gulf, a new scientific study proves that it is most definitely there. This study proves that the oil is hovering about a kilometer below the water surface. It also confirms that is about 200 meters high, 2 kilometers wide and reaches approximately 35 kilometers from the original spill site. The worst part? This is not just oil. The composition of the hovering plume, is a toxic mix of crude oil and chemicals. The Corexit dispersant is the lingering chemical that is forcing the oil under the surface, where it is not visible.
Here is the research that supports the data above: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/science.1195223
The year is 1991, it’s the George H. W. Bush administration. The place: Atlanta, Georgia. There is excitement in the city and across the country for the major event that will happen 5 years later – the 1996 Olympic Games.
The excitement is joined with the need for preparation. The city and the region has to prepare – food, safety, shelter, transportation, conveniences, utilities, and infrastructure all have to be ready for the influx of tourists, fans, and athletes that will be arriving.
The federal government, fully aware that how the world would see Atlanta was a reflection of how they also saw the nation, came to their assistance that year in many ways, one of which was an earmark for $58.1 million “for various transportation improvements in connection with the 1996 Olympics, including the city of Atlanta advanced traffic management system (IVHS).”1
The rules laid out in the bill for this money was simple:
- State of Georgia was to use it for “innovative techniques in highway construction or finance.”
- The money came from the Highway Trust Fund, and would be used from 1992 to 1997.
- The money could only be applied to 80% of the project (so the state had some skin in the game).
- The funds earmarked “shall remain available until expended.”
So what’s the problem? Why are we discussing a twenty year old earmark?
The answer is simple: Because of the language in this bill (can only be used from 1992 – 1997 but funds will remain available until expended), there is $2.7 million being held by the Secretary of Transportation that can only legally be spent… 13 years ago.
How is this possible? This is an example of what is called an ‘orphan earmark’ and nicknamed a ‘disappearmark.’ While it is great that money was not spent when not necessary here, regardless of what congress tried to force upon the recipients, this money still exists but is not included in any real meaningful budgetary numbers.
To make it worse, since this was allocated to the state for a highway project, this money is taken out of the state’s share of federal gas tax revenue!
So let’s get this straight:
- Georgia doesn’t spend all of the taxpayers money on this project
- The state is rewarded by losing $2.7 million from their share of revenue
- This money is still held by the Department of Transportation
- No one can use it – so the money just remains with no where to go
There have been several noble attempts by legislators to ‘sunset’ earmarks – if they haven’t been used by a certain time, if recipients can no longer fulfill eligibility requirements, etc. But they continually get squashed.
And I can’t figure it out… but then again, it’s the federal government. They don’t want us to figure it out.
$2.7 Million in today’s dollars = $4.4 Million
*Based on appropriations affect on federal debt over the last 20 years
1. “Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991” HR 2950 ENR, Section 1107 – Innovative Projects. 102nd Congress.
And it seems as though no conclusive answers to our questions are in sight. The best any layman can do is learn what is known thus far and decide for oneself.
GMOs are genetically modified organisms – they’ve had their genomes altered through genetic engineering. In a lab, DNA from one organism is modified and then transferred into the DNA of another organism in order to produce desired traits. Used mostly in plants such as corn, soybeans, canola and wheat, two desired traits that are of particular value are drought tolerance and pest resistance. These desired traits help produce crops that are at less risk from the elements and require less care.
Two examples of genetically modified foods include:
- The Flavr Savr tomato. This more rot resistant tomato was made by a California company, Calgene.
- Roundup Ready soybeans were engineered to resist the weed killer, Roundup. When fields are sprayed, everything but the soybeans died.The controversies surrounding genetically modified foods focus on both human and environmental safety, and on labeling so people can have choice. No matter which side of the GMO issue you fall on, one has to admit that the ability to isolate a specific gene for a single trait is pretty cool science, at least.
While producing genetically modified foods sounds unnatural, science has continually led us to ongoing positive medical advancements that have helped people lead longer and healthier lives. Some of the current and future accomplishments in favor of genetically modified foods include being able to develop foods that have added nutrients, foods that contain vaccines, and faster growing foods. With growing world population and hunger still a global issue, the ability to feed the planet is key.
Because this is a relatively new science, there has not been thorough testing over time on both the human and environmental impact of genetically modified foods. Some of the worries include the unknown impact on other organisms such as soil, or in cross-pollination. Political issues include the worry that developing nations will become increasingly dependent on richer nations and large dominating companies. And one of the biggest dilemmas is of how to label these foods.
It is obvious that careful monitoring of the genetically modified food supply is needed to document both the positive and negative side effects, for there is the potential that GMOs can have much to offer in the future.
Currently there are two major groups of countries: developed and developing countries. They represent two totally different worlds, one with all the conditions of well-being the other with bad and often degrading living conditions. But what is the origin of this inequality?
The Colonial Past
A major cause is related to the colonial past of many countries. The colonizing countries (Europeans) exploited the natural wealth of these countries in benefit of Europe. So, they developed further, leaving the colonized countries with no evolution. Almost all African countries achieved independence after World War II, in the 60s. This ultimately led to dictatorships and political instability. Today, armed conflict still dominate in this countries which reduces their possibilities of development.
Photo Marco Dormino/ The United Nations
In general, developing countries are more vulnerable to natural hazards because the financial and technical resources available to carry out disaster prevention, saving lives and rebuilding infrastructure are lower than those of developed countries. That is why hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and droughts, very common in developing countries, have a great impact on its economy.
A good example is what happened in Haiti and Chile. A strong earthquake in Chile resulted in less than a thousand victims. In Haiti, the death rate was more than two hundred thousand.
Developing countries are primarily responsible for the population explosion in the world and, in general, still have high rates of natural increase due to high birth rate. Due to this rapid growth of population, we are witnessing the worsening of problems such as poverty, the growth of slums and rising of crime, violence and social instability, malnutrition, difficult access to education and lack of health care.
There are still many countries with single-party regimes (military or dictatorial). It’s common the disregard for human rights and press freedom, the corruption, the misuse of capital and the enrichment of the ruling classes. This triggers political and social instability, which ultimately harms their development.
Developing countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia, continue to be heavily affected by wars. Destruction of infrastructure, refugees and casualties, expenditure on armaments and recruitment of child soldiers are some of the consequences.
Most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and the Middle East are still very dependent on the export of agricultural or mineral products. In 38 of these countries, a single product contributes half of the value of the exports. Unfortunately, there was a general fall in commodity prices between 1974 and 2004. Many of these countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa, depend on a small range of agricultural products and, therefore, the general fall of prices led them to double exports to maintain income levels constant and counter the deterioration of terms of trade. However, more offer eventually mean new lower prices and thus aggravated the terms of trade.
The objectives of the transnational corporations are easy to summarize: lower production costs, gain more market and increase profits. But they are accused of lack of loyalty to workers and to the countries that host them, when they close its subsidiaries and move it to other countries, where production costs are lower. Many cause serious environmental damage, exploiting the raw materials and the labor-cheap population of developing countries, as their profits are repatriated almost entirely to developed countries.
In many developing countries, governments are very vulnerable to the interests of transnational corporations, yielding to corruption and allowing over-exploitation of resources of their own country.