Tuesday, January 20, 2015

First Drip (1/20/15): I-77 toll road hits pothole, 'Guantanamo Diary' published, sympathy for the IRS

Posted By on Tue, Jan 20, 2015 at 8:49 AM

A group called Widen I-77 is filing a lawsuit today in attempts to halt the North Carolina Department of Transportation from partnering with a Spanish company to add toll lanes to I-77. Because Cintra has agreed to cover 80 percent of the construction costs for the extra toll lane, NC DOT has given them leeway to charge whatever they see fit; the company has pledged to set reasonable fees, but so far refused to offer even a general range.

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments today on whether judicial candidates can seek campaign funds. The high court could undo laws in thirty states with judicial elections that have forbidden the practice in order to avoid conflicts of interest and protect judicial integrity.

Guantánamo Diary, described as the first and only diary written by a still-detained prisoner at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is published worldwide today. It describes the brutality of U.S. rendition and imprisonment through the eyes of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who has been locked up since 2001 but never charged with a crime.

The IRS begins processing tax returns today, and for the first time, taxpayers must address their health insurance status on federal returns. But allot extra time to call the IRS with questions; the Republican-led push to punish the IRS for investigating conservative groups seeking nonprofit benefits succeeded in slashing the agency's budget by $346 million, leaving a smaller staff to do more work.

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