A House vote on a bill that would allow states to force online retailers to collect sales tax is a couple of months away, but the Republicans in the Tennessee delegation are being lobbied heavily. The state’s two Democrats, Congressman Steve Cohen and Congressman Jim Cooper, support the bill, which as already passed the U.S. Senate.
But conservative critics have Tennessee’s Republican House members jittery. Even though the bill is supported by the state’s two Republican senators and Gov. Bill Haslam, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, and House Speaker Beth Harwell (all Republicans), activists are calling support for the bill support for a tax increase. Large businesses in the state and chambers of commerce are also calling the congressmen to explain how the present system is hurting retailers’ bottom line by giving their out-of-state competitors an advantage and urging a vote for the bill. Read The Full Story
The Obama administration will start formal peace talks with the Taliban on Thursday in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, the first direct political contact between them since early last year and the initial step in what the administration hopes will lead to a negotiated end to the protracted war in Afghanistan. Read The Full Story
In a major loss for individual rights vis-a-vis the police, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that prosecutors could use a person’s silence against them in court if it comes before he’s told of his right to remain silent. The prosecutors used the silence of Genovevo Salinas to convict him of a 1992 murder. Because this was a non-custodial interview, the Court ruled that the prosecutors could use his silence even though citizens are allowed to refuse to speak with police. It is of little surprise that the pro-police powers decision was written by Samuel Alito who consistently rules in favor of expanding police powers. Read The Full Story
A man stood still in Istanbul’s Taksim Square: silent, staring straight ahead, he had not moved for hours.
His peaceful action, on the square that police cleared of protesters on Saturday and where the Turkish authorities have banned gatherings, was a new form of protest.
He arrived Monday evening as night was falling and took up position in the middle of the square, just a stone’s throw from Gezi Park.
Five hours on, the man was still there, hands in his pockets, a bag and some bottles of water at his feet.
He was staring at a portrait of the revered founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk that hangs from the top of the old cultural centre. Ataturk who established Turkey as a secular state. Read The Full Story