Has the IRS Hit Rock Bottom?

Some of Boston’s Top-Paid Police Officers Have Checkered Pasts ; Elaborate Deep-Sea ‘Snot Palaces’ ; and More Picks

IRS, tax law enforcement, annual report
The author writes, “This week, the IRS released its annual disclosure of enforcement statistics. Every year, it's an opportunity to measure how effectively the US government has sabotaged its own ability to enforce its tax laws. This year’s report, along with other data ProPublica has collected on the state of the IRS, is full of evidence that the IRS has hit a passel of historic lows. Overall, 2019 brought the lowest audit rate in generations. ... Fewer audits has meant less revenue, particularly from big businesses that pay the biggest tax bills.” Photo credit: Terry Robinson / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)
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ICE Paid Maine County Jail Hundreds of Thousands to Detain Immigrants Facing Removal (Chris C.)

From the Bangor Daily News: “Federal immigration officials have paid Maine’s largest county jail hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2015 for detaining immigrants there ahead of deportation and removal proceedings. That revenue is squaring the jail’s budget and lessening the burden that taxpayers must contribute to corrections operations, said Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce. But critics say jails who do this are becoming dependent on these revenue streams, with some fearing they’re incentivized for detaining immigrants. The practice has the potential to fuel racial profiling within law enforcement, they say, if facilities are able to make money from these immigrants, who are most often persons of color.”

Some of Boston’s Top-Paid Police Officers Have Checkered Pasts (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “The highest-paid member of the force, Lieutenant Timothy Kervin, was found by an internal probe in 2007 to have committed payroll abuse and police leaders announced then they were moving to fire him. He had 191 violations in all, including 68 counts of inaccurate reporting on a paid, off-duty detail card, which helped him collect $237,272 of pay in 2005 — more than any other city official that year. But for reasons not entirely clear, Kervin wasn’t fired; instead he served a four-month suspension.”

Gilead Patent Limits Access to COVID-19 Drug Remdesivir (Reader Steve)

The author writes,The American pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences is coming under scrutiny for agreements that activists say will restrict global access to remdesivir, an experimental antiviral drug that has shown promise in treating COVID-19. The Foster City, Calif.-based company has signed confidential licensing deals with nine pharmaceutical manufacturers — including seven in India — that would prevent the generic version of the drug from being distributed in dozens of countries, including the U.S., that account for nearly half the world’s population.”

Racial and Economic Inequality Are Supercharging the Coronavirus Surge in States Like California (Judy)

The author writes, “California was supposed to have the coronavirus under control. Then people went back to work. … Infections among frontline and service-industry workers are an underappreciated aspect of COVID-19’s California comeback.”

The FBI Has a History of Targeting Black Activists. That’s Still True Today. (Dana)

The author writes, “Exposure of … Cointelpro abuses led to an era of reform starting in 1976 including guidelines issued by the attorney general, Edward Levi, to limit FBI investigations of political activity by requiring a reasonable indication of criminal activity before intrusive investigations could be launched. Unfortunately, the guidelines were weakened over time, most severely in December 2008, by the Bush administration attorney general, Michael Mukasey. Mukasey’s guidelines authorized a new type of investigation called an ‘assessment,’ which required no factual basis for suspecting individualized wrongdoing before agents could employ intrusive investigative techniques.” 

What I’ve Learned About Being a Black Scientist (Mili) 

From Science: “Despite earning the same degrees, living in the same city, and working on the same campus, there are still fundamental differences in how my colleagues and I have to navigate the world that we all study.”

Scientists Tour Elaborate Deep-Sea ‘Snot Palaces’ for the First Time (Chris C.)

The author writes,Tiny transparent sea creatures make elaborate houses out of their own mucus. Now, researchers have illuminated the framework within these structures.”

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