Virginia Limits Retention Of License Plate Capture Data To 7 Days

We’ve shared with you before the that both private companies and law enforcement are combining images of motorists’ license plates with geographic data about where those plates were spotted. Some states have passed laws limiting how long this data can stay in databases or banning its collection altogether, and Virginia has joined that list as of this month. [More]


FCC Officially Votes To Protect Net Neutrality, Reclassify Broadband

In a landmark decision today, the FCC voted 3-2 to create enforceable, bright-line rules protecting the open internet using their Title II authority to reclassify broadband internet as a telecommunications service. [More]

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler speaking at the FCC's Open Meeting on February 26, 2015.

FCC Votes To Allow Cities To Expand Broadband Networks

As expected, the FCC today has confirmed an order permitting two cities to expand their existing municipal fiber broadband networks despite state-level laws that block them from doing so. [More]

(Don Buciak II)

FTC Challenges Sysco Acquisition Of US Foods

Sysco’s in-person meetings with the Federal Trade Commission didn’t have the desired effect. The foodservice supply giant wanted approval for its planned acquisition of competitor U.S. Foods, but the FTC thinks that Sysco wants to gobble up too much of the market. The commissioners voted 3-2 to block the merger. [More]

Pennies Are Still Useless, And Nickels Cost Eight Cents To Make

Pennies Are Still Useless, And Nickels Cost Eight Cents To Make

Printing and minting money is one of the privileges that government has. In theory, this is a privilege because the face value of coins is more than they cost to make. The problem is that while we still have one-cent and five-cent coins here in the United States, those coins are worth less than they were decades ago when they were designed. Minting new ones costs taxpayers money. [More]

(Mike Mozart)

People Buying Fewer Hot Pockets After Tastes Change, SNAP Cuts

It’s easy to make fun of Hot Pockets. Over the years, we’ve laughed at the dough-encased food-like objects when they’ve been recalled for containing plastic and meat considered “unfit for human consumption,” when Nestle tried to sell young foodies on the products, and even when they were declared a separate food group. Things are not well at Nestle, which is Hot Pocket HQ, right now. [More]

FCC Fines T-Mobile $819,000 For Selling Phones That Don’t Work With Hearing Aids

FCC Fines T-Mobile $819,000 For Selling Phones That Don’t Work With Hearing Aids

Let’s point out something very, very obvious: within reason, everyone should have the right to communicate over the phone, even if they live with some form of hearing loss. For that reason, the Federal Communications Commission requires mobile phone carriers to sell a certain number of handsets that work with hearing aids. The agency says that T-Mobile failed to do this, and has fined them $819,000. [More]

$18 Million WIC And Food Stamps Fraud Scheme Used Pretend Grocery Stores

$18 Million WIC And Food Stamps Fraud Scheme Used Pretend Grocery Stores

WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) are both federally-funded, state-administered programs with the simple goal of preventing Americans from going hungry. In Georgia, 54 people have been indicted for setting up pretend grocery stores that defrauded the programs of millions of dollars. [More]

(Wandering Dago)

Do You Prefer Food Truck Sandwiches With Or Without Ethnic Slurs?

Is it okay to welcome a business with a potentially offensive name to a public space or to government property? That’s the question at the center of a dispute between an upstate New York food truck and the state government. The truck is called The Wandering Dago. Is that an offensive term in 21st-century America? [More]


How Payday Lenders Fought To Stay Legal In Missouri

The state of Missouri has about one payday or car-title lender for every 4,100 residents. The interest rate on short-term loans has an average APR of 455% statewide, when the national average is a still-horrific 391%. When a coalition of churches, unions, and community groups tried to cut the maximum interest rate to 36%, the effort failed miserably. Here’s why. [More]

DOT Fines Delta $750,000 For Breaking Rules On Passenger-Bumping

DOT Fines Delta $750,000 For Breaking Rules On Passenger-Bumping

Delta isn’t great about letting passengers volunteer to be bumped off an oversold flight instead of just bumping them by force. The company just doesn’t have enough CEOs to go around and offer seats to people who need to get home. Don’t take our word for it: the U.S. Department of Transportation gave them a public reprimand and ordered the airline to pay a penalty of $750,000. [More]

Why Non-Dairy Creamer Has Dairy In It

Why Non-Dairy Creamer Has Dairy In It

“I spotted this confused creamer at breakfast,” Jake wrote in an e-mail to Consumerist. “Glad I’m not lactose intolerant.” While it’s labeled “non-dairy,” it also has a milk allergy warning. How does that work? [More]

(tina kugler)

Don’t Pay $100 Or More For A Certified Copy Of Your Deed: That’s Not A Thing

Are you a property owner? If someone sends you a solicitation or a bill asking for money in exchange for a copy of your deed, throw it away. That isn’t a thing. [More]


Should Group Fitness Classes Stay Out Of Public Parks?

Boot camp-style fitness classes that meet outdoors in parks are a much more fun way to exercise than staring at your own sweaty face in a mirror. Do they affect life in the park enough that cities should require them to get permission before setting up shop and pay fees? The city of Santa Monica, California thinks “maybe,” and is considering such a policy. [More]

(Bill Binns)

When Flying, Maybe Leave Your Grenade-Shaped Lighter At Home

You might find your novelty weapon-shaped cigarette lighter hilarious and totally innocent, but do you know who doesn’t agree with you? The Transportation Safety Administration. This didn’t occur to a passenger changing planes in Miami on his way to Haiti from Boston, and an entire concourse at Miami International Airport got shut down briefly this morning when the TSA noticed a grenade-shaped object in his carry-on. [More]

Import your data from another program

Filing Your Taxes Can Be Stressful, But At Least You Aren’t Using MS-DOS

It was pretty exciting for our household back in 1992 when Tax Dad got his first home office computer, and was able to use a primitive version of TurboTax to prepare his clients’ returns, instead of using a typewriter. In these days of Web filing, tax software from 1991 looks positively antiquated. [More]


Intuit (TurboTax) Spends Millions To Keep Us From Filing Taxes Quickly And For Free

Here’s something to keep in mind as you wait in line at 11:30 PM on April 15th: filing your taxes could be so, so much easier. Bills have been put before Congress that would let taxpayers choose to have the Internal Revenue Service calculate their taxes due for them, and send them a bill or cut a refund check accordingly. Only there are companies lobbying to keep things exactly as they are. The biggest spenders aren’t accounting firms, or even Big Tax Cat. It’s Intuit, the maker of popular tax-filing program TurboTax. The company has spent more than $11 million lobbying to keep tax returns around forever. [More]


Massachusetts DOT Pulls 9 Violent Arcade Video Games From State Rest Stops

It’s been a month of change since the Dec. 14 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., where 20 children and six adults were killed by a gunman. The alleged gunman also reportedly played video games, some of which are violent. That association with violence and guns has many in the government worried, including the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which has subsequently pulled nine video games from the state’s rest area plazas. [More]