In Missouri, yacht owners continue to enjoy a sales tax exemption that costs the state $6 million. The report, from The Kansas City Star, comes my way via Balloon Juice and also tells us that the state Revenue Department refuses to tally the cost of exemptions like these because it would be too burdensome on taxpayers. Meanwhile, the state Legislature has recommended cuts to schools and shelters for battered women.
The Renaissance Learning company, which runs a reading test program called Accelerated Reader, has a list of the top 20 books high school students read, and it's not pretty for those of us who doubt the educational merits of the Twilight series. Jay Mathews at TheWashington Post rightly bemoans the lack of nonfiction on the list. Nonfiction is important. Those high school students are about to become voting citizens, and the more they know about the real world, the better off we all are.
A graduate student named Adam Shriver contributed to our never-ending quest to get rid of our guilt over the industrial agriculture system in a New York Times op-ed, promsing that we could soon have pain-free animals. Removing proteins or genes from some animals could prevent the things that should hurt them from doing so, creating a more humane agricultural system, he writes.
If we cannot avoid factory farms altogether, the least we can do is eliminate the unpleasantness of pain in the animals that must live and die on them. It would be far better than doing nothing at all.
The rollout of Google Buzz has raised serious privacy concerns, as well as serious concerns about the company's pervasiveness and our dependency on it, as Nancy Scolawrote for TAP recently. Now, some of those concerns have led to a class-action lawsuit against the company in California, according to the Christian Science Monitor. A woman named Eva Hibnick is seeking damages on behalf of all Gmail users:
Eight states will start allowing students to go to community college after they finish 10th grade, as long as they pass certain tests, reports the New York Times. The plan would allow students who want to stay to prepare for more selective schools in the 11th and 12th grades, and students who fail get opportunities to take the tests again.