Thursday, 20 October 2011

IRS Warns of Poor Services due to Budget Cuts

If the proposed budget cuts for the Internal Revenue Service are implemented, California tax relief lawyers could soon find a reduced quality in the agency’s services.

The budget cuts have not yet taken effect, but the Internal Revenue Service is already cutting down on spending. IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman has written a letter to lawmakers warning of degradation in taxpayer services and enforcement activities if Congress goes ahead with a plan to cut about $500 million from the Internal Revenue Service budget for the year 2012.

Among the degraded taxpayer services that the Commissioner is concerned about would be consistently busy signals for taxpayers trying to reach the agency. Taxpayers writing letters to the agency may have to wait for as long as five months to hear back. The Internal Revenue Service also warns that it will likely have to fire between 3,000 and 4,000 employees after the budget cuts are implemented. The agency currently has more than 92,000 employees.

Besides, important activities including collection of unpaid taxes and audits could drop by as much as 8%. The drop in such activities will automatically translate into reduced federal revenues and an increased deficit. In fact, the Commissioner expects the revenue loss to federal coffers to reach $4 billion after budget cuts this year.

For the fiscal year ending September 2011, the Internal Revenue Service received $12.1 billion, and the Obama administration asked for a budget of $13.3 billion for 2012. However, the House Appropriations Committee approved $11.5 billion, while the Senate approved an $11.7 billion budget. The final fiscal spending levels for the year 2012 have not yet been set.

Internet Sexual Abuse

The Internet has literally changed the world in which we live. Its value for research, communication, education, business, and many other applications, is incalculable. People the world over can now connect with each other in real time. However, as with any valuable resource, there is a constant threat of its use as a vehicle for criminal activity. Online scams, identity theft, and various types of fraud are now an everyday occurrence, where perpetrators are able to target millions of Internet users. One of the most heinous of these criminal activities has been the proliferation of Internet sex abuse. Tragically, the victims of these crimes are often children. If your child has been targeted by an online sexual predator, you should contact a sexual abuse attorney as soon as possible. In addition to criminal charges filed by federal or state authorities, an attorney can pursue monetary damages against the perpetrator.

Types of Internet Sexual Abuse

The Internet can be a potentially dangerous place for an unsuspecting child. Sexual predators are frequently online attempting to arrange meetings with minors or to send pornographic images of underaged children. Chat rooms can be used to lure minors into extremely dangerous situations. Internet sexual abuse can include any of the following:

• Solicitation of a minor through chat rooms or e-mails
• Luring a minor using the Internet
• Using the Internet as a means to commit any type of sex crime
• Persuading a minor to engage in prostitution or sexual activity over the Internet
• Child pornography (production, possession, and/or distribution)
• Arranging a meeting with a minor over the Internet with the purpose of engaging in lewd and lascivious behavior
• Sending harmful material to a minor with the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of the perpetrator or the minor
• Web cam offenses
• Endangering the welfare of a child
• Stalking and related offenses

Damages and Penalties

California as well as federal law includes sections on Internet sex crimes, which outline severe criminal penalties that can include a prison sentence, heavy fines, mandatory registration as a sex offender, and other penalties. California criminal statutes provide the following:

• Penal Code 288.2 prohibits sending harmful material (images, recordings, video, text, etc.) by phone, e-mail, Internet or website. This may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, with a state prison or county jail sentence. Second offenses are automatically charged as a felony.

• Penal Code 288.3 prohibits the arrangement of a meeting with a minor for the purpose of indecent exposure or committing lewd or lascivious conduct. A misdemeanor offense is punishable by up to one year in the county jail and/or a fine of $5,000. If the perpetrator actually attends the meeting, it is an automatic felony, which may result in a prison sentence of up to 4 years.

In addition to criminal penalties, the victim may file a civil suit against the perpetrator of Internet sexual abuse for monetary compensation. The victim of an Internet sex abuse may be able to recover such damages as expenses for psychological counseling, pain and suffering, emotional distress and other related damages.

Los Angeles Child Sex Abuse Attorney

The advancement of technology, with all of its positive applications, is also being used by sexual predators to make contact with potential victims. Despite all the precautions we take, any child who uses the Internet is susceptible to this danger. If your child has been the victim of an Internet sexual predator, a Los Angeles child sexual abuse lawyer can help secure compensation for the injury and suffering resulting from the abuse.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Hospitals Debate Ban on Alcohol Pads and Wipes after Infection Death

With a growing number of hospital-acquired infections being linked to contaminated alcohol prep pads, Arizona medical malpractice attorneys wonder whether it's time to ban the use of nonsterile pads in hospitals altogether.

Last week, Pacific Disposables International Inc. announced a massive recall of potentially contaminated pads and wipes. The Pacific Disposables recall came after the death of a man from a bacillus cereus infection. The pads had been used on the man, a hemophiliac, just prior to an infusion. He contracted a serious infection and died in June. In September, the company announced a recall.

This recall had been preceded by another recall of millions of contaminated wipes manufactured by Wisconsin-based Triad Group Inc. and S&P Products earlier this year. That recall was announced after several infections and deaths were associated with the use of contaminated pads.

Alcohol and non-alcohol pads and wipes are used widely in hospitals and healthcare facilities, and are also sold as part of home kits. Not all pads are sterile - roughly about 70% are, while the remaining are non-sterile. However, most of the packaging in which these pads come, do not mention whether they are sterile or non sterile. Additionally, safety information isn’t included when the pads are sold as part of home kits. This increases the potential of errors when people mistakenly believe that the pads are sterile.

Some hospitals are choosing to switch over to only sterile alcohol pads. Others are taking a wait-and-watch approach, to see if the Food and Drug Administration has any further guidance or any changes in policy before making a decision about using non-sterile pads. For Arizona medical malpractice attorneys however, the choice seems to be clear. There shouldn't be any place for nonsterile pads in a hospital.

Man in Orange County Salon Shooting Suffered from PTSD

A man arrested after a shooting at a Seal Beach salon suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, after being injured in a boat accident. Orange County prosecutors have promised that they will seek the death penalty for Scott Dekraai, even as San Diego criminal defense lawyers have learned new details about the suspect’s troubled life.

According to prosecutors, on the day of the massacre, Scott Dekraai wore body armor, and stepped into the Salon Meritage where his ex-wife worked. There he began shooting people in the head and chest, killing eight people and all. He has been arrested, and a judge has already ordered a medical review. Dekraai’s lawyers have alleged that he is not being provided antipsychotic medications while he is in jail. Prosecutors have confirmed that they will seek the death penalty in this case.

Scott Dekraai and his ex-wife were involved in a bitter custody dispute over their 8-year-old son. He and his wife divorced in 2007. In fact, the day before the shooting, he and his wife made an appearance at a child custody hearing.
Scott Dekraai’s life took a turn for the worse in 2007, after he separated from his wife. He was injured in a boat accident, when he had been working with tow lines. One of his female colleagues was killed in that accident, while he suffered serious leg injuries. The injuries left him disabled.

According to friends and acquaintances, he was constantly in pain, and underwent several procedures in order to treat his disability. None of them were successful, and he soon fell into depression. Soon after that, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He couldn't find work because of his disability, and was forced to move in with his mother.

Investigations into Amtrak Train Accident in Oakland

Investigations have already begun into an Amtrak train accident at the Oakland station, in which one train crashed into another, injuring seventeen people. The accident occurred last week when the first train, which was traveling through the station, struck a stationary train. The second train had stopped at the station to unload passengers.

The accident seems to have been a low-speed collision involving the “San Joaquin” which operates between Bakersfield and Oakland, and the “Coast Starlight,” which operates between Los Angeles and Seattle. Seventeen were injured, and rushed to the hospital. Fortunately, there were no life-threatening injuries. According to the Oakland Fire Department, the first train ran a red light. However, Amtrak has refused to confirm or deny that report.

The investigation will include Amtrak, investigating officials from the Federal Railroad Administration and Union Pacific Railroad, which is the owner of the track. Federal investigators are likely to examine a number of factors including cell phone records, and especially cell phone exchanges between dispatchers. Investigators will also talk to crewmembers as part of their investigations. The investigations are expected to take up to six months to complete.

This is the second time in just a month that Los Angeles train accident lawyers have found Amtrak passengers injured in a train accident. The earlier accident occurred in the Bay Area too. On September 30, 37 passengers and crew members suffered injuries in an accident involving an Amtrak passenger train that crashed into a truck at a crossing near Brentwood. That train accident is being blamed on a lack of visibility at the crossing. There were apparently no lights or gates at the crossing when the accident occurred. Fortunately, in this accident too, injuries were not life-threatening.

NTSB Continues Investigation into Reno Airshow Plane Crash

The National Transportation Safety Board is continuing its investigation into a deadly plane crash at an air show in Reno, Nevada in September that killed 11 people. The investigation is specifically focusing on whether a small piece of the plane's tail assembly separated from the aircraft just before the crash.

According to witnesses at the National Championship Air Races, a piece of the airframe separated from the plane while the plane was engaged in aerial stunts. The National Transportation Safety Board has already looked at photographic evidence that also confirms the loss of the part.

The loss of the trim tab, the agency believes, likely caused the pilot to lose control. The aircraft jerked upward suddenly, before it nosedived to an area near one of the grandstands. That unleashed excessive gravitational forces, causing the pilot to lose consciousness. Photographs of the plane just before the crash do not show the pilot in the cockpit, indicating that the pilot had likely passed out. Organizers of the Reno show where the crash occurred have also indicated that mechanical malfunctioning of the plane as the main contributing factor in the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigators have already finished combing the crash site, and have also gathered information about the health of the pilot and the physical condition of the plane. It will be several months before National Transportation Safety Board completes its investigation and presents its report. The Federal Aviation Administration, as well as the Reno Air Racing Association, which organized the show, are participating in the investigation.

What Reno air show plane crash has really underscored to California plane crash lawyers are the increasing dangers associated with air shows. These air races have become very popular, and now draw hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Unfortunately, for many air show organizers, the line between providing thrills and reckless operations has blurred, with the result that many spectators may be placed in danger.