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Taxpayers Confused By Late Health Law Forms

Feb 17, 2016

As the 2015 tax filing season gets underway, tax preparers said a delay in health law tax forms is tripping up some consumers, while others want details about exemptions from increasingly stiff penalties for not having insurance.

Under the law, most people must have health insurance or pay a fine. In 2015, the penalty was $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975, or 2 percent of household income, whichever is greater.

America Is Obsessed With Identity. Thanks, Obama?

Feb 17, 2016

When Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008, there was a lot of talk about "The Obama Effect": how the nation's first black president signaled a new era of racial harmony and understanding.

That didn't happen. But what did? The Obama family's tenure in the White House has overlapped a revolution in the way Americans deal with identity. From race to religion, from gender to sexual orientation and beyond, marginalized groups that historically worked and waited for "a seat at the table" increasingly demanded their share of cultural power.

President Obama backed a bill in Illinois last week that would automatically register people to vote when they apply for a driver's license or state ID.

"That will protect the fundamental right of everybody," he said. "Democrats, Republicans, independents, seniors, folks with disabilities, the men and women of our military — it would make sure that it was easier for them to vote and have their vote counted."

Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio Campaign Fodder

Feb 17, 2016

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A U.S. magistrate has ordered Apple to assist the government in unlocking the iPhone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook. The FBI is seeking information that may be on Farook's employer-issued phone as it investigates the Dec. 2 shootings that left 14 people dead.

At the time of the attack, Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, destroyed two personally owned cellphones and removed a hard drive from their computer.

The unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia and the looming face-off between the White House and the Senate over his replacement have revived proposals that would limit the tenure of U.S. Supreme Court justices.

Legal scholars from both political parties renewed a call Tuesday to reconsider how much time justices spend on the high court. Many of them cited, with disapproval, a bruising and protracted clash building between President Obama and the GOP-controlled Senate over when and how to fill Scalia's vacancy.

Dr. Seth Ammerman listens intently to his new, 21-year-old patient. Ernesto, who does not want his last name disclosed, is homeless. He is earning a high school degree and working part time, but at night, he and his brother share a tent that they set up on the streets of San Jose, Calif. The daily stress of being homeless is wearing Ernesto out, and making him light up too many cigarettes.

"I just want to cut down on my smoking," says Ernesto, in a tentative, soft voice. "I've been on the streets all the time, you know? I just want to make sure I'm OK."

In northeast Scotland, there is a cluster of homes on the outskirts of a pristine golf course near Aberdeen owned by none other than Donald Trump. The U.S. presidential hopeful's business venture promised thousands of jobs, tourism and a new way to diversify the oil economy.

Trump wanted to build the golf course in Scotland, he said, because his mother was born there. But almost a decade later, he has angered his neighbors and turned some of his former supporters against him.

Maybe it's understandable that immigration reform remains stalled in Congress during an election year. And that the fate of President Obama's executive actions on immigration before the U.S. Supreme Court remains unclear, especially in the aftermath of the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Millions of Americans have been freezing in record-low temperatures this month.

Now many are mapping out road trips, preparing to head south soon for Easter and spring breaks. And with gas prices averaging just about $1.70 a gallon nationwide, they are looking forward to affordable travel.

But on the other side of the world, oil producers are trying to engineer a different kind of freeze — one that could heat up gas prices again.

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President Obama says this week will be a test for the new international agreement on Syria.

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U.S. manufacturers of medical devices started 2016 with a windfall — a two-year suspension of a controversial tax on their revenue.

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President Obama said Tuesday that despite Republican vows to block him, he will nominate a successor to Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly on Saturday.

Obama spoke during a news conference after a summit with leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Rancho Mirage, Calif., but the first questions from reporters were about filling the empty Supreme Court seat.

"My friends, it's Saturday night, this is an emergency transmission. Associate Supreme Court Justice Anthony Scalia died earlier today at a ranch outside Big Bend in South Texas. ... The question is, was Anthony Scalia murdered?"

So begins conservative talk show host Alex Jones' Internet video. Jones then quickly answered his dramatic query "Has the Bill of Rights and the Constitution been murdered?" Yes, he says, yes they have.

The White House isn't offering any names of potential nominees to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia, but it is offering a few clues.

"I'd urge you to take a look at the two Supreme Court justices that the president has already nominated and successfully got confirmed to the bench," White House spokesman Eric Schultz told reporters Monday.

He was referring to Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic, and Elena Kagan, just the fourth woman, to serve on the court.

Jeb Bush, the son and brother of former presidents, started his campaign promising voters, "I am my own man." However, Bush's standing in polls has steeply declined, and now he is bringing back his brother George W. Bush for help in a place where George W. is still very popular — South Carolina.

The brothers were together on the campaign trail this weekend in the Palmetto State ahead of South Carolina's primary in hopes of giving Jeb Bush a boost. And George W. could help. The former president won South Carolina's GOP primary in 2000, a victory that resurrected his candidacy.

Antonin Scalia's body wasn't cold before his seat on the U.S. Supreme Court became tangled up in partisan politics. Here are five ways Scalia's death is complicating the 2016 election.

The late Justice Antonin Scalia will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Friday. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., according to sources close to the Scalia family.

In a tradition that dates back to 1873, Scalia's Supreme Court chair and bench were draped with black wool crepe today. The court has also placed a black drapery over the courtroom doors.

The last high court justice to lie in repose at the Supreme Court was Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2005.

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Every once in a while, in the heat of a presidential race, comes a moment that upends politics.

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UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: A shock to the nation's high court, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia...

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We have a fight over a Supreme Court nomination taking place before anyone has been nominated.

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