Kelly Phillips Erb at Forbes warns us about a large-scale phone scam in which people pretending to be IRS collectors tell folks they owe the IRS money and demand they pay up via pre-paid debit cards or wire transfers. IRS collectors have a bad rap, but generally they don't call folks over the phone and threaten them. Actually, they don't call folks very much at all, plus they also have their own payment processing system. Over a thousand good folks have fallen victim to this scam; no need for you to be another one.
Government of Rochelle, GA finally agrees to replace sewer pipes that have leaked raw sewage into good folks' homes and yards for decades. That's right, several times a year, residents find feces and toilet paper and the like on their floors or in their grass; oddly enough, the city seems to have been more lax about pipe repair on the side of town that's mostly Black. The bad news is: residents had to sue under the Clean Water Act to get it done. The good news? We have a Clean Water Act that can get it done.
Stanford University researchers find gas drilling corporations fracking at a rather shallower depth than previously believed -- occasionally in underground sources of drinking water. Their research didn't find any direct contamination of drinking water, mainly because the aforementioned sources of drinking water are deep enough themselves that folks probably aren't using them, but all that sounds like a matter of time. Anyone else thankful that the "job terrorists" at the EPA have gone through the trouble of finding those underground water sources in the first place?
Noting low turnouts for local elections, the Los Angeles city Ethics Commission suggests offering a chance at a cash prize to voters who go to the polls, essentially making a ballot a lottery ticket. Local elections do get dismal turnout, but I actually think that'll get better over time, without such shenanigans. Moving municipal elections to even-numbered years would also help, though I'd prefer not to imagine the turf-war selfishness standing in the way of that.
Finally, Laura Flanders profiles the largest worker-owned co-op in America, Cooperative Home Care Associates of New York. CHCA workers make $16/hour plus benefits, in a field where workers are notoriously underpaid (and usually make half that), but their turnover is a quarter of the field's average, because people are less likely to leave a job they have a significant say in running. Co-ops still face a lot of challenges, most of them financial, but they give us hope that capitalism doesn't have to be all about selfishness.