Gay Marriages Get Recognition From the I.R.S.

From the NY Times:

WASHINGTON — All same-sex couples who are legally married will be recognized as such for federal tax purposes, even if the state where they live does not recognize their union, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.

It is the broadest federal rule change to come out of the landmark Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and a sign of how quickly the government is moving to treat gay couples in the same way that it does straight couples.

The June decision found that same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits, but left open the question of how Washington would actually administer them. The Treasury Department answered some of those questions on Thursday. As of the 2013 tax year, same-sex spouses who are legally married will not be able to file federal tax returns as if either were single. Instead, they must file together as “married filing jointly” or individually as “married filing separately.”

Their address or the location of their wedding does not matter, as long as the marriage is legal: a same-sex couple who marry in Albany, N.Y., and move to Alabama are treated the same as a same-sex couple who marry and live in Massachusetts.

US Embassy Employee Behaving Badly

Awesome job representing the US dude.

The US Embassy admitted to Times of Malta that the man was one of their employees, and that it “greatly regrets” the incident.

The Embassy said that the unidentified employee “did not comport with the standards of behaviour that we expect from all embassy personnel.”

It didn’t say if he had been fired, just that he had “departed.”

The incident occurred last Saturday. The American challenged the Maltese driver after their two cars came nose to nose on a narrow street in the town of St Julian’s.

With neither conceding passage, the American got out of his car and launched into a tirade of expletive-laden abuse and tried to open the other driver’s locked door.

(via Boing Boing)

U.S. Fast-Food Workers Plan Nationwide Strikes Over Wages

I quit eating fast food about 40lbs* ago so I won’t be crossing their picket lines:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Fast-food workers across the United States are expected to stage their largest strike to date on Thursday in an almost year-long campaign to raise wages in the service sector.

Employees of McDonald’s Corp, Wendy’s Restaurants LLC, Burger King Worldwide Inc and others have pledged to walk off their jobs in 50 cities from Boston, Mass, to Alameda, Calif., organizers say. They are expected to be joined by retail employees at stores owned by Macy’s Inc, Sears Holdings Corp and Dollar Tree Inc in some cities.

The strike follows a similar protest last November, when some 200 workers walked off their fast-food jobs in New York City. Groups in Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit and other cities followed their lead in April and July.

The workers want to form unions and bargain higher wages with their employers without facing retaliation from franchisees or their parent companies. They are demanding $15 an hour, up from $7.25, which is the current federal minimum wage.

The median wage for front-line fast-food workers is $8.94 per hour, according to an analysis of government data by the National Employment Law Project, an advocacy group for lower-wage workers. Virtually all private-sector fast-food jobs are non-union, and organizers say retaliation against workers who try to organize is common.

*Seriously. I cut soda and fast food out of my diet and added moderate exercise two years back and lost 40lbs over the last 2 years.