On Thursday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved their Doomsday Clock to 11:57 p.m., just three minutes to midnight. Will Oremus of Slate writes, "The only time humanity has been closer to self-destruction, according to the clock, was from 1953 to 1960, when it read 11:58 p.m. thanks to the nuclear brinksmanship between the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold War's end turned the clock all the way back to 11:43 p.m. in 1991. So how did we end up right back at 11:57 p.m., just 24 years later? The answer is that nuclear war is no longer the only plausible, existential threat we face, according to the Bulletin's science and security board. The other: climate change. And, more specifically, the world's lackluster response to climate change."
Virtually every state tax system is fundamentally unfair, taking a much greater share of income from low- and middle-income families than from wealthy families. The absence of a graduated personal income tax and overreliance on consumption taxes exacerbate this problem. The lower one's income, the higher one's overall effective state and local tax rate.Combining all state and local income, property, sales and excise taxes that Americans pay, the nationwide average effective state and local tax rates by income group are 10.9 percent for the poorest 20 percent of individuals and families, 9.4 percent for the middle 20 percent and 5.4 percent for the top 1 percent. read more
Diane, make a note to stock up on coffee and cherry pie as Deadline reports that original series star Kyle MacLachlan has officially signed on to play Agent Dale Cooper in the renewed Twin Peaks. As we reported when the new season was first announced in October, series creators David Lynch and Mark Frost will write and produce a new nine-episode season of Twin Peaks for Showtime, with Lynch directing all nine episodes. read more
A cybersecurity firm conducting its own investigation of the Sony Pictures hack claims it has identified six individuals involved in the criminal attack, including one former studio employee based in America as well as participants from Canada, Thailand and Singapore. read more
With theater chains defecting en masse, Sony Pictures Entertainment has pulled the planned Christmas Day release of "The Interview."
U.S. officials have reportedly linked a massive cyber attack against Sony to North Korea, which is at the center of the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy.
"We are deeply saddened at this brazen effort to suppress the distribution of a movie, and in the process do damage to our company, our employees, and the American public," Sony said in a statement. "We stand by our filmmakers and their right to free expression and are extremely disappointed by this outcome." read more