Posted Friday, May 17, 2013, at 3:59 PM
Outgoing IRS Commissioner Steve Miller arrives to testify before a full House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Friday
Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
The IRS's "Horrible Customer Service": Washington Post: "A House committee grilled the outgoing acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service on Friday about the targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, eliciting an admission that the agency 'provided horrible customer service' but denials that it was politically motivated. In nearly four hours of often testy exchanges with Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee, Steven T. Miller, whose resignation was demanded and accepted by President Obama this week in connection with the controversy, said groups were not 'targeted' in reviews of their applications for tax-exempt status because they were conservative but merely 'listed' because they were engaged in political activity. ... The testimony came in the first of several hearings in which lawmakers are summoning current and former officials to be grilled about the screening of applications for tax-exempt status."
Advanced Warning: New York Times: "The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was investigating allegations that the Internal Revenue Service had targeted conservative groups, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year. ... J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that he informed the Treasury’s general counsel of his investigation on June 4, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin 'shortly thereafter.' The new information came as part of a routine briefing of the investigations that the inspector general would be conducting in the coming year, and he did not tell the officials of his conclusions that the targeting had been improper, he said. Still, Mr. George’s testimony will most likely fuel efforts by Congressional Republicans to show that Obama administration officials knew of efforts to single out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status for additional scrutiny, but did not reveal that knowledge during President Obama’s re-election campaign."
Good Luck With That: Wall Street Journal: "Anger wasn't limited to Republicans. The top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, called for the resignation of another official, Lois Lerner, who runs the exempt-organizations unit at the IRS. But he also cautioned Republicans against using the inquiry for partisan gain. 'We must seek the truth, not political gain,' Mr. Levin cautioned. ... Seeking to restore order at the agency, President Barack Obama on Thursday named a new acting IRS commissioner, a day after sacking Mr. Miller. Mr. Obama chose Daniel Werfel, the controller of the Office of Management and Budget, equivalent to the government's chief financial officer. His appointment is effective Wednesday, and Mr. Werfel has agreed to serve through the end of fiscal year on Sept. 30."Read More »
Posted Friday, May 17, 2013, at 12:49 PM
Screenshot from YouTube video
As we told you this morning, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is having a rough day north of the border amid reports that he was caught on camera smoking crack that he bought from a group of Somali drug dealers. The mayor is denying the allegations, but both Gawker and the Toronto Star say their reporters got a firsthand look at the smartphone footage and have no doubt that the man in the video is the Canadian in question. The reports are serious enough that local police are keeping tabs on the whole affair.
Ford may be a relative unknown for most Americans, but his profile is quite a bit larger in the land of Tim Horton's, where he is the once-nearly-fired mayor of Canada's largest city, and on YouTube, where there are a whole slew of videos capturing him offering up racist remarks, clashing with reporters and legislators, and walking face first into a camera. Here's a small but accurate sampling. Oh, face!Read More »
Posted Friday, May 17, 2013, at 11:29 AM
Photo by Erich Schlegel/Getty Images
Officials still don't know what caused last month's massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, despite weeks of collecting evidence—300,000 pounds of corn were sifted through by hand—and a $1-million investigation.
The blast, which killed 14 people and injured over 200 on April 17, was triggered by a fire that was reported 20 minutes before the explosion. Though four causes for the blaze were quickly ruled out at the beginning of the investigation, state and federal officials haven't made much progress since then. As of Thursday, the cause of the fire was officially ruled "undetermined"—with foul play still a possibility. However, authorities are hesitant to make any bold statements one way or the other.
Posted Friday, May 17, 2013, at 11:06 AM
File photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images
Rob Ford, Toronto's conservative mayor, has been caught on camera smoking what appears by all accounts to be crack cocaine, according to a Gawker editor and two Toronto Star reporters who claim to have seen the cellphone footage. Neither outlet has published the video for one simple reason: The man who took it is hoping to secure himself a six-figure payday for its release, a total that neither the American website nor the Canadian newspaper say they are willing to pony up. Regardless, both outlets make it clear they have no doubt about what they saw on the tape. Gawker's John Cook went live with his story first, so we'll give him the honors:Read More »
Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 5:06 PM
Fans watch during action in the Bud Shootout at the NASCAR Nextel Cup Daytona 500 on February 12, 2005 at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona, Florida
Photo By Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Retired NASCAR driver Richard “Dick” Trickle, 71, died Thursday from an apparent self-inflicted gun shot wound.
The incident occurred at 12:02 p.m. at Forest Lawn Cemetery on Highway 150 East in Boger City. The Lincoln County Communications Center received a call apparently from the victim that “there would be a dead body and it would be his.“ Communications Center workers tried to place a return call to the number but did not get an answer.
Trickle never won on NASCAR's premier circut—now called the Sprint Cup Series—but he nonetheless became a favorite among casual racing fans in no small part because his name becoming a running gag on SportsCenter during its glory days with Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann. The race results when read by the then-ESPN anchors would sound something like this: "Dale Jarrett captured the checkered flag. Dick Trickle finished 43rd." Trickle grew to love the running joke, which only enhanced his cult status that much more.
Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 2:40 PM
A general view of the runners during the 2008 Boston Marathon on April 21,2008 in Hopkinton, Mass.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
Thousands of runners who didn't get a chance to finish the Boston Marathon this year because of the twin bombings that rocked the city will get another chance to do so next year. Here's the official statement from race organizors:
"The opportunity to run down Boylston Street and to cross the finish line amid thousands of spectators is a significant part of the entire Boston Marathon experience," said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. "With the opportunity to return and participate in 2014, we look forward to inviting back these athletes and we expect that most will renew their marathon training commitment. Boston spectators are known for their impassioned support and unbridled enthusiasm, and they will give these returning athletes some of the loudest cheers at next year's race. We want to thank our participants for their patience as we continue to work through the details of arranging this accommodation for them, and we ask for continued patience from the running community as we plan the 2014 Boston Marathon next April."
To be eligible to run next year without having to re-qualify, runners need to have started the race and crossed the half-way point at this year's race. In all, that means roughly 5,600 will get the invite, according to race officials. While the runners will still need to pay an as-yet undecided fee, the announcement removes the largest hurdle for most runners: the need to hit the impressive qualifying times normally needed to run the iconic race. To qualify for this year's race, for example, a male runner aged 18 to 34 had to complete another sanctioned marathon in 3:05 or less.
Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 1:07 PM
President Barack Obama makes a statement on the situation regarding the Internal Revenue Service May 15, 2013 in the East Room of the White House
Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images
Somewhat buried in the New York Times' cover story today on the President Obama's second-term woes, is this rather awesome anecdote, suggesting that the president's Hollywood fantasy is more Beatty and Bulworth than Sorkin and Bartlet:
Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 10:56 AM
The suspected gunman in the Mother's Day parade shooting, 19-year-old Akein Scott, has finally been apprehended after being on the run for three days. According to authorities, Scott was arrested on Wednesday night in the Little Woods neighborhood of eastern New Orleans.
Scott, who was booked on 20 counts of attempted second-degree murder, is scheduled to have his first court appearance this morning. He was identified by authorities after surveillance footage and stills of the incident were released to the public.
Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 10:51 AM
Bangladeshis bury the remains of garment workers killed in the garment factory collapse at a graveyard in Dhaka on May 1, 2013
Photo by Munir Uz Zaman/AFP/Getty Images
On Monday, local police in Banglasdesh called off the search for bodies in the rubble of a garment factory building that had collapsed. After nearly three weeks of searching, authorities had recovered a staggering 1,127 bodies, making the tragedy the worst accident in the global garment industry's history. Today brings us news of the industry's latest fatal accident in southeast Asia. The Associated Press with the details:Read More »
Posted Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 9:34 AM
CBS News' John Miller brings us the latest news on the investigation in Boston, where unnamed law enforcement sources now say that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev scribbled a note claiming responsibility for the marathon bombings before he was ultimately found by police last month. The 19-year-old reportedly scribbled the handwritten note on one of the walls of the boat he was hiding in after being wounded in a gunfight with police hours earlier:Read More »