Many Americans found the story of 102-year-old Desiline Victor to be heartwarming; the 102-year-old Miami woman, who was born in Haiti and labored as a farm worker before retiring, stood in line for hours waiting to vote last October, eliciting cheers when she finally emerged from the polling place with her “I voted” sticker.
On Tuesday, she became the oldest person ever invited to attend the State of the Union. She was a guest of first lady Michelle Obama. However at Fox News, Desiline’s story was written off as a “non-issue.”
From the liberal watchdog group Media Matters: On Fox News Radio’s Kilmeade & Friends, host Brian Kilmeade and Fox’s Martha MacCallum and Bill Hemmer laughed off the difficulties 102-year-old Desiline Victor endured in order to vote in the 2012 election. Victor, who was invited to the State of the Union address and whom President Obama applauded for enduring a long wait to vote, had to make two trips to the polls and wait in line for over three hours before she was able to cast her ballot. Discussing Victor, MacCallum wondered, “What’s the big deal?” and said, “This is such a non-issue. Ridiculous.” Hemmer added that at the State of the Union, “They held her up as a victim. What was she a victim of?”
Studies have found that Florida had the longest wait times to vote in the recent presidential election, and that nationwide, black and Hispanic voters waited longer to vote than white Americans. Florida’s Republican legislature passed a law limiting the early vote period to eight days, when it had been 14, and many believe that, coupled with lengthy ballot measures proposed by the same state legislature, contributed to the long lines like the one Desiline confronted.
Even celebrities get a little nasty when it comes to their properties. But none took things quite as far as the infamous 2004 fence feud between actor Jim Belushi and former Catwoman Julie Newmar.
It started simply enough: Belushi wanted to make the fence around his property higher for more privacy. But Newmar, who had spent decades caring for her prized rose garden, wasn’t having it. She argued the higher fence robbed her plants of sunlight. Years of both public and private griping followed. Belushi accused Newmar of tearing down his fence and egging his house. Newmar accused Belushi of being such a noisy neighbor she had to use air traffic controllers’ earmuffs.
Belushi sued Newmar for $4 million for harassment, defamation, and vandalism. The two eventually reached a compromise through mediation, settling the lawsuit.
Later Belushi had Newmar on his sitcom According to Jim, in which she played–you guessed it–his grumpy neighbor “Julie”.
Neighborly Tip: Before letting things get so bad that you find yourself getting slapped with a lawsuit, try mediation first. HouseLogic’s guide to mediation gives you a step-by-step process of how to handle an issue with a neighbor before it gets out of hand.
A handful of states let you skip the sales tax when you buy energy-efficient appliances or hurricane-preparation supplies during tax holiday periods.Time your home energy-efficiency improvements or hurricane preparation purchases right and you can avoid paying state sales tax. At least a half-dozen states offer tax breaks to home owners who purchase energy-efficient appliances, water-efficient products, or hurricane preparation supplies.
Alabama’s sales tax holiday: When: Feb. 22-24
What: Exempts hurricane preparedness products from sales tax. You can spend up to $1,000 on a single purchase of generators and power cords and buy an unlimited number of supplies costing up to $60 each, such as batteries, tarps, cell phone chargers, flashlights, weather radios, plywood to cover windows, or smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.
Georgia’s sales tax holiday: When: Typically held in October
What: In 2012, exempted energy- and water-efficient products that cost $1,500 or less from its 7% sales tax. That includes a dishwasher, clothes washer, air conditioner, ceiling fan, CFL bulb, dehumidifier, programmable thermostat, refrigerator, door, or window that meets Energy Star or WaterSense standards.
Louisiana’s sales tax holiday: When: Last Saturday and Sunday of each May and first consecutive Friday and Saturday each August.
What: The May holiday lets you skip the state’s sales tax on the first $1,500 in purchases on hurricane preparation items like portable generators, storm shutters, batteries, weather-band radios, and tie-down kits. The August tax holiday lets you skip the state’s 4% sales tax on the first $2,500 in purchases on individual items of “tangible personal property not for business use.” A TPP is literally something you can touch and take. And it’s not just energy-efficient appliances and hurricane prep, but almost anything you’d buy for your home.
Maryland’s tax-free weekend: When: Feb. 16-18, 2013
What: Gives shoppers a break on the state’s 6% tax when they buy Energy Star products, like air conditioners, clothes washers, furnaces, heat pumps, boilers, solar water heaters (tax-exempt at all times now), refrigerators, dehumidifiers, programmable thermostats, and CFL bulbs.
Missouri’s green sales tax holiday: When: Starts April 19-25 each year.
What: Exempts state sales tax (4.225%) on Energy Star appliances costing up to $1,500 each. To qualify, appliances, which can include clothes washers, water heaters, dishwashers, air conditioners, furnaces, refrigerators, freezers, heat pumps, and conventional ovens and stoves, must have an Energy Star rating.
North Carolina’s Energy Star sales tax holiday: When: The first Friday in November through the following Sunday.
What: Energy Star appliances, including clothes washers, freezers, refrigerators, central air conditioners, room air conditioners, airsource heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, ceiling fans, and dehumidifiers.
Texas’ Energy Star sales tax holiday: When: Saturday before Memorial Day to the last Monday in May.
What: A break from state and local sales taxes and use taxes (which range from 6.25%-8.25%) on energy-efficient products, including air conditioners, refrigerators, ceiling fans, incandescent and CFL bulbs, clothes washers, dehumidifiers, and programmable thermostats.
Virginia’s hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday: When: May 25-31 every year
What: Exempts hurricane preparedness products. You can spend up to $1,000 for generators and power cables and buy an unlimited number of supplies costing up to $60 each like batteries, tarps, cell phone chargers, flashlights, weather radios, storm shutters, or smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.
Virginia’s tax holiday for Energy Star and WaterSense-qualified products: When: Friday before the second Monday of October.
What: Certain Energy Star- and WaterSense-qualified items purchased for non-commercial use, costing $2,500 or less, including dishwashers, clothes washers, refrigerators, air conditioners, ceiling fans, CFLs, bathroom sink faucets, faucet accessories, and toilets