GREENE: OK, it's just a fantasy. But actually, in some countries taxpayers can sign up to receive simply a bill. The government sends you a tax bill, you pay it and, voila, that's it.
Now, there was an effort to bring return-free filing to the United States, but that effort came up against stiff opposition. And to find out why, we called Liz Day of ProPublica. She's been digging into this issue.
Loneliness hurts, but social isolation can kill you. That's the conclusion of a study of more than 6,500 people in the U.K.
The study, by a team at University College London, comes after decades of research showing that both loneliness and infrequent contact with friends and family can, independently, shorten a person's life. The scientists expected to find that the combination of these two risk factors would be especially dangerous.
Since the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion under the federal health law optional last year, states' decisions have largely split along party lines. States run by Democrats have been opting in; states run by Republicans have mostly been saying no or holding back.
It's a visual no parent wants to picture: a child describing what it's like to live in a house with no power for lights, heat or cooking. For many middle-class American parents, it's hard to imagine their family ever facing a situation like that. But a new HBO documentary suggests that many seemingly prosperous parents are only a few misfortunes away from dark houses and empty refrigerators.
Snow covers flowers in front of the Supreme Court building on Monday in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday, the justices hear oral arguments on the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage.
Outside the Supreme Court, lines began forming nearly a week ago. By Monday, the line had snaked down the court steps and to the corner, with people braving freezing temperatures and snow in anticipation of the historic arguments on same-sex marriage on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The justices are first hearing a constitutional challenge to California's ban on same-sex marriage. A second day is devoted to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples married in the nine states where such unions are legal.
The former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio walks outside the chapel during a Mass at the Barracas neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2003. Bergoglio, who became Pope Francis, is said to have the same position as his predecessors on economic matters.
He took his name from a 13th century saint who gave up his wealth and threw in his lot with the poor. As cardinal in Argentina, he eschewed the trappings of power and privilege, taking public transportation and even cooking his own meals.
Environmentalists and beekeepers are calling on the government to ban some of the country's most widely used insect-killing chemicals.
The pesticides, called neonicotinoids, became popular among farmers during the 1990s. They're used to coat the seeds of many agricultural crops, including the biggest crop of all: corn. Neonics, as they're called, protect those crops from insect pests.
Is it OK to eat alligator on Fridays during Lent? That question isn't just rhetorical in Louisiana, which has large populations of both Catholics and gators.
"Alligator's such a natural for New Orleans," says Jay Nix, owner of Parkway Bakery, which serves a mean alligator sausage po boy sandwich. "Alligator gumbo, jambalaya. I mean, it's a wonder that alligator isn't our mascot, you know?"
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.
In the past three decades, the number of Americans who get a monthly disability check from the federal government has skyrocketed. It's now up to 14 million people. That's due in part to our aging workforce. But in many pockets of the country, there's much more to the story. Factories and mills have closed and the U.S. economy has left behind millions of workers who now find themselves unfit or unqualified for the jobs that remain.
In 2008, during the brief window when it was legal for same-sex couples to get married in California, perhaps no couple drew more attention than Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.
After their wedding, photos of the couple were everywhere; DeGeneres, beaming, in a white suit and holding hands with de Rossi, the very picture of the princess bride so many young girls dream of being one day. It was a cultural touchstone, and Dietram Scheufele, a communications professor at the University of Wisconsin, says it was neither the first nor the last time DeGeneres has played that role.