Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Al Jarreau Week!

And today’s REPOST video asking WHAT IS MITT ROMNEY HIDING, HMM?

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60 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Al Jarreau Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    good tweet:

    Bobfr @Our4thEstate “If Mitt Romney won’t reveal to you what is in his blind trust today, why should you give him your blind trust in November?” #OBAMABIDEN2012

  2. rikyrah says:

    anyone see the first segment on The Ed Show about Willard. I love how the Democrats are now using the offshore accounts to QUESTION WILLARD’S PATRIOTISM.

    Oh, oh, what joy it was to hear Jim Clyburn say it, up front and personal, that one has to doubt Willard’s LOYALTY TO AMERICA because of these offshore accounts.

    sigh…it made me so happy.

  3. rikyrah says:


    The Vice President on Willard:

    When his father, George Romney, was a candidate was for President in 1968, he released 12 years of tax returns because, as he said, ‘One year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show.’“His son has released one year of his tax returns.“Making a lie of the old adage: Like father, like son.

  4. rikyrah says:

    More Democrats Like This, Please
    By John Cole
    July 10th, 2012

    Sherrod Brown tells Democrats to grow a spine and fight to end the tax cuts on the rich:

    Sherrod Brown, who is in a competitive race in Ohio, flatly stated that the President’s proposal is right on the substance and on the politics.

    “This is simply restoring the tax levels from years ago on two percent of taxpayers,” Brown told me. “I don’t know why some Democrats are queasy. Possibly they think it’s better messaging if the cutoff is $1 million. Elected officials at this level know a lot of people who make $300,000. We generally don’t spend enough time with people who make $30,000.”

    “But I think the president is right here,” Brown continued. “The American public thinks that if you make a quarter million dollars, you’re doing really well. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be shouting this from the rooftops.”

    “I think independents will see this exactly as the president does — that people making that much can afford to pay a little more,” Brown said.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Cheating voids 70 students’ tests at top NYC school

    Seventy students were involved in a pattern of smartphone-enabled cheating last month at Stuyvesant High School, New York City officials said Monday, describing an episode that has blemished one of the country’s most prestigious public schools.

    The cheating involved several state exams and was uncovered after a cellphone was confiscated from a 16-year-old junior during a citywide language exam on June 18, according to a city Department of Education investigation.

    Cellphones are not permitted in city schools, and when officials looked into the student’s phone, they found a trail of text messages, including photos of test pages, that suggested pupils had been sharing information about state Regents exams while they were taking them.

    Sixty-nine students had received the messages and responded to them, the department said.

    All of the students will have to retake the exams, and the one whose phone was confiscated, who was said to be at the center of the cheating network, faces possible suspension and may have to transfer to another school by fall, the department said. Four other students involved in the cheating could also face suspension, a spokeswoman said.

    Cheating has taken place for who knows how long,” the schools chancellor, Dennis M. Walcott, said Monday morning in an interview on the John Gambling show, a radio program in New York. “Now with technology, and that’s why we banned cellphones; people have the ability to use new technology to try to cheat. So people are always trying to think of new ways to do things. It’s not acceptable.”

    Advertise | AdChoicesAdvertise | AdChoicesAdvertise | AdChoices.
    The revelations that dozens of Stuyvesant students had cheated on tests not considered particularly challenging for them were the latest example of the competitive pressures inside top schools. In December, officials uncovered widespread cheating on an English final exam by students at a well-regarded school outside Houston; hundreds of students were believed to be involved, and 60 were disciplined. An SAT cheating scandal on Long Island last year, in which test takers used fake IDs to impersonate other students, led to nationwide changes in the way college admissions exams are administered.

    Cheating has been a difficult issue for Stuyvesant for some years, one that students have not shied from confronting. An editorial in the Stuyvesant newspaper, The Spectator, two years ago pinpointed a culture of “academic dishonesty,” whose roots derived from an emphasis on numerical success, like high test scores, rather than on valuing learning that is not as easy to measure.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Romney Town Hall Supporters Fret About Candidate’s Toughness
    Benjy Sarlin- July 10, 2012, 2:35 PM

    Conservative elites have publicly scolded Mitt Romney in the past week for not being either tough or savvy enough to take on President Obama. At a town hall in Grand Junction, Colo., Tuesday questions from the audience suggested the rest of the base might share those concerns.

    Romney’s very first question was from an audience member who wanted to know how the nominee would combat attacks in the media — and suggesting the pugnacious Rep. Allen West (R-FL) as a running mate for that very reason.

    “We need a fighter,” the questioner said. “I’ve been listening to Allen West talk. He’d make a great VP. He’s a fighter and that’s what we want.”

    Romney replied that “all suggestions were welcome,” and said he was thankful that the media now included many friendly outlets he could go through to bypass the major networks and papers. As for Obama, Romney said that “all they’re doing is attacking on every diversion they can come up with,” and said he hoped the president’s campaign would become more substantive.

    Another questioner wanted to know how Romney would be able to debate Obama on health care given the similarities between their health care laws, another sensitive spot for Romney. He too offered some advice for how Romney could improve his standing.

    “In the debates, I’m sure you’re gonna be hammered about what the other team likes to call RomneyCare, but why don’t you make the point that that’s what the people of Massachusetts put you in there to do and you did what the people of Massachusetts wanted you to do and didn’t force it down somebody’s throat?” he asked.

    Romney suggested he generally agreed with the point.

    “I sure hope the president brings it up, because I’ll point out the differences between what he did and what I did,” Romney said. He noted that his own law passed nearly unanimously while Obama’s law attracted no Republican votes.

    “The business community, the labor community, the advocates for the poor, all came together and said this is a good step forward,” he said. “Not perfect by a long, long measure — by the way, I vetoed a number of measures in the bill and those weren’t upheld — but, nonetheless, it was something we worked out for our own state.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Tax avoidance is not the American way
    By Steve Benen – Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:32 PM EDT.

    We still don’t know exactly why Mitt Romney set up a shell corporation in Bermuda, stashed cash in the Caymans, and opened a Swiss bank account. One running theory is that the Republican hoped to avoid paying U.S. taxes through offshore investments in notorious tax havens.

    But today one of Romney’s allies stood up for him, arguing that even if Romney was trying to circumvent American tax laws, what’s so bad about that?

    Mitt Romney shouldn’t be criticized for using off-shore tax havens because “it’s really American to avoid paying taxes, legally,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday. […]

    Graham argued that Congress is responsible for tax avoidance because it has crafted such convoluted rules and said he was fine with Romney’s taking advantage of the loopholes.

    “As long as it was legal, I’m OK with it,” Graham said. “I don’t blame anybody for using the tax code to their advantage.”

    So, let me get this straight. So long as Romney didn’t commit any actual felonies, the American mainstream shouldn’t mind that they had to pay their tax bill, but Romney could use some creative accounting tricks, send his money to the Cayman Islands, and magically lower his own tax bill in ways average folks can’t.

    And this is a defense? From one of Romney’s Republican allies?

    For that matter, as the Obama campaign’s Ben LaBolt argued over the weekend, “Mitt Romney is effectively saying he hasn’t technically broken any laws by keeping his money in offshore tax havens. Here’s the question: is not technically breaking the law a high enough standard for someone who wants to be president of the United States?”

    If Lindsey Graham is parroting the Romney campaign’s new talking points, I’m afraid Republicans might need a better argument.

  8. rikyrah says:

    3:20 PM EDT, Tuesday July 10, 2012
    Outside Spending Against Sherrod Brown Tops $10 Million

    The latest ad attacking Sen. Sherrod Brown tipped the outside spending scales past the $10 million mark against the Ohio incumbent, the most money being spent against any Senate candidate, according to the Brown campaign.

    The latest outside attack ad, with a buy of $1.1 million from the Karl Rove-affiliated Crossroads GPS, depicts Brown as the most loyal supporter of the “Obama agenda.” “It’s time to play, ‘Who’s the Biggest Supporter of the Obama Agenda In Ohio?’” an announcer says, as a game show appears on screen. “It’s Sherrod Brown! Brown backed Obama’s agenda a whopping 95 percent of the time.”

    The Crossroads ad will run for 10 days in major media markets across the state.

    The latest buy is part of a larger $7.8 million buy. A spokesperson for the Brown campaign says the campaign believes the rest of the $6.7 million will be used to attack Brown in the two months leading up to the election.

  9. rikyrah says:

    slave catching coon.



    Conversion Complete, Artur Davis Rallies Virginia Tea Party
    Eric Lach- July 10, 2012, 10:44 AM

    Artur Davis, the former Alabama Democratic congressman who recently announced his rebirth as a Virginia Republican, appeared before the Northern Virginia Tea Party on Monday, delivering a speech that referenced Ronald Reagan and Rosa Parks, while congratulating the Tea Party on their success over the past few years.

    “I want to submit to you that in the last 100 years, no political organization, in the history of this country, has done more to shape or influence politics as quickly as y’all did.” Davis said. “You know, my kinfolk from the South in the civil rights movement changed the country. But even the civil rights movement did not figure out how to win elections and turn a country around as quickly as you did.”

    Davis did some work explaining himself, and the political conversion he’s undergone.

    “I want to put myself in perspective,” he said. “I am one person, out of eight to 10 million people, who voted for Barack Obama four years ago, who based on polling today say they shall not do it again.”

    During the well-received remarks, Davis argued that “2012 is a 1980 kind of moment.” In 1980, Davis said, “they told us the Europeans and the Asians were the wave of the future. They told us that our young people wouldn’t know times like we did before.”

    “That sound familiar?” he asked.

  10. rikyrah says:


    Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes: Disposable phone used to start divorce

    Katie Holmes set the wheels in motion for her divorce from Tom Cruise using a throwaway cellphone provided by a friend to initially talk to her lawyers and avoid her husband knowing about the conversations, according to a source familiar with the divorce.

    The move allowed her to prepare her legal case without Cruise and his staff knowing she was about to exit the marriage and left him shocked at the sudden divorce. By the time a deal was struck last weekend to end the marriage, she hired three law firms in three states.

  11. Ametia says:

    No, Romney Didn’t Leave Bain in 1999

    Talking Points Memo // Josh Marshall Published: 12:55 PM

    A central element of this campaign cycle has become just when Mitt Romney left Bain Capital. The Romney campaign says he left in 1999 — in time to get him off the hook for some controversial investments. backs up Mitt while David Corn and the Obama campaign have brought forward numerous pieces of documentary evidence saying he didn’t leave until a couple years later.

    The gist of the disagreement comes down to this: There’s no question that numerous public filings and some press references say Romney was still running things at Bain after 1999. But his campaign insists that whatever securities filings may have said, in practice, he was busy running the 2002 Winter Olympics that he actually had no role at Bain after early 1999. That’s certainly possible in theory. But there’s no evidence for it beside self-interested claims by Romney. And there’s plenty of documentary evidence to the contrary. What you tell the SEC is really supposed to be true.

    But here’s the thing. I’ve found yet more instances where Romney made declarations to the SEC that he was still involved in running Bain after February 1999. To the best of my knowledge, no one has yet noted these.

    The documents go into different aspects of Romney’s ownership of various Bain and Bain related assets. But in both Romney had to say what he currently did for a living.

    Here are two SEC filings fromJuly 2000 and February 2001 in which Romney lists his “principal occupation” as “Managing Director of Bain Capital, Inc.”

    Romney’s argument is that it doesn’t matter what he said on these SEC filings. Even though he said he was running Bain, he really wasn’t. He was really running the Olympics and didn’t have any role at Bain. But absent any evidence, how is it that anyone can be expected to disregard what Mitt actually told the SEC at the time?

  12. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal


    July 10, 2012 2:24 PM
    Everybody But Me’s a RINO

    By Ed Kilgore

    One of the odder phenomena of contemporary political discourse is the regular denial by Republicans that their party has significantly moved to the right in the last few years. No! they insist, it’s Democrats who’ve moved left! (you know, by embracing what used to be Republican policy positions like a a private-sector based system for expanding health insurance via an individual mandate, and a market-based cap-and-trade system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions). You’d think self-conscious conservatives would be a little louder and prouder of their victory over the moderate Republicans of yore (a victory confirmed by the fact that virtually no Republican pol would dare self-identify as “moderate”).

    This act of deception finds its most definitive refutation in Republican primaries, where candidates call themselves “conservatives” or “true conservatives” or “constitutional conservatives” with almost every breath, while describing opponents as though they were Jacob Javits reincarnated. Check out this snippet from Dave Weigel about the reaction to the Supreme Court decision on ACA from the two GOP candidates running for the Senate in Texas, which began with the observation that Ted Cruz used to talk about John Roberts as his favorite jurist:

  13. rikyrah says:

    Utah Magazine Celebrates Its (White) ‘Women of Color’

    John Cook

    If you were the editor of Utah Valley Magazine, and you needed a headline to accompany your editor’s note for the “Women’s Issue,” and you had selected this photograph of your female staffers to illustrate it, what would you pick for a headline? How about the one thing the photo most certainly does not depict?

    “Women of Color” is what editor Jeanette Bennett settled on for the July/August issue Utah Valley, which was pointed out to us by a tipster. Because look at all the colors! Red, yellow, green—is that melon? Oh and white.

    “That was not intended as an ethnic comment,” Bennett told me when I called to ask her if she was familiar with the traditional understanding of the adjectival phrase in question. “It was just clever wordplay. It was that women add color, and there’s more than one meaning of color.”

    So does her magazine employ any actual women, or even people, of color? “We don’t. I definitely don’t think we’re ethnically diverse. But we did have an article in this issue about the first African American Miss Utah Teen USA.” So there’s that.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The Difference Between George And Mitt

    Mitt Romney’s father ran for president, giving us a fascinating glimpse into how a leading Mormon and Republican once navigated the path toward the highest office in the land. And immediately, you see a huge difference: George was an open book, frank and proud about his religion, and completely transparent when it came to his finances and taxes. The secrecy and extreme privacy that Mitt Romney exudes – on both religion and money – is not necessarily a function of his Mormonism, or of his family. It’s a function of him.

    Take taxes. Mitt has several accounts – of sums unimaginable to most human beings – in off-shore tax havens in the Cayman Islands and elsewhere. We know this because he released just one of his annual tax returns, after refusing to do so at any time previously in his political career:

    [Mitt Romney] declined to release any returns through one unsuccessful race for the U.S. Senate, in 1994, one successful run for Massachusetts governor, in 2002, and an aborted bid for the Republican Party presidential nomination, in 2008. Just before the Iowa caucus last December, Mitt told MSNBC, “I don’t intend to release the tax returns. I don’t,” but finally, on January 24, 2012—after intense goading by fellow Republican candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry—he released his 2010 tax return and an estimate for 2011

    His father, in stark contrast, released a full twelve years of his returns, a then-unprecedented amount of openness, arguing that “one year could be a fluke, done for show.” George Romney had no off-shore accounts – his money was in America. And his tax returns showed he kept only one third of his income with the rest going to taxes or charity. Yes, his release of the returns was partly a device to put Johnson on the spot. But it was a strikingly open gesture nonetheless. Then there’s the question of Mormonism.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Mitt’s Gray Areas


    Published: July 8, 2012

    Once upon a time a rich man named Romney ran for president. He could claim, with considerable justice, that his wealth was well-earned, that he had in fact done a lot to create good jobs for American workers. Nonetheless, the public understandably wanted to know both how he had grown so rich and what he had done with his wealth; he obliged by releasing extensive information about his financial history.

    But that was 44 years ago. And the contrast between George Romney and his son Mitt — a contrast both in their business careers and in their willingness to come clean about their financial affairs — dramatically illustrates how America has changed.

    Right now there’s a lot of buzz about an investigative report in the magazine Vanity Fair highlighting the “gray areas” in the younger Romney’s finances. More about that in a minute. First, however, let’s talk about what it meant to get rich in George Romney’s America, and how it compares with the situation today.

    What did George Romney do for a living? The answer was straightforward: he ran an auto company, American Motors. And he ran it very well indeed: at a time when the Big Three were still fixated on big cars and ignoring the rising tide of imports, Romney shifted to a highly successful focus on compacts that restored the company’s fortunes, not to mention that it saved the jobs of many American workers.

    It also made him personally rich. We know this because during his run for president, he released not one, not two, but 12 years’ worth of tax returns, explaining that any one year might just be a fluke. From those returns we learn that in his best year, 1960, he made more than $660,000 — the equivalent, adjusted for inflation, of around $5 million today.

    Those returns also reveal that he paid a lot of taxes — 36 percent of his income in 1960, 37 percent over the whole period. This was in part because, as one report at the time put it, he “seldom took advantage of loopholes to escape his tax obligations.” But it was also because taxes on the rich were much higher in the ’50s and ’60s than they are now. In fact, once you include the indirect effects of taxes on corporate profits, taxes on the very rich were about twice current levels.

    Now fast-forward to Romney the Younger, who made even more money during his business career at Bain Capital. Unlike his father, however, Mr. Romney didn’t get rich by producing things people wanted to buy; he made his fortune through financial engineering that seems in many cases to have left workers worse off, and in some cases driven companies into bankruptcy.

    And there’s another contrast: George Romney was open and forthcoming about what he did with his wealth, but Mitt Romney has largely kept his finances secret. He did, grudgingly, release one year’s tax return plus an estimate for the next year, showing that he paid a startlingly low tax rate. But as the Vanity Fair report points out, we’re still very much in the dark about his investments, some of which seem very mysterious.

    Put it this way: Has there ever before been a major presidential candidate who had a multimillion-dollar Swiss bank account, plus tens of millions invested in the Cayman Islands, famed as a tax haven?

    And then there’s his Individual Retirement Account. I.R.A.’s are supposed to be a tax-advantaged vehicle for middle-class savers, with annual contributions limited to a few thousand dollars a year. Yet somehow Mr. Romney ended up with an account worth between $20 million and $101 million.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:18 AM ET, 07/10/2012
    The Morning Plum: Will this election break the rules?

    By Greg Sargent

    At first glance, today’s Post/ABC News poll would seem to lend support to the conventional wisdom: A bad economy means the election will be nothing more than a referendum on the incumbent — period, full stop. But dig a little deeper and it looks as if voters may be seeing things in more nuanced terms.

    The poll finds Barack Obama and Mitt Romney tied at 47-47 among registered voters. Obama’s approval is upside down at 47-49, and it’s even worse on the economy, 44-54. The right track/wrong track numbers are awful, at 33-63. Romney leads on which candidate is more trusted to handle the economy, 49-45, which suggests voters’ dissatisfaction with Obama’s performance have left them more than open to Romney as an alternative.

    But when people are asked to compare the two more extensively, the picture shifts.

    Obama leads on who understands the economic problems people are having, 51-40. Obama leads on who is more likely to stand up for what he believes in, 52-36. Obama leads on who has presented a clearer plan for dealing with the economy situation, 47-35.

    And voters appear to narrowly side with Obama’s economic vision: 48 percent say the federal government should spend money to encourage job creation, versus 45 percent who say we should hold down the deficit.

    And this is also key: A majority say the things Obama would do in a second term are more important than what he’s already done, 51-33. Perhaps voters will evaluate the candidates comparatively — in part based on who they are, what they stand for and what they would actually do for the next four years — rather than simply cast their vote as a referendum on the status quo or on Obama’s first term. Public opinion is in flux and closely divided, and we still don’t know which way undecideds will break in terms of how they view this race.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:35 AM ET, 07/10/2012
    Mitt Romney has already released his tax returns. Get over it.

    By Greg Sargent

    GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, a Romney campaign surrogate, went on CNN today and offered some aggressive pushback against the Obama campaign demand that Romney release his tax returns. “Governor Romney has been very successful,” Chaffetz said. “Get over it.”

    The “get over it” quote this is naturally drawing some attention this morning, since it projects a certain tone-deafness that the Romney campaign presumably doesn’t want associated with questions about his wealth. But there’s another line in the interview worth considering. Asked by Ryan Lizza whether Romney should release his returns, Chaffetz said (emphasis mine): “I think he has released them.”

    This claim sounded familiar. And sure enough, RNC spokesman Sean Spicer was pressed on MSNBC yesterday on the tax records, and he said (emphasis mine): “The accusations have been proven completely false. The Governor has released his tax records.”

    It looks as if the claim that Romney has already released his tax records is now the official response. Romney has only released his 2010 returns and an estimate for 2011, and so it’s true that he has released his tax records for that year. But he has not released his tax records in the manner that other presidential candidates — Romney’s father included — have.

    It’s hard not to conclude from this new talking point that the Romney campaign has decided that he won’t be releasing any more returns. Chaffetz’s claim that the American people won’t care about this notwithstanding, this seems like a gamble. This issue is a simple one, and it’s made more potent by revelations about Romney’s offshore accounts.

    It remains to be seen how relevant this will be if the recovery continues to sputter and voters decide to make this election all about Obama. But as Paul Krugman noted the other day, what a man does with his money is a pretty good clue to his character — and if Romney doesn’t want people to know this, there must be a pretty good reason for it. That’s a pretty easy thing to understand.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:34 PM ET, 07/10/2012
    Progressive Senators: Tax fight is a winner for Dems

    By Greg Sargent

    Republicans are confidently predicting that they will be able to use Obama’s proposal to extend the tax cuts for those under $250,000 as a weapon against Dems in down-ticket races. Predictably, a few Democrats seem to have decided that Republicans are right, and are distancing themselves from the plan.

    But two progressive Senators I spoke to today made strong cases that this plan is a political winner for Dems — and offered ways Dems can talk about the issue that could counter GOP talking points.

    Sherrod Brown, who is in a competitive race in Ohio, flatly stated that the President’s proposal is right on the substance and on the politics.

    “This is simply restoring the tax levels from years ago on two percent of taxpayers,” Brown told me. “I don’t know why some Democrats are queasy. Possibly they think it’s better messaging if the cutoff is $1 million. Elected officials at this level know a lot of people who make $300,000. We generally don’t spend enough time with people who make $30,000.”

    “But I think the president is right here,” Brown continued. “The American public thinks that if you make a quarter million dollars, you’re doing really well. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be shouting this from the rooftops.”

    “I think independents will see this exactly as the president does — that people making that much can afford to pay a little more,” Brown said.

    Senator Jeff Merkley, meanwhile, stressed that Obama’s proposal would keep the tax rates low on income up to $250,000, even for those who make more than that.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 05:55 AM PDT.

    Charlie Cook and Washington establishment miss the point of Bain attack ads

    Charlie Cook, a font of Washington wisdom whom I respect, has followed behind the new meme that the Obama Campaign’s attack on Romney’s business record and personal finances amount to a personal attack, rather than one on policy grounds.

    It isn’t clear when the Romney campaign plans to introduce its candidate to the voters, to have his sons talk about their Dad, or to have Ann Romney talk about her husband. Maybe they plan to hold off until the convention. But if I were running, every day that undecided and independent voters in swing states were getting pounded with ads portraying me as an awful person, I’d think I would want some testimony to contradict it. I’d want to have someone telling those voters what kind of person I am and why I am worthy of their support. But what do I know

    I beg to differ with that bit I bolded.
    The reason this is business, not personal, is because Mitt Romney says that it is his experience as a businessman that justifies his election and policies, whatever they are. Mitt Romney isn’t out touting any idea or policy prescription for the economy beyond a number of typical Republican talking points about big government, etc. etc. His main argument is that President Obama doesn’t understand the economy, and that by way of his personal success in leveraged buyouts, he does. He is offering himself, not his policies, as the prescription for what ails the country. Mitt Romney doesn’t talk policy. Mitt Romney is the policy.

    Therefore, it is only fitting to vet Mitt Romney. Thoroughly. That is exactly what the Obama Campaign is doing. It would be political malpractice to do otherwise. It is a disservice to the country for the media to do otherwise.

    For example, Mitt Romney says he knows what to do about taxes. What exactly does he propose to do about them? Consider the famed carried interest loophole. Mitt Romney says he isn’t in favor of raising any taxes, including closing the carried interest loophole, which he himself benefits from significantly. He has been squishy about where he stands on it and offers no real definitive position on the matter. He also rejected the proposition when asked would he accept any deal with Democrats that provides a ten to one ratio of spending cuts to tax increases to control the deficit. Therefore, it only stands to reason that Romney will only cut spending. But he has also pledged that he will increase Defense spending significantly but declined to provide any detail about paying for it. These things can’t possibly add up. But does Mitt Romney talk about these things out on the trail? No. Does he offer them up as a policy that will make the economy grow? No. So what is his point exactly? Who knows. His basic position is “trust me.” Whenever he’s asked, he simply returns to the mantra that the president has failed and he knows what to do because he’s a rich businessman. One can’t have a policy debate with a feather. We need to see weight. If he wants the American people to just trust him on these things and pay no attention to the details, then it is worth finding out if he’s trustworthy. Thus, we need to see his tax returns and business documents. We need to examine all facets of his business record. He invites this with his plea for trust.

    On every single major issue, be it creating jobs, immigration, health care, foreign policy, trade with China, you name it … Mitt Romney doesn’t have a solution he’s running on. He’s simply saying, “I’m not Obama … trust me.” That’s not going to cut it. That’s why he’s losing ground in the swing states.

    Mitt Romney is making his own bed. He is the one lying, both literally and figuratively, in it. If his policy prescription is himself, then attacking him is by definition attacking his policies. A thorough examination of his policy (himself) is just business, not personal. However, if Mitt Romney wishes to have a serious policy debate and doesn’t want any more talk about his business background and personal trustworthiness, then he should lay some serious policies on the table and run on them.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 08:54 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney says he wants Sesame Street to start running advertisements

    by Jed Lewison

    Mitt Romney yesterday, asked by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson to identify a specific spending cut he’d make to reduce the deficit:

    There are programs that I like, like PBS—I mean, my grandkids watch PBS, they like to watch Sesame Street. You know, I just don’t think we can afford to borrow money from China to pay for things we absolutely don’t have to do. So in the case of PBS, I’d tell them to get advertisers or more contributors, but the government is not going to pick up the bill by borrowing money.
    This isn’t a new position for Mitt Romney—he said nearly the exact same thing last December:

    “We’re not going to kill Big Bird,” Romney said. “But Big Bird is going to have advertisements. Alright?”
    I’m sure parents will absolutely love having their kids get bombarded with McDonald’s and Fruit Loops and Oreos ads during Sesame Street. That’s a small price to pay for eliminating a 0.01 percent chunk of the federal budget. Well, actually less than that, because while public broadcasting overall gets roughly $445 million, that’s split among NPR, PBS, local affiliates, and programs like Sesame Street.
    But hey, at least Mitt Romney is getting specific about his deficit plan. Of course, given that it would eliminate less than one tenth of one percent of the deficit, it’s not that impressive a plan.

  21. rikyrah says:

    LePage can’t help himself
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:38 PM EDT.

    Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), a Tea Party favorite known for using intemperate and offensive language, delivered a speech over the weekend on the Supreme Court’s health care ruling. Referencing the individual mandate, which his own party came up with, the far-right governor said, “We the people have been told there is no choice. You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the I.R.S.”

    Yesterday, LePage issued a statement saying “the use of the word Gestapo has clouded my message.” But when a local reporter at WMTW asked the governor for comment in person yesterday, LePage didn’t exactly sound contrite.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, LePage initially scoffed at the notion that anyone would be offended by his comparison of U.S. officials to the Gestapo, but when pressed further, the Republican added, “It was never intended to offend anyone and if someone’s offended, then they ought to be goddamn mad at the federal government.”

    Asked if that constituted an apology, LePage walked away.

    I guess we can add this to LePage’s greatest-hits collection, which also includes a debacle over a labor mural, a push to roll back Maine’s child-labor laws, tax cuts for the rich, and a pointless fight with the state’s chapter of the NAACP.

    A year ago, several Republican state legislators expressed “discomfort and dismay” with some of the governor’s antics, but LePage doesn’t appear eager to clean up his act.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Pulling off ‘an unconscionable crime’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jul 10, 2012 11:27 AM EDT.

    Though the story was largely overlooked due to the July 4th holiday, we learned last week that Pennsylvania’s voter-ID law is poised to disenfranchise more than 758,000 registered voters this year. In other words, 9.2% of the state’s 8.2 million voters will be blocked from participating in their own democracy because Republicans are trying to rig the election.

    They’re not even subtle about. Republican Mike Turzai, Pennsylvania’s House Majority Leader, boasted that the state’s new voter-ID law, ostensibly about the integrity of the electoral process, “is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”

    Eugene Robinson explained today that this Pennsylvania scheme is proof that the Republican Party “is trying to pull off an unconscionable crime.”

    It’s important to realize how true this is. Pennsylvania’s new Republican-backed voter-ID law disproportionately affects African Americans, students, and the poor — the very constituencies the GOP doesn’t want to participate. And we’re talking about over 9% of Pennsylvania voters — more than enough to swing the state and the election to the far-right candidate.

    Just to add insult to injury in this unconscionable crime, now there’s this.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, this creepy ad is airing in Pennsylvania, showing lots of smiling people who love having to show their ID to satisfy the demands of Republican trying to rig an election cycle.

    And who created the ad? I’m glad you asked.


    Ryan J. Reilly had this report this morning. (Update: Daniel Denvir first broke this story over the weekend.)

    The man behind a company that got a big state contract to educate Pennsylvania voters on the commonwealth’s restrictive new voter ID law is a fundraiser for presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Ads created by his company, a Republican lobbying group, encourage Pennsylvania residents to obtain state-issued photo identification so they don’t “miss out” on their right to vote.

    Republican lobbyist Chris Bravacos, who according to the Center For Responsive Politics has thus far bundled $30,000 for Romney’s campaign, is president and CEO of the Bravo Group, which received a $249,660 government contract from Republican Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration for the ad campaign.

    We’re left with a Republican that’s “trying to pull off an unconscionable crime,” while adding an insulting and possibly-corrupt twist.

    By the way, someone asked me last week why the Justice Department doesn’t intervene in Pennsylvania the way it did in other states. The answer is simple: Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act covers Southern states with a history of discriminating against African-American voters, not Pennsylvania.

    Update: In addition to the ad included above, Dave Weigel notes the other voter-ID commercial compares the voter-suppression tactics to the Voting Rights Act, which is pretty outrageous, even by GOP standards.

  23. rikyrah says:

    How Rick Scott handles a TB outbreak
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:09 AM EDT.

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has, to be sure, seen his share of scandals. Indeed, his most notable accomplishment in public life before becoming governor was getting caught defrauding the government. It stands to reason that if voters elect an alleged criminal to run a state government, there will be consequences.

    But it’s the scope of those consequences that Floridians are still dealing with. The Palm Beach Post’s Stacey Singer published a rather remarkable story over the weekend about a tuberculosis outbreak in Jacksonville — one of the worst anywhere in the U.S. in a generation — and the Scott administration’s dangerous response to the public health emergency.

    The reports are a little complicated, but Adam Weinstein’s item on this summarized the story well. Much of it has to do with the AG Holley State Hospital in Lantana, Florida, one of the last public-health facilities in the country that specializes in the treatment of TB victims.

    Last spring … the GOP-dominated Legislature voted to shutter the hospital as a cost-saving measure. The state’s governor, former health care executive Rick Scott, signed the bill in April and even pressed for AG Holley’s closure to be moved up six months; the facility was permanently shuttered on July 2.

    But what was Scott thinking? According to the Palm Beach Post expose, AG Holley’s closure came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had warned the governor and his state health office in a report that tuberculosis was making a big comeback in the state. That report apparently never made it from those state officials to legislators who had voted to close the TB hospital.

    Out of 3,000 people who had close contact with contagious people in Jacksonville, only 253 people had been found and evaluated for TB infection. Three months after the CDC’s warning, Florida officials still hadn’t widely distributed the report — to the public or anyone else — and as a consequence, there are an untold number of Floridians carrying the TB strain.

    A Republican state lawmaker who heads the Florida House’s health care appropriations committee said he wouldn’t have pushed to close the AG Holley State Hospital if he knew about the CDC report, which may very well be the reason it wasn’t distributed.


    As for the larger context, Alex Seitz-Wald’s item rings true.

    The fact that the outbreak began where it did and that it has so far spread mostly among homeless people, mental health patients and drug addicts who encounter each other in soup kitchens and shelters may have made the issue seem less urgent to state officials. Setting aside the dignity of all human life, there is already evidence that the disease has spread beyond the underclass and is continuing to grow, unmonitored, in the Sunshine state. The governor’s office did not comment for Singer’s story, and the state health department has stuck to its message that statewide TB cases are down over last year, suggesting the closure of the hospital was valid. (The hospital closed at the end of June.)

    The case underscores the real human consequences of austerity budgeting and conservatives’ drive to slash government whenever possible. Since austerity came into vogue with the Tea Party beginning in 2009 and was then put in place nationally after the Republican wave in 2010, there have been countless examples where cuts or attempted cuts impact preparedness. After the the Japanese tsunami, it was noted that Republican budget cuts targeted the agency responsible for tsunami warnings. The same was true about earthquake monitoring after a temblor struck the eastern seaboard (though funding was restored). House Majority Leader Eric Cantor also tried to hold up disaster funding for tornado and earthquake cleanup, demanding it be offset with cuts elsewhere. Republicans’ proposed budget last year would have cut funds for the CDC and food safety monitoring.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 07:31 AM PDT.

    Trump: Romney shouldn’t disclose tax returns until Obama proves his identity

    by Jed Lewison

    Donald Trump weighs in on the debate over whether Mitt Romney should disclose his tax returns and financial records to the public:

    President Obama wants @MittRomney to hand over even more past tax returns- he should when @BarackObama reveals his college applications.
    — @realDonaldTrump via web

    .@MittRomney should not give any other further information until @BarackObama releases the things that everyone wants to see—-
    — @realDonaldTrump via web

    So I guess that’s the birther’s case for why Mitt Romney is right to keep his tax returns and financial records under lock and key. But former Republican Party chairman and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour says that if he were in Romney’s shoes, he wouldn’t hide his returns:

  25. rikyrah says:

    Tue Jul 10, 2012 at 09:45 AM PDT.

    Despite denial, records show Romney owned Bermuda shell corporation before forming blind trust

    Yesterday, Mitt Romney told Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson that he didn’t know anything about his offshore investments because they were held in a blind trust. “I don’t manage them,” he said. “I don’t even know where they are.”
    As I pointed out, Romney’s statement raised several obvious questions, the first of which was whether he had any of these investments before creating his blind trust. If so, Romney’s attempt to wipe his hands clean would backfire because it would become clear he was trying to cover up the truth.

    And now, according to public records cited by the Obama campaign, it appears that Romney did in fact hold at least one of his offshore investments before the formation of his blind trust: a Bermuda-based shell corporation formed in 1997 known as Sankaty High Yield Investors Ltd with Mitt Romney as the sole owner.

    In a research document, the campaign writes:

    The problem with Romney’s claim? The Bermuda corporation—Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors—was registered in 1997 and Romney was listed as the “the sole shareholder, a director, and president” of the corporation. The Bermuda corporation was under his personal ownership until it was transferred into a blind trust in his wife’s name the day before he was sworn in as governor, possibly to avoid disclosure. In fact, the one fulltax return Romney did release shows that he directly owned the company as recently in 2010 and it was not held in his trust.
    Mitt Romney’s continued dishonesty on his investments in offshore tax havens and corporations raises serious questions about why he won’t release his tax returns. Only a release of additional tax returns will allow us to see if Romney avoided U.S. taxes with his offshore holdings.

    So we now have at least one clear cut example of Mitt Romney making a public statement about his financial history that is clearly refuted by the limited records available for public scrutiny. This should be a wakeup call not just to those who are covering his campaign but also to the public at large. Romney isn’t just hiding his tax returns and financial records from public disclosure, he’s not telling the truth about the records that have already been released.

  26. rikyrah says:

    The New Jim Crow Comes to PA
    by BooMan
    Tue Jul 10th, 2012 at 11:09:37 AM EST

    As most of you know, I worked for ACORN/Project Vote during the 2004 election as a county coordinator. As a result, I have direct experience working with people of color in Philadelphia’s inner city and I am not at all surprised to see the following information about how many people there lack photo identification.

    An astounding 758,939 registered voters in the state, or nine percent, do not have PennDot IDs, according to data released last Tuesday by the Department of State. In Philadelphia, it’s even worse: 186,830 registered voters, or 18 percent, do not have ID. Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele had previously assured lawmakers that 99 percent of Pennsylvanians possess the necessary ID―based on what, I have absolutely no idea.
    The state released this astonishing data on July 3 in what seems like a transparent effort to ensure that the bomb-like news would drop like a dud on the July 4th holiday. And they did so with the almost-unbelievably-Orwellian title “Department of State and PennDOT Confirm Most Registered Voters Have Photo ID.”

    Corbett has rebuffed a call from rights advocates and civic groups to delay voter ID implementation. But a legal challenge presses on. 93-year old Germantown resident Viviette Applewhite, who has been unable to obtain a Pennsylvania birth certificate, is the lead plaintiff in the ACLU and NAACP lawsuit. Other plaintiffs include “three elderly women who say they cannot obtain necessary ID because they were born in the Jim Crow South, where states have no records of their births.”

    Under Pennsylvania’s new law, there are some other forms of acceptable identification, including a valid and current passport, military IDs, and photo IDs from Pennsylvania-accredited universities. As you might imagine, these alternative forms of identification are unlikely to put even a small dent in the 18% of Philadelphians who are currently disenfranchised.

    This isn’t complicated. A large percentage of Philadelphians do not own a car and therefore do not drive with any frequency. In the poorer neighborhoods, many people do not engage in banking or other economic activities that require photo ID, so they don’t bother obtaining photo ID. The city does not have many Division of Motor Vehicle centers so, for most people, obtaining an ID requires a bus ride with at least one transfer. It appears that about 18% of the city’s residents have never felt sufficient motivation to bother with the hassle, and their desire to vote in November is really the only reason they would go to the trouble now.

    I know of no examples of voter fraud occurring in Pennsylvania in recent years. It’s conceivable that these new onerous voter registration laws could prevent a handful of fraudulent votes, but that will come at the expense of disenfranchising a substantial percentage of the state’s voters who are already registered to vote.

    In 2008, Obama carried Pennsylvania by a little more than 600,000 votes. He netted 478,000 of those votes out of Philadelphia County. An 18% percent reduction in the Philadelphia County vote would be about 130,000 people who are disenfranchised . Obama carried 83% of the county vote, meaning that he’d lose about 108,000 votes, while Romney would theoretically lose about 22,000. However, at least 99% of Romney’s votes in the county will be cast by people who have a valid driver’s license or passport, so that 22,000 number will never happen.

    The new voter ID law is intended to have this consequence. Under the pretense of fighting voter fraud that does not exist, they are eliminating tens of thousands of Democratic votes in Philadelphia alone. And many other states are implementing similar laws that all have the intention of disenfranchising legitimate Democratic voters. And these voters are overwhelmingly people of color, students who don’t have a current address, and the elderly who don’t drive and cannot locate the proper documents to obtain a state-issued photo ID.

    If the intent of these laws to rig elections, the effect is racist and discriminatory, and should be illegal under the Voting Rights Act.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Top Romney Surrogate Defends Campaign’s Decision To Withhold Tax Returns, Tells Critics To ‘Get Over It’
    By Adam Peck on Jul 10, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz (R), a top-tier surrogate for the Mitt Romney campaign, told The New Yorker’s Washington correspondent Ryan Lizza that Mitt Romney shouldn’t have to release his tax returns, and that critics of the candidate’s decision to hide his vast fortune in overseas bank accounts should “get over it.”

    Lizza, a panelist on CNN’s Starting Point program, asked Chaffetz to respond to fellow Romney surrogate Haley Barbour’s comment yesterday that he felt Romney should release his tax returns.

    LIZZA: What’s your position on that? Should Governor Romney release all those tax returns? Right now he’s in a very unique position for a presidential candidate, he’s only released one year and a summary of 2011.

    CHAFFETZ: Governor Romney has paid 100 percent of his taxes that are owed, he’s complied 100 percent what the law requires, um…

    LIZZA: No I’m sorry Congressman, I was just asking if you think he should release them, not if he’s complied with the law. Should he release his tax returns?

    CHAFFETZ: I think he has released the tax returns.

    [Laughter and crosstalk]

    LIZZA: Just yes or no, should he release them or not.

    CHAFFETZ: No! No, I don’t…He’s been very successful, he’s released everything that he’s required to release, including paying more than 16 percent of his income to charitable givings. I think it’s a diversionary tactic. Most people, they don’t care about this. Governor Romney’s been very successful, get over it. It’s a reality.

    • Ametia says:

      So it’s ok for rednecks, racists, birthers to ask for President Obama’s birth certificate, school records, etc, but Mitt Romney does not have to show how he makes his money and where he stores it? I.DON’T.THINK, SO, BUDDY BOY!

  28. rikyrah says:

    Tax fight taking shape

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:39 AM EDT.

    For months, the argument within Democratic circles hasn’t been whether to let tax breaks for the wealthy expire, it’s been a debate over where to draw the line at “wealthy.” President Obama’s original position from 2008 was to set the level at $250,000 (the top 2% of income earners), but over the last year or so, some Democrats have pushed the draw the line at $1 million.

    Yesterday, Obama stuck to his guns. There was a real possibility that this would cause some intra-party trouble, but soon after the president’s announcement, both Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — who had called for the higher $1 million threshold — endorsed the White House position. Not all Dems are on board, but a united party leadership helps Obama with his broader public pitch.

    Kevin Drum/Mother Jones

    But as the larger discussion moves forward, let’s pause to note a detail that routinely gets lost in the shuffle: thanks to the way marginal tax rates work, even those with incomes above $250,000 would get a tax break. Kevin Drum put together this image yesterday to help drive the point home.

    As Dan Amira added, “Obama is not proposing that families making up to $250,000 a year keep their tax cuts while families making more than that don’t. He’s proposing that every family keep their tax cuts on their first $250,000 of taxable income.”

    If your family makes $250,000 a year, under Obama’s plan, every penny in income will get the tax break. If your family makes $260,000 a year, under Obama’s plan, you’d get the tax cut for your first $250,000, then pay slightly higher taxes on the $10,000.

    As a result, everyone with an income would get a tax break. Even those at the very top would end up paying less in taxes than they did under Clinton because Obama would still give them a break on their first quarter-million.

    And while Republicans remain in a perpetual state of outrage over Obama’s middle-class tax cut package, it’s also worth emphasizing that the president’s position is the popular one.

  29. rikyrah says:

    VIDEO: Martin Bashir Exposes Luke Russert as Water Carrier for Congressional Republicans

    In the wake of President Obama calling for the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses making under $250,000 and the Republicans predictable response, which is to claim the tax increase will harm small businesses, MSNBC’s Martin Bashir attempted to get his cohort, Luke Russert to admit the Republican leadership was fighting to the 2 percent and the 3 percent.

    And he didn’t have much luck getting an answer. After asking Russert three times whether he agreed with the sentiment or not, the most Bashir got out of him was some mealy mouthed response that if Bashir wants an answer to his questions, he’d better get John Boehner or Mitch McConnell on his show to ask them himself.

    Bashir did get Russet to admit their rhetoric was all spin and talking points, and little more than election year rhetoric to throw red meat to their base, and accuse the Democrats of wanting to raise taxes. It seems little Luke is a whole lot more worried about keeping that access to Congressional Republicans than heaven forbid saying anything that might offend them. Bashir laid that bare when he continued pushing Russert to answer his question on who they were protecting by refusing to cooperate on the middle class tax cuts they’re holding hostage for their tax cuts for the rich.

    Since Russert is the one from the network with access to the GOP leadership Bashir told him he’d have to “suffice to take the beating.” Russert couldn’t resist getting in a cheap shot at Bashir about his Michael Jackson interview. Keep it classy there Luke. Russert seems to be learning his lessons well on how to be the next Karl Rove dance partner, David Gregory clone for the network.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Barbour undercuts Romney on tax returns
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    Back in January, Mitt Romney drew a hard line in response to questions about releasing his tax returns: no. He might “consider” it after the election, but not before.

    The winds shifted a bit when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), one of Romney’s most notable surrogates, sold him out. Appearing on MSNBC and NBC, Christie said he releases his returns, and it “would be my preference” if Romney did the same thing: “What I would say to Governor Romney is, if you have tax returns to put out, you know, you should put them out.”

    Soon after, Romney released some limited tax materials for one year, which hardly constituted disclosure. Now that questions about his finances are back, the Republican candidate is once again finding one of his own high-profile allies undermining his message.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R) was on CNN yesterday, and Wolf Blitzer asked, “Yes or no, tax returns, should he release the tax returns?” Barbour replied, “I would.”

    In fairness, it’s worth noting that Barbour, in the same appearance, went on to say that he doesn’t think the returns should matter. Still, the Mississippi Republican believes Romney would be better off disclosing the materials, rather than keeping them secret.

    For his part, Romney told an Iowa radio station yesterday about his finances, “I don’t manage them. I don’t even know where they are. That trustee follows all U.S. laws. All the taxes are paid, as appropriate. All of them have been reported to the government. There’s nothing hidden there.”

    There are several unanswered questions about Romney’s offshore investments, and I’m afraid “I don’t manage them” isn’t much of a response.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Republicans In Tough Races Carve Out Nuanced Positions On ‘Obamacare’
    Sahil Kapur-July 10, 2012, 5:53 AM

    A complicating facet of the fiery Republican opposition to ‘Obamacare’ is popular parts of the law that even GOP lawmakers have recently begun to sympathize with on various levels: guaranteed insurance coverage regardless of preexisting conditions and letting dependents up to 26 years old remain on a parent’s policy.

    This week House Republicans are poised to vote to repeal President Obama’s signature legislation — their 31st vote to repeal or dismantle the law. While a vote for repeal has become a litmus test for Republicans, some GOP lawmakers in tough races this fall are carving out nuanced positions on the Affordable Care Act — including in some cases where their own family members benefit from it.

    One example is Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA), whose daughter, Brianna, has skin cancer, according to the local North County Times. In a world without ‘Obamacare’ an individual in her position is likely to be denied coverage, kicked off her insurance or forced to pay exorbitant costs. With the law in place, she’s safe.

    Bilbray, who serves in a swing district, supports repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but he has cosponsored legislation with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to use the revenue from one of its taxes to fund cancer research.

    Another example is Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), who was elected to the Senate in early 2010 on a platform of total ‘Obamacare’ repeal, and is defending his seat against Elizabeth Warren. This summer, Brown, who last year voted for repeal, admitted he uses the under-26 coverage for his 23-year-old daughter, Ayla, under his insurance policy.

    “Of course I do,” Brown told the Boston Globe, standing firm for repeal but arguing that states should adopt the good parts of the Affordable Care Act.

  32. rikyrah says:

    Many Wall Street executives say wrongdoing is necessary: survey

    If the ancient Greek philosopher Diogenes were to go out with his lantern in search of an honest many today, a survey of Wall Street executives on workplace conduct suggests he might have to look elsewhere.

    A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow released on Tuesday.

    In a survey of 500 senior executives in the United States and the UK, 26 percent of respondents said they had observed or had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace, while 24 percent said they believed financial services professionals may need to engage in unethical or illegal conduct to be successful.

    Sixteen percent of respondents said they would commit insider trading if they could get away with it, according to Labaton Sucharow. And 30 percent said their compensation plans created pressure to compromise ethical standards or violate the law.

    “When misconduct is common and accepted by financial services professionals, the integrity of our entire financial system is at risk,” Jordan Thomas, partner and chair of Labaton Sucharow’s whistleblower representation practice, said in a statement.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Judge keeps South Carolina immigration law on hold after Arizona ruling

    A federal judge who in December blocked parts of a South Carolina law cracking down on illegal immigrants said on Monday the law would remain on hold until an appeals court ruled on the case.

    That means South Carolina still cannot enforce a provision requiring police to check the immigration status of people they stop. The U.S. Supreme Court last month upheld that controversial aspect of a similar law in Arizona.

    U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel in December blocked that piece of the law and others from taking effect in South Carolina. He held a hearing on Monday by teleconference in his chambers in Charleston to revisit his order in light of the Supreme Court ruling. The media were not allowed to attend.

    Gergel issued an order afterward saying the Supreme Court ruling “raises substantial issues” about his order blocking parts of the South Carolina measure.

    But the judge said he no longer had jurisdiction to alter his ruling and would have to wait for action by the appellate court.

    He said that because the state had appealed his injunction, it would remain in place until the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals either lifted it or sent the case back to him for reconsideration.

    State officials want the case decided by the appeals court.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Michelle Obama Visit to Barbara Goleman Senior High “Outrageous,” Miami-Dade School Board Member Says

    The first lady is expected to address supporters and volunteers Tuesday morning

    By Gilma Avalos

    | Tuesday, Jul 10, 2012 | Updated 8:24 AM EDT

    As is customary with presidential-level campaign events, protesters are never out of the question.

    But before Michelle Obama even steps foot in the door of Barbara Goleman Senior High School in Miami Lakes Tuesday morning, some Miami-Dade County Public Schools board members are coming out in protest.

    “I think it’s outrageous. I believe that our public schools are places for learning, not places for politicking,” board member Renier Diaz de la Portilla said.

    Mrs. Obama is expected to address grassroots supporters and volunteers, as well as recruit voters to reelect her husband.

    De la Portilla says there’s no room for that in public schools. He is a Republican running for the Florida House of Representatives, but says this is not a partisan issue.

    We have welcomed elected officials in our public schools for years. But never, that I can recall in recent memory, have we used it to host a political rally to recruit volunteers for a campaign that’s in November,” said de la Portilla, who represents District 5.

    Board member Carlos Curbelo of District 7 is with de la Portilla. He sent an letter to the school board attorney asking the district to immediately reconsider allowing public schools to be used by campaigns.

    “Going forward we should turn away any candidate or campaign that wishes to use our facilities – paid for and maintained by the public – for personal and political gain,” Curbelo wrote.

  35. rikyrah says:

    How the Mormons Make Money

    Late last March the Mormon Church completed an ambitious project: a megamall. Built for roughly $2 billion, the City Creek Center stands directly across the street from the church’s iconic, neo-Gothic temple in Salt Lake City. The mall includes a retractable glass roof, 5,000 underground parking spots, and nearly 100 stores and restaurants, ranging from Tiffany’s (TIF) to Forever 21. Walkways link the open-air emporium with the church’s perfectly manicured headquarters on Temple Square. Macy’s (M) is a stone’s throw from the offices of the church’s president, Thomas S. Monson, whom Mormons believe to be a living prophet.

    On the morning of its grand opening, thousands of shoppers thronged downtown Salt Lake, eager to elbow their way into the stores. The national anthem blared, and Henry B. Eyring, one of Monson’s top counselors, told the crowds, “Everything that we see around us is evidence of the long-standing commitment of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Salt Lake City.” When it came time to cut the mall’s flouncy pink ribbon, Monson, flanked by Utah dignitaries, cheered, “One, two, three—let’s go shopping!”

    Watching a religious leader celebrate a mall may seem surreal, but City Creek reflects the spirit of enterprise that animates modern-day Mormonism. The mall is part of a vast church-owned corporate empire that the Mormon leadership says will help spread its message, increase economic self-reliance, and build the Kingdom of God on earth. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attends to the total needs of its members,” says Keith B. McMullin, who for 37 years served within the Mormon leadership and now heads a church-owned holding company, Deseret Management Corporation (DMC), an umbrella organization for many of the church’s for-profit businesses. “We look to not only the spiritual but also the temporal, and we believe that a person who is impoverished temporally cannot blossom spiritually.”

    McMullin explains that City Creek exists to combat urban blight, not to fill church coffers. “Will there be a return?” he asks rhetorically. “Yes, but so modest that you would never have made such an investment—the real return comes in folks moving back downtown and the revitalization of businesses.” Pausing briefly, he adds with deliberation: “It’s for furthering the aim of the church to make, if you will, bad men good, and good men better.”

    It’s perhaps unsurprising that Mormonism, an indigenous American religion, would also adopt the country’s secular faith in money. What is remarkable is how varied the church’s business interests are—and, at a time when a former Mormon bishop is about to receive the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, that so little is known about the church’s financial interests. Despite a recent public-relations campaign aimed at combating the perception that it is “secretive,” the LDS Church remains tight-lipped about its holdings and offers little financial transparency, even to its members, who are required to tithe 10 percent of their income to gain access to Mormon temples.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Obama: Romney’s finances should be an ‘open book’ for voters

    By Meghashyam Mali – 07/10/12 06:59 AM ET

    President Obama raised pressure on Mitt Romney to release more of his tax records on Monday, saying that his GOP challenger’s finances should be an “open book.”

    “What’s important, if you are running for president, is that the American people know who you are and what you’ve done, and that you’re an open book,” said Obama in an interview with local New Hampshire television station WMUR. “And that’s been true of every presidential candidate dating all the way back to Mitt Romney’s father.”

    Democrats have slammed Romney after a report in Vanity Fair last week provided details on financial holdings in offshore accounts in Switzerland, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

    The Obama campaign is using the issue to portray the presumptive GOP nominee as out-of-touch with the concerns of voters struggling with the economy and to raise questions over Romney’s own economic policies.

    Numerous Democrats on Sunday questioned if Romney had received favorable tax treatment thorugh his foreign financial transactions and called on him to address the issue by releasing additional tax records.

    Romney has released a 2010 tax return and his estimated taxes for 2011.

    “Mitt Romney’s father was the pioneer for releasing a series of tax returns and the best way to figure out if he is complying with American tax law is to have him release more of the tax returns,” top Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs said Sunday on CNN. “This is a guy whose slogan is ‘Believe in America’, and it should be ‘Business in Bermuda’ and that is what he is all about.”

  37. rikyrah says:

    Ametia, if you can find this video from Rev. Al doing a recreation of those who went to Willard’s Hamptons fundraiser. it’s hilarious.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry Announces Texas Won’t Implement The Affordable Care Act, Leaving Millions of Texans Uninsured

    By Guest Blogger on Jul 9, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Early Monday morning, Gov. Rick Perry (R) announced that Texas won’t create a state insurance exchange nor accept expanded Medicaid funds outlined in the Affordable Care Act. In a statement, Perry said, “Neither a ‘state’ exchange nor the expansion of Medicaid under this program would result in better ‘patient protection’ or in more ‘affordable care.’”

    Perry’s announcement is an especially harmful move because Texas will benefit more from the Affordable Care Act than any other state. Texas was recently ranked worst in the country for health care delivery by the federal Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, scoring “weak” or “very weak” in nine of 12 categories. Perry’s office discounted the study as overly broad, and has argued that Texans’ real problem is personal health choices, not lack of health insurance.

    More than 25 percent of Texans – 6,234,900 people – are uninsured, the highest rate in the nation. After five years of health reform, Texas would be able to insure 1,798,314 more Americans under the Medicaid expansion alone – more than any state in the nation. Setting up a state health insurance exchange would enable the remaining millions of uninsured Texans to purchase affordable health insurance. Thus, despite Perry’s claims, implementing the law would result in better patient protection and greater access to coverage.

    Though the Supreme Court ruled that states can reject the expanded Medicaid funds without any penalty, any state that refuses to set up a health insurance exchange will have one set up for them by the federal government. This doesn’t lessen the impact of Perry’s decision to deny 1.8 million uninsured Texans the opportunity to be covered under Medicaid. He joins other Republican governors across the country in pledging to or considering turning down $258 billion in Medicaid funds and leaving 9.2 million Americans uninsured. A new study by the Brookings Institution found that states led by Republican governors have the most uninsured Americans, making political moves like Perry’s particularly harmful to Americans’ health.

    – Ben Sherman

  39. rikyrah says:

    Rev. Al giving you ‘an interpreter of GOP Romney Speak’

  40. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Weak Money Legs

    Today came news that the Obama campaign had raised $71 million in June, far below Romney’s $106 million for the same period. Daniel Klaidman has more on the Democrats’ cashflow problem, pointing to liberal discomfort with the idea of Super PACs as well as a lack of enthusiasm from “big-ego Democrats” accustomed to more hands-on treatment:

    One of the party’s most prominent donors underscored how the Clintons were far more attentive to him than Obama, whom he is backing. After holding a 2008 fundraiser for Hillary, he noted, he received a gift tea set and note from her, then a personal phone call. It was “maybe an inexpensive, maybe $40 tea set,” he says, but along with the call reflected a level of attention he now finds lacking. This donor does not fault the president himself for not being more personally involved. What’s galling, he says, is poor staff; a lack of follow-up and insufficient stroking of egos, such as invitations to social and other events at the White House.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Black La. justice accuses colleagues of blocking her rise

    By The Admin on July 9, 2012

    The sole African-American justice on Louisiana’s Supreme Court has accused her colleagues on the bench of blocking her right to become the state’s next chief justice.

    Associate Justice Bernette Johnson, who has served on the Louisiana Supreme Court since 1994, filed papers in federal court on Thursday seeking an order forcing her colleagues to allow her to succeed retiring Chief Justice Catherine Kimball.

    In Louisiana, the position of chief justice is reserved for the judge with the most years of service on the seven-member court. Johnson argued in court papers that her 17 years on the court make her the second most senior justice on the court behind Kimball. Kimball, who has announced she will retire in 2013, has questioned whether Johnson’s first six years on the court should count for purposes of seniority.

    Johnson was elected in 1994 to a temporary judicial position following a consent judgment in a Voting Rights Act case known as Chisom v. Roemer. The case, filed against Louisiana officials and others, targeted the state’s system of electing two justices from a district that included the Orleans Parish. The suit alleged that the district, which was the only one that elected more than one Supreme Court justice, unfairly diluted the voting power of minorities. (Thomson Reuters)

  42. rikyrah says:

    New Data on Obama’s Massive Demographic Advantage

    It’s widely acknowledged by political observers that the country’s demographic change in the last four years—particularly the increase in minority voters and decline of white non-college voters—favors President Obama’s re-election bid. What’s less obvious is exactly how much these changes favor Obama—especially in the swing states that loom so large in this coming election.

    These data can be hard to come by. The most straightforward way to look at this is to estimate how much the composition of eligible voters—that is, those 18-and-over who are citizens—has changed between 2008 and 2012 in these states. This is frequently proxied by looking at changes in overall population share, as measured by sources like the Census. But there’s a big problem with using that data: Such sources include noncitizens and children, who can’t vote, and typically do not cover the actual years in questions, 2008-2012.

    We avoided these problems by using data from the November 2008 and May 2012 Current Population Surveys, data sources which permit us to remove children and noncitizens from our counts. It is not perfect—there are some weighting differences between the two surveys and, of course, we cannot use data from November 2012 to get a full four years. But these data provide the latest and most direct estimate of demographic change relevant to the 2012 election.

    Our analysis confirms that President Obama will derive substantial benefit from shifts in the voter pool between 2008 and 2012, though there is considerable—and sometimes—surprising variation across states. Start with the national picture. Here, as in our state-by-state analysis, we concentrate on three broad demographic groups that have dominated news coverage: minorities; white non-college (or working class); and white college-educated.

    Minorities, 80 percent of whom supported Obama in 2008, have increased their share of eligible voters across the time period by around 3 percentage points. (About three-fifths of this is from Hispanics, most of the rest from Asians and those of “other race.”) White working class voters, whom Obama lost by 18 points, have decreased their share of eligible voters by about the same amount. And white college-educated voters, whom Obama lost by only 4 points, were roughly stable (a very slight two-tenths of a percentage point uptick in their share of eligibles.)

  43. rikyrah says:

    If The Williams Sisters Aren’t All-American Icons, Who Is?

    We’re a couple of days removed from Serena Williams’ 5th singles triumph at Wimbledon (followed by Serena and Venus winning their 5th doubles title), and in addition to a less than Algonquin-quality discussion on Mad Dog Radio Saturday about the sisters’ sex appeal (or alleged lack thereof), there’s this.

    D.K. Wilson — consistently one of the more thoughtful writers on matters pertaining to sports and race — has a number of bigger observations about the state of tennis fandom in the USA, but his musings on Serena and Venus are equal parts poignant and sobering.

    We live in a country where sports management companies coach Black U.S. Olympic athletes to praise God in a way that overtly say, I am a Christian,” after winning events so as to mollify the largely White viewing audience that still believes our African-American President – really, he is half African – is some sort of secretly nationalist, militant, Kenyan Mau-Mau Marxist socialist, who just can’t wait to win a second term so he can demand that every White American empty their pockets to fund the, Repatriate Descendants of Slaves, Executive Order; to pacify a White viewing audience that would just love to awaken tomorrow to find that “Tebowing” while facing Bethlehem is a mandatory morning classroom salutation in public schools.

    This is the country where a Black woman and her older sister can win 10 of the last 13 Wimbledon Finals, not be the most popular female athletes In America, have the sisters’ family be booed mercilessly, while the younger sister is called a “nigger” during the match’s changeover.

    In this country, Serena and Venus Williams can lose their closest relative outside of their immediate family, Serena can have a brush with death due to an illness, Venus can have a debilitating disease that leaves her nearly too tired to walk, yet they are not noted by every American sports fan as two of the most endearing – for their perseverance in the face of adversity – athletes in all of sports.

  44. rikyrah says:

    House Farm Bill Would Kick 280,000 Low-Income Children Off Of School Meals Program

    By Pat Garofalo on Jul 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Members of the House Agriculture Committee this week will be marking up a “compromise” version of this year’s farm bill, which includes cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — i.e. food stamps — that would result in two to three million people losing their food assistance. 45 percent of the proposed cuts to federal spending in the bill come from reductions in the food stamp program.

    The bulk of the cuts would be a result of eliminating what is known as “categorical eligibility,” which gave states the flexibility to enroll families in SNAP even if their assets (such as a car or modest savings) or income push them barely above the line to qualify for assistance. According to the Congressional Budget Office, such a move would not only boot 1.8 million people off of food stamps, but would knock 280,000 children off of the free school lunch program:

    The legislation would restrict categorical eligibility to only households receiving cash assistance. Based on data from the Department of Agriculture, CBO estimates that about 1.8 million people per year, on average, would lose benefits if they were subject to SNAP’s income and asset tests. In addition, about 280,000 school-age children in those households would no longer be automatically eligible for free school meals through their receipt of SNAP benefits. Assuming enactment on October 1, 2012, CBO estimates that this provision would lower direct spending by $11.5 billion over the 2012-2022 period.

  45. Ametia says:

    The GOP’s crime against voters
    By Eugene Robinson,

    Spare us any more hooey about “preventing fraud” and “protecting the integrity of the ballot box.” The Republican-led crusade for voter ID laws has been revealed as a cynical ploy to disenfranchise as many likely Democratic voters as possible, with poor people and minorities the main targets.

    Recent developments in Pennsylvania — one of more than a dozen states where voting rights are under siege — should be enough to erase any lingering doubt: The GOP is trying to pull off an unconscionable crime.

    Late last month, the majority leader of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Mike Turzai, was addressing a meeting of the Republican State Committee. He must have felt at ease among friends because he spoke a bit too frankly.

    Ticking off a list of recent accomplishments by the GOP-controlled Legislature, he mentioned the new law forcing voters to show a photo ID at the polls. Said Turzai, with more than a hint of triumph: “Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania — done.”

  46. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

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