Friday, August 17, 2012

Headlines - Friday August 17

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's office still isn't buying Mitt Romney's latest claim that he paid at least 13 percent in taxes every year for the past decade. Reid's response is the same one every Democrat ought to be giving on the subject. Prove it:
"We'll believe it when we see it," Reid's spokesman, Adam Jentleson, said Thursday. "Until Mitt Romney releases his tax returns, Americans will continue to wonder what he's hiding. Romney seems to think he plays by a different set of rules than every other presidential candidate for the last thirty years, all of whom lived up to the standard of transparency set by Mitt Romney's father and released their tax returns."
Harry Reid has been right from the get-go. It's simple. Mitt Romney can clear everything up just by releasing his tax returns. If he's telling the truth that he is in the 35 percent income tax bracket but has only been paying at the 13 percent level all these years—not at a much lower level—then he can release the returns, embarrass Reid, extract an apology and come out smelling, well, like a guy in the 35 percent tax bracket who regularly pays a 13 percent rate, what the average construction worker does.

Until then, he should stop embarrassing himself with the "trust me" comments.

Given the massive string of lies Romney has saturated his campaign with, it's hard to take seriously media commentary that says:

[T]hey are asking the American public to believe that a major party presidential candidate willingly lied about his financial past. And that's a major leap.
Puhleez. The major leap is to take anything this candidate says on faith.

Romney seems to believe that if he just keeps repeating what he's been saying it will ultimately be accepted. How dare he be challenged. He seems to think that calling people who want him to release those tax returns "small minded" will shift the tide among the 63 percent Americans who think he should do so. A 63 percent that includes at least 20 prominent Republicans.

There's nothing "small-minded" about Reid's bulldog approach in this matter. On the contrary. Romney's tax returns aren't a distraction. They go to the heart of what he is about.
A week ago, it was RNC Chair Reince Preibus saying that the 63 percent of voters who want to properly vet Mitt Romney's finances are "ridiculous."

Today, Romney called those very same 63 percent of voters "small minded."

The fascination with taxes I've paid I find to be very small-minded [...]
Romney is running for president of the United States, not his country club. Rather than whine like a toddler, he needs to man up and deliver to the American people the documentation they demand in order to make an informed hiring decision. If he didn't want to suffer a proper vetting, he shouldn't have run. No one would've missed him. (And I really mean, no one.)

Insulting the voters isn't helping his case.

But then again, his entire campaign is now focused on his party's 37 percent fringe, so perhaps he thinks it is.


This took place last fall at one of Congressman Rep. Ryan's "Pay to Play" town hall meetings where he was discussing cutting Senior's Social Security, and Medicare as a means of debt reduction. As you might imagine, one senior was not pleased.

Wealth reduces compassion.


Balloon Juice:

Ahh Kentucky. And people wonder why the state's aggregate IQ drops by a measurable amount when I cross the Ohio River to go to work in the mornings. Stories like this just depress me.

Kentucky's Senate Republicans pushed successfully in 2009 to tie the state's testing program to national education standards, but three years later, they're questioning the results.

Several GOP lawmakers questioned new proposed student standards and tests that delve deeply into biological evolution during a Monday meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education.

In an exchange with officials from ACT, the company that prepares Kentucky's new state testing program, those lawmakers discussed whether evolution was a fact and whether the biblical account of creationism also should be taught in Kentucky classrooms.

"I would hope that creationism is presented as a theory in the classroom, in a science classroom, alongside evolution," Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, said Tuesday in an interview.

To recap: Republicans insisted the state meet new national education testing guidelines to comply with NCLB. The state hired a company to write the tests specifically to improve education to make the state's students better educated and more competitive in the global marketplace. Three years later, Republicans are horrified to find out the tests teach evolution.

The GOP response is pathetic.

Givens said he and other legislators have been contacted by a number of educators with concerns about Kentucky's proposed new science standards, which are tied to ACT testing and are scheduled to be adopted this fall.

"I think we are very committed to being able to take Kentucky students and put them on a report card beside students across the nation," Givens said. "We're simply saying to the ACT people we don't want what is a theory to be taught as a fact in such a way it may damage students' ability to do critical thinking."

Yes, because if you don't also teach the "theory" that invisible bearded floaty guy built the Earth on a giant Sims program 6,000 years ago, you're a close minded bigot. I demand Catholic schools teach Islam, Daoism, Shintoism, Judaism, Pastafarianism, and Pagan studies in science class or they're close minded bigots too. See how this works?

Last time I checked, biology was a science, not a comparative religion course.

Oh, but it gets worse.

Another committee member, Rep. Ben Waide, R-Madisonville, said he had a problem with evolution being an important part of biology standards.

"The theory of evolution is a theory, and essentially the theory of evolution is not science — Darwin made it up," Waide said. "My objection is they should ensure whatever scientific material is being put forth as a standard should at least stand up to scientific method. Under the most rudimentary, basic scientific examination, the theory of evolution has never stood up to scientific scrutiny."

You sir are the dumbest mofo on Earth, and I am offended that you are an elected lawmaker in the Commonwealth. Your ignorance is so astounding that I have to believe you actually don't exist, because nobody can be this stupid and survive without collapsing under the density of their own idiocy.

Seriously, evolution has "never stood up to scientific scrutiny"? When you refuse to get involved in elections and local politics and the world around you, these are the people that get elected, Kentucky. My job is to fix that. I have a lot of work to do, of course.


A couple of lawyers I know have poisoned my mind about prosecutors—they say that the average prosecutor is not that intelligent, overly righteous, and is mainly looking to win some kind of public office. If you think that's about right, you'll like Matt Taibbi's latest:


Jurassicpork: Mitt's Whiteboard


The absolutely venal Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, wasted no time in politicizing the shooting which occurred at their Washington office yesterday. A short time later the equally noxious hate group the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) joined in in condemning the SPLC.

via CNN

(CNN) -- Accusations of blame abounded Thursday, a day after a 28-year-old man who had volunteered for a center that serves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people was taken into custody for allegedly shooting a building manager at the headquarters of a Christian conservative group.

"Let me be clear that Floyd Corkins was responsible for firing the shot yesterday," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told reporters in Washington about the suspect. "But Corkins was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy."

Perkins said the SPLC "should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology that is leading to the intimidation and what the FBI here has categorized as an act of domestic terrorism."

Mark Potok of ths SPLC responded by releasing this statement to Perkin's outrageous claim:

Yesterday's attack on the Family Research Council and the shooting of a security guard there was a tragedy. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) deplores all violence, and our thoughts are with the wounded victim, Leo Johnson, his family and others who lived through the attack.

For more than 40 years, the SPLC has battled against political extremism and political violence. We have argued consistently that violence is no answer to problems in a democratic society, and we have strongly criticized all those who endorse such violence, whether on the political left or the political right.

But this afternoon, FRC President Tony Perkins attacked the SPLC, saying it had encouraged and enabled the attack by labeling the FRC a "hate group." The attacker, Floyd Corkins, "was given a license to shoot an unarmed man by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center," Perkins said. "I believe the Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology."

Perkins' accusation is outrageous. The SPLC has listed the FRC as a hate group since 2010 because it has knowingly spread false and denigrating propaganda about LGBT people — not, as some claim, because it opposes same-sex marriage. The FRC and its allies on the religious right are saying, in effect, that offering legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society is tantamount to suggesting that the objects of criticism should be the targets of criminal violence.

Continue reading »


Another Republican caught using music without the artist's permission. Nothing new in that, right? Well, in this case there is an ironic twist.

via TMZ

Mitt Romney's been engaging in illegal activity -- playing the rock tune "Panic Switch" on the campaign trail without permission from the band Silversun Pickups -- this according to the band which fired off a cease and desist letter to the candidate today.

According to the band's frontman Brian Aubert, Romney has been using their 2009 hit ... even though no one ever asked them for permission, but it's pretty clear he wouldn't have gotten it even if he asked.

Aubert says, "We don't like people going behind our backs, using our music without asking, and we don't like the Romney campaign. We're nice, approachable people. We won't bite. Unless you're Mitt Romney!"
Aubert also says Romney's a victim of irony ... because "he is inadvertently playing a song that describes his whole campaign."

Ouch. A song with a chorus like this probably wasn't the best idea for Romney's wayward campaign.

And when you see yourself in a crowded room
Do your fingers itch, are you pistol-whipped?
Will you step in line or release the glitch?
Do you think she'll sleep with the panic...


Dear Ann Romney: Get Off Your High Horse


Crazy Unka Pat tells us why we shouldn't adopt children.


The Tax Policy Center puts the lie to Rmoney's claims that his tax plan wouldn't raise taxes on the middle class and his blustering assertion that the report by the TPC was "garbage." They did a detailed Q & A and shot him down all over again. In detail."It remains true -- as we showed in our paper -- that a reform proposal that meets the five goals stated above would have to raise burdens on middle-class households," they wrote.


The Real White Board


A police officer in Tulsa has been suspended because he arrested a minority without reasonable suspicion for a vague and unspecified "crime."

No, just joking, they'd never be suspended for that! But he was suspended for refusing to attend a mandatory cultural event at a mosque.

A Tulsa police officer and devout Christian is suing his department after being punished for refusing to go to a mosque for a mandatory cultural event.

Police Capt. Paul Campbell Fields, a 17-year veteran, was docked two weeks' pay, transferred, reduced to the graveyard shift and made ineligible for promotions for at least a year, after he told his chief his faith made it impossible for him to attend a "Law Enforcement Appreciation Day" at the Islamic Cultural Society of Tulsa, according to the lawsuit.

Here is what Fields was asked to do: go to this event. Understand that Muslims were people. Afterward, he was more than welcome to go home and read Pam Geller posts about how the Obama Administration's school lunch requirements were an effort to force halal food on children, but come the fuck on, dude. Nut up.



If there's one aspect of modern political discourse your Wonkette editor finds unbearably tedious, it's "Remember how our side did X and you reacted with outrage, but now YOUR side did X and WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE," because the only thing duller than arguing about tax policy or whatever is meta-arguing about arguing. That having been said, remember when the Dixie Chicks said "we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas" at a concert in London and people were all like "HOW DARE YOU ATTACK OUR PRESIDENT IN FRONT OF THE FOREIGNERS???" Well, um, Dave Mustaine, frontman for Megadeth, told a crowd in Singapore that Barack Obama staged the shootings in Aurora and Wisconsin as part of his plan to take away our guns, and also impose Nazi rule! This an important Lapse In Civility, right? Or maybe it's just hilarious?




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