Vets: Mitt Romney is lying about the Obama campaign's suit over early voting in Ohio. [...]
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His style has already set him apart. Like his idol Lil Wayne, he has a hip-hop and skater-inflected look, with flashy jewelry and swaggy high-tops. He has worn diamond grillz over his teeth on the winner?s podium, and designed a pair of emerald rhinestone-encrusted sneakers with Speedo. ?He wanted green, he wanted bling,? said Ms. Malone of Speedo, which sells a flip-flop version of the sneaker for $24.99. ?He likes to make a statement when he walks onto that pool deck.? Even his swim briefs are neon. Mr. Lochte?s dream is to eventually become a clothing designer. ?I want to be different, and fashion gives me that outlet to do that,? he said, lounging on a couch after a practice in loose basketball shorts, a T-shirt that read ?Google Me? and black Dolce & Gabbana slippers. – From The Making of an Olympic Sex Symbol [New York Times, June 2012]
RYAN LOCHTE’s MOM created a firestorm this past week when she opined on her Olympiad son’s dating life on the “Today” show.
?He goes out on one-night stands,? she told TODAY.com. ?He?s not able to give fully to a relationship because he?s always on the go.?
As someone who once made my living as a relationship consultant, considering Lochte’s age and world hunk status, this wasn’t exactly news. However, it’s quite a different thing when you have it blasted to the world during the Olympics by your mother. What makes it worse is that what exploded around it is an image killer, which is worrisome not only for Lochte, but for his brand, which is how Olympic athletes cash in.
The New York Times profile “The Making of an Olympic Sex Symbol” unpacked it and it wasn’t all pretty, as Lochte drenched readers in TMI honesty.
We’re not in the 20th century anymore, so getting up close and personal with athletes and other celebrities comes at a cost. If I had a nickle for every time someone told me I’d be better off appreciating Barbra Streisand from afar, I’d be as rich as the Romneys. But this isn’t anything new to me, because I once worked Broadway with Joel Grey when I was around Lochte’s age.
People can change, too, especially when the global girl sorority is bearing down on your over exposed ego and you’re made to look at what you’re showing the world. Forced to step back for the first time and assess the story you’re telling.
Who are you?
Jezebel’s the last place you want your character vivisected for the ladies, but that’s exactly what’s happened to Ryan Lochte, whom they leveled to mere mortal status while demolishing the Olympic pedestal beneath him.
These bright lime green limestone bedecked sneakers make it a lot easier. Okay, so the marketing says they’re “emerald.” What-evah.
Now it’s all hands on deck, with an Olympic sized effort being made to do PR damage control, with Lochte working his Speedo off trying to keep his gold medal image from turning to brass.
“They took it out of context. My mom is really new to all of this and the media,” the 27-year-old Olympian tells Us. “She meant since the last 4 years I just wanted to focus on swimming, and I didn’t really have time for a relationship.”
[...] “When I’m in a relationship, I want to give that person my entire heart and I wasn’t able to ever do that because of swimming. I’m always on the go. So what she meant is that I do go out on dates,” he explains Us. “But its not that thing that everyone is talking about, because that’s not me. I’ve never done that and never have been like that, so I don’t want people to think that about me.”
It’s an answer crafted to assuage “The Five” from Fox News crowd or the sex is naughty set, but it’s really hard to swallow. So instead of feeding the media a crap sandwich, Ryan Lochte could have just said he’s a bachelor and every woman he dates knows it up front and the rest is totally her choice. Because you know what, it is. Lochte’s not forcing any of the women he hooks up with or dragging them against their will into a situation. Here’s a news flash: Most young women really do get it, but sometimes we lie to ourselves and that’s not Lochte’s fault.
Lochte is correct about one thing, his mom “is really new to all of this and the media” and I’m certain she’s horrified about her comments going viral and world wide. I feel for her, but it’s one of those Michael Kinsey “gaffes,” when someone inadvertently speaks the truth and reveals something inconveniently factual that resonates with onlookers.
But so what if Lochte exclaims “I love ladies!” It’s as American as girls loving to look at sleek, half naked swimmers no matter our age, or a cougar who also salivates over magic Mike types, or just one of the thousands of red-blooded American women who couldn’t put down 50 Shades of Grey.
America can’t really still believe this is a one way sexual street, so let’s all stop pretending it is.
However, nobody loves a clueless man-child who’s stepping on the world at his feet, which is exactly the portrait being painted across the media, with a lot of help from Ryan Lochte, as news and photo organizations like Getty Images provide the art, while pictures like the one at the top accentuate the punk.
With Lil Wayne his idol, maybe the next thing we could see is Ryan Lochte designing skateboards. Somehow, it fits.
Ryan Lochte’s job is done at the 2012 London Olympics, and he is an amazing athletic competitor, but he’s leaving skid marks all the way back to the U.S.
Uh, With everything happening today
You don’t know whether you’re coming or going
But you think that you’re on your way
Life lined up on the mirror, don’t blow it (Whoo!)
Look at me when I’m talking to you
You lookin’ at me, but I’m lookin’ through you
I see the blood in your eyes
I see the love in disguise
I see the pain hidden in your pride
I see you’re not satisfied
And I don’t see nobody else
I see myself…
[Lil Wayne "Mirror" lyrics]
THIS STORY is a hoot on just too many levels to innumerate. But the importance of Ms. Mensch’s bolting from Parliament is given gravitas by Iain Martin of the Telegraph, because he refuses to give the “Twitter queen,” as she’s known in Britain, any room on her excuses. It’s so unlike the typical American angst.
Mensch’s defenders will say that her decision to stand-down is a brave one. In putting family first hasn’t she demonstrated that she has the right priorities and proved that modern politics is insufficiently family-friendly?
There is a good deal of rubbish talked about this. Being a good MP, woman or man, and representing a constituency will always involve considerable time spent away from family. Complaining about it is like a long-distance lorry-driver moaning that work seems to require a lot of driving.
Anyone who signs up to be an MP knows that Parliament is in London. There must be one place where MPs meet and the nation’s capital is as good as any. Obsess about making the institution family-friendly ? so that it fits in with the school-run ? and you weaken parliament. It suits the Executive to not have MPs around too much, as that way they can avoid scrutiny.
Some of those attracted to the Tory party by David Cameron’s modernising mission do not seem to have realised what a Westminster career involves. Some seem to have been given the impression that politics would work around their needs and that their ascent up the ministerial ladder would be rapid, with no need for any of that awkward business of mastering the Commons or honing a worldview. When reality intervened some resentment was inevitable.
With the American fetish these days of professional female stars whining we can’t have it all as they run for the exits, see Ann-Marie Slaughter, this is the type of media reaction that is worthy of notice.
Even more hilarious is The Week’s “Twitter queen Louise Mensch MP: five memorable moments.” Hmmm… shall I excerpt the Piers Morgan “catfight,” which you can see in the video at top and over which she was forced to apologize, the drug years she wouldn’t cop to, or deferring to her husband’s approval? None of the above.
The Twitter censorship row
During the London riots last August, Mensch called for Twitter and Facebook to be shut down during the disturbances. An avid tweeter herself, Mensch said a blackout would stop false rumours from spreading and help prevent police resources being wasted. She insisted it was the same as authorities interrupting road or rail services briefly during emergencies. But critics compared her suggestion to the sort of online censorship seen in Iran and China, while Sussex police insisted Twitter had been a helpful tool for them to quash rumours.
The first trailer for Zero Dark Thirty, the movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden was making even before President Obama ordered the operation that killed him, that’s stoked controversy about the briefings Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal received about the operation, tells us little but implies much:
There’s the implication of stressful interrogations in the repeated questioning of an unpictured detainee, but no word yet on where Zero Dark Thirty will come down on torture. There’s the sense of secret history being unredacted in the black lines fading away from the title text they’ve crossed out, but also of a new one being created as a black pen eats through other lettering, through the eyes of people in photographs who have been disappeared from the world, all on its relentless way to triangulating a target. It looks like Chris Pratt and Jennifer Ehle are in the field and Kyle Chandler and Jessica Chastain are in a command center. And beyond that, it’s going to be an even longer wait until November now that we’ve seen this.
Dr. Marisha Agana, a pediatrician, is challenging incumbent Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) in the newly drawn Ohio District 13. The Republican candidate is a staunch conservative who believes that “this government has already planted the seeds of this kind of autocratic takeover of our lives.” But on Sunday, Agana went a step further and compared President Obama to Hitler on her Twitter account. She later apologized for the analogy and claimed that the Tweet was a reference to his pro-choice beliefs:
Agana describes herself as “pro-life without exceptions,” though this isn’t the first time a candidate has invoked Hitler to condemn abortion. In May, a N.Y. state Senator Ruben Diaz (D), compared pro-choice advocates to “murderers, assassins, and criminals.”
A top Iowa health official rejected a costly effort by state Republicans to forbid state funding for abortions in the cases of rape and incest. Iowa Department of Human Services director Charles Palmer, who was appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad (R), sent a letter to House Republicans arguing their efforts to strong-arm his agency could result in the loss of $2.1 billion in federal funding. House Republicans originally argued that only $6 million in Medicaid funding would be in jeopardy if the state defied federal requirements, but the governor’s office differed. Palmer’s letter came in response to the Iowa House’s June petition requesting that DHS cease funding for abortions in the cases of rape or incest. A familiar theme in the Iowa legislature this year, Republicans also attempted to pass a bill that would punish doctors who perform abortions to life imprisonment without the chance for parole.
Republican Senate candidate Linda McMahon has released an analysis of her jobs plan purporting to show that it would save $1.7 trillion over nine years for the federal government. However, the campaign has thus far refused to release the economic models backing up its assertion:
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon, as part of her jobs plan, has an analysis that claims to produce a ?positive (federal) budgetary impact of nearly $1.7 trillion over 9 years,? but her campaign has failed to produce the economic models to back it up.
Steven Lanza, a professor of economics at the University of Connecticut and executive editor of The Connecticut Economy, said it would be impossible to verify that conclusion without the models.
The budgetary impact of McMahon?s plan was done by John Dunham and Associates of New York, which has accolades on its website from the Beer Institute, the American Meat Institute and others for lobbying analyses he did for their trade associations. [...]
Dunham, when contacted at his office in Brooklyn, N.Y., said he was happy to share the models he used to support his analysis of McMahon?s jobs plan, but said they were now the property of her campaign, which has failed to produce them after numerous requests.
The particular firm McMahon used, as the New Haven register noted, has done other analyses that independent experts have cast serious doubt upon, including a “tax calculator” used by McMahon.
But during her last run for the Senate in 2010, McMahon didn’t seem overly concerned with getting the details regarding her policy positions right. But she would surely personally benefit from her current set of prescriptions, which would allow her to pay a tax rate lower than many middle-class families.
Michigan's Republican US Senate race really illustrates everything that's wrong with our politics right now. The two candidates battling it out for the nomination are Pete "SpenditNow" Hoekstra and a Tea Party Express-endorsed charter school head by the name of Clark Durant.
Durant is bathed in all sorts of hero gel for setting up charter schools in urban Detroit, but closer examination of the records reveals a brilliant illustration of everything that's wrong with charters and why candidates like Durant have a vested interest in being elected to the United States Congress. With people like Durant in office, billionaires don't even have to pay lobbyists. They just elect one of their buddies whose strings they've already been pulling for years, and just like that, their will be done.
Here's a clip of CNN's glowing report on Durant's charter schools -- Cornerstone -- and how the generosity of billionaires is making urban charter schools possible:
Click here to view this media
Cornerstone Schools Association had $12 million in assets on June 30, 2010, according to the 990 form filed. An affiliated non-profit called The New Common School Foundation had $15 million in assets at the end of 2010. The Cornerstone schools serve 1,500 children in the Detroit area, according to their website. The Detroit Public School system, by comparison, serves over 75,000 students.
Those statistics are supplied to illustrate this point: While it's noble that Cornerstone schools are educating pre-tested and admitted children whose families in some cases pay up to $3,000 per year for their education at the non-charter school, Detroit public schools are struggling to stay afloat, especially after Governor Snyder placed the system under the control of an Emergency Financial Manager who has unilaterally terminated teachers' union contracts and mandated class sizes of up to 60 students in some cases.
Cornerstone Schools are also Christian schools. If Michigan were to go the way Louisiana is going, for example, those schools could see a very large infusion of taxpayer money. You think maybe Clark Durant has some financial incentives to run for office? In case there's any doubt, let's have a look at how he's faring now.
The Genesis Foundation was originally created to raise money for the Cornerstone charter schools. In 2005, there was $35,000 in the bank and the following statement was attached to the filing:
The Genesis Foundation has accomplished the mission of receiving and administering funds for various charitable, educational, religious, and scientific purposes and discontinued doing active business during 2001. The activity in 2005 relates to the remaining investments of the Foundation. These investments plan to be liquidated and disbursed in 2006 according to the Foundation's mission.
No 2006 returns were filed. But in 2008, it came roaring back. Durant was no longer a director, though he was an officer. Two very rich men -- Bruce Becker and William Pulte -- gave $620,000 in donations in 2008. $608,000 was spent to "research and develop alternative school and learning models, operate three urban schools, maintain fundraising opportunities for scholarships, create funding for renovation of school facilities, help develop strategic options for sustainability of three school, and for expansion."
In other words, spend a whole lot of money on a whole lot of nothing. And who received that money in 2008? We don't actually know the answer to that, since they spent it but evidently not in chunks larger than $50,000 to any one person. Had anyone been paid more than $50,000, they would have been required to report it on Part VIII, question 2 of the form 990. But their answer was "None." The same is true for section VIII, question 3 relating to independent contractors. Again, they answered "None." As a result, we have no idea where the 2008 $608,000 was actually spent. For all we know, it could have been money that was paid out to school choice candidates in 2008 because there is zero disclosure on their reports.
In 2009, Becker, Pulte and a new donor, Richard Rohr, gave $730,000 between them. And in 2009, we actually have some expenditure data. In that calendar year, the foundation paid Clark Durant $403,000.00 and his daughter, Hope Loomis, $147,000.00 as independent contractors. In 2010, $494,000 was received in donations and $475,000 paid to Durant and $147,000 to Loomis. Also in 2010, Clark Durant was listed as President of Genesis Foundation with no compensation.
In 2009, $20,000 was paid in student scholarships. Otherwise there were no grants from the organization to anyone else.
In review, a private foundation created by Clark Durant was unwound in 2006 only to be revived in 2008 by some wealthy donors who, in the span of three years, donated $1,832,000, of which $897,000 was paid directly to the President of the foundation, Clark Durant, and $294,000 paid to his daughter, Hope Loomis. $1.8 million in, and $1.2 million out with $352,000 in the bank at the end of 2010.
Oh, and one $20,000 scholarship. There are no reports that I can find of innovative creative ways to provide for sustainability and expansion of charter and/or independent Cornerstone schools. I do note, however, that Durant was not paid a salary for his service as Chairman of Cornerstone. The only compensation he receives from Cornerstone is a retirement plan contribution.
Durant defended himself on CBS radio last week with the claim that because he did not serve as a board member, self-dealing was not an issue.
Durant claimed the structure is completely legal and explained saying, ?If Mark would look at the IRS regulations ? one of the things that they look for in self dealing is, number one, is there an independent board. I did not serve on the board of The Genesis Foundation. The majority of the board was made up of Bruce Becker and Bill Pulte, because it was their money. Number two, it had to be consistent with the charitable purposes that the foundation was setup to do ??
Except that Durant was the President, and also provided some sort of independent contracting services which are sort of blurry and difficult to discern. And of that nearly $2 million, only $20,000 found its way into scholarship funding, which seems a little out of balance.
Without question, this op-ed published in the Detroit News highlights the issues quite clearly, not only with regard to the Genesis Foundation, but also with regard to the insane amount of money flowing into private or privately managed schools without almost no accountability:
The Senate candidate's school job is two-fold: He oversees operation of the Cornerstone Schools ? with its 1,500 current students ? and he oversees fundraising, which has totaled over $100 million dollars in the 21 years since he founded the system.
Three schools, at least one which requires a minimum tuition payment of $3,000 per year because, in Durant's opinion, paying something means they'll actually "appreciate it." $100 million dollars raised for three schools which serve, at peak enrollment, 1,500 students per year. And for that, Durant is paid nearly $500,000 per year?
Just for perspective, the headmaster at Cranbrook School, Mitt Romney's alma mater, makes under $400,000 per year. And their endowment is about $500 million.
Yes, I'd say there's something rotten about this, from the standpoint of running charters and not-for-profit education as well as from the standpoint of using a non-profit organization to funnel funds directly into the hands of its creator.
Durant wants to be a United States of Teabagistan Senator. It sure looks like he has the qualifications.
It is fun to watch these banks turn on one another. UBS has delivered communications showing culpability by Deutsche Bank, HSBC and the Royal Bank of Scotland. HSBC has provided conflicting documents. Barclays called out HSBC, Deutsche Bank, Société[...]
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Who needs a Brooks Brothers riot when Miami Democrats are letting the fox in the hen house? (2000 GOP Brooks Brothers riot during presidential recount)As a Democrat, a Cuban-American and a Florida voter, I am often perplexed by the actions of my party, especially in Florida. But this one is really a head scratcher?word is that the Miami-Dade Democratic Party is tapping Al Lorenzo to run its absentee ballot program. Who is Al Lorenzo you might ask? Marco Rubio can tell you:
Soon he became a regular in Dade's insular Cuban Republican club. In 1996, Xavier Suarez hired him to run his county mayoral campaign, which he lost. Lorenzo then went on a winning streak: from Alex Penelas's 1996 county mayoral run to Joe Carollo's surprise Miami mayoral victory in 1997. The next year, he hooked up with his most important candidate of all.Al Lorenzo, shady Republican, political fixer and consultant to the execrable David Rivera, hired by Dems to help elect Dade Democrats and reelect President Barack Obama? Does this make any sense?
Rubio was then an unknown West Miami councilman running for the Florida House against former Channel 51 reporter Angel Zayon. Zayon beat Rubio in the primary despite Rubio's $50,000 fundraising edge. The pair went to a runoff, and Lorenzo made a key move: persuading Coral Gables Commissioner Bill Kerdyk to get his town's Anglo Republicans behind Rubio.
Rubio won. If not for Lorenzo, the guy many are tapping as Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate might never have gotten out of West Miami. Rubio acknowledged as much after becoming Florida's first Cuban-American House speaker in 2007; he thanked just two political mentors during his inauguration: Jeb Bush and Al Lorenzo.
Al Lorenzo, a fellow implicated in a real absentee voter fraud scandal? That's who Dade Democrats want? Really? Can Richard Lydecker, the head of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, explain this? Does it have to do with his relationship to former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, for whom Lorenzo worked in the non-partisan Miami mayor's race? Is it because Diaz and Lydecker are law partners?
The old saying is that all politics are local. But we learned the hard way in 2000 that what happens in Miami-Dade can effect us all. The Miami-Dade Democratic Party has some 'splainin' to do.