We’re deep in the midst of pilot season casting frenzy, the time of year when networks cast a bunch of actors and start figuring out what’s actually going to work in their schedules come fall. We’re a long way from any of these concepts actually being a show. But in browsing through the Hollywood Reporter’s list of all the shows in development right now, these are the ten?from a story about an Alaskan cult to a secessionist nuclear sub?that have me most excited. And after how disappointing the 2011-2012 pilot season was, I need some pick-me-ups:
Counter Culture, ABC: Look, I’d probably be in for a show about older women running a diner in Texas under any circumstances?we need some sort of recompense for Good Christian Bitches, and I’ve been excited for stories about women who are in the demographic I’ll be joining in a couple of decades. And I’d sort of like to see a female-led equivalent of Cheers. But given that Margo Martindale’s in the cast, I’m particularly excited. She’s always fantastic, and if the show’s willing to make jokes about Mags Bennett’s Apple Pie, all the better.
Untitled Dan Fogelman project, ABC: I love Comedy Central’s Ugly Americans, the network’s riff on immigration reform but with actual aliens and monsters. And I have a lot of Men in Black nostalgia. Maybe that makes me weak. But a show about a gated community full of aliens sounds pretty funny. And potentially a great way to riff on the inherent weirdness of the one percent.
Last Resort, ABC: Given how deeply Hollywood and the military are intertwined, I almost can’t believe that a major network is making a show about a nuclear submarine crew who refuse to fire the missiles they have aboard and go AWOL, declaring themselves a tiny, independent nuclear nation. It might be awful, but the fact that something this wonky about nuclear policy (and this potentially anti-war) is being made at all has my ears all pricked up. Also, it stars Andre Braugher.
Partners, CBS: Okay, I may be rooting for this show in part because I want it to beat Ryan Murphy’s The New Normal in the gay-family-comedies-of-fall-2012 competition. But the cast, which includes Ugly Betty’s wonderful Michael Urie, David Krumholtz, who can ride the good vibe of 10 Things I Hate About You literally forever, and Brandon Routh, who’s been doing a wonderful job of reinventing himself as something other than simply amazingly handsome, is strong. And more comedies about gay men and straight men who are uncomplicatedly friends are a nice thing to have, and a step beyond the sassy gay archetype.
Untitled Louis C.K., Spike Feresten, CBS: If Louis C.K. wasn’t involved in this show about young people trying to make it in the recession economy, I’m not sure I’d be interested. And even his streak outside of Louie is a little uneven. But C.K. is on a streak so hot right now that I’d be excited for anything he’s even tangentially involved with.
Elementary, CBS: I blogged about this show, which stars Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Lucy Liu as Watson on Friday. It strikes me as high risk, high reward?it’s not as if this isn’t well-trod territory where people are doing innovative work. But the chance to see how the male-female dynamic works, and to see what Miller and Liu, both somewhat underrated actors to my mind, do together is intriguing.
1600 Penn, NBC: It could very easily be quite silly. But I like the idea of a comedy set in the White House that acknowledges just how weird the presidency and the whole First Family thing is. I like Bill Pullman. And I like Brittany Snow a lot. She’s not going to experience what Sasha and Malia are, by a long shot, but the pressure on First Kids and First Daughters in particular is absolutely insane, and I look forward to seeing someone tackle it.
Beautiful People, NBC: It may be that I just finished a soon-to-be-released (and blogged about, I promise) novel about the rise of uncanny artificial intelligences, but I’m looking forward to NBC’s exploration of a class-stratified society where robots, despite their evolving consciousness, don’t have the same rights as the humans they serve.
Midnight Sun, NBC: Adaptations of Israeli shows have been on kind of a tear lately. Plus, the idea of an FBI agent investigating the disappearance of an Alaska cult sounds like a pretty intriguing show?closed groups and wildernesses have a lot of promise.Julia Stiles is starring in the show?it’s hard for me to think about an actress I’m more excited to see working regularly again. And hey, maybe Twilight fans will accidentally boost the show’s ratings, mistaking it for Stephenie Meyer’s unreleased novel in the series. NBC will take what it can get at some point.
Untitled Mindy Kaling comedy, Fox: Mindy Kaling. As an ob/gyn. Do I actually have to say more about this? If I do, it’s that thank goodness Kaling’s getting sprung from the sinking ship that is The Office, and that given how awful the public conversation around women and reproductive rights has been, maybe television can, for once, provide us with a respite.
Rick Santorum often speaks about the importance of family, but in 1994, while his party was going after “welfare queens”, the then-second-term Congressman singled out single mothers. Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy and Andy Kroll report that at town hall meetings and TV appearances from the era, Santorum often said single parenthood contributed to crime, moral decay, and the welfare rolls:
“What we have is moms raising children in single-parent households simply breeding more criminals,” he said. When Santorum wasn’t comparing single mothers to animals, he still pressed the issue of out-of-wedlock births and crime. He told the Philadelphia Inquirer in 1994 that “we will never solve the crime problem unless we solve the welfare problem. They are deeply intertwined.” [...]
Santorum, who as a second-term congressman described his views as “moderate,” made single mothers a focal point of his welfare policy. He introduced legislation that would have required single mothers who had been on welfare for more than two years to work at least 35 hours a week in order to receive benefits. They would also be denied benefits if they could not identify their child’s father. “If they don’t give the name, they don’t get any welfare,” Santorum told the Inquirer. Under his plan, which did not pass Congress, unwed teen mothers would not be eligible for welfare at all.
Single-parent families made up just over a third of American families in 2010, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
Under Santorum’s welfare plan, which didn’t go anywhere, “unwed teen mothers would not be eligible for welfare at all.” Of course, if Santorum had his way, they wouldn’t have have been able to obtain an abortion either. So it’s not clear what Santorum would do with a teenage mother who was forced to bring her baby to term, but then could receive no help from the government.
While Santorum and other conservatives have mostly learned that bashing single mothers is not particularly effective politics, a Republican lawmaker in Wisconsin proposed a bill last week that would require the state to declare that single parenthood is “a contributing factor to child abuse and neglect.”
Megan McArdle, senior editor for The Atlantic, has made the most jaw-dropping admission on climate I’ve seen in years from a journalist. It deserves attention because it unintentionally illuminates why the “status quo” establishment media?s coverage of global warming is so fatally useless.
In explaining why she (supposedly) doesn’t post a lot on the problem of global warming, McArdle writes:
The first reason I don’t post a lot is that I’m not an expert, and I’m not planning to become one. I’ve basically outsourced my opinion on the science to people like Jonathan Adler, Ron Bailey, and Pat Michaels of Cato–all of whom concede that anthropogenic global warming is real, though they may contest the likely extent, or desired remedies.
To paraphrase my mother (and countless others): Megan, if Pat Michaels told you to jump off a cliff, would you? Because that is certainly what he wants humanity to do.
I’ll come back to the fact that the Cato Institute, originally the Charles Koch Foundation, is in the process of being officially taken back by the Kochs — and McCardle, in the disclaimer at the end of the piece, notes, the current Charles Koch Foundation “sponsored a journalism fellowship for my husband.” Such is the nature of modern-day “journalism.”
I’ll also come back to the fact that McArdle actually manages to post a whole lot of pieces on climate, document authentication (!) and other subjects she is no expert on.
Here’s the folks McArdle has outsourced her thinking on climate science to:
It is almost beyond belief that the senior editor for a major magazine would outsource her thinking on the major issue of our day to a guy like Michaels — and then actually admit it! As Skeptical Science has detailed, Patrick Michaels is a “Serial Deleter of Inconvenient Data“:
Despite his clear conflict of interest (Michaels has estimated that 40% of his work is funded by the petroleum industry), many people continue to rely on him as a reliable source of climate information. This is an unwise choice, because Michaels also has a long history of badly distorting climate scientists’ work. In fact, not only does Michaels misrepresent climate research on a regular basis, but on several occasions he has gone as far as to manipulate other scientists’ figures by deleting parts he doesn’t like.
As they show in 3 different instance, “Michaels has deleted the data which contradict his constant arguments that the planet will warm less than most climate scientists expect, and thus that global warming is nothing to worry about.”
One of those cases is the notorious smear Michaels made against the nation’s top climatologist. NASA’s James Hansen said this about Patrick Michaels’ distortion of his work:
“Pat Michaels, has taken the graph from our 1988 paper with simulated global temperatures for scenarios A, B and C, erased the results for scenarios B and C, and shown only the curve for scenario A in public presentations, pretending that it was my prediction for climate change. Is this treading close to scientific fraud?“
Just a minute or two Googling would have told McArdle that Michaels is the last person she should outsource her thinking on climate science to.
Whatever happened to the notion of actually talking to recognized experts in the field — say, some of the top 10 climate scientists? They aren’t really hard to track down for any serious journalist. But why bother if you’re not going to write on the story of the century, unless, of course, you are.
McArdle provides more of her “reasoning”:
If they say the planet is warming, then I trust that this is very likely to be true–not just because I like them, but because if you’ve convinced leading libertarians that humans are contributing to global warming, you’ve convinced me.
Climate skeptics are going to call this a cop-out and I understand why, but here’s the thing….
skeptic disinformer Steve Milloy has written a post, “Megan McArdle: Too stupid to opine on global warming,” which notes, “what libertarianism has to do with whether greenhouse gases are measurably changing the climate for the worse is anybody?s guess.” Duh. He of course is annoyed that McCardle supposedly believes in ”global warming alarmism.”
For Milloy and the denier purists, agreeing with Michaels makes you an alarmist. Seriously! In fact, McArdle is a mostly an anti-alarmist, as we’ll see.
Note: I don’t think she’s stupid. No, this is all confirmation bias as her startling admission makes clear. She listens only to the people who agree with her, people who not only aren’t credible climate experts but indeed who misinform people for a living. I do think the post reveals she doesn’t understand this is in fact the story of the century and one she ought to be far better informed on. But again that doesn’t make her stupid. It just makes her one of the media herd, the 99% of journalists who just don’t get it.
… I cannot be an expert on everything. I don’t know what the speed limit should be, how we should redesign the military to counter 21st century threats, or the best way to allocate scarce water resources between competing claims, even though I recognize that in a modern society, these are all the proper concerns of the government; even though I think that these questions are important, I am willing to leave them to experts on traffic patterns, national defense, and water rights. So with global warming. Time spent brushing up on the science is time spent not reading up on things where I have greater comparative advantage, like tax policy or the budget.
Yes, global warming is no different an issue than traffic patterns! The irony that global warming is going to affect scarce water resources and 21st century military threats more than any other single factor is apparently lost on her. She continues:
So I don’t blog about the science, because what am I going to say? ”This article I don’t understand very well sure sounds convincing?” And I don’t blog about the economics because they’re so. damn. depressing.
Except that McArdle has blogged on the science and the economics. For instance, she wrote a long piece on a 2010 study I blogged on (see “Nature Stunner: ?Global warming blamed for 40% decline in the ocean?s phytoplankton?).
Her headline was, “Phytoplankton Panic” and not only does she blog on the science (mostly to downplay it), but she also blogs on the economics, which she gets quite wrong (as TP Green explained at the time). She argues that the claim it will cost 2% of GDP to fix global warming isn’t true:
if this is true, 2% of GDP isn?t going to cut it. We?d better get back to an emissions level around 1940, or earlier, and stay there. Being that we now have about 2.5 times as many people in the country, and the world, as we did then, that?s going to be tricky.
It is going to be “tricky,” but in fact 2% of GDP is really the total shift in investment needed — from dirty, inefficient energy infrastructure to clean, efficient sources. That 2% doesn’t actually represent lost GDP, just money spent differently. Multiple independent economic studies make clear that the actual cost is closer to slowing annual global GDP growth by 0.1% ? not counting co-benefits (see “Introduction to climate economics: Why even strong climate action has such a low total cost“). In its definitive 2007 synthesis report of the literature, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded:
In 2050, global average macro-economic costs for mitigation towards stabilisation between 710 and 445ppm CO2-eq are between a 1% gain and 5.5% decrease of global GDP. This corresponds to slowing average annual global GDP growth by less than 0.12 percentage points.
So global GDP drops by under 0.12% per year ? about one tenth of a penny on the dollar ? even in the 445 ppm CO2-eq case (through 2050). And this is for stabilization at 445 ppm CO2-eq, which is stabilization at 350 ppm CO2 (see Table SPM.6). And that is even deeper than the cuts McArdle worries about (getting emissions back to 1940 levels).
So it turns out McCardle has just enough time to get the same things wrong that Michaels gets wrong, but not enough time to spend getting things right.
The bizarre thing is McCardle asserts that she supports a “hefty” price on carbon, but mostly she does this for the same reason many confusionists do — so she can say she is concerned about an issue that she really isn’t while she goes about parroting what Michaels and Cato think on the subject.
Indeed, the headline on this unintentionally revealing post is “Why We Should Act to Stop Global Warming?and Why We Won’t.”
Except of course it isn’t a post about why we should act to stop global warming. It’s a collection of Cato-inspired misinformation. She disses the European Emissions Trading System even though it clearly worked. She claims “it’s still having a spot of trouble” but that’s a Lomborg-Bailey-esque link to a February article about the fact that “Prices in Europe’s cap-and-trade system dropped to a record last month because of oversupply”!
The Europeans found it too easy to cut their emissions and then the rest of the world (especially the U.S.) refuses to take action (thanks in part to the efforts of Michaels, Cato and the Kochs) and the price of CO2 drops. This is McArdle’s evidence for why the economics of mitigation are “so depressing”!
So why do I still support action–especially, climate skeptics demand, when the science is so uncertain?
Well, because we’ve only go (sic) the one climate. I don’t like running large one-way experiments on vital systems we don’t know how to fix.
The risk of a catastrophic outcome may be small, but it would be pretty darn terrible to find out that hey, we hit the jackpot!
Of course, in some sense, this is a cheap belief, because I don’t think that we’re going to do anything about it–nay, not even if Megan McArdle spends all her time advocating for such an outcome. The forces arrayed against action are just too powerful–and no, I don’t mean the Cato Institute.
What she fails to realize is that the risk of catastrophic outcome isn’t small — if we don’t act. That’s Michaels’ and Cato’s and the Kochs’ disinformation. If we take no action, the chances of avoiding a catastrophic outcome is small, as the recent scientific literature makes painfully clear. She might start by taking a glance at the definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts, which warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year ? and that isn?t the worst case, it?s business as usual!
I’m glad McCardle admitted it is a “cheap belief” — since in fact she spends all of her time undercutting it.
She is certainly right that the forces arrayed against action are powerful — but what a shock that she completely exonerates Cato, the disinformers, and the vast fossil fuel interest arrayed against action, including the Kochs.
Now it seems worth mentioning that for someone who supposedly doesn’t have the time to do extended technical analysis on climate, someone who likes to stay in her area of expertise, tax and budget policy, she managed to find the time to write over 5000 words (!) on a detailed “analysis” of why the Heartland Climate Strategy document leaked by Peter Gleick must be a fake, as Heartland claims. And people say I write long posts! I challenge anyone to read that whole post and not conclude McArdle doesn’t have plenty of time on her hands.
The thing is, McArdle is not known to be an expert on document authentification, a far more specialized area of expertise even than climate science. As an aside, Shawn Otto noted last week that the deniers urged people to use stylometry and textometry to shed light on the author of that document using a “a well-regarded open source java app called JGAAP.” Otto did so and let’s just say the results aren’t what McArdle’s 5000-word hand-waving analysis shows. Hmm. Maybe she should skip all technical analysis.
Relevantly, McArdle has a long discussion of the issue of Heartland funding by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. She adds this disclaimer:
Full disclosure: One of the donors in the apparently authenticated documents is Charles Koch, and my husband did a year-long fellowship with the Koch Foundation. However, nothing I’m going to write either defends or indicts Mr. Koch, who’s actually pretty incidental to both Heartland’s funding, and this story.
But her new post does effectively defend Mr. Koch, somehow failing to mention that, for instance, a 2010 report found Koch Industries now outspends Exxon Mobil on climate and clean energy disinformation. Or that the Kochs are major owners of Cato! No, no conflict there.
McArdle’s final sentence betrays her Cato-esque view of the subject:
No, the debate is about how unpleasant it would be to prevent it–which really isn’t much of a debate, either, because the obvious answer is “very, except maybe for DINK urbanites”. And that’s where the discussion pretty much stalls out.
“Obvious”? Only to those who don’t study the issue — or who say they don’t have time to study the issue because they’re not going to blog on it.
If McArdle in fact spend any time talking to real climate experts rather than posers, she’d know that avoiding global warming is infinitely more pleasant than letting billions suffer.
Her headline is unintentionally revealing. If we don’t act to stop global warming, it won’t because of what McArdle is trying to say in this piece, that it’s too unpleasant, it’ll be because of what she actually said in this piece, that media mavens are too lazy to learn the real truth of the high costs of inaction and low costs of action — and because of what she didn’t say about the owners of Cato and other fossil fuel companies, who have captured just enough of the political system and the media to block action.
On a Facebook posting, the clothing retailer JCPenney announced that it will ensure that its advertisements do not appear on the Rush Limbaugh radio show: ?We have a strict ?No Run? policy in place specifically regarding The Rush Limbaugh Show. After jcpenney confirms the facts, we will contact any local radio station that is in violation of our radio advertising parameters to ensure that our ?No Run? policy is adhered to regarding this program.? According to a ThinkProgress count, at least 33 companies have dropped Rush.
Seeking further opportunities to demonize Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke, conservatives are now attacking her as “radical” because she has advocated for transgender people to have sexual reassignment procedures covered by their insurance:
However, as I discovered today, birth control is not all that Ms. Fluke believes private health insurance must cover. She also, apparently, believes that it is discrimination deserving of legal action if “gender reassignment” surgeries are not covered by employer provided health insurance.
What seems to be lost in these conversations about health benefits is the notion of equity. Criticism that men are trying to make decisions about women’s health is warranted, because a man’s standard for quality of life is different than a woman’s. Consider that men can have as much sex as they want without getting pregnant. It’s a reality of biology, but it also represents a specific advantage men have over women in society. Ensuring women have access to birth control ? setting aside the legitimate point that they may take it for health reasons other than avoiding pregnancy ? levels the playing field for how they can function in society. It’s no coincidence that women can be condemned as “sluts,” but there’s no comparable word that disparages men for having sex if they want to.
Similarly, sexual reassignment surgery is a procedure that can benefit the quality of life for transgender people. All of us who are not trans (the term for us is “cisgender”) have the privilege of occupying bodies that match the gender with which we identify. Fluke was speaking out against insurers and employers who would label the surgery “cosmetic” or “medically unnecessary,” because such perspectives ignore the hardships transgender people often face when circumstances prevent them from transitioning. Just because we personally don’t need certain medical benefits doesn’t mean others don’t.
This is why there is some legitimacy to the claim that conservatives are fighting a “war on women.” Dictating that “what’s good enough for a man should be good enough for a woman” is selfish and naive, and such a philosophy treats women as second-class citizens by design. That many conservatives are now trying to smear Fluke for being an ally to the transgender community just shows how uninterested they are in respecting difference.
The social justice educator Vernon Wall is often quoted as saying, “Equality is when everyone has a pair of shoes. Equity is when everyone has a pair of shoes that fits.” There’s nothing “radical” about ensuring that all people have equitable access to the same quality of living in our society.
The Greenhouse Gas New Source Performance Standard for Electric Generating Units for New Sources has now been at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for 120 days ? the maximum allowed by executive order. OIRA head Cass Sunstein’s reign has been marked by friendliness to polluter lobbyists and opposition to regulations that enforce the law for public health and safety. OIRA currently has 30 different final or proposed rules in its grasp for 120 days or more, the Center for Progressive Reform reports — Chemicals of Concern easily leads the pack, at 664 days in limbo.
Gingrich told the audience:
In a Gingrich administration we would not keep talking while the Iranians keep building. We would indicate clearly that their failure to stop their program is in fact crossing a red line. The red line is not the morning a bomb goes off. The red line is not the morning our intelligence community tells us they have failed once again. The red line is now because the Iranians now are deepening their fortifications, deepening their underground laboratories, deepening their commitment to nuclear weapons while we talk.
The former House speaker’s “red lines” suggest he is in favor of immediate military action and that the time for diplomacy has passed. But his characterization of Iran “deepening their commitment to nuclear weapons” completely disregards the intelligence reports from the IAEA and U.S. intelligence leadership.
In January, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director David Petraeus both endorsed the view that Iran has not yet decided whether to pursue a nuclear weapon. The IAEA has expressed concerns about possible military dimensions but has not concluded that Iran has restarted its nuclear weapons program.
While Gingrich’s scare statements like “the red line is now” serve as a political prop as he attempts to set himself apart in the GOP primary field as the most hawkish candidate, his words may undermine U.S. efforts to deter Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon. President Obama told an AIPAC audience on Sunday that “already there is too much loose talk of war” and warned “such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend on to fund their nuclear program.”
According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data, 42.9 percent of America’s unemployed have been out of work for six months or more. But that number masks some of the large racial disparities in who has been out of work for so long, as the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows in a new report. As CEPR found, 50 percent of unemployed black men have been out of work for at least six months, and nearly 50 percent of black women, as well as Asian men and women, are in the same situation:
“In addition to the loss of goods and services caused by leaving productive economic resources idle, unemployment, and especially long-term unemployment, also imposes other direct and indirect costs on the economy, including unemployment insurance payments and a deterioration in unemployed workers? job skills,” CEPR wrote.
Rush Limbaugh (DonkeyHotey)
The netroots campaign to get companies to stop advertising on Rush Limbaugh's show is going great guns. Despite the hate-radio maven's pathetic "nopology" to Sandra Fluke, the list of local, regional and national advertisers who have signed off now totals 33, and there are more to come.
But this is just Round One. Because, as Jeff Bercovici points out, this isn't the first time advertisers have left Limbaugh:
The complete details of Limbaugh?s eight-year, $400 million contract aren?t known, but much of it takes the form of guaranteed money, with Limbaugh having claimed publicly that he received at least $100 million as a signing bonus. Like some other top-tier radio stars, including Ryan Seacrest, Limbaugh does hold back some of the commercial time during his program and keep the revenues from it. Higher ad rates yielded Limbaugh an extra $6 million last year.Plus he says, the fact that Limbaugh is a magnet for controversy will attract some advertisers regardless of what he says.
In that sense, then, a mass walkout of his advertisers could put a damper on his earnings. But the impact is likely to be minimal and short-lived, says Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers magazine, which monitors the talk radio business.
?We?ve seen this many times in the past,? says Harrison. ?Some of the advertisers that left will come back, and some will be replaced. Life will go on.?
But not everyone agrees:
?The tactic of just asking advertisers has been a very successful one,? said Krystal Ball, a 30-year-old MSNBC commentator who started a website called boycottrush.org. ?So as long as that is successful, we?ll continue.? [...]If the past were the only factor, then Harrison's assessment might pan out. But, Harrison's caveats aside, nobody can predict where this unprecedented netroots uprising will wind up. Limbaugh may be thinking he'll ride out this storm just as he has the others, but he has never before had to contend with the level of blog- and social media-fueled opposition that his attacks on Fluke have engendered. If he expects this to be over in a few days, he's in for a surprise.
?The social media world has really exploded,? said Terry O?Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. ?I think Rush Limbaugh is going to go down over this.?
For now, getting more companies on board the advertiser boycott is the chief order of business. But next up is persuading these companies not just to stay away from Limbaugh until the fury at his attacks dies down but to cut their ties with his show for good.
AccuQuote has instructed our media agency to immediately pull all our advertising campaigns that support Rush Limbaugh. His recent comments do not reflect the values of AccuQuote.NetFlix stated:
Spotted your tweets and wanted to let you know that Netflix has not purchased and does not purchase advertising on the Rush Limbaugh show. We do buy network radio advertising and have confirmed that two Netflix spots were picked up in error as part of local news breaks during the Rush Limbaugh show. We have instructed our advertising agency to make sure that this error will not happen again.???
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The wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says that even though she is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, she doesn't consider herself to be wealthy.
In an interview on Monday, Ann Romney told Fox News host Neil Cavuto that her struggle with multiple sclerosis has changed her view of what is important in life.
"The one thing this disease has been for me has been a wonderful teacher," Ms. Romney explained. "And with that comes an ability for compassion for others that are suffering. And for me, I just want to make my family bigger. Those that are suffering from MS, from cancer or from any disease, I feel like I just want to throw my arms open and just say, 'Welcome to my family and welcome to the place where I've been.'"
She continued: "So, you know, we can be poor in spirit. I don't look -- I don't even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing. It can be here today and gone tomorrow. And how I measure riches is by the friends I have and the loved ones I have and the people that I care about in my life. And that's where my values are and that where my riches are."
The couple reportedly has a net worth of $250 million, but Ann Romney recently complained about having to release her tax returns as a part of her husband's campaign for the Republican nomination.
"You all know that he's been successful in business," she told a crowd in Miami earlier this year. "Unfortunately that was made abundantly clear yesterday when our tax forms were released."
Ms. Romney has credited horse riding with helping her to deal with multiple sclerosis, a pastime that most sufferers of the disease do not have access to.
As The New York Times noted in 2007, dressage horses can run in the seven figures and the saddles can cost thousands of dollars.
But even at those prices, Ann Romney won't tell her husband how many horses she owns.
?Mitt doesn?t even know the answer to that,? she laughed. ?I?m not going to tell you!?