As you scramble to get your taxes ready for tomorrow's deadline, you could take the Mitt Romney example, and file an extension. Yes, Mitt Romney, with all his millions, apparently couldn't hire someone to figure out all his loopholes in time. That must be a lot of work, collecting all of Romney's income information. Maybe it even requires a trip to the Caymans.
Speaking of loopholes, how does your tax rate compare to Mitt's? Remember, in 2010 (the best year we have for comparison because Mitt won't release any other), Romney's rate was 13.9. I bet yours is a lot higher. A lot.
What's really fun is that Romney pays a lower rate than about 11 percent of the other millionaires in his tax bracket. So, among all the millionaires with a very low tax rate, Romney has one of the lowest of all! At least, as far as we know, since he won't release most of his tax returns, (to the American people; John McCain got 23 years' worth when he was vetting him for vice president).
So, as you pay your 30 percent or more in taxes, you can at least take comfort in the fact that you're far more patriotic than Mitt Romeny, when it comes to sacrificing for your country.
Since his first run for the GOP nomination, Mitt Romney has never tried to lead the Republican Party in any particular direction. This isn?t hard to understand; as an outsider to the conservative movement, it?s simply too difficult. Instead, to win conservative trust, he acts as a cipher for GOP priorities?they lead, and he follows. Congressional Republicans understand this, and, as The New York Times reports, intend to use it to their advantage:
House Republicans said Mr. Romney could go his own way on smaller issues that may help define him as separate from his Congressional Republican counterparts. But, they said, he must understand that they are driving the policy agenda for the party now. ?We?re not a cheerleading squad,? said Representative Jeff Landry, an outspoken freshman from Louisiana. ?We?re the conductor. We?re supposed to drive the train.?
They?re ?supposed to drive the train? and it?s almost certain that they will. Already, Romney has adopted the Ryan framework for his budget plan, and as a result, the Wisconsin congressman has emerged as a frontrunner for the vice presidential nomination. Romney supports House GOP attacks on Planned Parenthood, and opposed the deal last summer to raise the debt ceiling. There?s wide speculation that he?ll move to the center in the general election, but the evidence points to a Romney campaign that highlights his conservatism and keeps it at the forefront. When coupled with a distrustful conservative movement and an entitled group of congressional Republicans, there?s no reason to think that we?ll see a return to the moderate Romney of yore.
The big question, if there is one, is whether the press will treat Romney as a moderate, despite all information to the contrary. My guess, for now, is that they will. Nevermind the content of his policies?which call for massive cuts to the federal government, for the sake of lower taxes on the wealthy?Romney carries himself as a serious man with serious ideas, and as with Paul Ryan, that?s enough to earn a place in the mainstream.
Gawker's recently exposed "mole" inside Fox News on Sunday explained why he dished about the company he "couldn't stand" to work for anymore.
In an interview with Howard Kurtz on CNN's Reliable Sources, Joe Muto -- who, until he was discovered as the Fox News "mole," was an associate producer at Fox -- said his blog posts were a "primal scream from a longtime Fox employee who just couldn't take it anymore. I could not take it one more day in that place."
Well, he got his wish. Late last week, Fox News fired Muto and threatened legal action against him and Gawker, accusing both of "civil and criminal wrongdoing." Muto's digital trail ultimately did him in.
"I think their legal accusations are completely baseless and they're trying to intimidate me into silence because I'm revealing unflattering information about the inner workings of the company," Muto said. Gawker reportedly paid Muto $5,000 for his inside information. Muto declined to comment on the money involved.
After eight mostly unhappy years at the network, why not just quit and avoid the potential legal tangle? "I tried to leave many, many times," Muto said. "I sent out dozens and dozens of resumes. CNN must have gotten 20 resumes from me. The truth of the matter was I was blackballed within the industry. Hiring managers see Fox News on your resume, and they say, 'This guy's a conservative, this guy's a nut.' I was completely blackballed in the cable news industry."
All that being said, Muto still has colleagues at the network he respects. "I'm not a disgruntled employee. I enjoyed a lot of my time at Fox News." Muto said he doesn't know what's next for him. The media chatter has speculated a book deal, but Muto said that wasn't part of the plan going into it. But he probably won't be showing up on CNN or MSNBC anytime soon. "I think it's pretty safe to say my career in cable news is over," Muto said.
Watch the interview:
SAVE PENNSYLVANIA?S BRIDGE TO SELF SUFFICIENCY!Rally and Lobby Day in HarrisburgMonday, May 7 @ 11AM
Join with others from across the state in saying?PENNSYVANIA SHOULD CARE FOR ALL!
WHEN: Monday, May 7, 2012, 11:00AMWHERE: Harrisburg, PA (On the steps of the Capitol Rotunda)The proposed State budget closes Pennsylvanian?s bridge to stability and self-sufficiency. State legislators must restore funding for critically needed programs for vulnerable citizens, including General Assistance, health care, and human services programs.
To commit to come and to receive more details, CLICK HEREFor more information visit www.PACaresforAll.org or call (267) 765-6488
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Civil Jury Verdict Awards Decrease 31% in Philadelphia Last Year
April 16, 2012
PHILADELPHIA, PA ? The myth that Philadelphia civil courts are "extreme" or a "hellhole" continues to be countered by facts. A new summary by the legal news site law.com has found Philadelphia civil courts and juries to be impartial towards plaintiffs or the defense.
"This new data reinforces the truth that Philadelphia's civil courts really are among the best in the nation" said Michael Morrill, Executive Director of Keystone Progress. "Our courts can't give into the myths and falsehoods that extreme groups like the American Tort Reform Association are known to construct."
The new summary says Philadelphia civil jury verdicts were nearly split in their decisions between plaintiffs and defense. For civil jury verdicts, plaintiffs won 51.4% of the time, while for judicial awards only 53.5% of the time did plaintiffs win.
Philadelphia civil juries decreased its plaintiff award amounts by 31% and lowered the total number of verdicts that were over $1 million from 36 to 32. Additionally, the average civil jury award amount in Philadelphia dropped from $1.49 million in 2010 to $1.2 million in 2011.
These recent findings only bolster a recent report by Taking Back Our Courts: Justice for Philadelphia Courts. The report finds that Philadelphia?s civil courts are among the best in the country. By citing independent data, the report concludes that Philadelphia?s courts have been maligned by innuendo, false information and a well-funded campaign by pro-corporate lobbying organizations.
The recent report, Justice for Philadelphia Courts: A qualitative and quantitative analysis on the quality ofjustice administered by Philadelphia Courts, is the first to combine all of the most recent data available measuring the effectiveness and fairness of Philadelphia?s courts.
The most recent official reports paint a far different picture than the portrait constructed by national special interest groups. Far from being a ?judicial hellhole? overrun by frivolous cases, the data show that Philadelphia?s court system not only has an appropriate number of cases, but it handles them quickly and efficiently with no obvious bias for or against one side.
The report found the following:
? The National Center for State Courts praised Philadelphia?s Complex Litigation Center (CLC) for its high levels of success in accuracy and fairness of a large number of complex cases in its courts. Furthermore, the NCSC recognizes that the Philadelphia court's handling of civil jury cases is now better than that of any large urban trial court in the United States.
? Comparing the plaintiff median amounts awarded in tort trials to other courts in the most populous counties in the United States, Philadelphia courts are significantly below the national median. For example, the median award amount of winners in New York, NY was $227,000, in Miami (Dade), FL it was $128,000 and in Los Angeles, CA it was $106,000. Philadelphia tort trial plaintiffs won a median amount of $20,000.
? The Philadelphia courts have been awarded a number of accolades. The list in the report highlights only a sampling of the awards that the First District Court has won over the past 7 years.
? Philadelphia ranks in the bottom 30% of major metropolitan areas in terms of median final damage amounts awarded to plaintiffs in tort trials.
Recent attacks by well-funded corporate lobbying groups have been driving the narrative that Philadelphia courts are among the worst in the nation. This includes the American Tort Reform Association's (ATRA) targeting of Philadelphia courts in its most recent Judicial Hellholes report.
The new report cites independent sources who concluded that the "evidence" in the Judicial Hellhole's report is "substantively inaccurate and methodologically flawed."
Recent reforms made by Philadelphia courts, in particular those initiated by Common Pleas Court Judge W. Herron, increasingly have been seen to be the result of the courts bending to outside political pressure by extreme conservative groups like the American Tort Reform Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Taking Back Our Courts is a civil justice project of Keystone Progress, designed to protect Philadelphia courts and promote fair access to justice for consumers. Keystone Progress is Pennsylvania?s largest online progressive organization, with over 270,000 subscribers. KP uses the Internet and new media to organize online at the state and local level; and utilizes cutting-edge earned media strategies to promote a progressive agenda and counter right-wing misinformation.
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Apparently, Mitt Romney allowed himself to be overheard by the media waiting outside a closed-door Florida fundraiser last night. According to NBC's Garrett Haake, Romney's speech offered more details than his typical stump speech, including his secret plan to pay for his $3.4 trillion trickle-down tax cut:
"I'm going to probably eliminate for high income people the second home mortgage deduction," Romney said, adding that he would also likely eliminate deductions for state income and property taxes as well.Keep in mind that Mitt Romney's trickle-down tax cut proposal would cost about $3.4 trillion over the next decade. Now he says his secret plan to pay for it would "probably" be to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction on second homes for high income people and also to eliminate their state and local sales tax deductions.
"By virtue of doing that, we'll get the same tax revenue, but we'll have lower rates," Romney explained. "The nice thing about lower rates is that small businesses not get to keep a larger share of what they're earning and plow it back in to hire more people and expand their business."
Given that it's a secret plan, nobody really knows what he means by "high income" but however you slice it, his plan doesn't come anywhere near paying for the tax cuts. In 2001, CBO estimated getting rid of the second home mortgage interest deduction would raise $7.8 billion over a decade?and that's if you got rid of it for everybody. Even adjusting for inflation, it wouldn't make a dent in his $3.4 trillion figure. In in 2008, CBO reported that 37 percent of the benefits from the deductibility of state and local taxes went to taxpayers earning more than $200,000 annually. Over the next decade, the deduction overall will cost about $900 billion, so even if Romney meant what he said, at most you're looking at about $300 billion to $350 billion to pay for a $3.4 trillion tax cut.
The bottom-line is that even if you take Romney at his secret word, he still leaves more than 90 percent of his trickle-down tax cut unpaid for. For a guy who says business his his strong suit and fiscal conservatism is at the core of his campaign, that should be a shocking fact.
The Republicans continue to whine over the John Doe criminal investigation, but they can put this all to rest fast. Simply demand of Scott Walker aides, former and current, they tell the whole truth about the 2010 Walker campaign for governor run out of Walker's Milwaukee County Executive's office.
It's the biggest question hanging over Gov. Scott Walker's recall election:
Will Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm file additional criminal charges as part of his John Doe probe before the June 5 election?
For nearly two years, Chisholm's office has been looking into various activities in Milwaukee County during Walker's time as county executive.
So far, prosecutors have brought charges against three ex-Walker aides, one appointee and a major campaign contributor. Chisholm has sent strong signals that additional charges are in the offing.
Walker - who has set up a legal defense fund to pay his two lawyers - said recently that he trusted Chisholm and his staff to decide when and whether to file additional charges. (MJS: Dan Bice)
A slew of new polls show Socialist Party candidate Francois Hollande building a lead against President Nicolas Sarkozy ahead of the first round of voting on April 22nd. [...]
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Longtime Romney adviser Beth Myers to lead his veep search. [...]
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Looks like the new tornado early-warning system worked very well, keeping fatalities to a minimum. Despite the many online know-it-alls who were saying it was no big deal, that the Weather Service was exaggerating, the fact is, it was a deadly system that could have killed a lot more people:
WOODWARD, Okla. ? The tornadoes were unrelenting ? more than 100 in 24 hours over a stretch of the Plains states. They tossed vehicles and ripped through homes. They drove families to their basements and whipped debris across small towns throughout the Midwest. In some areas, baseball-sized hail rained from the sky.
And yet, in a stroke that some officials have attributed to a more vigilant and persistent warning system, relatively few people were killed or injured.
As of late Sunday afternoon, the only five confirmed deaths from the weekend storms were all here in Woodward, a rural community about 140 miles from Oklahoma City. Local emergency management officials said on Sunday that children were among the victims and that there were 29 injured with ailments ranging from minor wounds to those requiring hospitalization.
Days ahead of the deadly winds there was an unusual warning that alerted residents across at least five states to the threat of ?extremely dangerous,? ?mass devastation? and ?catastrophic? weather.
The predictions held, it seems. But the people listened.
?I really think people took the warnings and they took them very seriously,? Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas said on Sunday. ?We had more notice on this system than you normally do. You normally are looking at a couple of hours? notice. Well, this one had almost two days? notice.?
[...] Forecasters issued their first warning on Friday, predicting a tornado outbreak that had the potential of being a ?high-end, life-threatening event? for a swath of the Midwest.
Officials said the enhanced language was developed because of the large number of deaths from tornados across the country in recent years. ?This is one of the lessons learned from the various deadly outbreaks of tornadoes last year,? Chris Vaccaro, a spokesman for the National Weather Service said Sunday in a telephone interview.
One warning in Wichita, Kan., on Saturday said, ?This is a life-threatening situation. You could be killed if not underground or in a tornado shelter.?
The system will be tested for another six months before National Weather Service officials decide whether to continue or expand it.