Mitt Romney, estimated to be worth somewhere between $190 million and $250 million, asked whether he would release his tax returns if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee:
?I doubt it,? Mr. Romney said, according to a transcript of the interview provided by NBC News. ?I will provide all the financial info, which is an extraordinary pile of documents which show investments and so forth.?
?But you won?t do the tax returns?? asked Chuck Todd, host of ?The Daily Rundown.?
?I don?t intend to release the tax returns. I don?t,? Mr. Romney responded.
John McCain couldn't remember how many houses he had, but he released his tax returns. Barack Obama released his. But Mitt Romney really doesn't want us to know exactly how wealthy he is, and most of all, though he's campaigning for a deciding role in what tax rates the rest of us will pay, he doesn't want us to know his. It's no mystery why that might be: Since he's still making millions from his retirement deal with Bain Capital, he's likely paying the low low rate available to hedge fund and private equity managers.
Warren Buffett thinks it's not fair for people like him to pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries. Mitt Romney's concern is just to keep secretaries from knowing how much lower his rate is than theirs when he's asking for their votes.
My original choice for Valentine Wiggin would have been Chloe Moretz: thanks to Hit-Girl and Let The Right One In, we know she can play awfully tough when necessary while still retaining her girlishness. Plus, she and Asa Butterfield’s developed a really nice dynamic in Hugo.
But failing that, I’m delighted to hear that Abigail Breslin will be playing the part. Since her debut in Little Miss Sunshine, she’s been doing a series of roles that are solid but have none of the oddity, vulnerability, and conviction of that breakout part. Now, she has one.
I’m sure I’m not the only lady blogger, or lady nerd blogger, to feel like Valentine Wiggin is part of the reason we do what we do. I had no desire to manipulate the players in the Cold War when I was as young as she is. But the idea of finding a place where you can have a running conversation with anyone you want? Starting off playing pretend and finding your own voice–and then learning other people find it powerful? That’s a compelling pitch, particularly when you take away the potential-serial-killer-turned-world-leader older brother and the younger brother the state wants you to manipulate into committing xenocide.
The sluggish economy pushed down U.S. birth rates last year and immigration reached the lowest levels since 1991, combining to lead to the slowest population growth in the U.S. since 1945, when the population actually dropped by 0.3 percent. Between April 2010 and July 2011, the U.S. population grew by 2.8 million people, or 0.7 percent, according to the Census Bureau. And the net increase of immigrants in the U.S. was 703,000, down from a peak of 1.2 million in 2001.
Queerty notices that the Rabbinical Council of America — the largest Rabbinical group within Orthodox Judaism — issued a “clarification” of its position on gay rights earlier this month, after several Hassidic rabbis signed a declaration stating that homosexuality is ?not an acceptable lifestyle or a genuine identity.? The Council’s statement reaffirms that the Torah “prohibit the practice of homosexuality” and tries to strike a neutral stance on reparative therapy. “[W]e can neither endorse nor reject any therapy or method that is intended to assist those who are struggling with same-sex attraction,” they say. “We insist, however, that therapy of any type be performed only by licensed, trained practitioners.”
Less than two weeks before Iowa Republicans make their crucial caucus choices on the night of Jan. 3, George H.W. Bush offered words of support, if not an official endorsement, to an old friend, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
?I think Romney is the best choice for us,? former President Bush told the Houston Chronicle this week. ?I like Perry, but he doesn?t seem to be going anywhere; he?s not surging forward.?
There are many species of mistletoe. But the kissing kind that is native to the United States, a semiparasitic plant that grows wild in certain parts of the country, is scarce this year because of a relentless drought in Texas and adverse weather elsewhere.
Looks like drunk holiday partiers will need to find a new excuse to force people to kiss 'em.
A study conducted on more than 100 changing tables in shopping centers, hospitals, police stations, and churches found that more than 92% contained traces of cocaine.
[Rep. Jim] Sensenbrenner was overheard saying that after buying all their ?crap? (his word) a woman approached him and praised first lady Michelle Obama. He told the woman that Michelle should practice what she preaches ? ?she lectures us on eating right while she has a large posterior herself.?
Hold the phone! Did the congressman just say Michelle Obama has a FAT ASS?
But it's okay, because:
Amanda Infield, Sensenbrenner?s press secretary, tells ABC News that the congressman plans on contacting Obama?s office to apologize.
?He doesn?t think the government should be telling Americans what to eat,? Infield said in a statement.
So because fat-ass Sensenbrenner doesn't like the first lady trying to help kids from turning into fat asses like Sensenbrenner, he figured he'd insult Michelle "Holy God, have you seen the bod on that woman?" Obama's butt. But at least he plans to apologize. Okay then.
And here's his really heartfelt apology:
?I regret my inappropriate comment and I have sent a personal note to the First Lady apologizing," Sensenbrenner said in a statement today. His office declined to release the letter.
Almost moves you to tears, doesn't it?
It's Babarba Billingsley's birthday. Everybody talk jive.? pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) December 22, 2011
[Donald] Trump, who's maintained that he's "always had a great relationship with the blacks," told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that the African-American vote might play a big part in that triumph.
"Well, I think I'd get a great cross-section. I think I'd get Hispanic votes, frankly. I think -- and people smile when I say it -- I think I'd do great with the African American votes. I think I'd do great with that," Trump said. "I just have a great relationship with African-Americans and African-American voters."
And Trump wouldn't just siphon off minority voters from Obama, he contended. He'd also pick up union votes.
"I also think I'd do very well with the unions," Trump said. "I've done great over the course of years, many years, with the unions."
As a proud son of South Carolina I must address recent unsubstantiated rumors published in The State that I, Stephen Colbert, tried to buy the naming rights to the 2012 Republican primary. First, never trust anything in a newspaper ? except this column, and possibly ?Mallard Filmore.? And second, these outrageous and scurrilous rumors border on libel, even if they are, technically, true. [...]
So I called up the South Carolina GOP and said, ?How much cash would you have to raise to keep your promise to counties? Off the record; I?ll never tell a soul.? They said, ?$400,000.?I said, ?I can cover that. No strings attached.?Of course, I can?t offer that kind of no-strings-attached-money without getting something in return. I told them I wanted the naming rights to the primary, and a non-binding referendum on the ballot. If they weren?t prepared to horse trade for these two requests, they should never call me back.Well, they didn?t call me back. They got on a plane and flew to New York to make the deal. Because money talks, B.S. walks, and $400,000 flies business class.
Roger Simon, the Chief Political Columnist for Politico:
I have never been called by a political pollster and don?t know anybody who has, but I know some pollsters, who assure me they don?t make the numbers up, and I believe them.
?Why haven?t I been interviewed?† Why have I never heard of anyone who has been interviewed??
These questions come up frequently in connection with modern public opinion surveys, because people do not understand how it is possible to get an accurate measurement of public opinion when only a small part of the total population is interviewed?In this respect, modern surveys merely apply to public opinion research certain well-established procedures which have been used for years in the fields of engineering, medicine, education, and all the social sciences.† When an engineer wishes to judge the quality of ore in a mine, he examines a few ?samples.?† From these samples he makes a highly accurate estimate of the amount and quality of ore in the mine.
We are a nation of nearly 313 million people. So how many people did the pollsters actually speak to? If you have extremely good eyes, you can find the answer in tiny type at the bottom of a chart: The Post-ABC poll was conducted by phone ?among a random sample of 1,005 adults.?† That represents 0.0003 percent of the nation at large.
?How many persons have to be included in a poll to obtain reliable results??
Size and accuracy are inextricably linked in the minds of most laymen.† Invariably the first question that is asked by persons who examine the results of a public opinion survey is: ?How many persons were included??† Actually, the size of the sample (the number of persons interviewed) is far less important as a factor in achieving reliable results in modern polling than several other factors, among the most important of which are the accuracy with which the persons chosen to be interviewed mirror the total group, the wording of the question or questions used to develop the information and the accuracy and lack of bias or influence in the interviewing procedure itself.
Apparently, we haven?t come that far in the 60+ years since Gallup wrote his book.† Again, Simon is the Chief Political Columnist for Politico.
The marriage drama continues to unfold in the North Star state.MN State Sen. Amy KochYesterday, Republican State Sen. Amy Koch, who recently resigned her leadership position over allegations the married mother had been involved in an "inappropriate relationship" with a subordinate staffer, issued a statement of apology.
Today, Minneapolis City Pages is reporting the LGBT community of Minneapolis has issued their own apology, for wrecking the family values conservative's marriage.
The letter reads:
An Open Apology to Amy Koch on Behalf of All Gay and Lesbian MinnesotansIn truth, the Bible has some interesting words on the topic of adultery. Specifically the favorite book of the family values crowd, the very book they are so very fond of quoting all the time:
Dear Ms. Koch,
On behalf of all gays and lesbians living in Minnesota, I would like to wholeheartedly apologize for our community's successful efforts to threaten your traditional marriage. We are ashamed of ourselves for causing you to have what the media refers to as an "illicit affair" with your staffer, and we also extend our deepest apologies to him and to his wife. These recent events have made it quite clear that our gay and lesbian tactics have gone too far, affecting even the most respectful of our society.
We apologize that our selfish requests to marry those we love has cheapened and degraded traditional marriage so much that we caused you to stray from your own holy union for something more cheap and tawdry. And we are doubly remorseful in knowing that many will see this as a form of sexual harassment of a subordinate.
It is now clear to us that if we were not so self-focused and myopic, we would have been able to see that the time you wasted diligently writing legislation that would forever seal the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, could have been more usefully spent reshaping the legal definition of "adultery."
Forgive us. As you know, we are not church-going people, so we are unable to fully appreciate that "gay marriage" is incompatible with Christian values, despite the fact that those values carry a biblical tradition of adultery such as yours. We applaud you for keeping that tradition going.
And finally, shame on us for thinking that marriage is a private affair, and that our marriage would have little impact on anyone's family. We now see that marriage is more than that. It is an agreement with society. We should listen to the Minnesota Family Council when it tells us that marriage is about being public, which explains why marriages are public ceremonies. Never did we realize that it is exactly because of this societal agreement that the entire world is looking at you in shame and disappointment instead of minding its own business.
From the bottom of our hearts, we ask that you please accept our apology.
Leviticus 20:10: And the man that commits adultery with another man's wife, even he that commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
Now that the media has lost interest in the occupations, the hard work begins. Do whatever you can to support your local occupy encampment through the winter.[...]
Read The Full Article:
Memo to Republican candidates:
These things can't vote
Because it's apparently not yet clear enough that Republican presidential candidates are really, really, really "pro-life," they'll have yet another opportunity next week:
Mrs. Bachmann, Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum have also agreed to celebrate the personhood concept in a ?Presidential Pro-Life Forum? in Iowa next Tuesday, Dec. 27, that will be moderated by the conservative radio host Steve Deace and broadcast live on his syndicated program. The 90-minute ?tele-town hall? is being hosted by Personhood USA and co-sponsored by several of the country?s most conservative evangelical Christian groups including The Call, Liberty Counsel and the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Coalition. ?An invitation has been extended to the remaining G.O.P. presidential candidates,? Personhood USA said in a news release.
Of course, they just went through this exercise last week, at Mike Huckabee's propaganda-and-popcorn extravanganza, where Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and the Ricks Perry and Santorum talked about how super duper pro-lifey they are (while conveniently omitting their super duper pro-death penalty records). But that's not enough, so they'll do it all over again next week, when they can discuss at length how important it is to give rights to eggs but not women. Or gays. Or immigrants. Or convicted criminals. Or anyone else for whom they've discovered a loophole to exclude from their "all life is sacred" bullshit.
A judge in Nevada is smacking down "personhood" advocates left and right.
On Wednesday, District Judge James Wilson granted an injunction request by the ACLU and Planned Parenthood against a petition circulated by Personhood Nevada, ruling that it's too vague and would confuse voters.
The group's lawyer, birther attorney Gary Kreep, was cagey in the court hearing when asked about the purpose of the petition, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. At one point Kreep said it would prevent "discrimination against the unborn," and another time noted he could only "speculate" on the possible effects.
Wilson ruled that state law requires the purpose to be clear so as not to confuse voters about what they're signing. "To me it is not clear," Wilson said. "It is not capable of being rehabilitated through rewriting."
Another Nevada judge threw out a similar measure two years ago for the same reasons. That decision was appealed to the state Supreme Court, but by the time the case came up it was too late to collect the necessary signatures to qualify for the election.
Kreep said Personhood Nevada is deciding whether to appeal to the state Supreme Court this time around.
Personhood Nevada called Wilson a "judicial activist" judge in its statement on the ruling, saying that "the people's voice in Nevada has been silenced by those who profit from abortion the most - Planned Parenthood."
"Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the liberal courts have stifled our ability to engage in free speech, legally maneuvering until me [sic] miss our statutory deadline, and keeping us from exercising our constitutional rights as Americans and Nevadans," said Olaf Vancura, the president of the group. "We are determined that no matter how long it takes, we will not be silenced. The personhood petition will be approved, and we will protect all human life in the state of Nevada."
On Monday, Wilson also ruled against a petition by the Nevada Pro-Life Coalition for a "fetal personhood" measure that would define life as beginning at the moment of conception. Wilson said that this measure was also too vague and would mislead voters, and provided the group with the more specific language it would have to include before it can start collecting signatures. Wilson's language spelled out the fact that the measure could effect women's access to certain types of birth control:
The initiative would protect a prenatal person regardless of whether or not the prenatal person would live, grow, or develop in the womb or survive birth; prevent all abortions even in the case of rape, incest, or serious threats to the woman's health or life, or when a woman is suffering from a miscarriage, or as an emergency treatment for an ectopic pregnancy. The initiative will impact some rights Nevada women currently have to access certain fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. The initiative will impact some rights Nevada women currently have to utilize some forms of birth control, including the "pill;" and to access certain fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. The initiative will affect embryonic stem cell research, which offers potential for treating diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, and others.
The Nevada Pro-Life Coalition has to collect 72,352 valid signatures by June to qualify for the November, 2012 ballot.
Nevada is just one part of the "personhood" movement's push to get ballot measures in a number of states for this coming election year. Recently, the movement faced a high-profile setback in Mississippi when voters rejected a "personhood" measure in November.