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say what

Kind of. For about 10 seconds.

It’s tough to be a politician nowadays what with the ever shrinking size of recording devices and of course, the Internet. Oftentimes in this hyper-connected, over-sharing, real-time-news-update-by-the-second, meme-obsessed world, WWW is the kingmaker. At the same time, it could also easily topple a career. (Ironically, the same world is causing its people to command shorter and shorter attention spans and therefore the ups and downs are becoming less and less definitive and permanent. Think Mel Gibson. Think Numa Numa Kid. Who? Exactly my point).

What the Internet giveth, the Internet taketh.

But I digress (which happens often here by the way).

I felt sorry for Mitt Romney in the first ten seconds after I read about (and later saw) the recordings taken by someone at a closed-door fundraiser of his. What happened to the sacred divide between public and private? What has the world come to if one cannot speak with candor at a private event? If one has to worry about tapes of one speaking one’s mind behind a closed door being leaked and then shared and reshared across the Interwebs faster than one could stick one’s foot in one’s mouth?

Here is one of the choicest quotes from Romney’s private speech to his wealthy donors back in May, in case you have not encountered it (i.e. your butcher’s wife’s brother-in-law has not sent it to you yet):

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what… These are people who pay no income tax…

My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Transcription of the above quotes from Mother Jones

In addition, the following is actually my favorite because Romney told a joke and his audience actually laughed! Who said that he had trouble connecting with his voters?

“My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico… and had he been born of, uh, Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”

Sounded like someone who was denied entrance to a university and blamed on all those people of color for taking his spot. We can debate the (de)merits of Affirmative Action until the cows come home, but, wait, News Flash! You are running for the President of the United States, and your strategy is to whine about it being “Not fair!”?

Not surprisingly, Romney’s got the facts wrong. I don’t really fault him for it, for about ten seconds, since he is not the only one getting confused. Thanks to Fact Checkers (courtesy of Washington Post), we know the following

“Some 44 percent of those who do not pay income taxes are because they benefit from tax benefits aimed at the elderly, while another 30 percent benefit from tax credits for children or for the working poor

But not all of these people are automatically Obama supporters. In fact, according to a map published by the Tax Foundation, eight of the top ten states with the lowest income-tax liability are the heart of Romney country — the deep south. The only exceptions are Florida, a battleground state, and New Mexico, which leans toward Obama. Meanwhile, most of the states with the lowest level of nonpayers are Obama states.

As for other entitlements, of course Social Security and Medicare are reserved for the elderly — and are generally popular. But it seems simplistic to think these are all Obama voters, especially since polling indicates that the Republican share of the vote among white seniors have increased in each of the last five elections, to 58 percent in 2008.” [Emphasis mine]

Or, you could save yourself some time by looking at this easy-to-read chart from Tax Policy Center:

So there you have it.

Ever since the release of the tape on Mother Jones there has been a lot of outcry by the “liberal media” against Romney’s equating Obama voters with people who wait for government handouts (and vice versa). The Washington Post went a bit on the side of overdramatic and called this “Mitt Romney’s Darkest Hour“, and so did one of Bloomberg‘s bloggers who predicted “Today, Mitt Romney Lost the Election“.

All the brouhaha aside, IMO, this is not going to change anybody’s mind. On the contrary, any such talk will most likely deepen the resentment felt by many GOP supporters who are already deeply suspicious of the so-called liberal media. (Thanks to Faux News.) I don’t see white seniors changing their minds because of what Romney was caught saying. It’s the liberal media’s fault! It’s a conspiracy! as it always is. The “fact checkers” are probably in on it too! There is no winning an argument if people whose minds you are trying to change distrust “facts”. Besides, when Romney’s talking about people who sit around and wait for handouts, he was obviously not talking about THEM. It is not an outcome I’d like to see if Romney somehow comes out of this 47%gate a victim of “espionage” planned by the Obama campaign. I can already see them turning this whole thing around by pointing a finger at the  oh-so-scary, conniving “liberal media” in cahoots with the Dems.

 

 

So why am I wasting your time with this mental dribble?

 

Here is a collection of Tweets today from my Twitter stream. Quickly! I’d better put this up before HuffPo publishes yet another Top 10 Most Hilarious Tweets on [some mistake made by some celeb’s] masked as journalism.

 

In conclusion…

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I have been thinking that I should make this a weekly feature. There are so many WTF moments, don’t you think? But sometimes when I finally found time, it was NOT Wednesday any more, so I waited, and then I missed another Wednesday…

Anyway, 5 minutes before midnight. STILL Wednesday. And I always have the West Coast to count on when necessary. So quickly some WTF moments from this week and last week:

 

“Tea Party Groups In Tennessee Demand Textbooks Overlook U.S. Founder’s Slave-Owning History”.

Did your jaw hit the desk? Yup. Mine did too. But of course, the Texas Board of Education had approved of revisions to textbooks last year that include

the exploration of the positive aspects of American slavery, lifting the stature of Jefferson S. Davis to that of Abraham Lincoln, and amendments to teach the value of the separation of church and state were voted down by the conservative cadre. Among other controversial amendments that have been approved is the study of the “unintended consequences” of affirmative action.

Actually, you could have just stopped me at “the exploration of the positive aspects of American slavery”. I want to use this piece of sad news as a test stone to people I know: If you are not immediately outraged, if you even “stop and think about it”, you are out. It’s black and white in this case.

 

Newt Gingrich’s three marriages mean he might make a strong president — really 

This is written by a “DR” Keith Ablow so it must be true. The article is published on Foxnews.com so we know it is… *cough* *cough*. This is so quote-worthy so I have to share:

Warning: Don’t drink or eat when you read the following.

So, here’s what one interested in making America stronger can reasonably conclude—psychologically—from Mr. Gingrich’s behavior during his three marriages:

1) Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.

2) Two of these women felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married.

3 ) One of them felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married for the second time, was not exactly her equal in the looks department and had a wife (Marianne) who wanted to make his life without her as painful as possible.

Conclusion: When three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we’ll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we’ll want to let him go after one.

And I checked, The Onion had nothing to do with this.  Daily Kos, on the other hand, had a lot of fun analyzing this. Good times.

 

Komen breast cancer charity severs ties with Planned Parenthood

Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced its decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood centers.  “Many suspect the move is a result of political pressure by antiabortion activists,” LA Times added helpfully. You think?!

The Internet was immediately set ablaze and some news reports are saying that donations to Planned Parenthood actually spiked. Yeah, us!

 

 

 

Before I go, let me share something that will make you smile. Thanks to Mary Lee. I have not stopped smiling since I saw it.

Janet Howell, Virginia State Senator, Attaches Rectal Exam Amendment To Anti-Abortion Bill

To protest a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) on Monday attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication.

The bad news is, yes, the ultrasound bill passed. The bad-yet-we-can-find-something-good news is, Senator Howell’s amendment failed (naturally) but it was lost by only three votes. 19-21.

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I was as naive as could be. And possibly stupid. I now realized.

When I first read the op-ed by Warren Buffett in New York Times, “Stop Coddling the Super Rich”, on 14 August, in which Buffett expounded on the concept of “shared sacrifices” and argued for tax increase for the super wealthy, himself included, I thought, BRAVO! Now this should be a plan that at least 98% of the population can get behind of.

I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

 

He ended his well-reasoned proposal with this plea:

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

 

Why was I surprised that Fox News immediately rose up in arms and accused Buffett of inciting CLASS WARFARE (ironically when they are themselves the ones that continue to use such figures of speech)? The rhetorics employed by these pundits left me gagging and in shock.

 

(For those who cannot watch the video, here is the partial list of Fox News clips included in this Daily Show segment. You can find the entire transcript on Daily Kos)

NEIL CAVUTO (8/15/2011): Warren Buffett, writing how the rich should pay more taxes, but saying not a word about the half of American households that pay no income taxes at all.

STUART VARNEY (8/18/2011): Is that fair, when half the population pays absolutely nothing?

SEN. JOHN CORNYN, R-TX (7/7/2011): 51%, that’s a majority of American households, paid no income tax in 2009. Zero. Zip. Nada.

NEAL BOORTZ (6/1/2011): Many of them get so much money in tax credits … that it wipes out any Social Security taxes or Medicare taxes they’re paying. They are absolutely on a free ride.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (7/11/2011): … broaden the tax base …

MICHELE BACHMANN (7/11/2011): Everyone needs to pay something.

NEIL CAVUTO (8/6/2011): Before you start demanding one group pay more, maybe get everyone to put skin in the game.

ROBERT RECTOR, HERITAGE FOUNDATION (7/19/2011): When you look at the actual living conditions of the 43 million people that the Census says are poor, you see that in fact they have all these modern conveniences.

STUART VARNEY (7/19/2011): Poor families in the United States are not what they used to be. 99% of them have a refrigerator. 81% have a microwave; 78% have air conditioning; 63% have cable TV; 54% have cell phones; 48% have a coffee maker; 25% have a dishwasher.

 

[The technical definition of being poor is a family of four with an income of $22,350 a year.]

 

NEAL BOORTZ (7/6/2011): It is all-out war on the productive class in our society for the benefit of the moocher class.

JOHN STOSSEL (10/12/2010): The makers, and the takers.

BILL O’REILLY (10/12/2010): They want to take it from somebody else.

LAURA INGRAHAM (6/29/2011): Everyone’s jumping in the wagon, no one wants to pull.

NEAL BOORTZ (6/22/2011): … parasites we have out there depending on government …

NEBRASKA ATTY. GEN. JON BRUNING (8/18/2011): The raccoons, they’re not stupid, they’re going to do the easy way if we make it easy for them, just like welfare recipients all across America.

ANN COULTER (8/15/2011): Welfare will create generations of utterly irresponsible animals.

 

[The bottom 50% of the people, the moochers, the takers? They control 2.5% of the wealth. ]

 

What happened to Compassionate Conservatism? Remember that? They don’t even bother to pretend to care any more?

As I laughed at Jon Stewart’s sardonic commentaries, at the same time, I felt my eyes burning. Out of frustration. Out of shame. Yes, I feel ashamed for these people. The Haves. The “class” that I belong to. All I could do to calm myself the fuck down was to recite these lines that Joseph Welch said to Joseph McCarthy during one of the infamous hearings:

 Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

 

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WTF Wednesday? Duh. Winning!

March 2, 2011 random

This is a cheap shot and oh so predictable. But I need to pay homage to the latest Interweb sensation and not only an awesome Internet meme in the making but a generous provider of meme material. Yes, my friend. I am talking about Charlie Sheen. My apology indeed. I know most of you are […]

77 comments

The Antidote to VD

February 14, 2011 random

I received the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek this Saturday and I could not have been happier. Such a great antidote for Valentine’s Day Blues. . . . After reading the well-written article, “Cheating Incorporated”, still aghast and shaking from the get-go by the tagline “Life is short. Have an affair”, I went and checked […]

32 comments

Twelveteen Going on Thirty

March 10, 2010 no manual for parenting

The best description of what it is like to be a parent is a comment left by suesue on Merrilymarylee’s Weblog: Having a child was deciding to have your heart walking around outside your body forever . My oldest turned 12 this week. 12. That is a full Zodiac Cycle. I am sure it means […]

32 comments

What I learned from the Olympics*… *Not what you think

February 27, 2010 no manual for parenting

We have been watching the Winter Olympics. I didn’t plan to. But what’s not to love really? Finally something on prime time that does not involve dead bodies, sexual predators, or its own mythologies. Naturally I gravitated towards Ice Dancing and Figure Skating. (No, I don’t really want to engage in a debate about how […]

16 comments

This is why I love the grouchy old man Stewart…

August 22, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

You can debate the merits of HCR or whether Mr. Stewart did “OWN” Betsy McCaughey on this segment (she may be crazy but she has guts, you have to give her that!) What Jon Stewart said at 2:00 is the reason why I love and respect him. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – […]

1 comment

My apology to Kathleen Parker. Frank Gaffney is way crazier…

June 9, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Now I feel bad for lambasting Kathleen Parker for hinting at a tenuous relationship between Obama and Osama because of the rhyming last names. (This reminds me: is it now a good time to resurrect the old Internet sensation the Llama Song?) I was alerted to an article by Frank Gaffney, “America’s first Muslim president?” […]

Tis a low ball to insinuate anything via someone’s family name…

June 9, 2009 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post Writers Group commented (criticized, no need for euphemism on my own blog) on Obama’s latest speech to the Muslim world at the Cairo University on June 4. Granted that most of Ms. Parker’s columns leave me fuming, I have learned to agree to disagree with her and her fans. […]