Tuesday Reads: It’s Too Darn Hot!!

Good Morning!!

I’ve really been suffering from the heat for the past couple of days. I don’t have air conditioning, but I do have lots of fans. I’m OK as long as I’ve got the fans on me, but I think the stress of day after day of 90 degree temperatures has started to get to me. So I’m going to just throw out some links that caught my eye and then open the floor to you all.

At Forbes Magazine, a subscriber named TJ Walker has a list of 35 Questions Mitt Romney Must Answer About Bain Capital Before The Issue Can Go Away. It’s a pretty good list too–not the kind of thing I’d expect to find at Forbes.

Republican Senator Tom Coburn had an op-ed in The New York Times in which he criticizes Grover Norquist. Here’s what he wrote about taxes:

What unifies Republicans is not Mr. Norquist’s tortured definition of tax purity but the idea of a Reagan- or Kennedy-style tax reform that lowers rates and broadens the tax base by getting rid of loopholes and deductions. It’s true that Republicans would prefer to lower rates as much as possible, and it’s true that Republicans believe smart tax reform will generate more, not less, revenue for the federal government. But Republicans would not walk away from a grand bargain on entitlements and tax reform that would devote a penny of revenue to deficit reduction instead of rate reduction.

Apparently Norquist’s control over Congressional Republicans has weakened substantially.

Norquist was very upset by Coburn’s op-ed and actually called Coburn a liar.

Norquist told The Hill that the piece is filed with “lies” and said that Coburn is violating, and trying to get colleagues to violate, a pledge they made to voters.

“It is like a couple that is having a fight and one of them tries to drag a third party in. Like the preacher who gave a speech last week against adultery. ‘Hey, this is your fault!’ ‘No, no, no! You promised her you would behave, you didn’t promise me. You explain to her why you get to make decisions on adultery.’ ”

He said that the idea of not raising taxes is what is powerful and pointed out that more GOP candidates have signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge than ever before. He said that presidential candidate Mitt Romney has fully embraced the pledge as written.

Norquist said the pledge is not open to “interpretation,” as Coburn insinuates, and plainly states that ending tax breaks must be accompanied by equivalent rate reductions.

WTF? Like a couple having a fight? It appears that Norquist has forgotten who is actually in a position of power in his relationship with Coburn. He may have gone too far this time.

Speaking of crazy people, what’s going on with Michele Bachmann? In a throwback to the McCarthy Communist witch hunts, she’s apparently claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood has penetrated the upper reaches of the U.S. government.

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann is asking how a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton got security clearance given what Bachmann describes as the aide’s family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Bachmann also says an investigation of “potential Muslim Brotherhood infiltration” of President Barack Obama’s administration is needed because of interactions between federal agencies and what she calls U.S. front groups for the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Islamist group that recently came to power in Egypt.

The comments come in Bachmann’s new response to U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison’s call for Bachmann to back up the information on which she based a request for federal investigations into whether the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated the U.S. government.

Ellison, DFL-Minneapolis, wrote Bachmann and four other lawmakers last week asking them to name their sources for similar claims on which they based their June 13 call for the investigation.

Good Grief! Salon has more.

“I am particularly interested in exactly how, given what we know from the international media about Ms. Abedin’s documented family connections with the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, she was able to avoid being disqualified for a security clearance,” the congresswoman wrote.

As evidence, she pointed to Abedin’s late father, Professor Syed Z. Abedin, and a 2002 Brigham Young University Law Review article about his work. Bachmann points to a passage saying Abedin founded an organization that received the “quiet but active support” of the the former director of the Muslim World League, an international NGO that was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe in the 1970s through 1990s. So, to connect Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood, you have to go through her dead father, to the organization he founded, to a man who allegedly supported it, to the organization that man used to lead, to Europe in the 1970s and 1990s, and finally to the Brotherhood.

The next paragraph of the law review article she cites quotes Syed Abedin concluding that the Koran calls for, “multiple ways of life … i.e. religious and cultural plurality among mankind.” Pretty scary Islamo-fascist stuff. It’s also worth nothing that Weiner, Huma Abedin’s husband, is one of the most unquestionably pro-Israeli politicians in America. But Bachmann would have us believe that the security clearance process somehow missed Abedin’s nefarious connections, and thus she knows more than, say, the CIA and FBI, who are involved in the background-check process.

Michele Bachmann is dangerously unhinged–to use a word popular with right wingers. I’m beginning to wonder if she is actually psychotic.

The Boston Globe: John Kerry’s office blasts Mitt Romney over inaccurate claims about tax returns

Romney and his surrogates have repeatedly claimed that Kerry, the Democratic nominee in 2004, made public just two years of tax returns, despite the fact that Kerry released five years of tax documents and consistently released earlier returns during his Senate races.

On Monday, after Romney brought Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, into the argument, the senator’s office blasted Romney, accusing him of “conjuring up false and convoluted alibis.”

“As Senator [Daniel Patrick] Moynihan once said, people are entitled to their own opinions, but they’re not entitled to their own facts,” said David Wade, Kerry’s chief of staff and the Democrat’s national spokesman during the presidential race eight years ago.

“The Romney campaign needs to stop getting their facts wrong about John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry,” Wade added, saying Kerry had put a total of 20 years of tax returns into the public domain by the time he ran for president.

What’s the deal with Mitt Romney hiding behind a former candidate’s wife anyway? Does he want people to start asking to see Ann Romney’s tax returns?

Today a CNN reporter asked Hillary Clinton how she felt about being used in Romney’s attack ads against Obama.

Speaking in Jerusalem at the tail end of a two week diplomatic trip, Clinton said in an interview with CNN Foreign Affairs Reporter Elise Labott the spots were a “waste of money.”

“I am out of politics, and I haven’t seen any of the ads that you’re talking about,” Clinton said. “But I have to say it’s a waste of money. Everybody knows I ran against President Obama in 2008, that’s hardly news. Everybody knows we ran a hard fought campaign and he won. And I have been honored to serve as his secretary of state.”

Good answer. Too bad she’s out of politics.

There’s an article at Bloomberg, of all places, on why socialism has made Canada richer than the U.S.

On July 1, Canada Day, Canadians awoke to a startling, if pleasant, piece of news: For the first time in recent history, the average Canadian is richer than the average American.
According to data from Environics Analytics WealthScapes published in the Globe and Mail, the net worth of the average Canadian household in 2011 was $363,202, while the average American household’s net worth was $319,970.

A few days later, Canada and the U.S. both released the latest job figures. Canada’s unemployment rate fell, again, to 7.2 percent, and America’s was a stagnant 8.2 percent. Canada continues to thrive while the U.S. struggles to find its way out of an intractable economic crisis and a political sine curve of hope and despair.

The difference grows starker by the month: The Canadian system is working; the American system is not. And it’s not just Canadians who are noticing. As Iceland considers switching to a currency other than the krona, its leaders’ primary focus of interest is the loonie — the Canadian dollar.

As a study recently published in the New York University Law Review pointed out, national constitutions based on the American model are quickly disappearing. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in an interview on Egyptian television, admitted, “I would not look to the United States Constitution if I were drafting a constitution in the year 2012.” The natural replacement? The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, achieving the status of legal superstar as it reaches its 30th birthday.

Let’s see Mitt Romney explain that one.

Sorry this post is a little brief, but that’s all I have the energy for at the moment. Now what are you reading and blogging about today?


49 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: It’s Too Darn Hot!!”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Former McCain adviser Steve Schmidt says tax returns weren’t the issue in turning down Romney for VP in 2008. It was Romney’s wealth.

    I’m not sure I get the distinction. His wealth is what made him be able to have all the tax shelters and pay only 13% in 2010. But whatever….

    • Maybe Romney’s problem is he didn’t pay taxes? There is a new ad out from Obama: Obama Ad Asks: Does Romney Even Pay Taxes? – Matt Vasilogambros – NationalJournal.com

      The Obama campaign is hitting the Pennsylvania airwaves with a new attack ad, targeting Mitt Romney with the now-familiar criticisms over tax havens and withholding tax returns.

      Although it doesn’t go as far as to say Romney committed a crime, it does at one point suggest that the presumptive Republican nominee might not actually pay taxes.

      “Tax havens, offshore accounts, carried interest. Mitt Romney has used every trick in the book,” the narrator says. “Romney admits that over the last two years he’s paid less than 15 percent in taxes on $43 million in income. Makes you wonder if some years he paid any taxes at all.”

      The Obama campaign says that Romney might have avoided paying his fair share in taxes, but they aren’t sure because he only plans to release two years of returns. He has released his 2010 returns and 2011 is pending.

      “We don’t know because Romney has released just one full year of his tax returns,” it continues. “What is Mitt Romney hiding?”

  2. bostonboomer says:

    romney-retroactive-tree

  3. bostonboomer says:

    CNN’s Erin Burnett to Romney: release your tax returns.

    “If he refuses to release them, it is because: one, he had a lot more money in tax shelters in prior years than he does now. Two, he did something shady. Or, three, he’s stupid,” Burnett said. “Now Mitt Romney is not a stupid man and if he did something shady — well, he didn’t, because if he did, the IRS would already have found it. So let’s assume it’s number one. He had a lot of tax shelters. Took advantage of every loophole known to man in the 72,536 page IRS tax code. That’s fair and square. That is why the tax code is so long so people can take advantage of it. But here’s our decent proposal. Release the returns.”

  4. mablue2 says:

    BB, don’t complain about the weather. It’s cold and rainy here in West Europe. I seriously thought about turning the heat on last night.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’d take that right now.

      • HT says:

        Me too – it’s over 90 now and heading for 98. I can’t walk the Wonder dog for more than 15 minutes at a time – too darned hot.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Yesterday I felt like I was going to pass out bringing some groceries into the house. It’s going to be 96 here. I think the real problem for me is that the air quality has been really bad for the past 3-4 days.

      • bostonboomer says:

        According to the weather report, it’s going to be 75 degrees here on Friday!!

      • Pilgrim says:

        A Toronto station today informs of an “extreme heat alert,” with heat index of 45 celsius, which equals 113 fahrenheit.

      • HT says:

        Darn it all – I live right outside of Toronto – we’re close to the lake which is supposed to moderate the temp. 115 – it’s bad enough at 96 (which it is right now).
        BB I noticed the difficulty with the air walking the dog this am at 6:45 am. It’s thick and makes it hard to breathe. Down to the basement for the rest of the day. Portable air going full blast – there goes my electric bill.

    • @mablue, sounds lovely!

    • bostonboomer says:

      OMG! That’s terrible! Ooops! This was supposed to nest under Pigrim’s comment.

    • Seriously says:

      It’s supposed to hit 100 today. And it’s a weird kind of heat, too, someone just said it somehow feels like it’s simultaneously that knock-you-over tropical humidity and suck-the-moisture-out-of-the-top-of-your-head dry heat. I’d give a lot to feel chilly right about now.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I just took the kids to a movie in Cambridge, and when we came out it felt like we were walking into a furnace.

  5. Just looking through my reader: Libor scandal: Barclays ‘in denial’ over dealings with regulators – Mervyn King | Business | guardian.co.uk

    Barclays was in a “state of denial” about its dealings with regulators, according to Sir Mervyn King, governor of the Bank of England, as he came under fire from MPs on Tuesday during the latest bout of accusation and counter-accusation over the Libor scandal.

    As emails were released showing the close relationship between the former Barclays boss Bob Diamond and deputy governor of the Bank of England Paul Tucker, King accused Barclays of repeatedly sailing “close to the wind” in its dealings with regulators before Diamond’s departure. Tucker had thanked Diamond for being a “brick” in an email in December 2008.

    In a hearing at the Treasury select committee, Lord Turner, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, was also criticised as he conceded the regulators had urged the Barclays board to remove Diamond after seeing the public reaction to the £290m Libor fine, rather than because Diamond was no longer regarded as “fit and proper” to run a bank.

    King, speaking to MPs for the first time since the Libor scandal erupted a fortnight ago, was greeted with scepticism when he said he did not know about the Libor rigging until the Barclays fine was announced.

    Hmmm…

    Altrios take on it: Eschaton: Everybody’s Fault But Mine

  6. Pat Johnson says:

    I’m only 90 miles from bostonboomer and the sea breeze does not reach inland so you can imagine the heat here in the Pioneer Valley as well. Brutal!

    Michele Bachmann is batshit crazy but she is also a publicity hound. The media attention has been focused elsewhere so she must find a reason to get back in the news and going after someone who would find it difficult to dispute her unfounded claims is easy.

    Just as an aside: I had my new furnace with A/C installed 4 years ago and that day found me upstairs on the 2nd floor trying to get away from the noise. Unable to do much that day because of the work being done, I spent about 7 hours online and bb “kept me company” along with a few others as the noise level was unbearable for awhile.

    But having the A/C on days like this was worth it. They are saying a few more to come this week which is depressing.

    • bostonboomer says:

      You know what? I remember that day, Pat. I’m glad you have the A/C. I’m going to be sitting for my nephews today and tomorrow. They have A/C, so I’ll get some relief.

    • bostonboomer says:

      President Obama over the past week has hammered away at Mitt Romney’s business record. It’s like he’s “hellbent on making the word ‘Bain’ synonymous with a source of harm or ruin,” Stephen Colbert said on Monday. Over the weekend, the Obama campaign released a blistering new ad, mocking Romney’s rendition of “America the Beautiful” with a series of scathing headlines. “Mitt was originally on key,” Colbert said. “But he outsourced many of those notes to India.”

  7. Silent Kate says:

    What stood out for me in the past day is Michelle Bachman. It makes me wonder about the voters in her district. She certainly makes me question her sanity and that of the people who vote or her.

    • Woman Voter says:

      She is also the only person with dual citizenship to run for president, yet she is yelling about a take over? 😯 Lordy!

      • bostonboomer says:

        She already renounced her dual citizenship.

      • Woman Voter says:

        After the fact, once people found out, but if they hadn’t she would still have it. I guess it was the European country’s universal health coverage she was coveting while preventing people here from getting it.

    • northwestrain says:

      Many of the people in her district — or is that her old district — are as crazy and mean as she is. There is an epidemic of suicides by gay high school students — these kids are bullies to death by classmates. The adults in the school district turn a blind eye to what is happening.

      Bachman is a crazy mean person — and she will do anything to get attention.

      She sounds like a modern day McCarthy — have you ever been a Moosalem sympathizer? (mis-spelling the way she says the word.)

  8. mablue2 says:

    I’ve always asked myself one question about Michele Bachman: What kind of people keep sending this absolutely deranged subhuman to Congress? Who in his right mind would go to a ballot box and think “this is the type of person I want to represent me?”
    On the Left say what you will, but I don’t think we send the likes of Bachman to the House of Representatives.

    • northwestrain says:

      There was Stupak — who was elected as a Democrat. He is crazy mean.

      • mablue2 says:

        Oh please! That’s a ridiculously silly comparison.

        Stupac is a Conservadem, anti-choice like pretty much the entire Republican delegation (I knoe there are some notable exceptions), but there’s no way anyone would seriously compare him to Bachman who’s outright insane.

      • bostonboomer says:

        I don’t know, MABlue. Stupak lived in The Family HQ on C Street. To me anyone in that group qualifies as crazy.

      • northwestrain says:

        Point is — Stupak was the ONLY name I could come up with — the list from the GOP would pretty much list all of the GOP.

        Stupak belongs on any crazy mean list — but he was elected as a Democrat.

      • mablue2 says:

        BB, I thing Stupak is a conservative religious zealot.
        Michele Bachman is wayyyyyy beyond that. She belongs in a insane asylum, along with people like Allen West.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Isn’t she the Chair of the Intelligence Committee?

  9. dakinikat says:

    Grover Norquist is one of those spoiled little rich chubby bully boys that never grows up and runs to his parents and cries when people point out how the extent of his mean streak. He can’t be liked naturally so he has to be a little bully and uses his parents position and money to do just that. I hope a few of those Republicans gather some spine and punch him in the nose.

    • Pilgrim says:

      Yep, that’s what the bugger needs, a good punch in the nose. Good treatment for bully boys.

  10. northwestrain says:

    BB — you covered a lot of territory with your “short” post.

    Living close to the water keeps the temperature mild — when it hit 80 degrees last week we were treated to a 16 hours thunderstorm (Friday) which knocked out my land line and my Internet for 24 hours. I live in an area called a “convergence zone” — weather system meet here and cause really interesting weather. Hurricane force winds just for this tiny area.

    I remember the hot, humid summers in western MA. I grew up in Hawaii and was used to warm tropical weather — but the MA summers were beyond hot. And yes the air quality was awful as well.

    One trick I learn while living in the Caribbean — a wet sheet works to cool you down enough to be able to sleep. I’d think that a wet sheet would work even during the day. Washing your hair and keeping your head wet also makes your feel cooler.

    Then there is remembering your child self — which means get a kiddie pool and simply sit in the water to cool off.

    • northwestrain says:

      While I was writing the above note — the sky went from full sun to high fog and overcast. Around here there is a saying– “wait 5 minutes and the weather will change.”

    • bostonboomer says:

      I do live close to the ocean. I don’t live in Western Mass. But this is much hotter than our normal summers. I don’t know how long you lived here, but I’ve lived here for close to 45 years. I have some basis for comparison and this is unusual for us.

      • northwestrain says:

        Thankfully only two years in Western MA — but we managed to live there during some weather extremes. One summer was extra hot — no one with local weather knowledge could remember it ever being that hot. Winters were mostly ice storms. Those rare extremes seem to becoming the norm.

        Global warming is what you are feeling — but I don’t need to tell you that! There are weather extremes all over the globe — England — wet and cold. The fires and heat in the Southwest are worse than any historical record (including tree rings).

        The point I was going to make in my note above (but the post was already too long) is that the “normal” has changed according to the global warming weather researchers. What was once normal for a geographical region can’t be relied on any more. Someone at skydancer blogged about the weather “new normal”. (As a sailboater I’m very interested in marine weather and have taken several marine forecasting classes.)

        The extreme weather you are getting now might just be the new normal. For your sake I hope not. Really hot weather makes me cranky as hell.

        When I was in the Caribbean I also manage to be there during weather extremes — for example — a long drought. “We’ve never been without rain for this long.” type of drought. Was that a glitch or the new normal?

        The weather trend for the Pacific coast seems to be — warmer winters and colder summers. Who knows if this is just a glitch in weather records or the new normal. I have lived here long enough to realize that something major has shifted (like the ocean currents).

        Oh — I wasn’t contradicting you — I respect your local knowledge of Eastern MA weather. I just remember the one very very hot record breaking summer in Western MA (which is the armpit of the world). I don’t think Eastern MA was as hot — many people in the Berkshires were fleeing to the seacoast of MA.

    • Beata says:

      The wet sheet is a good idea, NWR. Sometimes I put on a wet cotton dress or nightgown to cool off at home. It reminds me of running through a sprinkler with our clothes on in the summer when my best friends and I were kids. I would do that now if I could!

      Besides being hot, the air quality here is just terrible. I had trouble breathing yesterday. Our summers are usually pretty bad, but this year is worse than I can ever remember.

      BB, I’m glad you have somewhere to go that is air-conditioned. Thank you for the Tuesday reads. Take care of yourself.

      • northwestrain says:

        Really hot weather with poor air quality is really rough for anyone with asthma or any other problem breathing. Good time for sitting in the shade with a cold glass of tea — or whatever works.

  11. Delphyne says:

    This is very O/T and I’m not sure if it’s been posted before (apologies if it has), but I found this both poignant and hilarious. It’s an obituary that a man wrote for himself – it won’t disappoint.

    http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?n=val-patterson&pid=158526785

    • northwestrain says:

      Good one!

      I see young people smoking and wonder if they think they will live forever. Which is why the military wants really young people for their war machines — because the young do think they will live forever.