Hello, again!

I know I’ve been away a long time, and I apologize for that. (Okay, no one currently reads my blog, but I’m saying “sorry” anyway.) Every time I tried to write a post about Newtown, CT and the slaughter there, I choked up. Allow me to say I believe our deadly weapons should be at least as regulated as our vehicles and drivers are.

Westboro Baptist Now Hates Racing

Jael Phelps picketing Trinity Episcopal Church...

Jael Phelps picketing Trinity Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Westboro Baptist Church has a new event to picketFormula 1 racing. This evidently has something to do with the military. (No, I don’t know what it is…I’m not a freak!) If you’re not familiar with Westboro Baptist, it’s a church that is so far to the right that not even Rick Santorum will agree with them in public. (He may not agree with them at all, but I’ve never seen Santorum denigrate Christian theocracy.)

Westboro Baptist Church has not come out against incorrect spelling or grammar. Fred Phelps, the lemming’s leader, probably thinks spell check is the devil’s work. Or maybe he had his 8 y.o. grandson write the website.

Misspelled words (even typos, because the WBC has a zero-tolerance policy) are bold red; incorrect words are bold blue.

Fred Phelps, the leader of the small and crazy Kansas-based church, is going to be in Austin for the Formula One race to protest it. According to the church’s diplomatically named website, godhatesfags.com, this is why they are protesting the race:

WBC will picket Formula 1 racing at The Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX to remind this nation that God hates the vwicked people of this land of vain idolaters and that they shall be turned into Hell. These sporting events resemble the patriotic worship-the-flag pep rallies masquerading as sodlier’s funerals in that this Bible-ignorant fools worship these race car drivers like they are little gods! Shame on these people for worshipping these athletes instead of following the plain commandments of their God. They ought to obey today before it is too late. WBC knows they will not, never the less, we will kindly warn them to flee the wrath to come. These are the last days of all, Doomed america. Wake up before you find yourselves cast into the deep pit of endless fire!

John Scalzi has some tips for what Bill O’Reilly calls “the white establishment”.

Whatever

Specifically, to the white men who have spent the last week freaking out about the fact that Obama won a second term without the majority of white men voting for him.

1. First off, relax. A rainbow coalition of gays, women and minorities is not coming to your door to take your guns or your freedom. As difficult as it may be to believe, when anyone else votes, they’re usually actually not ever thinking about how their vote is going to have an impact on you, the white man. Consequently, in the aftermath of the election, they’re generally still not thinking about you. You’re just not that interesting or important to them.

2. Second, stop believing that the problem was that Romney didn’t sell the message. He sold it just fine. So did Paul Ryan. So did the GOP candidates you favor. So did hundreds of millions of dollars worth…

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What Private Enterprise Does for Disaster Relief

Mitt Romney is arrogant enough to believe private enterprise could provide disaster relief better than the federal government. Fortunately, New York’s Attorney General knows better.

Quick to point to looting during a disaster (before it even happens), I haven’t heard conservatives using that same outrage to condemn price gouging.

More than 400 possible cases of price gouging of gasoline and other essentials, including a $10 box of matches and $7 loaf of bread, have been reported in New York before and after Superstorm Sandy.

Reports are being investigated in New York City, the Hudson Valley and on Long Island by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman said Monday that he’s investigating an increasing number of reports of spikes in prices for essential goods including gasoline, food, bottled water, generators, batteries and flashlights.

In one report, the cost of a bag of potatoes jumped to $7, up from $3 before the storm hit. The cost of the box of matches appears more than three times the usual cost, and the loaf of bread is more than double the usual cost.

Price gouging is illegal, but the charges are difficult to prove.

Vendors may defend higher prices if they can show an increased cost of obtaining goods from wholesalers or in delivering services, making prosecutions difficult.

State business law prohibits an “unconscionably excessive price” during an “abnormal disruption of the market” that unfairly takes advantage of consumers.

Expect Romney to praise capitalist price gouging as soon as the election is over. Profits are Mitt’s thing; ethics just get in the way.

 

Mitt Romney RENTED Mormon Tax-Exempt Status

Romney rented a tax exemption from the Mormon church in 1996, the year before they were outlawed. Yes, you could rent an exemption from your church.

Given that your god is involved, this must result in a win-win for everyone right? Not really. The Mormon church has lost $328,797 so far. I didn’t realize this was what Romney meant when he said he couldn’t release more tax returns because of his church.

Tax returns obtained by Bloomberg News … indicated that Romney set up a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) in June 1996… .

From Raw Story:

“In this instance, Romney used the tax-exempt status of a charity — the Mormon Church, according to a 2007 filing — to defer taxes for more than 15 years,” Bloomberg’s Jesse Drucker explained. “At the same time he is benefitting (sic), the trust will probably leave the church with less than what current law requires.

[T]he amount available to go to the Mormon church has decreased from at least $750,000 in 2001 to $421,203 at the end of 2011 as Romney has collected yearly cash payments from the trust for ten years; the average per year is $32,879.70.

From Bloomberg News:

[A] financial adviser said Romney and his trustee might arrange to compensate the church for the dwindling amount with other gifts.

“It may be that they’ve made provisions for the charity someplace else that will make up for what this isn’t going to give them,” Comstock said.

Back to Raw Story:

Estates lawyer Jonathan Blattmachr told Bloomberg that Romney’s trust benefits from the Mormon church’s exempt status because charities don’t pay capital gains taxes when they make a profit from the sale of assets.

Not paying capital gains is a big deal for Mitt, who financed his education by selling stocks; when he sold stock to get by during his college days, he avoided income taxes, but was still stuck with those pesky capital gains taxes. Continue reading

Romney Against Gay Parents, Families

In 1994, Romney–running for Senate against Ted Kennedy–claimed he would be better for gays than Senator Kennedy. Ten years later, in 2004, to then-Massachusetts‘ Governor Romney’s dismay, his state became the first to legalize gay marriage..

Not only is Romney against gay rights, he is appalled by gay families. (Emphases mine.)

Romney hadn’t even previously fathomed that gay people had children. Boston Spirit magazine reported last month that when gay activists met with him in his office in 2004, as Romney was backing a failed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state, Romney remarked, “I didn’t know you had families.”

Julie Goodridge…asked what she should tell her 8-year-old daughter about why the governor would block the marriage of her parents. According to Goodridge, Romney responded,”I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.”

The complete lack of empathy was the worst; Romney didn’t connect, just sat there blank-faced until asking “Are you done?” After that, he invited the press in and described the meeting as “pleasant”–as Goodridge sobbed in the hallway.

Romney also refused to issue birth certificates with “parent” and “second parent” on them, insisting the birth certificates not only be altered, but that each one be approved by his office. .

As a Department of Health attorney warned Romney, the children would be disadvantaged and would have trouble applying to school or getting drivers licenses as adults, particularly in a post-9/11 world where they might be considered security risks, having birth certificates that appeared altered. It was a “violation of existing statutes,” the attorney warned Romney. But Romney waved off the warnings, not caring about the legal, psychological or personal ramifications.

Romney not caring.

Romney as usual.

Racism Has Grown Since 2008

Disappointing, but not surprising. 

Racism is alive and well–and it’s gotten worse. Explicit and implicit surveys showed 51% to 56% of Americans showed prejudice against blacks. The jump in explicit racism was 3%; implicit racism was seven percentage points higher than in 2008–nearly 2% growth per year. (Hispanics fared even worse, with 57% of Americans biased against them, but there are no previous survey results for the group.)

Implicit Racism

The same respondents were also administered a survey designed to measure implicit racism, in which a photo of a black, Hispanic or white male flashed on the screen before a neutral image of a Chinese character. The respondents were then asked to rate their feelings toward the Chinese character. Previous research has shown that people transfer their feelings about the photo onto the character, allowing researchers to measure racist feelings even if a respondent does not acknowledge them.

Explicit Racism

The explicit racism measures asked respondents whether they agreed or disagreed with a series of statements about black and Hispanic people. In addition, the surveys asked how well respondents thought certain words, such as “friendly,” “hardworking,” “violent” and “lazy,” described blacks, whites and Hispanics.

The surveys used males for each race; no females were shown. I would like to see this test given to measure explicit and implicit sexism, although I dread the results, which I fear would be even higher. Sexism is not only alive and well, it’s a revered–even celebrated–conservative political stance.