Thursday morning’s 4 slightly interesting things


Romney Laughingly Recalls Father’s Layoffs — From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: At the outset of the call, Romney said he has some connections to Wisconsin. “One of most humorous I think relates to my father. You may remember my father, George Romney, was president of an automobile company called American Motors … They had a factory in Michigan, and they had a factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and another one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin,” said Romney. “And as the president of the company he decided to close the factory in Michigan and move all the production to Wisconsin. Now later he decided to run for governor of Michigan and so you can imagine that having closed the factory and moved all the production to Wisconsin was a very sensitive issue to him, for his campaign.” Romney said he recalled a parade in which the school band marching with his father’s campaign only knew the Wisconsin fight song, not the Michigan song. “So every time they would start playing ‘On Wisconsin, on Wisconsin,’ my dad’s political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop, because they didn’t want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved production to Wisconsin,” said Romney, laughing.

White House to Romney: Cold War over — White House spokesman Josh Earnest rejected accusations by Romney, the Republican Party frontrunnner to challenge the Democratic president, that Obama had nothing to show for his overtures to repair relations with Russia. “You don’t have to be a foreign policy expert to know that the Cold War ended 20 years ago and that the greatest threat that the president has been fighting on behalf of the American people is the threat posed by al-Qaeda. The irony is that Russia, particularly in the cases of North Korea and Iran, (has) worked very well with the international community to isolate those two regimes and to seek a diplomatic solution to hold those two regimes accountable for living up to their international obligations,” Earnest said.


Santorum tells young man not to use pink bowling ball ‘on camera’ – Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on Wednesday told a young man not to use a pink ball at a bowling alley in Wisconsin. “You’re not gonna use the pink ball. We’re not gonna let you do that. Not on camera,” he said, according to Reuters reporter Sam Youngman. “Friends don’t let friends use pink balls,” he added. Santorum was bowling with the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse College Republicans. Wisconsin holds its presidential primary next Tuesday.


Cantor Proposal for 20 Percent Business Tax Deduction Would Provide Windfall for Wealthy, Not Create Jobs — Though billed as a measure to create jobs by aiding small businesses, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) proposal for a 20 percent tax deduction in 2012 for businesses with fewer than 500 employees would benefit many high-income taxpayers — including many affluent doctors, lawyers, and stockbrokers — while failing to generate the promised economic benefits. The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates that nearly half — 49 percent — of the $46 billion tax cut that the measure would provide would go to people with incomes over $1 million a year. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) rated this general approach as one of the least cost-effective ways that policymakers were considering to encourage growth or create jobs in a weak economy. For one thing, the tax benefits would flow disproportionately to high-income people who would spend a relatively small share of their additional income; thus, CBO estimated that the deduction would generate just 0 to 20 cents in economic growth for every dollar in budgetary cost. For another, firms would receive this tax break whether they hired new workers or not; thus, CBO estimated that in 2012 it would create one job or fewer per $1 million of budgetary cost.

The House Republican Budget Would Eliminate Pell Grants For More Than One Million Students — More than 1 million students would lose Pell grants entirely over the next 10 years under Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, according to an analysis that the national reform organization Education Trust provided to The Huffington Post. And by the looks of it, the Ryan budget, which is slated to hit the House floor this week, would hit the poorest kids hardest. [...] The budget would cut Pell grant eligibility for students who attend classes on a less-than-halftime schedule — which usually means low-income students who need to work their way through college. And it gets worse. Sixty percent of students who receive Pell grants also take out loans — twice the rate for college students overall — so they might be doubly hit by the Ryan cuts: In addition to receiving less Pell money, they would have to start paying interest on their loans while still in school.


Funeral director saw no signs of fight on Trayvon’s hands – “As for his hands and knuckles, I didn’t see any evidence he had been fighting anybody,” Kurtz said. Citing police sources, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Zimmerman told investigators Martin punched him and slammed his head into the ground repeatedly before he fired the shot that killed the unarmed 17-year-old. He claimed he shot Martin in self-defense, and he has not been charged in the case at this point. While Kurtz is not a forensics expert, the funeral director said he has handled the bodies of many homicide victims in his career. This case in particular affected him as he learned more about what happened to Trayvon Martin and how the case was handled. “I think the police investigation was the most unprofessional one I’ve ever seen in my lifetime,” Kurtz said.

Surveillance video shows no blood or bruises on George Zimmerman  — The video shows Zimmerman arriving at the Sanford Police Department in a police cruiser. […] The initial police report noted that Zimmerman was covered in grass, and was bleeding from the back of the head and nose. Zimmerman’s lawyer has also said that his nose was broken in the incident. But the surveillance video shows no blood or bruises on him. It is unclear whether the medical attention Zimmerman reportedly received would have stopped him from bleeding. The lead homicide investigator on the Trayvon Martin case recommended George Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter, but was denied. Chris Serino, the Sanford investigator, filed an affidavit on the night of crime saying he was unconvinced of Zimmerman’s account. However, the state attorney’s office told Serino not to press charges against Zimmerman because there wasn’t enough evidence against him. WATCH VIDEO:

Trayvon Martin: The 5 Key Unanswered Questions — While media coverage of the case has been intense, there are several key questions that have yet to be answered about the case. Here are five of the most important: 1. What was the purported “conflict” that required the initial prosecutor to step down? 2. Why did the prosecutor ignore the recommendations of the lead homicide investigator? 3. Why did then-Police Chief Bill Lee make public statements directly contradicting the official recommendations of the police department? 4. Who leaked Trayvon Martin’s school records? 5. Why was Trayvon Martin’s body tagged as a John Doe? Special prosecutor Angela Corey has promised to release additional information about the case once she makes a decision about whether to charge Zimmerman, something that could happen at any time.

Trayvon Martin Case: Department of Justice to investigate entire Sanford police – He said that so many people complained at Monday night’s city commission meeting about Sanford officers, the city asked the Department of Justice to step in. “I am now in the process of talking with the Department of Justice and instituting a mechanism whereby citizens that have concerns or complaints about the Sanford Police Department can have their concerns heard and investigated by an independent agency,” Bonaparte said. WFTV found the investigations could pave the way for a long relationship with federal officials. After complaints surfaced in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, the Department of Justice found a pattern of civil rights abuse. Then, it completely took over the departments and entered into “consent decrees” to improve them. The Department of Justice took over the department in LA for eight years and in Pittsburgh for four.