Tuesday morning’s 5 moderately interesting things

1) MITT ROMNEY – the GOP’s unofficially official presidential candidate

Mittmentum from here on out — Next month’s contests will take place almost totally in the Northeast — a region where Romney is thus far undefeated. In addition, a few of those states award their delegates on a winner-take-all basis — something only two states have done so far — allowing Romney to expand his delegate lead more quickly than he has to this point. He leads by about 300 delegates overall… Santorum may get a little momentum off his win — as the media continue to question Romney’s appeal to conservatives — but Louisiana is one of the last states that will put a magnifying glass on that problem.

Romney Disses Santorum: “I’m Not Going To Worry Too Much About What Rick Is Saying These Days – Mitt Romney brushed off Rick Santorum’s criticism of his ability to oppose President Barack Obama’s health care law, saying he doesn’t listen to Rick Santorum much anymore. “I’m not going to worry too much about what Rick is saying these days,” Romney said on CNN’s The Situation Room, telling Wolf Blitzer that Santorum is getting more outspoken on the campaign trail as he falls behind. “When you fall further and further behind, you get a little more animated,” he added.

2) ‘BADASS’ SANTORUM — now with improved Macho!

Rick Santorum Would Love to Be Veep of the ‘Worst Republican In Country’ (VIDEO) – Well this is awkward. The good Christian bitches at CBN asked Rick Santorum if he would accept a veep pick from worst Republican in the country Mitt Romney, and instead of pretending there was a chance of beating our Mittens, or cussing him out for asking the question, Rick Santorum said yes!

Rick Santorum Attacked John McCain For His Temper In 2008 Romney Robocall — Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s temper has been the news this morning for attacking a New York Times reporter who questioned characterization of Mitt Romney as the “worst Republican” to run. Santorum snapped at to the reporter saying “quit distorting my words It’s bullshit.” [...] The text of the call: “Hello, this is Senator Rick Santorum calling to let you know I am supporting Mitt Romney and urging you to support him next Tuesday… As a conservative I don’t agree with McCain on many issues and I don’t think he has the temperament and leadership ability to move the country in the right direction. Please join me and other conservative in voting for Mitt Romney this Tuesday.” [image: drunkonstevphen]

Santorum is so BUTCH — A defiant Rick Santorum on Monday defended his weekend attacks on both Mitt Romney over health care and on a New York Times reporter, saying, “If you haven’t cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you’re not really a real Republican. I just said OK, I’ve had enough of this you-know-what,” Santorum said on “Fox & Friends,” referring to why on Sunday he accused reporter Jeff Zeleny of “bulls——”. “And so that’s what I did and you know, look, we’re out there slugging away … and we’re mixing it up.”

3) THOSE OTHER TWO

Gingrich begins charging $50 for pics at events — In a sign that his campaign is in need of fresh funds, Newt Gingrich on Monday began charging $50 to have a photograph taken with him following a campaign speech to Republican County groups here in the northernmost part of the state. It was the first time the former House speaker has charged those attending one of his public speaking events to pose for a photograph with him. Lately, a member of his campaign staff has been snapping photographs of any interested attendee and later posting them online at the campaign’s website, newt.org. On Monday night, those paying for a photograph were also told they could find their photos on Gingrich’s website, after they had filled out a form providing their credit card information.

Hello, Karma! “Lamestream Media” no longer cares about Newt Gingrich — Newt Gingrich has lost his last embedded print reporters, reporters on the trail confirm. The last two print reporters covering Gingrich full-time on the trail — from POLITICO and the Atlanta Journal Constitution — pulled out on Friday. The Associated Press pulled its embed after Tuesday’s Illinois primary. These and other print outlets will continue to cover Gingrich on occasion, but the sustained traveling press has been reduced to the television networks, which will remain. On the bright side, he’s still faring better than Ron Paul.

Piers Morgan asks Ron Paul why he is still in the race – He noted that Paul had obtained only 71 delegates, far behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. But Paul fired back, saying it was “way too soon” for Morgan “to write anybody off.” “What if Mitt Romney isn’t the best person? Why should we just throw in the towel?” [Paul] continued.

4) AMERICA’S RELIGION PROBLEM

According to Pat Robertson, homosexuality is “related to demonic possession.” Yes, this really is how the religious right thinks. [LGF]

Romney’s cousin: Mormonism is a ‘fraud’ — “There’s compelling evidence that the Mormon Church leaders knowingly and willfully misrepresent the historical truth of their origins and of the church for the purpose of deceiving their members into a state of mind that renders them exploitable,” he explained. [...] But Harvard Kennedy School Prof. Robert Putnam told BBC that the former Massachusetts governor’s religion is not often questioned in the U.S. because Americans value freedom of religion. “It’s not something you’re supposed to talk about,” Putnam said. “Whenever the issue of Romney’s Mormonism has come to the surface, there’s been lots of condemnation across the political spectrum for raising the issue of his religion.” “I’m not saying it’s not relevant, but it’s not talked about in polite company.”

The Religious Frenzy of a Court You Can’t Believe InWhat exactly are these people praying for? Are they praying for a return to the way things were? For the denial of health insurance due to whatever the whimsical opinions of corporate bureaucrats determine to be a pre-existing condition? For the right to be thrown into an overpriced, endlessly gouging “marketplace” the moment when you turn 25, and you’re burdened anyway with usurious student loans? Are they praying that the law be upheld? That the central place the insurance industry holds the way we do health care in this country be guaranteed in what looks like perpetuity, with the government’s power behind it? (This is where the conservative argument falls into incoherence. Conservatives are opposed to the mandate because of, well, Liberty (!), but they never pursue that argument to the point where they might discomfit the insurance companies because of, well, The Market (!). This latter, of course, is why conservatives supported a mandate as a market-based solution in the first place.)

Religious Right Prays for the Supreme Court to Overturn Health Care Reform — With the Supreme Court hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law this week, conservative groups are reviving the apocalyptic rhetoric they developed when the law was passed. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the case on today’s Faith & Freedom, where Staver said that if the court did not overturn the law it would set “an incredibly bad precedent that allows huge power grabs, not just in this medical insurance issue but in every place else.” Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice emailed members that the law is an “atrocity.” […] The Christian Defense Coalition plans to “encircle” the Supreme Court to pray “that the President’s Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional.”

5) CLASS WAR: GOP / ONE PERCENT VS. 99%

Trump’s Sons Under Investigation for African Hunting Trip – Donald Trump Jr., who stars on ” The Celebrity Apprentice” alongside his dad, and his brother Eric sparked outrage among animal lovers on Twitter earlier this month after photos surfaced of the two posing with animals they killed during a 2011 safari trip in Africa. Trump Jr. later defended their actions in part by tweeting, “I’m a hunter, for that I make no apologies.” …Trump Jr. may be a hunter, but TMZ.com reports the independent Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force says the South African safari company the sons used was not registered in Zimbabwe. The task force says Trump Jr. and his brother killed an elephant, a buffalo and a crocodile, among other animals. In one of the leaked pictures, Trump Jr., is seen holding a knife and the cut-off tail of an elephant. [image: Salon]

More tax cuts for T-Mobile! T-Mobile To Lay Off Thousands Of Workers After Taking Millions In Taxpayer Subsidies For Job Creation — About 3,300 employees work at those centers, and the company is planning to lay off at least 1,900 of them, while offering transfers to some (though it doesn’t yet know how many). Adding insult to injury, four of the centers that T-Mobile is closing received taxpayer subsidies worth millions of dollars, according to Good Jobs First: – Frisco, TX: $3.7 million – Brownsville, TX: $5.3 million – Lenexa, KS: $3.9 million – Redmond, OR: $1.3 million These subsidies took several forms, including sales tax exemptions, salary supplements for workers, and job training money. “T-Mobile USA’s decision to close seven call centers, employing 3,300 workers, is a bad one. It harms workers and communities, and in several locations, abuses taxpayers who provided funds to the company in exchange for employment and economic development,” said the Communication Workers of America. || And how big will the CEO bonuses be this year at T-Mobile? HUGE, would be my guess. 

SEIU Campaigning for Retirement Security – SEIU also issued a fact sheet that takes on a number of the right-wing myths that are being spread in an attempt to build support for cutting public pensions. The key points: Seven out of 10 public employee pensions are less than $30,000 a year, making them anything but lavish. Taxpayers pay little to no part of these pensions, which are funded by employee contributions and investment returns. Public pensions have survived for 70 years with no problem and only had any problems because of the financial crash, most of them are starting to return to their earlier strength. Public employees have shown a strong willingness to negotiate to improve pension systems and to work with governments to make through during tough economic times. Massive cuts to public employee pensions will not benefit the economy much or solve state budget crisis, but will be massively destructive to working families. There is no correlation between states that have underfunded pensions and the level of unionization among state workers — unions are not driving the problems we see with pension funding. || RELATEDThe Rachel Maddow Show: SEIU the Next Target for the Right Wing Smear Machine [larger image here]