The Monday Hot Blast: Your guide to politics and punditry
Jan 07, 2013 | 2320 views |  0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
NO SHAME

Label this inevitable but disgusting nonetheless. Conspiracy theorists are peddling alternative versions of what happened last month at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. Details are here and here.

As the Atlantic noted, “As with every tragedy that takes place in America these days, it didn't take long for "truthers," racists, and other fringe people to concoct conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook massacre — myths that would be laughable if they weren't so offensive.”

WE’LL GUESS THESE 67 WON’T BE VISITING THE BIG APPLE ANYTIME SOON

Friday Congress approved $9.7 billion for areas in the Northeast damaged by Hurricane Sandy.

Late last year as the 112th Congress was ending House Speaker John Boehner took a pass on having a vote on a bigger Sandy relief package worth $60.4 billion. The ensuing bipartisan outcry lit enough of a fire under Boehner to convince him to push forward with Friday’s vote, which passed 354-67.

Only one Alabama representative – Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville – voted no. We’ll assume the rest of the Alabama delegation’s memory stretches back to the federal aid Alabama received after the April 2011 tornadoes.

The real standout among the 67 Republican dissenters was Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss. We’ll assume most of his coastal constituents haven’t forgotten this.

11. 14. WHATEVER IT TAKES

We know, we know, there’s plenty of controversy over the number of college football championships claimed by tonight’s opponents in the BCS title game.  

Alabama claims 14.  

Notre Dame claims 11.

We wondered if there was a political trend to consider. Nine of Alabama’s 14 titles came during seasons when a Democrat was in the White House. Notre Dame’s championship seasons came in a more bipartisan flavor – six under Democrats and five under Republicans.

What does this mean in terms of tonight’s game? Absolutely nothing, except to state the obvious: Both teams have enough titles to make your typical football program jealous.

RACING FOR CASH

Overshadowed by the broader political implications of last week's fiscal cliff negotiations in Washington were what Facing South has termed a "sweetheart deal" for NASCAR, the nation's top stock-car racing circuit. It doesn't get a ton of publicity, but it's no secret that the recession and other factors have hit NASCAR's teams, tracks and governing body with excessive force. Ticket sales are down in many markets -- including at Talladega Superspeedway, which hosts two NASCAR weekends each year.

According to Facing South, "Title III, Section 312 of the fiscal cliff bill includes 'extension of 7-year recovery period for motorsports entertainment complexes,' e.g. NASCAR tracks. That means that when NASCAR track owners spend money to add seats or make other improvements, they can write off the depreciation costs at an accelerated rate -- seven years, instead of the usual 15 or more. It's estimated the NASCAR loophole costs taxpayers more than $40 million a year."

As you can imagine, NASCAR is hardly the only entity that is benefiting from such sweetheart deals. Roosevelt Institute fellow Matt Stoller has written that there are more than $200 billion of tax breaks for corporations in the fiscal cliff deal.

WHO'S PAYING TAXES?

Speaking of the fiscal cliff deal, much has been made of what normal, everyday Americans are now paying in taxes and how much more (or less) of their paychecks they'll see in 2013. According to economists who spoke to the New York Times, America's current tax code may be the most progressive in a generation.

The United States' top wage-earners are paying more in taxes than they have since Jimmy Carter resided in the White House (a federal tax rate of more than 36 percent, the highest since 2008), and "about 99.3 percent of households experiencing no change in their income taxes," the Times reported. For the middle class, that's welcomed news.
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