Catching Up

Sorry for the light blogging lately. Haven't really had too much to comment on. Here's a few quick hits:

--Scott Harshbarger endorsed John Edwards. Don't know if that swings many votes, but it adds some cred.

--The Patrick administration reverted to bad form in this commission report on corporate taxes, reportedly put together without the input of commission members like Michael Widmer. Sloppy, heavy-handed, messy.

--Patrick also came out with a proposal on mortgage fraud, which I don't know enough about to comment on the merits. I've been on the fence about whether Deval "Ameriquest" Patrick should get out front with something on this issue, or stay out of it. Either way is rough sledding.

--On the national scene, Independent voters are actually slightly more sold on evolution than Democrats, making them a world different from Republicans, who  choose creationism 2-to-1. Michael Medved equates sex between loving same-sex partners with prison rape, which I've been told he's done on radio before. Over in the Senate, pretty much the only Republicans willing to have a no-confidence vote on Alberto Gonzalez are those facing tough re-election situations next year. And apparently Ron Paul, the lone anti-war voice in the GOP Presidential field, is being flooded with contributions. Fun times for the GOP!

--Giuliani and McCain have both opted out of the preposterous but politically critical Iowa Straw Poll in Ames on August 11, which is a wrench in Romney's plans (as I described recently in the paper). With them out, Romney is expected to dominate, so if he does it won't impress anybody. The story out of Ames will be whoever rises from the secondary pack, perhaps Huckabee, depriving Romney of his intended big media boost heading to the fall. On the other hand, this is a very risky move by Giuliani and especially McCain; this could solidify Romney's lead in Iowa and make it very difficult for them to win that state -- and if Romney wins Iowa he'll be in an awfully good position.

--Speaking of Mitt, I have a new daily game, which I can begin sharing if you'd be interested: find a Romney maximum contributor who's named, in a bad way, in the day's business news. I don't always succeed, but most days I do, whether it's JetBlue's CEO resigning from the tarmac-wait disaster, or someone under SEC investigation for something. Massive, obscene windfalls of wealth don't count, or today it would be Blackstone Group's Stephen Schwarzman, who is expected to get $449 million cash from his company's IPO and be left with $7.73 billion in stock value. My winner so far comes from the Tweeter bankruptcy, in which Globe columnist Steven Syre reminds us that Wellington Management, Tweeter's biggest shareholder, "revealed 15 minutes after the company's bankruptcy disclosure that it had dumped all its stock more than a week ago." It's not a direct hit by name, but I'll count Wellington Sr. VP -- and big Romney backer -- Jonathan Payson.

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