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  • Mitt Romney's American Flag Pins Are Made in China

    Do you know how much Mitt Romney loves America? A lot. Like, a lot a lot. He loves America so much he even had special "We Stand United" flag pins made for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.

    And just like every other America-loving businessman, he had them made in China

    At a fundraiser in Virginia last night, Mitt Romney touted his experinece running the Salt Lake City Olympic Games in 2002… He told a story about the "We Stand United" American flag pins he commissioned for the games…Romney touted his creation of the pins as a means to explain how he hopes to bring Americans together…

    Complicating Romney's patriotic message is the fact that the pins were made in China, according to a website run by the Utah state government's culture department, as TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro pointed out on Twitter.

    Wow. Mitt Romney is now making so many gaffes, he's had to start outsourcing them to China.

    It's pretty telling that his most profound expression of patriotism is a tiny, boring lapel pin. Romney better watch out for the Fourth of July. He might get too worked up and do something crazy, like wear an American flag tie.

    Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: China, Flags, Mitt Romney, Olympics, Republicans, Utah
  • Deadbeat Newt Gingrich Bounces Check for Utah Filing Fee

    Newt GIngrich in South CarolinaDeadbeat space clown Newt Gingrich is a vocal proponent of "fiscal responsibility," fondly evoking the days when budgets were balanced and Gingrich was relevant. Unfortunately, when it comes to the finances of his own campaign, Gingrich takes his fiduciary promises as seriously as he takes his marital vows

    Utah Elections Director Mark Thomas said a designated agent for the Gingrich campaign brought the filing papers and a check for $500 in March, but after the check was deposited, the state was notified by the bank that the check had bounced. He said the office has tried to contact the Gingrich campaign through the telephone number and email provided on the application, but have not received a response.

    Recently, the state sent a certified letter to the campaign, stating that if the fee isn't paid by April 20, Gingrich will be disqualified and will not be on the ballot.

    It's true Gingrich has had a run of bad financial luck. First, his think tank declared bankruptcy. Now his campaign has moved from figuratively writing checks it can't cash to literally writing checks it can't cash. It has piled up nearly $4.5 million in debt. But like a Gingrich marriage, this situation is only temporary.

    While the Republican Party may have abandoned him, in a fit of poetic justice, for a younger and wealthier man, Gingrich still has his looks. Not a good look, mind you. But a look. For now, he's charging $50 at campaign events for a picture with him, but think of how much money he'll make when he travels the country demanding cash for not appearing in your photographs.

    Photo by John W. Adkisson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Money, Newt Gingrich, Primaries, Republicans, Utah
  • Utah House Follows Polygamist Warren Jeffs' Lead on Contraception

    The failure of Virginia legislators to brand their transvaginal ultrasound bill as a Liberty Probing or a Freedom Tickle has resulted in Governor Bob McDonnell calling for a revision of that legislation, which means it's up to other states to the lead in the regressive sexual politics Olympics. Utah, step right up

    A bill to allow Utah schools to drop sex education classes — and prohibit instruction in the use of contraception in those that keep the courses — moved significantly closer to becoming law Wednesday. The House passed HB363 by a 45-28 vote after a late-afternoon debate that centered largely on lawmakers' differing definitions of morality.

    "We've been culturally watered down to think we have to teach about sex, about having sex and how to get away with it, which is intellectually dishonest," said bill sponsor Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden. "Why don't we just be honest with them upfront that sex outside marriage is devastating?"

    As the Salt Lake City Tribune's Polygamy blog — a thing that exists — explains, polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs went to prison to do two things: send crazy rants to Utah legislators and chew bubble gum. And it looks like he's all out of bubble gum…

    "Let schools be purified," he writes from his Texas prison cell in the latest set of purported revelations from God, which his followers copy and mail out by the thousands. "Cast out all immoral way of teaching to be unclothed before one another, for such promoteth evil in youth from youngest years."

    On the bright side, an abstinence program that involves having to listen to Warren Jeffs and Rep. Bill Wright talk about sex is bound to be pretty effective.

    Tags: Contraception, Education, Sex, State Legislature, Utah
  • Mormon Democrats Do Exist!

    You know, the Mormon Church sometimes gets a bad rap as being too homogenized. But nothing could be further from the truth.

    Too often, people forget that there are Mormons who are a little bit country, and Mormons who are a little bit rock and roll. There's pro-mayonaise Mormons, and then there's their more-raucous pro-Miracle Whip neighbors. And, obviously, there are staunch conservative Mormons like Orrin Hatch and Mitt Romney, and then there are more liberal Mormons like Harry Reid and Mitt Romney.

    Diversity, it seems, is not a thing to be shunned, but a blessing to be embraced. Just ask the church leaders

    The Mormon Church released a letter Monday urging its Utah members, in uniquely strong terms, to attend the state's caucuses next month — regardless of which party they belong to…

    But the church sought to reaffirm in the letter that it espoused no pro-Romney favoritism: "Principles compatible with the gospel may be found in the platforms of the various political parties. We encourage members to attend their precinct caucus meetings."…

    A recent Pew survey showed that 74 percent of self-identified Mormons "lean Republican," and an overwhelming portion support Romney's candidacy. Mormon Democrats do exist, but they often face criticism from fellow believers that their political views are out of step with doctrinal teachings.

    But, hey, being an oppressed minority is nothing new for Mormons. It's how they ended up moving across the continent and setting up the locus of their culture in a desiccated wasteland next to a giant lake filled with salt.

    It's also why they've gotten so good at it themselves.

    Photo by George Frey/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Democrats, Mormon, Religion, Utah
  • Utah Mayor Apologizes for Planting Stories and Identity Theft

    Say you're the mayor of a medium-sized city. Call it West Valley, Utah a 130,000-person bedroom community situated just outside Salt Lake City. You have a problem: The local newspaper has reduced coverage of local government affairs, but keeps on harping about the criminal licentiousness plaguing your fair city. (This is Utah, so presumably the criminal epidemic involved the impolite use of coins and the illegal parting of "Zion curtains.")

    There are a few solutions. One, actually reduce the crime rate. Two, hire a better public information assistant. Three, create a new identity, complete with Gmail and Facebook accounts, and use the alias to pose as a freelance reporter, planting positive stories about the city and its highly-competent mayor…

    Mayor Mike Winder has admitted to creating a false identity to write news stories about the city he represents for Utah media outlets.

    Using the name Richard Burwash, the West Valley mayor had more than a dozen stories published over a two-year period…

    Winder admits to using a made-up name and address — as well as a photo he found through a Google image search — to create his false persona. He also communicated with Deseret Connect editors via an email account created for Richard Burwash and spoke to an editor over the phone on at least one occasion representing himself as Burwash.

    In Winder's defense, this is just "citizen journalism" in action. After all, "all of the articles submitted by Winder as Burwash were factually correct — aside from their byline," presumably thanks to the mayor's commitment to using only the best-placed sources.

    Of course, it's all fun and games and comically ethical lapses, until identity theft is involved

    West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder said he apologized to one-time professional tennis player Peter Burwash of Carmel Valley, Calif., during a phone conversation Saturday…

    Peter Burwash said while he considered the unauthorized use of his photo a form of identity theft, he accepted Winder's apology after he agreed to make a donation to three girls' schools in India that his daughters helped finance.

    Good for Peter Burwash for being so forgiving. Who among us hasn't used a celebrity photograph to spice up a Facebook account, improve an online dating profile, or submit positive stories about ourselves to the local media?

    Tags: Facebook, Internet, Sports, Utah