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1. NRA Chief: 2012 Election 'Most Dangerous in Our Lifetime'
2. Oddsmakers: Rubio Likeliest Republican VP
3. Lottery Withholdings Vary Greatly by State
4. Poll: Obama Losing Jewish Support
5. Egypt Jails Christian Teen for 'Insulting Islam'
4. Americans Work 107 Days to Pay Taxes in '12
1. NRA Chief: 2012 Election 'Most
Dangerous in Our Lifetime'
Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of
the National Rifle Association, warns that President Barack Obama intends to
"destroy the Second Amendment" during his second term and "end
our freedom forever."
LaPierre delivered a rousing speech at the
Conservative Political Action Conference in February, and the text of his
speech has been published in the April issue of "America's 1st
Freedom," the official journal of the NRA.
Asserting that the Second Amendment is the
"heart and soul" of America, LaPierre says: "Our soul is at
stake in this election. This campaign is a fight for our country, our values,
and the freedom we believe in.
"All of our Second Amendment liberty,
all of the rights we've worked so hard to defend, all of what we know is good
and right about America -- all of it could be lost if Barack Obama is
LaPierre predicts that on the campaign trail
Obama will point out to voters that he has not pursued an anti-gun agenda
during his first term, but that was a "political calculation" aimed
at NRA supporters and gun owners who might oppose him in his re-election bid.
Obama's strategy, he says, is to "get
re-elected and, with no more elections to worry about, get busy dismantling and
destroying our firearm freedom. Erase the Second Amendment from the Bill of
Rights and excise it from the U.S. Constitution."
During his second term Obama would likely
appoint from one to three Supreme Court justices, and three more liberal
justices will mean "the end of our freedom forever," LaPierre
He concludes: "If you don't remember
anything else I say today, write this down: This is the most dangerous election
in our lifetime. If Obama wins, we'll go to our grave mourning the freedom
"This is our time, our election to rise
up and fight for our rights. We will defend our nation because we must. We will
2. Oddsmakers: Rubio Likeliest
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio has ruled himself
out of contention for the GOP vice presidential nomination, but Ireland's
leading bookmaker still rates him as the Republican most likely to get the nod.
As of this week, the betting site Paddy Power
puts Rubio's odds at 11-4, comfortably ahead of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is next at 6-1,
followed by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, both
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is at 10-1, while
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, current presidential candidate Rick Santorum, and
South Dakota Sen. John Thune are all at 20-1.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is
at 25-1, and curiously, so is current presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.
Former Republican vice presidential candidate
Sarah Palin is at 66-1.
Other potential candidates bettors can select
include Newt Gingrich (40-1), Ron Paul (50-1), Rick Perry (66-1), Donald Trump
(80-1), Michele Bachmann (80-1), and Herman Cain (100-1).
Paddy Power puts the odds of any Republican
winning the election at 7-4, and a Democratic win at 2-5.
3. Lottery Withholdings Vary Greatly
Lottery fever swept the country as the Mega
Millions jackpot rose toward a record $656 million for the March 30 drawing,
but the fortune that the winners can take home varies depending on the state
they live in.
All winnings over $5,000 are subject to a 25
percent federal withholding tax. Next April, winners can see if any of that
amount gets refunded, or if they owe even more federal income tax.
Lottery winnings are also subject to state
income tax in most states. But withholding varies greatly in the states that do
have lotteries, from zero in California, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and the states
with no income tax, to a high of 10.8% in New Jersey.
Maryland has the second highest withholding
tax, 9.25%, followed by New York at 8.97%, Oregon at 8%,
and Idaho at 7.8%.
Residents of New York City also pay 3.648% in city tax, bringing the total state withholding to 12.618% and
total state and federal withholding to more than 37%.
Maryland and Arizona also impose withholding
on non-residents who bought a ticket in those states, meaning they could face
double withholding, the Tax Foundation reports in an analysis of rates around
The amount of "profit" a state
makes from lottery revenue also varies greatly.
The implicit tax revenue is the portion of
lottery revenue kept by the state, or the profit, and does not include state
income tax on winnings. The highest implicit tax revenue per capita is in
Delaware, $370, followed by Rhode Island ($323) and West Virginia ($314).
The lowest per capita amount is $9 in North
Dakota, followed by Montana ($11).
"To the extent [lottery] revenue is used
for general government purposes, it is a tax," the Tax Foundation
"Further, because state lotteries pay
out an average of only 60 percent of gross revenues in prizes (compared to
about 90 percent for casino slot machines or table games), state-run lotteries
are only viable as a monopoly, in conjunction with a ban on private
4. Poll: Obama Losing Jewish Support
A new poll shows that 62% of Jewish
voters in America want to see President Barack Obama re-elected in November --
down from the 78% of Jews who supported Obama in the 2008 election.
The survey by the Public Religion Research
Institute also found that of the Jews who voted for Obama in the last election,
86% would like to see him re-elected but 7% said they have
switched sides and would prefer to see a Republican win in November.
"This poll is another in a series of
data points that show that President Obama has lost support among Jewish
voters," said Republican Jewish Coalition Executive Director Matt Brooks.
"Most recently, we've seen the Pew poll
of February 2012 and the American Jewish Committee survey of September 2011
which both show a significant erosion in Jewish support for President Obama
since his election in 2008.
"Make no mistake: This president has a
Jewish problem. There is no silver lining in this poll for Democrats. These
data points all show that Republicans are poised to continue to make inroads in
the Jewish community in the 2012 election."
In the poll, only 4% of respondents
say Israel is "the most important issue" influencing their vote. The
economy is the top issue for 51%, and 15% cite the "growing
gap between the rich and poor."
· 81% of respondents favor raising taxes
on Americans earning more than $1 million a year.
· 37% believe that ties between Israel
and the United States "are worse" than ever before, and just 7% think they are better than in the past.
· 59% of Jewish Americans say the United
States should take military action to stop Iran's nuclear program if sanctions
fail, and 37% oppose it.
5. Egypt Jails Christian Teen for
An Egyptian court has handed down the maximum
sentence of three years in prison for a 17-year-old Christian boy who published
cartoons on his Facebook page mocking Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
Gamal Abdou Massoud was also charged with
distributing some of his cartoons to his friends in the village of Assiut, home
to a large Christian population and the hometown of the late Coptic Orthodox
Pope Shenouda, who died on March 17.
The cartoons were posted by Massoud in
December, prompting some Muslims to attack Christians, the Jerusalem Post
reported. Several Christian houses were burned.
Human rights lawyer Negad al-Borai told
Reuters the three-year sentence was the maximum penalty under Egyptian law for
the crime of insulting Islam. But the Times of Israel reported that on the same
day Massoud was sentenced, a court ratified a 6-year sentence against a Coptic
school secretary for the same offense.
Christians comprise 10T of Egypt's
population, and tensions between Coptic Christians and Muslims have intensified
since early 2011 when a bomb killed 21 people at an Alexandria church.
6. Americans Work 107 Days to Pay
Taxes in '12
Tax Freedom Day arrives on Tuesday, April 17
this year -- Americans worked for the first 107 days of 2012 just to earn enough
to pay their federal, state, and local taxes.
The date is four days later than in 2011,
meaning that taxes across the board have gone up this year, according to the
Tax Foundation, which computes Tax Freedom Day each year.
Americans will pay 29.2T of their
total income in taxes this year, more than on groceries, clothing, and shelter
combined, the Foundation noted.
The computation of Tax Freedom Day ignores
the budget deficit and figures in only taxes that will actually be collected
this year. If the federal government was seeking to collect enough in taxes to
finance all of its spending, including $1.014 trillion in deficit spending, Tax
Freedom Day would not arrive until May 14.
This year's Tax Freedom Day -- which
coincidentally falls on the date this year's federal income tax returns are due
-- comes seven days later than in 2009, the year President Obama took office.
The latest-ever Tax Freedom Day was May 1,
The Foundation projects that Americans will
work about 32 days to pay their federal income tax, eight days to pay state and
local individual income tax, 23 days to pay social insurance taxes that fund
Social Security and Medicare, nine days to cover federal income taxes on
corporations, another day to cover state and local taxes on corporations, 12
days to pay property taxes, another 12 days to pay state and local sales and
excise taxes, two days to pay federal sales and excise taxes, three days to pay
other federal taxes and four days to cover other state and local taxes.
Due to different state and local tax rates
and differences in average income subject to federal taxes, total tax burdens
vary from state to state. This year Tax Freedom Day will fall the latest in
Connecticut, May 5, and on May 1 in New York and New Jersey.
Residents of Tennessee bear the lowest average
tax burden this year, with Tax Freedom Day falling on March 31. It fell on
April 1 in Louisiana and Mississippi, and on April 3 in South Carolina.