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Anti-American Riots Continue, Space Travel and Romney's Tax Return

Things are a little tense on planet Earth; this week's Hot Topics discusses recent developments.

The riots going on in the other half of the world are still intense. Folks aren't fans of the U.S. right now. Whether it's because of a crass anti-Islam film or because, you know, they've hated us for decades, anti-American sentiment is at a boiling point and they're not afraid to show it.

According to USA Today, President Obama needs to stop blaming the film because the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya were carefully planned terror attacks, not spontaneous riots (hence the rocket launchers, which people don't typically carry around "just in case").

While the horrors in Libya may not be directly tied to the film, it appears that others are. Fifteen Pakistanis died Friday during protests in response to it. The demonstrations have been small, according to CNN, but growing in intensity. (Watch the video above for an idea of the level of intensity.)

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Here in the states, presidential campaigns carry on while our flags burn. Mitt Romney released his 2011 tax returns, showing that he paid nearly $1.9 million in taxes on nearly $14 million in income. He also donated about 30 percent to charity. He won't be releasing any more.

Here are the documents if you want to check them out yourself.

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The Space Shuttle Endeavor went into retirement on Friday. With Neil Armstrong's recent passing, it really feels like the end of an era. Its final destination is Los Angeles, where the public will be able to view it. All NASA shuttles are now permanently retired.

If you've always wanted to become an astronaut, or just travel to space, fear not. That's a private sector thing now. Companies like SpaceX and Virgin Galactic are hiring astronauts and building their own shuttles. They look a lot cooler than NASA's. Back in May, SpaceX sent their own privately built spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Virgin Galactic will start making trips to space available to us Earthlings in about a year. Founder Richard Branson actually wants to set up a colony on Mars.

So it seems the era of space exploration is really just beginning.

Brian Crawford September 22, 2012 at 09:59 PM
One small correction. Romney didn't donate 30 percent to charity. The premise was that if you add Romney's Charitable giving to what he paid in taxes (14.1 percent) it adds up to about 30 percent of his income. Romney's charitable giving is also a bit misleading. The overwhelming majority of his "charitable" contributions are his tithe to the Mormon Church. Mormons take tithing seriously and all devout Mormons routinely tithe the expected 10 percent. The rest is given to The Tyler Foundation which is the Romney's personal charity that Ann heads up (on paper at least). This is something that deserves much more scrutiny. As a non-profit much of the Tyler Foundation's financial info is accessible online. A cursory examination of this info shows an organization consisting only of Mitt and Ann that excepts no other donations and doles out small amounts, primarily to conservative political causes, while amassing assets of over $10 million.

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