ThinkFast: April 14, 2011

“As Tax Day approaches, most Americans say they think the taxes they pay are fair,” two new polls suggest. An AP poll found that 54 percent of Americans found their tax bill to be “fair,” while a Fox News poll found 52 percent say they “pay about their fair share.”

Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson received compensation worth $21.5 million last year. His “salary increased 7 percent to $2.2 million, and his bonus rose 40 percent to $3.4 million.” Tillerson heads the world’s largest publicly-traded company, which saw its earnings rise over 50 percent last year.

After throwing a tantrum and calling an NBA official a “fucking fag,” basketball superstar Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 by the league yesterday. Bryant responded by issuing a statement saying he did not mean to offend the LGBT community. The Wonk Room’s Zack Ford notes the statement did not include an apology nor an explanation for how his homophobic slur could be used without offending anyone.

A coalition of liberal groups and Wisconsin union members will be on hand to give Gov. Scott Walker (R) a “rowdy welcome” before his appearance on Capitol Hill today. Walker is testifying before Congress about his budget effort, which stripped the state’s public employees of collective bargaining rights.

Former Sen. Rick Santorum announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee Wednesday. A “blunt-talking” conservative who may lack the fundraising ability of some of his opponents, Santorum could appeal to social conservatives in early primary states. “It’s time for America to be America again,” he said.

The New York Times notes that, despite the incredible wreckage caused by the financial crisis, there have still been no prosecutions among top figures in the financial markets. “It goes to the whole perception that Wall Street was taken care of, and Main Street was not,” said University of Pennsylvania law professor David Skeel.

Gun control advocates won a “rare victory” in the recent budget deal, as a provision was removed that would have made regulation of firearm sales along the Mexican border more difficult. “It’s hard to recall the last time the NRA didn’t get a priority,” noted one gun control advocate.

And finally: An FAA investigation revealed Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) “‘sky-hopped’ his Cessna aircraft over six vehicles and ground personnel as he tried to land last year on a closed runway in Texas, sending frightened airport workers fleeing for their lives.” “I think (the truck driver) actually wet his britches, he was scared to death,” a worker on the scene told investigators. Inhofe has already completed a mandatory retraining program.

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