A hurricane threatens to ruin the Republican convention, though we're pretty sure the musical acts will accomplish the same thing. A zombie announced his candidacy for president, making him the second-least lifelike candidate in the race. And unless Ann Romney's Monday night convention speech is titled "CSI: Tampa Bay Times Forum," chances are it won't get much television coverage. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012:

HARRY REID COULD ACCESS MITT ROMNEY'S TAX RETURNS - We imagine the scene where Reid opens them would look something like this. Zach Carter: "According to Title 26 of U.S. Code Section 6103, the Treasury secretary can disclose any personal tax return to the president "or to such employee or employees of the White House Office as the President may designate.' Members of Congress can also access Romney's earlier tax returns by making a written request to Geithner. The Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Joint Committee on Taxation are all mentioned as committees that can access individual tax returns. The chairman of any other congressional committee can also obtain access for his or her entire panel, provided the request meets one caveat: 'A request by anyone except a tax-writing committee has to be accompanied by a Senate or House resolution,' said Rebecca Wilkins, senior tax counsel at Citizens for Tax Justice." [HuffPost]

We'll be impressed if Mitt Romney's poll bump in Wisconsin can survive Paul Ryan waving around a Steelers towel in Pennsylvania

AMERICANS PREFER STAGED THINGS TO INCLUDE EXPLOSIONS, ROMANTIC SUBPLOTS AND POSSIBLY DEMONS - NYT: "At 10:30 on Monday night, Ann Romney is scheduled to take the stage at the Republican National Convention, in Act 1 of her husband's four-day introduction to the nation. But tens of millions of people will not be able to watch. CBS plans instead to show a rerun of 'Hawaii Five-O,' its hit police series. Viewers on NBC will see a new episode of 'Grimm,' about a homicide detective with the supernatural ability to sense evil. And ABC plans to show 'Castle,' a series about a best-selling mystery novelist who helps solve crimes. The networks, which reap considerable advertising dollars even from summer reruns, have told the Romney campaign that they will broadcast an hour of convention coverage on the final three nights -- but no more." [NYT]

@APStylebook: "Winning the day" is insider political jargon that we should avoid, @NickReisman. #APStyleChat

HOW RICK SCOTT WILL CLAIM HE SAVED FLORIDA'S ECONOMY - By kicking people off unemployment, of course. "When 65-year-old Raymond Togyer isn't polishing his resume or cold calling potential employers, he's spending hours trying, unsuccessfully, to navigate Florida's labyrinthine unemployment compensation system. Togyer -- who was laid off for the first time in his adult life from a high-paying civil engineering job in June -- has spent the last seven weeks sending and resending letters, staying on hold for hours and checking state websites, all to no avail. He is one of hundreds of thousands of out-of-work Floridians flummoxed by what has become the most tightfisted unemployment compensation system in the nation. 'They told me that I was eligible and that I was going to be getting $275 a week,' said the Togyer, of Fort Lauderdale. 'That was seven weeks ago. To this day I have not received anything. I'm draining my savings to pay my bills.'" [McClatchy]

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Stinky news from Pew: "Since 2000, the middle class has shrunk in size, fallen backward in income and wealth, and shed some -- but by no means all -- of its characteristic faith in the future....Their downbeat take on their economic situation comes at the end of a decade in which, for the first time since the end of World War II, mean family incomes declined for Americans in all income tiers. But the middle-income tier -- defined in this Pew Research analysis as all adults whose annual household income is two-thirds to double the national median -- is the only one that also shrunk in size, a trend that has continued over the past four decades." God bless America, where the middle class has double the middle income. [Pew]

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CBO: FISCAL CLIFF WILL LEAD TO MAJOR RECESSION - Floor traders better ready the Purell, because their heads will be spending an awful lot of time cradled in their hands come January. That's the finding -- sort of -- of a CBO report that the 'fiscal cliff' will lead to a major economic downturn next year. Reuters: "The Congressional Budget Office said failure to avoid the so-called 'fiscal cliff' of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending reductions would cause U.S. gross domestic product to shrink 0.5 percent in 2013. Previously, the non-partisan CBO forecast full-year GDP growth of 0.5 percent. The first half of 2013 will be particularly difficult, the CBO said in its mid-year forecast update. Tax hikes and spending cuts will cause GDP to shrink 2.9 percent in the first half, compared with a prediction in May for a 1.9 percent contraction. There will still be a slight bounceback in the second half of 2013, but it will be weaker, with growth of only 1.9 percent, compared with a previous forecast of 2.3 percent growth." [Reuters]

@BuzzFeedBen: Excellent: A redditor filed a FOIA request for the White House beer recipe i.imgur.com/7abv0.jpg

DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION CLEARLY ASHAMED OF ITSELF - The list of donors to the Democratic National Convention won't be disclosed until after the party's quadrennial meeting, contradicting earlier promises of financial transparency and forcing us to wait a few more days to learn about all those donations from George Soros, imprisoned Weathermen and New Black Panther Party members. WaPo: "Democrats have had trouble raising money for the gathering largely because of a decision to ban corporate money. Corporations traditionally have provided much of the financing for both party conventions. But in a sign of their tight budget, Democratic organizers shortened the official convention schedule from four days to three. The host committee for the convention, known as Charlotte in 2012, had published on its Web site its policy that donors would be disclosed online 'on an ongoing basis.' And the contract that city officials signed with Democratic Party officials specified that 'all contributions, monetary or in-kind, shall be disclosed publicly . . . within an agreed upon regular time frame on the host committee's website.' The committee removed that language from its Web site last week after an inquiry from The Washington Post." [WaPo]

PAUL RYAN: WOMEN ARE SWINDLERS AND CHEATS AND NEED TO STOP HIDING BEHIND THEIR UTERI - Back in 2000, with the country distraught by the decline of boy bands and Pets.com, Paul Ryan tried to take folks' minds off things by postulating that women would wriggle out of a proposed abortion ban the same way the rest of us obtain medical marijuana prescriptions: by faking or exaggerating ailments, particularly mental ones. "Let me just say this to all of my colleagues who are about to vote on this issue," he said of an abortion measure up for vote. "The health exception is a loophole wide enough to drive a Mack truck through it. The health exception would render this ban virtually meaningless." Thanks, Paul! [HuffPost's Jason Cherkis]

Distancing himself from anti-abortion legislation he co-sponsored with Todd Akin, Ryan told Pittsburgh TV station KDKA that "Rape is rape period, end of story." Sure, there are worse things you could find yourself saying only several weeks into your candidacy -- like why you were in Vegas, holding Prince Harry's clothes, or something about all that tarp and quicklime in your trunk -- but we can't think of many. [WSJ]

REP. DAVID RIVERA SECRETLY FUNDED DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY - Who does this guy think he is? Alan Grayson? Miami Herald: "Fueled with $43,000 in secret money, Republican Rep. David Rivera helped run a shadow campaign that might have broken federal laws in last week's Democratic primary against his political nemesis Joe Garcia, according to campaign sources and finance records. As part of the effort, a political unknown named Justin Lamar Sternad campaigned against Garcia by running a sophisticated mail campaign that Rivera helped orchestrate and fund, campaign vendors said... Rivera and Sternad have denied working together in his campaign, which ended Aug. 14. But Hugh Cochran, president of Campaign Data, told The Herald this week that Rivera contacted him in July and requested he create a list of voters who were ultimately targeted in the 11 mailers sent by Sternad's campaign. 'David hired me to run the data,' said Cochran, who is a retired FBI agent." [Miami Herald]

@mpoindc: FLOTUS to Letterman on Wednesday, the third night of the GOP convention is.gd/sVxpUY

AMERICAN BRIDGE-FUNDED HURRICANE MIGHT RUIN REPUBLICAN CONVENTION - That's a joke. Republicans know hurricanes aren't caused by Democratic Super PACS -- they're the product of warm air over the Atlantic Ocean, gay marriage and single women having orgasms. CBS: "As Tropical Storm Isaac churns toward reaching hurricane strength in the Atlantic, Tampa's mayor warned that that the city playing host to the Republican National Convention was "prepared to call it off" if the storm poses a safety threat...It's too early to say with any certainty whether the storm will actually gain hurricane strength - though National Hurricane Center computer models predicted it will over the next few days - or hit Tampa, on Florida's west coast. But some models had the storm striking Florida, including the Tampa Bay area, after moving across Cuba or the Bahamas as early as Sunday morning.... GOP and state officials have contingency plans in place if the storm makes its way to Tampa, including an evacuation in a worst-case scenario." [CBS News]

Switzerland is upset over the anti-Swiss sentiment of the "Romney Girl" video.

SEAL TEAM SIX MEMBER TO PUBLISH OBL ACCOUNT - Set to be released on September 11, "Hey, Remember When The President Ordered That Bad Guy's Death?" "No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama bin Laden" will provide a firsthand account of, well, the title kinda gives it away. NYT: "A former member of Seal Team Six, the author was a team leader in the operation that resulted in the death of bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011...The publishing executives familiar with the deal would not say to what extent the book was vetted by government agencies....Because the book is written under a pseudonym, the author will appear in disguise during television interviews to promote the book. At least one major network prime-time appearance has been planned, a person familiar with the plans said, and during interviews on television and radio, the author's voice would be altered." [NYT]

National Review provides yet another reason to vote for Mitt Romney: his alpha dawg ability to breed males. "Professor Obama? Two daughters. May as well give the guy a cardigan. And fallopian tubes." Never change! [National Review]

ZOMBIE CANDIDATE UPENDS PRESIDENTIAL RACE - David Moye: "Zombie threw his hat in the ring at a campaign rally in San Diego on Monday that attracted about three dozen zombies and a few human stragglers...[W]hen Zombie was asked about health care he had this to say: 'Aaaargh!' Luckily, Morgan-Zombie fleshed out the quote. 'My husband says that health care is a very important issue to him, primarily because it's almost impossible to get health care as a zombie,' she told HuffPost." [HuffPost]

FORMER ABRAMOFF LOBBYIST PISSED AT THINGS IS SAD - Our favorite Former Abramoff Lobbyist Pissed At Things is sad that Michael Strahan is getting a new TV career while FALPAT wastes away on the sidelines. "Next you are going to tell me that Abramoff is writing ethics legislation with Trevor Potter and Ryan Lochte is partying with Prince Harry in Las Vegas.... Wait, those are both true? I guess figuring out how to get unemployment checks (thanks for the extension Obama!) has taken me away from the news that matters most. I don't really have a point, but remember when DC was fun when you could just go to sporting events and boozy dinners at Signatures with yours truly?" Sorry, FALPAT!

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR - Move aside, McKayla Maroney, Tito the dog is training for the vault.

BUILDING EATEN BY WORDS - HuffPost DC:"Beginning this week and running until 2014, Barbara Kruger's "Belief+Doubt" will cover 6,700 square feet of the Hirshhorn's surface with bold slogans that are 12 feet high, and black and white and re(a)d all over. Kruger is best known for pieces like "I shop therefore I am" -- work that combines political and socially-aware slogans with photography. "Belief+Doubt" wraps the museum's lower level in slogans: "Hoard It," "Crave It," "Break It," "Return It;" and "WHO IS BEYOND THE LAW? WHO SPEAKS? WHO IS SILENT?" and "BELIEF + DOUBT = SANITY" among them. (The slogans extend into the gift shop. The irony/wit in that has already been noted.)" [HuffPost]

COMFORT FOOD

- "Awkward Stock Video" is ostensibly a collection of uncomfortable stock clips but really feels like an installation at the Whitney Biennial. [http://bit.ly/TFHau0]

- Dan Castellaneta, voice of Homer Simpson, explains where the "D'oh!" exclamation came from. [http://chzb.gr/SjJPtC]

- When Apple's designers and engineers realized people only use their iPhones to take pictures of food, it totally upended the iPhone 5's development. [http://bit.ly/OZpMl2]

- Super Mario Bros. for the Atari 2600. [http://bit.ly/PcMu4G]

- A time-lapse video of the preparations for the final space shuttle launch. [http://bit.ly/TUG7pZ]

- Playing a saw as a musical instrument doesn't just create a grating noise, it also attracts coyotes! [http://bit.ly/PwTX1w]

- A supercut of Leslie Knope doing impressions. [http://bit.ly/RCGLLm]

TWITTERAMA

@IsaacRNC: @mittromney SUPER excited to see you at the RNC!!! I'm sure I'll blow you away!! #RNC2012

@benjysarlin: Man, the political columnists using hurricane metaphors in their ledes next week are going to be unbearable

@pourmecoffee: Whew. It's *Prince* Harry naked Vegas photos not Harry Reid. That was frightening.

ON TAP

Tonight: Michael Jordan and other NBA stars attend a campaign dinner for President Obama. Unclear how much Jordan will make the event about himself. [NYC]

Tonight, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm: Catch 'em before they bail to K Street! The NRSC hosts a summer cookout for Republican Senate chiefs of staff. [NRSC, 425, 2nd Street NE]

Tonight: Mitt Romney heads to Arkansas for a fundraiser. [Little Rock, AR]

Today: You could use that $2,500 to attend a Detroit fundraiser with Joe Biden, or you could use it to buy a 50-storey office building in Detroit. [Detroit, MI]

Today: See what the P90X can do...and also meet the man who might soon be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Paul Ryan heads to North Carolina for a campaign reception/possible P90X demonstration.

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