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GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been dogged by media-gasbag allegations that he hasn't been paying his taxes — allegations which offer smarmy pop-culture writers the exceedingly rare opportunity to mention Mitt Romney and Lauryn Hill in the same sentence.* Yesterday, Romney responded to those accusations by announcing, "I did go back and look at my taxes, and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent." In response, David Simon — creator of fall-of-America portraits like The Wire, Generation Kill, and Tremetook to his blog to announce that he, for one, was not amused. "Can we stand back and pause a short minute," writes Simon, "to take in the spectacle of a man who wants to be President of The United States, who wants us to seriously regard him as a paragon of the American civic ideal, declaiming proudly and in public that he has paid his taxes at a third of the rate normally associated with gentlemen of his economic benefit."

Simon continues:

Simon concludes: "This republic is just about over, isn't it?" Happy Friday, everyone!

*Pause to imagine Mitt and Lauryn, meeting at their favorite brunch place on a sun-drenched Saturday morning in Jamaica or Monaco or some other tax shelter nation. He's drinking a virgin Bloody Mary that's actually just water with red food coloring. She's drinking hibiscus tea made from hibiscus she farmed from her hibiscus forest. Mitt: "Lauryn, honeybunny, you gotta release a new album! Unplugged No. 2.0 came out in 2002. Do you know how long ago that was?" Lauryn: "Of course I remember that, Mitty. That's the last time you got elected to public office!" And they laugh and laugh and laugh…

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