Saturday, April 16, 2011

Birthers Get A Trump Card, Part 7

The Donald will not go gently into that good night with his birther idiocy, but he is 100% right when he says "people love this issue especially in the Republican Party."

Pushing back against calls from Republicans to abandon his new-found birther quest, Donald Trump snapped back Saturday at party leaders like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) who accuse him of being less than serious about his presidential ambitions, warning Republicans that abandoning the conspiracy theories surrounding President Obama's birth certificate will harm the party.

In an exclusive interview with TPM recorded before Trump spoke to what those in attendance called a record crowd at the Palm Beach County Tax Day Tea Party rally, Trump said Republicans like Cantor dismiss the birther issue at their peril.

"I think it's a very bad thing for Cantor to have done," Trump said, "because I'll tell you, people love this issue especially in the Republican Party. And there's something to what we're saying." 

One thing's for sure:  none of the GOP candidates are going to be able to run away from the birther crowd.  And that's nobody's fault but the Republicans themselves.  They started this nonsense and have kept it going for years now.  And here's where they begin to pay the price.

The birther stupidity is an absolute loser in the general election.  All Obama has to do is say "Instead of debating the issues, the Republicans have nothing better to talk about than my birth certificate."  A majority of Republicans have some doubts about it, even though it was proven years ago.  And the more they bring this up, the more it's going to kill them in the election.

If I didn't know better, I'd say Trump was a secret Howard Dean plant.  Like Steve M. says, Trump is pushing all the right buttons, and he knows how to sell, sell, sell.

You're Doing It Wrong, Jeff

Meet GOP freshman Rep. Jeff Dunham of California.  He's on the transportation, interior, and veteran's affairs committees, but like most lawmakers in the House, he's already fundraising for 2012.  The problem is that Jeff here is particularly bad at that part.

A freshman California lawmaker made a big splash but barely broke even at a glitzy and controversial January GOP fundraiser featuring country singer LeAnn Rimes, new campaign filings show.

Celebrity, it seems, comes at a cost.

Rimes and her entourage made out well at the Jan. 4 fundraiser that served as Republican Rep. Jeff Denham's big political debut in Washington. Between assorted fees, flowers, catering and other costs, Denham's special fundraising committee reported spending $212,250 on the Rimes event.

The committee, meanwhile, raised only $212,900 from outside contributors.

Add it all up, and Denham's special committee spent nearly a quarter of a million dollars to net a grand total of $650 in outside contributions.

"It's an industrial-strength waste of money, and the people who gave the money are going to resent it," said Michael Fraioli, a longtime Democratic fundraising expert.

Denham didn't respond Friday to requests for comment.

Dunham's district includes the suburbs of Fresno and Modesto and a median household income of $51,000 or so, so it's not like he's in a bad place to be raising cash as a California Republican, especially with Dunham being an Air Force veteran in an important aerospace state.  Yosemite National Park is in his district too (CA-19) so being on a couple of environmental committees gives him some important purple district cred as well.

The problem is Jeff here seems to be really, really bad at math or at suckering rubes into giving him money.  Either one is a serious liability if you're pretending to be Tea Party freshman and you're a purple district moderate.  Even worse, he dragged in some 11 other Republicans into his big fundraiser...and they walked away with chicken feed.  Oh, and I'm betting Jeff isn't too popular around the "No Socialists Allowed" couch fort the Tea Party kids have in the House basement, either.

Why The Ryan Unicorn Plan Was Doomed From The Start

The more I see the GOP House eager to stab Tea Party seniors in the back, the more I shake my head and wonder why they are going down the road of oblivion.  The fact that Republicans will destroy anyone and everyone in their quest for political power isn't news, but I honestly don't see what the point of the Ryan Unicorn Plan vote is.  There are a number of reasons the Medicare provisions in particular are done for, and reason number one is the insurance companies themselves.

At first glance, Paul Ryan's plan to send millions of seniors into the free market with dwindling vouchers in hand might seem a boon to the private insurance industry. But would companies even want to participate?

Unlike the Affordable Care Act, which mandated that millions of young and healthy Americans purchase insurance with government subsidies, the Paul Ryan plan would instead bring the oldest, sickest, and least profitable demographic to the table. And with the CBO projecting that the average senior would be on the hook for over two-thirds of their health care costs within just 10 years of the plan's adoption -- a proportion that is projected to worsen in the long run --- the government subsidies backing them up may not bring in enough profitable customers to make things worthwhile.

"If reimbursement rates are too low to provide basic benefits, they'll tell the government, 'You do it,'" one insurance lobbyist told TPM. "I don't think they can require they lose money, they'd just pull out."

They'd stop insuring seniors.  After all, the whole point of the insurance industry is to make a profit, not to provide health care coverage.  You take government out of the picture with the voucher plan that won't cover costs, and the insurance companies are stuck with the bill.  They of course would either pass along the costs to the rest of us, or just refuse to provide coverage at all for seniors.  That would in turn raise rates on everyone else.

Maybe that's Ryan's real point.  I'm betting however that the insurance industry loves getting big money from the government, and they want more customers, not fewer ones with less money.

I'll Have That Steak Well Done, Please

(Reuters) - Meat found on grocery store shelves often contains high levels of bacteria, with more than half of the bacteria resistant to multiple types of antibiotics, a study released on Friday said.

Price said the most significant finding is not the level of bacteria on the meats, but rather how the bacteria are becoming strongly resistant to antibiotics used to treat animals before slaughter.

The study found that in 96 percent of the meats with staph bacteria, the bacteria were resistant to at least one type of antibiotic, and 52 percent were resistant to three or more types.

This is cause for some serious follow-up studies.  When antibiotics changed the face of medicine forever, it was immediately taken for granted.  For a dash of surprise (at least on my part), when the meats were listed in order of what was safest, chicken won the prize. But seriously, folks.  Everybody strays from the safety practices once in a while.  This is a solemn reminder to prep food safely and be aware of what can happen when we lapse.

Royal Flush-Up Of The Week

The founders of the three largest online poker sites were indicted on Friday in what could serve as a death blow to a thriving industry.
Eleven executives at PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and a number of their affiliates were charged with bank fraud and money laundering in an indictment unsealed in a Manhattan court. Two of the defendants were arrested on Friday morning in Utah and Nevada. Federal agents are searching for the others.

Prosecutors are seeking to immediately shut down the sites and to eventually send the executives to jail and to recover $3 billion from the companies. By Friday afternoon Full Tilt Poker’s site displayed a message explaining that “this domain name has been seized by the F.B.I. pursuant to an Arrest Warrant.”

I'm not sure who didn't see this coming, but it's still dramatic and fun to follow.  My greatest surprise is that  they were able to last for so long.  So the next time you want to throw money away, see the tip jar.  At least you will know for sure where it's going.

Land Of The Rising Core Temperature, Part 26

As the all but confirmed containment breach at Fukushima Daiichi continues to leak radioactive material into the environment and with news that the leak could continue for months before being fully contained, the problem now turns to the political "fallout" as the finger pointing for whose fault this is begins in earnest

Japan's fragile post-disaster political truce unraveled on Thursday as the head of the main opposition party called on unpopular Prime Minister Naoto Kan to quit over his handling of the country's natural calamities and a nuclear crisis.

At the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant in the northeast of the country, engineers were struggling to find a new way to cool one of the six crippled reactors and Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said it was now "highly likely" there was a hole in the suppression unit of the reactor.

Kan, whose public support stands at about 30 percent, had sought a grand coalition to help the country recover from its worst ever natural disaster and enact bills to pay for the country's biggest reconstruction project since World War Two.

Kan's Democratic Party controls parliament's lower house but needs opposition help to pass bills because it lacks a majority in the upper chamber, which can block legislation.

But the head of the main opposition Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) -- who last week ruled out joining hands -- on Thursday pressured Kan to go.

"The time has come for (the prime minister) to decide whether he stays or goes," Kyodo news agency quoted Sadakazu Tanigaki as telling a news conference.

Tanigaki's comment reflects the view of many in his conservative party that Kan must step down as a precondition for any coalition as well as a hope that criticism of Kan within his own Democratic Party will gather steam after party powerbroker Ichiro Ozawa blasted the premier over his crisis management.

Upper House speaker Takeo Nishioka, a well-known Kan critic from the Democrats, also urged Kan to resign, Kyodo said.

That the Kan government was going to fall was a given, I'm just honestly surprised it took this long.  It won't be long now before Kan is forced to resign either by pressure or a no-confidence vote, and the faster Kan is ousted, the more quickly I believe the world will learn the true extent of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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