TheDC Morning – 11/29/10

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1.) The Russian and Cuban governments are firing people, why can’t we? — None other than Republican congressman turned Libertarian Party presidential candidate turned newspaper columnist Bob Barr asks the above wild and crazy question. “The United Kingdom announced last month it would reduce the number of bureaucrats in its government by 500,000 over the next five years,” Barr writes. “Russia, home to some of the world’s best bureaucrats, seems to comprehend the need to cut the government payroll in tough economic times. President Dmitry Medvedev plans to trim 100,000 jobs over the next three years; a 20 percent cut in public employment.” Even Raul Castro knows that his country needs fewer email addresses and is “reducing the official work force by half a million over the course of six months, and by one million over the next five years.” (JK! Cuba has no Internet.) Meanwhile, back at the ranch, “the average federal government employee now earns $123,000 annually; double that of their counterparts in the private sector.”

2.) Rep. Paul Ryan is not scared of the cat-food slur — “Paul Ryan campaigned for re-election by calling for reductions in the growth of Medicare and Social Security,” reports USA Today, and “won with 68% of the vote.” Is this a miracle? Do not even bother to ask Rome, because the answer is yes. “Ryan’s landslide in a southeastern Wisconsin district formerly held by Democrats may be a testament to the national mood when it comes to red ink, budget watchdogs and local business groups say. As President Obama and Congress turn their attention from energizing the economy to balancing the budget, even sacred items such as retirement programs will be fair game — something Ryan tells his constituents regularly.” The only other people talking cat-food reform in public are Gov. Gary Johnson, Rep. Ron Paul, and Alan Simpson, who is not even allowed out in public on his own anymore for fear that he may start up with the breast talk again.

3.) Is a fat federal fat tax in the works? — “In a report released shortly before Thanksgiving, a deficit reduction panel co-chaired by former Republican Senator Pete Domenici and former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin called for a national penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugary drinks. (That’s 68 cents on a two-liter bottle),” writes Rick Berman for The Daily Caller. Team Public Health’s argument is the same as it’s ever been: Taxes will discourage consumption of these horrible products while also funding treatment for all the poors who got diabetes from Coca-Cola and can’t afford to pay for their own amputations. This claim is nothing without its underpinnings, which Berman dismantles with facts like this one: “A 2008 review of the evidence in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found no association between sugary drink consumption and kids’ weight. A separate study in the same journal last fall found the same thing.” So, really, this isn’t about you being fat, it’s about your government wanting more of your money.

4.) Hillary Clinton boards broom to Middle East to soothe Wikileaks rash — “The release of more than 250,000 classified State Department documents forced the Obama administration into damage control, trying to contain fallout from unflattering assessments of world leaders and revelations about backstage U.S. diplomacy,” reports the Associated Press. “In the wake of the massive document dump by online whistleblower WikiLeaks and numerous media reports detailing their contents, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was expected to address the diplomatic repercussions on Monday. Clinton could deal with the impact first hand after she leaves Washington on a four-nation tour of Central Asia and the Middle East — a region that figures prominently in the leaked documents.” What exactly do the cables say? Oh, lots of things, all of which are “sure to ruffle feathers in foreign capitals.”

5.) Gary Johnson takes presidential roadshow to Florida, gets compared to Rick Scott — “Johnson’s campaign-style stops in Tallahassee, Melbourne and Orlando last week reveal that the presidential race is already at a low boil in the nation’s largest swing state,” reports the Tampa Bay Times, which compared Johnson to another “self-made millionaire Republican…campaigning in Florida on a platform of spending cuts and less government,” AKA Gov-elect Rick Scott. Even in Florida, where even the rich are just one missed mortgage payment away from living in a pop-up travel trailer, people are reluctant to take Johnson seriously. “Johnson shrugs when told he’s a long-shot candidate compared with better-known former governors Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin and current Govs. Haley Barbour and Tim Pawlenty.” Ah, but there is a hook, just as in every Gary Johnson story! “Johnson has overcome long odds before. As a political newcomer, he shocked the political establishment when he beat a three-term incumbent in 1992, an echo of Scott’s out-of-nowhere success in Florida.” We are almost willing to hold our breath after reading this news story from Tampa Bay, home of deceased TV pitchman Billy Mays and pro wrestler Randy Savage!

6.) Michael Steele still spending other people’s money like it grows on trees — “Top Republican officials are outraged at Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele’s latest – and potentially last – spending scandal,” writes TheDC’s Jonathan Strong. “This time, Steele paid his former personal assistant, Belinda Cook, tens of thousands of dollars to begin work on the 2012 Republican convention in Tampa, Fla.” The only problem? “Cook’s qualifications for such a key position are unknown. Her son and sister are also on the payroll, and the GOP is paying rent on a posh waterfront mansion for Cook to reside in.” SURPRISE!

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Julia McClatchy (admin)