TheDC Morning – 11/30/10

1.) Michael Steele is an idiot and a thief — Strong words, we know, but The Daily Caller’s Jonathan Strong has the goods to back it up. Not only did “Steele install his former personal assistant Belinda Cook as the RNC’s ‘liaison to the [2012 Republican National] Convention,'” he also gave her a $25,000 signing bonus, a salary of $180,000, and is paying for her rent on a 3,200 square foot waterfront mansion with private pool and dock–all with RNC money! But that’s not all! “Cook’s sister, Betina Barcus, has been paid over $25,000 for ‘hotel management consulting.’ Cook’s son, Lee, is on the payroll, as is her niece, Pamela. And Lee’s college buddy is getting paid, too. Finally, Belinda Cook’s former assistant and friend Cushing is making money. The extended Cook cabal took home a total of $139,923 in the three month reporting period from July 1 to Sept. 30.” STEAL, MICHAEL, STEAL!

2.) Joe Scarborough declares war on Sarah Palin — Former Republican congressman and morning talkshow host Joe Scarborough lit into Palin in the pages of Politico this morning. “What man or mouse with a fully functioning human brain and a résumé as thin as Palin’s would flirt with a presidential run?” Joe asks. “It makes the political biography of Barack Obama look more like Winston Churchill’s, despite the fact that the 44th president breezed into the Oval Office as little more than a glorified state senator.” The one-time Florida representative then lists Palin’s transgressions: calling Ronald Reagan an actor; calling George HW Bush a “blue blood.” (The latter is probably just a knee-jerk reaction to Todd being called a snow-billy). Concludes Joe: “This is one Republican who would prefer that the former half-term governor promote her reality shows and hawk her books without demeaning the reputations of Presidents Reagan and Bush. These great men dedicated their lives to public service and are too good to be fodder for her gaudy circus sideshow.” Isn’t Scarborough himself flirting with a presidential run? Say what you want about Palin, but she does have a more substantial resume than Joe does.

3.) Pres. Obama tells flunkies: ‘No treats this year’ — “We need to turn our attention to addressing the massive deficits we inherited and the unsustainable fiscal course that we are on. Doing so will take some very tough choices,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told reporters yesterday. “Just as families and businesses around the nation have tightened their belts so must their government.” Uh, Amen? How about: Damn straight? “At a time when our nation’s seniors have been denied a cost-of-living-increase and private sector hiring is stagnant,” said House ball-breaker Darrell Issa, “it is both necessary and quite frankly, long over-due to institute a pay-freeze for the federal workforce.” Again: Cosign. According to The Daily Caller’s Jon Ward, “Jeffrey Zients, the deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the government will save $28 billion over the next five years and $60 billion in the next decade with the pay freeze.” That’s a start.

4.) Is Michelle Obama’s health obsession bad for babies? — The First Lady of the United States should think about giving her anti-fat-kid syllabus an overhaul–it could be causing more harm than good. “Pudgy cheeks that once drew ‘ooohs and aaahs’ are eliciting ‘ughs’ from some parents who have struggled with their own weight issues and fear their children will toddle along the same path,” reports ABC News. Is this Michelle Obama’s fault? FLOTUS never said to starve your baby, or put water in his bottle, as some parents have begun doing. No, all Michelle said is that she is going to eradicate childhood obesity within a generation, and that “as First Lady I’m going to continue to do everything that I can to focus my energy to keep this issue at the forefront of the discussion in this society.” Psychologists refer to what Michelle is doing as projection. Incidentally, you could project a widescreen movie on the back of her skirt.

5.) New FDA bill could lead to more raw food crackdowns — The Food Safety Modernization Act “would allow the FDA to mandate that a company recall a food product it suspects is infected,” writes The Daily Caller’s Matt Boyle. “The bill also expands the FDA’s inspection powers, and would force food producers to open their production facilities to more FDA inspections officers and follow new in-depth inspection procedures.” Thanks to an amendment exempting farms that make less than $500,000 from stepped-up inspections, the bill is likely to pass. But at least one person is worried about the expansion of the FDA’s power. “I think over time the powers given by the bill could possibly whittle away at the protection provided by [the amendment],” said Pete Kennedy, the president of the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund. “[The FDA] will have broad power, and unfortunately under their existing power, what we see right now they seem to have three particular targets, which are raw milk, raw cheese, and supplements.” In case you’re curious, here’s what it looks like when the FDA decides to exercise its enforcement powers.

6.) Could the financial regulatory bill hurt small-town banks? — Business has been booming since Reading Bank in Tightwad, Mo., changed its name to “Tightwad Bank,” reports Miller-McCune magazine. “The bank’s asset size currently sits at $20.3 million. Its portfolio of healthy loans also expanded. The citizens of Tightwad and the surrounding area were happy to have a bank close by again, and Tightwad Bank’s investments resulted in new businesses like the Tightwad Cafe and the Tightwad Tavern.” The bank’s assets have grown by $7 million in the last year, and it now has account holders in all but 12 states. There is only one problem: The FDIC and the financial regulatory overhaul. According to Tightwad proprietor Don Higdon, “[Our regulators] just see our numbers and they are scared to death. Because of our size, the figures exaggerate the impact of the percentage of growth. But because no one really knows how the reform will roll out, we are holding back growth for now.”

VIDEO: Harry Reid begins Senate business talking football

Julia McClatchy (admin)