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Archive for October, 2013

Cartoon of the Day

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Cartoon of the Day

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McDonald’s Tweaking the “Dollar Menu”

The famed “Dollar Menu” at McDonald’s is getting a face-lift and a price hike.  Founded in 2002, a dollar isn’t worth its former buying power.  Based just on inflation, what cost $1 in 2002 would be around $1.30 today.

So, to compensate, the Dollar Menu will now include items ranging in value from $1 to as high as $5.

Since McDonald’s (MCD) launched the Dollar Menu nationally in 2002, it has grown to about 13 percent of sales–a whole lot of McDoubles and Sausage Biscuits. But the menu is no longer working for the burger chain, so it’s rebranding it as the “Dollar Menu & More” with $1 and $2 sandwiches and even some items at $5. It’s more like a neighborhood dollar store now: the name refers to the starting price.

The idea is to promote value at additional price tiers. Hey, maybe packaging a $2 sandwich on the menu will make it seem like a better deal. McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson explained during an earnings call on Monday that the menu “gives customers a value ladder of sorts, so that based upon their discretionary spending, they have multiple offers at McDonald’s.” He emphasized that $1 items will remain–it’s still critical to retain customers–and that the chain is not abandoning the old Dollar Menu concept but helping it evolve.

The Dollar Menu & More is already being tested in five U.S. markets, Bloomberg News reported last month. All restaurants will offer Dollar Menu & More starting Nov. 4, and advertising for the menu will launch Nov. 11.

No word from McDonald’s how much the Dollar Menu would have to be tweaked if the company were legislatively forced to pay a living wage, a common cause among liberal groups who slept through their high school economics courses.

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RSLC Buys up Dot GOP Domain

This is a costly move, but in today’s modern world of political cyber-squatting, a necessary evil.  If the Republican National Committee or sister committee doesn’t lock it down, chances are in today’s “Take-No-Prisoners'” online political war, your enemies will.

But this not cheap.  A friend I know tells me that locking down a domain runs about a cool half-million; which is why it is rarely done.   However, since your organization now has oversight over a domain, you can make up that money over time by charging around $25 to $50 a URL to candidates, committees and other loyal entities.

The Republican State Leadership Committee, a group that focuses on electing Republicans to state-level offices, won custody of the domain in the spring after an Internet governing body invited groups to vie for hundreds of new domains.

Now, in a plan first shared with POLITICO, the committee is soliciting information from Republicans interested in having .gop sites. It is operating on an internal timeline that would allow those sites to get up and running by the first quarter of 2014.

“At the RSLC, we do pride ourselves on trying to look a little further down the road and take a longer view of things,” Chairman Ed Gillespie said in an interview, citing work the committee already does to recruit local candidates who may rise into the ranks of the national party one day. “I think we’re well positioned for that.”

The domain project fits into that vision, Gillespie said, because it can potentially “foster a broader sense of community” for Republicans on the Internet and boost GOP branding through sites such as news.gop or polling.gop.

Most people and groups seeking sites with .gop domains will be able to register them in “real time,” said President Chris Jankowski in a statement. “But certain names that are especially relevant to our community are subject to a different process for registration which is standard industry practice.”

The committee is also working on a selection process to ensure that no mischief-makers will be able to get their hands on “.gop” domains.  A move that not only makes sense, but would be crucial.

Last thing you want to have happen is a porn site floating out there with a “.gop” domain.

Now the question remains is which campaigns for 2014 will be the first to spend $50 for what is essentially a vanity URL.

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Cartoon of the Day

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RNC Files Freedom of Information Act Request to Seek Number of ObamaCare Enrollees

I was urging this on Twitter during the first week of the website’s launch.  (Of course, thanks to the idiotic strategy of “The Shutdown’ overshadowing the website’s problem, it was lost in storm of Ted Cruz’s ego…)

Anyway, the Weekly Standard is reporting the RNC is requesting under FOIA the current number of actual Americans have enrolled for ObamaCare from HHS; a number which remains a mystery.  In recent days, HHS has tried to cover this figure by pointing out the number of “applications” — those who filled out log-in information at the site, but didn’t actually buy a policy — with a promise release “monthly data for October” by mid-November.

Any tech-head can tell you how many people have been on their website, or if its a commercial site like Target.com or Amazon.com, how many sales they’ve had in the last hour or a given minute.  The fact that HHS is hiding this information, probably helps highlight how lousy HeathCare.gov actually was designed.

WASHINGTON – Today the Republican National Committee (RNC) sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requesting information on the number of Americans who have enrolled in health insurance through the ObamaCare websitehealthcare.gov. In the more than two weeks since the website went live, the Obama administration has refused to release any such numbers.

The administration insists the website isn’t a failure but instead just experiencing a few “glitches” and that it is both popular and functional. There’s only one way to prove it: releasing the enrollment numbers. Otherwise, taxpayers have no way to know what they’re getting for the site’s price tag of roughly half a billion dollars.

In the interest of transparency and accountability, the RNC FOIA request asks for two things:

  • “Any and all data recording each successful purchase of a health insurance policy…on any of the Affordable Care Act exchanges administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services…”
  • “Any and all documents or communications, including but not limited to relevant emails and letters, regarding the collection of successful enrollee data on or after October 1, 2013…”

“Kathleen Sebelius and the Obama administration spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on this website, but Americans trying to use it have gotten little more than error messages and crashing web pages,” said RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. “It’s important for Americans to see these numbers because they illustrate just how terrible the system is and how poorly designed the law was. The administration isn’t living up to its promises, and they must be held accountable.

“Really it’s telling that they don’t want to give out any numbers. This is an administration that never misses an opportunity to brag; they’ve previously leaked sensitive national security information to burnish their image. So what are they hiding?

Sadly, answering FOIA’s has not been a priority of this administration.  For all their claims of transparency, they have hidden behind late requests — or even worst form letters saying they’ve received your FOIA request and are working on it when they actually aren’t — lost requests and other tricks.

My guess, the RNC gets this information the same day the Associated Press does — in mid-November — and about five minutes before the AP goes to press.

UPDATE: On “Morning Joe” this morning, the AP’s Julie Pace, their chief White House correspondent, speculated that “Of course these guys have this number!” and that they don’t want to give it up.

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The Ballsiest Sports Wager Ever Pays Off

Every grandfather has faith that their grandson will play big-time sports professionally.  The baseball gets put in the left side of the crib (because you can never have enough left-handed pitching…).  “Touchdown” is urged to be the first word; or at least in the first twenty.

That’s in the United States.  In the United Kingdom, the big game is soccer.

Also in the U.K., they let you place a wager on damn near anything.  Such as one man sixteen years ago, who bet his then-18 month old grandson would make the Welsh national soccer team.  (I will not call soccer as football.  I just can’t.)

He was given 2,500 to 1 odds, and last week, was able to collect.

The grandfather of 16-year-old Wales soccer player Harry Wilson, who made his debut on Tuesday night, won $200,000 after placing a bet that his grandson would one day play for the national team, The Guardian reported.

Wilson’s grandfather bet fifty pounds ($80 dollars) on his then-toddler grandson in 2000 at 2,500-to-1 odds. Last night, when Wilson came on as a sub in a World Cup qualifier against Belgium, the grandfather’s premonition came true.

Not only did the bet pay off, but Wilson, at 16, became the youngest player to ever represent Wales.

“We’ve taken thousands of bets like these,” a spokesman for the bookmaker William Hill said to Bloomberg. “We rarely have to pay out on them,” he noted.

Peter Edwards, now 62, said he laid down the initial cash after seeing Harry play with a soccer ball as an infant.

“He used to chase the ball around the front room on his hands and knees even before he could walk. That’s what gave me the idea,” said Edwards, who will retire one-year early from his electrical contracting job in North Wales.

The grandfather tried to put down even more money when Harry was 12 and enrolled in Liverpool FC’s training academy but the betting company turned him away.

 

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Cartoon of the Day

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Cartoon of the Day

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HealthCare.Gov to Be Shut Down for 2nd Time Since Launch

To quote long-time media critic with CNN (now with Fox News), from tonight’s “Special Report, “It’s time the media ban ‘the G-Word,’ these are not glitches.  The thing is broken.”

Notice that this news broke on a Friday afternoon. Another “high point” for the most-transparent administration in American history.

 

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