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Random Thoughts for a Thursday

The “Dump Biden” Talk

Hon­estly, I don’t get it.

Admit­tedly, the guy is a walk­ing, talk­ing , 24-hour gaffe machine, but any sort of dis­missal at this stage of the game would do more harm than any­thing Biden could say or do short of a “LBDG*” situation.

The DC polit­i­cal press already goes into “DOOM!” mode for any cam­paign that loses a staffer for any rea­son what­so­ever.  We had a headache to deal with in 2010 dur­ing the Sen­ate race when our first cam­paign press sec­re­tary had to leave to get knee surgery done and it was painted as if the cam­paign was in full upheaval for a day or two by the JS.  (Though, the replace­ment we got in Sara Sendek was a godsend.)

Can only imag­ine what the hell would hap­pen if you dumped the Vice Pres­i­dent of the United States on the re-election ticket?

* LBDG = Live boy, dead girl.

Vikings Lower the Thresh­old for “Sell­out” at the Humpty Dump.

When is a “sell­out” not a “sellout?”

When you have 10,000 empty seats at the Metrodome.  ESPN’s NFC North Blog explains:

The Vikings announced they had reduced their “ticket man­i­fest” at the Metrodome, for the pur­poses of the tele­vi­sion rule, by 10 per­cent. That equates to about 6,000 seats, accord­ing to the team, and by my math means the Vikings will need to sell about 54,000 tick­ets per game to avoid a local black­out instead of 60,000.

The stadium’s actual capac­ity hasn’t changed and stands at around 64,000 seats.

The Vikings haven’t had a game blacked out locally since 1997, but in recent years they’ve needed help from local spon­sors or been forced to buy back tick­ets them­selves to avoid them. Out­side of the usual divi­sion oppo­nents, this year’s home slate isn’t that excit­ing with games against the Jack­sonville Jaguars, Ten­nessee Titans, St. Louis Rams, Ari­zona Car­di­nals and Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers.

A bad foot­ball team and higher than aver­age ticket prices than the rest of the divi­sion will do that for you.

Face­book — The IPO Night­mare Con­tin­ues to Get Worse

Looks like some of the mil­lion­aires on paper are a bit upset they’re actu­ally thou­sandaires in reality.

Face­book stock hit a new intra-day low of $19.69 Thurs­day morn­ing, and ended the day 6.3 per­cent lower at $19.87.

About 22 mil­lion shares changed hands in the first 10 min­utes of trad­ing, and by the end of the ses­sion that vol­ume soared to nearly 157 mil­lion shares. About 271 mil­lion shares are newly eli­gi­ble for sale Thursday.

Like many ini­tial pub­lic offer­ings, Facebook’s May 18 debut debut included a “lockup” agree­ment that requires some share­hold­ers to hold on to their stock for a cer­tain period — typ­i­cally 90 to 180 days. Lock­ups are meant to pre­vent the mar­ket from being swamped with too many of a company’s shares imme­di­ately after an IPO. Keep­ing stocks scarce can help boost their value.

But when a company’s locked-up shares are set free, the stock typ­i­cally tanks, since mil­lions of new shares flood in at once. Face­book has already lost nearly half its value since its debut.

Facebook’s fel­low newly pub­lic Inter­net com­pa­nies felt the pain when their lock­ups ended. LinkedIn slumped as much as 7 per­cent on its lockup expi­ra­tion day, and Groupon fell 10 per­cent to hit a new low.

Yes, but this is just the first of a multi-stage “Lockup” that was to keep the social network’s employ­ees in line from sell­ing.  Employ­ees are said to pos­sess almost 2 bil­lion shares.  That’s a lot of paper — much of it not worth what it was said to be val­ued at ini­tially — to be out in the market.

Paul Ryan’s Secret Weapon on Medicare: His Own Mother

Ryan hits Florida this week­end, in tow will be his own mother, who’s a retiree on Medicare herself.

Mr. Ryan, a Wis­con­sin Repub­li­can who is the House Bud­get Com­mit­tee chair­man and Mitt Romney’s run­ning mate, will appear at The Vil­lages, a sprawl­ing retire­ment devel­op­ment (pop. 51,000) in Cen­tral Florida, with his mother, Betty Dou­glas, who is in her late 70s and lives in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea when she’s not in Janesville, Wis.

Mr. Ryan’s plan to revamp Medicare – to pre­vent the health care pro­gram for the elderly and dis­abled from becom­ing insol­vent — would let seniors buy health cov­er­age from pri­vate insur­ance com­pa­nies as an alter­na­tive to Medicare, with the gov­ern­ment con­tribut­ing toward the premium.

Florida, the nation’s biggest swing state, has a trea­sure trove of senior vot­ers, many of whom are skep­ti­cal of any plan that would change their health care coverage.

I’ve had to tell my own par­ents count­less times that the Ryan plan won’t effect them.  My dad, with his heart trans­plant, is nat­u­rally the one most wor­ried about it.

Then again, he was wor­ried Medicare was going to deny him the heart trans­plant six years ago.  My gut tells me under “Oba­maCare” it would  have been…unless IPAB gives new hearts to dia­betic, 67 year-old men with con­ges­tive heart fail­ure with the same frequency.

Some­thing tells me a D.C.-based bureau­crat would deem that “high risk.”

CNN Offi­cially Calls Wis­con­sin a “Toss Up” State

What took them so long?  NBC’s polit­i­cal shop has never moved it to “Lean Demo­c­ra­tic,” like CNN did.

CNN Thurs­day turned the impor­tant bat­tle­ground state of Wis­con­sin from “lean Obama” to true “toss up” on its elec­toral map, in the wake of Mitt Romney’s nam­ing of House Bud­get Chair­man Paul Ryan, a seven term con­gress­man from the Bad­ger state, as his run­ning mate.

One con­tribut­ing fac­tor behind CNN’s move was a new poll that matched two oth­ers from last week that indi­cate that the pres­i­den­tial con­test in Wis­con­sin is close. While Ryan’s announce­ment did not dra­mat­i­cally alter the pres­i­den­tial poll num­bers in Wis­con­sin, it did change the way both cam­paigns viewed the state of the race in the state.

New polling from Ras­mussen has Rom­ney up one in Wis­con­sin.  That one is of likely voters.

New polling from CNN has Obama up four in Wis­con­sin.  That one is of reg­is­tered voters.

Ump Makes Mets Pitcher Cut Off “Friend­ship Bracelets” Made for Him by his Daughters

So a pitcher can be weighed down with enough neck jew­elry to stop a small child from jump­ing, but allow a small child to make her father jew­elry with a cou­ple of pieces of strings and all of Major League Base­ball is destroy?

Talk about your vary­ing degrees of  absurdity.

Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey was on the receiv­ing end of a seem­ingly unrea­son­able request on Wednes­day night when pitch­ing against the Cincin­nati Reds.
Home plate umpire James Hoye decided that he hated fun or some­thing, and marched out to the mound in the sec­ond inning Wednes­day night. Moments later, Dickey motioned over to the Mets dugout and called on the train­ing staff to bring out some scissors.
That’s because Hoye decided it was imper­a­tive to the game’s integrity to force Dickey to take off his friend­ship bracelets.
Those friend­ship bracelets were made for Dickey by his daugh­ters, so there’s that.
Tech­ni­cally speak­ing, it was the right deci­sion, at least when it comes to abid­ing by the rule book. How­ever, they were also worn on his left wrist (his glove hand) and they would never be described as col­or­ful. In other words, there is no way they could have been a distraction.

I’ll remem­ber what a crock this was the next time I’m watch­ing K-Rod read­just the “bling” around his neck before a pitch.

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