Trump rooster statue a hot item in China


A yuge statue

A giant rooster sculpture, sporting the President-elect’s signature hairdo and hand gestures, has been erected outside a shopping mall in Taiyuan, in China’s northern Shanxi Province.

The sculpture was commissioned by the company that owns the mall and will be its mascot, Cao Mingliang, the deputy director…told CNN.

Cao said a series of products and smaller replicas will be available for sale in the future, though some are already being sold on Taobao, the Chinese e-commerce giant owned by Alibaba.

Wei Qing, whose Shenghe Yangtai Business is selling replica roosters, told CNN he thought sculpture was hilarious.

“I think the rooster is very cute and funny, the hairstyle and eyebrows look very much like Donald Trump. I’m sure it will attract a lot of customers,” he said.

At least four stores are selling the Trump rooster, with prices starting from $57 to a whopping $1,739 for a statue that’s 32 feet tall.

Trump will probably buy one to replace Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden at the White House. Send the bill to American taxpayers.

Thanks, Obama — Fewer people are skipping doctor’s visits to save money

screen-shot-2016-12-28-at-2-43-02-pm

The Affordable Care Act…has many provisions, but by and large it raises taxes on the rich to subsidize health insurance for people in the bottom third of the income distribution. Under the circumstances, it’s not that puzzling that conservatives want to get rid of it.

At the same time, saying that the main reason to repeal the law is in order to deliver a six-figure tax cut to millionaires is a weak argument politically. So repeal proponents often seize on very real ways in which the law’s benefits fall short, to try to make the case that somehow the ACA system is actually worse than nothing for the people who are in it. Paul Ryan [and other assorted assorted pricks], for example, says Obamacare has “failed the American people, and things are only getting worse.”

But while it’s certainly true that if you are in the top one percent of the income distribution you are paying higher taxes thanks to the ACA, a new study from the Commonwealth Fund shows that the law is succeeding in its core goal of providing people with access to health care. It looks at a number of different indicators across all 51 states (they are counting DC as a state for these purposes) and shows how many saw improvement versus stasis versus worsening.

…a couple of these things measure actual health care utilization. That’s important because many people have been disappointed by the high deductibles that often come with Affordable Care Act plans, and say the insurance the law offers is “too expensive to use.” Obviously people would be better-off with more generous insurance, but we’re seeing here that even with existing ACA plans many fewer people skipping needed care.

Part of how Republicans will try to escape this reality is by lying, of course. Interesting, so far, is that the Congressional Budget Office – a stodgy portion of our career civil servants – announced they will not participate in Republican lies about what actually is insurance vs crap imitations of health care.

Fake news provokes Pakistan Minister to aim a nuclear threat at Israel

❝ A fake news article led to gunfire at a Washington pizzeria three weeks ago. Now it seems that another fake news story has prompted the defense minister of Pakistan to threaten to go nuclear.

The defense minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, wrote a saber-rattling Twitter post directed at Israel on Friday after a false report — which the minister apparently believed — that Israel had threatened Pakistan with nuclear weapons. Both countries have nuclear arsenals.

“Israeli def min threatens nuclear retaliation presuming pak role in Syria against Daesh,” the minister wrote on his official Twitter account, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State. “Israel forgets Pakistan is a Nuclear state too.”

❝ Mr. Asif appeared to be reacting to a fake news article published on awdnews.com.

That story, with the typo-laden headline “Israeli Defense Minister: If Pakistan send ground troops to Syria on any pretext, we will destroy this country with a nuclear attack,” appeared on the website on Dec. 20, alongside articles with headlines like “Clinton is staging a military coup against Trump.”

The fake story about Israel even misidentified the country’s defense minister, attributing quotations to a former minister, Moshe Yaalon. Israel’s current minister of defense is Avigdor Lieberman.

❝ The Israeli Defense Ministry responded on Twitter to say the report was fictitious.

Legitimate news sources haven’t had much of a problem in decades with promulgating fake news. Perhaps, online profiteers might consider moving beyond copouts. Even a sleazy neighborhood bar requires proof of age. Algorithms could be a sufficient first-level challenge.