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Tags: Global | Warming | Not-So | Alarming | Trumps Fox News Gig | Medicaid Wastes | Obama re-election

Global Warming Not So Alarming in U.S.; Trump's Fox News Gig

By    |   Sunday, 03 April 2011 03:34 PM EDT

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Obama to Launch Re-election With Video
2. Medicaid Wastes $329 Million a Year on Brand Drugs
3. Gallup: Americans Least Worried About Global Warming
4. Soviets Lied About Yuri Gagarin's 1961 First Space Flight
5. U.S. Ninth Worst for High School Dropouts
6. We Heard: Joyce Kaufman, Donald Trump, Bill Moyers

1. Obama to Launch Re-election With Video

President Barack Obama will formally announce his re-election campaign with an online video that aides will post on his new campaign website, Democratic insiders tell National Journal.

The exact date and time of the announcement will be kept under wraps until Obama's team alerts supporters with text messages and email. By that time, Obama will have opened his campaign account with the Federal Election Commission.

But Democratic donors are being told that the announcement will coincide with a Democratic National Committee fundraiser set for April 14 in Chicago, which Obama will attend.

The campaign could use the video to begin soliciting donations, according to National Journal.

President George W. Bush didn't announce his re-election campaign until May of 2003. But Democrats close to the president are concerned that independent opposition groups will soon begin airing their television ads.

One of those groups, American Crossroads — with former Bush staffer Karl Rove as an adviser — is seeking to raise at least $130 million for the election cycle, on top of money allocated by the Chamber of Commerce and other Republican-leaning groups.

Editor's Note:

2. Medicaid Wastes $329 Million a Year on Brand Drugs

Medicaid squandered $329 million in a single year by paying for costly brand-name drugs when much cheaper generic versions were available.

That's the troubling disclosure from Alex Brill of the American Enterprise Institute, who compiled an extensive study of Medicaid spending in 2009.

Given the huge federal and state budget deficits "and the added burden of recent healthcare reform legislation that will add 16 million new enrollees to Medicaid rolls by 2019, there is a clear and obvious need to identify potential savings opportunities to address budget pressures, particularly as they relate to healthcare spending," Brill observes.

Brill looked at 20 medications that are available as both a brand-name product and a "therapeutically equivalent" generic one. Total Medicaid spending on these medications was about $1.5 billion in 2009.

"The analysis identifies $329 million of overspending as a result of underutilization of the less costly (generic) and overutilization of the more costly (brand) versions of these multi‐source products," Brill discloses in his report, released on March 28.

"Because Medicaid is a joint federal‐state program, savings from addressing this problem would accrue to both states and the federal government."

The average price for a generic-filled prescription among private payers that year was $39.73, while brand-name drugs averaged $155.45.

Brill estimates that the overspending for just one drug, the antipsychotic Risperdal, was more than $60 million that year, while the average waste per prescription for the antipsychotic Clorazil was $232.

On the state level, the greatest amount of unnecessary spending was in California, $102 million, followed by Texas at $31 million. Per enrollee, the most wasteful states were Vermont and Iowa, which unnecessarily spent $31.43 per enrollee.

In contrast, Hawaii overspent just 12 cents per enrollee.

Brill points out that reining in unnecessary spending is particularly important now because many widely used brand-name drugs will lose patent protection in 2011 and 2012 and face competition from cheaper generic products. "Future overspending in this program [will likely be] even greater if new policies are not promptly adopted," he states.

His analysis looks at 10 such patented drugs, including the popular cholesterol drug Lipitor, and projects that overspending for the branded versions will range from $289 million to $433 million.

Brill's conclusion: "Continued wasteful spending in the Medicaid drug program is a problem requiring policymakers' prompt attention."

P.S.: Factoring in Medicare as well, Brill cites a 2010 report by the Congressional Budget Office estimating that Medicare's overspending on brand-name drugs was $900 million in 2007.

Editor's Note:

3. Gallup: Americans Least Worried About Global Warming

Climate change alarmists are not likely to tout the results of a new Gallup poll, which found that nearly half of Americans are now "not at all" or "not much" concerned about global warming.

Among nine environmental concerns poll respondents were asked about, global warming finished dead last in terms of the "personal worry" the issue generates.

Topping the list was "contamination of soil and water by toxic waste" — 79 percent said they are worried a "great deal" or "a fair amount," and just 20 percent are "not at all" or "not much" concerned.

Also of considerable concern to at least 75 percent of respondents are "pollution of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs," "pollution of drinking water," and "maintenance of the nation's supply of fresh water for household needs."

"Air pollution" personally worries 72 percent of respondents a great deal or a fair amount, "extinction of plant and animal species" troubles 64 percent, "the loss of tropical rain forests" seriously concerns 63 percent, and "urban sprawl and loss of open spaces" worries 57 percent, according to the poll of more than 1,000 adults.

Only a bare majority of respondents, 51 percent, say they are a great deal or a fair amount worried about global warming. That is down 12 percentage points from a poll in March 2001. And 48 percent feel little or no anxiety about it.

"Although the United States has experienced nothing like the mass drinking-water scare that is gripping Japan during its current nuclear crisis, Americans largely recognize the importance of clean water to their lives," Gallup states.

"All four environmental issues referring to 'water' in this year's Gallup Environment poll rank in the upper tier of environmental concerns.

"What may surprise some, given the broad exposure the issue has received in recent years, is that global warming ranks lowest — consistent with other Gallup polling — with barely half of Americans concerned and 48 percent only a little or not at all concerned."

Gallup poll results released earlier in March showed that 43 percent of respondents believe the seriousness of global warming is generally exaggerated in the news media.

Editor's Note:

4. Soviets Lied About Yuri Gagarin's 1961 First Space Flight

Officials in the Soviet Union lied about the success of Yuri Gagarin's historic 1961 space flight and covered up the fact he landed more than 200 miles away from where he was supposed to.

The Soviets touted his mission, the first manned flight into space, as a "major Cold War propaganda coup, portraying it as a glitch-free triumph of Communist ideology," The Telegraph in Britain observed.

But a new book published on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Gagarin's flight discloses that Soviet scientists miscalculated where he would land after his one orbit of the earth, and there was no one on the ground to meet him when he arrived some 500 miles south of Moscow.

"For many years, Soviet literature claimed that Yuri Gagarin and his Vostok landing capsule had come down in the area it was supposed to," according to the book, "108 Minutes That Changed the World" by Russian journalist Anton Pervushin.

But this was "far from the truth," he writes, explaining that Soviet scientists had expected him to land nearly 250 miles farther south.

"So it turned out that nobody was waiting or looking for Yuri Gagarin. Therefore the first thing he had to do after landing was set off to look for people and communications so he could tell the leadership where he was."

The Soviets also lied when they claimed Gagarin had touched down inside the capsule, when in fact he landed separately via a parachute, the author adds.

The book also reveals that before his flight, Gagarin wrote a letter to be given to his family if his mission proved fatal, telling his wife not to "die of grief" if he did not return alive.

Gagarin's wife did not get to read the letter until 1968, after Gagarin's death at the age of 34 in a plane crash whose cause has never been positively determined.

Editor's Note:

5. U.S. Ninth Worst for High School Dropouts

The United States now ranks near the bottom of the list of advanced economies for its high school dropout rate — 23.3 percent of American students do not receive a high school diploma.

Of the roughly 4 million students who enter high school each year, about 1 million will drop out before graduation. That's 7,000 every school day.

The problem is even greater in large cities. Nearly half of all students in the nation's 50 largest school districts drop out before graduation, CBS News reported.

In fact, just 25 of America's 11,000 school districts with high schools accounted for one out of every five dropouts in one recent year, according to the Washington Post.

The U.S. rate compares poorly to the dropout rate in most of the countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the group of 34 advanced nations with economies most comparable to the U.S.

For example, in the U.K. the rate is 8.9 percent; in South Korea, 7 percent; in Japan, 5.3 percent; Ireland, 4 percent; Germany, 2.8 percent, according to OECD figures reported by the Wall Street Journal.

Among the countries with a higher rate than the United States, Canada has a rate of 23.7; Portugal, 37.1 percent; Mexico, 56 percent; and Turkey, 73.8 percent.

The OECD average is 20 percent.

Dropouts cost American taxpayers more than $8 billion a year in public assistance programs such as food stamps. They earn about $10,000 a year less than workers with high school diplomas, CBS reported.

They are also more likely to be unemployed. And nearly 60 percent of federal prison inmates are high school dropouts.

Editor's Note:

6. We Heard: Joyce Kaufman, Donald Trump, Bill Moyers

THAT radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman, a favorite of conservative Republicans and tea party supporters, said she is "seriously considering" running for Congress in South Florida.

During the 2010 campaign cycle, Kaufman "was intimately involved in U.S. Rep. Allen West's successful campaign, frequently introducing him on the campaign trail," the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported.

After the election West named her his chief of staff. But she withdrew amid controversy over an Internet video that showed her trying to excite a tea party rally with the line, "If ballots don't work, bullets will."

Her supporters said the comment was taken out of context.

The congressional district where Kaufman currently resides is represented by Ted Deutch, a Democrat.

THAT Donald Trump is getting his own spot on the Fox News Channel. He'll appear once a week on "Fox & Friends" with a segment called "Monday Mornings with Trump."

"Bold, brash and never bashful, The Donald now makes his voice loud and clear every Monday on Fox," a network promo announces.

THAT liberal newsman Bill Moyers could be headed back to PBS with a new program just one year after he announced his retirement.

Moyers, who ended his PBS public affairs show in April 2010, has received preliminary approval for a major grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which would fund a 29-month run for a half-hour show tentatively titled "Something Different With Bill Moyers," according to The New York Times.

Moyers said in an email that his company has "no idea about a possible airdate, if in fact we proceed."

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Editor's Note:

Editor's Notes:

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Insider ReportHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Obama to Launch Re-election With Video 2. Medicaid Wastes $329 Million a Year on Brand Drugs 3. Gallup: Americans Least Worried About Global Warming 4. Soviets Lied About Yuri Gagarin's 1961 First Space...
Global,Warming,Not-So,Alarming,Trumps Fox News Gig,Medicaid Wastes,Obama re-election,Yuri Gagarin space flight,High School Dropouts,Joyce Kaufman,Donald Trump,Bill Moyers
Sunday, 03 April 2011 03:34 PM
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