ThinkFast: April 21, 2011

Despite running on a message that they would “shake up” Washington, House GOP freshmen are raking in money from PACs, with more than 50 of the 87 members taking in at least $50,000 in PAC money during the first quarter of 2011. Eighteen took in more than $100,000, led by Rep. Steve Stivers’ (R-OH) $241,000.

A new poll found that 70 percent of Tea Party supporters oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. While in line with 80 percent of voters who disapprove, “it is something of a surprise for Tea Partiers” who consistently call for the GOP to make much larger cuts in the budget.

Yesterday, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter (R) issued an executive order prohibiting implementation of the federal health care reform law. While vetoing a bill that nullified the law, Otter used “its key provisions” in his order stating, “No executive branch department, agency, institution or employee…shall establish or amend any program or promulgate any rule to implement any provisions” of health care reform.

During a panel last week on the merger between AOL and the Huffington Post, an executive divulged that “AOL is more conservative than HuffPost.” Since the merger, founder Arianna Huffington has repeatedly stressed that she wants her site to move away from its perception as a progressive news outlet, saying, “We don’t see ourselves as left.”

During his Facebook townhall yesterday, President Obama reiterated his call for expiring the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. The President turned to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and said that his budget calls on both of them to pay a little more in taxes. “I’m cool with that,” Zuckerberg responded.

A Republican invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress next month “has kicked off a bizarre diplomatic race” to see if the United States or Israel will be the first to propose jump starting peace talks. Some administration officials are pressing President Obama to draft a new proposal, while others are pushing a more cautious approach.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld canceled an appearance at one of Donald Trump’s charity events, saying that he is disturbed by Trump’s rhetoric about President Obama. Seinfeld will however still make a monetary contribution to the charity, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Tim Hetherington, an award-winning conflict photographer and director of the Afghan war documentary Restrepo, was one of two journalists killed during fighting in the Libyan town of Misurata yesterday. Chris Hondros, a photographer for Getty Images, was also killed. They were the third and fourth journalists killed during the Libyan civil war.

And finally: While it’s no secret that John F. Kennedy was popular with women, Warren G. Harding may be the country’s most promiscuous president, according to porn mogul Larry Flynt, who has a new book on the subject of presidential sex lives.

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