ThinkFast: April 26, 2011

Previously betting on President Obama and Democrats in 2008, hedge-fund managers are now “actively supporting Republicans” because of Obama’s “populist attacks on Wall Street” and “Democrat-led efforts to raise their tax bills.” A majority of hedge fund contributions went to the GOP in 2009-1010 election season, “a pattern not seen since 1996, when the industry was much smaller.”

According to a new Harvard study, “the share of renters who spend more than half their income on housing is at its highest level in half a century.” The study “offers the latest in a series of grim statistics about the scarcity of rental housing, especially for the working poor.”

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) announced Monday that he will not seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. Though some thought Barbour could win the nod, many felt that his previous comments praising the white supremacist Citizens’ Council and failure to immediately condemn a proposal to celebrate a Ku Klux Klan leader would “derail any chance he would have against the first black U.S. president.”

“I heard he was a terrible student, terrible,” said possible GOP presidential contender Donald Trump as he questioned how President Obama was admitted to Columbia University and Harvard Law School. Trump says he has been “looking into” how Obama was admitted and concluded that Obama should show us “his records.”

NATO warplanes struck the Tripoli compound of Libyan Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi Monday, the third such strike on the compound since bombings began in March. A Libyan government spokesperson said the strike killed three and injured 45, but that Qaddafi was not among them. “He is healthy. He is in high spirits,” the spokesperson said.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) dismissed Fox News host Sean Hannity’s fear of Sharia law last night on Hannity’s show, telling him in “a somewhat contentious interview” that “you have radicals in all religions.” Paul also announced on the show that he will form an exploratory committee to run for president.

Possible GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich “earned more than $300,000 consulting to a major ethanol lobbying group in 2009.” Growth Energy, which represents a coalition of ethanol producers, paid Gingrich’s consulting group $312,500. Earlier this year, Gingrich told the Wall Street Journal, “I am not a lobbyist for ethanol.”

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the chairman the powerful appropriates committee, which chooses where to dispense federal funds, has funneled more than $236 million in taxpayer dollars to a network of nonprofit groups he started, according to a new report from ethics watchdog CREW. Rogers’ family members, aides, and donors “have benefited personally” from the Rogers’ largess with taxpayer money.

A Vermont Senate committee approved legislation to establish a single-payer health system that would provide universal health coverage to the state’s residents. The state House has already passed a similar bill, and the Senate is expected to hold a final vote later today. One Republican crossed party lines to vote in favor of the bill.

And finally: Even smart people who make money by knowing obscure trivia don’t know who House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) is. On “Jeopardy!” last night, contestants faired very poorly in the category on the 112th Congress, with not a single one even hazarding a guess as to who the number two GOP leader in Congress is.

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