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ThinkFast: February 6, 2008

By ThinkProgress  

"ThinkFast: February 6, 2008"

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In the “biggest day of U.S. presidential voting before the November 4 election to succeed President George W. Bush,” Barack Obama won 13 states and Hillary Clinton took eight. John McCain “won nine contests, including victories in California and the Northeast, to take a commanding lead in the Republican race.” See the results here.

Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell testified yesterday that a failure to provide legal immunity in FISA legislation to telecom companies will have far-reaching consequences” and “severely degrade the capabilities” of intelligence agencies to protect the country.

McConnell said yesterday that “Al Qaeda is gaining in strength from its refuge in Pakistan and is steadily improving its ability to recruit, train and position operatives capable of carrying out attacks inside the United States.”

In prepared testimony today, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “says U.S. forces are ‘significantly stressed’ by fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.” “The pace of ongoing operations,” says Mullen, “impacts our ability to be ready to counter future threats.”

Facing a “draconian” budget that would “cut in half the $400 million allocated in advance by Congress for fiscal year 2009 and cut $220 million from the $420 million already planned for 2010,” public broadcasters are “scrambling” to secure federal funding for their programs.

The subprime crisis has brought “boarded-up homes and broken dreams to thousands of minority families inner cities.” Reuters reports that urban renewal will need to be at the top of the next president’s “to do” list.

Cases of racial harassment filed with the EEOC increased 24% last year, “a time of racial turmoil that included the Jena Six controversy and an outbreak of noose displays.” The number of filings increased from 5,646 in 2006 to 6,977 in 2007 while “the annual figure has more than doubled since 1991.”

The AFL-CIO has filed a lawsuit Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, claiming that new Labor Department disclosure rules “should be held unlawful and set aside.” In a report last year, Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Scott Lilly described how the new rules are part of an effort “to undermine the reputation of the labor union movement.”

Republican leaders continue to squabble about how to deal with earmarks. The Hill notes that Reps. John Boehner (R-OH), Adam Putnam (R-FL) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) are “the only Republican leaders who have voted for more than half of the anti-earmark amendments offered on the House floor since the 2006 election.”

And finally: Right-wing pundit Glenn Beck took a shot at Keith Olbermann, stating, “If I saw Olbermann standing on the subway [platform], I might think for a moment about pushing him, but I wouldn’t.” Olbermann responded: “The subway remark summarizes who Glenn is. If he (or anybody else) fell in front of a train, I hope I’d have the courage to emulate Wesley Autry and try to save him.”

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.

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