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ThinkFast: March 31, 2008

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"ThinkFast: March 31, 2008"

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The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson — who has come under widespread criticism for cronyism and corruption within his department — “is expected to announce his resignation Monday.” “The exact reasons for Mr. Jackson’s decision couldn’t be learned.”

Former Secretary of HUD and current Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) told CNN yesterday that he’d give John McCain an “incomplete” for saying that it’s “not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly whether they’re big banks or small borrowers.”

Today, Al Gore and the Alliance for Climate Protection launch a bipartisan, $300 million, three-year campaign to push for climate change legislation. Some of the “We” campaign’s TV ads “will team up offbeat celebrity couples” who “share a belief that it is important to address climate change,” such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and former Speaker Newt Gingrich. View the debut ad here.

After days of violence in oil-rich Basra, Iraqi lawmakers said that “Iranian officials helped broker a cease-fire agreement Sunday between Iraq’s government and radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.” Despite the truce, violence continued in Baghdad today as the city’s fortified Green Zone came under mortar and rocket attack.

Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell said the paper erred in not reporting the sexual orientation of fallen soldier Maj. Alan Rogers, who died in Iraq on March 14. The Post did not report Rogers was gay in its story last week. Howell said the Post’s story “would have been richer” had the paper reported Rogers’s feelings about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which he opposed.

Campaign reform advocates are questioning why Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has “retreated from his longtime commitment to public financing of campaigns.” After supporting full public financing, he now opposes the idea at the federal level. David Donnelly of the Public Campaign Action Fund said, “It’s a legitimate question to ask the reformer, John McCain, why hasn’t he made public financing the policy he will pursue if he becomes president?”

Average gasoline prices hit another all-time high, according to a survey conducted for motorist organization AAA. The average price of regular rose to $3.287 a gallon, up from $3.286 the previous day, according to the AAA Web site. The price averaged $3.165 a month ago. A year ago, American drivers were paying $2.673.”

“The number of Americans receiving food stamps is projected to reach 28 million in the coming year, the highest level since the aid program began in the 1960s.” The economic slowdown caused the “recent rises in many states,” say officials and experts. At the same time, after rising by 100,000 for the second month in a row, the number of Americans working part time jobs out of economic necessity reached the highest level since 1993.

And finally: Director Oliver Stone currently casting his next film, Bush: The Movie. “Word from Hollywood is that he’s negotiating with Elizabeth Banks (the nutty sexaholic in The 40 Year-Old Virgin) for the role of Laura Bush. Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men) will play the prez.” And Robert Duvall is being rumored to play Dick Cheney.

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

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