ThinkFast: August 25, 2008


Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) will speak during tonight’s opening of the Democratic National Convention, NBC reports. A convention tribute to the senator “will include a film by documentary producer Ken Burns, along with remarks from Caroline Kennedy, John F. Kennedy’s daughter.”

Tax and accounting loopholes that largely benefit rich taxpayers and companies cost the U.S. government $20 billion a year even as the pay gap between chief executives and employees has widened,” according to a new report by the Institute for Policy Studies and the group United for a Fair Economy.

Americans who lack health insurance will spend about $30 billion out of pocket on medical care this year, according to a new report from George Mason University and The Urban Institute. At the same time, “others — mainly the government — will end up covering another $56 billion in costs.”

The Financial Times writes that McCain’s inability to recall the number of homes he owns “makes the choice of Romney more risky.” Taunts could be leveled against “Mr Romney, who owns a mansion with tennis courts in Massachusetts, a lakeside house in New Hampshire and a cabin in Deer Valley, a posh Utah ski resort.”

On the trail today: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and at a fundraiser in Sacramento. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will be in Davenport, IA for a townhall event. Tonight’s Democratic convention schedule features remarks by former Rep. Jim Leach (R-IA), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Obama’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, and Obama’s wife Michelle, among many others.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki “is demanding changes to a draft deal on the status of US forces beyond this year.” “There are points in the agreement that are still pending and they can’t be approved without changes in order to preserve the complete sovereignty of Iraq,” the Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC) quoted Maliki as telling fellow Shiite politicians at a meeting on Saturday.

A suicide bomber killed at least 25 people in the Iraqi city of Abu Ghraib Sunday, detonating explosives during a neighborhood celebration for a man who had just been released from detention. “It was one of several attacks that left about 40 people dead,” underscoring “the threat still posed by insurgents despite improved security nationwide.”

“In northern Greenland, a part of the Arctic that had seemed immune from global warming, new satellite images show a growing giant crack and an 11-square-mile chunk of ice hemorrhaging off a major glacier, scientists said Thursday.”

Hydrogen fuel cell cars from nine automakers “completed a 13-day cross-country trip this weekend,” — a first for vehicles powered by a zero-emission technology. While “there were stretches without hydrogen fueling stations when the vehicles were carried on flatbed trucks,” one goal “was to demonstrate the need to build more fueling stations if the nascent technology is to develop.”

And finally: Filmmaker Spike Lee was engulfed by a horde of reporters as he hit the town yesterday evening in Denver. When one reporter identifying himself as a correspondent for Fox News tried to ask Lee a question, the actor responded, “I don’t do Fox News,” and immediately disappeared into a restaurant.

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