ThinkFast: August 29, 2008


President Bush is slated to appear at fundraisers for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in Oklahoma and Texas next month. “On the internal planning schedule, though, McCain aides are careful to point out McCain won’t be in attendance at either,” Politico reports.

U.S. forces have arrested a deputy of Ahmad Chalabi, who was once the Bush administration’s favorite Iraqi politician, “and implicated him in bombings that killed Americans and Iraqis.” The U.S. military says the deputy, Ali al-Lami, “was working with the ‘highest echelons‘ of the Iranian ‘special groups’ criminals.”

As tropical storm Gustav approaches, “oil producers have begun to halt drilling and operations in the Gulf of Mexico” and are now “evacuating hundreds of workers from rigs and production platforms.”

As New Orleans prepares for another hurricane, a new report “presents the clearest picture yet of deaths from Katrina in Louisiana.” “Of the nearly 1,000 who died, almost half were 75 or older” and 51 percent were black, according to the study in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. The researchers hope the findings “will aid public health and emergency preparedness efforts” in the future.

On the trail today: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is celebrating his 72nd birthday, will reportedly announce his vice presidential pick in Dayton, OH. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and his vice presidential candidate Joseph Biden (D-DE) will launch their presidential campaign in Beaver, PA.

Five industry groups have sued the Interior Department over a rule to protect the polar bear that they say unfairly singles out business operations in Alaska for their contribution to global warming.” The oil and gas, mining, and manufacturing groups asked a judge to prevent laws designed to protect the bear from being used “to block projects that release heat-trapping gases in the state.”

The Bush administration is considering a new executive order that “would eliminate a union-preferred method of labor organizing at large government contractors.” The order would require such contractors “to use secret-ballot elections for union organizing” in place of the “card-check system in which workers can form a union if a majority of them sign a union-authorization card.”

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL) on Thursday named Charles T. Canady to the State Supreme Court. The move “drew praise from conservatives,” as Canady is a “a former congressman who played a major role in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton.”

Tax rebate checks and robust exports “helped the U.S. economy grow at a faster-than-expected rate in the second quarter.” But “economists warned that those two pillars couldn’t prop growth up for long” because the rebate checks’ “one-time boost to consumer spending is largely over.

And finally: Speaking last night at the Democratic convention in Denver, Barney Smith – a displaced manufacturing worker from Marion, IN — delivered the line of the night. “We need a president who puts Barney Smith before Smith Barney,” he said. (The brokerage firm Smith Barney “had its image tarnished for its financing of Enron Corp., the Houston-based energy company which had an epic collapse due to dodgy accounting procedures.”) Watch it here.

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