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ThinkFast: September 9, 2008

By ThinkProgress  

"ThinkFast: September 9, 2008"

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Speaking yesterday to the annual Conference of the White House Initiative on National Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice admitted that there are too few African-Americans in her agency. “I can go into a whole day of meetings at the Department of State — and actually rarely see somebody who looks like me,” Rice said. “And that is just not acceptable.”

President Bush “has accepted the recommendation of his senior civilian and military advisers to reduce the number of American troops in Iraq by 8,000 in the early months of next year.” Bush will unveil his decision today in an address to the National Defense University.

Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) claim to have opposed the Bridge to Nowhere “comes with a serious caveat,” the Wall Street Journal reports, since she “endorsed the multimillion dollar project during her gubernatorial race in 2006.” The Journal further notes that, as governor, Palin has requested $750 million in earmarks, “which the AP says is the largest per-capita request in the nation.”

“The Department of Veterans Affairs said Monday that it would no longer ban voter registration drives among veterans living at federally run nursing homes, shelters for the homeless and rehabilitation centers across the country,” reports the New York Times. In May, the department had banned the registration drives, saying they would be “disruptive.”

On the trail today: John McCain will hold a campaign rally outside the Golden Lamb restaurant in Lebanon, OH. Barack Obama will appear at Stebbins High School in Riverside, OH.

The bipartisan Partnership for a Secure America has found that “the federal government has made only limited progress toward preventing a catastrophic nuclear, biological or chemical attack on U.S. soil and combating the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction abroad.”

Yesterday, former congressional aide Kevin Ring was arrested and accused of conspiring to corrupt government officials, including Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA). Ring pleaded not guilty to a 10-count indictment accusing him conspiring with Jack Abramoff to win assistance from government officials “by giving them things of value, and helping them skirt requirements to report those gifts.”

The sharp rise in joblessness is draining unemployment insurance trust funds in many hard-hit states,” such as California, New York, Ohio and Michigan, “setting the stage for a federal bailout to keep the funds solvent.” Roughly one-third of the jobless collect unemployment insurance from state governments.

One of the nation’s largest Hummer stores will shut its doors. The Dan Towbin dealership in Las Vegas “is at least the eighth Hummer dealer closing this year, nearly a 5% decline in the brand’s U.S. dealer base.” The WSJ notes that, “with the national average for a price of gas resting at $3.66 a gallon, it costs $84 to fill up Hummer’s smallest model–the H3.”

And finally: The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) has decided to repeal a policy requiring all players to speak English. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) is incensed at the change, saying that “the players on the tour that will pay the price in the long term for not speaking English.” Tancredo accused the LPGA of caving to the “politically correct left.”

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