ThinkFast: September 10, 2008

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"ThinkFast: September 10, 2008"

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A new intelligence report being “prepared for the next president on future global risks envisions a steady decline in U.S. dominance in the coming decades, as the world is reshaped by globalization, battered by climate change, and destabilized by regional upheavals over shortages of food, water and energy.”

The Coalition of the Willing appears to be going out of business.” In a speech yesterday announcing his plan to withdraw 8,000 troops from Iraq, President Bush also “announced that most of the countries that have been partnering with the United States in Iraq over the past five years will be pulling their troops out as well.” Read ThinkProgress’ report on the Coalition of the Defeated here.

Congressional budget analysts said yesterday that the federal budget deficit will reach “a near-record [of] $407 billion when the budget year ends later this month, and the next president is likely to face a shortfall in January of well over $500 billion.” Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) economic plan, if he is elected president, would sharply increase yearly deficits well beyond the projected $500 billion.

Three years ago, an Alaska judge warned Sarah Palin to stop harassing her brother-in-law, Alaska State Trooper Michael Wooten, comparing her attacks to “child abuse.” The judge presided over Wooten’s divorce trial, during which an official of the Alaska State Troopers’ union testified that Wooten was being “harassed” by Palin and other family members. Wooten is at the center of the “Troopergate” controversy.

On the trail today: John McCain and Sarah Palin will appear at a campaign rally at Van Dyck Park on Old Lee Highway in Fairfax City, VA. Barack Obama discusses education in Norfolk, VA, and appears on CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Responding to Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) education ad yesterday, McCain adviser Lisa Graham Keegan remarked, “Education is obviously not the issue Senator McCain spends the most time on,” adding that his “plan’s limited scope should not be interpreted as a lack of commitment to education and school reform.”

“I have believed from day one that Iraq was going to change the face of the Middle East. I’ve never stopped believing that,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in May 2008, according to Bob Woodward. “There’s nothing that I’m prouder of than the liberation of Iraq,” she said “without hesitation.”

The rate of suicides among-active duty soldiers is on pace to surpass both last year’s numbers and the rate of suicide in the general U.S. population for the first time since the Vietnam war, according to U.S. Army officials.” Officials attribute the rise to “the increased pace of combat operations, the number of deployments and financial and family troubles connected with deployments.”

House Democratic leaders “are considering a $25-billion rescue package for the auto industry as part of an effort to bolster the sagging U.S. economy.” The proposal, “with its clear political implications for key battleground states, is likely to be put on a legislative fast track, possibly clearing Congress in a matter of weeks.”

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) said yesterday that he “won’t actively support a state constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, casting doubt on whether the issue will pack a political punch this fall.” “I’ll support it, I’ll vote for it, move on,” he explained. “It’s not top-tier for me, put it that way.”

And finally: Olympian Michael Phelps is “everywhere these days” — even in the minds of federal lawmakers. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) has sponsored legislation to congratulate all U.S. athletes who competed in the Beijing Olympics this summer, while “while another authored by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.) calls out Baltimore native Phelps in particular for his wins this summer and for ‘becoming one of the most highly decorated athletes in Olympic history.’

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