ThinkFast: September 16, 2008

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"ThinkFast: September 16, 2008"

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The Dow Jones industrial average “dropped 504.48 points, or 4.4 percent, as a record volume of more than 8 billion shares traded hands on the New York Stock Exchange. It was the biggest decline since Sept. 17, 2001 — the day the index reopened after the 9/11 terrorist attacks — when it fell 7 percent, or 684.81 points.”

The Senate will likely vote Tuesday on an amendment offered by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) “that includes language touting the success of the troop buildup that began last year.” Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jack Reed (D-RI) have offered an alternative “that would offer a more nuanced assessment of the security situation in Iraq.”

Former House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-TX), “who was wavering on giving President Bush the authority to wage war in late 2002, said Vice President Cheney misled him by saying that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had direct personal ties to al-Qaeda terrorists and was making rapid progress toward a suitcase nuclear weapon.” There was “no intelligence to support” Cheney’s assertions.

Five former secretaries of state — including Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, and Henry Kissinger — urged talks with Iran yesterday. “I agree with Madeleine, and I suspect my other colleagues, that we should try to talk to them,” Powell said during a forum hosted by The George Washington University.

On the trail today: John McCain is campaigning this morning in Tampa, FL, and will be joined by Sarah Palin at an afternoon rally in Vienna, OH. Barack Obama is holding a rally in Golden, CO, while Joe Biden is in Media, PA.

The House is expected to vote today “on a comprehensive energy package that would open most of the U.S. coastline to offshore drilling.” A proposal offered by Democrats “would give states the option to allow drilling between 50 and 100 miles off their shores.”

AIG — the nation’s largest insurer — “faces a cash crunch that grew more severe last night when the major credit-rating agencies warned investors that the company could have greater difficulty in meeting its obligations.” New York state is allowing AIG to use “$20 billion from its own insurance subsidiaries” as collateral for loans to “run its day-to-day operations,” while the Fed says it will not offer AIG any “direct injection from the government.

The bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers — “the biggest in US history” — will have repercussions for South Florida. The investment bank controlled “nearly $2 billion in large loans throughout the region.” In late August, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) was reportedly hired “as an advisor to its private equity business.”

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that “the Bush administration’s plan to allow more than 500 snowmobiles a day into Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks not in keeping with the National Park Service’s responsibility to protect the parks.”

And finally: Are Americans too addicted to their BlackBerrys? A new poll of 6,500 traveling executives finds that “35 percent of them would choose their PDA over their spouse.” One person interviewed responded, “That’s a tough call.” Approximately 84 percent said they check their e-mails right before they go to sleep, and another 80 percent said they check them as soon as they wake up.

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