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ThinkFast: September 17, 2008

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"ThinkFast: September 17, 2008"

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“Democrats in Michigan are trying to block what they call a Republican effort to deny voting rights to people facing foreclosure,” filing “for an injunction to prohibit the GOP from challenging Michigan voters whose homes are on foreclosure lists.” The tactic is a form of “voter caging.”

President Bush “will not attack Iran to halt its nuclear weapons program before his term ends in January,” former Cheney adviser David Wurmser told The Jerusalem Post yesterday. “No, Bush won’t go,” said Wurmser, adding that “his certainty” had to do with the fact that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice now has “the upper hand in the administration in her struggle with Cheney.”

In her first speech since her husband publicly admitted an extramarital affair, Elizabeth Edwards yesterday said she is discouraged that health care may fall lower in the nation’s priorities. “We don’t want health insurance, we want health care,” she said. “Shame on us if we don’t take the momentum…and translate it into a policy.”

The House voted Tuesday to end the moratorium on new offshore oil drilling. The measure would “let states decide whether to permit energy exploration 50 to 100 miles off their coasts” and “allow drilling 100 miles or more offshore regardless of a state’s wishes.”

On the trail today: Barack Obama campaigns in Elko and Las Vegas, NV. Joe Biden is in Wooster, OH. John McCain and Sarah Palin hold a town hall meeting in Grand Rapids, MI.

Alaska’s attorney general said state employees subpoenaed in the ethics investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin — known as “Troopergate” — will not testify and has asked for the subpoenas to be withdrawn. Palin is also “turning over questions about her record as Alaska’s governor to John McCain’s presidential campaign,” which is part of a GOP strategy to “carefully shape her image for voters in the rest of the country.”

Even in the midst of a trial over concealing more than $250,000 worth of improper gifts, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) continues to rake in earmarks for his state. According to an analysis by The Hill, “Stevens’s earmark share in the defense bill is more than $200 million,” which includes $10 million for a coal-to-liquids facility and “$2 million for hibernation genomics.”

In a dramatic reversal last night, the government seized control of the nation’s largest insurer, AIG. The Fed agreed to “lend up to $85 billion to AIG,” and “the U.S. government will effectively get a 79.9% equity stake in the insurer.” The deal “gives the government broad powers to force the sale of assets, cancel dividend payments to shareholders and replace the chief executive.”

“Attackers exploded a vehicle bomb outside the main gate of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen on Wednesday in what appeared to be a well-coordinated assault.” The attack killed 16 and is the “second attack against the mission in six months.”

The ozone hole over Antarctica, a doorway for harmful solar radiation, is bigger than last year, a worrying sign to scientists studying global warming,” according to the World Meteorological Organization. The “area of atmosphere without ozone has grown to 27 million square kilometers (10.4 million square miles), 8 percent larger than the maximum reached in 2007.”

And finally: Gold-medalist Olympian Ryan Lochte joined several federal lawmakers on Capitol Hill yesterday at a press conference on muscular dystrophy, a disease to which he lost a family member. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) was so excited that he left a luncheon with Vice President Cheney to meet Lochte. “Guess what I’ll be telling my wife about when I get home?” he said. At the event, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) admitted that she wasn’t a very good swimmer: “I had a little bit of trouble with the deep end in the second grade.”

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