ThinkFast: September 18, 2008

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"ThinkFast: September 18, 2008"

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68 percent: The number of Americans who think John McCain would either continue President Bush’s policies or enact more conservative policies, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. The poll found that 57 percent of all voters view McCain as “a typical Republican,” despite his efforts to portray himself as a “maverick.”

A U.S. Chinook helicopter crashed in Iraq early Thursday, killing all seven American soldiers who were aboard the aircraft. The cause of the crash is still unknown, “but hostile fire has been ruled out.”

Judges around the world “have long looked to the decisions of the United States Supreme Court for guidance, citing and often following them in hundreds of their own rulings since the Second World War.” But now “American legal influence is waning” as a “diminishing number of foreign courts seem to pay attention to the writings of American justices.”

As the nation enters “a period of tight credit — which could mean jobs lost, retirement plans pruned, college deferred and lifestyles diminished,” Americans have taken notice. A new USA Today/Gallup poll has found that “nearly one-quarter of adults — 23% — believe the U.S. economy is in a depression.” “That’s nearly double the 12% who said so in February.”

On the trail today: John McCain and Sarah Palin will be in Cedar Rapids, IA. Barack Obama is in Espanola, NM, while Joe Biden campaigns in Youngstown and Canton, OH.

President Bush canceled a planned fundraising trip to Jupiter, Florida and Huntsville, Alabama so that he can “consult with his economic advisers.” In his place, “Vice President Dick Cheney will attend the Huntsville fundraiser.”

The American Psychological Association announced yesterday that its members have voted “to prohibit consultation in the interrogations of detainees held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, or so-called black sites operated by the Central Intelligence Agency overseas.” In a mail-in balloting that concluded Monday, the group’s members voted 8,792 to 6,157 in favor of the prohibition.

“Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Bush administration is considering possible changes in its war strategy in Afghanistan in light of rising levels of violence and a more complex insurgent threat.” Speaking to reporters last night, Gates “was not explicit about the nature of the U.S. strategy review” but compared it to the strategy review after Iraq deteriorated.

And finally: The Department of Homeland Security is enlisting Sesame Street in its family preparedness plans. “We all want our children to feel safe in this world,” said Meryl Chertoff, wife of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “And who better to do that than our Sesame Street friends, Grover and Rosita!” The pamphlet’s introduction has this message for kids: “I, your furry, blue friend Grover, have a story to share. Are you wondering what it is about? …Do you want to get ready, too? You do? Oh, I am so pleased. Then read this story with me, and let us get ready together!”

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