ThinkFast: October 3, 2008


The Labor Department announced that 159,000 jobs were lost this past month, marking the 9th straight month of job losses. Three-quarters of a million jobs have been shed so far this year. “September’s job losses were much more severe than predicted by Wall Street economists.”

At least eight lawmakers who voted against bailout legislation earlier this week “now say they would support the measure.” “Four others say they may switch their ballots before the House votes again, at about 12:30 p.m. today on the bill, which failed by a dozen votes on Sept. 29.” Additionally, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) says “he’s talked to some lawmakers he didn’t name who’ve agreed to change their votes.”

Mark Buse, now Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) Senate chief of staff, earned $460,000 as a lobbyist for Freddie Mac in 2003 and 2004. Buse joins McCain’s campaign manager Rick Davis in having close ties to the mortgage giant: Davis received more than $2 million for lobbying related to Fannie and Freddie, and received monthly payments of $15,000 up to this August.

The Pentagon “will pay private U.S. contractors in Iraq up to $300 million over the next three years to produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to ‘engage and inspire’ the local population to support U.S. objectives and the Iraqi government.” contracts are part of the U.S. military’s “information/psychological operations” in Iraq for the future.

On the trail today: Barack Obama will talk on the economy in Abington, a Philadelphia suburb. Joe Biden speaks at a deployment ceremony in Dover, DE. John McCain will hold a town hall meeting at Colorado State University-Pueblo, and Sarah Palin will attend fundraisers in Dallas and San Antonio.

According to data obtained by the AP, “the Army and Marine Corps doled out nearly $640 million” to entice recruits in the fiscal year. Recruits were buoyed by incentives that can be as high as $40,000 each, which in total, “increased the costs of Army and Marine bonuses by 25 percent over last year.”

Yesterday, an Alaska judge “refused to block a state investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power when she fired her public safety commissioner this summer” and “denied the Alaska attorney general’s challenge of legislative subpoenas.” Chief legislative investigator Steve Branchflower, is scheduled to present his report on Palin in one week.

Yesterday, a federal judge refused to dismiss charges against Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK). The judge explained that while “prosecutors had violated a rule requiring the sharing of exculpatory evidence,” that he was “‘not persuaded’ that the violations were serious enough to declare a mistrial.”

Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) is seeking a 10th term in the U.S. House this Saturday “even though he was indicted last year on multiple federal corruption and bribery charges and is preparing to stand trial in December.”

And finally: Bill O’Reilly flipped out and did it live last night. The vituperative Fox host screamed and cursed at Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), hurling all sorts of personal insults and name-calling in his direction. Frank told O’Reilly his “stupidity gets in the way of rational discussion.” Watch O’Reilly’s screed here. “Be sure to strap on your helmet and elbow pads before watching this one.”

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