ThinkFast: November 10, 2008


Advisers to President-elect Barack Obama “are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials.” The plan would make good on Obama’s promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, but could require the “creation of a controversial new system of justice.” The ACLU has begun an ad campaign pressuring Obama to close Gitmo.

Obama will rely upon “a trio of Bush appointees” to “tackle the country’s most serious challenges.” Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Adm. Michael Mullen and FBI director Robert Mueller “will likely stay in place for at least the first year or two of Obama’s presidency.”

Reaction to the passage of a measure banning same-sex marriage continued to sweep across California on Sunday,” with hundreds of protesters rallying outside the Saddleback Church, whose pastor organized a presidential “faith forum” and backed Prop. 8. “In Pasadena, the pastor of the 4,000-member All Saints Church spoke out against the measure, calling the religious community’s support of it embarrassing.”

Obama is planning to move swiftly to reverse actions that President Bush took using executive authority, including the limits on stem cell research and the expansion of oil and gas drilling. “There’s a lot that the president can do using his executive authority without waiting for Congressional action,” John Podesta, Obama’s transition leader, said. “We need to get off the course that the Bush administration has set.”

The federal government announced a second bailout valued at nearly $150 billion for the troubled insurance giant AIG. The new plan calls for the government to “reduce the original $85 billion loan that saved AIG in September to $60 billion, buy $40 billion of preferred shares, and purchase $52.5 billion of mortgage securities owned or backed by the company.”

Obama will reportedly “reverse U.S. family planning and AIDS prevention strategies that have long linked global funding to anti-abortion and abstinence education, a public-health adviser said.”

A Democratic source close to Barack Obama “confirmed Sunday that Valerie Jarrett is Obama’s choice to replace him in the Senate.” Jarrett is a long-time personal friend of the Obamas and was a top advisor during the campaign.

Since 2004, the U.S. military “has used broad, secret authority to carry out nearly a dozen previously undisclosed attacks against Al Qaeda and other militants in Syria, Pakistan and elsewhere.” The secret order — authorized by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld with President Bush’s approval — gave “a more sweeping mandate to conduct operations in countries not at war with the United States.”

And finally: Move over, Madison, Kennedy, and Reagan. Barack, Michelle, Malia, and Sasha are the hot new names for babies. The “Obama baby boom” has been even more pronounced in Kenya, “particularly in Kisumu, an area in the western part of the country where relatives of Mr. Obama live. From Election Day through Saturday afternoon, 43 children born at the Nyanza Provincial Hospital in Kisumu were named after the Obamas, with 23 boys given the first and middle name Barack Obama and 20 girls named Michelle Obama.”

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