ThinkFast: July 7, 2009


In a series of network interviews, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin declared that she’s “not a quitter,” but “a fighter” and that attacks from her critics are “bull crap.” Palin said that she announced her resignation “because of the tremendous pressure, time and financial burden of a litany of ethics complaints in the past several months,” which she said “were without merit and took away from the job she wanted to do for Alaskans.”

“[L]eaders of the South Carolina Republican Party voted to censure Gov. Mark Sanford, reprimanding him for secretly leaving the state to visit his lover in Argentina. … Twenty-two committee members voted for a reprimand, 10 called for his resignation, while nine voted to support the governor.” The vote has no practical effect on whether or not Sanford stays in office.

Laura Tyson, an economic adviser to President Obama, said the U.S. should consider drafting a second stimulus package focusing on infrastructure projects because the $787 billion approved in February was “a bit too small.” A Rasmussen poll indicates that 60 percent of the public is against a second stimulus.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top deputies have not formally asked the U.S. for permission to engage in military strikes on
Iran’s nuclear program
, “fearing the White House would not approve, two Israeli officials said.”

New rules released by the federal government yesterday “permit federal funding for research using many of the approximately 700 embryonic stem cell lines that are believed to be in existence.” House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said the new rules “create incentives for the destruction of human life.” He also managed to link the release of the new rules to abortion, saying, “Health care reform should not be a vehicle to advance controversial pro-abortion policies.”

Labor unions and other progressive organizations are taking aim at the” U.S. Chamber of Commerce. While the SEIU is going after the Chamber’s “history of opposing legislation aimed at helping the working class,” a new umbrella group called Americans for Financial Reform plans to “spend about $5 million to counter the lobbying of the big banks, the Chamber and other groups seeking to water down” reform.

President Obama and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev signed an agreement yesterday committing to “cut American and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals by at least one-quarter, a first step in a broader effort intended to reduce the threat of such weapons drastically and to prevent their further spread to unstable regions.”

Binyam Mohamed, a former Guantanamo Bay inmate who has since been released to Britain, “has asked a federal court in Washington to preserve ‘photographic evidence’ that he says shows him being ‘savagely beaten’ while a detainee.” According to Mohamed, guards “grabbed my testicles and punched me” and “slammed me and my Koran into the fence.”

At 12:01 a.m. today, under a law approved in May,” Washington D.C. began recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples performed in other jurisdictions.

And finally: Kal Penn goes to a new white castle. The actor, who appeared in the movie “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle” and the TV show “House,” had his “first day as an associate director in the White House’s Office of Public Engagement” yesterday. “I expect to be treated just like any other staff member,” he said on a conference call with reporters, also noting that he will be using his full name, Kalpen Modi, while working for the administration.

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