ThinkFast: July 15, 2009

Sarah Palin stumps for Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)

Last week, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said she would be willing to campaign for conservative Democrats after she leaves office next month. But Politico reports that “she may not have many takers.” “Interviews with a number of the most conservative Democrats in the House and Senate induced an awkward, stare-at-your-shoes unease when the prospect of appearing with Palin was posed,” writes Jonathan Martin.

Palin is facing a new ethics complaint, “the 18th against her and the very thing that helped to prompt her resignation.” The complaint says Palin abused her office by “accepting a salary and using state staff while campaigning outside Alaska for the vice presidency.”

The Obama administration is firing back at Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) for calling for an end to economic stimulus spending. “The White House on Tuesday released letters from four cabinet secretaries to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, citing Kyl’s comments and outlining transportation, housing, Indian education and other projects in his home state they said would be eliminated if the senator has his way.”

Goldman Sachs Group, which had received $10 billion in the government bailout, “reported a record quarterly profit that topped expectations and underscored the speed with which the firm has rebounded from last year’s financial crisis.” “We’ve got millions of people with no jobs,” Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) said referring to Goldman’s $3.4 billion profit. “It just doesn’t make you feel too good, and it doesn’t make my constituents feel too good.”

President Obama said yesterday that he expects the unemployment rate, currently at 9.5 percent, “to keep worsening for a while as hiring lags behind other signs of economic recovery.” “How employment numbers are going to respond is not year clear,” he said, adding, “My expectation is that we will probably continue to see unemployment tick up for several months.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said yesterday that he fully supports repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. “We’re having trouble getting people into the military,” Reid said. “And I think that we shouldn’t turn down anybody that’s willing to fight for our country, certainly based on sexual orientation.” Reid also indicated his desire to move forward with the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

The Episcopal Church has moved decisively closer to full acceptance of gay men and lesbians.” While one “key committee voted overwhelmingly Monday to start putting together blessings to be used in same-sex marriages,” the House of Bishops “voted by a wide margin to allow gays and lesbians to become bishops.” Both measures must now be approved by the church’s General Convention.

Obama has moved nuclear deterrence to the top of his national security agenda. “His view is: If this is the No. 1 threat that we face, we need to address it with urgency,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s chief national security speechwriter. “For nonproliferation to work, you have to do everything at once.”

President Obama traveled to Michigan yesterday — a state struggling with 14 percent unemployment — to unveil a new federal investment in community colleges. “His proposed American Graduation Initiative would pump $12 billion into community colleges and add 5 million new graduates by 2020.”

And finally: Sporting the jacket of his beloved White Sox, President Barack Obama threw out the first pitch at last night’s Major League Baseball All-Star game. Later, Obama visited the booth of the Fox broadcasters, who asked him why he was wearing a White Sox jacket. “I’m a White Sox fan and my wife thinks I look cute in this jacket so why not?” said the president. Sportscaster Tim McCarver asked Obama if there’s a “bailout plan for the National League,” who hasn’t won the All-Star game in 13 years. “No,” said the president, “we’re out of money.”

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