ThinkFast: July 27, 2009

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin officially stepped down as Alaska’s governor on Sunday, with a speech that “blamed the news media and declared government spending can destroy ‘everything that is free.'” Speaking to the press, Palin said that U.S. troops were fighting to protect their freedoms, adding, “So, how about, in honor of the American soldier, ya’ quit makin’ things up?”

President Obama has sent letters to at least seven Arab and Gulf states seeking confidence-building measures toward Israel. A former U.S. official aware of the letters said they reinforce “the Mitchell message re: the need for CBMs [confidence-building measures] in exchange for [settlement] freeze and to [get] peace talks restarted.”

Israel signaled a disagreement with the U.S. today, over a potential military action to halt Iran’s nuclear program. “We clearly believe that no option should be removed from the table,” Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said following talks with Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “This is our policy; we mean it,” Barak continued. “We recommend to others to take the same position.” 

Yesterday, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) distanced himself from his colleagues who have suggested the GOP would benefit politically if it can defeat Obama’s health care plan. Kyl called statements by Sens. Jim DeMint and James Inhofe “unfortunate.” “I don’t agree with that kind of language,” he added.

According to a report by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), HBO scored highest among 15 networks for its representation of gay characters last season. “Television shows that weave our stories into the fabric of the series present richer, more diverse representations,” said Rashad Robinson, GLAAD’s senior director of media programs.

Citing discouraging poll numbers, proponents of marriage equality are considering delaying a campaign to overturn California’s ban on same-sex marriage until at least 2012. “[W]e will step up to the plate — with resources and talent — when the time is right,” said millionaire philanthropist David Bohnett. “The only thing worse than losing in 2008, would be to lose again in 2010.”

The Obama administration is vastly expanding a federal effort, started in Houston under President Bush, “to identify and deport illegal immigrants held in local jails.” The program is being used in 70 counties across the country, though “federal officials say that while they are pleased with their new ability to identify illegal immigrants, they do not have enough agents to deport all of those identified.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she “does not favor a second economic stimulus package,” while appearing on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. Pelosi added she would “rather just stick with” the $787 billion package adopted in January and “get it out faster if we can.”

And finally: Are you looking for a new home? Do you have a spare $1.6 million laying around? If so, you could be the next owner of Karl Rove’s home. The Washington Post reports that Rove is “unloading the Federal-style home in D.C.’s Kent neighborhood he bought eight years ago for $799K. Five bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, brick-and-stone exterior, built 1968. Real estate photos show sunny kitchen, big entertaining spaces, pleasant yard, lots of bookshelves, one wall-mounted deer head.”

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