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ThinkFast: July 30, 2009

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"ThinkFast: July 30, 2009"

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According to a new WSJ/NBC poll, “support for President Barack Obama’s health-care effort has declined over the past five weeks, particularly among those who already have insurance.” Among those with private insurance, the proportion calling the plan a bad idea rose to 47% from 37%.

Liberals on the House Energy and Commerce Committee reluctantly agreed last night to support a compromise on health care reform brokered by Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and four “Blue Dog” Democrats. “We’re ready to rock and roll,” said Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “We don’t like it, but the political reality is we need to move something out of committee.”

In a statement released yesterday, Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) said that, to get a bipartisan bill, Democrats have to agree to his demands. Enzi said he wants “commitments from Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi, as well as the Administration, that the bipartisan agreements reached in the Finance Committee will survive in a final bill that goes to the President.”

Attorney General Eric Holder told ABC that the American people would be “surprised by the depth” of the homegrown terror threat. “I mean, that’s one of the things that’s particularly troubling: This whole notion of radicalization of Americans,” he said, adding that it’s of “great concern.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) distanced himself from the “birthers” yesterday. Meeting with reporters, Boehner was asked if he planned to make an issue of Obama’s birthplace. “No,” he replied. Did he have any reason to believe that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii? “No,” Boehner answered.

When he was a Republican, Arlen Specter routinely added earmark requests for abstinence education to spending bills, making him the only senator to do so. Now that he’s a Democrat, Specter is abstaining from this practice. CQ reports that Specter “did not request money for his state’s programs in the fiscal 2010 Labor-HHS-Education bill.”

The Republican National Committee is holding a semiannual meeting in California this week, and members are reportedly feeling “a strong air of optimism.” The Hill reports that this change in attitude partially stems from the fact that chairman Michael Steele has “gotten the message that the job of being chairman has more to do with leading the Republican Party than with raising Michael Steele’s profile.”

Decades of war and government mismanagement made worse by two years of drought, “are wreaking havoc on Iraq’s ecosystem, drying up riverbeds and marshes, turning arable land into desert, killing trees and plants, and generally transforming what was once the region’s most fertile area into a wasteland.”

The Obama administration is supporting an effort to implement a U.N. doctrine calling for collective military action to halt genocide. The U.S. is joining Russia, China, and a majority of U.N. countries in supporting the political doctrine of Responsibility to Protect, which “may be invoked in only four cases: genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, or crimes against humanity.”

And finally: First Dog Bo has already charmed the national media, and it ends up he’s winning over White House staff as well. “The dog is really nice, and I’m not afraid he’s going to bite me like Barney and Miss Beazley,” said White House photo archivist Janet Philips.

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