ThinkFast: August 11, 2009

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"ThinkFast: August 11, 2009"

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Since Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) launched the National Council for a New America last May, the group “hasn’t held a single public event, despite more than 5,000 invitations to take their show out on the road.” Constrained by ethics rules, the group has come under criticism from conservatives, like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), who called it a “listening tour” inside the Beltway “bubble.”

President Obama will hold a health care town hall today in Portsmouth, NH. The White House is expecting a confrontation with anti-health reform protestors at the event. “If you just want to come to a town hall so that you can disrupt and…scream over another person, he doesn’t think that that’s productive,” said spokesman Bill Burton.

A Congressional oversight panel report says that the Treasury Department’s $700 billion bailout has stabilized the banking system but has “done little to prod banks to fully deal with the troubled loans on their books.” Treasury has not purchased the troubled assets and banks “have not wanted to sell their problem loans and book the loss in their value.”

The Alaska legislature voted yesterday to “override former Gov. Sarah Palin’s veto of $28 million in federal stimulus money for energy cost relief. … Reversing a governor’s appropriation veto requires a vote of 75 percent of the Legislature, a hurdle rarely met. The override passed 45 to 14.”

South Carolina Republican state senator David Thomas suggested in a letter to colleagues yesterday that Gov. Mark Sanford’s abuses of state finances “were enough to trigger impeachment proceedings.” “If I were in the House, the answer would be yes, I would be involved in the beginning of the impeachment process,” wrote Thomas.

President Obama predicted yesterday that a draft bill on comprehensive immigration reform will happen “before the year is out.” “I’ve got a lot on my plate, and it’s very important for us to sequence these big initiatives in a way where they don’t all just crash at the same time,” he said. “This is going to be difficult; it’s going to require bipartisan cooperation.” 

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics and the sister of President John F. Kennedy, died early this morning at the age of 88. “When the full judgment of the Kennedy legacy is made…the changes wrought by Eunice Shriver may well be seen as the most consequential,” U.S. News and World Report wrote about her in 1993. Obama heralded her as “an extraordinary woman.”

House leaders dropped plans last night to “spend $550 million on Air Force passenger planes for use by senior government officials, a sum that more than doubled the Pentagon’s official request and had drawn strong public criticism.” “The House will seek only $220 million to purchase one Gulfstream plane and three Boeing Co. aircraft, which was the original request by Department of Defense officials.”

Yesterday, the Center for American Progress Action Fund hosted a clean energy summit in Las Vegas. CAP released a new report which finds that retrofitting 50 million homes and small commercial buildings would create 625,000 sustained jobs in construction and manufacturing, and would save consumers up to $64 billion a year.

And finally: Disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich is shopping around for a reality tv show. “He’s not divorced, and he’s not looking for a date, but he is looking for work…and if you look at it seriously, these reality shows are all about landing jobs,” said one source. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Blagojevich’s agent is reportedly pitching his client nationwide. “No one has said ‘yes’…but no one has said ‘no,’” said the source. “It’s a 50/50 deal so far.”

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