ThinkFast: August 13, 2009

Dick Cheney stares down George W. Bush

In “informal conversations” with authors, diplomats, policy experts and past colleagues as he prepares his memoir, former Vice President Dick Cheney has “opened a second front” against his “White House partner of eight years, George W. Bush.” Cheney felt “that Bush had gone soft on him” in the second term, one participant said. “Or rather Bush had hardened against Cheney’s advice.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin doubled down yesterday on her discredited claim that proposed health care reform would include “death panels.” Writing on her Facebook page, Palin wrote that “President Obama can try to gloss over the effects of government authorized end-of-life consultations, but the views of one of his top health care advisors are clear enough.” Actually, conservatives are misrepresenting them.

Americans for Stable Quality Care, a coalition of groups including PhRMA, the SEIU, and the American Medical Association, is launching a $12 milllion dollar television ad campaign to support health care legislation before Congress. Meanwhile, PhRMA, the trade group of the pharmaceutical industry, has promised to spend as much as $150 million to support the health care plan.

The Obama administration is “creating 50 benchmarks to measure success in Afghanistan at a time when the United States is struggling to beat back a virulent Taliban presence there,” senior U.S. officials tell CNN. The metrics will be “made up of categories and subcategories that will measure how well objectives were met as opposed to the ‘yes or no’ responses to single issues in the current reports.”

California’s leading marriage equality advocates, Equality California, have decided to wait until 2012 to place a measure on the state ballot legalizing same-sex marriage. Marc Solomon, Equality California’s marriage director, told The Wall Street Journal that waiting until 2012 will allow for a larger youth vote, which tends to be in support of marriage equality.

The release of documents pertaining to Karl Rove’s testimony to the House Judiciary Committee this week reveal a contradiction between Rove and former Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM). Rove maintains that Wilson pushed for the White House to fire New Mexico’s US Attorney David Iglesias before the 2006 election, while Wilson maintains that she did no such thing and only mentioned Iglesias after the election.

Stopping “well short of declaring victory,” the Federal Reserve’s policy-making committee released its “most upbeat assessment in more than a year,” saying that that the downturn appears to have hit bottom and that consumer spending, financial markets and inventory-building by corporations all continued to stabilize.” Cautioning that recovery would be slow, the committee said that “economic activity is leveling out.”

New guidelines issued by the Obama Administration will allow military spouses to get federal job preference. The guidelines, issued by the Office of Personel Management, will give miltary spouses the option to bypass the traditional hiring process when applying for federal jobs.

And finally: The goal of congressional town halls isn’t to make constituents madder. But those who attended a health care town hall meeting with Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) yesterday were shocked when she interrupted a questioner to answer her cell phone. A constituent recorded the event onto video, and the YouTube has over 186,000 hits as of this morning.

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