ThinkFast: September 1, 2009


The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is planning a “revival of high-impact civil rights enforcement” after a shift away from such cases during the Bush administration. The DOJ will focus on “some of the most important areas of American political life,” including housing, voting rights, and bank lending practices.

Senate Democrats yesterday announced that they will not unveil climate change legislation until “later in September.” Democrats had originally planned to introduce a Senate bill by late July, but then pushed it back to early September. They attributed the latest delay to the focus on health care reform.

In a new CBS News poll, 67 percent of Americans said that health care reforms being debated were “confusing.” Only 31 percent said they had “a clear understanding of the proposed changes” while 60 percent said that President Obama “has not clearly explained his health care reform plans.”

Though a new classified report by top Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal does not call for additional American troops, officials say “that it effectively laid the groundwork for such a request in coming weeks.” Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs left open the possibility that President Obama would send more troops, referring to Afghanistan as “under-resourced” seven times.

In a Washington Post op-ed, conservative commentator George Will calls for “rapidly reversing the trajectory of America’s involvement in Afghanistan.” “Forces should be substantially reduced to serve a comprehensively revised policy,” writes Will. “America should do only what can be done from offshore, using intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units.”

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) yesterday announced that 31,000 legal immigrants will lose access to dental, vision, hospice, and skilled nursing services under their state-subsidized insurance plans. In some cases, they will also see increases in their medication and treatment co-payments. Patrick stressed that “the services that the affected group tends to use the most will still be covered.”

Mohsen Ruholamini, the 25-year-old son of a defeated Iranian presidential candidate, died after being beaten in jail. Authorities arrested Ruholamini during protests after the country’s disputed June 12 presidential election. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has promised to “seek justice” in the case.

Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell is in hot water over his 1989 graduate-school thesis, where he described working women as “detrimental” to the family, homosexuals as “fornicators,” and decried the “purging” of religion from public schools. McDonnell told reporters yesterday that his views have changed since his time as a graduate student.

National Security Adviser ret. Gen. Jim Jones yesterday responded to Vice President Cheney’s criticisms of President Obama’s national security policies, saying that this administration’s approach has resulted in “more captures, more deaths of radical leaders and a kind of a global coming-together.”

And finally: The first pictures from former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s “Dancing with the Stars” practice have been released. Check them out here.

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