ThinkFast: September 21, 2009


Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, “warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict ‘will likely result in failure.'” McChrystal adds that if insurgent momentum is not reversed within the next year, “defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.” 

Former Gov. Mike Huckabee “won a 2012 presidential-preference straw poll of social and religious conservative activists” at the Values Voters conference this weekend. And while straw-poll voters ranked abortion first among issues of concern (41 percent), “[o]pposition to same-sex marriage was third,” registering only 7 percent.

Former Gov. Sarah Palin will deliver a keynote address today at the CLSA Investors’ Forum, where she will touch on “US foreign policy” and “discuss her views on governance, healthcare, and of course, China.” Palin requested media not be allowed in the event because, she said, “If I do that with the press in the room, I will have to say different things.”

President Obama “will hold a joint meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas” tomorrow in an effort to “restart peace talks between the two sides.” The meeting, which will be the first between the three men, will be held in New York and Obama “will meet with each leader separately” before the joint session.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is attempting to get Republicans and moderate Democrats to sign on to cap-and-trade legislation “by adding money for coal power and nuclear plants — changes that would infuriate many of the bill’s liberal supporters.” “Without a nuclear title that’s stronger than in the House climate change legislation, we’re not going to be able to get enough votes,” Lieberman told Politico.

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski will be announcing his support for “net neutrality” today, proposing a rule to prevent “AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and other broadband providers from slowing or blocking services or content, such as TV shows, over the Internet.”

Greenhouse gas emissions have dropped further this year “than in any year in the past four decades,” thanks in large part to the global economic downturn. An unpublished International Energy Agency study finds that other factors include “shelving plans for new coal-fired power stations because of falling demand and lack of financing.”

The State newspaper reports that South Carolina residents have grown tired of Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and would like to see him quit. “In more than two dozen interviews conducted last week, nearly all of those asked condemned Sanford’s actions, and a majority said he should resign.”

Afghanistan police officials who patrol some of the country’s most violent regions questioned the need for more U.S. troops, “saying Monday it would increase the perception they are an occupying power and that the money was better spent on local forces.”

And finally: In a recent interview with the LA Times, former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey admitted that “George W. Bush and Barack Obama have made me appreciate Bill Clinton more than I did.” “I think that President Clinton was more involved, more responsibly and more ably in his job as president than what we’ve seen since him,” he added. “He deserves more credit than I gave him at the time.” Clinton’s response? “Dick Armey said something nice about me the other day. I almost had another heart attack.”

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