ThinkFast: September 30, 2009


President Obama will convene “an array of high-powered advisors” today to discuss whether to escalate the war in Afghanistan. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Gen. David Petraeus, Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen, and Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair were expected to be among the participants.

A new poll by NPR, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Kaiser Family Foundation has found that the public believes its voice is not being heard in the health care debate. 71 percent of respondents said Congress was “paying too little attention” to what they were saying.

Last night, filmmaker Michael Moore sent a message to leading Democrats blocking health care reform: “I want to offer a personal pledge. I — and a lot of other people — have every intention of removing you from Congress in the next election if you stand in the way of health care legislation that the people want.”

Most Americans are willing to pay higher taxes to fund health care reforms that provide the best quality of care. “78 percent of Democrats willing to accept higher taxes, as well as 64 percent of independents and 48 percent of Republicans.”

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA) will unveil global warming legislation today that would require a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. The bill would go even further than House legislation passed in June, which required a 17 percent decrease. Joe Romm says it is “environmentally, economically and politically stronger” than its House counterpart.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-CT) is pressing his case for the creation of a single, powerful regulator to oversee the banks. Arguing against the proposal, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) said regulators shouldn’t be consolidated because he enjoys watching them blame each other for regulatory failures.

The Central Intelligence Agency announced plans to launch a new Center on Climate Change and National Security to examine the potential security risks of environmental issues.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has rejected to “repeal a law that granted legal immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the Bush-era wiretapping program.” “I don’t think that revisiting that issue will get us anyplace,” Hoyer said. Democratic Sens. Chris Dodd (CT), Russ Feingold (WI), Patrick Leahy (VT) and Jeff Merkley (OR) plan to introduce the Retroactive Immunity Repeal Act this week.

Speaking in Hershey, PA yesterday, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed concerns that some attacks on President Obama are motivated by “racism,” calling such charges “nonsense.” “It’s a pretty rough policy debate. People feel strongly about these issues. It’s not fair to attribute racist motives for people who just disagree,” said Rice.

And finally: You may know her as Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), but she’s now “Miss November” in the 2010 “Great American Conservative Women” calendar put out by the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. Beneath Bachmann’s picture in the calendar reads: “Since the fall of Adam, freedom has not been the natural condition of man. However, America has chosen to light a candle, rather than curse the darkness, with the bright promise of life, liberty and freedom.”

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