ThinkFast: October 16, 2009


At a town hall event in New Orleans yesterday, 9-year old Tyren Scott asked President Obama, “Why do people hate you? They supposed to love you. God is love.” Obama responded, “If you were watching TV lately, it seems like everybody’s just getting mad all the time. And you know, I think that you’ve got to take it with a grain of salt. Some of it is just what’s called politics.” Watch the video here.

CNN has rejected an ad produced by America’s Voice and Media Matters that calls out the network for giving Lou Dobbs a prominent platform to spew anti-immigrant hate. “The most trusted name in news isn’t willing to critically examine one of its pre-eminent hosts,” said Eric Burns, president of Media Matters. “He isn’t worthy of the platform CNN gives him.”

Obama is facing criticism from his liberal allies for moving too slowly to fill positions on the federal court. “During his first nine months in office, Obama has won confirmation in the Democratic-controlled Senate for just three of his 23 nominations for federal judgeships, largely because Republicans have used anonymous holds and filibuster threats to slow the proceedings to a crawl.”

The House voted yesterday “to allow detainees being held at the Guantánamo Bay naval base in Cuba to be transferred to the United States, but only to stand trial.” Republicans tried to strip the measure from the overall Homeland Security Department appropriations bill but failed by 224 to 193.

Some rank-and-file congressional Democrats are expressing frustration about the influence of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in the health care reform debate. “This is the United States of America. This is not the United States of Maine,” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). “I mean that one senator cannot hold the entire nation’s health care plan hostage.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) said yesterday that he believes that “every Democrat” in the Senate will end up supporting healthcare reform legislation. Baucus also said that “there will be at least one Republican and maybe a couple more who also will vote for it.”

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) blasted “charges by a group of Republican lawmakers that a Muslim activist group has planted interns on Capitol Hill in an effort to alter national security legislation.” “Numerous Muslim-American interns have served the House ably and they deserve our appreciation and respect, not attacks on their character or patriotism,” said Conyers in a statement.

After an investigation in to allegedly fraudulent ballots from Afghanistan’s disputed election, the U.N.-backed Electoral Complaints Commission has found that President Hamid Karzai’s portion of the vote has been reduced to about 47 percent, “an outcome that will trigger a runoff between him and his closest competitor.” Karzai’s ambassador to Washington said yesterday that a runoff is “likely.”

The Treasury Department’s “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg “pushed outgoing Bank of America Corp. Chief Executive Kenneth D. Lewis into giving back about $1 million he received so far this year and forgoing the rest of his $1.5 million salary for 2009.” Feinberg reportedly decided that Lewis’ retirement benefits package and unvested stock worth at least $69.3 million “was large enough, and possibly too big.” 

And finally: Yesterday, the national media tripped over themselves to provide live coverage of a runaway balloon that was supposedly carrying a young boy on-board. Falcon Henne — aka “balloon boy” — suggested to CNN last night that it was all “an elaborate attention-seeking stunt.” “We did this for the show,” Falcon said. The father — Richard Henne — dismissed allegations that the disappearance was staged on NBC’s Today show. During the live interview, “Falcon threw up into a container when his father” was answering the question.

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