ThinkFast: November 30, 2009


President Obama plans to lay out a time frame for drawing down the American involvement in the war in Afghanistan when he announces his decision this week to send more forces. A senior administration official said, “He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down.”

In a speech today, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) will call on President Barack Obama to bring U.S. troops home from Afghanistan. “I can take pot shots at ACORN all day long, and I’m good at it,” Chaffetz told Politico. “But even though I am probably going against where the party is on this traditionally, I just think we need to stand up and support the notion that it is time to bring our soldiers home.”

Business leaders are pressing the Obama administration to enact tax cuts as a way of spurring job growth. The National Federation of Independent Business is pushing for a payroll tax holiday, and the Chamber of Commerce wants “reduction of the corporate capital-gains tax and a permanent elimination of the estate tax.”

Food stamp use has risen to a record high as one in eight Americans and one in four children now take advantage of the federal food assistance program. More than 36 million Americans in total are on food stamps, with an additional 20,000 joining the program every month.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said Sunday that it’s “less likely than more likely” that he’ll run for president in 2012. “Huckabee said he’s enjoying his current gig as a Fox News host” and wants to see what happens in the 2010 elections. Recent polls show he is the “most popular candidate among Iowa Republicans.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said Sunday that he will not vote for Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s renomination, citing his role in the economic crisis. “I absolutely will not vote for Bernanke,” the senator said on ABC’s “This Week” news show. “He is part of the problem.”

“Trying to prevent a run on its banks, and financial turmoil that some fear could spread globally,” the United Arab Emirates has pledged to “lend money to banks operating in Dubai.” “The Dubai crisis began last week, when the emirate said Dubai World would not be able to make on-time payments for some of its $59 billion in debt.”

Iran has refused to comply with an IAEA demand to end work on the once-secret nuclear enrichment facility at Qom and has “escalated the confrontation by declaring it would construct 10 more such plants.” Iran will also look into enriching “its existing stockpile of nuclear fuel for use in a medical reactor — rather than rely on Russia or another nation, as agreed to in an earlier tentative deal.”

As “the historic debate on health care reform opens on the Senate floor” today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is attempting to negotiate “a compromise on the public insurance option that can garner 60 votes and win over a public still leery of reform.” Asked when he thought the Senate health care debate would end, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), told Politico, “When there are 60 votes.”

And finally: In her new book, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin says she’s quoting Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden with this line: “I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember our grandfathers paid for it — with their lives.” But the phrase actually belongs to Cheyenne warrior John Wooden Legs, who adds in his essay: “My people and the Sioux defeated General Custer at the Little Big Horn.” Probably not what Palin was trying to convey.

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