ThinkFast: December 14, 2009

President Obama

In an interview with CBS’s “60 minutes,” President Obama said that he “did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat-cat bankers on Wall Street.” Obama will meet with bank CEOs today and will reportedly tell them “you guys were part of the problem and now you have to be part of the solution.” The banks claim they will “step up now.”

“Citigroup reached a deal early Monday morning to be the last of the big Wall Street banks to exit the government’s bailout program.” Citigroup will repay $20 billion of federal aid through the sale of stocks and other equity. “We owe the American taxpayers a debt of gratitude,” CEO Vikram Pandit said in a statement.

Developing nations, represented by “The Group of 77,” walked out of climate talks in Copenhagen today, citing their displeasure with negotiations they see tilted in favor of developed countries. British Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband told the press that “it is up to him and his counterparts in Copenhagen to help bridge the gap between rich and poor countries.”

Energy Secretary Steven Chu will announce today a $350 million “international plan to deploy clean technology in developing countries.” The U.S. is contributing $85 million to the five-year effort with the balance coming from other industrialized nations. The plan will go into effect “no matter what pledges” are made during the Copenhagen climate talks.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “in a face-to-face meeting” yesterday “that he will vote against a health care bill that includes a public option or a provision that would expand Medicare.” Democrats had “thought they had secured Mr. Lieberman’s agreement to go along” with a compromise, leading a Senate Democratic aide to call Lieberman’s announcement “a total flip-flop.”

Top U.S. officials “are pushing to expand CIA drone strikes beyond Pakistan’s tribal region and into a major city in an attempt to pressure the Pakistani government to pursue Taliban leaders based in Quetta.” The proposal signals U.S. resolve to go after the Taliban but also “risks rupturing Washington’s relationship with Islamabad.”

Western and U.N. nuclear officials “are evaluating a secret Iranian technical document that appears to show the country’s nuclear scientists testing a key component used in the detonation of a nuclear warhead.” If the document is authenticated, it “could rank as one of the strongest pieces of evidence pointing to a clandestine Iranian effort to build nuclear weapons.”

Democrat Annise Parker was elected Houston’s new mayor on Saturday, making her “the first openly gay person to lead a major U.S. city.” Parker “first emerged in the public arena as a gay rights activist in the 1980s” and rose through the ranks of city politics. Parker’s sexual orientation became a focus of the mayoral race after far right groups came out and condemned her “homosexual behavior.”

The Congressional Black Caucus continued to air its grievances against the Obama administration for not focusing enough on the “disproportionate pain” that minorities are suffering from the recession. “You have to target legislation and actions so that you can deal with that devastation,” Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) said.

And finally: Sarah Palin turns the tables on William Shatner.

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