ThinkFast: January 11, 2010

Harry Reid and President Obama

Yesterday, Republicans called on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to resign over his recently reported offensive description of Obama as “light skinned” and “with no Negro dialect,” for which Reid has apologized. But “Democrats are preparing to throw the race card back in the laps of Republicans” by distributing things such as “the NAACP vote ratings of Republican senators who have scolded him.”

Pope Benedict XVI “denounced the failure of world leaders to agree to a new climate change treaty in Copenhagen last month.” Dubbed “the green pope,” Benedict argued that world peace depends on the responsible safeguarding of God’s creation.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal tells ABC News that the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan “has already blunted the Taliban’s momentum and the tide is turning against the Taliban.” “I believe that we are on the way to convincing the Afghan people that we are here to protect them,” he said.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin “believed that Sen. John McCain chose her to be his running mate in the 2008 presidential race because of ‘God’s plan,'” according to Steve Schmidt, a top political strategist on the campaign. Schmidt also told CBS’s 60 Minutes that Palin was dishonest and had trouble with the truth.

Politico’s Morning Money reports that President Obama’s budget, which will be released next month, “is likely to include a fee on banks designed to recoup some of the cost taxpayers incurred in the bailout.”

Despite “generous” bonuses, some bankers are “complaining” that “too much of the payout is coming in stock instead of cash.” Banks and securities firms have shifted to stocks to assuage “public anger over the big paychecks,” but “some employees say the shift could leave them short of cash.”

Middle East envoy George Mitchell floated the possibility of withholding loan guarantees to Israel this weekend as a way to pressure the country to comply with peace efforts. The proposal was quickly attacked by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) as well as by Israeli officials.

In interview excerpts released yesterday, President Obama told People magazine that he has “no intention of sending U.S. boots on the ground” to Yemen and Somalia. “I never rule out any possibility in a world that is this complex,” said Obama. But, he added, “in countries like Yemen, in countries like Somalia, I think working with international partners is most effective at this point.”

North Korea today proposed talks with the United States aimed at reaching “a formal peace treaty that would replace the truce that ended the Korean War 57 years ago.” However, the DPRK government said “it would not return to six-nation talks … unless the United Nations lifted the sanctions it imposed…last year.”

And finally: “I’m blacker than Barack Obama,” claimed disgraced former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich in an interview with Esquire. “I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived,” he added. “I saw it all growing up.”

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