ThinkFast: February 2, 2010

Lloyd Blankfein

Goldman Sachs may reduce CEO Lloyd Blankfein’s bonus amid uproar over the reported $100 million he is expected to receive. “They have made a number of moves to try to ameliorate the issues,” said Alan Johnson, a Wall Street consultant. “I would be shocked if it didn’t have an impact on his and everybody else’s total.”

Today, the Senate Armed Services Committee will be holding a hearing on the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, the first such session in 17 years. The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network has announced that DADT discharges for the four branches were down last year, totaling 428 in 2009 compared to 619 in 2008. The organization stressed that 428 is still “too many.”

The Somali militant group al Shabaab said yesterday that it will ally with al Qaeda. It was the first “explicit” agreement between the two groups, but “it isn’t clear whether this new resolution will result in funding or training from al Qaeda, or even if it will lead to an official endorsement from the global terror group.”

“Virginia’s Democratic-controlled state Senate passed measures Monday that would make it illegal to require individuals to purchase health insurance, a direct challenge to the party’s efforts in Washington to reform health care.” Five Democrats joined with every Republican to support the bills, which are “expected to be approved by the GOP-controlled House of Delegates.”

Sarah Palin is calling on President Obama to fire his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel for using the phrase “f—ing retarded” in a meeting with liberal allies. Writing on Facebook, Palin said, “Rahm’s slur on all God’s children with cognitive and developmental disabilities – and the people who love them – is unacceptable, and it’s heartbreaking.”

Senate Democrats voted yesterday to begin debate on the confirmation of controversial Labor Department appointee Patricia Smith. A vote on Smith, who has been nominated to be solicitor of the agency, is expected today.

President Obama’s budget “raises taxes on businesses and upper-income households by $2 trillion over 10 years.” The budget calls for allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, but extends those on middle class families and adds “new tax cuts” for job creation. “Banks and multinational corporations would face new fees and levies.”

Today in New Hampshire, Obama will propose “using $30 billion from the TARP bank bailout program for a small business lending fund to try to spur job growth in a critical sector of the U.S. economy.” The fund would be available to small, community banks with $10 billion in assets or less. “These are the small, local banks that work most closely with our small businesses,” Obama will say.

In mid-March, President Obama and his family will travel to Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country. The President is expected to “visit some of the sites of his childhood.” Indonesian presidential spokesman Dino Patti Djalal said, “This visit has a sentimental aspect and that’s why he’s bringing along his two daughters.”

And finally: Will there be a President Will Smith some day?

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