ThinkFast: March 9, 2010

President Bush

Former president George W. Bush, “in his most active intervention since leaving the White House,” called the UK’s Conservative Party leader David Cameron to ask him to support the Northern Ireland peace process. Members of Congress wrote to Cameron last month to tell him that insurgents would be “emboldened” if the peace process is slowed down.

The International Brotherhood of Electric Workers has filed a lawsuit against the mega investment bank Goldman Sachs for overpaying its top executives. The lawsuit “seeks to stop Goldman from allocating roughly 47 percent of 2009 net revenue as compensation, saying such allocations ‘vastly overcompensate management and constitute corporate waste.'”

62 percent: Turnout in Iraq’s parliamentary elections on Sunday, “higher than in last year’s provincial ballot, despite attempts by Sunni Islamist insurgents to disrupt the vote with attacks that killed 39.”

Leaders of nearly a dozen grass-roots immigrant rights groups excoriated President Obama and congressional Democrats on Monday, accusing them of moving too slowly to legalize the status of undocumented immigrants.” The White House said that President Obama will soon be meeting with Sens. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to “discuss the bipartisan immigration bill.”

In Israel, Vice President Biden assured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today that Israel has Washington’s “unstinting support,” and said the U.S. intends to curb Iran’s nuclear program. “There is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel’s security,” Biden said.

“Mideast rivals Israel and Syria” each announced ambitions to develop nuclear energy, today. Laying out their hopes “at an international conference in Paris on civilian nuclear energy,” the countries “could come under the microscope of international inspectors” to ensure they don’t use the programs to make weapons.

A bipartisan group of representatives in the House plans to force a vote Wednesday on withdrawing from Afghanistan. “We haven’t had a real debate,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH). “We want to light the fire of the American peace movement.” House leaders plan to allow “three hours of formal debate” on Kucinich’s measure.

Nearly “200 women who served as military pilots during World War II as part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program” will finally be recognized in a ceremony at the Capitol tomorrow, where they will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. The women “did everything the men did except participate in combat.”

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed yesterday to hear a case dealing with the free speech rights of Fred Phelps’ Westboro Baptist Church, an anti-gay hate group. The court will “consider an appeal from the father of a slain Marine” whose $5 million verdict against the church was overturned by an appeals court.

And finally: Disgraced former congressman Mark Foley returned to the public eye yesterday when he went to a speech by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney at the Forum Club in Florida. “People have been begging me to come back to the Forum Club,” said Foley, who was a regular before his 2006 scandal.

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