ThinkFast: April 12, 2010

On the eve of a summit aimed at looking at ways to secure the world’s nuclear stockpile, President Obama said that if al Qaeda acquired nuclear weapons, the group “would have no compunction at using them.” It’s the “single biggest threat to U.S. security” and “something that could change the security landscape in this country and around the world for years to come,” the President said.

“Senate Republicans say they are willing to block ratification” of the new START treaty that President Barack Obama signed with Russia “unless the administration follows through with key policy concessions.” “The president has to put into place a plan to modernize our nuclear weapons. Until that plan is presented, he won’t see support for the treaty,” a Republican Senate aide told Roll Call.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) told a rally of over 6,000 people in Las Vegas that Congress would begin working on comprehensive immigration reform as soon as it returned from its recess. “We need to do this this year,” Mr. Reid told the crowd. “We cannot wait.”

Bloomberg reports that the President Obama’s potential Supreme Court nominees “are relative moderates.” Supreme Court appellate lawyer Tom Goldstein notes, “The candidates who are truly liberals aren’t really on the table.” By contrast, President Bush rewarded die-hard conservatives with two selections from their wish list.

Conservatives plan to make an issue of Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s gay rights’ stand if she is selected as the next Supreme Court nominee. Kagan once signed a brief urging the Supreme Court to “to limit military access to campus recruiting events.” She called the military’s policy on gays “a profound wrong — a moral injustice of the first order.”

Israeli human rights groups have warned that a “recently amended military order that allows Israel to remove people from the West Bank if it does not recognize their legal status could lead to the expulsion of thousands of Palestinians.” The amendment redefined “infiltrator” to refer “to anyone who entered the West Bank ‘unlawfully’ or who ‘does not lawfully hold a permit.’ The permit required is not specified.”

Afghan president Hamid Karzai is threatening to delay or cancel a planned NATO offensive in Kandahar following his meeting with village elders who think it will bring greater insecurity to the region. “Until the time you say you are happy, the operation will not happen,” Karzai reportedly told the elders.

A “national grass-roots campaign demanding equal Social Security benefits for same-sex couples” kicked off on Sunday, with a rally at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in Hollywood. Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA) announced she would sponsor a bill providing equal benefits, stating, “Right now, same-sex marriage couples pay equally into a system that they don’t receive equal benefits from in return.”

A group of liberal Democrats, joined by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), “are planning an aggressive spring offensive to strengthen key provisions of the financial reform bill — and daring Senate Republicans to vote against them.” “There are a number of people in our caucus who feel like there are things that can be done to strengthen it,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND)

And finally: Tina Fey launches the Sarah Palin network.

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