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ThinkFast: April 14, 2010

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"ThinkFast: April 14, 2010"

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“Former President Bill Clinton will give the keynote speech Friday at a symposium marking the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.” The event, which is sponsored by the Center for American Progress and the Democratic Leadership Council, will examine the bombing, “how the country reacted to it, and what lessons we can learn from it today about our political discourse.”

With financial reform moving through Congress, “Wall Street, perhaps more than any other industry, is bolstering its lobbying forces, and turning more and more to former lawmakers and Congressional staff members to lead the fight against stiff rules.” “More than 125 former Congressional aides and lawmakers are now working for financial firms as part of a multibillion-dollar effort” to shape regulation.

Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman (R) signed yesterday the nation’s first law “to restrict abortions on the basis of fetal pain.” The law, which “grew out of a battle” over whether murdered abortion doctor George Tiller’s practice could be moved to the state, bans “most abortions 20 weeks after conception.”

The Arizona House of Representatives by a 35-21 vote adopted harsh new measures aimed at curbing undocumented immigration. The measures include allowing police officers to arrest anyone who can’t provide documentation and allowing people to sue government agencies if they adopt policies that obstruct the enforcement of immigration laws.

One-time Tea Party darling Carl Paladino, a Buffalo real estate mogul running for New York governor, has been abandoned by many of his conservative followers after reports broke that he forwarded racist, sexually explicit e-mails. “Republican leaders from nine Albany-area counties” withdrew their invitation to Paladino to speak at a forum for state-wide candidates, and the Tea Party Express has disowned him.

A computer error at the Department of Labor prevented the Massey coal mine in West Virginia, where a tragic accident occurred, from receiving a warning letter about safety violations. “This computer error did not have an impact on this tragedy,” Labor secretary Hilda Solis said. “It did, however, have an impact on the information that we provided to the public.”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said yesterday that Iran will not have the capacity to build a nuclear weapon for at least a year, or perhaps longer. “I think that most estimates that I’ve seen haven’t changed since the last time we talked about it, which is probably at least a year, maybe more,” he said. Gates also said that Iran’s progress toward weaponization has advanced slower than its leaders had anticipated.

A 7.1 earthquake in western China this morning “killed at least 400 people, injured 10,000 and left many others buried under debris.” The quake was centered in the “remote and mountainous” and “sparsely populated” Yushu County, near Tibet. “Among those still missing were 20 children buried in the wreckage of a primary school.”

Reps. Steve King (R-IA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN) announced that they will pool their resources to hire a press secretary that will be shared between the two of them. Staffers call the move unprecedented because the employee, Sergio Gor, “will be handling press for two different lawmakers, getting paid from their personal offices as well as campaign funds.”

And finally: If you want Sarah Palin to come speak at your event, you’re going to need “two unopened bottles of still water and ‘bendable straws’” on the lectern. The details are in the speaking contract her handlers to Cal State Stanislaus — which some students found sitting in a dumpster. Palin also requires a private aircraft that “MUST BE a Lear 60 or larger” for West Coast Events and “a Hawker 800 or Larger” for East Coast events. Most significantly, however, the contract requires audience questions to be pre-screened.

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