ThinkFast: April 16, 2010

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"ThinkFast: April 16, 2010"

President Obama yesterday issued a memorandum requiring “that nearly all hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians and respect patients’ choices about who may make critical health-care decisions for them.” The Human Rights Campaign called it “an enormous step” because it provides “an essential right to LGBT families for a gay person or a lesbian person to spend time with their partner in a critical situation.”

Speaking at a tea party rally yesterday in New York City, former CNN anchor Lou Dobbs drew cheers when he said of critics, “You are scaring the hell out of them. You, my friends, are dangerous – and I love that about you.”

The White House is preparing to “aggressively go after” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and other Republicans on financial reform. Democrats released a video last night “seeking to portray McConnell as parroting talking points” prepared by GOP pollster Frank Luntz, which a Democratic source called “only the opening salvo.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) may end up being the deciding vote next week on a Democratic Wall Street reform plan touted by the White House,” The Hill reports. According to a GOP aide, “Collins is the only Republican senator who has not signed a letter promising to filibuster a motion to proceed to the bill unless Democrats reopen bipartisan negotiations.” Politico has a list of eight potential GOP votes for reform.

NATO statistics show that Afghan civilian deaths by NATO troops have more than doubled this year to 72, up from 29 a year ago. The deaths jeopardize the U.S. campaign “to win over the local population by protecting them against insurgent attacks.” “If (it) continues, people will abandon the government and join the Taliban,” said member of parliament Malalai Ishaqzai.

The Obama administration is “turning up pressure” on the Palestinians and Israelis out of frustration over “more than a year of intense but failed diplomatic efforts” to get both sides to the negotiating table. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday called on all parties involved to prove they are committed to reaching a resolution to the decades old conflict.

A report by Demos, a UK-based think tank, advises that groups like al Qaeda must be “de-glamorized” and shown as “incompetent, narcissistic and irreligious.” BBC reports, “The two-year international study of Islamic radicals said terrorism could be defeated by making it boring.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) announced last night “that he plans to bring a bill to provide the District of Columbia with full representation in the House to the floor next week, calling the push for voting rights ‘long overdue.'” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) threatened to filibuster the measure yesterday.

An internal CIA document released Thursday reveals that former CIA Director Porter Goss approved in 2005 “of the decision by one of his top aides to destroy dozens of videotapes documenting the brutal interrogation of two detainees.” Shortly after the tapes were destroyed at the order of then-clandestine services chief Jose A. Rodriguez Jr, Goss told Rodriquez that he “agreed” with the decision.

And finally: Will Gen. Colin Powell join Twitter?

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