ThinkFast: April 22, 2010

President Obama will speak in New York City today about financial reform, and is expected to condemn “the furious efforts of industry lobbyists” trying to weaken or kill the bill. Obama “wants to confront the financial industry more directly through a sharp speech barely a mile from Wall Street, and with some of its leading corporate titans in the audience.”

As Democrats point out that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) misleading anti-financial reform rhetoric echoes a messaging memo by pollster Frank Luntz, Republicans are denying that their bailout line came from Luntz. “We’ve been talking about it way before Luntz,” said Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), a senior Republican on the House Financial Services Committee.

Americans are still more likely to blame President Bush for the country’s economic problems. A new Gallup polls shows 42 percent blame Bush a “great deal” while only 26 percent blame Obama. There has been “little decrease” in the percentage blaming Bush since July.

Three people are “critically injured” and another 11 remain missing after a Tuesday night “explosion and fire on an offshore drilling platform” off the coast of Louisiana. Officials said the pollution has been “minimal so far” but “does have the potential to change.” The incident has undercut the claim put forth by offshore drilling advocates that the practice is safe.

A USA Today/American University review found that “[b]anks that received federal assistance during the financial crisis reduced lending more aggressively and gave bigger pay raises to employees than institutions that didn’t get aid.” The finding raises questions about whether TARP funds achieved the goal of stimulating the economy by reviving the flow of credit.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has reportedly told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that she is “fine” with the Senate working on an immigration bill before a climate bill. “The conversation was really about timing, not an either-or kind of thing, but timing,” said an aide who was present at the meeting between the two leaders.

Obama said yesterday that it is “very important” that his nominee to replace Justice John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court support abortion rights. “I am somebody who believes that women should have the ability to make often very difficult decisions about their own bodies and issues of reproduction,” Obama said.

Carol Browner, the director of the White House Office of Energy and Climate Change Policy, told Politico that if Congress doesn’t act to curb carbon emissions, the White House will. “We’re not going to ignore a Supreme Court decision,” said Browner, referring to a 2007 ruling that gave EPA the authority to treat greenhouse gases as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. “We take the court’s decision very, very seriously.”

NATO officials admitted yesterday that four unarmed Afghans it killed this week during a convoy shooting were all civilians. They had previously claimed two of the dead were “well-known insurgents.”

And finally: Feral cats, make way for the George W. Bush library!

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