ThinkFast: April 26, 2010

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"ThinkFast: April 26, 2010"

President Obama delivered a eulogy at “a somber memorial” for 29 coal miners yesterday who died in an accident at West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch mine earlier this month. “Our task, here on Earth, is to save lives from being lost in another such tragedy,” said Obama. “To treat our miners like they treat each other, like a family. Because we are all family and we are all Americans.”

This afternoon, the Senate will take a crucial test vote on the Wall Street reform bill. “Democrats, who control the Senate with a 59-41 majority, need the support of at least one Republican to get the 60 votes required to open debate on the bill.” Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the GOP will block the debate from proceeding.

A USA Today survey of 46 leading economists finds that most believe the economy is “shaping up to be stronger than expected and there is little risk the economy will slip back into a recession.” The experts predict growth of 3 percent this year, up from forecasts of 2.8 percent in January.

Speaking at a rally yesterday in Phoenix, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) asked Obama not to cooperate with the “unjust and racist” Arizona law if and when illegal immigrants are picked up by local police. Approximately 2,500 people reportedly marched to the state capitol yesterday to protest the law.

“Two key Republican lawmakers joined a growing GOP effort Sunday to halt the push for immigration reform, arguing the time is not right to take on the massive and complex issue,” CNN reports. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said he couldn’t “justify” taking on immigration right now while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he just doesn’t “think this is the right time to take up this issue.”

Tomorrow, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein will be grilled before a Senate subcommittee on investigations regarding his firm’s role in the financial crisis. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) “will try to make the case that Goldman Sachs was making big profits by betting against the deteriorating mortgage market in 2007, even though it would later deny it generated much revenue in that period by shorting mortgage-backed securities.”

Plans to unveil clean energy legislation on Monday were scrapped after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced over the weekend that he would abandon the effort if Democrats move on immigration before energy reform. Backers of the legislation are now working to revive the effort. “Reports of the demise of climate change legislation have been greatly exaggerated,” a senior Democratic aide told Politico.

Sidestepping the dispute, White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers said both immigration reform and climate change legislation should be acted upon. “They are both important,” Summers said yesterday on Face the Nation. “There is no either-or between energy and immigration reform.”

As Middle East envoy George Mitchell “wrapped up his latest diplomatic mission Sunday” there “were signs the impasse” on peace negotiations “could be broken soon.” Palestinian officials say that President Mahmoud Abbas could soon be heading to the White House to for a meeting with President Obama. White House officials “declined to confirm whether an Obama meeting with Abbas was in the works.”

And finally: More than half a year prior to its publication, Bush’s memoir is already available for nearly half price. The book, “Decision Points,” will retail for $35 but is 46 percent off with a pre-order purchase from Borders.com. Yesterday, Crown Publishers unveiled the cover photo for the book and announced a Nov. 9 release date, one week after the mid-term elections.

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