ThinkFast: April 27, 2010

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)

“Just hours after Senate Republicans succeeded in blocking debate on a Wall Street reform bill” yesterday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) “slammed the GOP for refusing to act, saying ‘the filibusters have to end.'” Speaking on CNN, Durbin said he was “willing to listen to any constructive suggestion,” but would not “change and weaken the bill to bring in Republican votes.”

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) charged that the investment bank Goldman Sachs has been “misleading” the country and bet against the U.S. housing market in 2007 and 2008. Levin, as a part of his Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, has been researching the financial crisis and particularly Goldman’s activities for the past 18 months.

President Obama’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility will hold its first meeting today “to address what leaders of both parties agree is one of the greatest threats to the country’s economic future: the rising national debt.” At the first meeting, “prominent economists from both parties” will push the message that a combination of spending cuts and tax increases “is the only responsible solution.”

Mexico President Felipe Calderón “vigorously condemned” Arizona’s draconian new immigration law yesterday, saying it “opens the door to intolerance and hatred,” and promised it would be at the top of his agenda when he comes to Washington next month. Other “Mexican officials reacted with swift and near-universal condemnation, warning that the law could harm trade, tourism and bilateral relations.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he does not want immigration to be brought up this year because it would be a “political stunt that will divide the country.” Deeming comprehensive immigration reform to be an issue that has “no chance in hell of passing” this year, Graham said bringing it up would “destroy that issue.”

President Obama launched a new effort yesterday to “build business and social ties to the Muslim world,” fulfilling a pledge he made in his Cairo speech last June. The two-day summit will bring together about 250 successful entrepreneurs from dozens of Muslim countries, who will hear from Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Obama.

“Iraq’s election results have been thrown into further doubt after 52 candidates were disqualified,” stoking fears of increased sectarian division in that country. The US is “reportedly seeking to persuade [election frontrunners] Allawi and Maliki to form a coalition government and split the premiership between them for two years each.”

California police raided the home of a blogger who works for Gawker Media and seized his computers. Jason Chen, who writes for Gizmodo, had purchased a next-generation iPhone and reported on it prior to its official release by Apple. Gawker is arguing the search warrant was illegal because it “may not be validly issued to confiscate the property of a journalist.” “Are bloggers journalists? I guess we’ll find out,” Gawker’s president said.

An underwater oil well is gushing “42,000 gallons a day from the site of a wrecked drilling platform” off the Louisiana coast. The spill has grown to “an area larger than Rhode Island” and could “reach shore in as little as three days.” It may take “at least two to four weeks to get it under control,” and workers on a nearby rig have been evacuated. View photos of the disaster here and here.

And finally: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) do the Electric Slide.

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