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ThinkFast: May 4, 2010

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"ThinkFast: May 4, 2010"

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Federal agents and police detectives arrested Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, shortly before midnight Monday in connection with the failed Times Square car bombing. Shahzad is believed to have recently bought the truck that was found laden with explosives. He was taken off a plane that had already boarded at Kennedy Airport in New York.

Today, the Senate will begin casting votes on the Wall Street reform bill. “Democratic leaders had not yet determined as of late Monday whether amendments will need 50 or 60 votes to pass.” Sen. Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) amendment stating that no taxpayer funds could be used again to bail out large financial institutions is likely to be the first to be voted on.

Ahead of the vote, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer writes a blog post laying out “the Top Ten Most Wanted Lobbyist Loopholes.”

Progressive activists are urging the White House and Congress to “abandon language that allows for an expansion of offshore drilling and revenue-sharing incentives for states.” “If I was the bill’s sponsor, I’d take out offshore drilling provisions and put in new safeguards for oil rigs, and get the oil companies to appear at that press conference,” said Dan Weiss, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) has flipped on his support for expanded drilling off the California coast, saying, “You turn on the television and see this enormous disaster, you say to yourself, ‘Why would we want to take on that kind of risk?’” Schwarzenegger had originally proposed the drilling to fill a $20 billion budget deficit but said he will now look for alternatives.

Leading scientist Nick Shay, an oceanographer at the University of Miami, has told the Associated Press that “he cannot think of any scenario” where the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill doesn’t reach the Florida Keys. Shay “says the oil could affect Florida’s beaches, coral reefs, fisheries and ecosystem within a week.”

In an “unprecedented accounting of a secretive arsenal born in the Cold War,” the Pentagon revealed yesterday that the U.S. has 5,113 active nuclear warheads and many more in its “junk pile.” The disclosure comes as the Obama administration leads efforts to reduce the country’s nuclear stockpiles while leading disarmament efforts worldwide.

The Justice Department is concluding its three-year investigation of Alphonso Jackson without charges. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development under President Bush, resigned as HUD secretary amid multiple controversies, “including allegations that he steered business to friends.” “My belief in the justice system remains whole and complete,” Jackson said in a statement.

On a visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Rep. Michael McMahon (D-NY) said Obama’s 2011 target date for withdrawal seems “optimistic.” He added there has been “real progress” made by U.S. and NATO forces in routing former Afghan Taliban strongholds in Kandahar and Kabal, but “a lot of work remains to be done.”

And finally: With Florida Gov. Charlie Crist now an Independent, the state GOP is selling his painting on eBay. According to Party officials, “the painting was paid for by party donors, and now they want the money back.” Bidding is now up to $5,100.

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