ThinkFast: June 3, 2010

President Obama is arguing that the Gulf oil catastrophe highlights the need to pass clean energy reform in the Senate. A clean energy future depends on “putting a price on carbon pollution,” Obama said. He added that “the votes may not be there right now, but I intend to find them in the coming months.”

BP did not have all the equipment needed to stop the leak from its Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of the explosion on an oil rig six weeks ago,” BP CEO Tony Hayward told the Financial Times. What is undoubtedly true is that we did not have the tools you would want in your tool-kit,” said Hayward, adding that it was “an entirely fair criticism” to say the company was not fully prepared.

The Democrat-led Congress is racking up a record of landmark policy changes in health care, financial industry regulation, economic policy and more, reports the LA Times. Nevertheless, Congress is facing high levels of disapproval because “they have not done a good job communicating the virtues of their policies, even to potentially receptive voters.”

An American citizen of Turkish descent was one of the nine people killed in the Israeli raid on a flotilla of ships heading for Gaza, Turkish investigators concluded on Thursday. Forensic examinations of the bodies also “showed that one of the dead had been shot at very close range,” a senior Turkish official told the New York Times.

Another “showdown” over Israel’s blockade of Gaza could come tomorrow “as an Irish-owned ship filled with humanitarian aid steams into the region.” The vessel, named after an “American activist killed in Gaza several years ago, was expected to arrive late Friday or early Saturday off the coast of Gaza.” It holds “cement, educational materials, toys and medical equipment.”

Senior U.S. officials said the Obama administration consider “Israel’s blockade of Gaza to be untenable and plans to press for another approach to ensure Israel’s security while allowing more supplies into the impoverished Palestinian area.” “There’s no question that we need a new approach in Gaza,” said one official.

“The Republican-led Kentucky Senate approved a sharply worded resolution Friday that was aimed at rebuking Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul’s recent questioning of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The resolution, co-sponsored by all but one Republican, “expressed the Senate’s support for the Civil Rights Act and criticized as ‘outside the mainstream of American values’ those who oppose any part of the law.”

Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said yesterday that gays and lesbians will likely be able to serve openly in the military and the services will adapt. While Mullen noted that “the law has not changed,” referring to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” he added, “I’m hard-pressed to support a policy and a law that forces people to come and lie every day.”

“At least 11 states have passed laws this year regulating or restricting abortion,” giving anti-choice activists “an unusually high number of victories.” Approximately “370 state bills regulating abortion were introduced in 2010, compared with about 350 in each of the previous five years, and 250 a year in the early 1990s. At least 24 of this year’s bills have passed,” and the final total may hit the 2005 high of 34.

And finally: Sir Paul McCartney serenades First Lady Michelle Obama.

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