ThinkFast: July 19, 2010

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"ThinkFast: July 19, 2010"

A group of leading economists have “produced a manifesto calling for more government stimulus and tax credits to put America back to work.” In today’s New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman argues that Obama’s best hope for the midterms “is to close the ‘enthusiasm gap’ by taking strong stands that motivate Democrats to come out and vote.”

Concerned about “a substance seeping near BP’s sealed oil well,” oil-spill response chief Thad Allen demanded that the company “intensely monitor the seabed” and prepare “to reopen the well immediately” if new oil leaks occur around the wellhead. In a “sharp” letter Sunday to BP, Allen requested that BP update him on the “latest containment plan and schedule” by 8:00pm CDT that day.

A two-year Washington Post investigation found that “[t]he top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.”

“Influential evangelical Christian leaders” have come to the aid of President Obama’s push to overhaul the nation’s immigration system, testifying before Congress and championing reform. “There is very little I agree with regarding President Barack Obama. On the other hand, I’m not going to let politicized rhetoric or party affiliation trump my values, and if he’s right on this issue, I will support him on this issue,” said Matthew D. Staver of Liberty Counsel.

Carte Goodwin will “be sworn in at 2:15pm Tuesday to replace” the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV). A “few minutes later,” Democrats will “break the impasse” on unemployment extension with Mr. Goodwin’s vote and will “cut off debate” on legislation to provide jobless pay through November.

While on a diplomatic trip in Pakistan, Secretary of State Clinton today unveiled “an armada of development projects – hydroelectric dams, municipal water supply overhauls, hospital makeovers” for the southwest Asian country. “It’s our goal to slowly but surely demonstrate that the U.S. is concerned about Pakistan for the long term, and that the partnership goes far beyond security against our common enemies,” said Clinton.

Abigail Thernstrom, the conservative Bush-appointed vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, “made a dramatic break from usual allies,” blasting the right-wing hysteria over the New Black Panther Party voter intimidation case. “This doesn’t have to do with the Black Panthers; this has to do with their fantasies about how they could use this issue to topple the [Obama] administration,” Thernstrom said.

In an analysis of the Politico web operation, the New York Times writes, “Such is the state of the media business these days: frantic and fatigued. Young journalists who once dreamed of trotting the globe in pursuit of a story are instead shackled to their computers, where they try to eke out a fresh thought or be first to report even the smallest nugget of news — anything that will impress Google algorithms and draw readers their way.”

And finally: Comparing herself to Shakespeare, Sarah Palin invents a new word: “refudiate.”

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