ThinkFast: July 30, 2010


Defending his tenure as chief executive of BP, Tony Hayward expressed no regrets. “Would I change fundamentally what BP did and the role I played? No,” Hayward said. “I became a villain for doing the right thing,” he whined, adding, “but I understand that people find it easier to vilify an individual more than a company.” Hayward also said he was “wrong” when he said he wanted his “life back.”

The SEC yesterday charged “Samuel and Charles Wyly, the billionaire brothers from Dallas who are large donors to philanthropies and to conservative causes,” with committing $550 million worth of fraud. The SEC case “centers on charges of securities fraud and insider trading related to the shares of companies founded by the Wyly brothers or where they served as directors or executives.”

“A House ethics committee on Thursday brought 13 charges” against Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), including “failing to report more than $600,000 on his financial disclosure report” and not paying taxes on rental income on a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. Rangel, who did not attend the committee hearing, angrily claimed in a statement that investigators were trampling on his Constitutional rights.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor received more than $460,000 in the second quarter from the financial industry, including Goldman Sachs and Bank of America. Public Campaign reports that the sum represents a 32 percent increase from the average of the previous five quarters. HuffPost’s Sam Stein notes that Cantor has been using GOP opposition to Obama’s agenda as a selling point.

Senate Republicans yesterday “rejected a bill to aid small businesses with expanded loan programs and tax breaks” even though several GOP lawmakers helped write it and it had been backed by conservative business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The procedural blockade underscores “how fiercely determined the party’s leaders are to deny Democrats any further legislative accomplishments.”

Hundreds protested Arizona’s new immigration law in downtown Phoenix yesterday as Gov. Jan Brewer (R) filed an appeal of a federal judge’s ruling preventing portions of the law from taking effect. The protesters accused the government of “terrorizing” Hispanics and “blockaded a jail and marched to the offices of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, known for his aggressive stance on illegal immigrants.”

Former USDA employee Shirley Sherrod said yesterday “that she would ‘definitely’ sue conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart over the video that prompted her firing last week.” “At this point, he hasn’t apologized — I don’t want it at this point. And he’ll definitely hear from me,” she said.

Rep. Mike McMahon (D-NY) fired his re-election campaign’s spokesperson last night “after she gave a reporter a breakdown of a Republican rival’s ‘Jewish money’ contributions” in an apparent effort to show the opponent has little support in the district. “There is a lot of Jewish money, a lot of money from people in Florida and Manhattan, retirees,” McMahon’s spokesperson told the New York Observer.

And finally: On Fox and Friends this morning, Robert Gibbs joked that “I want to tell you guys exclusively that I’m leaving the White House briefing room to be a judge on American Idol.” Noting that he has no “discernible musical talent,” Gibbs explained that “there is no better training ground for American Idol” than the White House briefing room.

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