ThinkFast: August 3, 2010

Arizona Immigration Patrol

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) is seeking to grant state police officers “powers similar to those Arizona’s law” to check immigration status. In a legal opinion issued Friday, Cuccinelli said that, like Arizona police officers, state law enforcement should have the power to “inquire into the immigration status of persons stopped or arrested.”

A federal judge “declined to dismiss Virginia’s lawsuit challenging” the provision in the health care reform law that requires Americans to purchase health insurance beginning in 2014. While U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson did not rule on that central issue, his decision “swept aside the Obama administration’s efforts to quash the legal contest in its infancy.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “officially supports a review of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution” and believes “we should hold hearings” into the matter. In an interview with The Hill, McConnell said that Congress “ought to take a look at” altering the 14th amendment to end birthright citizenship.

A new USA Today/Gallup poll has found that just 36 percent of Americans support President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy, down from 48 percent in February. A record 43 percent said it was a mistake to go to war there after 9/11. Only 41 percent approved of Obama’s Iraq war policy — a record low — despite the scheduled troop withdrawal at the end of the month.

The financial industry has spent $251 million on lobbying so far this year,” spending more than any other interest group during the second quarter of the year as Congress worked on sweeping financial reform legislation. Wall Street’s spending was up 12 percent over the same period last year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

According to newly declassified data complied in a National Bureau of Economic Research study, “[e]ach time U.S. or NATO forces accidentally kill Afghan civilians, insurgents and their sympathizers typically retaliate with six additional assaults on foreign forces over the next six weeks.” Attacks even increase slightly when insurgents are responsible for the deaths.

At Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Atlanta yesterday, President Obama slammed Republicans for trying to “bamboozle” the public into supporting failed policies, saying, “They have not come up with a single, solitary new idea to address the challenges of the American people. They don’t have a single idea that’s different from George Bush’s ideas. Not one.”

In a speech to disabled veterans Monday, President Obama affirmed that U.S. forces in Iraq will fall to 50,000 by the end of August, with remaining troops forming “a transitional force” until the final U.S. withdrawal at the end of 2011. “Marking a long-sought milestone” in the war, the drawdown is a “reduction of 94,000 troops since he took office 18 months ago.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said yesterday that he will lift a hold on James Clapper, President Obama’s nominee to chair the Director of National Intelligence, if he “receives a report he’s requested for the past 18 months.” McCain indicated that he has been told he will get the requested oversight report and that he plans to vote for Clapper when he does.

And finally: Last week, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) went on the House floor to debate a bill shortly after midnight and gave a shout-out to his mom. “Since my mother is watching, we want to say, ‘Hi, Mom,'” said Barton. According to Roll Call, “Barton’s mother often watches C-SPAN when she thinks he might be on.” Shortly thereafter, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) spoke and added, “I just want to say, if Mr. Barton’s mother is up right now, she’s up too late and she’s watching C-SPAN, and both those things are probably not good for her. So, we hope Mom is asleep at this time.”

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