ThinkFast: August 5, 2010


After a federal judge struck down California’s ban on same-sex- marriage yesterday, the White House issued a statement explaining that President Obama “has spoken out in opposition to Proposition 8 because it is divisive and discriminatory” and “will continue to promote equality for LGBT Americans.” But gay marriage advocates note that Obama “has not been clear is how he squares his position for equality with his refusal to embrace actual equality in marriage.”

40.8 million: Record number of Americans who received food stamps in May. Recipients of the subsidies “jumped 19 percent from a year earlier and increased 0.9 percent from April,” and participation has “set records for 18 straight months.”

Contrary to several media reports, Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul (R) never “received a bachelor’s degree from Baylor University.” Paul left Baylor “early when Duke accepted him in its School of Medicine.” The Paul campaign said it never corrected the record because it was “not aware of the erroneous claim.”

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) “has blocked the nomination of James Clapper to be director of national intelligence,” just days after Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) lifted his own hold on the retired Air Force lieutenant general. Coburn’s office would not explain the hold, but it may involve the administration’s plan to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Yesterday during a speech at the Center for American Progress, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner criticized the GOP talking point that allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to expire will hurt small businesses. The Republican claim is “a political argument masquerading as substance,” he said. Geithner also noted that letting the cuts expire would affect fewer than 3 percent of small businesses.

When the Senate returns from recess next month, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to take up debate on the question of whether to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich. “We’re surveying members to see what could be in a package that wins 60 votes and protects the middle class,” said a Democratic source.

While participating in talks with the FCC on net neutrality, Verizon Communications Inc. and Google Inc. “have struck their own accord on handling Internet traffic.” The prior adversaries reached a compromise restricting Verizon from “selectively slowing Internet content” over the wires but “wouldn’t apply such limits” on mobile phones.

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) joined Democrats ending debate yesterday on a $24 billion bill to aid states strapped for cash and school districts on the verge of laying off teachers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would call the House back into session during the summer recess to get final approval of the bill.

In a letter to the House ethics committee, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) requested a public trial to be scheduled before November elections. Waters, who is charged with steering “$12 million in federal funds to a minority-owned bank in which her husband owned stock,” said she wants the charges to be released so “my constituents and all Americans will understand that I have not violated any House rules.”

And finally: While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced a special session via Twitter yesterday, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) made her own big news in 140 characters or less, announcing via a tweet that she is pregnant. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) promptly tweeted a congratulations message to @CathyMcMorris in response.

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