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ThinkFast: August 13, 2010

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"ThinkFast: August 13, 2010"

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Earlier this week, social conservative radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger “launched into a racially charged rant,” repeatedly spewing the “n word” 11 times over a five-minute conversation with an African-American caller. The next day, Schlessinger issued an apology, claiming that in her attempt “to make a philosophical point” she realized she had made “a horrible mistake.”

A week after striking down California’s ban on same-sex marriage, U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled yesterday that gay marriages could resume on Aug. 18. He gave opponents about a week to seek an injunction from a higher court. “I am pleased to see Judge Walker lift his stay and provide all Californians the liberties I believe everyone deserves,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is causing consternation within the Pentagon for his budget-cutting plan to reduce the number of generals and admirals by five percent. But, while Gates is advocating certain small cuts, he is urging Congress not to engage in more significant cuts of the defense budget.

Elizabeth Warren met with White House officials on Thursday as a potential nominee to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a “centerpiece of the president’s effort to overhaul financial regulations.” The White House said Warren, who currently heads a congressional oversight panel for the financial bailout funds, “is a champion for middle class families” and “is a strong contender for this position.”

According to the Labor Department figures released yesterday, new jobless claims increased by 2,000 to 484,000, “rising to the highest level in six months as the US labour market’s struggles persist.” While economists expected new claims to shrink this month, “a sluggish recovery has kept companies cautious about hiring.”

“A coalition that included 35 tea party groups” sent a letter to the FCC asking it not to impose net neutrality rules. “I think the clearest thing is it’s an affront to free speech and free markets,” said Virginia Tea Party Patriot Federation chairman Jamie Radtke of net neutrality.

A Financial Times/Harris survey has found that concern about “oil dependence since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has increased in the United States and Europe’s five largest countries.” Two-thirds of Americans who were surveyed said the oil spill made them more concerned about oil dependence.

In Arizona yesterday, a conservative group along with several Arizona lawmakers launched a lawsuit attempting to block President Obama’s health care overhaul. The Goldwater Institute and Republican Reps. Jeff Flake, Trent Franks and John Shadegg, along with several state lawmakers, filed the suit in U.S. District Court which takes aim at the requirement to purchase health care coverage.

In an interview to be aired this weekend on NBC’s Meet the Press, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan Gen. David Petraeus “hedged a bit” when asked by host David Gregory if next year’s withdrawal deadline is non-negotiable. President Obama “expressed very clearly that what he wants from me is my best military advice,” Petraeus said, adding that he would tell the President if sufficient progress is not made by then.

And finally: Guess which Senator is holding a fundraiser at Lady Gaga’s concert next month? 86-year old Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). “The senator is a big fan, it turns out. He and his wife, Bonnie, celebrated his 86th birthday in January at a Gaga show at Radio City Music Hall in New York.”

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