ThinkFast: August 18, 2010

Dr Laura

Last night in an interview with CNN’s Larry King, radio personality Dr. Laura Schlessinger announced that she will be ending her show at the end of the year. Schlessinger steps down amidst intensive criticism over her racially-charged rant last week, initially documented by Media Matters. She said she will not be renewing her contract in order to “regain” her “First Amendment rights.”

Gov. David Paterson’s (D-NY) staff is still trying to entice the Cordoba Initiative organizers to move the proposed Muslim center to an alternate site. However, project planners reiterated that “they had no plans to build the center elsewhere” and that “a meeting has not been scheduled” with Paterson’s office.

Elizabeth Warren, currently being considered to run the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, met with several big bank lobbyists in Washington last week. Though Warren and bank lobbyists “largely steered clear of each other” until now, she sat down with them for an hour near the White House last week. Details of the discussions were not disclosed.

Citing street protests in Australia over climate inaction there, former Vice President and climate campaigner Al Gore called for demonstrations in the United States over the failure to enact policies that would curb global warming. “Across the world, when politicians fail to take action to solve the climate crisis, people are taking action,” said Gore. “It is my hope we see activism like this here in the United States.”

Mine Safety and Health Administration “cited Massey Energy for failing to report more than 20 accidents at its Upper Big Branch coal mine in the two years before an April explosion killed 29 miners there.” Four of violations “directly involve the explosion,” while the others involve “unreported roof collapses, assorted injuries” and two incidents related to black lung — all were supposed to be reported.

In a letter sent last Friday, House liberals called on President Obama to create a bipartisan panel to “develop an alternative strategy” for concluding the Afghanistan war. Along with that “critical component,” the proposed Afghanistan-Pakistan Study Group would also “assess benefits, costs, and affordability of engagement in the region.”

After 14 days of deliberation, a jury found former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich guilty “on just one of the 24 felony counts he faced — a charge that he had lied to FBI agents about his intense involvement in campaign fundraising. Prosecutors made it clear they intend to quickly retry Blagojevich on the 23 counts on which the jury deadlocked.”

A spokesman for the UN-led relief effort in Pakistan said “that the biggest problem for the relief effort in much of Pakistan was not access to stricken areas but shortages of relief supplies.” As one example, the UN “estimates that around two million people need tents to live in, but aid agencies have received only some 935,000.” The U.S., the largest donor to the effort, is expected to announce more aid today.

Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle has earned an important endorsement: Sarah Palin. During the Republican primary, Palin’s family openly supported Angle’s opponent, but her brother tells the Daily Caller that Palin will “actively help” Angle and “do whatever she can” to defeat Sen. Harry Reid.

And finally: Notoriously reclusive North Korea has decided to reconnect with the world one Tweet at a time, setting up its first official Twitter account. State Department Spokesperson P.J. Crowley welcomed North Korea, via Twitter, and hoped social media will help liberalize the Communist dictatorship. “The Hermit Kingdom will not change overnight,” Crowley tweeted, “but technology once introduced can’t be shut down.”

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