ThinkFast: September 8, 2010


Speaking to a gathering of American Muslims last night, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the planned Quran burning as a “disrespectful, disgraceful act.” Attorney General Eric Holder told a private gathering of religious leaders that the idea is “idiotic and dangerous.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the right of a Florida church to burn copies of the Quran. Bloomberg, who has been a vociferous defender of the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero, said he found the planned burnings “distasteful,” but that “the First Amendment protects everybody.”

The U.S. imam behind the Islamic center proposal in New York said “the project will continue” as planned. In a New York Times op-ed today, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said the community center “will amplify the multifaith approach” by including separate prayer spaces for Muslims, Christians, Jews and a multifaith memorial to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

During a speech at a Texas community college fundraiser, President Bush recalled the time when an Iraqi journalist threw his shoe at him during a press conference in Baghdad. “Remember the guy who threw the shoe?” Bush said. “It was the weirdest moment of my presidency. It was like Ted Williams, who said he could see the stitches on the baseball. It was coming at me in slow motion.”

President Obama said today that “he opposes any compromise that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy beyond this year.” Obama endorsed extending the current “rates for the 98 percent of households with income below $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals.”

Health insurers across the country have “asked for premium increases of between 1% and 9% to pay for extra benefits” they are required to provide under the recently passed health care law. If the increases are enacted, “some consumers could face total premium increases of more than 20%.”

Two U.S. soldiers were killed yesterday and nine were wounded in a firefight outside an Iraqi Army base north of Baghdad. They were the first casualties since President Obama announced the end of combat operations in Iraq last week. Two days earlier, U.S. soldiers helped Iraqi soldiers push back “a highly coordinated attack by insurgents” in Baghdad.

In an internal report released today, BP spread the blame for the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill, saying that multiple companies and work teams contributed to the catastrophe. The report was written before a key piece of evidence — BP’s blow-out preventer — was even analyzed.

Yesterday, U.S. Chief District Court Judge Royce Lamberth refused the administration’s request to stay an earlier injunction preventing federal funding for human embryonic stem-cell research. In a three-page order, Lamberth said a temporary stay would “flout the will of Congress” and that the administration “was incorrect that a ‘parade of horribles’ would result” from his decision.

And finally: “Apparently, kids were available for loan” at the Michigan Republican convention last week, as candidates were spotted on stage with children that did not belong to them. State Sen. Cameron Brown and his wife, “were handed a cute, chubby baby and darling blond-haired girl” wearing a Brown campaign shirt — but the “loaner kids” belonged to a campaign volunteer, not Brown.

ThinkProgress is hiring! Details here.