ThinkFast: September 17, 2010


“Stung” by Rep. Mike Castle’s (R-DE) primary loss, an “exasperated” Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) “sounded off” about the “shrinking wing” of moderate Republicans in an interview yesterday. Allowing that “Congress isn’t working right,” she argued moderate Republicans “can’t be endangered” if the GOP “want[s] to be a majority party” because “ideological purity at 100 percent is a utopian world.”

British police have arrested five men who they say were plotting a terror act against the Pope. Police declined to say whether the men were British or give details of their ethnicity. However, the BBC reported the men were not British nationals. Sources told Sky News that the suspects were Algerians.

Newly-released Census data shows that “the fraction of Americans living in poverty rose sharply to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008—the highest since 1994.” The “median household income fell 0.7% to $49,777 in 2009, down 4.2% since 2007, when the recession started.” Pat Garofalo has more.

More “than 50 million people were uninsured last year, almost one in six U.S. residents, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.” That marks a “record rise in the number of people without health insurance.” Igor Volsky has more.

House GOP leaders are prepared to roll out their election agenda in the next two weeks, but “Republicans will not sign the new ‘Contract with America,’ and GOP candidates won’t be invited to the document’s unveiling, unlike in 1994.” The agenda is “a list of roughly 20 initiatives — including a few that seem driven by the tea party movement.”

The Senate narrowly passed along partisan lines President Obama’s plan to provide small businesses with loans and tax breaks. Republicans stalled the bill for months. The measure will allow the Treasury Department to “administer a $30 billion small business lending fund through small, healthy community banks.”

The New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia passed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday with bipartisan support. The treaty now moves to the Senate floor where it will need support from two-thirds of the Senate, “meaning at least eight Republicans” must sign on to the treaty.

Yesterday, Admiral Thad Allen announced that BP completed work on a relief well, allowing the oil giant to begin permanently sealing the Macando well that exploded on April 20. The final “bottom kill” process will seal the well with mud and cement, capping the amount of oil that gushed into the Gulf at 206 million gallons.

And finally: Mocking Fox News host Glenn Beck, Daily Show host Jon Stewart announced last night the “Rally to Restore Sanity,” scheduled for October 30th and intended for “people who have better things to do than march on Washington.” But Stewart will have competition from fellow Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert, who announced his own “March To Keep Fear Alive” last night.

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