ThinkFast: September 20, 2010

Obama Black Caucus

Tax experts say that that if the Republicans’ argument that the Bush tax cuts effect half of all small business income is to be believed, that would mean President Obama himself would be considered a “small business.” That’s because the GOP is basing their figure “on a broad definition of the term that experts say includes authors, actors and athletes who employ few if any workers.”

Afghan citizens went to the polls Saturday in the country’s second legislative election since 2001, but independent observers “raised new warnings about the scale of fraud, intimidation and unrest that could undermine the credibility of the new Parliament.” One civic watchdog group “alleged extensive ballot-stuffing and security problems almost immediately after the polls closed Saturday.”

Pop star Lady Gaga plans to visit Maine today for a rally aimed at convincing the state’s two moderate Republican senators to vote for the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Gaga announced the Portland rally via Twitter last night, and used an appearance on MTV’s Video Music Awards last week to push repeal of the law.

Yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press, President Bill Clinton “dismissed” New Gingrich for saying President Obama has a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview. While Gingrich should “know better,” Clinton said that’s “his schtick” when “he’s running” and “out there playing politics.”

Five key Democratic Senators — Kent Conrad, Byron Dorgan, Claire McCaskill, Mark Pryor, and Mary Landrieu — say that they haven’t made up their minds about whether they’ll vote for the DREAM Act. The vote is expected to take place this week.

The federal government declared BP’s oil well dead, “nearly five months after it blew out of control, unleashing an environmental calamity in the Gulf of Mexico.” “We can finally announce that the Macondo 252 well is effectively dead,” said Adm. Thad W. Allen, who was put in chard of the federal response. The well “poses no continuing threat to the Gulf of Mexico,” he said.

According to Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), social conservatives can be confident that their “lightning-rod issues” like abortion will be included in the new House GOP Contract with America. While “hot-button controversial social issues” were not in the 1994 version, such issues will make it in this year’s “governing agenda” “thanks to the ‘clever’ thinking of” America Speaking Out Chairman Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

And finally: After dueling with Daily Show host Jon Stewart over his penchant for wearing ascots, CNN commentator Roland Martin has launched his own line of the neck ties, with the tag line, “the new definition of swagger.” The website for the Roland S. Martin Collection by Verse 9 allows users to upload their own photos wearing ascots.

ThinkProgress is hiring! Details here.