"ThinkFast: January 25, 2011"
In his State of the Union address tonight, President Obama is unlikely to support raising the Social Security retirement age or reducing its benefits. “The White House informed Democratic lawmakers and advocates for the elderly that he would not endorse” his deficit commission’s recommendations to alter Social Security.
A report from the Office of Special Counsel has found that the Bush White House violated a federal law that prohibits using federal tax dollars for political activities by creating a “political boiler room” that coordinated with GOP campaign activities nationwide, particularly before the 2006 midterms. The report said Bush’s Office of Political Affairs, run by Karl Rove, “served almost as an extension” of the RNC.
Daniel Hernandez, the intern who helped save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), “is urging President Obama to support tougher gun laws in response to the deadly Arizona shootings.” Hernandez hopes that reforms will mandate that all gun buyers have to undergo a background check that would detect dangerous individuals like alleged shooter Jared Loughner.
The Congressional Research Service reports that there are 1.4 million “long-term unemployed” who have been out of work for 99 weeks or longer. As Arthur Delaney notes, “Ninety-nine weeks is a milestone for the jobless because that’s the limit for unemployment benefits (though 99 weeks are not available in all states). Beyond that point, the jobless aren’t eligible for much help besides food stamps and charity.”
Hezbollah garnered enough support to appoint Lebanon’s next prime minister, a move that will most likely shift the country’s alliances away from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia toward Iran and Syria. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said the U.S. “would have great concerns about a government within which Hezbollah plays a leading role.”
A grassroots group of bloggers and activists is trying to draft Keith Olbermann, who ended his MSNBC show last week, to run for the Senate seat Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) plans to depart from in 2012. The activists have already set up a Facebook and Twitter account, and they will have a website up shortly.
And finally: ‘The Body’ tells TSA to keep its hands off the body. Former Gov. Jesse Ventura — who adopted the nickname “The Body” during his pro wrestling career — is filing a lawsuit against “the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration on Monday, alleging full-body scans and pat-downs at airport checkpoints violate his right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.” Ventura said that his hip replacement surgery has subjected him “humiliation and degradation through unwanted touching, gripping and rubbing of the intimate areas of his body” every time he goes through airport security checkpoints.
ThinkProgress is hiring! Details here.