ThinkFast: January 31, 2011

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"ThinkFast: January 31, 2011"

Pro-democracy demonstrators are calling for a “march of millions” in Egypt Tuesday as the movement against the Mubarak regime continues to grow. “I brought my American passport today in case I die today,” said protester Marwan Mossaad at one rally. “I want the American people to know that they are supporting one of the most oppressive regimes in the world.”

While teaching his Sunday school class in Georgia, former President Jimmy Carter said Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak “will have to leave” because “the people have decided.” Dubbing the protests “the most profound situation in the Middle East since I left office,” Carter said Mubarak has “become more politically corrupt” during his reign and has “perpetuated himself in office.”

Following Al Jazeera’s groundbreaking reports from the scenes of Egyptian demonstrations, the Mubarak regime has shut down the network’s Cairo bureau. While the station has officially been outlawed, its reporters continue to operate in the country unofficially. Watch the station live here.

Hundreds of environmentalists, union members, and liberal activists converged on Rancho Mirage, CA to protest a conservative retreat backed by billionaires Charles and David Koch. Prominent Republicans and major political donors gathered inside the resort, while outside protestors “waved signs condemning ‘corporate greed,’ chanted slogans and surged toward a line of helmeted police officers at the entrance to a resort.”

On NBC’s Meet The Press yesterday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he “isn’t taking a government shutdown over spending concerns off the table.” McConnell offered President Obama “two opportunities” in a continuing resolution and the debt ceiling vote to avoid a shutdown, adding “the president ought to work with us on both those occasions.”

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent undercover investigators to an Arizona gun show last week and found instances in which private sellers illegally “sold semiautomatic pistols even after buyers said they probably could not pass background checks.” The investigation is part the mayor’s effort to crack down on illegal gun sales nationwide. A Bloomberg spokesperson said investigators found similar problems in several other states.

The White House budget office proposed steep cuts to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms earlier this month, and agency officials now tell the Washington Post that the cuts “would effectively eliminate a major initiative in the fight against firearms trafficking on the Mexican border.” The proposed cutbacks would remove $160 million from a $1.25 billion budget; the budget proposal was an early draft and is likely to be changed.

And finally: When asked about his current life goals, former GOP House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who faces three years in prison for a money laundering conviction, said, “I’m trying to stay out of prison, obviously.”

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