ThinkFast: March 15, 2011

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll finds that two-thirds of Americans say the war in Afghanistan isn’t worth fighting, marking “the highest proportion yet opposed to the conflict.” Additionally, nearly “three-quarters of Americans say Obama should withdraw a ‘substantial number’ of combat troops from Afghanistan this summer.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) wants President Obama to offer a clear redeployment plan for Afghanistan. Just as Gen. David Petraeus is preparing to testify before the U.S. Senate, Gillibrand is calling for Congress to pass Safe and Responsible Redeployment of United States Combat Forces from Afghanistan Act, a plan to withdrawal of U.S. combat forces beginning on July 1.

Freshman Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) blasted his colleagues yesterday for risking a government shutdown, and aimed his ire directly at Tea Party members. “The extreme wing of the Republican Party is making a big mistake with their flat-out opposition to a short-term continuing resolution. They’re not looking at the big picture,” Grimm said.

The Obama administration and the GOP “offered a fresh show of support for nuclear power” yesterday despite the nuclear crisis in Japan. The White House said it “vowed to incorporate” lessons from Japan but is committed to keeping “clean” nuclear energy “in the U.S. portfolio” — a position that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said he shared.

Speaking to South by Southwest conference attendees yesterday, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said that “big corporations are ‘hoping to destroy’ the Internet” and that defending net neutrality is of utmost importance. The senator called net neutrality “the First Amendment issue of our time.”

Around 2,000 troops from Saudi Arabia and the UAE entered Bahrain yesterday under the aegis of the Gulf Cooperation Council to help put down mostly Shiite protesters demonstrating against Bahrain’s Sunni royal family. Concerned about expanding Iranian influence in the region, a Saudi official said that it “is the initial phase. … Bahrain will get whatever assistance it needs. It’s open-ended.”

Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) warned against a no-fly zone over Libya in strong terms yesterday, saying President Obama would first need a Congressional declaration of war. “We need a broader public discussion about the goals and limits of the U.S. role in the Middle East, especially as it pertains to potential military intervention,” said Lugar, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

On his radio show yesterday, Glenn Beck said Japan’s earthquake is a “message” from God to follow the Ten Commandments. After repeatedly connecting human behavior to the natural disasters devastating Japan and “causally mentioning ‘radical Islam,'” Beck revealed that answer “is buckle up” because “it’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

And finally: The wife of Wisconsin state Sen. Randy Hopper (R) has signed a recall petition against him after Hopper left his wife and home to live with his 25-year-old mistress outside his legislative district. His maid had already joined the recall effort and Hopper may be in violation of state law by living in another district.

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