ThinkFast: May 10, 2011

The Wall Street Journal reports that Obama administration officials are drawing up plans to remove a small number of troops from Afghanistan this year. The plans are expected to draw fierce internal debate within the administration and were reportedly drafted before the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

The rift among congressional Republicans over Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) controversial plan to end Medicare has become a chasm. Senate Republicans — who hope to become the majority in 2012 — have decided to break with their House counterparts and not pursue any Medicare overhaul.

Obama will unveil a “blueprint” today of a comprehensive immigration reform bill for Congress. “We do not accept the argument that because there are some in Congress who are unwilling to act that we ought to just wash our hands of trying to get this done,” said an administration official, adding “This is really about an outcome.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) will soon sign a bill to cut unemployment benefits to a maximum of 23 weeks. The bill is the first in the nation to tie number of weeks to the state’s unemployment rate, a move Florida lawmakers are making to “blunt the massive increase in unemployment taxes that’s looming for businesses.”

An unlikely consensus issue has emerged among potential GOP candidates: the looming threat of Sharia law in the U.S. On the campaign trail, denouncing the Islamic code has become “as much a staple as economic reform, job creation, and rising gas prices.”

Speaking at a press conference in Paris alongside French Interior Minister Claude Gueant, Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. is still determined to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. “It is still the intention of the president, and it is still my intention, to close the facility that exists in Guantanamo,” said Holder.

State legislators in Maine spent more time debating whoopie pies than health reform this year. A GOP plan to overhaul the state’s health system went from public hearing to first vote in just eight days. It took 51 days for a bill to make the whoopie pie the official state treat. Alas, Gov. Paul LePage (R) never signed the whoopie pie bill.

And finally: Pop music star Lady Gaga is taking a political stance with her new song “Americano,” which she wrote “as a response to Arizona’s immigration laws.” She performed the song for the first time at a concert in Mexico over the weekend, where she said couldn’t “stand by many of those unjust immigration laws in my country.”

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