ThinkFast: August 26, 2010

In an interview with The Atlantic, former chairman of the Republican National Committee Ken Mehlman revealed that he is gay. Mehlman, who was also George W. Bush’s campaign manager in 2004, said he arrived at the conclusion recently and disclosed it now because he wants to become an advocate for gay marriage.

After a New Yorker article and ThinkProgress research exposed their role in “crafting the modern right,” Charles and David Koch “have launched a public relations effort” through Koch Facts, their company’s new website. The website offers “point-by-point rebuttals and responses to every charge” in the New Yorker story in an “odd combination” of “bland language and the brothers’ strong views and family pride.”

More than 40 Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and civic groups formed a coalition yesterday in support of the proposed Islamic center two blocks from the World Trade Center site. The newly-formed New York Neighbors for American Values said the debate over the center “was creating fear and division and that [the group] would fight for U.S. constitutional freedoms to be upheld.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR) sent a letter to President Obama asking him to fire Deficit Commission co-chair Alan Simpson “in the wake of remarks Simpson made in an e-mail likening Social Security to a cow ‘with 310 million tits.’” The two write that replacing Simpson is necessary for the commission’s recommendations “to have credibility with Congress.”


President Obama will deliver a prime-time Oval Office address Tuesday night about the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, and the drawdown of troops from the country. Obama will meet with troops returning home before giving the address, in which he is expected to note that the drawdown “fulfills one of his major campaign promises.”

Insurgents in Iraq “unleashed a wave of coordinated attacks across” the country yesterday, launching strikes in 13 towns and cities from Basra in the south to Mosul in the north that killed dozens. “The message the insurgents want to deliver to the Iraqi people and the politicians is that we exist, and we choose the time and place,” a former Iraqi lawmaker said.

Nearly 20 congregations at local religious institutions plan to protest the Dove World Church’s planned burning of the Quran by doing interfaith readings of the Torah, Bible, and Quran. “Silence in the face of their statements can be misconstrued as agreement, and I think it’s important for all of us to speak up,” said Larry Reimer, minister of the United Church of Gainesville.

Vice President Joe Biden said yesterday that Republican claims that small businesses will be hurt by not extending the Bush tax cuts is a “bunch of malarkey.” Biden said that few small businesses would benefit from an extension of the cuts, and that removing $700 billion in revenue by extending them is “just bad economic policy.”

Mohammed Zia Salehi, an Afghan National Security Council official and an aide to President Hamid Karzai, is “at the center of a politically sensitive corruption investigation” but is also being paid by the CIA. It is unclear what Salehi is being paid for but it highlights the “deep contradictions” in the Obama administration’s Afghanistan policy — wanting to root out corruption, but paying allegedly corrupt officials.


And finally: There was a “teensy, weensy little problem” with paperwork Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) filed with the Federal Election Commission last month — “she spelled her name wrong. Or at least the person who did her paperwork did.” Her PAC submitted a document referencing “Michelle PAC,” adding an extra “L” to the right-wing congresswoman’s name.

ThinkProgress is hiring! Details here.