ThinkFast: August 30, 2010

“I can’t spend all of my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead,” President Obama told NBC’s Brian Williams last night when asked about the growth of the fringe “birther” movement. “There is a mechanism, a network of misinformation that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly,” Obama explained.

“I’m making decisions that are not necessarily good for the nightly news and not good for the next election, but for the next generations,” Obama told NBC last night.

59 percent of Americans believe Sarah Palin lacks the “ability to be an effective president,” according to a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll. Only 26 percent of adults said she would have the ability to be effective, while that number is considerably higher — 47 percent — among Republicans. Only 21 percent of independents said Palin would have the skills to be effective.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is spearheading efforts to build the Park 51 Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York City,” told a Middle Eastern newspaper that he believed election-year politics had stoked the debate over the project and blamed a ‘tiny, vociferous minority’.” The full interview is available at The National newspaper’s website.


The “consensus among economists” is that the Recovery Act “worked in staving off a rerun of the 1930s,” but other emergency measures implemented by the Obama and Bush administrations played a larger role. The stimulus “was important for confidence,” said Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist of the IMF, adding, “But fiscal stimulus was the least important of the three planks of the government’s strategy.”

Underwater mortgages “are a massive drag on the economy and it could take years to eliminate the negative equity from many markets.” While many homeowners are paying their mortgages, they are “trapped” and unable to move for better jobs because they would lose money if they sold their homes. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced a program to help homeowners with negative equity.

Government anti-poverty programs now “serve a record one in six Americans and are continuing to expand.” Upwards of 50 million Americans on Medicaid and more than 40 million Americans are now receiving food stamps.

And finally: A New York Assembly candidate from Brooklyn has a very convincing character witness — his mom. He sent out a fundraising mailer titled, “My son Doug Biviano wants to protect your PENSION,” which featured nothing but four quotes from his mother and a picture of the candidate and his mom.

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