ThinkFast: August 31, 2010

In a speech from the Oval Office tonight, President Obama will formally end the seven-year combat mission in Iraq that left 4,400 U.S. troops dead and thousands more wounded. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama will be careful not to declare victory: “Obviously tomorrow marks a change in our mission. It marks a milestone that we have achieved in removing our combat troops,” Gibbs said. “That is not to say that violence is going to end tomorrow.”

A new Newsweek poll has found that a majority of Republicans believe President Obama “sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world.” Only 33 percent of Republicans said the “allegation” was “probably not true,” while 38 percent said it was probably true and 14 percent said it was “definitely true.”

Fox News host Glenn Beck launched a new news and opinion website last night, TheBlaze.com, that he said seeks to “pursue truth.” “If you are like me, watching the news or reading the paper can be an exercise in exasperation. It’s so hard to find a place that helps me make sense of the world I see,” Beck said on the website.

Two U.S. men of Yemeni descent were arrested in Amsterdam yesterday, after arriving on a flight from Chicago with suspicious items in their baggage. Authorities say the men had a mobile phone taped to a Pepto-Bismol bottle and other phones and watches strapped together.

Yesterday, President Obama urged Senate Republicans to “drop the blockade” on the Small Business Jobs bill, which “will cut more taxes and make available more loans, including $55 billion in tax relief.” After the Republican minority blocked the bill from coming to the Senate floor in July, Obama asked Congress to make it the “first order of business” when it returns from recess in September.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) “was dealt another major setback Monday when the Alaska Libertarian Party announced it would not swap its chosen candidate for the Republican senator if she loses her party’s nomination.” “The party voted unanimously Sunday not to allow Murkowski to run on its ticket,” so her only remaining option to stay in the race would be to run as a write-in candidate.

The Justice Department filed another lawsuit against Arizona yesterday, arguing “that a network of community colleges acted illegally in requiring noncitizens to provide their green cards before they could be hired for jobs.” The suit alleges that the colleges “discriminated against nearly 250 noncitizen job applicants by mandating that they fill out more documents than required by law to prove their eligibility to work.”

And finally: Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took to Twitter yesterday to bang out a condemnation of the “sheeple” (sheep people) in the “silly media” for supposedly under counting the crowd size at Fox News personality Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally. Unfortunately, when Palin tried to mention her buddy Beck, she got his twitter handle wrong, name dropping psychedelic indie-pop musician Beck instead.

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