ThinkFast: August 6, 2008

Former Olympic gold medalist speedskater Joey Cheek had his visa revoked by Chinese authorities, just hours before “he was set to travel to Beijing to promote his effort urging China to help make peace in the war-torn Darfur section of Sudan.” In 2006, Cheek contributed his $25,000 gold medal award to help refugees from Darfur.

Six conservative senators are skipping the GOP convention. “Sens. Ted Stevens of Alaska, Gordon Smith of Oregon, Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine all face tough re-election campaigns. Two others, Wayne Allard of Colorado and Larry Craig of Idaho, are retiring.”

Today, President Bush “said North Korea could leave the ‘axis of evil’ and shed its pariah state status if dictator Kim Jong Il came clean on his country’s nuclear weapons programs and ended human rights abuses. “It’s his choice to make,” Bush said, adding, “My hope is that the ‘Axis of Evil’ list no longer exists. That’s my hope, for the sake of peace. And it’s my hope for the sake of our children.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “appeared to back down” yesterday from his disingenuous tire gauge attack against Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). In a telephone townhall, McCain told voters in Pennsylvania, “Obama said a couple of days ago says we all should inflate our tires. I don’t disagree with that. The American Automobile Association strongly recommends it.”


On the trail today: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will hold an energy town hall with Sen. Evan Bayh in Elkhart, IN to discuss his New Energy for America plan. McCain will meet with Marshall University’s football team in West Virginia today before traveling on to Ohio.

A bipartisan group of four senators plans to “announce a proposal to reset the charitable mileage deduction to 70 percent of the corporate deduction.” Currently, “the deduction for use of a personal car while performing volunteer services for charities” is “14 cents a mile,” compared to “58.5 cents a mile for corporate employees who use their cars for business purposes.”

In a new poll from the National Women’s Law Center, “59 percent of women said they were ‘worried and concerned about achieving [their] economic and financial goals over the next five years,’ compared with just 33 percent who called themselves ‘hopeful and confident.’”

Freddie Mac reported a loss of $821 million in the second quarter, following a $151 million loss in the first quarter and bringing its cumulative loss over the last four quarters to more than $4.6 billion. “To help preserve capital, Freddie said it would slash its quarterly dividend” by 80 percent, to 5 cents a share.

And finally: Bob Novak wishes the AP had a copy editor. On Monday, the Associated Press made a “deplorable error” when writing about columnist Novak’s decision to retire and his diagnosis of a brain tumor. The Washington Post’s Al Kammen points out the AP’s “terrible gaffe.” “Novak has been a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times for decades,” the AP wrote. “He announced late last month he has a brain.”

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments section.